The Sugar Quill
Author: Arya and BeatriceEagle  Story: Another Weasley  Chapter: Chapter 1 -- The M-Girl
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Chapter One

Chapter One

            “Two more kids orphaned last night,” George Weasley commented, glancing up from the Daily Prophet at his twin brother, Fred. 

            Fred shook his head.  “How many is that now?  Two last night, at least twelve this month…and all the others since Voldemort’s defeat.”

            George held back a shudder at the name and nodded.  “I don’t understand how anyone could be so cruel,” he said, tossing the paper onto the table in front of him.  “Kids don’t need to be worrying about an evil dark lord’s followers coming and killing their parents because they supported the wrong people.  They should be having fun, playing pranks, skiving off classes.”

            “What, are you suggesting we go off and find all the Death Eaters and kill them?” Fred asked with a laugh.  “That’s Harry and his Aurors’ job.  We’re here to aid children in major mischief making, not to save the world.  Speaking of major mischief making, we have ten minutes before the shop opens, so we should probably make our way to the front.”

            George waved his brother off.  “Not save the world, Fred,” he said impatiently.  “Just a few kids.  What if we didn’t open shop today?”

            “We’d lose business,” Fred replied.  “We’d be letting down at least a hundred kids who want to purchase items that will drive their mothers, sisters, brothers and professors insane.”

            “What if we let Verity open shop today, and we took some of our gadgets to the orphanage down the road?” George pressed on.  “In the Prophet, they mentioned something about making donations of galleons to help feed the kids, but what if we donated what we have the most of?”

            “Freckles?” Fred asked jokingly.  “Old detention slips?  Hearts left broken?”

            George ignored his brother’s comment.  “Pranks.  Fireworks, Canary Creams, Headless Hats; the least harmful of our products.  These kids need fun in their lives, and it is our job to give it to them.”

            Fred cocked his head.  “You know, my dear George, you could be right.  Shall we gather the products, then?”  He held out his arm, which his twin took, and the two headed out of their small kitchen and into the main part of their shop. 

            It was any child’s dream.  The walls were lined with towering shelves full of sweets that would turn a friend into a canary, boxes of snacks that would give the user a variety of illnesses, allowing them to skive off classes, wands that would turn into a variety of animals when picked up and many more products ranging from ‘Expert Pranksters Only’ to ‘Practically Pointless’.  The twins had worked on these products for years, ever since learning that their friends thought it was funny to be turned into a yellow bird.  After leaving Hogwarts, they had set up a small shop in Diagon Alley, moving out of their mother’s house and into the back room of the shop.  They had expected good business, but when Hogwarts closed for the summer holidays, they realized that they would soon have to move to a larger location.  So, only a month after opening their shop, they moved into a space three times the size of their original location.  It had a good-sized flat above it with two bedrooms and a nice kitchen, though most days they just Apparated over to the Burrow for meals.  They were quite pleased with the purchase, so much that they invited all their friends over for a party one night.  George lost count of how many times he turned into a canary after the twenty seventh time, but the party had been quite the event.

            “How’s this?” Fred asked his brother, bent over a crate full of colorful boxes.  “We have thirty boxes of the Basic Blaze Weasleys’ Wildfire Wiz-Bangs, a carton of Canary Creams, three dozen Headless Hats, thirty fake wands, umm…shall we include the Extendable Ears, or not?”

            “Better not risk it,” George said.  “Let’s go.” He grinned and pulled out his wand.  “Locomotor crate!”

            “Good idea,” Fred commented as he did the same to his.  “So, where is this place?”

            George frowned.  “The Prophet said it was just a few doors down from Ollivander’s.  It shouldn’t take too long to get there.”

            They walked leisurely down Diagon Alley, smiling at passers-by who started openly at the two red-haired young men who wore matching lurid green dragonskin jackets and carried two large crates with their wands.  They were used to receiving odd looks; it came with working at a joke shop. 

