Scorpius juggled an armful of books, trying to decide if he really needed all six or if he could live without Aarickson's Advanced Arthimantic Theory. It was a huge, dry tome and there was some debate these days about the soundness of Aarickson's theories. He stood in the aisle, arms aching, and wondered what the chances were that some student would be knowledgeable enough to bring it up. He frowned. Better to be safe than sorry, he decided.

He shifted the book in question to the top of his stack, but his careful balancing turned useless when an arm jostled into him from behind, sending the books sliding every which way. Scorpius cried out and scrambled to maintain his hold, but two of the books slipped out and thumped to the floor. He winced, picturing bent pages and dented spines.

Before he could bend to pick them up, a dark haired someone knelt before him and lifted the fallen books. The man rose and looked at the covers while Scorpius glared at him.

"The Magic of Mathematics," he read in a pleasantly deep voice. "And Applied Arithmancy. My, my, how dreadfully dull."

The man faced Scorpius with a grin and Scorpius drew in a surprised breath when eyes of brightest green met his. Thick lashes hid the orbs from view for a moment as the man replaced the books atop Scorpius's large stack.

"Thank you," he managed shortly, even though it was the green-eyed fellow's fault that they had fallen in the first place, and he did not appreciate the slur against his choice of reading material.

The black-haired man grinned again and Scorpius reluctantly admitted he had a very nice smile. Under normal circumstances, it might have put him completely at ease. The fellow reached up suddenly, causing the breath to catch in Scorpius's throat, but the long fingers only grasped the silver frames of his spectacles and straightened them. The handsome face became clearer. Scorpius wondered why his palms felt damp.

"Your glasses were askew," the man said pleasantly. "My, you have pretty eyes. You look terribly familiar, as well. Do I know you?"

Scorpius felt some relief as he dove into the familiar world of facts and information, gladly ignoring the strange compliment. "We went to school together," he admitted. "You are Albus Potter, are you not?"

The green eyes widened before the dark head nodded. "I am, indeed. I admit to being somewhat flattered that you know my name. I wish I could reciprocate."

Merlin, the man had no shame, to use such a teasing tone in a public place when they had only just met… in a manner of speaking. And the surprise could only be false modesty. Everyone knew Harry Potter's progeny. They were almost as famous as the hero himself. "I am Scorpius Malfoy."

Potter's grin widened until it was positively sharklike. "Scorpius Malfoy. Of course. Ravenclaw, weren't you?" The green eyes drifted downward, taking in Scorpius as though he had suddenly been spread out as an appetizer for his enjoyment. Scorpius clutched his books tighter, feeling bizarrely exposed. He nodded, remembering that Albus had been the only Potter sorted into Slytherin. It had been the talk of the school during their first year at Hogwarts. Scorpius nodded. "Let me help you with those."

Before Scorpius could protest, Albus Potter had grabbed four of the unwieldy books. "What are you doing these days, Scorpius?" he asked.

"This and that," Scorpius said evasively. He had no intention of giving the wily Slytherin anything that might come back to haunt him. He wondered what Potter wanted.

"A man of mystery," Albus said and laughed. "That's all right. I've been playing Quidditch."

"I know," Scorpius said and then wished he had a Time-Turner merely to go back and keep himself from admitting it, because the look in Albus Potter's eyes became even warmer and more intense. He felt himself blush and changed the wish from a Time-Turner to a Portkey—anything to escape the strange emotions assaulting him from the overwhelming personality of Albus Potter.

"You know," Albus breathed.

Scorpius scowled, trying to recover. "Everyone knows," he snapped. "You're a Potter."

The handsome face fell, making Scorpius feel instantly remorseful. Merlin help him, Potter could not possibly be so transparent. He was Slytherin, for pity's sake! It had to be an act.

"Oh," said Albus and turned away with the books. He looked impossibly defeated. "I'll just set these on the counter for you then, eh?"

For one crazy moment, Scorpius nearly called him back, but then sanity returned and informed him that the wisest course of action would be to let Albus Potter walk out the door of the bookstore and straight out of his life.

Which was exactly what happened.

For the period of about two weeks.

During that fortnight, Scorpius had been plagued to distraction by thoughts of the black-haired man. He had actually gone home and spelled old issues of the Daily Prophet in order to read every article ever written about Albus Potter. He was, apparently, something of a black sheep as far as the Potter clan was concerned. His brother James had been quite properly sorted into Gryffindor, and then followed in their famous father's footsteps to join the Auror Department. His sister Lily was a celebrated medi-witch, famous for inventing new Healing Charms even before leaving Hogwarts.

Albus, on the other hand, had never quite seemed to find a niche. He had been an unspectacular student and changed groups of friends at school more often than some people changed their clothing. For several months he had led a prankster group before becoming bored and hanging around with a motley crew of Hufflepuffs. He had, bizarrely, played Quidditch only in his fourth and seventh years in school, not even bothering to try out in the other years. In his fifth year he was celebrated as a Potions genius, but never even bothered to try for NEWT level potions. Some rumours hinted he was an unregistered Animagus.

After leaving Hogwarts, he apparently travelled the world aimlessly for a year before returning to join the Wigtown Wanderers Quidditch team. Surprisingly, Albus had stuck with the same team for two full years but, true to form, he had switched positions four times, running the gamut from Beater to Chaser to Keeper to Seeker.

