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Friday the 23rd of December finally arrived, those going home for Christmas had packed some clothes into a small case or backpack; along with a few books they needed for the Christmas break assignments. For the first time Scorpius felt a little overwhelmed waiting for the train to start loading. Usually he was by himself or with Cameron; today he was with Cameron and Robyn but was also surrounded by all the Weasley/Potter offspring. True to their word all of then had put aside their distrust for the Malfoy name and had started to get to know Scorpius for who he was. He found out he got along well with Bill and Fleur’s children and Percy and Penelope’s children. The rest he found too loud and boisterous for his tastes but he had not developed any hatred with any person. He took a deep breath and told himself that they could not all sit in a single compartment so he would get some quiet time on the way back to London.

It turned out that once on board the train the people all seemed to go in different directions. In no time at all Scorpius found himself alone with Rose, Robyn, Cameron and Al in an empty compartment which they claimed for their own. They were still putting bags up in the rack and fighting over who would get the window seat when the door of the compartment opened again. They all turned around to see who it was that dared to intrude on their group. They were completely stunned by what they saw. In the doorway stood a petite girl with long dark brown hair that hung to her waist, she was wearing knee high boots over lace stockings. She had on a very short red tartan pleated skirt and a black and red corset around her waist. On her wrists and around her neck she had studded leather bands and finally her makeup made her face very pale on which the dark blue/black eye shadow and dark red, almost black, lips stood out. She walked in, closed the door and said “Hi Rose, hi Cameron, hi Scorpius and sorry I can’t remember the rest of you.”

Cameron seemed to recover first and said “Al and Robyn this is Tegan; Tegan, Al and Robyn.”

Al finally recovered the use of his voice “Wow” but apparently not the use of his brain because that was all he could say. Rose looked closely at Tegan again and finally saw the Hufflepuff girl who had helped her with Herbology and who liked Cameron.

Rose’s brain went into overdrive; Tegan being here was not an accident so Rose decided that she needed to help her. “Alright everyone” Rose said “Let’s get seated.” She sat next to the window and announced “Scorpius you sit next to me, Robyn you can have the seat next to the door, Tegan please sit opposite me so we can talk, and Cameron sit next to her so you can talk to Scorpius. Al you get the other seat next to the door.” They all followed her direction and she soon had Cameron and Tegan sitting next to each other. Rose saw that Tegan seemed to be happy with this arrangement. It felt good to help other people find each other.

Scorpius had remained quiet through out the whole show but the positioning of people and the looks on the all the girls’ faces showed that there was more to this than met the eye. To him it looked like the only ones oblivious to the forces at work here were Cameron and Al. Scorpius made a note to himself “Tell CL that the girls are setting him up to be with Tegan”. Though after a long look at Tegan, Scorpius thought Cameron may not object to this.

The group settled down to the long train ride back to Kingscross station and started to talk. At first the only topic was Tegan. “Interesting look you have there, I would guess it is even strange in the muggle world” Rose commented.

Tegan grinned “Not as strange as you would think, it is called Gothic. I learnt about it in muggle studies last year. Muggles have lots of unusual sub-cultures in their world and I think if you wanted to you could find a group that dresses any way you want to. Some don’t even dress at all, they are called Nudists.”

At this comment Al started to take a real interest in the topic of clothes. “I think it would be a good idea to check out these Nudists over summer, just to improve my knowledge of muggles of course.”

“Of course you realize that you would also have to parade around totally naked. Showing off everything” Robyn said, pointedly looking down at Al’s crutch. Al went bright red at the thought.

Cameron looked down at Tegan next to him, “So this is a new look for you. I mean I have never seen you like this at school.”

Tegan gave him a dazzling smile and said “Not really, the makeup is new but the rest of this is normal for me. The reason I don’t normally wear this at school is that we have to wear uniforms, or had you forgotten that little fact.”

Cameron felt a little foolish but pushed on anyway “So you like dressing like that?”

Tegan thought for a bit and said “I don’t like doing something just because everyone else does, I may be a loyal hardworking Hufflepuff but that does not mean I can’t decide what I want to do and follow that dream. Nor does it mean I have to be a quiet shy wallflower. These clothes make me feel good in myself and about myself. This is the true me and I am not going to change to please anyone else.” With a very defiant voice Tegan then challenged Cameron “If you don’t like it then that is your problem.”

Cameron quickly backtracked “Oh, I like it. I like it a lot”

The conversation then moved onto their Christmas plans. Rose told them all that Robyn was going to stay with her over Christmas and they were going to go to as many of the official Ministry Christmas and New Year parties as they could, including the big Minister of Magic Christmas Eve party. Scorpius said he thought that those affairs were very boring but he went on to add that he was only basing this on the few parties that he and his father had gone to. These were some of the smaller ones that his father’s contacts in the Ministry have thrown. Scorpius would have liked to go to some of the big parties just to see what they were like but the Malfoys had been ostracized from the important and prestigious gatherings because of who they were. Scorpius explained that it was all because the Ministers did not want the public to think that a Malfoy might be influencing them in the same way his grandfather had influenced Cornelius Fudge. Cameron, true to the values he had when he befriended Scorpius in their first year, said it was sad that the ministers looked at families and not at people. Rose also fumed at the injustice of it all. She decided there and then that she would do what ever was needed to make sure that the Malfoys went to the Minister of Magic Christmas Eve party.

