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Bachelor of Science by meghna
Chapter 1 : { ONE }
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 5

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This is what I do. I write stories when I shouldn't. Anyway! This idea popped into my head a couple of days back but I had no real reason to put it to words, but then The Perks of Being a Wallflower Challenge came up on the forums and now .. well, here's my reason :3 I've written Scorpius as a sort of swotty mad-scientist with absolutely no social life at all, except when his bestie Albus steps in to save his humanity (unbeknownst to a near-crazy Scorpius, who does not seem to think it's in his best interest. Ever). He also has a bit of a haughty side to him, typical of the Malfoys, which he sometimes lets slip, much to everyone's displeasure. Sophie is loosely based on Jess from New Girl, and in case you don't make the connection, she is related to our very own Loony Lovegood. Hence the crazy pixie girl trope. Also Scorpius and Albus have a serious bromance going on. Riding on broomsticks together? Pshhh. I hope you enjoy reading this! It's going to be three chapters long at the most, so do stick around ♥



“You need to get out of the house more, mate,” said one Albus Potter, seated horizontally across a large sofa with his spindly legs spilling over the side. He threw the Quaffle in his hand up in the air before catching it again, repeating the process as he had done all afternoon. “You’ve been sitting behind that desk warm enough to hatch a couple of dragon eggs!” Exaggeration was one speciality of his.


Hunched over a large wooden table opposite him, there was seated one particularly dishevelled looking Scorpius Malfoy, with his head bent down, keenly examining a dubious looking plant. It was really miraculous how a few sleepless nights could make even the best looking blokes seem like they had been camping in a half-giant’s trousers. Cauldrons and pots of different shapes and sizes spewed and spluttered angrily, giving off distasteful smells and fumes.




It was only the seventh time that hour that Scorpius had responded to Albus with what sounded like a groan trying desperately to inch towards coherence.


“That’s it!” Abandoning the Quaffle, Albus stood up with a determined face (a rarity, for him) and walked over to his heavily caffeinated friend. He stood before him with arms crossed, trying to feign some half-arsed superiority, which was difficult enough without Scorpius being older, taller, stronger and sharper. “Scorpius, I’ve had it with your crazy science experiments. You get out of that chair right now and walk with me to Florean’s, or this is the end of our friendship and all you will die an old man filled with regret, surrounded by fizzing cauldrons.”


Scorpius looked up, pushing his glasses up his nose and scrutinising his (only) friend with almost pleading eyes.


“Come on, Al, this is important. I’m really close to  – ” he stopped mid-way when Albus let out a sigh and rolled his eyes. “Alright, alright. We’ll walk to Florean’s. But when we get back, I’m not getting out of that chair till I find that goddamn cure!”


“How do you even know you’re going to find it?” said Albus without thinking. “Really, mate, you don’t even know what half the ingredients are.”


“Well, I’ve just begun researching, haven’t I?” snapped the blond irately, pulling a long, brown jacket around himself and opening the front door. “It’s only been a couple of years.” He mumbled under his breath.


“I suppose scoring all those O’s in Herbology isn’t doing you much good now, is it?” said Albus with a snort. Scorpius chose not to say anything rude to his (only) friend, on the grounds that he was, after all his (only) friend.


They walked in silence. The cogs in Scorpius’ brain didn’t stop whirring, grunting or turning. He recited the ingredients in his head till they sounded like foreign words to his own tongue: Infusion of Wormwood, Flobberworm mucus, Valerian sprigs, and Wolfsbane. What was he missing?


The clamour from inside the parlour brought him back to reality, and he surveyed the surroundings, shuffling uncomfortably next to Albus and wondering why his spectacles suddenly felt so heavy on the bridge of his sharp nose.


“I’ll have a liquorice and cherry double scoop,” said Albus over the counter top. “What about you, mate?”


“Uhh I’ll have a .. single scoop of chocolate,” he mumbled, not making eye-contact with the boy over the counter who was taking their order.


Albus, who was fortunately from a wealthy and generous family, offered to pay for both their ice-creams, before leading Scorpius to a table next to the wide glass windows.


“What are you thinking about?” Albus asked, though he knew perfectly well what it was and had no particular interest in knowing.


