Summary: Post-DH moments of family, growth, healing, and change, by Ron, Hermione, Rose, and Hugo. A different take on "the kids learn about the war" story. A one-shot. RHr, Rose/Scorpius.
AN (1): Recommended listening: "Tonight" by Likke Li.
AN (2): First, the title of this piece is from one of my favorite paintings ever, called (you guessed it!) "If All the World Were Paper and All the Water Sink" by Jess [Burgess Franklin Collins], which I saw again at de Young this weekend when I went to the Picasso exhibit (I really do consider myself a lucky girl, believe me!). It's an incredible painting, and everyone should look at it, haha, but definitely read some of the art history behind it, as well, because it's super complex.
Anyways, this piece also plays a lot with different form, and it's probably the most contemporary HP piece I've written. So... please, please let me know what you think! Enjoy :D
If All the World Were Paper and All the Water Sink
Or in promise. Or in regret. Or in happy hope. Or in some secret pact that involved a little bit of everything.
- Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs
I. Hermione Granger Weasley: Wife, Mother, Aunt, Daughter, Sister, Friend, House-Elf Activist, Fan of Contemporary Literature and Ballet, Chocolate Frog Card Number Seven, Current Minister of Magic.
It starts the same way as always, every single time, because things really never did change as much as anyone would like to believe.
Someone's breath catches, even subconsciously, because they've never seen anything quite as horrible as it. And, honestly, neither have I. I mean, I have (much worse), but not a scar.
The first time I have to fight through an explanation is with Fleur, though I was pretty much unconscious and sufficiently mumbled something along the lines of, "My... arm... hurts..." and then she'd taken care of it without another word. She told me a few years later that that night she had curled up in Bill's arms and sobbed, that she'd never cried harder.
"Eet waz..." she stops, starts again, "you do not need me to tell you, I am sure."
And I don't. I really don't.
When I told Molly, I could barely breathe. Or talk, or anything, really, because everything seemed to have happened much too fast. I knew that they'd have to see it sometime, and I wanted it to be from me, not from a glimpse or anyone else.
Arthur was with Ron in the garden, explaining it, too. Ginny stood at the doorway, hand over her mouth and tears streaming down her face. I could hear Harry screaming angrily outside, at the sky, at Bellatrix, at life, I really didn't know.
"Oh Hermione," Molly sobbed, taking me into her arms. I hugged her back with all the strength I had left.
"I know," I said, feeling Ginny's thin arms encircling my waist too and her tears in my hair. "I know."
The second hardest is my parents. Because I have to explain everything - everything - and, even though I don't have kids then and don't planning on having them for a long time, the idea of my child having forever evidence of torture (torture) because of me is almost worse than the nightmares themselves.
Head Girl is easier than I'd expected. A second year sees it first, when she drops her books all over everywhere, and it's my job to help her pick them up. It's a warm, sunny day so my sleeves are rolled up more than usual, and I bend down and her dark eyes go wide.
Ginny senses her shock before I do, and crouches down next to both of us.
"She's a bloody genius, you know that, right?"
The little girl - Alice, which reminds me always of Neville's parents - nods. "Y-yeah, she's H-Hermione."
Ginny nods solemnly. "Very bad people tried to stop her. Do you understand what she did for you?"
Alice swallows, then flings her arms around my neck, which makes tears burn against my eyes because it reminds me of me.
Ginny smiles over Alice's shoulder, and I return it, but only because maybe now somehow things really are different.
Draco, I see him at the Ministry, exactly one year, five months, seven days, and twenty-one hours after it happened. And thirty-six seconds, but that's really not important.
He nods solemnly, his eyes downcast.
We haven't talked at all because Ron would rip his head off (which I find extremely annoying and wonderfully endearing, all at once), and we really hadn't seen each other.
"I'm sorry," he blurts, staring at my scar.
I challenge him, I meet his eyes, though I don't move. Because I can. Because I am still here and I am bigger than the awful prejudices against my skin.
"I'm sorry, too, Draco."
His eyes fill with tears at the use of his first name, and he hurries out of the elevator even though we both know this isn't his floor, so I don't see him cry.
