A/N: Welcome, readers! I participated in a Secret Santa story exchange hosted by shut away (and helped along by Colorful Soul) over the holidays! The due date was extended, explaining the incredibly belatedness of this fic.

I got a little carried away with the length of this one… I was enjoying myself!

Chosen Pair: Scorpius Malfoy/Rose Weasley

Prompts: Sorry, Fairytale

This story is dedicated to a-trip-to-honeydukes! I apologize that this is so belated! A-trip-to-honeydukes, I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, are having a fortuitous new year, and enjoy your story!

Disclaimer - this story is rated teen for very mild swearing and a scene near the end. Nothing to be too concerned about, but there it is! I'm not JKR. I certainly don't make any money from my fics.

~XxxxxxX~

If she kept up her nibbling, she was certainly going to gnaw off her lower lip, but she simply could not help herself. She was going to have to say no to her teacher; she – Rose Weasley – was going to have to disappoint her superior.

Years of studying ahead, reading outside texts, raising her hand in class, cultivating relationships with her professors, and making a point to help her fellow classmates had presented her with the opportunity to be a Hogwarts's Prefect. Another two years of proving her ability to discipline rule breakers, maintain her studies, and organize her fellows had followed, and the staff had chosen her as Head Girl at the end of it all. Headmistress McGonagall had visited her home over the summer to deliver the news and personally congratulate her family – it was one of the happiest memories she had.

It had not been easy (lords above, it hadn't!), but she had nearly completed the first half of her term as Head Girl. Considering the circumstances, she felt confident that she had delivered on every occasion she was called up to the ring. Classmates and teachers both still called on her for help, and each praised her as a dependable, honest, hardworking young woman.

Now, though…

What the headmistress was asking simply couldn't be done. It couldn't. With a horrible feeling clawing at her stomach, she cleared her throat.

"Professor, I'm not sure…" she trailed away – so much for a firm 'no.' She took a breath and tried again. "I don't think we could possibly accomplish such a task. I simply can't imagine the students rising behind the idea."

Her partner shot her a smarmy smile. "Oh, I don't know, Rosie. I think it sounds like a brilliant idea. Student solidarity sounds superb, Professor."

She channeled her energy into biting her lip, elsewise she feared she might strangle her partner for his corny use of alliteration and for not taking her side in the matter. Rather, she sent her flattest look at her fellow Head Boy – Scorpius Malfoy.

He had been the reason her time as Head Girl had been so bumpy. Every twist and complication had been his fault. Every time she wanted to pull her hair out, he had been at the root of her frustration.

On the return train ride to London at the close of her sixth year, she and the other female Prefects had relaxed in an open compartment, giggling and gossiping over which girl might get to share the private Head's Dormitory, and with which boy she might share it with. The girls had almost unanimously chosen her for their future Head Girl, and the vote had been nearly unanimous for Scorius Malfoy to fill the spot at her side. She had voted for Emily Macarme (because it was terrible luck to bet on yourself, and she felt Emily would have made a wonderful Head Girl) and Nicolas Carmichael, with the sincerest hope that he would earn the spot. Honest, polite, and almost eerily intelligent, she had thought Nic was a shoo in for the position.

When she had arrived at the early Prefect's compartment that following September, ready to hold her first meeting with the new Head Boy, Scorpius had awaited her with the grandest smirk she had ever seen. He didn't look like the cat that caught the canary; he looked like the blasted cat that had caught, de-feathered, slowly roasted to crisp perfection, and undeniably enjoyed eating the poor canary.

It wasn't that he was not mature enough for the position (he was). It wasn't that he wasn't intelligent enough to keep up with both school and Head duties (he absolutely was). It wasn't that he didn't have enough charm to be able to work with the student body (he, rather unfortunately for Rose, did).

He was respectable, presentable, intelligent, well read and versed in an incredible variety of subjects, active outside of classes, witty, creative, athletic, almost always a step ahead, a hard worker, and even relatively responsible. He absolutely deserved the title of Head Boy.

That was the worst part, as he generally made Rose want to dive head first off a cliff.

She and Scorpius had been minor celebrities when they arrived at Hogwarts, with their families having been such huge acting characters in the Second Wizarding War. It hadn't helped matters that they were part of the generation of children of the most prominent war fighters. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, George Weasley, Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Padma Patil, Susan Bones, Marcus Flint, Pansy Parkinson, and Draco Malfoy each had children currently running around Hogwarts. Most of their classmates had grown up with bedtime stories about the heroics and pitfalls of their parent's old school mates. With surnames like Weasley and Malfoy, two prominent surnames that had fought opposite one another in the war, they had instantly become students of interest in their respective houses.

Though the blood purity debate had mostly sputtered to an end, House rivalries were as strong as ever. Most students focused their energies on taking the highest marks, competing for Quidditch titles, or beating out rivals in outside clubs, though girls from differing Houses still competed for boys, as the boys did for the girls. Rarely did disputes come to blows, but bets and pranks were common and capable of escalating quickly.

With a high-class appearance, Quidditch skills, and sharp tongue, Slytherin had quickly raised Scorpius to be its figurehead and to champion their House amongst the others. Rose was known for being one of the few Gryffindors with enough wit and cleverness to keep up with Scorpius' remarks. When her prowess as a Keeper had been discovered (apparently, having spent a large part of her childhood running from Albus as he tried to throw things at her had paid off), Gryffindor had quickly rallied behind her as their pride student.

She and Scorpius Malfoy had been pitted against one another from the start. Her father even bragged it was in her blood.

Working with the boy the school had raised to be her most challenging rival was proving to be more difficult than she could ever have imagined. She had no idea whether he truly supported the headmistress's idea for school unity; he could just be taking the piss.

Either way, she wasn't thrilled.

"I'm worried we would need to ask all of the seventh years to remain behind over the holidays, and I know not everyone will be able to. Those left out won't gain anything from the event," she tried to reason hesitantly.

Scorpius shot her down. "Students return to the school on a Saturday evening this year rather than a Sunday. We'll do it the Saturday everyone returns. No one will have to cancel vacation plans; it won't interfere with classes or risk making students tired before classes; no one will have an excuse to miss; and the break will provide everyone with an opportunity to shop for a gift."

She knew she had been beat – most probably because her grounds had been soggy in the first place. She knew the event could be done… she simply didn't want to work with the git any more than she had to before end of term exams. It looked as if she wouldn't win, though.

"I suppose," Rose acquiesced with a tight nod. "Though I prefer to iron out the details before exams are upon us."

Scorpius smirked. "Whatever you say, Rosie."

