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Chapter 16 : A Weasley XMas
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At first, I tried to ignore what I’d overheard about my mum and Scorpius' dad. I was very good at avoiding things and this was just another conflict I couldn't deal with. So, as the days past and Christmas loomed ever closer, I took the time to focus on how I was going to get James to own up to his shenanigans. He was up to something and I was going to find out what.
Weasley Christmas' were always a memorable event. Last year, Uncle Charlie had given Uncle George a large purple ear and he proudly wore for the rest of the day. Normally, this would not have been a problem but, as it turns out, Herculese (Dom's new owl) doesn't like the color purple. He attacked Uncle George's head and absconded with the new ear...but not before getting a good peck at my uncle's eye. After that, Uncle George had to wear an eye patch for months- though I think he rather enjoyed that bit. He insisted on talking like a pirate for quite a while...that is, until Aunt Angelina threatened to leave him if he didn't stop.
I'm still a little unsure if I should even call her Aunt Angelina…since she and Uncle George never got married. We don't talk about that though, 'cause Nana Molly gets really quiet when we do and that's scarier than when she shouts. Much scarier...
Hmm, maybe Aunt Angelina would know about my mum and Draco Malfoy? If anyone would tell me the truth about it, it'd be her. Uncle Percy and Aunt Audrey were never in the loop so they were probably privy to very few details, if anything at all. Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur would tell me to ask mum and dad- they were far too proper to gossip. Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny would only lie to protect my parents, I knew that much. And, though Uncle Charlie was a good choice, he was spending Christmas in Romania this year. That left Uncle George and Aunt Angelina. Of the two, I knew she was more likely to tell me the truth-- Uncle George had a tendency to exaggerate.
Okay- two missions this Christmas: 1- find out what in bloody hell James is up to; and 2 - get Aunt Angelina to tell me about my mum's affair with Mr. Malfoy. It was definitely going to be an interesting holiday. Especially when the only gift I’d gotten so far was a set of Keeper gloves for my dad. Never mind the fact that I'd originally bought them for Miles.
I was a horrible slacker when it came to shopping for other people but, I couldn't help it. I wanted to give them nice things, truly I did...I just didn't want to to go out and get them. Shopping for other people was nowhere near as fun as shopping for me. As it was, I figured a trip to Diagon Alley was in order but, the idea of winding through crowded streets filled with last minute shoppers was not at all appealing. So I decided to check out the little thrift store a few blocks from my house. It was guaranteed to be practically empty and, who knew? I might find some really great stuff.
Hugo offered to come with me and, since we’d agreed that we weren't exchanging prezzies this year, I figured it was safe to bring him along. The wind bit at my face as we trudged towards the little store, my cheeks and nose burning from the winter’s bitter chill. It wasn't anything worse than I'd experienced on the Quidditch pitch but I still pulled my scarf over my face to deflect the wind.
Second Hand Sam's was a musty old joint located in the basement of a nearby Laundromat. Hugo and I rushed down the narrow staircase to get out of the icy weather and, shrugging out of our coats, had a long look around. Just as I expected, there was no one there except a lone sales clerk and an elderly woman sorting through a box of old hats.
Because our family was so large, we’d decided long ago that it was ridiculous to buy presents for everyone. We all agreed to buy for our immediate families and to draw three names from a hat for extended members. This year mum owled me and told me I'd gotten Uncle Percy, Louis and Victoire. Including those three, I still had mum and Ade to buy for. Since I already had dad's gift, I needn't worry about him and I never exchanged presents with Six- she understood what it was like to have an overly large family to buy for.
I began to rummage through a stack of old records, thinking mum might like something from her younger years. Most were artists from the 60's and 70's though, so I didn't end up buying anything. A rack of scarves stood nearby and I began to sort through them. The majority had loud, horrible patterns and two or three were stained with an unidentified residue. I did manage to find a nice red one at the back I thought Victoire might like.
One down, four to go.
