Chapter 2: A Weasley Interlude
A Weasley Interlude
As Harry and Ginny landed in front of the Burrow, they immediately
saw Ron standing on the doorstep, waiting for them.
"Ron!" Harry said as Ginny stepped off the Firebolt. "How did your
lunch with the Grangers go? And where's Hermione? I thought she was
going to come and spend a week or so with us."
"She's inside, playing with Megan."
"Oh, are Autumn and Remus here?" asked Ginny.
"No, just Megan. Mum's been babysitting while they run some errands."
"Oh goody," Ginny gave Harry a grin that made him go weak at the
knees before running off to see Megan and Hermione. He watched her as
she walked into the house, fascinated by the way the sun glinted off
her hair. Only Ron's voice brought him out of his reverie.
"You have no idea how weird it is to see you looking at my sister like
Harry felt his face go hot. Over the past few weeks he and Ginny had
spent a lot of time together, but they had rarely done more in public
than hold hands—especially not in front of Ron. Harry fought the urge
to cringe as he remembered Ron's reaction to the news that Harry and
Ginny were now a couple. "You kissed my sister? Are you
mad?" Hermione had tried to calm him down, and eventually Ron just
sat there in dumbfounded amazement while Hermione and Ginny talked and
giggled and Sirius and Remus alternated between being overjoyed and
urging Harry not to overexert himself. Ron had never really mentioned
the subject again, but Harry still felt uncomfortable bringing the
whole thing to Ron's attention.
Harry rejected several responses to Ron's comment before
answering—he didn't really feel like discussing his feelings for Ginny
with Ron at the moment. He finally decided to turn the tables and
change the subject all in one go. "Well, I'm sure it's something like
seeing you looking at Hermione lately." Harry's reply had the desired
effect, and he smiled as Ron's ears burned a bright red. "You haven't
answered my question yet—how did your lunch with the Grangers go?" Ron
and Hermione hadn't been able to go with Harry to Privet Drive because
of an unexpected invitation to lunch with Hermione's parents. Ron had
been extremely nervous. Not that he hadn't met Hermione's parents
before—he'd seen them a couple of times over the summers—but this was
the first time he'd spent any time with them. It didn't help that the
lunch was at a fancy Muggle restaurant, either.
Ron sighed. "It went all right. I didn't really enjoy it much while
it was happening, but looking back, I reckon it was fine. I remembered
what fork to use and I didn't slurp my soup. Hermione's mum and dad are
really nice, though—they asked if I wanted to come with them when they
go to EuroDisney—I think that's what it's called—later on in the
summer. I told them I'd see how things were going with you and let them
"Ron, I appreciate your wanting to stay with me, but I'm fine. I'll
probably have moved in with Sirius by then anyhow, so I won't even be
around. Send them an owl and tell them you'd be delighted."
"We'll see," Ron replied vaguely. Harry got the impression that
there was more to it than just concern for himself, but that Ron wasn't
in the mood to discuss it with him.
"C'mon, let's go see Hermione and Megan," Harry said, and started
walking toward the house. Ron quickly followed.
Ginny entered the house and headed straight for the living room,
where she could hear laughter. Her mother and Hermione were sitting on
the floor, each trying to coax nine-month-old Megan Lupin to crawl to
her. Megan herself was sitting in the middle of both, not really paying
much attention to either one. When she saw Ginny, however, she
immediately went on her knees and started crawling toward her.
"How's my favorite baby girl?" Ginny exclaimed as she picked Megan
up and held her in the air. Megan giggled and tried to grab Ginny's
"Ginny!" Hermione jumped up and walked over to her. "How did it go?"
"Well. . ." Ginny blushed and tried to look very intent on putting
Megan's barrette more securely in her hair. "Harry did fine. I kind of
Mrs. Weasley looked sternly at her daughter. "You didn't! Ginny,
what did you do?"
"Don't worry, Mum, I didn't flout the Decree for the Restriction of
Underage Wizardy. I just gave Harry's uncle the talking-to he deserved.
Can you believe it—he gave Harry a bill for everything they spent on
him! After the way they treated him!" Ginny could feel herself getting
angry again. "I saw the cupboard they locked him up in—and then he had
the nerve to ask Harry for ten thousand pounds!"
Hermione gasped. "They didn't!"
