FIC: Treat Them Greatly (Albus Severus/Scorpius, PG) Title: Treat Them Greatly Artist: Willidan Prompt: 210. Scorpius is sorted into Ravenclaw. He is paired with Albus Severus in Potions/Defense Against the Dark Arts. Pairing: Albus Severus/Scorpius Rating: PG Word Count: 7,318 Summary: Scorpius’ life isn’t as carefree as it appears. Warnings: Not so much Author's Note: According to the Lexicon, Lucy is Percy and Audrey‘s daughter. I’ve no idea how old she is, but I made her younger than Albus. Title is taken from Essays by Emerson.
Everyone knew Scorpius Malfoy. That is to say everyone knew what he looked like. It was impossible to know anything about anything and not know who the Malfoys were and that Scorpius Malfoy was at Hogwarts and the first Malfoy in a thousand years who hadn’t been sorted into Slytherin. The second day of his first year, and every second day of every subsequent year, the disappointed voice of his grandfather echoed through the hall as he announced his dismay at the fact that his grandson, the last of the Malfoy line, had been sorted into Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw! It was unheard of. But everyone in the Great Hall couldn’t help but admire how Scorpius handled the situation. He would open the Howler, sit quietly while his grandfather’s voice filled the room and then return to his breakfast.
But that was all anyone knew about Scorpius Malfoy. He was in Ravenclaw, his grandfather was disappointed he wasn’t in Sytherin, and he got the best marks of anyone in his year. He hardly ever went to Hogsmeade, had few acquaintances and no close friends, and refused to participate in Quidditch, even going so far as to miss games unless coerced by his house into attending.
***** Fifth year began as any other year. Albus caught up with the friends he hadn’t seen all summer; made fun of the new first years, went out of his way to avoid James and his cronies; and tried to look forward to classes, with limited success. But then the first class of the day was Transfigurations, so Albus could at least look forward to his best class before facing the trial of his worst class. One would think that having Harry Potter as a father would have made him a better student in Defense. Albus had grown tired of defending his incompetence the first week of his first year.
It was with more than the normal hesitancy that Albus walked into the room that first day. James had warned him that fifth year was going to be hell. Albus hadn’t wanted to believe him. He collapsed into a chair near his friends and buried his face in his arms. After the horror of Transfigurations, he didn’t want to consider how difficult Defense would be this year.
“I will not have foolishness in this class.”
Albus rubbed his forehead on his arms before lifting his head to focus on the teacher.
He stood at the front of the class, his arms folded over his chest and a scowl etched deeply onto his face. “I’ve heard of the rivalries between houses. I won’t tolerate it.” A maniacal smile appeared on his face. “Therefore you will work in teams. Throughout the entire school year. The teams will be inter-house.” He grinned around the room. “Pick a partner.”
Albus glanced around as the rest of the class sat in shocked disbelief for several minutes before scrambling to partner the least offensive person possible. Albus was always slow off the mark and had learned to not even bother to scramble but waited until the hubbub died down and only one person from the other house remained partnerless. He took a deep breath and wandered over to Malfoy. Malfoy didn’t even bother to look up from the book he had hidden in his lap. Albus rolled his eyes and plopped into the chair beside him. Malfoy calmly turned a page.
Albus tuned the professor out and propped his chin in his hand, stealing sidelong glances at Malfoy. The class passed much more quickly than Albus expected and he had no idea what he was supposed to do with Malfoy. He sighed and turned to Malfoy. “Do you have any idea what homework we’re supposed to do?”
Malfoy closed his book and shoved it in his bag. “I’ll meet you in the library at seven.”
Albus frowned and nodded and watched Malfoy walk away. He stared after him, shook his head, and made his way to the Great Hall for lunch.
He wandered into the library a few minutes after seven, made a quick circuit of the room and settled at a table in the corner as far away from Rose as he could get. He waited another fifteen minutes, tapping his foot and sighing in frustration, before Malfoy finally showed up.
“Have you given any thought to our project?”
Albus glared and crossed his arms over his chest. “You’re late. And I don’t even know what project you’re talking about.”
Malfoy stared at him a moment before a smirk spread across his face. “Aren’t you here to work on the Defense project?”
“Yes,” Albus answered shortly.
“Did you or did you not plop yourself down in the seat beside mine during class today?” Malfoy continued.
“Yes,” Albus growled.
“Was that or was that not a tacit agreement that we would partner for the year long Defense project that had just been assigned?”
Albus sighed and propped his chin in his hand.
Malfoy grinned. “Then perhaps we should get started on our project.”
Albus glared and dug through his bag for parchment and quill while Malfoy chuckled darkly.