At the end of his research, Scorpius was left with only one conclusion. Albus Potter was faithless. He had no goals and moved from one interest to the next like a capricious wind. His well-publicized relationships bore testament to that truth—he was seldom seen with the same person twice, and seemed to enjoy the company of both men and woman alike. In one memorable photo, Scorpius noted, both together.

As he put the articles away, Scorpius congratulated himself for not becoming one of Albus Potter's flights of fancy. Of course, all the self-praise in the world could not stop him wondering how Potter would taste, nor drive out the memory of those too-green eyes and the feel of his fingertips as they straightened his glasses…

Scorpius was relieved when he finally reached Hogwarts and placed his personal items in his room before walking a circuit of his new Arithmancy classroom. His classroom. He felt a burst of pride when he thought of the fresh young minds to which he would introduce the joys of magical mathematics. That delighted bubble exploded a moment later when the door banged open and a black-haired man strode inside.

"There you are, Scorpius!" Albus Potter called. "Come have lunch with me. We'll be teaching together, isn't that great?"

Albus Potter, it turned out, was the substitute Flying Instructor. Madam Hooch had retired the previous year and apparently finding qualified instructors was more difficult than anticipated. Albus had willingly departed his Quidditch team for the new and exciting field of teaching. Scorpius wanted to throw himself from Ravenclaw Tower at the news.

Lunch, thankfully, was a pleasant affair made less nerve-wracking by the presence of several other professors, including Headmistress McGonagall, who treated Potter like a long-lost grandson. So did the others, actually. Professor Hagrid squeezed Albus so hard Scorpius feared his spine might crack, and Professor Longbottom sat next to Albus and patted him fondly on the head every so often, rather like a pet dog.

Albus practically glowed under their affection, and kept everyone riveted with tales of his travels and Quidditch adventures. To his credit, he also managed to draw Scorpius into the conversation and kept him from feeling like an outsider, no small feat, considering that Scorpius preferred to be alone and seldom joined large groups as a rule.

Feeling pleasantly tired after the meal—and admittedly worn out from socializing—Scorpius made his excuses and left the Great Hall, intending to return to his rooms and get settled. He needed to get started on his lesson plans. School would not start for several days, but Scorpius believed in being prepared. He had already made several sets of plans, of course, but deciding which to use would take some study.

He quickened his pace when he heard footsteps behind him. He groaned, already recognizing the sound of those footfalls. Sure enough, Albus Potter fell into step beside him.

"Where are you going?" the Slytherin asked.

Scorpius managed—barely—not to roll his eyes. "To my rooms. I have lesson plans to prepare."

Albus laughed. "Right. You're a Ravenclaw. You probably have six lesson plans prepared already. Colour-coded and fully notated, no doubt."

Scorpius glared at him, but did not bother to deny it. "Don't you have lessons to prepare for?"

Albus gasped and stopped walking. Scorpius paused, curious. Surely he hadn't come completely unprepared? Albus said, "You're right! I do need to prepare, don't I? Let me think… What do I need for my lessons? Oh yes, brooms." Albus snapped his fingers and then laughed. "The brooms are in the shed. What do you know? I'm all prepared. Want me to help you prepare your lessons?"

Scorpius felt his lips thinning into a line of disapproval. He had been correct. Albus Potter would never take anything seriously. "No, I would not."

He continued up the stairs and was both annoyed and strangely pleased when Potter followed. They rounded the stairwell and Scorpius suddenly found himself with his back against the wall and Albus pressed quite firmly against his front. Before he could do more than squeak in protest, a hot mouth fastened on his neck and warm hands trailed over his ribs.

"Scorpius," Potter moaned. "Merlin, I've never wanted anyone so much. What have you done to me?"

Scorpius had trouble thinking, which was quite a novelty in itself. The words made him feel nearly as warm as the explosion of heat emanating from the soft lips nibbling at his throat. For a moment Scorpius forgot to resist, lost in the magic that was Albus Potter. He had never felt anything quite so intense—merely being near Albus was electrifying. Touching him was like walking through flame.

Before rationality could return, Albus moved his head slightly and pressed his lips gently against Scorpius's. Oh Merlin, he had thought himself burning before. When a tongue slid over his lower lip and teased a shiver out of Scorpius, panic finally broke the spell. Scorpius raised both hands and shoved Albus hard.

"Scorpius, wait!" Potter called as he fled, but Scorpius took the stairs two at a time and prayed he wasn't followed. He did not stop running until the door to his quarters was safely locked.

Scorpius leaned against the portal and gasped for breath. After a moment he realized he was running his tongue over his lower lip, savoring the brief taste of Albus. He slammed his head back into the door in a painful thump, annoyed. The headache did nothing to lessen the ache in his loins.

Fucking Potter! Why had he come to Hogwarts? I've never wanted anyone so much. The words scorched through his blood until he remembered that Albus Potter was utterly fickle. How many unsuspecting people had heard those same words?

Scorpius spent the next four hours trying to concentrate on his lesson plans and failing miserably. He ate supper in his room and ignored the persistent knocking on his door until it went away. He went to bed with a firm resolve not to fall prey to Albus Potter.

His resolution was easier vowed than kept. Albus Potter was everywhere, tenacious and fuckably attractive. He sat next to Scorpius at breakfast and touched his shoulder or arm with every question while leaning into him intimately. He followed Scorpius nearly everywhere, although Scorpius made damned sure not to allow them another moment alone. The other professors probably thought him batty, the way he shadowed them and asked inane questions until Albus finally tired of waiting and wandered off.

