One of Our Own
A repost of the entry for the Gluttony Fiction dot com
Christmas 2008 Challenge(Winner)
Smoke and steam from the great scarlet engine filled Kings Cross Station as the Hogwarts Express rolled through the magical barrier, out of the snow and wind, and parked at in its usual berth at Platform 9 ¾. Students from First to Seventh Year alike were already filling the aisles of the passenger cars, carrying owls, cats, toads, and other assorted pets, as well as trunks filled with dirty laundry and other odds and ends that were heading home with them for the Christmas Holidays. Some of the older students were even levitating their belongings along, helping younger students to do the same, before they disembarked and once again fell under the Decree for the Restriction of the Use of Underage Magic.
In the car at the front, however, six students were still sitting and peering out into the jammed aisles with looks of disdain.
"Good idea, waiting for the mob to clear," Thomas Nott, Slytherin First Year, observed to his friends.
"Yes, Merlin forbid someone wrinkle his best robe," Mason Gamble laughed, giving the blonde boy seated next to him a playful shove.
"As if," the boy with very messy dark hair and glasses seated opposite him chuckled.
"Be nice, you lot," the only girl (and only Gryffindor) in the compartment said, "Scorpius can't help it if deep down under all that pomposity, there's really a slob just longing to burst forth!" She then cast a simple laundry spell on Scorpius, attempting to minimize the wrinkles and chocolate stains before his parents caught sight of it.
"Wooooo Hooooo!" All of the boys leered at them. Rose glared at them. Scorpius looked rather indignant, or was trying to, but he couldn't help but laugh.
"Oh, laundry spells!" Brock Zabini snickered. "You're as good as married!"
"You never know," Scorpius Malfoy grinned at Rose.
"Hey, look!" Albus pointed out the window, "There's Mum an' Dad!" He waved to them, but then pulled his hand back in when he saw his older brother, James, drop his trunk in front of them and begin talking, waving his arms about as if someone had mightily offended him.
"Don't tell me he's still on about you Sorting into Slytherin?" Scorpius groaned.
"It's a Weasley trait," Rose informed him, rolling her eyes, "You know, like Father gets sometimes. I swear, he'll carry a grudge to the grave if he thinks it's a righteous one." Scorpius winced.
"Better not let him see you two sitting together then!" Gamble laughed again, as the others joined in.
"And you just remember, bad little Slytherin boys who torment upstanding, brave Gryffindors always get lumps of coal in their stockings," Rose retorted, which sent them all into fits of laughter again.
Finally, the aisle was clear. The First Year Slytherin boys plus Rose Weasley gathered their things and began to disembark.
"Sure was better than the ride last fall," Scorpius observed, as Albus nodded in agreement. "Say, there's Mother and Father!" Scorpius pointed out, leaning into another compartment to wave at the window. When they didn't see him, he lowered it and shouted to them in a very 'un-Malfoyish' manner.
"The more, the merrier, I say," Rose smiled, as she and Albus joined him. "Silly, how some people get over a little thing like a house emblem," she added, flicking a bit of lint from her robe's Gryffindor Crest.
Astoria and Draco Malfoy waved back, staring in surprise at the two happy faces flanking their son. Just to the side, Rose could see her parents; Ron's ears were a violent shade of red.
"See ya's!" Gamble, Nott and Zabini then called, as they headed down the steps and out of the car.
"Watch out for mistletoe!"
"Which one of them said that?" Rose snorted, looking surprised.
"Mistletoe? Where?" Albus asked, looking up at the roof of the car.
Then his green eyes went wide as the fine little hairs on his nape stood up. Despite the warmth charms of the car, Albus shivered. It was one of those things with Albus, a feeling he got now and again when something was about to happen. His father, Harry Potter, called them "Trelawney Moments," but unlike Professor Sybil Trelawney, Albus Potter was always right in his intuitions.
"GET DOWN!" Albus screamed, tackling both Rose and Scorpius and knocking them to the floor as he shoved at them, trying to get them under the seats.
Not a second later, and Kings Cross Station was filled with the sounds of wandfire, explosions, and screaming.
"What the...?" Rose began, but she was interrupted as a stray Reductor Curse hit the engine, breaching the main tank.
Having not yet blown out all of its steam pressure, the breach of the engine caused a directed explosion of boiling water and flying metal to be hurled into the fuel car directly behind it. Lumps of coal and metal fragments, now become deadly projectile missiles, ripped into the passenger car directly behind it. Windows exploded, stuffing from the seats flew, and the air filled with choking hot steam as the roof tore away.
