Scorpius needed distractions, and he often resorted to his books for that. Most people called him a nerd because of it, but the wizard preferred to keep his head in books than in the clouds -- because the clouds led him to daydream, and daydreams led him to think of things that he shouldn’t be thinking of. Namely Albus, which was something that Scorpius could only begrudgingly admit to himself, no matter how strange it seemed to be thinking that way in such a short amount of time. His mind had gotten harder to close off, these days. It seemed as though it was rejecting the Albus’ idea that Scorpius wasn’t his type, and while Scorpius’ better judgement told him it was a good thing, every other part of him didn’t appreciate it. The comment had stung more than he’d thought it could, and although it had been almost a week, Scorpius still rubbed at the side that Albus had swatted, as if it would make the hurt disappear. Even now, he sat in his favorite spot in the library, tucked away from everyone, rubbing his side.
His fingers moved slow, eyes dazed as he reread the same sentence in his Divination textbook fifty times. He traced the line of his side over and over, trying to imagine what it would feel like if Albus caressed it instead of him; would it make his pulse leap like it did every time Albus just nudged him or poked him or any of those playful things he did in his naturally affectionate ways? The wizard was touchy with everyone, but he wondered how much of the blokes in the school felt the same leap in their pulse as he did. He swallowed thickly, fingers clenching in his shirt in a flash of sudden anger -- before he exhaled a rough breath and shook his head. He shouldn’t be thinking like that, at all. It was why he’d come to the library, hoping to take his mind off of everything, get himself back on track. Things were starting to get to him too quickly; too easily. Just a few weeks ago everything had been stable for him and now…
Scorpius jerked suddenly as he felt arms slide over his shoulders, and the wizard whipped around, his mind halting on the precipice that he was too afraid to tip over. His heart in his throat, he nearly pushed out of his chair; it was only the recognition of Rose’s tiny laugh that calmed him. Scorpius sat back down and exhaled, head bowing as his girlfriend continued to giggle, sliding into the chair next to his and patting his back, as if to comfort him.
“Did I scare you?”
He gave a small gruff of a sound, his head continuing to fall until his forehead hit the table with a dull thud. “No.” A paused in which Rose snorted, and Scorpius amended his words with a small, “Maybe a little. I was trying to read.”
With his head down, Scorpius could only vaguely note that Rose had moved closer, as if trying to peer at his text; he heard her push it away, before her arms were wrapping around his waist -- and her lips fell to his exposed neck. His lids, which had closed when he’d put his head down, flew open and his breath caught. She nibbled at his skin.
“You’ve been in here all afternoon,” she pointed out between her ministrations, her hands slowly sliding lower. He felt a brief brush of her fingers over the seat of his pants and Scorpius jerked up, catching her hand, and Rose lifted her lips from his neck, a confused expression on her face.
“I’ve got a test in Divination tomorrow,” he told her, softening his grip on her hand to cover up his sudden rejection of her touch. He had never rejected her before; not even the times when he’d not wanted to kiss her or shag her, but it was growing more difficult to bear it. His mind was messed up, and all because of what Albus had said to him. He shook his head at her, leaning forward to placate her with a lingering kiss to her lips. “I’m sorry, but it’s a big test. Covers everything we’ve done so far. I’ve really got to study.” His eyes studied her. “Rain check?”
Rose stared at him, her hand twisting free of his hand, before she relentlessly reached for him again, this time with a secure grip on his zipper. She pushed herself forward, getting in the way. “You need a break, Scorpius.”
She kissed him before he could say anything, and Scorpius was torn between the need to rip his lips away and the knowledge that doing so would only hurt Rose -- and bring up too many questions. After a few stiff moments of not returning it, he resigned and kissed her back. She was soon climbing on top of his lap, her fingers making quick work of his zipper. Scorpius pulled back with an exhale, Rose using it as a segue to get to his neck, her favorite spot. She kissed him there, sucked the skin between her teeth and Scorpius’ fingers fisted in the material of her skirt.
