With the years, Muggle traditions have spilled into the wizarding world. One that few purebloods mind is the Christmas market. For a few weeks out of the year, the area in front of the Three Broomstick turns into a magical market that attracts children and adults alike.
Scorpius is here with Albus and his cousins. With neither he nor Jamie ready to come out until their relationship is on solid grounds, this is the best compromise to spend time together without anyone suspecting anything. When they decided, they knew that it would have cut down on the time that they would spend together. What Scorpius didn't expect was Jamie disappearing with Teddy, Victoire and their children for the entire night, souring his mood to the point that he is ready to set the entire market on fire.
"I'm going home," he tells Albus.
Albus looks at him with concern in his face. "Are you all right? You haven't been yourself all night. You even snapped when those kids asked you for an autograph. You're always nice to the fans."
"Practice ran long and I'm tired. Maybe I'm coming down with something. Nothing that hot chocolate and some rest won't cure, so don't worry." He squeezes Al's shoulder, smiling, because he doesn't want his friend to fuss over an imaginary illness, although Al would believe the real reason: Jamie is a prick. Al has been claiming that since they'd known each other.
"All right. I'll see you tomorrow night then. Make sure you don't overdo it at practice tomorrow," Al says.
"Yes, Mother," Scorpius says chuckling. "Give my regards to that tribe you call family." With a wink, he's gone, back at the manor.
The house is silent, in sharp contrast to Hogsmeade, but he could be in the middle of another Christmas market. The entire manor is a winter wonderland with trees lined through the hallways, garlands wrapped around the balustrades, and lights brightening the trees and the many windows.
Who needs a Christmas market anyway. Stupid Muggle Traditions.
A house elf knocks on Scorpius' door a few hours later. "Master, James Potter is here. Tonky makes him wait in the entrance hall. Should Tonky send him away?"
Scorpius is tempted, but he knows Jamie too well, and if he avoids this discussion, Jamie will do something stupid, and public, and Scorpius wants no one to know about this. "No, I'll go downstairs," he says with a sigh.
He walks instead of Apparating, because he can be petty and relishes the idea of Jamie waiting for him. He walks down the staircase, but stops in the middle of it, because yes, he will tower over Jamie if he can. "Why are you here, Potter?"
"Really? I'm shocked that you noticed," Scorpius spits out.
"Don't." Scorpius doesn't want any apology, not about this. "We had a deal. We see where this goes despite the risks to our careers and you stop obsessing over Teddy."
"I wasn't," Jamie answers. "It was the children. I was helping with them."
"Right, of course you were. All night long." There's so much more than he can say, but he can't be arse to argue with Jamie, not when he'll swear until he's blue in the face that it didn't mean anything. Jamie is very good at deluding himself when Teddy is involved.
"Look, I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you."
Scorpius smiles. He knows Jamie would. He'd do something big and loud and completely romantic, but also completely meaningless. "You won't have to. I thought we could have something, but you can't make this one up to me. You can't fix the fact that Teddy comes first and I'm not interested in coming second. You'd better go."
Jamie comes up the stairs. His fingers curl around the nape of Scorpius' neck. "That's not what it was. I swear. We've barely started to see each other. You can't give up this quick."
Up close, Scorpius can see the pained expression, and it would be so easy to go along to see Jamie's smile again, but he is a Malfoy and sharing isn't something he does. "We had one rule and you broke it. I'm not McGonagall who'd forgive anything you did if you said the right thing. Now if you don't mind, I have practice in the morning, and I must get some sleep."
"Stop with the bullshit. It's barely ten, Malfoy."
The annoyance in Jamie's voice makes Scorpius stiffen. "And you have no claim on my time, Potter. You made it clear you didn't want that claim when you ignored me for the entire evening. Now it's time for you to go before I call Patrol."
"Merlin's balls, would you stop saying that?" Jamie says. "I was an idiot; I admit it, but it wasn't like I was screwing Teddy behind your back. Victoire was there and I was playing with their children."
Scorpius shakes his head. "You don't get it, do you? I almost wish that you'd shagged him, maybe you'd finally get him out of your system. Instead you-" He sighs. "You remind me of Father, who was pining for my mother long after she was dead. I had to live knowing that I was always competing with her memory for his time. I'm not doing it again. I can't. Goodbye, Jamie." He turns and walks up the staircase. "Tonky, makes sure Potter leave," he adds without looking back, before making his way to his bedroom. As he stalks through the hallways, he can hear the crackling sounds from the different fireplaces. They remind him of the sound of his heart breaking.