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Scorpius loved Hogsmeade at Christmas time. It always brightened up his mood. Except today. The villagers and shop owners had outdone themselves decorating – shiny green leaves and red berries of holly wreaths on the doors, merry Christmas tunes in the air and enchanted candles in the trees – but none of it sparked the holiday cheer in his heart.

He sighed into his black scarf and turned up the collar of his matching cloak, the soft, expensive wool of both garments not giving him their usual comfort. Listlessly, he checked his appearance in the glass door of the owl post office. Not bad. Quite acceptable, even for a rejected and heartbroken seventeen-year-old. Black looked good on him. It stood in distinctive contrast to his white-blond hair and aristocratic pallor – his mother's words – and made his grey eyes look big and stormy. And dragonhide boots, Hungarian Horntail preferably, were the only thing to wear in this weather. Waterproof without the help of magic, they kept his feet snugly warm.

Scorpius kicked at a golden candy wrapper the icy breeze sent dancing over the cobblestones. Without Albus, walking down the High Street and checking the goods on display had lost its appeal. They always bought their presents in Hogsmeade the weekend before the holidays. It had become a tradition during the last four years – their tradition. They would stroll along the shop windows, discuss gift ideas for their various family members, and laugh at each other's ridiculous suggestions.

It was their last Christmas at Hogwarts, and if it were up to Scorpius, he would spend it glued to Al's side. Only, Albus didn't feel the same.

Scorpius followed the wrapper to the brightly-lit window of Honeydukes. All the years before, the scent of roasted almonds and candied apples had lured them inside. But roasted almonds were only half as delicious when he wasn't sharing them with Al. Al biting into the crust of a cherry-red love apple was one of his favourite sights in the world, and he would have loved nothing more than to lick the crystal sugar crumbs from Al's lips himself.

Scorpius shrugged and suppressed a sigh. Goodness, Al's behaviour was so frustrating, it was a miracle Scorpius wasn't bloated like a balloon from all the sighs he didn't let escape! He crushed the wrapper underfoot, and, still angry, pulled his wand and vanished the pathetic scrap. Out of sight, out of mind. If only vanishing his feelings for Al was just as easy!

Fairy lights were woven into the evergreen twigs framing the windows of Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop and twinkled invitingly. Exotic Feathers – Christmas Edition was a big name for a collection of ordinary parrot feather quills! Though, the green one perfectly matched the colour of Al's eyes. Scorpius gave up on his self-restraint and sighed audibly, not surprised in the slightest at how much desperation resonated in the small sound.

Ah, and the sleek dark blue quill would make a nice present for his mother. Or maybe a black one would be better, a small allusion to her preference for post ravens over owls. Merlin, he missed Al's advice!

Al had skipped their traditional Christmas shopping in favour of his Arithmancy study group, and Scorpius just didn't get it. Though usually Albus was an open book to him. A book in large print, to be precise. Surely missing one Saturday afternoon of poring over Numerology and Grammatica wouldn't hurt. As far as Scorpius could tell, Al wasn't improving anyway.

It hurt to be turned down for the bloody study group. If it were at least a fascinating subject like DADA! But no, to add insult to injury, it was Arithmancy. Al and Rose, his two best friends, shared a predilection for the boring stuff.

A jingle of small bells and giggles spilled out of Gladrags' Wizardwear next door, together with two girls. They were tarted up with heavy make-up – applied with more enthusiasm than expertise – and skirts so short they qualified as broad belts. Scorpius hoped the many colourful shopping bags dangling from their elbows contained warmer clothes.

The redhead spun around in a twirl of hair, curling wildly down the sides of her face and over her shoulders. "The green dress is gorgeous. Without you I wouldn't have dared to try it on, and look, thanks to you I even bought matching shoes!" She lifted two bags and her brown eyes, lined with so much khol it made Cleopatra look like an amateur, danced with joy. Splotches of strawberry-red blusher glowed somewhere between her cheekbones and jaws, and pink lipstick highlighted her smile. Scorpius flinched. What an insult to a fashionista's unerring taste!

Then he blinked in disbelief – the face underneath the clash of colours was undoubtedly Rose Weasley's. Who usually wore her school uniform day and night, and her hair in a neat braid. Scorpius would have sworn she didn't even know a Lip Care spell. Goodness, the one time the girl's proclivity for excessive research would have been actually useful, she had gone by instinct.

He fought down the urge to wipe the mess from her face and waved hello. But Rose was so absorbed in the conversation with the other girl, she didn't have eyes for her surroundings. They were radiating levity and an intimacy that excluded everybody else. Scorpius tucked his hand back into his pocket. He wouldn't disturb the moment.

