Thanks for reading! Please leave a review!
"Daddy, where did Uncle Harry go?" Rose looked up at Ron with miniature versions of Hermione's caramel eyes.
"He's upstairs on the phone, Rosie. Don't disturb him. Where's your brother?" Rose shrugged and Ron looked up to search the room. A sea of the same shade of ginger hair filled the space. He and all of his siblings had it, along with most of the children. Only his nephews Fred, James and Albus and his nieces Victoire and Roxanne had escaped the bright red Weasley trait.
"The family curse." His dad jokingly called it.
The Weasley clan had come together at Ron and Hermione's new home to celebrate the 43rd wedding anniversary of its matriarch and patriarch. The house was more than large enough for the four of them, but Ron worried it would come apart at the seams when his family got together. Counting spouses and children, they now numbered 25. Charlie and his latest conquest were due to arrive at any moment, bringing the guest tally to 26.
Time hadn't erased the pain of his brother Fred's death. Family dinners were never the same and get-togethers like this one made everyone wonder who Freddy might have married and how many more little ginger kids there might be.
For quite a long time, Mrs. Weasley couldn't call her grandson by his name. She affectionately called him "the baby". The first time she actually called him Fred, everyone who overheard it jumped as if they had been doused with ice water.
Rose ran off to join her cousins in the living room. George, Bill, Percy and Arthur were half-watching the kids and half discussing a new Muggle instrument Arthur had been toying with - a computer. Still searching for Hugo, who liked to hide himself in smaller and smaller places just to see if he could, Ron ducked into the kitchen. He found his mum, Hermione, Ginny and his three sisters-in-law were all laughing and sipping glasses of wine as they prepared dinner.
Hermione had been up extra early to dress the two enormous turkeys and get them into the ovens. Ron didn't know exactly what else was on the menu, but he was willing to duel with any of his family members in order to get himself a drumstick or two.
The scent of the different dishes blended delightfully in his nostrils, making his stomach growl. He also completely forgot why he'd gone in there in the first place.
"Ron, what time is Charlie due?" Hermione asked him.
Ron checked his watch, "15 minutes ago."
Hermione pulled a worried face but Ron shook his head. "If Percy is ever 15 minutes late for anything, we'll send out a search party. Charlie will get here when he gets here." He winked at Audrey who nodded. She appreciated Ron's slight crack at her husbands' anal retentive tendencies.
"What was that? Charlie's arrived?" Mrs. Weasley looked up from the stove, excited.
"No, Mum. Not just yet." Ginny said smiling and shaking her head. She and Ron shared a look that meant "Mummy's favorite". It wasn't exactly true. Their mum treated all of them the same; but because Charlie came home so rarely, on this night it was a little bit true.
It was then that the noises came. Just over their heads, lots of banging and stomping feet from above in the master bedroom.
"I've already told them three times to keep out. I can't believe they've disobeyed again." Ginny fumed.
Louis, Fred and James were quite the trio of troublemakers. Ginny often thanked her lucky stars that Albus wasn't cut from the same cloth as her elder son. Albus had a bit of her wild spirit, but it didn't hold a candle to James' propensity for trouble.
"Harry! Bill! George! Your sons are at it again!" She hollered into the next room.
"Harry got a phone call, I'll go." Ron said. Before leaving the kitchen he put on his sternest "dad face" in preparation for scolding his nephews. The banging noises continued and got louder as Ron tapped George and Bill on the shoulders and gestured up with his thumb. His elder brothers shared knowing looks before clomping up the stairs behind Ron.
None of them saw James, Fred and Louis hiding in the linen cupboard under the stairs. Hugo had wedged himself up onto a shelf and was stuck. The three older boys were trying to figure out how to get him down and how not to get the blame for the littlest Weasley's predicament.
Just at the door of his bedroom, Ron paused and turned to his brothers.
"Wands or no wands?" he asked reaching into his pocket.
George scoffed. "Ron, you're an Auror. You really think the three of us need our wands to wrangle three harmless kids? Open the door, we'll cuff 'em around their heads and get them back downstairs, sorted."
"Harmless? They're harmless, are they? Tell you what Georgie. Next time those harmless little scamps get their buggery hands on some firecrackers and blow up a toilet, you're cleaning it." Bill said. The memory of just that happening at Shell Cottage at Victoire's birthday party was still fresh in his mind.
"Yeah..." George said remembering. "Quite a mess, that."
Their wands drawn, Ron swung the door open. They hollered all at once.
"Merlin's bloody beard!" Bill said.
