Ruby Slippers~

A/N: Hey ladies and gents, it's been an era since I posted anything so you lot and I are going to have to tackle this as we go! Time for some audience interaction! Anyway; (canon almost) Albus/Scorpius with a delicious side helping of (AU) Harry/Voldemort. Rating will rise and I assure you lovelies it all comes together in good time.

As for the rest- if you have any questions fire away, if you'd like to review I'd love to hear from you, annotations at the bottom for anything needing clarification, a stack intertextual references (if you can catch them all I'll give you a prize~) and do try and have fun wont you? Should never take life too seriously~

Rating: eventual M
369 = scene shift
3-6-9 = a little bit more~


Chapter 1: "Pearls for Stars"

Albus S. Potter it read in almost illegible black script on the sheet of paper handed to Scorpius Malfoy as he sat stiffly in the waiting room of Saint Mungo's. He twisted his tongue uncomfortably in his mouth, frown never faltering as he peered round the assembled couches and magazines at the other occupants: James Potter was flicking through an issue of the Prophet, feet tapping, chin in hand, while his mother Mrs. Potter beside him gazed miserably off into space and Scorpius' father beside him looked reverently at his watch every few moments.

"You can go," Scorpius whispered apathetically, "It's okay, I don't mind waiting by myself."

"Are you sure?" Draco murmured supportively but the jitter in his glances towards the door of the ward gave his faltering away sufficiently, alerting the stone faced teenager that he was nothing if not eager to take the opportunity to leave.

"I'm fourteen. Not four." He shrugged. "It's just a hospital."

"I'll be back after my meeting, shouldn't be too long," the man was already on his feet rearranging his suit and brushing some nonexistent dust off his cuffs. "I'm very sorry Scorpius; you will tell Albus that your mother and I are thinking of him won't you?"

The blonde waved his hand flippantly, grey eyes still primed on the double doors leading towards the patient rooms, while his father scurried off to Ministry business his expensive shoes clicking on the white wash flooring. Guardian gone he wondered briefly if Mr. Potter was also busy at work in the Auror department or if he to, like Scorpius' own father, was trolling through the piles of paper work stacked on his desk. Scorpius hated to imagine how big those piles were during the war but he wouldn't strain his mind for the moment when there were more pressing things to imagine about.

His favourite thing to wonder lately and most especially over the end of year break, when there was nothing else to think about in-between his Grandfather's criticism and his Grandmother's fussing, was how exactly he was going to sue the Potters once he finished school. He had the entire thing plotted out in his head to a T of course.

It wasn't exactly that he disliked the Potters, he rather liked Mr. Potter and James wasn't detestable either, but he simply had no intention of letting Albus' medical future rest in their hands for much longer. Ginny Potter, Weasley his father always stumbled when greeting her, was protective but irrational concerning her children and if given control of the situation would no doubt have her second son committed for the duration of his natural life.

Scorpius had long since decided, in first year to be precise, when he and Albus had both befriended each other in Slytherin house, that he would not allow the undeniably strange but sweet Potter to be trapped in a straight jacket. It would be a criminal waste of imagination and personality in his opinion. As his best friend, only friend really, the Malfoy intended to have Albus moved to his residence at one of the Malfoy Manors and continue their lives from there out of the prying reach of Mrs. Potter.

As far as space and practicality was concerned Scorpius doubted Albus would ever marry or have children, though on occasion he did hope for it, simply because the thought of his companion's legacy, blood, dying out was a frightful prospect for a young man of pureblood heritage and tradition. He also doubted Albus would ever be completely normal but he was happy to endure those oddities which in their own way attracted him.

"Dear?" he stirred from his contemplation in perfect composure as the dark haired nurse cooed down at him, "Would you like to go in now? He said he'd very much like to see you."

Of course he wanted to see him, Scorpius scoffed to himself as he stood. It wasn't like Albus would like to see James or his mother when he was delicate and Scorpius was the only person who would have brought any items which the Potter would actually wish for.

Shuffled into the small private room, apparently befitting a hero's son, Scorpius shut the door behind him before the nurse could place her foot in the gap and casually stroll in to join or oversee the pair. Albus twisted under the white bedding, looking painfully small and predictably pale, while Scorpius strode closer to sink into the chair closest the cot.

"You didn't have to come." He mumbled contentedly, the same dreamy smile he always seemed to have plastered over his face, speaking as if they were at a garden party and not a hospital. "Really you could have done much more interesting things with your time then visiting me in this awful place."

"I don't know, I rather like to think of it as our semi-official club house, we spend enough time here after all."

"We need jackets with the hospital insignia" Albus nodded, dragging himself up to sit against the wall behind, one leg over another under the sheet, fingers clasped formally in his lap. "It shall be our first order of business"

"Though… we have other matters of business to consider at this point." Scorpius pondered, elbows on the edge of the bed as he leant forward conspiratorially, "Much more pressing issues have arisen."

"You're quite right I'm sure." Albus agreed, brushing the fingers of one hand through his dishevelled hair, "We haven't even discussed Lemon Drops yet and you've already been here for three minutes and twelve seconds. My mind is in such a shambles. Really: jackets before Lemon Drops? I must be unwell, but my impending lobotomy aside- you did bring me some didn't you?"

"I hardly think it's kosher in a hospital." Scorpius chided solemnly. "Merlin knows they might set off your delicate condition."

"Oh rubbish." Albus huffed dramatically, regarding the nails on one hand as he crossed both arms over his chest, "And besides what kind of Slytherin would you be if you didn't sneak in contraband for our amusement?"

"A very poor one I'm sure," He sighed dipping a long fingered hand into his pockets and relinquishing the sweets to his squealing friend. "Great Uncle Severus would be rolling about in his grave at the very thought of a Malfoy appearing valiant in the face of regulations."

"Very much so," the Potter boy cooed supportively, fingers scrambling to free the gumdrop of sugar from its crinkling plastic prison, popping it unceremoniously into his mouth and allowing it to sit sticky on his tongue while he spoke. "So what other tokens of love and devotion does my grand hero bring forth?"

"None until you answer these riddles three." The Malfoy taunted as he unhooked his scarf from round his neck.

