Destiny and Choices
Summary: When Albus first met Scorpius Malfoy, he hated him. Albus and Scorpius's friendship, from First Year to Seventh. Slash.
Year One – A Moment
while our blood's still young
it's so young
"Sweet Disposition" – The Temper Trap
When Albus first met Scorpius Malfoy, he hated him.
Malfoy approached Albus on the Hogwarts Express, looking haughty and confident and flanked by two boys who Albus could only assume were minions or servants, or something, because they were taller. He sneered at Albus, and his opening line was:
"You're Albus Potter, aren't you? My father thinks your father is an obnoxious prick who still craves attention even though he destroyed the Dark Lord more than twenty years ago." Malfoy's voice was a squeaky, snotty drawl. "My father says your father should stop talking to the press about it because it's old news and it's boring."
Albus narrowed his eyes. It wasn't more than twenty years ago, actually, he wanted to say, but instead he took a step closer and said, "Yeah, well my dad says your dad is a Death Eater Slytherin coward and that he should be in Azkaban but that he got off because he switched sides five seconds before the war ended." That wasn't strictly true: Mum had said that, not Dad, by whatever.
Now Malfoy narrowed his eyes, looking furious, but he didn't say anything. Probably to help Malfoy out, Malfoy Servant Number One, a dark boy with curly hair, said, "My father says your father is a half-blood who loves elves and muggle-borns."
Albus was about to ask him who he was, when the minion/servant on Malfoy's other side – Asian, large brown eyes and floppy hair – said, confused, "I'm muggle-born, is that a bad thing?" Everyone turned and looked at him, dumbfounded. "Ooohhh, elves! Are they real? I would love to meet one. Do they do magic too? What's a Slytherin? Is it a type of naughty person - ?"
"Slytherin is the best House!" the dark boy snapped. He and Malfoy were glaring at the other boy now, slowly edging away. Albus stood there, forgotten.
"My goodness," Malfoy whispered, "and I thought you seemed an okay fellow. Come on Zabini, let us get away from these blood traitors and commoners."
"Yes, lets," the boy – Zabini – drawled. They turned and left.
Albus and the Asian boy were left to stare after them. Then the boy turned to Albus and held out his hand. "Hello," he said brightly, "my name is Sok Jun Park, but my friends call me Sok. Sorry, I didn't quite catch your name..."
"Albus Potter." They shook hands. "Er, my friends call me – "
"Al!" Rose screeched, her head sticking out of a train compartment. "What are you standing around for? And you still haven't put your trunk away, honestly!"
A blonde head poked around the same door above Rose's and grinned at Albus. "Heya, Al! Who's your friend?"
"Oh hey Louis, didn't see you on the platform. Oh, er, this is Sok." Sok gave Albus's cousins a shy wave as they dragged their trunks into the compartment. After putting the trunks away, giving introductions and settling in, Louis got straight to complaining about his sisters.
"I just can't believe Victoire, snogging Teddy like that, right in front of everyone, right in front of Mum and Dad, even!" He took a bite of an apple then proceeded to talk with his mouth full. "And even Dominique – "
"Would you please not talk with your mouth full," Rose interrupted snootily, "really!"
While Louis continued his complaints, Albus turned to Sok and offered him a chocolate frog. It jumped out of its packet as soon as it was opened.
"Oh!" Sok exclaimed. "Isn't magic amazing?" He managed to pick up the frog and take a small bite. "Mmm. So what were you talking about with the other two back there?"
Albus frowned. He didn't want to think too much on the subject of the Malfoys, because if he thought about the Malfoys, he thought about Slytherin, and if he thought about that, he'd feel anxious about the Sorting. Of course, Dad had said that Slytherin was an okay House, or something, and James was just a tool, really. He said, "the Malfoys and the Zabinis are purebloods."
Sok raised his eyebrows and took another bite of his frog. "What's a pureblood?"
"Are you muggle-born?" asked Rose. She and Louis had stopped their conversation and were listening in. "My mum is a muggle-born, but my dad's a pureblood. Some of the old pureblood wizarding families think muggle-borns are second class, Dad says."
