The Sugar Quill
Author: Carma  Story: Just Another Weasley  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Author’s Notes: Thanks again to my fabulous beta, Mizaya

 

Just Another Weasley

 

 

Hermione was always a light sleeper, unlike her husband, whose snoring could wake the dead.  But tonight was always the hardest night of the year; it marked the end of yet another wonderful family summer, and the start of a new school year.  Ethan would be starting his seventh year as Head Boy.  He’d been wearing his badge around the house ever since he’d received it two weeks ago.  Alex was the Gryffindor Quidditch team’s Seeker and Captain, about to enter his sixth year, and his brother Ben would enter third year, already a better Keeper than his dad.

 

Every year it had been heart-wrenching to send them off on the train.  Hermione wondered how her parents had handled it.  How on earth had Mrs. Weasley handled sending seven - well, eight, since Harry was practically one of her own - away for four whole months until Christmas?  It was dreadful, and Hermione’s least favorite day of the year.  Sending her three boys off had been torturous; she’d had to summon all of her Gryffindor courage not to cry as she hugged them goodbye and watched them wave to her from the window of their train compartments.

 

But this year was different.  Her youngest, and only girl, was about to enter her first year at Hogwarts.  Tears stung Hermione’s eyes as she suddenly remembered her last night at home before entering the magical world. 

 

“But nobody’s going to like me, Mum,” she heard her own eleven-year-old voice say to her mother, who sat on her bedside the night before she would depart on her magical journey.

 

“Rubbish, Hermione.  You’re going to make loads of friends.”

 

“But Hogwarts is so far away.  The letter—it said—the train ride, it’s practically a whole day’s journey…”

 

“Hermione, darling, you were so excited when you got the invitation in the post.”

 

“I know, but they might still tease me.  Hogwarts, A History says it’s really rare to get invited to Hogwarts if you have non-magical parents.  What if all of the other children are really advanced?  I’ve only just bought my wand yesterday.”

 

“You’ll be brilliant, sweetheart.  Don’t doubt yourself.  You’ll do beautifully.”

 

Hermione reached up to smooth her hair.  Her tongue ran self-consciously over her slightly protruding front teeth.  “What if they laugh at me, like Susie and Jacqueline did?  Or make up names and mimic me in class, like Robby Jacobs used to?”

 

Bridget Granger only laughed.  “Susie and Jacqueline were jealous of you, darling, because you’re so brilliant.  And Robby probably had a little crush on you.  Most boys tease the ones they fancy, because they’re too young and thick-headed to know better,” she said matter-of-factly.

 

Hermione sniffled and pulled a slightly disgusted face.  “Boys are horrid creatures.  I hope the ones at Hogwarts will be nicer.”

 

“I wouldn’t count on it, love,” she said with a smile, reaching out to place a kiss on her daughter’s forehead and tapping her chin a bit.  “Keep your head up, darling.  You’ll be the best witch Hogwarts has ever seen.”

 

Ron’s loud snoring knocked Hermione out of her reverie, and she reached for a tissue on her nightstand and dried her eyes as she stood and slowly tiptoed across her bedroom. She hastily threw on her dressing gown before she made her way down the hallway.  Hermione wasn’t surprised to see flickering candlelight coming from her daughter’s bedroom.  She knocked softly before cracking the door open and peeking in.  “Charlotte?”

“Mum?” Charlotte Weasley was sitting up in her bed, a book open on her lap as she mindlessly plaited her thick red hair.  “What’re you doing?”

 

Hermione let herself inside and sat on the edge of her daughter’s bed.  “I wanted to see how you were holding up, sweetheart.  It’s late.  We’re leaving for King’s Cross at ten.”

 

Charlotte just shrugged.  “I can’t sleep,” she said with a heavy sigh, now fiddling nervously with her book’s pages.

 

“Is that Hogwarts, A History?” Hermione gently lifted the book off of her daughter’s lap and smiled as she recognized the worn cover.  “You know, you’re going to love the Great Hall.  It was my favorite room, because the ceiling—”

 

“...is bewitched to look like the night sky, I’ve read,” her daughter finished, her lip caught between her teeth.  She looked very pale.

 

Hermione’s heart clenched.  She selfishly wanted to have her daughter stay with her another year, but she knew she had to let go.  “Are you nervous?”

 

Charlotte shrugged, and then nodded timidly.  “It’s so far away.”

