Disclaimer: Have yet to acquire ownership. Currently working on it.
A/N: There is no good excuse as to why this chapter isn't on time (maybe it's just me, but I don't think there are ever any good excuses for pretty much anything... I would say that I had writer's block, I would say that my other fandom has pretty much taken hold of my life, I would say that I was busy as fuck, but I still don't think those are any reason to neglect this story..) I sincerely, sincerely apologize for the late update. :'(
Fun facts about this chapter: It was a last-minute addition to this story… I didn't realize it was necessary before I wrote chapter 18… And it was actually written backwards, with the last scene being the very first thing I wrote… not intentionally. It just happened that way.
And here begins the fluff-fest that is the remainder of this story. XD … well, I don't know… I guess you could consider parts of last chapter fluffy… either way. Just a heads-up. This chapter is super freaking fluffy.
Albus stepped out of the fireplace with weak knees, breath choking in his throat and tears collecting on his cheeks.
He was really here. He was really, really home.
Frozen in place, Albus didn't even move out of the way when he heard the flames flare up again behind him.
A light gasp sounded, a gasp that he was so used to hearing by now, and Scorpius stepped up right beside him with tears threatening to spill.
Al took his eyes off the living room in front of him for the first time to look up at the blond. His features were set as usual, but his eyes betrayed an expression that fully summed up every little thing Al was feeling.
It was all too much to even begin to think about, let alone explain, yet Scorpius felt exactly the same.
A new wash of emotion fell over Al, and he smiled softly up at Scorpius. Without hesitation, he reached his hand out and clasped it with the blond's, only for Scorpius to unclasp them and link their fingers together, all without taking his eyes off the house in front of him.
"We're home, Scorpius," He said with a tearful voice, smile growing.
Scorpius looked down at him just as both Harry and Ginny came out of the fireplace behind them.
Al turned around to them and cracked another smile, ignoring the feeling of wetness falling down his cheeks as they looked at him with cautious gazes.
Letting out a pained breath, he turned all the way around, grabbing Scorpius by his arm and pulling him in close to his parents' chests and wrapping his arms the best he could around all three of them.
The group-hug of sorts was somewhat awkward with the way they were all huddled to the middle, shoulders pressing into sides and elbows ending up in faces, but the emotion was all there. In the tiny gaps between their bodies, there was care. There was sympathy. There was joy.
There was love.
They were home.
He didn't know how long they stayed there like that, didn't really care either, just let the emotions flow and weave in the air around them until they was suffocating and Al was more than glad for his air supply to be replaced with them.
Al was the first to pull away and wipe the tears from his cheeks with an incredulous smile.
All four had the same expression reflected on their faces.
He laughed lightly.
Scorpius's arm grew tighter around his waist, his head dipping down to plant his lips on top of his head for just a second.
His parents didn't seem to mind the contact at all.
But Al realized that they were probably used to it by now.
"I'm going to go start dinner," Ginny said, voice softer than usual.
Harry leaned in and pecked her on the cheek before releasing his lingering hold on her waist.
Al smiled and laced his fingers with Scorpius's still resting on his side. That's what we're like…
His eyes wandered around the room, still in wonder, and soon enough they landed on the tempting back door. "Dad, I want to go fly."
Harry chuckled at the sudden request. "Son, I think you should wait for a little bit. You can go fly tomorrow, all right?"
Albus sighed but still nodded, pulling out of Scorpius's grip to plop down on the couch and draw his legs up, leaning against the arm like he always did before… It felt too normal to be real.
As his eyes greedily took in every bit of his house that was in his reach, everything suddenly seemed too real.
Al watched his mom peek her head out of kitchen and his face lit up with an idea. He jumped to his feet and followed her into the kitchen, going through the door before it even had a chance to shut behind her.
With a grin turning his lips, he passed behind her and ignored her odd look, bracing his hands on the edge of one of the countertops. With a glance back, he hopped up and twisted around so that he was sitting on the edge of the marble surface. He looked at her hopefully, waiting for her to say the same thing she said every single time he did that.
"Albus, don't sit on the counter. You'll fall off." She replied with her usual lines, her voice weak underneath her smile.
"Mom, I'm not five anymore. The fall wouldn't even be that bad." He countered.
