Rose Weasley was, before all else, sensible. If she had inherited her grandmother’s temper, her father’s obstinacy and her mother’s brain, she still quite definitely had a mind of her own. And it was telling her to say no.
“No.” Rose told him, watching as his face fall slightly, and a flicker of grey paled his previously sea green eyes.
“It’ll irritate Al,” Teddy wheedled, looking at her beseechingly.
She grinned reluctantly but held firm despite the dimpled grin she received in return.
“I can irritate Albus all on my own,” she told him primly. “I am not doing it. I am not thinking about it. I am not thinking about thinking about it. It is by far the worst idea you have ever had, and that includes the time you jumped off the top of Big Ben because you thought you could fly.”
“No one ever lets that go, do they?,” he asked bitterly, scrubbing his hand through his hair, golden brown today.
She threw him a disbelieving look, but before she could bring up the damning details, he had continued inexorably forwards on his glorious quest.
“You have to come,” he insisted.
“I’m not doing it, Lupin!”
“But it’ll be fun!” he pleaded.
“That’s what you said last time,” Victoire complained from the kitchen.
“But it was!” he groused back, lifting his voice slightly. Rose sighed inwardly. It was highly impractical to argue from different rooms, even if the walls of Dom’s flat were thin enough for it to be possible.
“Teddy, do you even remember what happened last time?” asked Victoire skeptically, emerging from the kitchen immaculate except for a tiny flour mark caressing one smooth ivory cheek. Rose still half expected choirs of angels to start strumming their harps whenever Victoire floated into a room, but the almost involuntary sighs from the male half of the species were a decent substitute.
“Not all of it,” admitted Teddy grudgingly, glowering at the small, doll like woman. Victoire arched one delicate eyebrow.
“I had too much to drink. You, on the other hand had… Sophia Nott,” drawled Victoire, blue eyes sparkling wickedly.
Ted advanced on her threateningly, six feet three inches of pure menace and she shrieked and stepped backwards, straight into the arms of a tall, dark skinned man.
“Fighting again, children?” he chided gently. Victoire laughed and twisted in his embrace to greet him properly.
“Ewwww!” screamed Louis, shielding his eyes as he Floo’d in through the fireplace to be greeted with this spectacle. Alex Zabini merely grinned and held Victoire more closely.
"Lou, you’re nearly twenty. Grow up,” Rose told him crisply. He shot her a wounded look. Louis was currently going through a phase of extreme sensitivity to art, nature and slights to his person. His naturally blond hair, coveted by the generally carrot haired Weaselys was dyed jet black today and hanging to his shoulders in artful dishevelment complemented further by ripped clothing Rose suspected cost more than her rent. He opened his rosebud mouth around his crystal piercings to retort cuttingly when he was pushed forwards as Molly staggered out of the fireplace.
Molly's near fall was not due to her six inch heels, necessities of life to make her almost normal height, but because of the pile of presents she was clutching in her perfectly manicured hands. She had no sooner melodramatically collapsed on a nearby divan before the fireplace blazed green again and her younger sister Lucy, overdressed as usual in black silk and pearls, stepped daintily through. It was not yet seven in the evening, and the flat was already crowded, with many more to come. Rose was increasingly glad she had put her foot down and made this family only.
Dom’s four room flat was a screaming statement in colour, with indigo carpets, coral wall hangings and landscape details on the doors. Her mantelpiece was crammed with photo frames of waving friends and self portraits which kissed their hands to the onlookers or hid behind them, depending on when Dom had painted them. Her bookcases, unlike Rose’s, contained no books, but were graced with Japanese figurines and the ancient Egyptian sculptures gifted to Bill in his curse breaker days.
Lucy looped a handful of streamers around the sculptures while Molly began fixing gold balloons onto the sixteenth century chandelier Tante Gabrielle had donated. Rose’s fingers itched to straighten the messy arrangement, but before she could make a move, James and Fred burst through the door. Their crisp business robes – well, Fred still appeared neatly attired, James was missing a tie, in need of a haircut and perhaps an ironing spell – were a stark contrast to their bulging bags blazoned with ‘WWW’.
