Ron Weasley sat kicked back on the sofa in his living room, his feet propped up on the coffee table, his eyes lazily beginning to close. On such a warm, peaceful day, it was hard to resist the desire to tip his head back and indulge in a nap. He couldn't let temptation overrun him today, however, for he was meant to be keeping an eye on the two children who sat in the floor beside the couch.
Teddy Lupin and Molly Weasley were up on their knees, leaning over the side of coffee table without Ron's feet on it. Crayons were scattered amongst a mess of clean and drawn upon papers. Teddy, who was eight at the time, was taking great joy in explaining to the six-year-old Molly how she should draw various objects around the room.
"Ron?" Hermione's voice shot across the living room, pulling her husband from the verge of sleep. "Why don't you get up and get your blood flowing? That'll wake you up. I need your help when the others get here." She pulled her bushy hair back into a ponytail and smiled down at the coloring kids.
Ron nodded obediently and got to his feet, shaking himself out in an effort to wake up. "When's mum supposed to get here?"
"She isn't coming," Hermione answered with a curt nod. "She owled me this morning. She's got the flu. Caught it from Ginny, I'm sure," she continued. "It'll be fine," she quickly said in response to Ron's horrified expression. "It's five kids. And Teddy here is old enough, he can help us out. Can't you Teddy?" The woman directed her question towards the young boy.
Teddy looked up from his art work and nodded eagerly, his hair flushing with sky blue. "I can be a big help, Aunt Hermione," he said, his grin growing wide and sneaky.
"See," Hermione pointed out as though Teddy had just made her case. She laid her hands on her husband's shoulders and gave him a comforting smile. "It'll be good practice," she whispered, moving one hand to lay gently over her stomach. "We'll be fine. I've got a chart."
"Chart?" Ron asked, his eyebrows raised.
Hermione nodded and hurried over to the kitchen table where she retrieved a clipboard. "I have each of the kids blocked off for certain activities." She shoved the chart under the man's nose and began pointing out the time blocks and what the color coding meant. "Teddy is in blue. He gets to start off with coloring and Dominique, she's in red, I ha-"
"Hermione, they're only gonna be here for three hours," Ron interrupted. "You have like...six pages of things written here." He snagged the clipboard from his wife and shook his head as he perused over it.
Hermione was on the verge of responding when the sound of the chiming doorbell interrupted her. A large smile crossed the woman's face as she rushed to the door and pulled it open to reveal Angelina with a squirming, three-year-old Fred in her arms.
"He's a little wound up," Angelina told her sister-in-law as she put Fred on his feet and watched him bolt into the house. "George left out a bag of fizzing whizbees and the little guy got into them," she said with a sigh. "Sorry," she added, giving Hermione an apologetic smile.
"Not a big deal, we'll get that energy worked off of him," Hermione insisted. "I have a full fifteen minutes of outside time scheduled off." She looked rather proud of this statement.
"Schedule?" Angelina asked, her eyebrows raised.
"Who 'as a schedule?" asked Fleur as she joined the other two women at the door. Her hands were filled with the tiny hands of a six-year-old Victoire and a four-year-old Dominique.
"Hermione has a schedule," Angelina answered with a slightly amused tone.
Fleur stared dumbstruck at Angelina as the tiny red-headed girl successfully freed her hand from her mother's clutches. Dominique dashed into the house, screaming something that sounded like 'Crayons' while Victoire clung tight to her mother's leg. "'Ermione 'as...a schedule?" the blonde woman repeated in disbelief.
Hermione nodded and smiled down at Victoire before turning her attention back to the two women. "Is a one-fifteen nap time alright by both of your schedules?" she asked, wishing that she had her clipboard with her. "Ron! Bring me the board," she called back into the house. "Audrey already said that one-fifteen fit fine for Molly," she continued.
"That is fine!" Fleur called out, interrupting Angelina. "One-fifteen is perfect for zee girls. Zee you at two," she added, giving Hermione a bright smile and pushing Victoire towards the woman. "That iz perfect for Fred as well, right?" she asked of Angelina, giving the other woman a look that screamed 'Say yes and let's go'.
