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Adults, I decided, acted their shoes sizes more often than their actual ages. They whined. They complained. They threw the occasional temper tantrum. And then they yelled at us for doing the same thing.

At least we had an excuse.

They on the other hand did not.  

“What the hell is she doing here?” I heard Lucius demand as Scorpius and I reentered the dining room.

“Ms. Granger is our guest today,” Astoria replied, her tone warning. “We are all going to welcome her with open arms.”

“Bloody likely,” I heard Scorpius mumble from behind me and I pretended not to hear. We were all thinking it. It was obvious that having Lucius and my mother in the same room was a recipe for disaster.  But it was Christmas, so we were supposed to have faith, right?

“Here you are, Hermione,” Astoria said, conjuring up an extra set of dishes and a chair for my mother at the table.

“Thank you,” my mother replied, smiling slightly. From the look on her face I could tell that she was questioning her decision of coming inside.

Scorpius and I hurried back to our seats and I was relieved to see that my mother was seated between the two of us. No one said a word as we went back to our meals and my mother helped herself to a plate. The only sound besides the normal clang of our silver ware on the plates was the furious and unintelligible mumblings of Lucius, who every now and then would glance up at my mother.

I didn’t understand what he was saying, but I knew from the few chuckles he elicited from Narcissa and the way he kept glancing at my mother that it was about her. I could tell that she knew that he was talking about her from the way her shoulders were thrown back and stiffened proudly. 

“May I have the rolls please,” my mother asked suddenly. I looked down the table, hoping that Astoria or Draco had the rolls in front of them. Fate, it seemed, had one hell of a sense of humor. The rolls were sitting directly in front of Lucius.

Lucius did not look up from his plate but went on muttering, as if he had not heard her.

“Excuse me,” my mother tried again, looking straight at the eldest Malfoy.

There was still no reply.

“Grandpa,” Scorpius yelled his tone angry.

“Yes, son?” Lucius asked, looking up at Scorpius innocently.

“Can you pass Hermione the rolls please?”

Everyone seemed to hold their breath at that moment. It wasn’t my mother who had asked, but Scorpius, his grandson, whom he had chosen to acknowledge. Either Lucius would blatantly ignore Scorpius’s request, or he would honor it.

I had a feeling that whatever Lucius decided in this moment was going to be a sort of defining moment for the rest of the dinner.  

“Why of course,” Lucius hissed, picking up the basket of rolls. “Here you go.”

I watched in horror as Lucius did not hand the basket of rolls to my mother but picked up the brown biscuit on the top and threw it at her, hitting her square in the face.

If the table had been silent before, you could have heard a pin drop now.  

“Thank you,” my mother said, her voice shaking with suppressed rage, picking up the dinner roll from where it had landed in her lap and placing it on the table next to her plate. She pushed a strand of hair that had fallen out of her ponytail out of her eyes and wiped the buttery crumbs that had stuck to her forehead off. In the corner of her eye I could see tears welling up. 

“Father,” Draco said, scooting his chair back from the table and standing up. The glare he was shooting at his father made me shirk back in my chair. This was the Draco Malfoy that I had heard about. “In the kitchen. Now.”

There was a loud clatter of silver against china as Lucius dropped his fork onto his plate and then scooted back like his son. He shot my mother and me a triumphant smirk as he sauntered out of the room in front of Draco.  

Draco closed the door behind the two of them and instantly there was a roar of chatter in the room.

“I’m so sorry about that,” Astoria cried, squeezing my mother’s hand across the table apologetically.

“He’s a bloody bastard,” Scorpius added, earning a glare from his mother.

“You’ll have to forgive my husband,” Narcissa said, putting on her most regal and yet fake airs. “He’s not been right in the head since he was released from Azkaban.” 

“He’s never been right in the head,” Scorpius snapped, and Narcissa looked taken aback.

I squeezed my mother’s knee reassuringly under the table.

“Are you okay?” I asked her quietly when the other three had gotten into an argument about whether or not Lucius was right in the head.

“No,” she replied just as quietly, gazing down at me sadly. “My life is falling apart.”

I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and hugged her to my chest, still not able to get over how frail she felt. It was odd how the roles seemed to have switched. A few weeks ago my mother had been hugging me tight while I fell apart in McGonagall’s office. Now it was my turn to hold her together while she fell apart.

