The Flood That Wrecked Our Home
"Collecting pictures from a flood that wrecked our home,
It was a flood that wrecked this home."
"So, explain this to me again" Draco said from his spot on the couch where he was currently drinking his coffee, watching Hermione rush around trying to get ready with an amused smile on his face. "Why are you making such a fuss about meeting Weasel-boy?" he asked, raising his eyebrow as he sipped his hot drink.
It was half six on Saturday morning and Draco didn't need to be at work until half eight, still, he enjoyed watching his best friend rushing around in her pyjama's trying to tidy up before she left.
"Draco, please, not now" she said, holding a packet of pencils in one hand, a discarded t-shirt in the other. "It's been so long since I've seen any of the Weasley's I could really use the support right now" she said accusingly, making Draco hold up his hands – one of which still clasped his coffee – in mock surrender.
"Hey" he said defensively "You helped me a couple of years ago, so you know I'm behind whatever it is you do" he said, his eyes looking only half sincere.
"But…" Hermione said, raising an eyebrow as she shoved the t-shirt in the laundry basket, the pencils in the drawer beneath the TV.
"But" Draco began "I know how you used to feel about Weasleby and I don't want to see you getting hurt" he said with a shrug, trying to play off that his words meant nothing, that they were casual conversation. That's what Draco did, he tried to maintain a superior attitude, making out he had a heart of stone, but Hermione knew he was a big softie really. he had, after all, bargained for the Ministry to search for Hermione's parents having claimed if they found them, they could find Hermione. This however proved only to be a heart-breaking disappointment.
"Well that's very sweet of you, Draco" she said, smiling at him as she picked up three books, balancing them on one arm while she grabbed a few discarded mugs "And I don't doubt you'll hate me for saying it, but you really do mean a lot to me" she said, dropping the mugs in the sink that was currently filled with soapy water, using her wand to levitate the books back to their place on the shelf. Rose only got them down for the pictures. "Now go and have a shower and I'll cook you some decent food" she said, giving him a pointed look, knowing full well what his diet consisted of whenever she was away.
"What would I do without you?" he said, dropping his mug in the sink and kissing her on the forehead moxkingly. She then preceded the slap his arm with a dishtowel when he tried to get away. "You know you love me really!" he shouted before Hermione heard the bathroom door slam.
With a half laugh, half sigh, Hermione set to work on breakfast. She lit the cooker, using her wand to summon ingredients to her while she grabbed a saucepan. A few minutes later, Draco appeared from the bathroom, a towel around his waist to reveal his very pale, very toned stomach as he used another towel to rub his hair dry, leaving it scruffy and sticking up in all directions.
He sat down at his spot at their tiny table just as Hermione placed a plate in front of him, a plate containing a cheese and ham omelette, something she knew Draco loved.
"Hermione" he said, after a few bites, his face pulled into an expression of mock delight "Where did you learn to cook?" he said, eating as much as he could while still maintaining his manners.
"If you must know" she said, levitating the frying pan into the sink, charming the sponge to clean the washing up for her "Molly taught me" she said shyly and Draco's face softened.
"Well I'd love to meet that woman one day and congratulate her on making such a splendid chef" he said, returning to his food while Hermione continued to clean.
"Maybe one day you will" she said under her breath, not noticing the sad look Draco gave her from over his plate when she wasn't looking.
At half past eleven, Hermione was almost ready to go. By the time Draco had left for work at half eight she managed to tidy the entire flat, meaning she had half an hour to shower, get dressed and grab some a coffee herself before she needed to wake Rose up.
Now she was stood by the door, tying a scarf around Rose's neck as the little girl sat on the floor pulling a pair of red wellies over her grey tights. She wore them with everything.
"Rose, grab your coat quickly" Hermione said, pulling her denim jacket on over her purple blouse, her Gryffindor scarf already around her neck, the laces of her converse untied.
"Oka'" Rose said, running lopsidedly to her room, still only wearing one red welly. Hermione had spent very little time getting herself ready for today; she wore a purple blouse with black jeans and converse, her wild brown hair dragged into a scruffy bun. Rose, however, upon hearing she was going to meet one of mummy's old friends, had spent most of the morning picking out the dress she was going to wear.