"Well excuse me if I don't want to see my son crack his head open." Her voice was full of her characteristic sass that made Al feel so at home.
"What's for dinner, Mom?" He asked, ignoring the tears that streamed down his face, peering obnoxiously onto one of the stovetop's burners.
"Would you just go upstairs or something, Albus?" Ginny asked playfully, turning towards her son with an expression too tearful to be properly stern.
Albus swallowed thickly, having to clear his throat before he could respond, "Okay, Mom. Call us when it's ready." He hopped off the counter.
Ginny bowed her head over the stove, her long red hair creating a curtain around her face. Before Al could make it out the door, she grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him in for a tight, tight hug.
"I love you, Albus," She whispered, stroking the back of his head with one hand while the other wrapped around his shoulders.
Al hiccupped slightly, fisting his hands in the back of his mother's top, relishing the warmth of his mother's embrace. "I love you too, Mom,"
Ginny took a deep breath before releasing him from her bone-crushing hold.
Her son gave a sweet smile and turned his head to kiss her on the cheek.
"Go upstairs. I'm going to burn the dinner and I'm not afraid to tell everyone that it's your fault, Albus Severus." She joked, though her face was still quite emotional.
Al grinned and obliged.
When he got back into the living room, Scorpius was waiting by the foot of the stairs.
The Potter let out a relieved sigh he didn't quite understand the origin of and crossed to the blond faster than before.
"You okay?" Scorpius asked softly, eyeing the tear tracks on his face.
Suddenly embarrassed, Al hurriedly wiped them away with the back of his hand. He shook his head. "Yeah, I'm fine; I'm fine," He said with dismissal.
The blond nodded, still looking at Al in a way that unnerved the smaller boy.
Rather shyly, Al reached out his hand for the other boy's and took the first step onto the staircase.
He swore he felt his heart stutter when Scorpius laced their fingers together and squeezed lightly.
Once again, Al's eyes darted all around the entire slow trip up the stairs and down the hallway to his bedroom, hungrily taking in every single bit of the house that he almost didn't fully remember after so long.
His hands began trembling as soon as they reached his closed door; eyes pooling with tears once again, he nodded at Scorpius to open it.
If Scorpius hadn't still been holding onto him, Albus would have collapsed right there.
"My room," He said in a breathy voice, letting go of Scorpius's hand and taking an almost-hesitant step into the space. He furiously tried to blink away the tears, because everything being blurry made it a whole lot harder to drink in the sight of his bedroom.
The light tan walls; the warm-wooded furniture; the ever-unmade bed; the two windows that showcased the beautiful night sky…
He turned back to Scorpius to see him still leaning on the doorframe, a small smile on his lips. Confidence washing over him, Al said, "Go sit there," and gestured to the bed.
Though his brow furrowed slightly in confusion, Scorpius obliged, taking a seat at the edge of the mattress.
Albus took a step back into the doorframe and his eyes did a slow, drawn-out once-over of the room to re-memorize every little detail he could possibly see.
When his eyes finished the scan of the room, he let his gaze rest on Scorpius. With a smile tugging at his lips and warmth tugging at his heart, he whispered, "Perfect."
He was home.
Scorpius's smile grew (it didn't do anything to help the pull at Al's heart) and he held out his arms in invitation.
The Potter took his time crossing over the carpeted floor to Scorpius, absorbing the feel of truly being home. He bent down and folded his arms over Scorpius's shoulders, allowing himself to melt completely into his embrace.
Scorpius buried his head against Al's chest, tightening his hold on his waist. There were colors flying across the backs of Al's closed eyelids, the warmth and feel of Scorpius's body against his own, his hair platinum blond brushing at his forearms and his hollowed cheek on his abdomen, all pushing him to the verge of tears once again.
"I—" His voice cracked and he cleared his throat; Scorpius rubbed his back soothingly. "I'm going to take a shower."
The blond nodded and released him, reclining on the bed and closing his eyes.
As he slowly walked to the bathroom door, his eyes caught something that made him stop dead in his tracks, tears flowing down his face without warning.
Both of their school trunks sat in the corner, open, with a thin layer of dust covering the mostly-empty interior. On top of Al's rested a scrap piece of parchment with a list of supplies that they still needed to buy in Diagon Alley.
