Rose pulled out of the hug first. “So yeah, thanks for the quill.”
“No problem.” Scorpius said, playing with his fingers. Rose watched the green ink flash on his ring finger as he figited.
“Where’s your ring?” Rose asked.
“The big heirloom ring you wear to cover up your sigg. Where is it?”
“Oh.” Scorpius said. “I don’t know. I take it off when I shower and I couldn’t find it when I got out this morning.”
“Oh.” Rose said, messing with today’s purple band-aid.
“Is that a problem? Your parents shouldn’t care if I have a sigg.”
“No, not at all.” She didn’t look up to meet his eyes as she spoke, and continued to play with the band-aid.
“Doesn’t your skin get raw from changing the band-aid every day?” Scorpius asked.
“Kind of. But they get so icky otherwise.”
“Oh. I see.”
“Better than the alternative.”
“Which is what?” Scorpius asked.
“Letting my parents see. They’d freak.” Rose said quietly.
“Is it really that big of a deal? My mum wanted me to get one.”
“Yeah, what is that about? How long have you had yours?”
“A year and a half. I got it a few months after my sixteenth birthday.”
“And why did your mum want you to get one?”
Scorpius shrugged. “It wasn’t so much that she wanted me to get one. It was more of a way to reassure her that I was going to be okay.”
“You mean… after she died?”
Scorpius nodded. “I went and got it and showed it to her and the reminder that there was someone else out there encouraged her. She said she didn’t want to think of me being alone.”
“How did she die?”
“Slowly.” Scorpius said, taking a deep breath. “She just started getting sick and we didn’t know why and no one at St. Mungo’s could figure it out. And then we went to a muggle hospital and they told her she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.”
“What does that mean?”
“Your nerve cells deteriorate, and you lose control of your body. And then finally, your heart stops working. It’s a side effect of all the pure blood marriages in our family.”
“Why isn’t there a spell for it?”
“There is one, but no one uses it because you have to say it for every single cell. And there are millions and millions of nerve cells. So they can use it as therapy, but it really just draws out the pain. Mum didn’t want that after it got to a certain point. She just accepted it, and tried to get things ready for me and Dad. And part of what made her feel ‘ready’ was knowing that there was someone out there for me. She never even saw the date. It was barred out until a few months ago.”
“Scorpius, I’m so sorry.” Rose said. “That is a horrible way to… go.”
“I shouldn’t have told you about it. It just makes things weird for the Sigg stuff. I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s okay. I understand.”
“It’s not like I wanted a sig, or wanted to think that someone was waiting for me. It just made things easier for her.”
“I know, Scorp.” Rose put her fingers in his and squeezed his hand. Maybe all he needed was a friend.
Lily and Finn sat there, looking at each other for what felt like ages. “Happy Christmas, Finn.” Lily said, finally, jumping up and going to talk to her parents.
Soon, things began to settle down, and Teddy and Vic slipped away as Ginny began passing out the presents she’d bought. Lily got a new set of dress robes, Al a new broom, and James got a new watch. He’d shattered the old one he’d been given on his 17th birthday during a recent match.
Then Ron and Hermione went, and Rose got exactly what she’d asked for—gift certificates. The Ron and Ginny’s siblings went next, starting with George, then Percy, then Charlie, and finally, Bill and Fleur. Aunt Fleur had finally stopped crying, and of course looked as though she never had. She set Victoire’s and Teddy’s presents aside and gave Dom a new necklace and Louis a new broom.
And then they all adjourned for brunch.
As food was served, the sound of forks clinking grew louder as conversation died away. You really couldn’t waste time talking when Nana Weasley’s food was on the table.
“Lily, why are you picking the bacon out of your quiche?” Nana asked. “Are you still on that vegetable diet?”
“It’s not a diet, Nana, but yes, I am still a vegetarian.”
Nana rolled her eyes. “I made some jerky last week. Remind me to send some back with you.”
“Whatever you say Nana.” Lily said, looking up to see Finn snickering quietly. She shot him a look.
“What?” He asked with a laugh.
“Just eat your food and be quiet.” Lily said with a grin.
“Lily!” Al whispered, elbowing Lily sharply in the side and interrupting the flirting. “Look!”
Down the table, Fleur had pulled another box out from her purse. “Dominique, whe got ‘ou a little extra present. I ‘orgot it weeth all the excitement theese ‘orning.” She passed the box to Dom, who opened it to find a small silver ring. “I theenk that blue ring ‘ou ‘ave been wearing is too fussy for you. Try this one.”
“What?” Dom asked breathlessly.
Bill spoke up. “Your mother thinks this ring is a little classier than the one you’ve been wearing this week. We noticed the band was starting to copper on the blue one, so we got you this one. Try it on.”
“I, um…” Dom began and then sighed. She reached for the blue ring and tore it off as quickly as possible while trying to cram the new ring on.
“What ese that!?” Fleur called out.
“What’s what?” Vic asked looking to her mom.
“On Dominque’s finger!”
The whole table stared at Dom who tried to avert eye contact.
“Dom. Show us your finger.” Bill said quietly but clearly.
Dom sighed and held her hand up.
“Take the ring off.”
Dom obliged and held her hand out.
“Dear Merlin.” Nana said.
The whole table stayed silent for a few long moments and then Bill said in a steely voice “Dom. Let’s go talk in the living room.”
“Why?” Dom pleaded. “It’s not a big deal.”
“You’re not of age. It is a big deal. It’s just another irresponsible thing to add to the long list of stupid things you’ve done lately.”