The girls sorted their bags and walked on. Both were tall and a bit lanky, and staggered over the cobbled High Street on high heels. They linked arms, chatting and giggling, so close their cheeks almost touched.

Though Rose's red mane had caught Scorpius' attention first, her friend was much more to his taste. At a remark from Rose she threw her head back and laughed. Dancing earrings and black hair, cascading down the back of her jacket in unruly waves, guided his gaze to her—

Scorpius' breath hitched. Outlined in worn, black cotton, the luscious curve of her arse looked familiar. Too familiar.

It was the arse starring in his favourite wank fantasy.

Scorpius stopped. Everything. Walking, blinking, thinking. Breathing, even.

She was clad in black from head to toe. Like Al. Her shabby leather jacket sported lots of zippers. Like Al's. Worn leather boots. Like Al's, except for the higher heels.

As if she had sensed his stare, the girl turned around. Scorpius met her gaze for the briefest moment.

Green eyes. Not the common mossy, brown-sprinkled green, no. They were a rare, pure green, clear like a mountain lake. Like Al's.

She stumbled and tugged at Rose's arm to make her walk faster. The girl's firm arse flexed with every sway of her hips, and the compelling motion went straight to Scorpius' groin. Fuck, she was hot! But a growing hard-on was counterproductive to logical thinking … Shoulder pads! Yes, thinking of shoulder pads helped. Such a disgusting fashion faux pas. Ugh.

So ... if it looked like a duck, swam like a duck, and quacked like a duck, then it most likely was a duck. Consequently, if someone had eyes like Al, an arse like Al, and dressed like Al – it had to be Al.

Arithmancy study group, my arse!

Instead of studying, Al was dressing up in skirts short enough to make a man choke on his own smutty thoughts. Together with Rose. With Rose! When it was obvious even to the most unpractised eye that Scorpius was the styling expert among the three of them! Ten minutes ago, he would have laughed at the idea of Al wearing skirts – though, on second thought, not at that particular idea, to be honest – and Rose putting on make-up. But now, it was not that difficult to imagine his closest friends discussing lipstick colours or helping each other with the zippers at the back of their clothes. When dressing and – Scorpius winced at the unwelcome pictures flooding his mind – undressing.

Fat, heavy snowflakes drifted down from darkening skies, and the enchanted candles in the trees lit up. Scorpius pulled his scarf over his nose and put his hands into the pockets of his cloak. The cobblestones were becoming slippery, and he briefly worried about Al and Rose in their high-heeled boots. Though ... it was not his fault if they broke a leg. Or caught pneumonia. They were supposed to be huddled up in the library, trying to tell someone's future from stellar constellations on their date of birth. Or something. As long as it didn't include wearing smudgy make-up and painting the town red in ultra-short skirts!

Scorpius buried his chin deeper in his scarf. Oh, Albus! Sweet, messy-haired, golden-skinned, damn sexy Al. Star of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, owner of a marvellous arse and Scorpius' heart.

Funny how life sometimes played tricks on one. Scorpius had often wished for Al to be a girl. Chances for a girl to fall in love with her best friend one day were good. But Albus was a boy. A straight boy.

Though … hmmm … if Al liked to pretend he was a girl, maybe he wasn't that straight after all. It didn't make sense to flirt with girls if you dressed like one of them. Or maybe it did. Maybe Al was doing all that stuff to spend time with Rose alone! Yes, that must be it. Al was in love with Rose, imagine that. It explained everything, and also why both his best friends had kept their girls' nights out a secret.

Scorpius swept his cold wet hair out of his face. He would keep an eye on the two conspirators. Hope died last, and without proof, a theory was still only a theory!

#

"Okay," Al said. "Nargles must have taken my Arithmancy book, or the damn thing has Apparated to a parallel universe. I can't find it anywhere. Anyway, I'm off to my study group. What are you up to tonight?" He grabbed his bag and headed for the dorm room's door.

Scorpius gave a one-shouldered shrug. "Oh, nothing special. Wrapping gifts and writing Christmas cards, you know how Grandma gets if she doesn't get one."

"Sounds fun! See you later." Al flashed an absent-minded smile at Scorpius, then the door clicked shut behind him.

Scorpius cringed from a hot stab of jealousy. "Fun? If you at least had the manners to pretend you were listening, you bloody … Can't wait to get to your study group, can you? But, hey look, you forgot something!" He pulled Al's copy of Numerology and Grammatica out from under his pillow and twisted his mouth into a grim smile.

