Image made by yours truly! And the character of Jean Valjean and the priest are from Victor Hugo's Les Miserable. I don't own them.




"I really don't see the point of this. What's so important about a priest? And I thought you said this book was about a man named John."

"It's Jean Valjean," Rose corrected her cousin with a chuckle. "And I'm sure it will all come into play eventually. How far are you anyway?"

She peered over Al's shoulder from where she sat next to him on the couch in the heads common room.

"You've only read twelve pages! We have to be through the first eighty by Thursday, and you have to make sure you have time to write your paper before then as well. What exactly did you do all week?"

Rose of course knew the answer to this question. Al had spent the past three days trying to get Erin to talk to him. She had held up her end of the bargain with Lily and had not spoken a word to Al since their argument on Tuesday. It was now Friday evening, and Al seemed like he was about to lose his mind.

"I'll have time this weekend," Al grumbled, turning back to his book. It was hard for Rose not to feel sorry for her cousin. He missed Erin, and he really thought she was still angry at him. He'd asked Rose multiple times how he could fix things and it had been hard for her to keep her mouth shut. Giving into her desire to share the truth with her cousin was starting to look more and more appealing.

"She'll come around, Al. She's just going through a hard time. You know that."

"I was just trying to help, honestly," he insisted. Setting his book aside, he turned to face his cousin.

"Should I just give up then? Let her come to me? It's obvious that pushing her doesn't seem like the best option."

"Maybe that would be best. Just give her time. She's bound to start missing you eventually."

Al looked at Rose hopefully.

"You think so?"

"Of course. It's not normal for you to ignore each other for this long. She probably misses you already."

Al grinned sheepishly before going back to his book. Rose shook her head to herself. Mediating between her friends wasn't on the top of her to-do list for this year, especially when she didn't have to.

Unable to stay quiet and actually focus for long, Al tossed his book aside roughly ten minutes later and stretched.

"I can't take anymore of this right now. Where's Scorp? I haven't seen him all afternoon."

Rose's rather temperate mood plummeted at Al's question. The truth of it was, she didn't know for sure where her co-head was. Ever since their encounter with Shepard after Muggle studies on Tuesday, Scorpius hadn't been in a particularly joyful mood. He had taken to spending more time in the Slytherin common room, sometimes without Al, and never telling Rose anything about what he had been up to. It wasn't that he owed Rose an explanation about what he did, but he'd been rather aloof with her whenever she inquired about his day. Never fully committing to where he was or who he had been with. It had her more worried than she maybe should have been, but it was extremely out of character behavior. She scrunched up her face in displeasure at the situation as Al checked his watched and looked around the room, as if he were expecting his best friend to just appear out of nowhere.

"He wandered off after breakfast this morning and I haven't seen him since, other than during class. Did he tell you what he was planning to do today?" She tried not to sound too eager for information.

Al just shrugged and slumped back into the couch. "Nope. He did the same thing after lunch and I haven't seen him since we got out of potions. He wandered off then too."

They were both lost in thought for a moment. Rose tried to go back to reading her book but couldn't focus. Her brow remained furrowed and her eyes stared straight ahead without seeing.

"Are you worried about him?"

The question startled Rose and she glanced at her cousin, who had apparently been watching her. She looked at Al, an eyebrow raised in question, and he rolled his eyes at her.

"I'm not thick, Rose. I can tell you've been on edge since term started when it comes to Scorpius. I get that things have been a little tense because of what Shepard did the other day, but I also know something happened on the train."

"You do?"

"It was pretty obvious it didn't go splendidly just based on the fact that you didn't gush about how thrilling it was, not to mention you watched him like a hawk the whole rest of the ride and said basically nothing. What happened? Is something going on between you two that I should know about?"

Rose's eyes widened at his question.

"Going on between us?"

Al sighed.

"I know it's not outside the realm of possibilities that there are parts of your friendship that don't include me. Did you have a fight about something?"

Rose was relieved that he didn't seem to be hinting at what she herself had no desire to discuss at all, especially with how Scorpius had been acting lately. She could feel him getting further away, so admitting any feelings she might have to her cousin didn't seem like the best idea. It was looking more and more like nothing would come of them.

"No, we didn't fight. Let's just say that our little hallway incident with Shepard wasn't the first time he'd decided to speak his mind."

Al's face hardened in anger.

"You're fucking kidding me. What happened?"

"Questioned Scorpius's authority in front of all the other students!" Rose said in indignation. Apparently her feelings on the matter had yet to fade.

