“No, promise.” The fifteen year old boy’s eyes stretched widely as he clung to the doorframe, pleading, “when she comes around for dinner—just be cool.” Gulping, he could feel his face reddening, "All of you--- but especially you---Mum."
“I can be cool,” Hermione flashed her son a gentle smile which only provoked a groan-like response. “Now go,” Tossing a hand towards the door, her smile faltered as she added, “go and pick up… Eliza---?”
“Elizabeth,” Groan, “Beth, she prefers Beth.”
“Right,” The smile reappeared, “alright then! Go on then. Can’t keep a lady waiting.”
Hugo ogled his mother’s grinning face another moment before disappearing behind the door. He thundered down the steps of the house before smacking a hand onto his forehead. Why had he agreed to this? He could have happily concealed his relationship for a few more months. Sure, he might have surrendered during the summer—but it was the Christmas holidays. Oh, poor. Poor—fit—Beth. He could not believe that he was subjecting her to this excruciation—this torment---
“—oh, he was so worried.” Traipsing into the kitchen where her daughter and her husband sat by the dinner table, Hermione snapped her newspaper shut, “Hugo,” she added, realizing she was actually wandering into a conversation that had not yet been initiated, “He was so worried that I was going to ruin this for him.”
It was there that she received her first response.
A scoff—from her husband, naturally. “Can’t blame the boy,” Looking up from his Quidditch almanac, the man chuckled, “Seriously. What did you think? He was going to be thrilled at the idea of you meeting his girlfriend?”
“Me?” Her eyes narrowed, “We are all meeting--what do you mean—me?”
“Oh come on, love. You know it. We know it. Our kids dating scares you. Kids dating scares you. Dating scares you,” Casually, he added, “Kids scare you.”
“It’s true,” Rose interposed, tucking herself further into the table as she became the object of her mother’s stare, “the dating part anyway. Face it Mum. You’re not cool with this; I mean, do you remember when he told you?”
“Of course I do.”
Lightly, Hermione picked her jaw up from the floor and recalled the memory. The first sensation she correlated with the image was one of extreme anguish; she could remember feeling completely and utterly low.
Hugo spat out his cereal, the instance his Mum walked into the door. “W—What?” Milk dribbled out of the corner of his mouth as the charmed lights in the Kitchen illuminated the room. He groaned, rubbing brown eyes instantly, “Mum,” he pleaded, “Please, can you turn the lights down.”
However, she was clearly not in the mood to listen to him. She was staring at him—with that particularly frightening look that his Dad appropriately titled as the Medusa. When his parents fought, it was the stare that his Dad joked coerced him into marrying her. Not too closely son, he’d warned, when your Mother’s mad. Do not look too closely—
“Hugo are you listening?”
Her voice pierced through his daydream. He sunk.
“Treachery,” Adjusting his glasses, he sniffed, “you said treach---“ Pausing, the teenager looked at his mother—closely (perhaps ironic on his part considering what he’d just been pondering on), “Mum… what?”
As if she’d just been talking for hours on end, his mother expressed a large sigh. “According to Lily—you—you,” Her eyes softened; Hugo was aware that this was a sign of utter humiliation. He almost felt his stomach constrict as she revealed,
“You have a girlfriend.” Her cheeks were glowing, “And you didn’t tell me! Us! But me, especially! I’m your mother Hugo. You should tell me these things!”
Dully, Hugo blinked.
(you should tell me these things?) Was she being serious? At times, the boy often wondered which mothering school his own graduated from. Despite being the brightest witch of her generation and all that, the youngest Weasley was often left absent on whether it was a mother’s job to be purposely aggravating or if he was just fortunate enough to have the only one that was.
“Mum,” His lips felt parched, “I—“
“Tell me later,” Already she was approaching him, sleeve out, “You have cereal on your chin.”
Hugo’s eyes watered.
Hex me, please.
“I just…” Tilting her head, Hermione’s eyes focused on the window for a moment before quietly adding, “don’t want grandchildren yet.”
An instant sweep of disapproval grunts were produced by the two proprietors of the table. Ron shook his head whilst his daughter blushed deeply. She felt horrendously humiliated - for her brother. It was rare for Rose to show anything but contempt for the younger spawn - however she certainly felt for him now.
This was torment.
“See!” She sighed, “Classic Mum! You over-think these things,” as usual, “ Hugo is bringing a girl home… We are going to meet her. They will be happy until their inevitable breakup in three months because someone didn't sit with someone at lunch--there will be no…none of that.”
“How do you know!”
"Exactly," her mother pressed, "Maybe we should have talked to him more about these things... it's all quite complicated for him..."
Honestly, sometimes. It was like her Mum was still dwelling in the wrong generation.
Rose’s eyes flickered shut. It was unthinkable. She was actually going to acknowledge this ludicrousness with a response. “He won't---because,” she groaned inside, “He’s Hugo. I know he’s a dimwit—but he is not that stupid, trust me.”
“Almost a compliment,” Ron intervened smoothly, passing his daughter a roll of the eyes, “Really working on that girl-menace nickname, huh.”
“Ha,” The red haired girl mulled before noting the blank look on her mother’s face. “Mum,” Her tone was firmer, “It’s just a girl.”
