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Brilliant Creatures by durotar

Format: Novel
Chapters: 9
Word Count: 41,904
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, General, Romance
Characters: Harry, Draco, Teddy, Scorpius, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Hugo, Rose, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 09/29/2007
Last Chapter: 06/23/2009
Last Updated: 06/30/2009

Summary:
banner ¦ twilightave at TDA




The new generation always seems wilder than the previous one. The rule applies to Hogwarts; this new generation seems to live for parties, vulgarity, illegal substances and immorality. But such freedom and freshness never lasts for long, just like the innocence they once held so dear. When you live on the wild side and risk everything, you always crash harder.


Chapter 9: This Love Affair



Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns any characters and places you recognise. No profit is being made & no infringement is intended.

Summary: Mistakes are made in the Slytherin dormitories and hearts are broken. In the Gryffindor house, however, hearts begin to swell.

Song: Title of this chapter and lyrics used are from the song This Love Affair by Rufus Wainwright.

Author Notes: Sorry about the wait for this one -- I've been doing my A-levels. I hope you enjoy the revelation this chapter revolves around. ;)




musicbox.png picture by smallstreets
[Kaito Sato, just wanting to comfort]
credit to Musicbox at TDA!





Chapter Eight - This Love Affair
I don't know where I'm going
But I do know that I'm walking
Where?
I don't know
Just away from this love affair






The Bludger hit the back of Adam Corner's head with a nice thwack and Albus smirked.
 
It was such a relief to be playing Quiddtich again, being able to take out his anger on the Gryffindors. Over the summer he'd not practised much and so his techniques had been rusty when he'd presented himself at practise at the beginning of term, but the Slytherin captain - Johnny - had quickly got him back into the swing of things. Now he went to bed exhausted, with aching muscles and a sore right arm that he'd been swinging in practise. Growing up with the father he did, there was no way he could have escaped the clutches of the sport, but he wasn't completely over the top about it like James tended to be.
 
When he first joined the team in his fourth year, it had been rather disconcerting to be told to aim Bludgers at his older brother - as Seeker, James was one of his main targets. His loyalty soon rolled over and died when he got a taste of blood and realised just how much of a kick he got out of smacking Bludgers at the opposition, whoever they may be.
 
Masterfully steering his broom out of the way of an oncoming Bludger, he raised his bat and sent it speeding in the direction of a Chaser he vaguely knew to be his brother's friend, Conor. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his brother shoot him a filthy look and merely smiled winningly back - he'd warned her in Hogsmeade that he might aim at her, and besides, he was just doing his job! It missed, anyway, as she managed to move out of the way at the last second. He sighed; there was no denying it, the Gryffindors were good, and in the hour they had been playing he'd still not managed to knock any of them off their brooms.

He saw a Bludger shooting towards Johnny and hastily flew over, whacking the metal ball as hard as he could. Johnny gave him a gruff thanks and he left again, flying to the other side of the pitch. He remembered his first match; every shout of the crowd influenced him, making him terrified and exhilirated all at once. Now, all of the shouts blurred together, the boos of the Gryffindors and the screams of the Slytherins merging into one, incessant roar. Despite all that, he still always sought to find Scorpius in the crowd. Seeing his friend's encouraging expression or a thumbs up always meant the world to him and helped him play the best he could.

Today, he had not looked for Scorpius.

The morning had shown him that his best friend was still most certainly not his friend. He'd gone to breakfast with Kaito, ate with Kaito and had watched, with a heavy heart, Scorpius walk straight past him and sit at the other side of the table, alone. So, now, he refused to give in and be the first to apologise. Keeping his eyes firmly averted from the Slytherin stands, he scans the other players to spot the Bludgers.

The game continued for another fifteen minutes, and by this time Albus was getting rather tired. There was only so many times he could swing a bat before his muscles stiffened in protest. The Seeker - Michael Davis - was looking around the field with narrowed eyes, evidently trying to spot the Snitch. James was doing the same close-by. Damn it. Why couldn't the game be over yet? Just as he thought that, he saw a golden blur whizz past James's ear, and his brother dived, Michael close behind him. Shit. Shit. Shit. James was ahead by far and -- oh, shit, a Bludger was zooming towards Michael, aiming straight for his head.
 
