Chapter 1: Pain
Obvious disclaimer that I do not own Harry Potter, the characters that Ms. Rowling created, nor the world. I do, however, claim my interpretation of them and the story setting.
Oh, and I'll be adding tags as I bring in characters and develop the story more.
The pain that hit him was overwhelming. He screamed and writhed against his bindings, momentarily losing his mind. There was nothing other than the pain.
It was gone as quick as it had come, but it was replaced by a sound far more heartrending: the sound of his father crying and begging. It was something he never would have thought he would ever hear. It didn’t cause him any physical pain like the curse had, but the pain in his heart was far worse. He couldn’t even understand what his father was saying anymore. He’d lost the ability to understand the words being said after the third time he’d been cursed.
He lay limp in his bindings now, staring at the floor; staring at the thick red liquid spreading over it from under his mother’s chair. No, that wasn’t right. It wasn’t coming from under her chair it was coming from her. He remembered now. Earlier—hours, days, who knew anymore—his mother had been tortured like they were torturing him now. However, they hadn’t used the curse on her. No, they’d just cut her up. Flayed her alive, and then cut pieces off of her, until she finally died.
Had that really happened? No, it couldn’t have been real. It was too horrible. A nightmare then. No, not that either. An illusion. Yes, that’s what it must have been.
His father was standing up now, holding his wand. How did that happen? How’d he get up? How’d he get his wand back? He was moving closer now, but something was wrong. He’d stopped begging. Stopped crying. His eyes were dead.
He lifted his wand, “Crucio.”
The pain came back and so did the screaming and writhing, but it was different this time. For some reason before there had always seemed to be some hope, though that was completely absurd. It was gone now. This was his father cursing him now. He didn’t want to be saved anymore. Now he just wanted to die.
Chapter 2: Sleep
His dad and uncle have been working themselves to the bone on their most recent case, but Albus knows just the recipe to get them to take a break.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Dad? Teddy,” Albus called from the kitchen as he heard the floo belch.
“Yes, Albus,” came the weary reply from his father as Harry Potter and Teddy Lupin staggered wearily into the dining room.
“Merlin’s dirty pants, you look like shit,” Albus observed as he brought some tea over to the other two men.
“We feel like shit,” Teddy replied weakly as he sat down and gratefully accepted the tea. “Got anything stronger,” he asked.
“Absolutely not,” Albus informed him and his father sending them a glare. “Getting wasted is not going to help. Having some tea and a good meal before sleeping for a day and two nights straight will.”
They both made minor sounds of protest, which died as soon as Albus set supper down in front of them.
He’d learned to cook after the divorce. He hadn’t thought he’d ever get tired of take out, but he had. That had been the summer after his 5th year at Hogwarts. Apparently his parents had been having troubles for a while, but they’d waited to tell the kids until after they got back from school. They’d already had everything ready though, and had been divorced within the week.
Mum moved back into the Burrow, and James and Lily had gone with her. It still bothered him a bit that they’d taken her side, not that either of them had ever told us what had gone wrong. Two years later and he still couldn’t figure it out. He’d tried everything short of veritaserum, and was pretty close to resorting to that.
It had really taken a toll on Dad. For some reason almost everyone assumed it had been his fault. Luna Scamander (nee Lovegood) was one of the few people that thought Dad was entirely innocent and blamed Mum. Even Aunt Hermione thought it was Dad’s fault, though at least she was still friends with him. Kinda. Ok, so she didn't loath the sight or mention of him, and would at least speak politely, if coldly, to him. Sadly, that counted her under the friends category for Dad.
Teddy had believed in Dad’s innocence as well, and decided to move back in with us, so Dad wouldn’t be alone after I went back to Hogwarts. Dad had protested a bit, but Teddy had just ignored him and taken back his old room. Teddy had sent weekly updates on how Dad was doing, so I could write Dad to stay in touch, though I rarely got a response.
His job hadn’t suffered any. Actually if anything it was the one thing that had improved, and now that Teddy was his Auror partner things were even better.
The two of them finally finished their meal after large second helpings. “Now we can get the firewhiskey,” Harry said trying to stand up and head to liquor cabinet. He only made it a few inches before collapsing back into his chair. “Wha…,” he mumbled.
