The weeks passed until it was June. Then things began to slow. James and Albus, on some days, were too lazy to leave the Gryffindor common room sofas. Even Rose, who scolded her cousins for not doing anything productive, was caught sprawled on a couch in the common room- and Rose was never sprawled.
Albus did not see much of Iris, which was unusual. She had begun speaking with Scorpius Malfoy more and more. Albus did make a point of spending more time with Rose. He enjoyed her company, yes, but Albus missed the amusing conversations he had with Iris.
“Albus,” muttered James from a maroon couch in the center of the common room.
“Hmm?” Albus said, distracted by an article on the front page of the afternoon Prophet.
“What time is it?”
“You’ve got a watch,” said Albus. “Use it.”
“Humph.” They sat in silence. There were other students in the common room, but they were Fifth Years through Seventh Years. Something -a picture in the Prophet- made Albus’ eyes widen. “James.”
“What, Albus?” said James, becoming annoyed.
“Come look at this. It’s about Uncle Ron,” said Albus urgently. James stumbled over to Albus and together they read the article.
Weasley Injured After Returning From Top Secret Auror Mission
One week ago, seven Aurors were sent on a mysterious mission. The details regarding the mission have not yet been released to the public. Katie Bell, Rufus Brown, Dennis Creevey, Sue Li, Harry Potter, and Ronald Weasley returned, but Weasley was far from safe when he arrived with his group. Weasley had been attacked by a Manticore, which, according to the Ministry of Magic, is classified as one of the most dangerous magical beings.
“I think it definitely looks worse than it feels,” Weasley jokingly said.
“He was attacked… four days after we began the mission, I believe,” says Creevey, suffering from minor memory problems. It is a shock Weasley made it back home alive. We send all of our best wishes!
“D’you think Rose knows?” breathed James, who was wide awake now. Albus shook his head. “I’m going to go find her. Maybe… maybe I can break the news to her slowly.”
“Yeah…” said James in a daze. “Poor Rose.”
Albus stood, rolled the newspaper, and walked out of the portrait hole.
Albus banged the rolled up newspaper against his leg as he walked. What do I say? How do I break the news? he thought.
Albus figured Rose would be in the library, but she was not. Rose’s second favorite place to be was in the bleachers at the Quidditch pitch. So that is where he went to look.
As Albus walked into the grass, he bumped into someone- literally. Albus realized who it was as he and the other person stood. “Iris.”
“Er… hello,” Iris said awkwardly. Albus started to walk away, but Iris gripped his wrist. “Please listen to me.”
“I can’t right now, I have to go find-“
“Just listen to me!” said Iris shrilly. The tone of her voice made Albus tense.
“Can… can we sit?” asked Iris, regaining her composure. She gestured to the grass.
“I -I suppose,” Albus said. The two sat for a few seconds in silence before Iris began to talk.
“I received a letter from my parents a few weeks ago. For the duration of the summer, my parents and brothers will be in Italy, visiting distant relatives and a family friend, Blaise Zabini. They’ve been planning this for a while. I never, ever thought they would go through with these plans, so I always refused to go with them. They assumed that I wouldn’t want to go with them so… they’ve… they’ve arranged for me to stay with… the Malfoys.
“Mum and Dad told me to spend time with Scorpius so we could get to know each other again. Scorpius was not too pleased to associate with a Gryffindor, but his parents wrote to him forcing him to speak with me. There was no way out of it.”
“What does that explain?” asked Albus.
“Why I’ve been avoiding you.”
“Because… because I didn’t need any criticism about talking with Scorpius!” said Iris.
“But –I wouldn’t have criticised you. Do you think I would criticise you?” asked Albus. He felt something in his chest. It was a strange feeling, a rare feeling. It was hurt.
“I… don’t know,” Iris faltered.
Albus looked down. He heard a sob and thought it was coming from Iris, but when he looked up, he saw the familiar flash of red hair. Rose.
Albus jumped up and stumbled. “I -I have to go.”
“Wait, what’s wrong?” asked Iris, standing. Albus had already run off after his cousin.
“Rose!” shouted Albus, his Gryffindor tie flapping up. “Rose!” No matter how fast he ran, Rose was faster.
“Rose! Oy!” shouted Albus as he tripped. This seemed to make Rose halt suddenly. She collapsed and sobbed loudly. Albus tried to get up, but twisted his ankle when he fell, so he crawled to her. When he reached Rose, Iris was trying to console her, but Rose batted her away. Albus took Rose by the shoulders.