"Very good," answered Professor McGonagall. She leaned back in her chair to survey them over her glasses – her signal to the end of any meeting. "I will see each of you in class on Monday. I'll expect drafts for posters as quickly as possible."

Rose had to stifle a groan as she walked through the door that Scorpius held for her, fixating her with the most amused of grins – they were going to organize Hogwarts first holiday gift exchange.

~XxxxxxX~

Where the professor had gotten the idea to do a holiday gift exchange between the 7th year students, modeled almost identical to the Muggle game of Secret Santa, Rose would never know. At her insistence, Rose and Scorpius had paired together students from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff; each person had to buy a gift for their partner to be exchanged on the night they returned to the castle. At a meeting with the two houses tomorrow, Rose and Scorpius would explain the rules and try to rally students behind the idea of secrecy. The gift recipient would try to guess the gift giver, in hopes of bringing students together over laughter and presents.

Though, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff weren't truly the problem, as Professor McGonagall had pointed out. Gryffindor and Slytherin students were to be paired – as their never ceasing rivalry was the true reason behind the event. But pairing together a Gryffindor and Slytherin that weren't likely to tear each other's throat out was proving to be nearly impossible.

"We can't put the Pucey and Wood twins together. That's a rivalry we can't even hope to fix. Their father's may play against one another this December in the Quidditch Gold Cup – their teams are in the semi-finals now."

Even Scorpius looked annoyed, which was rare. Perhaps he was finally seeing the futility of this exercise. "And? The entire point is for people to get over their rivalries with one another; who better?"

"But that's not a House rivalry," Rose pointed out, her head resting on the table and her words muffled against a stack of parchment. "It's deeper than that. That's familial."

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "If we take in to account every single family rivalry between our two houses, we'll never finish this."

"Now he gets it," she answered.

There was a silence in which she imagined Scorpius shot her an irritated look, but she was far too exhausted to lift her head to find out. "What if we put Claire MacMillian with Ava Pucey, and Cat Donovan with Lexi Pucey?"

When Rose shook her head, her parchments ruffled and scrunched. "Claire hates Ava for that potions accident back in third year that hospitalized Claire for the week."

"That cauldron explosion was a complete accident!" Scorpius protested.

Rose shrugged. "Still hates her. Claire's stubborn."

Scorpius didn't respond. When nearly three minutes of silence had passed, Rose lifted her head to see if he had finally given up and stalked away. He had propped his feet against the table and leaned back on two legs of his seat, rocking back and forth just slightly. His eyes were closed, but the wrinkle in his brow gave away that he was clearly thinking rather than dozing off. After another minute, he hummed and opened his eyes to pin her with that unnerving grey-eyed stare.

"What if we give students two partners – each Slytherin will have two Gryffindor partners, and vice versa. The first partner will be the gift recipient. The second partner will be a watcher who the gift giver must run their final gift decision by to ensure that everyone is buying gifts with good intentions. If the gift giver is lacking for ideas, the second partner would also serve as someone to give hints as to what types of things the gift recipient might enjoy."

Rose frowned; leave it to Scorpius to one up her with a brilliant idea. "That may be convoluted enough to work."

"That almost sounded like a compliment, Tiger Lily," Scorpius purred, pulling out one of the many flowery nicknames he had given her over the years. "Careful, or McGonagall's hopes of House solidarity might rub off on you, too."

Rose scoffed. "With you? Not bloody likely."

~XxxxxxX~

"– so it's absolutely necessary that you tell your second partner what gift you'll be giving to the first, so that they can approve of the intention of the gift. And remember, second partners, this entire exercise is meant to promote solidarity between our two houses, so don't spill the beans to the gift recipient."

Sitting in the front row, blond haired Sarah Longbottom slowly raised a hand. "Could you give an example? The two partner's thing is a bit confusing."

"Let's say I collect my parchment, and your name is on top, next to the number one, while little Rosie's name is beneath yours, next to the number two." Scorpius took the reins on the question, but he still managed to slip in a jibe at Rose's expense. She hated when anyone called her Rosie. "So I would be required to buy a gift for you. Before I can purchase anything, though, I have to run my idea by Rose, or bounce ideas off of her if I don't know what to buy you. If she doesn't think my gift is well intentioned, she can say no, and I'll have to find something else. However, if she says no to my idea, she is obligated to come with me to shop for the new gift to prevent her from tormenting me with continuous shopping trips. It's in your advantage to work together to get this gift figured out."

"We've arranged it so you the person you buy a gift for will not be the person buying a gift for you. Your second partner, however, is your second partner all around – you are monitoring their gift for whomever they must buy for, and they are monitoring your gift choice as well." Rose took a breath. "Make sense?"

Sarah nodded. "Yeah, thanks."

"Anything else?"

In the back of the room, Meris Fawcett sneered. "Whose stupid idea was this?"

"Professor McGonagall's," Scorpius answered coolly. "So if you've a problem with it, you'll have to take it up with her. Anything else?"

Several moments of silence followed before Scorpius began to call out names and hand out slips of parchment. As he worked, Rose couldn't help but wince as the more inflammatory of partnerships were distributed. She kept a careful eye on the people she thought might have the worst time with this 'game.' Alice Smith looked as if having to buy a gift for Bran Corner was worse than torture; Ava Pucey was cursing under her breath; even Sarah Longbottom looked as though she might feel ill.

When the final slip had been distributed and the last curse word muttered quietly, Scorpius cleared his throat. "If you're staying over the break, there will be a list posted on your announcement board. When you've bought your gift, you'll need to sign you name where indicated. The parchment has been charmed to know whether you've bought the gift or are trying to lie about it. Don't try to get around it. If you're leaving for the holidays, the list will be presented to you when you return to the school. Any student who does not have a gift by the night of the party will be serving detentions with McGonagall until April – she's serious about this one, people. Suck it up and participate." He paused to make certain no one thought he was joking about Professor McGonagall's punishment. "Alright. Last time. Any other questions?"

Ava Pucey's hand shot up in the back, though she didn't wait for Rose or Scorpius to acknowledge her before she began. "Are you two participating in this?"

The two Heads shared a look. Rose took the lead. "Well, no. We had to devise the list of partners, so we would already know who was supposed to be giving us our gifts. We know everyone else's partners, too. It wouldn't be fair."

Beside her sister, Lexi laughed, though there was no humor in it. "You two have more unresolved issues than all of us. You should be required to participate and suffer just like we are."