Maybe that was what family really was – give and take. You take care of the ones who are in need, and trust that when your tie comes around that they would be there for you too.  

“Things will get better soon, baby,” my mother said, looking up at me backwards from where her head rested on my shoulder. “I promise. This will all be over soon. We can start again.”

I nodded, feeling the familiar tightening of my chest and burning behind my eyes. As much as that sounded nice, I couldn’t deny the fact that I didn’t want my family to change. I didn’t want to start over. As much as my home life had been horrible and as much as I despised how my father acted, it was the only life I knew. I was afraid of the change. I didn’t want things to change. I wanted to be a normal child, with two parents who loved each other and lived together.

If I was honest with myself though, I would have to admit that my life had never been normal. My parents were constantly followed by the press and everyone knew my name and knew me before I’d even set foot in Hogwarts. Things had always been different for me. 

I was just going to have to accept that. I didn’t like it, but I would.

Just then the door to the dining room opened again and Lucius was ushered inside by Draco. He did not look at anyone in the room, but stared down at the white carpet as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. Draco’s expression was set and determined, but I could see fury burning behind his blue-grey eyes. 

“Do you have something you would like to say?” Draco asked when Lucius did not make a move to do anything.

“I’m sorry I threw the bread at you,” Lucius mumbled, looking up at my mother with an odd glint in his eyes, “mudblood.”

There was a collective intake of breath around the table and I heard my mother scoot her chair back and stand up, her hands resting on the table in fists.

“For starters,” my mother said in her no nonsense court voice, “I would like to remind you that you are currently speaking to, and insulting, the Minister of Magic. I could have you arrested right now not only for harassment, but for attacking the Minister. And I guarantee you; the Wizengamot will not be as kind this time around.”

“Kind?” Lucius roared. “You and your precious Wizengamot stripped me of my wand. You locked me away in a dark dingy cell for twenty-five years of my life! What more could you take away from me?” 

“I don’t think you realize this Malfoy,” my mother said, her voice dripping with venom, “but it is thanks to me that you only got a twenty-five year sentence. The rest of the court was pushing for the Dementor’s Kiss, like the rest of Voldemort’s inner circle was administered. But I reminded them that you had renounced your ways during the Final Battle and that you had been a prisoner in your own home for the better part of two years. They didn’t need to take pity on you! I convinced them to – for the sake of your family. And now you dare tell me that I ruined your life? I saved your life, you ungrateful little bastard.”

Dead silence hung in the air.

My mother was breathing hard, her gaze hard and withering. Her hair looked bushier than it had before and I could see that she was visibly trembling, whether from anger or nerves I wasn’t sure. 

This was my real mother.   

My gaze darted back and forth quickly between her and Lucius, but neither one of them seemed to want to say anything more. Lucius was staring determinedly down at the carpet again, this time trying to hide the bright red flush that had overcome his cheeks.

Several more minutes passed in the same way. It seemed that for the first time in his life, Lucius Malfoy had been rendered speechless.

“I think the food’s getting cold,” Astoria said after a few more minutes of silence. 

“You’re right,” Draco said, moving around his father and back to his seat. “Let’s eat.”

Lucius and my mother both nodded and sat down in their seats again. My mother glanced at me out of the corner of her eye and I gave her a small thumb up behind the safety of the table. She grinned at me and then resumed eating.

 

 


 

The rest of the meal passed fairly quickly as my mother talked with Astoria and Draco about Ministry business while Narcissa fussed over Mira and Lucius sulked. Every once in a while Scorpius and I would sneak a glance at each other around my mother, but neither of us said anything. 

All too soon Astoria and my mother were clearing the dishes off of the table.

“Thank you for the wonderful meal,” my mother said to Draco and Astoria as she scraped scraps of leftover food off of my plate and onto hers and then placed hers on top of mine. “It was delicious.”

“Well thank you for joining us,” Astoria replied pleasantly, doing the same on the other side of the table. 

I fidgeted uncomfortably in my seat, not sure whether I should stand and help them clear the table and wash dishes as I usually did at Weasley family dinners or if I should just stay seated. Narcissa was still fussing over Mira, but then again she had grown up being waited on by house elves, so she wasn’t accustomed to having to clear her place.

I decided to be polite so I stood up and grabbed the bowl of leftover mashed potatoes and the bowl of carrots.

