The moonlight illuminating Scorpius Malfoy’s neck was fake, but it didn’t stop Albus Potter wanting to lean two inches closer and lick it. Scorpius took two steps forward and out of the fake moonlight, sidling up next to James Potter and whispering something in his ear.
"They’re a sight, aren’t they?" Teddy Lupin whispered to Albus and Albus remembered the last time Teddy had spoken those exact words.
A few weeks ago, Teddy and Albus had both been working late. Teddy had stopped by the second level at the ministry to see if Albus was still there and they’d gone home together.
On the living room floor they’d found James on his back and Scorpius astride him, rising up and down, James’ cock sliding in and out of his arse. The look on Scorpius' face had been one of pure concentration. They hadn’t made a sound, only moved together in the broken moonlight streaming in through the blinds. It was a silent movie, of sorts, utterly fascinating. As Albus had watched, a strand of Scorpius’ hair had fallen into his face and instantly stuck to his forehead. When Albus had heard Teddy unbuckle his belt, he’d stridden into the living room, hauled Scorpius off James and dragged him into their bedroom.
Scorpius hadn’t complained, only smiled softly and whispered you’re home. Albus had kissed him fiercely then, and Scorpius had opened his trousers and stroked Albus’ cock, and he’d pulled him closer and Albus had fucked him then, rough and hard, with Scorpius’ legs around his waist. Scorpius hadn’t been quiet then.
Now Scorpius looked back, took two steps backwards and into the fake moonlight from the ministry window. Albus licked his skin this time and Scorpius smiled his soft smile.
Albus briefly wondered what would hurt his father more. Would it be their deaths? Or would it be their convictions?
"Two minutes," said James. It was nearly a whisper. He looked at Albus, who had stopped licking Scorpius’ neck, then at Scorpius and at last, at Teddy. His gaze softened minutely. "Ablexiet," he said and they all four repeated the word.
It was Teddy who’d come up with it. It has to be a nonsense word, he’d said, or we risk mixing it all up with ordinary stuff. They’d tested it, of course, and then they’d started using it. Their memory word, designed to associate certain events, ideas or moments with one single word.
When necessary, the memories of the things associated with the memory word could be temporarily removed and stored outside the mind of the owner until it was safe to return them.
It was so brilliant it hurt.
The best part was the fact that no one knew this was possible. Unspeakable research and inventions were just that – unspeakable. The Minister of Magic knew only a fraction of what went on in the Department of Mysteries. The Head of Aurors didn’t even know a fraction.
Albus repeated the word once more. Two minutes passed and they proceeded deeper into the Auror Headquarters. Albus lead the way. He checked that his magical signature concealer was where it should be. Teddy’s work, that, too.
It all came down to Teddy, Albus knew. He glanced at him and saw that he, too, was checking his concealer.
They were as good as invisible. Invincible.
It was funny, though, that they’d come to this, Albus thought. It’d all started out to so small. Picking pockets. Daring each other to steal this or that item and then hiding it. They’d quickly become experts. Picking pockets had stopped being fun after a while, once it had become routine.
Albus still picked pockets when he was bored, but the excitement had gone out of it long ago. Teddy had taught them new tricks every holiday; better tricks, bolder tricks, more dangerous tricks. And they’d never been busted.
"Ready?" Scorpius asked and Albus felt a thrill he hadn’t felt in a long time. Perhaps not since the first time he'd picked a pocket.
They sifted through the solid metal door into a small entry chamber. No visible or audible alarm went off, but Albus knew that was no indication that an alarm hadn’t actually sounded somewhere else. He also knew that there was no alarm alerting anyone at all.
Six months of preparation. Six months, three weeks and then some.
James calmly opened the door to the evidence storage chamber. Teddy’s hand hovered over his hip and Albus was struck with the strangeness of it all; the odd way their four souls had been intertwined into a common fate, goal, life path.
That part had begun with Scorpius. James and Scorpius had started fucking each other in James’ sixth year. Scorpius, unsurprisingly, had shown a knack for deceiving and manipulating people, so James had introduced him to Teddy.
Teddy had given Scorpius a long, calculating look and then nodded. He was in.
From that point onwards it had been the four of them. They planned, prepared and executed. Small things became big things. Sometimes it was the thrill. Sometimes it was boredom. Sometimes they just wanted to prove a point.
It was dark inside the evidence storage chamber. Albus lit his wand and led the way down the rows and rows of evidence: bloody clothing, broken items, letters, old Portkeys and a variety of other things, the shelves all numbered and labelled neatly.
Their goal was at the end of row F3. There, Albus father had stored away six bars of massive gold, three kilos in total, which had been confiscated as evidence three months prior. Albus lit the way, past rows C1...C2...C3...D1...D2...and finally, F3.
He smiled to himself when he saw the gold bars on the shelf, his father’s scrawl on the label.
"Beautiful," whispered Teddy.
Albus looked at Scorpius, beautiful Scorpius who was paler than ever in the feeble wand light. Scorpius smiled serenely.
