Chapter 22 : Chapter Twenty Two
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Chapter Image by the Wonderfully Awesome Clara Oswald @ TDA
Disclaimer: I don't own - Monsters Inc, Doctor Who, Hunger Games, Casablanca, Offspring, Veronica Mars or anything else you may recognise. Here's the chapter... Please Enjoy.
“This is a really bad idea” Most Definitely.
“Is that gurgling sound normal?” I probably shouldn’t have let Fred use the manual for his origami Flowers.
“How long have you had your license again?” A perfectly suitable amount of time.
Jordan, AL and Lily’s running commentary respectively. Chase is documenting the first expedition, with continuous shots of Jordan biting her nails, Al searching on the net for instructions and Lily’s passenger seat driving tips. I’m keeping a steady hand on the wheel and taking in the view. Driving whilst not as exuberant and animated as flying, the lack of wind flying through your hair and the break neck speeds, whilst achievable with the windows down, foot flat on the pedal, and wand on the Nos, It’s just not quite the same.
“Did anyone tell Scorp?” Lily asks.
“And miss the awkward, red faced and stuttering reunion” Jordan smiles. “Not a chance”
The Burrow is finally in sight. It wasn’t the unique and dangerously leaning house that caught my attention, but the giant snow indented sign “Insert Christmas Tree Here” I spot G-dad Arthur waving us down excitedly, Nanna Molly already equipped with some sustenance after our treacherous journey, Fred decked out like a Christmas decoration, Max trailing after trying to keep the lights from catching fire, Hugo stuffing his face with sweets and Rose, is nowhere to be seen.
We land with a slight thump, but all in one piece nonetheless. Well we are; the car and Nanna Molly’s flower bed not so much.
“How’d she fair?” G-dad extinguishes the small flame growing near the bonnet.
“Well…” I begin.
Lily - “We lost a tire” No great loss, not like it’s important.
Chase - “Nearly ran over Mr Whitshires Whispy Wallows.” They needed a good trim. James Potter, Multi tasker - Gardner and Chauffeur.
Jordan - “Ran out of snacks” Well I was all for the plus sized pack.
Al - “Got lost” Lily was the navigator.
“I did pretty well considering… the cargo” I winked, he laughed. The ‘cargo’ not so much.
“How about some food while we wait for the others” Nanna Molly reasons, slightly disapproving. I know mum earned an earful when word got around of my new travelling companion. But because I’m charming, I get away with it.
“Who are we waiting on?” Lily demands, already mounted on her broom, hovering over our heads, decked in her snow gear, ready to fly off and fetch them.
“Not sure really, 11.30 is the cut-off” Hugo replies with icing on his nose. No one points it out of course. Caring bunch us Wotters.
“Where’s Rose?” Chase questions worriedly. As considering I hadn’t seen or heard from her since the train, her absence was definitely noted. We all thought she would be the first here, insulting us with her game talk. The last hunt she took the win, with Lily close behind.
Although I believe the judging panel had obviously been compromised.
“Rounding up the troops” he supplied.
Molly is here. Of course she hasn’t acknowledged my presence, being the snooty bitch she is. Mum hasn’t really bothered with her either, other than to ask whether she will be attending the ball with a plus one. And of course she and Kevin are still holding strong. Kevin is her latest victim, a quidditch player for the Wimbourne Wasps. They never last of course, Molly is never mollified, always on the lookout for someone higher on the ladder. Like Father, Like Daughter, I guess. It’s a wonder they don’t get along better.
“You realise, I’m the reigning champion and am not about to forfeit my title”
I smile. Rose is here too. Collecting me for the annual Christmas tree hunt.
“I thought Grandma Molly decided it was too competitive for all of us, and that it wouldn’t happen in the foreseeable future” I question. With Christmas only a week away and the ball the night before, the house is literally anarchy. The blame I’m reasoning why my Tree Hunt invitation hasn’t made it to me yet. However I’m assured my lovely sister, opened it and left it forgotten in the pile of destruction she leaves behind.
“Yes. Well so did everyone else.” Rose grumbles. Things are still slightly tense between us, but I’m just glad she’s here, in person, for me.
