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Chapter 26 : We Don't Do Things The Normal Way
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Granny Jane and Grandad Hubert’s house always smelled of Shepherd’s Pie, almost to a point where it was sickening. See, Granny Jane always loved cooking and Grandad Hubert always loved Shepherd’s Pie, so really they had to be the most compatible couple in my entire family – except for maybe Percy and Audrey, whose haughtiness and good hygiene seem to have been matched in hell. When we were children, Hugo and I, we used to visit Granny Jane and Grandad Hubert on Saturday mornings, before we’d head to The Burrow for a day of crazy fun with our cousins. And every Saturday morning, Granny Jane would be making Shepherd’s Pie for that evening’s dinner, while Grandad Hubert would stuff us to the high heavens with healthy ‘Tooth kind’ snacks.
Today, the smell of Shepherd’s Pie is faded, but not absent, in the Granger house when Mum, Dad, Hugo, Scorpius and I go to see my grieving Grandmother. The house is as neat and tidy as ever, and I can’t help but admire Granny Jane for that – even after her husband has passed away, she still has the energy to dust, polish and vacuum. I haven’t been to the house since last summer, and I feel dreadfully guilty for it. I haven’t seen Grandad Hubert since August – I can’t even remember what the last thing I said to him was. Grandad Arthur I see all the time; in fact, I see all of my Weasley family all the time. But since I have no cousins, Aunts or Uncles on the Granger side, I rarely spend time with them. I know it sounds awful, but that’s just how it is.
And although the Granger side is indeed small, I can’t help but marvel at the amount of photographs Granny and Grandad have up on the walls. Most of them are of Hugo and me – a picture of Mum holding me in the hospital after I was born, with Dad looking very proud beside her; my first birthday, with me on Dad’s knee and his arm around Mum (whose hair was significantly shorter and bushier back then); a picture of me holding Hugo just after he was born, my hair tied into two big red bunches; Hugo’s first birthday, random family pictures of the four of us – and then of course there are pictures of Mum as a baby, a toddler, her first day of Muggle primary school, her first day of Hogwarts (which sits right beside my first day of Hogwarts, with me standing beside Al and Dom, grinning), Mum holding her OWL results in what looks like the kitchen of The Burrow, Mum holding her NEWT results, and Mum’s wedding day.
Granny Jane is sitting in the chair by the window when we arrive, gazing out and half-smiling, as if remembering a better time in her life. It doesn’t look as if she’s been crying at all, and I marvel at her strength. Dad looks a bit afraid following Mum into the living room, because he’s always maintained that Granny Jane never liked him, though Mum tells him to stop being so ridiculous every time he brings this up. Still, she has that look in her eye that says that Dad might just be right in his assumptions.
Granny Jane jumps at the sound of Mum’s voice, and I inwardly congratulate my mother for almost giving her mother a heart-attack, just after her father died of one. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve given up on the optimism thing. I’ve come to realise that one thing in my life can’t possibly be going well unless another aspect is going right down the toilet. The happy thing didn’t last long, did it?
Dad sticks the kettle on, while Mum sits down beside Granny Jane, and Scorpius, Hugo and I hover around not quite knowing what to do. What are you supposed to say in situations like this? Hugo and I are upset and grieving, but our grief seems pretty trivial compared to what Granny Jane and Mum must be feeling. We could say ‘I’m so sorry for your loss’, but technically it’s our loss too. Scorpius looks extremely uncomfortable too, and I suppose he has every right to be considering this is the first time he’s meeting my maternal grandmother.
It’s awkward. Hugo and I hug Granny Jane and she greets Scorpius pleasantly, and he replies with a mumbled ‘sorry for your loss’. She seems to be coping quite well. Mum is still sobbing silently. Dad has his arm around her shoulders, comforting her. It’s pathetic that it has to be a tragedy to bring them together, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.
“Rose, I think you should all go to The Burrow. We have a lot to talk about,” Mum sniffs at me and I know better than to disagree with her. She gives me the Muggle money for a taxi, as Granny Jane’s fireplace isn’t hooked up to the Floo Network, and we set off.
The journey isn’t very long – about half an hour. But these bloody taxi drivers must be thieves of some sort because I nearly had a fit when he told me the price. Stupid Muggles. Now I can see why Death Eaters don’t like them. (Okay, that sounded bad – I’m glad nobody reads my thoughts).
I throw the money at the taxi driver, who is looking at The Burrow interestedly.
“Some work of architecture there!” he says, somewhat sarcastically, pointing at the old house that looks like it could fall over at any second. Of course it won’t, as it’s held up by magic, but this Muggle is too thick to realise it.
