Chapter 11: Storming of the Weasleys
I don’t even know where to start, this is totally crazy, you better sit down. We’ve found them, we’ve found Ron and Hermione. They’re at our house and I will explain everything once you come or something. It’s incredible, they’re well and alive, just a bit…well, you’ll see. Oh, and please come by the door, not the fireplace.
Molly kept reading the letter over and over again. Her heartbeat was steadily gaining and losing in speed. She had to make sure she wouldn’t get overexcited. Her heart was not as strong as it once used to be, at least not physically.
The soft happy tears slowly trickled down her cheeks, but she was careful about not dripping them on the letter. It was messy enough, written by a hasty Ginny, with words crossed out and small blotches in places, probably from tears of happiness as well.
There is no bigger pain for a mother than to outlive her child. Especially when that happens twice. It is a crime against nature, Molly thought, and once a thing like that happens, no intake of breath is ever the same. But on the other hand, there are hardly things as uplifting as having the empty place in her heart restored. Molly didn’t doubt the letter for a single second, she didn’t have second thoughts and was no longer afraid of disappointment. Maybe, in a strange way, she was ready and waiting for this.
Standing up, Molly folded the letter and put it into the pocket of her apron. Steadily walking to the door, she gazed through the open window, waiting for Arthur to come down so they could go and finally embrace their lost son. He was still in the next room, arranging the rest of the family – Bill, Percy and George. They were all to go over to Ginny’s and Molly could hardly wait. Impulsively she grabbed slices of the cake she had baked that morning because she didn’t want the others to be too hungry from all the excitement. She also wondered whether Ron had missed her cooking. She wondered how much he had missed them all and she wanted to finally find out what had taken them so long to appear again.
Because somehow, Molly knew things might turn out a little more complicated than everyone was prepared for.
Ron couldn’t hold his excitement any longer. While Hermione remained sitting, with her hands folded in her lap, Ron stood up from the sofa and paced the room in quick strides, passing from one end of the room to the other. He observed the many pictures adorning the walls: moving pictures. It fascinated and baffled him, watching himself waving and smiling, captured in moments he couldn’t remember.
When he reached a small picture full of people hanging above the mantelpiece, Ron paused for a second. Some faces would possibly spark a hint of recognition in his mind, but his eyes landed on himself and Hermione standing next to each other. Their smiles were a little faint, away from the scene and the people, more in a world of their own. People in the photograph moved and for a speck of a second he thought he had spotted Hermione taking his hand. But it was soon out of sight.
Ginny strode into the room, still smiling brightly, walking from Ron to Hermione, offering tea, coffee, lunch and anything else they would like.
“Mum and Dad will be here in a while, so you should both prepare yourselves,” Ginny stated, sitting down. “They are so excited and this was so difficult for us, losing you two, that right now they might be downright overexcited and little overwhelming. So don’t get frightened, we Weasleys are like that.”
Hermione smiled feebly, but she felt her own excitement rise when she imagined Ron’s family arriving. She knew they weren’t her family, but she felt as though her own mother were approaching.
But with a little sad feeling, Hermione knew she should step away a bit. This was Ron’s family, not her own, and while they might’ve liked her before, she knew it was not her they were all rushing to see. Ron needed the space to meet his family; she could wait.
Both Ron and Hermione started at a sudden noise coming from the hall. There was obvious commotion going on behind the door and they could hear irritated voices and one authoritative voice hushing them all down.
Ginny patted Ron on the back softly, giving him an encouraging smile and taking a step back as the lock fumbled. The door finally opened, and for a moment, nobody dared to even breathe or move. Ron saw people, many of them, with glowing familiar faces and red hair. But in front stood a plump woman with greying hair that still kept its red flame. She observed Ron and Hermione for one second and was before them in another. Tears were falling from her eyes one by one, but she kept smiling, looking like a beautiful warm sun peeking through rainy clouds. Without further ado she embraced Ron as he had never been embraced. Sobbing into his shoulder, she stroked his hair, but Ron felt all the awkwardness disperse and he felt laughter resonating within his lungs. Ron hugged her back gently, unable to make out all the hasty words she was mumbling into his hair. Suddenly he felt a sting of tears behind his eyelids, but after a furtive glance at the grinning young men still standing in the doorway, he really didn’t want to cry.
“Mum,” he said almost inaudibly and Molly caressed his cheek gently while wiping her eyes.
“Oh my little Ron, I always knew!” she said, pulling back and observing him. Ron thought he had never before seen a face so sincere and full of tender care. “But you’re so grown now, you always seem taller, don’t you? And that hair!”
Molly then went over to Hermione while a tall bespectacled man stepped toward Ron, his chin and nose high in the air.
“Welcome home, dear brother,” he said importantly, outstretching his arm. Ron smiled gawkily, not knowing what to make of it. He felt like laughing again, but thought better of it and shook his hand cordially. Ginny behind him gave an obvious snort of laughter.
