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Our game against Gryffindor arrived in early November. Scorpius had us practicing all week- rigorously. I’d come to regard the ache in my shoulders as normal somewhere down the line. We’d leave practices either drenched with sweat or drenched with rainwater. I was starting to forget what it was like to be dry. 

 

Our beloved captain also made team dinners mandatory all week. We took a couple in the kitchens, for privacy while we discussed strategy, but even the dinners we ate in the Great Hall had to be together. Scorpius was all about team unity and that sort of shite. I think he just didn’t want us talking to our Gryffindor friends, namely Albus’s family. 

 

“Bloody crazy bugger,” Albus muttered from beside me as he stabbed at his dinner on Friday night. “I stopped to talk to Hugo for two minutes and Scor physically dragged me away.”

 

I snorted into my pumpkin juice. “And yet somehow, he is still allowed to partner up with Rose in every class.”

 

“Hypocritical arse,” Albus narrowed his eyes. 

 

Scorpius, across the table, was so engrossed with his lecture to poor Byron on which Keeper pads brought the most protection but the least weight that he didn’t hear us talking about him. 

 

“He wouldn’t even let me say hi to Leo,” I said hotly. “Leo hates Quidditch, he’s hardly going to press me for team details.”

 

“You two talking about Captain Paranoid?” Eva asked from my other side, leaning around me. “Because I’m about ready to throttle him.”

 

“At least the game’s tomorrow,” Albus sighed. “I just want it over with. I’d like to actually converse with my siblings without Scor threatening me with laps and accusing me of siding with the enemy.”

 

“At least you were threatened first,” I told him. “I was just given the laps.Bloody favoritism if you ask me.”

 

“I’m a favorable boy,” Albus smirked, making me want to hit him. 

 

“I got laps too,” Eva complained. “He always lets you off easy, Albus.”

 

“They’re probably shagging on the side,” I said offhandedly. 

 

“POTTER’S SHAGGING MALFOY?” Collin asked loudly from his spot across from Eva. 

 

Several heads turned at his rather loud question, including that of Scorpius himself. It was immensely comical how quickly the whispers started as the other students in the Great Hall broke out into vigorous, hushed discussions about the “announcement.”

 

Scorpius glowered darkly at Collin, his face a mix of shock, abhorrence, and humiliation. Albus looked similarly outraged. 

 

“Corner,” Scorpius fumed. “After tomorrow’s game, you have laps until you die.”

 

Eva and I, meanwhile, had erupted into uncontrollable giggles. 

 

“Bloody stop laughing,” Albus snapped. “Fucking hell, everyone’s staring.”

 

“It was big news,” Ethan, who sat on Scorpius’s other side, snickered. “They’ve all been waiting for the official announcement for ages.”

 

“I will break your face with your own bat,” Albus growled. 

 

“And you’ll be joining Corner on his laps,” Scorpius added, still fuming. 

 

“This isn’t our fault,” Ethan frowned. “Tara suggested it first.”

 

Scorpius turned his glare on me. “Is that right?”

 

“Yeah, thanks a lot, Tara,” Albus grumbled. “I needed more bloody rumors running around about my social life.”

 

“I’m sorry,” I giggled. “Maybe this will save me, though. Clarke tried to turn my Charms textbook into a mouse the other day. Maybe now she’ll go after Scor.”

 

“She tried to turn your book into a mouse?” Eva asked incredulously. 

 

“Apparently,” I shrugged. “Because Rylie ended up getting in the way and it turned her book into a mouse.”

 

She grinned. “Poor Rylie. Did she retaliate?”

 

“Of course,” I laughed. “She threw the mouse at Clarke, and the scared thing clung to her head.”

 

“Stop talking about the bloody mouse!” Scorpius cried. A vein on his forehead throbbed as he glared at us. Bloody hell this boy needed to relax. “We have a Quidditch game tomorrow morning, people, we need to focus.”

