Characters: Ron, Hermione, Rose, Hugo
Prompt #81 How?
"Bloody hell, this is not what I signed up for."
"Well, Rose is asking questions, and she's going to school next year where she'll hear things anyway. And we may as well tell them at the same time."
"Hugo's too young."
"I can talk to him if you'd like, and you talk to Rose?"
"Then we'll talk to them together. Ron, we were always going to have to address this topic with them eventually."
"Hogwarts should bloody well do it. It'd spare all the parents the embarrassment of having to go into details."
Finally, setting the Muggle information book aside, Hermione looked to Ron with a half irritated, half sympathetic expression. "It's uncomfortable for me, too," she said, "But wouldn't you rather they hear the facts from us than a romanticised version at school? My parents didn't talk to me until my second year, and although I'd heard things, I realised I was quite uninformed of the actual details. Rose is reaching that age where – whether you like it or not – things will change for her and we need to tell her. We must."
Ron groaned, running a hand over his face. "She's only ten," he said.
Hermione picked the book up again, passing it to him. "If you read any book in your life, read that one," she insisted. "If you don't want it to be uncomfortable for you or her, read it. I can talk to her if you want, but I think it's something we should do together."
"But… you're better at that stuff," Ron argued. "You know… girl stuff… because you're a girl."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Okay, then," she said, "I'll talk to her. But I won't be talking to both of them, so when the time comes, Hugo is your responsibility."
Ron seemed to pale slightly from the thought. "Can't… can't you do both?" he asked weakly.
"Fine, fine. Together," he relented (again). "Tomorrow?"
"I need to read the book."
"You have two hours, and then prepared or not, we tell them."
Ron swallowed. "Alright," he mumbled. "Alright."
"We're not going to tell them everything, are we? I mean, there are some things that they don't need to know right now." Ron followed Hermione down the stairs after they had called their children to join them.
"We'll answer any questions they have," Hermione informed him matter-of-factly.
"Yes, but what if they ask things we can't answer? There are some things I'm not telling them," Ron replied. "There are some things that they will work out by themselves anyway. We certainly did."
"I know this is difficult, Ron, but they're you're children, and they deserve to hear it from us, not through other people."
Ron sighed. "I know," he said.
"The sooner we get it over and done with the sooner we can let it go," Hermione said with a sympathetic smile just as Rose and Hugo entered the living room appearing very confused.
Rose seemed curious as to what they were there for, while Hugo was looking very guilty, like he had done something wrong. As she asked them to sit down, Hermione studied the innocence of her son, realising just how young he still was. She bit her lip, looking to Ron.
"Hugo, do you want to go outside with your father and… and play Quidditch or something?" she said, and Ron all but glared at her from her left.
"Why?" Hugo wanted to know.
"Because I need to talk to Rose," Hermione said gently, and Rose's eyes widened in surprise, the first sign that she thought something might be wrong.
"Talk to Rose… by yourself?" Ron muttered, getting off the couch where he'd just sat down.
"He's eight," Hermione said quietly so only he would hear. "A few more years."
"Oh, but when I said that, you fought me to be right, but now that you're saying it, it's okay."
"Just take him outside," Hermione said a little more forcefully this time. "It'll be your turn in a few years."
Agitated and a little angry, Ron instructed his son through the kitchen to the back door where they had a makeshift Quidditch pitch set up outside. Hermione waited until they were completely gone before turning back to Rose.
"Am… am I in trouble?" Rose asked softly. "I'm sorry for whatever I did!"
Hermione shook her head. "You're not in trouble," she insisted. "Not at all. I'd just like to talk to you before you go to school next year. Your father and I were going to talk to you and Hugo, but I think Hugo might be a little young to hear it."
Rose frowned. "Is it dangerous there?" she asked. "Do people die?"
"No, sweetheart, it's not about Hogwarts, it's about… changes that might happen there. Changes that might happen to you."
"Me?" Rose appeared quite frightened now. "What do mean? I'm not going to change!"
Hermione's mind flashed back to the book she'd spent the last week reading, teaching her how to tell her children about this topic. They'd made it sound so easy, but now that she was actually doing it, she was lost for words.
Maybe she should have found a book for Rose to read, too.
"What did Rose do?" Hugo asked as he found his broomstick in the tiny shed out the back.
"Nothing, mate," Ron said. "Your mum just wants to talk to her about a few things, that's all."
"Then why did you have to call me down, too? She normally hates us playing Quidditch."
"Well, she wanted to tell you, too, but… well she realised you probably shouldn't hear them yet." He knew he'd said the wrong thing even before he said it, but what else could he say? Why had Hermione gotten him into this mess just to exclude him a moment later? He didn't want to talk to Rose about anything, but now Hugo was curious, and he had nothing to say to him.
"Because… because you're a bit young, mate. That's why."
