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26 July 2007 @ 10:58 pm
HP fic: The Third Road Less Travelled  
HP fic: The Third Road Less Travelled
This part: 5323 words, PG-13, ships but foreshadowed for now
Warning: contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows



’Hope’ is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

(Emily Dickinson)

Rain splattered the windows of the Clubhouse. The skies outside were dark and ominous, but inside all was cozy and gold-limned. Rambo lay in front of the fire, checking over his homework with the aid of an enormous Oxford Dictionary of Magic propped at his elbow. Albus and Titania, who took far less pains with their essays and didn't consider it vital to look up every word they didn't know, were curled up in two hammocks. Both were absorbed in The Dragon's Gullet. They'd got up at six am to check it of the fiction section of the library before the rest of the school. VD Wallflower was the author of a phenomenally successful series of adventure books, of which The Dragon's Gullet was the latest instalment. Everyone was clamouring for it; the ten copies in the Hogwarts library were pre-booked for the next six weeks.

"Have you ever heard of the Sectumsempra spell?" asked Rambo. Spare quills were stuck in his hair like an Indian headdress.

"Nope," murmured Albus, barely registering the question.

"I think it's used for cleaning toilets," put in Titania. She tossed aside her book. "I have to take a break, my eyes are stinging like crazy."

Albus didn't answer. His eyes whizzed along the text, trekking through a rainforest with the hero Berto Blastnoggin and his faithful companion, the dog Concorde.

"If you're finished, you'd better return it for the next people," said Rambo, frowning as he scratched out a sentence. "I can't find a reference for this spell anywhere, but it's clearly mentioned in the list of magic used in the last Great War."

"That's probably because it was used by the Death Eaters," said Titania. "Did anyone bring food?"

Rambo pointed at a plate of doughnuts with an ink-stained finger. Titania fell upon them like it hadn't been an hour since dinner, at which she'd had three servings of shepherd's pie.

Albus snuggled deeper into his hammock, relishing the smell of frayed binder twine and old pillows. Very soon they'd have to go back to their common room, but for now Albus was making the most of his freedom.

There was a faint scratching from outside the Clubhouse. A moment later, the plank door swung inwards and Scorpius stepped through. He too had a copy of The Dragon's Gullet, but it lacked the shine of a Dust Repelling Enchantment. Albus was distracted by the sight. He knew Scorpius hadn't been one of the early-rising few who'd secured the first loan of the book from the library.

"Where'd you get that, Scorpius?" he asked. Scorpius seemed confused for a minute, as if he wasn't carrying anything out of the ordinary.

"Oh, this?" he said, holding up the book. "My mother sent it to me this morning."

"Wow, she must have been queuing at Flourish's for ages." Albus was impressed.

"Yeah, I guess," said Scorpius vaguely. He tossed the book on to a shelf. "Norma couldn't come," he told Titania. "She's serving detention for making apple pie beds in all the second year dormitories. Something about her toad being hexed by Speranza Zabini?"

"Is that all?" Titania sounded disappointed. "She's off her game. We've been doing that since we were five."

"Maybe she's sticking to the traditional approach." Scorpius swung into the hammock with Albus, who budged up to make room. Now that Scorpius was here his interest in The Dragon's Gullet abated somewhat. Scorpius had a way of looking at people that suggested he was amused by a joke only he could see, and Albus was always hopeful that Scorpius would tell him what it was.

"How long till curfew?" he asked Scorpius, who was the only one with a working watch. The twins' parents hadn't trusted them with even that much raw machinery, Rambo's digital one had stopped working as they crossed the Lake the first night, and Albus had accidentally left his on when they took swimming lessons for Defence Against the Dark Arts.

"Half an hour," replied Scorpius. He set the hammock to rocking with his foot and gazed around the Clubhouse.

Albus followed his example. Nearly two months had passed since they'd established it. The walls were made of hewn logs and the two windows, overlooking the courtyards, had frames heavily carved with ivy. Tiny faces peeped out from between the leaves. The rough floor was covered over with jolly braided mats, in all colours and shapes: red and blue stars, green and orange circles, ruffled pink squares. A fire burned merrily at all times inside a ring of large, flat stones. There were two hammocks stuffed with pillows and a couple of canvas chairs.