Lucy stopped dead in her tracks and Molly sighed appreciatively and propped herself upright in a cushion to better watch the show.
“Fireworks?,” Lucy asked, deceptively calm as she relieved Fred of his burden. James was shifting on one foot as if he was thirteen instead of twenty three, and facing a manticore instead of his little cousin Lucy. However, since she was far more like Molly Weasley I than the sister named for her, neither young man was quite foolish enough to reply, although this did not prevent Lucy from ripping through octaves.
“Seriously? In a flat this size? What were you thinking? Are you even capable of thinking? Sometimes I wonder about you two…”
Rose winced at the volumes she was reaching and began to inch towards the kitchen. Hugo and Roxy were due to arrive any minute with the real food; her brother was a surprisingly good cook, especially considering their parents, to the point where he almost rivaled Roxy, a trainee chef. Teddy caught her elbow as she passed, abandoning his impassioned defense of his ‘boys’.
“You know nothing happened between me and Soph, right?” he asked, looking down intently at her.
“What you do is your concern, Theodore,” she said as calmly as she could. Brushing past him she did not see the line his mouth fell into, or the squaring of his shoulders as he watched her lithe form weave through the crowded living room.
Stepping into the butter yellow kitchen, Rose shook her head fondly as she caught Victoire kissing Alex again.
“Not near the food!,” she begged, but she was smiling. Tall Alex, with his raven hair and rich brown skin was the polar opposite of tiny Victoire, who was so pale and fair haired she appeared glowing beside him. They looked absolutely stunning together on the society pages of every fashion magazine of note, but Rose was genuinely pleased Victoire had finally find a boyfriend, or fiancée, now, that she didn’t tire of in a week. Models, musicians, Quidditch stars and poets had all failed to do what Junior Mugwump Alexander Zabini apparently had: live up to the standard of Victoire’s first love.
“Let me see the cake,” Rose demanded, casting a wary eye around the kitchen, which was liberally sprinkled with flour. A half broken egg was oozing on the kitchen table, the sink was piled with mixing bowls. As Victoire beamed and bustled off to extract it from the tiny pantry Rose saw it was empty except for a few tins of Lady Grey tea and a collection of paintbrushes. The cake turned out to be one of the most dilapidated culinary confections Rose had ever seen, and she had grown up in Hermione Weasley’s care. It was three collapsing layers of jam and cream, with ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOM’ written in Bertie Botts beans across the sagging middle. Alex and Rose exchanged quick looks of dismay.
“She’ll love it,” Alex said firmly, giving Rose a warning glance. Rose opened her mouth, for once not knowing what to say and was saved only by the entrance of more family.
“We’re here!” sang Roxy in her light soprano, ushering in Hugo, who weighed down with large white boxes. More floated in behind them, levitated by Lily, who was wearing sunglasses in the evening, because as talented an Arithmancer as she was, she still struggled with basic Anti-Hangover Charms. Rose frowned as Lily removed the glasses and rested her head against the doorframe.
“What are you doing here?” Rose asked sharply. Lily jerked upright and winced, but looked at Rose if she had slapped her in the face. (Something Rose had wanted to do on numerous occasions.)
“Dominique is just as much my cousin as she is yours -” began Lily shrilly.
“Yes, but weren’t you the one distracting her?” asked Victoire, at last looking away from Alex.
“No, that was Lucy!” replied Lily, glaring at Rose.
“LULU get in here NOW!”
“You rang, sweety?”
“Why aren’t you with Dom?”
“Darlings, why would I be with Dominique? I believe dear Fred was taking care of it.”
“It wasn’t me, it was James!”
“Nah mate, I thought Roxy was keeping her busy since they’re best friends at all.”
“James, I have spent the entire day cooking Dom’s favourite foods, don’t you think that, along with the cake saying ‘WE LOVE YOU DOM’ would be a bit of a giveaway?”
“Wait, you made a cake? Why would you do that, I was making the cake!”
“Weasleys! Potters! Silence in the courtroom!” shouted Teddy.
Rose took advantage of the silence to say what was on everyone’s minds.
“So, no one is with Dom, and she could walk in any minute?” she clarified.
“Maybe Al’s on it?” suggested James sheepishly.
