Title: What's A Cliché Anyway?

Author: phys_nut

Beta: the faboo dwarfandelf

Summary: Scorpius tries to choose someone to date. However, it's all so clichéd…

Pairing: Albus/Scorpius

Word Count: 3,210

Warnings: Obliviousness, some cursing and a bit of fluff

A/N: howaya! What's the craic? I FINALLY god my hpemofest fic finished, and i should be working on my entries for the nextgen fest and the merlin fairytale fest, but i'm a little drained from all that, so I took a little TO and wrote some cracky fluff, hope y'all enjoy!! :D

***

At the start of seventh year, Scorpius Malfoy decided that he should try being in a relationship. After all, he was smart, popular, head boy, seeker for the Ravenclaw quidditch team, and reasonably good-looking, if one were to believe the talk of many of the girls of Hogwarts. In his previous years of school, he had dated both girls and boys, but they had always been boring, tedious affairs he had put up with simply because his friends had decided that he simply MUST try it, for, "it's hardly appropriate Scorpius to go through your teenage years and not date at all – however will you figure out what you want in a partner if you don't?" His own adverse reaction to dating aside, there was something about seeing a couple completely caught up in each other that made Scorpius fundamentally ACHE, and so, while dating had not served him well, perhaps pursuing a relationship would.

Therefore, on his first night back in school, he set about drawing up a list of potential partners. Someone smart, understanding, with a good sense of humour and motivation in life would be the basis of choice, and any other good things would be a bonus, looks included. Scorpius himself never particularly indulged in vanity, much to his father's dismay, and couldn't really be bothered with other people's looks – after all, what was the point in being good looking if one were as thick as a flobberworm? Therefore, personality came first and looks last.

Happy with his selection criteria, Scorpius set about creating his list. And that's when all the problems started up.

His first choice, which immediately sprang to mind, was Albus. After all, he was a fellow Claw, very smart, didn't judge Scorpius by his name, was appropriately hilarious and serious when needed, and had had his career path planned out since first year. On top of that, he was as enthusiastic as Scorpius about quidditch, entertained his OCD tendencies with infinite patience, enjoyed helping him with his determination to learn mermish, and was really more than easy on the eyes. Yes, Scorpius thought, Albus would make a very good boyfriend. However, there was one BIG problem with Albus – it was very clichéd.

Albus was his best friend, their fathers were once enemies, and Scorpius was seen as a goody-two-shoes, while Albus, the bad boy rebel with a bit of a dangerous streak (simply because he disagreed with many auror practices, and enjoyed smoking and stunt flying, which was, incidentally enough, his chosen career). No no, it would be far too clichéd to date Albus, and above all else, Scorpius HATED clichés. For instance, it would be so clichéd for him to turn out the exact same or exact opposite of his father, so Scorpius did neither. It would also have been clichéd for his parents to be either totally cold or over-affectionate, but they were simply normal, affectionate-but-stern parents, something which Scorpius was eternally grateful for. It would have been clichéd for him to end up in either Slytherin or Gryffindor, and so Scorpius begged to be put elsewhere. Pretty much most of Scorpius' life had been spent making sure it was not clichéd. In fact, the only clichéd thing that really stood out, was his befriending of Albus Potter, but the other boy was so very uncliched himself that Scorpius felt it was all right (Although he had the sneaking suspicion that regardless of how clichéd Albus was, he would still have wanted to be his friend).

Sighing, Scorpius crossed Albus off his list, and continued to mull over potential partners who weren't clichéd. This turned out to be a LOT trickier than first thought. At first there were the obvious cliches - falling for ones best friend/enemy/the girl next door/the boy next door/the school loner/the most popular person in school, and so on and so on, but suddenly, all sorts of intricate and small cliches started popping up as his list grew.

James and Lily Potter were also clichéd must in the same way as Albus – their father once hated his, and they were also the siblings of his best friend.

Rose Weasley was even more clichéd than his previous three choices – not only was she his academic rival, and head girl to his head boy, and his best friend's cousin, AND she was very much the ugly duckling turned swan in the past year, but her whole family had had a long-standing grudge against his. It would be very star-crossed lovers, and Scorpius really didn't fancy either drinking poison or stabbing himself.

The simplest and most logical thing to do would be to eliminate all of Albus' relatives. Unfortunately that cut out a rather large chunk of Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, but at least it sped up the selection process. Patting himself on the back for a well-employed use of the process of elimination, Scorpius continued on with his list.

