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Chapter Nine: Relations

 
The rest of the afternoon, Dad stayed with me. He walked with me to the different stores that were advertising that they were Now Hiring (which were quite a few, as most Hogwarts students who had gotten summer jobs had just left) and bought me ice cream at Floreans. I hadn’t thought much of it, except to marvel that he could still like me at all, but then he revealed the real reason why I was eating a huge sundae. 

 “I think we should go visit your uncle’s shop next,” he said casually as he licked his peanut butter-and-strawberry cone. 

 I swallowed my ice cream slowly, “Er – what?” I had a feeling I knew what Dad really wanted me to do.

“Dominique,” he started, and my fears were confirmed. “You know that Uncle George can help you so much; not only can he probably give you a job, but he could also lend you some of Roxanne’s old baby things. You know, cribs, changing tables – those sorts of things are expensive and are usually gender neutral.”

With that he pretty much had be convinced – wasn’t I just thinking about those exact things yesterday? However, I didn’t think I’d have to tell them this soon… But then again, if any Weasley relative (save the Potters) were going to be understanding and helpful, it would be Uncle George and Aunt Angelina. How many horror stories from Uncle George’s youth had we heard from Uncle Ron and his other siblings? 

And, besides, it would be easier to tell him with Dad by my side than going in alone. I nodded, “I know, I was just thinking that yesterday.” I looked down at my sundae and sighed. Think positive.

Yeah… right.

So, too soon for my liking, we were walking into the crazy shop that Uncle George ran. And, because it was my lucky day, it was Uncle Ron that greeted us. “Hey! Dominique! Bill! How are you? What are you two doing around here today?” he asked joyfully as he engulfed me in a hug then clapped his big brother on the back. 

I felt my dad cast an anxious glance at me; he was never one for being subtle, that much is pretty damn obvious. Through my hair, I saw Uncle Ron’s happy expression falter and be replaced by one of confusion. My dad cleared his throat, “Nothing wrong, Ron, don’t worry. We just need to talk to George – is he here?”

I tried to smile as Uncle Ron looked at me again, “Yeah, sure.” He said, tossing an arm over my shoulders. Perfect. “I’m just helping with some stock and stuff today. The Ministry’s been slow lately, as you can imagine, so Harry gave me the day off…” he and Dad continued to talk about the Ministry as Uncle Ron led us to the stock room. I let my mind drift, thinking about exactly how I was planning on doing this, again, when I heard my name and looked up at Uncle Ron, “Sorry, what did you say?” I asked, trying again to smile.

“I asked why you aren’t at St. Mungo’s today? Did they give you the day off?” I stiffened. I’d forgotten about Uncle Ron’s uncanny ability to sneak in seemingly casual questions in order to get information. Apparently, he learned subtly at the hands of his wife. Rose as always telling me, complaining, really, about how her dad always seems to be oblivious to whatever she’d done wrong, right until she thinks she had gotten away with it. ‘He lures you into a comfort zone – you think you are in the clear – then BAM! He’ll sneak in a question out of no where and you, celebrating victory, make the mistake of answering it. It’s quite annoying.’

“Er, something like that,” I managed to say. I was spared from more follow up questions by Uncle George. He saw us enter and grinned broadly, rushing over to greet us.

“What’re you two doing here and out of work, eh? Skipping to visit your favorite relative? Excellent.” He, too, hugged the family traitor (me), then shook my dad’s hand. Uncle George always looked a bit lopsided, due to the fact that he was missing an ear, but no one would dare call him unattractive. He was always grinning, trying to cheer people up, and usually had smudges of dirt and ash on his face. Aunt Angelina had been known to say that they didn’t even come off in the shower; that she had tried. This always led Fred to mime retching behind her back.

Lost in my memories, I smiled back at him. “Hey, Uncle George.”

“My favorite niece,” he patted me on the head. “But don’t go spreading that around, now,” he warned. “But, really, how can I not be biased towards Fred’s best friend?” He winked at me. I groaned inwardly as I thought of the task I had to complete. 

Dad smiled, too. Really, his happiness was contagious, “Actually, George, we came to ask a few favors.”

