Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the plot. Thanks and enjoy.

Bonding With Tomo

Thursday morning dragged on and on for both Albus and Scorpius, the two teenagers tired and wishing for nothing more than sleep and the banning of homework for the foreseeable future. Neither was likely to happen, but there was no harm in wishing and so they did. The two also clung to the fact that they would be able to hopefully get a chunk of work done that afternoon since the Headmaster had given permission for Tomo to come by to visit Phoenix for a couple hours. After she'd sent a message back confirming that she'd be 'tickled pink' to come visit they'd sent her an additional request asking the house elf to please bring them some sandwiches too, the idea being that they'd skip going to the Great Hall for the meal and work through it while Tomo kept an eye on Phoenix. After lunch they both had a free period so putting the two timeslots together Scorpius and Albus were pretty sure that they'd get enough done that they'd be able to turn in at a somewhat decent hour that night. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Finally lunchtime came and the two collected Phoenix from Lily and then headed towards the school's main entrance where Tomo was supposed to show up since she'd officially been invited and they hadn't had to sneak her in the way they'd planned if necessary.

Walking between his parents Phoenix's face lit up as soon as he caught sight of the house elf looking very small and out of place in the huge room she'd been waiting in.

"PEEK-BOO!"

Laughing out the name he'd given his favorite house elf Phoenix let go of the hands that had held his and ran for Tomo, who was already hurrying over to him as she exclaimed over how big he'd gotten since the last time she'd seen him and wasn't he the handsomest, more adorable little wizard to ever live!

Both teenagers smiled over the cuteness of it all as Phoenix hugged the house elf tightly, the difference in height not all that great between the two, waiting patiently for them to remember that they weren't alone as Phoenix impressed Tomo with his new vocabulary.

When she did finally turn her attention to Scorpius and Albus it was with the intent to ask exactly how many words Phoenix had learned, the words dying in the house elf's throat once she got a good look at them and the physical signs of exhaustion that immediately had Tomo demanding that they go to the boys's rooms so that they could get some sleep!

Shaking his head Albus reached down to pick up Phoenix, ignoring the dark look the little boy aimed in his direction. "If only. We'll tell you about the situation on the way."

Having gone over to pick up the picnic basket Tomo had left in her hurry to get to Phoenix Scorpius shook his head over the weight, knowing immediately that the house elf had not taken their 'We just need sandwiches' request seriously. Typical house elf, Scorpius thought as he thanked Tomo for going to the trouble.

Waving off the thanks Tomo insisted it was nothing, she'd been happy to do it.

Putting Phoenix up on his shoulders to distract his son from pouting over not being allowed to walk himself, Albus motioned in the direction they were going, Scorpius and Tomo falling into step with him as the Gryffindor began his tale of woe and educational trauma.

Naturally Tomo was a hundred percent on their side, offering to stay for the rest of the day and into the night if they needed her to. It was her day off, she explained, and looking after Phoenix was never a burden. She loved doing it.

"We'll definitely keep that in reserve, though Davey will be disappointed if he doesn't get his chance to continue his musical indoctrination of Phoenix tonight. He was blabbering about it all during breakfast." Albus grimaced at the memory, especially since he'd threatened to break a plate over the other man's head if he didn't shut up about how Phoenix was going to be a musical prodigy. He loved talking and bragging about his son of course, but it had not been the time or the place thanks to his current workload and lack of sleep.

"Music yay." Phoenix chimed in, knowing and liking that word. He loved music.

Shaking his head Scorpius turned his attention to asking Tomo how she was doing. He'd grown to like the house elf during his brief stay at Grimmauld Place and really appreciated all she'd done and was doing for them, especially on her day off.

"Tomo is doing very well, thank you. It will be nice when you all come home for Christmas. Tomo thinks that Grimmauld Place misses you as much as Tomo does. It feels very empty without you all and Kreacher in it. Tomo puts flowers on Kreacher's grave every Sunday too, and tells him about the things Mrs. Potter tells Tomo about you three and how well you're doing here at Hogwarts. Tomo is sure Kreacher would be happy at how wonderful Phoenix is turning out to be."

"We've missed you too." Albus assured her, patting her on her bald head affectionately.

Tomo beamed over the sentiment the rest of the way to their rooms.

)

Arriving at their destination Scorpius asked Tomo if she'd like to eat lunch with them first, the house elf thanking them for the offer but explaining that she'd eaten before she'd come so that she could give Phoenix her full attention. For his part Phoenix couldn't wait to show her his box house either, he was seriously proud of its brilliance, and so Albus and Scorpius waved good bye as the other two headed for Phoenix's bedroom and then headed to their small parlor to quickly eat before going back into the trenches so to speak.

"Freshly baked chocolate biscuits." Albus sighed when he caught sight of them as Scorpius started to unload the basket. "I love Tomo."