Albus swung into action immediately, rushing forward with his bat raised. He could get there in time, easily. He could do this. Maybe it would cost him his brother's friendship for a little while, but James would understand. This was Quidditch after all, and if knocking your brother out and therefore off his broom meant winning ... well, then, knocking his brother out and therefore off his broom was what he had to do. As he flew forward, his eyes went almost without his permission to the Slytherin stands. Immediately, they picked out Scorpius - and Sandra. His supposed best friend wasn't even watching the match and that made Albus freeze in midair, breath suddenly catching in his throat and stomach starting to churn. He forgot about the Bludger and match and the speeding Seekers and felt nothing but a pure, venomous and downright absurd jealousy.
 
The Bludger knocked Michael from his broom and the match was lost.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
James whilstled cheerily to himself as he locked up the empty changing rooms, broom slung casually over his shoulder. He could still feel the ghost of the madly fluttering snitch in his left hand and the thought made a grin spread across his face. Hahaha. His first game as Captain had gone so well. Sure, he probably should have caught the Snitch sooner and ended the game quicker, but the damn thing was nowhere in sight. No point worrying though -- he'd won.
 
He turned to face the castle, shivering slightly. It was a little chilly. Everybody else had left, or so he thought. Surprised, he found himself looking at his younger brother, who was leant against the wall and looking glumly at the floor. Stepping forward cautiously, James softly asked, "Albus?"
 
The boy started, straightening up and looking towards James, before he smiled slightly. The smile looked awkward and forced. "Hey. Um. Do you mind if I walk up to the castle with you?"
 
"You're not going to hex me for winning the match, are you?" James asked in reply, a little suspicously. "I mean. Nothing personal, you know. It's a game and everything."
 
"I'm not going to hex you," Albus replied, his face darkening at the mention of the game. "I just ... I wanted to clear my head so I hung back, then I realised you were still here so I thought we might as well walk back together. If you want to."

"Yeah, that's fine." James looked around, confused. "Er, no Scorpius, then?"

Albus's face darkened even more. "No. No Scorpius. Can we go?"
 
"Er, okay," James shrugged, following his brother towards the castle. His curiousity was piqued, however. "Why no Scorpius? Has something happened?"
 
"You could say that," Albus sighed, and now his voice was strained, almost sad. "I just ... We argued. I didn't mean to tell you any of this 'cause you're just going to say how right you were all along about him being no good, but ... I dunno. He's got a new girlfriend and he's absolutely "in love" with her. It's insane. It's not like ... it's not like him, and now we're not talking because his bitch of a girlfriend insulted me and Ava."
 
James blinked. "Scorpius is in love?"
 
Albus winced. "Yeah. Or so he says."
 
"Woah." James exhaled a long breath, eyes on the castle. He figured his reaction was doing nothing to help the obvious discomfort and jealousy of his brother, something he didn't want to think to deeply about. The weird relationship Albus and Scorpius had was sometihng he never wanted to dwell on for any amount of time. "Maybe it's just, you know. Puppy love. The sort that's perfect for a week or two before they realise that it was just hormones."
 
"Maybe," Albus agreed. He was speaking unusually quietly now and James was rather alarmed. "I just ... I miss him, James, but if I try to talk about him he just talks about her and I can't stand it."
 
"Look," James started, patting his little brother on the shoulder bracingly, "we've only got a month and a bit until Christmas, haven't we?" Albus nodded. "Well, then. I reckon over the holidays, when the two of them are apart for a couple of weeks, they'll realise how ridiculous they've been and this ... I dunno, infatuation ... will fade. In the meantime, hang around with other people. Your girlfriend, I guess. Show him you're ... fine without him?" James suddenly laughed. "I sound like I'm giving break-up advice."
 
