(This is an rp blog that follows www.anothergenerationrp.tumblr.com)
The few ominously and terribly slow-passing seconds which stretched throughout his girlfriend’s vivid display of stupor were sufficient for Albus’s alert hunches to formulate two of their most educated guesses: Jaycee was either about to blow up in a high-pitched, piercing flare or indignantly walk away, and if he’d been asked to pick one of the two prospects, he’d have chosen standing in the way of a scared advancing elephant troop. Though already foreseen, Jaycee’s shriek still thrust a sharp swig of air into the former Slytherin’s lungs and he abruptly looked away, his hand involuntarily darting to cover his mouth. He slid his palm down his chin, trying not to let any of the discreet dirty looks his coworkers were now stealing at the scene get under his skin and knowing that if he did, he’d soon be riding an exponential slope to a sweaty mess.
Aurors were known for minding their own business around one another, but that didn’t authenticate their complete disinterest in and apathy towards each others’ lives. They did reveal an excoriating tendency to curiously, slowly, and cautiously peel the skin of privacy off a fellow associate from time to time. They had a twisted way of analyzing your soul and your lifestyle and the possible reasons behind your complications. Though slow to judge, they were quick to suspect, and when they finally did judge, they judged hard. The mere thought of this bleached color out of Albus’s face.
Maintaining zero eye contact, Albus saw Jaycee make air quotations through the blurry ends of his peripheral vision and listened to her scold on, not really registering much of her words because of his preoccupation with the odd and overwhelming realization that they were seriously fighting when not a while ago they were adjoined in an embrace. He remained distracted in that manner which edged on a growingly stoic demeanor, up until the brunette’s unmistakable insinuations suddenly made him comprehend, with a tightening of chest, what this whole thing was legitimately about.
Albus closed his eyes for a couple of seconds before opening them to stare blankly at her as she narrated the comparison and stated the actual suggestion that Heather was flirting with him. He was suddenly feeling as if his tongue had been cut off and he swallowed, not sure how to act at this dramatically pivoting point. Now that Jaycee had mentioned it, he started replaying the entire picture in his head, unwinding it and tracking frame number marking after another until he reached the scary conclusion that yes, perhaps she did have every right to be angry.
He was in neither the physical nor the mental condition to further argue with adeptness. He felt depleted, touchy, and rather temperamental. And in addition, he was already beginning to get over his so-called pride and become convinced that he was the faulty one here. So the young Potter was about to grovel, to let his defense melt down and attempt absorbing his girlfriend’s fury by smoothly telling her that they could have this conversation later at home that day, in private and when they’d both calmed down. One question held him back, however.
Why did it matter to Jaycee, anyway? Even if Heather was interested in him, why did it anger her? It wasn’t like he’d shown any signs of disloyalty himself, had he? So why was she so worried?
“You don’t trust me, do you?” Albus asked flatly, new unpleasant thoughts springing up in his mind. He now felt attacked, not by the things she’d said, but by the ones she hadn’t.
Jaycee closed her eyes, massaging her temples. She suddenly felt exhausted after her outburst, as well as overwhelmed with emotion, and considered running to the bathroom to sob, compose herself, and then leave. Where would she go? Home? She couldn’t even stomach the how awkward it would be when Albus came home, how they’d not say a word to each other, becoming strangers in their house. Would Albus even want to sleep in the same bed? A part of her expected him to enter the house with daises and a plea to fix things so they could laugh about how stupid the fight was and cuddle each other to sleep. The other part of her just wanted to lock him out of the bedroom so he could sleep on the couch.
A quick shot of electricity burned Jaycee’s lungs when Albus asked his question. She wasn’t sure how to describe it, but the same feeling overwhelmed her whenever something jumped out at her, or when someone yelled at her, or even when she saw Albus arriving home through the window, or when her favorite song came on the radio. She looked around, trying to avoid eye contact with everyone watching. What would make him say that? Jaycee did trust Albus. She just didn’t trust Heather Shaw. Then again, would this whole thing really bother her that much if she didn’t have any doubts? She didn’t doubt that Albus loved her, but she did doubt that he didn’t love her enough sometimes. It wasn’t because her lover didn’t bring her chocolates home everyday or compliment her every five minutes. It wasn’t that he never told her how much he loved her every now and then. It wasn’t any of that. Albus was nothing but great to her, and he always reminded Jaycee how much he cared for and loved her. He was the perfect boyfriend, or at least perfect to Jaycee. That’s what confused Jaycee so. If Albus hadn’t given her any reason to doubt his love for her, then why did she feel this way?
Though, she had an idea as to why. It was her own ridiculous insecurities. How could he love someone who would get moody out of no where with no reason? How could he love someone who got so easily jealous? How could he love someone who had a tendency to whine and complain so much? How could he love someone who leaves her clothes all over the house, or who burns his toast so often, or who once called him at work, screaming to come home because of an “emergency” when she spotted a spider in the kitchen? That’s what scared her. That he would find someone better. So, naturally, when Miss Heather brought in a much better lunch than hers, something snapped in Jaycee Longbottom.
This all brought Jaycee back to Albus’s question. Did she trust him?
She sucked in a deep breath and then let it out slowly as she looked at the middle Potter, purposely trying not to look in his eyes that were most likely blazing green with intensity.
"Albus, I… It’s not…," she trailed off, scratching her arm nervously. This all became too much and the bathroom just around the corner was practically beckoning to her. "Can we just… Can we finish this discussion at home?" The question had struck a chord in her, and the fight that she was ready to have right then and there a few moments ago suddenly felt too intimate for the office.
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.