Chapter 1 : Christmas Day
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“I get to open the next present!” Lily Potter announced, greedy eyes searching the presents that were around the tree for one with her name on it.
“Of course Lils.” Dad reassured her, laughing a bit seeing as no one else seemed to be competing with her.
James looked outright awful, I’d noted that he’d been doing his best to keep up with big boys when it came to drinking at the Burrow last night for family Christmas, something about being told he was much too like Uncle Percy had put him off, and he was clearly paying for it. As was, much to my surprise, Mum. She was never much for drinking, but apparently this was a more stressful holiday season than most as Dad had to side-along apparate with her the night before. She had been that messed up, and was now clutching her coffee like it was her lifeline despite the hangover potion. Course Dad never drank too much, but it wasn’t like he was going to fight his twelve-year-old daughter for rights to the next present.
And I was distracted at best, though as much as I tried to show excitement for Lily’s sake, I couldn’t keep my mind off of the deed that needed to be done today. I had been dreading it all of break, but we had promised each other that we’d both do it by Christmas day. Merlin knew that he was not one to break his word, despite the fact that he had it worse off. So I needed to make sure that I held up my end of the bargain.
“Al-look!” Lily’s voice brought me out of my thoughts. She was clutching a new broom, eyes completely lit up. “Now we’re gonna beat you for sure! There’s no way that you’ll be able to beat me for the snitch in the next game if I’ve got the newest broom!”
“No way, I’ve got years on you, fancy broom or not Slytherin is going to take the cup!” I replied, though my protests were half hearted. I knew that Dad could tell because he shot me a pointed look, but I shook my head.
“We’ll see! You may have bested James but everyone knows that I’m the best seeker in the whole family, right Dad?”
“I think I best stay out of this, we’ll have to see who wins.” Dad, ever the diplomat, insisted. “But-I think that you might have a shot Lils.”
“Way to pick a favorite Dad.” James chimed in from where he was lying on the couch, not one to miss an opportunity to annoy Lily. “Albus is probably going to go on to play professionally next year Lils, so no, you probably don’t have a single chance at beating him.” Lily looked really put out. So Dad ruffled her hair.
“Don’t worry sweetie, your brothers used to tell me that I wasn’t any good either and I believe that there’s a Harpies jersey upstairs with my name on it.” Mum chimed in.
“Yeah- well rumor is that a Puddlemore scout is coming to watch me at the next game.” I announced, pleased at the proud look that crossed both my parents’ faces. “And last I checked they’re the best in the league, so you’re going to have to do a lot of work if you want to keep up with me Lily.”
Rather than getting her more irritated, as I’d been hoping, Lily’s eyes had grown as wide as saucers.
“Really? Puddlemore?” She asked, Puddlemore was her favorite team as well. Mostly because I’d forced her to when we were little. “Do you think you can give me some pointers later then, I want to get scouted by them too when I’m old enough!”
“Not till next year. Don’t want to give away any secrets while your still my competition.”
Lily was about to open her mouth, probably to offer up some sort of offer, but James cut her off.
“Enough Quidditch talk, it’s Christmas and while I can put up with all this talk for the other three hundred and sixty four days, on Christmas there’s a cap.” James said, causing Lily to sink back into the couch. “Now someone pass me a present.”
Lily was clearly put out, but knew that if she tried to push it Dad would probably cut in about how James had a point. Even though he had clearly been born into the wrong family, what with his Ravenclawness and healer school, and lack of love of anything that had to do with Quidditch Dad always made sure not to push him.
“Fine.” Lily groaned, digging around the tree for something with his name on it. She found a long thin box and tossed it at him.
I tuned out again, fairly certain that the box contained a quill that he’d be way too excited over, one again pondering the possible ways to bring the topic up. Would everyone pick it up if I hinted at it, or would I have to come right out and say it? How would everyone react? Should I do it while we were opening presents, or would it upset Mum? Maybe I ought to corner Dad first and then ask him how I ought to go about tell everyone else, but that didn’t seem like a better option. All I had was a bunch of bad options, but I was going to have to pick one of them. I tugged at the collar of my jumper, did everyone else think that it was that warm in here?
“Albus your up.” Lily announced.
“I’m-what?” I sputtered, I had to tell them now? How did they even know that there was anything to tell?