“Thanks for the lift,” says Scorpius, practically pushing me out of the taxi before I start shouting at the driver.
“Idiot,” I hiss as he drives away.
Nana and Grandad are in the kitchen when we let ourselves in, Nana cooking, cleaning and knitting all at once and Grandad reading the newspaper at the table. It’s a pretty average day in the Weasley house. They look only mildly surprised to see us.
“Hello kids,” Grandad greets us, not acknowledging that two of us are in fact legal adults and Hugo…well, he wouldn’t take kindly to being called a ‘kid’. “To what do we owe this pleasure?”
“Grandad Hubert died,” Hugo announces bluntly.
Nana drops the ladle she was using to stir the soup. Grandad folds over the newspaper and stares at us, waiting for an explanation. Scorpius shifts uncomfortably.
“What? When?” Nana Molly gasps.
“Last night,” I say, “He had a heart attack.”
“Who had a heart attack?”
Ginny appears out of the fireplace, followed by Harry, James, Al and Lily.
“…have no idea what’s wrong with you these days!” Harry’s saying to Lily.
“I told you it’s nothing, leave me alone!” Lily snaps at Harry, with tears in her eyes, “You don’t know anything!” She storms into the living room, mumbling to herself.
“Lily! Come back here!” Harry shouts, but she just slams the door, “Al, go talk to her, she listens to you –”
“I have to do everything!” Al hisses angrily and follows Lily into the living room. Harry sighs and runs a hand through his black-and-grey hair and turns to James, as if waiting for him to start yelling too. James, however, just grins at his dad.
“Well isn’t this a nice turn of the tables?” James grins smugly, “Now I’m the good one.”
Ginny rolls her eyes, looking completely ashamed of her family, and then turns back to me.
“Rosie? Who had a heart attack?”
“My Grandad. He died last night,” I tell her. James stops grinning. Harry stops frowning at the living room door. Ginny gasps and clasps a hand to her mouth.
“Oh Rose, Hugo, I’m so sorry,” Ginny sighs and hugs us both, “How’s your Mum? Does your Dad know?”
“Yeah, he’s at Granny’s house with Mum now,” says Hugo. Ginny and Harry look at each other in surprise. They obviously didn’t see that one coming.
“We should go over there,” says Ginny to Harry, “Hermione needs us.”
“She has Ron –” Harry starts.
“Harry, she needs us.”
Harry nods. “Right.”
“We’ll be back in an hour,” says Ginny and with that they apparate away.
Nana Molly immediately starts baking a loaf of brown bread, saying she’ll bring it over to Granny Jane’s later on this evening, while Grandad goes on and on about how awful it is that Grandad Hubert is dead. James nods his head towards the living room, and Hugo, Scorpius and I follow him.
Al and Lily are sitting on the sofa, arms crossed and frowning, and for two siblings that look absolutely nothing alike, the resemblance is quite striking.
“What’s wrong with you two?” I ask. Two pairs of angry eyes, one pair green the other greeny-brown, glare back at me. I really need to learn to keep quiet.
“Don't even try,” James advises, “My little sibbies have been dumped, haven’t they?”
“It was your fault I was dumped!” Al growls at him.
“I have not been dumped!” Lily replies angrily at the same time.
“Lorcan dumped you?” I ask. I didn’t see that one coming. These Potters really can’t hold down a relationship.
“No!” Lily cries.
“But he’s going to,” James taunts, “And I don’t really blame him to be honest.”
“Why?” Hugo, Scorpius and I all say at the same time. It’s kind of sad that a small bit of gossip is what helps us forget our grandfather’s death, but we’re all ears.
“Well,” James answers for Lily, “My darling little sister here kissed another boy. Ah the dramatic life of a fourteen year old.”
“I’m almost fifteen,” she snaps back.
“Lily, you kissed another boy?” I gasp, “Who?”
“Lysander Scamander,” James grins, clearly enjoying this whole situation.
“Seriously?” Scorpius gasps and everyone turns to look at him. He generally doesn’t say much when he’s in big groups and he definitely isn’t one for gossiping. “Sorry, but…wow, you kissed your boyfriend’s twin brother?”
“How very ‘Eastenders’ of you,” says Hugo, and everyone now stares at him, “What? Mum watches it.”
“Lily? Did you really kiss Lysander?” I ask her, not daring to believe this until I hear it from her.
