10 YEARS LATER
Eliza Weasley held on very tightly to Ruby's hand as they travelled through the Floo network because the four-year-old had developed a worrying, inconvenient and potentially dangerous habit of letting go of either her mother's or her father's hand during the Floo process to 'see where I'd end up'. The previous month she had let go of Eliza's hand as they had been travelling to Aunt Petunia's new house and Ruby had ended up in Malfoy Manor.
Draco Malfoy had been visiting his parents with his family at the time, and had immediately recognised Ruby and had escorted her to Hogwarts whereupon Neville Longbottom, now the Herbology Professor, had sent a frantic Eliza and Fred a Patronus telling them that she had been found. Eliza had been so grateful to Draco that she and Fred had sent him a large box of the latest shop products and then even had Draco and Astoria around for dinner, as a thank you.
They arrived smoothly in the kitchen of the Burrow and Ruby immediately shook out of her mother's grasp and ran into her grandmother's arms.
"Happy birthday, Granny!" She squealed and Molly lifted her up and squeezed her tightly. Eliza steadied herself for a moment in an attempt to disguise the nausea that the journey had caused her and then looked over at Molly.
"Thank you, Ruby, that's a pretty dress, is it new?" She asked, pointing at the yellow dress with orange dots.
"Yes, Auntie Tuney got it for me." She said, proudly.
"Happy birthday, Molly, sorry we didn't get here earlier we had a few errands to run." Molly placed Ruby back on the floor and embraced her daughter-in-law.
"Thank you, dear. Don't worry, Hermione came early and we're nearly ready. I keep telling her that she needs to put her feet up but you know what she's like!" Hermione was due to give birth to her and Ron's second child any day now but she was struggling to follow the Healer's orders of resting, 'Muggle's don't rest for the final two week's it's ridiculous!'
"Where's Teddy?" Asked Ruby, looking up at her Grandmother.
"He's not here yet, but Rosie's outside drawing if you want…" Ruby turned to her mother with accusation in her eyes.
"You said Teddy would be here, Mummy, you promised!" She said, putting her hands on her hips and pouting in a way that reminded Eliza of who her father was. Eliza sat down at the table and then turned to her daughter.
"I said Teddy would be coming, I didn't say he would be here when we got here. We've come early, Uncle Bill and Auntie Fleur will bring him later."
"You promise?" Ruby said, looking upset, she hated it when Teddy stayed anywhere else, it was only one night, but Ruby hated him being away from her.
"Yes, I promise, go and play with Rosie in the garden." Ruby looked at her mother for another moment and then ran off. Molly watched her retreat and then turned back to Eliza.
"She still hates it when Teddy stays away then?"
"Yep, she had a tantrum last night when we told her he was having a sleepover with Victoire, and she exploded the vase that Hagrid got us for Christmas." Eliza smiled slightly at the memory.
"Just imagine when she's a teenager! Are you alright, dear? You look a bit peaky?" Eliza blushed under her mother-in-law's gaze, damn her intuition.
"Nothing a cup of tea won't fix!" She lied and Molly sprang into action and a few minutes later they joined Hermione in the garden. The heavily-pregnant witch attempted to get up but Eliza stopped her.
"Hermione, don't get up!" She said,
"I'm perfectly capable of getting up…if someone helps me." She said, failing her arms as if she was a turtle stuck on its back.
"Well we're not going to help you, so there. What time are the others arriving, Molly?"
"Probably in about an hour…oh that's a pretty picture Rosie!" She said, accepting the picture of a birthday cake from the two-year-old, who then ran up to Eliza and hugged her before returning to the activity area set up for the children.
Just the Arthur emerged from his shed and walked over to them.
"Hello, Eliza, didn't hear you arrive! How are you?" He said, bending down and kissing her on the cheek and then sitting down next to Hermione.
"We've only just got here, having fun in the shed?"
"Always, Harry got me a remote-controlled aeroplane, Eliza, have you ever seen one?" Eliza laughed as she answered.
"Dudley got one for Milly last Christmas, I think he wanted to play with it more than Milly but they had fun."
"How old is she now?" Asked Hermione.
"Six, I think Dudley and Lydia are thinking of having another one, Aunt Petunia is pushing them in that direction anyway."