Sometimes Albus entertained himself by trying to guess which elements of the Clubhouse belonged to which Club members. Dad had been vague about the properties of the special room, but he had said it took into account what people wanted or needed from it. Albus liked the window frames best, but he knew he couldn't claim them: they were too obviously Scorpius'. When they were occasionally paired up in Potions Albus had seen the way all of Scorpius' notebooks were fantastically decorated with ink drawings, each incredibly elaborate and detailed. He'd even cajoled Scorpius into illustrating a bookmark for him and although he'd scowled about it, Albus thought a hidden part of Scorpius appreciated the attention.

As yet the Club didn't have an official title. They couldn't agree on one, although this was not for lack of trying. Titania and Norma were as one mind on their suggestions, Rambo backed up Albus, and both factions needed Scorpius' support. As yet he'd declined to bestow it on either, laughing off their ideas as stupid, wrong, or both. The Club was the Club for now, and looked set to remain the Club until the end of time.

Titania, refreshed by a doughnut or three, settled back down with her book. Rambo was running his finger along every entry column under 'S', frowning. Albus laid his cheek against a pillow, too mellow to open The Dragon's Gullet again. It was too exciting to mix with a mood like this.

"Looking forward to the Halloween feast?" asked Scorpius.

"Yeah," said Albus. He hesitated for a moment. "My birthday's the next day. I might be getting a pet."

"What kind?" Scorpius' cool, dark blue eyes were narrowed, but he kept them that way all the time.

"I don't know. Whatever my parents approve of, I guess," said Albus. "My mother promised that if I didn't ... if I kept out of trouble the first term, she'd allow me to get an animal for my birthday."

"But you've already reneged on that," Scorpius pointed out. "Serving two detentions doesn't count as keeping out of trouble in most people's books."

Albus blushed. "That wasn't - I mean, James got detention too, so it doesn't really matter. They were madder at him than me that time."

"Yes, discovering unexpected cousins always comes as such a shock," said Scorpius dryly. "It's not as if half the wizarding world was related to the other half or anything."

"That's what I meant." Albus stared into the flickering firelight, feeling his eyelids grow heavy. He flexed his fingers on the spine of The Dragon's Gullet so he wouldn't let it slip off his lap.

"Is there a reason why you didn't get an animal when you started school?"

"Kind of," said Albus. Scorpius' tawny owl and James' brindled one had already got into a number of spats in the Owlery, so it wasn't like Albus could plead a parental blanket ban on pets. It was a good thing Scorpius didn't know about Lily's army of guinea pigs or he'd be even more suspicious. "There wasn't anything in the Magical Menagerie I liked when we went."

"Yet despite being that picky, you're about to let your parents choose for you?" Scorpius got that impatient look on his face. Albus hated it.

Pouring oil on troubled waters, he said, "Not quite. I sent them a long list of ones I like." He figured that since the whole conversation had been a lie on his side, this little one wouldn't hurt.

"They should put 'passive-aggressive' over 'loyalty' in the Hufflepuff motto," said Scorpius, but he was grinning. The danger had passed.

Albus breathed an inaudible sigh of relief; he hated rousing Scorpius' icy scorn. It was worse than James' cyclonic temper.

"So," said Scorpius a few minutes later, "are you planning anything for your birthday?"

"Not really," said Albus, surprised. "I mean, Mum'll send me loads of nice food, so I thought I'd bring it here and share it, but other than that..."

"Hmm." Scorpius' brow furrowed in thought. "It's a good start." At that moment a squawk came from the Guardian's shelf.

After Albus had caught Eoghan prodding Mouse with his wand to make him talk, Albus had brought him to the Clubhouse for safekeeping. Bruce had followed soon after, as Rambo liked spending Club time experimenting on him. So far he'd changed the colour of Bruce's fur from faded grey to bright orange, given him a horn that drew blood if you so much as touched it and enchanted him to purr when stroked. As no one else except Rambo cared to stroke him, especially after Titania had to go to the infirmary to have the hole in her arm healed, the debate on whether or not whales purred was forestalled.

When the twins saw how Albus' and Rambo's toys had set up housekeeping in the Clubhouse, they decided to bring their companions as well. These turned out to be little twig people of indeterminate sex, with stiff skirts and ruffs and spiky hair. Titania explained that they were made from the wreckage of a broom they'd crashed when they'd manifested their first magic at the age of two and a half. They were nameless and creepy, but Albus appreciated the gesture.

