Disclaimer: Harry Potter is property of its rightful owners, which would be JK Rowling and Warner. I, Phankam, am not either of those parties, so I definitely don't own Harry Potter. ):
"Potter, these are not the grades expected from an Auror." Professor Vaughn said as Albus was sitting right across from him, staring at his last two essays for Potions class, which he had failed. Al swallowed and felt as if he had something in his throat, for he could not speak. "You managed to get an E in your OWL, even though this is probably your worst class, and last year you averaged an A. I'm sure you understand you just have half a year left for you to get your grades up."
"I know, sir." Albus replied, trying to make his voice sound steady. The first paper had a large P scribbled in the Professor's untidy handwriting, and the second one had a D.
"Albus, I know you can do so much better." Professor Vaughn said, smiling a little. "I can tell from these essays that you didn't put all your effort into them."
"I... I know, sir." Albus felt stupid when repeating himself, but he had no idea of what else he could say.
"Maybe you should ask Miss Weasley to help you, I know she's done so before in the past." He suggested.
"Yes, she has. I'll ask for her help, sir." Albus stood up when the Professor did so, feeling as if the meeting was over.
"You're an exceptional young man, Potter. My last advice is for you to keep your head focused in what you want."
"That's what I've been doing, sir." Al managed a shy smile, but it came out as fake. Professor Vaughn nodded, and gestured Al to leave, and so he did. He was about to reach the door when the Potions Master's voice called out his name. Albus turned around expecting another remark about his grades, but instead was surprised by a polite smile.
"I hadn't congratulated you on your amazing Quidditch team. Maybe you should make sure of putting your leadership qualities in consideration for the future. You may leave now."
Albus left hurriedly, those last words echoing in his head. Leadership qualities? He hadn't even thought about himself possessing some of those, but if he came to think of it carefully...
April 20th, 2023
Just keep fighting, brother. There's nothing worse than giving up. If you so wish to become an Auror, I know you can do it, nothing can stop you. You aced your OWLs, and you'll ace your NEWTs as well. Just keep cool, study and don't let yourself be distracted.
But most importantly, do what you're doing for yourself. Don't let anyone decide for you, because it's your future.
Love hoping to see you soon,
"Mr Ollivander rejected my application." The oldest of the Scamander twins commented sourly as they sat in the Great Hall, at the Gryffindor table. "He said I was too young for the post."
"Too bad, I think you'd have been great at it." Annie said, smiling a little at him. Lysander nodded enthusiastically, which looked strange upon his usually carefree expression.
"Don't worry Lorcan, you'll find something." Lysander said, and went back to the letter he was writing with much care.
"Mum was a little disappointed, but she said she'd get over it... you know how close she and Mr Ollivander are... I really wanted to learn about wand-making." Lorcan explained, sighing.
"Maybe you can study on your own, or find another teacher." Albus suggested, looking around the room for his cousin Rose, but she was nowhere to be seen.
"True, and also, he just said you are too young, so maybe you can ask again some years from now." Annie added, looking at Lorcan and then Albus, noticing how he kept on looking up and down the table. "Who are you looking for?"
"Why is it that I never see Rose around anymore?"
"She's probably studying." Annie shrugged as she said so. "She desperately wants to be Outstanding in every subject she's taking."
"I'd be glad with just passing. Professor Lupin keeps sending us loads and loads of homework." Lysander complained, and Lorcan nodded in agreement.
"Transfiguration is killing me, slowly and painfully." He said, and his twin nodded with the same enthusiasm he himself had shown on his brother's statement.
"It's not so bad." Albus muttered, eyeing the door as Rose entered, holding hands with the charming-looking Scorpius Malfoy, who looked slightly down as they approached the Gryffindor table. He kissed her briefly before walking to his own House table, and the group stared as Rose sat among them. "Where were you?"
"Just talking to Scorpius, nothing special." She said a little bluntly as she helped herself to some mashed potatoes.
"He seems a little off, doesn't he?" Lorcan commented: he was one of Scorpius' closest friends. "Not in his usual mood."
