Warnings: Slash, incest, underaged kissin', bad French, inappropriate touching and James Sirius Potter.
A/N: Oh, and dedicated to Flayu, who inspired me to write this pairing! :D
The Ashwinder Incident
Every evening, the Great Hall had the most succulent dinners known throughout all of Great Britain.
And right now, whatever was on Al's plate tasted like gravel. He hovered over his plate pathetically as Rose rambled on about what she learned in Charms. It was only when she finally took a breather and look in his direction, did she get annoyed.
"Oi!" Rose smacked him upside the head. Al groaned sharply. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing," Al muttered. "Go on about the Freezing Charm again. I missed that part."
She glared at him, but he paid no heed. Naturally, he should be more spirited since it was one of those days where he sat in rotation than in the usual Slytherin table when he joined his family for dinner. Today was the Ravenclaw table with Rose.
"Why are you so mopey these days?" Rose flipped her frizzy red hair aside when it got into her juice again. "Someone sat on your pygmy puff again?"
Al pouted, but only slightly. "Can't I have one night where I'm not so happy?"
"Who's not happy?" A taunting voice said cheerily. It slithered up behind Al and grabbed at the back of his robes, nearly toppling him over backwards. Al yelped in terror.
Rose was not amused at her cousin's antics. "You know, this is not what I call being a 'positive role model' for your siblings, James."
Al finally grabbed a hold of the table and fought opposite of the tug until James mercifully let him go. He nearly fell into his plate. "Git!"
"Ah, ah, ah!" James wagged his finger mockingly. "Language, little bro, or I'll owl mom!"
"Go away!" Al snarled.
"What's with the high and mighty attitude, Al? You going all Slytherin on me?" James slid onto the bench beside his brother and picked at his plate, popping a bit of potato into his mouth. "You already wear the colors. You doing some internal decorating up in the noggin too?"
"I seem to recall the last meeting for Inter-house Relations remarking not to stereotype the other Houses, James," Rose responded coolly. "You wouldn't want people to call you an impulsive, obnoxious git because you're in Gryffindor-no matter how accurate it pegs your personality."
James made a face at her.
"Ouch, baby girl."
Rose ignored him and focused her attention on Al. "Come on, Al. Something's up with you."
Al returned to his dinner. "Nothing's wrong."
James rolled his eyes. "Whatever. It's best not to play, Guess the Emo when the emo doesn't want to spill." Al glared at him, but James continued without a beat. "Speaking of emo moments, you guys see Louis' entourage?"
"Pardon?" Rose raised an eyebrow. Al, in a fleeting moment of interest, looked up from his plate.
"His fanbase?" James made a weird gesture with his fingers as if trying to spell it out physically. "They've gone all My Chemical Romance ever since he's been in the Hospital Wing."
Rose shook her head at the analogy, unimpressed. "What's My Chemical Romance?"
He looked at her as if she had a second head. "The emo muggle band from the early 2000's? The first staple of teenage angst regarding music in this generation?" He faltered at their confused expressions. "Come on, even Professor Skeeves whistles Lostprophets songs when she's grading term papers!"
Rose shrugged. "Professor Skeeves is a muggle-born witch who grew up with that music back then. And, I'm assuming this My Chemical Romance band is American? I know Lostprophets is a UK band...I think."
"Pfft!" James swatted the air in front of them in exasperation and fell back on his seat. "You kids need to get out more!"
"Yeah, because caring about music almost twenty years ago constitutes 'getting out more'," Rose air quoted the last bit, looking thoroughly annoyed.
"Is...Louis alright?" A small and strangely meek voice startled both Rose and James, effectively cutting their argument up in two. James blinked.
"Is he alright?" Albus demanded, his voice growing stronger with every syllable. "Before you rambled, you said he was still in the Hospital Wing."
James made an 'o' with his lips and scratched his head, trying to remember what he last spoke of a few minutes ago. Just as he collected his thoughts, their dinner disappeared and was replaced with dessert.
"Right, right!" James waved his arms in exaggeration at Al's impatient stare. "His fever didn't break yet, well, at least that's what Pomfrey kept saying before she shooed me out. I didn't even see Louis!" He backtracked when Al gave him a heartbroken look at his words. "The old bag said he just needs rest and 'R and R' is all. Just because we're magical, doesn't mean we don't get the flu bug every once in a while!"
Rose patted Al's hand in agreement. "I'm going to hate myself for saying this, but James' right. And besides, it's still flu season. It's not like Louis was the only case in the Hospital Wing. Yennefer Sprigs and Geralt Rivia caught the same thing two weeks ago and they're right as rain now."
Al nodded glumly, but managed a whimsical smile. "I just wish I could see him in the least."
"Hey!" James looked mildly offended, which surprised his two relatives. "I got sick before and you never bothered to visit me!"
"That's because I don't like you," Al retorted causing Rose to giggle. "And the castle was quiet for once."
James pouted. "Damn boy, quite the mouth on you. Like I said before and I'll say it again: you're hanging around Slytherins too much. Or, maybe it's your rabid hormones finally kicking in? Trying to pull up a snarky, bad guy image for the ladies?" He waggled his eyebrows which caused Al to grimace. "And while we are on the subject, it finally rounds us back to my last point about Louis' admirers."
"What about them?" Rose inquired, though she clammed up at Al's murderous expression.
"Let's not talk about them," Al muttered, his thoughts alarmingly going dark and his stomach twisting around in unnatural places. He felt a sort of semblance of peace when Louis fell ill and his admirers all but disbanded, moaning for their object of their affections to return, regardless of the animosity towards each other.
Of course, it meant that his beloved favorite cousin had to be in pain and out of Al's sight for an entire week now. Al was now regretting his peace if it meant Louis' well-being to be at stake.
He was very conflicted over the matter and he didn't understand why. Maybe he just found people pining over someone in public as pathetic.
Al frowned. Maybe he was spending too much time with Slytherins as James insisted.
And of course, there was those moments where the admiration would reach a climax to the point where he couldn't be in the same room with Louis while his 'fans' were there, because something in the vicinity of his gut started snarling and clawing at his insides for every coo and shrill the girls praised on him.