"Oh bugger, you foul thing, you've gone from Knight to Knave in less then ten seconds."

"Grandfather will be proud." Scorpius proclaimed clutching his hand to his chest. "At any rate, we're not getting any younger-"

"Your hairline is receding as we speak-"

"-As is your eyesight," The blonde retorted tapping Albus' fidgeting digits as they scrambled over his lap for a second Lemon Drop. "Now then; what in the name of Voldemort's knickers did you do to end up here this time?"

Albus giggled uncontrollably, hand flying up to block the escape of treacherous candy from his mouth, as his throat bounced with the hysteria. Coughing weakly he patted his chest to calm himself, taking one deep intake of oxygen through his nose, free hand gesticulating in the air while he swallowed.

"You're going to make me choke one day." He laughed contentedly, hands falling back into his lap, while Scorpius stared quietly at the green and black stripped nail polish in satisfaction. "Just another nightmare really. I don't know what all the bother is, I mean, Dad has them all the time but apparently I wasn't in a war so I'm not allowed. There's a card or something you need, it's like a pension from what I've heard."

"What was it about?"

"Voldemort's knickers."

Scorpius swatted the other boy's bouncing knee through the white sheets.

"Alright, alright," Albus' green eyes rolled in his head. "I was in a house."

"Were you old again?" Scorpius suggested as Albus paused to consider his next sentence "Deliriously old as you put it last time?"

"No, no, no" Albus shook his head, tresses bouncing, tapping his lower lip thoughtfully with his index finger. "This time I think I was myself, I must have been in my uniform because I remember distinctly tying my tie round my wrist."

"A horrid habit really," He taunted, "You always get the end caught in doors, or on banisters-"

"Or in the gaping drooling orifices of man eating plants," Albus reminded him as an aside, "Yes but I was me, as much me as I can be in a dream anyway, and I was in a house. Your Grandmother would've died; it was filthy, pitch black, filled with rats and rotting things and broken things."

"Was there anyone in the house?"

"No, I was all alone, until I found a mirror and the mirror had black glass. There was a boy in the mirror too and he looked very much like me-"

"Such is the nature of mirrors Albus."

"Well yes, except this boy wasn't me. I mean he was similar but he wasn't me and I started speaking to him and it got very cold…suddenly I knew who he was, where I'd seen him before I mean, but then everything was all loud and topsy turvy in my head like I might puke…then it wasn't the boy in the mirror any more but someone else." The Potter raised his hand before his face as he spoke as if to reach out to touch the imaginary glass. "And they were…I don't know…but I knew them too…and then…I'm not sure but everything was wrong somehow."

"Who were they?"

"I don't know," He muttered casually hand slumping as the trance lifted, "Or rather I can't remember because in the dream I knew but now I don't. That was why I was so scared when I woke up: because of who they were."

"A bad dream is hardly a reason to bring you to Saint Mungo's"

"Well yes but the sleep walking was very disconcerting for Mama Dearest."

"You were sleep walking again?"

"Yes, I woke up sitting on the kitchen table. Screaming." He laughed once more, the distance in his eyes fading suddenly, while he began to smile. "I made it down the stairs and everything!"

"Wonderful." Scorpius clapped demurely while the smiling boy cooed across to him. "You are now entirely capable of wandering straight into the Forbidden Forest one night this term. We shall sell tickets and place bets and it shall be merry."

"Tie some first years to me and make a show of it."

"Speaking of," the Malfoy prompted, digging once again through the pockets of his robes to retrieve a wad of letters he handed delicately to the Potter, "Our First Year's Extravaganza is looking as though it's going to be more spectacular than last year, or the year before. I've gotten everyone in Slytherin a place they can be first evening of term whether they wish to take part in the ceremony or not. The majority of which I had to organize without you but you'll get your things for the event on the train and you shant complain."

Albus shuffled through the pages quietly, muttering aloud some of the cursive signatures donning the reply posts in awe, a wondrous glitter filling his eyes at the thought.

"Fantastic…" He cooed reverently, "I love initiation night more than our inter-program I must admit- Lucinda Clagg? You got her to agree? You are a genius…But who's doing what this year? Which stage did you decide on?"

"Triwizard tournament." The blonde teen replied casually, "Seemed the obvious next choice, I assumed you'd be our antagonist this year-"

"Oh but Scorp you said!-"

"I know, I know, but I grew my hair out so long last year I look far too much like my Grandfather to pull it off, too tall as well, so I'll have to be our one of our supporting roles-"

"No you won't!" Albus retorted, waving the stack of papers and prodding their ends into Scorpius' chest in a succession of quick jabs. "If I'm the antagonist you'll be the protagonist! No one will see your hair if we put you in the hooded dress cloak and you tie the blasted stuff back for once."

"Just like second year then," He surrendered lazily with a final sigh, "You'll think of after school specials while I sandpaper my throat and channel the spirit of great grandpa Abraxas."

Albus snorted and tucked a wayward strand of hair behind his pale ear, forfeiting the letters to Scorpius once more to stow, turning his reverence back to the remaining Lemon Drops in his lap.

"Hey," the dark haired boy sounded hesitantly, leaning back deeper into his slouch, while he rolled the Lemon Drop against his cheek with his tongue. "Do you think I'm insane?"

"I know you are," Scorpius clicked his tongue dismissively, "That's why we're such good friends."

"I knew I loved you for a reason." He caught himself on a thought; "Well, another reason along with your innate ability to keep me to my ears in Lemon Drops with that inheritance of yours"

"Well that goes without saying."

Smile comfortably and firmly set in Albus' eyes as well as on his lips the Potter sunk into the final rotation of his up and down sitting game to lay perfectly dishevelled among the newly askew bed sheets. One hand fell by his cheek, clutching the last of the sweets in his palm, resting between his face and Scorpius' crossed wrists on the edge of the cot. Staring up into the composed features of the Malfoy he smacked his lips together with an almost inaudible pop. Knowing the routine better then he cared to recount Scorpius clicked his tongue one final time and their goodbye was exchanged satisfactorily.

-369-

Compartment thirty six of the Hogwarts Express had been unofficially claimed since first year. Fifth year was no different therefore and when Scorpius entered it eight days later to see Albus licking his right index finger for the last remains of his chocolate frog, flicking the pages of his History of Magic text, all was pristinely right with the world.