“The missing ingredients,” muttered Scorpius with a dejected sigh. “I don’t understand it. All of my theories make perfect sense – but I just don’t know what to use. I’ve tried more combinations than any other Potion brewer in the world.” He stabbed at his lumpy ice-cream uninterestedly, hoping that Albus would offer to eat it once it had begun to melt.


“Did you owl Professor Longbottom?”


Scorpius snorted with laughter. “There’s nothing he knows that I don’t already know,” he said haughtily, flicking the hair out of his eyes and strongly resembling the pompous bastard his mother had raised him to be. “Besides, I am really close to cracking it. I need something to subdue the effect of the Wolfsbane, but not diminish it to such an extent that it’s completely redundant. I tried the unicorn tail hair but the whole thing went bust. It seemed awfully close though – ”


And he prattled on, occasionally pulling out a quill from his pocket and scribbling down whatever struck him in a hurry onto the napkins lying around. His words would sound more and more like Arabic to the Potter sitting opposite to him, convinced that he was on the brink of discovering something massive. Shaking his head at his friend, Albus continued eating his ice-cream, unperturbed by Scorpius’ incessant obsessing, rambling and vexation, till he saw the shadow of a figure fall over their table.


“I couldn’t help but over-hear your conversation with my Extendable Ears,” said the small girl standing beside their table, who was not only just the size of a house elf, but had the same ears as well. “I think I might have the solution to your problem, sirs.”


Albus looked at Scorpius, who had looked up from his impromptu note-making session at the girl and was staring at her with a thoroughly befogged expression on his sleep-deprived face.


“I’m sorry, who are you?” he said with a raw, impertinent huff.


“Sophie Lovegood,” said the girl with a smile, seemingly completely oblivious to Scorpius’ dour attitude. She held her hand out, first to Scorpius who ignored it, before holding it out to Albus, who shook it cautiously. “As I was saying – I was experimenting with the newest model of Extendable Ears down in the Apothecary, and heard something about Infusion of Wormwood, Flobberworm mucus, Valerian sprigs and Wolfsbane. Then I came in here and heard Blondie talk about the unicorn tail hair. Are you trying to find a cure for a Werewolf bite?” she cocked her head in the direction of Scorpius this time, who looked both angry and shocked.


“Are you spying on us? Nobody said anything about Wormwood or Wolfsbane!” he cried, sitting up straight in his chair and getting ready for a fight.


“I told you I heard it through the Extendable Ears,” she said simply, eyebrows knotting together in confusion as she tucked a strand of hair the same colour of the slush of ice-cream in Scorpius’ cup.


“If I never said it, how could you have heard it?” barked the blond.


“Perhaps you were thinking out loud. It’s a common occurrence with my Uncle Ringo. Don’t worry, it’s nothing to worry about,” she assured him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch your name.”


“Malfoy. Scorpius Malfoy,” he answered through gritted teeth.


“Do you like your butterbeer stirred or shaken?” asked Sophie with a sudden laugh, causing both boys to raise their eyebrows at her. “I gather you haven’t watched too many Muggle films, yes? Anyway, we can talk about that another time,” she pulled up a chair from the table next to them and wedged herself between Scorpius – who did not like compromising on personal space – and Albus – who wasn’t quite sure what to make of the entire situation. “How would you like to go about it?” she asked plainly, threading her fingers together and placing them on the table, her green eyes occasionally darting towards the untouched ice-cream before her.


“Go about what?” asked Scorpius, thoroughly confused and with a great deal more venom than he had intended. The girl’s perpetual state of oblivion was bringing out the worst in him.


“Finding the cure, of course. I know how I can help you. You just have to tell me how you want to be helped,” her eyes fell on the plastic cup before once again, before refocusing and meeting Scorpius’ steely gaze.


“I’m not interested,” he said brusquely.


“Don’t be silly, of course you are,” she said, smacking his arm and laughing. She turned to Albus and shook her head. “He’s a funny one. Oh!” she stopped mid-sentence and latched onto Albus’ wrist, much to his mortification. “I’m so sorry. I got caught up in my Muggle pop-culture references and forgot to ask for your name!”


Albus gulped, eyeing her grip on his wrist suspiciously. “Albus Potter.”


“Are you related to Dumbledore, by any chance?” she asked, looking terribly interested. “Your name sounds awfully familiar.”


Scorpius sighed, slumping in his seat, and rubbed his face with his palm.