There was even a point where he wanted to scream that Louis was his, as if he was a child whose favorite toy was taken away by the other school kids. He wanted to boast to them of the time they spent alone together or the hugs and kisses they shared as children.
Of course, that would tread on dangerous territory (not to mention the rather alarming implications to be had if he did such a thing) and he was forced to keep himself away from Louis to save both their hides.
While Rose was made aware of Al's change in demeanor, James was blissfully unaware of it.
"You know Valentine's Day is in a few days, right?" James started to help himself to some pudding. "Well, you know how the shindig goes down every year with Louis-he's bombarded with Valentine gifts from kingdom come. Well, get this: if Louis isn't out of the Hospital Wing by then, there's no way Pomfrey's gonna allow them to give him their gifts! And that's why they're all looking like someone's pissed on their Floo powder."
Rose blinked. "That's...uh, terrible..." Al for some reason, had to hide a small smirk. "Can't they just drop it off?"
James pointed his spoon at her direction in accusation. "Are you a girl, or aren't you? You know that Valentine gifts are just blatant excuses to tell someone of your feelings. It kinda misses the mark if you just send it to them!"
"Who cares?" Rose grumbled. "It's just like every other Valentine's Day, right? It's not like we've seen Louis ever interested in his fanbase anyways." Al's heart flipped with inexcusable joy at the remark.
And then, James ruined it.
"Yet," He grinned lewdly. "Our beloved cousin is old enough to have those awesome hormones rage into his system on a daily basis. If anything, it's only a matter of time before he succumbs and decides to 'tame the beast'!"
Both Rose and Al stared at the loudmouthed Gryffindor in horror, but for completely different reasons.
The thought of Louis picking a girl from his fanbase, made Al's heart to blacken, shrivel and sink down to his stomach. The idea that Louis would shower the affection he designated for Al alone now being directed at his new girlfriend made him want to scream.
His warm hugs, the sweet nothings he'd whisper in French, the throaty chuckles Al would hear when they were alone, the gentle kisses...
Al began to blush hotly. Well, Louis hasn't kissed him fully on the lips since they were children, but that was beside the point! The idea that Louis would give all that to some random girl for the sake of having one caused the strange creature in Al's stomach to promptly explode in outrage.
Hexes, Al slowly grinned maniacally, Louis' new girlfriend would be hexed to oblivion! She'll be covered in boils and feathers-not even his kind-hearted cousin could ever want to touch her again!
"We're only thirteen!" Rose hissed at James. "Don't say such gross things in front of us, right Al? Albus Severus Potter!"
"What?" Al snapped from his delirious musings and frowned at the simpering look Rose was giving him. "Uh...right."
"You didn't even listen to me!" She tossed a bit of cashews in Al's direction.
James picked up a stray cashew from the attack and popped it into his mouth. "You're thirteen, but Al's a healthy fourteen. Oh, the advantages of late birthdays, you lucky sod! He's already one foot into the door of perpetual teenage bliss! Is your voice cracking yet, Al?"
Al refused to humor his rambunctious older brother anymore. "I'm going to bed. Night, Rosie."
She gaped at him. "What about the study session tonight?" He waved it off in disinterest.
"Tomorrow. Suddenly I don't feel in the mood. Later."
As he made to leave the Great Hall, Rose and James returned to their argument.
"He always gets moody when you talk about Louis," Rose accused him. "You know how close they are."
"Bah!" James gave a hearty laugh. "You make it sound like he's in love with him or something!"
Al only faltered for a moment in his steps, but didn't turn around. He left the Great Hall quicker than intended.
Al took an opposite direction from the stairway down to the Slytherin dungeons. That destination wasn't what he had in mind just yet. Instead, he forsook the dreary walkway for the path to the Hospital Wing, where the cold stone walls slowly looked warmer and inviting with each step.
He didn't have a clue why he was walking towards there, it seemed as if his legs had a mind of its own and found something in the distance worth walking to. Either way, he wasn't pleasantly surprised to find a healthy gaggle of girls being dissuaded by the strict Madam Pomfrey in the entrance way to the Hospital Wing.
Madam Pomfrey's medical cap was slightly askew, but she made no attempts to fix it. "Out with you lot! Out! I have patients who need peace and quiet! Honestly, leave the poor boy alone! Off to bed, now!"
The group collectively grumbled but nevertheless dispersed individually. Al hid himself behind a suit of armor to avoid detection.
As he slowly revealed himself from his hiding place after he was sure everyone had left, a straggler caught him.
"Hey!" A Hufflepuff girl nearly walked past him when she caught a glimpse of him and stopped. She peered at him curiously. "You're a Slytherin."
Al tried to look threatening, but was impossible since the girl was a good two inches taller than him. "Who wants to know?" His voice slightly cracked and he blushed when she snickered.
"Let's see now," She sized him up, folding her arms. "Messy dark hair, green eyes...at the Hospital Wing..." She tapped a finger to her chin. "Are you a Weasley?"
"My mom's a Weasley. I'm a Potter." He corrected haughtily, but mentally slapped his forehead. Why was he talking to her again?
She ignored him. "That means you must be here for Louis, right? You must be related to him! Why else would you be here!"
No, you stupid cow, that's not why I'm here! He wanted to yell. I'm here because I care about him, more so than you!
But that would be stupid and highly inappropriate, so he wisely kept his mouth shut.
"I'm Doris, by the way!" She extended her hand to him. "Doris Fitter!" He merely stared at her hand and she retracted it, obviously considering that Slytherins may not like to be touched from the shrug she gave him. "Say, since you're a relative, Pomfrey could never stop you from visiting Louis! So, can I tag along?"
He shifted uncomfortably. "Are you one of his friends?"
She seemed to teeter at the question. "Well...not exactly," She responded truthfully. Typical Hufflepuff. "But I've never got the chance since he's surrounded by so many people normally! And I'd like to wish him better-!"
"Then no," Al responded bluntly and proceeded to walk away from her and to his former destination to the Hospital Wing. Something strange in his gut that wasn't there before dinner growled when she did not deter and quickly followed him anyways.
Because you're competition, the creature in his gut growled, and we can't have that now, can we Albus?
"Shut. Up." Al gritted through his teeth. Doris didn't notice.
