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Standard Disclaimer: None of this is mine, but JK Rowling's. The cast list mentioned above is a list of people I envision to be the characters and is only provided to serve as visual aids for the reader. I have, in no way shape or form, any means to actually procure these actors to be my characters. Thank you!

Karen Gillan as Rose Weasley-Sedley
Tom Hiddleston as Scorpius Malfoy

Sophie Marceau as Aunt Fleur
Alex Kingston as Aunt Audrey


 


Family







 

Chris was right beside her. She felt his warmth. She felt his breath on her neck as he gently snored into her ear. She didn’t mind. Not anymore. They’d been married for two years now. After the first few months, she stopped being bothered by it. She started liking it. It was the assurance that he was there - next to her. It was the assurance that he was safe. That she was safe. That they were together and that nothing would change that.

“Good morning,” she breathed.

But no answer came.

The sunlight pierced through Rose’s eyes and Chris’s snoring grew fainter. It was replaced by the sounds of laughter coming from outside her window.

It was not long before Rose left the fringes of sleep – the time between dreams and reality where she could at least pretend that Chris was still there. But she did not want to open her eyes. Not just yet.

She wanted to go back to sleep. Escape into a dream. Have some peace.

She used to be able to do it without difficulty. Go back to sleep. Sleep until noon. But she no longer could. Not in that room. Not in that bed.

The pillow didn’t smell like Chris.

Back home, in the bed she once shared with her husband, the sheets still smelled like him.

She hadn’t felt like doing the washing since he died. She hadn’t felt like doing much since he died, but the laundry especially. She didn’t want to lose the way it made her feel when she got up in the morning. Smelling him near her, closing her eyes and imagining that he was right beside her. It was the only part of him that lingered now and she refused to let it go.

Now, she had nothing.

Rose opened her eyes.

***






The house no longer smelled of pastries and sausages. The time for breakfast had long passed. Sweet meats and potatoes now filled the air. Christmas spices and butter too. The air inside the Weasley household was so thick you could barely breath through it, but sure enough it was the scent of home for Rose. It was the scent she grew up with. The scent she was raised on. As she did her best to go down the stairs and quietly as possible, she couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for her own childhood when this time was a time of pure wonder and excitement. She and Hugo used to race down that same flight of stairs in hopes of getting to the batter bowl first. Who would get to lick the spoons covered in chocolate and cream? Who would get the first mice pie out of the oven? Who would get to dust the gingerbread house and eat all of the left over candy decorations?

Rose’s time for that had already long passed. The sound of laughter coming from the kitchen could easily have belonged to a younger version of herself, but it did not. It belonged to her little nieces and nephews. The younger ones at least. The ones who still marveled at the smallest things. Who found joy in the simplest acts.

She walked in to find Aunt Audrey and Aunt Fleur, still slaving away to feed the multitudes. But this time, they had a gaggle of little helpers. Pippa and Polly, James’s three year old twins, were cradled in their arms while fighting over who put the batter in the cupcake tins. Grace, Fred’s eldest, wasn’t far behind. She was the oldest of the new Weasley girls. At seven, she must have thought herself too old to be helping the Aunts in the kitchen, but you could see it in her smile that she enjoyed getting flour on her nose just as much as the little ones did. Of course, wherever Grace was, Anne, her younger sister, followed. The poor darling was only five but she tried desperately to be grown up like her sister.

But there was a new face in the crowd. One she did not recognize. A little boy sitting in the corner, watching as the girls pretended to be their grandmothers. He must be the boy the Aunts were talking about earlier that morning. Roxanne’s almost-son.

Rose came in and gave her Aunts a kiss on the cheek each. Her nieces erupted into screams of, “Aunt Rose!” as they tackled her down with kisses and hugs.

Rose didn’t mind. They’d grown up so much in the two months she hadn’t seen them! She wanted to stare at them the whole day just so she wouldn’t miss a thing.

“Come on you little hooligans! Let your Auntie Rose have a breath, why don’t you. Off, my pets! Off!”

“I don’t mind, Aunt Audrey. Honestly. I missed the devils. Oh!” Rose rounded them up again and hugged them all at the same time. They giggled and wriggled and her arms and she ordered them all one more kiss on her cheek before she let them go.

One by one, they served their sentence and were released back to the custody of their grandmothers.

But Pippa didn’t go back to Aunt Audrey’s welcoming arms. She went to the corner and fetched the little boy. Pippa took his hand and led him up to Rose like a lamb for the slaughter. The boy didn’t seem as eager to greet Rose as the others. He squirmed out of Pippa’s grasp and ran to hide behind Aunt Audrey.