The little girl came running back, her blue coat in her hands, her curly red hair flying around behind her very vibrant yellow dress, the one she had insisted on wearing.
"Rose, put your other shoe on" Hermione said, grabbing her keys from the bowl by the door, putting them in her bag along with her wand and a small amount of money. Rose sat back on the floor, and began the task of pulling on her second welly boot. "Arm" Hermione said once Rose was back on her two feet. The little girl followed her mother's instructions putting one arm in the sleeve, followed by the other.
Hermione wrapped Rose's striped scarf around her neck, tucking it snugly into her buttoned up coat before helping her put on her mittens.
"Ready to go?" Hermione asked, putting her hands on her hips and looking down at Rose. The little girl was currently sucking her thumb, looking at Hermione with her big blue eyes. "Let's go then, honey" she said, holding a hand out for Rose, one the little girl took instantly.
Knowing from experience Rose wouldn't cope well with apparition (They had a stain on the living room carpet to prove that), Hermione decided to take the floo network over to the Leaky Cauldron before walking up Diagon alley to Weasley Wizard Wheezes.
"Okay, Rosie" Hermione said, picking the girl up and holding her on her hip, grabbing the floo powder with her spare hand. "Close your eyes." She did as she was told, and Hermione threw the powder down into the grate before shouting 'THE LEAKY CAULDRON!' and letting both her and her daughter be swallowed up by the emerald flames.
Hermione tumbled out of the grate at the other end, clutching very tightly to Rose who was coughing slightly but still had her eyes shut, her pale face screwed up tightly and dusted with soot.
"It's okay, Rose" Hermione said, placing the little girl back onto her feet "You can open you eyes now" Rose did as she was told, her big blue eyes looking fascinated and slightly shocked as they surveyed the room they had appeared in. "Oh, look at you" Hermione said, crouching to Rose's height, wiping the soot from her daughters face, hair and clothes. "Shall we go meet mummy's friend now?" she said, holding Rose's hands. The little girl nodded enthusiastically and Hermione kissed her on the forehead before standing up again, the little girl grabbing her hands instantly. "Let's go then" Hermione said, more to herself than her daughter.
Hermione led Rose through the Leaky Cauldron, trying to avoid the prying eyes of witches and wizards all around her as she headed for the secret entrance to Diagon Alley. Luckily for Hermione, the gate way was already open on the other side, so she was able to step straight through, Rose holding her hand, as the two of the navigated their way through the surprisingly quiet streets.
All the children being at school in Hogwarts meant that most of the shops were quiet, one or two customers each perhaps, and the cold weather meant that very few were outside in the street, giving Hermione a straight through to the shop she'd not seen since her sixth year at Hogwarts.
Coincidently, Weasley Wizard Wheezes was the only shop in all of Diagon Alley to be filled right up. The shop with fit to bursting with children too young for Hogwarts and their parents, each trying to buy the greatest toys and joke items that the shop had to offer.
Behind the counter was a young woman, likely in her early twenties, with short blonde hair and a friendly smile, she was serving a huge line of people, and when she saw Hermione she smiled even brighter. How could someone smile so much without their face aching?
"You must be Hermione" the woman said, excusing herself from behind the counter and greeting Hermione. She was incredibly slim and wore a knee-length red dress, a cream scarf wrapped around her neck despite the heat of the shop. "And You must be Rose" she said wiggling her finger infront of Rose's face. Rose, who was still sucking her thumb, shied away, wrapping her arms around Hermione's neck, burying her face in the crook of her mothers neck. "Urgh, She's beautiful" the woman said, going all goo-goo eyed at Rose, the way many people did "I wish I had one" she said, acting like Rose was a pet or an item of clothing.
"Urm, yes, I am" Hermione said gingerly, watching as the woman's rosy cheeks smiled even more, her unnervingly dark eyes looking at Hermione with nothing but joy in her eyes.
"I'm Verity, Mr Weasley said you'd be stopping by, I'll show you where to go" She said and began navigating herway through the packed bodied with ease.
