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I apologize for the amount of time skips you’re about to experience.  Don’t hate me…

Uh, also, I’m going to have to put a substance use and abuse warning on this one.  Bit of a party scene at the end.  Nothing too horrible, I promise.

Beautiful Dangerous 

Three months later.
Late April.

“We’re graduating soon,” Scorpius murmured.

They were outside, leaning against a tree.  Rose was between his legs, leaning back against his chest, Corvus was strumming delicately on his guitar while Hailey fish-tailed her long blonde hair, Lyra was floating notes back and forth with a boy sitting near the castle, Adrian was arguing with Albus over who would win the Quidditch House Cup and why, and Molly and Chloe were going over notes and studying.

“Don’t mention it.  Then we have to get jobs and be grown-ups,” she whined.

“Guys!” Hailey suddenly shouted, tying off her braid, “Pick a number between one and thirty!”

They responded after a pregnant pause with myriad numbers.

“I heard seventeen!  You win!”

Adrian cackled before going back to his argument, and Corvus took to whispering with Hailey while still continuing with his guitar.  And it was as if saying it made it suddenly real.

“Is it really already June?” Rose sighed, swinging her and Scorpius’ hands between them two months later.

“Scared about the whole real job thing still?” he laughed, leaning over to kiss her cheek.

He was about to say more when Corvus suddenly appeared in front of him, a dangerous smirk on his face.

“Last time I saw that grin, we almost landed ourselves in the Hospital Wing,” Scorpius commented, arching an eyebrow, “Since when did you start scheming again?”

“For old time’s sake, we’re throwing a party.”

We’re?  Like, you, Lyra, and Hailey?”

“No other way, man,” he said, his grin widening as he looped an arm around Scorpius’ shoulders and led the couple away, “An end of the year bash, y’know?  Figure we should give McGonagall something to remember us by.”

“Oh?  Are you serious, dude?  Are you feeling alright?”

“It’s going to be rad, Scorp, fucking rad.  Tell every single person you lay eyes on,” he said, taking his arm away and walking off backward, “I’m telling you.  Raddest party ever.”

Corvus disappeared around a corner as Scorpius looked down at his girlfriend, “This could either turn out really bad or really good.”

--

“There you are,” Scorpius grumbled, grabbing Corvus’ arm and dragging him away from a group of people, “Can you explain, please?”

“Alright, look,” he sighed, “I want to leave happy.  I don’t want, y’know, twenty years down the road, when I’m married and have kids, for them to come home on break with a story from one of their friend’s parents about the Johnsons and how broken they were, how they left school still sad.  I don’t want my kids to live under that shadow.  Stop giving me that look,” he finished with a smile.

“This whole thing with your dad, it really did allow you to let it all go.”

“It did, Scorp, and I want people to remember me for Corvus Johnson and not the-sad-kid-who-almost-set-the-Slytherin-house-on-fire.”

“People totally don’t talk about that anymore,” Scorpius laughed, shaking his head, “Okay, if you’re really serious about this, what can I do to help?”

“Let me hold it in the Heads’ house?”

Corvus put on a hopeful face, and Scorpius started to respond when Hailey called out their names.  She ran over, smiling.

“I’ve got a list of people I need you to okay,” she said, handing Corvus a folded piece of paper, “Did you ask him yet?”

“I’ll talk to Rose about it.  When d’you wanna do this?”

“Tomorrow night.  We leave Tuesday, so I figure do it Sunday night and save us Monday to kick our hangovers and clean up everything.”

“Alright.  I’ll get back to you.”

Scorpius left to go find Rose, finally spotting her in the library, turning in a few last-minute books.

“Hey, baby,” he greeted, sliding an arm around her waist.

“Thank you,” she smiled to the librarian before turning to Scorpius, “You look happy,” she continued, kissing him, “What’s up?”

He steered them out of the library and back into the castle before speaking, “Would you mind if Corvus hosted his party in the Heads’ house?”

She instantly frowned, “I don’t think so, Scorp.  I’ve never heard good things about his parties.”

