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Chapter 3: Suprise Reactions
The second hand on the old grandfather clock ticked loudly into the silent kitchen. George sighed, Fred dragged his feet underneath his chair, Ginny scratched her head, Dad’s breathing was heavy and mum’s teeth grinded as she glared at the blood on my shirt. The silence ticked on.
‘I’ll repeat myself one more time’ mum said slowly ‘where have you been?’
I swallowed. Say something, I thought, anything! You don’t need to tell the truth, just say something and leave the room quickly. But I need to grab the money first, I need that money especially now that-
‘Out’ I choked out of my thickening throat. I could feel my body reacting to the panic that was setting into my brain once again. What do I do?
‘Out?’ her eyes narrowed ‘OUT?! RONALD BILLIUS WEASLEY! YOU LOOK ME IN THE EYE AND TELL ME THE TRUTH YOUNG MAN! YOU DO NOT DISAPEAR IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE MORNING – DESPITE ME STRICTLY FORBIDDING IT’ mum screamed at me - her voice gaining strength as she continued ‘AND DON’T RETURN UNTIL NEARLY GONE MIDNIGHT WITH A BAG FULL OF MUGGLE MONEY IN YOUR ROOM.’
Her voice echoed in the tall house. Fred and George exchanged nervous glances, we all knew mum only used her loudest voice when she was furious, even the gnomes who usually kept a constant line of mutterings outside the kitchen window halted their conversations and leaned eagerly towards the noise.
‘I-I-’ C’mon Ron, anything. The truth. Maybe, tell them. They’ll understand, eventually. Maybe they could help? Then I remembered the holiday to Egypt. Where Fred had become involved with a local girl, we all covered for him until Percy found out who went straight to mum. She went ballistic, said he was leading her on since he was leaving soon and he was too young to be involved with anyone in the first place. She forced him to stay by her side for the rest of the holiday. And that was just dating, she’ll never understand.
Unfortunately, thinking of Egypt reminded me of Fred’s revenge on Percy – locking him in a pyramid - which was hilarious at the time but caused me to faintly smile in the present, causing my mother’s hand to twitch towards her wand and her face to become so beetroot coloured that my dad jumped in before any damage could be done.
‘Ron’ he said in a steady voice filed with concern, which was, if anything, worse than the shouting ‘we want to help. If you’re involved in something serious, we’re all here. Ron, tell me, what have you done?’ Knocked up a drunk Muggle whose parents hate me and are forcing me to have the baby after it’s born whilst they disappear, I thought sarcastically, You can hold the baby whilst I’m in Quidditch and I’m sure Harry will be fine looking after it on evenings and maybe Dumbledore can hold it during the feasts and I’m sure Snape will babysit whilst I’m in class. However common sense kept me silent. Dad sighed and continued ‘well, until you see reason to inform us you will stay in this house under 24/7 supervision and we will be keeping every penny in that bag’ he pointed to the Muggle money.
I don’t know why I did it, rage poured through my body out of pure desperation. I just knew that I needed that money- that money is for the baby, what am I going to do without it? Dad nodded to George who bent over and grasped the bag in his hand. I didn’t think - I was tired and desperate; I leapt across the table with my fist raised. One hand clawed George’s shirt whilst the other smacked against his nose making a loud crack resound around the kitchen. Blood spurted out of his face and we both tumbled to the floor. I rolled off him, grabbing the money from his shocked hand. Suddenly I felt two hands roughly grab my shoulder and without looking, pushed my elbow back into the chest of the attacker, Fred, coming to his twin’s rescue.
Winded, he bent over, ‘What the hell is wrong with you? He choked.
I looked up, Dad was blocking the door, mum had her wand out and Ginny looked furious. I turned in silence and strode up the stairs to my room leaving nothing but the ‘Tick Tock’ of the clock behind me.
I awoke the following morning to the repeated insults of the Chudley Cannons alarm clock. Once again I rolled out of bed, noticing that I was still in the same clothes I had fallen to bed in, exhausted, the previous night. Damp and blood specked. Nice. With a grunt I pulled off the sweaty t-shirt catching the scent of my body, gagging, how long since I last had a shower? 2 days? No, more than that, 3, 4? Tonight I decided. As I reached for a clean top on the floor, my eyes caught the bag full of Muggle money on my bed. I fell asleep with it clutched to my chest, I can’t leave it here, they’ll take it. I’ll have enough grief when I get back tonight without them keeping my money. I grabbed the money and stuffed it into my backpack, then covered it with the damp robes.