"I mean, I know he's got a lot of admirers and I bet your family is sick and tired of them following Louis around...but you do realize that he's very handsome," She sighed, her bob styled hair swishing sideways as she bounced a bit in her step. "It's almost unnatural."
Very handsome, the creature purred in agreement. Al glared, mostly directed at himself. When did this new abomination in his gut grow a pair of vocal cords?
"He can't help it," Albus reasoned, more internally than at Doris. "He's got a bit of Veela blood in him."
"So the rumors are true," Doris looked up in contemplation. "He's got a beautiful voice too. Like a smooth tenor. Can Veelas sing?"
"I don't know."
Of course you'd know, the creature continue to purr, he'd lie in bed with you after a nightmare and he'd sing that sweet lullaby, the Scottish Lullaby in French. Then he'd sing it again...his lips against your ear, his arms around you-
Al's blush almost seemed feverish as he shook his head violently of the voice. Doris raised an eyebrow at him.
"You're not getting sick, are you?" She asked, a tad concerned.
"N-no, I'm just thinking is all."
By the time they reached the Hospital Wing, Pomfrey swooped down on them quickly, giving the obvious impression that she was guarding the entryway.
"Oh, Mr. Potter," Her scowl smoothly evaporated. "Are you ill?"
He shook his head. Pomfrey stared at him and put her hands on her hips, sighing.
"I'm assuming you're here to see Mr. Weasley, then," Her scowl returned. "He's sleeping. And visiting hours won't be until morning. And you!" She pointed her wand at Doris. "I told you and the last lot to go to bed!"
"I'm with him!" Doris smiled, placing a hand on Al's shoulder.
He shrugged the hand away. "No, she isn't." Ignoring the pout Doris was giving him he regarded Pomfrey. "Can you at least tell me how he is?"
Pomfrey seemed to accept the compromise and amicably slipped her wand into her belt, though her irritated mood hadn't disappeared. "Mr. Weasley still has a fever. I'd have cleared it up immediately if I hadn't used the last fever reducing elixir on the last ill student. Professor Sprout and Professor Slughorn are in the midst of fixing up the latest batch in a few days."
Taking pity at the rather concerned look Al was sporting at her, she continued.
"Hopefully Mr. Weasley's fever would break naturally before that, but Veela physiology seems to be more temperamental than a normal wizard's. I've contacted Mr. Weasley's parents, preferably his mother and she didn't seem worried. Apparently Veelas are quite weak in regards to simple illnesses and it takes longer for the body to clear out the sickness than other magical creatures. So, Mr. Potter, it's perfectly normal for him to be so miserable over a simple flu. He'll get over it in due time."
Al nodded numbly, his mood the complete opposite of Doris', who seemed quite curious about the extra tidbit on Veelas.
"Can Veela's sing?" She asked again, this time to Madam Pomfrey. Al rolled his eyes, turned on his heel and left the poor Healer spluttering over the answer with the strange girl.
The next day didn't help so much for Al. When he tried to visit the Hospital Wing in the morning before classes, he found that he wasn't the only one to concoct such a clever idea.
There were more girls than last time walking around absently with Madam Pomfrey threatening them with her wand. She looked even more irritable as usual, like she just got up from bed after spending the night in yesterday's clothes.
Al wisely decided to try later on, when Pomfrey wasn't looking like she'd be willing to commit genocide for the sake of peace and quiet. So, with a rather heavy feeling in his chest and a longing look towards the Wing, he reluctantly went to breakfast.
He went through his morning classes in a somewhat subdued manner. The only thing keeping him from falling asleep was the infinite loop of different ways of getting past Madam Pomfrey and the ravenous females haunting the Hospital Wing daily since Louis checked in there. Some of them were rather bland, while other plans were extraordinarily impossible.
While Al was imagining getting into the Hospital Wing using a dragon borrowed from Uncle Charlie which escalated in an intense duel between him and a grindylow disguised as Madam Pomfrey, Professor Hagrid lightly clapped him on the back, which made Al's knees buckle and abruptly fall forward onto the grass. A few Gryffindors howled with laughter.
"Yeh, alrigh' there, Albus?" Hagrid cheerily picked Al right back up and quickly dusted the poor boy off, causing Al to grunt with each pat. "Sorry abou' that. Don't know my own strength sometimes!"
Al allowed himself a smile to show Hagrid that he was fine. "It's okay, Professor. Just thinking is all."
Hagrid stopped dusting him off. "Yer dad was like that, too. Always thinkin' instead of learnin'. Mind you, yeh Aunt Hermione did most o' that for him, bu' I suppose that's another poin' entirely." He motioned the rest of the class. "Alrigh' then! Righ' this way, class! Don't dawdle! Today we be lookin' at Thestrals!"
Some of the class looked warily at their teacher, already understanding the lore that their parents quite obviously told them about the mentioned magical creature. The rest looked on with puzzlement and a large hint of curiosity.
Al was already informed of a Thestral by his father, who continuously told him and his siblings about how they used the creatures to transport to the Ministry of Magic and fight the Death Eaters down in the Department of Mysteries back when he was a student. So, while they were introduced to the semi-invincible creature, Al hung towards the back of the group to get started on his already late Care of Magical Creatures assignment. Rose opened her mouth to say something to him, but wisely shut it at the purely miserable aura Al was giving off and decided to follow the class instead.
He sat down on a tree overlooking away from the Forbidden Forest, where the class tentatively disappeared into and pulled out some parchment and his textbook, sucking the tip of his quill as he leafed through the textbook.
Looking for a Class XXX magical creature to write his report on, he started alphabetically, hoping to find an easy creature to write his report on. His eyes fell onto a creature called an Ashwinder and as he read the passage on it, the quill fell from his lips.
The Ashwinder is created when a magical fire is allowed to burn unchecked for too long. A thin, pale-grey serpent with glowing red eyes, it will rise from the embers of an unsupervised fire and slither away into the shadows of the dwelling in which it finds itself, leaving an ashy trail behind it.
