My hands were shaking like leaves. I clenched them more tightly in my lap, but it did not help any and I sighed, resting my forehead against the cool window of our train compartment. I could hear Noel and Anthony playing Exploding Snap in the background and Ashley babbling on incessantly to Scorpius’s other friend, whose name I learned was Jack Nott. If I closed my eyes I could see them all so vividly. It was when I opened my eyes that everything became blurred. Maybe it was because I had been fighting off tears all day.
I felt Scorpius dig his fingers into the little flesh of my hips, his thumb tracing tiny circles on a small patch of bare skin that showed beneath my sweater. Normally I would have been shaking just from such sexual contact. Today I knew that was not the case.
Today was the day that I would take Scorpius home with me. Today was the day my father and Scorpius would first meet face to face. Today was probably the day I died.
I sniffed lightly at the thought and traced a tiny heart in the condensation on the glass. This train ride was the absolute longest of my life. I had been watching my watch for the entire hour, twenty-six minutes, and forty-two seconds we’d been on here and I felt like it had taken more like a week than an hour and a half.
“Hey,” Scorpius said, brushing my hair back off my neck and pulling me towards him and away from the window. I curled up against his side and brought my feet up onto the bench, curling my knees into my stomach. I gazed up at him expectantly.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, letting his forehead drop until it was resting lightly against mine. “Everything is going to be fine. I promise.”
“Don’t promise me that,” I said quietly, staring into his grey eyes, which were dark and worried. “Promise me that even if everything isn’t okay you’ll be there for me.”
“I promise,” he whispered. I felt incredibly small under his gaze in that moment. But not in a bad way. It was almost as if I knew that no matter what happened he would stick by me.
I inhaled sharply when I felt his arm slip around the small of my back, pulling me almost on top of him. His face dropped a bit so that our noses were touching. I was nearly going cross-eyed trying to follow his line of sight. He looked down at me, his eyes smoldering with some unknown emotion. His lips pressed lightly against mine, and I found myself suddenly spurred by this small gesture. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled his head down, deepening it. In that moment nothing besides Scorpius and his soft lips existed.
“Oi!” I heard someone shout, and then Scorpius was slowly pulling away, his hands remaining firmly around my waist with me still snuggled to his chest.
I glared over at Tony, who along with the rest of our friends was all staring at us.
“We don’t need to see that, you two,” he said.
“No one said you had to look,” I retorted, and I heard Scorpius snort in laughter and Ashley giggle.
“It’s kind of hard not to when you two practically take up a whole forth of the compartment.”
I sighed and wriggled out of Scorpius’s grasp and back into the corner where I had been sitting before we had started snogging. I felt suddenly much colder and all of the anxiety that had been threatening to crush me came back instantly. No one really seemed to notice and the noise level returned to normal. I heard Jack growl something about the ‘avada kedavra’ and then Ashley let out a nervous giggle and stopped talking.
“Hey Rosie, you want to get in on this next game?” Noel asked me. I tore my eyes away from the blurred landscape and shook my head slightly to try to remember where I was and why someone would be asking me to play a game at a time like this.
My eyes landed on my blonde friend, who was all smiles and holding up a new deck of cards. “Umm-“
“She’d love to,” Scorpius answered for me, dragging me away from the window and taking the deck from Noel, beginning to deal hands for the four of us. I could tell that Tony was staring at us oddly, and Noel had her thin pink lips pursed.
“Who wants to go first?”
Scorpius was really trying too hard. No stupid card game was going to make me forget about the fact that we were speeding towards our imminent doom. Nothing was going to make me forget my father’s words that had been ringing through my head for days now. Don’t bother coming home.
Well, he would just be so pleased to see me and Scorpius there with our trunks when he came to pick up Hugo. Luckily we would be in a public place, surrounded by people who knew all about him, so he wouldn’t do anything there. At least, I didn’t think he would.
My stomach clenched tightly and I fought the urge to retch again. To be honest, I wasn’t all that worried about my father physically harming either of us. He really wasn’t the type. I was most afraid of having Scorpius see what my life was really like. I was afraid of having anyone who wasn’t in my immediate family know that my home life was this bad. And after today, Scorpius would most definitely know.
The retching feeling came back again. I threw my cards down on the little table that Tony had conjured and stepped on the seat around Noel to get to the door.
“Rose?” Tony asked his voice unsure.
“I need the loo,” I replied quickly. I could hear how hoarse my voice sounded and swiped at the tears that just wouldn’t go away. I pushed open the sliding glass door before anyone could see them and sprinted down the hallway towards where I knew the restrooms were. I felt myself collide with something hard and then I tumbled to the ground, losing my balance.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the person I presume I hit said, crouching down and offering me their hand. I can barely see through my tear-clouded vision but I extended my hand anyway and let myself be hoisted back up.