"P-Protego!" Rose coughed, waving her wand and casting a shield around them that forced the worst of it back. The seat opposite slammed into her shield, and despite the searing pain in his chest and the unbelievable pain in his arm, Albus raised his wand and reinforced the shield.
"Rose!" He choked, "Rose, you OK?"
"Fine!" Rose nodded, wiping at her soot-streaked face. "Scorpius?"
But there was no answer.
"SCORPIUS?" Albus yelled, getting to his feet, holding the shield, and nodding at the overturned bench seat.
Rose flipped it away with her wand, ignoring the burns on her hand, then slowly lowered her wand as her jaw dropped.
Lying on the floor was Scorpius Malfoy, his white-blond head stained red on one side.
"See to him," Albus said in a low voice, as he raised up to look out and see what was going on.
All around the Platform through the smoke and the steam, Albus could see panicked parents grabbing up their children and Disapparating on the spot. Trunks lay forgotten on the floor, and owls freed from their cages by random curses flew for the rafters. The air was filled with jets of colored light - Curses and Hexes, Albus knew - and terrified children who had apparently become separated from their families were running about, trying to find any shelter they could.
"What's going on?" Rose demanded, as she began a simple Healing Spell.
"We're under attack," Albus replied.
"No, really?!" Rose snapped at him, trying to staunch Scorpius' bleeding. "Albie! It's not working!" She then gasped.
"Don't move his head," Albus retorted, as another Curse took out what was left of the window he was peeking through. Albus ducked, then something seemed to come over him as he saw a man in black step out of the smoke towards what remained of their car.
"He's in there," a gruff voice spoke into his wand, much like a Muggle microphone.
"The fuckin'-hell he is!" Albus shouted, carefully aiming his wand. "AVERTE STATEM!" He then yelled, having just learned that one from Scorpius in the Dueling Club. The man was taken by surprise and blasted backward into a wall with a sickening 'crunch'. He did not get back up.
"ALBIE! WHAT'S HAPPENING?" Rose cried, her attention focused on the still-unconscious Scorpius. "He won't stop bleeding, Albus! Get some help!"
"Right," Albus grumbled to himself, watching as more men in black cloaks seemed to materialize out of the chaos. They advanced upon the wrecked train, not even bothering to step over the fallen Witches and Wizards.
Albus then heard a chorus of voices shouting spells, as more jets of light began raining down upon the advancing men. He glanced to the left to see four new figures emerging from the smoke, faces grim and wands blazing.
Behind Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, who were holding a potent shield charm in front of them, Hermione Granger-Weasley and Draco Malfoy were busily firing Curses at the men in black. Albus didn't recognise half of the Curses that his best friend's father was using, but when one of the men was slashed open from neck to waist as if cut by a sword, Albus decided that he didn't WANT to know what those curses were. The men were firing back, too, but no matter what Curses they fired, their jets of light (some of them green, and Albus knew what that was) simply bounced off the shield as his father and uncle continued their advance.
Another curse then took out the wall of their badly damaged car, and Albus rolled away as something slashed at his face. He felt hot stickiness running down his neck, but he didn't have time for that. Three of the men were coming for them, white masks hiding their faces.
Knowing that they had to go, although he didn't know to where, Albus struggled to remember their first DADA First Aid lessons. "Move," He ordered Rose, petrifying Scorpius to make sure he didn't hurt him by moving him. He then pulled a somewhat jerky Levicorpus, barking at Rose to cover them.
Rose was trying to do that when another voice called out:
Not only were the advancing men thrown into the opposite wall, but a great deal of the wall collapsed upon them as well. Albus looked up to see his mother, with Lily in tow behind her. "Watch Mummy, now, Lily," Ginny Potter was saying, "THIS is how it's done!"
"MUM!" Albus screamed, "Mum! Scorpy's hurt! Get Mr. Malfoy!" Then Albus had an idea. "Mr. Malfoy!" He screamed into the tip of his wand, giving is a good shake, "Scorpius is hurt bad! Help!"
"Sweet Merlin, Albus!" Ginny cried, looking up to see a blond man appearing with the children.
"What the Devil?" Lucius Malfoy asked, as he grabbed up the children and cast a Shield Charm.
Then Draco Malfoy looked up, meeting Albus' and Lucius' eyes, and he pushed past Harry and Ron. He advanced upon the men, his black cloak billowing, looking like Death Itself as he began screaming new Curses. He waved his wand at them, and those who were not immediately and literally cut to ribbons by his Curses were promptly attacked by a herd of spitting cobras.
The last thing Albus remembered seeing as he sank to his knees, suddenly dizzy and sick, were the faces of their fathers bending down over him.
"You're not an Auror..."
"True, but I know who did..."
