So, this was supposed to be like, a short oneshot. Really short, no more than 1k words.
Obviously, the characters had a mind of their own and took the story out of my hands. Honest.
Still, I like how it turned out.
It's kind of angsty, some parts as angsty as a kid can be. You'll see why.
So! Anyway, hope you like it!
(post-dh, epiloque compliant… sort of // In which Rose learns about whole truths, truths, half-truths and lies. She also learns there's more to being a grown-up than jobs and marriages and children. Just like there's more to her Mum's apparently broken relationship with Uncle Harry.)
16.00 May 21st, 2006 - The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole.
Her Mum always says, mostly in jest, that she is too smart for her own good.
But when not speaking in jest, she always tells her that there is a reason why people say ignorance is bliss.
Only, Rose likes to know, likes to learn; she absolutely hates when people withholds the truth simply because they think her too young to understand. So, yeah, maybe she won't understand everything, but doesn't she deserve a chance to at least try?
She thinks so.
She dislikes people who dismiss her for being a child, she disliked it even more when those people are supposed to support her instead of make fun of her. Like her Father; Rose doesn't like him much, and she knows he feels the same, even if he won't admit it.
But Rose can feels it, in a way only children the world over can feel when they're not wanted.
Her Father doesn't say it, not to her face and not to anyone but her Mum. But he does say she's too much like her Mum and Rose knows her Father doesn't seem to like her Mum much. Some days, he almost seems to hate her. Rose has wondered why and she's asked why too, but her Mum smiles sadly and says nothing. Her Uncle Harry answers, but not really; he says one day she would understand and explains why she can't understand now. When she's older he says, and then she asks how older, Uncle Harry laughs and kissed her forehead before sending her off to play with her cousins.
She likes Uncle Harry a lot, much more than her other Uncles and much, much more than her Father. Sometimes, that makes her feel guilty, because she remembers her cousins and friends talk about their own daddies and Rose never joins-Rose wonders why she can never call her Father daddy, but in the end doesn't care, because her Father doesn't call her any of the sweet names her Uncles call their daughters.
Besides, she thinks, she ought to dislike those who make her Mum cry, and Father seems to make her cry a lot. Uncle Harry never makes her cry, and when she does cry when he visits, he always hugs her and makes her smile in the end.
That makes her wonder too, her Mum and Uncle Harry. The whole family seems to think they don't like each other anymore, as they barely ever talk when they're all at Family meetings, but Rose knows that's not true, because they share looks and, when no one is looking, smiles. They do like each other, but they hide it and Rose doesn't understand why.
Her cousin Al knows it too, because he told her once, when he caught them. So now, it's a secret they share and Rose can't help but smile along with him when her Mum and his Dad have those moments. It's their secret. Hers and Al's and Mum's and Uncle Harry's.
Al is her favourite cousin. Okay, yeah, she like all her cousins, some more than others (like Fred and Victoire for example), but she likes Al the best. He's her same age, he's almost as smart as she is, even if sometimes he doesn't shows it (he can be very childish, honestly), and they were born within a day of each other, like Uncle Harry and Uncle Neville! But most of all, Rose feels a sort of connection with him.
Maybe, she thinks, maybe it's because they actually grew up together, or as together as they could considering they live in different houses. Which is still pretty together, because they're neighbours as well.
Of course not everyone likes that they're so close, but Rose doesn't know why and the grown-ups who tell her to stop spending all her time with Al refuse to tell her. Her Mum and Uncle Harry are happy about it, and they both say so all the time, so she and Al see no reason to stop being close.
Grandma Weasley used to complain about it all the time until this one day Uncle Harry got pretty mad, then she stopped and now she simply looks at them and shakes her head. Sometimes she almost looks sad. Grandpa Weasley never complained but he never supported them either, he too looks at them sadly, but never explained why, even when she asked. And when she insisted enough, they would both say everything is fine even when it clearly isn't.
Rose really dislikes when grown-ups lie to her.
Her Father and Aunt Ginny are the only two adults that complain about it, even still, from time to time, but never when she and Al are around, or when Mum and Uncle Harry are around.
Tapping her knee absentmindedly, Rose looks across the yard towards the house-The Burrow. Most of the adults are mingling outside, but her Mum is not there, neither is Uncle Harry. Wherever they are, Rose hopes they're enjoying their day, they certainly deserve it.
Moving her gaze up, she catches sight of a bunch of red-haired kids flying about-except for the one black-haired boy. She finds it amusing, how many red-haired Weasleys there are, even when the Mums of most of them are not. Rose tugs on a strand of her own red hair, frowns, and then shakes her head.
Not the same.
Looking up again, her eyes find one red-haired Weasley in particular. She frowns again.