“Rose?” they cried. “What’s wrong?”
I swiped at my tears and blinked back the rest that were threatening to fall and look up into the concerned face of Ben. It had been so incredibly long since I’d talked to Ben. I guess I had assumed that he too hated me, along with the rest of the team. Apparently he still had some sort of affection for me.
“I’m so scared,” I croaked, throwing myself into my cousin’s arms. He stumbled a bit at the force I hit him with, but caught himself and me, and hugged me tightly to his chest. It was so odd to have him here again. I had almost forgotten about how nice it was to be comforted by him. He was so familiar.
“What are you afraid of?” he asked softly, stroking my hair back out of my eyes.
I sniffed and pulled back a bit from him so that I could see his reaction to what I was about to say next. If he really did not hate me, he would be okay with it. “I’m bringing Scorpius home for Christmas.”
He stared down at me in shock, his kind brown eyes wide with surprise. I chuckled, even though nothing was funny and made to pull back out of his arms. He hated me. He probably thought I was ruining our family’s Christmas. Brilliant. Just brilliant. I had now managed to make sure that all of my cousins hated me.
“Wait, don’t leave,” he said, pulling me back to his chest. “I’m sorry I seemed surprised. I just didn’t think that the two of you were that serious.”
“It’s serious, Ben,” I replied coldly. “We’re serious.”
“That’s good,” he said sincerely. “I’m happy you’ve found someone who makes you happy.”
I felt a grin tug at the corners of my lips for the first time all day. “Thank you.”
I smiled up at my cousin and pried myself from his grip.
“I really should be getting back,” I said sadly. “I guess we’ll be approaching King’s Cross soon.”
“Last I heard we were about a half hour away,” he replied.
“Oh, all right,” I said, my heart rate picking up again. A half an hour? Dear Merlin, I wished I could turn the train around and go back to Hogwarts. Damn Scorpius. Damn me for making this deal with him. Damn my mum for liking him. “I’ll see you around I guess.”
“You bet, Rosie,” he answered, kissing my cheek and waving as he turned around to rejoin his friends.
I turned back too. Going to the loos now would be pointless. I’d just have to wait for whatever couple was in there to finish up, and by that time I would have had too much time to think on my own. I wandered back down to our compartment, feeling a little bit better despite the fact that my nerves were completely shot.
I gently slid open the door, not surprised when all of my friends eyed me with similarly worried expressions.
“Are you okay?” Ashley asked, voicing the question I knew everyone was thinking.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I sighed, stepping back up onto the seat and around Tony so that I was sitting next to Scorpius. “There was a long line at the loo.”
“Are you sure you’re all right?” Scorpius whispered to me as the others went back to their game of Exploding Snap.
“I’m fine,” I snapped. He looked taken aback, but just hugged me to him. I hated the fact that I had probably hurt his feelings, but if there was anyone that would understand, it would be him.
“So Tony’s just invited us all to his house for a New Years Eve party,” Scorpius informed me, picking up his hand of cards and rejoining the game while I grabbed my old hand again.
“That’s nice,” I said, smiling at the boy on the opposite side of me.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Tony grinned. “My parents are going to Jamaica for the holidays, so I’ll have this giant house to myself. I figured it would be a waste of my resources if I didn’t throw one. That and I want to spite my parents for going without me.”
I laughed at the pouting expression on Tony’s face and played another card. The rest of the trip passed fairly quickly as we played our game and talked about the party, which would be held from seven in the evening until three in the morning the next day. I was just really starting to enjoy myself when I heard the wheels on the train start to scream as the train slowed down and we pulled into King’s Cross station.
I tugged my trunk down off the train, trying to ignore Scorpius’s laughing from still on board the train. It wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t that strong. Okay, it probably was, but that didn’t matter.
“Stop laughing,” I demanded, dropping the end of it and going round to push it from the back. My heart was beating so fast it was a miracle I didn’t drop dead from a heart attack. I could feel two sets of eyes on my back as I struggled, which probably wasn’t helping me any.
“I’m sorry,” Scorpius replied, putting down his own trunk and helping me to push mine out onto the concrete. Then he picked his up again and carried it down.
“Show off,” I muttered and he chuckled again.
I waved my wand and our trunks levitated in the air behind us.
“Are you ready to do this?” he asked, turning to me with an apprehensive look in his eyes. Finally he was realizing just how bad this situation could be.
“Don’t worry,” he murmured, tugging at a strand of my hair and planting a light kiss on my lips. “I’ll be on my best behavior.”
