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When Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy Realized He Was In Love

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FIRST YEAR

 

When Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy first set eyes on Albus Severus Potter, he was sitting alone in his compartment with no one but his pet cat, Creevey, to give him company, on his way to his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

Creevey was fat, mean, and lazy, but a great listener. As such, Scorpius was divulging his secret fears to him, the ones he hadn’t even let his parents know—what if no one wanted to sit with him? What if everyone hated him? People had always treated him differently than other kids, giving him weary looks and pulling their children away, and, when his father had found him crying in his room after Penny Fletcher's mother had pulled her away from Scorpius and glowered at him for trying to help her up, his dad had sat down with him and explained to him why it happened: it was because of his family's history in the War, about how grandad and grandmum had sided with Voldemort and how dad had also done some bad things.

Scorpius had listened quietly with teary eyes, and when his father had finished, he'd asked, whispering, why people still hated his father, why people hated him when they didn't even know him, that it wasn't fair.

His dad had stared at him, and then pulled him closer, kissing the top of his head and whispering he didn't know why.

So, yeah, Scorpius knew, mostly, why people hated his family, and he was sure that most kids knew why, too. The teachers definitely did. What if the Sorting Hat didn't even put him into a House? What if it just told him to go home? It had never happened before—Scorpius knew, he'd checked beforehand—but there was always a first time for everything, right? And what if his teachers hated him? What if all the kids made fun of him? What if, what if, what if?

He was in the midst of his own pity party when the compartment door slid open. Scorpius jerked, staring at the door. 

In popped a head topped with black, messy hair. The boy, who looked like a First Year, too, saw Scorpius and froze, cheeks reddening. "Oh, Merlin, I'm so sorry, didn't know there was anyone in here."

Scorpius willed his mouth to work. "I––no, it's fine."

They stared at each other for a moment, both blushing and averting their eyes, and then an annoyed, female voice called out from behind the boy.

"Merlin, Al, move over." Shoving Al—was that his name? Or just a nickname? Probably a nickname; if not, Scorpius wondered what was wrong with his parents—out of the way, a girl with red, frizzy hair stepped in, looking as small as Scorpius himself.

Straightening her robes, she noticed Scorpius and gave a gap-toothed smile in his direction, brown eyes lighting up with what looked like interest. "Hey! Mind if we sit here?"

"Merlin, Rose, we can't just barge in like this!" Al whisper-shouted from the doorway, staring at Rose with wide eyes.

"Sure we can! You don't mind, do you?" she asked, turning to stare at Scorpius.

Scorpius shook his head. Merlin, who were these peopl?

"See! He's okay with it. You're the only one with a problem here, Albus." She plopped down on the seat in front of Scorpius, and her eyes zeroed in on Creevey. She let out a squeal. "He has a cat, Al!" She beamed at Scorpius. "You have a cat! How old is he? Or is he actually a she? He-slash-she is so cute!"

Scorpius stared at her wide-eyed, mouth parting, because what should he do.

"Merlin, Rose," Al huffed, making his way into the compartment. "You're scaring the bloke with your weirdness." He gave Scorpius a small smile. "Sorry 'bout her, and about earlier. I'm Al, by the way. Well, Albus, but you can call me Al."

Rose blushed. "Right, sorry. My name's Rose." She paused. "And I love cats, so, um, sorry 'bout that," she said, gesturing at his cat, which was curled up in his lap, watching the two new additions with contempt. "My mum has a cat, you know. Crookshanks's his name. He's old and fat and grumpy, but we love him anyway.” She cocked her head. “Looks a bit like you’re cat, actually.” 

Scorpius licked his lips and tried grinning. "My name's, um, Scorpius, and his name's Creevey," he said, his voice smaller than he'd like to admit.

The two froze, and Scorpius winced internally. He'd seen the reaction before, and he prepared for the two to get up and leave.

"...Scorpius? As in, Scorpius Malfoy?" Rose asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

Scorpius looked away, furrowing his eyebrows as he gave curt nod, trying to squash down the pang of hurt. They were going to leave. Scorpius knew it. They were going to leave.

Well, he didn't want them here, anyway. Not even a bit.

"...My dad's told me about you, you know. Well, he didn't really say much, but he told me who you are, who your grandparents—."

"Merlin, Rose!" Albus snapped, glaring at her. Offering Scorpius a hesitant grin, he said, "Sorry about her. We didn't mean anything by it."

Rose's eyes widened. "Oh, yeah! I didn't mean anything by it, you know, I was just saying."

Scorpius nodded again, looking out the window, unsure as to how to respond. In fact, now that he thought about it, he was pretty sure he knew who these people were—he'd seen them with Harry Potter at the station, and Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, too. They were the children of the famed Golden Trio—they probably disliked his family more than the average person.

"Really, mate, I didn't mean anything by it. You're not angry, are you?" Rose continued, leaning forward.

"I'm not angry—," Scorpius started, because he wasn't. He was used to it. He was just waiting for them to get up and leave.

"You are." She turned to Albus, frowning. "Al, he's angry."

Albus glared at her. "And who's fault is that, I wonder?"

"No I'm not—it's all right if you leave, you know," Scorpius said, meeting their eyes for a second before glancing down at his shiny shoes. "I don't mind." He shrugged, looking out the window. "I'm used to it."

Albus frowned. "Why would we leave?"

Scorpius shrugged, curling his arms closer around his cat. Oh, I dunno, maybe because you're bound to hate me? Maybe because you think I'm weird, maybe because you, like so many others, can't tell the difference between me and my parents and my grandparents? Maybe because you've already constructed a whole person for me and hate it? Just to name a few reasons, he thought, but didn’t dare say any of it aloud. "I'm a Malfoy," he sighed, and then glanced at Albus, "and you're a Potter, aren't you? All the more reason to dislike me."

Albus frowned harder, and Scorpius noticed how green his eyes were. "I don't dislike you. I don't even know you!"

"Yeah! I mean, you're a Malfoy, but—."

"What she means," Albus cut Rose off, glaring at her, "is that we don't care." With a haughty look at Rose, he added, "At least, I don't care."

"Oi! I don't care, either!" she huffed.

Scorpius stared at the two of them, silent. Did they mean it...? Or were they just pulling his leg? "Are you...serious?"

 

" 'Course I am!" Albus said, grinning. "Why wouldn't I be?”

Scorpius shrugged. 

"So which house do you want to be sorted in? I'm going to be in Gryffindor, I just know it.” Rose sniffed. "Just like my parents."

"No you're not—you're probably going to be in Hufflepuff," Albus said, making a face at her.

"So? Aunt Tonks was in Hufflepuff!" Rose replied, hands making wild gestures.

Albus opened his mouth and then shut it. "Fine," he huffed, "but I bet you'll never get onto the team."

Rose rolled her eyes. "As if I want to. What's the point?"

"What's the—what's the point? Rose! It's Quidditch!" Albus gasped, and then turned to Scorpius, eyes wide. "Scorpius, tell her why Quidditch is important. Go on."

In truth, Scorpius himself never really got why Quidditch was such a popular sport—in Scorpius' opinion, it was a dangerous and kind of silly game, taken way too seriously. He'd much rather go to the library and read a book than play Quidditch, but he liked Albus, and he wanted Albus to like him, too. "Well, Quidditch is rather, uh, cool. You know. Really awesome," he answered.

"See! Even he agrees with me."

