Authors’ Note: We’d
like to thank our wonderful beta, Whimsy, for coaching us on the
difference between biscuits, cookies, scones, and dumplings. Also, to Angelina
Weasley: we hope you like this chapter! And to our good friend Echo:
read this chapter carefully…
Margot glanced around her tiny, cramped bedroom. Two stacked boxes served
as a desk in the corner near the door, while the space in front of her window
was taken up by a half a dozen crates filled with overstocked items that were
prone to explosion every few days. Her bed was a small, metal thing,
painted bright red and covered with a large knitted cover made by her
grandmother many years before. On it were several old friends: her first
doll, a stuffed dragon missing a wing, and a very old copy of Quidditch
Through the Ages that needed to be replaced. All around her bed were
stacks of books that wouldn’t fit on the shelf.
It was a good room, she decided, despite the lack of space. She didn’t
mind the boxes, not really. They were easy to make into all sorts of
furniture: a desk, a chair, a bookshelf. They’d even been a fort once,
when she was six and wanted to be a princess in a castle. George had
rescued her from Fred the Ferocious Dragon that day, she recalled,
smiling. And then they’d gone to Fortescue’s for ice cream, like they
always did after playing. It was one of the many advantages of living on
A crash sounded from the kitchen, and Margot jumped. Fred and George were
back for lunch. Grinning, she stood and hurried toward the kitchen,
squeezing past even more crates that were stacked in the tiny hallway.
“We’re nearly out of Nosebleed Nougats, kids are going mad down there-”
“I know, but where are we going to put them, even if we made them? The
storeroom’s full, and Margot hardly has enough room to move in her bedroom.”
“We could rent a bigger flat.”
“I've already looked in the Prophet, and the closest one is so far away
it’s practically across the Channel; Mum would murder us.”
Margot crept forward as Fred looked at his brother, both faces looking
concerned. “Then what are we going to do?” he asked.
“Mum mentioned the Burrow…
“Hell no,” Fred said, shaking his head. “It’d be like we were back at
“Ginny and Harry-”
“I’m sure Margot would love that, but our dear sweet sister Ginny can be worse
“You aren’t making this very easy,” George complained. “We can’t stay
here, that’s obvious. It’s been obvious for years.”
Not able to wait any more, Margot stepped out of the hallway and into the
kitchen. “Yes?” she asked, smiling innocently like her fathers had taught
Both twins looked up as Margot jumped up to sit on the crumb-covered
counter. She swung her feet back and forth, her legs clad in her favorite
green, pink and orange striped socks. They had been a gift from Verity,
the twins’ assistant, the previous Christmas.
“What are you talking about?” Margot asked, though she has heard perfectly
Fred and George looked at each other.
“We were thinking-”
“-maybe it’d be a good time-”
Margot glanced from Fred to George, her brow furrowed. “Move?” she
asked. “I don’t want to move! I like living here!” She had
grown up in this flat above the shop. All her friends lived on Diagon
Alley, and they had spent eight years learning the best secret hiding places on
the wizarding street. This street was her home, and she didn’t want to
move away from it!
“We haven’t decided anything just yet,” George said quickly, never wanting to
upset her. “We were just talking-”
“It sounded decided to me!” Margot interrupted. “You and Fred planning
all this without me, that isn’t how we do these things!” She
glared at the two of them, making both twins wince. They’d always told
her it was uncanny how well she mimicked her mami’s
glare. Deciding that the discussion was
over, Margot jumped down from the counter and began pulling things from the
cabinets for lunch. Years before, she had learned how to cook to spare
herself from having to eat one of Fred’s mushroom salads or George’s marmalade
and whatever-else-is-in-the-cupboard sandwiches. At the age of seven, she
had begged her Aunt Ginny to teach her how to cook after one particularly bad
batch of chocolate and lemon cupcakes. Since then, the twins had
forfeited their kitchen rights to her, accepting the fact that they were
failures at that one thing.
“We brought up that new product for you to test,” George told Margot.