“I can’t believe you lot! Just leave me alone! You’re not exactly the best people for giving relationship advice! You two are having a baby –” she points at me and Scorpius, “you dumped a girl in front of the entire school causing her to OD and almost die –” she snaps at James, “you snogged our Auntie’s third cousin at a wedding even though you’re still in love with Jenny –” she hisses at Al, and then turns to Hugo, “and you…you wear too much eyeliner!”
She storms out of the living room and marches up the stairs, leaving a completely silent living room behind her.
“She kissed Lysander?” I repeat after a few seconds.
“I know,” James grins, “Like I said, I’m the good one now.”
“Shut up,” Al mumbles and then turns to me, “Did I hear someone died?”
I explain to him about Grandad’s heart attack and he offers his condolences. I hate this so much, the forced politeness and sympathy. It’s not us. We take the piss out of each other and that’s just how it’s supposed to be.
“Come on, let’s go do something fun,” says James, trying to lighten the mood.
“What do you have in mind?”
Ten minutes later I’m watching a two a-side Quidditch match, Scorpius and Hugo against James and Al. Two a-side Quidditch generally involves two chasers and two keepers, so it’s really not that exciting, especially when you’re only watching it. Hugo, it turns out, isn’t a bad keeper, as he’s blocked nearly every goal Al’s shot his way. A few minutes into the game Lily comes outside and sits down on the grass beside me, looking completely miserable.
“I’m sorry about your grandfather,” she says, “Nana Molly just told me.”
“It’s okay,” I shrug, “He was old…for a Muggle.”
“So this Lysander thing then…” I start.
“Do we have to talk about this?” she whines, “It was a mistake, I didn’t mean for it to happen.”
“What, did you think he was Lorcan or something?” I ask. It’s a fair question because I often get them confused.
“No, of course not!” Lily cries, “Lorcan and Lysander are completely different. For a start, Lysander’s taller and a bit fatter too. And Lysander’s eyes are darker than Lorcan’s. And Lorcan’s voice hasn’t completely broken yet. And Lysander is a Lovegood through and through while Lorcan is quite serious about everything. They’re as different as day and –”
“Afternoon? Lily, why did you kiss him?”
Lily shrugs miserably. “I don’t know,” she admits, “I’ve been with Lorcan for two months now and I’m only fourteen! I never wanted a serious relationship or anything. I suppose I just wanted a change…”
“Right,” I say, “So a change for you means your boyfriend’s identical twin brother?” She shoots me a dirty look. “Does Lorcan know you kissed Lysander?”
“No,” she admits, “It only happened last week.”
“Last week?” I cry, “At the wedding?! How could this have happened a week ago without me knowing?”
“Rose, don’t make me feel worse than I already do,” she sighs, “You were just so happy with Scorpius and you haven’t been happy in so long…I couldn’t just dump this on you. This is my problem. I’m the one who likes her boyfriend’s twin brother.”
“Wait a second,” I stop her, “You like him? Lil, I thought it was a mistake!”
“It was a mistake! I didn’t mean that…”
She stops talking as the four boys land, Scorpius and Hugo high-fiving each other and grinning. Al looks even more sour than usual, and James looks surprisingly happy for someone who has clearly lost the game.
“This boy,” James throws an arm around Hugo’s shoulders, “This fine boy here is my new keeper!”
“What?” everyone else, including Hugo, asks at the same time.
“Didn’t you see him up there?” James asks excitedly, “He’s bloody brilliant! We’re going to kick arse in the final, you wait and see! Lads,” he turns to Scorpius and Al, “Be afraid. Be very afraid. Well, that’s if you actually make it to the final. You still have to beat Ravenclaw –”
“We’ll beat Ravenclaw,” Al snaps.
“So Hugo, my dear young cousin, will you be the new keeper?”
“Erm…yeah, I suppose…” he says unsurely, “But what if I’m no good in a real match? I mean, this is only a two a-side…”
“Confidence is all you need, you’ll do brilliantly,” says James proudly.
“Thank Merlin,” Lily mutters, “At least I don’t have to do it anymore.”
We all head back into the house for dinner. Mum, Dad, Harry and Ginny are all there. Mum has finally stopped crying, but her eyes are still red, and it appears that Dad is glued to her side.
“…the funeral is going to be on Saturday,” says Mum, “Mum just wants to get it over with.”
“Saturday,” Nana Molly repeats, “We’ll be there. Will you stay for dinner?”
“I should get back to the flat,” says Mum tiredly, “I didn’t sleep much last night.”
“What?” Dad scoffs, “The flat? I don’t think so.”
Mum raises her eyebrows at him. “You don’t?”
“No! Hermione…I want you to come home.”
