You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


So much more by AnHPsuperfan

Format: Novel
Chapters: 17
Word Count: 62,129
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: 07/22/2020
Last Updated: 07/23/2020

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.

 



Chapter 12: Chapter 12
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A/N.: Hey, everyone. I don’t even know what you say about this long wait. I’m so sorry it’s been 3 months already. All I can say is it was the result of a lack of time and inspiration. I’m back now, though, and on holidays which will give me plenty of time! 


So, for all of you who’ve been waiting for an update, know that I’ll do it more frequently.


For anyone new who stumbled into this story and read it till here, welcome!!


I truly hope everyone enjoys this chapter. I definitely plan on writing a lot more chapters! Please, leave your thoughts on the reviews, I love to read them. See you soon!


Song for this chapter: Let’s see what the night can do – by Jason Mraz


When I open my eyes, my vision is blurry. I can see the contours of his face turned to mine. But when my vision clears he’s already turned away.


- I-I have to go to the bathroom! – I blurt out.


- What?


I’d already turned away and was walking towards the sea of people.


- Emma? What’s wrong? – I hear Albus’ worried shouts but I continue to make my way, circling the couples in the dance floor. 


Later, Anna would ask me what happened to make me act this way and I would have an (almost) reasonable explanation. For now, I wasn’t thinking straight.


-Sorry! – I apologize as I bump into an old witch, wearing an animal fur overcoat. She stares at me angrily. I quickly walk past her and find two familiar faces in the crowd. James and Sophia are still intertwined in a passionate kiss.


I quicken my pace to the nearest exit.


- You what?! – Anna throws her hands in the air.


I was spending the afternoon of the first day of the year at my best friend’s house. After my surprise exit of the New Year’s Ball, I decided I had to talk to Anna about the whole Albus thing. It was driving me mad. So I told her in lesser details about the meetings we used to have and Christmas and New Year’s Eve with the Potters.


- I just freaked out! I didn’t know how to act around him anymore.


- Why not? – she exclaims. – Now that a gorgeous guy is ridiculously in love with you, you run away?


- That’s the point, Anna!! He isn’t in love with me. He’s been doing all this romantic things for me and leading me on, but keeps calling me a “friend”. Now, what was supposed to be just a New Year’s kiss, wasn’t just that for me. I just felt something you know? No other boy at Hogwarts had ever made me feel like I feel around James, but then comes Albus and this happens.


- Yeah, like the boy you’ve been falling for kisses you? That is the problem in this situation? – she asks with an air of irony.


I glare at her – Do you think that Albus bloody Potter would want anything to do with me?


- From what you’ve been telling me for the last two hours? Yes!!


I groan at my unhelpful friend.


- Love, - Anna decides to try her soft side now and puts her hand on my shoulder. – If you want to know my opinion... – I nod. - I should give you a lesson now about how you shouldn’t measure your value about what others think, but since that’s not working for you, I’ll go for another route... – she raises her light-brown eyebrows, knowingly.


I smile sheepishly and she goes on:


- Emma, both Potter brothers clearly consider you enough to be your friends, so stop with this bullshit!


I widen my eyes:


- Anna Kavoc, you are swearing?


- Don’t interrupt me! – she warns me and I shut up.


- You’ve been pinning for James “bloody” Potter for years! – she uses my own words against me – Now that you have a chance with a guy you clearly like, and for what you tell me, one hell of a guy, you’re going to just let it slide? I really think you should give this a shot. Talk to Al, let him know how you feel, and see what he has to say.


- But what if it isn’t anything and I ruin our friendship?


- You won’t know if you don’t try. – she says gently. – Just do things on your own time. You’ll know what to tell him.


After that, we watched a romantic movie and made some popcorns. I felt much lighter. Anna has this effect on people and I decided I would talk to Al personally when I met him.


One week into the new Hogwarts term and I still hadn’t said anything. Basically I’ve been avoiding him, and therefore, our talk. I decided not to tell any of my other friends about Albus and asked Anna to do the same. So, she was the only one giving me accusatory looks when I took a sudden turn at a corridor to avoid the Slytherin boys, or sat with my back strategically positioned to the Slytherin table.


Even about our project, we hadn’t talked. I just asked Al if he would hand it in at our Ancient Runes class, and went to seat with my friends. I could tell he had something to say, but I didn’t give him the chance. And I’m not exactly proud of it. I know I should at least give him an explanation for leaving the Ball so suddenly but I’m completely embarrassed about it. And even so, I haven’t found a decent excuse that doesn’t include my romantic feelings for him.


I think all of this over while I finish to brush my teeth. My roommates are already snoring but I’ve always been a late sleeper. I get into my bed and prepare to fall asleep when I hear a little noise. I faintly think it must be an owl on my window and get up to look. 


When I see through the window I almost yell. 


Sitting on a broom is Albus Potter casually looking at me. Black overcoat, windswept hair and all. I turn around to check if the girls haven’t woken up and look at him again.


“What are you doing?” – I mouth.


He places one hand on the pocket of his coat and I don’t understand what is happening for a moment, until he takes out what looks to be a crumbled piece of parchment.


He places it on the glass and I can make out something written on it. 


I had to make a choice: I could just dismiss him, get into bed and close the curtains. Or I could get nearer and read it.


My curiosity wins me over.


In his, now familiar, handwriting, there is a question:


Fly with me tonight?


I look from the parchment to his eyes. He mouths “please” and points to the window.


I look around my room, thinking it over. There isn’t much to think, after all. If I wanted to turn him down, I wouldn’t have read the parchment in the first place. My embarrassment and uncertainty are small in comparison with the regret I would feel if I didn’t climb in that broom. Anna was right, I needed to take this chance.


I give him a small nod, though the smile that appears on his face is breathtakingly bright.


After opening the window carefully, not to wake my roommates, Al flies in slowly. Without getting out, he slips to the front of the broom and offers me the back. My heart gets accelerated and I wear my cape before climbing in.


Once I’m seated in, I put my arms around his torso. I’d have to be stupid not to do it, anyway. We are riding a broom, after all. His breathing gets deeper and, the next second, we are out the window and into the starry night sky.


The night is just as beautiful as the last night we flew together, if not a bit colder. The sky is a blanket of stars, reminding me of the wonders of living in a place which the city pollution can’t reach.


The planes of his muscles move underneath my hands and, if he pulls a sudden intake of air or if I lean a little closer, neither of us mentions it.


We land in the green grass near a tree facing the dark waters of the lake, where the Giant Squid is sure to be taking a nap. Without preamble, Al conjures a blanket and lays iron the grass, and then conjures a fire, to keep us warm.


He sits first, and then I follow, careful to keep some space between us. My sudden shyness wouldn’t permit otherwise.


I let out a sigh in the chilly winter air and say:


- Ok, can you explain why you dragged me here in the middle of the night?


- What can I say? It was the only way I could talk to you! You’ve been avoiding me for days now!


He looks directly into my eyes and for a moment I worry he may be a Legilimens.


- That’s not true, Albus. I’ve been busy.


- What are you running from, Em? – he asks softly and grabs my hand.


- Nothing! It was only a kiss! – I widen my eyes as I realize I’ve just given myself away.


Al gives me a small smile, almost sympathetic, and shakes his head.


- You know, Emma, before I met you, I was certain you were this kind of person. The person who can’t stand when things don’t go according to plan. Who doesn’t step out of her comfort zone. And I didn’t like you.


I look indignantly at him and he raises his hand.


- Wait! I promise I’ll go somewhere with this.


- I’d better like it!


He looks at me with an almost proud look in his eyes.


- You were always that James’ friend to me whose name I never remembered and who didn’t look me in the eyes – he continues. I don’t say anything not only because he asked me to, but also because there’s nothing to say. It’s all true. – Then when I treated you so rudely, I expected you to stay clear from me or just go on to ignore me.


He smiles more now:


- But then you came to me with righteous anger and simply apologized. I was perplexed, I would never have expected that from you. And that honest apology rang in my head that whole party.


He clears his throat – So I decided to make it up to you. And my way of doing it, was giving you the best project meeting you had ever had.


I smile:


- You don’t know that.


He chuckles but clearly wants to go on with his talk – It was more than the meeting. I wanted to show you that breaking the rules once in a while, or doing something that’s not on the plans can be amazing. And you seemed to have gone with it so well, that I did it the next time and  again and again... - Al was passing a hand through his hair now, the nervous Potter gesture, and was looking at the ground. – And every time we would go on these meetings, with every laugh that you gave, every part of yourself you showed me and every time you just listened to me... – he releases a breath and looks at me. – I’ve fallen hard for you, Emma Parker. – his eyes are stuck on mine, the brightest shade of green showing nothing but seriousness.


Such a profound declaration should have a grand reaction but all I could do was look at him with my mouth hanging open in a very unattractive manner. I stutter:


- W-why didn’t you tell me sooner?!


- Well, firstly, I knew you liked my brother.


- What?!


- Come on, Emma. Everybody knows it. The only one who can’t see it is my idiot brother. – he rolls his eyes.


I stay silent. I should have known it was ridiculously obvious anyway.


- So I decided to drop some hints here and there.


- Hints? – I ask.


He looks at me incredulously.


- You really didn’t notice? – I continue staring at him, so he goes on – I mean, our second meeting was literally a dinner in the light of candles and I pointed stars to you! Contrary to what I said, I don’t  do this to all my work partners.


A smile comes to my face as I think about that wonderful night. I remember my utter joy at finding out we had muggle music in common and then realizing it was very easy to chat with Albus.


- And that time in your tryouts, - he continues – my friends were there to check out the competition, I was there to see you. And, last month, the interview with my father was the only excuse I could find not to spend all break apart from you. That’s besides all the shameless flirting I’ve been doing of course.


My eyes are like saucers, I’m looking at him as if he’s grown another head:


- You can’t be subtle with me when it comes to this stuff, Albus. – I reason weakly.


He shakes his head at me, but is smiling adorably.


- Last week, when I kissed you, – his eyes are on mine but they slip subtly to my mouth – it wasn’t just a New Year’s kiss. It was our first kiss.


Well... I certainly wasn’t expecting such a declaration. My experience of it  consisted only of Joe Bridges in fourth year, who thew an apple at me to catch my attention and ask me to Hogsmeade.


I look at him, excitement running through my veins.


- Please, say something, Em. Or this is gonna be pretty awkward for me.


I laugh:


- Al, I... You’re right, of course, I’ve always had feelings only for James, but... The New Year’s kiss did mean something to me.


He nods, an unusual anxious expression on his face.


- I never thought that anyone would even catch my attention. In all these years, there hasn’t been anyone who...you know...made my heart beat quicker or whatever...


The truth is, all these romantic feelings were unknown to me. It normally is, if your greatest passion has been totally platonic. I remember the times Al made me laugh, the excitement his touch gave me, the thrill of catching his eyes on the corridor, how special I felt when he gave me a wink, our own inside joke...So, was I in love with him? Did I have to decide this now?


I look at him, and though I see anxiousness in his eyes, he doesn’t rush me in the least. And I look at his lips, pressed together, and I remember the chill that ran through my own, when we kissed a few days ago.


There was one thing I was sure of, and for once, I let my heart decide what I would do next.


I end the distance between us and take his hand. He is looking at me in askance. In one movement, I put my right hand in his cheek and press my lips to his in a soft kiss. 


When I pull away, his lips curve into a smile, and his green, beautiful eyes twinkle. He pulls my head towards his and the kisses this time aren’t soft nor short. I can taste mint and chocolate in his mouth and the scent that was so irrevocably Albus envelops me.


Soon we move positions to lie down on the blanket. The hardness of the ground and the cold of the winter air don’t even have space to register in my thoughts. They were only Albus Potter, his gentle touches and his soft hair.


We end up flying to my window when the morning is about to start.

The hours of the dawn were as comfortable as our project meetings, though with much less talking this time.



Chapter 13: Chapter 13
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A/N.: Hi everyone!! I have a new chapter ready, hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much for reading this fic and leaving reviews. That, more than anything, is what gets me excited to write more! Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions.


Song for this chapter: Fearless – by Taylor Swift.


Going out with Albus was like walking on clouds, or dreaming at daylight, or...any other fluffy analogy you wanna use here. The first week of our relationship passed in the blink of an eye. All those things, these glimpses of him I used to enjoy during the day didn’t diminish. He still had that knowing smile reserved just for me when our eyes met. Still winked at me when we passed each other in the corridors. And our “meetings” started to happen every night without fail.


But adding to that, dating Al included kissing leaning on castle walls, when he would find me alone waiting for a class or reading in the library, and transform my regular routine into scenes I’d remember with a smile on my face. It included late conversations with Anna, protected by a silencing charm in our beds, where I would tell her all the details with a dreamy look on my face. And especially, it meant sneaking at night with Al’s invisibility cloak to the top of the Astronomy tower, our favorite spot now, where we would stay close and talk about whatever was on our minds. 


So yeah, being with Al was what I would hold under my new definition of being in love and Anna, as the only one who knew about it, would agree with me. Following my instincts, after the night we kissed, I decided not to tell any of my other friends what was going on between Al and me. I knew my friends wouldn’t purposely tell the news to the rest of the school, but I also respected Albus’ privacy and, as soon as a Potter is dating someone, even the professors gossip about it. So, Anna, as my best friend, was the one who sent me knowing looks when a certain green eyed wizard was around. As for Albus, Scorpius was the only one to whom he told about us (with my consent) and the second person to send me knowing looks through meal times.


Friday night, Al and I were talking under the light of the moon in our special place and I took a parchment from my pocket where I was nervously keeping it.


- So... – I clear my throat – We got back our History assignments. You know, the interview I did with your dad.


- Can I see it? – he asks softly. His hand is in my hair and making it difficult for me to concentrate on the conversation.


I pass the parchment to him and he stops his ministrations to read it. I watch his face as he reads it seriously, and, when he gets to the end, a proud smile splits his face.


- No wonder you got an O in this! It’s brilliant, Emma!


