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To Hell With Tradition!

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Scorpius had always loved packing. Most people thought that it was a weird trait of his, but they had always put it down to his acute tidiness and need for order. But in truth it was because it provided Scorpius with the illusion that he was allowed to leave. Despite the fact that most in the Wizarding world loathed his family, many still envied his supposedly perfect pureblood life in Malfoy Manor. He understood that. He had every need catered for and had never wanted for anything, and he was certainly grateful for that, but he knew that it was a life sentence. After all, he was well aware that once he left Hogwarts he was expected to find a traditional pureblood wife and eventually take over the slightly dubious family business from his father.

Scorpius couldn't think of anything worse. All his life all he had wanted was to travel and see the world! He has far too many question about- well, about everything really. Questions for the world; ones that no amount of books and reading could ever answer! To him, nothing could ever beat being in the moment in a foreign country with all the new sounds and smells and tastes and the magic of a new unexplored land.

Scorpius sighed. What he was actually packing for was his seventh and final year at Hogwarts, a magical place in more sense than one. He's loved every second there and can't wait to get back to see his friends again, but he'd known ever since before he started that once he left Hogwarts then all of the family pressures would set in. He had tried to discuss with his father the possibility of putting off starting work with him just for a few months after he graduated, so that he could go travelling and hopefully get rid of that itch and be ready to settle down. In reply he had gotten a lecture about how hard his father worked to keep their lavish lifestyle and how he was being extremely ungrateful… Scorpius figured that was a firm no.

His father hadn't always been like this. He'd heard the stories of course, how could he not with how many reminders he got from his peers about his family's involvement in the war, but his memories of his father during his childhood were far softer and kind. He wasn't perfect, but he tried to make things better for his son since he himself barely saw fit to see through many pureblood traditions. However, ever since Scorpius's grandmother had been murdered in cold blood by remnants of the Death Eaters of old, the light and warmth had left his father entirely. Not only had he lost a caring grandmother, but also his sense of freedom from tradition.

With those sad thoughts in mind, he set about finding the last few items that were missing from his trunk before he charmed it shut and climbed into bed, fairly certain that he hadn't missed anything. The nervousness of a new term had been building all day, and he could feel it in his bones. He's always felt like this the night before September 1st, and it makes him restless, like his body can't wait to get up and go because it doesn't understand that it's not time yet. Another sleepless night? Check! Albus likes to call him a puppy when he gets like this. He says that all he is missing is a wagging tail and all that extra hair.

Scorpius was pretty much right; he didn't get to sleep until three.

The next morning Scorpius reluctantly left the house at 8:30 to get into his mother's chauffeured car in a zombie-like state. A car is a bit of a weird thing for a pureblood wizarding family to have, but during Scorpius's mother's pregnancy with him she'd developed incredibly bad morning sickness that was triggered tremendously whenever she used wizarding methods of travel and so they had adopted the car, which she had ever since been loath to give up. Scorpius definitely wasn't arguing - it was far more convenient for him as this meant he was able to bring one of the nice soft pillows from his bed and sleep away the two hour journey to King's Cross. It was a win-win, really.

Scorpius slept soundly for most of the journey, and only jolted awake as the car came to a halt at its final destination. King's Cross Station. A lazy sort of smile appeared on his face and he gave a sigh of relief as he stepped out of the car onto the pavement and stretched his neck out - he'd definitely slept weirdly - as his excitement levels began to rise – he was finally going back. He thanked the driver who delivered his luggage to him, and set off inside to find the magical hidden archway and the magical scarlet steam train beyond.

Finding himself to be one of the first on the platform, he groaned. Scorpius should have known that he would be one of the first to arrive. For some unfathomable reason, most wizards have a ridiculous sense of time and think that it's more than acceptable to get their kids here for 10:55am and then have a massive rush and panic about getting them on the train before the Hogwarts Express left at 11 o'clock sharp. It just so happened that his best friend was part of the most notorious family of these families to have ever existed. If the Weasley's were ever more than ten minutes early to Platform Nine and Three Quarters then he would eat Merlin's saggiest underpants. On his word.

Scorpius eventually spotted the oncoming swarm of red hair at 10:52 on the dot. Honestly, it drove him insane, but he supposed that was part of their charm. Scorpius pushed away from the wall he'd been leaning on and headed towards the group.

