Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations all characters find themselves in. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think.
Dedicated to AnastasiaChambers, who pushed the review count over into two thousand! Thanks a bunch! Also, for those who have been asking how long this fanfic is going to go on for, at the moment I'm thinking until New Years happens in the story, and maybe an epilogue to tie off needed ends.
Bonding and Planning
Later that night, as they stretched out together on Scorpius's bed since they'd completely and totally debauched Albus's bed earlier that day, the two were pleasantly tired from the long day they'd had and were quite content to do nothing more strenuous than cuddle and sleep. It had been a very good day though, especially since Fred and Gabrielle's date had gone well, and the fact that they didn't have much in the way of homework for the first time in what felt like forever was such a relief they were all but purring.
Albus was just about to doze off, Scorpius still paging through a book he was apparently reading for pleasure, when the Gryffindor remembered something that had occurred to him during supper, when he'd been discussing Christmas with his relatives.
"Am I supposed to get something for your parents, for Christmas? I mean technically I'm just a boyfriend, and your father doesn't like me anyway, but I'm not above bribing them to think of me more fondly in the future."
There was a smile in Scorpius's voice, though the Slytherin's face was currently hidden from view. "No worries there, I already put yours and Phoenix's names down with mine in the cards attached to the presents I've already picked out for them."
"Oh. You didn't have to-I'll chip in on them then. And you don't need to spend-you already bought something for my parents, didn't you?"
Scorpius made a sound that confirmed that. "And a small token for your grandparents as well."
Shaking his head Albus asked if his and Phoenix's names were on those as well.
"His is, yours isn't. You're on your own there."
"Good to know. Anything else I should know about, while we're on the topic?"
Looking up from his book for a moment Scorpius stared thoughtfully ahead as he mulled that over. "It probably hasn't crossed your mind, but I'm guessing that when we get home we're going to be greeted by a great deal of mail from your relatives, family friends, and people who are interested in your family and Phoenix and want to be able to say they sent a card or present again."
Groaning as the truth of those words sank in, Albus slapped his arms dramatically over his eyes. "NO! Not more thank you letters to write! Anything but more thank you letters to write! My hands still cramp up at the mere thought of all those sodding letters we had to write before, and my hands still haven't forgiven me for this week!"
"Calm down, I have the letters covered too."
Shifting his arms a little so that he could see better, Albus suspiciously asked him what he meant by that, feeling too cynical after the week they'd had to believe they were saved just yet.
"I took four different Christmas themed pictures of Phoenix and set them along with four different messages and holiday greetings to a print shop. They'll generate cards with them and all we'll have to do is write out the addresses and sign the cards before we mail them off."
Rolling over and on top of Scorpius Albus peppered the man's face with kisses as he thanked him for being so bloody brilliant.
Laughing in delight Scorpius squirmed and shifted so that their lips could meet, the teasing kisses becoming a long, drawn out one that had them smiling widely at each other when the snogging finally ended.
"So what are we getting your father and mother, by the way?"
"My father is getting a first edition copy of a rare book he's been looking for forever, and my mother is getting some perfume and the same thing your mother, my paternal grandmother, and both sets of maternal grandparents are getting from me. A personalized photo album slash scrapbook that revolves around Phoenix. Photos, some of his drawings, his hand and foot print, and some images of either you or me thrown in depending on that book's recipient."
Albus whistled his appreciation, seriously impressed now. "Damn, you really are as brilliant as you are sexy. That's the sort of thing that will turn them into happy, mummy puddles in ten seconds flat. You'll be their favorite for years to come."
"I think Phoenix has that position, but I'll be happy with second. And I'll help you shop when we get back to London so that you can be third."
"I don't know how I got by without you."
Smiling widely with pleasure, Scorpius set aside his book and lifted both hands so that he could card his fingers through Albus's hair, this of course leading to more snogging and cuddling and finally, after a while, to sleep.
When it came time to head home for the holidays Albus and Scorpius could only pray that they'd remembered everything that they would need when it came to Phoenix. Their son was by now notorious for his possessiveness when it came to his things, and the last thing they wanted to do was him want one of his toys or a favorite outfit and not have it. Telling him that it was back at the school and they couldn't just pop in and pick it up for him wouldn't go over well. As it was, they'd already sent a missive to Tomo asking her to get them a bunch of cardboard boxes so that they could build their son a new box house for him to play with while they were at Grimmauld Place. They could only bring so much stuff in the end though, and hopefully the excitement of all they had planned would keep Phoenix happy and occupied while they were away from the Hogwarts.
And so they left the school for their first Christmas together, taking the carriages down to the station where the Hogwarts Express waited for its passengers to board for their trip back to London.
