Christmas at the Burrow was one of Rose’s favorite times of the year. All of her family came for dinner and many stayed overnight. Rose and her cousins had a tradition of sleeping over the night before Christmas, but since most of them had real lives many couldn’t make it this year.
Rose was sitting in front of the fireplace with Hugo and Freddie, waiting for the Potter’s to arrive. She and Freddie were playing a game of muggle chess. Grandma was in the kitchen preparing dinner while Grandpa Weasley tinkered with a remote control truck.
“What is taking them so long?” Grandma Weasley barked from the kitchen.
“You know what James is like, it takes him hours to do his hair.” Freddie smirked as he moved a pawn one square forward.
Freddie’s head jerked down, “What?”
“You really are terrible at chess.” Rose laughed quietly.
“I’m much better at wizard’s chess!” Freddie protested.
Hugo snorted, “It’s the same game, just with enchanted pieces.”
“Well, it’s obviously mental.”
“You’re mental,” Rose muttered as she reset the game pieces.
At that moment, three teenagers landed in the fireplace surrounded by green flames. As soon as the flames died, Lily pushed James out
of the fireplace and Albus stumbled out behind them.
“Ah,” Grandpa Weasley exclaimed, “you’re here!” He set down his remote control.
“What’s for dinner?” James bent down and hugged Rosie. Lily gave her brother a dirty look and seemed tempted to say something, but Grandma came in from the kitchen at that moment.
“What took you so long? The others arrived half an hour ago,” Grandma scolded.
Albus glared at James, “It was all him.”
“Wha-” James clutched his chest dramatically.
“Never mind you, let’s sit down and eat dinner.”
Rose and Hugo had already set the table and Grandma levitated the food to the table. Rose took the opportunity to sit next to Albus and make small talk with him. Hugo was attempting to explain remote control cars and Grandma was attempting to make James into a better human being.
“Did you think that Transfiguration test was difficult?” Rose asked Albus. Rose had barely scraped an O on it.
“It was impossible, I got a Poor.” Albus grumbled. “How did you do?”
Rose pressed her lips together and tried to think of an unpretentious way to tell him that she got an Outstanding. There was no denying that she was better at school than the rest of her family, but they didn’t like it when it was shoved in their faces.
“You got an O, didn’t you?” Al rolled his eyes.
“Yes, but I also found it really difficult.”
Albus shook his head, “You are ridiculous.”
“Well, I have to maintain my spot at the top of our class. I have to be Head Girl, leadership potential is so important for job interviews.
It’s really great that you made Quidditch captain.” Rose knew that she was stringing sentences together awkwardly, but she hadn’t congratulated Al on his appointment.
He looked surprised, “Oh, thanks. The match against Gryffindor is going to be tough, with James as captain.”
Rose grabbed another roll of bread, “I have to root for Gryffindor, but I hope you play well. And I’m sure it’ll be a good game.”
James shouted from the other side of the table, “We’re going to put Slytherin in the ground!” Per usual, everyone ignored him.
“Penny is coming for New Year’s Eve,” Rose told Albus. This would be the first time that Penny came to the Burrow and Rose was so excited to have her best friend to help her through spending time with her family. Rose grabbed her glass and smiled when she thought of how James was slightly afraid of Penny. Maybe she could get James to shut up - everyone else had failed.
“So is Scorpius.”
Rose choked on her sparkling cider. Luckily, the coughing gave her some time to process what Albus had just said. Malfoy was coming to the Burrow for New Year’s Eve. He was going to be there. With all of her family. And Rose.
She realized that Albus was carefully observing her reaction.
“You alright there, Rosie?” Grandpa asked.
Rose swallowed thickly and replied insistently, “Yes, I’m great!”
“You’re turning purple.” Lily smirked. Lily was turning into a little firecracker and Rose did not appreciate the sass.
“Just swallowed wrong is all.”
“Mmhm,” Albus muttered.