They met several times over the next few months. Albus trained himself not to flinch every time Malfoy chuckled evilly in his direction, though it did take several weeks and serious study of Malfoy’s expression before he chuckled so that Albus knew when to close his eyes when he knew it was coming. When Malfoy realized that Albus had trained himself not to be bothered by his disturbing expressions, he stopped making them in Albus’ direction and started aiming them at other students who paused at seeing Scorpius Malfoy studying with another person. Albus tried not to be amused as he watched them scurry away, especially since Malfoy would then turn and grin at Albus.
They started studying for Charms and Transfigurations after the third time they met, and it was only a matter of time before Malfoy and Albus started studying together for Potions and Ancient Runes as well. Albus was surprised to discover that he was much more adept at Potions than Malfoy, though they were equal in every other subject save Defense. Malfoy finally stopped gloating over that when he discovered the truth about Albus’ knowledge about Potions. Albus looked forward to meeting with Malfoy and even began to miss him when they weren’t studying together. He couldn’t help but feel confused about how he felt about Malfoy. When Malfoy wasn’t rolling his eyes at Albus’ confusion about his part in the project, he was funny and smart and actually managed to help Albus understand magical theories that he had always struggled with before. Which was why he hated trying to study on days when he wasn’t studying with Malfoy.
“Defense project not going well?”
Albus groaned and kept his face hidden at James’ amused question. “Shut up Jimmy.”
James kicked Albus’ ankle. “I told you not to call me that.”
Albus looked up with a grin. “Aw, don’t be that way, Jimmy.”
James glared “Shut up, Al. And don’t call me that.”
Albus chuckled. “Fine, James. I’ll only call you ‘James’ from now on, James. You don’t have to worry about that, James.”
“You’re such a brat,” James glared “I was going to offer to help you with your project, but I don’t think I will now.”
Albus chuckled again. “I have a partner, James. Malfoy and I are working on our project together, James, and we’re doing just fine, James.”
James flicked Albus on the forehead and stood, mumbling about bratty little brothers as he walked away.
Albus grinned and dug through his bag.
“So you’re really working with Malfoy?” Lucy asked as she plopped down into a chair beside Albus.
Albus shrugged. “Yeah.”
“He’s really weird, isn’t he?”
“No, not really,” Albus answered with a frown. “He’s just quiet.”
“Is he smart?”
Albus hummed and smiled at Lucy. “He’s very smart.”
Lucy propped her chin on her crossed arms. “Do you like him?”
Albus fought down a blush. “I guess.”
“Does he like you?”
Albus frowned. “I don’t know.”
“I think he does,” Lucy announced with certainty. “He doesn’t study with anyone else.”
“Yeah, but that’s only because we were given this assignment.”
Lucy smiled and stood, dancing around the table to kiss Albus on the cheek. “He likes you better than anyone else.”
Albus frowned and watched Lucy skip across the room to lean over James’ arm. Anyone who knew her parents would never expect Lucy to be such a whimsical child. She seemed to know things no one else did and understood people on a level that no one ever expected. Albus watched as James tugged Lucy onto his lap, tickling her a moment before cuddling her close and listening to whatever wisdom Lucy had decided to bestow upon him. Albus watched her, wondering about what she had said.
Lucy’s words stuck in his mind in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Albus tried not to think of how he felt when he knew he was going to meet Malfoy in the library. He didn’t like the thrill of excitement he felt when he and Malfoy agreed to meet again the next day. He didn’t like feeling disappointed when Malfoy admitted he couldn’t meet. He didn’t like the realization that he wanted to spend more time with Malfoy than anyone else he knew. And then Lily made the offhand comment that it was almost as if he were dating Malfoy. Albus flushed and laughed along with her but wondered to himself if it would really matter if he were dating Malfoy.
The next time they met, Albus found himself mesmerized with Malfoy’s hands. He’d never noticed before, the way Malfoy gestured as he spoke, the way he twirled his quill between his fingers when he was figuring out what he wanted to say, or the way he caressed the parchment as he spread it out and anchored it with several small stones he carried in his bag. He turned bright red as he watched Malfoy stroke his fingertips over one brightly striped stone and looked away before Malfoy could notice.
Albus couldn’t look away from Malfoy after that. He studied Malfoy in class, in the Great Hall; when they would pass in the hallways he would turn and watch Malfoy walk away from him. When they studied together he found it difficult to tear his eyes away from him, constantly shaking himself from staring only to find himself staring at Malfoy again a few minutes later
The problems really began when Malfoy started staring back. The first time Albus caught Malfoy looking at him when he turned to look at Malfoy, they simply smiled at each other and looked away at the same time. But there were times when Albus would catch Malfoy just looking away and would look away just as Malfoy turned his head in Albus’ direction.
