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Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Fic: I Am My Brother’s Keeper ( Part 1 of 4)

By: @rarity-kasket

2.6k words, G-rated

Being the son of Harry Potter isn’t easy and being the brother of James Sirius “Golden Boy” Potter doesn’t make it any better. However, as obnoxious as his brother can be, Albus wouldn’t trade him for the world. When Albus accidentally stumbles upon a secret, it threatens to break apart his already complicated and messy relationship with James.

Special thanks to @abradystrix and @autumn-of-ilvermorny being lovely human beings and beta’ing for me. If you are not following them, please flock to their awesome blogs.

Click for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4


Winter of 2020

As Albus writes his Muggle Studies essay in the Great Hall, a presence looms over him. It’s James, grinning widely with a chess set tucked under his arms. Albus spares him the briefest of glances before resuming his homework.

“I thought you went home,” Albus says.

James shakes his head, casually taking a seat at the Slytherin table.

“Change of plans, I decided to stay for the holiday.” Albus looks up from his essay as if James has grown two heads. “You don’t have to look so shocked, Al.”

“Do Mum and Dad know that you’re not coming home for Christmas?”

James waves a hand at Albus, dismissively

“I owled them days ago to let them know that I’m keeping you company as you serve out your time. You know,  for almost destroying life as we know it and ushering in a new age of Dark Magic.”

“Ha. Really funny James.” Albus says dryly as he picks up his quill and begins to write once more.

“Anyways, they were fine with it,” James says, before placing his case on the table. “How about a game of wizard chess?”

“If you haven’t noticed, I’m in the middle of an essay.”

“It can wait. You have all of the break to work on it. Live a little.” Albus stops scrawling on his parchment to look up at James suspiciously. He is met with his brother’s impenetrable grin.

“We haven’t played wizard chess together since before Hogwarts.”  Albus says. It’s been ages.

“So? What is your point?”

“So, I don’t trust it. There’s probably stink pellets or belching powder hidden away in that case.  That’s what you do.  You’re James Sirius Potter.” Albus flinches as James opens his case to reveal an ordinary chess set. James smirks smugly.

“While I appreciate that you regard me as the Prankster King–”

“That’s not what I said.” Albus interrupts.

“It was implied. However, I am seriously asking, nay,  imploring you to play wizard chess with me.” James says as he begins to set up the board. Albus sighs as he puts away his homework. James’s triumphant grin does not go unnoticed.

“I’ll play on one condition, I want information.”

“Spoken like a true Slytherin.”

“Riddle me this: we haven’t played chess together in years. Why now?” Albus watches as James’s expression grows uncomfortable, his eyes flickering away as he plays with a chess piece. It seems strange to see James so hesitant.

“I should have done this earlier, but I just didn’t know what to say after–” There is a long pause. Albus sits patiently, waiting for James to gather his thoughts. “But–I keep thinking about Craig Bowker. I keep thinking about him and you and Scorpius on the Quidditch pitch that night. And maybe I haven’t been a good brother to you lately. And I know I make fun of you all the time. I keep thinking about that night because, it could have been you, Al. I couldn’t imagine a universe where I’m not bugging the shit out of you.  A universe where we’re not brothers. And I don’t want to. I guess what I am saying is that–I’ve really missed you.”

Albus stares at his brother, paralyzed by James’s confession. Slowly, something starts to mend inside of him, like water filling in the empty spaces of a glass. Something that he didn’t realize needed fixing.

He is swirling with emotions. Doubt. Hope. Regret. Love. Albus swallows thickly. There is so much he wants to say to James.

That James is right; he hasn’t been a good brother. He should have been there. That, for the longest time, Albus has been angry with James. He’s still angry. And despite how angry he is,  despite how obnoxious and pig-headed and self-centered James is… Albus couldn’t imagine a universe where he didn’t have James as a brother either.

Instead, Albus says, “We used to be so close.”

The weight of the world is in those words.

James nudges the board towards Albus.

Suddenly, this is no longer a mere game of chess. This is a second chance.

A subtle smile tugs on Albus’s lips as he reaches across the board to grab a white chess piece.

“Do you still play black?” James grins.

“Duh. Always.”

The present, Spring of 2025

“Would you like some help with the dishes Mrs. Potter?”  Scorpius offers, after they all finish dinner.

Harry and Teddy retreat into the living room to discuss Teddy’s recent research trip to the Americas.

Ginny gives Scorpius a grateful smile. “Oh no, Scorpius. I’m sure that James or Albus would like to volunteer instead.”

“Ugh. Mum! Teddy just got back, and I wanna hear all about his trip. If Scorpius has so graciously offered to help with the dishes, who am I to deny him that pleasure?” James grins wickedly, wrapping an arm around Scorpius’s shoulder.

Rolling her eyes, Ginny shifts her gaze to Albus, who purposely avoids her eyes. He has no interest in doing dishes. Ginny sighs.

“Actually, help would be lovely Scorpius. Would you dry the dishes for me?”