Teddy swayed in his chair, but still had the presence of mind to realize what had happened. “Albus, you… you…,” he slurred.
“Drugged you with sleeping draught? Yup. Sure did, though a modified version that’s a bit slower acting,” Albus said smiling over the table at the two men who were in the process of falling asleep at the table.
Albus figured they’d try to hex the snot out of him when they finally woke up, but it would be worth it. They’d both been working almost non-stop for over a week on some huge case, and had finally finished it up. However, Albus knew better than to think that would get them to take time off to rest up, so drastic measures had been called for. Never let anyone ever accuse Albus of not looking after his family.
He cast weightless and levitation charms on them to get them to their rooms, then he banished their clothing to the laundry, scourgified them, and tucked them into their beds. Smiling he flicked his wand to close the curtains on their windows and then cast silencing charms to ensure they weren’t disturbed.
Drugging people against their will is not encouraged or condoned, even if it is for their own benefit.
Chapter 3: Back To The Grind
Ever heard that you're not supposed to wake sleeping bears? Well that applies to Ablus' dad and uncle, even if they didn't want to be asleep in the first place, or maybe because they didn't...
Albus had been right about them being pissed. They really threw quite the tantrum, but Albus just smiled sweetly at them the whole time, happy to see them sounding and looking so healthy. Just like crying with new born babies, Albus thought and then laughed. That earned him some rather dark glares, but he just ignored them and brought over the huge lunch he’d prepared.
They’d actually slept longer than he’d meant them too. Albus wasn’t sure if he’d made the potion too strong, or if it was just because they’d been so tired. In total they had each slept about sixty-four hours. Towards the end there, he’d actually gotten a bit worried, and gone to check on them. Thankfully they’d just been sleeping longer than expected, and nothing was wrong.
Candice, Harry’s secretary, had floo called after the first night wondering where they were as they’d said they’d be back to work in the morning. When Albus had explained what he’d done, she’d just smirked and said, “Serves them right for not noticing you’d drugged their food, and to think they call themselves Aurors.”
Both Harry and Teddy continued to glare at him throughout their lunch, but at least they’d finally stopped threatening to hex his balls off. Albus had to give them credit, they were really quite creative with their descriptions of how they’d do it.
“Candice owled over some paperwork from that case you just finished up. She said you’d want to look it over before you came in to work,” Albus informed them handing over a large envelope.
Harry growled at the reminder of the work they’d missed and opened the envelope placing its contents between himself and Teddy, so they could read it at the same time.
Albus sighed, and got up to return to the kitchen. Knowing them they’d probably stay at work very late again, if not overnight. He decided to make them a big supper to take with them, knowing they wouldn’t eat properly otherwise. He’d have to floo call Candice to have her make sure they ate.
They were just finishing up when Albus returned with their suppers.
“What’s all that,” Teddy asked warily.
“Supper, and no, it’s not drugged this time. You can check it if you don’t believe me,” Albus informed them.
Both of them pulled out their wands to check.
“Seriously,” Albus asked, doing his best to sound hurt.
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” Harry informed him gravely.
Albus smirked as they gathered up their things and supper. “I don’t suppose either of you are in the mood to finally tell me what this case was all about, are you? The Prophet still hasn’t had anything about it, which is bizarre because The Prophet always finds out, even if it doesn’t get the story right.”
“Not this time, they won’t,” Harry promised darkly.
Albus wisely decided not push the subject and waved as they disappeared in a flash of green fire.
Chapter 4: Boredom
Boredom inspires reminiscence and brilliance.
Albus sighed as he sat down in the large comfy chair. Afternoons had become the bane of his existence.
Used to be that he’d be outside playing with his brother or sister in the afternoon. Well either that or with one or many of his cousins, aunts, uncles, or other assorted relation or family friend. That had changed after his parents’ divorce. Not right away, mind. No, the summer after his 5th year was still mostly normal, at least for the first half of it, though he was typically over at the Burrow playing rather than here at the house.
At the time he had been constantly trying to get his parents to tell him what happened, why they’d split up, but they straight up refused to talk about it. He was pretty sure that Grandma Wesley knew and she was not pleased with his attempts to find out, nor with his decision to stay with his dad.