Scorpius rolled his eyes; he’d heard this before, the first time he tried to get Albus to attend back in fifth year.

“What exactly have you heard?”

“A lot of things.”

“Rose,” he sighed as they went outside; people were relaxing by the lake and flying around the Quidditch pitch.

“Y’know, that there’s alcohol, smoking, sexual things, and I’ve heard that they’re even dangerous and a little too crazy sometimes.”

Some of those are true,” he nodded, sitting by their tree that they usually went to relax together, “There is typically alcohol and smoking, but, Rose, you know we do that regardless and regularly.”

“You hardly drink,” she scoffed, facing him and crossing her legs.

“What do you think Corvus, Adrian, Albus, and I do on the weekends?”

“I try to ignore it,” she mumbled, “And you only smoke sometimes.”

Scorpius sighed, staring at her.

“Okay!” she exclaimed, “I know you smoke, like, every day and you drink, but I mostly just disregard cos I don’t want to think about you hurting yourself.  What about the other things?”

“Rose, honestly, no one has sex at our parties.  They do at ones we’ve attended, but not the ones we’ve hosted.  Only one of them was ever dangerous, and that’s because it was the first one of the sixth year, not even a month shy of the break-up.  And, yes, they’re kind of crazy, but we’re not stupid.  Please?”

She sighed, mulling over it for a few minutes in silence before nodding.

“I’m going, though,” she said, staring at him poignantly.

“Of course, my love.  As long as you’re not stressed out.  Oh, and we’re dancing,” he responded before reaching out and pulling her to him.

They sat there for a while, just enjoying the beauty and warmth of the June summer day.

Neither could recall a time they’d been happier, and it was this emotion that caused Scorpius to kiss Rose’s neck and whisper, “I think I love you.”

She didn’t respond right away, just snuggled deeper into him, her smile so wide.

“I think I love you, too, Scorpius,” she whispered, lifting their linked hands to kiss his, “Thank you for putting up with my antics and never giving up.”

“Thank you for finally giving me a chance, darling,” he murmured back, wrapping his arms around her.

He wanted to stay like this forever.

--

Scorpius finished moving one of the couches to the outskirts of the room as Adrian shrugged off the invisibility cloak at the top of the stairs.

“You told her you loved her?” he asked, jumping into the conversation Scorpius and Corvus were having as he carried down a cardboard box full of snacks.

“She said the same back,” Scorpius said with a shrug, “I might ask her to move in with us when we get the house.”

The three of them had been planning to live together with the triplets after school, and they were thinking of finding a house that they could rent for all of them.

“Guys, we have to get jobs,” Adrian groaned.

“I already have one,” Corvus bragged, smirking, “Lyra wants to open up her own restaurant, and she’s almost closed the deal on a place in London.”

“No way!” Scorpius and Adrian exclaimed, mouths agape.

“Yea,” Corvus laughed, going to sit down and light a cigarette, “She wants to ask the triplets to work there, and she has a couple other people that have put in applications.”

“Like, to cook?” Scorpius asked as they joined him on the couch.

“Yea, like young hopefuls.  She wants it to be mostly like that, new cooks who haven’t been hired anywhere yet cos they’re, like, fresh out of culinary school?  I think that’s what it’s called.  I get co-ownership cos she’s still going to school next year, but I’m mostly for entertainment.  If you want, I can ask her about hiring you guys as waiters or whatever.”

“How did she even swing this, dude?” Adrian gaped.

“Well, you know how she used to do all those cooking contests and shit over the summer?  I guess someone took interest in her, and they’ve been talking to her since the beginning of the year.  ‘Course, all the official stuff will go under my name cos I’m legal in our world, but she’s basically running it.  And, this will sound wretched of me, but my dad left everything to us.  I guess he left a suicide note that essentially was his will, and he gave us his entire savings, which, you know my dad, is, like, half the wizarding world.”

“This guy’s a wizard, too?  How much more perfect does this get?” Adrian laughed.

“A little bit,” Corvus smiled, “All of the staff are, too, or, at least, the one’s she’s potentially going to hire.  I guess eh only put ads out in Diagon Alley and the such, so she got people that went to Muggle schools post-Hogwarts.  They’re all, like, twenty-something.”

