Chapter 1 : Watching
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‘Yeah, I’m listening,’ he lied, trying to look casual. He had once again found himself secretly staring over at the Slytherin table. That boy, Scorpius Malfoy, just took his breath away with his beauty. That wasn’t something he could possibly tell his older, much cooler brother, though. He tried not to smile when he briefly imagined how flabbergasted James would probably look if he just told him the truth. Well, he surely wasn’t going to tell him a word about his secret. Nobody in the world would ever know a thing about that. He had been watching Scorpius since the beginning of sixth year. It was April now, and he had to admit that he had developed somewhat of a crush on him since then.
Albus had always known that he liked boys rather than girls. It wasn’t something he had suddenly discovered, but something that always had been a fact, at least since he was old enough to think about it at all. And yet he had no plans to tell anyone about it. And if, he was ever going to tell someone, it certainly wouldn’t be James, nor anybody else in his family.
‘You’re not listening!’ James said again, annoyed, and turned to his girlfriend, Jennifer, who was sitting on the other side of him. Jennifer was not really beautiful, but could probably be considered cute, Albus thought, with her blue eyes in a round face surrounded by dark brown curls. She was short and curvy, which made the couple look a bit uneven since James was tall and slim with unruly red hair and glasses. James kissed Jennifer’s neck and she made a squealing giggly sound. She playfully slapped James’s arm, and then they were kissing as if they were alone and not in the Great Hall at lunch time.
Albus didn’t mind being ignored by them, really, so he went back to daydreaming about Scorpius. He imagined how soft Scorpius’s hair would feel in his hands if he could touch it, and how it would feel to embrace him. He didn’t know him at all; in fact, they had barely spoken to each other, but Albus knew quite a few things about him anyway. He knew that both he and Scorpius had recently turned seventeen. He knew that he was kind and usually quiet, at least in Potions class. He didn’t seem like the typical Slytherin at all. He also knew that Scorpius was blonde and had the most wonderful grey eyes Albus ever had seen. He didn’t dare look into those incredible eyes, but he couldn’t help but notice them, could he? Albus had been told that Scorpius resembled his father a lot, who had been somewhat of an antagonist to his own father.
Albus didn’t consider that a problem, however. Scorpius probably wasn’t very much like his father; at least it certainly didn’t seem so. They were just like Albus and his father. He had been told a million times how strikingly like Harry he was, and he knew for a fact that the comment referred only to their looks. Albus’s father was a brave war hero who always did the right thing and was never scared, shy or hesitant. That was how James acted, too, but not Albus. He used to think that he inherited his father’s appearances and James got Harry’s courage and his popularity, as well as both their parents’ Quidditch skills. Albus was more shy and, though he did have a few good friends, he wasn’t considered popular among the other students. And really, that suited him just fine. Albus didn’t miss all those girls who were trying to catch his brother’s attention. His sister Lily, who was fourteen, apparently got her share of that confidence and popularity too. James was a bit worried by this, but Albus didn’t really
mind. Lily could take care of herself. She was probably the toughest of the Potter children. Lily was a Quidditch Chaser and, with her flaming red hair, some people said that she was a duplicate of their mother.
Quidditch wasn’t one of Albus’s great interests. He was the only one in his family who didn’t play, and who wasn’t engaged in those family arguments about what team should win the league or which player really was the best. His Aunt Hermione didn’t participate either, but almost everyone else did. Albus had watched an endless amount of Quidditch games in his life. Not only was his mother a professional Quidditch player, but his brother, sister and his cousin Rose all played for Gryffindor. James, Lily and Rose all dreamt of careers as Quidditch players. As a result, Albus knew quite a lot about Quidditch, and of course he came to watch whenever there were Quidditch games at Hogwarts.
There was one Quidditch player in particular that had caught his attention. Scorpius played Seeker for the Slytherin team. Albus found Quidditch surprisingly enjoyable when Scorpius was playing. Unlike in the Great Hall or in Potions, he could easily watch Scorpius during the game without having to hide it. There wasn’t anything strange about watching the Seeker during the game, was it?
There had been other boys who he had admired and somewhat fancied during the years, but right now, it was Scorpius and Scorpius alone that caught his eye. None of his previously crushes had known or suspected anything about Albus’s feelings, or at least that was what he thought. He was as discreet about it as could be, never having told a living soul about it.