 

“Sorry,” I mumbled. “For what it’s worth, I was making a light joke. Collin’s the one who screamed it to the Great Hall.” I smiled apologetically at Collin, who rolled his eyes and waved his hand. 

 

“Clarke wouldn’t try to hurt Malfoy anyway,” he chuckled. “She finds him even more fit than Potter. He just doesn’t have her preferred surname, so she prefers to stalk the latter.”

 

Between Albus and Scorpius, I’m still not sure whose face displayed more resentment over that comment. Poor Collin really was going to be running laps until he died. 

 

“Whatever,” Scorpius huffed. “Back to Quidditch, people! We need to talk about preparing for the game.”

 

He launched back into strategist-controlling-Nazi-captain mode, addressing each of us in turn with specific things to remember to think about and to employ during the following day’s game. Scorpius was one of my absolute best friends most of the time, but fuck if I didn’t want to punch him when Quidditch came up.

 

After dinner, the team split up as we headed back down to the dungeons. I think Collin and Ethan were mostly just scared of Scorpius, so they practically ran out of the Great Hall. Eva, in a show of surprising patience, let Scorpius continue to talk her ear off about her reverse pass, while Byron followed them along, listening with a somewhat awed expression. 

 

I fell into step alongside Albus in the back. He’d been quiet since Collin’s comment about surnames. “Sorry for earlier,” I voiced quietly. “I didn’t know Collin was going to scream it out to the whole school.”

 

He shrugged. “Doesn’t matter.” His voice was hollow, though, and his eyes were dark. I sighed, knowing it wasn’t the rumor about him and his best mate that had him so gloomy. 

 

“Clarke’s an idiot, you know,” I asserted. 

 

He smiled weakly. “Yeah. I know. And you’d think I’d be used to comments about my name at this point, right? I’m sixteen, I’ve obviously had plenty of years to get used to the whole ‘Potter’ thing.”

 

“It’s fair, though,” I frowned. “You might have had sixteen years to get used to being a Potter, but that means the world has had sixteen years to get used to it too. People shouldn’t still be so fixated on it.”

 

We rounded a corner and continued down the corridor. I noticed the two of us had slowed our pace considerably. 

 

“They are, though,” he sighed. “And it’s not going to stop.”

 

“I can’t pretend that I know what it’s like,” I admitted. “But I can see why it’d be frustrating. The expectations, the uncertainty of who’s real around you. For what it’s worth, I think there’s a fair amount of people who have gotten past your name.”

 

“Not as many as you’d think,” Albus said slowly. I wondered what kind of interactions he’d had to discover that. “Especially when it comes to girls. My best mate’s bloody Scorpius- my name ends up all I have to fall back on.”

 

“That’s not true,” I frowned. 

 

“You hear Collin earlier,” he reminded me bitterly. “Even my psycho stalker is only interested in me for my name.” Hearing him this insecure was new to me, and remarkably saddening. For Merlin’s sake, the boy was so bloody gorgeous it was ridiculous. 

 

“Then you just have to stick with those who don’t care,” I said firmly as we descended a set of stairs.

 

“Like those who ask me if I’m a pageant girl?” he asked, a real smile forming. 

 

“Exactly,” I smirked. 

 

“I guess I can do that,” he looked thoughtful. “Provided those in question don’t tire of my company, I suppose.”

 

“I don’t think they will,” I assured him, blushing lightly. 

 

He liked my answer, apparently, because his eyes lit up with delight. “Thank you,” he said softly. “Not for the pageant thing, obviously, but for saying all that just now.”

 

“Anytime,” I smiled back. It was the least I could do- he wanted to help me find my mother, and had actually kept every one of my secrets. Helping him in return came easily. 

 

He grinned. “So tell me one more thing. Is Scorpius really more fit than me?”

 

I rolled my eyes. “Depends who you ask.”

 

“I’m asking you,” he pointed out. “As an objective friend, of course.” An objective friend who’d snogged him three bloody times. And who would probably sure as hell do it again sooner or later. 

