Title: Operation Parent Trap
Summary: Book 1 of Saving Ron Saga. Twenty-five years after Voldemort's defeat, Ron Weasley dies from an unexplained illness. After discovering exactly what caused their father's illness, Rose and Hugo Weasley travel back in time to save their father. Step 1 in their plan: make their parents fall in love sooner!
Rating: M (just in case)
Ships: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, other canon couples.
Disclaimer: J.K Rowling owns the characters and the world of Harry Potter. I do not. I just write stories based on her lovely books. No copyright infringement intended.
Her Biggest Regret
(Hermione Weasley's PoV)
(January 5th, 2024)
RON WEASLEY, MEMBER OF GOLDEN TRIO, HEROES OF THE WIZARDING WORLD, DEAD AT 44
by Meridian Clove
Ronald Billius Weasley, known by wizardkind as one-third of the Golden Trio, one of the heroes of the Second War, passed away one week ago at the age of forty-four. He is survived by his wife, Hermione Weasley, and their children Rose, 15 and Hugo, 13. Though Harry Potter is said to be the most famous hero of the Second War, he always claimed that he would never have survived those final months of the war, had it not been for Ron Weasley, or Hermione Granger (now Weasley, Ron's widow)
Hermione Weasley's breath hitched as her eyes fell on the word 'widow', and she pushed the article across the kitchen table. She could hardly get through one paragraph, and there were still five more. Ron's death had been front page news on the Daily Prophet. The Daily Prophet had been gracious enough to allow a one-week mourning period for Ron's family before they posted the news to the media.
She could not believe it had only been a week since Ron passed away in his sleep, in their bed at their home in Ottery St. Catchpole. Cause of death had been an unexplained illness, though Healers expected it had been the effects of a curse, possibly from many years ago. The illness had started a month ago. Ron had complained of chest problems one day. Two days later, a mysterious bruise had appeared on his chest, right over his heart. Three weeks later, after his symptoms had gradually become worse, he was dead.
Hermione felt tears flood her eyes, but she didn't bother to wipe them away. She had cried countless times over the past week since her husband's death.
"Mum?" Hugo's voice said, behind her.
Hermione gasped, startled. She wiped the tears from her face as her son walked over to the table.
"You scared me, sweetheart," Hermione said; then abruptly closed her mouth. Her voice sounded ragged from disuse.
She hadn't talked much over the past week. She hadn't done very much at all since Ron passed away. She hadn't left the house in fear of reporters coming to talk to her. At meal-time, she would eat a few bites then push her plate away.
As Hugo sat down, Hermione smiled at her son.
"You look so much like your father," she said, her voice still hoarse. "So handsome…"
"I know, Mum," Hugo said, "You always tell me that."
"He was such a handsome man, even when he was your age," Hermione said, "Even when he was younger than you are now he was quite cute. My biggest regret in my life is that it took me so long to tell him exactly how I felt about him."
Hugo's eyebrows raised. "So if you could change anything, would that be it? Would you want to tell him sooner?"
Hermione nodded. If she could change anything, there was a whole list of options she would choose from. But in her grief-stricken mind, one option jumped to the top of the list.
"There were a couple of times where we almost had that first date long before we became a couple," Hermione said. "The Yule Ball in our fourth year could have been one… but, even your father agrees –" her breath hitched, and she remembered she needed to use past tense now when it came to her husband, "agreed - that our relationship might not have survived if we became a couple in fourth year."
"You said a couple of times," Hugo said, "As in more than one?"
Hermione nodded as one particular memory came back to her. "In sixth year our Potions Master at the time, Professor Slughorn – Professor Snape was posted in Defense then – he arranged get-togethers and parties. There was a Christmas party that year. I was part of his club, the Slug Club, and so was your Uncle Harry. Ron wasn't, though – Professor Slughorn didn't see him as the popular type. Kept getting his name wrong, if I recall. Rupert, he called him once."
"Bet that peeved Dad," Hugo said, as a grin crossed his face.
"Yeah, he wasn't happy," Hermione said. "In early November of that year… Professor Slughorn announced to the Slug Club that he would be hosting the Christmas Party, and that we could bring dates. I, of course, was hoping to bring your father along. I even told him I wanted him to accompany me."
"So what happened?" Hugo asked.
"Ron got upset about – err – something," Hermione said, "and he got really mad at me. Really, it was a misunderstanding. Your Aunt Ginny provoked him, and said something about me, and Ron got jealous. You know about Viktor Krum, yes?"
"You told us about the Yule Ball fiasco, yes," Hugo said.
"Fiasco?" Hermione echoed, raising an eyebrow.
"Oh… Dad's words," Hugo said.