            The newly built Diagon Alley Orphanage was a tall building that stood between a grubby-looking pub and an Owl Post Office.  The steps leading up to the orphanage held a few toys, but far too few in George’s opinion.  When he and Fred had been kids, their front step had been covered with their toys.  He felt immense sadness around this building.  It had been built only two months ago, after a similar one had been destroyed by Bellatrix Lestrange and her fellow Death Eaters who now roamed the country searching for victims.  Eleven children had died in the incident, which was far too many in George’s opinion.  According to the Prophet, the orphanage only accepted children who were younger than eleven; once they were old enough to attend Hogwarts they were sent to live with other families, who would then tutor them until Hogwarts itself was reopened.  Until then, their home was this building in the middle of Diagon Alley. 

            Fred rang the bell at the door, which echoed through the orphanage, accompanied by wails of babies and screams of young children.  The door was opened a moment later by a young woman wearing flowered robes covered in paint and carrying a little girl who looked about two.  The little girl’s wide grey eyes stared at the two young men who stood on the doorstep. 

            “We came to give a donation,” George told the woman.  “I’m George Weasley and he’s Fred Weasley; we’re from Weasley Wizard Wheezes down the street.  We brought some of our…less harmful products for the children.”

            The woman looked at the two of them for a moment, then nodded tiredly.  “Come in,” she said, stepping aside.  “Sorry for my appearance, it comes with having to take care of twenty little children… My name’s Claris Analda, by the way, and this is Margot.  She came here just a week ago.”

            “How old are you, Margot?” Fred asked the little girl as he and his brother stepped inside. 

            The little girl remained silent and continued to stare at the twins. 

            “She doesn’t say much,” Claris told them quietly.  “She was there when her parents…”  She glanced at down at Margot.  “We don’t like to talk about that,” she said a moment later.  “Come into the greeting room and we’ll see what you brought.” 

            Claris led the two through a maze of hallways.  The place seemed to be set up like a house, but its design was even more insane than the Burrow, as if rooms had been added here and there at random.  To add to the messy design, the hallways were full of broken toys, cracked beds and unfolded clothes.  A few children played here and there with toy wands or cloth dolls, but their eyes were full of sadness, rather than the happiness that all children deserved to have.  George shivered.  These children had no right to be burdened with what they had seen.  They had no right to live lives so full of sorrow. 

            They came at last to a room lined with fluffy couches and painfully happy pictures.  Claris took a seat on one of the couches, a sagging bright red one, allowing Margot to crawl off her lap and curl up next to her, her tangled black hair spread on a large blue cushion.  Fred and George placed their crates on the floor and took seats in nearby matching yellow armchairs. 

            “We brought what we thought would be the best,” George told Claris.  “Have you seen our products?”

            Claris nodded, smiling.  “My little brother was at Hogwarts before it closed two years ago, and he told me all about them when he got home.  He thinks you’re brilliant.  But some of those things sound dangerous.  You didn’t bring the puking pills, did you?”

            Fred laughed, the strange sound echoing through the sad house.  “No, of course not.  We brought our fireworks, though.  He’d have seen those.”

            “Yes, he said something about fireworks,” the woman replied.  “Those would be wonderful; they might just make a few children smile.”

            “We also brought Headless Hats,” George added, pulling one from his crate.  “Watch this.”  He took the hat out of its box and unfolded it.  With a flourish, he placed it on his brother’s head, which instantly disappeared. 

            Margot’s grey eyes widened.  “Gone…” she whispered, so quietly that George almost didn’t catch the word.  “Head gone.”  Her lips upturned slightly into what George thought was perhaps a smile. 

            Fred removed the hat with a bow.  “Perfectly harmless,” he told Claris.  “We brought three dozen.”

            “That’s excellent,” Claris exclaimed.  “Fireworks, hats…how can I thank you?”

            George grinned.  “We have more,” he told her. 

