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Love Is A Leap of Faith, And We Keep Falling

Chapter Text

 

Love is when

the other person's happiness

is more important  than your own

 

Fuck.

 

Scorpius wakes with throbbing temples--tangled in too warm silken sheets that are sticky with come, sweat, and Albus’s slick. Albus . There he lies beside Scorpius in this unfamiliar bed, sleeping, coated in Scorpius’s scent. The image he creates sends Scorpius reeling--his mind puzzling through the last few days. Remembering glimpses of himself buried in Albus's body, his mouth. Even still the images are vague, Albus's intense need and their long separation sent Scorpius into a heat haze. Something that's extremely rare for Alphas. A heat haze is not that common for Omegas either but isn't unheard of. Heat hazes for Alphas typically occur in those fanciful bodice rippers Scorpius’s nan likes to read and giggle about. They do not happen in real life.

 

Scorpius can count this as another rule he’s an exception to--the universe crafted him to be special.  

 

Fucking joy .

 

Beside him Albus rouses from sated slumber. Stretching his slender form, arching, Scorpius watches--mesmerised--as come flakes off the taut skin of Albus’s pale stomach. Scorpius’s gaze is drawn to the deep stains of red bruises that are dotted across Albus--constellations of Scorpius’s passion. His cock begins hardening, and Scorpius’s self-loathing intensifies.

 

“Good morning,” Albus’s voice is a low, rumbling purr. Scorpius wants to feast on the sound, but manages to remain unaffected as he settles a cool look over Albus. Instantly, Albus’s grin falls into a frown, “What’s wrong?”

 

“This was a mistake,” it’s a paraphrase of the words Albus said to him all those years ago--after the first and only heat they shared...until now. Albus’s eyes are honest. They glisten with the stinging betrayal Albus certainly feels at those words.

 

“You liar,” he hisses, breath sour from days spent in bed. His need makes Scorpius want to taste that sour on his tongue. Wrapping arms about Scorpius’s shoulders, pressing closer as he winds his slim fingers into Scorpius’s thick hair, pulling at the strands with brutal force--Albus draws Scorpius’s head closer to cover Scorpius’s mouth with his own. “Scorpius,” the names is a whisper of a sigh against him--the most powerful incantation Scorpius has ever known. “Hyperion,” Albus adds before he kisses Scorpius again. Invading Scorpius as only Albus can. “My Malfoy,” he declares, at last, when they pull apart from their near violent kiss.

 

“I am your nothing,” Scorpius informs with a cold expression, despite his racing heart, and stands, on wobbly legs, from Albus’s bed. He hastily slips his black denim trousers on before he grabs his shirt, jacket and shoes. Scorpius doesn’t bother putting those back on--he’ll probably bin the lot of the items once he’s home.

 

When he reaches the Floo Albus begins to cry, “Please, Scorpius, please don’t go.”

 

It’s the hardest thing Scorpius has ever done--walking away from Albus.  

 

*

 

Draco’s expression is a mask of malicious intent when Scorpius steps out of the Floo at Malfoy Manor.

 

“Where’s Orion,” the first, most probing question that Scorpius asks. Because it’s the only thing he cares to know--whatever comes, Orion is Scorpius’s only priority.

 

“With your grandmother at The Mirrored Isle,” Draco crosses his arms, leaning back against the overly ornate mantle. His father’s frown so deep it’s creasing the skin between his pale eyebrows.  Scorpius releases a sigh, his legs have gone to jelly now that his adrenaline has abandoned him and his fingers lose all their grip on his heat drenched clothing; dropping the lot of it onto the polished mahogany floor. “I had her take him there until we could sort this business with the Potter spawn.” With a raised eyebrow, and obvious scorn, Draco adds, “I wasn’t expecting your discussion to take four days.”

 

“I...” Scorpius hasn’t got an excuse. Draco won’t accept one anyhow.

 

A sharp snap of long fingers breaks through the tense air in the room, Draco summons the bottle of good scotch while silently directing Scorpius to sit with a wave of his arm. The gesture isn’t nearly as dismissive as it normally is with his father’s guests or business associates and Scorpius collapses into his chair, grateful his father isn’t going to expel more rage. “I’m glad you’re okay, Scorpius.” He sounds truly relieved. His father has a tendency to act as if Albus is a demon who is going to drag Scorpius to the lowest depths of Hell. In a way, Scorpius doesn’t believe Draco’s too far off in those beliefs.

 

“I’m not sure I am,” Scorpius admits as he downs his drink in one go, used to the sting in his throat, before holding his glass out to his father. A silent plea for a refill. Draco indulges Scorpius; filling his glass again.

 

There’s a hum of understanding from Draco as he sips his own drink. It’s a few more moments before he finally muses, “It’s been years since you’ve touched your bonded. Torturous, yet rapturous--that’s the best way I could try to explain it to others, and still...” Draco trails off, grey eyes staying on Scorpius--reading him as only Draco can, “I imagine that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of your emotions.”

 

Scorpius grins, grateful his dad understands a fraction of what he’s feeling. “You’re right...that’s accurate yet nowhere near close.” His chuckle is leaden, too heavy in his own ears.

 

“Did he cry when you left,” Draco enquires, after a long silence in which they drink a decent portion of the amber liquid resting in his father’s crystal decanter.

 

“Yes,” Scorpius’s gut clenches at the memory. Albus’s face of anguish almost identical to Orion’s, and it made Scorpius just as helpless.

 

Even still his father holds little pity, “Good.” His vindictive tone causes Scorpius to crack a slight grin. It grows to a grimace when Draco looks at him and adds, “We’ve got to do damage control. The papers are running away with this story about you and Mini Potter.”

 

“All of it’s probably true,” Scorpius reminds Draco with a snort.

 

“Truth is relative, Scorpius. The truth is what you reveal, and if you can speak a lie with unflinching earnesty then that, too, becomes truth.” Draco’s eyes are following the light that bounces over each bevel of his thick glass, but Scorpius knows he’s not looking at the heavy tumbler--rather Draco is looking at a plan. One only he can see.

 

“You’re terrifying, do you know that?” Scorpius always heard whispers of his father. The snivelling, cowardly git who was ruined by wealth and archaic hatred. Scorpius has never known that Draco, the Draco that was only empty threats and prejudice. Draco Malfoy, as Scorpius knows him, is calm fury. Full of silent calculations that he puts into play by pulling at the strings of various marionettes. Adopting vindictive smiles when his plans are complete before cackling maniacally in solitude. Draco is a villain the world should be glad it’s never truly known.

 

Draco’s grin is almost cruel, “I’m well aware.”

 

*

 

Scorpius doesn’t want to see Albus, but he rarely gets what he wants and follows his father to Land’s End where all their secrets with Potters are buried. The cottage appears grim, set against the dark shore, and Scorpius heaves a bone rattling sigh as he gazes upon the face of this place. The years haven’t changed it much--the willow out front has grown, as have the rose bushes, but beyond that this cottage seems trapped in time. Much like other aspects of Scorpius’s life.

 

Mr Potter is far more welcoming than he had been the last time Scorpius came to this little corner of Hell. “Draco, Scorpius,” he says nodding at each of them, in turn, before he steps aside to allow them into his holiday home. Scorpius would’ve prefered hexes or some show of hatred--those are things he’s grown accustomed to dealing with in life.  

 

Albus isn’t pleading or screaming this time--he’s the exact opposite, sitting on the bright red sofa with a vacant expression and dead eyes. His thin hands are limp between his legs while he hunches in on himself, as if Albus is trying his best to appear small. There’s an intense urge in Scorpius to comfort him, but he does nothing of the sort when he sits stiffly beside his father.

 

Mrs Potter comes in with a tray of tea, and settles beside Albus with a worried look upon her kind face. It makes Scorpius miss his own mum. He wonders what she would think of all of this mess if she were still here. Chancing a glance at Draco, Scorpius knows it would be unwise to ask his father how his mother would feel about this arrangement with the Potters. He’s a feeling it would destroy Draco, and he cares too much to break more of Draco’s fragile soul.

 

“Malfoy,” Mr Potter begins, breaking the tense quiet. Albus’s eyes remain on his knees. “I supposed you’ve worked out how you want this to play out.” Mr Potter understands Draco in ways no one else does, Scorpius thinks. Of all the men his father has dealt with Draco is the most reckless when it comes to Albus’s father. There is something they bring out in one another, and it’s never good from what Scorpius has witnessed. So he sits, tense, hoping that this will not be another of their schoolboy games. A pissing contest over their children’s lives.

 

“We’re going to play this as a publicity stunt, and Albus is going to publicly apologise for the confusion and hurt this has caused Scorpius, as well as Orion.” Draco’s tone is frigid, letting the room know that he’s not happy with this business. It’s the sort of tone that begs for a challenge, Mr Potter, stupid man, has always been one to meet Draco’s challenges.

 

“If someone’s seen his scar...” Mr Potter’s gaze flickers to Scorpius’s concealed wrist. Implication obvious in his inflection as well as his stare. Scorpius would go as far as to say Mr Potter comes across hopeful. As if he wants all of this horrid business out for the world to know; the expression creates a sense of pity in Scorpius.

 

“No one ever has; unlike your child Scorpius is mindful of his actions,” Draco’s voice is full of quiet contempt. Mr Potter bristles at the insult but Mrs Potter’s hand on his knee stays any violence that he might give them. Clearly, she’s the smarter of the two.

 

“No one,” he enquires at Scorpius. Doubt obvious in the mou of his mouth, and Scorpius is struck with how similar Albus is to Harry Potter. He’d always heard people claim they were twins, but had never before seen it--rather thinking Albus was more comely like his mum and James was more oafish like his father. However, now, Scorpius can see the similarities and it makes him feel compelled towards honesty.  

 

“Orion,” Scorpius admits, and Albus glances up--fleeting hope lighting his bright gaze. “But I told him his mum preferred to chase their dream when faced with parenthood.” The light goes out of Albus at that revelation. He cannot deny that truth--none of them can. They all heard him that night in December.

 

“I was seventeen,” Albus whispers.

 

Before Scorpius can respond Draco’s furious response booms through the room, “You haven't been seventeen these last few years, Mini Potter, and I don't find that to be a valid excuse. Scorpius is only a year older than you are, and he took the burden from you.” With a steely glare Draco continues, “If you wanted to play at mum it should've been years before now.”

 

“Malfoy-,” Mr Potter begins only to be cut off when Draco rises from his seat. Looming over the lot of them like a vengeful demon.

 

“Do. Not. Defend. This. Child. To. Me,” every word is enunciated with a sharp hiss of fury. “My words are far kinder than I want to be, Potter.” He glares down at where Mrs Potter holds Mr Potter back with her long arm. “If Scorpius were not in charge of these decisions I would ruin your son, and not even the weight of your reputation could save him. I would spill every godforsaken secret and I would exhaust all of my wealth and power to see to it that he would starve and live the broken, sad life that he deserves.” He tosses a rather hateful glance Albus’s way. “That child broke my son’s heart, and he broke my grandson’s before the child left his womb--I will never hold love for him.”

 

Mr Potter closes his eyes, appearing almost pained, but nods, “I understand.”

 

“I expect you to do the interview I’ll arrange and I will detail what I expect from your public apology,” Draco has that tone of polite business now. “You deviate from this request and I will crush every last one of you. I am a boy no longer, and I can assure that my threats are not empty.” Mr Potter nods again though he looks rankled. He’s not used to not getting his way, or so Draco’s always told Scorpius.  

 

Draco gestures for Scorpius to stand, and he does--preparing to follow his father out into the yard to Apparate home. However, Draco stops before they enter the corridor that leads to the front door. He turns back to the room and at Albus commands, “You will cease contact, Mr Potter. No more visits to your sister at lunch or sneaking in on recitals you are not welcome to watch.” Scorpius frowns at his dad then glances at Albus. Who is shuffling on the sofa with a guilt torn expression.

 

“You've met him,” Scorpius enquires of Albus. Hurt colouring his voice, “You've met Orion?”

 

“A few times,” Albus admits, and Scorpius has to swallow the rage in his throat before it can form words he cannot unsay.

 

“Make your apology soon,” he finally bites out, once he's managed to calm himself. “Undo what damage you can before my son gets hurt.”

 

He storms out of the house ahead of his father, and tries not to feel the pity he holds for the broken Albus he leaves behind.

 

*

 

Scorpius gathers Orion into his arms as soon as he's through the Floo, and breathes him deep--as if it's been years since he's seen his son. “Dad,” Orion complains when the tight hug goes on for too long by his young opinion. “I've been hugged to death all week by Nan Cissy, I'm tired of hugs.”

 

“Sorry,” Scorpius apologises with a tired grin. “I've just missed you is all.” Orion appears contrite after that and throws his small arms back around Scorpius's neck.

 

“I missed you, too.” Then with an annoyed expression Orion groans, “I had to listen to Grandfather Lucius complain about everything. Why'd he come with us?”

 

“I'm truly sorry for that,” Scorpius is--Lucius is a nightmare at the best of times. “Your granddad and I had some business to attend to and the old codger would've got in the way if he'd been around here.” Lucius finding out Orion’s mum is a Potter would be the end of the world as the Malfoy family knows it--Scorpius can see him trying to summon a plague to undo such a travesty. Dramatic fucker.

 

“Ugh,” Orion complains, flopping onto the sofa, “Next time I want someone else to be his sitter.” Scorpius laughs at that, shaking his head in fond amusement. He’s missed this child, more than words can express. His fingers in Orion’s pale hair are gentle and he presses a kiss there, to breath him in and remind himself that their world is safe.

 

“How's about I get you a Crup for all your trouble?”

 

Orion's eyes go bright, and they sparkle in the same childish wonder as Albus’s always had--twisting the guilt that churns in Scorpius’s gut. “Really, Dad, really?”

 

He can't say ‘no’ now.

 

*

 

Draco bitches something awful when he discovers the Crup in Scorpius’s home. He’s always forgetting Scorpius’s flat was a gift and that his opinion on how Scorpius keeps his home is none of his fucking business. “It'll ruin the carpets, and who is going to look after it while you're away on tour and Orion is in school.”

 

“I've hired an elf--that way Orion can stay here with the Cruppy when I'm away and you don't have to deal with it.” As Scorpius suspected Draco bristles at the suggestion.

 

“You're not leaving my grandson in the subpar care of a House-Elf.” Funny, Scorpius knew he would say exactly that and struggles to keep his face blank. Draco is easy to play when you know what drives his feelings.

 

“Well you're not going to want to take the new Crup to the manor, so what do you suggest, Father?” He crosses his arms, waiting for a reply. The one he expects before it is spoken.

 

“I'll stay in the guest room, here, while you're away on tour, and I'll mind the fucking beast.” Draco bites the words out, almost violent in the way he says them. His father, despite his age, is still quite the brat.

 

“Don't kill it,” Scorpius warns.

 

“I make no promises,” his father sniffs.

 

Really that's the best he can hope for.

 

*

 

Albus's apology comes the week Scorpius is meant to leave on tour, and he watches the interview on the Live. Sitting stone faced as Albus spins the lie Draco wrote for him.

 

“I was being a bit of a brat,” he laughs--so fake and bright. “I'd asked Scorpius to endorse my brand Haus of Anarchy...since he's got that devil may care aura about him, and I'd wanted his son to be the face of the children’s line. However, Scorpius is not like me--he'd prefer to keep as much of his life, and his son’s private as possible.” Which is true for Scorpius and Teddy--both of them got in trouble a few months back for some violence they gave a paparazzi for pestering their kids. Teddy was the one who punched the man, and Scorpius was the one who ruined the film in his camera. Draco'd been disappointed but understanding, and had whispered if you do something like this again remember not to get caught. Scorpius doesn't plan on being that foolish again. Dealing with Mr Potter outside of their Albus interactions had been awkward and unnerving.

 

The person conducting the interview asks Albus if he's bonded to Scorpius, and quite possibly the mysterious, unknown mother of Orion. Pulling Scorpius’s attention back to the Live, and he leans back--covering his mouth with his hand as he studies Albus with a critical eye. “No,” Albus's response demure. His lovely eyes downcast, and his plush mouth has the slightest tremble. One Scorpius is certain he’ll be the only one to notice. He’s well versed in Albus’s nuances. “I am not, and I have no children.” Scorpius thinks that will be the end of it, but then Albus adds--in a heartbreaking whisper, “If I were bonded or a mother I would be so fortunate for it to be with Scorpius and his son--they are truly wonderful humans.”

 

Fuck.

 

*

 

Teddy rings at the Floo around eleven that night, and Scorpius frowns in concern when Teddy steps through the grate with a rather furious expression.

 

“You,” and he's never had that directed at him. Never in his life has Teddy looked upon Scorpius with anything less than love. Not even when they were at odds was Teddy a danger to Scorpius. Now, Scorpius isn’t so sure. He takes a step back, terrified of what might come.

 

“Teds,” Scorpius tries to placate, hands up in supplication, but is prepared to use his wand if necessary. Unfortunately, Teddy's not as stupid as he acts--he too, was once Head Boy and he knows his way around a duel. Scorpius knows he’ll be lucky to survive a fight if they go head to head. Physically or magically. Teddy’s ridiculously talented in both areas.

 

“You know, I never asked you for an explanation when you showed up with a kid. I never asked anything of you, Scorpius, not once in your fucking life,” he grabs Scorpius by the collar of his shirt. Hissing into his face with breath that stinks of Teddy’s preferred Guinness. “You are my brother and I love you no matter what, but the fact that you kept this from me makes me want to box your ears.” Teddy releases Scorpius, shoving his lanky form away from him--as the fight seems to go out of his long, broad body.

 

Scorpius has to pick himself up from the floor, his palm burns a bit from it sliding against his rug. But if that’s the worst of this altercation he’ll take it. “Did he tell you,” Scorpius worries what Draco will do if he discovers Albus is breaking their agreement.

 

“I saw his face in that fucking magazine, the way he looked at not you,” Teddy grips his shirt again. “After I got over the shock of seeing Al like that something clicked in my mind.” Teddy rips the cuff off of Scorpius's wrist. Exposing the only secret Scorpius has ever kept from him. Then with a snarl, growls, “Not once in nearly ten years have I seen you without this watch--and I always wondered where Orion got his eyes.” Teddy grimaces, deep blue eyes mournful, “he didn't have to tell me, Pious.”

 

“You can't tell anyone,” Scorpius begs. Fearful of the harm Draco would gladly bring to Albus.  

 

“I won't,” Teddy assures, voice conveying that he too fears Draco’s ire befalling Albus. “But you will tell me everything. Now.”

 

It is not a request.

 

*

 

“Why did people think you had bonded Mr Potter?” Orion’s tone is casual and curious while leafing through pads of parchment, looking for a clean one to draw all over no doubt. That’s something else he shares with Albus, beyond his eyes--art. Scorpius can remember Albus drawing on his skin. Leaving random doodles that were far better than any Scorpius could create. He must stare for too long, lost in those comparisons, for Orion turns and with a curious gaze repeats his words.

 

Scorpius has been dreading this question. Orion is not a stupid child, not by any stretch, and he’s got a crush on Albus--along with a great many persons in Wizarding Britain--so to believe that he hadn’t heard any of the rumours would be asinine. Scorpius had been foolish enough to hope this question would never come, and now he’s tired. In more ways than one.  They're just home from dinner at the manor with his father, and grandparents--which had been tense-- Scorpius would like nothing more than to fall into his bed after a generous helping of whisky. It’s just one of those nights where everything feels a hundred times worse than it is, and only liquid comfort can help him to sleep. However, that doesn't seem like it's going to happen anytime soon.

 

“Mr Potter made a rather foolish publicity stunt, making it seem like we had bonded,” simple and not overly complicated. Father always says that is the best way to spin lies. The words roll off his tongue like leaden molasses, and Scorpius does not care for the way they taste.

 

“How?” He’s always been proud that Orion doesn’t just accept what’s told to him. Orion wants to know the how’s, the why’s, the when’s of everything. Scorpius has always indulged him, and shared everything that he knows with his child. He wants Orion to always question the world. Until now. Even though Scorpius knows his son is smart to ask he resents having to answer. He resents the fragility of his once stable life--it makes him unnecessarily angry with Albus for having left in the first place. For wanting to come back when he’s been gone so long. His whims always test Scorpius in ways that leave him aching for years to come. Yet, none of this is Orion’s fault. So Scorpius gives him an answer despite his resentments.

 

“He used a model that he dressed like me and who had a bondmark on the wrist.” Don’t look for more questions , he silently begs, but Scorpius has never had luck on his side.

 

Orion frowns, a thoughtful look on his face, “How did he know yours is on your wrist?”

 

“Lucky guess,” Scorpius replies, tone clipped. He moves towards the fridge to grab a beer, and Orion drops the conversation. Taking fascination with his colour quills and pads of parchment once more. He hums a tune from Scorpius’s album, and that eases some of the tension in Scorpius’s shoulders.  

 

“Too bad,” Orion murmurs when Scorpius puts him into bed. Scorpius has a puzzled face when he looks down at Orion, and Orion grins as he elaborates, “I really like Mr Potter. I wouldn't mind if he was my mum.” Words that kill Scorpius.

 

“Yeah, mate, too bad,” he runs his fingers through the silky strands of Orion’s hair. Humming an old melody, one his nan used to sing to him when he was sick--the one Nan sang because his mum was no longer there to sing it.  “Bye, baby bunting. Daddy’s gone a hunting. To find a little rabbit skin to wrap his baby Orion in,” he kisses Orion’s hair. Smiling at the way his son sleeps with his fingers curled around a stuffed owl and his covers pulled up almost to his small ears.

 

*

 

“Dad you got to go, Lysander is having a fit,” Orion reminds him with a reasonable tone while Scorpius holds tight to his small frame. It's the usual bit of Scorpius holding onto his kid for long, long minutes and Lysander honking the horn of their tour bus at him while shouting.

 

“Oi, you fucker, I get you love that kid but we've a schedule to keep,” Lysander hollers from the open bus door.

 

“Da-d,” Orion mutters again. His exasperation clear.  

 

“Shhhh,” Scorpius tells him, and then loud enough for Lysander to hear says, “If you ignore him, he will go away.”

 

“You're a fucking tit, Malfoy,” Lysander shouts, though he sounds fond.

 

“And you're a soulless twat,” Scorpius calls back to him before kissing Orion on the hair, one last time. He nods at his father, solemn, and with that he’s entrusted his world to the elder Malfoy. Seems dramatic, but it’s hard for him to leave his kid behind. If he could Scorpius would pull him from school and take Orion with him, but he deserves friends and school and as normal a childhood as Scorpius can manage.

 

“I miss you, Dad,” Orion calls, so Scorpius leans out one of the windows to shout.

 

“I miss you more.” And he does; he’s not even out of sight and his heart is breaking.

 

*

 

The lights in Berlin are dazzling as they fall over the stage, in the centre of this concert hall, and Scorpius experiences a moment of stage fright as he stares out into the sea of a faceless crowd.

 

“Mate,” Lysander nudges him before they move out of the wings, into view.

 

“I’m all right,” Scorpius assures, closing his eyes, taking a moment to compose himself. When he opens them all he sees is the living area of his flat, and his eager son chanting for him to sing a song. “Let’s go,” he calls over his shoulder, at Lysander and starts jogging towards his microphone.

 

“Hello Berlin,” he shouts, his stage persona taking him now that fear has left his body.

 

*

 

After the show, there’s two lovely people waiting near their backstage changing rooms. Lysander whistles low enough for only Scorpius to catch. Their hired drummer and bassist shake their heads, passing on through to the dressing rooms--seeking a shower no doubt. But the girls, and Scorpius means girls as in just out of Beauxbatons or Hogwarts, don’t seem to mind that two men have just past them by. They’re much more focused on Scorpius and Lysander.

 

“What’s two pretty things like you doing hanging around here,” Lysander enquires, charming smile in place.

 

“We wanted to get an autograph,” the girl with black hair replies while keeping pale blue eyes on Scorpius. He wants to sigh or roll his eyes, but instead he snaps his fingers--making a quill appear--and holds out an expectant hand for something to sign. She giggles and begins to unbutton her top, but Scorpius stops her with a curt ‘Stop.’

 

“Look,” he mutters as his age slams into him, making him weary to the naive wonder of children that want to play at adult. “I’m not looking to play with little girls.”

 

“We’re eighteen, and we wanted to lose it to you,” the one with green, green eyes snaps. As if she’s had this exact same argument with her father or mother, and Scorpius nearly laughs at the absurdity.

 

“Ten years too early, love. I’m not interested in girls closer in age to my son than they are to me.” He snaps again, making a T-shirt appear, and signs his name quickly. Passing it to the severely disappointed looking girl with black hair. The green eyed girl still appears defiant so he decides to ignore her entirely. “I know you’re an adult, but you’re green to the world. Go home, before something happens that you can’t undo.” Not that Scorpius believes someone here will harm them or do something against their will--he just remembers being eighteen and doing things that he regrets. Things that had consequences he wasn’t entirely ready to deal with.

 

“I want to do this,” she replies, teeth pulling at her bottom lip in a beguiling way and Scorpius sighs.

 

“I cannot stop you,” he wishes, but she’s her own person. It’s her life to make. “But I won’t have a hand in it--Lysander’s twenty-one, let him show you a good time.” For all the life he’s known Lysander is still, basically, a child.

 

When he walks away he hears the defiant one say, “He’s nothing like I imagined.” At this stage in life Scorpius is happy to disappoint them.

 

*

 

“You missed a hell of a night,” Lysander smiles the next morning. Flopping onto Scorpius’s bed in the tour bus, disturbing him from his reading. He lays the old potions text aside and frowns.

 

“I meant what I said,” Scorpius tries for a dismissive tone, but Lysander does not take the hint.

 

“You want me to tell Ricky to let the older ones through then?” Lysander is young and has nothing but fucking on the mind, and it makes Scorpius snort.

 

Scorpius frowns, “Why does it matter? If I want to go to bed with someone I’ll pull them myself.”

 

“Last tour you were more fun,” Lysander complains, putting his arms behind his head. “I haven’t seen you fuck anyone this time round, and last time you were pulling at least one every show.” Last tour he wasn’t tortured by fresh memories of Albus’s wet lips, his heat.

 

“I’m not in the mood for it, all right,” Scorpius is irritable. He’s not got off solo or assisted in a good few weeks. His body betrays him by singing for the memory of Albus’s skin, the salt of his sweat on Scorpius’s tongue.

 

“Are you getting old on me,” Lysander sounds horrified by the thought. “You’re not yet thirty, you can’t be burning out yet.” It grows silent between them, the bumps in the road jostling them like a rough sea but Scorpius finds comfort in the motions. His eyes are drooping, his exhaustion catching up with him. However, before he’s captured in the arms of sleep Lysander whispers, “Are you like this because of Albus Potter?”

 

“No,” Scorpius lies, not bothering to glance at Lysander or to try and read the intentions in his tone. He’s aware Lysander knows Albus, somewhat well. Albus used to babysit Luna’s twins, around the same time Scorpius began teaching Lysander at the conservatoire. Now that he thinks about it Scorpius is bemused, there is so much symmetry that he and Albus share.

 

“I wonder if Albus will ever come to a show,” Lysander wonders around a yawn, and Scorpius doesn’t answer. He knows Albus never will, but he doesn’t want to hurt another person with the truth. Lysander doesn’t yet look at Scorpius with disappointment, and he’d like to keep it that way for awhile more.  

 

*

 

Orion calls him at the Mirror, every evening, and Scorpius answers no matter what time of day it is for him. Whether he’s had a full night's sleep or is running on the last remnants of his magic. Draco always mentions his appearance if there’s sleepiness bruising the skin beneath his eyes, but Orion doesn’t care. He’s got the need to talk to his dad and tell him he loves him. Five minutes or five hours, it doesn’t matter so long as he gets too see Scorpius and say a few things he’s happy.

 

“I’m lucky I’ve got you,” Scorpius tells his father one evening. When Orion is passed out on Draco after telling Scorpius he loves him. He’d gone on a long winded recap of his school day, and then his Quidditch practice after, and acting out his day had left him more exhausted it seems.  

 

“Are you,” Draco always creates a dry, teasing tone Scorpius hasn’t quite managed to perfectly copy. The sound, now, makes him smile in a warm manner.

 

“I am,” he nods, and wonders if it’s the lack of sleep that’s making him sentimental. “If he can’t have a mum, at least he’s got you.”

 

“He’s lucky to have you, son,” Draco responds after a lulling silence. One that isn’t awkward or uncomfortable.

 

“He’d be luckier if I knew how to be more conventional,” Scorpius rubs his tired face, and looks out the window of their bus. He hates Paris, the sight of it always makes him think of Albus. How they used to whisper of visiting this city together.

 

“I’d not have you any other way,” his dad admits drawing his gaze back to his Mirror. “He’s fortunate to have such an amazing person for his father.”

 

He wonders if age has made his father sentimental.

 

*

 

Scorpius wants to fall into his bed, and sleep for a week, when the touring bus drops him in front of his flat. However, that dream of luxury is shattered when he walks in through the thick mahogany door--Draco’s in the sitting room, and he crosses his arms in what Scorpius knows is disappointment. He sighs, dropping his russack by the door while kicking off his trainers. Might as well be comfortable for this row.  

 

“Can I have a smoke before you start whatever it is you want to start,” Scorpius grumbles. “I’ve a feeling I’m going to need one.” Then he shoots a look about, and frowns, “Where’s my kid?”

 

“Sleeping, because it’s fucking three,” and whatever’s got Draco in a snit must be bad if he’s snipping at Scorpius in such a way.

 

He doesn’t bother going out onto the balcony but opens the door so Draco doesn’t complain too much about the stench before he lights his clove cigarette. “Fucking out with it, you look like you’re going to explode.”

 

Draco hisses through his teeth, “Do you mind explaining this to me?” Scorpius’s cigarette falls from between his slack lips when Draco brandishes magazines at him. Magazines that were carefully hidden before Scorpius left for his short European tour. He scrambles for an excuse, but his father’s warning glare stops him before it can leave his mouth. “This isn’t healthy.”

 

“Orion likes collecting them,” is his feeble reply.

 

“Really, Knot Your Omega is the sort of reading material you buy your son, is it?” Draco knows Scorpius isn’t that shit of a dad, so the question is definitely rhetorical. Then with a weary sigh Draco settles into one of the nice chairs he bought for Scorpius’s flat. “Scorpius,” He begins in that tone that makes Scorpius feel loved and like he’s a shit son. “Looking at him like that only hurts you more.”

 

“I know,” Scorpius bends, retrieving his dropped cigarette from where it’s burned the rug. “But it’s hard to remember that sometimes.”

 

“I understand,” and Scorpius knows he does.

 

*

 

“Dad,” Orion beams up at him, when they’re at the grocer’s, and his small hands hold up a copy of Couture. Albus Potter is on the cover, wrapped in a lengthy black robe that’s got a long v-cut that runs from his throat to navel--exposing skin that Scorpius’s teeth remember. He does his best not to show Orion his discomfort. Since their discussion about Albus’s publicity stunt Orion’s been pushing more things with Albus’s mug on them into Scorpius’s view.  

 

“Yeah, mate, what about it,” is what he settles for while handing his small basket to the woman behind the till. She’s an older Alpha woman who watches Orion with a fond expression when he starts telling Scorpius about why Albus Potter is the prettiest Omega alive. His son should work for that ridiculous matchmaking shop that crazy bird Lavender Brown owns--he’s good at bigging up others.

 

“Someone’s got his first crush it seems.” The shop woman is friendly with them since she sees them often enough, when Scorpius is in town, so he doesn’t take offense with the forwardness of her words. He’s just tired from the weight of Orion’s obsession with the mum he’s never known, but Scorpius smiles at her. Doing his best to remain calm.

 

“Has to buy every ruddy thing he sees Albus Potter’s mug on,” Scorpius agrees with false cheer. “It’ll pass in time.” He fucking hopes that’s true.

 

She nods, and gives Orion an affectionate smile when he thrusts the magazine out to her, “You think Albus Potter is pretty, too, don’t you?” She agrees with exaggerated appreciation, and when Orion watches Scorpius with impatient eyes he shrugs.

 

“Sure, mate, he’s pretty,” he clears his throat. “But we know he’s not my type.” That’s one of the biggest lies Scorpius has ever told his son.

 

*

 

“Well, well, Pious Malfoy, as I live and breathe,” Teddy mocks when Scorpius strolls into Hell Gate, after he’s dropped Orion at school. “Thought you’d be too good to come see lil ol’ me.” Scorpius rolls his eyes and a second later Teddy claps him on the back, drawing him into a brief, but fierce hug.

 

“Missed you, Vulgar T,” Scorpius says when they break apart and Teddy moves back behind the bar--to pour them each a pint.

 

“Fuck it’s been awhile since anyone’s called me that--mostly the mates call me Daddy these days. Fuckers enjoy taking the piss,” Teddy tisks, then lights a cigarette, grinning as he leans back--a few bottles rattle from his movements. “Though, I suppose there are worse things to be called.”

 

“Indeed,” Scorpius agrees, accepting the cigarette Teddy holds out to him. “Got your Owl while I was away--when’s Nikki going to pop that kid out? Seems like she’s been pregnant and irritable forever.” Teddy tries to hide his smile, but Scorpius catches the curve of it on Teddy’s full mouth.

 

“Not soon enough, mate,” Teddy grumbles as he adjusts his position against the liquor cabinet. “She’s always got her face in the toilet, and is always shoving me off when I try to get at her--says if I so much as look at her in an amorous way again she’ll have my bollocks for earrings.” Despite his grumbling, Scorpius can tell Teddy is happy at the thought of more children. He’s confessed, on a few occasions, that he wants enough for a band--or a Quidditch team.

 

“I’ve seen them, they wouldn’t make for pretty jewelry,” Scorpius grins as he responds to Teddy’s words.

 

“That cheek will get you beat,” Teddy tells him, pointing in a way that is supposed to seem threatening, as he has a hundred times before and Scorpius’s grin grows wider.

 

“Sure, you’ve been telling me that since I can remember. You ain’t beat me yet.” He winks, just to amp up the obnoxiousness. Teddy deflates, sucking a long draw off his cigarette.

 

“Baz’s long figured out that I’m all marshmallow fluff on the inside, and my threats go largely unheeded.” Teddy appears disappointed at that fact, and Scorpius has a bit of a chuckle.

 

“Draco mentioned he’s getting more wild by the day--I still can’t believe you got my dad to watch your kid.” It had been surprising when Teddy showed up in Madrid for one of Scorpius’s shows with no kid. Dominique’s work is gruelling and requires more attention than Teddy’s so Baz is often Teddy’s shadow. Scorpius doesn’t doubt that the new, wee one will also tag along with Teddy wherever he may go. Teddy is an excellent father, even if he is a piss-artist and a layabout  at the best of times.

 

“Orion talked Draco into it, to be fair, and I think he wanted me to come check on you--your dad’s a softie. Just hates for anyone to know.” All of the men in Scorpius’s family seem to have that problem--Teddy, too, would hate for anyone to know that he’s all rainbows and happiness beneath the hard shell he’s got wrapped in leather and spikes.  

 

Scorpius smiles, and nods, “Yeah, he hates to ruin his reputation of being a total bastard.”

 

“Appearances are everything, mate.” Teddy pours them another drink, holding his glass as if he’s making a toast.

 

“So I’ve been told,” Scorpius clinks his glass against Teddy’s in reply.

 

*

 

Teddy has to leave not long after that, he’s meeting Dominique for an appointment, and so he waves Scorpius on his way. All brotherly affection when he calls, “Feel free to pop in at the weekend, we’ve a band on you might enjoy--unless you’ve gone and forgot your roots completely.”

 

“That cheek’s gonna get you beat,” Scorpius tells him, and Teddy’s response is a bright laugh.

 

He could stop in to see Draco, but decides against that idea because stopping at the apothecary means he’ll be put to work, and Scorpius doesn’t feel like working. He’s fuck tired for coming off of tour. Then there’s the fact he doesn’t fancy smelling of pickled slugs. Most of his old mates have day jobs, and are all probably too busy to meet on the fly. So he decides to head home, after checking his watch, to catch a nap before he’s got to fetch Orion from school.

 

The magazine Orion bought is on the table, sitting open from the night before, and Scorpius hates himself a little when he sits down on the sofa while pulling the glossy pages to him. It’s an interview, and he’d bet his inheritance that Orion has read it thrice over.

 

Couture:

Welcome, Albus, it’s great to have you here.

You’re outfit is rather fetching, do you

Mind telling me a bit about what you’re

Wearing?

 

Albus Potter:

It’s great to be here. (Smiles)

Thank you, I’m fond of it.

This is actually one of our new

Designs from Haus of Anarchy.

 

Couture:

The fashion line you’ve recently started?

How are you liking that?

 

Albus Potter:

Yes, that’s the one.

Well, it’s an adventure,

For sure. (Laughs)

 

Couture:

I heard James mention

That you were the Head

Designer at Haus of Anarchy.

 

Albus Potter:

I am. I had always wanted to be

A painter when I was young.

But I’ve not got the talent.

(self deprecating laugh)

I am good enough at design,

And, as my lovely Nikki says,

Fashion is in my blood.

 

Couture:

Is there rivalry there?

You started at Delacour.

 

Albus Potter:

There is only friendly competition.

My aunt and my cousins encouraged

Me to pursue fashion.

If anything they want to dominate,

By making sure all of our family is

At the top.

 

Couture:

Loyal to blood.

 

Albus Potter:

Family is everything.

 

Scorpius snorts at that, and stops reading the rest of the article in favour of glancing over the pictures. They’re all done in artful black, white, and grey, with Albus in various states of undress. Which is nothing new. Not even the visible bond mark is new; Albus has been playing it off as a scarification tattoo for years--ever since it was first revealed. The sight of it stirs something in Scorpius’s stomach, causing his own mark to throb beneath his leather cuff, and he growls at the emotions the sight of his brand creates.

 

His trousers grow tight at the way one of the images plays an endless loop of Albus’s tongue swiping at his lower lip--playing at seduction.

 

“Fuck,” he swears--taking himself to his private bathroom, stepping into his shower to relieve his problem. Pulling himself off to Albus always causes him to simmer with a mixture of fury and self-loathing. It’s never satisfying, and always leaves him craving more. Especially after their most recent encounter. His body recalls the feeling of Albus more vividly these days. His orgasm is not satisfying. Scorpius watches as his come drips against the dark tiles of his private shower before swirling down the drain--he thinks of how his seed looked on Albus’s pale stomach, flaking as the strong scent of it absorbed into Albus’s skin. “Goddamn it,” he hisses, slamming his fist into the wall. The pain in his knuckles doesn’t lessen his desire, and he’s wretched as he slides to the wet floor.   

 

*

 

Lysander is the one who talks him into another interview with Ideal Heat , the smut rag that’s geared at Omegas. “Do I have to,” he grouses when Lysander informs Scorpius they want to partner him up with some female model. She’s going to cup his cock and bollocks in her hands while the rest of him is exposed to the eyes of the world.

 

“Sex sells,” Lysander reminds him with the same bored voice he uses when dismissing his mad mother, and Scorpius frowns.

 

“Then you put your cock in this woman’s hands and stand naked for the photo,” Scorpius doesn’t know why he’s being unreasonable. Honestly, a few months ago if Lysander had brought this kind of proposal to him Scorpius would’ve shrugged it off as another element of the job. Now it causes his skin to itch and his teeth to ache. Now it makes him feel like a traitor.

 

“You’re the one everyone wants to fuck, mate,” Lysander rolls his bright eyes, setting one of the nude magazines he was glancing through down, and sits up to give Scorpius his full attention. Crossing his too thin arms and watching Scorpius with that knowing look, “You know you’re the best looking of us all.” And Scorpius honestly cannot argue with that, because he knows he’s good looking. Great looking, in fact. His body image isn’t what bothers him to this intense point of agitation. How Albus will react to seeing him in this smut magazine is what’s filling Scorpius with immense doubt. He remembers the way his stomach twisted when his monthly Knot Your Omega arrived. He can still smell the burning wood in his room’s hearth along with the fresh scent of newly printed pages. Scorpius can still taste the sour flavour on his tongue, from when his mouth had run dry from fury. He can still feel the crinkle of easily ripped pages when that centerfold unfurled. Scorpius has never known hatred, not truly, not even when he thought he hated Albus--but when he saw that man, made to look like him, Scorpius hated him with everything in his being. He could perform an Unforgivable on that nameless Alpha and not feel the slightest remorse. That’s what seeing Albus stretched out like that did to him, and it makes him wonder how Albus will feel to see another on Scorpius in such a manner. Sure he’s fucked since Albus, he’s not a saint, and he knows that Albus has had to have had other partners--but understanding the truth and seeing it are two different things, and Scorpius would’ve preferred to have never seen Albus in such a way.   

 

“I don’t want to be with another person.” Scorpius finally tells Lysander. “I’ll pose nude, but I want to be solo.”

 

“You sure,” Lysander enquires with a cock of his head. “Albus’s brand saw an influx of sales when he was riding the knot of your doppelganger.” Scorpius manages to remain calm at those words, and doesn’t snap when Lysander adds, “I thought we could bring an Omega in that resembles him and keep the media talking.”

 

“Hard pass on that idea,” Scorpius manages to come off as bored with the idea, rather than furious. “I think that would just create unnecessary speculation and drama. Let those shit teen stars meddle with all that while we focus on music.”

 

Lysander shrugs, gathering up his previously discarded magazine, “Whatever you say, mate. You’re the boss, after all.”  

 

*

 

“Why is there a picture of you shirtless on a magazine,” Orion enquires and Scorpius drops his carton of takeaway. Orion flails about while he complains that Scorpius has dirtied the egg rolls, rather than being annoyed about the carpets, but Scorpius is more worried about how his son knows about the existence of nudie mags.

 

“How do you know about that?” He sounds faint in his own ear.

 

“Marcia told me her mum shoved a magazine with your shirtless picture on it into her bedside cabinet,” he shrugs, still frowning about the egg rolls. “She said her mum seemed embarrassed by it, but I told her it probably wasn’t you.” He uses his chopsticks to pick up a cashew out of one of the cartons scattered about them, and adds, “I know how you feel about modeling.”

 

Scorpius gives a shoddy hum of acknowledgement, but Orion’s gone back to speaking of other things. Mostly he’s talking about how McGonagall was getting onto him for running in the corridors. Then he’s telling Scorpius about the cafe his grandfather took him to while Scorpius was on tour, and how he liked the cakes there. But Scorpius is still stuck on the fact that Marcia’s fit as fuck mum is probably using his naked image to finger herself off to. He wonders how her husband feels about that, and when he remembers the old prat finds that he hopes he catches her at it. Fucking dickhead deserves it.

 

“So do you think you can?”

 

“Can I what now?” Scorpius tries not to laugh at his son’s annoyed face; it’s extremely hard when the expression is ridiculously adorable.

 

“I volunteered you for participation in the school’s charity gala,” Orion’s reply is slow and measured--mocking, almost, as if he’s got to treat Scorpius as if he’s slow. He’ll have to have words with Teddy about how his habits are rubbing off on Scorpius’s kid.

 

Scorpius’s eyes go wide, “Why would you do that?” It’s a rule that Scorpius leaves all the “fatherly” school obligations to his own father. Draco insisted on Orion attending a prissy as fuck private primary school so he can bloody well deal with that lot. Scorpius only shows for his kid’s recitals, the plays, and anything else he can when his band has time off. But rubbing elbows with other tossers who think they piss gold--that’s his father’s game and Scorpius wants no part of that mess.

 

“Granddad says he can’t this year, and he said one of the Malfoys would need to attend so I said you could. Besides, Granddad said this would be better for you than him.” Orion is flipping through the Live, looking for something to watch.

 

Scorpius doesn’t like the sound of that, “What do you mean?”

 

“I think they’re going to raffle off dates, or guitar lessons or something. I wasn’t listening.” Orion shrugs, again, then sucks up some lo mein noodles with a disgusting smack.

 

Scorpius’s stomach drops.

 

*

 

Fortunately, the school isn’t raffling off dates. Teddy takes the fucking piss when Scorpius shows up in his finest suit with his hair styled in a manner similar to his father’s.

 

Teddy cackles when he catches Scorpius fidgeting. He’s uncomfortably aware of how he looks--Scorpius had been prepared to come and win a significant amount of money for the charity, but now he’d rather be home, in a bottle, pretending he’s not terribly embarrassed.  “After that Ideal Heat issue I bet you’d have had a lot of horny bidders fighting for you.”

 

“Fucking don’t remind me,” Scorpius bemoans--then groans again when he remembers he can’t run a hand through his hair. “God, I look like my dad.”

 

“With neck tattoos and better fashion sense,” Teddy counters, straightening Scorpius’s blazer. Then he passes him a Muggle Johnny and winks. “Now, go out there and have you a bit of fun.”

 

“Fuck off, you tit,” Scorpius mutters, then plasters on a fake smile and adopts a polite tone when the headmistress approaches. Can’t have her getting after him for his profane words and poor manners.

 

“Mr Malfoy, you are looking handsome,” McGonagall appraises him with a swooping once over, then turns her attention to Teddy. Frowning when she gets a load of what he’s wearing. “Mr Lupin, you could’ve worn a pair of trousers without holes.” She’s damn old, but still fearsome, and Teddy hasn’t the slightest hint of discomfort when he deals with her--unlike Scorpius. McGonagall glancing in his directions, during school, used to make him nearly wet himself. Even now, in adulthood, he’s not much better when her cool eyes settle over him.

 

“I’ll be sure to remember that next time,” Teddy lies, and McGonagall snorts--knowing as well as Scorpius that Teddy won’t remember, or rather he will purposefully forget.

 

“Mr Malfoy, are you entering anything for the auction?” He’d have been better prepared if Orion half paid attention during class, or if Scorpius bothered to read any of the notes the school sent home. They’re both shit at this school business.

 

“Whatever you think will get you the most money out of my services, feel free to jot it down,” Scorpius’s tone is full of apology.  

 

Wry as ever, McGonagall cracks a grin when she says, “I’m not about to start dabbling in prostitution, Mr Malfoy, but I’ll think of something.”

 

Scorpius feels Teddy deserves the hacking fit he has following McGonagall’s words. He pounds on Teddy’s back, grinning when he teases, “Was it really that funny, mate?”

 

“Fuck off,” Teddy grumbles, still fighting down a cough some minutes later. His eyes have tears in them from how hard he choked on nothing.

 

*

 

Turns out it’s not as awful as being pimped out for prostitution or spending the night pretending to be part of an escort service. McGonagall has Scorpius auction off a pair of tickets to each show of his next tour--ingenious really. If Lysander were here he’d tell Scorpius he’s smarter than that and should’ve thought of this solution himself. Lysander is a cheeky git, and only just managed to pass his N.E.W.T.s, but he’s clever. Far more clever than he lets on.  

 

At the end of the night McGonagall announces the amount of the winning bid for each item up for auction, but doesn’t mention any names. Scorpius won the trip to The Mirrored Isle that Draco put up for a week’s holiday, one where a single couple or family could have the island all to themselves. He grins when he hears the generous amount he offered, for the holiday, wins--Draco’s going to have an issue with the fact that Scorpius is wasting money to go to a resort they own, and Scorpius is going to counter that every time he’s dragged to the Isle Draco puts him to work. He’d like to see his family’s property through the eye of a traveler, for once in his damn life. Hell, he might call up one of his shags to see if they want to spend the week marathon fucking on the sand. Scorpius grins against the lip of his champagne glass when he sorts through a list of those he might ask.

 

At the end of the auction McGonagall warmly thanks them all for coming out, and Scorpius shoots a glance Teddy’s way while he mutters, “Are you as excited as I am to get the fuck out of here?”

 

“Too ready,” Teddy agrees. “Nikki’s been bugging me at the Mirror all night. Baz has been oddly attached to me in the evenings, and it’s making it hell for me to go anywhere--let alone check on the clubs.”

 

Scorpius frowns as he accepts his cloak from the House-Elf in the cloak room. “Do you need help minding the clubs?” Scorpius is on break from tour, and while he’s got a million other things that need his attention--Teddy comes at the top of his list of priorities, just after Orion.

 

“Nah, I should have it,” Teddy assures as he lights up a cigarette--passing it to Scorpius, before lighting his own while they descend the steps that lead up to Magical Meadows. “Training the new bartender at Hell Gate might be an issue for you.”

 

“I tended bar at the Hogshead from Fourth Year on, and I did a lot of bartending for you until Lysander came to recruit me for his cult--as you so kindly call my band,” Scorpius reminds with a joking tone.

 

“Yeah, but I’m half afraid if I have you training newbies they’ll be too starstruck to actually take in anything you’re saying,” he claps Scorpius on the shoulder in that brotherly way he has since they first met. “Sometimes it was easier when you were only rich and mildly infamous. Now that you’re filthy fucking rich, and then some, along with famous I’m fucked.”

 

“I think that, too, mate,” Scorpius confides with a low murmur. “Sometimes I think it was easier when I was just that kid that might be Voldemort’s secret love spawn.”

 

Teddy’s stern when he chides, “Don’t kid about that. Your mum was fantastic and if I could slit the throat of the idiot that started that rumour I would.” Teddy releases a slew of filth and hate for the unknown slanderer. Scorpius misses half of what’s said because he never became fluent in Mermish. “I loved your mum, like I love your dad, and I won’t even stand to have you shit on their good names.”

 

“But my dad’s name isn’t good, and Mum was fucked by his legacy the moment she fell in love with him,” Scorpius isn’t blinded by his love for his parents. He knows what his family is, and how the world sees them.  

 

“The sentiment still stands,” Teddy says as he faces Scorpius. “They’re good people to me, and that’s all I’ll ever need. Wrong as that may be. The people Harry knew are not the people I knew--our experiences with people shape our relationships with them.” Teddy, Scorpius forgets, is a well of wisdom when one least expects it. Clear grey eyes settle over Scorpius, changed from their usual bright blue to mirror Scorpius’s own, and Teddy tells him, “Remember, someone can be a good human to the rest of the world and be a shit to you. Someone can be an absolute shit of a human to the world but be a saint to you. Perspective is a funny and cruel thing like that.” With that nugget bestowed upon Scorpius Teddy blinks out of sight. Leaving Scorpius smiling at the empty air that remains in his wake.

 

*

 

Lysander steps out of the Floo with a stack of parchments, an envelope of something, and his beloved guitar strapped to his back. “Your hair is getting long,” he comments when Scorpius looks up from the diary where he scribbles song ideas. It’s a mess of his flowy script and horrid doodles.

 

Scorpius has half his hair pinned up in a small bun, and he pulls at the lengths of it that are loose, “I’ve been toying with the idea of looking less like my father.”

 

“And more like your shit of a grandfather?” Lysander counters with an arched eyebrow. Because damn if Scorpius doesn’t look just like every Malfoy before him; including the one he likes the least.

 

“Point,” Scorpius agrees. He’d rather look like Draco than Lucius, but he likes the longer cut. He needs a physical change--perhaps he’ll go in and get another tattoo. He’s been meaning to get daffodils around his nan’s name for a while now.

 

“So how’s the writing coming, you said you were having trouble with the chords?” Lysander distracts him from his wandering thoughts.

 

“Yeah, it sounds different than how I imagined it--I figured you’d be better at sorting my ill conceived chaos.” Scorpius closes his diary and gives Lysander his best pleading look, one that makes him roll his pale eyes.

 

“Well I learned from the master,” Lysander jokes as he takes a seat. “Let me see what you’ve got.”

 

Lysander’s eyes scan over the notes and words, chewing on his lower lip as he reads down them--Scorpius vaguely recalls reprimanding him about his lip chewing while giving lessons at the Conservatoire. Funny how things change but stay the same.

 

It makes him think of Albus and how he’d been so different, yet the same when he arched beneath Scorpius; crying out his name.



 

 

Harry’s Interlude:

 

Albus had been a surprise from the start. It was a few months into learning the routine of living with a newborn when he found Ginny in tears, in the loo, when he'd Floo’d home after work.

 

“Gin,” he'd approached with caution. Nearly regretted saying anything when she had thrown the little magical disk at him.

 

“It's pink,” she moaned, and put her hands in her vibrant hair. “I was going to be allowed back at the pitch in a month’s time...that's not going to happen now.” There was so much anguish in the taut curl of her body, the way her slender, freckled fingers wound in her lovely hair--Harry’s stomach swooped, in agitation, as he was helpless to help her. He was still somewhat good then.

 

“Ginny,” Harry had moved to comfort her but she batted his hand away. “You’ll be back on the pitch in no time,” he'd offered with a weak assurance. Bollocks at cheering her or anyone else up--he hadn’t much practice at it when he was a child. Ginny hadn't believed in abortion--as he'd discovered when he asked if she was ready when they found out they were pregnant with James--but Harry silently wondered then, and now, if Ginny wasn't as keen on motherhood as her own mother.

 

“Yeah,” she agreed but she had not sounded as sure--if anything Ginny’s tone was resigned, as if she already knew that her career was over.

 

She never flew professionally again, and Harry lives with the guilt of knowing that her career died with the birth of their children while his flourished--unaffected by the change.

 

Albus had been an accident, same as James and Lily, but he was different--a surprise that wasn't exactly happy the way his brother had been, and his sister had been. He was more chaos in the already turbulent storm of Harry and Ginny’s marriage. He was a snag that could not be ignored, and to this day he's still the chaos that divides them.

 

“I don’t understand why you’re so hellbent on Albus having nothing to do with Orion,” Harry notices Ginny winces when he says the child’s name. Part of him says the boy’s name out of spite, wanting to hurt her in small ways.  

 

“He doesn’t have the right, Harry, and he never wanted it--this is a passing fancy.” She argues this point as if she knows what it’s like. Harry supposes she does, she’s had many nights where she’s confessed she misses her life before their kids. I’m not saying I regret them--but I sometimes envy Neville and Hannah, they put themselves first.

 

Harry always had the desire to be a father. Perhaps it was the orphan in him, but he’d always wanted the wife and the kids. The family . Ginny had family her whole life, a family who made family a priority. He wanted that, but the longer he’s here the more he recognises that sometimes family first is toxic.

 

“Do you wish you had never been a mother,” he asks her now, removing his glasses and setting them on the dining table they bought when they purchased this home. The table all of their children grew around.

 

“How can you ask me that,” she sounds betrayed, but Harry can see the truth lurking in her blue irises. The long lost dream that died when Harry put his seed in her; when Harry’s children took root she lost her way, they both know it--even if she cannot admit the truth.

 

He closes his own eyes, bowing his head, “Do you hate me, Gin? Do you resent me?”

 

“No,” she assures, but it’s weak. When they were young it would have been fierce, passionate. Harry knows that fire she held for him has long burned to ash. He wonders if their grandchildren--Orion, especially, if he’s ever the chance--will look at them in pity the way Molly and Arthur’s grandchildren look at them like they never want such boring love. Harry doesn’t doubt that, once upon a time, they’d been volcanic as they touched. Yet, it’s been years since he’s seen Molly gaze upon Arthur in fondness and longer still since they’ve gone off together to enjoy the company of one another. Arthur hides in his shed, tinkering with Muggle devices and Molly buries herself in romance novels. He sighs, thinking he and his own wife are not much better despite their assurances--in youth--that they would never cool to one another.  

 

However, here they are.  

 

It’s just them tonight, and they expect no visitors so Harry says the words he’s kept dormant for years. “Then why did you have that affair with Dean?”

 

One of those moments they try not to speak of, one of those family secrets that stay buried under other secrets--that’s the truth of picture perfect families, Harry’s discovered, they’ve all got secrets hidden behind perfected smiles.

 

“I was lonely,” she admits, settling into the chair across from him with her cup of tea. “You were always at work, James and Albus were always screaming...then there was Lily, and you were gone .” She’s not blaming him, Harry knows she blames herself--same as he knows he is also at fault. He wasn’t here when she needed him. He was gone, trying to find that thrill again--the one that followed him his whole life from birth on. Harry’s never found it--while she slept with another man Harry was having an affair of his own. The affair with his job. He’d wanted the kids, he’d wanted the house, the job, the wife--but he didn’t want it enough to stop his hunt for another fight, another darkness, another something to break the monotony. Harry failed Ginny as much as she failed him. She's quiet for long minutes, before she confesses, “Mum was always lonely. Dad tinkered away in his building, and she was left to deal with us...I didn't want lonely for Al.”

 

Her smile is grim, “He saw it--you know? He could see it in us. Mum, me, Angelina, Hermione...Albus has always seen the consequences of not chasing a dream.” She summons a bottle of whiskey along with two glasses. She pushes her cup of tea aside, clearly they need more than tea tonight. “There was a night when he got completely trashed and told me Mum, I didn't want to end up another casualty to young love.” She releases a small hum, a sad gleam in her eye, “then he said but I want them more than anything--make me stop wanting them.

 

“Gin,” Harry sits up. Concern written in his expression, “What did you do?”

 

“I made it not hurt, I made it a thought that was forced to the recesses of his mind--remembered yet forgotten.” Her eyes show fatigue, and an age Harry hadn’t noticed before now. The lines of her secrets surround her eyes--more secrets buried in the years, and Harry has grown to hate secrets.

 

“How could you,” Harry demands with quiet rage.

 

“I am his mother, Harry--I'm not Scorpius’s and I'm not Orion's. That child might be my grandson, but he is not my son.” She gives another wistful hum, “I guess fate has never been in a Potter’s favour. If they had never met, Albus would've never wanted him again.” She downs a shot of whiskey, “Maybe this is how we know they really were meant to be.” Her laugh is humourless, melancholy radiates off of her and Harry cannot stand to look at her so he downs his drink.



*

 

Draco is an awful git, and Harry is certain he will never hate a person more than he hates Draco Malfoy.

 

“Potter,” he intones with that smooth, bored drawl--from the comfort of Harry’s office chair as he folds up the paper he was reading, settling it atop Harry’s desk.

 

“Get out,” he tells Draco with a growl. “Or I'll be forced to use excessive force.”

 

“Is that how you treat all guests, Potter, or do you reserve that fury for those whom you have repressed sexual desires,” Draco is enjoying this--Harry can tell by the way his grin grows nasty and the way his cold, grey eyes gleam with malicious intent.

 

“The only fantasy I have involving you, Malfoy, is wrapping my fingers around your stupid throat and squeezing until you stop breathing.” Harry's sorely tempted to make this a reality.

 

“How boring, I thought you'd be far more kinky,” with a cruel voice he twists the knife, “No wonder your wife had to find comfort in the arms of another.”

 

“At least mine is still alive,” Malfoy never fails to drag Harry low, and afterwards he always hates himself for the poisons Malfoy calls from his tongue.

 

“Really, Potter, that's low-brow--even for you.” Draco stands, seemingly unaffected by Harry's malicious words as he steps around the desk.

 

With a sigh, Harry demands, “Why’re you here?”

 

“I came to tell you that my grandson is enjoying life without his stupid shit of a mother and that if you do something to ruin it I will end you,” to punctuate his words Draco hits Harry with a curse he had not anticipated. The Cruciatus is still something Harry is never quite prepared for and he falls to his knees grasping his chest. His heart feels like it’s being crushed within his breast and his blood boils beneath his skin. It's only for a few moments, then Draco calls the curse off, with another nasty grin he whispers. “You know what Auntie Bella always said-- You have to mean it .” His voice is pure hiss against the shell of Harry’s ear, “I mean it, Potter.”