“Nervous?” I imply as I shrug on my snow jacket.
“No. I was marginally in front of Lily last time, no matter what she says” Rose justifies. However we both know that wasn’t what I was talking about. I’ll let it slide for now. She knows I’m here if she wants to chat.
“Ready?” I grin. Rose stands.
“Ready” Molly agrees from the doorway, dressed for the hunt.
Oh Fudge sticks.
Christmas is a time for tradition. Whether it be a great great great great grandmother’s pudding recipe or a decoration that hangs with age and festive exhaustion or a Christmas carol that uncle Bob fires out when the whisky has taken the mic. Its family, so it’s the way, it has always been and probably will always stay. We Magical Folk are similar in celebration, the gift giving, the feast, the pointy hats and snowy landscape. However Weasley’s have a slight crazy edge above the rest, so some minor amendments are expected.
For example the scene before me.
Gathered on the lawn is my boisterous and very very loud family. Roxe has even showed up, minus a boyfriend though. Dom, along with her friend Ebony are animatedly talking up Teddy and the two handsome strangers who accompany him. Louis, Hugo and Lily are already strategizing, above in the air. James, Fred and Jack - a friend of Dom’s, and also coincidently one of my ex’s are slyly shooting back shots behind the refreshments table. Could this day get any worse? Max and Jordan are adorning war paint with Vic, and Lucy runs off to join them. Gin and Haz are warming up ready to take on their highly skilled and competitive children. Uncle George, is briskly and conspicuously darting away from the rows of brooms still left on the ground. Mum and Dad are still arguing whilst mum sips on some probably spiked punch and dad scoffing his face with cakes. Nana Molly and G-Pa Art are smiling broadly at the attendee’s. Obviously not everyone could show up. But most are here.
“So, Roz. What’s been happening?” Molly the only one of my cousins who calls me Roz. She knows I hate it of course, got a real kick out of gifting me a muggle Monsters Inc Character of the same name, last Christmas. She appears beside me. We haven’t left the safety of the house yet.
“A lot. I fell in a mud puddle and life’s sort of just headed downhill since” I sigh, whilst pulling on my hat.
Molly rolls her eyes. “So dramatic you teenagers. Lulu is just the same” Has a thing for horrid nicknames our Molly.
I refrained from informing the swot that nineteen still technically, falls under the category of ‘teenagers’. She’s not actually stupid, just lives in a world above the rest of us. Her quite tall and slim figure doesn’t subdue her attitude of looking down on us ‘little people’. Today she’s dressed in a royal blue puffer jacket, her face sculptured with the perfect amount of make-up, blue eyes alert and judging, brown wavy hair controlled in a slick ponytail. Her long supermodel legs covered in a gorgeous pair of denim jeans, and finished with an expensive pair of snow boots. She must have added a warming charm, she doesn’t look cold in the least.
Whilst myself… I may have been up all night, eyes glued to the screen of Veronica Mars. Our neighbour Trace, introduced me to the show. The repercussions: I’m half asleep. Bleary eyed. Hair pillow styled. In my comfiest trackies and oversized cardigan. The picture of morning perfection. Cheese. Nanna Molly was going to fetch me a jacket and some shoes. I don’t think my converses are going to cut it. She must have forgot. Or her new interrogation technique is to freeze me into submission. Either one.
“Ooh. Is that Tyler James from Puddlemere, Excuse me sweetie” Molly turns back grabs her broom, and prances off like the good little show pony she is.
A warmth suddenly falls over my shoulders.
I didn’t even hear him come in. It’s been 67 hours, 43 minutes and 23 seconds since we last saw each other. I overdosed on fudge, crying, sleep and bucking myself up in the mirror. But still I feel like I’m in no way ready for this.
What do I say? Are we going to talk about it? I really don’t think we need too. What was he thinking coming up and talking to me? I thought we would at least avoid each other for the most part of the day. Give Nanna Molly something to hone in on.
Maybe I should run.
“It’s just like you to go out, from freezing to death” He voices amused from beside me.
