Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Pairing: Scorpius Malfoy + Lily Luna Potter
Scorpius Malfoy slept in Lily Potter's bed every night for nearly three months when he was fourteen, and then again when he was fifteen, and again, again, again, until he and Albus left Hogwarts and got their own place. Lily Potter stopped spending summers in her own bed — and most of her winters, autumns, and springs, for that matter — when she was eleven, but Scorpius still sometimes found it strange that he spent nights sweating between the sheets belonging to a girl he'd only ever met once, and then only a passing wave on Platform 9 ¾ before his and Albus's second year.
Lily Potter had shunned Hogwarts. That's what people said, when neither Lily's brothers nor her cousins were around (a rare occurrence, but it still happened occasionally). She had fled to some school in the United States because she was "too good" for the history-steeped castle that the rest of her family had embraced.
Although Scorpius was fairly certain that such pretentiousness was not the reason for Lily's apparent abandonment of the United Kingdom — the Potters didn't tend to breed pretentiousness — he wasn't sure of the real reason that she attended the Salem Witches' Institute, on the east coast, or why she spent her summers there, too, studying, according to Albus, under one of the foremost professors in astronomy there was (which reeked a little of pretentiousness, actually, but it was Albus, and not Lily, who said it). All Scorpius knew about Lily was that before she left home she really liked the color green and stepping into her room was a bit like getting lost in the middle of the Dark Forest, only warmer, and that whenever she visited home — usually twice a year, in November and April — she left something behind, making her room a little more interesting each year.
Or, interesting for Scorpius, probably unnoticeable for the rest of the people who passed through the youngest Potter's bedroom. He lay awake some nights, thinking of his parents and wondering which country they were working from and whether they were still planning on trying for another child, an attempt which Scorpius, even at thirteen, could tell was doomed to failure (his own birth had been helped along quite a bit by magic) and whether he ought to be nervous about starting up his fourth year at the end of August. His first summer, these thoughts kept him twisting in an ocean of anxiety late at night, and Albus would come bounding into Lily's bedroom every morning to find that Scorpius had somehow ended up with his head at the foot of the bed, even though he'd gone to sleep with his white hair against the oak headboard.
But the second summer Scorpius spent in Lily's bedroom, he lay awake the first night and stared at the door and then at the window and then at the bookshelf, and then he blinked because the pattern of shadows from the things on the bookshelf had changed in the last year. He got out of bed and crossed to find that Lily (he assumed) had deposited a glass snow globe beside the small plastic frog that Scorpius had taken to talking to very late at night the summer before. Scorpius flicked on the light and held the ceramic base of the snow globe in his hand. Inside the globe was a green figure he was very familiar with: the Statue of Liberty, that symbol of the United States, given to the Americans by the French after the Americans successfully tossed off the yoke of their British ancestors/colonizers, depending on the side you took. It seemed an unusual thing to find in the bedroom of a twelve year old British witch, even if she did study in the States.
Scorpius turned it over in his hands, so the snow fell up around the seven points jutting from the statue's head. There was a button on the bottom, labeled "on/off," and a little box for batteries — he pressed the switch, but no music started playing. Of course it didn't, because while this was clearly a cheap Muggle souvenir, Lily Potter was a witch, and Scorpius was in a wizard's house. He levered the cover off the battery box anyway, and found a piece of parchment folded in to fill the space.
Scorpius considered leaving it undisturbed for only a second, and then used his fingertip to ease it out of the battery compartment, smoothing it out on the top of Lily's bookshelf and squinting to read the light handwriting.
Scorpius Malfoy, you utter sneak.
He blinked, reread the line, kept reading.
Scorpius Malfoy, you utter sneak. I cannot believe you would search through my bedroom. If my parents only knew! They would give you a very stern talking to about privacy.
As it is, I don't really mind. Obviously I intended for you to find this. Honestly I'd have been a bit disappointed if you hadn't (imagine how stupid I'll feel if I come home in November and this is still sitting in the bottom of that stupid snow globe and you haven't found it — although if that happens, then Albus really needs to pick better friends. Who wouldn't be curious about such an ugly addition to my bedroom? (It was a gift from a friend's parents. They thought it amusing.)).
I just wanted to say hi, I guess, since you spend more time in my bedroom than I do these days and I think it's a little weird that I don't know the guy sleeping in my bed at all. So, hello! I'm Lily Potter and you're in my room. I hope you don't hate green as much as I'm beginning to. I know you're a Gryffindor, but you've got Slytherin blood (obviously, sneak) so hopefully green is in your blood.
Lily Luna Potter
Scorpius grinned a little, his lips curving as he scanned the note again. It was weird and incongruent with what he knew about Lily — which, admittedly, wasn't much — but it was also oddly charming. He folded the note up, slid it back into its place, and went to bed.