“Oh, Rose honey, don’t worry. Your mother and I can handle the clean up. Go enjoy yourself,” Astoria commanded and I gently set the bowls back down, feeling somewhat chastised. I guess she was just being a good hostess.

“Okay then, if you’re sure,” I replied unsurely.

“Yes, it’s fine. Why don’t you and Scorpius go listen to music in the living room?”

“Oh, in your trunk are the presents that were on your bed this morning,” my mother called after me as I turned to leave. I put the ones of Scorpius’s that showed up in there as well.”

“Okay, thanks Mum,” I replied, turning on my heel and smiling at her. She smiled back and continued clearing the table.

I felt Scorpius’s hand on the small of my back as he ushered me out of the dining room and I happily obliged. Presents! I was such a child sometimes. But really, I was excited.

“Do you want to open your gifts?” Scorpius asked, leading me back down the hallway to where our trunks lay.

“You have some to open too you know,” I reminded him.

“How could I forget?” he asked, chuckling lightly. “But admit it, you’re excited.”

“Maybe just a little bit,” I admitted, blushing. “But it’s Christmas. I’m allowed to act like a four year old at the mention of presents.”

“Do you like your gift?” he asked, suddenly grabbing my wrist and holding the bracelet he bought me up to the light.

“I love it,” I answered, smiling.

I really did love it. None of my other presents could measure up to it. Hopefully my gift to him would measure up as well. It wasn’t as sentimental, but it was something he had mentioned wanting, so hopefully he would like it.

“I’m glad,” he said, kissing the top of my hand lightly and then letting my arm fall back down to my side. “Did you get me a gift?”

“Maybe,” I teased, pretending to look guilty. “I thought you said you didn’t want anything.”

He glanced down at me, and I saw the look of uncertainty in his eyes. Either he was very gullible, or I was a good actress.

“Yes, but you said you wanted socks and I got you a bracelet,” he replied.

“Scorp, relax,” I laughed, wrapping my arm around him and hugging his waist. “I got you something.”

He broke out into a huge grin. “I knew it.”

I scoffed and punched him in the arm, grinning when I saw him wince a little bit. I still had it.

We stopped in front of our trunks and I bent over and opened mine, feeling the familiar flutter of excitement overcome me as I saw the brightly wrapped packages sitting on the top. I gathered the bundle into my arms and followed Scorpius back to the living room. We sat on the couch again next to each other and I placed my gifts in a pile on the coffee table in front of me.

“You go first,” Scorpius insisted, gesturing to my larger pile.

“Okay,” I replied, picking up the first one I saw. It was wrapped in sparkling purple paper and was a fairly heavy rectangular box. The tag on the top told me it was from Ashley. I unwrapped it slowly, chuckling when Scorpius clucked his tongue impatiently.  

It was a shoebox. Oh dear Merlin. What had she done?

I pried the lid off slowly, and there, wrapped in bright pink crepe paper was a pair of shiny black pumps.

“Heels?” Scorpius asked, cocking an eyebrow curiously.

“Ashley is a bit overzealous,” I replied, grinning when Scorpius nodded sagely.

“Seems like it,” he said, grabbing a silver wrapped gift and throwing it on my lap. “Open another one.”  

I picked up the new package and noted that it was from Noel. This time it was asymmetrically shaped and rather squishy. Oh bollocks. It had better not be what I thought it was.

I slid my finger under the Spell-O-Tape that held the paper together and unwrapped it, letting out a frustrated sigh when I saw what lay underneath. Now the pumps made sense. Because there, sitting on the undone silver paper was a little black dress.

“Bloody hell,” I mumbled, staring down at the garment on my lap.

“What is it?” Scorpius chuckled, picking it up and letting it unfold to its full length. I gazed up at it, and decided that it wasn’t as horrible as I had first thought. It was short, probably too short for my liking, but it was only black up until right under my chest. From there it was a white scoop neck with two thick tank-top like sleeves. It was rather cute.

“It’s a dress,” I said, still not able to take my eyes off of it. Where did they expect me to wear that?

“Oh,” Scorpius replied, nodding. “Well now you have something to wear to Tony’s party.”

Of course.

“Right, that’s on New Years, isn’t it?”

“Yep, at his house. It should be fun,” Scorpius answered, a mischievous glean to his eyes.