 

“Objectively, I’d argue that most girls at Hogwarts would agree that Scorpius Malfoy is the fittest bloke in school,” I said in a low voice so that the boy in question wouldn’t hear us talking about him only a little ways behind him. Although at this point, he was much further ahead of us than he had been when we started out of the Great Hall. 

 

“Most girls,” he repeated. “Does that include you?”

 

“I’m sure there are plenty of instances where I could be considered among ‘most girls,’” I answered diplomatically. 

 

“You’re really going out of your way to give me a straight answer on your own opinion here, Tara,” Albus smirked. 

 

“Don’t want to inflate your ego,” I answered without thinking. Oops, that about answers it. 

 

“I see,” he grinned widely, apparently enjoying himself. My face heated up. 

 

“I changed my mind. He’s much more fit than you, and you’re a stupid prat,” I mumbled. 

 

His laugh echoed through the halls, and I found myself smiling.

 


 

“Rivers scores!”

 

I pumped an arm up triumphantly, beaming as the Slytherin stands erupted in cheers- they were about the only ones. People tended to root against us. 

 

“Nice one, Tara!” Scorpius called from me from his perch, a few meters above me. He returned to scanning the area for the snitch. I waved to him before speeding off to catch the Gryffindor chasers. 

 

“The score’s now 40-20 Slytherin!” came Lucy Weasley’s voice. “My idiot cousins better pull it together!”

 

“Weasley,” came Mansir’s disappointed scolding. 

 

“If you don’t want biased commentating, Professor, stop letting students volunteer for this.”

 

James flew by her, the Quaffle under one of his arms, and flipped her off, ignoring the scoldings of Mansir, who sat beside Lucy in the commentator’s box. 

 

I flew after him, approaching from his left. Eva positioned herself between him and Lily, who flew up the middle, while their third Chaser was on the far right side of the pitch dodging Bludgers from Ethan and Collin. This opened the chance for me to slam against James, shoving him toward Eva. He glanced between the two of us, recognizing he was in a bind, and dove to try to lose us. 

 

I stuck to his side like glue, not letting him out of my range, while Eva stayed up to make sure he couldn’t pass to Lily. While pulling out of the dive, his grip on the Quaffle loosened, and I took the opportunity to check him again. 

 

The Quaffle slid out from under his arm and dropped, to be caught by Albus, who’d been waiting below per Scorpius’s play. We sped back around to the other end of the pitch. I flanked Albus, keeping myself between him and his brother. 

 

Once he reached the goalposts, he zipped across the goals and threw the Quaffle through the third hoop- another goal. 

 

“50-20 to Slytherin!” Lucy cried. “Dammit!”

 

“Weasley!” Mansir scolded again. I glanced over toward him, unable to help myself. He was watching me fly- me specifically. I swallowed hard, trying to focus back in on the game, rather than my guilt over the remark that I had still yet to apologize for. 

 

Unfortunately, my attention had not yet come back to the game, and I felt a Bludger collide with my left arm. I cried out in pain, certain I’d heard something crack. Oh gods, I thought. Don’t look at your arm. 

 

Scorpius called for a timeout, and Hooch blew her whistle. 

 

Albus flew over to me quickly, descending beside me. “Are you alright?” he asked, looking at my arm with a slightly nauseated expression. “Oh shit. No you are not.” Don’t look at your arm. 

We landed on the ground and were joined by the others a moment later. “Tara, that looks horrible,” Eva frowned. 

 

Don’t look at your arm. 

 

“That was my fault,” Ethan lamented. “I should have been there- sorry Rivers.”

 

“It’s fine,” I said through gritted teeth. 

 

“It’s not,” Scorpius growled, glaring at Ethan. “He should have been.”

 

“Forget it,” I shook my head. 

 

Pomfrey arrived, demanding I cease playing and follow her to the Hospital Wing. “Fat chance,” I snapped. “Just fix it enough for me to finish the game.”

