“Seriously Gin, thankyou so much for these,” said Ron, waving the two tickets haphazardly in front of her face. Ginny smiled through the fireplace.
“What’s the point of playing professional Quidditch for four years if you can’t call in a few favours and get tickets to the opening match of the season? It’s a pity Harry can’t go though. He was really looking forward to it. How’s the team looking this year by the way?” she asked him. Ron shook his head.
“I’m not too sure actually. Everything has been busy with work so I haven’t had a chance to check out the new line up. It’ll be a surprise I guess. Anyway, Rosie will have a ball. She’s been at me to take her for years, but things have been tight trying to get this place paid off.” He gestured behind him, indicating the lounge room of the Weasley household.
“You guys have done well you know, Harry would have helped-” she started but was cut off by Ron’s raised hand.
“I know Gin, but this was something we had to do without Harry. He understands,” he replied, smiling at his younger sister. Suddenly, there was a loud crash on Ron’s end of the floo and he whirled around, deciding that the noise had come from the kitchen. Ron groaned and turned back to Ginny.
“You sure you don’t want more kids? I’ve got two here, all toilet trained and everything. Free to a good home,” he paused as Ginny laughed, “Please,” he finished desperately, looking at her pleadingly. Ginny snorted.
“Bye Ron.” Ron gestured to her rudely and stood up and hurrying across the lounge room and towards the kitchen. As he made his way down the hall, he could hear his two children giggling, and a series of softer, more muffled bangs.
“Rose Weasley! If you have put anything on Hugo’s head, on the floor or on your own head, I will be going to the Quidditch by myself,” he said as he rounded the corner. He groaned for the second time in a minute. Rose and Hugo were standing together on the tiles looking at him sweetly, as if willing him not to notice the food dripping from the walls, the table and themselves. He shot a pointed look at Rose.
“Explain,” he said, attempting to hide his amusement. Rose walked over and took his hand.
“Well, you see Daddy,” she took a long breath, “It was Crookshanks. We were eating our lunch, minding our own business when he came in to visit. So of course we said hello to him.” She shot a scathing look at Hugo who nodded silently, his face blushing as red as his hair. She jerked her head in a nod and turned back to Ron.
“Then, I decided to be very kind and share my lunch with ‘shanks. I don’t think he liked it very much. He went a bit mental actually. Started running all around the room and jumping on the table. Then he jumped on Hugo’s chair and hit his bowl, which went all over Hugo.” She pointed to her brother again who nodded emphatically. Ron was struggling not to laugh.
“Then,” she said incredulously, “He jumped on me! And my lunch went all over the walls and on the floor and I got it on me too! It was all Crookshanks Daddy. Please, I have to come to the Quidditch! You promised I could go!” Again, Hugo nodded. Ron’s eyes shifted between his children before resting on Rose again.
“Let me get this straight. You two were in here minding your own business, and Crookshanks came in here and caused all this?” he asked. Rose huffed.
“Well, when you say it like that it seems silly,” she replied matter-of-factly.
“Well, Hermione,” he said, smirking at the indignant look that had appeared on Rose’s face at the comparison, “I might have believed you if Crookshanks hadn’t been sitting on the couch sleeping for the last three hours. I’m afraid you’ve been sprung.”
“But the Quidditch! Oh Daddy please! I’ll never be bad again. I swear it,” she cried, her blue eyes welling with tears. Ron considered her for a moment.
“Depending on how well you help me clean this mess up,” he said, looking around the room. “I’ll think about it.” Rose’s face lifted slightly and she nodded. She turned to Hugo and took the bewildered toddler’s hand.
“Come on Hugo, we’ll go get some clothes to change into. Daddy can run a bath because we’re still too little to know how to do it right. Because we are only little,” she whispered loudly, looking meaningfully at her father. Ron smiled at his kids.
“I’ll meet you in there,” he responded as they left the room hand in hand. Ron surveyed the damage once more. They only seemed to misbehave when it was him watching them, and for a second his mind was filled with nothing but admiration for Hermione. How she kept the place in one piece when he wasn’t there eluded him. But he wasn’t about to ask. What Hermione didn’t know, didn’t hurt her.
Hermione, of course had arrived home early and before Ron could get Hugo and Rose out of the bath and into cleaning mode, she had appeared at the bathroom door smirking.
“Run into a bit of trouble love,” she said amusedly, her brown eyes sparkling with mirth. Ron whipped his head around and shook it from side to side.
