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They kiss in the showers, that first time.

On his way back from Quidditch practice, Scorpius spots James waiting by the locker room doors. He's just standing there, leaning lazily against the wall—eyes bright, dark hair tousled from the wind. He looks so fit. He looks like he knows how good he looks, but he says nothing as Scorpius walks by. Nothing still as he follows Scorpius in. That's really quite odd, especially being James, He's always so loud—always yelling, as if he has something to prove, as if he needs to have the last word in every single conversation, in every argument. But he's quiet now. Awfully quiet, even after Scorpius props his Nimbus up against a bench and shrugs off his robes.

It feels wrong somehow, to have James Potter as a silent audience. All the expectation, none of the feedback. Except there's actually plenty of feedback: it's right there in the way James' eyes burn into his skin. In the way he licks his upper lip when Scorpius bends down to undo his shin pads. And Scorpius has no idea what to do with it.

"Potter, these are the Slytherin showers."

"So I've noticed." James grins, steps forward, then again, closer and closer—and it probably means nothing, but it looks weirdly predatory on him. "All the green, you see. I've always thought it was a bit of a give away."

"You're not allowed in here."

"You don't say."

"Well, yes." Scorpius frowns, or tries to anyway. Despite his best efforts, something like a nervous smile keeps pulling at his lips. "Besides, I'd like to take a shower." He doesn't stare at the way James' muscles shift under his uniform. He doesn't stare at James' lips—full and moist, glinting under the bright lights of the room. He doesn't, but they're right there and incredibly hard to ignore. So hard to ignore that by the time Scorpius pulls off his jumper he's pretty much given up on trying.

"Something stopping you?"

"I was..." Just waiting for you to leave. "I'm really..." Not here for your amusement, Potter, but whatever. He's far too tired to start a fight, and ultimately he doesn't even care—it's not as if he has to care, it's not as though he gets paid to make sense of James' brains for him. "No," he says at last, "nothing," and starts to unbutton his shirt. But when James makes no move to leave, he can't resist adding, "I just never pegged you for the type who likes to watch."

James shrugs. "Maybe I'm not."

As he reaches down to unzip his trousers, Scorpius wonders what this is all about. He wonders if he should know, since he's friends with Al and all. He knows James likes mind games and he knows he's being played here—only this time, he's not entirely sure what the game is. But all his wondering goes into a large pause when James moves closer to him, pushes him back until he's pressed against the wall.

He can't help but shiver, at first. This is all new to him, the tiles cold and hard behind him, James hot against his chest, and Scorpius can't even find it in him to resent James, not when he's so close that Scorpius can make out the sun-kissed freckles on James' nose. Not when James' hands keep clawing at his trousers like they're the only thing standing between him and victory. Definitely not when James' mouth slides down the side of his throat, hot and wet and absolutely brilliant.

"You looked so messy," James mumbles, running his lips over Scorpius' shoulder. "Earlier, on that broom of yours."

"I did?" Of course he did. There are still grass blades on his hair from that feint he failed to pull out of. His shirt is sticking to his armpits—ugh—sticking to his back in places, and he must smell like dirt and sweat. He feels filthy all over—he feels so impossibly filthy—and if he were James, he's certain he wouldn't be caught dead with his hands anywhere near his skin. Not before that shower anyway. But he's not James—and James, apparently, has no such scruples.

There's a flick of tongue against Scorpius' lower lip, licking gently when Scorpius gives in. And that's fine. That's perfectly fine, if only...

"Wonderfully messy," James is saying, "but then it occurred to me I could probably make you look much—" James' tongue runs over his palm, "—much—" and then his hand slips into Scorpius' pants, "—messier."

"Oh," Scorpius breathes; it makes James chuckle, a huff of warm breath against his cheek. "So is that—fuck—is that what you're doing now?"

"Maybe."

When James' spit-slick hand starts pumping his cock, Scorpius can say no more. Words make no sentences, make no paragraphs; he's so gone he can barely think. He hears himself whimper high and needy, his mind a hurricane of bliss and want, his entire world suddenly reduced to bucking helplessly into James' palm. It's rushed and it's sloppy, with James' mouth sliding against his, with James' hips repeatedly thrusting him into the wall—but it's also kind of perfect, and the moment James' fingers tighten around his prick, he's coming all over James' hand. As he blinks away the bright spots filling his vision, Scorpius is not sure this counts as winning. He's not sure it counts as losing either.

