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26 December 2010 @ 06:28 pm
Under the Mistletoe, a gift for mollywheezy  
Recipient: mollywheezy
Title: Underneath the Mistletoe
Author: i_am_girlfriday
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,947
Summary: Rose attempts to break her streak of bad luck.
Notes: I worked with both songs prompts in mind--”All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, and “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe” by Randy Travis. I was also inspired by the general idea of a Christmas party. Also, a big thanks to my beta, D.
Warnings: Rose ingests a (possibly) restricted or illicit potion. Scorpius dances the two-step to a country song.



Rose has no intention of going to the Ministry Christmas party this year. She’s determined to avoid seeing her boss get so pissed on the eggnog that he’s unable to ride his broom home. She doesn’t want to witness another year of her coworkers singing karaoke with tinsel antlers and enchanted red noses. She refuses to play White Hippogriff again; she’s got enough cheeky adult toys and Elf crocheted potholders. She doesn’t want to throw away another bottle of Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes Gold Digger potion, and she really doesn’t want another explosion in her dust bin caused by a faulty Cinnamon Snap pack.

Rose decides to plan a nice, quiet evening in. She’s bought a tin of Danish butter biscuits from the Muggle grocer, and she’s collected enough fairies to light her tree. Last year she was too busy to decorate her flat. She suspects that not putting up a tree triggered some sort of bad luck streak or curse, because she ended up having a really terrible year. First, she was overlooked for a promotion in February. Then she contracted Vanishing Sickness in May. Finally, in October, her rent-controlled flat was destroyed in a freak cauldron fire. She hadn’t been able to find a decent place in her price range, so she moved in with her cousin Freddie. The place was nice and they got along, but Rose desperately wanted her own space again.

At twenty-nine, Rose wasn’t exactly where she thought she would be in her career or in her personal life. She imagined she’d be the head of the Department of Magical Equipment Control, not the under secretary of public relations. She thought she’d own her own flat, not rent out a room from her bachelor cousin. Rose wishes she could brew a potion for luck, but in the last year the Ministry banned individual production, as many witches and wizards have struggled with its addictive properties. She puts the last fairy on the tree, hopeful that she’s restored some sort of balance and her streak has run its course. She uses her wand to levitate a golden owl to the top. She dances around the drawing room in an over-sized jumper, one of her dad’s discarded ones, with great woolly knee socks. She sways to “Rock Around the Christmas Tree” and sips her third glass of Chardonnay. Her merry party for one is interrupted by a disembodied head in in the floo.

“Wotcher, Rose!” It’s Fred and he looks like he’s good and pissed.

“Hey, Freddie! Come and join my party!” Rose uses her wand to turn up Brenda Lee on Freddie’s magically modified record player.

“That’s what I was about to say! I know you’re skipping the Ministry party tonight, so why not come out with me and my mates? We’re all heading to the Flint Industries corporate party now.”

“Have fun! I’m staying in tonight.”

“Rosie, you stay in every night. Great-great-Aunt Muriel stays up later than you do.”

Rose blushes. Her lack of a social life is a sore point in her friendship with Freddie.

“I promise if you come out, I’ll make it worth your while.” He sing-songs.

“How’s that, Freddie, are you going to buy me drinks at the open bar?” She chuckles at her own joke.

“Even better, I’ll share some of my Felix Felicis stash!” He says in a stage whisper.

Rose’s interest piques. She’s normally not a risk taker, but she’d die to take a shot of it before her next performance review in February.

“Put your best frock on and floo over to Goldberg’s Hotel in Hogsmeade. We’re in the Silver Ballroom!” Freddie smiles and then his head disappears as he terminates the floo call.

***


Rose sobers up enough to floo over to the hotel lobby. She only stumbles out of the fireplace slightly, but her landing is better than she could have hoped for--she’s still a little tipsy and she’s wearing her highest heels. She tugs at her dress, a cranberry satin dress she bought for Albus’s wedding three years ago. It’s a little snug on top and more fitted through the hips than she remembers. Rose has always been slender, but she thinks maybe her poor eating habits and aging metabolism are finally catching up with her.

Rose hears someone cat call her and she’s positive her cheeks match her dress. She turns and sees Freddie with a gaggle of witches following him.

“Where are all your mates?” She smirks at him.

“They went inside already. Too threatened by my way with the ladies.”

“More like they don’t like playing with you because you haven’t learned to share.” Rose nods hello to the girls, but doesn’t make conversation. She’s come to the conclusion that it’s best not to encourage them.

“Well, you saw me. I’ll go make a lap in the ballroom for posterity. You can put my share of the potion on the kitchen counter tomorrow.” Rose is about to walk off when her cousin catches her by the elbow.

“Actually, Rose, the potion is for tonight. I thought maybe you’d get lucky in there.” He points to the party inside and smiles lasciviously.

Rose fumes. “I’m not sure if I should be flattered that you care so much or be disgusted that my own cousin is trying to get me to hook up with some random--”

“--I didn’t say anything about random! I promise you know a few wizards in there.” He hands her a small vial.

Rose wraps her hand around it tightly. She stares at the luck potion as her cousin watches her intently. She desperately wants to save it, but there is no way Freddie will compromise. Defeated, Rose removes the stopper and drinks the potion. It’s a small dose, she thinks, probably only enough to keep her from tripping over her own feet, taking some other witches cloak home, and generally embarrassing herself in front of a large crowd. She rolls her eyes and stalks off into the ballroom, ignoring Freddie’s laughter.

