Scorpius had saved me a seat at breakfast the next morning.
‘You’ve got toothpaste in your hair,’ he said.
And it was weird how much that single observation healed our friendship. I mean, not totally, because I couldn’t so much as cast a bloody glance at him without thinking of the kiss, but at least now I felt like I could talk to him without simultaneously wanting to hug him and punch him in the throat.
I sat opposite him and tried to claw the lump of toothpaste from my hair, scanning the breakfast table at the same time. Toast, cereal, fruit, an impressive array of fried food – nothing different, just the usual breakfast, but it all felt a bit different. Different in a good way. I wondered if Fauna, sitting next to Scorpius and engrossed in a copy of Witch Weekly, had noticed anything had changed.
So the knowledge that me and Scorpius were fast on the way to fixing all the silly and intangible things we’d broken made me feel good. And it made me want something fried for breakfast to celebrate.
I caught Albus’ eye over on the Gryffindor table a few minutes later, when I was midway through piling up my plate with grilled tomatoes, beans, bacon – he raised his eyebrows and gave my breakfast a funny look.
‘Big day,’ I mouthed to him. But when I switched my gaze back to the table in front of me, I noticed Scorpius had seen me too and was looking mightily confused.
‘What’s going on today?’ he said.
‘Dunno,’ I shrugged. ‘Just…life. Need to eat to make my bones big and strong.’
His eyes widened and he prodded at the toast on his plate. ‘God, don’t tell me. I’d need to eat all the food on this table to be strong enough to get through one day.’
Fauna dropped her magazine onto her empty plate and jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow. ‘Cheer up,’ she said. ‘Stargazing tonight!’
‘Yipee,’ Scorpius said, continuing to prod at the toast with some disdain.
‘I’ll come,’ I said.
‘You can bring Albus,’ Fauna started, but a murderous look from both me and Scorpius shut her up. Scorpius probably looked murderous because he hated the whole idea of Albus; I just looked murderous because I didn’t want to see a repeat of the whole you’ve-probably-never-heard-of-them debacle of the night before..
Besides, I didn’t need to spend all my time with Albus. Right? Right. I wasn’t clingy or anything. And we both had different sets of friends, different social circles. I had my Hufflepuff Trifecta and he had his little gang of popular Gryffindors.
By the time me and Scorpius had to trundle off to Ancient Runes, it was like nothing had changed and we were back to normal. Sure, nothing could change that pre-Christmas memory I still had in my mind, but it felt like so long ago and I’d worked so hard on forgetting it that I wasn’t even sure what I remembered was the truth anymore. How long had it even gone on for? What had I even been thinking about? Couldn’t really be sure of anything. Not beyond the alcove in the corridor and the fact that it had actually happened. Half of the mental images I was still cringing over were probably fabricated. Evidently trying really hard to forget it was working.
Back in the dorm that afternoon once lessons were over, Fauna was waiting for me with a massive smile.
‘Made up with Scorpius?’ she said.
I shrugged. ‘I think so.’
Her smile got even wider. ‘God, I knew you’d get over it quick enough.’
I laughed involuntarily, trying to find something meaningful to say to her. ‘Yeah…you were right, Fauna, he did torture Willoughby. But he apologised.’
Before she could question the obvious lie, I swept the cat himself up into my arms and buried my nose in his fur.
‘See?’ I said. ‘Right as rain.’
Willoughby hissed at me and leapt out of my arms.
‘Just…’ Fauna trailed off, then did a weak little thumbs up. ‘Cool. Just nice to see you getting on again.’
And just one tiny day of our old group being back together – no matter how screwed up the dynamic had become – was enough to make me dig the twee star keyring Fauna had bought me out of the bottom of my trunk and clip it back into my bag. But I noticed Scorpius didn’t replace his, so maybe I was just being mega optimistic or something. I was really getting used to the idea of him being my friend again, though. It was like the past few months had just been erased from living memory. It was like everything had been erased going back to September, actually; each time I hung out with Scorpius, it was like vanishing into a parallel universe in which Albus had never saved me on the train and we were still good old loser and four-eyes.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I appreciated that, but I just didn’t want Scorpius to forget that Albus was part of my life now whether he liked it or not.