Rose barely managed a non-committing shrug before starting to eat, mumbling a few incantations under her breath when she paused (her way of remembering spells for the up-coming exams). Albus stared at her, but was cut short when someone tapped on his shoulder. He turned around, and was slightly confused when Professor Longbottom smiled at him.
"Albus, Professor McGonagall needs to see you." He said with a warm smile.
"Is it about my grades? They're starting to get better, I swear." Albus said without even giving it a thought, causing everyone around him to chuckle. Neville's smile got pronounced.
"Your grades aren't even bad." Lysander muttered while his twin suppressed a giggle.
"Shut it, Lysander." Albus said, glaring at the blonde boy, who was already minding his own business, writing on a piece of parchment. "When sir?"
"Just as lunch is over, she will be at her office. I'll see you around." He said, offering the same warm smile to the bunch of seventh-years. Albus looked a little confused around, but no one seemed to have any useful comment to offer. Only Rose seemed to be deep in thought, but refused to give an explanation.
"I'm actually quite excited about it!" Lily piped up, smiling widely. "You've got to admit that it will be a splendid opportunity to—"
"Show off?" Hugo interrupted, and got a hard slap on his arm. "Lil! That hurt!"
"That was the whole point of hitting you, big git." She snapped, frowning. "I'm not a show-off..."
"You're not, unless it comes to Quidditch." Albus added, laughing a little. He was in such a good mood- and it had a lot to do with his conversation with Professor McGonagall- he even laughed when his sister threatened to use her infamous Bat-Bogey Hex.
"I do recall her breaking her arm trying to do the Wronski Feint at the Burrow..." Fred added, sitting down with a couple butterbeers: they were at the Hog's Head –for it was quieter than the Three Broomsticks and they didn't catch as much undesired attention- and their older cousin had agreed to meet up with them there. "It's all good fun, Lils. We all know you're a superb Quidditch player."
"I'm the best Chaser currently in Hogwarts." She snapped again, making her brother and cousins roll their eyes. "I am!"
"Wouldn't hurt to be a little more humble about it, kid." Fred insisted, although didn't deny the fact. "So, have you seen Roxie? She's stopped visiting me at the shop."
"She's probably too busy snogging... what's the name of the big Hufflepuff keeper?" Hugo asked, looking over at Lily. She smiled widely.
"Milan Adamic, and he's adorable looking, if you ask me. I'm proud of Roxie; she's surely improving her taste. Well... anything is better than Richard Davies, if you ask me."
"You make me feel like I don't know my own sister at all!" Fred looked surprised. "When did Richard Davies happen?"
"He's a great Chaser, by the way, but—AL WATCH OUT!" Hugo said, drawing his wand and trying to direct a hex and someone behind Al, but he got hit by a disarming spell. Al turned around to see someone in a black cloak jumping on him, and he didn't have time to draw his wand: not like he needed it, anyway, since a well-aimed petrifying spell was aimed at his attacker. By that time, both Lily and Fred had drawn their wand and were pointing at the attacker, who was swearing under his breath as he struggled to move.
"Thanks, guys." Al muttered, his heart racing inside his chest, and starting to make up plots inside his head: what had that been about?
"It wasn't us." Lily said, looking at the attacker. "It was Malfoy! Nice one!"
"Thanks." Scorpius said, walking towards them, wand in hand, Rose close behind him. The bartender looked curious, but didn't get close to help. "Now, shall we?"
He kneeled down and took off the intruder's mask, and they all gasped, except for Lily.
All she could muster up was a loud screech, followed by a loud cry.
"JAMES! JAMES!" she said, jumping on top of her completely paralyzed older brother. It took everyone else a second to realise what was going on, and Rose started a long, pleading call for forgiveness in her boyfriend's name, while the alluded managed to use the counter-spell for his magic work.
"James, my mate, what in Merlin's name are you doing here?" Fred said, hugging his best friend. James laughed a little, although he did seem to look a little in pain.
"I wanted to surprise you lot— went to the Three Broomsticks and all, and Lysander told me you were up for a quieter afternoon... so I came here! Of course, your faces were priceless... I could've got you all hexed up for the fun of it, but of course, Malfoy just had to spoil the fun, the big git."
"I'm sorry." Scorpius said, although he didn't look sorry at all: he just looked oddly amused.
"Yeah, whatever." James said, laughing as he hugged his cousin Rose and then high-fived Hugo. He finally turned to Albus, who still looked too surprised to talk. "So, brother. Have you come to terms with your future as Head of the Auror Office?"
"Oh, give me a break." Albus answered, and his cousins laughed. Scorpius just smiled a little and attempted to retreat to leave the family alone, but James was quicker, and grabbed his shoulder.
"Hey, Malfoy, you're pretty much family, you don't have to leave." He said, smiling widely.
Rose was surprised to that kind of mature response, and so was everyone else. Albus was actually thinking of a joke to go with it, but James soon put on his business face.
"Now, seriously. Can you believe these bloody idiots didn't name me for the alumni All-Star team?"
"We didn't know. Fred did get named, you know." Hugo teased, and Fred nodded, looking quite serious.
"Don't take it personally James. They just decided to take the best."
Aberforth Dumbledore had to politely ask them to leave by trying to curse their heads off when the yelling and playful hexing started.
"WELCOME, WELCOME! This is Lee Jordan speaking, and I'm proud to present the first-ever All-Star Alumni Quidditch match to ever take place in Hogwarts!" people cheered from the stands as Lee smiled widely from what he used to call his stand, microphone in hand. Next to him, his youngest son, third-year Gryffindor Lewis Jordan, looked in envy as his dad seemed to be such a natural, something he wished he could do as well as him. "This is, of course, both a sad and a happy occasion. Today, on May 2nd, let's keep a moment of silence to honour those who fought so we could enjoy such a peaceful and happy moment, twenty-five years later."
The silence was so deep, Albus felt as if even breathing would be considered disrespectful. Just a little before, he had seen Teddy looking inadequate in his all-white Quidditch robes: he had never been a brilliant player, but him being named to the Alumni squad was something he was deeply proud of, not because of what it meant for him as a Quidditch player, but because of the occasion itself.
McGonagall had been quite straight-forward when she explained it to him: What was the point in holding a 25th banquet in which everyone was to be sad, when the whole battle had been about making the future a better place for them, the children of the heroes, to live, to grow, to laugh and enjoy?
They had had to magically expand the school's Quidditch stadium to allow all the people coming to sit, but it was surely worth it. Even the Ministry of Magic had been involved, helping with the conditioning of the place and also with the accommodations for everyone coming.
Albus understood why James was upset he hadn't been called: he was the only Potter child not to play that afternoon, and he seriously wondered why. He felt uneasy in his all-black, brand-new Quidditch clothes with the Hogwarts Crest printed in the front, and his trustworthy broom under his arm as a red band branded 'Captain' with golden letters wrapped his upper left arm, his back with a gleaming 'A. POTTER' to show the entire population surrounding the pitch who he was...
He almost sort of wished James wasn't there to see it, really.
"Are you nervous?" Lily asked, smiling widely, and Albus shook his head. She surely loved the spotlight, and was wearing the black robes with pride, also wearing a red band around her arm, although there were no words in it: it was just to show which house she belonged to, and Albus took a look around at the rest of the team.
Scorpius smiled a little at him, but still managed to look sad: his own father had been called to play as a reserve for the alumni team, but not even talking with his only son would convince him to be 'second to Harry Potter', not under any circumstance.
"Firstly, THE HOGWARTS ALL-STARS!" Albus knew that was their cue to enter. His sister smiled widely as she jumped on her broom and followed Andrei Krum, flying outside into the pitch. "Slytherin Chaser, Andrei Krum! Gryffindor Chaser, Lily Potter! Ravenclaw Chaser, Scorpius Malfoy!"
He could hear people applauding, and he felt a little nervous for a second. Ignatius, a seventh-year like him but from Ravenclaw, hit his shoulder jokingly with his Beater bat and smiled widely.
"Don't worry Potter, we'll be fine!" he said before jumping on his broom and followed the rather big Nate Miles, from Hufflepuff.
"Hufflepuff Beater, Nathaniel Miles! Ravenclaw Beater, Ignatius Vaughn!" more cheering followed the entrance of the two players. Albus looked over at Alice, who kissed him briefly.
"It's my turn, isn't it?" she said, jumping on her broom. Albus smiled widely and nodded.
"Gryffindor Keeper, Alicia Wood!" she flew off and Albus prepared to fly in as well, his heart beat strong against his eardrums. He started flying towards the exit, the adrenaline starting to rush through his veins. "And finally, Captain of this squad and Gryffindor Seeker, Albus Potter!"
He entered the brightly-sunny pitch with a huge grin plastered upon his face, and circled the pitch a couple times before stopping by his team, a few meters off the middle of the field.
"And now what I'm sure you've been expecting wildly... THE ALL-STAR ALUMNI TEAM!" Lee surely knew how to make a crowd roar, Albus thought. He looked expectantly at the entrance, and heard the names and saw the mostly-familiar faces entering the pitch. "Ravenclaw Chaser, Roger Davies! Gryffindor Chaser, Ted Lupin! Gryffindor Chaser, Ginny Weasley-Potter!"
Albus looked over at his sister, who beamed in pride as their mother circled the pitch as she used to during her Holyhead Harpies times wearing the white robes with the red band that branded her as Captain on her arm, smiling widely, obviously in her element.
"Gryffindor Beaters... Fred and George Weasley!"
For everyone who had been at Hogwarts at the same time as the Weasley twins would know why that sounded the way it did: It was a mixture of sadness but hope all mixed together as father and son flew into the pitch, the youngest one reminding everyone so much of his namesake that the applause was even bigger, if not more respectful at the same time.
"Gryffindor Keeper, Oliver Wood! And lastly, but not less important…!"
Everyone held supreme silence as Albus looked at the entrance place for the players, expecting his dad to zoom in flying anytime now.
The shimmering white-blonde hair wasn't something he expected at all.
"Slytherin Seeker, Draco Malfoy!"
Scorpius mouth fell wide-open at the sudden appearance of his dad. Albus was totally numb from the shock, and Lily looked confused as well. Only their mother seemed to fully understand what was going on, and she pointed towards the stands that acted as benches, where their dad waved at them, sitting by Uncle Ron, who waved at them as well.
All in all, he knew his dad loved playing the noble prat, and it made him immensely happy. Scorpius was thrilled and smiled at his dad before taking his spot around the circle to begin the game, as Alicia and her dad flew to opposite sides of the field, preparing themselves.
"Your father is a great man, Potter." Mr. Malfoy said to him when they were in front of each other, waiting for the Snitch to be released. Albus wanted to say something back, but no words came to his mouth. He was stunned by the words, considering the Malfoy family wasn't exactly liked by his family until Scorpius came along, but finally managed a smile.
"And now… LET THE MATCH BEGIN!"
Albus had been young when his mother had been on the top of her Quidditch career, but it was clear why she had become so famous: for her, getting past Alicia wasn't hard at all. He saw that Ignatius and Nate were becoming rather fond of staying by their Keeper to help her, and thus making it easier for Fred and Uncle George to hit Bludgers towards Lily, Scorpius and Andrei.
He had to stick to his own job: finding the golden snitch. Mr. Malfoy was a good flyer, but didn't seem to have a very good eye, and that could be his advantage: that he wore glasses didn't mean anything but that it helped see better, not worse. He circled the pitch, going by the stands were his dad was sitting, who always smiled at him.
He heard Uncle Lee announcing that the Hogwarts team had scored, and he turned to see Lily beaming as she hugged Andrei and stormed off to get the Quaffle again. Scorpius followed, intercepting a pass that was heading towards Teddy. The metamorphmagus' hair turned bright red as he sped up to cut in front of Scorpius, who dropped the Quaffle, just to have Lily catch it and quickly pass it to Andrei, who attempted to score again but was blocked by Alicia's dad.
The score was 60-10, which was pretty reachable, but he wanted to catch the Snitch and win quickly, even though he was greatly enjoying the action. He saw that Mr. Malfoy was still looking around, his white-blonde hair seemingly sparkling in the sun, just like his son's.
He wondered exactly why his dad had decided against playing himself as the main Seeker, and had opted to be a reserve to Scorpius' dad, but the sound of Lee's voice announcing that Teddy had scored took him off his own thoughts.
"Albus! Go and find that damned Snitch!" Lily yelled, and was overheard by their mother, who was just flying past, and received a scowl. "Sorry, mum! But this is Quidditch!"
Her comeback was met by laughter from Albus and Scorpius, and the game continued normally for a while, with Lily scoring once more, along with Andrei.
And then, he saw it, just a golden-spark above Alumni's goal-posts: the Snitch. He started flying full speed towards it, hoping to get there before the older Seeker.
"AND IT SEEMS AS IF ALBUS HAS SPOTTED THE SNITCH! AND THE RACE HAS STARTED!"
Whether he was talking about the race for the snitch or the race that his heart was having inside his ears, Albus wasn't sure. He stretched out his hand and closed his fingers around the small ball, but suddenly the feeling of smug happiness disappeared as something hit the back of his broom, and even though they had joked about it for ages, it still took him off-guard. Suddenly, there was nothing underneath him to hold his weight as his broom snapped in two pieces, and even though he felt someone trying to grab onto his robes, he was still falling, his glasses abandoning his face as he saw the ground coming blurry but obviously nearer him.
He closed his eyes, expecting a hard hit, but it wasn't as bad as he expected, although he did fall on top of his arm in a strange and stupid effort to stop the fall: it cracked under his weight, and he fell on his side, trying not to moan at the pain.
"Al! Al! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to!" Fred said, jumping off his broom and running towards him. "Shit, are you okay?"
He was soon surrounded by lots of people, but he couldn't see well without his glasses to help him, and there was so much talking he could barely understand what was being said. He tried to sit up, but the pain was kind of too much to move: apparently, his arm hadn't only broken but had also shattered pretty badly, judging by the amount of pain he was feeling.
"Get out of my way, that's my brother!" James' voice yelled over the crowd. "I'm a Mediwizard, get out of my way!"
"You're not yet a Mediwizard!" Lily complained when she was shoved aside.
"I am, kid. Oh mum, don't give me that look, I got my certification… I just wanted it to be a surprise!" James explained, kneeling down by his brother and rolling up his sleeves. "Did my spell slow down your fall a little?"
"Was that you, really? Impressive." Their dad commented, kneeling by them and putting Albus' glasses in front of his eyes so he could see. Their mum was there, too, looking very pale and scared.
"Not the time for compliments, father. I have work to do." James said, moving Albus slightly to keep the arm in better sight. "I'm sorry if it hurts, but I'm not carrying any pain-potion with me—"
"Aren't you supposed to be the best potion-maker of your team?" Albus asked, smiling a little even through the pain. Lily giggled.
"Oh, give me a break." James pointed his wand and apparently used a non-verbal spell that made Albus' arm glow in a strange blue light, and he felt a tickling sensation going on under his skin, maybe even under his muscles, sensation that brought both pain and a strange relief. "Ferula."
He conjured a splint and bandages that wrapped themselves around Albus' arm, and he finally sat up, although he still felt slightly sick. The tiny snitch was still fluttering inside his healthy hand.
"We won." He said, suddenly realizing what had happened.
The roar of the crowd, especially coming from the current Hogwarts students, was deafening.
"Dad, mum is totally right about you. You are a noble prat." James said, laughing. Harry raised an eyebrow, but laughed as well as he kept on eating: The Annual May 2nd Banquet was as good as usual, but the mood had obviously improved since other years: it felt as a closing to an era and the beginning of a new one, with new young witches and wizards, the ones who had lived all through peaceful times, and an era in which the previous generation was coming to terms with their newfound inner peace.
"Draco deserved it. He has been a nice guy, overall. And I thought it'd mean something to have someone from the Slytherin that we shared with in our years of school. It's…"
"A way to reconcile, right?" Ginny completed his sentence, smiling comprehensibly at her husband, who nodded. The three Potter children smiled at each other: even if they had not lived through those dark years, the stories summed it up pretty well and they had grown in times in which there was still resentments and hatred, and it had been partly their mission to help get over the stigma that surrounded the children and grandchildren of the ones who hadn't exactly played the 'good guys' part in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.
"And we won!" Lily added excitedly, killing off the thoughtful mood but bringing a smile on everyone's faces at once. They were sitting on their own table, one of many around the Great Hall.
"You did score some amazing shots, princess." Harry said, smiling widely. "Truly your mother's daughter."
"What about Al? He was a total Harry Potter today: he caught the Snitch at the same time he managed to fall off his broom!"
"James deserves some credit too, doesn't he?" Albus added, not wanting his parents to exaggerate anything or make too many comparisons: he knew how much they hurt, and how hard they were to overcome.
"It's just my job, really. Plus, I could beat you both any day." He grinned at his younger siblings.
"I can't see how, considering you all play different positions…" Harry tried to calm things down, but his kids, for once, weren't actually discussing seriously, just joking around with each other… it was like watching them grow up, all at once.
"Talking about your job… I can't believe you got your certification! Weren't you getting it by the end of June?" Lily asked happily.
"That's what I thought, but in the end, I got it beforehand. I'm just that good, you know. And I'm already planning what I shall be doing next year… but that, of course, is an announcement that I'll make with the whole family in a couple weeks!"
James was pretty secretive about it, so they didn't push the matter forward and instead decided to enjoy the incredible moment they had gathered for.
Harry knew that this was what he had fought for: it wasn't so they could sit down and cry the losses suffered, but to remember them warmly and happily… they had died for a brighter future, after all.
Coming back to The Burrow had a different feeling, so as leaving Hogwarts for one last time had had for Albus. He was never coming back, at least not as a student. Where had the last seven years gone?
He had around six-weeks before Auror training started, and he wasn't feeling quite ready. He wished he had time to think things over, to sort his own thoughts out, but there was no way to get quiet time when the whole Weasley clan was gathered together for the summer. Was he really ready to follow in his father's footsteps, even though he wasn't too keen onto the idea of becoming an Auror?
Rose had gotten outstanding results in all of her NEWTs, as was expected, and came second of the class only to Scorpius, who had taken an additional subject compared to her. Albus, meanwhile, had managed to put his Potions' grades up enough to get the E he needed in his NEWT for being fully accepted as an Auror, but then again…
He had other opportunities, and he knew the chances were there, waiting, actually inside his robes' pocket, in the form of a letter. What would he do?
"Children, dinner is ready!" Grandma Weasley would never get over calling them children, he knew for sure, noticing how she still called her sons and daughter children from time to time. He went outside and sat in his usual place between Rose and Lily, and looked around the table to all of his family members.
All of them had had an impact on his life, because he had been raised to close to them. He would never forget any moment with them: Victoire teaching him how to fly a broom when his dad had disclosed he was too young, or Dominique agreeing to play gobstones with him when no one else would. Not even Louis telling on him when he had been the one to hide a spider in Uncle Ron's shoe, or when Molly and Lucy played a prank on him that involved leaving him hanging upside down off a tree for what had seemed like the longest time, even if it had just been a few minutes. Roxanne forcing him to play dolls with her brought a smile to his lips; at the same time as Fred refusing to let him play with his Quidditch toys had brought to much sadness to him.
So many changes were coming his way, but he was ready for them: he was no longer little stuttering Albus, he was a grown man. Or he felt that way, at least. On both of his sides, his best friend and cousin looked worry-free as she enjoyed the meal, and Lily was talking animatedly to James, who was listening with a broad smile.
James suddenly stood up, trying to catch everyone's attention. He succeeded quiet easily, and smiled.
"Family! I can't believe I've actually managed to keep this a secret for so long, but I need to tell you now because otherwise, I'll implode!"
"Just say it, Jamie!" Fred yelled from the other side, causing a bit of laughter.
"Don't you dare call me that again, Freddy! Only mum is allowed!" James answered, and the laughs continued for a second before everyone settled down again. "Well… As you know, I'm a certified mediwizard by now, but I've come to realize that maybe working as a Healer isn't my thing so…"
"You're going into the Quidditch Injuries field, aren't you?" Lily asked excitedly. There was murmur of approval around the table, and James waited for them to settle down again.
"Actually, Lils, I'm not. After giving it much thought… I'm following my dad and brother's footsteps, and becoming a Mediwizard Auror!"
Dominique let out a big cry of 'YES!' before the news sank in.
It took a long time before everyone stopped congratulating both James and Harry, and even longer for everyone to leave Albus some alone time with his brother to talk. Actually, it wasn't until later on that night, when both of them were getting prepared to crawl into their usual beds in The Burrow, that they finally had a chance to talk.
"You're awfully quiet, Al." James noted, putting on his red pajamas and smiling a little at his brother. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm just…" Albus shrugged, not knowing what to say. "Stunned, I think."
"I have that effect on girls, and it's kind of shocking to find I have it on boys as well." James joked, sitting by his little brother. "I hope you're not upset I'm ruining the spotlight for you."
"You know I don't like the spotlight to begin with, James." Albus rolled his eyes. "And I'm actually really happy for you. You'll be a great Auror, just like you're a great Mediwizard."
"I'm not a great Mediwizard, I'm just average."
"What you did at the Quidditch match didn't seem average to me." Albus said, smiling and elbowing him slightly. "See? My arm almost doesn't hurt anymore."
"Oh, you git. It shouldn't hurt at all! I'm good at composing bones!"
"Sure you are, Potter."
They wrestled for a second before calming down and just laughing it off. James was the first one to stop, and grinned at his brother.
"So, we'll see each other at Auror training, won't we? It shall be fun, competing in equal terms!"
"Well… about that…"
James stopped grinning at the seriousness at Albus' face.
"You're not the only one allowed to make sudden decisions, James. I am too entitled to my own craziness at times."
"Oh yes, sure, but you've never used that power." James joked, although he was expecting an explanation soon. Albus merely shrugged again. "Come on; don't have me hanging here…"
"Someone once told me that I had to do things for myself, and that I shouldn't let anyone decide my future for me…"
"You're starting to get annoyingly poetic, boy."
"… That person, as I'm learning, was right. He always was, in his weird ways. I mean, I always thought he hated me! But I guess I owe him a great deal, for he did many great things for me in the past. And, once again, he helped me greatly to get a step closer to becoming a better wizard and man…"
"Get to the point." James was starting to feel a little sentimental, and wasn't about to ruin the image his brother was professing of him with tears.
"You're right, James. I shouldn't be an Auror because everyone expects me to. I should be what I want to be because I want to."
"About time you understood it! So…?"
"St. Mungo's accepted my application to become a trainee for Healing, and said that with my outstanding grades, I could even get a foreign place to take me for a year to get a Mediwizard certification."
"Following onto your brother's footsteps then, huh?" James joked, slapping his brother lightly.
"It's more like opening up my own path."
"You do know you can count on me on every step though, right?" James asked in a more serious tone after he had congratulated the young man he had once called his baby brother. Albus was crawling into bed, but stopped to look thankfully at his brother. "I could even give you some lessons on Bulgarian if you ever needed them."
"I'll make sure to ask you."
"That's what brothers are for, aren't them? To help each other in understanding weird languages and the ways of Healing?"
"I'm sure it is, James."
They turned off the lights, and silence took over for a second, broken by the younger of the two.
"Dominique won her bet." He commented casually, and James made a sort of grunting positive response. "How did you know I was going to go into healing in the end?"
"It's just part of your nature, just like being out in the action is part of mine."
"... then why did you go into healing in the first place, instead of just going to the Auror Academy?"
"Well, I figured I could use a little Albus training in life."
Albus went to sleep with a smile on his lips that night.
Those words were all the proof he needed: his brother James actually somehow looked up to some of his qualities, and he was elated by that.
After years, he had won his older brother's approval. And at the same time, they had come to terms.
Years of constant fighting and bickering, and pranks and getting into each other's lives , and just messing around with each other's heads, it just came down to that: no matter what happened, he knew he would always have his brother by his side, and nothing would change that.
Wow… can't believe it. It's the end of this, people. It's been a long time since I started, and it's finally finished. Those ten chapters took me a while, but I hope it was worth it. Thanks for everyone who reviewed, favourited and put this story in their alert through these almost exactly 18 months. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did writing it: finishing a story is always rough, but I think I've coped well.
Who knows, I might even write a sequel some day. Or not?
Again, thanks to everyone! :)