A Stranger in His Own Home
Chapter One - The Invitation
"Mummy, look at this!"
The excited four year old tottered up to Hermione, holding a piece of parchment preciously in his hands. Hermione carefully took the parchment from her son and placed it on the table in front of her, then lifted him onto her lap. Looking over the drawing on the parchment, she smiled.
"That's beautiful, Regan. Tell me about it."
The young boy smiled proudly at his mother. Pointing to one of the figures on the parchment, he said, "That's Aunt Ginny watching Uncle Harry fly on his broom, that's Uncle Fred and Uncle George in their shop, that's Uncle Charlie with one of his dragons, and that's Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur playing with Laura,"
"And who's this in the middle?" Hermione asked, pointing to the figures in the centre of the picture.
"That's you, me, and Daddy," replied Regan.
Hermione looked from her son, to the drawing, and back to her son again. She hugged him tight and kissed the top of his auburn head. Regan was definitely his father's son. He was extremely intelligent like Hermione; that was to be expected. At the age of four he was speaking like a seven year old. But his appearance was that of a true Weasley. From the shock of red hair to the mass of freckles on his nose, there was no doubt that he was Ron's son.
"Mummy, when will I get to see daddy for real?"
As Hermione stared down into the big, bright blue eyes of her son, tears began to form in her own pools of brown.
Ron. He was a topic of conversation just on his own.
The picture Regan had drawn of his father was based on the photographs positioned around the house. They were all the young boy had to go on, as he had never seen his father in person. And nobody knew why.
Hermione always hated it when her son brought up that topic, but being so young, he did not understand why his cousin Laura got to see her daddy and he did not get to see his. So Hermione always had to give an answer; even though that was the unanswered question that constantly swam around her mind.
Drawing in a deep breath, she said, "I don't know, Regan. I don't know where Daddy is, or what he is doing." Or if he's even alive, she thought to herself.
"I wish he'd tell you," Regan said impatiently, "Then I could see him."
"I wish he would too," Hermione whispered, on the verge of tears. She thought about Ron every second of every day; where he might be, what he might be doing … She kept telling herself that he was at work and that he would be home soon. However, after four years, it became hard to keep believing that. She had had to build a life for Regan and herself without Ron, working full days during the week to earn enough money to keep them fed and clothed. Only rarely did she have money to spare on a treat for her son. When she did, she made sure it was a good one. Recently she had come home with a brand new toy broomstick, and Regan had been flying it around the backyard every chance he got. Harry, Fred, George, Charlie and Bill had even started teaching him how to play Quidditch. The smile on her son's face had been worth the tight budget for the next month. It had also brought a tear to her eye, as teaching Regan Quidditch would have been something Ron would have wanted to do. Hermione had wasted no time in wiping away the tear, though. Ron was not there. He could not teach Regan Quidditch, and she needed to get over it. Ron had missed so many things and would miss a heap more. In reality, it seemed as though Ron would never return. Reluctantly, Hermione and the rest of the Weasleys had accepted this and moved on. Ron would always stay in their hearts and in their minds, but his memory was not as painful anymore. Their family had got through it together, making them stronger as a group and as individuals.
Regan picked up his drawing and looked at it before turning to his mother.
"I'm going to put this one with the other drawings I did for Daddy. Then I'm going to do a hundred more so that he has lots to look at when I see him. Will he like them, Mummy?"
Hermione gave him another kiss and a squeeze, and smiled down at him.
"I'm sure he'll love them," she replied, her heart aching at the truth that Ron would never see them. Regan climbed down off Hermione's lap and a huge grin spread across his face.
"Then Daddy can draw pictures with me like you do! And he can play Kiditch with me and Uncle Harry and Uncle Fred and Uncle George and Uncle Bill and Uncle Charlie! Does daddy like Kiditch?" Regan quizzed.
Hermione nodded. "It's his favourite thing."
"I have to practise a lot so I can be really good when I see him."
Hermione almost broke down on the spot.
"Well, how about we have some lunch, and then go visit Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny. I'm sure Uncle Harry will help you practise," she suggested, blinking back her tears. Regan jumped up and down on the spot excitedly, causing Hermione to smile. "Go tidy up your crayons and wash your hands for lunch."
"Okay, Mummy!" Regan said, hugging his mother before running into the living room.
Once Regan was gone, Hermione took a moment to sort herself out. She cursed herself for almost losing it in front of Regan. She needed to be strong for him, be positive. She knew it was wrong to keep his hopes up like that, but knowing the truth would devastate him. And she could not do that to him. He was so young and innocent.
'But so are you,' a voice in her mind said.
