AN: Hello, lovely people. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking with me through stress and super late updates. Because it's Rosh Hashanah today, I took a two-hour car trip with my mother and ended up getting a ton of writing done… yay! So you lovely people get a little bit of Al/Scorpius action… or really, should I say, Al/Scorpius angst. My poor babies. I love them, I promise, even if I sometimes do somewhat evil things to them.

Also, guess who gets an appearance in this chapter? Well, I suppose I can't technically tell you until you read it, but you should know that I absolutely love her. She's got her morals in the right place. Probably my favourite character. She's got her stuff together, which I really wish would just happen to me. That would be really quite nice.

Anyway, please read and review! Feel free to say whatever you want, but remember: constructive criticism actually changes things! Incentive: you get Dan Gaither as a boyfriend. He's cute, has gorgeous (think Castiel blue) eyes, and is basically the sweetest and most understanding boyfriend ever. Al, you're missing out and you don't even know it because you're too in love with pretty Scorpius Malfoy.

Thank you in particular to my lovely amazing reviewers, myprofoundfantasy and simplysimpre. You guys are absolutely amazing. Thank you for your lovely notes and many reviews.

Chapter 10

The room sat in shocked silence. Al forgot how to breathe, and Meagan stopped short in the middle of her sentence. Even though it was a well-known fact that Lena and Scorpius were together, it was almost as if the Ravenclaws had not really understood what that meant. They hadn't expected Scorpius, of all people, to initiate such a public kiss—especially for his first kiss. He had never been with anybody before, as far as most of them knew.

Michael's laugh was the only thing that broke the silence. It wasn't a happy laugh though, the one of someone finally seeing his friend kiss the boy she'd been pining after for years. It was the laugh of someone seeing something that physically hurt him, the laugh of someone with a painful secret and nothing he can do about it. He laughed because Scorpius hurt him, because Scorpius lied to him and to Lena. He laughed because he had lost his oldest, closest friend. He laughed because he knew this wasn't forgivable.

His laugh echoed around the room. Scorpius and Lena broke apart, Lena with a blissful smile and Scorpius with a barely concealed look of horror. He knew what he had done, and he knew the consequences. Lena gazed at him, but Scorpius glanced up, finding Michael's eyes. "I'm sorry," his expression seemed to say. Michael turned around. "Let's go," he said to Meagan.

"I have to go," Al mumbled abruptly. Scorpius couldn't meet his eyes but watched as the black-haired boy pushed open the door and stumbled outside. The door swung shut solidly behind him, a barrier between the two boys.

Scorpius suddenly found his eyes wet. This wasn't what he had intended, not at all. Lena giggled shyly, and he broke away brashly. "Scorpius," she said. He could hear the smile in her voice, but he ignored her. He looked around the room, seeing the other students studying carefully with their ears trained on him and Lena. "Scorp," Lena tried again, catching his hand in hers. Her touch repulsed him, but he couldn't show it. Michael and Meagan had left, Meagan furiously questioning Michael as to why she had to leave her best friend behind. He had no support, except for Lena.

He was using her, and she was all he had left.

He hated himself.


Al nearly ran to the Gryffindor Common Room, blinking rapidly to hold the tears at bay. He speed-walked around the corner and hit a solid body, accidentally pushing her to the ground.

"I'm so sor—Elizabeth!" he said, recognizing her.

She put out her hand, wordlessly asking him to pull her up. "Don't worry about it, Al," she laughed briefly, rubbing her backside. "I'm all good."

Al wished he hadn't run into her. She always picked up on his moods. She would ask him what was wrong in 3… 2… 1…

"Al, what's wrong?" she asked. Right on schedule, he thought drily.

He opened his mouth to speak, to deny everything, and his voice caught on a sob.

Her face dropped into motherly concern. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Scorpius kissed Lena," he blurted. Shite. He hadn't meant to give that away. He looked at her, expecting to see a comforting smile or at the very least, surprise.

Instead, she was pissed. "Al," she said dangerously. It was a tone he had never heard from her before, and he snapped his mouth shut. "What the hell are you thinking?" He didn't know how to respond. "I cannot believe you, of all people, would do such a thing. To Dan Gaither. He's nice. He likes you. He's interesting and smart and brave. And you are using him selfishly." She searched his face. "Al, you can't use people, least of all Dan. He's not a tool. He's a boy, who likes you a lot. Shape up, or I'm going to tell him."

"He already knows," Al mumbled, biting his tongue after the words slipped out.

"What?" Elizabeth said, her eyes narrowing. "You told your boyfriend you were in love with somebody else?"

"No!" Al exclaimed defensively. "I'm not in love with him. I promise, Elizabeth. I wouldn't do that, you know me. I told Dan that we were together and that he likes me."

