Once in a Lifetime
A raven-haired young man with bright green eyes foraged his way up a steep incline, his horse faltering for a moment before it crested the small hill that overlooked the modest estate; but it managed to reach it, as it had done so many times before.
A second pair of hooves caught up with him a short while later:coming from the long route that winded around the hill. A wiry young man with red hair as curly and thick as sheep's wool breathed heavily atop his steed, his fingers loosening the silk cravat at his neck. “It's unsportsmanlike to begin a race when one's opponent has been disabled, Albus.”
“I thought you were just pissing against a tree.” He snorted, his eyes taking in the perspiring face of his wheezing cousin.
“It matters not,” the red-haired young man chided haughtily as he began to blush. “It was still a blatant disadvantage.”
“You sound just like your mother, Hugo!” The dark-haired boy laughed as he dug his heels in and started off down the hill towards the stables. This time his cousin had a fair chance, and with his superior steed would be likely to win. It was a good idea to let him have the small achievement, otherwise he'd be impossible for the rest of the day.
Predictably, Hugo thundered past him and Albus arrived at the stable just in time to watch Hugo dismount from his steed.
“Ah, I see you've finally arrived, Albus,” Hugo smirked.“I thought you might have stopped by your mother's parlor and had a spot of tea before you made your way to the stables.”
Albus opened his mouth to retort, but stopped at the crunching of wooden wheels on the gravel of the courtyard. A blond man sat atop an uncovered cart, two smaller, hooded figures sat beside him; their meager belongings piled on the cart they were guiding in the direction of the stables.
“Has your father taken on more help?” Hugo asked, appraising the cart as it grew nearer.
“Family named Malfoy,” Albus confirmed as he swung down from his steed. “They're here to oversee the breeding of father's new stallions.”
“Malfoy?” Hugo narrowed his eyes. “Why does that sound familiar?”
“They were a prominent family for centuries, but managed to choose the wrong side during the trouble they had when our father's were boys.”Albus gave his horse an affectionate pat before he picked up a brush.
“Perhaps mother knew them in some way.” Hugo mused as began grooming his horse as well. “I don't believe father has ever mentioned them.”
“I bet she did,” Albus said under his breath as the cart grew closer.
The unpleasantness wasn't talked about much; time and propriety erasing the unpleasantness of it all. If the Malfoys had been on the wrong side they had been stripped of their titles and lands; their wands broken when it was all over; doomed to live as the Muggles they once persecuted.
Hermione Granger-Weasley wasn't a Muggle, but as a child of Muggles, she had found herself hunted alongside her parents. If not for the help of the Weasleys they never would have survived. Of course, the Grangers had showed their gratitude by allowing their daughter to marry one of the youngest Weasley sons. No money or lands made the newlyweds powerful in such a rigid society, but they had impressive titles and a doting rich grandfather (who quite liked his grandson's wife, no matter what her breeding) to take care of their needs through generous gifts and deposits to their accounts.
As the cart came to a stop the man atop it nudged one of the figures beside him and gave it meaningful look.
The hooded cloak came off and James raised his eyebrows at the young man that was hurrying over.
“You shouldn't be doing that, my lord!”The young man's face was a mask of horror, his shaggy hair falling about his face in a tousle of gold. “Let me get that for you!”
“Not today.” Albus said firmly. “Father said you were to have a day of settling in and I'm not about to displease him.”
The young man's face relaxed with relief as he pulled his body up to his full height. “As you say, sir.”
“And your name?” Hugo asked with an air of haughtiness.
“Scorpius, sir,” Scorpius said politely, his eyes trained ahead.
“You may go assist your parents, Scorpius. Your mother shouldn't be lifting heavy things.”Albus gently chided.
“Of course, sir.” He bowed slightly. “Thank you, sir.”
The young man scampered around to the other side of the stable, where his father would be housing their horse and cart.
“Eager to please, that one,” Hugo remarked as he brushed his horse in long, even strokes.
“The last boy father had managed to evade his chores whenever possible; and managed to strip the fruit from an entire apple tree in the course of a week.” Albus snorted. “It's about time he got someone willing to work a full day.”
