"Man you wouldn't believe, the most amazing things that can come from some terrible lies."
-Some Nights, Fun
Disclaimer: Don't own a single thing. Except for the sassy hippogriffs and the other OCs. That's about it. Oh yes, and I have no beta but the grammar Nazi that resides in my forehead...
Also, the rating's only for a bit of swearing. This is SLASH by the way, which means boys. Together. Ha.
Sixth year Scorpius Malfoy bitterly trudged behind the old oaf, Hagrid, into the Forbidden Forest.
His parents would have something to say about this, he was sure. He was cold, as it was nearly October and it had rained earlier in the day. His dragon hide boots were sure to be a mess by the time he got out of this, trudging over logs and roots and all other sort of nasty things that he couldn't see in the dark. And he fully expected to be "accidentally" run through by a centaur's arrow at any moment.
Worst of all, however, was Potter. He was along on the detention.
And not looking the least unhappy about it, Scorpius thought resentfully, giving the cheerful boy's back a narrow eyed look. The Gryffindor was happily chatting with the half-giant-who-should-have-been-fired-long-ago, speaking in a voice that was much too loud. Really, had he not heard about the giant, man eating spiders? Or had he, and his father was best friends with the sodding things so he was confident that he wouldn't become a meal?
Scorpius was half-tempted to hit him in the head with a rock. A very large one, that would preferably give him a concussion. The subsequent detentions, he rationalized, would be worth it. They'd be better deserved than this one.
Honestly, he had only put a small peanut in his food. He hadn't known that Potter would be that allergic. Though it had been rather hilarious, watching him scrabble for his throat and try to breathe as he turned purple.
It had been a quick fix on Headmistress McGonagall's part, really, and the flurry of punches that Potter gave him were completely uncalled for. "You could have killed me!" being blubbered over and over again-he just was so melodramatic.
Apparently, though, the professors bought his little act. Scorpius was sentenced to three month's detention, alternating between teachers every week. And McGonagall, the vengeful wench that she was, set him with the oaf first.
The only bright spot had been that Potter was being punished as well. Apparently, breaking a fellow student's nose with blunt force in the middle of the Great Hall was something that even a Potter couldn't get away with.
He'd been expecting a quivery pale face, unshed tears and extreme reluctance. Instead, there was this. He was absolutely disgusted.
Upon reflection he should have known better, really. The Gryffindor had probably been raised in a forest.
"Catch up, will yer Malfoy?" The oaf called from...somewhere. Scorpius looked up and saw nothing but trees and mist. There was no sign of Enormous and His Shrimpy, Specky Sidekick.
"Hey!" he yelled, shaking an authoritative fist. (The fact that he was being loud didn't matter. Creatures of the forest would obviously hear his Authoritative Voice and not approach.) "You aren't getting rid of me that easily!"
There was no answer.
He snapped out another Lumos to light his path, then began stomping in the general direction of the voice, muttering all the way. Furious (and not-scared), he could barely see through the slightly red haze over his eyes.
Which made it completely understandable when he tripped over a wayward root, pinwheeled a bit, then fell flat on his face into a mud puddle.
Scorpius lay there for a few moments, imagining the tears that his mother would shed if she saw him now. This was definitely worth a good five sheets of parchment to her, he fumed, his aristocratic nostrils slowly filling with mud. And a letter to the Board of Hogwarts, certainly. It just wasn't on.
After Scorpius finished collecting the frail shreds of his dignity, he slowly hauled himself up. He didn't even risk looking down at his clothes.
He found his wand flung a few feet away (probably from the pinwheeling), glowing in a stack of grass. He bent to pick it up with a mud covered hand. Grimacing as he straightened up, he wondered at the possibility of suing the school.
And then he looked up and saw her.
"Gah!" he cried, jumping back and clutching his chest.
The old hag smiled, revealing perfectly white, straightened teeth. It was totally at odds with her lazy eye, scraggly, mist colored hair and rags for clothes. Frankly, Scorpius was appalled.
"Who are you?" he demanded. "And what in Merlin's name do you think you're doing, going around shocking people like that? Do you know there's an old, half-giant oaf around here with a weak heart? What if you popped out of nowhere and killed him? Do you know what would happen then? I would have to take his body back to the castle, and trust me when I say that no Wingardium Levosia in the world would be able to lift that man. So then I'd simply have to do it the barbaric, Muggle way and simply chop him up to move the individual, heavy pieces! And then, naturally, that idiot Potter would tearfully accuse me of killing him when he was "just sleeping" and I'd be off to Azkaban and then where would I be?!"
"Are you finished?" the hag asked, a smirk pulling her dried, cracked lips back to reveal those perfect teeth. It was ridiculously nonsensical.
"No," Scorpius sniffed haughtily. "Upon arriving at Azkaban in standard drab, gray prison clothes that will dull my hair yet miraculously bring out the color of my eyes-"
"I think that's enough, thanks," the hag interjected quickly.
Scorpius was offended. "You ought to be honored, to be able to listen to one of my speeches. Then again, uncultured louts such as yourself usually aren't. Pity. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Great Oaf and an Irritating One to track down, lest they get ahead of themselves and unnecessarily haunt the masses with news of my tragic death." he turned.
"But won't you do something for me, before you go?" the hag asked in a rough, rushed voice, touching Scorpius' muddied sleeve.
The boy didn't bother to stifle his shudder of revulsion as he glared at the woman. "Even covered in filth as I am," he snapped, "Do. Not. Touch. Me."
"My apologies," the hag drew back and looked at him from beneath sparse lashes. "I simply wished to ask a favor."
"For the last time, woman," Scorpius snarled impatiently. "I don't have time for your troubles. Go and find a helpful, arrow wielding centaur or a thestral or something."
The hag's eyes seemed to flash, for a moment. And then she nodded, once. "As you wish."
She turned, and hobbled into the mist, making slow progress with her back so stooped. Scorpius watched her go, unrelenting. And as soon as she disappeared, a bellow of, "MAL-FOYYY!" was heard.
Scorpius sighed and headed in the direction of the Oaf.
He was definitely going to be eaten.
For the rest of the week with the Oaf, there was no sign of the hag. Potter's detentions were finished at the end of the week as well, so Scorpius went to his next week with Professor Longbottom alone.
The Herbology professor would have been all right, had he not been Head of Gryffindor House. He didn't give Scorpius hard, disapproving looks all the time, like, why would you do that. He simply assigned the task and let Scorpius get to work, stopping to explain something occasionally. Of course, the Slytherin had to leave a nice dungbomb on the day of his departure—it was only proper.
Next was with Filch, which was absolutely horrible. He honestly wished he'd just die already. The old squib was old and frail, and what he wouldn't give to just give him...a little...nudge...down the stairs...they were still prone to faultiness after the war, after all...
And finally, Trelawney.
The woman gave him shivers, not that he'd ever admit it. When he'd first stepped into her classroom to help clean teacups and instruments, her body had gone oddly rigid, her eyes far away.
"Choices are made, fates are sealed...Near-bonds broken are finally healed...Centuries of pride and strife, broken...through love, a much better token...with wing and claw, or hand and hand, the heir's choices will decide..." she'd looked directly at Scorpius. "Choose carefully, young scorpion..."
And then she'd blinked abruptly. "The teacups are this way, child. My, have you seen Saturn today?"
Obviously, there was no reason to be shaken. The woman was a crackpot. That last part hadn't even rhymed.
And so, Scorpius forgot all about it.
Scorpius had to stifle a small scream when the hag popped out of nowhere in the forest. Again.
"What have I told you about that?" he demanded, stamping his foot imperiously. "Did we not discuss the repercussions? It's only lucky that the oaf is incompetent and has lost me. Again."
"Indeed," he hag answered.
Scorpius huffed. "So what is it that you want this time?"
"What makes you believe that I want something?"
"Your type always wants something," Scorpius waved a hand. "Always 'my children are starving' and 'I've been living off of gruel and dirt' when we go down Knockturn Alley."
"Did you know," the hag asked in a raspy voice, "that had Harry Potter not testified for your grandmother and father, your family would be those people?"
Scorpius rolled his eyes. "I should've known the bloody Potter name would've come up in one of these conversations. Why don't you Apparate to his house and ask him for a bloody favor?"
"Because I'm asking you," she replied. "So would you mind-"
"-for the last time, I said no-"
"Giving this to my great granddaughter?" the hag reached into her tattered shawl.
A fierce denial was on Scorpius' lips, until the woman extracted the small vial of golden potion.
The words died, and a greedy feeling began to churn in his gut. He was near breathless. "Is that...?"
"I missed her eleventh birthday, you see," the hag explained, holding the vial with trembling fingers. She extended it towards Scorpius. "And I'm afraid she won't want to see me, as that was very important to her. However, I believe that a little Liquid Luck will do just the trick..."
"How would she know it was from you?" Scorpius was dimly aware of the words coming out of his mouth. In his mind, he was already plotting: hexing James Potter's broom at the next Qudditch match, giving Albus Potter permanent spots in undesirable places, beating Rose Weasley in Head of Class...and never getting caught.
The hag seemed oblivious. "Liquid Luck is my specialty," she replied throatily. "I sell it to special customers, and I've never gotten the mixing wrong. She'd know it as soon as she saw it." she brought the vial to her chest. "You will deliver it to her, for me? She is in Slytherin, Natalia Mason. Leave it in her dorm, on her pillow?"
"I will," he said, with all the conviction and grandeur of a prince. "It is a gentleman's duty to help a lovely lady, after all." he held out an expectant hand.
The hag looked at him with large eyes. "You swear it?" she asked in a near whisper. "You swear you will give this to her, and not take a single drop?"
Scorpius did not hesitate. "I swear on my honor as a Malfoy." Never mind that his last name meant bad faith.
Thin, spider like fingers held out the vial. Scorpius did not let his own fingers touch as he swept the vial into his palm, holding it tightly. He could practically taste the victory as he turned on his heel, ready to find his professor.
"Remember your promise, young Scorpion," the woman said from behind him.
"Wha-" he turned.
But the woman was gone.
Scorpius walked into Slytherin with a smirk on his face, his hands in his pockets, and whistling.
His (convenient) best friends, Aurora Zabini and Kallinus Nott immediately sat up and took notice.
"Either Albus Potter's body has been found Aurora said in her sibilant voice, "or you've just gotten laid. Either way, I want details."
"You have a death wish, yes?" Scorpius asked the ambitious third year in his seat pleasantly. Somehow, it was menacing than his regular one. He absently sent a Stinging hex after the kid as it scrambled away. He turned to Aurora and Kallinus. "How could you let him sit there like that?"
"You were gone," Kallinus shrugged. "Answer the question."
Scorpius lazily stretched out, enjoying the looks of impatience on his friend's faces.
"Let's just say that my luck is about to change," he drawled, popping the bones in his hands.
Up in his dorm the next morning, though, he hesitated.
He wasn't thinking like a Slytherin. He was taking a bottle of Felix Felicis, which could also double as a poison, from an unfamiliar hag with suspiciously perfect teeth who claimed to have a granddaughter in Slytherin (though he did dimly remember hexing a Mason for fun, once) and disappeared randomly in the middle of the Forbidden Forest.
He would, he decided, leave it to ponder about. So he wrapped the vial in rich purple cloth, put the cloth in his trunk, warded his trunk heavily, then slid the warded chest under his bed.
Really, nearly all of it was unnecessary. One roommate that ended up with an unfortunate case of Genitis Rotticus in first year after attempting to rifle through his trunk was enough to gain respect. But Scorpius liked the added drama, and Kallinus always was a little too nosy for his own good.
With those precautions in place, Scorpius stood and headed to breakfast.
And over his omelet, he pondered.
It was a feat in itself, thinking over the sound of Fredrick Goyle smacking on his pancakes. But Scorpius was, of course, exceptional, so he managed.
He debated the pros and cons of using the potion. He examined faces at his table, looking for little girls with unnaturally perfect teeth. He could have sent a lower life form to search out the kid for him, but he didn't want to risk letting anyone in on this plan.
When he found none, he pondered some more. He ignore attempts at introducing him to conversation because he was pondering, damnit.
And just when he reached the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't risk the chance of death to make Albus Potter's life a living hell, the man himself walked into the Great Hall.
Scorpius watched as he broke into a smile at the sight of his cousin, the insufferable, red haired wench.
It wasn't fair, he fumed. He shouldn't be smiling like that. Just the day before, he'd sent Potter's books and papers flying in a brilliant shower over the staircase. His hair was always a mess, he constantly had ink splattering his hands, he had so much family that, Scorpius was sure, he couldn't remember all the names. His grades were average (and sometimes below) and everyone else was just so much better at things then him. He wasn't even on the bloody Quidditch team.