It nearly worked, except that Potter had the persistence of a Gryffindor couched in Slytherin cunning. Students had begun to trickle back to school a couple of days before the Sorting Ceremony, dropped off by busy parents or escorted by governesses or guardians. Scorpius was lulled into a false sense of security by the knowledge that random students could interrupt Potter's plans to waylay him. Thus he was caught completely by surprise one evening after leaving the third floor Teacher's Bath. He had a private bath in his room, of course, but the common bath was too tempting not to utilize at least once a week—it was pool-sized with an actual waterfall in the centre, as well as a huge variety of soaps, salts, and shampoos to choose from.

Scorpius smiled and bid good evening to an early arrival—Hufflepuff student, if the preference for yellow was any clue—as he passed the lad in the hallway. Scorpius rubbed his damp hair with a fleece and then nearly yelped aloud as an arm clamped around his waist and a hard chest pressed against his back.

Scorpius craned his neck to look over his shoulder, but he saw no one except the retreating Hufflepuff student.

"Sorry if I startled you," said Albus Potter's voice. "I borrowed my dad's invisibility cloak. It comes in quite handy, at times."

Invisibility cloak? Scorpius experienced a level of panic that nearly made him scream aloud. Invisibility cloak? Potter could go anywhere! He would never be safe! Before he could snarl invectives, Albus placed those lovely lips against his throat once more and pressed biting kisses into his neck. Scorpius lost his breath and his traitorous body responded at once.

"Mmmm, you taste so good and you smell delightfully clean," Albus murmured in between bites. "Merlin, what I would give to make you need another bath." Fuck, the words caused an almost instant erection to grow in Scorpius's trousers, evident to anyone that might walk by in the quite-public hallway.

The arm around his waist loosened and Potter's hand slid over Scorpius's abdomen, splaying as though to cover as much skin as possible. It moved lower and played at the waistband of his trousers, even as those glorious lips continued their assault on his throat.

Scorpius shook himself out of his daze with an oath and gripped the wayward hand tightly. "No! Damn you, Potter!"

"Scorpius, I want you."

The words were nearly his undoing. Surrender beckoned with greedy hands, promising bliss with every touch. He tore himself away angrily.

"Fuck you, Potter!" he snarled, half-turned to glare at the hint of green eyes that appeared from the folds of an invisible cloak. He did not dare turn around fully and expose his body's betrayal. "Leave me alone!"

Once again he raced to his rooms for refuge, but this time no amount of rationalising would quell his growing desire for Albus Potter. Would it be so bad to give in? he asked himself. Even for a single night, would it not be worth it? Yes! his trembling body shouted, but his Ravenclaw mind would not be silenced. He feared that one night with Albus would not be nearly enough. He was terribly afraid that one taste of the black-haired Slytherin would only leave him longing for more.

And if he fell in love with Albus Potter, what then?

Heartbreak, the Ravenclaw answered mercilessly. Heartbreak for certain when he leaves you behind.

Four days later, Scorpius began to think that Albus had given up. Had his harsh rejection made the Slytherin realize he had no chance? Scorpius only saw Potter from a distance. Students had been Sorted and slowly began to learn find their way around. Scorpius mentally divided his students by ability and interest and planned his lessons accordingly, scrapping those that he had painstakingly created in order to devise new ones. The novelty of teaching nearly distracted him from thinking about Potter at all.

Nearly. The breath still caught in his throat whenever the Quidditch-honed body strode into the room, invariably clad in Slytherin green and walking as though the earth had been placed in rotation simply to give him somewhere to stand.

To Scorpius's mortification, the green eyes always sought him out and Albus bestowed a delighted grin on him with a hand raised in greeting. Scorpius always looked away, feigning disregard while hoping the creeping blush did not reveal him. Thoughts of the Slytherin returned full force at night, leaving Scorpius tangled in damp sheets, his body trembling and aching with need.

On the fifth day, Albus caught Scorpius in the hallway outside the bath again, although he was not wearing his invisibility cloak. He lurked across the hall from the door, leaning against the wall with his legs crossed at the ankles. He looked like some dark god when he perused Scorpius. His green eyes gleamed, sending Scorpius's pulse through the roof. He halted when he saw the Slytherin, wishing he would stop feeling like a teenaged girl whenever Potter appeared. Albus pushed away from the wall.

"Scorpius," he called amiably. "Can I walk with you?"

Scorpius shrugged. "No one is stopping you," he replied casually and began to walk toward his quarters once more. He did not move too quickly, in no hurry to reach his rooms and then be forced into a decision on whether or not to invite Albus inside. The mere thought of Albus Potter in his room nearly made him feel faint.

Several students wandered the halls, keeping the Slytherin at a safe distance. When they had a moment of relative privacy, Albus said, "I may have been a bit hasty with my… advances."

Scorpius stopped and looked at him in surprise. Potter could not be apologizing? Albus grinned.

"Apparently you are the type that needs to be wooed more carefully," Potter continued. Scorpius narrowed a glare at him. Albus laughed. "Either that or you just don't like me."

Scorpius sniffed and looked away, wondering why he did not pick up the golden opportunity Potter had just handed to him. If he lied and said he did not like Albus, would he go away? He started walking and shot a sidelong glance at the black-haired man. Scorpius bit back a smile. No, probably not. He seemed quite persistent.