“Huh.  So, you can get us a job?”

Corvus just laughed, nodding, “Yea, probably.  Now.  Enough grown-up talk.  Let’s set up…”

--

“It’s all set.  McGonagall actually agreed, though she made me promise there were virgin drinks, smart people like Rose, and no one under fourth year.  So I told her that our smart people like Rose were the designated non-drinkers and they’d be in control of all alcoholic beverages so that only sixth and seventh years got to drink.  She almost fell over at how thorough we’d been,” Corvus said as he sat for dinner.

“That’s insane.  I can’t believe she agreed,” Rose sighed.

“She’s totally just glad that we’re actually happy,” Lyra said, “She nearly hugged us just cos Corv was smiling and excited.  Oh.  Do we have someone to control the door?”

“That would be me,” Hailey chimed in, “People need the invite they were given and they have to show up within the first half hour or they can’t get in.  Party starts at ten.”

“How many people are there going to be?” Rose asked skeptically.

“Not too many, don’t worry.  Rose,” Corvus said softly, “I promise it’s not going to be horrible.  Trust me, I know who to invite and who not to.  I don’t hang out with sloppy drunks or wild girls, okay?  If ever you’re uncomfortable with someone or something, just let me know, and I’ll take care of it.”

Rose smiled, blushing; she’d never before experienced such kindness from Corvus for her anxieties.  Dinner went by without incident, and Rose was shocked at how different the Heads’ common room looked when they walked in.  the couches were pushed back against the wall, the room was dimly lit, and there were all sorts of snacks and drinks set up on the coffee table and regular table.

“So, ten o’clock?” Rose asked timidly.

“Stop worrying,” Chloe sighed, “Haven’t you ever gone to a party before?”

“No,” she admitted shyly, not meeting any of their gazes.

Chloe laughed and shook her head, going down the stairs.  Everyone else followed her lead, and it was only when Scorpius released her hand that she really felt uneasy.

--

It was nothing like Rose had ever witnessed.  It was midnight, and the house was packed.  People she’d never seen before and people she’d never dared speak to were here, people of every house and people that scared her just on sight.  She stayed close by a seventy year Ravenclaw named Alexandria that she’d only just met; Alex was one of Corvus’ “smart people”, and so she was helping Rose moderate drinks.  Those under sixteen had a large x on their hands so they couldn’t drink, but it didn’t mean they didn’t try.

Though it wasn’t this that made her frown; Scorpius was currently sitting on one of the couches, a cigarette in one hand and glass of Firewhisky in the other.  She’d never seen him like this, surrounded by his friends, so at ease and so happy.  It scared her to know that this was a common thing, to finally be seeing what he did on all those weekends.  What scared her almost as much, however, was her friends, how the triplets danced across the floor like they owned it, their boyfriends only sometimes with them, how Lyra was a completely different person, lost in bodies and drinks and shared smoke, how this was their true element.  This is what she had befriended, a scene she found terrifying and deadly.

“You need to loosen up,” Scorpius’ voice said from behind her, and she turned abruptly.

She shook her head, and he sighed.

“You said you wouldn’t stress out,” he murmured before kissing her on the cheek.

He went to refill his glass then, and Rose rolled her eyes.  She didn’t like this.  He left her with another kiss on the cheek before going back over to his couch where Corvus was just collapsing, a large smile on his face.  Scorpius held out his pack, and Corvus gratefully took it, lighting it, and sucking in, his eyes rolling into the back of his head.  Rose turned away, disgusted.  Someone was changing the record, and so the dance floor was still.  Hailey was with Lyra, laughing at something her friend was saying.  She just couldn’t understand it; it was almost as if she didn’t know them.  This world was so foreign to her, a world where they were happy and reckless.  Rose sighed, turning to the approaching kid…

--

The last stragglers finally dispersed at three that morning.  Rose looked around, surprised it wasn’t messier.  The boys were moving the furniture back while the girls collected cups, ash trays, and leftover food.  Rose took out her wand to clean, sighing.

