Rose Granger-Weasley forcefully set her bag down onto the table next to Albus Potter, making him jump.
He had papers scattered around, currently scribbling over a report that covered the case of the declining population of Erumpent's in Eastern Europe.
Albus barely let out a huff in greeting, too focused on his papers.
"Guess who I talked to today," she asked casually, pulling off her gloves and tossing them onto the table along side her bag, and now her cloak.
"Who?" Albus wondered, not even looking up.
Rose watched as Albus' writing hand froze for a moment too long, and his eyebrows furrowed together.
"Oh?" Albus practically squeaked out, trying to seem disinterested, "What'd he have to talk to you about? Does he not still work for St. Mungos?"
Rose began pulling out pots and pans from the cupboards along with ingredients and other foods. "Yes, he does. We just have a report to cover and he had some files we needed. We mostly just talked about that, and about you of course," she commented, turning around so Albus couldn't see the sly smirk on her face. But that meant she didn't see him jerk his head up, a bewildered, unbelieving look on his face.
"You did not talk about me," he said confidently.
Rose sighed and turned back around, placing a box of instant rice onto the counter, "Okay, no. We didn't talk about you, but you should reach out to him. I don't think he knows you're back in Britain."
Albus huffed, crossing his arms over the table and leaning forward on them, "Why should I? We broke up five years ago. Everything's changed."
"But you two were so good together," Rose was practically pleading.
"But we still broke up," Albus emphasized before ducking his head back down to his papers.
Rose sighed in defeat and went about cooking dinner for them. She wasn't done pestering Albus, but she knew he didn't want to talk about the subject any more.
The small ting of the bell that sat on Rose's desk chimed and she looked up to see Scorpius Malfoy standing there, a polite smile on his face, decked out in his maroon St. Mungo's uniform.
"Hello, Miss Granger-Weasley," he greeted, moving to place a magically sealed file on her desk, "Here are the last of the files that you asked for. I had to do some digging for this one, it's from 2005."
"Thanks so much," she beamed, taking the file and setting it on a stack of other papers to go through. She sat back casually in her chair, folding her hands together, "Did you know that Albus is back in town?" she asked.
Scorpius nearly had the same reaction that Albus had - he froze for a moment and his eyebrows furrowed, and then his face relaxed as he put on a facade of not being interested. "I was not aware, no... Is he still doing stuff with animals or ... whatever?" he asked.
Rose knew full well that Scorpius knew exactly what Albus did, but she didn't press it.
She nodded, "Yes, but different animal stuff. He's between projects right now. His project in Germany turned out really great, apparently they restored over half the population of the Hinkypunks - he was really excited."
Rose couldn't read Scorpius' face now, it seemed to be a mixture of sadness and curiosity.
"Hm," he hummed, "Good for him," is all he said.
Rose hesitated for a moment before saying, "I'm sure he'd like to see you."
Scorpius ducked his head down briefly, biting his bottom lip nervously before letting out an awkward, stiff laugh, "Yeah... Well I've got to get going... Let me know if you need any other files for your report."
Rose held back a disappointed sigh but bid Scorpius goodbye. She was determined to get them to talk again. Anyone could see that they were supposed to be together, and now that Albus was back in town and not traipsing around the continent helping endangered creatures, they could actually have the relationship they'd wanted.
Albus burst into their flat holding a packet of papers and an elated grin, "Scorpius! Babe! Guess what! Guess what!" he practically bounced through the living room and into the kitchen where he knew Scorpius would be.
The blond greeted Albus happily, letting his energetic boyfriend kiss him strongly, multiple times before pulling away.
"What is it?" Scorpius chuckled, "What am I supposed to be guessing?"
Albus pulled away and shook the papers, "I've been accepted to work on the Hinkypunk restoration project in Germany! They want me to go there and do hands-on stuff, Scorpius! Not just fact checking and editing the reports for it anymore - I've been wanting this for so long!" he exclaimed. He didn't notice the falter in Scorpius' supportive demeanor.
"This is wonderful news, Al! I'm so happy for you," he beamed, Albus' happiness was contagious.
He practically squealed with excitement as he pulled Scorpius in for another intense kiss, his hands squishing each side of his face. "It's going to be so lovely getting to be away from here for a while - a change of scenery - don't you agree?"
"Yeah, you're going to love that," Scorpius sighed. Albus just nodded in agreement, twisting to turn back to his papers as Scorpius' hands still loosely held onto his sides.
He flipped through the pages until he found what he was looking for, "It says our portkey will be scheduled on the twentieth of May at ten, so we'll have about a month and a half to pack and prepare," he informed. "They'll pay for our first six months of housing too, as long as we weren't from this specific company while we're there," he continued on, telling Scorpius the perks of this promotion. Scorpius just smiled and nodded when he needed to, zoning out as he thought about what it all meant for him.
"You really need to get up off your arse, or I'm flooing your mum," Rose threatened, shoving Albus' scattered papers off the coffee table to make room for her bag.
"Hey!" Albus protested, attempting to collect the fluttering papers. "I'm trying to finish this article! I'll get off my arse when I'm done! Please don't floo my mum," he begged, shoving pictures of graphs and data tables into a disorganized folder that had pictures of his endangered creatures pinned to it.
Rose gestured to the four empty beer bottles on the ground, "Why shouldn't I tell your mum, if you're sitting on my couch and drinking my beer all day?"
"It's part of my creative process!" He insisted dramatically as he lazily waved his wand and the empty glasses disappeared.
He then received a threatening look from Rose, "I love you, Albus, but you're pushing my buttons... All I ask is that you get out once in a while - go visit people, you haven't been home in five years, I'm sure there are people dying to see you."
Albus rolled his eyes, rubbing his face tiredly. He could feel the scruff starting on show on his jaw and realized he probably did look pretty pathetic, still in his pajama pants and an old frumpy sweater at four in the afternoon. "Rose, you know I never had any friends here - all my friends are back in Germany. The only people who care about me here are our parents, James, Lily, and Hugo, and I'll probably see them soon enough."
Rose gave him a pointed look, "I know someone else you could reach out to..."
