~*Arts of Denial*~

Written by: Cisselah

(Beater 2)

written for Cearphilly Catapults in The Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition

Prompts: 1, 3, 4, 7 & 8. Albus/Scorpius


I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves,

I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves,

I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves,

and this is how it goes.

- The Song That Gets on Everybody's nerves


She giggles and strokes her hand down his chest. It goes on forever. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. It's like watching a moment in time replaying itself again and again and again, a photograph locked in one moment. Slowly, the hand moves down to hook on to one of the belt loops, the other hand gliding up towards his neck to hold him steady as she presses butterfly kisses against his skin.

Albus looks away, but it only last for a few brief moments before he has to look back, has to see what's happening. It's like watching a train wreck in making. Something so horrible it is irresistible to watch, even though Albus knows he will pay for it later tonight when he lies in his bed and torments himself with images of the two of them.

Rose and Scorpius.

His favorite cousin and his favorite friend.

"Ease up, mate," Fletcher says as he elegantly leans forward to snag a lemon drop. "Scorp isn't gonna hurt her. He knows how much you love her"

Albus wishes that was the problem.

Totally ignorant to his friend's growing despair (or maybe he just doesn't care, either one is possible with Fletcher), the dark-haired boy continues. "Besides, little Rosie can take care of herself," he grins. "Remember that Ravenclaw prick who tried to sneak his hands down her trousers in detention? Poor bugger didn't have anything below the elbow when she was done with him"

Albus knows he should work himself up over this, just like he did when he first heard it. He should fume and rage and plot revenge in the most Slytherin manner (because if there is anything the Slytherin House has perfected over the years, other than lying, spying and cheating on Potion Exams, then it's Revenge - with a big 'R') but he can't muster enough energy to even pretend.

"Right..." he mumbles, staring down at the empty paper that is his History of Magic essay. As he watches, a drop of ink gathers at the tip of his quill and falls to the paper.

To his right, Fletcher snorts.

It's easy to imagine bringing the quill up and stabbing his friend in the eye with it. Albus has been around Fletcher long enough that those kinds of fantasies have become somewhat of a habit. With his freakishly handsome face, elegant charm and obnoxious behavior, it's hard to interact with the aristocratic pureblood without feeling any homicidal urges. It's also impossible to ignore him. Fletcher is the kind of person that not only demands the attention of everyone in the room but both charms and antagonizes whoever he meets, something that has always made Albus envy him at the same time as he admires him.

Another peek at the happy couple reveals that Rose had continued her exploration and is now happily examining Scorpius's tonsils with her tongue. His hands are in her hair, leaning her back against a library shelf as he ravishes her with the passion only an experienced kisser can achieve. He seems completely immersed in his task, but his silver-grey eyes (oh Merlin, those eyes) are steadily meeting Albus's over Rose's head, the challenge clear in them.

Standing up so suddenly the table almost topples over, Albus rips up his things and leaves. If Fletcher had been anywhere remotely normal, this would be the place where he says; "Where are you going?", but Fletcher just snags the lemon drop bag and pops another one into his mouth.

"Don't trash the room, okay?" he says with a knowing look (Albus secretly wonders just how much Fletcher knows, but it wouldn't surprise him if the answer was too much, because frankly, Fletcher always knows too much). "And don't touch my bed, mate. I just cleaned it up!"

Albus wants to storm out, wants to make a huge spectacle, but instead he sneaks out like a thief, unwilling to be the bloke that ruins his friend's chances with a girl, even if he wants to rip said girl out of his friend's arms and take her place. Still, he can't help a last look over his shoulder.

Grey eyes meet green ones.

Something inside of Albus stirs. A sickness that won't quit, no matter how many times he tells himself they're like brothers, that it's sick, wrong on a fundamental level that should be off-limits even to such a disturbed bloke as Albus. They're brothers, he tells himself. It's wrong. It's so effing wrong to feel this way every time he meets his best friend's eyes. It's like incest, only worst, because Scorpius is his brother on a much deeper level than just blood.