"Well of course he agrees with you, he's a boy," Rose said, glaring at Albus.

"And of course you disagree with me, you're a girl," Albus mimicked, glaring at Rose.

Scorpius gave a small smile, looking out the window, feeling his cheeks warm up as he listened in on Rose and Albus' bickering.

 

THIRD YEAR

 

When Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy realized Albus Severus Potter was his best friend, he was in the midst of writing an extra credit Herbology paper for Professor Longbottom. It wasn't a realization, really—Scorpius had always knew he'd felt something different for Al, compared to Rose, who was really his only other friend. It was more of an, "Oh, so that's what I should call it," moment, rather than the earth-shattering, life-changing epiphany he'd expected when he'd deign someone worthy of the title 'best friend.' In fact, now that he thought about it, he'd probably started thinking of Al as his best friend in the middle of Second Year, when Al had somehow convinced Scorpius to sneak out to Hogsmeade with him, using Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. Though he'd made a big fuss—"Al, you're going to get us expelled, you berk. Why do I even listen to you? You're just as bad as your brother." "Only if you're loud talking gets us caught, worry-wart. Shut up! And I'm not like James; I'm twenty times cooler and sneakier."—it had turned out to be one of his fondest memories, maybe even the best day of his life, as he’d laughed and snuck around with Al and his mischievous smirk.

So, yeah, the whole 'he's my best friend,' thought was rather anti-climactic, because, really, who else would it have been?

"Scorp, are you seriously doing homework?"

Scorpius was jolted out of his thoughts by the incredulous exclamation, and he glared up at Al, who was currently blocking his light. "I won't be able to if you keep on blocking the light," he said, glaring. "Move over."

Albus sighed and plopped down next to Scorpius. They were both sitting shoulder to shoulder under the tree next to the Great Lake. Al was in his Ravenclaw Quidditch uniform and Scorpius was in his everyday clothes.

"There aren't any classes today, mate, and it's all sunny and cool and you're sitting here doing homework." Al scrunched up his nose at Scorpius. "Nerd."

"Well, I'm sorry for wanting to do well in my classes and not wasting time riding broomsticks all day long," Scorpius said, not taking his eyes off the essay he was attempting to write, "which is perhaps the stupidest way to spend a day off. And, really, was 'nerd' supposed to insult me?"

"Oi!" Al punched Scorpius in the shoulder. “Quidditch’s not a waste of time." Then, when he got no reaction besides a roll of the eyes, Al pouted and added, "You're a waste of time."

Scorpius snorted and gave Al an unimpressed look. "Wow, Al, you sure know how to insult someone. Really. I think I'm about to cry."

Al made a face at him. "Yeah, yeah, whatever."

Scorpius rolled his eyes, trying to focus on his essay. Professor Longbottom, though incredibly nice, was rather strict when it came to assignments, and Scorpius wanted to get full marks.

At least, he was trying to focus, but Al kept on poking him in the shoulder.

"Scorp. Scorp. Scorpius! Scorp-i-us, Scorp, Scoooooorpius."

"What?" he snapped, glowering at Albus, swatting his hand away. "And stop poking me!"

"You're boring me, Scorp," Al said with a melodramatic whine.

"Then I'm sure you can find someone else to hang out with. You're certainly very popular," Scorpius said, eyes narrowed and tone sharp. "I'm trying to work, Al, not everyone can breeze through their classes like you."

"Yeah, but I wanna hang out with you, Scorp, you're my best mate," Al said, ignoring Scorpius' sharp tone. "Also, you're plenty smart—even if you didn't study, you'd be able to pass with flying colors."

Scorpius’ cheeks warmed, so he turned away, knowing how easily blushes showed on his skin. Albus...Albus though of him as his best mate? Al had wanted to spend time with him, rather than the masses of people that would do anything to spend time with Harry Potter's son? Al thought he was smart?

He felt a ridiculous amount of warmth blossom within his chest, so he told himself to stop being such a sap. He had to play it cool. Suave.

"You think I'm your best mate?" was what came out his mouth, in a rather embarrassing, shy whisper, and Scorpius felt the urge to crawl under a rock and never come back out.

" 'Course! Who else is it gonna be?" He could hear Al rolling his eyes. "You know, I take back what I said about you being smart."

"Oh, shut up," Scorpius huffed, shoving Al's shoulder, cheeks still pink. "Idiot."

"Please," Al scoffed, grinning cheekily, "I'm the most adorable boy around. Just ask any professor, they'll tell you just as much."

Scorpius shook his head. "You are shameless. Slytherin would be a better fit for you."

Instead of the expected smirk-and-witty-retort, Al grinned at Scorpius, the smile small and shy, looking ahead. "I, um," he started, the tips of his ears going red, "the Sorting Hat actually said I'd be a very good Slytherin, you know. But it also said I'd make a good Ravenclaw. And I chose Ravenclaw because, well..."

Scorpius waited, but when it was obvious Al wasn't going to continue, he prompted, "Well...?

Al coughed. "You were already there, and you were my only non-family friend, and you seemed like a nice enough bloke."

Scorpius mind worked a kilometer a minute, trying to absorb the information he'd just heard. Al had... "You chose Ravenclaw because of me?" Why the hell would he do that?

"No! I also chose Ravenclaw because I liked Ravenclaw, and because it was a cool house, okay," he huffed, but Scorpius grinned at him, eyes softening.

"Thanks, Al," he said, soft and sincere. "I'm glad you're my best friend."

Al blushed, scowling. "Yeah, yeah, I just did it because you looked so lonely."

Scorpius' grin widened. "Of course." He had the urge to hug Al, hard and tight, but he stopped himself.

"I'm serious, Scorp!"

Scorpius' grin turned into a smirk. "I know."

Al pouted. "You're horrible."

Scorpius raised an eyebrow. "So are your insults."

Al glared at him through narrowed eyes, and Scorpius' smirk widened. Then, before he could probably comprehend what had happened, his parchment and quill were snatched away.

Al danced away with them in his hands, smiling like the Cheshire cat.

“Al! Al, dammit, give me back my parchment!" Scorpius yelled, scrambling to get up, scowling.

Al's smirk widened, and he cocked his head to the side. "Ooh, you're cursing, must be angry." With a cackle of delight, he turned around and dashed off, shouting behind his shoulder, "See ya, bookworm!"

"AL! AL DAMMIT—." Scorpius ran off after him, spouting insults under his breath at Al and his stupid quick reflexes and his idiotic quick speed and his bloody need to do things like this.

Albus Severus Potter was a bloody git.

 

FOURTH YEAR

 

When Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy first realized he was attracted to Albus Severus Potter, he had been crouched right next to him, huddled close together under the Invisibility Cloak as they snuck into the kitchens. It was when Al grabbed his hand that Scorpius felt a flutter low in his stomach that he realized it. This wasn't the first time this had happened—he'd noticed that these 'butterflies,' as so many Muggle books referred to them, happened at an alarming frequency when Al came too close or made skin contact, or when any other mildly attractive male did the same—but it was the first time he'd realized what it meant. Rather, it was the first time he'd stepped out of denial and embraced the fact, because, really, it could only mean one thing.

By embrace, of course, he meant 'completely and utterly freaked out,' because, bloody hell, he was attracted to blokes, one of whom was his best mate.

At this point, Scorpius was breathing a bit heavily.