After that the atmosphere in the room eased a little, what with Molly hugging Hermione and Ginny explaining something to the rest of the group still standing in the doorway, the rest of them all burst in and it was a huge load of chaos onwards.
Ron was suddenly circled by all his family, mainly brothers who kept on taking turns coming to him, introducing themselves. Ginny probably explained the memory loss situation.
When an older man approached him, wearing a wizard’s hat and a warm, encouraging smile, Ron knew it was his father straight away. Ron outstretched his hand, still feeling a bit awkward after the cordial greeting from his first brother. His father, however, ignored it and embraced him just like his mother had. As long as he could remember, he had never received so many heartfelt hugs in his lifetime.
His brother named Bill lifted him high in the air and actually spun him around, his long ponytail waving after him and his ragged face laughing. “Hey little Ronniekins, you’ve got no idea how good it is to have you back.”
Then came the other brother that introduced himself as George. Ron watched him warily, his eyes widening upon spotting a missing ear. George embraced him just like the others, but it was quiet and mellow, though all the stronger for it. As he pulled away, Ron thought his sad face was meant for laughter, but there was an entire story written in his eyes, one he couldn’t comprehend.
“I know this might be a little too confusing,” Ginny said, placing her arm around Ron’s shoulders, “but you’ll get used to us for the evening. And tomorrow, everything will be alright again. There’s also one more brother, but he’s-”
Her words were cut short as they heard glass shattering in the kitchen. Harry ran into the kitchen with his wand raised, followed by Bill and Mr. Weasley. They heard someone scrambling from the floor, yelling excitedly.
“Where is he? Where’s my little brother?”
Just when Ron and Hermione thought the room couldn’t hold any more redheads, another one burst in from the kitchen, holding a broom and brushing tiny shards of glass from his travelling cloak.
“Charlie?” they all gasped, pulling aside, letting Charlie pass and hug Ron, tousling his hair.
“How come you’re here so fast?” Ginny asked once Charlie let go of Ron who was very out of breath, but smiling more than ever. “I just sent the owl, it couldn’t have reached you so fast and…”
“I arrived to Brighton this morning and planned to stay there for the night, but then I got the owl and flew here as fast as I could. Sorry for the window, sis. You know me, I’ll try to fix it later.”
So, now they must be all, Ron thought to himself happily. But before breaking into chatter again, he passed a quick glance at the door, an almost nonexistent expectation swept through him that was gone the next second. For a moment there, Ron thought that one more person was supposed to walk through that door in order for all of them to be complete.
And then it was hard to talk and hear your own words, Ron thought. Everyone was saying something, everyone was laughing and he felt the room vibrating with happiness, with his happiness upon finding his family. He would never in a lifetime be able to describe the feeling of belonging somewhere again.
Suddenly he thought he had everything he ever wished for, he didn’t even mind that he couldn’t remember the foundations of these relationships. He felt it, that was enough. He had a best friend, a doting sister, a huge lot of brothers and loving parents. And Hermione.
At that thought, he turned to look for her. He didn’t really notice her as he was swarmed with welcomes from his family. She was standing there, a few feet away from him, talking to his father and smiling, but she seemed far away now. And he suddenly felt hugely sorry that there was no family coming to see Hermione in such a style as his.
Right as he wanted to go after her, he was pulled in again by Charlie and Bill. They were telling him loads of things he could or couldn’t understand, but all of them made him happy. He didn’t even notice how quick his mum was in producing a tray full of cakes so wonderfully delicious that from then on he just felt bliss.
Hermione watched the scene with a smile. She herself felt warmed at the heart after the way the Weasleys took to seeing her. They greeted her with as much enthusiasm as they did Ron, as if she was really their daughter. But it wasn’t the same and she no longer was in the mood for such celebrating and intruding.
To her immense relief, Harry dislodged from the redheaded group as well, walking toward her with an affectionate, understanding grin.
“Maybe we should disappear for a while, what do you say?” Harry took her hand and led her away from the Weasleys. Ron was too buried under locks of red hair and repeated hugs and pats on the back to notice. Mrs. Weasley, however, looked up as Hermione turned away from them and was walking away with slumped shoulders. Smiling sadly, she nodded Harry’s way and then turned her attention back to her son.
Hermione stood in the kitchen, placing her hands on her neck and looking around casually.
“What a nice place,” she remarked blankly. It was a slight overstatement in that moment, because the window was broken and the table with the chairs were knocked over.
Harry turned to look at her and wiped away the little tear that slipped from her eye.
“I’d like to show you something. Maybe it won’t be as cheerful as the flamboyant reunion next door, but I think you should see it.”
“Oh, please,” Hermione said helplessly, her heart breaking at every sound she heard from the next room. She was consumed and disgusted by the jealousy that overcame her. The Weasleys seemed to be genuinely and equally happy to see her, but she wasn’t their daughter, not their sister, not their blood. She needed to get away.
“Let me warn you. This might be a bit uncomfortable, but just hold my hand and trust me, alright?”
