Chapter 7: Happy Holidays…or not

Soon enough, the week before Christmas had arrived, and I found myself in a compartment alone as the train slowed to a stop. The train jerked forward and then stopped moving. I took a deep breath to calm myself, grabbed my trunk, and left the train in search for the woman my father had described to me. I didn't see any sign of red hair, and I was starting to worry that this was some horrible joke someone was playing on me. I felt a tap on my shoulder and jumped back in alarm, knocking whoever was behind me to the ground.

"WATCH IT!" James snapped at me as he got up and brushed himself off. "Mum sent me to get you. Now come on, she's over there."

I looked and moved forward, and I swear I heard him mutter, "Prick," before coming beside me. I shook my head and kept forward until I caught sight of Ginny. Those stories Father told me seemed to match her perfectly. Fire-red hair stood out of place in the crowd, and she looked like she had quite a temper. This made me even more intimated as I finally stood to face her. I was worried about her reaction towards me, because I knew that she hated my Father. Instead of glaring at me evilly, she smiled and hugged me in greeting.

"You must be Scorpius," she said to me once she had let go of her tight grasp on me. I nodded, and she smiled. "It's good to meet you. It was a quite a surprise when Harry told me you would be staying with us, but---James, don't make me smack that look off your face. Keep it up and you'll be sleeping with Howler tonight. Goodness, where's your brother gone off to now?"

We were now by their car, which I felt unaccustomed to, as Father never drove anywhere. I felt something swoosh past me and there was Albus, gasping for breath. "Sorry, Mum. Jerry wanted to show me something before he left."

His face fell when his eyes landed on me. He didn't say anything to me, but instead got into the back of the car, James following behind him. I had no choice but to go up front with Mrs. Potter, and I knew then that this was only the beginning of this treatment by Albus and James. The ride to their home was a quiet one, at least, in the backseat. Ginny continually asked me questions about how my Mum and Dad were, what our house was like, and so on. I answered her questions politely, but all I could think about was how horrible it was going to be staying with the Potters, of all people. I think even my grandma's friend, Polly, was better than this.

We soon arrived at the Potter home, and I was immediately surprised by it. I had never been to the Potter's home, and there were rumours that they lived in a castle as big as Hogwarts. I'd almost believed it was true, so when I saw that they lived in a cosy two story home, I had to think whoever started all those rumours were idiots, that was for sure.

Loud barking could be heard in the back of the house, and I saw a large, brown, shaggy dog charge towards us—this must be Howler. I stiffened, slowly stepping away from the running dog. A dog was not my ideal pet, that was for sure. If anything, I was slightly afraid, and evidently, it showed. James started laughing and ordered the dog to come after me. It gleefully moved towards me, panting and wagging its tail as it went. I ran off, and it continued to chase me until at last Mrs. Potter whistled for it to come to her, and thankfully it did. As I walked back to get my trunk, my heart beating faster than the speed of sound, she whacked James across the head and started reprimanding him.

"---You're just like your father, James. Just you wait until Dad gets home and he hears what you've done to Scorpius. Maybe next time you'll think before you decide to do something so incredibly stupid," she said as I came over to them. "James, grab his trunk, he's company. Scorpius, come with me. I'll give you the tour."

After getting a thorough tour of the house, Mrs. Potter set us down for tea, James sulking all the while. Mr. Potter soon arrived and Ginny motioned to him to follow her into the other room, no doubt to speak to him about me. When they had left the room, James turned to me.

"I don't even know why your father would decide to leave you here! Can't you just go with your own kind and leave us alone?" he snapped at me.

I remained calm, staring intently at a portrait on the wall. I heard a whack and turned around to see Albus pushing his brother to the ground.

"You idiot! Yes, he is Malfoy's son, and yes, Dad hates his father, but that doesn't give you any right to treat him like scum. That doesn't make you any better than his father was. He's staying here for Christmas and you'd better get used to it. I don't like it anymore than you do, but trying to make it work is better than having him ruin your Christmas by being such an ass," Albus told him, his hand grabbed tightly against James' shirt.

James nodded slightly and shoved his brother off of him, storming upstairs angrily. What he said surprised me. I never expected him to yell at his brother for bothering me. If anything, I assumed he'd do the same. This side of Albus was new to me, and it made me wonder who he really was. Harry and Ginny soon appeared from the kitchen, searching around for James.

"Where'd he go?" Mr. Potter asked.

"He went upstairs to unpack his things," Albus answered, eyeing me strangely, as if giving me some kind of signal.

"Oh, all right. I'll just speak to him after supper, then," he replied. He then turned to me, giving me a slight smile. "I expect you must be Scorpius, yes?"

I nodded, suddenly feeling slightly ashamed by my name. I brushed a hand through my hair and shifted my feet uncomfortably.

"Well, it's nice to have you here. If you'd like, feel free to walk around and get a look at the place. Has Ginny shown you your room yet?" he questioned.

"Yes, sir," I mumbled.

