After Slytherin had beat Hufflepuff in the first game of the season, Scorpius and Hazel started speaking to each other again. I was relived. It wash very uncomfortable to sit with the two twins as they sat glowering at each other from across the Slytherin table.
It was the day we left for Christmas vacation, and the magical roof of the Great Hall was a clear light grey, broken only by the heavy falling of snow and the light shadows of owls as they came into the castle to deliver today’s last-minute mail.
I stared at the two Malfoys, who were out of place in the Hall of widely excited students. Their demeanor was sullen, and their grey eyes looked like the weather outside.
“What wrong?” I asked. “It’s almost Christmas vacation! Isn’t that something to be happy about?”
Scorpius looked at me and fingered the black and yellow Hufflepuff scarf around his neck.
“It’s not exactly Christmas itself,” he began, but Hazel beat him to explaining.
“Our grandparents are really mad at us. First, Scorpius, because he’s in Hufflepuff, and me, because I’m friends with a Potter.”
“You told them?” I said. “How come you didn’t get a Howler?”
“I did,” she said. “But it was delivered to my dormitory.”
“Because they didn’t want to humiliate their almost-perfect granddaughter,” Scorpius said. He glanced at his sister. “Sorry, but it is true. You know how all they wanted was us to get into Slytherin.”
“True,” said Hazel. “But I never heard it. Apparently the spell “Reducto” makes Howlers explode. They leave a nasty spell though. My housemates still think that someone put a Dungbomb in our house.”
I snorted, and jumped backwards as two owls arrived on our table. Accio, the Malfoy’s owl misjudged the slipperiness of the Slytherin table, and skidded into a platter of potatoes. The other Slytherins laughed at the bedraggled owl, and Scorpius reached over two other first-years to pick him up.
My Mum’s owl, which she used mostly for work, handed me a rolled up letter and waited while I read it. He had been trained to wait for an order to leave or to be given another letter to deliver. Daily Prophet Quidditch reporters had to have fast and efficient owls.
I unrolled the scroll, and watched as the owl flew back to my brother, handing him a similar one.
Your father is off in Australia right now, investigating the area for a band of wizards who think it’s funny to give people the Draught of Living Death instead of a cough potion. Anyway, he won’t be back at home until after Christmas vacation. I have also been called abroad, to America, where all of the Quidditch corespondents and big players are meeting. I too, will have to be there for the entire break.
You and your brother have been invited to Ron and Hermione’s to spend the break, but it is entirely up to you. Your father and I give our permission to spend Christmas with anyone you want, providing that their parents give permission.
We’ll be sending your presents through the Daily Prophet’s Owl Order service,
“You can’t go home for Christmas vacation?” said Hazel. Her long blond hair whipped me across the face as she stood up. “That’s tough.”
I looked at her. “Hazel, you can’t read my mail! What if it had something private in it?”
“It didn’t,” she said, sitting back down at her table. Her green and silver tie dangled over the plate of hash, and she shoveled it in hungrily.
I sighed and looked around at my surroundings. I didn’t want to spend my holiday at Hogwarts, that’s why it was a holiday from school. As for going to Uncle Ron’s… I looked behind me at Rose. She was being a brat after Hazel and I became friends, and I didn’t want to be locked up in the same house as her. That left only one other possibility.
I turned back to my own table as Scorpius finished reading his letter from Accio, their owl.
“What does it say?” I asked.
“Just that they are expecting us to be at platform 9 3/4 today, or they’ll come here and drag us to Malfoy Manor,” Hazel reported, snatching the paper from Scorpius’s hands.
“Um…” I looked at the two twins. “Can you write them and ask if I can stay at Malfoy Manor for Christmas vacation?”`
Their mouths dropped open. I doubted that nothing I could ever say would surprise them more.
“To Malfoy Manor?” Scorpius said, articulating each word like I had suddenly gone draft. “To spend Christmas with our family— with the Malfoys.”
“Please!” I pleaded. “I don’t want to be all alone at Hogwarts and I refuse to go with my cousin and brother to the Weasleys.”
Hazel and Scorpius looked at each other, then Hazel grabbed Accio gently and set him down on the table. The small owl cocked his head at her as she scribbled some words on the back of their letter.
She handed it to him and said,” to Mum and Dad, okay. Make sure that they get it before noon, and send you before noon as well. Hurry.”
Accio nodded and took the crumbled piece of paper in his beak. He flapped once, twice, and soared into the air, where he ascended over the students and disappeared into the cold, snowy world outside.
“Thank you,” I said.
Scorpius looked at me sadly. “You might not think that once you meet Lucias and Narcissa.”
The three of us continued eating our breakfast, but as I shoveled eggs into my mouth, I realized that all of the bravery that the Sorting Hat saw in my, the bravery that made me be placed in Gryffindor, would have to make an appearance before Christmas break was over.