Chapter 3 : Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
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“I have parmesan in the cooler,” Scorpius told him as he gave the soup a good stir. “The rolls should be done any minute and the soup will take another 5.”
Corbin kissed Scorpius on the check and said, “I’ll set the table then.” With a wave of his wand, Corbin conducted the plates, flatware, and place settings to the small dining table in Scorpius’ flat. Corbin was lighting two candles in a simple candelabra to provide a romantic light for their dinner.
“On your left,” Scorpius called as the food floated towards the table. “I picked up some wine too,” he said as the sound of clinking glass signaled his departure from the small kitchen.
The small pop of cork being removed from glass caused Corbin to look towards Scorpius who was precariously carrying two wine glasses and an open wine bottle, his wand lay forgotten in the kitchen. “We should let this breath before drinking it,” Corbin told him, taking the bottle to free up Scorpius’ hand.
There were both seated after a few moments of serving food and adjusting their seats slightly to sit slightly closer together. The table was just large enough for one chair on each side and its position in the corner caused Corbin and Scorpius to sit close enough for their knees to touch while they ate.
“What is it taking you out of the country?” Scorpius asked after Corbin poured their wine. It had evidentially breathed enough to be consumed.
“Books of course,” Corbin smiled wryly. “I’ll be in Paris to discuss an idea I’ve been kicking around,” he added.
His interest piqued, Scorpius asked, “What’s this hot, new business idea?” From his limited knowledge of book selling, there weren’t very many new ideas to be had.
“I got the idea from your shop, actually,” Corbin said, letting Scorpius’ curiosity build. “Romance novels are always decent sellers but they could gain even more devout followers with just a touch of aphrodisiac infused in the book.”
Scorpius frowned slightly as he mulled the idea over, not sure if it seemed entirely above board. “Wouldn’t that be… well, I’m not sure, but is that legal?”
Chuckling softly, Corbin put his hand on Scorpius’ leg. “It’s certainly not illegal. You’ll find that laws don’t outline what you’re not allowed to do but what you’re absolutely not to do.”
Not really sure what he made of the idea, Scorpius decided that it was rather cunning. Scorpius recalled that Corbin had been in Ravenclaw and the idea suddenly made sense. It was after all, wit beyond measure that was man’s greatest treasure. “Why is Paris a good place to start with this venture?”
“It’s the city of lights and love,” Corbin said with a sparkle in blue eyes. “That and the bookstores there are more open to new ideas. Flourish and Blotts, well, they’ve been around too long to adventure out with something interesting.”
“Flourish and Blotts was one of the stores that tried to block me opening shop here,” Scorpius commented. Remembering the support he did receive when starting his potions business, Scorpius’ mind snapped to Albus and their recent… encounter.
It was almost as if Corbin read Scorpius’ mind, or just saw the conflict blur his eyes. “I see you have a new flyer for Weasley Wizard Wheezes,” he commented in a slightly cool voice. Scorpius had explained his relationship with Albus to Corbin on one of their early dates. Being new to the adult dating scene, he didn’t know the etiquette for discussing past love interests. While his conversation had been cautious and the details high level, Corbin knew enough – that Albus had been the only man he loved. Jealously was understandable as Corbin was still trying to wedge into Scorpius’ affections.
“Albus stopped by with one the other day,” Scorpius said in an even voice. While that had been the purpose of Albus’ visit, they had not been all business while he was there. “His uncle often sends him over with flyers.”
“I don’t like that you see him so often,” Corbin stated in a quiet but firm voice.
Years of having his life dictated by others caused Scorpius to catch the intent behind this comment. He would not relinquish autonomy but he did not want to push Corbin away. “He’s one of my oldest friends,” Scorpius explained delicately. “There’s nothing between us anymore,” Scorpius falsely reassured him, trying not to remember how Al’s hands felt on his body or how they’d fallen over his kitchen table. Instead, Scorpius held Corbin’s hand tenderly and gave it a squeeze.
“It’s silly of me to second-guess your friendship with him,” Corbin agreed, returning the squeeze.
That evening Corbin erased thoughts of Albus from Scorpius’ mind as they listened to gentle tunes on the WWN and enjoyed each other’s company for the last time in a number of week. Corbin made Scorpius feel like an adult, which he hardly felt at other times in his life. Fierce passion seemed to guide Corbin’s actions with Scorpius, causing him to melt in the older man’s embrace.
Scorpius woke up the next morning feeling content with warm, luxurious blankets surrounding him and Corbin’s strong arm casually draped over his chest. It was clear from his position in bed and breathing that Corbin was awake before Scorpius.
Stroking the soft skin of Scorpius’ cheek, Corbin wished him a good morning. “You are magnificent,” Corbin told him, leaning on his arm so that he was just over Scorpius’ face. In a fluid movement, Corbin’s hand snaked to the back of Scorpius’ head and gently pulled at his hair. “You are mine,” he whispered into Scorpius’ neck, his lips brushing skin as he spoke.
