Valebis

Grief be mine, I ask you so

Harry

(Dec, 20th 2020)

There is much said about heartache.

I only wish at times that it also said that heartache could kill you.

Because then I would have the guarantee that this tragedy would kill me, eventually.

But death is the one thing that has always eluded me.

But never those whom I loved.

Never those who I needed more than breathing.

She grows frailer every single day.

My little angel, my only daughter.

It is not possible for her grow frailer or healthier in the state that she is in, but it feels so.

Like every day that passes by is a loss.

Even if her condition remains unchanged.

This is my worst nightmare. And I know that by the end of it, I will not be coming out unscathed.

I wish for a miracle every day. I have had plenty of them in my time. I want just one more and then I shall wish for nothing more.

I would happily forfeit my own life in exchange of hers if someone half asks for it.

I never thought I could be more broken than I was.

They always say, never say never.

No one has any answers. They poked her, pinned he, prodded her, but they have no answers.

It is not a potion.

It is not a curse.

They are unable to detect the source of it.

And now, the best of them says, that it is as if her natural born magic is the culprit.

I pleaded with them to take it away. We would love our child just the same provide her with the best life possible still.

But they say it is impossible as something else guards it inside her, and connects it to her very life force.

My Lily.

My sunshine.

I am losing her.

And it is unbearable.

We should never have named her Lily.

We should never have had her, we could have saved her all this pain.

But she had come most unexpectedly. In direst of times when our home was on the verge of breaking.

And we had taken her as a sign. I had taken her as a sign. To mend it all back. To finally clamp down on the feeling of not belonging. To give our family a chance.

Lily. My beautiful Lily!

You will turn my heart to stone child. Just hang in there.

Tears. Tears wash our hands, her small frail one clasped securely in mine. It was this hand when it was even smaller that had connected me back to everything. That had stopped me from floating away. That had tethered me back to it all.

"Dad?"

I am pulled out of my heart bursting grief by the voice of my son.

My other tether.

Albus.

I quickly wipe away my tears. I am needed to be strong. Albus is so positive, to see me like this would break his heart. James, may not show any love towards me, but to see me like this will affect him even more than it would Albus. I know we will never get along, but we will love each other more than anything always.

"Yeah?" I answer, keeping my back towards him.

I hear the door close as he enters.

"I thought you were going to stay home for the lunch hour…" he says his firm hand finally clasping on my shoulder.

"I wasn't very hungry, and I wanted to see Lily before I went back to work."

"Never mind, I bought some Shepherd's Pie from Gobblers, and alongside I bring some good news."

He pulls a chair in front of me and another between us before settling the paper bag on it, carefully bringing out the forks, a small container of what looks like chili-bean gravy and a hot container of one of the best Shepherd's pies in London.

Albus, always so careful about the details. So precocious. So well-mannered… So Slytherin.

It might have been a surprise for everyone when he was sorted into the house everybody loved to hate, but it was not a surprise to me.

Albus is brilliant, Albus is ambitious, curious, with a healthy dosage of pride and protectiveness, But I think it was the Calculative part of his personality that must have tipped the hat in the Slytherin direction.

A Potter in Slytherin. It had been an outrage. And then Albus, with all his charm had turned it into the most natural thing for anyone to accept. He knows very well how to manipulate people's affections. He knows very well how to get what he wants. He is a strong child.

Not a child anymore though.

He has all the things a snake is supposed to have.

And where it could have gone wrong, his mother and I had done all we could to keep things positive for him.

By the time Albus had graduated from Hogwarts. Slytherin had been back on the popularity map.

Whereas James, the epitome of Gryffindorism, had gone along the lines most Slytherins went back in our days. Complete with minions and a superiority complex. A star Quidditch player, head boy, so on and so forth. Brawny and temperamental.

All my children. So different but bonded so closely together.

Albus' way of coping with Lily's illness has been to aggressively look for a cure. Stay always at hand. Take a year break from his apprenticeship to be a constant presence at his sister's and family's side.

James way has been of staying away as far as possible. The two times he has been to see Lily in past 2 months, did not go very well, and he had ended up cutting short his break from the League Quidditch and going back to Belgium after just staying one night.

Ginny blames me. Of course she does. And as from the very beginning of our marriage. James has been and still remains a sore spot between us.

I believe she spoils him too much. Which she does.

And she believes I am too hard on him. Which I am.

But only because she is always too soft.