"You said you'd dealt with..."
"Quiet," Scorpius Malfoy then heard his father's voice, "He's stirring!"
"D-Daddy?" Scorpius moaned. "Whut...wha' happened?"
Draco Malfoy gasped, and the next thing Scorpius knew, he was being held so tightly that it was becoming difficult to breathe.
"Mind his head," Madame Pomfrey advised, "Good thing it's a hard one!" She joked.
"Someone attacked the train," Scorpius then heard a familiar voice answering him, and he looked over to see Albus' family. He looked around again, sniffed, and realized that they were in St. Mungo's.
"At-t-tacked?" Scorpius managed, struggling to remember. The last thing he could recall was Albus getting 'that look' and knocking them all to the floor - then a loud noise. Everything else was just a blank.
"One car," Ron Weasley added. "The car that you and your friends were in."
"It's a miracle no one was killed," Hermione added.
Scorpius looked around, realising that something was wrong.
"Daddy? Where's Mum?" Scorpius then asked, his blue eyes going wide as he jerked his head around and then cried out in pain. Draco eased his son back down onto his pillow.
"Later," Draco offered. "Just rest now. Rest up, and you can go to Albus' house tomorrow, Madame Pomfrey says."
"NO!" Scorpius protested, "I wanna go home! I wanna go home with you and Mum!"
Draco looked down at the floor.
"Daddy! Where's Mum?" Scorpius repeated.
But all Draco Malfoy could do was squeeze his son's hand.
"Scorpy!" The voice of Albus Potter then called, "You're awake!"
"Albie!" Scorpius exclaimed in relief, "Rosie!" He added, as he saw her pushing her cousin in a wheelchair. Her hand was bandaged, as was the left side of Albus' face, but all in all, both of them looked fine as they came in.
Two sets of parents exchanged odd looks at their children's diminutive forms of address.
"How's your Mum?" Albus asked.
"Gee, I dunno?" Scorpius snorted.
"Children," Hermione said, and Draco gave her a pleading look. "Mrs. Malfoy is in the ICU. She took a hard hit from some Dark Magic during the attack, to say nothing of a large chunk of the car. She can't be bothered right now."
Scorpius' pale face went even paler. "B-but...she'll be OK?"
"Her chances are quite good. All she needs is time," Madame Pomfrey informed him clinically. "And if you don't all mind, I'd like to retire someday?"
Scorpius didn't like the sound of that, though. He turned to his father again, but Draco Malfoy was already on his feet, his face set with that look that invited no argument. Scorpius knew that look, and he knew better than to ask what his father was thinking.
"Potter, may I impose upon you?" Draco asked.
Harry nodded curiously.
"I know who did this. As I said, I thought I'd dealt with it. Apparently, though, there are still some people out there who feel the need to harass my family," Draco said grimly, "This is something personal, Harry, Ron," Draco nodded to them, using their first names, which got their attention at once, "This is something that Father and I have to deal with. I would appreciate it if you didn't try to stop me?"
"Malfoy," Ron began, but Draco held up his hand.
"No, Ron," Draco countered, "I've hidden, tried to ignore it for nearly thirty years. This attack proved something to me today - that until I deal with this issue, me and mine will never be safe. You saw what they did. They waited until all the other children were off the train. They blew up the engine, knowing it would take out the first car. That one car, containing my son - our old car," Draco added. "The Slytherin car."
An even stranger look crossed Draco's face. "I have to deal with this - again," He repeated. "This time, it almost cost you Albus and Rose, as well. I don't wish to sound rude, but the price of being friends with Scorpius is simply too high. This deed must not go unpunished. Maybe now you understand my reluctance?" He asked Harry.
Harry thought about it. After a very long silence, he stood up and faced Draco. He looked at the children, then back at Draco. "Very well. Scorpius will go home with us, while you and Lucius, I assume, ahhhhh, do what you must."
"Harry!" Ron interjected, but Harry waved him off.
"Until we hear back from you, Ron and I will report none of this to our department. This conversation never took place," Harry declared. "Hermione and the legal department will have papers for you to sign before you go."
"Daddy?" Scorpius whined.
"Daddy has business, son," Draco informed him, tenderly kissing his cheek and letting go of his hand. "Mummy will be fine, in time." He then turned to go, but the look on his face told them all that he wasn't sure of his last statement.
"DADDY!" Scorpius screamed, which got them all a glare from Madame Pomfrey. Albus laid a hand on his best friend's arm, and Rose took his other hand.
"You will go home with Albus tomorrow, just like you wanted," Draco told him, "You'll be safe with the Potters."
