|SIYE Time:13:35 on 17th August 2017|
Like Father, Like Son
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Story is Complete
Summary: Al knows things are changing as James is preparing to start at Hogwarts
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Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
So, in the wake of Identity Crisis, which was James story, I bring you this story, Al's story.
It was late August, and this trip couldn't be put off for too much longer. The Potter family went to Diagon Alley to get James' school things.
They decided to go early, hoping to avoid the crowds. Harry had taken the day off work, not wanting to miss this important milestone for his first-born. They stopped in at the Leaky Cauldron, and greeted Hannah Longbottom, and she served them all breakfast.
James was so excited, going on and on about getting a wand, and whether he'd get an owl or a toad. Basically, the same stuff he'd been going on about ever since he'd gotten his Hogwarts letter. Albus sighed, unsure how he felt about James leaving their home soon.
On one hand, he'd already felt James was slipping away from him further and further. Being only a year apart, the brothers were usually close, although they had quite different personalities. This last six months or so, James had gravitated towards their cousin Freddie, who was also starting at Hogwarts. Albus got the feeling that things would be different when James started at Hogwarts, like he was crossing over to a new path in life, and leaving Al behind.
On the other hand, he would now be the only son, and oldest child at home. He wondered how that would feel, and if it would make any difference.
“Come on, Al, hurry up. I want to go and get my wand,” said James, already finished his breakfast.
“All right,” said Al, scooping a huge pile of eggs on his spoon.
“No rush, Al,” smiled his dad.
Lily and Ginny returned from the bathroom. “Ready to go?” asked Ginny.
Al pushed his plate away. “I'm done,” he said.
“Let's go, Potters,” said James, already half way out the door.
Harry tapped his wand on the wall. It parted, and the shops came into view. “I want to look at the owls,” cried Lily, pointing.
“Harry, why don't you and James go to Ollivanders, while I take Lil to look at the owls. Al, want to come with us?” asked Ginny.
Al nodded. Harry nodded too. “All right. We'll meet outside Ollivander's, okay?”
Lily skipped ahead of Ginny and Albus. “All right, Al?” asked Ginny. “This time next year, we'll be shopping for you.”
Al smile faded. Did he really want to go to Hogwarts? Did he want to leave his home, his family? Lily would be by herself. What if he didn't even get a letter?
“Mum, look!” cried Lily, going off to look at the owls. Al followed slowly behind.
A soft hoot caught his attention. A small white snowy owl hooted and bobbed it's head. “Hello, little one,” said Al softly.
He went over to her cage. She seemed to get closer, rubbing her face against the bars. Al couldn't take his eyes off her, she was the prettiest owl Al had ever seen.
“Ooh, she's pretty. James might like her,” said Lily, from behind him.
Al scowled. He didn't want James to have her, but he knew there was no way he'd ever get her for himself. With regret, he walked away to look at other owls.
To his surprise, James and their dad came in. “Found my wand nearly straight away,” smirked James, twirling it. Sparks flew out the end.
“James, what did I say?” sighed Harry.
“Look Al, ten inches, holly, like Dad's, and with a dragon hair, like Mum's. Pretty cool, hey?”
Al nodded. He took the wand, getting a slight tingle in his hand as he held it. “Cool,” he smiled at James.
“Can I try?” asked Lily. James nodded, handing it to her. “Ooh, look,” said Lily, waving it around.
The doors to all animal cages opened. Some of the owls flew out. “Oops,” said Lily, handing the wand back to James.
Harry and Ginny sighed and waved their wands. The owls returned to their cages, and the doors shut.
“Nice one, Mum, Dad,” admired James. “Can't wait till I can help you out there.”
Harry and Ginny exchanged a smile.
A hoot nearby made them realise not all the owls had returned to their cage. “Look, it's the pretty white owl,”exclaimed Lily. “Come here, Princess Whitefeathers.”
Al scoffed. “That's a ridiculous name for an owl.”