"As he was giving out instructions and doing a wonderful job showing leadership by the way. I know we didn't really talk about the meeting but he really did brilliantly. He even kept his cool after Shepard accused him of bribing the headmistress for the job."

Al clenched his fists and looked as if he were restraining himself from tearing apart the room.

"Bastard. Did he say anything else?"

"Called him death eater scum. Ruddy prat."

Unable to remain seated, Al started pacing in front of the fire.

"No wonder he got to him so much the other day. That little shit head."

Rose was about to respond when the portrait swung open and Scorpius walked in.

"And where the hell have you been?" Al practically yelled at him.

Scorpius hadn't noticed his friends right away and started at Al's exclamation. He gave Rose a questioning look and a small smile which she didn't return.

"Sorry, Mum. Can't a bloke spend some time in the library?" His words dripped with sarcasm as he placed his bag on the floor and flopped into the armchair closest to him.

"Sorry," Al mumbled, "I just haven't seen much of you this week."

"Have I been neglecting you, dear? I do apologize." He gave Al a teasing grin, who merely rolled his eyes and resumed his position on the couch. The jab even brought a smile out of Rose. Scorpius seemed to be doing just fine, at least at the present moment.

"Erin's been avoiding him too, so you'll have to excuse my cousin. He's a little emotionally vulnerable at the moment."

"I hate it when the two of you gang up on me," Al grumbled as Rose and Scorpius shared a laugh.

"I'm not avoiding you," Scorpius assured him. "I just have a lot more on my plate this year, being Head Boy and all."

"I know, I know," Al said. "Rose's right. I'm letting all this Erin stuff get to me. How're you doing though, mate? You may not be ignoring me but I still haven't seen you much this week."

Scorpius shrugged noncommittally, not making eye contact with either of his friends.

"I've been pretty busy, like I said. And you'll see me more once practice starts up."

The boys began talking about Quidditch while Rose went back to her book, her previous conversation with her cousin forgotten in the comfortable and familiar atmosphere. It was common for her to study with Quidditch conversation as background noise.

They all headed to dinner together about an hour later, and the boys joined Rose at the Gryffindor table. Louis and Caleb were already there, as well as Bobby and Hugo. They were talking Quidditch as well.

"Might want to stuff it now lads, if you don't want us hearing your strategies that is," Al quipped. He and Scorpius sat with the two fifth year boys and Rose took the spot across from them and next to the two sixth years.

"We were actually talking about the league," Caleb informed them. "Did you hear about what the Arrows did against Puddlemere?"

"James wrote me describing the whole thing in vivid detail," Al said.

"I thought Appleby wouldn't stand a chance this year," Hugo enthused.

"Wait, what happened?"

Everyone looked at Scorpius in something close to surprise. All except Al, who filled him in.

"Puddlemere only won by twenty once they caught the snitch. The Arrows have a new Chaser who's a lot better than everyone expected. I got the letter this morning and didn't read it til after you'd run off at the end of lunch."

It was odd for one of them to know something of this nature and not the other. The boys didn't pay this much mind and went back to their discussion on Quidditch, but Rose was just reminded again that Scorpius hadn't been around as much as he normally was.

"What worries me is - Erin!" Al exclaimed.

Rose rolled her eyes and heaved a sigh at her cousin.

"Yes, Al, we know. Can't you let it be? She'll talk to you when she's good and ready."

"No, she's -"

"Budge up, Rosie."

Rose looked over her shoulder to see her best friend, who'd apparently decided to join them for dinner.

"I was wondering if you'd be coming, seeing as you're ignoring my cousin and all," Rose commented as she moved closer to Caleb to make room for Erin.

"Yes, well, it's not really worth the effort."

"Does that mean you're talking to me again?"

"Are you up for going to visit Alice tomorrow?" Erin asked Rose, completely ignoring Albus, much to his displeasure. "She's invited us for lunch."

"But it's not a Hogsmeade weekend."

Erin shot a look at Hugo, who had inserted himself in their conversation, but it was Al who responded.

"Seventh years are allowed to go in every other weekend, not just the designated Hogsmeade ones."

"What? How come I didn't know that?" Hugo asked his sister.

"I'm almost positive it's come up before. You just don't pay attention to the things I say that have nothing to do with you."

"She's got a point."

"Nobody asked you, Finnigan."

"Anyway," Erin interrupted. "How about it? Scorpius, you're more than welcome to come too."

"I have plans, thanks though."

This time, everyone did look at Scorpius in surprise.