Albus furrowed his brows at her, "I told you, we broke up! I'm not gonna talk to him!" He really wanted to talk to Scorpius more than anything.
Rose sighed and sat down on the chair opposite him, "Why not? You two were so good together - I've never seen a more perfect match. Merlin, Al, I didn't believe in soulmates until I saw you two together! Don't you want that back? I know you still love each other."
A frustrated groan came from Albus' mouth, "If we were meant to be together, why aren't we still together? Why wasn't he willing to make long distance work? Why was I the jerk who had to move away and break his heart? Besides, that was in the past! We were young and dumb, if we got together now, we'd have to be actual adults, not just some teenagers who lived together and fooled around all the time." He was scared that if they tried to get back together now that nothing would ever be the same and that Scorpius would resent him for the rest of their lives for leaving and ruining what they had.
A frown tugged on Rose's lips, "But I know you Albus, I know you still care about him, and after seeing him these past couple days, I know he still cares about you too."
"But you don't know, Rose! You don't know how I feel! You don't know how Scorpius feels! We broke up! How many more times do I have to say it? We ended things for a reason! We clearly weren't strong enough to survive me moving to another country, what makes you think we'd be strong enough now? After five years apart? Both well into our careers and adult lives?" He could feel anger tightening his throat and he just wanted Rose to leave him alone. They both liked to argue too much, it was never good when they were trying to discuss serious things together, it usually just ended up in a shouting marathon. But she was providing him cheap housing until he got a steady job and could afford his own place. It'd had only been a week and a half since he'd gotten back, she could cut him some slack...
"You're right," Rose said softly, surprising Albus with her change of tone, "I don't know how you feel. I should've realized how poorly your relationship ended," she added sarcastically, rolling her eyes as she forcefully stood up.
"I'm going out tonight with some friends," she changed the topic, "Would you like to come? Meet some guys? Talk to someone other than me?"
Albus waved her off, "I'm fine. I'll stay here."
"Suit yourself," she huffed, leaving the living room and heading towards her room.
On her way to her mother's office, Rose ran into none other than Scorpius Malfoy.
"Hullo Rose," he greeted with a happy smile.
"Hi!" she waved, "What brings you to the Ministry this time? Shouldn't you be tending to your patients?" She wondered.
He chuckled softly, "You'd think, but I guess being Head Healer calls for a lot more official business. And apparently I'm the only one they trust with these files your department has been asking for," he sighed, but he didn't seem inconvenienced. "I just got out of a meeting with one of your financial heads to talk about some funding needs," he waved dismissively. "What brings you over here?" He wondered, knowing she didn't work in the Minister's wing of the Ministry.
"Just visiting my mum on my break," she shrugged just as an idea popped into her head, "Hey, what are you doing on your lunch break tomorrow?" She asked innocently.
"Probably just going to eat my lunch from home in the break room, nothing extravagant. Why?"
Rose shrugged as the two fell into step together, walking down the corridor casually, "I was just wondering if you maybe wanted to meet up for lunch? There's this cute muggle cafe just down the block, and I figured we could catch up, you know?"
Scorpius seemed to think it over for a moment, "That's actually be really nice. You and I haven't really talked since..." he trailed off. Since I broke up with Albus. Rose filled in for him mentally.
"Exactly," Rose nodded, "What time will you be free then? I can work around your schedule."
"I'm usually off around twelve thirty," he smiled, "I look forward to seeing you then."
"Great!" She chimed before the two went their separate ways.
Albus was stood at the foot of their bed, his hip popped and his hand covering his mouth as he stared at all his clothes that were sprawled across the duvet. He tapped his foot impatiently as he tried to decide which clothes would be best to take to Germany. He wasn't sure how long he'd be stationed there. For all he knew he could either be there for a year or the rest of his life.
He didn't respond as he heard the bedroom door open, he knew it was his boyfriend. He felt Scorpius step closer to him, and then gently wrap his arms around his torso from behind, pressing this chest to Albus' back and sighing contentedly as he rested his chin on Albus' shoulder.
"Hi honey," Albus greeted, turning his head slightly to kiss the closest part of Scorpius which happened to be the side of his nose.
"Hi," Scorpius whispered. "Are you having troubles?"
Albus huffed, leaning back into him, "Yes, I can't figure out what I'm going to need, and I can only fit so much in one suitcase."
"Have you forgotten that you're a wizard?" He asked cheekily.
A small chuckle shook Albus' chest, "Perhaps, but I still want to be practical. What about you? What are you planning on bringing?"
There was no response from Scorpius. Albus waited a moment, letting Scorpius think, but when he still didn't reply, Albus slowly turned around. Scorpius' arms fell from around his torso and he took in Scorpius' almost guilty looking expression. The blond ducked his head, not being able to make eye contact with his boyfriend's intense green eyes.
"What? What is it?" Albus prompted. He gently reached up and lifted Scorpius' chin so he could see his face.
"I..." Scorpius started. "I'm not going."
Albus felt his heart nearly stop, "What...? What do you mean?"
Scorpius finally made eye contact, feeling his bottom lip quiver, "I can't go, Albus. I can't go to Germany with you."
Albus didn't understand. They were supposed to go together. They did everything together, they had since their first year at Hogwarts, they had since they started dating in fifth year, this wasn't an exception. They were going to go live in the outskirts of Munich, Scorpius would work at St. Weber's, the local wizarding hospital, and Albus would work with the endangered animals that lived in Bavaria and the Alps. They'd live in a small flat and start new lives together. That's what they had talked about.
He felt his legs grow numb and he sank onto the bed, not even caring if he wrinkled the shirts he sat on. He let his hands drop from Scorpius and raked them through his hair stressfully. "I don't understand..." his voice shook slightly and now he was the one who couldn't make eye contact with Scorpius.
