To see Scorpius stumble through the floo the next morning dressed in an oversized green cotton jumper and jeans instead of the joggers he’d been sporting in the hospital was quite the shock to Albus’ system. He looked incredibly cosy, the sleeves of his jumper covering his hands where he was wringing them together. He gave Albus a slight smile, briefly looking at him through his fringe that had fallen in front of his eyes.
Albus was about to hug him when Draco came gracefully from the fireplace, brushing off the dust from Scorpius before himself. Scorpius flinched when Draco made contact, clearly not expecting it .
“Scorpius, Draco, good to see you,” Harry greeted, coming in from the kitchen throwing a tea-towel over his shoulder. He’d just finished the washing up from breakfast.
Draco smiled at Harry, his hands still on Scorpius’ shoulder who had now relaxed into his father’s grip. “Thank you for letting Scorpius see Albus today, and to use your pensieve . I’m sure he really appreciates it.”
“No worries! And Draco, if you’d like to stay, I actually have some updates on the case I’d like for you to hear.” Considering Harry had arrested Draco in the early stages of Scorpius’ disappearance with suspicions that he had had something to do with Albus, Lily and James disappearing, they seemed rather friendly with each other. Maybe after everything had cleared up, they’d bonded over their missing children. Albus didn’t actually know what happened whilst he was gone, or how Harry and the Auror’s found where they all were. He'd have to make sure to ask his dad about that another time.
Albus made his way over, gently taking Scorpius in for a hug. Albus didn’t think he’d ever get used to how fragile and skinny he was now. He always had been, but this was a whole new level.
“Did you want to start straight away? Mum’s up there now."
“SCORPIUS!” Lily came tumbling into the living room and threw herself at him. T he only reason he stayed on his feet was because both Albus and Draco managed to catch him. He groaned in pain, but he never let go of her, clearly wanting to hug her just as much. “ I’m so glad you’re okay and I’m so sorry I could n’t see you in hospital,” she said as she pulled away . “How are you feeling?”
“ A little sore , but a lot better,” he spoke, his voice still a little raspy. “How about you?”
“I’m good,” she assured, smiling brightly at him. His little sister was such a bright spark. Albus wo ndered if anything could ever dull her light. He once thought the same about Scorpius.
Albus grabbed Scorpius’ hand, who flinched slightly at the contact, and tugged, guiding him away from Lily and up the stairs. Scorpius waved goodbye to her and to his dad, allowing himself to be pulled away , slightly glad to be getting out of that situation.
Ginny was sat waiting for he and Scorpius in his dads' study, where the pensieve was kept for safe keeping. Albus had never seen it be used as it was always be hind lock and key and many, many spells. It was just like the pictures he’d seen in books when they learn ed about them last year , a stone base intricately carved with various symbols that no doubt Scorpius knew all the meanings to.
Ginny embraced Scor pius as he entered, which he melted into straight away. That’s what a mother's hug could do.
“So, ” Ginny started, brandishing her wand, “which memory am I getting from Al?” Both Potters looked at Scorpius expectedly, but he was staring at the pensieve with a slightly terrified look, clearly getting lost inside his own head. When his breathing started to elevate, Albus stepped in. He gently took Scorpius’ arm and led him away .
“Hey, it’s okay, we don’t have to do this if you ’re not ready,” Albus assured, taking both of Scorpius’ cheeks in his hands, if only so Scorpius will look at him.
“No, I want to,” Scorpius said, finally deciding to look him in the eye for a brief second.
“ You said they were memories of us?” He nodded. “Well, I’m right here. You know they aren’t real.”
“I know,” Scorpius took a deep breath and looked back at Albus properly this time. “I just need to see them to sort them out in my head because it’s a fucking mess right now,” he gestured vaguely to his head.
Albus smiled slightly, biting down a smirk. “Did Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy just swear?”
“It’s been a slightly weird time for me,” he replied, but there was the ghost of smile on his lips and Albus would take that as a win. “I’ll be fine,” he assured. They both went back over to Ginny, who smiled kindly. “There was one memory in our second year, I was being bullied in the common room and Albus was studying. He didn’t see it happen, but I went to him after, remember?” He asked Albus.
“I remember,” Albus assured. He turned to his mum and explained it a bit clearer, so she’d be able to reach for it.
“Okay, you ready? I haven’t done this much, so you’ll have to trust me,” she said to Albus, placing a hand on his shoulder.
He smiled reassuringly at her. “I trust you, mum.” They shared a smile before she put the tip of her wand to his forehead and fished around for the memory she was looking for. Albus brought it to the surface for her, feeling strange as the tugging sensation pulled the memory from his head. She placed it in the pensieve and made way for the boys to go in. Scorpius took Albus’ outstretched hand and together they dove into the memory.
