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of pastries and perfectionism

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“A little to the left…”

 

Sigh. Grunt.

 

“No, nope, more right.”

 

Groan.

 

“Wait! Maybe.... A teensy, tiny bit left.”

 

“Scorp, does it really matter how central this damn tree is?”

 

Scorpius gasped melodramatically, holding an open palm again his chest. “Of course it does! If it’s too close to either of the bells and then doesn’t perfectly line up with both Bathilda and the Heliotrope Telescope then the entire feng shui of the living room will be off!”

 

Albus watched as the corners of Scorpius’ mouth twitched upwards into a barely-suppressed smile, thankful that his boyfriend was only joking about this ‘room energy’ nonsense.

 

“Now, I believe I said a tiny bit to the left?”

 

Well, sort of joking.

 

Albus spared a glance at Bathilda, the life-sized house elf model Scorpius had once gotten as a sassy remark to his grandparents, who were apparently flabbergasted when he’d said he didn’t need or want a house elf for their flat. Albus had no idea where Scorpius had gotten it in the first place, but considering his ability to bring home a multitude of strange nicknacks and weird decorations (the purple telescope being one of them), Albus had just decided not to question it. Besides, it was oddly adorable how Scorpius put so much effort into dressing it up for whatever holiday or event came around.

 

When Albus had nudged the tree another quarter of an inch left and gotten the nod of approval from his partner, he stepped back to stand by his side, staring at the fir tree with a tilt of his head.

 

“Are you sure it doesn’t look exactly the same?” Albus asked, turning to look at Scorpius. He stared, incredulous, as Scorpius pressed his lips together tightly to supress what was surely a grin, but that didn’t stop the laughter and minor pity from lighting up in his shiny eyes.

 

“Scorpius!” Albus exclaimed, causing the aforementioned blond to burst out in a great cackle. “That’s not funny!”

 

“I’m sorry! I just-!” Scorpius cut himself off as another bout of laughter arose from within him. He took a few moments to calm down, whilst Albus crossed his arms and frowned, eyebrows furrowed. “It was rather amusing, is all. Plus, it’s quite sweet to see how much effort you’ll go to for me, despite not being able to recognise the difference yourself.” Scorpius reasoned, cheeks pink and eyes still a bit teary with laughter. Albus watched Scorpius stepped closer until he was near enough to press their bodies together, reaching up to lace his arms around Albus’ shoulders. “M’sorry, love. I won’t do it again.” Scorpius leaned forward to nuzzle his nose against Albus cheek, planting a quick kiss there as he did.

 

Albus couldn’t help the smile that always formed on his face when Scorpius was especially affectionate so out of the blue, and released his crossed arms to wrap them around Scorpius’ middle, bringing him impossibly closer.

 

“S’okay.” Albus sighed, quick to return the peck on the cheek before their bodies began to lightly sway together at their extended hug. “Besides, it does look good.” He extended, speaking the truth despite it not having a single decoration on it yet.

 

Albus felt the vibrations of Scorpius’ hum against his chest, where they were pressed together tightly. ”Yes, it does. I’d even say it’s in the perfect position too.” Albus groaned at Scorpius’ remark and pulled away from the other, hearing as Scorpius burst out in more laughter at his response.

 

“Come on,” Scorpius said enthusiastically. “Let’s get to decorating!” Albus watched his partner grin and hold up two baubles by the hooks, before Albus sighed and shook his head with a fond smile as he took them from Scorpius with a kiss.

 

“I don’t know why you want to do it this way, it won’t look as good.” Albus commented after a handful of minutes went by, having been hanging up various decorations on to the spiky branches. Scorpius had cast some sort of spell which caused muggle christmas music to lightly play around the room, and had been humming along to the parts he knew (which, in all honesty, weren’t that many.)

 

“Don’t say that, I think it’ll be wonderful.” Albus moved his gaze from where he was trying -and failing- to get a particularly tricky decoration to stay in place, to where Scorpius was kneeling on the ground, intensely focusing on a set of decorations that, if hung together correctly, looked startlingly like the Hogwarts Express. “Besides, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, it’s all about the experience. I’ve missed it.”