The Ashwinder lives for only an hour and during that time seeks a dark and secluded spot in which to lay its eggs, after which it will collapse into dust. Ashwinder eggs are brilliant red and give off intense heat. They will ignite the dwelling within minutes if not found and frozen with a suitable charm. Any wizard realizing that one or more Ashwinders are loose in the house must trace them immediately and locate the nest of eggs. Once frozen-
"...they may be eaten whole as a cure for ague!" Albus shut his book and stood up abruptly, causing everything to spill out of his lap and onto the grass. "Ashwinder eggs can break a fever!"
It was so coincidental. Al's body started to shake in excitement. Louis wouldn't have to wait for Slughorn's elixirs in a few days if Al gave him an Ashwinder egg instead. He'll alleviate his suffering faster!
Al couldn't wait until lunch break. He was practically bouncing on his feet the whole time in class, much to Rose's surprise.
During lunch, Al immediately sidetracked from the Great Hall to pursue a proper venue to create an Ashwinder.
His first idea was to visit the Room of Requirement, but after his father's reign when he was in Hogwarts, the secret room's power was noticeably weaker after a cursed fire broke out in it, incinerating everything in its path. Nowadays, it could barely conjure up a decent chamberpot, let alone a suitable room to hold a magical creature.
Deciding to use what his brother called, 'Slytherin street cred', he decided to schmooze Slughorn for use of his potions classroom instead. After a brief trip down in the dungeons to retrieve a gift from his dorm room, he found himself in front of the potions classroom and let himself in.
Slughorn was delicately looking over an experimental potion before looking up, a bit of his heavily grey mustache burned off.
"Ah, Albus my boy! What a pleasure!" The heavy-set Slytherin Head said joyfully, abandoning his concoction to welcome the third year. "You missed the Christmas Party! Quite a regret it was."
Al rolled his shoulders modestly. "It's tradition for the entire family to visit our grandparent's household for the winter festivities, Professor. Although, I have been long overdue to apologize for turning the invitation down."
"Quite alright, boy, quite alright!" Slughorn waved it off gesturing Al deeper in the classroom. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
Al produced his Care of Magical Creatures textbook, which Slughorn looked at curiously.
"I'm afraid, my boy, that my knowledge of that particular subject is far too inferior in comparison to Professor Hagrid's. Perhaps you should ask him?"
"It's not that," Al quickly said. "I'd like to conjure an Ashwinder."
"Yes. I'd like some Ashwinder's eggs."
Slughorn immediately chuckled. "My dear boy, surely you don't need any outside help with those looks! And you still are a bit young, you'll grow into yourself eventually."
Al frowned, confused. "N-no, I want to use them to cure ague."
His professor flushed in embarrassment. "You want them to be eaten whole? Oh, right, right! Silly me! I assumed you'd want them for...well, I am a Potions professor after all! I assumed you came for just that. A potion made from it."
"You can make a potion with it?"
Slughorn hastily shook his head and quickly retreated to the supply closet. "Nevermind-nevermind! Of course that's what you wanted them for! Well, I can certainly help you with that! You see, I keep a jar of them over here..."
Al waited patiently as Slughorn rummaged through the ingredients and jumped when his professor made a sound of astonishment.
"Oh, that's right!" Slughorn returned with a large, empty jar in his burly hands. "We're out of ingredients for ague! Madam Pomfrey did say something about that a few days ago..." He set the jar down on his desk. "Normally, we don't use Ashwinder eggs in potions for pure medicinal reasons since you simply need to eat one whole! And Madam Pomfrey would rather use an ague potion instead—something about it tasting better..."
He tapped the lid thoughtfully after a moment of silence. "But ever since that rather dreaded flu bug arrived for the winter, we've been on short supply and I must've given Pomfrey all the Ashwinder eggs I had in-stock. It certainly kept her from complaining to me constantly. The woman is too high-strung I say over a flu!"
"So, is it possible to restore your entire stock by conjuring an Ashwinder?" Al pulled out a box of crystallized pineapple which Slughorn stared at in extreme interest. "In exchange for giving me a few?"
Slughorn smiled genially, but sighed. "I don't care what your father my say otherwise, you are exactly like him." He shifted uncomfortably. "And not exactly my best memory of that clever mind in action, either." Nevertheless, he took the box. "Well, now, let's move these desks so we can get a clean workspace, shall we?"
Using Floo powder, Slughorn had conjured up a small, magical fire in the middle of the room while Al dimmed the already low-lit torches to entice the Ashwinder to find a dark corner to rest.
After an hour, Al was pressed for time, having Ancient Runes in a few minutes, which prompted Slughorn to send Al off while he watched the flame. Despite Al's reasoning of how Ancient Runes was merely a review class and how proficient he was already in that subject, Slughorn shooed him off.
Unable to visit Slughorn until his afternoon classes were done with, he impatiently waited through Ancient Runes and his Charms classes until dinner, which he immediately left Scorpius after class much to his friend's chagrin.
By the time he made it to Slughorn's class, he was out of breath. He found Slughorn on all fours, looking around in corners.
"Mr. Potter," Slughorn stood up, but groaned as his lower back cracked. He tried to straighten it. "Ah, I'm much too old for this."
"Did it work?" Albus started looking around, hoping to find some creature slithering around. "Was an Ashwinder conjured?"
"Oh yes," Slughorn half-grumbled. "On midday. I followed the little bugger's ash trail all the way to the back of my large cauldron. Unfortunately, I was too late to keep them from hatching and now they're all over the place. Good for us since if we locate all the nests, we'll have a full supply on hand, bad for us if we don't find them and freeze them before they hatch!"
Albus immediately got to looking. "How many hatched?"
"Ashwinders hatch in tens," Slughorn groaned some more before another crack of his back and he sighed with relief. "So, we're looking to find a hundred eggs. We've got til the end of the hour to freeze them all too."
"Only ten minutes?"
"It's a good thing you've still got your youth!" Slughorn smiled genially, cracking his knuckles and pulled out his wand with a flourish. "We'd be having a bit of a trouble now otherwise, wouldn't we?"
The entire dinner spent was searching for a hundred eggs and freezing them with a charm. When all of them were accounted for and an entire search was warranted in order to double-check and make sure, Al was all but exhausted.
