Scorpius Malfoy had been going out with Rose Weasley for ten years now. It was a long time to be just “going out” and not something more serious and, well, legal. She was surprisingly skittish about commitment. He'd thought about proposing to her a few times, but had discarded the idea quickly. She would probably never agree to get married. They were only twenty-six, though. Maybe she would change her mind someday.
It clearly bothered her family that she was going out with him. Her father's face had turned a particularly ugly shade of brick-red when she'd informed him that they were moving in together. Scorpius wasn't overly concerned about that – he was a Malfoy, and pretty well accustomed to the occasional looks and whispers about Death Eaters.
It kind of hurt, though. He wanted her family to like him.
But he never mentioned it to Rose, because he knew she felt just as unwanted by his family. At least they wanted each other, he thought, and tried not to let it bother him.
But on Christmas, it got to him just a little bit more. Partly because the feeling of not being wanted was increased by the presence of hundreds of Weasleys (well, what certainly seemed like hundreds of Weasleys), and partly because the holiday made everything seem a little more poignant. Christmas always seemed to paint the world in stark relief, of where he was loved and wanted and where he wasn't. Sometime it felt like the only person who loved him was Rose. He knew his mother loved him, in her way, and his father probably did too, but he had never realized how open love could be until he'd met Rose.
He'd gone to see her on Christmas during sixth year, even though his father had given him the cold shoulder for weeks that first time. He'd never told Rose about that. She didn't get along with his father already, and she didn't have much filter on what came out of her mouth, so he didn't want her shouting at his father. It wouldn't change anything. That year at Christmas had been the first year he'd seen the Weasleys as one, their huge family full of life and noise and brilliant colour, so different from his own family. And he'd wanted to be a part of it.
He'd been back for a few more Weasley Christmases since then. And every year, the Weasley jumpers were handed round. Rose's grandmother made them herself, knitting one for every member of the family. Not for him, though.
He was not a Weasley, and he never would be. His surname would always keep him apart from Rose's family, because of the looks and the whispers.
He knew who his father was, who Draco Malfoy had been. He knew his grandfather's past, too, and it was even uglier than his father's. Scorpius disliked being painted with the same brush as his father. He was not at all like his father. It was a huge source of disappointment to Draco Malfoy, actually.
That first year at a Weasley Christmas, when Rose and Scorpius had been only sixteen, he'd watched the Weasley jumpers passing him, accepted a box of mincemeat pies from Rose's Gran with a smile, and gone home to the cold and quiet of Malfoy Manor, missing Rose's chaos.
No one did chaos quite like Rose Weasley.
Last year, their ninth year together, when he was still only thinking of living together, Rose had dragged him to her uncle's house for another Weasley Christmas gathering.
“It'll be fun,” she'd said. “Uncle George's house is great, you'll love it.” And she'd given him that smile, the one he knew she thought made her look trustworthy. He loved that smile. It was unintentionally ridiculous and silly and mischievous all rolled into one, just like Rose.
They'd gotten to the party and she'd led him around the room hand in hand, chatting with various cousins and uncles and aunts (there were almost too many Weasleys to keep track of, and this was only her immediate relatives), and then they'd bumped into the Lupins, and Rose had run off with her cousin Victoire, leaving Scorpius to fend for himself.
He knew the Weasleys after so many years dating Rose, and knew he could join in a conversation anywhere without feeling more than a smidgen of unwelcome, but he'd made his way straight for the person he knew would always talk to him without reservation: Rose's brother Hugo. He felt safest with Hugo, if Rose wasn't by his side. There was security in Hugo's unrestrained acceptance of him, of his relationship with Rose.
Hugo was standing near their aunt Fleur, who was almost unearthly beautiful even though she had to be in her mid-50s, and they both smiled at Scorpius as he approached them. Fleur's smile was not so welcoming as Hugo's, and her gaze was cool as she watched him, but Scorpius didn't feel disapproval from her as he did from most of Rose's other relatives. There was an odd air about her as she watched him, almost as if she understood. He didn't see how she could; Fleur had fought in the war alongside Rose's parents and the rest of her family, fought against his father and grandparents. She might have married into the Weasleys instead of being born one, but she was a Weasley now just the same. How could she know how it felt to stand to one side, judged by the actions of one's family?
