It was supposed to be a simple Christmas.
All of the miscellaneous Weasleys and Potters were going to be out of the country or staying with their significant others for the holiday. Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione had decided to do a simple Christmas dinner by themselves and not have to worry about entertaining dozens of people.
But then Rose owled; Scorpius and his family were going to Iceland for Christmas—that’s where Astoria’s family was now—and Rose said that while she loved Scorpius, she didn’t love him quite enough to freeze to death, especially not when she had to deliver half a book to her publisher by the new year. So Rose was added to dinner, with an extra invitation to stay at her parents’ for the night as well. “Just like old times,” Hermione smiled.
Two days later, Rose owled again, to let them know that Scorpius realized that his Ministry work conflicted with the dates his parents would be out of town and there was no way he could join them. Hermione didn’t have much of a choice but to invite him.
“They have been dating for almost four years,” she pointed out to Ron, Harry, and Ginny. “We probably should have invited him to family events ages ago.” No one could disagree with that, especially since they all liked Scorpius. It was just hard to accept the fact that their children were old enough to be in long-term relationships, and it was even harder to accept when that relationship was making conversation over shepherd’s pie.
But the important thing was that it was still shaping up to be a good, simple Christmas with no worries.
On the morning of the 24th, Rose called via fireplace to let them know that Scorpius’s parents would be joining them for dinner.
“There’s some sort of ice storm outside of Reykjavik that’s making it impossible to safely Apparate in,” Rose explained, “So we thought it would be best to just invite them over here since their plans were canceled.”
Hermione stared at her daughter’s head in the fireplace in shock.
“They’ll be getting here at seven; Scorpius and I should be there around the same time. See you tonight. Bye!”
Rose disappeared without giving Hermione a chance to say anything. She had a feeling that was intentional.
“Ron,” she called from the living room, trying to stay calm. “Could you come here, please?”
“Was that Rose,” Ron said as he came in. “I hope you told her not to bother brining anything for desert because Ginny told me-” He stopped when he noticed Hermione’s face. “What’s wrong?”
“Malfoy and his wife will be joining us for dinner.”
“But—I thought—aren’t they,” Ron struggled to find the right words. “Aren’t they in Iceland?”
“No, they’re in England, and in about eight hours, they’ll be in our dining room.”
That was when all hell broke loose.
While Ron was keeping up an impressive rant without stopping to take a breath (topics covered included: Draco Malfoy, The War, their second year at Hogwarts, expanding the table on short notice, and his failure as a parent for raising a daughter who thought it was polite to invite people to events without asking the host first), Hermione had already Apparated to the Potter’s and brought Harry and Ginny back with her to do damage control.
Ginny stayed completely neutral on the subject. She didn’t particularly like Draco, but she didn’t think an evening with him would be the end of the world. Harry, on the other hand…
“What do you mean, you don’t think he should come?” Hermione looked scandalized. “But you were the one all those years ago who said that if Rose trusted Scorpius, that should be enough for us!”
“And I meant that!” Harry returned. “But it doesn’t mean that I want to spend Christmas with Draco Malfoy!”
“Well neither do I, but I can’t un-invite them!”
“Make Rose do it!” Ron was pacing back and forth in front of the couch. Ginny just rolled her eyes and moved her legs out of his way. “In fact, she can un-invite Scorpius too. This was supposed to be a family evening.”
“They have been friends since they were twelve,” Harry pointed out. “He sort of is family, like it or not.”
Ron fumed for a moment and then yelled “She’s too young to be dating!”
“We had been married a year when we were her age,” Hermione said.
“Totally different circumstances,” Ron spluttered.
“I know, I know,” Harry rubbed his eyes behind his glasses. “We can go out to dinner somewhere. Meet them on neutral ground.”
“We are not going out on Christmas!” Ron glared.
“We absolutely are not,” Hermione agreed, although it was more to spite Harry than to side with Ron. “And despite your persecution complexes, Ginny and I are the ones that Malfoy has actually hurt the most, and if we’re fine with it, you should be too! So we’ll all just have to be polite and have a lovely evening!”
“I don’t want to be polite to Malfoy,” Harry whined.
