Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations all characters get in.

Outing Bonding

Thanks to Phoenix Albus and Scorpius didn't have to worry about hanging back so that it wasn't obvious that they were sort of supervising Fred and Gabrielle's first date together. An owl had delivered a present for their son on Friday, which they'd been hiding from him until today because they'd predicted that Phoenix would go nuts over it and hadn't wanted him wearing it indoors. But now they were going to be outdoors for a while and Phoenix was rapturously running around on the path in his teddy bear snowsuit, little brown tail wagging, and the ears on the top of the hood were waving back and forth in the wind. Scorpius's grandmother was keeping up her bear theme and Phoenix was loving her for it.

And thank Merlin, both teenagers thought, that so few people were going to Hogsmeade or they'd have been mobbed by squealing girls while they'd been waiting in line to leave. As it was their son had had several different shades of lipstick on his cheeks by the time he'd made the rounds and been cuddled and cooed over by everyone who had the energy to do so while they waited to have their names checked off.

Now their boy was dancing to a song in his head, Phoenix stopping every once in a while to pick up snow and throw it in the air because he apparently liked the way it shone in the light before falling back to the ground. This wasn't the first time they'd taken him out to play in the show, but every time seemed like the first time to Phoenix, who took pleasure in every change in weather and the animals that always seemed to sense him nearby and wanted to come play.

"Your grandmother might end up being his favorite relative if she never drops by and keeps sending him adorable clothes." Amused, Albus swung the hand he held, thinking it ironic that Narcissa Black Malfoy, of all people, was one of Phoenix's favorite people.

Amused, Scorpius nodded his head in agreement, having already written his grandmother a thank you letter. He'd taken a picture before they'd left too, and would include that with the letter when he mailed it. "She'll be his favorite until he outgrows wanting cute things, anyway. Soon he'll want a leather jacket and other 'Big Boy' clothes."

Linking their hands more firmly Albus gave it another friendly swing as he stated that hopefully they'd be able to put that off for a very long time. Whenever parents talked about parenting teenagers they got this look in their eyes that said it was an experience one wanted to avoid as long as possible.

"Well of course your parents would have that look in their eyes, they have three of you and you're half Potter, half Weasley. In this case he's half from my side of the family, and incapable of being evil. I think we'll have a much easier time than your poor parents."

"So he's one third Potter, one third Weasley, and one third whatever your mum's maiden name is?"

Laughing when Scorpius gave him a less than amused look, Albus leaned over to steal a kiss to turn that frown upside down.

Given the terrain they were on the snogging couldn't last long, Phoenix needed to be watched constantly these days even when he was just normal, much less acting like he was in a sugar high as he explored his new surroundings the way he hadn't been able to the last time they'd taken him to Hogsmeade. So reluctantly they ended that fun and turned their attention to alternating between watching Phoenix strut his stuff and glancing further down the road to make sure that Gabrielle hadn't turned Fred into a weasel again.

"It seems to be going okay, doesn't it?"

Albus nodded. "Yeah. Better than we thought, anyway. She hasn't hit him once."

"Well so long as he follows my advice he should be okay. Hopefully." He and Fred had been in constant letter contact since Gabrielle had said yes, with Fred peppering him with questions and requests for advice concerning how to get Elle to give him a chance and what her preferences were when it came to food, flowers and such. Thankfully, while he had limited dating experience himself, he had known Gabrielle since they were kids and could answer most of the questions fairly confidently.

"Me swing too? Peas?"

Looking down at their son, who'd snuck up on them and was holding out his arms pleadingly, both men grinned and nodded their heads, separating and then offering him one of their hands, which he took with a gleeful squeal.

Nodding at each other Albus and Scorpius worked out a rhyme, swinging Phoenix back and forth between them as they continued down the road, their son kicking his feet in the air and giggling like mad the whole way.

They were on the outskirts of the little village when Lily caught up to them, the three hearing her coming and turning to face her since she might try a snowball to their back otherwise. They kept swinging Phoenix too, since he'd already scolded them once for trying to stop before he was ready for them to. Naturally Phoenix was delighted to see his aunt, showing his appreciation by demanding that she swing him too.

Letting his son's hand go Albus motioned for her to take it, which she did with much delight. "After all, who doesn't love swinging a small child into the air and making them screech with joy loud enough to burst your eardrums."

"He's not, thankfully." Scorpius smiled.

Lily's grin was downright evil. "Then you're not doing it right."

)

Ears good and ringing by the time they made it to their destination, Lily pouted when she saw that they were standing in front of the Three Broomsticks instead of Madam Puddifoot's. Not that she liked the former, because that much girlie-ness in one place frankly freaked the hell out of her on a number of levels, but she'd thought Fred would have the common sense to pick the much more romantic tea shop. Plus everyone would be in the Three Broomsticks and would be sure to stare and even come over, which would not end well for the always turbulent couple. And above and beyond that she was just plain angry at her cousin for not having the sense to realize that Elle was a girlie-girl with a tomboy's attitude.

