J.K. Rowling created Harry Potter and the dialogue. I just live and breathe it.
A/N: Thanks to my beta-reader Night Zephyr and to all those who expressed interest in this fic.
~ Conversations and Chess ~
"Zoë, want to play a game of chess?" Ron said, gesturing to the seat across from him.
"Sure, but youíll beat me again," Zoë sat down and waited for the pieces to set themselves up.
"Thereís a first time for everything." Ron grinned. Zoë rolled her eyes at that. "So Zoë, where are Charlie and Lyddie off to today?"
"Diagon Alley and Muggle London. Pawn to E4."
"And theyíre not taking you?"
"I didnít want to go. I get bored with errands sometimes. I mean, Lyddie always claims that she should get priority over me because sheís older. Itís not fair!"
"I know how you feel. I have five older siblings. Pawn to D4."
"Yeah, thatís true. But sometimes I feel bad for Lyddie. She is having a hard time. Being a seventh year is difficult. She always seems to be piled up in work. And I try to talk to her. Knight to H4 She just tells me to go away. I understand that itís hard for her, but to be so snappyÖ" Zoëís voice trailed off.
"Seventh year is hard. I know. I mean, you have N.E.W.T.s to take and if that doesnít put enough pressure on you, you have to think about what to do when you get out of Hogwarts. Knight to F9."
"Yeah. I know. Bishop to F9. Ha, I got you, Uncle Ron!"
"You have my knight. Excellent, Zoë."
"Uncle Ron," Zoë looked up from the board
" UmÖ whereís Hermione?"
"Hermione? At work. Sheís always at work these days. So much to do. Watch your knight there Zoë."
"Hey, donít tell her how to play," his bishop screamed.
"Oh shut up you," Ron glared down at it. "Now, youíve been sitting there and you havenít said a word about Charlie. Howís he doing?"
"Good. Heís fine. He is taking up the work that Mum was so interested in when she was here. You know, researching how dragons can help wizards. I suppose, he took it up after I wasÖ born."
"Thatís good." Ron knew how much it pained her to talk about her motherís death. It had happened just after Zoë was born. Their mother, a Romanian woman, had married Charlie during Ronís sixth year. They had Lyddie a year after their marriage and had Zoë four years later. Their mother had died soon after Zoëís birth due to an illness. It hurt Zoë and Lyddie tremendously; Zoë particularly as she never got to really meet her mother.
"Yes, it is. Heís also working with us on Quidditch whenever he gets the chance. Sometimes I feel so bad for him though. He is alone at home while Lyddie and I are at school. I am glad that he has work and that our house-elf is there to keep him company. HmmÖ Bishop to E3."
"Good move. Damn, I just lost my pawn."
"Ronald Weasley, you are using very bad language. I am shocked. Setting a bad example for me. Tut, tut."
"Good. Now tell me, howís Hogwarts these days?"
"Hogwarts is wonderful! McGonagallís Headmistress now, she still teaches Transfiguration. Snape is still teaching Potions. He is always taking points away. Flitwick, still doing Charms. Weíre doing Cheering Charms now. And Binns, he hasnít learned. Still boring us to sleep. Iíve fallen asleep every class and he hasnít noticed. I could probably die and he wouldnít notice. I am not doing Divination, thank god, since Trelawny and Firenze, the centaur are still there. I mean, the whole subject seems so boring to me. I am taking Care for Magical Creatures, however and Hagrid is one of the best teachers."
"And what about Defense against the Dark Art? Whoís teaching that this year?"
"Fleur Delacour actually. You know, the veela. Sheís a good teacher. The boys learn when they arenít gawking at her. She knows what sheís talking about. And sheís been teaching since my first year."
"Fleur! Wow! Youíre lucky. Pawn to H7."
"Lucky? And for what reasons Ron?" Zoë retorted with an impish grin on her face.
"Iím happily married, Zoë Weasley!"
"Well, from what Hermione said about you in fourth yearÖneed I say more? Knight to H7."
"No, you need not, thanks. Bishop to H7. Ha! I got your knight," Ron stuck his tongue out.
"And youíre supposed to be the adult here," Zoë said shaking her head in disbelief.
Ron snorted. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Now Zoë, would you like to continue?"
"Sure. Anyway, Sprout retired, Neville took over. He is a great Herbology teacher."
"And how does Snape treat him?"
"Oh, Neville gets tons more respect now. Letís seeÖ who else? Ahh Iím also taking Muggle Studies and Arithmancy this year. Great subjects."
"Never took those. Got stuck with Divination. Who is to die this year?"
"Iím not sure," Zoë said, trying to hold back a laugh, "I think itís Finnigan Jr. Hmm... Queen to B8."
"Bringing out the queen, eh? Well then, castle to D8."
"Ouch! Iím being attacked. Anyways, I am also Quidditch Commentator for the games. Iíd love to say horrible things about the Slytherins, but I canít seeing that McGonagall is always watching."
"AhhÖ commentator? Weasleys havenít had one of those in a while. Do the crowds like you?"
"Yep. Except for the Slytherins of course."
"That figures. Anyway, what kind of animals is Hagrid bringing to class these days?"
"ErÖ interesting ones. Unicorns, hippogriffs, nifflers, those kinds. Why?"
"Well, Hagridís idea of interesting is very different from most peopleís. He got into a bit of trouble because of his fondness for "harmful" creatures as classified by the Ministry. What was your last move again?"
"Not telling. Yeah, I know what you mean. I like his creatures. Most kids do. Castle to A2."
"Fine. Bishop to G6."
"Damn it, Ron! My knightís stuck!"
"Ha! And you watch your language, young lady!"
"You should talk."
"ShhÖ Iím trying to concentrate!"
A smile spread across Zoëís face. "Iíve got you, Ron! Queen to G6."
"No! Not my bishop!"
"You got me Zoë! You got me! Youíve gotten better since summer. Have you been playing at school?"
"Yes, some. Not a lot though. Iíve been visiting Hagrid. Heís been asking me questions about dragons."
"I hope he isnít planning on raising another one."
"Another one? I hope not. He is asking a lot of questions about the different breeds. I did tell him that heíd better not try raising one. Dad says itís difficult just to tame one."
"I know. Hagrid with Norbert in our first yearÖ that was a fiasco. Harry, Hermione and Neville got into trouble because of it. Your dad took Norbert away to Romania. It was a good thing too. Norbert bit my hand and put me up in the hospital wing. HmmÖ Castle to H8 and a check at that."
"No! And I had you too! Yeah, dragon bites hurt. Iíve seen Dadís hands. He has a few. Apparently they need a balm of some sort to heal. King to G7."
"Well, Madam Pomfrey was there to heal it."
"True. Sheís still around. Great person."
"Ron, I concede! I canít win! I forfeit! You win again!"
"Zoë, donít quit now," Ron said pleadingly.
"I am. You win. You will win in two moves in any case. And Iím hungry. I canít play right now. Letís go get something to eat."
"Did I hear hungry?" Hermione walked in the room at that moment.
"Hermione!" Ron ran up to her and hugged her.
"Hey Zoë, I heard youíre hungry. Iíll make something. And Ron," she said, looking at her husband, "will help me."
"What? All right, fine. Zoë, you just sit here and wait. Youíll have food in a minute," Ron bustled around the kitchen.
"Good. And now you can tell Lyddie that she missed a lot of fun and good food right?"
"Right. And Iím not kidding either."