He narrowed his eyes, “Now, Bill, didn’t I warn you not to use up those candy underpants, too fast? You might get –”

Not about that!” My dad turned beet red as Uncle Ron and I exchanged looks and burst into laughter. “Can we talk to you, in private?” 

At these words, Uncle Ron’s eyes narrowed, “Now see here, Bill, I might not be the person you came to talk to but this is about my niece, too, I assume, and if something is wrong –”

“Ron, it’s none of your business –” George started.

“We came to talk to George, it’s not my fault that you were –” Dad began.

“Can’t you keep to yourself you nosy little git –” George echoed.

“I care about her just as much as he does so I don’t see why –”

“Hey, guys, I’M PREGNANT!” That shut them up pretty quickly; seriously, though, what the hell. It’s not like Uncle Ron wasn’t ever going to find out. Two snitches with one catch, if you ask me. 

Uncles Ron and George looked at me, their eyes about to pop out of their heads, and then Uncle Ron shook his head, “Come again?”

“Don’t think I heard you correctly –” Uncle George began.

“Sounded like you just said that you were –”

“Yes, she’s pregnant,” my dad answered wearily.

They stared at me for a few more seconds, their mouths hanging open like people in the permanent spell damage ward, then they burst back into yelling. I was really starting to get sick of this… and beginning to get a headache.

“Who the bloody hell did this?” George spat.

“I’ll kill him! I’ll take him into custody – he better have a fucking spotless record, let me tell you –”

“Probably ran away, bloody coward. Let me see you try to ditch my niece; I’ll show him!”

“Who is the sodding idiot that thought they could knock up my Dominique then disappear?!” Ron demanded.

“Who says he ditched me?” I yelled back instinctively. 

“Erm, Baby,” my dad said softly.

Tears pooled my vision as I realized what he was trying to say. I spun on him, “I know he fucking ditched me, but who the hell are they to assume he did? They can’t possibly know the circumstances, either. How are they supposed to know that it was Teddy Lupin that got me preggers?”

Silence. Again. Have I mentioned that I’m getting really good at this? I pushed past my dad and stormed out of the stock room, letting the door slam on my dad and shock-stilled Uncles. 

I wandered around angrily, then, finding the curtain that led up to Uncle George’s small flat above the shop, I walked up the stairs and sat down at the table. The flat was unoccupied and only had minimal furnishings; it wasn’t used much now that Uncle George and Aunt Angelina had a much bigger house and children, but they still kept this place up in case the shop was insanely busy or something.

I put my head in my hands and let out a long breath. They’ll find me soon enough, but at least they’ll have some time to calm down. It was right of me to tell them with Dad here – and possibly a bit cowardly – because now he could explain the majority of the situation before I had to be involved. I felt a twang of guilt when I thought about how I’d just thrown him to the gridylows back there, but I’m in an emotional state nowadays. It wasn’t my fault if the hormones made me cry and yell and gave me a headache while they were all yelling at each other like a bunch of first years. Well, maybe I had a bit more control, but I just couldn’t handle it. 

I let my long glossy red-blonde hair slip over my face and hands as I listen carefully to hear if they’ve even exited the stock room. I don’t hear anything, so I’m guessing not. I lift my head and run my fingers through my hair as I look around. The wall paper is a deep, loyal red – almost exactly like the Gryffindor Common Room. I smile at the candy wrappers and pre-made dinner boxes that litter the flat. I sit back in m chair and stare at the wall in front of me; both Uncle George and my late Uncle Fred grin back at me, arms thrown lazily over one another’s shoulders as they stand in front of their shop. 

As I look at Uncle George, my mind brings back memories of what he had just said. How he immediately assumed the bloke that knocked me up had left me. Well, he has a knack for guessing things, and this time he was spot on. I hadn’t heard from Teddy since, when? I rack my brains and let out a humorless laugh when I come to the conclusion that the last time I’ve seen Teddy was the day we told Victiore I was pregnant. 

A reliable father in the making, I’d say. 

Lost in my thoughts, I must have missed their ascent, but the door to the flat opens and three fully grown Weasley men stalk in, all but looking scared of me, the nearly-four-months-pregnant daughter/niece. It portrays a great deal of the older Weasley women that a mere eighteen year old could command such an attitude of them. I sigh, “I’m sorry I ran out like that.”