Three compartments down James S. Potter was singing a Quidditch World Cup song with a few jeering companions in his typically harmless but boisterous fashion. The mere thought of the hectic mess they were no doubt making forced the Malfoy to subconsciously straighten his tie. James was a good character, a reasonably good brother too, or at least if Scorpius had to have a brother he wouldn't have minded the act of enduring James. Truth be told however in the depths of his mind the blonde could not wait for their final year of Hogwarts- James free. Two compartments up Lily Potter and Rose Weasley were undoubtedly exchanging beauty and study tips in equally polar amounts to each other and somewhere in the midst would be Hugo Weasley.

All three Potters accounted for Scorpius was seated besides Albus, their legs crossed upon the seats adjacent, his calves resting comfortably on the leather and Albus' ankles just hooking on the edge of the seat. He strained to remember when they'd first meet in the compartment and his legs had been as spindly and as short as Albus'.

"Chocolate frog Scorp?"

"No thank you"

"I've been plotting," Albus admitted putting his book down and pressing their thighs side by side, "I think we should raid the shrieking shack."

"Why?" He grimaced, "That sounds dreadfully like something James and Hugo would do for kicks"

"I think it bears too striking a resemblance to part of my dream to ignore." The smaller rested his cheek on Scorpius' shoulder, blinking angularly from under his pitch fringe with a smirk, "It'll be an adventure."

"I'm not one for adventures." He retorted sharply, frowning furrowing his eyebrows, "They always seem to end so tragically. I mean look at your father; seventeen years of heartache, trauma and torture to spend the rest of his life dully traipsing the suburban dream of a nuclear family"

"Does the United Pessimist's Guild send you a Christmas card? Because they should."

Scorpius reached his hand out, curling back, upper arm crushed under Albus' crooning form to pat the boy's pale cheek. It was undeniable that through some twisting and turning of the conversation, an epically well practiced art form, manipulation would be used to lure Scorpius into believing that he wanted to go to the Shrieking Shack. Being a Slytherin he understood Albus' technique and his goals but the doe eyes and the broken-glass-sharp smirk created such a conflicting image of beauty he simply couldn't resist.

"First we deal with our House duties"

"Such a loyalist" the green eyed teen tsked teasingly before letting the conversation lapse into a comfortable silence the likes of which was common among them. It seemed to Albus, he'd once admitted, that James always needed to be talking to feel comfortable whereas the younger Potter preferred silence as his herald that all was right with the world. Scorpius being one never to speak unless there was something to be said was happy with the arrangement.

The moments ticked by, train huffing and puffing ever closer to their destination, and still Albus lay squished between the Malfoy and the window head lulling on the other's shoulder. Scorpius took to reading the copy of their latest History of Magic text while slowly but surely Albus fell into a doze. Sighing detestably as he overlooked the latest chapter on the Goblin Wars he returned to the index in hopes of finding something more exciting. Elegant fingers ran over the lines, periodically connecting chapter titles to their page references, and discovering a promising title he flipped through the pages to seven hundred and sixteen: Grindelwald.

An hour elapsed, then another, the trolley came and went. Chocolate Frogs, Liquorish Wands and Lemon Drops bought with the considerable allowance typical of a young Malfoy while the information spread across his lap was also devoured. James passed their compartment door thrice, once passing back in his Gryffindor uniform with Hugo likewise, again with Lily in her Hufflepuff black and yellows, and finally with an armful of sweets stopping ever so slightly to regard his baby brother curled up against the blonde.

It was after this third passing that Albus began to twitch, in the fingers curled round Scorpius' forearm reflexively first, until his ankles too were knocking his feet about. With a tiny moan he set to work stirring Albus from what was no doubt another fitful dream. Twisting onto his side, chest to chest, with the leaning body of the smaller boy he grabbed his shoulders.

"You know…" Albus frowned in his sleep as he muttered, "…Can't… I mean…but then…if he finds… I'd rather cats…well…jajaja…"

He quirked his brow as the pale Potter began to repeat the phrase over and over in an array of badly imitated accents, lips quirking on his sleeping face, a giggle emerging somewhere between the syllables. Pausing in his quest to observe Scorpius thought, foolishly, for a moment that perhaps this time he could let Al continue to sleep. Then, of course, the track changed…

"Severus…how'd…I…" The smile faded, lips tightened, entire face contracting as Albus scrunched up his features distastefully. "You can't …your blood…lonely…me too…still…who…? I know… dead…shouldn't he…dead…"

Shoulders convulsed, shuddering, as the mumbles picked up speed. Wrapping one arm squarely around both shoulders he squeezed the Potter to his chest to restrain him before slapping him gently across the cheek with the lengths of his fingers. Albus convulsed once more, shaking uncontrollably, emitting a strangled moan before his eyelids flew apart.

He fell limp, tension easing from his muscles, burying his face into Scorpius neck, fingers flying up to tangle and dip in his breast pocket as the Potter composed himself.

"Sorry," He whispered hesitantly, "Another dream…"

"What was it this time?"

"I can't remember" He replied sourly, "I really can't, but it may come back to me later…"

"You were talking in your sleep."

"Walking in my sleep, and now talking?" Albus laughed, "I can write a poem, lovely Scorp, I thank you profusely for noting it"

"You were talking about blood, death, and Severus Snape" He grumbled evenly, trying to reinforce the seriousness of the situation, "Not to mention there was some bad German there for a while."

"I can't remember." He insisted again and Scorpius was driven to believe him for the moment. Easing his grip round the bony shoulders the Malfoy allowed his friend some room to breath and pushing off the broad chest with his fisted palms Albus leant back into the cold glass of the window.

"We're going to be arriving soon. You should get changed."

"You're like a checklist." Albus cooed in response. "What about my costume?"

"It's in my trunk." He whispered, "Everyone else has found their own, they've informed me, but I borrowed ours from one of the old wardrobes in Manor."

"Real deal then?"

"Yes," Scorpius admitted, "Grandfather's and Father's with their masks."

"Will they notice?"

"No, they certainly shouldn't, they were locked in the attic. Still, frightfully good condition though for things that have been through a war, makes me think the house elves have been keeping tabs on them."

