A crowd had begun to gather around the two opposing Quidditch teams, eager ears desperate to get a listen in on the commotion. In the centre of it all was two boys, one dressed in Slytherin green Quidditch robes, all dirty from the match just played, and the other dressed in Gryffindor, rumpled in a similar manner.
Albus Severus Potter, Gryffindors star Chaser, taking after his mother. Incredibly quick-witted, on both a broom and his personality. Fast – some say he moves like the wind, there are rumours he takes the invisibility cloak to matches to outwit his opponents. Clever – there’s no one who can strategize quite like him, it was how he got the Captain spot over his older brother.
“Why don’t we settle this once and for all?” Albus announced, hearing a bunch of cheers of agreement from the gathering crowd, not that anyone knew what they were agreeing with. Albus just had that presence about him. He was persuasive, he carried power, he was like a walking, talking Imperius curse.
“And how do you propose we do that?” The other boy replied.
Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, Slytherin’s star Chaser taking after no one but his own ability. Originally seeker in his second and third year, Scorpius took over the chasing position when his best friend, Alex Hatter, took the position of seeker. There were no hard feelings, and it turned out Scorpius had been in the wrong position all along. However, years of practicing seeking did him wonders. It meant he was quick, agile, flexible. He could see a bludger well before it hit him and avoid it through years of learning observation skills. He was a force to be reckoned with.
They both were.
“Easy, a bet.” Albus said, smirking. “Let’s see who’s the best Chaser. Is it me, son of the Holyhead Harpies star player? Or you, son of Draco Malfoy,” he looked Scorpius up and down.
“Are you implying that Quidditch ability is genetic? I thought you were smart, Potter.” Scorpius took a sip of water from his beaker, holding eye contact as he did. Scorpius Malfoy was one of the only people who never wavered under the glare of Albus Potter.
And that’s because they were actually friends. Well, in some kind of messed up way, they were friends. Maybe not the best of. But, off the court, they could stand each other. On the court, they were sworn enemies – just like their fathers.
“Let’s see who can rack up the most points over the year, that’ll determine who’s best,” Albus replied, not fazed by Scorpius’ own glare.
“And if I win?”
“Pick your prize.”
Scorpius mulled it over for a second. “Your team have to stop bullying mine. Just last week, Zabini came to practice with a nosebleed given to him by your brother. That’s what I want: peace between our two teams.” It was a strange thing to ask for considering this bet between them was only going to create tension in the upcoming months, but Scorpius was tired of his team falling victim to Gryffindor.
It’s because they were younger. Most teams comprised of older years – fifth, sixths and sevenths. Albus was the only fifth year on his team, the rest were older. On Scorpius’, however, all seven of them were in their fifth year. It was a strange thing and Madame Hooch said she had never seen it happen in all her years of coaching. Last year, their team was five fifth years – ironically all of which were Scorpius’ dorm mates – and two seventh year girls, who passed the team down to Alex (Scorpius had never wanted captain) when they graduated. At try-outs, the only worthy members were two fifth-years, again. So, they were a team of fifth-years and they were destroying their opponents.
However, it meant that people thought they could walk all over them. Because Slytherin were a strong team on the pitch, other teams couldn’t get to them. But, off the pitch, it could have been a bloodbath.
“Are you sure you’re a Slytherin?” Albus quipped. Scorpius rolled his eyes.
“And you?” He asked, ignoring the question.
“If I win…” he trailed off, stepping closer to Scorpius. He held a thoughtful expression, hand expressively stroking his chin. It was an act. Albus knew exactly what he wanted to bet. It was why he suggested it in the first place. “You have to go on a date with me.”
“A date?” Scorpius scoffed, trying hard to keep the blush from spreading across his cheeks.
“Deal or no deal?” Albus held his hand out. Scorpius looked to his team, Holly and Leah – Slytherin’s beaters - were nodding furiously. Alex’s expression was unreadable.
“Deal.” Scorpius said, shaking his hand with Albus’.
There was a lot riding on this.
“I can’t believe you agreed to go on a date with Potter,” Alex said, incredulously as the rest of team changed for practice. Scorpius sighed, bending down to tie his shoe.
“I didn’t agree, exactly, I’m going to win the bet,” he replied.
“If I were you, I’d lose on purpose,” Holly butted in from the door of the changing room, not caring that she was intruding. “Potters’ hot,” she elaborated. Scorpius smirked to himself. Even he couldn’t deny that.
“So what if he’s hot,” Jason Zabini butted in – another chaser on the team. “He’s literally Scorpius’ direct opponent on the pitch. Hot or not, a relationship with the opposing team member would end in flames.” Jason crossed the room, patting Scorpius on the shoulder as he went.
“It doesn’t matter anyway. The bet doesn’t finish till the end of the season and it’s only just begun, he probably won’t even want to date me by then. Can’t imagine why he does anyway,” Scorpius spoke, his insecurities poking through.
“Because you’re hot,” it was Leah now, and Holly nodded alongside her.