"Now hold on—" Rose tried to protest, but several noises of agreement rose from the crowd – from Gryffindors and Slytherins. She looked to her cousin Albus for support, but he only wiggled his eyebrows at her in obvious amusement. With his snarky humor and cunning tongue, she sometimes wondered if he wouldn't have been better suited in Slytherin. Her eyes left him to survey the other annoyed faces.

They waited for noise to die down before Scorpius stepped up with a shrug. "If it means so much to all of you, Rosie and I will exchange gifts. Better?"

Several students looked around before nodding slowly. Rose bit back another groan and resisted the urge to run headlong into a wall. She was too busy grumbling to notice Scorpius dismissing their meeting. Not only did she have to work with him to devise partners for the exchange, plan and decorate the upcoming party, now she had to buy a gift for the wanker, too.

~XxxxxxX~

"What the hell do you buy for someone who has everything?" Rose grumbled. As she paced around the small dormitory that the 7th Year Gryffindor boys shared, she wrung the hem of her shirt between her hands.

"Boys only want one thing, Rose," Albus teased, his eyebrows dancing as they had the night the gift exchange had been announced.

"Be serious, Albus!" Rose roared, rounding on him as her hands flew to her hips. "This is a serious question!" She resumed her pacing. "What the hell was the git thinking? Of all the volatile people to pair together, we're top of the list! With no one regulating his choice, I'm sure to end up with a bag full of half-exploded dung bombs!"

Albus scoffed. "Scor won't do that. He likes you."

Rose scoffed right back. "Yeah, about as much as a roach likes the bottom of my shoe."

Albus rolled his eyes and ignored her. "Isn't the entire lesson here supposed to be House solidarity or some shite? You two need a taste of that more than anyone. It would make living with him much easier."

"Let's say I play your way. That still begs the question: what do I gift him?" Rose groaned and fell back onto Albus's bed. He moved his knees so she wouldn't squish them, laughing at her frustration. "He seriously has everything."

"No, he doesn't," Albus answered. "If you actually tried speaking with him, you might learn something."

"Quidditch; Transfiguration; blonds; Drooble's. Seriously. Those are his only interests."

"Rose, for being so intelligent, you can be disgustingly oblivious sometimes."

She reached up to smack his leg. "Oh, hush up and help me."

"I'm trying to," Albus responded. "I was serious. Go talk to him. If you can't stomach that, go watch him or something. Go poke through his room. Whatever. You'll figure something out. Isn't this supposed to be a secret anyway?"

"Everyone is supposed to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and you are lucky enough to be my person," she responded.

"I feel so lucky," Albus sarcastically answered. "You aren't bouncing ideas off of me. You're complaining about a lack of ideas to bounce off me."

"Semantics," Rose muttered.

Albus chuckled. "Go put that brain of yours to work, Rose. If you have a legitimate idea, you know where to find me."

Rose sighed, rolling over to face him. "I don't understand how you two get on so well."

Albus wiggled his eyebrows again and ran a hand through his shaggy, dark hair. "Blonds aren't the only thing he's in to, Rose."

"Sweet Circe and Morgana, Albus, ew!" Rose yelped, jumping off the bed and waving her hands in front of her face to shoo away the idea that Albus and Scorpius were seriously lovers. On the bed, Albus was clutching his side and roaring in amusement. "You little perv!"

Tears were gathering in the corner of his eyes when he grinned at her. "Absolutely worth it to see your face."

"Ew. Ew, ew, ew," she muttered again, shaking her head back and forth. It took her several moments to calm down, and took Albus even longer. She watched him with exasperation. "My mum will be by later today, if you would like to see her."

Albus folded his hands behind his head resting on the pillow. "What for?"

"It's hardly difficult to get her to visit. She and McGonagall hole themselves up and chat for hours when she's here." Roses shrugged. "I owled her about the gift exchange. It's easier to explain in person."

"Meaning, you want to ask her everything you just asked me in hopes that she will actually have an idea."

Rose stuck her tongue out at him as she headed for the door. "Later, Albus."

~XxxxxxX~

Watching her mother climbed the stairs to the Entrance Hall, Rose wished she looked more like her mum. Where Hermione's hair was a deep chestnut, spiraling out of control in wonderful, lively curls, Rose's fiery hair fell varied between wavy and straight, and would never listen when she tried to style it. Where Rose was tall and thin, Hermione was on the smaller side, with a little waist and curved hips. Rose was happy, though, that her limbs were less gangly than her father's. She certainly had her mother to thank for that.

Hermione greeted her at the door with a large smile and kiss to her cheek before quickly ushering her out of the doorway and far from the cold. They found a vacant window seat down the hall. It allowed for a beautiful view of the snowstorm building outdoors, and it was fairly cozy once Hermione had cast a warming charm over the area.

Never one to beat around the bush, she settled down with her daughter and leaned back against the stone alcove to survey her. "Tell me about this gift exchange."

Rose launched into a retelling of the rules, smiling when Hermione also made the comparison to the Muggle game, Secret Santa. She explained the triad of partners, and her mum applauded her and Scorpius's forward thinking and problem solving. Rose continued with a brief rundown of the partners she was most worried about, telling origins of rivalries and finally voicing her fear of the whole game going belly up – what if one student didn't receive a gift or, worse, received a gift meant to harm them? The triad partnership would be easier to enforce with students staying at Hogwarts for the holidays, but students returning to their homes might have to correspond with their partner by owl. Rose was terrified a group of people might simply choose not to participate, regardless of the threat of detention.

Her mother soothed her worries along the way, giving her confidence and advice in any way she could.

Rose finished her worries with a deep inhale and a slow exhale, rubbing underneath her tired eyes with the back of her hand. "The students thought it was only fair if Scorpius and I participate. So now we've to buy each other gifts."

Hermione hummed, a very small smile playing the corner of her lips.

Rose groaned. "Please don't laugh at me like Albus did. I really feel stuck."

Hermione chuckled, but reached forward to rest a soothing hand on her knee. "You don't know what to buy Scorpius for this exchange, and you're fearful that a mediocre gift will be the undoing of this entire game?"

Rose nodded gloomily. Her mother had very easily voiced every swirled thought she had experienced in the last week. "Exactly. His mother buys him everything he could possibly want, and anything I can think of will never measure up. He's also Slytherin to the letter, and I've no idea what he actually likes."

Hermione smiled. "Sounds a bit like his father."

Rose looked up hopefully. "If you had been forced to buy Scorpius's dad a gift in school, what would it have been?"

"Honey, if I had tried to buy a gift for Draco while I was in school, your father and Uncle Harry would have locked me in a closet until they could prove it was someone disguised as me under Polyjuice."