Sometimes Grandma and Grandpa Weasley tell her to try and get closer to Hugo, say he's her brother and they should be close, like her cousins and Uncles and Aunt-like she and Al. Sometimes Rose wants to call them liars, because she knows Hugo isn't her real brother. Yeah, she was small when Father brought him to their house, but not that small that she doesn't know. Her Mum's tummy never grew like her Aunts' and she never went to St. Mungo's before Hugo came, so she knows he can't be her brother. But then he does look like Father and Rose doesn't know what to think in the end, but a part of her knows she's right, just doesn't know why.
Sometimes she wants to tell them she knows Hugo is not her Mum's son, but in the end she doesn't because it doesn't matter. She doesn't like much Hugo and he doesn't like her, so even if she tries to get close to him he will say something mean and walk away.
It saddens her a little, because she had wanted to be close to him at first, when he just arrived, but then he always yelled at her Mum, and then he started being mean to her for wanting to learn new things and she just stopped trying.
Rose sighs, and briefly thinks her Mum is right when saying she should try to act more her age, but she pouts and shakes her head. It's not her fault she's so curious, so eager to learn so much so fast. She smiles when he thinks of Uncle Harry saying her Mum used to be just like her when he met her.
Sighing one last time, Rose decides to stop thinking too much for now and focus on the Quidditch match happening up above her. Al is playing and she did promise to cheer his team on.
Angelina doesn't say anything when he excuses himself, citing pending business; she looks on solemnly.
George has been thinking of doing this for years now, but never really got the chance. Well, actually, every time he discussed it with the family his Mother would scream no and then sob and beg him to let things go, saying, wrongly, that everything would sort itself out.
It hasn't, and he's been an idiot to let things go on like this for so long.
Sometimes he wonders what would Fred do in a situation like this, but then, he knows what (Fred would've stopped this mess from the beginning) and he's ashamed to admit he never really had quite the same conviction as his twin brother.
Fred was always the braver one.
If only a little.
Spotting his objective not too far, George spares one last looks over his shoulder, taking in the merry sight of his family-merry for any outsider, because the tension, the awkwardness, the anger is still there shimmering under the surface and waiting to be let out.
He shakes his head, and makes an effort to add a spring to his walk, pasting a happy grin on his face and enjoying the fact that he will most likely shock his objective senseless.
"There you are!"
Ah, yes, he definitely shocks them senseless.
"Wha'up, birthday girl?"
Rose looks at the man who sits next to her, stares, and then rolls her eyes, not even attempting to stop the giggle trying to escape. "Uncle George. The American accent doesn't suit you, and I'm certain Aunt Angelina has told you that repeatedly."
Uncle George stares and then breaks down, laughing so hard it makes him look silly. When he stops, due to lack of air, he shoots her a mischievous grin. "So, how old are you exactly?"
"Six," says Rose primly, her stern expression dissolves into a pout when her Uncle George starts giggling.
"Really, you don't look it."
Uncle George grins again as he ruffles her hair, making her pout some more.
He laughs again before settling down, finally. Rose returns to dividing her time between staring at the game and staring off into nothingness. Her Uncle George, though, picks up on her less-than-merry mood and bumps her shoulder with his arm to get her attention.
"How come you're not cheering Al? You promised, you know, and it is his birthday too."
"I know, and his birthday was yesterday, we're just celebrating it together. And it's just… He actually came to ask me that a little while ago, but… I dunno." Rose frowns slightly before looking over to where the rest of the family is. "Will I be like them?"
She sighs and looks at Uncle George, wiling him to understand. "Will I be like them when I grow up? Will I turn out like them?"
Her Uncle George is smart, she knows, but it seems he doesn't know what to say, so she helps him understand better.
That shocks him, for sure. "Rose?"
"I don't want to grow up to be a liar. But it seems it'll happen, I mean… everyone in our family is one," says Rose, pausing for a moment to looks at the apparently happy gathering. "Look at them, they all pretend everything is alright when it's not. I just don't know why. Why lie?"
Uncle George looks at her for a long time and then he takes a deep breath, letting out a shaky laugh. "You know you're too smart for your own good, right?"
She smiles a little, not really feeling it. "Yeah, my Mum says that all the time. Uncle Harry, too."
Uncle George nods. "So, everybody lies, uh?"
"Even your Mum, and Harry? Me?"
Rose shifts uncomfortably where she sits, thinking over how to answer that question without hurting his feelings, but in the end decides to be honest. "Well, Uncle Harry… it's not so much that he lies, it's… that he never says the whole truth. It's always a half-truth and the promise to explain everything when I'm older. You and Mum are different, Uncle George, you say nothing. You keep silent. And that's…"
"Lying by omission."
The little red-haired girl shrugs.
"The truth, Rose…" Uncle George stops and grins weakly at her stern glare. "Well, part of the truth is that the problem really is complicated. Honestly, it's not something a child would understand, even one as smart as you."
"But don't you think I deserve the chance to at least try?"
