"They're talking." Scorpius' voice was wired and he was clearly on edge as he peered across the large field behind the Potter house. Beside him, Albus was seated at the old picnic table he and his family had used for years, but he was not looking where Scorpius was. Instead, Albus was focused on the papers he held.
"Yes, well, they are cousins, Scorpius. You had to have expected that." Albus kindly reminded his childhood friend.
"What do you think they're talking about?"
Silence followed as Albus lowered his reading material and turned to Scorpius. Scorpius, however, kept his eyes on the two red heads near the back of the house as they talked and laughed. After a few more moments, Scorpius turned to Albus, having expected an answer in what seemed like ages ago.
"Well?" Scorpius pressed and Albus narrowed his eyes.
"Do I look like a woman to you?" Albus responded sharply and Scorpius narrowed his eyes in defensive. "What in the world would make you think I know what they're talking about? And besides, if I were you, I would stop assuming that they are even slightly concerned with you at all. Your health will be much better off if you don't let them think that you think you're so important that they should be talking about you."
"Conspiring is more like it."
"You're insane." Albus finally concluded as he returned to his reading. "Besides, has it occurred to you that they are cousins and friends before they are your ex girlfriends?"
"I don't have pleasant experiences with ex girlfriends."
"That stems from the way you treat ex girlfriends."
"Pray tell me, Albus Potter," Scorpius tore his eyes from Lily and Rose to glare at Albus a second time. "How should I treat them?"
"Well, the first thing to consider is after you've broken up with one girl, you should remove her and the people she is closest to, say a cousin, from your potential dating list."
"It wasn't supposed to happen that way." Scorpius responded defensively but Albus only shook his head and laughed.
"What did you forget?"
"No!" Scorpius snapped.
"Arguing?" Rose's tone was almost condescending as she pulled Scorpius and Albus' attention towards her. Peering up, Scorpius looked into Rose's warm brown eyes before he noticed Lily standing beside her. In harsh contrast, Lily's eyes took on an icy blue hue from the reflection of the lake behind the table.
"Rose, Lily." Scorpius nodded to each of them, but only Rose's eyes lingered on him. Lily had quickly turned to her brother and the two exchanged a hug.
"What are guys up to?" Lily asked simply as she turned to Scorpius. Though her eyes were far colder than Rose's, Scorpius knew from firsthand experience that the differences between Rose and Lily were far deeper than their eye color. Where Rose could be vindictive and vengeful when wronged, Lily's reserved demeanor did not falter. Scorpius also knew, however, that when Lily reached her limit, everything stopped around her until she'd completely vented and felt better. He was quite sure which of their antics he liked better, but hoped the weekend would pass without experiencing either.
"Reading an old copy of an article." Albus answered as he lowered the paper and handed it across the table to Lily. She eyed it curiously before she looked up at her brother again. At the same time, Rose took the article from her cousin's hand.
"What are you thinking?" Lily asked curiously.
"Not quite sure yet."
"Where did you find this?" Rose looked up after a brief glance at the article.
"Archives in the Ministry." Albus answered simply. "How much of that do you think is true?"
"Did you ask Mum and Dad?" Lily asked and Albus shook his head. "Probably a good thing."
"What?" Scorpius asked, confused. Though Albus had already explained the article to him, Scorpius had been far too preoccupied with Rose and Lily to have heard.
"Nothing you would be interested in," Rose commented simply, but her tone took on a harsh quality her words alone lacked. Scorpius narrowed his eyes at Rose, knowing it was not out of character for her to make such biting remarks, but the slight smile across Lily's lips threw him off. In the presence of the arguably, two most famous Weasley-Potter women, Scorpius found himself at the mercy of their once broken hearts.
"Old passages found among the ruins of Hogwarts after the battle." Lily answered.
"I believe that." Scorpius said immediately and Lily turned away from him, but he saw the smile widen for a moment across her lips before she forced it to fade. He knew she remembered one of their few romantic encounters at Hogwarts. In a slow to repair area of Hogwarts, the two had accidently stumbled upon falling apart passage ways that they later discovered did not appear on James' updated map of Hogwarts.
"Just because it's written doesn't make it true." Rose commented and Scorpius nodded.
"Just because you were always too busy studying to adventure, doesn't make it false."
"Is this really going to be one of those days?" Albus sighed as he peered between his favorite cousin and his best friend.
