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Chapter 1: A Weasley Family Saturday
A/N: This is a sequel to my story Curiosity Is Not a Sin, but you shouldn't have to read CINAS to understand this.
Thanks to .asperity @TDA for the lovely CI!
Rose never would have admitted it to anyone except her boyfriend and maybe her cousin Albus, but family Saturdays at the Burrow were really one of her favourite ways to spend her time. She hadn’t properly appreciated them when she was younger, but now that they were significantly less frequent, she was grateful for them. She rarely got to see most of her aunts and uncles outside of them, and she often found it difficult to coordinate her schedule with that of most of her cousins, even the ones she considered herself close to.
She saw Albus on a regular basis because he was Albus. She saw Lucy because they shared a flat on the outskirts of Northern London. And she saw Victoire and James at work.
And often, for weeks at a time, that was it. Lily was still at Hogwarts, along with Rose’s brother Hugo. Roxanne was busy with her budding Quidditch career, Fred was working to expand the joke shop, and Dominique was simply too busy.
And she rarely saw the others outside of family gatherings at all.
Even when she was just sitting alone by the window in her grandparents’ living room, watching Fred bewitch snowballs to pelt Molly in the back of the head no matter what direction she was looking in, there was a sense of togetherness that she could never seem to find anywhere else.
There was just something about being in her grandparents’ house that made any other problems she had melt away.
“Hey.” She looked up just as Albus dropped onto the window seat across from her. His nose was still red from being outside, and there were flakes of snow clinging to his dark red hair. “Watching Fred?” She nodded, and he grinned broadly. “She’s going to hex him to next Friday soon.”
“I don’t doubt it.” She cocked her head to the side. “How have you been? I haven’t seen you much in the last couple weeks.”
His smile faded, and he slouched against the wall behind him. “The Aurors decided I was ready to move onto occlumency training, and it's a nightmare. I’m rubbish at it, and sometimes they have Bridget practise her legilimency on me.” He made a disgusted face, and Rose refrained from pointing out that wanting to keep his not-quite-girlfriend out of his mind should be good incentive; she knew Albus didn’t work that way. “That’s always fun. Then after work, it’s always, ‘Al, you never told me that-’” He broke off and sighed. “Anyway. That’s why you haven’t seen me. How’s the D.C.B.?”
She shrugged. “Oh, you know. I’ve got a couple of nicks and bruises, but they’ve still got me on a tight leash - they haven’t let me near anything more interesting than a grindylow.” He didn’t look very sympathetic, and she supposed she couldn’t blame him; when she’d joined the Dangerous Creatures Bureau, they’d told her she’d have four months of training, and that once she’d completed that, they would ease her into real field work. They’d kept their word; it was January, and she suspected they’d boost her up to a real XXXX creature in a matter of weeks.
Albus, on the other hand, had to go through another two and a half years of training to be a fully-fledged Auror, and he couldn't expect to go into the field until his third year of training.
He was beginning to look a little annoyed, so Rose directed her gaze across the room and changed the subject. “Remember when those two hated each other?” she asked.
Her cousin followed her line of vision to where his brother James was sitting with her boyfriend. From the animated hand gestures and occasional loud exclamations, they had to be talking about either Quidditch or Healing. Ever since his first trip to St. Mungo’s since joining the D.C.B. the year before, James had developed a keen interest in Healing.
“Well, I don’t have the patience to do it,” he’d said when she teased him about quitting the Ministry and starting in on Healer training instead. “I just think it’s interesting. I mean, they can really repair the human body. It makes me a lot less nervous about being a bit reckless!”
Given how little concern James had ever showed for his safety, Rose was still a bit worried about what “a lot less nervous” meant.
Albus snorted as he slouched against the wall and rested his feet on her seat. “Yeah, well, you used to hate him, too.”
Rose made a face. “Shut up.” Just as she was about to look away from them, Scorpius glanced up. When he saw her eyes on him, he grinned at her. She smiled back and blew him a kiss, and his grin turned into a smirk as he looked back at James.
“You know, I thought he’d get over being pleased with himself for going out with you eventually,” Albus remarked offhandedly. She glanced over at him; he was looking out the window again. Molly had finally tired of Fred’s antics and had her wand out, and Fred was dodging her jinxes with only limited success. One of his feet had swelled to be about as big as a pumpkin, and his hair was bright purple. “It’s been more than three years, though, and he still hasn’t really gotten over it.”
“Well, I’m pretty great.” Rose put her feet up next to him. “Can you blame him?”
Albus rolled his eyes. “Yes. Yes, I can. Unlike my best friend, I can see how obnoxious you are.”
“Oh, he does, don't worry.” Rose glanced back out the window. Fred had several bright spots on his cheek, but he appeared to have rallied; Molly was now struggling to stop laughing long enough to perform to countercharm. “He just forgives me for it.”
“How’ve things been between you and Scorpius?” Albus asked. “I’ve barely talked to him, either. I’m turning into a hermit.”
Rose suspected that this might have at least as much to do with his girl issues as his training, but she’d long since learned not to press Albus too much on the topic. He’d talk when he was ready to.