"Albus!" Scorpius yelled, trying to get his best friend's attention, waving his arms over his head frantically, "Albus!"

It was no use. Albus hadn't even shown an inkling that he'd heard his name being shouted above the crowds. Scorpius started trying to move down the platform, closer to where he could just about see the head of black hair bobbing about amid probably a dozen redheads. It was proving to be a difficult task since he was going against the natural flow of the platform, but he kept ploughing on until he felt a tap on his shoulder.

"Sorry, can't stop- Rosie!" Scorpius said, originally planning to brush her off before realising just who it was, "Why aren't you with the rest of your family?"

"Rosie? Seriously Scorp, I let you call me Rosie one time and you know it wasn't meant to be a repeat incident!" She narrowed her eyes at him and placed her hands on her hips.

"And what have I said about calling me Scorp?" Scorpius imitated her hand-on-hip pose mockingly before breaking out into a grin and scooping her up into his arms in a big bear hug, "Aw Rosie, I've missed you!"

Rose shrieked before laughing and batting feebly at Scorpius, "Let me down, you brute!"

"Never!" Scorpius let out a deep laugh, "Now, where has that pesky family of yours gotten to, Weasley?"

He heard some muffled sniggering from behind him before someone coughed purposefully. Scorpius turned, a massive grin stuck to his face.

"Boy, I do believe that's my daughter you're holding hostage there," said a gruff-looking Ron Weasley.

"Sorry, sir," Scorpius said, grin still in place and no trace of guilt on his face, before he gently planted Rose safely on the platform again.

"Good to see you again, Scorpius," Ron smiled, holding out a hand which Scorpius promptly shook, "Good summer?"

"Oh it was alright. Same old, same old in the Malfoy household really. Nothing special," Scorpius replied, before turning to the black-haired boy that's appeared at his side, "Oi Potter, I was shouting for you and you didn't even hear! Think you need a hearing check."

"You were?" Albus put a hand to his chin in thought, "Oh wait, did that happen to be you that was dancing around with your hands in the air embarrassing yourself? Looked like something my Aunt Luna would be doing at a party."

Scorpius whacked Albus over the head, "So you did hear me! I knew I was being loud enough."

"Yeah, yeah," Albus took a pause and looked at the overhead clock, "Hey, shouldn't we be getting on the train? Last year we ended up next to the toilets and it absolutely stunk! I want a decent compartment for my final ride to Hogwarts."

"Don't worry, I've been here for half an hour now and managed to find the perfect compartment."

"Equidistance between two sets of toilets?"

"Of course."

"Route where the trolley witch goes past twice?"

"Yep."

"Optimal seat comfort?"

"Who do you think I am? I even tried and tested them all myself."

"Perfect. Let's go then!"

Scorpius rolled his eyes. The last six years, plus the advice of many years of Weasleys beforehand, had apparently made Albus the expert on the carriages of the Hogwarts Express. There was one time that Scorpius didn't go along with it and he ended up having his ear talked off by the entire clan about the ergonomics of the perfect compartment for the entire journey. He was never doing that again.

Albus, Scorpius and Rose had only just settled into their seats on the train when a rambunctious cheer came from the doorway to their compartment.

"Potter!" A boy with shoulder-length blonde hair and a charming smile was leaning in their doorway and looking directly at Albus, "So good to see you again after such a long time! How has your summer been?"

"Uh, it was great, thanks" Albus gave a nervous laugh, "Any moment I got away from mum's chores I was off practicing Quidditch, and on one day Scorpius and I even managed to-"

"So you're definitely trying out for Quidditch this year, right?" The boy interrupted Albus, causing both Rose and Scorpius to raise an eyebrow.

"Yep, that's the plan. Couldn't miss out on my final year of Quidditch!"

The boy laughed like he'd just heard the most hilarious joke of his life and Rose and Scorpius exchanged amused glances.

"Great, I'm sure I'll be able to find a place for you on the team," he said, before winking once and moving away from their compartment.

Almost immediately both Rose and Scorpius burst into laughter whilst Albus looked at them like they'd quite likely completely lost their minds.

"Oh my God, Albus. What on earth were you thinking?" Rose managed to say once she'd calmed down enough, wiping a tear of laughter away.

