Chapter 2 : Ring a Ring of Roses
| ||Rating: 15+||Chapter Reviews: 2|
Background: Font color:
“I did not like that. I did not like that at all,” he said, crossing his arms and giving a small ‘humph’.
“Yes, well, I suppose it does take some getting used to.” Arthur replied, sporting his own frown. How on earth was he going to hide this from Molly? Keeping him in the shop was absolutely out of the question! Arthur shuddered at the idea of finding all of his spark plugs and wires knotted up and thrown about, the bear sitting in the middle with those big eyes and unassuming face.
“Well, are we going to go in, or not?” the bear asked grumpily.
Arthur sighed. “Well, yes. But Bear?” He asked, trying to be serious. It was difficult when talking to a stuffed animal.
“I told you, it’s Teddy!” he replied angrily.
An imagine of Remus’s boy popped into Arthur’s head, the hair on top of his round little face changing with every minute.
“Well, I have a grandson,” or soon to be god-grandson, he thought, ”who has that exact same name, and he came first! So you have to pick something different.” Arthur said matter-of-factly. He was beginning to realize that the bear was much like a toddler. Capricious and impressionable.
“Oh, no!” The bear said. Arthur got a good look inside his mouth as he gasped dramatically, furry paws resting on his cheeks. There was a small pink tongue stitched onto black felt. “Who do you think I am?” he asked. “Since I can’t be Teddy anymore?”
Athur was beginning to get impatient. Molly hadn’t been quite as attached to their clock since the end of the war, but if she were to glance up at it and see he was home, she’d come bursting out of the door to give him a good wringing for being late.
“Hmm,” he searched for something simple, trying to remember what the boys had called their animals. It had been quite a long time though, “How about Barry?”
He bear looked at him blankly. “That is an awful name. I don’t call you Manny.”
Arthur laughed, “But Manny is a name, too.”
Now the little thing seemed surprised. “There is? Just in case you forget what you are?”
“No, no, no.” Arthur said, still laughing. “It’s just what their mother thought sounded good, that’s all.”
Arthur decided to walk towards the front door slowly, angling in as though he had been in the shop.
“Well, what did my mother name me?” The bear asked, reaching up to tug on the end of Arthur’s sleeve.
The simple question stopped Arthur in his tracks. “Do you remember your mother?” He asked, very seriously. It had never occurred to him that the bear might now precisely where it came from, and who had made it. Sure, he had said that he had ‘come from’ Buddy’s room, but one didn’t say they ‘came from’ a hospital, either, did they?
He paused, tapping his chin with a paw, his shiny eyes squinted as he searched for the answer. “Nope. Just Buddy’s mother, but she called me Teddy, and now I can’t be Teddy.” He was sad again, his head dropping. Arthur was a bit disappointed too.
“Well,” he said, starting off for the house once again, “you think of some names that you like. I’m going to put you in my pocket. You must be very, very quiet. If anyone hears you, you’ll frighten them terribly.” Arthur glanced down at the bear to make sure he was listening. “You don’t want to scare anyone, do you?”
He shook his head vigorously, for a toy at least. Arthur smiled, pulled out his wand, and quickly put an undetectable enlargement charm on the inside pocket of his robes. It was a tight fit, and ‘Teddy’ complained quite a bit about being thrust down into it, but eventually he settled. Before Arthur entered his house, he peeked inside.
“Are you alright in there?” he whipered down.
A small, scared voice replied, “I-it it’s very dark in here…”
Thinking quickly, Arthur looked around the garden bed for something small. In no time he found an empty snail shell and charmed it to glow, dropping it down into the pocket with the frightened toy.
As the door in front of him was suddenly thrown open by a disgruntled looking Molly, Arthur heard a faint “thank you” before quickly straightening his robes.
“What’ve you been doing out here?” Molly asked, clearly suspicious. She was eyeing him with that look, the one she had taken to giving the twins when they first started their joke shop.
“I’ve just been in the shop.” Arthur replied brightly, stepping forward to give his wife a hug and kiss. That was all she needed to hear. They both knew that she had no interest in anything that belonged in ‘the shop’, and as long as it stayed there, no further discussion was necessary.
“Well, come in then. I tried to wait for you, but it was starting to get cold, and when Harry and Ron showed up without you, I dished out your favorites and served the rest,” she had opened the door wide and ushered him into the warm living room.
Arthur was very glad to see his family. Bill was sitting at the table next to Fleur, beautiful as ever, even if she had gained a few pounds. Molly had been teaching her to cook proper English meals, and the result was a lovely woman with plump cheeks. Arthur had never thought there was anything wrong with a little plump. Made a woman’s smile even more beautiful, in his opinion.
