They’re not dating. No matter what Rose has to say about it (and Merlin knows Rose has a lot to say about it, especially at shabbos services since she knows Scorpius isn’t going to be there – which wouldn’t be so bad if
Neville’s Professor Longbottom’s husband didn’t come every week).
Scorpius says it’s quite simple, really, and Albus is inclined to believe him. Scorpius, after all, has read loads more books and generally is an adorable nerd about everything, so he’d be the one to know. They’re best friends, yes, and no, they’re not dating, but they have been known to engage in mutual stress relief.
Albus doesn’t think it’s at all unhealthy. Rose disagrees, loudly, but Scorpius agrees with him. After all, it’s not as if either of them are pretending that they want to do this in spite of supposed heterosexuality; no, they both know they’re not straight (though Albus isn’t totally sure what kind of not-straight he is). But it’s stress relief, plain and simple. They’ve got N.E.W.T.s this year, and Scorpius, for one, is taking every course possible (because he is, and this cannot be stressed enough: a gigantic bloody nerd).
That doesn’t change the fact that Rose looks rather superior when she leads the discussion about David and Jonathan, and shoots Albus about a dozen pointed looks, which Mr. Goldstein, thankfully, doesn’t seem to notice. Albus has already had to talk to Neville twice about Scorpius – and this all after his father had agreed to butt the fuck out of his business.
The only real problem, besides Rose, is that they can’t exactly let people know. And, Albus supposes, in trying to make sure no one knows, they might have just made people more suspicious, but frankly they can all fuck off and mind their own damn business.
It’s not like he and Scorpius crawling into each other’s beds to cuddle at night would have gotten less weird with time. Honestly. And their dorm-mates don’t know how to keep their fucking mouths shut. So. Really. They’ve had to come up with creative alternatives.
Which is why Albus scribbles a note to Scorpius in Ancient Runes and passes it to him.
Meet out on the Quidditch Pitch at midnight. Or else.
He doesn’t even look at Scorpius (that would make it too obvious they’ve been passing notes), and instead waits until Scorpius taps his knee to look down.
And oh, for the love of Merlin, Scorpius has written his reply in Runes. Honestly. What a fucking nerd. (Albus wouldn’t pick anyone else to be his best friend, though). He takes a second to translate them – roughly – to “Or else what?”, so Albus scribbles back in plain English, thank you: Exactly.
Scorpius pockets the note and turns his full attention back to their lesson. Swot.
(If it appears to anyone who might happen to glance at Albus that he’s looking at Scorpius with hearts in his eyes – then they just need their eyes checked. Scorpius, adorable though he may be, is Albus’s best friend. That’s all there is to it).
Albus is quite skilled at sneaking out, and he manages to get to the Quidditch pitch with twenty minutes to spare. He’s not got much else to do, so he lays on the pitch on his back and looks at the stars. He’s not quite aware that Scorpius is on his way until he lays down next to him.
“Hello,” Scorpius says.
“Writing your reply in Runes, Scorpius, really?” Albus asks.
“It was Ancient Runes class, Albus. I wasn’t about to write in English.”
“I don’t even know why I’m taking Ancient Runes,” Albus says, though he does, really. He takes it because Scorpius is taking it, and because Scorpius convinced him in second year that it would be fun. It isn’t fun, but he managed an O.W.L. in the subject, so he might as well keep going. Besides, it’s sort of nice to see Scorpius geek out over Runes.
Scorpius reaches for his hand and launches into a defense of the subject. Albus half listens, but more than anything, he’s glad for the time alone with him. He can’t think of anyone he’d rather be with at midnight on a Tuesday (well, technically, he supposes, it’s Wednesday).
Albus waits a few minutes before rolling over and kissing Scorpius – and Scorpius melts into the kiss. They snog for a bit, but it can’t be more than a few minutes before they’re pulling off clothes and Scorpius has the brilliant idea (as he usually does) to conjure a blanket to lay on. Albus kisses his way down Scorpius’s chest and torso and then – teasingly – down the shaft of his cock.
Scorpius never quite shuts up. Albus actually doesn’t mind it. It’s sort of comforting, really. He’s never known quiet at home (between his siblings and cousins and Teddy always in and out of the house), and he doesn’t like it now. Scorpius moans and gasps and whinges when Albus does something to make him, but he talks through it. He’s talking even as Albus wraps his lips around his cock.
