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Choices by sour_grapes_snape
Chapter 5 : Home for the Holidays
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9

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lovely chapter image by 'Hobbit @ tda!             



             I don’t think there’s anything that shapes a person more than their family. During the early years of our lives, when children are most susceptible, our family is – in most cases – the people we are around the most. They are the people that are supposedly predetermined to love and care for us. While this isn’t always the case, it is the norm.


                For me, being half Weasley, family is extremely important. There are a million and twelve of us, but we’re as closely knit as one of Nana’s Christmas sweaters, though perhaps not as cozy. Through thick and thin, we stick together.

                That’s not to say that we all like each other equally. For example, Louis is practically my brother because of all the time we spend with each other, but rarely do I ever seek out conversation with his sister, Dominique. It’s not that I don’t like Dom, because I do. We just don’t share many common interests and therefore, aren’t as close.

                If I were to choose the one person I’m closest to in my family, it would definitely be my mum, closely followed by my sister, Lily. You can go ahead and laugh and call me a Mummy’s boy, but it’s true. Most teenage boys, though they love their mums, never want to spend time with them or talk to them, but not me. I always look forward to breaks from school because then I can be around my mum.


                Now, I am by no means saying that I don’t get along with my dad. I love my dad and I think he’s, well… really awesome, to be honest. I really admire him for all that he’s gone through in life and how despite it all, he’s a loving family man. When I have my own family, I can only hope to be as good a father as my own was to me.

                But Mum and I… we’ve always been close. Everyone in the family can see it. I tell her everything, no matter how bad. I may hide things for a while, but in the end, she always knows everything that goes on in my life.


                And that’s probably why I feel so guilty about not telling her everything that’s happened between Selene and I. I mean, talking about how I had sex with Selene, while not as uncomfortable as it would be for most other people, really isn’t very high on the list of my priorities. But now that Selene is pregnant… that changes things.


                I don’t really know what is going to happen in my future. I’m not sure when Selene and I will be friends again, or if we ever will. I can’t quite figure out whether or not Lily is interested in Caleb Longbottom or if I’m just overly paranoid. I have absolutely no idea when Al will actually manage to get a proper girlfriend. But I do know that my crazy, overly large family will be there with me through it all.


                Also, Mum’s going to kill me when she finds out that she’s becoming a grandmother much earlier than she planned.



                “Stupid bloody Slughorn,” I muttered under my breath as I searched the shelves of the library. “Stupid bloody research project. Stupid bloody Amortentia. Stupid bloody library.”


                I have been spending way too much time in the library. Seriously. I might as well just set up a bed in here. I think I’ve spent more time in the library during the last three and a half months than I did throughout my previous six years at Hogwarts. And that’s just sad.


                Right now, I was looking for another book on Amortentia for my Potions project with Mickey. There was one week left until the Christmas holidays, so we needed to finish it. Fortunately, we only needed a little more information – which is why I’m looking for a book. Unfortunately, Mickey is on the Quidditch team and has practice tonight – which is why I’m looking for a book alone.

                “Why can I not find another stupid bloody book on stupid bloody Amortentia in this stupid bloody library?!” I growled in frustration. Yes, I am talking to myself. No, I am not insane. But if I don’t find a book within the next two minutes, that is subject to change.

                “You need to find some new adjectives,” came a voice from right behind me. I jumped, spun around, and waved my arms through the air like a (spastic) ninja, all at the same time. I’m sure it was an alarming sight.


                “Selene,” I said in surprise, relaxing back against the book shelf I had just been perusing. “You, er, surprised me.”


                She raised an eyebrow. “Really? I hadn’t noticed.”


                “Your sarcasm is noted.”


                “I did make it rather obvious.”


                I grinned. Ever since that day in the Great Hall, Selene had occasionally sought me out and we’ve had a friendly conversation. Progress? I think so. “What brings you here, Leena?”

                “I was just passing by and I heard you muttering like a mad man.” She shrugged. “And by the way, there’s a book on Amortentia right there,” she said with and amused smirk, pointing at a spot behind my shoulder.

                I twisted around again, immediately spotting the book she was talking about. Praise be to Merlin, my sanity is saved! I grabbed it eagerly before turning back to Selene.

                “You’re a life saver, Selene Diana Liddell,” I told her earnestly. She rolled her eyes.

                “Whatever you say, James.”

                “No really,” I insisted. “I spent ages looking for another book. How did you find that one so quickly?”


                “I’m awesome,” Selene said, winking. Is it pathetic to say her wink made my heart race? It is? Damn it.