 

“Are you mad?” Albus snapped at me. “Have you seen it?”

 

Nope, and i’m not going - my thoughts broke off as my eyes betrayed my brain and glanced down at my very broken arm. 

 

I bent over and threw up onto the field. Arms were not supposed to look like that. 

 

“Gross,” Collin wrinkled his nose. I wasn’t sure if he was referring to the arm or the puke. 

 

“I can set the bone,” Pomfrey said with a disapproving scowl. “But it still won’t be completely healed unless you come back to the Hospital Wing.”

 

“I’ll be sure to stop by after we win,” I said adamantly. “Fix it. Please.”

 

She sighed, but did as I requested. 

 

“Alright, guys, we only need twenty more points to be in a strong enough lead for me to catch the Snitch,” Scorpius said. “If we win by 150, then given how Gryffindor’s game went against Ravenclaw, we’ll be ahead of Ravenclaw almost guaranteed, whether they beat us in our game against them or not.”

 

“We got this,” I nodded, feeling a little dizzy from the pain. “They didn’t get my good arm.”

 

“You’re my favorite player,” Scorpius declared. 

 

With that, we returned to the skies. Ethan and Collin split up to either side of where we lined up, each glaring down the Gryffindor Beaters. I gripped my broom tightly, ignoring the sharp pains that shot up my arm, starting at my wrist and going all the way up my shoulder. 

 

Hooch blew her whistle, and the game was back on. Lily had the Quaffle- she sped off toward our hoops, where a nervous Byron was waiting. Albus and I flanked her- her mistake was actually her speed. She outflew her brother and their third Chaser, which meant she had no backup, allowing us to sandwich her. Stuck between us, Lily fumbled, and we shoved her back and forth between the two of us until she dropped the Quaffle. It fell towards Eva and James, who raced for it, but a well aimed Bludger by Ethan allowed Eva to snag it as James pulled back to dodge. 

 

“Nice,” I called to Ethan, who grinned back and nodded. 

 

“Thanks for the Quaffle, Lil,” Albus winked at his sister as we watched Eva speed off. She had the jump on James and Lily, and their third Chaser was rubbish, so it was no competition. Eva had all the time in the world to fake out their Keeper and score. 

 

“I hope you aren’t considering going home for Christmas, Al,” Lily growled at Albus. “Because I will shave your head in your sleep.”

 

She flew off to join her fellow Chasers while I laughed loudly at the frightened look on Albus’s face. 

 

The next time the Gryffindors came down our way, they managed to get a shot off, but it was saved by Byron- this did give us possession. Byron passed to Albus, who tucked the Quaffle tightly against him and zoomed forward, with Eva below him and me to his left. Lily dropped down to cover Eva, knowing Albus could drop it to her, while James engaged Albus in a shoving battle. They left me with the third Chaser, a Fourth Year named Miles. I wasn’t sure how he made the team, honestly. They must have been low on options since they’d lost a couple Seventh Years the year before. 

 

I pushed him inwards, toward Albus and James. He was surprisingly strong, shoving back against me with all his might- that was his downfall. I pulled back abruptly, and his momentum carried him further off to the side, out in the open for Collin to launch a Bludger at him which forced him into a roll. I shot forward, now open, and Albus tossed me the Quaffle, and I threw it through the closest hoop before their keeper could get to me. 

 

“Rivers scores again!” Lucy announced, sounding disappointed. “And wait, what’s happening over there? Looks like the Seekers see the Snitch!” 

 

We all turned to see Scorpius and Louis Weasley rocketing across the pitch, much faster than I honestly could have managed- Scorpius was a bloody good flyer. He and Louis shoved against each other, until Scorpius pulled ahead just enough to wrap his hand around the Snitch. 

 

“Malfoy has it! Slytherin wins, 170-20!” Lucy Weasley called out, though she did not sound pleased. 

