Disclaimer: Characters and magic and houses and Hogwarts are the brainchild of the fabulous J.K. Rowling. Christmas is the property of some pagan person, and I don't know who came up with the presents, but credit goes to you. People steal that idea frequently enough, anyway, so I probably don't need to put a disclaimer for that. Personalities and original characters are mine, as is the plot. Please review!

Slytherin first-year Scorpius Malfoy returned to his dorm after Christmas Dinner with his best friend Miles Pummell. He was pleased with his gifts; he had many and they were rather nice. He settled them prominently around his bed, allowing them to take up as much space as needed.

"Scorpius, I need some space to put mine down!" whined Miles.

"You may put yours in your trunk if you need to," Scorpius responded generously. He stalked aristocratically to the bathroom, where he did his nightly face routine and prepared for bed. He pulled on his silken green pajamas and walked, barefoot, over to his bed.

Miles was sulking, trying to find a spot for his large bag of Chocolate Frogs when he heard Scorpius scream. He ran over to his blond friend, only to find him grinning widely.

"Look what I've got," the grey-eyed boy proclaimed loudly, pulling other first-years into the room. He unwrapped a present carefully, drawing out the suspense for the others watching him enviously.

A large, dark red teddy bear sat inside the box, and he pulled it out gleefully.

"Ooh, can I touch it?" His friend Christina Nox asked. "It looks so soft!"

She reached out, and Scorpius let her put a finger on it.

"It is," he said smugly. He set the box aside, noting privately that there was a note inside. He wanted to read it alone. After several minutes of everybody jealously regarding him, Scorpius sent everyone away. "I need my beauty sleep," he said.

After everybody left and he drew his curtains closed, he opened the envelope.

Dear Scorp,
I hope you like the bear. I know you love presents and pretty things, so I selected it especially for you. We're not friends, but I like you, even when you're mean and petty. You like to be the center of attention, and I'm okay with that. I prefer the shadows, honestly. Growing up in the limelight can do that to you; I'm sure you know what I mean.
Please keep the bear. His name's Griffin like the animal.
Merry Christmas, Scorp.
PS. I know you're wondering who I am. I'll tell you, eventually. For now: L

Scorpius flipped the letter over, but the other side was blank. He searched in the box for a clue, but found nothing. He hugged the bear. He liked it, but now he was wondering who the person was. He had no idea.

-o-

The next Christmas, Scorpius drew back his curtains and again found a box on his bed. He squealed and drew Miles running, again. Miles arched an eyebrow.

"Again, Scorpius?" he asked.

Scorpius grinned. "Guys, come see!" His friends came cautiously into his dorm room, and Scorpius gestured to the present sitting on his bed. "Look! Another one." He knew it was from the same person because it was wrapped in the same very distasteful wrapping, red with Christmas trees on it. It was much smaller. He opened the present and found a rather lovely wallet inside, charmed to hold as many coins as needed. It was a beautiful white leather and printed with what seemed like random designs. He loved it immediately.

A second note was inside the wallet. He stowed it away and grinned.

In bed that night, he opened the note.

Dear Scorp,

Me again. We've known each other for over a year now. It's been a long year, but quite enjoyable in my opinion. I hope you enjoy the wallet as much as you liked the bear. I know, because I heard you talking about it rather loudly to your friends. I wish I was your friend; I could have given you this in person and been able to see you smile. You've never smiled at me, but I hope that changes.

The wallet is charmed to hold your coins. It's advanced magic, obviously nothing I could do, but I hope you don't mind that it wasn't me who did it.

Merry Christmas Scorp.

Your hint this year is: E

-o-

Third year rolled around, and Scorpius sat through Christmas dinner hoping that he would find another distastefully wrapped present on his bed that night. He hurried back, and called his friends to his side again when he pulled open his curtains excitedly. Sitting on his pillow was another small present.

He unwrapped it with everybody staring, and found a small box. He opened it and found a necklace.

"A necklace? You're not a girl!" Miles exclaimed.

"Hush, Miles," Scorpius replied. "It's a necklace for men, like me." He held it out for Christina to put on him. She clasped the black leather cord around his neck, and he saw it had a rather lovely silver snake charm on it.

"You're thirteen," Miles said.

"So are you, Miles. Do shut up now." Scorpius waited impatiently for his friends to go away so he could read his note. He couldn't wait for bed, and said he had to use the restroom. He locked the door and pulled out his note, smiling as he unfolded it.

Dear Scorp,
You did like the wallet, more than you liked the bear I think. You're rather attractive when you smile, you know. You smile when you pull out your wallet and show it around. Please wear the necklace.
I know you're wondering why I'm doing this. You probably don't remember, but we met when we were six in Flourish and Botts. (There's another hint I didn't mean to give you: I'm not Muggleborn.) You were reading quietly, and when I sat down at the next table waiting for my father, you immediately started talking to me. You weren't shy, like me, and as soon as you started talking and couldn't seem to stop letting your words spill out, I knew I was gone, that I would never feel this way about somebody else. I know I was six, but it's been seven years and nothing's changed. I doubt it will. I'm sorry. You probably didn't want to know all this.
Anyway, Merry Christmas, Scorp.
Your letter this year is O.