"That's perfect!" Angelina consented before following Fleur back down the walkway.
"Have a good afternoon!" Hermione called after the two women with a wave. "Are you ready for a day of fun with your Aunt and Uncle?" she asked, looking down at Victoire.
The tiny blonde folded her arms, stuck up her nose and brushed past Hermione without a word, though the woman was fairly sure she could hear 'je ne vais pas prendre un pan' as Victoire rounded the corner into the living room.
"What did she just say?" Ron asked as he passed Victoire on his way to give Hermione the clipboard.
"No idea," Hermione answered. She took the board from her husband and rewarded him with a kiss. The affection was instantly halted by a loud shriek.
Ron and Hermione rushed into the living room, their eyes immediately falling onto the cause of aforementioned shriek. Victoire and Molly were rolling in the floor, both crying out and pulling at each other's hair, both of their hands clutched around what seemed to be a sky blue crayon. Ron dove towards the rolling blur of blonde and red, desperately trying to get a hold of one of the girls to break them apart.
"Victoire, Molly! You two stop that, this instant," Hermione snapped to no success. "I mean it girls. Right now!" Again, her words fell onto deaf ears.
Ron sighed heavily and threw his arms up in defeat as he couldn't get a firm grip on either girl. "Make them stop, Hermione," he pleaded with his wife, who was still standing firm.
"Uncle Won? I wanna go outside," Fred called up to the man as he tugged on his shirt hem. "Please," he added, flashing Ron an overly innocent and adorable smile.
"Outside time isn't scheduled until after nap time," Hermione said simply before turning her attention back to the fighting girls. "Victoire, Molly, either you two stop fighting right now, or I will put all the crayons away," she threatened.
At the sound of Hermione's threat, which had no effect on either fighting child, Dominique let out a loud, pained cry. Tears flooded the red-head's face as she desperately began to gather up every crayon in sight and shove them down the front of her shirt.
"Stop it, Domi! I was using that one," Teddy growled as he started sifting through the crayons falling out of the bottom of Dominique's un-tucked shirt. "Where is it? Where's the green one, Domi?" he demanded in an angry tone, his hair flushing a bright orange.
"Whoa, whoa!" Ron cried out, not even attempting to hide the panic in his voice. He bolted over to Teddy, his leg knocking into Fred accidentally and causing the boy to fall back onto his rear end. "Teddy, calm down, I'll find the green one," the man pleaded as his wife scooped Fred into her arms.
"It's alright, Freddie," Hermione cooed to the boy, giving him a sad face to keep him from crying. Fred beamed a smile at the woman and she returned it.
The fight between Molly and Victoire was growing louder and more violent by the moment. The moment a rather inappropriate word escaped form Molly's mouth, Ron stood up and pulled his wand. He pointed it towards the girls and sent up a simple shielding spell, knocking them apart.
"Ron! You can't use magic on the kids," Hermione scolded.
"Why not? Mum used to do it to us all the time," Ron argued. "Either that, or she'd bribe us to stop with biscuits."
"Biscuits!" came the echoed cry of all five children.
"No, no, there will be no biscuits," Hermione said softly, shaking her head. "You haven't even eaten lunch yet and I'm not going to sugar you up." She turned to Fred and grinned at the boy. "Especially you, Mister fizzing whizbee."
"I want a biscuit!"
"I want a biscuit too!"
"If they get biscuits, then I want a biscuit!"
"No one is getting a biscuit," Hermione repeated. "Right now...it is time for a book." She placed Fred back onto the floor and headed over to the bookcase. "Oldest kids get to choose first. Which one do you wanna read, Teddy?" she asked, holding out a selection of children's books, both Muggle and magical, to the still red-haired child.
"I. Want. A. Biscut." Teddy narrowed his eyes at Hermione and stamped his foot.
"No biscuits. We're having a book."
"Hermione, it's just one biscuit and if it'll settle them all down..." Ron trailed off, ducking his head at the scowl he received from his wife.