“I didn’t even know you were gay,” Alex said, seemingly upset that Scorpius hadn’t told him.
“I’m not,” he defended.
“You just agreed to go on a date with a dude,” Harry Flint pointed out as the team grabbed their brooms and headed down to the pitch.
“So, you swing both ways?” He asked.
“Not exactly,” Scorpius spoke, tone neutral.
He was able to avoid the rest of the conversation when they reached the pitch, finding Gryffindors practice hadn’t yet finished. They were late. Alex sighed next to him, before pushing back his shoulders and putting on his Captain-Face.
“POTTER!” He shouted up to Albus, who was hovering in the air watching his older brother James chase the snitch across the pitch. Albus put a thumb up at him, but otherwise not acknowledging him. Alex sighed and turned to the team. “Let’s go for a lap whilst they finish up.” His statement was responded with a collective set of groans and multiple reasons not to run a lap around the pitch.
Most were still complaining even half-way around, but Scorpius’ mind was elsewhere. His mind was on a raven-haired boy sat precariously on his broom, a wide grin on his face as he watched his team practice. He had always known Albus was some kind of ethereal beauty. He was a Potter, after all. The Potter family were known for their good looks and wits – even thirteen-year-old Lily Luna Potter had her fair share of creating broken hearts.
But, his team were right. Albus was his opposition, the chaser on the Gryffindor team of all houses. Even if they did end up dating it would inevitably end in flames. He tore his eyes from Albus as he nearly tripped over Matty’s ankle because he was too distracted. Next to him, Holly smirked at him and rolled her eyes, clearly catching on where Scorpius had been staring previously.
By the time they’d completed the lap, Albus had wrapped up his practice and the Gryffindor team were making their way to the changing rooms. Albus sent him a wink before disappearing, a cheeky grin on his face. Scorpius forced down a smile with a scoff and rolled his eyes just in time to see Albus giggle and run off.
Scorpius trained hard that evening, even longer than the rest of his team. He played until he drained himself of all energy, so tired he nearly fell from his broom on his last lap of the court, but it got Albus’ piercing green eyes and cheeky smile from his head and he’d call that a victory.
Lily caught up to him after practice, she had come to watch their practice in hopes of making the team next year. Lily was technically a substitute, but they had no use for her just yet. They walked back to the common room in mostly silence, until she showed her true motive of wanting to talk to her brother.
“So, Scorpius Malfoy?” She teased. Albus rolled his eyes. “You actually have a crush on him?”
“What? I asked him on a date because I knew that would irritate him the most,” Albus defended himself. He did not have a crush on the Malfoy kid.
“Yeah, that’s why you flirt with him constantly and… oh yeah! Asked him on a date,” Lily deadpanned, rolling her eyes.
“I don’t flirt,” he retorted.
“Oh shut up! This is huge, you’ve never had a crush on anyone before,” she bounced up and down on her toes.
“I don’t have a crush,” he reiterated, but his sister was unrelenting. She always had been. Mostly, he admired that about her but right now it was annoying.
“Please, even Trudy thinks so.” Trudy was another Gryffindor chaser and his brothers’ girlfriend. Sometimes, Albus thought she was too nice for his brother. Other times, he knew they were perfect for each other.
“Great, that means James knows?” Albus guessed and Lily nodded, somewhat solemnly. She knew Albus and James didn’t get on even on the best of days. She hated it. Albus would have happily been friendly with his older brother, if he weren’t a complete arse.
Lily muttered the password to the Fat Lady and were both granted access to the common room. Inside, they found James surrounded by the other members of the Quidditch team – they had all showered faster than Albus, who may or may not have stayed a little longer to watch the Slytherin team practice – and in some sort of heated discussion. Albus rolled his eyes, feeling way too tired for whatever was to come.
“I will not stand to be beaten by a bunch of fifth years!” James preached, receiving an abundance of cheers from the rest of the team. Other people around were intrigued on the commotion, abandoning their studies to watch James’ theatrical performance.
“What’s going on?” Albus asked, making his way over.
“I’m saying how we need to practice more. Slytherin have been on the pitch nearly every day, sometimes twice a day! And when they aren’t on the pitch they’re out running or something. We need to step up our game. We know full well the only team standing to beat us this year is Slytherin, and I don’t want to let a bunch of fifth years ruin our chance of getting the cup, especially Malfoy.”
Albus pushed down his irritation to how James spat Scorpius’ name like it was poison. They were all convinced that Scorpius was evil or something ridiculous like that, but from Albus’ experience, it was a wonder the boy hadn’t ended up in Hufflepuff.
“Well, I’m the captain,” Albus reminded, knowing it hit a sore spot for his brother. James’ narrowed his eyes at him, a sure sign that Albus had hit him where it hurt. “If you wanted to practice more, tell me and I can arrange it. I want to win, too, you know.”
“Yeah, just so you can get into Malfoys’ pants,” James retorted. Albus felt his cheeks flush red but tried to cover it up.
