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Chapter 6: Related To Nine Weasleys and Counting
I lay awake in my bed, the clock clung three o’clock in the background, and still my eyes wouldn’t shut.
I had just arrived not twelve hours ago and already I was ready to go home, back to the orphanage.
Ron snored in the corner, his Cuddly Canons blank wrapped so tight around him I was surprised that he could breath, and Charlie lay as still as Death in the cot on the floor.
It was clear that I wasn’t going to get any sleep tonight. I sighed, and pulled the blanks off as I sat up on the spare bed. Rubbing my eyes, I walked towards the door and started down the stairs.
My pajama pants fell just under my heel, muffling my footsteps as I walked down the steps.
Usually, I was very quiet when I walked – it was just a trait I had always had – but I hadn’t mastered the trick steps here that would squeak or moan under your weight when you walked down them. A few more times walking up and down and I should have them down though.
I poured myself a glass of water and took the seat at the large table. The house was so much bigger then the orphanage. Only three other boys lived there, excluding me.
First you had Seth and Sean Knight, twin Hufflepuffs in their third year. They had the darkest hair, and the brightest celadon-green eyes. They shared a room, while I shared a room with the third boy, Tyler Darsian.
He was a year younger then me and a Gryffindor. Tyler was tall, and very skinny, his hair was a dark-brown that fell over his forehead and brought out his large, expressive, electric-blue eyes.
He loved reading just as much as I did, and I would always find a few books missing from my trunk at home.
It always got on my nerves, but now, I would give anything to be back at the orphanage, finding some of my books missing and finding Tyler out in the large Oak tree just sitting there, reading them.
I sighed; I even missed the twins running around the house chasing Ms. Coles’ cat that they had just turned purple or green or some other color by magic, trying to turn it back to its original Siamese color before she got home from the Ministry.
I have always wanted to leave that old beat up brink house, and now I wanted nothing more but to walk up those steps to my and Tyler’s room, to walk past the twins room where they were always coming up with some new trick to play on Ms. Coles.
Everything was familiar there; it wasn’t like this house, where I was the outsider.
I finished my water and set the glass in the sink.
Well, I made a choice, now I had to deal with the consequences.
Maybe they wouldn’t be as bad as I think they will be. I thought as I headed up to bed.
I got about an hour of sleep before waking up to Mrs. Weasley’s voice at the door.
‘Get up you three!’ She called, ‘Breakfast is ready!’
I pulled myself out of bed and started to get dressed. I threw on my jeans and a long-sleeve black shirt and headed down stairs.
I yawned as I entered the kitchen and walked over to the stove. Everything you could imagine for breakfast was made.
I reached for the stack of plates on the counter and started to place the ten clear-glass plates at each seat around the large table; I grabbed the rest of the glass-cups and the forks and set those next to each of the plates as well.
At the orphanage we always set and cleaned the tables, we did a lot of other house hold chorse as well by hand since we were underage.
I took a random seat at the table and combed my fingers through my hair while I waited for the rest of the family.
Soon enough, six red-heads walked down the stairs, yawning and stretching, all of them still wearing their pajamas.
Each of them took a seat at the table; one of the twins – George – took the seat on my left and Charlie, my second roommate, took the one to my right. George and Fred mirrored each other when they fell asleep, once again, on the table.
Mrs. Weasley walked down the stairs, ushering a very groggy Ginny down stairs, also in her pajamas.
Mrs. Weasley smiled to each of us in turn, her eyes lingering on me a few seconds longer then the rest.
‘I trust you all slept well?’ She asked, pulling out her wand and magicing the food on the stove to the table.
Her brow drew up in confusion, ‘I thought I left the plates on a stack on the counter? And the glasses and forks.’
‘They where here when we got down Mum.’ Fred replied, surprising me because he completed a whole sentence without George, ‘Maybe you did set them out, and just forgot.’ He said, adding more and more food to his plate.
‘Mum, maybe Gracen did it. He was here when we got down.’ Mumbled George from the crook of his arm where his head where buried.
‘Did you Gracen?’ Mrs. Weasley smiled.
I shrugged and nodded, was it really that big of a thing to do around here?
‘Thank you Gracen.’ And she sat down to enjoy her meal. I smiled, and reached for a piece of toast.
Breakfast seemed to wake everyone up a bit, by the end of it everyone was talking about going out to play a game of Quidditch.
‘Harry should be coming later this week, Hermione as well.’ Ron said, finishing off his third helping.
‘Hermione’s coming too?’ Ginny replied excitedly.
I rolled my eyes subtly; I had never understood why girls always had to travel in pairs.
‘Was Harry on the Express, Ron? I don’t remember seeing him.’ Mrs. Weasley replied.
‘He had to talk with Dumbledore before we left, so he missed it. He'll probably Floo her from school.’ Ron replied.
Mrs. Weasley nodded, satisfied with the explanation.