Albus sat in a window high above the courtyard. The Malfoys had worked out well. Draco was as talented with horse breeding as he was knowledgeable, and his son, Scorpius. was showing the same talents.
It was the son Albus watched now, loading hay into a cart for the showing tomorrow. The event might only be held a few hours away, but Draco had convinced Lord Potter that unfamiliar hay might make the horses act less than their best and Albus' father had agreed.
Albus' eyes seemed to skim the page in front of him, but they were really looking past the book and towards the young man loading hay.
He had stripped his shirt off when it had started misting, the overcast day casting a veil of dampness over everything it touched, and Scorpius was beginning to develop a sheen on his bare skin.
Albus felt his body respond and he started in surprise. He frowned at his book and adjusted himself so no one could see it if they entered the room. It wouldn't do to be caught ogling the help, let alone the new stable-boy.
He felt his cheeks flush as he continued to watch Scorpius work, his perspiration mingling with the mist that clung to him.
Scorpius stopped working for a moment, wiping the sweat from his brow and leaning on his pitchfork.
He stretched, giving Albus a good view of his fine form, honed from years of physical labor.
Albus let his eyes linger a moment before his gaze trailed up to Scorpius' face, and the blue eyes looking back at him.
He started for a moment and instinctively jumped away from his seat at the window and the inquisitive eyes of the stable-boy.
Albus sat at the small table with his cousin, Rose. The air was sweet and warm and the umbrella the servants had set up was sufficient to block out the rays of the sun. Albus sipped at his tea while Rose recited poetry. Scorpius was in a small fenced off area with a small black foal, his father looking on encouragingly. He was trying to make the small animal walk in a circle, but it was more interested in trotting towards him and giving him a nuzzle, making Draco laugh and Scorpius cross.
“You haven't heard a word I've said!”Albus looked up to see Rose frowning at him, her unruly brown curls framing her delicately featured face face.
“Of course I have,” Albus said non-noncommittally.
“Well you ought to have!” Rose fumed as she put a marker in the book and set it down with a thud.
Albus started at this emotional outburst and looked at her bewilderedly as she got to her feet and huffed off.
He picked up the book curiously.
<i>'The world was on us,
My love and I took and swore,
Against the world, to be
Poets and Lovers evermore.'</i>
His heart leapt into his throat as he read the words over.
She knew. Rose knew Albus had been watching Scorpius and this was her way of telling him she knew.
But what would she do? Did she approve? Was she disgusted? Would she keep it a secret? Would she start calling him a confirmed bachelor in polite company; the title that titters and jeers followed behind so closely. Would his family be ruined?
He felt his blood run cold. There was no telling what might happen now.
Rose and Albus were taking a turn in the garden when she broke into a wide grin. “There's another note for you.”
Albus felt his cheeks turn red as he spotted the scrap of pink paper folded cleverly among the roses. He snatched it up quickly and stuffed it into his pocket.
“You're not going to read it?”She scowled at him.
“You wouldn't be able to read it anyway,” Albus chuckled. “The paper is attuned to me only.”
“Well, isn't that just fine!” She snapped her fan shut and fumed. “All that trouble, and for what?”
Albus snickered at his cousin, her angry face starting to match the deep pink of her bonnet. “You wouldn't want me reading letters from your suitors, would you?” He quirked an eyebrow at her.
“Mother already does,” Rose snorted in a very unladylike way. “She says it's for my own good. I swear she knows more about my life than I do.”
“The burden of femininity,” Albus said in a patronizing tone. “To be protected and sheltered away from harm's way.”
“You wouldn't last a week as a female.” Her look was far more patronizing than Albus' words. “From your food, to your clothing, to your thoughts; every moment is being scrutinized for improvement.”
“At least you weren't sent away like Lily,” Albus said as he spied his mother over his cousins shoulder, a scowl on her face and a bottle of hair-oil in her hands. “And Mother's willing to drown me in oil rather than have a hair stick up out of place.
