Warnings: Boys kissing, much saucy language, and general farcical behavior.
Summary: Albus is completely straight and Scorpius is completely gay, so naturally they need to go dancing.
Word Count: ~8,400
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author’s notes: To perculious, I tried to touch on as many things in your request as I could, but this just sort of happened. As you can tell, I was stuck on the pinning-to-walls and the taking-things-too-far. I hope you enjoy this, even though Albus refused to be a Slytherin. He was just far too large and manly and gallant and noble and clueless. But Scorpius loves him anyway. I hope you enjoy this! Huge thanks to my excellent beta, J.
Dating a Straight Boy is Weird and Creepy
"I have a proposition for you. I need to pretend to be gay."
Of all the things Albus Potter could have said, nothing could have stunned Scorpius more than that. "You need to what now?"
"Pretend to be gay. I'm not. You know. Gay. Not that there's anything wrong with it. I'm totally in favor of equal rights for homosexuals and all that. Speaking of, how's that going for you all?"
Scorpius goggled at him, but managed to smirk. "We do alright. So, you're not giving me much of an explanation here, although I will say that your support has warmed the cockles of my heart."
"Thanks, Malfoy. Anyway, you know Lorcan Scamander? Well, she fancies me." Albus blushed as he said this, as if he couldn't imagine why anyone would. Scorpius found it hard to believe that a bloke who was built like Albus Potter – not to mention with that face and that hair – would find it hard to believe a girl fancied him. Particularly a slag like Lorcan Scamander, who would probably fancy a well-polished door handle.
"And?" Scorpius prompted.
"And she asked me to the Valentine Ball. But I don't want to go with her, because… Well…"
"She's the town bicycle, yet has less finesse than the average back alley hooker?"
"Basically, yes. But my parents just love her mum, and I know they'd be upset if I didn't go out with her."
"Still failing to see where the gay comes in."
"Well, she cornered me! And she was wearing this low-cut top and her tits were hanging out." Scorpius shuddered. "She asked me if I wanted to go with her, and I panicked! I said I couldn't. Because I'm gay."
"That's really the best thing you could come up with under pressure? How did you ever make the Quiddich team, Potter? Really. And you're worried about your parents being angry at you for spurning the lovely Lori's advances, but not worried about how they'll react if their son suddenly comes over queer?"
"I told you! I didn't think! And I figure I can tell them later on that it was just a phase."
"Ah, the youthful experimentation clause. My father's still hoping for that one, I think, bless his heart."
"So, I figure I'll go out on a few dates, go to the Ball, and then later, when Lorcan's started shagging some other bloke, I'll say that I've realized I really do fancy girls after all. Then everything will be back to normal."
"And how do I fit into this plan?" Scorpius asked, quite certain he already knew the answer.
"I was sort of hoping… Sod it, Malfoy, do you want to go out with me?"
Scorpius smiled. This was really too delicious. "Why are you asking me?"
Albus rolled his eyes. "Because I already know you. And I know you're gay."
Scorpius gasped and pressed one hand to his chest over the screen-printed words, 'I Can't Even Think Straight,' and said in a bad Southern accent, "I do declare you have discovered my secret!"
"Shut it, Malfoy. I'm not asking you to do anything weird or creepy. Just go to the dance with me. Go to Hogsmeade or something with me. We'll do some homework in the library together and eat a few meals together. Then we can decide it's not working, have an amiable break-up, and you'll be none the worse for wear."
"Albus, I think that pretending to date a straight boy is weird and creepy."
"I just meant that you don't have to snog me or anything!"
Scorpius tilted his head to one side, looking Albus up and down. "What if I want to?"
"You do?" Albus looked scandalized.
"Well, I think if I'm going to do this for you, I ought to get something in return. And what if snogging a Quiddich hunk is exactly my idea of a fair payment?"
"Malfoy, be serious! Please, just do this. I'll think of a way to make it up to you."
"Fine. But you're paying when you take me out. And you're buying me a corsage for the dance. My dress is pink, so plan accordingly. The dance is tomorrow night, you know, Potter. It's deplorable manners to ask me on such short notice. Clearly nothing but orchids can make up for this."
Albus's face drained of color. "You're wearing a dress?"
"Merlin, Potter, I'm queer, not a transvestite. Although I did let your sister put me in a miniskirt once, but I promise that was for her enjoyment, not mine."
"I don't want to know what you and Lily do on your own time. The girl scares me. So, are we doing this? Please?"
Scorpius sighed. He still wasn't sure if it was a good idea, but he had no doubts he could make it fun. "We're on, Loverboy. First date, tonight, Hogsmeade. Dinner and dancing. Wear something hot or I'll send Lily over to re-dress you."
Albus looked like he was regretting the plan already, but he nodded. "Seven o'clock alright?"
"Don't be late," Scorpius said, getting up and going to find Lily. They needed to figure out how to work this to their advantage and quickly.
"Are you okay, Lillers? Because seriously, you've gone a funny color."
Lily was currently rolling around on the floor of the Slytherin common room, clutching her sides. "Albus! Is pretending! To be gay! With you!"
"Yes, I'm aware, as I'm the one he propositioned. Also you have two choices – one, don't roll around on the floor in a skirt that short, or two, renew the bikini wax. You look as though you've got spiders in there."
