A/N: Hello! Welcome to another installment in Rose Weasley's life. The timeline of this will be apparent once you start reading, but if you skipped “Sparks”, this takes place about 4 months after the end of “A Weirder Shade of Midnight”. This story is going to run quite differently than the usual Rose stories, both in plot and point of view. Think of it as an interlude. The next novel will be back to business as usual, once this story is completed. Hope you enjoy!
Weasleys are very weird.
This isn't really a new observation. I've noticed it before, but sometimes it just really stares you in the face.
Like today, for example. I was at my cousin Lucy's wedding, at the reception, watching her dance with her new husband. They seemed very happy.
Here's the weird part: Lucy's new husband was the guy my cousin Roxanne had been obsessed with (despite not having actually met him) for the last year or so, a famously good-looking Quidditch player named Hilarion Winston-Fisher, the Seeker for the Appleby Arrows. Roxanne's crush on Hilarion had been so well-known in the family (at least, among my female cousins anyway) that it had become something of a joke. So when she started actually dating him, everyone (well, all my female cousins anyway) had been rather surprised.
Everyone had been even more surprised when Roxanne chucked him a few weeks later and ran off with his best friend, and Lucy promptly ran off with Hilarion. The four of them all seemed totally fine with this. Roxanne had even been Lucy's bridesmaid.
I had no idea how any of that had happened. It sounded rather like the plot of one of those dramatic plays on the Wizarding Wireless Network's morning programming. On the whole, it seemed best not to be involved, so I just smiled nicely during the wedding, danced with Scorpius at the reception, and ignored the Weasley weirdness.
Scorpius was sitting next to me now, watching Lucy and Hilarion dance, holding my hand in both of his. He always got a little choked up at weddings. I tried to dodge going to them because of this. I'd been dating Scorpius Malfoy since our sixth year at school – over ten years now – but we hadn't really talked about getting married. Any time we went to a wedding, he got a look in his eye like he might want to ask me, but apparently he knew me well enough to hold off.
I did move in with him about two years ago, surely that was enough commitment for anyone? I mean, I do love him, but I'm too young to get married.
“Lucy looks beautiful,” Scorpius said, giving me a smile. I tried to ignore the misty-eyed look.
“Yeah, she does.”
“And happy,” he added.
“Uh-huh.” I slid a look at him sideways. I knew where this was going.
Scorpius opened his mouth, probably to say how happy we'd be if we were getting married or something equally silly, but fortunately we were saved by my cousin Victoire Lupin (formerly Weasley) plopping down into the seat next to us.
Normally when someone says that someone 'plopped into a chair', it's figurative, but Victoire was nine months pregnant with her fourth child. She was absolutely enormous, and plopping was about all she could manage.
“Oi there, Rose.” She rubbed a hand over her huge belly and then burped a little. “Sorry. Heartburn's awful with this one.”
“Hi Victoire,” I said, trying to disguise my relief. I reckoned I hadn't done that well enough, because Scorpius threw me a look.
“My feet are killing me,” Victoire said, kicking off her shoes. “Teddy wanted to dance, but I foisted him off on Lily.”
I glanced over at the dance floor. Victoire's husband was dancing with our cousin Lily Potter. Lily didn't seem to mind. Teddy Lupin loved to dance, and Victoire wasn't the best dancer even when she wasn't the size of a small whale, so he often wound up dancing with our cousins at various family events.
“I could really do for a drink,” Victoire said then, and Scorpius, ever the gentleman, took this as a cue.
“I'll go get you some punch.”
“Do me a favour and check it first,” she told him. “I saw James and Fred hanging round the punch bowl a few minutes ago.”
Scorpius rolled his eyes at this, and set off. Once he was gone, Victoire leaned closer as best she could around her belly (it looked very uncomfortable), giving me a significant look.
“You looked like you could use a rescue.”
I breathed a long-suffering sigh. “He means well. Weddings make him a little sentimental, that's all.”
“You should marry him and get it over with,” remarked Victoire, trying to reach down around her gigantic belly to rub her foot, “but I know you won't. You're such a twit about that.”
“Thanks a lot,” I said, pulling a face at her. “I'm just not ready, that's all.”
“You've been going out with him since you were what, sixteen?” she pointed out. “And you've lived together for two years. How can you not be ready?”
I glanced around, hoping someone else would come rescue me. Victoire was even worse than Scorpius, because late pregnancy always removed her normal filters, and she said whatever came into her head, no matter how horrible it was.
She was still talking. “Getting married never killed anyone, Rose. Teddy and I have been married for years and I'm just fine, you know that.”
“Can we talk about something else?”
She rolled her eyes and set her feet down. “I'm not putting these bloody shoes back on. My feet are that swollen. Oof, here he comes now, the idiot.”
Teddy Lupin danced over, alone now. Lily had run off with one of Hilarion's teammates; I could see them over at the punchbowl. She was doing her flirtatious giggle. Lily was really good at the flirtatious giggle.
“Hey sweetheart,” Teddy said, still dancing in front of us. He looked like a twit, but Victoire was smiling fondly at him, so apparently she wasn't bothered that she'd married an idiot. “Want to dance with me now?”
“Not a bloody chance,” she told him, still smiling. “Come here and rub my feet.”
Teddy sat down and hauled one of his wife's feet into his lap. She wobbled a bit in her chair but managed to stay upright. I wasn't certain how. Scorpius appeared behind Teddy, empty-handed.