“I don’t even want him here!” Ron yelled.
They all turned to Ginny.
Ginny was only half-listening to the fight, but looked up when they went silent. All three of them were all looking at her very expectantly.
“Oh no,” she said and hopped off the couch. “No. It has taken me twenty years, but I have finally learned to stay out of your arguments. You can figure this one out on your own.”
As she made for the hallway to Apparate, Ron pleaded, “But Ginny, we need your help to solve--”
“No,” Ginny whipped around. “You do not! Once you three have finally cooled down, Hermione will go to Harry, and once Hermione convinces Harry that she’s right, they’ll go to you and persuade you to do it their way. That’s how it always goes. You don’t need me!”
She said to Harry “I will be at Luna’s; owl me once this silly argument is over,” and then disappeared with a pop.
Ginny assumed that as soon as she left, they would realize that she had been right and feel guilty for putting her in the middle so often. Then Harry would Apparate over and apologize and they would have a lovely, if not slightly awkward, Christmas dinner.
She was wrong.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione all looked at the empty spot where Ginny had been, and then at each other. “I do not always do what you two tell me to,” Ron seethed.
“And I don’t always let Hermione get her way,” Harry protested.
“I don’t need you to let me!” Hermione was glaring at them both and then the yelling started in full again.
It had become clear that hosting the Malfoys was unavoidable, but no one was happy about it or each other. Ron yelled above Harry and Hermione “What are we doing about food?”
Harry and Hermione stared at him. “That’s your biggest concern right now,” Harry asked as Hermione said “You’ll be cooking, of course. You’re an amazing cook.” Normally this was a compliment, but now it sounded like grounds for punishment.
“But it’s Christmas,” Ron stated, “Someone else is supposed to do the cooking.”
“Oh, you mean your mother does the cooking,” Hermione reeled. “Your mother isn’t here, Ronald! It’s the one year she’s gotten a break! It’s your turn now.”
“I can’t cook Christmas dinner for eight people by myself!”
“I can’t cook!” Hermione pointed out angrily and stormed out of the room.
“Will you help me,” Ron asked Harry, although he accompanied the request with a glare.
“Sure,” Harry said. It would have been a good opportunity for reconciliation, but they didn’t talk and spent the whole time staring at each other warily over piles of onions.
They spent the rest of the day pointedly ignoring each other. At 6:30, Harry Apparated home in order to change. He seriously considered not going back, but even through the haze of his anger (which was really just annoyance at this point) he knew that it wouldn’t be fair to either of them.
“Look,” Harry said when he got back, “I know we’re all annoyed with each other, but we should at least put up a unified front.”
“For Rose’s sake,” Hermione said quietly.
“For Rose’s sake,” Ron repeated.
They watched the door, but 7:00 came and went without anyone appearing.
“Maybe they’ve all forgotten,” Ron said hopefully.
Right as he said it, the doorbell rang. Hermione made a face, but quickly replaced it with a smile and opened the door and welcomed Draco and Astoria Malfoy into their home.
Draco stiffly shook hands with everyone while Astoria warmly greeted them all. “Oh, where is Ginny,” she asked.
Everyone looked at Harry, who didn’t have an answer. He had assumed that Ginny would be back by this point. “Family emergency.”
“Then why are you still here,” Draco asked.
“Friend,” Harry quickly added. “Family friend emergency. She said we could go on without her.” Draco just sneered and Harry had a horrible feeling that Draco knew he was lying.
“Please, sit down,” Hermione said to cover the silence. Unfortunately, that didn’t fill up too much time. As they sat awkwardly, she asked “Have you heard from Scorpius?”
“Just that he would meet us here at seven,” Draco answered.
Harry and Hermione glanced at each other; they were both wishing that they were muggles. At least then they could say that Rose and Scorpius got caught up leaving London and could engage in banal small talk about traffic. There were no excuses for being late with Apparition.
Astoria looked nervously about the room and then said brightly, “Ron, Scorpius told me that Rose is working on a new book. How is she coming along?”
As Ron answered (mostly in monosyllables), there were two pops in the direction of the doorway.
Although no one in the room actually said “Oh thank God,” it was immediately clear to Scorpius and Rose that they were all thinking it.