Rose eyed her cousin critically. “She might just have to, considering the shape of your head.”
He sighed in exasperation as he plodded towards his mother and her frown. “Sometimes I think I'd be happier as a servant. At least they don't have their mothers trying to force their hair into unnatural shapes and their persons into unnatural matrimony.”
Rose snorted. “Just be glad you have the freedoms you do. I'll be getting into my wedding dress before I know I'm engaged.”
“It might be a precaution against flight,” Albus teased his cousin. “It's that wild Bohemian blood in you.”
“There hasn't been a Bohemian in my bloodline for five generations!” Rose protested.
“And it's all bubbling to the surface now.” Albus grinned at her. “Helping forbidden courtships, grumbling about getting married. Don't tell me there isn't a touch of gypsy to you!”
Rose giggled as they neared Albus' mother who was already unscrewing the top of the bottle and pulling her wand out. “Better to be a free bird than a caged one.”
“I wonder how that feels,” Albus mused.
“Me too,” Rose said glumly.
“I honestly don't know what you've been about,” Hugo said haughtily as he put his cap and coat into a charmed dust-proof box in the stables before picking up a saddle. “You're acting like Aunt Luna during one of her spells.”
“Just a bit distracted lately,” Albus snorted. “Been thinking of getting a job.”
“Whatever for?” Hugo looked aghast.
“Well, what's the point of having a fine education if you never use it for anything?” Albus would never tell him the real reason for his distraction. It should have never happened and now the fates were held in the balance. He hadn't planned the downpour and he didn't plan on Scorpius being in the stables.
The dampness had crept into everything, the smell of hay and horses thick in the air and now when Albus was in the stables his head swam. The taste of Scorpius's mouth on his own. The fleeting moment when his breath caught in his throat and his heart leapt in his chest.
“So you can carry on a conversation with gentlemen of social power.” Hugo snorted.
“What about everyone else?”
“What?”Hugo frowned at his cousin.
“What does that education mean to everyone else?” Albus asked.
“I think all that that study has finally addled your senses.” Hugo said firmly. “An hour astride your mount will have all those cobwebs cleared out.”
“You're probably right,” Albus said, but he truly doubted it. “Maybe a fox hunt.”
“That's a good chap!” Hugo smiled at Albus. “Time to take a break and get some wind in your hair to forget it all!”
Albus very sincerely doubted he'd be able to forget it at all, but went along with his cousin just to get him to shut up on the subject. “Of course.”
“He can't wear that!” Albus mother sounded horrified. “He'll look like a beggar, not a footman!”
“So change them.” Albus frowned sternly.
“What else would we put him in?”Albus' mother snapped impatiently. “These are the only trousers we ordered and they can't be mended with magic. The material is too fine.”
“What about those gray trousers from that suit I outgrew last season? I know you were planning on having it altered, but that fashion is never going to come back around,” Albus made a face he hoped his mother would believe.
She pursed her lips as she looked Scorpius over. “They could work... they might be too big...”
“It's better than showing up with only a driver,” Lord Potter said lazily. “We can enjoy a spot of tea in the garden while he changes into more appropriate clothing.”
Lady Potter pursed her lips as she mulled this over. “Fine. But we leave within the hour and no later!”
“How long does she think it takes to change a pair of trousers?”Albus muttered under his breath as he made his way to the manor house steps, the stable-boy in tow.
Scorpius snickered as they climbed and Albus had to stop himself from scowling and turning red.
“So this is where you do whatever it is you nobs do,” Scorpius teased Albus as they walked down the mahogany-paneled hallway to Albus' rooms.
“Sleep.” Albus quirked a corner of his mouth at Scorpius. “This is where I sleep.”
“Apart from in the stables after--”
“Shh!”Albus quickly looked around.
“The servants have left. Your mother dismissed them after her hat was arranged properly.” Scorpius cocked a smile at Albus.
“Be that as it may, they might have not all left,” Albus said warily.
“I wouldn't stay longer than I had to in this place.” Scorpius looked around. “Looks like a museum.”