After an hour of sorting through rubbish, I came out with what could be considered a nice haul. Uncle Percy was getting a book entitled Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig. I had no idea what it was about but the title intrigued me. I couldn't find anything else I thought he would like, anyway. Louis was simple- I found a barely used set of oil paints, sans the orange, but I figured he could make it with the red and yellow. He was the only truly artistic person in the family so I knew he would really enjoy them. I bought Ade some pretty, old fashioned hair clips that would look great in her long blonde hair.
That left mum. I spent the most time on her present because every time I tried to focus on what to get her, the idea of her and Mr. Malfoy together crept into my head. It made me feel as if I didn't really know her. How could I be expected to pick something out for someone I didn't know?
In the end, I settled on a pearl necklace that looked a lot like one she used to wear when I was younger. With all my shopping done, I looked around for Hugo to see how he'd fared. I found him over by the box of hats the woman had been looking through earlier. He had on a fedora with a blue feather and held a black Stetson in his hands. Hugo posed in a small, dingy mirror that hung against the back wall, a wide grin on his face. Removing the fedora, he replaced it with the Stetson and posed again.
"I don't know, Hugh...I'm not sure you can pull off 'cowboy'," I teased, giggling at him.
He stuck his tongue out at me and then pulled the front brim of the hat down with a crooked finger.
Flicking it back, he smirked. "I think you're wrong, Rose,” he argued. “I'd make an incredible cowboy." With that he tossed the fedora back in the box and sidled up to the sales clerk, pulling some money out to pay for the Stetson.
I suppose there’s no accounting for taste.
Bags in hand, we braved the cold weather once more. Now, all there was left to do was wrap these infernal presents and wait one more day to talk to Aunt Angelina. I could use the time to think about what I was going to do about James. Part of me wanted to let him have his fun but rational Rose knew that no good would come from letting James run amok. It would more than likely end up hurting both he and Ade.
Christmas came on quickly and I was eager to get to the Burrow to corner Auntie Ange. I stood impatiently by as dad piled all of our gifts into mum's magically expanding bag. She had cornered Hugo and was trying to adjust his collar, which he was having none of. I couldn't blame him- fussy mum was never any fun.
Finally, we were all ready to go. Of course, I had been ready since I woke up that morning and could hardly wait to get to the Burrow and grill James and Aunt Angelina.
Piling comfortably into the Insignia, we set off for Nana Molly and Granddad Weasley's. By the time we arrived, the Burrow was bustling with activity. Every Weasley in England was trying to get into the house all at once and I was amazed by how many of us there actually were. In fact, it was a bit scary. I spotted Uncle George and Auntie Ange straight away- my uncle had cousin Molly hitched up on his shoulder, to the consternation of Uncle Percy who was trying to keep his other daughter Lucy from running straight for his lanky brother. It was probably annoying to have your only children enjoy the company of your brother more than you. I couldn't blame them, of course- Uncle Percy was too boring for words.
Auntie Ange was pulling Roxy and Fred out of the car, her smile a bit wider than usual. Not that she didn't always smile but there was something toothier about her grin today. Maybe she was laughing at Uncle George's antics...or at Uncle Percy's sour face.
"Antie Ange!" I called out, making a beeline for her with a skip in my step. Christmas was definitely a wonderful time.
"Oomph!" Cold, wet snow slammed into the side of my face just as I neared Aunt Ange. I turned to see James and Al huddled behind one of the trees, giggling like the little girls they were. Lily was a few feet away, her hair drenched, and I could only imagine the snow bombs those two had tossed at her. Her scowl confirmed my suspicions and I bit back a laugh as she tried to gather some of her own snow. Of course, every time she leaned over to scoop it up, they lobbed another bomb at her.
Well, that just wouldn't do. Lobbing snowballs at girls wasn't very nice...even if it was Lily. Being an expert snowball maker, I packed a nice large clump in my gloved hands and piled up my own, private arsenal. With the aim of an expert Chaser, I hurled two snow balls towards my cousins, one right after the other. Each hit its intended mark, even when those idiots tried to duck behind the tree! Silly boys, didn't they realize who they were messing with?
