Disclaimer – I do not own Harry Potter.

Note – So it's clear, this story has no relation to any of my other ones. It was just a little idea that popped into my head and grew. I wrote it purely for fun. So I hope you enjoy it, and sorry for any editing mistakes I missed. Read and enjoy.

How to Change and Stay the Same

Working System

The flat was small, and not the cleanest. There were clothes scattered in random places; a pair of pants over the back of the couch, a sock near the bookshelf, a man's shirt caught on the corner of the end table. The room itself wasn't much. Plain white walls and a dull grey carpet. It was connected to the kitchen, which wasn't very large either, and had moderate muggle appliances. The sink was full of dirty dishes, and a box of cereal stood open on the counter.

Two young adults sat on the couch in the living room, staring at the muggle television with a bowl of cereal in their hands. Thankfully, there wasn't such an overload of magic in the flat that muggle electricity still worked, although there had been that one day that their toaster exploded.

The young man was tall, and he leaned into the couch, his feet propped up on the coffee table. He sat only in a pair of boxer shorts and socks. His chestnut colored hair was a mess on his head. He chewed a spoonful of cereal loudly, his blue eyes focused on the screen.

The young woman next to him sat only in a large shirt and a pair of knickers. Her thick red hair was a mess around her shoulders, her bangs close to falling into her honey toned eyes. She was quieter as she ate, but her eyes were just as focused on what they were watching.

While the small size of their flat, the filthy state of their living room, or their lack of normal clothes for a Friday afternoon might have bothered most, these two were unaffected. In fact, they simply enjoyed it.

"So, Lil, any plans tonight?" the young man asked before taking another mouthful.

The girl, Lily, nodded. "Yeah. I've got a date."

"So I should expect to come back tonight and hear you two shagging from your bedroom?" he guessed.

Lily smirked. "Or maybe you'll walk in on us going at it on the couch," she mocked.

The young man laughed. "So it'll be like Wednesday?" he teased back

Lily laughed. "Well, what about you, Huey? A date?"

The man, Hugo, chuckled. "Sadly, not today. I agreed to pick up my friend's shift tonight, so I won't be back until about two."

"I can't imagine Celine being happy about you picking up a shift instead of taking her out on your day off," Lily commented.

"Oh she wasn't, but she'll have to deal with it. After all, how else am I to get the money to pay for those dates," Hugo pointed out.

There was a firm knock on the front door then. "Come in!" they both shouted, not bothering to get up. The door opened, and who else should step in but Rose, Hugo's sister and Lily's cousin.

She looked at the two, and looked ready to roll your eyes. "Why am I not surprised to find you two like this?" she mocked. She pushed back her red hair, which was curled lightly around her. It was a lighter shade of red than Lily's, more like the Weasley family. Lily's was darker, probably from her paternal grandmother, of whom she was named after.

"Maybe because it's just after one o'clock on a Friday, and we always do this at this time on this day?" her brother quipped back.

"Exactly! It's the afternoon! How are you not dressed and eating lunch?" Rose exclaimed as she began to pick up a discarded shirt.

"Don't do that!" they both exclaimed.

"We will clean that up on Sunday!" Lily said quickly. "Don't mess with a system that works."

Rose did roll her eyes this time. "You two are cousins that are sitting next to each other in your underwear. You call that a working system?"

"Yeah," Hugo stated.

"We're weird. You aren't used to that yet?" Lily pointed out.

"What are you doing here anyways, sister?" Hugo inquired around a mouthful of food.

Rose just shook her head, but let the shirt drop back to the floor. "Mum asked me to check on you two. You haven't been around much lately."

"We've been busy," Hugo retorted.

"It's called working," Lily joked. "This fun thing we do most days of the week. Only without the fun."

"Yes, but not even a letter or a quick hello?" Rose argued calmly, moving to sit in the armchair, only after pushing away a pair of jeans.

"Well most of the family disapproves of my choice of boyfriend," Lily pointed out simply.

"Your father and brothers. And like they'd start anything with Aunt Ginny there," Rose replied.

"I just never feel like it after working all day and/or night," Hugo mentioned.

"Shouldn't you be a work now?" Lily inquired as she placed her now empty bowl on the coffee table. Hugo was slurping the remaining milk out of his.

Rose sighed. "I'm technically on my lunch break, but I only had a small lunch."

Hugo raised a brow as he set down his bowl. "Isn't that not good for the baby?"

Rose instinctively placed a hand on her stomach. It had been announced just earlier this month that Rose and her husband Lorcan Scamander would be having their first baby. Rose wasn't far along, and hardly showed. "As long as I'm eating and it's healthy, the baby will be fine," Rose insisted.

Hugo just shrugged. "Just wondering. A concerned uncle."

Lily sighed heavily. "I wish I had a job that allowed for such a lunch break." Rose worked as the assistant to the Head of the Department of Magical Education in the ministry.

Rose rolled her eyes. "You could have taken the job as the assistant to the Head of the Auror Department. It was handed to you."

Lily scoffed. "Yeah, by my dad. And because the best job in the world is being your dad's assistant, and taking orders from him. I did that for seventeen years, I don't want to do it again."

At that, Rose couldn't help but nod. "Ok, I see your point. But it would be a much better job than what you have now."

Lily and Hugo worked at the same place. A muggle club in London. Hugo was a bartender, and Lily was a waitress. "Yeah, but she wouldn't get a big tip when she bends over like she does now," Hugo joked.

"My dad would just have a heart attack," Lily agreed.

"You two could do so much better though," Rose sighed.

"Of course we could," Lily replied.