Scorpius had flat-out refused to contribute to the Guardian shelf. He claimed not to have a toy friend of any sort. Albus thought this was a lie, but he was more hurt by Scorpius' contempt than by his deception. Scorpius, who was the best informed of the group, hadn't even helped Rambo fix up a warning signal for the Guardians. It was only the crudest of alarm spells, but Scorpius' touch would surely have transformed it into something far more sophisticated. His parents were always sending him rare and obscure spellbooks to add to the collection he'd brought with him, some of it housed in the Clubhouse. But Scorpius had walked out for three days after they all pressured him to help. It had taken a considerable amount of coaxing and the last of Rambo's dwindling stash of Muggle sweets to get him back at all. Since then they took care not to push Scorpius into places he didn't want to go.

"Curfew's up," said Rambo, unnecessarily. He sounded more like he was cursing the fact than disseminating the information, though. This was confirmed by his next words: "And I couldn't find a hint of Sectumsempra anywhere, so I can't finish my essay."

"It's not due for a week, calm down," said Scorpius.

"But I have all these other things I want to look up," said Rambo. His face was contorted into the unmistakable anguish of the foiled academic. "I know hardly anything, I have so much to catch up on -"

"I'll help you look up some of the stuff tomorrow," said Albus. "The Chess Club's meeting was cancelled."

"Thanks, Al," said Rambo, puce with relief.

"No worries."

Scorpius waited until Rambo was distracted by gathering up all his quills to turn a Look on Albus. The Look was very dynamic in the emotion it conveyed, but static in its construction, consisting of raised eyebrows, wrinkled forehead, extra-narrowed eyes and flattened lips. Albus pretended to ignore it, but Scorpius was nothing if not persistent.

Rambo and Titania left before them. Titania was talking nine to the dozen about The Dragon's Gullet, without requiring the slightest response from Rambo, who was still muttering about incomplete references. Scorpius stopped Albus from catching up with them by the simple expedient of grabbing a fold of Albus' sleeve between his fingers.

"The Chess Club never cancels meetings," he said. "If the castle was burning down around them and a dragon had eaten the chessboards they wouldn't cancel a meeting. It would be the height of barbarity."

"I can afford to miss one," said Albus.

"No, you can't." The fingers on Albus' sleeve were twitching. "I've seen you play. I've played you. You are about as good at chess as a mermaid is at ballroom dancing."

Albus shrugged. "My dad always says chess takes time to perfect. He's been playing Uncle Ron for nearly forty years and hasn't beaten him yet."

"All the more reason why you shouldn't skip a meeting!"

"Rambo needs my help. He's my friend. That's more important than a chess meeting."

"Albus." The word was nearly a groan. "Sometimes I think you -"

"Curfew," said Albus shortly. "I could do without another detention, I don't know about you."

"Fine. See you tomorrow."

"Yeah," said Albus. "And don't hesitate to, you know, help us find that spell in one of your million books. If you can take the time out of your busy schedule."

Scorpius' eyes narrowed to slits. The only other time Albus had seen that expression was before Scorpius had walked out. Albus didn't fancy waiting around to hear what he had to say. He tucked his hands into his sleeves and slipped away.

The next day Scorpius didn't turn up at the Clubhouse, but his owl did. It carried a note that read: Dear Rambo, Sectumsempra isn't a Ministry-approved spell because it is used for flaying people's skins off their bodies. I wouldn't include it in your essay as you'd probably get detention. Yrs, SAM.

Rambo blanched and hurried to rewrite a whole paragraph. Albus burned up the note with a smile on his face and went back to playing chess with Norma.

+_+_+

The Halloween feast was everything James, who was a foodaholic, had boasted it would be. Headmistress McGonagall had arranged for formations of bats to swoop across the enchanted sky - currently dusky purple - in thrilling formations. The Muggle Studies teacher, Professor Wilde, had helped her to enchant Muggle loudspeakers so they blared out the latest hits from Witchfire and Hexed. If McGonagall looked pained by the wailing lyrics she suffered for the greater good, because everyone except the most hardcore, oldschool fans of the Weird Sisters and pathetic lovers of Celestina Warbeck bellowed along with their mouths full. Even Muggleborns like Rambo were soon ensnared by the catchy backbeats.