"Truce! Truce!" Al shouted from behind the tree, his voice muffled (likely from a mouthful of snow. If I knew my snowballs, they did their job).
"I don't know," I shouted. "Can I trust you?"
"No, you can't!" James laughed as a snowball hit the other side of my face.
Stupid little wanker!
Naturally, that was the beginning of the end. Lucy and Molly took up arms, as did Fred, Hugo, Roxy, Dom, Louis, Vic, Teddy, and even Uncle Harry. Uncle George and dad eventually wandered out to join the fight and it was utter bedlam...and utterly fantastic. I even caught my mum charming a large snow ball and sending it straight for dad's head. I didn't realize she had it in her...
Nana Molly ended our fun with shrieks of us all "catching our deaths". She ushered everyone into the house where she dried us off one by one with her wand. We were unsuccessful in looking contrite, though we definitely tried.
"Rose dear, you're looking rather thin," Nana Molly fussed as she tugged me into the kitchen. "Sit down and have some stew."
This was normal for any Weasley but, this time, I felt a little embarrassed. I still hadn't managed to bounce back to my previous weight, though there wasn’t much more to go. It was all the damn Quidditch practices! They really put a damper on my ability to pack on the extra pounds. Ignoring my mother's concerned expression, I dug into my stew with gusto. Not a hard feat, considering how delicious it was.
Eventually, I was joined by the rest of the grandkids, Uncle George and my dad. We all sat in silence, focused on our plates of steaming stew. One by one, people finished off their bowls and left the table. The first to go were Lily and Louis, who were likely off to continue their annual tradition of exploding snap. Then Molly and Lucy snuck off- I didn't want to know what they were up to. Then Roxy, Dom, Dad, Uncle George and Hugo, who retired to the parlor to listen to the Cannons/United Quidditch match. This left me with Fred, Al and James- just the bloke I wanted to talk to.
"So James, been stalking any train compartments lately?" I asked in a mocking voice.
"As a matter of fact, I have," he replied in confidence, slurping up a large spoonful of stew.
I was so surprised by his honesty a chunk of potato fell into my lap instead of my mouth.
"You really should be more careful with your food there, Rosie," James added as Fred and Al began to chuckle.
"Funny." I wrinkled my nose in displeasure. "So...what were you doing outside of our compartment?"
"Is there an echo in here?" he drawled. "Yes, recon- as in reconnaissance- an exploration or scouting mission in order to gain needed information."
"I know what it means you plank!" I snapped. "And just what were you trying to learn? How Dom's man of the second was fairing? Or perhaps you were more concerned with how Ade's face looked smashed up against Jasper's?" I had expected some sort of reaction at the mention of Ade snogging another bloke but I was sorely disappointed.
James didn't bat an eye.
"More like making sure Jasper was doing his job," Al piped up between bites.
This did get a rise out of James. His face darkened and he sent a cold, hard stare at his younger, albeit oblivious, brother. Fred pursed his lips to keep from laughing.
"Doing what job?" I asked in a brittle voice.
Ignoring his brother, Al grinned. "James here traded his Snape Wizarding Card to Jasper for him to take out Ade a couple of weeks," he explained. "Not a bad deal, if you ask me. That card's worth at least a hundred gall- oomph!" Al buckled over in his seat as James' wand poked him in the stomach. The elder Potter wore a fierce expression and he growled lowly.
Shooting up out of my seat, I glared at my cousin. "You paid Jasper to go out with Adrianna?" I all but shrieked. "What is the matter with you?"
Fred bust out with a loud bray that reminded me of the donkey Hagrid had kept in his yard all last spring.
James sneered at his brother and Fred then turned to me with innocent eyes. "It's what she wanted, isn’t it?" He withdrew his wand from Al’s stomach and twirled it around his fingers.
"What makes you think Ade wanted you to pay some bloke to take her out?"