Rose waited until the attention was off of her before turning to Al. “I think it’s great.”
Albus smirked and his eyebrow lifted, “Seriously?”
“No, really!" She said insistently, but that only seemed to make Albus more suspicious. "I think it’s good that you’re having a friend over and I’m having Penny over, so it’ll be fun.” Rose tried to sound as positive as she could.
“I am not buying this.”
Rose rolled her eyes, “Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted? For us all to be friends?”
Albus still looked suspicious, “Since when are you and Scorpius friends?”
She knew that if she was too enthusiastic, Al would see right through her. Rose and Scorpius would never be ‘friends’, but they had come to an understanding that it was in their best interest to not kill each other. Rose had her sights on Head Girl and although Scorpius had never told her, she knew that he wanted Head Boy.
“We’re not friends. But we’ve matured-”
“Yes!” She insisted, “And while we don’t like each other, it’s in our best interest to get along.” Albus gave her a suspicious look and she knew that it would take a while for him to adjust to the new normal. “I can’t promise we’ll never argue, but we’re done with the fighting.”
“Will you talk to your dad?”
Rose’s brow furrowed, “About what?”
Al sighed, “He’s never met Scorpius and he’s so overprotective of you, I’m worried he’ll judge Scor based on the history you two have.” Rose had forgotten that all the times Rose and Scorpius had gotten in trouble, it was always her mom who handled. Probably because her mum knew that her dad would always take Rose’s side and wouldn’t even entertain the idea that Rose was at fault. And because her dad couldn’t stand to be in the presence of Mr. Malfoy.
If he knew that Malfoy was at the Potter’s house, her dad wouldn’t let her go over. Not that Rose would want to hang out with Malfoy, but her dad was a tad extreme. But in her father’s defense, Scorpius had landed her in the Hospital Wing on more than one occasion.
“I can talk to him, but I don't know how much good it’ll do.”
“Maybe if you told him how you punched Scorpius in the face last year…” Al suggested. “You know, make it clear that you gave as good as you got.”
Rose grinned as she recalled punching Scorpius. It was at the end of their huge duel last year. Professor Slughorn had disarmed them both, but Rose was still fuming. So she turned and punched Scorpius right in the face and broke his nose. Professor Slughorn had been too shocked to do anything so he stood there, holding their wands with his jaw on the floor.
“I’ll try to talk him down—hold on, are you telling me that no one knows Scorpius is coming?”
Al laughed, “No, everyone but your dad knows. My mum said that if we waited ‘till the last minute to tell Uncle Ron, he wouldn’t have time to work himself into a frenzy.”
“Why didn’t my mum tell me?”
The New Year’s Eve party was beginning in one hour. Rose was curling her hair when he mum came in to check on her.
Hermione sat down on Rose’s bed, “Have you spoken to your dad yet?”
Rose nervously applied her lip gloss and tried to think of a way to get out of telling her dad Scorpius was going to be at the party tonight.
“I was going to! But then… then I realize that he’s going to flip out,” Rose continue smearing gloss over her lips even though they were starting to get really sticky.
“I think it’ll be better if it comes from you.”
Rose pinned back the front curls of her hair with a sparkly clip and finished the look with mascara. “I’ll tell him before we go.”
Rose assumed that would be the end of the conversation, but her mum didn’t move.
“Does this mean that you and Scorpius are friends? I haven’t heard anything from McGonagall…”
Rose snorted and looked at her mum, “We are not friends.”
Her mum gave her a disapproving look.
“What?” Rose snapped defensively. “He’s a jerk and has such a big ego—”
“Every time I’ve spoken with him, he’s always polite. And he’s been such a good friend to Albus—”
Rose scoffed, “Oh please, Scorpius has gotten Al in trouble so many times.”
Hermione folded her arms, “I think you’re holding Scorpius to an unreasonable standard. Do you have any idea how many times Uncle
Harry got me and your father in trouble? But our parents still adore Harry.”