Four days later and Scorpius was practically at his wits' end. It seemed that every person he thought of was clichéd in some way or another – Eliza Nott's father and his were in business together and had been discussing the possibility of marriage for years, Terry Bulstrode's mother Pansy had been in love with his father for years, Romilda Hugh was a totally and utter muggleborn, and so on and so on. The list, his quest to find a partner, was becoming an obsession now, so much so that Scorpius found himself mentally checking everyone he passed by. A teacher? Clichéd. A virginal fourth year blossoming into their sexuality? Clichéd. The rival quidditch seeker? Clichéd. Clichéd, clichéd, CLICHED!

Seething, Scorpius viciously ripped his Advance Care of Magical Creatures book open, ignoring its piercing wail as he pursued a passage on amphibious mermaids. The book continued to wail until Albus reached across the table and stroked its centrefold soothingly.

"What's wrong Scorp?" he asked bluntly, once the book had quietened, "You've been really agitated and you keep looking strangely at, well, everyone. Did someone move your quill again?" he asked understandingly.

"No no, there's no conspiracy this time," Scorpius grumbled, an errant thought in his head complaining about the fact that Albus was a cliché, "it's…well…I've been trying to solve a problem and it's proving to be very difficult," he finished, unable to think as to why he was so tongue-tied about the whole thing.

"What's the problem? Two heads are better than one after all."

"I…" Scorpius hesitated, scowled at his incompetent stuttering and plunged ahead saying, "I've decided to pursue a relationship, but I've yet to find a suitable partner to do so with."

"Ohh…I take it you've already drawn up a list of acceptable and unacceptable traits upon which to make your choice?" Albus asked, pushing his books to one side so he could focus solely on Scorpius, something the blond really appreciated.

"That's the first thing I did yes," Scorpius replied, falling into the easy pattern of working out a problem with Albus – the back and forth questions and answers, going deeper and deeper until they hit the heart of the matter. It was familiar and comforting, and Scorpius felt partially soothed for the first time since he'd started his list.

"Which traits are proving the more troublesome?"

"The unacceptable," Scorpius sighed, "one in particular actually."

"Just one?" Albus asked, "Tell me about it." He tilted his chair back, took up a sugar quill and sucked on it absently while focusing his intense gaze on Scorpius and nothing but.

"Well, the thing is…you know how I hate clichés…"

"Mmhmm."

"That's the problem."

"Ah," Albus nodded, tilting back even further and frowning slightly. He paused, looking very thoughtful for a moment, before he said around a mouthful of quill, "Really? Everyone that you've though of is clichéd?"

"Everyone," Scorpius replied darkly, "It's ridiculous really. My first choice was you and-"

Albus swallowed half his quill and tilted dangerously far back on his chair before righting himself, coughing and spluttering, Scorpius staring at him in alarm.

"Me?" Albus gaped, "Really?"

"Yes," Scorpius replied, slightly worried, "are you all right?"

Albus' mouth flapped soundlessly, making him look like some sort of goldfish, which made Scorpius scowl, before he squeaked out, "Why?"

"Why not?" Scorpius snapped, feeling strangely defensive about his choice, "We get along, have common interests, and understand each other."

"I suppose…" Albus murmured, cheeks flushing for some reason Scorpius was too worked up to bother trying to figure out.

"Unfortunately, it would be very clichéd," Scorpius sighed, feeling genuinely disappointed.

Albus nodded and said sagely, "We are best friends. And our fathers used to hate each other."

"Exactly."

"Haha, I suppose er, it's you know, an, er sign eh?" Albus stuttered, laughing nervously, "It'd be a bit mad us being together eh? Totally, er-"

"Mad?" Scorpius offered flatly, stomach curling unpleasantly.

"Mmm," Albus nodded, eyes darting everywhere but in Scorpius' direction.

Scorpius stared down at his book, trying to school his expression into one of nonchalance rather than the upset pout that wanted to spread across his lips. It didn't matter to him in the slightest whether or not Albus wanted to be with him, it was the fact that he seemed so freaked out by the idea of being in a relationship with Scorpius that saddened him. Was he really that unwantable?

That thought hurt, but Scorpius couldn't let Albus know. After all, they were just friends, it wasn't as if Scorpius had declared his affections for him (being that he had none), he had merely stated that he had considered Albus as a potential partner, and then eliminated him as a choice. All very logical really.