 

My team flew to the middle of the pitch where we hugged and congratulated each other, making our way to the ground as the stands cheered (or booed, in some cases). I flew to Scorpius’s side and kissed his cheek in a sisterly fashion, to which he made a face. 

 

When we hit the ground, I let out a long groan, my arm feeling like it was about to fall off. Albus glanced over and raised his eyebrows at me. “Hospital Wing?”

 

“Yes please,” I smiled weakly, letting him drag me away from the supporters who’d come running onto the field. 

 

At least Pomfrey was quick with bones- I was hardly going to miss the after party. 

 


 

“Remember the last time we were drunk together?” I asked Albus with wide eyes as he twirled me around. 

 

He chuckled. “Do I ever. Why, you in the mood for round- what would it be now, four?”

 

He spun me into him and I elbowed him sharply, making him grunt. “No, prat!” I said loudly, though I was smiling. 

 

The music was loud, and the party was in full-fledge as people danced, and laughed, and snogged, and played games. Even a lot of the Gryffindors had shown up for the party- though where we were drinking in celebration, they were likely drinking to drown their sorrows. 

 

Over losing. 

 

Losers. 

 

I had already gone through about four shots, and I’ve always been a lightweight. I think that’s why I agreed to dance with Albus, as there’s almost no way I’d have said yes sober. Well, maybe. It was getting hard to tell these days. 

 

“Sure,” Albus smirked, pulling me back to him. The music was fast, but our dance was some sort of weird, uncoordinated mix of swing and club dancing. We’d spin together, but then he’d tug me close to him and I’d feel his entire body against mine as we swayed our hips along to the beat. Then we’d pull back and start spinning each other again like lunatics. 

 

As I mentioned, I’d had a few drinks. 

 

“You’re the one who wants it so badly,” I accused, pulling back and grabbing both his hands and making him twist back and forth with me like children dancing at a wedding. We were rubbish dancers, but it was too much fun to stop.

 

“Of course I do,” Albus laughed. “You’re bloody fit, Tara.”

 

I blushed deeply. “I think I need another drink.”

 

He laughed again. “Alright, come on.” He took my hand and dragged me over the drink table, where Rose and Rylie stood with James. 

 

“Hey Eldest Potter!” I exclaimed, pulling away from Albus’s hand and throwing my arms around his brother. 

 

James grunted. “Ow- hi drunk Tara. Always a pleasure.” He grinned down at me. “You two seem chummy this evening.”

 

“We’re friends now,” I informed the lot with a proud smile. “Friends who dance brilliantly.” I chose to ignore the way they all scoffed at that. 

 

Albus handed me a drink, and I smiled gratefully at him. “It’s true,” he confirmed. “We decided the constant bickering was a little tedious.”

 

“Thank Merlin,” Rylie laughed. “You two were bloody annoying. Nice game today, by the way. How’s your arm, Tara?”

 

I wiggled it around in her face. “Pomfrey made it perfect! See!?”

 

She pushed it away with another giggle. “I see that, love.”

 

“How’re you dealing with the defeat?” Albus asked his brother with a smirk.

 

James glared. “Shove off. You tossers got lucky.”

 

No,” I protested loudly. “We’re just awesome. Plus we have a brilliant captain!”

 

“Where’d he go, anyway?” Albus asked, whipping his head around to look for his friend. 

 

“He’s chatting up one of Rose’s roommates,” James snickered, pointing off to the side. 

 

I followed his line of sight and sure enough found Scorpius leaning against a wall beside Emily Prince, a pretty girl with straight black hair who I couldn’t believe would flirt with Scorpius, since she’d been Rose’s friend for years. 

 

“What are they doing?” I demanded. 

 

“Doesn’t matter, Tara,” Rose said warningly. “Leave them be.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing- Rose was supposed to be into Scorpius! He was supposed to be into her! This wasn’t right. 

 

“But-” I tried, but she shot me a pleading look and I let it go. “Fine, fine.” 

 

“Rylie!” Leo’s booming voice suddenly called. “What the hell are you wearing?” The older Wood child marched up to us with a scalding expression. 