 

Still panting Harry informs Draco, “I could have you thrown into Azkaban.”

 

Draco casts a look behind him, from where his hand hovers on the handle to the door of Harry’s office. “Do it, Potter.” Then with another of his smirks, “Do it and every horrible secret your precious Weasley family has will be public.” There's something awful lurking in his gaze, “Your dearest wife’s affair is the least of that family’s problems.” With that he exits the room and Harry thumps his head against the wood of his desk.

 

Shit.

 

*

 

It’s a couple months after Albus spent an unexpected heat with Scorpius, and Harry finds Albus in tears, in the loo, when he Floo’s home after work.

 

“Al,” he approaches with caution. Nearly regrets saying anything when Albus throws the little magical disk at the bathroom wall while his sobs grow stronger.

 

“It's pink,” he moans, and pulls at the thick strands of his dark hair. “I was going to move on. How, how can I do that now?”

 

Fate is truly cruel to Potters, Harry thinks when he pulls his son into a hug--closing his eyes to his own tears.






 

 

It’s been two months and six days since Scorpius last tasted Albus’s scent on his tongue. So he’s surprised enough for his legs to go to jelly when he catches it in the hall of his flat’s private floor. Albus is fidgeting before Scorpius’s large door, and he’s glad, for once, that Orion is off spending the night at Teddy’s.

 

“Why’re you here,” Scorpius’s face twists into a stormy expression, but his anger whooshes out of him when Albus begins to cry. He’s always been weak to Albus’s anguish.

 

“I’m sorry,” he sobs, wringing his thin hands, and Scorpius hates how the tears make his eyes appear more gaunt--enhancing the dark bags that hang beneath Albus’s beautiful gaze.

 

“Let’s go inside,” Scorpius sighs, and opens the door to allow Albus entry.

 

Albus appears uncomfortable as he glances about Scorpius’s foyer, and Scorpius tracks where his eyes dart to the large chandelier that glitters above the pale cream marble of the floor. Albus follows Scorpius, glancing left into the office that Scorpius uses as a studio space, and then right into the formal sitting room--the one that Scorpius doesn’t bother using. They pass under the mezzanine and the curved staircase that leads to the second floor. Albus pauses near Scorpius’s baby grand, and stares out the tall wall of windows that looks out into the private rear garden. He’s lost in wonder, and Scorpius takes a moment to appreciate the beauty he often fails to see in these walls. After a short spell he clears his throat, capturing Albus’s attention and jerks his head as an indication that Albus should follow.

 

Albus wanders through the sitting room Scorpius has just led him into. The walls are littered with portraits of Orion and Scorpius. Snapshots that Draco complains should only be in a private album, because the walls are meant for expensive art--Scorpius doesn’t care. He loves the candids, they are far more enchanting than the stiff portraits of his own childhood. Albus pauses before one from the year Orion was four--Scorpius is lifting him overhead and Orion is shrieking in delight. It’s a fond memory of when he took Orion to Stonehenge for the first time.

 

There’s something simmering in Albus’s eyes as he watches the baby fat cheeks grow ruddy with joy. Scorpius thinks it’s regret, but doesn’t call attention to the expression when Albus turns away, swallowing, and moves to sit on the sofa. Scorpius pours him a whiskey, and Albus refuses with a quick shake of his head.

 

“Your home is lovely,” he comments, glancing around. Orion is everywhere in this space, even if he is absent. His colour quills and art books are a mess on the rug. Quidditch leathers and boots are piled near the entrance to the corridor that leads to the kitchen--he stripped out of them and darted naked for the bath as soon as they came in through the Floo a few nights prior and Scorpius has yet to clear the mess. His school bag is open, assignments messily shoved in, and his favourite stuffed dragon--a joke from Teddy when he was a baby--is emitting harmless magic flames as it yawns. Albus takes all these things in, and Scorpius can see that each discovery is a twisting knife to him. He can feel the misery through the bond they share.

 

I’d have made it lovely with you, had you let me , he thinks, bitter, but thanks Albus.

 

Albus chews the side of his mouth, standing, Scorpius watches him with a slight frown--wondering what he’s up to. His lithe form stops at the framed image of Orion when he was about six-months-old, sleeping on Scorpius’s bare chest. Scorpius, in the image, is also asleep--tangled amongst the very duvet Orion was created beneath. Draco had taken that image, after he’d given his opinion on bedsharing. “Will you let me see him?” Scorpius doesn’t have to ask who he means, Albus’s intent is obvious.

 

“You have seen him, and to hear him talk you’re often at the school for lunch with Lily--you see him plenty,” Scorpius doesn’t want to make this easy.

 

Why should he? It’s never been easy for him, and Albus doesn’t deserve any leniency. Albus stares at him with eyes that are pleading and Scorpius’s resolve waivers. “He’s my son,” Albus’s voice cracks.

 

Scorpius swallows, “Then why did you sign him away?” He wishes he could hate Albus the way Draco does. This would be so easy if he could.

 

“I was young. Do you know what it’s like for the Omegas of my family when there’s a baby,” Albus’s chest is heaving, his face is flushed with misery. “I couldn’t be another one--I couldn’t give up my dreams to play mum, not so young.” He touches the pads of his slim fingers to the glass over a more recent photo of Orion--sleeping away in Scorpius’s bed, drooling on the pillow. “I just want to know him.”

 

“Albus,” Scorpius mutters, massaging his eyes with his fingers. He’s just so fucking tired. Emotionally he’s strung taut, and will break at any moment--like a guitar string that over tightened. “You can’t just breeze into his life. What happens if you want to breeze right out again?”

 

“I won’t,” Albus is passionate, and seems sincere.

 

“I don’t believe that,” Scorpius is firm.

 

“I just want-,” he cuts off when the Floo wooshes suddenly, and Scorpius curses his luck that Lysander is the one who steps out of the flames.

 

“Malfoy, you total cun-,” Lysander’s rant drops off when he catches sight of Albus, and his cheeks go a bit pink. Scorpius watches as Lysander--cool, confident Lysander--turns into a tongue-tied schoolboy. Over Albus . “Um, Albus, hey-hello, uh,” he stumbles over nothing on the carpet and has to right himself as he moves closer, waving awkwardly. “I didn’t know you’d be here.”

 

Albus darts a glance at Scorpius who gives a nearly imperceptible shrug. Scorpius is honestly at a loss, and doesn’t have much to offer to this awkward situation. “I didn’t think I’d be here, either--I just had some business with Scorpius.”

 

Lysander turns to him, a questioning gaze on his face like he expects Scorpius to clue him in, but before Scorpius can navigate how to politely get one of his closest mates to leave Albus cuts in with a cool tone. “It’s private business. So if you don’t mind,” he gestures for Scorpius’s Floo.

 

“Oh,” Lysander’s face drops, a small dawning of understanding coming over him, “Oh, right, I’m in the way then, yeah?” His laugh is tinny and fragile, it makes Scorpius wince. He never knew that Lysander held a torch for Albus--one that apparently made him awkward and easily hurt.  

 

Catching Lysander around the wrist Scorpius says, “I’ve agreed to model for him. Don’t take this the wrong way. We’re just hammering out some details and trying to resolve old family grudges.” He pats Lysander’s hair, treating him like the kid he often still thinks of him as, when he adds, “I’ll ring you when it’s all sorted, yeah?”

 

“Yeah,” Lysander’s brightness is back, and his awkward flirting returns when he casts a final glance Albus’s way. “Um, I’ll see you at my mum and dad’s anniversary dinner, yeah?”

 

“If I’ve time off work, yes,” Albus doesn’t have a tone that should give Lysander hope, but his face lights up like New York City at dusk. With that Lysander is gone and Scorpius locks his Floo before he rounds on Albus.

 

“What the fuck are you thinking, getting shitty with my mates,” he advances on him, but doesn’t touch him or loom. Scorpius approaches because he feels compelled toward the warmth of Albus’s skin. “You aren’t anyone to me, you don’t have the fucking right to com-,” Albus holds up a small package, and when Scorpius reads Pregnancy results in under a minute! his anger leaves him, and suddenly his lungs are empty of air. He’s struggling to breathe.

 

“I’m pregnant. I just,” Albus fiddles with the small box in his hand. “I just wanted you to see that I’m not lying.”

 

“No,” Scorpius mutters, tone faint.

 

“What,” Albus frowns. “I will take the test to prove it--I just wanted you to know, because, well...it can only be yours.”

 

“No,” Scorpius repeats firmer this time, turning his back to Albus.

 

“You know how a bond work-,” Scorpius cuts him off with a snarl, rounding on his heel to face Albus again.

 

“I know it’s mine, I’m saying ‘no’ because I will not do this with you.” He pulls at the length of his hair, and anxiety has him wanting to focus on how he still needs to cut the damn shit off, but he forces himself to continue with Albus. To not distract himself from what’s happening. “I’m not going to play at mummy and daddy with you now--not with this kid,” Scorpius’s throat feels tight. “I can’t do that to Orion.”

 

“What am I supposed to do then,” Albus wraps his slim arms about his torso, swallowing while his eyes grow wet with anguish.

 

“What do you want to do,” Scorpius counters, crossing his own arms--to keep from wrapping them around Albus. He wants nothing more than to kiss his tears away and promise him the world, but he won’t--can’t.

 

“I don’t want to get rid of it,” Albus begins slowly, raising his gaze to Scorpius’s.

 

Sighing Scorpius settles into one of his living room’s chairs, not bothering to push Orion’s toys out of the seat. He covers his eyes with his hands, needing to centre himself before he can look at Albus. He wants to throttle the berk, or snog him, and neither of those would be productive. “If you keep this baby--it will be yours,” Scorpius finally opens his eyes, holding Albus’s stare with obvious intent. “I am not going to take another child to raise without a mother, because it will lead to too many questions from my son. I’m also not going to play happy home with you, and pretend that the last decade hasn’t happened. Neither of those things is fair to Orion.”

 

“So you’ll just walk away,” Albus challenges, and Scorpius believes him to be terribly unfair.

 

“Yes,” a muscle in his jaw ticks. “I don’t want to walk away, because that’s my baby and I already love it more than anything,” Scorpius hisses, his tone laced with hurt. “But Orion comes before everything--when I took him Draco made me be the best father I could possibly be. He made me promise to put Orion’s needs and happiness above anything--you breezing into his life with a baby, a baby you fucking want, would kill him.” Albus winces and Scorpius drives the knife deeper, “I won’t let my son feel more worthless for your whims.” Settling back he smooths a hand over his face. “That being said, I will make sure the child is taken care of--I just won’t involve myself more than strictly necessary.”

 

Albus swallows, “I’ve a scan in a few weeks...just to, you know, check up on things. Do you want to go?” Scorpius wants to, more than anything, but he shakes his head ‘no’. Albus’s smile is brittle, “I just wanted to extend the offer.”

 

*

 

Draco is not amused when Scorpius steps from the Floo with one of his favourite vintages; he’s immediately suspicious as he accepts the bottle. “What’s this for?” His grey eyes roam over the expensive, gold label--appreciation is in the crinkles around his eyes as he wears a slight smile.  

 

“Saw it while I was in Paris last and thought you’d appreciate the gesture,” Scorpius shifts beneath his father’s gaze when it lifts from the bottle to his face, and that makes Draco narrow his eyes.

 

“What’ve you done,” he demands with a hint of exasperation, before he grabs Scorpius’s wrist and Apparates them into the wine cellar.

 

“I-,” Draco cuts him off with a sweeping wave of his long arm.

 

“You see these few bottles on this shelf?” Scorpius does, it’s the shelf his father never touches. He nods, unsure of what his dad is getting at. “These are the bottles I brought your mother when I cocked up, or when I needed to deliver bad news.” He looks down at the bottle in his hands, again, and with a wry grin mutters, “I never thought you’d inherit this particular trait.” He settles the bottle onto the shelf, his fingers brushing against the many necks of the others before he turns towards Scorpius with another stern expression.

 

“Now, tell me, Scorpius--what have you done?”

 

“Albus is up the spout,” his reply comes out as a shaky sigh. Draco, doesn’t appear all that surprised--mostly he seems resigned to the news.

 

His father lets out a deep breath, and rubs at his right temple, “I think it would be more shocking if he hadn’t wound up pregnant. Time apart tends to make bond partners more fertile.”

 

“That’s nice,” Scorpius replies in a flat voice.

 

“What are you going to do,” Draco manages to give nothing of his feelings on the topic away while he waits for the answer. Scorpius hates that he cannot read his father; makes him second guess his choice. However, he is firm in his resolve.

 

“I told him I can’t be with him. I said it wasn’t fair to Orion.” Draco smiles, proud, but the pride slips from his mouth when Scorpius adds, “I told him if he keeps it this one will be his.”

 

“What?” The word comes out venomous, “How could you abandon your child?” He steps closer, jabbing at Scorpius’s chest with his finger. “That shit should have none of my family.” Draco’s hatred for all Potter’s is laced through every syllable of his words.

 

“He’s allowed to have this baby, if he wants, but I won’t take it. I’ll help him financially, but I will not be there for the baby. I cannot, in good conscience, be that child’s father.” Scorpius gives Draco an imploring glance, “How would that be fair to Orion, tell me, Father?”

 

The fight goes out of Draco, then, in a whoosh of breath and he appears older--tired, sad, defeated. “It wouldn’t be.” They both know, in their heart of hearts, that a baby would destroy Orion.

 

*

 

Albus had to delay his scan, or so he writes in a letter Scorpius reads a few times over. He’s off to Milan for work, and so it will be another month before Albus knows more. He extends the offer for Scorpius to join him for his next scan. Scorpius sits in silent reprieve, torn between wanting to go and wanting to tell Albus to get fucking stuffed. His feelings are a constant turbulence within him.  

 

“Dad,” Orion’s voice pulls him away from his frowning at the parchment. “Uncle T is here with Baz.” Curious green eyes go to the letter, and with a frown Orion enquires, “What’s that?”

 

“Business,” Scorpius lies. They are coming easier in recent days, and he doesn’t hate himself any less for that. He’s always strived to be truthful with his son, the way his father was with him.

 

“Boring shit, then,” Orion’s grin is all cheek, Scorpius smiles in return.

 

“Careful not to let your granddad hear you talk like that,” Scorpius warns with a fond tone.

 

“I’m not stupid, Dad,” he darts out of the study that Scorpius uses as his music room. As his steps fade in the distance, Scorpius tosses Albus’s letter into the flames while Teddy walks in.

 

“Dominique in Milan,” Scorpius asks while he watches the parchment curl and blacken.

 

“Yeah, she’s complaining that her mum is making her work when she’s fucking huge ,” he chuckles as he flops into Scorpius’s chair. “How’d you know that?”

 

“Lucky guess,” Scorpius mutters, then with a brighter lilt turns towards Teddy, “What sounds good for dinner?”

 

“Something greasy and a few cold pints,” Teddy immediately replies.

 

“Sounds good to me,” Scorpius claps, “Let’s wrangle the brats and hit the Leaky.”

 

*

 

Scorpius forgets about the scan, or so he convinces himself as he throws himself into writing music with Lysander. Going out to the pub more regularly with his mates, dealing with work alongside his dad, watching Orion play Quidditch, and indulging his nan when she comes to stay at the manor for an extended visit.

 

So to say he’s exhausted at four in the morning, when an unexpected owl arrives, is an understatement. He’s irritated as he bats the little beast away, annoyed that it keeps pecking him until he rises from his bed. “Dad,” Orion mumbles beside him--having apparently wandered in at some hour of the night--and rolls over to burrow beneath Scorpius’s pillows, “Make it shut up.” Scorpius has a bit of a chuckle about that, and retrieves the letter from the tawny owl’s leg.

 

Illuminating the candle on his bedside cabinet Scorpius allows a moment for his eyes to adjust before he scans the contents.

 

You’re needed at St Mungo’s.

Albus is inconsolable, and I didn’t know who else to write.

 

-H.P.

 

“Dad,” Orion stirs again, sitting up in the bed and rubbing his eyes. His pyjamas are rumpled from how he’s been sprawled across Scorpius’s bed and he wonders absently when he came in last night. Scorpius was so exhausted he doesn’t remember. “Dad,” Orion frowns, moving closer, “Are you all right?”

 

That snaps Scorpius out of it, and he manages a brittle smile, “I’m fine.” Then he adds, “Go back to sleep, I need to ring your grandfather.”

 

*

 

Draco arrives twenty minutes after Scorpius rings at the Floo. “Go,” he commands with an unreadable expression, Scorpius thanks him as he rushes to take the Floo to St Mungo’s.

 

The receptionist is a stout young woman with a kind face, and it grows kinder when she catches sight of how wrecked he appears.

 

“Maternity,” he manages to speak around the lump in his throat, and she nods to the lifts.

 

“Third floor, is there anyone in particular you’re looking for?” She pulls out a book, watching him with wide, inquisitive violet eyes.

 

“Potter,” Scorpius swallows while she taps the book, waiting only a moment before the room number is revealed in neat curving ink.

 

“Room 302,” she makes a note, informing Scorpius, “They’ll know to expect you.”

 

*

 

Mr Potter meets him in the corridor just outside Albus’s room, and his eyes are red rimmed as he wipes his nose with a well wrinkled handkerchief. Lead drops into his stomach at the sight of this man--one Scorpius always perceived as strong--appearing so fragile.

 

“Please,” Mr Potter begs, voice raw. “Please for the next few hours can you be kind to him?”

 

Scorpius’s heart pounds so hard he can feel every beat through each inch of himself. He just nods to Mr Potter, by way of a promise, before he proceeds into the chill of the hospital room.

 

The Healers avoid drawing attention to themselves and wince, as if pained when Albus releases an unholy wail. Mrs Potter sits beside him, trying to console him but he bats all her attempts away.

 

Scorpius doesn't have to ask what this all means, but even still one of the Healers approaches him, enquiring on a whisper, “You're the father?”

 

He nods, too afraid to speak.

 

“The pregnancy is not viable, there is a sack and a baby but no heartbeat,” she appears truly sorry to have to inform him of all this. No person wants to tell a parent their child is gone. Scorpius’s stomach plummets even as he thanks her. “We will have to extract the feotus.” Scorpius swallows nodding as he moves past her, intent on reaching Albus who is wailing like a Fury.

 

“You can't have it,” he's shouting at one of the Healers. “You can't take my baby,” he sobs, curling in on himself--trying to protect the dead thing within him. Scorpius breaks then, rushing over to climb in the bed beside Albus. He wraps his arms around him shushing when Albus screams again. Thrashing within the circle of Scorpius’s hold.

 

“I'm here,” is all Scorpius whispers, into Albus's hair as his own tears drip off of his nose into the soft black strands. “I'm here.”

 

*

 

Albus calms a few hours later, and lies limp against the pillows. His tears still drip off his black lashes, Scorpius’s stomach turns as he watches the Healers murmur to one another. They are alone in the room, Mr and Mrs Potter were politely asked to leave and Albus hadn’t screamed for them to stay. He did cling to Scorpius’s hand, gripping it with obvious fear and Scorpius assured him, again, that he wasn’t going away. “I’m here, love,” he whispers when Albus’s grip tightens again, after one of the female Healers tells him they are about to begin. Her voice is gentle as one can be in such a situation.

 

Scorpius cannot bring himself to watch as they magically extract his child. So he focuses on Albus, who stares blankly at the ceiling. It’s wrong, seeing Albus so dull and defeated. He’s always been a breath of life.

 

“How’s your fashion line,” Scorpius tries to get him to speak of other things. Anything but this nasty business.

 

“Shit,” Albus’s tone is flat, “Like the rest of my life.”

 

“Mr Potter,” one of the Healers calls to him. “Do you want to see the-”

 

Albus cuts her off, “No.” Then hastily he adds, with an almost shrill plea, “Don’t tell me what it is, please.” His nails are digging small crescents into Scorpius’s skin, sharp, but he accepts the pain--willing to give Albus anything he needs in this moment.

 

“Shhhh,” Scorpius calms him when he seems to be working himself back into a panic. “You don’t have to look or know--no one here will make you or think less of you.” Scorpius doesn’t want to know, either. Which might seem selfish, but it’s so much easier thinking of this child as a thing that just wasn’t meant to be--something not real. Faceless, nameless, genderless.

 

“I did this,” Albus’s tone grows higher--crazed. “This is my fault,” he laughs, deranged. “I did this to us. I killed our baby.” He’s drawing blood from Scorpius’s skin from how hard he grips him now. As if he’s trying to claw his way inside Scorpius.

 

“Al-”

 

He cuts Scorpius off with another loud sob, “I don’t deserve any children, can’t you see? I’m not the good one.” One of the Healers tips a Calming Draught down Albus’s throat when he starts screaming in an unholy way. Scorpius doesn’t try to stop her because he knows Albus needs rest.  

 

“We’ll get some antidepressants and some more potions to calm him,” one of the Healers says to Scorpius. “You’re the bond partner, he will need you to watch over him and make him take his potions.” The man adds, “And, it’s not unusual for them to become unstable and possibly suicidal.” He swallows as he nods his understanding--still not trusting himself to speak more than necessary. Else he might scream, too.

 

Scorpius hates this. When the Healers leave him alone with Albus’s sleeping form he slides to the floor and allows himself to really cry.

 

*

 

Draco finds him with his face in his hands when he comes in. Albus is still sleeping--it’s only been a few hours since Scorpius arrived. He must appear wretched because his father kneels on the floor and throws his arms around Scorpius’s head--rubbing his fingers through his hair as he did when he comforted him as a child, “I am so sorry, Scorpius.” His dad’s breath is ragged, as if he’s been crying, and Scorpius clings to him--crying anew. “Let it out, my boy, let it all out.”

 

“I don’t know what to do, Dad,” Scorpius sobs, twisting his fingers into his father’s fine jumper. “Tell me what to do.”

 

“Cry, Scorpius,” Draco’s words come broken. As if he’s remembering his own losses while he combs his fingers through Scorpius’s hair. Recalling those long lost, dark days when Mother and his unknown son left them both.  

 

*

 

Albus is still sleeping, it’s almost been twenty-four hours since Scorpius came to this place. He’s growing to hate these walls. Nursing a strong cup of black coffee, staring out the window as torrential rains blanket London. A dreary day, fitting for a dreary life.

 

“What part of ‘no’ are you incapable of understanding, Potter,” Draco demands with a venom that only comes out for Harry Potter and matters related to him. “Would you like me to say it in every language I can speak because I will run through them all until you understand that we are not willing to negotiate.”

 

“How would you feel, Malfoy, if our positions were reversed?” Mr Potter is furious. Equally vicious with his mannerisms when it comes to Scorpius’s father.

 

“Ha, Potter,” Dad’s voice is full of pure hatred. “Has there ever been a time when my son needed the support of yours and didn’t have it?” With a hiss he shoves closer to Mr Potter, looming over him, radiating murderous intent. “Do not try to pretend that this washes away the last decade of their history.”

 

“I don’t want my son to die, Malfoy,” Mr Potter’s words stress his desperation. As close to pleading as Mr Potter can manage when faced with his childhood nemesis.

 

“That little slag-,” Scorpius is over listening to this same old scene; deciding to end this rant before it can begin again. 

 

“Dad,” he’s too tired, weary from this fight. “I can’t keep doing this.” He stands, dropping his coffee cup into the bin. “I don’t want to think about a world in which Albus no longer exists.” He locks eyes with Mr Potter, “I won’t let him die.”

 

*

 

“Scorpius,” Dad tries again. Pleading in the rhythm of his words. “Don’t do this to yourself.”

 

He’s packing a bag in his bedroom, Orion is out of the room and they have got a silencing spell on just to be sure they are not heard. Though Scorpius is quickly forgetting why they need to keep up this charade with his son. “I can’t leave him...” he trails off, voice growing hoarse. “You didn’t see him, Dad. You didn’t-,” he has to stop because he’s close to tears from the memory. “He needs me.”

 

“You don’t owe him anything.” Draco keeps emphasising that point.

 

“I know,” Scorpius meets his father’s eye. “I know I owe nothing of myself to Albus, but I can’t run from him. I never could.”

 

“What will we tell Orion,” Draco sighs, rubbing his eyes with white fingers. Appearing far too old for Scorpius’s liking--often he wonders if he is putting his father into an early grave.

 

“Tell him I’ve got business, I’ll call him every night when Albus sleeps.” Truthfully, Scorpius wants to take Orion with him--to comfort the mother he’s never known, but he’s not so cruel as to damage his child with this. A tragedy is not something he wishes to bring to Orion when he first beholds the person who bore him into the world.

 

Draco pulls a couple of phials from the inner pocket of his robe, and places them into Scorpius’s duffel. “You’ll need these.”

 

Scorpius lifts one, and closes his eyes when he sees what’s written, in his father’s neat script, on the label. “I’m not going to fuck him.” There’s a growl of disapproval rumbling in his chest.

 

“He’ll need you to, believe me, Scorpius.” Draco’s voice is heavy when he admits, “Your brother wasn’t the first baby your mother lost. She was wrecked and needed my touch.” He touches the bottle, a nostalgic gleam to his eye, when he admits, “You came nine months later.” Then he says, “Make sure he drinks this potion. You’ve said you can’t father another child for Orion. So make sure you don’t.”

 

“Okay,” Scorpius concedes. Shame roiling in his belly at the thought of touching Albus so soon.

 

*

 

“But you already did your business for the year,” Orion complains with a frown that rips through Scorpius’s already tender heart. He’s disappointing his child, again.

 

“One or two tours isn’t the entirety of my business, you know that.” Scorpius holds him closer, pressing his nose into Orion’s hair. Committing his scent to memory--sunshine, the fresh morning dew of a garden, and the subtle sweat of youth.  “You also know that I’d give anything not to leave you.” Which is the absolute truth; Scorpius would give everything to go back to the way things once were. When they lived out of each other’s pockets. Best friends he and Orion were, but he’s been building all these walls around himself--locking his son out and it’s Scorpius who is destroying them with all the lies.

 

Orion chews the corner of his mouth. “I know, but I miss you. It gets lonely without parents. If I had a mum...” then he trails off, and hastily says. “No, forget it.” Scorpius cannot. He will keep it in his heart and torment himself over that proclamation as he has with everything else.

 

*

 

“He hasn’t eaten in days,” Mr Potter informs Scorpius when he comes in from the Floo. “I’ve got to get to work soon, and his mother...well, she can’t see him like this.” There’s something hard in his green gaze when he says that, but Scorpius doesn’t care to examine the nuances in Mr Potter too closely. He’s here for Albus, not for a family possibly crippled and crumbling from their own secrets.

 

“I’m not going to leave him,” Scorpius assures. “I’m not my father, and if I must go attend to my son I will contact you first.”

 

Mr Potter appears relieved, “Thank you.”

 

When he’s gone Scorpius locks the Floo behind him, so no unexpected visitors can pop round, before he makes his way in the direction of Albus’s room. It’s more or less the same as it was when Scorpius was last here. The framed magazine pictures of Orion take up all the space of Albus’s bedside cabinet, and Scorpius’s heart hurts when he sees the that Albus is holding one--tracing Orion’s moving image. “I didn’t think you’d come.” Albus sounds empty. His voice is flat, lacking all signs of life.

 

“I have to make sure you’re fine,” Scorpius treads lightly, keeping his tone kind as possible but not jolly or insincere.  

 

“Fine,” Albus muses, his laugh a tinny sound as it pours from his throat. “I’ve never been fine , just look at my life, Scorpius. What part of it is fine ?”

 

“You’ve built a career,” Scorpius counters, puzzled because this is just one blip in Albus’s perfect life. The way Orion was. He’d easily left one child behind, and one day he could leave this, too. “You’ve got a huge social life and a large, horribly supportive family. Everything is perfect in your world,” he’s more bitter than he intended.

 

“My career is crap. I owe people more money than I’m making, and as a model, I’m ageing. I’m obsolete before I’ve truly begun.” He watches Scorpius with a flat expression, “And there you are. The one who didn’t care to dream, living dreams. While I’m walking in nightmares as I chase what I thought I wanted.”

 

Scorpius leans against the wall, watching as Albus releases another brittle laugh, “I’ve only got one friend, really--Dominique. Lily and James tolerate me because we grew up together, but they don’t know me. Not a single one of them. I’m lonelier than you could ever imagine.” He sits up, staring at Scorpius with hollow eyes, “Just leave, Scorpius. I’m as fine as I’ve ever been.”

 

*

 

He doesn’t leave and Albus remains in bed, staring at the ceiling while reciting a poem Scorpius doesn’t know.

 

When Albus sleeps Scorpius rings Orion, smiling while his son tells him all about his day’s adventure at school. “Today one of my friend’s mums tried to get me to invite you to her party. I told her you’re busy.” Orion grins, giving Scorpius a bit of a laugh about that.

 

“I imagine I’m busy every time one of those women invite me to a party.” His son is clever about these things, and understands what most of those women are looking for when they try to invite Scorpius.

 

“That’s what I figured,” the Mirror rustles around; Scorpius can tell Orion is burrowing deeper beneath his duvet. It’s late, so Scorpius is sure Draco will come in to reprimand Orion for being up well past his bedtime. Once Draco’s done wrestling the Crup into his crate. Doesn’t do any good, Orion will let Marvin out as soon as Draco’s down to sleep. “How long are you going to be wherever you are?”

 

“I don’t know,” Scorpius replies with an honest tone and weary sigh. “It’s a bit complicated right now.”

 

Orion appears displeased, the way his mouth curls into a disappointed frown hurts Scorpius’s aching soul. “Okay, well I’ve got to sleep, Dad.”

 

His stomach clenches at the distance in Orion’s tone, “Okay, son. I love you.”

 

“Okay,” and then the Mirror goes black.

 

*

 

Albus is sitting up, with a cup of coffee, going through a ledger when Scorpius wakes up with a stiff ache in his neck. Sleeping on Albus’s small sofa is not ideal at his age. Makes him feel like a creaky old codger who mourns his lack of youth.

 

“I thought you’d have gone back by now,” Albus is eerily calm when he glances over at Scorpius. “I’m fine, you know?”

 

“Funny how I find that hard to believe,” Scorpius informs him with a severe frown.

 

“I’m fine,” Albus repeats, an exhausted look upon his face. “Go home to your son.”

 

Scorpius has a half-formed response on his tongue but he swallows the words, chokes the sounds down before he can hurt Albus with them-- he’s your son, too.

 

*

 

Draco’s rarely surprised, but his mouth goes slack when Scorpius steps in from the Floo and his paper falls into his lap, out of a slackened grip. It’d be funny if Scorpius wasn’t emotionally worn.

 

“Why’re you here?” Draco demands once he’s gained composure of himself.

 

“Hello, Father, so lovely to see you, too,” Scorpius’s deadpan indicates his own irritation at life.

 

“Scorpius,” Draco has that warning tone and Scorpius flops into a chair near him. Putting his hands over his face, giving it a hard scrub before he lets out a disgruntled sound--part-groan, part-shout.

 

“He’s fine,” is what he eventually reveals to his father--once Draco begins tapping his fingers in an impatient manner.  

 

“That child is far from fine,” Draco releases a snort.  

 

“Be that as it may, he’s got no need for me so I am here.” He holds his father’s gaze, imploring, in silence, for him to not push this any further.

 

“This won’t end well,” is what Draco ends with, letting the matter drop. Scorpius hates to agree with his dad, but he’s a suspicion Draco is right.

 

*

 

“Rowan’s mum just had a baby,” Orion casually mentions at dinner one evening. The word baby causes his body to tense, but he forces himself to relax--to put the memories from his mind and focus on his son.  

 

“Hopefully it doesn’t grow up as ruddy awful as Rowan,” Scorpius jokes because he knows how well Orion and Rowan get on. Like Badgers and Snakes.

 

“I think he’s a cute baby,” Orion shrugs. Scorpius senses danger as he stuffs a chip, smothered with catsup, into his mouth. “Why can’t we have a baby?”

 

“Orion,” Scorpius starts, setting his beer back onto the coffee table. “I’m bonded, I can’t just run out and get someone up the spout.” Thank all the gods, because Scorpius fucks a lot of people while he’s on the road. Sows his oats while he’s on tour because something about coming off a stage dripping sweat makes all the groupies randy.

 

Orion is shredding bits of his fried cod, playing with it more than eating it, “You could have a baby with my mum.” Damn if that doesn’t kick him where he’s most tender.

 

“That’s not going to happen,” Scorpius stresses to him with a sigh, rubbing a hand over his eyes. “I don’t even talk to your mum what am I supposed to do? Ring them up and go hey want to have another baby? ” When Orion shouts ‘yes’ in response Scorpius deflates, “It doesn’t work like that, kiddo.”

 

“Well it bloody well should,” Orion seethes, stabbing at his chips with his fork.

 

*

 

They stay at odds. Orion’s getting to where he won’t meet Scorpius’s eye and he refuses to talk to him more than necessary. Lysander tells him it’s the age when they sit in Scorpius’s home studio, working on tunes for songs Scorpius wrote while he was locked away in that hell at St Mungo’s. At least his bleeding heart is good for something.

 

“Don’t you remember hating your dad when you were that age?” Lysander enquires, whilst he rolls a thick spliff.

 

“I’ve never hated my dad,” Scorpius replies, watching the easy way Lysander performs his current task. “So this is new to me.”

 

“Lucky, I still hate my dad,” Lysander has a dark chuckle. “Mum deserves more than a man who can’t be there for his family when it counts.” He holds up the neat joint, in offering and Scorpius nods that Lysander can have the first go at it--he’s the one who rolled, he should have honours.

 

Scorpius never pries into Lysander’s family histories, he’s heard enough to piece together that Rolf takes a lover every few years and that he’s only ever been around long enough to knock up their mother. He’s missed birthdays, holidays, recitals, and a great many moments Scorpius cannot imagine missing. Luna and Rolf’s mutual investments are what keeps them together, or so Draco’s said the one time Scorpius enquired about them. His father, in a rare show of pity, sounded as if he truly felt bad for Lysander’s mother. In some ways, Scorpius thinks that’s why Draco is kind to Lysander, because he’s got some cross he silently bears when it comes to Luna Lovegood.

 

“Do you think he’ll hate me forever,” Scorpius wonders while he takes a hit off the spliff, Lysander sits lazily tuning his guitar. He glances up from the strings with a frown.

 

“I don’t think he hates you now,” he settles the guitar back into its stand and gives Scorpius his full attention. “You want my honest opinion?”

 

Scorpius nods.

 

“He wants what all little fuckers want, his parents to be happy.” Lysander laughs, “I’m not a little fucker and I still want that.”

 

“You’ll always be a little fucker,” Scorpius teases while he hands the joint back to Lysander, who accepts it with a grin.

 

*

 

“We’ve got one year now, before he’s Hogwarts age and then he’ll be off,” Draco whispers as they watch Orion blow out his candles. Surrounded by the little shits Scorpius tolerates for his kid.

 

“I’ve been calling him ten for what feels like years, and now here it is.” Draco’s always said decade when regarding the Albus situation and so has Scorpius; somewhere he forgot his son was still only nine. So much has happened in a year. And now it feels as if he’s only got one more left.

 

“I don’t want him to be eleven,” Scorpius confides; his father’s laugh is bright in response.

 

“I never wanted you to be eleven, either, but you never seemed to listen.” His hand is warm against Scorpius’s shoulder, “But look at how fine a man you’ve become.” Draco gazes back to where Orion is smiling at one of his friends. “Think of how wonderful he will be when he is your age. Be proud that he’s one year older, and be proud that you are the reason he’s so perfect.” Scorpius swallows the lump in his throat. Nodding his thanks, afraid to speak because he knows the words will come out with a mess of tears.

 

*

 

Headmistress McGonagall calls him into Magical Meadows. Scorpius has to leave a photo shoot and a sponsor meeting due to the tone of urgency in her letter. He’s running at full speed when he Floos in, and he’s panting when he bursts into the office. Rowan’s mother and father don’t seem terribly pleased with him. McGonagall doesn’t appear much better when she directs him to sit beside his son. Orion is hunched over, with his arms crossed, and lips pursed shut. He looks to be on the edge of exploding, and Scorpius wonders what’s got him in such a tissy. Can’t be anything good since McGonagall requested his presence.

 

“Mr Malfoy, I know you were away on business, and I am sorry to call you in on such short notice,” the headmistress begins with a prim voice.  

 

“No, I’m sorry I was running behind, the Floo network was backed up and the Apparition points have been flagged as high Muggle zones. I was trying to avoid a write-up,” because being near Harry Potter would be uncomfortable. And it always seems to be Mr Potter when Scorpius has run-ins with the Aurors.

 

“Understandable,” she nods, then with a stern glance at Orion she begins, “What is not understandable is why Orion felt the need to bloody Rowan’s nose and set her homework on fire.”

 

Scorpius, wide-eyed, turns to his son, “You did what ?”

 

Orion doesn’t answer. His lack of cooperation causes the headmistress to release a sigh. “I know that Rowan and Orion have never got on, but this is something I cannot overlook. And neither of them is telling me what provoked the incident--because I’m certain,” here she slides her penetrating eyes over Rowan, “that he was provoked.” Glaring back at Orion she uses her most chilling tone when she adds, “Be that as it may, violence is never an acceptable response to a situation, Mr Malfoy. Do I make myself clear?”

 

Orion nods, but still manages to remain defiant. Scorpius does his best not to sigh.

 

“I’ve decided a week external exclusion would be best in this situation, and when Orion returns there will be mandatory counselling for both parties.” Rowan’s parents appear on the verge of arguing but McGonagall’s steely gaze shuts them down. “Rowan has done some awful things to Orion that she’s never come to the office for, as has he. It’s the first time either of them has been caught in the act, and so this will be taken care of on both ends.” She stands, “Both of you are dismissed, Rowan may be excused for the day.” She adds, before they leave, “I am also hoping that both children, and their parents, work on this matter during the summer holiday--it is coming soon and I’d like for them both to come back to the new term with better attitudes.”

 

*

 

“What the hell were you thinking,” Scorpius demands as soon as they are home. But Orion ignores him, tossing his russack aside as he stomps towards the stairwell. “Orion Scorpius,” Scorpius booms at him, but he’s not stopping, “I’m trying to speak with you.” Orion’s door slams and Scorpius presses his forehead against the iron bannister of the stairwell--taking calming breaths before he follows after his son.

 

“Orion,” he knocks on the door, keeping his voice calm. “Orion, please open the door.”

 

“I don’t want to talk to you,” he sounds as if he’s crying. Scorpius sags against the thick wood of his son’s door, knowing he could easily unlock it but he prefers to be let in--for too many weeks, now, Orion has been shutting him out.

 

“Well you’re going to have to talk to me,” Scorpius reasons. “If not me then your grandfather, and he’s going to be fucking insane when he hears about this.” Scorpius doesn’t want to tell Draco, but he’s half certain McGonagall will send his dad a scathing letter--because the universe hates Scorpius.

 

The threat of Draco does the trick. Orion opens the door, and Scorpius deflates when he sees the pink of his eyes. “I don’t want to tell Granddad.”

 

“I won’t tell him if you talk to me,” Scorpius promises.

 

“Rowan is a bitch,” Orion gives an angry huff, and Scorpius tells him not to call her that. “Well she’s a horrid cow then,” and that isn’t much better but Scorpius allows it.  Else they will be here all night while Orion works his way through his extensive list of insults. Teddy would be ridiculously proud if he were here. Which isn’t a comforting thought and Scorpius makes a mental note to box Teddy round the ears next time they meet.

 

“What did she do,” Scorpius prompts when Orion paces his room, muttering in Italian about how Rowan is a dick and needs to have her hair set on fire and a bunch of other things Scorpius is going to pretend he doesn’t hear. Sometimes his son is too much like Draco.

 

Orion stops, and shuffles, “I don’t want to say.”

 

“Either you tell me or I’m calling Granddad.” Scorpius hates that he’s got to use Draco as an ultimatum, but Scorpius has to admit that his dad is more terrifying. If anyone would know how to dole out a proper punishment for this it would be Draco. Scorpius isn’t great at punishments.

 

“She was talking shit on my mum,” Orion flops into his fuzzy beanbag chair, it emits a growling noise because he’s flopped too hard.

 

“Orion, you don’t even know your mum, why does it matter?” Orion watches him with hurt green eyes. He chews his lips, clearly thinking something over, and Scorpius doesn’t press. He allows Orion to work through whatever it is he needs to work through and is relieved when Orion stands. He swallows so hard Scorpius can hear it from across the room as he pulls out a little box from beneath his bed. Orion hands the carved cedar to Scorpius, and indicates that he should open it. Scorpius does; his breath whooshes out of his lungs at what greets his gaze. “Where did you find this?”

 

“In your wardrobe,” Orion admits as he sits back down and wraps his arms around his knobby knees.

 

It’s the most innocent picture Scorpius took of Albus, thankfully, the one where they had kissed playfully--brushing noses and laughing before sharing kisses that were soft pecks rather than lots of tongues. “He knew your bondmark was on your wrist because he put it there, didn’t he?”

 

Scorpius closes his eyes, tired of lying, “Yes.” When he opens his eyes, he asks, “When was it obvious?”

 

“The first time I met him,” Orion shrugs. Tears are gathering slowly in his eyes, but he does his best to keep them from falling when he adds, “He looked at me like he wanted to cry.” Of course, Albus did, he’s never been good at concealing his emotions. Scorpius puts his face into his hands, gritting his teeth against the sob that tries to escape his throat.

 

*

 

“Dad,” Scorpius tries to reason when Draco starts destroying the study. It’s been a fun few hours informing his father of the situation with Rowan. In which he made Draco swear he would never bring the matter up to Orion. Once they’d moved past that fury Scorpius casually slipped in how Orion wants to meet Albus--have a real relationship with his mum--and here they are.

 

“I will not allow this,” he half screams. “He’s a disaster, have you seen the papers? A man like that has no business being in Orion’s life.”

 

“Orion requested it,” Scorpius is tired. So fucking weary of all this nasty business. “And he’s kinda pissed off at me so I would like to find a way back into his good graces.” Because Scorpius hates the despair that fills him when Orion gives him fury or indifference in each interaction they share these days. It’s been a hard couple of days staring at each other, across the flat, in silence.

 

“You are his father, you don’t have to concede to his desires,” Draco’s desperate because they both know it’s wrong to deny Orion his feelings on this matter.

 

*

 

Albus is off the rails, according to Teddy. “Man, Nikki says he lost a baby--that true?” Because Teddy knows Scorpius would know. He’s aware Scorpius is the only one capable of putting a child into Albus.

 

“Yeah,” he massages his closed eyes.

 

“I’m sorry, mate,” Teddy appears truly apologetic and Scorpius tries for a smile. “Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but if you’re serious about having him around Orion you need to be prepared.”

 

Ominous as that sounds Scorpius agrees.

 

“He’s been fucking a few married blokes at the ministry, high up tossers, ones who could possibly see Harry sacked kind of high up,” Teddy’s words have a weary pitch.  

 

“Jesus,” Scorpius swears.

 

“It gets worse,” Teddy replies with a grim expression. “Nikki says he’s been getting paid to fuck some people because he needs the money. Apparently, his line is going under--he just doesn’t want to admit it. He owes far more than he’s made, and he’s never been a saver. Had to move in with his parents a couple weeks back because he couldn’t afford his flat,” Teddy takes a deep draw of his beer, and Scorpius waits. Because there must be more. Unfortunately, there is. “And he’s causing a big rift with Harry and Gin. Like they might divorce kind of rift because she feels like they are enabling him, and that it’s bleeding them dry. Harry’s go-to defence is that he won’t abandon his son.” He groans, looking older than he is when he throws in, “Harry’s been on my sofa the past four nights, which means I can’t fuck my woman because the kids sleep in our bed and Harry is where we fuck normally.”

 

*

 

Mr and Mrs Potter are having an epic row when Scorpius shows up to see Albus a few days later. When he’s not got work obligations and his son is back at school. He’s waiting for another summons, but so far Orion is keeping his cool.

 

“I can’t do this anymore,” he can hear Mrs Potter screaming.

 

“You want to throw away everything, then get the fuck out of my house,” Mr Potter roars in return. Scorpius is glad that he’s left Orion home. This is not how he would like to introduce his kid to his other grandparents. Orion’s never heard people act this furious; he’d be terrified if he’d have tagged along.

 

“I can’t believe you’d fight me on this, he’s the problem,” she hollers back, and Scorpius has a pretty solid idea of who Mrs Potter is referring to. It’s the same problem Draco’s been howling about for days.

 

“He’s my son, Ginny, and I’m not going to cast him out because he’s fucked up his life.” Mr Potter is a stubborn fool, but even so Scorpius admires that he can love his children deeply--despite their flaws.

 

Scorpius decides to knock on the door then. If only to stop their screaming.

 

Mr Potter wrenches the bright red door open, anger colouring his face until his eyes land on Scorpius. “Now isn’t a great time,” he deflates, appearing haggard. He’s grown more grey, at his temples, in the months Scorpius hasn’t laid eyes upon him.

 

“I’m here to talk to Albus,” Scorpius informs, before Mr Potter can shut the door.

 

“Well, he’s not here--he’s god knows where.” Mr Potter isn’t a very good liar. Sad really that this man with his many tells was what saved them all from a madman.

 

“Who is he fucking?” Scorpius’s question is emphasised by his fury at the thought of another touching Albus, and Mr Potter closes his eyes--terribly weary.

 

*

 

Scorpius winds up at some seedy looking lounge that’s got dark pink lighting and barely covered Omegas as far as the eye can see. An older woman tries to entice him, but Scorpius dismisses her--intent on finding Albus. The walls are draped with dark purple velvet, and the incense that burns, in the many hanging brass burners, makes Scorpius’s head heavy. It’s a scent meant to dull his senses and call forth his lust.

 

“I’m looking for Potter,” Albus tells the next Omega who approaches him--doing his best to focus on the task at hand.

 

“He’s with someone, you’ll have to wait your turn,” there’s a bit of bite to the words as if this slender man finds Scorpius lacking in some way. The scrutiny calls to his pride as an Alpha and makes him uncharacteristically aggressive.  

 

Scorpius shoves his bite mark into the man’s face and hisses, “It is always my turn.”

 

Nodding in understanding the half-naked man leads him to a private room. It’s a small wooden door, with medieval-looking touches and Scorpius nearly snorts at the many cliches that are happening around him. He hasn’t the chance to comment on the kitschy decor--he’s caught by the familiar lure of Albus’s presence.  Scorpius hears Albus and smells him before he sees him. “Harder,” Albus commands, sounding like a well-practised whore. Bored, but believable to the untrained ear. Even still it sets Scorpius on edge. “I want to see your fingers for weeks.”

 

“I wish my wife was as eager as you,” comes the leering pant of an older bloke. One Scorpius knows all too well, thanks to his father’s many dealings with those who hold high esteem in society. What a laugh, Scorpius thinks as a sneer curls his mouth.

 

“If she were I’d not have the pleasure,” Albus’s voice is saccharine and it sets Scorpius’s teeth on edge. He bursts into the room, unmindful and uncaring of how the bloke splutters in rage. It’s Albus’s crestfallen expression that Scorpius hones in on. All he sees in this disgusting den that has no business housing something as precious as Albus.

 

“Why are you here,” Albus’s voice is pitched low, unhappy...broken. Hollowed out and wretched, as Scorpius approaches him. A stinging hex grazes him as he reaches for Albus, the annoying itch of it reminds Scorpius that there is a pest still here.

 

He turns on the man who stands naked and sweaty by the still open door--wand out, Scorpius slices him across the shoulder with a well-flung hex. “I’m not in a good mood, sir, and flinging hexes at me after I’ve found you bollocks deep in my bondmate isn’t going to make my mood any better.” With more bite, Scorpius adds, “It wouldn’t be wise to piss me off, Deputy Minister Goldstein because I’ve got no problem going to the papers and your lovely wife .” His father isn’t the only Malfoy who knows how to use knowledge as leverage.

 

“Go home, Scorpius,” Albus pleads. Backing away, but Scorpius is enraged and becomes more so when he sees the seed of another Alpha dripping from Albus’s body. His nostrils flare as his gaze narrows to the sight of such betrayal. His rationality is gone in that moment--the truth that he and Albus are nothing flees him as instinct to protect what it is his grips him.   

 

He grabs Albus around the upper arm and Apparates them out of there. They reappear in Scorpius’s bathroom. Where he doesn’t let go of Albus as he marches towards his shower. He shoves Albus into it while the water is still cold. “Hey,” Albus shouts, but Scorpius climbs in after him, grabbing a loofa, slathering it with wash before he begins to thoroughly, but gently, scrubbing Albus’s body. “What the hell are you doing?” Albus demands when Scorpius slips a soapy finger into Albus’s loosened hole.

 

“Washing that bastard out of you before I introduce you to your son,” he hisses against Albus’s lips. Tempted to taste them but angry at the thought of finding the taste of another person on them. He’s still drunk on the smoke that calls forth lusts, and his possessive instinct is high.

 

“I don’t want to meet him,” Albus shouts. Scorpius presses him to the tiles, vaguely aware that Albus is twisting his fingers into Scorpius’s sodden shirt.

 

“He wants to meet you,” Scorpius’s breath is cool between them now that the steam is rising from the hot spray of water. “He’s always wanted to meet you.” They don’t kiss, or touch more than they already are, but the moment is intimate.

 

*

 

While Albus towels off to dress in the clothes Scorpius loans him--because Scorpius has incinerated the clothes dripping with the scents of others--he hopes that this is the right choice. Scorpius doesn’t believe in any form of god, despite his nan’s insistence he attends Masses with her as regularly as possible, but he’s praying hard now.

 

Please, don’t let me choose wrong? I’ll go to church every fucking Sunday, I’ll believe--whatever--just, if you’re there, keep me from hurting any of us more than necessary.

 

He’s shit at praying, but even if Nan’s God does listen why would he save Scorpius? Even still he hopes. Because that’s really all he’s got left--that or a large bottle of gin, and he’d rather not fall into the bottle for a reprieve.

 

Just don’t hurt my boy, hurt me if you must, but let my son stay good and wonderful. Let him remain untouched by this cursed love.




Chapter Text

 

 


perhaps

i don’t deserve

nice things

cause i am paying

for sins i don’t

remember



When Scorpius leaves Albus aches, his heart drowning beneath a tide of emotions while he stands silent at the window. London is grey, yet bustling with life, a mirror of Albus--dulled but alive. He closes his eyes against the images of happy children walking with their parents on the pavement, but the image behind his dark eyelids is horrifying. The bed at St Mungo’s had been lonely, despite the room being full of people. Even when Scorpius came Albus had felt alone, abandoned in cold walls while they took his child from him.

 

The scrape of magic emptying him is still a knife in his womb, gutting him...leaving him hollow. His hands go to the extra flesh he still carries, a constant reminder, and tears drip from his lashes as he remains silent. Watching mothers walking with their children, laughing despite the downpour, and he wants that. Albus wants it more than anything.

 

Though, perhaps he lost that right long ago. On the bedside cabinet, Orion’s images still loop through their many joyous actions, and Albus believes he lost the right to motherhood the day he stopped being Orion’s mother. Draco Malfoy’s voice is the one that whispers this misery he feels now is his own doing--reminding him that he deserves every bit of sorrow.

 

*

 

“Al,” Dad’s voice is laden with a mixture of many things, but the most prominent is grief. A memory surfaces in him, one of Gran in the garden with Aunt Hermione and Mum; he can recall the mournful lilt of Gran’s voice when she’d whispered Monday’s child is fair of face. He’s trying to reach for the memory, to recall it more clearly but Dad’s hands grip his arms. Albus glances up, into Dad’s imploring gaze. Startling when he finds Dad on the verge of tears. Albus has never seen his father cry, not ever in his life. Tears are something Harry Potter locks away for himself--letting them fall in solitude, if he lets them fall at all. Albus has seen his father in grief, but never like this. “Albus, please, let me help you.”

 

“No one can help me,” Albus admits as he withdraws his arms from his father’s grip. “I’ve lost everything.”

 

“You still have me,” Dad tries, but when Albus glances to where Mum is standing, sour-faced, he wonders if he will be the final crack in the foundations of his parents’ marriage. Albus cannot do that to his mother, and certainly not his father--the one who has always fought the hardest to help him in all things.

 

“I don’t need you,” Albus tells this man who raised him, the one who loves him unfailingly. The words scar his throat from the venom in his lies. “I’ve plenty of other Alphas willing to help me.” Albus chokes down the apology that wants to escape when his dad finally breaks down in silent tears. Albus does the only thing he knows how to do--he runs.

 

*

 

Deputy Minister Goldstein is a generous benefactor, and he’s eager to touch Albus’s “youthful skin”--Albus allows him even though the man is the same age as his father, and he pretends that he loves it when he puts his old mouth on Albus’s cock.

 

In truth, Albus feels nothing. Being beneath Goldstein feels as empty as that room at St Mungo’s--the room Albus visits each time he closes his eyes. His long waking nightmare.

 

“Harder,” Albus moans, but the sound is lacking in his own ears. Anthony doesn’t seem to mind, and keeps invading Albus like he’s a right to conquer the country that is Albus’s body.

 

*

 

That’s how Scorpius finds him, when he comes to collect Albus weeks later. Albus thought he would never see him again. The shock of Scorpius seeing him like this makes Albus retreat. He tries to back aways because he doesn’t want Scorpius to see another’s claim on him, but it’s apparent Scorpius has when his grey eyes go dark with fury. His nostrils flaring from the scent that Albus feels dripping out of his body.

 

The water is cold on him, Scorpius’s skin is hot through his wet clothes as he strips Albus--forceful and gentle at once. “What the hell are you doing?” Albus demands when Scorpius slips a soapy finger into Albus’s pliant hole--his bond mark irritates him, a punishment for letting his Alpha feel another in him. He loathes the possessiveness of the bond in that moment.

 

“Washing that bastard out of you before I introduce you to your son,” Scorpius hisses against Albus’s lips. Albus loathes himself more when he sees what his youthful indiscretions have made Scorpius. Scorpius who never believed in exerting his dominance unless Albus willed it from him. He can see the self-hatred that glimmers in Scorpius’s gaze as the words leave his strong, pale throat.

 

“I don’t want to meet him,” Albus shouts with a tremble, but Scorpius presses him to the tiles of his shower while Albus twists his fingers into Scorpius’s sodden shirt--trying to draw Scorpius closer still. His body wanting him nearer while his mind tries desperately to push him away, to protect his heart.

 

“He wants to meet you,” Scorpius’s breath is cool between them now that the steam is rising from the hot spray of water. “He’s always wanted to meet you.” Albus swallows as he holds Scorpius’s pleading gaze--they don’t kiss, but it feels like he’s being embraced, their moment is more intimate than any sex act they’ve shared. Albus has never felt so naked and has never before seen Scorpius so bare. The wavering resistance leaves him then, so he nods as he acquiesces.  

 

*

 

The thin jumper swallows him and the pyjama bottoms are too long, but Scorpius binned his clothes that were drenched in the sex of others. If he hadn’t Albus would have, so he doesn’t mourn the fabrics--they were nothing to him.

 

Scorpius performs menial tasks, seemingly trying to distract himself, and Albus trails behind him--curious as well as charmed by the show of anxiety. Albus has never known Scorpius to be anything other than composed, except for those rare days when he pleaded with Albus to stay away. Those days seeming a lifetime ago, when they’ve--in truth--only been many months. “When will he be here?”

 

“When Draco’s done dragging him about the Alley,” Scorpius replies as he straightens the duvet on Orion’s bed. Centaurs and constellations move across the deep navy of it, Albus smiles at the stars as they twinkle. The room is lovely, speaking of Orion’s charm and Scorpius’s love for him. His name Orion Scorpius Malfoy glows above his bed, and images of him and Scorpius litter walls, artfully arranged by Scorpius’s keen eye, no doubt. There’s a few images of Orion with Draco, some with Narcissa, and only one of him with Lucius, Narcissa, Draco, and Scorpius. On the bedside cabinet, there is a lone image of Albus, pulled from a more recent magazine, the sight of which causes the air to vacate his lungs. Scorpius notices his line of sight when Albus grows still and mutters, “Seems the apple didn’t fall far from your tree.”

 

Albus is incapable of managing a laugh, instead, he swallows, turning towards the door while he asks, “Is Draco just trying to keep him away from me by delaying the inevitable?”

 

With a sigh Scorpius replies, “Most likely, but Orion isn’t stupid--he’ll catch on and demand to be brought home.”  

 

A smile forms on his lips despite himself, and Albus sits at the desk’s chair, breathing in the scents of his son. It’s calming, and familiar--bringing him back to that awful day in May when he first smelt it.

 

“I’m worthless, you know,” Albus informs, his words causing Scorpius to stop fluffing the pillows. Turning to him with an unreadable expression in those grey eyes, Scorpius doesn’t reply--merely watches Albus, waiting for him to elaborate. “I’ve torched my career and I’ve burned the bridges with my parents. My life’s been in a downward spiral since I rejected you.” His laugh is empty, because he’s been slowly hollowing out for years.  

 

“You’ve still got me,” Scorpius tells him with an honesty that stings, coughing he turns down the duvet when he adds. “You will always have me.”

 

“As a lover,” Albus challenges with a bitter tone.

 

“No,” Scorpius admits with a weary sort of sigh. Almost as if Albus is a toddler he’s losing patience with. “As a grudging friend. I made a child with you--I will always thank you and owe you for him.”

 

Albus casts his gaze down to the dark carpets, “You don’t owe me anything, Scorpius--we both know that.” It’s true. Scorpius has every right to leave Albus out in the proverbial cold, but he’s always been the kinder of the two of them despite his appearance. Scorpius is the kind of bad motherfucker who saves kittens in rainstorms. While Albus is the gentle looking arse who ignores their whines as he makes his way home.

 

“It’s not in my character to abandon the mother of my child, Albus, not when that person needs me.” In this moment, Albus is the kitten he’d have ignored, and Scorpius is pulling him from the storm--offering him shelter and cream.

 

Albus’s laugh is too bright, bouncing through the room, “You are the son my father should’ve had.” Then he looks up at the ceiling, intrigued by the constellations that fade in and out against a dark velvety sky. “I’ve got to figure out something. I can’t be the reason my parents split.”

 

“Stay here,” Scorpius offers with a shrug. As if it is that simple. “You can live here for as long as you need or like.”

 

*

 

Granddad has always said it’s not a proper English introduction if it’s not painfully awkward, and when Albus officially meets his son he believes that to be an accurate statement. It’s not some grand reunion when Orion steps through the Floo--there’s no rushing hugs or joyful tears. What they share is silent staring.  

 

Scorpius is the one who has to break the tension when Orion continues to regard Albus in a way one would an unusual piece of furniture. “Hey, mate, how was Granddad?”

 

That eases the apprehension from Orion’s pale brow, drawing Orion’s focus to his father and he huffs, “Bloody awful. He decided we needed to go to every sodding shop on the Alley.”