Scorpius hated him. He hated his stupid hair and his stupid clothes and his stupid ink stained fingers. He hated his stupid puny height. He hated his stupid jaw line and his stupid body that he heard Slytherin girls giggling about (which earned them a two hour long lecture). Most of all, he hated his stupid, stupid smile.
Clearly, he fumed, his Albus Potter baiting wasn't enough to knock that smile off his face. He didn't even look at Scorpius as he sat down at the Gryffindor table, and that—that was just plain unacceptable.
He stood from the table, unaware of the wary glances that he was getting from his housemates. Slinging his knapsack onto his shoulder, he walked across the Great Hall in—new-dragonhide boots and came to a stop in front of the Gryffindor table.
That stupid Potter didn't even notice him! He actually had to scan the sudden scowls before he turned around. And then, and then, he said pleasantly, pleasantly: "Hello, Malfoy."
"Potter," huffed Scorpius. "I just wanted to let you know that you should prepare yourself for a new level of torture and humiliation."
"That's wonderful," Potter said, looking at him with big green eyes. His housemates were sniggering. "Listen, would you like to go to Hogsmead with me?"
Total silence followed this question. There seemed to be a dull roaring in the Slytherin's ears.
He was utterly flabbergasted by the random question. "Hell no!" he sputtered.
"Oh." Potter had the nerve to be truly disappointed. "Well how about a walk by the lake?"
Scorpius sneered, and was about to reach for the nearest heavy object and give Potter the concussion that he'd been day dreaming about before. Aurora and Kallinus were suddenly there.
"Teachers are watching," Aurora hissed through her teeth as they near-dragged him out the hall. "You already have enough detentions for that attempt on Potter's life."
"It would be worth it," Scorpius muttered mutinously. He shrugged off his best friends' hands and nodded decisively.
"Right. I have an appointment with destiny. If Aunt Daph asks, I'm suffering a terrible, sudden illness that has me bedridden. And it's highly contagious so I'm doing the world a favor by skipping Potions class." Scorpius' aunt was Head of Slytherin House and the Potion's professor.
"You used that one last week," Kallinus pointed out.
"Then I'm on my period and have menstrual cramping," Scorpius snapped, and turned to head down to the dungeons.
He would be horrified to learn that those were his last words to his friends for a very long time.
Down in his dorm, Scorpius carefully undid all of the enchantments on his trunk. After he was sure he was finished he reached for it and pulled it out, sliding it across the black carpet. The password ("Hypherion") was muttered and the lock sprung open.
It took some digging, but Scorpius' fingers touched the purple velvet. With a smirk, he withdrew it and unwrapped it.
The golden vial sat in the middle of the vial like a priceless gift.
"Hello, beauty," he murmured reverently. He picked up the vial by the neck, holding it to the light. "Imagine something like you being wasted on a third year," he scoffed as he popped open the bottle. It came open easily. He took this as a good sign. "No. You'll be much better used torturing other people. Bottoms up, Scorpius."
And with that statement, he brought the vial to lips and took a single, tiny sip.
At first, nothing happened. And then Scorpius began to feel light headed, as if his head was slowly filling with air. He swayed a bit where he knelled, and the small action was enough to send his entire body toppling over.
He opened his mouth to protest this sudden development, but his tongue suddenly felt like a foreign, heavy thing. It lagged in his mouth uselessly like a dead fish, and he could feel it expanding and changing and-
A sudden, pain in his hands and feet had him biting down on that large tongue, and he didn't bother stifling his scream as he caught sight of them. His fingers twitched and writhed like dying spiders, the pale things morphing into something else. Something that had claws and ffeathers and-
And then a white-hot pain was crushing his body, as if his bones were being folded in half, and Scorpius knew no more.
Someone was singing.
They were good at it, Scorpius thought hazily, in that wood-sprite, nature-y kind of way. The woman's light voice was rising and falling in light lilts, almost like the spell that saved Scorpius' father's life once upon a time.
And that is why Potters are never to be liked or trusted, Scorpius, his father'd said, his eyes serious. Nor Weasleys. They are not like us, and never will be. Do you understand, Scorpius?
Now he lay, halfway between a dream state and reality, and listened to the words of the woman's song.
"Breaker of promises,
rude and vile,
the hurt of others
There was a soft touch on his face, fingers stroking his cheek. "But you will learn, won't you Scorpion? You will find your light..."
Everything went black again.
When he woke for a second time, it was to breath on his face.
He slowly opened his eyes, trying not to inhale—it was absolutely rancid, like rotting meat. As he blinked and his vision cleared, he realized why: a thestral was close enough to kiss him, sniffing over his body.
"Gah!" he yelled, jerking back.
The young thestral reared. "Ah!" It yelled, then turned tail and ran.
Scorpius shook his head, which felt a lot heavier than usual.
The forest seemed looming and dark around him, no stars or moon visible through the cloud of trees. Crickets were chirping so loudly that it was nearly deafening, and as he tried to stand, the world spun around him. He staggered and fell, appendages on his back flailing around-
He craned his neck the best he could, unused to the heaviness in his neck. What he saw had him screaming.
"Are you trying to draw every Acromantula in the area here?" A sharp, deep voice demanded.
Scorpius snapped his head toward the voice. There was nothing but a pair of luminous, glowing orange eyes that peered at him in the darkness. "Who's there," he demanded, attempting to get to his feet. He only managed to use his forelegs—his bloody forelegs—to raise himself up slightly. He barely caught himself before he fell on his face as they wobbled.
The underbrush rustled, and slowly, a huge figure stepped into the clearing. Scorpius trailed his eyes up from the large clawed forelegs, the huge dappled gray, feathered chest, the long neck, that steel colored, wicked looking beak, and finally, those orange eyes.
"What," the creature demanded. "Have you never seen another hippogriff before?"
"AAAAHHHHHH!" Scorpius screamed.
The hippogriff rolled its large eyes. "Desist from your idiotic screaming!" It yelled over all the noise.
"AAAAHHHH—wait, just who do you think you're calling moronic?"
The hippogriff opened its large beak with a glint in its eyes. Before he could respond, however, there was a large crashing sound. Scorpius tried to scramble back, certain that it was another large creature come to eat him-
And two young hippogriffs tumbled out of the trees, a mess of feathers and wings and hooves.
"I totally won, Fireswift!" A small, tawny ball of feathers extracted herself from the mess. Her beak was smaller than the large gray one's, and her wings had feathers of the same color. If Scorpius was forced to place her age in human years, he would have said she was about ten.
"You wish!" The other female (how Scorpius knew she was female, he could not explain) was a reddish brown color with black tips on her wings. She narrowed her large, luminous eyes in a way that suddenly reminded him of Aurora.
"Right," he said decidedly. "This is all well and good, but if you'll excuse me, I'll be waking up from this dream now."
The two hippogriff turned and stared, blinking at the same time.
"Hello!" The reddish one said happily.
"Fireswift," the Big Sodding Gray one said, "do not speak to him. I am still trying to puzzle out whether he's a lunatic or not."
"He does look like he was dropped on his head as a hatchling, doesn't he?" Moonrun tilted her head. A good shake of her body had stray debris flying off of her and onto Scorpius.
"I," Scorpius said crisply, "am sitting right here."
"It's alright, strange sir," Fireswift said in slow, enunciated tones, "we will help you if you are the special kind of hippogriff. Everything is going to be oh-kay."
"Would you stop that?" Scorpius snapped. "I am not the special kind of—wait a minute, what did you just say?"
"SHE SAID," Moonrun said, "WE WILL HELP YOU IF YOU ARE A SPECIAL-"
"Not that part. The other, ridiculous part—the part where you said that I'm a hippogriff."
Now they were all staring.
"Buckbeak," Moonrun said out of the corner of her mouth. "Did you—did you hit him before we got here? Is that what all the screaming about? Did you hit him in the head?"
"I did no such thing," Buckbeak said, sounding offended. "I am a good, gentle herd leader, everyone knows that. But no, you smack around one student and you gain a reputation-"
"I know you!" Scorpius's wings flapped with such exuberance that he lifted in the air and dropped. "You! You're the beast that attacked my father!"
Buckbeak's eyes flashed, and his wings went up in a threatening cloud over him. "You are the son of an enemy?" he snarled, much, much more intimidating than he was a few seconds ago. Redswift and Moonrun peeked out from behind his immense wingspan.
But Scorpius was not deterred, and puffed his chest out the best he could while still on the ground. "I," he said clearly and proudly, "am the son of Draco Malfoy."
The wings went down. "Draco Malfoy is a human," Buckbeak said flatly. "And a disrespectful, snotty one at that. No female hippogriff with any self respect would let him near enough to speak to, let alone breed-"
"AAAGHH! No! No! Do not say things like that—my father and—ew! EW! No! I am a full human, a pureblood wizardat that!"
"But right now you are a hippogriff," Fireswift said, stepping forward an inch. She did not go any further than that. "So what sort of trickery is this?" she tilted her head. "Are you an Animagus?"
"An old hag cursed me," Scorpius informed her, not a little icily. And then he thought. "You know what an Animagus is?"
"With a temperament like that, I do not blame the witch. And yes, one of the greatest wizards that I've ever known was an Animagus," Buckbeak said deeply. "Sirius Black, Merlin rest his soul." All three of the hippogriffs bowed their heads.
Scorpius saw an opportunity and took it. "He's my cousin."
"You do not lie?" Buckbeak's large eyes were considering.
Scorpius shook his head. "My grandmother was a Black and became a Malfoy through marriage."
"Hmph," Buckbeak snorted through his nostrils. "Then there is hope for you yet, Not-Hippogriff Malfoy. You say a witch cursed you?"
"Yeah," Scorpius sniffed. "The old, ugly hag. I hope she meets the wrong end of a dragon one day, it'll serve her right." he stopped at the looks that the other three was giving him. "What?" he snapped.
"I shall reserve judgment," Buckbeak said slowly. he began to leave, the younger hippogriffs following him.
"Reserve judgment on what?" Scorpius called after him.
"On whether to invite you into the herd and help you, drive you away from our forest," he looked over his shoulder as he disappeared into the darkness, "Or kill you."
And then the three were gone, leaving Scorpius with his troubles and the dangers of the forest.
It admittedly took a while for Scorpius to stop freaking out. He'd even had a small panic attack, which would have done wonders for his reputation in Slytherin if anyone had been watching. Thank Merlin no one was.
Suck it up, Malfoy! He scolded himself. You are an aristocrat. You will not sit here and ponder over a great, stupid beast's words! You will make it to Hogwarts and explain (somehow) who you are!
He wondered if the teachers had pried themselves from Potter's arse long enough to notice that he was missing. Were his parents tearful? Would there be articles in the Daily Prophet with his face splayed all over them?
He hoped so. He hoped his parents put out the good picture, the one where he was on that beach in France facing the sunset. (The light had done wonders for his hair.) He hoped Potter was furious at the fact that he and his parents' front page space was being taken up by him.
And he would find out all of those things, he decided. First, though, he had to figure out how to use his damn legs.
It took a lot of trial and error, and Scorpius fervently hoped that Fireswift, Moonrun, and the Great Ugly Gray One weren't watching. They probably were. And snickering, as he wobbly stood like a newborn colt. His grandfather owned Abraxans in France, and when he was little, Scorpius would watch them take their first steps, wings fluttering with every movement as their mothers nudged them along.
He didn't have someone to nudge him.
And so, he carefully learned how to walk again all by himself. He cursed the witch as he did it, for cursing him, and he cursed himself for even letting himself grow another set of two extra legs, and he cursed Potter, because cursing Potter always made his day a bit brighter.
As the sun rose, Scorpius could shakily gallop. He stopped practicing that, after a while, because after running into another tree he decided that any predator that he would have to run from would simply die –laughing at him. So he simply stuck with walking.
When he was thirsty, Scorpius wandered around the forest until he stumbled upon a stream. As soon as he saw himself, he forgot about his thirst.
He was...big. His shoulders were broad, and his creamy white feathers were crusted with mud from tramping through the forest all night. His feathers were just slightly darker, with flecks of gold, and he looked older than the small girl hippogriffs. His hind legs were covered in white fur with deep brown hooves, and his tail was gray.
His eyes, he noticed, were different, the same color as his tail with flecks of blue. So he had retained one of his human features, then.
He stared for at least an hour, half-preening and half horrified (he was still an animal, and that was just not on). And then his thirst caught up to him again.