"Oi, you all right?" Albus breathed into his ear, and Scorpius let out a little squeak, wrenching his hand out of Al's grasp and stumbling back.

"Oi—OI," Al whisper-shouted, "what's your damage?"

"N-nothing." Then, again, in a waspish tone, "It's nothing, Al."

"Right, and Cornelius Fudge was a great Prime Minister," Al sneered, voice still low. "Get back over here, you're stepping out the Cloak!"

"I'm not, shut up!"

"Merlin, Scorp—get over here!" Al hissed, latching onto Scorpius' wrist and tugging him closer.

Scorpius let out a cry as he was wrenched forward, flush against Al, and then scrambled backward. "Stop pulling me!"

Al pulled the cloak off, hand still latched onto Scorpius' wrist. "You're being too bloody loud—stop—struggling!" With a whispered lumos, Al's wand lit up, illuminating their faces.

Scorpius stopped struggling, realizing he was just making things worse, and breathed through his nose. Inhale, exhale. All right. This was okay. So what if he was attracted to guys? It was okay, right? This was the 21st century—it was pretty much okay. Muggles were even allowed to marry. And he'd read lots of books, watched loads of telly when him and his parents went out to their annual Muggle-world vacations, and there were people there that were attracted to the same sex, too, so it was...okay. Granted, he hadn't really seen this sort of thing in Wizarding Society, not really, but the Muggles were doing it, right? It was okay.

Right?

Oh, bloody hell, Scorpius just didn't know. What was he going to do? Oh, Merlin, should he tell someone? Should he tell his parents? What if his parents disowned him? But no—what if he was just imagining it? How did he even know for certain that he was attracted to blokes? Sure, he'd never really felt anything for girls, and, yes, he'd definitely noticed blokes, but how did he know? He didn't know, was the thing, so what was he to do now? Pretend he didn't feel what he felt? That wouldn't work for long, he knew that much, but maybe he could buy himself some time?

"Oi, are you...you all right?"

Did he bloody look all right? Was there anything, anything at all, in his panicked expression and quick breathing that indicated all-round alright-ness? "I'm fine," he snapped, "and I need to go back to bed."

"Like Azkaban you're fine," Al whispered harshly, "and there's no way you're going back to bed after this—we need to talk."

"Talk?" Scorpius gave a nervous laugh. "No, no, there is absolutely no need for either of us to talk. I'm fine, Al, just tired."

"Mate, that might work with your parents, but it isn't workin' with me." With a glare, he said in a tone that booked no debate, "We're going to the kitchens, we're having a mug of hot chocolate, and you're telling me what's making you act as if you belong in a mental hospital."

Scorpius glared back. "No, I'm going back the Ravenclaw dorms, crawling into bed, and going to sleep, and you can do whatever it is you want to do because I don't force my friends to do things they rather wouldn't."

Al gave gave him a flat look. "Yeah, I don't generally, either, but when my best friend is acting mad, then, yes, I will force him to tell me what's wrong, whether he likes it or not, so tough."

Scorpius crossed his arms, jutting his chin out. "The only way you're getting anything out of me is using Veritaserum, and since you're horrible at Potions, you can't make it."

"I can steal it, obviously."

"As if you have the skill to do so," Scorpius scoffed.

”You're a right git, you know that?"

"So I've been told."

Al glowered at him, and then looked away, shoulders slumping. "You don't...you don't trust me?"

Scorpius' arms fell to his side, eyes widening. Oh, bloody hell, that wasn't the way he'd wanted this to go. "What? No! Are you mad? Of course I trust you! Your my best friend—why wouldn't I trust you?"

Al looked at him up through his eyelashes, green eyes wide and sad. "You're not telling me what's wrong. That means you don't trust me."

Scorpius' mouth worked. "That—that has nothing to do with it, Al, I swear! I just—I don't even properly know yet. I don't feel...comfortable sharing stuff."

"I'm not asking you to 'share stuff,' Scorp, just asking you to tell me what's wrong so I can help." Sighing, he added, "And since you don't want to tell me, it means that you don't trust me. I tell you stuff that I don't tell anyone, I tell you what's wrong when you ask, even if I don't want to, because I trust you, so because you're not doing that, the only possible reason is you don’t trust me, which is actually insulting, really, because I always tell you everything, and I've never actually given you a reason to not trust me, have I? Because I don't think I have, but you've made it really obvious that you don't think I'm worthy of your trust, and that sucks, mate, that really does—."

"I think I might be gay!" Scorpius blurted out, Albus' long, rambling confession making him feel like utter shit, the words coming forth without Scorpius wanting them to. As soon as he realized what he'd said, Scorpius felt his cheeks reddened. Oh shit shit shit shit shit, what'd he done? "I mean, I, um, think I might be, not quite sure, so let's just pretend that I didn't say that, eh? I don't even really know what I'm saying," he said with a nervous titter. "You know how I get when it's late and I'm tired and, er, yeah, I think I'm going to go now, have school in the morning, really shouldn't be up and about right now—." He turned around, intent on running—yes, that's what he was doing, he wasn't going to make it sound nicer than it was, he was running—back to his dorm and pretending to be asleep so Al couldn't bother him until tomorrow, when he would have at least some sort of plan or explanation, which he did not have right now.

His rather dashing attempt at an escape was ruined, however, when Al latched onto his wrist, and, Merlin, what was he eating? He had a steel grip, and though Scorpius wasn't weak per se—he preferred the term lithe, thank you very much—he wasn't as strong as Al.

All he could settle for was a growl of, "Al, let me go."

It didn't come out as threatening as he had hoped.

"Wait, what?" was Al's oh-so-intelligent reply—really, sometimes Scorpius wondered how he'd made it into Ravenclaw—and Scorpius couldn't help rolling his eyes

"I'm leaving, Al, it isn't that complicated."

"No, wait—," Al turned him around so they were both face to face, and Scorpius looked down, "—you're, erm, attracted to blokes?"

"Yes, that is generally what the term 'gay' implies when used in that context—can I go now?" Scorpius said, heart thudding fast, cheeks heating up, refusing to meet Al's eyes.

"Okay. Okay. Okay. That's, erm, okay. Good. Nice? Thats—okay."

"Okay, Al, that's all you can think of?"

"Oi! What d'you want me to say? I'm still trying to, erm, grasp what you're trying to say. It isn't easy, you know!" Al snapped, glaring.

"Oh, it must be so hard for you, learning your friend's gay," Scorpius sneered.

Al had the decency to blush. "All right, sorry, not the best choice of words."

"Damn right," Scorpius huffed, and then, after a moment of awkward silence, "I'm, erm, going to go to bed, yeah?"

Merlin, Al probably thought he was a freak. Oh, Merlin, he was probably never going to talk to him ever again. Dammit, why'd he have to go and open his mouth? Oh, Merlin. Fuck.

"I'm—I'm going, yeah?" he stuttered, and made to to turn around. Merlin, he needed to leave. He could feel his eyes burning, and if he started to cry—why the hell was he crying, anyway? It was pathetic—he was going to never be able to look Al in the eyes.

Assuming, of course, that Al was ever going to talk to him ever again, which Scorpius seriously doubted. Al was probably never going to look at him ever again, because no matter how much Scorpius tried to convince himself, he knew this wasn't okay, that what he was feeling was wrong—his parents had never spoken to him about any of this, and the only reason he even knew something like that existed was because of books that he'd bought from the Muggle bookstore, from using the Internet, from watching movies.