            One by one, they showed their choices to the young woman, who nodded and smiled as they demonstrated.  George kept his eyes on the little girl, whose lips seemed to be fighting for a smile. 

            “Lastly, we have the Canary Creams,” Fred announced.  “George?”

            The other twin shook his head.  “You demonstrate,” he said.  “I did the last one.”

            Shrugging, Fred popped the little cream into his mouth.  A moment later there was a pop, and where Fred had once sat, a yellow canary fluttered. 

            A strange sound filled the room, a sound like George had never heard.  He glanced over at Margot and was astonished to see that she was laughing.  Her grey eyes sparkled playfully and her mouth was wide open in a happy grin as tiny bubbles of childish laughter floated out. 

            “Thank you,” Claris said, tears streaming from her cheeks as she hugged the little girl.  “Thank you for making my day and hers.  You’re welcome back anytime.”

 

All the way back to the twins’ apartment, George couldn’t get the laugh of that little girl Margot out of his mind.  It was strange, but he felt attached to her, as if making her laugh had forged some intangible bond between them.

            “Well, that was fun,” said Fred lightly as they banged shut the door of their flat.  “Nice to know we’re doing something for the community.  Not that our jokes don’t already serve the community in a far greater way than most realize.”  He waggled his eyebrows.

            “Yeah,” said George.

            Fred turned to him.  “You weren’t listening to a word I said.  My dear George, I’m mortally wounded!”

            “Mmm,” said George, sitting down at the kitchen table.

            Fred laughed, setting the empty toy crate down on the already cluttered table, and sat down next to George.  He snapped his fingers in his brother’s face.

            “George!  Snap out of it!”

            George started and looked up, irritated.  “What?”

            “Your head was up in the clouds, flying around on Harry’s Firebolt.  What’s up?”

            “We should do this again sometime.”  It sounded as if he was avoiding the question, but all he could think about was the girl in the orphanage, and making her laugh once more.        

“What – the orphanage thing?  How?  What would we take?  We’ve already given them everything we have that’s even remotely safe for kids,” said Fred with just a touch of annoyance.

            “We wouldn’t have to take anything, we could just visit.  They can’t get many visitors, and that woman said we could…”

            Fred sighed.  “Yeah, sure, I guess we can go back sometime.” 

 

*          *          *

 

            Sometime turned out to be a week later, as Fred and George were walking back to their flat from the Apothecary, where they’d been buying the beetle eyes necessary for their latest experiment.  That was one thing Fred loved about living in Diagon Alley: he could walk anywhere he needed to go, without having to bother with Floo Powder or Apparating.  The downside of that, at least in Fred’s eyes, was that it was far too easy to get sidetracked when walking.  Such was the case that windy Monday morning.  As they walked past the doors of the orphanage, Fred saw George stop.

            “What?” he asked.       

            “You said we could visit sometime.  Why not now?”

            Fred could think of several good answers to that question, not the least of which was the fact that he was currently carrying a sack full of beetle eyes, but he couldn’t bear to quash the hopeful look on his twin’s face.

            “Sure,” he sighed, getting a better grip on the bag of eyes.

            George marched up the steps and knocked on the wooden doors, Fred following behind him.  A few seconds later, voices and footsteps could be heard.  The door opened and Claris, the woman who ran the orphanage, appeared, looking much the same as the last time Fred had seen her, even down to the girl she was carrying- Fred thought her name was Meggy, or Mandy.  Something with an M.  The only differences were the robes she was wearing and the fact that there was now blue paint smeared in her hair as well as on her robes.

            “Surprise!” said George.  “Remember us?”

            “Of course I do!  Fred and George Weasley.  You brought such wonderful gifts last week.  I’m afraid I don’t know which of you is which, though.”

            “I’m Fred, he’s George,” said Fred.

            “Well, hello!  I don’t suppose there are more jokes in that bag you’re carrying, Fred?”

            “Actually, no, we’re just visiting this time.  The bag has beetle eyes in it,” said George.