***


The ballroom is decorated in silver and blue and looks magnificent, almost as beautiful as Hogwarts at wintertime. The ceiling is charmed and the stars twinkle overhead. Couples are dancing to a Celestina Warbeck cover artist. The air smells like a mixture of gingerbread and marshmallows. A waiter passes by with a tray of drinks. Rose grabs one and sips the red currant rum as she walks leisurely around the perimeter of the ballroom. As she nears a display of sweets she feels a pair of eyes trained on her. She looks over her shoulder and notices a figure hovering close by. She recognizes him immediately.

“What are you doing skulking in the shadows, Scorpius?”

“I wasn’t skulking. I was just minding my own business three paces behind and to the left of you.”

“You were skulking.” Rose smiles.

“You looked transfixed, I didn’t want to bug you.”

“You always bug me.” Rose tries to keep a straight face, but finds she can’t hide her grin. She laughs out loud.

Rose and Scorpius work on the same floor at the Ministry and make it a habit to take the mickey out of each other whenever their paths cross.

“I thought you’d be at the Ministry party.” Scorpius states in in patented dry voice.

“I skipped this year. Had a better offer.” Rose answers him cheekily.

“Are you somebody’s date here?”

“Jealous much?” Rose giggles. “No, I stayed in with a tin of biscuits and put up my tree. Freddie called me a half hour ago and bribed me to meet him out here.”

“Was it worth it?” Scorpius stands up straight and looks at her in the eyes.

Rose feels a shiver run down her spine. “Too early to tell.” She arches her eyebrow. “What about you? Why didn’t you go to the Ministry party?”

Scorpius sighs. “Honestly? The party is always so depressing that I end up going home and eating my weight in chocolate.”

Rose nods her head in agreement. “How’d you snag an invitation to this swanky event?”

“I move in swanky circles, what can I say?” Scorpius brags.

Rose laughs with Scorpius, and for the first time not directly at him. She has to admit that it’s a pleasant change of pace.

“You clean up nice.” She admires his well-cut dress robes.

“You too.” He apprises her clingy cocktail dress.

Rose could swear that Scorpius is blushing, which is absurd, because he’s always perfectly nonplussed whenever she teases him at work.

“Do you want to dance?”

Normally Rose would say no, because her two left feet make for a lethal combination on the dance floor, but with the Felix Felicis coursing through her system she can’t see the harm.

“Sure, thanks.” She puts her hand in his and they take a spot on the dance floor.

The singer belts out “You Charmed the Heart Right Out of Me.” They sway in time to the music and continue their easy banter. When the conversation gets too serious, one of them takes the piss out of the other. It is the best time Rose has had in a long time. With the aid of the potion, Rose doesn’t worry about awkward lulls or stomping on Scorpius’s shiny shoes.

“How is work going in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office?” Rose inquires once the singer ends her set and puts on a Merton Graves cello album.

“Alright. I really enjoy it. So far we haven’t had anything too crazy to deal with this winter, but after Christmas we get really busy.”

“I’ll bet... Well, I’m glad things are going well for you.” Rose tries to hide the bitterness in her voice.

“I know you were upset that you didn’t get promoted last year, Rose. Your boss is a git. Please tell me that come the New Year you’re going to seriously reevaluate your career goals.”

“That and my haircut.” She can’t help but be self-deprecating.

“But you wear frizz so well.”

Rose laughs again and forgets all about being depressed about her job. “You know you like it. Don’t lie.”

“You’re right,” Scorpius is too caught up in the moment to notice what he’s really saying, “I really do!”

The Celestina Warbeck cover artist returns to the stage and starts singing the American Muggle tune “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe.” Scorpius picks up the pace and varies his steps. Rose follows his lead and they do a two-step to the country and western song. To her surprise he spins her around a few times and then dips her. Rose squeals as she tosses her head back.

When Scorpius rights her she sees bundles of mistletoe dangling from the ceiling. Couples all around the room clap and cheer. Soon, couples snog passionately, and even groups of friends exchange pecks on the cheek.

Rose puts her arms around Scorpius’s neck and tilts her head. She doesn’t wait for him, this time she leads by kissing him soundly on the mouth. As first kisses go, this one is spectacular. Scorpius’s lips on hers feel all at once like fireworks, Christmas morning, and a thousand Fizzing Whizbees in her stomach.

Scorpius pulls back after a few moments. “Happy Christmas, Rose.” Scorpius beams at her, reflecting in his eyes everything Rose feels in her heart.

Her feelings for him have been there for years, but she has always been too unwilling or too scared to really examine their flirtatious friendship. That was the beauty of the Felix Felicis potion--it might have stacked the odds in Rose’s favor, but she still had to take a chance before she could really win.
 
 
 
drcjsniderdrcjsnider on December 26th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
Oh this is definitely sweet... I adore flirty Rose and Scorpius and love you putting Rose as sharing a flat with Freddy... a nice change of pace from the usual :)
Angie: writing.readingxxx_angelin_xxx on December 27th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
This is so sweet! Great idea using the Felix Felicis! And I really like Scorpius in this fic:)
mollywheezy: scorpius and rosemollywheezy on December 27th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! I absolutely adored the story. I loved your set-up of Rose's quiet evening at home and her dissatisfaction with her life. Yay that she lives with Freddie--that's one I haven't seen before and really liked it, and liked their friendship. Rose and Scorpius' banter was just perfect. Wonderful description of their first kiss. :D Your last sentence was wonderful--I love that take on things, it's so very true. Thanks again for a wonderful story!! :D
rose_starrrose_starr on December 28th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC)
This is tons of fun! I love Rose's relationship with Freddie [and his cockiness is fabulous] and how he bribes her to get out [and I giggled profusely at that line about Great-Auntie Muriel]. Of course, I love that she and Scorpius end up dancing and enjoying themselves and that she has the courage - and the good luck - to kiss him in the end!!
missdaganemissdagane on January 4th, 2011 08:13 am (UTC)
She collected fairies. I love that one. And i love the way you portray her and her relation with her cousin.