- It wasn’t that hard, Al. – I blush. – Your dad got me all the information I needed.


- Yeah, but the way you put this together is...Can I send this to my dad? He would love to see it.


- Yeah, sure. If you think...


He kisses me soundly.


- It’s brilliant.


It does wonders for my confidence.


This thing about keeping the relationship secret wasn’t as easy as it seemed though. Just Wednesday I got to the Common Room after spending quality time with Al (he snogged me senseless against a hidden corner of the castle) and Anna called from our group of friends.


- Hey, Em!! How was your walk?


Fred frowned:


- Didn’t you say you were going to the Owlery?


I look at Anna and just stop myself from widening my eyes.


- She did. – my best friend answers for me. – But Emma likes to take a walk sometimes while reading her letters. That’s why her hair is such a mess. – she raises her eyebrows meaningfully at me behind their backs.


- Yeah, that’s it. – I blush.


- Well, I had no idea. – James says thoughtfully.


And just like that, the conversation resumes.


Damn, Anna was better at keeping a secret relationship than me?


Last Friday, during Ancient Runes class, we received our assignments from the start of the year back. Al and I leaned over ours and I smiled proudly at the red O splattered in it. There were some minor errors with the translations but Prof. Carter gave us points for the creativity.


- Well, that’s reason for celebration.

– Al said quietly. His voice rumbled gravely and a delicious shiver went down my spine.


- Mr. Potter, Mrs. Parker! Could you come here please? – Prof Carter called as the students were leaving.


I shared a look with Al and we went in front of her desk.


- I just wanted to congratulate you for your project. You make quite the pair! Didn’t expect you two to work so well together!


The students left in the class were clearly looking at us now.


- You must have spent a lot of time on this, right? – Prof Carter continued, quite loudly for my taste.

 

– First, finding the right story and then translating it.


Albus cleared his throat:


- Yes, professor. We take ou work quite seriously.


- Certainly! I’m keeping that in mind for future assignments. And you don’t usually work together?


I could feel the other’s eyes on our back.


- No, Professor. First time. Actually, I think we have Potions now. So... – Al was the one answering it because I was currently too embarrassed to speak.


- Oh sure, dears! Go ahead then!


And people seemed to unfreeze from their positions and get a move on. That’s when I had a little taste for what dating a Potter entailed.


After that class, Al and I didn’t have much time together. The workload for our N.E.W.T.s was getting to the point where students started to bring their books to the Great Hall on meal times. It was getting really stressing and even the boys, who weren’t exactly the studying type, were getting caught up in it.


James, though, was never one to put Quidditch in second place and we were training on the end of the afternoon in a plain Friday. It was the last practice before the game tomorrow and it was pouring.


- Alright everyone! – James calls us down. – That wraps our last practice. I think that’s all we needed. – he couldn’t even talk properly because of the water running down his face.


- Even if it wasn’t, there’s no way we’d be able to train in this weather.

– Victor Acres murmurs.


- And that’s James we’re talking about. – Jake says, more loudly this time.


We all shared a laugh, except for James. I was pretty sure that was a proud gleam in his eye, though.


I was sorted to be the one to put away all the equipment (so happy about it) and stayed on the pitch walking towards the Quidditch changing rooms and listening to the storm, while the others ran towards the castle.


Not even a well placed warming charm could stop me from shivering in the silent room.


After a few minutes, I almost jump out of my skin when warm hands grab my waist and pull me to a hard body.


- Hey. – Al whispers in my year and I’m surprised I took so little to recognize it.


- Albus!! – I turn and slap my hands on his chest. – How many times do I have to tell you to stop scaring me like that? Where did you come from anyway?


He shrugs and shows me the invisibility cloak folded over his arm.


- I was just waiting for the others to leave. Was going to walk you back to the castle, but us alone in the changing rooms seem far more tempting.


He starts to approach me, his look is very intense and he searches my face, something I know already what it means.


I laugh:


- I’m soaked! You really wouldn’t want to kiss me right now.


He runs his hands down my arms and the goosebumps aren’t from the rain anymore. I think he knows it too.


- I really do. – he answers my earlier statement.


I put my hand on the colar of his white shirt and feel the heat of his skin beneath it.


- I doubt Albus Potter would risk getting his fancy white shirt all wet and dirty with mud.


- Would you now? – he smiles crookedly at me. His face is leaning towards mine and I’m leaning against the wall of the changing room. Whatever he’s doing, I can’t stop giggling.


In one movement he pulls me off the ground and towards me. My legs wrap instinctively around his waist and I realize how short I am compared to him. His mouth is on mine instantly but only superficially, waiting for my permission to do more. I smile at his noble move, which he always does, and open my mouth allowing him to deepen it.


My back is pressed to the wall and I pull his body as close as possible to mine. In part because I want to get him as messy as possible but also because I can’t help it.


His hair is silky in my hands and his lips are very warm against my cold mouth. A cold I don’t seem to feel anymore.


He starts kissing my neck and I press my lips to keep a moan from escaping.


- I know what you’re doing, Parker. You think I can’t handle a bit of mud, yeah? – he says it against my neck  and it tickles, making a loud laugh escape me.


- Let’s go then! – he releases me and runs outside.


I go after him, laughing:


- Al!! What are you doing?


When I step outside, his hair is already starting to stick to his forehead due to the rain.


- I’m making a declaration here. That’s what I would do for your love, Em.


- You’re such a dork. – I laugh.


- Oh Emma Parker! – he raises his voice, almost shouting. – I’m here in this pouring rain, getting my fancy white shirt dirty...


His shirt is already far from clean after our snogging, and he has his arms open in a big gesture.


- Shut up, you idiot! - I’m mortified, though there’s really no one there.


- ...just for a small portion... – he continues.


I run towards him and kiss him fiercely while I push him to the ground. After lifting me in the changing rooms, I’m pretty sure I’m not strong enough to actually force him to the grass, but he humors me anyway and gets down. 


I lay down with my legs beside him and my upper body above his. I can see all his muscles framed by his wet shirt, that is now more brown than white. He’s smiling up at me, his hair dripping water. My arms are holding his beside his head.


I lean down to kiss him smoothly, savoring the moment. This scene reminds me of a thousand romantic movies that I watch all the time with Zoe and Anna. The reality is way messier and simpler, I know that, but I don’t care. I’m currently in love with more than one side of Albus Potter. The mischievous one just made my day.


The other morning, on the breakfast table I am flanked by Anna and Zoe sending positive energy for the game. As much as I loved Quidditch, they knew my nerves could get the best of me sometimes, differently from Zoe who was the most confident person I knew. I was frankly missing spending time with them. Anna at least knew where I was when I was with Albus, but Zoe just thought I’d been studying a lot and talking to lots of Professors about one essay or another. She seemed to feel the distance too:


- Let’s all grab some dinner in the kitchens tonight! – Zoe says excitedly. - It’s Quidditch day Emma. I doubt you’ll be studying anyway, with the party and all. It’s been ages since we all spent time together.


I open my mouth to say something.


- Quidditch and studying don’t count! – she interrupts me.


- Alright. But you don’t really know if we’re gonna win to have the party.


She waves a hand at me as if that notion was ridiculous. I was feeling very guilty actually, about the whole sneaking around with Albus. It had been a long time since we spent some time just the six of us, no interruptions. And I knew the boys didn’t seem to notice or care that much (they never mentioned anything) but us girls used to spend a lot more time together, even just talking at the dorms. Of course, Zoe also spent time with her boyfriend Oliver, but at least she wasn’t lying to me.


- Come on, team! Time to go! – James announces to the table in grand fashion, eliciting cheers from the Gryffindor students, already sporting the red and golden colors.


My nerves increase while I get up with Zoe and say goodbye to Anna.


- Go get’em!! – she shouts encouragingly.


As I follow in the rear of the group, I look to the Slytherin table. It’s very early, and apart from the Gryffindor and Slytherin teams, there aren’t a lot of students up. I checked when I came down and he wasn’t here yet. When I look a second time, though, I find piercing green eyes. He raises his cup at me as a discreet salute. I hide my smile and turn around.


The torrential rain from last night gave way to a clear day this morning. Although it isn’t exactly sunny, there isn’t a drop of water from the sky and very little wind. As we walk to the changing rooms, the memories from last night come to me. The grass, where we laid down...The wall where I was leaning... My face gets heated and my heart beats quicker.


- Good! – James interrupts my daydreams. – You know the drill, already. Slytherins are strong strategists and have a good Seeker. Their Keeper, though, is very inexperienced this season. So, let’s work as we talked. Beaters, stay alert!


Zoe and Victor nod their heads.


- Chasers! We’re going hard on the attack and score as much as we can. And Jake! Stay alert on the hoops.


With that said, he gives us all a pat on the back and gives us time to warm up.


The stands fill up quickly and sooner than I thought, we’re in the air, ready to hear the whistle.


It’s definitely a quicker game than the Ravenclaw’s. Rivalry runs deep and there’s an edge to every pass of the Quaffle. My movements seem almost choreographed, there isn’t much time to think. In the speakers, I hear Freddie’s words.


- Slytherin takes possession of the Quaffle first. A long launch to Perry and she scores the first goal of the game!! I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of this girl.

...
- Gryffindor takes the lead as the beautiful, talented Zoe Schmitt beats the Bludger straight to Miles’ hands and he has to let go of the Quaffle! Ps.: Zoe didn’t even bribe me to say that.

...
- The game is 50 – 50 now after my dear friend Emma scores an incredible goal after my other friend James passed it to her! I’m not biased! Not my fault I have such amazing friends.

...
- Slytherin calls time out after Jake gets little Ryan Williams with a Bludger on the nose. Shame on you mate, the kid is so tiny he could be taken by the wind. – and then - Don’t look at me like that Ryan. Just stating the facts.


After Williams has to leave the game to have his nose fixed, Slytherin loses their starting Chaser and their strategy, since the substitute looks like he’s never even played with the team before.

...
- In an amazing turn of events, Gryffindor builds a large lead in only 5 minutes! That’s right people! 5 minutes! It is now 100-50.


The rest of the game passes in a blur of adrenaline. I can’t even remember how many points I scored. 70? 50? The thing is, the Slytherins Chasers were lost, giving time for Zoe and Jake to help us in the attack and their Keeper wasn’t the best to start with.

 ...
- James scores again!! His tenth one of the game! That’s my cousin everyone, runs in the family. The talent and the beauty.

...
- And if I were the Slytherins I’d finish this game right now! Gryffindor is creaming Slytherin at the moment! And, no Professor Macgonagall, that’s not bias, it’s the truth! 220-50! Honestly guys, end this game now, I’m tired of finding interesting ways to announce each goal.


It was as if the Seekers decided to comply to Freddie’s wishes because they both started to fly towards a tiny dot in the distance. The Slytherin Seeker was closer though, and very skilled, so she was the one that closed her hands around it.


- And in an amazing manner, that happens in one to each ten games, Slytherin catches the Snitch but my beautiful Gryffindor wins the game!! The final score is 220-200!


Our team got down and started hugging each other while the Gryffindor stand shouted. The Slytherins didn’t seem to mind the loss that much, though, because the score wasn’t that bad compared to the way they were losing. 


While the crowd converged on us, someone seemed to have stumbled on me. I looked around, already starting to complain, when I saw the grinning face of Albus, his eyes twinkling. Around his neck was a green and silver scarf. He fetched a red one beneath his coat, the one I gave to him, and showed its color to me while he said:


- Brilliant flying out there, Parker.


I was thinking about something to answer, when he moved on and there was already someone else congratulating me.


- Wow! What a game! – says Jake, as we eat dinner in the kitchens surrounded by hardworking house-elves.


- We got lucky, though. – James says, eating a chicken wing. – The game was evenly matched before Williams had to leave.


- Nah, we’d win anyway. – Zoe says, leaning against her chair with a full belly.


We all smile at each other. Not even James’ optimism go as far as Zoe’s confidence.


- I have some news to share with you! – Zoe sits up suddenly.


- What is it little Zoe? – Fred asks, to which Zoe leans forward to slap him.


- I’ve received a letter this morning accepting me to an internship at a Dragon reserve in Ireland!


There are various exclamations and congratulations at this news.


- Why didn’t you tell us? – Anna asks.


- We had the game today. – Zoe shrugs. - Didn’t want to keep the focus off that.


- But when did you send the letter? It must have been some time ago. And you didn’t say anything! – Jake points a finger accusingly, pretending to be hurt.


- I just didn’t want to tell you in case it didn’t work out. – she says calmly, but we all look at her in various degrees of confusion. Zoe wasn’t always confident after all.


- Can’t believe it... – James says. – Our Zoe is gonna be a Dragon tamer soon.


- Well, we’re all gonna be working soon, aren’t we? – Anna reasons. – N.E.W.T.s are just around the corner.


The room takes a reflective air, with just the dishes clinking and the house-elves pacing in the background. Soon, James and Jake would be pursuing their dream in the Auror Academy. Anna was sure to become a great healer, after her Masters degree in Potions, wherever she took it. I’m sure any place would be lucky to have her. Freddie would be working at his father’s joke shop, turning his many plans to reality. And Zoe would be in Ireland. I... I was very conflicted. My initial plan in fifth year was to work for the Department of International Affairs in the Ministry. I never had a dream profession growing up and this one seemed like a nice, serious one. But now that the time was coming for me to actually work in it... it didn’t seem so right...


I took my mind off these things when Freddie said:


- Nothing like a box of ice-cream to go with this mood!


We all turn to look at him.


- Who was in a mood, anyway? – I say, and they all laugh.


Looking at the smiling faces of my dearest friends I wasn’t that worried about my profession as I was about how I would manage not to live in the same place as all of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Chapter 14: Chapter 14
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A/N.: Hi, people! It’s been some time, I know. I feel very ashamed, especially now. During this times of quarantine,I know how delicious it is to curl up with a good fic on a couch. It’s also good to distract ourselves in this difficult times. I hope this is a fic you can spend your time with. That’s why during the quarantine I’ll try to update faster too. I also love to spend time writing. The chapter about Hogsmeade is coming soon! Feel free to leave your comments, it can give me lots of ideas. Hope you’re all doing well. Wash your hands! Stay home! Stay safe!