"No, I'm not! If it's about anything dangerous, I want to hear it!"
"It's not dangerous, it's just… hard to explain. Come on, let's have a game. I'll be Chaser if you want, and you can practice Keeper." Ron picked up a Quaffle and made for the pitch. But eight-year-old Hugo was no longer interested in playing Quidditch.
"I want to know!" he said. "Why won't you tell me?"
"In a few years we – I mean I – will. Just not now."
"But Rose gets to know! She'll tell me, you know."
Ron didn't doubt that for a moment. Everything they told one child was just as quickly with the other. He sighed, scratching his head. Hugo was eight – he wasn't even old enough to probably understand half of it – but Ron supposed that a little information wouldn't hurt. Just to keep him satisfied. It would just mean less information in however many years' time.
"Alright," he said, setting the broom aside, "Let's find a place outside where we can sit and talk, I guess. Don't tell your mother I told you, though. I'll… I'll tell her later." He wasn't sure if Hermione would be pleased or annoyed he had spoken to Hugo. She'd changed her mind enough bloody times to confuse him.
Rose had turned a very bright shade of red, a trait she inherited from her father when she became uncomfortable. Her eyes became very fixated on the floor and she fiddled with the cushion on the couch.
"Oh," was all she said.
Hermione bit her lip. "Do you have any questions, Rose?" she wanted to know.
Rose shook her head, still refusing to meet her eye.
"Because if you do, I can answer them. If you want to know anything, you can –"
"No!" Rose interrupted, her tone sharp. "I don't."
They sat in silence after that. Hermione opened her mouth more than once to say something, but truthfully, she had nothing to say. Rose simply sat where she was, not daring to look up, terribly embarrassed by the conversation that had just occurred. Hermione had only originally planned to tell her daughter some things, but she'd soon realised that to explain one thing she needed to explain another, and before she knew it, she'd given her daughter a full description about most things.
Rose had not taken too kindly to it, either. It seemed she'd heard a few things before (most likely from her cousins) but most of it she had shied away in embarrassment from, and now appeared not to want to talk about it.
She was just about to try to get Rose to say anything when Ron and Hugo came back into the house, Hugo looking quite ashen over something, and Ron as red as Rose was. Without a word, Hugo made his way upstairs, slowly and timidly.
"Can I go upstairs, too?" Rose wanted to know.
"Yes… yes, of course you can," Hermione said, and Rose disappeared before she could say another word.
"Obviously went well," Ron commented, retaking his seat on the couch beside her.
"Well, at least I didn't traumatise an eight year old boy," Hermione retorted, remembering the look on Hugo's face.
"He was asking questions because you sat him down then told him to leave. Of course he was going to be curious, and what could I tell him? If I lied, Rose would tell him anyway. You know how those two communicate."
"I don't think Rose will be talking about anything for a very long time," Hermione confessed. "She didn't take it like I expected."
"Too young," Ron mused. "I told you."
"Hugo was too young, yes."
"I didn't tell him much, honestly," Ron told her. "Hardly anything at all, if I'm being honest. Just… a few things meaning he'll never ask a question again."
"They'll get over it, though," Hermione said. "When they get older, they'll get over it."
Ron laughed to himself.
"What?" Hermione wanted to know.
"Nothing… just what I told Hugo. I think he'll stay away from our bedroom for all eternity."
"What did you tell him exactly?"
Ron shrugged. "Not much," he said. "Just a few minor details."
"He looked traumatised."
Ron shrugged again. "He's eight. Let's just say today went completely wrong to how we planned it."
Hermione nodded in agreement. "Definitely," she said. "I thought Rose would deal with it better."
"I'm sure when she gets older and… and," Ron grimaced, "And becomes more interested in boys, she'll take more notice," he said.
Hermione smiled. "Hm, maybe," she said. "Though at least she knows."
"Did you teach her the spell?" Ron asked.
Hermione rested her head on his shoulder. "That can definitely wait until she's a bit older," she said. "We don't want her knowing everything."
"Hm. I agree."
"It's funny how much they've grown, that we can talk to them about that."
"It's not funny, it's horrible," Ron said. "Terrible."
"You just don't want them to grow up at all."
"I'm not going to argue that."
"Well, when the time comes, we'll be telling them plenty more things, so don't get too comfortable. Before you know it, she'll be getting married and having her own children; as will Hugo."
Ron groaned. No, he definitely did not want to think about that right now. They were both still so young.
So, this is the end. As my claim to this whole challenge was all 4, I wanted to include all of them. And I've often wondered about the sex education at Hogwarts, as it's not seen in the books, but I've wondered if it's happened behind the scenes. They've got to learn somewhere, right? I can sort of imagine Molly sitting both Harry and Ron down together and things getting a little awkward.
Anyway, this is the end. I feel kind of relieved, but sad at the same time. And proud I've stuck by it.