            “What do you need beetle eyes for?”

            Fred leaned forward until he was close enough to whisper to Claris.  “Well, George thinks they’re for an experiment.  Little does he know I plan to hide them in the beans for his morning coffee!”

            Claris laughed, and, sensing that what was just said must have been funny, the little girl- Melly?  Miranda?- giggled.

            “What’s this I hear about my morning coffee?”  George piped up from beside him.

            “Nothing, nothing at all, my dear George!” said Fred grandiosely.

            “Yes, well, I’ll be watching you.”

            The M-girl giggled more.

            “Oh, where have my manners gone?  Come in, come in!” said Claris, beckoning with her free hand.

            Fred and George followed her into the entrance hall, past a few doors, through the winding hallways, and finally into what appeared have recently been a kitchen, but was currently serving as an artist’s studio.  In the center of the large room, far from even the hint of a knife or fire, was a gigantic wooden table that had been covered in old issues of the Daily Prophet.  The individual issues were hard to read, though, because on top of the newspaper were giant sheets of parchment covered in paint.  Around the table stood the children of the orphanage.  They ranged in age from so young that they could barely stand on their wobbly legs, to the oldest, a girl who seemed old enough to attend Hogwarts, if the school was open.  All but the very oldest were laughing and shrieking, smearing more paint on each other than on the parchment.  The oldest children looked grim, and Fred realized that they must be the ones who really understood what being an orphan meant; perhaps some of them had even seen their parents being killed.

            Claris set the M-girl down near one end of the table, and she stood uncertainly, wobbling slightly on her unsteady feet.  George rushed to steady her, and she grabbed his index finger with one small hand, the other with its thumb planted firmly in her mouth.  Her wide grey eyes scanned the room, finally settling on Fred.  He was surprised that he felt only slightly unsettled by her stare.

            Claris, who had just succeeded in preventing a small boy from eating the paint, surveyed George and the M-girl happily.

            “I’m sorry, dear.  Which one are you again?”

            Fred, who had been caught up in the finger-paint dram, was a bit startled..  “Who, me?  Oh, I’m Gre- I’m Fred,” he stammered.

            “Well Fred, your brother and Margot seem to be getting on quite nicely.”

            Margot!  That was the M-girl’s name!

            “Yeah, quite nicely,” said Fred.

            “It always happens the same way- one of the kids just latches on to them.”

            Fred snapped back to reality.  “Wait.  What always happens the same way?”

            “Why, the adoption of course.  People come in and they connect with one kid, and pretty soon neither can live without the other.”

            Claris was staring off into space, a wistful look in her eyes.  Fred figured she was probably remembering past adoptions.

            Well, he didn’t want to be part of a future one.  If Claris was right, pretty soon George and Margot would be inseparable, and George would want to adopt her.  Fred was fine with children – how could he not be, growing up with six siblings and uncountable cousins – but he had no wish to have any of his own.  Not yet, anyway.  What he had to do was go and talk sense into George.  Right now, before things got too far.

            Fred marched over, intending to do just that, but from five feet away he could tell by the look on his twin’s face that it was too late.  His brother would forever be wrapped up in the fate of a two-year-old.  A two-year-old girl at that.  Why couldn’t it have been a boy at least?  How the hell did George think two bachelors could raise a two-year-old girl?   Sure, they’d been there through Ginny’s childhood, but they hadn’t been allowed to do more than look at her. 

            Perhaps it wasn’t too late, Fred thought.  He tapped George on the shoulder, even though he was standing right in front of him, because it was obvious that his twin wasn’t paying any attention to him.  He only had eyes for Margot.

            George’s head snapped up.  “What?” he asked, confused and startled.

            Fred wasn’t sure what.  He hadn’t put any thought into how he was going to phrase this grand confrontation.

            “Er…”

            However, George didn’t seem to hear him.  Looking back down at Margot, a strange smile on his freckled face, George spoke quietly.  “I think I want to adopt her.”