But he'd only ever really heard about it in Muggle society—he'd never seen any sort of awareness in the Wizarding society, never heard of it happening, not in Britain. He was sure it happened, but it never really happened in the public eye.

So how could be believe it was "okay"?

"No! No, wait, Scorp, don't—," Al cried out, running after him, and Scorpius bit his lip, debating whether he should stop. What was the point, though? He was going to face rejection, anyway, and that wasn't something Scorpius could take, especially not from Al.

It was funny, really, because no matter how many times he'd previously faced rejection, it always hurt the same amount.

So he kept on walking, eyes watering, teeth digging into his lower lip, because he wasn't going to cry, he bloody wasn't.

"Dammit, Scorp—" Al clamped onto his wrist and turned him around, and Scorpius averted his gaze, looking at his shoes, not wanting to see the disgust in Al's eyes, not wanting Al to see the unshed tears in his own.

"Look, that came out wrong, okay? I don't—"

Want to be your friend, don't want to see you ever again

"—care, all right? That's—what I mean is—I don't care, Scorp. You're still…still my best friend, okay?"

Scorpius was sure this was some sort of lucid dream, because was Al really saying what Scorpius thought he was saying?

Al forced Scorpius to look him in the eyes, hand underneath his chin, and Scorpius stared into Al's determined eyes, wide-eyed. "And if you think that something like this," Al continued, "will change anything, then you're an even bigger clot than you look. Yeah?"

Scorpius' mouth parted in surprise, and he scanned Al's face for a sign that this was just a joke, that Al was just mucking about.

He didn't find one.

Was Al...was Al serious?

Al dropped his hand from underneath Scorpius' chin, swallowing. "Right. This is where you go, 'Wow, Al, you're so awesome,' and then I go, 'I know, Scorp, I know,' and then we go and get our hot chocolate." He used a ridiculously deep voice for when he was mimicking his own response, a ridiculously high one for when he was mimicking Scorpius.

"Wait—wait, are you serious?" Scorpius said.

Al gave him a look. "No, Scorp, I just made that whole speech for fun," he said. "Obviously, I'm serious."

"But—but I'm—."

"I know, Scorp, I can hear, you know, I'm not stupid," Al said. "And I just wanted to tell you that I—."

"Oi! You two! What're you doing out of bed?" The shout came from down the corridor, and Scorpius and Al stared at each other, wide-eyed.

"Shit," Al whispered, turning his wand off. Without saying another word, he grabbed Scorpius' hand and pulled him, throwing the cloak over the both of them.

"Stop! No—don't—stop!" the prefect shouted behind them.

"Faster!" Al whisper-shouted.

Warmth blossomed within Scorpius' chest, and he sped up, a grin making its way onto his face.

Here, hand-in-hand with Al, running away from authority and toward his best friend, half in trouble, adrenaline pumping through his veins, was where Scorpius belonged.

He couldn't help the laugh that bubbled out his lips.

 

FIFTH YEAR:

 

When Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy first realized he fancied Albus Severus Potter, he was in the midst of reading a rather fascinating study on the physical and emotional consequences of being slipped a Love Potion; he was writing an extra-credit essay for Professor Bulwick, the Potions professor, but that didn't stop him from enjoying the reading thoroughly.

It is obvious, of course, the book read, that love potions come in all sorts of varieties. As such, they have different consequences and effects. However, there are certain short-term and long-term consequences that can be found in all Love Potions. These effects emulate a "real" infatuation, for most potions—with an exception of a few—aim to create a "realistic" love.

 

Short-Term Consequences

 

Immediate Physical Reactions When Faced With the Subject of Infatuation:

 

• Quickening of the heartbeat

 

• Dilated pupils

 

• A nervous, almost exhilarating "feeling" in the stomach; it has often been equated to having a gnome running about in your stomach

 

• (Sometimes) A gathering of sweat, in response to the sudden pressure of appearing more desirable and attractive to the object of the (false) affection

 

• The need to have physical contact

 

Immediate Emotional Reactions When Faced with the Subject of the Infatuation:

 

• An inability to focus on anything else

 

• Thoughts that completely revolved around the subject of the infatuation

 

• The need to get near and to spend time with the subject of the infatuation

The book went on to list many more reactions and consequences, but Scorpius had stopped reading, staring at the page, lips parting.

He knew these symptoms. He knew these reactions. He was quite familiar with them, since he felt most of them whenever faced with Al. He was always thinking about Al; he wanted to touch him; he felt nervous to appear "cooler" every time Al neared; he always wanted to spend time with him. He already knew that Al was physical attractive—he wasn't stupid, and he wasn't blind—and had admitted to having a purely physical attraction to Al, which did not change their friendship in any way. When faced with these list of “reactions," though, Scorpius realized he could hide no more.

He fancied his friend. He fancied his best friend. He fancied his very straight best friend.

"Oh, bloody fuck," Scorpius whispered, eyes widening. Oh, shit. Bloody hell.

"Oi. You all right? Seems like you just saw Merlin himself in person," Rose said, and of course she had chosen this exact moment to plop down in front of him. When Scorpius failed to answer—he was going through a bloody crisis; excuse his manners—Rose snapped her fingers in front of his face. "Anyone in there?"

Scorpius glared at her, and then, after a beat, said, "Pardon me, I need to go," and got up and out of his seat, gathering his supplies, because if he stayed, he knew Rose would figure something was up and would make it her life's mission to figure out what it was.

"Oi. Oi!" Rose grabbed his wrist, and, bloody hell, did the whole bloody family inherit iron-clad grips? "Where do you think you're going?"

"Away, Rose. You see, when someone departs in the direction opposite you, it generally means said person is going away," Scorpius said.

"Sarcasm and a sudden rush to get away?" Rose said, eyebrow cocked. "Well, this should be good." Pulling him back with too much ease for a girl that apparently never worked out—Scorpius really needed to gain some strength—she pointed the seat in front of her. "Sit."

Scorpius glowered at her. "No." Who the bloody hell did she think she was? The Minister of Magic? No one ordered Scorpius around.

Rose rolled her eyes, and, with an exaggerate sigh, rectified, "Sit, please." When Scorpius still refused to budge, she looked him in the eye and said, "Look, either you sit down and we talk, or you run, I hunt you down, strap you down to a chair, and then we talk." She shrugged. "Your choice."

Scorpius held out for a few more seconds before growling to himself and sitting down on the chair, arms crossed. He knew Rose would deliver. "Tell me, is it a genetic thing?"

Rose, who's grin was way too smug for Scorpius' liking, furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. "What?"

"The inability to mind your own damn business," Scorpius snapped. "Is it a genetic thing or just how you were brought up? All you Potter-Weasley cousins seem to be afflicted with the same ailment."

"Oh, ha, ha, ha," Rose said, voice monotonous, rolling her eyes. "You're a bloody riot."

"Now, what do you want? I've got work to do, so spit it out," Scorpius said, not in the mood to deal with Rose and her stupid wit and her stupid way of knowing. He needed to go to his dorm and sulk, dammit; he didn't have time for this.

Rose grinned again. "Tell me what's wrong."

"Nothing," Scorpius spit out. "Are we done?"

Rose rolled her eyes, and for a second, Scorpius wished they'd get stuck that way. "Right, nothing's wrong, of course. Silly me." She glared at him. "I may not be in Ravenclaw, Scorpius, but I'm not stupid. Now tell me."