“Rose,” Scorpius breathed, eyes wide with worry as he felt her grow bolder in her touch. His hips jerked and he let out a small groan, holding tighter onto her waist. “We’re in the library,” he said in a strained voice.
“So,” she breathed back against his neck, arching herself closer to him. “Ironically enough, Scorpius, you’ve marked the most secluded spot in the library as yours. Everyone knows you come here to study. Everyone knows I’m the only one that can disturb you. Everyone knows to stay away. Trust me.” She pulled back for a moment, her brown eyes flashing with desire. “We’re not going to get caught. Besides, I can’t exactly leave you in this state.” Her eyes fell to the bulge in his pants, the bulge that had drawn her hands to his zipper the moment she’d sat down. Before he could argue, she was kissing him, again, her lips and tongue ravishing the wizard’s mouth with pure lust.
He let her be, the tightening of his fist in her skirt his only means of holding himself together. It was starting already, the regret for leading her on in the way he did -- the regret for making her fall so hard for him when he’d never even wanted her in that way. They were in so deep, and while Rose clung to him harder, Scorpius struggled with not even knowing how he was going to survive this any longer. She consumed him, her lips pulling everything physical out of him, and Scorpius’ body gave in to the feeling, to the familiar release it had come to crave. But the whole time, the only thing Scorpius could think of was that his arousal had been there even before she had sat down.
When he’d been thinking of Albus.
“Orange. It should definitely be orange.”
“But orange is too typical. We should make things red. Mix Halloween and Christmas.”
“They already have Yule Ball for Christmas. Halloween should be just be about Halloween.”
“Yeah, Louis, don’t be an idiot.”
“Shut up, Lucy, I’m just trying to think outside the box.”
“How can you when your head’s shaped like a box?”
“If mine is, so is yours. We’re sodding related, you nitwit.”
“Takes one to know one.”
“Oh, for the love of Salazar, you two, shut up.”
Rose rolled her eyes as she tossed two balls of rolled up parchment paper -- one at each of her cousins’ head. Lucy ducked her head and caused it to roll harmlessly onto the floor, but the one for Louis caught him right in the cheek. His eyes narrowed at Rose as he gave a small growl, but the redhead only smiled innocently, lifting the clipboard in her hand higher with the quill in her other hand. Her brows furrowed for a moment, before she spoke, again.
“We’re going with orange,” she eventually announced, earning a smug look from Lucy, who had been advocating for orange from the start of the meeting. They were all gathered around the table in the Great Hall during one of the rare free periods that the seventh years had along with the sixth years, making it easier for all Weasley-Potter kids to meet up and discuss things. They had less than two weeks to finalize the plans for the Halloween party, and while it would be easy to decorate with the Room of Requirement easily manipulated, they still had to agree on how it was going to be done. “I mean, everyone will be wearing costumes and stuff, anyway, so might as well keep in line with the whole idea. Did we decide if we’re inviting anyone below fifth year to this or not?”
“Anyone younger will only stir drama,” Lucy pointed out.
“You would stir drama, dear cousin,” Dom said, flicking Lucy across the nose. “Just like last time.”
“Oi, that girl came at me first. Was I supposed to let her throw punch on me?”
“No,” Hugo piped in, his quiet voice still being heard in the interim silence, “but you could have at least kept your insults about her costume to yourself. You don’t know when to shut up. That’s the problem.”
Lucy rolled her eyes, but said nothing. Though it made her angry, sometimes, she knew her cousins were right about her attitude. She didn’t believe in staying quiet and would speak her mind regardless of who she was speaking with; it was why her fallout with Albus wasn’t all that surprising to anyone -- it was more Albus’ reaction. It had been a week since that incident, however, and Albus seemed to be back to his buoyant self, even if he did keep his distance from Lucy. Even now he sat on the other end of the table, fiddling with his novelty snitch and grinning at some silly joke that Roxanne was telling him. The two were always the least involved, but the most avid partiers.
“Right, so if we’re done arguing,” Rose interjected, “I’ve got some good news. Headmaster Longbottom said that the party is permitted-”
“Of course he said so, he’s your godfather.”