Things were temporarily smoothed over as Rose and Scorpius hugged their parents and wished everyone a happy Christmas. Scorpius thanked Ron for inviting his family and Rose very loudly noted how good the food smelled, all while their parents fussed over them.
“Darling, you look a little flushed,” Astoria said.
“I hope you haven’t been staying up too late working on your book,” Hermione asked. “You’re looking tired.”
“Thanks, mum.” Rose and Scorpius answered at the same time.
Everyone sat down as Rose poured the wine she brought and passed it around. The awkward silence returned in full force.
“I saw your interview in the Prophet,” Harry said to Scorpius. “It was very interesting.”
Scorpius murmured a thank you and then Draco said “It’s new for Scorpius, but I’m sure you’re used to being all over the papers, Potter.” Astoria shot him a dirty look, but Draco just smiled.
“Well,” Harry said, “It’s never normal, but you must have a much thicker skin about it, since not all the stories about your family have been flattering.”
“How dare you say that about my family,” Draco reeled.
“Because they’re evil!” Ron shot back. “You were all Death Eaters, remember?”
It all went swiftly downhill from there.
Surprisingly, the War didn’t come up again. Unfortunately, they chose to focus entirely on Hogwarts-era grievances.
Harry, Ron, and Draco did the majority of the shouting, most of it about Potions class, Quidditch matches, the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and ferrets (Rose and Scorpius didn’t ask). Hermione did a lot of glaring and dramatic sighing and occasionally interjected when she was brought up.
Attempts were made at peace-keeping. Astoria was trying her hardest, but she kept getting pulled into the argument and ended up trying to defend her family and stop the fight at the same time, with little success. Rose tried mentioning that she was hungry and shouldn’t they sit down to dinner (although she was relieved when that went unheard because she wasn’t sure if introducing knives to the situation was a good idea). Scorpius tried to calm his father down, but he was too wrapped up in yelling about a Quidditch game to notice.
Rose and Scorpius looked at each other from opposite sides of the room. They both nodded and quietly headed toward the stairs (Rose summoned a pie and two forks from the kitchen as she went).
No one noticed they were gone.
Though they had been friends for more than ten years, this was the first time Scorpius had ever been in Rose’s childhood bedroom.
He didn’t really get invited over that often.
Rose was sitting on her bed and Scorpius was at her desk. They were wordlessly eating the pie straight from the tin.
“I’ll go ahead and admit it,” Scorpius said. “This was not my best idea ever.”
“It was good in theory,” Rose sighed, setting down her fork. They could just barely hear the shouting through the closed door. “We always thought that they would do better accepting us if they were brought together without much warning. We never counted on them being this mental.”
“They can’t go on all night.”
Rose stared at him. “When we left, they were fighting about some dueling club from their second year. They could go on all night.” She looked at the almost-empty pie tin. “Do you think anyone would notice if we summoned the roasted lamb up here?”
“I always wished for an exciting Christmas,” Scorpius sighed. “Little did I know.”
“We probably didn’t help things by being late,” Rose pointed out.
“That was your fault,” Scorpius said, not missing a beat.
“My fault?” Rose spluttered, “We were only late because you practically jumped me when I walked into the bedroom to change. That was you and your hormones.”
“Still your fault.”
“How is that my fault?”
Scorpius stopped looking so smug. “You were wearing your reading glasses,” he mumbled.
Rose’s expression went from angry to intrigued. “Seriously,” she asked. “My glasses? You never told me that you liked the ‘Sexy Ravenclaw’ thing. That’s useful information, I suppose--” She stopped and then groaned. “I was mad at you a second ago! I hate it when you do that.”
“I am the Minister’s speechwriter,” Scorpius reminded her. “I would be very bad at my job if I couldn’t make people forget that they’re angry. Although,” he gestured downstairs, “I don’t think my powers work on everyone, unfortunately.”
Rose sighed deeply. Scorpius sat next to her on the bed and squeezed her hand. “Your mother is a saint for not Apparating out of here already,” she said.
“Your mother isn’t down there shouting either,” he responded.