"How are the wedding plans coming on?" Asked Molly.
"Well, I think, David is shocked by how organised Aunt Petunia has become, everything's ready and it's not for another six months!" Eliza had been surprised when Aunt Petunia had announced that she was getting married again. David was a man from her gardening club and he reminded both Eliza and Harry of Arthur, he had the same passion/obsession but with David it was plants, Eliza kept thinking of introducing him to Neville but the opportunity had not yet presented itself.
"Mummy, is she definitely coming?" Asked Ruby, tugging on her mother's arm. All the adults smiled, they knew exactly who Ruby was talking about.
"Yes, Ruby, she'll be a little bit late though. Teddy has just arrived though." She said, recognising the turquoise hair through the kitchen window. Ruby gasped and ran off into the house.
"I was thinking we could have a bonfire later, take the warming charms off and sit around the fire, what do you think?" Asked Arthur as Bill and Fleur moved towards them, Bill holding a five-week old Louie, and seven-year-old Dominique was hanging onto her mother's arm. Teddy, Victoire and Ruby followed after, Teddy throwing a slightly harassed look to his godmother. Eliza turned back to Arthur.
"Can you wait until Ruby is in bed? Safety charms are one thing, but Ruby and fire in the same area…" She tailed off and the others laughed.
Molly dashed off to hold the newest member of the Weasley family and five minutes later when they were all sat down Eliza decided she should save ten-year-old Teddy.
"Teddy, could you come here please?" She asked, he stood up and walked over to her, Ruby followed.
"Ruby, go and play with the others, I need to talk to Teddy." Ruby looked annoyed and skulked off throwing glances back at her adopted brother.
"What is it, Auntie Eliza?" He asked, looking worried.
"Nothing, just thought I'd see how you are, did you have a nice time?" Teddy grinned.
"Yes, it was great, thanks. We planted a new tree by Dobby's grave and then we had a BBQ."
"That's nice, do you want to go and see Auntie Ginny's Quidditch match tomorrow?" Teddy's face lit up.
"Yeah, are you coming?"
"No, I'll stay home with Ruby, Uncle Fred can take you." Teddy looked even more excited but then a little bit guilty.
"It's not that I don't like her or anything, I do love her and everything…"
"I know you do, Teddy, don't worry. She's an obsessive child and you just happen to be flavour of the month, she'll move onto something else in a few weeks." Teddy nodded and started telling Eliza about the sleepover.
Within forty-five minutes Percy and Audrey had arrived with six-year-old twins, Molly and Lucy, Ron had arrived from his shift at the shop, Fred had popped home to get Molly's present, Harry and Ginny had arrived with James and Albus, and then Charlie arrived from Romania, alone as usual, to surprise his mother who hadn't been expecting him.
"Charlie! Oh, it's so lovely to see you!" She exclaimed and hugged him before he was surrounded by his nieces and nephews all demanding Dragon stories.
Fred arrived moments later and came to sit next to his wife, Ruby barely glancing in his direction before turning back to stare at Teddy.
"So, who wins?" Fred asked, kissing Eliza on the cheek.
"I do, but you owe me double." It took a moment for Fred to understood what she had said and then a broad smiled crossed his face.
"Seriously? And everything's…"
"Completely normal, is it hot here?" She said, suddenly fanning her face. Fred shook his head and then took a large swig of his Butterbeer.
"Daddy! You said you would play Quidditch with me?" Said James, coming up to his father and climbing onto his lap.
"Daddy has just got in from work, James, he'll play with you later. I'll come if you want?" Said Ginny, looking at her son.
"No, you're too good." He sulked before running back to the other children.
"So, someone's a Daddy's boy?" Said Charlie, laughing.
"Oh, totally, don't worry I got Al though." Said Ginny grinning.
Just then Ruby approached the table and looked across at her mother.
"Mummy, you promised. I drewed a picture for her!" She said, holding out what Eliza could only speculate was a cat, and a pumpkin. Fred pulled Ruby onto his lap and she squealed in delight as he tickled her for a moment before looking at her mother with the question still in her blue eyes.
"See, could be worse." Muttered Harry, looking across at Charlie.
"Not yet, Ruby, just wait a bit longer." Said Eliza, Ruby huffed and then walked off, her dark red pigtails swinging, and carrying her picture carefully.