"Maybe," he says. Uncle George leans down to kiss the top of her head. "The thing is, parents are supposed to do anything they can to protect their children. And the whole truth about this complicated situation will hurt you and everyone else, Rose."
"But if you lie to protect someone, they should be happy, until they find out the truth, right?"
"Then why is everyone hurting now?"
12.00 May 25th, 2006 - WWW, Diagon Ally, London.
George knows, this problem could've been stopped from the beginning if they hadn't let their Mother dictate their lives.
Usually, George would have revelled against the thought, but a year is not enough to stop the pain of losing his twin brother, so he'd been otherwise occupied with his own problems to see what was happening.
Bill had, and he had tried to tell their Mum, stop this disaster from happening, but their Mother is a force to be reckoned; she knows them better than anyone and knows exactly what to say to guilt them into doing what she wants (it's why they were all desperate to leave the Burrow as soon as possible). And then Fleur had fallen pregnant again, and his eldest brother was once again busy with his own family.
"Tell me something, Rose."
It had been a week before Ron and Hermione's Wedding, and three weeks after Harry and Ginny's, when he realized the problem. Ginny had announced her pregnancy, nervously and that at first went unnoticed, but half-way through the excited yells and chatter, Harry had, coldly and calmly, asked who had done the honours as it certainly hadn't been him.
Outrage broke loose, but Harry hadn't reacted, just stared at Ginny and George remembers the sad disappointment when he'd realized his sister wasn't denying anything and simply avoided everyone's gaze. Their Mother had angrily demanded an apology, and when Harry refused and told her to prove him wrong, she did a Charm to ascertain the paternity of Ginny's unborn child.
Mother had fallen silent very quickly after that.
He remembers Harry storming out after promising Hermione to be at her Wedding, he also remembers Hermione running after him and Ron seething in the background.
"Would you like to go live with Harry?"
"I don't want to leave my Mum alone…"
"And if she went away with you and Harry, to live happily ever after?"
"Uncle Harry wouldn't leave Al behind."
It'd been the first time when all the Weasley boys, minus Ron, had tried to talk some sense into Mother, but she'd proved to be more stubborn than normal-assuring them that everything would turn out fine.
Everything will be fine. George had hated that when he was a child. It's the classic lie grown-ups tell. One he'd promised never to use when his son was born.
But he's using it now. They're all using it now, and in the process they're hurting their own family to maintain a perfect charade that's one word away from falling apart. And the worst part is, the lie's not even working anymore.
It's no wonder Rose spent her birthday sulking under a tree.
George chuckles lightly. That girl really is too smart for her own good.
"And if Harry takes Al with him as well, and he asks you and Hermione to go away and live happily ever after? Would you like that?
"I… I don't think I'm supposed to like that… It would make Father more angry…"
"Forget about him. Ron's an idiot, and he's miserable because he wants to be. Don't you agree?"
"…I don't think I'm supposed to agree with you, Uncle George…"
The problem had only gotten worse after Ron and Hermione came back from their Honeymoon-after Hermione said she was pregnant. It had been Ron's turn then, again instigating a round of screams and anger, when he said the baby wasn't his and that he wasn't going to tolerate a cheating wife. Only Hermione hadn't backed down, hadn't stayed silent, like Ginny, as she retorted, just a angrily, that she had not committed adultery because she was not married.
That bombshell had shut them all up, including their Mother.
Hermione then had proceeded to explain, calmly mind you, that she and Ron never consummated their marriage because Ron had stormed out on their Wedding night. And before anyone could argue that they could still consummate after the Wedding night, Hermione had turned her hand, finger pointing to the floor, and they all saw clearly how her wedding band slid easily of her finger.
The meaning of it was, and still is, very clear.
The Wedding Ceremony, and its corresponding Ritual, had never been completed, otherwise that Ring would have never left its place. It's why there are no immediate Divorces in the Wizarding World. They couple had to wait seven years, during which they couldn't share anything but the house where they lived in, before they could go their separate ways. Seven years with no contact whatsoever, so the Binding Ritual can be broken.
Only the seven years applied to couples that did complete the Bonding, even if one, or both, later broke the Sacred Vows.
Like Harry and Ginny.
Ron and Hermione never completed the Bonding, so they had no reason to remain together.
But, and here George can't help but laugh, albeit sadly, their Mother is an incredibly stubborn woman. Incredibly cunning, too. And really, he marvels at the thought, his Mother can be as sneaky as the best Slytherin to get what she wants. And she wants their youngest children with their current partner (and he's using that word loosely), wants them to stay together, not really caring that they're all miserable.
It's nothing short of a genius, the way she manipulated them into remaining together. Why else would Hermione be living under the same roof as Ron, when she barely tolerates him now?