Lily glared at him. "Keep your eyes off my crotch, how about?" But thankfully she got up off the floor. Then she started pacing, a sure sign she was plotting something. "So… Clearly what we have to do is humiliate him."
Albus and Lily had what could be termed a combative relationship. Their older brother, James, was the happy-go-lucky one who let things roll off his back, but Albus had always been the more sensitive brother. Well, as sensitive as a walking jockstrap could be. And Lily delighted in pushing his buttons. She had a list somewhere of each and every time she'd made him cry, although as he'd gotten much older and larger and generally more manly, she hadn't succeeded in nearly four years. Scorpius sensed that she felt the potential to get one more incident for her list before Albus left Hogwarts, and was effectively out of her clutches for at least a couple of years.
"How do you suggest we do that?" Scorpius asked her. "Just so you know, I'm perfectly willing to grope his bits in public, if that'll help."
Lily clapped her hands over her ears. "Do not talk about my brother's bits! As far as I'm concerned, he and James are a pair of eunuchs. Also, how would that embarrass him? You just want to feel him up, you pervert."
"Guilty as charged. Your brother's completely fit if you haven't noticed. I could just take a bite right out of his arse and – "
"I beg you to stop talking now."
"Spoilsport. Fine, then. What non-bits-grabbing plots have you got in that head of yours, darling girl?"
"I don't know yet. And now that the amusement has worn off, I'm quite put out with you, I've decided. We were supposed to go to that dance together. Now I have to find someone else to take me, and you know how I hate nearly all people. Only the dregs of humanity will still be dateless now. It's tomorrow night, Scorpius!"
"I know, love," he said. "But you could go with Danny Pike. He's been dying to get in your knickers all year. He'd spend a lot of dosh on you. Plus, he's so obsessed with you that there's no way he's got another date. He was undoubtedly planning to go stag in the hopes you'd dance with him. And maybe fuck him. Oh! You could make him go down on you for the better part of an hour and then leave him hanging."
Lily tilted her head to one side. "I do love doing that."
"Yes, you do! Wouldn't that be fun?" He wasn't quite sure why he was trying to pacify her. He didn't particularly want to go to the dance with Albus Potter. For one thing, dances were the sort of thing that, by seventh year especially, were only really good for mocking. They were fine for newly-coupled-up fourth-years or Hufflepuffs, but he and Lily usually just spent the entire time mocking people's dress robes and ingesting various smuggled illicit substances.
For another thing, Albus Potter, despite being a gorgeous specimen of man, had always struck Scorpius as rather boring. Being Besties For Life – they had matching t-shirts – with Lily meant that he'd obviously spent time with Albus during holidays and family events, but they didn't really spend time together. Usually Scorpius and Lily would encamp on a sofa and Scorpius would French braid Lily's hair and/or whisper with her about the deplorable fashion choices of the various Weasley relations. Albus and James would spend their time doing jocky brother activities such as arm-wrestling, pick-up Quiddich, or wrestling each other on the floor.
Scorpius publicly agreed with Lily that they were little better than savages, and having a couple of meathead brothers was her cross to bear, but he occasionally enjoyed watching the Quiddich matches – particularly in the summer when they played shirts and skins – and especially the wrestling. Once when Albus had caught James in a particularly complicated hold that had forced both of them to their knees with their arses in the air, Scorpius had needed to shove Lily off his lap, pleading a leg cramp.
But still, aside from the obvious physical appeal, there was little to be said for Albus Potter. He was a dumb jock and a Gryffindor to boot. His shows of personality were limited to grunting for teammates and giving noogies to third-years. His idea of making a fashion statement was cutting the sleeves off his raggedy old t-shirts to show off his biceps. He was just so… straight. And not at all Scorpius's dream man.
Except Scorpius had always had a weakness for dark hair and swarthy complexions. And he did love a man who had a five o'clock shadow by lunchtime. He was also partial towards perfectly toned, yet not bulky, bodies that were tall, but not too tall. He did sort of enjoy the outdoorsy type, and he liked a man who was good with his hands. He also had been known to get a little giddy for light-up-a-room smiles highlighted by perfect teeth. And his favorite eye color always had been green.
Bloody hell. He'd realized that Albus Potter was attractive before – he did have eyes after all – but he'd never really realized that Albus Potter was absolutely perfect. And totally Scorpius's dream man.
"What's wrong, darling? You have a strange look on your face, and if I'm not mistaken, a bit of a hard-on."
"Fuck off, Lily. The crotch-looking thing goes both ways."
Lily decided that her first act of torture against Albus would be to dress Scorpius for their 'date' in an ensemble guaranteed to make Albus blush. Or throw a homophobic hissy fit, one of the two. He allowed her to yank him into black and white checkered trousers, so tight that he couldn't bend his legs all the way and a sleeveless black fishnet shirt, topped with a black button-down to keep him decent during the dinner portion of the evening. Although the shirt was dripping with ruffles at the neck and cuffs.
She tried to talk him into a pair of her pumps, but he flatly refused and they settled for black Italian loafers with uncomfortably pointy toes. He also sat passively, legs stretched out straight, while she flat-ironed his hair and tapped on some eye pencil. He drew the line at body glitter, though, and turned down her generous offer to share her favorite lipstick, 'Tawdry Tart.'