"But we don't want to. We like making our own living, and working with pretty cool people," Hugo added.


Work Where You Love

"Need someone to go home with tonight, cutie?"

Lily ignored the drunk as she walked by the table full of men. She was used to those things, and words even more vulgar. It happened. She placed her tray on the bar, and absentmindedly smoothed down the short skirt she wore. It barely covered her arse, just as her shirt stopped just below her bra, showing her midriff. Her hair was pulled up in a high ponytail, her bangs swept to the side. Thankfully, the club was kept warm, all in order to keep the girls warm instead of freezing.

Hugo stood behind the bar. He wore a sleeveless black shirt, showing off the muscles in his arms. His hair was combed back, showing his face and eyes completely. He was making a cocktail as Lily came around to join him.

"How's it going out there?" he asked below the loud music.

"Not bad," Lily said as she pulled her latest tips out of the tiny pocket in the front of her skirt. She counted it quick before handing it to Hugo, who put it safely into his own pockets.

The club was loud and full, with music blaring and lights of all colors flashing. A woman, who was probably nearing her thirties, was on the stage, twirling around the pole in nothing but a pair of knickers. Both of the twenty-one-year-olds were used to it all.

Being just a waitress, Lily was required to wear revealing clothing, but she didn't mind it. Lily was the kind of girl who had confidence in her body. She didn't boast or flaunt it, but she knew she looked good. Being a guy, Hugo's main job was to be a bartender and a bouncer. He kept his eyes on the waitresses, making sure they weren't harassed or followed.

A hand slammed down on the counter, but neither of them jumped. Lily simply looked to see who it was, and she wasn't shocked at who she saw. A man, just a few years older than herself, stood with what she saw as an attractive scowl on his face. He was tall, well built with broad shoulders. He worse the same sleeveless shirt as Hugo, and it showed muscles that scared most. His blonde hair was a bit of a mess on his head, and his grey-blue eye were like an intense storm.

Lily simply smiled coyly at him as she leaned toward him. "Hey, cutie. Wanna take me home tonight? I get off at two."

The man wasn't amused. "Was bending over near that table necessary?" he hissed.

"Well when you consider how big of a tip I got, I'd say yes," Lily replied casually. She reached forward and playfully tapped him on the nose. "Don't be so grumpy."

"Well excuse me if I don't like my girl's arse displayed to five drunken idiots," he said lowly.

Now she smirked. "Did you forget that that's how we started dating?"

"Not funny, Lily," he retorted.

"But, Scorpius, it is," Lily quipped.

Her boyfriend, Scorpius Malfoy, a bouncer at the bar, just continued to scowl. "Will you at least let me walk you out after work?"

"I already thought you were," Lily pointed out.

"Yeah, here we all just assume that you're taking her home," Hugo added as he wiped down the bar. "Then we bet on whether or not she'll be able to walk in the morning."

"I'm usually not up for it," Lily told her cousin simply.

"Just remember, you've got to come to our place. It's your day to make breakfast tomorrow," Hugo reminded before moving to take an order.

"Thanks for the reminder. Anyways, you coming home with me tonight?" Lily asked teasingly.

Scorpius groaned as he rubbed his eyes. "Just stop bending over by tables, please?"

Before Lily could answer, she noticed one of her tables was trying to get her attention. She gave Scorpius a smile. "We'll talk about it later. I have work to do." Then she sauntered off with a sway to her hips, catching the eye of every male, Scorpius included.


All Sex Sounds the Same

Hugo awoke with a yawn, but then buried his head into his pillow. He reached to his right, but felt confused when all his hand touched were the sheets. He lifted his head to see the other side of his bed empty. But a note on the bedside table caught his eyes.

"Hugo,

I had to leave for work. I wanted to wake you, but you looked so tired last night that I wanted you to get as much sleep as you could. Try not to pick up a shift on your next day off, please. It's starting to feel like our relationship has come down to having sex and nothing else.

Talk to you soon,

Celine"

Hugo groaned as he dropped his head. She was pissed at him. She may not say it in the note, but her way of words screamed it. With a heavy sigh, he got up from his bed and slipped on a pair of discarded boxers. Then he left his room and moved just down to the end of the small hall, and pushed the already open door.

Lily and Scorpius both laid in bed, still sleeping. The sheets were brought up to Lily's chest, covering the both of them after their night together. Hugo was used to that, just as Lily was used to it with him and Celine. So he didn't hesitate to move to the bed and plop down next to his cousin.

He gave her shoulder a shake. "Lil, wake up."

Lily's eyes fluttered a bit before finally opening. Scorpius, who had been shocked when they first ever did this, was now completely used to it, and continued to sleep. Lily looked at Hugo with a sleepy look. "What's up, cousin?"

"Celine's pissed at me," Hugo stated.

"She didn't sound pissed last night," Lily commented.

"Angry sex sounds just like regular sex," Hugo countered. "She left early this morning for work, but the note she left screams her anger." He sighed. "What should I do?"

"Why is she angry?" Lily asked as she moved to lay on her back.

Hugo settled into the mattress as well. "Because I'm working a lot lately, we haven't had time to go out. So basically, we have sex, then she leaves for work in the morning."

"Sounds like she wants to go on a date," Lily said.

"I know that's what she wants, but . . . I get the feeling that she hates my job," Hugo mentioned.

"Why do you say that?" Lily inquired.

"She's always complaining about it and the odd hours and days I work. And she keeps mentioning how they're trying to find new people to fill positions where she works," Hugo listed. "But, I didn't pay much attention in Care of Magical Creatures, so I don't think I'd do well at the Beast Registry in the ministry."