 

Rylie glanced down at her dress. “Clothes?”

 

“Did he think she was naked?” I turned to James with wide eyes. “He must be drunk!” 

 

He chuckled. “You are drunk, love.”

 

Leo rolled his eyes at Rylie. “Ridiculously short clothes,” he snapped. “You look like a slag.”

 

“Uh oh,” Rose muttered. 

 

“Excuse me?” Rylie demanded, whipping her wand out. “I look like what?

 

“OKAY!” James said loudly, stepping between the Wood siblings. “Let’s not do anything hasty, yeah? She looks fine, Leo. And Ry, maybe don’t hex your brother during your house’s victory party?” 

 

Rylie glared at her brother. “Not even if he deserves it?”

 

“Come on,” Leo cried. “She’s going to have blokes hanging off her all evening, and I do not want to babysit her for this entire party.”

 

“Why the fuck do you think I’d need a babysitter?” Rylie demanded. “You’re only a year older than me, prat!” She sidestepped around James, her wand still raised. 

 

James snatched the wand away from her. “Alright, how’s this? I’ll babysit. Leo, go snog someone.”

 

“I don’t need a babysitter!” Rylie growled. 

 

I wavered in place a little as they bickered, dizziness starting to hit me. Albus glanced over, his amusement over the Woods’ argument slipping into a look of concern.

 

“Alright, Tara?” he asked with furrowed eyebrows. The others looked at me too. 

 

I nodded, though my hiccups gave me away. “I’m great!” I exclaimed. “Just- hic- enjoying the show.”

 

Rose frowned. “She needs some water.”

 

“Come on, Tara,” Albus tugged at my sleeve. “Let’s get you hydrated.”

 

“But I want to watch- hic- Ry curse her brother,” I pouted. Leo shot me an unamused look. 

 

“I’ll ignore that, since I know you’re drunk,” he said. I simply reached up and ruffled his hair for some reason until he pushed my arm away. “Oi! Al, get her out of here.”

 

“Come on,” Albus said again. I glanced up at him- or rather, them, since I was pretty sure there were two Albuses at this point. 

 

“Alright,” I said softly, letting him take my hand and drag me across the room. 

 

The others were still arguing as we walked away. I thought it was perfectly silly- Rylie didn’t look like a slag, she looked pretty! And Leo was just worried about her. Silly siblings. 

 

“So silly,” I said quietly to myself. 

 

“What’s silly?” Albus asked. 

 

“Just people,” I smiled. He led me out the door and away from the common room. “Wasn’t there water in there?”

 

“Yeah, but I think you need food, too,” Albus said, tugging me toward the passage entrance. “You’ve been drinking on an empty stomach, and you’re already a lightweight, so I think the Firewhisky is hitting you particularly hard.”

 

He glanced around to make sure no one else was around before pressing the spot on Hallows’s painting frame to open the wall up and guiding me into the passageway. “Lumos,” he murmured, and the two of us stumbled along in the dim lighting, Albus practically keeping me upright given my lack of coordination in my state. 

 

Soon, we reached the kitchens, Albus helping me out the opening of the passage and leading me to a table. 

 

“Mr. Potter! And Tara!” Hillow came bounding over to us happily. 

 

“Hi Hillow,” Albus greeted. “How are you?”

 

The house-elf’s eyes watered. “Hillow is great, thank you Mr. Potter!”

 

“Call me Al, Hillow,” Albus smiled. “Listen, do you think you could grab us some waters and maybe a sandwich or something for Tara?”

 

“Of course!” Hillow nodded quickly, wiping away her tears. “Hillow will be right back!”

 

She scurried off, and I reached over to smack Albus on the arm. “You made her cry!”

 

“From being nice!” he exclaimed. “That’s not my fault!”

 

“Both of you are quite nice,” I admitted. 

 

“Both of us?”

