(This is an rp blog that follows www.anothergenerationrp.tumblr.com)
The former Slytherin’s features gradually softened and he smiled back, his hand rising unconsciously to rub the back of his neck. He was flushing with a bold surge of bare joy, until he caught Neville’s eye in the back of the hut. Albus’s arm dropped as quickly as his smile did and he found himself awkwardly staring back at his former Herbology professor. He took a brief moment to swallow discreetly, then gave him a small nod, “P-Professor.” Exchanging a quick glance with Jaycee, he hesitated, not sure what to say to soothe his feeling of embarrassment. He was involved in Griffith’s incident last year, after all, and whether Neville Longbottom knew that or not, he still couldn’t shake this strange uneasiness around him. “Uh … Dad sends his regards ..”
Jaycee furrowed her eyebrows, confused as to why Albus’s smile faded so quickly. However, when she turned to see who he was looking at, she understood completely. Jaycee hadn’t mentioned anything to her father about Albus being involved with the entire Griffith situation, but Neville had mentioned seeing the two sneak off to the shed. Jaycee figured she’d rather have her father draw whatever conclusion from that than tell him the actual truth.
Neville Longbottom stepped forward as Jaycee scooted over to make room for him. “Hello, Albus,” Neville greeted the boy, unconsciously wringing his hands. Jaycee cringed at the awkwardness of the encounter. “Tell your father I send my regards as well,” he continued, “And that he still owes me from our bet.”
Jaycee turned to her father. “What bet?” she asked. Neville looked back and forth from Jaycee to Albus. “Don’t worry about it,” he replied. “What brings you here, Albus?”
The Hufflepuff couldn’t tell if her father was being defensive of her, or if he was just feeling as uncomfortable as Albus.
Albus’s lips twitched as he fought the urge to smile, trying to enact his role with as much seriousness as possible. “In that case, will you please let her know that …,” he paused and licked his lips, choosing his words carefully so he would at least sound a tad less pathetic, clingy, and nuts. “Every night before falling asleep, I pretend to talk to her and recount to her the day’s events so I won’t feel … isolated. Just like the old days. Will you tell her that?”
Jaycee’s act melted away when Albus spoke. A smile stretched across her face as she racked her brain for something to say. Albus had been missing her as much as she was missing him. It was such a relief that she thought she’d start crying all over again. She wanted to say something equally genuine and beautiful, but all that came out was, “I miss you. I miss you so much.” She didn’t care if her father was watching, she stood up on her tippy-toes and kissed Albus on his cheek.
Albus feigned a small troubled scowl and nodded a bit, not really aware that his cheeks had acquired a light shade of pink. “Why that sounds like a terribly demanding and long journey. Do you think you can deliver to her a message on my behalf?”
Jaycee pressed her lips together to suppress a very girly giggle that was fighting its way up. “I think I can do that,” she replied, nodding. She had noticed that her father and Hagrid had grown silent in the hut. They were snooping and listening in, no doubt.
Albus registered his best friend’s familiar scent first and her form later. Initially, he’d thought it was someone else renting Jaycee’s valued appearance under the terms of a Polyjuice Potion contract. (Another suspicious inclination of his enhanced by the rigorous disciplines of Auror training). One glance at her tearful eyes, however, dissolved his irrational suspicions as soon as they’d sprung and assured him as he chuckled to himself and closed his eyes that it really was his target in the flesh.
Albus removed his hands from his pockets and rested his palms on her back, hugging the Hufflepuff back longingly and sighing to himself.
At long last.
"Abusing dad’s authority, I suppose. And looking for a miniature brunette just about your height. You don’t suppose you’ve seen her, Miss, do you?"
Jaycee let go of Albus, beaming and composing herself. She reached to remove a piece of lint from his shirt. “Ah, sounds like you’re looking for Allison Finnigan,” she joked, “You’ll want to turn around and go back into the castle.” She fought the urge to hug him again.
Climbing Hagrid’s front stairs in two sprightly strides, Albus knocked on his door then slipped his hands into the pockets of his trench coat and waited, casually glancing sideways. Searching for his best friend and his sister were top on his list and he could barely contain the thrill he felt at finally having the chance to catch up, but he couldn’t pass by the gatekeeper’s hut without greeting him and giving him his little present.
"Come on, Hagrid, come o—" Albus muttered quietly to himself before suddenly getting distracted by a faint rustling noise that came from the Forbidden Forest and being forced to snap his head in its direction. Realizing it was probably nothing, however, he sighed to himself and returned his attention to the nostalgia-inducing dwelling before him. He couldn’t deny it any longer; they’ve only been a couple of months, but Auror training really has lately turned him from jumpy to jumpier.
Everybody froze when they heard a knock on Hagrid’s door. “Expecting someone, Hagrid?” Neville asked. Hagrid shook his head, “Not that I know of!” Jaycee sighed, closing her textbook. She’d try to get work done later on in her dorm. Silly her thinking she’d get anything done at Hagrid’s. “Want me to see who it is?” Jaycee offered, not wanting Hagrid or her father to get up.
