"And we break and we burn, And we turn it inside out. To take it back to the start. And through the rise and falling apart, We discover who we are"
Who We Are- Lifehouse
A white picket fence wrapped around the Burrow’s property line, reminding me of Huckleberry Fin. I could practically see all of the young Weasley children and grandchildren being handed a paintbrush and a bucket of white paint.
That wasn’t what struck me, however. The garden itself was enchanting and with it held a captivating magical Christmas wonderland. The house itself- obviously held together at the seams by magic- looked warm and inviting and even from the path I could hear laughter and faint Christmas carols.
The simplistic beauty in which the Weasley’s lived struck a chord within me.
Though the curtains were drawn, I could see the silhouettes of a family celebrating Christmas together. I felt like an outsider, intruding.
Sighing, I walked towards the fence, grimacing as the hinges squelched in protest. Tugging my coat closer to my body, I walked the rest of the way to the house and knocked on the door.
The door opened, warm golden light spilling into the silvery winter atmosphere. I looked up to see Harry, wearing an emerald green jumper with the letter ‘H’ stitched onto it. He was looking towards what I assumed was the kitchen with laughter in his eyes before he looked at me.
“Lexie, we were worried you wouldn’t be able to make it,” he said, stepping aside so I could enter.
“I know, I’m sorry. I didn’t think it’d take that long but my landlord came asking for a cheque for next month’s rent and I decided to just pack up everything and leave the lease,” I said, shrugging out of my jacket and handing it to Harry who hung it up in a small closet.
“You okay?” he asked. I looked down at my feet, before looking up again.
“It’s just been a long day,” I said carefully.
Before Harry could say anything, someone hollered from the kitchen.
“Oi! Harry, hurry up!”
Harry looked at me, mildly amused, and led me towards the kitchen, opening the door for me.
A large table, laden with food rivalling with even a Hogwart’s feast, was surrounded by the Weasley family- all wearing jumpers similar to Harry’s but in different colours and different letters. All were laughing and joking about something, while an elderly witch scurried around the table adding more plates of food or pitchers of butterbeer.
My eyes scanned the table until they found a familiar messy head of hair. I smiled in spite of myself. Deep in conversation with Freddie, he didn’t notice my presence until Freddie nudged him.
When James turned and his green eyes locked with mine, he face lit up with a grin and he jumped up to greet me.
“Lexie, I was worried you weren’t going to show,” he whispered into my ear after giving me a chaste kiss and a hug. He pulled away, his eyes savouring my face. “You look gorgeous.”
“Thanks, sorry I’m late,” I breathed, already feeling warmer with his arms wrapped around me. “Nice sweater,” I commented sarcastically. James smirked.
“Oh, don’t worry. Nana made one for you too. Don’t feel too left out,” he said, causing me to laugh.
“Jimmy, did your mother teach you no manners?” an obnoxious male voice said. I raised an eyebrow at James’ annoyed expression.
We both turned to face the table again. All sets of eyes were on the male Weasley relative that spoke. Suddenly, the man sitting beside him smacked him at the back of the head.
“Way to be a prat, Percy,” he said simply. Percy, rubbing at the back of his head glared at the other man.
“Thanks Charlie, just trying to bring the family name out of the mannerless mud.”
“Make that up on your own did you Perce?” a different redhead said with a grin.
“Shut up George.”
“Now, now Perce. We’re grown men, family’s an all. That’s hardly appropriate behaviour.”
“But you-“ Percy started, only to be interrupted by an aged witch.
I turned to James whispering in his ear, “maybe you could introduce me now...?” He smiled.
“Right, everyone this is Lexie. You already know mum and dad. Sitting next to dad is Ron, Hermione, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, George, Angelina, Percy, Audrey, Nana and Grandad. You know everyone else from school, yeah?” I looked at James wryly as if to say- yeah, thanks.
“Nice to meet you,” I muttered shyly as James pulled me into a seat beside him and Rose.
“So, Lexie?” a burly man with a ponytail...Charlie?
“So...Charlie?” I questioned, smiling when he nodded.