 

Song for this chapter: Little things – by One direction. (Al and Em are getting to know each other)


Hogsmeade visit this Saturday. Only for third years and older!

 

I read the announcement on the notice board near the Great Hall on my way to the bathroom. My friends are all having breakfast, the Hall quieter than usual on Monday morning after a Quidditch weekend.

 

I catch myself staring at the board pensively. This would be the first Hogsmeade weekend after Al and I got together. He hadn’t said anything, though, and I wasn’t sure he’d like to go with me since we were keeping our relationship private.

 

I see someone approaching me in my peripheral vision.

 

- Morning, Emma.

 

Al is walking with his hands in the pockets of the uniform. He’s, as usual, perfectly kept together for a Monday, not a trace of sleepiness in his eyes. Still, his hair is a bit wilder than usual as if he didn’t bother with it this morning.

 

- Morning, Al. – I give him a smile.

 

He comes closer, his eyes have that affectionate glint on them which I’ve come to associate with him.

 

- So, you saw the notice for the Hogsmeade weekend.

 

I nod distractedly, though my arms are tingling where I can feel his proximity.

 

- Are you going? – he asks.

 

- I don’t know, Potter, am I? – I answer in a teasing tone. I was going, of course, if not with him, with my friends.

 

- Check your post this morning and tell me later.

 

He passes me and squeezes my hand lightly as he enters the Hall.

 

I wait for him to head to the Slytherin table until there’s some distance between us. When I’m sure he can’t see me, I practically run to the Gryffindor table, bathroom forgotten. Wouldn’t want him to see me lose my cool, after all.

 

There, I find a very strange sight. I actually consider I’ve been confounded.

 

Leaning over books, breakfast completely forgotten, are James and Jacob. Beside them is Anna, munching on a Muffin and looking at them suspiciously.

 

- What happened here? – I greet her. No time for frivolities. – Is something wrong with them?

 

- No... Apparently they send their applications for the Auror Academy next week. And they are studying for the application test they have to take too. But, I mean, it’s only in a month! According to their record, they are three weeks and six days early.

 

- And 22 hours! – adds Jake, his voice muffled.

 

I slide next to James and take a look at his book.

 

- The plan is to learn six years of Potions in one? – I ask.

 

- Seven. This one too. – he answers. This time he takes his head off the book to look at me and gives me a smile.

 

It’s funny how there isn’t an exact moment you can tell when your feelings for someone have changed. Not even Arithmancy can do that. The fact, though, that I’m sure the butterflies in my stomach are from the post I’m waiting from Al, and not from the smile James gives me, says the world to me.

 

- I missed you, Em! Haven’t seen you much in a while. – my smile is sheepish and guilty as well. It seems with this old crush I harbored for him, even more this year, and later, Al’s and I secret relationship, I haven’t been a good friend for James at all.

 

- I’m sorry. Just been busy lately. Quidditch and N.E.W.T.s are a lot to take on.

 

- Yeah, I guess. I honestly don’t know how my dad managed not to fail any of his years at Hogwarts. Imagine adding Voldemort in that mix.

 

I laugh at James’ blunt humor. I’ve missed him too.

 

Suddenly, the telltale noise of a bunch of owls entering the hall calls my attention. I look instinctively at the Slytherin table, but Al seems like he was already looking at us. His eyes are a bit sad and he’s frowning but when he realizes I’m looking back he smiles and motions to the owls.

 

I give James a tap to the back and go sit next to Anna to receive my letters. There are three, from each of my parents and from Mason, but the one I open first is the small piece of parchment folded with Al’s handwriting. Emma.

 

Inside, he wrote:

 

Will you meet my friends and I near the Womping Willow at four?

 

Underneath it, there are two options: Yes or No, above two blocks.

 

I frown but take my wand and cross the Yes.

 

Immediately the parchment creates another layer, where it’s written:

 

My friends won’t be able to go anymore. Will be just you and me.

 

I roll my eyes and look towards where he’s sitted. He’s wearing a proud smile on his face and I can’t keep from smiling back.

 

- Good news? – Anna whispers in my ear with a meaningful look. I smile back.

 

During the mess of the post, Zoe appears, still yawning and looking very satisfied. The boys are still in their books but she doesn’t look too surprised.

 

- While some of us are finally studying, others decided to just stop it altogether. – Anna says disapprovingly.

 

Zoe only shrugs:

 

- It’s not my fault that the two idiots over there decided to leave it for the last second. I’m all set for next year.

 

- But, Zoe, you’re still gonna need your N.E.W.T.s to start working in Ireland. – I say.

 

- Yeah, but the only ones that matters is Care of Magical Creatures. For the rest, they only require an acceptable.

 

- Honestly, I cant believe someone could be as lazy as you sometimes.

 

In that moment Freddie walks in still in his pajamas with only a robe covering them.

 

- And then there’s Fred. – I conclude.


 

That Monday, the seventh years get a nice surprise in DADA when Professor Abbot reveals our next topic to be studied.

 

- Today, class, we’re going to work on a somewhat challenging spell for most of you. I’m talking about the Patronus Charm! – this gets a reaction from the class, who all consider it an exciting topic. I, myself, have been looking forward to this since second year when I found out what the Patronus was. – This isn’t a spell required for your N.E.W.T.s exactly but I must say, it is very important and you never know when you might need it. In my years as a student, there wasn’t a decent teacher in Defense during the war to teach us such a spell. Or anything, to be honest.

 

Our class gets unusually quiet, listening to her experience. Hannah Abbot is one of the three professors we had who were part of the young generation during the war. She is one of the ones who stood bravely to defend Hogwarts and the entire wizarding community. Besides, she always dresses elegantly and has a vast knowledge about her subject. Her husband is our professor Longbottom, though everyone calls her by her given name at work. Beneath her stern exterior there’s always a kind smile and gentle way of encouraging us. My absolute role model among the professors.

 

- Luckily for us, Dumbledore’s Army taught us all we needed to know, including the Patronus charm. Harry Potter was the only fifth year who knew it and made sure to pass us all the knowledge.

 

As we pay attention intently in this piece of history revealed to us, Mrs.Abbot clapps her hands to take us out of our reverie.

 

- Let’s start then!

 

After she gives us a brief explanation of the charm and the instructions to do it, the tables are moved to the side of the room and we all start to practice.

 

I concentrate and try it with as much seriousness and strength of will as I put in any spell. After 5 tries, I manage a silvery wisp out of my wand and turn to my friends.

 

- Hey, guys...

 

But as I pay attention to the class around me, I notice there’s a huge playful mutt (James’ Patronus) running around. Along it, a hyena controlled by Freddie’s wand. James was the only one of the class who already knew the charm, we all knew it. But Freddie certainly learned it fast.

 

- Fred!! You managed it already! – I exclaim happily.

 

- I did, Em! Meet my inner self! – he points his wand at me and the hyena passes through me, almost dropping me and leaving us all in a fit of laughter. On the other side of the room, two other students had a bunny and a bird flying around too.

 

I go back to my work, determined to get it right.

 

10 tries later and nothing more still. Anna exclaims happily:

 

- I did it!! – a caring owl nips her affectionately, shining in silver. I give her a hug and congratulate her along with the rest. The class is getting rather full with all kinds of animals, though, and I can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy.

 

After another 23 tries (I counted), I still get nothing but a wisp from my wand. The only other one from my group who didn’t manage a Patronus was Zoe, but she didn’t seem too worried about it, as she was nowadays with most of her studies. Jake produced a beautiful cheetah.

 

I leave class, feeling very frustrated and disappointed. I don’t normally have much trouble with spells in general. It’s always been very clear to me that every spell required 50% of technique and 50% of will behind it and that’s always been very easy to control. What happened with my Patronus was beyond me.

 

Two days later, on Wednesday, Al and I meet at one of our favourite hiding places behind a Hogwarts’ tapestry. My friends were at the library while I was “taking a nap before my next class”. Only Anna knows the truth.

 

- Hey, Parker. I missed you. – he looks at me endearingly while putting a lock of hair behind my ear. He frequently told me he missed me and it warmed my heart. His back is leaning on the stone walls and I sneak my arms around his waist and feel his smell while I lean my head against his chest. It’s so different than that teenage boy smell from James, Fred and Jake. I also found out Al hates to wear the uniform’s tie. Whenever we meet in secret, it’s loose around his neck with the first two buttons from his white shirt open. I love to know these little things about him.

 

- Hey. – he says softly - What’s wrong? – he caresses my hair.

 

- Nothing really. – I smile.

 

He raises an eyebrow. It seems I’m not the only one who got to know him better.

 

- I’m just a bit frustrated about my Patronus, that’s all.

 

- You’re learning it now?

 

- Yeah, but I haven’t managed to produce one. I know it’s not everyone who learns to do one in seventh year but...

 

- You really wanted it.

 

I nod:

 

- I’ve been looking forward to it, you know?

 

He nods and seems to think a bit.

 

Then he takes my hand:

 

- Maybe I can teach you.

 

After walking through a few corridors, Al stops in a classroom:

 

- This one should be empty now. – he opens it with a simple Alohomora.

 

- I’m not even gonna ask how you know that.

 

He smiles and takes out his wand:

 

- Years of practice.

 

- So, you really know how to produce a Patronus?

 

- Uhum. Dad taught James and I last summer. He’ll teach Lils next year.

 

- What is it?

 

For my surprise, he blushes:

 

- It doesn’t matter. I don’t usually conjure it anyway. What’s the problem you’re having with yours?

 

I’m a little disappointed that he doesn’t trust me enough to tell me that but I explain:

 

- I’m putting all my will and concentration on it but I still only get a small wisp!

 

He shakes his head:

 

- A Patronus has nothing to do with concentration. It’s more about feeling. You have to let your memory fully envolve you. Do you have a memory yet?

 

- Yes.

 

- Give it another try, then.

 

I close my eyes and try not to think too much, only feel.

 

- Expecto Patronum!!

 

I open them again and a thin silver line comes out of my wand. Only to disappear.

 

My arms fall at my sides.

 

- What’s the memory you’re using?

 

I look at him. One of his hands is cupping his jaw, thoughtfully. The other is holding his wand against his tight. His eyes are serious, the cloak abandoned. It’s the perfect picture of a professor and it strikes me as suddenly very funny...and sexy too.

 

- One of my family, Professor Potter.

 

He sees the glint in my eye and immediately joins the fun.

 

- Where, Miss Parker?

 

- Together.

 

- That’s not nearly specific enough. This needs to be something different. A moment that you can remember in all it’s details. – he’s very passionate about it and comes very near me. His hand is moving to touch me but remembers his fictional role as my “professor” and doesn’t. I have to hold back too.

 

He clears his throat:

 

- Close your eyes. – his voice is rough.

 

I do it. He’s so close I can feel his breath on my face.

 

- One moment, Miss Parker.

 

I try to catch something. A different memory. Special. Unique.

 

C’mon, Emma.

 

The same voice I’d just heard.

 

The wind on my face. The wood of the broomstick on my hands. So familiar, yet way out of context. The shine of the moon illuminates a white smile and green eyes. That night I flew with Albus.

 

Expecto Patronum!!

 

I hear delighted laughter before I open my eyes.

 

A majestic eagle is flying around the room, the silver illuminating its path. It sweeps down and rufles Al’s hair and then stops at my extended arm. It has huge beautiful eyes that look straight at me.

 

- Freedom.

 

I look at Albus when he says it.

 

He goes on:

 

- That’s the meaning of the Eagle. Being carefree.

 

- I don’t think that matches me. - I’m still smiling though, in ecstasy after producing my first Patronus.

 

- I thought that too, before I met you. But a person can change... What’s the memory you used? – he asks me.

 

- I may be happy you taught me to do it, Albus. But I’m not telling you if you won’t even tell me what your Patronus is.

 

He shrugs:

 

- Oh, well.

 

- You’re really so against telling me?

 

- You could say that.

 

- Why? Is it a small bug or something? Like a flobberworm?

 

- No! That’s pathetic.

 

I roll my eyes:

 

- What is it then?

 

- I really don’t want to tell you right now. Besides, only my dad and my brother know it. And don’t try to ask James! He won’t tell you.

 

I frown. His refusal to tell me leaves me more disappointed than I would like:

 

- Alright. Thank you, though. Really. For teaching me. Goodnight, Professor Potter. – I give a small smile and open the door.

 

- Wait! Emma! – he calls me before I close it behind me.


 

- Anna. – I ask my friend when we’re in the bathroom brushing our teeth before going to bed. – Can I ask you something about Al? – I whisper.

 

- Sure. – she says with understanding eyes. I place a silencing charm at the door.

 

- Today, when I met Al he taught me how to do the Patronus charm.

 

- Really? And did you do it?

 

- Yes.

 

- What is it? – she asks excitedly.

 

- An eagle.

 

She squeals and launches herself at me:

 

- I’m so happy for you!

 

- Thank you! – it makes me feel bad for being jealous of her at class.

 

- So,that’s good right? – she goes on.

 

- Yeah! But he refused to tell me what his was. And it got me a little disappointed, you know? Cause I’m learning more about him and he’s been very open about himself. But not show me his Patronus? It felt like...

 

- Like you don’t mean as much to him.

 

- Exactly!

 

- Well, love, I think the best you can do is tell him what you just told me. He needs to know that bothered you.

 

- Oh, I think he got that.

 

- That’s good, Em! Puts him above half the male population already.

 

We laugh.

 

- Thank you, An. – I hug her. – Love ya.

 

- Me too!

 

I get to the dorms in my pajamas and open the hangings of my bed. In my pillow, there’s a small piece of parchment. In Al’s familiar handwriting, I read:

 

My Patronus is a lion. If you laugh at me, I won’t talk to you tomorrow.