He's not sure it counts as anything, only he just got off and... and it's the first time he does this with someone else. And he kind of suspected he might be into blokes but, Merlin, did it have to be Al's brother?

"I see practice was tonnes of fun," Albus quips once he's back at the dorms, and Scorpius briefly contemplates asking him Did you know your brother's into blokes? only he's too dizzy to care and much too wound-up to be annoyed. "You might want to heal those though," Al goes on. "People will talk."

"Heal what?"

Al gives him a very long look. "The million love bites on your neck, you daft idiot."

"Oh. Right." Scorpius smiles weakly at him. "I will. Thanks." But in truth, he's not sure he wants them gone.

 

▫ ▫ ▫

 

It happens again before the week is over. The next month passes in a blur of empty alcoves and broom closets. Scorpius reckons they must have christened half the castle by now—they've kissed in every abandoned classroom, and good grief, James' mouth was like warm paradise around his cock.

It's been so long since he last wondered if he stood a chance at all, if he could win whatever crazy game it is they're playing, and Scorpius has never much cared about winning—not outside of Quidditch anyway. But this time it's different.

This is one game he knows he'd really hate to lose.

 

▫ ▫ ▫

 

They're in the Prefect's Bathroom when it all comes tumbling down.

Scorpius has no idea how James even got his prefect badge. No one in their right mind would think to make James a prefect—because James is, quite frankly, a free agent; because James is also likely a sex addict. But then again, he guesses it's an open discussion though, whether the Headmistress is in her right mind or not. Still, it's not until James pushes down on his shoulders and he gives that the pieces really shift. But Scorpius does give. He goes down like it means nothing. Like he wants this just that badly—like he wants this far too much—and that's when it hits. He's no longer in control. He was never in control.

It's a sharp blow to his ego, realising that James knows that—that James has known that all along.

He feels a bit trapped, stuck between James' cock and the wall, and Scorpius doesn't much like feeling trapped. He doesn't like being on his knees. He doesn't like feeling like a human sacrifice, open and vulnerable and like he's given way too much—and will he ever get it back?—but still, James' voice is warm and quiet when he speaks. "Talk to me," he says, "tell me what you want."

Scorpius breathes in deeply. It's the only thing that somehow manages to keep the bloody panic under control.

"Tell me..." James pauses. Squeezes his cock. The wet tip brushes against Scorpius' skin, smearing precome over his cheek. "Tell me how you want this."

"Oh, piss off..." Piss off, I'm not doing this, he wants to say. Piss off, I don't want this, but he does kind of want it—even thinking about it is giving him shivers, wouldn't it be giving James much more control than he has already? You can't possibly be serious, he wants to say, except James' hand is soft on his hair, pushing it back from his face. It's a light touch, barely even there, and James is smiling down at him—and it's that stupid little smile of his, the one he gives his friends, the one that makes Scorpius' heart do that nasty fluttery thing inside his chest. James doesn't know, of course he doesn't know. As if Scorp would even dream of telling him something he's better off not knowing.

Merlin, he's so, so fucked. Because he's not James' friend, not really. Because he has no idea what he is to James, but perhaps—Scorpius swallows—perhaps he'd like to be something after all.

He's so very fucked.

"I want your cock," he mumbles. His eyes focus on the cracked tile beneath his knee, and he doesn't think. He definitely doesn't think How appropriate, how ridiculously appropriate...

James snorts. "Yes, I've noticed." His fingers trace Scorpius' cheek, tilting his face up until Scorpius can no longer avoid his eyes. "But how do you want it? Where?"

"In my mouth." How appropriate that he's saying this. Giving too much, getting too little.

"Okay." The tips of James' fingers stroke along the line of Scorpius' jaw. "What else? Say, why do you want that?"