“Oh, don’t be shy boy! It’s only Rosie,” Aunt Audrey laughed.

“That’s right,” Polly nodded. “It’s just Auntie Rose. You’ll like her.” Bless her, she still had her lisp.

Pippa took his hand again, this time, practically dragging him to Rose.

“Auntie Rose, this is Simon. He’s new.”

Rose smiled at her little niece and shook Simon’s hand. He looked at bit older than the twins, but definitely younger than Anne. But despite that, he was shy. He kept looking at his shoes, never meeting her gaze. And with the mess of curls he had on his head, it wasn’t as difficult as it seemed.

“Nice to meet you Miss Rose,” Simon mumbled.

“Auntie Rose, silly!” Polly giggled. She seemed to be under the impression that that was Rose’s full name. But such was the innocence of children.

“Sorry,” Simon whispered.

“Don’t worry about it. You can call me Miss Rose. If you want, though, you can just call me Rose and I won’t mind. After all, I do call you Simon.” Rose winked at the child and a small smile came shining through the corner of his mouth.

Rose ruffled up his hair and took his hand from Pippa’s domineering grasp. She helped him back to his chair, then she propped herself up on the counter beside him.

“Ces Magnifique!” Aunt Fleur swept the children back up to their work stations and the elves went back to their toil.

“Catch, dearie!” Aunt Audrey chucked a mince pie Rose’s way and she caught it with practiced ease.

Rose split the pie in half and gave the other to Simon, who looked more than grateful to have it.

“So,” she said as she helped herself to the other pastries cooling beside her, “where is the rest of the Weasley brood? I don’t remember it being this quiet.”

“Well, most of them are in the back yard with your Aunt Gelly and Aunt Ginny. Hugo brought over some brooms from work and the munchkins begged their poor parents for a game.”

“The Handsome Men’s Club? Are they there too?”

“Thank heavens no! Your uncles are out into town. Imagine the bother they’d make, bless their souls. No. Fleur and I thought it would be clever to make them do the shopping so that we can get things done around the house. They’re buying nonsense the poor dears.”

“Your mother is there too, ma fille chérie. Hermione’s off at the post office dear. Mailing some last minute Christmas cards.”

“And everyone knows you’re here so don’t think you can just sneak off back into your room without so much as a hello. Now I will hear no more about it. You will go out, mingle with your cousins and that’s that. We have have enough little darlings here to help us till New Years.”

“You know what, I think I might just go into town first. Say hello to Mom and Dad before the rest of the motley crew.”

“Suit yourself darling. Don’t forget to bundle up! It snowed hard this morning and it’s freezing.”

“Fleur knitted you a little Pre-Christmas jumper to use before present time. I put it by your coat so you have no excuses.”

“You didn’t have to…”

“Say no more Rosie. We were happy to do it. Just put the jumper on and be off with you. Say goodbye to Auntie Rosie, mes enfants!”

“Bye Auntie Rosie!” they yelled in unison, trying to be cheeky by being extra loud. Still, Simon sat in his chair, looking at his feet as they dangled too and fro. Rose’s little nieces could be a bit much, she had to agree, and he was a shy boy, bless him.

Crouching down to meet his gaze, she lifted up his chin and smiled. “Do you want to come with me for a walk, Simon? We can count some sheep and maybe even catch a few brams. They’re nasty little devils. We can get some hot chocolate later. I’d even give you all of my marshmallows”

Rose didn’t know whether it was idea of getting out into the countryside, running and playing, or the thought of hot chocolate and marshmallows that appealed to Simon, but his smile slowly grew and he nodded with a restrained form of excitement.

Rose took his hand and helped him off of his chair, walking him to the coat rack and bundling him up tight before stepping out into the crisp, white wonderland that was Tidley in the winter

***






It was a slow walk, and not just because Simon had short little legs that took small steps rather than long strides. Rather it was because Rose enjoyed seeing Tidley in the winter. Everything seemed so pure. So wonderfully clean. Like a fresh start or a new day. Of course, she still loved the flowers and scents that bloomed in the spring but there was a charm to the winter that felt absolutely in it’s own league.

Rose could hear Simon struggling beside her. Even in their glacial pace, he grappled with the amount of walking it took to live in the country. A true Londoner through and through.

“You know what, Simon?” She looked to him, “I’m feeling rather knackered. Would you mind if we sit for a while? Just so I can catch my breath?”