Scorpius shifted in his chair, glaring to the side. "Noth. Ing. Nothing."

"Scorpius. Scorpius. Come on. Tell me." She moved closer, making her eyes wider. "Please? C'mon, Scorpius, you can tell me. You can trust me." She bit her lip and looked up at him from underneath her lashes. "Or is it that you don't trust me...?"

Scorpius snorted, giving her an unimpressed look. "That won't work with me, Rose. I've developed an immunity, you've used it so many times."

Rose huffed, the innocent-school-girl act dropping. "Dammit. It always works on everyone." She glared at him. "It always works on you when Al does—." She stopped, eyes widening, mouth forming a small 'o'. "Oh. Oh." She studied Scorpius, grin slowly forming. "You like Al."

Scorpius' cheeks reddened, eyes widening, and he spluttered, "What—no—don't be absurd. I don't—no."

Rose cackled, and suddenly Scorpius understood why the Muggles stereotyped witches they way they did. "I knew it! I bloody knew it!" she whooped.

The librarian shushed her loudly, and many a glare was sent her way. "Shut up," Scorpius hissed, "and I don't."

"I know you're gay, Scorp," Rose deadpanned.

Scorpius reared back, eyes widening. "What? How'd you—did Al tell you?” Had Al betrayed him? How could Al have done that? "I told him not to tell!"

"Oh, relax," Rose said, rolling her eyes. "Al didn't tell me."

"Oh." Scorpius cleared his throat. Of course Al wouldn't have told. What a stupid thought. "Then how...?"

"Al didn't tell me," Rose said, grinning, "but you just did."

Scorpius shut his eyes and let out a long exhale. "Shit."

"Yup!" Rose agreed, cheery. "Though, honestly, I had my suspicions."

"Of course you did," Scorpius grumbled, and then, weary, "What do you want, Rose?"

"I just want you to admit that you like Al," she said, shrugging, "and let me help you two get together."

"First of all, I don't like Al," he said, glaring, and Rose scoffed, "and second, you're not going to do anything—anything, you hear?—to get me and Al 'together'. All right?"

Rose pouted. "But—."

"Do you understand?"

Rose sighed, "Fine." A moment of silence, and then she whined, "But why?"

"Because I bloody said so, alright?" Scorpius spit out, voice low. "He's straight, I'll get over it, and in the meantime, leave me alone, okay? Don't go around tattooing rainbows all over the place and sprinkling glitter over Al to give him a hint or whatever. Keep that mouth shut, and keep it subtle, which I know is very hard for you."

Rose furrowed her eyebrows. "Why would I, erm, tattoo rainbows all over the place?"

"It's a—never mind. Just don't do anything."

"You're saying I should leave you and your broken heart alone? Scorp, I can't do that!" she whisper-shouted. "I can't leave you alone to your pitiful pining, I have to do something! At least let me hint—."

"Hey, what's going on?" Al whispered as he slid in next to Rose. "Who's pining for who?"

Scorpius' heart just about stopped. Oh, bloody fuck, what was Al doing here? He never came to the bloody library! Merlin, what had he heard?

Sometimes, Scorpius believed the universe really hated him.

"Oh, nothing, Scorpius was just telling me that—."

"Al!" Scorpius cut Rose off—bitch—a little too loudly, his voice higher than he'd have liked, and he got another round of urgent shushing from those in the vicinity. "What are you doing here?"

"We three decided to meet up and—," here he made a face, "—study, 'member? It was your idea, Scorp," Al said, giving him a weird look. "You alright?"

Shit. Scorpius had told them all to meet up. "Yeah, I'm fine," Scorpius said, clearing his throat.

"Right, so, what's this about pining?" Al said, grinning. "You in love?"

Scorpius' mouth was drier than parchment. "No, nothing, it's—."

"Yup, he is, he's just too stubborn to admit it. You know him and his pride," Rose said, rolling her eyes.

"Oh, right, that," Al said, nodding. "So who is it?" he asked, still talking to Rose.

"Oi! You know I'm right bloody here, right?" Scorpius interrupted.

"Well, you're not going to tell me anything," Al said, eyebrow raised, "so I might as well ask Rose."

"That's not—," Scorpius started, but seeing Al's look of 'Oh, really?', he stopped. "Fine," he grumbled.

When Al turned to Rose, Scorpius started shaking his head vehemently, glowering at her, mouthing, If you say anything I'll kill you.

Rose just grinned at him, and Scorpius' poor heart felt as if it were going to stop. Merlin. His heart couldn't take this kind of abuse. He just knew he was going to develop an ulcer at fifteen.

"So, who is it? Do I know this person?"

"Well," Rose drawled, "I suppose you can say you know him..."

Al leaned in, eyes lit up, smirking at Scorpius before turning back to Rose. "Yeah? What's his name, then?"

"His name is..." Rose said, smirking at Scorpius, and that was it.

Scorpius couldn't take this anymore. He didn't have the fucking time to play these games with Rose, because with each sentence that came forth from her and Al's mouth, the realization that he would never—never—be able to engage in any kind of relationship or whatever with Al twisted deeper within, like a bloody knife, and the thought was just too painful.

So, yeah, he didn't need to be reminded of the fact that he was probably doomed to live out the rest of the year in a stupid, unrequited-crush, angst-filled haze, with the object of his affections next to him the whole fucking time.

He got up, and, with a stiff, "Pardon me," he walked away.

Rose's eyes widened, and she called behind him, "Wait—no—Scorp! Scorpius! I'm sorry! I'm—"

But Scorpius had already hightailed out of there, heading for the Room of Requirement, quite content to sulk and angst and, hell, maybe even cry a little, because he fancied his best friend, and his best friend most certainly did not reciprocate those feelings, and Scorpius had a horrible inkling that this wasn't just one of those one-week-then-it's-gone crushes, oh no, this was worse.

So he was fucking entitled, all right?

 

SIXTH YEAR:

 

When Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy realized that he was in love with Albus Severus Potter, he had been cheering and roaring for his Ravenclaw Quidditch team, of which Al was the captain. They were tied with Gryffindor, only a minute left on the clock, and Al was neck-in-neck with the other Seeker, chasing the Snitch. He was zipping this way and that with a precision and speed that made Scorpius both envious and sigh with wonder, because, wow, Al knew how to handle a broom, and he looked rather good doing it, too.

Scorpius forced himself to stop sighing over Al—bloody hell, what was he, a twelve-year-old girl?—and focus on the match, because though he thought Quidditch was rather stupid, he wanted Ravenclaw to kick Gryffindor’s arse, and he knew how important it was to Al. If they lost, he'd be sulking and angst-ridden for the next few weeks, and that wasn't something with which Scorpius wanted to deal.

Al was getting closer, and Scorpius flinched when a Bludger went right past him, thanking Merlin that it hadn't hit Al. Though he probably wouldn't admit it aloud, he was on the edge of his seat, enjoying the match despite himself.

The Snitch made a sharp turn downward, almost ninety degrees, and Al followed it, going down, down, down, and Scorpius's heart almost stopped as he thought of what would happen if Al couldn't stop himself in time, if he went splat against the field. Al didn't turn into a pancake, however, and Scorpius leapt to his feet, shouting himself hoarse as Al reached forward, balancing himself, and caught the Snitch instead, parallel with the ground.

