Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Fic: I Am My Brother’s Keeper (Part 3 of 4)
2.3k words, rated G
Being the son of Harry Potter isn’t easy and being the brother of James Sirius “Golden Boy” Potter doesn’t make it any better. However, as obnoxious as his brother can be, Albus wouldn’t trade him for the world. When Albus accidentally stumbles upon a secret, it threatens to break apart his already complicated and messy relationship with James.
“And you’ll write to me over the summer?” Scorpius asks, bouncing on his toes as he stood on the train platform. Albus attempts to feign an exasperated sigh, but a subtle smile betrays him.
“Yes. I’ll write. You’ve already asked me twice on the train.”
“Actually three times.” Scorpius corrects him, his cheeks growing pink. “The summer will be dreadfully boring without you.”
Suddenly, James leaps off of the train, cuffing Albus on the back of the head before disappearing into the busy crowd.
“Hey Slytherin, Mum and Dad are here!” Albus glowers in the direction that James disappears before shifting his gaze to Scorpius.
“Please take me with you.” He begs Scorpius.
“You would rather spend your summer with the rumored son of Voldemort than your dad, the legendary Harry Potter?” Scorpius asks, to which Albus rolls his eyes.
“Trust me, you’re better company than my dad and James. Ugh, the entire summer is just going to be those two being chummy and swapping Hogwarts stories.”
“Now you have your own Hogwarts stories to share.” Scorpius offers, his eyes optimistic. Albus snorts bitterly.
“Yeah, which story do you suggest that I tell them first? The one where I was the last kid to get my broom up in flying lessons? Or the one where Karl Jenkins hid our wands and then sealed us in our dorm so that we couldn’t attend the end of term feast?” Albus asks sarcastically. “I don’t know what’s worse, being at Hogwarts or being stuck in the same house as James all summer.”
“Lucky for you then, because you have a good friend who is willing to entertain you all summer. So it won’t be a complete waste.”
“Promise me that you’ll write often.”
“Albus, I would keep writing even if you never sent me a single letter back, but please do write. Otherwise, I’ll look pathetic. You’re going to get sick of me.” Scorpius smiles awkwardly.
“I could never get tired of you.”
The Present, Spring 2025
“So Teddy and James, huh?” Perched on his bed, Scorpius muses to himself as he watches Albus pace frantically around the room.
“Albus, please sit. You’re making me dizzy pacing around like that.”
Albus freezes on the spot, unsure of himself before Scorpius pats a spot on the bed next to him. Accepting the invitation, Albus crawls into bed, sitting against the headboard next to Scorpius. He is all too aware of every point of contact their bodies make. The gentle press of their shoulders, arms, and thighs.
“Sorry. I’m just–” Albus lets out a loud incomprehensible sound of frustration before flinging a pillow. Scorpius frowns as he watches the pillow sail across the room.
“How do you feel about James and Teddy?” Scorpius asks quietly, and Albus shrugs.
“I’m not going to lie. It’s kind of weird, but James didn’t even give me a chance to be okay with it. He just lied to me.” Something very painful and all too familiar flares inside him. “He didn’t even give me a chance,” Albus repeats miserably, and Scorpius leans his head on Albus’s shoulder. Albus is aware of how intimate the gesture is, but it’s comforting. “He’s the worst brother ever.”
“You don’t mean that,” Scorpius says quietly.
“No, you don’t.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I know you, Albus, and I know your heart.”
In the moment, Albus wonders if Scorpius can hear the incessantly loud rush of his heart thrumming in his chest. If he does, Albus wonders if he knows that he is the cause of it.
Because I know you Albus, and I know your heart.
Albus doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t trust himself to not spew his feelings for Scorpius all over the place.
He thinks of James.
I know you. You’re crazy stupid about Scorpius, so stop wasting your time and tell him because being in love feels –really great.
Is he in love with Scorpius? He knows that he loves Scorpius. He would do anything for him because he was his first and only friend, but Albus has never been in love as far as he knows. He doesn’t know the difference. And he wants nothing more than to run to James’s apartment and ask him what is the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone, but James has shut him out.