Al, Robyn and Rose got off the train together at Kingscross station and looked around for Rose’s parents. They were easy to find, because in addition to Uncle Harry there was Aunt Ginny, Uncle George and Uncle Percy were with them and all that red hair did really stand out. At the sight of them Rose had an uncontrollable urge, which she did not try to suppress, to run into her parents arms. She dropped her case and ran to Hermione and wrapped her arm around her neck. Hermione was shocked at first; this was only the second time they had hugged since the attack; Rose had shunned any close contact. Healer Templer said that was normal and she would improve as time went on. Once over the shock Hermione returned the hug with interest. Rose broke from her mothers embrace, kissed her on the cheek and turned to her father. She launched her self into his arms like she used to do as a little girl; Ron’s reactions were still as fast as ever; he caught her in midair and swung her around. They both burst out laughing; when Ron put her back down he had tears running down his face. With a mock seriousness Rose said “Who are you and what have you done with my father”; her smile ruined the whole delivery.

Ron put on his best Auror’s face and replied “What makes you think I am not you father.”

Rose burst out laughing “Because I have it on good authority from mum that he has the emotional range of a teaspoon.” Now Ron burst out laughing and Hermione had the good grace to blush a little.

While they had been talking Al, with Rose’s case in hand, and Robyn joined the group; “Hi Uncle Ron, Aunt Hermione” turning to the rest of the group Al continued “Hi Mum, Dad, Uncle George and Uncle Percy I want you all to meet my good friend Robyn Cripps; she staying with Rose over Christmas.”

Before anyone could acknowledge Al’s introduction Rose yelled “Not fair; I promised to introduce Robyn to Uncle Harry”; Al stuck out his tongue at Rose before quickly hiding behind Robyn so she was between him and Rose. Grabbing Robyn’s hand she lead her over to Harry and formally said “Uncle Harry I would like you to meet one of my best friends; Robyn.”

Now she was finally meeting the famous Harry Potter, the ‘boy who lived’ and Head Auror; Robyn became very nervous and said “It is a pleasure Mister Potter, Sir.”

Harry gave a small grin and leaned forward towards Robyn and said in a stage whisper which the whole group could hear “There are two things I don’t like, dark wizards and being called Mister Potter Sir. Please just call me Harry” his small grin had now grown into a huge smile “Or at least Uncle Harry.”

Robyn’s pose now completely deserted her “Yes sir; I mean er . . .Harry.”

George laughed and stepping forward said “When you come around to the shop please feel free to refer to me as Mister Weasley Sir”

“Or prat” added Ginny. Al could see Robyn was being overwhelmed by all the greetings and put his arm protectively over her shoulders, a move that was not lost on his parents who exchanged glances.

Before the group broke up to go their separate way Rose grabbed Harry’s arm “I have a big favor to ask, can you get Robyn and me an invite to Minister Marshall’s Christmas Eve party.”

Hermione automatically corrected Rose the way all parents do “Robyn and I.”

Harry gave Rose a quizzical look and said “Sure that won’t be a problem but you have never shown any interest before.”

Rose smiled “I am thinking of my career for when I leave Hogwarts and besides, Robyn wants to go.”

Al looked at Robyn and added “Dad, can you make that three invites.”

Rose could almost hear the thought that were going through Al’s mind; if he could arrange it he would be going as Robyn’s date. She decided that she would like a friend along as well. This reminded her of the conversation and the vow she made to herself on the train “Actually Uncle Harry, would six invites be too much?”

“Are you planning on inviting the whole of Hogwarts now” Harry asked with a smile.

Rose blushed “Actually I was going to ask Scorpius and his parents to come.”

Harry’s face instantly became very serious “I don’t think that would be a good idea Rose, the Malfoys are . . . “ Harry seemed to be lost for words.

Before Rose could object to the unfair way people treated Scorpius and his family; Ron spoke up “Yes, they can come.” Rose was complete floored by this, her father standing up for the Malfoy family; he had said that he had accepted Scorpius but now it looked like he was willing to come to terms with Draco as well.

Harry and Ron looked at each other for several seconds before Harry sighed “Ok, six invites to the Minister of Magic’s Christmas Eve party.”

“Thank you, Thank you, Thank you” said Rose as she spun around to look for Scorpius. The platform was half empty and it was obvious Scorpius had already gone home. “I will owl him tonight and tell him about the party” said Rose.

Ron surprised her again by saying “I think it would be better if you and I go over to his house tomorrow and personally invite them.” To Rose it was like a dream, the only thing that had ever come between her and her parents was her friendship with Scorpius and it now seemed like Ron was willing to take the first steps at fixing that.

It was a perfect home coming until her mum did something that all children find revolting. When Ron had said he would asked Draco to the party personally Hermione responded with  “Oh Ron, I love you”; in that mushy way. She then put her arms around his neck and started to kiss him. It was a real kiss that did not look like it was going to end and they seemed to be oblivious to everyone around them.

Finally Rose couldn’t stand it any longer “Mum! Dad! Please!” Ron went the traditional Weasley red but Hermione just had a satisfied smile on her face which only got larger when she heard Rose good naturedly mutter “Now I am going to need even more therapy.”

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