edgewareroad: (TiRN.)
[personal profile] edgewareroad
Author: [livejournal.com profile] edgewareroad
Disclaimer: They’re still J.K.’s! I mean, we kind of made up Charlie, but I’m still not really going to take credit there because he’s totally a wizard.
Pairings/Characters: Scorpius(/Al), Charlie(/Rose)
Notes: Sometimes Scorpius needs someone to hold him back. And sometimes he needs someone to understand that he has feelings. (Even if he doesn't know he needs that.) Takes place immediately after this thread.
Rating: PG

"Stop!" Charlie manages to bite out, pushing the door to the changing rooms open with his back and heaving Scorpius through. "Scorpius, stop."

But his partner doesn't listen. He rarely does, Charlie thinks ruefully. Instead, Scorpius continues to struggle against Charlie's vice-like grip around his chest, shouting incoherently at his boyfriend's cousin at the Reception desk. It gets him nowhere. Scorpius may have the advantage when it comes to reflexes, but Charlie is stronger.

While stronger does have its benefits, though, it will not hold Scorpius indefinitely. Charlie knows this. He is lucky that his partner's rage is keeping him from thinking clearly.

Lucky, Charlie thinks and almost laughs.

That moment of weakness is when Scorpius decides to lean forward, slam his feet down, and use Charlie's weight against him. Charlie manages not to be flipped, but it's a near thing, and the two of them go sprawling in opposite directions. Scorpius quickly, deftly regains his balance. Charlie, too close to a wall of lockers and still a bit off-kilter from their early morning raid, finds himself smashing against them.

Charlie winces as his already pounding head makes contact with the metal. The strain of trying to keep his partner in check has reopened the gash above his left eye, and he can feel the blood streaming down his face once more.

The sight of Charlie bleeding again makes Scorpius freeze. Charlie literally sees all of the fight go out of him; Scorpius's muscles go slack, his eyes wide. He so rarely holds himself this way that Charlie is struck by how young it makes him look.

"Sorry," he murmurs. "I'm sorry." He hurries forward and reaches out for Charlie, who takes his hand and steadies himself.

"All done?" Charlie asks, looking sideways at Scorpius and rubbing the back of his head.

"Sorry," Scorpius repeats. "I'll take you back to first aid."

Charlie feels an unexpectedly gentle hand on his back. An hour ago, as they'd returned, Scorpius had all but dragged him through the Ministry to the on-site healer, muttering darkly.

"Going easy on me now that it's your fault?" Charlie laughs and allows himself to be guided. As they pass Reception, Charlie switches sides to put himself between Scorpius and Victoire, more or less hiding his partner from view. He sees the way Scorpius sets his jaw, raises his chin, and straightens up. Charlie frowns. It’s Scorpius’s default hurt position.

When they get outside the Auror Department, Scorpius says stiffly without looking over: “They were both my fault.”

"What?" Charlie stops in his tracks to look over at his partner, but Scorpius says nothing. He simply holds up a hand, shakes his head, and keeps moving. Charlie knows better than to push him and still expect answers, knows he’ll have to come at it from a different angle, so instead he says, “What did she say to you?”

"The usual," Scorpius scowls. "I’m a Malfoy, I’m a terrible auror, I’ve somehow tricked everyone into trusting me, I can’t control myself. She listened at the door of my meeting yesterday. Started to say something about Al being away. Lucky I didn’t launch myself over the desk at her. I should have ignored her, but—you know, bit on-edge, obviously."

Charlie nods. What he wants to do is hug him; he’s always been one of those tactile people, quick to sling an arm around someone to convey his meaning. Charlie knows that’s a hideous mistake and that it would likely set Scorpius off, but the urge is undeniably there. It is one of those times—not altogether infrequent now—when Charlie marvels at how much effort Scorpius puts into pretending not to care when, in reality, he’s feeling all of it so deeply. And Charlie sees it, which he thinks is better than most people, but he has no idea how to handle it. Scorpius doesn’t want to be coddled or comforted or touched—at least, not by him. It’s what Al does, he thinks regretfully.

"It wasn't your fault,” Charlie replies with enough weight behind his words that Scorpius knows he’s not talking about Victoire.

"You're planning, I'm execution. We both know that. He slammed your head against a wall, because I wasn’t watching your back. That’s my fault.”

Scorpius, it’s n—”

"That's my job," he spits out angrily, interrupting. "It's my job to make sure you don't get hurt. And I’m so fucking distracted, Charlie."

The last words spill out, and Scorpius looks at him plaintively with those stupidly blue eyes.

“I know,” Charlie answers quietly. “I know, and I can cover for you. It’s not going to be like this forever. Another month.”

Then Charlie throws caution to the wind, puts an arm around Scorpius’s shoulder and squeezes. Scorpius stiffens but doesn’t hit him, and that’s something.

“And I’m fine,” he continues. “I’m a fully qualified Auror, Sco. Just like you. Whatever our roles are, I’m responsible for myself on a raid.”

Scorpius makes a noncommittal noise, and Charlie figures it’s the best he’s going to get. They walk in silence down the deserted corridor until the healer’s office is in sight.

Charlie stops outside the door and turns to his partner. "You've got to relax, Sco. Come over tonight. Don't sit home by yourself. It's making you edgier, if that's even possible."

"You've got a date," Scorpius points out.

"Yeah, but R--"

Scorpius cuts him off: "I try to make it a point not to third-wheel on Rose Weasley's formal dates. Just a long-standing policy."

There’s a little less bitterness and little more snark in his voice, which is always a good sign.

“Fine. Tomorrow, then. Or this weekend, you can stay the night.”

This sets Scorpius to smirking. “First the unsolicited touching and now a thinly-veiled invitation? I’m flattered, Charlie, I am, but I’m not sleeping with you.”

“Idiot.” Charlie punches Scorpius in the arm, but his face still goes slightly pink at the insinuation. And because Scorpius loves nothing better than getting a rise out of Charlie, his smirk turns into a full-fledged grin. “Try not to kill anyone while I get patched up again? I’d hate to have to come back a third time in one morning.”

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