The stands erupted into cheers, and Scorpius couldn't help the joyous grin that spread over his face, the way his heart thrummed with the energy of the fans, or the way he hugged Rose, who was next to him, in celebration. As soon as Al had set foot on the ground, his teammates swarmed him, clapping him on the back, and Scorpius leapt out of the stands—there were some perks to being the Captain's best mate—and ran toward Al, Rose not far behind him, other students getting the same idea.

He shoved his way through the Quidditch players—ha! Al couldn't call him scrawny anymore—and toward Al, congratulations on his lips, laughing breathlessly, spotting Al not a few meters away.

And then he froze.

There, in front of him, not two meters away, Al stood, a brown-haired girl wrapped around him, kissing him like there was no tomorrow. Their hands grabbed at each other's hair, their arms pulling each other closer.

Scorpius felt the air rush out of him in one fell swoop. He had always rolled his eyes when he'd read about someone's heart being "shattered," when reading a book, but right now, that was the only way to describe it—his heart shattered, leaving behind nothing but a deep ache.

He felt as if he were going to vomit, the tears prickling his eyes. His chest hurt, physically hurt, and he stayed rooted to the spot, eyes wide and barely breathing as he saw Al pull back, a look of pure wonder and awe and joy on his face.

A wordless, almost noiseless sound escaped him as those around him started cheering, jostling him, and Al kissed Alice Longbottom—because that's who the brown-haired girl was: Alice Longbottom, Ravenclaw Beater—again.

"Merlin, Scorp," Rose yelled behind him, shoving him, and Scorpius was manhandled to the side as Rose pushed through, but he couldn't care less, barely felt it, because Al was kissing Alice, in front of everyone, Al was kissing Alice, not him, never him.

"What the bloody hell is—," Rose started, glaring at him briefly before looking ahead, and she cut herself off. In a too-soft, too-pitying voice, she grasped his arm and said, "Oh, Merlin, Scorp, I'm so sorry," with wide, doleful eyes.

That snapped Scorpius out of it, and he jolted, as if electrified, shrugging Rose's hand off. He had to get out. He had to get away.

"I'm—I—I'm going," he whispered, too far gone to be embarrassed about his shaking, almost unhearable voice.

"Scorp—," Rose called out, but Scorpius turned and ran, not caring where he was going, he just wanted to get away.

He found himself ducking into the Room of Requirement, as Al had shown him, a place he had taken to haunting when he didn't want anyone—not Al, not Rose, no one—to bother him, when he wanted to be well and truly alone.

I just need some place to hide, Merlin, anywhere, anyplace, I don't care, just give me somewhere, he thought as he paced back and forth, and a door appeared in front of him.

He rushed through and slammed the door behind him shut. For a second, he was jarred by the interior—it was exactly like the cabin his family rented every summer, when they Apparated to Hawaii for, as his mother called it, some "Muggle style rest and relaxation," for it was her favorite vacation spot—but just as quickly, he was thankful for it. He only made it a few steps before he sank onto his bed, made up in those hideous, Hawaii-print sheets he hated and his mother loved, and buried his head in his hands, his shoulders shaking as the first few tears slipped out.

He stayed like that for a while—sniffing in a truly pathetic way, tears dripping down his cheeks, gasping in between, until he felt the turbulent grief quiet down, until he could control himself, until all he felt was a dull, aching throb.

He raised his head and ran a hand through his hair, staring at the bamboo-style wall in front of him, which was plastered with a picture of a man surfing. His mother had put it there because she'd felt that he needed to be at least a little normal, she'd joked, and Scorpius had rolled his eyes but smiled and kept it there, partially because his mother was a treasure, and partially because the man was insanely attractive. Of course, he still hadn't gotten around to telling his parents he was gay, but he'd do so, in the future, if he ever found a partner who was worth it.

The thought of a partner had him thinking of Al again. Al was making out with Alice—so what? Why did it hurt so much? Al had dated before—hell, even after Scorpius had realized his feelings, Al had dated others, and though it had been well and truly horrible, Scorpius had been able to soldier on. He most certainly hadn't reacted this way, like a heroine in one of those cutesy, romantic Muggle films he had most definitely never seen.

So why was this so different? Was it because Al hadn't had a real and proper relationship in a while? Was it because Scorpius had gotten used to seeing him without a girlfriend or whatever? Was that it? Was that why he'd felt as if acid were eating his heart when he'd seen—.

Oh. Oh. Oh, fuck. Shit.

Was Scorpius...was he in love?

No. No, no, no, absolutely not, he wasn't—he couldn't be in love. He bloody couldn't be. He wasn't.

But that was the only logical expl—.

No. Fuck logic. Scorpius was not in love with Albus, and that was that. He was sixteen years old. It wasn't happening, it wasn't true. It bloody wasn't.

Scorpius buried his head into his hands again and groaned. Oh, God, he couldn't love Al. Love made people vulnerable and susceptible and made them do stupid things, and, yeah, his parent's marriage had worked out all right, but lurve rarely worked in the real world, it just didn't happen.

And that wasn't even including the fact that oh, that was right, Al would never love him back.

He sat up straight and passed a hand over his face. He didn't love Al. He bloody didn't.

…The denial thing really wasn't working for him.

But still, how did he even know what love was? He didn't, that was the thing, so how could be in love if he didn't know what, exactly, love was?

He was overreacting—he wasn't in love.

Dammit, he wasn't, he fucking wasn't.

Scorpius glowered at the wall in front of him, teeth gritted, and then, the fight slipped out of him. His showers slumped as he ran a hand through his hair, passed a hand over his face.

His hand rested on his mouth, and he whispered, "Fuck," eyes wide.

He was in love.

He was fucking in love, and he knew exactly how this story was going to play out. His heart would be broken repeatedly every time he saw Al gallivanting off with one of his birds, and, oh, shit, Rose was probably going to try and play therapist.

Fucking hell. He'd never wanted to be that bloke with a painful, unrequited love, but suddenly, he was that guy. 

His breathing quickened. ”FUCK EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE AND JUST—JUST—FUCKING FUCK," he yelled at no one in particular, picking up his pillow and throwing it across the room. His chest heaved as he breathed, and he sat down again heavily, knotting his hand in his hair and tugging.

After a few moments, Scorpius heaved a deep sigh, too tired to cry or curse or do anything, and with it, he felt himself grow ten years older. He stood up and picked up the pillow, threw it onto his bed. He frowned at it before sighing once more, placing it primly where it had been.

This was just going to be abso-fucking-lutely great.

 

SEVENTH YEAR

 

When Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy realized that Albus Severus Potter was in love with him, too, he had been sitting in the Ravenclaw Common Room, scowling at anything and everything, in the midst of creating a comprehensive list of the complete and utter uselessness of love and any associated feelings. He had reached number eleven—it was fucking stupid—when the Common Room's door swung open.

Now, usually, this was not an unusual or particularly shocking occurrence. However, today was the last Hogsmeade weekend of the year, and everyone had gone. Those who were unable, on account of being too-young brats, had trekked outside to enjoy the weather, or the library, or something—no one had elected to stay in their dorms.

