Chapter 1 : Birdie
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There was a time, in his fifth year - or maybe it was his fourth - that he sat in the library with his best friend. She always got a strange look across her face when she studied. Her nose would scrunch up a bit, and she’d constantly push her long, bushy red hair out of face. She scribbled furiously and Scorpius was often one of the only people who could decipher her notes (something that worked in his favor around exam time).
At that moment, though, she clearly wasn’t studying. Scorpius looked up from his Potions essay to see her mindlessly doodling, her chin resting in the palm of her hand.
“Rose?” he asked hesitantly. “Are you feeling okay?”
“Yes,” she sighed, her voice barely a melancholy whisper. Always so dramatic, his best friend.
“What’s wrong?” he coaxed. He glanced down at the parchment she was drawing on. She’d been creating all sorts of birds. Some small and delicate, and some ferocious with large talons. Little silhouettes flew around the border of the paper, and Scorpius could nearly hear them chirping.
“You’re always drawing birds,” he noted.
She looked up at him and smirked. He saw embers flicker behind her previously morose eyes.
“I like birds.” She smiled. It was a crooked, true smile. Her eyes scrunched up and her nose wrinkled and if he’d taken a picture of her she probably would’ve hunted him down to have it destroyed. It was an imperfect smile.
He leaned forward. “What do you like about them?”
She rolled her eyes at his questioning but answered anyway. “They’re just so free, and pretty, and they just go where they like.”
Scorpius smiled to himself. Rose was quite the character.
“You’re a bit like a bird, then,” he said to lift her out of her mood. “I’ll start calling you ‘Birdie’.”
“You most certainly will not, Scorpius Malfoy,” she said, her tone going from soft and underspoken to full and authoritative.
“Yes, yes I will. Now, Birdie, I’d best be getting back to my essay.”
He smirked uncontrollably and ducked his head so that she wouldn’t be able to see. He could feel her eyes piercing into the top of his skull and he risked a peek. She was leaning back in her chair, her arms folded across her chest. She’d sucked her cheeks in and her jaw was tilted over to the side. The embers in her narrowed eyes had been fueled into an inferno.
From that day on, she was Birdie. She grew to tolerate the name, and Scorpius grew to love the girl.
“No, Rose, one more time before we leave.”
Rose sat back down at the small kitchen table and sighed, flipping her mane of red hair over her shoulder. “Scorpius, we’re already running late. We don’t have time. Get your jacket on.”
Scorpius rubbed his forehead in frustration. “Please, Birdie? It’ll just take five minutes.”
He looked across the table at her and widened his eyes. He took a hold of one of her hands and stroked it, giving the finger that now held a ring extra attention. Anger swelled up in her face before she finally chuckled and said, “Okay. Just one more time. And you’d best not blame me if we’re late.”
“I won’t have to blame you! They’ll just assume that you couldn’t decide which earrings to wear with that belt,” he retorted. He saw annoyance rise in her again and he pulled his feet back under his chair out of instinct. Right on schedule, he watched her upper body jerk as she tried to give him a good kick.
Scorpius laughed as he slid a small stack of cards across the table. She took hold of them and dramatically lifted the top from the stack and held it up.
Scorpius studied the picture. The girl had silver-blonde hair, and looked a fair bit older than Rose. She was very pretty.
“That’s Dominique,” he said confidently.
Rose frowned sarcastically and dropped her hands to the table.
“Victoire!” she exclaimed.
“No!” He reached across the table and grabbed the card. He studied the picture hard for a moment before turning it over and… yes. Yes, there it was, in his own scrawl, the name ‘Victoire’.
“Damn,” he muttered, tossing the card back.
Rose’s smirk vanished and was replaced by a warm smile. “It’s okay, Scorpius. You’ll get it. Just remember that Victoire will be with Teddy the entire time, and Dominique will be with….” She finished the phrase as a question, obviously intending for Scorpius to finish.
He bit his lip and concentrated. “Dominique will be with… Roxanne. They’re good friends, and they live together. Yeah, I know that because they were still at Hogwarts when we started, and that year of Ravenclaws was always causing trouble.”
Rose smiled again. “See, you know this.” She slid the cards back over to him. “Find Roxanne.”
