Hermione apprehensively walked down the wooden staircase. The walls were lined with pictures of her children, at various stages of life involved in many activities. They really seemed happy. Voices floated up from the floor below and she could hear the happy chatter of her children around the table. She muttered to herself, “Relax,” before turning the corner and officially entering her future. She sought Ron’s eyes first—he gave her an accepting smile and she walked to his side to help carry the breakfast to the table.
“No way are you helping today.” Ron protested. “Yeah mum, we’re helping you for a change today!” A small boy with brown hair and intellectual looking glasses spoke up. He looked just like her and spoke in a familiar, high-strung bossy tone.
“Thank-you dear,” she didn’t know her own sons name. He dramatically pulled out a chair and shooting a grin to his father helped her sit down and spread a napkin on her lap. Hermione was impressed and she smiled.
“Very gentlemanly—thanks Jonathon.” Ron approved and sat down. Jonathon, Hermione made a mental note of the name. She had always loved it, it had been her grandfathers. One down, four to go.
Hermione then turned her attention to the boys sitting across the way. They were rolling their eyes and whispering and plotting. They were very Weasley in appearance, and Hermione felt naturally inclined to glare suspiciously at them. They looked to be the oldest of the brood, and she found herself wondering why she didn’t make them cut their hair. It was long and shaggy, and hung messily over their foreheads. They were not identical, but it was evident they were a team. They didn’t appear to be the same age. One boy was stocky, well built and shorter with wavy red hair. The other was tall, gangly and freckled with long straight hair. He looked much like his father had when Hermione had first met him on the train to Hogwarts.
The boy with glasses, Jonathon, spoke up again. “Hey, Calvin could you pass me the butter.” Calvin, which one was Calvin?
“And don’t put anything in it please,” Hermione felt compelled to add as the curly headed boy picked up the crock and passed it across the table. She noticed he dejectedly tucked a blue vile back into his pocket. Calvin, where had she come up with that one? It suited him.
Two down three to go. The meal was progressing nicely, no major flaws yet. No one had noticed she was an imposter in her own life. The food was delicious, steaming pancakes, eggs and sausage. It was the kind of breakfast Mrs. Weasley would have made. She loaded up her fork, if this was a dream she was going to eat like the calories didn’t matter.
As she placed a Ron sized bite in her mouth, an overworked little owl flew in the open window and landed on Ron’s shoulder. It carried one letter. It was easily recognizable as a Hogwarts letter. Hermione chewing more quickly than is advisable reached across the table and removed the letter. It read:
Deplorably Untidy Room at the Bottom of the Stairs
Why was a Hogwarts letter addressed to Ron, and the room she woke up in was very tidy and at the top of the stairs. Then, as she looked across the table at the expectation on the tall boys face the realization struck that this letter was addressed not to Ron, but to her oldest son. Junior, how archaic! He did look uncannily like his father had at that age. He was sitting on the edge of his seat, full of excitement.
“It’s your Hogwarts letter,” said Hermione, almost as excited as he was to be part of this moment. The little girl climbed anxiously into her mothers lap, and clapped in anticipation. Hermione wrapped her arms around her tiny waist.
“What you so excited for Molly,” Ron Jr. asked his little sister. His voice squeaking, and reminding Hermione so much of that first day on the Hogwarts express that she almost laughed. Hermione reached up and gently tugged one of Molly’s pigtails. The name suited her perfectly.
“Well open it.” Ron said to his son who was sitting staring at the letter. He looked to Hermione and she nodded. He tore open the seal and read out loud the familiar words.
Borrowing jargon she had learned from Mrs. Weasley at the Burrow Hermione said, “Well it looks like we’ll be making a trip to Diagon Alley.” She smiled richly at her beaming child. “But first,” she added “You have got to clean up that room.”
Her son nodded, “I’ll do it today mum, I promise!”
