Albus Severus Potter was gay -- and not afraid to make it known.
At the age of twelve, the wizard had realized that while all of his dorm mates had been pining over girls, and had been sneaking copies of Wizard Illustrated from their fathers’ stashes and trying to peer under as many witch skirts as they could without getting caught, his eyes had been trained on them. He found more interest in the male physique than that of the female’s and his attraction was intense whenever he thought about men instead of women. It was just easier for him to accept it, and strangely enough it had been easier for him to come out as gay to his family than he had thought. His mother claimed to have known, his father told him that it was his life to live, and his siblings had just blinked and asked if they weren’t supposed to love him the same. Albus, ever since telling them the truth about his sexuality, had seemed to blossom in who he was. He became more confident, bolder.
In the end, he became the Albus that everyone knew.
He was popular, Quidditch captain, and prefect. He was still adored by girls, but as their best friend they could trust with anything rather than the jock they wanted to bed. Even now, while he sat on the bleachers at the pitch waiting for the Hufflepuffs to finish their practice, he was surrounded by many witches. Most of them just hung out because he told the stupidest jokes and could make them laugh, but some of them were genuine friends and trusted Albus’ advice about boys above even their closest girl friends. Madeline, a seventh year puff whose boyfriend was on the house team, leaned with her elbows perched on her knees and her face in her hand, her nose scrunched as she just looked out towards the horizon, blue eyes seeming to be dazed as she was deep in thought about something.
“So,” she eventually said, “you think he’s hiding something from me?” Her gaze turned to Albus after she asked it, her head tilting as if her boyfriend -- Marcus -- would overhear even though he was currently testing out his beater swing in the air. “I mean, he blew off our date last night and then he barely looks at me when I came to watch them practice this morning. Do you think something’s wrong?” Her voice grew worried as she spoke, and Albus could tell that she was worried about what was happening with her two-month relationship. “Am right, aren’t I?”
Albus leaned back, perching his elbows on the empty bench behind him. “Well,” he started, lowering his voice so it was only Madeline that could hear him, “Marcus doesn’t have the best reputation with relationships, does he? Think about it Mads,” he went on, chin lifting, “how did you two start dating? And be honest with me, because you know I know the truth.” His brow rose almost warningly at her, as if he was sharing a flash of a memory with her.
Madeline’s face flushed, and she sighed. “He cheated on his ex with me,” she said softly, though it wasn’t exactly a secret. They’d been caught -- by Albus and his then-snogging buddy, Jonas -- and Jonas had snitched to everyone in the school that the two were doing the dirty in the Quidditch shed. It was one of the reasons Jonas was no longer his snogging buddy, and one of the reasons Madeline was worried about what was going to happen. “But...but he’d told me that he was ending it with Christie, anyway, so it wasn’t like he was really cheating on her and...and it’s not the same...like…” Her words trailed with each excuse, her hope faltering as Albus shook his head at her.
“Doesn’t work like that, Mads. They were still together, you were shagging him, and it’s not the first time he’s done it. I told you from that day to not get involved with him.” He gave her a pointed look, sitting up and nudging her with his elbow. “Dump him, move on. There’s better out there for you. Just lay off Ernie,” he added with a smirk as the team in the air lowered to the ground, and both Ernie and Marcus made their way towards the bleachers. Albus’ lips broke out into a grin. “That one’s mine.” Madeline laughed, and Albus patted her cheek. “Dump him. Now.”
He stood up and started down the bleachers, not even bothering to hide what they’d been talking about as Marcus’ face glowered over at the sight of Madeline there on the bleachers. Albus gave him a warning look, but Ernie was already reaching for his hand and tugging him away, just as Madeline’s said the infamous We need to talk. Albus smirked at Marcus’ groan. This was likely the first time he was being dumped. Served him right. Git.
“Alway the relationship expert, aren’t you?” Ernie whispered, tugging Albus behind the Quidditch shed.
Never one to really be led, Albus switched gears and grabbed Ernie’s collar, yanking him forward. “I’m in demand, you know. Resident relationship guru, being quite in tune to what wizards need.” He smirked as he nibbled Ernie’s lip, his fingers slipping from his collar to the hem of his shirt. He twisted his wrist, hands disappearing.
Ernie shivered. “Well, you kind of are,” he said breathlessly, head tilting back as Albus continued to nibble away at him, lips disappearing to that spot on his neck. Ernie’s lids flickered and he sighed. “Definitely are.”
Albus chuckled, sucking at the spot before lifting his head. “You know,” he said, switching to the other side, “they’re probably going to start protesting me being at your practices. They may think I’ll share the secrets with the Slytherin team.” He bit at his collarbone, earning a tiny yelp from the Hufflepuff. “Little do they know that’s not what I want.”