Albus shook his head and returned to reality again. He couldn’t allow himself to be too mesmerised by Scorpius here in the Great Hall if he wanted to keep it a secret from his family and friends. He gathered his books and followed his cousin Rose and their friend Michael to Transfiguration class. Michael was one of Albus’s closest friends, and he was also Rose’s boyfriend. Michael and Rose had been going out since forever, or at least Albus thought so. Albus had gotten quite used to them dating by now, and he didn’t usually feel like the third wheel.
‘I really hate Transfiguration,’ Michael said with a sigh.
‘You hate every subject,’ Rose answered and teasingly grabbed one of Michael’s dreadlocks and pulled lightly on it.
‘Ouch!’ Michael yelled, a little bit too loudly. ‘I like… I like… Well, I don’t hate Ancient Runes!’
‘Yeah… That’s only because you don’t take it, isn’t it?’ Albus grinned. ‘Rose is right, you hate about every subject there is, don’t you?’
‘Shut it! Just because you think studying is the meaning of life…’ Michael said and gave Albus’s shoulder a punch.
‘I don’t!’ Albus defended himself and punched Michael back.
‘You do! Name one subject you don’t like, then!’ Michael asked, putting his arm around Rose’s waist.
‘I don’t like Ancient Runes. I hate it, as a matter of fact,’ Albus said.
‘You don’t even take Ancient Runes,’ Rose said.
‘Exactly!’ Albus smiled as they had reached the Transfiguration classroom. Michael shrugged and laughed at him, and Rose giggled.
Michael and Albus had become friends when they had started their first year at Hogwarts. They had met each other before once or twice, because Michael’s parents were close friends to Albus’s Uncle George and Aunt Angelina, but it was when they both were sorted into Gryffindor they really got to know each other. Albus had considered telling Michael that he was gay, but he had decided against it. He didn’t really know how Michael would react, and it would be awkward to share a dorm with him if he was disgusted or repulsed by it. Albus had never had romantic feelings towards Michael, but what if he would think so? And if he told Michael, he would perhaps tell Rose, who would tell Lily or James, who might tell his parents…
Besides, Michael and Albus usually didn’t speak so openly about feelings. They usually just hung out, casually joking and talking. Sometimes Michael started a conversation about girls, but Albus tried to avoid the subject, referring to the fact that he really didn’t want to know any details about Michael’s relationship with his cousin.
Michael, Albus and Rose took their usual seats in the Transfiguration classroom, and Albus’s thoughts were interrupted as the lesson started.
It was the last Quidditch game of the year and Albus was sitting with his cousins and friends watching Slytherin playing against Hufflepuff. Albus was using the opportunity to watch Scorpius fly. The others were hopefully too occupied discussing the game to notice.
‘Albus, what do you think?’ Rose suddenly asked.
‘Ehm… What?’ said Albus, unwillingly taking his eyes off of Scorpius. Apparently Rose had asked him something.
‘I said that James is a far more talented Seeker than that Malfoy. Don’t you think so too?’ Rose said.
‘Um… Right,’ Albus agreed.
‘Listen to that, Roxanne. Even Al knows that I’m a better Seeker than that Slytherin boy. You just think that because you fancy him,’ James said. Albus felt his heart skip a beat. How did James know? Was it really that obvious?
‘I don’t!’ Roxanne, one of Albus’s younger cousins, said forcefully. ‘He’s a Slytherin! I just said that he is a good Seeker, that’s all.’ Albus relaxed and let his breath out. Of course James was talking to Roxanne and not to him. He looked at Scorpius high above again and promised himself that he would be even more discreet from now on, just in case.
‘What is it with you Weasleys and Potters and the Slytherins, anyway?’ Jennifer asked. ‘How come you can’t ever say anything nice about someone of that house? They’re not all bad, you know.’
‘Well, I have certainly never met a decent Slytherin during my seven years here,’ James told her in an assured tone. ‘Am I right, Albus?’
‘Um… Right,’ Albus mumbled again.
‘But he is good-looking,’ Lily said with a wink to Roxanne.
‘I would rather die than go out with a Slytherin boy,’ Rose said.
‘Yeah, me too,’ Michael said with a smile and gave Rose a kiss. ‘It’s good to know that we‘re on the same page here.’ The others laughed at this and Albus tried to join in, but it wasn’t easy. If they only knew how much he would love to go out with that Slytherin boy they were discussing…
Then Scorpius ended the game as he caught the Snitch, and their laughter drowned in the noise from the audience.