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Chapter 11 : XI.
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Twist your head around,
it's all around you.
All is full of love,
all around you.
“Oh! Happy Christmas!”
“Good morning – merry Christmas!”
That morning, the chorus of holiday wishes and hugging were inescapable – even for me, a person who went around frowning and grimacing and not speaking a single word of pleasantries.
An otherwise macabre day had suddenly turned into one of loudness, smiles and singing – and that, precisely, is why I hate Christmas, and, in general, any holiday that inspires happiness.
The day before, despite the initial setback with he-who-should-not-be-named, had turned out quite well. Louis, Rose and I had walked down to the nearest town and behaved like Muggles. It had been fun. We had bought triangular shaped ice creams, drank a strange fizzy drink and then played in what Muggles called an ‘arcade’ and lost quite a decent amount of Muggle money.
All in all, it was a good afternoon – evening if the morning had been one of the worst, to date.
I sat next to Rose and Louis at the breakfast table, ignoring the horrid wailing of Celestina Warbeck and Mrs Weasley singing along to it in another room.
Rose and Louis were helping themselves, constantly, to more and more mince pies whilst I picked boredly at a leg of chicken and a bit of burnt toast.
I never had much of an appetite after smoking, which I had spent the entire day prior doing when Louis and Rose were not in sight, and before Rose had woken up that morning.
The clock had just chimed nine o’clock when there was an urgent knocking upon the door.
All of us that were sat around the table – myself, Rose, Louis, Lucy and Roxanne – looked up in surprise, however made no movement to see who it was. I got up eventually, unbothered about leaving the breakfast I didn’t want, and ambled, in my own time, towards the door.
Because of the yellow curtain, I couldn’t see through the door’s window to see who was outside.
It could have been Lord bloody Voldemort himself and I wouldn’t have known.
I opened the door, curious, and was so surprised by what I saw, that my mouth fell open.
It was Scorpius Malfoy, dressed in a handsome grey suit and green tie that was not unlike his school one, with his blonde hair dripping and his eyes shining brilliantly.
He grinned at the sight of me, and wordlessly held out his hand. It held a letter, which had been balled up to stop from being ruined by the rain.
I took it and read it through quickly.
It was my letter, and down the bottom, he had written something in his neat, slanted scrawl.
My head snapped up and I looked at him in disbelief.
His eyes, his stormy grey eyes, were bright and piercing. His smile was growing more and more as I looked at him. I found myself weakened by emotion and, overcome by them, flew at and hugged him tightly.
He was wet and he smelt like the rain. I grinned at him as I drew away and nodded my head approvingly.
“Thank you.” I murmured, and his answering grin took me off guard.
“No, thank you.” He responded, and his eyes flickered past me, suddenly full of such open apprehension. “Is – is she here?”
I nodded, smiling slightly, and turned away.
“Rose – can you come here for a second? There’s someone here to see you.” I called, winking at Scorpius.
“What?” Rose called back, sounding confused.
“Who’d want to see Rose?” I heard Hugo mutter, and it made me want to physically harm him for a long, extended moment. I could even picture doing it in my head. In a great, and gory detail.
“Just get your arse here.” I snapped, “It’s important.”
There was a scraping of a chair being pushed back, and a gentle set of footsteps coming towards us. I reached out and took hold of Scorpius’s hand. I squeezed it once, and then dropped it. It was my way of wordlessly telling him ‘good luck’ and ‘don’t fuck this up’.
“Scorpius?” Rose exclaimed, and she glanced at me in confusion. “Em, what’s going on?”
I was grinning like a fool, and it probably looked ridiculous but I didn’t care. I couldn’t stop smiling.
“It’s nothing to do with me.” I murmured as I backed away. I leant against the counter, not wanting to miss this moment.
Rose tore her eyes away from me, still looking confused, and focused her attention on Scorpius.
“What’s –” She began, but he held his hand up and she stopped.