                “Truth,” I affirmed, throwing my arm around her shoulders as we began walking out of that row of books and back to my table. “So do you want to join me, Lee?”


                “Can’t,” she said shortly. “I have a check-up with Madam Pomfrey. She just wants so see how everything is coming along before I go home over break.”


                “You’re going home?” I asked in surprise. “You know you’re more than welcome at my place.”


                She didn’t quite meet my eyes. “I should stay at home. There’s stuff I’ll probably need to talk over with my parents.”


                The apprehension in her eyes made me flinch. I can’t help but feel guilty every time I think about Selene’s pregnancy. I know it wasn’t completely my fault – two to tango and all that – but I just can’t shake the feeling that I’ve ruined her life.


                But instead of saying anything, I just nodded. “Okay then. Just... remember that our door is always open to you.”

                “Of course,” she said, her lips curving up slightly. “Thanks, James. I know I’ve been kind of distant and… obstinate as of late, but I do appreciate everything you’ve done for me.”

                “I haven’t really done much,” I muttered. Selene snorted.


                “You told Lily,” she contradicted. “And I know you two talk about it. I may have been a bit annoyed about it at first, but I really am grateful for it all. I’m sure not everything she’s told me has been completely her idea. And you’ve given me space when I wanted it. And that actually means a lot to me. So thank you.”

                I shrugged. “Anything for you, Lee. You know that.”


                Selene looked down at the floor, biting her lip. “Leena?” I asked.

                “Stupid hormones,” she mumbled, glancing back up at me. It was then that I saw that her eyes were shining with unshed tears. “I just – I know I haven’t really acted like it lately, but I really do appreciate you, James.”


                I smiled at her. “You’re my best friend, Leena. You have been since first year.” But I wish you were more.


                Her face twitched slightly. “Right. Friend. You’re my best friend.”


                That was weird. Did she look… disappointed? No, it must be my imagination. Selene looked briefly at her watch. “I should get going. Madam Pomfrey hates it if I’m late. She's getting barmier each year, I swear.”

                “Did you want me to come with you?” I offered hopefully. We’d made progress, so maybe this time…

                She hesitated. “I, um, I – no. Not yet. Sorry.”


                And she walked away. Yes, we’d made progress. But just not enough.



                “James Sirius Potter, you better hug me this instant or I swear to Merlin, boy, I will shave your head.”


               I grinned and moved forward to hug my mother as she let go of Lily and turned to glare at me. We had just arrived on Platform 9 ¾ and had immediately been swarmed by various member of the Weasley clan. Lily and I were currently greeting our parents. Al had yet to arrive.


                “H, Mum. I missed you, too. And you wouldn’t dare shave all of this glory.” I pulled away and ruffled my perpetually messy hair.


                “You know, the Dursley’s once cut off all of my hair when I was younger,” Dad said thoughtfully. “This was before I knew I was a wizard, so I accidentally made it all grow back overnight. That did not make the Aunt Petunia happy.”


                I stepped forward to hug my dad as well, surprising him. For the past two years, we’ve usually exchanged a manly handshake. But then he had to go and bring up his childhood like that.

                It makes me sad, okay? I know he’s made up with his aunt and his cousin Dudley, but I still can’t get over how awfully he was treated as a kid. Not to mention what he went through during Hogwarts. My dad had made a point of telling Al, Lily, and I all about what his life was like growing up. He really wanted us to understand why family was so important and, as cliché as it sounds, how powerful love is.


                I still remember the day that I found out about Dad being famous and why we only really had family on Mum’s side. My parents had wanted to wait tell my siblings and myself, not wanting it to shape our childhood. In fact, Al and Lily didn’t find out until they went to Hogwarts. But one day when I was nine, I was spending the afternoon with Fred and Roxy at Uncle George’s shop in Diagon Alley. At one point in the afternoon, we decided to go to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor. While we were there, we ended up being swarmed by paparazzi. Aunt Angelina had to rescue us. That night, my parents sat me down after Al and Lily went to bed and told me, in part, about Dad’s life. I researched more when I got to Hogwarts and they’ve told me the rest since then.


                And let me tell you, hearing all about Voldemort, both wars, and my Dad’s discovery of the magical world certainly served me up a piece of perspective pie. Heck, even thinking about it right now makes all my troubles seem trivial. When my dad was my age, he was in hiding, traveling the countryside looking for horcruxes. Forget one piece, I’ve just been given the entire perspective pie.

                “Why does he get a better hug than me?” my mum’s voice asked playfully, pulling me away from my thoughts. I realized I was still hugging my dad, who seemed bemused and I stepped back hastily.