Rose laughed, “Grandma loves Uncle Harry because she loves a sob story.”
“What? Uncle Harry’s the savior of the world, he doesn’t count.”
Her mum smiled at that. “I hope that you and Scorpius continue to behave.”
“Am I wrecking your reputation?” Rose asked teasingly.
Her mum laughed and gave her a mild scolding look, “It would be embarrassing if my only daughter was sent to Azkaban for murdering a classmate.”
“We actually got a detention last month—”
“—and we had a good talk.” Rose finished with a sigh. She hadn’t told anyone about the chat she and Scorpius had and was hesitant to tell her mum. Rose couldn’t even admit to herself that she didn’t hate Malfoy as much as she used to. “We came to a sort of… understanding. Scorpius and I will never be friends, but we’re going to get along.”
Hermione looked dumbfounded. “Oh. Well, good. Right then, that’s good. Does your friend Sybil still have a crush on him?”
Rose’s mouth popped open, “How do you know about that?”
“Rose, you know what the Hogwarts gossip mill is like. And you know what our family is like.”
“I don’t think Sybil likes him anymore. Haley would definitely take the opportunity if she got the chance, but she’s all over the place. I think she’s fascinated with Emma Laurence for the moment.”
Hermione smiled and looked lovingly at her daughter, “It’s nice to be young and in love.”
“Yeah.” She wondering what her mum was musing about.
“But you’ve never had a boyfriend.”
Rose stood up quickly, unable to sit still any longer. “What’s that have to do with anything?” She had a bad feeling that her mum was about to give her “the talk” and try to convince her how nice romance was.
“Nothing,” Hermione put up her hands in surrender. “I just wondered if I had missed something. Or someone... someone that you didn’t want you father to hear about?” Rose sat down on the bed with her mum. They had never spoken much about romance and dating, but Rose wasn't one to hide from her mum. She knew her mother wasn't prying, only curious.
“I’ve had a couple dates, but nothing that led to a relationship.”
“Okay, I was just wondering.”
“I promise that if I ever have a real boyfriend, I will tell you.”
Rose glanced at the clock and realized that her father would probably start yelling for them to get their butts downstairs. Rose had decided to wear a silvery dress that Aunt Fleur had gotten her for Christmas and the satin heels that he mum had given her. New Year’s was the time to prove to the whole family that she did actually use the presents everyone gave her.
“You look beautiful, darling. We should probably head downstairs.”
After making sure that her outfit was in place, Rose headed downstairs to join the rest of her family. Of course, even once their were all gathered in front of the fireplace, it still took ten minutes before they had everything sorted and were ready to floo.
“Oh dad, by the way, Scorpius is coming to the party.” And then Rose turned as quickly as she could and pushed Hugo into the fireplace.
“What?” Her father yelled, but Rose was already preparing to mutter her destination.
Rose stepped into the fireplace right after Hugo, followed by her mum and then her dad. Her dad had this thing about being the last one to go through magical transportation to make sure that the kids didn’t get left behind. Uncle Harry said it was because of the Whomping Willow and a flying car.
“Rose!” Her dad called after her, but had already disappeared in the crowd. Her dad would no doubt have many words for her mum and Uncle Harry and Rose did not want to hang around.
The party was up and hopping, with Rose’s entire family and then friends of the family there. Uncle Neville was there with his wife Hannah, and per usual, looked embarrassed and slightly bamboozled. There were people that Rose vaguely recognized, whom her parents had previously pointed out but Rose couldn’t put names to faces.
Rose spun around, nearly knocking Aunt Luna’s pixie off of her shoulder.
Scorpius was standing there, looking totally at ease surrounded by Rose’s family.
Scorpius laughed, “Glad to hear you’re so happy.”
“I’m just ... surprised.”
“Didn’t Al tell you I was coming?”
Rose swallowed, “Well yes, but I didn’t expect you to approach me.”