"No need for that," he replied with a wave of his hand. "If you'll excuse me, I have some work to finish."

Mr. Potter left the room hurriedly, and Mrs. Potter smiled. "Are you hungry?" she asked.

"No, I'm fine. I think I'll just have another look around, if that's all right," I replied.

"Of course, go right ahead. If you need anything, feel free to let me know."

I started towards the stairs when I realised something, "Mrs. Potter?"

"Yes?" she answered.

"Would you happen to have a Muggle camera around?" I asked her.

"Actually, I believe we do. My dad collects Muggle artefacts, and my mum couldn't fit any more junk—excuse me, items—around their house, so she stores a lot of it here. I'll go and fetch it for you. It's just in the attic on one of the shelves…." she explained.

"That's all right. I can find it all right, but thank you."

She nodded, but stared at me confusedly as I walked up the stairs up to the attic. The house was quite big inside, despite how it looked on the outside, everything clean and spotless. Portraits in perfect positions, almost as if they were measured perfectly to fit just right on to the wall. The floors were hardwood and so shiny I could see my reflection. After two more sets of stairs, I finally arrived in the attic, and what I saw there surprised me. Unlike the rest of the house, everything was dusty and full of cobwebs. Boxes upon boxes were piled on top of each other and scattered all over the room. There was a single shelf piled with smaller things and I moved towards it. After sifting through many an item, I had found the camera in almost perfect condition.

I was content, finally having something to do this vacation instead of having to spend it being around James and Albus. I quickly went outside and strolled around the grounds, taking pictures of anything and everything. I had my camera pointed at the sunset, trying to get a good angle, when I bumped into something—er, someone, actually. I turned around to see a redheaded girl sitting on the ground, rubbing her side painfully. When she looked up, she smiled and I offered her my hand. The girl was about six or so, and I assumed she was Lily, the youngest of the Potter children.

"Who are you?" she asked as I pulled her up. Her eyes were large and emerald green and looked confused.

"I'm Scorpius Malfoy," I answered. "I, ah, am staying with you and your family over Christmas."

"Oh," she replied in a singsong voice. "My Mum told me about that. Are my brothers here?"

"Yeah, they're inside," I told her.

"I wonder if they'll show me any new magic!" she replied excitedly. She skipped off, waving goodbye as she went.

I continued to take pictures until it was dark and then went inside. I was walking down the hall passed the dining room when I saw the whole family sitting around the table. It was a warm setting, everyone laughing and chatting with each other. It was different from my family, that was for sure. We hardly ever sat together at the dinner table, and my dad was always away on some sort of business trip. Family wasn't something that I really experienced on a daily basis, and I was envious of what James and Albus had. I continued up the stairs and into my room to go to sleep. I had had a long day.

Almost a week had past by the time it was the day before Christmas. Most of that week I had spent to myself, not really feeling all that connected with the rest of the family. Mr. Potter was always gone in the mornings and did not return until about five o'clock, James and Albus always went to their cousin's house, and Mrs. Potter often left with Lily to the park or the like. This often left me alone, but it was just as well.

Ginny was decorating the Christmas tree that morning with Lily when I came downstairs. "Mal—I mean, Scorpius—would you hand me that angel sitting on the sofa? I can't quite reach it from over here."

"Sure," I replied, handing her the angel that went on top of the tree.

"Thank you," she climbed down from the little ladder and stood back to view the result of all her hard work. "Well, that's finished. Now I have to cook dinner and decorate the rest of the house and wrap the kids' presents and get ready for the party…"

"Do you need any help?" I asked her.

"Um, if you wouldn't mind decorating the hallways, that'd be great. The decorations are on the sofa, along with everything else you may need. Thank you so much, Scorpius. I appreciate it," she said to me.

I nodded and grabbed all of the stuff, heading towards the stairwell. "Oh, Scorpius. You'll be at the party, right? We'd love it if you'd join us."

"Yeah, sure. I'll be there."

Over two hours later, I had finally finished decorating the house with Christmas decorations. I walked into the sitting room to the smell of ham and wandered into the kitchen to see Mrs. Potter shuffling around all over the place, stirring and moving pots all over. She finally stopped and slumped in a nearby chair, sighing heavily.

"It amazes me that my mother could do this every year. I don't know who decided I was hosting the party this year, but I'll kill them," she said more to herself then to anyone else. She looked up and saw me, smiling. "Didn't see you there, Scorpius. Have you by chance seen James or Albus anywhere? They need to be getting their dress robes on soon."

"The last time I saw them, they were shovelling snow out of the walkway," I replied. This wasn't entirely true. They were using magic, but I thought it best not to be a snitch in their own house. Their mum would find out sooner or later anyways.

"Still? Those boys are probably fooling around again. Well, can you get them for me? Tell them to get their dress robes on. And you, too. The family will be here soon!"

I went outside, the cold meeting my skin and causing me to shiver. I saw James and Albus talking to each other, and when they saw me, they dropped their shovels and walked towards me.