The white owl hooted, and flew onto Al's shoulder. She nipped his ear gently, in agreement of her disregard for Lily's name choice.
“Al, where did that owl come from?” asked Harry, staring at the owl.
“I saw her earlier. Her cage is closed, so she couldn't get back in,” explained Al.
“She's so pretty, she reminds me of-oh, Harry,” said Ginny.
“I know,” said Harry, sadly. Memories of Hedwig still made him sad.
Al sighed, he hated it when his parents did that.
“Can we go,” nagged James, not at all interested in the owls.
“Let's go to WWW,” said Lily, excitedly.
“You need to get uniforms, James,” said Ginny.
She glanced back to see both Harry and Al looking at the owl. She gestured for James and Lily to go out, then went back to Harry and Al.
“We'll go get James' uniform, meet you there?” she asked.
Harry nodded, stroking the owl. Ginny patted him arm sympathetically and left.
“She really likes you, Dad,” smiled Al. Harry smiled back.
“I think she likes you more.” Al smiled at that.
“Wish it was my turn to go to Hogwarts, then I'd pick you for sure, girl,” crooned Al.
“I had an owl, just like her. She was my first real friend in the wizarding world, after I met Hagrid,” said Harry, softly. “Her name was Hedwig.”
“That's nice. If this was my owl, I'd call her Juno. It means 'regal, queenly'. I think it suits her, don't you?” asked Al.
The owl preened it's feathers. Both Potter's laughed. “She likes it, anyway,” said Harry, “but it's time for us to go.”
Al placed the owl back in her cage. “Bye Juno. I hope you get a good owner, who will love you. And I hope when it's my turn to go to Hogwarts, there's an owl that's extra special, just like you are.”
The owl hooted sadly as she watched Al and Harry move away.
They went out to the Alley, and crossed over over to Madame Malkins Robes for All Occasions. James was standing on a dais in the middle of the room.
Ginny turned to Harry. “Oh good, you're here. We're nearly done here, do you want to go next door to Flourish and Blott's and get a start on his book list. Lily wants to go too.”
“Sure. Come on, Lil. Al, want to come?” asked Harry, taking Lily's hand.
“No thanks, Dad,” said Al, still thinking about the owl.
Ginny put her hand on his shoulder, and nodded to Harry. “Go on, then. We'll meet you outside soon.” She handed Harry James' book list.
Al sat down and watched James get measured for his robes. James looked like he was enjoying himself. Al wondered if James would even miss him when he was at Hogwarts.
“I think he's going to be quite tall, like your brother, young William,” said Madame Malkin.
Ginny chuckled. “'Young William' has got three children of his own now, and is in his forties. His eldest has been at Hogwarts for a couple of years now. I think you're right, though. James does favour Bill in a few areas.”
“Not like this one, he's all his father,” said Madame Malkin, throwing an affectionate look at Al.
“Yes, he is,” smiled Ginny, proudly. “Now, I just wonder about leaving those pants the extra inch. What do you think?”
Al stopped listening as the two witches discussed hem length on James' pants. “Mum, I'm gonna wait outside for Dad and Lily.”
“Hmm, okay, yes,” nodded Ginny, to Madame Malkin.
Al thought she was talking to him, so he slipped outside.
There was always lots of people to watch in Diagon Alley. The older witches and wizards still liked to dress in the traditional wizard's robes. He saw a couple of kids come out of “The Owl Emporium', and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw they hadn't bought Juno.
He saw a group of wizards, older than he, scan the Alley. Spotting him, they hurried over. Al wondered what they were doing. Was something big going on in Diagon Alley? Should he go and get his Dad? He started to head to Flourish and Blott's when he realised he was surrounded by these men.
“Hey Albus, what are you doing in Diagon Alley today?” asked one of the men.
Al shrugged, he now knew these were reporters. “My brother James is getting his school supplies for Hogwarts.”