We actually met up mostly during our free periods, whether by chance or design – it didn’t really matter, it just only really happened that we hung out during the daytime, or even after curfew if Fauna and her Astronomy homework said so. Never in the evenings, though, that was when I spent time with Albus, whether in his common room or going round on his prefect rounds with him or whatever. And at the weekends I just felt so tired I mostly ended up curling up in the common room noodling away at homework and dozing in front of the fire.
By the time April rolled around I almost had my life in check again. Except…well, I always felt like I was on the verge of losing control of it and, embarrassingly, April was also the month I stupidly lent my folder to Fauna in the Library and she found the scrappy timetable I’d drawn up next to my Charms notes.
‘What on earth is this?’ she hissed, shaking the dog-eared little refill pad at me. ‘And what on earth is trifecta time?’
I gulped and fiddled with my quill to avoid answering.
‘Is this a timetable for your social life? Do you really only see Albus on Thursdays and Sundays?’
‘He has Quidditch and prefect stuff,’ I said. ‘And we’ve got Apparition lessons on Saturdays now.’
‘Flora…’ she shook the timetable at me again, but she looked like she was about to crack up laughing. ‘You’re so odd sometimes. Who on this planet timetables their socialising?’
I shrugged. ‘I just want to fit everything in…’
‘You’re weird,’ she said, more to herself than anything, sliding the refill pad back to me across the table. ‘Seriously, what is trifecta time? Sounds like a weird band Scorpius would be into.’
I tried to act as casual as possible. ‘Spending time with you two. We’re a trifecta,’ I said. ‘So it’s trifecta time.’
She raised her eyebrows at me. ‘Snappy title. You’ve timetabled more trifecta time than Albus time – and that’s a really crap name, by the way – did you realise?’
‘Yeah…like I said, he has Quidditch and prefect stuff.’
‘Do you book your dates in advance or something?’ she snorted.
I was about to open my mouth and say something silly about how, well, sometimes we did have to book if we wanted to go back to the prefects’ bathroom – but decided that wasn’t necessarily something I wanted her to know about and stayed silent.
‘What do you even get up to?’ she said, sounding more curious than scathing. ‘On your dates, I mean. You don’t talk about them a lot.’
‘Not much,’ I said. ‘Studying. Hogsmeade. Sometimes I just hang out in the Gryffindor common room. And we’ve gone walking round the grounds a couple of time.’
‘Oh,’ she said, and I guessed she’d probably been expecting something more dramatic than that. ‘Yeah, same.’
She should have expected more dramatic than that, to be honest, what with the prefects’ bathroom meet-ups and all. But that was strictly hush-hush.
‘You don’t talk about your dates a lot either,’ I said.
‘Oh, you know,’ she shrugged. ‘Don’t want to make it awkward.’
I smiled at her. Truth be told, yeah, the last thing I wanted to hear about was what Scorpius and Fauna got up to when I wasn’t around. Even though I could probably bet all my worldly possessions on their dates being mostly Astronomy/Library related.
A hand fell lightly on my shoulder and I nearly jumped out of my skin. Twisting around in my seat, I saw Albus stood behind me, a stack of books balanced in the crook of his elbow.
‘Sorry,’ he whispered. ‘Didn’t mean to frighten you.’
‘Fine,’ I said, thinking it had been at least two days since I’d last spoken to him.
‘Er…you done the History of Magic homework? Only I can’t get my head around it…’
‘I’ll come over,’ I said, already standing and pushing my chair back in under the table.
He nodded down to the books. ‘Better put these back first, should only take a minute.’
I followed him all the way back to the restricted section. The Library was only ever really silent there, right at the back, amongst those dusty shelves where, once in a while, you’d find a book chained shut or written in unintelligible runes. Luckily, Albus was only returning Transfiguration theory books, so we didn’t have to go wandering down those sorts of aisles.
‘Still free this Thursday?’ he said, sliding a copy of A Comprehensive Examination of the Ethics of Human Transfiguration, Third Edition back onto the shelf.
‘Yeah. What do you fancy doing?’
‘I dunno,’ he said, turning round to put the last book onto the opposite shelf. As he turned, a flash of white caught my eye.
‘Albus,’ I giggled. ‘Your jumper’s inside out.’
He looked down at the bright white label sticking out of his side. ‘Oh. Right.’
Without warning me, he pulled off his jumper and turned it the right way round again. But he didn’t put it on again straight away, instead standing there, seemingly lost in thought, the jumper held out before him.
‘What?’ I said.