"Okay, looking back on it, it could have come out better," Hermione allowed. "I had my first kiss at the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum. Your father didn't know about it then. Ginny told him and that is why he got jealous. He had a way of being very irrational at some points in his life. Anyway, he decided to get back at me… he wanted to kiss someone and make me jealous. That following weekend after my failed attempt to ask Ron to the party, the Gryffindor Quidditch team were victorious in their match. Ron did really well… oh, err… right, I forgot. I thought Harry had spiked Ron's drink with Lucky potion, Felix Felicis. Harry had won it recently in Potions Class. Well, I was wrong… Harry tricked me."
"Uncle Harry tricked you?" Hugo asked, "He can hardly ever get one past you!"
"He had his moments," Hermione said. "He tricked me and Ron, making Ron think he had taken the potion. In truth, he only made Ron became more sure of himself because he thought he had a temporary lucky streak. He excelled in his position as Keeper during that match, and they won the match. And then… at the party, Lavender Finnigan - Brown at the time – she had a fancy for your father then… she kissed him right in front of everyone, and – well, they started dating. It wasn't exactly the best few months in our then-friendship for me and your father."
"So if you asked him to the Christmas party," Hugo said, "He might have realized then that you loved him."
"Yeah," Hermione said, "Ron was still a bit immature, but with a little help from me, I think we could have had a successful relationship from sixth year on. A lot of things might have changed if I had told him how I felt early on. He might not even have left –"
Hermione's mind suddenly went into overdrive. During the hunt for the Horcruxes, Ron had left for weeks… and he had returned thanks to the Deluminator. Her mind went back to Ron's story… even now she could remember it. She wanted to know exactly how he had returned, how he had found her and Harry. She had confronted him, and he had explained how the Deluminator just didn't turn on and off lights.
"… it was a ball of light, kind of pulsing, and bluish, like that light you get around a Portkey, you know?"
"Yeah," said Harry and Hermione together automatically.
"I knew this was it," said Ron. "I grabbed my stuff and packed it, then I put on my rucksack and went out into the garden.
"The little ball of light was hovering there, waiting for me, and when I came out it bobbed along a bit and I followed it behind the shed and then it ... well, it went inside me."
"Sorry?" said Harry.
"It sort of floated toward me," said Ron, illustrating the movement with his free index finger, "right to my chest, and then - it just went straight through. It was here," he touched a point close to his heart, "I could feel it, it was hot."
Hermione slowly put a hand to her mouth as the revelation struck her. Ron had pointed at his chest – over his heart…
Exactly where the bruise had formed that seemed to have caused his death.
"No!" Hermione cried out, "That's not possible!"
"Mum?" Hugo asked, confusion and shock lighting his face.
Hermione felt bile rise in her throat, and she jumped out of her chair and ran over to the sink, then proceeded to vomit into it.
"Mum!" Hugo yelped, then yelled out, "Rose! Come here!"
"It-it's okay, Hugo," Hermione said, shakily, as she backed away from the sink, "I-I'm fine."
"Mum?" Rose, Hermione's daughter, said, as she entered the kitchen in haste.
"I'm fine, darling," Hermione said, "I'm –"
A wave of emotions struck her and she slid onto the floor, and began sobbing uncontrollably.
"Mum?" Rose asked.
"It's… my fault…" Hermione gasped, "All my fault!"
"Here… water," Hugo said, shoving a glass of water into Hermione's hands.
Hermione took it and gulped down the contents.
"My fault," she gasped, "Ron… my fault."
"Mum," Rose said, "Daddy's – Daddy's death isn't your fault."
"It is!" Hermione sobbed, "He left because of me."
"He didn't leave, Mum," Rose said, "He –"
Hermione inhaled and exhaled. "He did. He left… there is something I haven't told you. Something about that last year of the war."
"You and Dad explained how you won, Mum, remember?" Rose asked. "After that book about Uncle Harry came out, the one by Rita Skeeter, and you said you were afraid it would tell too much. So you, Dad, and Uncle Harry sat all of us kids down."
"We didn't tell you everything," Hermione said. "You know we were hunting the Horcruxes, yeah?"
"Yeah, you told us, Mum," Hugo said, "That never-ending camping trip, Dad always called it."
"We never told you one specific detail," Hermione said. "It was your father's deepest regret in his life, and he didn't want you to – to be ashamed of him. He – me, your father and Uncle Harry, we got into a really bad argument. There was a big misunderstanding, and… well… your father thought I was in love with your Uncle Harry."
"Uncle Harry?" Hugo said, laughing, "But you always said he's like a brother to you!"
"It was only ever a sibling-like relationship," Hermione said. "Your father didn't understand that back then. He loved me, but due to insecurities, he didn't realize that I loved him back the same way. He thought I had chosen Harry. We got into a big argument, and he left the tent. Harry and I – we were so angry at him, and we didn't say his name… at all, for weeks. It was like another Taboo. One day, I said his name without realizing it, I suppose. He returned a few days later… thanks to his Deluminator. He said he heard my name from the Deluminator, and a ball of light came out of the object, and went into his chest – at his heart – and he was able to find us…"
"So this ball of light went into his chest… into his heart?" Rose asked.