"I can't come because I need to stay here for my job. I don't want to work at St. Weber's - my place is at St. Mungo's. I need to be here with my dad, too. I know you don't care as much about your family - I know you want to be as far away from them as possible - but I don't. I can't leave him alone," Scorpius explained, moving to his knees to kneel in front of Albus. He grabbed his hands and held them tight in Albus' lap, "And we both know that you will be too busy doing whatever it is you need to be doing in order to spend time with me. I would be following you to the continent for me to just sit in our flat alone with a job where I don't speak the language and don't have any friends. I would be lonely and bored and you know it."
Albus felt the cold tears on his cheeks before he even realized he was crying, "But I want you there, Scorpius. I need you too. And I would make time for you - just as I do now. You would learn the language just as I will have to and you will make friends! I never pictured myself doing this without you."
Scorpius reached up and wiped the tears away with his thumb. It was taking all he had not to cry too - he hated seeing Albus like this. "I know you didn't, and I should have said something earlier, but it was so good to see you so excited about this, I didn't want to hurt you and make you change your mind about accepting this wonderful offer."
Albus choked slightly on his tears, "I can't leave you. I can't go now."
"No, Albus, you have to go," Scorpius tightened his grip on Albus' hands as if to show how serious he was. "You've wanted this for the longest time. I'm not letting you turn back now. Not because of me, that's for sure."
"But I'm only twenty-one, I will get more opportunities in the future that are... closer, and more reasonable," Albus sniffled, looking at his boyfriend through watery, bloodshot eyes.
Scorpius shook his head confidently, "No, Albus. You can't say that. This project is for you. You are going to go and bring those Hinkypunks back to life, okay? I will not allow you to stay here."
"But what about us?" Albus' voice shook and Scorpius' heart broke at the sound.
"We... we'll be okay. We'll both take breaks and visit each other. We can write every day, and see each other over the holidays too, okay? We've survived seven years together so far, I don't think a little distance for a year or so is gonna break us," Scorpius said confidently, "We're strong, right?"
Albus just nodded solemnly, hoping to Merlin that Scorpius was right.
Albus tapped his foot impatiently, glancing at the watch on his wrist. Rose said she'd be here at twelve forty, and it was currently twelve forty-five and there was no sight of her. He was holding both their teas in his hands as he glanced around the cafe for an empty table. It was relatively busy, being most people's lunch hour. Albus moved through a small group of people to get a better look at any open tables when a head of white blond hair made him do a double take.
There, sitting at a table for two, staring out the window was Scorpius Malfoy, an empty seat across from him.
Albus mentally cursed to himself, realizing in that moment that Rose set him up... Why else would Scorpius Fucking Malfoy also be at this random muggle cafe. He turned around quickly, not wanting Scorpius to see him. A part of him was saying leave, get out of there, to avoid confrontation. But there was also the part of him tugging on his heart, tugging him towards Scorpius.
He quickly made up his mind.
He moved smoothly through the people, taking in a deep breath before pausing right next to Scorpius' table.
"Is this seat taken?"
Scorpius' head snapped in his direction, his eyes wide in surprise.
"Hi," is all he managed to squeak out.
Albus slowly sank into the seat, a cautious smile on his face as he set the two paper cups of tea onto the table.
"Rose set us up, didn't she?" Scorpius asked softly.
Albus nodded, "I believe so. She's been pestering me for the past week."
Suddenly a smile stretched across Scorpius' lips and Albus' stomach fluttered happily, realizing how much he missed that smile.
"It's so good to see you," Scorpius admitted.
"Yeah? It's good to see you too. I hope you're doing well," Albus replied.
Scorpius nodded, fiddling with his own cup of coffee, "I've recently been promoted to Head Healer for the entire children's care unit, so that's been going quite well."
"That's fantastic! I bet you're amazing at what you do and I bet all the kids love you," Albus complimented.
Scorpius ducked his head shyly and took a sip of his drink. Albus knew it had to be coffee, there was rarely a time he chose tea over coffee.
"Order number thirty-two?" The men glanced over to see a worker holding out a plate with a sandwich and a bowl of soup with a small bread roll.
"That's me," Scorpius handed they guy his table marker with a big '32' on it to him and he set the plate down before leaving.
"Extra thirsty today?" Scorpius teased, gesturing to Albus' two drinks and he moved to pick up his spoon for his soup.
Albus rolled his eyes, "I ordered for Rose because I thought she was running late or something. Now I just have an extra meal, I guess."
Scorpius chuckled, "She probably would've done well in Slytherin with her plotting skills." Albus couldn't help but laugh along.
The same worker placed Albus' meal in front of him moments later. He began helping himself as Scorpius spoke up again.
"Rose was telling me that your project went well with the Hinkypunks," he spoke cautiously.
Albus held back his happiness about the project's success, he was well aware that is was a touchy subject. "Oh, yes. It went pretty well," he answered dismissively.
"That's great too hear," Scorpius smiled genuinely, "How's your flatmate, Jonas? Did he stay with the project as long as you?"
Albus was surprised he was bringing Jonas up, he had seemed so bitter the last time they'd talked about his German flatmate. "Oh, I think he's doing good. He ended up meeting a local witch and moved in with her, so I got a new flatmate, Elliot, for the last two years I was there. He was pretty cool," Albus shrugged.
Scorpius pushed his bread roll around on his plate for a moment, as if he was trying to figure out what to say. "Did you ever meet anyone?" Scorpius internally cursed at himself for asking, knowing it'd make him look petty and jealous, but he was genuinely just curious...
"Erm," Albus mumbled, staring down at his food, "No... I haven't dated anyone since..." he trailed off, knowing Scorpius knew exactly what he meant. I never dated anyone else because every time I'd hook up with a guy or go on a date, I'd just think of you, get sad, and leave without an explain, would've been the full truth.
"What about you?" Albus asked after Scorpius didn't answer. He knew he didn't want to know if Scorpius had dated other people, but it just seemed like the thing he was supposed to ask since Scorpius had.
Scorpius cleared his throat awkwardly, "Yeah, I've seen a few people - but nothing ever too serious," he clarified. Albus just nodded as if he understood.
They lapsed into an awkward silence, both of them had so many questions, so many things they wanted to talk about, but nothing seemed like it was the right time to discuss. They both just picked at their food, silently daring the other to speak.