‘It’s…nothing. Well, not nothing,’ he said. ‘Just reminded me. There was this one History of Magic lesson in fifth year when, well, I didn’t really know who you were then – I mean, I knew your name and I knew who you were, but I didn’t really know you. But…it’s daft, this is. I think you were late to the lesson or something, but your jumper was on inside out and the labels were really obvious – a couple of girls on my table were pointing and laughing at you. But I thought you looked a bit upset, and I wanted to just tap you on the shoulder and let you know your jumper was on the wrong way, but we were working in silence, of course, O.W.L practise and that. I couldn’t get it out of my mind all lesson, though. And I think I made a bit of an effort to look out for you after that because it had worried me. So I noticed you a lot more.’
I felt my face burn; he’d gone a slight shade of red too.
‘That’s really nice of you,’ I said, in this teeny voice that was basically inaudible. ‘And really typical of me.’
‘Every time I see a jumper label now I think of you,’ Albus said. ‘Sorry, that’s not very…er…romantic.’
‘It’s perfect, actually.’
‘I never even asked if you were okay,’ he said, going even redder.
‘Pretty sure I was…I think I was just late. And I think my normal face is just sad.’
He laughed. ‘No, it isn’t.’
‘But…that’s actually one of the nicest things anyone’s ever told me.’
I wonder if he felt like I did at that moment – the way his face had gone pale apart from the colour in his cheeks, the way he was suddenly looking at me cautiously, the way he was nervous – it was the way I kind of felt most of the time on our dates.
‘I bet you wished I’d told you you reminded me of flowers or the sunset or something-’
‘Jumper labels are fine,’ I said. ‘You kind of remind me of chocolate frogs.’
He seemed to find his confidence again, rolling his eyes at me in mock anger. ‘Thanks, Flora.’
‘Well, after the whole…fandango on the train, you gave me a chocolate frog.’
‘Yes, but thank you for comparing me to a solid chocolate amphibian that tries to jump out of the window the second you unwrap it…’
‘I’ll keep you in the wrapping.’
‘What card did you get, coincidentally?’
‘It was your dad. But I have about seven of him anyway.’
‘He’s pretty common, I know. He keeps one in a frame on the kitchen wall.’
‘Pisses my mum off, though, keeps distracting her when she’s trying to cook.’
There was a pause; I leant against the bookshelf and Albus pulled his jumper back on.
‘Don’t really fancy this homework now,’ he said.
‘I’ve got a free next if you want to crack on with it then.’
‘Nah,’ he shook his head. ‘I’ve got Defence Against the Dark Arts next. Big practical. Kind of dreading it.’
‘Good luck,’ I said. ‘Knock ‘em dead.’
‘Actually, I really hope I don’t knock anyone dead seeing as the practical’s on non-verbal reviving spells…’
I checked my watch. ‘We’ve only got five minutes till the bell.’
‘See you on Thursday night?’ he ventured.
Another little silence fell.
‘Flora-’ he started, but the word was barely out of his mouth before we sort of collided with one another, my back against the bookshelf, his hand on my waist. I mean, it had only been two days since I’d last seen him properly, but when we kissed it was a weirdly desperate, hungry sort of kiss, like we were parting for a century and not just parting for fifth period lessons. It wasn’t an especially good kiss either, rough, with teeth in it, his hand winding around my hair until it began to tug painfully at the roots – but when we broke apart I was as breathless and red-faced as ever.
Just to top it all off, a book on the shelf behind me let out a disgruntled moan.
‘Er,’ Albus said, lamely, untangling his hand from my hair.
‘Wow,’ I breathed.
‘Chocolate frogs. Jumper labels,’ he said, absently, tugging down the cuffs of his jumper and smoothing his hair. Then he darted in to kiss me on the cheek. ‘I’ve got to go. See you soon.’
‘Yeah,’ I forced myself to stand up straight. ‘See you.’
He darted off, waving as he turned the corner. Then it was my turn to straighten up my uniform and sort out my hair, which was tangled enough without Albus sticking his hands in it.
Fauna wasn’t there when I got back to the table, nor was her stuff – I guessed she’d gone off to Divination and packed up my own things. I had heaps of homework, but it was the last period of the day and I didn’t especially feel like doing work, especially not after Albus had sneak attacked me with jumper label-related emotions and snogging in the restricted section. I actually felt more like skipping across the width of the grounds and possibly singing at the top of my voice from North Tower.