"You do," Albus said, grinning slightly. "But I think you're right. I'll do that. I mean, Kaito and me are getting to be quite good friends without Scorpius breathing down my neck, so I can hang around with him too."
 
"Good," James smiled, trying to fight the victorious jolt in his stomach that Scorpius Malfoy could be out of his brother's life for good. He, for once, wanted Scorpius and his new plaything to last. "Now, can I, uh. Ask you some advice about my own ... um. Problem involving girls?"
 
Albus looked at him in surprise, evidently taken aback that his advice would even be sought. "Uh. Sure. I'm not that good at the whole agony aunt thing, though."
 
"Pft, I'm hardly an expert. But anyway. Do you remember the girl I was with at Hogsmeade?"
 
"Conor?"
 
"Yeah. Well. I kind of ... really like her. Not stupidly, mind you, not like this whole Scorpius thing. But, you know, more than a friend. I think she might like, I dunno, like me back. I'm not sure though. But I've got no idea what to do and she's driving me mad."
 
Albus was silent for a few moments, as they started up the steps of the school. "Hm. Well, to be honest, I've never been one for beating around the bush. Take her somewhere quiet and tell her how you feel. The worst she can do is say she doesn't feel the same way and, I mean, she seems like a nice girl. She wouldn't be nasty about it. Besides," his eyes glinted as he smiled, "she's totally into you. Anybody can see that."
 
James, to his horror, blushed. "Don't be ridiculous, Albus. But ... I'll, um. I'll try it. Thanks."
 
"Any time," Albus smiled, though tiredly. They were in the Entrance Hall now and had to part to go to their respective Common Rooms. "So. I'll see you soon, yeah? Tell me how it goes with Conor."
 
"Of course," James said, clapping him on the back again.
 
"Oh, and James? Thanks. For the advice, I mean."
 
"Any time," James grinned, repeating Albus's words back to him. Then, they parted ways, and James just couldn't shake away the relief that Scorpius Malfoy was finally fucking up in the eyes of his little brother.
 
 
 
*



The Gryffindor Common Room was noisy, stuffy and far too full of distractions for Rose to properly study. She was hardly amused; she had an important test in Ancient Runes the next Wednesday and she wanted to get the best mark she could. Sure, she was happy that her house had won the Quidditch match, but really. Was it important enough to throw a huge party? It was just an excuse for the idiots to get drunk!

She scowled heavily at a usually polite, bookish boy in her year who passed, roaringly drunk and shouting at the top of his lungs just to ask the girl next to him where there was more alcohol. "For goodness sake," Rose muttered to herself, pushing a few strands of red hair from her eyes. For the smallest of moment she wondered if she should put her books away and just relax, but she soon banished such a thought from her mind. She would not make an arse of herself just like everybody else here.

"Hey," came a quiet voice, and Edward slid into the chair next to hers. He rested a book on the table and looked despairingly out across the masses of students. "This is a bit over the top for one match, isn't it?"

"It is indeed," Rose sighed in reply, rubbing tiredly at his eyes. She was glad of his company; he was one of the few people she knew that didn't adore Quidditch as much as everybody else. Sometimes she hated being in such a sport-orientated year. "What book have you got?"

"It's just some Potions book," he shrugged, motioning to the cover. "I thought I'd do some studying but it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to concentrate."
 
"I doubt it, what with this nonesense going on." Never one to beat around the bush, Rose fixed her best friend with a stern glare and asked, "Edward, are you alright?"
 
"Um. Of course. Why?"
 
"Ever since Scorpius and that Sandra girl started dating, you've looked stupidly depressed. Are you going to talk to me about it or bottle it all up as usual?"
 
It was remarkable, Rose thought, that her voice could make people recoil like Edward was recoiling now. She didn't know whether to be proud or offended. Settling on ignoring it, she waited patiently (or as patiently as Rose Weasley could) for him to answer. Her friend squirmed under her gaze for a little longer, before sinking lower in his seat and letting out a heavy sigh. "Fine. I just. I ... I really, really like him, Rose."
 