"Daddy," Scorpius moaned, as Madame Pomfrey waved her wand over his head. Scorpius fell back to sleep at once.
"I'm sure that Mother and Andromeda will want in on this, too," Draco commented.
"Family, Harry," Draco reminded him, "I'm sure you understand? They're...they're all I've got, and Scorpy...he may be...," Draco paused, swallowing hard, "...all I've got - now. Take care of him?" He then took off at a brisk pace down the hall, and vanished without breaking stride.
"As if he were one of our own," Harry said to the empty corridor.
For the week following their discharge, Albus and Scorpius were confined to bed. Ginny thought about conjuring another bed for Scorpius, who absolutely refused to be left alone in the guest room, but that proved unnecessary. Sent off for a much-needed nap that first day home, she found both boys asleep in Albus' bed. Scorpius was on the far side in the corner, with Albus' arm across his chest as if protecting him. From then on out, it was impossible to separate them.
"And if you so much as look at them sideways," Ginny warned James, "You will rue the day that you were ever born!"
"I swear I won't mess with the little snakes," James promised, sounding sincere.
"James," Ginny hugged her son, surprised at the normally cocky boy's reaction. After all, if the attack on the Hogwarts Express had bothered James before, he'd not let on one bit. "Scorpius is going to need a lot of attention. He's been through a lot, and now with his father gone, and his mother...well, in the shape she's in," Ginny fudged, "He was hurt, you know, a head wound," she attempted to change the subject.
"I can't imagine you and Dad being gone at Christmastime," James mumbled. "Mum?"
"What about Christmas Eve? What if Mr. Malfoy isn't back before the party?" James asked.
"Then Scorpius will go with us, and he'll be treated just like one of our own," Ginny promised him.
"Uhmmm, you did tell Grandma Molly this, didn't you?" James asked.
Ginny blinked. "Oh, dear," she muttered, as she went to the Floo.
In the days that followed, with Albus and Scorpius still confined to bed with Sticky Charms and Leg-Locker Curses, the Potters did their best to make Scorpius feel welcome.
The boys passed their time with visits from Rose. They played chess, Exploding Snap, Gobstones, and Albus even introduced Scorpius to the "greatest thing Muggles ever invented - television!" Television, however, frightened Scorpius.
Fortunately for Ginny and Rose, the boys' injuries and pain medications required that they get a lot of sleep. After the daily treatment of their wounds and changing of bandages, it wasn't unusual for them to sleep from lunch until dinner. Madame Pomfrey made a daily house call as well, and that helped to keep the boys in their place.
But there was only so much time that games, being read to by Rose, and answering Christmas cards could occupy. By the end of the first week, the boys were healed up and ready to be out of bed.
Scorpius was crushed when he was told that he wasn't allowed to visit his mother yet, though, and that he was not allowed to leave #12 Grimmauld Place for reasons of his own safety.
"She's not regained consciousness, and she mustn't be disturbed," Madame Pomfrey informed them. "Why don't you go out and play Quidditch, or have Hagrid come over?" She suggested.
"I thought you wanted to retire?" Ginny asked, confused.
And so the days passed. Every day, Scorpius would anxiously await the post owls. His own owl brought him a few more Christmas cards and letters from their Housemates and the Staff, but no word from his father. And since he had no idea of where his father was, Scorpius had no way to contact him. Harry and Ginny began to worry as well, since they'd prepared themselves for the assumed high maintenance of having their "own personal Malfoy" in residence.
Scorpius, however, soon proved to be as discreet as a House Elf. Not even trimming the Christmas tree appealed to him, and Scorpius pleaded a headache and simply went to bed early. He was hurting, that much was obvious. The problem was, was that none of the Potters - not even Albus - knew how to reach him as he grew more and more depressed.
"You wanna play chess?" Albus asked him one day during the week of Christmas, when he found Scorpius sitting alone in the dining room, staring into the fireplace.
"Wanna play two-aside Quidditch with Rosie and James?"
"We can sneak out and visit Hagrid?"
"I can summon Buckbeak?"
Albus shook his head. "Scorpy, I know you miss 'em," he said, laying a hand on his friend's shoulder. "I don't know what I'd do if my Mum an' Dad weren't here. But promise me you won't go doin' anything stupid, OK? You gotta stay here, with me, where you're safe?"
Scorpius just nodded, giving Albus a lost look.
On December 23rd, a rather ratty looking owl arrived with a letter addressed to Harry and Ginny. There was no mail for Scorpius, though, who simply asked to be excused from the breakfast table. He still had that same blank look on his face, and went to sit in the parlor - watching Lily knit something that was probably going to turn out to be an afghan.