“For presents?” Lily looked at me strangely, but it was nothing close to the look that Dad was shooting me and I quickly scrambled over to the tree to pick out something with my name on it.
I returned to the loveseat, my finger just under the first bit of paper when there was a knock at the door. Everyone looked at each other, perplexed looks on their faces.
“Were we expecting someone?” Mum questioned, the question that was on everyone’s mind.
“I don’t think so, I’ll go check it out.” Dad responded, and I watched as he made sure he wand was tucked into his pocket before he headed through the kitchen to the front door.
“I’ll just wait for him to come back, it’s probably someone at the wrong door.” I explained, not wanting him to miss out on any of the present opening. Besides, Mum seemed to be doing her best to overhear what was going on from here, even though it was impossible to overhear anything.
“Is everything alright Harry?” Mum called, and I could tell that a whole list of awful things were streaming through her mind as she waiting to see what was up.
“Just fine-hey Albus could you come out here?” Dad called back, his voice oddly strained.
Everyone looked at me funny, especially Mum, and I wondered why Dad could possible need me, but I got up all the same and hurried down the hall. When I got through the kitchen to the entry way I could tell that someone was standing there with Dad as he was speaking in a hushed tone, clearly worried, but whoever was at the door was silent so it wasn’t until I was much closer that I identified the blonde hair.
“Scorp?” I questioned, both happy and confused to see that he had come. “What are you-“
Dad had stepped out of the way and I got my first good look at Scop, almost wishing I hadn’t. His face was a mess, not only had he been given a black eye but there was a dark mark across his chin as well. His nose didn’t seem to be quite right either there was blood stained there.
“Bloody Hell, what happened?” I questioned, but Scorp didn’t answer, his eyes trained on the ground.
“Who did this to you?” I tried again, but Scorpius didn’t say anything, he kept his eyes on the ground clearly unable to come up with something to say. It was odd, because usually it was bloody impossible to get him to shut his trap for even a moment. He avoided my eye, glancing briefly at my Dad who seemed vey confused.
“Would you like some tea Scorp?” My Dad surprised us by asking, much to both of our reliefs. I could tell by his expression, the way that he seemed to be clenching his teeth, his eyes still examining Scop’s face that he was anything but happy, but he was doing his best to keep it together.
“Sure Mr. Potter, that’d be great.” He replied, and we followed after my Dad, who was already putting the water on.
Scorp wouldn’t even look at me, but I couldn’t stop looking at him, at how completely awful he looked and how it was all my fault, so I starting wringing my hands.
Dad seemed perfectly content to not press anything until there was tea, but of course Mum was confused at what was going on and made her way in from the living room.
“What brings you here-oh.” Mum went from slightly annoyed to clearly shocked as she took the scene before him. “What on earth happened Scorpius?” Mum seemed very concerned, walking straight over to my friend and taking his face in her hands. She bit her lip as she inspected his injuries, not seeming to notice how uncomfortable it was making him.
“Mrs. Potter, its really alright.” He insisted, trying unsuccessfully to get out of her grip. “I didn’t mean to intrude on your Christmas-I just-I didn’t know where to go.”
“Nonsense Scorpius, we’ve always told you that you were welcome in this house and we meant it.” I was impressed; Mum seemed to be handling this interruption well. “Let me just run upstairs and get you something for those bruises.” She gave a curt nod before heading upstairs, muttering something to James and Lily on the way up.
“Scorpius, I need you to tell me what happened.” Dad had pulled out his Aurror voice, something that put Scop on edge. He opened and closed his mouth for a moment before he finally spoke, quickly as if he was pulling a band aid.
“I told him Al-I just, I never thought that he was going to get that mad about everything but when I mentioned it was you-I mean he went bezark, absolutely lost it.” Scorp was speaking animatedly, like he was telling a usual story, but of course it wasn’t nearly as pleasant. “Mum calmed him down….he was a mess after, kept saying he was sorry…but I just, I couldn’t just sit down and pretend nothing happened.”
I felt like I was going to be sick, Scop had managed to tell his parents, and this is what had happened and I wasn’t concerned about anything nearly as bad and yet my parents were still in the dark. Luckily Dad seemed more concerned about the injures than anything else he was saying.
“Your father did this?” Dad’s voice was very tight, and I knew that it was the history with Mr. Malfoy that was making it that way.