"Alright," Lily said, trotting along beside him as they walked towards the main door, "now he's probably going to be very uncomfortable, so you have to step it up a level. You need to be more camp than a pup-tent full of dildos, you understand?"
"Aye-aye, Cap'n," he said, saluting her with one ruffled hand.
"There's a good boy. Now are you sure you don't want to go with the lipstick?"
"You really need a female companion."
"Oh, fuck off, you big queen. Now remember, keep it nelly. For me?"
"When can I deny you anything? I'm off to embarrass your big brother for you. Pity you can't join us."
"Yes, pity. Kiss us goodbye?"
He pecked her on the mouth and said, "Shoo, then. Don't let him catch you lurking."
She turned and headed back for the dungeons, waggling her fingers over her shoulder at him. He straightened his neck ruffles and stepped into the vestibule. Albus was already there, waiting, looking almost nervous. He was slightly underdressed for a proper date, but at least his denims didn't have holes in them and his blue jumper was clean.
"Evening, Sweetums! Hope I didn't keep you waiting!" Scorpius said.
Albus looked him up and down and scowled. "There's no one here. You don't have to put on an act. And Circe's tits, you look like a gay mime."
"Why, Albus Potter, you do have a way with sweet talk! I'd best guard my virtue with extra vigilance tonight."
Albus looked confused for a moment and then resumed scowling. "Let's just go, alright?"
"There he goes, sweeping me off my feet again," Scorpius said to no one in particular, but he stepped aside and allowed Albus to open the door for him.
They walked to Hogsmeade in relative silence. Since Scorpius didn't give a toss about Quiddich – shirts and skins notwithstanding – and Albus didn't exactly care about the latest style of dress robes from Paris, they had little common ground. Scorpius felt strangely discomfited. He wasn't exactly an expert at dating. Sure, he shagged a lot, one of the perks of being a gay boy at sleep-away school, but he didn't exactly go out a lot. Except with Lily.
He could count on one hand the number of times he'd been on an actual date, and then at least there was the fall-back discussion topic of who had shagged whom. Scorpius doubted they'd find any shared lays between them, because if Albus had any interest in men, he was playing it pretty close to the vest.
They made do with chit-chat about classes and professors until they got to the restaurant. Hogsmeade only had one that was any good at all, so The Giggling Gryphon was the destination of choice for any Hogwarts student on a date. Albus opened the door for Scorpius, who briefly reflected that he could get used to dating a straight man. They had better manners.
After they were seated and ordered drinks, they faced each other across the table. Scorpius looked at Albus with new eyes. He was bloody gorgeous. It ought to be illegal.
"So what do a couple of blokes do on a date?" Albus asked, looking genuinely curious.
Scorpius sighed, disliking the reminder that Albus was off-limits. "Well, we usually compare our past shags to see if we've done any of the same people so that we can spill the goss about the dirty things we did with them."
Albus blanched. "That's kind of… nasty, don't you think?"
Shrugging, Scorpius said, "Well, I'm sure there are men who go on perfectly lovely dates where they drink wine and go to the opera and kiss each other goodnight at the doorstep. I just wouldn't know. I tend to run with the sort of crowd that drinks tequila and goes to the club and exchanges blowjobs like handshakes." At Albus's look, Scorpius backpedaled. "Well, I don't do that. The blowjob thing, I mean. I'm not a slag or anything, I swear."
Albus looked relieved, and Scorpius wasn't quite sure why. Why would Albus Potter care how many men Scorpius had been with?
Before he could ponder it further, though, Albus said, "Well, I'm not either. As I'm sure you can tell by the fact that I didn't want to go out with Lorcan. If all I cared about was getting my dick wet, I would have jumped at the chance. Right?"
Scorpius wrinkled his nose. "Ew. And why are you telling me? You think I care if you've had half the whores in Hogwarts?"
"Thank you," Scorpius said, surprised that Albus knew what alliteration was.
"Don't mention it. Anyway, if I'm going to be your fake boyfriend, I figure you ought to know that I'm not… I dunno…"
"A tramp? A harlot? A strumpet? A slut? A hussy? A bawd?"
"I beg you to stop."
"You know, your sister says that exact phrase to me all the time."
"I can't blame her. And our mum says it," he said with a grin.
"Really? Lils never told me that," Scorpius said, pleased that they were having an actual conversation.
"You know, my father thought for the longest time that you were trying to sleep with Lily."
Scorpius nearly spit his drink on the table. "He what?" Scorpius shouted, descending into a coughing fit that caused several other patrons to turn and look at them.
Albus shrugged. "My father's a good man, but he's a mite clueless at times."
"I would say so. I mean, Lils is a bit of alright. Love the girl to death. She's a hell of a kisser, too. If she didn't have that little problem of missing a key body part that I sorely need, I'd marry her tonight. But as it stands now… What?"
Scorpius belatedly noticed that Albus was gripping his fork so hard that it was bending in his hand. His face was beet red and his glass of lager was vibrating slightly. "You've been snogging my sister?" he asked, his voice low and lethal.
Scorpius put both hands up. "Easy, big guy! I just offered to help her practice!"