“Good. Or, I think it is, anyway. It’s hard to be sure with him.”
Albus sighed. “He’s just a little worried about you starting to do fieldwork. He knows how often D.C.B. members are in and out of St. Mungo’s, and it’s hard for him to think about his boss interrupting his day to tell him that you’ve been carted in there.”
Rose had been trying very hard not to think about that; it was a conversation that both she and Scorpius had been pointedly avoiding, though she knew that as a Healer trainee it was definitely starting to weigh on him. There wasn’t really much she could do about it, though, other than try to keep herself out of St. Mungo’s in the first place.
“I know.” She winked at Albus. “But I make it worth his while.”
Albus recoiled. “Ew.” He changed the subject, and inwardly, she heaved a sigh of relief that she’d managed to deflect the conversation for a little longer.
Rose was good at avoiding things she didn't want to deal with. According to Albus, it would catch up with her eventually, but she doubted that: it was her experience that when you avoided problems for long enough, they just went away.
Dinner was predictably good; she had the chance to catch up with Louis, who she’d always gotten on quite well with but hadn’t really had the opportunity to talk to much lately. Scorpius seemed to have retreated back to Albus, which she supposed wasn’t very surprising; this was the first Weasley family Saturday he’d been to, and he was clearly still a little uncomfortable. The fact that he’d gravitated toward James earlier in the day as a familiar presence was progress in and of itself - they’d gotten along better in Hogwarts after Rose had started going out with Scorpius, but they’d certainly never been what she would call close.
James was clearly preferable compared to the rest of her cousins, however, most of whom Scorpius didn’t know very well at all.
By the time they finished dinner, she could tell by the way he was fidgeting that he’d clearly had enough. As Teddy and her grandmother took charge of the dishes and everyone else began to file back into the living room, she grabbed his hand and said in an undertone, “Do you want to get going?” The relief was clear on his face, and she kissed his cheek. “Just let me say goodbye.”
“Goodbye” took about twenty minutes, and by the time they stepped out of the house, the sky had grown dark.
“It’s pretty, isn’t it?” she asked, looking up at the sky.
“Mm.” He wrapped his arms around her and rested his head on hers. It still felt a little strange - he'd been about her height for most of their relationship, but toward the end of their seventh year he'd had an unexpected growth spurt that left him about sixteen centimetres taller than she was. “Do you want to go home or come back to my place?”
She felt a smile spread across her face. “You’re not tired of the Weasley clan yet?”
“Not you.” He kissed the top of her head. “So?”
Rose twisted around and stood on her tiptoes to brush her lips against his. “I’d love to go to your place."
In the dim light cast by the glow from the windows, she could see a sparkle in Scorpius's grey eyes. “Oh, good.” He took her hand and turned on his heel, and when she opened her eyes, they were standing in front of the door to his flat.
He let go of her hand to pull out his wand. He tapped the lock and muttered something under his breath, and after a moment, they heard the deadbolt sliding back. He pushed the door open and she followed him in, pushing it closed behind her. The locks reengaged as they made their way into the living room, where he collapsed onto his couch.
She paused in the doorway to watch him. The light in the hallway had flickered on when they’d walked in, and he pointed his wand at an orb on the wall before tossing it onto the table. The orb began to glow, and he looked over at her. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” She smiled when he shifted uncomfortably. “What? I’m not allowed to admire my boyfriend?”
He snorted. “Admire me from over here.” He patted the cushion next to him. “If you’re over there, I can’t touch you.” She raised her eyebrows, and he made a face. “You know what I mean.”
She made her way across the room and settled next to him. “Thanks for coming,” she said as she snuggled up to him and put her head on his chest.
He wrapped an arm around her and began to stroke her hair gently. “It was fun. I mean, I felt a little awkward, but it was still fun.” Rose closed her eyes and inhaled his scent. Just as she was beginning to doze off, he cleared his throat. “Hey, Rose?”
He hesitated for moment. “Would you go to something like that with my family?”
“Sure,” she said sleepily. Her eyes were starting to drift shut, and she had no desire to move. “I like the Greengrasses.”
He didn’t respond for a minute, and her contentedness started to slip away. “Not my mum’s family,” he said finally. “My dad’s.”
She jerked back to stare at him. He looked serious, which she supposed made some sense - it was hardly something to joke about. “Your dad doesn’t have much family,” she said quickly, though from the way his jaw was set, she knew he wouldn’t let her get away with the deflection.
Not this time.
“That’s not the point.”
She inched back from him a little and drew her knees up to her chest. “Your grandfather was a Death Eater,” she hissed.
“So was my father.”
Rose snorted. “And as you’ve pointed out about fifty times in the last few years, that’s different.”
And it was different. Rose had met Scorpius’s parents. To her slight surprise, she’d even found that she liked Scorpius’s parents. His mother was a bit more friendly and his father more reticent, but even so, she’d never felt anything but welcome by them.
But his grandparents were different.