"How's your dad been?" Albus broke the silence.
Scorpius smiled at the mention of his dad - he always did. Albus admired that about him - he wished he could feel the same about his own dad. "He's doing great, actually. He's got a new girlfriend - I know - gross right?" he chuckled and Albus snorted.
"A girlfriend? How'd that happen?"
Scorpius threw his hands up as if he had no idea, "Beats me - old people are weird when it comes to dating. Apparently he met her in a shop that she works at and they hit it off. She divorced her husband a few years back, and has two children. I think they're fresh out of Hogwarts though - I haven't met them but I find it so odd. I'm just happy for my dad, really," Scorpius rambled and Albus watched him fondly.
"Good for him," Albus chuckled, "That's good for him to be getting out and about."
"I know, it's nice to see him smiling so much again," Scorpius agreed. "How's your family been?"
Albus shrugged, "They're pretty good. Lily is still running around the country with her dragons. James and Nora are already excepting their third kid - I swear they're planning on having enough children to make their own Quidditch team," he rolled his eyes fondly.
"Oh yes, I see them at St. Mungo's every so often; for her check ups I assume," Scorpius commented casually, smiling at Albus' Quidditch comment.
"Dad's thinking about retiring from Head of Magical Law Enforcement - he says he's starting to loose his edge."
Scorpius seemed surprised by this, "Oh really? I'm surprised I haven't heard about that - you'd think the press would be all over that and people would be jumping to either keep him in or fill his spot."
"He hasn't really told anyone yet, it's been on the down-low apparently."
"What will he do with his time then when he retires?" Scorpius wondered.
The two elapsed into comfortable, casual conversation, catching each other up on their families, jobs and other random things. Being together felt natural, even through the occasional awkward silences.
Suddenly, Scorpius practically jumped out of his seat as he glanced at the time, "Merlin's beard, we've been here for nearly two hours - I'm so late," he quickly stood up and threw on his jacket.
Albus stood up too, "Don't worry about your plate, I'll take care of it," he offered quickly, trying to ease Scorpius' sudden worry.
"Thank you," Scorpius sighed before pausing to look at Albus in full. "It was really nice talking to you - maybe we can talk again soon? If you'd like to, of course," he blabbed
Albus couldn't keep the beaming smile off his face, "Of course we can," he bent over and scribbled something onto his copy of his receipt and handed it to Scorpius, "This is Rose's address. I'm staying there right now. Just owl me or something, I'm never busy."
"Okay, wonderful," Scorpius shoved it into his pocket without even looking at it, "I'm so sorry for leaving in a rush, I'll talk to you soon." And then the blond man was out the door.
Albus stood there for a moment, dumbfounded and attempting to process their entire meeting.
There was a knock at the door and Albus froze, maybe if he stayed still enough then the person wouldn't think anyone was home and would leave.
Unfortunately, they knocked again, louder this time. Albus waited again until he heard Rose's impatient voice, "Al! I know you're home! Open this door."
Albus groaned and rolled his eyes, slowly getting up from the couch. He pulled the front door open with a bored look and she shoved past him.
"Sorry, I forgot my keys. I knew you'd be home so I figured it wouldn't be a big deal," she gave him a pointed look, insinuating that she knew he was just being lazy. He quickly vanished his trash around the couch before Rose could get too good of a look.
"Have you talked to Scorpius yet?" Rose drilled as she set her bags down on the table.
"Er, no. I told you I gave him your address so he could owl me or whatever, but he hasn't. The ball is in his court now, I can't do anything - I don't know where to reach him," Albus explained, slouching down into a chair.
Rose huffed, disappointed, "Whatever. By the way, our families are coming over for dinner tonight, so clean up your shit," she informed, not even glancing at him as she sweeped towards the kitchen.
"What?" Albus' mouth hung open, "Why? Why didn't you tell me this? I didn't approve. What if I had plans?"
"I didn't tell you because I knew you wouldn't have plans and I didn't want you to have time to make up an excuse," she retorted and it was Albus' turn to huff. He shoved himself out of the kitchen chair and made a move to leave but Rose halted him, "Ah ah ah! You're going to help me with the cooking, Mister, whether you like it or not." Albus let out a full on groan and then dragged himself further into the kitchen.
Their families arrived around seven, Ron had nearly cried at the sight of Albus, handing off his tray of whatever side dish he made to Rose and pulling his nephew into a hug, "It's been so long" he sniffled. Albus awkwardly patted his back, chuckling about how he was here now. Hermione had merely given him a warm smile and ruffled his hair before following Rose into the kitchen.
His parents were next to arrive, his dad proudly carrying a tray of homemade treacle tarts, and his mother had Liam, James' three year old son, propped on her hip.
"James and Nora were stopping to pick up some wine, so I offered to take him," Ginny explained, giving Albus a side hug.
"Hi Liam," Albus waved at his nephew. Liam however, gave him a wary look and ducked his head into his grandma's neck, his grip on her robes tightening in his tiny fingers. "You don't remember me, do you?" Albus frowned, he'd only seen the child three times - he was in Germany when Liam was born so he missed that, but he'd been home for the last two Christmases and New Years, and James and Nora took Liam to visit Albus in Munich about five months ago, back in June.
"You know Uncle Albus, don't you?" Ginny tried, "Do you remember when you visited him in Germany? And you climbed the mountains and saw all the cool animals?" Liam seemed to ponder it for a moment and then nodded, his eyes still wary as they stayed trained on Albus as if he still didn't trust his uncle.
Albus shrugged, "It's okay, I get it - you don't have to know me buddy," he ruffled the boys hair and let Ginny walk into the flat.
He then turned to his dad who pulled him into a hug just as Lily and Hugo came through the front door, laughing about something Lily had said.
They slowly gravitated towards the kitchen, where Rose was telling everyone to help themselves to food.
James and Nora eventually showed up with two bottles of wine and their daughter, Millie, who was eighteen months old. Nora was even more pregnant than Albus had expected - granted it had been five monts since he'd seen her - she was less than a month away from her due date now. At the sight of his parents, Liam practically screamed and raced to them excitedly.