It was difficult for Scorpius to process words with the jolt of pleasure he felt with Corbin’s hands and lips assaulting his senses. Instead, he inhaled sharply and managed, “Yours,” in response. He was rewarded with a crushing, possessive kiss from the man on top of him. “All yours,” Scorpius iterated.
Albus hurried through the atrium, trying to avoid eye contact with as many people as possible. Any trip to the Ministry without some person wanting a word with him about his parents or how they remember when he was just a wee lad was marked as a good trip. James always enjoyed the attention from strangers but Albus figured that’s why his brother sought a career in the public eye.
Once safely in the elevator with the button for Level Two pushed, Albus leant against the wall and waited. He was on his way to meet his father for lunch as he did periodically. Going into Auror Headquarters in the middle of the day wasn’t too bad for Albus. Usually the offices were cleared out by 10 am and didn’t fill back up until at least 3. Since Al had spent a few weeks among the aurors, it was generally not too bad to get caught in conversation with the ones he ran into during the day.
Harry looked up when Albus opened the door to his office, then checked his watch. “Lunch kind of crept up on me, Al,” Harry said glancing down at the file he was reviewing. “Would you mind waiting about for 20 or so minutes while I finish this?”
“I don’t mind, dad,” Albus smiled as he stomach gurgled. “I’ll be around the department.”
Deciding that it was worth seeing if Brandon was at his desk, Albus wandered to the cubicle where he had first been introduced to Brandon Savage, Auror. If he wasn’t there, it would give Albus an opportunity for some good sleuthing through Brandon’s desk.
Brandon, like his father, was bent over a sheaf of parchment with his eyebrows furrowed in concentration. “If you keep that up, you’ll get wrinkles,” Albus called with a tone of mirth in his voice.
Starting slightly, Brandon jerked his head in Albus’ direction. “Hey you,” Bran said as he pushed back from his desk. “I’d offer you a seat but all spare surfaces here are covered in cases. I’m a bit behind.”
“So is Dad,” Al commented as he looked around Brandon’s cube. “He asked me to wait for him before he catch lunch.” Taking a moment to listen for other people nearby, Al said, “I’ll take a seat here, if you don’t mind,” as he nestled down in Brandon’s lap.
It wasn’t quite the graceful move he hoped it would be, having bumped a few files and scattered parchment around the desk, but the intake of breath from Brandon told Al that he had triggered a positive response. “I’m not sure this is the appropriate place…” Brandon started to say but his hands were resting on Albus’ leg nonetheless.
“Would you prefer we were in some poorly lit bar?” Albus asked with a grin.
“Not necessarily. Just not at my desk where anyone could walk by,” Brandon explained with the voice of a man trying to appear calm and at ease. “There is a place we could go – follow me.”
Albus was on his feet and being led by Brandon into a part of the department he hadn’t visited before. The air was stale and they seemed to be going into some sort of archive room. “I take it people don’t visit here often,” Albus observed as the light from Bran’s recently lit wand highlighted the amount of dust they were kicking up.
“Not terribly often,” Brandon agreed.
Brandon must have thought they were far enough removed from likely interruptions. Without preamble, Brandon leant down and kissed Albus hungrily. Wrapping his arms around the other man’s neck, Albus fell into the kiss with reckless passion.
“We have to stop doing this,” Brandon muttered after minutes of kissing.
“It’s our first time running off to the Archives to kiss,” Albus joked, not wanting to hear about stopping anything with Brandon.
“I mean we need to stop just randomly snogging when we see each other,” Brandon explained, resting his forehead against Albus’. “I want more.”
“But this isn’t a good place for shagging,” Albus teased, letting his hands wander.
“I mean I’d like to take you on a date,” Brandon breathed heavily. “Then shag you senseless.”
Albus’ heart was fluttering and his palms were suddenly sweating. “I’d like that,” he confessed, feeling glad the poorly lit room wouldn’t show his blush. “Quite a bit,” Albus added.
Their lips met again and were rudely interrupted minutes later by sense telling Albus that his dad would go looking for him soon. It was that thought which pulled Albus away from Brandon, who seemed to understand. “Time for lunch?” he asked, giving Albus’ hand a squeeze.
“In about 5 minutes,” Albus said, consulting his watch.
Brandon grabbed a case sitting on top of the filing cabinet and said, “I should look like I was back here for something,” before leading the way back to his desk. Once they were safely back at his desk, Brandon set the case on the stack he was doing paperwork for then asked, “What about Friday night?”
“For our date?” Albus clarified. Seeing Brandon’s eyebrows shoot into his dark hair as a response, Albus laughed heartily. “I’m free Friday.”
“Good. There’s a place that I’d like to take you. It’s French so I’ll have to write down the name,” he said reaching for parchment and quill. Brandon had the quill in hand but was staring at the case he had grabbed for a minute before scribbling La Petite Douceur. “I’ll get us a table for 7.”
Albus took the piece of parchment and carefully folded it before stowing it in his pocket. “Sounds like I’ll be wearing dress robes,” he smiled crookedly. “Better than-“
“Here you are, Albus,” Harry called from a few feet away. “I should have looked here first.”