“Sorry Victoire,” he said apologetically. “I was too late. The punch is all spiked. Molly said she'd fetch you something non-alcoholic, though.”
“That's all right.” Victoire nudged Teddy's hand with her foot, and he picked it up and started rubbing. Her eyes practically rolled back into her head, but she managed to say to Scorpius, “I just wanted you to go away so I could talk to Rose for a minute.”
I couldn't wait until Victoire's pregnancy-blabbermouth went away.
Scorpius didn't look surprised, though. He was grinning at Victoire. Strange bloke that he was, he found Victoire hilarious when she was pregnant. I mostly found her annoying. With any luck, she'd go into labour soon and then go back to her normal self.
Lucy came over with Hilarion then, and she sat on his lap in the chair next to mine. Lucy had never been the type to sit in a boyfriend's lap, even if he was her husband now. Marriage was changing her already. Or maybe she'd had some of the spiked punch.
“You lot look cozy over here.” She noticed Teddy still rubbing Victoire's feet. “Oh aren't you sweet, Teddy!”
He rolled his eyes, but he didn't stop what he was doing, which was lucky because Victoire might have killed him. He must've hit a good spot then, because Victoire let out a long, low moan that sounded wildly inappropriate coming from a woman with a planetoid for a belly, in the middle of a wedding. Teddy and Scorpius both started grinning, and Hilarion turned red. I don't know how he did it, but he still looked completely fit while turning red. Definitely not a Weasley.
“Oh, it's better than sex,” Victoire murmured.
Lucy put a hand to her mouth with a horrified giggle. “Victoire!”
She was completely unapologetic. “What? I've been so sick with this one, I can hardly even remember sex.”
“Same here,” said Teddy, not quite under his breath.
And then Johnny Lupin ran past us with streaks of frosting across his cheeks and his grandmother puffing after him. Aunt Fleur looked as if she might kill him when she got hold of him.
Victoire's second son was notorious in the family, and normally required all of Victoire's energy to corral. She was, and had always been, one of the most motherly people I had ever met, with endless patience for her children, siblings, and cousins. It was amazing she hadn't sold Johnny to the circus yet. It only went to show what a dedicated mother she was. Well, normally.
Teddy and Victoire watched their middle child go past and completely failed to react. Neither of them seemed to have any intention of moving. Scorpius and I exchanged a look.
“Um, Victoire-” I began.
Lucy had twisted round to look over at the cake, which bore evidence of small fingers in it. “Was he eating the cake? We haven't cut it yet!”
“I just can't,” Victoire said. “Teddy?”
He grunted and kept rubbing her feet.
“Mum will catch him,” Victoire added. “Eventually.”
“Not to be rude or anything,” Hilarion said, “but why did you bring him?”
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a sitter for Johnny?” Teddy asked rhetorically. I think it was rhetorical, anyway. Maybe Hilarion really didn't have any idea. He was new here, after all. His exposure to Johnny must have been limited, or he never would've agreed to join this family.
Victoire closed her eyes and set her other foot in her husband's lap, holding onto the table for balance. He switched feet and she made another inappropriate moan, then said, “Only relatives will watch him. And all our relatives are here. Besides, Lucy said it was all right.”
We all looked at Lucy, who turned bright red. It was not as pretty on her as it was on her husband.
“I didn't really realize,” she started in a high-pitched voice. Hilarion pressed a kiss to her bare shoulder. It seemed to comfort her a bit, because she managed to go on, “I thought he'd be asleep by now.”
“Should've had your wedding later in the day,” Victoire told her placidly.
Lucy and Hilarion looked at each other wide-eyed. I sipped my champagne and pretended I was in Majorca. Scorpius, on the other hand, was chuckling again. Maybe it was something about being a Malfoy and not a Weasley, but he found Johnny Lupin rather entertaining, at least in small doses. Probably there was a correlation between his ability to put up with Johnny Lupin and his ability to date me for over ten years, but I liked to think they were unrelated.
“Dance, Rose?” Scorpius asked, and I escaped gladly. Everyone I'm related to is completely mental.
Once we were safely away from the newlyweds and the burned-out parents, Scorpius wrapped an arm around my waist and led me through a little turn. He's a better dancer than I am. I just try to keep up and hope I don't step on his toes, but he never seems to mind.
“I sort of feel like we dodged a Stunner there, don't you?” Scorpius said, grinning at me.
I glanced over my shoulder. Lucy was over at the cake now, examining it, with Hilarion hovering over her shoulder. Victoire and Teddy hadn't moved. “I think we did.”
Johnny Lupin dashed past again, and Aunt Fleur nearly barrelled into us trying to catch him. People on the dance floor jumped out of her way. Johnny skidded on all fours between my cousin Albus's legs, crawled at high-speed under a table, and slid full-out into the punch table. The spiked punch cascaded to the floor in a wave, soaking everyone around it to the knee. Johnny somehow contrived to be the only one to escape the deluge and was completely dry in his little dress robes. Aunt Fleur grabbed for him with murder in her eyes, but Johnny was slipperier than an eel. He was off like a shot, shrieking with laughter, before she could splash through the fallen punch.
“How much longer do you think we have to stay?” I asked Scorpius.
He was staring at the path of carnage Johnny had made. “I really don't think anyone will notice if we leave at this point, honestly.”