Scorpius’s brows lowered, “Because you’re so untouchable?”
Rose rolled her eyes and folded her arms, assuming a battle stance. “That’s not what I meant and you know it. I just thought we were ignoring each other.”
“I thought we were trying to be civil.”
“Yeah, civilly ignoring each other.” Rose muttered and then remembered what she had said to Al and her mum. “Look, I just wasn’t expecting you to come and say hi. How has your winter break been?”
Scorpius shrugged, “Fine. My grandparents came for Christmas, which was weird. But they gave me lots of money so I suppose it’s alright. My Aunt Daphne and her family were over for Christmas Eve. You know, normal family stuff.” Rose couldn’t imagine spending a warm family Christmas with Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. And she couldn't imagine it being normal.
“Your grandparents don’t usually come for Christmas?”
“Mmm…” Scorpius thought for a moment, “Well, they came two year ago.”
Rose really wanted to ask what his grandparents were like and if they were still into all that blood purity stuff. But she thought that it might be a bit too blunt and he might take it the wrong way.
“How did you find that Transfiguration test?” Scorpius asked.
Rose molded her face into a humble expression, “Oh, it was trickier than I expected.”
Scorpius gave her a measured looked. “Yes, I wasn’t expecting the question about aquatic animals.” Rose was about to waffle some response about how a random question had taken her a long time, but then she realized that Scorpius was doing the same thing she always did.
“You got an O, too?” Rose deadpanned.
He smirked, “Of course. I mean, it was more difficult than I expected…”
“Don’t tell Al…”
“Oh, he doesn’t ask me what I think about classes anymore.” Scorpius shook his head.
Rose laughed and could see why Al wouldn’t want to speak with either of them about school and grades. Rose and Scorpius were evenly matched to be top of their class and had always been, only a few students coming ahead of them throughout the years. She could deal with Scorpius beating her in some classes because she knew that he was brilliant, despite the fact that he was also an idiot. But when anyone else entered the competition, Rose got incredibly frustrated.
Watching Rose’s mind work was always fascinating. Scorpius never knew whether she would come to the conclusion that he was the worst person on earth… or if she would decide he wasn’t so bad after all. But he was sure that she would be on her best behavior in front of her whole family.
Funnily enough, Rose and Al were really the only people that Scorpius knew and felt comfortable talking to.
“What are you two giggling about?” Albus had approached without Scorpius noticing.
Rose folded her arms, “We’re not giggling. We’re chatting about school.”
Al rolled his eyes, “Talking about how superior you both are?”
Scorpius grinned as Rose, who gave him a disapproving look for his arrogance. She looked rather flustered by his teasing behavior and her cheeks began to redden. He had never seen Rose in such a fancy dress before and it was odd to see her in silver. Scorpius would have guessed that she had a ban on silver and green simply because they were Slytherin colors.
“Uncle Ron looks furious.” Albus remarked.
Scorpius hadn’t dared to look at Rose’s father. He was vaguely aware of Mr. Potter and Mrs. Weasley speaking with Mr. Weasley, but didn’t want to look and accidentally make eye contact.
Rose shrugged, “He’ll get over it.”
“Did he know I was coming?” Scorpius asked.
Rose’s voice got high, “Yeah, I told him.”
“When?” Albus challenged.
Rose looked around the room, anywhere but at the two boys. “You know… right before we arrived here.” Albus groaned. Scorpius was hardly surprised that Rose had waited until the last moment. For a Gryffindor, she could be quite the little coward. He was just grateful that none of Al’s other family were giving him hateful looks.
Rose had the good sense to look embarrassed, “I’m sure my mum has talked him off the ledge. She sort of thinks you’re brilliant.” She said grudgingly to Scorpius, who looked mildly dazed by the thought. Hermione Granger Weasley, the Minister of Magic, the mother of the person he had actively tried to kill, was impressed by him?