A sudden sickness, a quiet word in private with each of them, and here they are, seven years later, all four of them pretending, being miserable, all for the sake of Mother's dream of having One Big Happy Weasley Family.
"You never answered my question, Rose."
"You never answered mine."
"Ah, well. I hoped you'd forgotten that."
The thing, now, is that the misery has gone beyond those four now. The whole family is hurting, he knows. And Rose is right, a lie is useless if the pain one wanted to avoid is already there. George doesn't care what his Mother says anymore, there are children suffering now. Their children.
It has to stop.
It should have stopped when Hermione went into labour, but it didn't.
With Al being born that very same day, and Rose coming into the world the day after… Mother became even more stubborn to maintain the status quo. The babies needed both their parents, she had said. They babied had both their parents, for the past seven years, and also…
George frowns, correctly guessing this whole business is about to explode in epic proportions. He also knows it's going to be because of him, but he's tired. Really tired of this.
Rose deserves to be completely happy. Hermione, Harry and Al. Hell, even Ron, Ginny, Hugo and John (Ginny's son). The whole family deserves to be happy and free.
Knowing his workers can manage one day without him, he goes into the flat upstairs and walks quickly to the fireplace. Activating the Floo, George wastes no time.
"Hey, Kingsley, sorry to bother you. But I really need a favour. It's really important."
10.00 July 1st, 2006 - The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole.
The sudden reunion is unexpected.
Rose knows this because her Mum looks confused and worried. Al just looks a surprised as she feels. And everyone else looks somewhere between confused and worried, or both.
Except Uncle Harry. He looks like a statue.
But then, Rose thinks, he always looks like that when the family is together. He only shows how he feels when he's with Mum, alone, or when they share those looks and smiles. He never says why he's like this, though, and she's asked about it a lot.
"So, tell me, Rose, would you like it?"
"It would be better than living with Father; at least Uncle Harry makes Mum happy. And I like Al better than Hugo."
"But your Mum and Harry don't like each other."
"…They do… They like like each other… it's their secret…"
When Uncle George arrives, he greets them but doesn't smile. He's not happy, he's angry and it shows in the way he clenches his fist. Rose can recognize this, because Father does it all the time.
Grandma Weasley tries to pull him aside first, but Uncle George stays where he stands and asks the kids to go play outside. He gives her a pointed glance, and suddenly Rose knows that whatever this is, it has to do with the talk they had during hers and Al's birthday party.
She crosses her arms, and remains sitting stubbornly. It almost gets a smile out of the grown-ups, but her Mum urges her gently to move. She doesn't and Al shows his support by not moving as well. But then Uncle Harry is kneeling in front of them, grabbing each by one shoulder and tells them softly to do as her Mum says. He gives them a look, one Rose recognised as his unspoken promise to tell them everything.
"I promise not to say anything."
"Their secret. I know and Al knows too, but no one else. When Father has to travel, and he leaves Hugo here at the Burrow… Uncle Harry comes to visit, almost every day, sometimes he even brings Al over…"
"He doesn't stay the night, but he stay until very late. They mostly talk, or sit quietly and hug, but one night… A few months ago, I woke up and went to the bathroom, and when I was going back to my room…"
"I saw them kissing, they were standing by the front door, and they were kissing…"
Rose nods and walks out, Al follows her and once the door is closed he takes her hand and leads her to sit under their tree. She knows Al will try to cheer her up, it is amazing that he can tell, always, when she sad about something; even more amazing is that she can do the same when he's sad. It's their special connection. But it sometimes fails because, and this is the most amazing part, when he's trying to cheer her up and he's sad, he doesn't do a good job.
So, he tries and fails, and she smiles still and hugs him to tell him she's glad he tried, and then they both sit quietly under the tree, watching as the rest of the Weasley kids play unconcerned.
Sometimes, Rose wishes she were less smart, less curious, but then shakes her head and berates herself for thinking silly things and is glad Al is like her, so at least she's not alone.
There's a crashing sound, coming from the Burrow, but it's not loud enough to stop the happy game of her cousins. It loud enough that she and Al hear it and they both look in worry at the rickety house.
Then it's just silence again.
Al tells her his Dad is planning a vacation soon, probably after his birthday. He says he wishes she and her Mum would be able to go with them. Like last year. And the year before that. But last year Grandma and Grandpa Granger went with them, too, and it was fun. Because Grandma and Grandpa Granger don't care if she and Al are close, they think it's great.
Rose agrees with him, but says it will depend on her Father going away with Hugo. Mostly anyway. She hopes her Father leaves, so her Mum won't have to fight him over it. Her Father doesn't like it when her Mum takes her to see her Grandma and Grandpa Granger, says muggles are boring and that she shouldn't like it.
Her Mum always tells him to shut up. But once she didn't, the first time, and Rose remembers telling him that he's the boring one and that he's also stupid and that going to Grandma and Grandpa Granger's house is the best. Better than the Burrow, she remembers saying, because no one pretends there, because they're really happy.