"I got a reply from the healer I told you about… The one in Turkey?"

Albus nudges me to start eating. Always worrying, always watching.

That is indeed good news. Any sliver of a chance, even something different at this point is a good news.

But if I remember correctly, Albus had told me that it might take at least a month to contact the… Monk healer I think it was. It was most probably a refusal if the reply had come so quickly. But Albus did say 'good news'

"That was quick. What did he have to say?"

He smiles a genuine smile. It always reminds me of Fred for some reason and I can never help smiling back.

"It was his assistant or some such person, they said that he is interested in coming to see Lily as soon as possible, but on the condition that you, her father and legal guardian talk to the Ustad over the phone and ask him personally and invite him to UK. You have to make the phone call between five and seven 'o'clock today, not before, not after, he was very specific about this and I personally think brilliant wizards, healer and monks should be indulged in their eccentricities… So you will not mess this up."

"Okay! Alright!" I raise my hands up in surrender. He must have seen skepticism on my face hence the threat. "I'll make the call, and the request, though once he is here, you are responsible."

"Goes without saying Dad… We should be ready for all eventualities. He might want to move Lily from here. I have read from his case files that he likes to create a specific environment for his healing and all, so in case it is needed, I was thinking of popping in at the townhouse and making some arrangements?"

The sparkle in his eyes can make me agree to anything. I live to see this sparkle in my children's eyes. It is all there is to me. And I have not seen it in Albus' eyes for months. I would agree to a death sentence under the daze of that sparkle. Not that I would ever let them know that. All three of them would walk all over me. Lily can be specially devious with advantages like that.

The thought alone rips my heart apart. It is a heavy day today, but it is starting to look up.

I nod at my awaiting son.

"Brilliant. So, please be home by five on all costs dad! You have to phone him between five and seven and I want to be there when you do."

He chatters all through the meal. Talking about the possibility that the Healer monk might have seen something in the reports Albus had dispatched him alongside his letter for the reply to come so quickly and positive. He is full of hopes and dreams. Spouting off medical jargon, half of which even I understand by now, being a permanent fixture at 's for so long and talking to more healers with more complicated explanations of what my daughter might and should be suffering from but never was.

We have not had hope like this for a while.

And though my heart is reluctant of the fall that seems so far eventual, I cannot help but hope.

So I smile and agree. Until it is time for me to go and check on my other obligations.

He embraces me as I make my way to the door. Eyes filled with un-shed tears, eyes, so much like my mother's Eyes so much like my Lily's.

"I really have a very good feeling about this! He has worked miracles before dad, it is why he stays so secretive, otherwise people would tear him apart to get at him. I really feel as if this is the right way… I really believe that if anyone can heal Lily, it is Beyazlamak."

I feel like exploding with the melancholy I feel for my situation and pride I feel for my son, mixing all together in this moment. And I admit that in this moment I too feel like at being at the precipice of a break-through. I need that Potter luck now. Desperately.

"I know… I have to go…"

"Yes yes, Magical Britain won't stand for a minute longer if you are not there to put the fresh toothpicks under it. But please be home around five, I have asked mum to come here then so I'll meet you at home."

"I am very proud of you my little snake." I take my leave.


"Victoria…" I solemnly greet my secretary as I make way to my office, noticing the waiting memos suspended in front of my door.

"Harry dear, did you have a nice lunch?" she asks standing up primly, a benevolent smile on her face. It is as if she can tell that I did have Lunch. The smile is indicative of that. The prim, stern expression means she knows that I haven't eaten anything.

So it is a smile today. Thank you Albus.

"Yes, Albus got me some Shepherd's pie, anything important?"

"Not as such, apart from a few more owls from Parkinson. She wants to meet and discuss the enforcement of the new Centaur decree passed in yesterday's session, I have owled her back on your behalf with a meeting date in March." The mischief in her eyes is not very well-concealed.

The old Battle-axe.

Pansy Parkinson is the new Dolores Umbridge of the ministry of magic and the bane of my existence. It has been two years that I have been the head of Magical Law Enforcement Department and she has done nothing but question my "mild" law enforcing methods. It has gotten to the point that even the Minister of Magic has asked his office to placate her requests for meetings.

And we are talking about Percy Weasley, who lives for the sake of meetings.

"I don't think any display of gratitude that I can offer you my lady will be sufficient for the kindness you have shown me! I am forever in your debt."