"But it's all a bunch of crap, of course," said Louis. "Some muggle-borns are really smart and they say the half-bloods are very powerful. Here, you want an Every Flavour Bean?"
"Just don't listen to Malfoy and Zabini," Albus told Sok, "they're gits."
Sok seemed puzzled. "They seemed alright to me, they were actually pretty friendly. What's a Slytherin?" he asked again. "That's a funny name. Angelo Zabini said something about it being the best House?"
"Well," said Rose, sitting forward in her chair and getting into her bossy, reciting-from-textbook mode. "Hogwarts has four Houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff – "
"Gryffindor is the best one!" said Louis. "Weasleys are always Sorted into Gryffindor – "
As Rose and Louis explained the House system to Sok, Albus couldn't help feel the anxiety creep in at the thought of getting Sorted. What if James was right, and he was Sorted into Slytherin? And what about what Dad said, about Severus Snape being both Slytherin and brave?
"I think I'll just let the hat decide," Sok said, sounding contemplative. "I'll call it fate, or destiny."
Albus was terrified. He'd always been a shy boy, scared of his own shadow, always sticking to his father while James played Quidditch with his friends. He waited with the other first years, standing in between Sok and Rose.
"I'm very excited!" Sok was telling Albus in a loud whisper as they listened to the Sorting Hat's song. He doesn't seem nervous at all, Albus thought, jealous. "They use a talking hat to Sort kids into Houses? That's brilliant, I love magic! I'm going to learn as much as I can while I'm here."
They watched as the first wizard, Gary Andrews, get Sorted into Gryffindor. There were many more (including Colin Creevy, Vincenza Goyle and Alison Hansen, and others). Albus watched as that pointy-faced idiot Scorpius Malfoy and Sok Jun Park both get Sorted into Slytherin.
Then it was his turn.
Headmistress McGonagall called out his name and Louis shoved him in the back when he wouldn't move. Then he walked up to the stool stiffly as if his legs were made of planks of wood. He could feel everyone's eyes on him as he sat down and the hat was placed on his head.
Hmm, said the hat, talking straight into his mind! How creepy, Albus thought. The hat laughed and said, You have the potential to be something great. You'd do well in Slytherin.
Oh Merlin, thought Albus, James isn't going to let me hear the end of this.
"SLYTHERIN!" shouted the stupid Sorting Hat. Albus sighed and got off the stool. Whatever, he thought. All the students on the Gryffindor table were gapping at him like fishes in a red and gold aquarium. Rose and Louis looked dumbstruck. Slytherin table were applauding like crazy.
A Slytherin prefect and Sok both patted him on the back. "Excellent!" said the prefect, an Irish boy with a big smile. "A Potter in Slytherin, wait till I tell me mam!"
"This is great," said Sok enthusiastically, "we're in the same House! We're going to have so much fun, I love magic!"
Albus was starting to get annoyed at Sok's enthusiasm, especially as he thought there was nothing to be enthused over. He looked over at the Gryffindor table and caught James's eye. James gave him a good show of laughing his stupid head off (not literally, of course, though Albus only wished). He looked away and back around, then wish he hadn't because Scorpius Malfoy was sitting across from him and giving him a death glare.
He sat in growing depression as his cousins Louis and Rose were both Sorted into Gryffindor. Finally the last student (Angelo Zabini) was sorted into Slytherin (surprise surprise, thought Albus) and then the food magically appeared on the tables.
"Wow!" said Sok.
Albus didn't feel all that hungry.
He had to at least concede that the Slytherin dungeons were beautiful. It was like being in an underwater cave, but instead of being cold, it was warm and cozy. All the furniture was made of leather and mahogany. The boys' dormitory was the same. Albus chose his bed, which ended up being between Sok's and Malfoy's. As he rifled through his trunk for his pyjamas, Malfoy was drawling to Zabini, "Of course I must owl Mother straight away, I promised her; she does worry for me. She needn't, though," he added quickly, "I can look after myself and I'm not scared, at all!"
"What do you mean, 'owl'?" asked Sok. "Oh! You mean letters and things. I'm just going to call Mum and Dad on my mobile phone."