“I’m guessing there won’t be any adult supervision there then,” I asked, raising an eyebrow playfully.

“You’re of age now,” he smirked, “you can be our adult supervision.”

“Just call me Mummy,” I laughed and he chuckled, slinging his arm around my shoulders and pressing his lips lightly right under my jaw. The feeling of his soft lips against my throat sent shivers down my spine. He seemed to notice because I heard and felt him chuckle against my neck and then he brought his lips up to mine.

“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” a voice said. I pulled away from Scorpius and felt myself brush profusely.

“No, its fine,” Scorpius said, his voice wavering as he tried not to laugh.

“Rose, I’m going to go now I think,” my mother said, coming into the living room from where she was standing at the entrance.

“Why?” I asked, feeling a panic rise in me for some unknown reason. “You don’t have to leave. It’s Christmas.”

“I know, honey,” my mum said, running her hand over her face tiredly. “But Tom is probably wondering where I’ve run off to. You know, it’s not every day that he gets the Minister of Magic sleeping at his inn. If I don’t get back there soon he’ll probably tell the Auror contingent I’ve been assigned that I’ve gone off.”

“You gave your special Auror squad the slip?” I asked, feeling quite in awe and shock of my mum. She had never been the rule breaking sort. But I guess that when you make the laws you can break them.

“Yeah,” she said, smiling sheepishly. “As far as they know I’m locked up in my room taking an extremely long bubble bath and nap.”

“Nice,” Scorpius chuckled.

“Well, thank you,” my mother said, her cheeks tinged a faint pink. “I really must be going though. I’ve already thanked your parents, but I’d like to thank you Scorpius for taking such good care of my daughter. You have no idea how much it means to me to know that she is being looked after by someone who cares about her.”

I felt my mouth fall open a little bit as I stared at my mother in shock, tears welling up behind my eyes. 

“It’s not a problem, Hermione,” Scorpius said, glancing down at me and shooting me a grin before looking back up at my mother. “I wouldn’t ever dream of hurting Rose.”

He smiled down at me again and I smiled back up at him, feeling butterflies dancing about in my stomach and my heart doing acrobatics in my chest. Maybe it was possible for Grangers/Weasleys and Malfoys to get along. Maybe Scorpius, like so many seemed to see and believe, really did love me back. Or maybe this was all just a very nice dream.

Whatever it was, I liked it.

 

 




 

The rest of the break passed fairly quickly. Well, too quickly if I was to really think about it. Scorpius and I spent most of the break sleeping, helping Astoria clean, playing board games or Exploding Snap, and occasionally taking walks around his block.

It was nice for once in my life to not have to worry about what I said or did and to just be able to enjoy myself. It was as if a giant weight had been suddenly lifted off of my shoulders. I felt as if I was standing straighter, laughing better, even breathing more evenly.

It was amazing what being happy could do for you physically.

Of course, I knew that the moment I left the sanctity of the Malfoy’s apartment and boarded the Hogwarts Express the giant weight that had been momentarily relieved would crash back down onto my shoulders as real life sunk in again. People would be beginning to hear about my parents impending divorce. Chances were that it would get around that I had spent the majority of my holidays at the Malfoys. Rumors would plague me wherever I went.  

But for now, I was determined to enjoy every second of my newfound happiness.

“Are you almost ready to go?” Scorpius asked, his voice muffled from shouting through the door to the bathroom.

“I’m coming,” I called back, holding onto the white porcelain sink as I slipped on the other one of my new heels.   

“I’m sorry,” I said breathlessly, pulling open the door and tottering slightly in my shoes. There was a good reason why I didn’t wear heels very often. 

I paused in the doorway when I noticed that Scorpius wasn’t really paying attention to me anymore. Or maybe it was better to say that he wasn’t listening to what I was saying anymore. He was definitely paying me attention though. 

“You look wonderful,” he said, smirking down at me, his eyes raking over my dress.

“Oh, well thank you,” I replied, blushing profusely. “It’s nothing much.”

“It’s not the dress,” he said, still not taking his eyes off of me.

I felt a grin break across my face and I blushed harder.

“Are you two almost ready to go?” Astoria asked, coming around the corner in a velvet sweat suit. I couldn’t help but feel relieved that she had interrupted that conversation.

“Yes, I was just waiting on Rose here,” Scorpius said, shooting me a cheeky wink. “You women. You lot take a long time getting ready.”

