When Hugo burst into the Slytherin common room carrying Lily, Albus and Scorpius were shocked still.
Near tears, Hugo rushed to the couple with an unconscious Lily in his arms, uncaring of the snickering Slytherins muttering about overdramatics. His eyes glistening, he said, “w-we were practicing for a-a duel, a-and it all happened so fast, a-and I don’t know how t-to wake her up.”
Albus and Scorpius shared a look.
Scorpius murmured, “come with me.”
The couple ushered Hugo and Lily out of the common room and into their dorms. The two students in the dorms saw the situation and dashed out of the room faster than necessary.
“Set her here,” Albus said concernedly.
Hugo went over to Albus’s bed and set her delicately on the mattress. Scorpius placed a hand on Lily’s head and said, “she’s cold. What did you hit her with?”
Hugo worried his bottom lip and answered hesitantly, “Petrificus Totalus.”
Scorpius and Albus’s gazes were sharp and surprised.
“That’s advanced magic,” Scorpius said, “for someone at your level.”
Hugo sheepishly stared at the floor, his skin tinged Weasley red. “I-I know. W-We just.” He swallowed and stopped speaking.
“Does Madame Pomfrey know about this?” Albus asked.
Hugo stared downward and shook his head.
Since he looked ready to cry, the couple didn’t chastise him for going to them instead. Hugo has always been a stickler for rules, like his mother.
Albus knew they were about to break some, though.
Understanding where his thought process was going, Scorpius said searingly, “whatever you’re thinking, the answer is no.”
Albus crossed his arms, staring at his little sister lying paralyzed on his bed. He was supposed to be responsible for Lily, just as his older brother James was responsible for him.
Albus knew the potion to use to fix a body-bind spell. The only issue? The ingredients and his best potion-making kit were at home.
Leaving Hogwarts grounds while school was in session was strictly forbidden. Keeping Madame Pomfrey out of the loop was another strike.
Albus didn’t want Hugo’s perfect record to be messed up forever. And he wanted Lily to be okay.
Albus looked steadfastly at his boyfriend and asked, “how much detention do you reckon I’ll get?”
Hugo’s mouth fell open, as if surprised the couple was committed to helping him. Albus knew he wasn’t close with Hugo, but he and Lily were best friends. And Hugo was family.
Unimpressed, Scorpius replied, “enough to make me right cross.”
A side of Albus’s mouth twitched upwards. “My potion kit is at my house. Whaddaya say?”
Scorpius’s shoulders drooped. “I have no choice but to follow you.”
Albus’s eyes shined at the expected response. “Help me carry her.”
As Scorpius took her legs and Albus took her shoulders, Hugo piped up, “I-I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have-”
“Stay here,” Albus ordered. The couple lifted Lily off the bed. “We don’t want you getting in trouble.”
Hugo’s lip quivered. “I’m still sorry.”
“It’s fine. Cover for us,” Albus said gently. “Okay?”
Hugo nodded, and Scorpius apparated them off of school grounds.
Albus’s hopes that his parents wouldn’t be home were dashed.
Harry and Ginny took in the sight of their son and Scorpius carrying their paralyzed daughter.
This was sure to make the history books for Craziest Things That Have Happened in the Potter-Weasley Family Home.
Harry stood up, Ginny blinking as if seeing a mirage. “Boys,” Harry said dangerously, “what are you doing?”
Albus and Scorpius laid Lily down on the side couch. Albus, knowing that he was going to be in so much trouble later, held up a hand in their general direction. Albus went to the kitchen, Scorpius taking vigil at Lily’s side. He heard Scorpius muttering spells and checking on Lily’s well-being as much as he could.
Albus’s parents migrated to the kitchen, where Albus was frantically gathering his cauldron, stirring spoon, and ingredients.
He had made anti-paralysis potion several times before. He himself had been a victim of the body-binding spell. Scorpius was a far better dueler than he.
Scorpius was far better at everything than Albus, actually. Except potion-making. That was Albus’s arena. His expertise. His special talent.
Albus knew he was meant to be a superb dueler or athlete like his parents, but he preferred burying himself in recipes and perfecting the craft of potion-making. It was an art. An easy thing to mess up. Even Scorpius wasn’t skilled at brewing potions.
But Albus excelled at it. His teachers thought he had real talent.
His parents didn’t know that, though. They didn’t even know he was dating the teenage boy tending to Lily right now. Harry and Ginny merely tolerated Scorpius because of his father. Albus understood habits were hard to break.
Albus gathered honeywater, syrup of hellebore, moondew, a mandrake, and a unicorn horn. He placed his ingredients beside his cauldron, rubbing his hands together.
