Inspired by Kindred Spirits by the amazing Rainbow Rowell, and the song Wrapped in Red by Kelly Clarkson.
If it seems a bit jarring that the characters are so different in the different one-shots, I can say, from personal experience, sometimes you're not as light and happy from year to year. That said, I envisioned Scorpius being a bit goofier in this one than he is in any of my other stories. And for the sake of ages, I imagine Year One being 2027, meaning they start this series as 21 year olds.
Also this was written in one and a half days so it's sure to have mistakes galore. Sorry.
Enjoy and happy holidays. Also reviews make me happy. Just sayin :)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the song that inspired their situation.
Roxanne Weasley was her father's daughter and that alone was enough to cause Rose's downfall.
She'd been gracefully and silently excusing herself from 'Albus' Annual Christmas Party' (all capitals because it was as scared as Christ's birth according to the man himself) (Albus. Not Jesus), when Rose had smacked her face into an invisible wall. She was halfway down the corridor, about to retrieve her cloak so she could apparate out of there, when she was halted in her retreat. It took her several moments of trying to move outside of the tiny half-meter by half-meter box she found herself stuck in to realize the unfortunate cause of it all. Hanging above her head was a little glittering sprig of green leaves wrapped in a red bow.
Enchanted bloody mistletoe. Weasley-branded. Roxanne's doing. Rose's undoing.
Sometimes she could just murder her whole bloody family.
Rose knew it was Roxanne because she remembered seeing her cousin asking her father about it at the shop last week. Rose had been attempting to pick up something for the stupid workplace Kris Kringle they insisted on having each year, and had heard Roxanne asking all kinds of questions about the little piece of hellfire.
"So they'll be stuck?" Roxanne clarified with her dad who was beaming at his daughter's scheming.
"Yup," George confirmed with an enthusiastic nod of his head, "Completely planted on the spot until they smooch."
Roxanne's eyes had lit up as she gleamed before murmuring, "Wicked."
Well, wicked indeed. Bloody wretched in fact. Because here Rose was; stuck under the damn thing and not another human in sight. Not that she could think of many people at the party she'd feel particularly comfortable with snogging anyway. They were largely family members (ew) or Albus' Quidditch friends, very few of which Rose could bare to speak to for any great length of time. And she certainly didn't feel like snogging anyone she could barely even stand speaking to.
So Rose had set about trying to get rid of it, thinking she could outsmart the dainty little bit of foliage. She set it on fire but it just re-bloomed again with greater ferocity when the flames had subsided. She'd tried several charms and incantations and nothing seemed to work. She even tried just jumping and tugging it off the roof but she couldn't reach. The mistletoe wasn't budging and neither, apparently, was Rose.
Just when she was about to bite the bullet and start yelling for someone not related to her to come and help, she heard the door open and music flood the small hallway she was stuck in.
A booming voice sung out, a half-beat behind the music, "And then I'll say 'Alohomora!' and unlock your Christmas spirit!"
She smiled and prepared to grovel when she noticed who it was.
Scorpius Malfoy was wearing a hideous green Christmas sweater, ridiculously off-balance reindeer ears, and was dancing his way down the hallway without noticing her.
Pissed, Rose thought, he's pissed as a fart.
He shook his hips and wiggled his fingers in a motion that Rose could only describe as 'finger guns pretending to be snakes'. If she were to hazard a guess, she'd say he was completely unaware of her existence.
(He smiled to himself and it made her stomach go funny. Her stomach often went funny around Scorpius Malfoy. Maybe she was allergic to whatever expensive hair product he used)
"Hey Malfoy," she said gently, so as not to startle the finger-gunning shimmying ray of green festive cheer. He stopped immediately, his gaze finding hers. And then something marvelous happened – his whole face lit up in one of the most genuine smiles she had ever borne witness to. Her whole body buzzed and her tummy went even funnier.
No one should be able to smile like that. It should be illegal. It's practically a weapon. Mighty unkind. Especially at Christmas.
He'd wielded it on her one day at Hogwarts after they'd been drinking particularly strong butter beer at a party to commemorate the start of the Quidditch season. In a room full of 7th years of every house, Slytherin Seeker Scorpius Malfoy had looked at Gryffindor Head Girl Rose Weasley and beamed like she was the cause of all the happiness in the universe. Then he'd tipped her backwards and snogged her senseless. Rose barely remembered him kissing her, but she definitely remembered him smiling at her. Alcohol was weird with what it let you remember.
Rose begrudgingly reconciled that it was a talent he had – making you feel like the only soul in the room.
Which was a painfully accurate anecdote in this situation.
"Red!" he called to her with the incredibly inventive nick name he'd given her when they were in second year, "What are you doing out here in the hallway alone? You should be basking in Christmas spirit!"
"I've had just about enough Christmas spirit as I can take," she grumbled, trying to figure out how she was going to politely ask him to kiss her so she could get back to leaving this party.
"Nonsense!" he took confident steps towards her with his long gangly legs he never really seemed to grow into and she really needed to tell him to stop before he got much closer, "We haven't danced yet! We need to dance."
Rose thought they absolutely did not have to dance. "I don't think so."
"Why not?" he wiggled his eyebrows in the same manner as his dancing fingers. If she hadn't known him for over half her life she might find it adorable. But she had known him for over half her life. So she didn't. Nope. No sir. Not adorable in the slightest.
"Because I'm leaving, and I'm sure you can find a much better dance partn-"
"You're leaving?!" he looked physically wounded, "You can't leave yet! The party's just getting started."
"And I'm just getting finished," Rose deflected quickly, trying to get her words out quickly before he got too close, "But the thing is-"
"I haven't seen you dance at all tonight," he continued to approach, his reindeer antlers bobbing with each enthusiastic step he took, "You can't leave before you've danced at least once."
"Oh, you've been watching me all night have you?"
"Not all night."
She wasn't sure what to do with that implication. She noticed that he had gotten incredibly close. Too close. So close that he was about to find himself wrapped up with her and Rose knew she had to do her best to warn him.
"But just a-!"
"Come one Red! Just one dance!" he lunged for her, grabbed her hand and tried to tug her back to the party with him.
And promptly fell on his ass.