Scorpius didn’t know what to say and Rose had clearly been expecting a retort, because she looked at him. Her eyes widened and she burst out laughing, “Are you blushing?” She then had the audacity to point a finger at his face and stick her tongue out.
Albus started laughing at Scorpius’s expense.
Rose jumped at the sound of her mother’s voice and Scorpius turned even redder.
“Hi, Mrs. Weasley.”
She looked mildly amused by the Scorpius’s nervous appearance, like he was expecting Hermione to yell at him or scold him. To be fair, he had really only ever met her in the context of being called to McGonagall’s office for fighting.
“How has your holiday been?”
Scorpius swallowed, “Good, ma’am.”
Albus snorted, “Stop sucking up.”
Rose smirked at Scorpius’s formal demeanor.
“You two could learn some manners from him,” Hermione remarked.
“Hey mum, remember last year when he tried to kill me?” Rose huffed. Scorpius found it rather hilarious that while her father cleared believed all of Rose’s rubbish, her mum clearly knew that Rose was a horrible to Scorpius as he was to her. If only he could convince his father to think so rationally. According to Draco Malfoy, the burden of responsibility was all of Scorpius to behave properly.
“You started it,” Scorpius muttered.
“Let’s not start,” Hermione warned. “Your father is already on edge and if he sees you two arguing, he won’t take it well.” Scorpius really wanted to prove to Al’s family that he wasn’t as bad as Rose made him out to be.
But as the night continued, he got the sense that none of the Weasley’s actually believed in Rose’s version of their relationship. He assumed that Rose would come home from school and spew hate to anyone who would listen, but everyone treated him like just one of Al’s friends. Penny arrived later in the night and Scorpius was glad to have another friend with him. More and more guests began to arrive in the following hours and the gathering turned into a party.
Rose’s family were partiers and many of them danced all night. Penny took turns being spun around by Hugo, James, Freddie, and eventually Grandpa Weasley. Scorpius felt so awkward when everyone was dancing and jumping to the music. He leaned against the wall and felt some envy at having such a large and fun family.
“I’m not much of a dancer either,” Percy Weasley came up next to Scorpius and took a sip of his punch. “My family is absolutely bonkers… but they are entertaining.”
Scorpius watched Rose and Penny tap their champagne glasses together and then begin to spin around, nearly knocking over some of Lucy Weasley’s friends.
“You’re staring,” Percy commented and drew Scorpius out of his thoughts.
“It’s strange… I thought Rose would’ve told her family all about how horrible I am…”
Percy made a noise, which Scorpius guessed what a chuckle. “Oh, she does like to verbally bash you, but Albus does a good job of leveling the story. Besides, we all know how ill-tempered Rose can get.”
Scorpius’s eyebrows shot up, “I thought I was the only one who knew that.”
Percy snorted, “Don’t flatter yourself. Rose has been knocking heads around here long before she got to Hogwarts. But she’s one heck of a friend when she’s on your side.”
“She hasn’t been a great friend to Al.” Scorpius retorted.
Percy shrugged, “She’s very protective. She punched a fifth year who was mocking Lucy when Rose was only—”
“In the second year,” Scorpius finished, “I remember that. One of the few times I didn’t join her in detention.” Scorpius recalled how triumphant Rose looked after taking down a girl three years older than her. She had that look on her face enough as McGonagall rained hell on Rose for physical violence.
“She has funny ideas about protecting people, but her heart is in the right place.”
Scorpius had to work hard to keep his face blank. Logically, he knew that Rose cared about her family and friends, but he also saw how destructive she could be when she didn’t get her way. At times, it was difficult to believe that her heart was in the right place. That had been a major point of contention between them.
He felt as though all Rose cared about was her reputation. Granted, that did seem to have faded in recent years, but if she really cared about her family as much as she claimed to, wouldn’t she have welcomed Scorpius and at least pretended to be accepting of his friendship with Al?
“You don’t agree?” Percy inquired and Scorpius barely heard him over the increasing volume of the music.