Al hated reporters, except for his Mum. She did a great job reporting on Quidditch matches, and the perks were great. Al and his siblings had seen all the teams play, and got tickets to the finals. They had been to Bulgaria too, for the World Cup. They had even stayed at the home of the legendary Seeker, Viktor Krum!
“What house will your brother be in, Albus?” asked another reporter.
Albus rolled his eyes. “He'll get Sorted like everyone else, when he gets there,” he sighed.
“I heard the Potter kids will be Sorted separately,” said a reporter.
Al shrugged. The reporters persisted. “How's things with your parents, Al? Your Dad works a lot as Head of the Auror department, and your Mum's away a lot for Quidditch. Is it true they're going to split?” asked another reporter.
Al stared in shock. “What? No, that's crazy. Why would you-”
“-just wait out here with Al, Mum. Al, what the-what's going on?” demanded James, as he saw his brother surrounded by strangers.
James took out his wand. “Get back, you lot. Al, come stand behind me,” shouted James, brandishing his wand. Sparks flew out. Photographers quickly captured it all.
“James, you'll get in trouble for doing under-age magic,” hissed Al. “You might get expelled, before you even get to Hogwarts.”
“Leave my brother alone,” cried James, ignoring Al.
The reporters ducked as he waved his wand again, and red sparks flew over them. “Do you always protect your brother, James? Is it because he can't do magic, is your brother a Squib?”
“Shut Up!” yelled James, holding his wand out in front of him.
Al tried to get out from behind James, but he was trapped against the wall.”It's the girl!” cried a reporter.
Lily found herself standing next to her brother's, surrounded by strangers. “Lily, have you ever done magic? What do you think of your parents separating? Will you miss your brother?”
Lily turned to look at her brothers, who looked as bewildered as she was.
“Al, show us your forehead. Do you have the same scar as your Dad? You look just like him. What's it like being the image of Harry Potter? What about you, James? Does Harry Potter love Al more because he looks like him? The public want to know.”
Lily stepped in front of James and Al. “Leave them alone,” she said, firmly, her teeth clenched.
Photos flashed, and Lily cringed. Al could feel himself getting mad. He had to protect James from getting in trouble, and Lily because, well, she was his little sister.
“Expelliarmus!” he cried, remembering hearing his Dad say it.
Next thing he knew, was that a dozen cameras and quills were coming towards him, James and Lily.
“Duck!” cried Al, and they all crouched down.
The cameras and Quick-Quotes Quills smashed into the wall behind them.
“What the hell is going on?” asked Harry, coming out of Flourish and Blott's.
“Get away from my children,” cried Ginny, coming out of Madame Malkins.
The reporters nervously didn't know where to look first. They could feel Harry's anger, his magic coursed through him, and they all knew Ginny Potter's reputation. She was a hex-first, ask questions later, witch.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves, accosting our children. We are on an outing, like normal people, getting our son's school supplies. I don't see how that is considered newsworthy,” said a stony faced Harry.
“The public want to know everything about your family, Harry,” said one reporter.
Harry sighed. “We are a normal family. You have no right to confront my children like this, forcing them to defend themselves. I will be taking this further, you can be assured of that.”
“Your son did wandless magic. Have you been training him?” asked another reporter.
“That's enough. We're leaving,” said Ginny. She grabbed the parcels from Harry, and he picked Lily up. He walked behind Ginny, and Lily stuck her tongue out at the reporters, who chuckled.
Harry put his arm around Al's shoulders. “You okay?” he asked quietly.
Behind them, James kept his wand out, daring any reporter to come closer. He then put it in his pocket, and ran to catch up with his family.
Harry turned to wait for him. Lily wriggled to get down. James caught up with them, and even walked ahead a bit. “Dad, you wouldn't believe what those reporters asked about you and Mum.”
Lily saw the wand sticking out of James' back pocket. She knicked it out, and turned. The reporters had followed them, but at a distance.
She waved the wand, hearing in her head her Mum's favourite spell for gits. Her uncles George and Ron were usually the ones her Mum used it on, and once on her Dad. She pointed the wand at the group of reporters.
