Dealing With Trauma

You're Doing it Wrong.

ONE

There are many gruesome sights in the world, and somehow this beats most of them;

Here is Draco Malfoy, wearing a pink banana hammock and nothing else.

Here is Harry James Potter, stretched out beneath him and barely wearing a periwinkle dress with butterflies on it.

Here is Albus Severus Potter, scarred for life and ready to scream.

"God," Al says, weakly, but what he really wants to do is throw up. His dad is Not Looking at him, and Al thinks that this is more than okay, because he wouldn't have been able to meet his eyes anyway.

"Er," says his father. In the pregnant pause that follows, Mister Malfoy slips out the door with his shirt still untucked and his trousers unbuttoned. Al tries not to think about it.

"I didn't -" Al's dad clears his throat, and tries again. "I didn't think you'd be here for a few days. It was the seventeenth, wasn't it?"

"Yeah." Al stares at the kitchen table – white plastic, from one of those shops where they name all the furniture after dead Vikings – and wonders if Oblivating himself would be worth the risk of premature Alzheimers. "Had a fight. With Mum."

His dad gives the wall three inches above Al's head a wry, sympathetic half-smile. It would have been almost reassuring if he hadn't still been wearing the dress.

"About your exams?"

"Yeah," Al says. He wonders if he's lost the capability of polysyllabic speech – which wouldn't have been that big of a loss, really; at least he hasn't gone blind. Besides, he's probably going to have to die a virgin now – which is unfair, because sex is one of the things he's really been looking forward to – a speech impediment is the least of his troubles.

"Please don't tell her about this," his dad says, flapping his hand vaguely in the direction of the bedroom.

"'S not Mum's business," Al mutters, and it isn't, really. He runs a hand through his hair, and the silence stretches out like a million years, and then a million more.

"Al," his dad says, "I -"

"Why Malfoy?" Al asks, because it doesn't even make sense, "I mean, he's a prick, you said so, and he - you don't even like him!"

"Look, it's a bit ... complicated," Al's father says.

You're having an affair with Malfoy, Al thinks. That's not complicated, it's bordering on suicidal. He doesn't say anything, though, and the silence stretches out like an ocean between them.

In the end, Al's dad gets up and makes dinner, and they leave it at that.

TWO

He's over it now, really.

He still gets flashbacks whenever his dad ... well, all right, whenever his dad does just about anything, really. From the looks of it, his dad does, too, because he gets all awkward whenever Al walks into the room. It doesn't exactly help, and on the first of September, Al is halfway out the door before anyone else has even had the chance to find a clean pair of socks.

They meet up with Al's mum at the platform. She smiles at them – even Al, because she can never stay mad at any of them for long – and hugs Al and Lily so hard they almost hear ribs crack. Al's dad smiles at her, and she hugs him, too; for a moment, Al can almost believe that they're still together, and that they're an ordinary, happy family again.

Then his mum lets go, and then there's an awkwardness seeping in at the edges of her face that Al can't remember seeing there before. Well. So much for "happy family".

Then there's a flash of blond hair from the other end of the bloody platform, and Al feels the bile rise in his throat. Okay. So maybe he isn't as over this whole Malfoy thing as he wants to be. Mr Malfoy nods, curtly, in his dad's direction, and Al wonders how long they've been shagging, because it's the same nod he gave him when Al was eleven and here for the first time.

And then Mr Malfoy looks away, and says something to his son.

His son.

Malfoy Junior is tall and thin and all angles; More than anything, he looks like a blond, bespectacled flagpole. Al has nothing against him, or at least he hadn't had anything against him, except that now their dads are shagging, and Scorpius Malfoy looks just enough like his father for this to be disturbing. Al scowls, and Malfoy turns around and catches him glaring. He cocks an eyebrow, somehow managing to say, what's your damage? without even opening his mouth. Al bristles, turns away.

And thinks, fuck.

Oh well, he amends, with the manic optimism of the truly desperate, he'll just have to avoid him. It shouldn't be that difficult, seeing as they've exchanged what, two, maybe three words since their first year of Hogwarts.

Really, how hard can it be?