 

My face breaks into a big grin. A lion. Figures.

 



Chapter 15: Chapter 15
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A/N.: Chapter 15 already up! If not the longest, this is the second longest chapter until now. I’ve been having a lot of free time lately. Anyway, I really want to hear from you. Any suggestions, comments, opinions... What are you thinking of the story so far? Your reviews are my greatest inspiration and thank you for those who take the time to leave one. Also, thanks for those who followed or favorited this story. People write stories for others to read or listen to them. I love to know there are people enjoying So Much More! Stay safe, guys!
 

Song for this chapter: Suit and Jacket – by Judah & the Lion.


On the morning of my Hogsmeade date with Albus, I planned to be in bed until 9:00 and then get ready to meet my friends at 10:30 in the Entrance Hall, I was spending the first portion of the day with them. That wasn’t what happened though, since James decided to book the pitch for a last minute practice. This action was met, of course, with a collective protest of “You’re joking, it’s a Hogsmeade weekend!”. But our lunatic black-haired captain only answered with “Don’t worry, dear teammates, you will have time to enjoy the whole visit. Our practice starts at 6:00.”
 

I think only the prospect of losing our Hogsmeade privilege kept us from locking him in a broom cupboard.

 

So that was why it was 7:30 and I was exhausted sitting on my broom and throwing Quaffles back and forth with the other Chasers.

 

- Throw harder, Emma! Your throws are arching too much, it gives an easy catch for the other team. – James yells.

 

The Quaffle comes to my hands again and I throw it as hard as I can at James. He catches it between his hands and his stomach and his broom actually flies a few meters back. After catching his breath, James blows the whistle hanging in a chain around his neck:

 

- That’s it guys! Practice over. I think we managed to hone our skills a bit more. And Emma is almost opening a hole in my face, so we’d better stop.

 

We all descend from the sky and start putting the equipment away, my mind already on a hot Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. I notice the entire team makes sure to pat my back. Victor whispers:

 

- Well done, Parker.

 

A few minutes later, Zoe, Jake and I are already making our way to the castle. We can’t deny that we keep James a bit behind, though.

 

- Hey guys! Don’t leave me behind! I had to put the Bludgers away! – he calls from behind.

 

- You’re missing the whole point mate! – Jake yells. – Who was the idiot who scheduled the practice in the first place?

 

- You will thank me later! When the Quidditch cup is in your ungrateful hands!

 

- So, ready for a visit to Honeydukes to eat our weight in sweets? – Zoe asks, completely ignoring James and licking her lips.

 

- I sure am, Zoey! – Jake puts his arm around her. – And you, Em? Going with us?

 

- Of course! I’ll go wherever you guys go! – The first part of the visit would be spent completely enjoying my friends’ company. Only later would I join Al after making an excuse and separating myself from the group, with Ana’s help, who knew all about it already.

 

- Only Jamie, then, will be missing. He‘ll meet us after a date with the lovely Sophia. Never imagined James Potter would be the first whipped man of our group.

- Hey! What are you talking about me? – James yells from behind us.



A dark ripped jeans, a yellow sweater and my All Stars. I was ready for my date. Zoe would probably have my head if she knew I was going to my first Hogsmeade date with Albus “looking like I was out for a Quidditch game”. I didn’t mind though. For me, knowing that Al was more into who I am than what I wear, was something precious. I only added my favorite necklace and ring and was ready to go.

 

The girls and I walk down the stairs to meet the guys in the Entrance Hall and make our way together for Filch’s inspection. No matter how many times we did this, it always reminded me of my old “school trips” at Muggle school.

 

The whole time until we got to the carriage, my attention was half on our conversation, half on finding Albus. It was a huge school, though, and I only got a glimpse of the back of his head near Scorpius (who must have been that white shining hair).

 

As we make our way to the village, supposedly pulled by invisible creatures, James’ girlfriend, who was riding with us, falls easily into our conversation. As much as I wanted to hate her back in the time when I was so infatuated by James, I really couldn’t. She seemed like someone who would’ve fit right in with our group. Even through her blonde wavy hair and shining blue eyes, that seemed typical of the stereotypical narcissistic, she was as real a person as any of us. There are really some prejudices I should review.

 

- James, you are still up for meeting us at WWW right? – Fred asks.

 

- Yeah, sure.

 

- Look, I told him I was fine with whatever arrangements he made. I didn’t mind him spending the day with you guys. – Sophia, who is sitting next to James, says.

 

- Oohh, James she sold you out there. – Jake starts with the teasing.

 

- I’m just telling the truth. – Sophia laughs. – James is on his own on this.

 

- I like you, Lauren. Telling it how it is. – Zoe joins in.

 

- Wait, guys! Let me defend myself. – we all stare at him, mockingly crossing our arms. – Sophia won’t be spending Easter hols here, when it’ll be her birthday. So we’re making up for that. Thanks for mentioning it mynx. – he presses his finger to her nose, adorably.

 

- I guess that’s okay, then. But only if he’ll spend the rest of the day with us. – I join the teasing.

 

- Oh, he will. – Sophia smiles at me with her white, perfect teeth. – After four P. M., he is your problem. 

 

I definitely like her.



Entering Hogsmeade never ceases to be a magical experience for me. After Hogwarts, it’s my favorite place in the Wizarding World. Going to the end of March, there isn’t any snow in the village anymore, which, admittedly takes out some of its beauty, but the homey stores and lively atmosphere makes up for it. I do have to consider that all the times I came here it was with the school, and then it was always full. I don’t know how the empty village would look like. Still, I’d like to think this cosy feeling wouldn’t leave me.

 

- Guys, our first stop is... – Fred says.

 

- Honeydukes! – the rest of us answer in unison. James and Sophia were already on their own date.

 

The first stop to Honeydukes was always a tradition for us. We all loved candies, of course, but Fred was the person most addicted to sugar I’d ever met. Anna, Zoe and I ran to the chocolate aisle. I liked most candies just fine, especially the Every Flavored Beans. For me, Wizarding candy was more about the magic in it than the taste. But chocolate was a whole new thing. I was crazy about chocolate.

 

- Did you guys see these broom shaped chocolates they made? – I ask my friends. - I’m definitely gonna add this to my bag!

 

- Em, you just got like two bags of chocolate wands. Are you sure it’s not enough? – Anna asks.

 

- Yeah, but these are broom shaped!

 

- Love, I’m pretty sure it’s all the same. – Zoe raises an eyebrow.

 

- I’m getting them anyway, just to be sure. – I shrug and put them in the bag.

 

After Honeydukes, it was time for some Flying High, the Quidditch store. From all of us, the only one who didn’t like the sport much was Anna. Sure, she goes to all our games without fail. But, still, she didn’t get it much. Funnily enough, she’s the one who helps us decide on our shopping the most.

 

- Freddie! You don’t need that professional Keeper’s gloves. You just bought one last year. And you only play during the holidays. They’re in great condition!

 

- Emma. I wouldn’t buy that if I were you. I know it’s the Quaffle of the new season, but it’s only just started. Wait a bit and the prices will lower.

 

- Jake, if you wanna know my opinion, the Chudley Cannon’s brooms are just a publicity stunt. Soon, nobody will be using them. I mean, orange for a broom? That’s sure to get old soon.

 

- Zoey, this uniform may be cheap, but it’s three sizes bigger than yours. They’re never gonna fit anyway.

 

So, we leave the store with only some small things. I bought a new poster from Holyhead and Jake bought a new broom polisher. We always go to Flying High with Anna. Someone has to control our Quidditch craziness. Although we do remember to get something each for James’ birthday next month. He was born only two days before me, which means we always celebrate at Hogwarts together.

 

Next, time for Quill & Parchment, the local bookstore. There, Anna is definitely more at home. She practically drags Zoe and I to the literature session. I help her check out the new Wizarding novels. Zoe stays at the Magical Creatures session and the boys check the new Horror books. Anna and I go through the novels. Although, it’s a bit rare that we buy anything here. Our favorites are certainly the Muggle novels. 
 

Our lunch takes place at the Three Broomsticks. Nothing like the old school pub. We order large portions of fish and chips and Butterbeer for all. The best stop of the day is sitting with my friends in a round booth, laughing, and tasting British typical food. The rest of the pub is crowded, but I already know where Al is. His group of Slytherins occupie a round table and there are the usual groups of girls sitting purposefully around them and trying to get their attention. It gives me a pang of jealousy.

 

- These girls are such clichés. I don’t know what they expect. That suddenly one of the boys is gonna look over at them and fall in love? – Zoe comments, some minutes later.

 

- Well, if I remember correctly, and help me if I’m wrong Zoe, you were just like that with Bradley Rush and Ryan Connor in third year. – Freddie smirks.

 

- Weren’t they dishy though? – Anna sighs dreamily and I nod, agreeing with her.

 

- The younger years, I get it! They are still innocent and naive. But the sixth and seventh years? I’m actually seeing Emily Boomer there! She’s a Ravenclaws in our class!! Honestly.

 

- I don’t even know what people see in them. They aren’t even that good-looking. Fred, Jamie and I could leave them in the dust. – Jake crosses his arm.

 

All us girls start laughing.

 

- What’s so funny? – Jake grumbles.

 

- Jake, darling, you all are good-looking. But you’re missing the whole appeal. They are all Slytherin hot guys. All in one dorm! Like, five of them! They could all form a boy band If they wanted to. – she finishes pensively. Anna and I laugh.

 

- They are the best candidates in the whole school. – Anna giggles. Fred looks at her like she’s grown two heads.

 

Jake snorts:

 

- Like any of you would hook up with a Slytherin.

 

- Why not? – Anna asks. – If Sebastian West looked at me with those blue eyes, I’d cave immediately. Not to mention Al Potter, right? He wouldn’t even have to look at me. Just call me with that smooth voice and I’m already running my hands through that soft hair.

 

Jake rolls his eyes:

 

- And I honestly thought you were better than that. James has the same Potter hair you know?

 

- Shh!! Don’t ruin my fantasies! James is like a brother to me. – Zoe says. – Anna, tell me! Which ones would you snog in a hidden broom cupboard?

 

- All of them. – Anna says boldly, but blushes bright red. Zoe is laughing hard and the boys are looking at her incredulously. I do the same. – If I had to chose, though...Thomas Nott. I like dark skin.

 

- What? Just him? You’re lying!! Look at the options! – Zoe exclaims.

 

- So? You told me I could choose. – Anna retorts.

 

- You’re certainly lying. No girl would refuse a kiss from Albus Potter.

 

Anna blushes even brighter than before, if that’s possible.

 

- I knew it! – Zoe points at her. Anna looks at me apologetically while everyone is laughing. I just smile back at her. I’m not jealous of my best friends.

 

- What about Emma, then? – Jake joins the fun. – Which ones?

While I think about how I’m gonna reply to this question Zoe does it for me:

 

- Al Potter, obviously. – I almost freeze. - He’s your Runes’ partner right, Em? You’re strong, sis. Didn’t cave at those green eyes all these months.

 

I’m almost sinking at my seat, so Anna comes to the rescue:

 

- And the other one, Em? 

 

- I don’t know...Jordan Zabini. – I remember Al talking about him last time we met and it’s the first name that comes to my mind.

 

- Humm, dark hair too. I think you have a type there, Em. – Zoe tips her mug at me.

 

- Yeah, you could say that. – I clear my throat.

 

- What about you, boys? – Zoe moves the conversation to them, which makes me relax. – If you were into guys, who would be your first choice. Jake?

 

- Really? – he grumbles. Zoe nods.

 

- Scorpius Malfoy. – he says, without hesitation. We all look at him.

 

- What? He has a Quidditch pitch and a swimming pool at home.

 

- Shallow. – Zoe rolls her eyes. Anna and I laugh a little.

 

- Freddie? – Anna asks.

 

- Nott, West, Zabini and Malfoy. – he says it jokingly but we still stare at him.

 

- Albus is my cousin. – he shrugs. 

We laugh so loud the waitress looks at us pointedly.


We still walk about 2 hours through the village eating some of our candy before the time I would meet Al. The warmer weather may take some of the charm of Hogsmeade but, at the same time, it was much more comfortable to walk around.

 

- I think I’m gonna head back to the castle. I’ve got a bit of a headache. – I tell them.

 

- What? But Jamie didn’t even meet us yet. – Freddie says.

 

- Yeah, but I really feel like lying down a bit. – I insist.

 

- Are you ok, Em? – Jake asks.

 

- I’m fine, don’t worry. 

 

- Then, why don’t you stay? Just a bit? – Fred whines.

 

- Guys! She has a headache. Let her rest. – Anna, always at my side. She already knows the reason I need to go.

 

- I’m at those days of the month, ok guys? That’s it. – I whisper.

 

- Oh, if that’s it...

 

- You could’ve said it before...

Men. I internally roll my eyes. They prefer to pretend menstruation doesn’t exist.

 

Even then, as I walk in the direction of the castle, shame makes its way to my heart. I really don’t like lying to my friends. But it’s easy to forget when I’m with Albus. It makes me a bit angry, though, that I have to be untruthful to my friends to be with him. I do understand his reasons, it’s just getting tiring.

 

I arrive at Hogwarts and see him already. He’s handsome as always. Seeing him without school robes is something else, though. He’s wearing dark jeans, a brown jeans jacket and a green shirt beneath it. I recognize it from that party in the beginning of the year where I spoke my mind to him and he apologized to me.

 

- Hey! – he says as I get closer. His hands are in his pockets and he’s giving me his full bright smile.

 

- Hi! – I arrive. He gives me a sweet kiss and cups my cheek. I get goosebumps all over my back.

 

I clear my throat:

 

- What exactly are we doing here, Potter? – the place where we stand is near the Whomping Willow. The tree isn’t moving, though. That doesn’t stop me from being a little cautious.
 

- I have a surprise for you. We need to follow this way.  – he walks to the stump of the tree and crouches through a hole I’d just noticed was there.

