Title: Folie à Deux
Pairing(s): AS/S, H/D, others
Disclaimer: If I were JKR, wouldn't I be making money off this?
Warnings: underage sex, het, language
Summary: Scorpius Malfoy wears a permanent invisibility cloak and dreams of growing wings. Al wishes he were half that cool (and has the nail polish to prove it).
Notes: Folie à deux is a French term for "shared madness," a rare psychological condition in which one person's delusions are transmitted to another person. (Just to clarify, no one in this story is actually insane-- they just act like it!)
They're fighting again, but they think I don't hear. I'm invisible.
You find out a lot of things being invisible. Like why Mummy is always out and where they keep all the Dark Objects they're not supposed to have. Or how Father hates his job and Grandfather says he has to keep doing it anyway.
For the good of the family, he says.
Right now they're fighting about Harry Potter. It's always the same argument, round and round, back and forth. Grandfather doesn't like him. Father likes him too much. I wonder why they don't get bored with it. I am. So bored with it.
I go to my room and write, They're at it again. With any luck, I'll be there before you get this.
I open my window and whistle for the owl. I'm not supposed to have it in the house. Grandmother says they're filthy creatures. I slide my fingers down the stark white of its feathers and decide I would look beautiful with wings.
I add to the letter, I never want to grow up, and watch the owl fly out over the gardens until it becomes a speck in the distance.
I used to like summers. Warm steps by the fountain to read on, and no one to stop me doing it. Sprinkles on the pages when a breeze comes up. It feels lonely now though. Too quiet. I wish I were back at Hogwarts with him, or he were here. If I were an owl, I'd leave right now.
I'm thinking of flying when Father comes in. "Do you think I would look strange with three eyelids?" I ask him.
He stares at me.
"Birds have three eyelids," I tell him. "They cover their eyes with one when they fly. It's transparent. Do you think I would look odd with bird eyes?"
"If you had bird wings, I don't think anyone would notice an extra eyelid or two. If I catch you trying to brew a bird-man potion, though, you're grounded," Father says.
"I'd have to be pretty dim to get caught at it," I say.
He smiles. "How would you like to visit your friend tonight?"
"All night?" I ask. "Or just a quickie?"
I'm not supposed to know these things. His face goes red and he tells me never to use that word in front of my Grandfather.
"I try not to use any words in front of him," I say. "He doesn't like them."
"Behave yourself," he warns.
"Well, or badly?" I ask.
He gets this line between his eyebrows when he frowns. When I talk too much, he presses his finger against it, his left middle one, like he can iron it out. It never works.
"I'll never understand how you can say things like that with such innocence, Scorpius. Sometimes I could swear you don't have a drop of malice in you. Are you sure you're my son?" he asks.
"Not entirely," I tell him. "But they do have tests for these things."
He shakes his head and tells me to be ready in five minutes.
You see? Even when he looks at me, I'm invisible.
Grimmauld Place has house-elf heads on the wall. I stare at them every time I come. Mummy says it's in bad taste, but if I had dead house-elves, I'd definitely put their heads up on the wall. And on St Valentines, hang candy hearts from their noses.
The elf heads disappear when clammy hands cover my eyes. "Guess who?" he says.
"Francois le premier," I tell him, and he laughs. "Cardinal Richelieu. Jacques Cousteau?"
"Why am I French? And Muggle? Those are all Muggles, aren't they?" he asks, pulling his hands away. They leave a wet feeling on my skin.
"You could be Bavarian instead," I offer. "They have those lovely crème deserts. I threw one up when I was seven, and it came out my nose. Am I smeared?"
"Sorry," he says, and tries to fix it by wiping my face with a spitty finger.
"I'll just wash it off," I tell him.
He sits on the edge of the toilet seat as I splash water on my face. "I wish I looked like you. You're the coolest looking person I know," he says.
"I wish your hair understood the concept of a comb," I say, and scrub at my eyes with a flannel. It's a shiny rainbow of colour, like petrol in puddles on the wrong side of the Leaky Cauldron.
He sighs and pulls his fingers through his mess of hair. "Do you think they're really going out for a drink? My dad goes out with Uncle Ron to pubs all the time, but he doesn't brush his teeth first."
"Maybe he has halitosis," I suggest.
"Hali-toe-sis? What's that? Is it like athlete's foot?" he asks.
I dry my face and tell him, "Like athlete's foot of the mouth."
"Gross. Have you ever had athlete's foot?" he asks me. "James did once, it's gross."
"No," I say, "but once I had a lizard."
He blinks. "A lizard?"
I nod. "I found it in the garden. I didn't know what to feed it, so I gave it to the owl. I looked through owl pellets for weeks to get its bones, but I never found them. I did find a baby snake skeleton, but the drawer I put it in ate it."
"Why are you the coolest person I've ever met?" he asks.
The way he looks when he smiles makes me want to smile back. I tell him, "Probably because you're the coolest person I've ever met."
We're lying on his bed examining wings in an old copy of Which Owl when his father comes in. They say he saved the world once, but when I try to imagine it, I get a headache. I can't imagine Al saving the world, and Harry Potter looks just like him but with glasses and grey hair, and a bit fat in the belly.
"I don't know why Father likes to see you naked," I tell him.
"Er," he says.
Al hides his head under a pillow and makes odd noises, but I think he's laughing.
Father comes in and puts his hand on Harry Potter's shoulder. His fingers curl into the fabric of his robes. "We're going out for a while. Behave yourself, Scorpius. Well," he adds.
