You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


So much more by AnHPsuperfan

Format: Novel
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 36,944
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Scenes of a mild sexual nature

Genres: Humor, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Albus, Fred II, James (II), OC
Pairings:

First Published: 12/19/2018
Last Chapter: 08/30/2019
Last Updated: 08/30/2019

Summary:

Emma is a Gryffindor seventh year with the best group of friends, one of which she has feelings for. But a new boy who enters her life just might change things a bit.

Because there aren’t enough Albus/OC out there!



Chapter 1: Chapter 1
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Wonderful banner by my talented friend choguiwawho

 

 

 

A/N: Welcome to my new fic! This is supposed to be a bigger story. I’m just posting the first chapters now but I’m already working on the others and will post them soon. English isn’t my native language so I apologize for any mistakes. And please, if you can, live a review! It’s important for me to decide how the story will go and if I should keep working on this.

I also wanna say huge thanks to choguiwawho who is my betareader and is always supporting me!

Now, I won’t keep you any longer. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: everything related to Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling.



I couldn’t help but laugh with all my friends as James told another joke. And what was not to laugh about? I was in a compartment with all my friends going back to the school that I loved and had missed during the summer holidays.

 

As I entered my first year at Hogwarts completely insecure and lost, as is the case for most first years, I couldn’t have imagined that I would have, six years later, a group of friends as awesome as I do. 

 

Of course, being sorted into Gryffindor helped a bit.

 

 Sitting around me were my favorite people in school.

 

My faithful best friend, Anna Kavoc, which is a beautiful blonde Gryffindor with clear brown eyes that are always surrounded by laughter, and a personality that catches everyone with their way of making them feel welcome. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime, almost sister.
 She has friends in all the houses at school with her easy charm and way of talking to people, something I greatly admire in her, and yet she always trusts me with her secrets and is always there for me.

 

Then there is Zoe Schmitt, who is as short as her personality is big. She has a talent to make everyone laugh and her adventurous nature was what made her end up in Gryffindor with us. But although she looks cute and easygoing with her blob of black hair and big blue eyes, people shouldn’t even think of making her mad. She has always been the kind to bite rather than bark.

 

In the other side of the bench were seated the boys, the other half of our group.

 

Freddie Weasley, the eternal prankster, who couldn’t help but follow his father’s footsteps is the first of a group of three trouble makers.
 

He has red hair like the rest of his family and curiously brown skin from the side of his mother. Although a prankster, Freddie is adored by almost everyone since his pranks always have a great sense of humor and are never meant to harm. Him and the other two of this trio have a record of detentions for the year since Freddie always has a new product from his father’s store itching to be used.

 

There is also Jacob Wood, the goalkeeper for Gryffindor. He has a group of admiring fangirls who has nothing to do with just his playing abilities. The female population can’t help but admire his strong physique and his blond hair and blue eyes don’t hurt much either.

 

Last but not least, there is James. The Gryffindor chaser and Quidditch captain and this year’s Head Boy. Admired by men and wanted by girls, he is the epitome of a popular school boy. With his black messy hair and hazel eyes, he could have practically any girl at Hogwarts. And he apparently chooses to have them all, since his flings normally don’t last more than a weekend. But most of all, he has a way of making you feel special that appeals to everyone, knowing exactly the right thing to say at the right time. 

 

That’s how I feel at least and my feelings for him stopped being of friendship a long time ago. It’s like I started to have that crush  you normally have at the start of adolescence in that cute boy that before was just your friend. And for some time it seems you can’t act around him as easily as before.

 

The problem is instead of fading away, as these things normally do after a year or so, I can’t seem to shake it away as much as I try to.

 

- Emma! Hey, where are you? It’s been five minutes since you don’t say anything! – says Freddie passing a hand in front of my face.

 

-Sorry! I was just a bit lost in thought.

 

- We are all discussing when should we do our first prank this year. – says Jake excitedly.

 

- No! They were discussing when they would do their prank and we were arguing against it. –says Anna, pointing to her and Zoe.

 

- Give it a break! – says James – you know that as soon as we start planning it Zoe is gonna want to get in. And besides, Emma will back us up as well, right Emms?

 

And as he looked at me with those big eyes it was very hard to go against him in anything, so I just kept my mouth shut.

 

-Anything from the trolley? – the candy lady interrupted our discussion and we spent the next few hours talking about the year that lay ahead.


-C’mon!! When is this feast gonna start?!! – says an irritated Fred.

 

- I can’t believe you are hungry already! You’ve just eaten six chocolate frogs in the train! – I tell him.

 

- Well, that was just an appetizer, I want real food!!

 

We were seated in the Great Hall waiting for the annual sorting to end, though Fred was having a bit of a problem with the “waiting” part. 

 

Anna was showing us a new muggle book she had started reading during the summer. I am a muggleborn so these books are nothing new to me but I wouldn’t have imagined that Anna would be so into them when I met her, since she was raised in the Wizarding World. Later I discovered she got it from her mother, who is a muggleborn. Our passion for books is one of the many things that bind us and even Zoe started to get a taste for them.

 

Meanwhile James and Jacob were doing their usual game of guessing which house the new students would get into.

 

- A sure Hufflepuff. – guessed Jake looking at the shy blonde girl next in line.

 

- No way man! She has smart written all over her face. I bet it’s Ravenclaw.

 

The girl put the hat in her head, covering her eyes, and a few seconds later the hat shouted Ravenclaw to the cheers of the blue and bronze table.

 

- I told you! – gloated James – I’m an expert at this house business. Even guessed my brother’s house and that was something no one was expecting. 

 

- You didn’t guess his house. You were just messing with him.

 

And as the two boys discussed I couldn’t help but look at the Slytherin table to where the current subject of the conversation was seating. 

 

Albus Potter was James’ younger brother but, like most of the school I didn’t know him much. He’s always had this mysterious personality about him that strangely appealed to people. But as much as the students, specially his admiring fangirls, tried to get close to him, he never let people in. His circle of friends was basically his dorm mates from Slytherin. 

 

In all the years I’ve known James it always appeared he has a good relationship with his brother and made it seem as if Albus is actually a very good person, just more reserved. Still I couldn’t help but be a bit intimidated by him, and can’t deny part of it is about the old prejudice against Slytherin.

 

As I’m looking at his messy head of hair so similar to his brother’s while he talks to his friends, he suddenly raises his head and looks at me.

 

 His bright green eyes meet my blue ones and he frowns a bit, not angrily, but rather in an expression of curiousity. His green eyes are intense and for a minute I’m so caught by surprise I can’t look away.
At that moment Headmistress Macgonagall starts the start of term speech and I break the contact.

 

During the feast and the rest of the night with my friends I don’t waste a single thought to the mysterious Slytherin boy. But as I lay in bed before sleeping, in that state where you’re thinking of a million things before falling asleep, the thought that sticks with me is a pair of beautiful green eyes.



Chapter 2: Chapter 2
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A/N: Hey guys! I’m not gonna be able to post as often during the holidays. Still, here’s chapter 2! None Albus action in this one but I promise he appears in the next one. By the way, the bit about the extra History of Magic class was just something I could see happening. Hope you enjoy and please, leave a comment if you can!!


The next morning, the girls and I arrived in the Great Hall to find the boys in their usual morning state of sleepiness. Jacob’s head was almost falling into his morning cereal and Fred had just given up and was face down against the table.

 

- Oh come on! – said Zoe indignantly – You can’t possibly already be in this state! It’s only the first day of class!

 

- I don’t find anything in that statement that suggests we shouldn’t be like this – said James after a huge yawn.

 

- Well, I for one, am really excited to see which classes we have today. – I say, truly animated.

 

- Oh of course you would be. You’ve probably already read the books too.

– Freddie says without looking up, voice muffled by the table.

 

- That’s because you’ve never been to muggle school. I mean, come on, we are learning Magic here. This doesn’t compare to Physics.

 

- I don’t know. It’s still school for me. – says Zoe disinterestedly, buttering her toast.

 

- Look Emma! It seems you will find out what you wanted. – says Anna as our head of house Professor Longbottom goes down the table passing out schedules.

 

As soon as we receive ours, like a tradition, even the boys get a little more awake to compare classes and see which ones we were taking together.

 

- Yes!! Today only History of Magic, Defense and Transfiguration for me!! – shouts Anna.

 

- Me too!! – I say. And in a moment of childish fun, we high-five each other.

 

- Ah man! We still have two periods of Care of Magical Creatures after that. – complains Fred, referring to the boys and Zoe, who decided to take that class instead of Ancient Runes like Anna and I. Zoe is really good at the subject, which serves her fine, since she wants to become a dragon tamer after Hogwarts. The boys, though, only chose it to get away from Runes and Arithmancy.

 

- Ha!! – says Anna – serves you right for taking the easy path.

 

- Yeah, we will see that Kavoc, when you two are doing those five feet essays for your subject.

 

- Guys, our class is starting in five minutes. I think we should get going.

 

And the six of us went to the first class of the year.

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. History of Magic. That boring class with the drowning voice of Professor Binns. Well... that’s actually true. The ancient teacher still didn’t leave this class. And I can kind of understand why, I mean... how do you go about firing a ghost?! One that lives here still.

 

But there actually were some changes. After the war, the newly appointed Headmistress Macgonagall decided it was pretty important that the students had the knowledge of the recent years of war. So, she wisely decided to contract Professor Thomas, who actually participated in the war, to teach this subject instead of the old Professor Binns. Then it was created a new subject, History of Magic II, to cover this part of history.

 

And, luckily for us, that was the one we were having today.

 

I was really concentrated in the class, which I thought really interesting, especially because as a muggleborn I knew far less than some of the students. When something hit me in the face. As I took my face out of my parchment I found out it was a parchment ball and I didn’t have to look much further to find James making very not discreet signs for me to read it.

 

Now, I know James adores this class because he gets to stand proudly whenever his family is mentioned, which is a lot, and already knows pretty much everything that Professor Thomas says so he never has to pay attention. However, there are some people, like me, who would appreciate to concentrate on the class.

 

Even so, I still read the note, which said:
     

Are you going to our beginning of the year party tomorrow?

 

The beginning of the year party is a thing that the boys throw every year in our common room but that is frequented by people of all houses. Like all these parties at Hogwarts, it envolves smuggled firewhiskey, loud music and lots, lots of couples sucking face or you know... more. So when I realized James was inviting me, my mind already came up with a lot of scenarios of where this night was gonna lead.

 

So I asked:
       

Why are you asking me that?

 

And threw the parchment back. But, of course, instead of going to James, it hit another boy sitting next to him.

 

He looked at me indignantly and I, face all red, pointed to James.

 

After a bit James threw the message back, which, by the way, landed perfectly on my desk.
       

We just wanted to know if you girls are going and I assumed you knew.

 

Yeah, it seems all these fantasies are gonna have to wait.



After that, it was time for Defense Against the Dark Arts, my favorite subject. We had a practical revision of defensive spells and we all did great, except for Zoe who has a bit of a problem with this subject and tends to act before thinking which has led to some broken furniture in the classroom.

 

And the last class of the day for Anna and I was Transfiguration, taught by Professor Litt, a wizard from Ivermory who took over after Macgonagall became Headmistress.

He was pretty strict and didn’t allow any distractions in his class, though from what I heard from Macgonagall’s reputation I’m not complaining.

 

Later, Anna and I went back to our common room and relaxed a bit in the red comfortable couch.

 

- So, what are you planning for this year? – Anna started the conversation.

 

- What do you mean? Continue playing Quidditch, pass all my subjects...?

 

- No, actually I meant about... James. – she said hesitantly.

 

- What?

 

- It’s just, I know you’ve liked him for three years now and I always support you. But it’s our seventh year and I just think... – she paused here and it was strange to see her so uptight around me.

 

- You know you can say it, Anna, there’s nothing too weird between us anymore.

 

- I think that maybe you should open yourself to other things, you know, other people.

 

- But I am open to a lot of things, I never let him lead my life.

 

- I know. Just, if the opportunity opens itself I don’t want you to waste it because you’re too caught up in him.

 

- Alright, I’ll keep your advice in mind. But what about you? Something to tell me? – I teased her, and, just like that, our conversation went well into the time the others came back. 

 

And after dinner, we came back to the same spot and spent the night of the first day of classes talking and laughing together. Our homework forgotten but smiles on our faces.



Chapter 3: Chapter 3
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A/N: Hello again!! This is the chapter I liked writing the most until now! And the longest! I hope you enjoy and happy holidays!!

If you have the time to leave a comment, I appreciate it.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter nor Hunger Games.


The other morning I woke up a bit late and, when I got to breakfast, all my friends were already there.

 

- Morning guys! – I said and received varied “Heys”.

 

I was just serving myself to some scrambled eggs when James and Fred suddenly got up.

 

-He’s there Fred! – said James.

 

-What’s going on? – I ask.

 

- Oh, they just wanna talk to Niall Finnigan about the booze for the party tonight. – answers Jake.

 

Niall Finnigan was the official smuggler of drinks of the school. His father is involved with the drinking business so he always knows the best to get. Besides, he has an uncanny ability of not getting caught which is why he never gets into trouble.

 

- As long as I’m not involved with it, they can do whatever they want for all I care. – says Anna getting up – Hey, Em, it’s time to go. We have Ancient Runes now.

 

- Oh yeah, see you guys later!


When we get to Ancient Runes, the first thing we notice is that there are the double amount of people there should be in this class. And the second is, there’s a lot of sixth years.

 

- What’s this about now? – I ask.

 

- Don’t know. Let’s get a seat, the professor should come soon.

 

After five minutes, Professor Carter enters the classroom and the murmuring of voices gets lower, everyone apparently curious about the new class disposition.

 

- Good morning students! – says the Professor in a sharp tone – This year we’re gonna do something a little different as you probably noticed. Since the sixth and seventh years have practically the same learning material, I decided to join the classes and do a little project. It will consist of you looking at the Runes in a different way. Instead of deciffering something written in Runes to our language, I want you to find a text of anything. It could be a book, a newspaper, a song, whatever you want. But it has to be something that could successfully be translated to Runes without losing its meaning or its essence. For this, you will work in pairs.

 

At that, the class turned into the usual mess of friends pointing to friends and rushing to find their pair. I’m not ashamed to admit that Anna and I also looked at each other, just to confirm that we would obviously form a pair.

 

However Professor Carter put an end to our enthusiasm.

 

- I am choosing the pairs randomly. – and ignoring the noises of disapproval of the class, she went on – You can find your names on this list at the board and form your pair.

 

With a swish of her wand, a list appeared on the board. Immediately there was a mass of students getting out of their chairs and running to the board.

 

- What’s their problem? Looks as if they’re at the Hunger Games.

 

I just shake my head at Anna and her book references.

 

As I finally find a space to infiltrate in front of the board, I run my eyes down the list of names and find Emma Parker next to...Albus Potter.

 

I spent some time just looking at the names, not believing I’ll have to work with him through a whole project. Anna suddenly appears by my side.

 

- You won’t believe who is my partner! The hot Rick Carston!!! – she says super excited.

 

- Hhmmm

 

- What? What’s the problem? You know that I’m talking about that bulky beater from Hufflepuff right?

 

- My partner is Albus Potter.

 

- What?! Really? Can’t you ask Professor Carter to change?

 

- You know her. She wouldn’t do that. I guess I’ll just have to face the music.

 

- Good luck. But don’t worry, he can’t be that bad. – says my friend as she gives me a pat in the back and goes find her partner.

 

However I find that my partner, unlike the rest of the students, has stayed in his seat, seemingly without a care.

 

As I approach his seat, he doesn’t even look up from a book or whatever it is that he’s reading. All I can see is his perfectly messy hair as black as his brother’s. I stay a bit awkwardly by his side until I say:

 

- Hey! It seems you’re my pair!

 

He does a glimpse at my face and looks down again. I stay there like an idiot with nothing to do.

 

- Aren’t you going to seat? – he says, not very friendly, glancing at the seat next to his.

 

I take a seat, trying my best to stay as appart from him as possible.

 

- I’m already warning you that I don’t plan to spend a lot of time on this thing. We should cut straight to the work. – says him rudely.

 

His aggressiveness catches me by surprise and I respond in the same tone:

 

- Well, I am warning you that I want to get a good grade on this.

 

- And you already assume that I don’t care about this grade? Typical! – he says with a sarcastic smile.

 

- What do you mean “typical”?! What am I supposed to think after you act like you don’t give a damn about this project?

 

For the first time in the conversation he looks straight at my face, with a neutral expression, and asks:

 

- What is your idea for the project?

 

He catches me completely off guard with that penetrating stare and I get furious with his audacity to just ignore everything that I said. Still, my enthusiasm for the project gets the best of me and I start  blabbing animatedly:

 

- Oh, you know, I was thinking we could take a chapter from a famous wizarding book or even a muggle book, and then, we can translate it to Runes...

 

- Yeah, we are not doing that. Everyone will work with books. – he rudely cuts across me.

 

At this moment, the bell rings and, as I’m preparing to leave, I finally have the courage to say what has been stuck in my throat during this whole conversation.

 

- You know, I don’t know what your problem is, if you find it cool to behave like that, but I have been nothing but polite with you and you just behaved like a jerk! – I get out angrily.

 

I grab my bag and am about to walk to the door with the rest of the students, when his hand grabs my wrist, forcing me to look at him still seated on his chair.

 

- Do you think I don’t know who you are? That you are James’ friend who hasn’t even had the courtesy to look me in the eye any time we met? I know your type darling. You have all these prejudices against me, even against my house, and now that you’re forced to talk to me, you come here all nicely and make me look like the bad guy. Well, just so you know, that’s not how things work.

 

This time there is none of that indifference of earlier, he seems all out angry, with his eyes blazing and a frown on his face.

 

Then he releases my wrist, and I don’t even think of a response, just turn around with my bag and leave the classroom, my wrist still tingling where he touched it.


In the crowd of students exiting the classroom, as I’m walking in a bit of a daze, Anna catches up to me.

 

- So, how was it? To work with Albus.

 

- It was fine. Nothing much. And yours?

 

- It was great! He actually isn’t just cute, he’s really funny too and was soo nice to me. We already have a good idea of what to do! And you?

 

- We are working on it. – I say, with a forced smile.

 

We soon get to the Potions classroom to find the rest of our group waiting there and move on to other subjects.

 

During the whole class, I really try to pay attention but my head is in another place. Was Albus really right about what he said? I mean, as I think about it, in all the times that I saw him I did avoid him and didn’t exactly greet him. I don’t know, I just thought he didn’t even notice because he wasn’t very open to company. And he didn’t have to act like such a jerk, right? Although... I don’t know if I wouldn’t be angry too if I were in his place.

 

And just like that, these thoughts took over my mind the whole class, and the next ones weren’t different.
After Defense, I almost jumped as James loped one of his arms around me and the other around Zoe while we walked down the corridor. When I looked to the side, Jake was doing the same to Anna.

 

- So, my ladies – started James – are you ready for the party tonight?

 

- James, I told you I didn’t know if I was going. – I say.

 

- Me neither. – says Anna.

 

- Ah come on, you have to go, what is a party without the pretty ladies? – protests Jake.

 

- I’m sure there will already be enough for you there. – I answer.

 

- I’ll go! – says Zoe.

 

- See? Our favorite girl Zoe is going. She won’t spend a boring night in her dormitory.

 

- Let’s go ladies! Fred will make the best drink for you. – promised Jake.

 

- And we will play your favorite songs – continues James.

 

- Please guys! We will dance all night! And besides, you won’t be able to do anything in the dorms with all the noise. – completes Zoe.

 

Anna and I look at each other and finally say – All right. – to the happiness of the other three.


It was just after six and I could see the sun getting down behind the lake, the scenario so beautiful it made me wanna just sit down and stay here.

 

Outside this calming view, though, our dormitory was chaos.

 

It’s what happens when there are five girls trying to get ready for a party. 

 

There were clothes all over the floor and no one knew whose was it anymore. The bathroom was full of steam after all of us had a shower and the sink was filled with makeup. One of our roommates, Kate Corner was drying her hair to curl it later and the other one, Julia Mason, was choosing a color to change her hair into. Zoe, however was just waiting for us, jumping impatiently by the door with a very short and shiny  dark blue dress and matching heels. Anna was on her bed doing her makeup.