"Oh you charmer you! Get your pert arse into your office unless you have another favor to ask of me." she says, eyes sparkling even more.

"I do actually. Can you get Carlotta to run a silent inquiry for me? There is a Healer Monk somewhere in Turkey, goes by the name of Ustad Beyazlamak, can you ask her to get all information she can on him and deliver it to my office in the next hour or so?"

"Master Silver?" she says confused.

"Pardon?"

"Ustad Beyazlamak is Turkish for Master Silver, or rather become white.."

"Become white?"

"That is what Beyazlamak means, in Turkish."

"To become white?"

"That is what I said."

"That is a strange name, stranger yet that you know it's meaning."

"I lived the first fifteen years of my married life in Istanbul you know, I did pick up the language."

"So… the names like Ustad Beyazlamak are common in Turkey?"

"No, names like Ustad Beyazlamak are not, but titles are. They like to give titles to important people. For example, their revolutionary leader is Ataturk. Ataturk is not a name but an honorary title, which means Father of Turks. His real name was Mostapha Kamal, if this healer Monk is called by a title in such a casual way, it must mean he has done something heroic. Turks don't bestow titles on just anyone. They are very serious with that sort of thing. And if a monk is referred to by his title rather than his name, that means the highest honor possible is given to the said Monk."

"I see, so this Monk Healer must have done something good to get a title like… Silver? Whiten? Lighten?" this is reassuring. If he is that well-reputed, it could only be good. Albus had not gone into any details only mentioned it in passing since he was not sure if his request would even be considered for some reason. So I have not paid much attention then.

"Well, it is not the Whiten, lighten, silver part of the title really, it is the Ustad part that means it is a title given out of respect."

"That is as good as a testimonial you could get yes?"

"I should suppose so…" she says behind me as I finally make my way into my office. Memo planes following.

It all means less and less to me every passing day.

My job, the law, position, reputation, magic.

And I cannot hide behind my daughter's ailment in admittance of this fact.

It had started long before that. This feeling of despair. Melancholy.

Dissatisfaction.

This… non-pain that at times just skirts around the edges of my consciousness. It has taken years for me even diagnose it as such.

I often wonder if everyone feels this as acutely as I do. And so often.

I don't feel old, but I feel worn.

I love my family, I love my home, I even love my wife in some form still, though we are more of house-mates than spouses now, when she does allow me to stay which is often since Lily's sickness. It does not hurt as much as it should. The fact that she refused the divorce, just because she was comfortable with the security and privilege of being the wife of… Harry Potter.

I cannot blame her. I do not blame her. The blame is all mine. I should have not married her in the first place.

I had started to feel this strange despair for the first time when it had only been one month to our engagement, and it only grew.

The moment I had finished the grace period as an Auror I had pushed for marriage. Just to fill the bottomless pit inside me. I felt that marriage could fill it. I was so sure marriage would fill it. So at the age of barely Nineteen, I was standing at the alter and watching my bride walk down the aisle.

And in that second. I had recognized the wrongness of it. I had known then and there that it was not going to do anything for the emptiness. I could not feel the happiness, the joy, the love. Where had it gone? Was it ever there?

Sex filled it for short intervals. That was the only reprieve. And Ginny found me an enthusiastic lover. James came barely ten months after the wedding and Albus followed exactly a year after James.

Children filled it for a slightly longer period. I felt the happiness of a particular kind. It worked for the longest while. Until Aidan Montgomery.

I saw him on a lunch break in a muggle restaurant.

Tall, pale, blond, beautiful and refined Aidan Montgomery.

He was breath-taking.

The sexual attraction that I felt towards him was too strong to ignore. And before I knew I was crawling out of his king-size bed and healing and concealing the love-bites in his posh bathroom.

It was a whip-lash affair. I had thought that Aidan was a Muggle, but he was actually a squib and knew exactly who I was.

But to my advantage and his disadvantage, he had fallen in love.

And thanks to my lucky stars, he was a genuinely decent guy.

It went on for two months. In the beginning I did fancy myself in love. The guilt of it was over-whelming. But it was not a guilt I felt on behalf of my wife. No, I could never detect the source of that guilt, because I also felt it with Ginny, not that she ever noticed. I was still the perfect husband at home.

In two months, Aidan did realize that I did not return his feelings. And I realized that I did not want to hurt him anymore than I already had. So we parted through mutual understanding.

