A/N: A full disclaimer and author's note can be found at the end of the chapter.
It had to be the stupidest tradition -- could it even be called a tradition? -- I had ever come across, and I could say that in all honesty without a single twinge of guilt.
My features had twisted into a grimace when I had first seen the half-torn flyer stuck to the lamp post that summer evening, and I'm fairly sure I had sped up and turned the corner I was heading towards. At that particular moment in time, of course, it hadn't really registered in my brain what it implied; just a twinge of annoyance. I had simply continued on my way to the supermarket and bought the groceries without another thought of the flyer in a pitiable condition. It was -- and still is -- fairly ironic how the very same evening, just a little after I had settled down with my book, the subject of that flyer was very roughly dragged back to my attention. I didn't appreciate the way it was done, either.
Lily, being the bundle of joy she always pretends to be, banged on my door with more force than a seven year old should have, and she screeched something entirely incomprehensible at me while I darted to open it before she knocked the door down. She beamed up at me happily, like the angel her parents seem to think she is, and without a word grabbed my sleeve. Just so you know, I hate it when she does that.
I was dragged down to lunch ceremoniously, to the point that she announced my arrival with an extravagant hand gesture and a curtsy. I briefly considered asking her what her problem is, but what with Harry and Ginny present, I would have never gotten away with... but don't get me wrong. Harry -- I wouldn't mind calling him Uncle, but he insists -- is a person I am and forever will be indebted to, my godfather or not. I get along with him brilliantly as well, and I don't think I'd have a word to say against him; nor Ginny. But their daughter is a right old imp, and Merlin knows she is infuriating! You would never guess from the way she giggles all prettily and behaves like an angel upon earth.
But enough about her -- this is more about her mother. She was smiling and listening to James talk excitedly about his and Harry's Quidditch escapade of the day, and from across the table his father was giving him a fond, proud grin, simultaneously directing the laundry to the laundry cupboard with his wand. Despite myself, a small smile worked it's way upon my lips; more to hide it than anything else, I turned towards Albus, intending to ask him how he had spent his day. He was the only thinker of the group, I suppose. The enthusiast, the thinker, the imp. Interesting bunch, really.
Before I could, however, do so, my name was called out as Ginny got off the couch and waved over to me. "Would you mind helping me in laying out the table, Ted? Ron and Hermione are coming over and you know how she insists on helping me despite being a guest." She rolled her eyes somewhat, obviously finding her reason much more solid than Hermione's protestations of how they were "family, aren't we?". With a smile in Ginny's direction, however, I nodded. "Of course. You can sit down, I'll do it." I was half expecting her to contest that one too, but instead she gave me a terribly grateful look and hurried off to make sure the living room was in order.
I didn't know why she bothered, to be honest. The mess James, Albus and Lily could make was nothing at all compared to the chaos they could orchestrate with Rose and Hugo with them. With that somewhat perturbing thought in mind, I took off on my task to set the table as neatly as possible.
I was only three quarters through when the fire across from the table spluttered and turned a bright green, the flames growing and dancing about in the large fireplace. I straightened, sliding the plate I had been about to place across the table in exactly the manner Ginny and Hermione both disapproved of; it reached the edge and for a split second I thought it was going to crash. My wand was halfway out of my pocket when it stopped, tilting precariously, and it was leaning slowly towards the floor when a small hand appeared out of nowhere, catching it and sliding it gently back onto the table. With a small grin, I inclined my wand in the direction of the table. "Labor lapsus," I muttered, drawing the wand across the table till the plate was in the correct place.
Then my wand disappeared into my pocket, and I turned towards the fire; before I could completely do so a pair of arms threw themselves around me. My lips quirked upwards in a wider grin and without much of a thought I straightened, pulling Rose up with me, her arms still steadfast around my neck. "Nice to see you too," I said, trying not to laugh, patting her shoulder gently. She pulled away, her hands going up to push all her brilliant red hair out of the way. "Glad to see it is," she said smartly, grinning at me. Rose is undoubtedly my favorite of all the five, be it favoritism or not. I wouldn't say she's smart for her age, because I was and am a staunch believer that younger people are terribly underrated, but 'intellectual' works. I could probably have a better conversation with Rose than I could with half the people in my year. Then again, the people in my year are not the best to compare anything with.
As she pulled away, I felt a sudden weight pulling at my shirt, and I started slightly as I watched Hugo tug at my shirt happily as if it were some sort of game. His brown hair was sticking out at every odd and end, his eyes bright as he rocked back and forth on his heels, not even looking up at me as he did so. He was a little short for his age -- alright, quite short for his age -- and he had to stretch a little to reach my shirt, but even so he seemed to be rather happy attempting to stretch the poor black thing as far as he could. I couldn't help but grin at him, and I bent down and pulled him onto my arm. For a moment he looked terribly upset and flailed, trying to grab the edge of my shirt, and then he caught sight of my face and beamed happily.
"Teddy!" he squealed, clapping his hands. I resisted the urge to wince; everyone else knew well enough not to call me Teddy, but I had decided snapping at Hugo wouldn't be a good idea. "Yes!" I whispered, pushing his unruly hair out of his eyes, smiling at him before setting him down again. Hermione and Ron both smiled at me in greeting, and I smiled back, before grabbing Hugo by the hand and indicating for Rose to follow me. Lily, coming out of the kitchen with a glass of juice, squeaked excitedly and promptly left her glass on a nearby table, instead immediately striking up a conversation with Rose. Girls talk very fast.
It was only when we were all sitting at the table and halfway through lunch that the conversation turned to the subject that was my chief interest -- or, at least, concerned me. Calling it an interest would be going a little far. Either way, Hermione, Ginny, Rose and Lily were rather animatedly talking away about something that presumably held more interest for the women than it did the men; Harry and Ron were discussing the latest Quidditch match with James listening intently and shovelling down food at the same time, and Hugo was simply humming to himself and swinging his short legs back and forth as he ate. I bent down and took in a mouthful of chicken, fully prepared to eat undisturbed for the remainder of the dinner hour. In a moment or so, however, I felt a gaze piercing through me, and I jerked upwards, blinking in front of me.
Both Rose and Lily were staring at me unabashedly, and Ginny and Hermione were attempting to look as though they weren't staring at me -- and failing miserably. Okay, I decided. I'll bite. "What's wrong?" I put my fork down and eyed them curiously, gaze shifting from one woman to the other. Lily coughed. Rose's voice was an octave too high when she spoke. "We were just discussing the flyers that have sprouted up around the town," she replied, giving her mother a sideways glance. "You know. Advertising the local Sadie Hawkins."
So now you know what the stupidest tradition ever was.
Disclaimer: The characters all belong to JK Rowling, save the OCs (who do not appear in this chapter); the song (again, not in this chapter, but just to keep it clear) is 'Sadie Hawkins Dance' by Relient K and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Just to keep it clear, this story takes place in 2015, when Ted Lupin is seventeen, Lily Potter seven, James Potter ten, Albus Potter and Rose Weasley nine, and Hugo Weasley six (the Lexicon places his birth from 2006-2009; I chose 2009). Next, as I mentioned this story is in for quite a lot of challenges, and they are the following: 'Write From The Opposite Sex's PoV' challenge by Cedrics_gurl, 'Pick A Title, Any Title' by RupertsPheonix, the 'Next Gen/OC' challenge by Firenze Fan, and my own entry for a certain challenge I intend to put up as soon as possible.
Now that I'm done with that rather heavy A/N and disclaimer... I hope you enjoyed the chapter!
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