"Guys, I'm worried," Albus confessed. "This is NOT normal!"
"Yeah, Lily's showing him how to knit?!" James added grimly.
"It's from Draco," Harry whispered to Ginny, regarding the letter. "He says to take this code to Gringott's and get Scorpius something for Christmas, so he won't feel left out."
"That's it?" Ginny shook her head. Harry nodded. "You men are about as emotional as Trolls," she snorted.
"What should we get him?"
"HARRY!" Ginny exclaimed, "The boy is sitting in there knitting with your daughter! You can't just buy a big present to fix that!"
"I know," Harry admitted, "But Ginny, love, what do we do? I've not got a clue where Draco is, and Astoria's condition hasn't changed."
"We treat him as one of our own. That's all we can do," Ginny replied sadly.
"So what are we doing tonight?" Scorpius asked Albus that Christmas Eve morning.
"Well, every Christmas Eve," Albus explained excitedly, "We all go the Burrow to open presents from all the Aunts and Uncles. There's food, and Quidditch in the orchard, then more food, and Grandma's hot cider and cocoa, and desserts, then we sing carols, Grandpa Weasley and the men drink too much and get loud, Grandma Weasley yells a lot, and then the presents!"
"Oh," Scorpius wondered, looking perplexed.
"Why, what do you usually do?" Albus asked.
"Get dressed up in my best, sit quietly at the kids' end of the table and eat, you know, make fun of the grown-ups talking about their school days and what's wrong with the world, and all that. Try and keep from getting yelled at too much, until it's time for the ball in the Great Room. Then we dance, the adults have too much to drink, we sneak some sweets, torment the little guys some, then have a gift exchange."
Albus just gaped at his friend. "That's child abuse!" He exclaimed, picturing the scene in his mind.
"I'd give anything to be abused again," Scorpius said sadly, trying to be sarcastic - and failing.
"Mate, what you need is a Weasley Christmas, you do," Albus declared.
"Everyone ready?" Harry asked, as the children paired up with adults for the Side-Along Apparations to the Burrow.
"I'll get Rose and Lily," Ron said, having dropped by to help. Scorpius, who'd just started forward to Rose, stopped.
"Try not to splinch anyone this time, Ronald," Hermione groused at him.
"Right," Ron grinned, taking the girls' hands. "Ready?"
"NO!" Rose declared, as they turned and vanished.
"James, Albus?" Harry said, as he took the boys' hands and they vanished as well.
Ginny then Apparated with Kreacher, taking along all their gifts and some food for the party.
That left only Hermione and Scorpius.
"Mr. Malfoy?" Hermione smiled, offering her hand. "If you would do me the honor?"
"OK," Scorpius shrugged, tightening his black traveling cloak and adjusting it like Albus had shown him, so that the Slytherin crest was exposed.
They arrived at the Burrow, and Scorpius' initial reaction at seeing the precarious structure was one of disbelief. For a boy who'd grown up in a veritable fort made of marble, the sight of the brightly lit, but admittedly rickety-looking Burrow, frightened him. For the life of him, Scorpius couldn't figure out how the building held itself up.
"C'mon!" Albus begged him impatiently, "Wait 'til you see the inside!"
"Oh-OK?" Scorpius sort of whimpered, as Albus grabbed his hand and almost dragged him through the snow and into the Burrow.
Scorpius was promptly met with utter pandemonium.
The door they'd entered led almost into the kitchen, just off the dining room. Mrs. Molly Weasley was busy barking orders at Kreacher, and something in the oven was smoking. The House Elf looked totally calm, however, and he winked at the boys. Scorpius stayed close to Albus, flinching once as his dress shoes slipped on the polished hardwood floors. Everywhere he looked around the crowded rooms, there were loud, boisterous people! Scorpius decided to stick close to Albus and try to be discreet, hoping that no one would notice him in the crowd.
He was looking around at some very interesting things, including a strange clock with a great many hands, when someone clapped him on the shoulder.
"So, this is our guest, is it?" A tall man with thinning and graying red hair asked.
"Grandpa!" Albus exclaimed, but Arthur Weasley held up a single finger.
"It's polite to introduce us?" Arthur asked.
"Grandpa, you know who Scorpius is?" Albus grinned. Then he turned serious. "Grandpa Weasley, this is my guest - Scorpius Malfoy."
Scorpius shrank back a bit. After all, he'd heard many things about the Weasleys from his own family and their few remaining friends. As he looked up at the imposing figure, he remembered that very little of it had been good. He also remembered how Ron's ears tended to turn pink whenever he looked at Scorpius.
And yet here Scorpius was, in their house!
