Thanks to Avanell 2 for a lovely review! Now, here's the part where I apologize for not updating sooner. But I hope that this chapter, which should be longer than any other that I've written for this story, will make up for the lack of updating. My usual disclaimer, of course, and enjoy the chapter!
Dominique Weasley and James Potter returned to Hogwarts after dinner. They’d spent the rest of the day at Malfoy Manor, where in reality, James played with little Iris while Dom and Castor ‘caught up’. Hermione had left soon afterwards, promising to visit Castor the following day, and Astoria insisted the two students stay for dinner. Draco didn’t tease Castor too much about Dom while she was there- he promised to save the laughing for later that night. But he didn’t hold back teasing James.
“I think you have a new fan for your club, James,” Draco smirked. It seemed as if Iris, little Iris, was already besotted with James Potter.
“It can’t be for his intelligence,” Dom snorted.
“Or his good looks,” Castor continued.
“So it must be because his father is Harry Potter,” Dom finished.
“Hawwy Potter?” Iris queried, causing the group to collapse with giggles.
But soon, the Hogwartians left, leaving the Malfoy family alone.
“Castor, are you alright? I know this is a lot to take in, dear,” Astoria smiled slightly as she and Castor cleared the table.
“Tori, he just had an hour long snog in my study. I think he’s more than fine,” Draco interjected, causing his son to blush redder than a ladybug.
“Draco!” Astoria admonished.
“Tor, we were all like that when we were kids. Plus, it’s such fun to torment Castor. Do you remember that time when my parents were on vacation and we had the manor all to ourselves?” Draco started.
“No no no! I do not want to hear about my parents’ escapades!” Castor protested, scooping up Iris and exiting the kitchen as quickly as possible, hearing eruptions of laughter.
The next morning, at nine o’clock sharp, Hermione Weasley rang the bell at Malfoy Manor. Castor answered, still partially asleep.
“Castor! Oh, how thoughtless of me to call. I’d assumed you were awake already…” Hermione rambled nervously.
“It’s not a problem, Hermione. I was about to get up anyways. You just gave me a reason to do so. Can I help you with anything?” he asked politely.
“Yes actually. I came to see if you’d like to come over to the Weasley house today. I think it’s high time Ron met his stepson,” Hermione smiled.
Castor immediately thought of the red haired man and blanched. He’d seen Ron Weasley many times. He’d seen him frequently at the Weasley-Potter New Year’s Ball that he’d been a guest at ever since his first year at Hogwarts. He’d seen Ron Weasley several times a year at Platform 9 ¾ as he waited to pick up his children. He’d seen Ron Weasley at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes helping George on busy weekends. But he’d never actually had a conversation with the man. Saying, “Hello, Mr. Weasley” or “Good morning, sir” did not count. So Castor felt justified in feeling more than a bit of trepidation towards meeting the Mr. Weasley, my new stepdad Mr. Weasley.
“A Malfoy, scared?”
Draco, it seemed, had entered quietly and was laughing at his son.
“Ravenclaws aren’t supposed to be brave. What do you take me for, a Gryffindor?” Castor retorted.
Hermione coughed lightly. Castor couloured a light pink.
“I didn’t mean anything…”
“That was hardly offensive. I think Ron and Harry actually take great pride in being brave. Personally I think they’re more hotheaded than brave,” Hermione laughed lightly.
“Well,” Draco said soon after, “I suppose you and Mrs. Weasley ought to get going then, Castor.”
Pale, Castor ran up the stairs to get properly clothed. He was not ignorant to the laughs coming from the foyer. But that was not important. What did one wear to meet their…was stepfather the word? And, what did one wear to meet a person that was probably going to detest them? After all, Castor was and always would be a Malfoy. It was in his genes, and DNA could not be rewritten. Ronald Weasley had and always would hate Malfoys. Castor felt like a first year all over again.
After carefully perusing his closet, he settled upon a nice blue jumper and a pair of khaki trousers. He chose the blue for Ravenclaw, and also because if he’d worn green, Mr. Weasley probably would have gone into hysterics over such a Slytherin.
“So, Hermione, how are we getting to erm…?” Castor asked as they walked outside Malfoy Manor.
“To our house? We’ll be Apparating outside the Manor’s gates. I hope that’s fine with you.”
“Of course. And, uh, have you mentioned anything to Mr. Weasley yet?”