They began to sit on the same side of the table when they studied together. They shared books and parchment and occasionally their hands would brush when they reached for a quill or to turn a page in a book. Albus would always flush and look away when that happened. He never wondered what Malfoy thought.
**** Albus nibbled on his lip and ignored the chatter around the table. Christmas with so many Weasleys was always loud. He’d learned to tune everyone out years ago. He’d also managed to snag a chair beside his father, earning a glare from Lily and a smirk from James. He bit at his lip, desperate to talk to his father and unable to decide what he wanted to say at the same time. He didn’t notice that he had been leaning into his father’s side until dinner ended and Harry led him from the table.
Albus looked everywhere but at his father as he closed the door behind him.
“Is everything alright, Al?”
“Yeah,” Albus squeaked. He cleared his throat. “I mean, yeah, everything’s fine.”
Harry smiled at him and sat down next to Albus. Albus tried not to squirm.
“You’ve been quiet since you got home.”
Albus nodded. “Not much to say.”
Harry took a deep breath and ran a hand through Albus’ hair, tilting his head up to look at him. “Al, tell me what’s wrong.”
Albus gulped. “Er, well, I’ve been working on a Defense project. With, er, Scorpius Malfoy.”
Harry grinned. “Defense?”
Albus blushed. “Yeah. He’s really smart.”
Harry hummed. “His father was pretty smart, too. How is the project going?”
Albus nodded and gulped again. “Yeah. It’s good.”
Harry smiled and waited for Albus to say something else.
Albus took a deep breath. “Dad?”
“What if, er, what if, well,” he paused and cleared his throat. “I think I like someone.”
Harry didn’t smile, though his eyes did sparkle. “Do you?”
Albus nodded. “Yeah. But I don’t know. I mean….”
Harry put his hand on Albus’ shoulder. “It’s alright.”
“But what if it’s not?” Albus asked.
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
Albus gulped. “What if it’s a boy?”
Harry’s hand tightened on his shoulder and Albus looked over at him. His dad was smiling at him. “Do you think it matters?”
“It might,” Albus answered shortly.
“Not to me,” Harry answered sternly.
“But it might matter to someone else,” Albus returned helplessly.
Harry nodded. ‘’Yes, it might.” Harry squeezed Albus’s shoulder. “But all that I care about, all that your mother cares about, is that you’re safe and happy.” Harry got an odd expression on his face. “You, er, remember the talk we had.” He cleared his throat. “Summer before last. About being safe.”
Albus’ face burned. “Uh huh.”
Harry nodded. “Good. That’s good. It’s, ah, probably a bit different. Than what we talked about.” He cleared his throat again. “I’ll, er, I’ll ask, or, er, I’ll find a book or something. About being safe with boys.”
“Thanks, dad,“ Albus squeaked.
Harry grinned and nodded. “Well, okay. You know. Don’t, er, you know, rush into anything.” Albus stared and Harry cleared his throat. “So, er, does he know you like him?”
Albus shook his head. “No, he doesn’t. And, er, there’s more.” Harry waited. Albus sighed. “It’s Malfoy.” Albus squeezed his eyes shut.
“Malfoy.” Harry chuckled. “Well. So long as he doesn’t hurt you, I think it’s fine.”
Albus sighed and opened his eyes. “Really?”
Harry smiled. “Yes, really. His father and I never got along, but I know he’s a different person. I can judge him on his own merits and not on memories of his father.”
Albus grinned. “Thanks, dad. And, er, would you not tell mom, or anyone. I, er, just--”
Harry chuckled. “I won’t tell anyone. But I’ll expect you to tell your mom if, er, you know, you start to date him.”
Albus nodded and leaned forward to hug his dad. “Thanks. I will, I promise.”
“And I expect to be kept up to date on anything that is going on.” Harry flushed bright red. “Just, you know, no details. But, er, just in case.”
Albus laughed. “Sure, dad.”
Albus returned to Hogwarts a lot less uncertain than he had felt when he had gone home for Christmas holiday. His heart leapt when Malfoy joined him in his compartment halfway to Hogwarts. It was the first time they had spent any time together without studying. Albus was surprised to discover that they had more in common than he had expected. Judging by the smile on Malfoy’s face, he hadn’t expected to have so much in common with Albus either. Albus hesitated before asking, but just before the Express pulled into the station, he asked if Malfoy would be interested in spending the first Hogsmeade weekend with him. Malfoy didn’t even hesitate before he agreed.