This, this was their test. This was their victory or downfall. Not Gringotts. Albus grinned to himself when he remembered Gringotts.
Gringotts had been a picnic. They hadn't even broken in to steal anything; they'd broken in to prove that they could. They didn't need the gold, they told themselves, and instead left notes in all the top security vaults, notes with childish drawings and warnings not to leave valuables unattended.
Scorpius squeezed Albus' hand. He was still smiling and Albus kissed him because he loved him and his smile and because he knew that Scorpius knew what he was thinking, because he was thinking the same.
"You and me," he whispered against his lips and Scorpius smiled and kissed him again.
James opened Albus' messenger bag. "Al," he said. "Get a move on."
Albus dropped Scorpius hand. A move on, right. As an Auror, he was the only one who could remove anything from the shelves, and so he picked up the bars, one by one, and stacked them neatly into his bag.
"Ablexiet," he murmured and he heard the others repeat the word. Albus closed the bag and looked at the three men standing before him. His boyfriend, his brother and his godbrother. "Let's go."
A noise, as if someone had stubbed their toe, and a muttered swearword rang through the air, and Albus knew instantly it wasn't one of them. He grabbed Scorpius' hand and clutched it tightly, staring at the other two with terrified eyes. They knew too. They all four dug their hands into their pockets, grasping a cinema ticket.
Someone turned the corner, wand held high, and when Albus saw his face, he knew he'd broken his father. They had broken him. And he knew his father would rather have lost them to fire, to death, than to discover their crimes and have to lose them to Azkaban, to inhumanity.
Scorpius' nails dug into Albus' hand and he knew what they had to do. Plan B. He hoped that James and Teddy were thinking the same – they'd practised this, just in case. Albus knew his father wasn't the only one present, knew that half the Auror corps were backing him up, that double-strength Anti-Apparition wards had been set up, and they'd practised this – Albus activated the Portkey in his hand and before his father had recovered from the shock, they were gone.
Teddy, James, Albus and Scorpius materialised in the back of cinema 4, sometime during the last half of the showing of the newest X-Men film. They'd practised this, so they tore off their wizard robes and Vanished them, James removed the Portkey charm from the cinema tickets and Scorpius transfigured their Deceivers into Muggle trash. They crouched together and Teddy extracted their Ablexiet memories into small vials that Albus then charmed to look like four Muggle pens. He also charmed the gold to look like Scorpius' Muggle Healing textbooks and binders and put the messenger bag under his cinema seat. Seat 11, row H.
They leaned back in their seats. No one was aware they'd left shortly after the film started and no one had noticed them come back.
At this point, they didn't remember having left or coming back and Albus vaguely wondered why he was worried that they would be accosted by the Aurors.
Scorpius sneaked his hand into his and laced their fingers. "I feel a bit as if I missed part of the movie," he whispered, frowning.
"Must've been the part you spent kissing me," Albus replied with a grin. James shushed him from the other side.
When the film ended, Scorpius picked up a messenger bag from under his seat and slung it over his shoulder. Albus' messenger bag was left forgotten as they joined the small crowd leaving.
"Good movie?" Ernie asked, holding the door open and Albus grinned.
"The best!" he replied and waved with his free hand, the other firmly clasped in Scorpius'. He turned around to say something to James and Teddy and discovered they were looking at their father in confusion.
"Hi dad," James said. "What're you doing here? Is something wrong? Is it – is it Lily?"
Albus was startled to see that his father looked haggard, worried and stressed and...scared, and fear instantly settled in his stomach like a heavy stone. "Dad?" he asked, voice shaky. "Did something happen to...to...Lily? or Mum? Or...?"
"Come with me," he said, without answering their questions.
They were taken to Auror Headquarters and questioned for hours on end, with Veritaserum and without. Albus was confused, although relieved that nothing had happened to his mother or his sister, although he didn't understand why they were being questioned, why everyone was looking grim and seemed to think they had been somewhere else when they'd been in the cinema at the time and what was going on?
"Al," his father said tiredly. "You're an Auror. Only an Auror could have gained access to the evidence storage chamber and removed something."
"I know," Al replied just as tiredly. "I wasn't there tonight. I don't know what's up with that. I was in the cinema with the others." He was too tired to be sarcastic, he just wanted this over with, wanted to go home and curl up with Scorpius and be safe in the knowledge that Teddy and James were in the other bedroom and that everything was as it should be.
"Harry," Uncle Ron said, peeking inside. "We went through Scorpius' bag and the contents of their pockets and all of it is genuine. There's no Concealment Charms or Disillusionment Charms on the stuff. No transfigurations either."
"So..." Albus' father said slowly. "There is no proof that...?"
"No," Uncle Ron answered. "None at all." He looked relieved and Albus smiled weakly.
"Dad?" he asked tentatively and the Auror next to him snorted. Albus didn't look at him, he'd never liked him much. "I was just thinking...uhm...maybe...someone was Polyjuiced or Glamoured to look like us?" He shrugged. "It wouldn't be the first time someone was trying to, you know, hurt you..."