They all scattered around the kitchen and living room, eating and chatting loudly with one another. Albus found himself drifting from person to person as they called him over.
"So how are you and Scorpius?" James asked innocently. He and Nora were sat on the couch while Albus and Rose were sat opposite of them on the floor, using the coffee table as a table. Liam was preoccupied by the crayons and coloring book Rose had gotten him.
Albus nearly choked on his food after James asked the question. In James' defence, their breakup hadn't been a widely known thing and when Albus had told his family it seemed as if they were simply just on a break while Albus was out of the country. Most of his family assumed they'd be back together now that he was home. Everyone knew how they were practically made for each other.
"Or have you met someone else...?" James asked, realizing Albus' hesitation.
"No, we're er..." Albus mumbled.
"He's only talked to Scorpius once, and it was only because I forced them to," Rose supplied.
Albus pointed an accusing finger at her, "You didn't force us - I chose to stay - but you did, however, set us up against our will, and lie to both of us."
"What?" Rose shrugged dumbly, "I knew it'd never happen if I left it up to both of your stubborn arses."
"Language, Rose," James warned, glancing at Liam who definitely wasn't paying attention to the adult conversation.
"Albus," Nora sighed, grabbing her brother-in-law's attention, "You should reach out to him - I know you may not want to, or you feel awkward about it, but even if you two don't get back together, it's important to have closure and know where you stand with him."
Albus felt his heart warm, she always knew what to say to fix situations, "I know, you're right. But even if I wanted to reach out, I wouldn't know where or how. After I left he sold our flat and moved somewhere new - I don't know his new address."
She hummed and seemed to think for a moment, "I could always pull some strings at the Ministry and find it for you," she offered.
Albus laughed, "As much as I'd appreciate that, I really don't want him to think I'm a stalker."
She laughed along, knowing he was right, "I understand - but it is an option," she winked.
"Well, I'm sorry I asked," James commented, "If anything comes of it though, you'll let us know?"
Albus shrugged, "Probably. I can't promise anything."
"That anything will happen or that you'll update us?" James narrowed his brow at his brother.
"Yes," is all Albus replied with, taking a big sip of his wine. James just rolled his eyes and knew better to push further.
"Oh!" Nora suddenly squealed, "Albus, there's something we wanted to talk to you about - I can't believe I nearly forgot."
"What is it?" Albus wondered.
"Well, with our little girl on the way," she rested her hands on top of her stomach, "We wanted to ask you to be the Godfather," she glanced at James who nodded for her to continue, "And we want your help naming her."
Albus' eyes went wide in shock, "Really? Me? Naming it? Oh that's a terrible idea, James."
The couple laughed, "Yes you. We want her name to be special," James added.
"Won't Teddy be jealous? I heard he practically threw a fit when you made Nora's brother Liam's Godfather, and Lily Millie's," Albus chuckled.
"He'll get the next one," James laughed along.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door that caught their attention.
"That's probably Teddy, I invited him and Vic and the kids but they never RSVP'd so I didn't know if they were coming," Rose explained.
"I got it," Albus jumped up, "Oh I'm gonna rub this in his face so hard," he laughed, taking a few strudes towards the door.
He didn't even bother looking through the peephole, he just swung it open, "You'll never guess what James..." his words faded as he realized it wasn't in fact Teddy and Victoire at the door, but instead Scorpius Malfoy.
"Hi," Scorpius breathed out as if he'd been holding it in, "Is this a bad time?" he asked, realizing there was a lot of people talking inside, "I'm sorry, I can come back later," he began to step away from the door but Albus stopped him by grabbing his arm.
He glanced behind him before stepping through the threshold and letting the door fall shut behind him. "No it's okay, don't leave just yet."
"I'm sorry I didn't owl you or anything. I couldn't work out what to write but I knew I wanted to see you, so I figured I'd just show up - it was stupid, I'm realizing that now, I'm sorry," he rambled, attempting to leave but Albus gripped his arm again.
"Hey, no. It's okay, I wanted to see you too," Albus said softly.
Before Scorpius could muster out anything else, Teddy's voice sounded from down the hall.
"Look it's Uncle Albus!" The sound of Teddy and Victoire's three eldest children's excited cheers as they ran towards Albus.
Albus usually would have gotten down on his knees to be at their height to hug them back, but he suddenly felt awkward with Scorpius there. The kids grabbed onto his legs, tugging on him, happily greeting him.
"Hi guys," Albus chuckled, patting each of their heads as Teddy and Victoire approached them, Teddy carrying their youngest kid, who Albus hadn't even met yet.
Teddy squeezed Albus' shoulder in greeting, making eye contact with him and recognizing that him and Scorpius needed space.
"It's good to see you," he commented before turning his attention to the kids who were still clinging to Albus, "Come on guys! Let's go inside! Grandma and Papa are in there and guess who else?"
"Liam?" One of them chimed.
"I don't know..." Teddy said teasingly, "He might be..."
The kids squealed and followed their parents into the flat.
Albus turned back to Scorpius but the blond was already backing away.
"I should just go. I'll owl next time or... or something."
"No," Albus begged, "Stay, please. Do you want to come in?"
Scorpius shook his head, "I really shouldn't - you know I shouldn't."
"But my family... They love you."
"We're not together, Albus, I don't think they feel the same about me now. Not after five years," Scorpius gave him a pointed look.
Albus wanted him to be wrong, but he honestly didn't know. He opened his mouth to respond but nothing came out.
Scorpius let out a small sigh and reached up, brushing Albus' cheek lightly as if he was reaching out and remembering a past Albus and Scorpius.
The look Scorpius gave him made him feel choked up, he wanted to just talk and figure out everything from the last five years.
"What are we doing?" Albus asked quietly.
Scorpius let his hand fall down and gently trail from Albus' shoulder to his chest and then let it drop to his own side. "Are we friends?"
"I'd like that," Albus nodded slowly.
"Good, yeah," Scorpius nodded in agreement.
"Start fresh?" Albus asked.
Scorpius snorted, as if that seemed impossible, but nodded, "We can try, yes."