Sok jumped up to sit on his bed, a couple of strange devices in his hands. Malfoy's top lip was curled into a sneer, but his eyes were curious. He, Zabini and Albus went over to Sok to have a good look.
Sok yelled. "Oh my God, my iPhone isn't working! And – " Sok picked up the other device, his eyes wide and scared. "Oh no, oh no! My PSP2! What am I going to do in my spare time?"
"Muggle things are stupid," Zabini said snootily. "If you need something to do you should read a book."
Malfoy sniffed and walked away. "My father says Muggles are dangerous to the Wizarding World. You should get rid of those things." He looked at Sok over his shoulder. "I wouldn't show those to anyone, if I were you. Some people might find them distasteful."
Albus got out two quills and parchment and sat next to Sok on his bed. He handed a quill and parchment to Sok, and said quietly, "There's too much magic in the air, that's why Muggle devices don't work. Dad tried to install a tevelision in our house once, but it wouldn't work."
"Television," said Sok.
"Television," said Sok again, as he took the parchment and quill from Albus. He had tears in his eyes. "You said tevelision."
"Oh well, you know what I mean." Al gave him a small smile. He wrote to his parents:
Dear Mum and Dad,
I said I'd write to you, so here I am. I've been Sorted into Slytherin. I quite like it here. I think I've made a friend.
The next morning, Albus and Sok went down to the Common Room, where they met up with two girls in their year. One was a plump girl with black hair and the other was a smaller blonde girl who wore a haughty look. She smirked at them as they came down.
"Good morning," she said. Her accent was pure-blood upper-class and quite nasal. "My name is Queenie Avery, and this is Vincenza Goyle." She pointed at her friend with her chin, then looked Albus up and down. "You must be Albus Potter, son of Harry Potter."
"Er," said Al, thrown by her loud, aristocratic voice, "yeah...?"
She turned to Sok. "And who might you be?"
"Sok Jun Park," he answered, and grinned at her.
"I don't know the Parks," she admitted with a thoughtful frown. "Is that Chinese?"
"Korean – "
"Oh Score!" she yelled suddenly, waving to someone over Al's shoulder. She turned back to Al and Sok. "Score is my cousin, you know, through our mothers' family, the Greengrasses."
"Don't call me Score," Malfoy told her irritably, when he and Zabini reached their group, "it's so plebeian." Albus thought Queenie would take offence at his tone, but surprisingly, she only laughed. Malfoy continued: "Why's there only two of you? Where are the other girls?"
Queenie waved her arms in a 'here's presenting – us!' gesture.
Zabini frowned. "There's only six of us in Slytherin in our year?"
Albus understood why he was upset by this: there seemed to have been twenty Gryffindors Sorted last night, but only a few in Slytherin. Albus remembered what his father had said: that you could choose...
At breakfast, Sok sat with Queenie and Vincenza, and the three of them seemed to be getting on like a house on fire. Sok had told them on the way down that he was muggle-born, and after the initial shock, Queenie seemed to deem it her responsibility to explain all things magical to Sok, who absorbed the information willingly, countering every answer Queenie gave with even more excited questions. Albus might as well have been invisible, because Malfoy and Zabini were ignoring him and whispering between themselves. Albus felt very alone as he ate his breakfast in silence.
He ended up sitting next to Malfoy in their first Charms lesson. "Swish and flick!" said little Professor Flitwick. Albus and Malfoy did their wingardium leviosa charm at the exact some time. Their feathers floated next to each other.
Malfoy smirked at him, his eyes challenging. He moved his wand in quick circles, making his feather attack Albus's. Albus did the same, and for a moment their feathers were duelling in the air.
Albus was looking forward to their next class, Potions, because it was being taught with the Gryffindors and he wanted to meet up with Rose and Louis. When they arrived at the classroom the Gryffindors were already waiting – Louis was surrounded by a large group of friends talking loudly, though Rose was standing to the side, alone, holding her books in her arms and looking self-conscious.
Albus walked over to her and grinned. She smiled back, her face becoming alight. Malfoy strode past them with his friends in tow, opening the unlocked door and making their way to the front. Albus and Rose too entered, and made to sit at work bench together, except they were interrupted by two light-coloured haired Gryffindor boys and Louis, their arms crossed and their expressions mean.