“Oh? And what is it that you want, hm?” He yelped, again, when Albus squeezed his arse. “Oh. Right.”
The blush on the wizard’s face was visible even through the heated flush from practicing. Albus grinned, sliding free of his grip and starting backwards. Behind the Quidditch shed was a dense area of bordering trees. It all led towards the Forbidden Forest, but Albus knew just how far to go before it got too borderline. He continued, licking his lips at Ernie. Ernie, though unashamed of who he was, was not as adventurous as Albus. He looked a lot more hesitant than the Slytherin prefect, but the fact that Albus wasn’t stopping -- and he’d pulled the top of his shirt down as if ready to tear it off -- meant he wasn’t going to quit, either. Ernie peered over his shoulder, then dashed at Albus with a laugh. The two disappeared between the trees, the frivolity the only thing they really wanted.
“Where have you been?”
Albus’ grin never wavered as he sunk into the couch next to his sister, throwing his arm over her shoulder. “Hello to you, too, Lily.” He blew a raspberry kiss on her cheek. The girl protested with a nudge and a swipe of her hand to her cheek, her green eyes glowering at her brother. “What? Too old for your brother’s kisses, now?” He smirked as she glared even harder at him. “I’ll take that as a yes.” Slowly, his gaze slid from her to everyone else in the room.
Seated almost strategically around the hovel of armchairs and couches in the back of the school’s common room hangout were all of his cousins. One the other side of Lily was Hugo, who sat with his potions text perched in his lap, furiously scribbling on a sheet of parchment. Across from them were Dominique and Lucy whose gazes were both on Albus questioningly. Beside them, squeezed in an armchair together, were Louis and Roxanne, the two looking very bored as they read over the day’s copy of the Daily Prophet. The only person missing was Rose, and there was only one guess as to where she was. It was only when he looked at Dom and Lucy, that his brow lifted.
“What?” he asked the two.
“You look a mess,” Dom commented, gesturing to his hair. “You’ve got twigs in your hair. Lots of them.” She paused, her head tilting as she made a guess. “Back of the Quidditch shed, again?” she laughed.
Albus’ smirk deepened, and the wizard shrugged his shoulder. “It’s the most private spot on the grounds, believe it or not. Hardly anyone realizes that there’s even a space to slip behind. It’s perfect.”
Lily shook her head at her brother, laughing, but it was Lucy that spoke up.
The sliest of the lot, she leaned forward. “Hell yes, it is. That’s where I took Marcus the other day,” she admitted with a smirk that matched her cousin’s. “We were there for hours.”
Hearing that, Albus’ face darkened and the wizard sat up suddenly, disturbing a twig that had been hanging by a thread in his hair. “You went there with Marcus? As in Hufflepuff Marcus? Womanizing Marcus?”
Lucy just blinked. “He’s a good shag. Knows how to work his tool quite well,” she giggled, earning a snort from Dom and a chorus of ew from Lily and Hugo, who had tuned into the conversation at the news. “He says he’s going to break up with his girlfriend. What’s her name? Michelle or Magda or something?”
“Madeline,” Albus deadpanned, before he leaned forward. “And Madeline’s dumping him. For cheating on her. With you -- and who knows who else. Merlin, Lucy, that’s just gross. If I’d known it was you he was shagging, I would’ve told Madeleine to hex the girl along with him.”
His cousin balked, her eyes opening. “You’d tell her to hex your own cousin?” She growled at him. “But I’m your family! That’s not very nice of you, Albus.”
“Neither is shagging someone else’s boyfriend,” he forced back at her, standing.
“Like you’re some saint!” she yelled, clearly angered by Albus’ betrayal of what they all considered family unity; they all looked out for one another. The sudden shout, drew the attention of all the cousins -- none of whom were dumb enough to get in the middle of it; especially not when Albus’ fist balled at Lucy’s words. “Need I remind you of Trent, Darius, and Irvin? All of them were someone else’s boyfriend. All shagged by you.”
The room fell silent, Lucy’s hands brandishing on her hips at the fall of her words. Albus said nothing for the moment following her tirade. He couldn’t find the voice, too; not when her words were so true. It was not something that he was proud of; after he had come out about his sexuality, he’d gone through a dark period of trying to understand it and how it all worked -- and that meant sleeping around and snogging any guy that was willing to experiment with him, whether they were gay like him or not. It had been the start of his playful ways, and while he was still not the committing type, he had learned to stick only with those that were like him. Trouble only came from cheating.