The men take a seat the table with me and my dad puts his hand on mine, “We shouldn’t have been so immature about it, right, Ron? George?”

My uncles nod and murmur sounds of assent all while staring at either their nails or the wood table. I suppress a grin knowing full well that they are not at all sorry for plotting to arrest the bastard that knocked up their niece. 

“Well, now you know, I guess,” I say feeling ashamed. “Do… do you hate me?” I say the last part quietly, knowing that it’s a childish question to ask, considering. But it is the one that matters the most to me right now.

My uncles look up immediately, “Of course we don’t hate you!”

“Never, Dominique,” Ron vows. “However, the cheating scum of a fiancé your sister has…”

“I doubt they are still together,” I mutter darkly before I can stop myself. “But please, it wasn’t all his fault.” I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot. Every time I tell the story, actually. And, of late, thinking of Teddy and defending him has been getting increasingly difficult when he is doing nothing to make me like him anymore. 

“Before you launch into your tale of how it wasn’t just his fault,” my dad says, almost managing to hide the contempt for Teddy in his voice. “I’ve already told them that you don’t see him any more responsible than you are.”

“Because he’s not,” I sigh. I really am getting sick of singing Teddy’s song while he sits on his arse drowning in pity. Well, guess what, Teddy Lupin? I have just as much reason to be upset, almost more so, and you don’t see me sitting in bed eating my way through tubs of ice cream do you? 

Though another sundae would be delicious right now…

“Either way, we don’t hate you,” Uncle George says. “If everyone in the family hated me every time I did something stupid…” he trails off, smiling weakly.

I snort, “Yeah, I think this about takes the Cup of Stupidity, though. Did you ever knock up your brother’s girlfriend or something?”

Uncle George, instead of looking like he was beaten, seemed to search me then tilted his head behind him, towards the picture of him and his twin, “Didn’t knock her up until he was gone, but I did steal her from him.” 

I think I know where I inherited this ability to stun people silent. I stare at my uncle in shock, surely he’s just making this up to make me feel better? I look to my dad and then to Uncle Ron, they both look solemn and my dad nods his head a bit. What. The. Fuck. 

“W-What are you talking about?” I manage to ask him.

“Your aunt,” he tells me, in all seriousness. “She dated Fred on and off for about three years; until we left Hogwarts.”

I think my jaw dropped, but I was too stunned to notice. 

“We started dating after she graduated, but we didn’t have the heart to tell Fred. We still hadn’t told him when… when… well, you know. One of the biggest regrets of our lives. Almost broke us up, when he… you know. The guilt of being with Angelina when we never got his blessing? It was awful. It was your dad,” he nodded to him, “that convinced us to stay together. Said, rightly I’d think, that Fred would have been okay with it. He wasn’t one to hold grudges and, well Bill said that he probably would have taken the mickey out of us forever if we broke up over something like his… you know. Told us that Fred would have been happy to see that we were in love and whatnot; I know it’s not the same as with you and Teddy, because I’m guessing you two aren’t in love, but…” he shrugged and looked away. I looked down, I only ever saw Uncle George get upset when he was talking about his twin. No one can say anything, though. I’d heard they were quite a pair before Uncle Fred died.

I would have felt a lot worse but I was still in shock. I’d never known that Aunt Angelina had dated Uncle Fred! Well, it’s no wonder they wouldn’t be telling this story though. I can’t blame them. But… damn. 

“See, Baby,” dad said patting my hands with his. “Everyone makes mistakes, even ones similar to yours. Not everyone hates you; we’re here to help.”

I nodded, looking from my dad, to my uncles, and felt my eyes tearing up. Again. “Thanks,” I choke as I pull my hands from under my dads and wipe my eyes, feeling dumb.

“So,” Uncle George breaks the silence that ensues after a few minutes, having composed himself. “I hear you come asking for a favor? Ask away, ‘Nique!”

I grin weakly, “I was just wondering if you could possibly still have Roxanne’s old baby stuff; crib, changing table, excreta.”