Hagrid was there to see them off of course, taking time from his duties to give Phoenix a quick cuddle, though he'd be seeing the boy soon enough at the annual Weasley Christmas get-together. Scorpius stayed with them while Albus went off to make sure that their trunks went where they were supposed to, promising to meet them inside the train at the section of compartments which were known to be reserved for the Gryffindor's family.
For his part Phoenix couldn't help but gape at the enormous toy that was just sitting there beside them while lots and lots of people crowded around it. There were kids big enough to play with this toy?, Phoenix marveled, his own version of this toy much, much smaller. He liked to roll it around on the floor and make little puffs of smoke come out of it. There was a lot of smoke coming out of this one for some reason. He wouldn't mind playing with this big toy, but he was too little and its size sort of intimidated him a little. Even his Haggy wasn't big enough and Haggy was really, really big. It must belong to Haggy's brother, Phoenix decided, he'd met him before when he was even littler than he was now. He and Mummy had been able to fit in his hand.
Was Haggy's brother coming here? Where would they put him? There was hardly enough room for everyone else!
"Well, you should be headin in, I reckon, get him all settled and such before the crowds get too bad. Don't want him getting jostled around or bruised." Hagrid kissed the side of Phoenix's head, which was currently covered by his bear snow suit again. "Off you go then, Wee One, I'll miss you something fierce while you're away."
Phoenix wasn't quite sure what was going on here and he was getting more and more worried as this day went on. There had been lots of stuff missing from his room this morning, which his parents had shown him were in a thing that was like his box house but not, so he knew sorta where they were, only that box wasn't with him now. Mummy had taken them somewhere, and people kept saying bye bye to him like they weren't going to see him tomorrow, and he saw them every day so what was going on here?
Now back in his da's arms Phoenix watched Haggy over his light parent's shoulder, waving since Haggy was waving at him and that's what you were supposed to do. This was all so confusing.
And then they were climbing INSIDE of the toy and Phoenix could only goggle that much more about this strange turn of events. He'd NEVER been inside a toy before. You weren't supposed to be able to go inside of toys, you were supposed to play with them. Of course bugs sometimes crawled on his toys, but mummy and da usually brushed them off so obviously you weren't supposed to do that. But now his da was doing exactly what they'd told the bugs not to do! And where was mummy?!
Everyone else was so loud inside the toy too, but there were happy colors everywhere which reassured Phoenix somewhat, though he didn't like being absolutely bewildered , and was too stunned by all the new sights and sounds to stop gaping and start scowling at this turn of events.
Finally they arrived where they were supposed to be, Phoenix being put down on a seat while da started to unwind his own scarf and undo his coat.
Reacting to the whimper, it wasn't like he'd failed to notice that Phoenix was overwhelmed by this sudden change in their usual routine, Scorpius tossed his coat to the side and picked the boy up, cuddling him against his chest as he reassured him that Albus would be with them very soon.
Phoenix felt a little better being held, so that he didn't even complain when his da took off his snow suit and set it aside. He just curled up tighter against his da's chest until the others started arriving, sitting up when Funny One, Elle, and Cookie Smelling dropped into seats across from them.
Pleased to see them Phoenix smiled at them, feeling better to know that whatever was going on they'd be coming too, and then in came his mummy and he shrieked with happiness because everything was definitely going to be okay now.
"Well someone missed me." Grinning from ear to ear Albus took a seat beside Scorpius and had his arms open and ready as Phoenix basically flopped into his lap for a cuddle there. "What's all this?"
"A little overstimulated, I think. He'll be fine once we're home. Provided he remembers it of course."
While the teenagers discussed various theories about just how much memory a baby had and retained Phoenix continued to stay close to his parents and act very unlike himself until the train was finally loaded with all the luggage and passengers and started to pull away, the fact that they were moving without actually moving shocking Phoenix enough to unbury his head and stare around him in obvious bewilderment.
Laughing at his son's reaction Albus placed his hands on either side of Phoenix's waist and then he shifted the boy so that he could look out the window and that was that. Phoenix LOVED looking out the window and seeing everything whiz by in a blur, especially when he realized that his breath could fog up the glass, and he could draw pictures and leave handprints on it.
By the time they'd arrived at the station Phoenix had had so much fun on the train that he'd fallen into a nap so deep that not even the train whistles heralding their arrival couldn't wake him up.