It's the least graceful she's ever seen him be as he flung himself into the invisible wall in an attempt to drag her back to the party. He let out a groan from where he lay on the ground, looking up at her with confusion and betrayal in equal measure.
"Enchanted mistletoe," she pointed to the little shrub dangling from the ceiling, "I tried to tell you."
He grumbled under his breath as he pulled himself to his feet.
He was still holding her hand.
Rose fought her natural instinct to shake it free.
"Enchanted mistletoe, huh?" he scratched the patch of hair under his reindeer antlers and hummed to himself, "How interesting."
It took Rose a moment to figure out what was wrong with the picture before her. Enchantment aside, Scorpius didn't seem right. Then she figured it out – he was smiling. He should be scheming and screaming expletives, just like Rose had. Instead he was just smiling. And holding her hand. Yeah, he still hadn't stopped doing that.
Rose gestured to the plant and started explaining everything she'd tried to do to get rid of it. Spells, charms, swearing profusely.
"Nothing works," she was very determinedly not looking at Scorpius and his confusing smile, "It's got us stuck here. But I think if we could just accio some things from Albus' potions room we might be able to whip something up to take care of it."
"Or…" he tugged on her hand to draw her attention, his disarming smile still displayed proudly, "We could just kiss."
Rose hadn't considered that. Well, she had considered it, obviously, but she didn't think that Scorpius would. They were friends, sure, but she was snarky and sarcastic and he was exuberant and shiny. They didn't mesh, at least not on paper. Yeah, they'd kissed once but they were kids then. They weren't now. And a boy like Scorpius Malfoy could hurt a girl like Rose Weasley with barely any effort at all. Her only defense was sarcasm.
"Ha. Ha. Yeah. That's a great plan."
Unfortunately, having known her for well over ten years now, it appeared that Scorpius was immune to Rose's supreme sarcasm skills.
"It seems to me it's the only plan that will work," he'd grinned at her and Rose wasn't sure how to respond, "That is how you banish the little thing isn't it, Red?"
Well, yes. Obviously. But there was something about kissing Scorpius Malfoy that just didn't seem right. Like the fact that it seemed too easy. She got stuck under mistletoe. Scorpius happened to find her. And boom! He would just kiss her. Just like that. It seemed like it should take a lot more work to get a kiss from Scorpius Malfoy. Or it seemed like it should take a lot more effort and personal negotiating for her to work up the courage to kiss Scorpius Malfoy. Either way, this seemed incredibly too straightforward to be plausible.
Rose raised an eyebrow at him and tried to find a trace of mischief on his face. She didn't have to look hard - he was practically glowing with it.
"Yes…" she scowled while she tried to figure out his angle.
"Then it seems we have a very simple way to get rid of it," Scorpius began to lean forward and Rose honestly forgot how to breathe. To her great surprise, and mild displeasure, he shot straight past her mouth and instead planted his lips softly against her ear to whisper to her.
"Of course, it'll cost you." She could feel him smiling against her earlobe. Rose stomped her foot and let out a groan.
"I knew it," she shook herself off and looked him in the eye now that he'd retreated a little from her personal space, "What's the toll?"
"Simple," his face lit up with that million dollar smile again, "A dance."
"A dance?" Rose scoffed, "We can barely move our feet."
"I'm not asking you to waltz, Rose."
One of his arms slid around her waist and he raised an eyebrow as way of asking permission. Rose let out another loud sigh to show she was at least putting up some kind of protest before placing her hand on his shoulder. He raised the hand he was still holding and slid fractionally closer in their already close quarters.
And that was how Rose found herself 'dancing' with Scorpius Malfoy and his horrid green jumper.
It all felt a little too heavy, a little too intimate, for Rose's liking. The darkened hallway, the fact that there wasn't anyone else around, and also that he kept looking at her, apparently not satisfied with staring over her shoulder like she was doing to him.
"This is hardly dancing," Rose muttered, uncomfortable because she was so comfortable in his arms, "We're barely moving at all."
"Swaying still counts, Red," he'd whispered and she didn't know why. But she'd whispered too, so maybe it was only fair. Scorpius hummed a tune she didn't recognize under his breath as they swayed, slowly leaning more and more on the other, for what felt infinitely longer than they really should have. Eventually they end up cheek-to-cheek, and Rose finds herself closing her eyes and getting lost in the feeling of being wrapped up with Scorpius Malfoy.
He smells like Christmas – like cinnamon and ginger – and something else. Something Scorpius. Rose had never known what Scorpius smelled like before. She didn't know what to do with the information. It felt like some kind of secret that only the best of friends knew about each other. She wondered if he noticed what she smelled like too.
(He did – honey and flowers and open fires and happiness)
Rose grew weary that they might be discovered and would have a hard time explaining why they were just standing out here in the dark dancing under mistletoe. That didn't seem like the sort of thing normal people did. She pulled back a bit, stopped swaying until he followed suit.
"Does that satisfy your desire to dance, Scorpius?" she asks, trying to sound more unaffected and light than she feels. His grin was feral.
"Not even close," his expression softened as he took a deep breath, "But it'll do. For now."
And then he did it. He just kissed her. Just like that. Rose expected there to be more warning. She hadn't properly prepared herself to kiss Scorpius. And without the appropriate preparations that identified what was the acceptable level of affection to give to someone who was, strictly speaking, just a friend, she was left to go with her gut. Her traitorous, unreliable, easily romanced, gut. So when his hand cradled her head, Rose simply leant forward and kissed him like she meant it a bit more than she thought she did, clutching at the bottom of his hideous jumper. And Scorpius kissed her for longer, and with more sincerity than was probably appropriate for a friend doing another purely platonic friend a favour, his hand on her hip changing from 'lightly touching to keep balance' straight into 'holding to keep you close' territory.
Scorpius pulled back and Rose, incredibly embarrassingly, followed him a little before pulling herself into line. There was a twinkle of bells and a burst of glitter above them and the troublemaking plant disappeared. Rose watched as gold sparkles landed on Scorpius' pointed nose and she desperately wanted to dust them off, but she was also a bit afraid to touch him again after the moment they just shared.
If it was a moment.
(Who was she trying to convince? It was definitely a moment)
Scorpius smiled at her and whispered, "Merry Christmas, Red."