She remembers her Mum calling Kreacher, Uncle Harry's house-elf, and telling him to take her to Uncle Harry, right before her Father starts screaming something awful but Kreacher is not fast enough and Rose remembers feeling afraid for her Mum. That fight is huge, and the only one Uncle Harry gets in the middle of.
The scream that breaks the silence is shocking and loud enough to stop any and all games.
"THAT'S ENOUGH, MOTHER!"
She and Al stand up quickly, going over to their cousins. They all wait for something bad to happen, because that had been Uncle George and if he is angry it's because something really bad happened.
The door to the kitchen slams open and Uncle George is there, calling them over. But Grandma Weasley screams no, and then shuts up when Uncle George tells her something before turning to them and says to hurry.
No one moves for a second, the all her cousins run to the house.
Rose and Al are the last to go.
"That doesn't mean the like like each other, Rose. Friends… sometimes they kiss when they stop fighting over something."
"Mum was covered with a blanket."
"So, maybe she was cold?"
"Her clothes were on the floor. And Uncle Harry didn't have his shirt on."
"I asked Grandma and Grandpa Granger about it, but they didn't want to tell me at first. I insisted enough that they did in the end."
"And what did they say?"
"Grown-ups do that. When two grown-ups like like each other they cuddle, in the nude. That's what they said. So, you see, Mum and Uncle Harry do like like each other, because the cuddle."
"Well… If they… cuddle, then… I guess you're right."
"You can't tell anyone. You can't."
Rose goes straight to her Mum the moment she enter the sitting room. She's been crying and Rose knows a hug will help, so that's what she does. It's until her Mum smiles and kisses her forehead and tells her she's fine now that Rose realizes Uncle Harry is standing next the chair her Mum is sitting on, grasping her shoulder. This action is surprising because it's never happened before. Uncle Harry has never touched her Mum in front of the family before.
It's always in secret.
Al nudges her shoulder and sends her a questioning glace, she shrugs in response. They both ignore the way everyone stares at them, because then her Mum brings Al close to her and kisses his forehead as well.
Grandma Weasley starts crying.
Rose turns around and looks up at Uncle George. Al doesn't move because her Mum is hugging him now and doesn't seem like she'll let go. She feels a reassuring hand on her shoulder and knows it's Uncle Harry's. She wants to turn and smile at him, but her eyes are glued to the papers Uncle George has in his hands, the papers he's handing to her.
Grandma Weasley cries louder and begs Uncle George not to do it, and then her Father takes a step closer, looking angry, but Rose is fast and snatches the papers out of Uncle George hand and moves to stand behind Uncle Harry. Her Father stops and glares. Everyone is suddenly silent. Her mum finally releases Al and he stands next to her, looking curiously at the papers clutched in her hands.
But Rose still looks at Uncle George, until he smiles a little and nods.
"No more lies, Rose."
She looks at the papers then.
"These are Birth Certificates," she says.
Grandma Weasley tries to get close, but Uncle George doesn't let her. "Rose, darling, hand them over to Grandma. I'll fix this, just give them to me."
He sighs and looks at Grandpa Weasley, who nods, and grabs Grandma Weasley's arms, pulling her back. She cries again.
"That is why," says Uncle George. "That's why everyone is hurting."
"Read it out loud. Both of them."
"Rose, darling, you don't have-"
"Mrs Weasley, just… please, shut up."
Her Mum's voice brings the much needed silence, obviously, because never before has her Mum spoken to Grandma Weasley. Never. Her Mum then takes her hand and gives it a little squeeze. Rose swallows and nods and turns her attention to the Certificates.
Her voice is soft, but clear, just as clear as her surprise once she starts reading.
Name: Rose Danielle Potter
Date of Birth: May 21st
Time of Birth: 00.47 hours.
Birth Mother: Hermione Jane Granger
"Harry James Potter."
It's as if waking up from a dream. Rose knows, intellectually, that it is expected, to read that name on paper, considering the her last name according to said paper. But still, saying out loud makes it more real, like she hadn't quite believed it when she read her own name until now.
Ignoring the gasps of her cousins and the sobs of Grandma Weasley, Rose hastily begins to read the other certificate.
Name: Alexander Sirius Potter
Date of Birth: May 20th
Time of Birth: 23.13 hours.
"Hermione Jane Granger…"
A whole day. That's what Grandma Weasley had said when she asked about hers and Al's birthdays. A whole day apart.
Another lie. Their birthdays are only ninety-four minutes apart.
Rose can't look up, can't face the grown-ups for fear of screaming some not-so-nice things to some of them. A lot of thing start to make sense now. Bit of converations, the prolongued silence after one of her questions, the lies.
The truths and half-truths.
Oh, she's so angry.
"So, you're my sister."