“Maybe Al’s on what?” asked the man himself, walking through the open door, still in his lime green Healer robes but with a crate of Butterbeer under one arm and a bottle of Firewhisky in his other hand.
“Close the door!” shouted the collective Weasely’s, Potters and Lupin in unison. Albus blinked and complied, taking in his extended family with his sharp green gaze.
Rose alone had a near photographic memory, so she was the only one among her generation of Weasleys and Potters to appreciate properly just how identical to his father, if one judged from history textbooks and family photographs, Albus was. James I had not lived to reach twenty two, but his portrait was uncannily similar, and Rose was absently wondering, not for the first time if Al’s future sons would continue the spatial genetic multiplicity trend, when Albus himself snapped his fingers in front of her face.
“Who’s with Dom?” he asked worriedly.
They all groaned together, and then Roxanne began to laugh, followed by Molly, and sparking a chain reaction from the cousins, all perched on antique chairs, squatting on the tie-dyed rugs or standing around the sculptures which Dom left around her living room.
Victoire however, wasn’t laughing. Alex rubbed her back soothingly, but for once this did not smooth the creases from her forehead.
“What are we going to do?” she asked anxiously.
“Ssssh!” hissed James, who had flattened himself against the closed door, inserting one Enhanced Extendable Ear into the key hole.
“D’you reckon that’s what he uses at work to get promoted?” Hugo asked Louis, snickering.
"Typically low trick, perfect for reporters," agreed Albus.
James glared at them, and was about to speak when a key pushed his Extendable Ear out. He jumped back, and in under a second Rose had hit the lights and Teddy had cast an Audiunt Negataviunt Charm on them. Unfortunately, that meant that as well as being inaudible, they couldn’t hear out of the sound barrier the charm created, and they waited for what seemed an age as Dom fumbled with her key.
“What is she doing?” asked Louis in exasperation.
“How bloody long does it take to open a door? Women!” agreed Fred.
“Maybe it’s stuck?” ventured Molly.
“No, I got through fine earlier,” James said.
They waited, fidgeting, pacing and in Hugo and James’s case, tussling, until the door finally swung open.
“Surprise!” they yelled together, turning on the lights and freezing Dom on the spot.
There was stunned silence for one eternal moment before the smiles slipped and all hell broke loose.
“Dominique Gabrielle Weasley!”
“Sweet Merlin on a cracker.”
“Grandfather is going to kill you.”
“Take your hands off my sister!” screamed Louis, drowning the rest of the babble out.
Dom dropped her arms from Scorpius Malfoy’s neck and took a step away from him. Her mouth was moving silently, and Rose felt more sympathy for her svelte, talented, vivacious cousin than she had in years. Dom had always been the one to breeze effortlessly through all the things Rose had to slave away at – love, relationships, life, but this could not be comfortable for her. However, after a good thirty seconds, it was unlike Dom to be still off balance… it wasn’t as if she’d never been caught kissing a boy before; even they usually weren’t sworn family enemies a good three years younger than her… Rose cottoned on to the problem half a second before Teddy did.
“The Charm!” she shouted, leaning forward to smack the back of his head.
“It’s down,” he said drily, putting away his wand. “Happy Birthday, Dom.”
Dom shook her long red gold curls free of the clip containing them, kicked off her stilettos and took Scorpius’s hand in hers. He squeezed her fingers, pushing back his own white-blond fringe with his free hand to reveal a look of determination on his sharp featured face Rose had never seen before in all the years she had known him.
“So this would be a good time to tell you that we’ve been going out for two years now,” Dom said coolly, sparing a half guilty, half defiant look for Rose.
I (tried to) write fluff! be proud! This is far outside my comfort zone, and I'm really not sure about it, so please let me know if it didn't turn your blood to syrup :). I promise it gets less cliche, just couldn't resist this ending!
Special thanks must go to everyone at TGS for inspiring me to experiment a bit, but ESPECIALLY to the amazing katrinaa and Melissa (witnesstoitall) for all their help on this one, as well as a dedication to the lovely Jane (Eridanus) for introducing me to this ship.
Disclaimers : all the Rowling Jo's, and 'spatial genetic multiplicity' belongs to Dr Who