Title: The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Pairing: Albus Severus/Scorpius
Word Count: ~1100
Summary: Is Albus trying to blend in with the crowd, or stand out?
Disclaimer: I wish, oh how I wish that I owned these characters. But I don't, they belong entirely to JK.
A/N: Written for Prompt 44 (Mirror) from my 100quills prompt table.
Harry Potter was slightly concerned the day Albus Severus came home with a nose stud. It just sat there, shining spitefully, looking as if it was clinging to the side of Albus’ nose for dear life.
“Don’t worry, Dad,” said Albus, “everybody’s got one.”
Lily snorted and said, “One what? One porcupine?”
Harry rolled his eyes, and for a moment was almost grateful that his teenage years were spent fighting a war rather than being caught up in the whirlwind of childhood fads. It seemed so much trouble to go to, to purposefully stick a metal pole through your nose just to fit in with your peers.
Later that night, Harry sought James’ advice, disrupting his dutiful reading of Quidditch Weekly. James assured Harry that quite a few people at school did have piercings, and that it wasn’t abnormal although he personally thought Albus looked like a pillock.
Harry just sighed and decided to let the issue go, figuring that Albus could always take the stud out when he didn’t want to wear it anymore.
By the end of the summer, Harry was so used to it he didn’t even notice it anymore. He packed James, Albus and Lily off to school and promptly forgot about the little stud’s existence.
~ ~ ~
Nine months later, he collected the children from the Hogwarts Express, and, mildly surprised at the sight of the forgotten stud, Harry was relieved to see that Albus hadn’t partaken in any other disfiguring fashion statements since last summer. He did, however, seem to have developed a teenage moodiness that had never been there before. Now he was much more grumpy, and when Harry tried to gently broach the subject Albus put up the defences and refused to talk.
A few weeks into the summer holidays, Harry ran into Albus at the door to the bathroom. Albus had just had a shower, and had a towel wrapped around his waist.
“Morning!” said Harry cheerfully .
Albus just grunted and headed off towards his bedroom. Harry turned to look at Albus in despair, and was greeted by the sight of a pale back complete with large tattoo . The tattoo looked to be a black scorpion or spider with a green snake spiralled around it, squeezing it tightly. Harry gaped openly, tempted to run after Albus and demand an explanation from him, but he stopped himself just in time. If Albus was in that kind of mood this morning, attacking him would achieve absolutely nothing. Dazed, Harry dragged himself to the toilet and plonked down on the lid. Where had he gone wrong? Lily and James were as good as ever, as far as he knew, so why did Albus feel the need to be the rebel?
Harry consulted James about the tattoo, and James looked slightly confused.
“I didn’t even know he had it.”
“But it’s like the piercing thing, isn’t it?” Harry asked hopefully, “Everybody has one?”
“Um, not really,” shrugged James, “only one other person that I know of. But everyone will probably have one soon.”
Early that afternoon, Harry cornered Albus in the kitchen as he was helping himself to the day’s fourth bowl of cereal.
“You’d think they don’t feed you at Hogwarts.”
Harry’s attempt at a light-hearted ribbing didn’t go down well and Albus responded with a glare.
“Okay, Albus, we need to talk.”
Albus looked pained.
“Are you… okay?”
Albus scowled at Harry.
“Why wouldn’t I be okay?”
Harry had been determined to be the caring, listening father but at the last second he was overcome by frustration and blurted out what was really bothering him.
“Well, you‘re not really nice to be around anymore, and you have a piercing and a tattoo and I don’t know what I’ve done wrong!”
Albus looked taken aback as Harry bit his lip.
“Sorry, Albus, I didn’t - you’re just different, that’s all.”
Albus looked briefly ashamed and then finally smiled.
“So you saw the tattoo then?”
~ ~ ~
The next September, the end of Albus’ sixth year, he came home with a greater surprise than ever.
“The hair, Albus, really?” groaned Harry.
Lily giggled and James muttered something that sounded suspiciously like plonker under his breath.
Albus had apparently paid his cousin Rose to get hold of some muggle hair bleach, and his dark brown hair was now platinum blonde.
“He thinks it looks cool,” said Lily.
“I just like it like this,” said Albus, “it’s different to everybody else.”
“Well, not everybody,” teased Lily, and Albus elbowed her in the ribs.
“I thought the point of the nose stud and the tattoo was to look the same as everybody else?” asked Harry.
Albus just smiled and looked away.
~ ~ ~
Lily begged and pleaded and begged some more until Harry finally caved and allowed her to have someone to stay for a week or two. His general policy had always been no sleep-overs at their house, due to the security concerns. He didn’t trust the other parents not to sell details to the press, especially not as Albus was in Slytherin and Harry knew first-hand how sneaky Slytherin parents could be. But Lily wore him down, and granted the children (teenagers?) permission to each invite a friend.
Surprisingly, it was James who pounced on Clarissa, the family owl, first. Lily had gleefully informed Harry that James had been seeing a sixth-year called Serena Eastwick for almost three months already. Lily invited her oldest and best friend, Annabel Finch-Fletchley. Albus refused to send his owl whilst the others were around and, when questioned, would only disclose that he was inviting ‘a friend’.
The next afternoon, Harry, James and Serena stood in shock when Scorpius Malfoy flooed into the living room, landing elegantly and dusting off his fine robes. They were even more shocked when Albus bounded up to him, glee on his face which Harry hadn’t seen since Albus was a child. Scorpius’ flaxen hair was combed back from his forehead, accentuating his silver nose stud. Albus grabbed Scorpius by the hand and pulled him through the living room and towards the stairs without looking anybody in the eye.
After all noise had stopped from upstairs, Lily was the first to speak.
“Come on guys, it’s not like it wasn’t obvious,” she giggled.
Harry turned to James.
“How come you didn’t know about this?”
James shook his head, mouth still hanging open.
“I - I suppose I was busy with Serena.”
“Well,” said Harry, “this explains the nose stud and the hair. What about the tattoo?”
Lily giggled again.
“It’s a snake wrapped around a scorpion dad, what do you think?”
Harry stared at her in confusion for a moment, then winced as he got the reference.
“Merlin’s balls,” said James.
~ ~ ~