Chapter 1 : Blended Christmas
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A/N: This was written for the Winter Writer's Duel 2013. And, me, trying out a ScoRose
The Perfect Blend
Her first memories of the Christmas holidays were of noise and gaiety, loud and happy enough to wake the dead. She remembered the chill of the cold snow that drifted down to the ground and formed banks outside the house. The snow might have come in either soft flurries or angry bursts but it always came. Inside the house there would be tinsel on the windows and a tree full of sparkling decorations. Decorating was an event; one where her entire family would spend a whole day decking the house; she would always insist on putting the star on top of the tree.
Of course, when it came to Christmas there would always be the Burrow, overflowing at the seams yet always, by some miracle, able to accommodate the entire family, which included a huge assortment of cousins, uncles and aunts. Friends were also invited, like her aunt Luna and her family and uncle Neville and his.
People would spend a considerable amount of time on presents too. There was the giving of them, the general confusion when tags were misplaced and the admiring of gifts when wrappings were finally torn away. Of course, the old and dark wooden floors would disappear completely; to be replaced with bright wrapping paper strewn about by excited hands.
Christmas dinner would always scent the air, oven-roasted turkey lovingly made by her grandma Molly along with the succulent ham, stuffing, potatoes and bread all laboured over by her aunts and sometimes an uncle or two. Save her mum, of course, the family never quite trusted her mum with anything more complicated than setting the table. She had to agree with them, she always ate best when she was at her grandmother’s though she never told her mum that.
After greetings and presents, the happy day would not be complete without mince pies and most of her male cousins making a contest of eating the most of the delicious treat. Her uncles and her dad would join in, provided their wives allowed them to do so or were not around to disapprove. Normally it would be her aunt Ginny, who would catch them but thankfully her uncle Harry was never a huge fan of eating contests unlike the other Weasleys and even unofficial cousin Teddy, who was always there for the holidays.
Then it would end with the pudding. She never hesitated in admitting that it was one of her favorite parts of the day. There would be all the luscious cake and tarts and, of course, trifle, her one great favorite. Her father always said she had a sweet tooth as sweet as she; her mother would just laugh and tell her not to eat too much sugar or Grandma and Grandpa Granger wouldn’t be too happy. She always tried to stop and couldn’t but they’d let her be anyway, if only for that one special day.
The moment the sun began hiding, the day, which had started with children bouncing excitedly on their parents’ beds, would always end with a bang. Her Uncle George would set off fireworks, designs ranging from Christmas crackers and even to dragons, her Uncle Charlie’s favorites. Her Grandma Molly would always disapprove but the argument after the fact was more tradition than anything with any sort of real heat. To help things along, her aunt Angelina would just punch her husband lightly on the shoulder and land a soft kiss on her grandma’s cheek then everything would be alright with the world again.
When the fireworks were done and the dinner still a very pleasant recent memory, she would cuddle against her favorite uncle, Charlie and would poke and prod at his scars, new and old, until he relented enough to tell her stories of how exciting it was to be a dragon tamer in Romania. Such exciting stories were they that all her cousins would eventually settle in a semi-circle around their uncle, the only one, who never got married, to listen in rapt attention.
Before too long, her uncle Percy would come and ‘tut’ in that way he had at his brother for ‘filling the children’s head with enough horrors to fuel nightmares until Boxing Day.’ But, always the peace maker; before any argument could break out her aunt Audrey would come and pull her husband away, telling him that ‘children deserved adventures, real or otherwise.’
Eventually the stomachs filled with a wonderful dinner would cause sleepiness and many heads would begin nodding off. Try as she might to keep awake, her eyes would begin to droop and in mere moments of that happening her mother or her father would be there to cart her off to bed. Her mother called her, as she always did, her beautiful little Rosie; making her feel loved. Her father called her his lovely flower; making her feel very special. Whoever it was, though, who carried her to bed, she would be tucked under her soft, warm blanket and wished the sweetest dreams with two kisses on the forehead.
She would wake up, bright and insanely early the next day with snow, old and new, on the ground and memories of another wonderful Christmas Day with family swimming in her head. She would look at all the presents she’d gotten the day before --- strewn about haphazardly if it had been her father to cart them in; in neat piles if it had been her mother.