Hermione nodded. Rose covered her mouth with her hands.
"The Deluminator killed him," Rose said, her voice muffled. "Didn't it, Mum?"
Hermione sniffled and nodded. "I think so. After all these years, the side-effects… we never even thought there could be any side-effects from it. Either something activated it, or… possibly, very slowly, it ate away at him."
"His magical core," Rose said, "We learned about that in Arithmancy… maybe it affected his magical core."
Hermione tried her best to smile. "I knew you inherited my brains."
"Mum," Hugo said, "If you and Dad had been dating from your sixth year on… if you were together during that hunt – romantically – do you think he would have left?"
Hermione shrugged. "There were several factors behind his reason to leave. But… yeah, if he realized how much I cared about him… I don't think he would have left."
A shadow crossed Hugo's eyes, and he nodded. Hermione, however, was too lost in her newfound revelation to notice that her youngest child was hatching a plan in his head.
That evening, Rose was sitting in her bed, dressed in her nightgown, looking through the family photo album. There were many pictures through the years. The pictures in the front of the album were from her parents' younger days, when they were teens, and in their early twenties before they had children. Her eyes went to one particular picture of her parents and Uncle Harry. The caption below it read "Ron, Hermione and Harry – summer before 6th year."
Rose smiled as she looked at the younger versions of her parents. Even though she had inherited the so-called 'Weasley Curse' – ginger-red hair and freckles everywhere, she still resembled her mother, especially her bushy hair. She looked from her mother to her father, whose picture figure was smiling up at her, and she choked back a sob.
She might have resembled her mother aside from a couple differences, and she may have had her mother's brain, but she was definitely a Daddy's girl. She had dreamed for years of walking down an aisle toward a wedding arch, escorted by her father, who looked proud as he could be.
"I miss you, Daddy," Rose said, as tears ran down her cheeks, "I wish you were still here. I wish I could have done something –"
"What if you could?" Hugo's voice said.
Rose gasped, startled, and she looked toward the doorway of her bedroom. Her brother stood there, looking at her.
"Couldn't you knock?!" Rose hissed, "I could have been changing clothes!"
Hugo shrugged, and walked into the room, then shut the door behind him. He walked over to Rose's bed and sat at the foot of it.
"Answer my question," Hugo said, "What if you could have done something to – to save Dad?"
"I would have done anything, Hugo," Rose said, "But it seems as if the problem started years before we were born."
"Exactly," Hugo said. "What if there was a way to prevent it from ever happening."
Rose stared at her brother, knowing exactly what he was suggesting. "What you speak of is –"
"Time-travel," Hugo said, nodding.
"Yes, and it is extremely illegal!" Rose hissed.
"Mum used a time-turner back in her school days at one point," Hugo said.
"She had express permission to do so," Rose said, "Special privileges because she was such a smart student. Besides, the time-turner can only take you back hours at a time."
"Come on, Rose," Hugo scowled, "Isn't it your dream to become an Unspeakable?"
Rose frowned and nodded, grudgingly. Ever since she had read a book on the Department of Mysteries a couple years ago, she had dreamed of working there.
"Time-travel is one of the things they work on," Hugo said, "There could be ways other than a time-turner to go back in time."
"Time-travel, Hugo?" Rose asked, "Of all the stupid, mental –"
"Could you let me explain what I'm trying to get at before you insult me?" Hugo asked, annoyed.
Rose closed the photo album and set it on her bedside table. She then crossed her arms over her chest and looked at her brother with raised eyebrows, silently giving him permission to continue.
"Apparently Dad died because of this Deluminator thingy, yes?" Hugo asked.
"Seems like it," Rose said, "So? Is your genius plan to go back in time and steal it?"
"Even if we did steal it, Dad might still have left Mum and Uncle Harry in that tent," Hugo said. "What if we're wrong? What if the Deluminator didn't curse Dad, but perhaps something, or someone else did when he left?"
"Or maybe he – he died because of something that happened recently, Hugo!" Rose said, sighing.
"Mum's pretty sure it was the Deluminator," Hugo said.
"And yet you're still questioning it," Rose argued.
Hugo sighed. "That's not the point. Mum said her biggest regret in life is that she didn't tell Dad exactly how she felt about him earlier. She said there was a specific moment in her sixth year. She missed her opportunity due to circumstances. Ever since our discussion with Mum this morning, I've been going through it in my head. Dad never would have left the hunt if he and Mum were together. But he would have needed enough courage, and enough proof to know she loved him."
"So that's your plan?" Rose asked, "Possibly find a way to go back in time, and bring our parents together earlier?"