“It wasn’t stupid!” Dom yelled.
“Yes, it was. This was a very silly thing to do. I don’t see any other Weaslies with those!”
With a shaking hand, Dom pointed to Rose. “Wanna bet?”
“Whhhhat?” Ron called out. “Rosie?” He asked, looking at her pleadingly.
Rose closed her eyes and peeled the band-aid off in a quick motion, and then slowly held her hand up. The whole table gasped and began talking.
“It’s GREEN!?!” Ron called.
The whole room fell into chaos as Dom and Bill continued to yell and Ron sat stammering.
“EVERYBODY JUST SHUT UP!” Ginny yelled, standing up and throwing her hands down on the table.
“I want to see every ring finger in this room. Naked. No rings or band-aids. Let’s go.” The room started at her. “Do you think I am joking? Move it. If you’re still in Hogwarts I want your asses out of your chairs and your hands in the air.”
Lily’s thoughts raced. What could she do? Turning the spell off would save her from her parents but her cousins would never let her hear the end of this. She looked at Finn with alarm, who looked back at her with remorse. Softly, he reached out and squeezed her hand. “You’ll be fine.” He whispered. Lily nodded and stoodup, taking off her ring.
Slowly, the other cousins all stood and more gasps came as Al and Lily revealed their siggs, followed by Molly and Lucy. “Didn’t see that one coming.” Al muttered as Percy turned a bright shade of red. Auntie Audrey fainted.
“Keep them up. And go stand over there. All of you.”
The six teenagers walked to the end of the table and stood in a line facing the silent family members still seated at the table.
Ginny looked at the black ink on Molly, Lucy, and Dom’s hands and then moved on to Lily. “Are you mad?” Lily whispered.
Ginny shook her head. “I just wish you would have talked to me about this.” She moved on to Al’s hand and then finally got to Rose’s. The green ink almost glowed in comparison to the five black siggs near her.
“Who did you sigg with Rosie?” Ginny asked softly. But the whole room could hear. Rose cleared her throat, her eyes searching the table until they found Scopius’s.
“I- I-“ she stammered, trying to find words.
“Not Mark. Not Mark. Not Mark.” Ron muttered as he squeezed Hermione’s hand.
“Me.” Scorpius said standing up and holding his hand up. “But we’re just friends.”
Ron stopped muttering. “Out.” He said.
“What?” Scopius asked.
“Out. You need to leave.”
“Yes, sir.” Scorpius said quietly, walking towards the door.
“Dad, don’t make him—“
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do, Rose Cordelia.” The sound of her middle name stopped Rose in her tracks. Ron never used her middle name. “Scorpius needs to leave right now so that we can sort things out.”
“What needs to be sorted out?” Hermione asked, speaking for the first time. “It’s just a spell.”
“Just—Just a spell?” Ron asked. “It’s a highly complicated, just legalized spell that has had some serious implications on the lives of too many witches and wizards!”
“Ron, you’re being a little over dramatic.” Hermione said softly.
“Overdramatic? What about the Thomases? They got divorced over this. What if we went and got sigged right now, Hermione? What if it told us we weren’t supposed to be together?”
“We’d tell it that it’s wrong. And we don’t need siggs to know that we’re supposed to be together. But Rosie isn’t married. This isn’t going to break up a marriage. It’s just a different way to meet someone.”
“Fine.” Ron said. “Scorpius, you’re welcome to stay, but I think you lot—“ he said, pointing to the six kids at the end of the table “need to go with your parents right now and talk this through.”
“It’s fine, Mr. Weasley. I’ll go.” Scorpius said. “I’ll leave you all to it.” With that, Scorpius opened the door and shut it firmly behind him.
The room was quiet for a moment, and then Bill and Fleur were up and pulling Dom down the hallway into a spare room. Percy pointed a hand at the door to the study and herded Molly and Lucy into it, stopping to pick up Audrey and carry her in.
Rose walked past her parents and out the door, letting them follow her back to the house.
Ginny stood looking at Al and Lily with her arms crossed. “This wasn’t the smartest idea you two have ever had.”
Harry looked at Al’s hand. “Why?” He asked simply.
Al opened his mouth and then stopped.
“What?” Ginny asked, and then turned around. The rest of the family was still sitting at the table, watching intently. “Can we help you?” Ginny asked, twirling her wand between her knuckles.
Several heads shook violently and then the whole group grabbed plates and headed for the kitchen. Finally it was silent.
“I just was curious about them.” Al said.
“We get it.” Ginny said. “You two aren’t in trouble, because there’s no point in punishing you. It’s over and it’s not like you can make the mistake again.”
“Just don’t do stupid stuff like this again.” Harry said.
Lily sighed with relief. “Can I go then?”
“Sure.” Ginny said. “But Lily… does Finn have a sigg?”
Lily shook her head.
“And you have a date on there?” Ginny asked further.
“Darn. I like that kid.” Harry said.
“Dad!” Lily said with a laugh. “Finn and I are just friends!”
“Surrrrre.” James called from the corner.
“I agree with my smart child.” Ginny said.
“James is your smart child?” Al asked. “How did he earn that title?”
“Easy. He didn’t get a highly experimental spell that will probably predict the outcome of your life tattooed on his hands.” Ginny replied. “You’re free to go. Happy Christmas.”
A/N: Sorry it's been so long. Midterms, you know? Hahha. Crazy life. So tell me what you thiiiink... :)