"Oi! My eyes!" George yelled.
"Charlie! What the sodding fuck?!" Ron exclaimed.
The three of them hid their eyes but they'd already seen it. And what is seen, can never be unseen.
The second oldest Weasley brother was kneeling on Ron's bed in nature's own giving a right good "how's your father?" to a voluptuous witch with dark brown hair. There were piles of shed clothing strewn everywhere.
"Cheers, lads. Give us a minute." Charlie laughingly said waving his siblings out. Ron pulled the door shut, shuddering.
"Memory spell?" George joked holding his wand up to his temple.
"Not on, mate. Not on." Bill said, shaking his head.
"I can't believe-on my fucking bed!" Ron yelled, he still had his hand on the doorknob.
Charlie pulled the door open and grabbed his siblings by their shirts, pulling them inside. "It's so good to see you three!" he laughed.
At least he's wearing pants this time. Ron thought, relieved. He might not have felt so relieved if he realized that Charlie's pants had been inside-out on his pillow only moments before.
"Jess, these are my brothers. Well, three of them, anyway. Mates, this is Jessica." He gestured over to the witch who was pulling on a pair of white and pink knickers. She smiled graciously as she secured a matching bra, covering her ample assets. She gave them a casual, friendly wave before approaching them.
Ron, Bill and George gawked.
"It's so nice to meet you! Charlie talks about you all the time!" She hugged each of them and planted a kiss on their cheeks. None of them had the presence of mind to pull away thinking of where else her mouth might have been just before they got upstairs.
"What's going on in here? Jamie you're in for it-OH! Oh dear sweet sodding Merlin." Harry's eyes widened as he stood behind his brothers-in-law and gaped at Jessica's long, lean and nearly naked body.
"There he is! Harry!" Charlie yanked Harry past Ron by the arm. "Jess, this is Harry Potter. Harry, this is Jessica."
"Erm- hello." Harry said, trying not to stare at anything that would make Ginny hex his eyes out if she knew.
"Charlie, I thought you were joking! You really do know Harry Potter!" She said, genuinely excited. She laughed and gave Harry a hug.
"Yeah, I told you so! Harry married our baby sister. But he was family long before that. He's like a...shorter...speckier...dark-haired brother." Charlie said, winking at Harry.
Completely unfazed by all of the eyes on them, Charlie and Jessica dressed. Ron was relieved that she wasn't wearing a low-cut top or a too-short skirt. He'd met quite a few of Charlie's girls and he knew how his mum would react if Jessica wasn't dressed more modestly. As she adjusted her top, Ron got a look at her face. She wasn't a conventional beauty like Charlie normally brought home. She had large light-brown eyes and curly brown hair...a lot like...
She looks like Hermione. He realized. He shot a sideways glance at Harry and instantly knew Harry had also noticed the resemblance. Ron's brain shifted into overdrive - did Charlie have designs on Hermione?
"Well, let's not keep Mum waiting!" Bill said, trying desperately to get back down the stairs. Everyone started to follow him out onto the landing.
"Oh, just a tick!" Charlie said, turning back to the bedroom. He waved his wand and the disarray cleaned itself up in a flash.
"Still might want to change the sheets, Ron." George said with a hardy laugh.
"Oh, sod off!" Ron said back.
As everyone else noticed Charlie they came running one by one to greet him. A large mountain of a man, Charlie scooped Dominique, Rose and Roxanne up off the floor at once. Mrs. Weasley ran into Charlie's arms and started to cry as they all expected she'd do. Even Mr. Weasley wiped a tear from his tired eyes when he gave Charlie a big bear hug.
He introduced Jessica around and everyone nodded approvingly at each other.
Ron tapped Harry on the shoulder. "Where are the boys?" Harry shrugged.
"Before I got that call, they were sitting right there." Harry gestured to a empty sofa.
"Yeah, who was on the phone, by the way?" Ron asked.
Harry exhaled. "Dudley."
Ron looked surprised. "Your cousin, Dudley?"
"I don't hardly know more than one."
"Fair enough. What did he want? I didn't know you were in touch." Ron asked.
"We get together here and there. He's met Ginny and the kids. He's married, four of his own now."
"Four? Blimey." Ron's eyes bugged out. "What did he want? Just a chat?"
"No." Harry said grimly. "Petunia. My...mum's sister. She's dying, some kind of cancer or something."
Ron put a sympathetic hand on Harry's shoulder. "Oh, I'm sorry, mate. She wasn't exactly nice to you but that's still too bad I guess."
"Yeah. She's...asked to see me."