"Gryffindors and Slytherins aren't meant to sit together," said the one on the left.
"Yeah Rose," said Louis.
Albus stepped forward, angry, while Rose tugged on his robe sleeve, trying to mumble at him that he'd get into trouble. "Mind your own business. Rose can sit with whoever she wants."
All the Gryffindors started making "Ooo" sounds, which meant a challenge had been made.
The boy with the light brown hair and freckles stepped forward. "Slytherins are sneaky little cheats, everyone knows that."
Albus was so furious he didn't have a retord – but Malfoy did. Malfoy stepped forward and glared the boy down. "Your name is Scrimgeour, right? My father says your uncle spent the whole second war with his head in the sand, all bark and no bite – "
"No one cares what your father thinks, Malfoy!" Louis said angrily, drawing out his wand. Albus and Malfoy, now standing side by side, drew out theirs. "Your father is a Death Eater and a murderer – "
"Good morning class!" said old Professor Slughorn as he waddled his way into the room. "No more dilly dallying, wands away please, this is Potions, not Charms! Off you go, take a seat." He made his way to the front and turned. "Take a seat now, quickly! Books out and get ready to take some notes."
In the haste to sit down, Louis had dragged Rose to a seat next to him and Albus ended up sitting next to Malfoy. Albus would have rather have sat next to Sok or even mild-mannered Vincenza rather than that annoying little twerp Malfoy, but beggars could not be choosers. Anyway, it turned out to be a good thing, because Malfoy was pleasant enough to Albus after all, and when it came to brewing their first potion, Malfoy let him copy him (though he became less agreeable when Professor Slughorn kept going on and on about how great a Potions student Dad had been).
Nevertheless, at dinner he was ignored by his House-mates once again. There was one bright spot though – he got a reply from his dad that said he was happy for Albus. He read it over and over.
The next week went on quite the same. At nights he would awake, tears in his eyes and feeling terribly home-sick. He was introduced to his classes and professors. He liked Professor Longbottom because he had a soft voice and a nice smile, and was easily approachable if Albus had a question. His first flying lesson with Madam Bell was fun, though he already knew how to fly because his mother was a professional Quidditch coach, and she had taught her kids everything she knew. Professor Sanguine, his Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, had a strange habit of staring at Albus's neck instead of his face when he spoke to him.
His favourite teacher by far was Professor Prince, who taught Transfigurations. When Albus and the others first entered the classroom, there was a snake sitting on the desk. Some of the Ravenclaw girls screamed, but Albus secretly loved snakes and watched it avidly. Then, right before their eyes, it changed into a dark-haired man, sitting on the desk.
"Welcome to Transfigurations," Professor Prince had said in a lovely deep voice, grinning at the surprised and relieved faces.
One day, Albus decided to go to the library. After a little exploring of the shelves, he found Rose in a little study nook, reading a book and sniffling a bit.
"Hi Rose," he said.
She look up startled, then rubbed her eyes. "Oh hi, Al. I'm just reading. Do you – do you want to sit down with me?"
"What's the matter?" he asked, as he pulled up a chair next to her and sat down.
"Oh nothing. Just. Nobody likes me; they all make fun of me."
"They're just jealous because you're so smart," Albus told her, matter-of-factly. That made her smile, though it quavered.
When Albus went to the same spot at the same time the next day, Rose wasn't there.
Another week went by. Albus was an introvert, and quite a shy boy, so he didn't mind being alone sometimes. But when others around you were clearly making friends and getting on really well, the loneliness crept in to make a seemingly permanent home in Albus's heart. The only exception was Rose, who didn't have any friends either, but he could never find her in between classes, and in the classes themselves, she was always sitting far away, as if the other Gryffindors were a human shield between the evil Slytherins and one of their own.
Albus sat in the shade of a willow to read a book. He was distracted though, by a soft, hissing voice coming from the long grass nearby, saying, "Hungry, hungry, want a juicy mouse, a rabbit, hungry..." But when Albus stood up to look, there was no one there.