"Merry Christmas…" she didn't know whether to call him Scorpius or Malfoy, so instead she just looked at his horrible sweater once more and choked out, "Green."
He laughed as he watched her walk away to retrieve her cloak. They wouldn't speak of this again.
At least not until next year.
In the year that follows Rose finds herself attending a lot of the same events as Scorpius, even if it is just games night at James Potter's place. She doesn't hate his company, and doesn't even mind when he sits next to her.
Scorpius consciously gets to events early just to snag his spot next to Rose. He enjoys how her eyes shine when she makes a sarcastic remark, likes that he's the one to make her make them.
There are, in fact, and infinite amount of things Scorpius comes to like about Rose Weasley. And in the year that follows, Rose finds an infinite amount of things to like about Scoprius Malfoy too.
"We've really got to stop running into each other like this," he has the air of a man who is entirely too pleased with himself as he stands before her, his arms wrapped loosely around her waist.
The cause of his smugness is probably because Rose got herself stuck in the same bloody spot as last year because of stupid enchanted mistletoe. And Scorpius Malfoy just so happened to be the one to find her. Again.
So here they were, same as last year, the pair of them pushed together in the tiny invisible box in Albus' darkened hallway. Rose didn't find it as amusing as Scorpius did.
"Right, because this was completely random."
He at least has the decency to look a little abashed.
She'd seen him stop Lily from dragging her back to the party. She'd thought it curious but inconsequential until she'd smacked her face into the invisible wall again like last year, sheer moments before Scorpius had waltzed out after her. Rose would be having words with Roxanne about this later.
"What can I say?" he shrugs, eyes hooded and face flushed from alcohol, "I shan't fight fate."
"This isn't fate," she argued though it had little heat to it, "This is a Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes prank that you've used to your advantage to embarrass me."
He quirks an eyebrow, "Who said my intention was to embarrass you?"
"Right," she rolls her eyes, "You just did this because you enjoy my company."
He nods so hard his customary antlers almost fall off his head, "Infinitely."
"For Merlin's sake, Scorpius, just put us both out of our misery and kiss me."
"Misery?" he scoffs dramatically before grinning, "Who said anything about misery? I'm having quite a lovely time."
It takes her a moment to process. It's a grand statement, after all, for him to proclaim that standing here under enchanted mistletoe, his hands on her hips and hers laid on his chest, a few breaths apart, that he's having a lovely time. It is almost grand enough to encourage Rose to recognize that maybe she's having a lovely time too.
"What? Stuck here with me?" she lets out a loud 'pffft'. He doesn't falter in his reply.
"You are by far one of the more lovelier people to be stuck here with. Besides, being stuck doesn't mean we can't have fun! Look, I can lean all the way back…"
He falls into an invisible barrier, bringing Rose with him so they're lying at a 45 degree angle in mid air. Magic was weird.
"And just lie here with you," his eyes dance over her face and hair, "What a magnificent prospect."
"Until one of us kisses the other and you fall back onto your ass," she counters, unsure why she's still resting her hands on his chest but also not game to move them.
He looks at her lips, "Hmmmm yes, almost tempting enough to make me not want to kiss you."
He flashes her a grin that is so cheeky she's not sure she can believe him, "Almost."
Rose honestly has no idea how to respond to any of this more-overt-than-usual flirting, so she remains silent. Maybe that way the bubble will burst and they'll start conversing like they usually do.
"I'll make you a deal," he proposes with that same cheeky grin and Rose is immediately suspicious, "you spend the next ten minutes talking with me, then I'll let you kiss me and leave. Deal?"
She wants to point out that his use of the word 'let' is not appreciated, but she's got a bigger battle to fight.
"This is extortion," she counters, nods to his askew antlers, "It's mightily un-Christmas-y of you."
Scorpius just 'tsks' at her, "Red, you're far too pretty to be acting like a Hunch."
"A Hunch?" she has no idea what he's talking about.
"Yeah, you know, that grumpy goblin from that muggle tale…" he looks confused. Which, like everything else about him, is absolutely not adorable.
"The Grinch?" she guesses. His face lights up.
"Yeah! You're being far too Grinch-like." For someone who seemed to love the holidays as much as Scorpius did, she was sure that was the ultimate insult. Rose is stuck on something though.
"How in heaven's name do you know about the Grinch?"
He turns his nose up and looks incredibly proud of himself.
"I'll have you know I'm quite cultured when it comes to muggle things. I know about…about those things you use to flatten your clothes."
"An iron?" Rose guesses, raising an eyebrow to indicate that she doubts he knows as much as he thinks he does. That said, it could just be the alcohol.
"Yeah! That! And I know about a blender, how it blends things," he looks off into the distance and gets a bit sidetracked, "Very inventive name. I like that about muggles – the directness of their naming systems. Blenders blend. Toasters toasts. And cars car. What a lovely system."
Rose crinkles her forehead and ignores when he starts drawing patterns on her pretty red dress with his fingertips where they rest on her hips. "Cars don't 'car' people. They drive people."
Now it's Scorpius' turn to look confused. "Then why aren't they called drivers?"
"Because that's what the person driving the car is called." It's like speaking with a two year old.
"Why aren't they called car-ers?" he turns his head on the side and again, totally not adorable.
"I don't know Scorpius," Rose lets out a sigh, "Has it been 10 minutes yet? Not that this conversation isn't scintillating but I've got places to be."
"Places to be?!" he sounds truly stunned and mortified, "Places that are better than Albus Potter's Christmas Party?!"
He grins and nods his head in agreement, "You're right that does sound like a much better place to be. Let's go."
Rose raises an eyebrow at him as he stands up straight again. He doesn't remove his hands, they just slip around to be at the base of her spine. And Rose's hands are still running over the stitching in his hideous jumper. When did she get so comfortable with him?
"Are you trying to come home with me?" she asks in disbelief.
"Depends," he grins and whispers as if he's plotting some great heist, "Do I have a chance?"
"Less than a snowflake's hope in hell." Rose expects his face to fall, but it does the opposite, instead lighting up with one of his goofier grins.
"Ah ha! So there's still hope!" he wiggles his eyebrows and leans in conspiratorially, "My flirtations are not in vain then."
"I bet you say that to all the girls you get stuck under mistletoe with," she deadpans, trying to see what the time is on her watch and if it's been long enough that she demand he let her go.