It only took a moment of flipping through the pictures of waving family members for Scorpius to find her. She was easier to remember because of her dark complexion.
“I know most of your other cousins. Quiz me on your Aunts and Uncles,” Scorpius said, rubbing his palms on his trousers.
Rose glanced at the clock and shook her head. “Scorpius, we really don’t have time.” She rose from her seat and crossed the table. She nearly had to pull Scorpius out of the chair.
“You’ll be fine. Not all of my Aunts and Uncles will even be there. Aunt Fleur is the only blonde one and Uncle Bill has scars all over his face. You know Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny; you know my Mum and Dad. I don’t think anyone else is coming.”
“Okay.” Scorpius took a deep breath and swung his jacket over his shoulders while Rose slipped the ring into her pocket. “Okay, let's go, then.”
He held her hand tightly and took one more look around Rose’s calm flat before feeling himself pulled away.
Scorpius swallowed hard and opened his eyes.
“This is the Burrow?” he asked, surprised by how unstable it looked. Rose’s family had a fair bit of wealth; he expected a family home to match. The Greengrass Manor was incredibly large and ornate. This was… less than that.
“Yes,” she replied simply, beaming up at the structure. “Isn’t it lovely?”
“Er…,” he said apprehensively, “Absolutely. Just lovely.”
She lightly punched his arm. “You’ll see what I mean when you get inside. I spent most of my summers here because it’s just so… ah, I can’t describe it.”
Rose marched Scorpius up to the front door and opened it without knocking, something that Scorpius couldn’t imagine doing at his own Grandparent’s house.
For a moment, he understood exactly the feeling she was describing. He walked through the threshold and was hit with a breeze of emotional warmth and serenity.
For a moment.
“Rosie! You’re here!” An older witch stuck her head out of the kitchen and called into the sitting room, “Everyone! Rose is here! And dinner will be on the table in a few minutes, so you lot should just come in and sit down now.”
When he was young, Scorpius once watched a muggle cartoon where a number of men dressed in funny outfits crammed themselves into a small vehicle and then came out one by one, a seemingly endless chain. He was reminded of that phenomenon, barring the fancy dress.
"Birdie," he whispered frantically, "you said they'd already be at the table."
"I thought they would be," she said through a smile. She gave his hand a squeeze and released it as the tsunami of faces came swarming towards them.
Hand after hand sought his own for shaking while arms wrapped around his neck and a few lips pecked his cheek, and Scorpius was dizzied. Why didn’t he have Rose do the flashcards faster, to better simulate this zoo?
“Hello, Mr. Weasley,” he said, shaking the hand of… of… Uncle Bill! Yes, yes, Uncle Bill. The scars. That would mean next up is probably… yes! Aunt Fleur. “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Weasley. You look lovely.”
“You are too sweet!” she said in a thick French accent that he could hardly understand. “Call me ‘Fleur’.”
Scorpius smiled. This didn’t have to be terrible. When the time came, he remembered Rose’s advice and distinguished between Victoire and Dominique flawlessly. Rose was right to predict that only half the family was attending. He immediately noticed James and Louis’s absences, but learned that they’d both been signed onto the same Quidditch team. Rose’s Uncle Percy and his family were on holiday, which was a disappointment to Scorpius because he got along well with Lucy, who had been a Slytherin a few years younger than him.
Also missing was her Uncle George and Aunt Angelina, along with Freddie. They’d apparently just received a massive order at the joke shop. Her Uncle Charlie was away on his yearly trip to Romania.
Rose’s brother, Hugo, gave Scorpius a friendly pat on the arm and pulled him aside.
“Rose told me why she’s brought you here,” he whispered. Scorpius felt his jaw tighten and Hugo continued, “You’ve got my support, but you should know that the last male that was added to the Weasley family by marriage was Harry Potter.”
Scorpius’ eyes widened in horror. “What about Teddy?” he whispered furiously.
Hugo shook his head. “Teddy is Harry’s Godson, so he was already part of the family. Doesn’t really count.”
Hugo nodded and left Scorpius to shake the hand of Ronald Bilius Weasley. Rose’s father.
His eyes were cold and unforgiving. Scorpius tried to calm his shaking and wished that he’d had time to wipe the sweat from his palm before extending his hand.