"Can you get them out now? So I can look?"

"No time. They'll get confiscated." He shrugged, "We'll wait till after dinner when we slip back. the Prefects are going to keep the first years busy for thirty minutes or so while we get ready, it'll be a tight schedule tonight."

"I almost wish you didn't have to return them." Albus looked sullen.

"You haven't even seen them yet."

"No but I can image with some awe."

"So I've noticed." Scorpius sighed.

"You know what they say; behind every great man is another man staring at his ass."

"No that's just what you say."

"It's true though."

"Well I indeed have a lovely ass."

"So I've noticed," Albus parroted cheekily, "I'll be beating girls off your with a stick this year."

In his heart Scorpius was more than happy for Al to do so. None of the ungraceful pureblood simpletons trying to coax him into their webs were of any real interest to him and he imagined he'd marry foreign. Some strangely accented woman with poor enough English for him to safely insult while still in the same room and who would undoubtedly leave for most of the year for various events, family occasions and hopefully a lover. It was somewhat horrid of him to wish such a thing but so long as he fulfilled the family expectations and spat out a fair haired son to inherit the sorted line he could spend his days with Albus, and the son in question if he was of any merit, in his home, in peace.

He was happy to die antisocial and rich without fantastical expectations of love or adventure. His life was planned before he was even born and he was content with it now that he was old enough to make alterations which allowed him his own comfort: like Albus' inclusion to the grand Malfoy scheme.

Then there was the pleasing reality that James, being approachable and physically desirable, drew the attention of the Potter gold-diggers and glory-hounds. He didn't know what he'd do with himself if some pretty third year started throwing herself on Albus like they did James. He hoped that if the dreaded prospect ever surfaced he could send the little bitch crying.

-369-

Scorpius stared up and down the long bare oak table of the Slytherin house while the sorting hat went through its predictable motions of prodding and shuffling the students into groups. Names rang out through the hall in Mr. Longbottom's shaking and muffled voice in alteration with the booming announcements of the sorting hat. Tapping his fingers on the wood of the table the blonde let his eyes wander across the staff over the aging Mrs. McGonagall (returned from her retirement) to the pitiful batch of new students moving from one foot to another. Surely he never looked so vulnerable up there? His gaze next ventured to the other houses, neck craning slightly to try and see over the heads of his housemates on the opposite side of the table. In Hufflepuff Lily was giggling with an unsightly pimple faced boy, in Ravenclaw Rose was glaring matronly at the whispering students surrounding her, and in Gryffindor Hugo and James were pulling faces at each other.

Finally he settled on his own position. To his left Xavier Zabini was inspecting the newest additions to Slytherin with a keen eye, shooting the Malfoy a meaningful smirk, and to his right Albus had his head thrown back, hands steadying him as he gripped the edges of the bench, staring intently up mouth slightly ajar. Ponderous Scorpius pushed his own head back up at the star speckled ceiling;

"What?" He question Albus inquisitively.

"I think it might rain" He whispered back, "Not the omen I was hoping for."

"Oh?"

"No…" Albus frowned, "I wanted thunder."

"Why? What's the difference?" Scorpius muttered. He'd never much cared for the inexact science of Divination but still Albus seemed to hold some weight in his own derived set of predictions and signs though how he'd come to them the Malfoy would never know. They changed from day to day affected, it seemed, by a number of factors working unanimously to form Albus' conclusion.

"Rain means mess." He sighed, "Washes away all the sense, all the boundaries, all the logic, all the predictability. A muddy month."

"Hm," the blonde thrummed in the back of his throat. "I always thought rain meant the condensation of water particles in the atmosphere."

"That too." The Potter nodded, eyes never wavering from the clouds, "Geoffrey Bulstrode is staring at you."

"Figures" Scorpius too kept his eyes primed on the ceiling and while he had not seen Albus look away to gather this information he didn't doubt it to be true. "Camp little devil isn't he?"

"Has the hips for it," Albus agreed blandly, "I could never pull off booty shorts like he no doubt can."

"Yes but he's rather hairy," Scorpius replied critically in the same monotone, "Would require a serious wax, beside you'd look glorious in an evening gown or some bloomers and knee high socks alternatively, you do have nice thighs."

"Thank you," Albus quirked, "I have a new pair of black and green thigh high socks now that you mention it."

"We'll acquire some of Belladonna Burrow's bloomers then for Halloween. I hear she has some very unique pairs with lace edging."

"Who shall I be?"

"Marie Antoinette perhaps, a modern take, I'm sure Nearly-Headless-Nick will approve immensely."

"Marvellous." As straight faced as ever Albus ignored the dumfounded gawk from the first year who'd taken up a spot on his other side. "You have such lovely hair but since that growth spurt in third year you're much too masculine, elegant indeed but masculine, for a dress."

"A pity. We'll have to grow your hair out again. It was beginning to curl when you left it about your shoulders."

"Ah…"

The pair diverted their gaze, heads tilted ever so slightly from their vigil on the stars, to regard the now quietly stuttering first year beside Albus. Under the empty plainness and calm of their eyes he flushed brilliantly red, looking pointedly at his lap;

"Sor-sorry didn't mean to interrupt you." His fingers frayed on the cusp of his lips out of nervous habit it appeared from the massacred finger nails.

"No harm done." Scorpius shrugged.

"You have such lovely hands." Albus interjected tapping the back of the boy's palm, "You shouldn't bite them so much, no girl's going to let you stick your hand in her nethers with those claws."

The boy spluttered over his own tongue and turned an impossibly brighter shade of red. Fingers twittering through his hair as they dove away from his mouth in response to the suggestiveness of the comment.

"O-oh-kay!"

"Albus S. Potter." The dark haired youth introduced nudging Scorp in prompt to do likewise.

"Scorpius A. Malfoy."

"Nicholas Catchlove." The first year replied, if only out of nervous courtesy, and matter settled Scorpius wished to return promptly to ignoring him.