 

It seems everyone was putting a lot of work on this but I was still in my pajamas with only my makeup on, which consisted of a simple eyeliner and a pink lipstick. I was actually waiting for Anna to help me choose my clothes because I completely suck at it.

 

After about twenty minutes Anna came to my aid, already dressed with a fancy sleeveless dark red dress that accentuated all her beautiful curves and black boots with heels. She and Zoe were using the same red lipstick.

 

- So, let’s pick your outfit for the night!! – Anna said, and started rummaging at my wardrobe.

 

- You only have this simple black dress? – she asked.

 

- Yes, Ann, you know I don’t like wearing dresses.

 

- Humm... – she got thoughtful looking at my clothes. 

 

I was almost worried I wouldn’t have anything to wear, when she said – Aha! – and threw me a shiny gold tight skirt and a sleeveless basic black shirt.

 

- Put these ones on and then your black high heels.

 

After I did what she said I felt good enough about her choices and she said it looked “ absolutely beautiful”  so I left my curls lose and we joined an impatient Zoe by the door to go to the party.


When we walked down the stairs, to our Common Room, it was a complete dance club. There was a dance floor with a disco, where people were already moving their hips to the loud music, some couples getting cozy by the couches and a bar, where we could see Freddie passing drinks to some students seated on stools.

 

Suddenly out of the crowd, Jake spotted us and  came to greet us.

 

- Hey, my favorite ladies showed up! I knew you wouldn’t miss this! Come here, let’s get you a drink!

 

And he led us to Fred, who, as soon as he saw us, gave us three sophisticated blue and purple sparkling drinks with a straw.

 

- As promised, your exclusive drinks ladies. Enjoy!

 

I took a sip of mine and found it surprisingly pretty good. It was sweet but had a citric flavor to it.

 

- Hey, girls. That’s delicious!
Anna agreed.

 

- It is, but I would take it easy if I were  you. I’m pretty sure he mixed muggle vodka with firewhiskey in it. – warned Zoe.

 

- Now, let’s go ladies! – she said – Leave these drinks in the counter and let’s hit the dance floor!

 

She grabbed both our arms and we made our way into the crowd.

 

The boys weren’t kidding when they said they would play our favorite songs. I couldn’t stay still for a minute, the music was so good. We were all moving together with the people and Anna and I had to turn down a few boys who wanted more. Zoe, however found one in the crowd and the two hit it off really well.

 

Later, I was all sweaty and took a break to drink something. 
In the counter, I found my drink, which was still cold, probably thanks to a spell from Fred. I was so thirsty I drank it all in one go. 

 

As I was looking for my friends again, I found another “familiar” face in the room. Albus Potter was using a plaid dark green shirt and dark jeans talking to his usual friends by a corner, not even aware of all the girls shooting longing looks at him. It is really strange that a week ago I probably wouldn’t have even noticed his presence.

 

Filled by a sudden courage, I made my mind and started moving purposely towards him, until I was right behind him and patted his shoulder. He turned around and I got it out all at once:

 

- I just wanted to say that you were right. About what you said in class. I haven’t treated you right in the last few years and I would like to change that. I’m sorry. I hope we can use this chance  to start over.

 

He stayed a moment just looking at me. And I don’t know if it was all the alcohol, but I started to notice how his beautiful eyes stood out with this green shirt and how gorgeous his face was, all symmetrical and classically good-looking, with high cheekbones, a strong jaw, a straight nose... And it all fit perfectly with his messy hair that fell just a bit on his forehead.

 

- Ok!

 

He got me out of my trance.

 

- What?! – I got out.

 

- You’re forgiven. Let’s start over. – and he opened a beautiful smile, with straight white teeth.

 

I was hoping he didn’t notice as my cheeks got all red and I stuttered an – All right! See you then!

 

I got out of there with my head spinning , but sure, this time, that it wasn’t from the drink.

 

While I was wandering the party, someone caught my arm

 

- Hey! I was looking for you! Zoe ditched me to go snog Oliver Kyle.

 

- Sorry, just had to drink something,

 

- That’s alright! James and Fred are about to start a drinking competition. Let’s go watch!

 

James and Freddie were really preparing for the competition, with ten glasses of shots lined for each and a group forming around them.

 

- Hey, Emma! You came to root for me! Now Freddie has no chance.

 

And he hugged me, dropping a kiss on my cheek, not even aware of the effect it had on me or the flutter of hope it sparked.

 

As it turned out Fred actually won the competition. And so, the rest of the night passed, and like a successful party, left a bunch of people drunk,and newly formed couples.

 

My friends and I went back to our dorm at three a.m. with our feet hurting due to all the dancing.

 

After I got into my pajamas and went to climb on my bed, there was a note on my pillow.

 

I cautiously took it and read:

 

Meet me tomorrow in the owlery at nine p.m.

 

A.    P.

 

What the hell was Albus Potter up to?



Chapter 4: Chapter 4
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A/N: New chapter available! Sorry for the long wait on this one. I’ve been traveling but now I’ll have free time again. Please leave a review. I really wanna know your opinion. And what do you think of Emma? Her friends? Albus? I’d like to know. Hope you enjoy!!


It’s uncanny how none of the Hogwarts professors find out about the parties that go on in this castle. Fred has a theory they ignore ours because they do parties of their own. I wouldn’t go so far. I think they simply ignore it not to have to put so many students on detention. Because the truth is there’s no way they can’t notice that almost half of the upper years are clearly hungover.

 

It’s the third period already and half the class is asleep, the other is trying to stay awake looking blearily ahead. The detail is, it’s Herbology class, one of the more practical classes. And I understand why Professor Longbottom hasn’t given us any activity that involves scissors.

 

I’m sitting at a table with Anna, Zoe and Jake fertilizing some new Mandrakes. They are too young yet to produce that annoying sound but the smell of Skrewt’s dung isn’t exactly pleasant.

 

- If that’s what involves taking care of a plant I’m not having any. – says Anna looking disgustedly at the dung.

 

- Tell me about it. If it wasn’t for my parents I would have dropped this class last year. – agrees Jacob.

 

- Oh, shut up. You’re just in a bad mood because you’re hungover. – says Zoe, who is strangely the only one wide awake.

 

- You were drinking too! Why are you so chipper? – I ask.

 

- That’s easy! – says Anna – She’s all infatuated with Oliver from last night. I heard her coming back to our dorm much later.

 

- Really Zoe? Are you a thing now? – my curiosity gets the better of me.

 

- Well, it’s nothing official but he did ask me for the next Hogsmeade weekend!

 

- Oh please! Can we talk about something else? – complains Jake, feeling annoyed by our girlish enthusiasm.

 

- Why are you not sitting with the boys, by the way? – asks Anna.

 

- I would, but apparently the last seat of their table was occupied by James’ latest fling, Evanna Shay. She thinks a night glued in his mouth gives her a spot at our table already.

 

And it is true. As I look at their table,

I can see Evanna with her arm around James while he, clearly uncomfortable, tries to move a bit further. Even this scene, though, fills me with jealousy as I’m reminded once more I’m more distant than Evanna at being anything romantically significant for him. My friends look at me sympathetically and we turn our attention back to the plants as Professor Longbottom passes by.


It is a busy day and our teachers start to pick the pace as we leave behind that light rhythm of the start of school. Later tonight we are all filled with homework that we let accumulate and the common room has sevenths years in its various chairs and sofas working on it.

 

I’ve just put the last dot on my Transfiguration essay but I take out my Potions questionary that isn’t until next week. Im waiting for my meeting with Albus so I don’t see why I should go upstairs already. After a few minutes Zoe yawns and says:

 

- I think I’m going upstairs now. You should go too, Emms, it’s ten to nine already.

 

- No, thanks. Actually, I’m staying a bit more.

 

- But isn’t that the Potions homework? It isn’t until next week.

 

- I know, but Quidditch starts soon and I want to stay ahead. – I give as an excuse.

 

- Well, if you’re sure... – she says, a bit doubtful.

 

- Yeah. Don’t worry, I’ll go upstairs soon. 

 

- Alright. Good night! – she says and takes the stairs.

 

- Good night, Zoe!

 

I don’t know why but I didn’t tell Zoe nor Anna about my meeting with Albus. I guess I didn’t talk about this situation because I was a bit ashamed of how I treated him and that he was actually right. But this meeting...It just seemed so secretive. I just wanted to see how things went tonight before saying anything.


I arrived at the owlery two minutes before nine but he wasn’t there still. So I waited. And waited...

 

It was 21:15 and he still hadn’t showed up. I had just decided to turn around and go back when he appeared.

 

But he literally appeared, out of nowhere.

 

I had such a scare I jumped and barely kept myself from screaming. It was almost curfew and I wouldn’t want to wake up the entire castle. Albus had the audacity to laugh, which irritated me even more.

 

- What are you thinking?!! And why did you take so long to get here?!

 

- Oh, I’m sorry – he says, still laughing – My roommates wouldn’t sleep so I could get out of the dorm. But I’m not sorry about the scare. You should really pay more attention.

 

- How did you do that anyway? – I ask. I’m pretty sure you can’t apparate at Hogwarts, so it couldn’t have been that.

 

As a response, he just held something on his hand. When I look more closely at it, I’m almost sure I must be wrong about what I am seeing.

 

- That’s a real invisibility cloak?! You’re kidding!

 

- It was a gift. – He says, shrugging.

 

- A gift is a broomstick. This is, like, super rare!

 

- Well, my father is Harry Potter. And he was the one that gave me it. So I think it fits the pattern. That’s not important anyway. We should work at the project.

 

- Alright. But I don’t know why we needed to meet so late. The library is almost closing already.

 

- Oh, we’re not going to the library.

 

And the next thing I know, Albus has taken a hold of my arm and pulled me under the cloak. We are walking down the stairs of the owlery and to the opposite direction of the library.

 

- Albus, where are we going?

 

But he doesn’t say anything as we walk down more and more flights of stairs to the lower part of the castle. Walking down the corridors, it is a strange feeling to pass through the late stragglers without being seen.

 

Next thing I know we are already passing the Hufflepuff Common Room.

 

-Potter?! – I scream/whisper, not wanting to make too much noise this time of the night.

 

He still doesn’t answer and we finally stop in front of...a painting?

 

It is a wall with only that, a painting of a bowl of fruits. I’m about to ask again what is the purpose of this, when Albus lifts a hand and touches the pear. But he isn’t just touching. I straighten my eyes to see what on earth he is doing, when I realize that he is tickling it. Yes. Tickling.

 

- What are you doing tickling a painting? – I ask incredulous.

 

To my surprise, he responds.

 

- Very funny, darling. You don’t have to pretend you don’t know about this. Surely James already brought you here.

 

- Here where? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

 

- The Hogwarts kitchens. – He answers, looking at me strangely.

 

- Hogwarts has a kitchen?!

 

This time he looks at me as if I’m stupid.

 

- I mean, – I emend – of course I know Hogwarts has a kitchen. I just thought it wasn’t accessible, you know, to students.

 

- I can’t believe you really don’t know. – he seems to be having far much fun. – Well, in this case, welcome to where the magic happens.

 

And he turns a doorknob that I didn’t even realize had appeared some time ago.

 

My mouth almost hung open. Inside this door was an immense room with four long tables, like a “miniature” version of the Great Hall. In one of the walls, there is a wood balcon with about eight sinks. Above that, there are wood cabinets. And the most impressive thing was that the kitchens were full of movement as dozens of house-elves worked non-stop, moving panels, cutting vegetables and making delicious smelling food.

 

We walk a little bit inside and, out of nowhere, one of the little creatures appears in front of us. He is wearing a kind of uniform and has big ears and a very pointed nose.

 

- Mr. Potter!! – he gushes – It is a pleasure to have you here!

 

- Hi Scamp! How are you?

 

- I is good Mr Potter. You is too good with us. Who is your lady friend?

 

- Oh, we are gonna do a project and I wondered if we could do it here, accompanied by one of your famous hot chocolates.

 

- Of course! – he squeaks.- Hey everyone! Mr Potter is here!

 

And I was impressed as all the house-elves stooped what they were doing to shout different kinds of greetings, clearly pleased that Albus was here.

 

- Let’s go! – says Scamp – Have a seat!

 

Albus and I take a seat at the second table, which I notice has a pile of books, and Scamp was already off to continue his duties.

 

Meanwhile I was looking at Albus as if he had grown another head.

 

- What? Surprised I’m not the scary guy you thought I was? Or that I have manners? – he asks, finding it funny.

 

- No. I mean... I didn’t think that. – I mutter.

 

- I’m just messing with you, darling, relax.

 

- Stop calling me darling! You barely know me! – he was ruining my patience.

 

- I call all the girls I know “darling”. It’s a habit. Didn’t mean to upset you. – Albus says. And he really sounds genuine so I choose to let it go and concentrate on our work.

 

- So... I just wanted to clear things out first. I really meant what I said at the party. It was unfair to judge you before knowing you and I really hope we can do a good work together. – I say.

 

While I was saying that, I was pleased to notice he was truly paying attention, looking at me softly with those bright green eyes. And when I finish talking, he gives me a full smile with all his white teeth that leaves me breathless.

 

I know it sounds cliche, saying “breathless”, and I always thought so when I read this expression in almost all the romance books I have, thinking it certainly was some kind of exaggeration. But it isn’t. It was like I could just stay there and look at the way his smile made his face look even more beautiful, and lightened up his eyes, and the little dimple he had in his right cheek... I couldn’t help but admire a handsome boy and Albus Potter fit the description perfectly.

 

- I know.

 

- Humm?! – I say, like an idiot, cause I’ve just realized I spent a long time just looking at him. And, this time, I’m sure he notices the red color that ran up my cheeks.

 

- I believed what you said. Of course we can work together!

 

- Good. – I clear my throat, composing myself – So, you said you didn’t want to do the project about books?

 

- I just think that everyone will do about that and it’s not very original. But it’s just my opinion. If you want, we can work something out.

 

- No, no! You’re right, I hadn’t thought about it – and I really thought that he was right as I spent the whole week analyzing that conversation. – So, what is your suggestion? – I ask, looking at the pile of books and thinking what they were about.

 

Just then, our hot chocolates turned up, appeared at our table, smelling delicious.

 

- I thought we could maybe work with music, you know? I mean, turn a song into Runes without losing its rhymes and melody. – he continues.

 

- That’s actually a great idea! – I say, after thinking about it. And my academic side is already interested. It is a very original project and if we could pull this up, it would be awesome!

 

- It’s just gonna be very hard, finding a song that fits. – I point out.

 

- I agree. – he says. – Hope you don’t mind, but I brought some books of the old wizard songs. I thought we could start with those.

 

- No problem! – I say, and reach to the first book of the pile.

 

- Oh, wait! Take these on the bottom. – he says, giving me the last five books.

 

As I look at him strangely, he explains:

 

- The ones at the top are story books. I thought maybe we would go with your idea.

 

This time I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.


It was a very pleasant evening. We were sipping our tasteful chocolates and going through all the books, pointing things to each other. Though we were still to find our song.

 

I was so immersed in this cozy bubble, that it hit me out of nowhere.

 

- Albus!! It’s past curfew! – I say, and as I look at the clock I notice it is actually way past curfew, almost midnight.

 

- Relax. We have the invisibility cloak, remember? No one’s gonna see us. – he says.

 

- But this is against the rules! – I say seriously.

 

- What? Are you gonna tell me you never broke the rules? – He says, laughing.

 

- Potter, this is not funny! – I start getting angry. – Just because for you it’s fine doesn’t mean that I like it.

 

- Ok, calm down. – He says, placating. – Just think, we may have broken the rules a little, but we got a great night out of it.

 

When I keep looking at him, he goes on:

 

- Don’t worry, I’ll take you safely to your Common Room and no one will see us. Trust me, ok?

 

- I suppose...

 

- Good! – he says, getting up. – Let’s go then! Don’t worry, Scamp can get the books back to the library for us.

 

So I get up too and follow him out of the kitchens. As soon as we get out the door, I almost jump as he puts his arm around my shoulders and pulls the cloak over us.

 

I get a glance at him but he just continues walking as if it is the most natural thing in the world. So I don’t say anything.

 

It’s so strange. I have three guy friends and they’ve already put their arms around me multiple times, but it was always normal for me. 

 

With Albus, though, it’s like there’s a strange tingling at wherever his arm is touching me, like electricity. And for reasons I probably just don’t want to admit to myself, I have to fight the urge to give a  smile and ruin my facet that this also isn’t a big deal for me.

 

And at the same time, I can’t help but forget the whole rule-breaking thing because I feel so safe and so lucky...

 

Sooner than I’d like, we are already in front of my Common Room and, as Albus promised, there was no trouble along the way. We get out of the invisibility cloak.

 

- So, we can continue the project another day. – he says.

 

- Yeah, sure.

 

- Good night, Emma. – he says, with a little nod. And, for someone who was so laidback earlier, he sure looks uncomfortable.

 

- Good night, Albus. – I say, mocking his formality. And that makes him smile, relaxing him again before he starts to leave.

 

- Albus! – I call him.

 

- Yes? – he says, turning around.

 

- How did you put that message on my pillow?

 

- I have a very intelligent owl. – He says, smiling and turning away again.

 

Of course he has.



Chapter 5: Chapter 5
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A/N: Hey!! Chapter 5 already! I would like to thank everyone who’s been reading this story until here. A big thanks to my friend choguiwawho too, na advisor and supporter of this fic. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have started this. Please leave a review if you can and enjoy!!


The light breeze ruffled my ponytail keeping the summer heat at bay. It was indeed a beautiful day for Quidditch tryouts and as I already had my spot on the team as chaser, none of the nervousness that accompanied these words got to me.

 

That couldn’t be said, though, about the many prospect players to fill the empty spot of chaser and beater, especially those tiny first and second years. That, of course, wasn’t helped by James’ captain craziness nor Zoe’s Cheshire Cat grin. Zoe had her spot guaranteed as one of the beaters and was with me and the rest of our team in a corner. This included Jake, our goalkeeper, and James, obviously, who was a chaser. Anna and Freddie, though were watching from the bleachers, giving their moral support.

 

- Alright, everyone! Keep yourselves in groups conforming your position! – shouted James, all authority and seriousness.

 

Meanwhile Jake imitated his rigid pose in the sidelines, much to the rest of our team’s amusement. James’ capitan personna was well known throughout the team, for just as long as we mocked about it.

 

- Ok, now I want first the seekers and then the chasers to take three laps across the field as fast as you can! After that, I will analyze who will go to the next phase.

 

After that, the group cleared out a lot, James eliminating the worse fliers, including those poor first years who almost fell off their broom and the little girl who crashed in the Quidditch hoops.

 

At least I held my laughter at that, unlike Zoe who didn’t even have the effort to hide it.

 

- For those of you who remained here, I will run a few tests. For the seekers first. I will let this snitch loose and you try your best to catch it!

 

After some twenty minutes, a blonde girl with chicks named Riley Chambers, probably a second year, grabbed it and James put her on the team.

 

I think it was a great addition. She was very fast and had real talent with her broom. And, even better, she was already laughing with us about Jake’s imitations.

 

- Now, I’m gonna ask the chasers on our team to make some exercises with the quaffle and the prospect beaters have to hit them with the bludgers to intercept the plays.

 

- Wow, thank you James. – I say sarcastically.

 

- You’re welcome Em. – he answers in the same tone.

 

- As I record, you’re a chaser too James. Aren’t you going to serve as a target? – shouts Jake.

 

- Yes, but I’m the captain Jake. And if you don’t shut up I’m gonna put you alone on that field with the beaters.

 

So Mike, our other chaser, and I took to the pitch to start training the beaters.

 

It must have been only five minutes when James blew the whistle for us to stop. I didn’t understand and asked Mike:

 

- Why are we stopping?

 

- Apparently there are some Slytherins there. – He says, inclining his head towards the bleachers.

 

And sure enough, I could just spot in the right corner a group of boys dressed in green. James was already descending on them and I could see him sending them away, worried about them spying on us. He was talking to someone in particular that, when I had a better look at, had his same mess of black hair. Of course Albus Potter was involved. In this situation it seemed pretty weird. He wasn’t known for his interest in Quidditch, having never been on the team.