Uncle George smiles, “I think we do, somewhere in the attic. We also have clothes and blankets and stuffed animals coming out of our –”

“I don’t know what the gender is yet,” I laugh. “But would you be willing to maybe sell me her old stuff?”

“Nope,” he grins.

My heart drops… what? I’m sure I look as hurt and confused as I think I do, but Uncle George laughs, “I wouldn’t sell them to you, Dominique. You try to pay me and see what happens; we’ve got no use for them anymore. I told Angelina the other day that any baby that inhabits her uterus from here on is going to the adoption center. One havoc-wrecking toddler is enough.” Everyone laughs, knowing that Uncle George would never give up his own kid, and I thank him.

“No problem, anything else?” he asks.

“Well,” I start, feeling bad for asking him for so much. “Do you have an opening for a job? The hospital told me I was a liability now that I’m pregnant. They let me go and I’m in desperate need of a job. I promise I’ll work hard and –”

Uncle George cuts me off, holding up his hand, “You have just saved me countless hours searching for a new employee. All my old ones had to go back to school or something equally unimportant. When can you start?” he asks.

“Oh, thank you so much!” I gush as I stand up and launch myself into his arms. The chair tips back when I make contact but he steadies it and wraps his arms around me.

“Whoa there,” he says. “You’re going to have to be careful; you’re carrying my grand-niece.”

“Is there such a thing?” Uncle Ron asks.

“I don’t know; I guess,” I answer.

“I feel like I’m not doing anything to help,” my other uncle complains.

I laugh and extract myself from Uncle George. “Seriously, between Aunt Ginny and Emmelyn and now dad and Uncle George, I don’t know how much help I need,” I tell him. 

Lies. There is one other person whose help I would thoroughly enjoy. However, by bringing this up I might as well sign his death certificate.

This had me deeply considering the matter; however this kid was likely to be screwed up enough without being able to say that ‘Mummy let Great Uncle Ron kill Daddy.”

 

By the time I got home, the sun had long set and I was so tired I was tempted to just sleep on the floor. Uncle George had insisted on Dad and me coming over for dinner, and Uncle Ron would have come, too, but he said Aunt Hermione didn’t like to eat alone. On the other hand, the brilliant shade of red his face turned when he said this, along with the fact he was grinning like a maniac as he disapparated had Uncle George muttering, “At least someone is getting laid tonight, eh?” as he elbowed my dad and laughed. Everyone in my family is nutters. 

Uncle George had the since to wait to tell Aunt Angelina the news until after I left, for which I was grateful. At least, I thought as I pealed of my jeans and replaced them with shorts, I now had a job and knew my kid wouldn’t be sleeping on the couch. I pulled a large t-shirt over my head after discarding my pink shirt and went to the loo to wash my face and pee. 

As I finally climbed in bed and turned off the lights, I thought about how much had changed just today. Maybe my whole life wasn’t over. Maybe I was just starting a new phase of my life in which I had only a few alliances. Maybe I’d even grow to be happy about having a baby.

Maybe.

 

I sit in the three broomsticks playing with the corner of the napikin my gillywater is sweating on. My stomach growls as I check my watch, again. Three-oh-five. I sigh. Why my cousin can’t be on time for once in his life beats me. If he’s not here by three-ten, he passes up his godfather rights; I smirk. 

“Can’t I get you anything, dear?” Madam Rosemary asks kindly, two and a half minutes later (not that I’m counting).

I smile at her, “Not yet; I’m waiting for someone.”

She grins then gives me a look, “He sneaking out to meet you using those famous tunnels the Hogwarts teachers don’t guard anymore?”

My heart skips a beat, but her smile tells me she’s on my side. “Fred’ll be here any minute, yeah,” I grin back.

“I didn’t know what he’d do without you and Miss Baggí running around with him, but I’ve heard he’s causing just as much trouble as he used too,” she smiles. She always liked Fred, something that never bothered him, that’s for sure. Even though she’s getting on in her years, Madam Rosemary still looks damn fine. 

“He and Em are dating now, actually,” I tell her, glad to have a normal non-pregnancy related conversation.