 

“I see two of you,” I explained. “I think I drank too much too fast.” A wave of nausea ran through my body, confirming my words. 

 

He snorted. “You think?” Hillow returned then with some food and a couple waters. Albus slid both glasses in front of me. “Here, drink up, Tara.”

 

I reached for the first glass and sipped at it gingerly. “Thanks,” I said after a beat. “You didn’t have to help me.”

 

“I did, actually,” Albus said quietly. I smiled at him as a light flush spread across my cheeks. 

 

“You didn’t used to be so nice,” I said almost accusingly. 

 

He rolled his eyes. “I know. We talked about this in Filch’s office, remember?”

 

“But you haven’t told me what changed,” I said, rocking back and forth on my chair. Unfortunately, I was far too drunk to be doing something like that, and I ended up tipping backwards with a squeak. 

 

Albus jumped up to try to catch me, but he’d been on the other side of the table when I’d started to fall and couldn’t catch me in time. 

 

“Oof,” I grunted as I hit the floor. 

 

“Tara,” he chuckled. “Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah,” I groaned. “Whoops.”

 

He bent down and reached around me, pulling me to my feet. I found that I rather liked having him so close. He was warm and his skin was soft and he smelled good. In fact, what was that? Cologne? Hair product?

 

“Er- Tara?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“Did you just smell me?”

 

I jumped away from him quickly. Albus was smirking at me. “I- no,” I glared. “I was just... well, yeah. But it was just some mild curiosity.”

 

“I like drunk Tara,” Albus chuckled. He righted my chair and helped me lower myself back onto it, this time sitting beside me. 

 

“I thought you were drunk, too!” I frowned. “You danced with me!”

 

“I’m not entirely sober, but I’m definitely not drunk,” he rolled his eyes. “I danced with you because I wanted to.”

 

I gaped at him. “Why?

 

He raised an eyebrow at me. “The same reason I’ve snogged you multiple times, Tara.”

 

“Which is?” I pressed, leaning toward him intently, my elbows on my knees and my cheeks against my hands. 

 

He looked amused. “Can’t tell you that. You’re far too drunk, and I’d rather it be a conversation you remember.”

 

“Don’t you want to know why I snogged you?” I asked him with wide eyes. 

 

Albus stared at me levelly for a long moment. And then something odd happened. He leaned forward suddenly, sliding his hand around to the back of my neck, and pressing his mouth to my forehead. He held it there for a long time, his lips just below my hairline. I didn’t move, partially because it was the least dizzy I’d felt in an hour, and I worried moving would just bring it back, but mostly because I didn’t know how to react to such an affectionate touch.

 

After what felt like a lifetime, he pulled away slightly, his hand still tangled with my hair a little, his face only a breath away. “We’ll talk about it when you’re sober,” he said at last, his voice thick. 

 

I didn’t argue back. His eyes were soft and his hand was warm and I didn’t want to ruin the moment. Even in my state of drunkenness, I knew this wasn’t a normal interaction for us. 

 

I’d grown very familiar with our back-and-forth between arguments and snogging, and I’d even started to get used to friendship.

 

But the feeling I got from the way he’d kissed my forehead, from the look in his eye as he sat there beside me, and from the unexplainable tug in my chest as he handed me another glass of water? 

 

That was something foreign. 

 


A/N:

 

Hi everyone! Hope you enjoyed this chapter :) I didn't know how it'd go, writing a Quidditch game out, but I thought it was super fun actually and it turned out a lot less crap than I'd expected (I think). Let me know what you thought about it! Do you like Tara's teammates? 

 

Also, how about Al's softie moment? I liked writing that part. Although all it really did was remind me that I'm sitting alone in my bedroom in Quarantine relying on vicariously living through stories like this and TV shows. Anyway, thanks again to everyone who's been reading and reviewing!!! It makes me so happy every time to open up my page to new reviews, you guys are the best.

 

Cheers! Stay safe and healthy and happy, everyone! xoxo

 

Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize, it's all JK Rowling. 

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