"Because I want—I want to taste it," Scorpius says thickly, "I want you—" he wants streaks of come drying on his face, he wants James to fuck him into the wall, he wants this to go on forever even as he wants it all to stop, "—I want you to fuck my face." He's not sure where that one came from and it's weird and wild even to his own ears, but it's true, he does kind of want that and, sweet Salazar, what is he doing? "I want to feel you all the way down my throat."

James groans. "Fuck, you look hot like this."

"I want you to..." He really, really wants to cringe, mostly at himself. Because James shouldn't know these things, he shouldn't know that much about Scorpius—but he does now, which also means he can use it. "To—" he starts; the rest of his sentence is swallowed by James' kiss. It's a bit awkward at first. He's only half-standing. James' grip is tight on his hair, pulling up, and Scorpius feels stretched up and not in a good way—but he still squirms when James sucks slowly on his lower lip. He moans softly when James' mouth opens for his tongue, and that's what he wants, right there.

He's so very ashamed of himself. He's so ashamed he really wants to hate James, but it doesn't work that way. He's so mortified he ponders momentarily if he shouldn't have sold his soul to a Dementor when he had the change, because surely that'd be fucking easier than giving his heart to a Gryffindor for free. And to this particular Gryffindor, who just takes and takes and takes and gives nothing. And still, none of that matters, not when kisses like this drive Scorpius out of his mind with desire. Not when he's so far beyond losing he knows he'd actually agree to anything—anything—as long as he got to keep this. Keep James forever.

"Hands behind your back," James says.

"But—" Scorpius takes a deep breath. "All right." He's not sure whether he's agreeing or somehow trying to reassure himself, but he nods anyway before pressing his hands against the wall. "Fine."

"Come on, open up."

James' cock is a solid weight on his tongue, and Scorpius sucks slowly around the muscle, licking up the underside. He has no idea what he's doing, but he hopes—he hopes—he's not embarrassing himself.

"That's it," James murmurs, and Scorpius opens his mouth wider. He chokes a little when James starts thrusting; it's too big to fit it all in his mouth—but he still manages somehow to breathe through it, to keep going.

It's weirdly empowering when James' thighs start trembling, whenever James' cock twitches between his lips. Scorpius wonders, with every breathless gasp James takes, if his world view is all wrong somehow—when this feels so bloody perfect, when it feels like he could savour it, like he'd do it again. And all the while, there's James' voice, raw with emotion and arousal above him, "You're doing well, pet, you're doing great..." and Scorpius focusses on the words. He lets them wash over him until they trail off into a choked off moan, and he's forced to concentrate on not choking as each pulse of James' cock fills his mouth more and more.

 

▫ ▫ ▫

 

Albus draws the heavy wooden chair by the wall all the way over to the foot Scorpius' bed. It screeches loudly across the floor, and Scorpius pushes away his Potions text with a put-upon sigh. In such a racket, it's just not possible to read.

"What?" he snaps, but Al just sits down. Even after Scorpius stares for two full minutes—stares right at him, daring him to say something—Al does nothing but sit there, quietly examining his fingernails. As if they're by far the most captivating thing in the room. "What do you want, Al?"

"This thing between you and James..."

Scorpius freezes, feeling a bit light-headed all of a sudden.

"Relax, he didn't tell me," Al says. "Nobody ever tells me anything, apparently." He leans forward, resting his elbows on the bed, glaring daggers at Scorpius from beneath his fringe. "Though you should have, some friend you are..."

"I'm sorry, I just..." I didn't know how to tell you. Scorpius has pictured that scene in his head over a dozen times—him walking up to Al, telling him he's (insert drum-rolls) gay and that he has been actually shagging his brother for several months and whatnot. He's pictured it with a hundred different endings, and still it never ended well. "It'd have been so awkward."

Al just shrugs. "I guess. Still, you could have told me."

"But if nobody told you, then how—"

Albus rolls his eyes. "I'm not blind, you know? Even if you all seem to think I am." He looks almost stubborn, but then his face softens and he shrugs again. "It's his last year here," he adds, and something about Al's tone makes Scorpius' heart sink in his chest.

He looks away. "I know."

"I just don't want you to get hurt."

Scorpius throws his quill at him. It bounces off Al's forehead before falling to the floor. "No one's going to get hurt," he lies, and for a moment he can almost believe it.