"You know – so she could learn how to do it. There was some prat she had a thing for and didn't want to make a mess of it on her first go, so I showed her how. Purely in the name of science, mate. I mean, she's a girl, and I'm definitely not interested in girls, alright? Don't kill me."
Albus put the fork down. "No one's going to get killed. Except maybe Lily. Honestly, she shouldn't be snogging anyone. She's only fifteen!"
Scorpius really didn't have the heart to tell Albus that Lily did a whole lot more than that. He intended to make it out of this sham relationship with all of his limbs still attached to his body, and Potter struck him as the type to shoot the messenger.
"I know. I do keep an eye on her, you know. And although I wouldn't resort to violence, you seem like the type who would punch a bloke in the face if he got cheeky with her, so I'd just run and tell you, alright? She's like my sister, too."
"Okay. As long as you swear you're not doing anything shifty with her."
"She's a girl," Scorpius protested, wondering just how thick Albus was that he wasn't getting this. "I've seen her starkers a hundred times and never felt a thing."
"What were you doing with my sister naked?" Albus growled, picking up the fork again.
"Nothing! I swear! Just trying on clothes and the like. Bugger, I'm no good at this."
"Fuckin' a, you're not," Albus said, but he was smiling now.
"See, this is good. We're learning things about each other, which is what you're supposed to do on a date. You've learned that I only like to fuck men, and I've learned that you're a raving lunatic who enjoys violence. I should be taking notes."
"Do you want to get punched in the face tonight?"
"Likes. It. Rough," Scorpius said, pretending to write it on an invisible notepad.
"Cut it out, you twit. Sorry, okay? She's my little sister, and I got a little je – er, protective. I do not like anything rough. Except Quiddich or something."
After that point, the conversation seemed to flow more easily. They ate and drank and actually had conversations. Plural. They mostly talked about The Potter-Weasley clan, since Scorpius knew them all. Albus had lots of good stories that Lily either hadn't heard or hadn't remembered to recount. Scorpius was laughing heartily at a tale about Albus's Uncle Ron and a Muggle peppermill, when Albus smiled sort of fondly at him and asked, "Why do you always come to our house for the holidays?"
"Do you have a problem with that?" Scorpius asked, feeling sort of attacked.
"Of course not! I just wondered why you don't go to your own family. I asked Lily once, but she said I was being a nosy arsehole and to mind my own."
"You are being a nosy arsehole. But there's no big story or anything. It's just more fun at your place."
"Oh, I sort of thought… Well, like you said this morning about your father hoping you'd realize you were going through a phase, and…"
"Ah, I see. You heard me say that and your noble Gryffindor mind imagined that I'd been cast out by my family, disowned and disenfranchised by my horrible homophobic parents and that clearly my only choices were to seek refuge with your powerful family or else become a downtrodden yet still devastatingly handsome rentboy?"
Albus flushed and Scorpius knew he'd hit the nail on the head. So predictable. "I didn't think about the rentboy thing," Albus protested.
"It's alright, Potter. My parents aren't angry at me or anything; maybe just a bit disappointed. I mean, the Malfoy family has obviously suffered a few hits in recent generations. There was that kafuffle with my grandfather and The Dark Lord, which is best to just skip over, particularly on a first date, and my father didn't fare too much better in the press, I'm afraid. Although he has admitted he wasn't so much evil as colossally misguided and easily led. But I think he sort of hoped that I'd be this perfect Malfoy offspring, you know? Make up for it."
Albus nodded. "Everyone expects me to be a perfect Potter offspring, so I understand."
"In what galaxy are you not a perfect Potter offspring?" Scorpius asked, flabbergasted. Albus Potter was handsome and robust and athletic, and alright, not exactly a genius, but he wasn't a complete dunce. And he was turning out to be a bit friendlier and more entertaining than Scorpius had suspected he'd be. In fact, this whole fake date thing wasn't turning out to be a hardship in the least.
"Trust me, I'm not perfect. But anyway, you were saying?"
"Oh, right. So anyway, I think they were just really hoping that I'd get a respectable job, probably with the Ministry, and get married and have a basketful of perfect grandchildren, and that people would say, 'Those Malfoys aren't so bad after all.' But instead, they got me. And I know they love me, but… I suppose the thing is that I don't have any brothers or sisters or cousins or any other relatives at all, really. And when I'm there, they have nothing to focus on except me. And it's not easy to have that sort of scrutiny. But with your family, there are so many people around that no one cares how I dress or what I say or who I shag. I don't have to feel like everyone's looking at me."
Scorpius paused, wondering why he'd said all that. He'd never really put it into words before, but it was quite true.
Albus was smiling at him in a rather odd way. "I'm glad you fit in with us," he said, and Scorpius felt a little tingle of warmth.
Then someone spoke, ruining the moment. "Potter? What are you doing here? And with him?" It was Hawthorne Wilkes, a Ravenclaw Quiddich player. He'd been walking to a table with his date, a pretty blonde girl Scorpius thought might have been called Ellen.
Albus seemed to be frozen in place, so Scorpius took over. "We're on a date, obviously. Albus and I are going out now. Do you have a problem with that?"
Wilkes looked between the two of them for a moment, trying to process this. "Going out?" he asked, rather stupidly.