“And what would you know about museums?” Albus asked haughtily.
“Cleaned the chimneys for the National Gallery when I was seven,” Scorpius defended himself as he gave Albus a swat. “Probably seen more than you have.”
Albus laughed in spite of himself. “You always have to do me one better, don't you?”
“You shouldn't make the goal so simple.”Scorpius said snootily.
Albus grabbed Scorpius' hand and they ran down the long hall to the bedroom where Albus rested his head.
“Oh!” Scorpius said in mock surprise. “A real bed! How posh! Why, this time I'll wager we won't even have to rid ourselves of fleas!”
“You shut it.” Albus grinned as he pushed Scorpius into the bedroom. He waved his wand and the door shut firmly behind him.
“Your mother won't notice if she comes up here and the doors stuck shut?” Scorpius laughed as Albus pushed him towards the large bed.
“Been trapping it for a week now,” Albus said as he pulled his shirt over his head. “If it's stuck now no one will be the wiser.”
“Planning ahead now, are we?” Scorpius raised an eyebrow as Albus fumbled with his clothing.
“It isn't every day someone in this family gets married. The house is usually never empty.”
“Poor Rose. She's a nice girl. Wasn't very fair to spring it on her like this.” Scorpius lifted his own shirt over his head. He peered at Albus.“It wasn't by chance that my trousers ripped today, is it?”
“I charmed one of the bolts in the carriage to jump out and bite them, if that's what you're eluding to,” Albus sniffed as haughtily as someone in their pants and socks can.
“Can't trust you magic lot,” Scorpius shook head sadly. “Next thing you know you'll be making spring-loaded corsetry.”
“You're a wizard, too!” Albus protested as he fell to the bed, Scorpius in his arms.
“Fat lot of good it does me.” Scorpius snorted. “I can't use magic.”
“One day that will change,” Albus soothed him. “We can leave here. Go to America. I'll teach you myself at home.”
“Goody. I'll just grab my hidden fortune under my mattress and we'll be off,” Scorpius said with a sarcastic look.
“We can take mine.”
“What? Are you serious?” Scorpius' eyes went round.
“You know how mother's always complaining about how much money I spend on entertainment?”
“What, your drinking fund?” Scorpius chuckled as Albus pulled him near.
“The only brandy I drink is Fathers.”Albus admitted. “I've been saving the rest.”
“Since when?” Scorpius asked with a shocked look on his face.
“Since forever,” Albus admitted. “If the family's assets were ever frozen...” He trailed off as he saw the look on Scorpius' face. “Well, I don't need to tell you about what happens then.”
“I see,” Scorpius said slowly. “Think you're going to get into trouble like that anytime soon?”
“Good heavens, no!” Albus looked shocked. “I just thought we could run off.”
“How long have you been planning this?” Scorpius asked, his eyes wide.
“Running off? Forever.” Albus admitted. “Having you accompany me was a more recent decision.”
“Decision or pillow promise?” Scorpius sat up, a frown on his face.
“Decision, I swear it,” Albus said pleadingly. “I want you to come with me. We can pretend to be cousins traveling west.”
“West?” Scorpius barked a laugh at him. “You want to be a cowboy? Have you gone completely mad?”
“Not that far west.” Albus shook his head and laughed. “Chicago! I have a cousin in the newspaper business. He'd help us!”
“Even if he was told not to?” Scorpius asked skeptically.
Albus coughed. “There aren't that many people in the family that talk to him.”
“Oh!” Scorpius exclaimed. “Well... well, I don't know what to think.”
“Say you'll come with me!” Albus said furtively. “Say you'll call me family for the rest of your life.”
“My father wouldn't get rid of the only decent horseman he's manage to get his hands on because their sons decided to strike out for America. I'll leave a message telling them that you're coming as my servant. My father would think it a jolly adventure.”Albus said excitedly.
“And when we tell him where we're going?” Scorpius asked, one eyebrow raised.
“We don't.” Albus said firmly. “We get a mailbox in New York and only correspond with him from there.”