That summer, when he had difficulty sleeping, he began drafting his reply to Lily. It was a much more peaceful pastime for his brain than worrying about everything, and by the end of the summer he had a good enough response planned to write it out for her.
Dear Lily Luna Potter:
I am terribly sorry that I invaded your privacy. I realize that it was not a very good thing to do, especially considering that you're being so kind as to allow me to use your room in your absence, but I was curious about the — as you say — not particularly appealing Statue of Liberty snow globe. I am glad I opened your note, although I know that it was not the polite thing to do, as it has provided me with a bit of insight into who it was that decorated this room in such atrocious shades of green. (I do like green, I am just not very fond of the color of moss.)
Do you have houses at the Salem Witches' Institute? If you do, what are you? The Slytherin equivalent? (I bet. From what Albus says about you, you sound like one.) (Don't take that as an insult. I like Slytherins.) (Unsurprisingly.)
I hope that November is treating you well, as I assume that is when you will find this. See you next summer.
He slid it in underneath her letter, so she'd have to pull the first out to receive its partner, and went to bed for the last time as a fifteen year old in Lily Potter's bed.
Sixteen hit Scorpius in his shoulders, and he came back to the Potters' home a bit more sure of himself and quite a bit more experienced; he barely thought about Lily as he and Albus hurried from the Potters' car to the front porch of their house, where they dumped their trunks before skirting the house to get to the back garden with their broomsticks and cigarettes (the latter for later, after Harry and Ginny had fallen exhausted into bed). By the time he finally made it up to Lily's bedroom, Albus's little sister was the furthest person from his mind.
That changed when he stepped inside, and saw that the room was no longer green. The walls were white, the curtains grey, the duvet black, the floor a pale wood that looked somehow off-putting with the other colors in the room.
Albus appeared behind Scorpius and clapped his friend on the shoulder. "Apparently Lily came home in November and demanded that Mum and Dad let her redo her room. Arguing that she spent barely any time in it didn't really work out — she was all, 'But I don't want to spend the time I am in it wanting to vomit,' or something. Hope it doesn't bother you, mate. I know the green made you feel at home."
Scorpius elbowed Albus in the side and said, "I like it," although he didn't, really, but it was better than the forest.
When Albus left, Scorpius shoved his trunk against the side of Lily's bed and crossed to the bookshelf, lifted the snow globe, and opened the battery case, to find it empty. But of course, putting this year's note in the same place last year's had been would have been too simple. Lily seemed to like complicated.
Scorpius examined the items collecting dust on top of her bookshelf; aside from his old friend the frog and the snow globe, there were also small unicorn figurines, a coiled ceramic snake, a dragon that flapped its wings tiredly as Scorpius's hands passed over him, and a stack of textbooks that leaned precariously at the edge of the shelf.
Nothing new, though. So Scorpius knelt and skimmed the spines of the books on the shelves, but he'd never have been able to tell if Lily had added a new one, so he gave up on that and stood to scowl at the frog.
It croaked at him.
Scorpius had carried on many conversations with this frog in years past, but they had all been one-sided. Now, the frog's mouth hung open, and a slip of parchment jutted from between plastic lips. He pulled it from the gullet of the figure and the mouth sealed shut again.
He sat down on Lily's bed and unfolded the paper.
I do hope you like the changes made to our bedroom. My parents are none too fond of them, but personally I think that makes them all the better. If you don't agree, keep your opinions to yourself, thank you.
Do you know you're about to be a sixth year? That's old. I hope OWLs went all right — I know Albus was mad panicked about them. I bet being his friend these past months took some doing, so good on you. You deserve a good friendship award. I'll leave one for next summer. (Aren't we terribly slow? This is worse than the time James's owl got stuck in a tropical storm in October and didn't make it to me until halfway into spring term.)
Salem Witches' Institute doesn't have houses, no. If there were houses, I suppose I'd probably be the Slytherin equivalent though. It's fine, I wasn't offended. I always thought that'd be a bit of an upset, the youngest Weasley-Potter in Slytherin — I was quite thrilled with the prospect when I was younger, actually. But then I went to America, and, alas, lost my chance to shake up society. What a shame.
We do have societies, sort of, but you'd probably call my society — Astrology Club, we call it — a bunch of hufflepuffs, so I don't know that that means anything. Nothing like the sorting hat. I told some of my friends here about that, they called it segregation, got all indignant. Apparently they think it's old fashioned. If you ever run into any Americans, don't mention the way you're sorted.
Anyway, Mum's calling for me to start packing, and I've still got to Charm Waverly Westing III (the frog) so I'd best wrap this up. Tell me, Scorpius, what is it like being an almost-sixth year at Hogwarts?