I should have expected it, but I didn’t. Sneaking out of my room, I nearly fell over Fred who was perched on the top step with a wand in his hand. His gaze fixed on the old watch on his wrist. Guard duty, I thought, Brilliant. Panic filled my head once more, I needed to get to work, and I need that money. There was only one thing for it; it had worked last night so maybe luck would strike twice. Tightening the backpack straps on my shoulders, I jumped around Fred and dived down the stairs. But he was too fast, his hand gripping round my leg causing me to trip and land face first on the stairs. With a bloody nose, I twisted and seeing the triumphant look in Fred’s eyes, kicked out with my leg. His jaw made a satisfying crunch as I hurtled down the stairs.
‘He’s escaping!’ Fred roared, already in pursuit of me.
Doors flung open on the landing and light spilled into the hallway. Red stunning spells were sent after me as George and Dad dived, each catching a limb. I came crashing to the floor as mum came running out, her wand raised - the sender of the stunning spells. Desperation once again took over and I bit into George’s hand which was attempting to keep my head down and kneed Dad in the chest as he held down my legs. I twisted and was out of there grasps as they each gasped in pain. More red spells shot around me as I headed for the last flight of stairs. I got downstairs with success, hearing my brothers pound down the stairs behind me. Sprinting, I reached the kitchen before being tripped up by a foot that appeared behind the old oak door. Ginny. I landed on the floor with a crash, bruising my ribs as I did so. Looking up, my parents were blocking the door after obviously apparating down the stairs. My brothers ran through the door and Ginny stepped out from behind it. I knew it was a hopeless fight now; they’d win no matter what. Before panic filled my head once more, I looked up to see my mum raising her wand and muttering a spell. Then everything went dark and I drifted off to a dreamless sleep.
I came to in the lounge. It was bright, at least midday. Slowly my senses started to return and I noticed someone had put me on the sofa. With some effort I rolled over to sit up, noticing how my ribs still ached and my nose was itching, as if someone had recently mended them. I saw through the open doors that the twins and Ginny were eating lunch around the kitchen table, a plate had been laid out for me. Mum and Dad were speaking to each other outside the lounge door. More like arguing, I thought as I leaned closer to hear their whispered argument.
‘...they’re ready for us now. I’m not sure though, Percy is settling in and I don’t want us to be the cause of him losing his job’ Mum whispered
‘We haven’t got a choice Molly’ Dad replied ‘I have no idea what Ron has got himself involved in, but we both know he’s determined and he won’t follow the rules either. It’s best if he’s taken away from here, he will be under constant supervision and be far away from whatever he’s doing.’
Taken away? What the hell are they talking about? I can’t leave; I’ve got to be here. I have to work, I have to get money. I have to be a dad.
‘But the kids Arthur, we both knew that we would always fight with Dumbledore, but not the kids, the plan was never for them to be involved. The Order-’
‘The Order will keep everything from them, it’s been agreed. Harry is part of our family now; the kids are involved no matter what. It’s just about choosing sides, and we will always choose Dumbledore and Harry. Always. But this, this’ Dad gestured to the Daily Prophet in his hand ‘how long until the kids start believing this crap? I couldn’t fight them Molls, and neither could you’
Mum went to reply but instead saw me leaning off the sofa and peering around the door. She put a hand on dad’s chest and gestured towards me.
‘I don’t know what has got into you young man.’ Mum said with forced calm ‘But I’ve fixed your nose and ribs, as well as your brothers’ injuries. Whatever you have got yourself involved in does not condone that sort of behaviour – ever! Do you understand me Ronald Weasley?!’
I nodded glumly and Dad also spoke to me as if speaking to a young child. ‘There’s food in the kitchen Ron, go eat, you must be hungry. But first I want apologies to your brothers, is that clear?’
I nodded again and they separated to let me pass through to the kitchen, and then followed me like a dementor followed its prisoner. My siblings were laughing as I entered but on sight of me all shut up. The silence ticked again as it had last night; Dad nudged me in the back. I coughed.
‘Look’ I stammered ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gone off on one like I did, I didn’t mean to hurt any of you, I’m just going through some stuff is all. Private stuff’ I added as Ginny opened her mouth to speak.