“Rose- calm down!” Albus said, giving her a painful hug. Painful because of the position they were in.
Rose stuttered, “D- Da- D is h- urt!” She shrieked loudly. She was trying to sound angry, but the stuttering did not help.
“I know… but he said so himself, it looks worse-“
“He’s lying! Who do you think read all of the Healers’ Guides in the library? Who do you think did all of the research, hmm? ME! He’s been poisoned, don’t you see?” Rose kept rambling about everything. Eventually, she strayed off-topic.
“I think she’s hysterical,” said Albus. “Go find James and tell him to write to my aunt quickly, then find McGonagall.” With that, Iris sprinted to the castle. Now Albus was left with the job of calming Rose down. He did not know what to talk about, so he just started talking. He talked about stories his mum told him about his dad and vice versa. It barely worked. Albus saw three figures approaching- McGonagall, Densay Wood, and Iris.
“James is owling your aunt,” said Iris.
“Ms. Nott, if you would kindly escort Ms. Weasley to the Hospital Wing so Madam Pomfrey can supply a Calming Draught, that would be marvelous,” McGonagall said dryly. Rose shook her head quickly. “N- no,” she croaked.
“I don’t bite,” said Iris. “Honestly, I wonder about you sometimes. Are you prejudiced against pure-bloods?”
“Nott, Weasley!” barked McGonagall. “Castle, now!”
“Densay, why are you here?” asked Albus wearily.
“Well, mate. The word is that you’ve done something to your ankle,” began Densay.
“Should I beat you to a pulp so this will be less embarrassing for you?”
“Why?” asked Albus slowly.
“I’ve got to carry you to the Hospital Wing.” Albus paled. “Oh, don’t worry, Potter. I doubt anyone’s going to laugh at you. I’ll tell you what: if I hear a snicker, snort, giggle, or laugh, I’ll hex the person into next week.”
Albus shook his head. “And why can’t we use magic again?”
Densay opened his mouth, then closed it. “Didn’t think of that.”
Densay carried Albus into the Hospital Wing so Madam Pomfrey could mend his ankle. He was giving a Sleeping Potion and fell asleep instantly.
When Albus awoke, Iris was sitting in a chair near the bed.
“How are you?” asked Iris tentatively.
“Fine. Where’s Rose?” asked Albus.
“She was released a few hours ago.”
“Wait- how long have I been asleep? What day is it?”
“Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I wasn’t worried that much that I counted the hours, but it’s eight o’clock. You missed dinner. We can -I- can go into the kitchens and-“
“I’ll make something. What is that organization your aunt’s obsessed with?” asked Iris.
“S. P. E. W., and it isn’t an obsession. She just cares for magical beings and creatures,” said Albus.
“Mr. Potter?” said Madam Pomfrey. “Here.” She thrust a flask at him. “Drink it. Then you’re free to go.”
Albus examined the flask. “Is it Firewhiskey?” he blurted. Iris sniggered. Madam Pomfrey glared at her and fixed Albus with a stern look. “Mr. Potter. Please refrain yourself from making alcoholic references in school. No, for Merlin’s sake, Mr. Potter! It is not Fir- er… just drink it!” Madam Pomfrey shuffled away, tending to other patients. Albus drank what was in the flask.
Rose strolled into the Hospital Wing. “Hey, Al,” said Rose. “James is on his way.”
“How are you?” asked Iris suddenly before Albus could ask the same. Rose gaped at Iris. “I’m… I’m fine. Thank you for asking.”
“Well, I’m not that bad a person, you know,” Iris mumbled. James sauntered into the Hospital Wing. “How are you feeling, Albie boy?”
Albus gritted his teeth. “Didn’t I tell you not to call me that?”
“Yes, but when have I ever listened to you?” asked James.
“James, be nice,” chided Rose.
“Humph,” said James. He walked away to annoy Madam Pomfrey. One of his favorite things to do: annoy the teachers.
Albus stood, straightened his shirt, and put his tie on. “I think,” he said, glancing at Iris, “we should call a truce.”
“What do you mean, Al?” asked Rose.
“You two haven’t exactly been the happiest around each other.”
Iris held her hand out to Rose.
“I’m a half-blood,” said Rose pointedly. Albus groaned and Iris retreated her hand.
“Rose,” said Albus, trying to keep calm.
“Alright, alright,” said Rose. She stuck her hand out and she and Iris shook.
Albus grinned. Now, his two friends were friends.