Besides, Scorp is blissfully in love with Albus's cousin, and he would never do anything to jeopardize his fairytale romance with Ms. Ravenclaw Headgirl.

At that note, Albus tears his gaze away and slams the door shut on the way out.


Someone once wrote that endings are the hardest part of a story. Albus disagrees. Endings are easy, beginnings... now that's a different story. Beginnings are the hardest part. They're messy. Complicated. Impossible to pin down. Just when you think you know when it all started, something happens that makes you realize you are wrong.

Beginnings... they are impossible.

Albus should know.

He can't really remember when (or how) it started. The best he can come up with is the memory of the queasy feeling in his stomach after that wild weekend camping trip the gang had just before school started. It is possible that it happened somewhere during that trip, but if it did, the buzz of stolen firewhiskey has clouded the memory of it. Actually, that firewhiskey has wiped out any memory of the weekend (and several days after it), which is one of the reasons why Albus sticks to butterbeers these days (but that is a story for another time).

The days after the camping trip (the ones he can remember) were filled with a sort of sickness that only occurred when Scorpius was nearby. His heart would flutter, his stomach fill with tiny rattlesnakes, his hands go all sweaty and his throat all sore. He had been terrified, of course. Scared that something was dreadfully wrong with him. That sometime during the Weekend-He-Can't-Remember he had been struck with a curse that made him allergic to his best friend. When Albus looks back on those early days, he wants to grab his past self by the hair and slam the idiot's face into the carpet until the point has been hammered into the thick head that refuses to admit the obvious.

You. Are. In. Love. With. You. Best. Friend...

... Loser.

Just like that.

No warnings.

No hints.

Just... right out of the blue!

Right out of the effing blue.

After four months of attempting denial and banging his head against the wall, Albus realized it's time to man up and accept reality. He was in love with his best friend. Who's a bloke. A girl-loving, very flirty, totally straight bloke who is never gonna see Albus as anything but mates. Which is unfortunate, because it makes showering after Quidditch practice ten thousand times more awkward.

The realization made him want to crawl into bed and never leave again - ever.

"Life is Life," Lily grinned when she pulled off the covers and stared down on her groaning brother as she bounced a water balloon in her hand. "Fight for it" And of course, being Lily, she ended the sentence with a; "Sucker!" and chucked the water balloon right in her brother's skeptical face.

Still, the words stick with him (even after he finds out the little nutter stole them from Mother Theresa). Life is life, fight for it. No fancy words, no long explanations. No crawling under the covers anymore. Just plain and simple. You wants something? Fight for it. This is your life, no one else's.

So Albus decides it's time to tell his best friend about his feelings.

Scorpius decides it's time to tell Rose about his feelings.

Albus decides telling Scorpius can wait a few years.

Or an eternity.

Definitely an eternity.

The rest, as they say, is history.


He kisses Scorpius one late night in the Quidditch pitch. It late, almost midnight, and the pitch is empty. Above them, the full moon hangs like a forgotten lantern, showering them in its silvery light.

They had sneaked out earlier that night to practice Quidditch in the middle of the night, secretly training each other to become better players than their team mates. It was something they had done a long time, and even though Albus can't remember when it started he considers it their time. In the pitch, there is no interruptions or distractions or Ms. Ravenclaw Headgirls. It's just Scorpius and Albus, best friends and brothers.

It's also a very good excuse to roll around wrestling in the mud and vent their frustration through mean-spirited punches. Albus always leaves with bruises and cuts, but he has never felt so free and at peace as after a rough Quidditch match with Scorpius.

The night begins like any other. They mount their brooms, race through the air with a dangerous recklessness that makes Albus's blood boil. Scorpius pushes him to the limit and Albus returns the favor without hesitation. Afterwards, they stand on the Quidditch pitch and breathe heavily, their clothes caked in mud and dust.