“But we look damn good,” I reminded him, and Astoria chuckled.

“That you do,” Scorpius said, his eyes sliding back over me again.  

“Well, let’s get a picture of the two of you,” Astoria said, pulling a gigantic camera from behind her back. How had I not noticed that before?

“Mum,” Scorpius sighed, “we really have to go.”

“It will be quick, I promise,” Astoria replied, holding readying the camera as if to prove her point. “Please?”

“Its fine, Scorp,” I said, laying a hand on his arm. He looked over at me and something changed in his eyes.

“Fine,” he nodded. “But only a few.”

Astoria smiled and motioned for us to stand closer together. Scorpius wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pulled me to his side and I wrapped an arm around his waist.

“Say Dumbledore!”

“Dumbledore!”

By the time Astoria had gotten through taking pictures of us all I could see were two purple dots. I blinked a few times to try to clear my eyes of the image of the light, but it wasn’t really working.

“Okay, thanks you two,” Astoria said, smiling at us. “You’re free to go.”

“Thanks Mum,” Scorpius called as he led me down the hallway towards the fireplace, which we would be Flooing to Tony’s from.

“Happy New Year!” I called as I stumbled along in my heels.

“Happy New Year!” I heard Astoria call back. “Be safe. Make good decisions.”

“Yeah yeah,” Scorpius mumbled under his breath, grabbing my coat off of the back of the white armchair and holding it out for me. I slipped it on and hurriedly did up the buttons, feeling silly.

“You know we’re not actually going outside,” I reminded him.

“You never know,” Scorpius replied. “What if there’s a fire? Or what if you pull another runner?”

“Who would I be running away from?” I asked, smirking.

“You never know,” he smirked back.

“I thought you were leaving,” Draco said, coming around the corner, a pair of trendy wire glasses perched on his nose and a newspaper in his hands.

“We’re trying,” Scorpius sighed, smacking my hand out of the way gently and doing the button on my jacket that I was struggling with. “Rose is having trouble.”

“We’re Flooing,” I reminded his grumpily, “it’s not like I need a jacket anyway.”

Draco chuckled, settling himself on the chair that I noticed he always sat in. “Fighting like an old married couple.”

“Are not!” we both insisted at the same time. Draco just chuckled and shook his head.

“Let’s go,” Scorpius said after a minute, ushering me towards the fireplace. He grabbed a pinch of Floo powder out of a jar by the fireplace and then I did the same. “Just shout Zambini Manor,” he instructed.

I nodded and marched into the fireplace, crouching so that I did not mess up my freshly styled hair (it took me over an hour to do, considering I wasn’t allowed to use my wand on my hair anymore after I accidentally set it on fire back in fifth year). “Zambini Manor!”

I felt the green flames lick at my feet and then I was swirling past many different fireplaces, each one disappearing out of sight before I could get a good look inside. Sooner than I had expected I came to an abrupt stop and I stumbled out of the fireplace, tripping over the black rug that lay just to the front and landing sprawled on the floor.

“You always knew how to make an entrance,” a voice laughed. I pushed myself up to see that Noel and Tony were standing in the doorway, doing their best not to laugh at me.

“These death contraptions Ashley bought me for Christmas are not exactly ideal for Flooing in,” I mumbled, standing up and brushing myself off just as I heard another whooshing sound followed by Scorpius’s heavy footsteps.

“Get here all right?” he asked me, wrapping his arm around my shoulders.

“Oh yeah, she landed here just fine,” Tony answered cheekily before I could respond.

Scorpius raised his eyebrows at me questioningly.

“Tony’s just being a berk,” I replied, smirking at the dark skinned boy across the room.

“Hey!” 

Scorpius laughed, kissing my temple lightly and pulling us towards the door. I hadn’t really had time to notice before, but we were standing in a sort of informal foyer, without any furniture and just a few pictures of old family members on the walls. A Flooing parlor, I had to assume. 

“Has the party started already?” Scorpius asked as we walked out of the parlor and down a long, rather dark hallway. I couldn’t see any of the pictures that lined the walls but I could see vaguely that there were several doors that led to different rooms I assumed.

“Yeah, it started about a half an hour ago,” Tony said, continuing to walk forward. “There are a ton of people here. I don’t even know some of them. It’s awesome.”