After a short meal with Slughorn (who was quite worried when he found out that Al had not eaten anything since breakfast), Al was allowed to leave with a few Ashwinder eggs at hand for a job well done.
He completely bypassed the Hospital Wing in favor of his bed, (one look at the crowd that appeared after dinner and he refused to even try to visit), he carefully stored the small jar of bright red eggs in his trunk and immediately went to bed.
Though exhausted, he was extremely proud of himself.
He woke up the next morning with something heavy sitting on his legs and opened his sleepy green eyes to find Rose Weasley perched on it, looking quite miffed.
"Wha..?" Was all he was able to spill out of his lips before his face came in contact with a pillow.
"You missed our study group...AGAIN!" She started, promptly beating her poor cousin mercilessly with his pillow.
Al voiced his complaints of the attack, which caused the other third year Slytherins to wake up grumpily. There's a logical reason why Slytherins have their dorms in the darkness and away from sunlight: mornings positively sucked for them.
A familiar blond boy growled from his four-poster bed and chucked his Arithmancy book at Al, missing only by a few inches. "Some of us need our beauty sleep, Potter!"
"Ravenclaw intruder. Someone inform the Heir of Slytherin!" Another boy moaned into his pillow.
"Oh, shut up!" Rose snapped, but finally halted in her assault.
Unable to get back to sleep, Scorpius grumpily sat up and glared at Rose. "Tell me who let you in, so I can hex them to oblivion."
Rose sat up straighter and stuck her nose into the air. "If you must know, we Ravenclaws are quite clever in deducing how to get in your 'impenetrable' dorms!"
"Potter told you, didn't he?" Scorpius raised an eyebrow at Al, who rolled his eyes and started to get off of his bed. "I oughta hex you for that, Son of the Chosen One."
"Your threats are meaningless, oh fearless one," Al made a dueling pose with his hair brush, trying to act menacing. He mimicked a rather cliched martial arts move that he remembered from an outdated foreign muggle film. "For you...cannot even out-duel a broom closet!"
"That's it!" Scorpius threw his covers back and proceeded to tackle Al, who laughed when they crashed onto the marble floor. "I'll have you eat those words for breakfast, Potter!" The combatants were soon pelted by pillows from their angry roommates as the fighting grew more loud.
As they continued to wrestle for the 'wand' in Al's hand, Rose rolled her eyes from atop Al's bed.
"Boys. Doesn't matter which House they're in or how old they are, they're all idiots."
By the time both Al and Scorpius were decent enough to drop by the Great Hall for breakfast with Rose, Al found the entire place decorated with pinks, reds and whites. He frowned.
"What's the occasion?" He wondered aloud.
Scorpius rolled his eyes. Rose giggled.
"Did you forget that today's Valentine's Day, Al?" She blushed when a few boys walked up to her and offered her some flowers. Shyly thanking them, she continued to walk with Al and Scorpius, quite embarrassed.
Scorpius grinned at the gifts all over the four tables. "My favorite time of the year!"
"Did you get anything for someone?" Rose raised her eyebrow skeptically at the rather empty book bag Scorpius was carrying.
The blond scoffed and straightened arrogantly. "Sweetie, this body's meant for getting, not giving. But when I do give, I give hard." Al grinned at the lewd joke, but Rose wasn't amused.
"Git," She offhandedly remarked and broke free to join the Ravenclaw table where her friends waited for her.
Al and Scorpius sat in their respected seats in the Slytherin table. Scorpius' admirers wasted no time to surround the blond and Al watched in amusement as he was left with gifts piled to be as big as he was.
"Told you," Scorpius shoved them to the side and got started on piling his plate with eggs. "And that's just breakfast. Wait until the shy ones gather up the courage by lunch!"
Al received few gifts from girls and most of them were from his family. Scorpius wisely didn't make fun of him, claiming that he'd probably have more luck with boys since he was more feminine looking than most boys their age. Al punched him in the arm for that, but strangely wasn't offended.
Before he could even muster enough time to visit Louis, he was spirited away with Scorpius to Herbology, hoping to receive more gifts there since they'll be sharing class with Hufflepuff. When Al voiced his desire to visit Louis during class, Scorpius remarked that the crowd outside the Hospital Wing was so big, he could crowd surf on it.
Though the idea seemed a little bit exaggerated from Scorpius' end, by lunch, Al found that there was indeed a bigger crowd than before and this time Madam Pomfrey sent Filch to guard the entrance, much to everyone (and Al's) dismay.
Threatening them all with detentions, the crowd dispersed, but many promised to return and even Al had to admire their persistence...that is until the creature inside him growled in warning.
And when dinner rolled around, the crowd was bigger than ever, but Al was determined to get pass all of them, the Ashwinder eggs in hand. Louis needed a cure. Al's desire to 'save' his cousin outweighed his fear of being attacked by rabid admirers.
But before he could even push his way past the first ring of defense, a duel broke out between two witches, who claimed superiority over how their gift was better than the other. As spells went flying, Filch went soaring, having been hit with a Hover Charm, and was screaming obscenities as he circled the ceiling.
The ensuing crowd quickly trampled over each other trying to avoid the spells and Al got caught in the backlash, losing his jar in the process. He was knocked over before he could whip out his wand and protect himself from the large traffic of retreating girls. Someone kicked him in the forehead and he saw stars. He could barely hear himself over all the screaming.
Finally, several professors received wind of the rampage nearby and quickly dispelled them, shooting disarming and stun spells until it fully dispersed. Al gathered enough equilibrium to take refuge behind a suit of armor and watched as the two dueling girls were sent to the Headmistress' office.
When Filch was finally brought back down, Al immediately reappeared from the suit of armor where the rather old Professor Flitwick surveyed the damage alongside the incensed Madam Pomfrey.
"Dear Merlin, what happened out here?" Pomfrey demanded. "It sounded like Hogwarts was being attacked for Mungo's sake!"
Among a good portion of broken gifts from the rampage all over the stone floor, Al found the shattered jar a way's away, all of the bright red eggs smashed. His heart dropped down to his stomach for the second time this week. Louis' cure...
Flitwick tried to diffuse the situation by joking. "Love makes you do strange...and sometimes terrible things, I suppose..." He looked up and saw Al's disheveled appearance and a now bright purple bruise forming over the right side of his forehead. Al quickly covered it with his hair. "Mr. Potter? I hope you weren't caught in that skirmish, were you?"