            “What?”  Though he’d predicted those words, they still shocked Fred, who was now staring at his brother with wide eyes, not quite sure if he believed what he was hearing.  Surely his brother had more sense than to want to adopt a two-year-old orphan girl who was obviously traumatized. 

            “I said I think I want to adopt her,” said George more loudly.  Behind him, Fred could feel Claris smiling.  Smugly.

            “You – you do?”  Somehow, though Fred had already figured this out, he wasn’t quite able to process it in his head.

            “Yes.”

            Fred shook his head.  Now was the time to think clearly, so he could talk George out of this ridiculous idea.

            “But – but what about money?”

            “We make plenty of money with the shop.  We’d be fine.”

            “W – Where would we keep her?  Our flat isn’t big enough to…”

            “Didn’t I just say we make plenty of money?  And our flat is more than big enough.  We can share a room, and she can have the other one.  And if it’s not big enough, we’ll move.”

            “But…but…”

            George lifted his head and stared Fred straight in the eyes.

            “Fred, please,” he said softly.

            Fred caved.  He hated it when his brother gave him that look, that look that only twins could send, saying that they wanted this, and they would get it.  It was that look that had made Fred give George his best Famous Wizard Cards in their first year.  It was that look that had made him decide that living across from a Quidditch shop wouldn’t be a bad idea.  And it was that look that had made Fred buy the jacket he now wore.  He could tell just by looking at his brother that George wanted this more than he had wanted anything in his entire life, even more than those tickets to see the Weird Sisters in concert.  He couldn’t even begin to consider denying his brother something he wanted that much when it was within their means to fulfill it.

            “I…well…let’s talk to Claris,” he said finally.

            George’s eyes lit up.  “Okay,” he said, picking up Margot.  She giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck.  Seeing the two together, Fred knew that he hadn’t made a mistake by giving into George’s pleading.  Satisfied, Fred joined the pair and walked toward Claris.

            “Well,” she said as they approached, “have you decided something?”  She smiled knowingly, as if she had predicted this particular turn of events from the moment they had rung the orphanage’s doorbell.

            George smiled right back.  “We have.”

            “And?”

            “We want to adopt her,” he said proudly.

            Claris smiled even more brightly, if that was possible.  “Then would you mind keeping an eye on the kids while I notify the Ministry to get the necessary paperwork?”

            “Oh – sure,” said Fred.

            “Wonderful!” said Claris, clapping her hands together.  She hurried off into another room, leaving Fred and George standing behind with a roomful of paint-covered children.

 

            Two paint fights and one narrowly-averted table collapse later, Claris was back with the paperwork.  Declaring art time over, she sent the children except for Margot to one of the playrooms, set the “artwork” out to dry, and cleared the table with her wand.  Fred marveled at her work and made a mental note to learn such spells, and soon.

            “Well,” she said, spreading the paperwork over the now clean tabletop, “the people at the Ministry have never had a case of two siblings adopting a child together, but I looked it up and it’s entirely within the law.  So all you have to do is fill out this paperwork and then we’ll submit it to the Ministry and wait for it to be finalized.”

            “And how long does it take to be finalized?” asked George, rummaging through his pockets for a quill.

            Claris handed him one and set an ink bottle on the table.  “It depends.  It can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks.”

            “A few weeks!” said George.  “What could possibly take them that long?”

            Claris laughed.  “Oh, don’t worry.  It hasn’t taken longer than four days for a good while now.  It was much longer right after the war ended.  See, the finalization process is mostly background checks on the adoptive parents.  I don’t think it’ll take very long for you two – you’re practically famous!”

            Fred held his hands to his cheeks, as though blushing.  “Oh, you flatter us,” he said, batting his eyelashes pathetically.

            “All I’m saying is that I’m sure the Ministry won’t feel any need to do any extensive background checks.  You should be able to take Margot home in a matter of days.”

            George smiled.  “It sounds great,” he said, signing his name in the first blank spot.