Skipping and singing wasn’t really on the agenda, though, what with me being allergic to extended periods of exercise and having the singing voice of a donkey with a sore throat. So I just decided to head back to the common room, taking the shortcut through the Courtyard seeing as it was a fairly nice day. And it’s lucky I did, because I found Scorpius on the way, and I’m not sure what state he’d have been in if someone like me hadn’t come across him.
I’m also not entirely sure what had happened before I turned up, because it was long finished by the time I clapped eyes on Scorpius knelt on the floor with his books and rucksack thrown about him, and it took me a wee while to connect that to Fletcher and his mates walking away with their noses in the air.
One of the things I found out on day dot of Hogwarts was about house traits. For the most part they’re utter rubbish, because you get Ravenclaws who fail half their subjects and Gryffindors who’ll still scream at the sight of a mouse in their common room. But once in a while you get someone who you can really slap a label on, someone you can look at and think ‘wow, he/she is a right Slytherin’ or something. Fletcher and his mates were people like that. Easy to label with the Slytherin traits. Sure, they say Slytherins are ambitious and cunning, which does work in their favour, but they also say that Slytherins are proud and arrogant and stubborn as mules. And there are certain Slytherins who still have all the prejudice and rage of the second war hanging off their backs and dragging them into the dirt, certain Slytherins who’ll really, really go out of their way to make the lives of so-called ‘traitors’ miserable because of what their parents have told them. And Scorpius was the only son of what was probably the most infamous traitor of them all, or so I’ve heard.
I laughed at first, stooping down to pick up a copy of Advanced Herbology. Scorpius isn’t what one might call a master of hand-eye coordination, so I thought he’d maybe just tripped and was all set to take the mick out of him for it. Then I saw how he had his hands held out before him, how each palm cradled a half of his broken glasses and the lenses were all shattered on the stone slabs.
I barely even thought about what I was doing, just gently pulled the metal frames from his hands and set about gathering up the shards of glass, laying them all in my lap. Then I pulled out my wand, tapped the mess, and said ‘reparo’ – it wasn’t exactly a difficult spell, but I’d never quite grasped it non-verbally – Scorpius actually flinched like he’d only just noticed I was there.
Even when I handed him the repaired glasses he didn’t look at me.
‘Come on,’ I said. ‘I know I did a crappy job on them, but-’
‘They’re fine,’ he snapped. ‘Thank you.’
He glowered at his own knees as I did my best to gather up books from the floor.
‘Here,’ I set his textbooks in a pile before him. ‘You alright?’
‘Sure,’ he snarled.
I wondered, vaguely, why he was making such an effort to sit perfectly still. ‘Look at me,’ I said.
Grudgingly, he turned so his eyes met mine. Blood marked the left of his face, trickling down from his nose and a whole line of scrapes that went up to his eye and outlined a fresh bruise – and I couldn’t blame him for being so crabby, because when I saw the mess he was in I could only clap a hand over my mouth and stare.
‘Before you ask,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t much of a fair fight, no.’
That was when I connected the broken glasses and broken face with the infamous Slytherin bullies. And it hurt to imagine the three of them laying into Scorpius.
‘We’ve got to go to the Hospital Wing,’ I said. ‘You-’
‘No!’ he grabbed me by the arms so I couldn’t stand up. ‘No, absolutely not!’
‘I don’t want the Professors to get involved!’
‘But you’ve got to tell them!’
‘That’ll just make it worse!’
‘But they can do something about it-’
‘They can’t do anything that’ll help! They’ll just write home to my dad and give that lot another excuse to kick the shit out of me-’
‘Flora-’ he lowered his voice. ‘Flora, it’s not like I’m totally innocent, I…I kind of fought back-’
‘Fat lot of good that did you!’
‘Was I supposed to just stand there and take it?’
I think he could sense how upset I was getting, because he let go of me and put his repaired glasses back on.
‘Sorry…’ he mumbled. ‘I didn’t want you to…but the Professors can’t find out, I just – they’d just write to my dad and I don’t want to worry him and…’
We fell silent, kneeling on the floor opposite one another, him with his bruised and bloodied face and a barrier of textbooks between us.
‘Let me help you,’ I said. ‘At least let me get the blood off your face-’
‘I don’t want anyone to see!’