“You’re the witch that’s bewitched poor Jimmy aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question but a statement. I noticed that James was resolutely ignoring my eyes, instead opting to dish up food on my plate for me.
Before I could say anything, George jumped in. “Yeah look at him already! She’s got him trained she has. It took Angelina 3 years of marriage to get me to dish up food for her first.”
“George, that’s hardly the point. James was just raised to be a gentleman, besides he had Harry and I as an example of how couples should treat each other,” Ginny jumped in, sending me a smile.
Ron snorted into his butterbeer.
“That’s rich coming from a woman who used the bat bogey hex on her husband for not putting the dirty laundry in the hamper.”
Ginny turned to Harry, smacking him in the chest.
“YOU told him about that?!”
Harry held up his hands defensively.
“I was traumatized Gin!”
I laughed, turning to my food. Having not eaten all day, I took a tentative bite. It was delicious of course...but I just couldn’t bring myself to swallow.
“We missed you today Lexie!” Rose said from beside me. Freddie and Lily leant over so they could see me. Both of them were nodding.
“James was in a right foul mood,” Freddie said. James smacked him in the head.
“Anyways,” Freddie said, sidestepping James’ outrage. “where were you today?” I gulped, causing me to choke on my mouthful of food. James handed me his goblet of butterbeer.
“Thanks,” I wheezed looking at James before turning to Freddie. “I had some things to sort out with my landlord.”
I looked down at my plate again, my fingers absent mindedly fingering mum’s locket.
Freddie and James started a conversation about Quidditch next, eventually pulling the rest of the table into the vortex that is Wizarding sport.
As Nana (as she had informed me she would only be called by) passed out desserts with the help of Ginny and Angelina, my eyes scanned the table, smirking at the occasional burst of laughter or smacks.
“So Lexie, tell us about yourself...not that we don’t already know everything,” George asked, nudging Bill and Charlie to look at me. I turned to look at James with my eyebrows raised.
I swallowed my bite of food to answer.
“There’s really not much to tell,” I said slowly and carefully.
“I seriously doubt that,” Bill said. I smiled at him before turning towards my food.
“Yeah Uncle Bill. Lexie is bloody hysterical,” Fred said through a mouthful of food, only to be smacked by his mother.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full!” she exclaimed. Fred swallowed, looking unabashed.
“Uncle Ron does,” Fred said. All heads swivelled to Ron who was talking to Hugh with his mouth full.
“Ron, swallow!” Hermione chided.
“Mum, it’s a Weasley trait,” Fred said to his mother. She shook her head.
“I’ll fight it until the day I die.”
“Anyways, as I was saying...” Fred said drawing attention back to himself. “We were paired up this year in all our classes and I was paired with the devil incarnate who is set on me falling in love with her. She’s terrible. Cringe worthy even. Anyways, I had just spent 3 hours with her working on a class assignment, which I’m pretty sure she just spent staring at me in a creepy way. So I went to the Gryffindor table to confess my sorrows to James, and I’m totally badmouthing her.”
Angelina smacked Fred again.
“What was that for?”
“You don’t talk badly about girls.” Fred rolled his eyes and continued his story.
“Anyways, so I’m talking about this bird, who also happens to be a Ravenclaw...and I’m insulting her intelligence. That’s when I notice Lexie. She then agrees with me, then warns me about the love potions this chick has in store for me.”
Everyone was silent for a few moments before Albus spoke.
“Lexie is bloody brilliant too.”
“Yeah, and all of the first years love her. She tutors for free or whenever she sees anyone in the library struggling!” Lily piped in.
Kill me now. I don’t think I’ve ever been so embarrassed.
“You know, not to mention the fact that no one ever speaks badly of Lexie either, which is saying something,” Rose inserted primly.
I glared at James as if to dare him to say something. He only smiled at me and casually draped an arm around my shoulders.
I turned to James and said, “how many people have you told about me?” I vaguely registered every hand shoot up into the air.
James bit his lip, obviously trying not to smile.