Suddenly, it feels like their Hogwarts days again, two brothers existing in two very separate and different spheres.
“Maybe he’s scared?” Scorpius comments quietly.
“Scared? What could James possibly be afraid of? He’s one of the bravest people that I know. He’s too brave, in fact, he’s foolhardy.”
“Of what you might think of him.” Scorpius voices. “That you would think less of him.”
“I don’t know…” Albus swallows thickly as he is left with the startling and upsetting revelation that he doesn’t know his brother as well as he thought he did. He doesn’t know what James is thinking or feeling. Or how to diffuse the blow up from earlier. What can he say to make this right?
“I don’t know what to say to him. I always thought James was like an open book. He’s the Golden Boy. He’s never had to worry about anything. What do you say to someone like that?” Albus asks.
“You don’t have to say anything. Just be there for them.”
Albus looks down at Scorpius, who has his chin propped on Albus’s shoulder. As if sensing his gaze, Scorpius’s owlish grey eyes flicker up with meet Albus’s. Their faces are so close. Albus imagines what would happen if he just leaned in, letting their lips touch. The thought makes his heart lurch and his spine shiver. He wants nothing more than to take Scorpius’s face in his hands and kiss him until the sun comes up. The thought makes his chest ache with want.
“I should go to bed.” Albus clears his throat awkwardly.
“Or you can stay.”
The words paralyze Albus as his emerald orbs search Scorpius’s face, for some clue or sign. Under Albus’s intense gaze, Scorpius pulls back.
Overanalyzing Scorpius’s every move, Albus comes to the frustrating conclusion that he doesn’t know what the bloody hell any of this means.
Scorpius takes in a deep breath and forces his eyes to meet Albus once more.
“You don’t have to, but you look like someone who really doesn’t want to be alone right now. So stay, if you want.” Scorpius says quietly.
It’s true. He doesn’t want to be alone with his thoughts right now. However, it’s not the reason he says, “Okay.”
He says okay because he’s a selfish human being.
Albus settles back into the bed, slipping under the blankets. Scorpius’s silk sheets are cool and smooth again his skin. Pressing his blushing face into the pillow, Albus inhales the sweet scent. It smells like peppermint, like the shampoo that Scorpius uses. Merlin’s beard, he’s embarrassing.
If Scorpius notices anything weird, he doesn’t say anything. He grabs his wand and whispers a quiet incantation before the two are enveloped in darkness except for the faint light emanating from his wand.
“I have some studying to do, so I’ll stay awake until you fall asleep,” Scorpius says quietly.
Albus buries his face further into the pillow, smiling.
“Why are you so good at this?”
“My mum.” Scorpius smiles sadly, and in his eyes, Albus can see him conjuring up the memory of her. Albus swallows thickly, regretting that he asked. He prepares to apologize, but Scorpius continues. “She always knew just what to say or what to do to comfort me. So whenever someone needs comforting, I think about what Mum would do, because she had the kindest heart that I have ever seen.”
“You have her heart.” Albus murmurs quietly into the pillow, but he doesn’t think Scorpius hears him.
The quiet sound of Scorpius turning pages of a book lulls Albus to sleep.
A week goes by, and James and Albus manage to avoid each other like the plague. When their traditional Sunday dinner rolls around, Albus is surprised that James doesn’t make up an excuse to avoid the gathering. He is there, seated at the table, conversing with their dad about some event that happened at the Ministry today. Their mum is off in Germany for the weekend to review a Quidditch match, and Lily is at Hogwarts, so it’s just the men this Sunday.
“Oh hello, Albus and Scorpius,” Harry greets them; the wrinkles near his eyes smile kindly at them.
“Hi, Harry!” Scorpius greets him enthusiastically as he takes a seat across from Harry. “So I have a story for you.”