#

Disillusionment Charms were wonderful things when one hadn't happened to inherit an Invisibility Cloak. Not that Scorpius needed one. Since the start of the ominous study group he had become invisible to Al anyway. Al had only eyes for Rose. She was waiting in front of the library, and he greeted her with a kiss on each cheek. Their eyes were alight with anticipation, and, like in Hogsmeade, they linked arms and walked away.

"One of the few benefits of being Prefect is the privilege to use the Prefect's bathroom." Rose stopped and pulled Al into a hug. "I still can't believe we're doing this. Oh Al, I was so afraid my first time would be a catastrophe, you know," she said, her cheek brushing his. "But with you, it was perfect. It's really important to have a partner who knows me so well and whom I can trust completely. Is it wrong to enjoy it so much? Mum always says I should wait until I have finished school, as if it were a crime. She is so insistent, it makes me feel slutty. Please tell me again we're not doing anything wrong!" Rose's face flushed and her voice had grown throaty.

Al stepped back, slid his hands down her arms and intertwined their fingers. "We're not. Not at all. Trust me! I bet your father would be delighted if your mother was in the mood for it more often herself!"

Rose smiled. "You're right. I shouldn't worry so much. Sorry." She let go of one of Al's hands and adjusted the shoulder strap of her bag. With the other hand she tugged him along, falling into a quick stride. "Let's not waste more time on talking!"

"But I like talking to you while we're doing it!" Al protested. She giggled. "You know I can't talk when my mouth is otherwise occupied!"

Scorpius didn't follow them immediately. He slid down the wall and ignored the cold of the stone floor seeping through his trousers. They were doing it. They were sleeping with each other. Fuck.

Fuck!

#

Scorpius stood in front of the door to the Prefects' bathroom, a ball of lead forming in his guts. Hopefully they hadn't locked it. Though, eager as the two had been, chances were high they hadn't.

He ended the Disillusionment Charm, gave a short rap on the door, and opened it without waiting for an answer. Over the squeaking of the hinges he called, "Al, are you here? You forgot your book and I thought I saw you—"

His breath caught. In the middle of the room, a mighty chandelier hung over a huge tub lined by many taps. Golden candlelight reflected off shiny white tiles and the coloured jewels set into the handles of the taps. At the opposite wall, white linen curtains kept out the early darkness of a winter afternoon, and the mermaid living in the big leaded window smiled and waved. She was beautiful. Sexy. But Scorpius only gave her a fleeting glance.

In front of a big mirror over a sink on the left, Al and Rose stood facing each other. Rose was leaning toward Al, eyes closed and lips opened expectantly.

Scorpius had caught them in the indecent act of—

Al applying bright pink lipstick to Rose's mouth.

Scorpius recoiled and curled his lips. Ewww! That awful colour again! Never pink for a freckled redhead like Rose! It clashed horribly with her flaming hair. According to his mother's fashion magazines, natural shades like peach or rose would be perfect for a young woman with her fair complexion—

Stop. It was okay to react with a classic displacement activity when stressed out, but staring at his best friend's arse while contemplating make-up colours for Rose was taking things too far.

In hindsight, Scorpius thought he probably would have fainted either from embarrassment or – more likely – lack of oxygen, had Rose not found her voice. "Scorpius?"

Not the cleverest question for a girl with her intelligence, but it broke the silence. And luckily also put an end to his stunned state of breathlessness. He inhaled deeply and with great effort managed to tear his gaze away from Al's backside.

"Yes. It's me. Indeed. Impressive power of observation." Then he couldn't resist and added, "Rose, right?"

A bit too brusque, maybe, for a boy of his intelligence. After all, he'd not only found his voice, but also his sense of irony, quite an accomplishment under the circumstances. Yet, Rose didn't appreciate it.

"Ha ha. What are you doing here?"

"Good question, as I obviously didn't bring my beauty case, but a book. Al?"

Al's right hand sank from Rose's mouth, the lipstick leaving a pink streak on her chin. "Yes?"

"You forgot your book. Numerology and Grammatica. For your study group." Scorpius held up the book as proof. "I followed you here from the library. But only because I thought you were looking for an empty classroom to study, I swear!"

Al pinched his face, he didn't believe him. With two long strides he closed the distance between them and snatched the book out of Scorpius' hand. "Thanks. This explains why I couldn't find it. I hope you're proud of yourself, now you've found out about Rose and me."

Disdain was dripping from Al's voice, and Scorpius cringed under his accusing green stare. Though mostly because Al wore a generous amount of glimmering blue eye shadow around his right eye. Very Celestina Warbeck, right down to the spider-leg-style mascaraed lashes. A recently launched photo in the Prophet – eye catcher of an article promoting her Christmas concert – had shown the Singing Sorceress hadn't changed her look since the 1960s.

