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Chapter 6 : The Rejected-Boys' Christmas
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The whole Gryffindor student body is gathered in the common room, looking at their Head of House, when the scene materializes itself around the four travellers. They spot Ron, Harry and Hermione, standing in a corner with the Weasley twins, listening only with a distracted ear. Harry alone seems to be giving the teacher his full attention and a small, incredulous smile creeps on his lips.
“December 10th, dear mum and dad,” the narrating voice begins over McGonagall’s speech. “Thanks for the letters and sorry I didn’t write earlier, but there wasn’t much to say. School days are pretty much all the same, although, I am getting better at controlling my magic and it feels good. Harry and I are having a lot of fun and it’s really funny to see him get so impressed at things like moving pictures, sweets and even money!” There is a short pause before Ron keeps talking, but this time, it is with a much more serious tone. “That’s a bit what my letter is about really. See, one thing that impresses Harry to no end is the fact that it’s a nice thing to have a family, and that got me to thinking. I always took what I have for granted and, well; it’s not the same for everybody. I shouldn’t take you for granted and, I guess, I’m really happy that I have all of you and my brothers (though please don’t tell them!).”
“If you are interested in staying for the entire Christmas Holidays, you need to put your name down on this list and write to your family to let them know of your decision,” McGonagall says, looking around the group of students. “Know that except for special cases, we will verify with the family of every student under fourth year that will put down their name; just to be sure your parents agree with your choice.”
“Excellent,” Harry whispers.
“What is?” Ron asks his friend, “You think people would voluntarily want to spend Christmas here?”
“I do!” Harry exclaims happily. “I didn’t know it was possible, but it’s a much better option than the other one I’ve got!”
“But you’ll be all alone here!” Ron frowns.
“So what?” Harry asks him, “No matter what Christmas here turns out to be like, I already know what it’s going to be like with the Dursleys, and I know things can’t be worst here.”
“You haven’t seen them in four months, I’m sure your family misses you,” Hermione presses.
“I’m sure they can live without my presence to serve them Christmas dinner,” Harry points out with a strong hint of irony. He then stops and thinks for a moment before adding, “Dudley might miss the fact that he won’t get to gloat about all the great presents he’ll receive while I get nothing, though. Well, he’ll just gloat more at his birthday I guess. Oh, be right back.”
Harry crosses the crowd to reach McGonagall who has finished her speech and asks to write his name down. The Head of House pinches her lips and gives the boy a sharp look as she allows him to put his name on the list. She asks him some questions but the travellers are too far away to hear what they are talking about.
“Is his family really like that?” Hermione asks Ron. The boy gives her a sideway look before looking back at Harry, making sure he is still talking with the Head of House.
“Apparently,” Ron carefully answers. “He doesn’t talk about life at home much but from what I’ve got, they don’t seem like very nice people.”
“Yesterday, McGonagall came around to take the names of the students staying at Hogwarts for Christmas, and Harry was the first one to sign. And he was happy about it! You realize? He was happy to spend Christmas alone at school because it would be better than being with his muggle family! He says that, at least, he won’t have to watch his cousin open present after present in front of him while he receives nothing and then spends the rest of the day in his cupboard while the muggles eat a fancy dinner. Poor guy, makes me a bit sad to think of everything I have; is that normal? Well, that’s it really. Thanks for loving me and I can’t wait to see you guys, too bad I won’t be allowed to show you what I’ve learned. Ron.”
“Deep letter,” Rose says, breaking the silence following Ron’s narration. They all watch as Harry gets back to his friends, a big smile on his lips, and tells them how convinced he is that his Aunt and Uncle will agree to let him stay at school.
“Yeah. Well that certainly explains a lot about dad’s attitude toward his family,” Al says softly. He looks at his sister, pain clearly visible in his eyes, “he never had anyone who cared for him or anyone to care for before he went to school, that’s… that is so wrong!”
“He is so lucky he met Uncle Ron in the train,” Lily says with a hoarse voice, trying hard to keep her tears from spilling.
“Yeah, it was a lucky thing; he found himself a ‘proper’ family at that moment.”