THREE

Really damn hard, it turns out.

It's like Sod's Law in action - once Al's decided not to notice Scorpius Malfoy, he turns up everywhere. Every time Al turns a corner, or leaves a class, or, hell, enters a class, for that matter, Malfoy is there, like a ferrety one-man Apocalypse.

"Al," Agatha says, pointing at him with her fork to illustrate. She does that a lot, illustrating by pointing her hands (and whatever they may contain at the time) at people. (Sometimes Al wonders if she's ever taken someone's eye out, but he's not going to ask.) Agatha is your stereotypical sassy black chick, only white, in that washed-out, vaguely horsy British way. "Stop acting like an idiot and tell us what's going on."

"He's everywhere," Al moans.

Agatha twirls her fork around, unimpressed. "Yeah?"

"Everywhere. It's like he's stalking me or something."

"You're being paranoid, Al. Stop it."

Mike, who is the shape of a small mountain and has the mind of a brain surgeon, says, "How can he be anywhere, anyway, isn't that biologically imposs-"

"'M not being paranoid!"

Mike gets ignored a lot, but really, he's used to it by now.

FOUR

The point of having a family, Lily feels, is having someone to argue with about the petty, insignificant stuff like what colour the bridesmaids' robes is going to be at your Uncle's third wedding or who it was that really threw out Granddad's extremely rare and equally dreadful Calvin and Hobbes tie, and someone to rely on when push eventually comes to shove.

Secret-keeping has never been one of the things her family's been good at, at least not among themselves – her mother's side of the family gives everyone about as much privacy and room for secrecy as, say, a Big Brother house. Sure, give them classified war secrets and they won't even breathe a word under the bloody cruciatus, but Merlin help you if you tell them anything about your personal life, because everyone will know.

Everyone. Even the poltergeist in Lily's grandparents' attic.

Which is why it's so weird, really, that no-one else seems to have noticed anything about Al's newest Thing. Hell, Lily isn't even sure if Al's noticed anything – and knowing him, she doesn't think that would be too much of a stretch, either – even though the whole thing's pretty damn obvious to everyone who actually looks at him.

Al Potter is in love. It makes Lily want to cackle insanely, because, well. It's Al.

Still, she thinks as she hunts him down after dinner, a few weeks before Christmas, Al is her favourite older brother. And she does want to see him happy. Besides, all he needs is a tiny push in the right direction, and he should be okay.

"Malfoy getting on your nerves?" Lily asks, all fake sympathy, because she can see the plan forming in the back of her head as she goes along, and it's brilliant. Al glares at her. It's not very effective.

"Don't mention him," he grouches, and he's in love, alright.

"Bothers you a lot, doesn't it," she says, like she's talking about the time.

"He's a bastard," Al says, "and he's following me around like a bloody stalker."

The sentence hangs there for a bit, like a castle in the air, and Lily thinks that it's probably the other way around.

"I can fix it for you." And if he doesn't realize that she's up to something now by her facial expression alone, he deserves everything that's coming at him.

"Sure." And he snorts a laugh, like it's a joke.

And, all right, she admits to herself later, all the other reasons why she's doing this sort of pales in comparison to the real one; when the shit hits the fan and their parents find out about this, Lily is going to be on the front row.

She can hardly wait.

FIVE

As it turns out, Lily's idea of "helping" consists mostly in getting everyone involved gloriously shitfaced.

Still, when the pumpkin juice turns out to be spiked a few weeks after Christmas, and everyone does get gloriously shitfaced, no-one is going to suspect her.

And when one Albus Severus Potter, (age seventeen,) and one Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy (age eighteen) incidentally happen to be locked into the broom closet outside the Great Hall together, everything points to it being an accident.

(Lily, being a modern sort of witch, doesn't cackle; she smiles angelically to herself as she tucks away the blackmail material for future use.)

The results are as follows:
One: black eye and
Two: bruised lips

"If you even think about it-"

"Oh, believe me, I won't."

"Good. Because I'll-"

In the end, everyone involved would rather just pretend that nothing ever happened.