“I’ve been blind, Rose – really fucking blind.”He exclaimed, frowning slightly. “I’ve been so stupid.”
“What are you talking about? Is there something wrong?” Rose had gone pale. “You haven’t resigned from being Head boy, have you? I was only joking! I was upset because Em was gone – I didn’t mean it! There’s no one else. You’re the best there is.”
It was then, as though he could not help himself, that Scorpius swore – saying ‘fuck it’, I’ll bet – and closed the space between him and Rose. With her surprised and pale face between his hands, he bent down and kissed her firmly on the lips. I pressed my lips together, trying to stop myself from grinning like a fool.
It was only for a moment, and when Scorpius drew away, Rose stared at him, still frozen in astonishment.
“There’s only you, Rose, you’re the one. I’ve known it for years, and there’s nothing I can do to stop. If you’ll have me, I’m yours.”
Rose made a small noise, which sounded like a sob and a gasp, and pushed herself onto her tiptoes. Her arms twined around his neck and she smiled softly before she kissed him.
It was a beautiful moment, which, of course, had to be ruined.
“Rose! What are you doing?” Hugo Weasley exclaimed hotly, his boyish face full of an abrupt anger I had not seen coming. “That’s Malfoy! Malfoy! Why are you kissing him? He’s a Slytherin – his father is a Death Eater!”
“No, he’s not.” Lucy said, catching us all off guard. She raised her eyebrows as though she was unsure why people were so surprised that she had spoken. “What? He’s not. Draco Malfoy’s mother actually saved Uncle Harry’s life by telling Voldemort that he was dead.”
Rose had untangled herself from Scorpius, and was blushing fiercely. I noted, highly pleased, that their hands were clasped.
“Shut up, Lucy. No one asked you!”
“If you’re going to make accusations, Hugo, they’d best be right or you’re nothing more than an ignorant prat.”
Hugo, as though he believed we had all gone mad, threw his hands up in the air.
“First you make friends with that slut – and now you’re snogging a Death Eater’s offspring. What’s happening to you, Rose? Have you forgotten yourself completely?” He yelled, his finger thrusting from me to Scorpius as he spat the insults at us. I saw Scorpius’s free hand curl into a fist, and I felt my own want to do the same.
“What’s going on here?” A sharp voice said.
Albus Potter, along with Lily and James had entered the kitchen and were staring, perplexed – only in the case of the boys, Lily, of course understood immediately – at the group of us.
“It’s rather obvious, isn’t it? Rose has just snogged someone that her brother, Hugo does not approve of and everyone is currently choosing a side.” Lily calmly replied, her smile ironic.
“Shut up, Lily. It was a rhetorical question.” Albus muttered, making James grin crookedly.
“Alright, alright, don’t get your want in a knot.” She said, rolling her eyes.
“Rose – you – you’re with Malfoy?” Albus asked, looking at Rose incredulously. I pitied Scorpius, noticing him tense, and turned my gaze onto Albus, glaring at him. It was as though he sensed it. Albus looked at me for a long moment, his expression pondering, and then glanced away with an abrupt sureness in his eyes. “What’s the problem with that?”
“What? Shit, Albus! You of all people should agree with me!” Hugo cried out in frustration.
“Times have changed, Hugo. This isn’t like it was when our parents were our age. There’s not a good side and there’s no bad side any more. If Rose wants to be with Malfoy, then we shouldn’t stop her. I think you’re forgetting how smart your sister actually is. She knows when someone’s a no good twat.” His eyes had flickered back to mine before they met Rose’s, and I saw her smile slightly.
I recalled the last conversation they had had together. She had been so angry at him, and now he was standing up for her. I really did underestimate the power of love, didn’t I?
“I can’t believe this.” Hugo muttered to himself, and he shook his head. “Just wait ‘til Dad hears about this, Rose.”
“Maybe you should clear off, mate.” James said, pressing his lips together and raising his eyebrows. Hugo looked at him fleetingly and I saw him visibly deflate. His hero was telling him to go, so there wasn’t much for him to do besides submit to his wishes and leave.