With the approval of the two men, Jaycee pushed her chair back and headed to the door. She instinctively looked around for a peephole, but found there wasn’t one. With a yawn, she opened the door. Her stomach immediately turned when she saw her best friend standing there, his hands in his trench coat. “Albus!" She squealed, throwing her arms around her friend. Tears sprang to her eyes. "What are you doing here?!" She pulled back for a moment to look at him, then hugged him again. "Oh my god! I can’t believe you’re here!"
Jaycee sat in Hagrid’s hut with Hagrid and her father. It was the first time since the Hufflepuff returned Griffith to his owner that she was invited over again. The three and just finished eating, and Neville and Hagrid laughed while sipping their wine, their faces glowing red. Jaycee tried her hardest to ignore the two as she concentrated on her Herbology homework and sipped the tea Hagrid brewed for her.
Merlin, it’s going to be weird not seeing Albus out on the Quidditch pitch.
The moment Jaycee emitted her little clearly unamused snicker, Albus found himself experiencing déjà vu—of the unpleasant type. His offended features slowly retreated, making place for a blank expression of slight bewilderment, and his memory went back in time to an incident during his Hogwarts years in which Nearly Headless Nick had openly passed through his frame, paralyzing his senses for a second and filling his body with a most undesirable chill. His girlfriend’s ambiguous gesture raised quite a few foreboding questions in his head. Did she feel incredulous about how it had taken him a few moments to detect her critical insinuations and how it should’ve been ‘too obvious’? Did she feel incredulous about how it was stupid of him to inaccurately translate said critical insinuations? And was she about to throw a tantrum? Because he wasn’t sure he would be able to deal with it if those were her plans. The humiliation of being censured right in front of all of his colleagues and superiors was one thing, but what really alarmed him was the idea that he might have upset the person he wanted the approval of most in this world, to such an extent that she would no longer be able to restrict herself.
None of those questions actually needed be answered, however, for all that mattered was one piece of data: the former Hufflepuff, as her glare indubitably testified, wasn’t happy. And it made Albus feel petrified, both on the inside and out—especially because all he’d ever known of those eyes were warmth and affection.
Looking back into her eyes, and trying his best neither to blink nor to linger much on how attractive her thick eyelashes were, he made a pathetic attempt to absorb her anger through his endearing, pleading, twinkly and bright green puppy dog eyes. They had worked on people before, so he didn’t see why he shouldn’t give them a chance now. Evident by her icy tone of voice, however, they were clearly and miserably failing, and the young Potter was honestly starting to lose track of what they were even arguing over. Veiled remarks, vague terse annotations, and repressed feelings had all tangled up and become a richly interwoven network of conflict stimulants dense enough to obscure logic.
Briefly getting distracted by Heather’s call, Albus glanced at the cubicle for a moment then quickly looked back at Jaycee just in time to see her terminate her rolling of eyes. He furrowed his eyebrows and blinked, as though he was just now finally discovering that his co-worker’s remark about her sandwich was what had irritated his girlfriend in the first place.
“Oh. Oh, so that’s what this is all about, is it?” he responded after a few small nods.
“You couldn’t digest some innocent harmless criticism.”
The former Slytherin regretted his words the moment they escaped his lips. He was proving to be an expert on adding fuel to the fire by the minute and it made him want to smack his own face into a wall.
Jaycee’s jaw dropped the second Albus’s words left his mouth. It was such an uncharacteristically careless and insensitive thing for Albus to say, she thought. Of course, she was guilty of her actions, thoughts and words, as well, but she was hoping that Albus would come through as he usually did when Jaycee was being moody and stop whatever was starting up. If she didn’t have anything to be seriously upset at before, she sure did now.
“Are you kidding me?!” She practically shrieked. However, the petite brunette immediately lowered her volume, scanning the area for any sign of Harry. The last thing she wanted was for her possible father-in-law to witness a fight between she and Albus. “You think that was ‘harmless criticism’?” Jaycee scoffed at her boyfriend’s understatement, creating air quotes with her fingers. “She might as well just hang a banner in your cubicle that reads, ‘Love me, Albus! I’m better and prettier than your current girlfriend and her bland sandwiches’.” The thought of Heather Shaw wrapping Albus around her dainty fingers with her Blood Red manicure made Jaycee sick to her stomach. ”You know, for a smart boy, you can be very stupid.” At this point, Jaycee didn’t really care to censor her feelings. She just wanted to hurt Albus as much as she was hurting. She also wanted to march into the cubicle, drag Ms. Shaw out by her feet, and toss Albus’s luxurious feast out of the window.
She didn’t even know why she was still standing there, fighting with Albus in the auror office. It all seemed so strange and foreign. She and Albus had had some disagreements here and there — completely inevitable since they were living together — but they had never escalated to this. They’d even managed to mend things after the few awkward kisses between them back in Hogwarts. Then again, no one had ever tried to push their way between the two before.