“Aaahhhh!!” cried several reporters. Lily quickly slipped the wand back into James' pocket.
Harry and Ginny stopped at the sound of the reporters cries. They turned to see them covered in Bat-Bogeys.
“Don't see that everyday, do you,” said Lily.
Her family stared at her in disbelief. “What?” she asked, striding past them. “Are we going home, or not?”
Al smiled a special smile at his sister. James simply shrugged and followed his siblings. Harry and Ginny looked at each other, smiling.
Later, after James had examined all his new school supplies with Al for the tenth time, Lily knocked and went into his bedroom.
“So that was weird today, huh?” she asked.
James and Al nodded, they had been talking about it since they got home.
“I hate it. The attention, the questions,” said Al.
“It's because of Dad, and what happened to him. Mum too, because she's a Quidditch champion,” explained James.
“I know, but why do they have to be so loud and pushy?” asked Al.
“Why did they say those things about Mum and Dad?” asked Lily, confused. “Why do they want to know boring things, like if we're buying school supplies, or not?”
“Maybe we should go and talk to Mum and Dad?” asked Al.
They all got up and went downstairs to find their parents. They were sitting on the couch, talking quietly. Harry had his arm around Ginny, as he whispered in her ear, and she let out a little giggle.
“So I guess that means we can tell that reporter you two are defintely not splitting up,” teased James loudly, as they came into the lounge.
“What?” asked Harry, looking at his children. Ginny pulled away a bit, and rested her hand on Harry's thigh.
“Who said that?” she asked, angrily.
Al shrugged. “One of the reporters. He said that with Mum away a lot reporting on Quidditch, and Dad's so busy as Head of the Aurors, you two are splitting up.”
“For the love of Merlin, I'm making a formal complaint first thing tomorrow,” said Ginny.
Harry squeezed her shoulders in support. “You guys actually handled yourselves really well today. I wish I could tell you it'll get easier, but it will probably get harder, and more often, as you get older.”
“Why do they want to know dumb stuff for, Dad?” asked Al.
“I don't know, son. It's actually worse in the Muggle world, if you are a celebrity, or someone well known. They are more intrusive, due to the technology they have.”
Harry and Ginny's children had been brought up to embrace their Muggle heritage. Grandpa Arthur was a staunch Muggle supporter, and they only had to look at Aunt Hermione, and see the changes she'd implemented in the wizarding world, to know that being Muggleborn didn't mean she was inferior.
“Your Dad and I are very proud that you banded together, and watched out for each other. James, I understand why you felt the need to brandish your wand around, but it needs to be kept away, until you get to Hogwarts. Then you'll start to learn how to use it properly,” said Ginny, firmly.
“Yes Mum,” sighed James. “I'm going upstairs to polish it, is that all right?” Ginny nodded.
“As for you, young lady,” said Harry, sternly, looking at Lily.
“Yes, Daddy,” said Lily, meekly. She climbed into his lap, and cuddled into him.
He sighed, running his hand over her head. “You reminded me so much of your Mum today. Do you know she did the same thing to me, standing in front of me, to protect me from Draco Malfoy in Flourish and Blott's.”
Lily screwed up her nose. “Who's Draco Malfoy? Sounds like a real prat.”
Harry laughed and kissed her cheek. “Go on now, upstairs and ready for bed.”
Lily smiled and kissed his cheek. “Night, Daddy.” she leaned over to hug Ginny. “Night Mum. Come to tuck me in later?”
Ginny nodded, hugging her daughter. “Sure, Lily-Loo. Be up soon. We'll talk about that hex then.”
Lily bowed her head and nodded. She chanced another look at her dad, and he winked at her. She grinned and went upstairs.
Harry and Ginny smiled at each other, then turned to face Al. He sighed loudly.
“Am I in trouble?”
Harry shook his head. “Wandless magic, hey?”