Scorpius had no idea who his writer was. He had no memories of meeting anyone in Flourish and Botts at age six, much less talking to anyone and having them stare rapturously at him.

-o-

Fourth-year Scorpius returned to his room to find his Housemates waiting expectantly by his bed. He smiled proudly and whipped open his curtains to find another present. He tore off the ugly wrapping and found a gently fluttering Golden Snitch with his name, Scorpius H. Malfoy, engraved on it in script. He was glad his admirer had left out Hyperion. Honestly, what was his mother thinking? He grabbed it, and the Snitch fell open, revealing a cavern inside with—the note! He quickly closed it, but Christina had already seen.

"Ooh, a note! What does it say?" she took the Snitch from him, but couldn't make it open, no matter what she tried. She twisted it and pulled it, but nothing happened.

"Stop! You'll break it," Scorpius said. "Give it here."

She gave it back, annoyed. "It's broken anyway."

But it wasn't. After everyone had gotten in their beds, Scorpius tried to open it again, and it opened easily in his hands. He took the note out and carefully flattened it.

Dear Scorp,
You wore the necklace! Everyday, I saw. You look beautiful in it, although you would look beautiful in anything. I suppose you would prefer handsome, but you'll always be beautiful to me. It's not a girly term, you know. Handsome used to be for women and beautiful for men. I don't know when it got switched, but regardless, you're beautiful.
In case you were wondering, the Snitch will hold whatever you put in it and only allow you and whoever you specifically want to be able to open it. Very complex magic—and I did it myself this time. You can congratulate me, if you want, when you figure out (finally) who I am.
I'm not good with speaking, which is one reason that I've been sending you anonymous notes at Christmastime rather than trying to speak to you. But, just so you know, you're good with words. You could talk anyone over to your side in any argument. I prefer writing. We would make a good team.

Merry Christmas, Scorp.
I hope you're trying to figure out the meaning of the letters. You'll get one every year, and you'll get the final letter our seventh year, if you haven't figured it out by then. Until then: R.

Scorpius carefully put the letter in the trunk next to his other three.

-o-

Scorpius rushed back to his dorm just before Christmas dinner and found no present. It seemed that it materialized sometime during dinner. He would have to watch and see who disappeared during that time.

He watched carefully all through dinner, but didn't see anyone leave.

Scorpius and his friends walked eagerly back to his dorm and pulled open the curtains. He found the box. It was bigger than the last three, but smaller than the bear box. He smiled at Griffin, who still sat on his bed.

He unwrapped the distasteful box and found a model dragon in a cage. It was green, moving, and breathed little puffs of smoke. He pet it, and found its spikes to be incredibly sharp when it cut his finger. It roared at him—a high-pitched, very quiet sound. He laughed.

Miles reached out to hold it, and he let each of his friends have a minute with it. It growled at each of them, apparently unwilling to risk the adorable roar again until one of the boys tried to pet it and let out an "Ouch!" when his finger started bleeding. "It hurt me!" The dragon responded with another tiny roar.

The note that night was longer than usual. Scorpius let his dragon sleep on his bedside table in its cage.

Dear Scorp,
You smiled at me. You caught me staring at you a few weeks ago—I do that I lot; I can't help it—and you smiled at me. Your lively grey eyes danced and your face lit up and I couldn't breathe for a second. I think I spilled my pumpkin juice; it was quite embarrassing. But you were so beautiful that it was worth it. Merlin, I sound like a girl.
That is one thing you probably should know. The person who has liked you since age six is male. I hope you don't mind. You probably will, but there's nothing I can do about it. I'm sorry if you find it disgusting.
The dragon is for you. His name is Serpent. I hope you like him; I think he's beautiful.

I have to admit something. It's probably a bit awkward since you don't actually know who I am, but I have to say it.
I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you. I don't know if you'll ever find out who I am, but if you don't, just know that I am in love with you, Scorpius Malfoy.
Merry Christmas, love.
Your letter this year is A. It's the most important letter, so you might as well have it the year I admit how I feel about you.

Scorpius stared at the letter. A boy was in love with him. A boy, not a girl, a boy using the pronoun "he" and with male bits and who was male. And the boy was in love with him.

In love!

Scorpius didn't know how to react. He clutched the letter to his chest as he fell asleep.

-o-

By the next year, Scorpius had decided he was definitely okay with having a boy be in love with him. He had secret hopes about who it would be, but refused to voice them to his friends despite their pleading. His admirer was the only topic of conversation as sixth-year Christmas approached.