Al swallowed the heaviness of whatever was in his throat and brushed himself off, trying to keep himself busy from breaking down. "Unfortunately. I just wanted to see my cousin."
Madam Pomfrey shook her head. "I'm sorry, Mr. Potter, but after all this ruckus, I'm afraid I'll have to cut visiting time short tonight. They've awakened most of my patients and caused them a bit of stress."
Al nodded stiffly. "I understand." It didn't matter anyway. His cure for Louis' fever was destroyed.
As Madam Pomfrey retreated back into the Hospital Wing, Al graciously helped Flitwick and even Filch, who begrudgingly retrieved a broom, clean up the spoiled gifts. Flitwick made to disappear some of Al's broken Ashwinder eggs with his wand when he reached down.
"Are these Ashwinder eggs?" Al said nothing when Flitwick examined the broken shells. "Surely these young ladies would know better than to use them for potions!"
Al blushed hotly. "They're-they're mine, Professor. A gift from Professor Slughorn when I helped him procure some more for his potion stock."
Flitwick looked regretful at the waste. "I see...quite unfortunate. It's impossible to magically repair them too, since they have magical properties that would cancel it out...oh, wait, I think one survived the encounter!" Al blinked, his chest lighter when Flitwick brushed the broken ones aside and pulled out a small egg, covered in yolk. He used a Cleaning Charm on it and handed it to Al. "This one's quite lucky! Not a scratch on it!"
Al held the bright red egg. It shined like a glimmering ruby. He smiled. Destiny was definitely on his side today. "Thank you, Professor."
He wasn't deterred after the miracle in front of the Hospital Wing. It was past curfew to leave the dormitory, but it didn't bother Al the slightest. In fact, he anticipated the quiet and empty halls.
Pulling out his father's Invincibility Cloak, he prepared to crash the Hospital Wing uninvited. Louis was undoubtedly suffering under the watchful eye of Madam Pomfrey and it was his duty to alleviate the problem.
At least, that was what the creature in his gut kept repeating like a mantra in his head.
Carefully wrapping the lone Ashwinder egg in a ripped piece of cloth courtesy of his wand box, he stashed it into a miniscule bottle for good protective measures. If anything should happen to the bottle, the cloth should mostly soften the egg's fall.
Al sighed as he pocketed the bottle and unfurled the cloak. The things he did for Louis...
Donning the cloak, he easily left the Slytherin common room with minimal effort; the few stragglers sleeping over their homework or on the plush green couches with a subtly dimmed lighting of the torches was the only thing that revealed their presence. No one noticed the stone wall entrance opening and closing indiscreetly.
Al had to be extra quiet getting past the dungeon corridor, due to the loud echoes one makes when taking steps by themselves. He made that mistake and almost got caught by Filch at one point.
He bypassed the dungeons and finally reached a warmer corridor leading one way to the Hospital Wing and the other to the main corridor. Checking for Filch or a prefect making rounds, he walked a little quicker down the Hospital Wing corridor to make up for lost time, the carpet cushioning the sound of his steps.
Reaching the entrance to the Hospital Wing, Al listened through the doors for Madam Pomfrey or any kind of sound that would mean someone being awake. Satisfied to hear nothing, he quietly opened the the large doors and slipped inside, closing it behind him.
It was dark in the Hospital Wing, but thanks to the moonlight shining through some of the windows, the Wing had visible light. The only magical light Al found was being from beyond the Nurse's Office where presumably Madam Pomfrey currently resided in.
Many of the beds being occupied were modestly covered by hangings, so Al had to peek around them to find the right bed. Mercifully, he only had to look through four hangings before finding the right one and seeing a familiar shade of blond hair, he slipped through the hangings, his breath catching in his throat.
Louis was wrapped in a thick blanket, breathing erratically through his slumber. His bangs stuck to his sweaty face as he groaned miserably, his cheeks an unhealthy shade of red. Not at his optimal good looks at the moment, most would find this new image of him shocking.
But to Al, he looked like the most beautiful thing in the world.
Quickly casting a Silencing Charm over the hanging, Al immediately rushed to Louis' side and threw off the cloak, found a dish of water with a rag on the table next to the bed and immediately wiped his cousin's forehead with it, hoping to alleviate some of the discomfort.
Louis moaned appreciatively, sliding his face closer to the cloth. "That feels good..."
Al stopped momentarily, but continued his ministrations until Louis, delirious from the fever, kept speaking.
"Madam Pomfrey, let me see him...please? Let Al visit me..." Louis muttered unhappily, trying to reach Al's hand. Al felt his heart break.
He leaned forward almost on instinct and pressed his lips against Louis' overheated forehead. "I'm here," He whispered, moving down to lightly kiss the side of his face. Stopping at his near colorless lips, he blushed immediately, about to withdraw, but his body had other plans.
Louis wouldn't remember it, would he? The creature in his gut purred excitedly. Just a little one, right? Want it so bad...!
Half-guilty for doing it when Louis was in no condition to protest, but half-desiring for the kisses he now very much missed from his childhood, his face hovered closely to Louis, the creature in his stomach egging him on to do it.
"You haven't kissed me since we were children..." Al whispered miserably. "Do you know how much I miss them? How much I want you to keep doing it even now? Even when it's wrong?"
And then the thought of Louis kissing those girls who pushed him around outside the Hospital Wing that evening...the thought of him kissing Doris...the thought of him giving his undivided love and attention to anyone else but him...!
It was in that moment that he agreed in unison with the creature in his stomach.
"You're mine," Al whispered sharply, before capturing Louis' cool lips to his, savoring the feeling. His lips were chapped from the sickness and it was a mere chaste kiss but Al didn't care. It was Louis' lips and the feelings that came with it that mattered.
The kiss lasted a few seconds before his mind finally returned to earth and his conscience was firing warning bells from left to right inside of his ears.
STOP! BAD TOUCH, BAD TOUCH! STOP! COUSIN! BOY! HE'S YOUR MALE COUSIN! SNAP OUT OF IT BEFORE HE WAKES UP AND YOU'LL BE SENT TO ST. MUNGOS FOR HEAD TRAUMA!