It took a lot of pep-talking, when he realized that he didn't have his wand and therefore, couldn't purify the hell out of the water. But, he convinced himself, any fatal worms that he might ingest from the seemingly-crystal clear water might prove useful later. Particularly if he found out that his current condition was permanent.
So after searching carefully for waiting predators one more time, Scorpius leaned his head down and drank. It was a bit awkward, but he found that if he scooped some water with his huge beak and tilted his head back, the water would go down his throat. He was very proud of discovering that-
"You look so stupid."
Scorpius turned. The Fireswift and the Lighter, More Annoying One were behind him, their heads tilted.
He sneered, though he wasn't sure if the effect was as good as it could've been with his beak in the way. "Go away."
"It's our forest," the Light One said, bristling. "If anything I think you're the one who should be leaving. You're rude and really, you should be thankful that Buckbeak has let go of some of his pride. Otherwise, you'd be hippogriff food."
"Moonrun!" Fireswift snapped. "You're being rude right now, and we were sent to fetch him, not insult him-"
"You needn't bother," Scorpius said haughtily. "I figured out how to run and drink without you, and I'll figure out how to get help without you too. I don't need your stupid herd, and you can tell that great, ugly gray brute of a mule that he can take his 'Or kill yous' and shove it straight—"
"Straight where?" a melodious voice asked. The owner of the voice came up behind the two female hippogriffs, whose eyes were glittering.
"Celeste!" Moonrun trotted over and nudged at the white hippogriff that came out of the woods. Scorpius stared.
He had never seen such a gorgeous creature before. Her eyes were the typical orange of all hippogriffs, but they were more golden than anything. Her feathers were even whiter than Scorpius', and she looked so well groomed that he wouldn't have been surprised if she were some kind of veelan hippogriff. Her wings, a deep tan color, lay flat against her back.
"Celeste," Moonrun complained, "Celeste, he smears Buckbeak's name like dirt. He called him a mule," she said the last part with such disgust that it was probably a slur in the hippogriff world. Scorpius was proud of himself for discovering that.
"Is that so?" the hippogriff asked. The look that she gave Scorpius made that pride evaporate. "And who does this young one think he is?"
"Young one?" Scorpius asked, affronted. "I'm fifteen, you stupid animal."
She was suddenly in his face, her wings lifted like an archangel's. "And I am one hundred and twenty seven human years old. Buckbeak is the exact same age as me, and my mate. You have insulted him. I have lived through fights that you'd have nightmares about." She walked in circles around Scorpius, who instinctively had his own wings raised in defense. They seemed puny against hers. "Shall I show you, young, impertinent one, what I have learned? Or will you stop your foolishness and listen to your elders. To sense."
Scorpius swallowed, feeling the sudden, overwhelming urge to bow. "I-"
"I'm sure you plan to go to the castle, hm?" She was still circling like a hawk. Scorpius' eyes could not follow her, and he knew she was too fast for him to track, so he held still. "Receive help from there, so you'll be able to return to human form? Let me tell you will happen, Scorpius Malfoy."
"You will make it through the forest. Beings of the wood do not dare attack hippogriffs, not with our talons and beaks and tough skin. So you will make it. You will creep out of the edge of the wood in the cover of the night—you are stupid, but not stupid enough to walk out in broad daylight. You will make it to the castle doors, if you are careful, without anyone seeing you.
"And then something will happen. A professor of Hogwarts will spot you. A prefect will scream—our reputation, from Buckbeak's mistake, is not a good one. We fought in the Wizard's War, did you know? Of course you didn't. Wizards have the most unfortunate habit of forgetting rights and remembering wrongs."
"You will be stunned, or captured. If they are humane, and Hagrid has a say, you will wake up where you came from: the forest. If they are not, and feel that you might be a danger to the school, you will be sent away.
"You could barely walk last night. Do you know how to fly home? Do you even know where home, or the castle is? What if the non-wizards they call Muggles spot you, as you fly to nowhere? I have seen what they do to unfamiliar creatures, and it is not pretty. Do you fancy being stuffed? I thought not. And that is exactly how you will end up: stuffed or dead, or trapped forever in this form."
She stopped and drew back. "Or," she said softly, "you can bow and apologize. You can join the herd, and we can teach you our ways while we search for help. We can help you break your enchantment."
Scorpius swallowed. "I've already insulted both you and your Great...mate. You've said it. Why don't you just let me be?"
She looked at him for a while, as if deciding whether or not to answer. Finally, she spoke. "I admire your determination." she admitted. "I see potential in you, Scorpius Malfoy. I do not wish to see you squander it." she paused. "And, watching you learn to walk and drink properly while looking like one of us is quite...painful."
There was a snicker. "You can say that again," Moonrun trotted up, carefully not touching Scorpius. It must be a herd thing, he realized. "Me and Fireswift spent a whole ten minutes laughing at you before we could approach."
"Thanks," Scorpius said sourly.
"When you decide that you want to break this enchantment," Celeste said, "simply speak Buckbeak's name. We will find you."
She turned to leave, Fireswift and Moonrun trailing after her as they'd down with Buckbeak the night before. Fireswift offered him something that he recognized as a smile before they left. He did not return it.
Scorpius wandered around the forest for days, eating berries that he knew weren't poisonous. When instinct took over and he ate a mole, he hated himself.
He bathed in streams that he found and slept under trees, making the best amount of shelter that he could with his talons. He did encounter other creatures, and a centaur, once, but as Celeste had said, none challenged him. Where he would have been proud of this before, he was only miserably reminded of his predicament.
That stupid old hag. When he got out of this, he vowed, was going to have her in Azkaban if it was the last thing he did.
He refused to admit that had he actually kept his promise, he wouldn't be in this situation.
After the fifth sunset, Scorpius's hunger took over, and he began catching squirrels and voles. After his twelfth, he stopped making shelters and simply slept under natural ones. He bathed regularly, which was one of the only human rituals that he could keep up.
He roared his frustration at the moon. Sometimes he couldn't sleep at all, and sometimes he ran. He had dreams of his stone father crying, Aurora sitting in the middle of his bed with her head in her hands. He dreamed of hags and Professor Trelawney's haunting voice, repeating over and over, with wing and claw, with wing and claw.
Sometimes he had nightmares about the crippling pain of his transformation. He'd wake up in a cold sweat, panting and unable to sleep for the rest of the night.
It was during one of those times that his legs lifted and he caught air: he soared, and his heart soared with him. His surprise was so great that he ran into an Acromantula's old web. The talons served well, there, but he was sticky for days afterward.
After that, he slowly began to practice flying.
It was harder than learning to walk again: where he'd had legs before the transformation and simply had to adjust, he'd never had wings. He exercised them because he figured that they were like muscles, and needed to be built up. A clearing where he could practice without running into a tree was found, after several hours of hunting, with a nearby stream and a tree he could sleep under. Food was everywhere, he only had to hunt.
And so, Scorpius survived without the hippogriffs, stubbornly coming to terms on his own.
Nearly a month after Scorpius settled in his clearing, things changed again.
Early in the morning, an unfamiliar hippogriff was waiting for him at his stream. Scorpius paused for only a moment, before he lifted his head and slowly walked up to the old hippogriff.
Because this hippogriff was definitelyold. He could see that, white around his auburn eyes and temples, and his eyes seemed to hold knowledge of years past. He looked like could have been related to Fireswift. He was also very huge, at least six hands taller than Scorpius and three stone heavier.
The boy gave a halfhearted sneer. "Come to recruit me, again?"
"You are a disrespectful little twerp," the hippogriff observed in a deep, gravelly tone, like rocks hitting the bottom of a bucket. "I don't know what Celeste and Buckbeak see..." he peered closely at Scorpius, his orange eyes like fire. "But then again, I can."
Scorpius'd had enough of people evaluating him. "Is there," he said with forced politeness, "something that you wanted?"
The hippogriff blinked. "Indeed. There is an event that the herd has once a month. Buckbeak and Celeste wish for you to attend."
"And why should I?" Scorpius demanded.
The hippogriff's eyes grew sharp. "You'll watch your tongue there, youngling. Enchanted or not, I'll not hesitate to take a swipe out of you."
Questions about the hippogriffs were the tip of his tongue, but he swallowed them back.
Not quickly enough, however. "Well? You just had a question?"
"You crea—people," he stressed, "keep on calling me 'enchanted' rather then what I actually am: cursed."
"Because this is not a curse, boy," the hippogriff answered promptly. "A curse is a bad thing, intended for harm. This is good."
"How!?" Scorpius burst out, unable to contain himself despite the earlier warning. "How is living like this—like some kind of animal when I'm not—how is this supposed to be good for me!?"
The creature's eyes went gentle, if only for a moment. "The world works in mysterious ways, youngling. Always."
"Hmph." grunted Scorpius.
"Now," the stern attitude was slapped back into place. "They'll be there soon, and if we want to get there in time to take flight, we'll have to leave now." he looked at Scorpius narrowly. "Have you flown a great distance, yet?"
"Yes. No. Who'll be there, again?"
"Good enough for me," the hippogriff said, and shook himself. "Follow, youngling." He smirked, suddenly. "And do try not to run into any trees."
And with that, he galloped off, racing ahead of Scorpius. The Slytherin clacked his beak. "Oh hell no."
He took off with practiced ease, dodging trees thank you very much. Ahead of him, he could see the end of the tail rippling with their speed, red and moving like fire. His heart soared as he leapt over logs and dodged branches.
Ahead of him still, the old hippogriff roared with laughter. "I'm sure you can do better than that!" he yelled over the wind, and seemed to run even faster.
Panting, Scorpius pushed himself even harder, to the point where his legs felt like a different part of him. He sped up until he was neck and neck. It was his turn to laugh when the old creature looked over at him and gasped.
"Ha!" he cried exuberantly. "How do you like me-"
When Scorpius woke up, it was to what sounded like a crup choking on dry biscuits. It took him to a few moments to realize that it was the old hippogriff laughing hysterically. All sense of nobility was lost.
He blinked. Celeste was hovering over him, a smile curving the cheek behind her beak. "Are you okay, Young One?"
"And then," the red hippogriff gasped out in the background, sounding close to tears—if he wasn't there already, "and then he said WHAM! Smacked right into a tree at full...speed..." There were a solid thunks on the ground as everyone roared with laughter.
Scorpius picture a human on his knees, smacking the floor as he laughed, and groaned. And then he flinched. "My head-"
"As Hothoof is explaining," Celeste said dryly, "you ran head first into a tree at a high speed. Your head may hurt for quite a while, but you came out of it better than the tree. And we have something for that."
"Good to know," the Slytherin whispered, wanting to clutch his aching head with human hands.
"Hey!" Moonrun trotted over. "I heard about your little adventure, Youngling!"
"Why are you calling me that?" Scorpius moaned.
"Hagrid hasn't named you yet," Celeste said reasonably, "and you act very young. You did not hatch from an egg, though. Therefore, you are Youngling for now."
"My name is Scorpius," he snapped. The best he could anyway, with a pounding head. "And there is no waythat I'm going to be named by that Great Oaf."
"Your human name is Scorpius," Celeste said in the same, neutral tone. "Right now, you are a hippogriff. And Hagrid may be an oaf, but he is good, and he our oaf. Therefore, if he chooses to bestow a name upon you, you will be honored to receive it." There was a warning there.
"Great," Scorpius muttered. "It's not enough that I'm a bloody creature: Now I have to add a case of identity loss to it."
Instead of being offended, Moonrun and Celeste laughed.
"Oh, Youngling," Moonrun said, apparently carrying no animosity from their last meeting. "Even I know you already have one."
Scorpius' reply was cut off by the arrival of a dappled brown hippogriff. She looked about Scorpius' age, twenty if he had to place her in human years. In her mouth she had a small bunch of unfamiliar herbs.
"Thank you, Lilaby." Celeste took the bunch from her delicately, with her own beak. As Scorpius watched, she swept into her mouth. Her jaw worked.
"Now hold still," Moonrun told Scorpius. "Celeste'll have that headache cleared up in no time, you'll see!"
Ten minutes later, as Scorpius was still shaking off his disgust, the herd was convening in the field.
Altogether it wasn't very large. There were twenty of them, twenty one including Scorpius, all in different colors and shapes and sizes. A tiny purple hippogriff trotted past, nuzzling her plain gray mother. Scorpius had to turn away from the sight.
He'd been wedged near the front, in between Fireswift and Moonrun somehow. Fireswift, surprisingly, had nudged him a little in greeting. Before he could decide what to do with that, Buckbeak, facing the herd, was speaking.