"You're the only girl I get stuck under mistletoe with, Red," he says it very matter-of-factly, like she's an idiot for even suggesting otherwise. Which is ridiculous – Scorpius Malfoy has been chasing as many girls as have been chasing him since third year. She's sure he kisses tons of girls under mistletoe.
Rose isn't special in the slightest.
And she'll keep telling herself that because if she doesn't, the way he looks at her could mean something different to what she likes to think it does. And that could get dangerous.
"Well don't I feel special," she deadpans, sarcasm dripping from her words.
"You should," he brushes a stray curl behind her ear, and yeah, that was definitely something she didn't need to experience because now it's gunna feature in a couple of intrusive dreams, "I don't go out of my way to escape down dark hallways for just anyone you know?"
"How romantic," she needs to escape sooner rather than later. Because 'later', she might start convincing herself that him coming back to her bed isn't as stupid an idea as it seems right now, "Has it been ten minutes yet?"
"Barely five," he brushes her off quickly, "Plenty of time for us to continue this wondrous conversation."
Rose's face drops. "Oh joy."
There's a beat of silence when they both realize they have basically nothing to say to each other that isn't innuendo or insults.
"Soooooo," he drags the word out with a wide smile, his hands far-too relaxed where they continue to draw distracting patterns, "Do you come here often?"
Rose snorts, "Cute."
"Thanks," why does he continue to take all of her sarcastic quips as genuine compliments? It annoys her, "My mum says that too."
"You know how I said you had a snowflake's hope in hell?" Rose asks, eyebrow raised.
"Yesssss." Scorpius leans closer, and she doesn't miss how he looks at her lips.
"Consider all hope gone."
"What?!" he's affronted when he looks back at her eyes, "Why?"
"You just compared me to your mum. No girl wants to be compared to a guy's mum."
"I didn't compare," he defends weakly.
"Come on, Green – let's get this over with." She stands a bit taller and squares her shoulders like she's preparing for war.
"But it's the best part of my evening," he whines like a three year old.
Rose lets out an indignant snort, "Then the rest must be pretty bad."
"You're selling yourself short, Red."
"I'm not trying to sell myself to you at all."
"You don't need to, I'm already invested."
He needed to stop saying things like that; one day Rose would believe it. And then where would it leave her? Lonely and broken. No thank you.
"Scorpius, just kiss me."
"No, you're too grumpy to be kissed right now," he continues with his penchant for toddler mentality by pouting, "You'll infect me with your Grinch-ness"
Heavens he was annoyingly persistent when he was drunk.
So instead of waiting, Rose takes things into her own hands – quite literally – by grabbing a fistful of his hair and pulling his head down until their lips meet. It was awkward and aggressive and Rose didn't care, she just needed to get out of there.
And she would have too, if things didn't escalate.
Undeterred by the rough start, Scorpius wraps his entire arms around her waist and pulls her into him, deepening the kiss as he does. Rose opens her mouth without thinking, completely forgets that frenching Scorpius is probably a bad idea. It's an awful idea. Worst of the worst.
Except that it's not.
He moans into her mouth and Rose's breath hitches. She feels the gold sparkles falling onto her head, knows the mistletoe had officially released them, but she doesn't stop and she's not sure why. But Scorpius doesn't stop either. If anything he's just gotten more insistent, one of his hands running down her back to take hold of her arse. Rose responds by digging her fingers into his hair and gasping loudly.
He takes waaaay too much pleasure out of that.
She feels him laugh against her lips as he walks her back to the wall, pushes her against it as he settles himself around her. Maybe that's what does it – the feel of the bricks at her back – but Rose eventually snaps out of it and pushes Scorpius off her, holds him at bay as she catches her breath. The lingering taste of Firewhiskey in her mouth tells her he's drunk, too drunk for anything to happen. Not that she would want that anyway. Making out in a hallway didn't mean anything. Right.
Scorpius' grey-blue eyes look cloudy as they rake over her appearance. It gives her a heady feeling that she wants to give in to but knows she shouldn't.
This is a bad idea. Every idea that you're half considering right now that isn't leaving is a bad idea.
His eyes come back to hers and he smiles bright and proud.
"Damn, Red, do you kiss all your knights in shining armor like that?"
"You're assuming I have more than one."
Rose realizes that was exactly the wrong thing to say when she sees his eyes fall to her lips as he shuffled forward again.
"Nope," she says forcefully, giving his shoulders another nudge. He doesn't push, steps back like she wants him too. Looking at him while he's all….lusty makes her feel funny in the best way. But there are people inside who will notice if neither of them rejoin the party. And he's too drunk for them to do something that she won't regret. It has to end here.
At least for now.
"Mistletoe's gone," she announces, stating the obvious.
"Yep," his eyes are challenging, "Has been for a while."
She just raises an eyebrow at him as an indication that he should not take that implication further, and stands up straight as she steps away from the wall. She drops her hands from his shoulders and he takes a step back. He won't stop grinning at her. It's infuriating. At least it would be if Rose could gather her feelings long enough to figure out she's infuriated. Instead she's just a big ball of confusion and lust so she should probably just leave right now.
"Right, well, I'll get back to leaving," Rose says, gesturing awkwardly in the direction of the cloak room, "Thanks for your help."
His grin is feral, "Anytime, Red."
She rolls her eyes at him with a smile and heads down the hallway to get her cloak. Just before he rejoins the party he calls out in a sing-songy voice.
"Merry Christmas, Red!"
She allows herself to smile at how ridiculous he looks with his hideous jumper, askew reindeer ears, and goofy smile, "Merry Christmas, Green."
In the year that follows, Rose becomes pretty busy at work so she doesn't always see Scorpius at events. He does write to her though. And she writes back to him. And he calls her Red and she calls him Green, and they occasionally get coffee together.
They never touch. And they never talk about either of their Mistletoe kisses.
Rose tries to think about them as little as possible.
Scorpius thinks about them almost every night.
She never says anything though and continues to shut down his flirting with sarcastic quips. So in the name of self-preservation, Scorpius starts to teach himself to forget.
