Chapter 3 : The Great Escape
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An 18 month old Ron looked up at his mother who was busy baking a cake they were to have for dessert tonight. If she had of turned around at the moment she would have seen him looking up at her through the strands of bright red hair hanging over his eyes, a look of mischief glinting in the pure blue eyes. Ron knew where he wanted to be, he could hear the screams of delight coming from his 5 older brothers who were outside running amuck in the large garden of the burrow. But how to get there, Ron turned to where his sister Ginny was sitting gurgling in her basket beside where his mother was cooking. That’s when he got the idea, he knew that if he tried to crawl away now his mother would notice and immediately bring him back to the rug on the kitchen floor.
Ron moved to the kitchen chair and reached a pudgy hand up to pull himself into a standing position. He then waddled over to where Ginny was still gurgling happy. Ginny looked at him curiously until he configured his face in front of her eyes. He scrunched his nose, squinted his eyes and bared his teeth and that was all it took, Ginny started to scream, tears running down her face and noise echoing off the walls. Molly immediately turned to comfort the screaming child, while Ron innocently plonked himself back on the mat. As expected Molly looked around to see if she could find the source of the sudden outburst. Eyes merely skimming over Ron who was pretending to pay particular attention to the blocks in front of him.
When Molly turned her back to Ron once more, he took this as his opportunity. He again used the kitchen chair to haul himself up from the ground, and then started to make his unsteady way to the back door. Ron slightly resembled a duck when he waddled around wearing nothing but a maroon shirt and his nappy. He made it to the back door rather successfully toppling only once along the way and using the lounge to again pull himself up. When Ron reached the back door he raised an arm for the handle, plump fingers stretching in an attempt to reach it. When Ron discovered that he could not reach the handle he began to look around the room for another means of escape. His eyes locked on the cat as it strutted past him, pushed against the plastic flap of the cat door and continued on into the backyard. Ron dropped to his hands and feet, examined the flap and made the decision that this was his chance. He pushed his head against the flap just as the cat had done moments before and also as the cat had Ron wriggled through to the back yard, getting caught slightly where the nappy bulged.
When he was seated happily on the porch outside the back door Ron giggled happily to himself and begun to make his way towards the grass, crawling this time not wanting to fall down on the rough surface. He stopped briefly to glance around himself and decide where he wanted to go next. That’s when he saw the chicken on the other side of the yard, near the coop in a single file line plucking at the ground. Ron decided that they looked interesting and he did love the feel of their feathers. He stood thinking it would be faster walking even at his slow pace.
Ron reached the chickens easy enough and again giggled at his success. He noticed that the chickens were stretching out their necks and collecting small seeds from the ground. Ron started to do the same, stretching his neck and collecting seeds as he went, though he did use his hands to collect the seeds rather than his mouth, and continued to giggle happily as he went. Little did Ron know that the chickens did not like him stealing their food, he didn’t even know that it was food, he thought they were all just collecting it, like himself, for fun. The chickens were starting to get annoyed at him, clucking madly to each other as they watched him take more and more of their food and finally the largest of the hens decided that it was time to fix the situation. Rather like a bull scratches the earth before charging the chicken used its three pronged sharp claws to scratch away at the dirt beneath it before rushing forward and running into the short plumb legs of the still giggling Ron.
The push of weight on his legs proved to be too much for the already unsteady toddler and he fell with a thud to the ground, his nappy swathed bottom taking the brunt of the fall. He let out a small whimper and his eyes suddenly swam with unspilled tears, his bottom lip trembling. But determined not to be found so soon after he had escaped the Burrow, he managed to contain his tears and began to struggle to his feat. The chickens however had other ideas and all clustered around him in a rush of feathers and started to peck at him, his shirt his nappy and of course his pudgy toes within easy reach of the chickens sharp beaks. That’s when it got too much for the little boy and he let himself fall back to the ground and let out an ear-splitting scream before beginning to sob loudly.
Across the yard the five older Weasley brothers were playing a game of tug of war that had started when all of them had wanted to play with the one good soccer ball and of course the battle had ensued. When the scream rang through the yard however Charlie and Bill immediately dropped the ball, causing Fred, George and a reluctantly fighting Percy to crash back to the ground. They then began to cheer thinking that they had won, before they noticed the looks on the faces of Bill and Charlie. Bill and Charlie the oldest of the 7 Weasley children at 11 and 9 respectively recognised the cry of their youngest brother immediately and began to search the yard to find where the scream had originated. Though still only young themselves they both had a strong sense of protection over their younger siblings and strongly withheld the mantra that no one should be able to harm their brothers and sister unless it was themselves, and they would never truly harm them.