His voice nearly knocks me flat. Gosh, this is weird. I wish we could go back to before everything went sideways. Back to the times when; I could grab his hand, jump on his back, and furrow through his pockets for any remnants of candy. Alright I admit, I still did that. And like he was expecting me too, there was a Blueberry Lollipop waiting for me. Well actually two, so I handed him one. It seemed to ease the uncharted distance between us. Candy easing awkward tension everywhere. It’s like a superpower.
But we can’t go back. I don’t have a time machine, and unlike, The Ponds (I’m impatient, waiting isn’t really my forte), Dr Jones (Walking the Earth sounds like a lot of effort), The Best Temp in Chiswick (I actually type more like 5 words a minute), Bad Wolf (Not a fan of goodbyes and who would burn up a sun for me?), The Impossible girl (I don’t believe boys are clever in the least) and lastly River Song (Hello Sweetie – Yeah maybe a tad too much for Scorpius, but for the lollipop maybe).
However the most evident clue that things have changed, is I still can’t think of a single word to say.
Well except… I miss you. But I don’t really feel that will make the awkward tension better. Even though it’s true, as pathetic as that is to admit.
I peak a look, the guy is calm and collected as always. The sentiment of suavity. Gorgeous, Handsome, and a complete menace. However I do notice the slight fray of Goosebumps crawling up his arms. As I’m now wearing his jacket, the unpracticality of his remaining clothes; Jeans, button down shirt, and beanie are visible, evidently just as unprepared as myself and Hugo. Although my brother obviously went scavenging through the house, whilst I was fetching the stragglers. For he is now warmly adorned in what appears to be one of G-pa Arts old Muggle Coat and hat sets, its rainbow coloured. Hugo surprisingly wears it well.
Conversation always used to flow so brilliantly between us. Of course half the time it was eye rolling and biting remarks due to our lovely loud ‘discussions’ and personalities.
Maybe if I look at him…
Scorpius catches my eye.
No. No. Definitely not.
Where is all that Gryffindor courage? Probably left it at school, under my bed. I’ve never been a very good packer.
He sighs. Oh God he thinks I’m an idiot. Or worse that I’m heart broken or something. Why didn’t he give me time to prepare? Inconsiderate dolt.
Deep breath. You can do this. Just say something and then get the hell out. But don’t look at the eyes.
“Here. No point us both freezing to death” I hand him back his coat and smile weakly, then turn and make my exit. Or it would have been a very suave exit, if it had not been for the wet ice that had started to make its way inside.
I’m beginning to think I never should have got up this morning. And I am never eating fudge cookies again. Their wrath is limitless.
“Oof” I land on the floor with a thump.
I make no move to get up. There’s only so much a girl can take.
Sigh. “You know this wasn’t how I wanted this to go” I voice aloud to the ceiling. I can practically feel his smirk from here. I was going to be cool, calm and collected. And look magnificent. Not wet, awkward, stressed, red, shabby and wild animal.
“You mean 15 minutes and 28 seconds of awkward silence wasn’t an enjoyable past time?” he laughs above my head.
I wish I could kick him. But I just can’t reach. Raincheck. I’ll get him later.
Instead he hauls me back to my feet like I’m lighter than a feather. I do appreciate the hand up. But along with the icy water running down my back and his hands on my shoulders, I’m currently shivering uncontrollably. Attractive? Absolutely!
Without a second thought, he pulls me into his warm chest.
This was DEFINITLY NOT HOW THINGS WERE SUPPOSED TO GO.
Of course it’s easy to fall back into old patterns, not that we ever really had a pattern… but seriously what the hell is he thinking? Oh I haven’t moved yet either.
Step away from the beautiful man.
I fumble for my wand. Cast a warming charm, and awkwardly step out of his arms.
What the hell is wrong with me? I don’t want to be anywhere near the guy. Right? Right!
Ahem. “Um… All good. Thanks for the lollipop. Good catching up” I think I’ve gone into a delirious state.
But that’s not even the worst of it.
