Scorpius couldn’t help feeling a bit anxious as he watched Albus step into the broad fireplace, grabbing a handful of floo powder as he went, and then announcing in a loud, clear voice, “The Burrow!” Before disappearing in a swirl of ash.
It wasn’t like the young Malfoy boy hadn’t travelled by floo before, it was more the promise (or rather, the threat) of those who were waiting for him at the other end of his short journey. Weasleys, and more Weasleys, and even more Weasleys. The concept dizzied him, but he refused to show any outward signs of trepidation. They were just people after all. Good people, according to Harry. Very good people.
“Do you want to go next, Scorpius?” Ginny Potter asked, and he glanced up at her apprehensively. There was something a little unsettling about the thought of going before both of the adults; like he might be walking right into the lion’s den, without the offer of protection that Mr and Mrs Potter had given him.
Scorpius shook himself incredulously at his own silly fear. “Sure.” He said, stepping forward. Albus would be there, after all. He was just being stupid. “The Burrow, right?”
“Right.” Said Ginny, giving him a warm smile. “My mum will be waiting by the fire place, so watch out. She loves to pamper boys.” Scorpius forced himself to laugh.
“Don’t assume that she’s joking.” Harry said, shaking his head.
Scorpius grinned wanly as he picked up a fistful of floo powder, then stepped up into the grate, holding out his hand and saying as clearly as he could, “The Burrow.”
The last thing he saw before the world began to spin was Harry and Ginny, who had stepped together and joined hands, smiling back at him with something that looked oddly akin to fondness. And then he was gone, and so were they.
Scorpius felt the ash whooshing all around him, and he coughed harshly as he felt his lungs becoming momentarily engulfed by the disgusting element.
He brought his hand up to his chest, coughing loudly, and then falling forwards onto an ash-covered carpet. He continued to cough, bracing himself against the ground on all fours, and then- very suddenly- he became extremely conscious of the fact that other than his wracking coughs, the room was utterly silent.
He looked up slowly to see Albus wrapped up in the arms of a very plump looking woman who was staring down at him with a look of complete horror upon her face. She seemed frozen, but slowly she let Albus go and then proceeded towards Scorpius.
The Malfoy boy fought the urge to curl in on himself, as if she might start beating him up, or attempt to strangle him with her menacing-looking arms. Her face was a frightening shade of red, and her fiery hair was streaked through with greys as harsh as steel. As harsh as his granddad’s eyes had been.
“Sorry-” He managed between two more wracking coughs, but then he felt himself being lifted to his feet. And a warm hand soothed his back, and then with a few muttered words, Mrs Molly Weasley was offering him a glass of cool water.
Scorpius took a big gulp, then wiped the ash from his forehead. “Sorry.” He said again, but she just smiled bemusedly.
“Scorpius Malfoy!” She exclaimed in a jolly voice, holding him out at arms length to get a better look at him, “You look exactly as your father did at your age!”
“I’ve been told,” He said cautiously, as if her words might be an insult in disguise. She smiled broadly again, before producing a handkerchief and attempting to swipe some of the ash from his face.
“Oh, mum, give it a rest. I told you not to fuss!” Scorpius heard Ginny complain as she came sweeping in through the fireplace. “He’s a fifteen year old boy- he can wipe his own face!”
“Nonsense.” Molly Weasley said with a smile, placing her hands back onto the boy’s shoulders and giving them a tight squeeze. “My my, he reminds me an awful lot of Harry at the same age. Eyes full of nerves.”
Ginny shook her head as she came over to them, pulling Scorpius out of Molly’s reach with a grin, and then putting her own left arm over his shoulders. “And you always paid far too much attention to Harry, too.” She said, shaking her head again, and giving Scorpius a tight squeeze. “You’ve already spoiled Albus and James. I’m not having you pampering another one.”
“Oh, tosh.” Molly dismissed with a flap of her hand. “Just because you want one to spoil him all by yourself.”
Ginny grinned, and then Harry stumbled out of the fireplace and into a big hug with Molly.