"Now, you all remember the rules. Do not cross onto Hogwarts lands and approach the students. I know some of the first years are rather small this year, but they are not—I repeat, they are not prey. That means you, Stormbelly." Buckbeak looked at a particularly large hippogriff.
The huge beast seemed to scuff its talons on the soft green grass. "'Twas one time," he muttered in a Scottish accent.
"That may be so," Buckbeak inclined his head. "However, one time may be too many. Hatchlings, please do not wander off. There are larger things than you in the forest. Last of all, do make sure to be careful around the Second Green Eyed one, if he is there. Humans can be ridiculously fragile things."
He stamped his claw. "Is there anything someone would like to say before we leave?"
"The Youngling is with us, then?" A large female with a melodious voice asked. Her wings looked as if they'd been dipped in scarlet ink.
"Yes," Buckbeak nodded. "Yes, he is with us. Anymore questions? No? Good. Let us be off, then!"
He reared and turned with a screech that seemed to shake Scorpius's bones. And then he began to gallop down the huge clearing that the hippogriffs lived in, which seemed to go on for at least a mile. Buckbeak shrieked, again, and with a mighty 'THWUNK!' his huge wings were untucked-
And then Buckbeak was flying, soaring through the air. Celeste gave a melodious shriek herself and followed his example, and then all around, hippogriffs were taking to the air. Some ran, some, with bigger wings, simply shot into the air where they stood.
"Come on!" Moonrun laughed as everyone took the air. "Let's go, Youngling!" she galloped down the field and unfurled her own, huge wings to catch the wing.
Following her example (and praying to Merlin that he didn't make a huge fool of himself), Scorpius ran, gathering momentum. And as soon as he felt it, that urge, he let his wings out and flew.
He found himself letting out his own shriek. Fireswift swept by, cackling, "That's the spirit, Youngling!"
"Let's fly!" Buckbeak's voice somehow reached Scorpius, and he found himself following the command without thought, the same as the others.
The air was crisp and gorgeous, perfect November weather. Scorpius played games with Fireswift and Moonrun, and soon the other, smaller hippogriffs were joining in too. The tiny purple one, Berryhoof, he soon learned, would have been in Slytherin, had she been human. She was constantly sneaking up on her prey, tapping them with the softest of touches before flitting out of reach, like an oversized butterfly.
"No trees to run into up here, huh?" Hothoof asked at one point, composed again. Scorpius sent him a dirty look, and the old hippogriff smirked and flew away.
The view was spectacular. The forest was like a large bunch of broccoli, and he could see the lake and the castle as they came closer and closer.
He didn't know how long it had been before everyone began to dive. Scorpius followed their example, tucking his wings in and angling his body to go into a steady dive. He hadn't practiced this as much as he'd practiced flying, but he was confident that he could land properly-
And then he snagged onto a branch with a claw and was sent sprawling painfully to the ground, landing at someone's feet.
...He knew those tattered sneakers.
Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.
He skittered backward, stumbling over his own hooves in the process.
Potter was looking at him with this closed kind of smile, like he was trying hard not to burst out laughing. He blinked rapidly, big green eyes getting a bit of a sheen behind his glasses.
Like it or not, Scorpius was categorizing every little thing that he could. The ratty old pair of Muggle jeans and a red t-shirt with the word SNITCH was in golden letters was on the front. His hair was just as unfortunate as it'd been a month ago—that would never change, Scorpius acknowledged. He was satisfied to note that the Gryffindor looked like even more of a shrimp in this form, as he was much larger. There truly was silver lining to every cloud, it seemed.
Potter appeared to have himself under control. He swallowed, maintaining eye contact with Scorpius, and bowed in a somewhat experienced way. Scorpius wondered if Gryffindor taught all of its boys knightly etiquette. "Pleased to meet you," Potter said as he straightened up.
Scorpius blinked. If Potter expected him to bow, he had another thought coming. He watched in amusement at the youngest Potter boy fidgeted under his stare, still maintaining eye contact.
"Bow back!" Moonrun hissed from where she was indulgently letting Hagrid fawn over him.
"Whatever," Scorpius muttered, and bowed back.
Potter looked delighted. In no time he was in Scorpius's face, reaching out with a hand to cup underneath his jaw and another to pat his muzzle. The thought of snapping off that hand purely for amusement was considered, then disposed of: he wouldn't step a foot before Celeste ripped his throat out.
"Aren't you a beauty?" Potter murmured, stroking the fine feathers of his nose. He smelled of forest, treacle tart and Hogwarts. Scorpius felt so wretchedly homesick in that moment that he couldn't even properly appreciate the compliment, let alone acknowledge that it was the first one he'd gotten from Potter—ever.
Something that he'd always secretly wished for. Now being delivered in this form. Irony was such a fickle tramp.
Potter continued on, running his hands over the feathers on Scorpius's head, down his neck with gentle strokes. Unbidden, a low, contented sound came from Scorpius' throat.
That smile was like a slap in the face, a cold shower of reality.
What was he doing, accepting this? He shouldn't be here, flying with the hippogriffs like some kind of fellow beast! He was a wizard, and here he was, letting his enemy stroke him—like some kind of pet.
He jerked back, out of Potter's reach, and snarled when Potter reached for him again.
"Youngling!" Celeste said, coming towards him.
"No!" he yelled. Potter stumbled back, his eyes wide, and Hagrid began loping in their direction. Scorpius looked from the shocked Gryffindor to the rest of the herd, who were watching him.
"No," he repeated, shaking his head.
He turned and ran.
He ran until the breath came harsh in his lungs, every gasp like ice. He ran until his hooves were quivering with exhaustion and he was trembling, and then he ran some more.
Finally, when he felt that he could not move another inch, he collapsed in a small clearing. His clearing.
And for the first time since the day that he changed, Scorpius sank to his knees and cried.
"Buckbeak," Scorpius said clearly two months later, and waited.
Not two minutes later, the large gray hippogriff came out of the underbrush, looking severely displeased. "You called," he said flatly, looking this close to snapping at the boy.
Maintaining eye contact, Scorpius slowly sank into a low, elegant bow. "I sincerely apologize for any undue offense or harm that I caused your herd."
Buckbeak looked at him for a few long moments. "You do realize that I consider Albus Potter part of my herd," he said lowly.
"Yes," Scorpius replied without flinching.
Buckbead inclined his head. "I expect that you will make the appropriate amends, then."
This time, Scorpius did cringe a little. "Yes," he replied again.
"Hm." Said Buckbeak. "And you want to join my herd? Why now?"
"I..." the Slytherin trailed off, then swallowed. "I know I'm going to need it, now. That—that group thing. The herd," he said awkwardly. "I just...I can't do this by myself." It was a serious blow to his pride to admit that, but it seemed to be the thing.
"Come, then," Buckbeak said with something that was a not-smile but still a smile. He waited for Scorpius to reach his shoulder before he turned and began walking.
Living in a herd was fun, Scorpius soon learned. He had an awkward re-introduction with the herd, who all seemed to accept his apology. Moonrun struck him with his tail, then said she excused him because of his 'special ways'.
They flew and hunted and slept in one giant circle, so no one was ever cold at night, even when it December came and it snowed. Scorpius's nightmares were soothed by Celeste, who he had a close relationship with. He trained Berryhoof in the ways of the Slytherin and in turn, she taught him that he could speak to thestrals and unicorns and other magical creatures of the forest.
"Ferrets and mice are small, stupid things," she said knowledgeably, "so they're okay to eat." she looked at him with narrowed eyes, then. "All small things but chipmunks. Chipmunks are magical and can speak to us, and therefore it is against hippogriff code to eat them."
Scorpius nodded. "Alright."
No one knew about his enchantment, though, and no one had ever seen the old woman before. The most helpful piece of advice had come from an older, pure white female unicorn.
"You have a purpose, Youngling," she said, her voice like notes on a flute. "Whether great or minuscule, I do not know. But you have a purpose."
"A purpose," Scorpius said, wide eyed. "Okay."
On the day that they were to visit Hagrid and Potter, Hothoof looked at Scorpius seriously. "You'll not embarrass yourself this time around, will you youngling?"
He didn't. He landed neatly, having practiced with Fireswift, and he slowly approached Potter.
The Gryffindor's cheeks and nose were red from the cold, and he was bundled up in one of those horrific Weasley jumpers of his, with thick trousers and boots. A Gryffindor scarf was wound tightly He was carrying two large pails of ferrets, which admittedly made Scorpius's mouth water.
His eyes shone as Scorpius stopped near him and made a deep bow, even deeper than the one he'd given Buckbeak.
"Oh," Potter said, dropping the pails as Scorpius gently nudged his shoulder. He reached up carefully to pet Scorpius' beak. When he didn't react negatively, the touch grew a bit more confident. "Oh," he repeated.
"You should give him a name," Hagrid grunted, watching the interaction with a broad smile. "I 'aven't got ter chance to, yet, an' I'm sure 'e'll 'preciate it."
He would, actually. He was getting tired of being called Youngling. However, he wasn't exactly eager to see what Potter would come up with: no doubt it'd be something incredibly stupid and sentimental, like 'Wulfric' or 'Aberforth'.
But he'd told himself that he'd grin and bear whatever Potter put him through, and he would do so.
"You have gray eyes," Potter observed the obvious, as he was adept at down. His gloved hand dropped from Scorpius' beak. "Grayson? Nah," he shook his head, "too obvious. Hmm."
He backed away to pick up one of the pails, grabbing a weasel. "Prince? You look haughty, like a prince."
Moonrun snickered. Scorpius sneered at her.
Potter looked thoughtful. "I suppose not, no." he flung it in the air, suddenly, and Stormbelly, the shameless glutton, leapt for it first. Scorpius snorted at him.
"He is princely," Hagrid confirmed. He bowed to Scorpius, which the boy took a moment to enjoy that before he bowed back. A large, periwinkle gloved hand patted him with surprisingly gentle strength.
"But that's not right," Potter said. He began flinging weasels in earnest. Berryhoof weaved between larger bodies and grabbed a good three like a pro. Scorpius was proud enough to burst. "I mean, it suits but it doesn't..." he trailed off as he set the now-empty bucket into the snow and moved on to the next one.
This time, Scorpius lunged for one, his wings flapping out to carry him in the air. He was ridiculously proud when he caught it before Moonrun could and landed to swallow the weasel down. Ironically, it was actually one of his favorite forest foods.
A cry from Potter had everyone looking at him, totally alarmed. Potter didn't seem to realize: he was too busy jogging up to Scorpius. "I've got it!" he exclaimed, his eyes bright. "I just realized what you look you look like you're flying: You will be Tyvin."
Tyvin. Not some stupid, sentimental name, or a hippogriffs name: it was dignified and unusual and admittedly perfect.
"White eagle," Hothoof translated, and how he knew that Scorpius did not know. The old hippogriff looked at him with a smirk. "Fitting, considering your fondness for trees."
Scorpius nearly snarled, but he was completely distracted by Hagrid's next words.
"So how goes the Malfoy investigation?" Scorpius was pleased with the appropriately grave look on Hagrid's face.
Surprisingly, Potter's grew solemn as well. "Dad doesn't know what to think," he answered. "Narcissa Malfoy's betrayal that helped in the defeat of Voldemort. A lot of Death Eaters were angry. They could have been waiting for him to do something, or Portkeyed him out of Hogwarts out of late spite."
They weren't angry, Scorpius thought. They were pissed.For the first seven years of his life, Scorpius grew up alone and rarely leaving the Manor. When he was a baby, his Grand-mere told him in a whisper, there had been an attack on his life before he could even leave the hospital.
At the time it made him feel special, knowing he'd had a unique experience as a child. Never mind the fact that Albus Potter was actually kidnapped three times.
Now he pictured his parents being bombarded by the press while they tried to look for their only son, and he felt sick.
To get his mind off of that, he thought about another thing that Potter was saying: Harry Potter was on his case?
Whatever happened to 'never trust Potters'? Scorpius thought, confused. And then he remembered that Potter's father was Head Auror, and Draco would only want the best. Even if he had once described said best as a, what was it? Oh yes. A "Walking bad hair day".
"Anyway, there's been no sign of Malfoy, not even a ransom note. Mum says she feels bad for his parents. They're devastated."
Scorpius made a sound. Potter snapped his attention to him, patting his beak and running his fingers over the fine feathers at the edge. "It's alright, Tyvin."
I'm Scorpius! He wanted to shout. Scor-pi-ous!
And why couldn't he? He could read, still, and even with these talons he could make shapes in the snow. Now was his chance!