“So we can win the cup, you arrogant arsehole,” Albus had begun to raise his voice, a hint for James to shut the fuck up. And he did, so Albus knew he had won. “We’ll practice more. Any more suggestions?” Albus addressed the group.
The team looked between themselves, knowing better than to get in the middle of sibling rivalry. When Albus first joined the team, there was always some kind of argument between them. It got so bad at one point that the old captain threatened to throw them both off the team. They learned to play in harmony after that. However, ever since Albus made captain over James, the arguments started up again and they were so much worse than before.
“Good,” Albus said once no one responded. He stalked off to his dorm, feeling fed up with everyone. Ignoring his dormmates, Albus sunk down onto his bed and pulled his curtains around him, letting himself drift into a sleep he hoped would rid him of his bad mood.
“It’s Hufflepuff’s first match of the season against Gryffindor, who won their match against Slytherin three weeks ago by only 10 points,” Hugo Granger-Weasley announced over the intercom, gaining the attention of all the onlookers. Scorpius and the rest of the Slytherin team were some of the only Slytherin’s in the bleachers that match. Not many Slytherin’s cared for Quidditch when it wasn’t their own team playing. However, the team were there to observe their opponents.
The two teams piled onto the pitch, Hugo announcing them as they appeared. Albus was at the front, guiding his team to the pitch and then into the air. Captain suited Albus, Scorpius thought. He looked and acted the part. If James had gotten it instead, Scorpius thought he would be too childish and not take it seriously. James never took anything seriously.
As the game commenced, Scorpius trailed Albus. He watched the way he flew elegantly through the sky, caught quaffles with ease and scored against the Hufflepuff keeper as though it was the easiest thing in the world. Scorpius had played against him before, and he guarded that post like his life depended on it.
“You’re staring,” Holly said, leaning over into his personal space to whisper it. She wasn’t quiet enough, however, and Alex caught onto the conversation.
“I’m not staring,” Scorpius protested. “I’m observing.”
“You better be,” Alex responded, his attention now back on the game. “I can’t have you distracted this year, especially because of Albus Potter of all people.”
“Could be worse,” Harry butted in, watching the keepers back and forth to try and evaluate their skills and see if he could incorporate any tactics into his own keeping. “Could be James Potter.” The remark earned a laugh from the rest of the team, all but Alex who rolled his eyes.
Alex turned to face Scorpius, a serious look on his face. “I’m serious, Scorpius.”
“I know,” he assured. They shared a look, one of trust that the other had acknowledged and understood what they said. It was a look that came from years of being best friends. They understood each other. No distractions. Especially not Albus Severus Potter. Even if he did look like he was crafted by the Gods themselves.
The match ended on a seventy-point lead to Gryffindor, and they were over the moon. Albus himself had scored a total of 150 points throughout the game, which gave him a significant head start. Scorpius would have to work twice as hard on his next game to try and match him in points. But he would. He had no desire to lose this bet. Albus may have been hot, but he was pretentious, arrogant and not to mention a Potter.
Scorpius needed the win.
Albus found Scorpius in the library the day after the Slytherin vs. Ravenclaw game. It had been a terrible feeling watching Scorpius’ points go up to 160, just narrowly beating Albus from his first game. He knew Scorpius was good, but he was clearly trying harder. There was still another game to play each, and then the final if both their teams made it that far – which they were almost guaranteed to.
There was now a big sign on the notice board in the Great Hall carrying each of their points. Scorpius smirked at him as he noted down his points, and Albus wanted to wipe that smirk of his face. He would win this bet. He needed to prove himself.
“Where’s your boyfriend?” Albus asked as he plonked himself down next to Scorpius, not bothering to ask whether he wanted his presence or not. Scorpius moved his feet from the chair that Albus put his belongings on, bringing them back to his body and curling them up.
“Boyfriend?” He asked, perplexed, raising one eyebrow at him. Albus wished he wouldn’t, he was trying hard to convince himself he didn’t have a crush on Scorpius Malfoy, but when he looked like that it was quite difficult.
“Yeah, whatever his name is. Your seeker,” he gestured vaguely.
“Alex? Not my boyfriend,” he clarified, going back to whatever he was writing.
“Oh.” Albus knew this, he just wanted him to admit it. He didn’t really know much about Scorpius’ dating life. As far as he was aware, he hadn’t dated anybody. But then, neither had Albus and was certainly not one to judge.
“What’s up?” Scorpius asked, finally finishing his sentence and putting his quill down, giving Albus his full attention. They were friends off the Quidditch pitch, and Scorpius often helped Albus with homework and sometimes were forced to partner up. As long as they never spoke of Quidditch, they got along well.
“Nothing, just saw you on your own. Where is he? You’re never alone,” Albus pointed out. It was true. The Slytherin team were thick as thieves and were never on their own. Albus guessed it was because they were all in the same year, so spent most of their time together naturally anyway. The reason they were a formidable force on the pitch was because they worked so well together. Albus had longed to get that kind of relationship with his team for ages.
“The team are practicing,” he sighed, rubbing anxiously at the back of his neck.
