It was snowing when the scarlet train arrived at the Hogsmeade station, and if the students weren't so tired, most would've enjoyed the favorable weather conditions to play a little outside before the banquet. Peeves, at least, was decided to do just that, throwing snowballs and water balloons at the students who, upon seeing him, proceeded to run their way to the Entrance Hall as fast as their legs could carry them. There weren't many who made it dry.
Albus and Scorpius were chatting with their roommates as they stepped out of the carriage and, entertained, none of them saw the snowball headed the blond's way. It hit the boy on the right cheek, as he'd turned to look at Thales, who was standing at his left, and the bits melting in contact with his warm skin and sliding down under his clothes made him swear loudly and the others laugh hard.
Scorpius stopped walking and stood frowning at his friends and the poltergeist still laughing. He looked at his boyfriend for some sympathy, but it took the brunet several moments to control himself.
"Come on, Scorp, it's not that ba-" His sentence was interrupted by the snowball that hit him right on the face, making him eat some of the snow.
It was the blond's turn to laugh as the other boy's cheeks acquired a faint shade of pink. None of the four Slytherins escaped the prank, eventually giving up frowning for being hit and instead laughing along until their stomachs began to hurt. They immediately cast drying spells over themselves as they entered the safety of the castle, before heading to the Great Hall and sitting somewhere in the middle of the table, older students to both their sides.
They spent most of the meal discussing holiday stories, as Thales and his family had traveled abroad to visit family, and Lynus swore he got the worst Christmas presents ever. By the time they were sent back to their dorms, most Slytherins were practically sleepwalking, eyelids heavy and feet stumbling as they tried to reach the dungeons. Even Albus and Scorpius, who were used to staying up late, were having a hard time battling sleep.
The first days back were a little slow, but all professors seemed decided to get them back on track, and fast, so all fifth- and seventh-years were buried in homework. And the tension for the exams, allied with the very cold weather, was already making its first casualties, crowding the normally silent Hospital Wing. To make matters worse, if being sick didn't feel bad enough, everybody under the care of Madam Pomfrey had to hear her complain all day long about how irresponsible they were, not coating up properly and taking the necessary precautions in order not to get sick. From what they heard around the school, both boys were more than happy to be in perfect health conditions, even more than they normally were.
All four fifth-year Slytherin boys, one at a time, were summoned to Snape's office during the second week to discuss their plans for after they left Hogwarts, as they needed to decide which O.W.L.s to take and be aware of just how high their grades needed to be for them to keep taking the necessary subjects. As usually happened, they mostly had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives, which meant they'd need high grades in every subject they'd been studying so far, just in case. The Potions Master had always thought 15 or 16 was way too soon for the kids to choose careers, but still had to go through that ritual every year, and it didn't help his mood at all.
Scorpius also had to think about Quidditch, and with Slytherin barely ahead of Gryffindor, practice was getting tenser and harder by the week. And to top it all off, there were no sixth-years on the team, so as soon as the senior players graduated, Scorpius would be promoted to team captain. As there was plenty he didn't know about that, most of the little free time he managed to find was taken by his senior players, who were decided to pass on to him everything they learned about the sport and the other teams, making the blond's head spin a little with so much information. With every day gone by, he was more certain he'd make a lousy team captain.
With everything his boyfriend had to worry about, it fell to Albus the responsibility to organize the blond's schedule, and make sure his homework was as little time-consuming as possible, which meant it consumed twice as much of his own time, and he didn't even have time to watch Scorpius practice anymore, let alone spend quality time with the boy. But as exhausted as they were, every night when they cuddled to sleep, they felt very satisfied with themselves.
Due to adverse weather conditions, the first visit to Hogsmeade could only be scheduled for late February, which meant the students were forced to spend Valentine's Sunday in the castle. Some tried to protest, arguing that a little snow didn't hurt anyone (even though it was more like a snowstorm outside, rather than little delicate flakes falling gently to rest on their noses for a moment before melting), and that all those who were of age should be allowed to choose, but McGonagall was adamant about her decision, and the castle ended up with a fair share of grumpy students that day.
