Dear Mercurial Minions: I swore it was never going to happen, but here it is: a Mercurial Trio chapter fic. Here's the drill: I may very well update this one before writing anything else. I may never get it completed. But the story of Albus and Angelica simply won't fit into a one-shot, so I won't do it a disservice by trying to shoehorn it into that format. I will tell you that reviews are rather like bribes, and as much as I'd rather it weren't the case, I tend to update more often the more reviews I get.

Also of note: I'm not putting this one into the compilation. In fact, I'm going to retire that compilation. Instead, I'll point you to some "prerequisite" fics in the author's note to each story. Like this:

Mercurial Prerequisites: Albus Potter and the Misspent Youth, Mercury Chronicles: A Hogsmeade Debut.

And now, thralls and minions of the Fowlest Lord Albus Potter, please enjoy:

The Mercury Chronicles: The Ballad of Albus and Angelica

Angelica Moran and I were partners in every class, and had been since first year. By and large, that was the extent of things between us for our first two years at Hogwarts, but that was more than okay. She had quite the head for academics, but very little diligence, which made us perfect partners. Angelica would be the first to perfect a spell or a potion and bring me along in the classroom, while I would have my notes open on the table for her to look off of, so that she could catch up during class and have easy access to an answer for the professor if called upon. Because she rarely studied outside of class, her marks were middling, but she reckoned that the only marks that truly mattered were O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. scores; and she had plenty of time to buckle down when she needed to. For the first four years of our time at Hogwarts though, Angelica preferred to spend her evenings learning as much as she could about the Magical world; its written and (especially) its unwritten rules, and how best to push both its magical and cultural/societal boundaries. She was a fair student at best, but she was a brilliant girl.

So our first and second years were spent thusly, with smiles, waves and small talk punctuating the interludes between class days. She was, of course, a regular at our tables evenings, and often helped me remember the names of our fellow students, scratching an inconspicuous 'Fawcett' or 'Harold' on a piece of parchment as I began to bluff my way past addressing someone by name. She quickly learned the rules to the various Exploding Snap games, and taught me a few muggle card games as well. Aunt Hermione found it rather amusing to hear that Go Fish could be played as a bloodsport, but much of the money I won off of Angelica from Poker (we found seven card stud a much more civilised alternative to the ubiquitous Texas Hold 'Em), I gave back in Go Fish and Bullshit. Dad reckoned that if I'd learned to gamble with an Irishwoman, I should be cleaning up at Monte Carlo in no time.

By third year we had become quite good friends; actively seeking out each other's company. We spent several nights up quite late in the common room in lengthy conversation about the war, which had become quite the tediously long module in History of Magic. Older pureblood families had spent two decades in complete self-flagellation mode, with 'Never Again' a frequent refrain at society functions. This of course meant that Slytherin House (still largely dominated by the older families) spent a good deal of time discussing The War. Angelica being Angelica, she was determined to find out exactly as much about this subject as she needed to bluff her way through a conversation. Her questions were insightful and probing, and as topics moved from The War to reconstruction to current politics, she became more and more interested in the role muggleborns play in society, and how that had changed over the last thirty years or so.

I started to notice things had changed sometime in third year. She started to shy away from the small, chaste kisses I would also give Rose and Scorpius. She had blushed before, but had never just walked away like she started to do after Yuletide holidays. So I stopped, obviously not wanting to offend her or put her in an awkward situation. She had been an excellent ally during those first few years at Hogwarts, and I was loath to jeopardise what we had. Not that Rose and Scorpius were any help, mind. They spent most of the first three months of 2020 poking fun at what they saw as 'blossoming young love'. I explained as how I couldn't see any change at all in the relationship Angelica and I had had ever since we were sorted, and they just laughed that much harder.

It wasn't until another Slytherin girl approached me one day after Potions that I gave any credence to the matter whatsoever. She grabbed my arm very tentatively as we were heading toward our next class, then nodded to the back of the herd of students so we would be out of earshot.

"Your regular Potions partner was out today, Albus," she said, a rather accusatorial tone to her voice.

"So I'd noticed," I replied, cursing this classmate silently for making me bluff an entire conversation as if I knew who she was. She had been sitting at our tables faithfully for two years by this point. "Is she ill?"

"Aye," she replied, "she's resting up in the dormitory."

"And you've been sent 'round to see if I'll pay her a visit?"

"No, Albus. I came on my own."

There was a pause as she gathered her thoughts. We were going to be late for Transfiguration; the longest walk between classes of the week.

"We really need to –"

"She fancies you, ye daft git," the girl said, huffed and walked away, leaving me standing in the corridor with a rather uncomfortable and unwelcome comical expression on my face.