He should have asked Adelia Bruttler. He had been talking to her two minutes beforehand and they were kind-of-almost-but-not-quite dating from what Rose had gathered. Adelia was pretty and kind-ish and she looked beautiful in her purple and silver robes. Adelia was waif-like and had eyes like a hawk and would be watching him when it happened. Adelia did not like Rose very much and hadn't since fourth year. Adelia Bruttler would have wrapped her arms around him and returned the sentiment with gusto.
He should have asked Adelia – it was the right thing to do.
But he didn't. In fact he didn't ask anyone at all.
Instead, when the enchanted mistletoe bloomed above Scorpius Malfoy's head in a crowded room, he grabbed Rose's arm while she was trying to sneak past to escape, pulled her into an embrace that seemed far too practiced, and proclaimed, "Time to uphold tradition, Red."
Scorpius Malfoy should have kissed Adelia Bruttler under the mistletoe at Albus' Christmas Party in 2029. Instead he kissed Rose Weasley while she wore the red dress she always wore, and he wore a slightly-less-hideous-but-still-green jumper and askew reindeer ears.
It's brief. Simple. A quick peck that does all that is reasonably required for the branch to disappear into a burst of gold sparkles.
Except maybe it goes a second or two longer than it should.
And maybe they both close their eyes exactly like they shouldn't be doing.
And maybe he sighs a little too much when they separate.
And maybe Rose's hands fit as perfectly as they always do on his chest. So much so that they stay there longer than they really should.
And maybe it goes on long enough for people to not only notice but to start hollering and cheering (Rose notes that Lily, in particular, seems overly impressed by the display).
Rose steps away from Scorpius, pretends she doesn't see him going to say something. Pretends she doesn't hear Adelia cursing under her breath where she stands watching three feet away. Pretends her heart isn't racing.
Instead, Rose gives a polite wave to the crowd – like this was all some performance. Because of course it was a performance. Of course it was all just for show. Nothing more – and continues to make her exit. Scorpius pastes on a smile and calls out to her.
"Merry Christmas, Red!"
She doesn't even turn back when she calls, "Merry Christmas, Green."
She leaves to a chorus of gentle laughter. And when she tucks herself into bed that night, for some inexplicable reason, she feels like crying. She doesn't though. Rose is a grown women, far too old to be letting boys make her cry.
In the year that follows, Scorpius starts seriously dating Adelia Bruttler (New Years Eve, in fact). He doesn't write as often. And then he stops writing all together. Rose tells herself it doesn't hurt. She thought they were friends, but you don't stop talking to your friends just because you have a girlfriend. So she guesses they weren't friends, not really.
Scorpius, meanwhile, does his best to fall in love with Adelia. He loves her, he's just doesn't quite feel in love with her. He tells her one day when they're shopping for matching formalwear for an event that maybe she should try the red dress on. Adelia tells him that it really isn't her colour, nor is it his.
No, he concedes, Red isn't his colour. Or his anything else.
All Rose wanted to do was to get her coat and leave in peace. Just like she wanted to do every year. And, like (nearly) every year, here she was, stuck with stupid mistletoe above her stupid head. She'd even taken a different route to the ground floor, conscious that she didn't want to get caught in the hallway like she usually did. So now she wasn't stuck in a hallway – she was stuck on a staircase. Because that was soooooooo much more convenient. It was even further away from the lounge room Albus was hosting his party in, so even if she yelled people might not here her. Especially not with the carols playing so loudly. From what Rose could make out, it was a muggle one playing at the moment, Deck the Halls. She decided, in the absence of anyone to come and free her from her invisible prison, she could rewrite the lyrics.
"Deck Roxanne with fists of fury, fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la," Rose grumbled to herself, sitting down on the step while she mentally prepared herself to wait endless hours for someone to come and rescue her.
She hated being a damsel.
She hears the door at the top of the stairs open. Nostalgia hits her almost as hard as the overwhelming sadness. Scorpius stands at the top of the stars dressed neatly in clothes that look like they'd look perfect on someone else.
He's not wearing his jumper. He's not wearing his reindeer ears. He's not dancing and humming to himself.
He barely looks like himself. It makes her impossibly sad.
Scorpius just hasn't been the same since he's been with Adelia and Rose isn't quite sure how to tell him or whether she's allowed to. It's not like they've ever been besties, but Rose has barely seen or heard from Scorpius at all since last Christmas, which basically coincided with him and Adelia getting together. But what's more worrying is that he just doesn't seem like himself. He hasn't been singing loudly. He didn't dance into the room.
Don't get her wrong, he smiles with Adelia and seems happy when he's with her. He just doesn't seem Scorpius-like. She's not sure if he's different because of Adelia; maybe there's more stuff going on. Rose doesn't know because they barely speak.
"Rose?" he says, a ghost of a smile on his lips when he notices her, "Escaping the party early again?'
"Yeah," Rose shrugs but before she has a chance to say anything else he starts descending the stairs. And he can't get too close. Not with the mistletoe. So she does what every well-adjusted, sane human would do.
She yells at him.
"Stop!" she sounds mildly erratic and it causes him to freeze. She points to the ceiling, "Mistletoe."
"Mistletoe?" his eyes follow her hand and he smiles, "You've got a knack for it, haven't you? I'll help you out."
"No!" she counters for quickly that he physically blanches, "You have a girlfriend. You can't help."
He scoffs at her. "Come on, don't be silly-"
"I'm not being silly!" Rose defends, wishing she could back away from him. Six steps separating them seems too few, "You can help by going back up there and getting someone single and not related to me to come down here."
He crosses his arms, "You do realize you're severely limiting my options."
"Thanks for pointing it out asshole," she replies through gritted teeth. He only sighs at her.
"That's not what I meant."
"I don't care," Rose crosses her arms to mirror him, "Go and find someone."
"But I'm right here," he gestures to himself as if she can't see him, "Look, we'll just sort it out now and you can leave and I can go and get Adelia's purse."
That gives her pause for a moment, "Why do you need to get Adelia's purse?"
"Because she left it at home."
He's walked down two stairs. He's getting too close. Time to employ distraction tactics – maybe if she annoys him enough he'll leave her stranded here.
"So why isn't she going home to get it?"
"Because I'm being a good doting boyfriend. Besides, would you prefer that I was Adelia right now."