“Erm no. It – just – it’s very common,” muttered Albus with a shrug and Sophie nodded, as if she was intently listening to a lecture on a Cure for Boils.


“Well, let’s not waste any more time, shall we? I think we have a lot of work ahead of us – ”


“Look,” cut across Scorpius, before the deranged girl could go on any further. “I don’t need your help. I don’t know how you found out about my experiment but – ”


“I just told you about the Extendable Ears! And Uncle Ringo!” she butt in, unable to comprehend what Scorpius was having such a hard time comprehending. “And it’s rude to interrupt people, by the way. They might mark you as antisocial or unpleasant.”


You just interrupted me!” argued Scorpius, sitting erect in his seat again and pointing a finger at her.


“That’s because you interrupted me first! And eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! Aren’t you familiar with the Code of Hammurabi?” Sophie bristled, crossing her arms and shaking her head at him. “And don’t point at me! Were you raised by Grindylows or something?”


“Shut up, pixie girl!” Scorpius cried, almost flinging the ice-cream at Sophie’s head. Her mouth opened wide and she drew in a startled breath. She then closed her mouth and pursed her lips, before standing up, snatching the quill out of Scorpius’ hands and grabbing the napkin that was lying forgotten on the wooden table. Hastily scribbling down something and mentally apologizing for her uncharacteristically unruly handwriting, she gave Scorpius and Albus one final, stern look before picking up the untouched ice-cream before her and leaving.


Albus was the first to swallow the silence.


“Why is it that the strangest girls seem to want to make conversation with us?” he said slowly, trying to assimilate what had just happened. Scorpius was just shaking his head.


“What the bloody hell was that?” he whispered hoarsely, trying to make sense of it. This time, Albus shook his head.


“Something about Extendable Ears and one of The Beatles and .. Hammurabi?” asked the nonplussed Potter. “What’s on the paper?” he asked, snatching up the napkin and inspecting it with keen eyes. “Unicorn blood.”


“What?” spluttered Scorpius, his mind whizzing and whirring and trying to come up with a suitable explanation for it before Albus would.


“I dunno. She’s just written ‘unicorn blood’ on the napkin. These are your doodles right? Her handwriting’s a bit loopy, but – ” before he could finish, Scorpius snatched the napkin out of his hand and looked at it closely.


Unicorn blood.


It could only mean one thing – but Scorpius refused to believe it. Could it be? Could the crazy pixie girl actually know what she was talking about?


Scorpius met his (only) friend’s perplexed green eyes and clicked his tongue.


“I think we’ve found our missing ingredient.”




54 sleepless hours later:


“ALBUS!” a flicker of light on the third floor. “ALBUS OPEN THE GODDAMN DOOR!” more determined knocking on the door of the Potter household. “ALBUS SEVERUS REMUS ALASTOR MERLIN’S BAGGY Y-FRONT POTTER – ”


The door swung open and Scorpius stopped his screaming at once, his throat feeling parched and rough, almost like sandpaper.


“Oh, hello Mrs. Potter,” he said, averting his gaze from the woman standing at the doorway in her night-gown, suddenly certain that her animagus was a dragon. “Is err Al around?”


“Scorpius,” Ginny said slowly, wondering which of her choicest swear words to pick out of her arsenal. “I wonder if you are aware of what the time is?” her voice was a bit high, a warning sign, Scorpius remembered Albus telling him.


“It’s umm – I’m sorry, I know it’s late,” he mumbled, heat rushing to his cheeks. “It’s just a bit important and I was wondering if I could – Albus!” he sighed with relief at the sight of his (only) friend approaching him, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and looking displeased to say the least.


“What the Fudge, Scorpius?” he groaned, avoiding his mother’s gaze.


“Yeah, what the Fudge, Scorpius?” she mimicked, her mouth a thin line.


“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” he spluttered and rubbed his hands together. “I know it’s kind of late – ”


“Oh no!” said Ginny suddenly, her voice doused with sarcasm, shaking her head at the blond. “It’s just three am we were all just getting to bed.” She said like it was nothing.


“Should I come back later?” he asked uncertainly, throwing a worried glance in Albus’ direction.


“The damage has been done, mate. Just come inside,” Albus put an arm around his mother’s stony stature and lead her back inside the house, mumbling some apologies and telling her to go back to back. He then turned to face Scorpius with a disapproving expression.