 

“It’s nice to know age will never mellow Draco,” Scorpius muses as Orion runs towards him, wrapping a hug around Scorpius’s trim waist. “Are you hungry?”

 

“Starved,” Orion admits, rubbing his stomach.

 

“We’ve not had Indian in awhile, why don’t you fetch the takeaway menu from the kitchen?” Orion nods in response to Scorpius’s suggestion, but before he can run off Scorpius says, “Why don’t you ask Albus if he likes Indian?”

 

The tension returns when eyes as green as Albus’s own fall over him--it’s as if he’s judging himself from a different body. “Do you like Indian food?” Albus isn’t particularly picky about food, all he hates is cooking so if he doesn’t have to cook he will not complain.

 

“I like Indian food, yes,” he measures his words with caution.

 

“Good,” is Orion’s flat reply, then he’s off in the direction of the kitchen and Scorpius sighs at his retreating form.

 

“This might take some getting used to,” Scorpius tells Albus with an apologetic sort of tone.

 

“Yeah, I didn’t expect he’d fall in love with me at first sight,” which is a lie. Albus had hoped and hoped that he could just walk in and everything would be right between them. He’s starting to realise how naive it is to believe such things.

 

Scorpius pats him on the hair, whispering, “I promise it will get better.”

 

*

 

The delivery girl chats with Scorpius for a bit. He indulges her since she’s always slipping extra mango lassi in for Orion--at least that’s what Orion mutters to Albus when Albus continuously frowns at where Scorpius has been standing for long, long minutes.

 

“I got accepted into the Auror programme,” she tells Scorpius with a proud smile and he congratulates her while slipping her a generous tip. Because of course Scorpius gives obscene tips to everyone. Money is an endless well for the Malfoys.  

 

“Put that toward your books, Riya, they’re damn expensive these days.” It would be forward if he hadn’t spoken with her steadily like this for the past four years; Orion informs Albus that Riya’s been working at Magic of India for that long and is one of their favourite delivery persons. Albus is horribly jealous, which makes him feel childish. “And be sure to check out the scholarship programmes within the Malfoy Learning Fund--it’s competitive, but if you’ve got the grades it will cover all your expenses.” Scorpius would probably make sure she was approved regardless of scores. He’s too much of a bleeding heart.  

 

“I’ll miss seeing you both regularly. You’re the only customers who didn’t flip if I forgot parts of your order.” Scorpius smiles when she makes a sheepish expression, “If the owner wasn’t my great-uncle I’d have been sacked that first summer.”

 

“We all have to start somewhere,” Scorpius thanks her again, and gives a friendly wave before she Apparates away.

 

“Do you know all your delivery persons so well?” Albus’s jealousy bleeds from his tone, and he winces at himself. This is not the sort of impression he should be making on his child--he’s being too accusatory at the parent who didn’t abandon Orion.

 

Scorpius doesn’t draw attention to that, instead he’s responding as if Albus’s question is a normal thing to ask, “Yeah, when they stay around for more than a month. I don’t cook often.”

 

“You never cook,” Orion frowns. His eyes narrow when he adds, “The closest you come to cooking is when Granddad sends home food and you heat it up.”

 

Albus chuckles, charmed by this discovery, “I always thought you’d be a great cook since you’re brilliant with potions.”

 

“I probably would be if I bothered, but I don’t care to,” Scorpius shrugs as he starts pulling cartons out of the paper sacks. When he sets them on the expensive looking coffee table Albus’s eyes go wide.

 

“You don’t eat at the dining table?” He’s horrified. Never in his life has he eaten in a sitting room.

 

Scorpius huffs, “Fuck no, that prissy long table is something Draco insisted on.” Of course, Scorpius rebukes all of his proper upbringings whenever he can. Albus shouldn’t be surprised.

 

“He insisted on most of the furnitured, Dad,” Orion points out with a smug tone. His smile is definitely Scorpius’s--cocky, teasing, yet gentle.

 

“Yeah,” Scorpius releases a dramatic sigh. “He also forbade us from living south of the river.” Scorpius makes that seem like it’s such a chore to live in a decent area, Albus wants to snort at him.

 

“Granddad says only chavs live south of the river,” Orion has a cheeky sort of grin, now, as he directs all of his words at his dad. Both of them are speaking as if Albus isn’t there.

 

“Your granddad is a tit,” Scorpius intones with a sort of finality--as if it’s a known fact, which it probably is since Dad’s always telling Albus Draco Malfoy is the biggest tit (and other not so nice things) in the world.

 

“I’m telling him you said that,” Orion threatens impishly, causing Scorpius to roll his eyes.

 

“You do and I’ll tell him about the incident at school,” that wipes the cheek right off of Orion’s little face and he stabs at his curry with a betrayed expression.

 

Albus sits, unmoving, horribly out of place.

 

*

 

When the hour grows late Orion starts acknowledging Albus’s presence and it’s not necessarily for the best.

 

“When’s he leaving,” he half demands of Scorpius. There’s a tired frown forming on Scorpius’s mouth. One that does not bode well.

 

“He’s not,” Scorpius starts slowly while Albus watches the exchange from the sofa--listening to them discuss him as if he is not sitting in the same room. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least.

 

“Why,” Orion glances at Albus, suspicious of his intentions. Which Albus supposes is normal, considering Albus hasn’t been in his life at all until today. For Orion, it is probably a lot to handle at once.

 

“He’s between flats and I offered him the guest room,” Scorpius has the sort of tone that implies this is his final decision and that Orion should drop the matter.

 

Ten-year-olds rarely understand subtle warnings in people’s tones, or so Lily often complains when they go out for drinks--something they only do so that she can bitch about her classes. Orion is an average child in that regard because he shouts, “I didn’t say he could stay here.”

 

“You’re also not the one who owns the flat,” Scorpius argues back with a firmer tone. He’s not shouting, but there is a hard edge of warning to his naturally quiet voice. It shouldn’t arouse Albus to see him so intimidating.

 

“Granddad owns the flat,” Orion continues with more rage, puffing up in a show of juvenile Alpha dominance.

 

“Granddad bought it for me . The flat’s not in his name, and if he wanted to kick up a damn fuss about this I’d just move us to a different damn flat...” with a steely gaze Scorpius stands, seemingly filling the room with his presence when his voice goes low--almost dangerous. “Draco might’ve paid for you when you were small and new to the world, but do not act as if I am not the provider of this family. I am your father, I’m fuck rich on my own, and I’ve made my decision.” Orion, face betrayed, stomps off; going to the curved stairwell to march up to his room.

 

“I can leave,” Albus offers at Scorpius when they are alone. After the echoing slam of Orion’s door fades.  

 

Scorpius huffs out a weary laugh when he flops into the chair across from Albus. His long fingers cover his eyes, rubbing at fatigue Albus cannot see, when he admits, “He’d be more angry if you left. He’s the one who’s been begging to have you here for weeks.”

 

Albus is doubtful, “Doesn’t seem like he wants me here.”

 

“He’s probably afraid this is some sort of trick. He’s a kid, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to put up defenses to keep his heart safe.” Scorpius finally looks at Albus, “You’re the biggest heartbreak of his life, did you really think he would make this easy?” Yes. Albus had, but he doesn’t say that, he glances away with a dejected sigh.

 

*

 

The bed isn’t uncomfortable, but Albus has difficulty sleeping. He’s surrounded by Scorpius’s scent, yet his bed is cold and empty. An itchy sensation spreads through him from his bondmark while his cock aches through the night, demanding attention Albus doesn’t care to give.

 

By the time morning breaks he’s hardly slept and the annoying owl that comes pecking at him irritates him all the more. “Fuck off you ruddy bird,” Albus grumbles, rolling over to shoo it away. However, it won’t leave. Meaning it’s carrying something important.  So he sits up, retrieving the thick parchment from it’s thin pink leg and frowns when he sees the seal. It’s the thick, dark wax with a Ministry seal glaring from the middle of the ring.

 

Henry Spencer isn’t the only human Albus owes money to for his failing business; Henry is the only one Albus has debts settled with. Albus stretched on a knot made him thrice the amount Albus owed, fortunately, so Henry had drawn up documents to declare their arrangement fulfilled. The other three investors have not been so easy to repay, and now they’ve come calling with a process serving owl and statutory demand forms. The meagre amount he made off his flat and the money he’s secured from whatever he could sell have not begun to scratch the surface of his debts. He’s not told anyone how much he actually owes, or how he’s misappropriated funds. That’d be another sermon on why he’s not a damned adult, but there’s no way he can come up with the amounts owed in such a small time--twenty-one days is unrealistic, no matter how much he sells his arse. All that had done was keep him fed and housed while he tried to keep away from his parents. Deputy Ministers make good money, but not the kind of money Albus needs. Shit . He’s going to have to tell his dad, knowing this will be the final nail in the coffin that is his parents’ failing marriage.

 

Scorpius comes in while Albus is sorting through the forms, staring at them blankly, and he hisses, “Can you shut that fucking bird up?”  

 

Albus blinks at him slowly, only just coming back to his surroundings to find that the damn owl is still squawking. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he murmurs in an almost subdued trance, then takes the other scroll from the process server owl. Signing that he’s received his official documents, making his creditors and the Wizengamot aware that he’s been served so they can move forward with the process of making him bankrupt.

 

On the verge of crying, Albus watches the owl fly back out of Scorpius’s window.

 

*

 

Breakfast is a tense affair, managing to pull Albus’s mind back from the imminent doom of his life. Now he can focus on how much of a fuck up he is at parenting. Orion keeps staring at him as if Albus is an odd creature in a zoo. He’s got narrowed eyes as he chews his porridge, and finally huffs, “You put one and a half spoons of honey in your bowl before you put the porridge in.”

 

Albus blinks wondering why this is relevant, “Yes, I did.” Such an odd thing for Orion to be defensive about.

 

“Dad’s the only weirdo I know who does that,” Orion makes it sound accusatory and Albus wonders if he will ever speak to Albus without accusation.

 

“Well,” Albus begins with a polite tone, and a gentle smile. “Now you know two weirdos who do that.”

 

The hostility ebbs a bit when Orion mutters, “Okay then.” He goes back to staring down into his bowl, refusing to look at Albus any longer.  

 

Scorpius coming out of his room, shirtless and damp from his shower has Albus nearly choking on his breakfast. “Orion have you seen the shirts Lysander sent? I’m supposed to wear one to the interview this afternoon,” he has an annoyed frown when he sits at the table. Across from Albus as if his half-naked body won’t arouse his bonded. “Draco didn’t bin the lot of them, did he?” Of course, Scorpius doesn’t seem to care.

 

“No, I made sure he didn’t go into your room last time he came over--maybe when you hired that house-elf to clean the flat, she might’ve put them up somewhere?” Orion nods in the direction of Scorpius’s home studio, “I know a lot of your work stuff was put in there when she was cleaning.”

 

“I’ll check in a minute,” Scorpius grumbles as he summons the french press and a cup. “I need some morning magic before I try to adult anymore.” Orion’s smile is wide at that, and dims when Scorpius adds, “You’re forbidden to watch the Live today. I’ve already told Ted to keep you under close observation. He’s going to make you help him clean the clubs’ loos.”

 

“He hires elves for that,” Orion frowns, not sounding at all pleased with that information. “I don’t want to clean loos.” Albus doesn’t blame him, those restrooms stink something foul.

 

“That’s why it’s a punishment,” Scorpius has that pitch back; the one that ignites desire in Albus, causing him to squirm at the dominance he hears.

 

“Why’s he being punished?” Albus wonders as he glances between them. Trying to distract himself from the way Scorpius’s presence affects him.

 

“Long story, has to do with school,” Scorpius dismisses, making Orion appear grateful for the save from his father. “Don’t worry about it, he’ll be back to the conservatoire after the weekend, and depending on his behaviour there Orion might be able to lessen his days of punishment.” There’s an unspoken understanding between father and son; Albus watches as it passes between them.

 

Albus doesn’t enjoy being left out, but he knows it’s not his place to pry.

 

*

 

He watches as Orion leaves through the Floo for Teddy’s. He waves with a forced smile on his face, but it drops off the minute Orion’s vanished within the emerald flames. “What did he do at school?” Albus rounds on Scorpius, tired of playing at passive.

 

“He’ll hate me if I tell you,” Scorpius replies with a firm glance. “And make no mistake, you’re only here because I don’t want my kid to hate me.” The way he speaks those words gives Albus a moment of pause, and he swallows while eyeing Scorpius with caution.

 

So much for the friendliness Scorpius gave him the previous day. “Why am I here, Scorpius?” Albus wants Scorpius to tell him he’s here because they need him, or because they want him. A pipe dream, he knows, but that’s what he longs for while he waits for Scorpius’s response.

 

He’s still shirtless and it’s distracting but Albus manages to keep his eyes on Scorpius’s face. Holding his cool grey gaze with unwavering earnesty. Finally, Scorpius admits, “You’re here because I ran out of excuses for why you couldn’t be here, and you’ve got nowhere else to go.”

 

“Anthony would take care of me,” his hissed response does the trick of creating a fleeting tick of fury in Scorpius’s tense jaw.

 

“I’m sure he would,” Scorpius manages a tone of neutrality. Albus wants to climb in his lap and shatter that mask of indifference he insists on wearing. “He’d have you arse up all hours of the night begging for a knot that doesn’t hit you in all the places you need it.” Fuck, Scorpius still has the ability to make him wet for nothing.

 

“What would you know of the knots I crave,” Albus challenges, defiant as ever.

 

“I wouldn’t know, and I don’t care to know,” Scorpius shrugs as if he doesn’t care, but Albus can taste the spice of lust on his tongue and knows Scorpius tastes it, too--the constant swirl of desire that is charged between them. Bonds are far more intense than language can describe.

 

“I know what you crave,” Albus husks, eyelids falling to half mast as he raises the hem of his too large shirt. Exposing his stomach, inching higher until Scorpius’s mark is exposed to the cool room. Grey eyes are on the scar immediately.

 

Scorpius’s smile is unkind, “You’ve no idea what I want, Albus. It’s been years since we’ve fucked regularly.”

 

Albus doesn’t want to remember their recent shared heat. It had been a sudden heat, one Albus wasn’t mentally prepared for, but he’d gladly fell into the call of desire. Scorpius had been feral--possessive with teeth and tongue and touch. His cock a memory realised as it reclaimed Albus’s most intimate places, shaped his welcoming body around it and Scorpius’s knot.

 

Scorpius had whispered affections in Latin--called Albus mate of my soul in many tongues--while he came, again and again, within Albus’s pliant body. Neither of them had thought of the consequences--as they hadn’t in youth. Here Albus stands, now, ruined once more in the aftermath of another lost child. One they lost together.

 

He swallows; Scorpius seems to sense the mood because his tone is more apology than anger when he whispers, “I don’t want to fight.”

 

Funny, that’s all we seem to do.  

 

*

 

“I’ve work on--let yourself in and out as you please, I’ve arranged the wards to allow you entry.” As an afterthought Scorpius adds, “No bringing strangers round to fuck. I get you live here, but it’s my house and I won’t have you fucking random persons in the house my son sleeps in.” Something in Scorpius’s gaze tells Albus there would be hell to pay if that were to happen.  

 

“I’m an awful person but I wouldn’t do that, to you or to him,” Albus tries to emphasise how much he actually means this statement, but he cannot tell if Scorpius believes his words. Scorpius releases a vague hum in response before he gathers up his guitar and leaves.

 

Albus goes back to the room he’s using, gathering the damning papers from his borrowed bedside drawer, releasing a sigh he Disapparates.

 

Reappearing in the front corridor of the home his parents have in Godrick’s Hollow; Dad is home, he’s the one who calls out to see which of the kids has suddenly appeared.

 

“It’s me,” Albus replies. Trying his best to keep his voice steady. Dad is wide-eyed and cautious when he comes into Albus’s line of sight, assessing Albus openly. His brow furrows as he visibly puzzles through how to approach his son. Albus hates that he’s done this to his dad. He’s the only one who’s always tried to be there for Albus and all Albus has done is shat on those good intentions. “Came to get my things,” he tells Dad with a cheery smile. At least he hopes it appears happy, rather than warbly and thin.  

 

“You’ve decided to stay with Scorpius then?” When Albus is about to ask how he knows that, Dad sheepishly adds, “He came round here looking for you the other day. I just, sort of, supposed he’d found you and taken you back. Because the deputy minister had a sour look on his face when I saw him yesterday at work.” Before Albus can tell him about the papers in his pocket Dad gives him a brilliant smile, whispering, “I’m so damn glad you’re finally on the right track to being fine.” The way his dad speaks the words makes it sound as if, for once in his life Harry Potter has had all of his prayers answered.

 

Albus clenches his fist behind his back while giving Dad a blinding smile, “It’s going to be great and fine, Dad, I promise.” Then for added assurance Albus says, “You’ll see, I’m finally going to be the man you always thought I ought to be.” He can’t take away his dad’s happiness. Albus would rather be poorer than poor than disappoint him again.

 

A sigh of relief whooshes out of Dad. He sags against the cream coloured wall, wearing the biggest smile Albus has seen in a long time. “I’m so happy, Albus...I’ve always wanted good things for you.”  

 

God, does that hurt to hear.

 

*

 

He sorts his things once he’s back at the flat, and settles the papers face down on the desk that’s in the room. Albus can worry over them later. For now he wants to change into his own clothes. Maybe see if Dominique’s got any jobs he can do for some extra money. He regrets blowing all his gold when he was young, and more beautiful.

 

*

 

Scorpius arguing with Orion is what wakes him; from a nap Albus hadn’t realised he’d taken.

 

“I don’t get why I’ve got to apologise,” Orion half shouts, and Albus sits up in the bed, rubbing sleep from his eyes. Frowning when he realises his son is terribly upset.  

 

“Because you cannot punch your great-grandfather,” Scorpius sounds torn between exasperation and amusement. Lucius is the worst tosser breathing according to Albus’s dad. From what Albus remembers Scorpius mentioning of Lucius, he’s willing to bet Scorpius isn’t actually all that sorry to see Lucius taken down by a child. “No matter how much of a prick he is, he is not to be hit.” Though Albus would have to agree with that--it’s not good form to punch the elderly. No matter how shitty they are.

 

“Granddad Draco lit his hair on fire,” Orion counters with a frustrated tone. As if that makes up for his own misdeeds.

 

“His wand slipped,” Scorpius evades easily, and when Albus peers over the railing he can see that Scorpius is crossing his arms, not meeting Orion’s eye. Liar .

 

“Bullshit,” Orion argues, and ignores when Scorpius gives a piss-poor reprimand for his language. “Granddad lit that tosser up when he called me a bastard beneath his breath.”

 

“Draco said his wand slipped,” Scorpius appears to be trying extremely hard not to laugh. Albus shakes his head, amused despite his confusion.

 

“Because Draco Malfoy never lies, right,” Orion throws his little arms up in a show of dramatics. He’s definitely cut from the same cloth as Albus’s dramatic brother.

 

“You should leave Lucius to Draco,” Scorpius sighs, seeming to realise this argument is going to drag on--yet, go nowhere. “I know he was on a rant-”

 

“When you told them that my mum was staying with us Lucius was pleased, until you told them he was a Potter,” Orion is confused as to why Lucius Malfoy should have a problem with Potters. Sweet, summer child is still untouched by that long, bloody history, it seems. “Then he started playing merry hell, and called my mum a muddy slag who had no right to taint you with a bond.” Orion is half sobbing, from anger and frustration when he screams, “Was I supposed to let him talk to you that way about my mum?” It wrenches Albus’s heart to see him so dismayed.

 

“No,” Scorpius concedes, sadness heavy in his voice and the slump of his shoulders. He too is affected by their son’s emotions.

 

“Why didn’t you defend Albus,” Orion demands, it makes Albus’s heart light to know in some way Orion does care for him.

 

“Because, son, many years ago I defended my own mother when Lucius decided he had the right to dirty her name with his tongue.” Scorpius hugs Orion, “Never did any good and he only ever said those things to wind me up--the best response to Lucius is indifference.” He runs his fingers through Orion’s pale hair, “Or let Draco deal with him. Draco’s the only one who can shut Lucius up with a glance.”

 

“Why’s that,” Orion wonders.

 

“One day, your grandfather will explain that to you--it’s not my place to tell.” Albus is curious to know that answer, too, but he’s certain Draco Malfoy would never give him the truth--even if he was begging.  

 

*

 

“I love you,” Scorpius whispers to Orion as he carries him up to bed. Screaming seems to have exhausted him. Albus glances outside, noticing the sky is dark, he then checks his watch discovering that the hour is late.

 

“Dad, I’m sorry,” Orion murmurs, and Albus ducks into his room before they pass, so he can listen without seeming intrusive.

 

“You don’t have to say that to me, ever,” Scorpius replies as he kisses Orion’s hair. An adoring father at all times. “Unless you’re apologising for growing. Because you’re almost too big for me to carry up these stairs.”

 

“I’m sorry I’m not acting happy about Albus being here--,” and that shatters more parts of Albus’s tender heart. “It’s just scary to see his face and think that I might close my eyes and open them to find that he’s gone again.”

 

“I won’t let that happen, Orion,” Scorpius promises, his eyes darting to Albus’s cracked door as if he knows he’s standing in the dark listening. “I won’t let Albus leave you again. And I honestly believe he would never want to.”

 

“Do you think he would be okay if I hugged him?” Orion sounds scared at the prospect of being rejected.

 

“I think Albus would be thrilled if you hugged him.”

 

And Albus would, he really fucking would.

 

*

 

“Eavesdropping is a bad habit,” Scorpius murmurs with that low pitched tone that sounds of pure seduction. It startles Albus enough to jump, causing Scorpius to chuckle as he steps into Albus’s room, “Luckily there’s a silencing charm on Orion’s bedroom. I can hear him, but he can’t hear anything past a certain time of night.”

 

“So he doesn’t hear your flavour of the evening,” Albus wonders with a slight bit of bite.

 

“No,” Scorpius gives him a knowing smirk. “So I can work without disturbing him. I’ve never fucked anyone in this flat.”

 

“Never?” Albus swallows, remembering how Scorpius christened Malfoy Manor with Albus’s come in every room--to know that this house is a virgin to Scorpius’s lusting nature stirs his interest.

 

“Yeah, and I don’t ever plan on it,” there’s the ice to his overheated senses--the fantasy is broken, but the desire remains when Scorpius says, “Good night, Albus, pleasant dreams.”

 

I’ll be dreaming of your tongue if I’m lucky.

 

*

 

It’s a few days before Orion works up the courage to hug Albus. He’s still distant, but Albus accepts this with less anxiety now that he knows his child doesn’t actually hate him. His little boy is just fragile and fractured thanks to Albus’s stupidity.

 

The hug comes when Albus is cleaning the glasses Scorpius has left from the past few day’s morning coffee routine. He’s at the sink washing them with the pristine sponge that looks as if it’s only there to give the illusion that Scorpius isn’t solely reliant on magic. Albus is watching birds flit about the garden...looking for gnomes that aren’t there because the summer heat has driven them into deeper shade until evening. At peace with the serenity of the morning, and it happens--small, thin arms wrap about Albus’s waist while a face presses into his lower back. He’s shocked enough to drop the sponge into the sink. Afraid to say anything for long minutes while Orion grips him tighter, as if he’s frightened  to let go, and Albus smiles, touched, while his soapy palms go to where Orion’s hands are interlocked at the fingers.

 

Albus traces them, all perfect ten fingers with small nail beds, and he smiles adoringly down at the sight of them wrinkling his thin shirt. “You know, I would like to hug you, too, if you’d allow me the honour?”

 

Orion nods, Albus can feel the motion of it against his skin. “You have to let go so I can turn.” This time Orion shakes his head ‘no’. Albus’s voice cracks when he promises, “I will not run away, I swear.”

 

“Okay,” Orion slowly releases him and before his warmth can cool Albus spins to face him. Drawing his son’s small body closer so he can wrap his arms around him and bury his nose in his bright hair. Orion grips him around the neck, holding on tighter than he had Albus’s waist. The warmth of his tears dampen the cotton covering Albus’s shoulder. “I don’t want you to ever go away,” Orion sobs. In response, Albus holds him as tight as he dares.

 

“I will never go away, never again, I promise,” the lump in his throat makes the words difficult to form.

 

“If you do I will really hate you,” it’s the most pitiful, sobbed threat Albus has ever heard.

 

“I know,” Albus’s voice cracks.

 

“And don’t make my dad cry,” Orion warns, firmer.

 

“I will try my best,” Albus rushes to assure, knowing that that may be a harder promise to keep.

 

*

 

Living with Scorpius and Orion is a bit easier after that exchange. Orion is less hostile during meals or when they watch a game on the Live. He’s still distant, choosing to climb into the chair with Scorpius, most evenings, rather than share the sofa with Albus--but it is progress.

 

This night he’s curled into Scorpius’s side, with Scorpius running his fingers through Orion’s hair absentmindedly while he sorts through documents. The evening news is detailing the visit of the Chinese Minister. Albus is only half paying attention, he’s more focused on watching Orion bury his face into Scorpius’s side and mumble through a yawn, “Dad, love you.”

 

“Love you more,” Scorpius replies, in a manner that says he speaks these words often but that they still have their potency. He still means them as much as the first time.

 

*

 

Two and a half weeks into their strange cohabitation Scorpius comes in with a furious frown marring his mouth. He doesn’t ask permission when he mutters Accio Albus’s Statutory Demand Documents, causing Albus to jump for the desk. However, the action is in vain. Scorpius has the sheets of parchment in his hand moments after he’s cast the spell.

 

“When were you going to tell me,” Scorpius demands, with dark eyes and a distinct fury radiating off of his tall form.

 

“It’s not your business,” Albus’s defiance knows no limits when it comes to Scorpius.  

 

“It is my business,” Scorpius approaches, his whisper a hiss of sound. “Everything that happens to you gets splashed in the papers, and it has an effect on your son.” The mention of his stupidity harming Orion kerbs his fighting spirit. Scorpius settles into the desk chair, running a hand over his face.

 

“People don’t know Orion is mine,” Albus reminds Scorpius and he snorts in response to Albus’s naivety.

 

“Children, it seems, are harder to fool than you think.” He’s reading down the second piece of parchment, when he informs Albus. “Orion was sent home for defending you to another student. He punched her in the nose and lit her hair on fire.” Scorpius holds his gaze, “She told Orion his mum was a good for nothing slag, and proceeded to drag your name. They know, Albus. Your apology wasn’t enough to stop the tongues wagging after your Knot Your Omega stunt.” He settles the papers onto the desk, sighing, “I cannot have your reputation dragging Orion down, this isn’t just your life you’re fucking up now.” That stings, but Albus doesn’t deny that he’s a cock-up.

 

“Where am I supposed to get that kind of money,” Albus swallows down his panic. “I can’t ask my dad, Scorpius, I just can’t...Mum will leave him and I cannot be the reason they split.” He’s caused them enough grief as is. He’s caused everyone enough grief.

 

Scorpius gathers up the papers again, glancing through them in quick succession, “Are these the only investors, or are there more?”

 

“Those are the only three.” Albus fiddles with the hem of his shirt, “My Knot Your Omega spread settled my debts with the fourth investor, thankfully.”

 

Albus thinks he sees a twitch in Scorpius’s jaw, but it’s gone as soon as he’s spotted it and he’s probably imagined the display of irritation. Scorpius hums, another frown on his face when he reads down the third paper. Albus wants to enquire about what he’s thinking, but Scorpius stands--taking the statutory demands with him. “I’m going to contact my accountant and solicitor, try to stay out of trouble while I sort this matter.” Albus manages to keep in his snarky reply. It doesn’t do any good to bite the only hand willing to feed him.

 

*

 

Draco Malfoy appears in a flourish of black and fury. Albus cowers at the rage that is directed at him by those cold eyes, and drops his teacup--vaguely noticing when it shatters against the hardwood floors. “You,” Draco hisses, but Scorpius’s calm, cool voice is a balm to Albus’s senses--relieving him from the sting of Draco’s ire.

 

“Father,” and that seems to sober Draco. Or at least redirect his attention to Scorpius. “So good of you to barge in, what might I help you with this fine day?”

 

“Mr Bronson sent me a copy of your request,” Draco throws down a thick scroll, but Scorpius doesn’t seem moved by the intimidation in the motions. He quirks an eyebrow, lifting the scroll with a thoughtful hum. He’s perfected bored nonchalance.

 

“I think it’s time I find a new solicitor, then,” Scorpius’s tone is clipped with cold. “Since this one saw fit to inform my father of private matters concerning the use of funds I’ve collected outside of the family estate.”

 

“Scorpius, that’s a large fucking sum.” Albus silently agrees, it’s a large enough sum that he’s not sure his own father could afford it.

 

“What’s ten million to you, Father, but a drop in a never-ending well of gold,” Scorpius shrugs, seemingly bored with this conversation. He picks up his quill, intending to go back to his never-ending work of songwriting. “I’ve got the money, and then some--I will be fine.”

 

“You’ll have to dip into your trust-” Draco argues.

 

“No, actually, I won’t. Even if I had to, my trust well exceeds ten million--it will be fine,” there’s a finality cutting through his words. As if the conversation is finished.

 

“It’s a failing line,” Draco counters, unaffected by Scorpius’s ire, his angry glance settling over Albus again. Damning him, and Albus tries his best to appear small. “Because someone isn’t very good at what he does.”

 

“The clothes are fine, the designs are great, it’s that it was not handled as well as it could’ve been,” Scorpius taps the scroll before him. “I can turn it around.” He sounds so sure, Albus almost believes him.  

 

“You think,” Draco purses his lips. “This isn’t some easily resolved issue, Scorpius. You’ve got to be realistic about this.” Ever the shrewd businessman.

 

Scorpius stands, and in the tension of his back Albus can detect his rage. “Do. Not. Treat. Me. Like. A. Child.” The way he hisses sends a shiver up Albus’s spine.

 

Draco, is not cowed by Scorpius’s demeanour, “You will always be a child to me, son.” He takes a seat, commanding of Albus, “Make some damn tea, boy.” Then at Scorpius continues, “Let’s talk about what you’ve planned to do.”

 

Albus hurries into the kitchen to make the tea while Scorpius reprimands Draco for treating Albus like a servant.

 

He cannot hear most of what they discuss while he boils water in the kettle. Once done with that task he waits for the tea to steep, all the while wishing he had one of his uncle’s toy ears. When he returns to the room with the tray--after adding some biscuits to try and charm Draco--he catches the end of something from Draco, “...that won’t end well.”

 

“Do you think Gran will enjoy managing this adventure if I offer her the opportunity,” Scorpius enquires of his dad. Draco ignores Albus as he serves him a cup of tea. Taking the fine china without the slightest hint of acknowledgement.  

 

“I think she will be thrilled; Lucius on the other hand,” he appears amused at tormenting his father. “He’s always denied Mother a clothing line.”

 

“Guess it’s up to us to tell him to fuck off for her.” Scorpius and Draco share a private smile. One that makes Albus think they are conspiring about something he could never understand.

 

*

 

“Thank you,” he tells Scorpius that night, when Orion is in bed and the house is still. After Draco’s finally left them--there was a bit more arguing, about Albus, but Scorpius refused to budge on his decision. Conceding defeat, Draco had finally gone to the Floo giving them a tight-lipped frown and a stiff nod.

 

“I told you I wouldn’t abandon you, and I meant it,” Scorpius sighs while removing the tie that has his fringe pulled into a small knot atop his head. “I should cut my hair.”

 

“I think it suits you,” Albus tells him, sitting next to Scorpius on the sofa and touching the soft strands of his hair without asking. A bold, intimate gesture. “Longer than your father’s, but not so long to resemble your grandfather.” He continues to run his fingers through Scorpius’s hair, lightly dragging his nails against Scorpius’s scalp.

 

He groans, “Albus, you need to quit.”

 

“Let me do this for you,” he pleads. “You’re doing so much for me, let me give you something in kind.” He will take any excuse he can to touch Scorpius. If he must play whore to a Malfoy prince Albus will, and will do so gladly.

 

Albus is half over Scorpius’s lap when firm hands on his hips stop him, “Are you trying to fuck me because I’ve given you money to get out of debt?” Scorpius’s eyes have gone from neutral to angry in a moment. He winds a hand in Albus’s hair, pulling his face closer--their mouths a breath’s width apart as he hisses, “I will not pay to fuck my bondmate. You are not a whore to me.” He’s a half-formed protest, but Scorpius’s grip on his hip grounds him. Silencing the words. “If I wanted a whore, Albus, I would find a cheaper one than you. One who would cause me less misery.” Albus drinks down his words, tasting the hint of clove on his tongue, wishing he had the flavour stronger. “If I were to ever touch you, Alb,” and that name recalls the memories of hours spent with Scorpius. It makes him moan for those touches. Whimpering in desperation, but Scorpius gives him no kind reprieve. “It would not be the sort of touch I would give a whore or a passing lover. I would not fuck you as if you were nothing. I would worship you as if you were the universe, I would love you as if you were absolution.” His lips brush Albus’s but it is not a kiss, and he aches for Scorpius’s tongue. “But I will not touch you like that...not this day, and not any day soon.” There’s an almost sad sheen to Scorpius’s gaze, “It will be a long time before I love you like that, again, if I ever forgive you.”

 

Albus swallows, fighting off his despair. Scorpius gently removes Albus from his lap, making his way towards the stairs to take himself up to bed.

 

*

 

“I’ve a match at the weekend,” Orion tells Albus while he’s colouring at the coffee table--the Live is showing a match between England and Ireland. Ireland is creaming them and James will, no doubt, lament why it’s horseshit they didn’t invite him to play for them--again--this year. James has a bad reputation of getting into fights. Albus is sure that’s why England isn’t keen to have him on the national team. That and he has a tendency to fuck his teammates' wives. He’s a moralless fucker, that one.

 

“I think your dad mentioned that,” Albus remains neutral when he responds, wondering where Orion is going with this. He’s yet to be invited to a match, so he refuses to get his hopes up on the matter.

 

“Do you want to come watch,” Orion’s eyes are on him then--Albus can see the hope he’s trying to suppress. They are so alike it brings a fondness to his eyes as they fall over Orion.

 

He smiles, “Of course I’ll come watch.”

 

*

 

“That little blond bugger is ruthless,” James cackles near the end of the match. In which Orion’s team pulverises the other team. “I like his spunk.” Orion had been extra keen when swinging his Beater’s bat. Albus was surprised he hadn’t been fouled a time or two.

 

“Would you like to meet him,” Albus enquires, voice nervous. Scorpius hasn’t glanced back at them, but there’s no way he doesn’t feel the pull of Albus’s proximity. Albus feels Scorpius so deeply it’s like he’s suffocating.

 

“I might be a famous Quidditch star, but people might think we’re a bit weird for coming to a kiddie Quidditch match when neither of us has a brat.” Albus’s laugh feels stiff. Yet, somehow he manages to make his voice steady. Nonchalant when he informs his brother that Orion is his friend’s son and that Orion asked him to come watch this match today. “Watch all your friend’s kids’ matches, do you?” With a bright laugh he adds, “It’s a wonder you can’t catch an Alpha, Al.” Sometimes James is a misogynistic prat. Albus has to remind himself it would be poor form to shove his obnoxious brother off of the bleachers.

 

“Shut up,” Albus shoves him, lightly so as to not send him tumbling to the ground. James stands up with a bawdy laugh drawing a bit of attention from appreciative eyes.

 

“All right then, introduce me to this spunky tot, and then lets hit up a pub--I need a drink, and possibly the company of a legal adult who isn’t my brother.” It always amuses Albus that James looks so much like their father, but has nothing of his chivalry.

 

“Don’t be crass,” Albus reprimands, fiddling with the hem of his shirt when they approach where the Malfoys are gathered. Draco has a hint of pride crinkling the corners of his mouth while Scorpius draws Orion into a bone-crushing hug; congratulating the child on his win.

 

“Albus,” Orion’s eyes sparkle when they land on Albus and James. He jumps up and down in his excitement, waving with such energy Albus is amazed his arms haven’t fallen off. Mr Malfoy’s flinty eyes go guarded, and Scorpius turns to his dad--seemingly having a silent exchange--but Albus ignores that when Orion bowls into him. His Quidditch leathers make the hug awkward, but Albus is too stunned to say anything. Luckily, Orion does the talking for him, “You came, and you brought your brother.”

 

“I did,” Albus smiles, patting Orion’s head before gently disengaging from his hug. “Orion, this is my brother, James--you remember the one you drew in class the other day.” It had been an amusing picture that Orion brought home, and Scorpius pinned it to the fridge while shaking his head at the image. Turns out Orion is quite the Pudd. fan, and James is his favourite player. Because he’s obnoxious and funny.  

 

James winks down at him, grinning when he says, “I bet it’s the best damn picture anyone’s ever made.” Because James is horribly vain.

 

“I don’t think I made your head big enough,” Orion replies, squinting up at James, and Albus nearly dies at the way James’s face falls. “I’ll fix it when I get home.”

 

When Scorpius and Draco approach James’s dark brown eyebrows lift in surprise. “Malfoy,” he says with a shocked voice, “This your kid?” Because Albus hadn’t told James who Orion belongs to--he hadn’t been sure how to mention that. James has never been much of a Scorpius fan, and Scorpius was never fond of James’s antics.

 

“Yes,” Scorpius has that cool tone Albus has always envied. “Thought the hair might’ve given that away.” His sarcasm does things to Albus’s body.

 

James rolls his eyes while he squats down, to get on eye level with Orion. “So how old are you? You play pretty well for being a little guy.”

 

Orion doesn’t take offense to James’s words, because James is a giant child and doesn’t mean them to be offensive--he’s just got a coarse way of speaking. He never matured beyond twelve, only his body did--least that’s what Lily and Albus have always agreed on.

 

“Ten,” Orion puffs up, posturing before the scrutiny of another Alpha--even though he’s a good year or so away from his first knot. Albus notices Scorpius rub at his eyes, seemingly embarrassed for the display. Draco appears positively proud.

 

James glances back at Albus, a thoughtful expression on his face before his hazel eyes dart towards Scorpius--then back to Orion where they stay. It happens rather quickly--the line of James’s thoughtful frown blooms into a bright smile and he pats Orion on the head when he speaks. “That’s a fine age, mate. You keep playing like you did today and I’ll be sure to see you playing nationals after I retire.”

 

“You really think so,” Orion seems taken with James, and Albus swallows down a lump in his throat.

 

“I believe it.” James is Dad’s echo in that moment--the gentleness of his words, the way he smiles, down to the way he ruffles Orion’s hair.

 

*

 

“Are you coming to lunch with us,” Orion eagerly demands of James, after Draco has long departed for the manor and Scorpius is standing talking to other parents.

 

“I might, let me have a word with Al right quick, yeah?” There’s a tenseness in James that only Albus notices.

 

Orion nods enthusiastically before he takes off to join one of his mates who calls out to him. James smiles until Orion is a safe distance away--then he grips Albus’s arm and marches him away from the gathered people, throwing up a hasty silencing charm as he walks them back towards the bleachers. “James, you’re hurting my arm.” Albus pleads when his arm cramps from the grip of his brother’s hold.

 

“Al, I’m about to box you around the fucking ears,” James hisses, pressing closer to Albus.

 

He chews his lip, nervous, and stupidly asks, “Why?”

 

“You’ve got a fucking kid...” James shouts, and Albus is glad he’d been smart enough to throw up the silencing charm. His yell could be heard all the way to Hogwarts, it’s so loud Albus winces. “A kid with fucking Scorpius Malfoy , who I’m going to kill-.”

 

“James, you’re not going to kill him-” Albus half-shouts. Because his brother has a habit of running off the handle with little provocation.

 

“I’m going to fucking break his dick then,” James huffs, gripping Albus by the shoulders. “Is this why you’ve been going off the goddamn rails for years?” James’s hazel eyes are searching Albus, for signs he’s been hurt or for signs telling him how to fix this. It’s startling--when James is a big brother.

 

“I-” Albus is at a loss.

 

“Did he take your kid from you?” James appears furious at the notion, “Did he do whatever evil it is that Malfoys do and take this kid from you?” He glares at where Albus assumes Scorpius is standing. Appearing on the verge of committing murder, if James must, and Albus is overwhelmed with love for his brother in that moment. Maybe he’s not as alone as he’s always felt.

 

“No,” Albus admits with a sad whisper. “I gave him up, James.”

 

That knocks a bit of the fury out of his brother. “Al...”

 

“Scorpius is helping me get back on track, seriously--I’m the bad one in all the situations, I’ll explain later,” Albus promises and grips his brother’s wrist. “Just come meet him, he’s wonderful.”

 

“We’re still talking about your kid, right,” and Albus laughs because at least James is calm now. James flying off the handle is never a good James to deal with--he’s like Uncle Ron, speaks or does before he thinks.

 

*

 

“You know, Al is very good at drawing,” James tells Orion, and Albus stops himself from rolling his eyes because James has been trying make Albus some sort of awesome figure in Orion’s eyes. He keeps bigging him up and it’s getting out of hand.

 

Orion also seems to notice for he frowns, “You don’t have to tell me, I already know--he lives with me.”

 

And that was not how Albus planned on sharing that particular news with his elder brother. “He does, does he,” James decides to glare at Scorpius. As if he’s holding Albus hostage. Scorpius rolls his eyes where Orion cannot see.

 

“Yeah, he and Dad are trying to parent me together,” Orion sounds happy about this; it helps ease the tension from James’s body.

 

“So you know that Al is...” James trails off, awkward and unsure how to proceed. He gives a vague gesture that Albus assumes is meant to mean mother but looks a bit obscene.

 

“My mum?” Orion prompts with a curious frown. “Yeah, I know.”

 

“Oh,” James sounds faint. “That’s good then.” Albus is starting to doubt his decision to make James the first of his family that he shares his child with--he’s not making a very good impression.

 

“I also know that you’re my uncle,” with those words James’s eyes soften and his smile is less forced politeness, growing more genuine.

 

“Yeah, I am--aren’t I?”

 

*

 

“I like your brother,” Orion tells him, as he slips his hand into Albus’s on their walk back to the flat. Scorpius is on his Mirror dealing with business, beneath a silencing charm. Albus thinks it’s nice to have this moment between Orion and himself.

 

“I’m sure he likes you, too,” Albus replies with a warm smile, giddy when Orion presses closer to his side. “He’s been waiting to have another Quidditch player in the family.” After a thought Albus adds, “So has my dad. God, was he disappointed that Lily and I are not fans of flying.”

 

Orion falls silent, his grip on Albus’s hand becomes tighter, full of an anxiety he’s not put into words yet. Albus allows him the space to find what he wants to say, despite his worry. “I’m scared to meet your dad,” Orion finally admits.

 

That shocks Albus, there’s not a kid in the whole of the U.K. who is afraid to meet his dad. Except, apparently, his dad’s grandson.“Why’s that?”

 

“My granddad doesn’t like him very much.” Albus thinks that’s the understatement of a lifetime, but doesn’t say this to his son. “I think if I were to like your dad it would break his heart.” Orion glances up at Albus with sad eyes, “I love my granddad a lot, he’s a big part of me...I don’t ever want to disappoint him.”

 

Those words make Albus hate himself--he’s done this to his own father and his child. He’s caused this wound between them before they’ve ever met--Albus barely manages to contain his sorrow.

 

*

 

At home Scorpius carries Orion, who is dead on his feet, up to bed. Albus settles into one of the chairs in the living room and puts his face into his hands, not quite weeping but it’s a near thing. He wonders why he fought so hard for this when all this is doing is fracturing them more.

 

“Hey,” Scorpius calls to him, voice gentle but firm. Like he can hear Albus’s thoughts and has to stop them before they destroy them further. Albus is a runner from the hard, after all.

 

“Mmm,” Albus responds, allowing his hands to slip off his face. Glancing up at where Scorpius stands before him.

 

“I need a beer, you want one?” It sounds like a peace offering and Albus gladly accepts.

 

*

 

When he’s fuzzy he lets his fears slip, and Scorpius sits silently beside him taking the words in with calm acceptance. He pats Albus’s hair, whispering, “I’ll talk to Orion and I’ll talk to Draco.” His assurance is everything. “If Orion wants to know and love your dad, he’s that right and Draco--childish as he is, at times, will understand that. He loves that kid more than anything, he’s not going to let his pride hurt Orion.”

 

“Don’t tell him, but I think he’s a good man,” Albus smiles, nuzzling into Scorpius’s hand. Scorpius allows the intimacy, for once, and doesn’t pull away.

 

“I tell him every day that he’s a good man,” Scorpius responds with a half-grin. “But I’ll keep your secret safe.”

 

I love you --Albus doesn’t have the courage to confess that secret yet.

 

*

 

Orion’s staying late for an extra lesson with Lily, at the conservatoire, and Scorpius has a prior engagement, with Draco, so he asks Albus to fetch him. Albus shuffles nervously as he makes his way through the corridors to one of the many music rooms.

 

They’re still at it--Albus can see them through the crack of the door. His lips stretch with a nostalgic grin as he watches his baby sister correct his son’s hold on the bow. Lily once tried to teach Albus, but he’s bollocks at music.

 

“You remind me of Albus when I have to keep correcting you of your same mistakes,” she tells Orion with exasperated fondness causing Albus to shake his head.

 

“You know Albus is my mum, right,” Orion asks her with a puzzled tone, and Albus freezes--waiting with baited breath to see how Lily reacts.

 

“No shit, Sherlock,” she’s all sarcasm, which makes Orion grin. Then with a laugh she tells Orion, “Want me to tell you a secret?” Orion nods, no longer interested in his lesson. Lily’s voice is gentle as she sits beside him, “The first day I met you I knew you were one of mine.” Her fingers lightly pinch the round tip of Orion’s button nose. “I’ve seen those eyes all my life. But it was more than the eyes--it was your nose, your smile, your laugh.” She pats his hair and Albus wishes he could see her face when she adds, “You are your mum’s son, as much as you are your dad’s, and I am glad you finally know the rest of where you came from.”

 

“Will I get special treatment in class when the new term starts,” Orion challenges with a cheeky smirk. Lily pinches his cheek as she releases a bright laugh.

 

“Don’t push your damn luck,” then they continue their lesson. Her eyes flit briefly toward the door--letting Albus know she can sense he is watching.

 

*

 

“Has he met Mum and Dad, yet,” Lily asks while Orion is gathering his things, oblivious to the moment Albus and Lily are having.  

 

“No,” Albus sighs. It’s been since the middle of June that he’s moved into Scorpius’s flat, now it’s nearing the end of August. The longest Albus has ever gone without seeing or contacting his parents.

 

“Dad’s probably dying to know him, Al,” it’s a gentle prod of vocal encouragement. She doesn’t mention how Albus missed Dad’s birthday. Neither Dad nor Mum bothered to write him about that, either, and he’s a feeling they are all being gentle because they don’t want to spook him out of their lives forever.

 

“I’m more worried about Mum,” Albus confesses. She’s the most difficult one to read.  

 

*

 

Scorpius brings home a greasy sack of dinner. Orion crows in delight when he hears the contents are from one of his and Scorpius’s favourite dives. Albus hopes to Christ Scorpius brought him a salad. He’s going to lose his model’s physique if he keeps eating the shit Scorpius buys. Where the man puts his calories is beyond Albus--he eats like a damn hippogriff.

 

They take dinner at the table. A few days prior Albus had kicked up a fuss about eating in the sitting room, and how they should use the table. Immediately he was worried about upsetting Scorpius, but in his usual show of goodness Scorpius shrugged and agreed to do it Albus’s way. Orion kicks his feet while he looks between them--telling them about his day. It’s all very domestic in a pleasant sort of way. Makes them feel like a less broken family.

 

Scorpius smiles, before he shoves a bit of his shepherd's pie into his mouth. Orion continues on about his lesson with Lily when a delivery Owl drops a thick scroll onto the table before it takes back off. Not bothering to wait around for a reply.

 

“What’s that,” Orion enquires with a nosy gaze, his curiosity interrupting his story about how he and Rowan are now in different music classes. Since Orion’s more gifted he’s the one staying in advanced summer lessons. While Rowan has been moved to the average class. Which, he of course, believes is hilarious poetic justice.  

 

“Work,” Scorpius replies as he opens the scroll--scanning its contents. “Nothing you need to worry about.”

 

“You sound like Granddad,” Orion scowls, and Scorpius doesn't appear too pleased with that comparison.

 

“It’s work, for Albus’s clothing line.” He glances Albus’s way. Looking for his reaction, but Albus doesn't really care if Scorpius tells Orion--he can't fall much further than he already has.

 

“Why’s it coming to you, then,” Orion frowns, glancing between them with suspicion.  

 

Scorpius re-rolls the scroll, sending it to his study with a precise flick of his wrist, before he answers. “I'm the sole investor, this is the boring side of work. Albus handles the creativity because he's bollocks at business management.” Which is not a lie.  

 

“Does that mean you'll be spending more time together?” Albus is having a difficult time reading Orion’s tone and expression. His green eyes keep darting between them.

 

“Most likely not,” Scorpius responds. “My role can be managed through letters, and I've got a lot to deal with in the production of the band’s next album.”

 

“Oh,” Orion manages to voice Albus’s disappointment for him.

 

*

 

Narcissa Malfoy is a woman of striking beauty, even at seventy-seven, and she leaves Albus in awe when she steps out of the Floo at Haus of Anarchy. A fairytale queen gracing mortals with her presence; Albus stares in silent wonder.

 

“Pardon my intrusion, Mr Potter,” she begins with a soothing, regal voice. “My grandson informed me that you would be in the office this morning.” Her handbag is made of midnight velvet and the emeralds of the clasp catch the candlelight, as do the dark green jewels at her throat. She’s nothing like Albus’s own grandmother. Narcissa hasn’t a hair out of place of her neat updo, her makeup is flawless, and her dress is simple enough for work but would still be fine to wear for a posh business lunch.

 

Unlike Draco when she brings up Scorpius, to Albus, she does not seem unkind. “Yes, sorry, I've had an off couple of months.” He smiles as sweetly as he can manage when anxious, “Scorpius told me you would be in charge of managing the company.” Which, shocker, Scorpius doesn't trust Albus to be able to manage his own company. Albus doesn’t trust himself with that task, either. But it still stings.

 

“Yes, but rest assured, darling, you will still be in charge of the creative components.” Her hand is warm on his shoulders when she steps closer, and in her low heels she stands of a height with Albus--holding his gaze evenly. “I saw your last showcase. Despite your inadequacies with management you are a truly gifted artist.” She manages to make it not sound insulting, rather she sounds fond and kind.

 

Albus loves her already. This is his first positive interaction with a Malfoy, other than his son and Scorpius. He's overwhelmingly grateful to Narcissa and wants nothing more than to keep her as his own grandmother.

 

“Now, let’s take tea and discuss our options on how to generate business.” Albus can see why all of the Malfoys (and the remaining Blacks) have remained successful, even after war and scandal--they don't lie down when business is rough, they plough through the hard times. Fighting to reclaim their crowns.

 

*

 

Dominique is less than thrilled when Albus finally goes to see her. “It’s been months,” her voice cracks. “How could you make me so worried?” Her blue eyes are glistening, and he rushes for her. Wrapping her in an embrace.

 

They hug for a long time, but the hold is not uncomfortable--mostly it’s reassuring to breathe her in. “I’m sorry,” he speaks the words with feeling, but she still twists his nipple in punishment.

 

“Teddy says you’re living with Scorpius,” Dominique watches him as he settles into a seat. Rubbing his sore nipple, causing her to smirk. “Is this where I’m told your horrible smut spread stunt wasn’t a lie?” He nods and she sighs, but it’s not an angry sound, nor a disappointed one, rather the exhale comes as relief. “You’re a tit for not telling me.”

 

“I’m a tit for a lot of reasons,” Albus admits with a laugh.

 

“I will not argue with that,” she smiles, and lifts one of the photo frames on her desk. She hands the weight of it to Albus, and when he takes the silver frame he smiles at the image he sees. Orion and Baz hugging at a birthday. They’re in swimming trunks, and there is a ridiculously ostentatious pool behind them. Albus knows immediately that this is Orion’s tenth birthday party. The last one Albus will miss.

 

“I’m glad our children are friends and cousins--just like us,” Dominique tells him when she takes the frame back from his fingers. “Don’t fuck it up, Al--not again.” That’s all the warning she gives.

 

“I’ll try my best,” he promises, she seems satisfied with that answer. Then Dominique delves into gossip, glad to have him here to share in these secrets, “I’ve got to tell you about the person we caught Vic with, in the supply room.” Albus grins at her conspirator’s tone. Dominique cackles, delighted, “She can never throw Teddy in my face again.”

 

“That bad?” Albus is genuinely shocked. He never thought anyone in their family could top that particular scandal . Dominique sleeping with Teddy-- bonding Teddy--after her older sister dated him had been something the family had a lot of opinions about.

 

Apparently, it’s horrid--one of the interns found Victoire fucking another barely legal intern, one that’s still in school. Albus is amused on behalf of his favourite cousin, but horrified on behalf of the other one.  

 

*

 

School shopping is exhausting as a parent. There’s so many people, endless queues for supplies, and more children than he cares to be near. But Orion’s face is delighted, so Albus endures; allowing his son to lead him down the Alley while holding hands.

 

“Dad,” Orion calls to Scorpius, who is in front of them. Scorpius glances back at them, looking away from the supply list for the first time in what feels like hours. Albus’s feet ache.  

 

“Hmmm,” Scorpius enquires and Orion’s free hand shoots out in the direction of the Owl emporium. Scorpius’s gaze goes dark, “No.” Orion hasn’t even asked yet.

 

“I’ll be eleven in May, I’ll need one for school.” Albus thinks this disagreement must happen often because it sounds like a well rehearsed reply.

 

“I fucking hate dealing with owls,” Scorpius grumbles. Marching on in the direction of their next store. “They’re loud at night.”

 

“You can put up a silencing charm,” Orion counters with a frown. He’s a clever child; as such he is not easily dismissed.

 

“They shit everywhere,” Scorpius complains.

 

“So does Marvin so what’s new,” Orion argues. Which is true, Albus finds the horrid Crup a pain when he wakes up and steps in shit in the halls. But for some reason, Scorpius adores the beast. “Besides, the building has an Owlery. All the crap will be there.” Orion makes tonnes of valid points.

 

“Keep it at your grandfather’s and I’ll think about it,” Scorpius scowls which causes Orion to pout; Albus finds them both to be darling.

 

“Bloody killjoy,” Orion complains at Albus, and Albus hides his smile when Scorpius shoots him a look of warning. Albus wisely keeps his mouth shut, but winks at Orion when Scorpius turns.

 

*

 

Narcissa and Draco find them, after they’ve exhausted themselves with stocking up on the ingredients Orion will need for Introductory Potions, and they invite them for tea. Draco is less warm when he tells Albus, “You can join us, as well, Potter.”

 

Orion frowns, appearing to be gearing up for a rant to defend Albus, but Scorpius intervenes. “You go to tea with your nan and Granddad, your mum and I will grab some ice cream then head home.”

 

Green eyes going wide Orion glances between them, slowly a grin forms on his face, “Yeah, you go have ice cream.” He shoos them, enthusiastically. Narcissa watches him with a fond smile while Draco looks torn between amusement and hexing Albus. He doesn’t have time to hex Albus, however, because Orion starts shoving his grandfather loudly declaring he’s ready for some food. Hurry, Granddad , he shouts.

 

Scorpius shakes his head and takes the bags Albus is holding, jerking his head in the direction of Fortescue’s. Albus hasn’t been here in years. His dad often brought them as kids, and gave the young woman by the til his ear--her father, the one who used to give Albus’s dad free sundaes, was a victim of Death Eater violence. He’s truly surprised when the same woman, now approaching middle age, smiles warmly when Scorpius steps into the shop.

 

“Mr Malfoy,” she sounds far more welcoming than people had when they were kids--it makes Albus overwhelmingly happy for Scorpius. He has to blink his eyes a few times to stop himself from forming unwanted tears, because Albus is easily overwhelmed these days. “Where’s my little friend?”

 

“He’s off with his shit of a grandfather today, but I’ll be sure to bring him by for a treat after the new term begins,” he’s warm with his response.

 

“Well I’ll send him home with a treat, nonetheless.” She winks, genuinely pleased in Scorpius’s company.

 

“You’re a darling, Fran,” Scorpius tells her, but Albus quits paying attention when his Mirror starts vibrating in his pocket.

 

It’s a message from Mum, and his face falls when he reads the line Am I ever going to meet my grandchild or are you still punishing me? He’s puzzling over what to say in his reply when Scorpius returns with two bowls of ice cream. For himself he’s chosen chocolate with candied walnuts, and for Albus he has vanilla bean with blackberry jam.

 

Shock flits across Albus’s face. “How did you know this was my favourite?”

 

Scorpius shrugs, “I didn’t; it’s what Orion always orders.”

 

“Oh,” Albus’s expression falls. He sometimes wonders why he allows himself to get excited about Scorpius’s small shows of affection; they aren’t truly for him any longer.

 

*

 

“Is something wrong,” Scorpius enquires while they’re sorting Orion’s things. He’s still not back and it’s almost dark. Albus assumes Draco will keep him for the night, he likes to be spiteful and do that on occasion. As if he doesn’t want to send the child home to Albus.

 

“I’m just tired,” Albus lies while he puts up the silver cauldron that’s got serpents crawling all over it. Orion had said it was fucking awesome and Scorpius shook his head in exasperation even as he bought it.

 

“Horse shit,” Scorpius stops Albus’s hand when he goes to retrieve more things from one of the bags. “Did Draco upset you?”

 

“No.” If anything Draco’s the only one who is consistent and doesn’t make Albus feel disappointed for getting ahead of himself.

 

“Well something’s got you in a mood,” Scorpius settles onto Orion’s bed, watching Albus with tired grey eyes. “I didn’t mean to upset you with ice cream.” That startles a laugh out of Albus.

 

“You didn’t,” he moves closer to Scorpius, and brushes gentle fingers across one of his arched brows. Scorpius’s eyes flutter. Albus feels the spark that ignites between them. It makes him want to touch more. To be closer, but Scorpius stops him before it can go further.

 

“Orion will be home soon,” he stands, putting more distance between them.

 

“My parents want to meet him,” Albus blurts when Scorpius is almost out of Orion’s room. Scorpius glances back at him with an unreadable emotion swirling in his eyes.

 

“Did you think I’d tell you ‘no’?” There’s a rough edge to his words.

 

“No, I’ve just been afraid to ask, I’ve been afraid for my parents to meet him.” Which is horrible to admit, but so tragically true. Albus is afraid. Terrified, in fact.  

 

Scorpius sighs, “The longer you wait the harder it will be.”

 

*

 

He puts off his parents another week, telling himself that it’s busy at the office--even though all he has to do is come up with designs and talk to the team that Narcissa hired to make the patterns. After his old team quit him, when he was in his spiral of self-destruction. No one wants a boss who can’t manage their own damn life, let alone a company.

 

“Love,” she says to him, one afternoon when he’s drawn forty new things and hates them all. Albus glances up from his pad, noticing that she’s wearing a mothering smile--worried yet not overbearing. “Is something bothering you?”