"Anyway," Albus continued. "On the remote chance you do like me, I've decided to take this a bit slower. And to prove my sincerity, I have a small token for you."

Scorpius paused again, curious, and waited while a small group of fifth-year girls passed. Several sets of eyes slid over the two men and giggles erupted when they were nearly out of earshot. Scorpius felt his jaw tighten, although it was perfectly normal for teenaged girls to ogle someone as handsome as Albus Potter. Scorpius covered his discomfiture by adjusting his spectacles minutely before turning his attention back to Albus, who stepped closer.

The Slytherin reached up and took Scorpius's hand on its descent from his glasses. Before Scorpius could pull away, Albus raised his other hand and slipped something cool and metallic over his finger. He gasped when he saw that it was a small silver ring with a snake motif. Scorpius met the serious green eyes angrily, wondering what sort of bondage the ring entailed.

"Don't worry," Albus said with a grin. "There is no spell attached to it unless you activate it. It's a Proximity Spell."

"A what?"

"A Proximity Spell. It's my guarantee that I won't touch you." Albus pulled out his wand—which was quite a pretty thing of surprisingly pale wood—and tapped the ring, all the while not releasing Scorpius's hand. "Proximus!"

The ring flared green for a moment and then a high-pitched alarm began to peal from the thing. Albus leaped away immediately and the horrific noise ceased. Several heads peered curiously from doorways or corners.

"Sorry!" Albus called pleasantly and waved. "Just testing something! Please return to your activities." He turned back to Scorpius, now standing a safe-distance away. Scorpius could not have reached him with an outstretched arm. "Unfortunately, I could not attune it just to myself, so take care when you activate it—anyone passing too close to you will set it off."

"How do you turn it off?" Scorpius asked.

"Same as usual," Albus said and shrugged. "Finite incantatum."

Scorpius nodded, but made no move to deactivate the ring. The green eyes glinted knowingly. "So. Now that you're protected from the wicked Slytherin, will you have dinner with me? Tomorrow night? In Hogsmeade?"

Scorpius started walking once more, pondering the idea of going on an actual date with Albus Potter. It was absolutely foolish. Proximity Ring or not, he would be setting himself up for a grim fall. Nevertheless, he found himself turning to the quiet Slytherin when they reached the door to his quarters and replying, "All right. I'll have dinner with you tomorrow."

Before logic could catch up to the insanity that had obviously taken over his mouth, Scorpius slipped into his rooms and shut the door.

Dinner in Hogsmeade was quite a nice affair. Albus was even more charming when they were alone, even though "alone" entailed several random greetings from persons entering and leaving the pub. Everyone seemed to know the Slytherin. Scorpius supposed the celebrity would take some getting used to. Anyone dating Albus would have to bear the attention given to the handsome son of Potter the Saviour. Scorpius frowned, wondering if it would bother him to be the nearly invisible shadow of someone like Albus.

The Slytherin noted his frown and leaned across the table. A hand reached out, but Albus quickly snatched it back at the warning flare from the ring Scorpius wore. He had intentionally positioned himself in a corner so that passers-by—and the waitress—would not set off the alarm. Scorpius was curious to see how long Albus planned to put up with the self-imposed barrier.

"What's wrong?" Albus asked.

Scorpius shrugged. "How does it feel to be the son of… well, you know?"

Albus scowled and sat back in his seat. "It's a ruddy pain most of the time," he said, which was absolutely not the answer Scorpius had expected. "You would think I'd be used to it after growing up with it, eh? It was terrible when we were young. Reporters were always trying to get us alone, digging for dirt and titbits of gossip. I can't imagine how it was for dad. They never gave him a moment of peace."

Albus seemed to shake off his melancholy as he leaned forward again. "But enough about me. I want to know about you. What prompted the fascinating field of Arithmancy?"

Scorpius looked away and took a drink of his ale. For a moment he considered using his stock answer, a flippant joke about numbers being nice and predictable, unlike people. Instead, he found himself spilling the truth.

"Arithmancy is solitary magic. I don't need anyone to work out formulas, projections, and charts." He tried to keep the overwhelming loneliness of his childhood out of his voice.

He heard a soft intake of breath and did not dare meet Potter's eyes until he heard a soft statement. "That's not true."

Scorpius stared into the bright green eyes. "The strongest Arithmancy incantations come in pairs," Albus said softly and smiled. "You see? I'm not a complete idiot."

"I never thought you were an idiot," Scorpius said and then got to his feet. The pub was suddenly too warm and the conversation too intimate. Scorpius had hoped that spending time with Albus Potter would give him ammunition against his growing attraction. Instead, he found himself liking the brat even more.

Albus had Quidditch tryouts to prepare for and Scorpius started an Arithmancy club that met two evenings a week, so time for "dates" was in short supply. Nevertheless, they managed to take walks around the castle grounds, engaged in a friendly wizarding duel, had a casual lunch date in Hogsmeade, and played wizard chess in the library a number of times. True to his word, Albus kept his distance. Still wary, Scorpius was sure to engage the spell of the ring whenever they chanced to be alone. He was not quite ready to give in to temptation, knowing Albus would be gone from Hogwarts the minute they found a permanent Flying Instructor.

