AN: Hello again. This is the first chapter of the sequel to 'Three Cheers to Fatherhood'. This story should still be readable if you haven't read that story, although I recommend you do read that one before you read this one.
This story features an established relationship between Albus and Scorpius, a previous relationship between Harry and Draco (as well as a future one), drug-use, and obviously slash, among other things. Deathly Hallows-compliant except for a few minor things: George Weasley married a Muggle named Helen, whom he has now divorced. Harry and Ginny separated in the previous story. And Louis Weasley is now two years younger than Teddy Lupin, and the oldest of Bill and Fleur's kids.
Go to EvanescentCrimson's profile and read the stories there. The events take place at the same time as in this story.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of the characters or anything even remotely related to the Harry Potter Franchise, except my own copies of the books and some merchandise.
Warnings: None in this chapter really, except homosexuality. If that offends you, you'd better stop reading like, now. There will be mature content in later chapters, maybe. I use profanities too, so consider yourself hereby warned.
Cold-turkey for Christmas
The scene could have been right off the front of a Christmas card. Snow was falling gently on the brick home; smoke was coming out of the chimney; and the deep-blue night sky was littered with brightly shining stars. A snowman stood on the front lawn with a red-and-gold scarf around its neck and a broomstick in its hand.
One could have mistaken it for any other house on Christmas Eve, if it weren't for the fact that the snowman was moving. He had been bewitched to do so by the young witch named Lily that resided with her father, Harry, and her two brothers James and Albus.
The Potter family had come together for the winter holidays. The kids were home from school. Ginny had put her pride aside and joined the family for dinner in her old home. She had even conceded to stay over for the night so that the family could all have Christmas lunch together. All of the Weasleys would be over too.
It would be almost like it was every year for the past couple of years, except that a few things had changed. It was the first Christmas that Harry and Ginny had been separated, and there was a lot of potential for awkwardness. George and his wife had also divorced earlier that year, and it had been anything but amicable. Strangely enough, his wife would be coming to Christmas lunch with their kids, without him. He had elected to spend Christmas alone – or as Harry suspected, at his twin brother's graveside.
This year was also the first where Albus would be alone, although that wasn't because his significant other and himself had broken up. No; he was still very much in love with Scorpius Malfoy. But they wouldn't be seeing each other for a few more days at least. The two had decided mutually that it was in their best interests to be apart from each other in the difficult few weeks following their decision to stop abusing drugs. It had gotten to the point where they couldn't go more than a few days without their fix, and they both knew it had to stop.
And so, Christmas that year was not like the others before it.
From the outside, things may have looked picturesque and perfect, but in truth, the inside was anything but.
Ginny and Harry stood in the kitchen, arguing in hushed voices so that James and Lily – who were playing chess in the living room by the fireplace – wouldn't hear. Albus was up in his bedroom with the lights off and the door locked, like he'd been the whole holiday so far. He, and his new behavioral habits, were the subject of the conversation.
"You never told me he was like this" Ginny scolded in a harsh whisper.
"I did" Harry said, adjusting his glasses and throwing a weary glance at his ex-wife. He hadn't actually told her the extent of their youngest son's withdrawal, but he had mentioned it.
"I didn't know it was this bad"
"Well, it is" Harry replied. He didn't know what to tell her. He'd tried talking to Albus about it; he'd tried giving him space. He'd tried getting Lily and James to get it out of him, but to no avail. He simply couldn't figure out why his chirpy, constantly laughing son who didn't take anything seriously had suddenly turned into a zombie.
He had lost a lot of weight in the past few months, but Harry figured that was just due to the stress of OWLs. It was a viable explanation; Albus's best friend Scorpius (who was in the same year) had also lost weight. It was beginning to worry Harry, however, because now Albus was hardly eating at all. A fifteen year old boy was supposed to have a healthy appetite, according to Harry.
He'd been surprised to learn that Scorpius Malfoy would not be coming to stay with them that holiday, nor would Albus be going to the Malfoys. Ever since that first year when Albus and Scorpius had become friends, they'd virtually been spending as much time as physically possible at each others' houses in the holidays, seeing as they weren't at school, when they were literally spending as much time as physically possible together.
Harry thought that maybe the two had had a fight, and that perhaps that was the cause of Albus's apparent depression. But when he questioned him about it, Albus apathetically stated that the Malfoys had gone to New Orleans on holiday. And now that he, Harry, was no longer on speaking terms with Draco Malfoy, he couldn't even check.
"What could be making him act this way?" Ginny continued, biting her nails uncharacteristically. "You'd think he'd be happier, now that that good-for-nothing Malfoy boy is out of the picture" she added.
Harry could feel his blood beginning to boil. "He's not 'out of the picture'. He's on holiday with his family. According to Al, they're still perfectly fine" Harry defended.
"But of course, he's lying!" Ginny remarked as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"You may be quick to assume he would lie to you, Ginny, but I like to think he doesn't feel the need to lie to me"
Ginny visibly got defensive. She was just about to shout at Harry when she heard a shuffling of feet at the door. It was Albus. She immediately went over to him and threw her arms around him in a protective, motherly fashion. Harry wondered how much he'd heard.