Scorpius laughed and nodded and I tried to feel excited as well, but to be honest I was more nervous than anything. I hadn’t really been around other people since the debacle at Christmas Eve, and I was suddenly terrified. The hallway felt tight and cramped and although I had never thought I suffered from claustrophobia, I was finding it rather hard to breathe. Scorpius seemed to notice my strangled breathing and pulled me tighter to him comfortingly. 

As we walked the dull thudding of loud music grew louder and louder until we emerged into a huge, dimly lit room. Everywhere you looked there were teenagers – lounging on a couch in the corner of the room, sitting at what looked like card tables with black tablecloths thrown over them, or over by a long table at the back, snacking on junk food and refilling their red plastic glasses. I couldn’t tell where the music was coming from – it was almost as if it was coming from the walls itself. Like the music, multicolored lights were swirling around the dance floor, but there was no sign of where they were coming from.

“Wow,” I said my eyes going wide as I took in the scene.

“Nice touch with the lights,” Scorpius commented.

“Thanks,” Tony replied, his chest puffing up proudly. “The charm took me three hours to get right. “It was worth it in the end.”

“I’d say,” Scorpius said appreciatively.

“Why are we just standing here?” Noel asked, brushing past Tony and into the room. “This is my song! Rose, let’s dance!”

“Umm,” I replied unsure.

“Go,” Scorpius commanded, smiling down at me. “I’ll go put your coat away.”

“Okay,” I answered, quickly undoing the buttons and shrugging my coat off. I gave it to Scorpius and he gave me a swift peck on the lips. Then Noel took my hand and pulled me out onto the dance floor.

“Merlin!” she cried when we had fought our way to the middle and were able to comfortably move around with being elbowed. “You look great!”

“Thanks for the dress,” I replied, glancing down at my dress just to see it again. It really was pretty. The hem fell just to my knee and the heels made my legs look long and pretty, not thin and rather chicken-like as usual. Plus, the white top made my breasts look a little bit bigger, which was always a plus. “It’s gorgeous!”

“Not a problem,” Noel grinned, throwing her hands above her head and wiggling from side to side happily. “I’m just glad it fits.”

“Oh, it does. The shoes fit great as well.”

“Ashley will be happy to hear it. We had to steal one of your shoes when you weren’t looking to find out what size you wore. “

“Where is Ashley anyway?” I asked, for the first time noticing my other friend’s absence.

“She and Jack Nott disappeared a little while ago,” Noel said, her eyebrow’s rising suggestively.

I felt my mouth drop open in surprise.

“Really?” I asked, unable to believe it. Ashley was so bubbly and vivacious while Jack was cold and uptight. Maybe it was really true that opposites attract.

“Yep,” she said grabbing my hands and making me jump up and down with her as the music got faster. My feet were already killing me. “It’s odd at first, but they’re actually pretty cute together after you get past how different they are.”

I nodded. I could picture it.

“There you two are,” a voice said from behind us and I turned around to see Tony and Scorpius fighting their way through the crowd, two glasses in each of their hands.

“Hey,” Noel said, blushing as Tony handed her one of the cups. “Thanks.”

“Having fun?” Scorpius asked me, handing me a cup of my own and taking a long gulp of his.

“Yeah,” I replied, my grin faltering as I stared into the depths of my cup. “This isn’t alcohol is it?”

“Does it matter?” Scorpius asked an unknown expression in his eyes.

“Alcohol and I don’t mix very well,” I replied, feeling sick just thinking about the last time I had had a cup of that stuff.

“Just one glass won’t hurt,” he said.

“Scorpius,” I sighed, looking up at him. I didn’t want to disappoint him, but I wasn’t going to drink this. “Please.”

He looked down at me and the hard expression in his eyes melted. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”

“Thank you,” I replied, smiling again and standing on my toes to plant a soft kiss on his lips.

“I’ll go see if the bartender has any apple juice for you,” he said cheekily.

“I’ll come with you,” I replied when I saw that Noel and Tony were now dancing together, their glasses held high above their heads as they swayed to the music. Scorpius grabbed my hand and together we danced/fought our way through the crowd again. Being around so many people in such tight quarters was making me hot and rather lightheaded. Finally we broke through the throng of people.

I took a deep breath, relishing in the feeling of the cooler air against my flushed skin. 