“This better be good.”


“You won’t believe it, Al,” breathed Scorpius, all at once and ecstatic to finally be able to break the news. “It worked. The unicorn blood. Merlin’s beard, mate, I thought it was barmy, and the first time I added it, it didn’t work, you know? Then I mixed it with the Wormwood infusion and got the most beautiful solution ever! Do you believe it? Can you actually believe that it worked?” he said, not bothering to keep his excitement or voice down.


It went over Albus’ head without any recognition.


“Alright. Great. So you found the cure?” he asked uninterestedly. It was not to say that Albus didn’t care for his friend’s happiness or success – he just didn’t care for it at three in the bloody morning.


“No, no, no! It’s not that simple,” said a frustrated Scorpius, who was expecting a bit more fanfare. “But I have the basic solution now. It’s like a beautiful, frustrating puzzle, Al! I just need to find the missing pieces!”


“You know you talk about this bloody potion like blokes talk about birds, right? It’s all you think about. It keeps you up at night,” he listed off his fingers. “You talk about it like it’s goddamn poetry!”


“Albus, come on mate, I need you to focus here,” Scorpius snapped his fingers to regain Albus’ attention. “You know what this means, right?”


“What?” asked Albus flatly, closing his eyes and wishing Scorpius had other friends to harass before the sun came out.


“Pixie girl was right,” he said slowly. “She told us about the unicorn blood, remember?”


Albus nodded silently, waiting for the Scorpius’ inevitable crazy scheme to come to light. It was three am, the bloke hadn’t slept in something like a week, and was probably highly caffeinated. A crazy scheme was inevitable indeed.


“We need to find her. I need to see her right now,” he breathed and Al sighed, wishing he wasn’t so right about everything all the time.


“Scor, it’s three in the morning, mate. Most human beings tend to be asleep at this time, I dunno if you’re aware?” he said tiredly, hoping to speak some sense into him but knowing it would be in vain.


“I can’t waste time, Al! You know how important this is!” he whined, scrunching up his nose and eyebrows and making his glasses go lopsided. Albus swore.


“This is the last time, Scorpius. I mean it.” He said through gritted teeth, sensing the boy’s mood change immediately. If Scorpius was the sort to get overly emotional, Albus would have gotten a hug. Thankfully he was spared, and scribbled a note for his mother and left it beside the fridge. Picking up his broomstick from the store cupboard, he walked with Scorpius outside, looking up at the purple-tinged sky before hopping onto his broomstick.


Scorpius swung his leg over the broom and sat behind his (only) friend.


“Go slowly this time, will you? You didn’t listen to any of my warnings when we went hunting for the eel eyes in the winter.”


And they set off into the purple yonder, without the faintest clue as to where Sophie Lovegood lived.




With the able assistance of Malfoy’s (only) working invention, the Witch Tracer, the two arrived upon a pebbled pathway atop an unsteady looking hill.  Scorpius got of the broom and began trudging his way up, formulating a conversation in his head. Was he supposed to apologize for his previous behaviour at Florean’s? He hoped he could get away without one. Humility was not one of his strongest suits.


He waited for Albus to catch up before knocking on the door noisily.


“I hope she’s a bit more welcoming than your mum,” said Scorpius, feeling a bit tense. He had a bad idea about the events that would follow.


“Somehow, she seems like the sort who’d be baking treacle tarts late into the night,” mumbled Albus before yawning loudly without closing his mouth. The waited for a few seconds in silence, till they heard the faint sound of approaching footsteps.


“Who is it?” came a high-pitched voice through the door, which both lads identified as Sophie’s.


“Err – Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter,” Albus spoke up, trying to look through the keyhole.


“How can I be sure you’re not Death Eaters?” called the voice again, and the boys exchanged dumbfounded expressions.


“I believe Death Eaters are extinct,” the older one said slowly.


“That’s what they want you to believe.”


The pair of them sighed and Scorpius put his hands on his hips. “Sophie, this is important, we need to talk to you! Please open the door.” He said exasperatedly, throwing Albus a what’s-wrong-with-this-one look.


The door opened a fraction and the boys caught sight of Sophie’s bright blue eye staring curiously at them.