She nodded, completely unsurprised. Finding out had only been a matter of time. "Right. Well. You have to be practical, Edward. He's a drug user, a Slytherin, and we all know that the only person he could ever truly love is himself."
 
Edward frowned. "That's a bit harsh. I mean, he - he obviously is a good friend, him and Albus are really close, and he really likes his new girlfriend, doesn't he?"
 
"Him and Albus have fallen out," Rose commented, mentally adding thankfully, "and this new girlfriend of his ... well, I don't like being a bitch, but really. Whenever I've had to talk to her, she - ugh. She's horrible! She thinks she's so much better than everybody else because her parents are so rich. I never, ever thought I'd say this, but even Scorpius deserves better than her."
 
"That's the first nice thing I've heard you say about him," Edward laughed, before shaking his head. "Wait. Him and Albus aren't friends anymore? Why? They were like, ridiculously close."
 
"Sandra, I think," Rose shrugged, watching her cousin James pass with a girl she knew to be called Conor. It was ridiculous how drunk everybody looked, and it wasn't even 3pm! Really. "Anyway. They're not the problem. You are. I'm worried about you, Ed. I can tell how much you're ... hurting over this."
 
"I'll be fine," Edward replied, softly, looking down at the table. "I just thought for a little while I had a chance and now that's all over. I'll have to move on."
 
"Yes, you will," Rose said firmly, though not unkindly. "It'll be difficult but it's what has to be done. Besides, I'm here for you." She smiled, sheepishly. "Sorry I can be a bit judgemental sometimes. I don't mean to be such a horrible friend. I just kind of ..."
 
"It's okay, seriously," Edward interrupted her. "I'm glad I can be friends with somebody who's honest about things. Really."
 
Rose smiled and gathered up her books. "Come on. Let's go into the grounds or something. It's a lovely day and we're never going to get anything done here."
 
 
 
*



Accepting James's advice and carrying out were two very different things.

It was all too easy for Albus to say he'd wait until after the Christmas holidays until he seriously got worried about Scorpius, but really. It was the second of November. How was he supposed to last that long? In normal circumstances, he wouldn't be so stressed out about falling out with a friend but this ... this was different. Tihs was Scorpius. He was closer to the boy than anybosy else. He was more of a family than those who shared his blood. It caused a real, physical pain in his gut to know that they were no longer even on speaking terms.

Lying back on his bed, Albus sighed. It was nice and empty up here and he didn't have to be annoyed by seeing his ex-best friend and his girlfriend all over each other. It was also a cool afternoon, snow gently falling outside. The dormitory itself was warm and it made him sleepy and completely unmotivated when it came to the pile of homework he had for the next week's classes. Yawning, he closed his eyes, perfectly content to take a mid-afternoon nap after the exhausting and rather humiliating Quidditch match earlier in the day.

Oh, how the Slytherin Captain had yelled at him for getting distracted. The man's bellow was still ringing in his ears. He'd been beyond embarrassed to be shouted at so fiercely in front of just about the whole house, who had all come to tell him off as well. Usually, he'd be the star of the house after a match, but thanks to Scorpius and the way he just couldn't keep his stupid hands off his stupid girlfriend, he was most likely the most hated Slytherin at the moment. Now, he didn't even have any close friends to laugh it off with him, and Ava was goodness knows where with her friends.
 
"Idiot," he muttered, unsure of whether he was talking about himself or Scorpius.
 
Just as he said the word, the door opened and he sat up straighter, nervous for a moment that it was the boy in question. To his relief, it was Kaito. "Hey," Albus smiled, as his friend shut the door behind him. They'd become quite good friends yesterday, when there was nobody else to go to Hogsmeade with. He liked the boys company, even if Kaito was rather quieter than most of his other friends. "You've not come up to yell at me for making us lose the match, are you?"
 
Kaito grinned, sitting next to him on the bed. "Pft. I couldn't care less, really. Quidditch isn't my cup of tea. Why, have people been giving you a hard time over it?"
 