It doesn't matter, though, if I see him or not - it counts.
We have to tell our children, before Rose goes to Hogwarts, because she has to hear it from us. I'd known it was coming for a while, since it happened, really (or at least I'd hoped), but it's still on of the hardest things I've ever done.
I find Rose crying later that night.
"How could they do something like that to, to you?" she weeps. She reminds me of her father in the best way possible.
"I don't know." It's the only thing I can offer because I've already lied for too long.
"You changed everything, though, didn't you?" She asks this after a long time, after we have no more tears to cry.
And it's there. Because it's true.
"Yeah," I say. "Yeah, Rosie, I did."
II. Weasley, Rose: Daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, ginger, currently with short hair (which she enjoys very much, no matter what her father or younger cousins say: she does not look like a boy), lover of chocolate frogs (especially Numbers Seven and Eight), Quidditch, and contemporary Muggle art (specifically in London), Head Girl at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
It's weird because people know them as super cool war heros, not as your parents.
a. Your father, Ronald Bilius (ew) Weasley, sang you to sleep when you were little with the Sorting Hat song he and your mother heard their first year at Hogwarts.
b. Your father, the head of the Auror department, cried like a baby when you got your letter.
a. Your mother, Hermione Jean Weasley (a mouthful that she doesn't go by, ever), laughs at Muggle commercials on Muggle TV.
b. Your mother, the bloody Minister of Magic, the Minister of Bloody Magic, can't understand how to use a Muggle computer. Genius or not (which Scorpius and Hugo claim you are), at least you can manage that.
Your father and your mother, they play "extreme Scrabble", which involves an insane amount of very complicated magic and running all over your house, which also leads to your mother giggling and your father kissing the side of her neck and then you and your brother make sure to go over to your Uncle and Aunt's for the night.
When your father and your mother meet your boyfriend, the one and only Scorpius Malfoy, they act relatively composed. Of course, you expected it of your mother, because she's the kindest, most forgiving person you've ever met.
Your father, although he got a little red, smiled at your mother and whispered something in her ear.
You think it's something like, "This is a different world because of you."
Or at least you hope that's what he said, because she smiled your favorite humble smile. It's true, after all.
When you go with your mother and father and brother to the Malfoy's for dinner one night, your mother shudders when you pass by the huge drawing room and all of a sudden you realize that your mother and your father really are war heroes: Your mother has more scars than anyone you've ever known, and your father has those same scars reflected in his eyes.
Scorpius seems to realize this, too, when he glances at the large rug that may or may not be covering stains from a pool of your mother's blood spilled years ago for this world you live in now, and his eyes are so honest to your parents that you're sure he's forever.
"Thank you for changing our lives," he says.
Your mother takes in the pair of you: Scorpius with his father's hair and his mother's eyes, and then your hands, intertwined, and then her eyes land on you, with your bright red curls cropped close to your scalp and your freckles, and she smiles. She leans into your father's shoulder and he kisses the side of her head.
"Thank you," she whispers, "for letting them change."
III. HUGO WEASLEY. SON, BROTHER, COUSIN, FRIEND, GINGER, TERRIFIED OF AND COMPLETELY IN LOVE (BUT IF YOU TELL ANYONE THIS I WILL KILL YOU, ROSE) WITH EMERSON SCAMANDER, YES, LUNA'S NEICE, CHUDLEY CANNONS FANATIC, GRYFFINDOR BEATER, MUGGLE FILM (AGAIN, SECRET, ROSE!) CONNOISSEUR, ALWAYS HUNGRY, GRYFFINDOR PREFECT.
You know that moment when you cry in front of your mum even though you don't want to, because you're eight but it's just so horrible?
And then Mum just takes me in her arms and says, Hugo, my son, I fought for you.
And I hug her as tightly as possible and try to be as strong and comforting as Dad is when Mum starts crying a lot, but I'm not nearly as big.
Rose always knows what to say and Dad's strong and sometimes I feel very useless, but I mumble, I love you, Mum. I love you, over and over again, and she brushes aside my hair from my forehead and kisses me there, which I love but will not admit to anyone except Rose.