Scorpius fell asleep easily that night.
He responded to Lily at the end of the summer, and because he could not get Waverly Westing III's mouth to open again, slid the papers back beneath the snow globe. He didn't say much, just told her:
Being an almost-sixth year at Hogwarts is a bit of a drag, honestly. Haven't you ever thought it'd be good for life to start, and then things like exams and professors start getting in your way, and you don't know how to avoid them? Or that's how I feel, most of the time. It's rubbish.
Thanks for the accolades on remaining Albus's friend through all the OWLs (which weren't that bad, aside from the whole year leading up to them and your brother). An award would be much appreciated.
If you wanted to shake up society, why'd you run away to America? Slytherin would've been lucky to have you, I think. Also, why are you into astrology? Isn't it all a bunch of shit?
Have a good year, etc. etc.
The next year the letter was slipped inside a book of poems — by an American Muggle poet, whose name rang no bells for Scorpius, a Frank O'Hara — that she had stuffed beneath the mattress, which Scorpius discovered to his displeasure after lying down on the first night of his last summer.
Dear Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy:
A. What you're doing in school right now (or not right now, as it's summer, I assume, but what you were doing in school last week, or the week before, or five years ago) is life. It's the stupidest thing, to look at the life you're living as something you need to get over, or around, or through, in order to get to "real" life. Because, damn, if what you're doing now isn't real, then what's the point of it, really? If you're not living, why do we include all these years spent learning (magic or fucking or drinking or Quidditch — all those are things you've learned/are learning) in the average life expectancy? Your life started, you are living, and these seem like obvious statements because they are. You've just got to realize it.
B. Your award is attached at the end of the note. It's a chocolate frog. It might be a bit squished. If the card is of my father feel free to burn it.
C. I "ran away" to America because I am not brave and I am afraid of the past. History both fascinates and repels me, and I thought that by coming here I could get away from it — be safe from what it means, but still able to analyze it. I mean my dad, of course, and mum, and everyone. My family is too much. Obviously that didn't really work out — apparently the name Potter carries import even here — but it's been better than I think it would have been at Hogwarts. At least my family isn't here.
D. Astrology is sometimes a lot of shit. But sometimes it means something, and I adore when it means something. Things that seem so completely unplanned, for them to signify (to either affect or be affected by) the goings on here — what we do — that is amazing. And the future is full of possibilities. I like those.
And there you are, Scorpius. Those are my philosophies. I hope they didn't bore you, but you did ask.
Scorpius read the note three times in the light from his wand. And then he folded it back up, found a piece of parchment at the top of his school trunk, and wrote out a response immediately, before he could think better of it.
You think your history scares you? Why would you want to run away from such a — damn, it's charmed, you know? Your life? Here, it would've been. I admit, I don't know what you're doing in America, but running away from your past — that seems idiotic. Really dumb. I know you know my past.
If I could have run, I would have. No one would have blamed me. (Well, they would have, but that's because of my family's past.) But you. You. Haven't you talked to your brothers, your cousins? Hogwarts is your domain, really. Your words, stories about you — Lily, you could have taken the castle by storm. Why would you want to run away from that?
I'm sorry, I just don't get it.
And then he fastened the letter to his owl's leg, and sent it off toward America.
Lily's response came three weeks later. Albus saw the bird alight at his window while they sat out in the garden with Rose.
"Who're you getting letters from?"
"Parents," Scorpius mumbled. "Probably. Yvette went out mousing weeks ago and didn't come back. I was starting to get worried."
Rose glanced at him, eyes narrowed. She'd always had an uncanny sense of when someone was lying. She didn't push it, though, just sighed and stretched and said, "I should get going. I've got work early tomorrow. I'll see you two lazy arses sometime in the afternoon, I expect?"
"Obviously, Rosie," Albus responded, digging the heel of his sneaker into his cigarette. "You heading to bed, too?" he asked Scorpius, who had stood with Rose.
"Yeah, want to check that letter."
Albus nodded, and the two returned to the house.
Lily had written:
I understand where you're coming from, so I'll try to be patient. Your life is obviously much more difficult than mine, when it comes to outliving your past. (Not yours. Your family's. It's doubly removed but still so difficult to shake. The world is messed up. We never achieve eternity, but our actions might.) But that was a digression. What I meant to say is: You are brave. Your life has asked that you be brave, and you have been. Everyone was against you, you proved them wrong.
I have already told you I am not brave. I would have needed a different sort of bravery than you, it's true. But still, I am not brave. I would have had to live up to expectations, whereas you needed to live them down. Your task was more difficult. Mine, to me, at age eleven, seemed impossible.
