I woke up the next morning and rolled over, trying to pinpoint the emotion that stole over me. It wasn't happiness, since I knew that I was going to miss this. It wasn't sadness, either, since I had known all along that this would end. I decided it was peace, most likely because this was the first morning that I hadn't been wrenched from a peaceful sleep by screams, the slamming of doors, or a five-year-old jumping on my bed.
My version of peace, anyhow.
After a few more moments of sifting through my jumbled emotions, I got up and made my way to the kitchen.
There was already someone sitting at the table. His hair was just as golden as it had been yesterday, but her was now much taller and broader than me. His choice of cereal made me smile: Frosted Cheerios, the only thing he would eat before noon.
I got my coffee slowly, willing myself not to turn around and stare. Then I sat across from him.
"Good morning," I said.
"Morning," he responded, picking up his cereal bowl and drinking down the last dregs of milk. I laughed at the familiar quirk and he smiled as he wiped his mouth with his sleeve.
"So," I said, taking a sip of my coffee and looking him over. He had the same eyes, a starling shade of blue, and the freckles around his nose were exactly the same. He watched me watch him with that same friendly but unaffected curiosity that had been so disconcerting coming from a child.
He smiled and grabbed my hand from where it sat on the table. He uncurled my fingers one by one and then placed a kiss on my palm.
"Mum used to do that for me," he said sheepishly, "Whenever she had to go away. She said if you put your hand on your cheek, you'd be able to feel the kiss and know you're loved."
"I do," I said, pressing my hand against my cheek. The place where his lips had touched it was warm, and I felt the warmth course through my cheek and through my veins. Uncle Harry had often told us of the magical powers of love. Until now, I hadn't understood him.
"Mornin'," Scorpius said, stomping into the kitchen, fixing a bowl of cereal with far too much clattering of spoons than was entirely necessary, and thunking himself down into a chair. He had gotten three-quarters of the way through his breakfast before he felt our eyes on him.
"Sorry, did I interrupt something?" he asked, looking between the two of us.
"Yes," I said with a smirk, "We've elected you to do the dishes."
Despite change, life must go on. And when your elder cousin is James Potter, life includes Quidditch practice.
The day after Christmas.
In the freezing rain.
Which was why, walking through the corridors back towards the apartment to pack, I was contemplating the ways that I was going to make the remainder of his vacation the worst of his life. Switching his Christmas candy with some cleverly transfigured puking pastilles would do for now, but I'd have to come up with something much better.
I was so absorbed in weighing the pros and cons of switching his hair gel with Vaseline (have you ever tried it? Not pretty.) and my wet shoes squelched so loudly against the tile floor that I didn't notice someone walk up behind me.
Until, of course, I had been knocked face-first to the ground.
I looked up and heaved an exasperated sigh to find Mel standing over me with a wand and a pleased smirk. The I realized two things:
One: I couldn't feel my wand, which most likely meant that I had left it in my room. For the daughter of the brightest witch of her age, I could be a real idiot sometimes. I blamed dad.
Two: It wouldn't have mattered if I had my wand on me, since I couldn't move anything below my neck.
"What do you want?" I asked, craning my neck up as high as possible to avoid drowning in the small lake that was pooling from my soaked robes.
"I want to see how much Scorpius likes you covered in tentacles," she said, twirling her wand lazily. I snorted and she raised her eyebrows, confident expression faltering a bit.
"Points for creativity," I said, "Really, bravo. If I could applaud you, I would."
She narrowed her eyes at me for a second, decided I was being sarcastic, and pointed her wand between my eyes with all the grace of a madwoman.
"This is for stealing my boyfriend, you dirty little--"
She stopped, her eyes widening in surprise as her wand flew out of her hand and her limbs snapped to attention. I heard footsteps behind her, and then an extremely familiar face appeared at her shoulder, whispering in her ear.
"My name is James Potter," he said, "Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, Head Boy," I'm not sure how that happened, either, "and the Hogwartian Howler's 'Most Fanciable' for one-hundred-thirty-seven straight issues, except for that one, darn that Zabini and his bat bogey hexes…anyhow," he said, bringing himself back around, "I know every guy you've ever been with, and I'm sure that will very little prodding I can get them to spill to me every single slutty detail," he said, "And who knows? Maybe they had charmed cameras or some sort of magical sound recorders laying around? With the guys you like, I wouldn't be surprised."
I raised my eyebrows, impressed both by his ability to BS threateningly and the horrified expression he managed to elicit from Mel. He winked at me and continued:
"And trust me, if I ever find out that you've messed with my cousin again," he said, tucking her hair behind her ear, "I'm prepared to make your life a living nightmare."