“Everything’s fine,” he said turning his attention back to Hugo, who was now attempting to swim across the empty tub.
“Hugo, no,” he chided sternly, earning himself a dirty look from his son.
“If you didn’t have any trouble,” started Hermione, “then why does my kitchen have pumpkin soup all over the walls?” She looked between Ron, Hugo and Rose waiting for one of them to cave, and reveal the secret. Ron glanced at Rose.
“If you really must know,” he replied, sneaking another look at Rose and winking, “It was Crookshanks. He went mental in the kitchen. Scared the crap out of the poor kids while I was on the floo with Ginny,” he continued, encouraging nods from both Hugo and Rose.
"Ron. Don't say crap," she said, lowering her voice so the kids couldn't hear her. Rose laughed, having heard her mother perfectly.
Hermione looked at them all one last time and left the room shaking her head, muttering about Ron being a bad influence and that Crookshanks would never do anything like that. She poked her head back into the bathroom.
“Please tell me you aren’t letting her go out like that?” she pleaded, gesturing to Rose.
Ron turned to Rose and smiled at the sight. She was wearing her jeans and a massive array of orange garments. Ron stood up and walked over to Hermione, kissing her nose.
“Absolutely am. Do you mind changing Hugo love? Rosie and I have a date with the Cannons.”
They could hear the stadium long before they could see it. Rose bounded along excitedly, her hand clutched tightly in Ron's and singing the Cannon’s theme.
“…cross our fiiiingers and hope foooooor the best!” she giggled, her bright blue eyes shining at Ron. He laughed and picked her up into a hug.
“Almost there Rosie-bear,” he smiled and hoisted her up onto his shoulders as they approached the crowd. “Just so you don’t get lost,” he continued as she protested. They made their way through the crowd and Ron handed Rose the tickets so she could hand them to the wizard at the gates.
“Cannon’s won’t win love,” said the old wizard, his grey hair blowing in the light breeze as he smiled up at her, a gap in his mouth where he was missing a tooth; “Not even with their new seeker, the legend that he is.” Rose looked at him and crossed her fingers mockingly, flashing him a toothy smile. The man let out a rumbling laugh and let them pass through.
Ron pulled Rose down so she was facing him, he legs around his waist.
“Rose Weasley. Who on earth did you get that cheekiness off? If you weren’t defending the Cannons, I’d have to scold you, you know? Best not to tell your mum.”
They made their way to their seats, Rose chattering excitedly and even though Ron couldn’t understand a word she was saying he had to smile. She was really the perfect mix of him and Hermione, and he loved getting to see it. They reached their section and sat down in between a tall, burly wizard and a child, who appeared to be about Rose’s age. Ron watched as Rose turned to the small boy, who’s blonde hair stirred memories in his head.
“Hi,” he heard Rose say excitedly, “Are you a Cannon’s fan? I think you are. You have on an orange jacket, and that’s their team colour you know.” The boy turned to her, and Ron’s heart leapt into his throat. The hair could have belonged to anyone, but that sneer; there was only one person he knew that could look like that.
“Obviously,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone. “You’re lucky though,” he continued wistfully, his expression softening, “you don’t even have to colour your hair to match. What’s your name anyway?” Ron tried not to watch the exchange, dreading confirmation of what he already knew.
“I’m Rose. Rose Weasley actually. And, you are?” she replied equally as matter-of-factly, and Ron had to bite his lip to hold in his laugh.
“Scorpius Malfoy,” he said quietly. Ron couldn’t hold his gaze away any longer, and peered around Rose’s small body and looked at the boy again. He looked exactly like a small Draco Malfoy; whom Ron could vaguely remember meeting when he was much younger in a playground while with his dad. He did, however notice that the young boy’s gaze didn’t hold anywhere near as much arrogance as Draco Malfoy’s had.
“Why did you say your name so quietly? Don’t you like it?” asked an inquisitive Rose, frowning. Scorpius looked at her cautiously.
“Kids usually laugh at my name,” he mumbled. Ron felt sorry for the kid. He had wanted to laugh when he had heard that Draco Malfoy had a kid named Scorpius and for a moment felt horrible. Rose perked up at this and smiled.
“I don’t think it’s awful at all. I think it’s rather a good name. It’s unique. Not many people have it you see. You’re an original,” she giggled. Scorpius smiled and then turned abruptly to face the pitch where there were fireworks appearing in mid air as the teams were introduced.