                I turned to look at Mum, who smiled at me cheekily. “It’s easy to see who the favorite parent is for you, I guess.”

                “Sorry, Mum,” I grinned. I opened my arms up to her. “Would you like another hug?”

                She sniffed. “No. It’s about quality, not quantity.”


               “Then I’ll just give a hug that’s even better than the one I gave before.”

                “I don’t want it now,” Mum replied, crossing her arms.

                “Now, Gin,” Dad said in amusement. He’ll probably tell her she’s being silly. Good ol’ Dad, always being the voice of reason. “There’s no reason to be jealous just because James likes me more.”


                Or not. Maybe he’ll just throw more fuel on the flames. And throw me under the bus. Thanks Dad.


                “I love you both equally,” Lily piped up, smiling innocently. Don’t believe her for a second.


                “Suck up,” I muttered to her. She stepped on my foot. Bitch.


                “Hey, everyone,” Al said, arriving out of nowhere. I examined him for a moment. His hair was messy – er, messier than usual, that is – and his clothes disheveled. Yep. He had definitely been snogging some girl. That dog.


                Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to notice. “Albus Severus Potter,” Mum said disapprovingly. “Please tell me you were not just snogging some random girl.”


                He gaped at her. “Mum, I – what? Who – why would you – I mean… what?”

                She groaned. “You were.” She turned to glare at Dad. “This is all your fault.”

                “Me?” Dad said in surprise.


                “Yes, you! Oh, this is just like your sixth year! Every insipid, foolish girl was after you, and now our son had to go through the same thing!”


                “Hey, I never asked for all that!” Dad protested. “Besides, I just wanted them to leave me alone. And don’t act like you were so innocent. Half of the blokes in Hogwarts wanted you. And you didn’t ignore them like I did.”


                Did Dad just call Mum a slag? No… he couldn’t have. Mum just raised an eyebrow at him. “If by that, you mean I had a boyfriend. Just one boyfriend. Not six like you, Ron, Fred, and George all seemed to think.”


                “I never thought that,” Dad mumbled. He may have defeated the darkest wizard of all time, but even he wouldn’t dare cross Mum. You know, he probably didn’t even need to bother with all the horcruxes and final battle with Voldemort. Mum probably could’ve just yelled and intimidated him into submission.

                “You certainly implied it,” Mum said primly. “And might I remind you that you dated Cho Chang. And don’t even get me started on that Romilda Vane…”


                “You mean the girl that practically stalked me and tried to slip me a love potion?” Dad asked incredulously. “And fine, yes, I had one girlfriend. But I would like to remind you that you had two, not one.”


                “I’m aware of that fact. I was just saying that I only had one at a time,” Mum said patiently. “And they really weren’t all that bad. I mean, I know Ron was always worried they would mess me around, but in both cases, I was the one to ditch them. In fact, you were the only one to break up with me.”


                “Sure, I try to protect you and now I’m the bad guy, even 25 years later,” Dad grumbled.


                “You know, as fascinating as it is to hear all about your teenage love lives,” Lily broke in, “it really isn’t fascinating at all. In fact, it’s really not something I want to hear my parents discussing. So can we go?”


                “Okay, okay,” Mum said with a slight smirk. “Let’s get going, then. James, where’s Selene?”


                Well this is awkward. Mum, Dad, and Al all regarded me curiously while Lily shot me a wary look. “Uh, she’s going to her own house this Christmas. She, erm, wanted to spend some time with her own parents. She’s getting sentimental about graduating and stuff.”


                Why is it that I am completely incapable at lying on the spot? Look at who my family is! I should be a pro at this. Granted, if Selene and I ever got caught while doing a prank, she would usually be the one to lie our way out of detention, but still! I have a reputation for being the best prankster in the school and I can’t even lie decently. Pathetic. Then again, I haven’t done a single prank this year. My mind has sort of been otherwise occupied.


                “Huh. Well, I wasn’t expecting that,” Mum said dubiously. Though she wasn’t aware of the finer details, she did know that Selene wasn’t on the greatest terms with her parents.


                “Yeah, we were both surprised,” Lily inserted hastily, covering for me. “But she said something about wanting to bury the hatchet and all that.”


                “Oh. Okay. Just so long as she knows that she’s always welcome to visit.”


                I nodded quickly, desperate to move on. “Yeah, I told her. Shall we go?”

                As we walked away, Al gave me and Lily a suspicious look. He knew Selene and I haven’t been on the best terms lately, but I’d never told him why. Lily was the only person aware of Selene’s pregnancy.