Albus fell to the floor when they landed, accidentally pulling Scorpius with him who landed on top of him with an “ oomph,” . Scorpius slowly rolled off him, groaning slightly and a pang of sorrow soared through Albus. He immediately apologised and offered to help him up, which Scorpius took gratefully. Albus noticed how he didn’t let go of Albus’ hand even after they’d both stood up.
"Albus!" Scorpius' voice, though a much younger version back when his voice was a little higher. Albus watched the younger version of himself stand up to greet a sobbing Scorpius, leaning more to one side due to his twisted ankle.
"What happened?" Memory-Albus asked, letting memory-Scorpius lean on him for support. Scorpius moved forward, pulling Albus with him, to get a closer look.
"Th-they made me jump for my books and then kicked my ankle," memory-Scorpius sobbed, letting Albus pull him in for a hug. Over his shoulder, memory-Albus looked at the bullies with daggers in his eyes. If looks could kill, they'd be six feet under. Albus turned to watch the bullies, still joking about and throwing Scorpius' book that he never got back. Albus looked at Scorpius, but he was staring at memory-Albus-and-Scorpius with tears in his eyes and sniffed slightly.
Albus squeezed his hand, a simple gesture letting him know he was there.
"I wish I could remember it like this," he spoke softly, wiping the tear with his free hand.
"I'll be here to make sure you always remember," Albus assured. Scorpius leaned into him, watching the smaller version of themselves comfort each other like they always had. That was their friendship, it’s how they worked.
From the very first day they met, they had always tried to protect each other. Maybe it was because their bond connected them on a deeper level than most friends, or maybe it was just because they both knew the cruelty of the world and wished to protect each other from it. Albus wasn’t sure if he could protect Scorpius anymore. He’d seen the worst of what a person could do. The fact that he’s here, he’s still standing, only showcases his quiet, determined bravery.
“Hey,” memory-Albus said, pulling out of the hug. “Forget about them, you’ve got me, right?” Memory-Scorpius nodded, wiping his tears with his sleeve. “We’ll always be friends, won’t we?”
“Always,” Memory-Scorpius assured, a weak smile on his face, but a smile nonetheless.
The memory came to an end as Albus pulled Scorpius back into a hug, and they found themselves back in his dad’s office. Scorpius’ face was red and tear-stained but in his eyes, there seemed to be a little bit of relief.
There was a quiet moment where no one knew exactly what to say. Scorpius hadn’t spoken a word about what Delphi did, not in detail anyway. Albus nor Ginny had any idea how that memory had been altered for him or how he was dealing with seeing the new (or old) version.
“I... erm, I – I need a moment,” Scorpius said before quickly exiting the office.
Albus turned to his mum, about to speak up but she got there first. “Go on, he needs you. I’ll get your father to start on some lunch.” She gave Albus a brief hug and a kiss on his temple.
“No solids remember,” Albus reminded.
“I know, he’ll make his homemade soup. He’ll do some for Scorpius too.”
“He’s not really eating well,” Albus said, hanging his head. Just after Albus had woken up, they tried to get them both to eat. Albus was fine, but Scorpius protested for a long time before relenting, only to throw his food back up a few moments later. And he knows he hasn’t eaten much since, simply because he’s struggling to keep anything down.
“I’ll do him some up anyway, he’ll disappear soon,” she half-joked, knowing it wasn’t going to land. Ginny locked away the pensieve whilst Albus went to find where Scorpius had disappeared to. He found him in Albus’ room, staring at a piece of paper on the desk and quietly sniffling. Albus tried not to startle him as he entered, so he was as quiet as possible whilst also letting him know he was there.
Albus watched him for a moment as his eyes flicked across the piece of parchment on his desk, reading slower than he usually did whilst scrunching his eyes in pain. He looked... defeated, with his shoulders slumped and his head hung low. He squeezed the bridge of his nose briefly, closing his eyes and just as Albus was about to ask if he was okay, Scorpius stopped his actions to pick up the piece of parchment.
“You kept this?” Albus realised it was the letter he’d received from Scorpius the day he went missing. The day his life turned upside down. He’d read it almost every night, so much he now had it committed to memory.
“Of course I did,” Albus responded, stepping further into the room. He wanted to go up to him and hug him, but weren’t sure if he wanted that. Sometimes, Scorpius hated being touched. Usually if he was going through a bad spell of insecurities about himself and felt like he didn’t deserve sympathy or a hug. Albus thought he always deserved a hug.
“You never mentioned it.” Albus wondered which part he meant, but could take a good guess that it was about the unspoken ‘L’ word hanging between them since they’d been reunited. “But, you’re still here. That must mean you don’t hate me,” he let out a self-deprecating laugh.