I said I wanted to shake up society. And I did, I did. But I also was terrified of shaking things up, of disrupting what — at age eleven — I believed my father had put in place. At age eleven, my father was everything, and what he and Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron and everyone — including your father, a little, did you know? — had done, in defeating Voldemort, in restoring peace — that was where the world I knew began.
Do you see? In my mind, my family started everything. Look at the feet of anything, and I thought I'd see my parents there, at the foundations. I didn't want to see them wherever I looked, but I, most especially, didn't want others to see them, either. I didn't want to live up to them, because I didn't think I could. I wanted to be different, but i thought that would destroy what they'd started.
You said I could've taken Hogwarts by storm. I've never wanted to wreck things, and storms do. I've just wanted to be. And I've been able to, mostly, here. It's better, if cowardly.
Do you see?
P.S. Your owl is a darling. Sorry I kept her so long, I was just a little unsure of how to respond.
Do you see? she'd asked him, like she expected him to try, to want to. To understand her. He read her note a few more times. Her words seemed transparent, like she felt she had nothing to hide from him. He wondered at that.
Albus talked about Lily a little, especially since Scorpius had begun asking questions about her, whenever she was brought up, pushing Albus to share a little more of his family with him. Albus told him Lily was loud but thoughtful, didn't tell them much of consequence. He said she was smart, and that in their childhood she'd been as much of a spitfire as James, if a bit less obnoxious about it.
But this felt open, like she'd given him her thoughts. It felt private. It felt like he didn't deserve to have it, not really, and still he was glad to have it. Glad that someone who didn't know him at all — evidenced by the repetition of his bravery — could trust him like that. He folded the note over and over and slid it in the pocket of his trousers, then pulled out a new sheet and wrote:
I'm not brave.
He couldn't think of anything else to add, but he still sent it to her, after a week or so of wondering whether she'd think him strange for continuing this.
She didn't seem to. Her next letter came back faster than her first had, and she began it with, Let's agree to disagree and then rambled on about something she was working on in astrology. Scorpius wrote back, and somehow he and Lily became pen-pals, writing letters and using the school owls to give their own birds the chance to rest from transatlantic journeys.
Albus asked him once, "So, what, you have a pen-pal now? Aren't you a little old for that?"
Scorpius shrugged, said, "I'm bored, she's interesting," and that shut Albus up for a while, just because he was trying to sort out who the "she" in question was. Rose told him to leave off, when he started bothering Scorpius again, and eventually he did, or he seemed to. Maybe he kept wondering about it, but by Christmas both Lily and Scorpius had gotten too busy to send more than a quick note every few weeks, and by the time Scorpius finished school in June, he hadn't heard from Lily in three months.
Their last few exchanges, or the last ones he remembered come June, had been a little odd for them.
Lily, Scorpius had written, on a terribly lonely night while he was supposed to be working on a Potions essay, and the common room was empty and he had not had a date in five and a half months (not that he was counting), Lily, he wrote.
Have you ever been in love? It's a weird thing, isn't it, something we all strive for but can't really define and seem to hate almost as much as we like it. The emotion I mean, not the person who we love.
Sorry I don't think I'm making sense.
But have you?
He hadn't bothered signing it, he hadn't even planned on sending it, but later that night he needed a walk, so he snuck to the owlery and sent it off, even though he knew it sounded too personal, even for them.
She responded days later, though, and didn't reproach him for crossing lines.
Are you psychic? I was just thinking about this. What love is, I mean.
I have been in love. In some ways, I think I still am. It's hard, you know? To open up like that, to always be honest — or try to — to care so deeply about another person. I didn't breathe for the two years we were together, I don't think, not once. But then when I left him, that hurt, too. It's weird the way we chase it; it's nearly driven me crazy.
Have you ever been in love?
Yes, of course I have. Quinn, from fifth and sixth years, lovely Quinn with her fast smiles and quick laughs and red kisses — yes, I loved Quinn, he wrote to Lily. Not the way you loved, though, he told her. Quinn was easy to love most of the time. Being left in love was the painful part. There were times, after we were over, when I was mad with it — love, I mean. It must be pretty damn brilliant when it works out right, for us to keep chasing it like this.
And she responded two weeks later: It can be pretty damn brilliant when it's wrong, too.
And that was the last he heard of Lily before he left school.
He supposed it was his turn to respond to her, and because he didn't, she didn't feel the need to write to him. For some reason, one that Scorpius didn't particularly like contemplating, he wanted Lily to want to write to him, to need to — and because she didn't seem to, then he decided he didn't need her, either. He had his friends, the ones he saw at breakfast and in his courses, and he had job applications, which were a bit unnecessary, as he'd been promised a place in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office upon completion of Hogwarts, if he wanted it, and he did. (A grand fuck youto his parents, although they hadn't needed to be told off in quite some time, was still in order.)