He then looked around, seeing that he and Albus were the only two splashes of green in a veritable sea of red and gold. But as he listened to the chatter, Scorpius picked up some other phrases as well:
"...spoiled, I think?"
"...of all the places to bring..."
"...rotten idea, if you ask..."
"...no one else to take him..."
"...Slytherin, you say?"
And Scorpius just knew they were talking about him. He bit his lower lip as his eyes began to sting. Perhaps Grandfather Lucius had been right all along? And it wasn't as if Scorpius hadn't been expecting it. After all, Rose was his good friend, and they'd talked about what their own parents had said of "the old days." Despite the fall of the Dark Lord, it was apparent that there was no love lost between the Weasleys and Malfoys.
"Mr. Malfoy?" Arthur Weasley then said loudly, his face a mystery to Scorpius.
Scorpius then noticed that the chaos all around him had gone quite.
He looked around at all the freckle-faced redheads and thought desperately, "Great Merlin, they all look alike!" The problem was, though, that every one of them was looking right back at him.
"Dat Wosie's boy-fwiend?" Hugo then piped up, and Scorpius saw Ron's face turning magenta. Arthur Weasley gave a little huffing sound.
"I...I'll j-just go out and ... b-build a snowman ... or s-something?" Scorpius offered lamely, backing slowly towards the door. Then he turned and bolted, slamming the door behind him.
"Grab him!" Harry yelled, jumping up, but Albus stepped in front of him and the advancing adults.
"NO!" Albus said firmly, "Can't you see you're all scaring him?"
"Go and fetch him," Harry nodded.
"Rose," Albus then said, "C'mon!"
They found Scorpius by following the small footprints in the snow and the sounds of sniffling. He was hiding in the garage where Mr. Weasley had once rebuilt a Ford Anglia. "Lumos," Rose whispered, raising her wand to light the room.
Scorpius shied away from the light as a Vampire might, but not before they saw the tears on his face and the broken expression. Having never seen Scorpius like that before, it shocked the both of them.
"I...I wanna go home!" Scorpius cried. "It's j-just like Daddy said - in there!"
"What is?" Rose asked.
"They...they d-don't want me here," Scorpius choked.
"What makes you say that?" Albus asked.
"I heard what they w-were saying," Scorpius replied, finding a roll of some kind of paper and tentatively tearing a piece off to blow his nose and wipe his face.
"Paper towels, Grandpa's fascinated with Muggles," Albus explained, "And what did you hear?"
Scorpius recited the bits and snatches he'd heard, and to his shock, Rose laughed. Scorpius looked crushed, until she explained.
"The cottage cheese that Fleur brought was spoiled, and Teddy brought up something funny about Victoire. That 'rotten idea' could have been any number of things in this house, and as for 'no one else to take him', Hugo's getting a puppy tonight - a stray. Probably a rotten idea too, if you ask me," Rose snorted.
"And as for 'Slytherin'," Albus had to laugh, "You have no idea how we turned this family on its ear! Grandma Molly almost had a heart attack over me, then me and you being friends! She said she hadn't had to buy green yarn since Dad's Fourth Year sweater she knitted! Of course they're talking about US, you silly git! We're news!"
Scorpius' face turned slightly pink, but it wasn't from the crying or the cold. "Are...are you sure?" He asked in a small voice.
"C'mon, it's time to eat," Rose said softly, taking Scorpius' hand in hers.
He held her hand tightly as they made their way back through the snow to the warm Burrow.
They met Ron and Hermione at the door. Ron's ears were red.
"Not a word, Daddy!" Rose warned her father, as they marched by them.
Ron looked gobsmacked, but didn't say anything as Hermione stood on his foot.
Once back inside, they found everyone seated in the dining room, which looked to have magically expanded itself to accommodate them all. There were also four empty seats nearest the warm kitchen, and Albus and Rose pushed Scorpius towards the seat next to Teddy Lupin. Next to him was Victoire, whom of course, Scorpius already knew since she was Head Girl at Hogwarts. Victoire smiled at him, and Scorpius suddenly felt all warm and fuzzy inside.
"Veelas," Rose snorted, as Teddy's hair shifted through a rainbow of colors. He grinned at Scorpius, who just sat down next to Victoire and stared at her.
Rose forced herself between them, punching Scorpius' leg under the table, snapping him out of it. Scorpius saw Ron's face turning pink again and looked away. Albus then sat next to his best friend.
When everyone had filled their plates, which was another episode of pandemonium to Scorpius, Arthur Weasley tapped his glass and called for attention.
"Before we begin," Arthur spoke up, "I wish to apologize to our guest."