Well, no one but Scorpius, but he had a legitimate reason. He didn't want to go and see Al's stupid 'girlfriend' cling all over him at Hogsmeade—which was unfair of him, because Alice was actually quite a nice girl, but he couldn't be bothered to censor his thoughts—and watch them do cute, vomit-inducing couple things, and nor did he want to go out and "enjoy" being burnt to a crisp by the sun's relentless rays. He didn't even want to read, and since Hogwarts still hadn't found a way to have technology work inside the castle—fucking hell, this was 2024, you'd think they'd find some way of pulling their heads out of the bloody medieval times, but no—there was no way he could even use the Internet or watch a movie or just complain in general about life on the Internet; he just wanted to be left the fuck alone, thank you very much, so he could sulk and be a bitter old man in peace.

So, Scorpius was a bit shocked at the opening of the doors. Which other poor shmuck had stayed behind and decided to go to his dorms? He got over it rather quickly, however, and prepared to glower ferociously at the intruder.

This was his sulking place, dammit, this bloke needed to go and find another one.

He opened his mouth to say something along the lines of a polite, "Fuck off, arsehole," but stopped, gaping, when he saw who it was. "Al?" he asked after a moment, eyes wide.

Al grinned at him, running his hand through his hair and looking to the side before resting his eyes on Scorpius. "Hey, Scorp."

Scorpius forced his mouth shut, squinting at Al, trying to make sure that he was actually real. Scorpius wasn't intoxicated, but maybe his bitterness and grief-riddled mind had concocted some sort of hallucination. Was that even possible? "What...why're you here?"

Al laughed, running another hand through his hair. "Why, you don't want me here?"

"You know that's not true," Scorpius said, rolling his eyes, heart thumping. Why was Al here? Was something wrong?

"Right." Al cleared his throat and repeated, more to himself, "Right."

Scorpius frowned, calming himself down and forcing himself to think. What was he doing here? Scorpius was happy to see him—of course he was, he always was—but Al had a date, and though Scorpius was firmly against the idea, he knew Al also really liked Alice. "Okay, no, but, really. Why're you here? I mean, I'm happy to see you, but—why? You had a date with Alice." The bint who's actually not a bint and is actually really sweet so I can't properly hate her, fuck you for choosing her, he added mentally.

"Erm, yeah. Yeah," Al said, nodding. "I was. But I'm not. Right now. I mean, I'm not with her right now."

Scorpius stared at him. "Yes," he said. What was up with Al? "I can see that. What I was wondering is why."

"I—we broke up," Al blurted out.

"Oh, bloody hell," Scorpius swore. That explained why Al was acting so odd. "You all right?" A small part of him was jumping with joy and in the midst of throwing a celebratory party, complete with party hats and chocolate cake. However, he had to make sure that Al was okay—he'd trade his own vindictive, selfish joy for Al's happiness any day. Hell, he'd trade his own happiness for Al's, no questions asked, any day, any time. "What happened?"

Al ran a hand through his hair, blinking at Scorpius as if he'd forgotten he was still here. "Oh. Oh, er, yeah, I'm all right." He paused. "She ended it."

"Wait—she ended it?" That was the stupidest thing Scorpius had ever heard. Did Alice not know what she was giving up? Bloody hell, was she a moron? If Scorpius had Al, he'd never give him up. For a second, Rick Astley played in his mind, and he shut that train of thought off quickly, because no. "That is so fucking stupid. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. We're still, y'know, okay and whatever. That's not the problem."

"Wait, what? I thought you two ended it."

"We did. But we're still friends."

"But—why? Why'd she break it off?" Scorpius asked, leaning forward.

Al opened his mouth and then shut it. He blushed a pale pink and blurted out, "I'm not gay, okay?"

Scorpius stared at him, mouth parted, brows furrowed. After a moment of silence, he asked, "What?"

Al's blush deepened. "I'm not—nothing."

Scorpius stood up slowly. "You...you all right, mate?"

"No. I mean—yes. Oh, bloody hell, I don't know," Al babbled. He glared at Scorpius. "This is all your fault, you know. I bloody hate you."

Scorpius blinked. "What the—what? Al, you're not making any sense. Did you get cursed or something? Nod if you did, I'll take you to—."

"I didn't get bloody cursed, all right? I—I know I'm not making any sense." He ran a hand a hand through his hair and looked away, biting his lip. "Y'know what?" He glanced at his shoes, ears tipped with red. "This was a stupid idea. Just forget it. Forget I was ever—never listen to Rose, okay? She's got no bloody clue what she's going on about." He looked up at Scorpius, took a deep breath, flushing even deeper, and turned on his heel.

Scorpius surged forward, clamping onto Al's hand—he was a runner now, he bloody worked out, he had enough strength to clamp down on Al's hand and not let go—and tugging back. "There's no bloody way I'm letting you go just like that, you—." Scorpius broke off, eyes widening as he took in Al, flushed and lips parted, eyes bright, about two fucking centimeters away, because Scorpius had tugged a bit too hard, and instead of just stopping Al, he'd apparently gone and tried to fucking absorb him into his own body.

The universe really fucking hated him, didn't it?

For a second, they just stared at each other—the part of Scorpius that wasn't consumed in an Al-induced, panic-producing, lust-infused frenzy remarked on what a bloody cheesy setup this was, like every fucking romance novel ever, though at least Al hadn't collided into his chest—and then Al licked his lips and, realizing what was happening, pulled away, flushing.

Scorpius was pretty sure his own face was just as red as Al's, but it had worked, right? Scorpius was about to implode and explode simultaneously, yeah, but at least Al wasn't leaving. Look at the silver lining, and all that.

Scorpius cleared his throat. "Right, so, you were saying something about Rose...? What's wrong, why'd Alice break up with you?" As a possibility entered his mind, Scorpius' eyes bugged out. "Shit—wait, did Rose have anything to do with it?" Had Rose decided it was time to meddle in Scorpius' tragic-and-forever-doomed-and-more-lonely-and-pathetic-than-love life? She’d been laying low, and Scorpius should've known it wouldn’t last. Rose wouldn't be able to resist. "I'll go—."

"I love you," Al blurted out.

Scorpius stopped, staring with his mouth gaping for what was most certainly the twentieth time in the past ten minutes. "I'm sorry, what?" His heartbeat was loud in his own ears, his breathing starting to quicken, his chest seizing up, because this couldn't be real, it was too good, he must've misheard, Al must've said something else, he couldn't—.

"Wait, that came out wrong," Al rectified, and Scorpius' heart dropped. Of course Al didn't mean it, he already knew that, why was he fucking hurt and disappointed?

"Shit, wait, no, that came out wrong, too," Al said, looking at Scorpius.

But Scorpius had had enough. "Al, what are you saying? You can't just—just—just say something like that and—can you please tell me what's going on?"

Al stared at him, and Scorpius opened his mouth to cuss or to plead, he wasn't even fucking sure, but before he was able to do so, Al leaned forward and kissed him.

It was over too quickly for Scorpius to even react, a chaste peck, but it felt as if fucking Merlin himself had dropped down from the heavens and proclaimed Scorpius was the greatest wizard to ever live, because Al had fucking kissed him, of his own will, and there hadn't even been spells or potions or death threats involved; he’d kissed him.

Al stared at him with wide eyes. "Shit. Sorry. That wasn't supposed to happen. I mean, okay, yeah, I was hoping something along those lines would happen, but—." Al cut himself off, taking a deep breath. "Okay. All right. Okay."

Scorpius slowly brought up his hand and touched his lips. "You...kissed me," he breathed, staring at Al with wide eyes.

Al flinched, licked his lips. "Yeah," he croaked, clearing his throat as he continued, "Yeah, I did."