Albus felt pleasantly sick when he retired to bed that night. Eoghan kept him up for hours groaning with stomach-ache. Albus couldn't bring himself to feel much sympathy for the boy, and he was glad when at one in the morning a long-suffering Conan offered to take him to the infirmary. Rambo slept like a log throughout.

The next day Rambo woke Albus with a hand-charmed card, which sung Happy Birthday off-key in a tinny voice. Rambo looked pleased as punch, and nearly exploded with pride when Albus put the card in the place of honour atop his trunk. Breakfast opened with a deluge of owls bearing gifts and good wishes. Albus was a little embarrassed by the attention this garnered, but his fondness for presents soon overwhelmed it.

His parents had sent sundry small items, like books and scarves and, embarrassingly, underpants, but when Headmistress McGonagall sent for him he knew this was about the real present. As he left the Hall James jumped in his path. Albus flinched, expecting a blow - James had been in the habit of turning birthday bumps into a complex form of torture - but James merely mumbled, "Happy Birthday" and shoved a card into his hand. Rose even deigned to smile at him before Victoire and Marie-Jeanette rushed over to present their own gifts.

McGonagall was waiting for him in her study. Portraits of past headmasters beamed down on him benevolently, and Albus saw one with a long white beard flick something from his eye and disappear into the frame of another, whose greasy hair covered his scowling face. Albus was too excited to pay much attention.

"Happy Birthday, Albus," said McGonagall, smiling.

"Thank you," said Albus. He was uncertain as to whether he was supposed to call her Professor McGonagall or Aunt Minerva, so he settled for nothing at all.

"Your mother and father sent your gift into my keeping," said McGonagall, "and I've taken the liberty of making my present a part of it." She lifted a casket on to her desk. It was shaped like a hat-box and covered in maroon silk. "Go on, then. Open it."

Albus held his breath as he carefully removed the lid of the box. Inside the box was lined with pale blue padding, in the midst of which a tiny kitten was curled up, fast asleep. Albus felt his face break into a smile. He reached out a finger to touch the kitten's delicate ear. It was a most unusual colour, a sort of slate blue - except for around the ears, nose and paws, where the colour darkened to violet, and its underbelly, which was the shade of buttermilk.

"I have enchanted the box to transform into various things at your command - a carrying cage, a pillow, a sleeping basket and so on," said McGonagall. "Well? Do you like him?"

"He's the coolest thing ever," breathed Albus.

"I'll take that as a yes." McGonagall smiled briefly; Albus missed the expression entirely, rapt as he was in tickling the kitten awake. "You may take him back to your common room."

"Thank you, Aunt Minerva," said Albus, giving her an impulsive hug. It was like embracing a broomstick, but after a minute McGonagall unbent enough to pat his shoulder.

"Would you like to take a biscuit with you?" she asked.

"That would be nice," said Albus dutifully, although McGonagall's homemade ginger snaps were as much fun as celery salad. Perhaps the kitten would like them. Albus couldn't wait to show him off. He was already debating names in his head as he made his way to the Clubhouse.

The other four were awaiting him there. Albus got the surprise of his life when he opened the door to find the room transformed into a grotto, strung with fairy lights in rainbow colours and a 'Happy Birthday' banner stretched across one wall. It sparkled as it rippled in a magical breeze. A trestle table had been set up to hold all manner of sweets and fat things; pride of place was given to a huge slab of chocolate cake. Albus could feel springy grass under his feet.

"What'd you get?" cried Norma, as Titania said, "Let's see it, then."

"Shh," said Albus. "He's just woken up. Don't scare him." He knelt down and sat the box on the grass. When he took off the lid the kitten blinked its huge turquoise eyes at him and began to purr. Albus scooped him up and deposited him gently in Norma's lap. She squealed with delight.

"Isn't he precious?"

"He looks like a jewel. A jewel-cat!" said Titania.

"My mother said cats carry all sorts of nasty diseases," said Rambo apprehensively.

"I'm sure they say the same about you," said Titania, stealing the kitten from Norma to hold him at head height and rub noses.

"Don't worry, he's been properly checked out," Albus assured him. "Why don't you give him one pat?"

Rambo obeyed, narrowly avoiding petting Titania's eye instead. "He's soft!"