Albus cracked a smile, "Okay."
"I should still go," Scorpius sighed, "You have your family to get back to."
"They can wait," Albus insisted. "Or you could come in..."
Scorpius shook his head, "I already told you I can't do that."
"Okay, I think I understand," Albus took in a shaky breath, ducking his head down.
Scorpius lifted Albus' chin up gently, giving him a warm look, "Hey, we'll figure this out. We'll be okay."
"I just don't want to loose you again," he admitted quietly.
Scorpius was silent for a long moment before saying, "You won't."
Before Albus could say anything else, Scorpius stepped away.
"Goodbye, Albus. I'll talk to you later, okay?"
"Okay. Goodbye," Albus replied reluctantly.
Scorpius, his fingers flitted back to Albus' chin and tilted his head slightly as he ducked his own head down and placed a soft kiss to Albus' cheek.
He then pulled away and began moving down the hall, Albus stuck in his spot.
"Scorpius, wait," he tried to call after him but he was ignored and Scorpius slipped out of sight.
Albus stood there dumbly for several long moments, as if he'd just dreamed up Scorpius being there.
After a few minutes of composing himself, Albus finally was able to go back into the flat.
"What took you so long?" James questioned as Albus sat back down in the living room.
"Where'd Scorpius go? Is he in the kitchen?" Teddy asked before Albus could even respond to James.
This caught everyone else's attention.
"Scorpius?" Rose asked, "Is he here?"
Albus groaned, running his hands over his face, "He was at the one who knocked on the door, but he left already."
"Really?" Nora asked, "What did he want?"
Albus shifted uncomfortably under everyone's stares, "I think he wanted to talk, but then he realized everyone was here and so he left."
"He could've come in!" James insisted, "We want to see him too, he's family."
"He doesn't think you guys like him as much now after he broke up with me," Albus shrugged.
"Albus, I know he broke your heart, but we all know you two are supposed to be together," Teddy commented and Albus felt his face heat up as his family continued on talking about his past relationship.
He cleared his throat awkwardly and stood up, "I think I'm gonna go to the kitchen and talk with everyone else...." he dismissed himself.
As much as he loved his family, they loved to pry and be apart of everything. He hated the fact that he was currently wishing they weren't there. If Rose hadn't invited them over tonight then he and Scorpius could have actually fixed things and actually talked, but alas he was left with 'friends' and a kiss on the cheek.
Albus dragged Scorpius by the hand down the cobblestone street. Muggle tourist and bikers moved past them, paying them no attention.
"Here we are in Marienplatz," Albus explained happily, "You see that massive, gothic building? That's the Neues Rathaus, it was built in the nineteenth century and was one of the very few buildings that survived World War Two, you know why?" Albus asked, knowing Scorpius was a complete history nerd.
But Scorpius, for some reason, didn't seem to be paying much attention to the facts that Albus was spewing about his new home, "Er, why?" He asked distractedly.
"Well," Albus went on, trying to ignore Scorpius' distant behavior, "The British pilots needed it as a landmark to know where they were when they were bombing the Germans so they left it standing on purpose. Isn't that neat?"
"Mhm," Scorpius merely nodded, his expression unchanging.
Albus opened his mouth to spew some more facts but he instead asked, "What's wrong, Scorpius? Am I being annoying? I can stop - I just thought you'd be interested..."
They both slowed to a stop, their hands still clasped together, "No," Scorpius assured, "You're not being annoying - it's all very interesting... It's something else..."
Albus studied his boyfriend's face carefully, "What is it? You can tell me." Scorpius had scrunched up his face and Albus suddenly felt nauseous, knowing that was the face he made when there was something he didn't want to say.
"I want to go home," Scorpius finally admitted.
"We can go back to my flat," Albus stepped closer to Scorpius, getting out of a tourist's way and wanting to be closer to him, "Get some much needed alone time."
Scorpius took a step backwards and softly shook his head, "No, I want to go home-home. To London."
Albus nearly laughed out of both surprise and disbelief, "You know I can't do that."
"I mean just me. Alone."
Albus felt a sick feeling arise in his stomach, "You just got here last night and we haven't seen each other in nearly three months."
"Exactly," Scorpius let out an exasperated sigh, "It's been three months, and so much has changed, Albus, can't you see? You don't need me now."
Albus felt his heart tighten and sink into his stomach, he felt like the ground could swallow him alive and it'd be better than this. "No, Scorpius, you know that's not true. I do need you. I need you so bad," he eagerly stepped forwards again and gripped onto Scorpius' robes as if he was going to slip away then and there.
Scorpius shook his head but didn't shake Albus off of him, "You're doing so well here. You've got so many friends that love and support you - more than you ever did back in England. You're constantly surrounded by animals and beautiful mountains, something you've dreamed of your whole life and I'm just holding you back and I don't want to be."
"You're not - you could never," Albus could feel his bottom lip start to quiver and his eyes start to sting with tears.
"Face it Albus, this is where you belong and I can't be here with you. We need to live our separate lives now."
Albus furiously shook his head, "No, please, I-I'll come home every weekend no matter how much it costs me, I-I'll do something - anything for you to take that back."
Scorpius' tears were the first to fall and Albus felt like his heart was going to give out at the sight of it. "You know you can't do that Albus, it's impractical for both of us. We had a good run, we really truly did, but I think it's time for us to say goodbye now. At least until you're home for good," his voice wavered and shook with so much sadness and emotion that Albus knew he didn't want this anymore than Albus did.
"Let's just go back to my place and talk about this," Albus begged, "We can work it out."
Scorpius shook his head, "No, Albus. There's nothing to work out. My portkey leaves tonight, I'm not staying until Saturday anymore."
Albus let a sob wrack through him, "You just came here to break up with me?"
Scorpius was silent for a moment too long but eventually explained himself, "No, not initially," he admitted, "I won't lie and say that I haven't been thinking about it since you left. But I though that maybe if I visited and saw you that I'd realize I was wrong and that maybe we could really make it work for a few years or so. But instead I just realized that in order for both of us to live our best lives, we need to be apart right now. I'm working on getting a promotion at St. Mungo's, and you're doing all this amazing research and animal rescuing, we just need to be by ourselves."