"So, are you ready to tell me what's bothering you now?" Scorpius asks him as he pushes a stray lock of blonde out of his eyes. Albus glances at him from the corner of his eye.

Standing in the eternal moonlight, dressed in muddy Slytherin Quidditch robes with a barely formed bruise adorning his cheekbone, Scorpius looks like a fallen angel. His angelic looks shouldn't come as a surprise to Albus, but somehow every time he looks at his best friend - really looks - it hits him like a sledgehammer to his face. Scorpius is beautiful. Not handsome, not pretty, but beautiful in an almost feminine way... like a sculpture of an angel that has been carved with cherished carefulness of the most talented artist.

His face is unblemished, perfectly aristocratic with high cheekbones, a cut-glass jawbone and a sharp chin. His eyes are a silvery grey, gleaming with cunning and intelligent, calculating the world around him with a deadly intelligence. His hair is the softest silk, platinum blond in their color and hanging over his eyes like he can't be bothered to cut it. He's slender, all smooth muscles and narrow hips, built for speed and agility rather than brutal strength. In his right earlobe, three silver hoops glimmer mockingly. His other ear has only two hoops, but a black cross at the bottom and a thick black helix piercing at the top.

It makes me look all dangerous and bad boy, don't you think? Albus can vaguely remember Scorpius saying when he got them over the summer holidays before sixth year. Girls love that stuff, Al. I think this summer is looking up after all.

Staring at his best friend now, Albus realizes that girls aren't the only gender that thinks the Malfoy heir looks smoking hot in piercings and a little too long hair. The sick feeling returns to his stomach and he grimaces, squaring his shoulders as he cuts his eyes to the ground.

"Nothing's bothering me. Let it go, Scorp."

"Let what go? I thought nothing was bothering you." Scorpius takes out a wrinkled package of cigarettes and lights one up. He takes a long drag of it and raises a challenging eyebrow.

"You know what I mean, S," Albus turns his head away so his shaggy, black hair obscures his face. He hates when Scorpius gets like this, all ice and winter frost, aloof and cool like nothing can bother him. It's a defense mechanism, Albus knows, a way of keeping his distance from people so that he won't get attached and be hurt when they inevitably lets him down. Scorpius has had a shitty life, but it annoys Albus that his best friend thinks he has to protect himself from Albus.

"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about." Scorpius blows out another cloud of smoke, his words treacherously calm. "Maybe if you explained it will clear things up"

"Cut it, Scorp!"

"Cut what?" Scorpius is in his face with the lightning speed of an agitated cobra. "Cut what out, A? Taking care of my best friend!? Having his back!? Or maybe you mean being your partner!?"

"Stop it! You know that's not what I mean!"

"How am I supposed to know what you mean when you won't tell me anything?! Tell me! Tell me what's bothering you, Al! Tell me now!" Scorpius shouts.

"I'm in love with you!" Albus shouts back. The words escape him like they had wings of their own. Albus has a slip second to register the blank expression of his best friend - his brother - before his lips are pressing into Scorpius's in a harsh kiss.

It's sick.

It's wrong.

It makes his stomach turn.

But he can't stop doing it.

Scorpius is about an inch or two taller than Albus. Not much, but enough that Albus has to lean back to kiss him properly. His lips are pressed harshly against Scorpius unmoving ones, and Albus thinks it's a little like kissing a stone statue or the ice coating a lake at winter. A whisper of a forgotten breathe lingers between them. Staring at his best friend, all Albus can see is the wide, silver eyes that stare back at him in shock, pupils dilated until the silver is only a sliver. Hands shaking as they clench the front of Scorpius robes, Albus closes his eyes so he won't have to see the disgust and hatred that will inevitably appear in those silver-grey eyes.

He enjoys the kiss a moment longer than necessary, lingers in the safety of those stony lips, because he knows that when he lets go he will have to face what he just did.