"Who's she waiting for?" Asked Charlie, looking around and mentally counting all the family as present.
"You'll see." Said Fred as the others laughed. Ruby's favourite was a source of great amusement for the family.
"How's work, Eliza?" Asked Percy, looking down the table at her.
"Good, thanks, got the funding for my next project." She said, she had been an Unspeakable since she had left Hogwarts and she loved it.
"As if they're going to deny you funding Eliza!" Scoffed Ron and Eliza smiled at him. It had been five years since Eliza had developed 'Remus's Remedy', a cure for lycanthropy, the ensuing celebration, including an Order of the Merlin, had produced the unexpected bonus of a pregnancy, and then nine months later, Ruby had screamed her way into the world. The first baby to be born at Hogwarts, Eliza had never had another Healer, Madam Pomfrey was always her first port of call.
"Has the project started yet?" Asked Bill.
"Yeah but we're not very far into it, only a couple of months so we haven't done much yet, just research." The Weasley's knew that Eliza couldn't discuss her work but they always inquired about it. Her latest project was related to Dementors and how to return lost souls, Eliza knew it was going to be a tricky one but so far she had managed to avoid travelling to Azkaban, the other researchers had understood.
Eliza glanced towards the door of the Burrow and she smiled before turning to Charlie.
"Charlie, watch Ruby!" She whispered and the entire family turned to watch the four-year-old. The silence clearly alerted her that something was going on so she looked around and gasped, gaping at the new arrival.
Ruby then jumped up and ran towards the table, Eliza thought for a moment that she was planning to crawl under the table, but the she realised that it was not her daughter's plan. She jumped up onto her father's lap and then ran over the table, almost standing in the birthday cake.
"RUBY ARIANA WEASLEY WE DO NOT RUN OVER TABLES!" Shouted Fred, his daughter did not turn to him, but did reply as she ran.
"DADDY DON'T BE SILLY, I'M TOO BIG TO RUN UNDER THE TABLE!" Ron laughed loudly and they continued watching Ruby's journey. When she was about five metres away from her destination she tripped up and flew the remaining distance.
Silence reigned on the table and Eliza winced, if Ruby spotted blood she would scream the house down, instead she simply looked up and shook her head before jumping up and throwing herself around the legs of her godmother.
"Aunt Minnie! Aunt Minnie! I drewed you a picture!" She cried, her voice cracking in happiness.
"She only saw her last week!" Said Fred, laughing and shaking his head.
Charlie laughed and then turned to Eliza.
"You might not be her favourite, Eliza, but she's your daughter through and through!" He said and the rest of the family laughed as Minerva and Ruby made their way towards the table. Ruby appeared to be filling Minerva in on her day thus far.
"…and then we had breakfast, Daddy made me waffles, then he went to work, and then Mummy was sick all over the floor and it was puur-ple!" Eliza blushed and then looked at her daughter.
"Ruby, first of all, Auntie Minnie does not want to know that, and secondly it was not purple!"
"It was, Mummy, it was!" She protested as the rest of the adult's looked at Eliza in mild concern. Eliza thought for a moment and then turned to Ron.
"Have you been teaching her the wrong colours again?" She asked, sharply.
"I thought you'd approve, it's an experiment!" Said Ron.
"Experiment on your own kid, Ron." Said Fred, looking over at his brother.
"I tried but Rosie already knew the colours before I thought of the idea and she didn't believe me when I told her they were wrong, Ruby's gullible!" Eliza laughed and then nodded, knowing he was right. Ruby would believe anything her Uncle Ron told her for sure.
Luckily the conversation seemed to have distracted the family from the reason they had been discussing colours in the first place and they all sat down to eat together.
As Fleur and Audrey levitated the empty plates into the kitchen Eliza glanced behind her and was concerned to see that Ruby was not sitting with the other children, her eyes swept the garden and then she gasped and stood up quickly, pulling out her wand.
"Eliza, what…RUBY!" Said Fred, also standing up and turning towards the orchard. Ruby was half-way up one of the apple trees. Eliza and Fred ran over to her quickly and then Fred coaxed her down. As soon as her feet touched the floor Eliza breathed a sigh of relief and they escorted Ruby back to the table to sit with the adults.