Hugo stalked off, grumbling, and Roxanne walked off after him. I saw her clutching her stomach and noticed that Lily had seen that too. She teasingly wiggled her eyebrows at me, and I looked away.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to cause a scene. I just – I had to tell you.” Scorpius whispered to Rose and she smiled slightly.
“Everything causes a scene in this house. I wouldn’t worry about it.” Rose whispered back.
She looked so happy, and it made me feel the same.
Grinning, I looked away, and found Albus to be staring at me wistfully. I held his gaze, my grin slipping away.
“So, Malfoy, you’re the git they chose to be my successor?” James sneered, referring to him being the next Head boy after his ‘reign’. His crooked grin was teasing, and Scorpius smirked.
“Wasn’t hard. Standards had pretty much dropped after you, Potter.”
“Nice.” James said, grinning as though he was very pleased of his accomplishment – which, no doubt, he was. “Nice.”
Then it was all over. Albus turned away to talk to his sister, and I turned to talk to no one.
“Happy Christmas, Em.” My Uncle Bill said, hugging me awkwardly. I’d always liked him, but it had always been a little strained between us. I used to laugh at his scars when I was little and he probably still remembered the day I set fire to all his robes at the age of seven.
“’Appy Christmas, darling.” Aunt Fleur gushed, kissing my cheeks enthusiastically. “I have talked to your mother and she is going to spend Christmas with someone called Lucette – do you know this woman?”
Lucette Gualteri was my mother’s old Muggle hairdresser, so I highly doubted that she would choose to spend Christmas with someone who had thought my mother would suit a fringe and highlights.
“Yes, she’s lovely.”
Victoire hugged me next – loosely again, as though touching me would affect the unborn child within her – and wished me a happy Christmas and new year in French.
Her husband, Teddy, smiled at me warmly but did not hug me. We were still at the stage where touching equalled awkwardness, and I was content with that.
Lysander hugged me, telling me he hoped that I’d have a ‘shitty’ Christmas, and earned a smack around the head from Dominique. She, of course, kissed my cheeks and behaved as she always did. It made me sick to watch the two of them together, acting as though there were no troubles in the world.
James hugged me as he always did – tightly and so eagerly it lifted me off of my feet. He didn’t wish me a happy Christmas, only handed me a present and winked perversely.
“Yeah, I know we’re supposed to give each other gifts later on – but whatever. Enjoy yours now.”
It was crudely wrapped, and the wrapping paper had naked women on it, but I still thanked him for it, laughing heartily.
It was a Witch Weekly article labelled ‘James Potter: Most Charming Smile Award’ with the caption ‘better than all of you since Gilderoy Lockhart’.
“James – why the fuck would I want this? So what if you’re the next Lockhart – he was a twat, who went mental.”
“Silence, little one, silence. Look under it and all shall be revealed.”
Underneath the article lay a book – a Muggle book by the looks of it – and I smiled slightly.
‘How to follow your heart and do right by it’.
“I thought it might do you some good.” James smirked and I stretched to kiss him on the cheek lightly. I was very much aware that Albus – and everyone else in his family – could see and were probably watching, but I didn’t care. He was my friend.
“I didn’t get you a present.” I stated, and he rolled his eyes.
“Give me another kiss and I won’t hold it against you.”
“You’re such a git.”
“You love it, I know you do.”
By that point, my negativity towards family get-togethers and holidays had started to change.
I saw Rose and Scorpius holding hands, talking and being accepted. I saw Harry Potter scooping his daughter up into his arms and her returning to a childhood state as she giggled and fought. I saw Dom and Lysander exchanging gifts with soft smiles on their face. I saw Teddy talking, and looking like a moron, to Victoire’s stomach.
I saw people who had love in their lives, and were not afraid to show it.
And then I saw Albus.
And he saw me.