"Mum, get off me" the fifteen year old Potter said, his voice muffled under his mother's hair. His own hair, which was dark and long-ish, hung matted and messy in his face. It was normally unruly but styled to look like it was like that on purpose; now, it just looked mussed from days of sleep.
"My darling, you're up" Ginny cooed, moving some of the dark strands –longer in front- behind his ear.
"Give him some room to breathe, Ginny" Harry said quietly, looking Albus. Their eyes met and Harry was sure there was some sort of unspoken thanks and non-verbal apology in the green depths of Albus's eyes. "How are you feeling, son?" Harry asked gently.
"Fine" Albus said. It looked like it was costing him every ounce of energy he had to utter that one lie.
"Can I get you anything?" the older Potter offered, trying as always to be as supportive as he could.
Albus just shook his head and headed over to the sink. He grabbed a clean glass from the dish-rack and poured himself water from the tap. He drank the entire glass's contents in one gulp. He then proceeded to refill the glass, which he took back up to his room with him. Harry watched him drag his feet out of the kitchen. He'd been wearing the same grey vest and black shorts as yesterday and the day before. Harry's heart was breaking.
"The only person I can think of who might actually be able to talk to him is Teddy" Harry said to Ginny when Albus had disappeared.
"So? Then? Get Teddy" she demanded.
"He's off in France for another week still" Harry informed her for what felt like the hundredth time that day. Their conversation was going nowhere. "Just… serve cookies to James and Lily. I'll go talk to Al. Again"
Al hadn't bothered to re-lock his door upon entering his bedroom after getting water for himself. Harry knocked gently and let himself in at the mumbled response.
Al was lying in the foetal position on his bed, with his sheets all scrunched up around him and his duvet pulled over his head. It was clear he'd been tossing and turning. The rest of the house was warm but this bedroom was freezing. Harry noticed with alarm that the windows were open, letting in the icy breeze and some stray snowflakes. And all Albus had on was a vest, shorts, and a pair of grey socks.
"Al, it's freezing in here" Harry commented, closing the windows. Albus didn't respond. Harry took a seat at the end of Albus's bed. "Son… listen" Harry began, but was cut off by the sound of a heart-wrenching sob coming from under the duvet. "Al?"
Harry gently pried the covers from Albus's fingers and uncovered his face. Tears were running down the young man's face. Harry sat by idly as his son sobbed into his pillow, not knowing what to say or do.
"What can I do to make your life better?" Harry asked tiredly, wishing for just one smile from the boy.
After a few minutes the sobbing died down and Albus managed to say two words in answer. Two words he should have said long ago. "Get Scorpius"
It was Christmas day. The Potter family was preparing their house for the large amount of guests that would be coming over for lunch later that day. All except Albus, who was taking his first shower in days. It pleased Harry to see that he was making an effort to look nice and clean and presentable. He looked better than he had all winter; his hair was styled and straightened, and his clothes were clean and ironed. But the dark rings that had taken residence under his eyes were still there. The sunken look to his cheeks and the blue-grey tinge to his skin were all still painfully present. Just what was going on? Harry couldn't imagine.
Harry had owled Draco last night, despite their less-than-friendly disposition towards one another, and arranged for Albus to spend Christmas with the Malfoys. Ginny was disgusted that Harry was "pawning off his son", but Harry knew that it was the only thing that could set things straight.
At 10.00 am precisely, Draco arrived alone at Potter Place to pick up Albus. "Al, go say goodbye to Lily and James" Harry ordered. Albus did as was told so that his father and Draco could have a minute to talk.
"Harry" Draco greeted.
"Draco" Harry replied.
"How've you been?" Draco asked, his voice softening.
Harry had to take a breath to stop his voice from cracking. "It's been hell. Al's giving me grey hairs" he said, attempting to smile but grimacing instead.
"I'm sorry" Draco said sincerely. It pained him to see his former lover in pain.
"It's not your fault" Harry said, regaining some of his composure.
"I could be making it better though" the blonde reached for Harry's hand, trying to reconcile or at least offer some comfort. But Harry pulled his hand out of reach.
"Tell that to your son" Harry replied with a snarl. He knew it was unfair, but he resented the younger for leaving his son, when it was so clear Albus needed him. Which reminded him, "How was Louisiana?"
"Wha-?" Draco was interrupted by Albus, who had reappeared at their sides.
"I'm ready to go, Uncle Dray" he said hastily.
"Oh, uh, alright then" Draco looked into Harry's eyes. "Bye, then"
"Yeah. Bye" the brunette replied. "See you, kiddo" he hugged Albus fiercely.
"Bye, Dad" Albus hugged back. And then they left.
As soon as they were at the end of the street, Draco held out his arm for Albus, which he took. They then apparated. Soon they were close to Malfoy Manor. As they made the short walk to the main gate from the end of the avenue, Draco spoke.