He got to work stewing a mandrake. While it cooked, he pulverized a unicorn horn to be added later.
Ginny cleared her throat. “Al, what’s going on?”
Albus focused on his work and said absentmindedly, “you have my good potion-making kit.”
There was a silence.
“Al,” Harry said, “answer your mother.”
Albus mixed syrup of hellebore with the stewed mandrake, his unicorn horn transformed into magical dust. “Lily got body-bound. That’s all.”
Another silence. Albus stirred the powdery unicorn horn into his cauldron slowly.
“How exactly,” Harry asked, “did that happen?”
Albus didn’t want to get poor little Hugo into trouble. “It was an accident, from what I gathered.”
Ginny pursed her lips. “Do you know who did it, Al?”
Albus remained mum. “I just know it was an accident.”
If they sensed his lie, they didn’t comment. Albus spoke a summoning spell, his favorite pair of goggles appearing around his neck. He smiled and slipped them over his eyes. Albus poured moondew into the cauldron, being greeted with an impressive cloud of smoke. Just as expected. He was doing everything right so far.
Albus took advantage of the cloud cover and put his entire focus into stirring the mixture carefully. This potion required delicacy, something that most students couldn’t quite master.
Albus was always the delicate child. James and Lily had spines stronger than steel. Albus felt like a disappointment in that way.
Until Scorpius made him realize that he was special. That he was unique. That he was unlike anyone in his ultra-famous Potter family.
It was what made Scorpius love him. And Albus couldn’t complain about that.
The smoke cloud dissipated, Albus catching Harry and Ginny observing him with interest.
They had never seen him in his element before.
Albus poured honeywater into the mixture, stirring it clockwise and turning on the stove. He would have to boil it quickly; he didn’t know how long Lily had been paralyzed, and what the lasting effects of a body-bind spell were. Scorpius was probably taking care of that, though. He could always fill in Albus’s blanks.
Albus realized the anti-paralysis potion was well-mixed. It was the color of golden honey, the perfect consistency. He put on mitts and plucked his cauldron, setting it on the stove. The mixture started to boil upon touching the burners. Albus took a step back and fastened his mitts to his arms. He didn’t want one of the mitts to slip off until all heat had left the area. It was safe enough to remove his goggles, though. He rested them on his head for now, knowing he would need them in a few moments.
He had to address the elephant in the room.
Albus just didn’t expect his parents to be speechless upon looking at him.
Ginny watched on with a proud glint in her eyes, a little smile affixed on her lips. Harry’s eyes were wide, as if still in awe.
Albus hadn’t been looked at this way by his parents in a long time. They were proud of James when he excelled at Quidditch. They were proud of Lily when she excelled in all of her classes.
Now they could be proud of Albus for something.
Albus said, “you’re both starting to freak me out.”
Harry and Ginny took synchronized blinks, which was kind of creepy.
Albus inquired hesitantly, “am I in trouble?”
Harry sighed. “I suppose...I can persuade the school to lessen your punishment.”
Albus frowned. He shouldn’t get his hopes up. The punishment would still be severe. He asked, “can you tell them not to punish Scorpius?” Albus blushed upon speaking his name aloud, even though he was just in the other room. “I-I don’t want to get Scorp in trouble because of me.”
If this request shocked Harry, he didn’t show it. “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thank you,” Albus said. “It’s not his fault I drag him along.”
Harry and Ginny shared smiles. Albus figured they could relate.
Then, their expressions became curious. It was as if a switch was suddenly flipped.
Ginny said kindly, “it’s good that you care so much for your friend.”
The use of the word ‘friend’ had Albus frowning again. Scorpius has never been just his friend. He was always more than that. As long as Albus could remember.
With an uncharacteristic bout of Gryffindor courage, Albus said, “he’s more than my friend.”
The stove dinged with the best timing Albus could ever ask for. Albus directed his attention to the cauldron, slipping his goggles over his eyes again. He examined the purple tint of the mixture, proud of himself for getting the recipe as exact as possible. He shut off the stove burners and made sure his mitts were still secured. He lifted the cauldron and set it on the counter, allowing himself a small smile. He needed to distract himself from ruminating on the bomb he just dropped on his parents, who were standing a few feet away from the kitchen.
Albus procured a cup and a ladle from the cupboards. He ladled the mixture into the cup, making sure there was a divot in it for sipping. Once the cup was full, Albus placed a cover over his cauldron. He rested his pair of goggles around his neck, taking off the mitts. He would deal with the mess when his sister awakened.