“I told him everything. I didn’t want him to attack you the minute you stepped foot into the house,” Hermione chuckled. “He wasn’t very happy but he doesn’t hate you.”
Nearly two minutes later, Castor saw a stony-faced Ron Weasley waiting about the windows of the Weasley household.
“He doesn’t hate me?” Castor gulped as they walked up the steps to the house.
“Ronald?! We’re here!” Hermione shouted down the hall.
The redhead man wandered out a second later. His face was a slight red, his expression guarded. Hermione gave him a long, cold stare.
“Welcome to our home, Castor,” Ron said politely.
“Thank you very much for inviting me here, Mr. Weasley. You have a very lovely house,” Castor replied.
Hermione smiled at Castor and nodded once at Ron before starting the house tour.
“You’re a Cannons fan?” Castor interjected quietly after seeing a study lined with Chudley Cannon wallpaper.
“Ron absolutely adores the Chudley Cannons. They’re his favourite team.”
Ron stared at Castor as if to say, you better not be a Tornadoes fan.
“I love the Cannons! I got to see them play two years ago in Holyhead!” Castor exclaimed, momentarily forgetting that he was talking to Ronald Weasley. “That moment, when both Seekers were out…”
“And half the team had been blasted by bludgers?!” Ron added excitedly.
Hermione was so happy to see that her son and her husband were getting along. It had taken quite a bit of coercing to even get Ron to allow her to bring Castor and be nice:
“Mione, I’m not mad at you having a kid from before we were married. It’s not like you cheated on me, even if it was with Malfoy. I mean, don’t mistake me, I’m not happy about this at all. It’s just, I was with Lav then too. It’d be like calling the kettle black almost. But I don’t want him in our house! He’s not my son. You’ve barely known him. And I hate Malfoy, and you know that! You have to admit, I’m being fairly reasonable, given the circumstances.”
“I appreciate how calm you’re being Ron, but you said it yourself. I barely know the boy. And how will I ever know him if we don’t invite him over? Sure, Draco and Astoria have let us have him for Easter break, but do you think he’ll actually want to come live here for a week when he doesn’t know us, or our house, or anything about us?”
“I don’t get it. He’s almost an adult. Why are you so worked up about this?”
“He almost died a few days ago. I didn’t tell you, because I can’t tell you everything yet, but he was attacked at Hogwarts and he almost died. I realized then that I was a horrible mother. My son almost died and I was a stranger to him,” Hermione started crying. “And then I realized that I’m a horrible mother to the children I already have raised. I spent more time protecting legislation than I did playing with Hugo and Rose. And it shows too. When Rosie first got asked to Hogsmeade, who did she tell? Her mum? No, she told you. When Hugo flunked his first transfiguration class, you got the first letter. It was always like that, Ron. So when Castor lay in the Hospital Wing, I promised that if he survived I would make an effort to be a better mother, to all three of my children. I want Castor, Hughie and Rosie to all get along. I want them to be a family, even though Castor has his own family. I want him to love all of us, even you Ron, as his stepfather. I’ve been blessed with so much, and I can’t let it pass us by.”
Ron conjured up a hanky.
“If it means that much to you, then do it. I promise I won’t be an arse to him, if that’s what you’re worried about ‘Mione, but I’m not entirely comfortable with a Malfoy being part of the family.”
“Thanks,” she sniffled, accepting the hanky. “But promise me you won’t judge him, ok? He’s not like Draco, or at least, he has all the best parts of Draco. And he’s got the best parts of me too.”
“Now all we have to do is tell Rosie and Hugo. Hasn’t she had a crush on this bloke for a while?”
And everyone thought Ron Weasley was so unobservant.
A half an hour later, and Hermione hadn’t gotten to finish the tour of her prestigious home. Ron had instead steered Castor to his pride and glory: the man-den, complete with vintage posters signed by the Cannons. He’d gotten a few cans of butterbeer and insisted they watch the last recording of the Cannons on QuidditchZone. She wasn’t complaining though. She was thrilled that they got along so well. And it gave her more time to finish the letters before they went out to dinner anyways…
Castor was at ease. Mr. Weasley did not hate his guts anymore, and in fact they were getting along splendidly.
“So let me get this straight. You’re Quidditch captain and Head Boy?” Ron asked.
“And a Ravenclaw?”
He nodded again.
“You really are ‘Mione’s son,” Ron laughed. “What position do you play?”
