Author's Note: This takes place in the same universe as Magic Works, but it's not necessary to read that one to understand this. It was written for the fifth day of usxuk's Special Relationship Sweethearts week. The theme was 'Across the Universes.'
Magic in the Air
By Everything is Magic
"You know we're not supposed to be out on the grounds this late, Alfred," Arthur berated, crossing his arms. It was midnight, long past when they were supposed to be in their dorms. But Alfred had dragged him outside, tip-toeing past their sleeping dorm mates, pushing through the dozing Fat Lady's portrait, and narrowly missing Mrs. Norris's piercing yellow gaze as they exited the castle.
Alfred just smiled. "Yeah, yeah Arthur. But I have a surprise for you! And it would be totally unheroic if I didn't even have the guts to sneak out to give it to you."
Arthur flushed a bit. "Y-yes well… I'd rather not get in trouble on my birthday," he retorted. "Besides, I don't see how breaking the rules is heroic."
At this, Alfred laughed. "Geez, Arthur. You break rules more often than me. You pretend to be an upstanding student, but I know that you've got…" he stepped closer to Arthur, trailing his hand up his front and then placing his fingers under his chin, "a little bit of punk in you."
His cheeks reddening more, Arthur managed a half-smile. "I suppose," he coughed, "that's why you're a prefect and I'm not. But I'm over that, you know. It was just… a thing last year."
"Back to your normal gentlemanly self then? But that doesn't mean you don't still have some of it in you!" Arthur sputtered in protest, but Alfred silenced him with a quick kiss.
"Besides, it's your first birthday since we hooked up. I just wanna do something special for you, okay?" He scratched the back of his head and shot Arthur a lopsided smile. His cheeks were dusted pink.
Arthur found it achingly adorable.
He let out a puff of air, a fond expression crossing his lips. "All right then. Lead the way, I guess."
Alfred proffered his hand to Arthur's, and the other boy took it, giving it a brief squeeze as he did so. The taller boy beamed, swinging their arms back and forth a few times before continuing forward.
It was a warm April night, the moon half full and the grass beneath their feet squelching with moisture from precipitation earlier that evening. Out of the corner of his eye, just barely visible at a distance, Arthur could make out the Whomping Willow, its branches wild and gnarled. And in another direction, the groundskeeper's hut (lights out, thankfully) and the beginning of the Forbidden Forest, another direction, the great black lake, lit by the moonbeams shining upon it. The grounds looked altogether asleep, which Arthur found to be a bloody relief.
Alfred continued to pull them along, through grass and along knolls, and finally he stopped at the quidditch pitch. Arthur cocked an eyebrow. "It's awfully late for quidditch practice, Alfred."
He pouted. "Awww, c'mon Arthur. That's not the surprise and you know it."
Arthur chuckled and ran a hand through his hair. "All right. What is it?"
Alfred pulled his wand (oak, dragon heartstring core) out of his robe and pointed it forward, cocking his hand upward just a bit. "Accio Cleansweep."
From the bottom edge of the bleachers, seemingly hidden behind the first row, shot Alfred's broomstick. "I didn't lock it up after quidditch practice yesterday. I just hid it there instead," Alfred explained, catching the broomstick in one hand.
"So we're practicing after all?" Arthur huffed.
The moonlight lit the pitch well, and he stared at Alfred, who was pouting again. "And you call me dense. There's only one broomstick here, Arthur."
Arthur blinked. And blinked again. And then his green eyes grew large and a blush bloomed across his cheeks. "D-do you mean for us to…"
Alfred nodded, a sheepish and nervous smile on his face. "Y-yeah… I thought it would be kind of," he cleared his throat and rushed out the last word, "romantic."
"Tino is not going to be happy," Arthur said, but his lips were quirking up into a smile.
The other boy shrugged. "He won't find out, and he probably wouldn't care that much anyway. Besides, he's graduating this year, and you're the person he wants to designate as captain for next year, not me."
Arthur tapped his chin in thought. "I suppose that's true…"
"You'll be captain and I'll be prefect, huh?" Alfred rolled back on his feet, bouncing slightly. "Gryffindor will be the most awesome house ever next year! Well, it already is the most awesome… but even more so."
"The absolute best," Arthur replied, his expression cheeky. "Anyway, I… have decided that I will accept your 'romantic broom ride' offer, but you'd best make it worth it." He gave Alfred's cowlick a playful tug.
Alfred was practically glowing now, and he wrapped Arthur in a spontaneous embrace.
"G-git, what are you…"
"Nothing, nothing. I'll totally make it worth it."
He pulled away and mounted his broom, gesturing to Arthur, who mounted behind him. He hesitated for a moment, his cheeks pink, before wrapping his arms firmly around Alfred's middle.
"Hold on tight!" Alfred commanded.