The last three names were read off by Mr. Longbottom and leaning himself forward Scorpius scented the newly manifested food filling the table. Nicholas gasped loudly at the wonder of it and Scorpius sighed irritably. Really, you'd think no one had house elves anymore. Arranging his cutlery to one side he half stood to shovel bits and pieces from one bowl and another onto his plate as the roar of student conversation picked up in a raging sea around him. Albus raised himself, half under Scorpius' chest, and did like wise. The Malfoy didn't concern himself with the proximity, Albus had a habit of getting under people's feet, and while the Potter strained to reach a gravy boat he leant over the top of him and gripped the item himself.

"You and your long arms." Albus cooed appreciatively, coating his plate with the substance before allowing Scorpius to return it. Plates satisfactorily arranged they sat back against the wall, silver wear clinking and clunking about them.

"I went to France," Belladonna exclaimed to her horde across the table, "Got the loveliest fur lined coat."

"You always go to bloody France," Xavier cut in curtly with a snort, "Some of us spent the break studying up, not me obviously, but some of us no doubt."

The girls sighed, heads shaking, eyes rolling and returned to their squabbling while Xavier chuckled. Geoffrey Bulstrode continued to look dejectedly between his dinner and Scorpius apparently wishing to exchange one with the other.

"What did you do Malfoy?" He attempted somewhat hesitantly, "For the summer I mean"

"Endured my overbearing relatives." The blonde retorted bluntly, frankly uninterested in conversation with the other student or anyone for that matter, "And visited Albus."

"Mungo's again?" Zabini suggested.

"Of course," Albus replied openly, "They can't get enough of me."

"Always knew you were bonkers Potter!" Someone called further down the table.

"Yes but insane or not he's never French kissed his sister Angus Dorkins!" Xavier defended, unnecessarily loud as he stressed the guilty parties name, sending a group of third years between him and the other boy into fits of hysterics. "Now I know Purebloods are all for purity but that's a little medieval even for your lot, don't you think?"

"Egyptian actually," Scorpius corrected. "Pharaohs married their sisters to keep the line pure."

"Well screw me seven ways to Sunday!"

"That would require a time turner I assume," Albus muttered ponderously while he placed another mouthful of carrots pass his pink lips, "I wonder if there's a rule against it somewhere…"

"If you can find someone who'll let me borrow theirs I'll find out for you" Xavier assured him excitably.

"No, no, I think we can do without that," Scorpius replied head shaking slowly. "I'm not having any part in explaining to your parents my involvement in your expulsion for repeated sex on school grounds with the use of stolen goods."

"Look awesome on my résumé."

"Considering your career choices I'm sure it would." The blonde snapped calmly while he skewered a piece of steak, "But some of us are interest in legally acceptable professions."

"I'm interested in professions which involve flying monkeys and a hot pair of ruby heels." Albus sighed merrily with a meaningful smile to Scorpius. "Best movie ever."

"This is the part where I'd go; hey Malfoy what the fuck is Potter talking about?" Xavier began, waving his fork about animatedly, "But I don't ever know what the bloody hell you're talking about Al so I'm going to let it drop."

"Smart man," Scorpius nodded curtly, "Keep this up and you'll earn yourself a place in my evil army."

"Ev-evil army?" Nicholas squeaked.

"Eavesdropping is a filthy habit." He grumbled pointedly as his nerves began to fray. Scorpius never did posses much patience for people who lacked the skill to speak properly or the confidence to back up their actions especially if said actions were undesirable. "You may earn yourself a cell in Azkaban in my authoritarian future."

"Without ruby slippers." Albus added sombrely. "Lot of good clicking your heels will do then."

"What the…" Xavier let his speech trail off as he clutched his forehead, gesticulating with his free hand, "Is ruby slippers some secret code word I haven't been clued in on?"

"No," Scorpius shrugged, "His speech is, in this case, to be taken as a literal translation."

"And now you've lost me too." Zabini huffed, chest heaving, turning away towards the other boys squawking about.

"Are you really going to raise and evil army?" Nicholas queered softly. "I mean, like You-Know-Who?"

"If I do you will be the first to know about it I assure you."

"In his horrible dystopian future we'll all toil endlessly in the Lemon Drop mines." Albus imparted sadly, "It will be terrible. Delicious but terrible."

"I'd need to enchant Lemon Drop mines into existence." The Malfoy frowned, "And that seems like a damnable waste of effort just to torment my despairing subjects."

"You'd be evil enough to do it."

"Perhaps you're right."

As the evening began to wind down Scorpius observed as slowly but surely the upper years of the Slytherin table began to subtly disperse back to the common room while the first years, still not privy to it's location or how to access it, sat dumbly in their places waiting for the meal to end so the prefects could escort them. He counted slowly, biding his time to make sure the exits were casual and distinctly spaced, it was critical in Scorpius' mind that no suspiciously large groups departed all at once. Time becoming short, Albus nudged his knee softly under the table and the pair stood.

Along the outer wall of the Great Hall they made their way out into the corridors and down towards the dungeons. Albus hooked his arm through Scorpius' and the Malfoy in response held it slightly aloft to support the others hand in the crook of his elbow like a gentleman escorting a lady out onto the dance floor. They smiled lazily and as the myriad of other students littering the corridors dispersed to allow them through and in passing they heard the first of this year's mutterings.

"Another new year, another batch of whispers," Scorpius droned sourly before raising the pitch of his voice comically and spiralling into a tone that sounded vaguely like his mother's "Look it's the other Potter in Slytherin didn't you know and there, see? Malfoy, that's right; Scorpius Malfoy. Best friends apparently, darn near inseparable! Mighty suspicious if you ask me"

"You do wonderful impressions" Albus commended, laughing softly, "They always get bored of gossiping anyway. That's how it is."

"Yes. First they find out, then they think we're up to something, then they think we're lovers, then they realize they're not ever going to know either way and James will kiss anything that walks and is therefore a much more interesting story to chase after."

"Our stories are quiet," Albus admitted, "But interesting."

"I suppose." The Malfoy shrugged.

"You don't really care if you're interesting though."

"Not really."

"That's why you are." Albus explained, "Because you don't care if you are."

"I'll have to work on caring then." He decided. "Anything to shut them up."

Ushering themselves down the steps towards the dungeon and from the dungeon into the soft green illumination of the common room, where most of the house was preparing itself for the arrival of the first years, Scorpius paused to take a quick head count. Those who did not want to participate were in their dorm rooms and had agreed not to interrupt until informed the initiation was over, those who were taking part were either changing into their costumes, or had changed and were rearranging the furniture to suit their needs.