“Rightio! A wizard walks in the front doors of St. Mungo’s, because he accidentally ingested a shrinking potion. The healer tells him to sit in the lobby; he will be with him shortly. The wizard sits there for a while, waiting. Meanwhile, another wizard comes in for treatment. The healer takes the other wizard straight away. Before he does, he apologizes to the shrunken wizard and asks him if he can wait for a little longer. The elderly wizard says, ‘No problem, I can be a little patient’.” Scorpius grins. Albus is quick on the uptake and groans at the pun that Scorpius has landed on his father. It takes Harry a beat to let it sink in. Even James grimaces.
“That one was actually good,” Harry compliments him.
“Really?” Scorpius asks, hopeful.
“Best one so far.”
“Dad, all of his jokes awful,” Albus says drily, and Harry simply smiles.
“Like I said, best one so far.”
Scorpius joins Harry and James’s conversation. As Albus watches them interact it becomes unfathomable to him how his father had ever thought Scorpius was a dark cloud surrounding him. Scorpius, with his stupid jokes, who has sunlight in his smile. Over time, Scorpius Malfoy has found a way to affectionately worm his way into every Potter’s heart, including Harry’s.
Excusing himself, Harry retreats to the kitchen to check on dinner, and Scorpius eagerly volunteers to help him.
Which leaves James and Albus alone.
His gaze travels to James, who actively avoids all eye contact.
“Could we talk? Maybe after dinner?” Albus doesn’t know what to say to James or if he possesses the courage to start this conversation. He’s completely aware of his inability to be emotionally vulnerable with other people, and it feels like he’s flying blind here.
James pretends not to hear him as plays with a fork on the table.
“You didn’t even give me a chance to be okay wi–”
“Albus, not now.” James hisses sharply at Albus before he glances cautiously at the kitchen.
“I don’t want to argue. Just talk.”
“I’m busy,” James says nonchalantly.
“You’re scratching your fork against the table. I doubt you’re busy.” Albus replies sourly.
“I’m not discussing this here, with you.” James huffs before attempting to make an escape to the kitchen. Albus quickly launches himself in front of James.
“You can’t keep avoiding me–”
“–or shutting me out.” This makes James stop in his tracks as he looks at Albus, unbelievably, before he laughs. His laughter is hard and bitter; it makes Albus cringes.
“Wow, that’s rich coming from you. Like you have room to talk.”
“What does that mean?”
“You’re always the one shutting people out. You’re the one who just bottles things up and wallows in his own misery. You’ve never actually let anyone in. You’ve never let me in–”
“You’ve never tried!” Albus cries. “Where were you those first four years of Hogwarts, huh? I could have really used someone in my corner and that person was Scorpius when it should have been you, James. Do you know why it wasn’t you? Because James Potter, who has everything he could ever possibly want in life, doesn’t care about anyone else but himself.”
“I’m so sick of you thinking that my life is so easy.”
“Because it is! You’re the popular one. You’re the confident one. You’re the talented one. I’m not going to stand here and feel sorry for a perfect, spoiled golden boy who thinks one stupid secret is going to ruin his entire life. Get over yourself!”
“Yeah, well, I would rather be a spoiled golden boy than the useless dark smudge on the Potter family.” James shoots back darkly.
It feels like a cold shock of ice water splashing down his back. Paralyzing and numbing. The words settle into his bones like an unforgiving frost. For a second, he wishes that James would have just struck him across the face. Anything would have been better than hearing those words. The words that he fears are true after all.
Albus doesn’t recall when their father appears in the doorway, wearing a concerned expression.
“What is going on out here?” Harry asks.
Upon seeing their father, the cold evaporates. Instead, something hot and angry and red flares inside of Albus’s chest. Something begging to be unleashed and threatening to destroy everything in its wake.
Albus turns to their father. “Hey Dad, I think you would find it interesting to know what James and Te–”
Something catches his eyes.
Standing in the doorway.
“Albus, please, don’t do this.” He begs quietly.
Suddenly, looking at Scorpius brings him back to reality, and his face flushes with shame.
“Someone needs to explain what exactly is going on here. Albus?” Harry looks between the two of his sons, neither say anything. “James?”
Albus’s gaze slowly meets James, who is staring back at him. His deep brown eyes hold a heavy mixture of emotion.
“Fuck you, Albus.”