She could see how Scorpius’s father could have changed. He was still in school when You-Know-Who took over, and at least as far as she knew, he’d never actually done anything really bad.
Scorpius’s grandfather, on the other hand, had definitely done a lot of terrible things in the wars. Rose was fairly certain he’d murdered people. The only reason he wasn't in Azkaban was that Scorpius's grandmother had helped the Order in the Battle of Hogwarts. He might well be a decent grandfather to his pureblood grandson, but somehow she had a feeling that he'd be less decent to the halfblood.
“I know,” Scorpius said. “But he’s still my grandfather.”
Rose snorted. “Right. And I’m sure he’s so eager to meet me. I’m diluting his family’s blood, remember?”
Scorpius let his head fall back back to rest on the couch. “Rose, I wouldn’t-” She raised her eyebrows when he glanced over at her, and he sighed. “Look, if he said anything to you, we’d leave and I wouldn’t speak to him again.”
She didn’t challenge him on that. She didn’t doubt that what he was saying was true.
But it also wasn’t the point, and in some ways, the idea that the meeting could destroy Scorpius's relationship with his grandfather made her want to meet the man even less.
“I can’t.” His eyes met hers, and despite the hurt look in his eyes, she didn’t falter. “Scorpius, I can’t.”
He closed his eyes, and she felt a quick stab of guilt. “How about just my grandmother?” She could barely hear his voice.
He lifted his head and looked at her. “Yeah. Just my grandmother.” She hesitated. “We can meet her for lunch somewhere. You won’t even have to go to the manor.”
“I don’t know.”
Scorpius clearly saw her ambivalence as the perfect opening, because he added quickly, “Rose, please. Just once. If it doesn’t go well, I won’t bring it up again.”
She considered him. “Liar,” she said after a moment.
The corner of his mouth twitched, and he pushed his blonde hair back from his face. “Fine. I’ll give it at least six months.” His expression grew serious again. “And if she brings up your blood, I won’t ever mention it again. But I know she won't.”
“Because my grandmother loves me, and she’s not an idiot. She knows how pissed off I'd be if she did, and anyway, she's been pushing to meet you for months. She’ll make an effort.”
Rose sighed and looked away from him. “I’ll think about it.”
He slung his legs off the couch and scooted over to put his arm around her shoulders. “Thank you.” He kissed her forehead.
“I didn’t say yes,” she reminded him as he began to run his fingers through her hair.
“I know,” he murmured. He put his other hand underneath her chin, and she allowed him to lift her head. “I love you.”
Rose felt her trepidation begin to melt away. “I love you, too.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed him to pull her into his lap. “You’re a good boyfriend,” she said, brushing her lips against his.
He smiled. “I know,” he repeated. His grip on her tightened, and he leaned down to kiss her. When they broke away for air, he added, “You’re not so bad yourself.”
She snorted and rested her head on his chest again. “Why is it so important to you?” she asked.
He didn’t have to ask what she meant. “Because they’re my family. I know they’ve done a lot of awful things, but they’re still my family.” When she didn’t respond, he pointed out, “I’ve met all of your family. I’ve even met your Muggle grandparents.”
“My grandparents didn’t do anything-”
“I didn’t say that they did.” His tone was still calm. “My point is just that I’ve made the effort, and everyone in your family hasn’t exactly made me feel welcome.”
He didn’t mention Roxanne by name, but Rose knew that he was thinking of her in particular. Roxanne had many positive traits, and Rose loved her dearly, but it was true that she still treated Scorpius with a suspicion that wasn’t really warranted or fair. Rose suspected that it mostly had to do with the fact that Scorpius had been in Slytherin in school; Roxanne had always disliked all Slytherins on principle, and despite Scorpius’s longstanding friendship with Albus and his relationship with Rose, Roxanne couldn’t quite get over her suspicion.
Rose sighed. “I’ll think about it,” she said again. “I just... Scorpius, do you know what he did? He went after people like my family - hell, he probably went after my family - and did...” She trailed off. “Maybe Roxanne’s been a bit of a jerk, but it doesn’t compare.”
“I know.” He sighed, too. “I know. Don’t you think I had my own little crisis when I found out about some of the terrible things he’s done?” Rose had actually never given it much thought - she tried to avoid thinking about Scorpius’s paternal grandparents when she could at all help it - but she wasn’t surprised. Scorpius had never been big on blood purity. “That’s why I haven’t pushed it,” he added. “But they’re still... I just...”
“I’ll think about it,” she repeated. “I promise.”
He exhaled heavily. “Thank you.”
Thanks for reading! I hope that new readers enjoyed this and were able to follow what was going on, and that CINAS readers were not disappointed. I'll be aiming to update this every Wednesday - I can't promise it will always happen, but I will do my very best. It'll be first priority for the moment.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this first chapter, especially in whether this is clear and/or interesting as a first chapter, and for CINAS readers, whether Rose and Scorpius seem consistent as characters. Any reviews make me happy, though, even if it's something as simple as 'Great chapter, Beeezie! I can't wait for the next one!'
Most importantly, though, thank you for reading!