He felt his knees go weak, sharp little shards of ice racing scraping through his veins faster than his blood. His heart felt like it was being crushed in the confines of his ribs.
"Al? What's wrong?" Scorpius's voice sounded oddly far away in Al's ears.
The Potter didn't look up, only pointed to the two open trunks with a shaking finger.
He heard the blond gasp lightly, the bed squeaking slightly as he got up.
Al clenched his fists by his sides, the emotion simply overwhelming him for those few moments.
Arms wrapped around his shoulders and warmth pressed on his back. Little hums and reassuring words sounded in his ear, instantly calming the silent sobs that racked his body.
His hands reached up to hold onto one of Scorpius's sleeves, just for something tangible to hold onto, just so that he was sure that this was all real.
"Shhh, Al… Shhh… You're okay. We're home, Al. You're okay." Scorpius whispered, slightly rocking him back and forth.
"I'm sorry," He said, unable to help the way his voice broke. He could hear the pain in Scorpius's voice, and could only imagine that seeing the trunks right there made him feel the exact same way, yet Albus was being selfish and acting as if he was the only one who needed comfort.
"You're okay, Al," He said once again, lips stroking on the back of his neck.
A shiver ran through his body. He sniffed and coughed lightly to get rid of the gross feeling in his throat from his crying. "I'll go shower,"
Scorpius nodded and let go for a second time.
Al turned around and gave him a smile, squeezing him around the middle for just a second before finishing the rest of the walk to the bathroom.
He felt himself get choked up once again at the sight of the small blue-walled room with the huge mirror and the white tiles, complete with his and Scorpius's toothbrushes in their cup and their bottles of various soap on a rack inside the shower.
Albus turned on the water and only waited for a second to undress and step inside.
He sighed at the feeling of the warm water rolling in little streams all over his skin, soaking his hair and making the overgrown black strands stick to his face and neck. Almost immediately as he felt himself relax, he located his bottle of shampoo and poured a bit of the familiar pearly clear liquid into his palm.
He massaged the shampoo into his scalp—fresh-smelling with a hint of fruit—followed by his conditioner, letting the liquid cascade over his body as he rinsed it out. He found himself smiling contentedly as he opened his eyes and located his body wash, sitting on a rack in the corner right next to Scorpius's.
Smile growing larger, more mischievous, he reached out for the bottle that didn't belong to him, mind suddenly filling with memories of how much he loved the scent.
He popped the cap open held it just under his nose, turned away from the spray of the water. Waiting for just a moment of anticipation, he lightly squeezed the bottle and inhaled.
Al leaned his back onto the tiles of the shower, craning his neck upwards slightly as he got a good whiff of the soap's scent. He actually half-considered washing himself with it so that he would be able to smell it for at least the rest of the night, but decided against it when he picked up his own familiar bottle of fresh-smelling gel and emptied some onto his loofa.
He took his time lathering the soap onto his skin, allowing the aroma of his own body wash to fill the steamy air around him. The Potter closed his eyes in relaxation, letting the slightly rough texture of the loofa glide over his skin and wash away anything but the feeling of being home.
When Al stepped out of the bathroom some minutes later, he was clothed in only a flimsy and oversized but still soft light gray t-shirt (which technically belonged to Scorpius, but he'd outgrown it some years before… though Al had annexed it even before he'd grown completely out of it…) and black boxers, a towel lazily draped over his head to dry his hair more quickly. Scorpius's body wash was still held in both of his hands close to his face, his neck bent a bit so he could get a more concentrated puff of scent when he squeezed the bottle every few seconds.
"You're going to get it on your nose if you continue that," Scorpius said, noting his behavior.
Al shook his head and, without letting the bottle out of his grip, folded down onto the bed beside Scorpius. "No I won't; it's only half-full."
Scorpius rolled his eyes and turned to face him head-on.
Al smiled at the fond gesture, looking up at him without moving his head, just his eyes.
Scorpius smiled tenderly and took the lazily-draped towel from his head.
"Hey, that was drying my hair." Al grumbled, brow furrowing. He squeezed the bottle again and inhaled lightly, closing his eyes in bliss.
"I'll do it," Scorpius replied quietly, holding out the towel and gently rubbing it over Al's still-dripping hair.
Al blushed and bit his lip, this undeniably sweet treatment making his heart go into overdrive, bouncing off his ribs like a rogue Bludger.
