One by one, their feet hit the floor in the living room. Ron stumbled, nearly tripping over Hermione, who had fallen asleep curled up on the floor. Angelina was asleep in a wingback chair, her legs tucked in under her. Bill elbowed Charlie and they laughed at the two empty boxes of biscuits on the coffee table.
"Think they left any for us?" Charlie joked in a whisper.
"I bet Mum has seven or eight more boxes in the pantry." Bill replied.
They silently said goodnight to each other and headed up the stairs to the bedrooms. George kissed Angelina awake and with droopy lids, she stumbled up to bed with him. Ron knelt down in front of Hermione and ran his fingers through her hair.
"Mione…Hermione…" he spoke at a decibel somewhere between a whisper and what she called a "library tone". He rubbed her arm gently until she opened her eyes.
"What time is it?" She asked sounding far away.
"It's late, love. Let's go to bed." He helped her up to her feet.
"Let me see it." He couldn't tell if she was using her admonishing tone or not, her voice was very quiet. He took a step back and rolled his sleeve up. She pulled the cellophane away and a smile curled her lips. He breathed a sigh of relief.
"Like it?" He turned curled his bicep to give her a better angle. The skin around the tattoo was very red and angry looking against Ron's pale skin.
"I love it, actually. It's really beautiful. I'm glad you boys included your sister." She stood on tiptoe to kiss him.
"Include her? There was no excluding Ginny in this one. She said she wanted it before I did. You know me and needles."
Hermione nodded. There was a major epidemic of influenza the previous winter. The Wizarding community at large had access to an anti-flu potion at St. Mungo's, but Hermione, being Hermione, read up on it and it wasn't as effective as the Muggle vaccine. She didn't want to take any chances, especially with Rose so she dragged Ron to get a flu shot and he nearly fainted.
"Did it hurt?" She asked, now wincing at his raw skin.
"Absolutely." He laughed. "Hurt like…I can't even describe it. Ginny of course is tough as nails and made me and Bill feel like giant pussies."
Hermione chuckled. "Well, she has given birth three times, Ron. Nothing can hurt more than that, trust me." Hermione said, casually crossing her arms.
Ron nodded. "I'll take your word for it." He pulled her in and kissed her sweetly. She put her arms around his neck and kissed him again.
"Everyone's upstairs." She said, a hint of mischief gleaming in her eye.
He knew that look. He knew it well. Still with her arms around his neck, she ran her fingers through the slightly curly hair at the back of his head.
"I don't know, there are a lot of people in this house right now…" he said looking towards the stairs.
"I can be quiet." She laughed. "Don't look at me like that, I can!" She said with a tone of ire in her voice. He had raised his eyebrow at her in his sarcastic "yeah, right" expression.
Ron looked up and surveyed the completely still downstairs of his childhood home. It was very tempting. Reading his thoughts, Hermione slipped from his arms and walked to the sofa. She glanced around and pulled her top over her head, tossing it to Ron.
The sight of that black bra made his mouth water. He hoped she was wearing the knickers that matched. Of course she was - he knew his wife – she always matched. She laid back on the old sofa and pulled her jeans off, the matching knickers nearly came off with them. They stopped just a whisper above the place where Ron knew her closely trimmed hair began.
His arm was still throbbing but not as much as the bulge in his pants. He yanked his shirt and trousers off and lowered himself on top of her. He winced and gave a yelp when she accidentally grazed the extra sensitive skin of his newly tattooed bicep. They quietly made love on his parents' sofa like they'd done so many years ago, when they were first a couple. Back when any flat surface they hadn't yet had sex on was one to check off their list. 10 years running, they hadn't checked the last item off their list yet, it only grew longer.
Holding each other tightly and panting, they kissed lazily but each began to yawn. The events of the day and night had taken their toll on both Ron and Hermione. They quickly gathered their clothes and made their way up to Ron's childhood bedroom. The camp bed Harry used to sleep on was back in its usual spot but this time it was Rose curled up on it.
The following morning, the Burrow slowly began to buzz to life as the enormous family started to wake up. It was an energy difficult to describe to someone who hadn't been inside the ramshackle house. With so many people inside it, the Burrow almost took on a life of its own.
When Hermione stepped out of the room to shower, Ron tended to Rose. He kissed his daughter's temple and stroked her cheek, calling her name softly. Rose was still in a deep sleep. As much as she resembled himself; the ginger hair, freckles, and pale porcelain skin she looked so much like Hermione; her perfectly shaped upturned nose and determined chin in particular. Ron wondered if she'd one day have the same slightly too large teeth Hermione once had.
"Rosie Posey…" Ron whispered a sing-song tone in her ear, "Wake up, Miss Rosie Posey…" By the time the last little Weasley rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and slowly swung her feet to the floor, there was a breakfast feast waiting for them all in the kitchen.
Any other year, the family would have several days' worth of activities planned out to take advantage of Charlie being home for a visit. This time however, Charlie was returning to Romania after only a two day trip home.
Ron carried Rose down the stairs still wearing her night dress.
"Unka Cholly?" Rose said in a sleepy voice.
"Yes, Uncle Charlie is still here." Ron said. Rose perked up and giggled.
They got into the kitchen and as soon as Rose saw Charlie sitting at the table she clapped her hands and wiggled out of Ron's arms.
"Unka Cholly!" she squealed and climbed into his lap.