"So, who else did you consider?" Albus asked in an overly-neutral tone (Scorpius' brain immediately went off on a tangent pondering the mechanics of being overly-neutral, and it took him several moments to reel it back in and focus on the current conversation).

"Everyone I know pretty much," Scorpius shrugged, "After you I crossed off all your family and relatives, and then there was Eliza Nott, Terry Bulstrode, Romilda Hugh, Antonis Zabini, Siobhán Finnigan, Derek Boot, and then pretty much everyone that I pass by…"

"How are they cliched?"

"Well for instance, it would be cliched for a student to become involved with a teacher, for a pureblood to get involved with a muggleborn, for someone to become involved with their archenemy, or the child of their father's best friend, or the person they kissed when they were six," Scorpius replied, listing off some of the cliches he had encountered so far.

"That is true..." Albus nodded, pursing his lips as he gently bit a piece off his sugar quill, then continued, "but they're very general cliches, of course they would apply to most people...do you honestly think you need to take those into account?"

"Of course I do," Scorpius answered, slightly affronted, "a cliched is a cliche, and it would be highly illogical to dismiss some but not the rest."

"But if you apply such generalisations, wouldn't they apply to everyone?"

"Then they apply to everyone!"

"How will you find a partner if everyone is cliched?"

"I...I'm sure I'll think of something...there has to be someone who isn't cliched..."

"Ah...but what if there's only ONE person who's not cliched?"

Scorpius gaped at Albus, who was gazing at him intensely, thought and logic and something else strewn across his face. Surely that couldn't be true...though in his heart of hearts, Scorpius admitted, if only to himself, that it was a possibility...still though, he couldn't let this go, couldn't ignore cliches. He didn't know how.

"But then that sort of thinking could lead one to the conclusion that everything is cliched," he said, his resolve faltering a little at the idea of that, "and that idea is just preposterous."

"Is it really?" Albus asked, a wicked glint in his eye.

"Yes really," Scorpius scowled.

"Okay, but i think you need to be careful with your cliches, I know how you get when you're obsessed," Albus told him in a warning tone, "Miniscule cliches that no one else has ever or will ever think about are okay to ignore you know."

"You know I don't," Scorpius snapped, "It can't be cliched, it must not be. It simply...it just...It's getting serious Al," Scorpius admitted quietly, "I can't stop thinking about it, and… I'm not having fun studying anymore."

Albus' expression flitted from shock, to horror, to sympathetic, and finally determined.

"So it's that serious. Right, well that's not on."

He reached across the table and grabbed Scorpius' hand and announced firmly, "I'm going to help you, there's bound to be SOMEONE who isn't clichéd, hopefully two so then you can chose, that's not cliched as far as I know."

"Thanks Al," Scorpius smiled, ignoring the tingles that were spreading along his arm from where his friend's hand was, "you're the best."

Albus gave him a tight smile and said, "What are friends for?"

***

A week later and the search still proved fruitless. Albus was either researching like a demon, or afflicted with a sombre melancholy, while Scorpius had gone batshit insane. He had never, in his seventeen years on this earth, encountered a problem he couldn't solve, but this was just impossible, IMPOSSIBLE!

"ARGH!" he yelled out in the empty common room, angrily kicking a poof for good measure.

"What are you yelling about?" a voice asked haughtily.

Or rather, not so empty common room, Scorpius belatedly realised, as he spotted Rose peering at him from behind a magazine.

"Scorpius?" she asked, adjusting her glasses, "What's wrong? Where's Albus?"

"He's in the library," Scorpius replied, the image of Albus working his way vigilantly through the yearbook flashing in his mind as he threw himself on a nearby couch.

"And you're not with him?" Rose frowned.

"I got frustrated," Scorpius muttered, the lingering frustration and annoyance building up in his system until he snapped, "We're down to third years at this stage, and I'm not sure it's proper to be that desperate!"

"Scorpius, what in Merlin's name are you talking about?"

"The problem!" he yelled, "The stupid fucking problem I can't solve!"

"What problem?"

"MY problem!"

"Well what IS your problem?" Rose yelled back, thoroughly exasperated.

Oh.

Right.

She didn't know.

Scorpius scrubbed a hand over his face slowly, as he tiredly replied, "I decided I should try being in a relationship with someone this year, only finding that someone is proving more difficult than I initially thought."

"It shouldn't be that hard. Who do you fancy?"