“Oh, bless them. I always thought she was just right for him. She’s a pretty one, she is,” she says fondly. A pang of jealousy shoots through me – I know its petty but never seem to get over the beauty of my normal, non-veela friend. I’m working on it, okay?  “I’ll be back when he gets here, then.” She touches my shoulder then hustles off to tend to other customers leaving me waiting for my cousin. 

“Hullo, my fertile cousin,” Fred slides into the booth beside me, forcing me to scoot over.

“Can you be quiet,” I chastise him, half-heartedly. A huge grin spreads across my face and I throw my arms around my muscled, tan-skinned, auburn haired best friend. He hugs me back and I glance at my watch just in time to see it switch from three-oh-nine to three-ten.

I laugh, “Lucky you showed up when you did, Fred,” I say into his ear as we pull apart. “A few seconds later and you’d have missed the godfather boat.”

Fred cocks an eyebrow at me, “You based your decision of who would be your child’s godfather on when I showed up?” he asks.

I smirked, “I hate waiting – as you should know.”

He rolls his eyes muttering something about impatience. “So, you hungry?” he asks as he turns to look for the barkeep.

“Starving, as always,” I groan. 

He must have caught her eye, because Madam Rosemary bustles over smiling widely. “Funny seeing you here, Mr. Weasley,” she tries for a stern voice and fails. Fred flashes his award-winning grin and I roll my eyes. “You know how it is, sometimes owls just aren’t enough.” 

“Of course; well, what can I get you two, then? I see Miss Weasley has already strayed from the normal butterbeer, so I feel I should ask.”

My face heats up – of course she would notice the small change; but I couldn’t really sip a butterbeer now, could I? Fred takes her comment in stride, “I’ll have a butterbeer though, I’m not trying to watch my weight! And a hamburger if you have it, please. What do you want, ‘Nique?”

“I’ll have a hamburger, too, please.” I said in a small voice as I tried to smile.

“I’ll have it ready in a minute!” she hurries off.

We sit in silence for a minute, “So, what’ve you been up too, Preggy?” 

“Keep your voice down, for Merlin’s sake. The whole bar’s going to hear you,” I hissed half-heartedly. The chances of being overheard in such a loud and crowded space were slim. 

He looks at me expectantly as I pick at my napkin, “Told your dad yesterday. And Uncle Ron.”

“How’d they take it?” he asks.

I shrug, “They were okay; I mean as okay as they should be. After they threatened his life for a few minutes…” Fred snorted and smiled. I debated whether I should share Uncle George’s story, but decided against it. Keeping that secret was something I needed to do, at least for now. 

“When do you find out the sex?” he asks.

I shrug again, “Sometime in the next few weeks, I think. I’m not sure.”

Fred opens his mouth to ask another question, but I stop him. “Can we just talk about your life for a minute, please? I need to pretend everything is still normal for a while.”

Fred studies me for a minute, then nods, “Nearly sent Flitwick to the grave yesterday,” he smirks.

And just like that, we’re back at Hogwarts, swapping stories about what we did and who we pranked. This is why I loved Fred, everything was so natural, easy with him. 



When I get home, I feel better than I have in a while. The week has been, overall, pretty good. I have a job, I have a few family members who don’t hate my guts and my child, and I have a bed and other such furniture for said child. Overall, pretty good. 

I throw my leftover food in the fridge for later and set some water in a kettle to boil for tea. As I go to grab the days Daily Prophet, I hear my toilet flush.

I freeze then drop the paper and draw my wand from my back pocket, “Who’s there?” I say loudly, moving so the small hallway is in full view. The bathroom door opens slowly and a tall man, with mousy brown hair and dead-looking brown eyes emerges with his hands in the air. My heart restarts and I left out a sigh of relief at the same time anger pools my mind, “What the fuck are you doing in my flat, Teddy Lupin?” I growl, not lowering my wand even an inch. 

So much for a good week.









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A/N: Sooo. I want to thank you guys again for reviewing! I love them. Everyone that reviewed is awesome, because my review numbers are falling, but it's good to know I have dedicated readers! :] Thanks, guys and gals. Haha. Please continue to review. 
over and outt.
HPsmartone32


 

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