Chapter 3 : Chapter Two: Snowy Days and First Kisses
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Snow fell quietly on the Burrow. It was a wet and heavy type snow that coats the roof tops and ground without discrimination. The chickens that normally pecked in the yard were nestled away in their coop, and the assortment of well used junk that littered the lawn was buried beneath a half-meter of snowfall. The uncharacteristic wintry onslaught on the St. Ottery-Catchpole area over the past three days had painted a picturesque scene of frosty tranquility. The heart of this scene, the Burrow rose up out of the white backdrop. Its many chimneys blew out continual streams of smoke, a tell-tale sign of the warmth within its walls. The small front window looking out from the kitchen was fogged over, but glowed with the light of the candles scattered about the room.
A hand slowly cleared a small circle of the window of the accumulated fog. Moments later, a round and aged face framed in fiery red hair peered through the circle. The face pursed its lips, clicked its tongue, and pulled the curtains shut across the window. Within the kitchen, Molly Weasley shook her head in disappointment. She picked up the wooden spoon that she had lain on the counter and gave the cauldron of stew a fierce stir. She tossed the spoon into the sink and withdrew her battered wand from her apron pocket. Muttering an incantation at the pile of dishes congregated there, she walked from the kitchen as the dishes began to wash themselves.
Molly seated herself in the hand-made wooden rocker next to the fire grate and picked up her knitting. The needles gently clicked as the spool of pink yarn came together, adding the finishing touches to the M emblazoned on the tiny, pale grey sweater. Now the proud grandmother of three children, her yearly quota of Weasley sweaters had expanded.
“I don’t know what he’s thinking. Apparating with the children with weather like this,” Molly seemingly told her knitting needles. With Arthur away at the office, they were her only companions in the once bustling household. Ronald had been the last of her children still living at home. He had married a month ago and was now living in a London flat with his new wife. Molly loved Hermione dearly, but was still unaccustomed to the silence the absence of her youngest son had left in the house. To remedy her discomfort, she had taken to talking to her chores. The knitting needles were always there for her when she needed to vent, just as the kitchen cauldron was there to listen to her ponderings. “Can barely see six inches in front of your own nose and he is apparating in from Wales with a toddler and a four-year old. Too bloody stubborn to admit that floo travel does have its perks. They’ll be lucky if they can make their way up the lane – ” Her lecture continued, and her needles clicked along appropriately in response.
Outside the warmth of the house, a popping noise was drowned out by the stiff blustery wind. Bill Weasley appeared from the within the blowing snow, draped in a thick wool cloak with a hand-knitted scarf wrapped around his neck and a matching hat on his head. He carried a tightly wrapped bundle on his left hip, and his right hand clutched the mitten-ed extension from a second tightly wrapped bundle standing on the ground. The bundle on the ground squealed and began pulling Bill down the lane towards his childhood home. The bundle on his hip wriggled and sputtered out an incoherent sentence.
“Alright, Alright. Victoire, you can go ahead to the house. Grandma should be waiting for us.” The bundled-up girl let go of her father’s hand and began to forge her way ahead through the snow. Bill turned his attention towards the child in his arms. “Come on Dom. We best keep up with your sister or we’ll get buried out here.” He shifted the boy’s weight and took off down the lane after his oldest child.
Victoire arrived at the door first and hollered out a greeting through the closed door. Bill joined her at the door moments later and knocked firmly on the door. Dom watched with interest and reached out to help too. He shyly touched the door with his thickly mitten-ed hand.
“Grandma! Oh, Grandma, we are here!” Victoire’s sing-song voice cut through the snowy, frigid air. She looked at the door impatiently and then looked up at her little brother. “Daddy,” her voice was exasperated now, “Dom isn’t even knocking right. He never does anything right.” Bill refrained from chuckling at his little girl’s all-knowing demeanor and shot her a corrective look. “Well, he doesn’t. I hope the new baby’s a girl. She’d know how to knock.” Her matter-of-fact tone reminded Bill greatly of her mother. He imagined that Fleur had spoken similarly when she was four, and a warm smile graced his face despite the bitter cold.
Foot steps could be heard approaching the door from within the kitchen. The door was thrown open, and a cheery-faced Molly stood with her arms wide open. She ushered her son and his family into the house and anxiously awaited the excited hugs she knew were coming.
“Oh come on now give Grandma some hugs!” Victoire raced into Molly’s warm and padded embrace, much different from her mother’s bony one or her father’s firm one. There was something about her grandmother's hug that made her feel safe and warm unlike anyone else's. Bill set Dom onto the floor and watched as he toddled over to her also, arms extended upwards. Molly swung the young boy up into her arms and planted a warm kiss on his face. “I take it you made it here alright then? I do wish you would have used the floo network. You had me worried silly. Apparating in this weather with these two.”