A smile would touch her lips, that of an innocent child’s, as she enjoy the last lingering sensation of the holiday. And with a giggle, she would snuggle back down under the covers, more to see if she could catch a few more hours sleep and dream of Christmases, those done or yet to come.
His earliest memories of Christmas were never quite special and always the same. At precisely 8‘oclock in the morning, a house-elf would wake him up. It would normally be one of their older house-elves, Toppin. After all, she favored him and called him her Master Scorpius.
She would come in quietly, walking over to wave his heavy satin curtains open. The sunlight, glancing off the white snow would shine so bright; bright enough that he would start waking before the small squeaky voice would tell him, very politely that he needed to wake up if he wanted to get to brunch on time. Brunch was served at precisely 9:15 in the morning in the small dining room on the second floor of the East wing. She told him that every year and it never changed.
When he was old enough, his body would be well accustomed to waking up that early and he would not need anyone to wake him up. But he always laid awake in his bed and would not get out on Christmas. He would always wait to be woken up in the hopes that year would be different. He would stare at his door and would wait for it to open but every year, to his disappointment it would always be Toppin. Just Toppin.
Brunch would always be a quiet and dignified affair, a perfectly-cooked meal that was enjoyed in silence by a perfectly-groomed family. His father would be at the head of the table and it would be his mother to the right and himself to his father’s left. They had place cards even when no one would dare change the seating chart.
If there was any talk it would be sedate; with calm words delivered in perfectly modulated voices. The chatter would be ordinary and unimportant, full of mundane and daily matters; should there be any talk of Christmas it was never of spending it as a family. His father would talk of an important holiday event that he had to go to and his mother would speak of meeting his aunt Daphne and a couple of other ladies for a cup of Christmas tea.
The meals would always end with his mother turning to him and telling him that his presents were in his parlor. His father would merely nod absently at him, mind already full of other matters. He would wait, even hope, that he would be given a smile. On good years, he would likely get half of one.
He would thank them, in the polite manner they had taught him, and walk calmly, as there was no running in the Malfoy household, two rooms down to the East parlor. This was his parlor as it was where he was allowed to do what he wanted and nobody ever bothered him.
As a yearly staple, he would receive the latest model of broom in the market. Added to that, he would get whatever other small things he’d admired in a store window or read, in passing, on an advertisement in the Prophet. After a few years, the novelty of getting whatever he wanted would wear thin. There came a time that he would barely glance at his presents, much less open them up.
An hour or so before dinnertime, he would be reminded by a house-elf that he needed to prepare to take the meal in the dining room. It was normal for his mother to be there and for his father not to be. There would be very little conversation; his mother asking if he had enjoyed his gifts. Every year, no matter what he truthfully felt, he would thank her mother and ask about her day.
He was never allowed to overindulge with his eating, even when he ate alone and no matter how much he wanted to. His parents would not join him for a meal when they had an event to go to but they made sure that the house-elves kept an eye on his eating habits so he was always careful.
On a moderately full stomach, he would lie down on his bed staring listlessly at the presents that Toppin would normally arrange neatly inside his room. He would fall asleep, staring at the boxes and shiny, unopened packs. They would be the only things reminding him that it was Christmas.
The next day he would wake up, still precisely at 8’oclock in the morning with the gifts the first things he would see. If he hadn’t, he would have completely forgotten that the day before had been a widely-acknowledged joyous holiday.
Her first Christmas away from home, she and her cousins had talked about giving time for their parents to go on vacation during the holidays. True to form, their parents had all protested at first but eventually their mothers warmed to the idea and convinced their husbands to go along.
Of course, everyone got together to put enough money to give her grandma Molly and grandpa Arthur a grand holiday vacation as no one in the world deserved it more. It took a lot of time and effort to convince her grandparents but after promising that they would spend a lot of the summer over at the Burrow, they were eventually persuaded to take the trip
Her male cousins had been the ones who wanted to stay around for the holidays to have the run of the castle, as much dinner as they wanted and maybe something fun to drink. She just went along with them simply because she wanted but never got enough fun.