Still, he had things to occupy his time that were not letters to Lily, and he didn't realize how very much of his time the girl had taken up until Albus asked him what had happened over toast one morning.
"Did your mysterious pen-pal call it off?" is actually what he said.
Rose glanced up from her milky coffee.
Scorpius shrugged. "We both got busy with other things."
"Really? I don't see you doing much differently."
Rose cut in, "Why does it matter to you, Al?"
"It's just weird that Scorpius would be writing to someone we don't know, that's all. Don't you think so, Rose?"
"I think Scorpius is allowed to have parts of his life we don't know about. As am I. As are you, Albus." She stood up and swung her bag over her shoulder, then stormed off.
"Merlin, what's wrong with her?" Al asked, watching her leave.
Scorpius thought he knew; of all of them, Albus was having the most difficult time adjusting to the fact that they were not going to be at Hogwarts much longer, that they were not going to be tied to each other by the proximity of their beds, and therefore that they might drift apart. Rose, like Scorpius, seemed as if she was sick of the tired way Albus would say, "This is the last time we'll..." like he was mourning their friendship already.
"Things change, Al. That's not always bad." Scorpius didn't walk as quickly as Rose had, but he ran into her at the top of the stairs, where she seemed to be waiting for him.
"I know you were writing to Lily," she said, without preamble. "Why'd you stop?"
He shrugged, unsurprised. "I didn't really consciously decide to stop. The conversation just sort of fell off." He hesitated, weighing his words. "Why, did Lily say anything?"
"No, no. I was coming into the common room one night, at the beginning of the year. You didn't notice me, but I recognized Lily's owl. She hasn't mentioned anything about you." Rose narrowed her eyes. "Did you want her to?"
Honestly? Scorpius didn't know. "No," he told Rose. "Of course not."
Rose shrugged. "She's a good kid, but she's still a kid, Score. I'm not saying that to scare you off — I don't want to scare you off. I just don't want you to lose while she's still so young, either. "
A kid? She was fifteen, it was true, but the way she thought...Scorpius couldn't help but think of her as years older than him — years wiser, anyway. Love almost made her crazy, he wanted to tell Rose. She thinks life is worth it, just as it is, he wanted to say. She says she's afraid, but really she's the bravest person I know, he almost said. Kid? She's felt more than I have, he began, and changed it to, "Merlin, Rose, we were just writing to each other. She's barely a friend."
And Rose laughed. "Oh, Score, right now, maybe. I don't know. Sometimes I think you see things too narrowly. I'm afraid that someday, a long time from now, you'll wake up and realize you've been looking for her everywhere, and seeing her nowhere." Scorpius took a step back, down the stairs, but Rose reached out and caught his hand. She squeezed. "Don't look like that. I just mean, don't push her away, if that's what you're doing, while she's still your friend."
Scorpius thought about what Rose had said for the next few days, and then he pulled out a new sheet of parchment and wrote, Sorry it took me so long to respond. You know, end of school, and everything. How have you been? but she didn't reply.
Scorpius left Hogwarts and used his parents' money to get his own flat in London and so he didn't need to spend nights in Lily's bedroom, because his best mate was in the flat with him, and his other best mate was two blocks over, and he really had no need to think of his best mate's little sister, a sixteen year old who lived in the States.
But he still did.
November came, and Albus mentioned that she was staying in the States. "Says it's too quick a trip to come over here, but she gets the same amount of time in the spring. Mum and Dad are nervous that means that she won't come for that, either, and they won't see her at all this year, because she still claims that winter term is the most important, so she can't come home in December, and then she has that stupid research project over summer. I think they're actually considering going to the States to see her," he told Scorpius over breakfast one morning, then added, "I'm thinking of going with them."
Scorpius swallowed his surprise along with a lump of something that tasted a bit like longing and said, "That'll be nice. How long has it been since you've seen her?"
"Ages and ages. A few Christmases ago, I think." He bit his lip. "See, she's been writing really uninformative letters lately, and none of us know what's going on with her, but we're all worried. I want to see her, make sure she's all right, you know?"
"I'll take on your work for the days you're gone, if that would help," Scorpius told him.
"Would you really? That'd make it so much easier. Thanks, mate."
Scorpius waited until the week before Christmas, and then he sat down with another sheet of parchment, tapped his quill against his lower-lip, and began:
I am sorry about the way I stopped writing to you last spring. I don't really know what I was thinking, but I was waiting for something, and it was stupid, but there we are. I've never been the brightest.