Hugo’s words, although spoken on a sad tone, put a hopeful smile on the three others’ faces. After all, they know everything will end up great for Harry, but it is still shocking to learn flat out that your father has not been loved or cared for as a child. For Al and Lily especially, it feels like a slap in the face and almost impossible that their father could have given them so much love when he hadn’t received any himself. From that moment on, both teenagers decided that they would never take their father’s love for granted anymore; they would also be more understanding of his strange antics and protective behaviours. They realize exactly what their father means when he says that his children are everything to him. They really are the only real family he has.
When the wind slows down, Al, Lily, Rose and Hugo find themselves to be in the Gryffindor common room still. Harry and Ron are playing exploding snap in front of the fire since the common room is almost deserted.
“Does the Gryffindor common room really smell like sweets all the time or is it dad’s imagination?” Hugo asks the three Gryffindors when the room appears with its now associated aroma.
“No, that’s Uncle Ron’s,” Al denies.
“It fits though; with dad and with the room. After all, Gryffindors are as sweet and lovable as candy,” Lily smiles.
“December 17th,” Ron’s hoarse voice says, “Mom, Dad and Ginny, I received your letter and I totally understand. Sure I would have loved to go and see Charlie and visit Romania but I’ll have another chance at it, right? Plus, staying at Hogwarts will be great and I’ll have Harry with me so we’re going to have a great time.”
“Well Ickle Ronniekins, it’s confirmed,” Fred says, jumping on the arm of the chair hisbrother is sitting on.
“What is?” Ron asks, his ears reddening at the sound of the nickname.
“We are officially rejected from our family,” George says from behind him, handing him a letter. “Here’s mum’s letter.”
“Good boy Percy has already put us all down on the list so, there’s no need for you to run after McGonagall.”
“Okay, thanks for letting me know.”
“No problem,” Fred says as he gets up. “As rejects, we’ve got to stick together, like a family.”
“We ARE a family,” Ron rolls his eyes at his brother’s antics.
“No we are not,” Fred promptly denies. “Ask around, people know you are in no way related to us. Neither is Percy actually; you guys clearly aren’t as awesome as us.”
“How nice of you,” Ron grumpily answers.
“But we’ll be making you a Christmas favour, strange redheaded boy,” Fred smiles.
“Yeah, you’ll be kind of related to us, being a member of the Rejected-Boys’ family!” George adds. “And so are you Harry; one of the Reject-Brothers!”
“Me? What do you mean?”
“Well,” Ron blushes nervously, “We will be spending our Christmas Holiday at Hogwarts too.”
“What? Why?” Harry asks, his eyes widening at the news. “What about your parents?”
“They decided to stop hiding who their favourite child is,” Fred shrugs.
“They’re going to visit Charlie and his dragons,” George adds.
“And they’re only taking Ginny with them,” Ron finishes.
“Can’t believe we didn’t see this before,” George shakes his head. “They had six boys in a row until they finally got the girl they really wanted. Now, they set us boys aside and keep the girl with them.”
“This is why we are planning an extra entertaining Christmas, so we can show those girl-loving parents that we can have a good time without them,” Fred says with an evil grin.
“Well good night boys, only two more weeks before the Rejected-Boys wreck havoc on the castle,” George bows before following his twin to the dormitories.
“You guys are spending the Holidays here?” Harry asks, disbelieving.
“Yeah. I didn’t want to tell you before our parents confirmed it, in case it didn’t happen in the end, but now it’s official, you won’t be alone here all Christmas time!”
“Wow,” Harry whispers to himself, “I know you guys must be bummed to learn this but me, well now this will be the best Christmas I’ve ever had!”
“Fred and George have already planned loads of stuff for us to do, saying that ‘Christmas is a time for family and since our family has rejected us, the rejects should stay together’. Harry fits in the rejects category too so we’ll make our own Christmas. I wish I could see you all, especially Ginny since it will be a long time before summer; you might not even recognize me then! I miss you and I will send you a letter at Charlie’s; tell me how it is Gin! Reject-Ron.”
“Reject-Ron,” Lily snorts, a bit happier. “Uncle Ron is the best. He actually stayed behind to be with his friend.”
“Yeah,” Rose nods, “I think he actually did stay on purpose. So did the twins.”