“You’re a bit shabby for Death Eaters,” she said unsurely, still wondering if she ought to let them in or not.


“That’s because we’re not,” Scorpius said through gritted teeth, not even taking offense to the girl’s remark on their appearance.


The door shut and they heard the clinking of the night latch, before it swung open again to reveal Sophie, in all the glory her Hollyhead Harpies pyjamas would allow.


“You can come in,” she said, smiling happily at Albus. “You stay here.” Her smile dropped the second her eyes met Scorpius’.


“What?” cried the blond incredulously. “I’m the one who needs to talk to you!”


Sophie ignored him, stepping to the side and letting an altogether too happy Albus inside the small cottage. She turned back to face Scorpius with her hands on her hips, mimicking his stature.


“You wait here till you learn to speak to people properly and politely,” she said seriously, her mouth and angry line. “I won’t let you inside till you apologize for your shenanigans.”


“My what?” he spluttered angrily, but the only explanation he got from Sophie was the slammed door in his face.


Albus had made himself very comfortable in the slightly worn-out sofa, sitting with his legs crossed and hands spread out on the arms of the couch.


“Can I get you some tea?” she asked politely, pointing to the kitchen. Albus, ever the gentleman, declined.


“It’s far too late, don’t worry, I’m alright,” he said with a smile that Sophie returned.


“Well, I’m very excited about what you have to tell me,” she almost bounced around the room before taking the seat next to him, leaning forward on a reclining chair.


Before Albus could clarify that he didn’t have anything to say, Scorpius banged on the door several times.


“I’m sorry, Sophie,” they heard him bellow from behind the thick wooden door. “That was – very rude. But in my defence you were being very suspicious and well, quite frankly, annoying.”


Sophie looked at Albus and shook her heading. “He’s going to be out there all morning.”


Albus chuckled. “He’s the one who’s got something to tell you, not me.”


“I take it the unicorn blood worked, then?” she said with a knowing smile, feeling rather proud of herself. Albus nodded. Scorpius continued to bang on the door and was now screaming unintelligible things.


“Did you go to Beauxbatons? I don’t remember seeing you at – ”


“SOPHIE!” came Scorpius’ cry of anguish. “I’m so sorry! I don’t know how you knew about the unicorn blood and I want to thank you from the bottom of my cauldron cake sized heart because – ”


“He’s causing quite a ruckus, I’m afraid,” said Sophie, biting her bottom lip and sighing. “He’ll wake up my friends downstairs. I’ll just have to let him in.” She said, speaking more to herself than to Albus, who wasn’t quite sure what to do with his facial expressions.


The girl stood and up and opened the door, meeting the withering boy outside with a stern gaze.


“That was a terrible apology,” she said seriously, looking at Scorpius crossly.


“Sorry,” mumbled the blond, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose and running a hand through his hair.


“You remember this, now, Scorpius Malfoy,” she drew herself closer to him so that they were standing nose-to-nose, and their blue eyes bore into each other’s. “I’m not accepting that apology, but I’m going to let you into my house because you’re being a nuisance to the environment. Alright?” she barked suddenly and Scorpius jumped.


“Y-yes,” he nodded, anxious to get inside the house. Sophie nodded and stepped aside, letting him in and closing the door.


Scorpius took in his surroundings eagerly, his eyes flitting over chairs and desks and mantles. He’d catch sight of the odd bezoar lying around, or a bunch of porcupine quills scattered around the place.


“Are you a herbologist?” he asked quietly, taking off his coat and turning in a circle to give the room a good look.


“Of sorts,” Sophie had hobbled off into the kitchen, and was returning with a tray of rock cake, a kettle filled with tea and a jar of Bertie Botts. Albus got up to help her set it on the table, before thanking her profusely for going through so much trouble.


“I like you,” she said with a wide smile, patting Albus’ cheek and pouring him a cup of tea. Scorpius arched his eyebrow at Albus, who shrugged. The taller, blond boy took his cup of tea from Sophie, before mumbling a quiet thank you. He couldn’t help but feel a bit embarrassed about his previous actions.


“So! Albus told me the unicorn blood worked,” she broke off a piece of the rock cake and popped it into her mouth, chewing quickly but noiselessly and looking at Scorpius intently.