"Look, I love Celine, but don't let her try and make you quit a job you enjoy. I never let this one do it," she said, nudging her boyfriend, who still slept.

Hugo gave a sigh as he nodded. But then he turned to look at her. "So, are you going to get up and make us all breakfast?"

Lily groaned, but then grinned. "Yeah. What do you want?"

Hugo got up from the bed, and went to her closet. "I don't know. The usual?" He picked up an oversized shirt, one he'd guess had been Scorpius's at one point, and threw it to her.

Lily slipped the shirt on, and then pushed the sheet away from her and got up as well. "Sounds good."

Hugo looked to Scorpius. "Should we wake him now?"

Lily looked to him as well. "Nah. Just leave the door open. The smell of food will wake him up eventually."


Wanting What You Have

"So, when are you two going to finally get married?" Grandma Molly demanded of Lily and Hugo at a large family lunch. The two of them had been practically dragged out of their flat, but they couldn't say no to their mothers.

James scowled. "My sister is not marrying a Malfoy," he stated firmly.

Lily didn't look fazed. "He's right. I intend to have his babies out of wedlock," she mocked, giving her eldest brother a smile. He simply scowled.

"We're eating here," Albus complained. He never liked hearing such things about his siblings.

"I'm more interested in hearing about how they plan to take serious jobs," Ron pointed out, looking specifically at his son.

"I have a serious job," Hugo retorted.

"Not when you have an IQ of 156," Ron argued.

Hugo ran a hand through his messy hair. It was true, Hugo had a high IQ and high intelligence. His mother had him tested for his IQ when he was young, and the whole family was shocked at his high score. It was even higher than his sister. But Hugo didn't have the drive to go out and achieve something huge. He was a "simple guy" as he put it.

"Dad, we've discussed this," Hugo said with a sigh.

"You two could just do much better than a club," Ron continued. Now, no one in their family actually knew what kind of club it was. The two of them kept that a secret, lest their family lose their minds with outrage and shock-horror.

"And that tiny flat you have," Ron added.

"We like our flat, thanks," Lily defended casually. "It's homey. And we can easily afford it."

"You still deserve better," Ron quipped.

"We don't want better," Hugo stated.

"Can we get back to the subject of when you two will finally marry? I know Celine must be waiting," Grandma Molly commented.

Hugo looked to Lily, obviously wanting a subject change instead of the currently touchy subject. So she sighed and looked to her grandmother. "Well to be honest, Grandma, I'm leaving it up to whenever Scorpius wants to ask. I'd say yes if he asked next year, and I'd say yes if he asked tonight."

Then she gave Hugo a look that clearly stated he owed her. Hugo knew the payback would have to be big.


Sudden Meetings

Lily sung as she bounced around the flat, cleaning up. It was early Wednesday evening, which meant she was off work. And on Wednesday, she cleaned up the flat, and Hugo would come home and make dinner. It was all part of their weird and working system.

To be honest, she barely heard the knock at their door, her music was blaring over it. But she knew that it wasn't an expected visitor, nor was it Scorpius or Celine. They knew to just walk in, as Lily and Hugo never locked the door during the day. So with a sigh and a flick of her wand, the music quieted.

"Come in!" she called, focusing on picking up the clothes that had been dropped around the living room and kitchen. Unlike what most expected from Lily and Hugo, they didn't live with magic doing everything for them. Both having been raised by one parent that was raised by muggles, they appreciated doing things manually, without the help of magic. It was a work ethic that they're parents were proud of, although a bit surprised at.

The door opened hesitantly, which finally made Lily look toward the door. Normally, one of their friends or family just walked in once she or Hugo called for them to. So while she wasn't surprised to see someone much unexpected, she was shocked to see Draco and Astoria Malfoy walking through the door. She had never actually met the Malfoys before. A few small greetings at the ministry parties that her parents had dragged her to, but nothing more. And she'd never even met Scorpius until he began working at the club, since they'd gone to different schools.

"Oh," she sighed as she stood up straight, a basket of clothes in her hands. She set it down, grabbed her wand from the table, and turned the music off completely. "Can I help you?"

Draco was looking around in a suspicious and critical manner, but his wife was much friendlier, and even smiled. "Well, we've been a bit anxious to meet our son's girlfriend, so we thought we'd stop by. Are you . . .?"

Lily smiled as she moved forward and held out her hand. "Yes, that's me. I'm Lily. It's lovely to meet you."

Before his wife could respond, Draco spoke, holding up a pair of Hugo's trousers. "And these are?" he demanded.

Lily grinned as she took them. "My cousin's. We live together," she explained as she threw them in the basket. "Please, sit and make yourselves at home. Would you like anything?"

"We didn't come at a bad time, did we?" Astoria asked as she did sit down.

"Oh, not at all," Lily assured as she continued to pick up the last bit of clothes. "I was just cleaning a bit."

"Haven't you a working wand?" she heard Draco mutter.

"I like doing it by hand," she answered, ignoring his tone. "It's relaxing to me."

"How can two people live in such a small place?" Draco criticized.

"Draco!" Astoria chided.

Lily simply smiled as she finished. "Very easily, Mr. Malfoy, I assure you. We are only two people. We don't actually need a lot of space." But then she moved to get a bottle of water. "So, I must say that I didn't think Scorpius had told you of our dating."

"Oh, he didn't, but a mother can tell," Astoria said with a laugh. She gave Lily a small thank you at the water she handed her. "Actually, I asked his friend Katherine Goyle, and she was the one that gave me your address."