Once everyone was finished, they went back up stairs to change for their Quidditch game. I stayed where I was, I had stayed quiet for most of breakfast – Quidditch had never really been one of my interests at Hogwarts.
‘You want to come and play, Gracen?’ Ginny called as she headed out the door.
‘No thanks, I don’t really care for the game – I-I’m not very good, you see.’ I replied. I still hadn’t move from my spot at the table.
She nodded and gave a forced smile before following the twins out the back door.
‘You know,’ My head whipped around to meet the dark-blue eyes of Charlie Weasley, ‘We could help you with the game.’
‘I don’t think even you could help me. I don’t really care for flying, and my hand-eye coordination sucks.’ I replied, my eyes focused on the table.
‘You can learn, yeah know.’ Charlie replied, standing up and grabbing his broom by the side of the door, ‘You just have to give it a try.’
And with that he pushed open the door and followed after the others.
I stood and walked over to the door, where were they going to play anyway? I watched as they turned the bend and headed off into the forest.
I sighed and walked over to the table. It was a mess. Out of habit, I pilled the dishes and went to the sink. I turned the water on and added the soap, and – pushing my sleeves up my arm – began to wash them one at a time.
‘Oh Gracen,’ I jumped when I heard my name and spun around, ‘you don’t have to do that!’ Mrs. Weasley said.
‘You startled me.’ I replied, not knowing what else to say.
‘Why aren’t you out and about with the others?’ Mrs. Weasley came over and stood next to me, taking up a dish towel as she went.
I shrugged, ‘I’m not very good at Quidditch, and I—well, I don’t know, I just thought I should make myself useful.’
She smiled her usual motherly-smile, ‘Here, I’ll dry.’
I smiled and started to hand her the dishes. It was funny; because I was so tall I seemed to tower of Mrs. Weasley’s small build. We finished quicker then she would have if she had done it by herself. She said thank you for probably the millionth time that morning, as I headed back up stairs to my room.
I pulled my journal out of my trunk and stretched out on my bed, flipping through the pages and pages of notes I had taken. Once I finished skimming my words, I flipped back to the first page, were the cover met with the pages. Carefully, I pulled back the back of the cover and pulled out my father’s letters and my family tree. I stared at the letter, trying to figure out which one to look at first. I settled on my father’s letter and unfolded it.
His writing had become something of a comfort to me. I couldn’t tell why, but it had.
I scanned the first letter and then stopped.
‘Simon D. Weasley.’ I said aloud. With out thinking, I jumped of my bed and headed out of the room, back down to the kitchen.
Mrs. Weasley was sitting at the table, reading.
‘Um…Mrs. Weasley?’ I asked, stepping off the last step. I finally had all the trick steps down now and could walk down the entire stair case with out anyone hearing me.
‘Yes Gracen?’ She closed her magazine and turned to face me. I smiled a bit, I had scared her just like she had me earlier.
‘Sorry, but I was wondering – wh-what was Sim—my father’s—middle name?’
Her eyes brightened slightly, ‘Diggory. Simon Diggory Weasley.’ She smiled.
I was confused, Diggory?
‘Why was his middle name Diggory?’ I asked, not thinking that she probably wouldn’t know why.
‘Because,’ She patted the seat next to her. I walked over and sat down, ‘their mother was born a Diggory. She wanted one of her son’s to have her maiden name as a middle one, and Simon was the lucky one, the eldest boy.’
My head was spinning, ‘So, so you—we’re related to the Diggorys?’
She nodded, smiling when she hear me use the plural we, ‘We’re also related to a few other pureblood families.’
‘But definitely to the Diggorys?’ I asked, my head was still spinning.
‘Yes.’ She replied simply.
‘So—so, I’m related to Ryder?’ I whispered, more to myself then her.
This was too much to take in, why did I keep finding family members every which way I turned?
‘Who?’ Mrs. Weasley asked.
‘Ryder Hale, he’s a boy in my year. He’s related to the Diggory’s too – he’s Cedric’s cousin I think.’ I said, absentmindedly, ‘So we have to be—like, first cousins…or something like that…’
‘Or something like that.’ Mrs. Weasley replied with a smile.
I nodded, deep in my own thoughts. I wish there was someone here right now to tell me if I was related to any more of my classmates!
‘Um, Mrs. Weasley, do-do you have an owl I could use?’ I asked, standing up from the table and heading towards the stairs.
‘I’m sure Ron wouldn’t mind you using Pig.’
I nodded, said a quick thanks, and headed up the stairs.
‘Oh, and Gracen.’ Mrs. Weasley’s voice called up to me.
I popped my head back down the stairs, my hands holding onto the wall, ‘Yes Mrs. Weasley?’
‘You can call me Molly,’ She smiled, ‘And I just want you to know – anything you want to know about Simon – you can always ask me, or Arthur.’