"If you need anything while I'm out, you know how to contact me," Al's father tells him. "Your grandparents are home too, and you know Teddy is always--"
"I'm fourteen, Dad, I think I can handle myself in my own house," Al peeks his head out from under his pillow and rolls his eyes. "And anyway, Teddy'd just bring that girlfriend of his, and she's got an arse the size of--"
He hides his head back under the pillow. "But I hate her," he mumbles.
"Maybe you two should have a night of father/son bonding instead," I suggest. "But don't eat crisps because then Al will end up fat, too. Though I fear he's already doomed."
Harry Potter's mouth hangs open, but no sound comes out.
"You may not arrest my son," Father says. "Let's go. I need a drink. Merlin, do I need a drink!"
Al is lying back talking about Quidditch whilst I pencil the lines back in around my eyes. When he talks about Quidditch, he gesticulates. The only people who move their hands around enough when they talk are the French.
"Do you think I'd make an awful Chaser?" he asks.
"I think you'd make an awful Bludger," I tell him.
"Huh," he says, and goes back to the Appleby Arrows. His fingers pull back bow strings.
I have really dreary colouring. Dreadfully pale. Grandfather says it's because I'm always burying my nose in a book, and I should get out more. I don't answer but carry my Muggle Studies text around with me as much as I can. I've learned not to open it at the dinner table unless we're having liver.
"Will you do me now?" Al asks. He props himself up on his elbows and bats his eyelashes.
He's quick because I don't use shadow, just the liner. Thick, masculine lines. I remind him his father won't like if he uses the lipstick. His favourite is carmine, and the colour stains.
"He doesn't like your dad smoking, but he still does it," he points out.
"My Father puts out," I say.
He pulls a face and grabs the mirror. He stares into it and squints. "Do you ever, you know… think about it?"
"About putting out? I'm a bit young," I tell him.
"About our dads," he clarifies. "Being, you know. Poufs."
"Don't you sit on poufs? Like an ottoman?" I ask. "The boy begging for my lipstick has a problem with poufs?"
"Look, it's not a problem, alright? Why does everyone think I have a problem with it? They haven't even told people yet, jeez…" He scowls into the mirror. It's not a good look for him. "Auntie Hermione wants me to talk to a psycho-anatomist. Like I'm traumatised or something. Why would I be traumatised? Like nobody's dad's ever boinked another bloke before."
I hand him the carmine. "Maybe she's traumatised and projecting her trauma onto you. You should make her see a psycho-anatomist."
"Uncle Ron says you can never make that woman do anything," he answers. "I guess he'd know."
"Oh, stop. You're getting it on your teeth. You're not supposed to eat it." I sigh and have him wipe it off.
He closes his eyes, raven streaks across pale skin, and parts his lips. Light from the candles shines off his cheekbones. He looks like an angel waiting to be kissed.
I slide the colour across his lips, like blood welling up from a pinprick. "There," I tell him, and hold up the mirror.
He grins and puckers.
"Looking good, sweetheart!" the mirror proclaims.
"Cool," he says.
My owl is tapping on his window. Al laughs when he reads the letter.
"I don't think growing up will be so bad, really. You get married and have a couple kids, and your wife buys prams and changes the diapers and stuff," he shrugs. "And then she divorces you, and you get to go and sleep with a bunch of different people. Fun, right?"
"Or you can stay married and just have an affair," I offer. "You get tax breaks."
"You get what?"
"If you're married, you pay less in taxes. Father told me," I say.
"He hasn't divorced your mum because he gets tax breaks?" he says. His mouth forms a deep red O. "Tell me you're not serious!"
I shake my head. "No, he hasn't divorced her because she's in Spain. She and Grandmother are on holiday."
He says, "They're always on holiday."
I shrug. "They say nothing is certain in life but Quidditch and taxes."
"Not true," he tells me. "The Minister can cancel taxes. He could never cancel Quidditch."
"They'd string him up by his intestines on the goal posts," I agree. "Total evisceration."
Past ten, they still haven't come home yet, so we have the house-elf bring custard. She drinks too much but does fix lovely desserts.
"Maybe they went to a brothel," Al suggests. He runs his fingertip around the edge of the dish.
"No, an inn. Brothels are where you go when you can't get it for free," I tell him. "And on your seventeenth birthday."
"Do not!" he says.
"Everyone does it," I say, "they just don't talk about it. I only know because I'm invisible."
"Maybe you crazy pureblood lot do it," he says, "but my dad sure didn't."
"Because your grandparents were all dead," I say. "It's a tradition, you know. The fathers get pissed and take you down to Knockturn Alley--"
"Lies!" he interjects.
"--and let you pick one out. She gives you hints and things. That way on your wedding night, you know how to do it," I finish.
"I totally don't believe you," he insists. "My dad only goes into Knockturn Alley to confiscate illegal Dark Objects. James went down there once when he was supposed to be buying textbooks, and Dad nearly skinned him."
"Maybe he caught a glimpse of the Ladies of the Night," I offer.
"Ladies of the NIGHT!" he exclaims. He has a mouthful of custard and snorts so hard he starts to choke. His face goes red as his lips.
His straw is red too. The tip of it where he puts his lips. When he's wearing the carmine, he won't use spoons. He coughs, wraps his lips around it, and sucks. The custard is thick, and his cheeks dimple.
"They're probably just getting pissed," I say.
"Probably," he agrees.
He falls asleep on the sofa, drooling on his copy of Flying with the Canons. His eyes are a messy smear of liner, but his lips are still perfect. I wait up for Father to get back.