As the first Hosmeade weekend approached, Albus felt increasingly nervous. He wanted to think this was a date, but did Malfoy know it was a date? And was it really a date? They were friends, that was clear to everyone. But Albus wanted to be more than friends. He didn’t love Malfoy, but he was captivated by him. And he was certain that it was obvious to almost everyone who knew him. Judging by the supportive smiles from Lily and the way James kept telling him to be careful and he’d hurt anyone who hurt him, his siblings definitely knew how he felt. But did Malfoy?
A week before the “date”, as Albus became determined to call it, they were at their usual table, on the same side of the table as usual, their homework spread out before them, and Albus watched Malfoy from the corner of his eye.
“It’s not so much that I don’t like Quidditch,” Malfoy sighed. “It’s just that I’d rather be doing other things, you know?”
Albus nodded and pointed out an equation that Malfoy had made a mistake on. “You’ve got the wrong sigil there.”
“Oh, thanks,” Malfoy murmured. “And I know that dad was seeker for Slytherin, but that doesn’t mean I want to join the team.”
“Oh, believe me, I know what you mean.”
Malfoy chuckled. “I suppose you do. So how’d you get out of it?”
Albus laughed softly. “I have a brother and sister who take up the slack. I also have nine cousins who play, too. So long as one of us is on the team I can get away with not even trying out.”
Malfoy sighed. “Cursed again for being an only child.”
Albus leaned his shoulder against Malfoy’s. “So why don’t you just try out once and get them off your back?”
Malfoy leaned into Albus. “But why should I cave? Why can’t they just accept that I don’t want to play Quidditch and leave it at that? My father understands. I don’t see why my house can’t understand it.”
“Well, you know how Ravenclaw’s are: they can’t let anything go until they understand it.” Albus nearly toppled out of his chair as Malfoy suddenly leaned away from him. He sat up straight and turned to face Malfoy, biting his lip.
Malfoy stared at him. Then he snickered. Albus snickered as well, and soon they were leaning against each other, trying desperately not to laugh out loud so they wouldn’t be thrown out of the library. It was nearly perfect as far as Albus was concerned. So of course everything started to go wrong.
Naturally, the librarian did catch them laughing and kicked them out of the library and they ducked into an empty classroom so they could finish their homework. They transfigured two student desks into one large desk and settled, shoulder to shoulder, to work on their Defense project. Albus could barely concentrate on anything but Malfoy leaning warmly into his side. It was nearly an hour later that Malfoy slammed his book shut and leaned away to stretch. Albus watched out of the corner of his eye as he packed his books away. He didn’t want to watch Malfoy. Didn’t want to think later about how his shirt stretched across his shoulders or the way his belly was bared when he threw his arms over his head.
Albus looked away quickly, fiddling with his book bag and sighing softly when Malfoy lowered his arms and began packing away his own books. Albus sat and watched him, watched his fingers smooth the wrinkles out of his parchment and brush over the feathers of his quill and his breath caught at the thought of those fingers touching him.
Albus nodded and smiled. “Yeah, fine.” He turned to find Malfoy frowning at him.
“Are you sure? You’ve been awful quiet lately.” Malfoy laid a hand on his brow. “You’re not coming down with something, are you?”
Albus shook his head. “No. I’m fine.”
Malfoy stared at him, tracing his fingers over Albus’ brow and cheek. Albus shivered and couldn’t stop himself from leaning closer to Malfoy. Malfoy looked at him curiously, but didn’t move away. And then Albus was kissing him. He curled a hand around Malfoy’s neck, not holding him, just touching him, marveling at the heat and softness of his skin. Albus opened his mouth, touching his tongue to Malfoy’s lips, tracing the seam then pressing inside when Malfoy gasped. Albus groaned and leaned closer. He felt like he was falling. And then he was falling as Malfoy shoved him away.
“What are you doing, Potter?” Malfoy hissed. “Is this how you treat all your friends?” Malfoy snatched his bag off the table and stalked to the door.
Albus sat where he had fallen, staring after Malfoy. He didn’t know how long he sat there before he finally stood and made his way back to Gryffindor. James grinned at him as he tripped through the portrait hole, but Albus couldn’t even acknowledge his teasing and just walked up the stairs to the fifth year dormitory. He should have known better than to believe that James would just leave him be. But he couldn’t think of anything except the anger on Malfoy’s face. He pressed his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around his legs. He was staring blankly into space when James and Lily burst into the dormitory. They exchanged glances and Lily went to perch on the edge of the bed, laying a hand on Albus’ back.
“You were studying with Malfoy, weren’t you?” she asked softly.
“What did he do to you?” James asked, his fists clenched at his sides, his face turning red.
Albus shook his head and hid his face in his knees.
Lily leaned closer. “Al? Did he hurt you?”
“I’ll take care of him,” James growled. “I’ve never liked him but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because you liked him. But now,” James chuckled darkly. “I’ll take care of him.”