Rose and Scorpius smiled excitedly at each other, their faces lit up by the different colours of the fireworks and Rose reached out and grabbed Ron’s hand. She beamed up at him.
“This is wonderful Daddy!” Ron bent down and kissed her forehead, and chuckled when she noticed Scorpius looking at her and wiped her face quickly, giving Ron a reprimanding glare.
“Do you want a drink Rose?” he asked. “We should get one before the game starts and you’ll have to come with me. I’m not leaving you here.” Rose glanced at him again, horrified at the prospect of leaving her seat.
“Daddy, I promise I won’t move an inch. I’ll stay right here,” she whined, pointing at her chair. Ron shook his head.
“No Rosie, if you want a drink you’ll have to come with me. If we hurry we won’t miss a thing,” he said sternly. He reached out a hand to her and she took it reluctantly, jumping out of her chair and stomping her feet.
“I can watch her if you like,” said a soft female voice from the other side of Scorpius. Ron hadn’t even noticed the witch sitting next to the small boy, so he looked at her and was taken aback by what he saw.
“Lav. What are you doing here?” he yelped, startled by her presence. She smiled brightly at him and pointed to Scorpius.
“Draco couldn’t get the afternoon of work, so I brought him. He’s been on about this game for months. We couldn’t let him miss it?” she said, unfazed by Ron’s shock.
“Oh, so you’re his nanny?” he asked, eyeing the blonde boy. Lavender laughed loudly.
“Oh god no. Could you imagine someone letting me loose with their kid? No, Scorpius is all mine. Well half mine really. I thought someone would have told you,” she smiled.
“You…with Malfoy?” Ron spluttered, utterly bewildered. Lavender rolled her eyes and nodded, holding up her left hand, a montrosity of a diamond sparkling in the stadium light.
“Obviously. Did you want me to watch your daughter while you go get her a drink?” she asked again, gesturing to the two kids. Ron shook his head as if clearing his thoughts and nodded.
“Yeah, thanks that would be great,” he stammered, and turned back to Rose.
“Listen Rosie, Lav- I mean –Mrs Malfoy, is going to watch you while I go get you a drink ok? Behave, and don’t move an inch.” Rose nodded absently, as she was focussed on the singer hovering in mid air in the middle of the pitch.
Ron muttered thanks to Lavender again and made his way to the drink counter, the booming team announcements drowned out by the roaring crowd. Ron handed the witch serving him the money and took the drink, holding it carefully so as not to spill it each time he was nudged on all sides.
Rose’s eyes lit up when she saw him come back, and she grabbed the drink of him and took a large gulp her gaze moving back to the pitch.
“The Cannons seeker is really famous dad! You should have heard everyone scream!” she shouted pointing excitedly in the sky. Ron followed her pointing and groaned.
“What daddy?” Rose asked nervously, setting her drink down. Lavender, who had been watching the situation, leaned forward in her chair laughing at Ron’s stony expression.
“You can’t still be on about Hermione and Viktor Krum, Ron,” she giggled, and for a moment Ron was reminded of the shallow teenage girl he had known all those years ago. He scowled at her, much like the fifteen year old boy he used to be.
“I’m not on about anything Lavender. I just don’t like the git. If he’s in town, I have to go have dinner with him and his wife. He and Hermione talk for hours on end in bloody Bulgarian while I try not to rip his bloody eyebrows off his face. I lose a perfectly good Friday night you know. And Hermione and I don’t get many Friday nights with two children,” he said pointedly. Lavender raised her eyebrows.
“You and mummy know Viktor Krum?” asked Rose, her mouth dropping open. Ron scowled again and nodded.
“He’s a git Rosie. A total git.”
“Because he just is,” said Ron trying to get off the topic.
“Your dad doesn’t like him because he asked your mum to the Yule Ball first,” cut in Lavender, smirking at Ron when he glared at her.
“You really hate me for sixth year don’t you?” he moaned, lowering himself down in his seat.
“What’s was sixth year?” said Rose excitedly. Ron ignored her and waited for Lavender’s response.
“No, of course I don’t. Rose just wanted an explanation and you weren’t giving her an objective answer.”
“What’s objective?” piped up Scorpius, who until that moment had been watching the game unblinkingly.
