Chapter 1 : The Beater's Tale
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“Roxanne Weasley, I said it was time for bed!” Mum screamed from the kitchen where she was making sure the dishes washed themselves properly.
“But Mum! I’m leaving tomorrow for Hogwarts! You and Dad won’t see me again till Christmas, and that’s only if I decide to come home,” I complained, knowing fully well that I would never dream of missing a Weasley family Christmas.
“Exactly, you need to get up extra early tomorrow so that we have plenty of time to get you and Fred to the Express on time. You know how slow your brother is,” Mum responded, peeking around the corner into the living room where I was sitting on the couch, leaning my head on Dad’s shoulder.
“But that’s Fred who’s slow, not me! I can be ready in five minutes, promise.” I was at the point of begging. It was my last night home, last thing I wanted to do was go to bed early!
“No. Now get to bed,” she said, turning her back and walking into the kitchen again. “And don’t give her another minute, George,” Mum added to my father.
Turning towards Dad, I questioned his stance on the matter with a simple look.
“You heard your mother,” he simply stated; he hated telling me what to do or disagreeing with me.
“Come on, upstairs,” he said, standing up.
“I won’t be able to sleep, though. I’m going to Hogwarts tomorrow! Dad, I can’t believe it!” I was getting even more excited as every second passed. I couldn’t imagine how ecstatic I would be by the time we walked into the school tomorrow night. I turned to Dad and gave him the look I always gave him when I felt he was being unfair. He could never resist.
“Roxanne, I said upstairs,” he said, “but did I say anything about sleeping?” He added in a whisper to me so that Mum wouldn’t hear. I looked up at him and smiled, and began climbing the stairs in front of him.
Walking into my room, Dad said that I should at least get into bed, but that he would let me ask anything I wanted about Hogwarts. He could see past my excitement to the slight fear I felt. I was about to ask him to tell me about the four houses again, for the millionth time, when something else came to mind.
“Tell me about Fred,” I asked, unsure how he would react. The topic was pretty much off limits in our house.
“Well,” Dad began, “he’s your favorite brother, not that you have much of a choice, and he has red hair like most of his Weasley relatives. He’s a pretty good prankster, though I doubt he could do nearly as much without James-”
“Dad!” I cut him off. “You know that’s not who I am talking about,” I added, though speaking much softer.
“Oh,” he responded, his voice getting a little softer as well. “Your Uncle Fred was a wonderful man and brother. You would have loved him. You know he had red hair too?” I laughed a little, but I knew he was trying to be serious.
“He and I were always together, imagine James and Fred only both looking like Fred. Those were our favorite jokes.” I gave him a questioning look, not understanding.
“Anything related to us being twins and confusing other people- especially Nana Molly. It never got old,” Dad clarified, and I saw a smile begin to appear on his face. It must be hard for him to talk about this. “We loved to joke around and we always felt it was our job to make everyone else smile and to lighten the mood. That and studying, I mean. We took our Hogwarts’ years very seriously. Yes, we played the occasional prank or two, but we knew that our exams were extremely important. We got six O.W.L.s you know?”
“Really? Six O.W.L.s each! That’s really, really good, right?” I asked, not one-hundred percent sure how many O.W.L.s equaled ‘good’.
“Yes, six O.W.L.s is good, but we got six between the two of us!” He began laughing, a real genuine laugh, “three O.W.L.s each, though I swore back then that we deserved at least ‘Exceeds Expectations’ in everything just for showing up!”
Dad’s smile had grown to consume half his face. I couldn’t remember ever seeing him this happy, especially while talking about Fred. April 1st is always the worst time for him. We used to try to just celebrate Dad’s birthday, but normally he just wanted to mope around. He had every right to. As long as it’s only once a year, Mum lets it go; but if it lasts for over a day…
“Now, don’t go telling your mother that. She doesn’t want me creating another prankster out of you. Although I keep telling her that there is no way to stop it. Fred and I were born with it, as well as your brother, and as far as I know, you too.” He gave me a knowing look. Maybe I hadn’t gotten away with as much as I thought. Mum always blamed Fred, and sometimes James, but Dad must’ve known that it was me who “borrowed” Fred’s wand last week to shrink all of Mum’s clothes before her big meeting at the Ministry. I don’t know why she was so upset. It only took her two seconds to fix it once she calmed down and locked Fred’s wand and broom up for the rest of the week. I’m sure she would have taken it for longer if we weren’t set to go back to Hogwarts so soon.
“What about Quidditch? I know you were both beaters, but why?” I asked thinking that moving far from the subject of my troublemaking was the best idea.
“Well, whenever Bill and Charlie would play Quidditch and Percy refused to play, which was always, they would make us chasers. The problem was we always ended up beating one another for the Quaffle. It was pretty hilarious; can you imagine your eleven year-old dad wrestling his brother in the air on brooms? And after all that, the Quaffle normally ended up on the ground within seconds while we, completely oblivious, continued to go at each other until one of us, or sometimes both, ended up on the ground beside the Quaffle with Bill and Charlie yelling at their teammate. They thought about banning us from ever playing with them again, but then Nana Molly told them they had to let us play, so they said we could be beaters. And you’ll never guess but we were pretty decent. So decent in fact that both of our brothers told us we had to try-out the first chance we got. We did, and for some crazy reason, they let us on the team in second year! And Wood kept us on the team after that when he got the captaincy.”
“Being a beater sounds really exciting, though maybe a little scary at times. I can’t imagine a bludger flying at me, but in that case, it probably is best to be a beater since you have a bat to beat it away with,” I said thinking out loud.
“Haha, yes it can be a little scary, but you’re right. You are one of two people on the team who can concentrate only on not being hit, there isn’t anything else to distract you. Also, it’s a lot of fun. Are you thinking of trying-out for the team?”
Slightly confused, I responded, “But I can’t, right? At least not until second year, or did Fred lie when he told me that first years weren’t allowed?” I was getting very unhappy with Fred at the moment.
“Slow down! Fred is right, first years aren't allowed to even bring a broom, but you can practice on the school brooms this year and you never know how next year could work out.” I thought about it for a second, maybe that was a good idea, but I would need someone to help me, and there was no way I was going to ask Fred. I decided to figure it out later when Dad continued, “Did you know that Uncle Harry made it on the Gryffindor Quidditch team in his first year? I was obviously already on the team, but Wood heard he was good and let him on the team. Uncle Harry didn’t know a thing about Quidditch! Can you believe that?”
“Really? That is so amazing!” I responded enthusiastically.
Dad stood up when we heard a noise from downstairs. Following the sound of footsteps on the bottom of the stairs, we heard Mum call out, “George, what is taking you so long? I thought you were coming back down?”
“Good night, Roxanne,” Dad said and tiptoed out onto the landing. To Mom he yelled, “I’m on my way down now Angelina!” I heared him reach the bottom and told Mom, “I got caught up in some old memories.”
I could imagine him smiling as he says this.
Author's Note: Wow, this was really interesting to write, it was a lot of fun. Again this is for FannyPrice's "Fathers... Of Sorts" Challenge which was in honor of father's day. I want thank my wonderful beta's, Rayn, AngelEyez3954, and butterbeergal. And also Rayn for the title. Thanks for reading and I hope you will write a little something in the comment box. We all need help to improve our writing!