 

- I feel like asking but I’m too used to you now to find this weird. – I say.

 

He laughs.

 

- Trust me, love. I know I ask you this a lot, but have I failed you yet? – he reaches his hand for me, part of him already in the hole. His eyes are shining and the thought that I make Albus Potter so happy makes my stomach do somersaults.

 

I quickly realize the place where we are is a passage to somewhere. While we climb some improvised stairs in the dark, only the light of our wands, I ask:

 

- How did the Whomping Willow not attack us again?

 

- A simply Immobilus charm or pressing the knot at the base.

 

- Oh, if you say so. 

 

He laughs again:

 

- Seriusly? James never told you?

 

- Nope.

 

We arrive at an opening and Al offers his hand again. The place looks like a house tree, but bigger, and very old. On the floor, there’s a furry red rug, two pillows, some plates and glasses, and a few candles to compliment the light coming from the windows. I can tell the candles are scented too. There’s a nice perfume in the air when it should probably stink of humidity.

 

- Where are we, Al? – I say in bewilderment.

 

- Welcome to the Shrinking Shack!

 

- What? No way! – I go to the window.

 

- I’m serious.

 

- And all this? Your doing, I take it.

 

- Maybe. – he shrugs.

 

I push him teasingly:

 

- You surprise me each time. – I laugh.

 

- I like to surprise you. – he looks at me adoringly. – You get this look on your face. I love to see you happy. – I raise my eyebrows.

 

- I like to see you happy! – he amends himself.

 

I throw myself in his arms and kiss him for a few long minutes. When we pull apart, he smiles:
 

- I don’t know why this word love causes so much trouble. It keeps slipping my mouth.

 

- I don’t have a problem with it.

 

- Oh, yeah! That’s a guy’s problem, actually.

 

I laugh. My arms are around him and my hands soon find themselves in his hair as we make up for time apart.

 

We sit at the pillows some time later and Al takes the lid off one of the plates to reveal a chocolate cake that looks delicious. In a metal pot filled with ice, there’s a red wine bottle. We start to have the fanciest afternoon tea I’ve ever had.

 

- You really went to all that just for a date? – I shake my head.

 

- For you? I would have. But I didn’t.

– he smirks at me. I roll my eyes.

 

- This used to be James and mine hiding place at Hogwarts. – he explains.

 

- Wow, really?

 

- He never told you? 

 

I shake my head.

 

- Would you want him to take you here? – he asks. It’s very unlike Albus, he seems almost insecure. I do remember the way he looked at James and me at breakfast the other day, though.

 

- Taking me here, maybe. He’s my friend, I’d like to be told some things. But this... – I gesture to our meal. – No.

 

He smiles.

 

- So, how did you two find out about this place? – I change the subject.

 

- All due to my grandad and his friends actually. See, one of them was a werewolf... – he tells me the beautiful story of the friends who became Animagus to help one of them. I sigh contentedly and see his voice become passionate with the story. My heart warms with the thought that he considers me so much to tell me that. Damn. I’m falling very deep now.

 

We finish our cake, talking about school of all things, and the incident in potions that left three students’ skins green for a few days.

 

- Anyway, I’m very glad I won’t need Potions for my job application. – he says.

 

- Why are you taking it then?

 

- My parents think it’s an useful skill to have. It’s not that I don’t like it. It’s just too repetitive for my taste. Do you like it?

 

- Kind of. It’s not my favorite subject, but it soothes me. Reminds me of cooking.

 

He smiles:

 

- You like it, then? Cooking?

 

- I do. My mother taught me and I love to spend time with her.

 

- Your mother sounds great.

 

- She’d love you. You have to meet her someday. You’ll be your usual classy self and she’ll fawn all over you.

 

He laughs. Then asks me:

 

- You’d really want me to meet your parents?

 

- Yeah...even though they would embarrass me. I did meet yours.

 

- So you shouldn’t be too worried about embarrassment. That was enough for both of us. 

 

I laugh as I remember Ginny and Harry Potter joining their forces  to embarrass their son.

 

- I’d like that. – he says. – Meeting your parents.

 

- That can certainly be arranged Mr. Potter. – I grin. Our eyes meet as we smile and he takes another sip of wine.

 

- Hey, Al?

 

- Humm?

 

- What are you going to do after you leave Hogwarts, again? You were talking about your N.E.W.T.s and... tell me you haven’t told me already and I forgot.

 

- No! – he laughs. – We haven’t talked about it yet, have we? 

 

- I don’t think so. – I smile.

 

- I want to work with Wizarding Law.

 

- Really?
 

- Yes. My aunt Hermione works with it, but she is in the Magical Creatures Control. What I’d really like to do is work with negotiating contracts. Not sure what area. But I always found it interesting when Aunt Hermione talked about the arguments she uses to make a deal.

 

- I think you’d be brilliant at it. You do have a very logical mind. And are a bit charming, I’ll admit.

 

- A bit, Parker? – he smirks. - I’ll have to reiterate that. – his eyes smile at me.

 

I laugh. Damn if he isn’t making me blush again.

 

- What about you? What do yo want to do? – Al asks.

 

- I want...actually not that I really wanted but the initial plan was to work at the Department of International Affairs. I don’t know, I liked the idea of meeting foreign people and I have the grades for it. But I just chose it in fifth year ‘cause I was completely clueless. Soon I’ll be graduating and take this job that is not something I’m passionate about. Though I don’t really know any other job I’m passionate about... – I sigh. – Sorry for just spilling all this on you.

 

- I thought that was on the description of being a boyfriend, wasn’t it? – he raises an eyebrow. – I love when you tell me about personal things. And I really want you to find that dream job... It’s actually one of the changes Professor Longbottom wants to make at Hogwarts for years, it’s crazy that we have to choose our jobs so young. Even the electives we choose in third year can make a difference on our future job opportunities.

 

- I agree! Why do we have to choose it so young?

 

I eat another piece of paper and he remains thoughtful.

 

- Hey! What about writing? – Al exclaims suddenly.

 

- You mean like writing a book? I think that’s a bit out of my league. I don’t have any big ideas.

 

- No! I’m talking about this! – he takes a folded letter out of his pocket and hands it to me. - I’ve been wanting to show you that.

 

I read the letter and my eyes widen. I look at him:

 

- Your father truly liked my interview of him so much? He said here I have real talent! And he showed it to your mother, a real journalist!

 

Al nods:

 

- He did.
 

I find myself starstruck all over again. Meeting Harry Potter was already unimaginable. But him complimenting my simple school work like a proud parent? That sounds surreal.

 

- You should do it. – Al says. – Work for the Newspaper. This is the most excited I’ve seen you about an essay. And you clearly have talent for it. My parents think so and so does Professor Thomas.

 

- But how would I even have the grades for it? I’m almost taking my N.E.W.T.s already!

 

- Talk to Nevil-I mean Professors Longbottom. He would be happy to help you. And I may be wrong, but the requirements are probably the core subjects, which you’re taking. There aren’t exactly any writing classes here at school. Maybe there’s a college for it or something.

 

My eyes shine with enthusiasm as I look at him and the letter back and forth. Finally, I tackle him into a big hug and he laughs.

 

- This is amazing! – I exclaim. – And I could write about so many things! There’s the Quidditch section, like your mother! Or that Muggle column! Maybe I could even have my own column! Oh, Al, thank you so, so much! You may have changed my whole professional life!

 

- It was all you, love. I just gave you the proof in that letter. You’ll be brilliant at it. – he leans over the food and kisses me slowly. I grab his arm as he’s about to separate.

 

- I think we already ate enough. – I say and swish my wand, making everything in the rug disappear.

 

He looks at me and then to the space left:

 

- I think that may have been the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.

 

I chuckle and push him down in the carpet. My heart is soaring as we kiss and feel each other with nothing but our clothes in between. After we agree it’s time for us to go before my friends arrive in the castle I smell a lovely mix of his and mine perfume.

 

- I wish we had more time to stay talking... – I tell him as we take the way to the castle.

 

- Talking? – he smirks.

 

- Yeah, you got it. – I roll my eyes and he laughs. – Anyway, I’m just thinking that maybe we should start telling people now, you know? If at least my friends knew about us, we could stay a bit longer, for example.

 

He sighs:

 

- I know, Em. I get that you want to tell others... – he turns serious. – But could you please just keep it a secret a bit longer? If we were to let it out, it would be on the Daily Prophet by the next week. They insist on keeping us in the limelight. I hate that, and I don’t want something that brings me so much happiness to bother me.

 

- It’s just my friends, though, Al! – I respond. By this time we are already standing on a corner near the walls of the castle.

 

- I’ll think about it, ok? – he looks at me pleadingly.

 

- Ok, love. That’s all I ask. – I take his hand.

 

- Thank you. – he swallows. – I know it sounds simple. Just...

 

Al seems to want to say something but holds back.

 

- Whatever. – he goes on. – It just wouldn’t be the first time. Now, I think we should go in before people arrive. I promise to bring the invisibility cloak next time, though.

 

- That’s more like it. – I grin.



Chapter 16: Chapter 16
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A/N.: Hey everyone!! I’m so sorry. I know I took so long to update, maybe the longest time yet. I’m really sorry. I feel bad because I know how frustrating this can be, especially now most of us are in quarantine. What I can say is that I’m having online classes in college and the teachers are giving us a ton of works and tests, so I’ve really been busy.
 

Anyway, at least this is one of my longest chapters. And, for all of you who are keeping up with this story, know that I have lots of plans for it. Only a few more chapters left now!

Hope you’re all doing well and still want to know more about Al and Emma. In this chapter, there are lots of dialogues. I personally enjoy that in a story, hope you do too. Please don’t stop leaving your reviews. It makes me so happy to read your thoughts on the story, feel free to write what your opinion. For the next chapter, be ready for James and Emma’s birthday party and lots of romance.

 

Song for this chapter: Run Trough Walls – by the Script.

 

Ps.: this is a beautiful song about friendship I just found out. Tell me if you like it.


Next Monday I take the time between classes to talk to Professor Longbottom. I chose to do it as soon as I could because I’m definitely a procrastinator. If I’d waited a bit more, next week would turn into next month, and I didn’t exactly have a lot of time to make this last minute decision. 
 

I arrived at Professor Longbottom’s office and was surprised to find someone already waiting outside the door.

 

- Hi! – Rose Weasley opened a toothy smile from her place sitting against the opposite wall of the office.

 

- Hi, Rose!
 

The only Weasley in Al’s year and I weren’t very close to each other. Actually, we weren’t close at all. Which is kind of weird, considering I know James for seven years. She was always a year behind us, though, and not too fond of the boys’ pranks when we were kids. That aside, James cares a lot about her, he’s very protective as the older cousin and speaks fondly of her passion for books and knowledge. Rose takes that from Hermione, of course, along with her bushy hair and brown eyes. I always admired Roses’ hair. It stands out and compliments her face perfectly.

 

- Everything alright? – Rose asks as I sit beside her on the floor. From the looks of it, she’s already waiting for some time.

 

- Yeah, I’m just here to talk about my career choice.

 

- Oh! Nice! Me too, actually! – Rose answers. She has her long legs in front of her, ankles crossed.

 

- Really!

 

- Uhum...

 

Follows that uncomfortable pause when the proper path of the conversation is asking what our meetings are about but neither of us has the intimacy to do so.

 

- So...if you don’t mind me asking, what are you talking to him about? – Rose finally breaks it.

 

- Not at all! – (actually, I did mind a bit, but was just relieved to break the uncomfortable silence) – I changed my mind about my career choice, and wanted to talk to him about it.

See if there’s a way for me to change it, you know...

 

 I finish lamely. Here I was telling probably the most organized person in this whole school that I planned to change my future months from graduating. My cheeks burned and I waited for the judgemental look.

 

It never came.

 

- Really? That’s great! What’s your new plan? – she asks with genuine curiosity.

 

- Writing. I mean, I want to be a journalist and write for the paper.

 

She nods.

 

- But I don’t even know if it’s gonna work out. – I hurry to say. – My N.E.W.T.s are obviously all set. And I’d only have a few months till graduation.

 

- No! Think positive! Journalism is amazing. It’s such an important part of our society and we’re sure needing serious and qualified journalists nowadays. – she rolls her eyes. – Theres so much rubbish on the paper.

 

- Right? I have to look for something readable all the time. Except the Quidditch section. Ginny Potter is great!

 

- True! We need someone with a critical eye for an interesting column. And a journalist that truly writes the news as it happened. – Rose sighs indignantly. – And I agree. My aunt rocks. – she grins.

 

I chuckle.

 

- I’m sure it’s gonna work out. Better spend some months after graduation running after this, anyway, than working with something you don’t like. – she goes on.

 

- Thank you! – I grin excitedly. She just had the opposite reaction I was imagining she’d have and that fueled the flame within me.

 

- What about you? – I question. – If you don’t mind me asking.

 

- Oh I’m only here for some paperwork. Nothing as interesting as you. – we laugh. - I’m applying for a job at Gringotts as a curse breaker and during the summer I may be able to do an internship with them. 

 

- That sounds so cool! And I hear it’s very hard to get in.

 

- It is! – she widens her eyes. - That’ll sounds lame, but I’m so glad you like it. It feels like everyone was waiting for me to follow a Ministry career like Al just because my mum is the biggest academic there is.

 

- That isn’t lame at all. – I laugh. – I get it.

 

- And I was so apprehensive about telling my mum, but she took it so well. Now the hard thing is making her understand that I want to get in on my own merits. She already wanted to floo call half the Wizarding World to let me in.

 

- From what I hear of you, she won’t need to. – I say sincerely.

 

She blushes , pleased:

 

- Thanks.

 

A comfortable silence falls between us this time. We both had similar thoughts, after all. It’s crazy how we always seem to expect the worse judgement of people.

 

- Are you and my cousin Al still going out? 

 

- What?! – I gasp. – Who told you that? – I whisper.
 

- Oh it’s supposed to be a secret? No one told me.