Rose sighed and leaned against the wall. "Albus seriously suggested snooping around his room. A lot of help that creepy suggestion does."

Hermione laughed. "That suggestion is far less creepy when you own an Invisibility Cloak. However, you should probably try another route. Have you tried to have a conversation with Scorpius?"

"Albus suggested that, too," Rose grumbled.

"Or perhaps watching him? What does he like to do aside from homework and Quidditch? Does he write many letters home? Does he like to read?"

"You sound exactly like Albus," Rose answered.

"Perhaps he was on to something," Hermione responded with a smile. "Professor McGonagall didn't suggest this game as a fun activity. She suggested it as something to challenge the misconceptions you have against the Slytherin house, and to try to form bonds with those outside Gryffindor. You'll have to put in the effort here, Rose."

"You're right, Mum. Thanks." Rose nodded. She had known the answer to everything all along, but that didn't make it any easier to hear – whether from Albus or her mum. With exams so near and stress seeping from her every pore, Rose wasn't really in the mood to add Make friends with Scorpius to her list of things to do. She shrugged and changed the subject. "What are you and Dad doing for Christmas?"

Her mother patted her on the shoulder and clucked her tongue lovingly. When she stood and brushed the wrinkles from her skirt, Rose followed and helped her slide into the long overcoat that her father had gifted her several Christmases past.

"Your father's quite unhappy you and Hugo won't be home for the holidays, but I've already promised him we can bring the visit to you. I've booked us a room in Hogsmeade for the first weekend in January. I think he'll be quite thrilled, actually. He rather needs a break from work." She reached deeply into her coat pocket, and withdrew her wand and a small parcel. The parcel quadrupled in size when she tapped it with her wand. "Do you know where I might find Roxanne? George wanted me to give this to her before I left."

"Oh?" Rose answered, the question hanging on the end of her accented syllable. She didn't want to outright ask what the box might contain – that would be terribly nosy – but she couldn't deny that she felt curious. Boxes from Uncle George were always good, if not a little curious as well.

Her mother smiled. "No, I've no idea what it contains, and I've learned never to ask. If that man wants me to know what he's scheming, he'll tell me. If you can believe it, I used to think I could chide the pranking right out of him and his brother—" Rose had sat through more than her fair share of her mother's lectures, and she could certainly believe that. "—Though I finally realized it was all for naught. He'll do whatever he wishes. I can only hope to stay on his good side so he won't turn those pranks on me."

Rose smiled. "Uncle George loves you, Mum."

Hermione leaned forward to kiss her daughter on the head. When she pulled away, she was smirking mightily. "Ah, well, he's been on the end of my wand more than once, and he likes to keep me on his good side, too. If we can keep on voices down, we make quite a good team."

The smartest woman and the most devious man she knew working in concert – Rose didn't even want to contemplate what sort of mischief those two had gotten in to. She hugged her mother one last time. "Roxy's probably holed up in the library. She's had her eye on Brynden Nott recently, and that boy never does anything but study. Though, they've got O.W.L.s coming up, so it might not be entirely unwarranted."

Hermione laughed.

"Like father like son, in that regard." She squeezed Rose's hand before turning toward the library. "We'll see you in January, Rosie."

~XxxxxxX~

Rose was sprawled on the floor of the Head's dormitory, writing a letter to her mum with a full summary of her final thoughts on her exams. Potions, Transfiguration, History of Magic, Defense and Arithmancy had ended spectacularly. She was less certain about the seventh question on her Charms exam, and Herbology had always been her Achilles' heal. She was just signing her name when Scorpius breezed out of his room, whistling without a care in the world. He tossed a wink her way as he strode out of the portrait-covered exit.

Rose took a deep breath as she hoisted herself off of the floor, pushing her parchment and ink under the couch for the time being. She snatched the famed Invisibility Cloak from where she had crumpled it under a couch cushion. Albus had agreed to lend it to her (though not without a heavy amount of teasing) once she had explained her plan to him.

She was taking his and her mum's advice. She was tailing Scorpius Malfoy.

Rose tossed the cloak over her shoulders and hurried out of the portrait hole. Her shoes made little noise as she scurried along the quickly darkening hallways. Catching a glimpse out a nearby window, she saw the sun had nearly set. She quickened her pace and soon caught up with Scorpius as he was leaving the fifth floor corridor. He took the stairs two at a time. Rose hurried to keep up without tripping over her feet.

As he was strolling down the third floor hall, he nearly bumped into Professor Flitwick exiting his chamber. The excited, elderly little man wheezed in surprise.

"Scorpius! Oh ho, keeping me on my toes, boy!"

Scorpius's smile was easy, crooked, and honest. He slowed his steps to accommodate for the smaller man's stride. "I try my best, sir. Yesterday's exam was quite a ride."

"Oh, yes, yes. The fall term exam is always more difficult than the spring, I say." Professor Flitwick frowned as he jumped along. "Not too hard, I hope?"

"Written very well," Scorpius complimented. "Number seven gave me some trouble, but I think I worked it out in the end."

Number seven! Rose thought as she followed silently. That was the same question she had struggled with. She thought it might be worth it to talk over her answer with Scorpius if he had stumbled into the same problem as she. Although, she couldn't be certain he wouldn't laugh at her and make some sarcastic remark on her intellect.

Professor Flitwick clapped his hands together in delight. "Excellent! That question is a personal favorite of mine. When I applied for a position at Hogwarts, Headmaster Dumbledore administered me an exam of sorts to make certain I was up to snuff. The man truly knew his Charms! Albus wrote that seventh question, and it was the only one on my exam to really stump me! Now I make certain to teach it every year, and it always makes a special appearance on my seventh year's exams."

Scorpius chuckled in appreciation. "I've heard wonderful things about Headmaster Dumbledore."

"Yes. A marvelous man, yes," Professor Flitwick mused. "Although, I dare say Professor Binns has spoke of him? No? That ghost certainly needs to update his lecture schedule!"

"You would be the favorite man of every student here if you could convince him to do so," Scorpius joked. It was common knowledge, even amongst the staff, that no professor was drier than Binns. His lectures lulled even the most diligent of students to sleep.

"Well," Professor Flitwick chirped, waving his hand off to the right as they entered the second floor corridor. "I am off to speak with Professor Greyjon about this dueling club idea of his. Perhaps you would be interested in joining us next semester, my boy?"

"I'll be the first one on the list, sir," Scorpius answered with a nod. "Good evening, Professor."