They chatted a bit. Hugo was in fine form, joking about his work as a trainee Healer at St. Mungo's Hospital, and Fleur smiled a bit at him in that oddly stunning way she had, but then Rose's grandfather called everyone over so the Weasley jumpers could be handed out. There were so many of them now, it was a huge box at Mr. Weasley's feet. He was smiling as he passed out jumpers to grandchildren and children.
Hugo darted off to get his jumper, but Fleur stayed next to Scorpius. She looked up at him from under her lashes as he watched a grinning Rose pulling on a particularly hideous pink jumper with a large, dark pink R on it. It clashed horribly with her red curls, but she did love her pink.
Scorpius smiled at her in her ugly jumper as she hugged her grandparents. She was always so pleased with the jumpers. Last year, she'd gotten one with a unicorn worked into the front in violet and had worn it constantly the rest of the winter.
He'd never gotten a Weasley jumper.
Fleur was still watching him, and he glanced down at her, catching her gaze. She didn't smile at him, but she said, “They did not want me, either, you know.”
“What?” Scorpius said, utterly floored.
“When I was first engaged to Bill, I spent Christmas with the Weasleys,” Fleur said. “His mother, she did not like me. She did not want him to marry me. And she did not give me one of the ugly jumpers.”
Scorpius stared at her, feeling completely lost for words. Fleur Weasley was very different from the other Weasleys, it was true, even from the other Weasley wives, but he could not picture her unwanted and left out of their Christmas. In the years he'd been dating Rose, he'd gone to many Weasley gatherings, and Fleur had always seemed very much a part of the family, always wearing a jumper of her own for the holidays. Hell, she was Victoire's mother. You didn't get much more Weasley than Victoire, he thought, glancing over at Rose's favourite cousin. Victoire was hugging her grandmother, whom she closely resembled. She was a Lupin now, but you only had to look at her to see she was a Weasley.
“I did not want it, of course,” Fleur went on. “They are very ugly, and I would not have worn it. But I did want to be given one. Do you understand?”
He nodded. He understood exactly. It was the acceptance that the jumper represented more than the actual jumper.
“The next Christmas, Bill and I had married. We spent the holiday alone in our own home, with only ourselves and Rose's father, and when I opened my gift from Bill's mother, I was glad to be alone. She had sent me an ugly jumper. I cried over it,” Fleur added matter-of-factly. “And now she gives me one every year, because I am a Weasley too.”
“Fleur,” called Rose's uncle Bill from across the room, waving to his wife.
She smiled at her husband, and then reached over to give Scorpius's arm a squeeze. “They will want you too someday, Scorpius. Because Rose loves you.” And with that she went to her husband, smiling up at his scarred face.
Scorpius watched Fleur collect her own Weasley jumper, and a kiss on the cheek from her mother-in-law, and thought about her words.
Because Rose loved him, he let go the tiny shred of resentment that he had not received a jumper. And because he loved her too, he smiled when she came over to show off her pink jumper, and wished her grandparents a happy Christmas while they smiled at him, even when he could see in their eyes that look he was so familiar with.
He and Rose went home, and he never told her what her aunt had said.
In the spring, he asked Rose to move in with him, and wonder of wonders, his commitment-phobic girlfriend agreed. They got a flat in London, close enough to both Hyde Park, where he loved to paint, and to Knockturn Alley, where Rose's office was. None of their parents were happy about this development, but Rose didn't care, so he tried not to either.
This Christmas, their first in their own flat, she offered to stay home and just spend it together. But Scorpius thought staying home together would be too quiet, too alone. Too much like a Malfoy Christmas. He'd grown too accustomed to Weasley Christmases to give them up now.
“Don't be ridiculous,” he responded. “Let's go to the Burrow.”