I raised my hand for a high five. Yep. It was like I needed a big finale to show the guy what a mess he has made of me. How did this happen? I wanted the control. I wanted to be the calm one watching him squirm. This sucks.
And you know what the even worse part was… He just high fived me back, with an enthusiastic this-is-a-completely-normal-thing-to-do expression, like this is how I act every day. Guys are so daft!
That’s when I finally ran.
Thank Merlin. Freedom never felt so good.
To prevent further embarrassment and light headedness I cast a weatherproofing spell on my ill-chosen footwear. One fall on my arse is definitely enough. Once we get on our brooms it won’t matter as much.
Jack sends me a small wave as I walk past.
Oh. Merlin. I don’t think I can do this. Would anyone really noticed if I slipped away to hide under my bed?
Mum found me a coat. Yes I’m still here. Apparently I’m bound by some sort of Weasley code or some such rubbish. Nanna Molly keeps sending me quite inquisitive looks. Vic keeps trying to plaster my face with paint. Fred’s Christmas lights costume blew up in my face. So now my hair has reached a new extreme. Scorpius appears to be having the time of his life. Jack keeps sending me slightly bashful looks, like he wasn’t prepared to find me here. It’s been years Dude. Get over it! Chase and Al are not helping calm my nerves with their own awkward tension. The coat mum found me is bright orange, so I look like a frickin’ pumpkin with hair and teeth. And she won’t change it because she thinks it will improve my chances with the branches, and her judging with my bright and easy to spot position. Like… What is wrong with people?
Dad just keeps telling me to chin up and channel my inner warrior. Apparently he and Harry have taken on a small bet. But by the focused and determined expression falling on Ginbugs face I’d say the actual fight is Mother Vs Daughter. Not a game I particularly want to play in.
The rules are simple.
Find a tree.
Get it back here.
We can hunt in teams. But everyone needs to find their own tree to decorate. It’s just as chaotic as it sounds. Weasleys, Potters and the crazy people who dare to befriend us, flying fast throughout the forest, ducking under branches, knuckles frozen, teeth chattering, tempers flaring, snow falling, birds fluttering, owls hooting, laughter travelling, wolfs howling, and competiveness screaming loud and fast.
“Jellybean?” Hugo appears beside me.
“Thought you’d never ask” my hand disappears into the great depths of the bag. Someone must be nervous. Lily catches my eye, with a handful of jellybeans slyly disappearing in her highly competitive mouth.
“You alright?” Hugo tries.
I pull up my reindeer socks. They were a voluntary addition. Well actually I was wearing them this morning. What? They’re fun. Fred gave them to me. He has a matching pair “Can’t you tell? I’m the picture of absolute suavity”
Hugo looks me up and down, tapping his chin. “Now that you say it. Of course. My mistake. The bright orange must have been throwing me off” He gestures with his hands.
I burst out laughing. “You do realise what you look like?”
“Handsome?” He suggests hopeful.
“Hideous” I deadpan resolute.
“They are one of the same aren’t they?” He elbows me.
I smiled. Giving his quite festive attire another once over and hesitantly revaluating my own. I smile and reply “Only on us”
He laughs and turns to fetch his broom, but doubles back cautiously. “You know… Just because the Eggnog may appear like it belongs, doesn’t mean that underneath it isn’t ‘the absolute picture of suavity’ like yourself” He ruffles my hair and wonders off to be reprimanded by Lily for talking to the enemy.
I sigh and involuntarily mind you, my gaze falls to Scorpius who is currently talking with Al, retelling some particular anecdote, gesturing madly with his hands way more than usual and considered socially appropriate, his hair is just as wild as my own, he keeps losing his grip on his broom and it falls into the snow and is that a handful of jellybeans? Maybe the calm and collected card is still up for grabs. Al catches my eye and winks.
“You ready?” Lucy appears by my side.
“Depends. What did Fred say?” I hand Lucy her broom.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” She grins.
After the brooms rendition of Jingle Bells (kudos to Uncle George), everyone is mounted and ready. Lily and I do the pregame warning nod.
Triumph is mine.
My resume is really filling up.