One evening Scorpius had an unexpected free evening when his entire Arithmancy class came down with a stomach bug after consuming snacks provided by one of the students. Thankfully, Scorpius had refrained from eating the cakes and was spared the side effects of the student's attempt at Muggle baking.

Scorpius paced in his room for only a short time before slinging on a cloak and going in search of Albus. Helpful directions led him to the Quidditch pitch, even though it was quickly becoming dark. When he reached the field, he quickly spotted Albus with a young student, alone on the field. Scorpius paused before making his presence known. The air was cool, allowing sound to travel. He could hear Albus's voice clearly.

"Yes, you certainly can do it, Nelson. Now, shut your eyes and we'll try it again."

Scorpius recognized the student, then. Nelson Goyle. The boy was a marvel of incompetence. His parents were known to be hulking brutes with barely a smear of intelligence between them. It was rumoured that Gregory Goyle had made it through Hogwarts by using his strength to bully smarter kids into doing his homework for him. It was no doubt his Slytherin cohorts, including Scorpius's father, had assisted him. Goyle's son, Nelson, had fallen oddly far from the tree. The boy was tiny, slender of build and incredibly quiet by nature. He rarely spoke and cringed when spoken to. Scorpius had often wondered what sort of intelligence lurked beneath the painfully shy exterior.

Nelson straddled a broom at the moment, clutching it so tightly Scorpius could hear his knuckles creak in protest. Albus chuckled.

"You need not strangle the broom, Nelson. It's not going anywhere. Now, relax. You're trying too hard."

"This is stupid. I can't fly!" Nelson cried. "I'll never be able to fly!"

"Of course you can fly, Nelson. I'm teaching you," Albus said calmly.

Nelson sneered. "Why should you help me? My father tried to kill your father."

"Did he?" Albus asked calmly. "Is that why you can't fly?"

The boy blinked at him. "Of course not!"

"Excellent. Then let's forget about our fathers and concentrate on getting you off the ground, shall we? Now, as I was saying, I want you to relax. Shut your eyes and think of something pleasant. A happy memory or something."

Nelson sighed heavily and said, "A happy memory? Like the six-tiered cake I got for my last birthday?"

"That should work," Albus said with a chuckle. "I could use a six-tiered birthday cake right now. I'm rather hungry. With chocolate icing, of course."

Nelson giggled. "Loads of chocolate icing! And custard in the centre!"

"That sounds perfect. Now, pretend that you are floating. In fact, let yourself feel that you are floating into the air, trying to reach that splendid cake. You feel light as a feather. Keep your eyes closed."

"Mmmm," said Nelson dreamily. "And there are chocolate frogs on top."

To Scorpius's surprise, the boy began to rise into the air. Albus mounted his own broom silently and floated next to Nelson until they reached a height of just over a metre.

"All right, Nelson," said Albus quietly. "I don't want you to panic when you open your eyes."

The boy's eyes flew open and a loud shriek exploded from his lips. He plummeted to the ground, but managed to land on his feet. Scorpius saw Albus grin wryly and sigh, but when Potter touched the ground his arms were suddenly full of excited boy.

"I did it!" Nelson yelled. "I flew! Professor Potter, I flew!"

Albus laughed and the sound slid over Scorpius like a caress. "Yes, you did! You flew, Nelson! Ready to try it again?"

Scorpius smiled softly and slipped away before he could be spotted. The black-haired Slytherin preoccupied his thoughts all the way to his rooms. It wasn't until he lay in his own bed and stared at the ceiling that he realized it was too late to back out. He was most definitely in love with Albus Potter.

Scorpius did not act on his knowledge for several days, riddled with doubt. When he finally made up his mind it was with a sense of overwhelming relief. The first Quidditch match had been a rousing success and ended in a Slytherin victory. Scorpius had sat next to Albus and shamelessly cheered on the Hufflepuff team only to annoy the black-haired man, who got revenge by putting his hands all over Scorpius under the guise of casual touching. Scorpius could not activate his Proximity Ring in the Quidditch stands. The light touches nearly drove Scorpius to distraction—a hand on his shoulder, a gentle squeeze of fingers on his knee, and the merest brush of soft fingertips against his own.

Albus pounded him on the shoulder and crowed with laughter when the Slytherin Seeker caught the Snitch. "Superior flying skills. It's in the blood," he said and Scorpius rolled his eyes.

"Slytherin ego is in the blood," he replied as they made their way out of the stands with the rest of the crowd.

"Let's hear you talk when Ravenclaw plays," Albus said. "Do you want to come to the victory party?"

"I was sort of hoping you would walk with me," Scorpius said.

Albus looked at him sharply. "That sounds ominous."

Scorpius shrugged and Albus sighed. "All right. You know I can't resist, even if you plan to tie me to a tree and ravish me." He looked at Scorpius and asked hopefully, "Do you?"

Scorpius laughed. "I was just hoping for a walk," he admitted. When they neared the castle, they broke away from the crowd and headed for the lake. The evening was surprisingly warm for October and the lake was placid and nearly waveless in the twilight.

Albus seemed content to wait for Scorpius to speak. He leaned against a huge slab of rock that sheltered them from view of the school, uncertain what to say now that he had Potter out here alone. The Slytherin picked up flat stones and skipped them across the water after Charming them to return to his hand. Scorpius laughed. He had never seen such a spell. Albus grinned at him.

"What do you plan to do with your life, Albus?" Scorpius asked finally.

The green eyes turned to him and his lips quirked. "Have you been talking to my mother?"