 

Albus winced at his own stupidity as Scorpius’ expression became somewhat wistful. He had told Albus years ago, back in their Hogwarts years, about how much Astoria Malfoy née Greengrass had enjoyed decorating the manor without the use of magic. He had said that she had been rather good at it, and while she did end up using some magic by the end of each decorating session (christmas just wasn’t christmas without actual shooting stars and giggling nutcrackers, apparently), they had had so much fun decorating the house as a family they had never wanted to start off any other way. Closer to the end of her life, Draco and Scorpius had taken over pretty much all decorating duties, with her designating decorations and giving orders from her plush armchair, only really able to help with the final touches of magic.

 

After her passing, the only festive sight you could see in the manor was the tiny tree Scorpius summoned to sit on his desk, out of sight for anyone but himself. The few baubles he had been able to find in the attic had to be shrunk down to fit, and Scorpius was unable to make the star twinkle the same way that she had.

 

The thought of young Scorpius sadly fiddling away with a tree he just couldn’t get to look exactly the way he wanted, the way his mother was always able to make the larger tree look, made Albus’ chest ache and eyes sting. Rather than linger on the painful thought, Albus stepped closer to the young Malfoy and knelt down next to him.

 

“Hey,” he whispered, nudging ever-so-slightly closer until the tip of his nose was nearly brushing Scorpius’ cheekbone. “Where do you want the snowflake set to go?” He asked, awkwardly reaching behind himself to grab it, before bringing it round to his front and holding it up as an odd sort of presentation to his lover. He watched Scorpius’ eyes move from the tree to the sparkly snowflake set Albus was holding, and wiggled it side to side mock-tantalisingly, happy to see Scorpius’ smile creeping back at the sight.

 

“Near the top, obviously.” Scorpius chimed in, plucking the box from Albus’ fingers and standing up straight as he opened it up in a quick motion.

 

“Obviously.” Albus drawled, but grinned as he stood to join Scorpius. He watched Scorpius slip a delicate snowflake out of its casing, before he reached up to slide it into place on one of the branches, where it dangled and glinted as the lights hit it from various angles.

 

“Perfect.” Scorpius spoke, turning back to Albus and holding the rest of the snowflake decorations out for him to take. Albus did with a returned smile, watching as Scorpius moved to pull a long string of shiny beads from where they had been laid out over the coffee table.

 

As Albus turned back to the tree, pulling another snowflake out of its box, the previous pain in his chest was quickly soothed by a burst of warmth, brought upon by the wonderful sound of Scorpius’ off-key humming once again tickling Albus’ ears with merriment. He smiled giddily as he looped the string of the decorations around a branch.

 

He wasn’t typically that excited for the festivities that came around each year, but he could admit, there was something catching about Scorpius’ wonderful enthusiasm and adorable dedication.

 

“Higher, Albus!”

 

Well, some of the time.

 

--

 

It seemed to be a common theme in their lives that every idea they came up with that sounded good would end up a complete and total disaster. Predictably, the event of baking mince pies went no differently. After an hour spent slumping around Waitrose looking for the filling, since Scorpius for some unfathomable reason thought that mince pies had actual mince meat in them (“I got a substitute for some Albus, look, it’s made from soya!”), Albus was standing over the sink in their kitchen, trying to scrub syrup out of the sleeve of his shirt. He had managed to find the filling, but only after a nasty run-in with an elderly lady and her husband who wanted the last jar despite the fact that they probably wouldn’t even be able to eat it anyway.

 

“Stupid, gummy pensioners,” Albus muttered to himself as he held his wet sleeve between the ends of a tea towel in a pathetic attempt to get it dry enough to not feel gross and clingy against his arm. They had to be at the burrow that evening, and he was partly kicking himself for not getting changed into his nicer clothes after the baking Scorpius was so insistent on doing.