SIX

Al is one of the Hufflepuff chasers; has been since Third Year. He loves Quidditch; it's not so much the feeling of flying as it is the feeling of working together; some days it feels like the team is a single unit rather than seven different people, and it's fantastic.

It's the sort of thing that makes him happy he's in Hufflepuff.

It's the last match of the season - Hufflepuff versus Ravenclaw - and somehow it feels like the most important match of Al's life. Which is probably just a bit ridiculous, but there you have it. It's a matter of pride, mostly - it's his last match at Hogwarts, and the last time he'll play with these people, so he wants to make it good.

And Scorpius Malfoy is the Ravenclaw Keeper.

That might have something to do with it, too.

Now he's zooming across the Pitch, so close to the ground he can almost smell the grass-

Caroline Harper throws him the Quaffle, and he catches it easily, not slowing down -

He races towards the goalposts, feints his way past two Ravenclaw chasers, grinning as he goes -

He aims for the left hoop, and now he knows, he knows that this'll be an easy goal, there's no way he can't score on this one -

And then Malfoy looks straight at him, eyes blue and challenging, and it's like someone's punched him in the gut.

He doesn't score; instead, it hits Malfoy square in the face.

"Good game," Malfoy says. It couldn't have been any more ironic if someone had taken the time to carve it into an actual piece of iron, and Al feels his hackles rise. He wants to punch the bastard in the fucking face, and he would have, too, if Malfoy hadn't been two heads taller and probably a lot stronger than him. Al doesn't think the threat of having points taken away is going to stop him, either, so he decides to go with the less potentially fatal solution.

"Piss off," he says, diplomatically, and starts walking.

"No, really," Malfoy says, following him, "I especially liked the part where you shot the ball right into my fucking hands, that part was good."

Al grits his teeth, clenches his fists, and find that neither thing helps very much. "Which part of "piss off" aren't you getting?"

"Oh, I'm getting them both just fine."

"Yeah? Then why don't you?"

Malfoy smirks, like the absolute arsehole Al has always known he is, or at least has known since the beginning of this year, which really amounts to the same thing in the end.

"Just wanted to enjoy your pleasant company, Potter," he says, pitching his voice low like he really means it, like they're in some sort of twisted, sadomasochistic relationship. Al feels like screaming obscenities, but some students are still within hearing range, and the less people see of him and Malfoy together, the better. Instead, he shoves him in the chest – stomach – hard.

Well. Hard for him, which is just enough to make Malfoy take half a step backwards. Malfoy cocks an eyebrow at him like it's a weapon.

"Just – just piss. The fuck. Off!" Al screams, so loud it hurts, and okay, he wasn't going to do that, but he's just so angry.

Malfoy gives him a look that's almost worried, like he thinks Al's going to whip out his wand and curse the hell out of him any second. Which probably isn't going to happen, but Al isn't about to make any promises.

"Are you alright?"

"Yes," Al snaps, and they both know that's a lie, "I'm fine."

"Right," Malfoy says, doubtfully. Al doesn't say anything, because there's nothing to say, really. He shoves his fists down his pockets and starts walking again. Malfoy grabs his arm and yanks him back before he can take two steps.

"What," says Al, and it isn't a question. He just wants to be gone. Malfoy's fingers twitch, and he's glaring, too.

"Play it properly next time," he says.

"What – that's – what the hell?" Because, what.

"Potter. We both know that you're not actually completely rubbish when it comes to Quidditch. So what the hell was that?"

Al clenches his fists, and something like shame heats his insides like a, a, fuck it, like something really hot, like something red hot and prickly, like the essence of awkward.

"Yeah, well," he says, and it comes out sort of brash and even harsher than he'd intended, "I did my best. So sorry if it wasn't good enough for you."

Malfoy gives him a flat look. It says, please die a slow, agonizing death in a pool of your own stupidity so no-one else has to.

"Tell me," he says, all smooth and slick and poisonous, "did someone pay you of, or is this some kind of misplaced pity?"

For a moment, it's all Al can do to stare. "Bloody hell. You think I'd let you - "

"Obviously."

"That's - the stupidest thing I've heard all my fucking life," Al says, nearly spitting, because Jesus. Malfoy smiles; or at least, it's what a smile would look like if it was poisoned and resurrected so many times it gave up and decided that maybe the unlife isn't so bad after all.