His friends watched as he pulled open his bed curtains and found a sixth distastefully wrapped box. He had grown to love the wrapping though, and felt a tug in his heart when he saw the box sitting on his pillow.

Unwrapping it, he found a plain ebony box. It was well made, but there was clearly something inside. He opened it and found, along with his note, which he hid quickly, what looked like hundreds of little squares of paper. He picked one up and read it aloud. "The angry way you push your hair back when you're making Potions." Confused, he selected another one. "The way your right canine is just a little bit crooked." He hated that tooth. It was imperfect. He reached for another one. "The way your nose crinkles when you're writing a Transfigurations essay."

"Awww! This is so cute!" Christina exclaimed.

"What is it?" demanded Miles.

"See? The box says 'Five Hundred Ways I Love You.' Scorpius, you just have to tell us who she is now!"

"I don't know," Scorpius said glumly.

"Somebody's in love with Scorpius?" somebody said rudely. "Of all people."

"He's been in love with me since the age of six," Scorpius said proudly, then clapped a hand over his mouth when he realized what he had said.

"He?" Christina was wide-eyed. "You know who it is and you didn't tell us! And it's a boy?"

"I told you, I don't know who he is. He told me in one of his notes that he was a boy. But they're anonymous aside from that. I don't know who he is, but he promised he would tell me eventually. Next year, I think."

"You have notes?"

Scorpius regretted ever opening his mouth.

"Yes, I do, and no, you can't read them. They're mine. And you cannot have them because they're private." He glared at Christina's outstretched hand. "I told you, no. You may not read them, and that's final. Seriously."

"But he's a boy," Miles said, still caught on that point. "Are you… you know, like that?"

"Yes, Miles, he's a boy. Good job. And I've decided it doesn't matter, and it's 2022. Get over it."

It was an hour later when Scorpius finally got to read the note. He opened it, smiling softly.

Dear Scorp,

You didn't go crazy, so I'm going to assume that you don't mind that I'm a boy, and that I'm in love with you. It feels so good to say that (write that, honestly), Scorpius. I am so in love with you.

You smiled at me a few more times this year. You've been doing it more and more recently, so I'm hoping it's a step in the right direction. I don't think you know that you're doing it consciously, but you've definitely smiled at me.
The box, as I'm sure you noticed, is some of the reasons why I love you, Scorp. The way you blink your eyes at anybody who annoys you as if you're dumbfounded that they would even try to cross you. The way you purse your lips when you're waiting for a professor to hand out essays. The way your eyes sparkle when you're laughing. The color of those eyes, Scorpius, I don't think you understand how beautiful you are. A lot of people say my eyes are beautiful, but yours are solemn and expressive and perfect.
I love you, Scorp. One more year, and you'll get the last letter, and maybe you'll find me. If not, I hope at least we can be friends, Scorpius, if you don't want more than that. I'll do whatever you want. I love you. Merry Christmas.

Your sixth letter, my love, is P.

One more year, thought Scorpius as he gently closed his ebony box and placed it next to his dragon in its cage.

He dreamed of beautiful green eyes that night.

-o-

Scorpius could barely eat during his final Christmas dinner. The food was delicious, but he couldn't stomach it. He felt like he was going to throw up in anticipation. The second it was appropriate for him to leave, he ran up to his dorm room and threw open the curtain. He was alone for once, which felt somehow appropriate.

For a second, he just stood there in shock. There was no present there for him. No note either. His bed was empty. He fell onto his bed and sat there, numb. He had expected a nice present, a note, something. But there was just nothing. He laid down, unable to think for a moment. He heard a crinkle as he put his head on his pillow and shot up, quickly enough that he went dizzy for a second. He felt on his pillow, and, sure enough, there was a note there.

"Damn you," he muttered, knowing that his reaction meant he felt something, at least, for this unknown person. "Damn you."

He carefully unfolded the note. It was short.

Dear Scorp,
If you find me, I'll give you your present. I love you, and this might be the last chance I get to say it. I love you so much it hurts every day I don't see you. You're the first thing I look for in the morning and the last thing I look for at night. You're worthy of someone, and it's probably not me, but I hope you find happiness even if it's not with me. I love you, Scorp.
The letters are my name, scrambled. If you want to know who I am, unscramble them. I love you.
T

Scorpius very much wanted to know who his letter writer was. He grabbed his other notes and carefully wrote down the letters on a separate sheet of paper. T, they read. Elorapt? Obviously, they weren't in order, the seventh letter had said as much. He moved them around using his wand. They now read Ralpote. That wasn't it, either. He glared at them, annoyed that the boy couldn't simply tell him. He glared at Ralpote and messed them around in his mind.

Suddenly, it clicked. If he moved R to the end of Alpote, it read Alpoter. Al Poter. Al Potter. Albus Potter was in love with him. And had been since the age of six.