"With who?" Louis asked.

"I do have other friends, you know."

"No you don't," Hugo bluntly pointed out. Al was quick to reach behind Scorpius and slap his cousin on the back of the head.

"It's none of your business anyway, Weasley. I just have other plans, that's all."

He returned to his meal, but Hugo wasn't done making snippy comments.

"You know, it's very confusing when you refer to one of us as 'Weasley,' seeing as there are three of us sitting right here."

"Rose, permission to punch your brother?"

"I'm inclined to give it to you."

Hugo raised his hands in defeat and returned to his meal with a smirk on his face.

"Well then," Erin said, returning to the original conversation. "I guess it'll be a girls luncheon. That'll be nice."

"Oi! What's your problem Longbottom?" Al now looked rather furious with Erin's dismissal of his presence. She lazily made eye contact with him, looking bored.

"I know I upset you the other day, but you know I only want what's best for you. I've always been there for you and done nothing but look after you our entire lives. You haven't always been a saint to me either but I've done my best to forgive you for the shite you've put me through. So would you stop being such a bitch about all of this?"

Erin was now fuming. Rose was mad at Albus herself. He may be right about a lot of what he said, but he definitely didn't have to be such an arse about it. However, it did seem that his method was about to get him exactly what he wanted as Erin opened her mouth and let him have it.

"How dare you call me a bitch you idiotic prick. You call this always being there for me? You can't mean to tell me that you actually give a fuck about my feelings. You've done enough damage to them that I'd be a fool to let you near them ever again. And take care of me? I've never asked you to do that nor have I ever needed you to. As for the shite I've put you through, I'm sure you've deserved every fucking minute of it."

She violently stood and collected the school bag she had brought with her, before getting one last word in to a still livid looking Albus.

"If you'd been patient with me, like you never have been, I wouldn't have ignored you forever, you know. I thought you were decent enough to be forgiven eventually. Guess I was wrong."

Al's face was starting to lose it's hard edge as he realized she was about to walk away. She quickly told Rose she'd see her tomorrow before throwing a short wave to everyone else and running from the Great Hall.

"You daft idiot, Al. Why? Why did you think anything that you just said was a good idea?"

If anyone else had said this, Al would've snapped at them. But Bobby Finnigan was the type of person that you could not easily be mad at, especially when they spoke the truth to you. There was an awkward moment of silence before Rose spoke up.

"I told you to give it time, Al. I told you she'd come to you when she was good and ready. You had to push her, didn't you? This is about her, not you. And everything you just said to her was entirely about you."

"I know, Rosie! I know that. It's pretty bloody obvious I made a mistake. Get off my back and let me be miserable in peace, will you?"

He poked at his food and everyone let him be, but the worst thing about awkward moments during meals is that if you aren't done eating, you can't just get up and leave. Unless you'd rather be anywhere but there, hungry or not. Nobody seemed to have had their fill enough to leave, so the next few minutes were spent in uncomfortable silence that was only broken when Anastasia Bennett slid in beside Louis.

"Hey Lou, any plans for the weekend?"

The girl had long, slick, chestnut hair that she was flirtatiously twirling around her finger. Her eyes were blinking a mile a minute as she bit her lip in a nervous fashion. Louis looked uncomfortable as the other boys tried to hide their chuckles at his expense.

"Oh, you know, just practicing some Quidditch, maybe getting some homework done."

She let out a giggle and rested her hand on his arm.

"Sounds awfully boring if you ask me. But if you insist on being the studious type, perhaps you need a study partner?"

Louis awkwardly cleared his throat as he searched for a way to respond. He was a rather attractive bloke and the summer had been good to him. Not to mention the Veela blood that drew women to him through no effort on his part. Throughout their first week, Rose had seen half a dozen girls approach Louis in this way. And she only saw him at mealtimes, so she couldn't imagine how often he had to put up with this.

"Well, I usually study with Caleb. And sometimes Molly and Jill, since we're all in the same year. You're in fifth though, right?"

For reasons unbeknownst to Rose, this made the girl blush and giggle yet again.

"That's right. I'm in your cousin Lily's year."

"You're also in her seat."

Everyone looked up to see the youngest Potter had shown up with Charlotte Bray in tow, and was glowering over Anastasia's shoulder. It was fairly well known that, despite sharing a dormitory for the fifth year in a row, the two had never gotten along. Lily crossed her arms and looked expectantly at her dormmate.

"Do you mind?"

Anastasia gave Lily a sarcastic smile and turned back to Louis.