With a flick of his wand she was released. She grabbed her wand and bolted down the hallway. Finally, I was able to move.
"That little…" I started, rubbing my neck as James offered me his hand.
"What is it that dad's always telling us?" he asked, pulling me up, "Constant vigilance! …whatever that means. You've failed miserably. Dad will be disappointed."
"It's hard to be vigilant when you're quidditch robes are frozen to your bum," I snapped, surprising hi with a very wet hug, "But thank you."
"You're welcome," he said, patting me clumsily on the back, "But really, all I did was follow the river you left behind. I was planning on dousing you from behind."
And then the hug turned into a cousinly brawl down the corridor.
"Here's the last of it," Rose said, flicking her wand so that the clean laundry landed in a neat stack on my bed, "You really should have been packed by now, you know."
I grunted at the reminder that I only had ten more minutes to pack before we had to head to Hogsmeade to disapperate, and I had only started packing five minutes ago. I must have looked stressed or pitiful or some combination of the two, because with a sigh Rose started sorting clothes and putting them in my open suitcase.
"Hey, mu--I mean, Rose, have you seen my blue sweater?" Lorcan asked, sticking his disheveled head in the door, "Or my tennis shoes? Or my Christmas knickers?"
"You have Christmas knickers?" I asked, raising an eyebrow, "More importantly, why would Rose know where they are?"
Rose slapped me on the shoulder, closing my suitcase and turning to our ex-son, "Your sweater is drying. I didn't want to use magic because it smells fresher. Your shoes are shoved under the couch and your Christmas knickers are in the pile that I left for you this morning."
"You're amazing," he said with a nod, withdrawing his head.
"Christmas knickers?" I asked again, zipping my bag.
"He's your son," she said, pecking me on the cheek before going to finish her packing.
I made it to the den with just minutes to spare before Rose's mom's deadline. My parents were whispering about something conspiratorially, casting glances in my direction every so often.
"I don't like the look of that," I murmured, sitting my suitcase down by Rose's as she did a last minute check of her things.
She looked up at my parents and shrugged, "It could be anything. It doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with you."
I grunted. Usually when they whispered it had everything to do with me, and it usually wasn't anything good. I supposed that it wasn't the same for Rose, whose family was the size of a small country. The more people you have to worry about, I would imagine, the easier it is to fly under the radar.
"Is everyone ready?" Mrs. Weasley asked, chekcing her watch for the umpteenth time.
"Actually," my mom said, tucking her hair behind her ear in the way that she did when she was nervous, "If you don't mind, Draco and I have an announcement. Scorpius, love," She turned to me, an apologetic look on her face, "We're sorry we didn't talk to you first, but we didn't want to bother you while you were working on this project. And, things being as they are, I'm glad it went so well for you because…"
She paused, look up at dad, and said in a rush, "I'm pregnant."
There was a paused as this was taken in, and then Mrs. Weasley was hugging my mom, giving her congratulations. Mr. Weasley shook dad's hand. Rose grasped mine beside me.
"Are you okay with this?" she asked.
"Yea," I said, "Just…surprised."
She squeezed my hand lightly and gave me a small.
"We're due in June," mum said, her voice muffled by Mrs. Weasley's hair, "And Rose? We'd be delighted if you'd stay with us some over the summer. Heaven knows I'll need another girl in the house. And Scorpius could always use company."
"But not too much," Mr. Weasley said lightly.
"Of course," Rose said, never taking her eyes off me. They were so warm and her smile was so genuine that I couldn't help but be happy. I had always wanted a sibling, I just hadn't really expected one.
"You don't have to," I whispered, "I'm not sure what my mum's going to be like with that whole crazy-scary-pregnant-woman-hormonal-imbalance thing."
"But I want to," she said, "I want to be there for you. Consider it practice," she said with a wink, picking up her suitcase as the rest of the room filed out, "I want a house full."
I laughed and ran to catch up with her, grabbing her hand as we filed down the corridor. I was both excited and worried about what this summer would bring and how it would affect my relationship with Rose. But I still had an entire semester left for nothing but complete and utter happiness.
First off, I'd like to say how awfully sorry that I am that it took this long to update. I was sick in December, then my muse kind of dissappeared, and school got in the way, and so on. But the important thing is, I updated eventually. And I apologize for the quality of the chap. I wanted to get it up sooner rather than wait to edit it.
Secondly, I'd like to thank all of you so much for reading and reviewing. I could never have finished this without your support! It's been a great ride, hasn't it?
Thirdly, there will be a sequel. I do not know when and I'm not even sur eof the title. But watch out for updates on this story, in which I will post updates on the sequel. :)
I don't forsee it coming any time in the near future, though I do plan to finish/get started on some of my other fics.