“I’m an Auror,” he said slowly, refusing to break eye contact with Scorpius.
Simultaneously, Scorpius said, “Yes, Sir,” Rose said, “Dad!”, and her Mum said, “Ronald!”
“Don’t worry about him, dear,” Rose’s mother said. “You’re doing fine. Come on into the dining room. The family loves you. Just make a few jokes and don’t talk about your father.”
Rose smiled facetiously and pulled her father away from them, leading him rather forcefully into the dining room. Scorpius and her Mum followed closely. They all sat down and started eating the meal that Rose’s Gran had prepared.
“Mmmm,” Scorpius moaned, taking a bite of the roast duck. “Mrs. Weasley, this is fantastic. Better than Hinky ever manages, and she’s one of the best.”
“Who is Hinky, dear?” Mrs Weasley asked, blushing at the compliment.
Silence erupted from the table and Scorpius realized the significance of his words long after they’d left his mouth. He looked frantically to Rose and could feel his heart-rate rising. He could see her look of confusion as she struggled to react, and Scorpius was entirely unprepared when she blurted out, “Scorpius proposed and I said ‘yes’.”
There was never a time in any of the family members’ collective memory that less sound came from a Weasley family dinner. Everyone looked to Gran and Uncle Bill (who had become the patriarch of the family following Rose’s Grandad's death a few years prior) for their reactions.
They both looked stunned by the announcement. Scorpius swallowed hard and had to fight his instincts, which were telling him to slither under the table and reside there for the rest of life. Rose wouldn’t mind moving in under the table, would she?
The silence was finally broken when Dominique wolf-whistled and Roxanne said, “Good going, Rose. Snagged yourself a rich one.”
“Roxanne!” Rose’s Mum scolded.
Roxanne smiled. “Sorry, Aunt Hermione. Just trying to diffuse the tension.” (1)
She may not have diffused the tension, but she certainly broke through it. Rose’s father’s face cycled through no less than ten shades of red and purple while he glared at Scorpius.
“You’re a filthy Malfoy,” he spat. “Rose, you better not take his last name.”
Scorpius sunk into his chair while Rose and her father got into an arguing match from across the table. This was it. This would be the end of his relationship, maybe even the end of his life, if her father was angry enough.
The rest of the family sat awkwardly, watching the row unfold. Even Dominique and Roxanne seemed to be at a loss for words.
Scorpius covered his face in his hands, plugging his ears with this thumbs. He felt tears welling up behind his eyelids but begged himself not to cry. He took a few deep breaths. He wouldn’t cry. That wouldn’t help.
He slowly moved his trembling hands from his face and looked up to see Harry Potter staring at him. Scorpius couldn’t read his face. His green eyes studied him carefully and Scorpius felt locked in place.
Harry’s eyes slowly moved from Scorpius to Ron and he finally called out, over the yelling between Ron and Rose, “Ron, stop.”
Both Rose and her father stopped yelling long enough for Harry to say, “Let’s take a walk.”
Rose and Scorpius returned to her flat after hours of brutal family time.
“They hate me,” he said.
“No they don’t,” Rose said leading him to the sofa and wrapping her arms around him. “Once Uncle Harry got my Dad calmed down, you and Albus were talking. Albus is the moral compass of the family. If he likes you, they’ll all follow.”
Scorpius groaned and pulled a blanket over them. They adjusted so that Scorpius was laying down, his head resting gently on her lap.
“I’m sorry, Birdie,” he groaned into her stomach.
Rose couldn’t help but laugh. “Scorpius, it’s fine. My family is a lot to take in. You did fine.”
“I mentioned my house elf,” he said while he wrapped his arms around her.
“Okay,” she said with a laugh. “That probably wasn’t the best call. I love you, so they’ll learn to love you too. Apparently when Gran met Aunt Fleur she refused to speak to her. They get along now.”
Scorpius frowned, thinking about the fact that they still had to tackle the daunting task of telling his family. “Let’s just go to bed. My family will go better; I’m determined to make it go better.”
Rose smiled. “Okay, love. Let’s go to bed.”
They rose from the sofa slowly and crawled into bed, falling asleep peacefully in each other’s arms.
(1) Quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, screenplay by Steve Kloves, property of Warner Bros.
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