But it was soooo worth it...the creature in his stomach purred in content.
Al's eyes snapped open and he stilled immediately as rhyme and reason cried out Bloody Baron.
He withdrew from the close approximation with his cousin to the point where he nearly toppled through the curtain. His mind was screaming to run for the hills. His pocket jingled softly.
Al pressed his hand to the bottle. No. He needed to take care of Louis. Take care of Louis, then leave.
Nodding physically to reassure himself, he cautiously returned to Louis' side. Worried that he had awoken him with his...kiss, he was slightly relieved that it did not stir his ill cousin, but it all the more made him very guilty for what he did.
Not trusting himself with his hands after that crazy fiasco, he decided to wake him up with his words. "Louis, wake up, Louis."
It was only a few seconds before Louis stirred, his eyes opening at half-mast, his beautiful blue eyes a welcoming sight to Al.
After a few blinks in recognition, Louis offered him a painful but warm smile. "Al..." His voice cracked a bit from disuse. He was slowly aware of the darkened surroundings. "...did you sneak in...?"
Al blushed horribly, but answered quietly. "Y-yeah...I brought something for you to break that fever of yours..."
Louis squinted his eyes in suspicion. "Madam Pomfrey said the medicine won't...be in a few days...?"
Al pulled out the bottle and showed it to Louis. "I've got an Ashwinder egg. If you eat it, your fever will break. I...I tried to give it to you earlier, but I...um...got into a bit of a trouble..." He smiled reassuringly. "I didn't want you to wait any longer."
Louis' face softened, touched by Al's kindness. He shakily pressed his hand to Al's face, delighted on the inside to finally touch him after a week of lost contact with the boy. "Vous êtes un ange."
Having learned a great deal of French from Aunt Fleur and Louis, Al blushed even more at the remark.
Realizing that the skin on skin contact between each other was short-circuiting his brain, Al gently took Louis' hand in his and rested it back on the blanket. A look passed between them before Al hurriedly opened the bottle and took out the small ruby looking egg.
Louis looked at it skeptically. "I'm...supposed to eat all of...it?"
"Even the shell?"
The boy furrowed his eyebrows. "I think so. The book says you have to eat it whole."
Reluctantly, Louis took the egg and quickly popped it into his mouth, chewing it slowly and wincing when he crunched down on the shell. Al tried to hide a smile at the rather hilarious expression on Louis' face.
Swallowing the egg down, they both waited and spent a good five minutes savoring each other's company, hoping to make up for that lost week. Al talked about what had happened the past week, how everyone was doing and the episode with Slughorn all the way up to the duel in the Hospital Wing. As Al talked, Louis happily listened, resting comfortably against his pillows, memorizing every movement Al made while talking.
When Al illustrated the duel and ruckus outside the Hospital Wing previously, he paused when a hand ghosted itself over the bruise on his forehead and Louis ran his thumb against it. Al whined in pain, which made Louis touch it more gently.
"Did you get this bruise trying to get to me?"
Al nodded, somehow unable to use his vocal cords when Louis proceeded to rub against it, providing a soothing relief with his touch. He squeaked when he was pulled up by the arms, forced over the bed and into Louis' now steady embrace.
"Al..." Louis whispered heavily into the boy's neck, sending shivers down his spine. He wrapped his arms around Al's torso and deepened the embrace.
Al's mind was warning him of danger, but he was all too relieved to be in Louis' personal space to care. He eagerly accepted the embrace and burrowed further into Louis' chest, delighting himself when Louis paid special attention to running his hand through his dark hair.
The monster in his stomach purred so extravagantly, that it migrated to his chest and throat.
"I missed you, Al," Louis' tenor seemed to drop a tenor lower than usual. It was almost seductive. "So much. I wanted to see you..." He gently pulled Al's head back to get a good look at him. Al noticed that his cheeks no longer looked feverish and his blue eyes no longer glazed over in pain from the heat that overtook his body from the flu. "...hear you..." He ran his hand down Al's back which caused the boy to moan unintentionally. Louis' expression turned mischievous as he pressed down on Al's lower back.
Al gasped as pleasure ran up his spine. He arched backwards from the touch, his legs that were straddling Louis' hips and the older boy's hands keeping him from falling fully over.
"...touch you..." Louis finished, his unnatural eyes flickering as they took in Al's shocked expression.
"L-louis..." Al stuttered. "I-I d-don't...?"
"'I haven't kissed you since we were children..." Louis repeated hungrily, his hands taking full delight in caressing every bit of his younger cousin's torso. Al's eyes widened in horror. "Do I know how much you missed them? How much you want me to keep doing it even now? Even when it's wrong?'"
It was apparent that Louis was awake throughout the whole ordeal. When Al couldn't help but touch what couldn't be his due to standards. No matter how much he loved him.
Al, shaken that he was caught in such an impure act, began to cry which caused Louis to pause in confusion. "I-I'm sorry...I know it was wrong...that I shouldn't-I'm not allowed to...I can't he-help it!"
Louis' seductive gaze disappeared and was replaced with one of reassurance. "Al..."
"I love you..." Al whispered, his green eyes glowing with tears. "And it's not fair. I loved you longer than anyone! Before those girls ever knew you! I know when you're happy, sad or angry...I know that you despise bouillabaisse whenever Aunt Fleur forces you to eat it! I know you secretly want to be a Curse Breaker like Uncle Bill! I know you favor your left hand more because your right hand was nearly hexed off by a neighbor during a duel... and I can't-I can't...I don't want anyone to have you, Louis! I don't!"
Al let out a pained gasp when Louis said nothing. "And now, you hate me...I know. I'm not allowed to be with you. We're both boys, let alone cousins..."
Having enough, Louis flipped them both over, much to Al's surprise. Now hovering over the boy, he grasped Al's chin lightly, gently wiping away stray tears.
"Al...Mon amour, my beloved, ma lumière, my light. Zip it," Louis responded eloquently as he quickly devoured Al's lips, effectively shutting the hysterical Slytherin up.