“But we’ve got to make sure everyone is back in their dormitories by one,” Rose went on, sparing Louis a crooked grin at his comment about her godfather, “and that should be easy since that’s about the same time the party ended last year. By one am, everyone’s ready to crash, anyway. We can clean up and be out by two. That’s our curfew.”
“Sounds like everything is sorted out, then,” Albus pointed out, speaking up for the first time during the meeting.
“Yes,” Rose agreed with a nod, “it is.”
The confirmation came the same time as the ringing sound of the bell echoed throughout the castle. Rose glanced up, then checked her watch. It was time for the last lesson of the day, but she was still free, having cut down her NEWTs classes to five instead of six after making Head Girl. It made it easier to deal with, with added responsibilities on her list. Her other cousins, though, started packing up their things for class; some were headed to Arithmancy, the others to either Care of Magical Creatures or Divination. Albus was the only other one that was free.
“Hey, Al,” Rose called out to him as he stood up from the table, “can I talk to you for a second?”
Albus paused, his foot halfway over the chair, then shrugged. “Yeah, sure.”
Rose opened her bag, shoved the clipboard in, zipped it back, then slung it on her shoulder before walking towards Albus. She jerked her head towards the doors, indicating he should follow. The two fell into step and were soon meandering out of the Entrance Hall and down the path that led to the Black Lake. There were not many students out, given that only those in sixth year and up had the luxury of free periods. Together, they followed the winding path, step for step. Rose kept her gaze forward, brown eyes ever observant as she noted a few of the seventh year Claws huddled under a tall tree, free of classes but clearly unable to stop studying. She shifted from them to the lake which sat calmly as always. For the entire walk, the pair did not speak. It was only when she dumped her back on the dry earth at the shore of the lake that Rose turned to look at her cousin, who was slowly shedding his robe.
“Are you going to tell me what’s wrong?” he asked her, pulling the outer robe free and, then, rolling up the sleeve of his white shirt, his tie already undone. He looked ruggedly disheveled, something Rose was sure drew the attention of whatever guys were interested in him -- which she was knew to be most of the ones interested in men.
At his inquiring eyebrow raise, Rose cleared her throat, brows furrowing. “Well, I don’t really know how to put it…”
Albus dropped to sit against a tree, his legs tented. “Why not just blurt out the most burning point, and if I have any questions, then I’ll ask them.” He patted the spot next to him, clearly willing to listen.
Rose knew that many people went to Albus for advice about relationships, about men, about ideas for what to do when they didn’t know the answer, themselves. It was one of the reasons she even trusted confiding him, besides the fact that he was her cousin and they’d grown up like siblings. Too, there was another factor that made Albus her go-to person. She sighed, sinking into the spot next to him, curling her legs against her chest, folding her skirt so to prevent any peeks at her undies, and perched her chin on her knees. She looked out at the lake before starting.
Blurt out the most burning point. She sighed. “I think Scorpius wants to break up with me.” Rose closed her eyes tightly, not sure what reaction she was going to get from him. When Albus didn’t say anything, though, she peeked one eye, then both at him. He was staring at her with a confused expression. She straightened, lifting her chin off her knee, and blinked. “What? Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Because I’m trying to decide if you’re crazy or delusional,” Albus muttered with a snort, shaking his head. “What in the world makes you think Scorpius wants to break up with you? Last I saw, you two were as close as you’ve always been. Did something happen?” This time, his brows furrowed. “Did he say something?”
Rose shook her head, her trouble expression seeming to deepen. “No, but he doesn’t have to. His actions say a lot more.” She rocked back and forth, before straightening out her legs. She hesitated a moment, before speaking in a softer tone. “He’s not wanted to...you know...for like a week.” Her face flushed. Although most of their cousins were aware, by now, that she’d lost her virginity to Scorpius, and that the two were hot and heavy in the intimacy level of their relationship, Rose was still reserved enough to want to keep it between themselves. Still, when she worried that her boyfriend no longer wanted her, she was willing to talk about it. “He doesn’t look at me the same way.”