 

- How do you...?

 

- My cousin likes to think he’s discreet, but I know him since we were in diapers. Nothing escapes me. – she touches her hair. The cousins really got along well. Though each had their own group of friends in separate houses, I remember I’d seen Al having meals with her some time each week.

 

- Oh. – I stay there, gaping like a fish.

 

- I approve, by the way. I already liked you, even before this conversation. I haven’t seen Albus this light and giddy since we were kids.

 

I blush and can’t prevent the soft smile that escapes me. Rose laughs:

 

- You weren’t telling people then?

 

- We’re not. With the commotion his last name brings, we’d like to keep it quiet.

 

Rose nods knowingly:

 

- I did that with Scorpius at the beginning too. But it didn’t last long. People are bound to notice sometime.

 

Rose and Scorpius have a solid relationship since third year and are still smitten with each other, so I guess she knows what she’s talking about.

 

- Don’t keep from telling my cousin, though, if it’s not what you want. Albus can be stubborn as a mule. You can deal with the gossip later. Don’t keep quiet, girl!

 

The door of the office finally opens and Professor Longbottom comes out with a first year girl crying pitifully. The reason is quite clear, as one of her ears is noticeably larger than the other, inclining her head in a weird angle.

 

- Go to Madame Pomfrey, Rebecca! I’m sure she will fix this right up!

 

He looks at us sheepishly:

 

- She was stung by one of the poisonous tentacullas. I tried to fix it, but I’m obviously not a healer...

 

We look at him, than share a look, our lips twitching.
 

- Come in, Rose. – he calls.


I leave Professor Longbottom’s office with my spirits lifted. In part, because of my conversation with Rose but also because my Head of House assured me that there was no problem in applying for a journalist position in the Daily Prophet or any other magazine I wanted. Apparently the only N.E.W.T.s they ask for are the core ones. Albus was right, after all. 
 

Longbottom was actually really happy for me, he told me finding out who I wanted to be was the most important anyway, and choosing my future profession was a start.

I walk down the corridor, a smile on my face.  My school bag loosely hanging on one of my shoulders, the flyers Longbottom gave me securely inside it. I was supposed to be at Defence class but the Professor gave me a slip of parchment to excuse my absence.

 

A hand grabs my arm just as I pass the Charms classroom. The surprise had just registered around my face and a shiver ran down my body, as I was pulled to an alcove with a tapestry I had no time to register.

 

Albus was leaning against the wall.
 

- Ah! It’s you! – I sigh relieved.

 

- Why? Were you expecting someone else? – he smirks.

 

He’s wearing his robes, a rare occurrence. Al doesn’t like them and most times I see him, he’s with them hanging on his shoulders or bag, the white uniform shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the first two buttons undone.

 

- Maybe. I have a boyfriend who normally meets me like that. – I reply playfully.

 

- Shouldn’t you be used to this by now, then? – he smiles softly. His hands grab the two sides of my open cloak and he pulls me closer. His own cloak is open due to the warmer weather today.

 

- I should. But my boyfriend is very creative. I never know what to expect. In fact, I don’t think he’d be very happy to see me in such a close space with another man. – I say innocently.

 

- Hummm. That might be a problem. Is he an angry guy?

 

- He can be. He’s a jealous guy.

 

- Really? – Al raises his eyebrows. I grin. – Why did he leave you wandering the Hogwarts corridors alone, then?

 

- Oh, but he’s a very sensible man. He knows I don’t need him to escort me. I can take care of myself. And he trusts me. I’d never cheat on him. – I say dramatically.

 

- He sounds like a good guy, that boyfriend of yours. – I laugh. – But he’ll have to forgive me. For doing this.

 

And he leans forward and places a chaste kiss on my lips.

 

We stare at each other after breaking apart and promptly burst into laughter.

 

- I think this may be the cheesiest thing I’ve ever done. – Al shakes his head.

 

- Nah! Nothing beats our first meeting.

 

He punches my shoulders:

 

- Minx!

 

I laugh. My hands hold his arms for support as I lean up to kiss him properly this time. My tongue tastes his lips before being granted entrance and exploring his mouth, his hands pull me fast against his chest.

 

He breaks apart suddenly.

 

- How was your meeting?

 

- Really, Albus? – I roll my eyes. – You broke our kiss to ask me that?

 

- It’s important. – he insists seriously. – That was why I searched you out in the first place.

 

- So it wasn’t to kiss me senseless? – I pout. He rolls his eyes this time.

 

- It was great! – I grin. – Professor Longbottom said I just need to get ready for applications and interviews but I’ve already got the N.E.W.T.s. He also gave me a bunch of flyers with options of where to work!

 

- That’s amazing, Em! You can start working next year if you want! No other N.E.W.T.s to take next year?

 

- Nope. – I lean up and kiss his cheek. As much as I joke with Al about our interrupted kiss, it means a lot to me that he considers my plans more important and that he sought me out for it. And it’s kind of sexy too.

 

- Can we keep up from where we left? – I whisper seductively.

 

- We have to. I have to enjoy the time before your boyfriend sees us. – he says mock seriously.

 

I chuckle and sneak my arms around his neck. The kiss is as heated as the other one. I nibble his lips with my teeth and he lets out a low moan that I feel on my entire body. He returns the favour as I bury my hands in his hair.

 

I don’t  get tired of touching his hair. After we meet, it’s always messier than it was before.

 

I pull away this time and Al looks at me longingly, his mouth still half open.
 

- I spoke with your cousin Rose today. – I say breathlessly.

 

- Parker, - he says hoarsely – We’re not interrupting this to talk about my cousin.

 

My laugh gets lost in his lips while he puts his arm around my waist, my blouse riding up and making my skin tingle.



If I had  a spring on my step before, I was floating this time around as I said goodbye to Albus and walked down the corridor. Defense was the last class of the day and I make my way straight to the Common Room. 

I take a shortcut through a quieter passage. My thoughts are on the new possibilities for my career and on Albus lips, and while I walk I can almost hear the sound of our kisses. 
 

Wait! There actually is a sound of people kissing. I just come to this realization when I stumble at an alcove with a couple snogging. I stop suddenly and they break apart upon realizing they’re not alone.

 

- Emma! – Zoe exclaims, her face flushed and hair all over the place. The boy by her side looks slightly familiar.

 

- Zoe?! – I exclaim as I realize who he is. Jordan Zabini, his dark hair all over the place and lips swollen. What about Oliver?

 

She clears her throat awkwardly. I sense that radiating off her.

 

- I was just going to the Common Romm. – I say, and let her decide on what to do.

 

- I’ll come with you! – she jumps in. Zabini looks crestfallen and slightly offended.

 

- Sorry, I have to go. – Zoe kisses his cheek and comes with me.

 

After a while I ask her:

 

- Are we going to talk about it?

 

- Later. – she replies quickly, and we stay in silence ‘til we arrive at the Fat Lady’s portrait.

 

Inside, there are the usual night activities at the Gryffindor Common Room. The younger years are more relaxed and using the time to play Exploding Snap and gossip about everything they think is unusual about the school. The third and fourth years are relaxing with their friends and doing their homework halfheartedly between talks. And the upper years are either glued in their books or finished their day of studying and are chilling, gossiping about more gossip worthy subjects.

Our group of friends is the latter.

 

- And did you see Kiera’s face as Barkley said it was from his mother?

– James asks.

 

- I know right? – Jake agrees. – She should have dumped this guy a long time ago.

 

- Boys! – Anna reproaches them. – You really shouldn’t be judging them. Especially as it wasn’t her fault. Barkley has always been a jerk.

 

- You don’t seem to be having a hard time judging. – Fred points out.

 

We join them, who are all huddled up in front of the fireplace, and I join in to cut off a possible discussion.

 

- Hey guys! 

 

- Hey, Emma! And little Zoe! – Fred greets.

 

- Oh, good! Female company. – Anna sighs.

 

- Where were you, Emma? You told us you had to talk to professor Longbottom and disappeared for the rest of the afternoon. – James frowns.

 

- It was something I wanted to wait to tell you guys. See how things worked out first. – I answer.

 

They all look at me expectantly, including Zoe, who was avoiding my gaze before.

 

- You remember I applied for a Ministry job but wasn’t sure of it? – they all nod.

 

- Well, I recently decided what I really want to do.

 

- That’s great! – Anna claps her hands.

 

- So? What is it? – Jake goes directly to the point.

 

- I want to be a writer. – I declare and bite my lip afterwards.

 

There’s an uproar of happy exclamations later, but I also sense some questions in them.

 

- Well, remember when we had that History project and I did an interview with your dad, James? – I add. 

 

James nods:

 

- I’m still trying to process the fact that my brother became such good friends with you to invite you to stay home over break.

 

I have to look at a point in the wall above his head to prevent from smiling.

 

- Anyway, - I hurry up. – I loved to do that interview, but not just because it was your father. I realized I love writing! And I want to be a journalist after Hogwarts. – I conclude.

 

This time they are even more excited at congratulating me and do so with hugs and high-fives.

 

- But, Em, what were you doing this afternoon, after all? – Jake asks.

 

- Oh, I was with Professor Longbottom to sort the details about my N.E.W.T.s choices. But it’s all good. – I smile. Their support means the world to me.

 

After dinner, we go back to the same place we were sat in. The boys have scared the younger years enough that none of them dare take our place and the upper years have a kind of system, where each group claims their own spot. Zoe, Anna and I are constantly protesting against this situation, but our hypocrisy doesn’t keep us from enjoying the heat of the fire.

 

Two hours later of some homework and more chatting, we’re all a bit sleepy and start to head up. Anna and Zoe get up with a meaningful look between them. (Anna questioned Zoe’s despondent behavior and Zoe promised to talk to us about it in the dorms). I’m just about to join them when James grabs my arm. 

 

- Can I talk to you a bit? – he whispers.

 

- Sure. – I reply as our friends leave.

 

When there’s only us in front of the fire, he says:

 

- I’m having some trouble with Sophia...

 

- Why? – I ask. – You seemed so close at Hogsmeade.

 

- Yeah. But lately she’s been getting a bit disappointed. And she’s a lot more jealous than before. Like she expects me to cheat on her or something.

 

- Well, James, you haven’t passed the image of the perfect boyfriend the last few years.

 

He glares at me.

 

- Okay, okay. – I raise my hands defensively. – I’m not saying it’s your fault. But you have to understand how she can few insecure. You’ve never had a girlfriend for such a long time.

 

- But what do I do? – he asks, exasperated. - I’ve already told her a million times what I feel for her.

 

I start to think about it. And it doesn’t escape my mind that while James, my old crush, is asking me for love advice, all I can think about is my times with Albus as a reference of what a girl would like.

 

- Show her then! – I say, finally. – A girl loves to be surprised with a romantic gesture. But you have to mean it. – I rush in. – Do something original, not those typical things every guy could think about after reading a book.

 

- Humm...okay. – James already has his thinking face on. – I can do that.

 

He hugs me and places a kiss on my cheek:

 

- Thank you, Emma! You’re the best!

 

We go to the dorms and I wonder, climbing the stairs, if I should send Sophia Lauren a box of chocolate or something as an early apology.


I arrive at the dorms and see an unusual scene. Zoe is sitting in her bed, arms wrapped around her knees, her short black hair very messy and not styled like she’s used to leaving it, her blue eyes sad and the makeup around them smudged . I can’t remember the last time I saw Zoe this down. She’s the source of energy in the group, always laughing and excited. As I pay attention to her now, I realize that she doesn’t have any earrings on, which almost never happens. Zoe has the biggest collection of unique earrings at Hogwarts and loves to show them off.

 

A wave of shame washes over me at how little attention I’ve been giving to my friend. With the big secret I’ve been keeping from her and the fact I’m only telling Anna, Zoe has been left out a lot. 

 

Anna is sitting at the edge of her own bed, beside Zoe’s, and has a hand on our friend’s shoulder. The other girls from our dorm hadn’t gotten there yet. Anna looks up at me when I enter.

 

- I’m sorry. – I say. – James wanted to talk to me about something before going to bed.

 

Anna nods and I join her at her bed. Zoe still hasn’t said anything.

 

- So, Zoe, can we talk about what’s wrong? – Anna asks gently.

 

Zoe doesn’t answer. Instead, she looks at me with narrowed eyes:

 

- I know you’re judging me for what you saw! 

 

- I’m not! – I exclaim, surprised. She continues to stare. – Alright, I may have been surprised to see that, at first, but you’re my friend, Zoe. I know you. And I just want you to talk to us about what made you do that.

 

- Okay, can you two please tell me what’s it you’re talking about? Because on my mind, I’m blowing this way out of proportion. – Ana interrupts

 

I don’t say anything because it’s not my place to tell. I imagined Zoe would have told Anna already. 

 

- Emma caught me snogging Jordan Zabini at the corridors. – she blurts out.

 

Anna is clearly torn about what to say. 

 

- Is this a good thing? I mean, congrats! He’s so hot! But aren’t you with Oliver anymore?

 

Zoe screws her face up as if she’s about to cry and presses it to her folded arms. Anna looks at me, gobsmacked. I shrug. The thought of Zoe leaving Oliver hadn’t crossed my mind. From what she told us, last time, they were still snogging. Though it has been a long time since  I’d talked to her.

 

- I am with Oliver! Or I think I am. I don’t know! – she exclaims.

 

Anna and I look at each other, confused.

 

- See, you’re judging me now! – she yells, muffled by her pajamas.

 

- We’re not, sweetie. – Anna jumps in. – We just want to understand where you’re coming from.

 

Anna is the mother hen of the brood, so she’s way better at comforting than me. Her brown eyes are already soft and her blond hair is tied up in a braid, ready for bed. Still, I fish out an elastic in my pocket and tiemy brown hair up in a bun to make myself more comfortable and try my best.

 

- Zoe, love, you know you have our full support. If you want to leave Oliver and snog Zabini, we understand. You aren’t even dating yet, right? You have the full liberty to be with other people. – I tell her softly.