“Chaser. I started out on the team as a Seeker, but I discovered the next year that I had the build for a Chaser rather than a Seeker. Rose is on the team. She plays brilliantly,” Castor replied.
“I thought Rosie would be scared of flying, like ‘Mione, when she was little but instead she stole Hugo’s first broom and rode off to play with Albus at the Burrow when she was six. And Hermione will never admit this, but she nearly had a heartattack when she saw Rose playing Quidditch for the first time. I was so proud. She took the beaters bat and knocked James off of his broom. ‘Course, Gin didn’t find it really funny when James was in St. Mungo’s, but even Harry thought it was hilarious.”
“She never lets James forget it either. Every match against Gryffindor is a bloodbath, one way or the other,” Castor laughed.
“So, Castor, any girls in your life?”
“Erm, yeah actually. It’s kind of recent, but I’ve liked her forever. We only just got together.”
“From a good family?”
“Uh. Yeah. Well, she’s actually your niece.”
“You’re dating a Weasley?! Which one?”
For a moment, Castor was filled with dread. What if Ron decided to avada him and hide the evidence?!
“How in Merlin’s name did Dom manage to get you to date her? She’s, well, you know how she can be.”
“I, uh. Well it sort of just happened…”
Castor didn’t feel in the mood to explain that the start of his and Dom’s relationship really began with one fantastic snog.
“I need to bottle this memory forever: Dom manages to get a normal boyfriend. This’ll be Percy’s birthday present.”
It was times like these that confirmed to the world that James Potter was indeed the nephew of Ronald Weasley.
“Boys! Are you ready to go? We’ll leave in a couple of minutes!” Hermione called into the den.
“Better get up, Caz. I know that tone of voice and that’s the ‘I’ll get my arse kicked if I don’t listen’ voice.”
Castor and Ron jumped up, grabbed jumpers and walked up to the kitchen.
“So boys, I was thinking we could go to someplace nice tonight,” Hermione said casually. “What do you think?”
“I thought we were just doing something simple, ‘Mione. I’m not dressed right for this,” Ron objected.
“Ronald. It’s for my son.”
“No, uhm, Hermione…I appreciate that you want to take me somewhere nice, but I really would like to just get pizza, burgers or even fish n chips with you. I’ve done all that fancy stuff, but I never got to go grab fresh chips with you or anything…” Castor replied quietly.
“Atta boy,” Ron grinned, while Hermione laughed.
“Whose son are you?” she joked. “Fish n chips it is!”
Hermione, Ron and Castor spent that night walking around Muggle London, eating freshly fried fish, riding the London Eye and acting like a normal family. But when they got back, Hermione once again addressed the two.
“I was thinking that perhaps we could tell Rose and Hughie tomorrow about you, Castor,” she started.
“Tomorrow?” Ron asked while Castor just shrugged nervously.
“We could get them after classes and have a family dinner,” she continued.
“Do you think that’s the wisest idea, with Rosie…”
“Well, we’ll have to tell her eventually Ron.”
“I could tell her…” Castor suggested.
“That’s sweet of you, honey, but I think she’ll be a bit…emotional…”
“Leave Rosie to me. You tell Hugo, ‘Mione. He’ll be very excited to have a big brother.”
“What can I do?” Castor asked.
“Be ready to meet your siblings tomorrow,” Hermione smiled.
“Well I ought to go then. I promised Dad and Astoria that I’d be home soon to babysit Iris, and I haven’t even started next week’s reading. But don’t worry, I already finished the five scroll Transfiguration assignment due next Monday,” Castor added hastily.
“He’s definitely your son,” Ron said to Hermione with a grin.
“Do you want us to walk you home, sweetheart?”
“No thanks, I’ll show myself out,” Castor replied. “Thanks for taking me to dinner. And Mr. Weasley, thanks for giving me a chance.”
“No problem, kiddo. And you can call me Ron.”
“Anytime, Castor. We’ll see you tomorrow, love!”
Castor Apparated outside the gates of Malfoy Manor to be greeted by Draco.
“Had a nice night did you?” Draco queried.
“Miss me already?” Castor shot back with a grin.
“No…maybe…anyways, get back in the house, kid. Iris has been demanding for you ever since you left. And Tori baked some scones for her tea tomorrow. She said she stashed a few for you in the kitchen if you’re hungry.”
“Hungry? Always,” Castor smirked. “Oh, and Dad? I missed you too. And don’t worry, Hermione and Ron can’t replace the family that raised me: you, Dad.”