Albus’ head shot up. ‘You won’t. He didn’t do anything.”
James choked for a moment before growling again. “Don’t make excuses. He did something.”
“No, he didn’t. Just stay out of it.”
Lily glared at James when he opened his mouth to argue. “What happened, Albus?”
Albus shook his head and hid his face again.
Lily sighed and stood up. “You know you can talk to us about anything, right?”
Albus nodded and looked up. “Just leave Malfoy alone.” He glared at James. “I mean it, James. Leave him alone.”
James glared but reluctantly nodded under Albus’ glare.
The next day was terrible. Malfoy didn’t look in his direction once and everyone in Gryffindor seemed to be watching Albus, waiting for something to happen, though Albus didn’t want to know what they thought was going to happen. Classes proceeded as expected. Albus still sat beside Malfoy in Defense, though instead of sharing notes and exchanging wry glances at some of the things the professor said, Malfoy read a book hidden inside his textbook and Albus doodled on what should have been his notes. Malfoy packed up and left as soon as the bell rang and Albus watched him dart from the room from beneath his lashes before he shoved his books into his bag.
And so went the rest of the week. Albus kept working on his part of their Defense project, though he wasn’t always certain of some of the things he came up with, but he did as much as he could and refused to ask James for help, though James had taken to hovering around Albus whenever they weren’t in Gryffindor and often when they were. And Lucy had started staring at him again.
“It’s not what you think, you know.”
Albus started and scowled at the line of ink stretching across his notes. “What are you talking about?”
Lucy smiled and scooted her chair closer to Albus before propping her chin in her hand and gazing up at him. “Whatever happened.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Albus muttered and waved his wand at the parchment to erase the line of ink.
“I know something happened.” Lucy sighed and turned to lean her head on Albus’ arm, wrapping one hand around his bicep. “But it’s not what you think. It‘ll be alright soon.”
Albus sighed and shook his head. “I don’t think so.”
Lucy propped her chin on Albus’ arm. “Why?”
“Because I did something stupid. I made him mad. He hates me now,” Albus finished with a whisper.
Lucy grinned. “No, he doesn’t.” She leaned up and pressed a kiss to Albus’ cheek. “You’ll see.” Lucy stood up and skipped out of the common room.
Albus frowned after her until James came and plopped into the chair beside him. Albus glared at him. James just chuckled and pulled Albus’ Defense project toward him, reading it and offering suggestions while Albus tried not to smack James on the head.
Albus gave up trying to catch Malfoy’s eye. He still had to sit beside him during Defense lessons, but he didn’t try to talk to him before or after class and started leaving before Malfoy had even packed up his bag. Being near him was driving Albus crazy. He never thought that one person could mean so much to him. And it wasn’t the weird dreams he’d started having, or the way he thought about grabbing Malfoy and kissing him again and how this time Malfoy might kiss him back and not push him away. But he missed his friend. He missed laughing with him about how stupid their housemates were or complaining about James or listening when Malfoy complained about his grandfather’s letters. He wanted his friend back and he didn’t know what to do to make Malfoy forgive him.
Saturday came and Albus almost managed to avoid going to Hogsmeade. He’d gotten up early and crept into the library, hoping that James and Lily would be too eager to get to Hogsmeade to waste too much time looking for him. He should have remembered how tenacious they could be. He loved them dearly, but sometimes their over-protectiveness made him wish he were an only child. Of course, if it had been either one of them in this situation he would have been hovering as much as they were.
So Albus let them drag him to Zonko’s, where they were met by their Uncle George who forced too many jokes on them. Albus shoved all of his at James, knowing that at least half of them would be used on Malfoy but not caring much about that right now. Lily dragged them next to Honeyduke’s and somehow managed to talk them into buying her enough sweets to last until the next Hogsmeade’s weekend. It wasn’t until they reached the Three Broomsticks that Albus began to wish he had never gotten out of bed.
They joined Hugo and Rose at a table in front of the window. Albus let them chat around him, not really paying attention to anything except the students passing by outside, when he saw Malfoy walk by on the other side of the street. Albus sighed and snuck away from the table, shaking his head when Lily caught his eye and smiling when she distracted James long enough for him to slip out the door. He’d made it to the end of the street before he was tugged between two empty buildings.
“I was beginning to wonder how long I’d have to wait before I caught you alone.”
Albus shrugged out of Malfoy’s grasp and stepped away, though Malfoy was careful to stay between Albus and the entrance to the alley. “What do you want?”
Malfoy grimaced at Albus’ tone and glanced away a moment before turning back to Albus. “I wanted to apologize.”
“Okay,” Albus answered.
Malfoy sighed. “Your cousin is a bit odd.”
“Which one?” Albus smirked.