Five sets of eager and pleading eyes all stared up at Hermione, making the woman squirm with guilt. "If I let you all have one biscuit, do you promise to stick to the schedule?" she asked, folding her arms over her chest and staring down at the gathering children. When each of them gave their own versions of a 'yes', she sighed and headed into the kitchen.
There was pushing and a mad scramble to be the first into the kitchen. Hermione pulled a box of oatmeal biscuits from the cabinet and passed out a single one to each child. No sooner than it hit her tongue, Dominique spat her bite of biscuit into the floor and stared up at Hermione as though the woman had tried to poison her. The young girl held out the biscuit with a look of disgust on her face and Victoire was quick to snatch it. The blonde crammed her sister's treat into her mouth before either adult could stop it.
Hermione huffed and dropped the oatmeal biscuits onto the counter. "Ron, take Dominique into the bedroom and give her one of the c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e-c-h-i-p ones from my bedside table," the woman asked.
With Fred's hand seemingly glued to Ron's shirt hem, the man took both Fred and Dominique off to get the girl a new treat. Hermione attended to the spit biscuit that now lay thick on her kitchen floor and waited for the other three children to finish theirs.
As Teddy finished the last of his biscuit, his light blue eyes slowly made their way up towards the abandoned box. His hair streaked back into a blue, making both girls giggle at him. With a sly smile on his face, the boy leaned over and pulled Molly close enough to whisper into her ear. Molly's brown eyes widened with glee and the girl bolted into the living room.
"Molly, don't run in the ho-" Hermione's words were cut off by the sound of smashing glass and a sharp scream. The woman tore into the room and desperately searched for the cause of the scream. A picture frame lay flat on the floor, shards of glass scattered around it, but Molly was nowhere to be seen.
Ron tripped into the living room, both Dominique and Fred hanging from his arms, his eyes wide and worried. "What happened?" he asked in an exhausted breath.
Hermione shrugged and waved her wand at the picture frame to repair it. "Molly!" she called out as she bent over to retrieve the fallen frame. "Molly, are you alright?" she continued, wondering where the child had run off to. She carefully placed the photo on the top shelf of the bookcase to ensure that it was not broken again, then went on her search for the small child. "Molly, I need to know if you're okay." She continued to call for the child as she searched the dining room, both bedrooms and the laundry room. "Molly, I mean it, where are you?" she snapped as she finally made her way back into the kitchen.
Molly, Teddy and Victoire all looked up at Hermione as she entered the kitchen with a worried look on her face. The three children sat in the floor, the box of oatmeal biscuit ripped open and crumbs covering their laps. Each bore a guilty face and a mouthful of sweets.
The fact that she had been outsmarted by an eight-year-old and his two six-year-old accomplices did not sit well with Hermione. Her eyes narrowed and tiny wrinkles formed at the corners. To make matters worse, Ron chose that moment to appear in the doorway of the kitchen and start laughing hysterically at the scene before him. The man did not cower in his wife's glare, but rather gathered up the remnants of the treats and pushed the kids into the living room for their promised book time.
"I want you to all pick a book," Hermione called out after the children before getting her whisk broom to clean the floor of its crumbs. "Can you watch them with the books, Ron? I'll make their lunch," the woman sighed before meekly adding, "If they're even hungry now," in a bitter tone. She followed her husband into the living room and cleared her throat loudly. "Before I make them...does anyone not like ham and cheese on their sandwich?" she asked, looking at each of the five faces for signs of disgust. Wholly confident that the children would be satisfied, Hermione prepared the lunches.
The table was set with five plates, all bearing a ham and cheese sandwich neatly cut into four triangles. Sliced red and green apples laid to the side of the sandwiches, forming a nice little flower design. Each plate had a glass of milk resting beside it, with the exception of Fred's, whose drink still needed a sippy cup. Hermione stared down at her work with a rather proud look on her face as she added Ron's and her own plates to the ends of table.
"Lunch is ready!" she called out as she took her seat and waited for the others. "No running!" she added for safe measure.
