“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy biiirrttthhhdaaay dear Ja-ames, happy birthday to you!”
“Well,” sniffed Rose, looking a bit put out, “That went well.”
“Must be smarting over his argument with Jessie, the poor lad,” said Lily, looking sympathetic.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
“James!” she yelled, slamming her fist against the door. “James, you open this door right now!”
“No!” he shouted back. “Go away!”
“Still not coming out, huh?”
Rose felt her heart leap into her throat as Scorpius' voice reverberated around the corridor.
“Malfoy?” said Hugo, who had tagged along with Finch, Razor, Terri and Jas. “What're you doing here?”
“Same as you probably,” he said, walking up to James' door.
“Excuse me, Lily,” he added politely, gesturing for her to move aside.
She did as she was told but shot Rose an intrigued look.
Rose gave a small shrug.
“I don't know,” she mouthed, indicating Scorpius' motives.
Everyone watched as he cleared his throat, tapped gently on the door and said quietly, “James, whilst you're in there sulking, it might interest you to know that Jessie has agreed to go on a date with Justin Gates.”
The door instantly flew open.
James looked scandalised.
“But he's such a twat!”
“Do I detect a note of jealousy?” asked Lily innocently.
“Dude, calm down,” said Hugo, making a 'chill' movement with his hands. “She's only gone for, like, a drink with him – she's not you!”
“Oh, fuck off,” snapped James, looking both panicked and pissed off. “I've got to stop her!”
“She already gone, mate,” said Scorpius with a shrug. “They're browsing Hogsmeade first then going for lunch.”
“Um, James,” said Rose tentatively, “Why don't we go to Hogsmeade? You know, on the pretence that we're celebrating your birthday and all?”
“Which was actually our plan in the first place,” cut in Lily, looking annoyed. “After camping went tits up, anyway.”
“Yeah!” exclaimed James, a manic look in his eyes. “Yeah, that'll work! Right, I'll go get ready, you go get ready and then we'll crack on!”
“We are ready!” said Rose, looking affronted.
James looked them all up and down and then laughed.
“Yeah, right! You guys are the best. Now piss of so I can get changed!”
“Okay, we'll see you at-”
“-the Great Hall,” finished Scorpius, his eyebrows raised.
“Don't take it personally,” Rose reassured him, as they all sloped off to the Great Hall for a late breakfast. “James has got the Weasley Drama in him.”
“Well, you're a Weasley and you're not very dramatic,” commented Scorpius, making Rose go red.
“I can be dramatic!” she said, looking offended. “I was dramatic that time I drank James' 'special brew'!”
“Rose, you were pissed off your face!”
“So? I was still dramatic!”
“Doesn't count,” said Scorpius firmly as they entered the Great Hall. “Pick another example.”
“Erm,” said Rose, thinking hard. “On the camping trip! When we were lost!”
“Pfft!” scoffed Scorpius, waving it away. “That was not dramatic. No, if I wanted a dramatic Weasley, I'd call on Lily.”
Right on cue, Lily screamed.
“Oh my God! There's an ant on the table! Get it away, get it away!”
“See?” laughed Scorpius, as Terri and Jas flapped round her. “You lose, Weasley.”
Rose stuck her tongue out at him.
“You're such a git,” she said, failing to repress a smile.
“I know,” said Scorpius, with a cheeky wink and a grin.
Rose felt her stomach flip.
Stop it, she warned herself, as Scorpius grabbed a bowl of cereal and poured some milk on it. Scorpius is just a friend, nothing more. You're with Nathan. You love him. Sort of.
“So, Rose,” said Scorpius, shaking Rose out of her thoughts, “Who's your favourite sibling or cousin?”
“Well...” she said slowly, picking up a banana from the fruit bowl. “I couldn't just pick one. They all have their own qualities. Lily, for example, is great for just going crazy. If you need to loosen up, Lily's your girl. Plus, she's not a prude, which is good for... you know... sex stuff.”
Rose blushed, avoiding Scorpius' gaze.
“Then there's Hugo,” she continued, willing her face to cool down. “He's my brother, obviously, a bit younger, so we don't talk about the kind of stuff Lily and I do but he's brilliant when it comes to supporting you. I know he can be childish sometimes but he's a got a lot of love. He'll always stick by you, no matter what.”
Rose took a breath.
“James is... well, James is the protector. He's an idiot sometimes but if anyone hurts you, James is always there to give them a swift slap or whatever you need. I mean, look at how he was when Al insulted Jessie.”