As Rose watched the tiny man veer toward the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, her stomach churned. Everything she had just witnessed was totally at odds with her perception of Scorpius – a snarky, crude teenager who loved nothing more than to irritate her. She followed him with a frown, trying to decipher his conversation with the charms instructor. Was Scorpius really as engaging and polite as he appeared or was it a very well constructed façade? Either way, Professor Flitwick certainly respected his opinions.

They were nearing the Entrance Hall when they came upon a student – a girl Rose was nearly positive was a first year Ravenclaw.

When Scorpius stopped to greet the girl by name, Rose nearly tripped over the cloak and fell onto her face.

The girl avoided looking at Scorpius, obviously embarrassed by the large load of books she had been attempting to carry and failed. He complimented her choice of Gloria Blackburn's Houses Plantagenet and York: A Magical Tale. He withdrew a scrap of parchment from his trouser pocket, and with a tap of his wand and a quiet incantation he transformed the piece of garbage into a modest shoulder bag. He helped Lucy, the Ravenclaw, load her books into her new bag with a warning that the charm wouldn't last much longer than a week, and he sent her on her way.

Rose was so floored by the kindness of his interaction that she forgot to continue following him. He was just disappearing onto the stairs that led to the dungeons when she finally returned to herself. Mouth still slightly ajar, she jogged after him.

Scorpius took her on a twisting, turning journey through the underbelly of the school. She knew they were nowhere near the entrance to the Slytherin dormitories. For several minutes she feared that Scorpius knew he was being followed and that he was trying to shake her off his track. She surely hoped not. If she lost site of him, she would never find her way back out.

She was considering revealing herself and demanding he take her back to the surface when he stopped in front of a large, heavy door. He pushed it open halfway, where it caught on a warped stone with a screech. Rose stepped inside after him, though he never bothered to shut the door.

The room was one she had never seen before, nor knew existed. Instruments of every type adorned the walls, shelves, and floor space. Professor Flitwick still conducted a school choir. Perhaps at one time another professor had organized a school band or orchestra.

Scorpius ignored the brass, string, percussion and several odd magical instruments, striding toward the large piano that was the room's centerpiece. Though many of the other instruments had a thick covering of dust, the piano was spotless, as if someone had taken care to clean it very recently. The bench that he pulled out to sit upon also looked as if it had been magically repaired and reupholstered to match the dark tone of the piano.

He ran his fingers silently over the tops of the keys and some sort of contented sound reached Rose's ears. He withdrew a large amount of parchment from the satchel he carried with him, propping it up to read. Rose peered at the ascending and descending notes with curiosity. She could read a little music, but this was far beyond her understanding.

She nearly jumped when Scorpius began to play. He began with something very simple – a piece that she imagined she could read and learn if she was diligent. He moved on to another piece with quick, staccato notes and a soft tone. More pieces followed, some faster, others slower. Each he played flawlessly, and Rose found herself absolutely captivated.

The final piece of music, hidden at the bottom of his stack, looked like a cramped scrawl of varying notes, dynamics, and other symbols she didn't recognize. The ink on several measures was smudged, and the paper was pealing in one corner. Scorpius carefully spread the nine-page composition, humming as he worked.

The first chord was haunting, with a low pitch that reverberated a hundred times around the room. The following notes slowly built to a frenzy of wild hand movements before slowing once more into something more melodic. As Rose watched him play, she began to realize he was simply pushing on keys, but caressing each with the kind of attention one might give to a newborn child. He wasn't playing loudly or quickly, but rather breathing the haunting melody into his music, truly bringing out the sad undertones it was meant to carry.

Near the end of the first page, the notes began to change again, becoming decidedly lighter. Rose couldn't help the smile that crawled onto her face as she watched him play, the music turning to a more happy sound and the ghost of a smile emerging on his lips, as well.

The end was rather anticlimactic, she thought. Scorpius packed up his parchment, put down the key cover, and buckled his satchel. It took Rose several moments to realize that Scorpius thought he was alone, and there was no need for a grand finale. Hurrying ahead of him so as to not be trapped in the room, Rose thought she might have an idea for his gift. None the wiser to her presence, Scorpius closed the door and began his ascent, beginning to hum once again too. The churning in Rose's stomach turned to a full riot.

Oh, Morgana – she really had judge him based on his position in Slytherin, hadn't she?

~XxxxxxX~

After following him down to the dungeons days earlier, Rose had felt somewhat awkward around the Head Boy. She was beginning to think she had intruded on something very private – not her business in the slightest. She had come up with an idea, though. After receiving a very surprised approval from Albus, she began working on her gift to distract herself from interacting with the Head Boy. She couldn't wrap her head around his personality, now.

Despite her misgivings, though, he proved just as difficult to work with as ever on the afternoon of the party. The Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff shindig had been set up in a spacious classroom on the sixth floor; it was set to start two hours before the party with Gryffindor and Slytherin. They didn't expect any Ravenclaws or Hufflepuffs to cause trouble. Scheduling the party between the snakes and the lions second seemed best. If someone gave them trouble, they wouldn't have to worry about the party ending by a certain time. Considering they had no idea when they would be able to complete things, they had chosen to host the party in the own common room.

Trying to decorate their shared, magically enlarged common room, Scorpius was endlessly teasing her.

"The Christmas colors are red and green, Buttercup," he commented as she was trying to hang garland around the shelves. "I think you've forgotten that Gryffindor is not synonymous with everything fun in life."

Rose scowled. "Gold is absolutely a Christmas color."

"Only if you use it with green," he pointed out. "Because red and gold look like your colors."

"Fine. We'll find some silver, and have all four colors." She raised an eyebrow. "Happy now?"

Holding the chair stable that she was standing on, his eyes travelled lower for only a fraction of a second before he caught her eye and performed a similar, equally annoying eyebrow wiggle to Albus's. "I like my position."

He looked so slick, every inch of his dark robes pressed to perfection, and that stupid serpentine broach his father had gifted him shining brightly from where it was pinned to his collar. What fashion-addled individual had told him a broach was a good idea? Not even her grandmother wore broaches and pins. Albus's Great Aunt Petunia wore ugly flowered broaches, but she was far too weird to be considered fashionable.

Rose made a point to role her eyes. "Just transfigure me some silver streamer.

"Whatever you want, Tiger," he practically purred, two dark blond eyebrows rising suggestively as he surveyed her.

She glared back at her. Scorpius had been calling her by obnoxious flower names ever since he had learned her name. Sometime during fifth year, he had started calling her Tiger Lily. He had eventually shortened the increasingly obnoxious nickname, and he still liked to pull it out to jerk her chain.

