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