His mother had dressed him in a red, knitted jumper with a reindeer on it. Someone had also combed his hair down. Seeing him there, looking lovable and lonely, made my resolve weaken. I remembered the way he had looked at me that morning, the way he had accepted Scorpius and I threw all caution to the wind.
He stood by the Christmas tree, and its lights were reflected in his eyes.
His eyebrows rose in surprise and his lips twitched, but he didn’t say anything.
“That was really nice – what you did for Rose and Scorpius, I mean.”
Still, he did not say anything.
“Are you still angry with me?”
“Then – what?”
“I can’t say what I want to say to you in front of my parents. I think it’ll be a bit weird.”
“Do you want to go outside?” I asked apprehensively in a low voice, and he nodded his head but one time.
I wanted to take hold of his hand, but I didn’t dare. I simply followed him out of the room without looking back. We didn’t speak until we had left the house and were outside, on the deck, just as we had been all those days before. It felt like it had been years since we had kissed – and I had told him to forget about me.
The sun was out, partially, and it was snowing. The afternoon sun upon the white was beautiful.
“I know that you wrote to Scorpius.” Albus murmured with his voice soft. “I never realized how much you cared for Rose. I – I thought you only started being friends with her again to get out of trouble or something. But that’s not true, is it?”
I thought of Rose then, of the Rose I had always known and the Rose as I had last seen her. Rose writing in her journal from the age of twelve to fourteen about how much she loved school and fancied Scorpius, Rose at the age of fifteen and discovering she was a prefect, Rose at sixteen giving me detentions, and then Rose in love. I liked the later, but missed the ones before it.
“She’s my best friend, Albus. There is nothing I wouldn’t for her.” It was the truth – the complete truth – and I wasn’t ashamed of that. I would have been once, but things had changed. I had changed.
“I know.” Was all he said to me, but his gentle tone said more than any stupid, unnecessary words could. His green eyes were as soft as his tone, and it made me feel warm despite the coldness of the temperature.
“Why couldn’t you talk to me in the same room as your family? Are you ashamed of knowing me?” I didn’t say it nastily, or with anger, I was beyond that now, I was merely curious now.
“I was afraid I might say the wrong thing, and there would be witnesses to retell the story.” He responded, frowning ever so slightly as his eyes flashed back towards the house.
“Come out into the snow with me.” I whispered, unsure exactly what I was thinking – or even doing, for that matter. All I knew was that he was uncomfortable and I wanted to have the snow fall onto my face. I’d never experienced it before, not properly, anyway.
“I think my sister has infected you with her weirdness.” I heard Albus say as I scampered off of the deck, yet he still followed me.
I wasn’t how I imagine it, exactly. The snowflakes fell upon my face and they were cold, and wet, yet it was the most perfect moment imaginable.
Albus stood close to me, watching me with an unfathomable expression within his eyes. I turned to him, grinning like a fool, and cocked my head to the side. My dark hair had tumbled across my face, and he reached across to gently – however briefly – brush it away. He tucked a lock behind my ear and I sighed.
“We’re meant to be staying away from each other, Albus.” I murmured. My voice was softer than I had ever heard it before – tired, but soft. It was strange. “You’re meant to be forgetting me.”
“As though such a thing were possible.” He answered. His eyes were suddenly greener, his lips redder and his hair blacker. The snow made him look a thing of beauty – but not in the way I was, or my cousins were. This was a natural beauty, one that came from within and shone through. It made me want to weep.
“It is.” I struggled to say. “Is truly is.”
“No.” He disagreed, shaking his head slightly. “No one could forget a person like you.”
“What? A short, foul-mouthed, short-tempered waste of space?” At first I responded sarcastically, full of venom, but then it slipped and I could not help but answer truthfully. “It’s been done before, Albus, so don’t sound so sure of yourself.”
“You’re not a waste of space, you’re amazing.” He mumbled, looking embarrassed. Yet, when he looked up, his eyes were blazing and his jaw set stubbornly. “You have no idea about the affect you have on people.”