Then he saw, across the lake, Malfoy and Zabini laughing together and making their way along the shore, picking up rocks and throwing them into the water. Albus must have been camouflaged under the shade, because they didn't notice him there.
Zabini was shouting: "Come out come out wherever you are!" Then Malfoy used his wand to magically float and drop stones into the lake. They landed with several splashes.
As soon as Albus saw the large tentacle he ran towards them at his top speed. The giant squid's tentacle splashed up from the water, then came down to smack hard against the shore where Malfoy would of been standing, had he not dodged out of the way. The boys were yelling as the tentacle went back into the water, just as another broke the surface –
Albus reached them. "Malfoy!" he shouted. "Look out - !"
The giant squid grabbed Malfoy around his ankle, causing him to fall on his front. Albus too fell to the ground, trying to grab Malfoy's hands, and succeeded, for a moment before they lost their grip on each other. "Malfoy!" Albus shouted again as the boy was pulled into the water. He got up and turned to Zabini, who was whimpering. "Go get help – Hagrid's Hut!" he pointed at the hut in the distance.
"What," asked Zabini, "what are you going to – Potter!"
But Albus was already running. He dove into the lake.
Even in the warm weather the water was icy cold and as dark as night. He saw Malfoy struggling against his hold a few metres deeper. Albus swam to him and tried to yank the tentacle away. He looked into Malfoy's scared, grey eyes.
The giant squid noticed, its very large ugly eye staring right at Albus – Albus felt the fear grip him like a heart attack – but even in his fright he still was able to pull out his wand and cast Expelliarmus –
It was enough to alarm the squid out of its grip on Malfoy but not enough to hurt it. Albus grabbed Malfoy around the waist and tugged him to the surface. When they made it to shore, they lay there together, panting. Albus's lungs felt like they were on fire, and Malfoy was staring at him.
That's how Professor Hagrid found them.
Albus and Malfoy sat by the fire in Hagrid's Hut, snuggled in a scratchy blanket so oversized they both fit into it easily. Zabini was sitting in a chair by the table and Professor Hagrid was blundering around his hut, doing something – Albus didn't know. Malfoy was muttering darkly about the blanket probably having fleas.
Professor Hagrid came over to the two boys and gave them large cups filled with some alcoholic-smelling liquid.
"For the cold," said Hagrid, "but don't you be tellin' any of the teachers, mind, or I'll be gettin' inta real trouble." He nodded and smiled down at them.
"Thank you , Professor Hagrid," said Albus.
"Not to worry, not to worry," Hagrid said gruffly. "Knew yer father, I did, and Dumbledore, of course. Great man, Dumbledore." He seemed to go a bit wistful for a moment, in which Albus and Malfoy exchanged bemused glances. He shook it off. "Well, I'll be back in a moment; it's Witherwings' feeding time, yer see. Drink up, drink up!" Albus took a small obliging sip of his drink as Hagrid left the hut.
Zabini scurried off his chair and went and sat next to Malfoy. The two boys stared at Albus for a moment. Then Zabini grinned at him, showing a full mouth of braces, and Malfoy drawled, "Well I suppose we should be friends now."
Albus frowned, perplexed. "Pardon?"
"You saved my life," Malfoy went on imperiously, "so we should be friends. Of course," he briefly exchanged glances with Zabini, then looked back, "Zabini is my very best friend, but you shall be my second best friend. Although," he added slowly, narrowing his eyes at Albus in scrutiny, "do you like Quidditch? Zabini doesn't like Quidditch, but if you like it, I suppose I can bump you up to equal best friend with Zabini."
Malfoy stopped there and he and Zabini watched Albus for his response, though Albus had none. He took at sip of the drink and mumbled finally, "Er, alright."
Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "So do you like Quidditch or not?"
"Um, yes, I like Quidditch."
Zabini was laughing. "Just ignore him if you want; he always talks like that."
Malfoy looked at him, offended. "Like what?" he practically squawked.
Zabini ignored him, and instead he held out his hand for Albus to shake. "My name is Angelo Zabini." They shook hands and Zabini's grin got wider. "I know who you are, naturally, because your father is Harry Potter, who defeated You-Know-Who. Mind you, my father tells me your father wasn't very good looking."