“Yes.” A guilty look crossed his face. “I-I don’t want to get him in trouble though, that’s not why I came here I mean, I’m of age so I’d have to press charges right? And I don’t…” Scorp seemed to be at a loss of words and ran a hand through his hair. “Look-I know you and my Dad don’t have the best past but he’s really not a bad guy.”
“Of course your father isn’t a bad guy Scop, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t do something wrong.” Dad seemed to be struggling to say the right words, something that caught me off guard. “But if you don’t mind me asking-what was it that made him so mad?”
This time it was Scorp who seemed confused, as if I’d followed through on my end of the bargain he would have been able to figure out the issue. As I made eye contact I realized that he was more than confused, he was hurt. I tugged awkwardly at the sleeves of my jumper. “Scorp-I was going to tell them, I swear I was just about to when you showed up here.”
“Sure, yeah, I’m sure you were.” He replied hastily.
“Don’t be like that, I really mean it, I was just trying to figure out the right way to go about telling them-it’s not exactly easy to explain.” I stuttered.
“And you think it was easy for me?” Scorp shot back. “You know what my parents are like.”
“Al.” Dad interrupted, I’d almost forgotten that he was still in the kitchen. “What was it that you had to tell me?” He seemed concerned, making it harder for me to open my mouth. “You know that you could tell your mother and I anything, anything at all.”
Dad was staring at me intently, clearly having forgotten about the tea, and Scorp was too, making my palms even sweatier than before. “
“I-I just, I needed to tell you that Scop and I-we uh…well, you see that….” The words wouldn’t form, and I could tell that Dad was expecting me to tell him we’d murdered someone and Scop almost looked pained at how hard this was for me.
“You and Scorp what?” Dad cut in, clearly wanting me to cut to the chase. There was a long pause, I couldn’t make my mouth form words.
“We’re seeing each other Mr. Potter.” Scorp cut in.
“I understand you’ve seen each other Scorp, you’ve been friends for a long time.”
Dad was clueless, and my face was growing red, hating my father for making me spell it out for him.
“No Dad, like seeing each other, like more than just….”
Dad still seemed confused, and I didn’t know what to say, because I didn’t think that I could get myself to say the right words and Scorp honestly seemed to find it amusing at this point.
“Harry honey, I think Al is trying to tell you he’s gay.”
It was Mum. Of course it was Mum, and she cut across the kitchen and started slathering different pastes onto Scorpius’ face as though I hadn’t just dropped major news.
“Oh, well, that’s great then, really great…” Dad’s mind seemed to be whirring, but not in a bad way, so I felt myself breathing a little easier. “You know we’ll really have to re think the rules about having you here then I suppose, not that your not welcome, just. Well it’s great, you and Scorp, really great.”
“Relax Harry, it’s Christmas.” Mum again, coming to my rescue. She finished patching up Scorp and took the kettle from the stove, pouring the tea as I tried my best not to look as mortified as I felt.
“Now, lets head into the living room, if I was right you were just about to open your first present Albus.” Mum chattered, leading Dad back into the living room.
Scorp and I were left alone in the kitchen for a moment. And he swung his arm around my shoulder.
“See, wasn’t that bad. I told you it wouldn’t be that bad.” Scorp grinned, and I was thankful for his ability to be so damn happy about things all the time, even when his morning had gone the way it had. “Now lets go open those presents, I want to see if there’s anything worth stealing off you.”
I laughed, walking into the living room, realizing that there were still two people left to tell. James and Lily.
“Erm, James, Lils.” I waited in the doorway as they turned to me, Scrops arm around my shoulder. “Just thought that you ought to know that Scorp and I are uh-dating.”
Lily, much to my surprise, jumped up and pumped her fist into the air. “Ha-“ She pointed at James. “You said New Years and I called Christmas I win! You owe me four gallons!”
“What?” This time it was Scorp. “You guys were betting on when your brother was going to come out?”
Lily nodded, a grin bright across her face. “We’ve known for ages of course, sorry Al but you weren’t that discrete, but it was clear that you were finally going to be clear about everything, and I called Christmas!”
I rolled my eyes, a little surprised that they already knew, but pleased that they at least seemed to take it well. It was Christmas, I had a loving family, an amazing boyfriend, and there wasn’t much else I wanted. But that didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the broom polishing kit that I’d gotten from James.
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