"Your mum wants you to get ready for the party," I told them. They nodded in compliance and went inside.

"Ginny dear, it's just wonderful!" Molly Weasley cried. "You've outdone yourself this year!"

"Thanks mum," she answered.

Her mum was the first to arrive along with her brothers and it was already getting too loud in the house. I moved towards the tree and surveyed the room. On the left there was a large table full of drinks and food, all decorated with tinsel. Actually, everything was covered in tinsel, almost as if it was snowing tinsel inside the house or something. The room had been charmed to increase in size to fit the amount of people apparently coming. The doorbell rang, and I moved towards the door and opened it. Standing in front of me was a smiling Rose, a woman with bushy hair and a tall man with fiery-red hair who I assumed were her parents, and Hugo, her brother. They gave me slightly confused looks, but smiled and entered. Rose still stood there, still smiling.

"Hey Scorpius," she greeted. "What are you doing out and about?"

"Your aunt invited me to join the party," I answered, still standing in the doorway. "You sound surprised. Why is that?"

"I don't know. I didn't expect you to actually come, that's all. Scorpius?" she asked.

"Yeah?" I answered, anticipating some kind of personal question.

"Can you move out of my way so I can through?" she wondered.

I smiled sheepishly. "Oh, right. Yeah, sorry."

She smiled and went through the doorway, leaving me to look incredibly stupid standing alone. I shut the door and moved back towards the tree, watching as everyone chatted happily with each other.

"Scorpius," Rose said, coming up to me with her parents. "I'd like you to meet my parents. Mum, dad, meet Scorpius."

I shook their hands in greeting. "It's nice to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Weasley."

"Please, call us by our names, Ron and Hermione. You're Draco Malfoy's son, right?" Mr. Weasley asked me.

I nodded, wondering where he was going with it. "Rosie has told us all about you, Scorpius," Hermione piped in, giving Ron a look.

I looked at Rose, who was blushing slightly. I gave her a small smile, and she returned it. "Well, I'll just leave you two to chat. We best be off to mingle!" Hermione said, pulling Ron away.

"Your parents are nice," I said to her.

"They are," she answered. More people came through the doors, creating more noise inside the house.

"Want to get some fresh air outside?" I asked her.

She nodded and we went outside. It was snowing and the air was crisp and cold. We both didn't think to grab our coats, so we walked down by the little pond, our arms across our chests. We sat down under a nearby tree, moving close together to keep as warm as we could.

"So you told your parents about me, huh? Does this mean we're getting serious then?" I said teasingly.

"Oh hush, Malfoy. I just wanted them to know that you were a good person. That you weren't like your father…that you were different," she replied, smiling.

"They thought I was my father?" I questioned.

"Well, they weren't sure, but of course James had to go and say something to them about us having…an understanding. They were worried that I was hanging around the wrong people. That's why I introduced you to them, so they knew who you were. I'm surprised my dad didn't wring your neck. I think that means he likes you," she explained, laughing.

"He wrings a lot of necks, then?" I asked mockingly.

"More than you know," she answered between laughs.

She looked at me almost longingly, our faces moving closer together, and my heart was beating fast. I could feel her warm breath against my face and our lips were almost touching. I heard a crunch, and realised that someone was walking towards us. I looked and saw that it was James, shivering as he went, and he didn't look happy. Rose noticed this too, and she stood and moved towards him.

"James, what are you doing out here? Does my mum need me?" she asked.

"No, she doesn't," he replied, pushing her aside as he walked in front of my face.

"Then why are you here?" she asked, sounding a little uneasy about what may happen with James's temper.

He moved his face inches from mine, pushing me against the tree. I cursed myself for leaving my wand inside the house. "Just wondering why my cousin is out here with this idiot, about ready to kiss him."

"Who are you talking about, because the only idiot I see around here is you. And so what if I was about to kiss him? It doesn't concern you," she snapped, grabbing his arm in attempt to pull him away.

He flung her away and she landed on the hard, snow covered ground. "I thought I said not to talk to him anymore! He's not like us, he's a freak!"

I shoved him off of me and punched him in the face. "I'm NOT a freak! And don't you push Rose around like that. You don't have that right."

He grabbed his face in pain and then ran towards me. I ducked and he slammed against a tree. He came from behind and pushed me hard to the ground, punching me square in the jaw. I touched my lips and felt hot blood trickle down the side of my face. I stood up and jumped to push him, but he flung me against the same tree he had slammed against just moments before. I winced in pain, trying hard to get up, but I couldn't. James continued to punch me, some sort of satisfaction appearing on his face.

"James, stop it! Stop!" Rose cried out to him. "You'll kill him!"

Blow after blow came to my face, and I could feel myself falling away into darkness. I struggled to keep my eyes open, and struggled even more to try and break free. I heard Rose start crying and a scream in the distance, and then footsteps coming closer. I felt a weight being pulled off of me, and I saw shadows surrounding me. I was carried inside, into a room and laid down on a bed. I saw Rose's face one last time before everything went dark.