Hermione watched him, his sparkling eyes behind round glasses and messy hair, until her eyes lingered on his scar. Suddenly she remembered that dream she had while on the train ride to London. The boy was now a man, standing before her.
Squeezing his hand, Hermione nodded. “Okay, I trust you.”
Shutting her eyes, Hermione gritted her teeth and waited for the weird, uncomfortable sensation to end. When it did, she landed with a little thud on soft ground. Harry helped her keep her balance.
“See, you’re getting better. Soon enough you’ll be able to Apparate yourself again. Soon you’ll do everything yourself again, including magic,” he grinned.
Returning the smile, knowing that was something to look forward to, Hermione looked around, inhaling the fresh air, much more cooler than back in London.
“We’re in Godric’s Hollow,” he said as Hermione looked around.
“Wow,” Hermione breathed as a plain war obelisk magically turned into almost alive statues of two people holding a baby. Harry walked towards it and traced his fingertips across the lettering on the bottom.
“They were my parents,” he said quietly.
“They’re beautiful,” Hermione said in awe, hugging herself, feeling a cold chill in the air. The cold here was different, as if the place was charmed by it forever.
“You were with me the first time I saw this. Back in the days of the war,” he added, turning to look at her.
Running a hand through her hair, placing the loose strands of hair behind her ears, Hermione smiled and took a step to Harry. “I had the feeling I wasn’t here for the first time.”
“Come on,” Harry said after a moment, turning left and heading for a small graveyard a little in the distance. As they stepped in, Hermione observed rows of gravestones, covered by flowers, moss or the wet grass. She followed Harry in silence to the other end of the graveyard until they reached two gravestones.
As she read the names, she already knew. Jane and Eustace, her parents. Covering her trembling lips with her hand, Hermione’s eyes overflowed with tears.
“I figured this would be a good place to bury them,” Harry said softly from beside her. Hermione wanted to say something, she wanted to thank Harry for bringing her here, for taking care of them when they died. She wanted to say something to them, but she didn’t know what when she couldn’t even remember their faces. She could only cry.
“I’m so…sorry,” she said jerkily, sniffing. “I mean, I didn’t even know them and look at me, I’m a mess.”
Placing a hand on her shoulder, Harry shook his head. “Hey, don’t feel bad at all. My parents died when I was one year old. Another result of Voldemort and his hunger for power. And so, I don’t really remember them at all. All I have is the strength they’ve given me and the love I will always feel for them. When your parents go, it doesn’t matter whether you knew them or not. They take away a piece of you that can’t ever be retrieved.”
They stood for a little longer until Hermione took a deep breath and turned away. Wiping her face with her sleeve, she tried to smile at Harry.
“You all right now?”
Hermione nodded and walked away from the graves, followed by Harry. “Let’s take a walk. It’s actually very nice over here. Is this where you lived?”
“Once, long ago,” Harry said as they reached the kissing gate and left the graveyard, looking over the land bathed in the golden sun. “One day I’d like to return, with Ginny.”
“Are you two married?”
“Not yet,” Harry smiled, “but we are engaged. You know, Ginny believed you were still out there from the start. I was a bit more doubting, all the time. But I was afraid. I’m sorry I’ve done such a lousy job finding you,” he said heavily. Hermione looked at him and saw that this really troubled him. “I tried, really. Posters, spells, everything that came to mind. But the world of magic is sometimes too deep and difficult to get through.”
“Don’t worry about it, we’re back now. Back in the world of magic and it’s more than we could ask for. I just wish I could…not feel so distant and unknowing.”
Hermione felt good being able to talk to Harry so easily. She felt their mutual trust and affection coming back to them and she felt a warm friendly comfort whenever he smiled that reassuring smile of his.
“And I wonder if I’ll be good at all these magical things you do. It looks easy, but I reckon it’s pretty difficult to manage it all,” she blurted with furrowed eyebrows.
“Don’t worry, Hermione,” chuckled Harry. “I promise that once we lift this memory charm off you, you’ll be back in shape in no time. Because let me tell you, you were always the best witch in our generation.”
Grinning, Hermione took Harry’s arm and they walked some more, back toward the spot where they Apparated. The negative feelings were ebbing away. She hoped she left all her sadness and heartbreak back in the graveyard. Now she would go back with Harry, to her friends, her family. And she would know magic again, she could almost feel the prickling sensation in the tips of her fingertips.
Hermione knew she was in the right place, because she felt so right herself. The thought of her other world, slowly getting ready to collide with her newfound reality, seemed as unimportant to her as the odd chill in the air on such a gorgeous, sunny day.
Author's Note: Once again, quite a delay, and I'm sorry. But here it is, the family reunion. I have to admit I had some trouble writing all the Weasleys in one place, but I really enjoyed them entering the picture, so I hope you did too. As always, thank you Megan (momotwins) for the amazing beta work and an unbelievably sharp eye, and thank you to everyone who's reading this story. I finally replied to every review this afternoon. And it'd be awesome if you reviewed again, because I just love it when you do.
xoxo Liz :)
Chapter picture done by the awesome xfadedorange! :)