Hufflepuff, Hugo knew, was not exactly the most respected of the Hogwarts Houses. He had come to terms with that a long time ago. The initial fear that had consumed him when the Hat placed him there had dissipated quickly when his dad had hugged him his first Christmas holiday home and told him it didn’t matter. Although, his dad had then mumbled something about it at least it wasn’t Slytherin. Back then, it had not bothered Hugo too much. Now however, it had him worried.
Hugo had always looked up to his cousins. They may be the sons of Harry Potter, which made everyone else worship them, but to Hugo, they were just his family. Yes, they would pull pranks on him and make fun of him on a weekly basis, but when he needed them, they never failed to be there. In fact, it was this that had got him in the predicament he was now tangled in. Al had been the one to help Hugo deal with his Sorting; consequently they had spent a lot of time together. Hanging around with Al had meant spending time with Al’s friend. Being the rebellious Gryffindor that he was, Al had not just settled on anyone to have the honour of being his best friend. No, his best friend had to be a Malfoy.
Scorpius, as Hugo had quickly come to call him much to his father’s displeasure, was everything his dad said Malfoys weren’t. He was kind and considerate and was in no way a bully. In fact, more than once he had stood up for Hugo when James’ teasing had gone too far. It was only fair really, that Hugo decided to give Scorpius a chance to be his friend. By Hugo’s second year, the three of them were as inseparable as Al and Scorpius had been before Hugo had started at Hogwarts. Of course, Hugo’s dad had certainly had more than a few choice words for his son that Christmas. Despite his mum’s reassurances that he could be friends with whomever he desired, ever since that rather uncomfortable winter holiday in his second year, Hugo had opted to stay at Hogwarts for all subsequent Christmases and so had Al and Scorpius. That way, they could all be together without their parents interfering with their friendship.
This year, was not only Scorpius and Al’s last year at Hogwarts, but it was the first year Hugo had a boyfriend. Whilst Hugo felt sad at the possibility that this may be their last year all together, it was also an extraordinarily exciting time as he got to wake up in his boyfriend’s arms.
This year, Hugo was glad to be a Hufflepuff.
Any other House would have probably had problems with him sneaking his boyfriend into the dormitories to spend the night, but here, the other Hufflepuffs barely batted an eyelid. So when Hugo awoke, curled up in Scorpius’ arms with a sleepy smile on his face, Hugo could honestly say he could not be happier. With a contented sigh, he nestled further into Scorpius’ arms. He felt Scorpius’ grip tighten almost imperceptibly, his breath ticking the back of Hugo’s neck as he let out a muffled snore. Hugo loved the fact that the reserved, mild-mannered and so very proper Malfoy snored. It was adorable.
After a few minutes of lying in quiet reflection, Hugo felt Scorpius stir.
“Morning,” Scorpius yawned. He nuzzled Hugo’s neck, pressing sleepy kisses to the soft skin. “Sleep well?”
“Mmm,” Hugo hummed. “Really well. You?”
“Perfectly. I got to sleep with you in my arms.” Scorpius’ fingers slipped carefully under Hugo’s t-shirt and rubbed comforting circles on his stomach. “Got to wake up with you in my arms too. Couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present.”
“Does that mean I should take back your gift then?”
“Never said that. You have to admit that this is perfect though. Wish we could wake up like this every day.”
“What would the boys in Slytherin say if they knew just how sappy you are?”
Scorpius snorted. “I don’t care what they think. They’re all just jealous that I’m the one who gets to do this.” He leaned closer and pressed a quick kiss on Hugo’s lips.
A lazy morning in bed was clearly not on the cards though.
“Hugo!” A Dalmatian puppy Patronus leapt onto Hugo’s bed. “I can’t believe you changed the password without telling me! It’s Christmas; you can’t keep family out at Christmas. Come and let us in!” Never one known for his patience, despite the maturity he was supposed to display being Gryffindor prefect, it was even worse on any occasion that meant Al would get presents.
“I’ve changed my mind; the perfect Christmas present would be some peace from Al,” Scorpius complained good-naturedly. He held onto Hugo tighter. “Can we just pretend we didn’t get the message?”
“Oh no, no chance. Can you imagine what will happen if we don’t go and let him in? He’ll likely destroy the castle trying to get inside.”
“I’m staying in bed then.” Scorpius let go of Hugo, much to both of their displeasure at being extricated from the comforting embrace. He gave Hugo a small nudge of encouragement so that Hugo would get up to let in his rambunctious cousin.
“It’s my bed! Therefore, my rules: I say you go and get him or you don’t get to stay tonight.” Both knew it was an idle threat, but Scorpius left the bed anyway and trudged out of the room to collect the others with an exaggerated groan. At least Hugo now had the chance to freshen up before they were descended upon.
“Well I could hardly let him study on Christmas, could I?” Al’s voice certainly carried. Hugo heard Al’s excitable chatter long before they entered the room. “I mean, I know you’ve got O.W.L.s, Lou, but you really need to take a day off every now and then. It’s only December!”
Hugo heard Louis mumble something about needing to understand the theory behind something or other that was just far too school-based for the holidays as Scorpius opened the door and herded the other two into Hugo’s dormitory. Presents gaudily wrapped in a variety of colours and patterns floated along in the air behind them. Al carefully lowered his gifts to the floor before he dragged Hugo into a tight embrace.