"Really," he says, and his voice is dark enough for bats to get lost in. "So what the hell happened?"

Al flinches, because the only thing he can think of to say is, I wasn't expecting it, or, I was distracted by your eyes, or, God help him, it's all your dad's fault. And okay, it's not as if any of those things aren't true, it's just that none of them are very good things to say to the Malfoy heir.

"Our dads are shagging!" he exclaims, and it's almost worth it to see Malfoy's eyes bug out monstrously behind his expensive silver frames. For a moment, Al wonders if they're going to pop out of his head, but then Malfoy gains some composure and grinds out,

"What." Only it's really more like a, "WHAT!"

Al sort of wants to find a hole and crawl into it, but he's pretty sure Malfoy would follow him and snark at him in that dark, vaguely annoyed way of his until he goes insane or comes out. Basically, Al figures that he might as well go with the flow, and, really, the first part is supposed to be the hardest. He shrugs.

"I saw it."

"That's - Merlin bloody Christ, what're you on? Have you been smoking something?"

"I don't smoke anything," Al says, rolling his eyes, and it almost feels like he's got the upper hand for once. He thinks that he should probably enjoy it while he can, because it doesn't feel like it's going to happen a lot. Then he adds, with feeling, like he's got something to prove, "I saw it."

Malfoy doesn't say anything for long enough that Al starts wondering if maybe he's gone into shock. Finally he says, "so they're shagging?"

"Yeah," Al says, and tries not to shudder as the memory of dress, flowery pops up in his mind. "Fuck, don't make me say it again."

"Right," says Malfoy, "huh."

There is a pregnant pause. It gives birth to several baby pauses.

"Wait," Al says, four generations of baby pauses out, "that's it?"

Malfoy blinks at him. "What do you mean, 'that's it'?"

"I mean, our parents are-"

"Don't."

"Yeah. But I thought you'd ... react more." Al hadn't exactly expected agonized screaming, but he would've liked to see at least a shudder, or maybe some light retching. Malfoy looks straight ahead for a while, and Al is starting to get just a bit sick of the silence when he makes a sound that's almost like a laugh, except that it isn't.

"Merlin," he says, "that's what this is all about, isn't it?"

Al honestly doesn't know what to say to that, but it doesn't matter, because Malfoy isn't looking for answers, he's telling Al how things are. Al, who's spent a lot of time with Teddy Lupin, thinks that this is probably a Ravenclaw thing.

"You've got issues and you're taking them out on me."

It sounds a bit petty, hearing it said out loud like that. "It's not-"

"It is, Potter, don't say a fucking thing."

Al doesn't. Malfoy pushes his glasses up.

"I'm not my father," he says. Al swallows, hard.

"I noticed," he says, when it turns out that Malfoy isn't about to say anything else. Malfoy raises an eyebrow. It's so pale that it almost turns invisible against his skin; he's just about as close to being an albino as is possible without actually being one.

"Really."

The silence stretches out between them like three consecutive ice ages, only slightly less cold. In the end, Al can't stand it anymore.

"Your eyes're blue. Did you know?"

From the look on Malfoy's face, Al might as well have punched him. Then he blinks, slowly, and when he starts speaking, his voice is careful, measured.

"I only see them in the mirror every day," he says, and then he gives Al a long stare. "Oh God, don't tell me you're the kind of guy who laments about these things. I mean, really."

"Just for you, apparently," Al says, dryly.

"Brilliant," Malfoy says, seeing Al's dryness and raising him one desert.

"'S what I thought, too."

Malfoy fixes him with an indecipherable look.

"You're an idiot," he says, almost fondly, and reaches out to cup the side of Al's face. Al isn't sure what he should do, so they end up just staring at eachother. It's all a bit awkward, really, and Al is about to pull away when Malfoy pulls him in.

And then Malfoy is kissing him.

And then Al is kissing back.

.


a/n: There are two more bits of this; they're not entirely finished yet. BUT THEY WILL BE, dammit, and I'll post them soon. Comments and critique are love. :)