It was just so weird. He could remember the years before the divorce so clearly. How the family had been so close. Grandma Wesley had treated dad like he was her actual son; Uncle Ron treated him like he was an actual brother. The whole family was like that, and then one day everything changed. Well, it seemed like just one day to him, but Albus supposed that things must have been falling apart among the family that entire 5th year he was at Hogwarts.
It really was quite the mystery, made all the more so by the fact that the family had actually been able to keep whatever it was that had split them up secret. Nobody in the family could keep a secret worth a damn, at least from each other, but somehow this was the one exception. He’d actually become convinced the summer after his 6th year that they had somehow put a fidelous charm on themselves, but after a solid week of pestering his dad non-stop, Harry had just exploded at him and in very colorful language told him that they had not. His dad had been quite mortified at himself afterwards, while Albus had just been smug with himself at getting his dad to crack, even if he’d only established that the mystery was solvable, and not actually made any progress in discovering what it was.
Albus sighed again. Well, at least he’d managed to waste half an hour reminiscing about the past, not that that had in any way done anything to alleviate his current boredom.
He could always sneak out to visit some friends, not that there would be any sneaking involved since no one was around to monitor him. Oh, well and he was of age now too. But just because he hadn’t spoken to his mother in over a year, (gosh had it really been that long?) and his dad was a workaholic, didn’t mean everyone else’s family would be likewise absent.
Glancing over at the pile of career/education packets that Aunt Hermione had sent him he sighed again. She may be refusing to speak with dad most days, but once Rose had told her that he still hadn’t figured out what he wanted to do after graduation, she was more than happy to give him advice. Albus knew that he really should look through them, but it just felt wrong somehow: like he’d be betraying his dad, which was totally absurd, especially since dad had been bugging him about looking through them the few times they’d been in the living room together. Nevertheless, Albus was determined to stick it to his Aunt. Well, actually it was probably just because he was a terrible procrastinator, but it sounded better the other way when he’d explained it to his dad and Teddy.
Oh, look! Another fifteen minutes wasted. Merlin’s beard he was bored. He was rarely jealous of muggles, but he really had to give it to them in this: they really knew how to come up with clever means of wasting time to entertain themselves.
Huh. He was of age now. He could go out and mingle with muggles without getting in trouble. And if anyone asked he could even excuse it as an excursion to ponder the possibilities of future studies or work in the field of Muggle Studies.
Ha! Albus always knew he was brilliant.
Chapter 5: Abandoned
He had never gotten over how the house always felt abandoned to him. Even after seventeen years of calling it home.
It was always so quite. Like someone had cast silencing charms over every bit of it, which is actually something one of his ancestors might have done.
And dark, even with the huge windows, it was like the house just swallowed light.
He supposed it really was basically abandoned. The house could easily hold ten times as many people as it did, if not more, and he had spent the last seven years living at Hogwarts. His parents may technically live here, but he was pretty sure that after he started going to school his mom had basically moved back in with her parents, while his dad was out busy managing their businesses and estates.
When he was younger, he had often wondered why his parents had never had any more children. Though after a while he had eventually stopped asking when the only answer he had ever received were pained looks and being told that that was just the way it was. Over time he came to stop even wondering.
The quiet and stillness were not always bad. Sometimes it was really nice. Peaceful even.
His best friend had thought it was amazing when they were younger on the few times he had been allowed over. It was probably more the novelty than anything else because he did not like it now either.
Chapter 6: Distractions
Albus truly is a genius, but like all genius' sometimes he forgets important things...
Albus truly was a genius, and wizards did not give nearly enough credit to muggles.
He’d noticed it before, what with his family being full of “muggle lovers,” but it was something else entirely to experience the muggle world on his own, rather than in the company of overprotective parents and mobs of relatives.
Diagon Alley was amazing, and would always be one of Albus’ favorite places, but it just couldn’t compare to the sheer size and busyness of some of the muggle places.
And the people! They were so varied in colors, shapes, sizes, attire, attitudes, languages, everything! Gosh, but wizards seemed so drab and conformist in comparison.
Ok, so he was probably getting a little carried away with his enthusiasm. It just felt really good to get away from everything and everyone he was familiar with, and more importantly everyone who was familiar with him.
Not that he hadn’t been gawked at, but this time it was because he was making something of a fool of himself because of his excitement over everything, and not because he was the son of the Boy Who Lived (twice).