 

Albus never says, he just tells Narcissa he’s tired. Because he cannot bear to disappoint her. Eventually, Narcissa lets him alone with a small tin of biscuits she’s brought for him. He decides, when she’s gone, to write his parents.

 

It takes him two hours to ask when a good day to meet is; Albus sends the note off with a heavy stone settling into his gut.

 

When he arrives at the flat Albus forgets the churning in his stomach. Orion’s smile is the cure for his worry, and he returns the grin when Orion flings his arms around Albus’s trim waist. “Alby,” Orion calls him, and the name is so endearing as it rolls off his tongue. “Dad’s making dinner tonight.”

 

Albus manages to hide his surprise, “Is he now?”

 

“Yeah, it’s weird,” Orion agrees releasing Albus while he dashes towards the kitchen. “Dad, Alby’s back,” he shouts and there’s a bang in the kitchen followed by some colourful swearing in French.

 

When he enters the kitchen Albus is tempted to slide off his clothes and beg for Scorpius to have him over the counter. The long strands of his blond hair are unruly from steam, and he’s a bit of sauce spattered from his neck up to his cheek--Albus wants to eat it off his skin. Scorpius takes his silence as something else, with a dark frown he mutters, “Don’t you fucking laugh, or I’ll beat your arse.”

 

Albus wants to present said arse to Scorpius, and enthusiastically encourage him to smack it, but Orion whapping his dad in the arm keeps Albus’s raging hormones in check. “Dad, we do not threaten to beat up my mum.”

 

“Right, sorry,” Scorpius genuinely sounds apologetic.

 

“Smells wonderful,” Albus tells him, stepping closer to gather the sauce off Scorpius’s lip with his fingertip--a fingertip Albus puts to his own mouth, licking it with an obscene sound. One low enough for only Scorpius’s ears. “Tastes good, too.”

 

“Well I hope so, because I’m not doing this again anytime soon,” Scorpius replies with a dark look--one that’s all smoulder before he kills the desire with the words. “Your parents better be impressed because I don’t just cook for anyone.”

 

Before Albus can ask what he's talking about a chime at the Floo sounds. Scorpius casts a quick cleansing charm over himself before he directs the food to dish itself. At Orion he snaps, freshening his appearance and nods, satisfied, before he makes his way to the hearth in the family room. Orion hurries to keep in step with his father, excited by the prospect of guests.

 

Albus follows after them, flabbergasted, and overwhelming bewilderment settles like a cloak over his senses when he sees his mother and father step in from the flames.

 

“Mr Potter, Mrs Potter,” Scorpius adopts a cordial smile and tone. Gesturing with a casual flourish. “Welcome to our home.”

 

Mum’s eyes sweep the room with obvious approval while Dad appears as if he's afraid he might break the room by stepping into it. However, he brightens up when his green eyes fall on Orion. Albus has never seen Dad wear this particular smile. It's an expression half heartbreak, half euphoria--it’s every prayer answered.

 

“Hello,” something in Dad’s voice nearly kills Albus.

 

Orion hides half behind his own father watching Dad with suspicious eyes. “Hello.”

 

Albus hopes that Dad leaves this dinner without being more destroyed than he already has been. He’s not sure his father can take many more heartbreaks.

 

Mum breaks the tension of the moment, with a polite smile she says, “Something smells wonderful.”

 

“I’m glad,” Scorpius has a bit of a laugh at himself. “I half blew up my kitchen preparing it, so I hope it suits your tastes.” That seems to relieve the tension in Orion. Who starts giggling like a mad little thing.

 

“Dad was covered in sauce just a little bit ago,” he dashes over to Albus, throwing his arms back around Albus’s waist. “When Alby came home we went to see what all the noise was.”

 

“Yes we did,” Albus laughs. Running a longing hand over Orion’s hair. “He had sauce all over his face didn’t he?”

 

Orion nods enthusiastically, and then at Dad and Mum says, “If it’s crap we’ll ring one of the shops.”

 

“He’s got so much faith in me,” Scorpius shakes his head, fond, and asks Albus’s parents to follow them into the dining room.

 

*

 

Albus follows Scorpius into the kitchen, to help with pudding--though he’s only volunteering to give his parents time alone with his child. Dinner went well enough, Dad and Mum had asked all the boring inane questions one can think to ask. Orion indulged them with animated answers about his hobbies, school, and the like.

 

“James tells me you play Quidditch,” Mum is the one who dives into this particular topic and Orion, from where Albus spies him around the bend of the wall, perks up.

 

“I’m a Beater,” he’s puffed up with pride and Dad’s face stretches wide with a grin.

 

“I used to play Seeker, so did your gran,” he tips his head towards Mum. “She played for the Harpies for years.”

 

Orion sits up straighter in his chair, “Brilliant.” His eyes on Mum glitter in excitement.

 

Mum Albus cannot see, she’s her back to the wall, but her tone is warm when she replies. “I enjoyed it.”

 

“Why did you quit?” Albus’s heart sinks at the question because he’s why his mum quit playing professional Quidditch.

 

“I became a mother,” she has that wistful tone--Dad shoots her a not so subtle warning glance. As if he’s terrified she’s going to break the fragile bond they’ve established with this child Dad has longed to meet. To know. To call one of his own.

 

Orion’s face falls a bit, and he has a puzzling frown on his mouth when he settles back into his seat--withdrawing in on himself. “Does being a mum steal dreams?” Albus grips the counter, trying not to shout when Orion adds, “My mum gave me to my dad so he could live his dreams.” Scorpius grips Albus’s arm, stopping him from running into the dining room and making a fool of himself. In Albus’s ear Scorpius hisses for him to cool it.

 

“You know,” Dad begins after an awkward pause. “I don’t know much about being a mother, and I never really had one, but if I could have her back--even at this point in my life I’d be happy to have what time I could with her.” Dad pats Orion on the hand and holds his gaze, “Idiocy took your mother away, but your mum is here, now, and I’m willing to bet if he could change his choice he would.” In a heartbeat Albus would change his reaction to Scorpius. If he could.  

 

Orion still has a frown when he glances at Mum, chewing his lip before he asks, “Would you, Gran Potter, would you chose different if you could?” There’s something heart-shattering on Dad’s face when Mum lies and says she wouldn’t change her choice to have her children--both Albus and Dad know better. Which is fine, Albus knows now that every person grows to have regrets. That’s what makes them human.

 

The lie thrills Orion though, and he smiles, “Anyone can be a Quidditch star--only special people get to be parents. That’s what Granddad always says, takes good people to make other good people.” Albus wonders how uncomfortable it makes Dad to hear his grandson praising Draco Malfoy.

 

“Do you think Albus is good,” Mum enquires, and Albus wishes he could see her face to gauge her meaning.

 

Without hesitation Orion nods, “Yes, Alby is the best or my dad wouldn’t have loved him enough to bond him.”

 

Scorpius, in a rare show of affection, brushes a gentle kiss against Albus’s hair, “You are good, Albus, even when you are a shit.” He’s gone, back to the dining room with the evening’s peach cobbler, before Albus can respond.

 

*

 

“We’ll have to do this again,” Mum says and seems to mean it. “James and Lily will be furious to know we were invited to your flat first.” Albus supposes that’s her way of forgiving him for keeping away from them for so long.

 

“You’ll have to Owl me,” Dad tells Orion. “Whenever your next match is, I’d love to come watch.”

 

Orion hesitates, “I really like you.” That brightens Dad’s face. “But,” that one word causes his expression to fall. “I’ve known my granddad my whole life, and I know you both get on like badgers and snakes.”

 

“Lions and snakes, more like,” Mum mutters only loud enough for Albus and Scorpius to hear. Scorpius covers his mouth to keep in his snort while Albus rolls his eyes.

 

Dad kneels down before Orion, “I promise I will learn to tolerate, maybe even like your granddad. If it means I can have a relationship with you I will do whatever I can to make this okay.” Dad would resurrect Voldemort from the dead if it meant having a relationship with this child--Albus does not doubt for a moment that Dad will do everything in his power to befriend Draco Malfoy if Orion asks it of him.

 

“Really,” Orion sounds so hopeful. “I’ve heard you’re pretty stubborn.”

 

“Well, I’m learning to be better,” Dad assures even though he looks like he wants to curse off Draco’s bollocks. “So, you’ll Owl, yeah?”

 

“I would if I had an Owl,” Orion complains with a huff directed at Scorpius who scowls and shakes his head at their son. Tired of the same old argument, it seems. “Dad says they shit all over the place.”

 

Dad doesn’t reprimand Orion, he just scowls before telling him, “Only if you get a subpar bird. Don’t worry, I won’t let you have a bad Owl.”

 

“Wait, Dad-,” Albus starts but Dad holds up a hand, silencing him and Albus has a feeling his dad is going to do something that’ll land him in hot shit with Scorpius.

 

“I’ll buy you an Owl, and if your dad or your mum tries to stop me then I’ll just have to hex them.” Dad sounds dead fucking serious. An obvious challenge to both Albus and Scorpius. Shit.

 

Orion appears worried, “That could be bad...didn’t you kill the worst wizard ever?” He glances over at Albus and Scorpius, “Please let him buy me the Owl.” He’s genuinely terrified Harry Potter will off them over a stupid bird. Albus really needs to find out what Draco’s been telling his son in Albus’s extended absence.  

 

Scorpius huffs, “It’s not worth my life--you can have a ruddy Owl.” Then he says, “I daresay Draco would be proud at that level of blackmail, Mr Potter.” There’s a smirk on his mouth when Dad looks up at where they’re all standing.

 

“Well, I’ve learned from some of the best,” Dad has a saucy little smile and he winks at Orion who seems charmed.

 

“You’ve got pretty eyes,” Orion tells him before Dad stands--ready to follow Mum home through the Floo.

 

“So do you,” Dad whispers, ruffling Orion’s hair before Mum moves to kiss him on his soft cheek.

 

*

 

“Your damned dad,” Scorpius complains once Orion’s in bed and they’re having a drink in the family room. Scorpius drinking his usual foul lager while Albus sits sipping a decent glass of one of the vintages Draco’s tried to force on his son.

 

“He’s a terror when he wants to be,” Albus agrees. His dad has a habit of always getting his way.

 

“Not only is he getting Orion a bird, but I guarantee Draco will fucking get him one, too, just to have bought him the superior Owl .” He takes a long pull of his drink then massages his eyes. “Fuck I need-,” he stops, as if he realises then that Albus is with him. “Nevermind.” The way Scorpius glances away, rubbing at his neck makes Albus certain he knows what Scorpius is referring to.

 

“You’re too tense,” Albus informs him, taking a slow sip from his glass. Eyeing Scorpius with intent. “I could...” he trails off, hungry gaze drifting to Scorpius’s denim covered crotch.

 

“Not happening,” Scorpius sighs. Leaning back in his seat he gives Albus a tired stare,“No matter how fucking good you are on your knees, I don’t need this to be more complicated than it already is.” Scorpius’s expression is pleading.

 

“We already live together, Orion already knows,” Albus counters. God, he aches for Scorpius’s skin.

 

“Yeah, but he’s not going to understand us being fuck buddies--he’s going to think this is a relationship and forever--with vows, more babies, or some shit and I’m not doing that, Albus.” He downs the rest of his drink, probably to keep himself from saying anything else--something more hurtful.

 

Still his heart stutters over the mention of more children--Albus isn’t sure he could endure a hell like the last one he lived through, so he, too, drinks more of his wine to keep from speaking.

 

Scorpius touches his knee and Albus glances over at him with a start. He’s surprised to find Scorpius wearing an earnest expression. “You know I don’t blame you for that.” Scorpius doesn’t have to say what that is. “And I hope you don’t blame yourself.”

 

Albus cannot begin to lie and say he doesn’t, because they both know he does blame himself for their loss.

 

“I’m tired,” he whispers instead, setting his glass on the coffee table before he stands to take himself to bed. “Goodnight.”

 

*

 

“You know what,” Lysander is half shouting when Albus wanders in one night after work, and he’s glad Orion is with Teddy, Dominique and their kids for a Snidget exhibit tour because Lysander is terrifying. In ways Albus never would have imagined of the small boy who used to follow him constantly. “Fuck you, Malfoy.” He is in Scorpius’s face. Scorpius’s jaw twitches but he doesn’t act on violence. He takes the abuse as if he feels he deserves it. Scorpius has always believed he deserved abuse, and took all manner of violence in silence. Albus had thought him changed, but watching this exchange makes him wonder. “I thought we were friends,” Lysander’s shout cracks, hurt and it brings Albus back to the present. Making him wonder what’s got Lysander so wound up.  

 

“We are friends,” Scorpius tries to reason. Sounding too tired as he massages his eyes.

 

“Yeah, okay,” Lysander sneers. “So that’s why you’ve been keeping this from me.” Albus is certain he’s the secret Scorpius has been keeping.

 

Scorpius sighs, running a hand through his hair, “Look, I’ve been dealing with a tonne of shit. I’ve taken on a failing fashion company, have had to navigate my kid hating me, have seen my bonded with a bloke bollocks deep in him--only a couple of months after I watched a Healer extract my dead child from his womb.” By the end he’s shouting at Lysander, clearly fed the fuck up with everything in his life, “My father tells me daily that I’m being a complete fucking cockup, and that this will all end in fire, so Lysander...much as I love you, and I do, mate, you were the person who gave me an outlet for my anger.” Scorpius steps closer, towering, “But much as I love you, I have not had time to offer you a courtesy call on the complete implosion that is my damn life.” With a hiss he adds, “I cannot tell you how sorry I am for ruining your childhood crush on Albus, but look...I bonded him before you would’ve been able to knot him. I didn’t know you then, not like I know you now, and even if I did I wouldn’t regret what I’ve done with him because he is the reason I have Orion.” With a dangerous tone, similar to Draco’s Scorpius finishes with, “If you want to quit this band and my life then by all fucking means, do it. But you don’t get to come at me with this rage when you didn’t have the fucking bollocks to ask him out, or fuck him. You don’t get to be angry that I’m helping the mother of my child. You don’t get to blame me for your lack of confidence.”

 

“Scorpius,” Lysander still sounds pissed, yet somehow subdued.

 

“Get out,” Scorpius is through with all of it, Albus can hear the weariness in his soul. “If you can’t get past this then fine, I’ll write up a statement apologising to the public and will announce that Hallow’s Eve is looking for a new guitarist.”

 

“Why did it have to be Albus,” Lysander is wretched when he asks.

 

“I ask myself that question every day of my life,” Scorpius admits with a tragic chuckle.  

 

*

 

Scorpius is having a smoke on the terrace, he sighs when he notices Albus and turns away--directing his gaze to the garden. Albus admires that Scorpius is able to remain so composed while falling apart.

 

He pretends he didn’t see any of the row Scorpius had with Lysander--choosing to leave Scorpius to his brooding silence. Albus should’ve known it might come to that, he’s known for ages that Lysander thought there could be something between them. He is ever clumsy and foolish in Albus’s presence. However, Albus has never looked at him as anything more than the child he used to sit for Luna. There were a few summers Albus watched him so often he might as well have been Lysander’s surrogate mother, and he’s wondered--more than once--if the fancy Lysander shows him is due to him having a mother complex. If so Albus thinks someone should tell him that Albus is the worst mother to ever exist.

 

He flops into his bed, staring at the ceiling--thinking of all the things his touch will ruin for the love of his life.

 

*

 

Albus is still in his room when Scorpius comes in, informing him, “I’m going out tonight. I don’t know if I’ll be back.”

 

“Is it for work,” Albus is worried about Scorpius’s health. He wants to ask about Lysander and what brought about that fight, but doesn’t. Knowing Scorpius won’t want to discuss it with him.

 

“No,” he admits after a time. “I’m...” he sighs, glancing away from Albus with a guilty shuffle.

 

“Going to fuck someone,” Albus finishes for him, almost venomous.

 

“Yeah,” Scorpius admits, a note of sadness in his tone. “Look. I’ve got needs.”

 

“I have them, too,” Albus counters. Hopeful, he adds, “We could have them together.”

 

“I’m not ready for that, Albus,” Scorpius admits and Albus squirms, wretched.

 

“Fine,” he bites out.

 

He’s not fine.

 

*

 

He’s especially not fine when a few weeks later he realises he’s going to have a heat. The suppressants usually help him to keep them at one to three a year, depending on how often his Healer thinks is healthy. Typically, it depends on if Albus is taking care of his diet, sleep, and a myriad of other things he’s not good about keeping up with. So when he’s at the Healer for his suppressant and heat wellness check Albus is horrified when the man says, “We’re going to have to ease you into another heat.” He appears apologetic, “I know we forced your heat away after your miscarriage, and I know you were hoping to only have one--later in the year, but your heat hormones are too high. You know that if you don’t have one soon it could cause problems in your magic as well as your physical well-being.” It’s days like these Albus wishes he was born a Muggle or a fucking Squib.  

 

*

 

Scorpius has been out a few more nights to “relieve stress” and Albus has been working so he’s only got a few days before he can warn him. “I’m going to need some of my month’s pay early,” Albus tells him as a way to ease into the topic.

 

“You should have money still, from last month,” Scorpius frowns, and Orion glances between them with a worried expression. As if he can sense the fight that is coming.

 

“Orion,” Albus asks him sweetly, “Can you give me and your dad a few minutes--there’s something I need to tell him and it’s uncomfortable.” He’s using his most gentle tone, hoping to ease Orion’s anxieties.

 

“Are you ill,” Orion seems extremely worried.

 

“No, love, I’m fine, but I’m not sure how much you know about Omega cycles and the like.” By Scorpius’s horrified expression Albus is willing to bet that’s going to be a conversation they’ll have to have soon.

 

“Orion go to your room for a bit, Albus and I will call you when you can come back down,” the command is soft, but gives no room for argument so Orion goes--silently, even as he shoots them both a frown.

 

Once Orion is up the stairs, Scorpius asks, “How long until your heat comes?”

 

“A few days,” Albus fidgets. Through his nerves he lifts his head, holding Scorpius’s gaze when he murmurs, “I’ll need money for a good room and an Alpha partner from one of those reputable heat agencies.” Scorpius’s eyes are full of fury when he glares at Albus.

 

“What,” he demands, voice too sharp and Albus winces at the sound.

 

Albus is brittle beneath that stare when he replies, “You won’t fuck me, and I’m going to need an Alpha’s scent--I’ve not had a heat since...” he trails off, throat growing tight. “Anyways, I’m going to need a partner.”

 

“Okay,” Scorpius agrees even has his knuckles grow white from how hard he balls his fists.

 

*

 

The thing about reputable heat agencies is that they have mandatory interviews, to protect all persons in the heat contract. Albus hasn’t needed to employ a heat partner before. Usually, he’s had acquaintances or models, he could give a bit of money to--to put up with his neediness--but he’s going to need a professional now. A professional should have the ability to handle the intensity of this heat. They’ll be equipped to handle his overwhelming grief.

 

He’s sat in an uncomfortable chair when a potential Alpha and an Omega mediator come in. “Hello, Mr Potter,” the mediator begins in a welcoming way. “I’m Mark, your Omega mediator while you use our services, and this is a potential Alpha for you to choose--Derek.” Derek gives him a kind smile, Albus relaxes a bit at the sight of friendliness. Feeling less jumpy now that he’s not alone in this sterile, cold room.

 

“We have a few questions and will go over the application with you,” Mark hands Albus what he assumes will be his contract with Derek, should they both agree. “I can tell you are in pre-heat and I assume you are on a hasty schedule to procure an Alpha?”

 

“Yes,” Albus informs, “I’ve got thirty-six hours if I’m lucky.”

 

“That will, of course, limit your options,” Mark scratches down some hasty notes before he moves on to the next bit. “Now we do have a questionnaire to go over. These are things to help us help you, and to keep both parties safe during the heat.” Albus nods in understanding before Mark continues with another comforting smile, “We have to ask, and I apologise for the intrusiveness of these questions.” Albus nods in silent understanding. Mark carries on, “Are you bonded?”

 

“I am,” Albus admits with a tired tone.

 

“Have you slept with your bond partner within the past year?” Mark does not look up from the scroll as he asks these things, scratching out notes when Albus replies.

 

“Yes.”  

 

“The past three months?” Scritch-scratch, the constant writing is making Albus jittery.

 

“No,” Albus admits with a swallow, but none of this appears to faze Mark or Derek. Mark keeps filling in information, while Derek sits silently. Watching Albus with a neutral expression.

 

“Have you shared a heat with anyone but your bond partner since your bond?” More things Albus doesn’t want to admit to, but does because he must for this to work. He needs a partner.

 

“Yes,” Albus chews at his thumbnail.

 

“Is your bond partner abusive?” Mark finally lifts his gaze from the scroll to assess Albus as he answers.

 

“No,” Albus startles.

 

“We don’t mean to insinuate anything, this is just standard practice,” Mark assures, all the while his quill keeps writing.

 

“Do you have any children?”

 

“Yes,” Albus is hesitant.

 

“This is all confidential, none of this information will leave this room, Mr Potter.” Mark can clearly read the worry in Albus. “How many children?”

 

“One.”

 

“Was this child born within the past year?” He’s filling in a few different checkboxes, rapidly going down the list.

 

“No,” Albus smiles, “He’s a good decade old.”

 

Derek and Mark both smile, “Wonderful.” Mark hastily fills in more lines. “Now, these might seem uncomfortable, but please bear with them--they are important questions.”

 

“Have you been pregnant within the past year?”

 

“Yes,” Albus feels panic swelling.

 

“Have you had an abortion, stillbirth, or miscarriage within the past year?” This question is asked with a gentle tone that makes Albus’s emotions warble within him.

 

“Miscarriage,” Albus says, doing his best to not cry. Swallowing around the lump that’s growing in his throat.

 

“I am truly sorry for your loss,” Mark sets his quill down. Taking Albus’s hand in an overly familiar manner. But he appreciates the kindness nonetheless. “I hate having to ask you these things.”

 

“No, I understand,” Albus tells him with his bravest smile.

 

“Have you had a heat since the miscarriage, and if so was it partner assisted?”

 

“No, I haven’t.” Mark appears worried by those words. Derek also appears hesitant, and Albus knows what’s coming.

 

*

 

Scorpius is bent over a guitar when Albus comes in, his cigarette is dangling from his lips and he’s concentrating on a pad of paper open at his knee. Albus startles when he glances up, watching Albus with those familiar grey eyes.

 

“Did you find someone?” It’s a soft enquiry, but barrels into Albus like a cruel hex.

 

Albus hunches, dejected, “No one will take me. I’m high-risk.”

 

Scorpius sighs, snuffing out his cigarette, “I was worried about that.” He sets his guitar aside and gestures for Albus to come closer, “How long?”

 

“Three days if I’m lucky, but my anxiety might bring it on faster.” Albus hates having to admit these shortcomings to Scorpius. He hates that, once again, he’s the failure here.

 

“What will help?” Scorpius watches him with earnest eyes and Albus wants to scratch them out of his beautiful face.

 

“You know what would help,” Albus snaps causing Scorpius to sigh again.

 

“I can’t, Albus,” there’s so much pain in those few words.

 

“I know,” he flops back, onto the floor. Staring up at the ceiling, hoping it will give him answers or assurance. “I get it.” He doesn’t, but he doesn’t want Scorpius to hate him more. “I think if I could take your scent with me it would help.”

 

“You should probably stay here,” Scorpius tells him with a weary tone. “I could arrange for Draco or Nan to take Orion.”

 

“Should I hire an elf to help take care of me?” Albus asks, because someone will have to make sure he eats. Someone will have to make sure he doesn’t try to bring himself harm.

 

“I’ll be here, don’t worry about that.” Scorpius is already setting about writing letters, making arrangements.

 

“If you’re here I’ll want you more,” Albus admits, voice raw with how much the very thought of that hurts him.

 

“I’m sorry, but I’ll need to make sure you don’t hurt yourself,” Scorpius knows, as well as Albus, that this will be a horrible heat.  

 

*

 

“Why can’t I stay with Alby,” Orion demands when Draco comes to fetch him the next night.

 

“He’s got work out of town and I’m going to be working late these next few nights so you need to be with Granddad,” Scorpius reasons while Draco keeps staring death at Albus. As if he’s purposely going into heat to seduce Scorpius. If he could be with Scorpius he would not choose to do it this way. Albus would be content to not have this heat, but he doubts Draco would believe that if he tried to explain this to the stubborn man. So, Albus doesn’t bother. Let him think what he will.  

 

“Ugh, this is the worst,” Orion complains, hoisting his duffle over his small shoulder. Scorpius reprimands him quietly and Albus does his best to seem as small as possible. “You’ll come get me as soon as you’re both done, yeah?”

 

“Of course,” Albus promises, hugging Orion to him when he comes to give Albus an extra tight hug.

 

When he lifts his face up from kissing the top of Orion’s soft hair Albus notices Draco passing Scorpius a few phials of potion. “Make him take them, son.” And Albus doesn’t have to ask what they are. He brushes gentle fingers across Orion’s cheek before Orion bounces towards the Floo, after a lingering hug is given to Scorpius.

 

“Love you,” Orion calls with a smile.

 

“Love you more,” Albus and Scorpius reply in unison, making Orion’s smile even wider.

 

When they are gone in a whoosh of green Scorpius locks the Floo.

 

*

 

His heat comes that night. The heat sneaks up on Albus so suddenly it makes his knees weak, causing him to collapse in the corridor. Scorpius is with him in an instant. Strong hands gripping him by the underarms and hauling him to standing. “Shhh,” he murmurs when Albus begins pleading, because it fucking hurts. It hurts as a heat never has before. His bones tremble with need. His muscles ache with longing. And his soul mourns in ways he’s not allowed before now.

 

“Scorpius,” he sobs, putting his face into Scorpius’s neck. Wrapping his arms and legs tightly about him as Scorpius carries him to the master bedroom. “I want my baby.”

 

“Alb,” Scorpius whispers into his hair. His voice is tight, strained with emotions Albus feels from their proximity--their bond causes them to echo through his own and amplify them. “Alb, I’m here.”

 

“I need you,” Albus nearly screams when Scorpius places him into bed. He starts tearing at Scorpius’s clothes.

 

“Shhh,” Scorpius hushes him. “Shhhh, I won’t leave.”

 

*

 

Albus wants the knot, but he never asks for it. He never asks for any sort of gratification; not after that first time. All he manages to do is lie, naked upon this duvet, and weep. His hand holds Scorpius’s--tracing the tattoos he has on a couple of his fingers. Wrapping around the ring finger of his right hand is the gemini constellation, the magical properties of the ink cause it to twinkle in and out--subtle, beautiful.

 

“I love you,” Albus whispers to him. Tears running off his lashes and onto a goose down pillow.

 

Scorpius never repeats the words back, but Albus believes he feels Scorpius’s love in the way he runs his fingertips over Albus’s cheek--catching tears as he shushes him.

 

*

 

By the end of it all Albus’s voice is raw, his eyes are swollen, and Scorpius appears as if he needs a bath of coffee to absorb. It’s almost too much to look at Scorpius. Because he remembers the child he sobbed for, the one whose absence his womb throbbed for--but that child cannot be. Even if Scorpius placed another there it would not be the same, and when rationality returned Albus hated himself for the heat that put the notion into him that any baby could be just as good as the one that was lost.

 

“Hey,” Scorpius’s voice is rough with sleep. “Do you want something to eat?” He doesn’t, and Scorpius sighs. “Albus.” Albus misses him fondly calling him Alb, but he doesn’t say this. He stands motionless as Scorpius approaches, “You have to eat.”

 

“Why,” Albus mutters with defiance.

 

Scorpius’s mouth settles into a firm line of irritation, “Because Orion is still living.” Albus swallows. Scorpius appears gentler, contrite when he whispers, “I know, Alb...I know it hurts.”

 

“You don’t,” Albus hisses. Furious that Scorpius believes he can even begin to understand Albus’s feelings. “It wasn’t yours, remember?” Scorpius stands there, accepting Albus’s rage as he had all those years ago--remaining there for Albus to beat his slim fists against Scorpius’s firm chest while he sobs out all the hurts he feels. “You said you couldn’t be there for this one. You said you wouldn’t.”

 

“I also said I already loved it more than anything,” Scorpius reminds with a gentleness Albus doesn’t expect after his own rage. Scorpius takes his wrists into a light, but firm hold and draws Albus closer. “How could I not love any child you give me,” he does the unexpected then--he kisses Albus, deeply, uncaring of the snot and tears that coat Albus’s chapped lips. When he breaks apart from Albus, Scorpius whispers, “Why do I love you so much?”

 

I don’t know, Albus thinks as he traces the soft skin of Scorpius face--his palm catching over near invisible stubble. “Why does loving you hurt so much,” Scorpius asks him, and Albus wishes he knew the answer. But Scorpius doesn’t seem to need one when he leans in, to kiss Albus again.

 

*

 

Albus arches beneath the gentle hand that traces the line of his chest, down to his abdomen. He doesn’t say a word, he’s scared to breathe too loudly or even moan for fear of Scorpius stopping. “Alb,” Scorpius whispers, like a prayer, chanting his name over and over. “Can I,” he enquires, face innocent and terrified like it had been the first time. Albus nearly cries.

 

“Yes,” he whispers, drawing Scorpius closer--less scared of the fragility now that the tension is breaking. “Always yes,” he hisses when his shirt is slowly lifted, exposing him to the chill of the room.

 

Scorpius draws his own shirt over his head, exposing tattoos Albus doesn’t know, ones that came after and he leans in closer--ready to commit this skin to memory. He rushes, and Scorpius stops him with a calming noise that terrifies Albus. “No, I’m not telling you to stop,” Scorpius assures, kissing the tip of Albus’s nose before peppering little pecks across his closed eyelids and cheeks. “I just want you to know you don’t have to hurry. I’m not going anywhere.”

 

“I’m so sorry,” Albus sobs. Scorpius kisses him through his tears. Hugging him closer--just holding him.

 

“Shhhh,” Scorpius murmurs into Albus’s neck, where he licks and nips at the skin, causing Albus’s cock to throb between his thighs. “I know you’re sorry, Alb.” He sucks harder at the skin, the way Albus loves it and he can feel the grin Scorpius wears when he releases an obscene moan. “Let me show you forgiveness,” Scorpius husks against his ear, after he’s nibbled and sucked at the small lobe--the words cause Albus to whimper.

 

Scorpius pulls Albus’s pyjamas off, tossing them carelessly to the floor. His grey eyes are drawn to Albus’s erection, and his hands follow, lovingly touching the hard, reddened flesh--giving it a soft pull as a filthy smile curves across his lips.

 

“I dream of this cock,” he husks, before reaching behind Albus’s cock, past his bollocks, where he dips his long fingers into the still slick hole of Albus’s arse. Albus tries to keep his eyes open, but his eyes flutter when he feels Scorpius stroking him, curling his fingers inside of him as well as he can--causing Albus’s body to produce more slick. “Shit, you’re so wet for me,” Scorpius praises making Albus’s cock twitch. “I dream of this arse, too.” There’s something obscene in the way Scorpius’s tone drops, causing Albus to whimper. “I dream of the taste of you on my tongue, begging for my knot.”

 

“Yes,” Albus begs, grinding against Scorpius’s fingers.

 

“That comes later, love,” he promises as he extracts his fingers from Albus, putting his now slickened palm around Albus’s cock. He leans in to suck and bite at Albus, making love to his neck with his mouth as he jerks Albus’s cock in the same rough manner he always did. “Hold onto me,” he husks, not a command so much as a plea as he settles closer--between Albus’s thighs--then he reaches with his free hand back to Albus’s hole, slipping three fingers easily in. Fingering Albus off in time with the rough pull of his wank. All the while he wets Albus’s neck with his tongue. It is an almost rough swipe, digging into his flesh--trying to climb in him while Scorpius’s breathing intensifies.

 

“Scorpius,” Albus begins to whimper and Scorpius jerks his head up to Albus’s mouth, invading him with a kiss that is feral. Albus digs his fingers into Scorpius’s hair while he rocks his hips up when Scorpius wanks him and down when he thrusts his skilled fingers as deep as they will go. “I’m going to come,” he whines, biting at Scorpius’s lips, curling his tongue around Scorpius’s. “It’s too quick.”

 

“Come, Alb,” Scorpius pleads, “God, I want to watch you come.” And he does. “Fuck,” Scorpius hisses, watching his face intently while come spills over their naked stomachs and slick leaks down Albus’s thighs, coating Scorpius’s other hand.

 

Albus is lethargic, but aware. He goes to reach into the waistband of Scorpius’s trousers--intent on wanking him off when he is met with a warm, sticky mess. Knowing that Scorpius came to him coming makes his cock twitch, trying valiantly to release a second time.

 

“Can we do this again,” Albus begs, wanting to give it another go and Scorpius laughs. Leaning in to kiss him more gently.

 

“Yeah, but can I get cleaned up and nap first?”

 

*

 

Draco has an unreadable expression on his face when he brings Orion home. It turns nasty when he spots a dark love bite on Scorpius’s chest. After his hastily buttoned up shirt slips open. Orion doesn’t notice, he’s too busy wrapping his arms around Albus’s waist and smiling—happy to finally be home.

 

*

 

He puts Orion to bed, alone, because Draco and Scorpius are talking. “Nan said to give you her love.” He yawns, twining his smaller fingers with Albus’s, “I missed you a lot.”

 

Albus’s eyes go soft as he brushes a kiss to Orion’s hair, smiling when he drifts easily into sleep. “Welcome home.”

 

As he exits the room Scorpius comes up the stairs, a dark expression on his face—one that melts away when his eyes fall on Albus. There’s a gentle smile playing across his mouth, adoration in his grey eyes, recalling to Albus the youth they shared as lovers. It always comes back to this, he thinks as Scorpius steps into his space—drawing Albus closer to kiss.

 

“Was he angry,” Albus enquires when Scorpius releases his mouth, but still holds him to his chest.

 

“Isn’t he always, these days,” Scorpius counters.

 

“He’s got good reason to be angry,” Albus hates to admit this but they both know the truth.

 

“Anger is poison, Alb—the sooner Draco realises that the better.” Scorpius nuzzles into his hair, breathing him in a manner that is calming. “Now, come with me?”

 

He doesn’t hesitate when Scorpius leads him down the hall, and into his room.



 

Teddy:

 

The call comes at a little past midnight, when he’s finally got his hands on Dominique’s pale thighs and is ready to taste the gift between them. He groans as his Mirror smacks his forehead and she smirks, “Your Malfoys are calling you again.”

 

“Don’t you know, luv, I’m an orphan--I’ve got no obligation to them.” She nibbles his ear in response, her breath tickling the skin with her whisper.

 

“Go take care of them, and then come take care of me.” Teddy can feel her nipples through her thin, lacy top, “I’m always wet for you, my love.” He grips her wrist, gently pulling her closer to give her another sweet kiss.

 

“I do not deserve you,” he murmurs against her mouth.

 

“You don’t, but you can spend eternity doing everything in your power to become worthy,” she turns then, and Teddy’s body mourns the loss of warmth as he watches her arse bounce.

 

 

“This had better be good,” he half growls as he answers. The fury goes out of him when he takes notice of the way Draco appears. He’s haggard with clothes askew and bags beneath his eyes. He’s got a thick shadow of a beard on his usually shaven jaw. Instantly,Teddy is worried. “Where are you?”

 

*

 

Enzo is the one who greets Teddy at the Floo, his face appears sombre, tired, and Teddy gives him a short nod of greeting before he makes his way to the bedroom. The flat is dim, as always, and smells of the thick scent of roses--tickling Teddy’s over sensitive nose, but he ignores it in favour of seeking Draco.

 

“Up you,” he jokes, shaking at Draco’s shoulders. Trying for calm joviality rather than concerned. Teddy is concerned--he’s downright fucking scared when Draco remains unmoved. Enzo is in the doorway, appearing just as terrified when Teddy hisses back at him, “How much has he drank? How long has he been like this?” He’s too upset to remember Enzo only speaks French. He repeats the questions when Enzo appears confused, only this time he says them in the right language.

 

“He’s been drinking heavily for a week,” Enzo replies, casting his pale green eyes to the plush carpets. “I’ve tried to stop him, but...” he trails off, clutching the collar of his expensive robe. “But he reminded me that I am a paid friend and paid friends are not allowed to push concern on him.”

 

“Fucking Christ,” Teddy rants to himself as he lifts Draco. “Can you Apparate us to hospital?” Enzo nods. Teddy is grateful because he hasn’t a fucking clue about where to find the Wizarding Hospital in Paris.

 

*

 

He messages Dominique while he’s in the waiting room: I don’t think I’ll be home anytime soon. I miss you.

 

Her reply is a kiss mark against the surface of his Mirror and it brings a smile to his face as he pockets the glass. Enzo is sitting in one of the chairs that appear too posh for a hospital, his pale hands are wrapped around a paper cup of coffee--Teddy is suddenly struck with how similar this man looks to Albus, and to Harry. A thought he banishes when Enzo speaks. “I feel stupid.”

 

“For what,” Teddy takes a seat beside him, because what else is he going to do in this place--he might as well listen to the man who knows Draco more intimately than the rest of them.

 

“For loving him,” Enzo’s smile is brittle. Every crease of his expression full of hurt. “It’s foolish to love a man you know will never love you in return.” His eyes fall on the white scar tissue of Teddy’s bondmark, then his smile turns sad. “Such permanent love. What happens when it ends?”

 

“Nothing,” Teddy whispers in reply. “Because it never ends.” Bonds exist through death, and some legends say they follow one into the next life.

 

“That’s why I’m foolish,” Enzo muses with a soft chuckle. “He told me what this was in the beginning, and I accepted because here came a man who was charming, well bred, and offering the world...with the exception of his heart.” Teddy’s at a loss for what to do, or say, so he just stares. Enzo laughs again, “Put away your pity, little one, I knew better than to say yes, but still I accepted.” His warm palm pats Teddy’s knee, “Perhaps this is the price I will pay for greed.”

 

“I don’t think it’s greedy to love someone,” Teddy covers the back of Enzo’s hand with his palm. Trying to offer what comfort he can. Enzo’s smile grows wobbly as he tries to fight off tears.

 

“I want him to be okay, Edward.” Enzo is the only person Teddy allows to call him in such a way.  

 

“So do I,” Teddy means that. Draco is his father, much as Harry is--perhaps more of a father, at times, while Harry is the fun uncle.

 

The Healer comes to fetch them, her robe is dark grey and looks far too nice to be something a Healer should wear. Fucking posh, private hospitals. “He’s awake, if you’d like to talk to him,” she informs.

 

“Go,” Enzo encourages when Teddy turns toward him. “He wants to see you more than he’ll want to see me. Tell him to Floo when he’s a need.” Enzo pats Teddy on the cheek before he makes his way to the hospital’s Floos.

 

Draco’s a fucking mess when Teddy enters his private room. His face is haggard and Teddy has a bit of a laugh, so as not to show his discomfort. “How you feeling, if it’s anything like you look then I’m gonna guess you feel like hammered shit.”

 

“Close, I was going to say I feel like dead shit,” Draco drawls in return. Teddy chuckles as he moves closer. Glad that Draco is still able to joke.

 

“What’s going on here, Draco,” Teddy pulls a chair up to his bedside. Resting his elbows on his knees and intertwining his fingers beneath his sharp chin. “It’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen you this bad.” Since Astoria goes unspoken, but Draco knows to the dark times Teddy’s alluding to.

 

“Mini Potter, he’s going to ruin my son.” Draco doesn’t sob, but it’s a near thing. Scorpius is his world, and after Astoria Scorpius was what kept him from ending his own life. His love for his bondmate, for the last bit of her he had, kept Draco from suffocating in a pool of his own vomit.

 

Teddy understands Draco’s reservations. He’s got them too when it comes to Albus. He’s unstable and flighty and a myriad of things that will probably hurt Scorpius and Orion. However, Teddy believes in Scorpius. He believes in Scorpius’s ability to navigate life, to not let Albus ruin what he’s built. “Your son’s a good man, Draco--not even Albus Potter could ruin him.” He lets out a small huff, “If this all goes belly-up, Scorpius isn’t going to be some ruined shell weeping in a corner. He’s going to be like his own dad.” Draco swallows, his grey eyes are overbright when Teddy adds, “He’s going to grab life by the bollocks and make that bastard his bitch.”

 

“I don’t know why you think so highly of me,” Draco admits. Flattered but serious.

 

“Because, despite what the world thinks they know of you, I do know you. The you that they never gave the chance. You’re a good man, a strong man, and I’m proud to have been welcome in your life and Scorpius’s.” Teddy swallows the lump in his own throat, “I’m proud to call you family. No matter what anyone else says.” Then he promises, “And if Albus is stupid enough to fuck this up, Draco, you have my word that I will beat the berk half to death.”

 

“You’d choose me over Potter,” Draco smirks.

 

Without hesitation Teddy replies, solemn, “Yes. Without question.”

 

That causes a couple of silent tears to fall down Draco’s cheeks, and Teddy pretends he hasn’t seen.

 

*

 

“Be good, and go home,” Draco commands once he’s been told he will be released.

 

“Only if you promise to stay out of a barrel of whiskey, and to try and accept that Scorpius is a smart man,” Teddy counters with a pointed glance.

 

“I’ll try,” Draco smirks.

 

“I suppose that will have to do,” Teddy huffs. Then, as he zips up his jacket he adds, “Be nicer to Enzo, Draco.” The frown of confusion Draco wears causes him to elaborate, “He cares about you, deeply, don’t hurt him anymore than that already does.”

 

Dropping the smirk, replacing the expression with sombre eyes Draco mutters, “I’ll try.”

 

Teddy supposes that’s the most he can ask for.

 

*

 

Dominique is sprawled across the bed when he comes in, after he’s peeked in on the boys in their room. Both of them sound asleep and peaceful. The image caused his heart to swell. He often wonders about the siblings he might’ve had if his mother and father had not died in war. A real brother or sister, not just the ones he has to borrow and give back when he tells people about his circumstances.

 

“Hey,” she whispers, rubbing the sleep from her eyes when she sits up--her long hair falls over her soft shoulder like a veil that begs to be moved. “I wasn’t sure if you’d be back today.”

 

“I figured a day away was enough. I sat with Draco while they flushed his system of his prefered poison.”

 

“Was it potions?” There’s a draw of concern between her pale eyebrows.

 

“I think he’d a mix of those with the booze, we didn’t talk about that in much detail.” Teddy slips out of his clothes before he slides beneath the covers beside her.

 

“Do you think he will fall back into those old habits,” she sounds worried even as she receives him with a deep kiss. Accepting everything that he gives as she always does. Teddy wonders, too, if his parents had this kind of connection. If they loved each other as much as he loves Dominique.

 

“I don’t think Draco wants to go back down that path, and I don’t think he’s that sad this time. He’s more angry and hurt than devastated.” She climbs over his lap, winding her warm fingers through his hair. “I don’t want to talk about it right now,” Teddy murmurs against her palm, his lips catching over the smooth skin.

 

“What do you want,” she teases with a challenging tone.

 

“You,” Teddy captures her hips with his hands. “I always want you.”

 

*

 

“Al wrote today--we’re having a dinner at the Burrow to introduce Orion to the rest of the family,” Dominique informs him while Teddy is trying to get his head up her skirt--the pub is empty and he’s “doing inventory” in the back with her.

 

“Do we have to talk about this, right this moment ,” he groans--annoyed that their first uninterrupted moment in days is spoilt with talk of Albus. Tristram has kept them up all night, most evenings, due to some mysterious ailment--one that magically disappears when he’s cushioned against his mother’s chest. The small beast always begins his wails when Teddy touches Dominique’s skin. Like he knows what his father is intending to do, and wants to put a stop to it. He’s the cutest cockblock Teddy’s ever known.

 

“I hardly see you these days,” Dominique complains, even as she slips out of her clothes. “We’re both always working or taking care of kids. It leaves us hardly any time to talk.”

 

Teddy’s gaze goes soft while his touch grows gentle. “Whatever you need of me, my love, I will give.” His lips graze her palm, catching over the softness, “Should I sell my businesses and devote all my time to you? Every waking hour I will make yours, if you ask it.”

 

Dominique chuckles, her eyes charmed, as she tilts his face up to kiss. “No one would believe me if I told them you were this romantic. They wouldn’t believe the poetry that spills off your tongue.”

 

“Only you, Nikkita,” Teddy assures. “Only you have my heart. Only you make it pour feelings.” His tattooed fingers dance along the curve of her thighs when she straddles him--love and lust swirling in the blue of her eyes.

 

“You love me,” she teases with a light grin. Kissing his forehead in such a chaste way, even as she draws him within her with a titillating sigh.

 

“More than anything,” he agrees, brushing the pads of his fingers over the raised flesh of her bond scar. “I ache when you are not with me.”

 

“If I’m with you too often I will be pregnant all the time,” she teases, even as her breath catches--stuttering with the ways she rocks her hips.

 

“I love you when you are glowing with my child,” Teddy murmurs in soft French--her preferred tongue. “You take my lust and turn it into a gift, into a glorious little reminder that I am allowed the honour of being with you.” They are at it for hours, taking it tantalisingly slow--stopping when they get close, wanting to draw out the inevitable.

 

While he’s growing soft within her, when their breathing has returned to normal and the thump of their hearts is no longer erratic, Dominique murmurs, “Do you think it will be fine when Orion meets the rest of the family?”

 

“He’s a great kid, they will love him,” Teddy assures, brushing his fingers through her silken hair.

 

“It’s not him I’m worried about--Scorpius is coming to them as the one who branded Albus owned,” she holds Teddy’s gaze. “Remember how angry they were with you, and they actually loved your parents. My family hates the Malfoys.”

 

Teddy hasn’t forgotten.

 

*

 

Baz is so excited to finally have Orion with him at a Weasley shindig. He grabs the older boy by his hand and leads him all about the garden. Showing him the gnomes that Granddad Weasley is too soft on and can never fully chase away, before he drags him to the shed full of Arthur’s hoarded Muggle items. It’s a sight that brings a content grin to Teddy’s lips.

 

A contentment that shatters when he steps out of the cool fall air, into the ramshackle house. There’s a tension in every person in the room. Only the uncles have come with their wives. Most of the cousins are blessedly absent, as are the second cousins. Teddy is here with Dominique, because--well--he’s basically Albus and Scorpius’s brother. And if anyone needs a friend in this room it is Scorpius.

 

He’s standing stiffly at Albus’s side nodding as each of the uncles and their partners are introduced. “My Uncle Ron and his wife, Hermione,” Albus says when he gets to Ron. Ronald Weasley is the Weasley who will always hate Draco Malfoy--honestly, he’s a lot of reason to hate Draco, but the hostility should be none of Scorpius’s. Teddy’s a bit disappointed when Ron doesn’t do more than nod stiffly in return.

 

That should be all the warning they need that this will not end well, but none of them heeds the signs. Not even Teddy, who should know better.

 

 

 

Gran is being an absolute nightmare when Albus’s uncles move into the yard. His brother goes with them, following Scorpius with a frown on his mouth but Albus ignores all that. He’s too focused on Gran playing merry hell at him about abandoning his child.

 

“How dare you, Albus,” she scolds before she angrily waves her wand--commanding the knives to start dicing up celery and carrots. “You had no right to give that boy away to people like that.”

 

“People like what ,” Albus demands. “What is Scorpius’s family like, exactly?” Mum, Dad, and Granddad sit around the table in stony-faced silence. Lily’s excused herself to the restroom, and Teddy’s settled into the living room with Dominique--tending to the tiny Tristram. Albus feels terribly alone as his grandmother settles her accusing blue eyes on him.

 

“Evil, and you know it, child.” There’s not a hint of shame in her for that belief.

 

“How can you say that,” Albus breathes, stung by the insinuation that his child is not welcome here because of the association Orion has with his father’s family. She doesn’t have to say the words, Albus knows Gran believes Orion corrupt because of Draco and Scorpius. He’s ready to fight her, gearing up for a rant of epic proportions when Baz’s crying voice ring through the house.

 

“Daddy,” he screams--causing Teddy and Dad to jump up. Both worried and ready to soothe whatever has hurt the small boy. “Daddy, Uncle Pious is fighting Uncle James.”

 

“Shit,” Teddy swears, rushing out the back door. Albus goes, too. No longer concerned with Gran and her troublesome words. Dad is right behind him, Mum, too, but Albus hardly notices when he sees Orion shouting.

 

“Dad, Dad,” he’s got tears streaming down his face. Wrecking Albus’s heart, and he rushes to draw his son into the circle of his arms--to shield him from the sight of Scorpius getting the holy shit beat out of him. James is on top of him, doing significant damage while Albus’s uncles stand around, watching on with various expressions of amusement.

 

“James,” Dad booms, but James isn’t stopping and Teddy’s clenching his jaw--stopping Dad when he goes to grab his wand. “What the hell,” Dad demands.

 

“Pious can handle himself,” Teddy assures but Albus is terrified. James looks like he’s going to kill him. Then a flash of purple light and a crack of sound booms about the yard. James is thrown a metre or more from Scorpius, who stands on shaky legs--spitting out blood. He’s terrifying with an expression of rage twisting his face.

 

“So, that’s how you lot play, is it?” Scorpius’s voice is all Draco when he sneers, “Nice to know this will be a family affair, Potter.” His hand moves through a complicated gesture, and James goes flying again. “You might have me beat in brute strength, you fucking dolt, but you forget I was Head Boy for a goddamned reason.” Scorpius advances on James with swift steps, “I’m fuck smart, Potter, and I’m damn good with magic.” James releases a scream, the likes of which Albus has never heard. Chilling Albus to the bone.

 

That’s when Teddy finally intervenes, “Pious,” he shouts. When Scorpius doesn’t respond he swears, then whips out his own wand--easily bringing Scorpius to his knees. “That’s enough,” he says with a harsh tone. Dad and Teddy advance on James and Scorpius then.

 

Dad demanding to know what the hell this is all about. Scorpius refuses to answer, so James spits, “This shit of a human is cheating on our Albus.” Albus goes cold at the accusation, his hold on Orion slackens and the child rushes to where his dad sits, bleeding, on Gran’s lawn. “I saw him at the pub with his mouth pressed against some tart’s.”

 

“Is that true,” Orion demands, still crying. When Scorpius doesn’t try to defend himself Orion screams, “I hate you, Dad.” Which causes Scorpius to release a bitter laugh. It’s a hollow sound that echoes through the stillness of the garden.

 

“Fucking wonderful,” he bites out, going to his knees. “Now my kid hates me, too.” He glares at the lot of them, even Orion--but that is more of a pained glance than an actual look of hatred. “I would’ve explained that what you saw was for a Live Music Pensieve, if you’d have bothered to ask.” Albus lets out a relieved sigh, smiling, because Scorpius had warned him about that some weeks prior. However, Scorpius is not happy. Not at all that all of them could believe him capable of such treachery. “I don’t need to explain myself to you. To any of you,” he adds, sweeping his eyes over all of them--including Orion. Then he hisses, “I’m fucking out of here.” Orion chases after him when Scorpius storms into the house.

 

Albus glares around at all of them, “I hope you’re proud of yourselves.” James has the decency to appear guilty, as do Albus’s uncles.

 

Inside, Scorpius is thanking Gran for her hospitality, ignoring Orion who is trying to apologise. “Thank you for inviting me to your home, sorry I’m not worthy of your presence,” he snips in a clipped tone.

 

“Dad,” Orion is pleading, “Dad, don’t go.”

 

Scorpius doesn’t say anything when he Disapparates, and Albus’s heart shatters in his chest when Orion screams.

 

*

 

They go home shortly after, Albus refusing to hear any of James’s apologies or anyone’s excuses. Scorpius isn’t there when they get in, and Albus debates ringing Malfoy Manor to see if he’s gone there. He doesn’t because he’s terrified of what Draco will say or do if he knows Scorpius has gone off in a rage.

 

“I just want my dad,” Orion sobs, over and over, lying against Albus’s chest as they both lie in Scorpius’s large bed that night. Waiting for him to come home together.

 

“I don’t know what to do,” Albus confesses, crying along with his son until they both collapse from exhaustion.

 

In the morning, when they wake, Scorpius still isn’t home.

 

I should’ve never forced my way in, Albus thinks as he holds his son, I broke them. I break everything.









Chapter Text

He’s admiring the way Albus’s sharp hips look beneath the heavily tattooed skin of his fingers, a stark contrast—Albus clean of skin and Scorpius’s skin marked beyond the recognition of his natural skin colour. “What’re you thinking,” Albus whispers, reaching for Scorpius with gentle hands.

 

“I’m thinking of how pure you look compared to me,” he admits, with a lazy grin and a roll of his hips. Thrusting into Albus, drawing a groan from his pink lips.

 

“Looks can be deceiving,” Albus whispers, tightening around him—causing a shudder of want to shiver down Scorpius’s spine.

 

“Defile me, then,” Scorpius grins as he bends closer to kiss Albus. Sucking at the tongue that invades him with the promise of sin.

 

“Gladly,” Albus moans, into Scorpius’s mouth.

 

When they finish, Scorpius admires Albus’s pink flushed chest and the shiny gleam of his own come that paints his stomach. A lazy smile draws up the corner of his mouth, and Albus grins in response to the expression Scorpius wears. “What are you thinking,” he asks again. It’s a question he often speaks—as if he’s afraid of Scorpius’s private thoughts. Afraid that Scorpius will rethink what they are doing here. He’s not. Scorpius feels complete now, as he’s longed to be for years. He’s not giving this up again. It would kill him.

 

“I’m thinking I love you,” he pushes the hair out of Albus’s eyes, admiring the green of them, feeling blessed their son got these eyes.

 

“You might not love me long,” Albus huffs, worry drawing down his dark eyebrows. Before Scorpius can ask what he means, he says, “My gran is insisting we bring Orion to The Burrow to meet the family.”

 

Scorpius shrugs, “I’m surprised she hasn’t insisted sooner.” Scorpius knows all about how grandmothers are. His nan is an absolute nightmare when she wants something. His granny, his mum’s mum, isn’t much better.

 

“She has been...but she wasn’t bothering me, apparently she’s been up my dad’s case about it.” Albus rolls over, to face Scorpius, and he’s got an intense urge to draw Albus closer. To cradle him and protect him against all that bothers him. “She’s horribly opinionated and I’m sure it’s going to be a lecture.”

 

Grinning, Scorpius pinches Albus’s nose, “I was Head Boy, remember? I like lectures.” That causes Albus to laugh wonderful and bright.

 

He hopes Albus never stops laughing.

 

*

 

Orion is excited to meet Albus’s family. “I’m related to Ron Weasley.” He mutters in awe—to himself—and Scorpius has to make himself not roll his eyes. Ron Weasley is one of the few Weasley’s he’s had the displeasure of overhearing on the Alley through the years. The one who often muttered—in carrying tones—about dickhead Malfoys and their inbred lot. However, the man is a war hero and since Orion has been told it’s perfectly fine to love Harry Potter he’s now carried that newfound love to the other famous tossers Albus is related to. “Do you think he will sign some Chocolate Frogs for me?”

 

Scorpius frowns, “Maybe, why?”

 

“Do you know how much money I could get off kids at school for those? Ron Weasley is a favourite there.”

 

Scorpius is torn between being amused and reprimanding his son for trying to cheat his classmates. Draco would be positively beaming if he was present, but since he’s not Scorpius decides to play at decent father and correct his son. “Don’t swindle your classmates by using autographs from your great-uncle.”

 

“It’s a fair business,” Orion argues, already the little Malfoy Heir Draco’s hoped he’d grow to be. The one who will inherit their businesses and conquer—Scorpius has been far too content in managing his own businesses, much to his father’s dismay. “And I’d offer him a share of the profits.”

 

“He’s already got money,” Scorpius counters.

 

“Granddad says you can never have enough, and he’s always said Weasleys need money,” it’s not said with malice the way Scorpius is certain Draco says it, but he still winces.

 

“Orion,” he sighs, squatting down to be on a better level with his son. “There are some things your granddad says that are absolutely awful.” When Orion nods his understanding, Scorpius adds, “And I’m certain everything—I mean everything —he’s ever said about Weasleys in your presence is horrible. It wouldn’t be good to repeat any of it, to your mum or your mum’s family. Yeah?”

 

“Yeah,” Orion agrees, appearing shattered at the thought of hurting his mum or Albus’s family. “Do you think I’ve upset my mum on accident?”

 

“If you had, I’d tell you,” Scorpius promises, dropping a quick peck to Orion’s soft hair. “Don’t worry I won’t tell him about this, and you try to remember not to repeat Draco. He’s a shit at the best of times.”

 

“So, do you think Ron Weasley will like me,” Orion asks when silence lapses between them. He seems so hopeful, green eyes bright and large in his small head. Scorpius smiles, thinking him marvellous.

 

“Of course he will, you’re awesome. Who wouldn’t like you?”

 

“Rowan,” Orion replies immediately, “Because she’s a complete cun-” Scorpius claps his hand over Orion’s mouth before he can finish that thought. He mentally makes a note to talk to Teddy about what he’s teaching his kid and hopes that this get together won’t be a total nightmare.

 

*

 

A hope that tumbles right out of Scorpius when they arrive at The Burrow one mid-afternoon. It’s a stiff beginning. The matriarch—Molly Weasley—stares at him with such open hostility if looks could kill Scorpius would be dead thrice over. He supposes she’s got plenty of reason to hate his name. Her son was stolen in war—Fred, the twin that would never grow old. Her other son maimed—Bill the scarred, feral son who is fearsome to behold. And her youngest son was hurt by Scorpius’s father. All of them were—in one way or another—and Scorpius suddenly feels as if he should not have come here. Aberforth’s old voice whispers through him about cowardice, but Scorpius has a feeling cowardice would be better than what’s coming.

 

“Pleasure,” Molly grits through her teeth as she accepts the bottle of Spanish grenache—one Scorpius stole from his father’s prized collection. Albus seems to detect her hostility, but thankfully Orion remains oblivious.

 

“I like that you have farm animals,” he tells her with a bright smile, but she seems to interpret it as a slight.

 

“Does your grandfather see it as lowbrow to have livestock,” she replies with quite a bit of snap. That takes a bit of the shine out of Orion, and seeming to remember herself she plasters on a grin. “Sorry, child, I get snippy when I’m having hot flashes. Age, you see.” Orion readily accepts the excuse, but Scorpius is fuming. He’s intending to say something when Molly suggests at Orion, “Why don’t you have Basil show you around the garden? He can introduce you to the lot while I finish up supper.”

 

Baz takes Orion by the hand and drags him out into the back garden. Scorpius follows when he realises this woman is staunchly refusing to speak with him. Good breeding keeps him from sighing out in frustration. Scorpius gives Albus an encouraging grin when Albus grabs his hand to give his fingers a gentle squeeze.

 

The garden is pleasant if plebeian and Scorpius thinks he will enjoy this visit if he’s left to his own devices in the quiet. The first time he’d come here they had been mildly decent to him, but he supposes the distant Malfoy cousin of Teddy Lupin was a much better circumstance than the one who knocked up their precious Albus and stole his baby away. Scorpius Malfoy, the bastard that dared brand their baby Omega. That is far worse, so instead of politely ignoring him their silences now are outright hostile.