He backed away from Potter gently, not as harsh as last time, and stuck out a claw, preparing to draw an 'S' in the dirt.
And then he realized that he couldn't remember how to.
It was preposterous. He could spell his name in his head:: S-C-O-R-P-I-U-S. But the moment he went to draw it in the snow, the process of how to write it out evaporated.
Suspicious, he went over to the edge of the woods and picked up a stick, ignoring Potter's befuddled look. When he dropped it as the first stick for the M in his last name, he promptly forgot how to spell that, too.
That stupid hag.
"You," Potter said, "are the strangest hippogriff I have ever had the honor of meeting."
He was the one talking to hippogriffs like humans.
As if he'd read Scorpius' deadpan expression correctly, Potter smiled again. "Yeah, I know Tyvin. You do like that name, don't you?"
Scorpius nodded, hoping that would convey some humanness. But apparently, the herd was more communicative with Potter than he'd thought. Potter barely reacted but with an even larger—you guessed it—smile.
"That's good," he said happily. "I'd hate to be stuck with a name that I didn't like. I sort of have this love hate relationship with my own." he wrinkled his nose in a way that reminded Scorpius of Berryhoof. "Albus Severus Potter. Quite a lot of S's, isn't it?"
It was a lot of S's.
"But my dad, he says they were great men." Potter was stroking his beak again now. "And I've met them both: they have portraits in the Headmistress's office. It's kind of because of them that I want to teach at Hogwarts." Potter lowered his voice and Scorpius, sensing a secret, leaned in. "See, I want to be the new Care of Magical Creature's professor."
Scorpius nearly crowed with delight. Potter wanting to usurp his favorite teacher! Ha! He wondered what Potter would do to get old Hagrid out of the job: maybe stage a dragon egg scandal? Or nightshade berries in the man's poor tea? It'd take a gallon to kill a man as big as that, he thought gleefully.
"Hagrid's the only one that knows," Potter said, shattering Scorpius's dreams. "I know dad thinks I want to go into Auror training, since I'm so good at Defense Against the Dark Arts—and I like that too," he rushed, "but I love Care of Magical Creatures more."
Scorpius was stuck in a hippogriff body, the world thought he was kidnapped or dead, and now Potter was having a future talk with him. If somebody would have told him this would happen a year ago, he would have suffocated laughing so hard.
"I mean, you guys are brilliant." Potter's eyes were admiring. He laughed when Scorpius visibly preened.
"Albus," Hagrid said with his booming voice, "Time 'ter go back to 'ter castle."
"Alright," Potter called back. He patted Scorpius on the head, like a dog. "Stay out of trouble, will you Tyvin?" he placed a kiss on Scorpius's beak. "Merry Christmas."
And then he and Hagrid left, leaving Scorpius like he'd been Petrified.
Berryhoof bounded up, snickering. "Tyvin's got a boy-friend."
"I do not!" he protested, looking at her. "Agh!"
"Do so! You guys spent all morning talking, and he said you're pretty and you were staring at his smile." Moonrun batted her eyes and pranced around. "Hi! I'm Tyvin and I'm in lurrvewith Albus."
And then came the most dreaded of all:
"Albus and Ty-vin, sitting in a tree," sang Fireswift. The other two young females joined in, grinning. "K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"
"Then comes a hatchling in a baby carriage!"
"Buckbeak!" Scorpius yelled, appalled. "You too? What are we, five?"
"'Tis a good song," Buckbeak shrugged, smirking. "And I suppose it adequately describes the situation we find ourselves in."
"It's so romantic," Stormbelly fanned himself with a claw, and the herd began laughing.
"I hate you all," Scorpius informed them.
On the day that Christmas fell, he could feel the holiday in his bones.
He didn't fantasize about what he would have done on that day: about his parents and smiles and a ton of presents that he bragged about later. He didn't, because the herd didn't give him to the chance to.
They flew and ice skated on a frozen lake in the middle of the forest. He laughed to tears when for once, it was Hothoof falling on his face on the ice. They hunted and played games and he gave the herd presents that he'd made or found: a pretty rock for Berryhoof and a nice, fat ferret that he'd stored in the snow for Celeste, and other things. He was gratified when she appeared to blink back tears before she nuzzled him.
At the end of the day, he collapsed in an exhausted, happy heap with his herd.
It seemed that their innuendos had gone to his head. It was the only explanation for the first word that came to his mind when Albus Potter stumbled out of the underbrush:
If hippogriffs could blush, he managed it that day. Moonrun snickered with Fireswift as Scorpius was swept into a big, hug: and even if Potter could only just barely manage to get his arms around Scorpius' beak, his enthusiasm made up for it.
Potter, Scorpius acknowledged with not a little amusement, was a nutter.
"I went home for Christmas," Potter told him I could've stayed at Hogwarts like I did last year, but mum got all teary eyed and starting talking about how all of her babies were growing up and..." he trailed off. "I think the Malfoy thing has her shaken up. I mean, he simply vanished." Something like guilt crossed Potter's face.
He cannot possibly, Scorpius thought with some disbelief, that he-
"I teased him, just before he disappeared. I mean," he amended, "I wasn't teasing him. I was actually trying to make friends, because my dad said..."
Holy mother of Merlin.
He'd been trying to make friends!
"But he thought I was joking, and so did everyone else," said Potter, quite miserably. "And now he's gone. So. Ugh."
Scorpius was flabbergasted. He imagined the humiliation Potter would suffer once (if it ever did) he became human again. For once, the thought gave him no joy.
"And now he's missing," poor, oblivious Potter said, "and I have to act like I'm unaffected and I'm not. You don't realize how much time a person takes up in your day until they've suddenly disappeared. It's ridiculous. I keep expecting him to come around the corner and call me stupid, or trip me and send my books flying—and he'd not. Who knew I was such a bloody masochist, right?"
Scorpius could not answer. He was still in too much shock.
"I promised myself that I'd tell someone all of this, and you're a someone, aren't you, Tyvin?" Potter seemed utterly earnest. "So you count."
Personally, Scorpius saw that as cheating, but who was he to judge? And anyway, he was still flabbergasted.
Potter had wanted to be his friend. It was nearly unthinkable. It was...
It was baffling. Scorpius couldn't even react to all of the teasing that the hippogriffs gave him as they prepared to fly.
"Still, 'Agh'?" Celeste asked gently.
It wasn't until later that night, as the herd slept around him, that he could quietly admit the answer to himself.
"No," he whispered.
His secret was carried on the wind and away.
Scorpius learned a lot about Albus Potter.
He ran a hand through his hair when he was nervous. He liked to talk about his family, and by his fifth visit, he found himself going sooner than once a month without the herd. Every two weeks turned into every week, and then every other day.
Potter always looked so delighted to see him, and truth be told, he was happy to see Potter.
The Gryffindor talked about all manner of things as they walked together. His family, his friends, the latest gossip at Hogwarts, and more often than not, the missing Scorpius Malfoy. It was through him that Scorpius learned his parents were offering a reward of five thousand galleons to the person to find him.
Aurora and Kallinus and his Slytherins were apparently, distraught. It seemed that they thought him more of a friend than he could have ever imagined.
He learned about people from Albus Potter's perspective. He learned about life in the spotlight and being the Chosen One's son, and his ambitions for Care of Magical Creatures.
He stumbled, the day he realized that Potter had become Albus.
The Gryffindor laughed, holding Scorpius' head like he could actually catch his enormous weight if he fell.
Scorpius had learned the hard way that he had to be extremely careful with the boy. What was a small nudge to Berryhoof and Celeste would slam Albus against a tree. The first and only time he'd done it, he'd been so horrified that it had surprised him.
"Wow," Albus had smiled weakly. "So that's what getting hit by a car's like."
Scorpius felt even worse at being compared to a Muggle car. He let Albus lean on him and nuzzled him in apology, something that he rarely did.
"It's all right," the boy had said, nuzzling him back. "I've been through worse."
Scorpius really hadn't liked the thought.
Now, the Gryffindor smiled at him, suddenly looking shy. His onyx hair was a stark contrast against the February snow, and his cheeks were flushed with the cold. And despite his happy expression, he looked exhausted. Classes, Potter said with a weary smile, and a project in Defense Against the Dark Arts.
"My partner's a Ravenclaw, Lacey Kingston," there was a slight smiled on his face. Scorpius scowled. "She's really nice, knows her stuff—but really shy, too. Rose said she's got a crush on me."
Scorpius held back a snarl. He knew her: mousy little thing, always blushing. He knew she'd had a crush on Potter since their second year. Of course, Albus being Albus, had to notice four years later.
"I guess I'll just have to let her down easy," the Gryffindor said glumly. "'S not her fault but I just..." he trailed off.
Scorpius was pleased at this. And mad for being so pleased.
"Anyway, I wanted to ask something," Albus said, biting his lip. He always spoke to Scorpius and the rest of the hippogriffs like they were humans. The Slytherin wasn't sure if that was a sign of great kindness or insanity. Then again, he wasn't sure what to think of Albus Potter anymore.
"I wanted to ask," he continued, "If I could—I mean, my dad's ridden Buckbeak and I-"
Rolling his eyes to himself, Scorpius slowly knelt down.
Albus looked close to doing a victory dance. "Really?" he practically squealed.
Scorpius gave him an impatient look.
"Okay," Albus said, then cleared his throat. He blinked rapidly. "Okay," he repeated. "I, um—do I just-" he walked down the length of Scorpius's body, trailing a hand along the feathers. The Slytherin had given him one for a quill, once.
The first attempt that the Gryffindor made had Scorpius sniggering.
Potter gave him a dirty look from where he'd fallen on his bum. "Quiet, you. You're supposed to be my support here."
The young Malfoy tried to be more serious. Failed, as Potter slid off the length of him yet again.
"Those damned, slippery feathers," Potter swore as he tried again. He clutched at handfuls of said feathers firmly, but not roughly.
After what seemed ages, Potter was finally settled on his back. It was a comfortable weight and Potter was warm with body head, pressed against him. He savored it for a moment before he slowly got to his feet.
"Whoa," said Potter. He was holding on to the long feathers at the sides of Scorpius' neck.
The hippogriff started off with a walk, graciously letting the Gryffindor get used to the rhythm. Albus seemed to be thrilled with the novelty: he kept on laughing, and Scorpius could hear the smile in his voice as he chatted. Sometimes he just fell silent, rubbing Scorpius' neck and pressing his cold face into the curve of it.
When Albus finally asked if they could fly, Scorpius went into a trot and then softly ascended. Gentle was the key word here, especially with Potter looking as peaky as he had lately. He flapped his wings and went faster when Potter whooped.
They spent hours flying that day. He went through clouds just to hear Albus sputter and laugh. He dove and twirled and flew over the lakes. None of the other hippogriffs joined them. Scorpius had a feeling that he knew why. It irked him a bit but he couldn't deny that he liked the privacy.
Around sunset, Scorpius carefully landed. Potter snored gently on his back, his arms wound around the hippogriff's neck, fingers curled into the feathers.
Looking back at the sleeping boy, Scorpius felt a wave of protectiveness so fierce that it threatened to take his breath away. He didn't want to analyze what that meant: instead, he began the walk to Hagrid's cabin.
Normally the Slytherin met Albus near the edge of the Forbidden Forest. It wasn't trouble for Scorpius to fly a ways then walk to inconspicuously close the distance. He waited in the same out of sight spot and Albus always came.
Hagrid's cabin wasn't very far from there. Feeling relatively shielded under the cover of night, Scorpius walked up to the newly-built structure.
Chickens and geese and some scaly thing that he'd never paid attention to made a fuss as he approached. He paused, waiting for Albus to stir. When there was nothing, he continued to the door and knocked quickly with his beak.
"Comin'!" There was several 'thud's against the wooden floor as Hagrid approached. Scorpius stepped back to give him some room, and the door swung open.
Hagrid blinked. "Tyvin?"
Scorpius snorted and turned, showing off his prize. The expression of confusion smoothed into a smile. "Ah. Good boy, Tyvin." The elderly giant reached with big hands and carefully slid Albus off of Scorpius' back.
There was something wrong, though, Scorpius realized. Even through all of the jostling and the symphony of noise from Hagrid's fowl, not once did Albus stir. Panic rising, Scorpius nudged him with just enough force. The Gryffindor didn't move.
"Albus," Hagrid said, shaking him slightly. "Albus," he said louder, more desperately, "You've got ter wake up now—yer hippogriffs worried!"