She looks up and finds a grinning Al standing in front of her. He's happy, she knows, and suddenly that's another thing that makes sense. Their connection. And when Al is happy, she finds it hard not to be happy too, so after a while she's grinning along with him.
"And you're my brother."
Her twin brother, if the Certificates are right. Rose's sure they are.
Grandma Weasley (and, is she still her Grandma?) starts denying it all. Rose can tell, from the looks on the gown-ups' faces, that they're either feeling pity or annoyance. In Uncle George's case, both.
Except Aunt Ginny and her Father-except, he's not her Father. Rose holds onto that thought almost desperately. He's not her Father; Ronald Weasley is not… but then.
Rose looks at her Mum, meets her serene gaze, and then looks up at Uncle Harry-only, he's not her Uncle but…
"We can go together now. We can go away on vacations together, and no one can get mad anymore." And it's obvious that, when Rose says we, she's not talking about the Weasleys.
Al grasps that fact and grabs her hands before happily turning them to… to… to their parents. "She's right, Dad! We can go all on vacation now, together, like we wanted! Because-because, you're her Dad! And-and…" Here, her black-haired brother turns to her-their Mum and smiles shyly. "And you're my Mum…"
Their Mum pulls him into her arms. And then, as Grandpa Granger would say, all Hell breaks loose.
But Rose is mostly oblivious to it, she's looking as her… Dad kneels in front of her.
"Would you like it if Harry were your Father?"
He smiles tentatively at her, and she smiles back just the same. "Can I hug you, Rose?"
"You hug me all the time."
"But it was as Uncle Harry before. I want to hug you as your Dad now."
She gives her answer by throwing herself into his open arms.
23.16 July 1st, 2006 - Granger Residence, Crawley.
The bedlam caused by his plan is disastrous, but necessary.
It hurts, still, knowing he's the reason his Mother is currently locked in her room, crying her soul out. But it's also with relief that George sees, finally, the end of this mess.
So, yes, his Mother is distraught, his Father torn between relief and anger at what happened, his siblings, those not directly affected by what happened are torn between sadness and relief. But it's Ron and Ginny the real problem. His main concern.
After Rose had accepted her Dad's request of a hug, Harry had stood up, his daughter still in his arms, and said he and his family were going to leave, as they obviously needed some time to discuss their situation. Then, he'd led Hermione and Al, the black-haired boy clinging to his Mum as tightly as Rose clung to Harry.
The following silence had only been broken by his Mother's anguished cries.
It was enough to make George snap.
"That's really enough, Mother."
"How could you, George? Our family will fall apart-"
"Our family already fell apart!"
"No, no! It was fine! Everything was fine, everything was-"
"Enough, Mum! It wasn't! We were all miserable! Even you and Dad!"
"Bill, Charlie, Percy and I… Didn't you notice how little time we spent here? How we made up excuses to miss dinner on Sunday?"
His Mother hadn't wanted to listen, but George had been relentless. Reminding her of how it had been years since the whole family spent the summer together at the Burrow, how their reunion had become an unavoidable duty of showing but for the necessary amount of time for birthdays and Christmas day. They didn't even have and Christmas Eve's Dinner anymore!
His Mother had tried to deny it, but then he'd dropped to his knees in front of her and grabber her trembling hands, finally catching her full attention.
"Enough, Mum. Please, you're hurting us. You're hurting Ron and Ginny. And soon, you'll start hurting your grandchildren."
"Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione… it was never meant to happen. You know that, Mum. So you have to stop pushing that dream down our throats, because all it did was make us miserable."
"But I can fix it-"
"No! Look at Ron. Look at your son! He's become this bitter man who hates everything and everyone. And he's passing down that bitterness onto Hugo. And Ginny, Mum…? Your little girl feels like a failure because she couldn't land the Boy-Who-Lived, like you drilled her to do. Now she's… not fine, Mum. So, please, you have to stop."
"But they can be fine. They will be, Georgie, if they're with their respective family. Ronnie needs his wife and daughter, and Ginny needs her husband and little boy…"
"Ron doesn't have a wife, or a daughter! Ginny lost her husband even before she married him!"
"But, Rose, she has red hair-"
"Not Weasley red."
It had gotten progressively worse after that. With their Mother willingly drowning in sea of denial, it was always going to be a painful achievement to break her off her precious dreams. Funny (or perhaps not), how the ones who got through to her, were the ones she harmed the most.
"Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP, MUM! You said-you promised everything was going to be alright when I told you about the baby! You promised no one would suspect anything! I didn't want to marry Harry with a baby that wasn't his, but you wouldn't let me-you lied! YOU RUINED EVERYTHING!"
Ginny had stormed off, only Merlin knows where, and has as of yet to make an appearance. Her unvoiced accusation did, however, answer one of his questions as to why Ginny never wanted to spend time with her son.