Castor unknowingly had erased some of Draco’s fears. Ever since Castor had figured out who his biological mother was, Draco had been afraid that Castor would spend most of his time with Hermione, trying to get to know her. He was afraid that Castor would prefer Hermione to himself.
Rose Weasley was seated at the Ravenclaw table hours earlier than any normal person would be, deep in thought. James and Dom had told her that Castor was back at home after being in the hospital wing for a while. And while Dom hadn’t said anything, James had hinted that there was something going on between Castor and Dom. It wasn’t fair. She was the Ravenclaw, not Dominique. She was the smart one, the nice one. Dom was a Slytherin, and she was notorious for not caring about others. Why would he choose Dominique over Rose Weasley? While she was mulling over these thoughts, her mum’s owl, Olive, flew overhead.
Blue envelope, black ink, and a heart at the end. Hermione Weasley was not at the office today. Rose could tell where her mother was based on the stationary and ink of the letter. Today, Hermione Weasley was spending a day in at home.
I hope everything is going well at school. I know you’re doing fabulously in your classes, no doubt about it. Your father and I want to tell you and your brother something, so after your classes, Professor Longbottom has graciously agreed to allow you to use his fireplace to Floo home for dinner. Please tell your brother this, and don’t forget to thank Neville!
Love, Mum and Dad
What could be so important that she needed to come home for? Hermione was never one for drawing her children out of classes. Was everything ok at home? Were her parents getting a divorce? Was her mother expecting a baby? Only events of that level would warrant a letter like this. Rose stayed at breakfast until she spotted her little brother groggily wandering towards the Gryffindor table.
He turned towards her.
“Mum sent a letter. We’re going to go home after school today for dinner. She and Dad want to tell us something.”
“So meet me at Longbottom’s office after your last class, ok?”
“And make sure to…”
“Don’t worry about me, Rose. I’ll be fine. You’re almost as bad as Mum,” Hugo laughed, causing Rose to crack a grin.
“Alright. I’ll see you soon then!”
The entire day consisted of Rose staring anxiously into space. It was abnormal for her. The teachers wondered if she was sick; she hadn’t raised her hand once to answer a question. Her friends wondered how late she’d stayed up to work on next month’s paper; she wasn’t asking questions about how many pages of parchment was required. Her cousins thought she was stressed about upcoming exams; Rose was notorious for ignoring the outside world right before an exam. Only Hugo knew what was eating Rose up. Rose, for the majority of her life, had consistently been compared to Hermione Granger. When she failed to get all her charms right on the first go, people said, “Oh, well she’s only half Hermione. There is some Ron Weasley in her after all.” When she chose to take Divination over Arithmacy, her classmates thought she couldn’t hack Arithmacy, unlike her mum. When she made the Ravenclaw quidditch team, people wondered how Rose Weasley could ever have been the daughter of Hermione Granger. So after her first year, Rose was determined to be even better than Hermione Granger. She studied for final exams months in advance. She finished papers before early. She mastered spells that were a grade level above her. And still, whenever she returned home and told her mum about how well she was doing, or whenever her teachers told Hermione about how accomplished her daughter was, Hermione would just smile and say “That’s nice, dear” or say, “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Now honey, don’t swish your wand like that. It’s a bit more with the wrist, less with the arm…” Any interaction between Hermione and Rose required perfection on Rose’s part, and consequentially Rose was on edge the entire day.
As the siblings made their way towards Neville’s office, Hugo stopped walking.
“Rose, you need to chill out. It’s just Mum and Dad. You always get so nervous, but honestly, they don’t care if you didn’t get anything better than perfect on your last exam.”
“Dad doesn’t care. Mum does.”
“Please. Mum hardly notices. You’re reading way too much into this. It’s probably not even about you, so just relax ok? You put me on edge.”
Rose rolled her eyes. Sometimes Hugo was just so bossy…
“Rose, Hugo! Have a nice visit home and give Hermione and Ron my best,” Neville smiled, ushering the children towards the fireplace.
“Sure will, Uncle Nev,” Hugo beamed. Rose just pulled Hugo into the fireplace, gave Neville a weak smile and shouted “Weasley-Granger House!”
The first person they saw when they exited the fireplace was Ron.
“Hugo! Rosie! You both look so grown up,” Ron chuckled.
“Dad. We saw you like two weeks ago,” Rose groaned.