As much as they wanted to do something special for the occasion, both boys were leaning more towards finishing the four essays they still had to work on for the following week, and the only time they had for themselves was late at night, when they decided to go to bed early and, after making sure they'd cast a privacy spell over the bed, they cuddled and talked for hours, the occasional kissing silencing them for several minutes at a time.
Since their school workload didn't allow them to have the romantic Valentine's Day they would've both liked, on the first Saturday the students were allowed to go to Hogsmeade, Albus decided to declare a holiday from school matters and dedicate the day to their relationship. As he knew there wouldn't be many people around the castle, and there wasn't really anything interesting to do in the village, he organized a picnic brunch for them and they sat in their secluded corner by the lake to eat together.
"I'm starting to think this is the best idea you've had in a while, Al." He whispered before accepting the grape he was being offered and gently sucking the fingers holding it, making the brunet smile. "At this rate, my brain's going to melt down before the O.W.L.s, and I can't have that happen."
"The O.W.L.s are still a long way away, Scorp." He replied, getting a grape for himself.
"No, it's not. It's in just a few-
"- months, and my dad will cut my head off if I don't get at least Exceeds Expectations. And I want nothing less than Outstanding in all of them, I know I can if I work hard enough."
"Well, just don't overwork yourself, Scorp." He smiled, kissing the blond's lips softly before resting his head on the boy's stretched legs. "You'll do brilliantly, I'm sure. Don't get yourself sick over it."
It was Scorpius's turn to smile. "Don't worry, Al. I'll be fine." He leaned forward and kissed the brunet lazily before sitting back up, drinking a sip of pumpkin juice and letting himself fall back on the conjured blanket.
After a while, Albus shifted his position, lying his head on the blond's chest, one arm spread over him, and Scorpius pulling him close.
"I love to hear your heart beat." The brunet whispered after a couple of minutes, his voice dragging a little as a result of the sleep flirting with him.
"Really?" The blond raised an eyebrow, his eyes on the clouds flying slowly past.
"Yeah. I like the sound, I like knowing how close I am to you."
Scorpius just smiled, giving the boy a squeeze. "Al?" He called after long minutes.
"Hm?" His voice indicated he was almost asleep.
"I love you." He whispered, and was surprised when the brunet lifted himself up on one elbow to look into his eyes.
"I love you too, Scorp." He whispered, his voice slightly hoarse sending shivers through the blond, before kissing him slowly, letting their tongues play together until they were both breathless. When their eyes met again, they were darkened with desire. "Do you want to get out of here?"
Scorpius just smiled before they began gathering their things.
The first game of the year featured Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, and mostly out of habit than anything else, Scorpius decided to attend it. As everybody expected, the lion house had an easy win, and the hour and a half they spent down at the pitch didn't prove productive at all. Usually the point of watching every match was to gather intelligence on the other teams' tactics, but there was nothing new on the plays performed by the players in red: even if they'd been working on something original, that adversary didn't require them going that far.
It hadn't snowed during the game, but the wind blew strong and cold, making many students lose their Sundays lying in a bed at the Hospital Wing. This time, Albus didn't escape the cold going around, and though it took a lot of insisting from the blond, he eventually gave in and went to see Madam Pomfrey. He slept for most of the morning, but woke up feeling a lot better, so he spent the afternoon with books open all over his bed, with Scorpius to keep him company, and by dinner he'd been released under the condition he returned for two more days to take his potions.
As spring arrived and the weather improved, every chance they got, the boys would sit outside to study, instead of being hidden in the dungeons all day. Sometimes it would be just the two of them, and they were becoming very self-disciplined, or else they'd have to choose between being around one another or doing well at school; and sometimes they'd sit with friends, either their roommates or Frankie and Gabby, as the two seemed to be always around each other now the girl had dumped her boyfriend. The boy's protective older brother side seemed pretty pleased by that particular development of events.
"Hey, Scorp?" He called one afternoon they were sitting under a tree, just the two of them. More and more, there were students out in the garden for the free periods, and the low noise of voices provided the soundtrack for their activities.
"Hm?" He looked up from the parchment he'd been writing in.
"What did you put on the second question?" He asked, looking over the boy's shoulder to try and peek at his answer.