“It’s not your behavior I’m worried about,” I muttered, rolling my eyes a bit.
“Give your dad a chance,” he said, letting his hand fall down so that it was resting against my hip. “He might just surprise you.”
“Fat chance,” I growled. “They’re staring at us.”
“Shall we, then?” he asked cheerfully, steering me around so that we were facing my parents. They were standing side by side next to each other, and I had never seen them looking more different than today. My mother was dressed in a long black dress, her normally bushy hair done up in a nice half-ponytail bun thing and she wore a long purple robe over it. She looked slender and young and very pretty actually. My father on the other hand was dressed in a pair of jeans and a maroon Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes sweatshirt. What surprised me the most though, was that he had gained a lot of weight, probably close to thirty-five pounds. His stomach, which had been growing outward during the past few years, was so large that he looked like he may have been pregnant and his face was round and unshaven.
“Do we have any other choice?” I asked. He didn’t answer, but just twined his fingers through mine. I saw my father’s eyes narrow as he looked at our hands and then he looked up at my face and scowled. I gulped down the bile that was rising in my throat and Scorpius gave my hand a comforting squeeze. Then he started forward and I felt my feet start to move of their own accord. I could feel my hands shaking again and he just squeezed my hand harder. My heart was going into overdrive.
I couldn’t believe how long the walk from the train to my parents seemed. The few seconds seemed like hours as I watched my father’s face – so angry and so devoid of emotion at the same time. Finally Scorpius came to a stop in front of them.
“Hi, Mum, Dad,” I said, trying to sound enthusiastic, but failing miserably.
“Hi honey,” Mum said, enveloping me in her arms and planting a kiss on my forehead. She smelled just as good as she looked. She was probably wearing new perfume. “It’s so nice to see you again. And Scorpius! It’s great to see you again as well.”
I watched as she smiled at Scorpius and gave him a friendly hug. Scorpius smiled down at her and returned the gesture.
“Again?” my father asked angrily, turning his glare on my mother. “What do you mean again?”
“I met Scorpius last week when I met the kids for lunch,” my mother informed him, returning his glare.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t think it was any of your business,” my mother replied coldly. The tone of her voice startled me. I had never heard her talk that way to anyone except for the one time I accompanied her to court and she was interrogating a witness. “Aren’t you going to say hello to your daughter?”
“Hello,” my father grumbled, turning back to me.
“Hi Dad,” I said weakly. “Uh, there’s someone I would like you to meet.”
He didn’t say anything but just stared down at me the expression on his face saying something like ‘Why are you talking?’
“Uh, this is my boyfriend, Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpius, this is my father.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Weasley,” Scorpius drawled politely, extending his hand to shake my father’s.
My father just stared down at Scorpius’s hand.
“Where is Hugo?” my father asked, completely ignoring Scorpius and turning to my mother.
“He’ll be here,” my mother said angrily. I saw her staring apologetically at me, but I just shook my head sadly. That was probably the best I could have asked for. At least he hadn’t shouted at us to go away. I turned to Scorpius, who was looking down at me, somewhat confused, a bit angry, and the rest was that unreadable emotion again.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered to him. He shook his head of shaggy head as if to say it was nothing and tightened his grip on my hand.
“Hey, Mum! Dad!” I heard Hugo cry and I turned to see my little brother fighting his way through the crowds of people to get to us.
“Hugo!” my father said happily, pulling my brother to him and clapping him on the shoulder. “How are you doing, son?”
“Fine, just fine,” my brother said, smiling at both of my parents. My mum reached out and ruffled his hair affectionately. “Did you guys have a good trip?”He asked Scorpius and me.
“Yes, it was just fine,” I replied, trying not to scowl at the way he was obviously the favored of the two of us, in my father’s eyes at least. “You?”
“It was great! Scorp, you should have seen it. Jack Nott’s brother, Alex, ate three real cockroaches he found under the seat!”
“Ah, funny kid, Alex,” Scorpius laughed. I watched as my father observed the budding friendship that was blooming between my boyfriend and brother. I could tell that he did not like it one bit.
“Well, we should probably go,” my mother said. “I have to get back to work, and I would like to help you lot get set up at home.”
“Sounds good,” I answered. “I’m starving.”
We walked through the crowds of people, generally attracting a lot of attention on the way out. People kept stopping us to congratulate my mum and I could hear people whispering about the fact that “Ron Weasley’s daughter was bringing home Draco Malfoy’s son”. Ooh, scandal! We finally made it to the car and I was grateful to see that that at least had not changed.
“Get in,” my father barked to me and I glared up at him, but did as I was told, not wanting to start a fight.