"They did. But after what I said, I don't think they'll be expecting
anything. Anyway, it's over now. Harry's got his stuff, and we never
have to see them again. So that's that." Ginny, sick of remembering the
afternoon, changed the subject. "How was your lunch with your parents?"
"It went really well. Ron made a very good impression. Dad's been so
worried—after Viktor Krum, he hasn't really trusted my taste in men."
"What was the matter with Viktor? He was a really nice fellow—he
even fought on our side during the war."
"I know, but he's 3 years older than me and—I didn't really tell Mum
and Dad that he was 18 until after fourth year was over. Dad thought
Viktor had convinced me to lie to them, to cover it up. That's one
reason why I didn't go to Bulgaria that summer—Mum and Dad wouldn't let
me. Of course, they still don't know about half the stuff Harry and Ron
and I did in school." Hermione giggled. "Anyway, they were very
relieved. Dad doesn't have to worry about what I might get up to here
"And how about you, Mum?" Ginny asked, setting Megan down on the
floor again. "How's your day been?"
"Not bad. Tara—or Autumn—and Remus dropped by just after you left,
asking if I could watch Megan for the afternoon. They were worried
about asking on such short notice, but Megan's such a good
baby—especially compared to Fred and George—that I said I'd be glad
to. She napped most of the afternoon, anyway. She just woke up about 15
"When will they be back?" Ginny loved seeing her cousin. They had
become like the sisters neither one had ever had during the time Autumn
had spent at the Burrow between Ginny's third and fourth years, when
she was still trying to get her memory back. Eventually Autumn had
regained her memory, and they were still close even now that she had
been married to Professor Lupin for almost 2 years and had a baby.
"I expect them any time now. They're staying for dinner, as well. I
figured with everyone else we have coming over, three more won't make
much of a difference. Besides, Remus will probably be interested in
what your dad has to say as well."
Ginny had given up asking her mother what the big deal about tonigh
was, so she just said "Oh, good." She felt a pressure on her feet and
looked down to find Megan sitting on them, playing with her shoelaces.
Ginny picked her up again and started tickling her. She was still
enjoying Megan's giggles when Harry and Ron walked in.
"Can I hold her?" asked Harry. "I haven't been able to see her very
"Sure," Ginny said. She waited for Harry to put down his things then
handed Megan over, who immediately started grabbing at his glasses.
Harry threw her up in the air, sending Megan into peals of laughter.
"Careful, Harry—that's my daughter, not a Quaffle." Remus Lupin
stood in the doorway with a slightly disapproving look on his face.
Harry looked at his old teacher guiltily.
Autumn, who was standing behind her husband, snorted. "Like you
haven't done the same thing every day since she was 3 months old."
"Autumn!" Ginny hurried to give her cousin a hug. "It's so good to
"You, too Gin." Autumn returned the hug fervently, then extended a
hand to Harry. "It's nice to see you, too, Harry."
"Mrs. Lupin." Harry shifted Megan to his left arm so he could shake
hands. "Thanks for letting me borrow your daughter."
"It's a pleasure. She seems to like you." Autumn smiled as Megan
grabbed for Harry's glasses again. "And please, call me Autumn. Or
Tara. One of the two." Autumn turned to Mrs. Weasley. "I hope you don't
mind that we just walked in, Aunt Molly—I knocked but I don't think
anybody heard. Thanks for watching Megan. I hope she wasn't too
"Not at all, Tara, dear. When you've raised 6 boys, a good-natured
little girl like that is a walk in the park. Ginny was the same
way—most of the time." Ginny blushed a little. Her temper tantrums as a
toddler were legendary.
"Well, let me at least help you with dinner. You're going to have
quite a crowd tonight."
"Oh, no, I'm just fine—why don't you stay and visit?"
After a little arguing, Mrs. Weasley finally agreed to let Autumn
help with dinner. Ginny and Hermione offered to help as well, and as
they took Megan with them, Ron, Harry and Remus were left in the living
room. They didn't have long to chat, though.
"MO-ther! We're HO-ome!"
Fred and George came bounding into the room, having just Apparated
back from a day at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley. "Cousin
Remus!" Fred cried. Fred and George took no end of delight in the fact
that one of the makers of the Maurader's Map was now related to them by
marriage. Harry noticed that they made sure to attach the "cousin" to
Remus' name whenever possible. "Is Megan here?"