"Good doting boyfriends don't kiss other girls under enchanted mistletoe," she tells him pointedly, "It's wrong."
"No, it would be wrong to kiss you if we weren't under mistletoe," the way he looks at her and pauses makes her feel good and bad at the same time, "But you're stuck. I'm helping out a friend, that's all."
"So we are friends?" there's bite to her tone and she wishes she could take the words back as soon as they've left her mouth. He looks confused, his whole body rigid.
(It's so far from the finger-gun dancing days that it makes her sad)
"Of course, why wouldn't we be?"
Great. Now Rose has to defend her snotty remark. Awesome. Just fab.
God she was an idiot.
"I just haven't heard from you much this year, that's all," she shrugs and tries to seem unaffected. She knows she fails.
Scorpius' response comes back immediately, "I haven't heard from you much either."
Yes but Rose couldn't be the one to start conversations now. He was the one with the significant other. She couldn't be the single girl chatting to a taken guy. That looked bad. Even though it shouldn't. Because they were friends before he had a girlfriend, surely they could stay friends afterwards. He was Green, she was Red. Or at least they used to be.
She really hated that she didn't know if they were friends anymore.
The silence between them is charged and uncomfortable. She just really wishes he'd leave her be until someone else found her.
"This is ridiculous," Scorpius finally says, the closest to annoyed she can ever recall him being, "I need to get past you, you need to leave. There's a very simple solution for this and you're just being stubborn."
He stomps down another few steps and Rose tries desperately to think of ways to make him stop.
"But this shouldn't…You should stop!"
"Come on Rose!" he throws his arms in the air, frustration seeping off him, "We've been doing this the past three year and its never meant anything then, right?"
Rose isn't sure she trusts herself to answer. It didn't mean anything. Not really. At least she doesn't think so. She's quite sure it wasn't supposed to mean anything. But he's asking her like it's a genuine question, not just some remark he doesn't expect her to respond to.
Scorpius is standing one step away from being stuck with her. This is the last chance to tell him, once and for all, to piss off and find someone else. But telling him that would indicate that she thought it did mean something every other year. And besides the simple fact that it's mortifying that he would know that, Rose can't say explicitly one way or the other if that's the truth. She takes a deep breath, squares her shoulders and prepares her 'maybe-lie-maybe-not' to roll off her tongue.
"No," she agrees with a pasted on smile, "They didn't mean anything."
He doesn't smile; doesn't gloat about being right like he would have in years gone past. Instead he just nods, and squares his shoulders too.
"Exactly. So can I step forward now?"
Rose nods because she doesn't trust herself with words. Scorpius steps onto the step above hers, then onto the same step she's on. They're so close it's uncomfortable. She's not sure how this will work when she can't look at him. Scorpius, apparently, has it figured out. He gently places his hand under her chin and tilts her head up before inching forward and kissing her softly.
It's the most delicate they've shared. In fact it's the most delicate kiss she's shared with anyone. He seems worried about breaking her, like if he touches her too completely or holds her too long she'll shatter. Rose can't say for certain that she won't.
She doesn't place her hands on her chest even though she knows they fit there perfectly.
She doesn't wish for his hands to run through her hair like they have before.
She doesn't sigh when he pulls away, and she has no desire to wipe the gold sparkles from his face.
Rose doesn't feel anything.
Nothing at all.
At least that's what she's going to keep telling herself – maybe then it will be true.
"See?" Scorpius says with an unconvincing smile, "Just like always. Nothing."
"Right," Rose agrees but can't force herself to smile, the tingling in her chest is too distracting, "Just like always."
Scorpius turns away from her and walks down the stairs, dusting gold specks off him as he goes. There's something about seeing his form retreat that kicks her into gear and makes her say what's been at the tip of her tongue since she saw him walk in with Adelia earlier without his favourite sweater.
"Scorpius!" she calls out, waits for him to face her until she continues, "Are you ok?"
It's a hard phrase to push past her lips, but she needs to ask. He's not the same. Not like he has been every other year. She knows its been a long year for him, busy like he mentioned, but he seems so…so dull. And he used to be so shiny. She'd be a horrible friend if she didn't ask. And she's been a pretty horrible friend all year – if there was any time for her to get her shit together, it was Christmas.
The smile he tries to convince her is real almost makes her cry.
"Sure I am. Why'd you ask?"
Rose isn't sure why she asked, she just knew she had to. She makes an awkward gesture at his person.
"You're not wearing your ugly green sweater," she tries to force a laugh. It sounds painfully fake, "My eyes don't know how to handle you without it."
He looks down at his nice pressed mint green shirt that was entirely too nice for Albus' Christmas Party. He gives a lazy shrug.
"I guess I've outgrown it; moved on to nicer things. You can't be the fool wearing reindeer antlers forever, I suppose."
Rose saw absolutely no reason why that had to be the case. She just didn't know how to tell him that. Because he's moved on to nicer things.
Nicer things that were nicer than Rose.
He smiles and turns back to descend his last few stairs. Rose, without being able to stop herself, calls out again.
"You haven't danced."
The silence somehow feels louder now than it ever has before. Scorpius is slow when he turns back to face her again, his face a weird mixture of confusion, hope, and loneliness. She just wants to see him smile properly again.
"What?" he asks with barely any inflection.
"You haven't danced tonight," Rose clarifies, tugging at the sleeve on her red top in a lame attempt to relieve some of the nervous tension filling her system, "You always dance at Albus' Christmas Party."
He cracks the closest thing to a real smile she's seen from him since he walked into the stairwell.
"Been watching me all night Red?" It's eerily reminiscent of previous years. It should make her blush and scoff. Instead it just makes her feel lonely. It makes her feel like he's not there at all. She responds just as he had.
"Not all night."
He looks at her like he wants to say something. Part of her hopes he does. Another part hopes he doesn't. After a few long minutes in suffocating silence, Scorpius gives her a half smile that makes her feel like the only soul in the room – like he's not even there.
"Merry Christmas, Red."
"Merry Christmas, Green."
In the year that follows, they don't talk until Albus' birthday in March. Rose politely asks Scorpius when Adelia will be joining them; he tells her she won't be, gently explaining that they've gone their separate ways. Rose feels neither happiness or sadness, just a weird sense of relief. She thinks this means they can be friends again now. She's missed him as a friend.