 

Focus on Baz and Orion . That becomes his mantra as he watches Basil pointing out Penelope the Pig. Albus’s Uncles have followed him outside, their wives remaining indoors to help with dinner or something. Scorpius isn’t sure, neither of his parents cooked or sat tables—they’d always had servants doing menial tasks for him. He assumes it’s all part of how commoners do family dinners. Steadily, Scorpius ignores the hairs rising on his nape—plays them off as paranoia, and pretends that everything is fine.

 

“You’re a vile piece of shit, Malfoy,” until James Potter—meathead from hell—ruins what peace he’s imagined.

 

Scorpius, never one to listen to the alarms sounding in his brain, gives a cocky grin and reply, “It’s been said before, Potter. That insult is becoming old hat.”

 

James, brute that he is, winds his hands into Scorpius’s shirt. Albus’s uncles watch on with mild amusement—the heroic Ron Weasley Scorpius sees elbow the earless one. So this is how it’s going to play out , he thinks, unsurprised yet disappointed as James drags him to the ground. “Let’s see how pretty you are when I knock out all your teeth,” James hisses into his face.

 

Scorpius, never one to resist poking an angry bear, replies, “Awww, Potter, I didn’t realise you thought I was pretty.” A second later pain blossoms in his cheek, and iron explodes on his tongue.

 

Through the ringing in his ear, he can hear Orion scream.

 

*

 

His eye feels swollen, and his head is throbbing when he finally throws James off of him with a burst of magic. It’s not long after he started wailing on Scorpius, but when you’re getting the shit kicked out of you minutes feel like hours.

 

“So, that’s how you lot play, is it?” His father’s voice is the one that comes thundering out of Scorpius’s throat. It is the voice he’s heard Draco use when he’s ready to inflict pain, and Scorpius is ready. More than ready when he snarls, “Nice to know this will be a family affair, Potter.” His wrist moves through a complicated rotation and his fingers flex through the air, sending a curse James’s way. “You might have me beat in brute strength, you fucking dolt, but you forget I was Head Boy for a goddamned reason.” Scorpius advances on James with swift steps, “I’m fuck smart, Potter, and I’m damn good with magic.” Satisfaction blooms in his chest when James Potter releases a horrible scream. Fuck you.

 

If not for Teddy, Scorpius might’ve wound up in Azkaban for the use of an Unforgivable. He vaguely hears Teddy telling him he’s done enough, but Scorpius is trying to shake the ringing from his ears. Then Mr Potter is there demanding, “What in the devil’s name is going on here? James, explain yourself.”

 

“This shit of a human is cheating on our Albus,” those words stop Scorpius cold. He turns immediately to Albus, who is frozen with his arms wrapped around Orion —his pale face drains of colour as if he believes that Scorpius is capable of touching anyone else. “I saw him at the pub with his mouth pressed against some tart’s,” James spits, and Scorpius watches as Albus sags in relief. Scorpius had warned him, after all, about the Live Pensieve he and Lysander were putting together for one of their songs. They aren’t ready for the world to know yet. It’s why Albus has been wearing glamours when they are out in public, why they remain extremely careful about who they share their secret with. If Scorpius would’ve known his Live Pensieve would cause his son to stare at him with such accusation he would’ve said fuck it, and told every fucking trash rag he knows about him and Albus fucking. He’d have cast Albus as his Live Pensieve love interest. And he’d have lived with the invasions of privacy to keep his son from looking at him as an enemy.

 

“I hate you, Dad,” is deafening in his ears, causes him to stagger as if hit by some invisible curse.

 

He doesn’t remember what he bites out at the lot of them while he’s on his knees, hurting from his son’s words. All he hears as he makes his way through the house is Orion pleading with him, apologising, pulling at him desperately. However, Scorpius shakes him off, frightened of what he might do or say in anger. He’s so fucking angry. He ignores Orion’s tear-streaked face when he Disapparates.

 

Dad, don’t leave me echoing in his mind, long after he leaves.

 

*

 

Lysander doesn’t say anything when Scorpius shows up, a small duffle in hand, just gestures to the open plan of his flat and mutters. “My house is yours as long as you need, Majesty.” Scorpius resists the urge to punch him.



*James*



Al leaves with a distraught Orion—carrying the lanky kid in his arms despite the awkward way he has to hold him—and as soon as the Floo goes from green flame to cheery, crackling orange Dad rounds on James. If looks could kill.

 

“You,” the word comes out like venom. Dad closes the fist of his wand hand and pulls James to him with a force that James would label fury, rather than magic. When James is close, Dad forces him to his knees, towering over his broad frame, making him feel of an immobile child.  

 

“Harry,” Gran’s voice is shrill, cutting through the fear that drums in his ears. Her voice makes the pounding more intense when James spots the glare Dad levels on her—green eyes narrowed down to the place she stands between a guard of her sons.

 

“Don’t,” he bites at her. “You’re no less guilty.” His tone lacks warmth, it’s the sort of voice Dad has never given them—this is the icy voice of Head Auror Potter.

 

“How dare-”Uncle Percy begins but a snap silences him. Behind his horn-rimmed glasses, his blue eyes grow fearful.

 

“Fuck off, the lot of you,” Dad hisses, to the room at large his gaze lingers on Mum the longest. “I will deal with this mess without the tiresome mentality you keep.” At James, he growls, “Your brother has suffered enough without you making it worse. He’s enough enemies for blood.”

“Dad,” James tries but Dad ignores his words, raising his hand to strike him. However, he stops, fury causing the nostrils of his nose to flare. Dad has never raised his hand, even though James deserved all the smacks his mum gave to the back of his head. Dad never even made the gesture. Dad lived beatings, he’s never entertained the idea of hitting one of them until this moment. This is when James knows he’s truly fucked up. Dad might as well have slapped him because the thought of it stings.

 

“You made my grandson cry...the grandson I wanted to adore and know more than anything,” Dad snaps, and the room around him goes so still the creaking, settling boards of the house sound of a loud symphony. “I have no love in me for people who can justify hurting a child. No matter where he comes from.”

 

When Mum moves to follow him, as he begins making his way out of the room, Dad says. “You can go home alone, I’m going to Cornwall—I’ll write when I’m ready to deal with any of you.”

 

He doesn’t linger, cracking out of sight without a backwards glance.

 

Mum releases a sigh that’s more of a sob, Lily moves to comfort her while the uncles and aunts pack it up for the night. No more words are exchanged—all sound comes from the soles of shoes against the old wood of the floors. James grips his own shoulder. Dad’s expression is fresh in his mind, still stings; he’s certain it will for days—the reminder of how deeply he’s disappointed his dad.

 

Fuck.

 

Teddy casts a long shadow over James when he stops before the place where James is still kneeling. If Dad’s face was murderous, Teddy’s is downright apocalyptic causing James to shift beneath the scrutiny.

 

“Come with me,” Teddy commands. His long, heavily tattooed fingers gesture for James to stand. Once on his feet, Teddy takes James by the arm and Apparates them out of The Burrow. They wind up in a back alley—off Diagon somewhere—James doesn’t have time to examine their surroundings too closely because Teddy knocks the wind from him with a harsh punch to the gut. “Now,” Teddy starts with a pleasant, yet terrifying grin. “It’s time to teach you some manners.”

 

Teddy’s got a cigarette between his lips, later, when James is on the ground wheezing and clutching various parts of his body. “Now, Jamie boy,” Teddy says as he squats down to get a better look at James. “Let’s discuss a plan to right some wrongs.”

 

*

 

James gets dragged around to haunts Teddy swears that wanker Malfoy frequents. A couple of seedy bars where he’s apparently known for hogging stages. “Fuck,” Teddy mutters after the second one, “I thought he’d for sure be out, playing somewhere.”

 

James frowns, “I thought he did tours, like every other douche musician I’ve met.”

 

“Scorpius only recently started doing tours, in the last year and a half or so.” Teddy shrugs, lighting another of his cigarettes. They stink of clove, the same ones that fucker Malfoy smokes. “Before then he was a piss-poor artist who was lucky his dad is fuck rich. He got discovered by Lysander in my bar, and really that brat saved him after Al left. Gave him a bit of his old self back.”

 

Narrowing his eyes James mutters, “Al left him because he’s a fucking prick.”

 

Teddy’s grin is unnerving, especially when one of his hands wraps around James’s throat in warning. “I love you, James, I do. But I’ll hurt you for Scorpius. You’ve got a brother and sister, he’s got me.” With that one sentence, Teddy confirms what James has known for years—that Teddy loves Scorpius more than he loves them. With James, Al, and Lily he’s played at brother but with Scorpius, he believes their bond. That bellend has stolen two of my brothers. Releasing him Teddy murmurs, “I don’t know the whole story. That’s one you’ll have to ask Al or Scorpius about, but I do know Scorpius. And I know, better than anyone, that he would rather light himself on fire than hurt Orion or Albus.”

 

James, still petulant, sighs, “Why are you telling me this?”

 

“Because I think if they’re gonna have a fair shot at this life together they will need all the allies they can get.” Teddy stands, dusting the back of his shredded jeans. “Take it from someone who has sat in many family dens, feeling as if he were sitting in a blood infested sea with thousands of ravenous sharks.” He helps James to his feet, clapping him on the shoulder. “You’re a Weasley, mate, tell me I’m wrong when I say their grudges run deep.” James can’t say that, and Teddy’s smile tells him he knows that.

 

*

 

The first light of dawn is visible on the horizon when Teddy gets Lysander on the Mirror. “Pious with you?” He demands of the irritable blond imp James remembers chasing after Al during many summers.

 

“Yeah,” Lysander gripes, no less bratty at twenty-one than he was at nine when James last dealt with him.

 

“Let me talk to him.” Teddy commands when a silence lapses after Lysander’s initial yeah response.

 

“Can’t, he’s in the spare smoking and drinking...smells like a goddamned club in here,” Lysander grumbles. Then with a rustling movement—the Mirror jostling around showing them swipes of colour from the various posters and collectables around Lysander’s room—Lysander says. “He’s in there composing. You know he’s not coming out of that trance until he’s done vomiting out his feelings.” A blink, then another, before he finally asks. “What the fuck happened? He and I had a row, I didn’t think he’d be showing up here before we resolved it.”

 

“James beat the shit out of him at The Burrow, Orion said he hated him, and he took off in a snit.” Teddy breaks it down in an oversimplified manner.

 

“I imagine Orion is what shattered him the most, doubt he’d give a fuck about that walking testicle James Potter.”

 

James determines he will give Lysander a sound pounding the next time they meet. Little fucker.

 

“Well, make him go home in the morning.” Teddy has a half-pleading tone. “I’m going to pop round at his flat to check on Orion.”

 

“Yeah, will do,” Lysander dismisses. “Be sure to go home, T. Let the Malfoys and Potters sort themselves for once.”

 

Teddy grins, “You sound like my gran.”

 

“Well, she paid me for my company last week and I guess her wisdom rubbed off on me,” the cheeky shit replies. Though, to James’s great surprise, Teddy releases a bawdy laugh.

 

When they cut the Mirror connection, Teddy sighs—once his silent deliberations are done. “Go check on your brother.”

 

James blanches, “Why?”

 

“Because that’s what big brothers do, Jamie—they pick up the pieces of the messes they help create.”

 

James wouldn’t know, would he, he thinks in petulance. He’s never really had a big brother to show him...Teddy was never really his—he’d always been Malfoy’s.

 

“I keep losing brothers to that prat,” he mutters, but Teddy doesn’t let on if he’s heard. He’s busy calling the love of his life and telling her he’s coming home. Then he’s gone, after another command at James to go see Al.

 

*

 

He’s only been by the flat once. When Al forgot something and they’d dropped by for him to grab whatever it was. Despite not remembering what Al needed, James is certain he will never forget the moment they popped onto this particular crossroads. James has never gone a day without. Will never know poverty. Was born with a golden key in his mouth. Yet...this is a level of wealth he will never attain, and it hit him how rich Malfoy was when they’d wound up entering a flat that probably cost the entirety of James’s hefty inheritance. Now, he stares up at the face of it in despondency. Wondering if he’s going to lose his brother to a world he will never be able to scratch the surface of.

 

“Al,” he raps at the wards. The hour is late...so late morning is dawning brightly now, but it’s never the next day until he sleeps. “Al,” he shouts. Unmindful of the neighbors who probably don’t enjoy being woken so early on a Sunday.

 

He’s about to bang at the door again, when Al opens the door to him—staring up at James with heavy bags beneath his green eyes. “What,” he croaks with a hoarse voice.

 

“I wanted to see you,” James replies, not sure what else to say.

 

An unamused huff escapes Al’s chapped lips. “Go home, James. It’s not a good time.”

 

James feels like a shit, and hanging his head he says, “I’m so sorry, Al.” Albus doesn’t respond nor does he slam the door in James’s face so he takes that as a good sign. “I should’ve asked you about what I saw...but damned, Malfoy, you know?” He huffs, “he’s always just been a wanker I can’t stand, and then to find out he knocked up my baby brother, raised your kid, and took off after bonding—well, I was mighty fucked off.”

 

“I tried to tell you I’m the bad one—never him,” Al swallows, his voice raw emotion.

 

“And I tried to tell you that no matter what I’m never gonna see you as the bad one,” James raises his head to give Al the most earnest expression. “You’re my brother. You’re also my best friend.” At Al’s surprise he releases a laugh. “You are, even if you never knew it, and I’m sorry.”

 

Al let’s him in, and James takes it as another good sign.

 

“Where’s Orion,” James asks as he peers into the dimly lit flat. Of course it’s more home than Malfoy and a kid would need, more than Al, Malfoy and Orion could need. But the posh fuck grew up in a goddamned manor, so this must be small in comparison.

 

“The bed,” Al replies, nearly collapsing from exhaustion. James catches him with a strong arm. “Sorry,” Al mumbles. “It’s been a long night. He’s screamed and cried and begged and...I have no clue what to do.” Voice cracking he adds, “I’m a horrible mum, James.”

 

“Shhhh,” James soothes, mimicking the motions their own dad used when they were small and upset. “He will be okay. You’re a great mum.”

 

An unamused laugh escapes Al, but he doesn’t argue. Most likely decides it’s not worth having a short argument over. Because James won’t let his brother think of himself as a shit parent. He doesn’t have much chance to lay more platitudes on Al, for Orion’s wail sounds through the house.

 

It’s heartbreaking. The way his lungs scream for Scorpius.

 

Al is wretched, his green eyes lift to the stairwell—the bags beneath them are deep purple. “It hurts.”

 

“Sit, I’ll go.” James commands, but Al won’t hear it. He moves from the secure hold of James’s arms and goes to the stairs. Too tired to Apparate safely. James follows him, ready to catch him if he slips as he makes his way up to Orion.

 

Orion is clinging to the sheet of his parents bed—James can smell them so strongly it causes him to stagger—and the small child tries to shake Al off as he wails harder.

 

“I want my dad, where is my dad,” he demands.

 

“I don’t know, love.” Albus looks at the child in apology, as if it’s his own fault the world is crumbling. James, again, feels like a shit for having created this mess.

 

“Ring my granddad, make him bring my dad home,” Orion is sobbing so hard his words are spoken through deep gasps. His green eyes are swollen and his little face is so red he appears feverish.

 

“Your dad will come home, I promise.” Albus doesn’t sound so sure.

 

“Liar,” Orion screams. “Liar, my dad won’t come back.” He starts throwing pillows near Al, in duress, and shouts more. “My dad is going to leave me like you did. He’s never coming back now.”

 

“I-,” Al begins, however Orion cuts him off.

 

“I want my dad,” his scream makes Al crumple and James does the only thing he can think of. He moves towards the bed lifting the writhing boy into his arms, holding him close, and releases the full force of his Alpha scent.

 

“James,” Al begins with a near shrill tone, but Orion goes limp in James’s arms. Soothed by the scent of a male Alpha of his blood. He’s not totally okay, but it helps him go from screaming to whimpering.

 

“Tonight, I will protect you,” he tells Orion, rocking him. “Tomorrow, I will find your dad if he doesn’t come home.” Orion whimpers some more, but closes his arms around James’s neck. Sleeping. Finally.

 

“Jamie,” Al pleads. “What do I do if he doesn’t come home?”

 

“He will,” and Al’s face looks like he doesn’t believe him. So James gives him a solemn promise. “I promised I will bring that bastard home, and I will die before I break a promise.”



*Harry*



Cornwall is as dreadful as always, bringing memories of his beautiful son singing to a child he signed away. I wish I could go back and change this life. But if wishes were easily fulfilled the world would be full of billionaires, disease would cease, and utopia would be earth. Wishes are for children, and Harry left childhood long ago.

 

He goes about the vacant rooms, recalling memories of his children laughing in delight when they were running through these spaces. He misses the days when they were happy. Marginally happy. A sigh escapes his throat, and he touches the markings of his children’s growth. He thinks of Ginny.

 

The love of his life. Yet, he questions if he is hers, and if he is did he do all he could to deserve her love? Doubt it. She missed the travel and the broom. The stadium and cheers. Her mates built careers while Ginny built schedules and moulded her life around their kids. She resented Harry his work, and he never needed to work. His family's stock and a portion of the Black estate could’ve well sustained him.

 

Yet, he missed life—didn’t he? He wanted the adventure he lived his whole youth. He also wanted family, however, he didn’t want any of the work. He wanted to leave a lot to Ginny. Children were boring, really—Harry didn’t know how to handle boring.

 

“Do you love me,” he asks the room when he feels the shift in the air. Of course she’s here. She cannot leave him be, same as he cannot leave her. They’ve never needed a bond to be drawn to one another.

 

“I do.” Her voice a caress.

 

He closes his eyes, breathing deep before he asks, “Do you resent me?”

 

A pause. Deliberate silence meant to punish him before the answer. “I do.”

 

He’s too much of a coward to ask the next question. Would you go back and do it differently? He cannot ask, but even still she answers. She knows him so well.

 

“No, I’d do it all the same.”

 

“All of it,” he breathes—anger flaring his nostrils as he remembers Dean, what she did for Albus, and how she never let him in after the first pregnancy.

 

“All of it,” she confirms. “I’ve never regretted you, Harry. No matter what I’ve done that might say otherwise. I do love you. I love you so much I gladly broke myself into what you wanted. Forgetting you wanted me.

 

There’s a long, heavy silence hanging between them before Ginny finally says, “Do you still want me?”

 

Harry wonders. Wanting her means forgiving the things he finds unforgivable. He removes his glasses, setting them on the counter of their cottage kitchen. “I don’t know if love is enough to forget and start again.”

 

She releases a sad chuckle. “Sometimes I wonder if a bond could have saved us.” Harry startles, turning towards her with a shocked sort of outrage. Bonding was something he couldn’t do—it felt too much like ownership, reminded him too much of that lingering darkness that still whispers in his nightmares. The one that sounds of hisses and slithering snakes. Before he can form a reply she adds, “If it weren’t for the lot of us then Albus’s bond would certainly save him.”

 

Harry thinks of Scorpius. Remembers the young man—practical boy—who came to Land’s End that December. The child who looked at Albus as if he were more precious than breathing, the child who promised to take their mistake and sacrifice everything for Al—Scorpius has been saving Al forever, in many, ways with love. “Sure,” Harry agrees, bitter. “He’s saving him. But he also helped break him.”

 

“An accurate metaphor for love, then,” Ginny replies and the sting of her words filter into his heart. In the most tender of places.

 

“Can you leave, Gin,” Harry quietly pleads. The fight going out of him, making his feelings too raw to the touch of her presence.

 

She doesn’t fight him to stay, and he wonders if this too is another reminder of how far they have fallen.

 

Harry hits the scotch hard, listening to the creaks in the old cottage. He thinks of his parents, as he often does when alone and wonders if he’s made them proud. Something that plagues him along with every other regret from his life.

 

Perhaps I should’ve stayed in that station with Dumbledore.



*Lysander*

 

Potter, cocky prick, shows up when Lysander’s just gone to sleep. Fucking Scorpius had kept him up half the night with the guitar and his rambling. Lysander would’ve used a Silencing Charm, but he was half afraid the wanker would off himself in some sort of tortured artist throe of despair. Fortunately, Scorpius is sleeping. A reprieve from himself, but now Lysander is staring up at the hulking form of Albus’s older brother. The bother he’s always found annoying.

 

“Can I help you with something,” Lysander growls. Unmindful of the fact James Potter could easily break him in two.

 

“I’ve come to fetch the dickhead who my brother insists on fucking,” James replies in that droll tone all Potter’s are great at. It irks Lysander to be reminded that Scorpius gets to be bollocks deep in Albus. It’s something they’ve not truly resolved, and yet the wanker is in his spare room having an angst fest over the Omega Lysander has been in love with his entire life.

 

Life fucking sucks.

 

“Yeah, well, that knob is asleep and I was sleeping before you showed up. So fuck off, and I’ll send him home when he’s slept off the booze and spliff.”

 

James has a terrifying smile, the sort of smile he wears on the pitch before he rams his broom into an opponent and then pummels them with his fists. Lysander is regretting answering the door without his wand. “Look here, you little fucker, I am not here to play nice. I’m here to make sure my nephew quits crying and to make sure my brother quits crying. Right now you are the one standing in my way.” He bends closer, hissing, “And I usually tear down whatever stands in my way.”

 

Lysander, unmindful of death, reaches out and twists James’s nipple. With a cruel smile of his own he replies, “My dad and my mum had me handling dragons from the time I was in nappies, fucking try me.”

 

There’s shock, then respect on Potter’s face, and with a smile he nods. “Send him home in the morning, Dragon Slayer, or I’m coming back.”




Scorpius spends thirty-two long hours holed up in Lysander’s spare bedroom, writing lyrics, drinking scotch, smoking spliff and ignoring all summons on his Mirror. This behaviour is not right, he knows, but he trusts Orion is in good hands, even if right now he’s upset at Scorpius’s absence. However, he’d be cruel if he were to take this bottled anger and throw it at his son. These fractures are not Orion’s fault. They are his and Albus’s. Both of them keep cocking it all up. From the beginning ‘til now, and he’s still not sure what he needs to do to fix all the broken bits.

 

Emerging from his borrowed bedroom Scorpius finds Lysander seated on the sofa, flicking through things on the Live. Lysander glances at him, “I’m still fucked off about you keeping your relationship from me.”

 

“I know,” he replies, but he’s not apologetic.

 

“I get it, though,” Lysander adds. Huffing, “And you’re right. I didn’t tell him I wanted to be with him—even if I had, I knew I didn’t have a chance.” He shakes his head, “I should’ve known it would be you . We’d spot you in the Alley once in a while when he was sitting me, and it was like Christmas had come his eyes were so bright.” Lysander lights a spliff. “You ever think maybe it was written that one day you’d both quit cocking up and make it out of this all right?”

 

Scorpius laughs, “I’m not sure it’ll ever be all right, to be honest.”

 

“Go home, mate,” Lysander commands, soft and hopeful. “Go home and you just might make it work.”

 

“My boy hates me.” Scorpius admits, voice rough. It’s a troubling thought, to be hated by Orion.

 

“Nah, mate, he doesn’t.” Lysander stands up, clapping Scorpius on the back. “Take it from someone who actually hates his father, Orion is just confused right now...this is new to him, too.”

 

“Thanks,” Scorpius mutters with feeling, knocking his shoulders together with Lysander. “That helps a lot.”

 

“Go on, then, fuck off and get yourself home.” Scorpius takes those words as forgiveness.

 

*

 

Reeking of scotch and spliff Scorpius emerges from the Floo’s flames. He’s not got a moment to compose his heart when the sound of Orion wailing barrels through him. It’s half-nine in the morning, and Scorpius’s angry departure has only been little more than a day, but to a child this separation has been centuries.

 

“I want my dad,” Orion screams, sounding desperate. “I want everything to go back the way it was.” Albus, when Scorpius moves close enough to spot them in the family room, appears wretched. “I love you so much,” Orion tells Albus, almost pleading. Clinging to his mum’s middle as he sobs into Albus’s shirt covered stomach. “But I need my dad more than anyone...even you.” Scorpius chokes back a sob at the way Orion tears himself apart to admit that he loves Scorpius more. His pride is a damnable thing, Scorpius knows, and it has cost Orion so much. Now it’s eating away his goodness.

 

“I’ll leave if it will make you happy,” the way Albus speaks those words wrecks Scorpius in deeper, worse ways.

 

He can’t stand to be silent, so Scorpius emerges from the shadows, coughing to make his presence known. Orion barrels into him seconds later, skinny arms squeezing Scorpius as tight as he can. “Dad,” he sobs. “Dad, I don’t need a mum or an uncle who can stand on a broom while flying. I just need you, please—please never leave me.” Orion’s green eyes are leaking tears and Scorpius drops to his knees to cling to him. Drawing him close, breathing in his scent of grass, sunshine, and youth when he buries his nose in Orion’s hair.

 

“I’m sorry I got angry,” he tells Orion. “I know you love your mum, you’re allowed to love him—more than me, even. But sometimes I feel like I’m losing you,” Scorpius admits with a swallow. He doesn’t want to cage Orion or make him only Scorpius’s but it’s hard to share him with people who look at Scorpius like scum. “You are my reason for being, and I’ve been feeling threatened...then,” he breathes out shakily. “Then to have you look at me in hatred and betrayal along with the rest of them—God, that hurt.” He looks into Orion’s eyes, pressing their foreheads together. “I was so hurt that I lashed out at you, and I can’t take it back—I should but I know I had to leave or I’d say words in anger that couldn’t be erased.” He pulls him close again, “I’m sorry my pride hurt you.”

 

“Do we need to send my mum away, will that make it better?” Orion sniffs.

 

“No,” Scorpius assures, looking across at Albus—holding his gaze. “We are all learning to work through this, some days this will hurt. However, we are going to make it through. We are going to be a family until the end of our lives.” With a teasing grin he adds, “Maybe even longer.”  

 

“Daddy,” Orion whispers, clinging to Scorpius’s shirt. “Can I go back to bed?”

 

“Yes,” Scorpius assures with his own tired smile. Love makes him knackered.

 

“Will you lay down with me?”

 

“Yes,” he presses a kiss to Orion’s soft hair.

 

*

 

Inside of the master bedroom, Scorpius is hit with the intense scent of Alpha—an Alpha who is not him. Instinctively, he tightens his hold on his son. On the defensive, because there’s a foreign scent in his den. “Dad,” Orion draws his attention. His breath warming the cotton of Scorpius’s shirt. “I missed you.”

 

“I missed you more,” Scorpius replies. Still tense, but less so as they lay down. Orion presses right next to him, unmindful that Scorpius reeks like a dingy bar. The scent still bothers him, distracting in ways that make Scorpius want to cave to his baser urges. He won’t. However, because Draco would start a riot if Scorpius went and tore the plaster from the walls, burned the carpets, and tossed out his bed.

 

“Uncle Jamie came by,” Orion speaks through a yawn. Seeming to sense the duress in Scorpius, and with those words he both soothes Scorpius’s suspicions and arouses his rage at the eldest Potter child. Fucking wanker releasing his pheromones in my home, to calm my kid.

 

Though, Scoprius knows he should be grateful. However, he will probably always be resentful of James Potter—wanker son of Harry Potter. “Did he,” Scorpius remains neutral in his response. Running tattooed fingers through Orion’s fine, baby soft hair.

 

“Yeah, his smell made me sleep.” Orion sounds worried that will upset him. It does, but Scorpius pretends that he’s unaffected. “But he’s not you.”

 

That takes the tension from his shoulders, and he unclenches his jaw. Smiling instead of grimacing as he pulls Orion closer to drop a kiss on his hair.

 

*

 

Once Orion is sleeping, Scorpius leaves the bed—wandering down the stairs to find Albus with his face in his hands. He’s feeling angry still, hurt that Albus is here ruining him with love again, and he snaps. “Is this too hard for you again? Am I going to wake to an empty bed tomorrow?”

 

Bloodshot eyes lift to his face, causing Scorpius to regret the questions. “Fuck you,” Albus whispers. “I told you I won’t leave.” A whimper escapes him, “You left.”

 

“Yeah,” Scorpius hisses. Finally breaking from the things they haven’t said. The words he’s choked down since Albus started this mess, “How did it feel?”

 

“Awful,” Albus shouts. Standing and rushing to Scorpius, where he buries his hands into Scorpius’s shirt, twisting the fabric between thin fingers. “I’m sorry I ever did that to you.” Then Albus is kissing him, unmindful that both of them have sour breath. “If I could go back and stay, I would.” Scorpius winds his fingers through Albus’s dark hair, pulling him closer to kiss again.

 

They lack finesse in their desperation. But the need to feel one another, to assure they haven’t lost this thing between them, is overwhelming. Scorpius grips Albus by the hips, grinding against him—through his trousers—to create a friction that causes them both to moan. “Don’t leave me,” Albus whispers into his mouth, his lips wet against Scorpius’s. “I will die.”

 

“You die, I die,” Scorpius replies, terrified by how true those words are. Maybe this is toxic, he thinks, maybe this is wrong. But Albus—Orion, the piece of Albus—is everything. Without him—them—Scorpius would not want to exist. He existed for too long without Albus, he wants to live now.

 

“I don’t care if I have no one,” Albus admits after he comes, in his trousers, against Scorpius. “As long as I have the both of you I don’t need anyone else.”

 

“Fuck,” Scorpius murmurs as he comes, resting his forehead against Albus’s.

 

*

 

Lysander drops by a couple of nights later. Steadily ignoring Albus who is watching them interact with intense curiosity. “A gift.” Lysander says, as he drops a little sack into Scorpius’s lap. Scorpius quickly shoves it into the sofa when Orion comes running in shouting in excitement to see Lysander.

 

“Did you bring me a gift,” Orion demands in that enchanting way of his. Lysander grins, ruffling his hair.

 

“Why would I bring you a gift, mate?” Scorpius and Orion both know his antics are for show. Lysander is the epitome of doting big brother when it comes to Scorpius’s kid. In a way, Lysander is Scorpius’s version of Teddy. Where Draco took Teddy to raise, Scorpius took Lysander. The similarities bring a contented grin to Scorpius’s mouth as he watches Orion jump up in down in place, begging to know what Lysander has for him. “All right, all right,” Lysander laughs. “My mum sent me some things I thought you might like.” Out of his russack, he pulls fossilised dragon’s eggs. They are iridescent, and shimmer in the light as Orion turns them all about in his hands.

 

Orion’s green eyes go round with wonder and delight. “Are these Antipodean Opaleye eggs?”

 

“Good eye,” Lysander squats down to point out various things about them. Albus, quiet and unassuming takes a seat beside Scorpius to watch.

 

“Will they hatch,” Orion asks with a hopeful tone.

 

“No, mate,” Lysander chuckles. “Not these ones. They’re at least a thousand years old and the small size of them means they weren’t viable to begin with. An egg with no baby, basically.” Scorpius runs a soothing hand down Albus’s back when those words cause him to go rigid with memory.

 

“Oh,” Orion, too, sounds sad.

 

“But, it’s okay,” Lysander says with a bright tone. “There are still plenty of Opaleyes being born, maybe we can go see them when my mum is back at that reserve.”

 

“I’d like that,” Orion replies with a lot of enthusiasm.

 

“All right, I’ll write her then,” Lysander stands, ruffling Orion’s hair before he says to Scorpius. “Com’on, old man, time to sort business.”

 

Orion frowns at that, but doesn’t say anything when he notices they are only heading for Scorpius’s home studio.

 

*

 

Orion is understandably clingy the next few weeks. When Scorpius is loading up his guitar he panics, and the guilt that settles over Scorpius is overwhelming. “Mate,” he says, gently, talking Orion down from a crying fit. “I’ve got a small gig in Edinburgh, I’ve had it booked for months. I would stay here if I could, but I can’t. You know I’ll come back.”

 

Orion still won’t let go of him causing Scorpius to close his eyes, summoning patience. “You remember when you were afraid I’d choose fun over you?”

 

A nod.

 

“You remember how you asked if I’d choose a life without you, the way your mum did?”

 

Another nod, with a shuffle of feet this time.

 

“I won’t, I haven’t, and I never will. I know I scared you. I know you thought I’d never come back, but I did.” Scorpius reminds, the guilt eating him for having to step away in the first place. “Your mum also came back. I know it took him a long while, but he’s here and he’s not leaving.”

 

“Promise, you won’t leave me?” Orion’s fingers are tight in the hem of his shirt, and Scorpius smiles as he recalls many times where Orion grabbed onto Scorpius because he needed his dad in some way or another.

 

“I promise, and if I ever am so mad again that I need a night away I’ll write you a letter explaining my hurt.” Scorpius knows he’s bollocks at life and will fuck it up again. But he needs his son to know even when he’s not a perfect human that his love is deep and real and neverending for this child.

 

“Okay,” Orion still doesn’t seem thoroughly convinced.

 

“Do you want to come to the gig,” because if that’s what it take, Scorpius will take him out of school for a couple days to assure him.

 

*

 

The tour bus is big enough to accommodate them all, but even still Orion makes sure he’s always with Scorpius. It’s both endearing and frustrating. He’s been trying to sort things with Lysander and their stage manager—Carl—but Orion is making that difficult.

 

On top of not giving Scorpius a second to breathe, he’s also making sure Albus is always right beside them. Holding onto them both with small desperate hands, as if he’s afraid with the slightest give Albus or Scorpius will leave him again. It’s not a long trip, but it feels longer due to his son’s desperation.

 

Desperate times, desperate measure, he supposes. So when Orion is finally knackered and has a nap in Scorpius’s bed. He sits with just Albus. Lyander has been giving them space. That, and Scorpius is half sure it still hurts him to really look at Albus. Something Scorpius understands completely. Scorpius takes Albus’s thin hand into his own, drawing his attention away from the landscape beyond the window. “Hey,” he begins, still the lame, awkward boy of his youth when in Albus’s presence.

 

“Hey,” Albus smiles. Still charmed despite Scorpius’s ineptitude.

 

“I want to ask you something.” He traces the lines in Albus’s palm. Committing them to memory. “Feel free to say ‘no’ if you feel it’s too much.” Albus is quiet, but it’s a patience silence. One in which he doesn’t press, allowing Scorpius to carefully measure his words before he speaks them. “I want to make an announcement about you, about me, about us at this gig.”

 

“Are you sure,” Albus sounds hopeful despite leaving the decision up to Scorpius, and he can’t go back on what he’s said now. Not that he wants to. He’d been ready to tell the world the minute he told Albus he loved him in the kitchen of his— their —flat.

 

“Yes,” and he is.

 

*

 

“I don’t often comment on the words of gossip rags,” Scorpius tells the crowd of this large venue. “But there was once a photoshoot and speculation of my relationship with a certain Potter.” He takes off his watch, baring himself in a way that is far more intimate than nudity could ever be. His bond mark is a large image behind him, glowing on the Live for all to see. “I guess you might say that those trash rags got it mostly right.”

 

Fuck you, Potters, Weasleys, World. We don’t need any of you.

 

“So now I’m going to play you a song I wrote when the lover of my life was hurting and I couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.” Lysander shakes his head when the crowd’s cheers drown out the opening riffs of their song.

 

*

 

They open themselves up to quite a bit of scrutiny after that. Paparazzi are the leeches of life, but Scorpius is trying to take it in stride. His son’s life is infinitely less private now that he’s the child of two very public figures, who both happen to the the children of public figures with a notorious past of hating one another. It invites a lot of rags to post lies—as they are wont to do when both Scorpius’s family and Albus’s are keeping silent on the matter. There’s the predictable article, written by that mad bint Rita Skeeter, about how Scorpius is most certainly a Malfoy—stealing a child away from Harry Potter’s son. Hogwash that makes him chuckle, but upsets Albus greatly. As a result, Scorpius is sure to send her a nice letter filled with a potion to make her bald for months. One he’s sure doesn’t trace back to him.

 

Then there are the articles on Scorpius’s illustrious family and their sordid pasts. Conspiracies that Lucius has been concocting a plan to do this very thing since the end of the war are the favourites of nonsense rags. Lucius has never been brilliant enough, in Scorpius’s opinion, to dream up raising a grandson for the sole purpose of literally fucking Harry Potter’s kid. Less amusing are the reminders of Draco’s history with the Death Eaters and Narcissa’s marriage to Lucius. There’s also a not so kind article ran about Astoria that sees one P.J. Flinn sued and blacklisted at certain papers. Ones Draco happens to have stock in, and Scorpius would feel bad for the bloke if he hadn’t all but referred to his dead mother as a money hungry whore who was content to fuck the devil and birth evil to get what she wanted. The trash about Draco and the trash about his nan rankle, but both his father and Nan allow the shit to roll off their backs.

 

“We knew this would happen when people knew about Potter,” his father says at one Sunday dinner. “It’s fine. Honest, child’s play compared to the crap the papers ran for years after the war.”

 

“I just hate that people still look at you like that,” Scorpius admits.

 

Draco shoots him a stern look, “They remember me like that for good reason.”

 

None of them hates you more than you hate yourself, Scorpius thinks, but does not say.

 

*

 

His birthday is, blessedly, a quiet affair. Halloween at Malfoy Manor is always a sight to behold with thousands of lit jack o'lanterns, spelled bats, and hovering candles. In the halls are dancing skeletons, singing a haunting version of Hungry Like The Wolf. All sorts of pageantry despite the fact it will only be them. These are the ways his father says he loves Scorpius.

 

Albus holds his hand, jumping a bit when a scream comes from one of the portraits. Scorpius chuckles, as does Orion. “Don’t worry, Alby,” Orion says with a bright grin. He takes Albus’s other hand. “The portraits like to participate in the festivities.”

 

“My ancestors seem to enjoy Halloween,” Scorpius grins.

 

Nan greets them in the corridor outside of their dining hall. The room Draco insists on dressing for a party despite the fact he knows Scorpius would be perfectly content to sit in the den and not have a cake. When he walks into the dining hall he finds that his father has outdone himself, and he gets a bad feeling.

 

It intensifies when the Floo wooshes with green flames and out steps Teddy holding Baz. After him comes Dominique with Tristram. He startles when Lysander also comes through. Albus goes to greet them, grin in place, and Orion scampers after him. Equally excited. Scorpius, with a frown, goes to talk to his dad.

 

“What’s going on here,” he demands with a quiet voice. Draco is directing his hired elf to mix up some sort of green punch.

 

“Your little lover decided to throw you a birthday party,” Draco replies with a sharp grin.

 

“And you didn’t try to stop him?”

 

“No,” Draco’s eyes go soft as he looks to where Albus is greeting his siblings and parents. Joy . “He wanted to do this for you, because he wanted to see you happy.” Then with another cruel smile, Draco adds, “It’s been a bit since I’ve seen you squirm in discomfort. I thought you were due some retribution for causing me so much stress.”

 

“Love you, too,” Scorpius mutters with a note of sarcasm.

 

“Enjoy it, Scorpius,” Draco’s tone is gentle. “Be glad someone loves you so deeply to celebrate your birth.”

 

When he turns to see Albus grinning with sheer delight as he and Orion spin around, dancing to some horrible tune the ghosts are singing.

 

Not even James Potter, wanker of this century, can dampen his mood. Not when Albus rushes at him, hugging him, and whispers, “Happy birthday, my love.” With adoring green eyes holding Scorpius’s gaze, he adds. “Thank you for being born.” At this moment, he’s ever grateful to the universe for giving him all that it has.

 

“Thank you for loving me,” he replies before he draws Albus in for a searing kiss.

 

*

 

It’s close to Christmas, when a rather salacious Pornographic Pensieve is born into the world. Which isn’t anything overly fantastical, or strange, but what is worrisome is the contents of that Pensieve. It is a production of that oily git, Henry Spencer. The one who paid good money to put Albus on a knot that wasn’t Scorpius’s. For all the world to see.

 

Here, before his eyes, is a weak imitation of Albus being fucked by a less than stellar version of Scorpius. He thins his lips, watching with irritation when he catches sight of the false bondmarks they’ve magicked into these blokes’ skin.

 

Draco is ranting about how they should sue for defamation, slander, copyright infringement—something—while Scorpius appraises the projected pornography moving through stilted motions. It’s meant to look of him and Albus—clearly. Since their relationship has become public there’s been a lot of demand for them being photographed together. Mostly in fashion rags, but Albus has wanted to keep those ideas for his own line. Cornering the market on their publicity, which Nan also encouraged.

 

This is something else entirely. Not fashion, but smut. Something they should have predicted.  Apparently, fans refuse to forget the Knot Your Omega stunt Albus pulled. They are hungry for more, and this pornographic Pensieve is the result. Henry Spencer raking in all the gold by fulfilling more of their fantasies.

 

The man with a face similar to his own has fingers that stumble over this false image of Albus. I wouldn’t touch him like that . Scorpius frowns, and interrupts Draco’s tirade. “I’ll release my own porno,” he scowls at the one still moving in front of his eyes. “Best way to beat them is to take their profits. Who is going to buy the fakes when they can see the real deal?”

 

Draco is, unsurprisingly, not onboard. “Scorpius we are not-“

 

“I didn’t ask permission,” Scorpius tells him. “You also forget, Father, it’s up to Albus. Not you.”

 

*

 

Albus, of course, agrees. He is just as eager to remind the world that they are each other’s. The desire Scorpius can taste in the space between them, and when he fucks Albus, that night, there’s more vigour than usual.  

 

“So how shall we do it,” Albus asks on a gasp. While Scorpius fucks into him with slow, purposeful thrusts. His long fingers digging into the sheets, knuckles white while his body shivers, craving for more.

 

“How do you want it,” Scorpius replies.

 

Albus glances over his shoulder, eyes half-lidded with palpable desire. “I want what you always give,” his words are high keen. His slim hips moving in Scorpius’s firm grasp, seeking more friction.

 

“What do I always give?” Scorpius’s voice is pitched low, guttural with his own lust.

 

“Everything,” Albus breathes, shouting when Scorpius’s knot grows within him. “Give me everything, Scorpius.”

 

Always.

 

*

 

Teddy is the only one who dares to ask if he’s changed his mind. To which Scorpius replies, “No. I’ve explained to Orion there will be some risqué things of his mum and me in the world. However, I added that this is an attempt to reclaim our love, as someone is seeking to profit off our lives.”

 

A smirk moves across Teddy’s mouth, and he leans closer, “Bullshit.” When Scorpius gives him his full attention Teddy whispers, “I put my naked wife over my lap and showed the scar of my teeth to the world. I know exactly why you’re doing this, and you know. Probably best your son doesn’t understand the depth of your possessiveness.”

 

Then smacking him on the back he says, “Remind them, mate. Remind the world you’re willing to fight for what is yours.”

 

*

 

They decide to shoot their revenge porn at the studio where Albus shoots photos for Haus of Anarchy. Neither of them wanted to show the world the privacy of their shared bed. They can make use of the one here. The one Lorcan decided to stage with black cotton sheets and a scattering of rose petals. Cliché .

 

Scorpius doesn’t care or give more mind to the setting when Albus comes in, wrapped in a loosely tied robe. Vaguely, he registers the signal Lorcan gives to begin.

Scorpius began the moment Albus walked in, and he stalks closer, cupping his soft cheek. Leaning nearer to breathe in the scent of his neck. “You smell of citrus.” He comments, moving closer to nibble at Albus’s lower lip. Tasting the sweet remainder of orange. “Where’s my share,” he teases.

 

Albus leans into Scorpius, pressing for a deeper kiss—climbing into Scorpius’s mouth with his tongue. “I thought you could snack on me instead.”

 

“Come. Let’s have a taste,” Scorpius’s command is light, teasing as he draws Albus impossibly close, leading him to the bed that will set their stage. Scorpius forgets about the equipment surrounding them—so focused on opening Albus’s fluffy white robe. He touches the mark left by his teeth. Loving the scar with the calloused tips of his fingers. He’s so focused on the memory he startles when Albus removes the cuff that hides his own bondmark.

 

“Yours.” Scorpius whispers, low enough for only Albus to hear now, but it will be certainly heard by the people climbing inside this memory.

 

“Yours,” Albus repeats.

 

Then the gentle is over. Scorpius shoves Albus into the bed, grinning like a wolf when Albus spreads his thin legs. “Are you wet for me?”

 

“When am I not,” Albus challenges with a saucy grin.

 

“I’ve been throbbing since dawn.” Albus has a way with seduction. It’s not contrived and intentional to please Scorpius or their audience. He’s always throwing out taunts and spinning a web of lust with words, glances, touches. He was made for porn, but Scorpius never plans to share him this way again. Since the Knot Your Omega shoot he’s wanted to burn away the false him, replace that bloke’s visible moment with Albus with himself, and now he will. Because Albus is his , and he intends to remind the world he’s always been Scorpius’s. In turn, Scorpius has always been Albus’s.

 

“I won’t fuck you until you’re begging for it,” Scorpius’s words have a sharp edge of promise. Then he’s on his knees, falling before Albus like the god he perceives him to be, and begins salivating as he sucks his cock. Deep-throating him first. Then up from the thick base of him, licking upward along the long, throbbing underside of his cock before devouring the head. The way Albus groans Scorpius knows his eyes have rolled back, and he hums in delight when Albus’s fingers wind through and pull at his hair.

 

Up and down the velvet wet flesh of Albus’s cock his mouth sucks while his hands toy with the wetness dripping from Albus’s hole. Never pressing in, just touching the outside, imagining the wet heat around his cock.

 

As Albus comes down Scorpius’s throat he shouts, “Alpha, fuck me.” Normally, Scorpius doesn’t hate when Albus calls him Alpha in bed. Fuck, usually he enjoys it, but not here. Not when he’s reaffirming who Albus belongs to.

 

He sits up, moving over Albus and grips his slim jaw tight between his fingers that are sticky with Albus’s slick. “Say my name.”

 

“Scorpius.” Albus watches Scorpius with wary green eyes as he murmurs the name.

 

“Not here, only in private because I don’t want some other Alpha to have the chance at deluding themselves you are crying out for them.” Albus is and always will be his weakness.

 

With an adoring smile Albus whispers his name like it’s a prayer.

 

For the next few hours Albus cries his name as Scorpius puts his teeth and nails into his yielding white flesh. At the end, when he’s painted pink with Scorpius’s rough claim, Albus is facing the camera and Lorcan. Scorpius is seated at the edge of the bed, bending Albus, reverse Quidditch player, over his lap. Snapping into him while staring right into the camera. He winds his hand in Albus dark hair, lifting him so the camera can see the flush on his close to coming face. Holding him there as Scorpius knots him, commanding, “Who is your Alpha?”

 

“Scorpius,” Albus shouts. Come splattering across the floor as Scorpius pumps him full of hot seed. “I am Scorpius Malfoy’s. Now, until I die,” he promises with intense gasps. “Only you, forever.” Then he whines, “Fuck I love your cock, yes.”

 

“My cock is all yours,” Scorpius promises with a smirk. At the end, he bites into Albus’s neck.

 

*

 

He’s taking a nap on the sofa when an unrelenting ring comes from the Floo. He’s locked it against everyone lately because he’s afraid of his dad—or kid—coming in while he’s got Alb’s cock down his throat.

 

Groaning, Scorpius throws open the grate and is about to tell whoever it is to fuck right off when his dad steps out of the flames.

 

“Dad, I love when you pop in unexpectedly,” he’s lying, they both know it. “But I’m knackered.”

 

“Have you spoken to Mini-Potter?” Draco doesn’t seem interested in Scorpius’s cheek.

 

“No,” he frowns, “Why?”

 

“It’s not important.” Scorpius grabs Draco firmly by the wrist before he can leave.

 

“Tell me. Now.” They both know it’s not a request.

 

“Your nan had a bit of a fit at the office is all.” Draco uses the tone that is all aloof boredom, and Scorpius knows something’s incredibly wrong.

 

“Nan doesn’t have fits, ever, what’s going on?”

 

Releasing a sigh, “Meet me at the manor in half an hour. We can discuss it then.”

 

“We can discuss it now,” Scorpius tells Draco. Not in the mood to play at secrets.

 

Draco appears old, haggard in ways Scorpius hasn’t seen before, and he scratches at his jaw. An old tell. One Scorpius doesn’t draw attention to for fear of losing his read on his dad. The man has a persecution complex and often believes he must suffer in silence for sins long past. Bollocks. When he’s gearing up to start demanding answers Draco speaks. “Lucius is going to die.”

 

Shock slackens his jaw. “What?” Lucius, old bastard, seemed like a devil that would never know death. An entity that was too corrupt to know mortality.

 

“He’d hidden some dark artefacts, it seems.” Draco sighs, “Ones I had no clue about, and he got into them...for no good reason, I’m sure.” A humourless laugh escapes Draco’s throat. “This is the price of stupidity.”

 

“Wha sort of artefact?”

 

“The sort that possesses a curse that will slowly melt the mind.” Draco’s eyes have a far-off look, he’s seeing something beyond the walls. Something that puts a grim set to his mouth. “We can talk about it more at a later time. I must find Mother.”

 

Scorpius has a lead weight settling into his gut as he heads up the stairs to put on something more than worn joggers.

 

*

 

“Are you all right,” he glances up from his hands to see Albus watching him from the entrance of the large hedge maze his father used to chase him through. The cold has white steam coming out of Albus’s mouth when he speaks.

 

“Yeah,” Scorpius’s voice cracks. “Why wouldn’t I be?” He clears his throat, trying for an easy smile. It’s been a shit afternoon, he wants to forget all of it.

 

Albus bites at his bottom lip, hesitating a moment, “Your grandfather-”

 

Scorpius cuts him off, “Is absolute shit.” Standing he adds, “I’ve got no sympathy for him.”

 

“But-,” Albus tries, coming closer.

 

“No,” Scorpius roars, angrier and louder than intended. Running hands through his hair he calms himself, using a gentler voice when he adds. “Please, don’t try to make this sad for me.” He can’t be upset about this. Not after all the shit Lucius has said to him through the years.

 

Albus’s gaze grows suddenly hard as he replies. “It's difficult for Narcissa. If you can’t be sad for Lucius at least be sad for her.”

 

“Why, she’ll finally be free of that pillock?” Scorpius scoffs, kicking at a stray leaf. Refusing to have Albus make him feel anything less than loathing for Lucius Malfoy. Bastard deserves to slowly lose his mind and waste away.

 

“I’m sure that’s what the world will say when I’m dying why pity Scorpius Malfoy for losing his bondmate? Pillock didn’t deserve him anyways.” Albus whispers with fury, knowing it’ll get a rise.

 

Surprising neither of them Scorpius hisses, “Shut up.” Scorpius has Albus by the shoulders—desperate but gentle. “I almost lost you twice...once when I was stupid and prideful and then when I thought you’d perish in grief. When my pride was still a damnable thing.” He draws Albus closer, needing to hold him, “My soul would shatter without you.” Stupid and cliche as that sounds they both know he means what he says.

 

Albus caresses his cheeks, eyes soft on Scorpius’s face, “Yeah, and Narcissa is going to shatter. No matter how much of a shit he is, be kind for her. Please?”

 

He promises to try.

 

*

 

A promise that is hard when he comes in to Lucius hurling insults at Albus a few days later.  

 

“What one should expect from a Mudblood whore,” he’s sneering, through a cough, at Albus. “Can’t even procure the potions I’ve asked for...like your brain was mush from conception.”

 

“Alb,” Scorpius calls with a pleasant tone from the doorway. “Nan needs help with some work designs.” Albus appears grateful for the obvious save and thanks Scorpius, beneath his breath, as he ducks from the room. Once he’s down the hall Scorpius turns a cold gaze on Lucius. Even when frail his grandfather manages an air of superiority. Like he’s a king and nothing beneath him matters.

 

Scorpius has always had a problem with authority, and makes his way leisurely towards the bed. Where he places himself into a chair, staring at Lucius.

 

“Out with it, boy, your staring is annoying,” Lucius hisses.

 

“You know, I could make you suffer more than you already know you will,” Scorpius begins with a tone so low only Lucius is sure to hear it. He’s often dreamt of this speech and this scenario. Lucius frail and dying by his own foolish tampering with things best left untouched, evil things that could see him back in that cell. And Scorpius always over him with the fury of an avenger. Reality is so much sweeter than any dream, he finds, as he says. “There were many years I spent listening to you shit on my mum, my dad, and me. I won’t let you shit on Albus.” A cruel smile tilts up the corner of his mouth, “Try me, old man, and you will find I share your cruelty towards those I find beneath me.”

 

As he rises, Lucius says nothing, when Scorpius reaches the door he hears a raspy chuckle. Something his dream never contained. Then Lucius says, “Good, Scorpius, remember to hate me when I go—remind your grandmother why I’m not worth mourning.”

 

It startles him that the last bit sounds like a plea. Unsettles him that there’s a small part of him where pity tries to grow.

 

*

 

“I want a tree,” Orion tells Scorpius one night when it’s just the two of them. A rarity. One that’s come about because Albus is at a fashion week, displaying his Spring and Summer collections. Nan, of course, is absolutely thrilled to be there for work. She’s taken every opportunity, recently, to tell them all how much work goes into the brand. Something she does to brighten the mood when Lucius brings it down by reminding them of his impending demise, wanker never stops hacking or having fits of forgetfulness. He’s glad Albus is with his nan, giving her a needed distraction. But as such their work away leaves Orion and Scorpius alone. Making both of them miss Albus’s warmth.

 

“A tree?” Scorpius replies, puzzlement drawing his eyebrows together.

 

“Yeah, for Christmas,” Orion nods, matter-of-fact.

 

“We’ve never had a tree before, we always use Granddad’s,” Scorpius reminds.

 

“But this year I’ve got a mum and I think my mum needs a tree,” Orion tells him. He’s shy, receding in on himself a bit after his words.

 

“Yeah, he might need one,” Scorpius agrees with a gentle expression. Soothing as he can be without drawing attention to Orion’s tendency to remain unsure about the newness of this wholeness of their family. Wounds take time and care to heal, after all. Standing, Scorpius says, “Com’on then, let’s get Alb a tree.”

 

They come home with the biggest tree at the lot, and at least three hundred glass baubles of gold, silver, and deep royal purple. “Alby loves purple,” Orion had said when Scorpius questioned the trinkets Orion added to their cart.

 

Draco never decorated trees—he’d had servants for that—and Scorpius can never remember expressing the desire. Trees were always erected around the manor with shiny glass orbs and objects that coordinated with the particular room it was in.They just existed in his world, like everything else, and up until now Orion hasn’t expressed interest in such work. So he asks, “What made you want to put up a tree?”

 

“Alby told me Aunt Lily and Uncle Jamie used to fight over how to decorate their tree.” He grins, “Apparently, they had bad enough rows that Gran and Granddad Potter said only Alby was allowed to dress the tree. He said he enjoyed it.”

 

Scorpius isn’t surprised. Albus has always seemed like the type to enjoy holidays. The merriment and the festiveness of it all—it’s like a party, and Scorpius knows Albus loves a good party. “Do you think we should decorate it alone, or wait for him? Since he’s always loved doing it?”

 

“Maybe we can wait,” Orion concedes. Though his gaze lingers on the decorations, and Scorpius grins at his obvious impatience.

 

Three nights later, Albus comes in tired from work, but—like a charm—the gifted tree and shiny decorations manage to rid the sleepiness from his form. His fatigue melts away beneath the magic of Orion’s loving surprise.

 

“It’s wonderful,” Albus breathes. Hugging Orion tight. “Exactly what I wanted.”

 

“Can I help you put the baubles on?” Orion asks. Albus releases a bright laugh, hugging him again.

 

“I can’t think of a better helper,” his voice is pure joy. It makes something pleasant coil in Scorpius’s belly.

 

Scorpius spends the evening, drinking a few beers and grinning as he watches them haphazardly place the decorations on the green limbs. It’s not the prettiest tree he’s ever seen, but it’s the only tree he’s ever loved looking at.

 

*

 

Scorpius’s second greatest Christmas gift that year is knowing that he cost Henry Spencer hefty profits for trying to cash in on his and Albus’s fucking. His first greatest is watching Albus’s delighted face. His eyes sparkle with joy—there’s no other way to describe it as he damn near glows from happiness.

 

Albus went overboard with gifts, but Scorpius never told him ‘no’ while they shopped. There were many afternoons of Albus grabbing something off a shelf and grinning as he delightedly whispered, “Orion needs this.” It didn’t matter to Scorpius how much it cost, he didn’t say ‘no’ because he’d spend every last red cent he has to make Albus happy. Now he watches Albus reap the rewards of those purchases.

 

“Whoa,” Orion exclaims with wide eyes. Disbelief dropping his jaw open as he reads a certificate, “Is this real?”

 

That’s one that Scorpius had not seen, one of the gifts he did not buy, and he’s curious as he leans around Albus to look at what their son is holding. His eyebrows climb towards his hairline when he sees what is written there. Spring Training with Puddlemere United—this paper certifies that Orion Malfoy will join the Spring Training Camp.  

 

“Potter help you with that one, did he,” Scorpius snorts, before pressing a kiss into Albus’s dark, bed rumpled hair. Orion woke them so early it should be a crime.

 

“One, I am a Potter, thank you. Two, yeah, I might’ve got him to convince his coach to let Orion come even though he’s not twelve.” When Orion throws himself into Albus, wrapping his skinny arms around Albus’s neck, Albus releases another of his bright laughs. The ones that make Scorpius warm and content. “I’m glad you’re happy with it—your uncle was a ruddy nightmare about it and made me promise to set him up on a date with Angelina Leblanc.”

 

“Did you manage to get him a date,” Scorpius whistles with a lilt of faux interest. “She’s got an arse like a peach.”

 

Albus, predictably, shoots him an annoyed glance. An angry moue Scorpius wants to lick off of his mouth. “Is that right?”

 

“Well, she’s not the only one,” Scorpius makes a show of trying to get a look at Albus’s arse, causing him to grin. They sit there staring at one another for a moment, full of adoration. Scorpius leans in, kissing Albus, and that’s what causes Orion to let his mum go.

 

“Gross,” he wrinkles his nose. Causing Scorpius to make a bigger show of obnoxiously kissing Albus. “Da-d,” Orion drags out the ‘a’.

 

“I’ve got to take advantage of the mistletoe,” Scorpius claims with a stupidly happy grin. At Orion’s annoyed frown he huffs out a laugh. “All right, all right—now there’s a present you haven’t unwrapped.” He nods towards a place behind the large Christmas tree. In a place where the large parcel was previously concealed.

 

So, maybe beating Henry Spencer at his game is his third best gift—after Orion crying literal tears of joy when he opens his brand new Lightning Racer 4. Fastest, lightest broom made to date.

 

“Dad,” he breathes into Scorpius—trying to squeeze the life out of him with the force of his hug. “This is my best Christmas ever.” Scorpius agrees, this is the best Christmas of his life.

 

*

 

Scorpius, in his delirium of happiness, forgets the annual New Year’s party that the Malfoy family hosts. It’s more of a meeting of business conglomerates. Something Scorpius definitely isn’t interested in participating in, but as the heir of Draco Malfoy and the Malfoy dynasty he has been groomed for these situations since he was in the womb. Most of the people who approach him do not approach him out of respect for him, but for the hope of gaining favour with his father.