The honour is just indescribable. Nanna Molly hands me the Mic. I tweak my Bow tie once more - costume change (Dad taught me the spell, said it was the most important piece of wisdom he could pass onto me), and clear my throat.
I think I’m a little nervous. I turn to face my constituents. Max sends me a thumbs up.
I begin the incarnation and the words appear in the sky.
“Something large. Something green, is what I need to see.
Look above. Look below. For what hides beneath the snow.
Not the prettiest. Not so tall. But the one which sings to all.
Brooms are ready. Partners set. Find me the finest Christmas Tree Yet!”
Rosie and my self’s beautiful rhythmic creation. Last time I misspelled finest as Fredest, but it wasn’t accepted with the enthusiasm I was hoping for.
With a final firecracker from G-Ma Molly’s wand… And they’re off….
“Welcome my dear friends to the annual Christmas trials. It’s dangerous, it’s decorative and it’s delicious. I myself, am residing back with the other judges, Mrs Hermione Jean Weasley, My fellow Hogwartian Ebony Trainor, (also known as Dominque’s friend), today’s ringer Tyler James, Chaser for Puddlemere United and of course the always beautiful, always kind Molly Weasley, the first.”
Nanna Molly passes me a Cherry Tart. Shux. That’s family at its best. We’re seated at a long table, adjoining with the food, my spots on the end of course. Someone’s gotta watch out for the food hordes. We are observing through hidden cameras Hunger Games style. I’m slightly swaying due to the liquid courage flowing speedily through my veins. Thank God, Nanna Molly hasn’t noticed, she’s too busy reprimanding Aunt Hermione who is giggling with a worrying number of empty punch cups piled beside her.
“Cuts, bruises, bleeding limbs and we’re only 5 minutes in. There is something completely therapeutic about high altitudes and fast speeds. It’s like a religion. The players have had a speedy start. The snacks are keeping us thoroughly satisfied whilst enjoying the spectacular event. Although I must admit, the take-off was slightly uneventful after the explosion of Christmas 2019. Let’s just say, the hairdresser was out that day, everyone was a little faster due to all the bald heads. Today however was just the normal mundane stuff. Jordan lost a shoe. Max tried summoning it, but before she could, Young Dora grabbed it and filled the footwear with snow and made a Snow Shoe Castle. Rose sent her a thumbs up. Harry sent Ginbug a high five, but she was too busy leaving puffs of frost behind as she flew off. Al got caught in the snow storm, resulting in a snow hat. James laughed. Chase took a picture. And Lily left them all behind. G-dad Art and Uncle Ron, have only just mounted, with companions in the form of frosted cupcakes and cookies. Vic distracted Teddy with a well performed hair flip. Dom started slightly behind after trying to bribe our ringer here, Judge Tyler, with a hair flip of her own. Like sister, like sister. Lucy, followed after Rose, smiling like she’d already won. And Scorp, looks slightly more determined than the rest of our players, however it seems to have nothing to do with Christmas Trees. And Jack, well he just flew off, nothing to report there. So as you can observe the madness hasn’t befallen us yet.”
“What about Roxy, George and Angelina?” G-ma Molly turns to me.
“I can’t judge them, I have a conflict” I replied horrified at the suggestion, that I wouldn’t take this job seriously.
“Oh. The shop ban?” Tyler poses. The quidditch prof’s are recurring customers in the shop. Something about the therapeutic relaxing atmosphere.
“Yes. And Roxe has abandoned me for a stupid boy” I grimace. How times change. It seemed like only yesterday Roxe and I blew up the staff table in the Great Hall. Now she’s doing all that with him.
“Ooh. That piece is so dishy. She better hold onto him.” Ebony adds. There’s a reason I tend to steer clear of Dominque and her giggling gal pals.
