Title: Ardor Animorum

Author: AristideCauquemaire

Pairing: Scorpius Malfoy/James Sirius Potter

Rating: M for grown-up language and sexual situations and themes.

Warnings: SEQUEL, original characters; slash, non-consensual situations

Hello, sweetie! If you haven't read 'Calor Cupiditatis', I'd strongly advise you to go do that since this is a sequel to that story.

Also, unsurprisingly, this story, just like its prequel, is still slash. It's still about two male humans falling in love and desiring each other and such. If that's not your cup of pumpkin juice, please make use of the 'back' button of your browser now. Thank you!

To all the others: Welcome back! Please enjoy!

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Chapter 1

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"Pinch me," he whispered hoarsely at Mariella. He needed help tearing his eyes away, as soon as possible.

McGonagall was just explaining that Potter's outstanding marks in his Potion's N.E.W.T.s last year and his personally expressed interest in the subject matter had earned him this rare admission as a temporary student apprentice with full teacher's authority, given with consent of the Ministry's education department, the board of parents and the entire Hogwarts staff.

'Temporary' apparently meaning 'for at least a year'.

"What?"

Potter, still standing up and not seeming the least bit uncomfortable doing it even though all eyes were on him, glanced at McGonagall with an unreadable expression. Confident, indifferent.

"I said, pinch me, damn you," he choked between clenched teeth.

Potter looked even more mature and self-confident than Scorpius remembered him, he held his chin so high that his face seemed positively regal. The dark grey robe he was wearing accented his strong shoulders and his height. It looked like he had grown another two centimetres over the summer holidays, Scorpius thought. Or maybe that was just his posture.

He felt his stomach curl up on itself with twofold fear. Fear that he would look over at him and notice him watching. Fear that he wouldn't look over at him because he didn't give a shit.

Mariella frowned and finally complied. Being the sister of three elder brothers, she really knew how to pinch properly. It actually hurt so horribly Scorpius had to hold back a yelp of pain, and water had welled up in his eyes when she was done. He cupped his arm and rubbed the throbbing spot on his biceps. And eventually managed to turn away, back toward the table, hunching his shoulders and only incidentally hiding behind Mariella.

"Satisfied?" she hissed. When he nodded, she sighed exasperatedly. "Merlin, Malfoy. You're being melodramatic. I really need you to get a grip."

"How?" he asked through clenched teeth and threw her a teary-eyed glance that spoke of all the things he hadn't told her before. Of how James was already a fixed point, a constant in his head and how it was therefore impossible to bear being in the same castle with the real, actual Potter, much less in the same Potions classroom – how it was just too crowded with Potters. How it reversed all his efforts to disentangle his confusion, just like that, how all his letter-writing had instantly proved to be nothing but vain attempts of convincing himself that things were sorted out now in his heart and that it made sense, any sense whatsoever. How old shame and renewed lust just surged through him with each laboured breath just by looking at him standing up there. It just wasn't fair. Why couldn't it have just been that stupid spell? Everything would have been simple.

Mariella, for the third time in her life, was lost for words and said nothing. She merely looked concerned, the wrinkle between her eyebrows giving away the hint of aversion.

"Yo, Malfoy. You look like you're going to hurl," Bagman suddenly commented and pulled everyone's scattered attentions toward him.

Scorpius faintly noted how ironic it was that his new year at Hogwarts basically started with the same sentence – and the same feeling – with which the old one had ended. And for the same reason.

The arrival of food saved him from having to reply. Everyone dug in with a cheer, instantly forgetting everyone and everything except their own plate and rumbling tummy.

Scorpius ate mostly because it would look suspicious if he didn't. It was oddly tasteless in his mouth and he found himself chewing each bite too long so it got almost difficult to swallow it down. His head automatically kept track of the conversation for him, and he even managed to contribute on cue so no one except Mariella noticed that anything was amiss.

When the feast was over and everyone started to file out of the Great Hall and toward their common rooms and dormitories, Potter had vanished from the teachers' table and was nowhere to be found. Scorpius had never known that it was possible to be disappointed and overjoyed at the same time at the sight of an empty chair.

Two hours later he stared at his timetable for the year. Everyone who looked over his shoulder expressed their condolences and berated him for retaining too many electives. So many hours crammed into six short days and certain constellations of lessons on certain days – especially the double Charms, double DA, double History, double Runes on Mondays, starting tomorrow – earned him numerous ooh's and compassionate pats on the back.

All he really noted was that he had Potions on Wednesdays, Fridays and alternate Saturdays.

That meant he might see Potter again in three days.