 

“I’m sorry Albus.” He heard Scorpius murmur, feeling his long arms wrap around his own waist, and a small kiss pressed to the back of his neck.

 

Albus sighed before dropping the tea towel back on to the countertop. He twisted in Scorpius’ arms until they were face-to-face, dropping his head down until he could rest it on the blond’s shoulder. It was a bit bony, and he was pretty sure Scorpius’ Christmas jumper was made of actual tinsel considering how itchy it felt against his forehead, but it felt wonderful and warm and sweet and Scorpius , so he daren’t complain.

 

“S’okay love,” he mumbled. “Are they turning out well, at least?”

 

Albus felt Scorpius hum. “I think so.” Scorpius said uncertainty. “I mean, I might’ve put too much filling in the first batch, so there wasn’t a whole lot for the second one, but… I think they’re okay. They’ll probably taste okay too.”

 

Albus nodded against his partner’s jumper and cracked a grin. “At the very least they’ll taste like actual mince pies, not mince meat pies. That would be atrocious.”

 

He felt Scorpius poke his fingers into his sides nastilly. “Oh, shush! They wouldn’t have tasted like meat anyway, remember?”

 

Albus raised his head to catch Scorpius smiling matter-of-factly, using his thumbs to point at himself like the complete dork he is.

 

“Whatever you say,” Albus scoffed, rolling his eyes with a fond smile. He reached out and took Scorpius’ double thumbs up in his own hands, pulling Scorpius closer until he could capture his lips in a simple kiss. “C’mon Veggie, let’s see if they’re done.”

 

--

 

“They could be worse… I think.” Scorpius spoke optimistically, but the grimace on his face as he stared at the odd pastry lumps spoke more words than he could ever wish to say out loud (even Scorpius, the master of run-on sentences and mindless ramblings).

 

Albus sighed, lips pursed as he reached forward to nudge at one of the lumps. He might’ve paused and considered the possibility of getting burnt, if it weren’t for the reality of them having been set on the counter over two hours ago. Scorpius had hoped that if he let them ‘settle’ a bit and cool down, then they might shrink. Or maybe the smaller ones would expand. Or they’d just, magically transform into perfectly shaped mince pies they could dust with sugar and present to their families in a wicker basket with a checkered tea towel lining it. Not that they owned either of those, but the fantasy had been nice.

 

“They could also be better.” Albus chimed in helpfully, laughing at the way Scorpius tried to swat his hands away, before watching him grip his fluffy blonde hair in both fists.

 

“I don’t understand! I didn’t think-! I mean, the difference in filling wasn’t that large, at least not large enough for this happen!” Scorpius moaned, face scrunched in obvious annoyance. “I did everything else right!”

 

“I’m just confused how the filling ended up on the outside of half of them. I mean, really, it’s almost impressive.”

 

Albus sighed as Scorpius let out another groan of annoyance, before reaching up to pull Scorpius’ hands away from his hair. “Don’t worry, they probably taste great.”

 

“But that’s not the point! I wanted them to look nice too, I just wanted to impress-... I mean, I…” Scorpius huffed and quickly turned away from the pastries on the counter, instead starting to fuss over the ingredients they had left sprawled over the small island.

 

Albus frowned, eyebrows knit close in confusion. “Impress? Who in Merlin’s name were you trying to impress with” he waved a hand over the mince pies “baking?”

 

Scorpius smiled, but it was weak and not nearly authentic enough to convince Albus.

 

“Would you believe me if I said ‘you’?” Scorpius chuckled out lamely. Albus cocked an eyebrow and tilted his head closer to Scorpius in clear disbelief, though he couldn’t help the twisting at the corner of his mouth, and small smile at his lover’s adorable attempts at a cover up.

 

The two held eye contact for a few beats, until Scorpius’ head dropped and his hands ceased their fidgeting. Albus heard a small mumbled come from his direction, but had to ask Scorpius to repeat himself.

 

“...Your Grandmother.”

 

Albus’ face quickly reverted back to confusion, except this time with a wide grin pulling at his face. ‘Of all the people,’ he thought.