“I know they have a very strong friendship now but I didn’t know it had always been that way,” Al shakes his head with a disbelieving smile.
“I know! I thought it took all the years and adventures for it to become as strong as it is now that they are adults, not that it was like that from scratch. I can understand when mum says that dad’s greatest strength is his loyalty. The letter he wrote before practically screamed that he wanted to stay with Harry or bring him home with him. I’m really touched by my father’s actions,” Hugo beams, clearly showing how he feels.
“Makes me proud to be a Weasley,” Rose wipes a tear from her eye.
“Yeah,” Lily smiles, “we’re awesome!”
As the four teenagers burst into fits of laughter, the Gryffindor common room gets wiped of people and all that can be heard is laughter coming from the dormitories. The four Weasley boys and Harry suddenly appear, coming down the stairs, all wearing brand new looking Weasley jumpers. The twins seem to be holding a very disgruntled looking Percy while Ron and Harry follow, laughing heartily.
“December 25th, Happy Christmas!!!” Ron’s happy voice shouts. “Thanks for the great presents! The fudge is astonishingly good and the sweaters makes us all look like cuddly boys.”
“Astonishingly? Wonder where he picked up that word!” Hugo sniggers.
“Now Percy, please put on your jumper the correct way,” George scowls at his older brother. Percy mutters angrily at the twins but complies nevertheless with the demand.
“We should take a picture and send it to mum,” Ron suggests.
“Good idea Ronniekins,” Fred agrees while George runs back to the dormitories and comes back with an old and battered looking camera.
“Here, I’ll take it,” Harry says, making a move to take the camera from George.
“No need,” Percy explains, “we just need to set it on the table and it will centre itself magically.”
“Oh ok,” Harry says, giving a second, more impressed look at the camera. As George settles the camera, the four Weasley boys get together in front of it while Harry walks away quietly.
“Harry, what are you doing?” Ron asks his friend.
“I’m making sure I won’t be in the picture.”
“What do you mean? You don’t want to be in it?” Ron asks his friend, confused.
“Well it’s a family picture you want to send to your parents, I have no business being in it, Ron,” Harry awkwardly answers.
“Are you, or are you not, wearing a Weasley jumper?” Fred asks the black-haired boy.
“Yes but –”
“Are you, or are you not, one of the Reject-Boys?” George questions his younger brother’s friend.
“I guess so, but –”
“Are you, or are you not, cuddly-looking?” Fred asks, earning himself a loud snort of laughter from his older brother.
“Yes but –”
“Well then, since this is a picture to show how cuddly-looking the Reject-Boys look in their Weasley jumpers, you have to be on the picture,” George concludes as Ron walks over to Harry and pulls him toward the other boys.
For a couple minutes, the travellers laugh themselves to tears, watching the Weasley boys try to keep Harry in the picture. The boy keeps trying to walk out so the twins have to hold him and keep him in place. The boys pose for the camera, fight together to position themselves and even reach a point where Percy and Fred have their wands out, ready to hex each other.
“How did G-Mum and G-Dad manage to keep the house from being destroyed with those boys?” Rose wonders in disbelief as she watches the brothers’ laugh, bicker and brawl at the same time.
“I have no idea,” Lily laughs. “I mean, I thought my two brothers were something! I was so wrong, they’re angels compared to those brothers.”
“Ah, thanks Lil,” Al smiles. “One thing is certain though, having four Weasley brothers is a horrible idea; let’s keep that in mind when the time comes to make our own families.”
“While you are away at Wonder boy’s with the obvious favourite child of yours, we’re torturing Percy (but he likes it!), mocking drunk teachers (we even saw McGonagall blush!), having super snowball fights, making warrior snowmen, helter-skelter-ing the castle as much as we can and, of course, crying while we eat the school food because it’s not as good as yours mum.”
“Ok, that letter was clearly written by Uncle George,” Rose laughs.
“I wonder if we would find the picture in the box,” Hugo ponders, “I don’t remember ever seeing it, do you guys?”
“No, but I would love to find it,” Lily shakes her head. “Dad doesn’t have many pictures from when he was younger. The earliest ones I ever saw, except from the ones when he was still with his parents, were taken when he was in his second year by Mister Creevey’s brother.”