            Claris handed Fred another quill and he sat down next to George, signing wherever his brother did.  Then something caught his eye.

            “Why doesn’t it have her last name?” he asked.

            “Pardon?”

            “Right here,” he said, pointing to the parchment.  “It says, ‘Name of Adoptee.  First: Margot, Middle: Persephone.’  Why doesn’t it have her last name?”

            “Oh, that.  Well, it’s a fairly new policy.  Adoptive parents aren’t allowed to know who the child’s birth parents are.  It seems that many people changed their minds after finding out that their future child’s birth parents were Death Eaters.”

            “Oh,” said Fred.  Looking up from the stack of parchment, he frowned, then remarked, “So Margot can never know who her parents were?”

            Claris shook her head.  “No, the policy doesn’t apply to the child in question.  If they want to, once they turn eleven they can apply to the Ministry to find the names of their birth parents.”

            A few seconds later Fred and George filled out the last blank spots.  Claris gathered the parchment into a neat pile.

            “Congratulations,” she said, smiling broadly.  “You’re now the fathers of Margot Persephone Weasley.”

*          *          *

 

            “You did WHAT?”

            Fred sighed for the hundredth time that day and looked at his sister’s head which sat in the fire.  “You heard what I said, Ginny.”

            “I hope I didn’t hear right,” Ginny said, looking up at Fred with raised eyebrows.  “Because what I heard is that you and George adopted a two-year-old girl named Margot.  And if I heard right, Mum’s going to have a fit when she hears.  In fact…”Ginny cocked her head to the side, as if hearing a voice behind her, a grin on her freckled face.  “Yes, I can hear her right now…”  Her head turned away from Fred, and he could hear her speaking to someone.  He paled, hoping despeartely that it really wasn’t-

            “Good luck!” Ginny said suddenly, turning back to face her brother.  “Mum wants to hear your news.  She’s Flooing over just as soon as she’s spoken to Dad.”  Smirking slightly in that annoying way of hers, Ginny’s head disappeared from the fire. 

            “Damn you, Ginevra Weasley…” Fred said under his breath.  “George!  Mum’s coming!”

            Something fell in the bedroom as George yelped loudly.  A shriek followed the yelp, and Fred shook his head. 

            “George, what’s happened?” he asked as the shriek turned into a relentless wail.  He winced at the high-pitched sound.  The girl was crying again

            George stumbled into the kitchen, Margot in his arms.  Her face was red and covered with tear streaks as she screamed at the top of her tiny lungs.  At least she was dressed this time, Fred thought with yet another sigh as he looked the girl over.  George had successfully managed to put a crimson baby robe on her.  She looked like a proper Gryffindor, Fred decided.  Though her hair…

            “George?”  Fred began, a frown creasing his freckly face, “what the hell did you do to her hair?”

            The other twin looked down at the girl in his arms and touched her knotted black hair.  “What, this?” he asked, seemingly confused. 

            Fred nodded, keeping one eye on the fire for his mum.  She always seemed to choose moments like these to make her entrance…

            “It’s braided,” George said, sounding proud to have attempted something as hard as braiding a two-year-old’s hair.  “Don’t you like it?  It’s like what Angelina used to do with her hair back at Hogwarts.”

            Fred knew for a fact that Angelina’s braids had never looked a thing like the knots on poor little Margot’s head.  Her braids had been sleek and round, not a single strand sticking out of place.  And she had used magic rather than attempting to do it by hand, which was probably what George had done…

            “FRED WEASLEY!”

            Both twins jumped at the familiar sound of their mother’s voice.  Margot’s grey eyes widened as the plump middle-aged woman stepped out of the fire, not bothering to brush the soot from her greying red hair.  She stopped crying immediately, fascinated by this new person. 

/* Has Margot stopped crying, as well? */

            “Mum,” Fred began, stepping back so that he stood even with his brother and Margot.  If they were going to do this, they would have to do it together, no matter if it had been George’s idea or not.  No blame was put on a single Weasley twin.  They were together, never apart on anything, especially when it came to Mum. 