 

- Thats the problem! – she shouts.

 

- What exactly? – Anna says, confused. – Being able to snog whoever you want?

 

- Yes! – Zoe looks up. Anna and I can’t keep from looking shocked.

 

Zoe’s only boyfriend had been in fourth year, just because she wanted to see how it was to have one. Since then, she’s been completely single and proud. She loves to meet new people with no strings attached.

 

- I don’t know what’s happening to me but I want a boyfriend this time! – she continues – I want Oliver! And I tried to snog Zanini to prove to myself I haven’t changed. But I just kept thinking about Oliver.

 

- But that’s wonderful, girl! – Anna celebrates. – You should be with Olly then.

 

- But what if I’m mistaken or something? I’ve never been exclusive with someone. – she whines.

 

- Zoe, you’re not mistaken. If you couldn’t stop thinking about him while kissing someone else, that means a lot. – I say.

 

- That doesn’t solve anything though. Oliver and I are snogging for six months already and he still hasn’t properly asked me out. – she lets out. I’m really surprised with her today. Zoe, of all people, being vulnerable.

 

- That’s because he’s unsure too, love. – I say, and I remember giving similar advice to James just minutes ago. – You have this image of never wanting to settle down. So he doesn’t expect you to want to date him.

 

- But what should I do then? – she sniffs.

 

- Why don’t you ask him out. – Anna claps her hands.

 

- Yeah! – I agree. – You are a strong, independent woman! Why does he need to ask you out? Go there and do it yourself!

 

- Have either of you asked someone out before? – she looks skeptically.

 

- Well, no. – I say. Anna shakes her head.

 

- But we’ll be here for you whatever happens! It’s better than being in doubt. – I say, determined again.

 

- You’re Zoe Schmitt! If someone can do this it’s you! – Anna adds up.

Zoe nods determinedly. She’s looking a lot more like her old self.

 

But then her face falls again:

 

- I’ve just snogged another guy, though.

 

- But did you ever arrange anything between you that you should be exclusive? – I ask.

 

She ponders a bit.

 

- No. – she says, finally.

 

- So, you’re good! – I wave it off. We all smile and Anna hugs Zoe. She says:

 

- Thanks guys! I love you!

 

- We love you too! – I hug her. And I promise myself to be a better friend to her from now on.

 

- Zabini is hot, though, right? – she says. Anna and I laugh.

 

After that, things calm down a bit. Our friend seems a lot better and has a new glint in her eyes. We’re reading magazines and books, enjoying each other’s company happily,  when Zoe frowns:

 

- Wait! Does that mean he’s been snogging other girls too?!

 

We all look at each other and frown.



Chapter 17: Chapter 17
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N.: Chapter 17 up! I’m very proud of this one. Hope you like it too! Now, just a few more chapters until the end. I’m sorry about the long wait (again). But please tell me what you think. Your reviews are so important to me, to know if you’re enjoying the fic, your favorite character, all those things...So, tell me, what did you think of the ending of this chapter? Hope you’re still enjoying the story and keeping up with Al and Emma :)

 


Song for this chapter: Kiss me – by Ed Sheeran

 


I woke up early on Saturday the 11th. It was the my birthday and the day of mine and James’ birthday party, and I couldn’t sleep the night before. Birthdays didn’t make me nervous. I liked birthdays. I could spend some quality time with my friends and family, get spoiled, receive awesome gifts...Birthday parties, though...weren’t my thing. James was the one that convinced me to have a party with him on third year. And since then, it’s been a tradition. The problem was, as the parties started to get bigger each year, I’ve always felt it looked more like James’ party than mine.

 

It was only natural. James is one of the most popular guys in school. He could ask anyone to go to the party and they felt honored to attend it. It was the party everyone talked about. James invited friends from all Houses. And by friends, I mean even people he paired up with in classes. He was very friendly. And I was used to seein him passing out invitations to the prettiest girls in school in the corridors. This year was no different. I mean, it was in a way. James wasn’t interestedin the pretty girls, he was dating. Freddie, though...

 

Anyway, my portion of guests was way smaller. I definitely didn’t know as many people. And it looked like all the other students barely spared the time to wish me a “happy birthday” even though my name was in big letters beside James’ on the banner at the entrance.

My favorite part of the day was definitely the after party and relaxing with my closest friends away from a crowd of people.

 

So, I trudged to breakfast early, seeing only a few students eating at that hour on a Saturday. Looking at the Slytherin table, I’m definitely not surprised to find my boyfriend sitting beside Scorpius Malfoy. In the moments I find so special, Albus shared with me another piece of intimate information while we were lying on his bed. He told me that ,from his siblings, he was the only early riser and on Weekends he and his father usually spent two hours up already until the rest of the family started their day.

 

I’m almost at the Gryffindor table, when he waves discreetly at me. I look confusedly at him, because Scorpius is seating right there near him and mouth “me?”. He only nods with a smirk.

 

I walk cautiously to him and seat at his other side.

 

- Hey. – he whispers and squeezes my hand. – Happy birthday!

 

- Thanks. – I say distractedly because I’m still paying attention to the fact that Scorpius is right beside us and he’s gonna find this scene quite weird.

 

The boy in question, though, leans over Albus and exclaims, grinning:

 

- Happy birthday, Emma! Al here couldn’t stop talking about it the whole week.

 

I just look at him weirdly. Scorpius starts to look uncomfortable.

 

- Love? – Albus asks.

 

I clear my throat:

 

- Albus, can you come here for a moment? – I say firmly. I’m so angry right now.

 

From the corner of my eye, I see Scorpius raise his eyebrows at Albus warningly.

 

I lead the way to the Entrance Hall and through the doors to a hidden corner. Albus comes after me with his hands on his pants’ pockets and looking way too calm. I cross my arms:

 

- Care to explain to me what happened back there? – I ask him.

 

- Uhm...Scorpius and I wished you a happy birthday? – he shrugs confusedly.

 

- You know what I’m talking about! – I whisper-yell. I’m so pissed with him right now. - Why does Scorpius know about the two of us?

 

- He’s my best mate. – Albus frowns.

 

- So? Didn’t you say we shouldn’t tell anyone about us?!

 

- Doesn’t Anna know?

 

I open my mouth and close it. Then open it again:

 

- That’s different. I couldn’t keep this from her. – he starts to protest. – But – I interrupt. – I wasn’t the one who came up with this rule in the first place.

 

- Wait there, - he frowns and starts to look irritated. – both of us came up with that rule. You agreed to it!

 

We stay there looking at each other for a whole minute. I can see the slight frown in his forehead and his green eyes search my face, serious.

 

- Can we talk about it again another time? – Albus finally says. - It’s your birthday. We shouldn’t be fighting. I’m sorry I told Scorpius.

 

- It’s fine. – I sigh. But I can’t keep the frustration completely out of my voice. He leans over and gives me a slow kiss and the corners of my lips lift up slightly.

 

- I’ll see you at the party? – Al asks.

 

- Yeah. – I agree.


 

When I get to the dorms, my mood is substantially lifted. All of my friends are waiting  on our usual spot by the fire to pepper me with kisses and hugs. James puts a plastic crown on my head with the words Birthday Girl on it.

 

Then it’s time for the gifts! The girls teamed up to give me a beautiful necklace with a blue drop hanging from it. They said it would fit perfectly with the dress they knew I’d be wearing tonight. Freddie gave me beauty products from his dad’s shop. James gave me the sequel to the book series I was reading and Jake gave me a delicious box of chocolates from Honeydukes.

 

My talk with Albus flew from my mind faster than a snitch during a day filled with love from my friends and family. When I got to the Great Hall, with my friends this time, mail arrived and a familiar owl stopped by my plate leaving a gift-wrapped box with two letters taped on top. I gave our family owl a snack before she bit my finger affectionately and flew to the Owlery to rest.

 

- Ooohh letters from home? – Anna asks.

 

- And a present! – James leans in.

 

- Yeah, calm down, though. I’m gonna read the letters first. – I say.

 

Jake tries to get his hands in the box. I slap his hand lightly.

 

- Lettets first Jake!

 

He frowns at me.

 

Opening the first letter, I recognize my brother Mason’s handwriting.

 

Hey squirt!

 

How are you on this fine birthday? I hope you’re stuffing yourself at breakfast with your friends. Trust me, there’s no other food like Hogwarts’. Anyway, I am currently here in my cabin thinking about what I could say to my little sis for her birthday wishes. You know me. I’m not very great with words.

 

But you know I wish you always the best. Think about something good and you got it. You deserve it. And also, I can’t believe you’re eighteen kid! 18! You grew up on me too fast. Just yesterday I could carry you around on my back.

 

Well, I just want to say I’m proud of you. I know I don’t say that a lot. But that’s because I’m ashamed of showing sentimentality. I’m a tough guy. I’m proud though. You’re an amazing girl with incredible friends. Enjoy your last months there at wonderful Hogwarts. I hope you’re causing at least a bit of trouble there. James, Freddie and Jake need your help with the pranks. Don’t let them down. See you soon!

 

I finish the letter smiling. Tough guy my ass! Once he came to sleep in my bed during a thunderstorm! My heart was warm with his words, though.

 

Next, I open mom and dad’s letter, the one in a normal paper . I recognize mom’s handwriting right at the beginning written with a Muggle pen.

 

Hi sweetie! Happy birthday, my love!

 

I wish I could hold you tight today and fill you with kisses. But just a few months till we see each other again. And you should enjoy your time at Hogwarts too. I’m sure you must be having a lot of fun, especially on your birthday.

 

I can’t believe my baby girl is turning 18 today! I love you so much! You are growing up so fast and I’m so happy to see you turning into this amazing person you are. Always keep being this intelligent, kind and loving girl you are. I hope you have an amazing day with your friends. It’s your day!

 

Your father, your brother and I prepared a different gift for you this year. I hope you like it. And also, don’t hesitate to write me if you need anything. Eat your vegetables. And don’t wander out in the cold! I’m sorry I’ll have to pass the letter to your father now, he’s practically ripping the pen out of my hand

 

I notice the sentence finished up and the next part is written in a different color and in my dad’s handwriting.

 

Hey birthday girl!! 18! I’m so proud of you.

 

You deserve the world, Emma. I love you so much. You know you’ll always be my baby girl and, still, I’m so proud to see you becoming such an independent and strong woman. Happy birthday, sweetie. Enjoy the time to party and celebrate with your friends. I want to hear all about it later.

 

The gift we prepared for you contains lots of things we think you’ll find useful for you, all beauty related, so I don’t understand much. Your mother did most of the picking, honestly. But we all helped. Write us soon!

 

Love from mom and dad.

 

The letter doesn’t end there, though. My mum’s handwriting is back again.

 

Wait, Emma! I want to know who is the mysterious boyfriend you’ve been hiding from us. I noticed in your letters you sounded different lately. More chipper. I’m happy for you, love. But I want to know who he is. I’ve talked to your brother and he says it’s definitely a boyfriend. Is it the Potter boy? I told you I thought he liked you when he asked you to that ball. Answer us soon!

 

Lots of kisses,

 

Mum and Dad.

 

Mason is an idiot! I’m definitely saving some space in my thank-you letter to tell him that! He doesn’t even know about Albus. He just says theses things to keep mum hyped up and annoy me. I huff and focus on the rest of my parent’s letter which was wonderful.

 

- Hey, Emmaaa... are you gonna open this or not? – Freddie asks, looking bored with the gift box in his hand.

 

I take it from him forcefully:

 

- For your information, I’ll open it when I want. – he looks at me disappointedly. – Which is now.

 

The boys (and Zoe) whoop loudly, scaring a bunch of Ravenclaws and causing one of them to drop a mug of coffee. I blush profusely and Anna rolls her eyes.

 

Inside the box, there is a beautiful light pink travel bag. It’s small, like the ones people use to carry around toiletries. When I open it, though, I find it filled with so many things. I don’t know what to look at first. There are nail polishes, makeup, creams, soaps, the whole deal. Anna and Zoe get instantly crazy over it and start checking out everything. The guys return resignedly to their breakfast.

 

I notice in a compartment of the bag, a package wrapped with thin paper and a note. Written in my mom’s handwriting are the words: For when you need it or just for looking pretty. I push the paper out and pick in. There’s a black lacy lingerie that looks nothing like anything I own. I catch on to what mom was saying and her idea that I have a boyfriend now. I blush and hide it where I found it.

 

The day is spent outside soaking up the sun. It’s my choice to sit by the lake and the guys insisted on packing up a picnic for our lunch and afternoon. I loved every minute of it. My five favorite friends were always the best company for my birthday here at Hogwarts.

 

Of course Freddie and Jake couldn’t keep from getting up and approaching the girls who passed by us to go to mine and James’ party. Their shirts were open due to the afternoon heat and they put their carelessly attractive faces on. While they are chatting up a redhead, I ask James:

 

- No particular girls you’d like to invite this time?

 

He’s wearing black sunglasses, which he had for some reason and lifts them to look at me.

 

- Nah, just one girl. Which I already invited.

 

- James, you and Sophia are too sweet sometimes. – Zoe makes a face.

 

- Unlike you and Oliver, right? – he responds. Anna and I look at each other quickly and then at Zoe. We remember well a few nights ago when she was crying about the same boy.

 

- If only. – she scoffs but doesn’t say anymore.

 

- What about you Emma? Are you bringing someone special? – James nudges me.

 

- Not anyone in particular. – I say evasively.

 

- Emma doesn’t date. But just because she doesn’t want to. There are loads of options for her. – Zoe says.

 

I don’t know exactly what to say so I prefer to keep quiet. The guilt for not telling them is eating me inside though.

 

- Well, she’s always been an independent woman. Takes a lot for a guy to be at Emma’s level. – Anna puts in. I look gratefully at her.

 

- And you, Anna? No one you’re interested in? – James asks as he leans his head to look at her.

 

- Not right now. I prefer relationships that last only one party. Long-term ones are too much work.