George was also present, on the other side of Fleur. He hadn’t been around much, since everything happened, and Arthur studied him a bit longer than necessary, worried about his normally exuberant son. Whatever weight Fleur had managed to find, George had lost, and in half the time. Molly had been sending him meals (magically shrunk for Errol’s benefit), but he had a nagging suspicion most of them were never returned to their full size. Sure enough, the grim boy had the most food on his plate, apparently content to push it around instead of taking a bite. He looked hollow, and it was more than just the thinning of his face. His eyes just weren’t bright. Arthur knew better than to say anything to him about it, however. He was quite sure Molly made a fuss over him soon as he crossed the threshold. Wouldn’t want to scare him off.
Ginny and Harry were there as well, with Ron and Hermione opposite them. No one was quite sure what the status of Ron’s relationship with Hermione was anymore. Arthur always thought his youngest son was the most like him, and based on that, Ron probably didn’t know either.
“They call it a Potter now, you know,” Ginny was saying to Harry, who blushed and took another bite of potato.
“Call what a Potter?” Arthur asked excitedly, sitting down at the head of the table. He missed having his children about him. Missed the ease at which conversation flowed when you weren’t worried about who was going to be alive the next day.
“When you catch the snitch in your mouth!” Ginny replied, and everyone laughed. Even George had the shadow of a smile touch his eyes.
Dinner was absolutely joyous. Arthur ate until he felt he was about to burst, and then enjoyed listening to the latest news of Hogwarts. Apparently, the castle hadn’t agreed with some of the changes made while rebuilding it, and was rearranging things to suit itself. Students and teachers alike would wake up to find a classroom had been reallocated, and no one knew where to find it. All too quickly, Molly was exclaiming at the time.
“Well, we’d best get to bed if we’re to be there early,” she said, stifling a yawn.
“Is Charlie going to make it?” Bill asked, standing from the table to retrieve his traveling cloak by the door.
“Yes. He’ll be here in the morning. As will Percy,” Molly answered. All of the Weasley children groaned. “You behave yourselves!” she quickly chided them. “He is a part of this family, and we will welcome him with open arms. Enough has been taken in this war, I won’t be refusing the one thing it gives back.” There were no further protests.
Bill and Fleur left for home. Arthur convinced George he should stay the night. He seemed to panic at first, before Arthur suggested, “Percy’s room is a bit tidier than your old one. All those boxes you know. Why don’t you stay in there?” His son relaxed a bit, then nodded before heading up the stairs. Arthur didn’t blame him. There were two beds in his old room, and one of them was to be perpetually empty, a constant reminder. Before he went up to bed, Arthur called out, “And thank you for the book son! This Sherlock bloke, he really knows his stuff, doesn’t he?” George smiled down.
“You’ll have to tell me about him. I haven’t read it,” he paused for a moment, then said, “Fred got it for your birthday.” With that, he continued up the stairs to Percy’s room.
Molly convinced Hermione to stay in Ron’s room (as Percy’s was no longer available) while Harry and Ron slept in the twin’s beds, so it all worked out in the end.
Finally, once everyone had settled down, Arthur and Molly got ready for bed themselves.
“I’m so glad you’ve got the day off,” Molly whispered from her side of the bed. Arthur was stowing his works robes away, quickly taking a peek to make sure the snail shell was still glowing. He could hear the bear snoring soundly, and decided to seal the pocket until morning. Just to be safe.
“Wha- oh… yes… about that dear…” Molly sat up, clearly upset already, though he hadn’t said anything wrong.
“No, Arthur. You promised. You promised me that you’d be there with us!” Tears were starting to fall from her face. Arthur quickly climbed over the bed to wipe them away.
“I will be there, dear. I promise you! We’ll go the memorial site, say our peace, and everything. I’ll even be here for lunch. I just have something important I haven’t quite gotten wrapped up.” Molly was still eyeing him with disbelief. He didn’t blame her. Here for lunch usually meant gone all night. “I’m not even going by the office. Just a field visit to make sure a muggle boy is alright… his toy, well, he took a nasty fall. Ended up in a hospital. I need to make sure it wasn’t anything from us.”
Molly seemed to calm down a bit when he said he wasn’t going to the office. Add in a hurt little boy, and she was more concerned than anything. “Is he alright dear? What happened, is that why you stayed late this evening?”