"But not that you like him." Elizabeth's voice was doubtful and her arms were crossed.

"We're friends," Al said forcefully. "That's it."

"You're sure that's all he thinks it is?"

"Yeah," Al reaffirmed. "He knows I'm with Dan, and that nothing's going to happen between us."

Elizabeth sighed. "Do you know that?" Al nodded and opened his mouth, but Elizabeth broke in again. "Then why were you so upset that he kissed Lena."

Al searched his brain, trying to come up with an answer.

"He's gay, obviously. He shouldn't be using Lena to cover it up." James rescued Al as he walked up, oblivious to Al's struggles. Elizabeth hadn't missed it but didn't comment.

Al seized his brother's reasoning. "Lena's a good person, and she's fancied him for years. He's the one toying with somebody, not me."

"You're toying with Dan Gaither?" James frowned.

"No! For the hundredth time, no." Al realized he had been too harsh. "Sorry. It's just, because of Scorpius, Elizabeth thinks I'm toying with Dan."

"But you're not."

"But I'm not," Al confirmed.

James slung his arm around Elizabeth and kissed her cheek. "See, babe? They're fine."

Elizabeth's eyes told Al that they would talk later, without James there.. He could never get anything past her. She read people far too well.

"I didn't know that Scorpius and Lena were together. Your friend, Lena Something, what is her last name?"

"Farley," Al replied. "They've been sort of going out for a bit."

"Sort of?" James questioned.

Al nodded. "He hasn't kissed her this whole time, and it's obvious to anybody looking as to why, since she's been all over him and he's been flinching and looking freaked out and Scorpius shite like that. But he just kissed her, in front of everybody, and as far as anybody knows, it's his first kiss."

"Why?" Elizabeth questioned.

"Why'd he kiss her? I dunno, probably because he—"

"No, why publicly?" James asked, apparently on her wavelength because Elizabeth nodded in agreement.

Al sank back on his heels. His forehead creased, and then he realized why. It was the conversation he and Scorpius had had beforehand. He hadn't made the connection before because he was so shocked and hurt by Scorpius's kiss with Lena… but now he realized. He felt a smile tugging at the corners of his lips but he pulled it back. Scorpius loved him, he still loved him, maybe he loved him now like he had never loved him before. He had kissed Lena because he couldn't be with Al. It made sense now.

"What?" Elizabeth's voice interrupted his racing thoughts. "You know why." It wasn't a question.

Al shook his head rapidly, too rapidly to be true. "I have to go find someone." And though his mind was on Scorpius, his feet took him to the Gryffindor Common Room. Where his boyfriend was.


Lena pulled at his hand. "Let's go outside to the courtyard," she said to Scorpius, blushing. He knew it was her first kiss—even though it wasn't his—and he hoped she hadn't minded that he had done it so publicly. His lips felt dirty, somehow. He tried to figure out a way to scrub them discretely. Maybe with a wire brush.

"It's night time, Lena."

"I know. We should talk, Scorp. There won't be anybody outside now."

He was glad she hadn't tried to use tongue. Though he supposed she hadn't known how and likely didn't want to learn in front of a staring crowd and Al. She might when they were outside, although she had never come off as someone like that. Neither had Al.

Al hadn't reacted well at all to the kiss. Scorpius took it as a sign of hope that Al had been so upset. He wondered where Al had gone—hopefully, just to be alone. Seeking out Dan Gaither after seeing Scorpius kissing Lena would definitely have been a bad sign.

He followed Lena almost suddenly, still wishing for a wire brush and maybe some eye bleach. Every time he blinked, Al's pained and shocked face flashed behind his lids.

"Scorpius," Lena said. "You there?" She looked prettily up at him, and as he stared down at her, he wished he didn't fear her so much.

He nodded quietly. He faked a closed-mouth smile, and her eyes narrowed.

"You sure?" her hand reached up to brush his smooth, narrow chin. She pulled him down to sit beside her on a bench in the courtyard. Concern warred with happiness in her face. "Did you… was it bad?" she demanded softly. "Am I bad at… at kissing? At kissing you?"

He shook his head mutely, looking away from her. She clutched at his hand, and he couldn't wrap his hand around hers. He felt destroyed on the inside. Lena trusted him, believed him. He knew she had fancied him, and he had used it against her. He knew everybody else knew he was a fraud. Everybody else knew except for Lena.

He blinked sadly at her, cursing the wetness that suddenly came to his eyes.

Concern won. "What's wrong with you, Scorpius?" she asked fiercely. "Tell me, or I'm going to leave."

Her voice was threatening enough that he believed her, but he still wanted her to leave over telling her what was so wrong with him.