"What did you think you were doing?" Asked Eliza conjuring a chair and making Ruby sit down in between her parents.
"I was climbing the tree." Ruby answered, seemingly confused as to why she was being punished and was not allowed to return to the children's table.
"Why?" Asked Fred.
"Teddy said that Mummy can climb trees!" Said Ruby, looking up at her father defiantly.
"Ruby, Mummy can turn into a squirrel, she doesn't climb trees when she's human!" Said Fred, Ruby turned to her mother.
"If I can learned to be a squirtel, can I climb the trees?" She asked, Eliza heard Harry laugh in her head and she looked up to glare at him before looking back at Ruby.
"When you go to Hogwarts and if you work really hard and learn how to turn into a squirrel, then you can climb trees." She said, hoping that she had emphasised the right parts of the sentence in order to express her point. Ruby nodded and then looked up at Minerva.
"Can you turn into a squirtel, Auntie Minnie?" She asked,
"No Ruby, Mummy can turn into a squirrel, I can turn into a cat." Minerva replied, Ruby looked thoughtful for a moment.
"Show me?" She asked, Minerva complied and the returned to her human form. Ruby smiled and clapped before turning to her mother.
"Can you turn into a kitty?" She asked.
"No, Ruby, Mummy can turn into a squirrel." Eliza replied.
"Show me?" Eliza threw her husband a glance and he clearly understood her predicament.
"Ruby, it's pudding time now, not magic time. Mummy and Daddy are making you sit at the table because you climbed up a tree and that was very dangerous. You're to sit here until the end of pudding and if you say sorry then you can go and play, okay?"
"Okay, Daddy, can I have pudding now, please?" She said, turning to the table.
They all sang 'Happy birthday' and then Molly cut the cake, before she handed it out however she waved her wand and a smaller cake appeared next to it.
"Now, the actual birthday cake has got cinnamon in it, so I've made another one if anyone would prefer?" She looked up and looked around at her daughter, and then all of her daughter-in-laws, except Hermione who was exempt, to see who would avoid her gaze, Eliza did. The men watched with amusement, except Fred who also avoided his mother's gaze. Molly noticed and looked at Eliza carefully.
"Eliza, dear, which cake would you prefer?" She asked pleasantly, the entire table turned to look at her and she blushed, as did Fred.
"Umm…the other cake please, Molly." She replied and Molly beamed at her.
"I KNEW IT!" She screamed and ran towards Eliza, still holding the knife which Fred promptly transfigured into a handkerchief so that his wife would not get stabbed.
"Oh, what a wonderful birthday present, when did you find out?" She asked as the others also congratulated Eliza and Fred.
"Only today, Eliza went to Hogwarts and saw Poppy." Said Fred as he hugged his mother. The cinnamon cake was a useful ploy that Molly had discovered over the years, no woman pregnant with a Weasley baby could eat cinnamon without throwing up for hours. Eliza had suspected that Molly had her suspicions that she was pregnant but she knew she must have been hoping to catch any of her son's spouses or daughter out when she baked the cake.
"Oh, how marvellous, another baby! And they'll be in the same year as Ron and Hermione's and little Louie!" Gushed Molly and Eliza nodded towards her husband, telling him that he could tell his mother the rest of the news.
"Actually mom, they'll be four of them in that year, good thing you're retiring Minerva, it's twins!" He said casually, causing another bout of congratulations and applause.
"Auntie Eliza, what's going on?" Asked Teddy, walking over to them.
"Well, Teddy, you're going to get another two little siblings in a few months, what do you think about that?" She asked, carefully.
"Two, as in twins! That's great!" He said, clearly excited as his hair ran through all the colours of the rainbow. Ruby did not seem to be following the conversation, like her mother she was often stuck in her own head and missed whole conversations.
"You think so?" Asked Fred, pulling Teddy into a brief one-armed hug.
"Yeah, that's bound to get Ruby away from me!" He said before running back to the children's table to talk to his adopted-cousins and share the news.
Ruby looked up at her parents, upon hearing her name and picked up her fork.
"Mummy, can I have cake now?" She asked, looking over her grandmother's birthday cake with hungry eyes. Eliza looked down at her daughter and then across at Teddy, before looking up at her husband's smiling, yes, she thought happily, all was well.