“It did,” he said with a grin. “I knew it had something to do with unicorns. I tried the tail hair, eyelash, powdered horn. It never occurred to me that the blood would coagulate so well.” He muttered with amazement. Sophie shrugged. “How did you know about it?”


She chuckled. “I’ve been trying to figure out a cure for a werewolf bite since I was born,” she said with an exaggerated huff. “My dad was looking for a cure, but he never figured it out.”


Scorpius could feel his pulse racing. “How much did you manage to figure out? Do you have any notes?” he asked eagerly. Sophie cocked her head to a side and looked at him through squinted eyes.


“When was the last time you two slept?” she asked, turning to look at Albus as well.


“He hasn’t slept in a week,” he lazily tossed his head in Scorpius’ direction. “As a result of which I get very little sleep as well.”


Sophie got distracted for a second when her cat ambled into the room, and she scurried to introduce her. “This is Gideon, by the way. He’s got a bit of a bowel problem so he smells funny and doesn’t get much sleep – quite like you lot, really – but he’s really charming once you get to know him on the inside.” She insisted and Scorpius sighed, while Albus just nodded.


“Anyway! The reason I was asking is because I accidently added some of my uncle’s Sleeping Draught to your tea, thinking it was the sweetener – ”


“What?” cried Scorpius, lunging out of his chair, eyes wide and with a manic expression. “You did what?”


“Oh, please don’t shout, there’s people sleeping downstairs!” hushed Sophie, clasping her hands together and looking fraught with worry. “It was an accident, I just – Uncle Ringo was messing around in the kitchen and I had to give him is Draught shot because he was going crazy, and I left the whole bottle in the kitchen and – ”


“Oh my god,” cried Scorpius, as if he had been poisoned. “I can’t sleep! I have so much work to do! Give me the counter draught!” he thundered, storming towards Sophie, who looked shaken to the bone.


“I don’t have it,” she mumbled and Scorpius roared, clutching his head with his hands. “Remain calm, Scorpius!” she shouted, her eyes bugging out of her head as she pointed at him with a bony finger. “You won’t be asleep for a very long time, just a few hours! It’s a very mild draught!”


“I’m going to kill you!” Scorpius screamed, and Sophie gasped, covering her ears with her hands and screaming.


“WHAT’S GOIN’ ON IN HERE!” came a loud, gruff voice from the other room, and Scorpius momentarily abandoned his plan of murdering Sophie with his bare hands at the sight of the half-giant in the doorway.


“Hengist you’re not supposed to be out of bed!” squealed Sophie, standing up and shoving Scorpius out of her way, marching over to the half-giant who looked like he could kill somebody.


“I hear’ something’ about killin’ somebody!” he grunted, looking threateningly at Scorpius, who had shrunk about three times in size.


“I wasn’t really going to kill her,” he said quickly. “I wouldn’t do that! Just ask – ” his eyes fell on Albus’ sleeping form and sighed. Right when you needed him. “I was not going to kill her, sir.”


“SIR? WHO YOU CALLIN’ SIR? YOU MOCKIN’ ME, MALFOY?” bellowed Hengist, stomping towards Scorpius who was about to scream when Sophie squashed herself between them with her arms outstretched.


“Hengist! That is not how you treat a guest, haven’t I told you?” she said crossly, her voice raising. “Please, before you wake up the others, go back downstairs silently and go to bed at once! Or there’ll be no tea-time snack for you tomorrow!”


With a grunt and a grumble, the giant retreated, leaving Scorpius, who was now beginning to feel faint and dizzy, alone with Sophie, who was huffing and puffing, in the company of a sleeping Albus.


With a loud sigh, Sophie turned to face Scorpius and crossed her arms. “You’re making my life very difficult at this point, Malfoy.” She said angrily.


“You pudda sleepuh draaa in my teeeee,” he slurred, eyes rolling backwards. Sophie grabbed the front of his shirt to prevent him from falling backwards, and he smacked into her, burying his large head in her neck, glasses almost falling off. With a sigh, Sophie dragged his loose, lanky body towards the sofa and laid him back, taking off his glasses and leaving it beside the tray with the rock cake.


“Horned slugsss,” mumbled Scorpius in his sleep. “Snake fangssss. Pixie girlllll.”


With a shake of her head, Sophie picked Gideon off the floor and clambered up the stairs to her bedroom, where she lay wide awake until the sun came out a few hours later.

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