Potion made, Albus cooled it with a few breaths. He held it carefully and carried it over to the sitting room, ignoring his parents. Albus caught sight of Scorpius still kneeling beside a paralyzed Lily, murmuring things to her. Scorpius turned when Albus approached with his freshly-made potion. Albus knelt beside Scorpius, who took the anti-paralysis potion from Albus’s hands. Scorpius whispered soothing words to Lily, who seemed to listen and understand them. He tipped the cup into her slightly-parted lips, the potion entering Lily’s system. She swallowed the mixture, Scorpius being incredibly attentive to make sure he wasn’t pouring too much at a time. Albus watched on with fondness, a warmth blooming from his chest and spreading to his stomach and igniting his cheeks.
Scorpius would be a good healer one day. Albus was completely sure of it.
The potion-maker and the healer. They would be unstoppable together.
Lily’s limbs suddenly started to move. She blinked once, water filling her eye sockets. Scorpius set the empty cup aside and watched Lily regain full awareness of her bodily functions.
The first thing Lily did was tilt her head to the side, taking in Scorpius and Albus. Lily said to Scorpius, “your bedside manner is lovely.”
A flustered Scorpius mumbled, “thank you.”
Then, Lily said to Albus, “your potion tasted wonderful. Thank you.”
Now Albus was blushing. His little sister rarely conveyed such sweetness. She wasn’t one for doling out compliments, either.
Lily asked, “is Hugo okay?”
“Yeah,” Scorpius replied. “You feel alright?”
Albus shot his boyfriend a look. “Are you doubting my potion-making skills?” He teased.
“Course not, Al,” Scorpius said genuinely. “I’m doing due diligence.”
Scorpius turned to Lily, who answered, “I feel fine.”
“Fantastic,” Scorpius said, “let’s get back to school before Hugo stresses out too much.”
Harry cleared his throat pointedly. The three teenagers’s heads snapped up to see Harry and Ginny standing nearby.
They had forgotten they were there.
Lily’s eyes bugged out of her head. Albus recalled what he had revealed to his parents a moment earlier, a storm of emotions rising within him.
“H-hi, Mom,” Lily said. “H-hi Dad. Um.”
“It’s alright, dear,” Ginny said soothingly.
Lily swallowed a lump in her throat. She decided to remain silent. That was easier, Albus supposed.
“Al,” Harry said, “come here a minute.”
Scorpius watched Albus curiously as he trotted hesitantly towards his parents. Albus’s heart pounded rapidly in his chest. His ears were filled with a gong sound. His insides were set alight.
Merlin, what had he done?
Ginny guided Albus towards the kitchen, halting him there. Albus glanced at his cooling cauldron for no apparent reason at all.
The warmth of his mother’s hands framing his cheeks forced Albus to look into her eyes. Ginny said softly, “we accept you, Al. We’re so very proud of you. Thank you for telling us.”
Albus swallowed thickly. He looked at his father, and saw an easy acceptance in his irises. Relief filled his insides. He didn’t know what to say, so he mustered, “um. O-okay.”
Ginny grinned, understanding what Albus was trying to convey without creating an embarrassing scene. His boyfriend was in the other room, for Merlin’s sake. Albus needed to be cool.
Well, not really. Scorpius didn’t care about such things.
Ginny pulled Albus into a hug, and he melted into his mother’s embrace. He wouldn’t shed a single tear. He was adamant on not doing so.
A moment later, Albus pulled away and smiled. He gathered himself in the span of a breath. “Cool,” Albus said, putting on a false macho accent. “I gotta go now, Mom.”
Ginny and Harry laughed softly.
“I’ll clean up in the kitchen. Dad will make sure everything is okay,” Ginny told Albus. Harry nodded in affirmation.
Albus rejoined his boyfriend and sister. Scorpius had gotten Lily to stand with a limited amount of shakiness in her legs. That meant Albus had done a good job with the potion. Too bad he wasn’t getting tested on it.
Scorpius and Lily met Albus’s gaze with unsure smiles. Nonetheless, Scorpius apparated them all back to Hogwarts with a goodbye to Harry and Ginny.
Upon seeing Lily back to her normal self, Hugo hugged her tightly and blubbered apologies into her shoulder.
Lily laughed it off and said it wasn’t a big deal.
Harry managed to reduce Albus and Scorpius’s punishments. Scorpius got a week in detention, where Albus got three. A tamer sentence than Albus could even dare to imagine.
It was worth it, though. Albus and Scorpius and Lily had had an adventure.
In Albus’s opinion, that was worth a little detention.