It took some doing to get out of King's Cross, Phoenix drifting in and out of consciousness since the amount of noise around him was too much to ignore, but eventually Albus and Scorpius managed to collect all their stuff and head out with the former's family to the car Harry had arranged so that they could get the Potter/Malfoy family to Grimmauld Place before the rest of the Potter family headed home themselves. Tomo had been hard at working making sure that the place was not only ready for Christmas but for the presence of a toddler, and Ginny assured them that she'd personally looked things over herself just the other day. It was as warm and welcoming as it had probably ever been in its history. Everyone agreed that wasn't exactly saying much, but the boys were looking forward to going to their home nonetheless, though it still surprised them to think of the place that way.
It was of some amusement to them all to see the wreath on the front door, which opened on their arrival to reveal that Tomo had been waiting for them to arrive, the house elf waving at them wildly from the doorway.
Since Ginny had been holding Phoenix since they'd left the train station she carried her currently sleeping grandson into the house with Lily, while Albus and Scorpius turned their attention to magically retrieving their trunks and Harry dealt with the third that carried Phoenix's clothes and toys. Once everything and everyone was inside Ginny somewhat grudgingly handed over her grandson since they couldn't stay, everyone saying their goodbyes with real reluctance after making sure that their holiday plans were known and that the boys intended to show up to all the Weasley/Potter get-togethers that had previously been discussed.
Seeing the three to the door the residents of Grimmauld Place and Tomo waved goodbye to the Potters, Scorpius moving Phoenix's hand for him since he was still fast asleep before they all headed back inside where it was warm.
"The place looks wonderful, Tomo, you did a great job. Thank you." Standing in the front hallway Scorpius smiled over the garlands and Christmasy smells that seemed to be permeating the main floor currently. He'd only gotten a glimpse of the front parlor when they'd come it, but he approved of the decorating there, as well as the yet to be dressed Christmas tree that awaited them. Tomo had mentioned in her letter that she'd thought they'd want to decorate it themselves, and Albus had given that plan a big thumbs up. Personally he'd never decorated one before, which Albus had announced was another indicator that he'd missed out on all the good stuff about being a child. The fact the Malfoy family Christmas tree was always slightly over two stories tall and would take days to decorate given the inherit perfectionist nature of his mother when it came to design meant little to the Gryffindor.
And, in all honesty, Scorpius was sorta looking forward to the decorating, even though he'd have to make sure his mother didn't see the end result.
Albus gave Tomo lots of compliments about the decorating as well, which had the elf blushing and stammering over all the attention and kindness. People were a lot nicer to house elves these days, thanks to Hermione Weasley and the government policies she'd put into place to insure that house elves weren't abused, but Tomo was sure that there were very few masters out there as good as hers, and said so.
Both teenagers blushing in return, the hallway was silent for a minute or two before Scorpius asked Tomo if she'd look after Phoenix for them while they went and put their stuff away. They wouldn't be long.
"Should Tomo take him to bed?" He was big enough now that she'd have to carry him magically, but she didn't mind.
"No, I don't think we should leave him alone, at least until he's used to being here again. I don't want him wandering around in a panic while we're down here." Scorpius glanced over at Albus with a questioning look in his eyes. "We might as well stay home for the rest of the day instead of going out the way I'd planned so that you could get a start on your Christmas shopping. Do you want to decorate the top part of the tree, and let Phoenix do the bottom when he wakes up?"
"Sounds like a plan to me. Though he's gotta do the star, since he's the youngest and that's the biggest deal."
"Tomo will watch Phoenix like a hawk." The house elf assured them as they headed into the parlor, Scorpius setting Phoenix down on a couch with a pillow under his head. "Tomo also made cookies and hot chocolate, which Masters can have while decorating the tree."
Having already spotted the treats on the coffee table that were waiting for them, the two teenagers thanked her profusely before quickly heading out of the room, since the sooner they had their stuff put away the sooner they could have their snack.
As they headed up the stairs, one after another with their trunks levitated in front of them, Albus asked Scorpius if he'd gotten something for Tomo for Christmas. She'd really gone above and beyond for them after all, especially with the whole coming to Hogwarts to visit on her day off.
"At home we usually just give our elves a bonus for Christmas. My mother does, anyway." His father and paternal grandparents considered it a waste of money. "Do house elves prefer presents to money?" He'd never thought to ask one. Of course he'd never really had a real conversation with one before Tomo, so he figured Albus would know more about these things than he did.
"My brother buys his elf T-shirts with sarcastic sayings on them, and a lot of earrings. She's got a bunch of piercings. As for Kreacher…we basically gave him a Black heirloom every year. And actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I have no idea what Tomo would want since I can't see her wanting any of those things. But we could ask my Aunt Hermione about it, she knows a lot of house elves."
Nodding, Scorpius belatedly remembered that Albus couldn't see him and said outloud that that was a good idea, and that they could stop in at the Ministry tomorrow before they went holiday shopping.
"It's a date."