She jumped off the chair and raised her own eyebrow at him. "You can hang them up if you would like. I'm happy to work on something else."

With an annoyed sniff, she ventured over to the other side of the room to put the finishing touches on a large Christmas tree they had obtained with Hagrid's help. Many of the faeries, that would later give the tree its special glow, were napping amongst the branches. She straightened the skirt around the base, nitpicking at things to avoid having to venture over near Scorpius again.

Next, she wandered into the small kitchenette. She gathered half of the Christmas cookies she had baked earlier in the week (the other half would accompany her to the first party) and carried them back to the living room. A heavy preservation charm ensured they hadn't lost their chewy freshness.

It appeared that she and Scorpius had similar destination points. As she walked toward their food table, he sauntered over to the punch bowl and slipped something from his pocket, the light catching on the silver and glinting brightly. She was across the room in a flash, practically throwing the deserts on the table so her tiny fingers might grasp his thicker wrist. She narrowed her eyes at him. "Do not spike that, Scorpius Malfoy."

His smirk was crooked as he placed his fingers over hers to trap them.

"Loosen up, Primrose," he teased. "You really think this is a party that anyone is going to want to attend sober?"

She didn't budge. "You are Head Boy and should not be spiking the punch at a school sanctioned event!"

"In our private dormitory?" he asked. "You think McGonagall will waltz right in to check up on us?"

Rose fought the urge to roll her eyes. "It doesn't matter whether she does or not! I will not watch you spike that punch. Put that flask down."

Scorpius released her wrist and made to slowly set his flask on the table. She was just making a satisfied harrumph when his arms shot out toward her. When he spun her into him, effectively hiding her face in his shoulder, she let out a surprised yelp. He chuckled as she tried hitting him, though her arms were trapped against her sides. A stream of liquid perked her ears, and her struggling ceased. Moments later, he let her go, and she stepped away to find him smirking as he spun the lid back onto his flask with one finger.

"You said you didn't want to watch me do it."

Rose nearly screamed in frustration. "You are infuriating!"

As she stomped by the couch on her way to the exit, she reached for a throw pillow and chucked it across the room. It had no chance in hell of hitting Scorpius (bloody Seeker's reflexes), but it made her feel better. She stormed out of the room with his chuckles ringing behind her.

~XxxxxxX~

A ten-minute walk through the corridors did her good. Rose was breathing normally again by the time she turned toward the Head dormitory. There was only so much of Scorpius she could take, especially when he was deliberately pushing her. He knew perfectly well she had no qualms about the occasional drink (she was 17 now, anyway!), but that certainly didn't mean she wanted to do so at an event the headmistress had asked them to host.

On the return trip, she nearly collided with her cousin Roxanne, who had come barreling out at her from behind a tapestry. Two years her junior, Roxy was nearly as tall as she was. Weasleys and height went hand in hand.

"Careful, Roxy," she warned, regaining her balance on a nearby suit of arm.

The younger girl grinned widely. "I was looking for you!"

"Oh?"

Roxy hummed. "Oh, yes. When the party start tonight?"

"The Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff gather is at 6:00, and the Gryffindors and Slytherins are getting together at 8:00." Rose frowned. "It's seventh years only, though."

"Just peachy," Roxy answered. Rose had the feeling she had known all along.

"Are you planning something?" Rose asked slowly. It was certainly possible. Rose and her brother Fred, who was only one year older, were frequently finding themselves in trouble. Rose had guiltily let them slip away from many of those situations without assigning detentions – though always with a firm lecture! They certainly took after their father.

Roxy laughed. "I'm hurt, cousin. What makes you think I'm planning something? Perhaps I'm just wondering when I can deliver your Christmas gift."

"Right," Rose deadpanned.

Roxy shrugged. "Actually, that box that your mum delivered did have a gift for you in it from Dad. From all of us. You'll find it later."

Rose groaned. "Tonight is not the night, Roxanne. If there was ever a night to lay off on the pranking, it is this one."

"I said a gift, Rosie Rose, not a prank. Have a little faith."

Rose raised an eyebrow. "If anything weird happens to me tonight, I'm coming after you. And Fred."

Roxy grinned. "I'll look forward to the chase. Later, Rose."

Rose waved her cousin away, sincerely hoping she didn't actually have anything up her sleeve. They would be treading on thin ice as was with the Gryffindor and Slytherins. Any little thing could set off a catastrophe.

She took a deep breath when she reached her portrait, steeling herself for several more hours of jibes and presumably thwarting Scorpius' attempts at spiking any and all liquids.

When she stepped through the tiny passageway and into the light of their room, her breath caught in her throat. In front of her was one of the most beautifully decorated rooms she had ever set foot in – even better than the usual decorations adorning the Great Hall during the holiday celebration.

Every corner of the room was adorned with interwoven garland and popcorn strands. The lights had been dimmed, with the majority of the light now coming from the faeries circling the tree, and the few who had drifted up to the ceiling. The rest of the light came from transparent orbs that bumped along the ceiling, each about the size of a Quaffle. They were filled with something that looked like snowflakes. After the snow lazily floated down to the bottom, the orb would flip around and start the snowflakes falling again, like a constantly moving snow globe.

Other patches of fake snow (though she wasn't certain that it wasn't real) decorated the periphery of the room. The cheap plastic tablecloths had been transfigured to beautiful silken cloths of altering red and greens, with a glass panel lying between the food items from the cloth. Sprigs of mistletoe had found their way to the ceiling, and Rose watched as one sprig disappeared behind a snowy orb. It drifted into view again, but she suspected the dim atmosphere and constantly moving orbs would catch a lot of boys and girls unawares.

Most notably, the Christmas tree had been moved from its small corner to the middle of the room. It was now the centerpiece of the festivities, with faeries twinkling and ornaments sparkling as they twisted and turned. The skirt surrounding the tree had also been transfigured – it was now large enough to encircle more than the tree, leaving room for students to curl up on its plush surface, if they wished, come gift time.

It was beautiful – like some sort of fairytale come to life.

"Breath in and out, Rosie," Scorpius purred behind her. She snapped out of her trance and whirled to find him standing far closer than she had expected. She had to tilt her head back to properly look up at him.

She wanted to say something intelligent – to compliment his work and ask where he had gotten the idea for this. Her first words, though, were not what she had planned. "Is this room bigger?"

Scorpius laughed. "Yes. I've invited the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff students to join us after their own exchange, if they want." He shrugged. "We'll have to fit them in somehow. I imagine most of them will show up, hoping to see a fight erupt."