 

The rest of the team, moved by Quidditch rivalry, all went down to support James, me included. 

 

- What, Potter? Scared that we will destroy you in the pitch? – Thomas Nott, a handsome dark boy, was shouting.

 

- You know that’s never gonna happen Nott. That’s why you’ve come to spy on our tactics. – James retaliated.

 

- I didn’t realize we couldn’t even watch the tryouts. From what I know, the pitch is a common ground. – says, Scorpius Malfoy, in all his blond glory, always the logical one.

 

- Not on tryouts, and if you want Malfoy, we can call Madam Spinett to prove it. – Zoe decides to way in.

 

- Okay, mates. That’s only causing more trouble. You know how James is about his Quidditch. Let’s go! – Albus decides to intervene, speaking for the first time in the conversation.

 

The Slytherins picked up their things and started to leave. As he passed me, Albus discreetly bumped into me to put a piece of paper on my hand. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Another note. What was it with all the mistery?

 

- I don’t understand. – little Riley said. – What’s the problem of them watching our practice?

 

- It’s not the first time members of other Houses tried to spy on our practice. They all want to get a look at our plays. – All us on the team looked at each other at James’ obvious pride and ego.

 

- I bet it was Potter’s idea, this spying thing. – Mike suggests.

 

- What, why? – I say, caught by surprise.

 

- Yeah, it does seem like his thing. – Zoe agrees.

 

- What do you mean? – I ask again.

 

– He was trying to get them to leave!

 

- I know, but my brother likes to be a step ahead. – says James.

 

- I think that’s a bit unfair. – I say, inexplicably getting angry.

 

- I know Albus, Emma.

 

- Yeah, but there were other four guys with him. It could have been the idea of any of them.

 

- Alright. Just don’t be surprised if it is his thing. – James insists.

 

- Don’t be surprised if it isn’t!
I don’t know what came over me in that moment. I had never argued like that with James before. And to defend Albus, of all things. The first time we had even had a real conversation was last night! I could see that all the team thought the same thing. Except for the newbies, who didn’t know me well, all the other were looking at me strangely, including James.

 

- Come on, team! Let’s get in the air again. – he called, deciding to move on from our little argument.


After showering, us girls were seating on our beds in the Gryffindor dorms, finishing some of our assignments.

 

- So, what was all the confusion with the Slytherins? – Anna suddenly asked. – I was a bit far on the stands and couldn’t hear it. James appeared rather pissed though.

 

- Oh, you know, same as always. Boys trying to mark their territory. The Slytherin Heartthrobs were watching the practice and James got all paranoid.

 

“The Slytherin Heartthrobs” was a nickname that Zoe created in fifth year for the sixth year boys in the snake’s house. Apparently all of these guys are pretty appealing to the girls’ eyes. I say apparently but it’s actually evidently. Thomas Nott is full of muscles, and his dark skin and amber eyes attracts lots of females. Sebastian West is another one who has the girls by his tail with his blond, and always styled, hair and blue eyes. Then there’s Jordan Zabini, with his dark hair and dark blue eyes and Scorpius Malfoy, that has a fame of bad boy but has been never seen hurting a fly. Scorpius is pretty much devoted to Rose Weasley, the two having been dating since third year. The others, though, have lost their count of girlfriend. Except for one, of course. Albus, or called by Zoe as the “Alfa” of the group, has never had a relationship. Just loads of girls throwing themselves at his feet, mesmerized by his good looks.

 

- Of course, the interesting part came later, as our dear Em here fought teeth and nail to defend a certain Slytherin Potter. – Zoe continued.

 

Anna just widens her eyes at me:

 

- Really Emma??

 

- I think someone has a crush! – Zoe sings.

 

- That’s not true! – I say exasperated. – I was just saying what I thought. He didn’t want to spy on us.

 

- You know, Emma, there’s a reason I call him the Alfa. Believe me, it’s not just because he is the hottest. He’s pretty much the leader of their little group. I doubt it wasn’t his idea. – Zoe starts.

 

As I try to protest, Zoe lifts a hand and continues:

 

- BUT.. But, I understand the fascination. If he so much as looked at me, I’d jump at his bed.

 

-Zoe!! – Anna shouts, laughing.

 

- Oh as if you wouldn’t. Now, it seems our Emma was caught by the charm of the green eyed prince. You really do have a thing with Potters, Em.

 

I decided to end their fun:

 

- Enough! I don’t feel anything for Albus. I just think we never really met him to start accusing him of things.

 

- Oh, of course! You are doing a project together! How’s that going?

– Anna gets suddenly excited.

 

- You are? – Zoe joins in.

 

- Don’t look at me like that! We barely even talk. There’s nothing going on. – I half lie.

 

- Alright, then. I guess Albus isn’t really your type, actually. – Anna says, a bit disappointed.

 

- Ahhh guys, I was already thinking of writing a romance of you two. – Zoe sighs.

 

Anna and I laugh.

 

- I think you’re gonna have to get your inspiration in another place. – I say.

 

- Anna, how is your love life?

 

And we laugh, deciding to go back to our homework. Before I continue, though, I open up my note from Albus, safely guarded in my drawer.

 

Meet me outside your common room at 20:00 on Saturday. Bring a coat.

 

No, there wasn’t a fluttering in my belly.

 

And I wasn’t counting the days till Saturday.


Rapidly, though, for my surprise (and excitement) the first week of school came to an end and it was already Friday. Which means, of course, that James and the guys couldn’t stop still in the common room, looking for some fun to start the weekend.

 

- Gather round 7th year!! – Who wants to join in a game of drinking? – Freddie yells after jumping obnoxiously on a table in front of the fireplace, a bottle of firewhiskey in each hand.

 

Anna and I just roll our eyes at each other. Zoe seemed pretty excited though. Practically all the seventh years in the room decide to join in, coming to sit in the carpet in front of the fire. Right near where Anna and I were reading a book, of course.

 

- Come on, girls it seems you have no choice but to join too! – comes Jake, taking our hands. And, by mutual agreement, we give up on our reading and sit with the rest of the group.

 

- Right, James, if you please? –

 

Freddie says, as if he was a host.
James pops open one bottle of firewhiskey and everyone cheers, looking forward to getting wasted.

 

- And what are we playing today, Jamsie? – asks our “host”.

 

- “ Never have I ever”, Fredkins.

 

The problem of this particular game is, it starts pretty simple, with claims like: “Never have I ever snogged in a classroom”. And about half of the group who did has to take the shots, conjured by James. Then, the things start to get a little heavier like: “ Never have I ever had a sex dream with one of our teachers”. And the few who drink have to put up with the teasing and knowing looks. Then, it start to get a bit more personal: “Never have I ever wanted to song anyone in this circle.” ( I drink my shot so fast on this one for James not to see, that I choke. ”Smooth, Emma.” whispers Anna “Real smooth”.) By the end of it, some of the students clearly want to target someone because they start with things totally personal: “Never have I ever lost my virginity to Clara Parkins.” Or “Never have I ever had a Weird Sisters underwear.” And the lucky chosen one has to down his weight in drinks with a red face.

 

When the drinks are done, so is the game and I go back to my corner to read my book. I’m only two pages in when a tipsy James infiltrates in my chair and leans on my shoulder

 

- So, dear Emms. I need some advice.

 

- I told you already James. I’m not giving you my Potions essay.

 

- No, no. It’s not that. Do you know Sophia Lauren?

 

- Yes... – she was a very pretty girl who had just been playing with us. Petite, with long blonde hair and hazel eyes. To top it off, she always seemed to be in good sheets with everyone.

 

- I want to ask her out.

 

When he said that, I stopped paying attention to my book and just looked at him.

 

- What do I have to do with this? – for a moment I was nervous he had found out about my crush on him. But then, I think it would be best if he knew. I mean, the guy that I have liked for three years was here telling me he wanted to go out with another girl.

 

- You’re my best girl friend, Em. I just would like your advice. How should I do it?

 

- I... – the cards were in my hands. I could screw his chances with her. But most of all, James was my friend. I couldn’t do this to him.

 

- Ask her to Hogsmeade. – I finally said – No tricks, James. Just straight out ask her. – it’s what I would have wanted.

 

- Thanks Emma!! You’re awesome! – he kissed me on the cheek and left.


- I can’t believe he did that! – Emma says, later, when us and Zoe are in her bed with a silencing charm around us.

 

- I think you should just straight out tell him. – says Zoe, always the bold one.

 

- I can’t just tell him! If it doesn’t work out, it could ruin our friendship!

 

- Alright girls, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. – intervenes Anna. – I just think that, you know Emma, James isn’t even aware that you like him. Maybe you should just give other people a chance.

 

- Yes!! – shouts Zoe – Let’s get you a date to the Hogsmeade weekend!

 

I look at Anna to seek support, but apparently she is with Zoe.

 

- Yeah, you really should Emma. – she says.

 

That’s it. Apparently I’m getting a Hogsmeade date.



Chapter 6: Chapter 6
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A/N: Hey guys! Sorry for the long delay, I had a bit of an author’s block. I want to start posting in the next chapters, the name of a song that fits the chapter. You will see music plays a part in this story but mostly it is one of my other passions and I think it’s cool for people who like to read while listening to a song. Anyway, let me know what you think! Enjoy!

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the artists in this story.


Saturday brings us a warm day and we decide to enjoy it by the lake. Days like this in themselves are magical, spending time with your friends and seeing the joy of all the students congregated at the grounds and having fun with no worries in sight. After breakfast, the girls and I run to get our bathing suits and the boys shed their shirts in favor of the hot rays of sun and the refreshing water.

 

Our afternoon runs quick by in the middle of all the laughter and conversations, and the boys ask a favor to the house-elves to bring us sandwiches and lemonade, so we don’t even have to go in for lunch. These magical moments at Hogwarts are certainly gonna be missed after graduation.

 

During the evening, everyone is pretty tired, so we just spend time laying around. It’s almost 20:00 when I remember my meeting with

Albus and get up quickly.

 

- What’s the matter? – asks Freddie from his position on the couch.

 

- Oh, I... – I search quickly for an excuse – I have to talk about my Potions essay with the professor.

 

I run upstairs, grab my backpack not to look suspicious and a coat, as

Albus had asked.

 

- Are you taking a coat? – calls

Anna, as I pass running. All my friends look at me strangely.

 

- Yeah. I mean... it’s the dungeons. A bit cold in there.

 

They choose to accept the weirdness of the situation and call byes as I walk through the portrait hole.

 

I look around and don’t see any sign of him, but he said we would meet here. Then I feel a touch at my shoulder and get mad at myself for being scared again, as Albus uncovers himself of the invisibility coat.

 

- Well, this is turning into a pattern. – he says, rather pleased with himself.

 

- It is, because you choose to keep scaring me. – I say irritated.

 

- So it seems. – he says unaffected, smile on his face.

 

- So, where are you taking me tonight for us to break our curfew? – I ask but I can’t act so irritated when he is looking at me like that. Something in his smile just makes you feel as if you wanna be in on his joke.

 

- Firstly, notice that I marked to meet you at 20:00, so there’s two hours till curfew. Second, the Astronomy Tower.

 

- Astronomy Tower?

 

- That’s where we are going.

 

As we arrive there, I can see a especially set up place where we are gonna work, with a basket of food and a blanket on the floor with some cushions.

 

- Wow! – I say – You seem to have put too much thought on this.

 

Even I surprise myself by that tease/flirt.

 

Albus seems happy though.

 

- I aim to please, darling.

 

- Well, your girlfriends must have an amazing time.

 

- Nah, I don’t put so much effort on my dates. Just in late working sessions.

 

I decide to end the conversation right there and take a seat, followed by him.

 

- So, - I cut to the point – where are the books for our work.

 

- Well, I thought we should try newer songs. And we talked about some muggle ones?

 

- Yeah, but still we have nowhere to look.

 

- I know – says Albus – but I have something that might help us.

 

And I take some time to understand what he just pulled out of his pocket. It seems like an IPod...Wait, it is an IPod! A white one with earbuds.

 

- Why did you bring an IPod to Hogwarts? – I ask – You know they don’t work around magic right?

 

- Not this one. – he says smiling – My uncle George found a way to tone down the electric waves around magic. Him and my uncle Ron are just doing the final adjustments to sell them in their store. Meanwhile they gave each of the cousins one for Christmas.

 

- You’re kidding! I’ve never seen James with his.

 

- Yeah, James isn’t too much into muggle music.

 

- And you are? – I ask surprised.

 

He gives me a big grin.

 

- I’m a huge fan.

 

- You’re kidding? It’s so hard to find a wizard with a taste in muggle music.

 

- Believe me, there are more than 400 tracks in here to prove it. – he says, indicating his IPod.

 

- That’s amazing! Since I found out about the wizarding world that’s one of the things I miss.

 

- You’re a muggleborn? – he frowns.

 

- Yeah, why? – I get defensive.

 

- Nothing, I just didn’t know. You’re not the only one that can’t find someone to discuss these songs with.

 

- So...tell me. What have you got?

 

- I’m pretty eclectic but I’m actually a sucker for a romantic song. Don’t laugh! – he adds as I’m struggling to keep a straight face.

 

- Sorry. It’s just hard to imagine the mysterious Albus Potter is a romantic at heart.

 

He looks at me a bit strangely for some seconds but then gets closer to show me his playlist.

 

- Right. I have some older ones, like The Beatles.

 

- Bee Gees!

 

- Queen!

 

- You kidding? They are great!

 

- Yeah! – he says, both of us talking through the other, too excited. – And I have these more current ones! Like I love Ed Sheeran. I’m getting a bit worried so much red hair in my family has rubbed off on me.

 

I laugh openly. Because in the excitement of finding someone with the same tastes as mine, this joke seems funnier than it should.

 

- Don’t worry. – I say. – It’s not the red hair. I’m a huge fan too.

 

He laughs and I can’t help but notice his breath smells like mint, we’re so close.

 

- What’s the next one? – I ask, hoping he didn’t notice my moment of weakness.

 

But after he clicks the “next” button, we both yell – Imagine Dragons! – and the hours pass by as we share the earbuds and start going through his list, all the time convinced we are actually “working”.

 

After some time and an extensive list of songs discarded we decided to stop. At that point, we are both lying down in the blanket, looking at the sky, the basket of food completely empty.

 

- Albus?

 

- Hummm? You can call me Al, by the way.

 

I don’t know why but that made me smile.

 

- Why are our meetings so secretive? – I ask. – I mean, it’s like you don’t want anyone to know we are working together. It’s just a school project!

 

- It’s not that! – He turns to look at me. – I mean, yes, I don’t want people to see us together. But it’s not because I’m ashamed of you or something...

 

He pauses a bit and I wait for him to continue.

 

- You know how people talk about me in the school, right?

 

- What do you mean? – I say, not wanting to admit that I’m probably amongst these people.

 

- Because of who my family is, there are always people scrutinizing what I’m doing. And just because I don’t like the spotlight too much and prefer to stay with my intimate friends, they seem to think I’m some kind of “mystery” or something. People talk about everything I do. And if I show up hanging out with you, they are just gonna start assuming things about us. I don’t want that, especially for you. It’s not fair that you start doing a project with me and suddenly you are my “new fling”.

 

He truly is right about that. The Hogwarts population had always their sight on the Potter and Weasley’s love lives, and they were constantly trying to find a new aspect of Albus’ life to talk about. Now they would use me as this new aspect. And I’m not a person who appreciates being the center of attention.

 

- Yeah, I guess you’re right.

 

- It’s working this way and we don’t have to worry about people whispering about us. I mean, don’t you agree?

 

- Sure, of course. Just hadn’t thought about that.

 

We stayed in silence for a minute and I remembered something I wanted to ask him:

 

- What were you and your friends doing by the Quidditch pitch during our practice, by the way?

 

- Ah...that. Sebastian and Thomas wanted to watch the opposition this year. So the rest of us went along.

 

- I knew it! – I whisper.

 

- What? – he asks.

 

- I mean, I knew it wasn’t your idea. You don’t even play Quidditch.

 

- I do, actually. Just not in school.

 

- Really? – I turn to him, curious.

 

- I quite like Quidditch. And I’m a pretty great seeker. – I roll my eyes at his arrogance. – But the attention it brings by being on the team doesn’t appeal to me.

 

- James loves the attention.

 

- Yeah. Well, James and I are very different. – He gets suddenly defensive.

 

- Hey, do you see that star over there? – I’m caught by surprise by the change of subject while Albus points at a shiny star – That’s Proxima Centauri.

 

- Really?

 

- And that one is Sirius.

 

- I don’t take Astronomy so I have to say, I didn’t know that.

 

- I do. And I actually really like it. It’s just magical watching the stars, so far away... – He laughs – I promise you, I’m not usually that deep. It’s just this night.

 

- Really? So you are not one of these guys, like Jake, who do Astronomy just to impress their dates? – I joke. And immediately regret it. What kind of joke was that?

 

And why am I talking about dates again?

 

- No. – He laughs. – Just my work partners. Gotta seem smart, you know?

 

And he turns to look at me as he says it.

 

The light from the moon lights his eyes and accentuates his perfect contours, his hair looking even shinier. We kept looking longer than we should, blue eyes against green, as I decide to turn my eyes to the sky again.

 

That’s too much Albus Potter and dates for one night.


The next day I was quite tired at breakfast. I couldn’t sleep early the other night, too hyped about finding someone who shared the same tastes in music as me.

 

My friends, though, didn’t seem to think so.

 

- Wow, you look radiant today Em. – says Zoe.

 

- Yeah. – agreed Anna. – There’s something different about you.

 

- Stop, girls. I’m actually tired today. Took me a while to go to sleep last night.

 

- So, we all know what that is. – Jake decides to speak. – She has certainly been doing some snogging.

 

The boys all start to laugh, and, of course, tease me.

 

- True, my friend. – Fred goes on. – Sleeping late, a new glow...

 

- Who is the lucky guy? – asks James.

 

- I’m not even gonna dignify that with an answer. – I reply.

 

- Besides Emma would tell us right away who she was snogging. – says Zoe.

 

- True. – agrees Anna.

 

- Not us? – asks Fred, and he and James make their identical hurt faces.

 

- Humm...No.

 

- Ouch! That hurt. – says Jake. – We always tell you.

 

- You tell the entire school. – says Anna, in a deadpan.

 

- True.

 

After breakfast, our Sunday is spent basically just doing homework, trying to compensate for slacking off the entire week. We promise ourselves to not procrastinate next

time. Though even I doubt myself.


On Monday, History of Magic II brought me a surprise. We were supposed to answer a questionary in pairs. I was already looking for my friends when someone poked my shoulder. I turned around to see a boy with brown hair and honey colored eyes.

 

- Hey!

 

Matt Schyer is a Hufflepuff prefect that plays on the Quidditch team as the keeper. He is known for being really nice with everyone and quite cute. But I hadn’t actually spoken more than two words to him. That’s why I thought it so weird when he said:

 

- Do you wanna be my pair?

 

- I...Yeah! – I decided. – Let me just tell my friends.

 

I told them I already had a pair and Zoe and Anna gave me, not even a bit subtle by the way, looks about what they thought of my partner. Then I went to seat with Matt and we stayed in an awkward silence. I cleared my throat, feeling shy:

 

- So, do you wanna write?

 

- Whatever. You can do it too.

 

So I grabbed the quill and we started to answer the questions. Matt was very good at this class, you could tell, he knew all the answers and spoke with detail.

 

- You’re very good at this class. – I told him.

 

He flashed me a white smile and said:

 

- This is all so interesting for me. I’m a muggleborn, so it’s all really new to me.

 

- Me too! – I say and get embarrassed for my enthusiasm.

 

- Emma... – he changes the subject suddenly – I actually have a second intention for asking you to be my partner. I think you’re beautiful. And now I see that, besides that, you are so nice too. Would you mind if we had lunch together someday?

 

I was stunned. Never had a boy come to ask me on a date. Much less called me beautiful, except for my friends. Much less a handsome boy. After I composed myself I said.

 

- I’d love to!

 

And was in the clouds for the rest of class.

 

- So... you seemed pretty cosy with Matt Schyer before. – Anna corners me right after class.

 

- What did he want? – completes Zoe.

 

And I couldn’t keep the stupid smile out of my face so the girls erupted into giggling.