And Aidan moved to France, where he married a wizard and recently adopted a child. He still sends me festival greetings every now and then.

And hence the pit was wide open again, but I kept it under wraps. At times it was as if it was not there at all, and then there would be days when the void grew so oppressive that I almost lost control. It was as if I had bouts of it. I wanted to run away, do something drastic. I buried myself in work during those days. I talked less and less and worked more and more.

I got accolades for my pain of course.

We took the MLE by storm, Of course the shadow eye of that storm was Ronald Weasley and I dragged him alongside me into longest working hours possible. But together we cleaned up unnecessary rubbish in chain of commands. Simplified administrative levels. Increased efficiency. It was all necessary because since Children, we both had realized that doing Patrols was not going to cut it. We needed to make Britain safe, safest it has ever been for our children to grown up in. Neutralize any danger before it actually came into being. We Formed and trained the SWLE (Specialized Wizarding Law Enforcement) department a sort of Wizarding intelligence agency, which worked under the MLE head directly and had amalgamated the Hit-wizards and Strategic and tactical planning dept. This department in which only hand-picked wizards and witches were interned every year was responsible for the lowest crime rate Wizarding Britain had ever seen and we were soon going to be branching out into the muggle Britain, covertly of course. Something on which Hermione was working most vigorously on.

But, little did I know that there are things even I could not save my children from.

Things came to head the spring before Lily arrived just after Christmas.

Ginny had confronted me after another absent weekend. And I had exploded.

And she had exploded in return.

And in our explosion of lust filled angry sex, Lily was conceived.

And at the same time Ginny had found out that I was not in love with her… anymore.

I loved her, but I was not in love with her.

And it changed our lives yet again.

It broke her heart, I know it did because we were never the same after that but we made it work for the sake of the children. It was an easy promise to make and it stoppered my despair for some reason. Hermione and Ron also found out about the problems we were having.

Strangely Hermione approved of our decision of staying together, while Ron did not.

Though he did not express his disapproval of it out loud, he is my best friend, we are close enough to not have to use many words to express our genuine opinion.

I did not ask him the reason for it until a few months ago, almost ten years later. When all pretense of a relationship between me and Ginny even for the sake of children fell apart after Lily left for Hogwarts.

We were drinking at our favorite pub, 'mournebrating' as Ron put, the state of my marriage which was that I had moved to Grimmauld Place which we used as a townhouse at Ginny's prompting. Suddenly she could not stand "zombie" me walking around the house.

We were both drunk on Ogden's finest when he simply explained in a tone far too sober than intoxication permitted.

"You were lied to and kept from most of the truths of your life from the very beginning Harry. No one you loved and deserved full love from put you first. Yes, your mother died trying to save you, but she died Harry, she wasn't there when you needed her the most was she? And in keeping your marriage with Ginny, you were starting that whole cycle again. Hell, you started the whole cycle again in Marrying Ginny in the first place. I just thought…that you have to live for yourself some time mate.. follow your own instinct, follow what your heart wants you know. That is the reason. Ginny is my sister and she is tough, tougher than all us brothers put together, but she was never one for you Harry. If it came as a surprise to her on Lily's birth that you were not in love with her, she only has herself to blame. You never fell in love with her. She was just always there, she was easy. She was not the one Harry. Not for you, not the way Hermione is for me. Ginny is for you like Lavender Brown was for me. Just there, taking the opportunity, we are blokes, we will always want the easy way out, and we will always snog the blonde if she is throwing herself at us, but there is only one Bushy haired gorgeous girl that would make my heart skip a beat with her smiles. Of all the people in the world Harry, you should have been the last one to settle. But you did. And here we are… Mournebrating the disintegration of your sham of a marriage... A toast!" he raised his glass and shocked half out of my mind I raised my glass too, to touch to his.

"To model husbands…" he shouted.

"To model husbands…" I replied, alongside half the pub feeling more alert and free than I had in past 20 years.

The next morning I got the floo call from Hogwarts which changed our lives yet again.

The end of answering memos is what brings me out of my brooding and when I finally put the quill down, Victoria enters.

"I am afraid, this is all Carlotta could get regarding your query." She hands me a parchment, which should not be a parchment at all, but a proper folder.

Carlotta is a whiz with enquiries and records and this is disappointing.

There is no picture of Beyazlamak. Only an address for an office in Nicosia.

And copy of an authorization certificate from some association called "Yardim Eli"

"Yardim Eli?"