Scorpius suppressed the laughter suddenly bubbling up from his chest, and put on a resigned smile. The two had neither any fashion sense nor the tiniest spark of talent to dress to their advantage. They really should thank Merlin for him having crashed their little, er, … study group meeting.

"Tergeo." Scorpius waved his wand over Al's face. Al stepped back as if he'd slapped him in the face.

"What—"

"Shush." Scorpius seized the chance and pressed his index finger to Al's lips. Soft, seductive, sinful ... ewww, no, seriously, that sounded like it came straight out of a trashy romance. Luckily, he was running out of alliterations anyway. "Look, you have green eyes – a rare emerald green, by the way – and while you can wear nearly any colour of eye shadow with it, this shade of blue is an absolute no-go."

Al's jaw dropped. Nice. For a change it wasn't Scorpius who had breathing problems.

"Oh please," Scorpius said, playing it cool and rolling his eyes. "Compared to you two, I have a mother who enjoys being a beautiful woman – mind you, I'm not saying yours aren't, just that they don't enjoy it – and who reads fashion-magazines not only when waiting at Madam Malkin's."

His friends still didn't say anything, they just continued to stare at him open-mouthed. Scorpius sighed again. "Mum is subscribed to every available fashion magazine. They are lying all around the Manor and I, er, might have read ... a few." All, actually. But some things a man better kept to himself. The hot prickle of a flush crept up his cheeks, so he quickly added in his best ironic voice, "See? We all have our dirty little secrets."

That, eventually, made them smile. Even the mermaid leaned back on her rock and went back to combing her long red hair.

Afraid that fresh awkwardness might make things difficult again, Scorpius said, "Let me see, where's the best light? Ah, over there." He pointed at the edge of the enormous tub. "Candlelight isn't ideal for putting on make-up, but we have to deal with what we have. Rose, do you have some eye shadow in shades of grey?"

She nodded. "Why?"

"Hold thy peace and watch thy master. Not sure if that's Spangle or Shakespeare ... whatever. Be a darling and bring them, would you, please?"

"Neither. Spangle or Shakespeare, that is."

Scorpius glared at her with narrowed eyes.

"Okay, okay, sorry, I'm going, I'm going!" Rose threw up her hands.

"And you," Scorpius said to Al and took him by the hand, "come here. I need you to stand ... right here." He angled Al's face into the best light not to cast shadows on it. Al closed his eyes against the light and leaned deeper into Scorpius. They were so close, Scorpius inhaled Al's breath. He ran his fingers down Al's hot, flushed cheeks to his jawbone. Holy hippogriffs, that mouth didn't need any additional colour. Fuchsia pink, it was pure allure. Al's lips opened slightly, as if in anticipation of a ki—

"Here. Will these do?"

Scorpius gave a start and let go of Al, who jerked out of his carefully arranged pose.

Rose, of course. Always good for ruining a precious moment.

Scorpius frowned at her. She stood beside him, holding out three boxes of eye shadows; silver, pewter and slate. Her eyes were big and wide, a sign of how much his approval meant to her. Scorpius swallowed his anger.

"Perfect. Don't take my word for it, but we might make a fashion icon out of you yet."

"Oh Scorp, stop mocking me." She averted her eyes at the compliment, but the smile lighting up her face betrayed her. In her eagerness to help, she was as endearing with her pink-striped chin as Al with his blue-painted eye. Thank goodness she hadn't picked up the sarcasm in his voice.

Poor Rose. Not her fault that she had developed a rare talent for ruining special moments – she just hadn't learned to recognise them. Her mother was the bluntest witch Scorpius had ever met and Ron Weasley wasn't a shining example of tact, either.

To shake off the feeling – there was a face to paint and a heart to conquer – Scorpius clapped his hands.

"Ladies, let's get started. Al, come on over here and lift your chin."

Al did as he was asked, and Scorpius tried to ignore the stir in his trousers and the dryness in his mouth. For the time being, at least. The evening was still young and he was determined to make the best of it.

"Alright, some basics first. With your eyes, hair-colour and skin tone, you should highlight either your eyes or your mouth. As you seem to like eye shadow, I suggest we concentrate on that for today. Earthy tones like brown and gold harmonise very well with green eyes, yet—"

"But why did you ask me to get the grey ones, then?" A whiff of lavender shampoo announced Rose. She leaned in close in her eagerness to learn something useful.

"Hold your hippogriffs. Watch and wait. You live, you learn. I think you get the idea, don't you? Come to think of it, we'll need a lot more stuff than just eye shadow. Be a dear and get your bag, will you?"