"Rose, Scorpius," I called out that evening as we broke from supper to head back to our respective common rooms. Rose stopped and grabbed a hold of Scorpius's cloak. Scorpius spun around dramatically.

"My liege," he said, and bowed with a flourish. I smacked the back of his head as he up righted himself. Rose snickered slightly into her hand.

"A lovely evening for a stroll around the lake, what?" I offered. It was overcast and 5°C; not bad for April in the Highlands, all things considered. Rose took a look at the concern on my face and nudged Scorpius.

"Smashing," she replied. "I don't think we'll even need warming charms." I offered an arm to each of them and placed a kiss on Rose's cheek.

"That's how to be a good minion," I told Scorpius. This time it was Rose's turn to hit the back of my head. "Ow! Bad minion! Bad minion! No Cruciatus for you tonight!" I said to Rose with a loud laugh in my voice as we passed the Gryffindor table. Rose winked at Freddie, who blanched visibly. I grabbed Rose and Scorpius's arms, placing a kiss on each of their cheeks as we began our stroll arm in arm in arm.

"It's Angelica," I said, as soon as we were far enough from the castle that I felt I could drop some measure of bravado. "She was missing from Potions today, and I think it might have something to do with me." Scorpius laughed.

"Finally figured out that those Irish eyes have been smiling your way, have you?" he quipped, earning himself a glare from Rose. "Really now, darling. Can't we take a bit of the piss out of him? We're his friends after all, I reckon it's our duty."

"Oh Scorpius, look at the poor thing," she replied as if I weren't standing right there. "He's so confused. Honestly, we should let him figure out whether he fancies her back before laying into him mercilessly."

There are moments in life I've found that once I've opened my mouth, I can't un-say what I've just said, and my life takes a rather dramatic turn as a result. Normally I'd like to have thought this one out better, but some things are even out of my steel trap-like self-control.

"Well of course I fancy her back, I didn't – "

Oh dear. Rose doesn't 'get her girl on' often, but when she does, watch out. She was staring at me with a look somewhere between the one Mum gets on her face whenever Uncle Ron talks about digging up Basilisk teeth and the one Aunt Hermione gets whenever Hugo talks about the unfairness of something. Either way it doesn't suit her, and frightens me to no end. Scorpius looked as though he didn't know whether to burst up laughing or hug me with pride. That we stood there in silence for a moment turned out to be useful, as I heard a familiar chortle behind me that was rather unsuccessfully smothered by a hand.

I didn't turn around right away, preferring to gather up a bit of strength, take two very deep breaths gathering a bit of magical energy together along with my wand, and then I fairly hollered as I spun around.

"ACCIO INVISIBILITY CLOAK!'

Hugo barely flinched. I suppose he knew they were found out as soon as James laughed. James, on the other hand, had a rather gob smacked look on his face. Normally this would have been the point at which he lay into me, but with three wands trained on him, he kept his gob shut. Sort of.

"You… Third year… Summon… How?"

"James dear," Rose said pityingly. "Close your mouth. It's not a good look, and you might catch flies that way."

"As to how I know the Summoning Spell," I continued, "did it ever occur to you that we are in a school of magic? What do you think we do in the Great Hall all day, plan our next wacky prank? Did you ever stop to wonder – between Quidditch matches, that is – why the Hufflepuffs in your year are challenging the Ravenclaws for top marks? What have you learned this whole time, Gryffindor? How best to sneak into the kitchens? How to avoid Mr Filch and Mrs Norris while stealing the components for your homemade dungbombs?" I then shot a withering glare at Hugo.

"And you? Is this the kind of example you really want to follow during your time here? Skulking around under cloaks looking for juicy gossip? What the hell are you doing here anyway, Hugo?"

"I, well," He took a deep breath. "I honestly didn't know what was going on." 'Honestly – that was the code word we gave him to give to us in case he was caught undercover. Okay, as I thought, he had our backs.

"Just get out of here," I spat, and he took off back for the castle at a full run. James looked at the three of us with our wands out and chuckled.

"You know, folks are starting to talk about the three of you. Always off on your own like you are; taking these 'walks'. People are starting to wonder what you get up to out here. I figured I'd find out.

"Really," I said, sliding next to Scorpius and putting my arm around him. "What kinds of things are they saying, James?"

"Um, well, they…" James was obviously at a loss for words.

"Incarcerous" shot out from my mouth and my wand, and he became a rather shell-shocked prisoner.