Scorpius stretched his hand across the table. Albus still hadn't moved, so Scorpius kicked him under the table and looked pointedly at his hand. Albus jerked into motion and gripped Scorpius's hand a bit too hard. "Yes. We're going out," he agreed.
"This isn't a sideshow, Wilkes," Scorpius said, starting to get annoyed. "Move along."
"Right. Nice to see you then," Hawthorne said, taking his date's hand and moving off towards their table.
"Well, there. We accomplished it," Scorpius said.
Albus looked at him oddly. "Accomplished what?"
"Well, you wanted us to be seen together, right? To lend credence to the story that we're dating now. That's why we're here, isn't it?"
Albus's cheeks got a little pink. "Oh, yes, right. That's why we're here."
"Well, he's gone now. You can let go of my hand. I think you're crushing it."
Snatching his hand away, Albus said, "I'm so sorry."
Scorpius flexed his fingers. "No harm done. I shall live to give handjobs another day. You big brute," he teased.
Albus flushed again. "I said I was sorry!"
"It's quite alright. Goes along with the whole getting-to-know-you thing. I'll add it to the list. Doesn't. Know. Own. Strength."
"Oh, cut it out, you wanker," Albus said, but he was smiling again.
After dinner, they went to the only club in Hogsmeade that was worth going to, The Snickering Sphinx – Hogsmeade really was pathetically lacking in the nightlife department – and stood at the bar, attempting to be seen, Scorpius assumed.
"We're in luck," he said loudly, leaning close to Albus to be heard over the beat of the music. "There are lots of people we know here tonight."
Albus looked around as if to verify that fact. "Does that mean we have to dance?" he shouted back.
"Of course. We're supposed to be here on a date. Standing around holding up the bar is something two friends would do. If it's going to look like we're together, we have to dance. At least a few times." Scorpius put his hand on Albus's arm, which was tight as a drum. He was in no way looking forward to having an excuse to put his hands all over Albus's body. Not in the slightest.
"I don't really know how to dance," Albus said, looking nervous.
"Straight boys," Scorpius said in exasperation. "It's not hard. Just move to the music. I know you can move. I've seen you on a broomstick."
Albus preened. Scorpius started unbuttoning his shirt. "What are you doing?" Albus asked him, gulping a bit.
"It's hot in here. Besides, a bit of skin is encouraged in a place like this."
Scorpius pulled off the shirt and draped it over the back of the barstool. Albus was looking at him with a very strange look on his face. Scorpius stifled the urge to cross his arms over his chest. "What?"
"That's, um… An… interesting shirt," Albus managed.
"Thanks, I guess. Have you got anything on under there?" Scorpius asked, tugging at Albus's jumper. "You'll roast in that." He lifted the hem and saw that Albus was wearing a threadbare ribbed undershirt, the sort preferred by old men and déclassé Americans, which Scorpius had never approved of.
However when Albus pulled the jumper off and then lifted his arms to straighten his hair, Scorpius realized that he'd never seen one on a chest like Albus Potter's. Scorpius immediately reversed his opinion. "Oh, you'll more than do."
"Really?" Albus asked, looking quite thrilled.
Scorpius smiled. "Honestly, you must get better compliments than that on an hourly basis."
Albus smiled back and shrugged a little. "So you want to dance?"
"I thought you'd never ask."
Albus took Scorpius's hand in a very gentlemanly fashion and lead him onto the dance floor. Then he stood there, looking rather wooden and swaying slightly.
"Honestly, Potter. You're going to have to do better than that if you're going to be with me," Scorpius teased, and ran both hands up Albus's chest, feeling every muscle through the thin shirt. Albus shivered and looked at him strangely again. There was something almost predatory in his eyes. "Oh, are we being watched?" Scorpius asked, figuring Albus was putting on a show.
"Oh, um, yes," Albus said, wrapping his arms around Scorpius's waist.
"Oh, good," Scorpius said, glad to have an excuse to touch Albus without fear.
They danced for almost an hour, Albus getting better and better as he loosened up and got into it. Scorpius couldn't stop touching him. There was something wonderful about being able to touch a gorgeous man and know that there were no expectations. They were just dancing, just touching, just being together. It was quite enjoyable, to tell the truth.
Then Scorpius saw a flash of red hair and a familiar face. "Lily!" he said a little too loudly, guiltily removing his hands from Albus's chest. "What are you doing here?"
"Yeah," Albus growled. "It's too late for you to be out."
Lily rolled her eyes and indicated the large group of girls around her. "I was telling some of my girlfriends how my best friend is dating my brother now. And they just couldn't believe it. I had to bring them to see the evidence themselves."
"And it was a good excuse to go out to the club," Scorpius added.
"Why must you always imply that I have ulterior motives?" Lily asked, feigning offense.
"Because you do," Albus put in.
Lily waved her hand dismissively. "Anyway, I was saying that undoubtedly, since you're really dating and all, you'd probably be snogging. So?"
Scorpius clenched his hands into fists. As much as he'd enjoy giving Albus a bit of a workout at this point, it really was too much for Lily to go there. He chanced a peek at Albus out of the corner of his eye.
Albus looked a bit dumbstruck. "Snogging?" he said in a quiet voice. "While you watch?"