"You could say that," Albus groaned, running a hand tiredly through his hair. "Even girls who I know don't give two shits about it have been giving me filthy looks. It's driving me mad."
 
"That's why you're up here, then? Hiding from everyone?"
 
Albus hesitated. "Well. That's part of it. I kind of wanted to escape from ... well, Scorpius."
 
"Yeah, I figured as much." Kaito frowned, somewhat thoughtfully. "You two still aren't talking?"
 
"Nope," Albus replied miserably. "It's really weird and I'm trying not to think about it. I never thought, I dunno, I never thought the day would come where I could pass him in the corridor and not even be able to acknowledge him. He's supposed to be my best friend and he's just throwing all that away for nothing." He paused, and then laughed, humourlessly. "Bloody hell, I'm sounding like a girl."
 
"No, it's completely understandable," Kaito said, emphatically. "You'll just have to distract yourself until he comes to his senses."
 
"How?"
 
"I dunno. Spend some time with Ava?"
 
"I would, but ..." In truth, Albus couldn't help but feel the slightest bit bitter towards his girlfriend. He knew all this was far from his fault but he just couldn't shake the thought from his head that if she hadn't tried to interfere with Scorpius and Sandra on the way back from Hogsmeade, he might still have a best friend. "Yeah. You're right, I guess."
 
"You don't sound very sure," Kaito commented, quietly, causing Albus to blush.
 
"I mean. I love her and everything, but. It's just not the same as Scorpius."
 
Kaito was looking at him strangely now. "You love her? Are you," he licked his lips, obviously nervous, "are you sure that it's not ... somebody else you love?"
 
Gut twisting suddenly and hotly, Albus blinked a couple of times. "Um. What? You're not making any sense."
 
"I am," Kaito replied, calmly, and suddenly his fingers were presssed into the small of Albus's back. Albus froze. "I just think, you know, you need to be more open with yourself. It'll be such a relief and then --"
 
"I really don't know what you're talking about," Albus interrupted, his voice higher and alarmingly breathier than usual.
 
"You do," Kaito laughed, hoarsely. He shifted closer. "Open your eyes, Albus, really. The truth is right in front of you."
 
"I seriously do not know what you're going on --"
 
He shut up at once, as Kaito's lips pressed softly into his.
 
 

*



One of the many things Scorpius loved about his girlfriend was her confidence. When they walked through the corridors hand in hand, she wasn't afraid to pull him close and kiss him in front of others, nor was she opposed to giving dirty looks back to those who scowled at them. It was so ... exciting being in her presence. She was vibrant, beautiful and had the attitude to pull it all off. He just couldn't get her out of his mind.
 
"Do you have to go back to your Common Room? I thought we could go for a walk in the grounds or something," he said, smiling hopefully at her, as they neared the door leading to the Ravenclaw quarters.
 
"I need to go, yes," Sandra replied, looking amused, but she squeezed his hand. "I have so much homework to do, I've been putting it all off so I could spend the weekend with you."
 
Scorpius pulled a face but couldn't help but feel pleased at the fact she'd spent the last two days in his company. Even though he was used to people fawning over him and wanting to spend as much time as possible in his presence, it was so much more exhilarating when it was Sandra. Squeezing her hand in return, he sighed, wistfully. "Thanks. I mean. Just, you know, thanks for spending the whole weekend with me."

"You're welcome," she replied, softly, and came to a halt. Pulling Scorpius closer, she laughed and buried her face into the crook of his neck. "It's my pleasure, really. Thank you."

His arms slipped around her slim waist comfortably. "Don't thank me for anything, really. Are you sure you have to go?"
 
"Don't you have work to catch up on as well?" she smiled.
 
"Nope. I mean, well, yeah. But I never do it anyway and I think the teachers have given up."
 
"What would you be doing if you weren't going out with me? I really don't want to, but I do need to go. I'll get killed if I don't hand in all this work."
 