“It’s in my blood. You’re meant to think the sun shines out of our arses until the minute we go all ‘Veela-bird’ on you and throw fire...” I muttered darkly, but my head was elsewhere.
When I had found out about my lineage, and what came with it, I had found myself envious. I had wanted to be able to throw fire, to dance and hypnotise people to do as I wished – but then I realised, no, I did not want that. I knew people loved me, even then at the age of six, because of the way I looked. I wanted to be loved for me, not my face, and have people do something because they loved me, not because I made them.
I’d been romantic in my way of seeing things for a long time.
But that had died, just like a lot of things had in my life.
Again, Albus shook his head.
“You’re being very sweet – something I don’t deserve – but don’t – don’t make me out to be someone I’m not.” I said, sounding even more tired than I had before, and I felt it to – the exhaustion creeping into my bones as though I were old and infirm. It’s not a pleasant feeling, and I felt colder then than ever before.
“I care about you, and I know you feel the same way about me too.” He frowns slightly, seemingly conflicted, and I take a small, shaky step towards him.
“No, let me finish. Please.” So I do, albeit with a sadness in my eyes as I look upon him struggling to remain in control of his words. “I know you think that you’re heartless – but you’re not. I know you have a heart, Emmanuelle, and I know that you can care about someone - someone as foolish, and as obtuse as me.”
My heart skipped what seemed to be a minute’s worth of beats, and I drew in a sharp, raggedy breath.
“W-what did you say?” I am finally about to say, stumbling over my words. “Albus – say that again.”
With a slight smile that confused me, he dropped my gaze and looked to his hand. From his pocket he drew what appeared to be a letter, upon an ivory sheet of parchment. I frowned, unsure what to think besides the obvious fear, desperation and desire to run away and never look back.
“Albus,” He said, his eyes flickering up to mine fleetingly, “I’m in my house, sitting by a window, and I am thinking about you. It’s been three hours and I miss you already. You deserve better, that’s why I think I left. It’s like I said at that party, yeah? Only... it’s not me who isn’t interested. You shouldn’t want to be with me, so here I am. Alone. Again.”
I had pressed a hand to my lips with my knowledge, and I stared at him, silent as the dead, with wide eyes.
He turned the page over, and I frowned. I had not written more, had I?
“Dear Albus Potter. I have failed my daughter in every single way, but I hope, in this way, I do her some justice. My beautiful daughter, despite not knowing her own heart, has given it to you completely. Do well by her, love her. Emmanuelle needs to find some joy in her life, it has been too long since the world has seen her truly happy.”
I wanted to cry, I wanted to laugh, and most of all I wanted to hug my mother and tell her I loved her and tell her I hated her – all at the same time. All such things I could not do. I could not allow myself to be weak.
“I had to get Fleur to help me – half of it was in French and the rest of it was pretty illegible...” Albus muttered. His explanation was lost when he caught sight of my face. “That’s really your name, isn’t it?”
I nodded my head slowly, my lips quivering slightly.
I did not like to hear people say it. It brought back too many painful memories.
“It suits you. It’s beautiful, just like you.” He whispered it, so softly, I could have imagined it.
My eyes rose, and I wanted to disagree, but I didn’t. I could feel tears coming, and it sickened me. Who – and what – had I become? Had love pulled the same sick joke on me again?
The snow fall had increased, the sky was darkening and we both were freezing – but in that moment, it didn’t matter. As though it were magnetic, we both moved towards each other at the same time.
Close enough to embrace, we both paused. I looked up into his green eyes, and he did the same into my blue.
His hand lifted, and lightly, his fingertips touched the long – albeit healing – split on my lower lip. I saw concern flitter across his face and I wanted to tell him that everything was fine – that nothing could hurt me now.
I reached my hand up too, brushing the hair from his forehead. He smiled slightly, however that same concern did not leave his face.