"Look, I heard that she didn't want to hang out ‘cuz I scare off the fella's, yeah?” He raised his brows. “So I let her date this one under controlled circumstance and she'll see I can be cool and we’ll start hanging out again." James' face was triumphant, as if his ridiculous plan didn't smell like shite.
"You are the most imbecilic bastard I have ever met, James Potter! You think she'll want to be your friend once she finds out you paid a guy to date her?” I could feel my face burning red hot in anger. “You think it'll make her happy that she can’t live her own life without you interfering? Are you really that stupid?"
"Well when you put it like that..." He started to look guilty.
As well he should, the wanker!
"She's gonna be crushed when I tell her!" I slumped back in my seat in exasperation.
"NO!" James shouted, "You can't!!"
I opened my mouth to respond but he continued before I could get a word in. "Look…okay, so it was a dumb idea but I was desperate! I mean, she’ll barely even look at me! I figured if I could get her to date one guy, she could see how cool I was with everything and we could go back to the way things were before..." His eyes widened and his expression was like a sad, puppy dog.
It made it really hard for me to maintain my ire.
"And why would you be okay with Jasper and no one else?” I demanded. “Why would you want her to date some guy who only did it to get paid?"
"Well, technically he didn't get paid just to date her. He also got paid to...y'know, not touch her. Jasper’s not the fastest broom in the shed and I figured eventually she’d get bored, dump him, and viola!! We’re friends again."
"This one’s a bit on the slow side as well," Fred chimed in between chuckles, his face nearly as red as his hair.
He shut up when I shot him the death stare, though I had to commend him. At least one of the Griffyndor boys wasn’t a total moron.
"You better call this whole thing off or, I swear, I’ll tell Ade everything,” I threatened. “And if that happens, you'll be lucky to have her even hex you in the halls."
"Okay, okay,” James relented. “I'll tell Jasper to let her down gently…but you gotta promise you won’t tell her, Rose."
I was a little hesitant to respond in his favor. What James had done was awful but, I would also hate for Ade to find out that Jasper was only dating her because James had paid him...and in wizard cards, no less. It would crush her.
I was too distracted by James’ idiocy to get into the festivities. So, when Uncle George passed around his new product - Maroon Mittens - I didn't think twice about placing one on my left hand. Of course, when I took off the blasted thing my hand was completely- you guessed it- maroon.
"Don't worry love, it'll fade in 1-2 weeks," Uncle George promised.
As if that could make me feel any better. Now I was going to Ade's New Year’s party with a maroon hand. Great...
Everyone in the room thought this was hilarious, so I decided to leave my moronic family and go hunt down Aunt Angelina. Perhaps she could give me some answers and make this day a little less horrific.
I found her with Victoire up in one of the bedrooms. The door was open, so I didn't feel like I was intruding. That is, until I saw Victoire’s red rimmed eyes and tear stained face.
"I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt," I stuttered as I backed out of the room.
Victoire looked up at me with snot running down her perfect face. It’s amazing how some people can still manage to look gorgeous even when they were a wreck.
"No, Rose, it's okay." She wiped the snot from her upper lip with a sleeve and stood up from her spot next to our aunt. "Thanks Ange, I really appreciate your help." She tossed a wan smile in my direction as she swept out of the room.
Aunt Angelina brushed off the front of her trousers as she rose from the bed. "Anytime Vic."
I stood there, looking back and forth between the open doorway and my Aunt, extremely curious about what had just gone on (I was sure it had something to do with our dear Teddy Lupin). Instead, I focused on what I’d come to talk to Ange about.
"Aunt Ange?" I asked before she was able to leave the room as well.
"Yes?" She quirked a brow in question.
"I was wondering if we could, y'know, talk about something," I fidgeted, moving over to Victoire's vacant seat on the bed.
Aunt Ange sat back down. "Sure, I seem to be all the rage tonight."
There was no bitterness in her tone and her smile assured me that she did not mind in the least. Even still, I tugged on the hem of my jumper, unsure of where to begin. It was a rather awkward question and I didn’t know if I even wanted to know the answer or not.