 

- You know, he just told me he thought I was beautiful and wants to have lunch with me. – I got out.

 

- What?!

 

- You’re kidding!

 

My friends couldn’t hide their disbelief. I don’t know if I should feel insulted or not.

 

- What’s so amazing ladies? – James asks when he and the boys catch up with us.

 

- Emma has a date! – Zoe shouts.

 

- It’s not a date! We are just going to have lunch together. – I try to protest.

 

- Who is the idiot we have to punch? – asks Fred.

 

- You’re not gonna punch anybody! Matt Schyer is a great guy and I’m not a damsel who needs protection. 

 

- If you say so. – speaks Jake.

 

- I do say so.

 

- Ok, we can talk about what a douche Schyer is later. We’ve got Magical Creatures now, guys. – says James. – And, don’t forget Emma, we’ve got Quidditch practice after class!

 

Much later, after a day of classes and a grueling practice by James, I was walking back to the castle just before darkening, all covered in mud and with a disheveled ponytail. My team, nicely left me to put away the materials after I got sorted to be the first to do that. 

 

- Looking nice, Parker.

 

I groaned as I looked up and saw Albus Potter in all his glory with a crisp white shirt, sleeves pulled up, his tie already undone.

 

- Well, your crazy brother decided to run us out today.

 

Albus laughs.

 

- That didn’t sound right. – he smirks.

 

I roll my eyes.

 

- Not that it isn’t nice talking to you in public for a change but what do you want, Al? – I ask, tired and crazy to take a shower and go to bed.

 

 

- Well, there’s no one here so we aren’t exactly “in public”. But I was thinking that maybe we should stop a bit with our non public meetings while we go through the songs we have. So I wanted to give you this. –

He took his IPod out of his pocket. – You can listen to some of the songs, see if you find anything, then you give me back. This way we alternate and listen to all of them.

 

- Wow, are you serious? That’s amazing! I mean, my job is to listen to music? I think I can handle that.

 

- Yeah, but take good care of it. It’s normally not that easy to get that intimate to me. – he smiles.

 

Then he continued on his way outside, to do what, I have no idea.

 

- Hey, Al! – I called him back.

 

He looked at me.

 

- That didn’t sound right either. – I smirk.

 

What was it with Albus Potter bringing out that bold side of me?



Chapter 7: Chapter 7
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N.: Hey guys! I didn’t forget about this story, just took a bit more time writing this chapter. It’s fairly longer though, so I hope you enjoy! As always, I’d love if you could leave a review.

 

For those who like it, the song that inspired this chapter is:

 

I wish it was me  by Etham 

 

It goes in the Halloween scene with James!


I forget sometimes how time flies by. So I’m a bit scared when suddenly we are already into the middle of October. For the Hogwarts population it means that this weekend is our first Hogsmeade weekend and that Halloween is just around the corner.

 

- So, just to be clear, today you’re not gonna have lunch with us? – asks Zoe.

 

- Noo! today is her lunch with Matt! – Anna answers for me.

 

It had been almost a month since I talked with Matt when he approached me during class yesterday, very shy, and finally invited me to that lunch we had talked about. I was with the girls getting ready for the day and, after applying some mascara to my blue eyes and passing a hand through my brown hair, decided I wouldn’t dress any different for today. It was just a lunch, no reason to get all dressed up.

 

Classes passed quickly and we were already in Charms before lunch. I was trying to focus on the properties of the Muffiato charm but my mind kept going to James, seated in my diagonal.

 

I know I wasn’t exactly going to a date, just a lunch with a classmate. But from what Matt had told me he did think of it as a date and the thing is, I wasn’t as interested as him. The one I wanted was still James and I couldn’t think of anyone else who would spark these feelings in me. I owed it to the girls though, and to Matt, to at least try. Otherwise I would be stuck with this crush on James that wouldn’t lead to anything.

 

After a very unproductive lesson, the bell rang and a sea of students rushed to the door. I had a quick time to exchange some words with my friends before heading to the Great Hall.

 

Anna started fussing with my hair while Zoe said:

 

- Remember...Don’t eat more than he does, always wipe your mouth with a napkin, don’t talk with your mouth full... – she was counting on her fingers – Ah, and don’t steal food from his plate!

 

- Who would do that? – I ask, exasperated.

 

- I did. It wasn’t very charming. – she answers.

 

Freddie doubled over with laughter.

 

- But the most important: – Anna says after she deems my appearance acceptable – don’t forget to have fun!

 

- Ok, I wasn’t nervous about this but now you’re making me paranoid. I’ll have to watch so much what I’m doing I’m not gonna have time to talk! – I say. My hands were starting to sweat, a clear sign I was getting nervous.

 

- Relax Em, no one is capable of disliking you. You are too damn adorable! – Jake says giving my cheek a kiss.

 

- Yeah. And if that jerk tries any funny business, we’ll make sure it will have consequences. – James completes, rubbing his hands.

 

I roll my eyes.

 

- Alright, I better go.

 

They all give me byes and after I turn around, James calls me:

 

- Emma! Don’t worry. He’s gonna love you.

 

And I make my way to the Great Hall with extra confidence in my steps.

 

When I arrive at the entrance, Matt is already waiting for me and opens up a smile when he sees me.

 

- Hey, Emma! I hope you don’t mind sitting at the Hufflepuff table with some of my friends. They would like to meet you. Or if you prefer we can have lunch in the Gryffindor table.

 

- No. That’s fine. Let’s go to your table.

 

- Great!

 

He grabs my hand and takes me to a group of boys wearing yellow and black. There’s a boy with asiatic features and a big smile, a readhead that surprisingly doesn’t belong to the Weasley family and a blond that I remember belongs in my Herbology class. Matt introduces me to them all. They are all very nice and seem keen to mock Matt.

 

- So that’s Emma from History II. – Liam, the redhead says.

 

- The one you won’t stop talking about. – Sam, the blond continues.

 

- You’re right. She’s very pretty. Pleased to meet you, Emma! – the third one, Scott extends his hand and I take it with a smile.

 

- Thank you! – my cheeks get red – A pleasure to meet you too. You’re all very sweet. Don’t know why Matt didn’t tell me that. I would have met you all sooner.

 

- I didn’t tell you because they are all jerks who just want to embarrass me. Don’t mind them.

 

- Ahh Matty! – Sam whines.

 

And the lunch passes really fast with a lot of embarrassing stories of Matt. But they are all in good fun and you can see the four of them are very close. I laugh so much I don’t even remember why I was so nervous in the first place. 

 

When we are at desert, Matt’s friends start a discussion between them of which color was Matt’s boxers with little snitches and Matt turns to me.

 

- So, are you okay? I know they can be a bit much...

 

- No! They are very funny. I’m having a great time.

 

- Good. It’s a pity though that we didn’t have much time to talk alone.

 

My cheeks start getting red again and I get a bit nervous. This is the part I’m not good at.

 

- What did you want to talk about?

 

He is looking at me very seriously, without the playful air of before, his clear brown eyes looking at my face.

 

- You know what I think about you. And I had no idea you were so funny, we’re having such a good time. So... I was thinking... do you wanna go to the Hogsmeade weekend with me? As a date, I mean. And I won’t bring my friends this time. – he was getting flustered – You don’t have to answer it now, you ca-

 

- Yes! – I say, interrupting him. There was a handsome, funny boy who wanted to take me to Hogsmeade! It’s not the time to think too much like I usually do. I can let myself go for a bit and not be the girl that keeps waiting for someone to notice me like that.

 

- Oh! – he gets surprised by my enthusiasm – Awesome! I promise you won’t regret it.

 

- You mean you’re gonna buy me some good sweets at Honeydukes? Cause, you know, a girl needs her chocolate.

 

He smiles, relaxing with my joking manner.

 

- I might. But I’m not gonna say. A guy doesn’t reveal his tricks.

 

I laugh. When he said “tricks” I strangely remembered Albus telling me of his ways with the ladies in our last meeting. “I aim to please, darling” were his exact words to me. I look at the Slytherin table. In the last few weeks James’ brother and I hadn’t talked besides some looks exchanged in the corridors and quick greetings. I find his black haired head and I don’t know how, he seems to know I’m looking at him, and his eyes meet mine. He has that look of confidence he wears so easily as if he’s always in control of everything and nothing can affect him. I want to pretend I wasn’t looking but he’s quick and gives me a wink. I smile and turn away.

 

- What was it? – Matt sees my distraction.

 

- Nothing. Just a friend. – I get surprised because I actually mean it. Albus isn’t just an acquaintance to me now, not even just a study partner, I do think of him as my friend and I wonder for a bit if he feels the same.

 

After that, Matt and I pick up our conversation and we talk about classes, Quidditch and trivial things. We finish lunch and I leave for my next class, excited for the weekend ahead.


Saturday morning I am glad I decided to wake up 2 hours before we leave for Hogsmeade. All of the girls decide it’s their job to make me look “breathtaking” for my date. Including Julia and Kate, our two other roommates.

 

- I think you should wear a dress. If you want you can borrow any of mine. – Kate says while she’s getting ready for her own date with her long term boyfriend, a Ravenclaw from the year above, Luke Brians. I had my makeup already on, courtesy of Anna, and was looking for something to wear.

 

- Emma doesn’t get on very well with dresses. – Anna replies for me.

 

- Yeah, I mean I was thinking of using some jeans maybe and a cute blouse. – the rest of summer was totally gone with the end of September and I couldn’t believe these girls were going out with dresses and skirts. I myself preferred comfort over beauty.

 

- I know what you could wear! I have this beautiful coat which is long but not too warm. Then you just have to put a basic shirt underneath. – Julia says and starts going through her trunk. A minute later she holds out a very cute wine coat that reaches underneath the waist.

 

- That’s perfect! And with it, you put your black leggings and those sexy boots you have! – Zoe claps her hands, excited.

 

- Well, I better put them on then! – I go to the bathroom to get dressed.

 

The clothes fit perfectly and I thank all my roommates for the help while they all wish me luck with the date. Anna and Zoe are gonna spend the Saturday together and try to find whichever of the boys don’t have a date.

 

I find Matt at the Great Hall waiting in line with the other students to hand in his signed permission paper. He’s looking sharp, wearing black jeans and a button up blue shirt.

 

- Hi Emma! You look beautiful! – he greets me.

 

I blush.

 

 – Thanks! You look good too!

 

We submit our slips to Joey, the caretaker, and make our way to the carriages. During the ride we start to talk about our week and classes and I lose my initial nervousness. When we’re making our way to the village he takes my hand and I look away to hide my smile.

 

With the fall weather, the cold is very mild and the streets are crowded since it’s much better to walk outside. Though I still prefer the winter’s charm when everything is covered in snow, even if we have to go from store to store to warm up.

 

In the last ten years Hogsmeade village has passed through a big reformation. A lot more stores opened destined to the students, including another unit of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and muggle clothing stores. There were also at least three more restaurants to take care of the demand of the old ones and a coffee shop that sells a delicious hot chocolate.

 

Some of the traditional ones still stood firm though and we made our way to the famous Honeydukes. I bought chocolate wands and chocolate frogs to fuel my stock of chocolate and Matt bought a licorice wands pack for us to share during our walk.

 

I was having a lovely time. Matt was easy to talk to and we went to Flying High, the Quidditch store, to check out the new Thunder broom and then to the bookstore that opened last month where I bought a Wizarding novel.

 

- So, what do you think of making a stop for lunch? – he asks me when we’re leaving the bookstore.

 

- Sounds great! – I agree relieved, because my stomach was already growling.

 

- Do you have somewhere you prefer?

 

I was happy he asked my opinion instead of reserving a table somewhere. I was worried he could take me to Madame Puddifoot’s. In that case I would have to end the date right there. The pink mess unbelievably already existed and I couldn’t believe there were still girls who liked to go there.

 

- Maybe we could go to the Three Broomsticks. The food there is still great and it isn’t too full because people like to go to the newer places. – I suggest.

 

- Yeah. Fine by me. – he smiles and we go to the old restaurant.

 

Although there aren’t too many people inside, the Three Broomsticks still has an excited atmosphere. There are mostly people from the upper years as the younger ones wanna know the new places. We stop by the bar to order our drinks when a voice says by my side:

 

- Fancy seeing you here, Parker. – I turn around and none other than Al Potter is leaning by the bar with a smile on his face looking at me.

 

- Do you come here often Potter? – I smile back.

 

- Only on weekends. – he continues our banter. – Are you here alone?

 

- No! – I rudely forget that Matt is by my side – I’m here with Matt. – I lean back so they can see each other.

 

- Potter. – he extends his hand with a nod.

 

- Schyer – Al clasps Matt’s hand politely.

 

- Are you alone here? I find it strange the great Albus doesn’t have a date. – I tease Al.

 

- Not today. Some poor girl is missing on a lot. – he replies in that laidback manner. – I’m actually waiting to get those idiots drinks. – he points at his friends.

 

At that time our Butterbeers are served and I turn to find a table with Matt.

 

- So, I gotta go. See you around Potter.

 

- Have a great day Parker. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. – he smiles and turns to the bar.

 

We find a table and enjoy our drinks, then order a delicious lunch.

 

When we’re done Matt insists on paying and I only agree after much arguments and a promise to buy us hot chocolates later.

 

Our next stop is Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, something that can’t miss on my visit, to go there and say hello to George Weasley who always comes to this unit on Hogsmeade weekends.

 

- Hey, George! – I go to the counter to greet him.

 

- Hi Emma! – he gets excited to see me. – Noah, can you assume here for a second? – he calls the young employee from the back room to take care of the huge line of people paying.

 

- No, you don’t have to! I don’t want to get in the way!

 

- Of course I have to! It’s not every day I see dear Emma here. – he comes and gives me a hug.

 

From the Potter-Weasley family the one I know the best from the adults is George. I can always find him here at the shop. The rest of them I normally just see at the Platform 9 ¾.

 

- So who is this strapping lad here? – George asks.

 

- I’m Matt Schyer, sir.

 

- Really? And what are your intentions towards Em? – he asks seriously.

 

Matt starts to gape and mumble things when I come to the rescue.

 

- Stop with the act George!

 

- Don’t worry mate. – he pats Matt’s shoulder and laughs – I’m just kidding. It’s not anyone who can take our Emma on a date. But I’m sure James and Fred already approved of you, I taught those boys well.

 

- Uh, sir? I haven’t talked to any of them.

 

- Oh but they know all about you by now, be sure about that. – Matt was starting to look worried again so I decided it was time to say bye.

 

- We have to look through your amazing shop now, George. Bye! – I say as I drag Matt away.

 

- Bye, kids! And remember Emma, any item, 20%% for you!

 

- Thanks!

 

- Funny guy him, right? – Matty still doesn’t look too comfortable, so I take him to see the pigmy puffs.

 

We’re laughing at the antics of a jumpy blue one when James and Fred appear.

 

- Well, look who is here?

 

- Parker and Schyer!

 

I roll my eyes. 

 

-What do you want? You don’t happen to be spying on us, do you?

 

- Of course not! – Fred acts offended. – We just decided to take the girls to familiar territory, you know? – he points to two seventh years in the cosmetics section, a blonde and a brunette.

 

- I hope Schyer is treating you well. – James puts his arm around Matt in an intimidating manner. Which isn’t exactly much since Matt has quite a few muscles as a keeper.

 

- Way better than you, who abandoned your dates. – I say.

 

- Ouch! And after that, I’m leaving. But I’ll keep an eye on you. – Fred makes a gesture to his eyes and to us and leaves.

 

James gets closer to me.

 

- By the way, thank you so much Em! Your advice was great! I asked Sophia to Hogsmeade and now things are going really well between us. I owe you one!

 

Of course. Sophia Lauren, the blonde one, was the girl that James likes. And it isn’t so surprising. She is the seeker for the Ravenclaw team and very fierce, something James likes in people.

 

I try not to react to his words or the kiss in my cheek he gives me before he leaves. That certainly wouldn’t be right with Matt.

 

- So, let’s go? – he asks me.

 

- Yeah.


Our last stop of the day is the Charmed Café to get our hot chocolate. We are seated on a table outside and I start to get nervous again. Matt is very quiet and doesn’t seem as happy as the beginning of the day. I know now I’ll have to talk to him about what this date means. That to me it’s just a friendship rather than a romance. I had a great time with him and we have a lot in common. But it just lacks something. I just know this isn’t what it feels like to be attracted to someone and it isn’t right to string him along. Now how do I tell him that...

 

- Matt..

 

- This isn’t gonna work, Emma. – he sighs.

 

I just stare at him.

 

- You know I think you’re beautiful and funny and smart... And I had an amazing time with you today. But I just could see that you’re interested in someone else.

 

I start to protest but he goes on:

 

- No, it’s fine really. It’s not your fault or anything. I’m just very happy that you still gave me a shot at this. You’re gonna make some guy very lucky. – he smiles sheepishly.

 

- Friends? – I say hesitantly.

 

- Friends. – he takes my hand.

 

Later, I say goodbye to Matt, who gentlemanly took me to my common room and meet my friends all seated in the comfy red chairs. I internally roll my eyes at this because I’m almost positive they took the place of some frightened first and second years claiming seventh year superiority.

 

- Hey guys!

 

- Hi, Emma! – Anna pulls me down beside her.

 

- Please tell me everything! I had to spend the day with Jake and his troglodyte friends from Slytherin and Ravenclaw Quidditch teams. – to which Jacob himself interrupted with an indignant “hey!” – Zoe left me for her love Oliver at the beginning of the day.

 

- Really, Zoe? – I ask Zoe who was seated at our feet. – Tell me! How was it??

 

- Awn it was great Em! We got to talking a lot, something you know, we didn’t do at the party. –  She raises her eyebrows in a sly look andthe boys catcall. – I really like him... – she got a dreamy look on her face.

 

- Ok Emma, but tell us about your date with the handsome Matt Schyer! How was it?

 

- Oh it’s not gonna work out. – I tell her. Freddie started to say something... – And before you say anything Fred Weasley, he was perfectly nice and we got along really well. We had a lot in common and talked a lot. I just couldn’t see him as more than a friend.

 

- Ahh that’s a pity Em! – says Anna.

 

- Yeah, but at least we agreed to be friends.

 

- That’s great! It was worth it after all then. – she grabs my hand.

 

Zoe squeezes my knee and gives me a smile. The rest of the guys gave me smiles too.

 

I felt so grateful to have the friends I do. The kind that support all my decisions and are always by my side. Speaking of friends...

 

- Where is James? – I ask the rest. I had just now realized my best guy friend wasn’t here.

 

- He’s with his date still. Has been glued to her all day. –  Fred says and Anna privately grimaces at me, knowing I wouldn’t like this piece of information.

 

- Oh right. The one from the shop. Well, good for him, right?

 

Opposed to what Anna was thinking James’ date wasn’t bothering me too much. I was more occupied wondering about what Matt had said to me, that he “could see I was interested in someone”. I thought I had done an amazing job pretending I didn’t like James. When we met I didn’t act any different or anything. It was a bit strange he thought that.


Like September, October passed rapidly and we were at its last day which meant it was Halloween. There was a climate of excitement at Hogwarts which normally was just rivaled by Christmas and Quidditch days. Everyone was taking about costumes they were thinking of wearing for the big party after the feast. This party, of course, was work of Fred, Jake and James. They turned our common room in some different scary scenery each year and it was always a big success.

 

The boys were very sweet though. They started to throw this party at fourth year but they didn’t want to leave the lower years out. So there is a party in the afternoon just for first through third years and the rest of us party after the feast, when drinking is involved.

 

- I’m going as a dragon! – Zoe proclaims at lunch. It was conveniently a Friday, so our partying wasn’t gonna mess with our morning classes the next day.

 

- What? – I say. Anna laughs.

 

- And don’t try to convince me otherwise! I had this costume picked out since the Holodays.

 

- Alright, we’re not saying anything! – I placate her.

 

The boys were busy spreading the party and taking care of preparations already so they weren’t having lunch with us. It was just us three until the girls from our dorm arrived.

 

- Are you talking about the party? – Julia asks as soon as she seats. – Besides Zoe, what are you going as? I have no idea. I wanted to dress as a Disney princess but I already did it last year. Maybe Superwoman this year?

