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Story Notes:
Winter is a bad time to die. The air is cold, and the ground is probably harder than other times of the year. Scorpius isn’t completely sure about the consistency of the dirt during different seasons, since he’s never actually analyzed it, but it seems plausible. Even if he’s wrong, he doesn’t want to die in December. It isn’t even Christmas yet, and he knows that his parents have finally bought him something other than books and clothes.

Of course, knowing his father, it’s probably a ludicrous gift that is ‘very traditional’, which means he’ll have to fake enthusiasm and feign interest in yet another lengthy conversation where his father tries to subtly manipulate him into stopping his relationship. Well, his father thinks it’s subtle, but Scorpius has seen through it since he was eleven. The sound of a throat clearing draws his attention back to the man staring at him.

Right. Death. Winter. Not Christmas gifts, but surviving this meeting. That’s what he needs to focus on. Here he is, nineteen years old and being distracted from imminent death by thoughts of shiny gifts. Even if Mr. Weasley hasn’t tried to kill him in the two years since he started dating Rose, he knows it’s because he’s avoided being alone with the man. Big scary aurors with bad tempers and protective streaks aren’t really anyone he feels like sharing a pint with, especially when he’s involved with said scary auror’s daughter.

Mr. Weasley looks just as unhappy to be here with him, which is almost comforting. If he has to be awkward and scared, then it’s only fair that Rose’s father feel weird, too. Of course, Rose’s father just glares a lot and looks at him silently, successfully managing to intimidate him without any threats at all, not that he’ll tell his father that because he’d never hear the end of how Malfoys don’t let Weasleys frighten them. Most Weasleys don’t, but Rose’s father does. It doesn’t make him weak and pathetic. It just means Scorpius has a finely honed survival instinct.

He can see where Rose has inherited her scowl from, though her father’s is much scarier. When Rose scowls, he just has an impulse to kiss her. When her father does, his impulse is to run for his life, which is actually fortunate since he has no interest in thinking about kissing and Rose’s father in the same mental image. At least her mother is nice to him. He always feel welcome here whenever her mother greets him.

“You, uh, your wife looks very nice tonight,” he stammers finally. The silence has become even more awkward now that he suspects Rose’s father plans to kill him. Will Rose mourn him? Or will that prat Colm McLaggen start in before Scorpius is even buried? He frowns at that thought and decides that he’s going to speak with his father about painful hexes that can’t be traced back to him because McLaggen needs a reminder that Rose isn’t single. But if he dies at her father’s hands, she will be, which means he has to survive.

Rose’s father scowls even more when Scorpius compliments her mum, which means he’s obviously buggered up something. None of his mother’s many etiquette lessons dealt with facing an angry Weasley who resents his daughter’s relationship with a handsome, charming Ravenclaw. He can choose the proper fork for salad, but he can’t deal with his girlfriend’s father, so those lessons were as pointless as he always claimed.

“My wife always looks good.” Weasley glares at him as if daring him to reply, but Scorpius isn’t stupid. Well, not often, and certainly not when he’s fearful for his life.

“Rose takes after her,” he says, unable to keep his lips from twisting into the rather silly grin that generally appears whenever he thinks about Rose.

“You look ridiculous,” Rose’s father mutters. Before Scorpius can defend himself, not that he probably will since it might mean an earlier death, Rose’s mum comes into the room.

“Dinner is almost ready. Ron, go wash up and tell Hugo to get downstairs,” she says in a bossy tone that is almost exactly like Rose’s. She looks at him and smiles. “Rose will be right out.”

When he looks at Rose’s father, he’s smiling as he watches his wife walk back to the kitchen. He looks at Scorpius and the silly smile turns sheepish. “Those women always know how to make us look foolish,” he confides before he stands up. He claps a hand on Scorpius’ shoulder and squeezes. Hard. “As long as you keep looking that way when you think about her, we won’t have a problem.”

“Understood,” Scorpius says quickly. When Rose’s father goes upstairs, he rubs his face and slowly smiles. Maybe he won’t have to worry about dying tonight, after all.