Smiling Scorpius nodded and put out the requested sandwiches, followed shortly by containers containing cut up veggies, cheese and crackers, and fruit to go with the biscuits for dessert. "We're not going to be able to eat all this."

"Speak for yourself." Was Albus's opinion as he passed over a glass of pumpkin juice before gesturing with his own. "You haven't seen anything yet. Wait till you see the spread my family will put out for Christmas. People will have to roll us out afterwards."

After taking a neat bite of his sandwich and swallowing Scorpius stated that he was sure it wouldn't be that bad. And if there really was that much food they were going to have to pace themselves given how many family meals they would have to attend over the holidays.

"True."

And thank all the powers in the universe that they'd been able to arrange their family dinners in such a way that no one should feel slighted, Albus thought with a grateful sigh. It had taken some work on both their parts but it had been agreed upon by all parties that he, Scorpius and Phoenix would have Christmas Eve dinner at the Malfoys, which would potentially include at least Scorpius's maternal grandparents, and then go home to spend the night and morning at Grimmauld Place since that was technically their home and this was their first Christmas together. They would be going to lunch, which would likely into dinner, at Albus's grandparents' house with all the rest of the Weasley brood, as well as another of just his immediate family and then Scorpius's parents at later dates. They were also planning to make an appearance at James's place on New Years', though they wouldn't stay long since Phoenix couldn't be out too late and they liked the idea of ringing in the New Year together at their place too.

Also thinking of their busy schedule and all the relatives and such who would be all but breaking down their door to see Phoenix Scorpius sighed.

"What?"

"I was just thinking that we won't have much chance to catch up on our sleep with all the people who'll be visiting or we'll be visiting." He missed sleep a lot, sleeping in even more so.

Setting aside his half eaten cheese and cracker Albus shifted closer to Scorpius and leaned over to place a kiss on the pale throat he so loved nibbling on whenever the opportunity presented itself. "We'll make sure we have time for naps at the very least. Really good naps."

Cheeks reddening as he got exactly what Albus meant by 'really good naps' Scorpius elbowed the other man in the side. "None of that or we won't finish eating, much less our homework."

His turn to sigh, Albus turned his attention back to his food, muttering over the fact that Adler had not only wreaked havoc on his social and academic life, but his sex life as well. Would the woman's tyranny never end?

Feeling much the same way Scorpius sighed again too, the teenagers sharing knowing looks before applying themselves to eating enough to fill their stomachs before packing what was left up and then heading to their homework with the looks of men facing down female dragons.

In short order they were absorbed in what they were doing, both not at all surprised to have their hands start to cramp up on them in no time. The night before everyone had been joking around about how their hands might end up permanently damaged from all the writing they were having to do lately, the jokes not seeming all that funny in the light of day.

They'd been ignoring the pain and concentrating hard for about an hour before Albus set aside his quill, shook his hand, and announced that going to Hogsmeade just wasn't worth this crap. Not even the entertainment value of spying on Fred and Gabrielle's first date was worth this!

Scorpius understood the sentiment of course, but it wasn't an option for him since he'd promised Gabrielle he'd be in Hogsmeade for her date. It was her first after all and she wanted him there for moral support and backup if things went horribly wrong. "If you want to stop then go ahead. She'll put you in detention but I can take Phoenix to Hogsmeade with me. Having him around can only help those two."

Having momentarily forgot that Scorpius wasn't going to Hogsmeade for amusement purposes alone Albus scowled for a moment, silently acknowledging that there went his brief taste of freedom before saying outloud that if Scorpius and Phoenix were going than so was he.

Eyes softening at the statement and the reason for it Scorpius smiled at Albus who reluctantly smiled back at him, the Slytherin quiet for a couple minutes after that before he said Albus's name.

"Yeah?"

"If we get all our work done and go to Hogsmeade…well after that we could probably give Phoenix to Davey for a couple hours for more music lessons. We could come back here for a really good nap…if you want."

Catching on quickly Albus's face lit up with renewed purpose, the Gryffindor promising to ask Davey that night if he was interested in doing precisely that.

)

Albus and Scorpius did indeed get a lot of work done while Tomo was there to watch Phoenix, enough that they declined her offer to remain at the school past the time agreed upon by the Headmaster. They didn't want to get her trouble after all, and it would defeat the purpose of trying so hard on their work if they ended up in detention for breaking the rules by letting her stay. Phoenix was loathed to have her go, but they all reminded him that Christmas holidays were coming up and then he could spend lots of time with her at their house. That seemed to cheer both Tomo and Phoenix up, all of them looking forward to the coming vacation time.

When they arrived at the Room of Requirement that night Albus did indeed ask Davey if he would be interested in continuing Phoenix's music lessons, which his son so obviously loved, after the trip to Hogsmeade for a few hours. He and Scorpius needed a break, especially since Phoenix was getting more energetic and into everything everyday it seemed. But only if Davey wasn't busy of course, they wouldn't want to impose or anything.