As she returned triumphantly to her pancakes Hermione mentally reviewed the names of her children. Ron, Calvin, Jonathon, Molly…That was only four. “Where’s…” she asked hoping that everyone else would know what she meant because she didn’t know his name. Ron didn’t answer he just lifted up the edge of the table cloth. Sitting under the table with his face buried deeply in a thick book, sat her final son. He couldn’t be more than six, and yet he appeared so studious with his brow scrunched up in concentration. He was as different from his brothers as was possible. His hair was blonde, although his face was spattered in Weasley freckles. His eyes were blue and piercing, not unlike his fathers. Hermione’s heart immediately connected with this obviously shy, quiet and introverted boy; the evident black sheep of the family.
“William,” Ron spoke sternly behind her. “Come out and eat some breakfast,” He nodded and carefully folded down the edge of page he was reading.
"Holy Hippogriff," thought Hermione as she took the book from him; this book was bigger than he was. Hermione noticed he was still frowning. “Eat your breakfast William and later today we’ll find a time where we can read together.” The boy smiled, lighting up his whole countenance and gave Hermione a sloppy kiss—very customary to little boys—on the cheek.
The day passed in bliss. Hermione was in awe, and she was in love. Every one of her children was so unique, and she could see parts of herself and Ron in each of them. She spent a little time with each of them. After the breakfast dishes were cleared away, Ron and Calvin disappeared and Hermione helped Ron Jr. clean his room and she even used a bit of magic. She helped Molly pick out clothes and braided her hair. She and Jonathon made Ron and Hermione’s giant bed, he insisted on doing everything by the book. She sat in an overstuffed armchair and with William on her lap they read from Hogwarts; a History. She helped Calvin wash the dirt and oil off his hands from tinkering with broomsticks with his father.
In the afternoon when the children had all been fed lunch and were occupying themselves on their own she sunk down heavily into a chair, feeling intensely tired. She fanned her face with a copy of The Daily Prophet that was sitting on the coffee table.
“I hope you didn’t over do it, you did have a rather unexpected dizzy spell this morning.” Ron stood behind the chair and rubbed her shoulders.
“Oh, that was nothing, I feel fine, just a little tired,” she said quickly excusing her weird behavior, longing for Ron to see she belonged.
“You’ve always tried to do too much.” Ron said sitting on the overstuffed sofa in front of her. Hermione could believe that. It was true she had always been a classic overachiever and it drove Ron ‘Mr. fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ Weasley mad. She demanded excellence from herself in everything she did. Why should her home life be any different?
She had loved playing mum today. Although her escapades with the time-turner third year had left her with a healthy respect for altering someone else’s life. For all she knew this was reality to Ron and the children. She was taking it very seriously.
Ron had begun to snore. He had been the same at Hogwarts. He was completely incapable of sitting for five minutes together without falling asleep. Of course in her own world she knew that he hadn’t been sleeping well lately. She got up from her chair and sat down gently beside him. She studied him. His red hair was graying slightly, but he was as handsome as he ever was. The soft creases and lines around his eyes and mouth indicated years of happiness; smiling and laughing. She rested her head on his outstretched legs as she had done in the common room at Hogwarts and just as she was about to fall asleep herself, a familiar voice shouted from the fireplace.
“Hermione!” Ginny screeched from the flames. She startled to alertness, and sprung from the coach to the hearth. “Hello there, I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.” Ginny questioned when she saw her leap from her semi-compromising position on the couch.
“Please, with all that snoring.” Hermione pointed behind her.
Ginny laughed, her voice sounded deeper and more grown up. “Are you still coming for dinner tonight?” Ginny questioned.
“Yeah sure,” Hermione skillfully faked. “What time again?”
Ginny looked at her questioningly. “Are you all right? Or would it be safe to say the woman who remembers everything has finally forgotten.” Ginny laughed, “Don’t look so alarmed my friend we didn’t expect you to be perfect forever.” Hermione laughed as well. “Around six o’clock?” Ginny said, and as she spoke a baby wailed loudly in the background. “Gotta go, fussy baby today,” and Ginny’s head disappeared from the green flames.
Ron was stirring, stretching his long arms. “Who was that?” he yawned.
“It was your sister, she’s invited us over for dinner.” Hermione said sitting next to him again.
He reached out and grabbed her hand interlacing their fingers. “I’m not sure I’m up to dinner at the Potters” he exhaled in mock exasperation.
“The Potters…” Hermione echoed and breathed a sigh of relief.