Al Potter loved him. He was loved by Al Potter, the irritating, messy-haired, green-eyed, quiet, beautiful, kind, loving, amazing, perfect boy.

Wait, he hadn't meant that.

He felt a warm feeling inside him at the thought that Al Potter was in love with him. He stood up. He had to find him.

"Scorpius?" Christina asked as he rushed past her towards the Gryffindor area. Christmas dinner was over, it seemed. Al would be in there, most likely.

"I know who he is," Scorpius blurted out in explanation. Damn, why had he said that? Christina whirled around and caught up with him.

"Who?" she demanded.

"Can't tell you. Have to find him," Scorpius spit out, walking faster. He hoped she wouldn't follow him all the way.

"I'm coming with you." Crap. He let her follow him. He came to the portrait of the Fat Lady, where everybody knew the Gryffindor dorm was.

"Password?" she asked.

"I don't have it, but I need to get inside."

"I can't let you in without the password," she primly replied, fussing with her nails.

"Oh, shove—"

"Scorpius, I know it," Christina said. He gaped at her as she announced "Fishtails." She shrugged when they ducked through the door. "I'm friends with Rose Weasley. We do Transfigurations together."

He decided not to pursue it as they rushed through the dead silent Common Room. He ignored the open stares of the Gryffindor students. There were two sets of stairs. He chose one, and quickly discovered it was the wrong one—to the girls' dorms, presumably, when they formed a slide and he slid down in a heap to the bottom. He ran up the other set, two at a time. Finding the seventh-year boys' dorm, he threw open the door to find Al Potter and a few of his classmates sitting on their beds, apparently in the middle of a chat.

From the look on his face, Scorpius guessed that Al hadn't expected him to actually come find him. And now that he was there, Scorpius was, for one of the few times in his life, completely speechless.

"Scorpius?" Al asked hesitantly.

And Scorpius knew what to do. He crossed the room purposefully, looking directly into the green-eyes of the boy who, up until that point, had only called him Malfoy to his face and Scorp in his letters. He took the smaller boy into his arms, whispered "Scorp," and kissed him.

He felt the boy go slack in his arms, apparently in shock. He pulled back, suddenly terrified that he had guessed wrong. Because maybe Al Poter wasn't supposed to be Al Potter. Maybe it was somebody else, and now he had just kissed the boy who until that point had barely even spoken to him. He released Albus Potter in horror.

Al caught his hands. "You got my letters?" he asked softly.

And Scorpius relaxed. "Yeah. I got them."

Al pulled him close and wrapped his arms around the blond boy's neck. "Did you like them?"

Scorpius smiled and held Al around his waist. "I did," he murmured. "I liked them a lot. Did you mean them? Did you mean what you said?"

"Every word," Al responded. "And, er, perhaps, do you think we could do this somewhere a bit more… not in front of six people?"

Scorpius's eyes widened and he drew back from Al.

Christina had sat on the floor, for probably the first time in her life, in surprise. Clearly, of all things, she had not expected this. Scorpius was disappointed her jaw didn't quite reach the ground. Al's friends, on the other hand, were grinning widely. He guessed correctly that they had known about Al's crush on Scorpius Malfoy, of all people.

"Guys?" Al asked. "Er, could we have a bit of privacy for a moment?"

One of Al's roommates jumped up, slapped Al on the back in apparent congratulations, and ran out the door, followed by the other four roommates and Christina. They could hear him yelling, "He did it! Al got Malfoy! It freaking worked, guys! It freaking worked!" A loud cheer went up in the Gryffindor Common Room, and Al flushed bright red.

"Everybody knew?" Scorpius asked, confused.

"Yeah. They helped me get the presents into your room. I think a few Slytherins were in on it, actually. How else could we know which bed was yours or the password to the dungeons or where your Common Room was?"

"Everybody in your house knew that you've liked me since the age of six?"

"Gryffindors are horrible at keeping secrets, Scorp," Al said, tucking a strand of blond hair behind Scorpius's ear. "And it's loved, not liked."

Scorpius grinned. This boy loved him. He could get used to that. "What's my present this year?"

"Scorpius Malfoy," Al said sternly. "You've got a boyfriend, if you want him. One who's loved you since the age of six. Can't that be enough? No," said Al, looking at Scorpius adoringly, "that will never be enough for you. Fortunately, I planned something, if you want. I want to take you out for dinner this weekend. Somewhere nice."

Scorpius nodded. "I'd like that."

"The boyfriend thing? Or dinner?"

"Can't I have both?"

Al laughed, standing on tiptoe to kiss Scorpius on the lips. "Greedy, greedy," he said softly. "I love you."

"So I've heard," said Scorpius. He kissed his boyfriend, and felt a little chill go through him at the thought.

Al's soft lips responded to his, and they stood there for a while.