 

Julia was muggleborn also but Kate, who only had magical relatives looked completely lost and Anna looked very excited by my side.

 

- I think I’ll dress as one of the Weird Sister. Get a rockstar look. – Kate says.

 

- That would be so cool! – Anna exclaims – I’m still not sure but I think I’ll impersonate one of the heroines from my muggle books. They are so inspiring! I was going as Hermione Granger-Weasley but I don’t think Rose Weasley will appreciate it. Besides, my hair isn’t brown.

 

- Oh you know, there is always loads of Harry Potters and the Potters take it fine. Though I like your second idea. There is bound to be someone already dressed as the other parts of the Golden Trio so it wouldn’t be very original. – Kate replies.

 

- And you, Emma? – Julia asks me.

 

- I’m thinking a Quidditch player. Probably Gwenog Jones.

 

I had actually thought about Ginny Potter. But I wouldn’t go like her because of James...or maybe because of Albus.

 

Later that day, much later if you were to count the long process of us dressing up, Anna, Zoe and I went down to the common room. There were very few people there, just helping to clean up after the afternoon party and rearrange the decoration. And what a decoration! The whole room was made to look as a cave. One of the talented Seventh years had put an  enchantment in the ceiling and it now had the look of a rock and was very uneven. The space in which we were was much bigger, work of a group of Ravenclaws who enlarged it in the afternoon. The bar was made of ice! There were spider webs falling to the ceiling which were sure to catch some distracted people and there were actually noises of bats flying. The lightning was very faint with some kind of purple tone.

 

- Wow guys! This is amazing!! I know I say it every year but it is! – I tell them as soon as we find our friends dressed like zombies with ripped jeans and their shirts off. Of course, they took every opportunity to show off.

 

- It really is! – Zoe was testing the webs.

 

- And you still sound surprised – Jake says. Anna rolls her eyes at him. She is dressed as Katniss from Hunger Games, which was so Anna it made me smile. She even had an  arrow and arch on the back of her black suit and a braid on her hair.

 

Zoe actually looked very good as a dragon. She was wearing a sparkly red  suit as her scales and black heeled boots. Her make up made her eyes stand out and was all based on the colors red and gold. Her hair was tied in a ponytail with a tiara on her hair that had the same scales as in a dragon. The most important: she had a tail attached to her clothes. Her costume made me want to be a little more creative.

 

- My dear Zoe, you look wonderful! – Fred says as he hugs her. – By the way, you all do. Though, Anna, I don’t know what you’re supposed to be and Emma, why are you dressed for Quidditch?

 

James saved me the job of answering by putting his arm around me and saying:

 

- That’s her costume mate! Didn’t you get it? She’s a Professional Quidditch Player.

 

- If you say so... – Fred didn’t look convinced.


The party was a blast. There was an energy in the room with a crowd of people dancing together. And it was too fun to look at all the people dressed up. It made me feel as if we were all one house, no distinction between red, blue, yellow or green.

 

I had taken a break and went straight to the bar to get one of the different Halloween drink inventions. I had just ordered when the student next to me turned and I recognized him.

 

- I’m getting a bit worried with you, Emma. – Albus said mock-seriously by way of greeting – I only seem to find you at bars lately.

 

I laugh – I could say the same.

 

He is dressed as a pirate. And I never knew a pirate could be so damn hot. He’s using an eye-patch in one of his bright green eyes. I notice he didn’t shave so there is a faint stubble on his chin. And his clothes consist of a ripped black jeans and a vest with the sleeves ripped off. The vest is open in his chest. And there’s No. Shirt. Underneath. I certainly didn’t expect that from him. Of course, it isn’t as revealing as his brother but still, he is such a discrete guy normally.

 

I take a guilty look at his chest, which seems practically sculpted, all the muscles fitting perfectly, and I have to force my gaze upwards to his face, hoping the dark lights didn’t capture my blush.

 

- You..you dressed up! – I stammer, hoping he thinks I’m surprised by his costume, not his fit chest.

 

- Yeah... I thought of taking the role of the guy who criticizes the superficialities of society and doesn’t come dressed up as some form of protest... But where’s the fun in that? – he jokes.

 

I smile – So, you always dress up?

 

He nods – My aunt Hermione had this tradition in her childhood, so she passed it to all of us kids.

 

- That’s cool!

 

- But what about you? Quidditch Player!

 

-Yeah... – I suddenly wish I had put a little more effort than changing my Quidditch uniform’s colors and putting a light makeup on.

 

- You make a very pretty Gwenog Jones. – he says.

 

What I think is  “please, Emma, don’t lose your cool just because the guy called you pretty” but what I say is – You noticed I’m  Gwenog Jones?

 

 - Which other Quidditch Player wears her hair in her signature side ponytail?

 

- You’ve noticed that? You’re the first one!

 

- As I said, I may not play Quidditch but I do like it. – he smiles.

 

I smiled back and we just stayed looking at each other. His eyes had some kind of magnetism that got me fixed into their green depths. 

 

The moment was broken as a fifth year dressed as Harry Potter came between us to ask for a drink. He had a drawn scar on his forehead, the round glasses and everything. I just looked at Albus to see his reaction while I struggled not to laugh. He raised his eyebrows at me.

 

Just as the boy left I cracked up.

 

- It doesn’t surprise me anymore, really. Specially today. You wouldn’t believe how much adults dressed as Harry Potter there are out there. – He says, shaking his head.

 

- You mean because of Halloween?

 

- Yeah, and the holiday today also.

 

Of course! I didn’t read the papers this morning. That’s why I must have forgotten! Today was a holiday in the Wizarding World, because it was Potter day, an event created to celebrate Harry Potter’s first defeat over Voldemort more than twenty years ago.

 

- It must be strange for your family, right? – I couldn’t imagine having a holiday for the day tragedy tore up their father’s family.

 

- It is. Today is very hard for my dad. But he takes comfort in thinking that Potter day stands for his mom and dad, not him. He always says they were the ones who should be honored today.

 

I nod thoughtfully. Someone calls Albus’name from a distance and I see his group of friends surrounded by girls.

 

- Well, I gotta go. – he says, getting off his seat.

 

- Sure you do. – I tell him slyly.

 

He sends me a wink and goes meet his roommates.

 

I decide to try to find my friends in the middle of the crowd again. Squeezing through all the people dancing together I suddenly feel very excited.

 

 My smile falls off my face as I spot a familiar sighting. James is with his arms wrapped around someone and his mouth glued to her. As I look closer I recognize the girl. She is Sophia Lauren, his date from Hogsmeade. 

 

I’m used to seeing James kissing loads of girls in all these Hogwarts parties. But this time it’s different. He took her on a date and now, after two weeks, he is still hooked with her, something he doesn’t do because he never wanted a serious relationship. That changed now, which means he does want something serious with Sophia. He thanked me for helping him conquer her. Because, of course I’d help him. I’m his friend, I want him to be happy. But he isn’t gonna see me as more than that. I should have known that sooner, though I didn’t want to lose my hopes before. This time what I felt was conformation and tears prickled my eyes.

 

I turned to leave when I stumble in the blurry image of Anna. She took a hold of my arms:

 

- What happened?

 

Looking over my shoulder, she sees the couple I was watching.

 

- Oh! – Anna looks at me with compassion. – Let’s go find Zoe.

 

Our third friend is attached to Oliver’s mouth. Anna pokes her to turn around and starts talking to her, though I don’t pay attention in what they are saying. That looks so ridiculous to me, being so affected because of some boy crush. I never thought of myself as this kind of girl. But what could I do? The night’s excitement was lost on me and I just wanted to leave.

 

- Alright, Ollie. Sorry, my friend needs me. – I hear Zoe unceremoniously leave Oliver.

 

Both of the girls put their arms around me and lead me to the dorms’ stairs.

 

- Let’s go, Em. – Anna says. – I have a whole stack of chocolate waiting for us while we discuss every one of James’ flaws.

 

I love my friends.

 



Chapter 8: Chapter 8
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N.: Hi everyone!! Sorry it’s been a while but aí didn’t want to write something just to post fast. I waited for the inspiration to come so that I could write something I would enjoy and, hopefully, you too. Thanks for reading and please tell me what you think. I hope I didn’t mess up the Quidditch part, it’s new territory to me. Enjoy!!

 

Song for this chapter: Capital Letters by Hailey Steinfield


- So, class, today I’m gonna give you the first assignment of the year! – professor Thomas says enthusiastically as he seats in his table.

 

It was Monday again in the middle of November and professor Thomas had just finished talking about the main destinations of the wizards escaping Great Britain in the Second Wizarding War. 

 

- I want you to understand the War in a more practical way, I want you to learn of the varying points of view of what the people went trough. So, I will ask you to write about someone that lived through the last War. It could be anyone. Could be someone who was at Hogwarts, who was at the battle, or the owner of a shop in Diagon Alley. Your choice. It isn’t hard to find, we aren’t such an old generation.

 

Hailey Wilson raised her hand:

 

- Professor, how long does the essay have to be?

 

- Oh, no Miss. Wilson. This doesn’t have to be an essay exactly. You can make what you want. An interview, a research... or an essay if you want. But no limit length. I just want you to learn from this. How, is your choice. I want you to hand them in two weeks after break.

 

Everyone groaned. Our first assignment for Christmas break.

 

- I know you just want to rest over break – Professor Thomas laughed – but I promise you this could be very interesting and enlightening.

 

We left the class talking about the assignment. Even though it would cut through our free time it was exciting. Anna wanted to talk to Professor Longbottom and was already telling us her plan of writing it in form of a tale from his point of view.

 

- And you, James, are you talking with your dad? – I ask him.

 

He looks at me with his eyebrows raised and surprised eyes as the rest of the group goes silent and looks at our direction. 

 

To be fair, these last weeks after Halloween I hadn’t spoken more than the necessary to James. My disappointment at the party was still on my mind and I just couldn’t seem to act normally around him. Noticing the change, he chose to keep his distance too.

 

However, in the last few days I decided it was time to get my shit together and start acting again as a true friend, not a stranger.
As I kept staring at him, waiting for his response, he says:

 

- No, that would be too cliched. I’m going to ask my aunt Luna. She is awesome!

 

- And you, Fred? – Zoe questions – Anyone in your family?

 

- Nah, I’m with Jamie. Everybody will be expecting that. Besides, the whole world knows our family’s history. Nothing new about that. I think I’ll talk to someone who escaped the country. 

 

I could see the boys’ point. Nothing unusual in seeing a story about Harry Potter. Though I’ve always thought those interviews with him during the years lacked a lot. It seemed they were more interested in trivial or obvious things. I had a mind full of ideas for an interview with him and if I were James, would certainly do my work about Mr. Potter.



As it was I had to speak to another member of the Potter family about another assignment. I was more acutely aware than I should that Albus hadn’t set a meeting with me for a while now. Of course, he was right in that we needed to continue researching before having anything to talk about. But, without our meetings, there just seemed to be something lacking in my routine. Like even the company of my great friends and the rush of playing Quidditch didn’t compare to the looks we gave each other during meals, as if we were in on an inside joke. Or the confident “Hey, Parker” accompained by the occasional wink when he passed me through the corridors. It gave me a warmth in the stomach and made me see potential in everything. Gave me a new confidence in my step and made me want to be that much nicer to everyone.

 

Albus Potter gave me excitement. He was unpredictable and for someone who had known the same group of friends for seven years that was something totally new. That much I could admit to myself.

 

So, when I thought of a new idea for our project I wasn’t sure if my excitement was more due to academic reasons or the prospect of talking to him again.

 

- Why are you smiling? – asks Zoe, laughing. 

 

It was Friday night and we were spending it studying since the Newts reality was finally catching up with us. The girls didn’t know anything of my interactions with Al, I just gave them the basics, and his Ipod was still safely kept in my truck.I only listened to it with my curtains closed. Even though I trusted the girls with everything, Al was my friend now too and I respected his privacy. He showed me a gesture of trust by giving me his Ipod, so the least I could do was show him the same.

 

- Just thinking about Christmas break.

 

- Oh yeah. – Anna takes her eyes from her book for the first time during the last two hours – We’re still spending it together, right?

 

Christmas break with the girls was an annual tradition. It started in first year. The boys decided to go home and spend the holidays together.

 

Us girls thought: Why don’t we do our own thing then? And that’s how we always spend our break together. We actually go to our own houses. But we arrange to spend a few days in each one. Even our parents have the occasional dinner together. A muggleborn, a half-blood and pureblood households in the space of two weeks certainly makes for an interesting time and the fact that this works so well is a vivid evidence of the changes brought by the end of the war.

 

- Of course we are!! – I answer Anna

 

– Who has the first turn?

 

- Me!! – my blonde friend says, raising her hand as if she was answering a question in class – My dad just bought a new videogame and I’m crazy to show you!

 

- What game? – Zoe asks, never understanding our muggle references.

 

Our studies are put aside as we spend the rest of the night explaining the world of videogames to our pureblood friend.



The next morning, after Quidditch practice, my Ancient Runes project popped into my head. James had just given us our “motivational” speech for the first match of the season against Ravenclaw.

 

- So just to be clear again! I don’t care if it is only the first match! You better play it as if it were the finals! Give your all on that pitch this weekend. Anything otherwise is unacceptable! You all have potential to win this. AND YOU WILL SHOW IT ON THAT PITCH EVEN IF I HAVE TO DRAG IT OUT OF YOU.

 

Little Riley Chambers was almost in tears. She was clearly not acostumed to James’ captain tactics.

 

Lack of encouragement aside, James’ speech did remind me of the upcoming game, and also, a potential way to meet Al. I’d been thinking that, since I would be arranging our study session this time, it had to be on the same level of my Slytherin partner. The match on Saturday gave me a good idea to make it an interesting one.

 

With that in mind, I used the only subject we do together to pass him a note, after strategically seating next to him.

 

I think I’ve made some progress at our project.

 

While I continued pretending to write, I feel something touch my arm.

 

We should set a meeting then.

 

His handwriting is sharp, sophisticated. I scribble my answer rapidly.

 

After the game Saturday. Meet me outside the lockers. But only if you wear red.

 

I watch him scan the words, the corners of his mouth turning up. 
When he hands me his note, I try not to act too eager as I unfold the little piece of  parchment.

 

Really? We’ll see, Parker. I only support the winning team.


The week of classes rushed by, right to Saturday. The game was to take place in the late afternoon when the harsh rain falling since dawn was to take a break.

 

I was with the team in the locker rooms listening to James’ trusting voice, calling us to get in line. The time to be strict had already passed.

 

Our captain would be the first out, followed by the rest of us chasers, beaters, keeper and rearing the line, the new seeker.

 

The noise of the crowd rang loud in my ears and my stomach was taken by butterflies. It made me very nervous and, even so, I looked forward to this moment. It was a rush of adrenaline in my veins and the noise of all the support in the stands made me feel powerful.

 

- The Gryffindor Team is composed by the talented: ... James Potter! ...

 

Freddie’s voice made me jump and my teammates started flying out. When it came my turn, my braided hair rushed through the wind. An explosion of color took my eyes, the green of the pitch, the yet grey sky and the stands filled with blue and red.

 

I stand in my designated position as the captains shake hands. James suddenly isn’t paying much attention, though, giving a smile to Sophia Lauren, the opposing team’s seeker.

 

The game begins and, our captain, as the central chaser, grabs the Quaffle. I’m already positioning myself in front of Eva Chang, one of the Ravenclaw seekers, and receive the red ball on perfect timing. I send it to James again, who fakes a shot, but passes to Mike. Our third chaser has the left hoop free and easily scores our first goal.

 

In terms of intensity the game is catching fire, though by the score you wouldn’t know it. Both Keepers are excellent and, apart from that first goal, us chasers have to work a lot to pass the Quaffle through the hoops. Besides, everyone has to be aware of the Bludgers thrown by the Beaters. Even though Victor Acres, our new Beater chosen after our interrupted tryouts, has just started this season, him and Zoe have an amazing chemistry on the pitch and have a bit of an edge on the Ravenclaw talented duo.

 

That’s why, after almost two hours of playing, we have the little advantage of twenty points as the game stands 100-80, Gryffindor. Jake has just defended another goal and passes the Quaffle to Mike. I escape the Ravenclaw marking and position myself near the hoops. Mike throws the Quaffle in an arch and I fly higher to catch it. Just when I start to the hoops, a Bludger comes in my direction. By reflex only, I turn on my broom and stay upside down as the Bludger passes by. I can only see the sky and hear the crowd’s cheer. My legs contract as they force me upwards. I only have time to avoid the Ravenclaw Chaser and continue downwards as I launch the Quaffle straight through the right hoop on my way. It’s my fourth goal of the game and I feel incredible.

 

Scamander, the Ravenclaw chaser, has just started another play when we hear Freddie yelling enthusiastically at the sighting of the Snitch. I only have time to turn my head as Riley lifts her fist in the air, golden wings fluttering in her hand to the joy of the red crowd. Our whole team converges on her and we turn into a mass of sweaty bodies and jubilant smiles.


The pitch is empty as I’m changing at the lockers. The rest of the team decided to head straight to the Gryffindor Common Romm where a victory party was sure to have started already. I declined their invitations, thinking of my set up meeting with a certain Potter. 

 

He’d better show up or I’ll just be the idiot who refused a party to stay alone in an empty pitch.

 

But as I go outside to the dark night, I realized there was no reason to worry in the first place. Standing with a sly smile on his lips and a Gryffindor scarf on his neck was Albus Potter.

 

- You are wearing red after all! – I say and don’t even try to hide my smile.

 

He makes a very elegant Gryffindor with a black overcoat beneath his scarf (which probably was borrowed from James or, more likely, his sister), dark jeans and black boots. His hair is even messier than usual and shines in the moonlight, matching his enchanting green eyes.

 

I’m glad I brought one of my best clothes with me: my red overcoat, black leggings and boots.

 

Albus runs a hand through his hair, something I’ve seen both him and James do a lot:

 

- I told you, darling. I only root for the winning team.

 

- Well, you should have a bit more faith in my abilities then.

 

- I never doubted your abilities, Emma. – he turns serious.

 

 And then breaks it with:  – It’s your teammates I don’t believe in.

 

- Alright, Albus. – I change the subject, because, honestly I don’t know what to do when he compliments me like that. – Since you kept your end of the deal and is wearing red, let’s start our meeting.

 

- Lead the way, Parker. – he smiles.
I take my bag and lead him to the middle of the stands. There, I take out our materials and lay a blanket down for us to seat, but just as I do, I want to slap myself. It’s freezing cold.

 

- Maybe we should just go inside. I didn’t think things through, it’s freezing cold out here...

 

I stop as I see a light and Albus is actually holding a blue fire on his hands.

 

- Al, what’s that?

 

- It’s magical. It won’t burn us. We can just leave it here.

 

- Of course. It is my meeting and you still are way ahead of me. – I say, half serious.

 

- This is just a detail, Emma. Your idea of a meeting in a Quidditch pitch is way cooler than mine. At least it doesn’t look like a cheesy date.

 

I laugh, and encouraged by him, go on with my plan.

 

- Scamp!

 

The little elf appears in front of us.

 

- Hi, mistress Emma. Hi, master Albus.

 

We laugh.

 

- No need to call us that, Scamp, really. – I say – Can you bring us what we agreed on?

 

- Yes, miss.

 

One pop later and he brought us a bit of everything that is on tonight’s feast, along with some hot chocolates, of course.

 

- I’m impressed. – Albus says, smiling genuinely – So, we’re having a picnic here?

 

- That’s only the first part, my friend. – I say, containing my excitement.

 

We stuff ourselves full of the delicious food and start to get into the real reason of this meeting, which I had almost forgotten.

 

- Al, I think I know what we can do for the project!

 

- Yeah?

 

- There’s this song I’ve been listening to, which, when I translated to Runes, I realized it has the same structure as the Babbity Rabbit tale.

 

He just looks at me, amused.

 

- I’m serious. – I laugh – Listen.
I handed him his IPod, which was still with me, and admittedly, which I was too attached to.

 

After he stayed listening, I handed him my notes.

 

- Emma, that’s amazing!! – he said after a while – Comparing these two texts would make an Outstanding worthy project!

 

I nod, enthusiastically.

 

- I already had the tale translated from class last year, and when I started translating the song, I remembered it. But I only did the first few verses to see if it matches.