You know how you told me, ages ago, about how what we're living right now is life, there is no "real world," we'd better just make the most of the present, etc.? Well, I've been thinking about that a lot lately, because I think it's true, but I think there's also something to believing that the future will be better if — and only if — we actually work to make it better. In enjoying the present, the future might slip away, and it's important to try to like the present while working for tomorrow, I think. I know that's a lot to balance, and it might be difficult — I certainly haven't mastered it yet — but I also think it's important to keep it in mind. Like, this moment may not be perfect, and that's okay, because by living this moment the way you are, you're turning the next moment into one that's a little bit better.
Or, that's my experience, anyway. I hope everything is going well, Lil. (And by "well" I mean I hope you feel calm and alive and like looking forward.)
Lily wrote back to him two days before Albus and his family were due to return from the States, a simple note: thank you.
Albus arrived home on a Saturday, just as Scorpius was making the coffee. He dropped his bag by the door and fell into a seat at the table, pressed his forehead to the pile of papers that he had left there, and said, "Please say you've made enough coffee for me."
"Of course." Scorpius poured his mate a mug and set it beside his head on the table. "How was America?"
"Fine. Very pretty. Lots of lights everywhere." Al sat up and gulped from the coffee. "Lily seemed all right, too, just a little quieter than she used to be, which is actually a bit of a blessing. Except," he stopped and stared at the coffee before taking another gulp, "one of her friends came up to me yesterday and asked to talk to me." His voice went all cold for an instant, and Scorpius reached for his own cup. Please, he thought, please don't let Albus have figured it out. "She said Lily had been in a really serious relationship her fourth year — serious, at fourteen! — and that when that ended she sort of...got silent for a long time. The girl actually said, 'she went inside herself,' but that sounds mad, doesn't it?" It's nearly driven me crazy, Scorpius remembered.
"Not really. It just sounds like she was dealing with the break up and didn't exactly know how to go about it."
"But then," Albus ignored him, "her friend said that she had seemed a lot better last year, a lot more awake, she said, and that now she barely worried about Lily at all."
Scorpius glanced over. "Barely?"
"That's what I said, too. And she was like, 'Well, that's why I asked to talk to you. Because sometimes I feel as if she's acting at being okay, as if she's pretending because she realized we were worried, and she's really feeling just the same as she was when they broke up.' But how could one guy do that to my sister?"
"I don't know," Scorpius said. "Maybe it's more about what she did to herself, when she was with him?"
Albus sighed and dug his thumb and forefinger against the bridge of his nose. "I don't know, Score. But then the girl said that she'd let me know if she thought a sibling intervention was needed — like James and I know enough about Lily to help her." Albus sounded so sad, so dead tired and sad.
Scorpius thought about how Lily had said she was afraid of her past, back in the very earliest days of their letter writing. "You might know more about her than you think you do. She's a Potter."
"Yeah, and you're a Malfoy, and you'd say that means that your parents don't know you at all."
"Parents and brothers and even cousins are different. That's something I've learned from your family. I think Lily'll be all right." Scorpius tossed Albus a piece of toast and disappeared into his bedroom, where he looked at Lily's simple thank you sitting beneath an empty pint glass on his desk.
I don't want you to save me, the next note read, but could you tell me a happy story. I've lived all the good ones here, and they don't seem as nice in the retelling.
Scorpius read the note over his morning coffee in his office, and he shut the door and sat with a blank parchment to respond immediately, because the I don't want you to save me terrified him. He didn't want to save her, either. He didn't want her to need saving. She had been more alive than him, when she was younger. She had seemed beyond emotions, beyond sorrow.
He wrote her about a night out with Rose and Albus, which had ended with Rose and Albus going home with strangers who turned into much more, and Scorpius somehow locked in the bathroom, sleeping with his head against the sticky counter of the sink and waking with toilet paper stuck to his shoe. He sent it to her before lunch that day.
Fair trade, she wrote. This was back when I was fifteen, and trying to get over Robert in the normal way, and so my friends and I were out in town, at a Muggle bar (it's ridiculously easy to get fake IDs over here, stop looking like Albus does when I tell him I've had alcohol) and I was trying to get this one guy to notice me, but he was clearly only interested in my friend Angela. She was totally going to ignore him for me, but I told her to go for it, that I was fine, and so she did, and I walked back to school with my other friends, and we stopped off at the beach, and because we were all a little tipsy we decided to go swimming but when we got in the water we remembered that it was October, right, so pretty cold, so I cast this fire charm that warmed the water right up but unfortunately also attracted the attention of the Muggle police and I barely got it out before they got there and they took us down to the station and we were sitting there, shivering because we were still wet, and my friend Chrissy tells this police officer he's sentencing us to death because we're about to freeze, so they get out some old uniforms and give them to us while they call our headmistress, and when she comes in — absolutely livid, as one would expect — she sees us sitting in a neat row, dressed in oversized cop uniforms, and she just starts laughing until she started crying, and I think the cops were happier to see her go than us, in the end.