Three endlessly long, excruciatingly short days.

/

Scorpius tried his hardest not to look agitated.

There was nothing he could do against the agitation inside that accompanied him from the moment he woke up – and then truly flared up when he turned up the shower tap – until the moment he fell asleep again. It got worse during walks down corridors, and during mealtimes in the Great Hall. James Potter was never there, but he figured that it was all just a matter of statistics and time. Statistically, each minute that passed by without two residents of the same castle meeting one another increased the likelihood that they would meet the next minute. That was why Tuesday was much worse than Monday.

But he didn't look agitated, or at least not significantly more annoyed than all the other seventh years, so he managed to blend in somehow.

That was, until an owl arrived during dinner.

The slim little thing hopped across the table, so featherweight that it didn't manage to knock anything over but somehow managing to create a mess anyway. The others grumbled as Scorpius single-handedly undid the ribbon on the leg the owl presented to him.

He assumed it was from Tiffany, something about Quidditch again. Or maybe even from the library, from the newly appointed students' clerk he had met yesterday when looking for a tome he would need for his Runes homework. She had said that it was in the mildew bath, and that she would let him know when it was good to go again.

He choked on the spoonful of porridge when the note clearly read 'To: S. Malfoy. From: J.S. Potter'.

"What'chu got?" Prince, who had chosen to sit next to him this evening – to get a table between himself and Bagman, no doubt – asked nosily.

And snatched the note away from him.

White hot panic shot up his spine and his Quidditch reflexes kicked in. He dropped the spoon he'd still been holding – it landed with a loud clang that scared the owl away -, grabbed Prince's wrist hard with his left hand and closed his right around the fingers and the note they held, covering it so Prince wouldn't be able to read the name.

"Give that back right now," he all but snarled and slowly rose from his seat to tower over his schoolmate and to have the advantage of gravity.

Shocked silence fell around them, even spreading to the Ravenclaw table. People turned around and stared.

Scorpius didn't care. His heart was beating, fluttering in his throat. He stared Prince right in the eye and repeated, very slowly, "Give it back, Prince. I'm serious."

Prince, as usual when he didn't know what to do, tried to act cool. "Yes, you are," he drawled, not breaking eye contact and tightly holding on to the parchment. "You want it back, huh? Maybe we can make a deal."

"Here's the deal, then," Scorpius said, barely loud enough for Prince to hear. "You give it back and I don't break your fingers."

He actually saw Prince swallow. Which was ridiculous, really. Prince was at least six stone heavier and half a head taller than him, and Scorpius didn't have anywhere near the kind of strength such a feat would require. But Prince believed it anyway.

"Is there a problem here?" a voice suddenly asked.

Reflexively, Scorpius let go of his schoolmate's arm, and turned his head. And then he just stared.

The first thing he thought was that James had really got taller. It wasn't just posture.

And, if possible, more attractive. Manlier, something in his head shouted.

The third thing was that the likelihood to see him tomorrow would statistically be plummeting now. Scorpius decided there and then that statistics was a bunch of doxy crap.

James' hand darted forward and plucked the note from Prince's still-lifted hand.

"That's mine," Scorpius meant to say, but his throat was suddenly very dry and only 'mine' made it out audibly.

Potter turned the little note in his fingers and seemed to read the script on the envelope. "Indeed it is," he eventually said lightly.

For a tense moment, Scorpius feared that he would expose him. Right here, in front of his friends and schoolmates. One word, one gesture was all it would take.

And James knew it, Scorpius could see it in his face. He saw him contemplate.

Finally, handing the parchment back to Scorpius with a languid motion, James looked him dead in the eye and said with a frosty undertone, "Always handy when these come with a name, isn't it?"

Numbly, he took the note back, slid it deeply into his coat pocket and sank back down on the bench, weak-kneed.

"Measly assistant for a day and he's already acting like someone made him headmaster," Bagman commented snidely when Potter was out of earshot, while Shrew mumbled around a mouthful of potatoes, "What the hell was that all about?", and Prince grumbled, rubbing his sore knuckles, "Malfoy's got his monthlies, apparently."

Scorpius didn't hear what was said after that. He counted down fifteen seconds, mumbled "I forgot something" to no one in particular and got up in a hurry. He left the Great Hall at a pace, never turning his head or even looking up from the floor before him, feeling for the parchment in his pocket but not pulling it out until he was safely outside and around two corners.

The note was short and written in a neat script.

'Tonight, 9 p.m. sharp, same place.
Don't you dare not to show.'

And then, below that and slightly less neat – or maybe he was just imagining it? -

'Wear your tie.'

/

/TBC

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