The next week was almost as busy as the first one, and the days had really flown by. It was now Saturday, and some Ravenclaws were planning a party in the Room of Requirement. Most students knew about the Room of Requirement by the time Albus had come to Hogwarts. He had been told that the room hadn’t been common knowledge before the Second War, when his parents were at Hogwarts, but the secret of the room was badly kept following that time, and it was frequently used for parties, as well as for more private activities among the older students. Most students in the upper years were probably going to the party on Saturday, and Albus was hoping that Scorpius would, too. The realisation that Scorpius maybe was interested in him as well had only intensified Albus’s daydreaming about him. Albus hadn’t gotten a chance to see Scorpius alone all week, but he had received quite a few smiles and looks across the Great Hall during mealtimes, and sitting beside Scorpius in Potions lessons made him feel weak at the knees and dizzy. Albus was not performing at his usual aptitude in Potions class, but he could hardly expect to do so when his proximity to Scorpius caused goosebumps to flare up all over his skin. Their hands, as well as their feet, touched each other too often for it to be coincidental.
Albus imagined how he would ‘accidentally’ touch Scorpius, or maybe even kiss him, the next time they were alone. Maybe this party would be the opportunity he needed. It might be a good idea to get a little help from some Firewhiskey too… But, on the other hand, Albus was really scared. What if he had misinterpreted Scorpius completely? What if all their flirting had just been in his head, or what if Scorpius thought of it as just flirting, and didn’t have the slightest wish to take it any further? Besides, it wasn’t very likely that Albus would dare to make a move on Scorpius in real life. In his imagination, however, he would look into those grey eyes, and he would feel how close they were when he leaned in and softly kissed Scorpius. He blushed when he thought about it, since he never had kissed anyone before. That was a bit embarrassing, being seventeen years old and all, but there had to be a first time for everything, right?
Albus was going to the party together with a large group of Gryffindors. Rose and Michael were going of course, as well as Roxanne, Lucy and Lily. Sarah Finnegan was going too, and according to Rose, Sarah was hoping that Albus would finally notice her during the party. He was awfully bothered by her flirting. Judging from his friend Donald McLaggen’s murderous looks, he wasn’t the only one who wished she would leave him alone.
When Albus and his friends arrived at the Room of Requirement, the party already was in full swing. The music was loud and the room was crowded with dancing teenagers. It was a good thing the Room of Requirement always supplied the users with whatever they needed, because those parties were usually loud and the Room made sure that not a single sound escaped to notice the teachers. The Room was furnished today with soft couches placed in groups around the dance floor.
The Room couldn’t provide food and drinks, so those things had to be smuggled there.. There was a reason for that, which had something to do with one of the exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration, but Albus didn’t remember exactly why. The Ravenclaws had brought snacks and butterbeers from the kitchens, but most of the teenagers had brought their own drinks. Michael, who wasn’t too careful about obeying rules, usually had a few bottles of Firewhiskey hidden up in their dormitory for those parties.
Sarah grabbed Albus’s hand as soon as they entered the Room, and he found himself dancing before he had a chance to protest. He didn’t mind dancing, but he was a bit troubled that Sarah might think he liked her back. Rose and Michael were dancing as well, as were Lucy and a boy from Hufflepuff. Albus tried to look around for Scorpius, but he didn’t see him.
After a while they sat down on a comfortable couch in a corner of the Room. Rose’s brother Hugo came to join them, together with his friend Jake, who was also in Ravenclaw. Lily couldn’t stop giggling and was obviously trying to catch Jake’s attention. If James had been there, he would probably try to stop it, but Albus didn’t care. Actually, he couldn’t see how Lily’s flirting or dating could be any of his or James’s concern. She had a life and a will of her own, hadn’t she? Besides, if Lily was interested in Jake now, she probably had forgotten all about that git Marcus she had been seeing before the summer. The Firewhiskey bottles were passed around, and Albus welcomed the burning and intoxicating feeling he got from the first sip.
‘I’m glad you came, Al,’ Lily said, a bit giddy from the Firewhiskey. ‘You’ve been such a bore all summer. I really think you need some fun… Don’t you agree, Rose?’