Also Angie ended up dating that guy and they're still together so all in all it was a nice night, as far as nights go.
Thanks for the story,
Do you know it's been nearly three years since I last slept in your bed? Doesn't that mean you're meant to be coming home soon?
Scorpius agonized over sending the note. Lily and he had written to each other on and off, but it seemed somehow presumptuous to intimate that he was hoping for her physical presence. Because, after all, they were based entirely in short notes sent at desparate or lonely moments.
But he sent it, even though he could have asked Albus or Rose or even Harry whether Lily was coming back to the UK after she finished school. He could have even asked James. But it seemed more honest to ask Lily, herself.
Of course, Lily caught every nuance of the note.
Are you flirting with me, Scorpius Malfoy?
I'll be back in the UK at the end of June. Can't seem to find a job here, but that's mostly because I'm not really sure what I want to do. Fortune tellers aren't exactly highly employable, even ones named Potter.
My bed is off limits, but I'd love to see you.
Scorpius smiled and folded the letter into the drawer where he kept the others. He often wondered what Albus would do if he ever stumbled upon them, then realized that he didn't mind. Nothing in these letters needed to be kept from Al; it seemed strange to him, now, that he hadn't just said, "I'm writing to Lily," when Albus had bothered him about the letters back at Hogwarts. But then, if he got the wrong idea — and would it have been the wrong idea? Because Scorpius had felt a swooping in his gut when he read, My bed is off limits.
He didn't really want it to be.
Mine isn't, he wrote but didn't send.
Scorpius came home late after work on a Friday at the beginning of July and found an unfamiliar figure sitting on the kitchen table, swinging her legs and chattering at Albus, who stood at the sink with his hands full of dishes.
Of course it was Lily. Red hair, freckled skin, purple fingernails, a voice rising and falling with the story she was telling Albus, sounding like tides. She looked younger than Scorpius had expected her to look; less ready to take on the world. Albus glanced up and grinned at the sight of him in the doorway. Scorpius crossed to the kitchen and Lily spun, her smile bright — her eyes were old.
"Scorpius?" she asked, as if there was any question.
"Lily." He grinned and held out a hand. "How good to finally meet you."
She ignored the hand, hopped from the table and hugged him, her red hair tucking beneath his chin and her hands pressing against his shoulder-blades. He stared over her head at the astonished Albus for a moment and then hugged her back, keeping his own hands as light on her t-shirt as possible.
She pulled away. "My bedmate!" she told Albus, as if that explained everything. "So glad to see you!"
"You, too." He couldn't look at Albus, was afraid of the expression on his face. "How was the trip? Are you in London for the day?"
"The trip was fine." Lily took her place on the table again, and Scorpius picked up a dishtowel to give his hands something to do, now that Lily was out of them. "And I'm actually in London for a week. Job-searching. I think I can probably apply my skills to something in the Ministry, but I'm sort of considering getting a job at a coffee shop in Diagon Alley or maybe a Muggle one for a little while. Just to get used to being back."
"That's smart," Albus said, as Scorpius nodded.
"Are you staying here?"
Lily laughed. "No, with Rose. If I were staying here I'd totally kick you out of your bed, though, Score. Fair turnaround."
Albus set down the plate he was washing. "Have you two ever met before?" he asked.
"You know," Scorpius began, but Lily cut in.
"Of course not. There's just a connection you get when you share sleeping space with somebody."
"I've stayed in plenty of hotels, but I've never felt connected to any of the other people who've slept in the same bed as me," Albus said. His voice sounded stiff. Scorpius glanced at him.
"Wouldn't you, though, if you knew their names?" Scorpius asked, then changed the subject. "So, where is Rose?"
"She went out to get some wine, because apparently you guys are lacking in the good alcohol." Lily shrugged. "I'd have tried some of your whisky, but Rose said she wanted something a little bit less harsh."
"To be fair, the whisky is of a very shitty quality," Albus admitted.
Rose arrived soon after, carrying a bag full of much more than wine, and Scorpius felt as if she was watching him the whole evening, as more and more Weasleys appeared at the door to their flat. He gave up trying to understand their overlapping stories and retreated to his bedroom, sitting on his floor and leaning against his bed. He would have stayed out there, but Rose's gaze made him overtly aware of how much time he was spending examining Lily, and he was terribly conscious of the fact that Rose was noticing every time his eyes flicked in her cousin's direction.
He heard a rustling by the door and glanced to see a piece of paper slipped beneath the opening. He crossed, picked it up, read, Can I come in? and opened the door.
"Or you could have knocked," he said, as Lily stepped inside and he shut the door behind her.