"Here." He offered the parchment and the brunet read it in silence for a minute.
"I thought so." He replied with a sigh. "But doesn't it seem too obvious? I mean, that's what the professor said in class, so I would've thought he'd want at least more information on it for homework, but I couldn't find anything in any book I looked."
"Well, maybe he was just trying to make sure we were paying attention to class." He shrugged, starting to scribble down again. "Half the class is always asleep anyway."
"True." He smiled, turning his attention back to the work at hand.
As the O.W.L.s approached, the tension grew, and it wasn't rare for them to feel like they didn't know enough about whatever subject they were studying, even though they were easily top of their class. The two of them and Rose Weasley were practically the only ones in their year who managed to always turn in their homework in time.
"Okay, I'm done." The blond stretched his arms after leaving the book on beside himself. "Is there still much to go for you?" He asked, putting his belongings away and peeking at Albus's parchment.
He shook his head. "I'm on the last question."
"Good, then." He replied, lying down with his head on his backpack. It wasn't as soft as it could be, with the books he kept inside it, but it could be worse, he thought. After a moment, he sat up again, his expression of someone who'd just had a brilliant idea, before transfiguring the bag into a feather pillow, smiling at himself, satisfied with the results.
Albus smiled as he shook his head weakly, consulting the textbook again before writing down another paragraph. It didn't take him long to finish, but when he was finally ready to return to the castle, he looked over and the blond had fallen asleep. He smiled at himself, taking a moment to admire him, before leaning forward to leave a soft kiss on his cheek.
Scorpius smiled before he opened his eyes, being pulled back from his light nap. Their eyes met, the brunet sitting beside him, leaning forward over him and smiling as well. He reached a hand up and rest it on the boy's nape, pulling him for a kiss. It started out slow, but things quickly became heated, and Albus pulled him away laughing and gaining a groaned protest in return.
"Come on, then. It's almost time for dinner already." The brunet invited, standing up.
"Can't we just stay here another five minutes?" He asked, lazily sitting up.
"No. Come on." He smiled, offering a hand the boy took and pulling him up to his feet. "Don't forget your pillow." He joked.
The blond smiled back before transforming the bag back to its original shape and summoning up to his hand before throwing it over one shoulder. He then silently entwined his fingers with the brunet and they began walking silently back inside, the roar of their stomachs making them laugh as they climbed up the steps to the Entrance Hall.
The final Quidditch game of the season was scheduled for the first Saturday of May, and it would be the classic snakes against lions. Scorpius had been told the schedule was picked randomly every year, but he highly doubted that, as the two houses were always, always the only ones to play the last game. How random could that be?
Even though he'd been doing it for four years now, the blond had to admit he still felt a little nervous before the games. Albus always said that was a good thing, it meant he wasn't assuming he'd win the game and it kept him alert. And to a certain extent, he enjoyed the butterflies on his stomach he always got as they waited to enter the field, or for the whistle to be blown and the game to begin. And the way it all went away as soon as his feet left the ground, adrenaline washing over him. He loved that sport.
The last time the lion house had been deprived or James Potter's skills, they'd quickly plummeted down the scoreboard, but this year they were putting up one hell of a fight and proving it wasn't a one-man team. And Slytherin was being forced to keep up their top game, if they had any intention of taking the cup - and anyone would be a fool to think otherwise. So they practiced hard, worked on their many rehearsed plays over and over again, and made sure everybody knew exactly what to do during the whole game. It was their year to win.
As he walked into the field, he let his eyes wander around the bleachers, looking for Albus, even though he knew he'd hardly be able to see him: from that distance, he could barely make out people, let alone identify any of them. It was only after he was in the air and flew over the crowd that he found his boyfriend sitting among a group of Slytherins, and smiled at himself as he moved away, turning his mind back to the game.
It was a tough game. As they knew it would be.
It took the players two long hours, countless interrupted goal attempts and a lot of tossing the Quaffle around and dodging the Bludgers before the Golden Snitch was finally captured. It was a deciding move: the score was practically tied, and surprisingly low, when the crowd erupted in cheers for the snake house. Scorpius had reached the golden ball first.