Lily nodded as she sat down. She'd met Katherine a few times, and even had her over once or twice. "Well, I'm assuming that you're here because you had questions about me. Feel free to ask them, nothing is too personal," she assured.

"Well how did you meet?" Astoria asked with delighted curiosity.

"Well we met when he began working at the club where I've been waitressing," Lily explained.

"You work at that hovel?" Draco exclaimed. "Our son's dating a stripper?"

Lily promptly began to laugh. "No, Mr. Malfoy, I'm just a waitress. Your son would have a heart attack or violent fit if I switched to the stage."

"Figures, he meets a girl there. Goes from a bright future to a run-down joint and throws away his education and chances," Draco muttered.

Lily raised a brow. "Wow. For two people that hated each other, you and my father sound a lot alike."

Draco now looked at her with confusion. "Excuse me? Your father?"

"Harry Potter," Lily said casually.

Draco looked at her for a split moment, but then stood up and headed for the door. "That's it! I'm leaving! And if my son thinks that I'll allow this!"

Astoria sighed as her husband disappeared. She gave Lily an apologetic look. "I'm sorry about him."

Lily just shrugged. "Don't be. My father was like that when I told him about Scorpius and me. I'm used to it at this point."

"Still, I would love to hear more, if you have the time?" Astoria inquired politely.

Lily smiled at her. "Of course. If you'd like, you can even stay for dinner. Hugo should be home any minute to make dinner. So please, ask me anything."


Live Outside of Expectations

"We don't talk much," Scorpius commented as he and Lily walked around Diagon Alley in the evening. The two of them rarely had the same night off, so they took advantage of it when they did, by spending the day together.

"My parents and I . . . well more my father and I, we don't always see eye-to-eye on things. He sent me to Durmstrang, wanted me to get a great education, then become his assistant, and eventually take his place. But, as I got older, I found I didn't want that. I wanted my own job, my own life. If that meant that I had to start by making a living at a less than reputable muggle club, then so be it," Scorpius explained.

Lily nodded in understanding as she interlocked their fingers. "I can understand that. I just always did the complete opposite of what my parents and the media expected of me. Like, when I was fifteen, and my parents dragged me to a Ministry Christmas party. Instead of being the perfect lady and accepting a dance from the minister's nephew, Hugo and I jumped into the fountain in the Atrium, and walked back to the party soaking wet," she recounted.

Scorpius chuckled. "You're kidding?"

Lily smiled. "Nope. I still remember the furious scolding our parents gave us that night, and the repeated flashes of cameras and questions from reporters. Gossip magazines used to have field days with Hugo and me during those events."

"Why are you and Hugo like that? Why do you do the opposite?" Scorpius inquired curiously. It was something that, in the two years that they've been dating, he'd never actually asked.

"We didn't start doing that until we were a little over fourteen, in our fourth year," Lily remembered. "It just kind of hit us one day, all the expectations we were holding on our shoulders at a young age. Studying for exams, working hard, playing Quidditch and winning, getting fantastic and important jobs when we graduated, being the tops of our class, being perfect in the media eye, never getting into trouble . . . it was just a lot."

"So you rebelled?" Scorpius guessed.

"Sort of," Lily replied. "We didn't want to be angry at those that put expectations on us, because they were never malicious in doing so. They just didn't know better. So we decided that instead of being stressed because we weren't perfect, or angry at those that wanted us to be, we would just do what we wanted, no matter what it was."

"Sounds a bit . . . selfish," Scorpius said carefully, not wanting to anger her.

But Lily gave a nod. "I know. But I think everyone deserves a chance to be a little selfish, especially when they go fourteen years living under heavy expectations. And what we did was never malicious. Just . . . when Hugo decided that he wanted to see if he could out run the Whomping Willow, he did it. When I wanted to ride one of the hippogriffs around Hogsmeade, I did. When we were too hot at the Christmas party and wanted to cool off, we did."

"You know," Scorpius mentioned, "that part of you, my mother actually really likes. She said you were so nice, and open, no matter what she asked you. You were always honest."

"I had no reason to lie to her," Lily pointed out. "And I like your mum. She's so friendly and welcoming."

"I do apologize for Father, however," Scorpius sighed.

"Don't be. Don't you remember how it was when my father met you?" Lily said with a giggle.

Scorpius smirked. "If he could have thrown me out, he would have. But your mother would have killed him."

"And you are bigger than him," Lily giggled.


To Move Forward Is To Leave Behind

Hugo shifted uncomfortably where he sat. He was wearing stiff dress robes that he wasn't very fond of, mainly because he didn't really like dressing so formal. It wasn't his style. When he promised Celine the whole day of his next day off, he hadn't thought her idea of a date to be taking him to a banquet with the rest of her department.

"Hugo, relax," Celine whispered as she took his hand in hers. Celine Burton was honestly a beautiful young woman, and Hugo understood why his cousins always joked about how he was lucky to have such a woman. She had thick, voluminous honey-toned hair. She had fair skin and light green eyes. She beautiful. Nothing to it.

Hugo still played with his collar. "Excuse me if I'm used to being in my underwear and relaxing on my day off," he mumbled quietly. "You know I'm not a fan of dress robes."

"Well they're required for the banquet. I thought you'd at least bear it for a few hours for me," she retorted, still under her breath.

"I would have liked a warning!" Hugo hissed back before reaching forward to grab his glass, and take a big sip of some kind of wine, wishing it was a strong whiskey.

"So, Hugo, what is it you do?" Hugo looked across from where he sat to look at one of Celine's coworkers. He'd been introduced to the table beforehand, and it was these moments that Hugo thanked his ability to keep names in his head.