Everyone glanced as each other and I faintly saw Dad nod out of the corner of my eye. Mum gestured to the table and I sat down, reaching out for some food. Suddenly realising how starving I was, I’d been living off two apples a day for the past week and hadn’t eaten at all today. George looked like he was about to break the silence when the back door slammed open and Percy strode in.
He looked exactly how he did when he found out he was Head Boy. His grin reached from ear to ear, his eyes were wide and his cheeks were flushed red. His posture was straight and he appeared to be looking at his siblings with his nose raised.
‘I’ve been promoted. In Minister Fudge’s own office. As a junior assistant to the minister himself! It’s rare that anyone would get such a good position so quickly, never mind one who had only recently left Hogwarts! He must see my potential; I’ve always liked him, a great minister.’
It soon became clear that whatever reception Percy was expecting to his news was very different to the one he actually got. Fred and George looked at each other in astonishment, Ginny chewed on her lip, I stared back blankly – still thinking of the ‘order’, mum gasped and dad frowned.
‘Percy,’ Dad started slowly ‘I don’t think you should accept this position’
Percy glanced at him incomprehensively. ‘Well obviously I will get promoted from this job later; it’s just a stepping stone job. It’ll be hard work but I can easily do this and show my potential to the entire office.’
‘No Percy, you haven’t earnt this job on your own merit’ Dad carried on with forced calm, mum glanced at dad ‘Fudge doesn’t want anyone communicating with Dumbledore or friendly towards Harry, I do both and so does this family. He wants a spy Percy, and you’re one readymade.’
Even the ticking clock seemed to slow as silence stretched on. Percy’s ears slowly glowed pink, then red until finally reaching beetroot.
‘You’re jealous’ he spat at Dad ‘you know I’ll make more money then, THEN YOU EVER MADE! I’VE HAD TO STRUGGLE AGAINST YOUR LOUSY REPUTATION SINCE I JOINED! YOU AND YOUR RIDICULOUS MUGGLE OBSESSION! YOU’RE A JOKE! WE’VE ALL GROWN UP IN BASIC POVERTY BECAUSE OF YOUR LACK OF AMBITION AND YOUR FAILIURE AS A FATHER!’
Fred and George both stood up clutching their wands, Ginny was furious and her hands were shaking from fury. Dad took a step forward.
‘DON’T YOU DARE EVER SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT! I’VE DONE MY BEST FOR YOU PERCY! YOU NEVER STARVED; YOU ALWAYS HAD EVERYTHING FOR SCHOOL – ALWAYS!’ Dad roared ‘IF YOU HAD THE DECENCY TO THINK ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN YOURSELF YOU WOULD KNOW THAT YOU-KNOW-WHO IS BACK AND THAT A WAR IS COMING!'
‘SO DUMBLEDORE SAYS PURELY BECAUSE POTTER SAYS IT, WHO ACCORDING TO THE PROPHET IS DERANGED! DUMBLEDORE IS HEADING FOR TROUBLE AND IF YOU’RE GOING ALONG WITH HIM THEN I WON’T BE COMING DOWN WITH YOU!’
‘YOUR LOYALTY IS TOWARDS YOUR FAMILY!’ Dad roared
‘MY LOYALTY IS TO THE MINISTRY! AND IF YOU ARE GOING TO BECOME TRAITORS TO IT THEN I WILL MAKE SURE THAT EVERYBODY KNOWS I DO NOT BELONG AS PART OF THIS FAMILY ANYMORE!’ Percy screamed.
Mum started to cry and Dad burned red. Percy turned and after flicking his wand towards the ceiling we heard several slams from his room and three bulging bags flew down the stairs, containing all his stuff. He kept them levitating and strode out of the house. With a loud crack, he disapparated.
Mum and Dad glanced at each other in the silence of Percy’s wake. Their whispered argument proving correct, already one of their children had started to believe the prophet. Mum nodded.
Dad spoke with heavy breathing ‘Kids, go upstairs and pack your stuff. We’re leaving. Now.’
‘Leaving?’ Ginny whispered ‘Where?’
No, please no! I have to stay here; I’m going to have a baby. I need to stay!
‘To the headquarters’ Mum spoke quietly, she glanced at Dad ‘the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.’