Scorpius’s hands are in Albus’s hair as he babbles on. Albus really only half listens, as he’s a bit more focused now on sucking Scorpius’s cock, and doing it well. They’ve only done this a handful of times (they have a lot more practise at wanking each other off, really), and Albus still isn’t entirely convinced that he won’t make some sort of horrible mistake, maybe even one involving teeth (or worse: vomit) that might make Scorpius say enough is enough.
But this time is different.
It starts out much the same – Albus doesn’t suspect that the night will end any differently than it has before – but then he hears Scorpius whisper, “Oh, Merlin, fuck, I love you.”
Scorpius seems to realise what he’s said the same time Albus does, because his body – which has, all things considered, been pretty relaxed – tenses considerably (and not in a good way), and his hands freeze in Albus’s hair.
Albus, for his part, freezes completely, Scorpius’s cock still in his mouth. After a few seconds of stunned silence, Albus pulls away to say, “What.”
“I, er,” Scorpius says, not meeting his gaze, “well, you see, when the body –”
“Scorp, cut it out. People don’t – people don’t say that in bed.” Not if they don’t mean it, anyway, and that may be the singularly most terrifying thought Albus has ever entertained. It’s so terrifying that he doesn’t let it fully form.
“I think you’ll find it’s really quite common. With the – with the endorphins and all that.”
Albus doesn’t say anything. Instead, he takes in the situation. They’re lying on a conjured blanket on the Quidditch pitch, both of them completely fucking naked (their clothes are – somewhere; Albus remembers tossing them off to the side), at half one in the morning. And Scorpius has just told Albus he loves him.
Scorpius – wonderful, lovely, brilliant, geeky, chatty Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, who fancied Rose for their first five years at Hogwarts – Scorpius has just said that he loves him. Whilst Albus had Scorpius’s cock in his mouth, but still. He’s said it.
Perhaps most surprising is that – well, beyond the terror, Albus actually feels sort of okay about this. He’s still a bit in shock, but – he would have thought a declaration of love from Scorpius would make him run away. But he’s not running.
“Albus? Are you all right?”
Albus looks at him. He’s said offhand dozens of times that Scorpius is adorable, and he is, but in that moment, he lets himself think about what that means. That Scorpius is easily adored. And Albus does adore him. How could he not?
Scorpius is gorgeous – Albus has known that, but he’s really only gotten more gorgeous with time. His pale hair looks silver in the moonlight, and his skin is flushed right now in a way that makes Albus want to do more than suck his cock. Albus thinks Scorpius’s bright grey eyes are the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen, and he even loves Scorpius’s pointy chin, even when he teases him about it.
But the problem is that Scorpius hasn’t said that he thinks Albus is fit, or that he likes shagging him, or even that he’d be completely fucking lost without him – Albus could easily reciprocate all of that without needing to stop to think for even a second. No – Scorpius has said he loves him. And, generally speaking, the kind of love people mean when they’re having their cocks sucked isn’t the platonic sort.
And Albus can’t say he feels the same so easily.
So he does the only thing he can think of in the moment, which is to pull Scorpius into a deep, languid kiss and start wanking him off. Maybe it’s cheating – but Scorpius kisses him back and pulls him close, so Albus figures he doesn’t object.
The truly wonderful thing about Scorpius is that he doesn’t let things get awkward. At breakfast, he acts as if nothing unusual at all has happened. And why shouldn’t he? No one else knows they’re shagging (even if they haven’t gone any further than sucking each other off), and acting strange would likely arouse suspicion.
It’s not really like either of them have many friends – Rose bothering Albus on Friday nights doesn’t count – but even so.
Albus finds himself selfishly grateful for Scorpius’s behaviour. This way, he can pretend that nothing at all has happened. He doesn’t have to think about the fact that Scorpius said he loved him last night, or that he’s not taken it back nor apologised.
It isn’t until Friday night, when Rose approaches him, Head Girl badge shining on her robes, that Albus’s illusion of normality is shattered.
“Honestly,” she says as she pulls him off to the side and casts some anti-eavesdropping charms. “Your dad won’t care that you and Scorpius are dating.”
“I know that,” Albus snaps. “Scorpius and I aren’t dating – and even if we were, I wouldn’t care what my dad had to say about it. He doesn’t control my life.”
“I wouldn’t say that I told you so, either,” Rose continues, as if Albus hasn’t just said that he and Scorpius aren’t together.
“That’s great, Rose, but we’re still not dating.”