“Nothing would make me happier!” Scorpius chirps, following Mrs. Potter into the kitchen.

Albus stands by the table, observing them quietly.  His mum and Scorpius work in perfect sync, washing and drying dishes. From where Albus stands, he gets the perfect view of Scorpius leaning against the counter, charming a rag to dry the dishes. With a soft smile, warmth and fondness light Scorpius’s steely eyes as he chats idly with his mum. He looks so happy, so natural and at home in the Potter household.

“Just when I thought you couldn’t get any more pathetic…” Albus flinches as James disrupts his train of thought. An irritated scowl etches itself onto Albus’s features.

“What are you talking about?”

A slow and smug grin unfurls on James’s lips as his eyes gleam with mischief.

“Oh dearest brother, you know exactly what I am referring to.”

Albus follows James’s gaze to the kitchen. Specifically, a certain blond standing in the kitchen.

“I thought you were joining Teddy and Dad in the living room.”

“Don’t try to change the subject. We are talking about what’s going on between you and a certain flatmate.” James says.

“Nothing is going on.”

“That’s exactly the problem Albus. ”

Much to Albus’s annoyance, James tucks his younger brother’s head between his elbow and ruffles his hair.

“I can help,” Surprisingly, James is sincere when he says this.

“No.”

Definitely not.

“Seriously, let me help you. You need me to help you.” James finally lets him go.

“What does that mean?” Albus scoffs. In response, James raises an eyebrow at his brother.

“I’ve seen you in action. No offense Albus, but you’re absolutely rubbish. A lost cause.”

“I’m offended.”

“I said no offense.”

“News flash James, prefacing a sentence with ‘no offense’ does not make it any less offensive.”

“Point taken.” James says.

Albus sighs. “I’m not discussing this with you.”

“Why not? Awww, is somebody embarrassed?” James coos before pinching Albus’s cheek.

“James, stop touching me!!” Albus huffs, swatting him away.

“Can’t you two get along for five minutes? What exactly is going on here?” Ginny asks with an amused grin. Scorpius stands next to her, holding a bowl of strawberries and ginger biscuits that Harry had baked earlier. He looks just as amused as Ginny. Albus feels his cheeks tinge red.

“Nothing!” Both James and Albus shout. Ginny glances between the two boys, suspicious. When she doesn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing, she sighs.

“Well then, James, help Scorpius take the strawberries and biscuits out to Teddy and your father.” When James groans, she adds, “Do you really expect Scorpius to do all the work around here? He’s our guest. The living room is a few feet away. Trust me, it won’t kill you to be a little helpful around here.”

“Guest? Seriously? Scorpius might as well be your third son.”

Albus nearly chokes on air when he hears this.

“Keep talking, and I might consider adopting Scorpius to replace my eldest son.”

James objects with “You wouldn’t dare. We all know that I’m your favorite.”

“James.” Ginny groans.

“Hey!” Albus interjects.

“I would like to point out that you didn’t deny it. It’s okay, mum. It’ll be our little secret.” James says, winking.

“James Sirius Potter! Living room now!”

“Can’t stay out of trouble for five minutes, can you, Jamie?” Teddy resurfaces, taking a strawberry slice and popping it in his mouth as he ruffles James’s hair. The tips of James’s ears grow red as he tries to dodge Teddy’s hand.

“Ugh, Teddy, you’re ruining my hair!” James groans.

“It was already messy before I even touched it. What do you care anyway? Hot date tonight?” Teddy grins, and James’s face grows redder.

Watching Teddy harass James brings a wide grin to Albus’s face. It’s fun to watch. Teddy, the only person in the world that can get under James’s skin, has a soft spot in Albus’s heart.

“I could,” James grumbles.

Scorpius interrupts.

“I hope you don’t mind Teddy, but I wanted to hear more about your adventures in America. Did you really attend a lecture given by Newt Scamander?” Scorpius asks, his eyes sparkling with curiosity. Albus can’t help but shake his head at his best friend’s typical nerdiness.

“Yeah, he gave a lecture on the mating habits of the Thunderbird. And afterward, he signed my latest edition of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’. I have my copy with me if you want to look at it.”

“Would I ever! Incredible! The mating habits of the Thunderbird? I’m intrigued. What did he have to say?” Scorpius asks.

Later that evening, Albus and Scorpius return to their flat together.

“I really enjoy this Sunday dinner tradition. I thought tonight went stupendously! What do you think?”  Scorpius asks Albus, smiling warmly as he peels off his jacket and hangs it on the coat rack. Albus shrugs in response before plopping down on their sofa. He tells himself not to get too comfortable there.

“I think Mum is ready to adopt you and trade in James and me.” This makes Scorpius’s smile grow brighter. Albus watches Scorpius knock off his shoes before joining him on the sofa.

“Teddy is splendiferous! I can’t believe that he met Newt Scamander! And he gets to travel and work with all of these cool magical beasts! How long is he here for?”