 

“What?” He laughed out. “Out of everyone-. Scorpius, why do you want to impress Grandmum? And why did you think this would be the way to do it?” He motioned back to the pies with one hand, whilst he used the other to lean against the countertop Scorpius was determinedly staring at, nudging closer until his could feel Scorpius’ body heat against his skin.

 

“I know, okay! It probably sounds stupid but I just-” Scorpius clenched his jaw, tilted his head back, giving Albus a clear view of his bobbing adam’s apple. “She makes these kinds of things all the time, and she’s incredible at it. She has it down to an art form, even, and I thought that maybe she would… enjoy it. Or something.”

 

“Oh, Scorp , c’mere.” Albus cooed, wrapped an arm around Scorpius’ waist and pulling him closer until he could press a kiss to his temple. “Grandmum adores you already, I thought you knew that.”

 

Scorpius shrugged. “I know that she likes me, sure, but I just feel like I should make more of an effort, okay? She’s always been so kind to me, despite having every right to be suspect of me, considering all the rumors and adventures, and my last name.” Scorpius let out another huff. “It’s stupid, really, I’m sorry about all of this .” He finished, mimicking Albus’ previous gesture with a swoop of his hands.

 

Albus pulled Scorpius tighter, choosing to stay silent on the fact that Grandmum had never cared about those things, had even been welcoming to Draco joining everyone at the Burrow the last few years for some Christmas parties. It would only make Scorpius feel worse for being so dramatic, and that was the exact opposite of Albus’ life goal.

 

“You know she wouldn’t care about how they look right? She’d love them, especially since she’s been where you are, struggling with your early baking adventures.” Albus tried to joke, and was glad to see a small grin on Scorpius’ face, who was sending him a mock glare from the corner of his eye.

 

“It’s like you said earlier, with that tree. ‘It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it’s all about the experience.’” Albus pitched his voice slightly higher as he quoted Scorpius’ words back to him, earning a light, teasing smack to his arm for it. “And it was definitely an experience, right?”

 

Scorpius laughed dryly, twisting to return Albus’ clinging hug. “Oh, for certain.” He responded in a whisper.

 

The two stood like that for a while, Scorpius collecting himself in Albus’ arms whilst the lingering sweet smell of the mince pies floated around them. Idly, Albus wished they still had those muggle Christmas carols singing away, since Scorpius always seemed to be in a good mood when they were. Personally Albus thought they were sort of annoying and just bad music, but he had decided to keep those opinions to himself on that matter.

 

“Okay, let’s get these wrapped up and then we can get them to the Burrow.” Albus announced, slowly breaking the hug and turning to grab a serving plate from the cupboard. He could hear a minor choking noise from behind him, and when he turned to look he saw Scorpius looking very red in the face, his hands held out in front of himself as if to grab something, twitching away nervously.

 

“G-get them..? Albus, no !”

 

Albus stopped still, staring at Scorpius who looked like he was frozen in place by sheer anxiety alone.

 

Nooo … what?” He asked.

 

Scorpius exhaled sharply through his nostrils and stalked over to the other man. “ No , we’re not taking them to the Burrow! Are you joking?”

Albus frowned. “Uh… Is this a trick question?”

 

“Of course not- Albus!” Scorpius yelped when Albus placed the plate on the tablet and pulled the cooling tray of mince pies closer to himself.

 

“Scorpius.” Albus responded calmly, pausing to turn to Scorpius, who looked like he was about to have an aneurysm.

 

“I just said that those aren’t good enough!”

 

“And I just said that Grandmum will love them no matter what they look like.” Albus picked up the smallest one and broke it in half, popping one piece into Scorpius’ mouth which had been hanging open in disbelief. He watched as Scorpius chewed while seemingly having some kind of inner battle with himself, if his varying and finally reluctant facial expressions were anything to go by.

 

“Fine, but- Ah, Wait!” Scorpius suddenly interrupted himself, hands hovering over Albus, where they had started piling the mine pies on to the plate again.