“Ah mum. Of course we made it here alright.” Bill stooped down to plant a kiss on his mother’s cheek. “And you should know by now that I hate the Floo network; plus, Victoire and Dom love to apparate with me.” He grinned as Molly stared back with pursed lips that threatened to crack into a warm smile. Turning his attention back to his children, Bill knelt down in front of Victoire. “Now, Daddy and Maman are busy this weekend so you two are staying here with Grandma. Be good. Listen to what she tells you, and watch out for Dom.” Bill placed a warm kiss on both of their foreheads and rose up onto his feet. “I love you both. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Molly walked Bill out into the small yard.
“They’ll be fine, Bill.” Molly placed a loving hand on her oldest son’s shoulder. “You need them out of the house for a bit to get your Christmas chores done. Merlin knows that none of the gifts would remain a secret with that daughter of yours poking around.” Bill chuckled at the truth of his mother’s words. “Now, take care of that wife of yours. She’s a stubborn one. She doesn’t need to be climbing around in her condition.” Molly beamed at the mention of Bill’s wife and third child due in early June. Ever since the birth of her first grandchild, Molly had become much more friendly to her French daughter-in-law.
“Mum,” Bill’s tone was exasperated, “Fleur will be alright. She’s done this twice already. She’s a pro.” He flashed his mother an endearing smile to reassure her. “Is Percy dropping Molly off?”
“No.” Molly failed at hiding the disappointment in her voice. “He reckons that she should be a bit older before they leave her over night. They think they can get moved into the new house around her.” Her voice was riddled with amusement at her middle son’s pretentious decision. “I do believe that Harry and Ginny are stopping by a bit later though.”
“Well that’s good. Be sure to give them my best. I’m going to stop by George’s to say hello and then head home.” Bill began to walk down the lane. “I’ll be by sometime tomorrow evening to pick up the kids.” He turned on the spot and vanished into the cold night air.
Molly returned to the warmth within the walls of the Burrow. Victoire was seated on the sitting room rug looking at the pages of a book she had found on the end table. Dom was walking about, hesitantly poking everything within his short toddler-arm’s reach. He tried to grab Molly’s abandoned knitting needles, which then sprung to life; he shrieked and ran to Molly.
“Gama!” Molly picked up the frightened two-year old and bounced him lightly on her experienced hip.
“Dom –” Victoire’s voice was strained with exasperation. “Those are Grandma’s knitting needles. They don’t hurt people. You’re such a baby.” Though a sweet girl, Victoire had little patience as far as her brother was concerned. From years of experience, Molly could hear the impending fight beginning and quickly put a stop to it.
Both children were finally quiet and in separate ends of the room playing. Molly had just sat down and resumed knitting the tiny jumper for her youngest granddaughter, when another knock at the door sounded. Victoire scampered to the door, followed slowly by her brother. Molly arrived at the door to see both children looking up at the door knob expectantly. Laughing to herself, Molly swung the door open against the cold draft outside.
On the other side of the door stood a fiery red-headed woman, a bespectacled man and a blue haired boy who was obviously outgrowing his clothes faster than they could be replaced. Molly face broke into a wide grin as she pulled her daughter's family out of the snow. Victoire and Dom both shouted out their enthusiastic greetings and stood waiting to be fondled. However, Ginny and Harry stood staring at Molly without speaking. They glanced at each other and then looked back towards her.
“Grandma Weasley,” Teddy’s voice broke the quickly mounting tension in the small room. “Harry and Ginny told me a secret, but I’m not supposed to tell you. I promised.” He looked quite pleased with his now proven loyalty. “I’m a good promise keeper – you won’t get nothing outta me.”
Harry chuckled, Ginny’s face blanched, Molly looked at them expectantly, and Teddy ran off into the sitting room followed closely by Victoire and Dom.
In the sitting room, Dom quickly forgot the excitement at hand and resumed playing with his building blocks in the corner. However, the excitement was not lost on Victoire. She tailed Teddy closely and crawled up on the sofa next to him.
“Teddy bear – what’s a secret?” Teddy grinned. Victoire had a knack for being bossy, and he relished on the fact that he knew more than she did. She stared at him and waited rather impatiently for the answer. “Te-eddy. Tell me now.”
“A secret is something that only special people know. Like this one. Only me, Harry and Ginny know.” His voice was calm and reasonable as he explained the finer points of secrets to the younger girl.
“Well, then tell me so I know too.” Victoire demanded.
“Vic, I can’t tell you. I promised.” Teddy’s will power was beginning to crumble in the face of Victoire’s pleading tone. He quickly thought up an excuse. “Besides, you have to be six, like me, to know secrets. It’s the law.”