“Two weeks, so don’t get too attached to him. He’s staying at James’s flat until he leaves for Romania to study dragons with Uncle Charlie.”  Albus says as he slips off his own socks and shoes.

“Merlin’s beard! That’s fantastic!” Scorpius says with awe and adoration.

“Should I be worried that you might replace me with Teddy?” Albus laughs as Scorpius ducks his head in embarrassment.

“No one could ever replace you, Albus. Sure, Teddy is amazing, but you–” Scorpius says quietly before he falters.  

Albus wonders what Scorpius was going to say before he stopped himself. He never gets to ask because a roar of their fireplace interrupts them.

“Hello, Scorpius. Hello, Albus.” Rose greets them, stepping out of their heart. Despite having traveled by floo, she looks practically untouched by the soot. She dusts one of her shoulders off, but Albus thinks that she only does it out of formality. “I’m glad that I caught you. How was dinner?” She asks before making herself comfortable in a chair.

“Nice of you to drop by, Rose,” Scorpius says. “It went swimmingly actually. Teddy is back in town, and Harry made his famous biscuits. You should join us next Saturday.”

“Thanks for the invitation, but it seems like a Potter exclusive tradition. I would hate to intrude.”

“Scorpius goes to them, and he’s not a Potter.” Albus points out.

“It’s only a matter of time,” Rose says, smirking at Albus, who blanches at her comment. Scorpius laughs it off.

“Yeah, I think Mrs. Potter plans to adopt me as her third son.” He jokes. “So, how are things? Chudley Cannon practices?”

“Practices are great, and I think with me on the team, we have a real shot at the Quidditch Cup this year.” Albus snorts at this.

“Rose, it’s the Chudley Cannons. They never win. No one understands why you went to them when you could have had your pick of the league.”

“Yes, and you’re talking to the greatest Chaser of this generation. We’re going to win the cup this year,” Rose says, puffing out her chest proudly.

“How is Yann?” Scorpius asks.

Albus sees her thinking before her confidence fades, and she sinks into her chair.

Weird. It’s not a typical response from the ever confident Rose Granger-Weasley.

“He finally asked me out,” she says.

Both Scorpius and Albus sit up a little more in their seats.

“That’s great!” Scorpius exclaims.

At the same time, Rose says, “I turned him down.”

“You did?” Scorpius asks, and Rose shrugs her shoulders nonchalantly.

“I did.”

“But you really liked him.”

“It’s not going to work out.” She says flippantly. It confuses Albus. “After all, I foresee potential awkwardness with us being on rival Quidditch teams.”

“Yeah right,” Albus snorts. Rose narrows her eyes at Albus and cocks her head to the side.

“What does that mean?” Rose baits, raising a finely shaped eyebrow.

“It means that you do this all the time. It’s the same excuse with every guy. ”

“I find it so ironic that you of all people are giving me romantic advice when you have never had a date in your life.” Rose shoots back, and Albus looks down at his lap, red-faced.

Sensing the start of tension,  Scorpius redirects their conversation to light chatter. They talk about dinner, the Muggle University that Albus now attends, and Scorpius latest adventure working at St. Mungo’s. When it gets late, Rose floos back to her own flat.

”I’m tired. I’m going to bed.” Albus stands and yawns. “Are you staying up to study?”

“Yep, they have me in the Magical Bugs and Diseases ward tomorrow. So I’m going to do a little reading to brush up on dragon pox.” Scorpius replies, pulling a thick medical textbook into his lap. Albus quirks an eyebrow.

“Light reading? Scorpius, this is a huge textbook about magical illnesses.”

“I know, I never get sick of reading it,” Scorpius says before he bursts into laughter.

Albus rolls his eyes at the pun. “I walked right into that one.” He says flatly.

“Ya-huh!”

“Don’t stay up too late, even uber geeks like you need their beauty rest. And actually try to make it to your bed tonight.” Albus smirks as Scorpius’s cheeks grow warm and pink.

“I’ve only fallen asleep on the sofa once or twice.”

“Or five or six times.” Albus teases as he retreats towards the hallway. “Night, Scorpius.”

“Goodnight, Albus.”

When Albus wakes later that night, he gathers the blanket from his bed before drifting into the living room.

Scorpius is asleep on their sofa once more, limbs dangling off the side and his face pressed in a book. Albus smiles before he carefully extracts the book from under Scorpius’s cheek and tosses a thick blanket over him.

Albus gently brushes a few stray strands of hair from Scorpius’s face. The strands are feathery soft against the tips of his fingers.

He thinks about his conversation with James earlier that evening.

“James is right. I’m a lost cause,” Albus says quietly.

He could think of a thousand reasons of why Scorpius and he wouldn’t work. A thousand ways that he would screw this up. He isn’t as kind as Scorpius. Or as confident as Rose. Or as perfect as James.

“You’re going to make someone very happy one day,” Albus whispers quietly.

Maybe not him, but someone more deserving.

“Goodnight, Scorpius,” Albus says before he retires to his bed.

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