                “Why do I feel like there’s something the two of you are hiding?” he asked in an undertone as we crossed the barrier into King’s Cross. Stupid cunning Slytherin.

                Lily and I exchanged glances. “No idea what you’re talking about, Al,” I told him breezily. Hmm, maybe I can lie.


                All right, yes, I felt bad for not telling Al. but I had wanted as few people to know about Selene being pregnant as possible. I told Lily because I knew she could help Selene with it. Besides, I’m going to tell Al and my parents. Eventually.



                One tradition the Potter family has is to take a family picture every year just before Christmas. My parents started this the Christmas after I was born. It’s just a way for us to preserve all our precious family memories or something like that.

                At first, Albus, Lily, and I would love taking this picture. We were little kids, excited to get all dressed up and let someone take our picture. As we aged, however, we grew more and more unwilling. We were teenagers and therefore too cool for family photos. Adults were there to bring us down and no one could understand our inner pain. Because we were rebellious teenagers. We were cool.


                But you know, eventually everyone realizes what an idiot they were when they were younger. I mean, I’m still an idiot – people seem to like to remind me of this all the time – but you know when you discover that you’re about to start a family of your own, it really makes you appreciate the one you already have. So I’m quite excited for the family picture this year, to be honest.

                Plus, it’ll probably be the last one I’m in, considering the fact that my mum is going to kill me. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I’ll just think happy thoughts.


                … I can’t think of any happy thoughts. All I can focus on is how angry my parents are going to be. Dear Lord, I’m going to suffer. I mean, just look at my dad! He was such a beast. He saved the Sorcerer’s Stone, killed a basilisk, warded off only Dumbledore knows how many dementors, was the Tri-Wizard champion, and did numerous other super cool things! He survived the Killing Curse – twice! He used the Cruciatus Curse on a Death Eater! He… he… he’s Harry freaking Potter!


                And my mum. Oh God, my mum. A pissed off Ginny Potter is the creature that haunts every child’s nightmare. I’m going to die.

                “Hey, James, we need to get downstairs for the pic – whoa, why do you look so pale?” Al asked in concern as he walked in, tightening the tie he was wearing.


                I turned to stare at him. “I don’t want to die.”


                He stared at me as though he was worried about my mental health. I get that look more times than I’d like to admit. “It’s just a picture, James. It’s not going to kill you.”


                “But Mum is!” I grabbed Al’s shoulders and shook him. “I don’t want to die, Al, I don’t want to die! I’m too young to be murdered by my own mother! Oh God.”


                Albus looked utterly baffled. “Er, James, could you let go of me?”

                “Don’t let me die!”


                “You’re not going to die!”


                “Yes I am!”

                “James!” Al shouted, pushing my arms away from him. “Why must you constantly manhandle me?”


                Huh. I guess I do kind of do that a lot. I never noticed before. Fascinating.


                “Right. Sorry, Al,” I said awkwardly. That was a really random freak-out. I guess I didn’t realize how nervous I am to tell my family until the fact of it began to loom imminent. Because I have to tell them over the holidays. They deserve to know, and I should tell them in person. But Merlin Almighty, I am scared shitless of my mother.


                “So, you want to tell me why you think Mum’s going to kill you?” Al asked in curiosity. “What did you do?”




                I was saved from having to answer by Mum shouting for us to hurry up. Well what do you know. Speak of the devil and the devil shall appear. Er, at least her voice will. Did I just call my mum the devil? Crap, now she’s really going to kill me. Or she would, if she knew. But maybe she a Legilimens! Wait no, if she was she’d already know Selene was pregnant. And I’d be dead. Or maybe she does know and is just waiting to kill me! Oh God, I’m going to die.


                “Don’t let Mum kill me,” I muttered in a panicked voice to Al as we walked downstairs. He just looked at me, disturbed. I think I might be worrying him.

                I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was worried, too.



                “James! Stop eating all the pancakes!”


                I froze, looking up at my mum, who was glaring at me, with my cheeks bulging with half-chewed food. I may or may not have just shoved three pancakes into my mouth at once. They also may or may not have been the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth pancakes I’d had that morning.


                I’m nervous. When I’m nervous, I eat. Don’t judge me


                “Sah-ee ‘um,” I tried to say. It wasn’t very coherent. Oops.


                Mum gave me a disgusted look. “You are far too much like your Uncle Ron.”


                I grinned at her sheepishly. Now Lily looked at me in disgust, too. I suppose I should have swallowed my pancakes first. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right?


