Chapter 1 : And what an adventure it was
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It had been a long journey, and she struggled to keep her eyelids from drooping, though her mind was still active and bright. It made her think again on how a body could betray a soul. It was just transport, really; a life support system for her memories. Of course, she couldn’t blame herself for being sleepy. It had been a long journey, and every time she blinked flashes of moments crept up on her, projected onto the screen of her heavy lids.
Endless cappuccinos in Rome, reading Plato on the patio of the gelato shop, secretly hoping someone would ask her about it. Then past the Pantheon, in the mountains of Cinque Terre;that fabulous, free feeling of her lungs turning themselves inside out and burning with wonder at the incredible views. Next was Paris where she bought a beret and cycled from hotel to bakery, over and over, wondering how all the French girls could be so fashionable with their blazers and long hair. She loved Amsterdam too, where they were most certainly not English, and where she met the handsome waiter who seemed fascinated by her hair.
Rose wasn’t sure if the globe-trekking had changed her or if she was still the same, just with a few more pounds around the stomach and quite a lot fewer in her wallet. She’d had had some wild nights and some breathtaking days, but she didn’t feel the enlightenment her schoolmates had talked about. She had no sudden understanding of her place in the universe, nor did she feel an overwhelming sense of belonging. She had gone to wizarding villages and muggle monuments, made friends, had lovers, worked everywhere from a seedy bar in Madrid to the Musée Louvre – being a wizard among muggles certainly had its perks, and yet… and yet.
This was the last stop. It was a week before she had to be home for Roxanne’s wedding, and while she couldn’t pretend to be looking forward to it (she never could stand her soon-to-be-cousin, Robert), it had been two years since she’d seen her parents. Oh, she’d owled, occasionally floo messaged, but she hadn’t hugged her mother for two years. Two years was far too long.
“Rose?” came a deep voice from the hallway, “You’re here!” Strong arms wrapped around her, and squeezed as only Weasleys squeezed their loved ones.
“Uncle Charlie!” Rose cried.She felt like she was five years old again, when her Uncle Charlie was the biggest, strongest and coolest person in the world. Rose felt the feeling in her gut she always associated with him: the swooping sensation one gets only when one is tossed into the air by a dragon trainer.
“Oh, Rosie-Posie, you’ve been missed, girl,” Charlie’s gruff voice grated her ear. “Did you have an adventure, Red?” She couldn’t help but smile at the old nicknames.
“I’m not quite sure yet, Uncle Charlie. What does it feel like to have an adventure?”
“Well, you’ll feel tired, weary and a little bit wise. You’ll have seen new sights, done things you didn’t know you were capable of, and you’ll be very, very ready to go home.”
“Then I just might have. Are they ready for us?” From the anxious look in Rose’s brown eyes, Charlie could tell that there was more to the question than her offhand tone would suggest.
“They’re not mad Rose. Surely you know that from all the owls. They get it. You had to leave, take a little time to figure things out on your own. I’m sure your parents would have done the same if they weren’t too busy saving the world.” Charlie winked, and Rose remembered why her was her favourite uncle (and she had a lot of uncles). There was something very calming about Charlie’s presence, maybe that was what made him so good at his job, but it reminded Rose of the quiet solitude of the Rhône Alpes. “Alright then, Rose, this is the home stretch. We’ve got a portkey ready to leave in a minute, so grab your things. Let’s get you home.”
She knew there was a reason she’d gone to Uncle Charlie first. He, of all her family, knew what it was to run away. And he also knew how to come back home. So she hefted her suitcase, heavy despite the undetectable extension charm she’d renewed and (re)renewed over and over on her trip. She never did have her mother’s knack for charms.Their portkey was a model of a Hungarian Horntail on the ground, glowing bright blue in the dingy room. Rose and Charlie both placed a finger on it, and within seconds they were gone, with that trademark feeling of being carried to England by their nostrils.
Rose had never gotten the hang of landing, so she ate dirt the moment they arrived. She didn’t mind, the soil tasted like home. She scrubbed it off her face, pretending that she was only removing mud, not tears, and looked at the Burrow with shining eyes. It was as wonderfully dilapidated as she remembered, down to the muddy wellies at the door, but the most beautiful part wasn’t the house itself.
A host of redheads were streaming out of the door: the orange of the Pond-Weasleys, the strawberry blonde of the Delacour-Weasleys, the flame red of her uncles and aunt, the graying copper of her grandparents and there, at the back, her mother and father.
Rose dropped her suitcase (onto Charlie’s foot) and ran. She didn’t bother to hold in the tears as she slammed into her mum’s arms and finally, finally felt at home.
Any passersby would have been amazed to see the scene that followed. Tears were everywhere in a mass of ginger and dark hair, everybody hugging each other like it was the happiest day of their lives. Rose stood in the middle, feeling giddy, and realized that Charlie was right; she had had an adventure. She’d seen new sights, done things she never knew she was capable of, she felt wiser, and older, and stronger. Most of all, she was very, very happy to be home.
A/N: Some pure fluff for the house cup writing challenge (GO LIONS!)
I owe thanks to Erised at the forums for policing my commas.
Reviews, as always, are much appreciated :D