"Of course he is, he's a little baby kitten," said Norma, scratching him behind the ears. "What did you expect, bristles?"

The three of them began to argue companionably; all their conversations invariably disintegrated into squabbles. Albus looked around for Scorpius. He was standing beside the food table, his arms crossed over his chest and his face shuttered.

"This place looks amazing," said Albus. "Did you do it?"

"Kind of," said Scorpius, which meant 'yes, all of it.' Albus smiled and bumped shoulders with him.

"It's great. And the food? Don't tell me you cooked it too."

"Don't be ridiculous." Scorpius sniffed. "I enticed it out of the house elves. Look at the cake."

Albus peered at the cake. On closer inspection it was in the shape of a castle with four turrets. Each of the turrets had a piped icing letter under the parapet: S, N, T and R. 'Albus' was swirled over the drawbridge. Great care had been taken to use different shades of icing for the bricks and mortar, not to mention the tiny dots forming the chain of the drawbridge.

"Watch this," said Scorpius. He touched his wand to the drawbridge. It opened and four tiny knights made of butter cream marched out. They saluted Albus and chorused "Happy Birthday!"

"You went to so much trouble!" Albus shook his head in amazement. He ghosted his hand over the knights. "Thank you, Scorpius."

Scorpius' face relaxed into a rare smile. "Happy birthday, Albus. Here, eat one of them. Their core is spun sugar - so much easier to enchant than plain cream, let me tell you."

Albus popped one knight into his mouth and tossed another at Scorpius. It was almost a shame to eat them, they were so exquisite; but Albus didn't regret it once the taste exploded on to his tongue.

"Hey, you should consider a career in culinary magic," he said with his mouth full. "This tastes like a cloud."

"How do you know what a cloud tastes like? It's just condensed water."

"It's how I imagine a cloud would taste like." Albus looked around for a knife. Reading his mind, Scorpius produced one from the pocket of his robe.

"Quick quick, hand it over," said Albus. "I want to see if the rest of this cake tastes as good as its inhabitants!"

"Cannibal," said Scorpius, but he hadn't stopped smiling.

+_+_+

Albus felt light-headed and disconnected as he walked back to Hufflepuff Wing with Titania and Rambo, but he put it down to one too many helpings of ice-cream. By the time he reached the dormitory his hands and feet were tingling with pins and needles. He felt the lymph nodes under his chin and, sure enough, they were swollen to the size of Snitches. His tongue was puffing up; he could feel it pressing the insides of his lips.

With jerky movements, Albus managed to find the box of potions in his trunk. He bit off the cork of one bottle and drank the slimy liquid down, shuddering at the taste. Then he curled up on the bed. The kitten jumped on to his pillow and kneaded it with his claws. Apparently unsatisfied, he trotted down the mattress and sunk his teeth into the blanket. He proceeded to drag it up over Albus' feet. Albus' last waking memory was of smiling at the kitten as it settled down to sleep beside him.

Rambo later described the terror he'd felt when Albus didn't get up with the alarm the next day, and Rambo pulled back his curtains to find him stretched out blue and cold on the bed. "I thought for sure you were dead," he told Albus. He, Eoghan and Conan carried him as far as the common room, where they found a group of fourth-years who levitated Albus while Rambo ran ahead to alert Madam MacDougal.

Albus recalled nothing of this. He next awoke between the stiff, sterile sheets of the infirmary. His parents were standing beside his bed. Mum looked liked she'd recently been crying, and Dad's jaw was quilted with frustration.

"He's awake," Mum said to Dad as Albus opened his eyes. They were dry and stingy. He blinked a few times to ease the discomfort.

"What you doing here?" he whispered. His throat felt as if someone had tipped burning liquid down it for several hours.

"You had another attack," said Mum. "I'm sorry, Albus."

"What? Why?" Albus struggled to sit up, but Dad's hand on his shoulder prevented him.

"Don't try to move too much, Al," he said. "You've been here for four days without any proper food. You're too weak, don't over-tax yourself."

"He's right," said Madam MacDougal. Her soft-soled shoes had made no noise as she entered the room. "Albus, dear, I'm glad you're awake. I've been magically infusing you with fluids so you don't get dehydrated, but we'll start you on solids just as soon as you feel up to it. But you won't be moving from that bed for another day at least."