“Right!” Al smiles, “the boy who kept taking snapshots of everything! You’ll see next year in History of Magic, when you’ll talk about the second war, most pictures in the book were taken by him.”
Before Hugo and Lily have time to answer, the scene changes and they find themselves in the Great Hall. The five Gryffindor boys are sitting together at the almost empty House table. Ron and Harry face an uncomfortable looking Percy who squirms on his seat. The reason is quite easily understandable to the four travellers since the twins sit on either side of their elder brother and keep offering him fruits of all sorts as well as toasts and fried cooked eggs.
“We should go sit with them,” Lily declares as she takes place next to her Uncle George (or so she guesses). The others agree and Rose takes place next to the other twin while the two boys sit next to their respective fathers.
“You boys look like an older version of your fathers; it’s quite disturbing!” Rose laughs, looking at the two black haired boys and the red-headed ones.
“Shame we can’t eat though,” Hugo sighs, “this all looks delicious.”
“This is by far the best breakfast I’ve ever had at school,” Ron declares with his mouth full, earning himself a reproachful glare from his Prefect brother.
“Yes, please rub it in dad,” Hugo smiles sarcastically.
“Those are the best waffles I’ve ever had in my entire life!” Harry agrees.
“If you come by the house, we’ll tell mum to make some for you, “Fred says and his three brothers nod vigorously. “She makes the most delicious raspberry syrup to go with waffles.”
“Yeah,” George dreamily adds, “this doesn’t even come close.”
“Then I definitely need to taste that,” Harry says, wide-eyed.
“It will become one of your favourites too Dad,” Lily tells him, knowingly.
“So, Ron, how are your grades doing?” Percy asks after a moment of silence has passed.
“What kind of a question is that on a Christmas morning?” Fred turns to his older brother, outraged.
“The kind that mother and father would ask him,” Percy sternly answers.
“Well they rejected us so the real question we, his brothers, should be asking is ‘What kind of trouble have you gotten yourselves into so far?’”
“I thought we weren’t really brothers,” Ron sarcastically asks Fred.
“We are brothers Ronniekins; Reject-Brothers. Keep up,” George tells him.
“Well I’m your real brother Ron and, as you’ve probably already noticed, the example I’m setting is a much better one to follow,” Percy pompously says. Ron looks at him with doubt and then, turns to George.
“What can I do to become your real brother?” he asks Fred and George. The twins share an evil grin but before either of them have time to say anything, Percy intervenes.
“Now look here, you will not get him involved in your schemes!”
“And what if I want to?”
“Yeah, what if he wants to?”
“He’s eleven, he doesn’t know what is good for him; it’s our job to guide him on the right path,” Percy declares, his chest thrown out so his Prefect badge is clearly visible over his Weasley jumper.
“We have a very different idea on what the right path is!”
“And so what if I’m eleven? I’m old enough to know what I want to do!” Ron angrily shouts at Percy.
During this argument, George bends over the table, taking his time to choose a perfect apple and whispers to Harry.
“Be at the third floor washroom at 10 with Ron.” Harry stops watching the argument for a second and gives a small nod to George.
“Did you hear that?” Al asks Rose and Hugo, both sitting at the opposite end of the group.
“I only heard that Dad clearly doesn’t want to be a Prefect,” Rose smiles, “if he knew what’s in store for him, he’d die of shame I think!”
“What did we miss?” Hugo questions his cousin. Al doesn’t have time to answer him though seeing as the Great Hall vanishes and they find themselves in the dingy third floor washroom where the four boys sit facing each other.
“Eww,” Lily exclaims, disgust when she looks around her. “I’m so glad I don’t have to use this place every other day.”
“What? Because the girl’s washroom must be so much better,” Al sarcastically scoffs at his sister.
“So,” George begins with a mysterious voice cutting the siblings’ argument short, “You boys wish to get involved in the deep and bright world of mayhem making?”
“Yeah!” Ron answers excitedly.
“The problem is that we are not convinced you have what it takes.”
“What do you mean ‘don’t have what it takes’? What does it take according to you?”