“Why? Are you okay?” Albus asked, suddenly worried. The only reason Scorpius wouldn’t be practicing with them was if he got injured.
“Were you at the match yesterday?”
“First half, had to miss the second half for detention with Hagrid, why?”
“I was pushed off my broom, about ten seconds before Alex caught the snitch. Everyone was so hyped about the win that they never really noticed, including me. I got up and walked it off but woke up in the middle of the night with an excruciating pain in my neck. Pomfrey said I’ll be fine but to take a week off, which is killing me.”
“Yeah, I bet,” Albus mused. “Still beating me though,” Albus pouted.
Scorpius grinned at him. “I thought we had an agreement that we don’t talk Quidditch outside the pitch,” he reminded.
“Ah, that’s right. Let’s talk about my arsehole brother,” Albus crossed his hands on the table and leaned forward, letting Scorpius know he was ready for a rant.
“Ooh, my favourite subject, how did you know?” He teased, mirroring Albus’ position.
If Albus didn’t know any better, he’d say Scorpius wasn’t lying when he said it was his favourite subject. He listened intently, laughed when needed and even encouraged Albus to talk shit about his brother.
Albus let himself admire the way Scorpius light grey eyes lit up as he recited his story, and the gentle curve of his lips. He was really quite something. He was beautiful, in an ethereal kind of way. In the kind of way that he didn’t know his beauty. He’s the kind of person that you just want to sit back and admire what he’s like. He’s funny and intelligent, bright and enchanting, a true definition of the literal sunshine.
Fuck, Albus thought to himself as he watched Scorpius rant about his current History of Magic assignment, I’m falling hard.
Scorpius stopped laughing abruptly, groaning slightly in pain and rubbing his neck. Albus leaned forward in his chair, suddenly concerned.
“Is it still hurting? I thought Pomfrey cleared you?” He asked, not even bothering to hide his concern.
“She did,” he mumbled, “but she said there’s a trapped nerve and there’s not really much she can do for that except wait, hence the short-term Quidditch ban,” he explained.
Albus stood and walked around the back of Scorpius’ chair, stopping behind him. He tentatively moved Scorpius hand from his neck and replaced it with his own. Slowly, he started to massage his neck, gently so it wouldn’t hurt him too much. He remembered when he had his own trapped nerve a couple of years back, and his sisters massages were the only thing that got him playing Quidditch again within three days.
“Relax,” Albus whispered, and he felt the tension drain from Scorpius’ shoulder. “Usually this helps. Just close your eyes.” Scorpius obliged, taking a deep breath as Albus’ fingers worked away on his shoulders and the back of his neck.
“Feels good,” he mumbled. “Didn’t think you’d be willing to help me get back on the pitch,” he teased and Albus couldn’t see his face, but he could imagine the shit-eating grin plastered there. The kind that would light up his eyes were they open.
“I can’t win if I don’t have an opponent,” Albus replied, working on a particularly tense part. Scorpius winced slightly and Albus apologised quickly. He soon relaxed when Albus had worked through it. “You’re very tensed, you know that?” Albus asked.
Scorpius tilted his head back slightly, opening a single silver eye to look at Albus through the hair that had fallen in front of him. “I have a lot of stress,” he explained, tilting his head forward again and closing his eyes. “You’re good at this, would you mind if I hire you as a personal masseuse?”
“I don’t know, I’m very expensive,” Albus teased, slowing down now that he’d worked through all the knots in his shoulders and neck.
“I could afford you,” he responded with ease. Albus stopped massaging and took his seat back, watching as Scorpius tested moving his neck. Albus guessed the easy smile on his lips meant that he felt a lot better. “Malfoy fortune and all,” he said once he saw Albus smiling at him.
“Is there anything your dad won’t buy you?” Albus asked, remembering the previous year when Scorpius had a new broom and a whole new set of Quidditch gear – the new edition that had been released just days before.
Scorpius thought about this for a moment, though Albus knew he was only humouring him. “No, I don’t think so,” he laughed. And it was the most endearing sound Albus had ever heard.
Following the Christmas break came the Ravenclaw Vs. Hufflepuff match, a terribly boring one to watch. The Slytherin team bailed about half an hour in, choosing instead to embark on a trip down to Hogsmeade. They were originally going to miss this weeks trip, but as the match had been so dull, they changed their minds.
The seven fifth year students sat in a booth in the Three Broomsticks, way too close for comfort but no one minded. They were a close-knit group of friends, made closer by the ridicule they were subject to by the other houses. He wondered if Slytherin would ever recover from their bad name. It was a good house, with good people in it.
Scorpius held tightly onto his warm butterbeer, letting it cool his fingers. With January came a random bout of snow, covering Hogwarts and Hogsmeade in a bitter flurry. Scorpius hated the cold, though it usually treated him better than the heat. The heat brought horrible sun burns that sometimes blistered, a curse of inheriting the Malfoy fair skin. At least the cold was kinder than that, if not sometimes bitter.