"I hear you've been giving your father grey hairs, Al"
Albus didn't respond.
"Scorpius misses you like crazy"
At the sound of his boyfriend's name, the younger wizard's eyes lit up and his interest peaked.
"Although, he's been acting weirdly" Draco continued. "Some days he's happy as a pig in mud, laughing and eating like there's no tomorrow. Other days though…" his eyes darkened "he's like a ghost. He just mills about the house, sometimes stopping to stare at the paintings or something, with this faraway look in his eye"
Albus grunted in reply.
"And I really worry about him" Draco admitted with a sigh as they reached the gate. They stepped through the wards and began walking up the garden path. "I don't think he can handle being away from you"
"Well it sounds like he's doing a right lot better than me" Albus said a bit more snappily than he'd intended. He was a bit hurt. Was Scorpius not suffering as much as he was?
"Perhaps. But he screams in his sleep" the man confided in the boy. "And all he paints these days are scenes of bloodshed and horror. Or you"
"He paints me?" Albus asked in disbelief. In all the years he had known Scorpius, he'd watched him create masterpieces on canvas, but he'd never seen a painting of himself.
"Of course… You should see the latest one. It's 2 metres by a metre and a half. Of course my old father is over the moon about it" Draco said sarcastically. Albus smiled to himself for the first time in what felt like months.
Albus hadn't realized that they'd stopped walking and were standing in front of the large, ornate oaken doors. "After you, Al" Draco offered. Albus stepped inside.
"Dad? Is that you?" Scorpius's voice called from down the hall. It was music to Albus's aching ears.
"Yes, and there's someone here to see you" Draco called out in response. Albus realized that Draco obviously hadn't told Scorpius he'd be coming.
"Oh?" Scorpius emerged from around a corner, his miniature clone poking his head around right behind him. Albus could see the brothers had been painting together. It took Scorpius only a second to register Albus's presence, for a second later he was hurtling down the hallway at a breakneck speed.
The blonde threw his arms around Albus and hugged him as if he hadn't seen him in years. Albus put his arms around Scorpius's waist and held him tightly, willing himself not to cry.
After a moment Scorpius pulled back a bit to look into Albus's eyes. He didn't look for long, however, as another second later his eyes were closed and his lips were on Albus's. The two kissed heatedly and longingly.
"Right, so I'll be going then" Draco said, making his way to the other side of the house. "Come with me, Lu" he said to the little boy still standing half around the corner, watching his brother in fascination.
When they were alone, Scorpius's fingers crawled up into Albus's hair. His other arm pulled Albus even closer (if possible) and held him there. Albus enjoyed the long-awaited kiss, responding enthusiastically.
After a few minutes, the boy's broke apart. And just in time too, as Albus was getting dizzy. "Miss me?" he said with a playful grin.
"SO much" Scorpius replied, grabbing Albus's hand and entwining their fingers.
"I love you" Albus felt the need to inform the blonde, even though he'd said it a thousand times before.
"SO much" Scorpius said again, placing another kiss on Albus's parted lips. Scorpius then took a moment to really look at Albus, now that he was sure he wasn't going anywhere right away. "Ally, you look like shit" he commented with concern.
"Thanks" Albus mumbled. "I see you don't". This wasn't strictly true; Scorpius looked ill. His hair, however, was clean and shiny, and his clothes may have been dirty, but that was because he was full of paint.
"My love, I-"
"Not here" Albus stated simply. "Let's go to your room". Scorpius agreed and the two made their journey up to his bedroom, hands locked. Albus knew they way well by now.
When they were in the privacy of Scorpius's extravagant bedroom, both seated on the oversized bed adorned with maroon and black silken bedding, Albus brought up the topic again. "Yes, I look like shit… It hasn't been easy, Scor"
"Damn right. It's been hell" Scorpius agreed, his face serious.
"I slipped up a few times" Albus admitted shamefully. "I found some old stock. It got really bad, babe… I got desperate" he looked down at his hands, which were cold and clammy in his lap.
"I can't stop, Ally" Scorpius's voice was barely audible. "I tried… You must be stronger than me… I can't stop" he said again.
"God I miss the days…" the brunette sighed.
"I missed you" the blonde said sincerely. "We shouldn't be apart. Even if we are bad for each other"
That was the reason they'd agreed to spent time apart in the first place: because together, they were too blinded by their love for each other to see how destructive what they were doing was. They'd thought that they could conquer the addiction quicker if they knew it meant they could be together again.
"You're the best thing for me" Albus said with a laugh. He couldn't believe he'd thought being clean and drug-free was worth being away from the love of his life.
"Try something new with me, Ally" Scorpius said, a sudden fire in his eyes. "It's not like the Asphixus… It's different. Better. I spent all this time developing it"
Albus was weak. He'd set himself on fire if Scorpius suggested it. And so, after weeks of suffering, after the hell that was going cold-turkey, he agreed to try something new.
AN: Well, that's chapter one. Please review. I'd love to know if there are any readers still interested. Much love!