Scorpius eases into conversation with Rose, and by June they seem to be spending at least a day a fortnight together. It's easy with her. Like he doesn't even have to try. That said, he tries a lot.
He wants Rose Weasley to like him. Even if it's only half as much as he likes her.
Rose felt like an idiot. A complete and utter idiot.
She'd worn green. She'd worn his stupid colour, hoping that it would show him that she wanted him, that she liked him as more than just a friend, and she thought that maybe they should give it a shot. She'd done her hair, put on pretty make up and worn high heels to make her legs look nicer. She had frickin reindeer antlers, just like he always did.
Rose had worn green and Scorpius didn't even show up.
She'd asked him yesterday if he was going to be there and he'd said yes, had even suggested that they go together. Rose helped to set up, so declined the offer, but was elated that the offer had been made anyway. And now here it was 9:30pm on Christmas Eve and Scorpius wasn't even here. And why wasn't he here?
Because Adelia's floo wasn't working and she'd asked him to help her. So he'd headed over there. At 8:00pm. On Christmas Eve.
Because of course you owl your ex-boyfriend to 'help fix your floo' at 8:00pm on Christmas Eve.
And of course you go to your ex-girlfriend's house at 8:00pm on Christmas Eve just to do handyman shit.
When Albus had told her the reason Scorpius was so late Rose had almost vomited. And cried. And screamed. She also vomit-cry-screamed (vomcrireamed?) but managed to hold it in through sheer stubbornness alone. She knew what this meant – this meant that Scorpius and Adelia were giving it another shot. Which meant him and Rose wouldn't be.
And she'd worn green.
How pathetic was she?
Rose had made up an excuse to leave, had basically run to the cloak room (luckily not getting stuck under any blasted mistletoe) and had apparated home as soon as the laws of physics and magic would allow. And she even managed not to cry until she took her stupid reindeer antlers off inside the front door. It was 10:00pm on Christmas Eve and Rose was sitting on her bed crying in her prettiest green dress.
What a cliché.
There's a knock at the door and she is sorely tempted to yell, "It's Christmas Eve! Fuck off home to your families!" Instead she just ignores them and hopes they'll go away. Another knock comes. Won't these people take a hint?
A third knock, this one longer and more insistent. Rose is ready to start rampaging.
She throws back her quilt and stomps down the stairs to her front door. She has her wand and is mentally prepping spells that will do just enough damage to send a message but not get her arrested when she flings the door open angrily.
She freezes at the sight before her.
Scorpius Malfoy is standing on her doorstep. Scorpius Malfoy, who wasn't at Albus Potter's Christmas Party because he was with his ex-girlfriend, is on Rose's doorstep. She has no idea what to say, and judging by the weird look of apprehension and worry, she'd say he doesn't either.
"Hi," he eventually forces out. Rose forgets how to be civil and instead fires back with a half statement, half question.
"You weren't at Albus'," she accuses.
"No," he stutters for a moment, "I had to help out –"
"Adelia," Rose finishes, knowing she sounds angry, "How is she?"
"Better now the crisis is over," he runs a hand through his hair. He doesn't knock off his antlers because he's not wearing antlers. Because he's moved on. To nicer things. God Rose was an idiot, "She was worried her parents wouldn't be able to visit if her floo didn't work properly. Her Christmas would have been ruined."
"She's lucky she's got you," Rose curses herself for sounding so miserable. Maybe it was the right thing to say though, because Scorpius blanches, looks at her like she's just sworn at him in German.
"She doesn't," he says tentatively, evidently confused, "We broke up in February. You know that."
"Oh, so it was just a friendly visit," Rose's voice is deceptively light; she hopes he can't see she's hurt.
"Obviously. I'm not her boyfriend but I'm also not an asshole."
Rose recalled Scorpius telling her how he was always the person they called if the floo broke down at his department at the Ministry, that he had a lot of experience sorting out what was wrong. And if Rose knew that, then Adelia undoubtedly did too after dating him for almost a year. And now Rose felt like an idiot for thinking otherwise. She really wished he were an asshole. If he were an asshole then she wouldn't be in this situation because she wouldn't like him and she certainly wouldn't like like him. And that would make her life considerably easier.
They stand in silence for a few moments and Scorpius looks at her like he's trying to figure out some kind of puzzle on her face. She hopes he doesn't ask to come inside because she hasn't thought up a good enough excuse to say no other than 'because I'm mad at you for acting completely within your rights in choosing someone else instead of me'.
His voice breaks her out of her reverie.
"If that why you left Albus'?" Scorpius sounds almost hopeful, "Because I was at Adelia's?"
"Who said I left Albus'?"
Stupid good-for-nothing cousin dobbing her in. Rose crosses her arms and leans against the doorframe.
"I wasn't feeling well."
She see Scorpius' eye twitch and she knows he's thinking one word – liar.
"Is that why you've been crying?"
She's not sure if he's referring to her being unwell or him not being at the party but she doesn't want to risk asking him to clarify because she's a pretty awful liar. So she plays to her strengths – she lies.
"I haven't been crying," she mutters and can't even look him in the eye when she says it. He has the absolute nerve to laugh at her.
"Red I've known you for over 10 years! I know when you've been crying," he points to her and smirks, "Your eyes are all puffy like that time you got an E on your O.W.L.s."
She glares at him while she dabs at her eyes in an attempt to alleviate their apparent puffiness, "Thanks for bringing that up."
He shoots her down with one of his glorious smiles, "You're welcome."
Rose can't handle this right now. She can't handle him standing on her doorstep smiling. It's cold and she's miserable – she doesn't want to stand here talking to him right now. She just wants to go bury herself under her covers and pretend he doesn't exist. Pretend her heart doesn't hurt just looking at him. Pretend she doesn't wonder if he still smells like cinnamon and ginger. Pretend she doesn't love him like she's not supposed to. Is that really too much to ask for at Christmas?
"Why are you here Scorpius?" she asks defeated and tired. He gets fidgety, runs his hands through his hair again and appears generally apprehensive.
"Well, you weren't at Albus' party," he starts before he gestures weakly above her door, "And I wanted to uphold tradition…"
Rose looks up and sees what he'd been pointing to.
God. Damn. Mistle. Toe.