 

▫ ▫ ▫

 

"Do you know what I've been thinking?"

Scorpius sighs. James' tone is far too upbeat to be allowed. Particularly when Scorpius is supposed to be finishing his twenty-inch essay for Slughorn. Particularly when he has the mother of all headaches from squinting so hard at nineteenth century texts—which he can't even do anymore, since James so conveniently shoved the books over when he hopped up to sit on the desk.

"No, James, of course I don't. How on earth would I know?" After a dramatic pause for an eye-roll that seems to go over James' head—James, it turns out is not that great at getting sarcasm—Scorpius adds, "I'm obviously not you."

"I've been thinking," James' breath whispers just past Scorpius' ear, "about bending you over this desk and giving you the best rim job of your life. Pushing my tongue so far up your arse you'll scream for—"

"Your thoughts are the stuff of madness." Scorpius bites his lip, tapping his quill against his parchment, and doesn't tell James that that'd be way too easy since it'd be the first rim job of his life. Instead, keeping his emotions at bay, he asks, "Do you seriously want to do that?"

"Yeah."

"What, now?" Here, in the middle of the library?

James shrugs. "Did you have any other plans?"

Yes, actually, he did. There's homework due tomorrow, and he can't afford to let his marks slip any farther. He really, really needs to put some distance between himself and James before this whole thing drives him round the bend. Only his mouth is obviously no longer on the same page as the rest of him, and when he opens it to speak, he hears instead, "Not really, it's just anyone could walk in and—"

James sneaks forwards for a kiss, slow and sweet, just like Scorpius likes them. "We'll cast a Silencing Charm," he mumbles, licking wet diversion into Scorpius' neck. "Everyone's at dinner anyway, so unless you're having a meet-up with your swotty little friends, I'm sure we can risk it."

"Madam Pince—"

"Looked very, very busy when I walked in, definitely too busy to mind."

Scorpius snorts, pushing his chair back from the table. "I must be mad," he muses, but quickly sheds his robes.

His cock twitches eagerly as James slips his trousers down past his thighs. They are soon followed by his pants, and Scorpius sucks in a breath when he feels James' strong hands kneading his arse. Pushing him over the desk. Spreading his cheeks apart. He feels so exposed, so ridiculously exposed as James' warm breath hovers just below his tailbone. He shudders—exhales forever—but still parts his legs further when James' tongue pokes at his rim.

His eyes fall closed as James works his tongue up inside him, slowly lapping against the tight ring of muscle. It feels perfect—so perfect, so slick, so filthy—making Scorpius writhe with every swirl. Every single jab brings another soft whine to his lips, and when James finally slides a hand around his prick, he's no longer sure how long he'll last.

"Okay?" James asks, pressing the tip of a finger to Scorpius' hole.

Scorpius nods, not trusting his voice. Yes, okay, but Merlin. His heart rate feels so fast, he's not even sure he can still form words.

The wet heat of James' mouth trails down to suck on his balls, gently mouthing them, and Scorpius is so close. He's so impossibly close, his cock feels swollen and aching in James' hand, and his muscles stiffen when James' tongue moves back up to join his digits. By the time James pushes another finger in and curls them both against Scorpius prostate—once, twice—there are stars exploding all over his vision.

There's blood pounding loudly in his ears, and he can only barely make out the faint sound of wetness hitting the floor.

"Well, that was fast," James mutters.

"Fuck off." Scorpius knows he must be blushing but he's too blissed-out to care. Too dazed, way too pliant in the aftermath of orgasm.

"Nah." James' fingers are still buried deep inside him; they twist, one last time, before finally slipping out. "I think I'd rather fuck you, actually."

"Mmmkay."

There's a zip. The cold, damp sensation of a lubricating charm.

"I'm sorry. Was that supposed to be 'Yes, please, fuck me hard'?" James sounds amused. The bulbous head of his cock rubs slow circles over Scorpius' opening. "'Yes, James, make me come again. Make me come all over my sad excuse for an essay'?"

He must be feeling so proud of himself. So proud of having turned Scorpius into an incoherent mess—the worst part being that Scorpius doesn't even care. Scorpius just presses his cheek against the polished surface of the table and says, "Yeah," because he wants this—he wants this so much—and why the hell not? He's given up on trying to win. He can't win this. He knows that now.