 

James laughs. Jake and Freddie return to our group after that, their hands holding a rolled up parchment.

 

- Looks like there’s another party going on tonight at Ravenclaw Common Room. These chicks are on the Chess Club. It’s their little gathering. – Jake says.

 

- And you’re thinking about leaving our party for a Chess Club meeting? – I raise an eyebrow.

 

- No. Just thinking about going there and taking her to what a real party looks like. – Freddie says proudly.

 

- They do know Maya Stevenson has a boyfriend, don’t they? – Zoe ask us quietly.

 

We smile at each other.

 

- We’ll let them find out – concludes James.


The girls and I arrive at the party about half hour after it started. I was wearing a light blue dress and my old golden sandals, with the necklace they gave me. Zoe was wearing jeans and a beautiful black blouse and Anna was wearing her own green dress.

 

- This is looking like quite a party. – Zoe says, rubbing her hands.

 

She was right. The guys had outdone themselves as always. Our common room had been transformed into a dark space, only illuminated by shining ornaments and magical little stars attached to the ceiling. That and the fun hats, tiaras and necklaces people were using, which reminded me about the toys kids get at New Years Eve in the Muggle world. The dance floor was already full with people and there was a bright bar in the corner.

 

- This looks great. – Anna says.

 

- Oh I see Oliver! – Zoe exclaims and grabs our arms. – Would it be terribly rude of me if I went to talk to him? I just really need to figure things out. I haven’t talk to him the whole week.

 

- It would, but we already accepted your rudeness. – Anna says jokingly.

 

- Really? And you Em? – she turns to me.

 

- Of course you can go! Go sort this out, Zoe.

 

- Thank you! – she hugs me. – And please go have some fun yourself, girl! It’s your birthday!

 

- I will. – I tell her, but the truth is I’m not feeling in the mood for a party.

 

Anna and I watch proudly as Zoe walks decidedly towards Oliver. Soon, someone leans on us from behind.

 

- What did you think of the party, girls? – I recognize James’voice, his breath indicating he’s already started on the drinks.

 

- It’s great James! You guys always make them special. – I tell him. I didn’t have the heart to say I wasn’t in the mood. He looked really excited.

 

- Brilliant! It’s your birthday party too, Em! I’m glad you liked it. By the way, we have a mix of Muggle and Wizarding drinks by the bar and you can ask any song you’d like. Have fun, you two! – he squeezed us and left.

 

- So, what about a drink? – Anna asks.

 

- Yes, please. – I say. We’re just about to go, when another boy approaches us.

 

- Hey, hi! – I recognize Cody Aaron, a Hufflepuff that is in the Latin Club, if I’m not mistaken. He’s really cute and has blonde hair combed to the side. We look at him expectantly.

 

- Happy birthday Emma!

 

- Thanks? – I say confusedly. I’ve spoken to him only once in my life. He turns to Anna:

 

- I was wondering, actually – he starts to blush. – if you wouldn’t like to dance with me?

 

- Oh – Anna blushes herself. – I don’t know, I mean... – she looks at me and I can tell she doesn’t want to leave me alone.

 

- Go! – I tell her. – Have fun!

 

She grins at me and kisses my cheek:

 

- I’ll see you soon. – she assures me.

 

- Just go! – I laugh.

 

I sit by the bar alone and order a drink to the pimple faced fifth year that got stuck into bar duty. That didn’t look at all like my birthday. Precisely the reason I didn’t feel like throwing a party in the first place. I’m not very good at it.

 

- Hey, Emma!

 

I find myself face to face with Matt Schyer, my friend that resulted from a failed date.

 

- How are you? – he asks.

 

- I’m great! How are you?

 

- Brilliant! This party is awesome!

 

- Yeah... – I agree halfheartedly. – Where are your friends?

 

- Oh the guys abandoned me already. Liam and Scott are in their own little world.

 

I look to where he’s inclining his head and find the two boys passionately involved in a kiss. Well, that was unexpected.

 

- Wow! I didn’t...I didn’t realize. I mean, I didn’t know they were gay. – I say, surprised.

 

- Oh, don’t worry. Neither did I. They only came out this year. Apparently, they were in a relationship for three months already until Sam and I found out. Silly of them. As if they could keep a relationship private for so long. – he rolls his eyes.

 

- Yeah, silly. – I take my recently arrived drink and awkwardly take a sip. – What about Sam?

 

- Found someone already.

 

I see Matt’s blond friend dancing with a pretty dark-skinned Ravenclaw. Matt’s gets served two drinks.

 

- I should take one of this to my date, actually. She’s waiting for me. – he says awkwardly.

 

- Oh! You’re with someone! – I exclaim. Now I felt really alone.

 

- Are you alone? Because if you are, you can come with us... – he offers tentatively.

 

- No! No! I’m fine. – I decline. I’m not gonna ruin his date night just because I’m staying a few minutes alone. – My friends will soon join me, don’t worry.

 

- Okay then! – he grins. – Great talking to you! And happy birthday!

 

- Thanks!

 

He kisses my cheek and walks away.

 

The minutes pass slowly as I sit in the bar and watch the party. I’m soon lost in my own thoughts, looking at things from afar.

 

Maybe that’s why I get so surprised when Albus appears in front of me.

 

- Hey. Is it just me or do you feel like ditching this party? – he asks seriously. He is wearing dark jeans and a red button up. I couldn’t even say no to him if I wanted. Albus in red is too gorgeous for me to deal with. I smile slowly at him and it’s all the answer he needs.

 

We’re soon out of the party and under an invisibility cloak, walking the halls of Hogwarts.

 

- Where are we going? – I ask, after climbing one flight of stairs and passing through a secret passage.

 

- It’s a surprise. – his voice sounds near my ear. I’m suddenly reminded of the first time I walked with him under an invisibility cloak, when we were meeting for our project. How things have changed since them. I remember the butterflies in my stomach and that thought gives a new flutter in my belly.

 

We stop at a stone wall and Al starts to pace.

 

- What are you doing? – I ask him.

 

- Are you familiar with the Room of Requirement? – he answers with a question.

 

- Yes! – I answer, astonished. The Room of Requirement is legendary and in the books of history for its part in the Final Battle. Although the details are unclear, we all learn in fifth year that Harry, Ron and Hermione walk through the Room in search of something and escape from it when it catches fire. The location of it is not largely known, though.

 

- We’re about to walk inside it. – he says as a wooden door appears at the wall.

 

– Family secret. – he says as my mouth continues to hang slightly open. – But I have permission to use it in these occasions.

 

- What occasions?

 

- When I’m bringing someone that means a lot to me. – he turns around. My cheeks get pleasantly warm.

 

Albus turns the doorknob and we walk in.

 

The room is way bigger than I imagined. There’s a fireplace right in the center of it. The walls are tiled and a brownish red. There’s a bookshelf filled to the top in the left wall. There is a big sofa that looks more like a bed and two big loveseats. Music is lightly playing. And to top it off, all the furniture is red.

 

But the biggest attractive is the front wall. It’s all glass-made. And behind it there’s a majestic view of the lake and the Quidditch field far away.

 

- Wow! – is the only thing I can say.

 

- The Room transforms into whatever you’d like. – Al says next to me.

 

- But how is that possible? Do these walls even face the lake? – I wonder.

 

- It doesn’t matter. I’ve seen this enchantment. The glass works as a reflection of the lake in this exact moment. I’ve seen it at my dad’s Ministry office. There, he has a perfect view of London, even though the office is underground.

 

I stand speechless for a moment. Then I tease:

 

- So you decided to have the furniture Gryffindor red?

 

- Well, it was for you. – he shrugs. A grin forms involuntarily in my mouth at his sweetness.

 

- And you decided to match it with this shirt? – I touch the collar of it as I get closer to him. He gulps and I see his Adam’s apple bob.

 

- It’s my least favorite one. – Al says with all his Slytherin dignity.

 

- I think you look gorgeous in it. – I say and, soon after, crash my lips to his in a wet kiss.

 

- That’s not fair. – he says after we break apart. – I didn’t even have the chance to tell you how stunning you look tonight.

 

I’m so happy the argument we had that morning seems like a far-away memory

 

The only answer I give is pressing my lips to his again as I encircle my arms around his neck. The rhythm is like a well-known song. My hands find his messy perfect hair and his grab my waist firmly. Our mouths make way for each other and trace a familiar path. I realize he is moving us slowly and feel something hit the back of my knees. A breath of air catches in my throat as his chest pushes me forward. A second later I’m lying on the couch and he is above me.

 

I’ve never felt so much desire for someone before. I’m pretty sure my skin must be all red from the heat right now. As his teeth get my lip, I start to unbutton his shirt. I kiss his collarbone all the way down to above his abs, the place where I stopped unbuttoning. He moans quietly.

 

- Can I? – he asks then, and I realize his fingers are at the straps of my dress. I nod hurriedly.

 

His fingers release the right strap and then the left while his other hand supports him. The path of his touch down my arms makes me shiver. I’m soon uncovered in my upper chess, except for my bra. He looks at me long and intensely.

 

Then he is kissing me all over my skin. Open mouthed kisses that make me press my chest to his mouth involuntarily. He makes his way to just above my bra and I’m gasping.

 

The thought of giving him full access just crosses my mind, when he interrupts his ministrations:

 

- Do you hear that? – he asks breathlessly.

 

As he stops I finally give my attention to other things not including us in this couch, and capture a sound of voices:

 

- Just a minute. You’ll see it soon. – a male voice.

 

Al frowns:

 

- There’s something wrong. We shouldn’t be hearing them so clearly. Not unless...

 

- Love, you’re scaring me? – a girly voice comes from outside the room.

 

- C’mon. – Al grabs my hand. I’m totally confused about what’s happening. We get up from the sofa. A door that wasn’t there before appears in the right wall. He pulls me with him through it. Inside, I only have the time to notice a bench in the corner of the small room as he closes the door and places a silencing charm.

 

We hear the sound of the main door opening. I listen to a female exclaiming at the room just as I did before. The voice sounds slightly familiar. Both Albus and I wait with bated breath in spite of the silencing charm. I take the time to pull the straps of my dress back on.

 

- It’s beautiful, isn’t it? – I hear James’ voice.

 

We look at each other with widened eyes.

 

- James and Sophia are in here! – I whisper.

 

- I know. – he answers, quietly. – I don’t know how this happened. The only way for him to find his room was to think of the same thing to make it appear.

 

- Why are we whispering? – I say a bit more loudly.

 

- I don’t know. – Al chuckles.

 

From outside our little room, I hear Sophia still in awe with the place. Soon, the sounds turn to kissing. Al and I make a face. He seems to pale a bit.

 

The whole situation starts to feel hilarious to me and I start to chuckle quietly, with a hand on my mouth to muffle the sound. Al starts to laugh with me and both of us have to seat on the bench and lean at each other.

 

Just as I’m catching my breath, I start to laugh even louder, my hands grabbing my stomach and my eyes start to water. I’m thankful for the silencing charm in the room because I don’t think I could control myself this time. I see Al’s blurred smile directed at me. He nudged me:

 

- What?

 

I take a few more seconds to catch my breath and then say, wiping my eyes:

 

- James asked me a few days ago how he could make Sophia happier. I told him to surprise her. Turns out that both of you had the same idea and decided to surprise your girlfriends in the Room of Requirement.

 

Al’s face dawns in realization, he says:

 

- That’s why he found us. He must have asked a cozy room to spend time with his girlfriend. And he’s a Gryffindor, so the colors are the same.

 

I start to laugh again:

 

- See, you two aren’t as different as you’d like to think..

 


 

After a few minutes, James and Sophia are still at it. I’m starting to get a little bored.

 

- Okay, you know what? Screw this! – Al grabs his invisibility cloak from his jeans’ pocket. – We’ll have to be really discreet. I’ll place a silencing charm on us but we have to open the doors quietly to get out.

 

- Alright. – I agree.

 

Albus opens the door very slowly. We wait expectantly. No one says anything.

 

I spy through the space we opened. The room looks empty. I make a positive sign and we go on. As we are walking towards the main door, I understand why the room looks empty. We can see James and Sophia lying on the couch close together, him running his fingers through her hair.

 

James’ clothing looks familiar, but I’m not sure if I’m seeing it correctly. As we walk some more, Al suddenly trips forward. I quickly help him balance himself, but his shoe makes a dull sound on the floor and the cloak slips to uncover his arm.. I close my eyes, the adrenaline high, as I wait to see if Albus’ silencing charm worked.

 

I hear James and Sophia kissing. We release a sigh collectively and fix the cloak. Al points at Sophia’s heels on the floor as a way of explanation for tripping. I nod to show I understood.

 

When we reach the door, Al opens it slowly as he did with the other one but it makes a resounding “click”.

 

- Did you hear that? – Sophia asks sleepily. Al and I are frozen still.

 

- Must have been the wood from the fire. – James says, unconcerned.

 

We open the door calmly and exit it, closing it quietly. Al puts a finger to his lips and motions for us to walk a bit more before talking.

 

When we are a bit away, we look at each other and release our breaths.

 

- That was tense. – he says, but he’s grinning. I am too, the adrenaline leaving my body.

 

- Did you see that? – I ask. – Was I seeing things or was James really wearing what I think he was?

 

- He was wearing his Quidditch kit. – Al nods affirmatively. – Why, do you think?

 

- Maybe it turns Sophia on. – I suggest. We laugh loudly.

 

- Maybe it turns him on. – Al says. I’m in a fit of giggles again.

 

As we walk down the corridor, Al speaks again:

 

- I’m sorry this didn’t work out. It was supposed to be a romantic and calm evening, like they were having. – he says sheepishly.

 

- Are you kidding? – I say, grinning. – This was awesome! Best way to end the evening!

 

Al grins and looks at me adoringly.

 

- Good. I’m glad you liked it, then. Though you’re not the one who’s gonna dream with your brother making out on Gryffindor robes.

 

That sets me off again.

 

   
 

 



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