Her mother exhaled. “I know. I just don’t want him to get hurt you know? From what I’ve heard from James—“
“James?” Rose’s eyes widened, “You listen to James?”
“Apparently Hugo talks to him.”
“Uh, boy things.”
“Not possible,” Ron waved his spoon about, eyeing both, “That’s my job.”
Rose in turn rolled her own eyes at her father. “Tell us then Mum,” Leaning forwards, she allowed her mother a seat on the table, “Tell us what James told you about… Beth.”
Visiting Ginny had become somewhat of a refuge for Hermione. From the stressful job—to the difficult children—difficult husband (at times)—the need for female company grew into an absolute necessity. Over the years, the women had become closer. Especially with the kids. Goodness knows how Hermione would have dealt with the death sentence (at times) that was motherhood without a friend like Ginny to vent to. Plus Ginny was naturally maternal—she was a godsend with advice from the first cold to the hormonal paradox that was puberty. Hermione wasn’t a hapless or incapable mother by any standards however compared to Ginny—well, there was no justice.
It was in one of these short impromptu visits to Ginny that she first heard about Elizabeth McKelland. Whilst in the middle of discussing the rumours of her son’s relationship with Ginny, James had walked in—evidently fascinated by the line of discussion.
“Oh, Beth and Hugo. Is that what you’re both talking about?”
“Jim,” Ginny sighed, “It’s rude to interrupt.”
“Sorry,” Sheepishly, he lifted a hand, “Sorry Aunt Hermione.”
“No,” Hermione blinked, waving off the apology swiftly, “Do you know her, James?”
“Course, who doesn’t?”
It was there that his eyebrow waggled suggestively.
Or at least, that was how Hermione recollected it.
Silence. “What… what do you mean?”
Glancing at his blushing mother, James swooped for a quick exit.
“Sorry Aunt Mione… got to go… she’s a nice bird… really fit—no! Gabe! Don’t---!”
A crash and a bump followed - reflecting the successive chaos that filled Hermione's motherly head.
She finished the tale. Miserably, she eyed the two for their reactions.
“What the f—“
“Mum!” The girl screeched, “Suggestive eyebrow waggling from James? It’s James’ job to suggestively eyebrow waggle everything!”
“But she’s two years older than him.” Glancing at her husband, Hermione then sighed in his direction. She wanted him to reassure her that she wasn’t overreacting. Or perhaps, more comfortingly that there was something to react about. After all, she was genuinely disconcerted. This was not something she could conceal any more.
He glanced up before chuckling . “I’m not getting involved. So long’s Hugo’s happy. I’m happy. Love, it’s his first girlfriend. That’s special you know… first love and all…”
“Who was your first love then, Dad?” Rose probed, blue eyes gleaming bemusedly as she watched her mother’s head twist towards him with equal fascination.
“Your mother of course.”
“Yeah right.” The two women chorused, nodding concurrently at each other before Hermione looked towards the door pensively.
“I’m just surprised I suppose. I mean this is the first time I have to go through this… what with you,” A hand waved towards Rose, “refusing all relationships at school. Oh, Rose," Sighing, she glanced at her daughter affectionately, "Why can’t your brother have been the same?”
Leaving the table, the redhead shrugged.
“Your genes,” she shrugged, before adding a mischievous, “Oh Merlin---Hugo can’t even play Quidditch. Maybe you should be worried Mum… from what I heard about that Beth-biddy—“She paused as her father expressed a grumble of discontent, “she only dates the Quidditch players—ooh maybe she wants Hugo because our family’s famous!” Sardonically, she clapped her hands, “Oh, that--doxy!”
Hermione sucked in a bucket of air, eyes rolling skywards at the thought.
Ron scratched the top of his head, deciding that perhaps some fatherly involvement was required.
“You,” he jabbed a finger at his daughter, “stop listening to your grandfather—and you,” Kindly, he smiled at his wife, “stop listening to your daughter. Make up your own judgement and all that—just treat it like an Investigator would.”
Rose’s expression drained of feeling. “What?” She said, voice clipped, “Treat it like an—what? Dad… oh my… f… I’m done with you.” Throwing her hands up in the air, Rose strutted out of the room mumbling. Inwardly, she was reminded as to why she had never been the relationship type. It was because she was exposed to this madness every-day.
The day her mother explained the reasoning behind the no-boys-in-the-bedroom rule-exempt-family rule—was the same day eight-year-old Rose Weasley swore she would never get a boy-thing.
Thank Merlin she did.
On the offside - Merlin aid her dear, young brother's soul. He was going to have a delightful dinner tonight.
“You’re right you know.”
A quiet had fallen onto the room. Ron had been in the middle of making his second cup of tea when Hermione spoke again.
“About the Investigating thing,” Reclining back in her chair, she smiled, “we need to ensure that this girl’s right for our son. We should… assess her. Make sure that she’s… just in case… she…” Even the thought of it was making her ill and eventually her voice thinned into silence.
“Whatever, love.” Ron answered, deciding that shrugging his shoulders was often the best response to his wife’s rejoinders, “As long as he’s not going to be completely terrified. You know our son. Sensitive and all that.”
“Sensitive? Of course I’ll be sensitive.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and passed her husband an exhaustive glance.
As if she could be anything but.
A/N - I own nothing. Thanks for reading!
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