“Well I’ve grown at least an inch since then,” Hugo puffed proudly.
“Sure you have, kid. Hey, how about you go out in the garden to give your mum a hug? I want to talk to my Rose-bud really quickly ok?”
“Sure thing, Dad. Is she de-gnoming the garden? I could get the beater’s bat out of the shed…” Hugo muttered excitedly as he ran towards the back door.
“What’s up, Dad?”
“Why don’t we go into the kitchen first? I’ve got something pretty big to tell you, I’m not going to lie. I thought it would be better if you heard it from your old dad instead of Mum.”
“Are you and Mum getting a divorce?” Rose blurted.
“No. Nothing like that.”
“Is Mum having a baby?”
“What does that mean?” Rose demanded.
“Ok, Rosie. Here goes. Before your mum and I were married- before we were even dating seriously- your mum was engaged to another man. They were pretty serious, and I think if everything had gone as planned, they probably would have gotten married and you wouldn’t exist. But some evil wizard got in their way. He threatened your mother, and told her to break up with her fiancé or he would hurt everyone she loved. So she did, to save not just her fiancé but also Harry, me, and all her other friends. Soon after, your mum and I started dating, but she went away for a few months to help a friend who needed legal advice. After she came back, I proposed to her and we got married.”
“So why did I need to know that exactly?” Rose asked cautiously.
“Well, your mum wasn’t exactly truthful to me. She said she was going away to help a friend, but she really went away because she was going to have a baby. It was her fiancé’s baby, and she didn’t have the heart to abort it. She only just told me about the baby now…”
“And let me guess, you wanted to tell us?”
“It was your mum’s idea, but yes. You see, she met her baby for the first time a few weeks ago. And you know your mum, when she wants something she makes sure it gets done. She brought him over for dinner yesterday. Surprisingly, we hit it off, and so your mum wanted you kids to meet your brother. She had this big idea that we could all have a family dinner tonight.”
“That’s it? That’s the big secret?”
“Yep. You, Rosie Weasley, have an older brother.”
“Who is it? Is he a wizard? Does he go to Hogwarts? Do I know him?”
“Ah. Well, this is why I wanted to tell you the news instead of your mum. Yes, he is a wizard, he does go to Hogwarts and you do know him.”
“Dad. Who is it?”
“Hugo, sweetheart! You’re early! Where’s Rose?”
“In the house with Dad. No offense Mum, but you kinda suck at gardening,” Hugo laughed.
“None taken. I know domestic tasks are not my forte. But I try.”
“So what’s the big secret? You had Rose nearly wetting her pants all day,” Hugo grinned.
“Sweetheart, you need to promise me you won’t be mad ok?”
Hugo nodded, uncertain about where this conversation was going.
“Before your dad and I started dating, I was engaged to someone else. We were going to get married in a couple of months. But no one was very happy for us. Especially one person. He threatened to hurt everyone I loved unless I broke up with my fiancé so I did. After that, I dated your father and eventually married him. But what no one knows, well your father knows now, is that I had a baby before I married Ron. I couldn’t give up the baby, even though I broke up with the baby’s father. I never forgot about my first baby, but I hadn’t heard much about him in over seventeen years. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I met him for the first time. We had dinner, your father, your brother and me. And we wanted you and Rosie to meet him officially as your brother. Please don’t be mad at me,” Hermione’s voice cracked, a tear streaming down her face.
“Mum, how could I be mad at you? I wouldn’t care if you slept with every man in the world and had babies with all of them before you met Dad…”
“I’m not a harlot,” Hermione laughed weakly.
“I know that. I’m just saying, it’s not the end of the world. Worse things happen every day. You know what you just told me? That I have a big brother. Most blokes kill to have one of those. So I’m not upset or mad, Mum, and I’ll always love you,” Hugo smiled, fishing out a hanky for Hermione.
“I love you, Mum. So who is he? You said we’re going to meet him officially. That means we know him. Please don’t tell me he’s a Hufflepuff…”
Hermione shot her son a look.
“Not that there’s anything wrong with Hufflepuffs,” Hugo stammered hastily.
“Don’t worry, Hugo. He’s not a Hufflepuff. He’s a Ravenclaw, and you’re right, you do know him. His name is Castor. Castor Malfoy.”
Please review, but constructive criticism only. I really love hearing what people think about my chapters, and I would especially like to see what people thought of this one.