"Okay," Scorpius sighed, releasing her, "and I'd usually just ..." He paused, frowning slightly. "I'd usually be hanging out with Albus."
 
"Yes, well," Sandra sniffed, her eyes going a little more icy, "he showed his true colours when he had a go at us. You're better off without him, seriously."
 
"I ..." Scorpius shook his head. "I dunno. I should be going. I'll see you in the morning at breakfast, okay?"
 
"Okay," she said, sweetly, and leaned up on her tiptoes to brush their lips together. Scorpius smiled, kissing her back, letting his lips linger on hers for rather longer than necessary. When they parted, it was with some difficulty that Scorpius managed to walk away, heading down to the dungeons.
 
As he walked, he found his thoughts straying away from Sandra and towards what was waiting for him in the Slytherin quarters. He hadn't really thought about anybody there for the past few days, aside from the pangs of guilt he felt whenever Albus crossed his mind. But surely Sandra was right? Albus had turned on them for just no reason, when Ava decided to get involved in their business. Still, he thought sadly ... things just weren't the same without his best friend, however amazing Sandra was.

Just as he turned the corner to face the Entrance Hall, he nearly collided with a girl heading in the opposite direction. "Whoops! Sorry about that, I wasn't --" he paused, hands tensing on her upper arms, which he had grabbed the steady her. "Oh. Ava. Hi."

"Hello," she said, in an unusually timid voice. "I was looking for you."

"Why?"

"I - I want you and Albus to be friends again," she said in a rush, as he let his hands drop to his sides. "He's been absolutely miserable since you fell out. It's killing him. Can you not just be friends again?"

He wanted to say yes immediately, but his dignity caused him to say, "Why? He has a problem with Sandra and I, obviously."

Ava scowled. "I'm sorry, Scorpius, but you've been practically ignoring him since you started dating her. Surely you can see why he's annoyed?"

Scorpius sighed, heavily, not wanting to dwell upon her words. "Fine. I'll talk to him, but I can't promise anything."

"Good," she beamed, taking him by the arm and steering him down the stairs. "We'll go and see him now. He's up in your dormitory at the moment, sulking.



*



Albus's brain was frozen as he laid back on the bed, feeling his shirt being pulled over his head. Kaito was warm against him, his lips soft and desperate, his hands roaming.

He tried desperately not to think, and just feel.



*



James was terrified.

On a whim, he'd decided to actually take his little brother's advice and tell Conor how he felt. They'd been chatting casually amongst friends in the Gryffindor party, celebrating their victory over Slytherin, when suddenly he'd asked her if they could go to an empty classroom or something, because he really, really needed to talk to her. She'd looked somewhat surprised but had said yes, and now here they were, standing awkwardly in a quiet classroom, the door shut behind them.

"Er."

"Are you okay?" Conor asked, brushing a few locks of hair behind her ear, brow creased in concern. "You look kind of ... red."

"No, no, I'm fine," he replied, even though it couldn't have been further from the truth. Now he was blushing even harder, much to his humiliation. "I just thought it was a bit crowded in the Common Room, too many people to listen to ..."

"Listen to what?" She looked absolutely bewildered, eyes narrowed slightly, head cocked to the side. "Listen, are you sure you're okay? You really do look ill."

"I'm not ill. I'm just kind of, um, warm at the moment. I just needed some air."

"And that's why you've brought me to an empty classroom?"

"That's why I've brought you to an empty classroom," James confirmed, with an awkward laugh. He walked over to the window, resting his forehead against the cool glass. The skies were darkening slightly in the grounds, and he could see nobody about except for Hagrid, limping from the castle to his hut. The guy had always been good friends with his family and James liked him well enough, although it was a bit annoying having teachers as family friends. Having Neville as his Herbology teacher was bad enough. "Sorry," he said, suddenly, turning to Conor. "You can go back to the party if you like. I'm just ... I dunno, I --"

"Don't," she said softly, moving forward. "Just tell me what's going on, okay? Is there anything I can do?"