Their uncle Nevile, who had once gone to school with her mum and dad, had mentioned a room that they’d once used during the last wizarding war. The stories were so interesting that James had found a map of the castle in his father's desk. The map didn't really tell him about the room but Uncle Neville, who was also Professor Longbottom, had spilled the secret eventually. Added to the map, James had become master of the castle's every nook and cranny.
James had never told most of them about the map, and in fact had only told Fred, but she had been smart enough to figure out that he had it with him. She had promised never to tell on her crazy cousin and considered it a Christmas gift for him even if James didn’t know about it. James and Fred had gone to the room beforehand and taught it, down to the last pillow, how they wanted it to look for when they had their after dinner Christmas party.
When Christmas dinner started there weren’t too many people who had chosen to stay over the holidays. Basically, it was her, her not inconsiderable family plus a few other people like Albus’ best friend Scorpius, who she shared a year with as well and a couple of their professors. With no one to ride herd on them, the boys ate dessert before properly tucking into their roast and potatoes and a good portion of the meal was spent stuffing mince pies into already overfull mouths. As wrong and disgusting as it was, she could not scold them when she had one too many bowls of her favored trifle herself.
After dinner they trudged en masse to the Room of Requirement. A bottle of butterbeer was thrust into her hands immediately after entering the room. Fred and James had snuck off to buy the drinks as they knew how to throw great parties. Everyone had agreed to exchange gifts during the party and open the ones that had arrived by owl then too. So the room became host to the piles of rubbish generated by about a dozen teenagers opening gifts.
A couple of hours after midnight, too much butterbeer coupled with other drinks she never bothered with had been properly consumed. The frivolous drinking had made most of them pass out inelegantly on every available surface in the room. She had enough presence of mind and sense of responsibility as a fifth-year prefect to stay sober enough to tuck herself into her very own bed in the Gryffindor dormitory.
When she woke the next day, she’d dreamt of Christmas in the Burrow but had been content enough to smile about her Christmas in Hogwarts.
He’d argued with his parents, rationally, about wanting to stay over at Hogwart’s for Christmas. As far as they were concerned, being fifteen years old meant that he had to do whatever they bid. His father has sent a letter demanding that he be on the train heading home for Christmas. Even without Albus begging, blackmailing and threatening him to spend the holidays in the castle, he would have done anything to be able to stay.
He had pointed out the benefits of him being at school such as not being saddled with a teenager on his important holiday events. He’d also written his mum and had begged, quite inelegantly to let him stay. For the first time in his life, she’d done something for him that made him happy.
As retribution though, his father had ordered his mum not to send over any of his gifts. He still got his broom but it was a yearly tradition that even his father wouldn’t break. He didn’t mind about the gifts; he put a lot of value spending Christmas where the holiday and the people who celebrated it actually mattered.
During dinner he sat beside Albus and he was surprised at the sheer amount of food just a few people could eat in mere minutes and the noise that could be generated by just a handful of people. He supposed that was what it was like when people were family and actually liked being around one another.
Dinner wasn’t enough so Albus, with the encouragement from the rest of Weasleys and Potters, who were in a welcoming holiday mood had invited him to their after dinner party. He had wanted to decline and was already on his way to hide in his dorm room but Albus trapped him in a headlock and dragged him bodily towards that fascinating room on the seventh floor thus leaving him no choice.
Butterbeer in hand he’d been stunned when Albus and Rose had both handed him, from each of them, a gaily-wrapped present. He was so surprised and didn’t really want to accept the gifts when he had absolutely nothing to give back. Rose had shrugged at his open-mouthed look and said that he ‘looked like he never got enough gifts that mattered.’ While much of the night had already made him feel different than all the other Christmases in his entire life that very moment when she had casually handed him a present had definitely struck a different cord in him.
Not long after Rose left, he went back to his own house dormitory as well. As he had crawled into bed, when crawling was the only thing he could do, the last thing he looked at before he closed his eyes was a small present from a redhead, who wasn't quite a friend, that he hadn’t even bothered to unwrap. He couldn’t remember having had a better Christmas and the next day he woke up and for the first time remembered that it was the day after Christmas.
The warmest part of their bodies was the very point where they met. With her hand clasped in his, Rose stood with Scorpius outside the Burrow. She was familiar with the sounds and sights that she would see and hear once she opened the door but the man whose hand she held did not. She cast a glance at him; he looked cool as he always did. She knew him well enough to know that he was pretty nervous.