Zabini and Bulstrode greeted them as they passed while heaving one great green leather arm chair to a central spot before the fireplace. Lucinda Clagg was indeed dressed for the occasion this year as promised, much to Albus' delight, lingering round one of the couches conversing with Angus Dorkins from dinner who was currently helping Belladonna tighten her corset.

They slipped into their dorm room where Scorpius' trunk was waiting. Unlocking the clasp he began rummaging through the piles of clothing while Albus' nimble fingers starting un-looping his tie and un-buttoning his cuffs. Finding the desired items Scorpius laid them out on the bed delicately, his grandfather's on one side and his father's on the other, dipping his hand back to grab the silver tinted masks strapped to the inside of the lid of his trunk before laying them on the bed also. Albus turned, half his shirt un-buttoned, to inspect the black robes spread across the green sheeting.

"Death Eater robes," he whispered in awe, "Perfect."

Hair falling about his face as he bowed forward Albus ran his fingers over the embroidered vests, testing the thickness of the battle padding, and circling the buttons.

"You've out done yourself Scorp."

"I don't know why you should like them so much." He commented, making quick work of his own tie and shirt, "You're father almost got killed by the men wearing these clothes last time they saw the light of day."

"Exactly." Albus agreed. "They're fantastic."

Slipping his shirt over his head Albus gripped the robes and began to don them with quivering fingers. Staring down at his own mass of black fabric Scorpius wondered for a moment what it had been like for his Grandfather on the occasions he wore these clothes, or on the occasions where he was faced with the legendary Lord Voldemort.

Fully clad in black Albus clutched himself, hugging the robes tighter to his form as if trying to bury them in his skin, breathing in the scent of blood and dirt that still lingered about them deeply. Green eyes were clasped tightly shut while he savoured the moment, tongue moistening his bottom lip slowly, making Scorpius ponder for if nothing but a split second if Albus really could taste it while lost in some unspoken fantasy never before disclosed to the Malfoy. They'd skirted round the subject of the Dark Lord all these years, the war too, and yet it was so contradictory to their celebrations and their plots within the Slytherin house. Somehow however Scorpius was ashamed of his heritage, ever so slightly, and Albus was obviously unwilling to discuss his views on the Potter line. Still the Malfoy often put their lack of conversation on the matter down to medical concerns- tales of old time blood and gore surely wouldn't help Albus sleep at night.

Now was not the time for contemplation he chided, his own fingers tracing about the embroidery over his breast, now was the time to slip into another fantastical game.

"Common sense may tell you that the ending will be bad and now's the time to break and run away," Albus hummed dazedly, sinking into a slouch on the edge of the mattress, "But what's the use of wondering if the ending will be sad: he's your fella and you love him, there's nothing else to say…" (1)

He never did care for Muggle music.

-369-

Nicholas shuffled down the stairs between his quiet stern faced fellows. His wide eyed face in the pale light was most noticeable to Scorpius from where he sat and somewhere in the room beyond the reach of the lights Albus was scrunched impossibly small and vigil. Scorpius couldn't deduce for the life of him where his dark haired friend was hiding but he'd know soon enough.

The first years were led into position in the centre of the common room. Lined rows of masked and cloaked students flanked them on either side, some lazing in the couches, some standing firm behind them, eyes directed in front to one ominously positioned green leather armchair before the roaring fire. The prefects escorting the ragamuffin group of tired and painfully nervous students came to stand on either side of the hooded and masked figure in the chair.

"I would like to formally welcome all new additions to the prestigious house of Slytherin," The reclining man announced arms opening outwards, a fine pale hand sweeping over the group, "You have found yourself part of our little family tonight. As such from this day forth you represent us and all that we and our forefathers have stood for."

There was a heavy silence over the children and those at the front of the group looked anxiously between each other and the looming fingers of other masked students about them for some hint in the air of which way they should turn. Floundering in their uncertainty they remained.

"Many of you no doubt have illusions concerning the reformed nature of our House," the man continued eloquently, "I can assure you this propaganda is nothing but frivolous fantasies strung together by an assortment of aging fools. We are as we have always been and neither our pride, nor our devotion to the cause shall crumble quietly into the darkness of history. We must now look forward to a glorious future that you yourselves will help forge from the sweat of your backs and the blood of your enemies. Tonight you begin your part in this grand chapter by swearing your allegiance to myself and your brethren in a blood oath."

The students at the outer ring of the cluster looked positively aghast to Scorpius and around him the older cloaked occupants had already taken a nearly unnoticeable step closer to the cornered horde.

From some unseen pocket on the man's breast, inside the hem of his cloak, the man drew his wand.

"Those of you who find some fault with the purification of our kind should never have been placed in this house and as traitors in mind, as you will eventually be in body should your disloyalty be allowed to survive, shall be put to death."

"Expelliarmus!"

The spell rung out from somewhere beyond the reach of the green glass shaded lamps and sent the cloaked ring leader's wand flying from his grasp.

At the call half the cloaked students threw off their masks and began drawing against the still masked half of the group of some apparent loyalty to their ring leader. Spells flew across the room, furniture toppled, as an unmasked Zabini and Bulstrode leapt over and off one of the leather couches and onto one of the low tables to shoot incantations out into the crowd.

Hysterically terrified the first years took the chance to flee, scrambling under the feet of the duelling students and making a rush for the exit. Finding it locked and with no previous education in any kind of spell work to unlock it several began pounding on the stone wall. A group of masked students drove the first years back towards the centre of the room in conjoint with the unmasked students as they duelled in circles round the dormitory. Still Scorpius, who had by now risen to his feet and was firing spells across the crowd from his vantage point with the typical Malfoy finesse mentally, chided the younger victims;

If they were listening, instead of screaming, they would have noticed that none of the spells had exceeded a Stupefy in severity. One or two original sods has cast an Avis sending a flock of birds about the ceiling and another an Aguamenti which had achieved nothing but a damp rug and a few wet robes but those exceptions aside the danger of the situation was nothing if not an exaggeration of their already frayed nerves.