"Well, Harold," Hugo paused for the briefest moment when he caught Celine's warning and hesitant look. But he continued to smile. "You could say that I work to protect people," he said, thinking of the girls in the bar.

The man, Harold, raised a curious brow, as did the others at the table. "Really? An Auror?"

Hugo simply raised a finger to his lips. "It's a secret," he said conspiratorially, making others around him chuckle. And Celine seemed to relax. But Hugo still wasn't relaxing, no matter how well he could fake it. And there would have to be a talk after all of this was done.

So when it was finally a time where it would no longer be deemed impolite for leaving early, Hugo took her arm and began to pull her away. "Come on, we've got to go."

"Hugo, what are you doing?" Celine demanded.

"We need to talk, and I'm sweating in these robes, so we're leaving," Hugo stated simply. "Now, your place or mine?"

"Mine," Celine stated. "Now will you talk to me?"

Hugo didn't reply until he apparated them into the center of her living room. Celine actually had her own home, something that she had inherited from her grandparents just four years ago. It was an average house, although the inside was posh, showing how well she lived and how well she did as her job.

Hugo immediately began to pull off the robes, until he was left in nothing but the pants. "What are you doing?" Celine demanded in surprise.

Hugo began to head up the stairs. "I told you those were beginning to make me itch, and they were hot. I'm going to get one of my shirts." He entered the master bedroom, and pulled open the drawer she'd given him. He pulled on a simple blue shirt before looking at her.

Still dressed in a deep blue dress, she looked at him with an unamused look. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

Hugo placed his hands on his hips and sighed. "Look, I get it, you enjoy your job, and wanted to go to that banquet. But, did it not occur to you to tell me? You know I hate those kinds of parties and events!"

"I thought that for me, you could deal with!" Celine insisted.

"You still should have told me!" Hugo retorted. "I tell you about those things! And getting me dress robes was unnecessary, I have my own."

"Old ones that are loose and faded! I thought the new ones would look better," Celine argued.

"Well I like my old ones. They're comfortable," Hugo stated.

Celine rolled her eyes. "You are impossible!"

"No, you are being difficult," Hugo said casually. "I know I haven't been perfect, and that I've had to work extra shifts, which cuts into our dates. But you have been complaining about my job and my lifestyle, and trying to change me."

"I just want you to grow up a little!" Celine exclaimed. And Hugo kept quiet at the sad look on her face. She came closer and placed a hand on his arm. "Don't get me wrong, I love that you still have that fun sense of humor, and casual way. But . . . we're not kids. I want to get married, Hugo. I want a family in the future. And . . . instead of moving forward, we've regressed to having maybe one date a week."

"Are you saying you want to get married?" Hugo mumbled.

"And . . . I think that maybe you should actually look into getting a . . . more stable job," Celine whispered.

Hugo sighed, closing his eyes. "I don't ask you to quit a job you enjoy."

"You bartend at a muggle strip club!" Celine pointed out, exasperated. "That's not really something one could support and raise a family with."

Hugo pulled away from her hand and ran his own hands over his face, his fingers curling in his hair, messing up the slicked back style. "What do you want from me?"

She pulled his hands from his face, and he locked eyes with her. "I want to move forward. I love you, but the question is if you are ready to move forward."

Hugo bit the inside of his cheek as he thought on how to word his next sentence carefully. "Hypothetically, what if I say no?"

He watched as she bit her lip, and Hugo hated the growing sadness in her eyes. The tears in the corners. He loved her, he really did. "Then . . . maybe we take separate paths," she suggested softly, her voice shaking.

Hugo took in a deep breath as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. He rested his cheek on her hair, his mind throwing question after question at him, going over options and scenarios. "Give me a few days to figure myself out, please. All I ask for is a few days, and I'll give you an answer, I promise."

She nodded into his shirt, and Hugo could feel a bit of wetness seeping through the fabric.


Not Knowing What One Wants

Lily sat next to Hugo on their couch, a tub of strawberry ice cream between them. They each had a spoon, and were helping themselves. It was dark in the room, except for the muggle television, which was playing some movie that neither of them had seen, or really cared about. All they understood was that there were weird creatures popping up and scaring muggle teenagers.

Lily, who sat in a camisole and pair of boy shorts, licked a bit of ice cream from her spoon. "So, what do you want?" she asked.

Hugo sat only in a pair of shorts. His hair was a mess, showing how he tossed and turned recent nights. "Well, I know that I don't want to lose Celine. She's the love of my life."

"But?" Lily guessed before taking another bite.

"But I'm not sure if I'm ready for what she's asking. Getting a new job that's the same every day with the same people. Moving out of here and moving into an actual house. Going out to buy a ring and then propose. Getting married, having kids . . ." Hugo sighed. "I like what I have now in my life."

Lily nodded. "That is a dilemma."

Hugo looked to his cousin and best friend. "What do you think?"

Lily raised a brow. "What do you mean?"

Hugo dug out a spoonful. "What would you think if I moved out?"

"I think Scorpius would immediately begin to try and move me in with him," Lily commented easily. "Which I would probably end up doing."

Hugo looked around them. "It would just be so weird, not living together."

"It would," Lily sighed. "But . . . we knew this would happen eventually, right?"

Hugo nodded. "Yeah, we did. Doesn't make it any better. And it doesn't mean that now is the time."

"Maybe it is. Get it done and over with," Lily thought aloud. "I mean, this is what people keep telling us. To grow up and be serious. Have stable lives."

"When have we ever done what people say though?" Hugo pointed out.