“I don’t think I ever could,” Albus assured.
Scorpius turned to face him now, still scrunching his eyes. Albus crossed the room to close the curtains, knowing it was the light that was bothering him. The healers said it might become a problem due to his prolonged period of time in the dark. His eyes may adjust back to normal light, but he may also suffer from headaches, migraines and floaters for the rest of his life. Once the room was a little darker, Scorpius nodded his head in a thank you.
“Albus,” he began, sitting on the end of Albus’ bed. Albus followed suit. “Have you ever had someone whom who love so much that losing them isn’t an option, that being friends is better than being nothing at all?”
He should have known this moment was coming, after all, he’d known of Scorpius’ feelings for a while and now he was telling him exactly why he’d never told him before. Because he was scared, exactly like Albus had been. Scorpius had been the brave one, and now it was time for Albus to be brave.
“Yeah,” he coughed, “I have.”
He smiled sadly and hung his head, refusing to meet Albus’ eye any longer. “She must be pretty.”
Albus chuckled, “he is.”
“Special enough for me to travel the country, basically on foot, to find.” Albus watched as a small smile crept across his face, but he still refused to look up. Albus wished he would. He’d missed his smile. He hasn’t seen a genuine one in a long time, most of them are faked or forced. But this one seemed to mean something. “Scorpius?”
“Look at me,” he requested.
Scorpius did, but the moment he did, his smile dropped. “You don’t... you can’t possibly mean it,” he spoke, almost a whisper.
“ I - because... I’m not worth it. I bring darkness everywhere I go, and you can’t love darkness. No one can.” He sounded so defeated, so hurt. Whatever had happened had scarred him deeply and Albus was wondering if he’d ever make it out the other end. Albus promised himself, and made a silent promise to Scorpius, that he would always remind him that he carries nothing but the light.
“You don’t bring an ounce of darkness anywhere, you’ve always been my brightest shining light,” Albus assured, reaching over to grab one of his hands.
“Scorpius, I can’t stop the rain from falling, or your heart from aching. I can’t stop your hands from shaking or your breath from wheezing. I can’t do a lot of things, but I can promise you that I will love you for the rest of my life.”
“I mean it,” he pressed on, not willing to hear Scorpius put himself down for another moment. Scorpius – finally – looked at him, grey eyes boring into Albus’ green. A look of such intensity and desire, yet full of pain and sorrow. Scorpius’ eyes were once a whirling snowstorm so full of light and joy, and now they were a summer storm showcasing the horrors he’s seen. Those grey eyes were haunted by ghosts and things much worse than ghosts.
The world was never kind, not to him. It seemed to be out to get him from the moment he was born, to throw its worst at him and watch him break. Experiencing a world like that would normally break someone down to anger and pain, but he remained kind. He's still kind, even after everything. He’s still good, even after everything.
And Albus had never been more in love with him.
He shuffled closer, brushing their thighs together and waited a beat for Scorpius to move away. He didn’t. He then placed one hand on Scorpius’ thigh and the other on his cheek. Scorpius remained unmoving, staring at Albus like he couldn’t quite believe what was going to happen next. They moved towards each other slowly, the only sound in the quiet room was their breath between them.
And then their lips met.
Something inside of Albus exploded, releasing butterflies in his stomach. Scorpius’ lips were soft and slightly chapped from his incessant chewing that Albus both hated and found endearing. They melted into each other, shuffling as close together as possible, hands on cheeks and waists and pulling the other closer, deepening the kiss and their lifelong bond.
Albus never – ever – wanted to kiss anyone else in the entire world. Scorpius was his person; he always had been from the moment they met. Even back then, Albus knew they would spend the rest of their lives together whether it was as friends or something more. But they’d always been something more, they just didn’t know it. And now it was so clear.
It was clear as a crystal that this was how it was supposed to be. Lips on lips, hands on waists, thighs touching thighs. They fit together like a key in a lock; two sides of the same coin; born to be different yet destined to be together. Scorpius broke the kiss for a moment, breathless and utterly beautiful, just to stare at Albus. A spark had returned to his enchanting silver eyes. And then his lips were back on Albus’ in a soft and gentle kiss. Scorpius was like that, you see, soft and gentle.
Albus lost his hands in Scorpius’ impossibly soft hair, tangling his fingers in the ends. Scorpius let out a tiny moan against his lips, which made Albus smile slightly, wishing to hear that noise come out of him again.
“I love you,” Scorpius murmured, his lips an achingly short distance from Albus’. The way he said it – like he could no longer hold it in – sent fireworks through Albus’ bones.