Albus was in the kitchen, cooking, on his own accord.
For the four years that Albus and Scorpius lived together, Albus primarily did the cooking. Scorpius had always wanted to help, but he hadn't grown up in the kitchen cooking with his dad like Albus had and he was quite terrible at it. Albus never minded, it had always been a de-stresser for him. After moving to Germany though, he and his roommates had always split the meal making and now since living with Rose he hadn't touched a pot or pan.
Perhaps he was experiencing a temporary form of depression, or a withdrawal feeling from leaving Germany and all the creatures and friends that he adored. He'd felt like this before, but much - much worse, when Scorpius had broken up with him. If he wasn't at work, he was either locked away in his room, moping under all the possible blankets, or he was being miserable on the couch re-watching cheesy Muggle chick flicks. His roommate and friends didn't like him too much that following month.
Currently, all he felt like he could do was lounge on the couch, drink beer and shuffle through all his reports hoping something interesting would pop up that he hadn't already written about. He'd felt bad about abusing Rose's hospitality so he had decided that he'd cook dinner for them - nothing too fancy of course, he didn't want to set her expectations for future meals too high... It was just a simple chicken and rice with a side of some green beans, but it was still something.
He had just set a timer for it to be done when there was a knock at the door and Albus rolled his eyes as he made his way towards the front door. Rose had been forgetting her keys a lot recently and Albus had been nagging her about it.
"I can't believe you keep forgetting you keys," Albus groaned as he pulled the door open. However, standing there wasn't Rose Granger-Weasley, it was Scorpius Malfoy and Albus got a rush of déjà vu. "Oh hi," he squeaked.
"Were you talking to someone in there?" Scorpius wondered.
Albus felt his face heat up in embarrassment slightly, "Oh, er, no, sorry. I thought you were Rose."
"Sorry, was I a disappointment?" He asked teasingly.
"No, no, of course not," Albus assured, he stepped aside and gestured inside, "Would you like to come in? Or are we just going to stay out there like last time?"
Scorpius chuckled, "I'd love to come in, if I'm not interrupting anything?"
"No, of course not, I was just putting dinner in," he shrugged, letting Scorpius enter. "So what brought you here, I thought you said you were going to owl me?"
Scorpius seemed to hesitate in his response, "I swear I tried to - I just... It doesn't feel right. I wanted to talk to you in person."
Albus moved towards the kitchen where he still had things to clean up. "Talk to me about what?"
"I dunno... Us?"
Albus scrunched up his nose, "I thought we decided we are just friends."
"Yeah, yeah, right," Scorpius hesitated awkwardly, "So what's for dinner, then? I won't deny that I miss your cooking."
Albus smiled at that, "You do? And it's just chicken and rice, nothing fancy."
Scorpius nodded honestly, "I bet it'll be delicious."
"You're welcome to eat with us, if you stay long enough," Albus offered casually. He glanced at the clock at the wall and hummed curiously, "I guess I don't really know what time Rose'll be back. Let's hope it's not too late."
"Oh I really don't want to intrude..."
"Trust me, you're not," Albus assured, squeezing Scorpius' arm lightly.
Scorpius glanced down at where Albus was touching him and then back up at Albus, "Okay."
Albus stepped away and reached up to one of the higher cupboards and pulled down a bottle and two glasses, "Wine?"
Scorpius wasn't supposed to be the jerk that made the first move. Albus was supposed to be the one who came crawling back with apologies dripping from his mouth, begging for forgiveness and a fresh start after leaving Scorpius. Scorpius was supposed to be firm, to tell him no. Scorpius was supposed to be strong and not accept his apologies until he knew Albus wouldn't hurt him again.
Yet here Scorpius was, standing next to Albus, both of them drunk off wine and full of chicken and rice, thinking about how nice it would be to kiss him.
Albus had just said something that made himself laugh, and Scorpius felt his stomach erupt in butterflies. The same butterflies he felt back in fifth year when they'd first gotten together. Butterflies he hadn't felt in a long time.
Albus was standing there, leaning on the counter casually, his wild black hair laying wherever it pleased around Albus' face - Scorpius had always liked it longer and unruly like this even though Albus pretended to hate it. Albus' deep green eyes seemed to be sparkling, whether it was the wine or just pure happiness, Scorpius wasn't sure but he wasn't going to worry, he loved it all the same. Scorpius couldn't peel his eyes away. He was wearing an old, tight fitting t-shirt and some joggers that hugged his thighs so perfectly. Scorpius couldn't stop thinking about about how badly he wanted to kiss his wine stained lips and grip his toned thighs. He missed the way Albus felt beneath him, or on top of him or just next to him.
Something was pulling on his chest. His heart was warm with Albus next to him. He couldn't tell if it was love or lust, or both. He'd felt so closed off to romance the past five years, wanting to protect his heart. Sure he'd dated people, both guys and girls, but no one ever got him as excited as Albus did.
He set his wine glass down on the counter and stepped closer to Albus. The words faded from Al's lips as he noticed Scorpius. He stared at him for a moment, his mouth a jar. Scorpius reached up and cupped Albus' cheeks, his slender fingers weaving into the messy dark hair at the back of his neck.
Scorpius pulled Albus closer and connected their lips strongly, both of them fitting together so naturally even after all this time.
Albus, after the initial moment of shock wore off, set his drink down and gripped Scorpius' waist, pulling their bodies flush. Their lips moved in sync with one anther as if neither of them had forgotten how the other felt or tasted. Albus let his hands slip under the hem of Scorpius' shirt and roam across his smooth chest. Scorpius hummed contentedly into Albus' mouth before moving to kiss down his jaw to his neck. His hands went to Albus' thighs where he squeezed them tightly before lifting the smaller boy up onto the counter, earning an excited gasp from Albus. He wrapped his arms around Scorpius' neck and brought their lips together, happily slipping some tongue in there, knowing Scorpius would react positively.