Out of nowhere, the blond stopped what he was doing.
Al looked up curiously, wondering why he stopped moving.
"Is that mine?" He asked, brows knitting together as he gestured toward the bottle in Al's hands.
The Potter grinned brightly and nodded. "Smell," He commanded, holding it underneath his nose and gently squeezing the plastic.
Scorpius only looked at Al with a strange expression overlaying his smile.
"Doesn't it smell great?" He asked enthusiastically, bringing it back to his own face to inhale once again.
The blond chuckled; Al's pulse stuttered.
"Well doesn't it?" He asked with a voice he was just a bit ashamed to admit was shaking slightly.
Scorpius suddenly reached out and snatched it from his hands, stepping off the bed.
"Hey!" Al protested, snapping his head toward the blond, who was walking toward the bathroom.
"Be right back," Scorpius said smoothly, holding up the bottle before closing the door behind him.
Albus groaned in frustration and pacified his impatience by taking over Scorpius's task of drying his hair with the fluffy white towel. He had to admit that he liked it better when Scorpius did it for him.
In Scorpius's defense, it took all of five minutes for him to walk back out of the bathroom, changed into his pajamas: a baggy, long-sleeved navy shirt (Al's heart gave a sharp pang as he was reminded why he wore long sleeves now) and long gray and black vertical striped bottoms. He too had a towel, though his was coolly lying around his neck rather than covering his head.
"Where's the bottle?" Al asked, unhappy with the fact that he wouldn't be able to smell it directly anymore.
Scorpius only rolled his eyes again with a smile, sitting in front of Al once again on the bed.
When Al inhaled, he found his eyes closing of their own accord and his body shivering with bliss.
Scorpius smelled amazing.
He'd not only used the body wash that Al had been over-enjoying only minutes before, but his hair also gave off a light scent of the clean, natural-smelling hair products he was so fond of. And that all mixed with the natural scent of his very skin, leaving an overall divine fragrance of Scorpius.
"Are you okay?" Scorpius asked, voice amused.
Al snapped his eyes open, blushing and biting his lip, not realizing that he was still in his own bubble of delight. He nodded hurriedly, crawling forward on his knees to get closer to Scorpius.
The blond didn't recoil, didn't try to move back; that in itself had Al's heart racing once more.
Albus picked up the towel from Scorpius's shoulders and raised on his knees a little to have better access, drying the long blond hair with just as much care and affection as he'd just received.
He couldn't will away the tiny smile that turned the corners of his lips as the scent of the boy and his body heat were suddenly filling Al's senses.
Al felt Scorpius's careful hands slip around his waist and his movements faltered for just a moment with his nerves. When he glanced at the slate-gray eyes with his own unsure green ones, he saw such tenderness and unquestionable love that he simply couldn't make his hands move any further than trembling in place.
His eyes unconsciously trailed down to the blond's mouth, and his heart gave a jolt.
He'd never wanted to kiss anyone as much as he wanted to kiss Scorpius right then.
The Potter bit his lip, his eyes glued to the full, pink lips that were only a few breaths away from his own, all regard for personal space abandoned some years before.
Time stopped around them, the world growing fuzzy around Al, because his senses were being no less than assaulted by the boy in front of him. Every cell in his body was suddenly pulsing with the same purpose to lean forward and close the gap in between them, to press his lips to Scorpius's and see stars behind his eyelids and for reality to slip away completely. He wanted the connection between them to finally meet, to finally spark the reaction that he'd been waiting on for much longer than he could even comprehend.
As quickly as the moment came, it passed. Scorpius playfully flipped the edge of Al's towel over his eyes, breaking the tension around them.
Al sighed quietly in slight disappointment, though a smile overtook his lips as long as he looked at the blond in front of him.
"Let's take a nap before dinner," Scorpius suggested, removing the two towels from their respective heads and discarding them over the edge of the bed.
Al bit the inside of his lips and nodded, fear suddenly trickling through him.
What just happened?
Did Scorpius just… reject him?
Tears welled into his eyes, his breath coming in short little breaks. There was no way. What Scorpius showed Al over the months even before Malfoy Manor had to have been more than simple brotherly affection. There was no doubt in Al's mind that it was more than that.
Then… why did Scorpius stop them…?