Albus said nothing; he was feeling more and more confused as the conversation went on. He knew the two boys were from a higher class than Albus, but now he was feeling like he was on another planet altogether and the natives were trying to speak English but it was coming out as garbled nonsense.
Malfoy held out his hand and Albus shook it. "Your mother is Ginny Weasley, right?" said Malfoy. "I know because she used to be the Seeker for the Holyhead Harpies and now she's coach, correct?" At Albus's nod he continued: "Personally, I can't wait to try out for Quidditch, can you? Father promised to buy me a new broom for my birthday if I get good grades – "
"Oh, here we go," Zabini rolled his eyes, "always 'Father this, Father that'."
"Father's the best, ever," sniffed Malfoy, tossing his fringe out of his eyes.
Later, after Hagrid had returned and told them to get back to the castle before curfew, the three boys arrived at the Slytherin Common Room to find Sok, Queenie and Vincenza playing exploding snap. Queenie looked up, smiled and waved them over.
She grinned at Albus when he approached, which threw Albus, because before now Queenie had sort of pretended he didn't exist. "Oh, finally," she said in her usual ostentatious tone. "I'm glad you're friends with Score now; he would not stop talking about you, it was getting ever so irritating."
Albus glanced sideways at Malfoy, who was blushing. "Don't call me Score," Malfoy snapped at her. She only laughed.
The year wore on and Albus had friends. It wasn't long before Albus and Angelo were calling each other by their given names, but it took a lot longer for Scorpius to do the same.
"Father never calls his friends by their first names," Scorpius explained one night the week before Christmas, pacing the floor of their dormitory, "except for aunt Pansy, of course."
Angelo, lying on his bed and eyes falling shut, threw a pillow at his head.
Albus too was lying on his bed, reading The Fountain of Fair Fortune. He glanced up at Scorpius. "Why do you always walk around before going to bed?"
"Because it helps me sleep, obviously," said Malfoy.
Albus raised his eyebrows. "Do you want me to read you a Beedle the Bard story?"
"No!" Scorpius scoffed. "Those stories are for children and I am almost a man; I mean, I am practically twelve." He paced a few more times, then stopped and mumbled, "Yeah, alright," and went over and crawled into bed with Albus.
Albus was surprised but scooted over, then allowed Scorpius to lay his head on Albus's shoulder. Scorpius stuck his cold feet on Albus's calves but Albus only complained a little, before settling in and reading softly aloud.
During the year Albus and Scorpius spent a lot of time together, including watching and cheering for Slytherin at Quidditch matches. Scorpius liked helping other Slytherins make banners and after he found the charm to conjure green streamers he did it all the time at Quidditch games, in between cheers for Slytherin. They spent the time with Angelo doing assignments because Angelo loved to read books and was always in the Common Room or the library doing just that. Albus thought reading non-fiction was a bit boring but he was also glad to be friends with Angelo, because it meant he got homework done well and on time.
When the school year was over, he was happy to see his parents, though he asked his dad if he could stay at Malfoy Manor for a few days. His dad was a bit reluctant at first, but Albus managed to convince him. Malfoy Manor was a big mansion and Scorpius had a big room, but it was the library that Albus and Scorpius went to and stayed in the first day, the two of them squashed together on a leather armchair meant for one person. Albus was softly reading to Scorpius when Mr Malfoy walked in.
Scorpius's dad stopped and stared at them, looking very shocked for some reason.
"Hello Mr Malfoy," Albus smiled at him. "My dad dropped me off through the floo, I hope that's okay."
"Mother said it was alright for Al to stay the night," Scorpius told Mr Malfoy.
Mr Malfoy visibly shook his shock away, then scrutinised Albus with narrow eyes for a long moment. Then he said, "Fine. Dinner is at seven as usual. Ask Minky if you need anything before then." He strode over to Scorpius gracefully and kissed him on the forehead. Then, just as gracefully as if he was a beautiful poem made human, he straightened, pivoted, and left the room.
Albus stared at the door Mr Malfoy had just gone through for a long moment. Scorpius nudged him in the side, pulling him from his strange reverie.
To be continued
Reviews are like hot chocolate on a cold night.