"Oh." Albus stared at the ceiling. His happiness at seeing his parents was swamped by his revulsion for the prison sentence Madam MacDougal had just pronounced on him. "What happened?"

Mum and Dad shared a look, one that meant 'we're not going to tell you everything you want to hear.' Madam MacDougal appeared to have other ideas. "I've tested your blood, Albus. There are traces of a number of antigens, including nuts and cat dander. The immune-boosting potions appear to be losing their effectiveness and you're body is open to infection again."

"We think you might have to go back to St Mungo's for some more tests -" Mum began.

"No!" shouted Albus. To his shame, tears began to well at the corners of his eyes. "I don't want to go back there - I want to stay at school -"

"But the potions aren't working anymore," said Dad inexorably.

"If you'll excuse my interrupting," said Madam MacDougal, "that isn't quite correct. The potions have lost some of their effectiveness, yes, but not all of it. For the time being they may suffice, if Albus consents to stay away from everything that could be considered an antigen, and takes care to perform Scouring and Air Filtering Charms at regular intervals. These potions are very strong, after all; not to mention they've been designed with adult patients in mind. The last thing you want to do is overload Albus' body at this young age. With all due respect, I'd suggest that you allow his defence system, weak as it is, some breathing space."

"We usually don't discuss these things in front of Albus," said Mum.

"He is the patient here," said Madam MacDougal, her voice gaining a sharp edge. "This information belongs to him. He's a bright boy; I'm sure he understands what I'm saying."

"I do," said Albus. "Mum, Dad, I want to stay here. I'll do everything Madam MacDougal says. I promise."

"All right," said Dad heavily. Mum opened her mouth to protest, and Dad squeezed her hand. "Ginny, we've discussed this ... Albus should have as normal a life as possible. He deserves that much."

"Well, then." Mum's mouth was thin and sad. "Just you make sure you learn those spells properly, Albus. Do exactly what Madam MacDougal says. And I want you to have a check-up at St Mungo's over Christmas!"

"All right." Albus was elated. He didn't have to leave. He would have agreed if Mum said he had to dance naked in front of James over Christmas, so relieved was he.

"I've already compiled a list of possibly harmful antigens," said Madam MacDougal, unfurling a depressingly long piece of parchment. She took Albus' hand. "I'm sorry, but your new pet is dangerous, given your weak immunity. You can't keep him with you any longer."

"My kitten?" One rogue tear escaped Albus' control and splashed salt on to his lips. "I have to give away my kitten? I didn't even get to name him..."

"You have to do it, for the sake of your health," said Madam MacDougal gently. "Surely it's worth it, if it means you get to stay?"

"Yeah, I suppose." Albus dashed the wetness from his cheek.

"Good boy." Madam MacDougal squeezed his hand. "Your friends have been begging to come see you. I think you'll be able to handle one, if you promise to take a Sleeping Draught straight after."

"Scorpius, please," said Albus immediately. He thought perhaps he should have asked for Rambo, but he wanted Scorpius more.

"Scorpius Malfoy?" said Dad, and Mum echoed him: "Malfoy's son?"

"Yeah," said Albus. He couldn't read the expression on their faces.

"We'd better get going, Al," said Dad, after an awkward pause. "We'll leave you to catch up with your ... friend."

"Okay." Albus took a wobbly breath. He wished his parents weren't going away again so soon, but they'd probably been here for days already. He gave them both a hug, holding on for a bit longer than a boy of eleven should have, and watched the green fire swallow them up.

Scorpius was deathly pale as he crept into the room. He looked very young all of a sudden. Albus had hoped for comfort from him, but he saw that Scorpius was the one needing reassurance.

He smiled and said, "Hey, Scorpius."

Scorpius stood stock still and stared at him. His voice, when he spoke, was like a geyser bursting.

"'Hey Scorpius'? You go and nearly die, and don't wake up for days, and 'Hey Scorpius' is the best you can do? How about an apology for nearly scaring us all to death?"

"I'm sorry." Albus rolled his eyes. "There, do you feel better now?"

"No." Scorpius flung himself into a chair and buried his face into his hands. His voice was muffled. "Don't ever pretend to die again, all right?"

"I didn't pretend to die this time. I just got an allergic attack. That's what I wanted to talk to you about." Albus' voice shook, despite all he could do to hold it steady. "I can't keep my cat. Will you look after him for me?"