“Afternoon, Potter,” Brandon said with a wave to Harry.
“You’re behind on paperwork too?” Harry noticed as he looked in Savage’s cubicle. “It’s that time of year,” he laughed. Harry glanced from his son’s glowing face and Brandon’s flushed but slightly drawn visage and was on the verge of asking if everything was alright but decided he wouldn’t pry, assuming that they had been engaged in activity he’d rather not be privy to.
Rose enjoyed being home before her family – especially on sunny afternoons where light was pouring into the sitting room. Once her parents got home they’d go on about issues at the Ministry and current events that were rather droll. Hugo sometimes spent his time quietly reading but would often find it more amusing to prod Rose with whatever quips he spent the day concocting.
It was this time of peace and reflection that allowed Rose the ability to read through her travel magazines delivered through the muggle post and catch up on magical history for the locations highlighted in the articles. Her mother’s voice, shrill and quite angry, tore Rose from her leisure.
“Rose Ginevra Weasley,” Hermione called from the next room. “A word. If. You. Please.”
There were a limited number of transgressions that would cause her mum to be quite so stern. Rose had a shrewd suspicion what it was that got her in the hot seat this time. Straightening her back, Rose marched into the family room where Hermione stood with her arms crossed and a foot tapping as if every moment she waited for Rose to appear had increased her ire.
“Would you like to explain to me why you’ve been skiving off your job?” she asked as soon as Rose entered the room.
“I-“ Rose started but was cut off.
“I won’t have any of your excuses,” Hermione said briskly. “I went to see if you were free to come home and Mrs. Edgecomb informed me that you were already gone for the day.”
Rose couldn’t think of an answer to this that wouldn’t dig the hole she was in deeper so she stood there in silence, wondering if her mum’s ears would soon emit steam at the rate she was reddening.
“Even worse,” she added venomously, “is that she was under the impression that you were with me.”
“I’m sorry, Mum,” Rose cut in, hoping to stem the lecture.
“You’re sorry?” Hermione laughed rather coldly. “I asked for Mrs. Edgecomb to make room for you in her department and now you’re flouncing about the job – leaving whenever you please?”
Rose could see where this was going. The issue, though her mum would never say it, was that this reflected poorly on her and her status in the Ministry. “It’s not like the job matters, Mum,” Rose retorted, not especially caring if she was being rude.
Ron’s voice came from the front door, causing a momentary ceasefire between Rose and Hermione – both of whom were wearing angry expressions. “Afterno-“ Ron stopped and glanced between his wife and daughter. “I think I left a thing at the office.”
“Don’t you walk out on this, Ronald,” Hermione snapped. “Your daughter has been derelict at her job and leaving whenever she pleases.”
“Well it’s a dull-“ Ron changed direction at Hermione’s reproachful look. “but important job at the Ministry,” he finished with bravado.
Rolling her eyes, Rose went on, “It’s a mindless job that could be done by a trained pixie.”
“It’s a good job that needs smart people doing it,” Hermione insisted. “Rose, darling, you’re among the next leaders of our society.”
“You both,” Rose gestured at her parents, “and Uncle Harry saved the Wizarding world then went on to fix the government. No one needs me to save the world from a hiccup in the Floo Network.”
Hermione looked affronted by this statement. “And you’d rather what? Trot around the globe as people go on holiday? It’s a youthful lark, not a lasting career.”
Rose was stung by the fact that her mother didn’t take her career idea as a serious endeavor. It felt unfair that Hugo, Albus, and James were pursuing their youthful larks but Rose was ridiculed for wanting to follow hers. “You’re just as bad as Scorpius’ parents. They were all about pushing him into a life he didn’t want,” she spat, hoping to hurt her parents.
The words had the effect as her mum gasped quietly and her dad scowled at the comparison. Not giving them a chance to berate her for the harsh words, Rose stormed past her parents and up to her room, locking it with her wand. Grabbing her rucksack and her freshly laundered clothes, Rose decided to give her parents a few days to reconsider where her career ranked in their list of priorities.
“Rose,” Hermione called from the door. “Come out here this instant. You can’t just storm out on your father and me.” There was a few moments paused before Hermione said, “This is not how adults behave.”
Throwing the rucksack over her shoulder, Rose opened the door and pushed past her mother. “You’re right, Mum. It’s not how adults behave but it’s part of a youthful lark.”
Hermione followed behind Rose as she descended the stairs. “Where are you going?” she asked, panic sounding with every word.
Rose didn’t answer or look back as she heard her dad call, “Rosie, wait.” She knew where she would go but wasn’t sure if she’d be a welcome guest. Hoping that he would be the most understanding of her predicament, Rose spun on the spot and left her home with a pop.
So… a lot happened in this chapter. What did you think of Corbin? It took me forever to get him how I wanted him to be but I’m not sure I’m there yet. And… Brandon is going on a date with Albus!! Whoo! Things kind of blew up between Hermione and Rose – where do you think she got off to? La Petite Douceur is French for the little sweetness. The title for this chapter is a song from James Bond and is by Shirley Bassy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and theories as to what’s going to happen next!
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