"Where did you learn to do that?" Rose blinked at him with rounded eyes. "Magically enlarging anything, much less an entire room is not an easy feat!"

Scorpius shrugged again. "My mum plans a lot of parties. It's something I picked up."

She wanted to point out that one did not simply 'pick up' on how to magically increase the volume of a room without harming the surrounding structure. She also thought she might want to hug him.

Instead, she blinked again. "This looks incredible."

Scorpius shrugged, but she could tell he was pleased.

She cleared her throat. "Thank you."

"Anytime, Rosie." He smirked down at her. "Go get yourself ready. We've got a lot of work to do tonight."

~XxxxxxX~

The party between the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs turned out to be a very fun event. To Rose's relief, Scorpius hadn't spiked their punch, so the atmosphere remained very relaxed and friendly throughout the get together. Though he had hidden mistletoe in the room, and watching students get trapped underneath the kissing plant provided entertainment for all. A hallmark of magical mistletoe, the individuals remained rooted underneath the root until some sort of lip lock had been performed. Watching Ruby Johnson run around the room to try to corner Gable wood under a bit of mistletoe was the highlight of the event.

At ten minutes to seven, every single student followed Rose and Scorpius through the halls to their dormitory. When they arrived, most of the seventh year Gryffindor and Slytherin students were gathered on opposite sides of the hallway, like some sort of awkward secondary school dance scene. Scorpius had ushered everyone inside to hushed giggles and awed comments over the room's décor. Rose received a lot of compliments on the decorations, and a lot of stunned jaw-drops when she admitted that most of the design had been Scorpius's work.

Things had started off shaky, with Gryffindor and Slytherin students staying far away from one another, and Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff kids standing awkwardly on the sidelines, as if waiting for a show. Rose and Scorpius agreed it would be best to do the gift exchange as the opener; they hoped students would loosen up after that. While he organized everyone around the tree, Rose slipped off to the snack table, where she grabbed a glass of punch for herself, and, as an afterthought, one for Scorpius, too. With the night they had ahead of them, she decided they could probably use a small dose of liquid courage.

To her utter surprise, everything had progressed fantastically. Some students had pulled unsatisfied faces throughout the entirety of the exchange, but most had opened up after the first several gifts had been exchanged. The gifts had been much more thoughtful that Rose had expected, especially considering the price limit they had imposed. Several students had even handmade their gifts, including Sarah Longbottom, who had quilted a very large, Quidditch-themed blanket for John Nott.

Even better was to watch students attempt to guess who might have bought their gift. The guesses at the Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff party had hardly been exciting, as many of the students from the two houses were good friends and had good ideas as to who might select such a gift. Laughs were shared throughout the entirety of the Slytherin-Gryffindor exchange, as the students took stabs in the dark as to who their 'Secret Santa' might be.

When the exchange ended, only four students had left. The rest had elected to stay behind, beginning several holiday themed games and even tuning the wireless to a station broadcasting upbeat holiday songs for easy dancing. Rose was relaxing against the arm of the couch, happily surveying her and Scorpius's work, when Ava Pucey and Claire MacMillan approached her.

"This is good, Rose," Claire complimented.

Ava shrugged, but the corners of her mouth were turned upward in amusement. "Not bad. But weren't you and Scorpius, supposed to exchange gifts?"

Rose jumped off the couch. "Oh! I almost forgot!"

She passed her drink off to Claire and rushed toward her room. Her gift sat in the middle of her desk, inconspicuously wrapped in brown paper with his name written carefully across the front. She scooped it up, said a silent prayer that he would appreciate it, and headed back out to the party.

She found him near the wireless, chatting with a group of students about the quality of the sweets she had baked. Trying not to blush, she inserted herself into the conversation with a clearing of her throat.

"I have your gift."

She exhaled through her nose as she passed it off to him. He accepted it gingerly before reaching into the pocket of his robes and extracting something small. When he passed it to her, she saw it was an envelope with her name written in large, intricate letters across the front. He offered her a very small smile. "Sorry it's not better wrapped."

"I'll excuse your wrapping if you excuse mine," she answered honestly.

He nodded at her. "You first."

She shook her head. "Same time?"

He chuckled. "Alrigh then. On the count of three."

It was as everyone who had noticed what was happening had stopped breathing. Their corner of the room was decidedly quieter as she cleared her throat. "Okay. One. Two. Three."

She heard the paper over his gift tear as she slid her finger under the lip of the envelope. She had just grasped the thick, glossy paper inside the envelope when he made a startled noise, and she glanced up, distracted from her task. He was gazing at her gift with wide eyes, gingerly turning the pages between the makeshift cover.

"What is this?" he asked quietly. She hoped he was asking for clarification and not genuinely confused by her gift.

"My mum is very distantly related to the composer Franz Liszt. It's a book of pieces he only partially finished before his death. Some are almost complete, though. It's been passed through my family for years." She had thought of the book as soon as she discovered his prowess as a pianist. Many of the pieces composed by Liszt were too difficult for even her grandmother, who was an accomplished pianist; she had begun teaching lessons as soon as she retired from dentristry. Rose had used a copying spell that her mother had taught her to carefully transcribe the pieces onto parchment, and the bound them together between stiff covers. It had taken her several days, but she had been certain she wouldn't think of anything more perfect. "I thought you would like it."

Scorpius turned to gingerly set the gift high on a nearby shelf, out of the way of drinks and elbows. Rose almost choked on the thought that he might not like it at all, until he turned around and swept her into a bone-crushing hug.

She sputtered against his chest as he ducked his face into her hair to speak quietly. "I love it. It couldn't be more perfect. It's the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever given me."

Rose squeaked against his robes. "You're welcome."

Scorpius chuckled. Realizing he was squeezing the life from her, he let her go and took a step back. The smile he offered her was different from any she had seen before. He gestured at the half opened envelope. "Open it."

"Oh!" Rose answered, having completely forgotten that he had a gift for her, too. She reached back into the pocket, her fingers grasping the glossy paper and carefully extracting it. The faeries passing overhead illuminated the details on the two tickets in her hand. She gasped, and a second later she launched herself across the small space between them. "Thank you; thank you; thank you!"

Several people watching their exchange laughed openly at her squeal of delight. She took a step back, her cheeks a bright red, but her lips curved upward into a huge smile. "How in the world did you know? I've wanted to see this forever!"

Scorpius smirked. "Rose, I've seen you read Les Misérables more often that you read your school texts, and that's saying something. I thought you might like to see the performance."

"Oh, lords, yes!" she answered, clutching the small slips of paper to her chest. "Thank you!"