"Well, if you change your mind."

She slowly rose from the table and blew a kiss at Louis before walking away, not sparing Lily another glance.

"What a sleaze," Lily huffed as she and Charlotte sat down. "Sorry, Lou. She didn't contaminate you too much did she?"

Louis shook his head, relieved to be rid of the other girl's presence.

"Thanks Lily, I owe you one."

"You're welcome. So, what did I miss?"

Everyone went quiet again as they remembered what had happened a few minutes earlier. Al focused on his food and everyone else shared uncertain looks. Nothing could get by Lily that easily, and she quickly picked up on the mood - her brother's in particular.

"Wow, something big then?" Charlotte asked, also noticing the tense atmosphere around the table.

"Did Al do something dreadful?"

"Shut up, Lily."

She ignored her brother and looked around at everyone else. No one seemed to want to talk. With Al being so on edge, they weren't exactly keen to throw him under the bus. He'd already put himself through enough that evening. Lily scrutinized them, trying to find her weakest link. Rose and Scorpius were a no-go. They were his best friends and didn't seem likely to crack. Hugo and Louis were oddly loyal to their older cousin, and Bobby was too good a bloke to do anything unkind. That left Caleb.

"Hey, Wood. Spill."

His eyes widened at being singled out and Caleb looked nervously between the two Potters. One was giving him a soft smile and batting her eyes, while the other was glaring daggers. The other boys wore bemused expressions. None of them believed for a second that Lily could get strong, masculine Caleb Wood to break, so they were all shocked to watch him crumble a moment later.

"Al may have yelled some things at Erin and she may have screamed some things back at him."

The dropped jaws and sneers he received from his friends caused him to turn red in shame. Lily looked extremely pleased before she fully comprehended what he said.

"Wait, what? Erin actually talked to you?" she asked her brother.

"If you can call it that, yeah. Why?"

"Because that means she owes me big time. Ha!" Lily grabbed a few rolls and a chicken leg before sprinting from the room.

"What the bloody hell did that mean?" Al asked the table at large. None of the boys seemed to have a clue, Charlotte had quickly followed after Lily, and Rose's silence was a dead giveaway, unfortunately for her. All the boys looked at her expectantly as she prolonged the inevitable by sipping her pumpkin juice. Finally setting her empty goblet aside, she told Al the truth.

"The main reason she hadn't said anything to you sooner, was because Lily bet Erin that she couldn't go a week without speaking to you. Turns out she was right, but I guess you already know that."

Al's face went from distraught to livid as he spoke.

"You mean to tell me that she wasn't all that angry with me, and that my prat of a little sister stuck her nose in my business and lost me my best friend in the process?"

"Looks that way, doesn't it?"

Hugo earned a smack on the head from Scorpius for that one.

Al's previously furious expression had all but disappeared, and Rose wasn't sure if she'd ever seen him look so pathetic. He was monstrously angry with his sister, but he couldn't believe he'd actually pushed Erin even further away when she wasn't all that mad at him to begin with. He hardened his expression and rose to leave.

"Why didn't you say anything, Rose? You knew all along? I've been asking you for ages how to fix this!"

"And I told you to let it be! I couldn't betray her trust when she asked me not to say anything."

"Al, mate, calm down."

"No, Scor. I've had enough of this. I can't believe any of you would do that to me, Rose."

He stormed out of the Great Hall without looking back.

"I'll go talk to him," Scorpius assured a distraught Rose. He reached across the table and squeezed her hand before exiting the Great Hall and going after his best friend.

"We should be going too. We have to meet the girls in the Library," said Caleb as he and Louis also rose to leave. Rose was soon left with just Hugo and Bobby as the crowd in the Great Hall started to dwindle around them.

"Rose, it'll all be alright," Bobby assured her. "It might be a little more complicated between Al and Erin, but your part in this is one of those things that isn't exactly black or white. It's rather gray, if you ask me. You did right by your friend by keeping your promise to her, and you did give Al the advice he needed. Knowing Al, he might've flown off the handle at her even if he did know the truth. That's not on you."

Hugo nodded along as his friend spoke.

"He's right, Ro. Chin up. It'll blow over soon."

Rose gave the younger boys a small smile in gratitude, already feeling slightly better.

"Thanks. I know you're right. And I hope for all our sakes that my best friends are able to work things out before this gets really messy."