The other players carried him on their shoulders out of the pitch and into the changing room, where Albus soon joined them, and the celebrations lasted for the rest of the day. The Great Hall was decorated in green and silver that night, and most of the Gryffindors were looking very grumpy, which only added to the snakes enjoyment. Surprisingly, though, half way through the meal, James walked up to them to offer the team his congratulations, which astonished most of the students in the room and put the professors, watching as closely as everyone else, in high alert, even after all the ways he'd already changed since September.
But in the end, nothing extraordinary happened, though some could argue the events were extraordinary enough on themselves. The seventh-year boy calmly walked to where they were sitting, smiled at them and offered a hand to the blond, who only hesitantly took it.
"Congratulations. It was a great game, you played very well, the whole team. You deserved the win." James said with a short nod.
"Uh... Thank you."
"You'll be captain next year, right?" The blond boy just nodded. "It's a lot to live up to, winning the Cup this year." He joked, and the students listening to the conversation smiled awkwardly, unsure how to react to the whole situation. "Either way, good luck with that." James smiled before turning around and walking away.
Albus and Scorpius just looked at one another, slightly confused, before shrugging and returning their attention to their full plates and the conversation they were having with the other boys. If that was how things were going to be, they were fine with it.
Once Quidditch was out of the way, they had time to concentrate on school, and with their O.W.L.s approaching, no amount of studying ever seemed enough. All the time Scorpius used to spend down at the pitch now was spent in the library, and with the temperatures rising and more students trying to make up for what they didn't study in the previous months, the room began feeling like a green house, suffocatingly hot.
No matter how many times Albus said it, the blond seemed convinced he didn't know nearly enough to take his O.W.L.s, and there were days when the boy's obsession nearly drove the brunet crazy, forcing him to take drastic measures such as confiscating Scorpius's textbooks for a few hours at a time so he could relax. After all, the tension he was witnessing was making him very worried his boyfriend would fall sick right before the exams started.
There was still one more important event before the school year was over, and Albus thought it would be the perfect way to help lighten the mood a little. For about a month before Scorpius's birthday, the brunet already had plans for the day, and as it didn't include those many hours of sleep, he was very glad it would be a Friday. He needed a little advice from James, who looked at him very suspiciously at him when he asked where was the safest room in the castle for him to spend the night with the blond, but wisely chose not to ask, as the thoughts wouldn't leave his head afterwards, and he didn't want such images burned into his brain. Especially because they concerned his little brother.
That was how Albus learned about the Room of Requirement, which had apparently been destructed during the war and rebuilt for the profit of those students lucky enough to know about its existence. He wanted to test it a little before the big day, and taking advantage of the time he spent (studying) alone in the castle, he took a couple of trips to the seventh floor, and was completely astonished at what the room could provide him. Even after being born and raised in the wizarding world, and all those years studying magic, it didn't cease to amaze him what it was capable of.
Apart from his private surprise, he and the other boys were preparing a little party for the blond, with some smuggled Butter Beers, treats and tricks Thales and Lynus got from the last visit to Hogsmeade and a cake they persuaded the elves to prepare them. They'd invited Frankie, Gabby and Shane as well, but as they weren't sure who else could be trusted, it'd be a pretty small party. Not that Scorpius would wish anyone else there.
They began partying as soon as they returned from dinner (and they'd agreed they'd get to it as soon as possible, so they'd have more time to spend together), and the Gryffindor and the Ravenclaw were very impressed by the looks of the Slytherin common room. Apparently, it was very unique if compared to the other two, and they both loved the idea of being under the lake, lit by the enigmatic green reflections.
The first thing they did was to get the cake out of the way, and after casting a silencing spell over the room, they sang and embarrassed the blond as much as they could, all of them laughing a lot, before the presents were given and they started their second round of Butter Beer. Not that any of them actually expected to get drunk (or even slightly altered) by the beverage, but there was something very exciting about doing something supposedly forbidden. None of them had the courage to try and get a bottle of Firewhisky for the party.