"Means, 'a helping hand'. It is well-known philanthropic wizarding association, they work all over the Asian continent and are active in the Mediterranean. In fact, I think in Britain, they collaborate with the committee that works under Mrs. Audrey Weasley, the Minister's wife. Glowing wands… They have a one student scholarship quota with both Hogwarts and Beauxbatons." She says handing me, thankfully a bunch of papers with information regarding Yardim Eli. I skim through it. Complete with the list of students that have studied under the scholarship. Few of which are still in Britain.

"Really? Do we have any of these scholarship students working here in the ministry?"

"Yes, there is a young sweet witch in Transportation. Aliya Dawood, Algerian I think."

"Check if she is on shift, and send for her immediately if she is."

"This sounds very serious, is something the matter?" she asks me, a small frown gracing her gracefully aged face.

"I would just like to know more about the man who I am going to hand my daughter's life in, that is all.." she freezes in her preparation to depart and straightens to look at me with her still sharp light brown eyes. I call them the Ravenclaw eyes.

"I don't remember you enquiring about all the healers at St. Mungo's who prodded and poked at that dear child relentlessly without even giving a single positive answer. Are you going to refuse help from this monk healer if his credentials fails to check out to your satisfaction? What were your credentials when you were made to stand against the darkest wizard the world has ever known Harry? A prophecy made by a mad as a hatter Divinity professor?"

"What are you suggesting then? That I should not enquire about this Monk healer? That I should just…"

"Trust your son's instinct, yes. He is the only one who has any faith in Lily's recovery Harry, let us be honest. If you refuse this healer's help and Merlin forbid Lily goes anyway, you will not lose one child but two Harry. Albus will never forgive you your skepticism."

And that is the truth of the matter. If Hermione and more importantly Rose's efforts have not bore any fruit then I have little faith anything else will. Rose does not believe that Lily can be saved anymore, but she still helps her best friend Albus with all his research and extra work. Both are training healers and would graduate in a year or so. Rose in counter healing dark magics and Albus in Diagnostics.

Perhaps I should let it go. Victoria is of course right. I do not want to lose Albus too and my refusal would break his heart and actually I have already said yes, so all this running around will not help much. Perhaps I should just let fate do its thing now. I nod at awaiting Victoria solemnly and she smiles a tight proud smile in return.

"You need to get going in next fifteen minutes to make that phone call." She says as she is stepping out again.

"How do you…?" it is of no use. She smiles at me smugly before closing the door behind her. Of course.

Victoria knows everything. Just like Molly Weasley, who she is the childhood best friend of. And who recommended Miss Victoria Hoult to me in the first place. 'Like the Novellist dear, but with an added U…'

Which is why she is indispensible. Just like Molly Weasley. The good-for-everything, nit-picking, all knowing old hags. Oh how I love them.


It is still ten minutes to five, but Albus is pacing the length of the living room. While Bilbo, our dog watches him warily from his spot in front of the floo place. He darts to me just as I step out of it. The Dog. My son is still pacing on his strange route. I watch him while he ignores me and keeps pacing and I realize that the cordless phone on its cradle is the center-point of his pacing route.

I remove my cloak and then the auror robe. It's drab and cold in London, but the chances of a white Christmas are slim. Here in Godric's hollow, it is snowing almost daily and we are bound to have nothing but a white Christmas it seems.

"You should have given them the phone number of the Grimmauld place. Now I will have to floo to 's."

"I did not give them any number, they gave me theirs Dad. And asked to call between five and seven."

"And that couldn't be done from Grimmauld place?"

"It did not occur to me." he says before making his way to the kitchen.

I sit down on the couch by the phone and it is not long before my lap is full of a russet beast of a Labrador. He is the fourth child of the family. Lily's first pet ever. Which she named after her favorite character from her favorite book. The only one she could pronounce fast enough repetitively. Bilbo.

Bilbo too suffers just like the rest of us in Lily's absence and wouldn't eat properly at first when Lily had to be admitted to St. Mungo's. Slowly and resiliently, Albus got through to the mutt and now Bilbo can often be found sleeping on top or just beside Albus protectively.

And guards the floo like always.

I run my fingers soothingly into its beautifully kept russet pelt. It is more to comfort me than him. Albus comes back a few minutes later with a mug of steaming hot tea. And picks phone from its cradle before sitting next to me and dialing a really long number. From memory.