“I love you, my beautiful, kind soul.”
They looked at each other, slightly alarmed about what just happened and the fact that they’d made out when both their parents are simply downstairs. Albus shouted back that they were coming and stood up, offering a hand to Scorpius. He took it and Albus started making his way to the door, but Scorpius stopped.
“Wait, Albus, what are we doing? Are we going to talk about what just happened or are we just going to walk downstairs holding hands and let my father have a heart attack and yours probably just die on the spot? And James and Lily will no doubt tease us whilst your mum stands with a really proud smile on her face like she knew this would happen since we were eleven?”
Albus stared at him with an amused smile and his eyebrows raised. That’s the most Scorpius has been like Scorpius since his return. And damn, Albus had missed that so much.
Albus was going to make a sassy remark, but saw the genuine fear in Scorpius’ eyes and decided against it. “I’m not officially out, but they probably suspect, and James and Lily know how I feel about you. If you want to go down there and be my... my boyfriend, then I’m happy with that.”
“Boyfriend?” Scorpius squeaked. Then he paused and took a moment. “Boyfriend,” he said again, less startled and more content. “I like that... I would like that – if you would too, of course.”
“Scorpius, I just confessed my love for and kissed you, I think it’s fair to say I would also like the boyfriend title,” Albus joked, rolling his eyes.
Scorpius laughed – actually laughed – for the first time and the sound was like music to his ears. Albus wrapped his arms around his waist and kissed him again, simply because he could. Then he took Scorpius’ hand and led him downstairs.
He half-expected someone to point it out straight away, but no one did. Lily smiled softly and James nodded his head, but no one said anything. They simply all sat at the dining table with a bowl of soup each and an array of different types of bread in the centre that Albus, painfully, could not touch.
Scorpius stared at his soup for a long time, stirring it with the spoon but never eating any of it. Both Albus and Draco were watching him closely, waiting for him to eat something – even just a small amount. Albus could almost see the internal battle going on in his mind every time he scoops some up on his spoon but puts it back a moment later with a sigh.
It was a near-silent meal, mostly because no one knew what to say. Albus didn’t want to speak up and ask Scorpius to eat because he knew Scorpius was less likely to eat with the attention on him and that if he was going to do it, he’d do it in his own time. Draco seemed to think the same as he refused to speak up as well.
It wasn’t until everyone - or nearly everyone – was finished when Harry spoke up. “Scorpius, I actually have something for you.”
“Me?” Scorpius said, looking up from his bowl with his brows furrowed and lips pouted. Albus had to stop himself from thinking how cute he looked.
“Yes,” Harry got up from the table and disappeared for a moment upstairs. Scorpius looked at Albus confused, silently asking what could he possibly have and Albus shrugged. He had no idea. “I believe this belongs to you,” Harry said, holding out Scorpius’ wand.
“My wand?” He asked, standing up and taking it from him, shocked that he’s able to see it again.
“We did a raid of the Rowle Manor yesterday and came across it. I was going to put it into evidence, then I remembered Albus telling me that you have carvings on it, and I always knew you had a pretty unique wand so figured it must be yours and that you’d want it back.”
Albus noticed how Scorpius’ hand shook as he examined his wand, like he was looking for any kind of damage that might have come to it. He ran his fingers over the carvings, individual tally marks put there by Scorpius himself. He thanked Harry before sitting back down, leaving his wand on the table and looked to his dad.
“Saves us a trip to Diagon before I go back to school,” he spoke.
“When are you going back?” Ginny asked, more out curiosity over anything.
“Scorpius wants to go back on Monday, but I’m trying to convince him to have more time to recover,” Draco answered for him, giving him a side-eye.
“More time to recover means less time for N.E.W.Ts! Dad, if I want to get onto the St Mungos Healing Programme next year, I have to catch up as quickly as possible, I will not be held back a year!” He protested. It seems like he and his dad have had this conversation already.
“I’m going back to school on Monday.”
“Then so am I,” Albus said, looking at his parents.
“Me too,” Lily agreed, smiling softly at them both.
Draco, Harry and Ginny looked between their children and then at each other before sighing. “Very well,” his dad said. “We’ll get in contact with McGonagall and let her know.”
Albus knew exactly what Scorpius was doing. He was going to throw himself into schoolwork to try and forget about the actual demons in his brain. It’s how he always dealt with trauma, and even though it’s not particularly healthy, Albus will let him do it until it’s gets dangerous. Until he starts sacrificing sleep and food for it which - judging by the way he’s currently going – could happen rather quickly.
Under the table, Albus reached over and grabbed Scorpius’ hand, giving it a quick squeeze. Scorpius gave him a soft, sad smile and went back to twirling his soup with his spoon.