“New York?” Scorpius choked out a laugh. “Do you have any idea how far apart New York and Chicago are?”
“Round and about fifteen minutes,” Albus said softly. “We can use magic. There are no restrictions over there--”
“Yet.” Scorpius interjected.
“Well, there aren't any for now and it might be our only chance. What do you say?”
Scorpius looked down at Albus and sighed. “My employ requires me to serve the young Lordling in any pursuit he may need assistance in.”
“Did you just call me a Lordling?” Albus laughed and grabbed one of the fine pillows on his bed and hit Scorpius with it.
Scorpius laughed as he grabbed the other pillow. “I said I was going!”
“As my servant,” Albus said with a twinkle in his eye. “And I've got a job for you.”
Scorpius felt his breath catch in his throat as he saw the expression on Albus' face. “Does it involve giving in to your every whim?”
Albus started undoing the front of his trousers. “I think it just might.” He looked Scorpius up and down, licking his lips as his eyes wandered along the pale skin of his chest. He always thought Scorpius tasted like rainwater.
“I thought one was supposed to become accustomed to the sea!” Albus shouted over the noise of the crashing waves.
Scorpius vomited into a decorative brass pot as he lay crouched on the floor of their cabin. “I'm just thankful we're here instead of down with the rest of them. I could be sharing this pot with twenty other people.”
“We need to send mother a hat from New York, remember,” Albus said as he began to write in a small leather book.
“It was quite kind of her to Apparate down to the docks when she found the note,” Scorpius groaned. “If she hadn't talked to the captain and given you that money--”
“I'm still disturbed by the notion that she knew the docks well enough to Apparate to them,” Albus grumbled. “And she preformed a memory charm on him. Highly unethical.”
“Either way, God bless your mother for arranging our cabin. This could truly be so much worse.”
“Indeed.” Albus smiled pityingly as Scorpius attempted to fill the pot once more.
Albus and Scorpius sat on a small worn love-seat, it's fuzzy velvet covering worn thin in many places.
“You don't have to worry here!” Sidney Potter yelled over the din of the crowded club. “You can be yourself!”
Albus looked past his cousin and blushed at the scene behind him. “I think I'm already quite a bit like me, thank you. I'm not sure I'm so much like that chap who is... who is...”
“Polishing every knob that walks in the door,” Scorpius said in wonderment, his eyes fixed on the lurid scene.
Sidney laughed at the pair and took a swig of his drink.
“It might be normal for some to want to engage in this sort of behavior, but I assure you I'm not interested in taking twelve--”
“Thirteen,” corrected Scorpius, tilting his head as the scene shifted.
“Thirteen,” he gave Scorpius an irritated look, “men in a night. I just want to find a nice place for us to go without being bothered.”
“You're a merry pair of old uncles, aren't you?” Sidney laughed, his drunken blush starting to spread to his large ears. “Come all the way to the city to sit around having a nice cuppa!”
“Well, we certainly have learned a lot,” Scorpius said, squinting his eyes and contorting his position to see better.
“And we're sincerely grateful for the employ,” Albus added quickly. “But I'm not quite sure such a lurid display is...”
“Appropriate,” Scorpius filled in with a wink to Sidney.
“Yes, quite.” Albus agreed as Scorpius snickered at him.
“Always the appropriate one!” Sidney rolled his eyes at the pair. “What's the point of swearing off the misery of women and marriage if you're going to do the same thing with a fellow?”
“You've missed the point!” Albus snapped at his cousin.
“And what's that?” Sidney asked, his eyelids drooping from drink.
“If you marry the right person it's not miserable!”
Sidney rolled his eyes. “That's what they all say.”
Albus looked up from the dirty tub of water as the hoof beats grew closer.
Scorpius approached on the back of a brown mare, her hoofs restless, like she was fighting the urge to buck him off. “I told you I could break her!”
“Congratulations!” Albus smiled. “Who would have ever thought we could just wander the wilderness and pick up a stable of horses? Leaving Chicago was the best thing we ever did!”
Scorpius snorted. “I remember it being more difficult than just wandering out and gathering them up.”