‘Thanks—Molly.’ I smiled, and went up the stairs, taking three at a time. The advantage of having long legs.
I grabbed a quill and a blank parchment from my trunk and quickly scrawled my letter:
Ryder, hope you're sitting down, because I just got some more news on my family. My grandmother was a Diggory. So we’re like first cousins or something. I swear, by the end of this break I’m going to be related to half of our class, maybe more then half! Hope your having a good break.
I quickly scratched Ryder’s name on the front of the folded parchment. It took me a while to settle down the twitchy owl, but once I did I tied the letter to his leg and told him to take this to Ryder. And he was out of the window a second after I told him Ryder’s name.
‘Damn owl.’ I whispered, and went back to my bed. I collapse onto my bed, my hands rubbing my eyes as I stared up at the ceiling. Dots clouded my vision from the pressure my hands had caused.
‘Do I have to be related to everyone?’ I thought, and with that I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
I groaned and turned around in my bed.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
I sat up, annoyed. It took me a second to get my bearings before I turned to the window. There was that small obnoxious owl. And then it clicked.
‘My letter!’ I struggled with the blanket, and then I froze. I didn’t remember having a blanket when I went to sleep. I pushed the random thought from my mind and hurried to the window.
I threw open the latch and in flew Pig. He did a total of three laps around the room before landing. I closed the window from the snow-storm that hadn’t even touched my ears while I slept. I walked over to the desk and untied the letter from his leg.
The owl just sat there, staring at me.
‘What? What do you want?’ I asked, realizing a second later that he didn’t speak English, or any other language for that matter, except for Owl - which I couldn't speak.
I sighed and grabbed one of the treats from the bag next to his cage and gave it to him.
I went back to my bed, and wrapped the blanks around me again – it was winter so of course you would expect it to be cold.
I untied the string around the rolled up parchment, and opened it. I smiled down at Ryder’s script; it was like calligraphy only better:
I always knew there was something strange about our friendship. And as for being related to half our class when we go back after break – maybe it will be more then half! Hopefully no Slytherin’s though. Break’s going really good, you should have seen, Ced attempted to make breakfast the other morning and accidentally set the kitchen on first. He burned off Da’s eyebrows!
I smiled; Ryder always had a way of turning a bad situation into a good one. Or, at least, making you laugh.
Ryder – for some reason – had a Welsh accent, and I could always hear it whenever I read his notes or a letter he wrote. It made me feel not as alone in the world when I could here one of my friends voice in their letter.
I stretched and pulled my sleeve up to check the time.
‘Six o’clock!’ I practically yelled, I had been asleep for the whole day!
I shrugged the blanket off and headed down the stairs two at a time. I slid into the kitchen to find everyone seated already.
‘Oh! Good evening—’
‘—sleepy head!’ The twins chorused.
I smiled, genuinely, and took my seat between Charlie and George.
‘Sorry, we didn’t want to wake you. You looked really tired.’ Molly explained. I smiled in acknowledgment, and reached for the water-pitcher.
‘The game was a lot of fun! You should have seen it! Ginny was the best Seeker, and then…’ And Ron was off. I tune in and out of his play-by-play while I ate dinner.
‘Oh, Gracen, I almost forgot – this came for you while you where sleeping.’ Arthur Weasley, who sat at the head of the table – opposite his wife – pulled out a paper from his breast pocket, and handed it to me.
‘Thank you.’ I took the letter, I was confused and curious. Who else knew I was here besides Ryder? And he had already written me, unless he forgot something in his other letter and had to send Ardli, his beautiful black owl.
I unfolded the parchment; the writing was familiar – but not Ryder’s:
Hey Gracen, I just wanted to see how everything was going. Are they nice? They always seem nice when ever I have seen them in the common room. Also I wanted to ask if I could borrow your Astronomy book, the one about the other galaxies and such.
I smiled; it was just like Tyler to sugarcoat something before he asked it.
‘Who’s it from?’ Ginny asked, she sat across from me.
‘Just my—just Tyler.’ I was about to say little brother, but thought better of it, ‘He just wanted to borrow a book. Did the owl stay?’ I asked turning to Arthur who nodded.
‘Excuse me for a second.’ I went up stairs and retrieved the book; I slid out the front door and headed around back. The storm had let up a bit, which I was extremely thankful for.
I walked around to the back porch and there was Gladin; Tyler had saved all his spare money for two years before he could by the small tan-owl.
I scribbled a quick good and yes onto the back of Tyler’s letter before stuffing it into the front of the book and handing the string holding the book closed to Gladin and sending him off.
As I watched him go, I felt a peg of jealousy. I wish that I could be as free as him. Not having a care in the world.
I sighed and started back to the house.
Though maybe, this break wasn’t going to be that bad. Like Charlie had said, you just have to give it a try.
Darsian – Dar-see-an
Ardli – Are-de-lee
Gladin – G-lay-den