His voice when he spoke was dangerously low. “That’s how I know to tell you not to do it,” he finally said, shaking his head. “You shouldn’t be so eager to repeat someone else’s mistakes.”
Albus shoved away from the group, marching towards the exit just as the door opened. In walked Rose, her fingers laced with Scorpius’. She was grinning, but at the sight of Albus tearing towards her with his face angry, the witch’s face dropped. “Albus what’s wrong?” she asked, but he pushed pass her, bumping Scorpius’ shoulder in the process before he disappeared out of the door. Rose watched him retreat, her eyes flicking to Scorpius -- who was staring after him, too -- before she turned back to her cousins. Lucy was furiously packing her things while Dom tried to talk to her, but Lily, Hugo, Roxanne and Louis just sat dumbfounded. It was rare for Albus to get angry, so they knew that when it happened, it was a big deal. Lucy finished packing, and stormed out, too, heading the opposite way.
Rose swallowed. “Someone care to explain what happened?”
There was a beat of silence, and then everyone started yammering away. Scorpius, who was still behind Rose, shook his head and put his fingers to his lips, blowing out a sharp whistle that quieted everyone.
“One at a time, please,” he said, and Dom launched into the explanation first.
“Albus was telling us about his rendezvous with Ernie,” she started, hands gesturing wildly, “and then Lucy piped in about how she’s shagging Marcus and it just...blew up.”
Lily, knowing her brother better, offered a different analysis. “She brought up fifth year,” the witch said softly, her fingers wringing together. “You know. The debacle with Trent and Irvin and Darius. Albus got angry and…”
Scorpius frowned, and there was a flash of something dark in his features. Rose saw it, and she frowned. “What is it?” she asked her boyfriend, but Scorpius was shaking his head. He squeezed her hand gently.
“I need to go talk to him.” Slowly, he stepped away, pushing the door back open. “I think I know where he went.”
“I’ll come with you.”
“No, Rose.” Scorpius stopped her, his voice sounding almost pleading, before he calmed. “Just...if what Lily said is true, he won’t be very open to talking to anyone. It should just be me.” She conceded, reaching to kiss his cheek and then waving him out of the common room. “Go make sure he’s ok. Tell him we’ve got a party to plan so he can’t be moody Albus, right now. Make sure he knows it’s just a joke, too.”
Scorpius nodded and headed out the common room, his hands already starting to tremble.
It took him nearly half an hour to find Albus. He’d not been locked up in the prefect bathroom like the wizard had assumed. Instead, he’d been sequestered in the astronomy tower, hiding behind the big telescope that Scorpius only vaguely remembered having to calibrate once before his Astronomy OWL exam. Scorpius entered the tower slowly, keeping silent. For a moment, he stood on the other side of the telescope, just watching Albus as the wizard stared out the window, his face calmer than it had been when he’d left the common room. He didn’t mean to, but his mind wandered to his features, tracing the line of them with his eyes. Albus had a well-defined jaw, more than his father’s despite the two being split-images of each other. His green eyes were noticeable even from the side and from behind his glasses. His hair, untidy as always, was currently mostly forced to one side, likely from Albus having ruffled it continuously for thirty minutes. Scorpius traced the line of his brow, his nose, the curve of his lips -- before stopping himself with a small gasp as Albus’ gaze jerked towards his almost instantly, face blank.
“What do you want?”
Scorpius blinked, clearing his throat that had suddenly went dry. “I...I came looking for you. Rose was worried,” he gave as an explanation. “Well, everyone is, really. And confused.”
Albus scoffed, turning his gaze back to the window. “You can tell them I haven’t leapt off the tower to my death, ok? I’m prefectly fine.” His gaze narrowed, and the two fell silent for a moment. When neither of them said anything, Albus sighed. “Is there anything else, Scorpius?” he asked. It wasn’t said meanly, just with resignation.
He considered leaving, but his feet remained rooted to the spot. There, with just the two of them, Scorpius was even more aware of that feeling again. He quickly tempered it, masking it by suddenly stepping forward and talking. Talking always seemed to dullen it. “Not really. But I’m also not sure that leaving you still upset would be at all productive. Everyone expects me to make you feel better. Not sure how I can do that…” His words trailed, sudden unease trickling through him as he realized the leap in his pulse at the naughty thought that flashed in his mind.
He nearly tripped over his feet, eventually just settling in the spot next to Albus -- but sitting such that he was sure no part of his arm or leg would touch the other Slytherin. Albus barely noticed his odd behavior, however.