"Al's got a point," Uncle Ron said. "Remember 2007?"
"Yes," Albus' father snapped and Albus winced.
They were released, all four of them, but Albus' father still looked broken.
"Dad," Albus said as he hugged him. "You'll find the culprits, won't you?"
He stiffened and hugged his son harder. "I hope so," he answered defeatedly.
At the flat there was a message on the phone from Ernie. Hey, Al mate. You forgot your messenger bag. I assume it's yours or your boyfriend's, it's got your boyfriend's medicine textbooks in it. I've got it in the reception so you can pick it up any time.
They looked at each other and Scorpius frowned, holding out his messenger bag with his Muggle Healing textbooks in it. It hung limply from his hand, in that moment looking like deadweight, like an ominous sign.
Comprehension dawned on their faces and Albus deleted the voicemail.
He picked up the bag a whole week later. All four of them sat around it on the living room floor. They stared until Teddy opened it and took out the items within. Trash, textbooks, binders, pens and other things. It was Albus that lifted the charms and transfigured the gold back.
They looked at each other, disbelieving and giddy. Teddy opened the memory vials and they watched in fascination as the memories swirled in the air for a second and then around their heads, seeping into their skin.
Albus gasped as the memories fit themselves into his brain and for a moment he thought about throwing up.
"We did it," James whispered, looking faintly green.
"Dad," Albus whispered, wishing he hadn't seen them and understanding now why he had seemed so broken, so defeated. He wondered whether his dad knew, whether that was the reason why he'd been so sad when they'd left.
"We've got to fulfil the plan," Teddy said. He was the only one that didn't look green.
"Yes." Scorpius nodded.
Albus felt his stomach sink, but then he looked at Scorpius and was filled with pride. You and me, he thought, and he looked forward to their escape, to spending the rest of his life with this beautiful man.
Scorpius noticed Albus looking at him and turned to him with a soft smile. His eyes spoke the same words Albus thought in his mind and he wasn't surprised when Scorpius crawled over to him and kissed him hotly. He wasn't surprised when Teddy did away with the evidence of their crime, and he wasn't surprised when he felt him watching, watching as Scorpius pulled his t-shirt off and licked his chest.
"Come on," James whispered nearby and Albus heard the door to their bedroom open and close.
The Plan, Albus thought and then he thought Ablexiet to be on the safe side. He watched James' hands as he bound the drugged prisoners and he wondered why his brother had given up on Scorpius, because Scorpius was amazing and he couldn't imagine anyone wanting to give up on him. And he thought, as he watched Scorpius standing guard, that maybe James hadn't known what he was giving up.
He knew they'd been together for sex and he knew they still had sex sometimes when they were bored. He knew Teddy liked to watch, but Albus didn't, he didn't want to watch his brother.
Teddy gave Albus a silent glare and Albus stopped looking at Scorpius and helped James with the prisoners, stunning them for good measure before dragging them onto their brooms. Azkaban was quiet tonight. That was Scorpius' work, that.
It was dark as they flew back and it was still dark when they landed on the roof of their building. Albus had a hard time believing they were this close to reaching their goal. Four months since the break-in. Two years since they had conceived of the plan, their last crime, the crown on their work. This close.
They Apparated the sleeping prisoners inside. They undressed them, washed them and gave them more Sleeping Draughts and large enough doses of Polyjuice Potion to both ensure they wouldn't revert back in at least three hours and to poison them. Scorpius' idea, that, and the reason why he'd been studying Muggle Healing the past two years. Albus smiled to himself when he remembered the day Scorpius had come home and told them it would work. Albus didn't understand what DNA was or how it worked, all he needed to know was that Scorpius had researched for months and promised it would work. The dead bodies would retain their DNA, the Polyjuice imprint, Scorpius had explained, and appear to be them no matter the test they were subjected to.
Albus dressed his lookalike in his favourite pyjamas and put him on the bed next to Scorpius' double. They draped the fake Albus over the fake Scorpius. It almost hurt to look at them as they lay there in the moonlight.
"We're beautiful," Scorpius whispered and kissed his neck.
They joined Teddy and James in the living room, leaving the bedroom door open. Albus lit candles in the window and moved one of them next to the curtain. They watched the curtain catch fire, they watched the fire spread to the furniture and the carpet and the walls. They didn't Disapparate until they were sure the flat was unsalvageable, until they were sure the prisoners in Polyjuice were dead from smoke poisoning or about to be consumed by fire.
There you go, Dad, Albus thought. You won't see us in Azkaban. He looked at Teddy and James. Neither of them spoke, but Albus knew. They nodded and Teddy and James Disapparated. To where, he didn't know and he would never know. He would never see his brother again, or his godbrother. He would never see his father, mother and sister again.
Albus looked at Scorpius and squeezed his hand before they Apparated to the next Apparition point, further away from the life they were deserting. For your sake, Dad, I hope you never find out.