"Where's the fun in that?" she asked, glancing around his room. "You don't like to leave a mess, do you."
"Sorry I'm clean?"
"Clean is normalish. This looks like an obsession." She tapped the row of quills on the edge of his desk, organized by height and feather type. She glanced over at him and grinned. "If I switched eagle for crow would you kill me?"
He tilted his head, like he was considering it. "Not for eagle and crow. Eagle and pigeon, maybe."
Her fingers inched toward the row, and he moved beside her, took his hands in his. "So, how are you?"
She looked up at him. From this close, without any overprotective Potters or Weasleys around, he could see that her eyes had a ring of gold around the pupils, and that she had bitten her lip so much that it was raw in one spot.
"Scared," she said, and he led her to the bed, and sat her down, and then straddled his desk chair so he was facing her over the back. She smiled at the way he put distance between them, and then lay back on his bed, her feet on his pillow, and stared at the ceiling. "Remember when I told you why I went to the States?"
"Yeah, of course."
"Turns out my history is inescapable. I was just postponing...everything."
"No, you weren't." Scorpius wanted to be beside her, so he gripped the back of his chair tight enough to turn his knuckles white. "Maybe you went to the States to escape your family — something that is obviously impossible. But that's why you went. Why did you stay?"
She turned her head to look at him sideways. Her hair was a mess on the quilt folded at the bottom of his bed. Her eyes were bright. "Oh," she said. That was it.
He nodded, like he understood everything encompassed in that single word.
And then she asked, "Remember when we stopped writing to each other for a little while? Did you miss me?"
It was a needy question, and he hoped she realized it was, but he answered honestly, "I didn't know what to do with myself."
"Me, neither." She turned to look at the ceiling again. "I thought of so many letters to write you — I used to compose them in my head when I couldn't sleep — but I never got any of them down on paper. I guess you know I wasn't really at my best back then."
"I could have helped," he said.
"I never wanted you to save me." She'd written that to him once.
"I never thought you needed saving."
She turned her gaze on him again, and just as she opened her mouth someone knocked at Scorpius's door.
"Who is it?"
"Me." Rose opened the door and slipped inside. "I thought you'd be here," she told Lily. "They're wondering where you are. I'd get back out there before they come looking."
"Would it be so bad if they found me here?" Lily asked, sitting up and placing her bare feet on the floor.
"Maybe not, but I'm not really interested in finding out."
She shrugged, and moved past her cousin in an aggressive step. She turned to look at Scorpius at the door. "Can we get breakfast tomorrow? At the cafe down the block from Rose?"
"Sure," he said, "I'd like that," even though Rose was glaring at him.
Lily smiled. "See you at nine, then."
"What're you doing?" Rose asked, as soon as Lily shut the door. Scorpius was nearly positive that Lily still stood outside, listening. He thought Rose probably knew this, too.
"You know we've been writing to each other, Rose. We're friends."
"The way you look at her isn't friendly. Not at all."
"Would it be so wrong?" he asked. "Really, would it? If I told you I might want to date Lily, might want to see whether we could work like that? Would it be very very bad if I told you — and Albus, and James, and Harry, even — that I thought that Lily and I could probably work very well like that? That we might fit? Wasn't it you who said I shouldn't lose her, back at Hogwarts, because I might wake up missing her?"
Rose was smiling. "I just wanted to make sure," she said, "you know what you are doing."
"Love drives me mad," Lily told Scorpius, over coffee and scones at the cafe the next morning.
He stirred sugar into his coffee and looked at her. "Do you remember when you told me that even when love went wrong, it was still brilliant?"
"Did I say that?" she asked. "Really?"
Scorpius nodded. "I thought it was very smart, and I thought it was dumb of me to try to talk about love going right, because I'd never experienced that."
"Do you think it's possible for love to go right?" Scorpius raised his eyebrows, thinking of his parents, her parents, her aunts and uncles, and she nodded, catching the thought at the same time. "For us, I mean," she corrected. "Do you think it's possible that even though I go mad with it, I could go mad in a right sort of way?"
"I think," Scorpius bit his lip, then rushed, "from what I've seen of it, I love your madness."
Lily smiled, "I think you'll regret that statement, Score, I really do." But she leaned over the small table and her lips were soft, except in that spot where she bit them, and he thought she was wrong, but even if he regretted saying that, he'd never regret the way she sighed when he pulled away to tuck her hair behind her ear, or the way her hand felt when it landed on his, or the way he felt with her actually there.
A/N: I hope this isn't too horrible. I've never read Lily/Scorpius and I'm a bit out of practice on the fanfiction thing (and on the fiction thing, to be honest). I do appreciate reviews. Thank you so much for reading! (One last Lily/James, and then this collection will be complete.)