Holly was curled up next to him, leaning on him for warmth as she never liked butterbeer and therefore never had anything to warm her up. Scorpius wasn’t a big fan either, but he dealt with it. They were listening to a particularly elaborate retelling of Harry’s stay in The Alps this Christmas, complete with dramatic hand gestures and stories that almost certainly weren’t true. Harry was quite the storyteller, and held their attention for quite some time, before Scorpius was distracted by a mop of black hair entering the small pub, and a laugh so loud and genuine it sent butterflies in his stomach fluttering.
He watched as Albus brushed the flurries of snow from his hair, the white dots creating constellations before being roughly discarded on the floor. He was with the Gryffindor Quidditch team, who had clearly abandoned the match not long after Slytherin did. Karl Jenkins – the teams Keeper – was re-enacting something, and whatever it was had Albus in stitches. Scorpius’ lips twitched into an involuntary smile as he watched, a part of him wishing he was in on the joke just to know what made Albus laugh so hard.
“Scorpius?” Alex said, pulling Scorpius from his head.
“We need to discuss Quidditch,” he spoke, as though they had been summoned here for a Quidditch meeting rather than a nice day out. Scorpius tore his eyes from Albus to look at Alex, but not missing the knowing glance shared between Holly and Leah. Even Matty was looking at him with a knowing smile. Scorpius brushed it off.
“Why? Our match against Hufflepuff isn’t for three weeks and we’re sound,” there was mumbled agreement, but Alex never backed down.
“You were distracted last match,” he deadpanned. Scorpius let out a huff of disbelief, his jaw dropping.
“Distracted? Alex, I scored 160 points on my own last match. We wiped the floor with Ravenclaw!” He defended, unsure as to why Alex was acting kind of a like a dick.
He had always been serious about Quidditch. Alex was a muggle-born and played football growing up, as soon as he came to Hogwarts and realised there was a wizard equivalent, he fell in love with it. He trained hard for three years, eventually making the team his fourth with some help from Scorpius. He’d been unhealthily obsessed ever since, and even worse now he was captain.
“Hufflepuff are good, though. Ravenclaw was an easy win.”
“I’m not sure if you’re insulting my chasing skills or Ravenclaw right now,” Scorpius was heading in for a rant. “I’m a damn good player, Alex, and you know it. We can take Hufflepuff, we have plenty of times before-”
“And I don’t know why you’re aiming all this at me? I’m not the only chaser on this team,” he gestured dramatically at the rest of the team members, a cold reminder than they were a team.
“I don’t want you to be distracted,” Alex defended himself.
“I’m not distracted!” He exclaimed.
Jason coughed, uttering something along the lines of “jealous” as he did.
Alex turned to him. “What did you say?” The cool air to his tone made Scorpius shiver. Alex was easy to stress out, his buttons were easy to press. Mostly the team knew how to handle his short bouts of temper by now and didn’t provoke him. Clearly Jason was feeling in his Little Shit mood.
“I never said anything,” he replied, innocently.
Scorpius excused himself with a comment about getting another round of drinks. They all nodded in response, and he patted Holly’s knee in a hint for her to let him past. Scorpius slipped out the booth and headed over to the bar, waiting patiently for his turn.
The pub was busy considering the weather outside. It seemed everyone was seeking refuge from the bitter winds and cold snow.
“That seemed intense,” a familiar voice spoke, and Albus Potter appeared at his side, looking less dishevelled now than when he entered. He had stripped himself of his coat and scarf upon entering and was now only sporting a t-shirt with a pair of jeans. It was warm inside the pub, but Scorpius still felt cold looking at his exposed arms. Alongside one of his biceps was a vicious purple bruise, fairly new by the looks of things.
“You heard?” He asked, flicking a glance back at his team, who were now all in some kind of heated discussion. Albus nodded, following his gaze. “Alex thinks I’m distracted,” he shrugged.
“Well, 160 points and distracted, pretty impressive,” Albus chuckled.
“I know, I don’t get it. I think he’s just stressed and taking it out on me,” Scorpius explained, before ordering the teams drinks when the waitress appeared.
“Doesn’t sound fair.”
“I think he’s having trouble at home, I’ll let him off,” Scorpius eyed his best friend carefully, who stopped and held it for a short while when he noticed. Alex quickly looked away, a solemn look on his face.
“You’re too kind for your own good,” Albus mused, eyeing them both with an expression Scorpius couldn’t decipher.
The Hufflepuff Vs. Slytherin match was a poor one for Scorpius. He only contributed to seven goals, taking his total up from 160 to 230. Alex scolded him pretty badly, ranting and raving about how he was too distracted. Scorpius, admittingly, was too distracted with trying to figure out what was wrong with his best friend, study for their upcoming O.W.L.s, playing Quidditch, hardly sleeping and trying to figure out why Albus Potter made him feel like his stomach was going to explode.
His head was a complete and utter mess. He could barely focus on something for long enough to give it any actual thought, and Alex shouting at him did little for his growing headache.
“Enough!” Scorpius shouted, cutting Alex from his rant and drawing a few eyes from around the room. “We still won, Alex! Merlin, what is your problem?” He asked, finally losing his budding temper. Leah placed a hand on his arm to try and calm him, but it did little.