Absolutely thrilled at the idea Davey grinned widely and assured Albus that it wouldn't be a problem at all. Phoenix was going to be a musical prodigy after all, so it was his privilege to be one of the boy's mentors. And constant reinforcement was essential to installing a proper musical education in Phoenix's head, so this was a great idea.

Seeing the potential of a new babysitter for Phoenix that would clear up more time that he and Scorpius could spend together without any interruptions, Albus was just as happy about this turn of events and said so.

Scorpius wasn't quite as impressed, but was willing to allow it for the time being since Phoenix really did seem to enjoy the music lessons. The boy had run to Davey when they'd arrived and was obviously in a hurry to go to the music room from the way Phoenix kept tugging on Davey's hand and pointing in that direction. That Davey promised never to expose his son to something called rap meant nothing to him, but Scorpius made a mental note to ask Albus about it since it was apparently quite horrible judging from Davey's tone of voice.

Of course the heavy workload he still faced had Albus's smile dimming quite a bit over the next couple hours, but the extra work he and Scorpius had put in that day was enough that they weren't struggling as desperately as some of their friends were. In the end the two ended up staying in the room longer than they'd originally intended, unable to deny the others their help.

And then the door that led into the little room Davey had constructed swung open and slammed against the wall, Davey running out seconds later with Phoenix, the Muggleborn holding the toddler away from him as he came speeding towards Albus while babbling nonsensically.

Not liking this one little bit Gabrielle neatly nipped the boy right out of the Gryffindor's hands while Lily whacked her brother's friend upside the head for not holding her nephew properly.

"Oww! Why can't you hit like a girl for once?" Rubbing the back of his head Davey scowled for a moment before recovering enough to remember why he'd come out in the first place, holding out his hands for his charge again. "You guys have got to see what Phoenix can do!"

Giving him a dark look Gabrielle simply turned on her heels and walked over to Scorpius while expertly ignoring the Gryffindor at her heels.

Once Scorpius had Phoenix Davey tried to get the boy back, backing off when the Slytherin gave him a look that suggested dire consequences if he didn't shut up and leave Phoenix the hell alone ASAP.

"But you have to hear him!" Davey pleaded, his eagerness overriding the self preservation instincts that were trying to tell him that Scorpius wasn't someone you wanted to mess with when his parenting instincts were in control. "You want to show them, don't you, Phoenix? Tell them you want to show them how good you can sing."

Normally Phoenix would have been happy to do precisely that, but everyone was looking at him and Music Maker was acting really weird and he didn't know what was going on, so instead of agreeing the toddler hid his face against his da's neck and hoped sanity would soon reign supreme again.

Taking pity on his best friend, as well as curious as to what had Davey so excited since he'd already told him that Phoenix could sing a couple songs, Albus went over and retrieved Phoenix from Scorpius, who obviously wasn't pleased to have their son taken from him but willing to allow it for the moment.

"Hey, Buddy." Albus said softly, cuddling Phoenix close. "Did you learn a new song? Can Da and I hear your song? Play music?"

Slowly lifting his head Phoenix looked around at everyone shyly and then back at his mummy, a considering look on his little face before he slowly nodded. "Me pay music?"

"Here, set him on the table and I'll cue him. Please." Davey tacked on, belatedly clueing into the fact that both Gabrielle and Scorpius were watching him the way a snake no doubt watched a cornered mouse. Yikes.

While everyone watched Albus brought Phoenix over to the table Davey had indicated, setting Phoenix on top of the space that had hastily been cleared there. And sensing that Phoenix was still a little unsure of the situation Albus placed his hand on the boy's lower back, reassuring his son that he was there for him if he needed him.

"So you've been teaching him Christmas carols?" Magda asked, coming over in case she needed to save her idiot boyfriend from the Slytherins.

"What? No. I mean…maybe after Hogsmeade?" Davey offered with a hopefully look in his eye that was swiftly dashed by the look in Scorpius's. "Okay then…no, this isn't Christmas stuff. This is actually, technically, more of a Halloween thing. But it's the most adorable thing ever. If I put this on Youtube I'd have a million bloody hits by New Year, no question. The telly people would be banging on my door, wanting to meet him."

"Davey."

"Right, right." Giving Albus a quick smile Davey forced himself to put aside his dreams of stardom and instead turned his attention back to Phoenix. A quick wink in the boy's direction and then he began to hum the tune, the few in the room who recognized it already starting to grin when the chorus came up and Phoenix began to sing along.

"Cause dis is Twiller, Twiller night. And no one's gonna save you from the bee about to bite. Cause dis is Twiller, Twiller night. You're fight-in for your wife inside a Twiller, Twiller night!"

In the stunned silence Davey admitted that they were having some problems with the words, but still, wasn't that something?

Yes, everyone agreed as they clapped. It was.