"I really like somebody," he said, before he could help himself. "I really like somebody, and it's driving me mad."

She blinked. "You ... like somebody?"

He couldn't tell if it was his imagination or not, but he could have sworn that a look of disappointment had glinted for a moment in her eyes. "Yeah," he admitted, stomach flipping incessantly. "I ... yeah. I do."

"Oh." She recoiled slightly, arms folding across her chest. "Why do you want me here, then? Do you need advice or something?"

"What? No! I just ... I wanted to tell you."

"Why? Don't you think I ..." She broke off, looking annoyed. "Never mind. Who is it you like?"

"I like you," James said, before he could help himself. She froze, eyes widening.

"Me?" she whsipered.

"Yeah. I mean, I didn't really plan to tell you at all because, like, I just make an idiot of myself in front of you and so why would you even want to know? But then I was talking to Albus and he said I should tell you so I decided to, and yeah, I just did, and I, um, I just thought it was best to tell you so you know why I always act stupid and I --"

"James," she laughed, interrupting him, stepping closer once more. "Stop it, you're rambling."

"Yeah." He licked his lips. "Yeah, I kind of am. Sorry."

A small smiled appeared on her lips. "You're so sweet, and you get so wound up over nothing. I think you might explode if I kiss you."

Breath catching in his throat, James whispered, "Kiss? You mean ...?"

"Yeah, I mean ..." Tentatively, she leaned up on her tiptoes, pressing her lips into his. He closed his eyes, moving forward, arms slipping around her slight form. He could feel his stomach doing something akin to the conga inside of him and he couldn't help but smile into the kiss. After all his worrying and blushing, it turned out that she liked him back and -- why was he even thinking? Conor was kissing him, and nothing else mattered right now.



*



Scorpius headed through the Common Room, Ava's grip still tight around his arm. His insides were a mess of nerves and apprehension; the prospect of seeing and talking to Albus again was terrifying. He'd never been worried before, as they had always been completely comfortable with one another and had never seriously fallen out before. It was just so strange to think that things had  changed - whoever's fault it was, Scorpius hated it and just wanted things to go back to normal.
 
"Milo," Ava called across the room at the boy, "is Albus still upstairs?"
 
Milo looked up from where he was stretched out luxuriously by the fire and nodded. "Yeah. Kaito went up like half an hour to see if he was okay."
 
"Kaito?" Scorpius repeated, softly, as they headed up the stairs to the dormitory. "Since when has Kaito been friends with Albus?"
 
"Since you started going out with Sandra," Ava said, her tone tentative. "I guess somebody had to fill the gap you left."
 
Scorpius blinked. "It's really that serious?"
 
"Yes," she replied, simply, as they stopped outside of the door. "Anyway. Be nice to him, okay? Don't, like, hit him or anything."
 
He raised an eyebrow at her. "Can you really imagine me hitting anybody?"
 
She snorted, shaking her head, and pushed the door open. "Albus!" she said, voice bursting with cheeriness. Scorpius couldn't help but grin, even if he was still a little annoyed with the girl. "I've got somebody to see you! It's about time you and Scorpius got yout acts together, so I --" She froze, every inch of her tensing, her eyes on the bed. Scorpius frowned at her, before turning to Albus's bed himself. He moved forward.

"What are you --" he himself fell silent, his eyes widening and his breath catching in his throat. Wow. Kaito really was checking if he was okay. By sticking his hand down Albus's pants and kissing him. "Jesus Christ. I never knew you liked boys, Kaito!"

It was these words that seemed to break the spell. The two boys looked up sharply, before moving suddenly apart. Kaito stumbled off the bed, pulling his shirt over his head and backing away wildly. Albus, on the other hand, sat up slowly. His hair was tousled and his cheeks were flushed. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Scorpius was staring at him, but Albus was looking at Ava, who still seemed frozen to the spot.

"I ..." She trailed off, looking between the two caught boys, her chest heaving.