 

- Well, let’s translate the rest then. And we can start thinking of how we will do the analysis later.

 

So, we spend the next two hours immersed in work but satisfied we’re heading somewhere. When my hand starts aching from writing I suggest we take a break.

 

- Tell me about it. – agreed Al – I’ve written seven essays already, just this week.

 

- Wait until you get to Newts year. – I respond – Professor Thomas has already passed an assignment for the holidays.

 

- Yeah, but History II is very interesting, don’t you think?

 

- It is! – I admit – But I have no idea what to do with this one.

 

- What’s it about?

 

- We have to pick anyone who participated in the Second Wizarding War and write about their experiences, but I just don’t know who to talk to. If I were James, I don’t care, I’d totally do an interview with your father. I know it’s been done several times but you just gotta ask the right questions, things I can’t believe people have asked yet.

 

Albus just listens to me with a thoughtful look on his face. He finally asks:

 

- You’d really like to interview my dad?

 

- Yeah, sure. I mean, first I thought of it as a crazy thing. But at the same time I don’t have any other ideas there just seems to come loads of hypothetical questions I would ask him. – I laugh – Those rags that interview him don’t do him justice. And please, Al, don’t come to me with that famous dad complex. Your father has done incredible things.

 

- I know. – he says – I love my dad, Emma. The fame and attention I don’t like has nothing to do with him as far as I’m concerned.

 

- Good. – I say a bit shocked. 

 

From all the prejudices I had with Albus, it seems I hadn’t let go of one yet. The one in which he had the rebel son attitude who couldn’t accept his father’s fame. I was roundly wrong. And that knowledge brought a warm feeling inside me and a soft smile on my face.

 

He seems amused, again, at my tone and says, somewhat tentatively:

 

- You know, my dad doesn’t particularly like to give interviews, but I think, if I talked to him, he would accept to be interviewed by you.

 

- What?! – I say, and I’m so surprised by his suggestion, it seems I sounded offended because Albus starts immediately justifying himself:

 

- I mean, cause you said you wanted to and I thought...

 

- No, Albus. I mean, it would be amazing but I really don’t wanna bother your dad. And besides, how would I meet him before the break?

 

- I thought, actually that you could, you know, spend Christmas Eve at my house. We have this whole party, you know, all the family. And us kids are always allowed to bring a friend. 

 

I’d never seen Albus Potter look so nervous. Actually, I’d never seen him nervous before. His hand was running through his hair and he was looking anywhere but at me. And if it weren’t for the light of the blue fire I bet there would be a blush coloring his cheeks. I stay silent processing the information, so he says:

 

- If you want, of course. It’s just an idea.

 

I understood the practical aspect of it, of course. But I still couldn’t believe he was inviting me to spend Christmas at his house. When Albus said they could bring a friend, it really is just one friend. James and Freddie told us how the holiday festivities worked. 

 

Christmas Eve was always spent at the Potter cottage and Boxing Day at the Burrow. The whole family got together. And the family is huge. That’s why the kids could only bring one person to the holiday parties. James always invited Jake and Freddie invited Ben, a Ravenclaw friend whose parents were always traveling and would otherwise have to spend Christmas at Hogwarts. And that’s why us girls always agreed to do something together.

 

- But, Al. I know you can only invite one person. James told me. Why would you want to spend it with me, then?

 

He looked me in the eyes, like it was obvious.

 

- We’re friends, aren’t we? I’d love to have you there.

 

My insides warmed up at the sincerity in his brilliant green eyes and I suddenly wanted very much to go.

 

- Al, I feel honored really. But your parents barely know me. And I don’t want to intrude.

 

He shook his head.

 

- You wouldn’t be intruding, Emma. There’s so many people there, they wouldn’t know the difference.
I laugh and push his shoulder, something I notice I, wouldn’t be doing if we weren’t really friends.

 

- Alright, Al.

 

He gives me one of his perfect smiles.

 

- But – I interrupt – you’ve got to ask your parents first.

 

- Ok, ok, No problem. – he says.

 

- And I’ll ask mine. Then we’ll see.

 

- As you wish, Miss Parker. – he looks at me in such an endearing way, I turn my head so he won’t see my smile. I clear my throat.

 

- So, are you ready?

 

- Hmm? – He murmurs distracted, still looking at me.

 

- You don’t really think I took us out here just to eat? I thought you were smarter than that, Albus Potter. – I tease him.

 

- Well, Emma, it’s always a surprise with you.

 

I laugh a little, trying to diffuse that part of his eyes which show me clear seriousness. As strange as it seems, I turned into quite the expert at reading Albus Potter’s eyes.

 

With a flick of my wand, two brooms are rushing to my hand. Al looks at them, shocked.

 

- Is this what I think it is? Emma Parker wants to, not only break curfew, but spend it flying outside?

 

- What can I say? I’ve acquired some bad influences lately. Besides, we can’t waste such a beautiful night.

 

- Are you really sure of this? – in a strange act of obedience, Albus sounds surprisingly hesitant at breaking the rules. Oh no, it’s my turn now and we are doing it.

 

- I understand your hesitation, Potter. It is challenging, at least, to keep up with the best Gryffindor Chaser. Still, I’m not going easy on you.

 

With that, I mount my broom in record time, trying to convince him as much as myself.

 

I rush in full speed, leave the Quidditch Pitch and suddenly, I’m already in the boundaries of Hagrid’s House, and any doubt I had is far away from my mind. There’s a huge difference in flying in a limited space like the Quidditch Pitch and flying freely in the night’s sky. That difference is something akin to freedom and adrenaline.

 

I look behind me and see Al, a few meters away, his black hair almost blends with the night sky and what points me to his presence are his shining green eyes, looking determinedly at me.

 

Turning to the front, I’m faced with the view of the Forbidden Forest, a mass of dark trees and unknown territory. Normal me would just turn around and stay clear from it. But this new daring me wanted to go ahead, take that step and get out of my comfort zone. 

 

That’s why five seconds later, I was flying through a maze of trees, my Quidditch abilities being fully appreciated as I dodge leaf after leaf, stump after stump. A smile stretched my face and I knew Albus was still following me cause I could hear him yelling through his laughter.

 

- Emma... What are you doing?... You know where we are right?!

 

Suddenly he reached me and we were in a magical game of catch through and ancient forest, with just the light of the moon. I wasn’t completely reckless. I did stick to the edge of the trees. Still, it was exhilarating.

 

- Wait! – Al had stopped and signaled me to do the same. He huffed, out of breath:

 

- As fantastic as this is, and even though I love to see this rule breaker side of you, I think we should stop. I’m pretty sure I heard some centaurs roaming these areas and they’re not very fond of company.

 

I was still laughing and catching my breath, but I agreed with Al instantly. As much as I was loving this, archery with centaurs wasn’t part of the fun.

 

When we got out of the forest, Al and I were still exchanging smiles, his eyes were looking at me in a way that made me glad I decided to be a little daring for once.

 

I was starting to hover down when Albus called me:

 

- Wait, Emma! There’s something else we need to do, flying brooms in a beautiful night like this.

 

- More than flying through the Forbidden Forest?

 

He laughed.

 

- True. Maybe it will be just as great.

 

- What are you talk.. – But Albus was already going full speed towards the lake. As I watched it, he made a plane flight, just above the lake. His feet touched its surface and formed a blade of water following his wake. It was beautiful.

 

- C’mon!! – he shouted. And I went.

 

I could barely feel the cold water touching my feet, just droplets of water tickling my face in a delicious way. Some of them got in my mouth, which I just noticed was stretched in a smile again. We were in the perfect angle to see the stunning castle of Hogwarts in front of us, windows shining where candles were still on. The light of the moon reflected the lake and If I paid attention I could hear Al’s laughter. I myself was restraining myself from yelling, not exactly worried about any detentions we would get if someone caught us, but not wanting this moment to end. In the spirit of my new “relaxed” attitude of the night, I opened my arms and held my broom just with my legs.

 

Albus chose that moment to turn around, his feet leaving the water so I could see him. His hair was windblown in an adorable way which showed more of his face, the white of his teeth standing out. And, though it was too dark to see, I knew the corners of his eyes were wrinkled like they always got whith his most truthful and open smiles. He turned back again and I got the beautiful image of him flying with Hogwarts on the landscape ahead. 

 

The way I was feeling told me, this was a moment worthy of producing a Patronus.



Chapter 9: Chapter 9
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A/N.: Hey, guys! This is more of a filler chapter. But there’s way more to come. And I hope you enjoy it anyway. There’s Emma and her family, her friends and, of course, Albus too. Please let me know what you think. Your review inspire me so much to write this! Have a good read!!

 

Ps.: if anyone needs some help getting into the Christmas spirit in July, here’s a suggestion of two beautiful songs (they’re a bit sad, but remind me of snow and Holidays!)


When Christmas Comes Around – Matt Terry


Christmas Lights - Coldplay


Dear Em,


How are you love? Your dad sends  of kisses. We miss you and can’t wait for you to come home! As an answer to your last letter, of course you can spend Christmas Eve with the Potters! James has been your friend for years and he’s always so polite! I didn’t understand, though, why Albus was the one to invite you... Well, I suppose you are doing a project together. Anyway, ask him for the address so you can take the Floo to their home. Everything’s fine here. We’re all waiting for you to come home. Your brother arrived yesterday and can’t wait to see you!


Lots of love, Mum.


I read the letter from my mum at the breakfast table with a smile. Christmas was all worked out. I didn’t have the chance to speak to Al since our last meeting but two days ago during lunch he told me about his parents’ confirmation by pointing me his newly arrived letter and giving me a thumbs up, along with his trademark wink.


- News from home? – Fred asks me, munching a toast.

 

- Yeah! Mason arrived yesterday!

He’s spending the whole holiday season with us!

 

- Your brother is my idol, Emma! – Jacob says, a bit too lovingly.

 

My only brother, Mason, is four years older than me and moved to Romania three years ago, pursuing his dream of being a dragon tamer. The boys all think he is a badass because of that and Zoe idolizes him for acting on her future profession. His natural charm helps too and I’ve seen her get really shy near him. He is the first wizard in my family and we’re very close. I can’t wait to see him again.

 

After our meal, or in case of James, more like two meals, we have a double period of Charms. I really like this subject. It fits so much the definition of Magic I used to have before I knew anything of the Wizarding World that it’s very amusing to me. Every class I get more in awe by what we can do with a simple wand.

 

At lunch I seat with Matt and his friends at the Hufflepuff table. We did truly become friends, after all. Though we only see each other during meals and studying sessions in the library, he’s a great listener and we already know each other a lot better.

 

- So, what are you doing for Christmas? – he asks, between mouthfuls of pumpkin cream.

 

- Nothing much. I’m spending Christmas Eve at the Potters this year.

 

- Really? – he raises his eyebrows – Albus invited you then?

 

- Yea... Wait, what?! – I realize what he’s said – Why do you think Albus invited me and not James?

 

I wasn’t even planning on telling him that Albus invited me. I assumed everyone knew James and I are friends and he is the obvious choice.

 

Matt just sips his tea and says:

 

- Well, I thought he finally made a move. Remember I told you in our Hogsmeade date you liked someone else? – he says nonchalantly.

 

- It was him you were talking about?

 

- Of course! Who else?

 

I didn’t answer him, letting the matter drop. It wasn’t James Matt thought I liked, after all. Was I missing something there?


- Hey, girls, what are you doing for Christmas – Zoe ask us, later tonight, while we’re getting to sleep.

 

- My grandparents are going to visit. So it probably includes my grandma’s traditional Shepherds pie. – Anna says licking her lips.

 

- Perfect! Are you staying home too, Emma? I thought we could get together after. Do a little party of our own. – Zoe gets excited.

 

- Humm... actually. I’m not staying home.

 

- Awwww Emma!

 

- Where are you going? – asks Anna, a bit curious, since I hadn’t told her anything.

 

I clear my throat:

 

- I’m spending Christmas Eve at the Potters.

 

They look at me as if I’ve grown two heads.

 

- What?!!

 

- James invited you? They never invite us. It’s a common agreement.

 

- Albus did. – I say quietly but I could as well have shouted cause they now look at me as if I’ve grown three heads and am breathing fire through them.

 

- I knew it!! – shouts Zoe. – I knew there was a thing between you two. And you didn’t let me write my story about it. A Gryffindor and a Slytherin! It would be amazing!

 

- Albus Potter invited you to spend Christmas at his home? – Anna looks confused, which isn’t a common look for her.

 

- It’s only Christmas Eve! – I protest. – And it’s not like that, he’s gonna help me with the History paper, letting me interview his dad.

 

They look even more intrigued, so I blurt out:

 

- And we have a lot to do for the Runes project so we’d have to meet up anyway. – I blush.

 

- If you say so. – Zoe says, with her eyebrows raised. – Though your blush says something different.

 

- You’ve really got to stop with this!

 

– I say, more seriously. – We’re just friends, nothing more. And he wouldn’t even look at me anymore if you say something like this in front of him. He’s a very reserved guy.

 

- We know, love. Don’t worry. – Anna placates with a smile, always comprehensive.

 

- Yeah, Emms. It’s just us joking, really. It’s good to see you making more friends, you’re always so shy.

 

I smile at them both, very grateful.

 

- Especially hot ones, which gives an excuse for us friends to check them out. 

 

I throw a pillow at Zoe and we laugh.

 

- But, seriously, guys. I didn’t know you were planning this. I really don’t need to go, we can do our own party.

– I meant it. As awesome an opportunity as it was, I wouldn’t trade it for my friends.

 

- No! – they shout.

 

- You’re going Emma Parker! There was nothing planned anyway, and you are not gonna waste the opportunity to interview Harry bloody Potter and spend Christmas with Al Potter, that gorgeous boy. – Zoe sighs.

 

I throw another pillow at her.



In the last week of school before the Holidays, the student body is already in the Christmas spirit, completing the last homework before break. Or in case of Jacob and Fred, have already stopped studying altogether.

 

- I don’t understand how you stop caring about your studies. It’s Newts year! – Anna yells exasperated just as Jake and Fred have told us about their last detention during dinner.

 

Fred acts offended:

 

-  We didn’t stop caring Anna, love. We’re just taking a well deserved break.

 

- For it to be well deserved, you have to earn it before. – Zoe says.

 

I high five her and we all laugh, minus Jake and Fred who pretend they have fallen off their chairs.

 

- You should do something during the Holidays. Chill out. – Jacob says

 

– Us men are going out!!

 

- For your information we’re doing something. Zoe and I, I mean. Emma has plans already. – Anna looks at me teasingly.

 

I roll my eyes.

 

- I’m spending Christmas Eve at your place, James.

 

James looks at me confused as if trying to remember something.

 

- You didn’t invite me, James. Albus did.

 

- What?! Albus?

 

- Yeah, we’re doing an assignment together, remember? And we’ve become quite good friends.

 

James frowns:

 

- Albus has never invited a girl for Christmas before.

 

I shrug, secretly very pleased by this bit of information.

 

- What can I say? I’m not just any girl.

 

Jake and Fred yell:

 

- Wow!! She got you there James!

 

- Go Emm!!

 

Zoe and Anna look at me surprised, but happy. 

 

I could pretend that my new confidence doesn’t come from a certain green eyed boy. 

 

But not even myself would buy that.

 

- I’d love to have you there Emm! Really! – James raises his hands to defend himself – I was just surprised, that’s all.

 

- Actually, Al is helping me with the History assignment, that’s the main reason really. He guaranteed an exclusive interview with your dad. 

 

James whistles.

 

- Al must really like you. Dad hates interviews.

 

I blush:

 

- We’re just friends, that’s all. And I won’t ask your dad anything personal. It’s all about the history really.

 

- That’s alright, Em. You know I trust you completely. I wasn’t even worried about that. The family wil love to have you there.

 

I smile and a weigh falls off my shoulders. I hadn’t realized how much James’ approval of this whole thing was important to me. He is one of my closest friends after all. I guess I’ll always care for his opinion.


The day before our trip back to London, I’m walking back from the library after returning some books when someone pulls me inside a classroom. The corridors are almost deserted after dinner so no one hears my scream of surprise. I haven’t even had the time to feel scared when I hear familiar laughter.

 

I really try to get angry at Albus for scaring me and mocking me but honestly, these days, I’m always wanting a reason to talk to him.

 

- Sorry, Emma. Didn’t want to attract attention.

 

I love how he says my name. With a more prolonged “m” than normal.

 

- Are you ok? – Al asks after I spend some time without answering.

Honestly he should be used to that by now.

 

- Fine! A little warning before would be nice though.

 

- Sorry. I thought you didn’t like the messages I normally send you.

 

- Why? I love them!

 

He looks surprised but no more than me for what slipped from my mouth. Very subtle Emma.

 

- I mean. I like them – I clear my throat – They’re well written. Great!

 

For the second time ever I see Albus blush, a pink color rising to his cheeks. While he sees me do it for the hundredth time.

 

- So, everything’s fine for you going to my place on Christmas Eve? – Al changes the subject. – I’ve already spoken to dad. There’s no problem with you interviewing him.

 

- Yeah! Just don’t forget to give me your address.

 

- I’ll send the location by owl. – he runs a hand through his hair.

 

- Great! Thanks again for doing this Al. 

 

- No problem. My dad would have said yes if you asked either way.

 

- I meant spending Christmas with you. – I bite my lip, waiting for his answer.

 

- it’s a pleasure, Emma. I love spending time with you. – he says softly but I hear his emphasis on “love”.

 

I wait for him to correct himself as if to tease me. But he doesn’t.

 

- I gotta go. – He opens the door. – see you tomorrow.

 

My body shivers as he gives me a kiss on the cheek. And maybe it’s my friends’ influence but I’m almost sure his hand lingers a little as it touches mine.

 

One second later he is out the door and I’m alone with my thoughts in the dark classroom.


The next morning I closed my trunk after checking everything was in place, including my friends and family Christmas gifts, which may or may not include one for Albus. Alright, it did include one. But I told myself I was only giving it to him because I didn’t want to enter his home empty handed. Never mind I made it myself too.

 

Most of our dormitory was already clean and organized. It’s so much easier packing for winter break since we don’t have to bring all our stuff home. 

 

That didn’t apply to our roommate Kate though. 

 

- Where’s my bathing suit?! Please, someone help me find it! – she yells.

 

I almost wince as she takes clothes out of her bursting trunk, which she was almost closing.

 

- Why do you even need a bathing suit?? It’s winter!! – Zoe yells back, clearly out of patience.

 

- You never know. We may travel somewhere!! – Kate says, looking around.

 

Anna puts her hand on Zoe’s back before she loses her mind. Julia, Kate’s best friend, makes a sign for us to go while she stays helping. We follow her advice. It was almost one hour since we were turning our room upside down trying to find Kate’s things.

 

Down at breakfast, the Hall is full. Everyone excited to go home but knowing they’re gonna miss the castle.

 

- What took you so long? – Jake asked, with his mouth full of eggs.

 

- “What”? More like “who”? Kate doesn’t understand the concept of packing lightly. – Zoe says, hand on her head.

 

- I don’t get why. She looks gorgeous on anything. – Jake sighs.

 

- What’s the deal between you two, anyway? – Anna asks.

 

- Yeah, you hooked up on fifth year, didn’t get together but now you’re always swooning over her and flirting. – I continue.

 

- It was supposed to be just a hook up. But I don’t know. I have yet to find a kiss as good as hers. – Jake rests his head on the table.

 

- The heart wants what it wants, bro. – Fred pats his back.

 

- We’re going out anyway. Maybe you’ll find the one this Christmas. – Our red headed friend continues, excited.

 

- Count me out,  guys. – James says beside me, but he has a proud smile on his face.

 

- Oh yeah. James is a whipped man now. – Jake laughs.

 

And as the girls reprimand then and the guys continue to joke around I have a new realization. James never liked to lose a party before. But his relationship with Sophia has been so solid, and he did spend more and more time with her, that he didn’t care anymore . And this fact didn’t bring me feelings of jealousy or hur like before. I was genuinely happy for my friend and his smile brought a smile to my lips too.

 

- Emma! – Fred brings me back to the conversation. – You’re gonna be with us this year right?

 

- Just one night. But don’t let me stop you by any means.