Arthur hesitated. He didn’t want to lie, so decided to say nothing about it at all. “Oh, yes. Nothing those doctors can’t handle, I promise you. Now it’s getting late love, let’s turn out the light.”
Bright and early the next morning, the Weasleys (and company) arrived with a bang outside of the Hogs Head Inn and walked over to Hogwarts. He knew that Hermione and Ginny could visit Fred’s grave any time they wanted, but it was nice that they decided to come while on break.
The whole memorial site was beautiful. It was shaded by the first trees of the forbidden forest, healthy, bright looking things that would paint the cemetery in orange and red during the fall. The soft sound of water kept silence from creeping in, and he was glad of it. He would rather the fallen been remembered in a place that was warm, not something creepy dripping with death. The entrance was a black marble slab, standing erect like an ancient pillar. Carved into it were the names of everyone who had fallen at the Battle of Hogwarts. There were too many. And most of them, he knew.
Beyond that, set like soldiers in a straight line, were the individual plots. These, in contrast to the entrance, were a bright, shinning white. Fred’s wasn’t difficult to find. The memorial had been open to visitors for a few days now, and as he’d had many friends while alive, there were plenty of gifts adorning Fred’s plot.
As the actual headstone came into view, Arthur couldn’t help but gasp. He hadn’t noticed before, but there was an etching of each martyr on the front in delicate gray. It was simple, all lines, but it danced on the smooth surface, depicting Fred’s enormous laugh. His heart warmed as tears stung his eyes. Molly of course began to sob, but in a good way, and pressed her head into his shoulder.
Through his tears, Arthur smiled at the fake wands and headless hats, skiving snackboxes and small fireworks at the foot of the work of art. Fred would’ve approved.
One by one, they each stepped forward with a small token, said few humble words, and then backed away to make room for someone else. Ginny actually conjured up a toilet seat and propped it nicely next the stone. Molly opened her mouth in protest until George started laughing, and recounted the story of them telling her they’d send her one from Hogwarts. In no time, it was their turn.
Arthur held Molly’s hand as they stepped up to the site. He felt the familiar twinge of sadness deep in his chest as Molly placed a sweater at the base of his headstone, large F very visible at the front, and immediately burst into tears. Not knowing what to say, and having no other gift to give, Arthur lead her away to make room for his last visitor; George.
It took quite a long time for George to say his piece, kneeling in front of the sweater and gifts to touch the moving drawing. No one could hear his whispered words over the rustling of wind in the trees, but when he finally stood, Arthur could tell there was little more life in his eyes, a little more spring in his step, when it was all said and done with.
The return trip was much happier. Ginny started with more tales of the twins’ trouble, George adding in a few more memorable adventures from their school days. Then it was Tonks and her dinner time nose changing routine. Before long everyone was in stitches, grabbing their sides until they made it back to Hogsmead and popped back home.
Arthur, very intent on keeping his promise, ate dinner with all the family he could for the first time in too long. Molly whipped up a good two dozen sandwiches, making sure George ate his share. Percy seemed a bit awkward around Bill and Charlie, but eventually loosened up and joined in the conversation. He was glad they were giving him another chance, even if he wasn’t quite sure what to say to the boy anymore.
As his pants began to feel rather uncomfortable around the waist, Arthur eyed the clock.
“Well, darling,” he said to Molly, “I’d better go visit the boy. It’ll seem suspicious if I start asking questions after he’s been sent back home. I’ll be back in no time love.”
The look he got was not a glare, and that was more than he had hoped for. He quickly stepped inside and climbed the stairs to his room, not wanting to say his goodbye’s too soon. If he was lucky, Molly would use the excuse, “but you haven’t said goodbye to your father!” to keep them all in for dinner.
Reaching his bedroom, he crossed the worn wooden floor to find his work cloak. Taking out his wand, he unsealed the pocket and looked at the teddy bear inside.
“Am I in time-out?” the bear asked, looking out from the depths of the pocket.
The sudden question took him off-guard. “In time-out? Why would you be in time out?”
“I don’t know why you put me in time out! When Buddy does something wrong he has to sit by himself for a long long time, and now I’ve been here for a long long long long looooooooooong time!”
Arthur heard a sniffling and was afraid the bear was going to start crying again, as he had in the tree house. “Now, now,” he said hastily, glancing over his shoulder at the open bedroom door. “You aren’t in time out, you just needed some time to think of a name. Did you think of one yet?”
The brown bear stopped his sniffling and hiccuped, if you could call it that. “Yes, but I forgot it.”
Arthur laughed. “Well, we’re going to go see Buddy now, alright?” The bear let out a cheer of delight jumping up and down in his place inside the jacket. “Shhh, you need to be quiet.”