“But you've gotten so much better with your wand!” Albus smiled as he resumed washing a pile of dingy shirts.
“Speaking of which, why aren't you using yours?” Scorpius asked as he dismounted the skiddish horse and gave her a gentle pat.
“I left them going too long the last time and they ended up all shredded.” Albus made a face.
“Forget your head if it wasn't screwed on,” Scorpius snorted as he approached the tub and picked a shirt up. “You need to teach me that shearing spell your father taught you. We'll need new clothing for winter.”
“As soon as I'm convinced you can do a spell of that magnitude without butchering them.” Albus grinned at him. “We can't just wander about and find wild sheep.”
“We can if we're good enough at it,” Scorpius muttered under his breath.
“You're not to use your new powers to torment the Muggles!” Albus chided him.
“How about borrowing their sheep?” Scorpius asked hopefully.
Albus frowned at Scorpius. “What do you have in mind?”
Scorpius looked down at Albus, the line around his eyes creasing and his mustache twitching as he sat atop the giant machine. “It threw a bolt into the works! Have it up and running in no time.”
“You see, Mrs. Miller. Everything will be on schedule. No need to worry.” Albus wrung his hands together as he was stared down by a tiny woman with steel-colored hair and a scowl.
“I came here because I heard you were the best.” Her frown deepened.
“Even the best weavers have machinery that breaks down.” Albus smoothed down the small beard on his chin. “We allow extra time for such occurrences.”
“See to it the fabric is delivered by Tuesday.” The woman said firmly as she turned on her heel and stormed out of the small factory.
“Sour old cow,” Scorpius snorted as the door closed behind her and Albus bolted it. He pulled out his wand and started moving around large pieces of machinery. “Thought she'd stand there all day.”
“What do you expect from someone that wants an entire hotel reupholstered for her daughter's wedding?” Albus chuckled.
“Speaking of weddings,” Scorpius said cheerfully as he grinned down at Albus.
“I know.” Albus groaned. “Margret's is in three months.”
“Rose just might kill you if you don't go. She's been after that girl for years and her siblings seem to be following her example.” Scorpius disappeared into the large machine, clanging noises following him.
“If you think that invitation was only for me, you've gone completely windy-headed.” Albus laughed as he heard Scorpius hit his head inside the machine. “If you're my gentleman's gentleman you'll be expected to be there.”
Scorpius poked his head out and gave Albus an even look. “Is my father still working for yours?”
“Of course,” Albus grinned. “I'm sure he'd be happy to see you. Truly.”
Scorpius groaned as he went back into the bowels of the machine. “That's what I'm afraid of. Back to Britain after all this time? Why not just send for Margret and her new husband? A merry trip to San Francisco for their wedding present from their fine pair of merry uncles?”
“Because I'm expected to check in every decade... or so,” Albus said sourly. “Especially since tongues have stopped wagging about me running off with the stable boy.”
“It's been far longer than a decade. “ Scorpius snorted. “At least we don't have to take a boat this time. The new Floo route will make things so much easier.”
“I suppose so,” Albus muttered. “We can get there in less than a day, can't we?”
“I'll have to make us sets of new clothing,” Scorpius said as he climbed out of the machine and waved his wand at it, putting it back together. “I need to start now if we're going.”
Albus took a deep breath before he made a grumbling noise.
“I'll get started, love.” Scorpius said, his eyes dancing with amusement.
Scorpius took the letter from the owl, his gnarled fingers giving the owl a scratch behind it's ear tufts before giving it a treat and dismissing it.
“It's a letter from your mother!”Scorpius called.
There was a shuffling from the next room before Albus padded in, a measuring tape around his neck and glasses perched on the tip of his nose. “What does she have to say?”
Scorpius opened the letter and squinted at it. “Rose is a grandmother.”
“Again?” Albus chuckled. “What does this make? Five?”
“Eight.” Scorpius laughed at Albus' expression. “She's got five from Margret and three from the others so far.”
“Good lord,” Albus peered at the letter. He looked at Scorpius who just raised an eyebrow at him. Then he grunted and turned away.