"He was going to take her to the tea shop, I talked him out of it."

"Why'd you do that?"

"Because as much as Elle does like girlie stuff, she tends to get a little clumsy when she's nervous and that place is full of breakable things and is over the top romantic wise. This is their first date, so I told him to take her to the Broomstick because she knows it, is comfortable there, and won't feel as pressured."

Grudgingly, Lily admitted that he had a point.

"NO!"

A number of heads, including Scorpius and Lily's, turned to look in Phoenix's direction, the boy's face red with agitation as he slapped at his mummy's hands. He did NOT want his snowsuit removed or even unzipped and was getting quite mad at his mummy for not listening to his words.

Albus wasn't having a lot of fun either as he tried to explain to his pigheaded son that he needed to deal with the suit so that he didn't overheat in it. It was really warm in the pub and getting more so by the minute as more people made their way in to warm up with a hot beverage or bite to eat.

When reasoning failed Albus looked over at Scorpius, the plea for help in his eyes.

"Let him keep it on until he figures out for himself why you were trying to take it off. He'll learn better that way."

"But he'll be sweating like a pig in no time."

"And this is one of the reason you're mummy and I'm da."

"Oh ha ha." Taking his seat Albus rolled his eyes at Scorpius. "And shows what you know. Mums are the bosses, not the pushovers."

"So you're stating you were being a pushover with Phoenix by refusing to give in but also refusing to force him to let you take off his snowsuit?"

While her brother gaped like a landed fish Lily clapped her hands in delight. "You two are really adorable sometimes, I must say. And that being the case I'm going to go sit with some friends of mine closer to Fred and Elle so you don't distract me. Good luck with the parenting!"

They watched her go and then turned their attention back to the couple they'd come here to watch over.

From what they could tell things looked to be going well, or at least they weren't fighting which was always a good thing when it came to the two of them. Gabrielle did still look a little nervous but Fred seemed to be fine and the man did know how to be charming when he wanted to be. And in this case, given how gone he appeared when it came to Gabrielle, Scorpius and Albus were willing to bet Fred was going to use every bit of charm he had in his body.

"Now I'm wondering how bad we looked on our first date."

Scorpius had to smile a little. "Well we were talking about divorce before the main course was even over."

"But we agreed our marriage still had a chance before we left the restaurant." Albus countered, reaching out to play with Scorpius's fingers, tangling them together.

"Mummy!"

Both turned to see Phoenix squirming in his chair, his face even redder than before as he pulled at his snowsuit.

Seeing the smirk on Scorpius's face Albus pointed a finger in his boyfriend's direction. "Don't say it."

"I didn't say anything."

"Not with words, no." Getting out of his seat again Albus walked over to unzip the snowsuit, getting Phoenix out of it as quickly as possible before handing the garment over to his son so that Phoenix could hold onto it.

Though at the moment Phoenix wasn't looking too fondly at his bear suit, which amused his parents greatly.

)

Naturally the three of them could only hang around watching the date for so long before they really began to feel like stalkers, especially since there hadn't been any obvious hiccups just yet. It was starting to look like Fred and Gabrielle's very bumpy beginnings had seen to it that they had a good gauge of each other now and knew where not to tread. Not to mention the fact that Fred had already been on the receiving end of both a punch and curse, and therefore had to know, as he wasn't an idiot, that this was not a woman to be toyed with. And Fred was serious about her, they were in agreement about that.

So that being the case the two stuck around for a little while and then bundled Phoenix back into his snow suit and headed back outside, their destination a little ways away from the village since they didn't want to get mobbed by people who might feel that enough time had passed since the last time they'd come over to coo over Phoenix. Instead they steered their son towards the snow and let him play in it to his heart's content, taking seats on a low brick wall after dusting off the worst of the snow.

"You know, if Fred and Gabrielle make this work and she joins the family, the other guys are all going to be jealous of me. I'm going to be the only one with a not scary spouse."

"Not scary…my father and grandfather are former Death Eaters. I'm scary because of my relatives alone."

"But you're not scary, you're adorable."

"I'm not adorable."

"You are, you might as well accept it."

"Just because you say something a hundred times doesn't make it true. Though being a Potter and a Gryffindor I can see how that concept would be difficult for you to grasp."

"Ouch, that one hurt." And laughing to show how much it hurt Albus slid a hand behind Scorpius's neck to draw his boyfriend in for a quick snogging that had them both grinning like fools when they finally pulled back to see what Phoenix was doing.