'It's not the same,' another voice replied, 'you're an adult, he's a child.'
'You're only an adult because you have to be. When you're around your family and Regan you have to be an adult. But when you're alone ...' spoke the first voice, 'when you're alone, you're just a child.'
'You're protecting Regan from being hurt, but is it only for him? Are you sure you're not protecting yourself too? You haven't really accepted the fact that he's not coming back. It's been over four years, Hermione. You need to move on.'
"Stop it! Just stop! Please," Hermione let out a deep breath and closed her eyes. "I know he's not coming back, but I can't do that to Regan. Not yet."
The voices didn't reply. Hermione took a few more deep breaths before rising from her chair at the table and walking into the kitchen.
Ginny appeared in the doorway of the kitchen, just as Hermione had started preparing lunch for herself and Regan. Placing her knife down on the cutting board, Hermione let the arms of her sister-in-law envelop her in a hug.
"Ginny! How are you?"
"I'm fine. How are you?"
"Okay. But I'm getting better," replied Hermione.
Ginny smiled. "That's good to hear. And Regan?"
"Full of energy, as always. Definitely takes after Ron, that boy. So what brings you here?"
Ginny leaned back against the kitchen bench as Hermione returned to her preparations.
"Actually, I came to see if you wanted to come to dinner at Godric's Hollow tonight. The rest of the family are going to be there."
"That sounds lovely. Regan and I were thinking of paying you a visit later on," said Hermione. At that moment, Regan came skipping into the kitchen.
"Aunt Ginny!" he cried, running over to his aunt and throwing himself around her. Ginny laughed and lifted him into a hug.
"Hello, Regan! You seem very excited today."
"Mummy said we could go to your house after lunch and Uncle Harry could help me practice Kiditch so I'm really good when I see Daddy!" the young boy told Ginny happily.
"That sounds great, Regan!" Ginny exclaimed, smiling at her nephew. "Hey, I'll tell you what - If you go find your broom and pack your bag, you can stay over my house tonight. Would you like that?"
"Yes!" Regan cried, hugging Ginny tightly.
"Okay then, off you go," laughed Ginny, placing Regan down. He tore out of the kitchen and up to his bedroom, laughing as though all of his dreams had come true.
Ginny turned to Hermione and looked at her sternly.
"I know, Ginny, don't start with me…"
"Hermione, you can't keep doing this to him or yourself! Telling Regan his father is going to come home? You and I both know that isn't going to happen! Ron is gone, Hermione. He isn't going to come back. Regan will find out the truth somehow, and it will hurt him more than you telling him now will. You can't keep lying to him!"
"I know!" Hermione cried, slamming her knife down on the bench. "I know. I just … I can't work up the courage to tell him. His face brightens up so much when he talks about Ron, Ginny. You saw him just now. He wants to show Ron how good he is at Quidditch. He has a box full of drawings saved away for when Ron comes home. He only has photos, Ginny! Photos! Of his father, for goodness sake! He deserves more than that! He deserves to see him in person, be hugged by him, play Quidditch with him, be taught how to play chess by him!" Tears were now rolling down Hermione's face. "He deserves to have his father in his life."
"We all deserve to have Ron in our lives, but we can't! He's gone, Hermione, and there's nothing we can do."
"You don't know how hard it is! You try looking into his smiling face and telling him he'll never see his father. It will shatter him, Ginny. I can't do it. Not now."
Ginny wrapped her arms around Hermione and hugged her tight.
"You have to tell him before it's too late. You owe it to him."
"I know. I just – not yet."
Ginny didn't say anything else on the matter; she just frowned deeply.
"Well, I have some errands to do before I go home, and Harry said we'd go into London this afternoon to get some things for dinner. So I'll see you tonight?"
Hermione nodded in reply.
"All right. Tell Regan I said goodbye."
Ginny began to walk away when Hermione stopped her.
The red-head turned around. "Yes?"
"I will tell him."
"I know you will."
The two sisters exchanged a small smile before Ginny disapparated. Hermione returned to her and Regan's lunch, slicing the sandwiches and placing them on two separate plates. Walking out to the table, she found Regan already there, sitting in his seat. What she didn't expect to find was someone sitting there with him.
Okay, so this is a story I started writing when I was...17? So it was a while ago. And back then, I thought my chapters were long. LOL. Seriously, 1500 words was a lot for 17 year old me!
Anyway, this story has been on hiatus for almost 4 years, due to travel and work and EXTREME writer's block. But I am hoping to get back into my PotterFic frame of mind and finish this by year's end. Fingers crossed. Haha.
Let me know what you think! It's been a long time since I've had anyone read it. =p