The cold had made my face pale, making the bruises more obvious. I saw that in his tight eyes, in the registration of something darker, and sadder, than concern.
“It doesn’t matter – it doesn’t matter. I’m with you.” I whispered urgently, gripping his face in my hands.
“Who did it to you – why won’t you tell me?”
“I would if I could. I promise.” I feel his jaw tighten beneath my hands, and I frown. “Do you not trust me?”
As though to convince me, and himself, in a way other than words, his hands flew into my long hair and brushed it back from my face as he bent his head to kiss me. His lips were about a cold as mine were, but his body was warm and so I suffered if any space came between us – not, of course, that I wanted there to be any part of me that wasn’t melded to him.
I did not want to let go – or to ever be away from him for as long as we both should live. But I had to.
A sob broke through and I buried my face in to his shoulder, feeling a surge of embarrassment flow through me.
He drew his hands away from the small of my back so he could gently lift my face up towards him.
He kissed my forehead and whispered something I could not hear.
Tears run down my face, and I can taste them. He brushes them away with the backs of his fingers.
“So, my star-crossed lover, what are we to do now?” He murmured into my ear, and I laughed shakily through my tears.
“Why are you quoting Muggle literature in a time like this?” I muttered, lifting a hand to brush the salty liquid from my cheeks.
“I’m not.” He replied, smirking slightly. “That’s what you are. My love.”
He bent to kiss my lips, but I turned away and they grazed my cheek. He didn’t understand.
He never listened in Muggle studies – the one subject I found myself truly good in – and why would he? He had never felt so repelled by his own society that he thought he might as well join another. He would never know that the fate of star-crossed lovers were doomed to die, destined to fail and fatalistic from the very start.
A pair so ill-fated in the love that is never meant to be.
“Don’t speak.” I whispered as I tightly wrapped myself around him again. I buried my face back into his shoulder, in the warmth of his jumper and I felt him rest his chin upon the top of my head. “Your heart is racing. Why is that?”
“I keep feeling like you’re going to slip away from me – and – and that I’m going to lose you if I don’t hold on to you tight enough... which means I have to be prepared for that moment, so that I can stop you.” I could hear the suffering in his voice and in the thoughts he was allowing for me to hear. It made me want to cry all over again.
“I’m not going anywhere.” I urged, shaking my head hurriedly. “I’m not leaving you.”
“Emmanuelle.” He whispered as he kissed me, and I, unknowingly, froze. “I love –”
I felt as though he had drawn out a knife and plunged it into my chest. I drew myself away from him, and pushed, with all of my might. I did not glare at him with hate or with fire in my eyes, but with pleading.
“Don’t. Don’t say that.” I clutched my stomach, struggling to breathe. “Say anything you like – just – just not that. Please. Please, Albus.”
“It’s alright – it’s alright, Em.”
That’s who I was, wasn’t it? Relief and recognition flooded over me, and I released the breath I had been holding. I wasn’t the weak and lost Emmanuelle any more, I was Em.
And he was Albus. He was my Albus.
I smiled coldly, my eyes darkening, and I saw it in his face that he was afraid of what was happening before his own eyes. Emmanuelle was no more a part of me. Emmanuelle was dead.
He wanted Em, and I was going to give her to him.
“Come on,” I said, taking him by the hand, “take me on an adventure.”
Sorry this has taken so long, validation has been a bitch to me lately. This is a much shorter chapter, I know, in comparison to the others, and I didn’t go into a lot of detail about the festivities, I know I know. I was planning on it, but then I was so itching for an Em/Albus moment that it sort of... well, didn’t happen. I hope you liked my version of Em/Albus smut – it’s been so long overdue, it’s been killing me. And for Scorpius/Rose as well! I enjoyed writing that so much. But yeah, I won’t go on because no one reads this bit anyway ;)
Lyrics: All is full of love – Death Cab for a Cutie.
I have to add, however, that lyrics were so damn hard to find for this chapter. Oh my god, it was painful.
Thanks for reading!
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