“Annyway. Back to the Hunt… Today’s array of colours is a very delightful sight to spectate. Some are matching. Some are clashing. And some are just pure festive gold. Rosie and Hugs – Here’s looking at you kids. The Potter family’s unruly hair is in tight form today, being controlled in true Weasley fashion. James is in braids. Haz’s is flying wild and free. And Al has adorned a beanie, with a little propeller on top. What creativity. Hugo’s gingerly hazel mop is a bird’s nest. Like literally. He took them on a few branches ago, resulting in an angry flock hot on his tail, oh and the birds of course. Louis’ is slicked back with product I assume, an aero dynamics strategy maybe? The competitors are flying fast and white, as most follicles are now a dandruffy snow. A hairdressers dream. Well except Scorp, he was already sporting the colour, we’re just following the trend.”
“I think Gin has spotted one” G-Ma narrates from beside me. “And Lily” She continues.
“Ooof. Looks like Ron got caught in the crossfire.” Hermione grins in elation as her husband collapses on the snowy ground. Love is weird. Because we’re looking for tree’s, staying low to the ground is best. Hence the only 1 foot fall. “Looks like we have a casualty.” I hold my breath. Until Uncle Ron holds the Christmas Cookie High and Proud. Phew. A close one.
“In this particular phase of the hunt. There are several important rules that are suggested necessary for survival.
1. Have a buddy. Of course don’t trust them. Because they’ll probably stab you in the back and fly off with the tree. But hopefully they might hit the branch, not you.
2. Don’t get in the middle of Uncle Ron and his Christmas Cookies. He bites.
3. Sing along when the trees begin whistling Christmas Carols. It is not a drill. Ignorance does not make them stop. Remember the sensitivity of the stage and they control the branches.
4. Breaks heal. The Bragging Rights are definitely worth the pain.
5. Bruises add character and are just your inner warrior showing.
6. Cut Tree not Foot.
7. Do not turn back for anything. Take no prisoners. Snow is cold and slippery.
8. Kicking is essential.
9. Hex’s backfire.
10. It is televised. Mocking and condescension is expected.
11. Everything is judged. Even effective snow ball distraction throws. So you know… Make em’ look pretty.
12. It’s Christmas and we’re Wotters… Breaking the rules is our nature.
“Lucy just stomped on Molly’s foot” Ebony laughs. I have a feeling that was more to do with the words flying out of her mouth than the tree that’s currently struggling between them.
“Rose is it? She’s fierce. I think she just flipped over Ted’s head, and has taken off with his hat” Tyler admires with awe. Scorpius runs into a tree.
“Ouch. Maybe he might let me lick his wounds later” Ebony eludes with a devilish wink. G-ma Molly ‘accidently’ knocks her over the head. Rose’s eyes narrow.
“Dad is playing branch limbo. Vic has just been showered with a tree full of snow, thanks kindly by Ted, Dom and the lovely Louis. Max, Jordan and Luce, are all equipped with trees and are dodging, James’ snow backfire. G-dad Art, is laughing at the spectacle of ravenous competitors. This is when the game becomes interesting.” I stand in excitement for the next phase – the horrendous show of Weasley decoration.
“Hugo has finally lost his feathery friends and is now shadowing the lead pack of Ginbug, Lil, Rose and our very own Roxane Weasley. I’m loving the strong female presence. You go girls.” I high five Nanna Molly.
“Wait… is that… It is! The first flyer to emerge from the branch infested forest is the one and only Albus Potter, and extremely close behind, is the fierce pack of girls. And Haz. Next a whole clump of redheads, Veela’s, chocolate waves, green streaks, rainbow jackets and cookies. Cuts, bruises and a hairdresser’s nightmare are now a common thread on the field in front of me.” This host and judging thing is exhausting work. I haven’t even had a chance for a cookie. Well I mean I have ate 1 or 2 or 8, but I haven’t been swallowed into a cookie haven, because they’re gone to quickly, I’m so nervous.
“Trees have been dismounted. Well except for James’. Apparently the sticking charm was a little too sticky. The broom broke in half. James has just decided to go for it. Mad dashes have been made for the lights, decorations, tinsel and Merlin knows what else.” Tree’s must be decorated Muggle Style. Charms that are allowed are - Weather proofing spells (although competitors hardly have the time), Sticking charms, Levitating spells (But hardly anyone uses that one, can you imagine the chaos of trees, reminds me of a dream I had once) Colour spells, (to achieve the desired design the decorator was going for – I made a red one once. Brilliant it was) or some transfiguration spells have been accepted. Like Rose wanted to make a tree that was entirely edible one year, although it didn’t taste sensational, it looked delicious.