Rose hurried to fetch her brown leather bag. Plain, like the girl itself. A subscription to Charms & Couture would be a good start, but most likely her mother would tell her to rip the magazine apart and burn it page by page in the fireplace.

"For a spectacular look like smokey eyes I recommend shades of grey or lilac." Scorpius made a come-hither-gesture at Rose with his left index finger, then held out his palm like a surgeon waiting for a nurse to hand him a scalpel. "Foundation."

Though it would have been more professional to use a blending sponge, Scorpius applied the creamy substance with his fingertips. Al's silken eyelids quivered under his touch.

"Looks good so far," Scorpius said, turning Al's face this way and that. "Rose, I need the medium grey eye shadow."

Actually, touching Al had aroused another need than for coloured glitter particles, but one step at a time. Rose opened the box and Scorpius dipped a finger into it. He started in the centre of Al's left eyelid. "Pat the shadow back and forth on the lid, see? Just like that."

Oh, Merlin. This was getting more challenging by the minute! Al's skin glowed golden in the candlelight and he was compliant, doing whatever Scorpius demanded.

"Scorp, as much as I appreciate an eye massage, do you really have to rub the stuff in with so much force?" Al sounded worried. Oops.

"Er, no. Patience, my friend. Even application is important for a perfect result. Okay, done. Now the dark shade. Rose?"

"Here," Rose said, presenting the slate-coloured eye shadow.

"Good girl." Scorpius smiled at her. "Let's proceed by the book, in our case Charms & Couture. The make-up expert said to dip the tip of one's finger in the eyeshadow and then place it in the centre of the eyelid crease. Next, to run the finger tip back and forth from corner to corner. Like that."

The powdery consistence of the coloured dust on his fingertip, the silken softness of Al's eyelid; it was all becoming too sensual. The gentle touches had an erotic impact. Scorpius could have gone on like that forever. He let his thoughts run wild and create a scenario where he would be allowed to touch Al everywhere. Hmmm ... maybe he should suggest body painting for their next lesson. Brushing cool, slick paint all over Al—

Holy hippogriffs! Before thinking of advanced courses, he should gather his wits and make this one a success. Which he wouldn't be doing if he gave Al a black instead of a smokey eye!

Thank goodness, Al hadn't yet noticed Scorpius' attention had been wandering repeatedly. To the contrary, he was melting into Scorpius' touch, and a faraway smile played on his lips.

"You're so quiet. Nothing to complain about?" Scorpius murmured, just to see the gorgeous mouth move.

"Only—" Al croaked and cleared his throat, "only, er ... concentrating."

Concentrating, my arse! Scorpius smiled grimly, but kept his voice light. "Oh, that's good. We'll have a test next time."

Rose eyes were following the movements of his finger like a seeker zigzagging after a Snitch. Good girl. Someone was concentrating, after all.

"Right, I think that's enough. We're getting there, ladies! Here comes the final touch. For a cat-like look, I'll flick my finger upward at the outer edge of the eye. Here we go."

He was very pleased with the effect. "Perfect, we achieved exactly the dark-to-light gradient look the Smokey Eye is known for. Did you pay attention, Al?"

"Er ... yeah."

"Eloquent as ever. Please try for more detailed answers if you want to pass the test. Now we blend everything together. Sister Rose, do you happen to have a blending brush in that bag of yours?"

"Of course," Rose said, rummaging around in the bag. "I owl-ordered the full beginners' kit. Here you are." She handed over the requested item. Scorpius smiled. Ordering a whole kit instead of starting with a few simple items like khol, mascara and lipgloss was so typically Rose. "Of course you did. Thanks."

He started at the outer corner of Al's right eye and moved the brush toward the inner corner, then went quickly back and forth. The tell-tale smile on Al's face lit up again – he was definitely enjoying this! Scorpius made a mental note to have a soft brush ready, should he ever see the day Al would visit him in his four-poster. Naked. Or, preferably, wearing a short skirt!

"Huh, didn't that work out brilliantly? Before I do the mascara – two coats, no more, no less – I want to make sure we don't need to apply eyeliner to the upper waterline. Al, open your eyes, please." He stepped back with great reluctance to give Al some space and have a better look at the result of his efforts.

"Hmmm?" Al blinked as if waking up from a trance. His eyes, smoldering and smoky, held a hazy, lost expression. He shook his head and cleared his throat, then blinked again. His dreamy smile grew sheepish. "Oh, yes. Are you finished?" he asked, still in the hoarse voice that didn't go away despite all the harrumphing.