 

“What?”

 

“Just… Maybe some powdered sugar on top. They’ll look a bit better like that.”

 

Albus gave Scorpius another judgemental look, though it would have looked a touch more stern if not for the amusement showing through.

 

“And taste better! Plus, presentation matters.”

 

“Presentation matters.” Albus mimicked again with a grin, bursting out in laughter when Scorpius gave him a weak shove, though clearly unable to help his own grin as he left Albus to go and grab the powdered sugar (something they had optimistically bought when they first moved in but never actually touched).

 

One hour, three sheets of foil and two showers later, the two of them were standing in front of their fireplace, hair free of any sugar they had flicked at each other. Albus held the covered serving plate carefully to the side whilst he watched Scorpius pull a handful of flu powder from the pot, the two of them ducking on to the grate and linking their spare hands. He gave Scorpius one last grin before the powder was thrown down, and with a quick yell of their destination, they were whirled away to the Burrow.

 

--

 

“Hey, there they are!”

 

“Bloody finally .”

 

Albus rolled his eyes at the typical loving greeting from his cousin and her girlfriend, Thea, who were twisted up together on a ginormous bean bag chair. He could see Victoire and Teddy curled up on a loveseat, a tiny shuffling form between them that must’ve been Baby Aysel, and he could hear a ruckus of thumps from upstairs that were so loud and unbothered he had no doubt that they were coming from Dominique, Lucy and Roxanne. Judging by the blurry shapes that kept catching his eye from the window, a Quidditch match must’ve already been started.

 

Blimey, we’re not that late ’, Albus thought, but chose not to say this out loud just in case someone decided to try proving him wrong.

 

“Surprised you’re not out there with ‘em Thea.” He nodded to the window before Thea scoffed, rolling her eyes and tilting her head back dramatically.

 

“She’s still resting.” Rose spoke authoritatively in a very clear tone, but Albus couldn’t help smiling when he saw her pushed Thea’s hair behind her ear fondly.

 

“I thought your wrist was okay now? Do you want me to-?” Scorpius added in carefully, ducking closer to the pair but keeping his and Albus’ fingers linked.

 

“I’m fine .” Thea insisted firmly, but shot a grateful smile Scorpius’ way despite it. “But thank you, Scorp. Nah, I’m completely better but coach wants me to rest it until we start practising for next season. Personally I think that’s complete bull-” Thea suddenly stopped when Rose hissed her name, raising a finger to press against Thea’s lips. After a moment of confusion, Rose motioned to the happy little family of three just on the other side of the room. Thea nodded but smiled, pursing her lips to kiss Rose’s finger, shuffling closer when Rose’s cheeks gained a distinct pink hue to them.

 

“C’mon,” Albus whispered to Scorpius, tugging him away from the loving couple and towards the doorway to the kitchen. Scorpius stumbled slightly, caught up in the atmosphere with a dopey smile on his face at the sweet display from Thea and Rose.

 

“Grandmum?! You here?!” Albus yelled once they had entered the aromatic room. There were three pots on the stove top, two of which had wooden spoons stirring whatever mixture had been concocted within them. There was a sharp knife chopping away at some peeled apples on the tabletop, and Albus resolutely decided to stay far away from it, lest they want a repeat of Boxing Day 2024, which absolutely no one would, ever .

 

“Just in here, be a sweetheart and help me carry- oh!” Grandmum Molly’s voice suddenly stopped short when she noticed the large dish Albus was carrying.

 

“I’ve got it Mrs.Weasley!” Scorpius chirped, zipping over quickly to grab the stack of trays she had been carrying out of the pantry. There were only three of them, but they each had various different jars and bottles piled onto each of them, making quite the tower. Albus had to stifle a snort at the sight of Scorpius’ face when he realised just how heavy they apparently were. Not unmanageable, but the secret strength Grandmum Molly had was really impressive for a lady who was now a Great-Grandmum. She just liked to get her ‘wonderfully strong young grandsons to help out once in a while’.