Rose looked up for a second and agreed, but then she quickly returned to her cuddling with Michael. Sarah sat close to Albus, and although he repeatedly tried to discreetly move away, she only seemed to move closer each time. Albus caught a glimpse of Scorpius from across the room. He was in the middle of a group of clearly drunk Slytherins. Apparently Roxanne had seen him too, because she got up and walked over to them.
Albus cringed. This was not how he had imagined this party at all. He grabbed the Firewhiskey bottle and took yet another gulp, despite hearing the little voice in his head say that he would have to pay for it the next morning. Donald was dragging Sarah away to dance, and Albus let out a thankful sigh of relief. He really had to find a nice way to tell Sarah that he wasn’t interested in her.
He was alone at their table by now, apart from Rose and Michael, and they were a little too busy to pay attention to him. That didn’t bother him, however, as he had other things on his mind. He saw Lily and Jake kissing on the dance floor, and nearby, he noticed Hugo sitting with a group of Ravenclaws who seemed to be embroiled in an academic discussion. Roxanne was laughing loudly together with the Slytherins, and Albus felt rather annoyed when he saw her flutter her eyelashes at Scorpius and touch his arm. He couldn’t bear watching them any longer, so he got up and went outside into the quiet corridor. His ears were ringing because of the loud music, and his head was a bit dizzy from the Firewhiskey. He decided to go back to his dormitory. This party hadn’t really been what he had hoped for.
Just when Albus was leaving, he heard Scorpius quietly calling his name. Albus jolted with surprise. He was positively startled to see Scorpius there.
‘Hi,’ he said.
‘I saw you leaving,’ Scorpius replied.
‘Um, yeah, I’m a bit tired,’ Albus said, faking a yawn.
‘Okay,’ Scorpius said. ‘I guess you don’t want to go outside for a moment, then?’
‘Great!’ Albus said, a bit too fast and too eager. ‘I mean, sure, why not? Maybe I just need some fresh air to wake me up.’
Scorpius started to walk through the corridor and down the stairs, and Albus silently followed him outside into the warm September evening. As they walked toward the lake, Albus noticed that the moon was shining, and he smiled to himself about how ridiculously romantic this moment was. But, then again, perhaps Scorpius didn’t think of him in a romantic way at all. Maybe it was only Albus’s heart that was racing.
They walked fairly close to each other, a bit closer than two teenage boys usually would. Their shoulders and arms were almost touching. Albus wanted to take Scorpius’s hand, but he couldn’t find the courage to do so, despite the Firewiskey. It could be incredibly awkward if Scorpius really wasn’t interested… But what if this was the best opportunity he would ever get? Was he prepared to risk his friendship with Scorpius? Why did it have to be this hard?
Just when Albus had finally decided not to take the risk, he suddenly felt Scorpius take his hand. He felt his hand and arm and all of his body shivering from this simple gesture. Albus gasped. He was overwhelmed by his sudden feelings of surprise, nervousness and happiness.
‘Al?’ Scorpius asked nervously. ‘Is this okay?’
‘It is,’ Albus said. ‘It’s more than okay, actually.’
Suddenly, Albus, much to his own surprise, couldn’t help but grab Scorpius’ face and kiss him. It was even more incredible than he had ever imagined, and he thought that nothing could ever be more perfect than this. Scorpius was kissing him back and he felt the boy’s arms around him and he finally got to draw his fingers through Scorpius’s soft hair.
He didn’t know how long they had been kissing. It could have been minutes, hours or several sunlit days… When they finally stopped, they looked into each other’s eyes and happily smiled.
‘Wow,’ Scorpius whispered.
‘Yeah,’ Albus agreed, and then they were kissing again. He wanted this unbelievable, blissful feeling to last forever.
Albus felt like floating by the time they sat down together by the lake. Scorpius had his arm around his shoulders, and Albus leaned his head onto his shoulder. They sat there together and talked and kissed.
‘You’re amazing, you know,’ Scorpius said. ‘It feels like I’ve been waiting for this forever.’
‘Me too,’ Albus whispered. ‘I can hardly believe it’s true.’
‘Me either,’ Scorpius agreed. ‘I’ve been thinking about you since we met at Hogsmeade. Or before that, really…’
‘You have?’ Albus said shyly. ‘I’ve liked you for a long time, too. But I didn’t know… I was… I wasn’t even sure that you… um… liked boys too.’