"Well, if you're really a couple, why wouldn't you? I'm sure you want to, right? I mean you wouldn't be together unless you just couldn't keep your hands off each other."
"Lily, darling, could I talk to you outside for a moment?" Scorpius said, staring daggers at her.
"It's okay, baby," Albus said, putting his hand on Scorpius's arm.
Baby? Just what the hell did Potter think he was playing at? Before Scorpius could say anything, though, Albus leaned over and touched his lips to Scorpius's.
It was very tentative and delicate and Scorpius, who was used to being kissed hungrily by overeager men who were trying to get him into bed, and thus, was completely unprepared for kissing that was done tenderly and innocently. And he positively melted.
He was dimly aware of Albus's hands cupping his jaw, and even less aware of the fact that his own hands were clutching Albus's back. Albus's lips moved gently across his, just barely sucking on his lower lip. Scorpius whimpered. Just a little, but enough that it must have startled Albus. He released Scorpius's lip with a little slurping noise and leaned back, looking dumbstruck again.
Scorpius dragged his eyes away from Albus's face and looked over at Lily. Her mouth was hanging open, and she looked even more surprised than Albus. "Well," she finally said. "Well."
Dragging himself back together, Scorpius said, "Satisfied? We're clearly a real couple. So go start telling everyone. Go on. Now."
"Yeah, you look like a real couple. Really real. And fine, we'll leave you two studs alone."
With that, she turned back into the crowd with her entourage trailing behind her. Scorpius looked at Albus. "So, that was some convincing acting."
Albus cleared his throat. "Acting? I mean, yes, acting. I'm glad it seemed real." He nodded emphatically.
"Well, do you want to dance some more?" Scorpius offered.
"Actually, we probably ought to get back."
Scorpius fought down the disappointment. "Right. We accomplished what we came here to do. What's the point of staying, right?"
They wound their way through the other dancers, gathered their shirts and Albus paid the tab. They walked home with a few stilted attempts at conversation, but it was unspeakably awkward and each time petered into silence after a few hesitant phrases.
Once inside the door, Scorpius said, "Well, thanks for dinner. I'll see you tomorrow for the dance, right?"
Albus looked sort of sad. "What about studying together or something tomorrow?"
Scorpius wasn't sure he could handle being in Albus's presence any more than he had to. "I think everyone's bought our little story. And if they haven't already, they will by the time Lily's done yapping about it. I don't think there's any need to present more evidence."
"Right," Albus said, nodding. "Of course. So, is eight o'clock alright for the dance? I could pick you up at your common room door then."
Scorpius swallowed. He was really too good to be true. Gorgeous, charming, chivalrous. Altogether so much more than Scorpius had previously assumed. But he couldn't let this get out of control – the last thing he needed in his life was a mad crush on someone who could never return his feelings. "Make it half eight. I want to be fashionably late. And there's no need to pick me up, as we're not really dating. I'll just meet you outside the Great Hall."
"Alright," Albus said, ducking his head. "See you then."
"Yes. Later," Scorpius said, turning and walking away before he could say something asinine.
Scorpius had a shower before bed to get rid of the smell of stale smoke from the club. And the traces of Albus Potter's cologne, which he hadn't really noticed at the time, but kept catching whiffs of the whole way back to the dungeon.
He changed into pyjama bottoms and climbed into bed, immediately springing back when he realized it was already occupied. "Lily Luna! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" he screeched.
"Shhh. People are trying to sleep," she told him serenely, pulling him down onto the bed and closing the hangings.
"I know, namely me. Why are you here?"
"Why do you think I'm here?"
Blast. He should have known that he wasn't going to get away with exchanging the world's most convincing fake kiss with her brother and not giving her every detail afterwards. "Fine. What do you want to hear?"
"I don't want to hear anything. I can tell you're already head-over-heels for him, and don't deny it."
Scorpius opened his mouth to do just that, but she held up one finger warningly, and he clamped his lips shut.
"Good boy. Anyway, he's clearly madly in love with you and we have to figure out how we're going to handle that. Not that I'm not thrilled at the idea of having you for my brother-in-law, but there are some details we need to iron out."
All Scorpius could hear after 'madly in love with you' was a sort of buzzing in his head. "Come again?" he managed to say.
She rolled her eyes as if she couldn't believe what an utter simpleton she was dealing with. "Albus. He's clearly in love with you. I wonder how long this has been going on. And right under my nose, too! I'm quite put out with him. You think he would have left some sort of hint. I'm usually better at reading these things."
"Lily, what in the world are you talking about?"
She reached up and gripped his face between her hands, forcing him to look directly into her eyes. "My brother. Albus. Is. In love. With you. Are we communicating now?"
Scorpius struggled to wrap his head around what she was saying. "He can't be. He's straight," he protested, clinging to that one truth.
"Says who? I mean, think about it. It makes a lot of sense. He's gone out with girls, but usually just as a one-time thing, like a dance or a party. He never goes after girls or anything. Not like most of these savages around here. And I thought it was just because he was too much of a sweaty dolt and he'd rather spend his time doing push-ups or whatever he does than chase girls. But maybe it's because he's just not interested in girls."
Scorpius sucked in a breath before he could censor himself. Lily leaned close to him, resting her head on his shoulder. "I hope I'm right. I have to be right. Because you're really, actually, completely sprung on him, aren't you?"