"You want me to take Jewel?" Scorpius stared at him through a cage of fingers.

"Jewel?"

"We had to call him something." Scorpius looked uncomfortable. "It was Titania's idea. I don't like it, but they all ganged up on me..."

"Jewel's a nice name."

"It's a boy cat! At the very least it should be masculine."

"You haven't answered my question."

"Well, of course I'll look after him," snapped Scorpius, as if it were obvious. "I won't own him, mind. I’ll only be keeping him until you ... get better."

"Obviously." Albus pinched his wrist. His eyes were wet again.

Scorpius slowly took his hands off his face. The two boys stared at each other for a long moment. Albus pinched his wrist harder. Scorpius leapt from his seat and flung his arms around Albus' neck.

"I'm so glad it wasn't me," he muttered into Albus' chin. "I thought for sure I'd poisoned you with my cake."

"Don't be an idiot." Albus laughed weakly, remembering that nuts and cream were on the list of antigens as well as on the cake recipe.

"I would have been," said Scorpius thickly, "if I'd made a cake that killed my ... that killed my best friend."

Albus froze. Then he smiled, feeling happier than he had since he woke up - and that was a steep hill to climb, considering how upsetting the day had been from start to finish.

But he knew better than to let Scorpius see the extent of his delight. Pushing at Scorpius' head, his fingers sinking into the buttery curls, he said, "So what you're saying is ... Scorpius Malfoy did something so totally plebeian as make a cake his own self? Don't tell me - you licked the spoon and all."

Scorpius sat up, his hair awry and his brows diving towards his nose. Albus laughed at him, and kept laughing until Scorpius laughed too.

"Yeah, all right," gasped Scorpius at last, "I admit it. I made the cake. And I licked the spoon."

a/n: I love how this icon could work in both fandoms. Kinda sorta maybe.
 
 
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: SG-1 theme music = boooring
 
 
 
Shezan: Ninashezan on July 26th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely DELIGHTFUL! Did I take it mid way and are there previous chapters?
(no subject) - scoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Shezan: Ninashezan on July 26th, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, and Jewel with a little bit of a dye job:

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Kitties: prettiscoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
*gurgles incoherently*

Look at her tiny fluffiness! Look at her EARS! She's beautiful.

Feel free to kittenspam me any time. Srsly.
(no subject) - shezan on July 26th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shezan on July 27th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
ks_darkstorm: Albus&Scorpiusks_darkstorm on July 26th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
So sweet!
Poor Albus though.
I really loved this!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Chibi: Atobescoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
I want to say something intelligent, but the boys in your icon are too pretty for my mind to handle.

Thank you!
(no subject) - ks_darkstorm on July 26th, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
November: Inigonovnonna on July 26th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
Well done in adding a twist to the pairing. Poor Low-Immunity!Al *hugs him* and bless the Culinary!Scorp *hugs him too*. I adore the personalities you gave these two, huzzah to you! ^-^
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fake: hugscoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
It's too easy. They're blank canvases! I'm really having too much fun to be allowed (and JK has already jossed some of her canon, dammit).

Lairve your icon. ♥
(no subject) - novnonna on July 26th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
big mclargehuge: (hp) i am such a geek for this stufftoppled on July 26th, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness. You know I really, really did not think I could enjoy any sort of Next Generation fic, but I am so entranced by this. I love all your OCs and your characterizations of the Original Generation characters are especially charming. I hope there will be some sort of holiday scene where we'll get to see more of them?

I do so hope you'll keep on churning this out, m'dear. I looove it. Albus is so twee I could just hug him all over.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Platinum Pair: dirty great snogscoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
A lot of people love my OCs as much as I like writing them, which is very fortunate from where I'm standing. :P And yes; I have Big Plans for the summer. I'm not sure yet about Christmas, but I desperately want to present to the world Dudders and Crystal Starr. :D