 

Albus is the one who soothes Scorpius, with a slim arm around Scorpius’s waist, while engaging in meaningless chatter. Albus excels in these situations of playing at pleasantries. He’s a knack for kissing up, and Scorpius grins when he catches Draco watching Albus with a subtle, impressed draw in place of his usual stoic frown. There’s a part of Scorpius that silently preens from the knowledge that his father recognises worth in his bonded.

 

Of course, there are the snide backhanded reminders of Albus’s not so distant past. His absence in Orion’s life, word of his affair with Deputy Minister Goldstein, and his very public display in that smut rag.

 

When one of his father’s oldest associates—Arthur Stern—mentions the last one Albus’s fake smile falters. Scorpius, feeling irritated at the reminder of that nameless Alpha, grins sharp and predatory. “Perhaps, Mr Stern, you shouldn’t make a habit of airing out other’s dirty laundry.” When dull brown eyes land on him, Scorpius adds, “Because there’s plenty of your own secrets waiting to come to light.” Fear flits across his thin face, and Scorpius smirks in triumph. “Also, if you’re interested in seeing my bondmate knotted, feel free to purchase our Live Pensieve. You might learn a thing or two from me.” He’s terribly pleased with himself when Stern stomps away in a snit.

 

Draco, ever the killjoy, murmurs, “Must you constantly bring up the fact that you are in pornography?”

 

“Once is not constantly,” Scorpius points out.

 

“Once is more than plenty,” Draco replies with a sniff. He’s about to give a glib reply to his dad when a familiar floral scent fills his lungs. Draco, Scorpius notices, has a stiff expression and he doesn’t need to look to confirm who has come to them.

 

She always comes. At every party, at every opportunity. Looking for the scraps Draco does not give. Pansy is a stunning creature. Regal of stance and coy of expression, she’s like a teenage fantasy come to life. Older now, but no less beguiling, and even still her glance makes Scorpius shuffle with guilt.

 

Something Albus immediately picks up on, “Who is she?”

 

“An old friend of my father’s,” Scorpius replies.

 

Pansy, wicked woman, gives a low chuckle before offering her own response. “I’m an old friend of yours, too, aren’t I, Scorpius?” The intention of her words is obvious to anyone. Blue eyes sweep over him, appreciation clear as she tracks every line he creates, then she murmurs. “You grow more fetching every year.” Her eyes dart to Draco, “Like father, like son.” When she glances at Albus, Pansy wears a taunting smirk, adding, “In more ways than one.”

 

Albus, stoic in the face of her obvious intentions, lifts Scorpius’s hand to his cheek. Pressing into his palm before his lips catch over the scar that’s exposed from the way Scorpius’s suit and shirt move with his motions. “Alpha,” he whispers, loud enough for Pansy and Draco to hear, as he locks gazes with Scorpius. “Take me home.”



*

 

Home, of course, is bed. Orion is away with Nan and Andromeda for a fun New Year’s with Teddy and his brats. So, there is no little one to check one when they come in through the Floo. There’s only the need to strip the stiff formal clothes. Albus is desperate, his own shirt and jacket flung haphazardly to the ground before his fingers begin working at Scorpius’s.

 

“Slow down,” Scorpius pants. His shirt and jacket open—exposing the tattooed expanse of his chest and stomach, swirls of ink beneath his shallow belly button that’s where Albus’s mouth goes. His teeth nipping at Scorpius before he sucks at the taut flesh, drawing skin into his mouth to tickle with his silky tongue. “Shit, Alb.”

 

“What did she do with you?” The question is raw and comes from a hidden fear of inadequacy. One Scorpius and Albus both have, one they both try again and again to wash away. A thick swallow has Scorpius tracking the movement of Albus’s Adam’s Apple in his pale throat. He wants to bite at it, leave deep dark bruises across it. “Did you look at her the way you look at me?”

 

“How do I look at you,” Scorpius whispers. Knowing full well what he looks like when he stares at Albus.

 

He drags Scorpius’s zipper open with his teeth, then with his hands pulls at the band of Scorpius’s pants, exposing his cockhead to the cool air of the room. Scorpius hisses, while Albus moves closer. His breath cool and hot against Scorpius’s cock, his lips not quite touching but when he speaks Scorpius groans as the air tickles him like a loving caress. “Did you look at her like she was the answer to everything?”

 

“No,” Scorpius pants. Tormented by the way Albus kitten licks at his sensitive skin, but he stands there, near motionless, allowing Albus to take this control. To have power.

 

“How did you look at her when she did these things to you?” There he is, Scorpius thinks as he looks down at Albus licking and stroking him while wearing that wide-eyed innocence. The picture of eternal naivety and purity despite his salacious actions.

 

“I looked at her and wished she was you,” he admits, his hips twitching as Albus runs his tongue along the bottom of his cock, before moving to tease his bollocks. “Shit,” he hisses, scratching gentle fingers through Albus’s hair. Wanting, more than anything, to fuck his mouth, but he doesn’t. Instead, he waits in torment while Albus sets the pace.

 

“Did you always wish your partners were me?” Albus asks, tongue lapping at the slit of Scorpius’s cock. Tasting a hint of what’s to come.

 

“Yes,” he groans. “Everyone I fucked I wanted to be you.”

 

“Then fuck me now,” Albus commands. After sucking on Scorpius, after drawing him all the way to the back of his throat. He turns, still on his knees and moves until he’s lying with his cheek against the floor. Arse up and presented for Scorpius to take. Hands spreading the pale cheeks of his arse, exposing the tight, glistening , pink hole. Presenting himself in a way that calls to Scorpius’s baser instincts. “Fuck me, Scorpius. Fuck only me.”

 

“Only you,” he agrees with a needy whine. Going to his own knees and grabbing Albus’s hips.

 

*

 

James has a birthday in February, near Valentine’s Day, and it’s the sort of function Scorpius cannot avoid. No matter how much he’d like to avoid all manner of Weasleys.

 

Albus has been understanding of his avoidance, but Scorpius feels shit for not trying again. After all, Albus sits in silence while that dying, hateful old bigot calls him every foul word he can muster from his extensive vocabulary. Scorpius—as Draco still reminds—owes Albus nothing. Yet, he does. If he wants this to work. If he wants to overcome the lingering resentments of their past. He has to put that behind them. He cannot look at Albus as the boy he ruined and the one who ruined him in return. Scorpius has to look at him as the love of his life and the mother of his children. He has to look at him without suspicion or ill will. So when Albus looks at the invitation. His agaition obvious for all the world to see, Scorpius takes it and asks, “What’s that knob like? I want to give him the best present so he’s forced to be grudgingly polite.”

 

Albus’s smile is relieved as well as amused. “James has two loves,” Albus says. Then adopting a tone that is meant to mock his brother he adds. “Sport and Skirt, best yet if you can mix the two.”

 

Scorpius, is gladly up to the challenge.

 

When they arrive at the Potter’s cottage at Land’s End, Albus clings to him with an intense fear. One Scorpius soothes with a calming, steady stroke up and down Albus’s spine. Orion, unmindful, is already inside the cottage. Shouting, Grandpa, I’m here . Scorpius catches Albus’s lips with his own, a soft brush of smooth skin against smooth skin. “Let’s go build better memories.”

 

“You are so kind to forgive me—foolish, but kind.”

 

“I am no saint,” Scorpius assures. “I’m a wretched man who would forsake anything just to touch you.”

 

Albus kisses him deep, breaking away from it but stays close enough to drink down Scorpius’s deep breaths. “Forsake nothing, I am already yours.”

 

“Oi, you fuckers, get in here. Mum won’t let me have my cake until we’ve all sat and had dinner.” James, the eternal child, seems extremely upset by that fact.

 

When they make their way into the flat, James nods stiffly at Scorpius while he does the same. Albus rolls his eyes and huffs in an amused way that Scorpius considers progress. To annoy that pillock James, Scorpius makes a bit of a show of pinching Albus on the arse.



*

 

McGonagall rings Scorpius at his Mirror when he’s in the middle of an interview with Witch Weekly , and he debates not answering it. Because postponing this interview again will cause havoc to his schedule. However, it persists, which is usually a good indication that something is amiss. With a sigh, he interrupts whatever Morgana Lonegrove is saying—she was probably asking about the new album, but he’s not all that interested in these sort of interviews so he half pays attention. “Pardon me, my son’s school is contacting me.”

 

“Of course,” she replies in a way that makes him wonder if his fatherly affection has gone to her ovaries. It’s something his father warns of often, the fact that Omegas of a certain age start looking at good fathers with longing eyes. Scorpius thinks that’s horribly sexist, but he has noticed some truth in Draco’s words in recent months. Since the papers have been trying to glimpse more of his interactions with Orion. Orion and Albus specifically. They like painting him into something Linda Carrington—writer of Teen Witch ’s dating column—calls “zaddy goals”. Whatever the fuck that is, he’s honestly afraid to ask.  

 

“Mr Malfoy,” McGonagall sounds tired which is not comforting. “We have a problem,” and that fills him with further dread.

 

*

 

When he gets to Magical Meadows Scorpius is certain that there will be more bloodshed between his child and Rowan. He’s expecting that Orion will be moody and angry. Instead, he finds his son cowering in the chair across from McGonagall’s desk, his arms wrapped about his knees while he sniffs. When Scorpius approaches he wipes at his red-rimmed eyes and Scorpius feels heartbroken just looking at him.

 

McGonagall throws a silencing bubble around Orion before she speaks to Scorpius frankly—though, he’s a feeling he knows what’s coming before she opens her mouth. He’s been wondering how soon this would happen. “Orion spent a good portion of the day in the lavatory,” she gives him a meaningful glance. “You were Head Boy, I’m sure you don’t need me to give you a massive amount of details to understand what I am saying.”

 

“Yes, Headmistress,” Scorpius nods his head in understanding. “Come on, son,” he whispers to Orion and then leads him to the school’s Floo.

 

“Dad,” Orion’s voice cracks with apology causing Scorpius to hug him close while he calls out their destination in the flames.

 

Scorpius doesn’t know how to begin, honestly. He’s suddenly feeling pity for his own father when he remembers how the same headmistress once called Draco in for the same problem. Shit. “Go get cleaned up, son,” Scorpius feels far older than he ever has.

 

Ringing Teddy seems the best course of action; after all, he was the one who answered all of the questions Scorpius had left after his own discussion with Draco.

 

Teddy has a smirk that makes Scorpius want to punch him, but he refrains because Teddy will kick the shit out of him. “Spent the day in the loo, playing with himself, yeah?” Scorpius’s frown causes Teddy to elaborate. “You never ask me for parenting advice, and you’re enough like your dad that I could piece together what this was about.” Sometimes Scorpius hates that about Teddy—his perception—it’s a bit of a pain when the berk proves he’s smarter than he looks and smarter than Scorpius. “So, where is he?”

 

Scorpius huffs out a dejected sort of sigh. “Up in his room...he’s embarrassed.”

 

“You were, too, when you first discovered your bits.” Teddy grins, clapping him on his shoulder. “Mind if I head up while you grab a couple beers?”

 

“Yeah, go on, mate,” Scorpius waves. That’s all the permission Teddy needs to jog up the stairs and knock on Orion’s door.

 

Scorpius hears him say, “Hey, mate, it’s Uncle T, can I come in?” He assumes it’s a yes because the door opens and it goes quiet. It’s an awkward moment for Scorpius who is resting his head against the fridge wondering how in the hell he’s going to broach this topic with his kid. They’ve never had that this is where you came from discussion. He groans, after a long moment where the fridge grows warm beneath his skin, and he pulls back to open the door, grabbing a couple of cold bottles. Though he’d prefer whiskey.

 

It’s a long, funeral march up the stairs and down the corridor to Orion’s room. He pauses, listening at the crack in the door for a moment. Teddy has a gentle tone, “You know, mate, you don’t have to be embarrassed.” A rustle of fabrics sound, making Scorpius assume he’s crossed his arms—Teddy is a creature of habit. “Every Alpha experiences the same thing. Hell, I remember when your dad got your granddad called up to Hogwarts because he’d spent the day with his hands down his trousers. And you should’ve heard about the mess-” Scorpius busts in at that point stopping anything further from being said. There’s a smirk on Ted’s face. As if he did that intentionally. Wanker.

 

“Hey, brought you a beer,” he grits at Teddy, passing the bottle over roughly. Much to his cousin’s amusement.

 

“So, Orion,” Scorpius turns to him, embarrassed beyond belief. “Is there anything you want to know?”

 

“Why does it feel like that?” He finally speaks, after he chews his lip for a long, thoughtful minute.

 

“Like what?” Scorpius, stupidly, asks.

 

“Like that .” Orion gestures, in a vague way and with a blush goes, “You know , it feels weird but awesome .” Teddy, the berk, bursts with a laugh. Then immediately apologises when Orion curls in on himself.

 

“Not laughing at you, mate. Just laughing about how accurate that description is.” Teddy claps, after setting his unopened beer on the desk behind him. Scorpius glances at him, lost and bewildered, causing him to go, “Okay then. You want to hear all about why your body’s gone weird?” Teddy isn’t one for beating around the awkward bush.

 

“Yes.” Orion makes an indignant face.

 

“All right, I’m going to apologise in advance for how fucking awkward this is going to be,” Teddy squats before Orion’s chair, to be more on eye level with him. “Just remember all of it is natural and has been happening since the dawn of time.”

 

“Um,” Orion shoots Scorpius a worried glance and he shrugs—in a what can you do sort of manner.

 

“So, you know that super nice feeling spot that popped up today?” Teddy’s got little tact.

 

“Yes.” Orion doesn’t seem bothered, at least.

 

“That’s a knot.” Teddy hooks a thumb over his shoulder at Scorpius. “Your dad’s got one, your granddad’s got one, and I’ve got one.” With a lot of cheek, he adds, “Of course mine’s the biggest.” Scorpius flicks him in the back of the head for that. “Anyways,” Teddy begins again. Unperturbed. “There’s a reason you’ve got one, and it doesn’t always come out, mind—in a few years, when you’re ready to use your penis for its intended purpose, you’ll have more control over it.”

 

“Good, I’d like to not hide in the loo all the time,” Orion replies. Relief flooding his face.

 

Teddy gives a bit of chuckle at that and goes, “Well, sometimes a little quickie in the loo is the best.”

 

“Ted-,” Scorpius warns causing Teddy to wave a dismissive hand.

 

“Sorry,” he’s not, but continues. “You’ll have control over it—trust, and when you’re ready you can share that with your partner.”

 

“Share with a partner?” Orion has lost Teddy’s meaning, and Scorpius is somewhat relieved his son is still mostly innocent to the ways of the world.

 

“Well, like—oh,” Teddy gestures again to Scorpius. Because nothing’s quite as fun as being dragged back into the most embarrassing moment of Scorpius’s life. “Like your dad and your mum. There’s a certain time of the month, or every few months—depends on the person—when your mum has a heat. When that happens your dad will ease Albus through the heat and they share the knot.”

 

“Share it how?” Orion appears horrified, his voice rising higher than normal and Scorpius, too, is feeling a bit worried.

 

“Well, when an Alpha and an Omega share heat, or the rut, the Alpha will lock into an Omega with their knot—which is biologically intended for breeding.” Not wrong, yet Scorpius shuffles uncomfortably. He will gladly have sex, he’s never been so keen to talk about it in a technical manner.

 

“So...” Orion begins slowly, glancing at Scorpius then back at Teddy. “My dad puts his knotty dick in my mum?”

 

Scorpius slaps a hand over his face, and is thinking about killing Teddy when Teddy enthusiastically replies, “Yes, that is exactly right.”

 

It’s about three minutes before Orion lets out a horrified shout. “Why the hell would they do that?”

 

*

 

Albus comes in from the Floo once Orion’s stopped shouting and he appears confused when Orion glances away from him, frowning and blushing. Teddy’s long since gone home. When he started getting a little too detailed about the mating process Scorpius shoved him out the Floo and wondered why the hell he’d enlisted his worst influence to help.

 

“Everything all right?” Albus enquires, setting his art portfolio bag down beside the chair.

 

“ ‘M fine.” Orion mumbles, refusing to look at Albus and Scorpius makes a shrug—conveying that they can talk about it later.

 

“Well, if you need to talk,” Albus offers with a concerned frown. “I’ll listen.”

 

Apparently, that’s all that’s needed for Orion to blurt. “Does Dad put his knotty dick in you a lot?”

 

Albus is—in a word—flabbergasted. His mouth hangs open, his eyes are impossibly wide and it’d be hilarious if Scorpius wasn’t wishing the world would swallow him whole.

 

“What?” Albus sounds faint.

 

“Uncle T came over and told me about knots because I popped one at school and now I want to know if my dad is always doing that to you...because, really, that’s a horrifying thought.” Orion is going on about a mile a minute causing extreme bewilderment in Scorpius.

 

Albus takes the tirade in stride, drawing Orion into a hug and being as gentle and frank as possible. “Your father has knotted me, yes. It’s something you do when you bond someone, usually.”

 

“Is it only if you bond,” Orion asks.

 

“No, most partners will share a knot but bonding is not common in Wizarding society.” Albus doesn’t appear comfortable with the line of discussion, but he is managing to be more composed than Scorpius would be. Scorpius is ready to drink the liquor cabinet just from listening to all of this. He’s also feeling the urge to write his father and apologise for everything he’s ever done in his life, because surely this is punishment.

 

“Why does he knot you?” Orion glances up. Frown drawing down his brows, “Doesn’t that hurt you?” Scorpius swallows at the look of earnest concern that Orion wears while looking up at his mum.

 

“No,” Albus’s eyes are distant. A fond memory hiding in the gleam. “Sharing the knot makes us one, and being one is the best feeling in the world.”

 

“Will I do that with someone?” Orion asks after a brief, thoughtful, silence.

 

“One day, when you’re ready.” Albus strokes his cheek, giving him a gentle smile.

 

“Are knots needed to make babies?”

 

“No, but they help. We can discuss that in more detail when you’re ready.” It’s a kind dismissal, and Scorpius is glad, again, that Albus is managing this fairly well.

 

“Okay,” Orion agrees—staring at Albus’s jumper covered abdomen. “Will you and Dad make a baby?” That question shocks Scorpius.

 

“We haven’t discussed that,” Albus is a liar. They had, vaguely. Back when they weren’t together, and Scorpius isn’t sure he wants to touch the topic post their loss. They don’t need a baby, really, Orion is the most important thing in their lives.

 

“I’d like a baby.” Orion tells them—his confession causing Scorpius’s pulse to race anxiously—while rubbing his young cheek against Albus’s stomach. Laying a claim to his mother without realising. “I want to be a big brother like Uncle T and Uncle Jamie.”

 

Albus appears heartbroken as he strokes Orion’s hair. “You’d be a fabulous big brother,” he swallows.  

 

*

 

Orion is in bed and Scorpius feels exhausted. Leaning his head over the back of the sofa, he closes his eyes to a tension headache. Opening them when he feels warm fingers ghosting his thighs. Even through the black denim of his trousers, Albus’s touch is electric. “Shit,” he hisses, lifting his head to look at Albus. “What’re you doing,” his voice is low, seductive, full of the knowledge of what Albus is intending.

 

The bright teeth of Albus’s smile catch in the candlelight—making him appear even more wicked as he places his cheek against Scorpius’s covered, inner thigh. “I’ve missed you,” Albus says, tongue dancing across his lower lip. “I directed a shoot today that made me think of you.”

 

“Did it?” His own voice is pitched low, a rumble of sex and desire in the sound.

 

“Yes,” Albus purrs. Sitting up on his knees, pressing more of his body into the space between Scorpius’s thighs. He grabs ahold of Scorpius’s necklace, the family locket his mother had always worn. And he draws Scorpius closer by the thick silver chain of it. “Wanton Heat was the theme,” he whispers against Scorpius’s mouth. “So much leather, so much power between them as they fought to lead the dance.”

 

“Do you want me to fight you?” Scorpius enquires, voice soft as his hands are rough in Albus’s hair. “Do you want to be made into my bitch?” He bites at Albus’s ear, more playful nibble than anything but it works. Albus is putty in his hold.

 

“I’ve always been willing to be your bitch,” it comes out on a gasp.

 

Scorpius draws him closer while he stands, and lifts Albus into his arms. Gripping his bum as Albus’s long legs wind round his waist. “Tell me how you want my knot—tell me how you want me to brand you owned.” Scorpius’s lips, teeth, and tongue never stop their dance on Albus’s neck.

 

“I want you to dig your fingers into my hips and rut deeper when you knot,” Albus confesses, desperation tinting his tone.

 

“Dad?” Orion’s voice is a cold bath over Scorpius’s overheated senses. He stops massaging Albus’s bum. Instead, he glances down the corridor at his son who is looking at him and Albus as if they have sprouted horns. “What’re you doing carrying Alby?”

 

“Shit,” Scorpius mutters beneath his breath while Albus clings to him tighter, startled.

 

“Oh, I hurt my foot,” Albus lies, overly enthusiastic. “Your dad was carrying me to bed.”

 

Orion, newly informed on the ways of mating seems suspicious. “You guys share a bed, right?”

 

Scorpius is suddenly worried about what this will mean for their sex life. “Yes, you know we do.”

 

Orion narrows his eyes. “I don’t want you putting your knotty dick in my mum.”

 

“Christ,” Scorpius swears as he sets Albus down. “Orion...” he trails off, unsure of how to continue.

 

Orion ignores him, running to Albus and throwing his small arms around his waist. “Can I sleep with you guys tonight, Alby? Please?” He’s always more childish with Albus, pleading as he did in his toddler years. Scorpius has long grown accustomed to not being moved by those big green eyes, but Albus is still new to Orion’s charms.  

 

It’s been days since Scorpius has been home. He’s craving Albus’s skin, but Scorpius concedes when he sees how torn Albus is between touching Scorpius and bonding with their son. The son who is apparently horrified about what they get up to when alone, at night, in a bed. 

 

Orion wriggles between them, glaring at Scorpius when he tries to kiss Albus. “No funny ideas.” Orion snips, then burrows into Albus’s side. “Love you, Alby.”

 

“Love you,” Albus whispers in reply, hugging Orion in return. When Orion falls to sleep he reaches out, caressing Scorpius’s cheek. “Love you, too.”

 

Scorpius loses all sense of annoyance then and moves to kiss their son’s head before he rolls over to sleep.

 

*

 

He wakes to long, skinny legs thrown over his side, and he wrinkles his nose at the small foot that’s shoved in his face. Scorpius dislodges himself from beneath Orion’s sprawled form and makes his way to the en-suite, to relieve himself and shower for the day. He’s half-asleep beneath the warm spray, but becomes alert when he feels a hand on his cock.

 

“Good morning.” Albus purrs, while Scorpius’s cock grows interested at the attention. “I thought we could steal a moment while he’s sleeping.”

 

“Fuck,” Scorpius murmurs. Groaning when Albus’s tongue runs along the strong line of his shoulder.

 

“That was the idea.”

 

*

 

Albus is on his knees, sucking Scorpius when Orion starts pounding on the door. “Dad, I can’t find Alby.”

 

He’s got his hands in Albus’s wet hair, holding him tight because he’s so close and almost growls at the interruption. Albus, wanker, keeps going.

 

“Check in the garden,” Scorpius manages to not sound like he’s fucking Albus’s face, and—thankfully—Orion wanders off. Shouting for Albus. Scorpius comes moments after he leaves. His legs going to jelly while Albus swallows all he’s got to give. “Shit,” Scorpius murmurs when he’s regained his breath. “We can’t do that again. He’s gonna catch on.”

 

Albus grins, “Guess I’d better dress and pop into the garden—you can fuck me later.”

 

*

 

Later doesn’t happen. Orion is too busy being the biggest cock block of Scorpius’s life. And it’s not just one or two days. It’s going on three weeks of him forcing his way between them whenever it seems like they are going to share any sort of physical attention.

 

“What the fuck,” Scorpius bitches to Teddy. “Is this a thing he’s supposed to do?”

 

“Tristram is the biggest cock block, mate, I get it.” Teddy commiserates, groaning, “The little fucker can sense when I’ve got amorous intentions and wails up a fucking storm until his mum fetches him.”

 

“Tristram is also a baby,” Scorpius counters. “My kid is ten.”

 

“Well,” Teddy reasons. “He’s just discovered what the thing between his thighs was intended for, and he knows your giant cock gets shoved into his mum on occasion—maybe he’s trying to prevent that.”

 

“Yet, he keeps asking for a sibling,” Scorpius grumbles. “Can’t pregnant his mum if he won’t let me get off with him.”

 

“Are you both willing to try for another one?” Teddy asks, knowing of that dark day.

 

“Honestly, I don’t know if I can.” He takes a deep drag of his cigarette. “I feel like it wouldn’t be fair to my son, and then there’s the fear of seeing Albus like that again.” His voice warbles, “It was awful, mate.”

 

“I can’t imagine,” Teddy admits. “I don’t know if I could handle watching that as well as you did.”

 

Scorpius doesn’t respond.

 

*

 

When he gets home that night Orion is on the sofa, arms curled around Albus’s middle, sleeping. “He had a long day,” Albus whispers with a fond smile. “Orion stayed on the broom for hours, racing James and running drills.”

 

“Did your dad join,” Scorpius settles beside Albus, pulling him against his side to brush a quick kiss to his hair.

 

“For a few hours, he and Mum have been going to see a counselor—they’re trying to work it out.” Scorpius isn’t sure which of Albus’s parents he likes less. They both seem indifferent to him, but are good enough to Orion than he doesn’t have much care one way or another. Giving a vague hum in response he settles against the back of the couch, debating a beer when Albus leans closer. “I miss you,” he whispers and that’s all Scorpius needs to stand and lift Orion.

 

He lays Orion gently in bed, placing a brief kiss on his hair. Silently, he begs for his son to stay in his own bed tonight.

 

Albus is standing naked beside their bed when Scorpius steps in and he pauses. Eyes devotedly roaming Albus’s face, searching his gaze, smile, the wrinkle of his nose when he laughs because Scorpius has stared too long. “You’re embarrassing me,” Albus protests. “Stop staring.”

 

“If I don’t stare,” Scorpius admits. “I might forget you are real.”

 

Albus’s face loses its humour—earnestly he murmurs, “Touch me. That will confirm I am here.”

 

Scorpius doesn’t need to be told twice. His hands worship Albus, awed while he searches Albus’s face. “I miss you.”

 

“I’m aching for you,” Albus gasps. “Hurry.”

 

“No,” Scorpius whispers. “I don’t want this to end so soon.”

 

*

 

Albus is sweat slick, his body over Scorpius while Scorpius watches as he works himself open. Knowing Scorpius gets worked up when Albus fingers himself. “I want you to knot me,” Albus husks, eyes half lidded while he lowers himself on Scorpius’s cock. “It’s been months,” Albus whispers, reverent.

 

“Months,” Scorpius echoes, remembering that last knot. The one where Albus scratched scars into the headboard while they shared a heat that wasn’t all anguish. It was bloody fantastic.

 

“I need you more than just for heat,” Albus admits. “I crave the stretch of you daily.”

 

“My dad always said not all male Omegas love getting fucked.”

 

“I’ve known quite a few who hate anal penetration, but that’s not me. I could happily ride cock forever.” Albus grips Scorpius’s shoulders, setting a slow, rhythmic pace. “ Your cock forever.”

 

Scorpius feels Albus, running his fingertips over Albus’s skin—lingering on the flat, soft skin of his stomach. Wondering, in silence if he wants to watch it grow. His talk with Teddy, his long absence from touching Albus these weeks, and his age muddle his brain.

 

“Your thoughts are loud,” Albus whispers. “What’re are you thinking?”

 

“Nothing,” Scorpius lies, unwilling to upset Albus. “Just thinking of how much I love you.”

 

*

 

The next morning Scorpius sits, naked with his legs hanging over the side of the bed, feet upon the cool floor. He’s lost in thought when Albus sits up, putting warm fingers on his back. “What’s wrong?”

 

“Nothing,” Scorpius lies again. “Go back to sleep. I’ll get Orion ready.”

 

*

 

His dad is in his office at the manor, looking through old files of Lucius’s. A grim set to his mouth and Scorpius wonders if he should even talk about this with his dad. He’s dealing with a lot now that Lucius is often bedridden and looking more and more of death. Pillock deserves it, but Nan has been so needy of Draco, and Scorpius isn’t sure he should bring more problems to his father’s table.  

 

He’s thinking about popping home—doesn’t want to upset more of this fragile world—but doesn’t get the chance when Draco calls out to him.

 

“I hadn’t expected you,” Draco admits, setting the papers aside. Appearing relieved to have the distraction. “Is everything all right?”

 

“No,” Scorpius admits— so much for not telling Draco — taking a chair. He lights a cigarette and his father is too focused on worrying about him to reprimand him of his habit.

 

“Tell me what is bothering you,” Draco commands in a gentle voice. Fatherly affection softening his words.

 

“I want another baby,” Scorpius admits. “I think I do, at least, and it scares the shit out of me.”

 

Draco regards him in silence for a long while. Scorpius is waiting for his father to rage—call him a selfish idiot who should not hurt his son with a replacement. Remind him that it is not fair for this child to have Albus from birth and on. Yet, he never does, when Draco opens his mouth all he says is, “I will support you and Albus if that’s what you both choose to do. How will Orion react?”

 

Scorpius releases a startled laugh. “I was hoping you’d talk me out of this stupid desire.”

 

“If your mother were still with me, if she were capable, I would’ve filled this house with all the children she desired. It’s not stupid if you both want it.” Then he adds, “And if Orion truly wants it too. You have to consider him in this equation since he’s the child who only knew his father for a decade.”

 

*

 

When he gets home Albus isn’t there yet and Orion is spending the afternoon with Lily, going to some orchestra concert Scorpius is glad for an excuse to miss. He loves music but classical tends to put him to sleep.

 

Settling into the sofa Scorpius lifts one of the pictures off the side table, popping the top off his beer as he watches Orion—at two—waddling after a peacock on the manor’s grounds. He smiles, remembering all the little things that lit Orion up in wonder. He wants to share that with Albus, in real time. Not just in a Pensieve.

 

These are the things he’s thinking when Albus comes in, arms loaded down with groceries. Because cooking is a thing he’s been doing in recent months, tired of all the takeaway. Taking it upon himself to make food when he realised Scorpius is never going to do it again. That one dinner with Albus’s parents will remain his only foray into cooking. Now that they are public with their relationship, Albus has been less afraid to do things without asking. Cooking is one of those things. Tossing out Scorpius’s ratty trainers is another.

 

“Get up and help me put this shit away,” Albus huffs, but he’s not mad.

 

Scorpius grins. “I like watching you struggle.”

 

“Tit,” Albus replies, but it seems fond. Scorpius stands, following him into the kitchen, watching as he starts putting vegetables and fruits into their respective places.

 

It’s so stupidly domestic that Scorpius says, “I want a baby.”

 

Which is the wrong thing to blurt out, apparently, because Albus drops a bunch of tomatoes—face upset. “What?” His tone is a mixture of things that immediately fill Scorpius with regret.

 

“Nothing,” he tries, but the damage is done. Albus’s face morphs into disbelief.

 

“You want a baby?” He swallows, crushing the loaf of bread he’s picked up in his hands, seemingly unconscious of the fact he’s holding anything at all. “Do you remember that room, Scorpius?” Anguish bleeding into Albus’s soft voice and it calls to Scorpius memories of the loneliest moments of his life. Watching Albus cling to a dead child in his womb, begging to keep it. He closes his eyes, willing the nightmare away. “I remember, every night when I sleep I remember...I can’t do that again.”

 

“It could be better this time, you’ve not got the same stresses and—” Albus cuts him off with one word.

 

“No,” he says, firm and Scorpius stops. As he always will when Albus says so.

 

“I’m sorry,” he replies, instead, glancing down at his black socks. “I won’t ask that of you again.”

 

“Thank you,” Albus murmurs, touching the bond mark that Scorpius no longer keeps hidden beneath his watch band. “I didn’t mean to sound hateful.”

 

“You weren’t,” Scorpius assures.

 

*

 

Albus pulls away from him for the first time since they began their sexual relationship. Never has he denied Scorpius’s touches, and it makes him feel as if he’s fucked up majorly. I’ll go back and not say it, he thinks as he rolls onto his back staring up at the ceiling.

 

*

 

“I need you to watch the kids,” Teddy tells him the next time they are out to lunch. A few weeks later.

 

“Why,” Scorpius asks. Not that he’s against watching Teddy’s kids, it’s just not something he has to deal with all that often because Andromeda adores them and so does Fleur and Bill. Scorpius is usually third in line to keep an eye on them, unless Baz wants to come sleep over with Orion. However, when that happens he never makes it through the night. He misses his dad too much and wants to go home.

 

“Gran has a date, Fleur is out of town for work and Bill is stuck in Egypt for a bit.” Teddy rubs at his short, neatly kept beard, “And I need to really fuck my wife.”

 

Scorpius, for as used to Teddy as he is, chokes on his beer. Not because of the disgusting bit of telling him how he needs to give her a good dicking—more like he’s totally fucking surprised they got married . “Your what ?”

 

“My wife, as of about a week ago.” One day Scorpius hopes to perfect Teddy’s level of nonchalance.

 

“The hell, Ted, did you at least tell Dad and your gran?” Draco is going to shit if he wasn’t invited to a hasty marriage.

 

“Yeah, we went to lunch after. With her folks and Draco and Gran,” he shrugs, dragging a chip through catsup. Ever the image of devil may care.

 

Scorpius has half a mind to hex him. “You can’t drop news on me like that.”

 

“Fucking knob, I’ll do what I want.” Teddy sticks his tongue out at him. “Now, you gonna watch my brats so I can consummate for a good twelve hours?”

 

Scorpius rolls his eyes, “Of course I will.”

 

*

 

Albus’s eyes go wide when Scorpius wanders in with Orion and two extra boys. “What’s all this then?”

 

“Sorry, Ted asked for a last minute favour,” Scorpius informs. “Asked if I’d watch his kids and he apparently meant for most the night.”

 

“Dominique’s okay with that?” Not that Dominique believes Albus and Scorpius irresponsible, but Tristram is still pretty new to the world and his mother has separation anxiety. She’s been working less, according to Albus, to be with the kids more. Which makes Victoire apocalyptic, apparently and Scorpius can’t wait to hear about her head exploding when she hears the news.

 

“They needed some uninterrupted time,” Scorpius tells him as he sets down the bag full of Tristram’s things. Baz is off with Orion, up to his room to make a mess as is usual when Baz comes over. “They got married last week,” and Scorpius is glad to note that Albus had no clue about that either.

 

“Gran’s going to be irrationally angry about that. She’s got opinions already about the bond. She’ll no doubt rave about how they should’ve just married in the first place.” Albus mutters, standing to get a better look at Tristram who is gnawing on his fat little fist. He’s glancing about with wide-eyed wonder at all of the things in the flat. Scorpius hasn’t had Tristram here as often as Baz, after the baby that wasn’t it seemed too hard to deal with infants, and since Albus has been here he’s been too busy to see Teddy as often as he used to.

 

“He’s got so big,” Albus breathes, clearly enamoured as he smiles at Tristram. “Last I saw he was new...but that was so soon after,” he cuts off, clearing his throat.

 

“Yeah,” Scorpius doesn’t have time to try and form any other sort of response. Because Tristram starts biting through Scorpius’s shirt. “Ah, shit,” he mutters. “He’s teething.” He instructs Albus to get the ever cold teething ring out of the nappy bag. “Thanks,” he says when Albus passes it into his hand, and he carefully extracts Tristram from his shirt. “Here, mate, have a bite of this instead of me.”

 

It works like a charm,  Tristram slobbers all over the hard, cold rubber, and he smiles around the object at Scorpius. When he glances up from watching the infant he catches Albus staring. “What?”

 

Colour lights Albus’s cheeks and he glances away. “Nothing.” Scorpius doesn’t try to call him out of his lie. He settles into the floor with Tristram, dragging his bag closer to pull out his toys. Tristram starts grabbing at the floating blocks, giggling as they come close and then move out of reach.

 

“Oh look,” he murmurs when Tristram grabs one and holds it up triumphantly. “You did it.”

 

*

 

He’s on the floor for hours, entertaining Tristram when Albus’s voice calls out, “Dinner is ready.”

 

Scorpius had been so focused on watching Tristram pull himself up at the coffee table—walking around the edge of it on wobbly legs—that he hadn’t noticed the smell of roast chicken. “You hungry,” he asks Tristram, lifting him into his arms as the other two boys come thundering down the stairs.

 

“Wash up,” Albus tells them, watching as they both use the kitchen sink. Baz has to stand on the stool, and Orion takes the Mickey for that. Scorpius tells them both to knock it off as he leads them into the dining room.

 

Albus has rolls sat on the table and they are damn divine. Scorpius snatches one up, cooling it with a wandless, silent charm before he hands it to Tristram, who is sat in his lap.

 

“Is he old enough for bread,” Albus questions, worry in his tone.

 

“He’s all right, eat up,” Scorpius replies, not looking up from making sure Tristram doesn’t bite off more than he can chew.

 

“Dad,” Orion says after a bit, “Can I hold Tris while you eat?”

 

“I’ll eat in a bit, mate, he’s still trying to destroy this roll. Once he’s ready to get down and play you can hold him.”

 

Orion huffs, “Ugh, no fair you always hog the baby.”

 

Baz laughs, “You can hog him all you want, I need a break from him drooling on me all the time.”

 

Orion flicks him on the ear and then hugs him close, “You’re still my favourite, don’t worry.” Baz’s response is to hug Orion tightly around the neck.

 

“If you’re both done you can go watch the match on the Live, I think your Uncle Jamie is supposed to be playing today.” Scorpius still hates calling that knob Orion’s uncle, but he’s trying to be nicer.

 

“He said he’s going to knock that tit Givens off his broom,” Orion beams, and Scorpius doesn’t notice how still Albus has gone.

 

“Good,” Scorpius mutters, remembering the many embarrassing instances where Givens and his mates jumped Scorpius. “That bloke is a fucking knob.”

 

The boys don’t linger, taking their plates off to the sink to be cleaned before dashing for the living room. “Do you want me to hold him while you eat?” Albus offers when the sounds of the crowd cheering fills the living area. Scorpius scowls for a moment, throwing up a silencing charm so he doesn’t have to hear it. Then he faces Albus, realising Albus isn’t looking at him—he’s watching Tristram anxiously as if he wants nothing more than to hold him.

 

“Yeah,” he murmurs, eyes gentling as he stares at Albus. Scorpius stands, carrying Tristram over to where Albus is sat. “Here, hold onto this for me—I’m starved.”

 

Albus cracks a watery smile, and his eyes grow bright as he turns them upon Tristram who has his fat fist shoved into his drooling mouth. He grins around his hand at Albus, causing Albus to smile in return. “You’ve got roll all over you,” Albus whispers with a fond voice and Tristram responds with babble. “When are they picking them up?”

 

“Morning, I assume. Teddy knows screaming babies aren’t something I enjoy, but I know how to handle them—so I imagine he’s going to leave them as long as he can because he misses Dominique.”

 

Albus’s eyes are full of smoulder as they lift to Scorpius’s, “I understand—those weeks of Orion climbing between us were hell.”

 

Scorpius grins but does not respond. He goes back to eating the dinner before him. “These rolls are amazing,” Scorpius informs him as he eats a third one.

 

Albus snorts, “Be sure to thank my gran—she taught me how to make those when I was young.”

 

“I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to ever thank her for anything—she seems like she’d rather light me on fire than ask me back to her home.” Scorpius isn’t bothered by this.

 

However, Albus seems to be—frowning he murmurs, “I wish they could see how wonderful you are.”

 

“I only care that you and Orion find me wonderful—the rest of the world can fuck off,” Scorpius admits. “I’d damn the lot of them for you and our son.”

 

Albus groans, “Teddy needs to hurry back in the morning so I can show you how much I appreciate that sentiment.”

 

*

 

Tristram wakes a little after one, and he’s inconsolable because he’s teething. Scorpius takes pity on Albus, who looks so helpless, whispering, “Go on, lie back down and I’ll settle a silencing charm around you. That way you aren’t disturbed.”

 

“That isn’t fair to you, you’ve work with Lysander,” Albus tries to reason.

 

“Shhh,” Scorpius murmurs, patting Tristram’s back. “Alb, I’ll be all right—I’ve done this before, and gone to work just fine after.” A flicker of remorse crosses Albus’s face. Causing Scorpius to move closer, to cup his face. “I’d do it again, gladly—now, get some rest. You promised Nan you’d bring the older boys to breakfast.”

 

Albus reluctantly does as told and Scorpius casts the silencing charm around him, with a quick well-practised flick of his wrist, then he transfigures a shoe into a rocking chair. “All right, mate,” Scorpius begins, talking to Tristram as he often did Orion in his infancy. “I know it hurts, and I know you miss your mum, but I promise come morning she’ll be back to fetch you.” It’s twenty minutes of rocking Tristram before he settles down with a whimper, falling asleep against Scorpius’s bare chest. He grins down at him, thinking it’s strange Teddy’s capable of making cute brats.

 

*

 

A chime at the Floo wakes him, a little after Tristram has fallen to sleep and Scorpius gently stands from the chair—cradling the baby to him as he makes his way down the stairs.

 

His grey joggers hang low on his hips, giving Dominique and Teddy a near indecent view of him when they step in. She doesn’t seem to notice, too busy gathering the comforting weight of her baby into her arms. “My love,” she whispers in soft French. “My soul missed you.”

 

“The other one will be ready to come home with us as well,” Teddy checks his watch and almost on cue Baz comes sniffling down the stairs. “Hey, mate, you miss us?” Baz doesn’t answer Teddy, instead he rushes over to his dad, on clumsy, tired feet and Teddy gathers him easily into his arms. Baz falls asleep on his father as if all is right in the world.

 

“Did you enjoy your time alone,” Scorpius asks. Dominique and Teddy share a private smile and he pats Tristram on the back again. “I’m glad, Just next time come before I’ve paced the floor with him for hours.”

 

“You miss it,” Teddy winks. “Had to remind you how awful it gets,” he teases. Then after pressing a kiss to Baz’s magenta hair—a change done in sleep—Teddy adds, “I’ll drop him by in the morning before Al takes the older brats to brekkie with Auntie.”

 

“All right, I’ll let Albus know.”

 

*

 

Orion is waiting for him on the top landing, rubbing his eyes, and Scorpius grins, “Com’on, let's go crawl into bed.”

 

“I’m going to miss this when I go away to school and can’t sneak in in the middle of the night,” Orion confesses and Scorpius hugs him close telling him he will miss that too. Orion burrows against his heavily tattooed skin, “Love you, Dad, I hope Nan has cauldron cakes.” Shortly after the words leave his mouth Orion is asleep.

 

Over the top of his head, he finds Albus watching them with an inside expression on his face. Scorpius reaches out, tracing his lower lip and smiles when Albus kisses his fingertip. “Sleep, Alb.”

 

*

 

“Your grandmother is always trying to fatten me up,” Albus complains when he comes back from the manor alone. “Orion is staying with your father and grandmother because they promised to take him to the zoo on Sunday.” He flops onto the seat beside Scorpius, who is reading through Lysander’s proposal for co-running a new music label. He sets it aside when Albus wriggles into his lap.

 

“Can I help you,” Scorpius asks as he drops the scroll onto the sofa.

 

“Yes, you can help me work off all the sugar she shoved down my throat,” Albus is unzipping his dark jeans.

 

“I think you’d be quite fetching even if you were fat,” Scorpius says, meaning it but knowing it will get a rise out of Albus—who is horribly vain and not body positive in the least.

 

“Fuck me, you knob,” Albus grits and Scorpius laughs.

 

“Whenever and however you please, Majesty,” he purrs, getting a hand down Albus’s trousers to start pulling on his long, slim cock.

 

*

 

After, when they are lying naked in the floor of the living room—Scorpius smoking a cigarette and Albus’s fingers tracing the dark lines of ink in Scorpius’s skin—Albus whispers, “Why do you want a baby?”

 

“I don’t,” Scorpius lies.

 

“You do—it was so obvious when Tristram stayed.” Albus doesn’t sound accusing, more like he sounds disappointed in himself. “I wish it didn’t terrify me. But the idea of losing another one cripples me with fear.” Before Scorpius can say anything Albus adds, “and we haven’t talked about what we are. What our plans are. I...I don’t even know where I stand in your life.” He twines their fingers together, “Even when we fuck I feel disconnected from you because I’m always scared you’re going to change your mind.”

 

Scorpius hadn’t thought of that. After that first intimate moment after the painful heat Scorpius just assumed they would stay together, do life together, and live as partners. “You’re my other half,” Scorpius whispers. Brushing fingers over Albus’s cheek, “I won’t change my mind. I knew the first moment I saw you I could never love anything as much as I loved you.” He chuckles at the ridiculousness of himself. “You captivate all of me. Raising your son completed me, and I look at you and remember all those years when he was newer to the world, and I miss them.” Scorpius hates to admit that, “I know when he goes off to school it’s going to hurt, and while I can’t replace Orion with another baby I know with another one here the house won’t feel cold and empty.” Scorpius’s head falls against the back of the sofa, “I’m a selfish sod, I’m sorry I upset you by asking. I should know how hard it would be to ask you to carry another baby.”

 

“You also told me it wasn’t fair to Orion,” Albus points out.

 

“Yeah, but I keep forgetting that because he keeps begging me for a sibling. I think he helped plant the seed of desire in me.”

 

“He’s certainly persuasive when he wants to be,” Albus chuckles.

 

Baby talk goes on hold after that, when Draco rings Scorpius early. “Father is having a bit of a fit, you need to fetch Orion.”

 

*

 

Lucius’s voice carries in the corridors when they come in through the Floo in the foyer. “Where is my son, where are you hiding him?” It sends a shiver down Scorpius’s spine—hearing the fear that tinges his grandfather’s voice.

 

Scorpius doesn’t wait for Albus as he starts running up the stairs. When Lucius screams again he knows that they are in the library and Apparates the rest of the way. As he appears in the room, Lucius is knelt before Draco, clutching at his robe, pleading. “Father, where is my son, what have you done with him?” Nan and Orion are blessedly out of the room, but Scorpius pities his dad when he sees the pained expression in the lines of Draco’s face.

 

“Father,” he’s trying to reason with Lucius. “Father, I am your son.”

 

“Lies, Abraxas,” Lucius spits. “You want me to fall into line, you want me here in this hell, playing at dutiful son, but I’m happy. Can’t you understand that?” It’s terrifying to watch a Lucius he doesn’t know when the man begs, “Leave my son and wife alone, Father, I’ll do anything you ask.”

 

While he’s got his head bowed Draco knocks him out with a precise flick of his wand. “Help me get him back into bed,” Draco commands when Lucius falls silent. Scorpius quickly does as he’s been asked.

 

Once Lucius is placed back into his expensive sheets, Scorpius turns to Draco. Studying his father’s profile in silence. Wondering what he should say to the man who appears so fragile, a man Scorpius never thought could be anything less than strong. “Dad, I,” he starts only to be cut off by a curt shake of Draco’s head.

 

“Go to Orion, I am sure he’s upset.” So are you , Scorpius wants to say but knows Draco doesn’t want attention brought to these emotions. He nods at his dad, unsure of what else to do and leaves the room with a lump in his throat.

 

*

 

Albus is sitting with Nan in her room, Orion is in the bed beside Nan—clutching at her expensive frock. “I’m sorry,” Nan apologises as if she’s at fault for this madness. “He’s not normally so easily riled.”

 

“What happened,” Scorpius isn’t sure he wants to know, but the way Orion radiates upset tells him he needs to know what has happened.

 

“His eyes,” she strokes a hand through Orion’s hair. “Beautiful emerald green but they sparked a fear in Lucius, one he’s not had since Draco was small.” She squeezes Orion to her, conveying her love in a small yet grand gesture. “Abraxas was not a kind man, and he often threatened to steal our son if Lucius didn’t come home to the manor.” She sighs, “He was not always horrible. I know,” she adds at Scorpius’s scoff. “He’s always been prejudiced against Muggle-borns, as have I, but I mean he was not always one for open hostilities and hatred. Once, long ago, your grandfather was like you...less good than you are, certainly, but no less loving.” She holds Orion close, shushing him as he weeps. “That was the Lucius I loved enough to bond—the Lucius that brought me all of you.”

 

Scorpius swallows at the wistful expression on her face, “I’m sorry, Nan.”

 

“It’s all right, love,” she says even though it’s not. Her grin is watery, “At least at the end, I will have that Lucius again.”

 

*

 

At home, Orion tells Scorpius, “He tried to keep Granddad away from me.” He snuggles closer, it’s just them because Albus is in the kitchen making tea. “He wanted to protect me and kept calling me Draco, then when he saw my eyes he started pleading with Granddad to bring Draco back.”

 

Scorpius listens in silence but hugs Orion closer, glad he didn’t accidentally get hurt in the throes of Lucius’s madness. “I think he loves Granddad a lot.”

 

“Yeah, I think he might,” Scorpius agrees.

 

Orion, in a small, timid voice says, “I feel bad now that he’s dying.”

 

So do I.

 

*

 

Orion’s eleventh birthday dawns with perfect blue skies, and Scorpius predicts it will be a wonderful day. He draws Albus closer to him, breathing in his scent, and he feels peace. “No matter what,” he murmurs against the dark hair. “No matter what it’s you and me.”

 

“Forever,” Albus’s eyes blink slowly awake while a grin tilts up the corners of his mouth.

 

“Let’s go tell our son Happy Birthday, or should we pretend to have forgotten?”

 

Albus kisses him, “As if anyone could forget with him banging on about it for the past month.”



*Draco*

 

When Lucius limps into the room with his cane, Draco startles. He glances at Mother in askance. She gives a graceful sort of shrug, saying, “I thought he should be there to watch his grandson at least once.” For the last time hangs in the air around them. They all hear it, but not one of them decides to voice this truth. Avoidance is the best perseverance of a snake.

 

*

 

Coming to Hogwarts is never something Draco enjoys. His skin feels too tight over his muscles, and the self-loathing that covers him like a cloak threatens to crush his bones. Outwardly, Draco maintains an air of calm indifference. When the world watches you with keen eyes you must project the kind of courage Draco has never truly possessed. Yet, he’s grown better at faking it the older he becomes. His discomfort is well-hidden as he shakes hands with the associates who’d rather ring his neck than play at friends.

 

“Your son is playing some of the music for this event, then,” Bagman—annoying old hasbeen—asks.

 

“Yes, they’ve grown in popularity, and I thought the students would enjoy something less sombre than the speeches and tears.” Draco knows he needs something less sombre. Being here always drags up memories of bodies lying across the lawn and in the Great Hall.

 

He’s saved the trouble of more conversation when Orion arrives with Scorpius and Mini Potter. The scathing comment he has ready for the way Mini Potter clings to Scorpius dies on his tongue when he sees the pure joy that radiates from his son. It’s something Draco is learning to grudgingly learn to respect. His son loving such a waste of space. For the sake of appearances, he calls out to them all warmly. “Scorpius, Albus, Orion, you’re here.”

 

“Granddad,” Orion shouts, excited to be at Hogwarts for the first time for one of these charity events. For a decade of his life, Draco didn’t want Scorpius or Orion here for fear of Potter seeing them and deciding to put his nose back in where it didn’t fucking belong. Yet, here they all are. Together again despite Draco doing all he could to avoid them knowing one another. He wonders if—somewhere—Astoria is shaking her head at his stubbornness. He smiles at their grandson, wishing she could see what her love helped produce. A good child, untouched by Draco’s sins the way Scorpius was. He watches, happy, as his son kisses Mini Potter before he heads in the direction of the stage.

 

A few other bands play, Draco isn’t interested in them because music with words isn’t to his liking. They always talk of lost loves, lost children, lost homes, lost wars—everyone is always losing something. Instead, he checks on his mother and father. Lucius seems to be keeping his mind today, and Draco hopes it’s one of the better days his mother will remember when Lucius returns to the grave. A thought he puts away when Potter comes to give his greetings. His wife is with him, and both of them look less strained than the last time Draco saw them in the same room. He’d say something snide about Potter not dicking her right, but his mother is beside him and Draco won’t do that to her. He also doesn’t want to hurt his grandson. The one who runs at Potter while shouting, “Grandpa.”

 

“You’ve grown since I saw you,” Potter exclaims, grinning—his age crinkling the skin around his bright eyes. The eyes he shares with Draco’s grandson, and he feels possessive over the child. Mother rubs a calming hand down his spine, and back up, as she had when he was small and needed soothing.

 

“You’ll always be his favourite,” she murmurs. Low enough for only Draco to hear. It draws a smile of superiority across his mouth.

 

“Where’s your mum,” Potter asks Orion. Content to talk to him rather than the other Malfoys present. Draco’s perfectly fine with that. Ginevra sits beside him and Draco makes mindless pleasantries with her while keeping a keen ear trained on his grandson’s conversation with Potter.

 

“Alby and Dad are at the stage, Dad is playing next and said he needed a good luck charm with him.”

 

“How nauseating,” Lucius mutters. It takes everything in Draco to keep from laughing. His son is disgustingly enamoured with Mini Potter. Though, Draco and Lucius both know what it’s like to be overcome with desire for their bonded. Mother, blessedly, pinches Lucius on the leg. An action that does draw a chuckle out of Draco.

 

“I’m going to go watch your dad’s set from up close,” Draco tells Orion. Giving Potter a smug smile when Orion runs over to him demanding to join. Potter glares and Orion—unfortunately—doesn’t catch the expression.  

 

Draco grins when he hears the resounding screams of the Hogwarts students when Scorpius’s voice fills the grounds. “Thank you,” he calls, a smile clear in his voice as he adds. “Now who wants to raise some money for the spectacular charities gathered here today?” Another deafening scream surrounds them as they climb into the back area of the stage. Hidden from the crowd, but where they have the perfect view of Scorpius standing centre stage with Mini Potter at his side. Lysander is standing in front of a keyboard—an annoyed expression on his face when Scorpius keeps baiting the crowd. “The total of today’s donations I’ll match, how does that sound?” When they shout in response, he laughs, “That good, huh? Well, how about if we reach one million Alb also promises to match the sum?” He winks at Mini Potter when they scream again. “Sounds like we’re committed, Alb.”

 

“Should we kiss on it,” Mini Potter challenges with his own laugh. While the crowd screams Scorpius draws Mini Potter close and practically devours him.

 

As soon as they part, Scorpius begins singing, “Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking. I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier.” It’s a jaunty sound, something that’s decidedly fun and Orion cheers along with the crowd while his dad sings about the subject he knows best: painful love. “When the morning comes. And we see what we’ve become. In the cold light of day we’re a flame in the wind, not the fire we’ve begun.” Scorpius presses their foreheads together, singing at Mini Potter—right against his mouth. “Every argument. Every word we can’t take back. ‘Cause with all that has happened I think that we both know the way that the story ends.”

 

Mini Potter clings to Scorpius’s hands on his cheeks, murmuring something no one but Scorpius can hear. Causing him to grin. Then he pulls away from Mini Potter and his voice grows louder, “Then only for a minute. I want to change my mind. ‘Cause this just don’t feel right to me. I want to raise your spirits. I want to see you smile. Know that means I’ll have to leave.” He dances away from Albus a bit, “Know that means I’ll have to leave.” He dances so smoothly, but it’s not the sort of dance Draco could perform without feeling extremely embarrassed. Some weird, disjointed movements and flexibility going into it. Scorpius moves towards the front of the stage, touching hands and smiling with screaming teenagers. Ones who are singing along with him as he repeats the first few lines of the song before beginning second verse. “When the evening comes,” here he gracefully slides with his long feet, back towards Mini Potter. Dragging him closer by the loops of his jeans. “And I’m left there with my thoughts. And the image of you being with someone else. Well, it’s eating me up inside.” At that moment, behind them, a large image goes through an array of magazines, speculations of Mini Potter’s various lovers through the years. Because Scorpius is drawn to dramatics. “But we ran our course. We pretended we’re okay. Now if we jump together. At least we can swim far away from the wreck we’ve made.”  He drops to his knees, practically pleading in his stance as he sings up at Mini Potter, “Then only for a minute. I want to change my mind. ‘Cause this just don’t feel right to me. I wanna raise your spirits. I want to see you smile. Know that means I’ll have to leave.”

 

Mini Potter’s hands are in Scorpius’s near-white hair, and he’s got an expression full of love, full of regret, full of so many things. Then Orion runs out to them, unwilling to be left out of the world they created for themselves.

 

Draco knows contentment, feeling at peace.

 

Until the hair on the nape of his neck rises with a warning. He turns, finding Lucius with a half-mad expression on his face. A face that is sallow and gaunt, as if he’s had a spell within the past few minutes. Mother isn’t here, she must’ve taken her eyes off of him for a moment. Draco swallows when the wand comes from the head of Lucius’s cane and before Draco can react he’s cast a spell. One Draco’s not heard uttered in years. One that still sends cold fear running down his spine.

 

Morsmordre. It is as if the word comes from another throat, from the very world around them, and seconds later the screams go from pleasure to shouts of terror. To have a Dark Mark anywhere near Hogwarts on the anniversary makes Draco’s head spin.

 

“Father,” Draco hisses, coming back to himself when he notices Scorpius clutching both Albus and Orion to him. Looking up at the evil symbol with utter horror, but still present of mind enough to protect what is his. “Father, what have you done?”

 

“I will stop Potter for the Dark Lord, Draco and he will reward me greatly.” He’s a crazed look about him, and Draco both pities and hates his father at that moment. Hates him for the fact he’s melted his own brain and pities him that his deep-seated hatred for anything less than pure is still in him.

 

“Voldemort died long ago, by Potter’s hand.” Draco reminds, wary of the way his father moves his wand arm.

 

“Lies, the Dark Lord cannot die,” Lucius hisses while clutching desperately at Draco’s forearms.  

 

“What have you done,” Draco murmurs, thinking of his poor mother out there, in the crowd, knowing who has done this. The pop of Apparition alerts him to Potter’s presence before he turns to find the man staring at him with that same expression he wore in war. Shielding Lucius, Draco comes as close to pleading as he’s ever come with Potter. “It was me.”

 

“Horse shit,” Potter replies with a hard voice.

 

In another wave of delusion, Lucius hits Potter with a Crucio , causing Potter to release a startled scream. Draco knocks into his father, releasing the curse from Potter and gathers up Lucius’s wand. Panting, as is Potter, both of them locking eyes.

 

Then Mother is there with another pop, clutching at Draco’s father with tears in her grey eyes, “My love.” Her voice is a cracked whimper, “Why must you leave me so soon?” Lucius, somewhat lucid, actually appears upset in the face of her anguish. Draco looks back to Potter who is watching Mother with a face full of pity. Draco too hurts for her—he can see it in her eyes the fear of feeling Lucius’s loss while he’s in a rock at sea. A place she cannot hold him as he dies. Draco would never wish the death of a bonded on anyone. Especially not his darling mother. Forgive me, Astoria, I am going to make Scorpius cry.

 

“You finally get what you want, Potter,” Draco says, deciding to take initiative. He takes up Lucius’s wand to use as his own and Potter breathes out a huff that is not happy. More it is resignation.