"I'm serious. Why did you come here?"

Albus turned back to the lake and hurled his stone. It skipped across the water in five perfect splashes before sinking beneath the waves.

"I was bored. It seemed like something new to try," Albus admitted. Scorpius felt his heart sink like the stone, which popped out of the lake and floated back into Albus's waiting palm. The Slytherin turned back to him. "And you were here."

"Just another new thing to try, eh?" Scorpius asked dryly, wishing he could keep the regret from his voice. Albus frowned.

"The odd thing is that teaching is really… amazing," Albus said. "I thought it would be a lark at first, but when the kids finally get something you've been trying to show them… It's incredible."

Scorpius nodded, remembering Albus working with Nelson on the Quidditch Pitch. He had been incredible. Albus dropped his stones and moved closer.

"But this thing with you," Albus continued. "I don't want you to think it's just some—" The sentence hung in the air as Albus slipped on a patch of wet grass and sprawled headlong with a yelp of surprise. He would have fallen, except that Scorpius caught him. He straightened the Slytherin, who stared at him through too-wide green eyes. "Scorpius. I told you never to turn off your ring around me."

"It's been off for days," Scorpius whispered an instant before Albus claimed his lips in a greedy kiss. Bloody hell, it felt good to surrender. In a moment he was backed up against the boulder with Albus hard and demanding between his legs. Their erections ground together and Scorpius found himself thrusting forward mindlessly, seeking more. Albus's kisses were intoxicating. Scorpius berated himself for holding out so long. If only he had known what utter bliss had awaited every swipe of that amazing tongue and every gentle suckle against his lips… He heard a moan and realized it issued from his own throat.

"Scorpius," Albus groaned into Scorpius's open mouth. His rocking pelvis sent tongues of flame careening through Scorpius's blood.

An excited giggle froze them both. Scorpius jerked his mouth away from Albus and he listened intently. A group of students out for a walk—they were not visible yet but they soon would be.

"We should go," Scorpius said, shivering at the feel of Albus's hands on his arse, pulling him forward once more; and then both hands and body were gone as Albus stepped back. His beautiful features were taut with strain and his lashes were shut tightly, closing off the green eyes. His chest heaved and his hands clenched and unclenched as if staving off pain. He looked wild, tousled, and incredibly sexy. Scorpius had never been so glad of his thick, concealing robes—no way would his physical condition change without some assistance.

"Let's go," Albus said abruptly. They walked back to the castle without speaking. Scorpius cast several glances at the Slytherin, who fairly crackled with tightly-leashed energy. The thought of loosing that power made Scorpius nearly giddy. It surprised him—he had half-expected that Albus would consume him when they finally came together. Instead, Scorpius drank him in. He almost felt that he could fly. After a moment, he realized his glasses were smudged and took them off to polish them on his robes.

When they reached the Front Hall Albus turned and headed for the Slytherin dungeons with a curt, "Good night, then."

Scorpius allowed him to take two steps, bemused, before calling, "Albus." The Slytherin halted, probably shocked at the seductive tone in his voice. Hell, Scorpius was surprised to hear it. He continued softly, "Aren't you going to… come up?"

Albus turned back with agonizing slowness, eyes enormous. Scorpius gave him a devilish, encouraging smirk before turning and heading for the stairs.

Albus quickly fell into step beside him.

"Don't tease," the Slytherin said thickly.

Scorpius turned and pushed Albus against the stair railing. The broad shoulders dangled over the edge as the pressure of his hips held the Slytherin in place.

"Does this feel like a tease, Albus?" he asked huskily. Albus moaned and Scorpius had to shut his eyes to block out the wanton look in the green eyes. Merlin, they were both still hard. Knowing he had brought the Slytherin to his point had Scorpius nearly coming on the spot.

A sharp voice bollixed that idea.

"No fighting in the halls!"

Scorpius turned his head to see Argus Filch stomping toward them, thumping his cane on the ground with every other step. He peered suspiciously at them through rheumy eyes when he approached. "Oh, it's you two. Well, no fighting in the halls!"

He stamped down the stairs. Albus broke into sudden giggles and Scorpius blinked at him for a moment before joining in. Their arms went around each other and they laughed into each other's necks for a bit.

"No fighting," Albus snickered.

"He's right. If we plan to fight, we should go somewhere more private."

"Lead on," Albus said, but he seemed reluctant to let Scorpius go. Scorpius relaxed into the embrace until more voices came to them. There was far too much activity tonight. He pushed himself away from the Slytherin, but took his hand to lead him to his quarters. Once there, he became so nervous he nearly forgot the spells that unlocked his door. The wand in his hand trembled.

The damned portal finally opened and he dragged Albus inside before slamming it closed—or rather Albus slammed it shut by shoving Scorpius up against it. The breath left him for a moment, made worse by hot lips fastening on his and preventing air intake. Only when Scorpius thought he might faint did Albus relent. He gratefully drank in oxygen as Albus moved his mouth down the length of his throat to lap at his collarbone. Scorpius wanted to tear off the rest of his clothing and let Albus lick anything that met his fancy.

"Damn you for doing this to me," Albus said hoarsely. "I can't think for wanting you."

"Want me to think for you?" Scorpius offered teasingly.

Albus seemed to ponder that for a moment. "All right."

"Well, then. First I think you should take off your clothing. You feel quite warm."