I let go of Scorpius’s hand and slid into the backseat. I waved at him to follow me, but my father held out his arm, stopping Scorpius.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, glaring at my father, who was glaring at Scorpius.
“Hugo, you sit in the middle,” he demanded. My brother glanced at my father curiously, but being the goody-little-two-shoes he was, he did as he was told.
“Now you go,” he said, dropping his arm and shoving Scorpius roughly forward. I saw Scorpius stumble forward a bit, but he caught himself against the door. I watched him slide in, bumping his head on the door frame because he was so tall. My father snorted in disdain and slammed the door when he was barely all the way in.
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered hoarsely, absolutely horrified and disgusted by my father’s behavior. I had expected him to be cold and whatnot, but Nana Weasley had taught him better manners than that.
“Don’t worry about it,” Scorpius replied, rubbing his head tenderly and reaching across Hugo to give my fingers a reassuring squeeze. “It’ll take more than a bit of rudeness to make me go away.”
“That’s good,” Hugo muttered under his breath.
I elbowed my brother hard in the side and he yelped and jumped away from me, knocking Scorpius’s head again against the doorframe.
“Ouch!” Scorpius hissed between his teeth. “Cut it out, you two.”
“Sorry,” my brother and I said in unison.
“All right,” my mother said from the front of the car where she sat next to my father. “Let’s get going then.”
My father turned the car on and it rumbled to life. He pulled quickly out of our parking spot and sped down the aisle of parked cars, coming to a violent stop at the end.
“Ronald,” my mother warned, glaring over at him and placing a hand over his. He shook her head off and took off more gently this time.
Soon we were out on the open road, heading back towards our house. The silence in the car was oppressive and extremely awkward. I saw my mother and Hugo open their mouths several times in an attempt at conversation, but they instantly closed it again. I spent the entire trip shaking and stealing glances at Scorpius, who would shoot me a little grin every now and then. I really didn’t understand why he was grinning so much. There really was nothing to smile about.
It took a lifetime for us to drive the forty miles to our house. Well, it really only took about an hour, but it was the longest hour of my life. I felt myself start a little when we pulled down the familiar wooded street that we called home. A moment later our big, white country house loomed into view and I started feeling a bit better. I was home. Despite the fact that I generally hated it there, I was looking forward to the time I would be spending on my own territory.
I watched Scorpius’s eyes widen as my father pulled into the driveway and then grow even wider when he activated the automatic garage switch and pulled into the garage.
The second he was parked all four doors of the car flew open and my mother, father, Scorpius and I clambered out. Hugo slid out behind me and I walked around the back of the car to the trunk. Scorpius came round as well and helped me lift my trunk out, and then got out his own. By the time we had dragged them to the door my father was already inside, had his shoes off, and was turning on the television.
“Wow,” Scorpius breathed as we walked from the small mud room and into the kitchen. I smiled at him and took his hand. I could understand why he seemed so surprised. Mum had demanded that we add some muggle items to the place, so among all of the old wooden cabinets we had a refrigerator, a microwave, and an electric tea kettle and toaster.
“My mum wants us to have a blended lifestyle,” I told him, pulling him through the kitchen and into the hallway that led to the staircase or the living room and dining room.
“I don’t even know the names of some of those things,” he said incredulously.
I chuckled. It was nice to be the one with the upper hand for once.
“Hey, move it or lose it,” Hugo growled, pushing past us and running up the stairs to his room. I aimed a kick at him but he was too fast and Scorpius chuckled this time.
“Well, go on you two,” my mother tutted from behind us. “Rose, why don’t you show Scorpius to his room?”
“Where is he staying?” I asked, turning round to see that my mother hadn’t even bothered to take off her heels or her robe. I guess she wasn’t going to stay then.
“In the basement,” my father growled, pushing past us all into the kitchen. He grabbed a can of beer from the refrigerator and popped it open, taking a large gulp and spilling some of it down his shirt. Wasn’t it a bit early for him to be drinking?
“Ronald,” my mother growled, her eyes narrowing at him. “You did make up the office for Scorpius, didn’t you?”
He just stared at her and took another gulp of his drink. Everything was silent, except for the drone of the telly in the background. My mother then turned on her heel and strode off down the hallway towards the stairs, her heels clacking like tiny daggers against the hard wooden floors.
“C’mon,” I said to Scorpius, not wanting to stay in the kitchen with my dad, alone.
“Wait a moment,” my father called. I stopped on the spot, my shoulder stiffening in apprehension.
“Yes?” I asked, staring down at the tiled floor of the kitchen.