“Verity refused to touch it, no idea why…”
“She probably didn’t want to touch it after that last prank you pulled on her,”
Margot said, stacking sandwiches on the plates and turning around to put them
on the table.
Fred laughed. “That was brilliant, George, that prank. She was as
pale as Nearly-Headless Nick when the snake jumped out of the can!”
“Muggles are brilliant,” George agreed. “Snake in a can, who would ever
think of such a thing?”
“Only the two of you would think to make it a live snake,” Margot
remarked, taking her seat next to George.
Fred puffed out his chest with pride. “It wasn’t exactly live,” he
admitted. “It was just an illusion, remember? But Verity was
terrified…” He grinned, remembering.
Margot bit into her perfectly normal peanut butter sandwich and shook her
head. The twins were twenty-nine now, yet sometimes they didn’t seem
older than eleven. She had grown up with the tales of their famous pranks
and many detentions, told over and over by the twins themselves and their many
siblings. She had enjoyed them, but had learned from the tales. She
never ate anything given to her wrapped in a package, never picked up one of
their wands, even if it looked real. And she never ever touched
anything that said ‘explosive’ on the outside. She had learned that the
“What are you two doing tonight?” Margot asked the twins as she took a sip of
her pumpkin juice.
Fred laughed loudly and looked at George, whose cheeks had turned red. “Someone
has a date with Miss Verity downstairs,” Fred said gleefully. “Asked her
out an hour ago, isn’t it just sweet?”
Margot grinned. “And what about you?” she asked Fred, her voice
Fred shrugged and leaned back in his chair. “It depends on…who’s
available,” he said with a waggle of the eyebrows.
“Angelina Floo-ed earlier and said that if you didn’t ask her out by lunchtime,
she’d find someone else to go to the midnight Quidditch match with,” Margot
remarked, taking a bite of her sandwich, and raising her own eyebrows.
Fred toppled onto the floor, his chair falling on top of him. George began
laughing as he stood up and brushed himself off.
“She Floo-ed here?” Fred demanded, his eyes wild and his red hair
falling in his eyes. “Why – why didn’t you tell me?”
Margot shrugged, struggling to keep her face straight. “I didn’t know you
cared. She didn’t seem to think you would.”
George continued to laugh as Fred hurried over to the kitchen fireplace and
grabbed a handful of Floo Powder. A moment later he had disappeared into
the green flames.
“That was brilliant,” George chuckled. “Did Angelina really Floo?
“Of course she did.” Margot stood and stacked Fred’s plate on top of her
own. “Did you really ask Verity on a date?” She went over to the
counter and put the plates in the sink. One of the twins would clean them
later; they were allowed to do that much.
George ducked his head and
nodded, a huge grin on his face. Margot didn’t question him any
“What have you done today?” George asked when she returned to the table and sat
Margot shrugged. “Not much. I read that book Aunt Hermy gave me,”
she said, using the name all the Weasley children called their aunt.
Two-year-olds simply couldn’t pronounce Hermione. “It was good. And
I want to go to Nahid’s flat after lunch, she got a broom for her birthday and promised
I could ride it. Can I go, please?”
“As long as you’re back for dinner at the Burrow,” George said, standing.
“You don’t have to ask, you know that.”
Margot nodded. Every Friday night, all the Weasley children, from baby
Adam to Margot herself, Flooed to the Burrow to have dinner with their
grandparents. It was a generally fun event, though often ending in a food
fight of some sort.
“Here. New product. We still need to name it.” George set a
purple cube in front of Margot, then went to lean against the counter, a
suspiciously safe distance away.
Margot looked up at him, frowning. “You expect me to trust you?” she
“Of course.” George grinned innocently and folded his arms. “Pick
it up. It won’t…well, I don’t think it’ll hurt you.”
Now slightly worried, Margot picked up the cube. It wasn’t very big,
about the size of a Snitch, and it didn’t seem to be dangerous.
“You have to grip it,” George said. He sounded as if he was enjoying
Margot glared at him and held the cube tighter. It fit perfectly in her
hand, and almost seemed…it was squishy, in a way.