"Rose?" She rubbed my shoulder in a calming way. "What is it?"
"Well, you see…mum and dad got into a pretty big fight the other night..." I trailed off, not certain where I was going with this.
"No news there,” she replied. “Don't worry Rose, they've always been fighters- I assure you they love each other very much."
"No, no. I know…that's not it exactly."
"Oh? Okay, what is it?" She turned to face me, her eyes wrinkling at the corners in curiosity.
"Well, it’s more what they were fighting about."
"Which was..." Aunt Ange pressed.
Why couldn’t I spit it out?
"Um, I might have overheard them say something about my mum and…Mr. Malfoy." I snuck a peek at Aunt Ange from the corner of my eyes.
She stiffened but recovered quickly. "Are you sure you shouldn’t just ask them about this?"
"They wouldn't tell me. I had to sneak close enough to even hear any of it. Please, you have to tell me,” I begged. “You see, I’m kind of friends with Mr. Malfoy's son, and well, I just...I just need to know, that's all."
"All right, but you didn't hear it from me, okay?"
I nodded my fervent assent.
"Did your parents ever tell you that your dad was kidnapped?"
At first, I shook my head but then I remembered something of that ilk and began to nod. I had a vague recollection of something like that happening but with my parents’ many hero tales, it was hard to keep track.
"About a year after your parent's started dating, your dad went missing. Your mum was a complete and utter wreck, and understandably so."
I nodded again, her cue to continue.
"And after a while she built a friendship with Mr. Malfoy,” she explained. “Your mum was assigned as his Magical Corrections Officer and eventually they became...more than friends."
I grimaced, not wanting to picture what Aunt Ange could mean.
"They got married..."
"Wai...What?! My mum was married to Mr. Malfoy?"
"Yes, they were married. She waited for your father for three years but lost hope. Draco treated her well, at least that’s what she always told us.” She leaned forward in conspiracy. “Between you and me, I always thought he was a prat. But anyway, when he asked, your mum said yes. They were married for less than a year."
"Well what happened? I mean who broke it off with whom? And why?" My questions shout out one after the other while, inside, I tried to wrap my head around the disturbing idea of my mum and Mr. Malfoy as husband and wife.
"Your dad came back, that’s what happened,” Aunt Ange replied. “They tried to deny their feelings but, love like that...it doesn’t fade away. Draco couldn't take it so, he left and rain straight into the arms of that Greengrass girl. Your mum and dad got back together and have lived happily ever after ever since." She winked at me.
I sat there, absorbing all the new information. I couldn't believe my mum had been married to someone other than my dad…and not just any someone- to Mr. Malfoy!! I mean, I’d heard stories but neither my parents nor Uncle Harry would ever expound on any of Mr. Malfoy's activities during the war. How could my mum fall for a guy like that? He was a Death Eater! A bad guy! And my mum...she was my mum! Good hearted Hermione Weasley (nee Granger)- top of her class, shoe in for the next Minister of Magic! She was married to a former Death Eater?
It was too hard to believe.
"You okay Rosie?" Aunt Ange pulled me from my torrid thoughts.
I blinked a couple of times letting my eyes come back into focus. "Yeah, I think so."
"Look, Malfoy is a git but he loved your mum, there was no real question about that,” she declared. “People change, people grow- not that I ever saw it- but your mum is smart. She would never have been with someone who wasn't a decent bloke. She was distraught over your dad and Mr. Malfoy proved a sturdy shoulder. She isn’t the first woman to accept that as love, and she certainly won’t be the last."
Aunt Ange got up from the bed and brushed the top of my head with her hand, closing the door behind her as she left.
I decided to stay in the room a bit longer. No point in going downstairs just now. I didn't think I could wipe the astonishment off my face, anyhow. Of course, that would lead to my mum pestering me with questions and, well, I was pretty sure I couldn’t hold my tongue. Not yet, at least. No, I would give myself time to process. Yeah, processing is good.
