As always the Christmas holidays had snuck up on me quicker than I would have liked. Since Hogwarts winter decorations went up not too long ago I remembered about the underwhelming task that came along with the bloody irritating holiday, gift shopping. I understand fully that this is supposed to be a happy holiday about giving and family, but if your family was as big as mine you wouldn’t like it so much either. I am a Weasley, and with that comes two grandparents, two parents, one sibling, nine aunts and uncles, and about ten cousins. Not to forget the large amount of close friends and family friends. I used to be happy during this season, but that was before I started getting money and my mother suggested that I should start to buy presents for people too. Lucky for me it is the 23rd of December and my cousins and friends are going to Diagon Alley and invited me to tag along. I only have a few presents left to get, it is honestly a wonder how any parent can get through this season happily.
“How much longer until we get there?” Albus asked while pressing his face up against the window of the car and blowing hot air on it so that he could draw shapes in the condensation as we puttered through London.
“Just a few more minutes. Merlin, I know it is down one of these streets around here.” James said from the driver’s seat looking out over the steering wheel of the Ford Angelina, at the snow covered streets they passed.
“Are you sure? Because I swear that I just saw the Leaky Cauldron about two corners back. When you almost hit that unhappy woman. ” I pointed out the back window, shrugging. Of course James would have wanted to take Grandpa Arthur’s replacement car into town; Grandpa was thrilled by the notion so he was allowed. Ever since he was old enough to legally drive he had insisted on dragging friends and family places via automobile. As if apparating isn’t exciting enough, he finds it exciting to throw in a few near death experiences any time we go anywhere, and the snow on the streets was doing nothing to help his ability.
“I didn’t hit her though did I?” James asked rhetorically.
“I think making her drop her bags is close enough.” Replied James best friend Scorpius Malfoy, who was holding on to his seat for dear life. Being pureblood had not prepared him for the shock of being driven around by the barely permissible.
The two had been friends ever since they met on the train to Hogwarts, and both of our families have been baffled by the possibility of the friendship ever since. It had forced awkward meetings between theirs and even my parents, which we’ve all found it rather funny to see our usually collected parents turn into bickering children. I haven’t heard all of the awful things that happened, but it’s probably better that we don’t judge him on his parents past. I could care less, my cousin loved him as a brother, and Scorpius had always been like that cute (not that I’ve ever mentioned it out loud) funny older friend to me; what is not to like about him?
“Oh, don’t turn into a sourpuss like Rosie, Score. We are here just let me park.” James announced, coming to an abrupt stop along the curb.
“I am not a sourpuss. The only reason I am a bit on edge is because of the over the top amount of gifts I need for everyone to be happy this year.” I replied, wrapping my scarf more snuggly around my neck as we got out of the small car and walked into the dark of the Leaky Cauldron.
“You don’t need to get gifts for everyone every year. I don’t get that compulsion. It’s expensive, and it isn’t like you are a Malfoy.” Albus stated, wrapping his arms over his chest as we passed through the dusty pub, waving at Mrs. Longbottom who was the current proprietor and my friends mother.
“Hey. I resent that.” Scorpius said. We all looked back at him with raised eyebrows.
“Well you still are filthy rich.” James replied.
We gathered in front of the brick wall that hid Diagon Alley to go over the plan for the day again. We had been ordered not to split up under any circumstances under pain of having the younger cousins throwing exploding snaps at us. But the age we were we would more than certainly part ways, James and Scorpius who were of age would probably just go find a place to drink and be rowdy while I dragged Albus from place to place to find those last few presents.
“Here is the deal, so long as you two don’t lose each other in the next two hours I’ll buy us all ice cream. Deal?” James proposed holding a hand out for us to shake.
“Agreed.” Albus and I nodded in unison.
James tapped his girlishly pretty wand on the brick wall that instantly began reassembling itself as an archway. Before it could finish I was already dragging Albus through and down the alley not pausing to gaze at the wonder of it being covered in a fresh layer of snow and Christmas decorations.
“Remember, at the ice cream shop in two hours!” James called after us. Cocky as he may be he wasn’t about to let himself get in trouble over us.
“Got it!” I yelled back over my shoulder, as we rushed to the first shop slipping and sliding along the way.
I pulled out my shopping list, most names on the parchment had been crossed off. Not that it was any easier to find things for them in Hogsmeade but I had managed somehow. I was determined not to give up and buy the same goofy pair of socks for everyone like James had the last two years.
“Rose, why are we at Madam Pimpernelle’s? I don’t want to go in there; it is only shades of pink.” Albus complained as I went for the door of the beauty boutique.
“Blame Dominique. She is the one who wants this perfume that apparently only makes the smart guys want her.” I shrugged. “Do you want to shop with me or not?”
“Well how many more presents do you really need to get?” he asked considering what sort of female torture he could be putting himself through by staying with me.