 

“Just an owl away,” Hermione replied instantly.  “It’ll go so quickly, you’ll be home for Christmas in no time.”  Hermione didn’t know if her daughter bought this, because she barely believed herself. 

 

“Daddy said the other kids always teased you because you were bookish.  But I’m bookish, too,” she said uneasily.  “I don’t want to be teased.”

 

Hermione clutched at her daughter’s hand.  “Be yourself, darling.  We bookworms don’t have a great reputation, but it’s really not such a terrible title!”  She knew she wasn’t very convincing.  “Being bookish has gotten daddy, Uncle Harry and me out of tons of sticky situations.”

 

Charlotte just shrugged again.  “Ethan’s brilliant, he got nine OWLs and he’s Head Boy.”

 

“You’ll get eleven.”

 

“Ben and Alex are popular because they’re Quidditch stars.  I’m terrified of flying.”

 

Hermione winced.  “Yes, well, I’m sorry you got that from me.  But the spectators are just as important!” she added adamantly.

 

“You and Daddy helped to defeat Voldemort!”

 

“You wouldn’t be here if we didn’t, darling,” Hermione said soothingly.

 

“I’ve got a lot to live up to.” Charlotte fiddled with her plait.  “I don’t want to be ‘Just Another Weasley’,” she said strongly, finally meeting her mum’s gaze. 

 

“You know, your father felt the exact same way.”

 

“Daddy?  But he’s one of the best Aurors in the world!”

 

“I know, honey, but he had doubts, too.  He had a lot of shoes to fill.  He believed that his big brothers were more athletic, ambitious, smart and socially inclined than he was.  He thought he was going to be ‘Just Another Weasley’ too.  Daddy never thought he was good enough.  And he certainly wasn’t the smartest, or most talented Quidditch player, or most popular person in school.  He was a great big prat at times, come to think of it,” she said with a small smile.

 

“But then why did you fancy him?” Charlotte asked with knitted brows.

 

Hermione considered this, and her grin widened.  “He had the biggest heart.  He always gave it his all, and he was fiercely loyal to his friends.”  And I wanted him to give me beautiful little redheaded children someday, but I didn’t want them to leave me!

 

“I’ll try my hardest to make you proud of me,” she said once she sensed the urgency in her mother’s face.

 

“You already have, darling.  You’ve got so much heart, and loads more courage than I had at your age.  I was shocked when I’d been sorted into Gryffindor,” she admitted.  “Daddy was always much braver than I was.  But don’t tell him I said so, or it’ll go right to that big old head of his,” she added in a whisper, as if Ron was standing just outside. 

 

Charlotte finally smiled faintly.  “I won’t.”

 

“You’ll be wonderful, sweetheart,” Hermione whispered, leaning in to kiss her daughter’s temple.  “Just try your hardest and stay true to yourself.  It’ll be the best seven years of your life.”  She set Hogwarts, A History on her daughter’s nightstand and made her way towards the door, pausing at the doorframe and looking back at her daughter.  “Oh, and Charlotte?  If you happen to come across a little boy on that train tomorrow and he has dirt on his nose… go easy on him, all right?”

 

Her daughter looked very puzzled, but she nodded slowly anyway.  She crawled back beneath her covers.  “Goodnight, Mum,” she called out as she reached over and blew out her candle, settling into a deep sleep.

 

Hermione padded back down the corridor and into her bedroom, slipping quietly out of her dressing gown and crawling back into bed. 

 

Ron’s snoring halted, and he semi-consciously slipped an arm around his wife’s middle and pulled her close.  “All right, love?” he mumbled groggily, keeping his eyes closed as he nuzzled his stubbly face into the crook of Hermione’s neck.

 

“Yes,” she whispered, but a few tears slipped free.  “She’s my little girl, Ron,” she managed in a barely audible voice; sobs suddenly wracked her body and she clung to her husband. 

 

Ron rubbed her back soothingly and planted a few kisses along her collarbone.  “You’ve been very brave, Hermione.  I’m surprised you waited this long to get all emotional about her leaving.”

 

Hermione sniffled and let Ron hold her until she calmed down. 

 

“She’ll be first in her class, no doubt of it.  Might even beat your marks.  Did you tell her your story?”

 

“No,” she whispered, “I told her yours.” Ron’s comforting embrace finally allowed her to drift into a peaceful slumber.  

 

 

//
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