They ended up talking for a couple of hours, laughing more than they remembered doing in a while, especially because of the way tension had mounted now they were just over a month away from their O.W.L.s. It was nearly curfew when they said their goodbyes, and to Scorpius's surprise, the brunet pulled him out of their Common Room as the others left, and the four of them walked together to the Grand Staircase before splitting up and going different directions.
Albus kept looking at his watch, worried about being caught, as most of the hallways were completely empty already. He was also listening very closely for any signs of Mr. Filch or his cat, and told the blond to be quiet at least three times so he could hear properly as he tried to run as quietly as he could, dragging the confused boy with him. After what seemed like an eternity, they arrived on the seventh floor, and both of them bent forward slightly, trying to catch their breaths.
"What are you doing?" Scorpius asked alarmed, looking from one side of the corridor to the other. "We'll get caught, we'll get in trouble!" He urged in a whisper.
The brunet just smiled the way he always did when he was keeping a secret, and began pacing from one side of the hall to the other, to the blond's confusion. After the third time, Scorpius grabbed his arm to make him stop, looking worried and almost angry, and was about to question him again when a door began forming on the wall and his jaw dropped. He tried to say something, anything, but he seemed to have forgotten what words sounded like, and limited himself to close his mouth and look from the door to Albus and back.
"What the..." He began after a couple of minutes to the boy who just stood there smiling.
"It's my birthday present to you." He replied, tilting his head towards the door to encourage the blond to get in.
"Y-You already gave me that new winter coat to play Quidditch in." He replied confused, slowly approaching the door and reaching out a hand to touch it and make sure it was real.
"Yeah, well, that was only part of it." He smiled again. "Well, go on, then. The longer we stay out here, the more likely it is that someone will show up."
Scorpius looked doubtfully at the other boy for a moment before taking a deep breath and turning the handle of the double-sheet wooden door. If he'd been astonished to watch a door appear where there was only solid wall, it was nothing compared to what he felt when he crossed the threshold.
He was standing in an enormous room, which was vaguely divided into three sections: there were some couches around a fireplace on one side, and though the fire was on, the temperature inside the room was perfectly pleasant; there was a big bathtub ahead of him, completely filled and with plenty of bubbles on the surface of the water, and a very subtle perfume that filled the room, just enough to entice their senses; and a large four-pole bed decorated in Slytherin colors on the other side.
Scorpius looked around the room and back at Albus a few times, trying to take it all in.
"Where are we?" He asked in a whisper. There was something about the room that made him afraid of talking too loudly.
"It's called the Room of Requirement." He replied calmly, letting his eyes wander around.
"And why does such a room exist in the castle?"
"Well, technically, this room can be whatever we want it to, so it's not this particular layout that exists all the time. I suppose it could be any sort of room, if we wanted it to."
"And you wanted it to look like this?" He looked at the brunet with an eyebrow raised.
"Well, I just wanted somewhere nice where we could be without anyone bothering us. I have to admit, it sort of exceeded my expectations. I'm still trying to get the hang of this, you know, getting the room to do what I want it to."
"Nice." He replied at last, walking to the couches by the fire and throwing himself on one of them. It was the most comfortable place he'd ever sat on. "And you're sure it's safe in here?"
"Absolutely. Nobody but us can get in." He replied with a smile, receiving one in return as he walked slowly to the other boy. He then dropped the coat he was wearing and left it over the coffee table, his wand resting over it. He wouldn't need it for what he had in mind.
Scorpius followed his example, looking a little confused. "What exactly are you planning?" He asked, standing teasingly just inches away from the other boy.
"I want you to make me completely yours tonight."
After that night, it was even harder for them to be apart, and somehow they still managed to find some time for themselves between all the studying and the exhaustion caused by the tension and pressure they were under. And as much as they both knew they shouldn't be thinking about anything other than the upcoming exams, it never took much persuading for either of them to give in.
With a week to go before the O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s took place, all fifth- and seventh-year students looked more like zombies, and none had escaped at least one trip to the Hospital Wing. Even though it happened every year, and everybody always turned out okay, none of the staff could help worrying and pleading the teenagers to take care of their own health before thinking about anything else. Not that they ever listened.
"It's today." Scorpius whispered even before sitting up in his bed.