"'Please, James, fuck me like the shameless whore I am'?"

Scorpius laughs shakily, burying his face into his sleeve. "Shut up," he says. "Shut up and do it already."

"Bossy, aren't you?"

And that's how he ends up with James' forehead pressed against his back, getting fucked in the middle of the library—like this is all there is to life, like he burns for this game he's lost and there's nothing else he wants at all.

And even though he knows it's going to get messy later on, he simply can't find it in him to care anymore.

 

▫ ▫ ▫

 

"So, um. This thing between us..." It comes out quiet because Scorpius isn't sure he wants to hear James' answer. Only he needs to, he can't let this go on until the school year is over and then... then lose it, just like that. Like it means nothing. Like it never meant anything in the first place, never mattered to anyone but him.

"What about it?"

"What is it exactly?" he asks.

James raises his eyebrows. "Sex, mostly?" He doesn't look up from Scorpius' chest where, for all Scorpius knows, he's trying to draw an intricate map of Hogwarts using his fingertips alone. Whatever. "What, never got the talk from your dad?"

"I do know what sex is, thanks." You twat.

"I should hope so, given all the—"

"Oh, shut up." Scorpius stares at the red and gold pattern on the Gryffindor dorm's ceiling. Pretentious, gaudy, almost the same as he'd come to think of Gryffindors themselves over the years. He's not so sure about that anymore. There might be more to them; after all, he might have accidentally—unwittingly—fallen for one. "It's just," he says, "this—us—we're together all the time and I..." I need a name for it. I need to know what to call it before it's too late.

James stands, reaching for his trousers. "What do you want it to be?"

"I..." Scorpius pushes himself up on his elbows. He wonders how safe it really is to let James know where he stands about this; it's one thing to want James, and a very different one to want James to be his boyfriend. But in the end, only one of them will hurt when it all goes to hell. So he says, "Nothing," because it's easier than admitting his feeling to someone he's not sure he should trust.

James looks him up and down. "Well, then it's nothing."

And with that, he's gone. Off to the shower, Scorpius guesses. Still, he curls up on James' sheets, sniffing the scent of sweat and sex, gingery like James is, and doesn't think their days are numbered. Even though they are, and by now he knows that.

 

▫ ▫ ▫

 

Scorpius takes a very long shower that evening. He scrubs his skin until it smells of nothing but soap and potions, and stands under the shower spray until he's no longer thinking about James. Until his fingertips get wrinkly, and he's dizzy from the steam, and thinking about anything takes too much effort to even contemplate.

It doesn't help.

It doesn't take away the sting of knowing that he's lost this too. That he never dared to dream he'd have this, but he's wanted it for so long, and it's his now, and he's not ready to give it up. Not just yet. Probably not ever.

But eventually, he'll have to.

 

▫ ▫ ▫

 

It's only a few weeks before the summer holidays when James tells him, "I'm going to miss you next year."

Scorpius shrugs. "Only if you want to," he says. "It's not as though you can't come to Hogsmeade on weekends."

"I could."

"You will."

"You're rather sure of yourself, huh?"

"Of course I am." Scorpius licks his lips, looking up at James from under his fringe. He spreads his legs wider to pull him closer. "Think we could get away with doing it here? By the lake?"

James grins, shaking his head. "Merlin, you're shameless."

Scorpius' stomach dips with a shaky breath. He gives James a strained smile because he's not. He's really not. He just wants James to come back for him always, to want him even after he's no longer around all the time, and he wants that badly. He wants that so much that he's actually willing to lay himself open to losing forever. He's just hoping he won't have to.

It's soft when they kiss, because Scorpius is fine with any kind of kissing but this is what he wants, right now. And it's all good. It leaves James' lips full and gleaming and perfect, and Scorpius wants nothing more than to kiss them again, so he does. And then again for good measure.

"Yes," James whispers against his mouth. "Yes, I'll come back for you."

And just like that, the game is over. It's then, in that moment, Scorpius finally knows he's won. James must have made the first move, but now James is his. He wants him like the moon wants the sun. He's never ever letting him leave.