“After this one, only three. One for you, my mother, and Scorpius. Who I really don’t know what to get for, since he could already buy himself anything he wants. What do you usually get him?” I asked curious. Scorpius was almost a part of the Potter family, so hopefully Al of all people might know. It would be quite awkward to go ask Scorpius’ mother or father what to get him.
“Blimey, I usually just get him a joke quill or some candy.” Albus answered following me into the store helping himself to a dab of a powder that made his unkempt hair glitter softly.
I giggled looking for the perfume section of the store. “That is no help. You can just go on and find your brother I’ve only got two more shops to hit after this.”
“Thank you, I want to get out of here before I turn pink.” Albus replied thankfully, hugging me then making his way out of the store, the bell ringing behind him softly.
After finding and purchasing the particular perfume that my cousin wanted, I snuck next into the Quality Quidditch Supply shop to buy Albus a new set of goggles without him or James noticing. The boys James, Scorpius, and Albus had been drawn to the Quidditch shop so I had to sneak about the store to buy the bloody googles without being seen. I did bump into Scorpius but I quickly put a finger to my lips to insist he not out me.
Flourish & Blotts would hopefully be my last stop before ice cream with the boys. I could easily enough find my mother Hermione Weasley a book she would like, probably something to do with history or law. Then for my unadmitted crush I would hopefully find something better than the plain scarf I got him last year. He was hard to shop for mostly because I don’t want to go over the top and embarrass myself in front of him and everyone. They might start asking questions.
Sure enough, I found the perfect book for my mother a signed biography of Gilderoy Lockhart. He was apparently crazy some professor they had for one year at Hogwarts that my mother had the biggest crush on, or at least that’s what my dad told me.
The shop was crowded with both books and customers, so I slowly looked through the titles in the areas that might be of interest to Scorpius, Quidditch, dangerous animals, but most books were either too expensive or old. My outlook was rather dim as I went on to the fiction section to hopefully find some adventure story that he would enjoy. I passed many a hooded figure and customers with their collars up to protect them from the cold following the shadows, but one in particular seemed to be following me about the store. I had noticed when I was in the Quidditch section, and the nagging of my dad’s how to keep from being kidnapped or attacked training kicked in. As foolish as it was, I didn’t want to be caught but I wanted to confront who was following me by going into one of the fiction alcoves.
I casually reached one hand into my wand pocket as I used the other to travel across the books spines until I came to the small chair at the end. Slowly, I took the wand out then twirled around to point it in the face of my would-be assailant.
“You know, if you wanted to get me a book. I’ve wanted to read this one for awhile.” Came Scorpius’ voice, as he held up a good sized book.
“Dear Merlin don’t do that! You scared me Score.” I exclaimed, lowering my wand and leaning against the bookshelf. Way to keep it cool.
“Sorry. You are really tense like they said.” Scorpius said handing me the book.
“Well you would be too if you had so many people to shop for who either want something specific or have no idea.” I told him with my hands on my hips.
“That takes all the cheer out of Christmas then doesn’t it?” He asked.
“Yes, I just want everyone to love what they get.” I said rather exhausted in my quest.
“You know they love you and would be happy even you only got them something small. They would rather you enjoy Christmas with them than you being burned out from shopping so much.” He said with a gentle smile that I couldn’t help but stare at.
“Its tough though. I almost feel obligated.” I said honestly.
“What you should feel obligated to do is have a good Christmas with your family. That’s why I love coming to your family’s holidays. There is no shortage of fun and cheer. Just promise me you will try and enjoy it this year.” He asked stepping closer and looking down at me.
As I looked up, I could see something above his head. My jaw dropped with embarrassing realization. Mistletoe. Merlin, how would I get out of this? Or explain to James after? This was so embarrassing, there was no way on earth he would want to kiss me. I’m a 6th year whose best friend is her cousin. I could feel the heat as my cheek no doubt turned red in front of him.
I looked back at him obviously nervous, but his cool demeanor remained unchanged only a growing smile on his mouth. Did he want or plan this? Do all girls fantasies like this come true, because surely I was dreaming. He leaned down.
“This will be your Christmas gift from me. Would you like that?” He asked, and I was almost floored at how romantic the situation had become.
I nodded despite myself and moved closer as he took me into his strong arms and kissed me quite passionately. I returned the kiss and it felt like I was on a cloud. Surely this was all in my imagination, and I had let it get away while I read a book as it so often did. No, this was real. By the simple fact that he still held me tight quite a few moments after the breathtaking kiss had ended. It was better than I ever imagined it could be.
“Oh dear.” I said in exclamation. If I didn’t have a crush on Scorpius Malfoy before, I definitely do now.
A/N: Thanks for reading! This was written for the 2013 Winter Writers Duel.
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