“You know we're overdue!” Scorpius called after him. “You think I like mucking out the stables and putting up with your cousin Hugo?”
Albus turned to look at his partner and snickered in spite of himself. “It may be well worth it after all.”
Then he skittered out of the room, avoiding the Tickle Curse Scorpius cast at him.
A pretty girl with long red hair sat in a chair near a bed, stirring soup slowly before she gently held the spoon to the lips of the elderly man laying near her.
He swallowed and she dabbed the corner of a linen napkin at the corners of his mouth.
She looked around before she slipped a potion bottle out of her pocket and poured the contents of it into the soup. The man's eyes seemed to twinkle in amusement.
She continued feeding him, each spoonful becoming easier for him to swallow.
“Bless you, Joanne.”
“Mother is afraid you're going to become dependent on them but...”She faltered for a moment.
“Who cares when it's so near to the end?”He smiled at her.
“Don't be, dear.” He reached out a hand to pat her knee. “You remind me of your grandmother. Now there was a girl with some fire. She came up with the flower trick, did you know that? It was how we talked to each other in the beginning. Folded up a scrap of pink paper all pretty and slipped it into your Grandmother Ginevra's roses.”
Joanne grinned. “I didn't know that.”
“Saucy little thing too,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “Always used to kiss me on the cheek.”
She peered at him doubtfully and giggled before she leaned over to kiss his cheek.
He closed his eyes and his breath seemed to hitch for a moment.
“Are you all right?” She looked alarmed.
“I'm fine. Pretty girl like you took my breath away.”
“You can't fool me, I've heard all about you.”
“I bet you have.” He would never tell her it was because her lips were shaped like Albus'; when they pressed against his cheek for a moment he let the disorientation of the potion overwhelm him. For a moment he remembered what it was like to have Albus in bed next to him. What it was like to feel his arms wrapped around his waist in the morning.
He'd be with him soon enough.
“Did you really run off together?”
“We did.” Scorpius smiled at Albus' grand-niece. “He'd squirreled away some money and we stole off for America together. Very romantic. Up until I got seasick and puked onto his shoes for weeks.”
“You don't let your mother talk you into marrying this Fletcher fellow. I've got my suspicions about where their fortune comes from.” He said firmly. “If she gives you any sass you send her to me. No one can deny a command from a deathbed. Even if it is just a servant.”
“You're so much more than that,” she chided him.
“I'm glad you think so.” His hand was still on her knee. He realized how much it felt like Albus'.
How peculiar family traits were, the way they seemed to manifest themselves. Just the other day he could have sworn he had seen Albus' backside attached to an attractive young man with a wolfish grin that had been eying up a certain young man that drove the family car for the family.
He had restrained himself from giving it a pinch as Joanne had wheeled him by in his chair. Albus would be horrified to know his memory was being used to excuse unwarranted bottom pinching.
“I think I'm going to make the most of this illicit potion by getting some decent sleep.” Scorpius winked at Joanne.
“I don't blame you.” She set down the soup bowl and pulled his blankets up to his chin. “Sweet dreams.”
“I'm sure I will,” Scorpius assured her. The potions made his dreams more vivid and more often than not, he was dreaming of Albus. It were as if he were just stopping by to check on him before he crossed completely over.
Scorpius snuggled down into his bedding, the lines of his face relaxing as he quickly slipped into sleep.
He was unafraid. Albus was waiting for him. It would be just like going to America.
His dream began to overwhelm his senses, Albus' face becoming more clear in his mind's eye.
“You waited for me.”
“Of course I did. What would I do for eternity without you nagging me?”
He felt lips on his cheek and this time he knew it was Albus. The hands he felt on him were strong from years of lifting heavy bolts of cloth.
“What do you think he dreams of?” Rose's daughter stood near Joanne, her arm around her daughter's waist.
“I don't know.” Joanne sighed as she looked down at Scorpius. “But he always looks so happy.”
“He does, doesn't he?”
Poetry attributed to the writing duo known as Michael Field.