“Oh No! Ginbug’s tree has just snapped in half, Lily’s is slowly dwindling with the wind, and Haz’s has taken a slightly steady lead, much to the chagrin of the girls. G-Ma Molly is referee by the decorator’s box. Rose keeps slipping in the snow. She’s still adorned in Ted’s beanie its red, which clashes horribly with her purple lips, chattering teeth and blood trickling from a cut on her eyebrow. Enter Tyler, our fellow judge who is on the field amongst the terror, ventured to help her out. As expected, she shooed him away. Maybe I should add that to the list. Rose Weasley is fierce - Approach with Caution. Scorpius’ tree has just snapped in half also. Lot of bad luck out there today. Hugo has decided to embrace the rainbow theme, even though his jacket is less rainbow and more bear ravaged. His tree is looking quite spectacular though if you ask me. Vic keeps stealing Teds decorations. Dad keeps changing the colour of Rox’s, and then out of nowhere his own tree blows up. Mum runs off. Luce keeps changing Molly’s tinsel to seaweed. Another great point. Complete focus is required, we Wotters cannot be trusted. Jordan has decided to wrap Max up instead of her tree, although the giant rip running down the side of her jumper sleeve, is keeping the fight fair. G-Pa Art, Uncle Ron, Louis, Jack and our other ringer Aimsley Prince - who is currently keeping our Dominque completely enraptured - have definitely fallen short of the crowning title. Haz’s has just taken a hit from a brilliant and stealthy snowball by Ginbug. And Rose’s also topples, thanks to the Lovely Lily Potter. It’s a Battlefield out there.” I catch my breath. Aunt Hermione hands me another cookie. She’s our sustenance team, only one of us game enough to approach the hangry beasts. Rose squishes a cake into Lily’s face. Who just laughs, and then proceeds to throw one right back. Maybe food isn’t what they need right now.
“Well we gotta love the familial love out there today. Comradery at its finest. I can feel the finish line is in sight.-”
“I’M DONE. I’M DONE. OH SHIT. I WON” A voice interjects. Everyone falls silent.
I turn to the voice. Standing with a quite spectacular, quite unique and quite a completely and utterly brilliant smile is….
“CHASE OH MY MERLIN! WE HAVE A WINNER PEOPLE. OUR VERY OWN CHASE ADAMS” I scream whilst running to him grinning madly. Everybody else follows suit.
Snow falls. Food goes flying. And laughter screams. As the end of another magnificent Festive tree hunt leaves us. It feels good, after Nanna Mollys’s ban the last two years. And by the smile adorned on her face. She appears to have finally forgiven us. I think.
Seriously I won.
Merlin that sounds good.
What a terrifying experience.
Rose is patting me on the back, grinning. Fred is trying to convince Molly that it should be done again for Easter. Harry and Ginny have obviously made up. Lily is helping Hugo work out what went wrong with his rainbow tree. Ted and Vic are laughing blissfully. Roxy accompanied by her father and mother are now pelting snowballs at unsuspecting family. James and Jordan are fighting over another ruined jumper. Lucy just stuffed a cupcake in her sister’s mouth and nose. Mad. They’re all mad let me tell you. Mad.
But looking at Molly and Arthur Weasley gratefully taking in the crazy scene of their family and grinning, I couldn’t help but adorn the same appreciation… That I am lucky enough to now call these crazy people, my family.
I look for Albus. Maybe we might even manage some full sentences. But before I can catch the familiar sight of his handsome and reassuring face. My stomach plummets. My heart I swear stops. My mouth falls dry. The cheer of just moments ago vanishes. A weight falls on my shoulder. A hand I think. Everything is fuzzy.
Rose who is bouncing excitedly beside me, with pie still adorned on her blissful and naïve face, stops short and follows my terrified stare.
Because standing there, tall and proud, here at the burrow, is my father.
I think I’m going to be sick.
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