Ron led the children into the kitchen, Fred still attached to his shirt hem. He placed the boy into the proper seat and helped as Dominique scrambled up into her own. There was a small scuffle between Victoire and Molly as to who was going to sit beside Teddy, but Hermione quickly ended it by giving up her own seat to the boy so that both girls could have what they wanted.
Teddy's hair went green and his face twisted in distaste as he flipped open his sandwich and started pulling the cheese from it.
"You said that ham and cheese was fine," Hermione pointed out, pursing her lips at the annihilation of her hard work.
"This is yellow cheese," Teddy pointed out, not even attempting to restrain the snarky tone in his voice. "I only eat white cheese." The boy flicked his hand, sending one of the offensive cheese triangles flying across the table and onto the very edge of Dominique's plate.
At once, the tiny red-head's eyes filled with tears and she pointed at the invading cheese as though it were attacking her. "Get it off!" she cried out.
Before anyone had a chance to do what Dominique had requested, the girl's budding magic took care of it. The cheese leapt from her plate and plopped itself directly on top of Fred's hand. And, this time, it was Fred's turn to burst into tears as he waved his hand in a desperate attempt to rid it of the sticking cheese. Ron leapt from his chair and pulled the yellow triangle from the little boy's hand, but it was not enough to make the tears stop.
"Fred, it's gone, look, look at your hand, the cheese is gone," Ron pleaded with the child. "If...if you stop crying, I'll let you jump on the bed again after lunch." A pleased smile crossed the man's face as his promise silenced the child.
"You shouldn't bribe them," Hermione pointed out as her husband returned to his seat.
"You gave them cookies," Ron retorted before turning his attention to his lunch.
"Aunt Hermione, I can't eat this," Molly said as she pushed her plate away.
Hermione's mouth dropped open and she stared at the girl with confusion. "Why can't you eat it?"
"It has ham. I can't eat ham. I'm a vegentaran."
"You mean vegetarian?" Hermione asked. "Why didn't you tell me that before?"
"I forgot," Molly answered sheepishly.
"You aren't a vegetarian," Victoire snapped, narrowing her eyes at the other little girl and flinging one of her apple slices at her. "You're making it up."
"I am not!" Molly yelled as she return fired the assault apple slice.
"Do not throw your food!" Hermione ordered as she snatched the apple slice from Victoire's hand. "Your mother didn't say that you were a vegetarian," she continued.
"She doesn't know. I just became one now."
"Eat your sandwich," Hermione groaned.
"I don't like ham!" yelled Molly, her tongue jutting out at the woman.
"Then you'll not eat anything. How about that?" Hermione responded with a stern face. "You eat your sandwich or you'll not have outside time at all. You'll have to nap twice as long as everyone else."
"Je ne vais pas prendre un pan," Victoire muttered, her shoulders wiggling with arrogance and her nose raising into the air.
"What did you just say, young lady?" Hermione snapped at the blonde girl.
"I said...I am not taking a nap," Victoire answered as she thumped one of her apple slices off her plate.
"Oh, you're taking a nap."
When Victoire's head began to shake in defiance, Hermione huffed. "That's it. No outside time for any of you. Except Fred and Dominique. They get to go outside while the rest of you stay in and...read a dictionary," she said, ignoring the snigger that emerged from her husband.
"I didn't do anything!" Teddy yelled out, angry that he had just been punished without having argued.
"Oh? And I suppose that you had nothing to do with the biscuit incident earlier, then?"
"Oh yeah," Teddy laughed, a devilish smile taking over the boy's face.
As lunch wound down, Hermione was beginning to think that things were turning for the better. The children were all eating quietly and none of them seemed to be concocting schemes of any sort, though she did keep her eyes on Teddy's hair for any sign of mischief brewing.
In an instant, the precarious calm shattered over the table as Dominique's hand knocked into the side of her milk glass. There was a shriek from the tiny red-head at her mistake, followed by a rather snide French insult from her sister. Teddy stood up in his chair and began to point at the expanding mess as though Hermione and Ron were unaware of it. Molly, who was sitting directly beside Dominique, shouted yet another word that a six-year-old girl should not know as the milk dribbled into her lap.