‘It’s alright,’ I said, wanting him to calm down more than anything, because I’d never really seen him like this and knew him as more of the type to – as he’d put it – stand there and take it. ‘If we – if we just went back to the common room, people are in lessons – I’ve got plasters and stuff in my trunk, if you came through to the dorm I could patch you up…’
He looked torn between refusing and going with me. ‘I can’t go into your dorm…’ he said vaguely.
‘Of course you can.’
He met my eye, and I had to stop myself from flinching away at the sight of that bruise.
‘It’s fine,’ I said. ‘No, really. I want to help.’
It took a lot of persuasion to get him out of the courtyard once I’d gathered up all his things and even more persuasion to get him to follow me along corridors and down the stairs to the Hufflepuff common room. Inside, there were a few people sitting around working; Scorpius walked all the way to the dormitory doors with his face turned to the wall so nobody could see him and nearly walked into a pillar.
He seemed a bit better once I got him into the dormitory, though (using the tried-and-tested technique of using pot plants as stepping stones like all the boys did to get past the anti-boy charms on the girls’ dorms). A lot calmer and a lot more cooperative. I shoved my Runes homework off the end of my bed so he could sit there as I went around collecting up tissues and the promised box of plasters.
‘Okay?’ I said.
He took off his glasses and looked gloomily up at me. With bruises and blood on his face and, well, the fact that he’d been scrapping in the courtyard with the bullies – he looked a bit like a lost child. I actually felt obliged to pat him on the head and get him a slice of cake from the kitchens or something.
‘Okay,’ he said.
I poured him a glass of water from the jug on Tabitha’s bedside table. ‘C’mon, have this,’ I said, forcing it into his scraped hands, dabbing a tissue into the water with my free hand.
‘I’m sure I’ll be fine-’
‘I’ll just get the blood off,’ I said. ‘I’m not going to, like, give you stitches or anything.’
‘Flora-’ he shied away from me as I advanced with the tissue.
‘It won’t hurt…’
Any awkwardness between us evaporated; this seemed more important than petty friendship drama. I started to clean off the blood, careful as I could, although he flinched away from me a couple of times and whined about how much it hurt. It wasn’t an especially deep set of cuts, more like scrapes or grazes and anything, but it took a while to get all the grit off. I was glad I’d never been especially squeamish - unlike Fauna, who was the sort to freak out over a papercut.
‘Has this ever happened before?’ I said.
He scowled at me. ‘I think you’d have known if it had.’
‘Sorry,’ I went on dabbing at the cuts. ‘I know you don’t really get on with them.’
He rolled his eyes. ‘Yeah, sure. We don’t really get on.’
‘Are you sure you don’t want to tell the Professors? I’m sure your dad would want to know about something like this-’
‘What, and let him know I’m even more of a failure?’ he cut across me. ‘My marks are bad enough-’
‘I’m sure he doesn’t think you’re a failure.’
‘Yeah, well, you’re wrong.’
‘Being bullied doesn’t make you a failure-’
‘Of course it does!’
I’d never really seen him so mad about anything. I hate to admit it, but my eyes started to burn and I had to bite my top lip to stop myself from crying.
‘I’m just trying to help,’ I said, once the silence had gone on too long.
‘Yeah, well…’ his voice sounded hollow, even trembled a little bit. ‘Shut up.’
I gave up trying to clean his cuts and turned away from him. The awkwardness was creeping back, little by little.
‘I’ll change the subject, then,’ I said, figuring it was best to be diplomatic. ‘Have you done the latest History of Magic essay yet? It’s a tricky one.’
He jerked his head from side to side.
‘I can help you out, if you’d like, I’ve got most of mine done…I mean, I’ve been helping Albus out for weeks and he’s been doing alright.’
With the benefit of hindsight, mentioning Albus was a bit of a mistake. Scorpius’ scowl somehow got even darker, and his face became a palette of murky bruising and dried blood that was almost black. He was normally so pale that the cuts and bruises made the rest of him indistinguishable, almost like he’d faded and been soaked in spilt ink. For the first time in my life, I actually felt a bit scared of him. Thing is, at the time, I was so desperate to find something else to talk about that I didn’t even think: I went on talking like nothing was wrong.
‘I’ll get on fine,’ Scorpius said.