When everything was back to normal, everyone found seats amongst the two couches and two armchairs.  Corvus, Hailey, and Scorpius took up one couch, Albus, Molly, Adrian, and Chloe took up another, and Lyra was floating between an armchair and the floor near her brother’s feet.  She finally decided on the chair when Rose sat next to Scorpius; he was talking softly with Corvus.  They stayed like that for an hour, quiet conversation and relaxed bodies, before Rose finally spoke up.

“So, is this like the after party?” she asked a little loudly.

“Of, if you’re tired, you don’t have to stay up,” Scorpius murmured, looking down at her and leaning in to kiss her forehead, “Do you want to go to bed?”

“I think I’m gonna walk Molly back, actually,” Albus said, stretching and slowly waking his sleeping girlfriend.

“I’ll go with you, mate.  I’m bushed,” Adrian chime din.

They left, and Rose looked around, shocked that Hailey and Lyra were still awake.

“Do you always do this afterward?” she wondered.

“There are a lot of sleepless nights, babe,” Scorpius said with a shrug, “Sometimes I feel like we never sleep.”

Rose sighed before getting up to go curl up in the other armchair.  She stayed with them another half hour before finally retiring.  Lyra eventually fell asleep on the other couch, but Scorpius, Corvus, and Hailey remained awake.  It was a calm environment that they cherished, much like Scorpius’ love of the early morning.

Hailey changed into more comfortable clothes around sic and curled up on the chair to read.  When Lyra woke again around eight, she and her brother went for a walk to watch the sunrise and talk.  Scorpius joined them as far as the steps so that he could smoke and sit in silence.  Hailey found him around nine to wait for Corvus and Lyra to return so they could go to breakfast.  There were very few there so early, and so they were able to eat in peace.  They talked in depth with Lyra about the restaurant, talked about house-shopping, and talked about their first years at Hogwarts.

When they returned to the Heads’ house, Rose still wasn’t awake, and so they hung out in the common room.  They showered one after another, changed, and it was noon before Rose emerged, hungry.  Scorpius greeted her with a kiss and a wide smile that erased all of her anger.

“I love you,” he whispered, and she just beamed and hugged him tight.

“I love you, too,” she promised.

--

So, that was a little crazy.  But, I guess this is kind of a taste of what you can expect when The Lightning Strike (which I’ve finished writing!) comes around.  But, I hope you all enjoyed, and don’t forget to review!

Annnnnd, really quick, one more sneak peek scene (for GK).  I won’t be giving you one in the next chapter (as it’s the last), so enjoy this one!

January came and went much as the months previous to it had, though with a few more interruptions.  Draco and Hermione found their nights together in the library more precious as they were forced into a disruptive separation outside of their haven.  Harry was becoming more and more involved with Dumbledore, and Hermione was becoming increasingly worried about him.

Along with that, they’d begun their apparition lessons every Saturday, which left the couple weary at night.  Draco was spending more and more time away, too, to which Hermione was saddened by but accepted.  He began missing class and she rarely saw him at meals or in the halls anymore.  He promised, though, and continually held up his promise, that he would not miss a Friday or Saturday night with her in the library.  Madame Pince had long since given up collecting them, and she’d entrusted Hermione with a key to the library to lock up at night.

When asked, Madame Pince shrugged, leaned over her counter, and sighed, “I understand.  I was very much like you in my younger years, Miss Granger, very studious and determined, and then I met a boy, someone I wasn’t supposed to love, and he changed my world.  And, if there’s anyone in the world I trust with books, it’s you.”

Hermione hadn’t dared press the subject.  And so, since then, she and Draco had left the library late at night, always taking care on their way back to not get caught.  She was grateful, though, that Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday.

“Hello, my dove,” Draco greeted as he slid alongside her.

They met like this frequently on their way into the library, and she smiled as he touched her hand with his, lacing them up until they reached the doors where they parted, Hermione going in first, Draco entering ten minutes later.  They spaced out their times, differentiating them, and they switched who went in first, though both were quite sure some had caught on to their constant presence here.  Thankfully, no one said a word either way.

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