"I do, don't I?" Albus said. "You Ravenclaws are so smart."

Scorpius chuckled and then gasped when he felt the Slytherin's fingers at the throat of his robes. "I said your clothing."

"I told you I couldn't think," Albus said without ceasing his determined movements. Scorpius's outer robes slid to the ground in a heap, exposing his tunic and trousers. Albus whisked the tunic over his head with barely a pause, leaving Scorpius bare-chested.

"Oh, hell yes, I'm feeling better already," Albus said and bent his head to lick a long stripe across Scorpius's chest. "Still too many clothes, though." His lips moved with the words, tickling over Scorpius's chest until the wet mouth pulled in an erect nipple. Scorpius gasped and found his hands tangling in the thick black hair. The Slytherin's hands had already moved lower and quickly divested Scorpius of his trousers. He laughed suddenly when he realized he was effectively shackled.

"What?" Albus asked, cutting off the chuckle when Scorpius met the darkened green eyes and saw that Potter was sinking to his knees.

"You forgot to take off my shoes," he whispered.

Albus smirked. "Good." One swift movement had Scorpius's pants joining his trousers and revealed his throbbing erection for the perusal of Albus Potter. Scorpius blushed, but could not seem to tear his gaze from the Slytherin's countenance. A slow smile curved Potter's lips when their eyes locked. "Not bad, Scorpius."

He gasped in outrage. Not bad? He was quite well-endowed! Damn Potter—his snarl of protest turned into a strangled cry as Potter nearly swallowed him whole with a quick movement. "Fuck!" He tried not to wonder how many times Albus had done what he was doing to him, but any experience was now being put to good use. That tongue of his was fucking amazing—it never seemed to be still, lapping, stroking and teasing Scorpius's cock until he writhed against the door in perfectly mindless passion.

"Stop!" he cried finally, mortified at the thought of coming half-dressed against his own front door. His hands twisted in Potter's hair. "Stop, Albus!"

"No," Albus said firmly and then his voice dropped into a croon. "It's okay. I want you to come for me, Scorpius. Merlin, I've dreamed of this so many times. Just come, baby."

Scorpius threw his head back so hard it thumped against the door and caused him to wince, but the pain was utterly forgotten when Albus renewed his efforts. Just come, baby echoed in his head and Scorpius felt the orgasm building in his toes. A cry tore from his throat despite his attempt to hold it back and his release spurted into Albus's waiting throat. The Slytherin did not pull away until the last trembling shudder wracked Scorpius's body. He felt like sinking to the floor, uncertain if his legs would still hold him.

Thankfully, Albus got to his feet and held him tightly as he pressed wet kisses into Scorpius's mouth. He tasted bitter and musky and his nose bumped against Scorpius's glasses, which were steaming up annoyingly. It was perfectly brilliant.

"Merlin, you're beautiful," Albus murmured.

Scorpius felt momentarily dizzy. He frowned at Albus. "You're not even undressed! And you need seeing to."

Albus groaned. "I'm not going to need much seeing to." He tore at his clothing and Scorpius helped weakly. It became easier when the strength returned to his limbs. He revelled in every bit of flesh revealed when Potter's clothing fluttered to the floor. The brat remembered to remove his shoes, so he could still move by the time he was unclothed.

"Should we not move to the bedroom?" Scorpius asked when Albus pressed himself warmly against his body.

"I've waited weeks for this, Scorpius," Albus said dryly and placed teasing kisses against his jaw. "I'll not wait another minute." With that, he stepped into the vee of Scorpius's legs and lifted his straight up onto his hips. Scorpius sucked in a startled breath and clutched the hard shoulders. His shoes felt heavy with his trousers dragging at them still chaining his ankles together behind Albus's back. The Slytherin's erection was a hard heat against his groin and he wished he had gotten a better look at it. What he had seen looked very nice, indeed.

"Not bad, Potter," he murmured, earning a chuckle from his new lover.

"It gets better from here," he said and then his questing fingers were touching Scorpius's hole, evoking tingles anew. A quick wandless spell and the fingers were suddenly slick and wet. Scorpius registered it for only an instant before he was breached. Oh Merlin. His audible response was nothing more than a long moan and he realized it did not even hurt—he was ridiculously loose and ready for whatever Albus planned to do to him. His cock twitched even though it should have been spent and unresponsive for a while longer.

"Scorpius," Albus breathed in a reverent tone. His fingers stroked and quested until Scorpius thought he might combust from the heat it generated. Albus spent longer than he thought rational on preparation, although he wouldn't have complained even if he could have made sounds other than guttural moans and gasps. The lovely fingers disappeared after a time and Albus murmured a soft, "Accio" to acquire his wand. Another quick spell caused a metal bar to emerge from the door over Scorpius's head. He looked up at it in surprise.

"Hold on," Albus said and Scorpius let go of the slick shoulders to grip the bar. He lifted himself to relieve Albus of his weight.

"What… what do you use that spell for?" he demanded and then blamed his current state of mind for his inability to control his tongue and the jealousy it revealed. The spell's purpose was more than obvious.

"Towel rack, of course," Albus said, proving him wrong. Scorpius smiled at him. Even if Albus lied he appreciated the effort. "Quidditch locker rooms have an astonishing lack of places to hang wet towels."

Inane talk of towels was quickly forgotten when Albus cast a lubricating spell and finally replaced his fingers with something even better. Scorpius moaned at the sensation of being slowly filled by the long, hard length of Albus Potter. He relaxed his hold on the bar and slid down even further.