 

We all laugh.

 

- And don’t let it stop you from your little party girls. – I tell them seriously.

 

- Don’t worry, Em. – Anna takes my hand from across the table. – Maybe we’ll watch a movie together. We can do our party another day. Or here, back from break.

 

I smile and grab Zoe’s hand so we’re all holding hands. The boys start mocking us and I’m almost bursting with gratitude and fondness, seeing them all sitting around me.

 

One hour later, we’re at the station putting our baggage on the train. I’m busy trying to push mine in when someone clearly taller than me gives me a hand.

 

- Need some help, darling?

 

I turn around and look up to meet bright green eyes. Albus  is already putting his hand in his black jeans pockets. He’s wearing a jeans shirt over a dark green hoodie and flashing his trademark white toothed smile. Does he have to wear green shirts just to make me even more mesmerized by his eyes?

 

I myself am wearing three coats. It’s quite cold outside. And still I’m almost sure I can feel his body heat, this close to mine.

 

- Are you ready to go home? – I can see his breath in the winter air and smell that same mint scent I remember from months before.

 

- Definitely! I love this place but it’s time for a break from all the homework.

 

- Couldn’t agree more. I myself am very excited for Christmas Eve. – he runs a hand through his hair, his eyes are shining, looking straight at mine.

 

- Well, me too. For the interview, of course. – I tease him.

 

He laughs, full and carefree. I realize I love the sound of his laughter, especially when it’s caused by me.

 

- Al! You coming or not? – Scorpius Malfoy calls him from his group of friends.

 

- I’ll see you around, Parker. – he squeezes my hand.

 

- See you, Potter.

 

My reddened cheeks aren’t just from the cold anymore.


The train journey to London was uneventful and just a great time spent with friends. We talked about the previous semester, Hogwarts gossip, played some Exploding Snap. At one point we all took a nap too.

 

Before I knew it, the Hogwarts Express was stopping at the station to a crowd of waiting families.

 

We helped each other take our trunks off the train, already hugging goodbye. Freddie pretended to be crying and pulled me off the ground making me laugh.

 

- I’ll see you on Christmas, Em. – James kissed my cheek.

 

- See you. – I hugged him. Jake grabbed me from behind.

 

These boys are way too strong for their own good.

 

Mine, Anna’s and Zoe’s families are talking to each other waiting for us and we all get to them together.

 

- We missed you, darling!! – my mum kisses me and hugs me tightly.

We are practically the same height and share the same brown hair.

 

- Me too, mum!!

 

My dad looks at me with his kind blue eyes. 

 

- Come here, love. Your old man missed you too.

 

I laugh as he hugs me and kisses my head.

 

I look beside him and find my brother Mason with open arms. I jump at him and he catches me and spins me around. He’s almost a copy of my dad, with blue eyes and blond hair, but has my mum’s face.

 

- Missed you, bug.

 

- Missed you too.

 

After a bit of talk, the girls and their parents say goodbye, with my friends and I promising to send letters.

 

When they leave, my family and I stay while Mason talks to some of his old friends and I look around for something.

 

On the opposite end of the platform, a huge family of red heads is talking and laughing together. A group of messy black haired men stand out though. James is talking animatedly to his parents, Lily in the middle of the two. And Albus is laughing at the story his brother is telling. He sweeps his eyes through the station and finds me. 

 

By this time, my dad is already with my trunk and mum calls me to go home. I turn to leave, not before receiving a traditional wink from a certain green eyed boy.

 



Chapter 10: Chapter 10
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N.: Hi again! I didn’t forget this, really. This chapter just took me longer to write but, on the other hand, it may be the longest yet. Thanks for all who are still reading this fic. Don’t worry, I have the next chapter almost done already. I hope I could give a little more insight on Emma’s friends and family through her letters. Tell me what you think, please! Are you rooting for Emma and Albus as long as I do? Which character do you like the most?


Song recommended: Mutual – by Shawn Mendes


I think it sums up a lot what Emma is feeling. Enjoy!!



During break, you get that feeling you won’t be able to adapt to a new different routine, far from your classes and the castle. But, like every one of them that wasn’t the case. I had been home for just three days and I’d already created a routine for myself. 


Despite my brother being home, he spent most of the afternoons visiting friends, going to pubs (which, he likes to remind, he’s allowed to) and enjoying the Wizarding world in Britain. During one of his outings, I went with him to Diagon Alley visiting Quality Quidditch Supplies and the Weasley’s store, with a stop to Fortescue’s Ice Cream. But really, it was just an excuse to spend time together.


While I have always been the calm child, who loves to read and is a bit more sensitive, Mason is the extrovert one, friends with almost everyone at a party and one to act before you speak. It was a surprise that I ended up in Gryffindor with him. Though when we hang out together these differences aren’t that large. We’ve always been friends and not just siblings, knowing each other’s jokes and talking about everything. That’s probably because our characteristics complete themselves.


So, the afternoons he was at the house, we used to talk about how things were going. Him with his amazing stories of the reserve he works at. I told him all about Hogwarts, except ironically Albus’ invitation, the biggest news I had.


The rest of these last three days I used to catch up with my sleep in the mornings and have dinners with my family, followed by movie nights, to enjoy my parents’ company.


Tonight’s dinner consists of my mum’s delicious Mac and Cheese and Mason has just finished talking about his friend’s new job when she catches me completely off guard:


- So, Emma, have you received word from Albus yet?


- What? – Mason frowns, looking at me.


I drink my juice to swallow quickly and answer, going red:


- No, mum.


- Wait, are you talking about Albus Potter? – my brother goes on.


- Of course, Mason, which Albus could it be? – I roll my eyes. Now I remember why I didn’t tell him before.


- Since when do you know him? I thought I knew all your friends?


- I can make other friends, Mason. In fact, he even asked me to spend Christmas Eve with him. – I say in irritation. The way he talked, it seemed like I was antisocial. Which wasn’t completely right.


- No way!! – He looks at me as if I’m crazy. – He always seemed so quiet and private.


- So? – I challenge him. – What’s the problem with that? 


- Nothing! – He raises his hands defensively. – I don’t even know the guy. He must be nice if you’re friends.


That statement erases my irritation with him. My parents, who have been watching our conversation as if in a tennis match, relax too.


- Well done, sis. Didn’t think you had it in you to score one of the most sought out guys at Hogwarts. – Mason says slyly.


My mum holds my hand just as I’m about to throw a piece of cheese at him. Between his laughter, I yell:


- We’re just friends!


- For now.


To interrupt what could become another argument my father asks:


- How is the Quidditch season going, Em?


That’s a topic we all agree with. As I tell him about the team, my dad’s eyes shine. My father is fascinated about the magical world and loves everything about it. He always wants to know every detail and looks forward to passing through the barrier at platform 9 ¾ every term. I’m pretty sure if there was a spot as Hogwart’s caretaker he would abandon his career as an accountant on the spot.


My mum is an accomplished lawyer and shares the same enthusiasm for magic, though she has more difficulty in separating what’s possible in the magical world and what isn’t. She compares all we tell her about to what she knows of her childhood fantasy books.


The rest of dinner passed smoothly, though I could see my brother smirking at me from the corner of my eyes.


Later, we all watched a comedy together and my parents were already sleeping at the couch, when a white and brown beautiful owl entered through the open window and dropped a letter on my lap.


- It’s from Albus, isn’t it?


- Shut up! – I told Mason as I climbed the stairs to my room (slowly, might I add. I didn’t want to seem too eager).


I broke the seal and a little piece of parchment fell in my hands.


The address is Potter Cottage. Just say it before stepping into the floo.
A.    P.


The disappointment had just settled into my stomach when the parchment suddenly opened and transformed into a long letter.


Hey Parker,


Did you really think I would send two sentences for your invitation? I hope not. I’m told people consider me more classy than that. Anyways, it took me two hours to master this charm to get the letter to appear just after you read it.


I’m really glad Mason isn’t here to see the big smile stretched into my face.


Also, I really want you to be here in two days. James and his friends are driving everyone insane, since my uncle George gave them the new stack of Weezes products. I, myself, have been pranked once. Though after I set them straight, they wouldn’t dare do it again.I won’t bore you with details, just tell you it was worthy of a Slytherin.


I roll my eyes fondly. All the boys had sent me, and probably the other girls, letters telling about their brilliant pranks. Though, none of them talked about Al’s prank, of course.


Anyway, the rest of the time I spend mostly reading and at Malfoy Mannor with the rest of the guys. You should see all the space they have. I bet you’d love to play Quidditch there. 


So, see Em, you need to come soon, so your friends don’t drive me insane. I need someone intelligent to talk to.


Sincerely,
Your best work partner


I close the letter carefully and sit in front of my desk. There was a small pile of letters to answer anyway.


Dear Albus,


The letter did surprise me. I was thinking those two sentences were all you were going to send. Yes, you’re not that classy.


I’d like you to remember that I put up with James, Fred and Jake everyday in school. That’s part of being a friend, I suppose. But don’t worry, the girls and I know how to handle them.


By the way, I think it was rather Gryffindor of you to get them back. As you BOLDLY set them straight. You might fight it, Potter, but there’s certainly a bit of lion in you.


My Holidays have been pretty uneventful. Just enjoying time with my family and brother. Don’t know if you remember him. The cocky and goofy Gryffindor Quidditch captain four years ago. Your brother is pretty much his fan, so you must know.


I’m in need of doing something different so you bet I’ll go to your house Saturday. Glad to know you enjoy our talks. High praise for a Slytherin like yourself.


Sincerely,
Your intelligent study partner.


Then, I wrote a letter back to the boys, informing them of my Holidays and the stories my brother told me. I’m sure they’d like to hear that. 


James has also told me of his new girlfriend and how he is a man in love now (his words). It didn’t surprise me. We’ve always been close and it made me honored that he isn’t afraid to be honest with me. James, even though he always likes to thrive on the attention he gets and jokes around, has a really soft heart. He’s pretty sensitive to his friends’ needs and is insanely loyal. That’s why I’ve always been so confused to why he never noticed the huge crush I had on him.


Freddie, in the other hand, is the complete joker. He’s completely oblivious sometimes but loves to make everyone laugh. Which he accomplishes almost every time.


Jake is the more laidback. He’s a constant partner to the boys and a complete dear to us girls. He’s also very affectionate, witch has earned us copious glares from his “fan base”. I love to seat with him and talk for hours. He’s always up to listening to people.


After answering them, I wrote to Anna and Zoe. To Anna, I talked about my brother’s teasing at dinner and the book I was reading. Honestly we can spend meters of parchment talking about books. It’s one of the passions we both share. I also gave her advice about her hot cousin. Really, Anna and I can talk about anything. The longest letter by far.


I had to hold back my laughter when I read Zoe’s letter. She practically just talked about Christmas’ Eve. Told me which clothes to wear, how to act, everything. She basically taught me a way to his bed. Other than that, she told me about the three boys who already asked her out at parties but none compared to her Oliver. I told her everything was under control and reminded her I had an interview to make and no time to spend seducing Albus. Then told her to tell the boys she had a boyfriend, already. Which really, was what her and Oliver were. Completely boy crazy, that one.


I sent my owl, Wing, with the letters and yawned, getting into bed. I fell asleep with a soft smile on my face.


Two days later, I had just finished putting on my red simple dress, black stockings and low-hilled boots. With a long beige coat thrown over my shoulders just in case. I’d applied some makeup and passed a perfume.


 I thought I looked pretty good for the evening. Not too fancy but well dressed. The outfit all Zoe’s idea.


- Mum, dad! I’m going!


They come into the living room.


- Take this bottle of wine for his parents, dear. – My mum gives me the fanciest bottle we have.


- Have fun, love. But be home before 12:00.


- Don’t worry, dad.


- Good luck with the interview dear. I know you’ll be great!


- Thanks, mum. – I hug her.


- Behave, sis! Don’t get too handy with the Potter boy! Send hi to your friends for me! – my brother shouts from the kitchen.


I roll my eyes at my brother:


- Dont worry, Mason.


I grab my purse, with an extension charm to fit Al’s gift and the material for the interview, and say bye to my family again before grabbing a bit of floo powder and shouting “Potter cottage” to be engulfed in a whirlwind of ash.


After passing through thousands of fireplaces, I stop suddenly and take a step out of the fire. Surprisingly I don’t have much difficulty stepping out of the floo, compared to my brother who always falls face down.


What assaulted my senses was a loud noise of talk and laughter, people everywhere of almost all ages, and a delicious smell of turkey and other food I couldn’t quite identify.


The first person to greet me is James, who engulfs me in a hug and takes me off the ground.


- Em!!! You’re here!


I laugh.


- Yes, I am, James.


He puts me down just to be hugged by Jake and Fred with the same enthusiasm. The fourth boy, Ben, a Ravenclaw their friend, is more polite and shakes my hand.


- I’ll be right back, Em! My uncle Bill wants our help with the Christmas lights.


- Go, go James! I’m fine here. We talk later.


The boys go out and, of course, I’m left standing there awkwardly in the middle of the living room. 


This gives me the time to look around. It’s nothing like I imagined it. Instead of high ceilings and grand corridors, it seems like those comfortable houses from the movies. Still, it’s beautiful, with modern furniture in some places and others with a more traditional look to it. The room in which I’m standing is painted a soft yellow color and seems like the biggest part of the house. There’s a big beige sofa and lots of comfy armchairs around. In front of the sofa there’s a fireplace, classic orange tiles around it. The lightning is strong and uses muggle electricity. I also can’t help but notice a big modern TV over the fireplace in a TV set.


While I’m occupied looking at the photos, wizard and muggle, which portray the whole family, someone calls my name. 


I turn around to see a beautiful red headed woman, her long flowing hair unmistakable, and  matching warm chocolate brown eyes. Ginny Weasley is holding a tray of what seems to be toast with tomato sauce and melted cheese. Beside her, there’s a smaller version of herself, only with darker red hair, that I’m used to seeing at school.


- Would you like some appetizers, dear?


- I, Y-yes. – my nervousness was 30% because she is Al’s mum and 70% because she’s basically my Quidditch idol. Inspiration to all female Quidditch players, really.


- Mum, this is  Al’s girl, Emma!


I go as red as my dress and suppress a glare at Lily, who eyes me mischievously, pretending to smile innocently.


- Oh so you’re Emma! So nice to meet you, dear! Al has talked so much about you! – she shakes my hand.


- Much is an understatement. – Lily rolls her eyes.


- So, how long have you been dating?


During this whole exchange I just managed to stand there with my mouth slightly open, but at her last question I start to sputter:


- Thats, we’re not-


- Oh, sorry dear. That’s between you two of course. I’ll continue passing this food around and we can talk later, girl to girl. – she gives me a wink.


- But I-


I’m left talking to myself as the two Potter women leave.


Suddenly a hand touches my shoulder and I jump a bit.


- Come on, darling. This is getting boring already.


I hear a familiar deep boyish voice and turn around smiling. Instantly I wrap my arms around his neck. Even with the high heeled boots, he is a bit taller than me. The way he squeezes me and laughs gives no space for embarrassment.


- How are you, Em? I hope you haven’t been by yourself too long.


- No, the boys already found me. And your mum and sister.


- My mum already offered you food?


- Yes.


- She gets that from Grandma. – he shakes his head fondly.


- Well someone has to, since the person who invited me only shows up now. – I tease him.


- Well, for your information Miss Parker, I was checking something for you. But let me be the perfect host now, and introduce you to everyone.


With that, he grabs my hand and starts leading me through the house and backyard. 


We have just started when I already know I’m not gonna remember all these names. Aside from his cousins that are at school, there’s still Victoire, easy to remember with her beauty, Dominique, her just as beautiful sister, Molly and Lucy, two lovely redheads. Then there’s Roxanne, who graduated two years ago and played beater with Zoe. Another of his uncle Bill and aunt Fleur is Louis, a laidback guy who was a Ravenclaw. The others I knew from Hogwarts and Al just did a quick explaining of who are the parents of each cousin. Though I think he doesn’t have much expectation of me remembering all of that.


Also outside were his uncles Charlie and Bill putting the Christmas lights with their nephews James, Fred and the boys. Their backyard was beautiful. I could see it allowed for some games of Quidditch, since there was a makeshift smaller pitch outside. It just wasn’t larger because the area was surrounded by beautiful trees and near the house there was a little garden with colorful flowers and vegetables.


They obviously lived near the countryside because the sky was clear with beautiful stars and there was no noise of cars.


- It’s beautiful here. – I say.


- You like it? – Al smiles. – From the window of my bedroom I can see the sky and the stars. That’s why I started Astronomy. Dad bought me a telescope when I was little.


This piece of information made me smile. This is the most relaxed I’ve seen Al. He speaks teasingly with his cousins but also fondly. And his green eyes shine talking about his family and his home. While we walk through the garden he points me places while telling me family stories. The night air is cold but my hand is warm, reminding me that he’s still holding it.


In their modern kitchen, chatting while helping make dinner are the Weasley women. The beautiful Veela Fleur, brown – haired smiling Audrey, Angelina another ex-Quidditch player, Ginny Potter and another woman that needs no introduction: Hermione Granger. And I have to make an effort not to stare.


As I’m being introduced to them all, someone squeezes me in a hug, smelling of cookies. I look up into the face of an elderly woman, with more grey than red hair now. She smiles as if she’s known me for a long time and grabs my cheeks, saying she’s very happy to see me.


- You’re such a beautiful young lady! I’m so happy Al invited a new friend to Christmas. He’s way too private for his own good. Though you are a bit thin, dear. – she starts scrutinizing me with her eyes – Don’t worry, there’s plenty of food in here.


- Alright, I have to introduce Emma to the rest of the house now. – Al grabs my hand again and pulls me away. The rest of the women laugh, though Mrs Potter glances at our joined hands.


In the living room I find his Uncle Percy talking about the Ministry to his godbrother, who is except for in blood, his oldest brother: Teddy Lupin. That’s one name I’ll certainly remember. Hard not to with his blue spiky hair and eyes that change colors even as he greets me charmingly, making me blush. Al murmurs something akin to “show off” under his breath and is quick to explain he works at the Department of Mysteries and is engaged to Victoire.


We pass Arthur Weasley talking to his granddaughter Lucy about Muggle Studies in a big chair by the fire, a very kind and excited man who greets me enthusiastically .


After that, the only ones left are the three men drinking bottles of Butterbeer and laughing together.


The first redhead I see all the time in Hogsmeade and he greets me warmly, commenting about how beautiful I look and winking at his nephew.


The second one is not unknown by name either but it’s the first time I see Ron Weasley up close. He matches everything I heard from stories in books and from his nephews, easygoing and funny, as he asks if his mother has tried fattening me up yet. His hairline is receding a bit, though it’s still an orange red. His blue eyes shine fondly as he talks about his mum.


Last but not least, I’m to meet the very man I’ll interview. I’m so starstruck the only thing I notice is his hair is black, not red like the others and he’s still a bit taller than Al.


- Dad, this is Emma Parker, my friend who wants to interview you. Emma, this is my dad, Harry Potter.


- I-It’s a pleasure Mr. Potter.


- The pleasure is mine, dear. – he answers in a firm voice and shakes my hand.


- Lets go to my office, then. It’s quieter for the interview.


- No, Mr. Potter. I don’t want to bother you now.


- No problem, Emma. – he is already walking to the corridor. – Lets do this now, so you can enjoy the party later.


As I walk behind him I turn to glare at Albus, for not giving me a warning before. Though he just smiles and waves.


Harry Potter’s office was elegant but with a touch of warmth. There was a grand wood table in front of a very high and comfortable chair. Two red armchairs on the other side. A bookcase from floor to ceiling filled with thick books. And in the walls and on the desk, pictures of all his children, including his godson. And one I noticed was at his wedding day.


- Please, take a seat. – he says while he seats at his own chair. I blush as I realize he caught me staring.


- No need to be embarrassed, Emma. Al already talked about the interview and there’s no problem to me.


I just nod, too nervous to talk.


He looks at me thoughtfully and says:


- Actually, he’s talked about you a lot in his letters. I wonder if there isn’t something I’m missing...


This time I don’t lose time in explaining:


- No, Mr. Potter. I mean Al and I are strictly friends, just that.


He grins, unexpectedly.


- My wife has already called you his girlfriend, hasn’t she?