“Later sweetie,” said Lavender, smiling at her son. “We’ll go home and put it in the book yeah? Scorpius has a book of words that he doesn’t know, so when he comes across one, we add it and find out the meaning,” she added proudly to a curious Ron.
“Rose has filled up about four of those already. She can’t really write the words, but that doesn’t stop her and Hermione getting right into it. Anyway, back to the point. Why are you telling my daughter about her mother’s famous git of an ex-boyfriend?”
“He was mummy’s boyfriend?” gasped Rose. “Oh I can’t wait to tell Al that.”
“You don’t need to tell Al anything. Thanks a heap Lavender.” She smiled at him mockingly.
“Do you know anything else?” asked Rose, her interest no longer on the game. Lavender glanced at Ron who shook his head furiously.
“Nothing that you wouldn’t have heard already Rose. You’re dad was a busy man at school.”
“Oh ok,” replied Rose and went back to watching the game, chattering excitedly with Scorpius when something good happened for the Cannons. Ron sat in a stony silence watching the game, glaring when Viktor Krum paraded around like a hero after catching the snitch.
“How was it?” asked Hermione as they stepped out of the floo and into the lounge. She was curled up on the lounge, Hugo sleeping with his head in her lap. Ron gestured to him.
“Oh, he wanted to wait up and ask Rosie how it was, but he didn’t quite make it,” she smiled.
“We met your boyfriend Viktor Krum,” laughed Rosie. “Daddy said he was a git and that he wants to rip his eyebrows off his face,” she added seriously. Hermione narrowed her eyes at Ron. Rose raced over and kissed her mum on the cheek and rushed out towards the hall.
“I’m going to brush my teeth,” she said in explanation as her parents looked at her curiously. Hermione glared at Ron.
“You’ll never guess who Malfoy married,” he started sitting on the end of the couch, attempting to change the subject.
“You were at the Quidditch with Lavender?” asked Hermione incredulously. Ron nodded.
“Hasn’t changed a bit either. Their kid seems alright though. He and Rosie got along ok. That’ll change when he hits Hogwarts though, I would imagine. What with him ending up in Slytherin and our Rosie in Gryffindor,” he said proudly. Hermione made a quiet clicking noise with her tongue and whispered as Hugo stirred.
“It won’t necessarily be like that Ronald. You better not put pressure on her to be in Gryffindor. I won’t have it.”
“You want her to be in Ravenclaw don’t you? I hate to break it to you love, but Weasley’s go in Gryffindor. Even Percy’s little brat didn’t get in Ravenclaw, and he is smarter than you were,” he replied, lowering his voice. Hermione shot him a look and gently moved Hugo into his arms.
“Your turn to put Hugo to bed. I’ll hurry Rose along.” She stood up and flounced up the hall, her brown frizzy hair bouncing with each stride.
“Daddy?” mumbled Hugo, opening one bleary eye and looking at his father. Ron hoisted him up into his arms.
“Yeah mate?” he asked, kissing his son on the forehead.
“Dida Cannins win?” he mumbled tiredly as they reached the stairs.
“Yeah mate, they won. Caught the snitch and everything,” Ron said, smiling as he realised Hugo was fast asleep again.
After the two children were in bed, Ron entered his and Hermione’s bedroom. Hermione was sitting under the covers reading a book. He could feel her eyes follow him across the room and linger as he changed into his pyjamas and then crawled into the bed beside her.
He rolled on his side and looked up at her.
“I’m not jealous of Krum,” he said determinedly, shifting again so he was lying on his stomach and glared at her.
“I’m sure you’re not,” she replied, turning another page in her book. He watched her eyes and noticed their lack of movement across the paper in front of her.
“I’m not,” he said emphatically. Hermione closed her book and turned to him.
“I know. Because that would be stupid considering I am wearing these rings,” she held up her hand and wiggled her engagement and wedding rings at him. “I’m also sitting in this bed next to you wearing a very sheer nightie and I have the two most perfect kids down the hall and asleep in their rooms. You really think I would give that up easily?” she raised her eyebrows at him.
Ron looked at her thoughtfully and lost the battle with the smirk that was forcing its way onto his face. The corners of his mouth curved upwards and he gazed at her suggestively, taking her left hand in his and pressing his lips to it.
“Well,” he started, pausing to kiss his way up her arm, “the rings; they are pretty nice, I’d keep them. But the nightie,” he continued as pulled himself onto his knees and ran his lips along the edge of the strap covering her shoulder, “it can go. Please.”
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