Lily looked at him. "True. Well then, to hell with what they want. Looking at what we want . . . what do you want, Huey? What will work out best for you? No matter what anyone else thinks."

Hugo just stuffed his mouth full of ice cream, and then tried not to cringe at the brain freeze he felt.


Something Missing

"Just think about it," the club manager said as he walked into the back. Lily just sighed as she leaned against the counter.

"Girl, why do you look so worried?" Lily looked up to see the DJ, Caleb Worth, coming up to the bar. He had nice blonde hair that was perfectly styled, baby-blue eyes, a white smile, and wore a white muscle shirt that showed how toned he was. Lily often heard the other girls talking about how he was every woman's dream . . . except for the fact that he was gay.

Lily gave him a smile. While Caleb was just a normal muggle, he was a great guy and a great friend. Someone she could talk to, and one who knew what her problem really was. "Well Thomas is again asking me if I'd dance."

Caleb placed his elbows on the bar and leaned closer to her. "Well it is Fantasy Night in three days. You'd just put on a skimpy little outfit and do a short dance. You wouldn't be actually stripping, so I don't see an issue," he commented.

"Then you don't see my hulking boyfriend over by the door," Lily quipped.

Caleb sighed. "Lily, girl, I know you've been wanting to do this, so why don't you just tell him it would be a one-time thing?"

Lily bit the inside of her cheek. It was true. She did want to do it. She wanted to experience it just once. And Caleb was right, she wouldn't be stripping either. It was just a dance in a specific, and small, outfit. In fact, her manager even brought up the idea of her dancing with Jean, another dancer. And Lily loved dancing, and the idea of doing it on a stage excited her. But . . .

"He's not that understanding about these things," Lily sighed grimly. "Before having a heart attack, he'd kill every man in here for watching."

"Look, Lily," Caleb said with an award-winning smile, "you need to go after what you want. Isn't that what you did when you wanted Scor?"

"Yes, but . . . When it comes to relationships, there's a line," Lily pointed out. "A line with each other that you don't just cross without talking it through. And my dancing on that stage . . . that's a line for him."

"What are you two talking about?" They both fell silent at the sound of Scorpius's voice. While he had his normal serious expression on his face, he didn't look angry or annoyed, which meant he hadn't caught on to their topic of conversation.

Caleb grinned. "We were discussing how your arse looks finer and finer every day," he replied quickly, making Lily giggle. Caleb constantly hit on Scorpius as a joke.

And Scorpius was used to it. "Well you'd have to fight for me," he retorted, looking at Lily with a smirk. "And I think she can take you in a fight."

Caleb laughed. "I don't doubt that. Besides, handsome, you're not my type. You're too tall. I like a man to be down on my level," he said, mocking his own short stature.

Scorpius continued to smirk as he placed his hands on the bar, and leaned toward Lily. "Hello, beautiful. Are you coming home with after tonight?"

Lily nodded. "Yeah, of course I am. Why wouldn't I?"

He shrugged. "Well this time of the month you usually just want to go home and fall asleep after a long night," he replied simply. "I was just checking."

But Lily had paused at his words. Time of the month? . . . Oh no.


A Shove From Fate

"So, I thought you said you'd never dance before getting Scorpius to agree," Hugo pointed out as he waited outside the door to the girls' dressing room in the back of the club.

"I did, but if I want to do this, I have to do it now!" Lily insisted from behind the door. "If I wait, I'll never do it."

"Pretending that you don't know won't help forever," Hugo called to her, keeping his words vague.

"I don't need it to. Just tonight," he heard her reply. Then the door opened, and Hugo looked her over. She wore what was probably the smallest, tightest, and skimpiest school uniform possible.

"While you look nice, I don't understand this fantasy. Makes men that are into it more like pedophiles," Hugo commented casually. But then he gave her a smile. "You look lovely though."

But Lily's mind was obviously on things other than her outfit. She sighed as she looked at him. "This is it, isn't it, Huey? We both know what we're going do, and everything is going to change."

Hugo placed his hands on her shoulders. "Lil, let's not think about that right now. We don't even know if it's true. So let's finish this night first, hit that muggle corner store, go home, and figure things out then. Ok?"

Lily nodded. "Ok." Then she took in a deep breath. "Ok. I need to meet Jean. I'll see you out there."

Hugo nodded. "And I'll go and keep your boyfriend in line."

The two of them separated, and Hugo made his way back to the front. He found Scorpius standing by the door as usual, his eyes scanning the room. Hugo discreetly made his way through the tables and people, and was able to slowly make his way to Scorpius's right. Making sure no one was watching, Hugo pulled his wand out of his magically enlarged pocket, and keeping it hidden from sight, cast two simple spells.

"Silencio. Immobulus," he whispered, and quickly put his wand away. And at the second spell, Scorpius's eyes seemed to widen slowly as he realized. Hugo quickly hurried to his side, and whispered in his ear. "I'll take the spells off soon, but they're necessary for the moment," he explained. "You'll see."

And Scorpius did see, when Lily and Jean took the stage. Hugo moved to stand in front of Scorpius, making it look like they were talking, and keeping Lily from Scorpius's sights. But he could see the fury in his eyes.

"Scorpius, she really needed to do this," Hugo said quietly. "She's wanted to for a long time, but could never approach it with you. She's not stripping, she just dancing. You know how it goes. And she just wanted to try it once. So don't lose your temper at her for this. It had to be tonight, and you'll find out about that later, I promise you."

But the look in Scorpius's eyes didn't seem accepting or more relaxed.

