The next morning, the stings were gone and Albus felt normal.
“Time for your potions, Albus!” said Rose with Iris pacing behind her. “Brought you some breakfast as well!”
“Thanks, Rose,” mumbled Albus, “but you do realize I’m still asleep?”
Iris smirked and Rose turned red. “Well,” she said, flustered, “call if you need anything.” She left the boys’ dormitories.
When Albus was sure Rose had left, Albus was fully awake. “Can you find my shoes?”
“Excuse me?” said Iris.
“I mean, help me out of here! I am very… claustrophobic,” said Albus.
“Ha! Yeah right!” said Iris. “You’re able to squeeze into small spaces while ‘secretly’ exploring the castle? No, you are not claustrophobic.”
“Please?” asked Albus, taking the sweater his Grandma Molly knitted him and pulling it over his head.
“I am not finding your shoes!”
“Fine. I’ll walk alone,” said Albus.
Iris was speechless. Good, thought Albus. I’ve finally caught her off guard.
“Was that supposed to be an invitation?” she asked.
The corner of Albus’ mouth turned up slightly. “Yeah, I suppose it was.”
Iris blushed and looked down, regaining her mask. “Well… it was a lousy one.”
“Ouch. That hurt,” said Albus, walking to his wardrobe. “I, uh, need privacy for this part of the process.”
Once again, Iris blushed, but quickly left the room. Albus mentally slapped himself as he dressed in clean pants. It was still early, and classes began at nine o’clock, which meant he could take a decent walk.
Albus and Iris now walked the Hogwarts grounds.
“So… what happened that day… well… the day Scorpius cursed me?” asked Albus tentatively.
Iris turned to Albus. “Well. We were sitting in a compartment on the Express. Scorpius walked into the compartment and annoyed the both of us and jinxed you.”
“Wow,” said Albus finally.
“Yeah. I’ll probably be in trouble with Mum and Dad for choosing your side over Scorpion’s,” said Iris glumly.
“Oh,” said Albus. “I’m sorry I’ve gotten you into trouble.”
“No! No, no, no. I didn’t mean it like that, Albus,” said Iris quickly.
“Well, what did you mean it like?”
Iris took a deep breath. “My parents act weird around me because I’m a Gryffindor. I’m proud to be a part of the Gryffindor House, though, honest, I am. I want my mum and dad to be proud of me, but I can’t do that if I keep disappointing them, can I?”
“No… no, I don’t suppose you can,” said Albus. “I’m sorry your parents can’t accept you for who you are.”
“So am I,” said Iris, almost to herself. “So am I.”