Scorpius hadn’t done a great job of keeping his feelings inside, he supposed. “I guess, I wish that Rose would have accepted me more… back when Al and I first became friends.
“I wouldn’t hold anyone accountable for their actions as an 11 year old.”
Scorpius smiled as he recalled saying something similar to Rose when she pointed out that he had been pompous and pretentious. “I don’t.”
At that moment, Freddie Weasley bounced his way over to Scorpius and Percy. “Scorpius, mate!” He wasn’t sure that Freddie was his mate, but Scorpius knew how friendly this particular Weasley was. “I’m so glad you’re here! You know, I’m impressed with you and Rosie and I’m even more impressed with Uncle Ron.”
“Thanks, Freddie.” Scorpius replied dully.
He clapped Scorpius on the back, “No problem, I totally thought Uncle Ron would curse you as soon as you came through the door—”
“—but it seems like Uncle Harry has put up a good argument on your behalf.”
Scorpius began to feel like he shouldn’t have come, despite the warm welcome he had received. Was everyone just being nice to him because they felt bad? Had Albus bullied his family into treated Scorpius like a friend?
“Freddie!” Al’s voice rang out over the blasting music. “What did you do? He looks traumatised!”
Scorpius shook himself out of his stupor and gave Al a reassuring grin, “Mate, I’m fine. You don’t have to worry about me.”
Albus still looked concerned, but seemed satisfied with his answer. He didn’t feel like explaining his inner thoughts to Al. Scorpius was happy to stay on the outskirts of the festivities and watch everyone else have fun.
Penny was having the time of her life jumping around the Burrow with all of the Weasley’s friends and family. At some point, Dominique pulled her and Rose into the center of the mosh pit and began twirling them around.
“I love your family!” Penny screamed over the music and watched as Grandma and Grandpa Weasley began flapping their arms and wiggling. All of their children look thoroughly embarrassed.
Despite the fact that she played Quidditch and was in good shape, Penny quickly ran out of breath and had to take a break from dancing. She found Scorpius in the kitchen, chugging butterbeer and looking a little lost.
She raised an eyebrow at him. “Why are you hiding?”
Scorpius put down his drink and rubbed his eyes, “I feel stupid for coming.”
Scorpius shrugged, “Maybe because I’m a Malfoy—”
“Oh, cut the crap, you’re just feeling insecure.”
He didn’t disagree with her. “
Penny sighed, “Al wants you here… and I’m happy you’re here. And I think even Rose sees you as some type of friend.” Scorpius let out a strangled laugh and Penny had to smile at his reaction. “I would’ve thought you’d be happy to hear that.”
“She’s a pain in the ass.”
Penny enjoyed shocking people, she enjoyed having the upper hand. She had held onto a particular observation for a long time in hopes that one day, she might need it to shock Scorpius out of stupidity. “So you don’t have a crush on her anymore?”
Scorpius hadn’t been drinking, but if he had he would’ve done a spit take.
As it were, he just choked on air.
“What—what are you on about?” He demanded and then quickly looked around to make sure no one else heard.
“Second year… you had a crush on Rose.”
Penny was amused by Scorpius’s mouth flopping open and closed. “I never—”
“Relax,” she gave him a reprieve, “I know you’re over it. My point is that stranger things have happened than Rose considering you a...
Scorpius took a long drink from his glass and when he set it down, he finally said something. “I may have had a brief moment of insanity, but that was years ago and I’ve moved on. It’s not a crime to think a girl is cute.”
Penny clapped her hands together triumphantly, “I knew it!”
Scorpius hissed, “Shh! And I am beyond over any childish crushes I may have had years ago.”
Penny put her hands up in surrender, “You don’t have to convince me. I’ve seen how you fawn over whatsherface from Slytherin.”
Scorpius took the bait all too easily and his face lit up in frustration.
“You and Rose are so nosy! And her name is Tanzy.”