"Yes, she's with her mother in the kitchen. But since your
mother is also in there making dinner, you'd probably better just stay
away. You know how Molly gets when there's a big meal to prepare."
Fred and George plopped down on one of the cushion-covered sofas.
Harry often wondered why there we so many cushions on them—you had to
put most of them on the floor to get more than two people onto them.
They were probably just for decoration, he decided. "You're probably
right, cousin," George replied. "I'm sure it's more fun in here,
anyway. What were you talking about?"
"I was just about to ask Harry how his trip to the Dursleys went,"
Remus replied. "Did everything go all right, Harry?"
Harry explained what had happened. Ron got almost as mad as Ginny
had been at the mention of the bill, but everyone laughed when they
heard what Ginny had done.
"Good for her," said Fred. "He deserved it."
Before they could discuss the matter any further however, the sound
of footsteps echoed in the hallway, and soon Percy arrived, carrying
one of his triplets. Little eighteen-month-old Paige was resting her
head on her father's shoulder, obviously shy of all the new people.
"Harry—Remus. So nice to see you both." Percy extended his free hand to
"Percy," Remus replied. "Where are Penelope and the boys?"
"Penelope stayed in the kitchen to help with dinner, and Patrick and
Preston are currently getting fussed over by our mum. When I heard you
were here, though, I excused myself to pay my respects. We're going to
have quite the full house tonight, aren't we?"
"I think everyone's going to be here but Charlie," Ron replied.
"Can't get away from the dragons. Sirius is coming, too, and Mum said
something about a surprise guest for dessert. I wonder where Bill is?"
Harry still couldn't figure out what the big fuss was. He could
understand a big Weasley get-together, but as to why Sirius and Remus
were invited, he had no clue. A surprise guest puzzled him even more.
As if on cue, Bill walked into the room. After the greetings went
around again, Harry realized his Firebolt and all his things were still
sitting by the door. With all the little kids running around, they
would probably be safer in his room. Excusing himself, he made his way
to Percy's old room, which he had been given instead of sharing with
Ron. "There's no point in having you share if we've got an empty room,"
Mrs. Weasley had said. Harry wasn't about to argue—he'd had seven years
of sharing with Ron, and all the orange in Ron's attic room gave him a
headache. As Harry walked back down the stairs, he heard a great
commotion coming from the living room, and saw little Paige run for the
kitchen. He rounded the corner just in time to have a cushion graze his
Immediately the commotion stopped. Harry almost laughed at the scene
before him. The two big sofas had been emptied of all their cushions.
Percy was standing in a corner looking disapproving, his horn-rimmed
glasses slightly askew and a pile of cushions at his feet. Remus had at
least three cushions in each hand, and judging by the look on Fred and
George's faces, he'd been just about to hurl them all at them. Ron
looked sheepish. "Sorry, Harry. Didn't mean to hit you there."
Harry turned around, took his glasses off and put them on the hall
table, picked up the cushion that Ron had thrown (obviously aiming for
Bill, who stood next to the door, his long hair escaping its ponytail)
and threw it with all his might at Ron. Within seconds, the air was
thick with cushions once again. Percy, after trying in vain to get
everyone to stop, finally gave up and started pelting Fred and George
with every cushion that came his way. A few minutes later Sirius
arrived, noticed the fun, and jumped in, attacking Remus with gusto.
He'd obviously been in his share of cushion fights. Harry was standing
in the middle of the room with Sirius and Remus, trying to fend off a
concerted attack from all five Weasleys, when he heard a loud whistle.
Mrs. Weasley stood in the doorway. Expecting a lecture, Harry dropped
the four cushions he'd been holding and looked guility at her. To his
surprise, she only looked amused.
"It's a good thing I put those Unburstable Charms on those things
all those years ago. Come along, boys. Your father's home and dinner's
ready." The Weasleys (except Percy, who looked as though he was going
to try and explain his involvment in such a disgraceful activity) all
gave a whoop and ran for the kitchen. With the room relatively empty,
Molly was able to see Sirius, who was helping Remus to banish the
cushions back to the sofas. "So glad you could come, Sirius. Come on
into the garden. There's so many of us we're eating outside."
Harry only had time enough to wonder again why everyone had to be at
this dinner before he was herded toward the back door.