In moments the unmasked students had clustered on one side of the dormitory, the masked on the other, while the figure from the arm chair still stood by his throne casting like the rest and the first years had all but fallen to their keens about the tables.

In the mess Nicholas Catchlove was thrown before him and feeling nothing but advantageous Scorpius cast a more then unnecessary Incarcerous to leave the poor trembling boy bound and helpless by his booted feet.

"Stop!" cried a voice distinctly belonging to the caster of the initial Expelliarmus.

The unmasked students stilled, wands primed. The masked looked to their leader who gave an affirmation to the command and stilled also. A small individual, from where they had been waiting at the back of the room, parted the first years and came to present themselves before the masked leader, wand prized;

"You and I," He challenged, "Winner takes all."

"As you wish," came the seething reply from the man seated on the throne before the fire, "Sign your own death warrant and save me the trouble! You piteous creature!"

Nicholas gazed up expectantly, awed like the rest of the deathly quiet first years, in his bondage face first on the dampened rug.

"Rock-Paper-Scissors!" declared the obvious leader of the unmasked students, pocketing his wand much to the horrified expressions of the first years and holding out his closed palm.

The masked leader remained poised, as though he may laugh, and yet let his wand lowered-

"Alright."

He too pocketed his wand.

Nicholas began to stutter uncontrollably as he had at the dinner table and frowns marring the expressions of the first years were off set only by their gaping mouths.

"Rock! Paper! Scissors!" chanted the two ring leaders, hands bouncing.

"Rock!" called the masked.

"Paper!" replied the unmasked.

"Curses! Foiled again!" The masked leader cried falling back into his throne as if mortally wounded.

Turning back to the gathered crowd the unmasked leader threw off his cloak, exposing to the dim light of the room Albus' beaming face.

"The forces of darkness are once again conquered! Rejoice!"

There was a great cry of joy among the unmasked students, hooting and wolf whistling, while the masked contenders clapped the victors respectfully Lucinda Clagg slipping into one of the still standing arm chairs to re-arrange the hair about her face. In the throne, Scorpius pulled off the hood of the cloak and his mask, crossing one knee over the other resting his pointed chin in hand.

"Welcome to Hogwarts" Scorpius omitted calmly and equally as eloquent as when he had delved into his speech on pureblood revolution before their victims with a finality about his tone.

"Th-tha-that wasn't real!" gaped Nicholas, near tears and quaking still, "None of that was real!"

"That's what we call an initiation" Zabini explained, tapping the nose of the bound boy as he knelt beside him, before gesturing to the rest of the co-horde "Those of you who didn't wet your sorry selves should be proud! And no hard feelings kiddies we get to do it all again next year to someone other then you guys! Congratulations!"

The first years seemed unable to move, or breathe, before somewhere amongst them one girl broke into hysterical wailing. So did soon all the rest and sighing Lucinda Clagg with an assortment of prefects and fifth year girls rallied the first years and shuffled the shell shocked lot to bed. They did so with all the head shaking and finger waggling of unimpressed mothers as if chiding the children on the severity of their overreaction.

Scorpius lingered in the arm chair for a moment longer before folding his cloak over his forearm and wandering off into their green and black chambers.

-369-

"The first emperor of China had pearls set in the ceiling of his mausoleum in the shape of all the known constellations," Albus whispered arm extended towards the curtain roofing the four poster frame, fingers splaying out as he drew circles in the air, "Pity he'd only get to see them when he died."

"The architect of the Taj Mahal pleased his client so greatly that he ordered the architect's hands to be severed so he could never draw something so beautiful ever again." Scorpius retorted casually.

Albus let his hands fall from their pattern work and rolled onto his side, hands resting on Scorpius' cotton clad stomach, cheek over his beating heart. Scorpius puffed to dislodge a white-gold strand from his face and strained to recall vague memories of first year when Albus and he had fit much more easily into the now seemingly tiny constraints of the single bed. They coiled round each other like lazy snakes basking in the sun, minds rocking slowly off into sleep, in a progression of increasingly hazy statements. There was something softly wonderful, a normalcy and freedom, in the world concerning their return to Hogwarts. There was etched into the walls, it seemed, an eternal element of sanctuary.

"Scorpius," Albus fidgeted again, rolling onto his back between the blonde's arm and side, "Your wife's not going to like me crashing on your mattress."

"Oh well." He surrendered thoughtlessly, "She'll learn to live with it I should imagine."

"Shouldn't I be the one to learn not to sleep atop you every night? I thought the wife was the one who was supposed to be sharing the quilting rather then the help?"

"The chances of that occurring are a statistical improbability that creates such unimaginable depths of near-impossibility that the exact probability itself would prove so extremely small it would not even be expressible using scientific notation."

"She'll learn to like Arithmancy too I should imagine"

"Well for her sake I very much hope so."

"Night Scorp"

"Good night Al."

Scorpius checked the silencing charm about the drapes and the spread of pile of blankets covering the pair of them. Stretching his legs and wiggling his toes before allowing his head to collapse limply back on the pillows. Their limbs twisted into a series of tight knots through the night, ever so close to creating a painful strain on the muscle, and as the hours began to mount Scorpius' near inaudible snores could be heard while he mouth was pressed into the skin of Albus' forehead.

Below the castle as they were and entrenched in thick windowless stone walls the Slytherin dorms the students of the house had never been privy to the storms that tended to rage about the grounds. Sufficiently sheltered in their darkened den from the turbulent wretched of nature. No rattling window frames, no howling winds, no cold chill seeping down the chimneys, no thunder or lightning, no quivering towers like James reported in the Gryffindor dormitories. However if they had been capable of feeling the effects of the raging torrent of rain, wind and blasting celestial fury assaulting the castle from all sides Albus' probably wouldn't have slept so well.

-369-

The mud was reported to be legendarily thick outside the castle the next morning and Scorpius shuddered involuntarily at the thought of wandering about in the cold and dirt for Care of Magical Creatures or Herbology. Albus sat beside him spreading peanut butter over his toast. He watched between dissecting his eggs as the Potter nibbled away the edges of the slice and then proceeded to lick the spread off before leaving the damp remains on his plate so as to deface his bacon. Nicholas was rubbing the blackened pits under his eyes and blinking in the early morning light blearily across from the aristocrat.