"I'm sorry," Kaito blurted out, not looking at anybody, but staring at the floor as he walked backwards towards the door. "I just. Sorry. It was a one time thing, I just - it was an accident, it won't happen again, I was just - it meant nothing, absolutely nothing, we were --" He shook his head one last time, before scrabbling with the handle and then all but running from the room, shutting the door loudly behind himself.

The silence in his wake was thick and tense, with Ava beginning to tremble and Scorpius not knowing what to say. He wished that Albus would at least fasten his trousers or put his shirt back on, but the boy just sat on the bed, looking at Ava with fear and guilt and confusion in his eyes. Scorpius felt like he was intruding and shifted awkwardly on the spot, too caught up in the moment to really register that Albus had been kissing a boy. As it hit him, he suddenly started blinking rapidly, stomach flooding with heat.

"You - you bastard!" Ava yelled, suddenly, drawing back. The tears were now streaming down her cheeks, blackened by her make-up. "I - I always thought you might ... just, how could you?"

"Ava, please, just listen," Albus said, seeming to coming to life. He jumped to his feet and finally pulled his trousers up, zipping up the fly hastily. He was still shirtless, robes cast to the side. "I swear I didn't mean that to happen. Kaito just kind of kissed me out of the blue, and I wasn't thinking, and I swear it meant nothing. I wasn't even thinking, and --"

"Obviously you weren't!" she interrupted, shrilly, stepping back from him. "Don't you dare say that it was an accident, you were hardly pushing him away!"

"But --"

"I don't care, Albus, I don't want to hear it." She wiped her tears away furiously. "I never want to talk to you again. We're - we're over."

"Ava, please don't --"

She turned to Scorpius, eyes flashing. "He's - he's all yours now."

With that, she turned on her heel and stormed from the room, hand covering her mouth to hold in her sobs. Scorpius stared after her, looking almost unseeingly at the door that had slammed behind her. He felt a mixture of pity for her and a hell of a lot of shock. Behind him, Albus slowly walked over to the window, silent and slow. He looked utterly defeated, the muscles in his back loose, his head hanging low. He pressed his palms against the cold glass as though supporting himself. Scorpius watched him, not knowing whether to stay or leave. They still weren't technically friends, after all.

"Albus," he whispered, and Albus tensed. He didn't turn around, however. A little more bravely, Scorpius walked carefully over to his ex-best friend. He closed his eyes and drew a deep breath, thinking about how confident he usually was and how he'd never been more comfortable in anybody's presence than he was in Albus's. He opened his eyes and knew that now, more than ever, he had to be the Scorpius that Albus knew and - hopefully - loved.

"Allie, come on," he said, bracingly, "there's no point in crying over spilt milk. These things happen, you know? Anyway, I always told you just how restricting relationships were."

"If they're so restricting," Albus replied, in a hollow sort of voice, "why are you going out with Sandra?"

"That's different," Scorpius said hastily, not wishing to talk about something that had already caused them to argue. "Seriously, there's no point in moping. I have some fresh Screechsnap from Dexter under the bed. Want to light up and forget about what just happened?"

Albus turned from the window and stared at him. "Drugs? That's your answer?"

"I don't know what you want me to say," Scorpius confessed, fixing him with a stern stare. "I am who I am. Are you really surprised?"

"I can't say I am," Albus sighed, some of the colour returning to his cheeks. "Alright then. We may as well have a smoke."

"That's the Allie I know and love," Scorpius grinned. They looked at one another for a moment longer, before Albus let out a small laugh and shook his head.

"You're insane," he commented, fondly. "We're - we're okay, aren't we?"

"Of course we are," Scorpius replied, nonchalantly, as though he hadn't been worried about their friendship. He ruffled Albus's hair, smiling slightly. "You will be okay, won't you?"

Albus hesitated, before shrugging and looking at the floor. "We'll see, I guess," he murmured, "I just ... it really was an accident."

"Everything will be fine," Scorpius reassured him, walking over to the bed.

He didn't mention that he only half-believed that himself.



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