Albus did not respond. Hagrid swore, in a loud, and stomped into his cabin. Scorpius followed him, stepping around knitted things on the floor and cups of tea—he'd be damned if he was left behind, but then Hagrid grabbed a huge fistful of Floo Powder and shouted, "Hogwarts Infirmary!" and disappeared into his enormous fireplace, carrying Albus with him.
The green flames slowly turned back to orange.
And Scorpius could hear was the ticking of the clock in the corner, the soft crackle of the flames, and his own, quickly beating heart.
"Stop pacing," Moonrun groaned. "You're making me dizzy."
"You'll just have to deal with that, won't you?" Scorpius snapped, turning around to glare at her. She shrunk back looking, hurt.
The Slytherin sighed. "Sorry. He just-he wasn't waking up."
"We know. You've been repeating that for the past three days."
Three days. Three times that Scorpius had waited for hours, dangerously close to the edge of the forest, hoping to see a cold-flushed face and appallingly messy hair.
And three days since neither had come.
"I know," he said, stopping. "I'll fly up the infirmary windows-"
"And get shot down by that crazy nurse woman-"
"And see Albus. Just to see if he's bedridden, or something. I'll bet it's pneumonia. He's always wearing too little layers and flopping around in the snow to make snow angels that look horrible when he stands up-"
"Tyvin," Celeste said kindly, coming through the trees. "Tyvin, I'm sure that the young Potter is fine and recovering. It wouldn't do for you to get hurt unnecessarily."
"But it is necessary," Scorpius snapped. "He could be on his death bed, or poisoned, or cold, without my sodding feathers to warm him up, or-."
"Do you want to be his boyfriend, or his mother?" Moonrun asked skeptically.
"He'll come," Celeste promised.
They were right. Albus did come, weeks later.
But he had dark circles under his eyes, and his robes hung off of him. He smiled, but his eyes did not shine. His fingers were pale and shaking and so very thin as he stroked Scorpius' beak with the tips.
"Finally snuck away," he whispered. "My parents and the Mediwizards and everyone at St. Mungos are constantly hovering—just because I'm a little not okay."
A little not okay didn't describe it. Scorpius could smell something on his boy, something that he'd only encountered when he happened to walk into a bad part of the forest that hadn't recovered from the war—rot.
He tried to steer Al back to Hogwarts, sure that someone had to be frantic over him. As much as he loved his company, he didn't want it like this.
Albus leaned his forehead against Scorpius' and sighed. The sigh rattled in his chest. He choked on it, coughing into his hands. And when he pulled back, there were crimson splatters.
It frightened Scorpius, so much that he could hardly breathe. He nudged Albus away, gentle yet firm.
"I am fine," Albus said crossly, wiping his hands on his trousers. "I have everyone else fussing over me with potions and experts and spells, and I don't need you doing it now." he began blinking rapidly. "I don't like it. I don't. I've always hated going to the doctor and now I'm dying and everything always smells like antiseptic and white and-Please, just-" his expression crumpled and he threw himself at Scorpius, wrapping his arms around his neck as he began to cry.
Scorpius didn't know anymore than to croon and nuzzle him, ignoring the growing dark something in his chest. Finally, after several minutes, Albus stopped.
"I'm so scared. And everyone just keeps reminding me that I'm dying. Grandma Weasley keeps on bursting into tears and making black sweaters, and James doesn't tease me anymore, and I think my father, Aunt Hermionie, and Rosie haven't slept in weeks, looking for whoever cursed me and what's happening. And I can't take it, all of those reminders that I'm wasting away, which is why I snuck out so please, Tyvin. I want to forget."
So Scorpius flew with him, and ignored the calls of Hagrid, who came looking in the wood. And when Albus began to fall asleep, he landed and took him to Hagrid's house. The Gryffindor protested weakly, but he stopped when Hagrid burst into tears at the sight of him and took him into his arms, blubbering about a search party.
Scorpius went back to his forest with the knowledge that his boy was going to die.
And he too, stopped sleeping.
He was waiting, again.
Even though he was sure that Albus had been carted off to St. Mungos, most likely guarded with no chance of escape, Scorpius waited. Curled under a tree, he lay out of sight near the very edge of the Forbidden Forest. If the Gryffindor snuck out again, Scorpius rationalized, he'd be waiting so he wouldn't have to walk very far.
Because Albus wasn't getting better. Scorpius could tell from the way that Hagrid's visits consisted of bloodshot eyes and little treats, then dwindled to a stop.
It was one of the most terrible things in the world, not knowing.
For the first time in months, Scorpius hated his hippogriff body. Claws that intimidated, unnatural wings, a beak and a tongue that could not speak. When he'd first been turned, he had sat for hours, thinking about what he would do as soon as he was human again. Take a proper bath. Eat French chocolates with deft movements of his finger tips. Hug his mum.
Now, he knew without a doubt what he'd do. He'd rise to human feet, and if he couldn't walk properly, he wouldn't stop to practice: he'd crawl to Hagrid's cabin. He'd take some Floo Powder, ignoring the questions that the half-giant would have for him. He'd go straight to St. Mungos, and demand to know what room Albus Potter was in. After a lot of arguing and complications and bribes, he'd finally get into that room.
And then he would crawl into Albus Potter's bed, take the boy into his arms, and go to sleep.
A flash of black hair had him lifting his head eagerly. Then it fell: Albus never walked that way, and there was a brown haired girl walking with him.
Besides, this figure was too tall. The emblem on both their robes were Ravenclaw and as they drew closer (and Scorpius backed farther into the cover of the trees), their faces revealed them to be sixth years: Lacey Kingston, who was looking rather splotchy and had tears streaming down her face, and Geold Maint. Scorpius was immediately intrigued.
He knew Maint and he didn't like him—his airs had airs, and there was something utterly Slytherin about him, despite his Ravenclaw tendencies—not in the good way, either. They'd gotten into a fight, once, about one of Scorpius' first years. The Malfoy might have been a selfish bastard, but no one messed with a Slytherin on Scorpius' turf and got away with it without a broken nose—not even the Minister's grandson.
Everyone knew about the odd friendship between Kingston and Maint. They'd met in first year, on the train, and despite her quiet demeanor and his somewhat wicked tendencies, they were best friends.
Now, there was nothing quiet about Kingston. As soon as they were under the bright green of the trees she whirled around, her brown eyes flashing.
"You said you would explain it to me, Geo," she snapped. "Now explain it, before I march right to the Headmistress's office and-"
"And what?" Maint looked like a vulture, near hissing out his words as he loomed over the girl. His eyes were vaguely wild. "Explain that you've known what's been going on for weeks, weeks you said, and didn't turn me in? Despite knowing the consequences of my actions?"
"I wasn't sure," the girl's voice cracked. She spoke quickly, desperately. "I wasn't sure and I didn't want to risk our friendship-"
"You were scared," Maint purred lowly. He leaned in. "You know this is your fault."
"IT'S YOUR FAULT!" Maint roared, so suddenly that Scorpius flinched. He raised a hand, as if to slap the girl, and Lacey flinched and turned her head in anticipation, closing her eyes.
Slowly, a smile crossed Maint's face. He lowered the offending, spidery hand.
With gentle fingers he cupped the girl's pale cheek. "Lacey," he crooned, turning her to face him. She slowly opened her eyes. "Lacey, love. It's your fault. All of this is your fault. If you hadn't fallen in love with him, if you hadn't gotten your heart broken like I said you would, like I warned you that you would, if you hadn't cried and cried and made me seek justice..."
It was with dawning understanding that Scorpius realized exactly what this was about. And as soon as he had connected the dots, Lacey's soft voice came through the dull roaring in his ears. He was completely frozen, unable to process what he was seeing.
All of the answers. Right here. And he couldn't speak a single, understandable word.
"I'm going to tell them," Lacey whispered, her voice trembling but strong. "I'm going to tell them that you're the one who cursed Albus Potter, who's killing him. And then they'll find you, and make you break the spell, and you'll go straight to Azkaban, no matter who you grandfather is."
"Darling," Maint said just as softly, "you'd have to remember in order to do that."
And before Scorpius could stop him—bite off his hand, knock him out, something—Maint had his wand out. "Obliviate!"
Rage shot through every pore of Scorpius' body. It wasn't fair—it wasn't right—Albus was going to die because of some snotty Ravenclaw and—he was going to get away with it because Scorpius couldn't bloody speak—Albus was going to die-
Then Scorpius roared with fury and charged, and Maint and Lacey screamed as he brought down his talons.
He was in a metal, slightly glowing cage, in a courthouse with people looking and pointing and mutters. Some shouted: one woman threw her shoe, which hit the bars. Scorpius barely flinched. He was too busy drinking in the sight of his parents, who were sitting in the crowd.
Draco's hair was limp and there were shadows under his eyes that no glamour could cover. His back was straight and proud and he looked like a good, heavy weight would be enough to shatter him. On his right sat Scorpius' mother, who was dressed in immaculate black robes. Her eyes were sharp and brilliant, and she looked harder than she had a few months ago: her hair was tied back in a severe bun. No longer was his mother a soft, kind woman who played piano and coddled her son: she looked like a woman on a mission.
It made sense that they'd be here today. Draco had his own experience with a hippogriff when he was young, and everyone wanted to know about the hippogriff who attacked the Minister of Magic's grandson.
At the thought of the rat, Scorpius' wings nearly went up. However, this was prevented: heavy, magically enforced chains were bound on his neck and shoulders, pinning his wings. A rough woman from the Disposal of Dangerous Magical Creatures had locked them on too tight while he was held immobilized.
In the witness stand was Lacey Kingston, the Obliviated bint. Scorpius couldn't really hate her, as much as he wanted to: he had disfigured her best friend right in front of her.
Hagrid had come to find the source of the screaming just in time to keep Scorpius from murdering Maint. The boy was in the witness stand as well, with four ragged scars across his face. It was whispered that dittany could only minimize the damage. He'd carry those scars for the rest of his life.
Even if he died today, Scorpius would go somewhat satisfied.
He wondered that the herd were thinking, if they'd heard: it was possible. Creatures of the forest were terrible gossips sometimes, and Celeste seemed to know everything. He hoped Berryhoof wasn't too upset.
Hermione Granger-Weasley was his lawyer. Her family: the Weasleys, all of the Potters, and their friends, practically took up the entire front row. When Scorpius wasn't looking at his parents, he was looking at Albus.
He looked...sick. That rotten smell hit Scorpius' nose all the way across the courtroom over all the others, taking over the Gryffindor's natural scent. His hair had been cut and was limp, and dry looking. He was as pale as death, with dark circles under his eyes, and sitting between Hagrid and his father, he looked absolutely small.
News of his mysterious sickness had been published in the papers. Some people had respect, taking a few pictures then focusing on the actual case: Others had no such reserves. But Albus didn't seem to mind, staring at Scorpius with haunted eyes and bitten lips. It had been questioned, whether he was fit to testify, but in the end the deemed it okay.
It was Albus's Aunt Hermione who was Scorpius' representative. He saw the irony: how many times had he mocked Rose Weasley about her mudblood mother? She was a nice woman, with laugh lines around her eyes. She was currently in smart black robes with tight creases along the edges, her bushy hair tamed into a strict bun, and her mouth tight. She was sitting beside his cage now, looking through a legal book while shooting him reassuring glances every once in a while, treating him as human as Albus did. Scorpius decided that he liked the woman. It helped that Buckbeak spoke highly of her.
Somehow Scorpius was being miraculously calm about this entire thing: even when the Chief Warlock, sitting beside the Minister of Magic, called for order and told everyone to rise, his heartbeat was steady. Maybe he was simply tired of freaking out over everything.
Maybe this was what the unicorn had meant. It was a purpose after all, dying. And he had avenged Albus somewhat: even if the boy died without a cure (which made Scorpius's bones turn to ice), Maint would live with the knowledge of pain like none he'd experienced before: a hippogriff clawing the crap out of him.
"Will the Representative of the accused come forth?" The chief warlock asked briskly. Kandace Kain was a half blood witch who had a reputation for being fair: she'd been on the side of the Light in the war.
Mrs. Weasley stood, straight and tall.
"State your name and purpose?"
"Hermione Jean Granger-Weasley," she said, her voice firm. "Representative for the accused hippogriff, Tyvin."
"And the Accusers?"
"Persinus Gold, solicitor for the Maint family, on behalf of Geold Benjamin Thermopolis Maint," a thin, balding man said, his voice not wavering. Maint looked at Scorpius with a small shadow of a smirk, and he just wanted to finish what he'd started the other day.
"Very well," Kain inclined her head. "Gold, you have the floor."