"Hm?" He heard the brunet moan beside him, more asleep than awake.
He smiled at himself. "It's time to wake up, Al." He invited gently, leaning over to kiss his cheek, as the boy was turned away from him.
"Five more minutes." He mumbled, and the blond couldn't help giggling.
"Come on, now. You don't want to have to take your first exam without having breakfast first, do you?" He asked as he sat up, before yawning and stretching. The other boy just groaned again, and with a deep breath, Scorpius threw his feet off the bed and got up.
Fifteen minutes later, they were on their way to the Great Hall, very much awake with the anticipation, and the two years taking their big exams were particularly quiet that morning. After everybody was done eating, the room was rearranged with a flick of McGonagall's wand and they were appointed to their seats. The Headmistress took a few minutes to remind them of the rules - time limit, no cheating, no talking and so on -, before their tests were flown to them and they were allowed to begin.
For the following two weeks, that was their routine: breakfast, written test, being harassed by the crowd waiting outside the door and eager to compare answers, lunch, practical exam, reviewing the subject of the next day's exam until dinner, and again after dinner, until their bodies refused to continue and they were forced into bed.
Albus was pacing in front of the door to the Great Hall, waiting impatiently for Scorpius to finish his last exam, the only one that wouldn't be followed by a practical part after lunch. He'd been out for nearly half an hour now, and had compared all his answers with the eager students waiting in the Hall. He stopped walking when the door opened yet again, and his face lit up when he saw the blond boy , and he smiled and tilted his head sideways a little, curiously watching Scorpius walk his way with his head dropped. The blond only stopped dragging his feet once his head hit Albus's shoulder, making the boy laugh softly as he put one arm around Scorpius and reached up with his free hand to play with the platinum-blond locks.
"So? How did it go?" He asked with a smile.
Scorpius groaned. "It was harder than I thought it would be." He replied with a sigh, taking a step back and looking into the green eyes that immediately made him relax. "Can you believe there were actually two questions I wasn't sure about the answer? Two! And when they announced we only had another half hour to finish, I almost freaked out!" He said, agitated, making Albus giggle.
"I'm sure you did great, Scorp." The brunet said, leaving a soft peck on his lips.
"Don't you be all sweet on me!" He complained, pushing the smiley boy away. "This is all your fault, Al! If you hadn't... Kept me so busy, I-"
"Are you complaining about it?" Albus leaned forward and whispered in the blond's ear, his voice low and seductive, sending shivers down Scorpius's spine.
He pushed the brunet away again, blushing and avoiding his eyes. "Of course not! I just meant-"
"Why don't we go put out stuff away? Lunch will be served soon, and I'm starving."
Scorpius just rolled his eyes as he let himself be dragged to the dungeons. There was nearly nobody in the Common Room, and definitely nobody in their dorm - they were all still in class or enjoying the sunny day outside -, so Albus decided to take advantage of the situation and, as soon as they got rid of their backpacks, he threw Scorpius on his bed, lying on his back, and climbed on top of him, one knee on each side of his hips, and pinning his hands down on his pillow.
"Albus, what the-"
"I think you need to relax a little, Scorp." He replied in that tone that immediately put some color on the other boy's cheeks. "I'm going to help you with that." He lowered himself until his lips were brushing Scorpius's and, with a smirk, dodged his attempt of a kiss and went for the boy's neck instead. The blond moaned in a low voice, his eyes fluttering shut and his mind struggling to keep control.
"Al... Somebody..." He started, moving his head to grant the brunet more access. "Somebody... Might come..."
"Is it so?" He teased, the words spoken so close sending vibrations through the sensitive skin of Scorpius's neck, forcing a moan out of the boy.
"Al... What if..."
"Do you like this?" Albus asked before biting him softly.
"And this..." He sucked the skin until a nice bruise had formed.
"Yes..." Came his hoarse moan in reply, a few moments later. The brunet lifted himself up again to admire his work and Scorpius opened his eyes darkened with desire. "Al..." Was all he managed to whisper before pulling himself up, Albus meeting his lips halfway into the kiss.