“But Teddy Bear, I won’t be six till forever. Please tell me?” Her face curled into a pout as she looked at Teddy expectantly. “Pretty please with sugar on top?” Teddy looked at Victoire – looked out towards the kitchen where Grandma Weasley had Ginny wrapped in a tight bear-hug.
“Well,” he glanced out towards the adults once more to make sure they weren’t listening to him, and then turned back towards Victoire. “I guess I can tell you since I am six and know the secret.” Victoire’s brows creased together in frustration. She hated being younger than Teddy. “Harry and Ginny are,” his voice dropped to a low whisper, and his hair turned pink in lieu of his mischief, “going to have a baby in the summer time.” Teddy looked proud of himself. “Harry says that I can be like a big brother. It’ll be great!”
Teddy jumped as Harry walked in from the kitchen. Harry looked rather sheepish and ran a hand through his already messy jet-black hair. Teddy grinned at his godfather from the sofa.
“Teddy, Ginny and I are going to go home. Do you want to stay here with Grandma Weasley? You can play with Dom and Victoire.” Harry tousled the little boy’s bright pink hair as it slowly shifted back to a blue colour. Teddy nodded his head vigorously and reached up for a farewell hug. “All right buddy, Ginny and I will be back for you later tonight. Be good for Grandma Weasley. I love you.”
“I love you too,” Teddy said hurriedly. There was so many things to do before Harry would be back to collect him. Harry smiled and left the room. A flash of emerald shone from the kitchen as he and Ginny floo-ed home.
Next to him on the sofa, Victoire was staring at Teddy. Teddy turned his attention back to her and grinned.
“Let’s go see if grandma has any biscuits.” Teddy was off the sofa and almost to the kitchen before he realized that Victoire wasn’t behind him. He turned around to find her still seated on the couch. Her arms were crossed and her face carried a pout.
“You have me. Why do you need a new baby to be a big brother for?” Disappointment sounded in her whiny voice. “You have Dom and Maman’s new baby too. I don’t want you to be someone else's big brother.”
Teddy was confused at Victoire’s words. He resigned himself against getting biscuits and trudged back to the sofa. He jumped back up and took a seat next to the pouting blond girl. He ran a hand through his sandy brown hair in a manner that mirrored his godfather.
“Victoire, you’re my bestest friend. I can’t be your big brother. Plus, you’re a girl.” He explained this to her patiently.
“Little girls have big brothers too.” Victoire quickly brought attention to the flaw in Teddy’s logic. “What if Aunt Ginny has a baby girl?” Teddy did not seem impressed by this possibility. Unmoved by Teddy’s lack of response, Victoire sought an end to the conversation. “Are we done fighting Teddy Bear?”
“It won’t be a girl, and best friends never fight.” Victoire seemed disappointed that Teddy didn’t seem to warrant their disagreement to be a fight. “Do you want to go find some biscuits now?”
Instead of answering him, Victoire grinned and put her tiny hand around Teddy’s forearm. She leaned in and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. Teddy’s hair almost instantly turned electric blue. He pulled back and wiped his cheek on his jumper sleeve.
“Maman and Daddy always kiss when they’re done fighting.” Victoire explained to Teddy in a matter-of-fact tone.
Teddy stared incredulously at her. His shock at Victoire’s behaviour had not yet worn off. He wiped his cheek off once more, grimaced at Victoire, and grabbed her arm.
“Come on. I want biscuits.” He slid off of the sofa and pulled Victoire behind him to the kitchen. “And we weren’t fighting.” Teddy added under his breath.
In the corner of the sitting room, Dom finished building his crooked block tower. He got up onto his feet and surely followed his sister and Teddy into the kitchen. They were both already seated at the table with milk and cookies. Dom toddled over to Molly and pulled at her apron.
“Gamma, Gamma, Vic kiffed Teddy Bear!” Dom was a boy of few words as Victoire commandeered most of the family conversations, but he had been itching to reveal what he had just witnessed. Molly looked from her grandson to her granddaughter sitting at the table with Teddy.
“Victoire Weasley, you can’t just go around kissing boys. They don’t like that.” She gently scolded her. Victoire looked up at her grandma with large, vulnerable eyes.
“Grandma Weasley, its alright. Victoire and me were just talking about being bestest friends. She won’t do it again.” Teddy’s white lie went unnoticed by Molly, who grinned to herself and turned to put Dom up at the table. Teddy glared at Victoire. He didn’t like to lie. She smiled gratefully at him across the table. Teddy’s face softened and he smiled back at her. Even though she was a little girl who had kissed him, she was his best friend. Sitting there at the table, Teddy knew that Harry and Ginny’s baby wouldn’t change that.
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