"Mr Weasley?" Hermione scoffed, but followed the clicking of Verity's heels on the wooden floor anyway. After fighting her way through the pressing bodies, Hermione soon found herself being led thorugh the curtain she distinctly remembered to be the entrance to Fred and George's inventing room, and judging by the strong scent of burning and sulphur, it still was.
"It's at the top of those stairs" Verity said with a bright smile, indicating to a winding staircase in front of her.
"Oh, thank you" Said Hermione and Verity bounced off back to the shop, ready to serve the rather rowdy customers outside. Rose still had her head buried in Hermione's neck as she climbed the stairs, soon reaching a rather striking red door with a golden letter box and three gold 'W's forming the Weasley Wizard Wheezes crest.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione knocked on the door a few times, waiting patiently and smiling when she heard hurried footsteps from the other side.
"Hermione!" the red-headed man exclaimed when he wrenched the door open, his eyes bright and alive, his hair mussed and out of place. "Do come in"
"Hello, Fred" Hermione said, still slightly overwhelmed from the busy shop downstairs. "Shouldn't you be working in the shop?" she asked as Fred moved aside, allowing her entry. "It looks incredibly busy down there" she said
"Nah, its fine" he said, dismissing her politely with his hand, shutting the door behind them "It's nothing Verity can't handle, besides I needed to spend time with you and-" Fred froze suddenly, his eyes fixed on Hermione, or more accurately, what Hermione was holding.
Rose had pulled her head away from Hermione's neck and was currently eyeing Fred curiously with her big blue eyes, her thumb still in her mouth.
"Rose" Hermione said, clearly noticing how Fred couldn't finish his sentence, or start another one. "This is mummy's friend, Fred" Hermione smiled as Fred's eyes grew wider, his mouth almost hanging open "Are you going to say hello to Fred?" she asked the little girl.
"Hewwo" Rose said shyly, her small voice even more obstructed by the thumb in her mouth. Fred still didn't speak.
"Fred" Hermione said in the same baby-talking voice "Are you going to say hello to Rose?" she asked patronisingly, seeming to snap Fred out of his musings.
"Hey, Rose" he said, taking a tentative step forwards "I'm your Uncle Fred, you probably don't remember me" he said, now close enough to Rose and Hermione that he could touch them, but he didn't move out to touch either of them.
"Rose, do you want to draw in your book?" Hermione said, placing the little girl down on the sofa, her legs not even reaching the edge, and pulling out a colouring book with a pack of crayons taped to the front and placing it on the coffee table where she'd left her note. Rose immediately clambered off the sofa, kneeling on the floor and wrenching the book open, turning page after page of coloured drawings of princesses and animals, each one a strange mix of colours with the crayon marks far outside the lines. "Come on, Fred" she said indicating with her head towards the kitchen. Fred followed, his eyes never leaving the little girl who was currently colouring a frog in blue.
"You came" he said, a wondrous tone in his voice, so unlike the joking and mocking tone that Hermione was used too.
"We came" she said her arms crossed over her chest awkwardly as Fred's eyes kept flickering between Hermione and Rose.
"Hermione" He said dreamily "Merlin, Hermione, She's beautiful" he said watching the little girl.
"She really is" Hermione said absently, watching with a maternal smile as Rose got bored of one picture and moved onto the next.
"You look good" he said to Hermione, she hoped he didn't catch her blush as she said.
"Thank you" she couldn't fight back the guilt she felt being in the flat again. The last time she was here she'd left for good, not leaving a trace, nothing but a stupid note of goodbye and a kiss on a sleeping mans forehead. "So what's for lunch?" She said with a forced bright voice. Fred's eyes lit up immediately.
"That my dear, Hermione" Fred said, and it was only then that Hermione realised he was wearing an apron over the top of his light blue shirt. "Is 'Spaghetti ala Weasley'" he said with a cocky smile.
"If you're looking to see a bomb site" Hermione said frankly, "then giving my daughter spaghetti is a good way to go about it." She said laughing slightly.
"Well what would you suggest, Miss Granger?" he said, raising an eyebrow as he leant back against the kitchen counter. Hermione thought for a moment before grabbing her wand from her bag.