Al shrugged. “Guess I'm not a Squib after all.”
“Al, what are you talking about? You've done magic loads of times.” cried Ginny.
“I have?” asked Al.
“Remember when we got your hair cut, and you didn't like it, thought it was too short, then the next day it had grown back. Or the time you were looking for your toy train and you levitated it down from the top of the kitchen cupboards,” said Ginny.
“Oh yeah,” said Al.
“You're a powerful wizard, Al. What you did today proves it. Not everyone can do wandless magic, you know,” said Harry.
“I was worried I wouldn't go to Hogwarts. I was worried that James would forget about me when he went. I'm worried that I'm not as good as you, Dad, when everyone expects me to be just like you.”
“Oh, Al. You're not your Dad's clone. You're an individual. You're you. We just want you to be the best you you can be,” said Ginny.
“I'm trying, but I just don't know who I am,” said Al, confusedly.
“That will come with time, son. You're only ten, well, in a few days. Things will fall into place at the right time,” said Harry, patiently.
“I guess,” shrugged Al.
“Just enjoy this time, Al. I've got lots of things planned for us to do, once James is off to Hogwarts,” smiled Ginny.
“Like what?” asked Al.
“Well, there's a Muggle circus coming to London in September. Maybe we can see if Rose and Hugo want to join us. You have a birthday soon. There'll be days at the Burrow, days at Shell Cottage, I know you like that.,” said Ginny.
Al nodded eagerly.
“What?” asked Al.
“Maybe we'll take a trip to Romania, go visit Uncle Charlie,” said Ginny.
“Seriously?” asked Al, delighted.
“If your Dad can get the time off,” said Ginny, with a look at Harry. He shrugged, but winked at Al.
“Now, this is between us, don't mention it to James. He's having his big moment when he leaves next week. You can write him about it after.”
“Okay,” said Al, happily.
“I'm going to go and check on Lil,” said Ginny, getting up. She ruffled Al's hair as she went past him, and he shrugged her off. She then did the same to Harry, as she went around to the back of the couch. Like Al, he shrugged her off.
Al heard his mother laugh. “Like father, like son,” she called.
Al smiled, then stopped when he realised his dad was watching him, pensively. “What?”
Harry sighed, and patted the couch beside him, where Ginny had just departed. “I wish I could say it was going to be easy for you, Al, but it's not. People's expectations of you will be high. It's not fair, and you will find it frustrating. I get that.”
Al nodded, not sure what his dad was trying to say. “I'm sure we'll have this conversation again, especially before you go to Hogwarts. I guess what I'm trying to say is just be you, Al. Your Mum and I, James and Lil, we love you. Unconditionally. Whether you end up as Minister for Magic, or emptying the trash cans in Diagon Alley. If it's what you want to do, then we'll support you. We just want you to be happy.”
Al let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. “Okay,” he said, feeling relieved.
“Surround yourself with good people, Al. You've got a good start, with the amount of cousins you've got. I was really proud of how you stood up and protected your brother and sister today,” said Harry.
Al shrugged. “I didn't want James to get in trouble for using his wand, and Lil, well she's just a little girl.”
“Size is no guarantee of power, Al. Remember that. Never under-estimate someone because of their sex, their size or their blood status,” said Harry, sternly.
Harry's face relaxed. “Go on, upstairs. I'm sure James will want to discuss his school things with you again.”
Al got up to go, then stopped and hugged his dad. “Love you, Dad.”
“I love you too, son.”
On the last day of August, the Potters celebrated Al's birthday, and the last day James, Freddie and Victoire would be home till Christmas. They'd spent the morning and afternoon at the Burrow with the whole family, to celebrate both occasions. Now they were at their family home.
Ginny had cooked a delicious roast, and dished up ice-cream for dessert.
“James, are you sure you're all packed?” asked Ginny, for the tenth time.
“Yes, Mum. I'll bring my bags down after tea,” sighed James.