She never wanted him.
"How's your Happy Weasley Family now, Mum? Are you still going to insist that Hermione is the one for me? That she always loved me?"
"Oh, Ronnie, she does-"
"SHE DOESN'T! NEVER DID! It was always Harry for her! Even when she was saying the Sacred Vows, her eyes were on Harry not me! You manipulated her feelings, manipulated her into marrying me, by making her feel guilty for staying with Harry during the Hunt… How you did that, I don't know, but dammit, Mum, you ruined everything… You lied to me, tricked her, and that's why I left her alone on our Wedding Night. And during our Honeymoon…"
"I knew she had sex with Harry on our Honeymoon. How? I don't care, but they did. And they still do it whenever they can, and you know what? No one can say anything; because she's single and Harry's Marriage was over the moment Ginny said she was pregnant."
George hurts for his brother. Especially when he remembers a time when Ron was happy and actually had confidence, before their Mother started comparing him to wonderful, perfect Harry Potter. The Legend. And Ron had tried, to ignore her, but the happenings at Hogwarts made it hard.
And then the War.
Hermione choosing Harry over him broke his brother, George knows, even if she did it without malice. And then the taunting of the Horcrux… Oh, he knows about it, Ron had told him, in tears, a few weeks after they buried Fred. Those words would always haunt his brother.
And with everything that happened later, the forced Weddings and their Mother incessant nagging about them being One Big Happy Weasley Family.
It had been too much.
But, thinks George, steeling his resolve, it's all over now. So, knocking quickly on the door, he waits for the Ma'am of the house.
He's not expecting the smile that greets him. "Um… Hi, Mrs Granger…"
"Oh, none of that now, George, you know it makes me feel so old," she says, pleasantly. "Now, come in, come in. I think it's good of you to show up, Hermione has said nothing of what prompted her to move back in."
"She's already settled?"
"Oh, yes, that little guy, Kreacher? He brought all her belongings, and Rose's too. Now, Harry's and Al's, those were a surprise."
George blinks and then his eyes widen at the implications. "Oh. Well, that's unexpected. So, you don't know what happened?"
Mrs Granger shakes her head. She leads him into the kitchen, where Mr Granger is quietly looking through the window at the runaway couple. Hermione's Father nods at him when he sees him, and with one last look, he returns to the seat he must've been occupying minutes go.
"George, nice to see you."
"Likewise, Mr Granger."
Mrs Granger places a steaming cup of tea in front of him, then sits next to her husband. "Now, dear, please tell us what happened."
George nods, and motions towards the backyard with his hand absentmindedly. "What did they say?"
"Only that they were going to live as a family now," says Mr Granger.
"Alright, but, before I tell you, let me ask… How're the kids?"
"Mostly confused. Now they're sleeping."
Mrs Granger smiles at him and then sighs, her smile becoming less bright. "Well, before… today, when they brought the twins over, Al would sometimes say how much he wished his Mother, that is, your sister Ginny, were like our Hermione. Then he would stop and say how he wished Hermione could be his Mum too, so he and Rose could be real brother and sister."
"Rose, well, she said the same regarding Harry and your brother, George. So, you see, now their greatest wish has come true and they are very happy, but also very confused because they don't know what to do. They both know how to act with the parent they believed to be theirs only, but not how to behave with their newly acquired one, even if they already know each other, because…"
"They're not dealing with Uncle Harry and Aunt Hermione anymore."
"Exactly. They're dealing with their Mum and Dad."
George nods thoughtfully, understanding perfectly what is being told. Sparing a looks at the cuddling couple out in the yard, lets out a soft laugh. "And how're they?"
"Same problems as the kids, just not so pronounced. I guess, with time, they'll get where they always wanted to be," says Mrs Granger, but then she gives him a pointed glance that tells him time's up.
With a long sigh, George begins telling them everything that has happened since Rose's birthday. Including the chat he had with the little girl.
21.00 July 28th, 2006 - Granger Residence, Crawley.
Life, far from what Rose expects, is not as perfect with her newly reformed family.
It's better than her old life, happier, but not perfect.
Mum says that's okay, because it shows their family is normal-real.
But it's hard to get used to it. Rose only needs to think of the times she actually has to catch herself from saying Uncle Harry to know it'd be hard for a long time. It's nice, though, that the few times she does slip and calls her Dad Uncle Harry again he only smiles at her, kisses her forehead and gently reminds her he's Dad now.
It's really nice knowing her Dad likes-loves her.
Al, she knows, has the same problem, and sometimes feels bad about it, but Mum and Dad-Mum and Dad, they have always been nice so they never get mad when it happens, when they slip. They just smile, and as their Dad does with her, Mum too kisses his forehead and reminds him gently she's Mum now.
It's all really great.