Scorpius had watched his mother turning herself from a beautiful witch into the breath-taking Lady of Malfoy Manor countless times, but it hadn't prepared him for the effect a bit of eyeshadow had on Al's appearance. It was unbelievable. In all modesty – Scorpius was a gifted make-up artist!

The dark grey in the crease made Al's eyes huge, and the lighter colours enhanced their vibrant colour. Sparkling and gleaming, Al's eyes now unfolded their full charisma, giving him an enticing air of mystery and power. Fuck, Scorpius was almost afraid to add mascara to the look. His knees were wobbly and he had a hard time pretending to keep his cool.

"Very nice." It was the understatement of the year – or century, rather – but Al didn't need to know about the dazzling effect he had on Scorpius.

"Really? Let me see!" Al turned toward the mirror, but Scorpius held up his palm.

"Stop! We're not finished yet. Haven't you heard of mascara, blusher, lipstick – didn't someone just mention a whole beginners' kit of make-up paraphernalia?"

Fuck. Being confronted with Al turning from the good-looking boy he'd fallen in love with into a stunning creature with irresistible sex-appeal was too much. Outlining Al's mouth with lip liner and dabbing on lipgloss – even if it was only a fucking unspectacular shade like tulipwood – would kill his slipping self-control. Though ... maybe he worried too much. He'd probably – and conveniently – die from lack of oxygen before making a complete fool of himself.

He should get rid of Rose. If he kissed Al and Al rejected him – the most likely scenario – the last he wanted was a witness. Rose would never let him live it down.

"Rose, sweetheart?"

Rose swallowed and snapped to attention. "Yes?"

"I need a glass of champagne to keep spirits high and the muse alert. Would you please move your lovely bum to the kitchen and ask the house-elves for a bottle and three glasses?"

"Er ... champagne? You know we aren't allowed alcohol inside the castle, don't you?"

"Tell them I sent you and see what happens." He made shooing gestures with both hands, and Rose surrendered.

"Rose …" Scorpius pointed at the bag slung over her shoulder. "Tsk, didn't you forget something?"

She clutched it. "But I want to see the rest of the show!"

Scorpius put his hands on his hips and dropped his voice to a malicious growl. "Believe me. If you don't get me the fucking champagne, you won't see anything any more! And now, do I have to Accio that bag?" Bad girl. He didn't clean the pink lipstick off her face. The wages of sin.

Without another word, though not without a scowl, Rose dropped it, and pompously stalked to the door. It would have made a dignified exit if she hadn't caught her foot in the bag's leather strap. She went down in a tangle of long limbs, her palpable fury and embarrassment forbidding any offer of help.

Great. Now she was angry. The bang of the heavy door snapping shut was like a counterspell to the tense silence in the room. Scorpius met Al's smoldering eyes and took a step toward him.

"Was that necessary? To treat her like a servant? I mean, it could have been worse, at least you didn't order her about like a house-elf, that would have been really evil, I know how you Malfoys—"

Scorpius slung his arms around Al's lithe body and captured his lips. A rambling Al would be too surprised by Scorpius kissing him to protest immediately. And maybe, if luck was on his side for once, these few seconds of delay were all Scorpius needed to convince Al that kissing him back was the right thing to do.

A wave of relief washed over him when Al's hands came up and buried themselves in Scorpius' hair to pull him deeper into the kiss. Encouraged, Scorpius ran his fingers through Al's silky locks and down his back. He cupped the perfectly curved buttocks, and squeezed.

"I knew it," Rose's voice said from the entrance.

Bloody Rose. Always good for ruining a precious moment. Al didn't move an inch. Great. A toast to the famous Potter courage in the face of doom! Scorpius kept his eyes shut and willed Rose away, but when he finally released Al's lips, she was still there.

Flaming hair, tomato-red face, dramatically adorned by the pink streak of lipstick on her chin – huh, she was still angry. As in livid. And no, she hadn't brought champagne. Fuck. Champagne made everything a bit more bearable. Also, it would be wonderful to cool his face with the bottle. High colour was burning on his cheeks, and Al was equally flushed.

"Rose, look, I—", Scorpius said, hoping for the miracle of a white lie to settle on his tongue.

"No." Her voice was sharp, underlaid with something unidentifiable. "Whatever you meant to say, spare me! We both know it'd be a lie. You're in love with Al. You always think you're so clever and subtle, Scorp, but you're not."

Rose exchanged a look with Al and they started laughing.

Scorpius cringed. How excruciatingly embarrassing! Casting a Disillusionment Charm might be a good idea right now, as the earth didn't do him the favour of swallowing him.