Me too, me too! ♥
(no subject) - toppled on July 26th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
i luv ur icon manz - scoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shezan on July 27th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
Octoroksoctoroks on July 26th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
This story never ceases to delight me. Your characters are very fleshed out and real, and your pacing and dialogue are excellent. Have you considered professional writing? If I'd skimmed this story in a bookstore, I'd pay damn good money to finish reading it.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Tezuka: Got toast?scoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
I have indeed, only about a million times. :D I kind of fail, badly, at finishing anything original. Aside from the two stories on this journal, that is, and no one's going to publish 20,000 word short stories! For now I'm just hoping to win over a bit of fandom. Yes, with my magical powers of pwn.
Lullaby in my hand: yachiru by silchitodaythesamesky on July 26th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
Do you know I SQUEALED when I saw this?

alkaskdf;lkjsdf I AM REDUCED TO KEYSMASH AND CAPSLOCK BECAUSE I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS FIC, EVEN YOUR DIVIDERS BECAUSE THEY REMIND ME OF PEOPLE MAKING STARRY ADORING EYES LIKE I WAS THE WHOLE TIME I WAS READING THIS.

Seriously. God. I love it all, I love RAMBO, I love Scorpius and his NOTES, I love the twins and their creepy stick people, I love it all. Gosh.

♥ ♥ ♥
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: P&P hatscoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
You? Are Harry! Accept it! Defeat Dark Lords! Propagate like a bunny! :D

I love the twins and their creepy stick people

This made me giggle like mad. Why?

Creepy stick people!

hehehehehe

(no subject) - todaythesamesky on July 26th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
agartthaagarttha on July 26th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
I love your Scorpius. And the clubhouse. And Jewel. Just everything! You've totally licked the AS/S!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: 4 Weddingsscoradh on July 26th, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
That sounds kind of kinky, but I'm down with it. :D
i'd kiss you if you weren't so damn ugly: Crossdressing!Sasuke-kun is so sugoi~!takewing on July 27th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
I want to put your Albus in my pocket and carry him around everywhere and I think I went 'yay!' when I saw you'd updated this. :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Platinum Pair: neck kissscoradh on July 29th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
You might need rather a large pocket, but I'm sure we could work something out. >D
サマンサックスomnipresentdmat on July 27th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
Have I mentioned today how much I love this universe? Well, if not, then I love it infinitely. You are truly making me like a group of OCs, and that is a very rare thing. I'm going to be depressed when they aren't in other New Generation stories, because I'm becoming really attached to them. So, yeah. You should turn this into a very long online pastiche. Or something like that.

Because I am seriously in love with your characters.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Candy lipsscoradh on July 29th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
Considering that, after four chapters, we still haven't reached Christmas of their first year, I think your wish is well on the way to being granted. :D

Thank you. ♥
The Goddamn Wolf Womanslythwolf on July 27th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
How did I miss, reading the first two bits, that this was you? I love it. I like that Neville is the DADA professor, it fits with his journey even though I thought the epilogue said he was Herbology (although I may have been imagining things). And I like that Dudley has a wizard kid--of course he does--and names him Rambo--of course he does. Be interested to see whether those two families start getting together once in a while; Dudley was probably the character who grew up the most over the course of the series, in my opinion.

I'm working on a Snapefic that might become a sort of prequel to an AS/S fic of my own. I hope you and others will enjoy it as much as I am this.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fake: Ryoscoradh on July 29th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
In fact, Neville is the Herbology teacher. I had to change that because I skipped over it while reading and my brother stole the book, so I couldn't check. My bad. I stand by the fact that he would have made an awesome DADA teacher, though!

the_ass_ship has over 1000 members already. I think it's safe to say fandom has a voracious appetite for NG fics!
(no subject) - slythwolf on July 29th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
secretsolitairesecretsolitaire on July 27th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
Oh, poor Albus! And his kitten! And Scorpius thinking he killed Albus! *flails around*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Candy lipsscoradh on July 29th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, Scorpius isn't his father (who would have been rejoycing) (I can't spell that word, god). :DD
Rose Weasley Gamgee: Deathly Hallowssnakelady88 on July 27th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Dear lord that was awesome. :-)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Gakuto: Cutescoradh on July 29th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you. ♥
karadin on July 27th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
SO much full of WIN!!!!!!~ thanks for keeping up, and so fast!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Such a teasescoradh on July 29th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I can haz speed.
Gin: Dean is sincere.backinblack on July 27th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
This fic seriously makes my day. I am IN LOVE with your characterization.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Attention bunnyscoradh on July 29th, 2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
I am pleased! And so is Dean, by the looks of it. :D