Chapter 12 : Vacation
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“Today will be our last class together before the start of the Christmas holidays,” said Professor George Weasley. Sitting regally at the front of his classroom, he shuffled through a stack of papers, flicking his wand so that they would fold into paper airplanes and go to each student. “Though I’m going to assign you all this nastily exhausting and completely frustrating work for over the break, I fully expect you all to enjoy a wonderful holiday.”
The Ravenclaw and Gryffindor first years giggled as the airplanes landed on their heads, laps and, in one case of a sleeping Gryffindor, in his ear. They all reached for parchment and ink as Professor Weasley tapped the blackboard with his wand and began to lecture on what was writing itself there.
Throughout the lesson, random bursts of laughter interrupted as the chalk veered off course and began to write rude words and draw ludicrous pictures of Father Christmas and house-elf shaped ornaments before George noticed and put an end to it.
“For homework, write a foot and a half long essay on the techniques you have learned so far this year and how you can apply them in your everyday life at home,” he said. “The parchment I passed out at the beginning of class is the rubric and requirements, in case you forget. Class is dismissed for the holidays. Have a good break!”
With a cheer, the first years collected their notes from the day and mobbed the door on the way out, where some would be leaving on the train and some would be waiting for families to collect them in Hogsmeade. The hallways were already clogged with students rushing to and from their dormitories and classrooms. Only a few students were staying at Hogwarts over the Christmas break.
“Rose and Albus, stay behind please,” called Professor Weasley before they made their way out the door, “I’d like to speak with you.”
Glancing apologetically over to their other two friends, the cousins held back and went to the front of the room to the large oak desk behind which Professor Weasley sat. Scorpius and Azalea stood at the door, looking on expectantly and waiting patiently, pretending not to be listening but conversing amongst themselves.
“Are you two planning on staying here this Christmas?” the professor said nonchalantly.
Albus and Rose glanced at each other through their eyelashes, and Albus began to itch at the end of his nose nervously as Rose’s ears turned pink.
“Yes,” they said in harmony.
George looked up. In that instant, his glasses that he seldom wore outside of family company made him look much older than he was. The slight scars where his torn ear had been were harsher as well, even though a sort of false magical ear was already implanted over them. He had been loathe to give up his “war scar” but the scars were threatening to harm his skull; no one knew why that had been, but they did know that sometimes it was very annoying to have him be able to hear you when you were on the top floor of the Burrow and he on the bottom.
“That’s interesting. Have you spoken with your parents about it?” he asked, stacking inkwells and quills into a drawer of his huge desk.
“Well,” said Rose, “not exactly.”
George didn’t comment or make a move that he had really heard what she had said. Instead, he folded his hands on his desk and cleared his throat.
“Are you two aware of the threats older students have made against your friend?”
Simultaneously, their faces hardened. “We know, George,” said Albus. A twinkle erupted in his eye. “We know.”
George raised an eyebrow, “Should I be concerned?”
“Only if you’re Head of Slytherin House…” started Rose.
“Or feel like making another jab at our mates,” finished Albus with a hard edge in his voice. Just like the twinkle before, a flash showed in his eyes, but it was more sinister than the prankster gleam previous.
“Shall I ask?”
“Ask us no questions, we’ll tell you no lies, George,” Albus said flatly.
George shook his head. “First years, and yet…you two remind me of Fred and I. A bit too close for comfort, I might add.”
Rose flashed a smile. “It’s the Weasley charm and the Potter brilliance. Overwhelming, isn’t it?”
George raised his eyebrow again, but his eyes gleamed mischievously.
“Take that, Beans!”
With a loud fwomp a snowball ploughed into the back of Azalea’s head, sliding down her head and her back, making her shiver and squeal a bit as she packed a snowball of her own in her gloved hands.
“I really hate that nickname!” she yelled as she lobbed a snow-bomb of her own over to the unprotected Albus, a thrill of joy running through her as she saw it met it’s target just as he lifted his head to her voice, right between his eyes.
“Really? We’ve used it since last summer,” muttered Rose next to her as she rapidly packed snowballs and their trademark bomb-shaped ones as Azalea, whose turn it was at the time to knock down every member of the opposition, lobbed them rapidly, one after another.
“Well, it irks me, is all. What am I going to do when I reveal myself to the world as the greatest journalist in my first big interview as having a nickname like Beans?”
She shivered, but not from the cold, as she switched jobs effortlessly with Rose.
“But then again,” she said as she summoned snow over to her from behind their tightly packed wall, “It’s a bit better than Jack.”
Rose growled, but kept it up with her pitching. Any baseball pitcher would kiss the ground she walked on if they saw the way she slammed opponent after opponent across the “no-man’s-land”.
The School-wide snowball fight, a tradition that had been started two years before they had begun Hogwarts, had dwindled down to about eight on each side. They had been at it for three hours, ever since the snow had been deep enough and classes were out for break.
“I think they’re equally horrible. I need to switch.”
“Maybe we should pull out when they’re not looking. Ernesto MacMillan promised hot chocolate to the winning team, but I think I can coax it out of him.” Azalea shifted with Rose so that it would be easier for her left hand to swing snowballs.
“You got too may ideas from my Aunt Ginny,” said Rose as she nursed her throwing arm.
Azalea looked at her in the corner of her eye, knowing when her friend had had enough for one day. All the extra practice she had been putting in for Chasing had taken its toll on her shoulder, again.
“C’mon, let’s get hot chocolate.”
The common room fire was extremely comforting, bathing the four in a warm glow as they sipped at overlarge mugs of hot chocolate. The chairs that had swallowed them up in first year had managed to grow along with them, staying as huge and comforting as ever, even though they themselves had aged four years.
“I love the Fight,” merrily said Albus.
Scorpius ran his hand through his hair, grinning wildly. “I know! It gets better every year, since more people join.”
“It’s all fun and games to you boys,” said Azalea. “But for we girls, it is more than simple sport; it’s a chance to plough your sorry butts into the ground in front of the whole school!”
“Now, now, Beans, play nice,” chastised Albus.
Her grip on her sketchpad made her knuckles turn white. “Don’t call me Beans!” she hissed.
“Oh, ho! Touchy!”
“Got a problem with it, RSM?” she shot back.
Scorpius leaned over towards Rose and asked, “What’s ‘RSM’ mean?”
“Ridiculously Short Male,” she stage-whispered back.
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