Eventually, he can't delay it any longer. Albus lets go as suddenly as he grabbed a hold of him. For a moment, they stand there, the two of them, Scorpius and Albus, brothers in all but blood, just staring at each other with wide eyes. Not believing what just happened.

Then, Albus does what he always does. He turns around and runs away... and Scorpius stands there watching him run.

Albus doesn't stop running until he reaches the Slytherin common room. It's then he realizes that the wetness on his cheeks are tears.


Something is seriously wrong. Ripping open the door to the Slytherin common room, Albus marshes inside to find Fletcher in front of the fireplace, watching the flames with a book in his lap and a melancholy expression. The Slytherin common room is empty as it always is in the early morning hours and Albus knows it will be hours before anyone drops in again.

"Fletch!" Albus waves his hand in front of Fletcher's face, his legs quivering from running all the way from the library to the dungeons. "Fletch! Listen up! Something's wrong with Scorpius!"

Fletcher elegantly raises an eyebrow.

"Other than the clothes, the piercings and the attitude, you mean?"

"Don't get cute with me, Fletch. This is serious! Something is seriously wrong with him!"

Fletcher sighs. He puts away the book and leans forward, elbows on his knees and face in his hands.

"What is it?" He asks with the expression of someone that is going through something exhaustingly tragic for the hundred time in a row.

Albus swallows.

"He can't remember," Albus explains. "Yesterday... Parts of yesterday are gone! I think someone erased his memory!"

Fletcher's eyebrow elegantly rises on his forehead once more. "What is it they erased?" he asks Albus.

Albus blushes.

"Does it matter?" he insists, giving his friend a look that begs him to drop it and promises bloody death at the same time. The mere thought of admitting to Fletcher that Albus confessed his secret love for Scorpius, kissed him and then ran off is almost as bad as admitting that Scorpius doesn't remember it.

"Of course it matters," Fletcher says. "It wouldn't do to have him running around remembering the very things I cursed him to forget. I'd hate to have to do it again"

A sudden chill invades Albus's spine. At first he can't understand what his friend is saying. Can't comprehend the words. But then, in an almost cutting clarity, Albus understands. He launches for the hot poker by the fireplace, but Fletcher is quicker and kicks it out of reach. Another kick knocks the breath out of Albus and the other boy takes the opportunity to grab Albus's mop of black hair and throw him into an armchair.

When Albus catches his breath and looks up, Fletcher has his wand pointed at his throat.

"Why?" Albus wheezes out in a pained breath.

Fletcher grins, but there is something painfully plastic about it.

"You just won't give up," he says. "Time after time after time we do this, and somehow, someway, we always end up here. No matter how many times we do this, how many memories I erase or thoughts I correct... you just can't stop loving him, can you? You just keep falling in love with him, don't you? Even though you know somewhere deep inside of you that it will only end badly." He sighs. "I'll just have to do it better this time. Maybe this time it will stick"

Another plastic grin.

"Don't tell me you never wondered." he continues. "All those holes in your memory? I mean, I have an aptitude for the art of the mind, but not even I can correct that many memories and not leave a trace"

"You've done this before?" Albus feels the sick realization of betrayal creeping up on him. "Why?"

Fletcher's grin is softer now. Sadder.

"Because it can only end badly, Al. Because, I'm your friend." He gives Al a pitying look. "And because you asked me to… once"

Then he moves his wand up to point between Albus's eyes and says;



Someone once wrote that endings are the hardest part of a story. Albus disagrees. Endings are easy, beginnings... now that's a different story. Beginnings are the hardest part. They're messy. Complicated. Impossible to pin down. Just when you think you know when it all started, something happens that makes you realize you are wrong.

Beginnings... they are impossible.

Albus should know.

He can't remember exactly when it started, but the best he can come up with is the memory of a queasy feeling in his stomach after that wild after party he attended after the Ravenclaw-Slytherin Quidditch game.

The rest, as they say, is history.