"I'm exhausted," he whined.

"You must be delirious too if you're under the illusion I care."

"Did you fall through a wardrobe last night?" Albus queered, "I hear they lead to uncomfortably cold places with lamp posts."

"I take it he's always this strange then." Nicholas asked ponderous, looking to Scorpius forlornly, "Has he always been this strange?"

"Since the day I met him." Scorpius acknowledged pulling out his Arithmancy text to leaf through the pages as he sipped his tea. "I have Arithmancy first, Al you have Divination, then Defence Against the Dark Arts, History of Magic and Potions before lunch. After lunch we have Care of Magical Creatures, Herbology, Charms and Transfiguration…"

"Seems like an awful lot of subjects for one day" Nicholas stewed miserably, "I'm never going to last till dinner."

"We can only hope." The blonde marked his page and closed the text book, "Frankly I refuse to go traipsing about the grounds all afternoon with Mr. Longbottom and Professor Hagrid who will no doubt be terribly enthusiastic about the prospect."

"I wonder if the room of Requirement can make a ceiling covered in pearls." Albus murmured gathering up his teacup in both hands and drinking deeply lowering the cup to inspect the tea leaves clumped in disgusting heaps at the bottom, "Oh look I have a Grimm…"

"We'll look into it." Scorpius picked up his toast almost delicately, turning the focus of his attention briefly, "And you'll no doubt have flying with the rest of the first years."

Nicholas became considerably paler and Malfoy took a satisfied bite from his slice.

"Don't hold to tightly to you broom." He warned, "You might stay on. I would also like to forewarn you that individuals have been struck by lightning throughout Wizard history despite what Mr. Binns may tell you to the contrary."

"Really?"

"My Great-Great-Great Grand Uncle Bole 'Bags' Weasley got hit by lightning in 1674." Albus interjected pleasurably.

"That doesn't surprise me," Scorpius took another mouthful from his toast. "Lord knows how many Potters have been lost to the ages in broomstick incidents alone. You're blood line is very accident prone"

"The Peverell Brothers."

"I rest my case."

"So," Nicholas took one deep firm breath inwards, chest heaving, "Is there anything I should know before my first lesson?"

"Don't dawdle on staircases, don't look directly into the eyes of any giant snakes you may encounter, sit next to a Ravenclaw during Potions, don't take up any offers to have lunch under the Whomping Willow." Albus recounted his father's words of wisdom from first year in a sing-song tone. "And try to have 'fun'. Whatever that may be."

"Alright!" Nicholas clapped his hands together in an attempt to aspire some confidence and stood, "I'm off to Astronomy then. Wish me luck!"

"May all your children have boils." Scorpius retorted detachedly, "And may you marry a French woman."

"Close enough."

Scorpius' grey eyes followed the retreating first year pointedly until he vanished into the maze of passages beyond the Great Hall and groaned.

"Albus."

"Yes Scorpius?" The Potter began refilling his teacup, "You're fabulous, kiss you?"

"Later perhaps." He clutched the bridge of his nose, "We should get to class. Professor Trelawney is no doubt dying to interpret your latest string of dreams and Professor Vector will give me the most horridly elaborate equation with imaginary numbers if I'm late again this year."

-369-

Scorpius messaged his temples furiously, emitting a low and continuous groaning at the back of the huddled students, while Professor Hagrid gave another slurring narration about the history of Hippogriffs with all the passion he could muster. His mind picked at the half-giant's speech like a furious vulture. Albus rocked on his heels in the mud, lips tightened into an uncomfortably thin line, hands worrying his upper arms in an attempt to warm himself beside him as another gust of wind swept over the crowd. There was absolutely nothing here that could not be covered in a classroom, a warm, water tight, class room. Scorpius longed to be back in the dimly lit crowded mess of the Potions dudgeon over a warm brew. He grunted distastefully, glaring down towards his now ruined boots, and decide on his next move.

With a roar of pleasantries and unbridled enthusiasm Hagrid dismissed the class suddenly and lopping his arm with Albus' he led them away from the slopping field and up the ridge back towards the school. He scrapped his boots on the paving of the courtyard, stalling only briefly, before continuing his tugging tirade through the castle.

"Herbology?" Albus reminded him as they waited for their staircase to stop shifting.

"No," He grumbled, "It's too bloody cold and I'm in a wretched mood. I'll probably cause Professor Longbottom to burst into tears."

"Where then?"

"The Room of Requirement." He whispered while he urged the Potter higher towards the Seventh floor, "I'll have some Hot Chocolate and we can see about your ceiling."

Green eyes lit up in a candy apple sheen, sweetly, making Albus step a little faster under the wing of the Malfoy. They circled the Tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy quickly and Scorpius threw the double doors open before they had fully manifested and slammed them behind him just as quickly only moments later. Sinking, anger depleting upon reaching his goal, he fell into the cushion covered floor beside a roaring fire place.

Unhooking his cloak Albus draped it over an armchair before collapsing onto the rug beside Scorpius and closing his eyes counted to ten.

"One, two, three-"

Scorpius let his own eyes fall shut as his fingers worked away at the elaborate business of freeing his hair from its braided confines. He rested his forearm over his eyes and listened to Albus' drawling voice.

"-eight, nine, ten…"

Albus made a glorious sound somewhere between a hiss and a swoon forcing the Malfoy to draw his attention skywards and behold.

Shining white baubles gazed down like unblinking eyes, embedded amongst dark blue tiles comprising the night sky, some with the same pinkish tinge they shone with when strung up for his Grandmother's necklaces or grey like his own eyes. Much lovelier then his unimaginative mind had expected.

He would make sure to buy Albus pearls for Christmas.


(1) "What's the Use of Wondering" by Amanda Palmer

I'd love to hear you're theories on:
* Why "Ruby Slippers"? Though truth be told this shouldn't be apparent for a while
* What exactly is 'wrong' with Albus?
* And whatever else pops into those pretty little minds~

Chapter 2 will be up before soon, it'll be about the same length too, so I hope to keep any of you who may be waiting in good graces with a considerably sized follow up.

Don't take life too seriously until then but do take your time falling into wardrobes.