“To you too,” Hugo said with a smile. He gave Louis a hug in greeting as well.
Hugo settled back down on his bed, Scorpius next to him, while Louis sat crossed-legged at the end. Opening presents together, like the rest of their family usually did at the Burrow, was the first thing they had adopted as their own Christmas tradition. It had been the first time Scorpius had had someone to open presents with in such a way the first time they had done it. Being an only child at the Manor had meant a great deal more formality, but Hugo and Al had loved to share the experience of just sitting around together tearing into the wrappings until there was a sea of paper covering the floor. This year, Louis was joining them. He decided to spend his time away from the madness of the Weasley household that always accompanied the holiday season, so that he could start on his revision.
Al checked the tags on the gifts before tossing them to the correct owner and soon they were all laughing, joking and commiserating with each other over the items they had received. There were the usual chocolates, sweets and books from the family, as well as more personal gifts from each other. Hugo couldn’t help but glance in Scorpius’ direction when his boyfriend started to open his presents. He was happy to see the bright smile that made Scorpius’ grey eyes sparkle. That their eyes met more often than not gave Hugo a warm feeling inside that spread right to his toes. He couldn’t get enough of it.
As the pile of presents dwindled, Hugo started to doubt his gift decision. The pleasant glow battled with the butterflies that were starting to surface in his stomach instead. What if Scorpius didn’t like it? What if he thought it was stupid or that Hugo hadn’t put any thought into it? His discomfort must have shown on his face because Scorpius took Hugo’s hand in his and squeezed.
“Ok! Last lot of presents. I wonder what these could be,” Al said with an air of mock wonder. There was only one thing the soft, lumpy packages could contain.
Hugo held his breath. Al held the first one out to Scorpius. Scorpius looked at Hugo in surprise.
“I asked Grandma Molly to make you one,” Hugo said as Scorpius started to unwrap it.
Hugo knew it was a stupid idea. It wasn’t going to be anything like the quality of clothing Scorpius was used to wearing. It wasn’t even something the Weasley kids liked getting. What had possessed him to think it was a good gift? His own Weasley jumper was thrown to him by Al. It bounced off his knee, but he paid it no mind. Instead, all of his attention was trained on Scorpius, awaiting his reaction.
“You got me a Weasley jumper?” Scorpius unfolded the green top, holding it out to have a proper look at it.
“I know it was a stu-“
Scorpius stopped him with a finger on his lips. “Perfect. It’s perfect. We can all wear them to Christmas dinner. Thank you.” Al groaned at the statement, but didn’t really complain. Hugo hadn’t been planning on wearing his, but if that’s what Scorpius wanted, he was more than happy to put it on for the occasion.
Relief flooded through Hugo. There was no faking how happy Scorpius looked right now. Hugo pulled Scorpius to him and pressed their lips together.
Al cleared his throat. “Okay guys, I’m not going to sit here and watch my best mate get off with my cousin. The Gryffindor Tower beckons as does my gorgeous girlfriend, so if you two want to paw at each other to your hearts’ content, you are free to do so. See you at lunch.”
There was some rustling and muttered spells as Louis and Al cleared away the rubbish and left, but Hugo didn’t care.
“I have something for you,” Scorpius said when they separated. He looked slightly nervous, a clear sign of guilt. Hugo knew that by now. After a moment, Hugo saw Scorpius’ expression change; his uneasiness was replaced with a smile. “Don’t get mad at me, just read it first, please?” Hugo watched as Scorpius went and pulled a piece of parchment out of the pocket of the robes he’d worn the day before.
Scorpius held it out to Hugo and he was surprised to see the letter addressed to Scorpius in his father’s untidy hand.
I should have seen this coming, shouldn’t I? Hugo always comes home every year full of stories about you. Not the kind of things I used to say about your father either. You’re a bigger positive part of Hugo’s life than I’d ever have thought the son of Malfoy could be.
I trust my son’s judgement,
Malfoy Scorpius. If he trusts you, then there must be something about you that your father never had. Treat my son right and remember that if you do anything to hurt him, it will not only be me you’ll have to deal with.
“Maybe next year, we can spend the holidays with your family?” Scorpius asked casually as Hugo looked up from the letter.
“Next year?” Hugo asked. They never really spoke about the future. Especially not to the extent of how Scorpius leaving Hogwarts would affect things between them.
“Next year,” Scorpius confirmed with a smile. “If you’ll have me.”
Dear Mr. Weasley,
I know you don’t really know me, and I know you have no real reason to read this, but I would appreciate it if you gave me a chance and did me the courtesy of finishing this letter.
My father is not the easiest person to get along with. I understand this is likely a gross understatement - even he admits that he has made people’s lives unpleasant. However, I am not him. The fact that you have passed your grudge against him on to me is not fair, sir. I am not my father, just as you are not yours and Hugo is not you. Surely, you can see that?
I may be in Slytherin, but that does not make me evil. Your son is a wonderful, kind, intelligent person and yet your opinion of me forces him to remain at Hogwarts instead of going home to be with his family. I do not want to be the cause of problems between the two of you. He loves you, but both of you are prevented from truly knowing each other because of this distance you are forcing upon him.
I love your son, sir. More than anything else in this world. I am not asking you to accept me as part of your family - far from it - but I would very much appreciate the chance to get to know you all. I wish to have the opportunity to prove to you that I am not who you believe me to be and that I am worthy of his love.