“No, but she isn’t trying to stop them. And Harry’s not helping,” she groaned. “I had forgotten that he’s the one who hated your father the most.”
Scorpius rolled his eyes. “Father’s just baiting him. I can tell he gets a kick out of it, even if it’s the three of them against him at once.”
“At least they’re not doing their ‘Trio’ thing and all ganging up on him as one unified force.” Rose was silent and then asked, “Why aren’t they? And why isn’t Ginny here,” she asked, really noticing for the first time how odd her aunt’s absence was.
“Family emergency,” Scorpius suggested.
“Not without Dad or Harry though.” Rose thought for a moment, trying to remember how everyone was acting before the shouting began. “Oh my god,” she said finally. “They’re fighting too.”
“Your parents,” Scorpius asked.
“And Harry,” Rose said. “And it must be bad if they’re all angry at each other, because Mum and Harry usually work things out pretty quickly.” She collapsed backwards into her old bed with a moan. “This is great. They’re all actively fighting with each other. And we’re stuck here until they curse the house down.”
Scorpius lay down next to her. “I apologize again for proposing this plan.”
Rose laughed softly. She played with the long chain of her necklace while she caught snatches of the argument downstairs (they had moved on to a rogue Hippogriff).
“What if,” she mused, “the problem isn’t that we sprang us onto them too quickly, but that we didn’t do it quickly enough?”
“If we had scheduled this earlier, they would have ended up setting the house on fire at eight in the evening instead of nine.”
“I’m serious,” Rose said, sitting up. “They’re just thinking about each other and stupid old rivalries, not us.” She pulled the rest of the necklace out from under her dress to reveal the diamond ring on the end.
Scorpius looked nervous. “I thought we weren’t going to tell them until New Year’s.”
“That was when we thought that they would acclimate to each other tonight,” Rose said. She took the ring off the necklace and slipped it back on her finger. “Our only hope now is to go downstairs and hope that the news stuns them into silence.”
“And if that doesn’t work, we can actually stun them and Apparate back to London,” Scorpius suggested hopefully.
“You just had to stick your slimy nose into everyone’s business, didn’t you?”
“He had a dragon! An illegal dragon! I was doing everyone at Hogwarts a favor by uncovering that. He probably would have let it run free and kill us all!”
“Oh, just like the Basilisk that you loved so much!”
Everyone fell silent and turned towards the stairs. Rose and Scorpius were standing arm and arm.
“Rose and I are getting married,” Scorpius announced. Everyone’s eyes flew towards Rose’s hand and its sparkly new addition. “And we’d really appreciate it if you would all shut up.”
“Or else we’ll never invite you to the wedding,” Rose threatened.
No one said anything. They all appeared to be dumbstruck. Unsurprisingly, Astoria was the first to react. She wordlessly walked over and hugged Rose, and then pulled Scorpius into the hold too.
“Oh, my darlings,” she said tearfully. “I couldn’t be happier.”
“For multiple reasons,” Scorpius whispered as he pulled away, and his mother nodded and rolled her eyes.
No one else moved, but then—either out of genuine happiness, the desire to get there before Ron and Harry, or a mixture of the two—Draco got up and embraced Rose. “Congratulations to you both.”
After that, the room exploded with noise, but the good kind this time. There was a flurry of hugs and kisses, and everyone asking when and how it happened, and if they were the first people they told. Hermione brought out a bottle of sparkling she had been saving for New Year’s and they all toasted the engagement. While she was getting the wine in the kitchen, Harry and Ron came in to grab glasses and they all three at once said “sorry.” In a truly momentous moment noticed by no one because Astoria was listing possible wedding venues, Ron and Draco shook hands.
And to Rose’s utmost delight, they finally sat down to dinner.
Ginny and Neville were curled up on the couch together, watching Luna re-enact her most recent Nargle encounter. The fact that they were all a little tipsy and thus excused by the rest of their families from cleaning up after dinner made it all the better.
Luna had just reached the denouement of her story when an owl flew in and dropped a letter onto Ginny’s lap. “Finally,” Neville said as she fumbled to open it.
You were right, we’re all idiots. Please come back. We can’t do Christmas without you.
P.S. Rose and Scorpius are engaged.