Rose suddenly looked sad and sighed.
“Al was great up until a few months ago. I still don't quite understand what happened there and to be honest I think I need to make more of an effort with him. He's very cold at the moment but I think with a little help we can get him back to how he was. Hopefully.”
“And Jessie?” asked Scorpius. “I know she's not technically part of the family but-”
“-but she may as well be,” nodded Rose. “Yeah, Jessie's like a sister to me. To everyone, I think. Although maybe not James and Al now. Their feelings would be rather incestuous otherwise!”
Rose laughed, making Scorpius smile.
“Gosh, my family's a mess,” she said, shaking her head with a small smile. “Although if it wasn't we'd probably all be complaining that life was boring.”
“True,” agreed Scorpius, “Well all want something then once we get it we kind of think maybe we liked what we had before better. If that makes sense. Do you speak to your other cousins much?”
“Mmm, sometimes but they've kind of grouped together like we have. There's so bloody many of us; if we all hung out together all the time we'd be like an army! Our group is big already and that's without including Terri, Jas, Mark, Finch, Razor, Nathan and Chuck. Oh and Barrat, though that's still one I'm getting used to; that boy and his cronies made Hugo, Finch and Razors' lives a misery for years!”
“They were friends before though, weren't they?” Scorpius reminded her.
“Oh yeah,” she said, looking surprised, “They were actually. I'd forgotten that. Gosh, that was weird, too. Their fall out, I mean. One minute they were all best buds then suddenly after the Summer Ball everything went wands up-”
Rose faltered, suddenly very aware of who she was speaking to.
“The Summer Ball wasn't a very good time for friendships, was it,” commented Scorpius calmly as he finished off his cereal.
“No,” said Rose quietly, “It wasn't.”
They were spared from any awkwardness by the sudden arrival of James, who came crashing into the hall, hair all over the place, yelling, “Alright you ugly lot, let's go!”
“You are so obvious,” sniggered Mark, as James sunk low into his CineWizard chair. “If she didn't notice you when you came in and tripped over all those booster seats, then she definitely did when that girl squealed and asked you for your autograph.”
“Shut up, Mark,” snapped James. “Why are you even here, anyway?”
“Because I was the one who knew where Jessie was and the only person who'd sit through a three hour film about goblins so that you wouldn't look like a total loser!”
“And I'm paying you five galleons.”
“Yeah, and that,” agreed Mark, with a massive grin. “I knew I was right to get in with the Potter clan, even if it was in a rather unorthodox way.”
“You mean by how you completely fucked over my little brother's life?” said James nastily.
Mark raised his eyebrows.
“Woah, no need to get so heavy. Al messed things up all by himself. And you're hardly innocent in all this – you gave him a smack in the nose and snogged the girl he's in love with!”
“Shhhh!” hissed an angry looking woman in front of them. “Some people are trying to watch this, you know!”
James looked appalled.
“If you think this film is more interesting than our conversation, you've got issues you stupid old bag!”
“I can't believe you got us chucked out.”
“Oh shut up, you tosser!” snapped James, looking furious. “This is the worst birthday ever!”
“Thanks,” said James moodily, kicking a a stone at a passing cat.
Mark couldn't help pitying his friend as the cat spat at him and ran away.
“Oh, come on mate, buck up! You're a good looking young guy, you've got your health, your wealth, big hands and feet; so what if some girl doesn't like you? There's plenty more fish in the sea!”
James grimaced as he marched towards the Hogs Head.
“Okay, first of all, I can't believe you referenced my big feet; I'm feeling depressed not sexually inadequate. Second of all, you're talking bullshit – there's no one else like Jessie. She's unique, kind, beautiful... and a bloody idiot to go out with that knob head!”
He was referring to Justin.
“I mean, seriously, what does she see in him? Who wants to go and see film about goblins for Merlin's sake!”
“Actually, I think that was Jessie's choice,” Mark corrected him.
“Yeah, well, nobody's perfect! God, I need a drink...”
“As if James ditched us, the traitorous git!”
“All's fair in love and war, Lily,” said Terri, as they headed into the Three Broomsticks, “And if I'd had to see that miserable sod's mug everywhere I turned for the rest of the day, there may well have been a war!”
“I just hope he and Jessie get together,” said Jas, as they found a table. “I don't think I can take much more yelling.”
“Believe me, Jas,” said Lily, as the waitress came over to take their order, “This tale is far from over.”
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