As their tongues played together, alternating mouths, and the kiss intensified, Albus let go of one of the hands he was holding so he could caress Scorpius's chest, finding a nipple after a few moments and playing with it between his thumb and index finger, over blond's shirt, dragging moans out of him. Taking advantage of the recently release hand, Scorpius let it slide down the brunet's back, under his robes, quickly finding the hem of his shirt and sliding his hand back up, skin touching skin.
Without breaking the kiss, Albus managed to get rid of the open robes he still wore, and his tie and shirt soon followed it. He then helped the blond to sit up, resting on his lap and the bulk pressing against him making his own pants feel too tight. In trying to speed up the process, two sets of hands attacked Scorpius's robes, tie and shirt, clumsily ending up taking longer than if only one of them had tackled the task.
Both boys were flustered as they opened their eyes, green meeting silver with a smile, and they were about to resume their activities when a blunt sound to the left caught their attention and they turned their heads simultaneously. Lynus was standing there, his face as red as a pepper and the book he was carrying now on the floor in front of his feet.
"I-I-I'm sorry, I, hm, didn't mean to, I-I'm leaving." He stuttered, finally regaining control of his body and rushing out of the room.
Albus giggled as a very embarrassed Scorpius pushed him out of his lap, grabbing his shirt and putting it back on. "What are you laughing about? I told you it'd happen!" He complained, tossing the brunet's shirt at him.
"Come on, it wasn't that bad." He was still smiling as he got dressed. "Besides, he was enjoying the show, did you notice?"
The blond's cheeks acquired a darker shade of pink as he punched Albus on the shoulder. "Shut up."
"Well, it worked, though, didn't it?" He asked, jumping out of the bed and walking to the book Lynus had forgotten. "You sure did relax." He left the boy's belongings on his bed and headed for the door. "Shall we? I'm starving."
"Shut up." Scorpius complained again, catching up with the brunet as they walked into the Common Room. He was still frowning a little, embarrassed, but couldn't help smiling as Albus grabbed his hand and entwined their fingers. By the end of the week, they were already laughing of the incident.
With the exams finally done, there wasn't much more to do in the castle. They took their time packing and making sure nothing was left behind, and spent long hours enjoying the sun by the lake with the friends they probably wouldn't see for the next two months, talking excitedly about their plans for the summer. The general mood in the school had changed radically, with most students now laughing and chatting everywhere, and even the professors seemed to have relaxed a little. Of course, the other side of that change was that, once the tension had dissipated, the health of plenty of kids became vulnerable and they ended up under the care of Madam Pomfrey for a day or two.
It was a loud trip back to London. Especially after Scorpius's birthday party, Frankie, Gabby, Thales, Lynus and Shane had become good friends as well, and the five of them shared a cabin with Albus and Scorpius, which meant it was a little overcrowded, but they were so busy laughing none of them seemed to care. The Trolley Lady must've been pretty happy to see them, as they all bought a very large assortment of candy to celebrate the end of the school year, and propelled by all the sugar, they talked and joked even more.
As the scarlet train approached King's Cross station, Albus let his eyes wander out the window for a moment, his thoughts tuning out the voices around him. Everything was different from what it was a year ago. Now his parents were separated, and they'd have a chance to be happy again. James was finally the big brother he'd always hoped to have. And Scorpius was his best friend, the love of his life, and would always be by his side. Perhaps things weren't how he'd always imagined, and perhaps they weren't perfect. But Albus wouldn't change a single thing about it.
"Al? Al?" The voice sounded a little distant, and the brunet shook his head a little, smiling. "Are you okay?" Scorpius asked with an eyebrow raised.
"Yeah, sure." He nodded.
"Well, we're here. It's time to go."
He smiled again, looking around the cabin, where the others were taking their luggage down and heading into the corridor. "See you guys in two months." He wished, as the first one of them turned to wave from the door.
"Yeah, you bet."
Author's Note: This is it! After months, the story is finally done. I'd like to thank everybody who patiently made this journey with me; it meant a lot to me. Thank you to all my readers who left me reviews, anon or not, and to all those who didn't as well. You inspire me to keep writing, and to keep improving myself. I hope we see each other again soon!
P.s. Kate, I already have :) Go check my profile!