Hugo sighed. "Look, Scorpius, nothing will happen to her tonight. After this, we're both clocking out and leaving. She will be with me the whole time, and we are spending the night at home. And Lily . . . well both of us are hanging in the balance right now. I just ask that you be patient, ok?"

He could see confusion in Scorpius's eyes now. He turned to watch his cousin and one of the girls, Jean, dance. But it was like fate was wanting them to face their problems as soon as possible, and although it only felt like a minute, he could soon hear the music coming to an end, and Caleb's voice was announcing the end of the dance, and the start of the next one. So Hugo quickly released both spells, and hurried away from Scorpius, and toward the back to meet with Lily, who was probably changing now. And when he glanced back, he was surprised, and thankful, to see that Scorpius wasn't following.


A Rebellion's End

"I don't know what kind to get."

"And you think I would?"

Lily and Hugo stood in a 24-hour corner store in muggle London, staring at a small display of items, unsure of what to buy.

Hugo picked up a pink box, which had PREGNANCY TEST across the top. "Does it make any difference, you think?"

"Why isn't there a simple potion to test these things?" Lily hissed.

"There is, but you wanted it done tonight, and didn't want to go to St. Mungo's, fearing the media seeing you and making a story out of it, thus the family finding out without you being the one to tell them," Hugo pointed out as he grabbed a white box. "Besides, muggle women have serious belief in these things so they must work. So pick one or two."

Lily groaned. "Let's just grab those two and get out of here," she mumbled.

So with their purchase hidden within a bag, Hugo and Lily quickly made their way to an abandoned alleyway before apparating home. Once their feet touched the floor of their flat, they kicked off their shoes and socks, and Hugo pushed Lily into the bathroom.

Lily couldn't help but stare at the two boxes for a moment. She was really doing this. It was actually necessary. Well, not really. She . . . she knew what the result would be, she just wanted to see proof of her thoughts.

When Lily finished, she left the bathroom. "Ten minutes," she told Hugo, who immediately checked the time on his watch. Lily walked to her room to change into some pajamas, which resulted in being a pair of Scorpius's boxers, and a thin royal blue shirt.

She later found herself sitting with Hugo on the couch, both of them just waiting quietly for the time to pass. Both were caught up in their own thoughts, their minds playing out their situation and all the possibilities in the future. But they knew what the result would be, and they knew what they would end up doing… and they'd already started…

At the end of ten minutes, they both went to the bathroom, and picked up one of the little sticks.

"Plus sign."

"Plus sign."

They looked at each other momentarily before throwing them in the bin. Then they stood there for a moment, trying to decide on what to say.

Hugo figured it out first. "So, you are pregnant."

"And you are going to propose to Celine," Lily replied.

Both of them nodded.

But then Hugo gave a weak chuckle. "Well, I'd imagine you'll be getting married pretty quickly. Scorpius is an honorable guy."

Lily nodded a little. "Yeah. But . . . it's still the end of an era."

"The rebellion era is ending," Hugo said softly.

"It's already over," Lily mumbled.

"Weird to think tonight was our last night working at the club," Hugo mentioned. It was true. Both had told their manager that tonight would be their last there.

Lily sighed as she leaned against the bathroom counter. "When did it happen, Huey? When did we start to grow up?"

Hugo moved next to her and wrapped an arm around her. Then he rested his head against hers. "I don't know. I thought we had prevented this too," he joked half-heartedly. "But I guess it's time for us to move on."

"I'm going to miss this little flat. And work," she mumbled.

"You're going to miss men leering at you and begging you to go home with them and have sex?" he questioned.

"I'm going to miss talking with Caleb," Lily corrected. "And the girls were nice."

'I'm going to miss spending my nights making drinks and watching other guys get drunk and make idiots out of themselves," Hugo sighed.

"I'm going to miss spending Friday afternoons watching the television in our underwear."

"I'm actually going to miss cleaning together on Sundays."

"I'm going to miss you cooking dinner on Wednesdays."

"I'm going to miss coming home to see you dancing around and singing while you clean on Wednesdays."

Lily took her cousin's hand and squeezed it. "I'm going to miss living with you."

Hugo returned the squeeze to their hands. "And I you, Lil. But . . . we'll still see each other. Any chance we get."

"Of course," Lily agreed. "Every chance. You can come help me clean on Sundays."

"And you can come and make me breakfast on Tuesday mornings," Hugo commented with a small smile.

Lily smiled back. "Deal."

"Deal."


Moving Right Along

Lily wondered how Scorpius found out that she and Hugo were at a family lunch at the Burrow. Then again, it would be just like Hugo to let Scorpius know. And for that . . . Lily was kind of happy about it. She wanted to tell him about her being pregnant, but she also knew that what she did last night would be brought up, and she didn't want that brought up anywhere around her family.

Scorpius only stood by the door, a jacket on to fend off the fall air. He didn't seem to care how tense it was between him and her father and brothers. He was looking solely at her. "We need to talk," he stated.

"How ominous," Dominique mocked as she walked back to the couch. "I regret opening the door for you."

Lily sighed as she stood up. But James stood up quickly too. "She doesn't have to do anything! You can't boss her around!"

Lily rolled her eyes at her brother. He was such a drama queen. Normally, she tolerated it, but she wasn't in the mood today. "Jay, shut up," she muttered as she brushed by him. She slipped on her shoes and pulled on her jacket.

She and Scorpius walked outside the house. And Scorpius quickly whirled around on her. "I can't believe you did that last night!" he exclaimed.

Lily bit her lip for a moment. "Scorpius . . . I needed to. At least once, and it had to be then. Don't be angry."