“Tighter,” George instructed, frowning. “It should work…”
squeezed the cube as tight as she could, then gasped. The cube was
changing shape, moving, flowing around her hand and forming a glove-like thing.
“What is it?” she asked, fascinated. She spread out her fingers and held
out her hand, looking at the purple glove. It was almost as if she wasn’t
wearing a glove at all.
George pulled two wands from his back pocket and handed one to Margot.
“Just hold it,” he told her. She held the wand, one of the fake ones, she
realized, and waited.
A hopeful look on his face, George pointed his wand at the glove-covered
hand. “Accio wand!” he said.
The wand didn’t move. Margot raised her eyebrows, impressed.
“It does more,” George told her, pocketing his wand. “We’re still
fine-tuning it, but the final product should be able to go on any part of your
body, to reflect spells. We’re targeting it toward duelists, but Aurors
could use it as well. Fred wants to test it with an Unforgivable…”
Margot shuddered. The Unforgivable Curses had killed more Muggles and
Muggleborns in the past decade than all other curses combined. Though
Voldemort was defeated, his Death Eater followers had escaped capture and now
wreaked havoc on those who had not supported them in the war.
Though no one had ever said, Margot knew it was likely that her parents had
been killed by an Unforgivable Curse. Many of the children orphaned
during and after the war were the children of Muggleborn parents. Some
were even Muggles, though they would forever be classified as Squibs, because
it was impossible to know for sure.
A loud pop brought Margot back to the flat. Fred had returned from
Angelina’s, looking annoyed but pleased.
“Bloody ten minute lecture about how to treat bloody women,” he muttered,
throwing himself into a chair. “Had to bribe her with a bloody expensive
date at that new place by Gringotts.”
George chortled. “My dear brother, I do believe that you were almost
Fred glared at him and kicked the leg of the table, while Margot tried hard not
“I like the glove,” Margot said. She hated it when the twins were upset
or mad. “It’ll sell well, I think.”
Fred glanced at her purple hand. “Glad you think so,” he said, still
glowering from his visit with Angelina.
George looked up at the clock over the sink. “Back to the shop,
Fred. I wonder if Verity’s still alive?”
“Probably not,” Fred said, standing. “She probably died after you asked
her out, from disgust.”
The two headed through the door, arguing about their dates. Margot stood,
and called half-heartedly after, “I won’t move!” But they were already
“I am not wearing that robe.”
“I know it’s horrible and ugly, but Mum made it for you, and she’ll be happy if
you wear it.”
“I’m not wearing a knitted robe!”
Margot crossed her arms and glared at her Aunt Ginny, who sat on one of the
many crates, looking impatient.
“Margot, it’s almost five o’clock. I have to go back and dress my own
children. When I left, Harry was putting Sirius’s robe on Julia, the
twins were playing with their dolls, and Andrea was running naked around the
house. I don’t even know what Evan was doing. Please
put on this robe so we can go back to the house.”
Aunt Ginny held out the ugly woollen red, gold, and maroon robe that was framed
in pink lace. It made Margot want to gag. She loved her mami, but
this…it was too much.
“Please, Margot,” Aunt Ginny begged. “Just tonight, then we can
say you grew out of it.”
“Can’t you shrink it?” Margot asked, desperate. “Then it really won’t
Aunt Ginny frowned. “Well…” she began.
“It’s an easy charm, it’d just take a minute,” Margot begged. “And I’ll
wear my red and gold robes, the other ones, that she likes. Please?”
Sighing, Aunt Ginny pulled her wand from her back pocket. Margot grinned
and went to her closet to find the other set of robes.
Ten minutes later, the two stepped out of the fireplace at The Hideaway, Aunt
Ginny and Uncle Harry’s house. Margot shook off her robes and looked
around at the place that was as familiar as her own home.