“This is fun,” I shouted to him over the sound of the music. I thought I heard him shout something back, but I couldn’t understand. He seemed to sense that as well and he squeezed my hand tighter.

“One glass of whatever non-alcoholic beverage you have,” Scorpius told the bartender when we reached the table at the back. The man, who wore a white button up shirt that was rolled up to his elbows and a black vest shot him a look that said ‘you-must-be-kidding-me’ but obliged anyway, pulling out a can of lemon soda and pouring it into a red cup for me.  

“Thank you,” I said, accepting the glass gratefully and taking a long sip.

The man nodded and then moved to fill what looked like a seventh year Hufflepuff’s order.

“Non-alcoholic, huh?”

I felt my shoulders stiffen at the sound of that voice.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay sober, Anna,” I replied waspishly, turning on my heel to face the dark hair girl. She was dressed in a shimmery silver dress that tied around the back of her neck and that hugged her figure nicely. Oh, how I hated her.

“Except if you want to be known as a baby,” she replied just as nastily, shooting Scorpius a flirtatious smile.

“She may be a baby,” Scorpius interjected, his voice hard and cold. “But she’s my baby.”

Anna visibly flinched at his comment.

“What’s going on here?” Al asked, striding up behind Anna and wrapping his arms around her waist. She grinned at me nastily and then leaned back into him.

“I was just talking to your cousin and Scorpius,” Anna said, her voice innocent and lofty now. “But they’re being mean to me.”

“Oh shove off,” I cried, my grip on my cup tightening so much that it made a foreboding cracking sound.

“Hey, don’t talk to her that way,” Al snapped, glaring at me.

“Don’t tell my girlfriend what to do,” Scorpius growled.

“She was my cousin before she was ever your girlfriend,” Al shot back.

“Stop,” I said, placing my hand on Scorpius’s arm warningly.

“What, are you going to let her stop you again, like at Christmas?” Al asked, chuckling darkly.

“Rose, let me hit him,” Scorpius asked, never taking his eyes off of Al.

“Ooh, you need to ask permission,” Anna asked, her tone mocking.

“Yeah, but I don’t need permission to knock your lights out,” I snarled, lunging forward at her, but was stopped halfway through by Scorpius’s hand grabbing me around the waist.

“It’s not worth it,” he said, although his eyes were ablaze with anger. “She’s not worth it.”

I looked up and watched with a sadistic sort of satisfaction as Anna winced again.

“What’s going on here?” Tony asked, coming out from a gap in the dancing mob with Noel not far behind him.

“I’m sorry Tony,” Scorpius said, his voice still dangerously low, “but I’m afraid I might spoil your party by committing a few murders.”

“Scorpius, mate,” Tony said, clapping his friend on the shoulder reassuringly. “Relax. And you two,” he said to Al and Anna, “bugger off or you’re out of here.”

Anna sniffed loudly and led Al away, into the depths of the mob.

“You should have let me hit him,” Scorpius said, looking at me.

“You should have let me hit her,” I replied. We both chuckled.

“Scorp,” Tony said, looking at his friend worriedly, “why don’t you go take a walk? You need to cool off a bit.”

Scorpius nodded wordlessly and stalked away, brushing my side reassuringly as he walked past me. 

“Oh, I hate her,” I growled when he was out of earshot.

“I don’t blame you,” Tony replied, glaring at where Al and Anna had disappeared to. “Anna’s a right bitch.”

I sighed, shifting uncomfortably in my heels. I needed to sit down. I gestured with my head towards an empty table over in the corner of the room and hobbled over there. I settled myself into the first chair that I saw and Tony and Noel filled in the others.

“Oh, that feels good,” I sighed, wincing slightly as I slipped off my shoes.

“These things are death traps,” Noel agreed. “I’m going to go get some more to drink. Does anyone want anything?”

I shook my head no while Tony ordered another glass of ‘punch’.

“So what actually happened back there?” he asked me when she was gone.

“Anna was just trying to pick a fight,” I sighed. “And it worked.”

“I don’t understand her,” Tony replied, taking a gulp of his drink. “First she dates Scorpius, and then she cheats on him and tells him that she doesn’t love him, and then now she wants him back.”

I nearly spat out the gulp of soda I had just taken.

“What are you talking about?” I demanded between coughs.