Simon vigorously nodded and Rose smiled. Finding an old and familiar tree stump by the road, she sat them both on it and took a deep breath of the fresh air that surrounded them. Rose hugged him close and kissed the top of his head. “Enjoying yourself?”

“Daddy says that exercise is good for me.”

“And right he is. Best thing in the world, exercise.”

“I can’t do much, though. Makes me go thump-thump,” he punctuated the action by drumming on his heavily padded chest.

“Hmmm, sometimes a little thump-thump is good, but you should never have too much of a good thing. That’s why I like sit down and rest. You?”

He nodded again. Simon didn’t like to say much, as it seemed, and it suited Rose just fine.

She pulled out a candy bar from inside her coat pocket and gave it to him as a treat. His little eyes lit up as he opened the wrapper and took a bite. Not forgetting his manners, he offered Rose some as soon as he realized he hadn’t yet. He was a very sweet child.

From the stump, Rose could see almost all of Downhill Tidley. Chimney’s all asmoke, houses decorated with garlands and twinkles. She could even see the red farm, the one Scorpius was supposed to be staying at.

The idea tickled at her brain as she thought of visiting him instead of going into town like she’d said earlier. She didn’t want to meet her parents, not just yet. Neither did she want to run into any of her uncles. Catching up, laughing about old times. It seemed more appealing to her than being asked how she was coping or how she looked rather well.

Dangling her feet, Rose looked to her little companion and wondered whether it would be strange at all to bring him into a stranger’s home.

But he wouldn’t be a stranger. Not really. He’d be Scorpius.

Rose tugged at Simon’s hood. “Would you mind at all if we dropped by on a friend of mine before going into town? I promise I’ll get you two hot chocolates if we do.”

Simon looked as if he was truly thinking on it. His bites on the candy bar became smaller and his chewing became slower. Finally, he nodded, jumping off the stump and taking Rose’s hand.

***






Just like she told Scorpius the night (or rather the morning) before, Healer Tichy’s clinic was the old mill at the end of the road. It was bright red against the white snow that covered it. Refurbished into a home with large windows to bring in the light.

Rose could see Scorpius out in the porch. He was bundled up as much as she and Simon were. He had a hot mug of something in his hands, a cigarette in between his lips.

Rose waved out to him, using both of her hands to send a bigger signal. Simon started imitating her as he waved his hands as well, jumping in the air so he could be seen. They must have been quite the sight and true enough, they finally caught Scorpius’s eye.

“Hullo there!” Rose yelled out to him as she walked down what would have been a grassy meadow in the spring.

Scorpius waved back. He was leaned back on his chair, a hand covering his amused smile, before finally deciding to set down his mug so he could walk out and meet her.

“I know I told you not to be a stranger, but I didn’t expect this. Miss me already, did you?” Scorpius laughed as he hugged her. “What are you doing here?”

“I was on my way into town when I thought of dropping by first to see how you’ve settled. This is Simon by the way. A new friend of mine. Simon, this is Scorpius, an old friend of mine.”

Simon gave a little wave before hugging Rose’s leg. Scorpius was a good sport about it and made a funny face to try and break the ice.

Once the pleasantries were done, Scorpius ushered them inside, out of the cold and into a warm, cozy kitchen.

“Healer Tichy and his wife went into town a little before you came. Bringing some pies to patients.”

“Sounds like an absolute saint.”

“Certainly is. Always told me patient care cured better than medicine. Wise old goat, he was.”

After a whisper from Rose, Scorpius got a mischievous look on his face as he conjured up three mugs of steaming hot chocolate. And as promised no one had marshmallows on them except for Simon. He had all of their shares floating like puffy white clouds in his mug.

Rose mouthed a thank you and Scorpius brushed it off. He was quite a nice guy when he chose to be so. She’d never forgotten that.

So while Simon happily drank his hot chocolate, taking small sips in between blows so not to burn his tongue, Rose and Scorpius caught up on old times. About old classmates and where the buggers were now. Professors, acquaintances. But it was not much use as both were equally clueless about the world around them.

“I can’t believe how out of touch we’ve been. You in your little slice of paradise, me in Prague. Seems like everything passed us by.”

“I know what you mean. I feel guilty about it though, not keeping in touch. But, I don’t know. After I left for Hewertt’s, I always felt busy, knackered or lazy. It’s my fault really. Should have picked up the phone. Or at least sent an owl. How hard is it to write a ‘how are you’ on a small piece of paper?”