“I told you, I’m fine.” He sighed, stretching out his legs. “S’not like I can be upset at Lucy, despite even wanting to. She’s right. I’m a hypocrite to scold her for shagging Marcus when I’ve not exactly been the best role model. I mean, I’ve built up quite the reputation, haven’t I? Came out the closet, and racked up enough conquests to last me almost an entire lifetime. Some that people don’t even know about.” The wizard scoffed. “I’m no saint.”
Scorpius said nothing for a moment, trying to diffuse the dryness in his throat and to still his pulse. Whenever he heard Albus talking about the things he’d done, it made him uncomfortable; but not the kind of discomfort that came from disapproval. It was the kind of discomfort that came from wanting to know it for himself.
He coughed to cover up his silence, before struggling to find the right words. “It’s not like you’ve hurt anyone since then,” he finally said. He remembered the huge blow up back in fifth year. Trent, Irvin, and Darius’ girlfriends -- or, in Trent’s case, other boyfriend -- had all converged on Albus at the same time, causing a great big scene outside the Great Hall right after the annual Yule Ball. Albus had been outnumbered, hexed and beaten before anyone could step in to help. It’d been his brother, James, who’d spared him any further harm, but the backlash from his actions had made Albus a near pariah for the remainder of the year. Of course, winning the Quidditch cup for Slytherin that season had erased the negativity surrounding him, but it was clear that it still lingered in Albus’ own mind.
Scorpius remembered the incident for another reason, too. He’d just started dating Rose, but the sight of Albus on the floor with a split lip, bruised eye, and swollen jaw had affected him deeper than just worry over a friend. He had wanted to be the one scooping him up off the floor, tending to his wounds, comforting him after the incident. For so many nights after that, he’d watched Albus sleep, barely managing to stop himself from tracing the healing cuts and bruises every time, but wanting to touch him, nevertheless. It was the same time, when Albus’ world had seemed to crumble that Scorpius’ own had opened up -- but he’d shut the door as quickly, because he knew it was wrong.
Even now, he had to hold his hands in fists between his knees to stop himself from reaching to comfort Albus; he did not trust himself to stop at just a light pat. He settled on using words to help. “We all make mistakes, Al. It does not define who we are. Besides, that was two years ago, and you’ve made up for all of that. I think everyone knows by now that you draw the line at relationships.” That included having relationships, and messing with anyone that was already in one. For the most part, he had managed to stick to his guns. “You’re better than that.”
Albus shifted, leaning his shoulder against Scorpius’. The blonde wizard froze, swallowing thickly as the sudden urge to move closer, too, overwhelmed him. But, just like every time, he clamped down on it. “I don’t know why it made me so upset,” Albus was saying, unaware of the war going on inside his best friend’s mind. “I guess I just don’t want people to look at me like that, anymore. I’m a confident bloke, but it hurts to have people hate you.”
Scorpius mulled it over, before saying, “I don’t hate you.”
For a moment, it seemed as though Albus was still angry, but then he smiled and it was like he was himself, again. “I know,” he sighed, lightly nudging the blonde boy’s side.
Scorpius felt his pulse leap. “So...are you good?” He didn’t feel as though he had done anything, other than tell him that he was better than people believed him to be, but it seemed to have worked. Albus was smiling, again.
“Yeah, I’m good.”
“Good. Because Rose said you lot have a party to plan so there’s no time for your mood swings. And she also said to make it sound like a joke but we both know how I am at telling jokes.”
Albus raised an eyebrow at him. “You’re horrible at telling jokes,” he snorted, “but I hear you. Come on, then.” Albus sighed and lightly patted Scorpius’ knee, fingers lingering on his thigh as he started to push himself up. “Halloween is in just a few weeks, and we’ve got a lot of things to do, including finalizing the permission to even have this party in the Room of Requirement. Have to leave Hogwarts with the best impression of us, now, don’t we?”
But Scorpius wasn’t listening. His eyes had dropped to where Albus’ hand was on his thigh, and even when the boy was standing and his hand was gone, the imprint of it lingered -- the heat and the warmth. He wanted it back -- but he knew that he couldn’t get it back. He fisted his fingers, again, before nodding. “Yeah. Party. Right.”
Albus snorted, shaking his head at him. “Sometimes I wonder what’s going on in that pretty blonde head of yours,” he smirked, his hand swiping across Scorpius’ forehead. The compliment had fallen so freely of his lips that it was like he didn’t mean it, but Scorpius caught it and it nearly made him stumble as he tried to get up. He covered it up, and stood. “Let’s go, before Rose sends the calvary and everyone thinks I’m trying to steal her boyfriend, this time.” Albus laughed. “Don’t worry, though. You’re not my type.” Playfully, he swatted Scorpius’ side.
But it was the comment that stung the pretty blonde-haired boy more than the swat.
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