- Well, yes... – I say confusedly.


He laughs freely, reminding me of Al.


- She was just kidding, Emma. Don’t worry. We have a friendly competition of who can embarrass our children more. You’ll understand when you have your own. It’s too funny.


I laugh with him, a lot more relaxed now. 


This way I can really pay attention to the man talking to me.


I’ve seen loads of pictures of Harry Potter before, stamped in the pages of History books. But seeing him this close and really taking notice, it’s easy to find the striking resemblance to his youngest son. His handsome facial features are identical. And the green eyes are the same, except Harry’s are behind his trademark glasses.

 

The hair is the Potter’s messy black, except for a few lost grey streaks. Looking briefly you wouldn’t be able to see it.

 

And while he smiles gently at me, laughing lines appear at his mouth.

 

I couldn’t help but notice the famous scar on his forehead too. Much faded now from the pictures of him as a teenager, it almost fit his face now.

 

I realize the only difference I could see from Albus is the mouth. Al’s lips are more curved and full, which I assume resemble his mothers. Not that I’ve been paying attention, of course.

 

- So, whenever you wanna start. – he nods at me.


I grab my notes and quill, take a deep breath and start talking.


According to all who meet him, Harry Potter is the kindest and most down to earth man there is. And I could clearly see it now. He made this interview seem like a friendly chat, while I asked him the questions I didn’t find the answers to in our History books. I asked about Dumbledore’s army, how the meetings went and who had the idea for it. About the importance of his friend’s support during his mission, how did they plan to get into Gringotts. And also about the changes in the Ministry and Wizarding Comunity, what he thought changed for better and worse, and what he expected could be improved.


In what seemed like a few minutes, I realized my list of questions was complete. Though my hand was almost cramping, proof that it really was a long interview.


- I don’t know what to say, Mr Potter. This was so kind of you, taking the time to help me with this. And on Christmas Eve too.


He smiles:


- It was a pleasure, Emma, really. It was one of the best interviews I’ve ever been to. For once, only relevant questions. And not about my personal life, which can get very awkward most times. – he jokes.


I laugh, a bit self-consciously for being complimented by a man I admire so much.


- Besides – he continues, looking at me with eyes as expressive as his son’s – I’d always do it for such a good friend of Al’s. You know, joking aside, I’ve never seen my son so excited about a project as the one you two are doing together. He thinks highly of you, Emma. We can tell.


When he sees I’m too embarrassed to speak, he gets up and says, leading me to the door:


- Well, no use letting this party go to waste. The Weasley Christmas is something else, I assure you.


I laugh:


- So I’ve heard.


When I pass through the door, I come face to face with the youngest Potter male, hands in the pockets of his jeans, a light color this time, that matches his dark blue sweater, and munching on something. I notice a golden and thin chain around his neck that leads to underneath his well-fitted sweater.


- You took a long time in there. Hope you didn’t embarrass me too much. – he says lightheartedly to his father.


- Just enough. I’ll leave the rest for your mother. – Harry winks at me and messes Al’s hair up, leaving both of us alone.


- So, how was it? – Al smiles at me.

 

- Amazing!! I mean I have all the material I need. A guaranteed Outstanding!

 

He laughs at my enthusiasm.

 

- C’mon – he grabs my hand – I wanna show you something.

 

We’re walking up the stairs but there’s clearly an awkwardness about me caused by Albus’ parents questioning of dating their son. Al notices it too.

 

- They asked you about us dating, haven’t they? 

 

I blush.

 

- Yeah...

 

- Sorry about that. They’re just excited I brought a girl home. They never know about my love life.

 

- So you’ve never introduced them to your girlfriends? – I frown

 

He smirks:

 

- There aren’t any girlfriend to introduce to.

 

- So, you haven’t ever been with a girl?

 

There’s no way Albus Potter, who has a list of girls falling at his feet, has never chosen one of them.

 

He shakes his head:

 

- Just haven’t had a girlfriend. Nothing more than Hogsmeade weekends and hookups at parties.

 

- Why? – I frown.

 

- I just never liked anyone enough to take that step with. – he shrugs.

 

At this point we’ve already climbed a staircase  and entered a corridor where I assume the bedrooms are. He stops in front of one of the doors and continues our conversation.

 

- What about you?

 

- Me?

 

He stares straight in my eyes:

 

- Have you had many boyfriends? It’s my turn to ask.

 

- No! – I almost laugh at him – I mean I dated for a time in fourth year. But that doesn’t really count. And I’ve been to like two Hogsmeade weekends since then. Nothing more.

 

He raises his eyebrows.

 

- Not surprised, are you? – I ask.

 

- Actually, I am.

 

Albus’ mouth is on a firm line, his jaw clenched and he looks at me as if in deep thought. My eyes keep getting attracted to his lips though. Rosy as they are from the wine he consumed and the shape they have.

 

He seems to get out of his thoughts and opens the door.

 

- Come on in.

 

Inside I walk into a beautiful room, with a big bed, light green walls and dark wooden furniture. To one side in front of a window, there is a desk with a pile of school books and quill and parchment strewn across it. A comfortable looking black leather chair in front of it. The bed in the middle has grey bedding and a pile of black and grey matching pillows. On the other side stands a tall wardrobe, a Firebolt V leaning on it. And above the bed, there is also a stand filled with books, in front of ... a Slytherin poster, of course.

 

- Nice room. Very Slytherin. – I say. I sense a delicious tropical smell, that reminds me of Al.

 

- Typical, right? – he walks in and, without preamble, starts to look in his trunk in the corner for something.


I laugh. But right there, with nothing to do while he searches, I get very self-conscious.


- So...And here? Have you ever brought a girl here?


What kind of question is that, Emma?!


- Nope. – he answers, coming near me with a little squared package on his hands. – Only family. Aside them, you’re the first. Why?


He’s very close now, looking down at me.


I know what a boy wants when they let you into their room. Zoe made sure to tell me. Although, admittedly, I’d never gotten into one that wasn’t family. This thought made my heart beat faster. But I didn’t feel at all like I wanted to leave.


- Open it. – Al almost whispers.


I remember the little package that he puts in my hands and start:


- Al, it wasn’t...


- You can stop with the polite refusal, Em. I want you to have this. – he puts his hand over mine.


I smile and start to open the gift.
Inside the messily wrapped box (clearly Al’s work) there is a little device I knew very well. Only this one was a light pink color.


- Is this...?


- An Ipod that works in the magical world? Yes, it is. – Al is grinning and actually looks like he’s the one that received the gift.


- This is amazing! But, Al, these aren’t cheap.


He shakes his head:


- My uncle George is working with them, remember? I just used my credit for working at his store during summers and he got me this. You’ll see that inside there’s already a playlist with our songs. I hope you don’t mind.


I throw myself at his arms and use it as an excuse for him not to see my moistened eyes. Not just because of the gift but because of the way he said “our songs” so naturally.


He hugs me tightly and I let go and hold one of his strong arms, remembering of a certain other Ipod which I hadn’t returned.


- Is it just me or is this a way to politely ask for your Ipod back? – I try to lighten the mood. But he’s very close and looking intensely at me now.


His hair is lightly brushing his eyes and I get the impression they glance at my mouth before looking at my own eyes again.


- I think we’re way past politeness, don’t you agree?


I can see the very light freckles on his nose and the pupils of his so green eyes. His breath brushes my face, his black hair shining in the light of the room. We’re so close to each other...


I startle when I hear his grandma yell:


- Kids! Dinner’s ready!



Chapter 11: Chapter 11
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N.: Hi for all of you who are following this story!! I’m so glad people are still keeping up with it. I love to develop Al and Emma’s story. This chapter was actually a part of the last one. But I decided to make it into two because of the length, and also I felt this part deserved its own chapter. Tell me what you think, please. I’d rather say it’s a part you’ve been waiting for.


Song recommended: I Don’t Care – by Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber


You’ll know for what part it is ;)


Grandma Weasley’s dinner could give the Hogwarts house-elves a run for their money. The food seemed to have come out of a TV commercial. It looked delicious and smelled like it too. 


The noise in the table turned to a cacophony of voices, everyone talking to each other. And I was surprised. Not just because Al, sitting at my side, engaged himself in conversation with all his cousins, so different from school, when he only hangs out with his Slytherin friend. But also how I was included in all these conversations, especially his cousin Rose, who sat by my other side and wanted to talk all about the books I was reading. Even the adults asked me questions about my family and Quidditch, a common topic between most of them.


Mr. Potter was right, the Weasley Christmas was something else. And after a delicious desert and more time chatting at the table, people started to leave. So I got up to leave as well.


After saying goodbye to everyone, with lots of tight hugs, and thanking them for the wonderful dinner (Grandma Weasley insisted I take some of the desert home) I stood with Al in front of the fireplace.


- Emma, there’s something I wanna ask you. And I decided to use the Gryffindor side in me to do it in person. Not in a letter.


I look up at him intrigued.


- There’s going to be the Ministry Ball on New Year’s Eve and we all have to attend. – he rolls his eyes. – Anyway, I normally don’t take a date. But I’d like for you to come with me this year.


- Really? – After our intense moment upstairs we both acted as if nothing untoward happened. I’m pretending though. Just don’t know about him.


He shrugs:


- Its not exactly a cool Ball, so don’t expect too much. But I just...you know...like to spend time with you. And I think you can make the night seem funnier.


- Alright, I’ll go.


His face breaks into a smile.


- Good! Can you meet us here at eight, so we go together?


- Sure.


- Great! I’m quite good at this inviting thing, actually. – he smiles cockily, with his hands on his pockets.


- No, you’re not.– I say as I throw the floo powder. – By the way, asking me to a boring Ball isn’t very Gryffindor of you.


- But didn’t you see my nobility and bravery to ask you face to face and be truthful with you ?


I almost get my address wrong between my laughter.


On Christmas morning, the whole family gathered around to open presents with mugs of coffee on their hands, a family tradition.


My parents gave me a beautiful necklace with an owl on it, which I had already put on. Mason gave me a broomstick kit, to help Gryffindor win, he said. Anna gave me a book we were talking about, and Zoe a new lipstick. Jake gave me candies. Freddie, Weezes new products, and James gave me new Chaser gloves he knew I needed.


We finished breakfast at the table, my family interrogating me about last night. My father wanted to know everything about the Potter’s magical home, which, I disappointed him by saying, was half Muggle. My mum was asking non-stop about my gift from Albus, and Mason was making kissing noises meanwhile. So mature.


That’s when Al’s owl came flying through the window giving me a letter and I excused myself to go to my room. Mason made sure to tell my parents who the letter was from.

 

Last night I left Al’s gift under the Christmas tree, with explicit orders to open only on Boxing Day. Inside, I had put a simple note:


For you to cheer in the future Gryffindor games.


Now, I was crazy to know what he thought of it.

 


I sat on my bed and opened it.


Hey Emma,
Just wanted to thank you for the scarf. Very thoughtful of you. Though I think you’re the one that looks better in red.


I blush. My dress was red last night.


It was quite funny to see my family’s reaction though. My parents wanted to make sure I wasn’t having an identity crisis or something. James thought it was to cheer for him of course. 


Anyway, thank you, Em. Can’t believe you actually sewed a scarf for me. I am the one that should be saying it’s too much. By the way, is this your polite way to ask me to root for you on the next match?


Your fake Gryffindor,


Al.


I lay down in my bed and hug my letter, my mind wanders again to that moment in his room. Was he really going to kiss me? He didn’t talk about it anymore. Maybe the thing is, I wanted him to kiss me. I get up quickly to write a reply.


We’re way past politeness, aren’t we? But you bet I want to see you in my next game.


Your best Gryffindor player,


Emma.

 

The days between Christmas and New Year’s passed quickly. I told my parents about the Ball and they saw no problem in it. My mom may have gotten a bit too enthusiastic and started planning our wedding. She wouldn’t hear me when I said we weren’t even dating.


Anna and Zoe went crazy about it. Zoe wrote me a list of things I should consider when going to a high-society event.


On December 28th Anna and I are walking the crowded streets of Diagon Alley. Zoe couldn’t come because she had a birthday party to go with Oliver.


After walking two hours through it, we find an elegant strapless dress that fit perfectly on my body, with golden details on it. Red, of course.


- Albus is gonna go crazy when he sees you in it! It’s beautiful! – Anna says.


- We’re just friends, An. You know that.


- Doesn’t matter. He’s a guy anyway.


I laugh.


- But, really. – she continues. – You want more than friendship, don’t you? I mean, I’ve seen you haven’t been too bummed about James’ new girlfriend.


I hesitate.


- I’m happy for you, Em. – Anna assured me. – I don’t know if you ever thought of Albus as more than a friend. I know you always insist you’re just friends. But this year...there’s just something different in you. A good different. And you always seem to shine after we pass him in the corridors. So...


- No. I mean, it’s just kind of complicated with Al to ever be something more. And I’ll admit I thought he was interested a few times, but it’s just his way, you know.


Anna listens attentively.


- He’s one of the school’s heartthrobs. It’s just natural for him to be charming. And yes. I like him a lot. And he’s very handsome.


- I’ll say. – Anna giggles.


- But – I continue. – I don’t want to start fantasizing about something that probably won’t happen. His friendship makes me happy. I don’t wanna screw that.


Anna nods. She knows I referred to James too when I talked about fantasizing.


- Damn, girl! You and those Potter boys! 


We laugh.


- You know him better than me, Em. And if his friendship makes you happy, that’s wonderful already. Sorry for pressuring you.


- C’mon, An. It’s your role as a friend to instigate my love with a handsome guy.


We laugh loudly in the middle of the street, not minding the looks people send us.


Three days later I’m again in front of the fireplace to head to the Potters. My dress received all my family’s approval, along with my light makeup (done by my mum) and my hair, loosely tied, with my locks cascading in my back.


As I get to their home, there’s only one person there to greet me. I have to keep myself from staring too much.


Al is using a Muggle suit, instead of Wizarding robes. It’s black and styled to open at the top, so he isn’t wearing a tie. It reveals just a bit of skin in his collar, where I see a glint of the same necklace I saw on him on Christmas. His hair is messy as usual, but it naturally fits him. His piercing eyes stare at me.


- You look beautiful, Parker. – he smiles.


- I thought you’d like the color.


He laughs:


- All the men will be all over my date, it seems.


- I’m sure you can fend for yourself with the girls flocking you.


- You’re my date tonight, Emma. No other girls. Except my family. – he concedes and gives me his arm in a gentlemanly way.


As I take it, I can smell his delicious cologne.


- Good. – I say. – You’re already taking me to a boring ball, after all.
I pull him to the floo.


Arriving at the Ministry, we’re at a grand room, with a beautiful chandelier. There are decorative lights everywhere and tables with flowers on it. A band plays at the stage and there are counters with barmans serving champagne and drinks.


- My family is already here! – Al yells through the music. – They came before me.


I try to spot them through the sea of fancy-dressed people but can’t find them.


- Wanna get a drink? – Al asks.


- Yes, please.


- So, - I say, when we’re already each with a glass of champagne in hands. – What do you normally do at these parties? 


- Drink, find some of my family, drink some more...


I push his shoulder.


- Right! Like the great Albus Potter doesn’t have fun in parties. 


- I do. When I have some good company. My friends are normally with me but to this one they never come. Well, except you, tonight.


He nudges me back. I smile at him but would lie if I said I didn’t get a bit disappointed at being compared to his male friends. It just reiterated what I’d been telling Anna, though.


The night goes on in friendly chatter and Al’s family appearing to greet me. James and Sophia came to us, hand in hand. He had opted for the Muggle suit too and looked very handsome, I couldn’t help but notice. Sophia was beautiful, with a purple loose dress complimenting her blonde hair.


- Congrats, little brother! Found a gorgeous girl for you. And this one is actually smart. – James kisses my cheek.


- You’re one to talk, James. – Al smirks. – It seems you found a wonderful pair as well. So this is Sophia? James doesn’t shut up about you. – Al kisses her in greeting.


- And you are the younger brother. James said lots of things about you. Don’t worry though. I don’t believe in half of them.


- I already like her, James – Al says.
James rolls his eyes but I can see it’s in an affectionate way.


- How are you, Sophia? – I greet her with a hug. There seems to be a bit of tension in the air. I try to ignore it, but get the feeling it’s tense just for me.


- Good. Emma! You look beautiful!


- Thank you, so do you. – I smile. We stay in a kind of awkward silence.


- We have to go now. Sophia and I are gonna hit the dance floor. See you, little bro, Em. – James pulls her to the dance floor while she laughs.
I take another sip of champagne and turn to look at the dance floor.


I find Jake and Fred in the crowd with two girls I don’t know. They wave at me, cheekily. Their friend Ben is at their side, looking a bit uncomfortable.


Many of Albus’ cousins come greet us too. Rose, who has talked to me a lot at Christmas, was wearing a beautiful dress and came to give me a hug. She didn’t appear too excited about her date though, a brown haired boy that I vaguely remembered as a 6th year Ravenclaw.


Mr and Mrs Potter were gorgeous too. Him wearing a suit, like his sons and her in an elegant green piece.


- Enjoy the party, kids. – she said as they passed us.


After five or so glasses of drinks and champagne though, my butt was starting to hurt. 


- Aren’t we gonna dance? – I ask, quite boldly.

 

Albus seems caught off guard too.

 

- I’m not much for dancing. At lest not in events like this. – he sips at his champagne. My glass is already empty. 

 

That explains the uncharacteristic boldness then. Well that, and the other four glasses.

 

- Well, you said yourself you’ve never brought a date before.

 

His face breaks into a smile:

 

- You’re quite right, Miss Parker. Dancing with a beautiful girl may be the secret to enjoy yourself.

 

- What are you waiting for? – I grab his hand, smile on my face too.

 

As soon as we start the first steps I mess up and almost trip on his shoes. He looks at me.

 

- You don’t know how to dance, do you?

 

I shake my head.

 

He smiles.

 

- And I’m supposed to be the Slytherin. You just decided to dance because I didn’t want to, didn’t you?

 

- Well, you dragged me to this boring ball. – I whisper.

 

Al laughs.

 

His hands are on my waste. I get quite flustered as I put mine behind his neck. Even with the heels, I’m still a few inches shorter than him. The song playing in the background is one of Celestina Warbeck’s old melodies.

 

- Apparently, Warbeck’s songs are historical treasure now.

 

I laugh.

 

- They never play something good at these things. – he shakes his head. 

I silently agree. There’s lots of songs I preferred to be dancing with him. Though it didn’t matter too much.

 

- Hey, you’re getting good at this. – he refers to my dancing. 

 

Keeping up with this rhythm isn’t too hard.

 

- I’m not normally this good. – I say.

 

- You’re quite good at dancing with me. – he whispers.

 

My cheeks go red beneath my makeup. I can smell his usual minty breath coupled with the fruity  champagne. His lips are rosy and my hand feels the hair at the nape of his hair where I’m holding him. It matches too much the sensations of one of my fantasies. He’s looking down at me, seeming to consider something.

 

The music stops abruptly and both Al and I seem surprised amongst the applause. I feel like I’m coming back to reality.

 

- And now – the booming voice of Minister Shacklebolt starts on the stage. – Leys start the countdown to Midnight. – he looks at a pocket watch. – In 10...

 

- Emma.  – Al brings my attention back to him.

 

- Humm?

 

...8...

 

- Will you kiss me at Midnight?

 

- What?! 

 

...5...

 

- Its just a New Year’s kiss. Really. – Al explains himself. – Everyone’s doing it. And you know, it’s the first time I bring a date.

 

...3...

 

He’s looking intently at me.

 

...2...

 

- Yeah.

 

....1... Happy New Year!!!

 

His mouth connects with mine unexpectedly but I still get surprised at the warmth of his lips. I don’t even have the time to decide if I am going to deepen the kiss or not when my mouth has already opened and I taste the champagne on his tongue. I can even feel that familiar minty scent beneath the drink. His hand touches my cheek and I love how mature and affectionate it feels. The kisses I shared with other boys didn’t come close to making me feel like this.

 

I remember vaguely contemplating if a New Years kiss should take that long, but then, wanting it to last longer.

 

Soon though, the clapping starts and confetti falls from someone’s wand, Albus closing his lips over mine and pulling away.

 



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