“Yes, with me! You clearly have one.”
“I don’t have a problem with you, Scor,” he sighed, settling down in the chair opposite him. He had been standing previously, to give him optimal shouting capacity.
“Then can you stop screaming at me and pointing out my every flaw? Okay, I fucked up. I had a bad game. Everyone has bad games, but we still didn’t lose. And trust me, I’m just as pissed off because now it means I only have an extra 70 points to add to this bet which means Albus is probably going to overtake me and-”
“Oh shut up about that damned bet and stupid Albus,” Alex exploded, making Scorpius jump.
Stunned for words, he could do little but stare at him. Where had that come from? Scorpius made eye contact with Jason, who raised his eyebrows in a very telling “told you so” way. He remembered Jason’s brushed off comment a few weeks back of Alex being jealous. But of what? He and Albus? There was no he and Albus. There was just this stupid bet and whoever would win would win and if that meant Scorpius had to go on one date with him then he would. It was just a date. It meant nothing.
“Sorry,” Scorpius managed, still stunned and unsure how the events of the past few weeks had led to this. Alex never said another word, instead he left with his cheeks ablaze in a flurry of Slytherin green robes. Scorpius sighed, unsure how to fix anything and if Alex even wanted any of it fixed.
Albus was ecstatic when he scored his final goal moments before James caught the snitch. Ravenclaw lost the match dramatically – they may as well have not been playing. Though, the real victory came when he rubbed out his previous number of 150 and raised it to 290, putting him 60 points ahead of Scorpius and a shoo-in for winning the bet.
He caught Scorpius’ glare as he wrote down his new number, earning cheers from his teammates and sent a wink his way. Scorpius rolled his eyes and turned away, a glum look on his face. Albus had noticed his recent down mood and wondered if it was because of him, then noticed Alex sitting a few seats away – not next to him as usual. There must be trouble in paradise.
“Looks like you’re going to get your date,” Trudy patted him on the back, a wide smile on her lips. Behind her, James rolled his eyes. Albus didn’t let his brothers mood sour his own.
“Yeah, looks like it. And the title of the best chaser,” he beamed at her, hoping it portrayed his happiness at his knew upcoming title and not the excitement he had about taking Scorpius on a date.
Albus couldn’t be sure, but he thought maybe Scorpius wanted to go on this date him – if he wins. Before whenever Albus mentioned it casually, he would defend himself, but now he just fondly rolled his eyes – and Albus couldn’t be certain, but he was pretty sure that was Scorpius’ strange way of flirting.
Across the room, Scorpius caught his gaze again. This time, Albus smiled genuinely and saw Scorpius’ face soften slightly, returning with a smile.
With the summer came the final match of the season. The most important one, because it determined who won the Quidditch cup. Not to mention who would win the bet. Would Albus win and get to take Scorpius on a date? Or, would Scorpius win and bring peace between their two teams? If Scorpius did win, Albus vowed to try and make peace between them possible, but it was a difficult task. However, Albus also didn’t like it when his team targeted Scorpius’. Maybe Albus winning would also bring peace between them as well, and in a way it’d be like they both won.
As the teams took to the sky, Albus caught Scorpius’ glance and winked. Scorpius nodded back at him and mouthed a ‘good luck’ to which Albus returned.
The game started in full swing, Slytherin getting the upper hand fairly quickly and Scorpius scoring two goals before Albus had even the chance to get a hold of the quaffle. Slytherin’s beaters were guarding him closely, clearly knowing that Albus would have his beaters on Scorpius to try and win the bet.
On the way to his third goal, Albus infiltrated and stole the quaffle, dashing off to the other end of the pitch and scoring his first goal.
The game was brutal and one of the longest Albus had ever played. The snitch never showed, and both teams hardly scored due to their incredible keepers. Gryffindor were up only ten points when the game reached just past eight hours. They’d had a break not long ago, but Albus could tell both teams were far from peachy.
Albus had stopped keeping track of who scored what, knowing there were spectators doing it for them. For all he knew, Scorpius could be winning the bet and right now Albus couldn’t find it in himself to care. The snitch was no where to be seen and Albus began wondering if Madame Hooch had even released it.
When Alex called for a time-out, Albus was more than happy to oblige. He met Alex halfway across the pitch with Madame Hooch, the rest of the Gryffindor team hovering behind him. Slytherin had joined Alex too, and Scorpius was next to his best friend, panting hard. Albus guessed they’d made up.
“I think we should call it,” Alex said. “I’ll take the loss, my team are exhausted,” he explained.
“What? Alex, no,” Scorpius objected. “I’m ten points away from winning and-” Scorpius never got to finish his sentence because he went woozy, swaying slightly on his broom. Albus rushed to his side, catching him before he fell and wrapping a strong arm around his waist.
“We’re calling it,” Albus confirmed, catching eyes with Alex and they both nodded.