And because Scorpius couldn't just bloody accept good things happening to him, he asked, "Why?"

"Ha. Well. That…is a very good question."

"Al, I'm bloody serious—and don't you fucking dare make a Sirius-serious pun right now, Al, or I will punch you," Scorpius growled when he saw Al open his mouth, and Al shut it. "Why?" he demanded. He could feel the beginning of hope—beautiful, dangerous, foolish hope—growing within his heart. Was this real, or was this just fantasy?

Al took a deep breath. "Right, well, erm. I—hear me out, all right? And then you can kick me out or turn me away or never ever look at me, let alone speak to me, but hear me out first, okay? I mean I understand if you're totally grossed out by me, or maybe you're not, or maybe you are, but—erm—yeah, hear me out before you make any decisions, okay, don't just go on your gut reaction—well, I guess I never really need to worry about that with you, I mean you never do anything without thinking about it for years, it's actually kind of annoying, really, but still—."

Scorpius made a frustrated noise in the back of his throat, cutting Al off. "Are you planning to make sense any time soon, Al?"

"Shut up, arsehole, I'm laying my soul bare here, the least you can do is be a little patient."

"Be patient? More like turn ninety-one and grow a Dumbledorian beard, Merlin."

Al balked. "Oh, Merlin, never grow a beard, please, you'll look even stupider than you do right now."

"Will you stop stalling and bloody get on with it?"

"You started—."

"Al!"

"All right, all right, Merlin." Al took a deep breath and looked him in the eye. "You make me do the stupidest things."

Scorpius stared at him. "Gee, I'm so glad you're finally making sense," he said. "The fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"Can you shut up for one bloody second? Merlin, Scorp, you have a problem. Let me continue, will you?"

Scorpius glared but refrained from speaking, his heart pounding and palms sweaty, wishing Al would just get on with it, because Scorpius needed to know.

"Thanks," Al sniped, but Scorpius could see the way he was clenching his fists, the way his Adam's apple bobbed. "Now, as I was saying, you make me do the stupidest things, okay? You make me feel all jealous and angry and annoyed when you're off with some bloke, and then make me act like an idiot when you're with me, and bloody refuse to leave my mind when you're not, like the stubborn git you are—Merlin, Scorp, you make me come up here and babble on and on like a moron! I always have something to say, I never bloody babble, except for when I'm ridiculously nervous or unsure, and that's all because of you, because for some stupid, idiotic reason, I care about you," he ranted, his mouth twisting into a frown. "You know what I was talking about with Alice? You. I was complaining about what a hermit you are.That's how annoying and stubborn you are, Scorp, you make me think about you when I'm with my—well, ex, now, but you get the point. And that's why Alice broke up with me. She stopped me, smiled, and said, and I quote, 'Go to him.' That's what she said to me. She told me that I was a nice bloke, a really nice one, but that I was—was bloody taken or something. And then she left, just like that, and I ran to Rose, and she went, 'Fucking finally,' and she told me to pull my head out of my arse and embrace my inner Gryffindor and I just...I did."

Al swallowed heavily, looking to the side before fixing his stare on Scorp again. "I...Scorp, when I said I'm not gay, I meant it. I'm not. I've never wanted to...y'know, with a guy. But over the past year––because that's when this started––over the past year...I've...I've, oh bloody hell, this is going to sound so bloody sappy, but I've, erm, fallen. For you. And your stupid pale gangly-ness and bookworm-ness. And I know that––I know that you probably don't feel like that, but I––I, um, yeah." His Adam's apple bobbed again, and he looked away. "Right."

Scorpius stared at him, eyes wide, frozen in place. Had he heard right? Was this––was he dreaming?

"No, you're not––not dreaming," Al answered, still refusing to look him in the eye, and Scorpius realized he'd asked the question aloud.

When Scorpius didn't say anything, just stared ahead in dumb shock, Al spread out his arms and grinned weakly. "Ta-da." He gulped. "And, erm, not to rush you or anything, but if you could get back to me in, oh, the next twenty seconds, I'd really appreciate it."

"Wait. Wait." Scorpius unfroze, heartbeat pumping and mouth dry as he asked, "You like me."

"Yeah. Obviously," Al replied, but it lacked his usual Duh-ness.

"As in, I-want-to-have-sex-and-cuddle like, or I-think-you're-kinda-like-my-brother like?"

Al gave him a flat stare. "What do you think?"

"Well, you said you weren't gay, so I was just making sure."

"Obviously. In which fucked up universe does 'I've fallen for you,' mean, 'I like you like a brother'? For a Ravenclaw––."

That was when Scorpius decided Al talked too much and kissed him. And unlike Al's stupid blink-and-it's-gone kiss, this one was proper.

He had to tilt Al's head up a bit, since Scorpius had a few centimeters on him, but Scorpius was most definitely not complaining. He stepped closer, his arms wrapping around Al and his hand crawling up to immerse itself in Al's hair, tug a little, as he had always wanted to. Al was most definitely not complaining, either, if the small sound he made in the back of his throat was anything to go by. Their lips moved along each other's, and Al's eyes fluttered shut, hand resting on Scorpius' hip. Scorpius swiped his tongue along the seam of Al's lips, and Al opened up, allowing him to lick his way into Al's mouth, swipe across he roof of his mouth. Al groaned softly and tilted his head further, tugging Scorpius closer, and Scorpius was suddenly glad that this wasn’t his first kiss, because his first had been really bad and it would’ve totally ruined the moment. 

Scorpius pulled away slowly, tugging at Al's plush, bottom lip as he did so, and smiled, wide and radiant. Fuck. Fuck. He'd just kissed Al. Scorpius had just kissed Albus, and there hadn't been any sneaky spell-work involved; Al wasn't running away screaming; no one had had to die.

Al, flushed a delightful pink color, breathed, "I'll take that as a 'No I don't hate you, actually, I quite like you,' answer, yeah?"

Scorpius pecked Al on the lips––because, he realized with a ridiculous amount of joy, he could do that now––and said, grinning, "More than like, you dolt."

Al perked up. "Yeah?" He smirked. "Don't blame ya. I am irresistible."

Scorpius huffed, rolling his eyes, though his cheeks bloody hurt from smiling so wide—he still wasn't complaining, though—and said, "I retract that statement. I still hate you."

Al bat his eyelashes. "Oh, but tell me what you like about me, Scorpius," he uttered in a high, girlish pitch. With a wink, he leaned in closer and continued in his normal pitch, "Is it my totally fit body?"

Scorpius raised an eyebrow and smirked. "I'll let you know as soon as I've done a bit more research on the matter."

Al blinked at him, cheeks flushing darker, before smiling slowly. "I think I'd like that."

Scorpius leaned in to kiss him again––Merlin, how had he bloody survived without this?––and pulled away. "Though you might." Scorpius stepped back and turned around, heading toward the stairs leading to their dorms.

"Oi, where're you going?" Al called out to him, frown in his voice. "What about all that exploring you promised?"

Scorpius looked at him over his shoulder, eyebrow cocked. "Everyone's gone, our dorms are free, and they're both close and happen to have rather comfortable beds. Care to join me, Potter?"

Al's eyes widened a fraction before he grinned, walking forward. "Thought you'd never ask, Malfoy."

Scorpius grinned and started forward. This was fucking perfect. Everything was perfect.

All was well.