Rose fights every urge she has to burst into tears at the thought of kissing Scorpius Malfoy and then watching him walk away. It was hard enough last year, she couldn't do it again. The fact that he planned it just made it worse. Rose can't say anything, so she just stands there dumbly looking at the weed hanging from her doorframe and trying to process the entire mess this evening has been that's led them both here.
"You know," Scorpius says awkwardly at her silence, "One of us gets stuck under mistletoe. The other one has to save them. We kiss."
"We walk away and never talk about it again," she finishes, pushing past her feelings of misery and marching right into Anger Town. This whole scenario feels incredibly humiliating, "Sure. Let's get this over with."
She squares her shoulders and waits for him to step forward and do the deed.
Only he doesn't move. Instead he just rubs his hands together and looks at her nervously again.
"Yeah, you see, the thing is, I was thinking that maybe we could change the tradition up a bit," he stutters around his words and Rose has never seen the infallible Scorpius Malfoy so jittery. It's unnerving. She stays silent and waits for him to elaborate.
"For instance," he points to the mistletoe above her head and says softly, "That's not enchanted."
It takes Rose several moments to figure out the enormity of that statement. The mistletoe isn't enchanted. Scorpius Malfoy came to her house on Christmas Eve, hung mistletoe above her door in the name of tradition, and it's not enchanted. Rose tests his claim by stretching her arms out far on either side. Sure enough, there's no invisible barrier boxing her in. She's free to do as she wishes. It's in that moment that Rose realizes that's probably the point.
"See I thought," Scorpius says gently and Rose forgets how to breathe, "That maybe instead of kissing under mistletoe because we have to, maybe we could kiss under mistletoe because we want to."
Yep. Rose has definitely forgotten how to breathe.
"And maybe," he adds, encouraged by her lack of protest, "We could keep kissing each other – even when there's no mistletoe – whenever we please. And maybe we could stop making up excuses to see each other, and agree that we should just see each other all the time, or whenever we want. And maybe our new tradition could be that we don't wait until Christmas to show each other how we feel, and we could just do that every day instead."
That sounded basically perfect to Rose. So perfect that she's pretty sure she's gunna cry again.
In an attempt to stop herself wailing, Rose doesn't say anything. And that results in Scorpius wearily asking, "What do you think?"
Rose isn't totally sure she's actually capable of thought right now. She's still stuck on 'we could keep kissing each other', because yeah that sounds like a great plan and something she would be 100% on board with.
She is about to respond when she noticed something different about him.
"Red," she says, starring at his horrendous sweater that's covered in misshapen reindeer and a giant Christmas pudding, "Your sweater is red."
"Yeah," Scorpius looks up at her under long eyelashes, a smile etching it's way up his features, "I've come to think that, perhaps, red's my colour."
Rose can do nothing but beam in response as her eyes well up with happy tears (because she's emotional, ok? Don't judge)
"Yeah, red looks good on you."
Scorpius quirks an eyebrow and looks pointedly at her now-crinkled dress.
"You look great in green."
"This isn't my whole outfit," Rose says, leaning inside to pick up her discarded reindeer antlers where they lie on the floor next to her doormat. She sheepishly places them on her head and returns to the doorway. Scorpius laughs when he sees them and Rose's heart flutters.
"If you had worn what you usually wear we would have matched," Rose says pointedly. Scorpius takes a step forward and smiles at her like he knows some secret she doesn't.
"I'd say we match pretty perfectly all the time, Red," he wraps his arms around her waist and Rose doesn't think she's experienced a more perfect moment in her life, "With or without antlers."
He inclines his head slightly, his eyes darting to her lips. Her hands settle on his chest right where they fit. Right where they've always fit.
"So, what do you say to establishing a new tradition?" his voice is low and husky and Rose can only smile, eyes firmly planting on his approaching lips.
"I think it sounds perfect."
And then Scorpius Malfoy kissed Rose Weasley under plain old regular mistletoe on Christmas Eve with no ulterior motive other than because they wanted to. His lips were cold from being outside but Rose didn't mind. She runs her tongue across them, you know, to warm them up. Scorpius takes the hint and opens his mouth with a smile, deepening the kiss. Rose's hands end up curled in his hair. His hands roam over her as much as they can, pulling her closer. She's on tiptoes to reach him and she just wants to stand here feeling his arms wrapped around her forever.
When they finally break apart they don't go far – Scorpius keeps his arms firmly wrapped around her middle and she keeps her arms wrapped around his neck, a stupidly goofy grin plastered on her face.
"If I stick that mistletoe to my forehead does that mean you have to keep kissing me all night?" he whispers, a conniving little smile on his face. Rose scoffs and shoots him a sly smile.
"You don't need mistletoe for that to happen."
That appears to be all the encouragement Scorpius requires, because he swoops her up and kisses her again as he walks them inside, her feet dangling in the air. He kicks the door with his foot as he murmurs,
"Merry Christmas, Green."
"Merry Christmas, Red."
A few years later…
Rose is hit in the face with a twig of Mistletoe right before Scorpius wraps himself around her and continues yelling, "We're stuck!"
"Why did you throw this at me?
"Stuck! Stuck!" he cries, before looking down at her and grinning widely, "Better kiss me!"
"It's in my hair…" Rose complains where the little piece of green has got itself trapped in her curls.
"Quick Red!" he tips her back so she's forced to grab him to stop herself falling, one foot sticking up in the air, "Or we'll never be released!"
"You know," she raises an eyebrow as she looks at the shiny ring sitting on her left hand, "being your wife and all, you don't have to trick me into kissing you."
His grin is as infectious as it was years ago.
"Yes but where's the fun in that?"
She rolls her eyes and he beams at her. Rose takes his face in both her hands and kisses him with an obnoxiously loud 'mwah!"
"Merry Christmas, Mrs. Green."
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Red."
This Christmas I'm gunna risk it all
This Christmas I'm not afraid to fall.
So I'm at your door with nothing more than words I never said
In all this white you'll see me like you've never seen me yet
Wrapped in Red.
YA'LL STILL ALIVE OR DID YOU SUFFOCATE WITH ALL THE FLUFF?
Hope you enjoyed my little Christmas song/story inspired piece. Happy Holidays to all.
All my love,