Malfoy grinned briefly. “Lucy. She cornered me in the library a few days ago.” Albus waited patiently for Malfoy to continue. “She’s worried about you. She said….” Malfoy gulped. “She said that I hurt you. And that I shouldn’t have.” He took a step toward Albus and Albus had to force himself not to step back. “I didn’t mean to. It’s just… it’s complicated.”
Albus shook his head. “No. It’s alright. It’s not your fault.” He smiled and took a step toward Malfoy. “I miss you. I miss my friend. And I…” he gulped. “I messed up. And I’m sorry. And I wanted to tell you that all week. And I do,” he cleared his throat, “I do really like you. But I’ll try not to.” He felt himself blush bright red. “I mean, I won’t do anything. Again.”
Malfoy took another step toward him. “But what if I want you to.”
Albus frowned and took a step back. “What?”
Malfoy took another step. “It’s not easy. I mean….” Malfoy flushed and took a deep breath. “I’ve told you how my family is.” He gave a short, harsh laugh before he began to speak quickly, softly. “Everyone knows how the Malfoys are. Our whole lives are sketched out for us before we can walk. And from the very beginning we’re taught how we should act, what we should do, what’s expected from us. Everyone knows how disappointed my grandfather is that I’m in Ravenclaw. He makes it clear to the entire school every fall and every time I go home he lets me know how disappointed he is.” Malfoy fell silent suddenly, staring desperately at Albus. “I can’t do anything that isn’t in the script.”
Albus stepped toward Malfoy. “It’s okay. I understand.”
Malfoy gave that desperate laugh again. “No, you don’t.” He rubbed his hands over his face. “You don’t understand. You never will. I’ve watched how your brother and sister have treated you this past week. I’ve seen how all of your cousins have rallied around you. They’ve protected you. They’ve supported you.”
Albus sighed and nodded. “And I didn’t even tell them what I did.”
Malfoy choked on a laugh. “You see? It doesn’t even matter what happened. And they took care of you.”
Albus grabbed Malfoy’s arm, relieved when Malfoy allowed it. “Of course they did.”
Malfoy nodded. “Of course they did,” he repeated.
Albus tugged on Mafloy’s arm until he met Albus’ eyes. “I don’t want to… to do anything that will cause problems for you. I just want to be your friend again.”
Malfoy leaned into Albus and Albus put his arms around Malfoy’s shoulders, pulling him close. Malfoy closed his eyes and leaned his head on Albus’ shoulder. “I’m sorry, Albus.”
“Don’t,” Albus whispered. “Don’t be sorry. It’s okay. It’ll be okay.” Albus cuddled him close, trying to keep his heart from pounding when Malfoy melted into him. Albus murmured to him, rubbing his arms up and down Malfoy’s back.
“Albus,” Malfoy whispered and nuzzled against Albus’ neck.
Albus froze. “Malfoy.”
“Albus,” Malfoy whispered and pressed a kiss to Albus’ neck.
Albus shivered. “Malfoy, what are you doing?”
Malfoy sighed. “Albus.” He nuzzled Albus’ ear, pressed a kiss to his cheek and stepped back. “Sorry.” Malfoy rubbed a hand over his eyes and took another step back. “I’m sorry.” He grinned suddenly. “So we can meet tomorrow and work on our Defense project. We’ve really fallen behind over the last week.” He forced a laugh. “I shudder to think what you’ve done with your part.” He took another step back.
Albus darted forward suddenly but before he could grab hold of Malfoy, he had rushed out of the alley and disappeared down the street. Albus stared after him until Lily showed up and herded him back to Hogwarts.
Albus let his brother, sister and cousins hover around him while he tried to understand what he had learned that afternoon and what he could to do make things better for Malfoy. He had to do something. He just couldn’t figure out what to do.
Lucy leaned on his shoulder as he sat in front of the fire that night. “You talked to Scorpius this afternoon.”
“I think James and Lily could help.”
Albus glanced over at her then looked over at James who was glaring into the distance. Albus laughed softly. “I don’t think so.”
Lucy grinned. “They love you. They’ll help you.”
“James doesn’t like Scorpius.”
“No, but he loves you.” Lucy leaned over and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “Ask him to help. He will.”
Lucy skipped away and Albus looked over at James. It wasn’t long before James felt his gaze and turned to look at Albus. Albus gulped at the concerned look on James’ face.
“Do you need anything, Al?”
Albus took a deep breath. “I think I could use your help.”
James stared down at him and then he smiled.
It was possibly the most idiotic thing Albus had ever done. James seemed to think it would work. But then James also thought he could fly without a broom and walk on water. But Albus hadn’t been able to come up with anything and this was certainly a better idea than James’ first five plans.