Lena's hand clutched his tighter, and he forced himself to pull it away.

"What is it, Scorp?" He heard the gentleness, the emotion in her voice, and cursed the words that escaped his lips.

"I can't do this, Lena." She didn't answer, but when she looked at him, her eyes were wide and bright with tears. He tore his eyes away and studied the ground. "I can't do this to you anymore, Lena. I've lost… I've lost everything." His voice broke, and he felt like something was choking him. He forced himself to meet her eyes, and regretted the decision instantly. The grass steadied him, and her face broke him. "Lena, I'm so sorry."

"What are you saying?" she asked softly, her hand clutching softly, fragilely at his shirt.

"You know," he said. He couldn't bring himself to say it out loud, but her face said that she needed to hear it. "I think we should break up."

"Why, Scorpius?" she said, her hand shaking. "Why are you doing this to me?"

"It's not you," he murmured, finally meeting her eyes steadily. "Lena, I… I don't like you that way. I can't."

"You can't?"

"Look at me," he said, motioning to his outfit. His hair. His bone structure, his way of speaking, the lack of typical straight-boyness that seeped out of him like a wave of water through a broken-down dam. "Look at me." His eyes begged her not to make him say it.

"I am looking at you, Scorp," she said, a tear rolling down her cheek slowly. She didn't understand. "Why can't you?"

"You're…" He couldn't say it.

"I'm what?" She was getting frustrated and upset; he could see it. Her lips caved into a pout and her forehead creased. "What is wrong with me, Scorpius? What have I done wrong?"

"You're a girl, okay?!" he spat it out and felt like swallowing his tongue. He looked away from her and pulled his knees to his chest, taking as little space as he could because he didn't want to exist right then.


Silence reigned for a few minutes. Her hand dropped away from his arm and untangled from his shirt. He studied the ground carefully, and she did the same beside him. They sat there, and she started when he spoke.

"Say something," he whispered.

"I don't know what," she replied, equally softly.

"I'm sorry. Really, Lena, I am. I promise. I never meant to hurt you. I swear. You're my best friend."

"I think… I think that I guessed, Scorpius. I think I knew." He looked at her, needing her to continue, begging her to explain. "I think I knew, inside, but I was denying it, Scorp. I didn't want to believe it."

"How did you know?" He knew. He wished he looked like Al, all masculine and athletic and fit.

"I dunno." Her voice trailed off as she thought. "I think… I think I should have known when you asked me out. Al had just come out, so everybody thought you were… like that, too. But then you and he had just gotten in a fight, which you never do, and then suddenly you asked me out. I didn't want to think about it, Scorp. So I just didn't."

"But you knew."

"I didn't. But I should have, Scorp."

"I'm sorry."

She swallowed. "You should be. Why did you do this to me?"

"It's not a choice, Lena. I swear, I've been fighting it—"

"Not about that, calm down. Why did you tell me you fancied me when you knew, you knew I fancied you for years. How could you do that to me, Scorp?"

"Lena…" his voice held an apology. "I needed to."


"My father… he hates… people like Al. People like me, Lena. He doesn't want me to associate with Al, and if he ever found out, he would never forgive the Potters, or Al, or me. It would destroy him. And me. It would destroy me."

Her hand caught his, and he found that suddenly… it wasn't as bad as it had been. The feel of her hand was natural in his, but in a different way than Al's. It was the hand of a friend, a friend who was there for him when she shouldn't be, when she certainly didn't have to be. A friend who was there just because she wanted to be.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I couldn't, Lena. I needed you."

"You should have known that I would do whatever you asked, Scorp."


"I'm serious. I would have pretended to go out with you if you had just told me. If I can protect you… I would do that. For you." Her voice was tender and soft, the voice of a girl who had just had her heart broken and forced it back together so that she could be there for the bloke she liked.

He swallowed. "Lena…" His eyes lifted slowly and met hers, which were shaky and steady and strong at the same time. "You would do that for me?"

"Anything, Scorp." She smiled at him, but it didn't reach her eyes. "I just want you to be happy, you know?"

He said, "Lena, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have ever done anything like this to you."

"You shouldn't have," she agreed. "But I forgive you, Scorp. You should know that I'd always forgive you."

"I can't help it, you know. You're the only reason I wish I wasn't. I've always wanted to be there for you. But I can't. I'm sorry."

"Do you love him?"

"Lena…" his voice trailed off.

"Do you, Scorp?"

"He calls me Scorpius." The words crept unbidden out of his mouth. It wasn't the right thing to say… it was just… not what she had expected. It didn't answer her question at all. And yet, somehow it did.

"I've noticed," Lena sighed. "He's the only one."