Ginny leaned down to whisper to Scorpius, “You see what I mean now.” And with an elfish little grin, Scorpius nodded back and Ginny chuckled, scrunching up her nose like a hamster. Scorpius liked her more with every day.
“That’s Uncle George.” Albus said, pointing at another Weasley family member. He, James and Scorpius were reclining back on sun chairs in the Burrow’s back garden, watching the older family members as they milled around Teddy and Victoire, lavishing them both with congratulations. “He’s married to Aunty Angelina, and they’re both really cool.”
“Cool.” James scoffed, as if Albus could not claim to know the meaning of the word. “They’re wicked.” He agreed, all the same. “Angelina’s pregnant with their second kid now, and that menace over there-” he pointed at a dark skinned toddler who was hiding behind Molly, about to pounce in an uncivilised act of surprise, “Is Fred. He’s a monster right now, but according to mum, pretty much an almost exact replica of his namesake.”
Scorpius had heard about Fred Weasley, and he glanced over at Molly as the little boy leapt out at her, causing her to shriek in surprise, then break out in a grin as she leant down to pick him up and cuddle him. At fifteen, Scorpius already knew that losing a parent was hard, but he wondered how it must feel for someone like Molly to have lost a child. He marvelled at her unwavering smile as she hugged the little boy, then let him go, smiling on as he dashed off to throw his arms around his dad’s leg.
“That’s Bill,” Albus went on, pointing at another red-haired man; this one distinguishable by the scars which half-mutilated his face. “And his wife, Fleur.”
“Ahh,” James said, as two more people apparated into the garden, much to the delight of the other adults. “You want to explain this one, or shall I?” He asked, and Scorpius glanced at Albus, noticing that he looked a little embarrassed.
“That’s Aunt Luna.” Albus said, gesturing towards the extremely pretty blonde who was now wandering around the garden like a little girl, lifting flowers towards her nose and closing her eyes euphorically as she inhaled their scents. She seemed almost oblivious to the other adults, most of whom were observing her with delighted smiles on their faces. Her dirty-blonde hair hung down her back in loose curls, and when she turned, Scorpius saw that her crystal blue eyes were somewhat misted with wonder. Albus effected a small sigh, as his head tipped to the left.
James grinned with faux malice, placing a hand on his younger brother’s shoulder, whilst leaning towards Scorpius to whisper, “Little Albus has always had a bit of a... thing, for ‘Aunt’ Luna. If you catch my drift.”
Albus turned back to his brother, looking utterly mortified, “I...” But he couldn’t deny it. “I hate you sometimes, James.” He grumbled.
“You have a crush on your Aunt?” Scorpius asked, barely able to contain his surprised tone. “Isn’t that like-“
“She’s not really our Aunt.” Albus interrupted quickly, heat creeping up from beneath the collar of his shirt. “She’s just one of mum and dad’s old school friends. And a right nice one, at that.”
Scorpius glanced up at James, and the two boys grinned. “When Albus was nine he proposed to Aunt Luna with a ring that he’d found out in the-”
“Yeah, yeah.” Albus interrupted, his face flaming now, “Don’t really have to go into that story today, do we? Honestly James- it’s all in the past. You’re living in the past!” He accused, raising a finger to point. James chuckled, before patting his younger brother on the top of his head.
“So you still have the hots for her, then.” He stated, a little grin creeping onto the corner of his mouth.
“No!” Albus insisted. “No!”
Just then Ron and Hermione rounded the corner, smiling as they walked hand in hand through the garden. “Sorry we’re late,” Hermione was saying in a lofty voice, “Someone insisted that we drive. Says it was impressive enough that he managed to obtain his muggle driving licence, so he might as well make good use of it.”
“That’s m’boy!” Grinned an older looking Weasley man, throwing an arm around Ron, who was grinning sheepishly. “Muggle transportation is anthropology at its best! I tell you, I took a ‘bus’ the other day, and do you know where I ended up-“
“That’s Granddad Weasley.” Albus said, pointing at the merry older man, “He loves muggles, obviously.”