I love you too, Hugo, Mum goes, and it's enough. It's always been enough.
You know that moment when you realize your dad's really proud of you and it makes you want to cry again?
When I play my first game for Gryffindor (and we win!), Dad takes me, just me and him, to the next Chudley Cannons game. Mum and Rose are spending the day in London, going to see some of Picasso's paintings, so I get to spend the entire day with Dad.
He seems to know everyone and he's so happy with them all, shaking hands and laughing, and I feel so lucky that he's my Dad.
Finally, we get to sit down and watch the game.
I'm very proud of you, Hugo, Dad says, smiling.
I'm very proud of you. I flush when I say it.
He laughs, ruffling my hair. You're just like your Mum.
A part of me wants to be just like him, because he's my dad, but I think he loves Mum more than anything in the world, except me and Rose, so that's more than enough for me.
Mum's bloody wicked, I say.
He grins. That she is.
You know when you really love your sister more than you'd ever want to admit to anyone because that would make you seem like a sap?
What if Scorpius hates it? Rose asks, sitting up again in our tent on the beach, tugging on her short hair.
Bloody hell, Rose, James groans into his pillow. We don't bloody give a rat's arse what Malfoy thinks of your hair.
Rose shoots him a death glare.
Albus yawns. He goes, Goodnight, everyone.
I'm too old to care, really, but I stare over at Rose when I think she's fallen asleep, watching her chest rise and fall. She has Mum's features, really: small cheekbones and nose and ears that stick out a little. She looks younger now, reminding me of my first memories of her, camping with Mum and Dad, and her hair was shorter then, too, though everyone else says it makes her seem older now.
Rosie? I whisper.
Scorpius will think you look beautiful.
Twin tears press from her eyes that don't open, but they catch in the corners of her smile. Thanks, Hugo.
I shake my head, even though she can't see me.
I love you, Hugo, she says, and we're not embarrassed because it's true and there's no one there to hear us, either.
I love you too, Rosie. It's the last thing either of us says before we fall asleep.
IV. Ronald Bilius Weasley. Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Uncle, Friend, Husband (just for good measure, Rosie); Fan of: the Chudley Cannons, the Sorting Hat Song, Chocolate Frogs (especially Number Seven. Especially on Hermione - Dad! - Sorry, Rose.), watching my kids play Quidditch; Possibly the world's biggest sap (added by Rose Weasely); Former Co-head of the Auror Department (Now Retired).
He's very respectful and nice, really. I try not to see too much of his father or his father's father or his father's father's father in him, because of Hermione, really, but, if I'm being honest, Scorpius is caring. He's gentle with Rose (who, Merlin knows, needs a calming presence, she's so much like her mother).
But when he sits shakily on the couch in our drawing room, holding a diamond ring in a box in his pale, outstretched hand, I want to hex him to hell and back.
But, I don't.
If you ever hurt her, I'll kill you, I say.
He smiles, then. I'd expect nothing less.
I shake his hand. Welcome to the family, son.
The night before her wedding, she's home.
My beautiful daughter, who used to be my cute little girl, who is now a stunning, lovely young woman. Brilliant and compassionate like her mother - it makes me flush with pride every time I see her name inside St. Mungo's (Rose Weasley, Healer: Pediatric Magical Cases) when I go visit her for lunch sometimes -and she's also fiery like every other Weasley ever, passionate to make people better.
I love you, I say.
I promise myself I won't cry.
I love you, too, Daddy. Forever, she says.
She smiles sleepily, and I brush her short hair back from her forehead and kiss it gently. Goodnight, Rosie.
It nearly kills me to close the door.
But later, with Hermione curled up in my arms, I think with a burning happiness about my family, about my genes. Maybe Rosie's children will inherit Hermione's perfect eyes, like Hugo has. Maybe they'll have Scorpius's sharp chin.
They're technically Malfoys, sure, but they're really always be Weasleys: I'm about 100% sure their children will be gingers.
Hermione will love them. And so will I.
AN: So... review? Please? Thank you :)