Chapter 1 : Haven
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Rose opened the back door that lead to the garden quietly, even though she knew it wouldn't matter; they couldn't hear them over their yelling. She waited for her little brother to come out. He jumped off the step, his dark hair seemingly jumping up and down with him. He looked so much like their dad, with his blue eyes and the freckles dotted around his cheeks, except for his hair, he inherited their mum's hair; dark with short curls.
Hugo pulled up his jacket, which had fallen down his shoulder and watched Rose close the door, just as quietly. Then she ran across the garden and he followed.
"Come on, Hugo," she called excitedly.
Hugo ran faster, his small feet slammed harder into the ground. "I'm coming," he moaned, his voice loud enough to hear her without shouting. "I'm smaller, you know."
She giggled at his response and stopped in front on the tree they had at the end of their garden. Rose reached into her pocket and took out a bobble; she tied her red hair back, rubbed her hands together and jumped up to reach the branch above her head.
Rose positioned her arms so they were wrapped around the branch, causing her feet to lift slightly off the ground. Hugo came then and pushed her up with his hands, using his shoulder to balance her foot. Rose climbed the rest of the way with her feet and twisted her body around until she was sat on the branch. Hugo moved forward, closer to the tree, and held up his hands. As soon as Rose moved backwards, leaning her back against the bark, she reached down and helped him up. He used his feet to climb up as his sister did.
They helped each other up the tree until they reached the top and sat with each leg on each side of a branch, squirming until they were in more comfortable positions. Rose turned her head to the left, gazing out to the horizon. She watched people walk past their street, children playing in their own gardens. The sky was growing darker, the winter sun was setting earlier.
"The view is lovely up here," she said. "Don't you think, Hugo?"
Hugo cast a quick glance his sister's way, then at sky, then he shrugged and and looked back down, continuing to pick the leaves off of the branch. "I just like to climb," he muttered. "It's better here."
"Things will get better at home, Hugh, I promise," she told him. "Mum and dad just need to sort things out first, but they'll fix everything. It'll all get worked out."
Hugo stopped what he was doing and flexed his hands twice, debating what to do, before he looked up, curious. He cocked his head to the side, seeing the determination on her face, believing her own words to be true. "How do you know?"
"Because I'm the oldest, which makes me wiser," Rose replied straight away.
He tried to frown, but he saw Rose smirk lightly. Then she laughed, and he had to laugh with her. He didn't know if his sister was truly joking, and he didn't care; he just wanted to laugh. "Seven is not that young," he said, trying to sound mature, though he was still smiling. He held up two fingers. "I'm only two years younger than you."
"Exactly; you're younger," she said, pointing out what he had said himself. Rose turned back to the view and sighed softly, her smile falling. "I don't know why this is happening."
Hugo shrugged, his shoulders only raising a fraction. "I don't know," he answered her. "Doesn't matter it it's going to be fixed, though."
Rose smiled at her little brother's innocence. He had their mother's brains, they both did, everybody said so. But he still saw everything from a child's point of view, he had a niavity that Rose felt she was losing, despite what she had said to him. Seeing Hugo, though, and his optimism and belief in her words, that everything would be alright and their mum and dad would stop their fighting, brought it all back. Her smile grew larger until she was grinning from ear to ear. "Right."
Hugo blinked suddenly and wiped his hand over his face, just below his eye. They looked up. "Snow," he shouted to the sky. He raised his arms to the clouds and tried to catch the flakes, feeling them melt between his fingers. "Do you think it will stay, Rosie?"
They stayed in their tree, watching the snow fall around them, until their hair was covered in white dots and they couldn't control their shivering. "We should get down now, it's warmer inside." Hugo pouted. "We can't stay out in the cold," Rose reasoned.
They helped each other down. Rose dropped to the ground first and she caught Hugo by the waist, gentling his jump. "We'll always have the tree, Hugh. It's our safe place," Rose said as she took his hand and led him back to the house.
"Do you think Daddy will let us have a tree house so we can play there?" Hugo asked.
She squeezed his hand gently, as though reassuring him, but shrugged. "We should ask him."
Hermione Weasley opened the back door then and they ran the rest of the way. She wrapped her arms around her children and rubbed her hands up and down their back. "You must be freezing. How long have you been out in the snow?" She scolded.
"Not long," Rose promised.
Ron came up from behind and placed a comforting hand on the small of Hermione's back, then picked up Hugo. He held him tightly, warming him. "It's a good job you came in when you did," he told them. Ron pointed his finger at Hugo's chest and tickled him. "Because someone needs to finish decorating the Christmas tree."
The little boy giggled and Ron shut the door. He put his hand back on Hermione's back and kissed her softly, saying he loved her. She returned the sentiment, neither noticing the look their children were sharing.
Rose watched them make their way to the living room, to the half finished tree they had started to decorate that afternoon, then turned to the garden and the tree that belonged only to her and Hugo. Their safe place, their haven. When their family started to fall apart, their tree was there for them.
She turned to see her mum hold out her hand, ready for her take. Rose took one last look at the tree and walked back to her family, the faintest of grins on her face.
Everything was going to be alright.