But Scorpius was no longer listening, because at that moment, Rose Weasley had just appeared from between the flowerbeds- moving as if in slow motion as she swept the long, honey-blonde waves away from her face, then looked over at Scorpius and her cousins, smiling a wide, flashing smile. “Hi!” She called, raising her hand in a small, effortless wave.
Scorpius felt his mouth become shamefully dry.
“Hey squirt.” Said James, shifting his sun chair over a little to make space for her on the floor beside them. “So your dad insisted on driving, huh?”
“Oh, yeah.” She said, slumping down on the patio slabs between the three boys. “We had to get up at 6am, just to make it here for ten. Honestly, sometimes I think that it’s actually Mum who’s a bad influence on dad, and not the other way around. All this muggle business is clearly not my dad’s idea, at any rate.”
James grinned, “It’s romantic then, innit?” he asked, and Rosie poked her tongue out at him.
“No?” James wiggled his eyebrows, and Rosie visibly resisted the urge to roll her pretty brown eyes.
“So, how was your journey?” She asked abruptly, turning to smile at Scorpius, and blatantly attempting to shift the subject away from the romantic relationship of her parents. “Did you get the ‘Molly Weasley’ treatment?”
Scorpius wondered what a ‘cool’ answer to this question would be. “Um.” He said, feeling his cheeks heat up a little as he tried to remind himself that she was just a girl. Honey blonde waves or not. “Yeah. She’s a pretty... friendly lady.”
“Naturally.” Rose replied, with a bright smile. “It’s a perpetual attribute of the Weasley women. As a matter of fact-“
But she stopped abruptly as another family rounded the corner, into the big garden. Scorpius watched as her face seemed to immediately lighten immensely, then she got to her feet with a little smile, and skipped over to greet them. Frowning slightly, Scorpius couldn’t help noticing that the two adults had a boy with them. A boy about Rose’s age.
James glanced at Scorpius covertly, then got to his feet without a word, leaving the Malfoy boy alone with Albus once more.
“Who’s that?” Scorpius asked, as he watched the scrawny youth approach Rose and slide his arm over her slim shoulders. Scorpius actually felt himself flinch a little when she smiled easily, then turned to murmur something against his neck.
“Who?” Albus asked, glancing over in Rose’s direction. “What? Oh.”
“I didn’t know she had a...”
“Oh, yeah.” Albus said, effecting a small shrug. “Conor Finnegan. He and Rosie have been together since... Well, first year, actually. Both Gryffindor, obviously.”
Scorpius stared as Finnegan said something, and Rose laughed, covering her mouth with her small hand as she giggled. Her eyes lifted slowly, and both she and Scorpius looked hastily away when their gazes met.
“Wait a minute...” Albus said, his brow crinkling as he looked between the two teens, now adamantly gazing in opposite directions. “You and Rosie?... I mean, you and my cousin?”
Scorpius shook his head. “No.” He said, “No! I mean, she’s obviously not interested- she’s taken, after all. I mean, I hadn’t realised, but-”
“You like her?” Albus interrupted him, looking utterly astounded. “I mean, I know she’s my cousin, so obviously I can’t see her as... But, she’s bossy, and she always has to be right. And when we’re at school she’ll probably ignore you just as much as she ignores me. She’s... She’s like...”
“Nice.” Said Scorpius quietly. “She’s actually quite nice.”
Albus shook his head, wide eyed. “Blimey.” He muttered, looking over at Rose again. Connor had his arm casually wrapped around her small waist- an image that Albus Potter was more than used to by now- but somehow, for the first time in a long time... Something seemed different between the pair.
Albus started with surprise when he noticed Rosie’s eyes slowly creeping back towards Scorpius again.
“Butter beer.” He said abruptly, grabbing his friend’s shoulder and hauling him to his feet. “In the kitchen. We should get some and bring it out.”