“What for?” a voice from behind asked. George was at the doorway, eyeing his father with curiosity.
“Oh,” Arthur said, not sure of what to say, “I was just…”
George raised an eyebrow. “Come on now dad, don’t say talking to yourself. We both know that you don’t shush yourself. Or talk aloud about how you need to be quiet.”
Caught red handed, Arthur could only think of one thing to say. “Don’t tell your mother,” he pleaded.
George laughed for the second time since the end of the war. “Yeah, ‘cause you really need to worry about that with me. What’ve you got in there?”
He crossed the room, craning his neck to see what was inside the pocket of the traveling cloak still hanging in the wardrobe, eyebrows lifting as though hoping to add some perspective.
“Well, I’m not quite sure,” Arthur started, pulling open the pocket and stepping out of George’s way. “It was originally a teddy bear, but now…”
“Who’s that?” the bear asked. “When are we going to see Buddy?”
George’s eyes opened wide with shock. “It talks? It…asks questions?”
Arthur nodded gravely. “The child it belonged to was a muggle. Apparently, when his teddy bear was talking it gave him a nasty freight. Fell out of a tree house. He’s being held in a hospital. The mother witnessed the bear behave unusually from what we know. I’m headed to the hospital to talk to the doctor, then might stop by the house again to talk to the boy, if he’s been discharged.”
“So you think it’s cursed?” George asked, still peering inside the pocket where the bear sat with its arms crossed, continuing to question when he would get to see ‘Buddy’.
“Actually, no. I don’t think so. He, well, it, told me his name. He got…upset when we started talking about how the boy was hurt. I think, well, I think someone’s done quite a bit of magic to make this toy think and act on it’s own. I’ve never seen anything like it, well, except maybe the sorting hat.”
“Hmmm….” George let go of the pocket and turned back towards the door. “Well, I better go back before mum comes to check up on me.” He rolled his eyes. “I’ll ask around the business, see if anyone knows anything about charmed bears.”
Arthur smiled and waved as his son turned in the doorway to head down the hall, calling after him, “Thank you, George. I hadn’t thought of that.” Of course, joke shops were the closest thing to a toy shop. He had such wonderful children.
Arthur left the teddy in his robes while he found a muggle set of clothes of change into. He decided to try and look rather official, choosing a dark purple button up with a crisp collar, brown slacks, red suspenders, and another rather flat hat he was told was called a ‘fedoru’.
Once ready, he took the grumpy bear out of his ‘time-out’ and aparated to a back alley rather close to the hospital.
A few moments later Arthur and the bear (who had been instructed to try and remember which name he had decided on) were standing outside a rather large, oppressive looking building that served as the muggle hospital.
The delightful automatic doors opened just as they should have, and Mr. Weasley resisted the urge to turn around and walk through them again, instead making his way across the off-white tile to the help desk.
“Can I help you, please?” a rather large woman behind the counter asked. She was staring intently at the black box in front of her, her tone making it apparent she would rather him be somewhere else.
“Could you direct me to Buddy Whitfields room? I believe it’s number 412, if he’s still here.”
The woman reached beside her and picked up a clipboard, still not meeting Arthur’s gaze.
“I do not have Buddy Whitfield as a public patient. May I ask what your business it?” she said lazily, returning to her box.
Arthur reached into the pocket of his coat, searching for his special wallet.
“My name’s Arthur Weasley, and I’m here on official business.” He flipped open the wallet and presented it to woman. She took the worn leather and examined the blank interior without looking up at him. It had nothing in it whatsoever. The only remarkable thing about it was the enchantment it held. Satisfied with whatever credentials it had to show her, she thrust it back out of the window and returned to her electronic box, still not meeting his gaze.
“Room 412. Take the elevator to your right. Fourth floor, third door on the left.”
Arthur uttered a quick, “Thank you,” before leaving the rude woman to her own devices. People these days… he though, examining the shiny elevator door and pushing the button indicating he wanted to go up. He watched as the blue light moved slowly the left above him, eager to see real muggle doctors at work. Arthur had had only one previous experience with muggle medicine, and he was eager to see if things like stitches could actually work on non-magical wounds.
Buddy turned to look up at him in the elevator. “Will I get to see Buddy now?” he asked.
“Yes, but do not talk to him. You’ll have to be very quiet, like you used to be. Do you remember what happened the last time? We don’t want to make him upset, do we?”
The toy nodded slowly before turning to face forward once again, becoming deathly still.
Other Similar Stories