“I don’t want you to feel like you have to stay in the closet,” she says, wrapping her fingers in her tzitzit. He, unfortunately, knows Rose well enough to know that this is a nervous habit (at least when she’s wearing a tallis).
“I’m not in the closet,” Albus says. “I’ve been very open about the fact that I like guys. I’m just not dating the guy everyone seems to think I am. And I don’t see how that’s a crime.”
“Everyone sees the way you two look at each other.”
“We look at each other like we’re friends,” Albus says, though he knows that’s not true. “Sorry you haven’t got any of your own and don’t know what that feels like, Rose, but I assure you, that’s all there is between me and Scorpius.”
Rose squares her shoulders and lets go of her tzitzit. They fall to brush her calves. “Don’t come crying to me when he gets tired of waiting for you to stop being an idiot and decides to date someone else.”
Albus knows that Rose is lashing out – he knows it – but the worst part is that it still hurts. For some reason – he doesn’t want to think about why – the idea of Scorpius dating someone else makes his stomach churn. Anyone would be lucky to get to be with Scorpius, of course, but Albus is certain that they wouldn’t appreciate him enough.
He supposes, if he were a better person (less stubborn, less arrogant, more in touch with his feelings), he might actually examine why he feels that way, but he isn’t. So, instead, he storms off and sits as far away from Rose during services as possible.
On Tuesday, he passes Scorpius a note in Charms class that reads Great Lake at midnight. Be there or be square.
He keeps his eyes to the front of the class as Scorpius scribbles back his reply, and only looks down when Professor Flitwick is looking in the other direction.
What the fuck? Scorpius has never said no to their rendez-vous before, and it’s gotten to the point where Albus assumes that they have a standing appointment to shag on Tuesday nights at midnight. It’s really just the location that varies. What does Scorpius mean he can’t?
Hastily, he writes a reply, not bothering to wait for the ink to dry before shoving it back at him. Why not?
He’s careful not to look over. Not that he thinks Professor Flitwick will really give him detention, or even take points, but still. He doesn’t want to get Scorpius in trouble. Even if he is being a prick.
Scorpius’s reply comes a few minutes later, and Scorpius announces it by tapping their shoes together.
Albus looks down then to read it.
Need to revise for N.E.W.T.s.
Scorpius doesn’t give any further explanation. Like he actually needs to revise for anything. He’ll probably even beat out Rose – or at least give her a run for her money. And Scorpius has never – never – turned him down before. The whole business had been his idea to start with!
Albus doesn’t know what to make of it, but he wishes the whole thing didn’t sting like rejection. He and Scorpius are best friends. That’s all there is to it.
It continues like this for a month before Albus can’t take it anymore.
Scorpius acts the same as always, but he refuses to sneak out with him, and – well, now that Albus thinks on it – he’s been careful not to spend any time alone with Albus since that night.
Albus is so desperate, really, that he hangs around the greenhouse after Herbology, urging Scorpius to go on without him.
Neville doesn’t look terribly surprised to see him lagging behind. Tactfully, Neville asks him. “Do you fancy a cup of tea, Albus?” which gives Albus an easy excuse for privacy.
So he follows Neville to his office. It’s not far from Greenhouse Seven, and Albus has been there enough times to feel at ease. He takes a seat on the worn velvet sofa as Neville goes about preparing tea. Albus lets himself look at the pictures that decorate the walls – of Neville, his family and friends, and, interestingly…
“When did my mum send you that?” he asks.
Neville looks over and sees the picture Albus is referring to. It’s a relatively recent photograph of Albus, his siblings, his mum, and Cho – and Scorpius, too – at the last World Cup. “A few years ago, I think. I’ve moved some of my photographs from home. Helps break up the monotony.”
“Oh,” Albus says. “Have you – my parents haven’t been meddling again, have they?”
“No,” Neville says. “We write, of course, but – they know where I stand on parental interference with my students, and they know it applies to everyone – even my godson.”
“But I thought…?” Neville has spoken to him about Scorpius before, and Albus was certain that his father had something to do with it.
“You thought what?” Neville asks. “Albus, I’m one of the only people in the world who doesn’t give your parents special treatment, and I’m not about to start now.”
“But you’ve… asked to talk to me. About Scorpius and me.”
“Yes,” Neville agrees. “Because I see you twice a week at least, and so does Anthony, and I’m bound to notice certain things.”
“I thought my parents had asked you to.”
