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Chapter 1: Daddy, Tell me a Story
SEVEN YEARS INTO THE FUTURE:
“It’s your turn!”
“Yes it is.”
“Dear, no it’s not.”
“Bloody hell James; just pull a book out of the shelves and read to her, it’s not that hard!” snarled a blonde haired woman, dropping a soapy pan into the sink. The man, presumably the husband in this quarrel, shrank back into the shadows of the darkened living room, cringing at the loud ‘clang’ of the pan. The woman smirked and returned to the dishes, humming a song the man did not know.
“Daddy, are you going to read me a bed time story now? I finished brushing my teeth.” announced a small voice of a little girl. James Potter looked down to find a six year old blonde, tugging at the hem of his shirt. As much as she looked like her mother, she was wearing that charming grin that was his. Indeed, it was times like this how he understood why Michelle could never say no. It was a miracle really, how little Lenny inherited his smile, considering that he, James, was the only one to inherit it out of three kids and was even skipped over his own father. It was a blessing from good ol’ James Potter the first.
“Well daddy, how about that story!” persisted the young girl, taking hold of her father’s hands with her own. She began to swing their arms and rocked on the balls of her feet. Merlin was she jittery!
“Alright Lenny, but just one story and its nighty-night time after that, do you promise?” James asked trying to attempt at a serious tone. Of course, he couldn’t hide the smile that was hanging from his face, so he knew it sounded just as pathetic when the words came out. Lenny wasn’t stupid, and she was grinning back with radiance.
“Yeah, okie-dokie daddy, if you say so.” She said a little too innocently, and giggled when her father frowned. Her mother came and stood by James, snaking an arm around her husband’s waist.
“You’re honestly the worst father when it comes to obedience and being strict.” She mockingly scorned, and James looked down upon her, wiggling a dark eyebrow, causing the woman to laugh. Facing her, and feeling rather pleased with himself, James placed his hands on his wife’s waist, pulling her slowly in for a soft and deep kiss. Lenny stood there, watching her parents with interest when the front door blew wide open. The two lovers jumped away from each other in fright, while Lenny still remained quite quizzical of her surroundings.
“Sorry to intrude mates, but I’ve honestly have had enough with that woman, she beat me with the damn broom!” blurted a tan, tall, and lean man. He was practically stumbling to the couch after shutting the door, supporting and hiding his face in his hands. James looked over to his wife, who stood there dumbfounded for words, exchanging a telepathic conversation to one another, using their eyes.
What’s wrong with Freddie?
I dunno. He’s your best friend…
Did he argue with Denny again?
How would I know, Denny’s your friend, not mine. She still hates my guts….
Merlin woman! Help me out here!
Why don’t you go ask him, he’s right there!
The guy is hurt. That would be blunt.
As if you aren’t blunt and thick already!
You’re insufferable, you know that?
If I were insufferable, why are you still with me?
I’m staying because I love it when the roots of your dirty blonde hair turn white.
Pathetic come back Potter.
Look who’s talking…Potter.
The couple kept shooting daggers at each other while Fred Weasley sat on the couch, whimpering like a beaten hound in the background. Rolling her eyes, the blonde haired woman sighed and walked over towards Fred, sitting beside him and prying the overlarge hands that hid his face.
“Freddie, look up at me. What happened between you and Denny this time?” She tenderly asked, squeezing her friend’s hand in comfort. Fred shook his head in reluctance, muttering something about spaghetti. James had now sat on the other side of Fred and was patting him awkwardly on the back while exchanging looks with his wife.
“Sorry, we didn’t catch that mate.” James said and Fred remained silent. It wasn’t until Lenny had turned on the living room light and had crawled up into Fred’s lap when the silence was broken.
“Uncle Freddie, what happened to your eye?” She asked amiably. “It’s all black and purple.” She pointed out, her tone as if she was asking why rainbows were colorful, or why skies were blue. At this observation, Lenny’s mother became alarmed, and grabbed Fred by the chin, positioning his face to where he was facing her. She gasped.
Fred’s left eye was puffy and bruised—squinting up at her; while the other was wide open in horror, his brown visible iris shining in the light. It was clear he had been crying…
“Fred Angelo Weasley! What did Denyelle do to you?” The woman shrieked.
“Nothing, Michelle, it was nothing at all. We just got in a little squabble—”
“Wait, hold up mate—let me see!” James interrupted, and grabbed Fred by the chin, snapping the poor young man’s face in his direction. Michelle gasped.
“JAMES!” She scolded indignantly, but James was too busy half admiring Fred’s swollen, black eye. The other half of him was wincing at the nastiness and sending chills up his back.
“Denny did this to you? What the hell did you say to make her go ape on you with a broom?” James asked demandingly.
“Watch your language James.” Michelle warned in a growl while Fred shook his head frantically.
“Nothing—I—I said nothing at all. You know Denny. She has the worst temper ever! We were fighting over some damn spaghetti that she burned herself! Bloody hell, all I said to her was that it tasted bloody awful and she blew up on me, saying I don’t appreciate what she does and all her hard work goes to Merlin’s ass!”
“Language—” Michelle broke in a little louder, but both men were ignoring her.