Oh it’s such a photo moment. I wish I brought the camera. I could scream with happiness only I don’t want to ruin the mood. Grandad ushers us all into the next room to give my parents some privacy, but then it’s just a scramble towards the door to eavesdrop.
“Y-you want me to come home?” Mum echoes.
“Hermione, these past few months have been awful,” says Dad, “I’ve never been more miserable in my whole life. I know I’ve been the worst husband in the universe –”
“Oh Ron –”
“No, I have. And…and I’m really sorry about everything I said. And I’m sorry that I didn’t say that I’m sorry before now. And I’m sorry I got Rosie a watch for her birthday. And I’m sorry that I didn’t dance with you at the wedding. And I’m sorry –”
He stops talking, and then there’s a scramble towards the keyhole to see what’s happening. Grandad gets there first.
“They’re kissing! She’s kissed him!” he whispers frantically to the rest of us.
“Move! Let me see!” I cry, while I hear Hugo gagging. “They are kissing!”
“Oh thank heavens,” Nana Molly sighs, “They need each other.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Saturday comes quickly and before we know it, Scorpius and I are heading off to the second funeral in a month. That’s sort of a depressing thought. Dad drives us all to the church and it almost feels as if Mum and Dad never went on a break at all. They’ve even gotten back to their petty bickering.
“Ron, it’s the next right.”
“I know it’s the next right!”
“Well then indicate!”
“I was going to!”
“I’m just reminding you –”
“I don’t need reminding –”
“Ron! Now you’ve missed the turn!”
When we finally arrive at the church, Nana Molly, Grandad Arthur and the five Potters are standing outside. Harry and Ginny are talking to Granny Jane, while James and Al look quite strange in black Muggle suits. Dom and Uncle Bill are here too, as well as Uncle George, Fred and Uncle Percy. Each of my Uncles offer Mum their condolences.
“You know, we’ve been to more funerals than restaurants together,” I observe as Scorpius and I walk into the church together.
“Yeah, but we got pregnant before liking each other,” Scorpius reminds me, “We don’t exactly do things the normal way.”
The funeral is the usual business – sad music, depressing prayers and speeches, muffled sobbing. I cry a little, but I sort of wish I’d cry more. I suppose I just wish I was closer with Grandad Hubert. I can see a few of my distant relatives scattered around the place, but all in all I’m just not that close with the Granger side of the family. Even Mum admits that she’s not that close with her own cousins or Aunts or Uncles. She’s far closer with Dad’s family than her own.
After the coffin has been taken away for cremation, we leave the church and everyone stands outside, talking. Mum’s hand has been shook about fifty thousand times at this stage. She doesn’t even look upset anymore, just completely shattered.
Dom, Al, James, Fred and Lily approach me while Mum is stuck talking to Great-Auntie Phyllis.
“Rosie I’m so sorry,” says Dom and hugs me, “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” I admit, “But I’m looking forward to going back to Hogwarts tomorrow.”
“Join the club,” Fred agrees. However, Al and Lily look as if the last thing they want to do is go back to Hogwarts. Despite the fact that my grandfather has just died, I’m still so bloody relieved that I no longer have to deal with relationship problems.
“Feel like going to the pub?” asks James, pointing to a small tavern across the road that most of the people from the funeral seem to be heading towards, “Isn’t that what people do after funerals?”
“Sounds good to me,” I smile.
We head across the road, and Al holds me back for a moment to let the others go in ahead of us.
“Rose, I need your help,” he says and being this close to him I notice the dark circles under his eyes. He hasn’t slept in ages. “I want Jenny back.”
“There’s a surprise,” I say sarcastically.
“Will you help me?”
I nod. And then I hug him. “Get some sleep, Al.”
I must get Scorpius to crack out the old quill and parchment. We have some planning to do.
A/N - Okay, so it's been a while, I know. I'm sorry! But you all know the problems HPFF has been experiencing as of late, so please don't hurt me! As you can see the amount of reviews on this story has been halved because of the technical difficulties, so I'd really appreicate it if everyone made a special effort to review. It would make me so happy!
What also makes me happy is the fact that this story has made it to the Best of HPFF. It's number 10 in the most favourited stories. YAY! So thank you to everyone who has favourited Delicate, you are legends!
And finally - I got Trusted Author status! DOUBLE YAY! Expect faster updates people! (But not TOO fast...I'm quite busy at the minute!)
EDIT (8th Oct.) - P.S - If you're going to be super nice and rereview my other chapters, please remember, no spamming! (This is posting non-reviews (i.e gibberish that nobody understands), copying and pasting the same review for every chapter and so on...) Thanks so much people!
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