Tony scratched the back of his head anxiously. “Scorpius hasn’t told you?”

I shook my head no.

“I don’t know if I should tell you then,” he said nervously, glancing around in case anyone had heard.

“Please?” I asked, feeling a desperate sort of panic building within me. Anna had cheated on him? When? With who? And most importantly, why hadn’t I heard about this before?

“Rose,” he sighed dragging his hand over his face.

“Please Tony?” I begged again, putting on my best puppy dog face. 

He glanced around again and then leaned in conspiratorially. “Fine. I’ll tell you. But you can’t tell Scorpius it was me who told you.”

“I promise,” I nodded, leaning in as well.

“Well,” he began, clearing his throat nervously. “Scorpius and Anna had dated since our fourth year. Their families were both really pleased – you know, keeping it in the pureblood community and all – and Scorpius fell in love with her. It wasn’t that hard then. She was pretty, witty, clever -“

I shot him a glare.

“Right sorry,” he said, clearing his throat again. “Well the summer before this year Scorpius went over to the Rosiers' to pick Anna up for one of their dates and when he got there Anna wasn’t waiting for him in the parlor like she usually was. He went looking for her apparently, and this is where things get fuzzy because he has never told me all of the details really, but to make a long story short, he caught her in bed with Flint.”

I felt my mouth drop open as I thought of how horrible Scorpius must have felt. The flame of wrath I carried for Anna grew ten times bigger.

“Merlin,” I breathed.

“Yeah,” Tony said, his own voice barely masking the anger he felt as well. “Apparently she saw him and knew that she was caught. Scorpius told me that she just laughed. She told him she had never loved him and that she had just dated him because her parents wanted her to. To say the least, Scorp was crushed. I’ve never seen him so upset. He just laid on his bed for a week straight, his mum told me. After that he got up and didn’t mention Anna for the rest of the summer.”

“Coming back to school,” I said, my voice giving out.

“When he came back to school, Anna tried to apologize,” he continued. “She told him that she hadn’t meant the things that she said, and that she wanted him back. Scorpius told her to go fuck herself.”

I couldn’t even chuckle.

“And then he met you,” Tony said, his voice becoming lighter and a smile breaking across his face. “I never thought he’d get over Anna. But you, you’ve turned him around. I don’t know how you did it, but I think you’ve made him fall in love again – something that he himself swore never to do.”

I sat back in my chair unsure of what even to say. This explained a lot.

Suddenly I wished I had never asked.

“Hey you,” Scorpius said, settling down in the chair next to me. “I’m sorry I lost it back there.”

“It’s fine,” I said, putting on a fake smile. “If anyone deserves to be beaten to a pulp it is them.”

“Too right,” Tony added.

“What are you guys doing?” Noel asked, running over with two cups in her hands. “It’s a minute to midnight!”

Scorpius and Tony jumped up but I slowly rose up out of my chair.

“C’mon Rose,” Scorpius called, holding out his hand for mine. I gingerly laced my fingers through his and he pulled me back into the large group of people, who had all gone silent as they listened to the voice in the walls count down the seconds until the new year.

30! 29!

Scorpius and I stopped right in the middle, and he pulled me to his chest, resting his chin on top of my head. Through the crowd I saw Anna glowering at us.

Scorpius had chosen me, hadn’t he? That’s why I was here in his arms and she was standing over there, in Al’s arms. I had won. The thought brought a smile to my face and I bounced up and down excitedly, all my previous apprehension gone.

Scorpius grip on my waist tightened.

10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5!

“Count!” Scorpius shouted.

“3! 2! 1! HAPPY NEW YEARS!” I shouted, jumping up and down as what sounded like fireworks and bells sounded throughout the room and cheers went up on all sides of us. Scorpius picked me up off of my feet and spun me around, planting me down in front of him and smiling at me.

“Happy New Year,” he breathed as he leaned down towards me.

“Happy New Year,” I replied as his lips pressed down against mine. 






 

A/N: I'm so sorry that this chapter took so long. There's really no excuse for it, although I have some. Hehe. Life's just been really crazy as of late, but hopefully things will start slowing down soon. I promise it won't take this long again. 

Anyway, what did you guys think? Like it? Dislike it? Please, please leave me a review and tell me! I really hope you guys liked it. 

Thanks for reading everyone! Look out for the next chapter soon! Please review!

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