With six children, Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry lived in a large manor-sized
house fifty miles from London’s outskirts. The house, bought with Uncle
Harry’s fortune, was so large that it was sometimes impossible to locate all
“Mummy! Mummy, Wiwy and Mowy won’t gimme my dowy back!” A red-haired girl
wearing nothing but an overlarge t-shirt ran toward Aunt Ginny and buried her
head in her robes. “I want my dowy back!”
Aunt Ginny patted the girl’s head. “Where are they, Julia? And where’s
“Daddy’th in the kitchen wiff Thiwiuth, and Mowy and Wiwy are in thewe woom,”
the five-year-old informed her mother.
Aunt Ginny glanced at Margot. “Do you mind watching her?” she asked.
Margot shook her head. With twenty younger cousins, she was used to
watching the little ones.
“Molly and Lily Potter, come here right now!” Ginny shouted up the long winding
staircase. “And bring Julia’s doll!”
slammed somewhere upstairs, and feet pounded. A moment later, two
six-year-old girls in matching crimson play robes appeared at the top of the
“Down here, please,” Ginny called. “Hurry girls, you’re going to be
late! And where is your father?”
here.” Margot turned around as Uncle Harry stepped out of the kitchen,
his four-year-old son Sirius at his side. “Evan and Andrea are…” He
frowned. “I’ll find them.”
Margot giggled as her uncle started up the staircase, passing the twins, who
were taking their time descending.
“Gimme my dowy!” Julia cried, running over to Molly, who held the balding doll
in her fist.
Molly handed it to her younger sister. “We needed a hag and our
dolls are too pretty,” she explained to her mother.
“Ask before you take, Molly,” Aunt Ginny said wearily. “Lily, come here
and I’ll fix your hair. Margot…?” She glanced at Margot, a pleading
look on her face.
“Molly, can I do your hair?” Margot asked the six-year-old.
Molly nodded and ran over to give her cousin a hug. “I missed you,” she
announced loudly before turning around and giving Margot access to her head.
Molly was the only of Ginny’s children besides Sirius to not have the famous
Weasley red hair. While Lily looked exactly like her mother, Molly had
inherited her father’s untidy black hair and wily green eyes. Though Aunt
Ginny braided each of her daughters’ hair every morning, Molly’s never stayed
confined in the braid for very long. It seemed to have a mind of its own.
As Margot struggled with Lily’s impossible hair, Uncle Harry appeared once more
with Sirius, Evan and Andrea in tow, all fully dressed. Margot frowned at
Sirius’s robes, which were ruffled at the bottom, then shook her head. It
was just amazing they were all dressed.
“I’ll take the twins,” Ginny said, tying a ribbon on the bottom of Lily’s braid
and standing. “Harry, you take the little ones, and Margot can take Julia
and Sirius. I’ll go first.”
Margot held out her hands for the five-year-old and four-year-old to take, then
followed Aunt Ginny to the giant fireplace. Aunt Ginny picked up the pot
of Floo Powder and threw it into the flames.
“The Burrow!” she cried as she stepped into the green flames with the twins.
Margot stepped up behind her, took a pinch of the powder, and jumped into the
flames, Sirius and Julia tight in her hands.
“The Burrow!” she said, blinking as soot got into her eyes.
A moment later the three stumbled into the kitchen at the Burrow. Julia
coughed loudly while Sirius escaped from Margot’s hold.
“Billy! Billy!” he said, running to greet his cousin. “And ‘Randa!”
Julia looked up at Margot. “Pweathe, I wanna find Mawie?”
Margot released her hand, wanting to find Leona. The tiny kitchen was
nearly full of children, none older than six. The others would be in the
living room, or upstairs. Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry had already
Disapparated, as they were late for their own date. No adults were even
visible in the kitchen full of red-haired, chattering children and crying
toddlers, which was surprising.
“You’re all here!”
A round, smiling silver and red haired woman came bustling into the kitchen,
wearing a flowered apron. All the chatting ceased as she pushed through
to get to her stove to begin dinner.
“Go on, go to the living room,” she told her grandchildren with a wave of her
hand. “Grandpa is already in there with Leona and the older kids.”