Bill saw the scene at the chicken coop first and began to race off in that direction at a full pelt sprint, calling to Charlie as he went. “Charlie the chicken coop!”
Charlie to came sprinting over to the chicken coop and began to shoo away the chickens by shouting, stomping and any way possible to get them away so that Bill could rush over and lift Ron to safety. The chickens scattered quickly not quite as fearless when the boy they were fighting was a lot bigger than them with a lot bigger feet. Once the chickens had scattered Bill was able to bend down and scoop the toddler up from the ground. Ron looked a little worse for wear he was covered from head to toe in a thick layer of dust which the chickens had kicked up in their mad scramble, and through the grime on his face were the tear tracks down his cheeks from the sobs still shaking his small frame. He also had small holes in his shirt and nappy from the beaks of the chickens and on his toes beneath the dirt Bill and Charlie could see many scratches and a little bit of blood to.
Fred and George had reached them by now and were both looking of Ron with looks of both horror and confusion. But then they took it upon themselves and their natural talent of comedy to get Ron to stop crying and to laugh again. They began to pull a range of different faces; pulling up the corners of their eyes, squishing their noses, pulling out their ears and puffing out their cheeks. Unlike Ginny, Ron loved it when his brothers pulled funny faces and before long was giggling happily again from the safety of Bills arms as he carried him back towards the Burrow.
As they entered the back door of the Burrow they saw their mother hurrying out of the kitchen towards them, having obviously being up stairs when Ron screamed, tending to Ginny as the baby was now seated in her basket again in a different set of clothing from this morning. Percy was standing behind their mother having been the one to inform their mother of what had happened in the yard.
Molly looked over to Ron who was still perched in Bills arms and reached for him.
“Oh dear what happened to you, and how did you get outside huh, silly?”
When Ron heard the voice of his mother and the sympathy she was giving him his bottom lip began to tremble again and suddenly a new flow of tears were running down his face. No matter how young or old, each of the Weasley children knew how to work their mother. Molly clutched him to her chest and began to soothe him; hand running threw his hair and softly murmuring “shhhh, it’s alright.”
“Let’s get you in a bath and get all this dirt cleaned off” she said and then a little louder, ”Bill you’re in charge. Please make sure that Ginny is looked after to and please do not let the twins near her” adding a stern glance in the direction of said twins who had looks of fake innocence on their faces. Bill nodded and Molly headed up the stairs to look after Ron.
Molly first went to Ron’s room at the very top of the stairs to retrieve a new t-shirt and nappy for him, bouncing Ron on her hip to get him to stop crying. She then headed to the bath tub, grabbing a towel on the way. She placed Ron on the mat beside the tub next to the towel and filled the tub with warm water from the tip of her wand. She then removed Ron’s clothing and placed him in the water rubbing dirt softly from his skin and hair. By the end of the bath Ron was kicking happily, back to his usually chirpy self. When he was satisfactorily clean Molly lifted him from the bath and redressed him in the fresh shirt and nappy. She put him back on the mat and crossed the room to put the ruined shirt in the bin. When she turned back around Ron was closely examining his toes, which she now saw were covered in an array of scratches. He looked up at her with a very stern look.
“Ouch” he said pointing to the offending scratches.
She smiled back at him, lifted him up and carried him back to the kitchen where she placed him on the counter; she waved her wand over his feet healing the deeper scrapes and then reached up to the cupboard above the stove and reached behind a row of potions to produce a small cardboard box. She emptied the contents of the box and began to wrap a different coloured band-aid around each of Ron’s tiny toes, him watching on curiously. When she finished she bent down and placed a kiss on each toe.
“All better?” she asked. Ron replied with a nod, smile and a loud “yep.”
Molly lifted him from the counter and placed him back on the ground at her feet. Band-aids, they were a silly muggle invention her husband had discovered during his research of all things muggle. She guessed they were supposed to help ‘aid’ the healing of such injuries as cuts and scrapes. They seemed rather useless to Molly who could heal such things with a wave of her wand. They were however wonderful in Molly’s opinion for getting her children to believe that they had been given the attention that their injury required. It was like a battle scar of sorts something to prove that they had been hurt and she was sure it was also in hope of a little sympathy from the others. Though, in a house of 7 children that was very unlikely.
Molly turned to watch Ron toddle into the living room, where she could hear the voices of the rest of the children, toes an array of colours, as happy as he had been before the whole ordeal. She had a lot to thank band-aids for she thought before following Ron into the room to check on and gather Ginny, the smallest of her children from the likely trauma of been stuck with her brothers.
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