"All right?" Albus asked softly and Scorpius chuckled.

"So much better than all right," he replied and the Slytherin's arms wrapped around him for a moment to pull him close. Their lips met in a hungry kiss and then Scorpius nearly forgot to breathe because Albus pulled out before sliding in even deeper than before. Scorpius quickly found a rhythm using the metal bar to lift himself and then release in time with Albus's thrusts. Kissing soon became impossible with the frantic pace and Scorpius wondered if the thumps against his door would draw attention from outside. He hoped there were not many students walking the hall and found himself grinning at the thought of someone rapping on his door in concern.

Even that fleeting thought disappeared when Albus began to chant his name in time with each slam into Scorpius. Whatever he was doing, it was having a brilliant effect on Scorpius, because he was hard again and the tip of his cock thumped against Albus's abdomen with every upstroke until he felt a warm hand wrap around it.

"Merlin!" he shouted when Albus rubbed it hard a few glorious times. Scorpius came for the second time and was thankful when Albus stiffened against him with a shout. He let go the bar to wrap his arms around Potter's shoulders and feel the tremors shaking the sweat-soaked body.

"Scorpius," Albus murmured and held him tightly. They maintained their position against the door until their breathing nearly returned to normal. Scorpius's legs ached from being wrapped around Albus's hips. He knew the Slytherin's thighs had to be screaming from their activity, but Albus seemed perfectly content to maintain his hold on Scorpius's hot, sticky body.

"Should we move to the bedroom now?" Scorpius offered. "It might be more comfortable."

"You have the best ideas," Albus said against his neck and Scorpius kissed him again. He drew in a quick breath as Albus withdrew. Scorpius lowered his aching legs and Albus picked up his wand to cast two quick spells. One cleaned them up with barely a whisper of sensation and the other removed the last of Scorpius's clothing and shoes.

"Could you not have done that sooner?" he asked to cover the fact that he was impressed by Albus's spell-casting. It seemed so effortless.

"Yes, I could have," Albus said and silenced him with another kiss. After a while Scorpius wondered if they would ever make it out of the entryway.

"Bed," he said firmly. He pulled away from Albus, took his hand, and led him straight to the bedchamber.

Some hours later, Scorpius stroked the thick black hair that lay against his abdomen. The Slytherin's cheek was warm on his navel and Albus shifted slightly to press a nibbling kiss on the edge of the indentation. Scorpius squirmed.

"I love that you're ticklish," Albus said with a chuckle. Scorpius held his breath at the I love as the dark head rose and an emerald gaze fixed on him.

"What are you thinking about?" Albus asked. "Regrets?"

"Oh yes," Scorpius admitted. "I regret that I did not take you home that day in the bookstore."

"You remember that?"

Scorpius gaped at him. "Of course I remember that! Are you daft?"

Albus grinned. "I have a confession to make. Well, a number of them, actually."

Scorpius kept his features carefully blank even as he mentally braced himself. He knew Albus would be leaving Hogwarts soon. McGonagall had admitted earlier that day that they were extending an offer to someone in order to fulfil the position of Flying Instructor. Scorpius had never heard the name—some retired coach from the Tuthill Tornadoes or some such. More than anything, that news had spurred Scorpius to action.

"After I met you in the bookstore, I sought out my brother James in order to track you down. I'm afraid I abused my position as his brother to mercilessly stalk you. Having two Aurors in the family comes in quite handy at times, especially Aurors whose darkest secrets may be used to blackmail them."

Scorpius nearly laughed. "It was no secret that I was coming here to teach."

"Time was of the essence. As soon as I discovered you were here, I worked like a fiend to find some rational reason to join you. I'd like to think it was fate that allowed me to attain the temporary position and teach flying."

Scorpius was silent and his hand played over the edge of Albus's jaw, liking the rough feel of encroaching stubble. He also liked the way the candlelight gleamed on the messy black hair—they had lit a single candle to combat the darkness.

"Once I came here, I felt a strange urge to stay. It's odd, but being here—and being with you—I feel like I've finally found something I've been searching for. I'm not sure how you'll feel about having me around for a while, but I applied for the position of Charms Teacher. Astonishingly, they gave it to me."

His hand stilled on Albus's face. "What?"

Albus nodded. "Professor Flitwick is retiring. He's agreed to stay on next year and show me the ropes, but after that the position will be mine. Unlike the Flying job, which required more experience than a single year flying professionally, Charms only needs someone exceptionally skilled in spellcasting. I am, of course, absolutely brilliant at Charms."

"Are you telling me you'll be staying? That this is not some sort of one-off?"

Albus scowled. "Did you want a one-off? If so, you are bloody out of luck, Scorpius Malfoy, because I want more than that. I want more than a two-off or a fifty-off or possibly a billion-and-one-off. I want you, Scorpius. Every day for the rest of my life."

Scorpius finally managed to shake off his shocked stasis. He curled both hands in the dark hair and dragged Albus up for a crushing kiss. He continued until Albus was gasping for air.

"You Slytherin bastard," he said finally. "All this time I thought I was just another notch on your wand! Every damned day I cursed my stupidity in falling for you!"

"Another notch—? You… what?"

"I'm taking you up on that billion-and-one," Scorpius said firmly and kissed his new lover. "You had better get started."