Penny hesitated, “Rose asked you about Tanzy?”
“During our detention last month. And Al’s been bugging me about asking her on a date… why do all my friends want to butt into my life?” Scorpius asked with humorous anger.
“Why don’t you want to ask her out?”
It was obvious to anyone who paid attention that Scorpius had a kilometer-high wall built around his heart and very few people got through. He was charming and pleasant and everyone at school liked him. The teachers praised his intellect and his teammates were lucky to have his athleticism and he was a great friend to anyone who knew him.
But very few of those people actually paid attention. Penny could see his walls start to go up as soon as she started asking personal questions. Apparently Albus, Scor’s best friend, hadn’t gotten very far either.
“It’s not that simple.” Scorpius protested quietly, probably hoping the loud music would discourage anymore conversation
“It’s exactly that simple. Person likes person, so you ask them out. People make dating more complicated than it needs to be,” Penny said loudly as she rolled her eyes.
Scorpius pinned her with a harsh look. “Yeah? When’s the last time you asked a guy out?”
“Two months ago.” Penny answered easily. “I asked Damien Selwyn to go on a picnic with me.”
“I don’t remember that.”
Penny snorted, “That’s because he said no.”
Scorpius gave her a pitiful look, “What did you do?”
She laughed and pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. “I had dinner with my friends instead. He was very polite, but just said that he didn’t think of me in that way. See? It’s not so big of a deal.” It had been a little embarrassing when Damien had turned her down, but he hadn’t spread it around and they still said hello in the halls.
“So if I ask Tanzy to Hogsmeade and she says no…”
“It won’t be the end of the world, if that’s what you’re worried about.” Penny reassured him.
“What do you mean?”
Penny gave him a knowing look. “Are you sure you’re not afraid she’ll say yes? And you’ll have to open up to someone outside of Albus or myself?”
“When did you get so perceptive?”
“I’ve always been perceptive, you lot are just too caught up in your own drama to notice.”
He had the good sense to look ashamed. Penny glanced around the kitchen and had to appreciate all the magical items casually lying around. Being a muggle born, she was so unaccustomed to see magical items around the house. For some reason, magic seemed like it was limited to inside the walls of Hogwarts.
“Is this what you house is like?” Penny asked Scorpius.
Scorpius looked around amusedly, “Not quite.”
“I’d like to see your house some day.”
Something like alarm passed over his face. “I dunno…”
At that moment, James stumbled into the kitchen, his face flushed and out of breath. Per usual, he had no sense of surrounding and barged into their conversation as happy as you please. Penny was actually quite frustrated with James for being such an idiot. He never thought through anything and always left other people to clean up his messes.
“What are you two hiding in here for?”
Scorpius took the opportunity to escape, “I was just heading back in.” Penny gave him a discerning look as he skirted around James. Penny then turned her discerning glare onto James.
James glanced around, avoiding her stare. “How are you, Penelope?”
Penny fixed him with an unyielding look and his breath shortened.
“I know you kissed Eliza.”
James’s words got stuck in his throat.
“She told me. I can’t believe you—we agreed that you would leave her alone!” Penny was so frustrated that James couldn’t just behave like a normal human. She was grateful that the music was still pounding in the other room, because she had a feeling that this was going to turn into a screaming match.
“I just had to know—”
Penny walked out of the room.
The night had started out so well and it was slowly devolving. Maybe she was too invested in other people’s lives. It was her own damn fault and she wished that Eliza had never told her. Why had Eliza confided in her?
When her sister told her how James had just kissed her out of the blue, Eliza hadn’t been upset. She looked finally at peace, which Penny couldn’t understand because Eliza had been avoiding his advances for years. And then all the sudden, James kissed her and now she doesn’t seem bothered by him at all?
Perhaps, her sister had given in? Eliza had a boyfriend and Penny knew they hadn’t broken up, but maybe Ellie was planning on doing that when she got back to school.