"Fancy?" Scorpius sneered, "Fancy? It's not about fancying Rose, if it was then I…well, that's not it! It's about drawing up a list of desirable and undesirable traits and basing your selection on that."

Rose gaped at him, before finally spitting out, "You are shitting me right?"

"No, why would I be?"

"Because that's not how you go about finding someone to be in a relationship with!"

Scorpius thought about Albus' reaction to his dilemma, and was so suddenly, breath-takingly grateful, that his heart stuttered and filled with an aching warmth.

"Why ever not?" he frowned, "It's a good, logical manner of choice making."

"Ugh," Rose grunted, hitting her head off her magazine, which she then closed, and fixed a hard look on Scorpius.

"So what is so wrong with everyone that they're unacceptable to date and you're forced to consider third years, and no Scorpius, it isn't proper to be that desperate."

"Thought so," Scorpius muttered, then coughed and replied, "If you must know, they're all clichéd."

"Clichéd."

"Yes."

"You're crossing them off your list because they're clichéd," Rose said slowly.

"Yes."

Rose was silent, then slowly started shaking, and soon, was rolling on the floor laughing.

"Oh, Scorp! You, you…TWAT!" she gasped, clutching her sides.

"What? What is so funny?" Scorpius demanded.

"YOU!" Rose shrieked.

"Rose…" Scorpius growled, crossing his arms threateningly.

Rose eventually calmed down and sat back up, saying, "Stop crossing your arms, you don't look threatening, just petulant," as she took off her glasses to clean them.

She slipped them back on and rolled her eyes, continuing, "Honestly Scorpius, don't you know that EVERYTHING is clichéd now-a-days? In fact, everything is so clichéd, that not being clichéd is a cliché."

"It…what?" Scorpius gaped, "But, but, I-"

"Yes yes, I know you hate clichés and you're terribly OCD about it," Rose interrupted flippantly, "You need to get over that, seriously. Now, as for your relationship problem, I'm afraid logic and lists just aren't going to cut it, and as un-Ravenclaw as it sounds, you can't listen to your head. You have to listen to your heart."

"My - ? But…I don't know how," Scorpius said quietly.

Rose rolled her eyes good-naturedly, and mouthed 'Men,' before saying, "It's simple. Just close your eyes, think about what a relationship is to you, picture it, and see who pops into your head first thing."

"…Are you sure that'll work?"

"Trust me."

"Okay, I'll give it a go," Scorpius said a little cynically, and then closed his eyes.

He imagined having someone to hold, to talk to, to encourage and comfort, to turn to, to lean on, to support. He imagined being in love, and gasped when he saw the other person right there in his daydream.

"I've got it!" he cried out, hopping up.

"Good luck asking him out," Rose said cheerfully, picking her magazine back up.

"How do you know it's a he?"

Rose smirked wickedly, and tapped the side of her head as she said, "Not just a hat rack my friend."

Scorpius snorted with laughter, then waved and ran out of the common room.

***

Warm hands clutched at his back, a tongue entwined slickly with his, and a slim body writhed against his as he pressed it against a wall. Scorpius whimpered as the hands moved down to grab his ass, and he clutched even harder at the hair his hands were buried in. A whimper answered his, and their bodies moved together with purposeful synchronisation. The kiss was hot and slow and dirty and everything Scorpius had wanted but never knew he did. Suddenly, the mouth was gone from his, leaving him feeling bereft and cold. He opened his eyes to see a pair of beautiful green eyes looking at him in a confused manner.

"What's wrong?" he asked softly, slightly worried that perhaps the other boy had changed his mind.

Albus nibbled on his kiss-swollen lip (Scorpius had to fight the urge to lean in and do it for him), and replied, "Not that I don't appreciate or want you grabbing me and kissing me, but…are you sure? After all, it is very clichéd."

Scorpius found it ridiculously easy to shrug and say, "Bollocks to clichés – everything's clichéd now-a-days. Besides," he added sincerely, "you're more than worth breaking my own rules for."

Albus' face lit up as he beamed, causing Scorpius to beam back, his whole body vibrating with a most wonderful, strange joy he had never felt before.

"Good," Albus whispered, and pulled Scorpius back in to enthusiastically continue kissing him.

Scorpius kissed back, forgot about study, about his habits, his list and most of all clichés, and lost himself in the most first moment of his life that made absolutely no logical sense. And that made it all the more perfect.

***

A/N: there we go!! hope y'all enjoyed reading it as much as i enjoyed writing it! please comment and let me know what you think!! :D