On Saturday, Rose got up early to meet Erin for breakfast. They had some shopping they wanted to do in Hogsmeade before going over to Alice's for lunch and planned to get an early start. Rose also had a feeling that Erin wanted to do everything in her power to avoid Albus, who was never much of an early riser on the weekends.

When she'd finished dinner the previous evening, Rose had gone to find Erin. When she did, Erin was more visibly upset than Rose expected. She was down underneath the castle where the boats that bring the first years dock. It was a rather eerie place, with walls that echoed and were covered in slime. She and Erin had rediscovered it in their third year after Erin had gotten into a fit in front of everyone in the Great Hall when her dad wouldn't let her spend the Easter Holidays with Rose and her family, insisting that she spend it with her own. Erin been going through a season of life where it was impossible for her to get along with her older brother and had claimed she "wanted nothing to do with that uptight prat." Professor Longbottom wasn't having it, and took away her Hogsmeade privileges for the following weekend. Rose and Erin had spent the day exploring the castle and wandering the grounds when they'd happened upon the docks. It became their place to go when either one of them needed to get away. They hadn't even told the boys about it. Scorpius was still just Al's friend to them at the time, and they'd decided to keep it their secret as the years went on and the friendships changed, just incase they ever needed something that was just theirs. Rose was thankful that they had.

As they sat there with their feet dangling over the water, Erin talked in a way that Rose had wanted her to for weeks. She talked about her grandmother and how much she missed her; about how she really was having a hard time with it even though she'd been denying it. She'd begrudgingly admitted that Al had been right all along and turns out she did need an emotional push to get over her hurdle.

"Unfortunately for him, he had to go and damage our friendship in the process so he can't even rub it in my face that he was right."

She sniffled and rubbed at her eyes.

"I hate him. I really hate him."

Rose put her arm around her friend, letting Erin rest her head on her shoulder.

"But you don't. Not really, right?"

Erin let out a heavy sigh and sat up, grabbing a small stone that lay beside her and hurling it into the water.

"I'm not so sure this time. I guess I don't, but he's always a right prick to me. Why should I care about him if he refuses to care about me?"

"Don't be daft, Erin. You know he wouldn't try so hard if he didn't care about you."

"Yes, well, he doesn't know how to show it very well. I know he's always so kind and caring with you and your cousins -"

"Not always."

Erin gave Rose a look at her interruption and the redhead signaled for her to continue.

"But, I rarely get any of that. I get the tough exterior that he puts on for everyone else. Maybe once in awhile I get a bit of his softer side, but it's not enough to make me secure in our friendship to the point where I can say 'don't worry, it's ok, I know he only does it cause he cares.'"

Rose had tried to convince Erin otherwise, but her insecurities were determined to get the better of her. Hopefully their shopping trip and time with Alice would do her some good and give her some much needed space. She already had a bit more of a spring in her step as they made their way from the castle into the village. It was still rather warm out but it was early so the day wasn't at it's peak temperature yet, and there was a nice cool breeze in the air that promised the coming autumn.

They wandered around a few different shops as Erin looked for a housewarming gift for her sister. She eventually decided on a biscuit jar in the shape of a brown bunny, Alice's favorite animal. Rose had bought a carton of biscuits to fill it with at the bakery in town.

Alice's flat was above The Three Broomsticks, so the girls wandered around to the back entrance right around lunchtime. Since it wasn't an actual Hogwarts weekend, the village was rather quiet save for the locals and a few other seventh years wandering around. Rose spotted Albus walking into Weasley Wizard Wheezes' Hogsmeade branch and quickly diverted Erin before they could be spotted.

They gave Alice her gifts as they entered, and she told them to make themselves at home as she put the finishing touches on lunch. For only being there for a few weeks, she was already very settled. The flat felt like a cozy log cabin. There was a comfortable sized seating area with a large fireplace surrounded by a loveseat and two armchairs. A bar with two stools under it separated the kitchen from the sitting room, and a table and chairs on the far end of the flat by a door lead to the bedroom suite. She'd given the place a feminine touch with flowers on the mantel, throw pillows on the furniture, and a floral patterned carpet spanning most of the sitting room floor.

As they ate, Alice filled them in on how things were going with the pub. She'd been in a bit of a funk for the past few years and it was encouraging to both Erin and Rose to see that she found so much joy in her new situation.

"The locals have already started to take to me! It can be hard going from someone who they've known for so long to someone who looks like they haven't been out of Hogwarts for more than a handful of years, which is actually the case. But the rest of the staff has been so helpful and everyone came around very quickly when Rosmerta gave a little introduction speech for me. She stayed on the first week til I got settled and made sure to give anyone who gave me a hard time a good talking to."