Margot followed the little kids out of the kitchen, heading down the hall to
the living room, where the other half of the horde sat giggling as Grandpa
Transfigured a couch into a cat, a table, an ugly vulture hat, and a goose.
“Margot, you’re here!” Leona, Margot’s cousin and best friend, stood and picked
her way around the seated grandchildren, grinning.
“Let’s go upstairs, they’re being boring,” Leona said. “And now there’s
no more room.”
Margot nodded. “Good, I have something to tell you.” Glancing at
their cousins one last time, the two girls tiptoed toward the stairs.
Although all their children were grown, Mami and Grandpa’s once-full house was
rarely completely empty. With twenty grandchildren, that was almost
impossible. The upstairs bedrooms, once occupied by red-haired children,
were now empty, however. Occasionally a grandchild or six claimed the
rooms for the weekend, but most days they were left as they had been nearly a
decade ago during the war.
Of all the rooms, Margot’s favorite was Uncle Percy’s. Though she would
never admit it to Fred and George, she loved its far-away location and
bookshelves that lined all four walls. Because Uncle Percy no longer
lived in the room, it had become a sort of library, where all the books in the
Burrow were now kept. Margot loved other rooms as well – Fred and
George’s fascinated her – but Uncle Percy’s was the best.
Today, however, Margot and Leona climbed further up to Aunt Ginny’s old
room. The only girl in the family, Aunt Ginny’s room had been decorated
in horrible pink flowers and fluffy, ruffled pillows. However, it was the
largest bedroom in the Burrow, and the best place for two girls to go to
chat. “What’d you want to
tell me?” Leona asked as the two girls settled down onto Aunt Ginny’s fluffy
bed. “Is it bad?”
Margot shrugged. “Maybe. Fred and George were talking about moving
Leona opened her mouth in shock. “Moving? But…the shop!
“I know,” Margot said gravely. “It’s terrible!”
The two sat in silence, contemplating the situation. Margot’s eyes
wandered to the wall, where a giant calendar hung flipped to July, half the
days marked off. She could imagine her aunt crossing off the days until
she went back to Hogwarts, years before. But she hadn’t gone for her
“Are you mad at them?” Leona asked. “For wanting to move?”
Margot shrugged. “A little, I suppose…I mean, we’ve always lived there,
and I know it’s small, but I love it there.”
“Where do they want to move to?” Leona asked Margot.
“Another flat, I suppose,” Margot replied. “Somewhere with more space.”
“DINNER!” Mami shouted. Both girls jumped off the bed and hurried out of
Downstairs, Mami and Grandpa were moving all the grandchildren outside, where
four long tables were set up. Dumplings, gravy, chicken, fruit, and milk
sat in the middle of each table, waiting to be eaten.
Margot found the twins and grabbed their hands to lead them outside, returning
to the kitchen to push Marie, Bilius, and Miranda out the door.
Nearly twenty minutes later, all twenty grandchildren were safely outside and
seated in their proper seats. Margot and Leona fell into their chairs in
between seven-year-old Gene and four-year-old Peyton.
“Might as well start,” Leona remarked. She leaned forward and took a
dumpling. At the other end of the table, the four-year-olds had started a
food fight, while the toddlers had started crying loudly. Mami ran down
to stop the fight and calm down the babies, while Grandpa made the
seven-year-olds erupt with laughter
“Never boring, these dinners,” Margot half-shouted to Leona as she served
herself some chicken.
Leona laughed. “I can’t wait until Hogwarts,” she said. “It’ll be
“Until everyone else is there,” Margot replied with a grin. “Those poor
teachers! Do you think we’ll all be in Gryffindor?”
“I don’t know,” Leona said. “Mum went to Beauxbaxtons, so she didn’t have
a House…but the Weasleys are always in Gryffindor.”
Margot glanced around the table at her many cousins. Gryffindors,
yes. Many of them would be Gryffindors. But Margot herself?
She wasn’t a Weasley; she didn’t have the red hair, the freckles. Who
knew what Houses her parents had been in, or if they had even gone to Hogwarts?