                Finally clearing my throat, I tried again. “Sorry, Mum.”


                She eyed me distrustfully. Unfortunately, having my mum know me as well as she does means that she knows that I overeat when I’m nervous. So now she suspects something. Which makes me more nervous. I grabbed some more bacon.


                “James!” Mum said in exasperation. “I just told you to stop eating so much.”


                I blinked at her. “No, you told me not to eat so many pancakes. You said nothing about bacon.”

                She just raised an eyebrow at me. “I swear to Merlin, you’re the cause of all my gray hairs.”


                “But you’re far too young for gray hairs. And even if you did get them, you would still look nothing less than beautiful, oh Mother dearest,” I told her impishly. She smirked.


                “You’re such a little suck-up. I’ve trained you well.”


                I continued to eat, though with a bit less gusto, with Al and Lily. Dad had worked late the night before and was currently in bed. Mum, who wouldn’t have to go back to work as the coach for the Harpies until after New Years, finished cooking and sat down to join us. The four of us made idle conversation until all the food was gone – I think I ate most of it – and we cleared away the dishes. Dad had joined us towards the end, eyes heavy and his hair more tousled-looking than ever.


                I was heading up the stairs with Al when Mum called me back. “Hold on, James. Could you come into the sitting room for a minute? I want to talk to you.”


                Here it is. The day of reckoning has arrived. I’m about to be murdered by my own mother. Goodbye cruel world!


                I walked back into the sitting room. It was empty except for the two of us. Mum gestured to the couch. “Why don’t you sit down with me?”


                “Okay,” I said with a shrug. “So what’s up, Mum?”

                “Cut the crap, tosser,” she said. It’s pretty sad when a person gets insulted by their mother. Just saying. “I know something’s wrong, so why don’t you tell me and make it easier for both of us.”


                This is it. She knows that I got Selene pregnant. “Er… I, uh, don’t know what you mean.”


                Mum sighed. “I’m talking about Selene. I know that bit you said at the station about her wanting to spend time with her parents was complete rubbish. I also know that the two of you haven’t been on very good terms this year. I just want to know why.”


                …maybe she doesn’t know. Well this is just awkward now. “How did you know that?”


                She quirked an eyebrow and smirked slightly. Of course. “Al,” I hissed.


                “In the future, you might not want to jump on his back and demand that he says he loves you,” Mum snorted. I knew that one would come back to haunt me.

                “He told you because of that?” I said incredulously. “The little Slytherin.”


                “Actually, I asked him about it,” Mum admitted. I gaped at her. “I knew that when I hadn’t been receiving letters from McGonagall about your various misdoings that something had to be up. Either you had matured enough to stop doing pranks, or you and Selene were in some sort of fight. And let’s face it, there was no way it could have been the first one.”


                “You know, I thought that parents were supposed the people that loved you unconditionally and made you feel good about yourself,” I told her pointedly, though I was smiling.


                Mum shoved me lightly. “No. We’re here to make your lives miserable. I don’t know who’s been feeding you all those lies, but you really shouldn’t be so gullible.”


                I laughed and she smiled warmly at me. What’d I tell you? My mum is awesome. Just don’t tell her I said that.


                “Now, really James,” she said, getting serious again. “What’s going on?”


                Okay, this is really it. It’s time to tell my mum. But I don’t even have the slightest clue how to. I opened my mouth, not sure what I was about to say, when a pounding sound came from the door. My savior! My mum and I both got up to answer the door, but I gestured for her to sit down and went to get it myself. And I was completely unprepared for the sight that awaited me.


                “Selene?” I gasped.


                She looked at me, tears rolling down her face. Her cheeks were red from the cold and her hands shook slightly. I briefly caught a glimpse of the absolutely shattered look on her face before she flung herself into my arms. I pulled her into the house, shocked. Walking her over to the couch, I sat down, holding her on my lap. Mum gave me a concerned, questioning look. I shook my head slightly.


                “Hey, Leena?” I murmured. “What’s wrong?”


                She pulled back slightly, looking me in the eyes. “My parents kicked me out.”




Yes, the phrase “Harry freaking Potter” is indeed a reference to the song by the same name written by Darren Criss and performed in “A Very Potter Sequel.” If you haven’t ever heard it then you, my friend, are missing out.


This is another chapter that contains very random, unplanned scenes involving the Potter family. I’m not really sure where it all came from, but there you go. I hope you all liked it. And if you’d all be so kind as to leave a review, it’d be much appreciated!


Until next time.

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