“Slow down now. It’s not all you fault. It was a two way street. You didn’t call, I didn’t call. You didn’t write, I didn’t write. Not our style I suppose. Besides, I prefer talking. I was always better at oral exams than written ones.”

“That’s because you can talk anyone into anything.”

“I’m not denying it,” Scorpius joked. “God I missed you old girl. Almost forgot what fun we used to have.”

Rose nodded. “Same here. I really should have called. Really. I’m sorry about that.”

“Hey, I’m sorry too. Now we’re both even.”

For a while it was quiet. They both took sips of their hot chocolate and Simon went off wandering around the room. Rose didn’t quite know what to say to Scorpius. Why hadn’t she kept in touch? It was simple, she got too caught up in being in love, in being with Chris. And for Scorpius’s part, she really couldn’t blame him for not having the energy to call. After all, he did have two children to deal with in his mother and father. Neither of them seemed truly at fault. The only thing Rose did feel guilty about was not having introduced him to Chris. They would have liked each other. Scorpius was a wanker, but Chris would have gotten on well with him. They would have watched Quidditch games together. Gone out to pubs together. Shared embarrassing stories about Rose. They would have to. After all, Scorpius had been her best mate. Rose would have badgered Chris into liking him. He always let her get her way in the end.

Rose shook her head. No. She didn’t want to think about all that right now. Setting down her mug, she tried to hide away a small smile as she looked at Scorpius.

“What? Chocolate stuck to my teeth?”

“No. No. Nothing like that. It’s just…well, you’re rather good with children aren’t you? Who would have thought? Scorpius Malfoy: child whisperer.” Rose tried to keep her earlier thoughts to herself.

Still, there was a look on Scorpius’s face, a suppressed sense of realization, that disappeared almost as soon as it came. He didn’t even mention it and he went on to the topic Rose had started. “What? Simon is a good kid. A bit shy, but I’ve seen worse.”

“You should have seen him in the house. Poor boy was pushed to the corner by my nieces’ more than dazzling personalities.”

“A family trait, no doubt,” Scorpius tipped an imaginary hat.

Rose swatted him on the arm even though she knew it was true. “He seems to like you rather well. Warmed to you quicker than he did to me.”

“Well that’s understandable. I am rather fun, or have you forgotten?”

“You even got my mum to like you and that’s no easy feat!”

“How is the old battle ax anyway?” Scorpius took a sip of his chocolate.

Rose wanted to lie. She wanted to pretend that she had seen her parents and that would be the end of it. But she couldn’t find it in herself to lie to him. Not when she knew he could tell. But it had been so long. Eight years. Dare she think the skill went dull due to lack of practice?

Rose didn’t want to take the chance. Pushing her mug away, she sat back and gave a small groan as she ran her hand nervously through her hair. “I haven’t exactly seen my parents yet. I think I’ve been avoiding it. In fact, I don’t think I’m quite ready just yet. I just---”

“Hey, hey,” Scorpius interrupted. “No need to explain. I’m sure you have your reasons. Besides, when have I ever looked down on avoiding parents? I’m doing it right now,” he tried to make her laugh. Rose appreciated it. “Now, come on. I’m running out of catch-up topics here. How about we talk about me now? Your life is getting boring and you know I always have loads to say about myself.”

How could he do that? Not ask, or prod or insist but nevertheless, Rose felt the urge to divulge everything to him. She hadn’t seen Scorpius in eight years for goodness sake and already she was ready to spill out her secrets and just tell him what he didn’t even want to know. It was uncanny, but it had always been like this. Chris had always said that Rose always had to get what she wanted. Well Scorpius was the same, only that he always got more than that.

This time though, Rose would try to deny him.

“Let’s talk about you then. I think I’d like that topic better,” she smiled.

“Right. Settled,” Scorpius cleared his throat as he eased in his chair, waiting for the onslaught of questions to follow. “What do you want to know? My life is an open book. Go on then. Twenty questions like the old days, only I won’t ask back.”

“Why are you doing this? Not asking.”

“Because it’s what you need. That counts as one. Are you really going to waste your questions like that?”

A smile tugged on her lips. Why did she never call? Rose nodded, silently thanking any higher power giving her this particular friend just when she needed him. “Which of Asteria’s husbands do you like the most, your dad excluded.”

“Simon! I think Rose is ready to leave now!” he laughed.

“Answer the question!”
 







 
Translations:

Mes enfants - my children
Ces Magnifique - Splendid!

 

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