“Harry, do you really have to go back to work after we see James off?” asked Ginny.
“Yeah, sorry love, there's a court case I need to prepare for,” said Harry.
“Mummy, can I go play with Lucy and Molly tomorrow after lunch?” asked Lily.
“I'll fire-call Aunt Audrey after tea,” said Ginny.
Al looked around his family. Tonight was the end of a special time for then. “I'm gonna miss you, James,” he said.
James looked stunned, then smiled. “Me too, Al. I'll write you heaps, promise. Let you know what to expect next year.”
Al smiled and shook his head. “Nah, that's okay. I'd rather be surprised. Think I'll go have a shower.”
Harry and Ginny exchanged a look. Lily looked like she was going to cry. “I don't want you to go, Jamie.”
James sighed, and went to Lily, hugging her. He shrugged his head at his parents,like a, 'Sisters, what are you gonna do?' kind of look.
“Come on, Lil, you can help me pack,” said James, taking Lily's hand.
“You said you'd already packed,” cried Ginny.
James looked over his shoulder and shrugged, giving his mum a wry smile. Ginny sighed, shaking her head. She couldn't resist her son when he smiled that special smile of his.
“Your son...” she said, smiling at Harry.
“Knows how to wind his mother up,” said Harry. He pulled her onto his lap, kissing her. “What do you think? Shall we...?” Ginny nodded.
Harry and Ginny went upstairs. They knocked on James door, and he opened it. Lily was sitting on his bed, and there were clothes strewn all over the room.
“James, what the-”
Harry grabbed Ginny's arm. “Not now, love. Kids, time for Al's present. Then James, we'll come back and pack your bags.”
Harry, Ginny, James and Lily went to Al's bedroom, and knocked on the door. He opened it, and looked at them all in surprise. “What's going on?” he asked, suspiciously.
“Happy Birthday Al,” cried his family.
They crowded into his room, and Harry handed over a large package. “For me?” asked Al.
“Open it, quick, before she-”began Lily
“Hoo, hoo,” cried the package.
Al looked at his mum and dad. “No way,” he cried.
He took care opening the package, not wanting to scare what he hoped was in there.
“Juno!” he cried.
“Hoo, hoo,” hooted the little owl.
“Let her out,” cried Lily, excitedly.
Juno flew around the room, then landed on Al's shoulder. “Hoot,” she hooted, rubbing her head against Al's cheek.
“You were right. It was the perfect present,” said Ginny to Harry softly. He nodded happily.
“This is the best present ever,” cried Al. “Thanks, Mum, Dad, James, Lil.”
“Hoo,” agreed the little owl, glad to be reunited with her human.
“Now James, about your packing,” said Ginny, taking James by the arm.
“Aw Mum, I'll do it in the morning,” said James, turning and winking to Al and Harry.
Harry chuckled as he Ginny dragged James down the hall. Lily smiled and patted Juno. “This should be fun, I'm going to watch. Happy Birthday Al.”
Harry watched Al stroke Juno's feathers softly. “Sometimes, if we're lucky, an animal becomes more than a pet. I have a feeling it will be like that with you and Juno.”
Al smiled at Harry. “I can't believe you got her for me.”
Harry shrugged. “She was meant to be yours, Al. It also means a lot of responsibility. Tomorrow we'll show you how to clean her cage. Your Mum has owl treats and some owl food for her, but she'll need to be let out to hunt. Snowy owls are really smart and loyal. You've chosen well.”
“Hoo,” said Juno.
“I think she chose me, Dad. I promise I'll look after her. Thank you. I mean it, it's the best present ever.”
Ginny stood in the door way, watching as Harry and Al petted the Snowy owl. She remembered Hedwig, such a smart, devoted owl. Ginny knew it had taken Harry a long time to get over losing her, and he had never gotten close to any of the owls they'd used since. As she watched them both, she wondered if Juno might help to heal a part of Harry, as well as bring a special friendship to Al.
'Like father, like son', she thought, smiling.
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