"I already am."
They shoved off the ground and ascended into the warm spring night.
Their flight was swift, Alfred never flying at anything less than breakneck speed, and the cooler night breezes whipping past Arthur's face and body, causing his robe to fly out behind him.
The air smelled of pine and rain and magic, and Arthur breathed it all in, savoring the way the wind caressed his face. Alfred was singing a muggle song that he'd heard him listening to once or twice, and he noticed that he was also bobbing his head to the beat.
He shook his head at his boyfriend's antics. "Alfred?" he said, shouting to be heard over the wind.
"Yeah?" Alfred turned to look at him.
"While this has been a rollicking ride, I must admit," he began, "it's not precisely what one would call… romantic."
Alfred frowned. "Well…"
"It's just that, you're going at what I believe is the maximum speed for this model of Cleansweep, and I can hardly hear anything, let alone- well it's fun, but it's not exactly…"
"All right, all right," Alfred grumbled, "I'll slow up."
Arthur nodded and reached forward, placing his hand atop Alfred's for a moment. "Let's just enjoy the view, love."
The taller boy slowed the broom to a casual speed and laughed lightly. "You're just like an old man sometimes, Arthur."
His grip tightened on Alfred in irritation. "Idiot. I'm not like that at all."
Alfred leaned back and pressed a kiss for Arthur's temple, causing the other boy's face to heat. "It is an awesome view, I'll admit." He stopped flying, allowing the broom to float stationary in the air.
They were high above Hogwarts grounds, the spire of even the astronomy tower a good thirty meters beneath them.
In the pale half moonlight, with the bright stars twinkling around them, the view was….
Well, yes… awesome.
The great black lake was to their left, and it reflected the night sky atop its glassy surface, making it look almost like a mirror. The castle looked spectacular from above, all spires and turrets and… an almost gothic beauty to it in the dark of the night. And beyond Hogwarts, he could see Hogsmeade. There were lights on, no doubt from the Three Broomsticks staying open late, and the lamps on the streets made the town look as if it were glowing.
And the Forbidden Forest from so far above was dark and desolate, but stunning in its own way.
He pressed a kiss to Alfred's cheek. "This, is lovely."
Alfred smiled. "Awesome, that's awesome." He took a deep breath. "One more thing."
"Hmm?" And Arthur noticed that Alfred's cheeks had turned bright red and that his hands were shaking, just the slightest bit. "Are you okay, Alfred?"
Alfred nodded. "Y-yeah, great! Sorry just… hold on tight again, okay?"
He tightened his grip on him, and Alfred flew into motion again, once again at his swiftest speed.
Arthur only just caught sight of Alfred pulling his wand out of his robes again, before he heard him chant something under his breath (a spell, he imagined). He freed one hand from the broom and held it out next to him, the wand catching the breeze and Alfred tightening his grip on it as it did so. They flew in… a circle or something of the sort, before Alfred lowered them back down onto the quidditch pitch.
He dismounted the broom, and Arthur followed suit. "What in Merlin's great white y-fronts did you just do?"
Alfred's face grew red again, and he didn't respond. He just… pointed forward.
Arthur turned to face whatever Alfred was gesturing to. "I don't see anything. What are you-"
But Alfred waved his wand, murmured a spell under his breath, and then Arthur could see.
The sky above the quidditch pitch was illuminated, rather like a golden firework made up of little specks of glitter and flame, with a very large heart.
"Happy birthday, Arthur," Alfred said, a wide, but still anxious smile on his face. In the light of the spell, Alfred's face was bright and handsome and… adorable and… foolish and endearing and everything in between.
Arthur's cheeks flooded with scarlet, and he found that his throat was rather dry.
He reached over and took Alfred's hand, giving it a squeeze before pulling the other boy toward him into a fierce kiss; soft and warm and a little bit spontaneous, but still completely perfect. Alfred returned the kiss, with all the joi de vivre he possessed, which was quite a lot.
When they pulled away, Alfred held up his free hand, palm open, to Arthur. In it was a small heart, just like the one floating up in the sky (which Arthur noted, was beginning to dissolve).
He could see in the golden light that Alfred's face was a delightful pink, and he chuckled, "You… are so bloody corny."
Alfred's smile grew. "Hey! I've been practicing charms a lot for this. It wasn't easy." He leaned down, pressing his nose against Arthur's. "Besides, you love it."
Arthur just smiled, soft and warm. "Quite right."
It was stupid and over the top and embarrassing, and there was a damn good chance he'd get in trouble for it, but the blasted idiot's actions made Arthur feel like he'd been hit with a jelly-leg jinx. And caused something to flip flop within his chest and his heart to race and… just made him feel warm and pleasant all over. It made no sense. It was completely bewildering.
But being in love was the best kind of confusing, he decided.