 

“If you wish, Malfoy,” his own wand comes out. And for a moment they are Second Years again. Until the curses begin flying, then Draco remembers they are both men who have grown.

 

Both men who have killed.

 

Mother hesitates, but Draco calls out to her, “Go.”

 

“Thank you,” she whispers, whether to Draco or Potter he cannot say.

 

Potter has a nasty bleeding cut on his shoulder, and Draco has his own by the time the other Aurors arrive. With sad green eyes, Potter watches as they force Draco to his knees.

 

His only regret comes when he sees Scorpius, still clinging to Albus and Orion, but Scorpius has tears in his eyes as he watches them force Draco to stand. One of them is telling Draco something about how he’s the right to remain silent, defend himself to the Wizengamot, and has a right to speak to his solicitor. Words he’s heard a few times in his life. “Dad,” Scorpius is screaming, having let go of Albus and Orion. Making a mad dash towards Draco, but one of the Aurors catches him. Causing Scorpius to lash out, hitting the bloke, before he’s back to running for Draco, “Dad.” Potter catches him, however, and Scorpius cannot break free of him. “Dad, what the fuck? Let me go, my dad didn’t do anything. Dad.” The last thing he hears is Scorpius screaming “Don’t leave me.” Before the Aurors Disapparate with him to Azkaban.

 

Another horrible Second of May.




Chapter Text

 

The table—spread with a feast and too many sweet—is a sad, lonely thing when they go to the manor. They were supposed to welcome Orion’s friends here. However, those friends are glaringly absent. Even if Albus hadn’t cancelled the party, he’s not sure they’d have come. 

 

Not when every Live newscast is talking about the Dark Mark and rehashing Scorpius’s family’s involvement with Voldemort. Scorpius is settled on the priceless sofa in the manor’s massive living room. He’s got a beer warming between his thighs—one he hasn’t touched. His focus remains on the many stories on the magical screen in front of him. The beautiful grey of his eyes reflect that green and it makes Albus sick to his stomach to see Scorpius so tormented. 

 

“Don’t you think that’s enough?” Albus asks when the image shows their home in Knightsbridge and Scorpius’s face turns murderous. The woman on the Live is speculating, as they so often do, on the reasons Scorpius and Albus have fled to the manor. 

 

The answer to that—which should be obvious—is there’s more seclusion and privacy at Malfoy Manor. No one gets onto the property unless they have permission to come through the wards. Their flat in Knightsbridge allows people onto their private floor and that’s too close for comfort. Especially after the immediate shift in public perception that they endured at Hogwarts. 

 

“Come to bed, Scorpius,” Albus pleads when he receives no answer. 

 

“I’m going to wait for your father’s call.” Scorpius replies with a dismissive tone. Albus hates the distance between them, despite the fact they are only centimetres apart. His hand hovers over Scorpius shoulder, but something in his body heat keeps Albus from touching him. 

 

It is agonising. 

 

“There’s a Floo in your rooms.” Albus’s last attempt to persuade his lover. 

 

“I don’t want to bother Orion,” Scorpius says. 

 

Albus swallows, his voice still cracks when he replies, “He needs you, Scorpius.” 

 

Broad shoulders slump and Albus’s heart hurts when Scorpius whispers. “I am the reason he’s hurt, Alb. My name, my father’s legacy, the grandfather’s too...” He trails off. Then, after a sigh, adds, “I don’t have the right to comfort him when I am the one who brought him into a world where he would never escape this cursed name.” 

 

“Scorpius-,” Albus begins but Scorpius stops him with firm hands on his narrow hips. 

 

“You go, Alb. Please.” The way Scorpius’s voice breaks over the words makes Albus want—more than anything—to undo his suffering. To make everything perfect in Scorpius’s world.  

 

*

 

Orion is sleeping. His eyes swollen and red from all the crying. It breaks something in Albus to see him this way, and he sits on Scorpius’s old bed beside his child. 

 

The child that was conceived beneath these sheets, during a time when this private world was sacred to both Albus and Scorpius. Even if they were both unaware. 

 

Pale fingers card through Orion’s hair, and Albus wonders—as he often does—if life would be better had he never returned. 

 

Or would it be better if he never left? 

 

As is usual, no answer can be made because he did return and he did leave. Both realities hurt them, and he cannot go back in time to change his mind. All Alus can do now is try to mend what he smashed and hope the cracks don’t break them apart again. 

 

“I’m sorry, and I love you.” Those are the two sentiments that live in him constantly, and Albus whispers them before he kisses Orion’s soft hair. Hoping that in sleep his son finds reprieve. 

 

*

 

He goes back downstairs when the wards chime with an arrival. 

 

Dad stands at the centre of the room in his Auror robes—a grim line where his playful smile usually rests. Scorpius is standing in front of him. Taller than Albus’s father stands and no less grim.

 

“I can’t do that, Scorpius,” Dad says. A mild tone of regret tinting his words. 

 

“It wasn’t him,” Scorpius hisses. To both Albus and Scorpius’s surprise, Dad agrees. 

 

“I know.” The way Dad’s mouth turns down, with a frown, ages him in ways Albus has never before noticed. 

 

“Then why?” Scorpius shouts. Rage radiates off his skin in burning waves that seem to pulsate through the manor. Albus shivers. 

 

“Because he did it for your grandmother.” Dad sighs, taking off his glasses to rub at his tired eyes. Albus glances at the grandfather clock in the corner and notices that the day has dawned—this nightmare they are trapped in lingers as time moves steadily on. Then Dad says, “He doesn’t want your grandfather to die away from your grandmother. He wants her to have those last moments with Lucius.” 

 

“I’ll save her the agony of a long wait,” Scorpius snarls. Preparing to flee to the French countryside—no doubt—when Albus’s dad stops him. 

 

“You are rightfully upset, Scorpius, but he will die sooner than you know.” He delivers the sentiment in the same way he once told Albus his kitten had died—with a slight tremble and a longing to make the world right for his children. 

 

“Not soon enough,” Scorpius hisses. Then turns, clearly done speaking to Dad. “Just go, Auror Potter. Thank you for all you’ve done.” It’s bitter and not thankful, but Dad doesn’t take offence. 

 

Albus shoots him an exasperated glance before he hurries after Scorpius. 

 

“Are you going up to your room?” He calls after that broad back with longing. 

 

Scorpius doesn’t answer. 

 

“Don’t shut me out.”

 

He gets a sigh in response. “Go to bed, Alb.” 

 

“Not without you.” He steps closer—finally daring to take Scorpius’s larger hand into his own. 

 

*

 

Scorpius leads him to the rooms that were his mother’s—during her engagement, he says. When Draco wasn’t permitted to share her bed. He still did, Scorpius whispers against Albus’s temple before he starts stripping his own clothes off. 

 

The room is delicate pinks and ivories. Something he’s seen Aunt Fleur try to recreate but never quite manages. It’s the sort of glamour that comes with old money. Effortless grace that’s more expensive than most can imagine. 

 

Scorpius kisses Albus and draws him from his thoughts. “Focus on me,” his whisper sounds like a plea. 

 

Despite their lack of sleep, both are livewires of nerves. Awake and desperate. Yet, they go slow. Scorpius is looking for affirmation. Albus can taste the need in every place his tongue touches. 

 

“I love you,” Albus whispers. 

 

“Love you more,” Scorpius replies, lacing their fingers together as he presses into Albus’s willing body. 

 

*

 

They pass the early morning with languorous sex. Exhausting themselves, but they are both unable to sleep. Scorpius sits up—head propped in one hand as the other trails soft fingertips down Albus’s side. 

 

“What are you thinking?” Albus whispers. Afraid to break the moment. 

 

“I’m thinking I wish we were a different us. The same, but without all the shit.” He sighs but doesn’t move away from Albus. He moves nearer, his lips brushing over Albus’s cheek with a delicate kiss. “I want everything to be as right outside of this room as it is in here with you.” 

 

“It can be,” Albus replies. 

 

“Maybe,” Scorpius sounds doubtful. “I’m just afraid of what this means for us now.” 

 

Nothing will change. That is Albus’s foolish belief. 

 

*

 

Breakfast is a quiet, sombre affair. Orion is chewing his toast, lost in his own quiet thoughts. Scorpius is drinking tea while scowling at the paper Albus tried—and failed—to discard. 

 

They all feel Draco’s absence, even Albus who is absolutely terrified of him wishes he was here. “When do you leave for the continent?” Albus asks, just to break the silence. 

 

“Lysander wrote this morning; he’s coming by with news in the afternoon.” Scorpius has that look to him, the one that says he is worried. He tries to hide it for Orion. 

 

A moot point, because Albus can see the tension that creates a little line of concern between Orion’s pale eyebrows. Scorpius is too distracted by his Mirror to notice. Before he can, Orion leaves the table. Claiming he wants to fly around outside. 

 

Scorpius’s hired House-Elf—Winnie—he instructs to keep an eye on Orion. She’s there and gone in moments, as is her usual and takes off after Orion and his constant Crup companion. Marvin is a ray of sunshine in Orion’s young world. And, for once, Albus is glad Scorpius bought the child a Crup. 

 

When they are alone Albus asks, “What are you not telling me?” 

 

“It’s nothing—just a delay, really.” He knows Scorpius’s tells by now. 

 

“Scorpius,” Albus pleads. 

 

With a sigh he admits, “Okay, look...there’s been some shows postponed.” 

 

“What’s that mean?” Albus doesn’t like the sound of postponed shows at all. Much as he loves when Scorpius is with them this seems wrong and as if their world is crumbling. 

 

“Venues are worried about the negative publicity. There’s been immediate blowback since the show at Hogwarts.” He leans back in his seat, scratching at the tattooed surface of his bare chest. “A lot of them believe I helped stage the image since it came on during my set.” 

 

“Christ,” Albus sags into his own seat. “They can’t believe that. You’ve got fans—worldwide—who know you’re candid about your family. They can’t believe you’re a...a...” Albus cannot fathom anyone foolish enough to believe Scorpius to be a Death Eater. It’s such a foreign concept to him—the idea that Scorpius could be synonymous with such a hateful figure. 

 

“I’ve got a long line of douches in my family, Alb. It’s not much of a leap for people who don’t know me...” He stares at the ornate walls around them. Albus looks at them too. The detailed, silver etched wallpaper that reaches up to intricately carved moulding—these are walls that rival walls in royal palaces. Even the large portraits—of Malfoy families past—are in silver frames. Their finery speaks of different centuries but never shows them impoverished. “Not many people know me, Alb. How could they?” He sounds bitter. But the how could they echoes in Albus’s ears. 

 

How could they, indeed... 

 

One can never know a prince. Not even the bonded who thought they knew him best. 

 

*

 

Orion comes out of the school with a split in his lip and a staunch silence when Albus tries to get him to spill the truth. He won’t. Like every Weasley, Potter, and Malfoy in Albus’s life—Orion is stubborn. Full of pride that could be his undoing. 

 

“Love,” Albus murmurs, drawing his son close when they appear in the foyer of their current home. The one that doesn’t feel as safe as it should. “Please tell me what’s happening.” 

 

“Nothing,” Orion replies. In a manner reminiscent of Scorpius in their youth. “I fell.” A lie if Albus has ever heard one. 

 

“Did someone hurt you? Are they being mean?” The notion of that makes him ache. It also makes him burn with fury. 

 

“Nope,” another lie that makes Albus feel like a failure of a mother as he watches Orion trek, silent, up the stairs. 

 

A few hours later, Orion doesn’t come down for dinner. Scorpius is also absent. With no word on when he will be home. Albus is at his wit's end. Yet, he refuses to cry. Refuses to be the one who needs saving, as he has been that person too often in the past. 

 

*

 

Every Thursday afternoon he meets his dad for lunch. It’s become a habit since Draco’s imprisonment, and as soon as he sits across from his dad, he says. “When are you going to release Draco?” 

 

As he has every previous Thursday, Dad replies, “You know I can’t do that. The Minister won’t let me near that cell without a shadow.” With a wry grin, he adds, “And we both know Draco isn’t all that keen to have me visit.” 

 

“Why won’t he admit it was Lucius?” Albus asks for what feels like the thousandth time. 

 

Dad has a grim set to his ageing mouth. Stewing in his thoughts before he shares them with Albus. “I don’t know what it’s like to be bonded.” 

 

“Lucky,” Albus replies with heavy sarcasm and a biting grin. 

 

“Yes, well, as someone who knows that feeling, tell me, Al, how would it feel for Scorpius to die?” There’s a hard set to his dad’s strong jaw as if it hurts him to even ask that of his son. 

 

Albus’s wince probably doesn’t help. Because the thought destroys . He swallows, thinking of Scorpius waxen white, too still to be living and his heart shatters. “I would die. Even if I stayed breathing, I would be dead.” 

 

“Draco has been dead for years then.” Dad settles back, picking at his salad. His frown deepens. “You’re in no danger of dying. Scorpius’s soul is safe from that death, but Narcissa is about to lose her bond. Draco knows how that feels. And I don’t know for certain but I’d wager that despite his disdain for his father he would give his soul for his mother, his son, and Orion. Right now the one who needs him most is Narcissa.” 

 

“So when Lucius dies...” Albus trails off. 

 

“When Lucius dies, Draco will be free.” 

 

Albus releases a brittle laugh. “I’m sure that was a prevalent thought of Draco’s during the war.” 

 

“I’m sure,” Dad agrees. 




Narcissa



“Just do it,” Lucius says with that rattling tone that speaks of his impending demise. “You fantasised about killing me before, did you not?” 

 

A sigh pushes out of her soft throat. “I did, often, after the Dark Lord invaded us. You were a war I waged in silence.” Those days tested Narcissa in ways he will never comprehend. 

 

“So live your dreams, my darling. End me and save the son you so love.” How unfair Lucius is—always comparing the sea to the stars, knowing both are equally necessary. How could Narcissa live a dream without him? That will be a waking nightmare. 

 

“If I could kill you so easily, I’d have done so years before now.” She wrings her hands. The gleaming sapphire of her wedding ring catching the light from the candles. “I often wish I was less of a coward. If I could live without you, I would. But my flaw is that I love you more than my son, more than myself and I’m wretched because of it.” That is the burden of a bond—another person becomes your reason for breathing. Your universe lives in their beating heart. 

 

“I ruined you when I put my teeth in your skin,” Lucius murmurs. Regret is a rare tone in his throat. 

 

“You ruined me long before then,” she replies with a wistful smile. “I was yours at first sight.” 

 

His hand reaches for hers, smoothing over her knuckles in a familiar caress. One she knows she will ache for when he is gone. 



*

 

The longer they are locked away in the manor, the deeper Scorpius falls into a depression. He tries to pretend he’s not upset, tries to lie and say that everything is fine, but Albus feels the distance like continents between them even though they are finger lengths apart. 

 

He’s afraid to say the wrong thing. Not for fear of being hurt by Scorpius—his fear is that Scorpius will regret him. Will regret having tried being with Albus again because Albus isn’t strong enough to stop Scorpius’s hurt. 

 

Scorpius always filled that role for Albus, and Albus doesn’t know how to return the favour. 

 

*

 

Orion feels the distance when he comes home from a lesson with Lily. Something Albus insisted on to keep the normalcy of their lives. School has ended for summer, thankfully, and the horrors of what befell Orion in those halls is still unknown to Albus. His son is as tight-lipped as Scorpius was in youth. Taking hatred in defiant silence. 

 

It kills him to watch. 

 

What hurts more is Orion at the closed door of the manor’s music room—the one Scorpius has turned into a makeshift studio. Their son stands there for long minutes, sometimes hours, unmoving—needing his father, yet afraid to breach the distance. 

 

They are all damaged and all unsure how to repair the decay. 

 

*

 

James forces them into an outing at The Burrow. “It’ll do him good to be with other kids. All the cousins will be there.”  That is what worries Albus. 

 

Scorpius—unsurprisingly—declines to join them. Albus leaves him in the manor’s studio, rolling a spliff and pouring himself a generous whiskey. 

 

That’s what’s on his mind when they walk into the noisy space of their grandparents’ home. He wonders if he should’ve tried harder to get Scorpius to come with them. If Albus shouldn’t have left him to his own devices. 

 

“Al,” Lucy calls to him. Drawing him away from his thoughts and Albus plasters on a fake smile before he goes to see his cousins in the den. 

 

Orion—due to James’s prompting—goes out into the yard with the other children. Lucy and Molly have older, Hogwarts aged children that watch him curiously. But then the door closes and Albus is alone with his family. 

 

“How’ve you been?” Molly asks him with that condescending air of hers. 

 

“Fine,” Albus lies. 

 

“Where’s your partner,” Lucy asks as her beady blue eyes search the corridor behind him—as if Scorpius’s tall form could be hidden somewhere. 

 

“Working, he’s been busy dealing with his tour,” Albus replies with false joy. 

 

Freddie, prat he is, snorts, “Is he? The papers make it seem like he’s not doing much with himself these days.” Oh, how that stings. 

 

“Neither are you, but they wouldn’t know it because you aren’t quite as interesting,” James snaps back and Albus shoots him a grateful smile. 

 

“I’m also not the son of a Death Eater,” Freddie replies with a rather cool tone. Albus starts to wonder why he thought this might be a good idea. Suddenly, he’s reminded of his family’s opinion on the Malfoy family. Montagues and Capulets—with less death and campy costumes. 

 

“Fuck off, Freddie,” Lily says with a dismissive wave. “You’re trying to pick a fight with the wrong cousin. Go bother Bill’s kids.” 

 

He looks to be gearing up for a row when the door to the garden slams open. Lucy begins reprimanding her daughter Margaret when the little girl cuts her off. 

 

“Grandfather and Uncle Harry are having a row,” she informs in one fast breath. 

 

Albus is on his feet in a moment, but James—of course—beats him outside. 

 

Once he’s in the garden, Albus finds his dad and Uncle Percy standing damn near nose to nose while shouting at one another. 

 

Uncle Percy is gesturing at where Orion and Molly’s son Patrick are sitting—with solemn expressions—in the grass. 

 

Orion has a busted lip, and Patrick has a bruise forming under his left eye and blood dripping out of his nose. 

 

“Control him better,” Uncle Percy is shouting when Albus makes it closer. 

 

“You’re acting like Patrick is innocent in all this, Percy,” Dad growls back. “He’s older than Orion, he should be better behaved.” 

 

“How dare you,” Uncle Percy hisses. “Your grandson is the one who should be better behaved. He’s showing his upbringing by acting out with violence.” 

 

Dad looks like he’s about to punch Uncle Percy when bats start flying out of Uncle Percy’s nose. Albus turns to see Mum standing behind Albus, next to Lily, and she appears furious. 

 

“Percy,” Mum says with a dangerous whisper. “I suggest we take this discussion inside.” 

 

Uncle Percy, after Mum’s reversed her hex, glares at her. “I’ve nothing to say to you.” At Albus, he adds, “Any of you.” He gestures to Patrick, “I don’t need a Malfoy whore or a Malfoy spawn influencing my grandchild.” 

 

Albus staggers, and James goes mental. 

 

But it’s Orion who gets at Uncle Percy first. He kicks him right in the shin and shouts, “You and this grandson of yours are horrible. I smacked him when he called my mum a knot-hungry slag, and I’ll smack you too, old man.” 

 

“See,” Percy sneers down at Orion. “A product of his raising.” 

 

Orion, in a voice that recalls to Albus the Scorpius of his youth, yells, “At least I was raised to be dignified, which is a lot more than any of your lot can say. Too bad your new-found wealth didn’t buy you common decency.” He spits on Uncle Percy’s shoes. “If this is how Weasleys are then I’m glad to say I am not one.” 

 

Stomping off towards Albus, Orion keeps his head held straight and when he gets to Albus’s side he grabs Albus’s hand. “Can we leave now?” 

 

“Yes,” Albus breathes, clutching his hand in comfort. “We can leave and never come back.” 

 

Orion sags into Albus’s side, “Good.” 

 

Lifting his eyes, Albus glares at Uncle Percy. “Out of respect for my son I won’t stoop to your level of petty, but soon—Percy—soon you will taste the wrath of a Malfoy Whore.” 

 

They Disapparate, and Albus wishes he could feel satisfied by the look of horror on his uncle’s face. 

 

*

 

Lysander is in the kitchen, making some foul-smelling snack, when they come in. He stinks the room up like a party, but Albus doesn’t say anything about that. Rather, he asks after Scorpius. 

 

“Up in the studio, creating greatness—you know, what he does when he’s a miserable cunt.” Lysander jokes, then he frowns when he glances at Orion. “What happened to your lip?” 

 

“Accident while I was playing Quidditch at the family dinner,” Orion lies smoothly. It’s worrisome how sincere he sounds. 

 

“Did you win at least?” Lysander asks with a brotherly grin. 

 

“Of course,” Orion smiles back and Albus wishes everything could be as easy as this is. “Want to play chess?” 

 

“Sure, let me grab some more crisps,” Lysander agrees easily. “Then I’ll meet you in the billiard room.” 

 

Orion runs off and the easy grin Lysander wears slips away. His blue eyes are hard when they fall on Albus. “What twat hit him?” 

 

“His cousin,” Albus doesn’t see the point in lying. 

 

“The cousin have a name?” Lysander asks. 

 

“You can’t beat up a child, Lysander. That’s a crime.” Albus points out with a hollow laugh. 

 

“Only if I get caught, Mum,” Lysander replies with the sort of cheek that usually make Albus cackle with happiness. He’s too tired today and sags instead. 

 

“I don’t deserve that title. He was far better in that situation than I was,” Albus admits with a sigh. 

 

“Yeah, well, he learned a great deal from his dad on how to handle arseholes.” 

 

“Is he okay?” Albus asks now that they are alone. He’s desperate to know if Scorpius will be better soon. 

 

“No,” Lysander replies with a thoughtful frown. “He’s been at the drink harder than I’ve ever seen, and he’s not eating.” 

 

“How do I make him better?” 

 

“You don’t,” Lysander says with a wry smile. “You never could make him better. None of us could. Only Draco.” Albus must show his hurt because Lysander adds, “That’s not to say anything against you. What I meant is that Draco has always been his grounding force...I don’t even think he’s realised that until now.” His expression is wistful. “I envy him for having a dad like Draco.” 

 

*

 

Albus goes up the stairs, drawn to Scorpius’s presence. Beyond the door, Scorpius sits in a priceless chair with his beautiful bare feet propped up on a piano that had once belonged to Mozart. The piano Scorpius gleefully fucked him against in their youth. “Hey,” Albus whispers. Hoping to find that Scorpius again—the one who has saved Albus with an undying love. 

 

“How was your family,” Scorpius says back, as he lights a cigarette. Draco would riot if he were here. 

 

“The usual,” Albus replies with a huff. “Full of unwanted words and opinions on me.” 

 

He hums and takes a deep draw of his cigarette. It’s long, silent moments before he finally says, “Can’t imagine they’re thrilled to be associated, in any way, with Malfoys—given the current climate of public opinion.” 

 

Albus moves closer to him, “You’re not wrong.” 

 

Scorpius gives him that cocky smile he often wore in school, “I rarely am, Alb.” When Albus’s fingers dance along the line of his jaw, over his cheek, then down to his lips, Scorpius asks. “Where’s Orion?” 

 

“Playing chess with Lysander.” 

 

Scorpius’s hands go to Albus’s waist, and he hears the click of the doors locking as Scorpius opens his trousers. There are no words between them, just a heavy, loud silence as they try to fill themselves up in each other. 

 

The piano keys bang out a misguided tune as Albus’s naked back rolls across them. He enjoys the discomfort of them as Scorpius slides in and out of him. Panting above Albus as his sweet-scented sweat drops onto Albus’s skin. I miss you. Albus thinks, yet what he says is, “Come in me.” 

 

Scorpius does with a grunt Albus drinks down with a sloppy kiss—as he brings himself off between them. 

 

*

 

Orion spends a lot of time with Albus at Haus of Anarchy. Sitting on the expensive rug of Albus’s office with colour quills spread around him. Despite the fact Albus loves that he’s always here, he worries about the fact that Orion isn’t spending time with his peers. He was constantly in and out with friends before all of this stuff with Draco. Now he’s only with Albus most days. He doesn’t even want to join James when James tries to convince him to go to another of the Quidditch camps. 

 

Albus turns around from his pad of sketches, “Darling, would you like to go out and do something else?” 

 

Orion looks up, puzzled. “No,” he says. “Why? Do you want me to go somewhere else?” 

 

“No,” Albus rushes to assure him. “No, I just worry about you. You should be having fun, not stuck here with me.” 

 

“I do have fun with you, Mum,” Orion replies. Then fiddling with one of his quills he says, “Besides my friends aren’t really friends anymore.” And that’s the most heartbreaking thing Albus has heard in a while. 

 

“Orion,” Albus joins him on the carpet. Takes his hand and says, “I love you.” Orion pulls away and Albus adds, “I do. More than anything, and I need you to know this is not your fault.” 

 

Orion stares at his knees. Silent. Albus wishes he could make him believe the words he’s spoken. 

 

*

 

Dominique and Teddy come to dinner—an attempt by Albus to get Scorpius out of his funk. An attempt that fails spectacularly. Given that by the end of it Teddy storms out of the Floo and Scorpius has a cut at the corner of his mouth. 

 

Both Dominique and Albus try to decipher what’s happening, but Scorpius remains tight-lipped about their obvious row. Orion and Baz are off in the garden, gone to help Orion’s Crup with tormenting the gnomes. The baby is sleeping in a travel cradle. So, fortunately, the children are spared from this development. 

 

Dominique and Albus go to gather her things. As they are talking about how strange it all is, the Floo signals Teddy’s return. “Get the kids,” he tells Dominique with tone that is laced with fury. 

 

“Don’t boss me around because you’re mad about something.” She replies while she tosses the long, straight length of her pretty hair over her slim shoulder. 

 

“Get the kids,” he repeats. Albus shivers.

 

“Teddy, Baz wanted to stay with Orion.” Dominique isn’t intimidated by his Alpha rumble. She stares up at Teddy defiantly. 

 

“He’s not staying here,” Teddy growls, and she startles at that. 

 

“Why not?” 

 

Teddy dismisses her, flicking his wand to summon the baby’s things. When he’s got the stuff shoved into a bag, he yells for the House-Elf to fetch Basil. 

 

Orion, Albus, Basil, and Dominique all wear similar faces of upset, but even still Teddy ushers his family out without a word of explanation. 

 

The studio is locked when Albus tries the door, and Orion skulks off to bed without so much as a “goodnight” muttered. 

 

*

 

He’s sitting in the makeup chair. Mind nowhere near work, but Albus is here even when it’s the last place he wants to be. They’ve all been moving on auto, looping through their motions like a photograph. And it’s grown worse in the days since their botched dinner with his cousin and Teddy. 

 

Everything is hell, but Winston Churchill said to keep going—so they are. Or Albus is, and he’s carrying Orion and Scorpius through the flames. Carrying others is something he’s never been particularly good at. He’s always needed the handholding and coddling. 

 

Scorpius is especially lost. Becoming more withdrawn as Draco remains locked away in that rock at sea. It’s been weeks since they’ve had a proper conversation. Scorpius is a man Albus doesn’t recognise, he’s a man Albus cannot reach. Much as he tries. Their interactions are carnal. Scorpius is near-violent, his rage palpable as he fucks Albus most evenings. 

 

Now, even, the make-up artist stares in shock at the deep, branding bruises Scorpius has left with his teeth. “Leave them,” Albus commands when she goes to cover them with cosmetics. “It’ll suit the theme.” 

 

After he’s done with his shoot, Dominique finds him. While he’s still draped over a leather settee that’s surrounded by silver safety pins. “Love,” she whispers, “Can we talk?” 

 

Albus follows her to his dressing room. Unmindful of the near-nude state of his body. He’s been posing provocatively for so long that it’s become second nature to have people see him. As a result, Albus scarcely notices the appreciative glances of the new employees, and he doesn’t register that he’s in a pair of ripped stockings that conceal nothing. Not until they are in the room and he sees that his cock is on full display through the black nylon. “Forgot my robe,” he murmurs and Dominique manages a weak laugh. 

 

“Your mind is in other places, I assume,” she replies. When he nods she asks, “How is Scorpius?” 

 

“I wish I knew,” Albus admits. Removing the stockings and tossing them aside before he slips into some black trousers. “He doesn’t talk to me. When he isn’t hidden in the home studio, Scorpius is moody and unresponsive. Though, that’s rare because he’s been staying away from home. Doing God knows what.” 

 

She swallows, wringing her hands in a manner that suggests she knows more than Albus does. “What?” he demands. 

 

Sighing Dominique replies, “I think you need to talk to Teddy, love. Before Scorpius self-destructs.” 

 

An ominous feeling settles over him. 

 

*

 

Teddy isn’t cooperative. His loyalty to Scorpius runs deep as Dad’s loyalties. A blessing and a curse. “Please,” he begs. “Please, Ted, tell me what I can do. You know him better than I do.” 

 

Regret is the colour of azure, or so Albus discovers as he watches Teddy’s eyes morph into the tint of a cloudless sky. With a deep sigh, he says, “I can’t, Al. I gave him my word.” 

 

*

 

“Talk to me,” Albus demands when Scorpius comes in a few mornings later. It’s half-four and he reeks of a party. 

 

Grey eyes bloodshot and his long body unsteady as he sways in front of the Floo. “What do you want me to say?” Scorpius asks with a gravelly tone. 

 

“Where have you been?” 

 

“Hell,” Scorpius replies in a flat way. “It’s where I’ve always been.”

 

Albus runs a frustrated hand through his hair. “We’ve missed you, Scorpius. We’ve needed you.” 

 

A sharp laugh sounds from Scorpius’s throat. “Have you?” He stumbles closer, breath sour but still Albus craves the taste of his mouth. “I’m tired of being needed. What about me? What about what I need?” 

 

“I know you miss your dad.” 

 

“More than you can possibly fathom,” Scorpius seethes, pressing Albus against the mantle. “When you left me a broken shell of a human my dad forced life back into me. If it weren’t for him I’d have never had the will to move on. If it weren’t for him the son you gave me would’ve remained nameless.” He caresses Albus’s cheek but there’s loathing in his eyes when he mutters. “I should’ve never known you. I could’ve remained outcast, hated, but content.” 

 

“Content isn’t happy,” Albus reminds. Voice thick from his own pent up emotions. 

 

“I wouldn’t know,” Scorpius drawls as he releases Albus. “I’ve had so little of either.” 

 

That hurts, but Albus knows he’s saying these things to test Albus’s resolve. Love isn’t only for when it’s easy. 

 

“Give me time, and I’ll kill you with happiness.” 

 

“You’ve killed me a thousand times over, Alb. I’m just ready for it to stop hurting.” With that said Scorpius heads up to bed. 

 

Sliding to the floor, Albus puts his face into his palms. Releasing a deep sigh because he’s too dry to cry. 

 

*



Orion has been a walking shell of himself. Albus wants to reach him, but they are still new in their bond. He’s not sure how hard he can push before Orion shuts him out. When Scorpius keeps claiming he’s got work, Albus supposes he has to try. 

 

“Orion,” he calls after brushing his knuckles against the closed door. “I ordered dinner, I figured we could have a nice relaxing night watching funny films and eating mango lassi.” There’s no response. “I know you’re hurting,” Albus begins with a cracking tone. He pauses, clearing his throat, before he starts again. “I know I wasn’t there for you when I should have been. I know that your father and your grandfather have been the solid foundations of your life.” He swallows, pressing his forehead against the cool, polished wood of the door between them. Grounding himself in the fresh scent of lemon oil and the hints of Orion. “I know those foundations seem to be crumbling, but I promise—on my everything—that this will get better.” 

 

There’s a shuffle of sound, like feet dragging over the carpet, and then the doorknob rattles. Cracking the door, Orion peers out at him with one puffy, red eye. It breaks Albus’s heart to see but he waits. It’s not long before Orion says, “I want to believe that.” 

 

“Believe it,” Albus whispers, holding out his hand for Orion to take. 

 

He nearly cries from relief when Orion grips his fingers tight and smiles for the first time in what feels like years. 

 

*

 

Scorpius remains absent. Work . He claims. Albus isn’t so sure. There’s something wrong between them. A void that’s growing by the day. 

 

One they breach, slightly, when they fuck. 

 

Even that isn’t enough to bring Scorpius home, though. He spends nights away. Claiming he’s going to a gig so that Orion doesn’t panic like he did that horrible night after they first visited the Burrow. Albus pretends he’s not insecure. He holds himself together with stitches no one can see—mantras of he loves you, he loves you, he loves you ringing in his ears when the doubt starts creeping in. 

 

Scorpius rarely speaks when they touch. It’s all carnal need, reverting them both back to a primitive nature they’ll never escape. Heat is worse. Albus can taste every emotion on Scorpius’s silken tongue. Regret the most palpable, mingling with that constant relief when Scorpius knots. It’s a homecoming they both need—one that also breaks them. 

 

After, when Albus is sticky and bruised from the intensity of Scorpius’s passions, Scorpius rolls away. Staring up at the ceiling. Lighting a cigarette. His mind somewhere far away, and Albus wishes he could draw it back to the body beside him. 

 

Come home to me, my love.  

 

*

 

“What about Quidditch?” James asks Orion, when Albus and Orion go to Sunday tea with the Potters. 

 

“Lost interest,” Orion shrugs. Dad and Mum exchange worried glances with Albus. Lily frowns deeply, her dark eyebrows drawing down in a thoughtful manner. 

 

James, the dolt, stares with his mouth thrown wide open. “ Lost interest ?” he sputters. “With those reflexes, mate? No, that’s a damned shame and a waste.” He looks more upset about it than any of them because James is overly dramatic by nature. 

 

“You can’t mean it, you’ll be to school in September, yeah? Quidditch is the only reason to endure years at Hogwarts.” 

 

Mum’s blue eyes roll in her head, “Yes, Jamie, that’s why he should go to school. Piss on the education; Quidditch is all that matters.” 

 

“It’s the truth,” James sniffs. Pushing back his chair. “C’mon, mate, we’re going into the yard and we’re going to fly. Everything’s better when you’re on a broom.” 

 

Orion appears desperate to follow, but it’s as if he’s invested in this lie he’s woven. There’s a strength in him that reminds Albus of the Scorpius he knew in school. The one living a silent war no one bothered to help him end. 

 

It’s what he’s been avoiding admitting. Since school has ended for summer holidays, Albus has been content to put away the not so distant split lip and brooding silences. Now he’s noticing the lack of summer Quidditch camps. The non-existent Floos from friends. Orion is a lonely child. A child people are shunning because he was born to the wrong line of purebloods. Ones who were certainly shits, who certainly didn’t deserve leniency. But those shits weren’t Orion nor were they Scorpius. 

 

James has Orion thrown over his shoulder, intent on forcing him into the back garden for fun , when Albus yells for him to knock it off. The room goes still. The floors creaking with the wind. Albus swallows when they all stare at him, but his eyes are for his son. No one else when he whispers, “You haven’t done anything wrong. All those kids are stupid, with stupid parents...if they are being mean or hateful I want you to know it isn’t your fault.” 

 

Orion’s lower lip wobbles and he tries not to, but he is his mother’s child and his tears come easily. Albus’s heart aches as he moves to take him from James. Crumpling to his parents’ floor as he rocks his son, shushing him with soothing rubs up and down his bumpy spine. 

 

“I’m trying to be strong,” Orion sobs. 

 

“Suffering is not strength.” He will smack whatever idiot told his son otherwise. 

 

“I don’t want to be a Malfoy anymore,” Orion wails, and his voice sounds of Scorpius’s at that age. It’s almost as if Albus is comforting them both in one body when he next speaks. 

 

“You aren’t your grandfather or your great-grandfather. You’ve never done anything wrong.” 

 

“I was born,” Orion sobs and Albus clings to him tighter. Fighting off his own tears when he whispers. 

 

“I am so grateful you were born.” 

 

“As am I,” Mum says when she slides to the floor beside them. Wrapping her arms around them both. Then come Dad and Lily. Finally James, all of them whispering similar sentiments. 

 

“You’re the greatest gift of our life,” Albus tells him. “We’ve always loved you...even if one of us was too stupid to accept it.” 

 

*

 

The next night Scorpius comes home—nearly two weeks this time—Albus is waiting for him. Orion has long been to bed, and Albus is numb to feeling disappointed. Scorpius’s eyes are dull. A resignation in them when he notices Albus. 

 

“What day is it?” he asks with a lifeless tone. 

 

“Does it matter?” Albus replies with a deprecating laugh. 

 

“Is Draco home,” Scorpius counters. When Albus shakes his head ‘no’ then Scorpius sighs, “Then it doesn’t matter. Because nothing’s changed.” 

 

“We are here, Scorpius,” Albus is past pleading. He’s weary. “It’s August and you’re a stranger to us.” He swallows, “Orion doesn’t even ask when you’re coming home anymore.” 

 

“He knows I won’t abandon him,” Scorpius snarls. 

 

“Does he, though?” Albus counters. “Where have you been when he’s needed you the most?” 

 

“Working,” Scorpius hisses. “It’s all I know how to do.” 

 

“I wish I believed you.” 

 

Scorpius’s laugh is a feral bark of a sound, it sends shivers down Albus’s spine. “Oh, Alb, look at us. We’ve switched spots. You’re the responsible one, and I’m the cock-up.” 

 

“Don’t, Scorpius, please.” 

 

Scorpius doesn’t listen, he’s vicious in his reminders. “Did you watch my seed drip from another’s body the way I watched another Alpha’s drip from yours, Alb?” He makes Albus’s nickname a weapon. “Did you pick me up out of a sea of my own undoings? Did you take me when I was wretched and unlovable?” 

 

“I take you now,” Albus replies. Eyes dull as they stare up at Scorpius. “Will you punish me with infidelity, Scorpius? Because though I was yours I was not unfaithful, not then because we were still nothing—remember?” 

 

“You’ve never been nothing, even when I wished for it.” Scorpius’s long body flops to the floor. He rests his forehead against his clasped hands. A mockery of a prayer when he whispers, “I’ve been trying to exorcise you from myself, but nothing works.” 

 

“Just let me help you, Scorpius.” 

 

“When you broke me I had three things that held me together, two more than the third. Music and my dad. Orion I learned to love and focus on, but the other two were my rocks.” He lets out an angry huff. “Now I have neither.” 

 

Scorpius shuts himself off, standing and going up to their room before Albus can ask for clarification. 

 

Albus knows he will follow, up the stairs, but nothing will be said as he rides the cock his body aches to feel. 



Teddy 

 

Draco is regal, even in the rough fabric of his prison uniform. He sits on his shabby cot, legs crossed and back ramrod straight. An eyebrow cocked, while an annoyed frown draws down the corners of his mouth. 

 

“I told them I want no visitors.” 

 

“Funny, they don’t seem to care what you said,” Teddy counters with a wry smile. 

 

“Injustice,” Draco deadpans. Then with a sweep of his arm he commands, “Cut the shit, Teddy, tell me about Scorpius.” 

 

“He needs you to come home.” 

 

“Won’t be long,” Draco reminds with a bored drawl. “Lucius will expire anytime, I’m sure. He’s been stubborn to last this long.” 

 

“Why are you doing this for him?” Teddy hates to see Draco sacrificing himself for a man like Lucius. 

 

“It’s not for him, it’s for my mother,” Draco replies. Eyes steely. 

 

“Horseshit. It’s for him too, possibly more than her,” Teddy growls. Thinking of his own mother and the father he’d gladly sell to Hell to bring her back. “Narcissa might be bound to him, but he’s making her suffer. What do you owe him to tear her apart by having to choose between you and him? Why are you punishing her with that if you love her?” 

 

Draco chuckles, closing his eyes and cocking his ear as if he’s listening to invisible music. Recalling to himself something Teddy cannot see. “He’s my father. Flawed, wretched, pitiful. I loved him once—a side of him that was not here long enough. I loved him as much as my mother, and so...yes...this is for them. Both of them.” Draco swallows, eyes overbright as they always are when Astoria filters through his mind. There was another woman Teddy would trade a soul for. A true angel if they existed. “I’d have given all of myself to be with her longer, even if I knew she would die. I want them to have what I couldn’t.” 

 

“Yet, you fought so hard to keep Albus away from Scorpius.” 

 

Draco chuckles, expression still far off when he says, “Heaven’s poisoned wine, Teddy.” 

 

Teddy, cocks an eyebrow, “Unnatural love, and more unnatural hate, Draco?”

 

“My hatred for Potter runs deep, and I can’t explain why it’ll never leave. But I wanted nothing of his legacy to touch my son. Look at the damage it’s caused.” 

 

Teddy cannot deny that a lot of this would not have come to pass if Scorpius hadn’t bonded Albus. “But Orion was worth it,” Teddy reminds him. 

 

Draco’s smile is warm—genuine—when he replies, “Orion has certainly been worth it.”

 

“Scorpius might need reminding of that,” Teddy says. Leaning forward. Warring with himself between the two Malfoys he loves the most. Scorpius. His brother. Draco. His father. Teddy weighs his betrayal, deciding it’s for the best when he says. “Scorpius has been eating Blue Lotus. I found a bag of it in his piano and he went mental when I confronted him about it.” 

 

Draco closes his eyes. His shoulders slump. “When will I stop failing him, Teddy?” 

 

Teddy doesn’t have an answer.  

 

*



September is coming faster than Albus cares for. The thought of it looms like a cancer he can’t cut away. Orion, too, appears lost in his thoughts. Scorpius is in his own downward spiral, one he blames on Albus. He might not speak those thoughts, but Albus can see the regret in his gaze. 

 

It hurts. 

 

Today he leaves. Going God knows where—he’s not playing music. Lysander revealed as much when he dropped by looking for Scorpius. It intensifies his fears that Scorpius is somewhere, with someone else trying to destroy them the way Albus once did. 

 

Cowardice keeps Albus from demanding answers. Seals his mouth from fear and he tries to smile when Scorpius slams out of the manor. 

 

Orion is a blessed distraction, coming down for breakfast. He doesn’t ask for Scorpius—as if it is too raw for him to think about, too. 

 

“Are we going to Diagon Alley today,” Orion asks instead. 

 

“Yes, we need to get your school things.” At the reply, Orion’s face falls and Albus wishes he knew how to make it better. 

 

A feeling that intensifies when they finish breakfast and head to Diagon Alley. The stares seem to reach into Albus’s core from their intensity. But they aren’t the worst of it. It’s the talk that cuts like knives. Slicing him open, ribboning him like a ham—slices they seek to devour. 

 

Whore. Traitor. Scum. 

 

That’s about the worst of it, and it’s nothing Albus hasn’t heard before. Slides off his back like water off the back of a duck, and he goes about gathering items Orion will need for his First Year. 

 

It’s when they go into one of the Quidditch shops that the words hurt him differently. Words directed at Orion don’t slide off him as easily as the words that are meant for Albus. These cut deeper, bleeding him in ways he didn’t realise was possible. 

 

Bastard. Spawn of evil. Inbred little shit. 

 

Most of it is being whispered by the children who will be Orion’s peers. Not adults who Albus would gladly hex, but children the same age as his own son sneering and casting hate. He clutches Orion’s hand tighter. His mind recalling all the torments Scorpius suffered during school. The ones their professors pretended not to see. The ones Scorpius took in silence, an atonement for his own father and grandfather. 

 

Not again. 

 

He pulls Orion from the shop, angry and saddened by the state of the world. From the middle of the Alley he Disapparates, taking them back home. Away from the hate the world feels for his innocent child.

 

Once home Orion looks up at him with a curious frown, “Are we going to go get my things another day?” 

 

“Yes,” Albus lies. His mind whirling through the plan he’s concocted. 

 

Orion’s smile is faint, “Love you, Alby” 

 

“I love you, too,” Albus replies with a genuine smile. One that feels foreign on his face, and it’s a welcome feeling. One he’s missed. “Go on and have fun, I’m going to ring your granddad.” 

 

*

 

His mum and dad exchange a glance. The hour is late. They’d come for the pretence of dinner and remained until Orion was in bed. 

 

“You don’t have the right, Albus,” his dad begins with a weary sigh. “You’ll need Scorpius’s permission for a decision of this calibre.” 

 

“How am I supposed to get that when he’s banging about God knows where doing God knows what?” 

 

Mum draws his hand into hers. “I know you want what’s best for him, but you don’t have rights to him. Technically, he is totally Scorpius’s child.” 

 

“So I’ll go higher.”



Lucius 

 

The Potter child comes to him on a day when he’s well enough to sit up. Clear enough of mind to recognise all of the trouble he has caused to his family. 

 

“I suppose you’ve come to wish me dead, as well,” Lucius begins. Staring up at Albus with a weary expression. 

 

Anger does not lessen the beauty of this youth’s face. He’s more his mother than he is his rugged father. Recalling to Lucius the grandmother of this boy, the one he knew in his own youth. She too was a beautiful, angry creature—one wasted on Arthur Weasley. A secret he will undoubtedly take to his grave. 

 

“I’ve come to ask a favour,” Albus’s voice is all pride, despite the fact he’s here to grovel. 

 

In his youth, Lucius would relish this—he would milk all that pride from this boy until he was a whimpering mess at his feet. He’s old, he’s dying, even if he were to have a moment’s satisfaction his victory would be short lived. So he waves a frail hand, commanding the child to speak.

 

“You are lord of this family, are you not?”

 

“Draco is lord of this family,” Lucius reminds with an arched brow. Curiosity lighting his eyes. 

 

“But he is incarcerated so the duties of the family must fall to another.” 

 

“Scorpius would be the one in charge,” Lucius begins, then with a thoughtful frown says, “But he refuses the responsibility—naming Orion in his stead.” He watches Albus for any sign of change in his expression, as he continues, “Since the child is not of age the responsibility falls to me.” 

 

“I need you to give me custody of my son,” Albus commands. 

 

“Only his father can do that,” Lucius lies. 

 

“Not according to the agreements I signed. It stated that my custody would be given to the lord of the family. I assume Draco needed a fall-back plan on the off chance Scorpius was a terrible parent.”

 

Lucius chuckles, “My son—like his father—does love to retain as much control as possible.” 

 

“Well, both your son and grandson are failing my child—I need that control back.” 

 

“What do I get from giving you what you want? Betraying my blood goes against my code of honour.”

 

A snort, “You have no honour, sir.” 

 

Lucius grips the head of his cane, “Sadly, you are correct. Now, tell me why you need custody.” 

 

*

 

Scorpius 

 

He comes home a few nights before Orion is due to leave for school. He’s been avoiding it. Worrying about the ache that will come when his son leave him too. Albus and his relationship is fraying. Scorpius loves and loathes him at once. He wants him to have never been a presence in his life, but mourns Albus at the thought of that ever happening. 

 

He pushes into the manor late, and finds that it looks the same. Smells the same. Like safety and comfort. Then he remembers the person who made it safe and home is gone—in a place that is horrific and dreadful. 

 

As Scorpius is setting his guitar case down, Albus comes down the stairs. He’s alone and is carrying a single travel case. Scorpius is both angry and terrified. “Where are you going,” he accuses. Causing Albus to glance up with a startled expression. 

 

Resignation settles across Albus’s shoulders, “You’re home.” He says with the deadest voice. “I didn’t think you’d come back in time for the First of September.” 

 

Scorpius bristles with fury. “I’m not you, I haven’t abandoned Orion.” 

 

Albus doesn’t appear hurt, as he once would have, when he replies, “Funny, it feels like you have.” 

 

“Where is he?” Cold tingles down his spine.

 

“At my parents’, he’s going to be there until after the first while I sort some things.” 

 

“Sort what things?” Scorpius’s question comes out of him as a dangerous challenge. 

 

“Securing us a home,” Albus replies, tone even, as he holds Scorpius’s gaze with his own. 

 

“Are you mad? You don’t have the right-,” Scorpius’s begins but Albus holds up a piece of parchment. 

 

“Your grandfather gave me the right.” He doesn’t have to read the contents to believe his shit of a grandfather could betray him. 

 

Scorpius releases a hollow laugh, “So this is it, then, is it , Albus?” He grits his jaw, stopping his tears from falling. “You’ve finally taken everything from me.” He swallows, “Is this how love works? Does it take and take and take—until there is nothing left to give?” 

 

Albus averts his eyes. “I never wanted to take anything from you, Scorpius.” 

 

“You wanted everything from the moment you begged for my cock—do you remember? That dark night on cold, damp sand where you burned your way inside of me?” 

 

Albus’s smile is fragile. “You weren’t the only one this love burned.” 

 

“You’re right, except I didn’t get a decade of willful forgetfulness and a free pass at a new life.” 

 

Albus swallows, hurt clear on his face. “I...” 

 

“Don’t say it, just go,” Scorpius mutters. “Go, have all of the easy bits and always leave the mess to me.” It’s unfair of him to say that as if Albus has been having it easy these past months, but he wants to believe this short bit of hurt doesn’t make up for the decade Scorpius endured. This entire thing reminds him that he’s not as forgiving as he previously believed. 

 

“Scorpius,” he whispers. Coming closer, setting his bag down on the wood of the floor. “I don’t want to do any of this without you.” He’s touching Scorpius, through his thin white T-shirt, and it makes Scorpius’s flesh pebble with desire. 

 

“Then why are you leaving?” He feels smaller than he is.

 

“I was leaving because you weren’t here.” He aches with self-disappointment when he hears Albus’s response.

 

Scorpius kisses him, deep and full. Sucking down the need he tastes on Albus’s tongue. When they break apart he swallows the gasps Albus releases. 

 

“It hurts to be here, Alb.” 

 

Albus has silent tears leaking from the corners of his bright eyes, trailing over his flushed skin. “Were you out there, touching someone else?” Albus asks. 

 

Scorpius’s laugh is hollow. “My body is yours, Albus, from the moment we touched after that cruel heat, the one after the baby—I’ve never held another.” How could he when that loss felt like punishment for betrayals?  

 

Albus melts against him, legs losing his trousers before spreading wide, “Hold me, Scorpius.” 

 

He does. Takes Albus roughly against the wooden floor. His knees bruising as they slam into the hard surface each time Scorpius pushes harder. 

 

Scorpius knots him, while his large hand splays across Albus’s slim stomach. He’s lost in wild imaginings when Albus whispers, “I’ve hired a designer, I’m quitting Haus of Anarchy.” 

 

Scorpius is still locked in him, or he’d pull back—flight responses always on high with Albus these days. “Why?” 

 

“I’m going to raise my son. I’m going to keep him at home for his schooling.” 

 

*

 

Albus watches as Scorpius’s gaze goes from passive to furious. “ What ?” He hisses, low and dangerous. His knot holding them together keeps Scorpius from drawing away. Albus reaches for his large hand with his own, thinner hand. “He’s going to Hogwarts,” Scorpius tells Albus with a rumbling growl. 

 

“Why? So they can tease him and treat him the way they used to treat you?” His own rage comes through those words.

 

“It’s cowardice to not go to Hogwarts,” Scorpius replies, a solemn tone that sounds like Draco’s voice—as Albus remembers it in his nightmares. 

 

“Is that what your father told you,” Albus replies with his own searing hiss. “Did he tell you that your suffering was your family’s redemption?” 

 

“He explained why it had to be done,” Scorpius snaps, and Albus thinks there’s something comical in the fact they are still locked together, but they are fighting with such rage. “He told me this is what it means to be a Malfoy.” 

 

“Then I’ll tell you something, Scorpius,” Albus says as he raises himself up on his elbows. “Orion is also a Potter, and as such I’m going to give him ever privilege the Potter name brings. The country can’t say shit on my father, and they can’t say shit on my son if I spit in their fucking faces.” 

 

“You think you can come in and make things better with a few pretty words, Alb. It’s that idealism you’ve always possessed.” He wears a frown, and Albus reaches to cup his jaw. 

 

“Not words, Scorpius. Not this time. From now on it will be actions.” 

 

Scorpius appears doubtful. “You will grow bored with playing homemaker—remember why you ran from me? From us? From your son? You didn’t want to be miserable like your gran and your mum.” 

 

“That was then, Scorpius. This is now.”

 

His knot has gone down enough that he can disengage from Albus—a loss Albus feels in deeper parts of himself. “Now is just as fucked as then,” Scorpius whispers. Longing in his grey eyes when he cups Albus’s cheek. 

 

“Orion-” 

 

Scorpius cuts him off with a sigh. “Just do what you’ve planned. Mother knows best, yes?” There’s a bitterness to him, but Albus doesn’t get to comment on it because he’s moved away and headed towards the stairs. His beautiful body Albus watches with mournful eyes, miserable as his body cools down from the lack of Scorpius’s warmth. 

 

*

 

First of September comes, and goes on in the most unremarkable way. Albus had expected Scorpius to rise and drag Orion to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, but he doesn’t. All he’s done is get up, start some coffee, and takes a seat at his usual place at the table. Where he reads the morning paper, humming about things ever so often. 

 

Orion seems suspicious of this as well when he comes into the dining room for breakfast. Albus smiles encouragingly when Orion glances up at him with a questioning expression. Instead of giving a verbal answer, Albus sets a plate with a golden waffle covered in fresh strawberry slices, scrambled eggs and sizzling sausages before Orion. 

 

“Thanks, Mum,” Orion says.

 

“You’re welcome,” Albus finally whispers and then sits beside Scorpius who is looking at Orion with a considering frown. 

 

After a bit, in which Orion has eaten most of his breakfast, Scorpius says, “Do you want to go to Hogwarts, Orion?” 

 

Orion’s green eyes glance between them. Fearful of disappointing either of them so Albus adds, “Orion, whatever you choose I won’t love you any less.” 

 

“Nor will I,” Scorpius assures. 

 

That seems to relax Orion’s tense shoulders and he says, “I don’t want to go to a school where they call me the son of a Death Eater and a whore.” 

 

Scorpius appears as if he’s been punched someplace tender, but Orion isn’t looking. Albus is, and Albus reaches under the table to rub a calming circle atop Scorpius’s thigh. 

 

Then Orion adds, with a smile, “And now I can have days with just my mum, like I used to have with just you, Dad.”

 

Scorpius’s eyes soften when he replies, “I’m glad you’ll be happy.” 

 

*

 

Albus follows Scorpius to the Floo. Terrified it will be another day where he won’t come home, but Scorpius turns to him, expression tired when he says, “I promise I’m coming back. I just have to do some things before evening.” 

 

“Just...whatever you do, please, don’t make our son cry.” Albus knows he doesn’t have the right to ask the same for himself. 

 

“I’ll be home soon,” Scorpius murmurs. Stepping closer to draw Albus into his arms. Kissing Albus gently, like he had months ago. Before everything went to shit. “And thank you.” 

 

“For what?” Albus asks, puzzled as he stares up at Scorpius.

 

“Thank you for doing what my mother couldn’t do for me for our son.” And then he’s gone before Albus can respond. 




Draco 



He has a visitor he doesn’t expect. 

 

One that doesn’t require a guard. 

 

Ginny Weasley stands before him in a lavender robe, her hair pulled into a tight knot atop her head, and Draco can’t help the sarcasm in his tone when he says, “You look like McGonagall.” 

 

She is unfazed as she takes a seat across from him, “And you look like hammered shit, but we can’t all be as stunning as I am.” 

 

Draco chuckles, settling back against the cold stone of the wall, “Why have you come, Weasley?” 

 

“Potter now,” she reminds with an arch tone. 

 

“Right, I’d almost forgotten your oaf of a husband.” Draco inspects his nails for dramatic effect. 

 

“I didn’t come here for your pathetic attempts at scathing, Malfoy,” she sighs. Her eyes are bright blue, he notices—when they bore into him with the sort of fury that reminds Draco, unpleasantly, of her older brother. “I came here to tell you something.” 

 

He remains silent, waiting for her to elaborate. After a time, she does. 

 

“Scorpius is going to come to you, soon, and tell you what Albus decided to do for Orion.” Already his skin itches with rage. Albus has no business making any plans for his grandchild. 

 

“That vile excuse for a mother isn’t in any position to decide anything.” 

 

Another sigh escapes her, “That’s not entirely his fault.” 

 

“Nothing is ever a Potter’s fault, is it?” Draco knows he’s sneering, but he doesn’t care to reel in his hate. 

 

“This time it wasn’t. Not completely.” She puts a hand over her face, her shoulders shake with a dry sob, and when she pulls her hand away Draco notices the whites of her eyes are pink with her emotions. “I modified a memory spell, and used it on Albus in the weeks following Orion’s birth.” 

 

“You inbred little cunt,” Draco snaps at her. Hating her more than he ever thought he could hate another. More than he has hated her pathetic child all these years. “Do you know what his absence did to my son?” 

 

“I imagine it did what I saw it doing to Albus, but I’m not your son’s mother—I’m Albus’s.” 

 

“Thank fuck for that,” Draco hisses. 

 

She continues on as if she hasn’t heard, “Albus was young, and he had dreams. Ridiculous, unattainable dreams but they were his. A full life that motherhood would steal. But most specifically what he perceived motherhood would steal.” She holds his gaze with her own when she adds, “Albus saw my mother, he saw me, he saw a few of my in-laws. He saw what happens when babies come young, and what happens when a mother gives up everything to be a mother.” 

 

Draco takes this in silence. Knowing there is more. 

 

And there is. 

 

“I resent my children almost as much as I love them. And I resent and love Albus the most.” She confesses. “He was the child that made me lose my dream. So when I was with him, when he was begging me, I wondered if he could live in ways I hadn’t.” A raw expression covers her face, one of self-disgust. “I never stopped to think I could have worked, I could have lived my dream. I didn’t have to become what I thought Harry wanted in a wife. I should’ve been my version of a wife and mother.” 

 

“Why are you telling me this?” Draco asks with a weariness. Angry that her tears and reasons pull at his pity. He doesn’t want to pity any of these people. 

 

“Because I want you to understand that I failed my son, Draco. I failed him in ways I would change if I could, and I know you’ve done the same.” 

 

It’s the touch of air against a raw nerve and he hisses, “How fucking dare you.” 

 

“I dare, Malfoy.” She replies before adding, “And I’ll add that you failed Scorpius when you sent him to Hogwarts to be taunted and abused by his peers. For your penance.” 

 

“It would’ve been worse for him if he’d have gone to another school or stayed home with me.” Draco knows the public would never let them live it down if he had shielded Scorpius from his peers. 

 

“Would it have been?” Ginny counters. A remorseful look on her face when she continues, “I thought it would’ve been worse for Albus to be with Scorpius—I was wrong, and so were you. There’s no goodness that comes from making our children suffer.” 

 

“Why’re you here?” He asks, thumping his head against the stone. Tired of her visit and ready to return to his lonely solitude. 

 

“I’m here because I want you to tell Scorpius you support the decision Albus made for Orion.” 

 

“Why should I?” 

 

“Because my son will do for your son and grandson what I couldn’t do for mine. He’s going to protect them in the only ways he knows how.” 

 

“How is that?” Draco snorts. 

 

“With idealistic love and dreams.” 



*



Scorpius comes home more. But there’s still something off about him. Something that is an invisible force between them. Albus is too busy focusing on Orion and teaching him to worry about it constantly. Mostly the worry lingers at the back of his mind, waiting for the quiet of night when Scorpius and Orion are deep in the arms of sleep. 