“What?” Scorpius spluttered; evidently surprised by Albus’s unexpected announcement. “I-“
“Now.” Albus said, in a voice that was far more commanding to that which he was used to using. “Err- you know, if you like...”
“What?” Scorpius asked, as soon as they were out of ear shot. “I don’t see any butter bee-”
“Okay, we need a plan.”
“Plan?” Scorpius repeated, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes. For you and my cousin.” Albus stated, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He tapped his chin contemplatively, whilst hmmm-ing, then he closed his eyes. “Something to give you an edge. Not that you need an edge. I mean, you obviously already have quite an edgey edge, but-”
“Potter, what are you blathering on about?” Scorpius demanded, shaking his head in bemusement. “Rose- much as she is a nice girl- quite obviously already has a boyfriend. Long term, by the sounds of it.” He slumped down into a wooden chair at the kitchen table, glancing up half-heartedly at the many handed clock which hung on the wall before him. He noticed that each of the hands was labelled with a name, most of which he recognised, or had been introduced to today.
Slowly, his eyes sought out Rose’s hand, and he almost smiled when he saw that it was currently pointing towards the small word “Happy”. Then he sighed forcefully.
“We don’t need a plan.”
“Let me put it simply for you,” Albus said, sitting down in the chair opposite Scorpius’s. “Rosie and me, well... We haven’t exactly been close recently- in fact, there are times when she would rather pretend that I don’t exist, if she’s forced to spend time with me. We’re just... Polar opposites on the people spectrum.”
“Okay.” Scorpius said slowly, “And what does this have to do with-”
“Well, funnily enough, there was also a time when we were close. Before Hogwarts, and before Finnegan.” Albus gave a funny little smile, “You’re right really: deep down, Rosie always has been a nice girl. But Conor Finnegan is everything you’re not, mate. He doesn’t deserve Rosie.”
“And I do?”
“You’re my friend.” Albus stated simply, “For that, you receive bonus points.” He grinned a little, before adding, “Besides, I have seen the way my cousin looks at you. It changes everything. She’s only ever looked that way at the lump of boyfriend beside her, before now.”
Scorpius shook his head lightly, “It’s not that I’m not interested-”
“Enough said.” Albus interrupted, holding up his hand. “Leave it to me, mate. I’ll scope out the situation.”
Scorpius looked rather sceptical at this. “You’re sure that’s such a good idea?” He glanced up at the clock again and watched as Rose’s hand chugged from ‘Happy’ to ‘Hungry’.
“Trust me.” Albus said. “I’ll just... Ask her a few questions. Figure out where you stand. I can be subtle, you know.”
Scorpius looked doubtful, but he didn’t protest. “Well, whatever you do... Don’t tell her that I like her. I don’t fancy being ridiculed when it turns out she’s not interested, and she’s more than madly in love with her boyfriend of four years.”
Albus frowned, “I told you,” he said, a little tersely now, “I can be subtle.”
“Right.” Scorpius agreed, deciding it better not to doubt his friend’s abilities. “Good.”
Scorpius was just about to rise again from his seat, when the girl in question appeared in the kitchen doorway like a summery vision, wandering into the room almost absent-mindedly and proceeding over to the biscuit tin to fetch herself a handful of butter-beer-cream hob knobs. “Yum.” She said, taking a bite out of one. She glanced at Albus and Scorpius, giving them a small grin, before walking over to the table and sitting down in the seat next to Scorpius’s.
“Hungry?” Scorpius asked, and Rosie grinned through her biscuits. Scorpius couldn’t help smiling back, though he could feel Albus’s eyes on him. Slowly, he inclined his head upwards, and glanced quickly back up at the clock.
Rose’s hand had returned to its original standing. The word ‘Happy’ seemed to glitter at him now.
A/N: If you're enjoying this story then please please check out the prequel on my author's page. It's called 'A Tiny Star' and follows Draco Malfoy after the birth of his son.
I really hope you liked this chapter, and thank you so so much for reading. If you leave a review I will love you forever.
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