Time…that was all I needed.
I don't really remember the rest of Christmas. Once we got back home, I spent most of my time in private contemplation. I guess I was still processing what I had learned. I mean it's not every day that you find out your mum was not only married before your dad, but that it had been to the father of the boy that you sort of, maybe had a little bit of a crush on.
Not that it mattered, because I was off blokes- totally and completely bloke free. It sounded a lot more pathetic than it had when I first made my resolution but, it didn't matter because I was sticking to it. Especially now that I knew my mum had been…coital with Scorpius' father. Ugh! It was just icky. Besides, I thought my dad might die of a heart attack if anything were to happen between Scorpius and me. Me and Scorpius...oh whatever, since when did my thoughts need to be grammatically correct?
Not that Scorpius was even interested, that is, if I were interested. There is no way of knowing that those maybe feelings would be returned. And even if they were…well, whatever! It didn't matter because it wasn't going to happen.
"Ow!" I rubbed the back of my head where my brother had hit me. "What the hell was that for?"
Hugo shrugged, opening into a new bag of crisps. "Just making sure you're still in there."
"Well I am, thank you very much."
He grinned. "Couldn't be sure- there’s been a bit of drool hanging from the corner of your mouth for the last fifteen minutes,” he drawled. “Thought you might have gone into a coma."
"So what gives? You're never this quiet."
I thought about whether I should answer him. Was it okay to tell Hugo? I mean it isn't really my place, right? Oh, sod it. Misery loves company, and I was pretty damn close to miserable.
Turning towards my brother, I gave him a pointed look. "Did you know mum had been married before dad?"
"Yeah, so?" Hugo popped a crisp into his mouth.
My jaw wagged in amazement. I was not really sure how to wrap my head around the fact that my little brother, Hugo, knew about this before I did! And the little bastard didn't think to tell me!!
"To Mr. Malfoy?"
Now it was my turn to whack him on the head, and boy did I get him good. "How could you know and not tell me, you wanker?" I continued to pummel him with each word, further emphasizing my irritation.
Hugo put his hands up and leapt down the couch. "Damn-it woman, control yourself! I didn't tell you because I didn't think it mattered. Who cares what mum did before she married dad? It's not like it means anything. I mean we aren't related to the Malfoy's in anyway, so I repeat, who cares."
I stopped attacking Hugo but only to push the hair out of my face. Then I resumed my assault.
"I bleeding well care, you git! I have to live with Malfoy in the dorms and you never thought it would matter that our parents were once... intimate?"
The word tasted horrible on my tongue.
"Ew, Rose. No need to get all graphic!” Hugo looked a bit green. “As far as I’m concerned, mum and dad aren't even intimate with each other. Now stop attacking me and give me back my crisps!"
I did stop this time…but only because I was out of breath.
"How long have you known?" I asked between gasps.
"First year,” he admitted. “I heard dad say something to Uncle Harry about it at the train station when he thought I wasn't listening. He didn't like the way Malfoy Senior was looking at mum."
"I just don’t understand why they never felt the need to tell us. I mean that's a pretty big deal- mum being married before and all."
"I guess because it is really none of our business. Besides, it all turned out for the best. Mum divorced him, married dad, and here we are."
I hated to admit it but, Hugo did have a point. What did it matter that once upon a time my mum and Scorpius' dad were together? I guess I can't really expect mum to have never been with anyone other than dad. Okay, so I would no longer freak out about this. It does not matter. Not even a little bit. Scorpius and I were friends, and this bit of news was of no importance.
A/N: So I know, there was no Scorpius in this chapter, but the next one will make up for that, I swear. As it is from Scorpius' POV! Yay!
But what did you think anyway? I know it was mostly filler, but Rose needed a little more information.
What did you think of James' plan? What a moron.
Thanks of course to all of you readers and reviewers. Also you must thank my Beta as she rocked this chapter out. Thanks dracosgem for taking on my punctuation, it is enough to give anyone a headache.
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