Albus met Malfoy in the library Monday after classes as planned. They studied for nearly an hour before getting thrown out, right on time. Then Albus led Malfoy down a particular corridor and the next thing he knew, Albus and Malfoy were being shoved into a storage room and locked inside. James caught Albus’ eye and grinned at him as he slammed the door behind them.
Malfoy turned and glared. “What is going on?”
“Um, I don’t know?” Albus answered hesitantly.
Malfoy folded his arms over his chest. “Oh really? So that wasn’t your brother I saw shoving us in here?” Malfoy stalked over to the door, but it didn’t budge. And none of the unlocking spells Malfoy tried worked either. He turned to glare at Albus. “What is this, Albus?”
Albus gulped. “Um, well, I, er,” he laughed nervously. “I asked for his help. And this is what he came up with.”
“Help with what?” Malfoy bit out.
Albus sighed and walked up to Malfoy. “Help with you. And me. With us.”
Malfoy crossed his arms over his chest and looked away. Albus took a step closer to him. Malfoy shifted uncomfortably but didn’t move away.
“It’s no secret how I feel about you. I like you. James figured it out a long time ago. He’s always been protective, even when he picks on me. And he’s more perceptive than he appears.” Albus reached out to touch Malfoy’s arm. Malfoy dropped his arms but didn’t move away from Albus’ touch. Albus stepped closer, his body almost touching Malfoy’s. “And I didn’t like him thinking that you were hurting me. So I told him about your family.” Malfoy gasped and Albus wrapped his arms around him, pulling his head down to his shoulder. “It’s alright. You can trust him. And he agreed with me that it’s stupid. And I needed someone else to know. And he’ll help us. If you want anything to happen that is. Or if you don’t, that’s fine too.” Albus closed his eyes and pressed his nose into the soft hair behind Malfoy’s ear. “Whatever you want, Scorpius.”
Malfoy wrapped his arms around Albus’ waist. “I’m not strong like you.”
“You don’t have to be,” Albus murmured.
Malfoy tilted his head back and looked at Albus. Albus brushed his thumbs over Malfoy’s cheeks. Malfoy didn’t push him away when he kissed him this time.
**** “Is your brother planning on letting us out?”
Albus sighed and leaned his head on Malfoy’s shoulder. “He said he’d let us out in time for breakfast.”
Malfoy shifted and wrapped his arm around Albus’ shoulder. “Did he say what day?”
Albus chuckled. “I just assumed he meant today. He might have meant tomorrow.”
Malfoy pressed a kiss to the top of Albus’ head. “We’re going to miss class.”
Albus laughed again. “I’m okay with that.” Malfoy laughed softly and cuddled Albus closer. Albus leaned into him and closed his eyes. They both jumped to their feet and sprang away from each other as the door opened. Albus glanced over at Malfoy as Harry Potter entered the room. When Malfoy paled dramatically he looked back and gasped when he saw Draco Malfoy enter behind his father.
**** “I told you to keep me informed.”
“Uh huh,” Albus answered absently, his eyes firmly locked on Scorpius and his father in the opposite corner.
“So why did I receive an owl from James yesterday?”
Harry sighed, took Albus’ arm and turned him to face Harry. “Al, talk to me.”
“What?” Albus frowned.
“Is Scorpius in trouble?”
“Why? What did James say?”
Harry smiled briefly. “I would like to know why James told me to come and check on you and Scorpius when I have not heard anything from you since Christmas.”
Albus glanced over his shoulder at Scorpius and his father. Harry grabbed his arm and pulled him around to face him again. “I’m sorry. It’s complicated.”
“I can’t tell you.”
Harry frowned. “Why?”
Albus gestured over his shoulder. “Because it’s not about me.”
Harry crossed his arms over his chest and glared over Albus’ shoulder. “What has Malfoy done to his son?”
“Nothing,” Albus hissed. “It’s not his father.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed. Albus glanced over his shoulder and rolled his eyes; Draco was glaring across the room at them.
“Dad, stop glaring.”
Harry nodded at Albus and brushed past him. Albus turned to watch him. Draco and Harry met in the middle of the room and continued to glare at each other.
“I don’t know what your son has been doing to my son, but it stops now, Potter.”
Draco put his hand on Scorpius’ shoulder and shoved him slightly behind him. “Don’t defend him, Scorpius.”
“My son has done nothing to yours. But I can’t help but wonder what you have been doing to your son.”
“Dad!” Albus squeaked and poked his dad in the back.
“How dare you,” Draco hissed and stepped close to Harry.
Scorpius and Albus exchanged a look then stepped between their fathers and elbowed them until they stepped back.
“Dad, don’t be that way,” Albus hissed furiously.