Neville shakes his head. “If they have, that’s got nothing to do with it. But between you and me – I think both your parents are quite fond of Scorpius. Not that that will have any impact on your relationship with him whatsoever.”
“What d’you mean relationship?” Albus says, suddenly feeling defensive. Does even Neville think they’re dating?
Neville pours two cups of tea and sets them on the desk before settling into his chair. “I didn’t mean to imply that the two of you are romantically involved. That’s really none of my business.”
“A-actually,” Albus says. “About that.”
“I’m serious,” Neville says as he picks up his mug and takes a sip of tea. “It’s none of my business.”
“Scorpius said he loved me, and he’s been acting strange ever since.”
Neville doesn’t react like Albus expects him to. He doesn’t splutter out a jumbled reply. He doesn’t choke on his tea. He doesn’t seem to be surprised at all. But he also doesn’t look like he’s begging to say “I told you so.” No; Neville calmly sips at his tea and places the mug back down on the coaster. “When did this happen?”
Albus shifts, feeling a bit uncomfortable. “About a month ago.”
“I don’t want to invade your privacy,” Neville says. “So I won’t. But – at least in my experience – if you haven’t discussed it with him, that can cause some tension.”
“Did any of your friends ever fall in love with you?” Albus asks.
Neville snorts. “Three of them, actually. And each time, it was a completely different scenario. But we always discussed it, and when we were honest with each other… things worked out for the best.”
“The thing is,” Albus says, trying to choose his words carefully. “The thing is, I don’t think Scorpius was… fully in his right mind when he said it. And I dunno how he meant it. If – if he meant it as friends, or…” He gulps down his tea. “He acted like nothing happened the next day, so… I thought it was over and done with.”
“I can’t tell you what Scorpius is feeling,” Neville says. “And I think if I pretended to understand, I’d be doing both of you a disservice. But you know…”
“Anthony even introduced me to his family – like he would a boyfriend – before we’d talked out our feelings. And we were flatmates, which only complicated matters. But we did talk it out – though I’d never understate how difficult even starting that discussion was – and now, here we are.”
Well, that’s all well and good for him, but by all accounts, Neville was in love with Anthony for months before they got together – and Anthony felt the same all along. “What if… what if I don’t know how I feel?”
Neville fixes Albus with a look he doesn’t quite like. “Then you might want to sort that out. Or you can be honest with Scorpius, and tell him that.”
“I don’t even know if he meant it that way,” Albus says, though he’s fully aware that – even if Neville were more prone to meddling – Neville is in no position to tell Albus how Scorpius feels. Not unless Scorpius has talked to him about it, which Albus seriously doubts.
“I can’t help you with that,” Neville says. “But I can promise you that not a word of this will leave this office.”
Albus raises an eyebrow. “You won’t tell Mr. Goldstein?”
Neville shakes his head. “Not that I’d recommend hiding things from your partner – whoever that may end up being – but this discussion is between you and I, and it’s none of Anthony’s business.”
Albus feels an unexpected rush of relief. He knows that Neville is a good person – one of the few adults whom he can trust – but it’s good to know that this trust hasn’t been misplaced.
“Though I suppose it is my duty as your godfather and as the school Healer’s husband to tell you that you can get – condoms and lubricant potions at the Hospital Wing. And, er, well – you know I’m married to a man, so if you’ve got any questions about that, I’ll do my very best to… provide answers. Within reason, of course.”
Albus blushes, more out of embarrassment than anything else. He doesn’t tell Neville that he’s already sucked Scorpius’s cock nearly half a dozen times, or anything close to that. Instead, he deftly changes the subject to the new plants Neville mentioned in class.
Albus is rather past the point of caring if he causes a scene. So, rather than rely on notes or anything like that, he grabs Scorpius by the wrist after dinner in the common room, and drags him up to their dormitory.
It is blissfully empty, and Albus casts a series of privacy charms just in case.
“What are you doing?” Scorpius asks.
“I thought we could play a game,” Albus says, because that’s less nerve-wracking than starting the discussion outright.
“What kind of game? Ooh, is it a trivia game? I thought of a good one we can use to revise for exams!”
Merlin, he is really too cute. “Maybe after,” he says. “I wanted to play Severus Says.”
Severus Says is an old favourite of Slytherin House – named after Severus Snape, who was, apparently, all things considered, sort of a twat (thanks, Dad) – where the players take turns daring each other to do things or reveal embarrassing secrets under the guise of Severus asking them to. Albus has always hated it.