 

“Oh thank you, you absolute angel.” Albus watched with a grin as Molly reached up to pinch at Scorpius’ cheek, something Albus knew from experience was not exactly the most gentle act of affection.

 

“Ah, you’re welcome.” Scorpius spoke, though it came out somewhat garbled considering the monopolisation of part of his face. When it was released, Albus watched him sigh in relief, if the wide eyes and raised eyebrows were anything to go by. “Where would you like them?” Scorpius asked.

 

“Just over here, sweetheart, thank you. So thoughtful!” Molly smiled as Scorpius slid the trays on to the countertop she had motioned to. “And I’ve told you before, haven't I? Just call me Grandmum.”

 

“Oh, err…” Albus watched Scorpius stutter while moving back to Albus’ side. “Okay, Mrs- Uh, I mean, Grandmum…?” Scorpius finished weakly, and Albus raised his spare hand to rest the palm against Scorpius back with a smile. He felt incredibly tense, but at Grandmum Molly’s beaming smile he seemed to relax slightly with a light laugh.

 

“He’s even thoughtful enough to have made you some mince pies, haven’t you Scorpius?” Albus chimed, raising the dish he’d been holding and grinning almost mockingly. He felt Scorpius tense up all over again, stuttering out excuses and explanations that really weren’t necessary.

 

“Oh? Really?” Grandmum Molly looked surprised for a moment, gaze flickering between the two boys before resting on the anxious blonde, her mouth stretching out into a wonderfully warm smile that neither of them could resist returning.

 

“I mean, I…” Scorpius tried to explain again. “They’re not very good. I mean, they taste okay, quite good actually, we tried them! But they look… Well, I don’t really know what happened but I definitely made a mistake somewhere, and I promise I wouldn’t normally want to give you something that looked like t-this, but Albus insisted and its okay if you-” Scorpius’ ramblings cut off when Albus poked his fingers into his spine in an obvious sign for ‘you can stop talking now’. In the midst of his miniature speech, Molly had taken the dish from Albus and peeled back the foil covering the treats. Albus watched Scorpius keep his eyes resolutely on his shoes or on the stirring pots on the other side of the kitchen, seemingly unable to force himself into watching for a reaction from who was essentially (though unofficially, right now) his Great In-Law.

 

“Oh, they look fantastic, and it looks like there’s plenty to go around!” He heard her say, causing his eyes to snap up to where she was peering into the plate and lightly poking around.

 

“They… they what?” Scorpius questioned, and Albus grinned and rolled his eyes at Scorpius’ disbelief.

 

Molly raised her eyes to Scorpius with a smile. “They were fantastic darling. Why, is that so hard to believe?”

 

Scorpius swallowed with a gulp, so Albus took over from there. “I was worried you wouldn’t like them. Really worried, actually, kept saying they aren’t good enough, or something.” Albus grinned and quirked his eyebrows at his partner, who was giving him a pointed look and pretty firm jab to the side.

 

“Not good enough?” Molly scoffed, continuing kindly. “They might not look like the conventional ones, you know, the ones you can buy in a store, but that doesn’t make them bad at all sweetie.” Albus watched her set the plate on the table and beckon the two of them closer. “You see that golden brown along the edges there? You’ve baked them perfectly, and they’re holding their shapes beautifully, no matter what size that shape may be.” Molly sent a cheeky grin and a wink Scorpius’ way, and Scorpius smiled with a light chuckle. “That’s how you know the pastry is good, it keeps its structure.”

 

“He made the pastry from scratch.” Albus spoke, and heard Scorpius squeak at his intrusion. Grandmum Molly, on the other hand, looked rather impressed.

 

“Have you made these before?” She asked, pulling a pie from the plate before re-covering it with the foil.

 

“Ah, no, I haven’t. Well, I practised the pastry a few days ago, but that didn’t work out very well.” Scorpius laughed self-deprecating, rubbing the arm of his jumper as he did so.