Albus said nothing for a moment, and Rose knew he was waiting for her to talk more.
She sighed, licking her lips. “Scorpius has always been so open with how he feels. You know that. But, lately, it’s like he’s closed himself off. He only tells me that he loves me when he knows I’m waiting for it. He doesn’t like sneaking out, anymore, for us to be together. He doesn’t kiss me the same way, anymore. And, like I said, he’s not wanted to shag all week. And while I get shagging’s not an important part of our relationship, it’s the fact that he seems to get scared or uncomfortable whenever I get too close. I practically mauled him in the library and he...he didn’t respond. Not the way he used to. It was like he didn’t want to.” She blinked, her eyes starting to get teary at the thought of Scorpius falling out of love with her. She wiped her cheek. “Do you think that’s possible?”
“No,” Albus said disbelievingly. “Scorpius cares about you. I see it in the way he always makes sure you’re alright, and the way he looks out for you, and Merlin knows he rejects every advance from girls that don’t seem to care that he’s in a relationship.” Albus snorted, arms folding as he leaned back, slouching a little. “Have you tried talking to him about the sex? I mean, that doesn’t have to be because he doesn’t want you, anymore. It could just be that he’s tapped out. Last time we talked about, you told me yourself that it’s like you couldn’t get enough of him.”
Rose blushed. “Yeah, and you teased me about it because you couldn’t believe Scorpius was like that. Don’t let his shyness fool you.” She felt safe talking to her cousin about Scorpius in that regard. They were best friends, all three of them together. Her voice dropped low as she added, “He’s different behind closed doors.”
Her mind flashed to the first time they’d made love. It had been over the summer, when he’d visited his Manor and his parents had left for some society part. The Malfoys were still very much involved in that world, but Scorpius was not as interested and his parents trusted them enough. It had been sweet. Quick, but sweet and he’d held her after, when she’d worried that she’d not done a good job. Ever since then, it had been like magic. But not anymore.
She rubbed her eyes. “I just hate thinking that he’s changed his mind about me. I love him so much, and…”
Albus’ arm settled around her shoulders. “Talk to him. That’s the only way you’re going to know what’s going on with him, you know. But if I know Scorpius as well as I think I do, it could have nothing to do with you and everything to do with him just stressing over tests or Head Boy stuff. You know how he gets with his grades. And I thought you were obsessive.” Rose thwacked him in his stomach. “Oi, watch it. I need those abs for later, yeah.”
“How else do you think I attract the male species?” he smirked.
“Like you need any help in that department,” Rose teased, then fell silent. She thought about Albus’ words. It was true that Scorpius could get distant and introverted whenever it came time for tests. Being NEWTs students meant they were constantly being tested, and while Rose worried over her grades, too, the witch wasn’t as bad as her own boyfriend could get. “Maybe I should just give him space. Until the Halloween party. Most of our pre-tests would be over, by then, and there’d be some free time before Christmas exams. That should work out, right?”
Albus nodded, slipping his arm free. “I still say you should talk to him. Just let him know that you miss him and make sure it’s not something else. But, like I said, Scorpius isn’t the kind of guy that would mistreat you. If something was truly wrong with him, he’d tell you. Just like he always does.”
Rose knew Albus was right. Scorpius was often never afraid to say if something was bothering him. He was so open that people could tell what he was feeling easily. Albus patted her leg and stood, saying something about a nap, and she watched him go. Still seated against the tree, she curled her legs back up to her chest. The truth was that she was scared to lose Scorpius. She loved him deeply, and had waited for him to take their friendship on to something more. For years she’d endured the teasing from everyone else that they would work well together, until they’d finally kissed one night when they’d been studying together. She had initiated it, and Scorpius had followed. The day after, they were dating, and it had just been the two of them since then. She didn’t want to lose any of that. She did not want to lose him, and she hoped that it was as easy as Albus said. That everything was alright.
Scorpius meant everything to her -- and she wanted to be his everything, too.
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