“Wow.” James breathed, taken back. “Hey, did you two shag lately, because it’s possible she may be pregnant—”
“JAMES!” Michelle shrieked. “We have a child here, and you two boys keep running your mouths! I am not going to be the one explaining anything to such a child of tender age!” The blonde thundered with invisible bolts of lightning hitting the ground. The two men looked at the woman, eyes wide open in fright.
For a usually bubbly looking blonde, she could be quite a fright. Michelle stared at them with a death sentencing glare and Fred couldn’t help but wonder how in the world James had managed to survive six years of marriage. Then again, he had no space to talk, but he and Denny weren’t married…yet…thank Merlin.
“Mommy, what does daddy mean by ‘shag’?” Lenny asked, once again being the voice to break the silence. James and Fred flushed with shame and embarrassment when Michelle shot them an infuriated glance.
“It’s nothing love. You’ll learn later in life, but for now, I think it’s time your daddy reads you a bed time story.” Standing up, Michelle crossed her arms across her chest, pursing her lips in debate of whether this was a good idea after all.
“Okay then mommy. Daddy, come on. Let’s go!” Lenny hopped off of her uncle’s lap and dragged her father to his feet. James lazily stood up, exhaling, but smiling none the less.
“Alright darling, let’s go read you a story. How about one of your favorites: Cinderella?” James offered, but Lenny shook her head.
“Nope, guess again.”
“Then wow about Beauty and the Beast?” James asked.
“Nope, try again.”
“What about Hansel and Gretel?”
“Nuh-huh, you’re bad at this daddy. I’ll give you one more shot.” Lenny flashed her father a devious smile and Fred snorted as he watched his niece jut out her tongue.
“Er, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves?” James asked.
“You’re wrong again daddy!” Lenny giggled. “Ha-ha!”
“Okay, so then what would you like me to read to you?” James asked.
“I want your story!” Lenny blurted out in joy, bouncing on her heels. James frowned in confusion, and looked over to his wife, raising an eyebrow. Michelle shrugged in indifference, and he stared back down to the little six year old girl.
“What do you mean, Lenny?” He asked.
“Well,” Lenny began, rocking on the soles of her feet. “Bérénice told me how her mommy and daddy fell in love like the fairy tales, so I thought you and mommy have a story too.” She said with a straight and serious face. James exchanged a look with his wife who had her eyebrows cocked upward in amusement. Bérénice was Dominique Davies nee Weasley’s eight year old daughter, one of James’ closest cousins, second to Fred. Often she babysat Lenny, and Lenny had become good friends with Bérénice.
“Well, I suppose. Only if I can share Fred’s as well.” James said, Fred stiffening like a rigid board. James had sensed this and nodded, grinning deviously. “Yes, I think it’s only important you hear how Uncle Fred wounded up with a woman who scares the living—”
“James—” Michelle warned.
“…Daylights out of him.” James finished quickly, and flashed his wife a guilty smile. “I was going to say daylights, Mickey.” Michelle frowned and sighed exasperatedly, running her fingers through her hair. Grinning, James picked up his daughter and spun her around.
“Now come on princess, let’s get you tucked in so we can start. This is going to be a long story.” James announced, and made his way towards the stairs. “Common Freddie, I need you to help me with parts I might not remember!” James called over his shoulder while Lenny giggled in her father’s arms. Fred groaned and Michelle chuckled.
“Are you going back home tonight?” She questioned as Fred stood up and stretched. Fred shook his head and grimaced.
“Oh, hell no I’m not, Michelle, why would I? So I could be chased out into the darkness with a madwoman on my heels, flailing a bloody baseball bat in the air? I think not, or I’d be screaming throughout the streets of London tonight.” Fred commented shuddering, and Michelle snorted.
“Honestly, how you and James were best friends with her back in your schooling years is beyond me.” She said, shaking her head. “Go ahead and stay in the guest bedroom tonight. Give her time to cool down.” And Fred nodded eagerly.
“Oi, come up here mate, the story’s about to start without you!” James shouted down from upstairs, and Fred rolled his eyes.
“Thanks Mickey.” Fred mumbled and shuffled past the woman, trudging up the stairs. He arrived in the bedroom, all painted in lilac, where Lenny sat underneath the covers of her bed. Her father had already conjured two chairs at the bedside, James sitting in one of them and swishing his wand around.
“Daddy, am I magic too? Or am I like mommy?” Freddy caught her ask. James chuckled and leaned over to kiss her darling head of neat blonde locks.
“I don’t know yet pumpkin. But we’ll find out soon. And even if you aren’t, you’ll always be magical in my eyes.” James said, pocketing his wand. Freddie felt a surge of jealousy. He felt pathetic.
Almost everyone around him that he knew were already married or engaged; they had kids or were planning on having some. He was the only one still dating his seventh year girlfriend who hated kids…and him. Begrudgingly, he made his way to the chair. There was nothing to be proud of telling about his relationship. His was by far worse than Rose and Scorpius’s. At least they already had a kid now and didn’t argue as much as they used to. He sighed.
“So where do you want us to start Lenny?” Fred asked, plastering a corny smile. James thumped him on the back.
“That’s the spirit!” James nodded, and Fred wanted to smack him. He loved James brotherly, but sometimes he got on his nerves.
“From the beginning,” Lenny said. “I want you to start from the beginning."