He reached up and stroked her hair. "Not in the least," he lied.
But she knew it was a lie, and he knew she knew it was a lie, and she knew that he knew that she knew, so there was really nothing more to say. So they curled up together and went to sleep. Or at least Lily did. He lay in silence, staring at the canopy above him, remembering the way Albus had said, "I'm not. You know. Gay."
Scorpius spent the entire next day in his room, languishing. He figured that he deserved it, and also, he had no intention of seeing Albus Potter any sooner than he had to. In fact, he was starting to doubt the wisdom of seeing Albus Potter at all.
By the time Lily came to check on him and help him get ready for the dance, he'd worked himself into a right state. He greeted her with, "I'm not going, so you can march your narrow arse right back out the door."
She ignored him completely. "Of course you are. Shower. Now."
"I said I'm not going."
"Of course you are. You're just scared, and rightly so. This is all happening a little quickly."
"Oh, you think?"
"Trust me, no one is more shocked and amazed then I am."
"Why are you doing this, Lily? I thought you wanted Albus to be miserable at all times. He might cry if I stand him up. You could put it on your list!"
Lily turned away from his cupboard, holding a shirt. She looked down at it and then smiled at him. "You really do deserve each other. You're as thick as he is. I might enjoy having you in the family, you know."
"Lillers, I come to every family event you have. Any time the Potters and Weasleys gather, I'm there with you."
She looked sad. "True, but if you met a man and he had his own family, you'd go with him to all his events and spend holidays with him. If you and Albus are together, my family really will be your family. And then I won't ever lose you."
Scorpius didn't think he'd ever been more touched. He opened his arms to her and she dropped the shirt and climbed on his lap. "What if I see him for a while, and we break up? And then it's unspeakably awkward for me to go anywhere near your family."
"That's easy. Then I'll just hate him for the rest of my life for breaking your heart. And I'll spend all my hols with you and your fabulous new and better boyfriend. Duh."
He laughed. "Alright, you've sold me. Stop sniveling on me and help me get dressed. And I promised I wouldn't wear a dress, so don't even ask."
Scorpius shifted from foot-to-foot outside the Great Hall. He'd allowed Lily to dress him in a very well-cut black suit with a pink shirt and pink and black striped tie. She assured him that it was perfect for a Valentine Ball and not at all too nelly. That was the main reason Scorpius preferred trousers to robes – he was a little too swishy to pull off a glorified dress.
He still had no bloody clue what he was going to say to Albus. Somehow he didn't think 'Your sister thinks you might be in love with me based on observing one thirty-second kiss and I sort of hope she's right because I've recently decided that you aren't the dim pretty boy I always thought you were and I might fancy you rather a lot' wasn't exactly the smoothest thing he could say.
"You look… nice," said a voice behind him. Scorpius turned and saw Albus standing there, also looking nervous. He was wearing dress robes of a deep navy blue. He didn't look at all like a man in a dress though, and it made Scorpius's heart skip a beat. Lily was right. He was totally head-over-heels.
"Thank you," Scorpius said, finding his voice. "So do you."
"Thanks. This is for you," Albus said, holding out a box. Inside was one perfect pink orchid.
Head-over-heels didn't even begin to cover it.
"You actually got me an orchid?" Scorpius couldn't quite believe it.
"And you're even wearing pink. Although I am glad it's not a dress."
"Don't think Lily didn't try," Scorpius joked, but his hands were a little shaky as he went to pin the flower to his lapel.
"Here. Let me help," Albus said, stepping forward and helping to secure the flower. He stepped back and looked at Scorpius. "Beautiful."
Bugger. Scorpius had to face facts. He was really, actually, completely sprung on Albus Potter. And now he had to hope to hell that Lily was right and that Albus might possibly, somehow, in some way, feel the same.
They walked into the dance and passed some time having punch and nibbling on ridiculous heart-shaped biscuits. If Scorpius had been there with Lily, they would have undoubtedly ripped the very notion of heart-shaped biscuits to shreds and mocked anyone who would even consider enjoying such a thing. But being there with Albus, as his date, even though it might possibly have been fake, made the little pink treats seem almost endearing.
They were also delicious. He was standing over to the side while Albus chatted with some large fellow who was undoubtedly a fellow Quiddich player, when Lily sidled up to him. "Stress eating?"
Scorpius immediately dropped the biscuit guiltily on the table. "How dare you?"
"Whatever. Don't blame me if you lose your girlish figure. Anyway, what are you doing? You need to seduce him."
"Seduce him! Come up with a plan."
"Why do I have to come up with a plan? I'm in a fragile mind state."
She rolled her eyes at him. "Do something. Tell him that Lorcan is looking for him and you need to step up the 'boyfriends' thing. Then get him to snog you again. Make it good. Hopefully he'll cave."
"I can do that!" Scorpius grabbed Lily and kissed her cheek. "You are an evil genius and I couldn't love you more if I were your mother. Now go far away from here immediately."
"Yes, sir. And if you need to, grab his bits."
"I thought you were against that idea. What happened to him being a eunuch and you begging me to stop talking and – "
"What, do you record our conversations? And that was before we found out he wanted to make you my brother-in-law. Now go. Grab if you have to, just don't give me any details other than existent or non-existent, alright?"