He didn't even notice when Scorpius turned off the lights and laid down in the bed until the taller boy tugged at his wrist to pull him down.
Al pushed the negative thoughts from his head as he settled in beside Scorpius, his body once again going into a state of paradise because he was actually home and in his bed with Scorpius lying beside him and it was all so, so perfect.
Scorpius looped an arm around Al's waist and turned him over to face him.
The Potter found himself flushing again in spite of himself, the intimacy of it embarrassing him less than the fact that he was sure Scorpius could hear his heart pounding in his chest.
He never found out if he did or not, however, because Scorpius simply smiled at him then, and all of his thoughts melted away.
Moving without restraint, Albus shifted closer to him, wrapping an arm around the blond's middle and leaning his forehead on his chest. The soft, familiar bed underneath him and the warmth of Scorpius's body holding him… And with the way his scent was still strong on his skin, every inhale he took was a little piece of Heaven.
Scorpius took in a deep, sleepy breath that Al knew he always did right before he closed his eyes to sleep, his fingertips slipping under Al's oversized shirt and gently tracing an aimless pattern on his skin.
A shiver went through Al's body and goosebumps raised on his arms. The touch was warm, comforting. It brought Al himself closer to sleep, his lids drooping with every dripping second of silence.
He found himself once again questioning why Scorpius would shy away from kissing him, and as his mind wrapped around the situation, he found himself incredibly grateful for him dodging the contact.
Tears were so close to spilling from behind his eyes that Al held onto the back of Scorpius's shirt just to steady himself. Emotions flooded through him as he reflected on his day, the alien feeling of being back home and the feeling of the wind through his hair as he flew for the first time in so long… The feeling of being embraced by Scorpius in his own bed as fatigue fell over them and comfort washed it all away…
Al's head spun. It was all quite overwhelming.
He couldn't even imagine what it would be like to have the experience of his first kiss with Scorpius on top of everything… He was sure that he wouldn't be able to handle it.
He was so glad that Scorpius could see that at the time.
Albus inhaled again, senses blurring slightly. "Scorpius," He breathed contentedly.
Scorpius responded with an acknowledging hum.
"I'm glad we're home." He said, his voice thick.
The blond answered him by pressing his lips on the top of his head and then burying his face there. "You know how you like my soap?" He mumbled sleepily.
His heart fluttered at Scorpius's affection. "Yeah?"
He hummed again, this time more happily, voice muffled as he nestled once again into Al's hair. "I like yours too."
Al smiled. He honestly wasn't even sure if Scorpius was awake or simply talking in a half-sleeping state. Either way, he didn't mind. All doubts he had about either of their feelings melted away; he knew that they had something beyond friendship, and he was willing to wait until they were both ready to address it as such. He understood that this was a difficult period in their lives, as they were readjusting to what they'd lost so long ago, and he was mostly just grateful that he had Scorpius there with him at all.
He didn't even want to think of what it would be like to be home without Scorpius there.
The blond was taking in long, slow breaths now, and Al was sure that he was fully asleep by now. So, he carefully picked himself up to see his face, all tension melted away from his pale skin, from his taut eyelids and slightly-parted lips.
With a soft smile, before he had a second thought, Al leaned in and pressed the lightest of pecks on the corner of his mouth before retreating to his chest, burying his burning face there. His mouth tingled; he felt like there were bells ringing in his head, like he wanted to do it again at the same time he was fully satisfied with what he got.
Slowly drifting away into unconsciousness, Al didn't register the way the blond's hand was still drawing invisible lines on his back, or the way the kissed lips were pulled up into the most subtle of smiles.
A/N: Way-too-vivid mental images of Al in the shower smelling Scorpius's body wash = not good for Kat's sanity.
So, Scorpius kissed sleeping-Al last chapter, and now Al kissed may-or-may-not-have-been-sleeping-Scorpius in this chapter :) WHY ARE THEY SO CUTE?
Anywayyy, I really will try to get the next chapter out at a reasonable time (it's been over a month since the last update hasn't it? /commits suicide), but honestly, I can promise nothing. Thank you to the people who are still following this story! (And thank you Eleni C.. you always seem to be the reason that I get off my lazy ass and pay attention to my neglected HP fandom..
Please review and subscribe :D There's only two chapters left of this!
Till next time,