She was beaming as she regaled them with tales of the locals and all of the responsibilities she now had.

"It's strange doing all of the things that used to be Mum's job when I worked at the Leaky, but I'm also learning a lot about what she did that works for me, as well as figuring out my own way to get things done."

"Sounds like it's been going brilliantly, Ally," Erin enthused. "Is there anyone around who's your age though? Do you get to have any social life?"

"Well, one of the other barmaids is in her upper twenties but she has a kid and she tries to spend every spare minute she has with him. We get along well when we work together though. The other workers have been around for a long time so it's a bit odd to be the boss of people so much older than me."

"Any interesting patrons though? Any nice boys show up?" Rose teased as she and Erin grinned. Alice blushed and rolled her eyes at the younger girls.

"It's only been a few weeks. Even if there was someone, I wouldn't know him that well yet, would I?"

"Does that mean there is someone?"

Alice chuckled at her sister as she stood to start clearing the table.

"Erin, whether there is a bloke I've taken a fancy to or not, it's not the right time for that. I'm just getting settled and I want to make sure I'm in a good place before I start to consider anything like that."

Rose and Erin grabbed their plates and followed Alice into the kitchen.

"Sounds like you're avoiding the question," Erin teased.

Alice just gave her a pointed look before ignoring her.

"I suppose that makes sense, though" Rose said, setting her plate on the bar next to Erin's as they both sat on the stools. "Make sure you've got yourself all sorted out before you attempt to sort anything out with someone else."

"Exactly. I haven't really dated since Hogwarts either so I'm also slightly terrified of what's out there."

"They're all idiots. Every one of them," Erin grumbled.

Alice shared a questioning look with Rose before putting away the last of the food and returning to lean on the bar across from her sister.

"What's he done now?"

Erin gave Alice a confused look. "Who?"

"Albus, of course. Anytime you're pissed about boys, it's usually because he's done something stupid that's upset you. Am I wrong?"

"No," Erin said with a sour look. "He's being as big of a prat as ever. Yelled at me in front of the whole Great Hall. Called me a bitch too."

Alice didn't look too pleased with this news.

"Why'd he yell at you?"

Erin sighed and launched into the whole story - how he'd gotten on her case earlier in the week, how Lily had talked her into ignoring him, and how he'd gone on about how much he cared and did for her, and how she ought to forgive him since he'd always forgiven her.

"I don't think I can, though. Not this time. I need to look after myself, like you said. That goes for any relationship, right?" she asked her sister, who nodded.

"Absolutely. But he is one of your oldest friends. I like to think I know Al pretty well and no matter what you've been through together, I still believe he cares about you."

"Maybe so," Erin agreed. "But I don't think it's the same way I care about him."

Erin looked very upset as she spoke. She even looked like she might be close to tears. Rose wasn't entirely sure she'd ever seen Erin quite this affected by anything her cousin had done before.

"Erin, why is it bothering you so much this time? I understand that he wasn't exactly nice to you, but he does care about you."

A small tear fell from the corner of Erin's eye and she hastily wiped it away.

"I know that. I know he's only trying to be my friend, but…"

She shared a hesitant look with her sister, who seemed confused before it dawned on her.

"You like him, don't you?"

Rose's eyes widened at Alice's words and she turned to her best friend in surprise.

"What's it matter if I do?" Erin said in defeat. "I'd be an idiot if I did, and he definitely doesn't feel that way about me."

"Are you sure though?" Rose asked, coming out of her state of shock. Thinking about it, she shouldn't be all that surprised by the turn the conversation had taken. And she'd always suspected that Al had a thing for Erin.

"Please. He's never shown any sign of thinking of me as more than a friend. Besides, I never said I liked him. Am I confused about how I feel? Sure, but he's not doing himself any favors if he does happen to like me."

"Fair point," Alice conceded. "What do you think, Rose? You probably know Al better than anyone."

Rose thought for a moment as the Longbottom sisters waited for her answer. In truth, Rose had a strong feeling that Al and Erin actually had very similar feelings for each other. But meddling was definitely something she knew she shouldn't do.

"I think you need to work out your friendship before you try to sort out anything else."

Alice nodded in agreement and Erin gave them both a small, slightly disgruntled smile.

"Fine, you're probably right. And for the record, I never admitted to anything and this conversation never leaves this room. Now can we talk about something other than boys, please?"

A/N: Drama, drama, drama. Happy reading :)

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