 

*

 

Orion is at his music lesson, and Albus is looking over the newest designs of the designer Narcissa secures for Haus of Anarchy. She’s been extremely focused on work for the last few months—unsurprisingly.

 

Albus has discovered he can be pretty involved while still being home with Orion, and it makes him wonder why he ever believed he couldn’t have both his child and his career. 

 

Hindsight and all that rot, he thinks as he approves another design. So far he’s enjoying what he’s seeing. Only a couple of things were too tame and boring for his tastes.

 

A thump sounds loudly from somewhere upstairs and Albus frowns. He stands from the seat in the study and goes out of the room—looking for clues as to what could be the source of the sound. Orion isn’t due home until evening. Lily and Mum were taking him to see some cellist Orion idolises. 

 

Scorpius is supposed to be in Scotland with Lysander—securing a small charity show. Or so he’d claimed that morning before he left in one of Draco’s fancy cars. 

 

Which must’ve been a lie, Albus discovers when he opens the music room and sees the soft white-blond hair over the top of Scorpius’s work chair. 

 

A hot fury fills Albus as he stomps into the room. “So, are you hiding in here now? Why did you sneak back home?” 

 

Scorpius doesn’t even flinch. Albus yanks his chair around once he’s close enough to it. 

 

That’s when the anger flees. In its place comes the icy sliver of fear as it travels through his veins—making Albus lock up in place. Frozen in horror. 

 

In the chair, Scorpius is sitting—still as death and just as cold when Albus finally reaches out with a trembling hand to touch him. 

 

From the arm of the chair a small sack fall. When Albus looks closer he sees the telling symbol for blue lotus. His heartbeat ticks up, pumping faster and filling his ears with the pound of terror. 

 

A long-ago memory seizes him, one where Dad sat him and James down at the table to talk about the kid he’d watched die on him because there hadn’t been time to save the fool. 

 

A fool. Albus thinks as he moves into action, slapping Scorpius’s cheek. Trying desperately to wake him. His cheek turns pink, but Scorpius’s breathing is still shallow. He’s not coming to. 

 

“Fuck, Scorpius,” Albus shouts, dragging Scorpius out of the chair. Climbing over his large form, grabbing hold of his broad shoulder, trying to shake him into wakefulness—Albus screams when it doesn’t work. 

 

Then he goes to the Floo when he swears Scorpius gets colder and shouts for the first person he can think of. 

 

*

 

James comes out of the Floo moments later. Half dressed, half shaved, but he doesn’t seem bothered in the least when he takes in the image of Albus bawling over Scorpius’s prone body. 

 

“Shit,” he swears. Before pulling a fighting Albus away from Scorpius.

 

“He needs me,” Albus is screaming. 

 

“Al,” James roars when Albus won’t calm down. “Sit down, I’ll wake him up.”

 

Albus does as he’s told. Watching with mounting anxiety as James kicks the bag of blue lotus. Muttering darkly, “Fucking wanker.”

 

Then he’s got his wand out, and he tells Albus to look away, but Albus won’t. He refuses. 

 

A jolt of lightning comes from the tip of James’s wand, igniting Scorpius. Albus’s whole form seizes at the sight—watching it makes him feel as if that pain is lurching through him. 

 

“Wake up, you fucking prick,” James snarls when he releases a harsher burst of energy into Scorpius. Enraged when that one doesn’t work either. 

 

It takes a few more tries before Scorpius screams as he comes back into himself. Twitching on the floor of the manor’s studio with the sort of convulsions that remind Albus of a seizure. 

 

When Scorpius sits up, James punches him in the jaw and Albus shouts at him to quit. Clearly, he thinks, this isn’t the time to punish Scorpius for his idiocy. 

 

James, of course, begs to differ. 

 

“You,” James hisses, as Albus rushes over to pull him away from Scorpius. “Haven’t you made my brother cry enough?” 

 

“James,” Albus pleads. “Stop.” 

 

“I know you love him. I know his life sucks right now, but goddamned it, Al...he...”James trails off, voice thick with emotions he doesn’t usually show. With a swallow, he says, “I can’t watch you do all of that to yourself again. Dad can’t either...it would kill him.” His brother kneels, the fight going out of his large form and Albus notices how weak he appears. Half-shaven, half-naked, and exhausted by the hell that is Albus and Scorpius. 

 

Albus swallows, then with an urgent voice says, “I love you, Jamie. Thank you.” After squeezing his brother’s fingers he says, “Can you go get Teddy and Lysander for me?” 

 

James glares Scorpius’s way and mutters, “Sure.” Rising to his feet with a stilted grace. 

 

Once they are alone Albus turns back to Scorpius, wrapping his slim arms around Scorpius’s neck—clinging to him as he weeps. 

 

Strong hands travel up his back, clinging to him through his shirt. He can feel Scorpius shaking—crying against him and Albus weeps harder. 

 

When he pulls back, holding Scorpius’s face and looking into his eyes, Albus whispers, “Talk to me.” 

 

“I was trying to stop, Alb,” Scorpius whispers with desperation. “But, fuck, it’s hard when reality sucks.” 

 

“Your dad would hate this, Scorpius.” Albus leans his forehead against Scorpius’s. Soaking in his warmth, hoping to never take it for granted again. The cold had been so frightening. 

 

“I hate this,” Scorpius confesses. He pulls away from Albus and puts a hand over his face. “I didn’t want you to know.” 

 

“How long?” Albus has a feeling he knows, but he needs to hear it from Scorpius’s mouth.

 

“Since a couple of weeks after the arrest. It was after a show where most of the crowd called me a Death Eater.” Albus watches as Scorpius’s Adam’s Apple moves beneath his beautiful tattooed skin when he swallows. 

 

“Jesus, Scorpius.” He links their fingers, staring down at the shiny skin of Scorpius’s bond mark. 

 

“Yeah, well I didn’t think it would become something I needed to get through the days. I’d done it a few times before...for fun.” Albus has too—not that he’d tell his father—he’s no stranger to recreational drug use, but this is something he knows has gone way beyond that. 

 

“Fun and escapism are different,” Albus reminds, tracing the scar of his teeth with the pad of his thumb. 

 

“Funny, at the time I was trying not to think that,” Scorpius says bitterly. 




*

 

Teddy and Lysander come after James rings them. Orion is staying the evening with Baz, Tristram, and Dominique—blissfully unaware of what’s unfolding in their home. He’d gladly gone to spend time with his favourite cousin when Teddy hastily made up something for them to do. Albus hopes Orion never knows the truth. 

 

Every trace of Scorpius’s growing addiction is sniffed out. Unrooted. From between books in the library. Hidden in the piano in the studio. Dragged out from between the mattress and box springs of the bed Scorpius has fucked him in a thousand times. 

 

How long have these damnable lotuses been beneath them—tempting Scorpius in ways Albus couldn’t? 

 

“Is that all of it?” Teddy asks—he’s got a grim set to his mouth. 

 

“Boot of my car,” Scorpius admits while he rubs a hand over the back of his neck. 

 

Lysander goes to fetch it, and when he’s out of the room Teddy sighs. “Was the kid giving you this?” 

 

Scorpius shakes his head. “No. I made sure he didn’t know what I was doing since I’ve always told him to stay away from this shit.” He releases a brittle laugh, “Hypocritical, isn’t it?” 

 

“You’re going to have to tell me who was,” Teddy replies with a grim tone—ignoring Scorpius’s rhetorical question. 

 

“I’m mad at myself as is, Ted—don’t make me say it.” 

 

Albus glances at Teddy who seems unwilling to waver in his loyalty. All he says is, “I’ll go over there later and let her know this has become a problem.” Even so Albus has a feeling he knows who this her is, but that’s a battle he’ll wage a different day. 

 

“I’m not busting into the vault at Gringotts to feed the habit, quit acting like I’m a goddamned junkie.” Scorpius snaps. 

 

Teddy growls, “You are a goddamned junkie, Pious. Be glad we caught it. Be glad Albus’s arse is reason enough to change, because the other night my words sure as hell weren’t enough, Scorpius.” 

 

“I’m quitting aren’t I?” Scorpius hisses back, then deflates. Apologetically he adds, “I’m sorry I’m cranky. I know you guys want what’s best. I do too. I don’t want to be high all the time.” He puts his face in his hands, “I don’t want my son to discover I’m this weak.” 

 

*

 

“Where’s Dad?” Orion asks when he comes home from Dominique and Teddy’s place a few nights later. 

 

“Lysander got a series of shows lined up for them—he will be gone a few weeks. Possibly a month or more.” It hurts Albus to lie so readily, but they all agreed Orion would hurt more from the truth. 

 

Like with the sibling that never came to be, this will be another of the things they keep from Orion for his own happiness.

 

“Cool, I’m glad he’s got work. I was starting to worry about him.” 

 

“Me too,” Albus says with a watery grin. 

 

*

 

Orion fills many of Albus’s hours, and he discovers things he finds fascinating about his son. Things that seem trivial to people who’ve watched him grow. 

 

The manor is full of such trivialities. 

 

Orion’s first broom. “Fell off it when I was three, see this scar by my ear? Granddad played merry Hell and banished a whole century’s old statue because of that incident.” Orion laughs about the memory of Draco going mental over his safety. 

 

There’s the cello Scorpius first taught him on. “It was my nan’s. You know, the one that died—never met her, but Dad sure loves her. Granddad too. He likes to tell stories with a secret smile.” Orion puzzles about that a moment, playing some melody that’s soothing. The rain outside pours in angry torrents, but the music grounds them there together. “Dad has a secret smile, too, you know?” Orion says when he drops his bow from the stings. His green eyes hold Albus’s gaze and with a lazy grin he adds, “He only wears that smile when he talks or thinks about you. Or when he’s staring at you and thinks no one is watching.” 

 

“Does he?” Albus wants to see that smile. 

 

“Yeah, when I was smaller I didn’t know what it was about, but after you started being around more I figured it out.” Orion moves around the room. Touching his fingertips over polished instruments—frowning at them until one calls to him enough to be played. 

 

His next instrument of choice is the guitar. So much like his father and Albus wants to tell Scorpius how much their son loves him. “Dad smiles about you the way Granddad smiles about Nan. Happy and hurting all in one.” 

 

Albus chuckles, “Love is like that.”

 

Once Orion has exhausted his interest in the music room he leads Albus to the private sitting area of Scorpius’s rooms. “Dad and I lived in here up until he started touring.” Albus waits, unsure of why they are here until Orion retrieves a photo album. He settles on the plush rug and pats the space beside him. Albus goes without reluctance. 

 

Beneath the elegant leather binding is a barrage of snapshots. All haphazardly thrown onto the pages with Scorpius’s elegant lettering detailing what each moment represents. 

 

He loves this pillow , the words beneath a tiny, wriggling Orion. He can’t be more than a few months, his arms are still not in his total control. They jerk around, as his small feet kick at the blanket that was draped over his lap. Wonder if he smells you , is the only other indication that this pillow is Albus’s but Albus remembers that pillow vividly. Like he remembers everything up until that heat. After is lost to him amongst memories that are choppy and disorienting at best. 

 

He puts away the thoughts—banishes them—as they continue pouring through the album. Another is a snap of Orion running after some small gnomes, in the garden. Bare feet dirty with grass, but he’s delighted—presumably shrieking as his little mouth opens wide and two small teeth shine in the sunlight. He’s always running barefoot, drives his granddad mental. I let him because I enjoy winding Draco up. 

 

Orion in a pool with Scorpius, learning to swim. The gentle way Scorpius loops through encouraging him makes Albus smile sadly. He can hear Scorpius in his mind, telling Orion he’s doing well, and he feels like an intruder watching the way Orion clings to his father—as if there is no one else in the world. As if there’s no room for Albus in this world that has always been them. 

 

He’s afraid of the deep water, but one day he’s going to swim without fear. Albus touches the lettering, thinking—as he so often does—of this Scorpius he was not there to see. Another fragment of memory grips him. This one stronger than any he’s ever had before and he sees himself, heavily pregnant, running fingers over the swell of his stomach. Singing A Sailor Went to Sea while drawing hearts over his own smooth, pale skin. 

 

Jarring him out of the moment is Orion, who says, “One day soon, my dad is going to be this dad again.” There’s a longing in his voice that makes Albus ache, but he says nothing as he draws Orion to his side. Kissing his pale blond hair. Orion turns to stare up at him and with a smile that is so very similar to Albus’s he says, “I’m glad you’re here with me now.” 

 

Albus swallows. He wants to ask how can you be, when I left you so readily but he doesn’t. He squeezes his arms around Orion, holding him tighter, and whispers, “I wish I had been with you always.” 

 

“Granddad says wishes are for fools,” Orion teases—something of his father coming through him and Albus wishes Scorpius were with them now. Perhaps I am a fool, he thinks as Orion continues pouring through the album. 

 

*

 

James gets Orion involved in a home group of Quidditch players. Albus is nervous and James tells him to piss off. “I’ll take him, you go see Scorpius— on tour ,” he emphasises because they know Orion can hear them. 

 

“I should go with him to Quidditch,” Albus insists and James gives him a rather judgemental once over. 

 

“No offence, mate,” he begins, but Albus crosses his arms and snorts. 

 

“If you add ‘but’ to that sentence I’m gonna kick you between the legs.” Albus threatens. 

 

James doesn’t care, he’s unafraid of his wimpy younger brother. “No offence, but you are shit at sport and even more shit at keeping your cool when people might be fucking with your kid.” He holds up a hand so that Albus won’t start shouting, and adds, “Look, I don’t need you fogging up and yelling at anyone if they aren’t perfectly sweet to your baby. I won’t let them be wankers, but he’s going to have to learn to handle a pisstake. Preferably without Mummykins there to remind him he shoots rainbows out his arse.” 

 

“They call him a Death Eater and I-” James cuts him off. 

 

“And I’ll be ringing Dad so that he can be sure to lose my paperwork after I tear a bloke’s cock off,” James replies with dead calm. “Look, Al, I’m not going to let anyone hurt him. But locking him away without other kids isn’t going to help him navigate his life with the name Malfoy.” 

 

“I should’ve never left him,” Albus swallows. 

 

“You did, but you’re here now.” He ruffles Albus’s hair, grinning down at him when he adds, “Piss off and go ride that wanker you love while I take Orion to the pitch. Uncle James, best of all the uncles, can handle this.” 

 

“Fine,” Albus agrees, though he’s terrified. 

 

*

 

Scorpius is staying at the sort of place you can’t get into unless your father could own a continent or two. The facility is not known to the public, is so discreet about their guests that they’ve never had a single leak, and looks like a palace. 

 

Of course, Scorpius hates it. Albus finds him in the large, fragrant garden reading a complicated potions text and smoking a cigarette.

 

“I feel I’ve lived this scene before,” Albus teases when Scorpius glances up from his book. 

 

“I think there’s a fake beach somewhere in this shithole,” Scorpius grins when he closes the book and sets it aside. Before he takes Albus’s hand and draws him gently closer. “It might not be night, but I wouldn’t mind recreating that moment in the sand.” 

 

“Wasn’t a very long encounter,” Albus says as he leans down to kiss Scorpius’s clean-shaven cheek. “I think I want something a little longer since it’s been a few weeks.” 

 

“They tell me sex will confuse my emotions and will make me want to fuck right off and get high again,” Scorpius huffs. His long fingers stroke against Albus’s pulse point, their calluses tickling in a familiar caress that makes Albus hungry for more. “Honestly, Alb,” Scorpius murmurs against Albus’s palm, when he pulls it to his mouth, licking against the soft skin and making Albus’s pulse pound in his ears. “Sex is the only thing I don’t find confusing. Touching you is what calms my heart.” 

 

Albus’s breathing is ragged, and he can feel warmth flush his cheeks, biting at his lower lip he groans, “Scorpius, I don’t want you to fail at being clean.” 

 

He stands, invading Albus’s space, “I’ve been dry for twenty-one and the only thing I’ve craved for twenty of them has been you.” 

 

“In here you don’t remember why you’re so miserable. You don’t miss your dad here the way you miss him at the manor.” 

 

“I do, though,” Scorpius murmurs, drawing Albus close by the hips—rocking his hard cock against Albus’s, delighting him despite the friction of their jeans between them. “But I don’t miss him enough to lose you and Orion.” 

 

“You were stupid,” Albus admits, tilting his head to give Scorpius better access to his neck when he moves to devour it. 

 

“I was, shit...I’m so sorry,” Scorpius says into Albus’s skin, groaning before he drags his teeth over the sensitive flesh. His hands roam, down to Albus’s arse where he kneads the curves through Albus’s jeans. “Fuck, I want you.” 

 

“I want you in me,” Albus admits, feeling wetter than he has in the weeks since the arrest. He feels so connected, but even still he pulls back. “But I want to know you’re going to stay clean before we do this. I don’t...I don’t want to ever have to threaten to take our son again, Scorpius.” 

 

Instead of rage Scorpius deflates, and with a loving yet pained smile he whispers, “I understand, Alb. I don’t want to ever put you in that position again.” 

 

Albus is about to say more when one of the counsellors comes over, “Mr Malfoy, we have a session.” Then he looks at Albus and his brown eyes widen, “Are you the mate?” 

 

With a chuckle, Albus admits that he is and the counsellor says, “You’re welcome to join us. Family therapy is a great way to help strengthen Mr Malfoy against temptation. Having a stronger relationship is the key to success.” Albus wants to bristle, but he knows—better than anyone—that they have cracks in their foundation. 

 

“Okay.” 

 

Scorpius seems grateful as he takes Albus’s hand. 

 

*

 

The room they enter is large—a wall of shelves filled with books stands behind a comfortable looking leather sofa and in front of it a chair that the counsellor takes a seat in. Scorpius allows Albus to sit first on the sofa and then takes his place beside him. 

 

“I am Healer Morrow, I specialise in matters of the psyche, you may call me Jonathan if Healer Morrow feels too stiff—we are friends in this room, Mr Potter.” 

 

Albus shoots a sideways glance at Scorpius, then with a little bit of defensiveness asks, “Have the both of you talked about me a lot?” 

 

“No,” Healer Morrow admits. “We have stuck to other matters, but we could discuss you today. There is history between you. A great deal of it is public—most I presume to be inaccurate guesses about your lives, and would like it if you could both indulge me with the truth.” 

 

Albus is hesitant. He doesn’t like the idea of opening up for a stranger to judge him. How exactly could that help anything? 

 

“I am not here to question your life, Mr Potter, I am here to help you both bridge the gaps in communications and help you both build a stronger relationship.” 

 

A phrasing that ruffles Albus’s feathers. “Our relationship is plenty strong,” he hisses. 

 

“Physically, I can see that. But there is a lot that I can sense has been left unsaid between you both.” 

 

Scorpius, to Albus’s dismay, nods in a sign of agreement. “We have a lot we should probably sort.” 

 

“Like what?” Albus demands, and to his surprise Healer Morrow doesn’t chastise him for his rage. 

 

“Like the fact that I’m terrified I’ll lose you again,” Scorpius admits with a soft voice. One Albus has never heard. It’s tiny and fragile, like a child that has had his heart broken one too many times. 

 

“I’m not leaving,” Albus replies as he reaches for Scorpius’s hand. 

 

“Why did you leave in the first place then?” Scorpius demands, an explosive hurt coming out of his throat in the disguise of rage. He draws his hand out of Albus’s hold. 

 

Albus wants to say he’s here, he never meant to leave—he wants to say so many things he doesn’t really believe. When he reaches for his memories of those early years he can’t remember Scorpius as anything more than a hazy memory. Why is that? He frowns. Trying to pull the recollections of pregnancy to the forefront of his mind and nothing comes. It all slips away, evaporating to nothing the harder he tries. 

 

“Scorpius, when are you going to believe me?” That’s all Albus can ask instead, all he can manage because he has no excuses. What he has is a hope that when he says he will never leave again that Scorpius believes him. Apparently, that isn’t the case. 

 

“We’ve never really talked about it, all you’ve done is speak and Albus, you’ve never had the best track records with follow-through.” It isn’t untrue, but the words hurt. 

 

“So let’s talk now,” Albus whispers. Reaching out once more for Scorpius’s hand and gently lacing their fingers. 

 

*

 

After the session, Scorpius goes back to his room—inspiration having struck, he claims—and Albus remains with Healer Morrow. 

 

“May I ask you something?” he says, once Scorpius is long gone. 

 

Kind eyes and a nearly imperceptible nod is Healer Morrow’s response. 

 

“Can you help me unlock memories? I am unable to reach them and I’d like to know why I can’t find them there.” 

 

There is a moment where he says nothing in response, just considers Albus with an expression that is frightening—Healer Morrow watches him with eyes that seem to stare right through him. Looking into his soul, and it makes Albus swallow nervously. “Just so long as you understand you can’t unlearn the things your mind will reveal. At least not without permanent damage to yourself.” 

 

“I understand,” he says this with a bravado he doesn’t truly feel. 

 

*

 

Mum looks up from the paper when Albus comes in, and there’s a concern to her beautiful blue eyes when she gets a look at him. Albus must look a fright, but he is hardly concerned about his appearance. 

 

He’s too full of anger to give a shit about all that. From the mantle, he grabs the framed photo of him and his mother, throwing it at her feet where the glass shatters and spreads glittery fragments over the rug. “How could you?” Albus hisses. Tears distorting his vision when he screams, “You aren’t my mother. Not anymore.” 

 

His mum doesn’t appear surprised. Mostly she seems broken and resigned to this treatment, which makes Albus angrier because she clearly understands she fucked up. Silently, Mum watches as he grabs something else, then something else and shatters the objects one after another. Until the sitting room of his childhood home looks of a warzone. 

 

She doesn’t say a single word. Not until his rage is exhausted and even then all she says is, “I know it doesn’t make up for my failures, but I swear to you, Al, everything I ever did I did do in love for you.” 

 

Does all love hurt, Albus wonders, or was I born beneath a cursed sky? 





Harry 

 

He comes in after work to find Ginny sitting at the kitchen table with a bottle of whiskey and a single glass. One she doesn’t bother using as she puts the bottle to her lips and tips her head back to take a deep drink. 

 

“Gin?” No matter their past issues, Harry loves his wife—more than he’s said in a long while. That makes him disappointed in himself, the realisation he cannot remember the last time he spoke to Ginny outside of tense therapy sessions. 

 

She releases a brittle sound that he assumes is supposed to be a laugh. Then she takes another drink. “He hates me.” 

 

Harry looks around the kitchen, but it holds no answers. He doesn’t have to wait long for her to elaborate. 

 

“I loved him more than the other two, you know? I thought he’d be mine. We could be close the way you and James were. But the more I loved him the more I resented him. The more I wanted to make sure he wound up happier than I became. Happier than the angry, resentful woman my mother is in private.” Harry hurts for his wife, and for all the self-hatred she’s been keeping locked away from him for years.

 

He sits at the table, near her and reaches for her hand. Ginny doesn’t flinch away as she had for too long. She links their fingers and looks at Harry in the eye with tears clouding her vision. “I would change it, Harry. I wouldn’t fail if I could go back and change.” 

 

“I would too, Gin,” he whispers, putting his free hand against her cheek. Her soft, dark red hair falls over the back of his hand. “I would be here, for you, I’d tell you to get on that fucking broom and to leave the kids to me.” He presses his forehead to hers. Remembering those stolen hours when they were new and so in love. 

 

“I was so mean about Teddy,” she sobs as if she’s been dwelling on everything she’s done wrong. 

 

“Shh,” he murmurs against her cheek, kissing the tears that glide over her freckled skin. 

 

“I wanted you to care about our kids as you cared about him.” She gasps, sucking in a deep gasping breath, “I was jealous of an orphan, Harry. God. How could you love me like that?” 

 

“Ginny, I’ve never not loved you,” he whispers against her mouth. Resentful and angry towards her, certainly, but Harry has always loved Ginny more than he could put into words. 

 

She kisses him, wrapping her fingers in his dark hair as she devours him in a manner that is reminiscent of their youth. 

 

“I’ve missed you for so long.” 

 

“I’m here now,” he replies and draws her closer. Tenderly he runs his hands over her. “I’m going to try and love you the way I should’ve loved you before.”

 

*

 

After, when Harry leaves Ginny sleeping—naked beneath their duvet—he goes back downstairs. Into the sitting room, where a violent destruction has ripped apart what once appeared to be a happy home. 

 

He sighs, sitting in his chair to look at what remains in the wake of Albus’s heartbreak. 



Draco 

 

Potter wakes him from a dream that made him sad to leave the realm of sleep. 

 

Astoria’s scent in his lungs, the taste of her kiss on his lips, and the soft cadence of her voice a roar in his ears. Draco’s eyes have tears and he damns Potter for making him rise from a perfect memory. 

 

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Potter observes, a frown of concern drawing his eyebrows down and causing a line to form between them. 

 

“An angel,” Draco corrects. Then staring up at Potter from where he’s still lying on this god awful cot, he asks. “What brings you to Hell, Potter?” 

 

“I need you to go home, both our sons are emotionally fucked.” 

 

Draco snorts, amused that two war heroes have now sought him out to right the world. How things have changed since his youth. 

 

Then he recalls the faint voice of his long lost love. Trust in your son. Let your parents have the peace we didn’t. I love you, but I’ll kill you if you return to me too soon. 

 

“They will have to learn to unfuck themselves,” Draco reasons. He’s not Potter—he’s too weary to try and save the world. 



*

 

“Mum,” Orion says—startling Albus out of staring into space. 

 

“Yes?” He smiles, but it feels fragile. It’s been a long time where he’s had to keep up the charade of Scorpius being away on tour. 

 

“What time is Dad coming home?” There’s anxious excitement in that question. 

 

“I think he said he’d be home by three in the morning.” The answer makes Orion flop onto the priceless sofa that must’ve once belonged to a long-dead Malfoy king. Albus doesn’t reprimand him for being rough with the furniture. Somewhere, in Azkaban Prison, Draco is cursing Albus for his leniency. 

 

“It’s boring without him,” Albus feels like there is something more there, but he doesn’t press Orion to continue. 

 

“I miss him too,” Albus replies. Drawing Orion into his side and running fingers through his silky hair. 

 

“Uncle T told Auntie Nikki that you miss Dad’s knotty dick.” That breaks the peace of the moment. 

 

Albus sputters and Orion laughs, impish as ever as he adds, “He said it’d be a great Christmas gift for you.” 

 

“I’m going to curse Teddy,” Albus replies instead. He doesn’t want to think about how Scorpius has been gone a few months. He doesn’t want to think about how Christmas is coming and he’s not speaking to his mum. 

 

My world is narrowing. Albus has yet to decide if that upsets him or not. He doesn’t have a long time to worry about it because Orion invades him. Curling his slim arms around Albus’s neck as he drapes his growing body over Albus’s back. “Don’t you have something you should be reading?” 


“Too excited to read,” Orion responds, humming a strange tune after his words. 

 

A tune Albus recognises as a nursery song Albus sang to Orion when he was still growing in the womb. It hurts him. The reminder that his mother stole such memories from him. Even if it was at Albus’s behest. How could I forget these things so easily?

 

“What do you want for dinner?” he asks through the growing lump in his throat. 

 

“Let’s go get dinner at that annoying posh place Dad bitches about,” Orion says, and Albus likes that he’s becoming comfortable enough with Albus to speak and act the way he did with Scorpius. They feel closer than ever now so he doesn’t reprimand Orion for his smart mouth. 

 

“What posh place?” 

 

“La Lune,” Orion replies. “They have the best chocolate cake, and despite Dad’s complaints about the posh atmosphere I know that’s his favourite cake.” Albus smiles and agrees. 

 

“I’m sure he’d enjoy that.” 

 

*

 

Dinner is a strange thing for Albus as they go in, La Lune was the place where he first started interacting with Scorpius. Since the baby he was made to forget, he hasn’t stepped into this place. And he has to hand it to his mum, the woman is an excellent memory modifier. Healer Morrow said as much as he slowly undid the intricate weaving of her spellwork. 

 

“Mum,” Orion says, snapping Albus out of his wandering recollections. He keeps seeing Scorpius as he was that day Albus tried to convince him to get Albus a drink of wine. It feels like a different lifetime now.  

 

“Sorry?” Albus replies with a smile and Orion grins back at him. 

 

“Don’t be, I bet you’re excited for Dad to come home more than I am.” He bounces a bit in the plush, velvet-lined chair. 

 

“Why would you say that?” Albus frowns. 

 

Orion is reading through the menu so he doesn’t notice the expression. “Well, you’re the one who is bonded to him, right? Bonding means it’s harder on you than me.” It’s said so matter-of-factly, and despite the fact it’s true Albus doesn’t want Orion to feel inferior to Albus in Scorpius’s life. 

 

“That’s not true,” Albus rushes to assure him. Needing Orion to know he is allowed to love and need Scorpius more than Albus does. “You feel this just as much as I do.” 

 

Orion has eyes entirely too old for his young face when he glances up at Albus. “No. I don’t.” Albus feels like he’s going to cry, which must be noticeable because Orion takes his hand and says. “Mum. I always wanted to know you. I always missed you, but I know Dad missed you more.” The smile he gives Albus is reassuring and gentle, and it makes Albus feel as if his son is the adult in this situation. 

 

*

 

When they go home, Orion kisses Albus on the cheek before he goes up to Scorpius’s old rooms for bed. As he moves towards the stairs, he glances back at Albus and says, “I promise to stay asleep so that you can see Dad first.” 

 

But when Scorpius comes home he doesn’t cling to Albus first thing. What he does is rush up the stairs, to that room where everything truly began, and he falls to his knees beside the large bed. Damn near crying as he gazes upon Orion. 

 

Their son wakes with groggy eyes but smiles when he sees Scorpius. “Dad, why you crying?” he asks with a laugh, and Scorpius climbs into the bed beside him. Wrapping Orion in his strong, tattooed arms. Holds the boy close like he’s a tiny baby, not a rapidly growing child who is close to being a teen. 

 

“I just missed you,” Scorpius says, choked up on emotions and truths he might never share with Orion. 

 

“Sleepy, love you, Dad,” Orion replies through a yawn, snuggling into Scorpius’s arms as if he’s still a toddler and not a long, lanky brat.  

 

Albus feels like an intruder, but Scorpius’s voice stops him from leaving. “Come here with us, Alb, I need you too.” 

 

So they all sleep wrapped up together. It feels perfect and so right.  

 

“I missed this,” Scorpius says to Albus before he closes his eyes, falling easily into slumber. 

 

*

 

“Where are you going?” Albus asks a few evenings later when Orion and Scorpius make their way to the garage. The place where magnificently crafted cars that have been magically modified sit—waiting for one of the gilded Malfoy kings to grace them with their godly presence. 

 

“There’s a band playing at one of Uncle T’s pubs I want to see,” Orion replies for them, unconcerned about the way Albus frowns in concern. “We won’t need dinner tonight,” Orion adds with a big grin. Then he’s off, towards the Phantom that made Dad frown in disgust when he saw it recently. Wealth offends him when it’s too indulgent, and Draco isn’t one to not indulge, or so Albus has discovered as he’s learned every corner of this ancient home. 

 

“I suppose I’m not invited,” Albus says to Scorpius. 

 

With hesitation, Scorpius replies, “He begged for it to be just us.” That hurts. More than he can say, because he doesn’t want Scorpius to feel responsible for his jealous misery. “I can exert my fatherly rights and tell him I’ve made an executive decision that you are coming with us?” 

 

“No, it’s fine.” It isn’t, but Albus is determined to not take this personally. Something that makes him snort—quietly—at himself for. He wonders if this is how Mum felt every time one of Albus’s siblings rejected her presence for Dad, or for some other person. Like all the times he blew Mum off to be with Aunt Fleur and Dominique. Then he’s mad at himself for feeling sorry for his mother. 

 

“Alb,” Scorpius begins, but Orion honks the horn and Albus jerks his head in the direction of the white car. 

 

“Go, he wants to be with you.” Something on Scorpius’s face says that he doesn’t want this to be a problem, so Albus smiles. “He needs you. He’s missed you more than he said and he needs this time with just you.” 

 

Scorpius comes closer, drawing Albus to him, cupping his cheek as he leans down to kiss him. “I love you,” Scorpius whispers when he pulls away. “Let’s go to The Mirrored Isle when you’ve got a week to spare.” 

 

“I’m free anytime,” Albus gives him a small grin. “That’s the beauty of this new life.” 

 

Scorpius looks like he might say something more, but the horn blaring again makes him shoot an annoyed look at the car before he takes off. 

 

Albus lingers after they are gone, watching the pink of the evening sky for long, silent minutes after they’ve left. Marvin whines up at him, and Albus glances down at him with a pitying expression. “I am sad they left me too.” 

 

*

 

They’ve got everything prepared for their winter holiday at The Mirrored Isle when Orion drops a surprise on them. “I’m doing a winter training camp with Uncle Jamie and other people in my league.” 

 

Scorpius glances up from his schedule book with a frown. “What?” His eyebrows draw together in annoyance, “I’ve already made all the arrangements. I thought you wanted to go?” He sets his quill aside and Albus settles into a seat beside Scorpius—choosing to observe this until he needs to intervene. 

 

Orion shrugs, glancing between them, “I made some mates and Uncle Jamie is in offseason so he wanted to be involved. Baz is going, too.” 

 

“Teddy didn’t mention that,” Scorpius narrows his eyes. 

 

“Well, ring him up if you don’t believe me,” Orion challenges, and Albus is struck by how much like his father and grandfather this child is. 

 

Scorpius sighs. “Draco will have a fit if we don’t go, or it’ll be a loss of money in the executive home. Especially during Christmas, being one of the rare holidays he lets the house out for.” He starts reading through the notebook open on his chair’s arm. “I suppose we could give it to your mum and dad as a gift, or to your grandparents,” Scorpius muses at Albus. 

 

Thinking of his mother and his gran makes him queasy. 

 

Orion frowns, “Why don’t you go with Mum?” A question that saves Albus from having to tell Scorpius about the row he had with his mum. He’s not sure Scorpius needs to hear such awful news this early in his return home. 

 

Surprised grey eyes look up at where their son is standing with his small arms crossed. “What?” 

 

“Go with Mum,” Orion shrugs as if it’s not a big thing for them to take a Christmas holiday without their child. 

 

“I’ve never missed a Christmas with you,” Scorpius replies with disbelief. While Albus sits in brooding silence. Albus never wants to miss a Christmas with Orion—not again. 

 

“First time for everything,” Orion says with a condescending grin. “Besides, we can all Floo in for the holiday. I don’t think we have training on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, and if we do—well, I’ll live. It’s not like I’m gonna think you hate me.” He glances at Albus, adding, “You guys have never had a holiday together have you?” 

 

That question brings the memory of their first shared heat to the forefront of his mind. Even still he shakes his head, “No, we haven’t.” Albus glances at Scorpius who watches him with an unreadable expression. They miss one another, but they will miss their son more. Albus can feel that through their bond. 

 

“Well, if Uncle T is to be believed, Dad’s knotty dick misses you,” Orion says with a cheeky grin and Scorpius chokes on nothing. While Albus laughs. Charmed by him despite his crassness. 

 

When he looks at Orion he sees triumph in his young face, and Albus knows the child well enough now to realise what Orion is doing. He’s giving them a gift—one for Christmas—the gift of being with one another. 

 

Standing from his seat, Albus goes to draw his child into his arms. Albus kisses his hair and says, “Christmas isn’t Christmas without you. So you had better come be with us that day.” 

 

Orion’s slim arms close around his waist, and he nuzzles his face against the soft cotton of Albus’s shirt. “I will, Mum. I promise.” 

 

“Now that that’s sorted,” Scorpius begins with a huff. “I suggest we start gathering whatever you’ll need for this camp. I’ll also need to threaten your uncle with unholy violence if he allows anything to happen to you.” 

 

*

 

The Mirrored Isle is breathtaking. An island covered in lush palms, exotically coloured flora and fauna, with birds the likes of which Albus has never seen. But it’s the bright blue waters that lap against white sandy beaches that make him swallow down overwhelming emotions. He’s always loved the sea. It washes him clean and makes him feel alive, and this is the most beautiful beach he has ever seen. 

 

“Your father owns paradise,” Albus says as he turns to Scorpius, who is standing just a few steps away—directing one of the staff elves on where to put the bags. 

 

Scorpius looks up, in the direction Albus has been staring, and he shrugs. Almost like the sight doesn’t impress. As if he’s used to splendour, and again Albus realises there’s a gap in their social standings and upbringings. “My great-great-grandfather bought it—to spite the twatter his wife ran off with. Lucius was the one who decided to give it to Draco as a wedding gift. Draco told my mother to do whatever she wanted with it, and this was her dream.” 

 

“She had a beautiful dream,” Albus says with a thoughtful look as he stares across the top of the water—enjoying the way the sun casts a golden light over the crests of the waves. 

 

“She was a wonderful person,” Scorpius agrees, as he comes up behind Albus and takes him by the hip. “Come, I’ll show you the private house.” 

 

“I thought your dad rented this one out?” 

 

“Occasionally, Draco keeps it listed as booked for the year and gives people the option of upgrading if he knows we won’t be using it. Also, he likes it to not be occupied by a bunch of people he believes aren’t worthy of it.” Snorting, Scorpius also confesses, “Draco, the ruthless businessman that he is, likes to charge an insane amount to rent out the exclusive house, too. So it’s mostly a marketing scheme.” Albus chuckles at that as Scorpius takes his hand and intertwines their fingers. 

 

As they come up a winding stone path, beneath the low shady branches of large palms, Albus spots the house. It’s a gorgeous wooden and stone structure that looks as natural as the land it is built upon. It’s a giant home, like every other home the Malfoys own. Nothing quaint about any of them, but Albus has to admit as he steps in through the door that the home has a cosiness to it. Almost as cosy as the flat he shares with Scorpius in Knightsbridge. Their home that he misses dearly.  

 

“How many people does this sleep?” He asks, to fill the silence and take his mind off of the unpleasantness of remembering that there are still things that need sorting. Before they can go back to how things were before that horrible show. 

 

Scorpius glances around, shrugging, “For this week—two.”  

 

Like that the dance begins. One Albus has missed. They’ve not touched beyond clumsy hands on cocks in the mornings, or wet mouths on each other in hot showers before bed—Scorpius has been catching up on his duties as a Malfoy heir and has been meeting with Lysander to do their band work. Then he’s been keeping up with his therapy and meetings to remain sober. In all of that their needs have been suppressed, but now—now they are unleashed. 

 

Scorpius is on him—need almost feral and Albus gasps when their mouths meet. Scorpius’s tongue tastes of the sweetest poison. Addictive and deadly, but Albus doesn’t care. He welcomes those things. He would gladly go to his death for this mouth. This man. 

 

“Bed?” Albus pants, when their mouths—slick with the taste of each other—part. 

 

“I want to fuck you everywhere,” Scorpius replies. Shucking his shirt and kicking off his expensive trousers. Unmindful of the wall of windows that is open to the private paradise beyond this place. 

 

Albus’s own clothes follow, and they stare at one another in naked silence. Then, like a busted dam, they rush one another. A flood of emotions sparking between them as Albus jumps and Scorpius catches him. 

 

Their kisses are teeth and tongue, full of moans that ricochet off the stone walls—amplifying their needs in the space around them. 

 

He’s wet—so wet—and his body aches to feel Scorpius within him. “Scorpius,” he gasps—tears dropping off his lashes from the overwhelming need. “I need you.” 

 

Strong arms carry him, pinning him against a cool wall, seconds before Scorpius enters his body. Cock too hot, too hard—too perfect. Albus comes. Like a pent up virgin who has finally known the touch of another. 

 

“Alb,” Scorpius grins against his neck. “You’re so fucking perfect.” 

 

“You better knot me,” Albus hisses in reply. “I want your cock in me for hours.” 

 

With a teasing lilt Scorpius murmurs, “Got a whole island full of wonder and all you want is my prick?” 

 

With a grin, Albus moves closer. Kissing Scorpius with slow, languorous strokes of his tongue. Then he whispers, “It is the most wondrous thing I know.” 

 

*

 

Heat hits him unexpectedly, during the wee hours of morning. It comes when they are lying—naked—on an outdoor bed that is settled on the sand of the executive house’s private portion of beach. 

 

“Alb?” Scorpius grunts, waking due to the thick, cloying scent Albus can taste in the air around them.  “Are you in heat?” 

 

He plans to reply, but what comes out of his mouth is, “Alpha.” And in one word there is so much desperation. Scorpius doesn’t disappoint. He’s at Albus’s back—teeth in his neck, while his strong fingers dig into Albus’s hips. Albus grinds backwards, against the hard cock he feels nudging between his cheeks. “I need it,” he keens, but his tongue is so thick and slow he’s not sure Scorpius understands what he’s saying. 

 

“I’m coming,” Scorpius promises, pushing into Albus. Relief causes him to shudder, and Scorpius’s tongue soothes over the tense pull of Albus’s neck. “Shhhh, love, I’m here.” 

 

It’s so intense a haze comes over him, blurring the world around them down to Scorpius. Him and him alone. 

 

“Alb,” he groans—hours or days later. Albus grips his shoulders—arching before he commands Scorpius to come. 

 

*

 

He emerges from their three day fuck fest with bruises on his hips and overall soreness. Scorpius’s long, muscular arm is thrown over Albus’s side and he’s sleeping deeply. Albus’s eyes trail over his pale skin, amused and proud by all the deep, blooming bruises of love bites that dot Scorpius’s body. 

 

Placing a kiss against one rouses Scorpius, who groans as he rolls over, in the bed, on the sandy beach. “Damn, I’m not as young as I once was. That was a hell of a workout.” Scorpius laughs, sitting up—unashamed of his naked body.  

 

“Love you,” Albus whispers against his scratchy cheek—delighted by the way the hairs drag along Albus’s still sensitive skin. Scorpius’s response is to pull Albus’s bottom lip between his teeth to nibble and lick against it. 

 

“Love you more than anything,” he husks when he pulls away from Albus. “But I’ve got to piss, so I’m gonna do that before I carry you inside to clean you up.” 

 

Albus laughs. 

 

*

 

Orion comes to the island for Christmas. Along with him, he brings Lily, James, and Albus’s parents. 

 

All through the night Albus barely manages to be anything more than frigid with his mum, something Orion doesn’t seem to notice. Yet, Scorpius does. He keeps shooting Albus worried glances when no one else is paying attention. 

 

Lily, James, Orion and his parents are playing a game of Exploding Snap when Albus goes to the kitchen—claiming he’s going to make some biscuits for everyone to enjoy. Scorpius is the one who follows him. He leans his slim hip against the counter, crossing his strong arms while he waits for Albus to say something. 

 

The truth explodes out of him after he’s erected a quick Silencing Charm. He’s not sure what all he says as words tumble, in rapid succession, out of his mouth. What he knows for sure is that Scorpius is silent, patient, as he listens to Albus drop his feelings into the space between them. 

 

At last, he gasps, around a sob, “She stole everything of you from me. All because I was a fucking twat who asked her to.” 

 

Scorpius draws him near, kisses his temple with gentle feather-light pecks, and whispers, “I don’t care that you were gone so long, Alb. Not now that you’re here.” He threads his fingers through Albus’s hair, tilting Albus’s face up so that he can devour his mouth. Then against his wet lips, he says, “You’re here with me, yes?” 

 

“Yes,” Albus murmurs, lips dragging over Scorpius’s sharp chin. Then he moves his face to burrow in the crook of Scorpius’s neck—breathing in his rich scent as his fingers grip the soft fabric of Scorpius’s black jumper. “Nothing will take me away again.” 

 

“Then nothing else matters,” Scorpius says against his hair. “We can’t change what was, Alb. We’ve lost so much time already.” His gentle fingers trail up the knobs of Albus’s spine, calming in ways Albus is grateful for. “I’m not saying you have to forgive her, Alb. I’ll never tell you how to feel. All I know is I’d give anything to have my mother here with our son. So, please, try to be patient with her for tonight because Orion adores your mum.” Then he nuzzles his nose against Albus’s hair, while his lips brush against the top of Albus’s ear. “But, if you find you don’t want to deal with her at all. We can figure it out.” 

 

“I’m madder at myself than her,” he admits. “I know I would do anything Orion asked if he were to plead with me in such a way. I shouldn’t expect my mother to do anything differently.” He clings to Scorpius’s shirt, breathing him in again when he adds, “How can I tell my son I wanted him without making her the villain? I can’t, Scorpius. I can never make him understand that I wanted him more than anything without hurting him in other ways. Ways I don’t want to hurt him.” 

 

“Then tell me, Alb, let me know all of those things you want to share. And one day, when he can handle it, we will tell him too.” Scorpius makes things sound so easy, and Albus wonders when it was that he became the optimist while Albus turned into the pessimist. 

 

“God, I don’t deserve you.” 

 

“Funny, I often think I don’t deserve you.” Scorpius’s grin Albus can feel against his forehead. 

 

“Are you tits having a romp in here, because I’m not looking to be Obliviated tonight,” James booms as he comes into the room. 

 

“I was just about to get on my knees, Potter,” Scorpius calls back—always glad to have an excuse to torment Albus’s tit of a brother. “You’re welcome to stay, you might learn something if you watch.” 

 

“Goddamned it, Malfoy, I’d like one day where I don’t have you blatantly reminding me that you fuck my baby brother.” James throws up his long arms in a show of dramatics. 

 

“Maybe next lifetime that wish will come true for you,” Scorpius teases as he presses another quick kiss to Albus’s hair. “Let me know if you need help making those biscuits, Alb. I’m about to go in there and see if your sister wants to have a rematch at chess.” 

 

“Don’t let her torment you too terribly,” Albus teases as he drops his hold on Scorpius’s jumper. “She trained under my Uncle Ron, who’s actually brilliant at chess—surprisingly.” 

 

“My dad would shit if he lost a game to Ronald Weasley—maybe we should arrange a match once he’s out of that horrible cell.” Scorpius is jovial still despite mentioning his father’s absence and Albus hopes that means that they are going to be okay. 

 

*

 

Sicking up in the u-bend at Teddy’s during his and Dominique’s New Year’s Eve party isn’t Albus’s idea of a fun way to ring in the new year. He’s hoping he’s not caught that bug that’s gone round—the one Dominique’s kids caught not long ago from other Weasley cousins. One Albus hopes he doesn’t pass on to Orion. 

 

There’s a knock at the loo’s door. “Alb, you all right?” Scorpius sounds worried. Albus doesn’t blame him, he’s sure he sounds like he’s heaving up his organs. “Do you want to go home? Orion can stay with Baz. Teddy’s got plenty of spare clothes here from all the times Orion forgets his things.” 

 

“No, no, I’m fine...think it was just something I ate.” He rinses his mouth out with water before he casts a freshening charm over himself and then in his mouth so as not to offend anyone’s senses. 

 

When he opens the door Scorpius draws him into a gentle hold. “I’ll take you home and make you well if you need. Just say the word and we are gone.” 

 

“I know, thank you.” 

 

*

 

When they come out of the hall they find Teddy and Victoire having a bit of a pissing contest. A usual occurrence when they get together in any sort of capacity. Dominique, somehow, manages to always be amused. Which is something Albus admires. He’s not so sure he could be quite as calm. He came unglued at Lily when the papers speculated—wrongly—that Lily and Scorpius were having a fling. He’s not sure he could be so graceful as to watch his partner and his sibling said partner fucked exchange insults as they egg each other on to drink more. Then watch them laugh like old friends. 

 

“How do you deal with it?” Albus asks Dominique when he follows her into the kitchen. Needing a moment away from the intense worried looks Scorpius keeps shooting his way. He’s a fucking mother-hen and Albus is in a bit of an irritable mood. “Teddy and Vic, I mean?” Albus clarifies when she shoots him a confused and questioning look. 

 

“Oh that ,” Dominique laughs as she shakes her head fondly. “I just think about the things he says to me when he’s bollocks deep and clinging to me like it’s not close enough.” There’s a truly content smile on her lush mouth when she says. “He always tells me I only ever fucked her with the want of you building between us. We were years apart. I was still young. Victoire saw the way he was looking—horribly protective of me, you know, and so she kind of offered herself up. She—like every member of this family—isn’t ashamed to enjoy sex and Teddy is damned good at it.” 

 

“Damned good at what,” Teddy asks in a booming voice as he comes into the kitchen with a wide grin and flushed cheeks. 

 

“Making a show of yourself,” Dominique replies with a dry expression and tone. 

 

He snorts, wrapping an arm around her shoulders, “I was hoping you were in here telling Albus that I’m good at everything.” Cheeky git. 

 

“That would be a lie, darling,” she loves to tease him, and from the sappy grin Teddy wears Albus guesses that he enjoys her teasing. “Though I will say you are good with this,” and here she presses her small hand against the front of his jeans. Teasing his concealed prick while wearing a saucy grin. 

 

“Hey, hey,” he says with a mock whisper. “Can’t go doing all that in front of Al, he’ll have unattainable expectations that Scorpius will never meet.” 

 

From behind Albus, Scorpius snorts, “Don’t flatter yourself, mate. You can watch for yourself and see that I’m better with my prick than you are.” 

 

Teddy gags, “No, thank you. I’m not watching my pseudo brothers fuck. Just knowing you guys do that now messes me up.” He pretends to grip at his heart and staggers as if he’s been hit with some horrid curse. 

 

Dominique rolls her eyes at him. “Says the fool who fucked my sister.” 

 

“Keeping it in the family, love,” he snickers and Dominique pinches his bum for his cheek. 

 

“Are the kids still awake?” She asks her husband when Teddy begins dancing and tries to get her to join him. 

 

“Yeah, all of them are upstairs, eating biscuits and watching an old match between England and Ireland.” He stops dancing and pouts at her. Comical since he’s so large and heels to tiny Dominique. 

 

“Well, be sure to bring them into the garden before midnight so we can set off the fireworks.” Dominique reminds, then with a judgemental look adds, “Perhaps you should have a cup of tea so that you don’t fall asleep before midnight.” 

 

“I’m not some old wanker,” Teddy half-shouts. “I don’t need to slow down.” 

 

Famous last words, because he’s snoring in a chair by ten-thirty and Albus is close behind. 

 

“I’m going to take him home,” Scorpius tells Dominique before he goes upstairs to check if Orion wants to stay. Unsurprisingly, he wants to and Scorpius is back before Albus can miss him. 

 

“Come on, love, I know a better way to ring in the new year.” It’s a joke, of course, because when they get home they are too tired to do anything more than fall into bed and sleep. 

 

Until Albus wakes up a little after three to sick on the carpet. 

 

*

 

Albus’s crummy feeling persists longer than anticipated. They are coming up on Valentine’s Day when Narcissa wakes him. He’d been sleeping in a chair, in his private office, where he’d dozed off with a book of sketches open in his lap. “Are you all right, darling?” she asks. Worry extremely apparent in her grey eyes. 

 

“I just can’t seem to shake this cold,” he admits. “I’m sorry, I’ll get through these quickly so we can send our corrections back to the designer.” Albus glances at the clock and swears. He’d been meaning to be here a couple of hours, but he’s been here for five and isn’t anywhere near done with his task. 

 

“It can wait, dear,” Narcissa says. “Your health always comes first.” 

 

“Are you sure this isn’t pressing?” He tries to persuade Narcissa to let him finish even as she’s motioning for him to stand up so that she can push him towards the Floo. 

 

“Yes, I’m certain. We’ve got weeks before it becomes pressing.” She pats his cheek. Always so loving with him and Albus mourns those years when his own gran was this loving towards him. “God, you’re a darling. Go home. Kiss my grandson, and tell him I’m annoyed he didn’t come to our weekly dinner.” 


“Unfortunately, he’s been busy with Lysander lately. Trying to finish up some stuff for a secret project he’s not telling any of us about.” At least Albus knows it’s not an excuse to go get high. Lysander had assured him nothing like that was happening when Albus had a moment of panic. 

 

“He looks livelier than he has been, since the arrest. I am counting that as a blessing.” It seems as if it kills Narcissa to speak those words, so Albus reaches over to kiss her cheek. Whispering that he loves her before he goes home. 

 

*

 

Orion has been clingy lately. Anytime Albus is sitting where he can be cuddled up to Orion is there, pressed against him, and Albus—at first—asked if he was okay. All Orion ever said was “I just want to love on you.” He’s since stopped asking. 

 

Albus is not annoyed about the cuddles, something about Orion being so close calms him down. 

 

*

 

For three straight days, Scorpius has been out of town with Lysander, recording, and for three straight days, Albus has been uncontrollably horny. It’s not a heat, but the need is overwhelming and annoying. Nothing will sate him. 

 

He’s tried everything. Albus even went so far as to submerge himself into their pornographic Pensieve—bringing himself off to the vision of Scorpius fucking him and not even that soothed his ache. 

 

Finally, when Scorpius comes home, Albus doesn’t say a word to him before his mouth is on Scorpius’s. He shoves Scorpius onto the sofa of the private rooms they’ve claimed as their own,  and climbs over his lap. “Alb,” he doesn’t get another word out because Albus invades him with his tongue. Scorpius melts into their kiss. Breaking it for just enough time to rip his soft black shirt over his own head, then he’s back to devouring Albus’s mouth. 

 

It’s messy and good when Albus finally gets Scorpius’s cock in him. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he chants as he rides that perfect prick. “God, I love your cock.” 

 

“Fuck, Alb, you’re so wet for me.” Then there’s teeth grazing against his nipple and Albus shouts from painful overstimulation. “Jesus,” Scorpius stops. Worry creasing his brow, “Are you all right?” Because that most certainly wasn’t a shout of pleasure.

 

“Yeah,” Albus breathes out, “I just...fuck that kind of hurt.” 

 

Scorpius’s expression turns pensive, then he seems to think of something. Frowning, he says, “Alb, um...are you pregnant?” Grey eyes are on his stomach—where a slight bloat has been residing these past few weeks, and Albus is suddenly terrified. He climbs off of Scorpius. His ears full of the steady beat of his own racing heart. 

 

*

 

Once he’s calmed a bit, Scorpius talks him into taking a test he’s fetched from the Potion’s shop of Draco’s. Albus wonders who is minding the shop these days, who really began minding it once Scorpius began his calling as a rockstar? He’s stalling, Scorpius can tell, for he gently nudges Albus and says, “Your thoughts are loud, take the test and we can figure it all out after.” 

Twice before Albus has been made to endure the wait of his results. Both times he was a miserable wretch. The first his school’s Healer—Madam Pomphrey, before she finally retired—had waited at his side, pityingly. He can still recall the warmth of her palm, through his shirt as she rubbed soothing circles against his shoulder. 

 

The second time had been when his life was falling into shambles. When he had wanted Scorpius and his son more than anything and they were both out of reach. That result had been a blessing and a curse. In every sense. A blessing because it was the only thing that felt right in those days that were going so wrong. A curse because it drove the wedge further between him and Scorpius. Then, ultimately, was the sorrow that drew them back together. A blessed curse. 

 

Now, he’s no less upset than he was the times before but there’s more peace in him than there was at seventeen, more peace than there was nearly two years prior. Still, Albus fears the thought of losing another child. In a sense, he has lost two already. Orion, when he foolishly wanted to banish his darling son from his life—an act of self-preservation that wrecked so many lives. A selfish one he regrets every waking moment of his days. Who was this child before I came , Albus always wonders.  Then the baby he refused to know post-mortem. The one he finds himself lingering over in his quiet moments. In long showers where he still cries over what once was and what can never be. Was the child a boy, a girl, an Alpha or an Omega? Was it aware Albus was nothing worthy of such a gift? Is that why it left him hollow? 

 

“Alb,” Scorpius’s voice is a soft sound at the shell of his ear, and still he startles. 

 

“Yeah?” He turns to find Scorpius staring at the glowing disk with a closed off expression. Albus casts his gaze towards it too, and finds that it glows a vibrant pink. 

 

Pregnant. 

 

His heart hammers against his chest, a whirl of emotions barrels into him. Worry, fear, anger with himself about the unfairness to Orion, but under all that is the thrum of absolute love for this small being he doesn’t yet know. The one created by Albus and the love of his life. 

 

“What do you want to do?” Scorpius asks him, face and tone neutral. 

 

He’s trying so hard to let Albus decide without knowing his wants, but Albus remembers that day in their kitchen—in the still empty flat in Knightsbridge that is waiting for their return. He remembers the want on Scorpius’s face, the wistful longing in his voice, and Albus had denied him then. 

 

He won’t deny Scorpius now. “I want this baby,” and he does. He does—more than anything, more than his fear and self-loathing. “I want to do this with you, if you are willing to do this with me?” 

 

“God, Alb,” Scorpius’s face cracks—his smile is full of so many things. Love, sorrow, but most prominently there is joy. “God, I want this more than anything. When you were pregnant...with Orion,” Scorpius swallows, pressing their foreheads together as he closes his eyes and gathers the memory of his hurts. “I wanted to be there. I wanted to watch you grow, I wanted to soothe you in the night when your back ached and you couldn’t sleep. I wanted to share it all with you. But I was stubborn. I was too proud to write to you. Too angry with your rejection to think about all that you might be feeling.” He threads his long fingers through Albus’s hair. “I know you feel it was all you, but I could’ve come—at any time—and made you listen to me. I could have tried to fight for what I wanted, but I didn’t want you to see me as brutish and selfish.” His laugh is self-deprecating when he confesses. “I never came because I was terrified and too proud to be rejected again.” 

 

“I wish we had been better then, Scorpius.” Albus whispers against his sharp jaw—full lips dragging over the skin. “I wish we could have been better prepared.” 

 

“We were kids, Albus,” Scorpius kisses his hair. Rubbing soothing circles into the dip at the base of Albus’s spine. “Kids who weren’t prepared for what we were doing, and if I had to do it over again I wouldn’t.” 

 

“Why?” Albus looks up into his grey eyes. Curious about how Scorpius can know, so assuredly, that he would not change their past if he could. 

 

Scorpius’s gaze gentles as it settles over him, he raises a gentle hand to cup Albus’s cheek as he confesses. “Because that heat gave me Orion. Orion who was a love I never knew I needed, and I will never regret him for anything.” Then he adds, “And because all roads lead me to you. No matter how far we stray, everything comes back to these moments. You and I, forever, Alb. That’s what the mark means, and I will never not trust that it will lead us back to where we are meant to be.” 

 

Albus clings to Scorpius, hugging around his neck as one of Scorpius’s hands smoothes up and down his spine and the other splays over the budding life lying beneath Albus’s flesh. He thinks of all the chaos that rolled them and wrecked them like a strong tide. 

 

Fitting since they truly began on a dark beach—crashing into one another with the same destructive force of a tsunami. They were unstoppable, a horrible fate that couldn’t be prevented. 

 

Yet, from the destruction, they’ve risen. After every wave, they return to rebuild what they know is worth rebuilding. 

 

No matter the detours, no matter the delays, they come back to rebuild this love.

 

Albus lifts Scorpius’s wrist to his mouth to kiss the scar he left there—all those years ago. And Scorpius bends his head to do the same to Albus’s bonding scar. A thrum of contentment radiates through him, as it had the moment Scorpius marked his soul. “Forever you and I, Scorpius,” Albus whispers against his skin. “If you stray I’ll drag you back to me like the spoilt brat I am.” 

 

Thank you, Scorpius.