Author's Note: And you thought this was dead. Thanks to Sara, Katy and Suzanne for taking a look at this final installment of Angelica. And many apologies to my readers for leaving this so long without an update. Believe me, after the nightmares that were finishing Summer of '96 and finishing this, I've sworn off chaptered fic forever. Or at least until I'm hit with the next plotbunny. Thank you for your patience, and please enjoy.
Epilogue: Fifth Year
By all rights, it was her turn to send an Owl. Sure, Massachusetts was pretty far away, but it wasn't California. Or Alaska. So she really ought to have written.
Fourth year had been almost unfairly delicious. We had parted, knowing full well that however wide the ocean, there would always be us. Albus and Angelica. First-team broom closet brigade, and owner of a higher indoor Quidditch score than James could ever hope to tally in the outdoor game. Had there been a school ball of some sort, we would have been King and Queen.
We were nearly as inseparable the Summer after; keeping the embers of our love hot through parchment we'd charmed just for that purpose before we left school. Scroll after scroll waxing poetic on the perfume in her hair, the blazing fire in her eyes, the little mewling sound she'd make when I nibbled on the crook of her neck, or when I had my hand under her jump-
Yes, and just that abruptly, it ended. By the Yule Hols of Fifth Year, she'd cooled considerably; our missives reduced to accounts of our day, and her remarking on the brilliance of the local foliage in Autumn. By the time classes had re-started what had been daily letters had turned weekly. And then every other week. By the time I got her last letter, it had been three weeks since the Intercontinental Post Owl had flown mine westward.
Lunchtime. Thursday, 11th February 2021. "Dear Albus," it started. "I don't know how to tell you this. This is the hardest…" After that, I just sort of skimmed. His name was Dominic. Or Donatello. Or something – whatever – she'd found herself some Dago over there in Massachusetts, and he was brilliant like me and she was sorry if it was a shock and she didn't mean to hurt me, and she valued our friendship and the time we had together blah blah blah…
I was never cursed with the Weasley appetite, but even by my standards I wasn't hungry. I suppose someone asked about my condition, because someone else ribaldly suggested "It must have been a good one. Look, he's just staring into space!" A nudge woke me from my revelry.
"Albus? Come on, mate, tell us. How good was it?"
"Oh, right. Brilliant," I answered. "She's snogging some macaroni-eating bastard from New York. Fucking brilliant, what?" One of the Slytherin girls piped up from a few seats over.
"Oh, Albus. Come on. That's not fair. Domingo's Puerto Rican, not Italian. And I'm sure he's a very nice boy. Didn't you get Angie's letter last week? That's what the students at Salem are calling her, you know. She said she wanted to make a clean – " The Slytherin girl had been Sliencioed by one of the 'Puffs.
A lone tear had made its way out of the corner of my right eye, and traced a lazy line down my cheek. Meanwhile, the entire Great Hall had stopped eating to watch the proceedings. One could hardly blame them, of course. This was drama of the highest order; love, betrayal, swarthy men in far-off places like "Massachusetts" and "The Bronx". Plus, there was that girl from Slytherin making some poor attempt at a power-play, but only coming across as a cold-hearted bitch. Straight out of a Wizarding Wireless Network melodrama.
And I was the star attraction. Now, being raised nearly as much at The Burrow as I was at 12 Grimmauld Place, I knew two things about how to cope with such drama. Women do their best to maintain decorum at all costs over a cuppa. Men either dash out a door or apparate away, dramatically. Find out that Teddy has been Victoire's beard all these years when she comes home with a half-shaved head and a lover with more steel in her face than flesh? Dash! goes Uncle Bill out the door. "Auntie" Verity pops out a little red-haired sprog and mysteriously comes into 1/6 ownership of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes? Bring out the Earl Grey for Aunt Angelina. So, in retrospect, there probably wasn't anything else I could have done at that moment besides making my escape there and then. It felt somehow primal, following in the footsteps of my forefathers thusly. It felt right, good.
So, half an hour later when I arrived casually on-time for Transfiguration, why did they all look at me as if I'd grown a second head? Why did the professor ask if I were well enough to sit the class? And why wouldn't they just all bugger off and let me study in peace?
Come to think of it, why did that Slytherin girl from earlier look as though she'd developed the worst case of Spattergroit on record?
"Are you quite sure you're up to this, Albus?" Scorpius asked after I'd sat down next to him. "The Professor saw it, too. Reckon it wouldn't really be skiving off if you wanted a lie-in for the afternoon."
"Et tu, Scorpius?" I asked. "All I want to do right now is focus on my Transfiguration O.W.L. Angelica – or 'Angie,' I suppose it is now – can't take that away from me now, can she? Oh, and what's with her?" I pointed at the oozing-pustule laden Slytherin witch.
"Who, Chly? Got what's coming to her, ducks. Don't think even any of the Slytherin girls will be talking to her now, after what she did to you at lunch."
"She didn't tell me anything new, Scorpius. Angelica'd been distant for awhile now. Suppose she needed time to 'process' our 'relationship' after dragging half of Salem into whatever passes for broomclosets in America. Now, why won't this damned rat turn colour? Yellow, dammit!"
And turn colour it did; just not yellow. Red streaks of rat blood and rat nasty bits went flying as the rat exploded. And my need to flee the scene returned. It was one thing to have a burst of accidental magic as a firstie – usually didn't happen, but apart from a good ribbing, there was no harm, and it was hardly unheard of. But as a fifth-year? A little more than a year from majority in Wizarding society? Heartbreaking embarrassing. But the professor stole my moment when he Evanescoed the classroom and rather unceremoniously informed me that I would be better off spending the balance of the class day in the dormitory.
I would remain in my dormitory through Friday and the weekend. Bless their hearts, neither Rose nor Scorpius would leave my side the entire time. We played hand after hand of Exploding Snap on a bed that Scorpius transfigured wide enough to sleep three. When I couldn't sleep, they stayed up with me to hear me dissect every moment of Angelica and my time together. And when all I could do was sleep, they snuggled in close on either side, letting me know that mick bint or no mick bint, I was loved, and there was nothing that would take them from me.
My roommates, Nott, Fawcett and Fletcher, were brilliant during this time. They left us alone, got Rose and Scorpius changes of clothes from Ravenclaw, respected our privacy, and generally refrained from commenting on what to anyone would seem quite an odd sleeping arrangement. They brought us meals from the kitchens, and kept watch out for any nosy prefects or concerned younger students. They kept the tables going all weekend, and if the rumour mill is to be believed (not that they'd ever cop to this), more than one hex was thrown down in our name.
All in all, it was a much better way to spend Valentine's Day than yet another jaunt into Hogsmeade. Rose and Scorpius felt the same way. That Sunday night, when we knew that our holiday from the Hogwarts scene was coming to an end, there were tears in all our eyes. We knew nothing would ever be the same between the three of us; we had been through too much together and come out the other side. I rather wondered if Dad had had these moments with Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione whilst they were in the Forest of Dean. Unfortunately for the mood, though, I wondered this aloud.
"Right. I see all this heartbreak has gotten your head all soft, Albus. Definitely time to head back to reality in the morning, what?"
Scorpius was right, of course. By Monday morning, it was well and truly over. We got up, dressed, made our faces, and headed to the Great Hall. And if nothing else came from this experience with Angelica, seeing the Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin tables all stand as we came in told us one thing. Hogwarts was truly ours.