Tomorrow they are going t have an early birthday party for Dad, because the next day they, minus Grandma and Grandpa Granger, are going on a month long vacation. Mum hopes the time spent together will help them overcome their old habits and acquire new ones. Her words.
Rose just wants to spend some time with her twin brother in peace, without having grown-ups telling her she shouldn't, and also with her Dad doing Father-Daughter stuff.
Like she's always dreamt before.
There's a knock and the door and Rose is about to call out to Al, to remind him he doesn't need to knock as this is his temporal room as well (and only until they get a new house, according to her Mum, as boys and girls need their privacy), but instead of Al, it Dad the one pushing open the door.
He smiles at her, in that way he's always smiled but now she knows it's because he's her Dad and she's his Daughter and he loves her. She smiles back, a little shy-she's not used to actually having a Dad yet.
"Can I come in?"
Dad walks in, and she scoots over her bed to make room for him. He sits next to her and pulls her into his lap, hugging her tightly.
"I love you, Rosie," he says suddenly, kissing the top of her head.
She feels the tears but tries to keep them from falling valiantly, and mostly succeeds. Her voice is barely a whisper when she answers. "I love you, too, Daddy."
They're sharing another tight hug when Mum walks in with Al in her arms. Her brother is wearing his pyjamas and has a towel on his head. They both looks over and then grin amusedly, as is the norm of this past few weeks.
Mum arches an eyebrow, trying to look severe, but failing as she can't keep the grin off her face. "Are you getting weepy on us again?"
Al laughs then, jumping on his bed after Mum sits on it. "They are, they are!"
She pouts and sticks out her tongue at them, amusing them further, but Dad pulls her closer and sticks out his tongue too.
"I think, considering everything, we're allowed to get weepy, right, Rose?"
Al starts laughing again, and as always, his joy is too contagious to resist, and they all end up laughing along. Their excitement lessens, but not the joy, and after Al has had his hair dried and Dad is done brushing her hair, they are tucked in.
It's a little funny, that Dad always tucks her in and Mum tucks Al in. She supposes she can understand, a little. She's had her Mum for her whole live until now, just as Al has had Dad for himself. So now they switch, at least until they all do all those Father-Daughter and Mother-Son they missed.
"So," says Mum, when she and Al are all ready to sleep; she reaches over and ruffles his uncontrollable hair. "Are you excited about our trip?"
Dad smiles at her, but doesn't ruffles her hair as he doesn't want his time spent brushing it go to waste. "And are you excited about the new house?"
Rose nods happily. "Yes!"
"We hope you will like. Your Mum and I, we put a lot of thought of where to build our new house. For you."
"I'm sure we will, Dad," says Al, grinning at him.
Her Mum leans over to place a kiss on his forehead before urging him to lie down. "I'm sure you will. Now, time to sleep, tomorrow's going to be a busy day."
Both she and Al smile at her, answering in unison. "Yes, Mum."
Dad kisses her forehead, once more before moving to Al as Mum moves towards her. After a round of good nights, their Mum and Dad walk to the door, pausing for a moment.
"Sweet dreams," says Mum. "We love you."
Again, they answer in unison. "We love you, too!"
Then the light switch is turned off and the door closed. The silence last all of two seconds before Al is shifting in his bed, and then…
She shifts into her side, even though she can't see her brother, she knows he's looking over her. "Yeah?"
"Should we get a present for Uncle George? You know, to thank him?"
"For what he did for us?"
"He likes pranks."
"He likes to play pranks."
"We could ask Mum and Dad, they know him better."
"Yeah, that's a… that's a good idea."
The break in his sentence in marked by his loud yawn. The silence that follows is longer and has the distinctive feeling of being the prelude to a good night of sleep.
"…You too, Al…"
00.23 July 29th, 2006 - Granger Residence, Crawley.
They cuddle on their transfigured bed in the sitting room, sighing happily. Rejoicing in the fact that, once again, they'll wake up next to each other. They love the fact that the first thing they'll see come morning will be their loved one.
But better still, they love the fact that their time sneaking around is over (even if they didn't try that hard to sneak around, mostly not caring if they were found out).
"Do you think we'll make it? Be a real family?"
There's a pause, and then he kisses her deeply, earning a sweet whimper once he breaks the kiss.
"It's you and me, Hermione. Of course we will."
She lets his know she believes him by wrapping herself around him, engaging into a bout of passionate kissing. And only kissing, considering their current location.
But these kisses feels sweeter than the most sensuous kisses they share while making love, because they're not rushed-they're not a farewell kind of kiss, it's a promise of more, so much more that passion, to come.
It's their beginning.
Or course we will.
That's all for now. I'll let you know, I'm currently working on so many fics, mostly HP, but they're coming along a little slow. So, so far I can focus only of writing oneshots, but soon, you'll have chaptered stories to read! Yay!
Anyway, thanks for reading, and please comments are welcomed!Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 1.2.7