Next time he did this, he’d have to find a way to bring Scorpius. The guy did not get out enough, not that Albus could blame him. But Scorp couldn’t use the ‘I don’t want people staring at us’ excuse if they came to the muggle world.
They could probably even make it a proper date, though they’d still have to be careful. Just because wizards didn’t typically venture into the muggle world that didn’t mean they never did.
Albus was still wrapped up in making secret escape to the muggle world date plans in his head when he got home and barged in the front door, which is why he nearly jumped out of his skin, sent bags of stuff flying, and let out a very manly scream when his dad yelled a very loud and very angry, “Albus! Where have you been?!”
If he hadn’t been trying to stave off a heart attack, he probably would have noticed and enjoyed the way his father flinched into a defensive stance and Teddy squeaked when one of the flying bags sailed right into his face. All in all for having been the one caught unaware, Albus’ surprised reaction was actually quite good at unbalancing his would be attackers.
Regaining his senses Albus shot to his feet, wand appearing in his hand as he scanned the room for threats. “Dad? Teddy? What…what are you guys doing here,” Albus asked not seeing the imagined threat and putting his wand away.
“We live here Albus,” Harry replied tightly. “The pertinent question is what you were doing not here,” he continued narrowing his eyes warily.
“What? I was bored, so I went out,” Albus replied confused why his dad was so bothered by this. “And I meant what are you doing here now, I didn’t expect you to be back until much later if you got back at all tonight.”
“I told you it was nothing to worry about Harry,” Teddy said starting to look through the bag that had hit him. “Where the hell did you find these Albus? I’ve never seen any like them.”
“A muggle shop downtown, and I’d never seen any like them either, which is obviously why I got them,” Albus explained to Teddy. “And why were you worried Dad,” Albus asked looking over at Harry.
That, however, appeared to be the wrong answer because Teddy choked up and Harry went pale yelling, “What?! You went to the muggle world?”
“Merlin, Dad. Calm down. I’m of age now, so I can protect myself. I just wanted to get out for a bit, and I figured the muggle world would be the better choice since I could just be another unknown face in the crowd, rather than have people staring at me everywhere,” Albus explained starting to get annoyed with everything. Damn, but his day had taken a turn for the less pleasant quite abruptly.
“Albus, I very specifically told you not to go out because it was dangerous,” Harry explained looking very unhappy at Albus’ apparent disregard for his safety.
“What? That was like three weeks ago,” Albus huffed finally sitting down. “I didn’t know you meant I should never leave the house again. Ever.”
Harry looked like he was about to start yelling, but before he could Teddy plopped down the couch and explained, “Albus, your dad didn’t mean forever. We were just worried because of our current case.”
Albus just looked at him and raised an eyebrow, “I thought your current case was finished.”
“No, not that one,” Harry sighed finally taking a seat himself. “That one’s finished, thank Merlin. We’ve got another one we’ve been working for a couple months. A few wizards have gone missing in the past eight months.”
“And other than that they’ve been alone, the only clue we have is that a couple of them had told someone they were heading to visit the muggle world,” Teddy continued the explanation.
Albus sighed. Well there went his plans to get Scorpius out of his house and away from prying wizard eyes. “And this is why I’m always annoyed that you don’t explain your cases to me,” Albus pouted. “If I’d know about the crazy wizard kidnapper I wouldn’t have gone out, and the two of you would not have been worried about me.” Let it never be said that Albus was above using emotionally stressful situations to manipulate people to try and get his way. He was a Slytherin after all, much to the distress of most of his family.
Teddy looked guilty, but Harry just narrowed his eyes, “Albus, you know we’re not supposed to talk about work. There are confidentiality laws.”
“I know,” Albus whined, “but you could at least be a little less vague when you’re trying to warn me about life threatening situations.”
“You’re right Albus,” Teddy apologized, “but hindsight is 20/20, and you know now.”
Harry shot Teddy a disapproving look at his capitulation, but relaxed nonetheless.
“Well now that I know not to go out lest my precious ass get kidnapped, how about some dessert?” Albus had learned long ago that little kids were not the only ones who got a pick-me-up from dessert, nor were they the only ones who could be distracted by the promise of sweet treats.