"Not is Scorpius can behave." Rose commented before she rose to her feet and turned to head back to the house. In the following silence, Albus' narrowed eyes turned to Scorpius.
"As if I did something," Scorpius replied with a scoff.
"Don't make her mad."
"But she can make me as mad as she likes?" Scorpius asked.
"You broke up with her." Albus said as though Scorpius needed reminding.
"Four years ago."
"Three, Scorpius." Albus sighed.
"Well, maybe she's not recovered." Albus suggested and Scorpius rolled his eyes.
"She's plenty recovered." Lily assured them and Scorpius held out an arm as he motioned to Lily.
"You see? She's just being difficult. Which is part of the reason it didn't work."
"Oh really?" Albus laughed as he turned towards Lily and retrieved the article from where Rose had been sitting. "And here I thought it was because your old flame grew up and left Hogwarts and stole the show from Rose."
"Nobody appreciates your biting remarks." Scorpius told Albus, careful to avoid Lily's lingering glances. He feared what might happen should she recall the truth to her brother's comments.
"Nobody appreciates you sleeping your way through the family."
"I'm hungry." Scorpius said as he turned away from Albus, but kept his eyes focused on some object in the far distance. He did not want the conversation to continue with Albus, especially in Lily's presence, nor did he want to look at Lily after Albus' comment.
"You're far too tense for this weekend, Scorpius." Lily told him and slowly, he forced his eyes to her. "Once the uncles realize your hesitance, you'll never live through it."
Groaning, Scorpius dropped his head to the table top. He knew she was right. Lily stood from her seat, and Scorpius could feel the table moving as she did so, but he jumped slightly when he felt her delicate fingers on his shoulder.
Her hot breath was on his ear before she even spoke, but her words had the same chilling effect. "Besides, Rose doesn't have any real problem with you anymore. You're the only who's letting her stomp around."
Slowly, Scorpius turned to the side and looked to Lily. Her face hadn't been so close to his since they parted ways, but he found her presence was not a chore to endure the way Rose's was. "Not everybody has the same effect on Rose that you do."
"And what's that, Scorpius?" Lily asked curiously.
"You switched things on her." Scorpius answered as he sat up straight and Lily's hand fell from his shoulder. "You were a mini-Rose until you were fifteen, and then you changed."
"No details." Albus called out from the other side of Scorpius and Lily let out a soft laugh, while a very not innocent smile crept over her lips.
"Yes, well, after she graduated, she wasn't around you as much to notice, and then you graduated, and suddenly, it was as though you were the elder cousin and she was following you. Suddenly, you didn't care what she said or did and she did her best to make you."
"When did you become so people oriented?"
"When he dated half the country." Albus offered and Lily let out a soft laughed as she stepped so that she stood between the two men.
"I'm glad to see you, Albus." She said as she bent down to put a kiss on his cheek. "And you as well, Scorpius." She added as she turned to him and did the same. As she stood up again, she noticed Rose in the window of the house. The distance did not allow her emotions to be read, but Lily felt Scorpius tense as he imagined how his next encounter with her would go.
"Did you have to do that?" Scorpius asked as Lily started to walk away from the table and head back to the house.
"Well, after two years, I should hope it doesn't matter."
"Is your concern Rose?" Scorpius called out and Lily paused for a moment before she turned back to him.
"I'll get back to you on that."
Lily smiled at him, but it was the devious smile he had become so accustomed to over the years. As she turned her back to him once more, she continued to walk towards the house. Scorpius turned towards Albus, and was met by his odd stare.
"You really want to go there, again?" Albus asked with a sigh.
"Would it affect our friendship?"
"No, I suppose not." Albus sighed again as he shook his head and Scorpius shrugged.
"You're a dog."
"Did you ever consider that perhaps Lily and I continue to fall apart and together again for a reason?"
"You're insane, and she has commitment issues?" Albus answered bitterly, his tone obviously filled with sarcasm.
"I was thinking the other way around." Scorpius mused for a moment, and received a glare from Albus. "I'm kidding, I hope you realize. I just always thought Lily was the right one, but we were always happening at the wrong time."
"Scorpius, as your friend, I would agree with you. As Lily's brother, I feel I must warn you that if you hurt her, or Rose, again, something terrible will happen to you at the hands of a Weasley."
"Which one?" Scorpius asked, obviously not taking Albus' well intended warning to heart.
"Throw a stone and hit one."