"Molly, watch your mouth," Hermione said with an attempted calm tone as she pointed her wand towards the milk. The woman vanished the mess and breathed a sigh of relief as the children all seemed to be calming down again, until -
"Again!" Dominique cried out, reaching over and knocking Molly's glass of milk over.
"Domi!" Both Teddy and Molly chastised in unison.
"I think it's nap time!" Hermione called out, once again vanishing the mess from her kitchen table. "Teddy, go help your Uncle set up the blankets."
Teddy's hair flushed orange and his eyes narrowed, but the boy got out of his seat and sulked into the living room to do as Hermione had asked. He grudgingly helped Ron spread out a number of blankets and pillows before collapsing down onto the corner of one. "I don't wanna nap," he muttered towards Ron, who merely shrugged at him. "I'm eight, I shouldn't have to nap."
"I'm nearly twenty-six and I need naps," Ron pointed out with a grin, though Teddy did not find his comparison amusing. "Look, kid, Hermione worked really hard on planning today. She bought crayons and made this...this schedule...thing and she is trying to make you all happy, so how about you cut her a break and take a dang nap?" he snapped, his voice full of challenge.
When Teddy raised his eyebrows to meet the man's challenge, Ron rolled his eyes and sighed. "I'll give you a full bag of Red Vines if you behave yourself and help your aunt for the rest of the day."
A bright smile flashed across Teddy's face and the boy nodded excitedly. "I'll help, I swear!" the boy cried out as he got to his feet and rushed into the kitchen.
Hermione gasped sharply as Teddy came barreling into the room. "Don't run in the h-"
"Sorry!" Teddy interrupted. "I was just eager to help," he continued before prying Fred's fingers off a soggy napkin. "I'll take Fred and put him down." The older boy pulled the younger from his seat and led him by the hand back into the living room. "See, I'm helping," he whispered to Ron with a proud grin as he forced Fred down onto a pillow.
"That's great...just don't tell Hermione why, okay?" Ron asked carefully. He breathed a sigh of relief when the boy nodded, then helped out his wife as they put the other children down for a nap.
With the five children all laying down, Hermione and Ron collapsed onto the sofa. Ron glanced over the faces of each child, instantly knowing that Victoire and Teddy were only pretending to be asleep. With Teddy's allegiance won, the man chose to keep his eyes on Victoire, just in case. He smiled as he felt his wife lean into his arms. He knew the pregnancy was already wearing on her energy, and her overtaxed work schedule wasn't doing anything to help. He cuddled the woman closer and kissed the top of her head as she too drifted to sleep.
Ron would swear to this day that he did not close his eyes. He didn't remember closing his eyes, that was for certain. Despite the man's determination to watch the napping children, he was pulled from an unintentional sleep by Teddy's small hands.
"Uncle Ron," whispered Teddy, his hair black with worry. "I told her not to, but she wouldn't listen."
Ron's eyes grew wide with all the possibilities of what Teddy's words could have meant. He carefully slid his wife's sleeping form onto the couch and allowed Teddy to lead him into the kitchen. A shocked, shuddering gasp escaped from Ron's mouth as he learned exactly what his nap had resulted in.
Victoire Weasley sat up on the kitchen counter, a glass of milk in one hand and a chocolate chip biscuit in the other. The refrigerator door was still propped open and an overturned gallon jug of milk was pouring its contents onto the tile.
Ron had never drawn his wand so fast in his life. The milk was quickly vanished and the blonde girl was soon rid of both her treats. The man didn't have words to express how disappointed he was with Victoire, but more so with himself for letting down his guard.
"Which one of you did it?" came Hermione's voice calling loudly from the other room.
It wasn't until that moment that Ron took into account what flavor of biscuit Victoire was holding. He knew it well. It was from the package of biscuits that Hermione kept on her bedside table. "You're in trouble," he told the young girl with an assured tone. "You're in big trouble," he added.
"I told her not to," Teddy pointed out from beside his uncle. "I did. And I came told you, so I was still helpful, right?"