"How about" she said, swishing her wand through the air, making Fred start as cupboards began to open, all manner of things pouring out of them "Pancakes ala Granger" she said with a smirk she'd regrettably picked up from Malfoy, and Fred got a glimpse of the Hermione he had lost.
Half an hour later and Hermione had set the table for three people, a large plate full of varying pancakes on a plate in the centre.
"Rose, lunch is ready" she said, and rose jumped from the floor, he boots abandoned as she began half running, half waddling over to her mother who had taken of her jacket and scarf due to the heat of the kitchen and had managed to cover herself in various stains of flour, chocolate, strawberry jam and syrup. "Let's get this coat off you" Hermione said, unbuttoning Rose's blue coat and pulling it off, shortly followed by the mittens and the scarf. "Now go and ask Uncle Fred if he'll help you wash your hands" Hermione said, giving her daughter an encouraging look and smiling widely at Fred when Rose walked over to him.
"Umcle Fwed" Rose said, her thumb back in her mouth, a tell tale sign she was nervous "Can you help me?" she asked shyly, looking up at him with big blue eyes, so much like her fathers.
"Of course, Rosie" he said with a smile and a disbelieving look at Hermione, who was currently hanging Rose's winter clothes up on the hooks by the door. "Where do you want to wash your hands" Gingerly, like approaching a wild animal, Rose's tiny hand grabbed hold of Fred's index finger and she began tugging him gently towards the kitchen sink that Hermione had pointed her towards.
"I cant weach" she said when she reached the kitchen, her head not even reaching the top of the cabinets.
"Well then" Fred said with a faux thinking face one "Looks like Uncle Freddie's going to have to help you out" he said and Rose nodded at him, her thumb still in her mouth. Well okay then" he said, rolling his eyes playfully.
Before she could react, Fred had seized Rose by the waist, lifting her up into the air and making her squeal with delight, her giggles echoing around the flat, warming the atmosphere greatly.
"Let's get those hands washed" Fred said, resting Rose on his hip where then proceeded to gaze up into his face adorningly.
"I think she likes you" Hermione said from her spot by the table as she watched Fred turn on the taps, making sure the temperature was okay before helping Rose to wash her tiny hands.
"You think so?" he asked cheerfully, drying Rose's hands on the nearest tea towel before carrying the little girl over to the dinner table.
"Yeah" Hermione said, nodding slightly "It took her at least two weeks until she'd let Draco go near her" she said "Probably because he was too snobby to go near her before then, Draco has a thing for dirt and germs, and little children, they're crawling with dirt, apparently" Hermione said with a shrug.
"Well, I'm not Draco" Fred said, placing Rose carefully in the chair whose height Hermione had raised so that Rose could sit there. She's transfigured the silverware into plastic cutlery for Rose, and also changed a glass of orange juice into a sippy-cup.
"She's a messy eater" Hermione apologised as Rose began to stuff her face with chocolate pancake, splattering her yellow dress with the staining substance.
"That's fine" Fred said amusedly, sitting down at the head of the table, opposite where Rose was sat and next t Hermione. "Oh, Hermione" he said, and she turned towards him, he reached out with his hand, gently rubbing his thumb across her cheek, making her freeze instantly. "You had flour on your face" he said with a smirk, making Hermione blush and become very interested in her strawberry pancake.
"So, Dad told me the Ministry were looking for your parents" He said quietly, watching Rose scoffing her pancakes opposite him, blissfully unaware of the subject at hand. "How'd that go?"
"They're, well, they're gone" Hermione said solemnly, looking straight at her plate.
"They, urm, they died?" Fred asked awkwardly, almost choking on his bite of syrup pancake.
"No, they're not dead" Hermione said plainly, avoiding his eyes rather obviously "They just too far gone. They Said that any attempt to remove the charm would cause too much damage to their minds, so I let them get on with their lives" she said with a shurg, one Fred knew to be from false carelessness. "They don't need me anyway."
"Hermione" Fred said sincerely, his hand landing atop where hers lay still next to her plate. She looked up at him, her eye's stinging slightly. "Everyone needs you, you're a hero" he said with a bright smile, one she half-heartedly returned.