Scorpius felt everyone looking at him, but he kept his eyes on Arthur, fighting down the urge to run away again.
"When he arrived, I failed to realize that a large, rowdy family like ours," he laughed, as did everyone else, "Might frighten him." He paused for just a moment. "Tragic, the shameful attack on the Express at Christmastime," he then continued, "But we are thankful that no one was killed." He then looked directly at Scorpius. "And so - at least, on this night - welcome to our family, Scorpius Malfoy!" He smiled. "We are honored to have you. Absent friends," he then concluded, "And new ones!"
Scorpius didn't know what to do as everyone said his name and raised a glass. Then Albus picked up his fork and kicked Scorpius' shin under the table. As they began to eat, there came a loud knock at the door.
"Sorry I'm late," Rubeus Hagrid greeted them all, shaking snow all over. Arthur flicked his wand, and the room expanded just a bit so that Hagrid could join them. "Had to stop by St. Mungo's you know," he added, "Drop off a student stayin' at School fer Christmas."
Scorpius dropped his fork. The table went quiet. No one asked what had happened to that student, but if Hagrid had taken him to St. Mungo's...
"There yeh are!" Hagrid greeted Scorpius. "Almost didn't see yeh there! Dunno how I could'a missed that green, though?" He laughed, "Got a bit o' news," Hagrid smiled at the boys. "Poppy says yer Mum's been upgraded from critical to stable, Scorpy! She's outta the worst o' it!"
There were cheers from everyone as Scorpius just sat there, dumbfounded.
"Well don' jus' sit there, boy? Yeh looks puny ter me! Eat!" Hagrid laughed at him.
After they'd all had more to eat (and in the case of the men, more to drink) than was probably good for them, the Weasleys retired to the parlor to open presents. Scorpius was amazed by the live tree, which while small compared to the ones he was used to having, seemed to be growing right up out of a hole in the floor! It was utter pandemonium when Hugo was presented with his puppy, and Hagrid lamented the fact that it only had one head.
Scorpius just sat there with his friends, drinking hot chocolate and nibbling biscuits, and watching the Weasley and Potter children opening their presents. Scorpius grinned as Hugo shook a box, sniffed it, and declared "Wool!" before tossing it aside. He thought of his own presents he'd already picked out for Albus and Rose, but they were back at Malfoy Manor, he remembered - with no way to get them.
No one had yet offered him a present, but as Scorpius listened to Hagrid talking about what a pain the original 'Golden Trio' had been, he had to smile and think that the man had already brought him the best present he could want: his mother was going to be all right! He'd be seeing her soon enough, he knew, and for Scorpius, that was more than enough. Still, he'd wanted to see the looks on his friends' faces at his gifts to them...
Then Molly Weasley placed a present in his lap. It was squashy, wrapped in green foil, and the nametag was a paper snake that hissed when opened.
"And one for you!" Molly said cheerfully.
"I...I have presents?" Scorpius asked in surprise.
"I told Gran you weren't really expecting anything," Albus spoke up, "And she, well..." Albus was saying, as Scorpius tore open the paper, "...and...oh no!" Albus groaned, as he wondered if it were safe to open his gift from Uncle George, "It looks like she's made you a..."
"A sweater?" Scorpius asked, holding up a brilliant green knit sweater and turning it so that the light made the silver "S" on the front sparkle.
"...a Weasley sweater!" All the men chimed in, as Harry and the Weasley brothers all clinked their glasses together.
Albus just sat and stared at the lumpy package in his lap, wrapped in the same green foil paper. He knew what it was as he stared at his friend.
"Well, try it on!" Hagrid encouraged the boy, and Scorpius did that, handing his Slytherin sweater to Rose, who blushed.
"Perfect fit!" Molly clapped her hands, as she gave Albus a glare. Albus unwrapped and put his on at once, the metallic-yarn of the "A" shining. Albus bowed his head and put his face in his hands, shaking his head.
"Face it, Mate, yer one of us now," Albus muttered to Scorpius.
There were other presents, of course, but as Scorpius sat there, touching the front of his sweater, he ignored most of them. There was something about the slightly itchy but warm sweater that made him feel strange. For all of his life, he'd had the best of everything: the best clothes, the best toys, the best shoes, the best broomstick - and the best presents at Christmastime. It was expected, after all - he was a Malfoy, and Malfoys got the best of everything.
But all of those other presents he remembered somehow paled in comparison to the sweater that he now wore.
And as he looked at the tight pattern of the yarn, how the green met the silver seamlessly, and at how perfectly it was made, it came to the boy: his sweater wasn't purchased. It wasn't mass-produced, or made by an Elf acting on orders. It wasn't a gift given in desperation by someone who didn't know what to give him, either, just because they knew he'd be there.