"I don't like Scorp, Lena. It's… it doesn't fit me, you know. I'm Scorpius, not Scorp. I'm preppy and pretty and not masculine and athletic and strong. Scorp doesn't fit me. It's not elegant or classic, which is, you know, it's kind of what I would like to be, Lena."

"Don't say that." She squeezed his hand comfortingly.

"What? The truth?"

"You're masculine and athletic and strong and attractive and a bloke like Al would be lucky to have you, Scorpius. Anybody would be lucky to have you." She smiled sweetly up at him. "I was lucky to have you, even if it was false."


"I know, you aren't capable of it or something. Couldn't you try, though? Just a little?"

"I have, Lena. You have no idea how much… because of my father."

"And because of you." She spoke honestly, bluntly. The words tore into Scorpius's heart and confused him.

"Because of me?"

"You keep blaming everything on your father, Scorp—Scorpius. When are you going to admit that, just maybe, it's you? How would your father ever find out? And so he reacted one way with Al, but Al's not his son. You are. Anyway…" she smirked at him. "He's going to find out eventually, anyway."

Scorpius frowned. "No, he's not."

"Of course he is. Are you going to stay closeted forever? Never going to have a boyfriend or get married or—"

"I dunno."

She frowned at him. "Scorpius, of course he's going to find out. And you can't let someone like him control someone like you. You deserve more than he wants to give you, and if that means that sometimes, you have to fight for it… something like this is worth it, Scorp. No matter what you think the consequences may be."

They sat in silence for a moment, holding hands and staring off into space. Scorpius finally broke it. "I'm glad we're still friends, Lena."

Her voice barely shook when she said, "Me, too." A pause, and then, "Should we go back inside? It's cold out here."

He nodded and stood up, offering her a hand. She took it, her hand comfortable and familiar in his. He enjoyed the feeling of security she offered him, so he kept a tight hold on it. She didn't move to pull away.


"Where's Dan?" Al said immediately after climbing awkwardly into the Gryffindor Portrait Hole. The best part about having a boyfriend in another House: he got the password. The problem: the Fat Lady wouldn't stop talking about those prudish cowardly Ravenclaws in her House.

"In his room," Dan's best friend, Serena or Selena or Susana or Something mumbled, glancing up at him briefly before returning to squinting at a scroll filled partway with very large handwriting.


Nobody helped him, so he guessed at a staircase and quickly and painfully discovered it was the girls'. Oops. He took the other one and scampered upstairs, his heart thudding ominously with every step. Two of the doors were closed, and he ignored them in favour of the open ones. Fortunately, Dan was sitting in plain sight of the doorway. "Dan," he said.

Dan Gaither glanced up suddenly, surprise relaxing to a blue-eyed smile. "Al," he grinned. "Hey, babe."

Al fought the urge to roll his eyes. He wasn't "babe," Scorpius was… anybody should know that. Except for Dan, obviously. And everybody else. Well, except Scorpius. Scorpius knew. Scorpius always knew. He had always known. "Hey, Dan." It sounded like a sigh.

"What's going on?" Dan was sitting on his bed and moved over so that Al could sit down, too.

Al perched on the edge, then remembered what Scorpius had done. He remembered that Scorpius had locked eyes with him and planted his lips onto Lena, Lena, Lena, and not onto him. He felt betrayed and broken. "Dan…" his voice caught horribly. Embarrassingly horribly, but he didn't care, and he fell down next to Dan, tucking his head into Dan's chest, and felt tears prickling at the corners of his eyes. "Dan, I'm so sorry."

"Al? Al? What's wrong?" Dan sounded alarmed, somewhat terrified.

"Dan, I'm sorry. I was wrong. I'm so sorry." Al didn't really know what he was saying, just that it sounded good. It sounded right, and he definitely needed to apologize to Dan for… well, for everything. Dan certainly deserved an apology. A better one than he was getting, but Al didn't have anything else to give him.


"Dan… can you just… hold me, for a minute?" He knew it was unfair to ask his boyfriend to comfort him, but it felt like his heart was collapsing.

"'Course, Al. Anything." Dan's arm wrapped tightly around Al, the warmth and comfort seeping through his bones. And Al felt the tears start to fall. They wet Dan's shirt, making the grey shirt dark. He watched the wet circle get slowly bigger while Dan held him close. His head rested comfortably on Dan's chest, and his legs were curled up. He felt very small, like a child, and he just wanted to cry for a little bit. His mind blanked out, and he fell asleep.

"Al?" Dan whispered a bit later, feeling the tears stop and Al's breathing slow and deepen. His Muggle Physics textbook lay forgotten on the side of the bed. He sort of wanted to cover it up to prevent any laughter, but Al was more important. So he held Al close, and wondered what in hell had happened to his boyfriend.