Scorpius raises an eyebrow. “I thought you hated that game?”
“I do,” Albus says, pulling Scorpius onto his bed. “But I still want to play. You can even start.”
Scorpius still looks unsure, and this is the longest they’ve been alone together in a month, but he agrees. “All right. Severus Says lift the privacy charms.”
Albus rolls his eyes, but obliges. “Done. Now, it’s my turn.” He looks at Scorpius, who seems to be a bit nervous. He feels nervous himself. “Severus Says… take your shoes off.”
“That’s a lousy dare,” Scorpius says, but he reaches down to take his shoes off, anyway. “Severus Says stand up.”
Albus stands up. “Severus Says kiss me.”
“Albus…” Scorpius doesn’t meet his gaze. “I really don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Why, because you’re in love with me? Or did you just mean it as friends?” He means for it to come out more eloquently, and more sensitively, but that can’t be helped now.
Scorpius stares at his lap. “I – I don’t think this is a good idea.”
“That’s why I cast privacy charms,” Albus says. “I can set them again. Unless you’d rather talk out on the Quidditch pitch at midnight.”
Scorpius blushes, and Albus loves the way he blushes; his fair skin turns as red as a tomato, and there’s nothing he can do to hide it.
“I’m not angry, or upset, or anything,” Albus says. “But I do think we should probably talk about it. Because everything’s sort of gone to shit, and – and I don’t want things between us to be shit.”
“I… I didn’t mean for that to come out,” Scorpius says.
“Well, yeah,” Albus agrees. “That’s sort of obvious. Otherwise, you’d have told me in broad daylight and not when we were sneaking off to shag with your cock in my mouth.” He imagines all of the ridiculously romantic scenarios Scorpius might have had in mind for such a confession, and he feels a sort of aching that it happened the way it did.
“I really don’t want to lose you,” Scorpius says. “You’re my best friend – my only friend, really – and I can’t stand the thought of – of us not being friends. It’s just that – I wasn’t thinking. I really wasn’t. And things really do slip out when the body’s in that sort of state!”
“So, what, Scorpius?” Albus asks. “Were you going to say nothing and just hope I didn’t end up with someone else?”
“I don’t know,” Scorpius says. His voice is quiet and miserable, and, in spite of the game which is still (probably) running, Albus sits back down next to him and casts the privacy charms all over again.
“But you meant it?” Albus acts. “Like – not as friends, but… you’re in love with me?”
Scorpius nods miserably. He’s uncharacteristically quiet, and that unsettles Albus more than anything else. Scorpius is never quiet.
“All right,” Albus says. “So we should – we should talk about that.”
“What’s there to talk about?” Scorpius asks. “You freaked out.”
“Yeah, excuse me if I wasn’t prepared to hear my best friend confess his love for me whilst I was sucking his cock,” Albus says.
“Sorry,” Scorpius says.
Albus rolls his eyes. “Stop apologising,” he says. “I was just caught off guard and then you didn’t bring it up again, so I thought it – wasn’t that big a deal. And, er, well, I guess I’ve sort of realised that that’s not the case at all. So, er. I’m sorry for not – reacting very well.”
“It’s fine,” Scorpius says. “It’s not as if I’d planned it, really.”
“Still,” Albus says. “I was shit. I’m sorry. And, er, I’ve been – thinking a lot about it. And… I dunno if I – if I completely feel the same way; I’ve never been in love, so I wouldn’t know, I suppose, but… I know I can’t live without you, and I like kissing you and shagging you, and I – I really don’t think I want you to be with anyone else. And I guess that means I want to be with you? I mean, I can’t really think of how different it would be to… being friends, like we are now. So. Yeah.”
It’s hardly the big, dramatic, romantic declaration that Scorpius deserves, which just leaves Albus feeling rotten about it, but then Scorpius kisses him, and he’s overwhelmed by happiness.
Albus opens his mouth to say something – anything – but Scorpius presses his finger to Albus’s lips, shushing him.
“Albus,” Scorpius says. “Do you – would you like to be my boyfriend?”
Albus nods, and Scorpius kisses him again. He cards his fingers through Scorpius’s hair, and whinges when Scorpius pulls away.
Scorpius licks his lips, looks him dead in the eyes, and says, “Severus Says take off your trousers.”
Albus laughs, pulls Scorpius in for another kiss, and does as he’s asked.