"Do they wonder how many times a week I'm out here buggering Scorpius?" I purred at James, who began to thrash against his bonds. "Do you think they'd like to watch?" I added, running my hand through the back of Scorpius's hair and tracing another hand up and down his torso. Scorpius acted his part exceptionally, cupping my chin and looking longingly into my eyes.

"But you aren't… But Moran! What was…?"

"Oh James," Rose laughed, her voice taking a husky tone. "You don't really think a powerful wizard like Albus would be satisfied with just one plaything, do you? And a sensitive lover like the Dark Lord Potter deserves all the affection he can get. I bet you'd love to watch a little cousin-on-cousin action out here, wouldn't you? That's why you brought the cloak, isn't it?" Rose began to drag her wand up and down James's chest, stopping at his privates and whispering breathily into his ear as she continued. "You wanted to wank that little man of yours whilst watching a bit of cousin-on-cousin, didn't you?" And she tugged on James's earlobe with her teeth by way of punctuation. "And what was Hugo then, a distraction?" James about lost it then.

"You're sick, the lot of you!" he screamed. "Mum and Dad are going to here about all of this, what you're doing out here, the unnatural…"

"How are you planning on telling them how you found us, dear brother?" I asked, planting a kiss on Scorpius's cheek and stepping away from him. "Are you going to tell them you were using this" I held up the cloak "to find us? Oh, and what about – Accio Marauders Map! " No map was present.

"Ha!" James laughed. "Lily has – damn!" I chuckled.

"Going to give her up too, are you? Right. I'll expect those howlers from Mum any day now, James. Meanwhile, we have a ménage-à-trois to get to, minions." I nodded to Rose and Scorpius, and we headed back to the castle, arm in arm in arm, leaving James in the binds with the invisibility cloak lying next to him. The seventh-year Slytherin prefect we ran into was very interested to find that cloak when we told him we had seen a student in trouble by the lake. Unfortunately for the prefect though, Professor Longbottom was able to send it straight back to Dad a couple of days later.

The tables were full of Hufflepuffs when we arrived back in the Great Hall. They asked where we'd been and I told them, leaving out the reason why we went for a walk in the first place and what we did to James when we discovered him. The 'Puffs didn't look amused when they heard about someone sneaking up on the three of us.

"This will be taken care of, Albus," was their collective response, and they pulled out an exploding deck to help me take my mind off of things. Angelica asking to be dealt in three hands later didn't help. Rose winked at me when she sat down.

"You need to teach her how to be a better Slytherin." Angelica said, noticing the wink. Her voice had a nearly mournful tone.

"I would, but she's spent so much money on accessorising blue and bronze, it just wouldn't be fair." That brought a smile to her face. "Feeling better? We missed you in Potions."

"Right. No excuse, really, just skived off. Did you take notes?"

"Of course. Oh, it's your play." Angelica played one of the cards in her hand just as it was about to go off.

"Thanks, love. But I think it's your play, actually. Chly talked with me earlier."

"Who?"

"Chly – Clytemnestra? Clytemnestra Lambton? Mousy brown hair, vague smile on her face? Merlin, Albus," she whispered, "the nosy bint that told you I fancy you."

"Oh, right. So that's her name, then? Pureblood, I assume."

"She is Slytherin, but… No fair changing the subject."

"Right." I took a deep breath. "Perhaps we should head someplace else to talk about this?"

We excused ourselves and headed towards the Slytherin common room. Angelica and I had taken this walk many times, but at that moment I couldn't remember another instance in which neither of us had books in our hands. My hands felt conspicuously empty, and hers were just swinging there as we walked. It seemed dreadfully forward of me at the time, but I nonetheless grabbed her hand and held it as we walked, which brought a smile to both our faces.

We walked in silence the rest of the way, a rather contented feeling hovering over us. We encountered more than our share of double-takes as we passed other students along the way, and the level of conversation in the Common Room dropped significantly as we walked in. I walked her all the way to the girls' staircase, not letting go of her hand. She paused a moment before heading upstairs.

"So you're okay with me fancying you then?" she asked, still a bit cautious in her bearing. I smiled warmly as I responded.

"Quite. But you do know there will be consequences?" She looked at me – nearly through me – for a good few seconds. Then her demeanour became simultaneously softer and more direct.

"You mean like this?" Angelica reached for my face gently, bringing her lips to mine in a sweet, soulful, lingering kiss that I felt in my toes. "I don't mind consequences like that at all." All I could do was smile in response.

"Goodnight then, Albus," she said, and turned to head upstairs. I grabbed her wrist and pulled her back towards me. Then it was my turn to kiss her; a bit less sweet and a bit more impatient than the kiss she had given me.

"I'll see you at breakfast," I told her, and slowly walked to the boys' dormitories.