"Deal. Now get out of here," he said, shoving her.
"What was that all about?" Albus asked, startling Scorpius.
"Oh, sorry. I thought you were still talking to your friend."
"I saw you and Lily whispering and I got worried."
It was a perfect opening and Scorpius took it. "She just wanted to warn us that Lorcan was looking for you. She said she was hoping to get a dance or something."
Albus paled and looked around. "I don't see her."
Scorpius assumed that she was probably off riding someone like a pony, but he simply said, "Well, she's around here somewhere. Maybe we should go dance. You know, act more couple-y."
Albus flushed a little. "I can do that." He extended his arm gallantly. "May I have this dance?"
Scorpius had to try very hard not to swoon. He was positively itching to press his wrist to his forehead. "Of course," he said instead, taking Albus's arm.
They found a spot on the dance floor and Scorpius let Albus take him into an embrace. He felt so damn good that Scorpius wanted to grab him and refuse to let go. Ever.
After they'd been swaying for a bit, Scorpius simply couldn't take it anymore. Albus was so strong and he smelled so good and his arms felt so perfect that Scorpius looked at him and said, "Kiss me."
Albus grinned as if he'd been waiting all night for permission to do just that. He leaned in and touched Scorpius's lips in the gentle way he had – the one that made Scorpius want to die at that precise moment because nothing would ever be so good again.
And then Albus was sliding his tongue across Scorpius's bottom lip, and Scorpius was opening his mouth, and then there was tongue, and hold the Floo, because obviously things could get a lot better.
Someone catcalled and then a voice shouted, "Get a room!"
Albus pulled away and Scorpius panicked, thinking that Albus was embarrassed. But instead he took Scorpius's hand and led him off the dance floor announcing, "Good idea!" to the room at large.
He dragged Scorpius out into the corridor and then stopped, breathing heavily. His cheeks were red and as Scorpius watched, he leaned over and rested his head against the stone wall. "Merlin," he whispered.
"Sorry," Scorpius said, knowing he sounded meek and girly. "I think I may have gotten carried away."
"You got carried away?"
"Well, yes." Scorpius took a deep breath. "Lorcan wasn't even around; I just said that so I could snog you."
Albus simply stared at him for a moment, and Scorpius wondered whether he was going to get punched in the face. Then Albus grabbed him and shoved him up against the wall. The stones were cold and hard, even through his suit jacket, and he knew that there was at least a chance he should be afraid, but having Albus Potter throw him up against the wall was a simply marvelous experience. And then Albus's mouth was on his, and Albus's tongue was in his mouth, and Albus's body was pressed up against his and they were kissing like the world might end and they wouldn't care. Albus's hands were holding Scorpius's shoulders, but then they drifted up to his neck and then still higher to tangle into Scorpius's blonde hair.
Scorpius wrapped both hands around Albus's back and held onto him for dear life. He'd been wrong again. Things were continuing to be able to get better and better and he certainly didn't want to die now because it was starting to seem like there might be a chance he could actually have sex with Albus Potter and there was no way he was missing that.
"Oh, goody! I love when I'm right."
Albus lifted his mouth from Scorpius's long enough to say, "Go away, Lily."
"No, this is sort of fun. I finally found a good use for you, Al."
"Lily for the love of all that's holy go away," Scorpius yelled.
"No. I want to hear you say that I was right."
Albus leaned back and Scorpius had to restrain himself from grabbing him and pulling him close again. "What were you right about?"
"I told Scorpius that you were clearly madly in love with him and you cooked up this incredibly lame plot as an excuse to get close to him because you're too much of a moron to just go up to him like a normal person and say, 'I fancy you. How about we have a nice date?' and instead you put on some big production. How am I doing?"
Albus's face was completely red and he made a sort of strangled little cough. "That's not exactly how it went, but sort of."
"So how long have you been crushing on my best friend?" Lily asked, crossing her arms.
"Lily, don't you think I should talk to him about it?" Albus asked, not meeting Scorpius's eyes.
"He's listening. Talk."
Albus gulped and turned to Scorpius. "Well, I always thought you were interesting, you know? I… watched you, I guess. When you were at my house. And I don't know…" He shuffled his feet. "Somewhere along the line I decided I sort of wanted to see what it would be like to snog you. But I knew you thought I was just this dumb jock. I didn't know how I could get you to spend time with me so I could prove I wasn't. I thought if I asked you out, you'd think I was taking the piss or something."
Scorpius would have admitted that he would have thought exactly that, but at the moment he was too thrilled to say or do anything at all other than grabbing Albus, threading his arms around Albus's neck, and smashing their lips together.
Albus pressed him back up against the wall and moved down Scorpius's jaw, attacking his neck. Scorpius threw his head back and moaned.
"You know, you two should think about really getting a room," Lily suggested.
"Shut up, Lily," Scorpius panted.
Albus released Scorpius's neck and said, "Actually, she has a point." He gave Scorpius a cheeky grin. "My place or yours?"
"Yours," Scorpius said instantly. "She keeps getting into mine."
"I can find a way into Gryffindor, you know!" Lily called, but Albus and Scorpius were already on their way to Gryffindor Tower at a dead run and didn't hear a word.