"Oh Scorp," Rose said, still snickering. "The haughty look you paste on when you have no idea what's going on is priceless! Come off your high hippogriff. Someone had to take matters in hand, you know?"

"High hippogriff? I've no idea what you're talking about." Scorpius stuck his nose up in the air and looked around for the rogue bludger that must have hit him. There was no other explanation for his quick wit to be so, well, un-quick.

Rose's smile would've been wicked, if her chin hadn't been marred with pink lipstick. "Scorp?" She approached him and was snapping her fingers in front of his eyes. "I know this must be devastating news, but I didn't expect them to kill all your brain cells."

"What, just, er ... concentrating."

"If you say so. Where was I? Ah, yes … Al was growing more and more desperate because you didn't respond to any of his attempts to make you stop pretending you were just a good friend. So we eventually came up with this plan after we met you in Hogsmeade. You couldn't hide your reaction to Al wearing make-up and a skirt, and since you had discovered our secret anyway, we thought there was nothing to lose."

She clapped her hands in delight, a broad smile giving way to new laughter. "You really didn't see that coming, did you?"

Scorpius didn't dignify this with a reply. He searched for confirmation in Al's eyes. They were mesmerising. He lost himself in them, speechless, breathless, and his hands tightened around Al's butt again on their own volition.

Al didn't speak, either. But his smile spoke volumes and his eyes sparkled. He cupped Scorpius face, and Scorpius shuddered from the tingle of excitement rushing over his skin.

"Ah, I think my work is done," Rose said. She left the room and shut the door behind her with more force than necessary.

Scorpius bit back a sigh, glad she'd finally left them alone. Al, though, looked like an angry cat. "If I had a Galleon for every precious moment ruined by Rose, I'd be a millionaire. I mean, I had everything under control, there was really no need for her to intervene. Now she'll drone on forever that we're only together because of her clever machinations."

Scorpius cracked up, hid his face on Al's shoulder and hugged him tightly for as long as it took him to overcome his laughing fit. "Sorry," he murmured into Al's ear.

"'S okay," Al said. "Laughter's way better than the fit of rage I expected. Honestly, I thought you'd hex us to hell when we'd tell you. I can't remember having said something funny, though."

Scorpius melted into Al's fingers playing with the hair at his nape, and moaned as Al's other hand found its way under Scorpius' jumper. Warm fingers ran along the line where Scorpius' waistband touched his skin.

Scorpius pressed his forehead to Al's and crossed his arms behind Al's neck. "You didn't. You just voiced my thoughts. Rose is definitely better at ruining moments than at thinking up cunning plans and traps."

"All that matters to me is that it worked out."

Scorpius smiled at the mischief in Al's voice, and then gave in to the allure of Al's mouth once more.

Al kissed like the Seeker he was. He took his time, like when he circled high above the other players searching for the Snitch. He tried different techniques to find out what Scorpius liked or didn't, as he would test his opponent's strengths and weaknesses. And when the game was full on, he would attack, forceful, but with finesse, just like he'd captured Scorpius' mouth.

His fingers danced up and down both sides of Scorpius' spine, and Scorpius squirmed with growing arousal. His dick filled with every heartbeat, and worked its way up to his waistband. Fuck, he shouldn't have been so vain. The slinky black trousers didn't even forgive an extra piece of treacle tart, much less hide a full-grown hard-on. He shifted his weight for a better angle and pressed closer. His erection brushed Al's for the first time, and he let out a moan, half pain, half desire.

Fuck, this was better than any wank fantasy. He rubbed his pelvis against Al's, grasping Al's buttocks again. The yelp it coaxed out of Al encouraged him and he thrust harder, faster, for more of the delicious friction. It cost him all of his self-restraint to break the kiss and step out of the tight embrace.

Al's eyes flew open, bright green and hazy. Cheeks on fire, lips swollen and darkened, he asked, "What's wrong?" Genuine concern rang in his voice.

"Nothing! It's just ... would you pinch me, please? This is too good to be real."

"I have a much better idea." Al ran a teasing finger down the front of Scorpius' black jumper and grabbed the buckle of his belt.

"Mmmh." His voice was low and husky, as his fingertips brushed the tip of Scorpius' dick. "Now what do we have here – a present? Think it'd burst if I don't unwrap it soon?"

Scorpius bit his lip. What an impressively wicked use of fingertips! So Al had paid attention during the make-up lesson.

"You damn tease! First, you stole my heart, then you took my breath away by wearing that fucking short skirt, and now you even want my cock? Any suggestions how I'm supposed to survive?"