‘No, not everyone knows that about me, I guess,’ Scorpius said. ‘A few of my friends know, but not all of them. My parents definitely don’t know.’
‘I haven’t told my parents either. I’ve never told anyone, in fact...’ Albus admitted. ‘I don’t know how to say it to them. I don’t know how they would react.’
They sat quietly together for a while. Albus leaned his head against Scorpius’s shoulder. He couldn’t believe his luck. The party, which had seemed to be a disappointment at first, had somehow led to this wonderful moment.
‘Do you think that the others miss us at the party?’ Albus asked.
‘Yeah, probably…’ Scorpius said with a grin. ‘I guess that at least Roxanne would have noticed that I’m missing. I told her that I would get us some drinks.’
‘She’s probably looking all around for you right now,’ Albus chuckled, kissing Scorpius again.
When they went back to the castle, they lingered in the shadows outside the entrance for a few minutes, stealing kisses and talking before they snuck up to their respective dormitories. Albus couldn’t sleep for a long time. His mind was filled with happy thoughts, and he didn’t want this marvellous day to end.
When Albus woke up the following morning he almost thought that it all had been a dream. However, the pleasant soreness of his lips told him that it had all really happened. He had an awful hammering headache from the Firewhiskey. Yesterday everything had felt perfect. Today, though, he felt scared all of a sudden. What if someone saw them together? What would happen if people found out about this? He didn’t want anybody to know, and since he wouldn’t end his budding relationship, the only possible way out was to hide it. So when Scorpius tried to catch his eye across the Great Hall during breakfast, he busied himself with his bacon and eggs and looked the other way.
‘You left early yesterday, Al,’ Rose stated. ‘We were looking for you.’
‘Yeah, I was tired… I’m sorry I left without saying goodnight.’
‘Did anything happen?’ Lily asked.
‘No!’ Albus said touchily. ‘I was just tired. Is that allowed?’
‘I’m sorry I asked!’ Lily said, making a face at him. ‘Don’t bother telling me anything.’
Albus sighed. It would be hard to keep his secret from Lily and Rose. They were far too nosy to mind their own business.
‘How about your night then, Lily?’ Rose asked with a grin. ‘When did you leave, and what happened after that?’
‘I’ve no comments whatsoever,’ Lily said, and winked. ‘But I have to say that Jake is a very good kisser.’
Albus met Scorpius outside later that morning and was surprised that he still felt a bit nervous. Everything had seemed so natural and relaxed between them yesterday, but today there was a new tension between them.
‘Have you changed your mind?’ Scorpius asked with a small voice. ‘Do you regret what happened yesterday?’
‘What? No, are you crazy! Of course I don’t!’
‘Why did you look away earlier in the Great Hall? It was like you didn’t care that I was there at all,’ Scorpius said, looking both confused and sad.
‘Please, Scorpius, don’t you understand? All my friends were there, and my sister and my cousins… You can’t expect me to flirt with you in front of them.’
‘Why not? It shouldn’t make a difference,’ Scorpius said. ‘I don’t mind if my friends know about us. I don’t mind if anybody knows.’
Albus was astonished by this. He had thought that they both wanted it to be a secret. He unquestionably did.
‘You’re not ashamed of me, are you?’ Scorpius asked.
‘No,’ Albus said. ‘I don’t want to tell anybody, though. Perhaps I’m a bit ashamed of myself. I don’t want to disappoint my parents either.’
Scorpius hugged him and kissed him on the forehead.
‘Okay Al, let’s keep it a secret for a while then. I haven’t told my parents anything about being gay either. I know that they won’t approve. They’re so old-fashioned in their beliefs. It’s really important to them for me to marry a pureblood girl from a rich family. I’m never going to do that, but they don’t know that yet. I admit that I’m a bit scared of telling them, but I want to do it anyway. I hate to sneak around, but I’ll do it if it’s important to you.’
‘Thank you,’ Albus said and kissed him. Everything felt all right again, more than all right. Albus knew that he had to be the happiest boy on Hogwarts, in Great Britain, and possibly in the world. He deepened the kiss, feeling a bit daring, and let himself melt in Scorpius’s arms.
Authors notes: The phrase "several sunlit days" is borrowed from JKR, Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince, page 499