Albus knew they were both coming and together. He was friend and confidant to them both and instrumental to making sure she got together with Scorpius. Apart from her cousin no one else knew who she was bringing to the family gathering as a date. She had let her parents know that she was bringing a guy with her and that alone had nearly made her dad blow a gasket. Her mother had been a rock, full of support and had stopped her father from saying the worst.
She tightened her grip on his hand; to give reassurance to both of them. She raised a hand to knock but stopped before her hand connected. She had never knocked on the Burrow’s door and wasn’t about to start. Besides, with the hell being raised inside it was highly doubtful that any attempt to knock would be noticed.
She gave him a small kiss on the cheek while he ran a hand down her unruly red hair. She pushed open the door and immediately took in the scene. As was the case every year, all the men, young and old, were involved in eating the most mince pies. There was cheering and her mother stood with hands on her waist, which meant her father was probably winning.
She opened her mouth and was about to call out a casual Christmas greeting to everyone when, one by one, every person inside the Burrow stopped talking, cheering and shouting. They all just stared at her and her surprise guest. Oblivious to the last though, her father kept eating until, noticing that it had gone quiet saw her in the doorway with her guest.
His eyes immediately went to where his hand held hers and Rose knew that year’s Christmas wasn’t going to be quite as traditional.
They entered the house together; he might have been afraid but he was determined to be brave for her sake. The noise was loud enough to render anyone unused to it deaf and just when he was getting used to it, the silence was louder than all the voices together ever had been.
Rose’s father had looked at him and he had felt the hand in his tighten; he answered the gesture, squeezing the small hand in return. When Rose called out a greeting to the room in general, there was silence.
Rose’s mother broke the silence and called Rose her beautiful little Rosie and he could not help but smile at the endearment that so obviously suited the woman beside her. Albus suddenly barreled into the room, a mince pie in one hand and glass of pumpkin juice in another. His best friend looked at both of them and at their joined hands and his face cracked into an enormous grin. He greeted them both with a cheery Merry Christmas and pulled both of them with him.
Mr. Weasley, Rose’s father, regaining his composure back, called Rose my lovely flower, with particular emphasis on the ‘my’ and while it was a beautiful nickname, Scorpius felt that he had been threatened and warned in one sentence.
After the initial discomfort of people looking at him as though trying to figure out what on earth he was doing there, everything went back to normal or as normal as it could be with such a completely different element such as him added into the equation.
He’d expected much food and noise since Rose had regaled him with all the stories; everything exceeded his wildest dreams. There were fireworks and stories; half of the people there had gone to school around the same time that his father had gone to school and that fascinated him.
He didn’t join in any of the conversation; he didn’t really know how. He would answer questions directed at him; joke a bit with Albus and assure Rose that he was doing fine. Most of all he enjoyed watching them and seeing how Christmas for other families were done and, in his opinion, done right.
As the evening was winding down, Rose handed him a gift. It was about the same size and weight of the very first gift she had given him three years ago in Hogwarts and much like every single box he had gotten from her every year since then. He took the box but he didn’t bother opening it; he never seemed to be in a hurry to open it.
He felt Rose sigh as she laid her head on his shoulder; both of them were idly watching James and Fred use up the last of their energy chasing each around the living room. She whispered, softly enough for only his ears, “Maybe next year we could have our own Christmas. Quieter, maybe?”
He smiled knowing she loved, out of everything, spending Christmas with her family. She was probably giving him an easy way out of it. “I like your family.” He knew she would understand that he meant about liking everything – the food, the traditions and even the deafening cacophony.
And he knew she was smiling, too, when she pulled his hand to hold in hers, “They like you too, Scorpius.”
He sighed, happy and content for the first time in a very long while. “Mhmmm.”
There was a slight movement then he felt a kiss on his left temple. A ticklish sensation washed over him when she whispered into his ears, a laugh in her voice. “Well… most of them.”
And he was glad enough to spend Christmas as one of two, together and laughing. A perfect blend.
A/N: That's it. :) A review is appreciated if you are so inclined. Thanks for reading. :D
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