React positively, he did, letting out a soft moan into Albus' mouth as he kissed him harder, and let his hands tug up the hem of Albus' shirt. Albus reluctantly pulled way from the kiss in order to let Scorpius pull his shirt off and toss it to the floor.
"We should take this to my room," Albus breathed out before kissing Scorpius again.
Scorpius laughed breathlessly, "Okay," he pulled away and held Albus' hand as he jumped to the floor.
Neither of them could keep their hands or mouths off each other as they stumbled across the flat towards Albus' room.
"Fuck how I've missed you," Albus breathed out as he shut the door behind them.
"I've missed you too," Scorpius agreed, kissing him strongly again, both his hands on either side of Albus' face. The shorter man laughed against him and kept walking, knowing that his bed was only a few paces away.
Scorpius felt the back of his legs bump into the bed and he stopped. Albus pulled away and gently pushed Scorpius down onto the mattress, then confidently climbed up to straddle his hips. Scorpius' hands went to Albus' hips and gripped tightly as Albus took control and kissed Scorpius, his elbows propping himself up on either side of the blond's head.
"Let's get this off, shall we?" Albus whispered, sitting back up to pull Scorpius' shirt off. "And these too," he moved down and unbuckled Scorpius' pants, pulling them down.
"Eager, aren't we?" Scorpius chuckled, sitting up to grab Albus' face again and pull him back down on top of him.
The two slotted together seamlessly, as if it hadn't been nearly five year since they last did this. They both seemed to remember every inch of the other - the spot on Scorpius' neck that made him squirm when Albus bit at it - the way Scorpius would drag his fingers over Albus' sides to get him to shiver.
It was nearly two am when Rose got home that night. She tossed her clutch onto the counter and nearly cried out in frustration at the sight of the kitchen - Albus was really testing her with this one. There was a pot full of soiled rice sat on the stove, and a dish of half-eaten, cold, soggy chicken and green beans on the counter along with two dirty plates. There was an empty bottle of wine with two half drank glasses.
"I'm gonna kill him," She groaned, bending over to pick up his shirt from the floor, throwing in onto the counter, "Like, what the fuck?" She asked aloud in disbelief.
She stomped towards his door and noticed a discarded pair of shoes and pants that definitely didn't belong to Albus. As she paused and realized what probably happened, she heard muffed whispers coming from the other side of his door.
Rose rolled her eyes and groaned, "Albus, I don't care if you bring guys home, but just clean up your shit first, will you?" She called loud enough for him to hear.
There was shuffling coming from inside just before the door opened and Albus stuck his head out, making sure that it stayed closed enough that she couldn't see in, "What are you bitching about?" He furrowed his eyebrows at her.
She gestured wildly in the direction of the kitchen, "Do you not have eyes? You left the kitchen a fucking mess," she then glanced down and noticed the love bites scattering his bare chest and couldn't help but cringe, confirming her accusation of him having a guy over. Probably just some one night stand he picked up trying to forget about Scorpius, which is what most of his relationships seemed to be the past five years from what she gathered.
Albus rolled his eyes, "I'm sorry, I'll pick it up in the morning, okay? I tried to make you dinner but then you never came back and then... I got... distracted," he explained.
"I see that," Rose huffed, tossing the pants she'd found at him, "I figured, skin tight, black skinny jeans weren't so much your style."
The heat rushed up Albus' neck and to his cheeks, "Yeah..." he mumbled, "Sorry, again. I won't be so careless next time."
"You better not - you're on thin fucking ice with me, Albus Potter, I'm about to kick your lazy arse out."
"Yes, landlord. I promise I'll do better, landlord, sir," Albus mocked.
Rose gave him a stern look and was about to walk away faltered as she heard Albus' one night stand call for him.
"Al," was all he whispered.
Rose turned back to Albus with an accusing look, "Who is in there?" She asked, whispering so quietly she was practically just mouthing it.
"No one," Albus answered quickly, "I'm gonna go." He quickly stepped backwards and shut the door on her.
"Slytherins are the worst," she mumbled to herself as she stomped towards her own room.
The next morning Rose awoke to the sound of someone in the kitchen and she quickly got up and threw on a night robe. She stepped in the kitchen to see a tall blond man standing shirtless with his back to her. He had fresh scratches down his back and all she could think was, 'Albus definitely has a type - blond, tall and fit like Scorpius.'
"Good morning," she cleared her throat to announce her presence as she moved towards the fridge.
"Oh, hello Rose," he replied.
Rose nearly dropped the milk that she'd been grabbing from the fridge, "Scorpius?" She spluttered as she finally got a good look at his face.
"Er, yes it's me," he chuckled awkwardly, "I cleaned up our mess from last night, sorry about that..." he gestured to the now spotless countertop.
She wasn't sure how to respond, "You really didn't have to do that, but thank you - holy cow I'm gonna beat that boy's arse - I thought you two were just friends but now you're..." she rambled, gesturing wildly at him, "That, I don't know."
Scorpius laughed again, "Yes, we're... that. It kinda happened fast..." he shrugged, scratching the back of his neck awkwardly.
Rose eyed him teasingly as she made herself breakfast, "You two will be the death of me, I swear."
Scorpius just gave her w wide smile in return.
A few moments later Albus wandered into the kitchen, yawning and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
"Good morning," Scorpius greeted him, handing him a warm cup of tea.
"Thank you," Albus sighed almost dreamily, taking the cup and then leaning in for a kiss which Scorpius happily returned.
"So did you two actually talk about everything or did you just sleep together and call it good?" Rose asked bluntly.
Albus' cheeks heated up in embarrassment as he moved further into the kitchen. "I don't think that's any of your business," he retorted.
Rose nodded as if that confirmed what she was thinking, "So you didn't talk it out."
"Not yet," Albus huffed. "But we will. Don't worry about it." He then stepped towards Scorpius, who was leaning against the counter. "For now, though, I just want to enjoy being back with you," he said softly, making Scorpius smile and hum in agreement as they leaned in for another kiss.
They pretended to ignore Rose's fake gagging and protests of how disgusting they were.