The entire Weasley/Potter clan is outside of Hogsmeade, looking for the perfect tree to decorate. Apparently this is one tradition that started with the Lovegood/Scamander family, because they are against cutting down trees for Christmas. Instead they decorate the real ones outside and have a fake one inside. Scorpius thinks that they'd have a heart attack if they saw how many trees adorn the manor each year.
It's cold, and even the warming charms aren't enough. It's the perfect excuse to stay near Jamie. They aren't really looking for a tree. They are wandering hand in hand among the pine trees, away from the rest of his family.
"Are you okay? You've been unusually quiet." Scorpius squeezes his hand and smiles.
"I guess. Still thinking about this kid thing. It's-" Jamie kisses him softly. "Mmm, you smell of pine and happiness."
"And your words smell of bullshit," Scorpius answers, chuckling. "Do people really believe the crap you tell them?"
Jamie snorts. "Often enough and when they don't, they don't have the guts to say anything."
"Good thing you don't try these lines with your family. They'd take the piss for days, months even." Scorpius grows serious. "If you don't want to talk about something, just say so. You don't need to come up with excuses."
"Now that- It'd never work with my family. The moment I say I don't want to talk about something, they start nagging. It's why I always have something ready to distract them. Quidditch for most, politics and books for Aunt Hermione and Uncle Percy, babies and food for my grandmother, Muggle things for my grandfather, dragons for Uncle Charlie. It's the best way to get them off my back without telling them what I'm thinking."
"Do you do that often?"
Jamie and Scorpius turn when they hear his mother ask the question. Both his parents are walking their way, their steps muffled by the snow.
"Yes, all the bloody times." Scorpius cuts him off before he starts lying. "He's telling me like it's some sort of surprise, but I've seen him do it at every party I've been to."
"You're a creepy stalker, Malfoy," Jamie says with a grin.
"I'm observant. Information is power."
"That would be your father's teachings, right?" Harry asks.
"Oh Merlin no. Father loves knowledge for its own sake. He truly enjoys knowing things. That would be my grandparents' advice," Scorpius says.
"Can we go back to the fact that my son has developed techniques to avoid telling us what he's feeling and thinking?" Ginny asks.
Scorpius looks at Jamie and shrugs in apology. Putting the focus on himself won't work this time.
"It's nothing, Mum. It's just easier this way."
"No, it's not, as proven by the fact that Scorpius knows you better than we do." Ginny gets closer and puts up a privacy spell. "Jamie, we thought we knew you, but instead- So much of what I thought is wrong. The sleeping around, your love for the press, it's all fake, another mask. Did you even want to play Quidditch?"
He grins. "Oh yes, I'm bloody good at it and I love it, but- I know Dad never liked that I didn't join the Aurors, just like Uncle George doesn't like that Fred and Roxie aren't at the shop, just like Aunt Hermione is upset that Rose wants to get married and not have a career."
Harry frowns. "I never said anything."
"You didn't have to, just like Uncle George and Aunt Hermione don't have to. We aren't stupid; we know," Jamie answers.
"Jamie, love, parents have expectations for their children, but that doesn't mean we don't love them when they don't do what we want them to," Ginny says gently. "It's just normal to want the best for your children, even if what's best might differ from person to person."
"Maybe we know what's best," Jamie replies. "Have you ever considered that? Maybe I know what I want and it's different than what you think I should want. Did you think of that?"
"No, because you won't talk to us. You go along, but apparently you only pretend to avoid rocking the boat," Harry puts in.
"It's not that," Scorpius says softly. "He does it because he doesn't want to disappoint anyone."
"But he tells you the truth," Ginny says.
Scorpius laughs. "That's because he's spent years annoying me. He can't hardly disappoint me more than he did in school. It can only get better from our Hogwarts years."
"Must be why Albus knows the truth," Jamie says, cracking a smile. He puts an arm around Scorpius, who immediately does the same. "I'm sorry, Mum. I wish you didn't have to deal with this."
Ginny shakes her head. "No, Jamie, the silver lining of this bloody mess is that we have to deal with this. I'd rather know my son than this perfect image you want us to know." Voices get closer and she sighs. "They found the tree. We should go there before they send people after us, but you're having dinner with us tomorrow. Just the four of us. Your father will even make sure to be home in time."
Harry rolls his eyes, but smiles at her. "Anything you say, Dear."
Scorpius snorts and all three look at him. "What? He sounded exactly like Jamie when he doesn't want to deal with something."
There was a moment of silence and then Ginny starts laughing. "Well, he would have taken after one of us and I am perfect; it had to be Harry." She winks at Scorpius.
Scorpius stifles a laughter. "Now, I know where you got your modesty from."