And Scorpius' trial began. He paid close attention, recalling what his father had taught him of legal matters.
Gold was good, he soon realized. He had the Wizengamot captivated as he spun a tale of the feral Tyvin attacking two, innocent students as they walked through the wood. They knew that they had broken the rules, and were sorry for it—but did it warrant an attack on the Minister's grandson? By the time he was finished spelling out reports on hippogriff attacks (one of which was on Draco Malfoy, only in his third year), things looked bad. They only became worse when Maint was put onto the witness stand.
He admittedly looked rather traumatized, with those scars running down his face. Scorpius looked at Albus for his reaction.
The Gryffindor was looking back at him, an eyebrow raised. Really? His eyes asked, and Why?
Because I love you, Scorpius thought.
And then he gasped. Granger and the rest looked at him sharply—that had been rather loud, hadn't it?-but he didn't care.
He was in love with Albus Potter.
He was in love with Albus Potter.
Well it didn't mater anyway, Scorpius thought rather morbidly. He was going to have his head off so Potter would never know. He would die with no chance for humiliation: there was no way that Potter would ever return his feelings.
"And he came out of nowhere," Maint finished. "I didn't have time to react—I just managed to push Lacey behind me before-" he faltered, and touched his scars, looking off to the side.
That bloody sodding faker, Scorpius fumed. He'd done better pity jobs in his third year.
"And do you feel that this hippogriff should be executed? The beloved 'Tyvin'?"
"Well," Maint said slowly, as if considering. "I know Potter has a friendship with him, and I'd hate to cause him pain. Especially while this terrible sickness is happening to him. But as a prefect of Hogwarts, I have to think about the students, and I firmly believe that this hippogriff is a danger to them."
"Thank you," Gold nodded solemnly.
"Mrs. Granger-Weasley, if you have any questions for the witness," Kain said, looking unmoved by Maint's testimony.
"I do, thank you ma'am," the woman stepped up. "Now, Mr. Maint, you say that you did absolutely nothing to provoke my client?"
"No ma'am. Nothing."
"And yet you refused to submit a pensive memory for the Wizengamot to view." Granger began to pace slowly, back and forth. The walk was hypnotizing. "Why?"
"I felt sure that all other evidence would suffice." he gestured to his face.
"I see." she stopped. "Did you know, Mr. Maint, that there have been absolutely no hippogriff attacks in history without provocation?"
"I did not," Maint replied steadily, "Thank you for informing me of this: however, it seems that those statics have been disrupted."
"So you are absolutely sure that you did nothing wrong?" she questioned. "Hippogriffs are extremely loyal and protective toward those that they care for. Even the merest suggestion of hurt to what's their can enrage them. Albus Potter named and has frequently visited Tyvin for nearly half a year." her eyes narrowed.
She was brilliant. She was absolutely, bloody brilliant. And she'd accurately called Albus his. Scorpius trilled, causing everyone to look at him before Gold intervened.
"This has nothing to do with the execution of the hippogriff," he said smoothly. "If you have no further questions about the event?"
Granger pursed her lips, but her eyes were shining. Scorpius could have tongue kissed the woman—if her husband weren't a professional Auror, of course. "No further questions."
"I call Lacey Kingston to the witness stand," Gold said.
Any headway that Granger had made was somewhat toppled by Kingston's testimony. The Ravenclaw began crying halfway through it.
If Scorpius regretted anything, it was that she had to be there when he'd lost it. He hadn't touched her, but he remembered her screaming.
After being Obliviated, it must have been waking up from sleep into a nightmare.
"Miss Kingston," Granger questioned, "do you remember what you were talking about when you and Mr. Maint were attacked?"
Lacey shook her head slowly. "No...it all happened so fast, now everything's fuzzy..."
"Fuzzy?" Granger queried casually. "Fuzzy how?"
"Miss Kingston?" Kain asked.
"Reports say that the girl went into shock," Gold stepped up. "Perhaps this incident was so stressful that, in an effort to forget, Miss Kingston has blocked the event from her memory. Muggles call it 'Selective Amnesia."
"Then why is she on my witness stand?" Kain asked crisply.
Kingston was hustled off, they took a short resting period, and Granger began to call her own witnesses.
Hagrid was dressed in a bright periwinkle suit, his salt and pepper beard unusually tidy. Scorpius had the urge to take a picture and save this memory.
He was questioned by Granger first, then Gold, who felt it fit to bring up Scorpius' father (again) and all of the other life-threatening instances in Hagrid's career.
"I know I've got ter love fer dang'rous things," Hagrid said, "and I know I've got ter big heart, too. But that hippogriff, he loves Al like a human. Never seen a hippogriff so devoted." he eyed the masses. "Remember that."
And there went the plan of dying without humiliation.
"And finally," Granger said as Hagrid shuffled off, "I call Mr. Albus Potter to the witness stand."
All eyes went to Albus.
The boy stood slowly, helped by Hagrid, who offered an arm, and his father. He dropped his hands as soon as he was standing straight, and slowly, stiffly made his way to the witness stand.
He was pale and shaky by the time that he made it. But he did. Ginny Weasley's hands were shaking as they pressed against her mouth, and Scorpius' mother looked away.
There was silence as Albus settled himself, slowly regaining his breath. When he finally had, he wiped the perspiration from his forehead. "Sorry."
"Quite alright, dear boy," Kain's voice was 1% softer than usual.
"Quite," Granger nodded firmly. "Now: how long have you known my client, Mr. Potter?"
"Since he appeared in the Forbidden Forest with Buckbeak's herd," Albus said carefully. "About six months ago."
"And you weren't attacked?"
"No," Albus shook his head. "He didn't like me: I could tell he didn't, but when I bowed he bowed back."
"Bowing is customary, upon meeting a strange hippogriff as a sign of respect," Granger informed the room. "Has my client ever bitten you, or scratched you, Mr. Potter?"
"Never. Tyvin only bumps into me sometimes—he has all the grace of a newborn calf, and he always looks miserable afterward. Like a big, kicked puppy dog." There was soft laughter. Thanks, Potter.
"So in other words, you're saying that he could have hurt Mr. Maint by accident?"
There was a strangled, then silenced protest from Maint's corner.
"No," Albus said slowly. "I wouldn't say that. But I know that Tyvin isn't usually violent and would have had a-" he broke off, coughing into his sleeve. Everyone grimaced at the sound, and Molly and Ginny Weasley made a move as if to stand.
"I'm fine," Albus rasped. A small wizard levitated a glass of water over to him and he took it gratefully.
He wasn't fine, Scorpius realized with a sinking feeling. He wasn't going to be, either. Not without someone knocking the hell out of Maint and making him spit out the counter curse.
"So could it have been an accident?" Granger prompted gently.
"No," Albus admitted. "I can look at facts and see that this was deliberate."
Kain nodded. "Right. Mr. Gold, is there anything you would like to ask?"
"I think Ms. Granger-Weasley has covered it," Gold said, folding his hands behind his back.
"Is there anything else you'd like to say, Mr. Potter?" Kain asked.
Albus bit his lip. "Tyvin," he said, "is my best friend. He made a mistake, for some reason. I don't know why and I don't know if I ever will. But he wouldn't hurt any other student in Hogwarts." he blinked rapidly. "I'm sorry about Geold, I am, and I know he's the minister's grandson. But please don't kill Tyvin." He looked directly as Scorpius. "I love him."
There was the oddest sensation in Scorpius' body. A light warmth, like slowly sliding into a tub of warm water. He looked down, afraid that he was wetting himself.
A golden, honey colored light was slowly traveling up his legs, caressing his feathers. There gasps and screams as people noticed what was happening. The light traveled up, almost petting Scorpius' beak. He looked up and found Albus's wide, startled eyes just as a voice whispered in his ear,
"But you will learn, won't you Scorpion? You will find your light..."
And the world exploded.
"Tyvin!" Someone yelled through the lights. The cage and chains exploded in sparks: that was all Scorpius was able to see before the intensity became too much, and he had to close his eyes.
He could hear Trelawney's prophecy echoing in his ears, hear the hag requesting a sworn promise, see Albus laughing as he kicked snow at him, see Albus sleeping on his back, his fingers curled into his feathers, see Albus, Albus, Albus.
Claws and hooves turned to fingers and toes, a beak to an aristocratic nose and mouth. Feathers became skin and hair and combined to create a silky fabric against his skin.
The light pulsed once more, then disappeared.
Scorpius opened his eyes.
He was standing in the midst of the the charred remains of his metal cage and shackles. His body was completely naked underneath the large, floor-length sheet of dove gray silky, fabric, which he clutched at the waist. His hair, which was ridiculously long, was falling into his eyes, and he had an honest-to-Merlin beard. You could hear a pin drop in the courtroom.
"Um," Scorpius said, and his voice sounded hoarse from disuse, "Hello."
The was an uproar in the court.
Scorpius' mother was standing up and appeared to be trying to climb over people in a effort to get to him, while his father was stock still and pale; Hermione Granger-Weasley was looking at him with shrewd surprise, as if she hadn't quite calculated this; there were a lot of flashes of cameras and shouted questions from the reporters; and Al-
And Al was looking at him. And he was looking back.
He couldn't quite decipher the look on the boy's face: sorrow? Embarrassment? He had said he'd loved him after all, even though technically Scorpius had been Tyvin and Tyvin had been the one that Albus had been talking about. But he wanted to pretend that, at the corner of that confused, bitten mouth, there was a tiny smile.
"ORDER IN MY SODDING COURTROOM!"
Everyone fell silent almost immediately.
Kain straightened her robes primly, smoothing the front and turning bird like, sharp eyes to Scorpius.
"I haven't the time for explanations, Mr. Malfoy, though I'm sure that you have a fantastic one."
"Yes ma'am," he said respectfully, and saw expressions of surprise in the crowd. He held by a scowl: he hadn't been that bad.
"What date is it, Mr. Malfoy, and who are you?"
"The fourth of March, ma'am. My name is Scorpius Hypherion Malfoy of Draco Lucius and Astoria Malina Greengrass, who in turn were birthed by Lucius Abraxan Malfoy and-"
"I believe we get it, Mr. Malfoy," the judge said, her voice this shy of what seemed to be amusement. "Mrs. Granger-Weasley," the judge addressed the woman, "I believe that your client is of able mind and speaking capabilities. If you will question him, so we can finally have some sense of what has happened here?"
"Yes ma'am," Granger said hurriedly, and looked at Scorpius. Her eyes were brimming with curiosity that seemed to want to burst out at any moment. "Mr. Malfoy, if you will take the witness stand and Mr. Potter, if you will stand down."
Scorpius gathered himself, forcing himself not to blush under all of the stares. His mother was being held back by the guards near the front: Draco had snapped out of his shock and was holding her shoulder. The Slytherin nodded at them, and his mother pressed a hand against her mouth.
With forced calm, he carefully walked to the witness stand. To do this, of course, he had to pass Al. Their sides brushed and their eyes locked.
It might have just been in his mind, but he could have sworn that the entire courtroom held their breath. Albus looked even sicker up close: his eyes were a little too big for his face and Scorpius had grown, so he had to look down at him. He was skinny and pale. He was still the most gorgeous thing that he'd seen. Ever.
And then Albus turned away, the court exhaled, and the moment was gone.
"Mr. Malfoy," Maint said, once he was situated. "Would you kindly like to explain just what is going on here?"
"Of course. It's actually a bit of a long story though-"
"We've got time," she said smoothly.
Maint cleared his throat. He was pale and fidgety, but his eyes were burning. "I'm not sure if this is appropriate, ma'am."
"He appears to be of able mind. Of course, if there are tests performed later on and he proves to be insane-" she actually made a little hand sign at this- "Then we will simply disregard anything that he says now. However, I, for one, would like to hear this story."
Scorpius took a deep breath and began.
It was rather simple from there.
Halfway through, Maint jumped up and tried to run away like the little weasel that he was. Of course, this served to make him look guiltier than he already was (he hadn't gotten that far anyway: one Hermione Granger had grabbed him by his arm and slammed him into the table, face down, an arm positioned awkwardly behind his back. She didn't even break a sweat. The woman was fierce.)
The Aurors had him blubbering within minutes, Albus began a potions regime that served as the cure (the curse was a slow wasting disease that Maint's ancestors had created) and Scorpius's parents welcomed him back with open arms. He'd gotten off with no more than two months' worth of community service—with Hagrid the games keeper.