Madame Hooch announced the agreed end to the match by both team captains, announcing Gryffindor as the winners and watching the crowd erupt into cheers. They were starting to get restless, but it seemed at the win they’d livened up again.
“This isn’t fair,” Scorpius objected, pulling from Albus’ grip, but still not steady on his own. Both Albus and Alex went to steady him, and they descended down to the pitch.
“If it’s about the date then we’ll forget about it,” Albus said, trying to mask his disappointment. He was hoping Scorpius was kind of looking forward to it now, but the obvious protest clearly showed he wasn’t. Albus tried not to feel too wounded.
“It’s not about the date, I promise,” he spoke as they touched the floor, even more unsteady on his feet than on his broom.
“Are you okay?” Albus asked.
“He hasn’t been sleeping well,” Alex offered, eyeing Scorpius worriedly.
“I’m fine,” Scorpius brushed them both off, though his tired eyes and wobbly stature did little to convince either of them. “So, next Saturday? Hogsmeade?” He asked.
“Huh?” Albus said, confused.
“Oh, yeah, sounds good.”
“Cool,” he responded, shooting him a smile before walking off with Alex’s support.
Albus never tried to hide his smile but played it off as winning the game and the cup, not that anyone asked about it.
The next Saturday seemed to take forever to come around, but when it did Scorpius found he was actually quite excited. He had never been on a date before but had his trusty Quidditch team to guide him through the getting ready process. Leah and Holly snuck their way into the dorm that Scorpius shared with the rest of his team and began picking clothes from his wardrobe. Whilst they were busy with that, Scorpius showered and then had Matty attacking his hair with a tangle teaser potion – even though Scorpius hair was always smooth – a hairbrush and a pot of gel, styling it for him in a quiff, a way he’d never worn it before and kind of liked.
Scorpius had his own cologne, but Harry lent him his, claiming it smelt better, and Scorpius never argued. Alex – who had admitted to Scorpius he was being touchy and on a short fuse, apologised profusely and told him that if he was happy then so was he - and Jason then talked to him about subtle ways of flirting, knowing Scorpius was utterly useless with that sort of thing. When Leah and Holly finally picked out an outfit – a buttoned down dark blue shirt and a pair of black jeans – he was finally ready to go.
The team walked him to the courtyard as though he was going off to war, not on a date. Though, he was thankful for them being there. The team were his family, and he couldn’t have picked a better family.
Albus was already there when he arrived, and so the team gave him one big hug and wished him good luck, ushering him onto the courtyard.
“Hi,” Scorpius greeted awkwardly as he finally allowed his nerves to take over. He had been so distracted by the team that he hadn’t had the chance to think about what a date with Albus Potter meant – whether it was because of a bet or not. Actually, Scorpius would have wanted to go on a date whether he won or not, and that frightened him a little.
“Hi,” he responded, just as awkwardly.
“You look… good,” Scorpius complimented, eyeing him up and down. He looked really good. His hair was left to its own devices, messy and curly and purely untameable but utterly endearing. Scorpius wondered what it would feel like to run his hands through those unrelenting knots but stopped the thought almost as soon as it came. Albus was dressed in a green t-shirt that accented his biceps perfectly, and a tight-fitted pair of jeans. Scorpius wondered if Albus needed someone else to pick his close for him as well, or if that was just him.
“So do you,” Albus said, sounding kind of nervous. “Really good,” he added, smiling up at Scorpius. “Shall we go?” He asked, and Scorpius nodded. Albus nodded back, turning around and beginning the walk down to Hogsmeade.
They fell into easy conversation, laughing and joking as they always did when the conversation wasn’t centred around Quidditch. Albus was actually really funny, and he seemed to be finding him funny as well. It was a warm day, the sun shining and illuminating Albus’ eyes, making them look greener than usual, resembling the sun-kissed grass.
They agreed on lunch and a butterbeer or two in The Three Broomsticks, and Albus held the door open for him when they reached the small pub. Scorpius thanked him graciously, bowing at him for a joke before entering. Albus lightly pushed him jokingly, causing Scorpius to laugh even harder. They settled into a booth and Albus sat unnecessarily close to him, but Scorpius wasn’t complaining.
They fell into silence as they both looked over the menu. Scorpius had never eaten here before. He usually only came for a drink with the team or his father if he decided to visit, which wasn’t often. Albus, however, seemed to know what he wanted almost straight away. Scorpius took a little longer, eventually following in Albus’ footsteps with the cheeseburger and chips, so Albus ordered for them both when the waitress came to take their order.
“Brutal match last week,” Scorpius commented once they were left alone, if only to fill the silence. It wasn’t awkward, but he never particularly liked the quiet. His mind ran away with him when it was quiet.
“No, we have a deal. No Quidditch,” Albus responded, holding a hand up to stop him. There was a playful smile on his lips, one Scorpius found himself mirroring.