            “Don’t you ‘Mum’ me,” Mum said, her voice dangerous.  She did not seem to notice the frightened toddler in George’s arms, or else Fred was certain she would not yell.  “Ginny told me you did something.  Both of you did something.”  She glared at George, then at Fred, still not seeing Margot.  “What did you do-” her eyes returned to George suddenly, the glare gone instantly as she took in the little girl. 

            “Who is this sweet thing?” she asked, sounding more like the Mum they’d known when they were four and fairly innocent.  She held out her arms, and George gave up Margot instantly.  If there was one woman in the world who knew how to calm a frightened child, it was Molly Weasley. 

            Fred gave a sigh of relief and fell into a chair at the kitchen table as Mum began walking around the room, talking to Margot in her sweet motherly voice.  George watched with wide eyes for a moment before joining him.

            “I thought we were goners,” Fred whispered to him, still watching his mum.  “I haven’t seen her look like that since we came home early from Hogwarts in our seventh year.”

            George nodded, his eyes still wide.  “I thought she’d never see Margot,” he said in an equally low voice.  “But-”

            “Why won’t she say anything?”

            The twins turned to their mother, who stood by the fireplace, frowning at Margot.  George glanced at Fred before replying.  They had to tell her sometime.

            “The lady at the orphanage-” he began.

            “Orphanage?” Mum asked.  The dangerous tone had returned.  “This little girl is an orphan?”

            “Well, she isn’t anymore…” Fred said.  “She-”

            “We-” George attempted to continue.

            “Well, see we-”

            Mum’s eyes flashed.  “You what?” she asked.  “Answer me now, before I have your father Floo in.”

            She had never seemed to realize that their father was no threat to them, George thought to himself, amused.  Yet they both answered instantly, out of habit.

            “We adopted her,” they said together. 

            “Adopted-

            Fred cleared his throat and stood to take Margot from his mother’s arms.  “Yes.  We adopted her.  Her name is Margot Persephone Weasley, and she’s our daughter.”  He attempted a grin, but all he could manage was a foolish looking lopsided smile that he knew wouldn’t fool his mother. 

            “You and George-”

            “We’re fathers,” George finished for her, succeeding in his own confident smile.  “She’s our daughter.”

            Mum appeared to have run out of things to say to her sons.  George didn’t blame her.  Of all the things they had ever done together, this was the most unexpected.  More unexpected than the stolen toilet seat in their third year, more than the thousands of letters home during their six and a half years at Hogwarts.  George was fairly confident when he thought that no one had expected the Weasley twins to adopt a two-year-old orphaned girl. 

            “Mami?”

            Three head snapped towards the girl in Fred’s arms.  Margot smiled shyly and pointed at her grandmother.  “Mami?” she asked.  “That Mami?”

            Tears welled up in their mum’s eyes as she hurried over to the little girl in Fred’s arms.  “You can call me Mami if you want,” she said in her kindest voice.  “I’m your…I’m your…” She paused and looked up at her two sons, who watched with curious and wary eyes.  “I’m your grandmum.”

            “Gandmum?” Margot asked, a frown creasing her small face.

            Mum nodded.  “Yes, Grandmum.”

            “Mami?  My Mami?”  The two-year-old yawned and watched the strange old woman with red hair. 

            “If you like,” Mum whispered.  She reached forward to stroke the sleepy girl’s knotted black hair.  “If you like, angel.”

            Margot yawned once more and rested her tiny head against Fred’s shoulder.  Something inside him swelled up deeply as he grasped the helpless little girl tighter.  He recognized the feeling from long ago…many years before, when he had held another tiny little helpless girl.  That girl’s hair had been red, however.  Yet this girl, this child called Margot, would grow up with the same love and care as Ginny had.  Both were Weasleys, red hair or not. 

//
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