“Now, now, Ronniekins, we’re not going to give it all to you like this! Trouble-making takes efforts and complete dedication.”
“So in order for us to accept you into our circle, we need to see if you’ve got the potential.”
“You mean you want us to pull a prank and you’ll evaluate us on it?”
“You understand fast young Harry,” George nods, “a quick mind is one of the necessary qualities.”
“Now, we will help you plan the prank, so we know what to expect, but you will pull it all on your own. Is that okay for you?”
“Yeah, no problem,” Ron shrugs, clearly put off that his brothers want to test him and not accept him immediately.
“Are we going to pull the prank now?” Harry asks but the twins, as well as Hugo and Lily, shake their heads.
“That’s one strike against you Harry,” Fred sternly says. “Think about it; there’s barely anybody in the school right now. If you do something now, you’ll basically be sending yourself to detention. The risk of getting caught is too high.”
“Right,” George nods, looking at his twin. “And what is the first rule of the Weasley Pranking Code?”
“Don’t get caught!” Fred, George and surprisingly, Ron chant. Even more surprising to the travellers is the fact that Hugo and Lily join in on the reply.
“How do you know that?” Fred asks Ron at the same time as Al asks Lily.
“Did you read The Code?” George and Rose ask their respective younger brothers.
“No, I haven’t read The Code,” Ron rolls his eyes. “Only I’m a quick thinker too, you know?”
“First I’ve heard of it,” George answers suspiciously.
“How about you two?” Rose presses the two younger ones.
“We’ll tell you about it later,” Lily says dismissively.
“Excellent,” Fred smiles, “for now, we should get back to the common room before Perce gets suspicious. We’ll meet here, same time tomorrow.”
The three others nod and get up just as the scene dissolves itself. When a new scene appears, the travellers find themselves right in the middle of a furious snowball fight.
“This is so cool!” Lily shrills, jumping in place, “it’s not even cold!”
“And the balls pass right through us,” Al points out; laughing at Rose’s shocked expression when a snowball passes through her stomach.
The snow suddenly disappears and the teenagers witness an impromptu quidditch match between their fathers and the twins. Only a few minutes later, the scene gets washed away and the travellers are back in the quiet common room where Ron and Harry play a game of chess, Percy reads a book and the twins are nowhere to be seen.
“Hoping you are having a great time in Romania and have not been eaten by a dragon, we enclose a picture of the Cuddly-Rejects. Prefect-Percy, Gred, Forge, Ronniekins Weasley and Harry-The-Boy-Who-Lived-Potter,” Ron’s hyper voice shouts before he quickly adds a post-scriptum. “We had to drag Harry in the picture because he didn’t want to ‘intrude’ on our family picture, that’s why he keeps trying to get out of the frame; isn’t he cute Gin-Gin?”
“That answers your question, Hugo,” Rose tells her brother. “He sent the picture with the letter so it must be in the box too. Or G-Mum’s got it somewhere safe; we only need to ask when we get back.”
“Speaking of that,” Al interrupts, “when are we planning on going back?”
“How long have we been in here?” Lily asks around, showing her wrist, full of multi-coloured bracelets but no watch.
“My watch isn’t working,” Hugo exclaims. “But I’m hungry so we definitely skipped a meal.”
“Yes, we can trust your stomach Hugh,” Rose snorts.
“Well let’s see,” Hugo ignores his sister’s retort, “half the year has gone by already and that took about, what? An hour?”
“More like three,” Al replies.
“Let’s say two?” Rose suggests cheekily, earning herself pouts from the two boys.
“Can we still go on for another two hours? Because if we get out, who’s to say when Teddy can get us back in.”
“I can go on and finish Uncle Ron’s first year,” Lily concedes.
“Yeah, okay,” Hugo trails, unsure. “I might die of hunger but, you guys will carry me, right?”
“Yeah, right!” Al grins mischievously. “But I don’t have a problem with staying either.”
“Good,” Rose smiles and before they know it, the four cousins take a big whiff of parchment smell and the common room vanishes from view.
So, how was it? How about letting me know in the review box *wink, wink*
Edited 27/01/10 thanks to my great Beta Melissa aka Padfoot28!
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