Al, in complete shock and disbelief, didn't even register the fact that his secret object of his affections was voluntarily kissing him until he felt something warm press against his lips, wanting to be let in. Louis' tongue was finally granted entry due to Al's shuddering gasp as his hand made it's way up the younger boy's nightshirt. Another moment passed before Al finally gave in, gripping Louis' shirt and pulling him flush against his body. Louis made a guttural sound of approval when Al deepened the kiss even more.
After a few minutes of light groping and heavy kisses, Louis finally withdrew a bit so the both of them would catch some needed air. Al instinctively licked his now swollen, pink lips which Louis immediately started to partake in again out of sheer desire. Al chuckled into the kiss.
A few more stray kisses and Louis was forced to pull back, not trusting himself to try again in relative fear of going too far. Fourteen was too young to keep going no matter how much he desired to try.
Al whined in protest, obviously desiring Louis' undivided attention. This caused the blond to smile.
"You know..." Louis moved his hand between them and brushed his fingers against Al's exposed tummy, causing Al to smile and laugh. It was a weakness only the both of them knew. "I wondered if you brought the Ashwinder egg for an entirely different purpose than to cure my fever...?" He ceased the teasing of his fingers and allowed Al to relax.
"You're like, the fifth person to say that," Al recalled curiously which prompted Louis to lift an elegant eyebrow. "Before I told them I wanted to cure ague with them, they thought of something completely different."
Louis smirked and bent down to lovingly place an Eskimo's kiss against the younger boy's nose. "Ashwinder eggs are primarily more used for love potions, Al." Al's eyes widened.
The older boy nodded. "If you knew about the ague bit, then you should've read the love potion bit as well..." Taking advantage of the deep flush that graced his love's face, he pursued it, his voice a hoarse whisper. "Or maybe you subconsciously knew...you do seem to have a rather troublesome cousin-complex...desiring for me to be all yours..." The flush deepened even more which delighted Louis. "Of course, I can't be a total saint. Believe it or not, I too, have a bit of a...cousin-complex...as well."
Al smirked, despite his embarrassment. "Really? How interesting. Can you tell me which cousin you have this...'complex' for?"
Louis chuckled, returning to capture the boy's lips again. "For a more effective experience, allow me to show you..."
It was near dawn when Al retreated from the Hospital Wing, a bit reluctantly too.
After a good couple of hours of intense cuddling and kissing, Madam Pomfrey woke up especially early to make rounds, forcing Al to leave. A few sparse goodbye kisses and a well-placed grope of his behind from Louis (who swore up and down that it was entirely accidental), he managed to escape in his Invincibility Cloak.
Deciding that he wouldn't get in trouble for an 'early morning stroll', Al took off his Invincibility Cloak and stuffed it into his bag, whistling all the while as he walked in the direction of the dungeons.
He didn't even expect to bump into anyone and was genuinely surprised to see that Doris girl stepping back after said 'bump'.
"Sorry about that!" She rubbed the back of her neck. Al merely nodded as she peered quizzically at him. "Did you finally see your cousin?"
Not only saw him, but touched him and kissed him and did all the things you could only wish in a thousand years you did...! Al simply shrugged, but internally kept himself from smirking.
She appeared eager. "How is he?"
Al couldn't help it. "Better now after I visited. All he need was someone to keep him...distracted." Wrongly identified as a 'creature in his stomach' before, his self-appointed 'hormones' purred contentedly at the memory.
Gratefully not understanding the inherent undertone of Al's words, she bounced on the balls of her feet joyfully. "Oh, good! It's great to hear he's doing better."
She blinked at the rather deep tone of his voice and took a better look at the boy younger than her. His features seem more sharper, more mature than the last time she saw him. "Heeeey...you seem a bit more...different?"
"Really?" Al lifted an eyebrow. "It's only been a day since we've last seen each other."
Doris blinked slowly. Shaking the subject aside, she produced a neatly decorated present from her bag. "Riiiight, hey listen! I know it may sound a bit forward, but I was wondering if it's possible for you to deliver my Valentine gift to Louis? It's a day late, but I figured, 'why not?', it's not like my feelings for him had changed or anything."
He said nothing, his focus entirely on the gift in her hand. She cleared her throat and continued. "That's why I'm up so early...try to beat the traffic, am I right? I was hoping Madam Pomfrey would be in a good mood today so I can deliver it to him. But it seems destiny placed you and me in the right time!"
Unlikely!, his hormones hissed, but Al masterfully squashed it down.
"I already informed him of his admirers," He responded coolly, bypassing Doris' other ramblings. "He says that he's already seeing someone."
Her happy-go-lucky expression faltered, but she bounced back. "Well, what's one relationship, right?"
Her smile broadened at Al's puzzled look. "After all, we're still young and willing. Relationships in this stage of life don't last forever. At least, that's what my mom says," Despite Al's protest, she pushed the package into his arms. "It's easy to obtain the things we want the most, but we must work our hardest to keep it. Many teens don't consider this when they pursue relationships and that's why they always fall apart. While I don't wish the same thing between Louis and this special girl, I selfishly hope they would. So please, give it to him?" With that, she waved and walked off, leaving Al alone with the gift.
He looked at the gift thoughtfully.
"Relationships in this stage of life don't last forever," He repeated slowly, turning the gift in his hands. "What a depressing sentence wrapped in a hopeful tone."
The weight of the idea of him and Louis was heavier than Al anticipated. While being with cousins wasn't exactly taboo in the Wizarding World, especially between pure-blood families, Al had a haunting feeling that if their relationship ever had the gall to make itself public, they'd be disowned faster than you can say, C'est la vie.
So would it last? He wondered, taking note of the bright red ribbon. If the everything they knew and loved crashed and burned because of their relationship, would their bond remain strong to keep them going without regret? These were very confusing questions.
It's easy to obtain the things we want the most, but we must work our hardest to keep it.
Al loved Louis deeply and Al knew that Louis felt the same way. Now that they've finally met at the same crossroads, it was decided to take the next step and see what it would bring. Even if it might end in heartbreak, Al was willing to try...to see if their love can mature to the next step. To see the light, or have it crash.
Until they start, Al will do what's easy for him. To fully obtain the person he wanted the most, all competition had to go.
He threw the gift into the trash.