It was a gift that had been made, and made in love.
Made in love, with no expectations of anything in return.
It was something that was absolutely pure, and Scorpius knew that Molly must have started on it some time ago...knowing that he would be coming to her home.
"Do you like it?" Molly asked him, almost upsetting her cup and smiling brightly at Scorpius. "Oh, dear, I'm so sorry we frightened you earlier," she apologized, "We should have known..."
"I...I think it's brilliant, Ma'am!" Scorpius replied, and for the first time in his life, Scorpius Malfoy spoke in sincere gratitude. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he remembered his father talking about how they'd all laughed at Ron's and Harry's sweaters...
But Scorpius wasn't laughing.
In fact, he was crying as he hugged Molly.
"Yeah, I feel wike dat evewy time I get one, too," Hugo snorted, and Rose slugged him on the arm.
"Oh, what's wrong?" Molly asked Scorpius, not quite sure what to make of it all.
But all Scorpius could do was hug her in return and cry. He managed one choked word, and Molly slowly nodded and patted his back. "I see," She crooned in his ear.
"Leave it to Mum to bring down the House of Malfoy with one sweater," Ron whispered to Harry, as the fireplace began to glow green. Harry and Ron pulled their wands and jumped up.
"Potter? Are you there? Your Floo-forwarding said you were?" Draco Malfoy's voice then asked from the shifting embers that were beginning to resemble a face.
"Draco?" Harry asked. "Yes? What is it?"
"Is Scorpy there?" Draco demanded.
"Yes, come on through?" Harry said with a flick of his wand to drop the Wards.
Draco Malfoy then emerged from the green flames, shaking ash off himself, beating his hat on his leg, and looking like some deranged, anorexic Father Christmas as he dropped a large shopping bag.
Then he saw his son.
"What's wrong?" He gasped, seeing his son crying in Molly Weasley's arms.
"Nothing," Harry replied, "Everything's all right, in fact."
"Hagrid brought some good news," Ron added, offering Draco a drink, which he quickly accepted as he looked around.
"Great Merlin, is this everyone?" Draco asked in wonder. Ron grinned at him and nodded. "Cozy place," Draco noted. "What's the news, then?"
"Astoria's going to make it," Hermione whispered in Draco's ear. "She's out of danger!"
"Oh, Gods," Draco sighed, looking as if the weight of the world had just fallen from his shoulders as he began to tremble all over. "Scorpius?" He called, looking again for that one little blond head in a sea of ginger.
"DADDY!" Scorpius cried, jumping down from Molly's arms and running to him.
"Wh-what are you wearing?" Draco asked, his shock suddenly forgotten, as he stared at the bright green sweater.
"Oh! Mrs. Weasley made it," Scorpius replied happily, as his father grabbed him up and held him close. "Daddy," he then whispered, "Did you know Hagrid knew Mummy, and that she's..."
"Yes, son," Draco then nodded, two tears running silently down his sooty cheeks as he hugged his son tighter.
"Draco?" Harry asked, giving him time to compose himself, "Is the problem solved?"
Draco nodded somberly, then held out his wand. "Your office will hear about it soon enough, but please, give me this one night," he said cryptically. But it was Ron who pulled out his wand and shook his head as he looked at Hermione and his children playing with their new puppy.
"Daddy, where were you?" Scorpius asked.
Harry looked at Ron, and for just a moment, he was worried about their former animosity and what Ron was getting ready to say or do. After all, with Draco's display on Platform 9 ¾, it was fairly obvious that he'd gone out looking for revenge - and found it.
But instead of making accusations, Ron simply touched the tip of his wand to Draco's.
"Obliviatus Incantatem," Ron whispered, as several puffs of green smoke were ejected from Draco's wand, vanishing into thin air.
"No evidence?" Harry asked.
"No bloody conversation," Ron added.
Draco Malfoy bowed his head. "Thank you," he said softly.
"Happy Christmas, Draco," Ron then smiled at him, as he looked from Scorpius to Rose and back again, his ears only slightly pink now.
"Happy Christmas, indeed," Draco agreed, as he sat down in the old chair near the fireplace and just rocked his sleepy son.
"Ronald Weasley, have I told you that I love you?" Hermione asked.
Harry snickered. Ron turned a brilliant magenta. "Bloody hell!" He mumbled.
"Happy Christmas," Draco whispered to his sleeping son, looking up to see Albus wearing a similar green Weasley sweater. "Just like one of their own," Draco thought, as outside, the wind picked up and a fresh Christmas Eve snowfall began to blanket the Burrow.