“Can’t we sit down and talk like adults?” Scorpius asked hesitantly.
Harry and Draco glared at each other another few minutes before they stepped back. Albus and Scorpius exchanged a glance before they turned and led their fathers to desks in the middle of the room. Harry and Draco sat down and glared at each other. Scorpius looked between Harry and Draco before turning to smile at Albus. Albus grinned back at him. Draco frowned at them.
“Scorpius, is there anything you’d like to tell me?”
Scorpius looked at Harry a moment before he turned to his father. “Albus and I have been studying together. We’re friends.”
Draco nodded and smirked at his son. “That much is obvious.”
Scorpius smiled. “Yeah.” He gulped. “We’re friends.”
Albus smiled and nodded. “He’s the best friend I’ve ever had.” Harry put his hand on Albus’ back and Albus leaned into his father.
“Yeah, me too,” He glanced at Albus and then turned back to his father. “Dad.” Scorpius gulped.
Draco turned to Scorpius and put a hand on his shoulder. Scorpius peered up at his father. “You can tell me anything, Socpius. You don’t have to be afraid to tell me anything.” Draco took a deep breath. “And when you said you thought you might,” Draco paused and sighed. “When you told me at Christmas that you liked someone, I didn’t think you meant….”
“What? A boy?” Harry spat.
“No,” Draco bit out. “A Potter.”
“Dad,” Scorpius sighed.
Albus reached for his dad’s hand when it looked as if he was about to reach for his wand. They sat quietly for several minutes before Socrpius broke the silence.
“I really like Albus, dad. I mean, I really like him.”
Draco smiled sadly. “Why would you be afraid to tell me that?”
“I didn’t think you’d understand,” Scorpius said softly.
Draco chuckled. “Of course I do. Do you think I care?” Draco took Scorpius’ hands in his. “I don’t care who you like. So long as they don’t hurt you and they make you happy. That’s all that matters.”
“But, what about grandfather? I mean,” Scorpius gulped. “I don’t want to disappoint him anymore.”
“Let me worry about your grandfather.” Draco smiled and then turned to glare at Harry. “Though if anyone hurts you they’ll regret it.”
Harry glared back at him. Albus sighed. “You two are like little kids.”
Scorpius snickered when Harry and Draco glared at him.
**** “It’ll be a nightmare.”
Albus ignored Malfoy and continued to nibble on his jaw.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”
Albus sighed and looked up at Malfoy for a moment before he lowered his mouth to Malfoy’s neck, slipping his hand beneath Malfoy’s shirt to run his fingers over Malfoy’s belly. Albus grinned against Malfoy’s neck when Malfoy shivered.
“It was bad enough when I had to meet you and Lily and James at the Three Broomsticks, but this…?” Malfoy sighed and slid his fingers through Albus’ hair, guiding his mouth to the other side of his neck. “They’ll kill each other, you know.”
Albus chuckled and lifted his head. “If they haven’t killed each other yet, I’m sure they’ll make it through dinner.”
Malfoy shook his head. “I’m not so sure about that.”
Albus pressed a quick kiss to Malfoy’s mouth. “They just want to check on us. Make sure we’re alright.”
Malfoy’s cheeks filled with color. “As if we’d tell them anything anyway.”
Albus laughed softly and fit his knee between Malfoy’s thighs. “That’s not what I meant.”
Malfoy shifted slightly, pressing against Albus’ knee and wrapping his leg around Albus’. “I know what you meant and it’s still unnecessary. James keeps a close enough eye on us at it is.” Malfoy glanced at the clock across the room. “It’s about time for him to burst in on us, isn’t it?”
“We could always meet in your room, you know.”
Malfoy arched a brow. “In Ravenclaw? They’d queue up with their notebooks to take notes.”
Albus chuckled and rolled away, reaching for their books on the bedside table. James burst through the door as soon as they opened their books and frowned when he only caught them working on their Defense homework.
“Did you need something, James?” Albus asked biting back a grin.
James scowled. “I’m going to catch you at something one of these times.”
Malfoy chuckled. “Why, James, I had no idea you were a voyeur.”
James snarled, his fists clenching at his sides, then he whirled away and slammed the door behind him.
Albus gathered their books and shoved them back on the table. “Ten minutes. What can we do in ten minutes?”
Malfoy grinned. “You know eventually he’ll alter his schedule and will actually catch us at something.”
Albus shrugged and slid his hand beneath Malfoy’s shirt. “I doubt it. He might be spying on us for dad and he might enjoy teasing us, but I doubt he actually wants to interrupt us.”
Malfoy tugged on Albus’ hair. “If you say so.”
Albus grinned and let Malfoy curl around him “Trust me.”