"Sure," Hugo said, "But a few things have to happen first. I have it all worked out."
"Are you bloody insane?!" Rose asked, "Even if you could do it, do you know how dangerous it would be. What if you couldn't come back? What if you screw up the timeline and mess things up more?! The world could -"
"I don't bloody care, Rose!" Hugo growled, "Dad is dead! The Second War could still be going on right now for all I bloody care. As long as it meant Dad was alive, I'd still be happy!"
Tears sparkled in Hugo's eyes, and Rose frowned.
"Have you had a hard look at Mum since Dad died?" Hugo asked. "She's wilting away. She doesn't eat much, she hasn't stepped outside the house once. She hardly talks – and when she does, she either breaks down like she did this morning or… well, three days ago, I walked in on her yelling at Uncle Harry. They hardly fight, Rose! Mum lost her soul-mate… she's heart-broken. What if…?"
Hugo growled audibly and balled his hands into fists through his hair.
"Mum's never been very strong when Dad is gone, Rose," he said, "Remember when he and Uncle Harry went on that Auror mission a few months before you started your first year? They were gone for two months – two months! Do you remember how she was?"
Rose felt tears in her eyes. She did remember. After those first three weeks, she could tell their mother was starting to lose hope that her husband and best friend would ever come back.
"She was acting a lot like she is now," Rose said, "And then…"
Rose's mind went back to that time they were discussing. Two weeks before their Dad did return, their mother had a panic attack and landed herself in the hospital for eight days.
"Exactly," Hugo said. "When Dad returned, you remember - she got better. I hadn't seen her that happy in my life. But now… Rose, Dad isn't returning this time!"
Rose choked back a sob. She opened her mouth to reply when she heard her door creak open and she looked up toward it.
Their mother was standing there with tears running down her cheeks.
"Mum?" Rose asked.
"Y-you heard everything, didn't you?" Hugo asked, in a shaky voice.
Hermione nodded slowly and walked into the room.
"Mum, I'm sorry," Hugo said, "It was just a thought… I know it would probably be impossible. Time-travel going back that distance…"
"It's not impossible," Hermione said, her voice sounding more steady then it had since their father had died… she almost sounded normal again.
"What?" Rose asked.
"Would you really do it, Hugo?" Hermione asked, "If you could –"
"In a heartbeat, Mum," Hugo said, "For Dad…"
"Rose?" Hermione asked.
Rose stared at her mother. Was she suggesting…? Was her mother actually supporting Hugo's insane plans? All through this discussion, Rose had been thinking about going to her mother and telling her exactly what Hugo was thinking. She thought her mother would lecture him, and tell him exactly how insane he sounded. But now… it seemed she had been listening in on everything. And from the look in her eyes, and the sound of her voice… she seemed so desperate that she'd… she'd actually support this?
Rose sighed and looked back at the photo album. On the cover of it was one of the recent pictures of their family. Ron Weasley was smiling up at her, the way he always smiled… the smile she loved.
"I… yeah, Mum," she said, finally, as she looked back up at her mother, "For Dad."
"There's a way," Hermione said, "But you need to understand something. It will take months to plan out – no, don't interrupt me, Hugo." For Hugo had opened his mouth to do that exact thing. "It will take months of planning to be precisely correct. You are not going to like the steps it will take for the two of you to go back in time."
"What do you mean, Mum?" Rose asked; she was quite afraid of her mother's voice at the moment.
"You two don't exist in that time period, Rosie," Hermione said, "In order for you to actually exist, so that you can be seen and heard… it requires a sacrifice. A sacrifice of blood and life."
Rose knew exactly what her mother was going to say, and she wished she could block out her mother's next words, wished she could cover her ears. But her hands felt as heavy as hippogriffs.
"My blood," Hermione said, "My life."
Well, that was an angsty start to the story. But it needed to be. As you can imagine, this is a really tough ordeal for this small family to be going through at the moment.
I'm not sure if it would be OOC or not for Hermione to support the mad plan, and risk her children's lives – the future they'd come back to – a lot of scenarios could take place. And that is if they did come back. They would be traveling into the worst part of the Second War.
Next chapter will start nearly nine months chronologically from this chapter (August 31st, 2024) – Rose and Hugo have a big quest in front of them and it will take a lot of planning. I won't be fully going into detail of their plans next chapter, because it would spoil the rest of the story – instead I will be gradually revealing their plans as they take place in flashback discussions between Rose, Hugo and their mother.
As you probably noted from the summary of this story, there will probably be two or three stories in total. This first story will take place in Year 6 – Half-Blood Prince time, and will definitely be a lighter, more fluffier story of the two, because it deals with Ron and Hermione's blossoming relationship, as well as Rose and Hugo's mischievous plans. Also, I do not plan on immediately revealing Rose and Hugo's real identities right away… that is one storyline I am looking forward to.