"Hey Rosie!" Charlie smiled and ruffled her hair with his giant hand. She picked up a piece of toast from his plate and started eating it.
Mrs. Weasley had her back turned to the table while she was pulling sausages off the griddle. When she turned around she gasped and dropped the entire plate as she clasped her hands to her mouth.
"Ronald Bilius Weasley!"
All conversation stopped and the kitchen echoed with the sound of silverware dropping. Ron's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. He might have been an adult, but when his mother said his name like that, he regressed to about five years old.
"What happened to your arm?"
He heard the collective gasps of his siblings when they all noticed the giant blood stain on the sleeve of his white undershirt.
"Whoa! Uncle Ron!" Fred exclaimed.
"Shit." He said.
Mrs. Weasley came rushing to him with a tea towel soaked in ice water.
"Arthur! Arthur! Go to St. Mungo's! Get the boy a Healer! Ronnie, my baby! You're bleeding, son! What happened?!"
Mr. Weasley rushed to Ron's other side and looked at all the blood with deep concern.
Ron howled when she slapped the tea towel on his arm over his shirt. His siblings all winced with him; they no doubt had all experienced the pain of something touching their new tattoos and were not at all envious of Ron' predicament.
"Which one of you is responsible for this? George Fabian what did you do to your brother?" She continued rubbing the tea towel over Ron's raw bicep despite his protests. Her eyes burned at George.
"Mum, I didn't do anything!" George said, banging his fist on the table. "Why do you always suspect it's me?"
"Because, generally it always is." Harry said under his breath. Ginny giggled until Hermione kicked her under the table.
The attention quickly shifted back to Ron when Mrs. Weasley removed the tea towel and began peeling Ron's sleeve up.
"What is this? What is this big…Ronald!" She leapt back and glared at Ron's tattoo. There was blood all over his arm, but the black ink was clearly visible through it.
"You've tattooed yourself?! Of all vile Muggle creations! What possessed you, Ronald? Why would you ever do such a thing?!" She smacked Ron in the back of the head.
Ron was speechless, he tried to interrupt her but she kept going.
"Being Pure-blooded used to mean something! Of all awful things to do to yourself! I thought Bill's hair and Charlie having an earring was bad enough but this tops all of that!"
"Mum?" Charlie attempted.
"Mum?" George stood up.
"MUM!" Bill yelled.
Ginny jumped up from her seat and dragged her chair towards where her mother had Ron cornered. She yanked up the leg of her pyjama bottoms and slammed her foot down on the seat. The sound distracted her mother long enough to end the tirade. When Mrs. Weasley saw Ginny's ankle, it was her turn to be wide-eyed and slack-jawed.
"Gin…Ginevra…what have you done?" She said, aghast.
"We all did it, Mum." Ginny said, calmly.
"You…you what?" Mrs. Weasley was twisting the dripping towel around her hands.
Ginny looked over her shoulder at her brothers, still holding the hem of her pyjamas up.
"Oh, come on, you lot!" She snapped impatiently.
The brothers exchanged looks and all stood on either side of Ginny. They simultaneously pulled their sleeves up revealing their matching tattoos.
"We all did it, Mum. We all wanted to do it. As a tribute to the family." Ginny said.
"And a tribute to Freddy." George said.
They all nodded, very proudly and somewhat defiantly. If their mother was going to yell at Ron, she might as well yell at them all.
Their parents were speechless. Ron squirmed out from in between them and stood next to Bill.
"How'd you get all bloody?" Bill whispered.
"Must have slept on it." Ron replied in a low voice.
"No, you fucked on it, mate." George teased.
"Shut it!" Ron snapped.
"Did you forget I'm one of the two inventors of Extendable Ears?" George replied, giggling like a child.
"No, I but did forget you're a giant pervert!" Ron said, elbowing him.
"Ahem!" Mr. Weasley interrupted. Ron and George stopped bickering and looked up.
Mrs. Weasley was surveying the black W that decorated each of her children. She wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. She nodded her approval.
"Alright, alright everyone, let's finish up. Ron, go change your shirt, son." Mr. Weasley waved everyone back to their seats.
Mrs. Weasley cleaned up the sausages she'd dropped on the floor and set to work making some fresh ones. Ron tucked in to his breakfast when he came downstairs in a clean shirt. He felt someone tap him on the shoulder, so he turned.
"Uncle Ron?" Victoire whispered. Dominique was standing with her.
"Erm…there's blood on Gran's sofa. Is it from your arm?"
"Sh….oot." Ron said. He rose from the table and followed his nieces.
Victoire pointed out the blood stain on the sofa; it definitely got there when he and Hermione shagged there a few hours before. Ron looked up to see where everyone else was before he waved his wand.
"Scourgify!" He said and the stain vanished. "Let's not tell Gran about this, Viccy, alright?" Ron said.
Victoire giggled. "Sure, Uncle Ron." She turned to Dominique and said something in French that made her blush.
Ron turned towards the mantle and saw the photo of George and Fred taken on the opening day of the joke shop. George posed with his arms crossed over his chest and Fred was leaning on George's shoulder with his elbow, his other hand in his pocket. They grinned their identical grins at the camera.
"Oh, Freddy. We miss you, old man." Ron said. "But we're alright. We're thriving."
For an instant, Ron swore he saw his brother wink at him. It made him smile.