“I just want to get a few things straight,” my father growled. I heard the sound of his can being placed on the wooden table that lay in the middle of the floor and then the thud of his steps as he approached us. I turned slowly around, dreading what I knew would come next.
“I didn’t expect the two of you to be here,” he said angrily. “You’re lucky your mother is on your side. Otherwise I imagine you would have spent the holidays back at school. But since you’re here, I guess I’m going to have to make some rules. The first – I don’t want the two of you to come within a foot of each other the entire time you’re here, got it? Second – I want you both in bed by ten o’clock. No excuses. Third – this is my house, make no mistake. What I say goes. Got it?”
I nodded solemnly and I saw Scorpius do the same out of the corner of my eye. I instantly let his hand go, and I suddenly felt very odd without it. It was like if I didn’t grab his hand and hold onto it he would be gone forever.
“Good,” my father growled, chuckling at what I presumed was the look of fear on my face. “Then go, get out of here.”
I didn’t waste any time in turning on my heel and marching down the hallway to the white carpeted staircase. I heard Scorpius following me. I waited for him and watched as he stopped in front of me. His long hair was hanging over one of his eyes and his shoulders were thrown back in proud defiance. Even still, I was kind of disappointed to see that there was no playful smile on his lips. Not that I thought there was something to smile about. It would have been comforting is all.
I saw my father lumber across the hall and into the living room. The sound of the television went up and I knew we were safe.
I threw myself into his arms and buried my face in his shoulder. His hands went to the small of my back and we stayed that way for a moment, neither of us saying anything. Then Scorpius kissed my temple and I eased myself away from him.
“I don’t know how you don’t punch him in the face,” Scorpius said seriously.
“Fear,” I replied easily, as if we were discussing the weather. “You get used to it after a while.”
He didn’t say anything but just kissed me lightly on the lips. “Let’s get out of here before he comes back and discovers we’ve already broken two of his rules.”
I giggled and took his hand, leading him up the stairs.
“This is Hugo’s room,” I said, pointing to the first door on the right. “The loo’s the door right next to that. My room this one on the left and my parents is the door at the very end. Your room is right here.”
I stopped at a white door that was about five feet from mine. It was open and from within I could see my mum quickly shoving papers into her desk and throwing empty coffee cups into the rubbish bin.
“Hi Mum,” I said, ushering Scorpius into the room.
“Hi Rosie,” she sighed, straightening up. “I’m sorry about the mess, Scorpius. I told Ron to clean this up a week ago. I guess he just doesn’t listen.”
“Its fine, Mrs. Weasley, really,” Scorpius replied, smiling at her.
“Oh, please, call me Hermione,” my mother said easily, smoothing out her dress. “Mrs. Weasley makes me feel old.”
“Thank you, Hermione,” Scorpius corrected. I smiled at the both of them.
“Well, I really should be getting off to work again. Merlin knows that someone’s going to have a crisis,” she said tiredly, wiping a hand over her made up face. “Rose, Scorpius will be sleeping on the pull out couch in here. There are fresh sheets in the linen closet. You wouldn’t mind making it up for him, would you?”
“Sure, not a problem,” I answered.
“Thank you, honey. I would do it myself, but ever since I became minister things are crazy. I love you. Have a good day. Don’t let your father or brother get to you.”
She gave me a swift peck on the cheek and patted Scorpius’s arm as she bustled out of the room. “I’ll be back late tonight. Maybe you could make chicken for dinner? There’s one in the refrigerator.”
“Sounds good, Mum,” I told her, ushering her towards the door. She really tried to do too much. “I’ll make dinner. I love you. See you tonight.”
I watched as she walked back down the hallway and then I heard her heels on the floor below. I sighed and shut the door to the office behind me. I sighed and turned to Scorpius, who was grinning down at me bemusedly.
“What?” I asked.
“You and your mum are a lot alike,” he replied, pulling me towards the couch. He sat down and pulled me into his lap. I snuggled up next to him and let my head rest against his shoulder.
“This isn’t so bad,” he said, letting his thumb trace tiny circles on a bit of my exposed collarbone. “Your dad is pretty messed up, and your mum is slightly neurotic, but I guess it could have gone a lot worse.”
“Welcome home, honey,” I said sarcastically, and he chuckled. He had no idea what he was getting himself into.
A/N: Whew! The first chapter of Christmas. And yay, I'm super excited that I found the time to update. I stayed up practically all night last night trying to finish this, and just finished the last scene about an hour ago. I really hope you guys like this one.
As I said last time, I have finals all next week, so the next update probably won't be until next weekend at the earliest. But hey, that's only about a week, which is still pretty fast.
Anyway, I really really hope you all liked this chapter! Please review and tell me what you thought! Thanks for reading! :)