Penny didn’t know which room she ended up in, but it had a sitting area and shelves full of books. The music was distant so she must’ve wandered farther than she had realized.
“This is the library.”
She nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of James’s voice.
“Shite! You really need to announce yourself!”
James stuffed his hands into his pockets and looked at the floor. “I think I’m doomed to be alone.”
Penny had to laugh at his sullen tone of voice. “You’re so dramatic. You think that because your great love, at seventeen years old, turned your down that you’ll be alone forever? That’s complete hippogriff shite.”
“It’s not about Eliza…” James shook his head. “I’ve kissed a lot of girls and I thought… I thought that if I could just kiss her then it would feel different. I dunno—fireworks or something, but it was the same as everyone else.”
Penny had an instinctive response, but held herself back from saying something witty. Instead, she took a moment to think about the several times she had been kissed and felt the oddest thing. She understood what James was saying about wanting the fireworks and the explosion in her stomach.
She sighed, “Maybe your expectations are too high?”
James shrugged, “Probably.”
It was sad to see the passion leave his eyes and for once Penny felt bad for him.
James looked at her curiously for a moment. “You think it’ll always feel like this?”
Penny shrugged, but before she could say anything he strode across the room and planted his lips to hers. She couldn’t do anything for a moment, but then she raised her arms to his shoulders like she was going to push him away.
They stood there for a moment with their lips pressed together like they were play-acting—being forced to kiss. She was too shocked to push him away and it felt just as every other kiss had.
Penny pulled away and pushed James from her. She breathed heavily, despite the fact that they hadn’t even had a proper snog. He looked at her from a moment and even though she hadn’t thought that she felt anything, there was something drawing her back to James.
Before he could apologize, she reached for him and he instinctively wrapped an arm around her waist and delved his hand into her hair. He practically yanked her lips back to his own and this time responded with vigor.
Penny gasped when their lips parted for a moment, but then he was kissing her again and she had no choice but to grip his shirt to stay on her feet. When he leaned further into the kiss, her back arched and she stood on the tips of her toes.
He kept pressing forward, then Penny’s back hit a chair and even still he didn’t stop.
It was as though James was trying to get as close to her as physically possible, or maybe go beyond what was possible. Her arms wound up around his neck, dragging her nails across his back as she went.
All the Quidditch training was definitely working in his favor—
Penny shoved him away as quickly as he had drawn her close.
James nearly fell on his butt and shot her a confused (slightly pissed) look. “What the he—”
“Quidditch!” Penny gasped and then buried her face in her hands.
Her head jerked up, “Quidditch! That game we play! We’re on the same team! Oh, that was so stupid and—and we’re on the same team. We can’t kiss!”
“You kissed me back,” James said defensively.
Penny shook her head, “I didn’t mean—I didn’t think that…”
“Well… well...,” James stuttered and thrust his hand into his hair the way he always did when he was frustrated. “Why did you kiss me back?”
There was a reason, but she wasn’t sure it was a good one. “I didn’t think… that’s it, I wasn’t thinking.” She stated stiffly. “And it was a mistake and bad—”
James’s eyes sparked evilly, “You were having fun a minute ago.”
Penny folded her arms, “Well, it’s not going to happen again.”
“Are you telling me that you didn’t feel anything? Something like fireworks or butterflies—”
She held her hands up, “It doesn’t matter. The point is that we are never going to kiss again because it would be disastrous for the team, not to mention you were in love with my sister up until a couple weeks ago.” She spoke so rapidly it was a miracle that James understood her.
“I dunno if I actually loved—”
“That’s not the point.” Penny said sharply. “Let’s just… get back to the party, shall we?”
James didn’t stop her from leaving the room and she had to wonder if she had just ruined her life.
A/N: Hello friends! Thanks for reading. Hope you are keeping yourself busy during quarantine/lockdown. All reviews and feedback are appreciated so be sure to tell me if you loved/hated the chapter :)
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