“Okay, fine. Fine. But, one thing,” he watched as Albus quirked an eyebrow at him, an extremely endearing look that did funny things to Scorpius’ stomach. “When I protested at the end of the match, it genuinely wasn’t because of the date,” he explained, needing to explain himself. Albus never spoke, so Scorpius continued. “It wasn’t because I didn’t want you to win, but it was because I wanted to make Hogwarts easier for my team. We’re terribly victimised because of our age and our house, I just thought if we got Gryffindor on our side then maybe the other houses would back off too. I’m tired of them showing up to practice with new injuries or missing practice because they’re in the hospital wing recovering from a hex that turned their ears into elephant ears.”
Albus raised both eyebrows at him now.
“I saw the look of disappointment on your face when I started protesting,” Scorpius continued when Albus never spoke. “Just so you know, I genuinely wanted to come on this date.”
Albus beamed at him, lighting up his entire face. “I can tell the team to back off, but there’s no guarantee they’ll listen,” he pouted, clearly displeased he couldn’t offer Scorpius more.
Scorpius shook his head. "That’s okay. No worries, honestly.”
They were cut off by the waitress coming back with their drinks, and Albus took a sip of his instantly. Scorpius wrapped his hands around the cup, tapping his fingers aimlessly against the glass.
“So, is this a joke or real?” Scorpius asked. The question had been playing on his mind. Clearly, when Albus first made this bet it had been a joke; something to irritate Scorpius. And at first it did. A lot. But, then he started to like the idea of a date with Albus and he wasn’t entirely sure why.
“What do you want me to say?” Albus asked, his voice barely above a whisper and full of nerves. He was eyeing Scorpius carefully, as though he was ready for disappointment. Scorpius was fairly sure of the answer, but he still wanted Albus to say it.
“Then real,” the clear lack of hesitation in his voice cleared Scorpius’ thoughts. He smiled at him, a genuine big smile and Albus returned it. They were on the same page. They both wanted to be there.
“I’ll admit, at first it was a joke. I thought it’d be the thing that irritated you the most. But, I actually think I began to like you,” Albus said, biting down on his lip at the (admittingly pathetic) confession.
Scorpius snorted. "Cheers”, he said, voice leaking with sarcasm.
“No, sorry. I always liked you, but… well… you know.” Scorpius was shocked to see the Albus Potter stuck for words. It was rare sight.
“I know,” he assured. “Me too.” Albus beamed a smile brighter than the sun. Scorpius decided to embrace his inner Gryffindor (not that he had any) and boldly took hold of Albus’ hand, squeezing it in comfort. Albus squeezed back, eyeing their hands with a soppy smile. Scorpius could get quite used to him looking at him like that.
They couldn’t stop looking at each other. Even when their food arrived, and the conversation dimmed whilst they ate, they still could hardly stop themselves from looking at each other. Scorpius found Albus incredibly endearing, enlightening and just simply gorgeous. He couldn’t quite believe he was on a date with someone like Albus. Someone sweet, kind, funny and sometimes arrogant and sometimes cocky, but Scorpius found himself liking those parts of him more than disliking them.
Albus, on the other hand, couldn’t believe he was on a date with someone like Scorpius. At first glance, when hearing the name Malfoy, one would assume Scorpius was a spoilt little brat with a bad attitude and shitty personality (it’s important to note Albus never thought that about him). Scorpius was nothing like that. He was funny, full of bad puns and jokes that really shouldn’t have been funny but Albus couldn’t stop laughing. He was kind, the kindest person he’d ever met. He was sweet and incredibly beautiful.
Upon leaving The Three Broomsticks, Scorpius felt sad that the date was coming to an end so quick. He wanted to spend more time with Albus. He never wanted him to stop telling him jokes and making him laugh. He wanted to live in this moment for a long time.
Before making their way back up to the castle, Albus pulled him down a deserted alley behind the pub, away from the gruelling eyes of the public. The space wasn’t particularly big, and they were basically chest to chest.
“Hi,” Scorpius said, heart pounding from their close proximity.
“I was just wondering if it’s okay to kiss you? Because I’ve been dying to for a long time,” Albus breathed, the words falling from his lips so fast that Scorpius barely caught them.
“It’s completely okay,” he assured.
In a moment, Albus' lips were on his in a firm but nervous kiss. Scorpius responded just as enthusiastically, hoping he was doing it right. He had never kissed anyone before, but this felt weirdly right. Albus’ lips were warm against his, and even though they were unsure at first, soon they were moving together in a rhythmed dance.
Yeah, Scorpius thought, this is right.
Albus pulled away way too soon, but only enough to catch his breath before bouncing right back. The second kiss was surer, firmer and much more heated. Albus’ hands ran across Scorpius’ back and waist, and Scorpius let his hands fall into Albus’ hair, finally getting a feel for what those endearing curls felt between his fingers. It was even better than he imagined.
They walked back to Hogwarts with their hands wrapped in each other’s, lips swollen from kissing and wide beams on their faces. Content and at peace.
Neither could quite believe their luck. Both boys never believed they deserved the other, but little did they know they were perfect for each other. Scorpius’ sunshine personality perfectly balanced Albus’ surlier one. They were light and dark, the sun and moon, and they were perfect.