Thankfully Phoenix was busy demonstrating that he remembered how to make snow angels like his mummy had taught him and appeared uninterested in getting into trouble for the moment. How long that would last was anyone's guess.

It was about twenty minutes later when Albus caught sight of Hagrid coming their way, raising his hand in silent greeting while Scorpius settled for a nod of acknowledgement. He was still getting to know the friendly half giant in a social setting, but so far he liked him quite a lot.

"HAGGY! PAY WITH ME!"

Watching Phoenix pull himself out of his latest snowbank and hurry, as fast as his short legs and the snow drifts would allow, towards Hagrid, the two teenagers just smiled, though Scorpius winced a little when Hagrid threw Phoenix up into the air four times before cuddling the boy against his chest. The man could throw a toddler pretty high after all.

"Out and about, enjoyin the weather, eh?" All smiles Hagrid gave the top of Phoenix's hooded head a kiss. "He looks like a little teddy bear."

Phoenix made rawr noises to confirm that fact.

"He loves bears." Scorpius agreed, coming over with Albus to meet the groundskeeper partway. "Good afternoon, Hagrid. I hope you're having a good day."

"Afternoon to you both, and yes, I'm having a fine day, thanks for asking. Good day for a visit to Hogsmeade, weather's holding well. Not that there's the usual crowd today." There was a twinkle in Hagrid's eyes. "It's right impressive that you two managed to keep up with your schoolwork and the wee one as well. He's always on the move these days from what I've seen."

"Haggy. What dis?"

Everyone looked at what Phoenix had wrapped around his mittened hand, which shone in the light. He'd taken it out of Hagrid's beard, having gone rooting around in the thick mass because there was always interesting things to be found in there.

"Tis a unicorn hair, Phoenix. You can have it if you like."

"Pwitty."

"Very pretty." Scorpius agreed, admiring the unicorn hair.

Phoenix took a moment to admire it again before holding it out to Scorpius. "For Da."

Expression going soft and very un-Malfoy like Scorpius gently unwrap the unicorn hair from around Phoenix's mitt and gave his son a kiss on the cheek, thanking him for such a pretty present. Holding it up to the light so that the winter sun would reflect off it Scorpius made a show of admiring it before he carefully put it away in his trouser pocket.

"Speakin of presents, you two didna have any shoppin to do in the village? All ready for Christmas then?"

"Still plenty of time yet to shop."

Scorpius turned his head and goggled at Albus. "You haven't finished your shopping yet? But you've started, haven't you? Albus!" He could see the answer on the Gryffindor's face. "How do you expect to get it all done in time?"

"What? There's still plenty of time yet. And of course you're almost done, you have a lot less people to shop for then I do! And before you throw that in my face let me state for the record that I always wait a while to get my presents and I haven't forgotten a person yet." Though some of the gifts had been a little…unorthodox. It was the thought that counted.

"We're going shopping the first day back." Scorpius's tone was final. "Our Christmas is going to be hectic enough as it is with all the family engagements without you apparating around half of London trying to buy all your presents at the last minute."

Grinning and not perturbed in the slightest, Albus winked in Hagrid's direction. "He's adorable when he's all riled up, isn't he?"

"If you say so." Was the best Hagrid could manage. Though secretly…yeah, he had to agree.

)

After spending a good twenty minutes or so with Hagrid, discussing the coming holiday and how the school term had gone thus far, the four had to split up as Hagrid had business still to attend to in Hogsmeade and Albus and Scorpius were due to drop Phoenix off for his play date with Magda and Davey. So after warm wishes and promises to talk later they all headed out, Phoenix pouting over Hagrid leaving until he caught sight of Davey, which had him squealing with renewed glee.

Handing him over Albus and Scorpius didn't mind in the slightest how eager Phoenix was to go with the other two, they had plans of their own after all and the fact that their son wasn't putting up a fuss about leaving them suited them just fine. They'd take Phoenix back at dinner time unless something came up.

Everything arranged, Albus and Scorpius waved good bye to their son and then beat a hasty retreat back to their set of rooms, slamming the door behind them in their haste to get to the bedroom. And once there their clothes were shed in haste, having spent enough time in the nude around each other since their first night together to not care. When you were the parents of a toddler you learned to be fast and spontaneous.

Rolling around on the bed as soon as they were on it, the tone was playful and fun since they were actually fairly certain they had real hours alone without school, son, or anything else likely to get in the way. They intended to enjoy it.

After winning the pinning match, never a hard thing given his superior size and the fact that he knew Scorpius was terribly ticklish and how to exploit that fact, Albus grinned down at the Slytherin's flushed face and then started kissing his way down his boyfriend's neck and then chest, moving further and further down before circling the quivering belly beneath him with his tongue.

And then he moved a little lower, and the fun really started.