Al continued his lecherous work, running his hand up and down the front of Scorpius' trousers. It was sweet torture, and Scorpius' dick was a willing victim. Leaking pre-come, it stretched into the touch and pressure, and was rewarded with firm, steady strokes.

Grinning like the cat that swallowed the canary, Al bent forward to whisper in Scorpius' ear. "You know you just used up all your clichés for the month, don't you? Trust me, your heart is safe with me and your cock seems lively enough. The only thing I'm worried about is the lack of oxygen. I suggest mouth-to-mouth."

Scorpius took him by his word. "I'm glad you're so eager to keep me alive," he murmured against Al's lips when they emerged from the kiss. "But I can't guarantee that evil little skirt of yours will survive, too."

"Don't hold back. I can cast a mean Reparo, remember?"

"As you wish." Scorpius walked Al back to the wall, groaning from the pressure and friction of his tight trousers at each step. Al fumbled Scorpius' belt open, the button and his fly, and yanked at his trousers and pants until they were a messy puddle around Scorpius' knees. The instant relief drew another moan out of Scorpius. Al's hand closed around his cock and started moving up and down.

"Not enough," Scorpius ground out, "sorry!" He spun Al around and shoved the skirt up. The thin fabric was warm from Al's body heat, but not as soft and hot as Al's bare skin. Scorpius gasped.

"No pants ... you dirty little … skirt-wearer, you ... you planned even this!"

Al snickered. "Not me. Rose. Reads too many trashy romances, if you ask me …" Al's hands came up against the wall, flat on the stone. Al thrust back, pressing his buttocks to Scorpius' dick. Scorpius grasped his hips, and buried his face in the thick waves of Al's hair, drinking in the faint herbal smell.

"I like trashy romances, if this is what they're like," he whispered. He went down on his knees to lick Al open, not caring about the glistening traces his leaking dick had left. Harsh breaths were the answer to his tongue's forays. Al squirmed in his grip and thrust back against his face. A few quick strokes up and down his own erection, then Scorpius reached around Al's hip with his hand, slick with pre-come.

Al's cock was leaking, too, and Scorpius grew even more aroused by the thought of his own semen mixing with Al's. He matched the flicks of his tongue to the motion of his hand and in no time Al's moans echoed through the tiled room. "Please, Scorp ... nnnng …"

Scorpius managed a lube charm, and a last gentle probing with two fingers confirmed Al was up for the next step. He pressed the tip of his cock at Al's entrance and pushed forwards. He eased just the head in, but Al didn't want to take it slow. He met Scorpius' short little shoves with forceful pushes, reached back with one hand to encourage him and gave only a short hiss when Scorpius slid in. Al was slick, but still tight.

"Everything alright?" Scorpius asked. Al clenched his buttocks and rolled his hips. His words were a hoarse whisper. "Do you want to kill that skirt or not?"

"Oh fuck, Al …" Scorpius grabbed the soft folds of the fabric gathered above Al's arse and ripped it off him. The harsh sound of tearing cotton rang in his ears, and holding back wasn't an option anymore.

He threw the ragged scraps of the skirt aside and closed one hand around Al's dick. Al gasped, moaned, and came, the white of his come barely visible on the tiles. The last drops were warm and sticky on his fingers, then Scorpius shuddered and thrust up a final few times into Al.

They stood for a little while, regaining their breaths. Scorpius pulled out and Al turned around to lean against the wall with his back. His make-up had become a bit smudgy from burying his head in the crook of his elbow, but the breath-taking effect was still there. Scorpius looked into his green eyes, happy, and with trembling legs. A languorous smile lingered on Al's face. "That was—"

"Brilliant!" Scorpius grinned. "Absolutely brilliant!"

They beamed at each other in total bliss. Cliché, yes, but wonderful. Wonderful as in ... well, wonderful. Everything was perfect.

Until a metallic, yet melodic voice said, "Not bad for two first-timers."

"Galloping gargoyles!" Scorpius jerked away from Al, pulled his wand, and scanned the bathroom for intruders. Al did the same.

"Who's there? Show your ugly face, you fucking voyeur!" Scorpius covered his dick with his free hand. Damn fate had it in for him tonight!

"Up here," the voice sing-songed from above their heads. "No need to get your wands in a knot, my dear boys. What happens in the Prefects' bathroom stays in the Prefects' bathroom."

The mermaid. He had totally forgotten about her. She played with a strand of her shiny red hair and looked at him from under her long lashes. Though, from her angle, right above them, she couldn't have seen too much. Hopefully. With a resigned sigh – now it was official, sighing had become his new hobby – he turned to Al.

"Count on another bloody redhead to ruin a precious moment!"