 

“Well that’s- Oh! Rose, darling, and Thea, perfect! Would you try this for me?”

 

Albus watched Molly carefully tear the mince pie in half, handing each piece to either of the girls who had just wandered in, apparently putting a pause to their canoodling session in the living room. He wrapped an arm around Scorpius’ tight shoulders as the two girls bit into the pastries, watching as their faces lit up.

 

“Hey, this is great!” Thea complimented

 

“Yeah totally. I mean, I’d have mine with less of the actual mince-”

 

“There are plenty with less in, don’t you worry dear.” Molly interrupted quickly, causing Rose to smile.

 

“Nice. Those’ll be mine then. Thanks Grandmum!”

 

Albus heard Scorpius release a sigh in relief and untense just enough for him to feel less like a statue.

 

“Oh don’t thank me, thank Scorpius here.”

“Oh! Uh…” Scorpius spluttered when the attention was turned to him. “Ah, Albus helped too!” He protested weakly. Albus just shook his head as the gazes were turned his way. In any other situation he may have felt obliged to take some credit, but in this case he was more than willing to let it slide. Emergency ingredient shopping and powdered sugar dusting weren’t terribly taxing duties, after all, the incident with the pensioners aside.

 

“I didn’t know you could bake Scorp,” Thea spoke with a smile, white sugar still coating her face.

 

“Yeah, nice one Malfoy.” Rose smirked, though it was a rather kind, if teasing, one. She pulled Thea closer, dipping her into a sugary kiss before she pulled her away, back through to the living room.

 

“I- I can’t…!” Scorpius protested quietly, but gave up quickly when the love birds had disappeared for sight and went back to their own little world.

 

“Yes you can, stop denying it.” Albus grinned, wrapping Scorpius up tighter and pressing his face into his warm neck. He felt Scorpius wriggle until he was apparently comfortable in Albus’ arms, which was when Albus felt Scorpius’ hands fall to rest on his arms.

 

“Only with a recipe. And practise. And time, Merlin, I should’ve given myself more time.”

 

At the sound of her laughter, Albus looked up to see his Grandmum carefully tucking the plate away with some other bowls and and serving trays, foil fully removed. She cast a quick warming charm on them, before turning back to the boys.

 

“Oh absolutely sweetheart, time and practise are the secret ingredients of every meal I’ve ever prepared successfully! You just develop a knack for it over time, don’t you worry.” She reached up again, this time to pat Scorpius on the cheek firmly.

 

“Here’s hoping to it.” Scorpius sighed out, prompting Albus to squeeze him tighter with a playful grin.

 

Molly was watching the two of them with a sweet smile now.

 

“Honestly, you should’ve seen the mess I made my first time trying to make mince pies! I thought they had actual mince meat in them, a simple mistake to make it might’ve been but I felt so foolish! I even ended up sending Arthur out to get some of the ready-made fruit filling at the very last minute. Not the best first experience at all, but we all start somewhere! Now, where did I put...”

 

Albus tried to stifle to the laughter by pressing his face closer to Scorpius’ skin, but couldn’t help to shaking of his shoulders or the choking noises he made as he did so. He could feel Scorpius’ hand slapping away at his arms, perhaps an attempt to get him to stop laughing, but it was a fruitless attempt. Luckily, Grandmum Molly had already turned away, pulling a jar of something out of her tray stack and barely paying the two of them any attention.

 

“Albus!” Scorpius hissed, twisting to face Albus as soon as Molly had gone back to her own cooking.

 

“What?” Albus choked out, face pulled back to meet Scorpius’ eyes, distinctly flushed from his efforts of stifled laughter.

 

“It’s not that funny.”

 

“I dunno, do you think you’ll be able to cook like this” Albus motioned to the general expense of the kitchen “when we’ve been married for over fifty years?” He asked.

 

Scorpius’ eyes had lit up at the mention of marriage, and Albus was very pleased to see his smile with a sweet flush.

 

“If I have the recipes.”

 

“And practise?”

 

Obviously, I clearly need it.”