“Well you see, the Weasley family has a network of sorts. My parents and siblings knew about you, so then of course they tell their favourite cousins and siblings about you and it’s sort of a chain reaction. I have a big family.”
“I see that,” I said with a smile, kissing him on the cheek.
“Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Tell us about yourself,” Ron said this time. I looked at all of the faces at the table, suddenly panicking. What if they thought I wasn’t good enough.
As if sensing my nervousness, James clasped my hand in his under the table.
“Well I’m taking Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Transfiguration, Potions, Charms, Ancient Ruins and Arithmethcy-“
“Bloody hell what house are you in?” Charlie asked, cutting across from me.
“Oi! Uncle Charlie, didn’t you listen to my story? I said what house she’s in!” Freddie said indignantly.
“I skimmed,” he said to Freddie before turning to me to say, “so what house?”
“Ravenclaw,” I said smugly.
“Figures,” Ron muttered. I laughed and rolled my eyes.
“You Gryffindors, always so secretly envious of the intelligent Ravenclaws,” I joked, taking a bite of pie.
“Hey, Hermione’s smart!” Ron protested, looking to his wife for reassurance. She rolled her eyes, causing me to laugh.
“Ravenclaws don’t get themselves into stupidly dangerous situations. They have longer life expectancies,” Hermione said, winking at me.
“Rather shallow information if you ask me,” Bill said pensively before turning to Lily. “Lily, tell us more about her.” Lily glanced at me, before smirking evily. Or, at least I thought it was an evil smirk.
“She tutors people without asking for anything, even first years, but I already told you that. This year, she sat with a compartment full of first years just to talk to them and reassure them. And Anna, my friend, she helped Anna. Anna’s muggleborn you see, so her parents don’t understand owls or anything and Lexie helped with that. I think she even took her to the kitchens for a treat and a cup of tea to calm her down.”
“You know where the kitchens are?” George asked with an expression of up most reverence. I nodded.
“Mhmm, she helped me in fifth years with something for O.W.L.S. Not even the Slytherins have anything against her...not that Slytherins would because they’re just as good as the other house members,” Rose said.
“I’m telling Scorp you said that,” Albus said. Rose smacked him.
“Bloody brilliant to. Since no one was listening to my story,” Fred said, shooting a dark look at Charlie. “She warned me about her crazy roommate whose out to get me, I swear. And when James got hurt-“
“she went total space ball, she was so worried,” Albus finished, cutting Freddie off. “Not to mention, James is passing potions...”
My face was an absolute flaming shade of red. I wanted to smack everyone.
“Blood ‘ell Jimmy, what’d you bribe her with to get her here or touch you for that matter?” George asked, a mischievous smile on his face.
James blushed, causing me to smirk. My, how the tables have turned.
“Actually, I didn’t have a choice in the matter,” I said with a smile, while my heart jolted at my words. My mind flashed back to the Hogwarts Kitchen the day before break, but I continued onwards. “I suspect a strong love potion,” I laughed. James laughed with me and gave me a kiss on my temple. I loved it when he did that.
“James do you have any propriety?” Percy asked pompously. I assumed he was trying to imitate Mr. Darcy. He didn’t do it well.
I stared at him blankly, tilting my head to one side before looking at James with my eyebrows raised. In return, he rolled his eyes.
“Yeah Perce, because we aren’t in the 21st century,” George said sarcastically, winking at me.
Everyone laughed, and I joined in still conscious of my blushing face.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone go that red before and that’s something coming from a Weasley,” Charlie teased. I took another bite of pie.
“I’ve never seen someone over the age of 30 still clinging onto his youth so hard with a long ponytail. Do you use Just for Men?”
Everyone at the table snickered, and Charlie burst out laughing.
“Wait, what’s Just for Men?” Charlie asked. James, Freddie and I snickered.
“Something we learnt about in Muggle studies,” James said diplomatically.
“Okay, but what is it?” Charlie asked. James, Freddie and I shared a glance.
“A potion of sorts that gets rid of grey hair,” I said wryly.
“Bloody hell Fred, you’re right. She’s brilliant,” George murmured to his son.
I smiled, feeling content.
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