Now, two weeks later, he lay in his bedroom, staring up at the ceiling. He was clean shaven, wrapped in fresh silk pajama bottoms. He'd resented sleeping in clothes, it hadn't felt right, but the house elf, Ferra, popping in on him whilst he was naked (twice) convinced him that they were necessary. His mother had ordered them from France. They'd been hand made. He was allowed whatever he wanted to eat, whether it was eclairs or Muggle Coca Cola (Albus had sung its praises and even given him some, once, while he was Tyvin. It was actually quite good.)
His body was toned and he had abs, actual abs, from running and flying. He'd hardly recognized himself in the mirror. He'd made his Mediwitch blush when he smiled at her. Aurora and Kallinus and some of his other Slytherins had even been allowed to visit, though Aurora had blushed as well, which made Kallinus huffy. But they still had a lot of questions, and there was a lot of smirking and hugging, and when they left Scorpius had a warm, pleasant buzz in his insides.
He was going to have to do some serious studying during the summer, but if he managed it, he'd be able to move on to seventh year. His father was currently hiring the best tutors that he knew of.
Yes, all was well and good in the world of Scorpius Malfoy.
Except for the little, teeny, tiny detail of him being absolutely miserable.
He hadn't seen Albus since he'd been hustled out of the courtroom after Kain's decree, a confusion of lights and people and noise. His parents had been unusually clingy as well. He could give them that, though: he'd been gone for six months.
Draco had been furious when he'd found out that Scorpius had taken an unfamiliar potion.
"You've grown up around potions," he'd raved, his arms tight at his sides as if he wanted to waved them around. "Just what were you thinking!?"
And of course, Scorpius couldn't admit just what he'd been thinking. They hadn't even addressed the fact that he'd near-killed for a Potter. He was actually hoping that his parents had forgotten about that, but his mother had sat down at the edge of his bed three nights after he was back home.
"So," she'd said delicately. "About the Potter boy-"
He shut her down. "I don't want to talk about it mother."
Her smile was sad, yet fond, and she'd brushed a kiss across his forehead. "Of course not," she murmured, her lip twitching. "Just give him a minute."
So he was. He was giving Albus a minute, and he totally was not moping about the fact that the boy probably hated his guts.
Merlin, he felt like he was going to crawl out of his skin. He hadn't even been allowed to read the papers, since apparently his "half nudity and story had generated interest of the untoward kind". Whatever that meant.
But today was the day when he began helping Hagrid, so that was something.
He rose, finally, and trudged to the bathroom, taking a long, languorous shower. He'd taken to having two a day, with the occasion baths thrown in. (What? He liked to be pampered, damn it.) He slid on Muggle clothes, a secret guilty pleasure of his: black jeans and a dark gray v-neck shirt, because he was feeling bad. And then he imagined his mother's reaction to his clothes and changed into a dark green shirt. She was already pushing for at least a little therapy, and there was no need to encourage her.
His hair had been a matter of discussion. It had grown nearly mid-back. His father had liked the hairstyle, as it was the normal fashion of young lords coming into adulthood. However, his mother thought they should cut it into a short hairstyle. He'd compromised, sent them out, and had the hair dresser make it cut off just above his neck. He could just barely tie it back.
He let it hang in strands around his face today, shaved and brushed his teeth (another luxury). He slid his feet into a pair of soft white socks. A small crack alerted him to the fact that a house elf had popped into his room.
"It's alright, Ferra," he told the floppy eared house elf, who had a gray hand covering her eyes. "I'm covered."
"Ferra thanks Merlin, Master Scorpius." she breathed out, taking her hand down. Scorpius went faintly pink, but he pushed that down.
"My parents are summoning me to breakfast, I suppose?" he reached into his closet and pulled out the boots that his mother had brought him when his community service had been decreed. They were perfect for tramping about in the woods.
His heart lifted when he realized that he'd be seeing his hippogriffs in just a few hours. He had found himself missing them: the feel of bodies around him, pressing against the cold, Fireswift and Moonrun bumping his shoulder when he was being a bit of a prat. He missed Celeste's calming voice, especially when his own, human mother was so similar. He even missed Buckbeak.
Suddenly rejuvenated, he followed Ferra down to the dining room, where his parents were speaking in low voices. They were smiling, though, so Scorpius wasn't worried. Outside, the morning summer sun streamed in, bright and white in the huge glass windows. The table was set neatly, a cooling glass of bright fruits in the center with croissants and spreads around. Eggs, sausages...Scorpius's stomach rumbled.
"Mother, Father," he greeted them and carefully sat on the other side of his father.
"Scorpius, dear." His mother picked up his fist and brushed a kiss across it. "How did you sleep?"
"Fine," he replied, fixing himself a plate. He resisted the urge to bounce. "What time will we be Apparating to Hogwarts?"
"Soon, actually." Draco's nose wrinkled in distaste. He was probably the only one offended that Scorpius had to work with Hagrid. Scorpius didn't mind: the half-giant had grown on him. Astoria was just glad that Scorpius didn't have to go to Azkaban. "Are you sure that you don't want me to simply pay the galleons? Your summer could be better spent, if you wanted."
"It's fine, Father." Scorpius generously buttered a croissant and popped it into his mouth. It had taken a while for him to regain his table manners.
"If you're sure," Draco said, obviously reluctant. "Just don't disappear into that huge forest again."
It was meant to come out as a joke, but it fell flat. He was obviously serious.
His father had gotten old these past few months: there were more lines around his eyes and mouth, and Scorpius had gotten taller than him. It panged an instinct in him. He leaned across and hugged him, ignoring the stiffness of the man's back. "Yes, father."
"Well then," Draco cleared his throat. Astoria looked as if she were surreptitiously wiping her eyes. "Well then."
They Apparated to the gates of Hogwarts at ten o' clock sharp. Hagrid met them at the gate, actually smiling.
Scorpius's mother fussed with his clothes ("For the last time, mother, the pants are fine, I won't die of heat stroke." "But you never know!") and his hair ("My ponytail is fine, mom, it's barely even a ponytail." "I told you, you should have cut it all off!") and everything in general until Draco gently pried him away from her."
"Be careful," was all he said, giving Hagrid a level look.
And then his parents were gone, leaving him with the man who he'd occupationally mocked for most of his school life. Scorpius swallowed. "Sir."
"Young Malfoy." Hagrid smiled gruffly. "Yer look good. Strong."
"Yeah. Um, thanks." he put his hands in his pockets.
They started the walk to Hogwarts. Obviously uncomfortable with the silence, Hagrid started describing some of the things that they'd be doing the summer. He listened intently, for once, nodding as they approached Hagrid's house.
"Oh! I almost fergot. Young Albus 'll be jonin' us this summer," he beamed proudly. "'Studyin' to take over my position when I sit back on ter ol' rockin' chair wi' ter missus."
Scorpius saw the wink that Hagrid threw at him, but his heart was thundering too hard in his chest for him to process.
"Is he here?" the words rushed out, completely accidental but wanted.
"Back at ter cabin, waitin'," Hagrid said obliviously. "Really, must ter slipped my min'. Oh well! Anterway, he's much better now he's got ter cure fer his curse, all thanks ter you."
Scorpius began mentally check himself out. He looked shaggable in almost anything, nowadays, but would Albus even care about that? Did he hate him? How was he doing? Was he better? What would he do when he-
And then Albus rounded the corner, and there was no more time for frantic questions because he was there. All messy black hair and bright green eyes and a small dimple curving his cheek with a smile. He was wearing a pair of beat of jeans and a shirt with boots, his clothes a little more worn than Scorpius's. He looked a lot healthier.
And he was smiling.
At him. At Scorpius. He wasn't furious, or sad, or anything, and Scorpius felt like he could have melted a little in relief.
"Hi," he said, hoping that it didn't come out as breathless as it sounded.
"Hi," Albus said, that little dimple growing deeper. Scorpius wanted to kiss it, see how deep it could go.
They were set to the task of feeding the animals that Hagrid had around his place, first, while Hagrid went up to the castle to let the Headmistress know that they were working. To be honest, it felt like privacy. Maybe the oaf wasn't as dim as he looked.
"I never got to thank you," Albus said, after minutes of working in silence.
Scorpius looked at him in confusion as the chickens pecked around his feet. "For what?" And then he realized. "Oh."
"Yeah," Albus looked shy. "That."
"You're not mad about me? Being Tyvin?"
There was a long moment when Albus didn't answer, and Scorpius kicked himself: he hadn't meant to ask that. And then the Gryffindor answered, "I was, for a little while. But you saved my life, consequences be damned. I guess I can forgive you for it."
They worked in silence some more. Scorpius listened to the sound of the animals around him, the breeze, the sun on his skin. Everything, for once, felt right.
"You know, I need to-"
"So I guess-"
They smiled at each other, then Scorpius swept his hand toward Albus. The Gryffindor licked his lips. "So I guess this sort of means I owe you a life debt."
Scorpius shrugged, suddenly feeling awkward. A few months ago, that power would have made him giddier than a toddler on coffee. Now, he was indifferent. "I guess so."
"A lot of people said that changing into a hippogriff changed you."
"My mother says I smile more," Scorpius grumbled, not at all happy with it. Okay, maybe a little happy with it. "And not, you know, the malicious, I-have-just-caused-harm sort of smiling."
To his surprise, Albus laughed. It was clear and deep and there was no coughing, just that smile and that damn dimple. "I dunno," he said, once he was finished. "I'd just say that you were living up to your potential."
That surprised Scorpius. He looked at Albus, who studiously fed the injured Thestral in Hagrid's barn. He hadn't flinched away from the small, hand-sized chunks of raw, bloody meat. (Yeah, there was no way that Scorpius was going to be touching that anytime soon...)
"Oh," he said.
"Yeah. I do kind of miss Tyvin, though." he looked a little wistful.
Scorpius grinned. That could easily be solved. "Stand clear for a minute." Albus did as he was told. The Slytherin concentrated for a moment, before there was a twist of air and he was on four legs.
"You lucky bastard," Albus breathed, and without thought reached up to touch a hand to Scorpius's beak. He flinched right before making contact.
Having none of that, Scorpius butted his head into the boy's palm. Al's smile grew radiant.
He let his Gryffindor pet him and coo and even extract a feather before he seamlessly changed back, a little less put together. He smoothed his hair and put it back in the ponytail.
He'd found out about his Animagus form while he was bored in his bedroom, idily thinking. It had scared the crap out of him at first: what if it was permanent? But then he'd changed back, his clothes and memories in tact, and his father had been staring at him in horror.
"Guess that was what the hippogriffs had meant when they'd said 'enchantment'," he'd said with a rueful smile.
"Thank you." Albus said quietly. "I mean, just-" he stepped forward, and before he knew what was happening, Scorpius had a Gryffindor in his arms. He froze for a moment, feeling like his father probably had that morning. Albus was still slim and hard angles, reminding the Slytherin that he was, in fact, a relaxed, slowly looping his arms around Al's waist.
"Thought I'd lost that," he mumbled against his neck.
"You won't," Scorpius replied honestly. "Ever."
Albus pulled back a little, his eyes bright, and Scorpius couldn't help himself. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to the other boy's.
There was a moment when they were both very, very still. And then Albus exhaled shakily, something like 'Finally' on his lips, and pressed forward, his eyes fluttering shut.
And that, that made all of the absolute bollocks worth it. Even when Hagrid walked in and gave a high, girlish scream that made Albus bite down on the Slytherin's lip, hard enough to draw blood.
But that was okay, because this was, apparently, his life.
He just wondered what he was going to tell his father.
It literally took me nearly three months to write that. You know how you just need to get something out, and then you lose interest so you pick it up again? Yeah. Dogged determination and stupidity is what has gotten me here, to the end.
I'd like to thank Martha Stewart for her brilliant, brilliant sugar cookie recipe, and whoever created hot cocoa. (Too lazy to Google it). My dad and mum, for passing on that stubborn gene that made me stay in my mom's birth canal for a good fourteen hours. And now I'm going to stop typing and post this before I confess something really, really bad.
At ease, soldiers. Please Review and Rate. Like, seriously. We all claim to not mind, but no author likes a silent reader.
Also, I'm thinking about posting sort of a Mini-Sequel? With outtakes and meeting the family and stuff? Lemme know.
Oh! And there was actually a purpose to writing this. I forgot that. See, I noticed a distinct lack of Scorpalbus quality fics out there (but there are some goood ones, god you people give me tingles). So I wanted to add my own lot into the pot. This is literally the longest oneshot that I've ever written, EVER. So yeah. I wanted this to be cracky and a little serious and fluffy because I work that way. And no, I'm not writing a smutty sequel. Sorry. No flames!
Alright, peace and bunnies: