Al S. Potter Is a Sappy Git

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This pairing was discovered by me, so please gimme a little mention if you write them! Thanks! It is one of many of Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings, most of which you may find in the M&MWP forum. Check out and join the forum FUN! This fic is a Christmas present for my good pal, I promise you that. Though her love for fem!Harry/Sirius is strong, I know she'll read other HariPo pairings if I write them… ;] For everyone else: read, review, and enjoy! *Note: The prompt of a bad habit came from xXKissingSinXx's "100 Prompts" challenge in the HPFC; it's one of my fav chals since it's so helpful! :]

hoHOhoHOho

"Let's do a Secret Santa thing this Christmas!"

It had been Aunt Hermione's brilliant idea to announce this at the last family meal, and Albus hadn't been the only one to give her a strange look. Next to him, Cousin Rose coughed. "Um…Mum? You don't really mean…?"

"Well, why not?" Hermione retorted. "Our family's huge. With almost all of you lot out of school—"—and she pointed to Rose, Al, and Dominique—"—and the rest set to expand the family even more, it's getting harder and harder to shop for everyone. There's simply no money for it."

Al opened his mouth to say something, but he caught his father's eye and shut up when Harry shook his head. It was wise to listen to him; Harry had had a few decades of listening to this kind of "logic" from one of his best mates.

It had been a relief to leave that dinner after and return to the apartment that he shared with his own best mate, Scorpius. Al told Scor about Hermione's idea, and Scor gave him a sympathetic look.

"That's, um, unique. Did you guys draw names after?"

"Unfortunately," Al said. He withdrew a slip of paper from his pants pocket and passed it to Scor, looking unsure.

"So you got…oh, your grandmum. That's not bad."

"Wrong Molly."

Scorpius glanced at the paper again and realized his thumb had covered the "II" after the first name. "…oh."

"Oh, indeed." Al flopped on the couch in their tiny living/dining room and stared at the ceiling. "What am I gonna do?"

The Malfoy heir passed the note back to him and removed the towel from around his neck and finished drying his hair. "It's not as though Mols knows how you feel about her. Heck, not even Rosie knows, and she's fairly bright."

Albus ignored Scorpius' words, because he'd heard them all before. Scorpius was the only person who knew that Al fancied Molly more than he should. It somewhat bothered Al, that—what with James being married to an older man and Lily having convinced Teddy to wait for her—his own love couldn't be normal. Holy mother of Merlin, what would his mother say if she knew the things running around in his head about his cousin?

Better yet, what on earth would Mols say?

"Whether you like it or not, you still have to get her a gift," Scorpius said, interrupting Albus' brooding.

"Yeah…I know…" And I don't think wrapping up my feelings for her as a present counts, he thought glumly.

hoHOhoHOho

The following week at the Ministry, he and Scorpius managed to catch an early lunch break during Auror training. The boys went to the cafeteria for a bite, and Scorpius stopped short in line, leading Al to crash into his back.

"What was that for, you git?" Al bickered.

Scor pointed. "Look, there's Molly. Go say something to her. See if you can come up with anything to get for her."

Albus followed to where he was pointing and felt his heart do a funny little leap. Yes, there was Molly, talking with someone on her Obliviator Squad. She was casually dressed in slacks, a shirt, a denim jacket, and a thin scarf, and she had her curly brown bob pinned up on the sides like usual. But with her glasses pushed up the bridge of her nose like that…she was all business. Then she laughed at her companion's remark, and the sight of her smile made Al smile.

"You've got it bad," Scorpius snickered in front of him—until Al poked him hard in the side with his wand.

As it turned out, lunch left them without time for Al even to say hi to her, but after some heckling on Scorpius' part, Al did drag his feet and mosey on over to Molly's work area to wait for her shift to end. She bumped into him on her way out.

"Al? What are you still doing here?"

"Oh, uh…just saying hello."

She gave him a slight look. "I saw you last week at family dinner, Al."

He froze, hating that he sounded like such an idiot. "Oh, well…yes, of course." He fidgeted. "Well, it's been a while since we've spent any time together. Can I walk you home?"

"What did I tell you, Al? You have the capability, not the permission."

"May I walk you home?" he corrected, though he was grinning at her chastising ways.

Molly smirked. "Sure thing."

That was good and all, but the Apparition from outside the Ministry to Molly's neighborhood happened too quickly for Al's taste, and it was only then in the short walk to her flat's door that they exchanged any words.

"You and James getting along better?" she inquired.

Al scratched his head. "I suppose." She understood best that he and James had been closer when they were younger but had grown apart. She also was the one who understood why Al tended to like following the rules; Molly herself was all about rules. She also—Al shook his head when she wasn't looking. Molly was frankly everything to him because she knew him and understood him best. And three years hadn't changed that at all until she left Hogwarts and began working for the Ministry.

But now she was standing in the doorway to her flat, inviting him in for a cuppa, her eyes relaxed and not businesslike behind those frames. He couldn't help drinking in the sight of her.

Then something caught his eye. "Wait a sec—that scarf…"

Molly held up one end after she hung up her cloak. "This tattered old thing? Yeah, it's one from my ever-growing collection."

"You got that the first year Gryffindor won the House Cup when we were at school," Al said, observing the burgundy color.

Molly gaped at him. "You actually remember that? Wow, Al, that's amazing. I mean, you were only a second year then."

He tried shrugging it off, though her bad habit was coming back to him clearer and clearer. "I do remember it. I also remember the white one you treated yourself to that same year after your O.W.L.s—even though you didn't have the grades in hand yet," he teased.

Molly stuck her tongue out at him; to anyone else in their family, Molly being playful was an alien sight. Albus was the only one who'd been allowed to see her like this. "Brat. I recall someone saving up his allowance one year to treat his favorite cousin to the nicest scarf around when she finally did get her grades—all 'Exceeds Expectations,' I should point out."

"Pointed," he agreed. He laughed as he looked around her apartment…and saw the scarves draped all over the place. Wow. She was like a cat lady, minus the cats. But…Al… He liked cats. And scarves.

"Oh, no…," he heard from the kitchen. When he entered, he saw Molly partially had removed her scarf. It was hooked on a drawer handle and fraying.

"What happened?" Al asked.

"These bloody drawers and cabinets will be the death of me," she griped. "Just last week, I bumped my head on a cabinet door that refused to stay shut." She backed away slowly from the door and removed the snag from her accessory. "And every time I go to fix any of these things with magic, I forget to do—" She bit her tongue as she bumped into a cabinet, again.

Al stifled a chuckle as he came to her aid and tugged her by the hand out of the kitchen. "All right, then, let's get you away from all the dangerous stuff…" He sat in the lone chair in her living room and pulled her onto his lap without even thinking about it.

Molly's cheeks reddened. "Um, Al…"

Al thought it was adorable that serious Mols could look so sheepish, but he didn't let her finish her sentence. "How hard did you hit your head?" He ducked her head down and gingerly touched her hair, feeling a bump. "Oh, that's gotta sting."

She winced. "Yeah, it does…"

A long pause passed before Al said, "Let me get some ice—Mols?"

Molly was resting her head on her shoulder, breathing evenly. "Uh, Al—instead, just give me a second, will you?"

The Potter said nothing, but he also didn't get his hopes up. For after all these years of looking up to Molly and being led by her, maybe it was his turn simply to be a rock for her.

hoHOhoHOho

When Christmas arrived, Hermione was not happy.

"How many of you actually took care of your Secret Santas?"

Scorpius, who had been invited by Al and Rose, snickered off to Al's left. "Well, from the little you told me, you actually did take care of your, ahem, Secret Santa," he teased in undertones, as Al had recounted that night with Molly to him.

Al replied with an elbow to Scor's ribcage. That earned Al a glare from Rose.

"I'm sorry, Aunt Hermione," Dominique offered. "I'm afraid I forgot while I was out with Lysander."

"And watching after George is a full-time thing," Angelina informed her sister-in-law.

"And I only just found out!" Charlie complained. He'd come all the way from Romania with his longtime girlfriend and friend of Ginny, Miraphina, and the two of them had a couple of bags full of little, inexpensive souvenirs meant for everyone. Miraphina looked equally put out.

Hermione looked at the Potters, and Ginny, Lily, and Harry held up little bags, a single present each. Since James was running late, the attention fell on Al. He was scared of that dragon look on his aunt's face (he now understood why Uncle Ron refused to argue with her much anymore) and held up his bag in defense. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief then. "Well…we can still make this work."

As the family was finally released from Hermione's talons to mingle, Grandmam and Grandpa Weasley exchanged a look. Al could've sworn he heard Grandmam Weasley say "How on earth did any of us agree to Hermione's idea?" to Grandpa Weasley, who most certainly shrugged.

Al tried facing Mols to give her the gift, but as the night went on and she never seemed to be on her own, he gave up and placed the bag by her feet when she was sitting in the lounge. He and Scorpius grabbed their coats and hats at the door when the late hour arrived, and Rose kissed them both goodbye on the cheek before returning to a discussion with Dominique, Roxanne, and Hugo.

"You didn't say a word to her, did you?" Scorpius rebuked as they headed out to door.

Al shook it off. "There weren't any good chances. I couldn't figure out what to say. …she doesn't need me getting all emotional on her."

Scorpius raised his eyebrows. "You know…you may be the daftest person I know, mate."

"Hey!"

The blonde glanced behind him. "And…I think I'll head on home right away. I'm gonna stop by Florean's. You do want some ice cream to end the night, right?"

"Sure, just nothing with nuts, please, they were stuck in my teeth last time—"

"I thought I was the only one in the family who didn't like all the toppings on sundaes," a familiar, feminine voice announced behind Albus.

He turned, and suddenly he understood the reason for Scor's abrupt departure. Molly looked at him, her lenses foggy and her dark hair dusted in the freshly falling snow. "Ah," Al squeaked.

She stared at him. "Everything all right, Al?"

"Ah…yeah, yeah."

"Good. Thank you, by the way, for the lovely gift." She smiled and held up the ends of a new scarf wrapped around her pale white neck in shades of red, green, gray, and silver. "It's beautiful."

"How'd you—"

Molly, for the first time in her life, rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Al. The only one who could ever understand my little obsession is standing right before me."

Al…forced a smile. Go figure. Scorpius was right; Molly didn't see their love as anything but platonic, and she never would. But as long as Al could feel the same way…maybe it would be all right. He stepped forward, pecked her cheek, and hugged her. "Happy Christmas, Mols."

She pushed him back and said, "Happy Christmas, Al." And after a second of meeting their eyes, sepia meeting emerald, she looped one end of her new long, thin scarf around his neck and dragged him back to her, snogging him as only a lover would. He was stunned to say the least, and she laughed at the dumbfounded expression on his face when their eyes next met.

"Ah—buh—dah—whuh—"

"Well, who else in or out of this family is mental enough to love my quirks?" Molly chuckled and drew him down for another kiss. After, she tugged on his hand so they could walk in the snow, enjoying Christmas in their own way.

What sappy Al never found out (and had forgotten to ask about) was that Molly had been his Secret Santa, too. She'd just decided to be cheap and gift her feelings to him, instead.

hoHOhoHOho

-w- This…is cute. Too cute. I love the bit of Scorrose, the hint of my very fav James slash pairing (no, not with Teddy, but cookies if you do know who James' older man is), the cameo of my OC Mira, and the adorable interactions of Al and Mols! I honestly think that only timid Albus can bring out this bubbly, pleasant side in Mols… Let's not ruin the moment by considering their relation. ;P

Merry Christmas, Liz—a Molbus, just for you! -w-

For everyone else: review, thanks, and Happy Christmas!

-mew-tsubaki B]