"Don't be angry? How can I not be angry about the fact that my girlfriend danced on the stage of a strip club, even if she didn't strip!" Scorpius retorted.

"She what?" a loud voice, James, exclaimed.

Lily turned to see the front door cracked open the tiniest bit. She kicked it shut, and heard a muffled Ow! from the inside. Then she grabbed Scorpius's wrist, and pulled him to the shed, where they were least likely to be overhead again. She hoped Hugo could set the story straight while she was out here.

Once they were in the shed with the door closed, Lily kept hold of Scorpius's hand as she looked at him. "I know that I should have talked to you. But I would have only had three days to convince you to let me do it."

"So why did it have to be then? Why last night? What was so damn important?" Scorpius hissed.

"Because Hugo and I both quit last night," Lily told him truthfully. "We won't be working at the club anymore."

Scorpius scowled. "What? Why? I thought you liked being a waitress there."

"I did," Lily replied. "But . . . here's the big news, and I . . . I don't want you to freak out about it."

"What?" Scorpius asked hesitantly.

Lily took in a small breath. "I'm pregnant," she stated. "I don't know for how long, but I'm going to go to St. Mungo's sometime soon and find out, but I wanted you to know first. When you mentioned it being that time of the month a few days ago, I realized that I was late, and I . . . I knew. That's why I wanted to dance just once, before I knew for sure. Because I knew that once I knew, I would never do it, and that I would possibly even quit, which I did."

Scorpius was still silent for at least a minute. At first, he was looking her in the eye, but then his eyes had trailed down to her stomach. As she wasn't far, she obviously didn't show. The simple white shirt she wore was a bit long, but still fit her normally. But he brought his fingers to her stomach, as if amazed.

"You're pregnant?" he whispered.

Lily nodded. "Yes."

As soon as she confirmed it, a smile slowly came across his lips, and his happiness was evident. "We . . . we're having a baby," he murmured. He finally looked up to her again, locking eyes. And his happiness was enough to make her smile too. And she wasn't surprised when he then dropped to one knee.


A Step Ahead Of Fate

Hugo ran a hand over his face and through his hair as he waited outside Celine's door. He was tired and mentally exhausted. After spending part of an afternoon trying to explain to his family about how they bartended and waitressed at a strip club and nothing more, and that Lily never actually stripped, he then spent the rest of the day celebrating the fact that Lily and Scorpius were not only getting married, but having a baby.

The front door finally opened to Celine standing there in a short, silk robe, her hair loose around her shoulders. Hugo felt a bit guilty. It was late, and she was probably relaxing and getting ready for bed. But this was important. It was as they said; now or never.

Celine crossed her arms. "Hugo. What are you doing here?" she murmured.

Hugo leaned against the doorway. "Can I come in so we can talk?" he asked softly.

She sighed, but let him in. Hugo stepped in and slipped off his jacket. He placed it on an empty hook, then took off his shoes. Celine waited patiently as he did so, but looked at him expectantly when he looked to her. "Hugo, I'm tired, and I'm not in the mood to have sex at the moment."

Hugo grinned and chuckled. "That fine. That's not why I'm here."

Celine dropped her arms. "Then what are you here for? You've practically avoided talking to me face-to-face for days now."

"I wanted to know my answer before I did so," Hugo explained casually. "I didn't want to rush myself. I needed to know if I was ready to move forward toward a future with you or not."

Celine raised a brow. "Are you?"

Hugo shrugged. "I don't know . . ." Then he moved to one knee, and took her hand, "but I know that I want to be. I don't want to lose you. And I will do whatever I can to keep you with me."

He could see tears in her eyes, but she looked much happier than when he last saw her. "Really?" she whispered.

Hugo nodded. "Really. I quit my job at the club, and I've got a few old contacts that might be able to help me get a decent job. And I haven't picked one out yet, but I'm going to get the best ring I can . . . if you say you'll marry me."

She nodded quickly, and pulled him up to hug him tightly. Hugo smiled as he held her. It was true, he didn't know if he was ready. But when did that ever matter when you grew up? Growing up, it happened whether you were ready or not. And he'd rather be the one to take the first step, instead of waiting for it to catch up and eat him alive.


Changes

On a late night in London, a newly married couple moved into a moderate-sized flat. It had two bedrooms, which was perfect for them. The young man, with his wand in his hand, was floating a line of boxes into the large bedroom. While he looked a little tired, his happiness was palpable.

The young woman sat on the couch, a bowl of strawberry ice cream in her hands. Her stomach looked a bit swollen with the early months of her pregnancy now starting to show. With every spoonful, she seemed to look at the room around her.

On the other side of town, a young engaged couple sat in the living room of a posh home. A man's nice robes were laid across an armchair, having been taken off after a day of work. They sat close together, different papers and pamphlets before them, all for wedding planning. The woman occasionally looked at the shining ring on her finger, and would smile.

The young man, his brown hair smoothed back in a professional manner, would smile whenever he noticed her doing it. He listened as she spoke, a bowl of strawberry ice cream in his hands. With each bite he took, he made sure to give his input and make an effort to help.

Unconsciously, the two took a bite from their ice cream, watching their significant others, but became distracted with their own thoughts. They wrote or flooed each other every day. They had lunch together whenever they could manage. But it had been few days since they saw each other last. A week, actually.

"Maybe I'll use my lunch break to go see her and her new place."

"Maybe I'll go visit him on his next day off."

And with those thoughts, they both smiled, raised a large spoonful of their ice cream, ate it, and winced at the resulting brain freeze.

Some things just wouldn't change.