Ron bent over and seized the boy's chin. "Open your mouth," he ordered. When Teddy complied, the man gave the boy a quick sniff. Sure that he smelt no trace of chocolate on the boy's breath, he nodded. "Yes, you were still helpful. Now shush," he told the boy in a whisper as Hermione's form appeared in the doorway.
"Is Vi- Never mind," Hermione started as she came into the room. "You won't believe what Dominique did," she continued.
Teddy, Victoire and Ron exchanged confused looks, as they were all certain the yell had been in discovery of the missing biscuits. "Wh-what did Dominique do?" Ron asked tentatively.
"Purple crayon. All. Over. The. Wall." Hermione sighed heavily and shook her head, smoothing one hand back over her ponytail. "I think she ate part of it too," the woman continued with a heavy sigh. "There were little specks of purple -" she pointed to her teeth and smiled exaggeratedly "- all over her teeth." She gave a shudder at the thought of tasting crayon and grimaced.
"Uncle Won," came Fred's sleepy voice from the doorway of the kitchen. "Can I go outside?" he asked quietly, rubbing at his eyes.
"Yes," Hermione answered instantly.
"Can I go outside too?" Teddy asked, pulling on Ron's arm and giving him a knowing look. "I'll help watch Fred and Domi," he added with a big grin.
Ron nodded and pushed Teddy towards Hermione. "Yes, you can," he answered. "You, Fred and Domi go outside with Aunt Hermione and I'll stay in and watch Victoire and Molly."
"I wanna go outside!" screeched Victoire as she jumped down from the counter.
A hearty laugh burst out of Ron's chest at the blonde's words. "Absolutely not," he laughed, pointing into the living room and snapping his fingers. "Not after what you did," he clarified. When his wife gave him a confused look, he waved the woman off. "Don't worry about it," he said before following Victoire into the living room.
Half an hour passed, in which Victoire and Molly proceeded to fight over a tea set, fight over a crayon and fight over something that Ron couldn't even figure out. The man was near the point of pulling out his hair, teetering on the edge of a body bind curse, when the doorbell rang out.
"Thank God!" Ron yelled as he jumped up form the floor, knocking over the tiny tea set as he rushed to the door. He wrenched open the door and pulled his brother, Percy, into a tight hug. "I've never been so happy to see you," he breathed out with a giddy laugh.
Percy raised his eyebrows and made a hmpf sound as his daughter tackled into his legs. "You ready to go home?" he asked, looking down at the red-head. At Ron's eager nod, Percy snorted a laugh. "Have you been giving Uncle Ron a hard time?" he asked, passing a glance between the girl and his brother.
"Just take her and go," Ron snapped before throwing the door closed and heading back into the living room.
"Who was that?" Hermione asked as her, Dominique and Teddy walked back into the room. She carried Fred in her arms, two patches of dirt and blood on the little boy's knees. "Molly?"
"She's gone. It was Percy," Ron answered with a relieved groan. "Did you help out?" he asked Teddy the moment Hermione took Fred into the bathroom to clean him up.
Teddy nodded enthusiastically and flopped himself down onto the couch. Over the next fifteen minutes, Victoire, Dominique and Fred were taken away by their mothers, leaving only Teddy to remain with Ron and Hermione.
"When's Grandma getting here?" Teddy whined, growing bored at his new solitude.
Ron smiled over at the boy and held up one finger, signaling him to wait. He hurried off into the bedroom and returned soon after with the full bag of promised Red Vines. He tossed the package into the boy's lap and smirked at him. "There, you earned those," he said quietly. "Hermione told me what a big help you were outside."
"I let him fall," Teddy muttered into his lap as he pulled open the package. "I didn't mean to. He was running too fast."
"I know," Ron replied as he held his hand out and received a candy.
"What's going on in here?" Hermione asked, folding her arms over her chest and staring at the two with expecting eyes. "Ron...did you bribe that boy?" When the man nodded sheepishly, Hermione smiled a bit and let her arms fall to her sides. "Thank you."
A Note From the Author: Thank you for reading. :D -Jenna