"What? What did I do this time?" Albus said, confused.

"Oh, come on! You can't see it?" Scorpius exclaimed.

"See what?" Albus replied loudly, making Rose burst out into giggles and sending Scorpius back to howling with laughter, "Guys!"

His raised tone could do nothing to stop them, and it was only several minutes and many tears later that the two teens had managed to collect themselves enough again that they were able to reply.

"He's practically in love with you! Absolutely smitten! He barely noticed that Scorpius and I were in the room, and yet there you are just sitting there like a clueless buffoon, probably thinking about all the food they'll have at the feast for you to stuff yourself with," Rose replied, clutching her side since she had laughed so much she was now in pain.

"McLaggen? The Lewis McLaggen? The greatest Quidditch captain Slytherin has seen in thirty years? In love with me? I think you're both going barmy in your old age. He doesn't even like guys!" Albus scoffed, "Well, I mean, there was this one time where it seemed like we were flirting in the locker room, but I'm ninety-nine percent sure that I was just imagining that."

"You were flirting with him whilst half-naked? The poor guy, no wonder he's got it hard for you!" Rose exclaimed. Scorpius snickered and she whacked him on the shoulder with her novel, "Not that kind of hard, you hormone-filled twit."

"I still think you're absolutely out of your minds."

"Sure, Al." Rose paused and sighed wistfully, "You know, I imagine it must be tough having the most attractive guy in school pining after you."

Scorpius coughed pointedly.

Rose rolled her eyes, "Fine, the second-most attractive guy attractive guy in school."

This time, Albus coughed.

"Not happening, Al."

The rest of the train ride to Hogwarts was fairly uneventful since most of the Weasley clan had now graduated from Hogwarts. There was also only the one more random visit from McLaggen – "Oh Potter, did you want this chocolate frog card? I know you collect them." – which resulted in Scorpius and Rose coming up with the most ridiculous reasons possible for him coming to see Albus – "Potter, I wanted to give you a love poem I wrote about your baby blue eyes." ("My eyes aren't even blue!") and "Potter, I bought the first edition of your favourite book for a measly thousand galleons just for you!" ("Rose, this is about Albus, not you," Scorpius reminded her.)

By the time they finally made it to Hogsmeade, Albus was looking thoroughly pissed off, even whilst Rose and Scorpius kept a gleeful glint to their eyes. They knew that he wouldn't be able to be mad at them for too long. When Albus had gone to change into his robes, Rose and Scorpius had even bet a sickle on how long he would stay made. Rose said he would be fine by the time they made it to the feast. Scorpius said he'd be fine by the time they left the train.

Scorpius held up his hands once Albus came back, "Okay, I call a truce."

Rose made a noise of protest at his cheating, but Scorpius just waved her off.

Albus looked sceptical, "On what conditions?"

"We stop making fun of McLaggen's love for you," Scorpius stopped, thinking it through, "But only at least until he next makes a fool of himself. It would just be cruel to expect us not to thoroughly mock it. We're in seventh year now, we need these sparks of entertainment to keep away the stress!"

"But that could just be for tonight!" Albus complained.

"Those are the terms. Take it or leave it."

"… Fine." Albus said begrudgingly.

Albus held out his hand and Scorpius grinned and shook it before turning to Rose, who was already digging through her pockets, and holding his hand out for her to deposit the coin into.

"Nice doing business with you!" Scorpius said gleefully to them both.

"Oh shut up. Shouldn't we be getting off the train?" Rose said.

The trio jumped up immediately and grabbed their essential items before leaving the train and their bags on it since they would be taken straight to their dorms.

Being back at Hogwarts was just like Scorpius had thought it was going to be. He and his friends had jumped straight back into their natural rhythm and he was ready for the new year to come, not to mention all the great food he would be eating. He almost drooled just thinking about it, actually.

It just felt so comfortable being back and next to his best friend at their seats at the Slytherin table stuffing themselves to the extreme and talking about the most nonsensical subjects known to man. Scorpius was happy. But obviously, he was happier when, as they were heading down to their common room in the dungeons, a mop of blonde hair appeared in his periphery.

"Hey, Potter! I'll be organising the Quidditch try-outs for next Thursday, don't forget!"

Albus groaned.

Scorpius just grinned and said, "You know, I think this is going to be a really great year."