The blanket of snow coating Ottery St. Catchpole left the world looking bright and magical in the rising sun. Scorpius looked up at her grandparents' home, so different from his own family seat, and wondered what it must have been like to grow up here. To be a Weasley, instead of a Malfoy. His father had grown up wealthy and overindulged, and it had left him cold and brittle. Rose's father had grown up in this run-down house filled with warmth and love and discipline. And look at what he had become, and what he had produced. Scorpius glanced at Rose as they went inside. She was the brightest spot in his life, the sun and moon and stars for him. He thought he could take any amount of grumbling from her father, so long as he had Rose.
Rose was in her element, waving to cousins and chasing Victoire's children, and Scorpius hung back to chat with her cousin Albus over a cup of eggnog. Much like Hugo, Albus never gave him the look. He was very even-tempered, as Weasleys went. Albus was already wearing his Weasley jumper. Scorpius looked around and realized that once again, he was the only one without a jumper. Even Victoire's youngest, Johnny, had on a miniature one, with a tiny and rather cuddly-looking dragon worked on the front.
Albus was watching Johnny as he chased the cat around, yelling in an extremely piercing voice. “That kid is unbelievable,” he said eventually, after Johnny and the cat had managed to put a large rent in the sitting room drapes.
Rose's grandmother scooped the little boy up with the fatuous smile she reserved for her two great-grandchildren, and Rose came over to stand next to Scorpius, wrapping her arm around his waist.
“If I'd done that when I was a kid, Gran would have killed me,” she said, shaking her head.
Albus nodded. “I know. Johnny gets away with murder.”
“Oooh, eggnog.” Rose plucked the cup out of Scorpius's hand and took a sip. “I don't know how Victoire does it. I think I would have sold him to the circus by now.”
“Isn't he your godson?” Albus asked mildly.
“Oh right,” Rose said. “I forgot. Why the hell did I agree to that?”
Hugo was over at the tree, investigating the pile of presents still uncollected. He waved one in their direction. “Rose, come get your gift!”
Scorpius followed her over and watched her rip into the wrapping. He could already see it was another Weasley jumper, in a pale purple. Rose's Gran knew her well, he thought with a smile. If there was a baby hippogriff or unicorn on it, Rose would die of happiness.
“Here, Scorpius, this one's for you.” Hugo handed him a wrapped package.
As soon as his hand closed over it, he knew what it was. He could feel the smile fade from his face in shock.
Ten years they'd been together. He'd never gotten one before.
He tore the paper open slowly, almost afraid that he was wrong, but sure enough, there was a hand-knitted jumper. He set the wrappings aside and spread it out over his lap, running a hand over the soft blue wool in wonder. It was one hundred percent Weasley jumper, right down to the S worked on the front in green. A Weasley jumper for a Malfoy.
“Aw, now you have to wear one too, just like the rest of us,” Hugo said jovially, giving him a light punch in the arm.
Rose was smiling at him, clutching her own jumper to her chest as she sat cross-legged on the tattered old carpet. “Go on, try it on.”
Scorpius stood and pulled the jumper on over his head. It was pretty cozy, actually, although it wasn't the most stylish thing in the world. He glanced down at Hugo's wicked grin and suddenly knew he was going to be teased by all her cousins the rest of the day over the jumper, even though they were all wearing one as well.
“Ooh, if your father could see you in that,” Rose said with a laugh.
“Unlikely to please him, I think,” Scorpius said lightly, but he grinned down at her. “I'll just wear it round our flat.”
He hadn't even realized anyone else was watching him, but when he looked up, he saw Rose's grandmother across the room, standing in the kitchen doorway with Johnny Lupin in her arms. She winked at him.
Scorpius smiled at her, and winked back.
A/N: This story uses the Next Gen characters as I write them for the Midnight Run series. And yes, I've used the British word "jumper" (sweater to us Americans). Thanks xLauriePotter for the challenge! I had fun writing it. I hadn't done a challenge in ages :) Maybe I should do more of them.
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