An hour later and Rose had eaten two and a half pancakes, Hermione three and Fred had polished off the other five and a half, having deciding to eat the remaining half of Rose's syrup pancake. Fred and Rose were now sat on the sofa, Rose excitedly showing Fred her colouring book while Hermione did the washing up, despite Fred's insisted notion that it was his home. Hermione would have used her wand to charm the washing up like she did when she was in a rush, but she found the soft lapping of the warm, soapy water theraputic, a routine she was steadily growing used to.
"So, what do you want to do for the rest of the day?" Fred asked Hermione from over the back of the sofa as Rose began colouring once again.
"Oh, I've not really thought about it" Hermione said "Why? Did you have something in mind?" she said shyly, watching as Fred's smirk turned into a smile.
"Well, you and Rose are perfectly welcome to stay for a sleepover" Fred said only half joking "Because your cooking, Hermione, is superb, and I would love to experience it again" She laughed at his notion, swatting him playfully on the arm as Rose let out a slight yawn.
"I'm not becoming your personal cook" she said, smiling slightly. "But, perhaps you could come for dinner at our's next time?" she said, not expecting Fred to agree.
"Brilliant! I'm working tomorrow, so how's Monday night?" he said and Hermione didn't know how to reply. "What do you think, Rosie?" Fred said, tickling Rose's chin "Do you want me to come round on Monday?" to which Rose began to squeal and nod enthusiastically, just like the little girl she was.
"Pwease, Mumma, Pwease!" she begged, jumping from the sofa and grabbing onto Hermione's jeans.
"Well, if that's what Uncle Fred wants to do" she said, slightly bewildered by how easy it was to cooperate with Fred. Whenever she tried to arrange something with Ron it was like trying to arrange a party with a sheep, totally pointless and creating more stress than it was worth. "Looks like it's a date" Hermione said, picking Rose up form the floor, resting her on her hip, kissing the girl on the cheek.
Carrying Rose, Hermione sat with Fred on the sofa, letting the little girl snuggle between the two of them for the nap she no doubt needed.
"She's tired her self out, look." Hermione said, watching as Rose rested her hand on Fred's lap, her thumb in her mouth and her eyes closed.
"Hermione, you've got to come back." Fred said suddenly, leaving Hermione taken aback for a second. "If not for your sake, or even for everyone else's, then for hers" Fred said, his hand gently stroking the fuzzy red hair of the already sleeping girl. "She needs her family, Hermione, She needs her dad" he said.
"Her dad didn't want her." Hermione spat, the bitter memories of Ron's words echoing in her head "He made that very clear"
"But do you really think he meant it?" Fred asked, his brother was a certified prat, every one knew that, but he wasn't cruel.
"I've been Ron's friend since I was eleven years old" Hermione said sadly "I've seen at his best and I've seen him at his worst, and he'd spoken to me like that only once before, and that was during the war. I forgave him then because it wasn't his fault, we were being manipulated, we all were." She sighed deeply, staring up at the perfect white ceiling "But this time, he didn't have any excuses. The things he said to me, the things he said about Rose, they were despicable. The Ron I knew - the Ron I loved - would never had said such things, he would have torn the world apart to see his daughter; clearly he wasn't the man I thought he was."
"I'm sorry about you having to do this alone, Hermione" Fred said solemnly "I always think that I should have woken up before you left, I should have stopped you, but I let you go and you've raised this little girl all by yourself, not even Ginny could raise her son herself, she was always asking Mum for help. Just come back, please"
"I can't, Fred" she said, "Can't you see that I cant, not yet at least. I will one day, that's a promise, but you can't tell anyone you found me, not yet"
"I promise" he said, his blue eyes full of sincerity as he stared at Hermione, she smiled at him sweetly before resting her head on his shoulder, shutting her own eyes for a second. She felt Fred kiss her forehead and smiled, revelling in the moment. Could she have this one day? A husband with her and her daughter, a happy family.
Just as she began to drift off into sleep, there was a loud crack, followed by a aggitated, ranting voice, one that was far too familiar for Hermione's liking.