Of course. Albus Severus Potter does not rely on pesky little parchment pieces. His greatest weapon and asset is his mind. At times I can see something of Snape in him clear as day, especially when he is angry, he tends to mince his words between his gritted teeth eerily like the old dungeon bat.

He hands me the phone after turning on the speaker and takes a sip of his tea.

The line rings four times until it is answered.

"Yes?" the greeting is soft voiced, almost shy, but curt.

"Is this Ustad Beyazlamak speaking?" I ask just as politely and curtly. This is for the sake of my son.

"Yes, it is Beyazlamak." The way he says Beyazlamak is distinctly different from how we pronounce it and I see Albus mouthing it as well.

"This is Harry James Potter. I am calling you on behalf of my son, who wrote you a letter regarding the condition of my daughter. Your… associate mentioned that you wanted me to personally speak with you and make the request?"

"Lily Luna yes?" comes after a slight pause.

I shoot a look at Albus, who shrugs at me to go along with it and just agree.

"Yes Lily Luna, my youngest, who is suffering from mystery magical seizures."

There is another pause.

"Well?" he asks me after the pause. This is getting strange now.

"Well, what? You asked me to call? So I am calling…" Albus is paling now. And I am losing patience.

"Calling for what?" he asks, tone still the exact same.

"Calling to make the request, of course." I answer the infuriating man. Is he absolutely barmy.

"Request regarding what?" he asks in the same calm soft and curt tone.

"What the…" Albus' clamped hand on my arm is the only thing that makes me stop from insulting the moron. And Albus thinks this man can cure my Lily? I take a deep calming breath.

"You associate said that I needed to call you and ask you personally to kindly visit us in Britain and take the case of my daughter. To heal her of her malady."

"And are you requesting that I come all the way to Britain to heal your daughter of her mysterious illness? Because you keep on repeating what my assistant asked you, told you and why you are calling…" It is the longest he has spoken and I recognize his accent as British. It is clear as a bell. So he is most probably British or has spent a considerable amount of time in Britain.

I shoot a glare at Albus, who is smiling now in a strange way, as if delighted.

"Just say the words Dad…" he whispers chuckling slowly.

"Yes, I am requesting that, I want you to come to Britain, and treat my daughter, and heal her. I ask this of you as her father and legal guardian. And I will provide with whatever you may require during the course of my daughter's treatment. Transport, lodgings, expenses, fee, anything. Will you accept?"

"Yes I will accept. I shall be there on approaching Saturday afternoon." He says plainly.

"I can arrange a port key for you if…"

"No, that will not be necessary, I can find my own way to Britain. I shall meet you and young Mr. Potter at the Hospital. Do give him my regards and tell him that his comprehensive test report was very nicely compiled. You must be very proud of him."

Albus is literally blushing and glowing at the praise. This means a lot to him.

"I am, very proud of him." I say ruffling his hair with my free hand.

"Yes. Good evening." Comes the polite soft and curt reply before it is disconnected.

I stare at the phone in my hand.

"Appalling telephone manners that man has." I say plainly to barely sitting son of mine. If anyone can jump while sitting and only moving their arms, Albus can.

"Oh dad! He is brilliant! It is finally happening dad. That man will heal Lily. She will be good as new! You'll see."

"How did you deduce that from the conversation that just happened? Please enlighten me as well."

"Oh, you won't get it Dad, even if I explained it to you. But rest assured, that Lily is going to be alright."

He jumps up from the couch, unsettling Bilbo who is also on alert now noticing the excitement of his master.

"Your Tea dad! It is getting cold. I need to go and make some detailed diagnostics reports to assist him when he comes here and I need to write an application to get some days off from the internship."

I watch him rush up stairs with a child-like glee and it makes the whole house seem lighter. I see Bilbo standing in front of me and watching my face attentively.

"His accent was very British wasn't it?" I ask Bilbo. Who just turns his head to the side inquisitively.

"And he sounded… familiar, didn't he?" Bilbo blinks I imagine with an expression of curiosity.

"No… not British… Almost Welsh…? But it was covered… wasn't it?" Bilbo sits on his hind legs, looking expectant.

"I am sodding Harry Potter. I know a covered accent when I hear one. Let us just hope that Albus will not be heart-broken, like the rest of us Bilbo. Let us just hope for the best yes?"

The Dog gives a small bark, as if agreering and climbs into my lap again. The tea is indeed still scalding hot. Sneaky Albus.



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