‘It’d be nice to help someone else out. I mean, it seems like all I do with Albus these days is homework. I don’t even get to see him that much anyway, he’s so busy being a prefect and a seeker whatnot. It'd be nice to see him more, everything's kind of un-mega at the moment - I’m not even improving in History of Magic or anything, even after all this! And I’ve got all that extra work with apparition classes and all, it’s crazy! Not to mention how my mum wrote to me last week saying I can’t go home for Easter because she’s going away on a cruise with my aunt – ugh, I have to stay here for the entire holiday. I have the worst luck.’
I said it all without even thinking. But if I’d engaged brain for a second, things might have gone differently.
‘Oh, you have the worst luck?’ he spat. ‘Oh, sure! Look at me, I’m Flora Lancaster, and I have the worst luck! My boyfriend is the richest, most popular boy in school but, well, whatever, I have the worst luck because he only wants to study with me! I’m top of the History of Magic class but, wow, who cares? I have the worst luck because I set fire to one goblet in Charms and that makes me the biggest academic failure ever! Mind you, I may be half-blind and a bit ginger, but at least I don’t have to pull out an inhaler every five seconds! At least I didn’t have to have braces until I was fifteen but, no, I have the worst luck! At least people don’t hate me for being born! I have the worst luck because my dad walked out but, whatever, guess I’m lucky both my parents are still alive! I’m sick of your shit!’
Well, that escalated quickly. And it’s kind of hard to explain how it made me feel, but I guess in its simplest form it would be sad, awkward, angry, and a little bit sick all at once. My knees and elbows were trembling, my head hurt a little bit, and, well, screw all attempts at composure; tears were already welling up behind my glasses.
My voice was so tiny I may as well have saved my breath and not spoken at all. ‘Scorpius,’ I said. ‘You’re hurting me.’
‘I didn’t even touch you!’ he yelled.
‘No,’ I felt very small indeed. ‘I mean…inside. You’re hurting my heart.’
He got up and stood a few metres away without even saying anything. My hair fell around my face so all I could see was the floor and my own feet, blurred with tears.
‘I was just trying to help.’
‘Yeah, well…’ now he sounded as small as I felt. ‘You’re not really helping.’
‘You forget sometimes,’ he said. ‘Some people…you’ve got it better than most.’
It felt like a sudden shock in my mind – the sudden anger when I mentioned Albus, everything that had gone on between us, how I’d really been doing my best to ignore it and move on. I furiously thumbed the tears out of my eyes and looked up at him, all battered and bruised and staring back at me with wide eyes.
‘Is this just because I didn’t want to kiss you? Is this all about me not wanting to be your girlfriend or something?’
He shook his head but seemed unable to speak.
‘Is this – is this because you’re jealous? God – you’re infuriating – it’s your fault, you were the one that kissed me – I didn’t ask for that!’
Before I could stop myself, all the foul thoughts that I’d been trying to forget for the past few months came back to me.
‘Did you think what you did was justified? Did you feel like you were entitled to me or something? I’m just your friend and I never wanted to be anything more – you made this mess, it was your fault that we didn’t speak for so long! You’re the one who forced yourself on me – and then just running off to Fauna a couple of weeks later like nothing had happened, have you ever told her you don’t actually care about her? Because evidently you don’t have a clue how to treat your friends-’
‘Flora! Stop it!’
‘You, sick of me? I’m sick of you! I’m always running around after you trying to make you happy! And…’
The past few months may as well have been worthless. All that careful repairing, all that timetabled ‘trifecta time’, all that walking on eggshells – turned out it was for nothing after all, because I realised at that moment that we weren’t alone.
Once the bathroom door had cracked open, the room was filled with the most chilling sort of silence, and I barely had a moment to take in Fauna’s pale, horrified face, sodden hair plastered to her forehead, before I snapped my gaze back to the floor.
Neither of us even bothered to try and explain what was going on. And I guess it wouldn’t have made a single bit of difference if we had.
a/n: I don't always wait a century to update, but when I do, my update makes all of my characters' lives at least 20% more miserable. sorry for my sudden absence; on top of having a full-time job, life got a bit gnarly for me this past month and it was all a bit tricky to navigate. but I'll do my best to motor on with this story, must admit that I'm counting down the days until I can write that final hulk-smash-all-the-cliche chapter. plus I'm always fond of a bit of Scorpius angst.
so...thank you for reviewing. and please don't come chasing after me with pitchforks for what I'm doing to these characters. I'm a sadistic author, what can I say?
(p.s - guessing you all liked the steamy prefects' bathroom scene if the read counts are anything to go by. oh my.)