Scorpius opened his mouth to reply, but a collective gasp followed by several catcalls and whistles on the other side of the room caught their attention. Students around them began to slip toward the noise, and Rose and Scorpius chose to follow. Venturing over to see what pair caught under the mistletoe had caused such a reaction, Scorpius easily slipped an arm around her shoulders. "Anytime, Rosie."

~XxxxxxX~

The party didn't die out until the early morning hours. Many students left arm and arm singing Christmas carols; some were making plans to partner in classes the upcoming semester; others were dragging along sleepy friends, old and new. Scorpius had declared the exchange and the party a success, announcing he was going to bed for the next 16 hours and that he would help with the clean up the following day. Rose had agreed most of the clean up could wait, but she insisted they clear away the food and drink. Scorpius had unhappily agreed to help.

Their arms laden with trays of cookies and several nearly empty drink bowls, they walked to the kitchen together. When they reached the threshold, though, it was as if they had stepped into a pit of goo. Their feet halted on the floor, and in the process, the platters and bowls flew out of their hands and went clattering to the floor. Rose yelped in surprised when her feet began to turn her 90° without her permission. Scorpius appeared to be experiencing something similar. When her feet stopped sliding across the floor, she found herself toe to toe with him, his bewildered expression meeting her very not-amused stare.

She opened her mouth when a large pop above their heads startled them. Rose looked up, looked back to Scorpius, and raised one eyebrow as she pursed her lips. "Was this your doing?"

"No!" he denied. He sounded genuinely surprised, gazing back and forth between her and the damned plant that had appeared above their heads.

As they stared at one another, him with confusion and her with mild irritation, a scrap of parchment floated from above. Rose snatched it from the air as it drifted between them. Merry Christmas! was the only thing written on it. Rose read it several times before she remembered her earlier run-in with her cousin.

That box that your mum delivered did have a gift for you in it… You'll find it later.

Uncle George.

Rose groaned. Of course this was his idea of a Christmas-themed joke. She imagined Roxy had been thrilled at the idea of sneaking into her dorm to set it up. What she couldn't understand was the prank itself. Uncle George usually pulled off masterful pranks. Catching her under the mistletoe (albeit with the roommate she supposedly hated) seemed very mediocre, by his usual standard. She glanced up carefully to make certain she wasn't missing the more sinister part of the prank.

"That would be a gift from my Uncle George and Roxanne, and presumably Fred, too." Rose sniffed, and the sound seemed to draw Scorpius from his startled state. His bewildered look transformed, and he was suddenly leaning toward her, his smirk taking up its usual residence on his lips.

"And why would this be their gift?"

Rose pursed her lips once more. "Because they find it funny to put me in ridiculous situations."

"I don't see what's so ridiculous."

Rose scoffed. "Trying moving your feet, genius."

"There's a simple solution to that," he answered. His eyebrows raised suggestively. Despite the fun had earlier in the night, Rose snorted. Sure, he had blown her expectations of him out of the water, but she certainly hadn't fallen in love with him over the course of 12 hours, and he could be so full of himself.

"I've no idea what that could be," she answered sarcastically.

Scorpius ignored her. "Waiting, Rosie."

Rose did a mental run-through of the spells she knew, but she couldn't think of one that would help her out of her situation. The counterspell to sticking charms, she knew, was completely powerless under mistletoe.

Begrudgingly accepting her fate, she rose onto the balls of her feet (it seemed she could rock back and forth, from the balls of her feet to her heels, but that she couldn't actually pick up her foot). Her hands locked behind her back, she very quickly pecked him on the lips before standing again on her feet.

She tried to move, but it seemed she was still stuck to the floor. Scorpius was giving her a look, clearly unimpressed by her move. The plant above them popped again, and Scorpius reached out to grab the parchment before she could do so. He read it, smirked mightily, and passed it off to her.

You call that a kiss?

Rose cursed and chucked the parchment to the side. She glared up at Scorpius, who smirked at her.

"It's a valid question, you know. What was that?"

Rose narrowed her eyes. "You're an idiot."

"You're a terrible kisser," he goaded her.

She rolled her eyes. She didn't really care what he had to think of her kissing, did she? Regardless, it seemed she was going to have to try again with more gusto if she wanted to move anytime soon.

She rose up onto her toes again and this time pressed her lips to his more firmly. No movement; no tonguing. She counted to three in her head before she fell back to her feet, glaring at her partner.

The mistletoe popped again before she even tried to move. Scorpius again caught it. He read it, snorted in amusement, and passed it to her.

Who taught you to kiss – my grandmother?

"Another entirely valid question," voiced Scorpius. "I've seen crotchety old women more passionate than that."

Rose continued to glare at him, her hands on her hips. She was contemplating the best way to murder her uncle and cousins. Scorpius tapped her on the head.

"Stop trying to think of how to get rid of your family. I can practically hear your brain working." He leaned forward. She tried to lean away, but to no avail. He captured her by spearing his fingers of one hand through her hair and splaying them across her head; the other hand snaked down and over her hips. "Actually, just stop thinking altogether, Rose. You think way too much."

Even if she had given the first two her all, she knew instantly he was a better kisser than she was. His lips encased hers, pulling on them gently and coaxing her to relax. She quickly did, and she was less surprised than she thought she would be that she was not entirely repulsed when he swiped his tongue across the bottom side of her upper lip. His tongue darting into her mouth did funny things to her insides, persuading her to slip her arms around his shoulders.

She hadn't realized the spell had broken until their kiss grew more frenzied and they stumbled back against the countertop, sparring between their lips for the title of best kisser.

The mistletoe popped again and they momentarily broke apart from one another, each drawing in a large breath of air. Scorpius kept one arm around her waist, turning around halfway to reach out to snag the parchment from the air. Rose glanced upward to see the root disappearing back into the ceiling, successfully having delivered its Christmas cheer.

Scorpius read the paper quickly and chuckled. He passed it off to her. His fingers were already sliding back into her hair as she tried to read her family's final thoughts.

I give that kiss a 7. Keep practicing. Happy Christmas!

~XxxxxxX~

Final Notes: I've absolutely no idea how old Roxanne Weasley is. I searched around, but I was unable to find anything. Anyone know?

Franz Liszt is a real composer! He was a Hungarian pianist during the 1800s, considered to be one of the best of his time (and still is!). It has been said that many of his pieces are not playable without four hands. I've included a link below (you will have to remove the spaces!) of one of my favorite pieces of his.

http : / www . youtube . com / watch?v = hEnfZjqMSy0&feature = player_embedded

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