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Lovely chapter image by Squiggles @ TDA




"What in Merlin's name is that thing?"

Scorpius had always been more vocal with his opinions, it was his questioning that actually seemed to break Albus' concentration on the ancient tablet.

"Lily... Where did you find this?" The Potter questioned his sister; it seemed rather odd that she, out of all people, would be the one who discovered something so rare. It wasn't that Albus thought his sister was incapable or anything, it just seemed... So random.

"When we went to Diagon Alley before school started! I thought I could surprise you, because I've been studying more, but I couldn't for the life of me understand what it means. It's been bugging me ever since... I suppose I thought you might like to try and decode it!" His sister explained, attempting to hand Albus the tablet, but he didn't bother to lift his hands to accept it, but instead his eyebrows knitted together in confusion.

"There's not a shop in Diagon Alley that would sell something like this, Lily. Trust me; I would know."

"I know..." The redhead sighed and set the ancient rock onto the coffee table next to her, "I kind of... Bought it from a street peddler."

"A street peddler?" Albus repeated, his green eyes widening slightly at this news, "Don't you remember what mum had to say about them? She said they were all over the place during and after the Second Wizard War, and that whatever they sell you is a load of rubbish! How much did you spend on this?"

"I didn't spend anything!" Lily replied, her lips twitching into a frown, "The man said that I could have it, he said that he could never sell it anyways..."

"I'm sorry if I sound strict, Lily, it's just rather odd... That's all."

"Well, there's no harm in finding what it means, mate!" Scorpius piped in, reminding Albus that the pair needed to head back to the Slytherin Dungeons soon.

"I suppose I could that back with me and through a few books in the library. If you that curious, Lily."

"That would be fantastic!" Lily chimed, "Maybe you could even ask Professor Faolan about it? I'm sure he might know the proper book to find the information in!"

"I'll ask him after class tomorrow..." Albus promised, leaning over to pick up the tablet from the coffee table, "In the mean time, you should get some sleep, Lily. Scorpius and I need to head out now if we want to be back in time for the curfew."

With that said, Albus was ready to head out the door, but before he left, his sister pulled him into a tight hug, "Thank you Al! I really do appreciate it."

After they had said their goodbyes, they climbed out of the portrait's exit. Albus couldn't help but notice the Fat Lady seemed to give him a stern look of disapproval just as he caught a staircase that was headed to the next level of the Hogwart's castle. He and Scorpius stay silent for a moment or so. It was something the Potter had always hated; absolute silence. It was especially rare around his best friend, since Scorpius always seemed to have something to say, but lately it hadn't been that way, the Potter couldn't help but feel something was on Scorpius' mind that he didn't want to discuss. Though he would never admit it out loud, it angered the Slytherin slightly; couldn't they tell each other everything?

And then a small voice in the back of his head reminded him that he was being a hypocrite.

No! That wasn't true, because Albus wasn't hiding anything from Scorpius. It was just a coincidence that every time Albus spotted him flirting with a girl his heart would jolt with jealousy.

No no no! That wasn't jealousy, it was concern. Yes, concern. The blonde had far too many girlfriends, that couldn't be healthy for his future relationships, right?

Albus seemed to continue this argument with himself for a while, because he didn't notice they were already on the second floor until Scorpius stopped in his tracks, his grey eyes wondering over to the Potter's face, "Albus?" He asked in a soft tone that actually surprised his friend; he had never heard him speak like that before. What was that tremble in his voice? Was he nervous? Of what though?

"Hm?" Albus mumbled in reply, "What is it?"

Suddenly Scorpius drew himself closer to Albus; he could actually feel the warmth of his breath upon his cheek. Wide green eyes met questioning grey orbs. They seemed to speak the words both of them didn't. The thin fingers of his friend brushed the strands of his jet black hair from his face, and for a moment, Albus swore he saw Scorpius ready to lean in, but instead he simply moved away, leaving the Slytherin feeling more confused then ever.

"You had... Something in your hair," Scorpius said after a moment, though there was untruthfulness in his voice. Perhaps he had indeed intended on filling that space between the two friends. He had left Albus in a daze, his face still flushed from what had almost happened. The Malfoy seemed to ignore this as he continued his journey down the stairway to the main floor, and Al finally begin trailing slowly behind him.

They didn't speak a word other then the Slytherin password, until they were back into the Slytherin common room, the blonde turned to face his friend after he had placed his novels on the coffee table, and Albus had stored the tablet next to them, that he asked, "Do you really think you can decode that thing?"

It was almost as though the Malfoy hadn't almost kissed the Potter; he seemed to have collected himself and was acting himself. It sort of annoyed Albus, "It seems quite advanced, so it might take a while."

"Sorry I can't help, I've never taken the course."

Ah, yes, that was correct. Perhaps that was why Albus took such pride in knowing so much about the topic; because it was something he actually knew more about, when compared to Scorpius' skills. He was certain thatif his friend had actually taken the course, he would have easily helped Albus, "It's okay. I suppose I need a small side project anyways."

The blonde wrinkled his nose, the sight of him doing so actually made Albus chuckle; he knew that Scorpius wouldn't understand Albus' need to research school-like topics outside of the classroom; he would much rather read one of his novels or play Quidditch, "Sometimes, I don't understand you."

"I guess it's kind of like what you said about your books; reading for pleasure... Studying for pleasure."

"That's not the same at all!" Scorpius shook his head and grinned faintly, "Anyways, I'm going to head to bed. G'night Al."

"Good night, Scorp." Although the Potter enjoyed his friend's company, he didn't entirely mind him leaving. He seemed rather distracted whenever his friend was around these days anyways. He waited until he saw Scorpius slide into the 6th Year's Dormitory before snatching the tablet back into his own hands again. He pushed his glasses back into place before his eyes scanned over and over the ancient text. He even opened his text book to look for any sort of clue, but sadly was unable to find one. The answer was more advanced then his own knowledge, of course. He had expected that. He would have to pay a visit to the library after all, it seemed. It was only a matter of looking for the right book after that. The answer had to be somewhere in the castle, right?

Before he knew it, Albus had fallen into a slumber, with his rune's textbook still in his lap, and the tablet seated on the side table next to him.

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