Another Reason Why She’s My Favourite CousinPrompted by:
Rachel goes to visit her cousin Hermione over winter break. (Rachel can be a muggle, a squib, or even a home-schooled witch, don't care.)Summary:
Ron said that he would lay off the magic for a week. Too bad he didn't tell the other Weasleys they'd have to do it, too.Disclaimer:
Potter characters to Rowling. Glee characters to Murphy. No money made.Notes:
Fudging with ages a little. Hermione's younger than she would be if this were completely canon.
Rachel disembarked the plane, wheeling her pink carry-on suitcase behind her, feeling trepidation in her stomach. She'd spent time with her cousin Hermione before, but it was the first time she had visited without her daddies. The flight had been long, she was exhausted, and there was something about being stuck in a metal tube for seven and a half hours with recirculated air made her feel just a little dirty.
She retrieved her checked baggage and headed for the reception area, hoping that Hermione, and not her husband, was waiting for her. She had nothing against Ron – he seemed like a nice enough man - but there was something about him that didn't seem quite right. It could just be Rachel being oversensitive, but it always seemed like Ron was watching very carefully about what he said around her.
"Rachel! Rachel, over here!"
Rachel turned and grinned when she spotted her cousin, waving frantically. Grin still in place, Rachel walked briskly towards Hermione, allowing herself to be wrapped in a tight hug. They stood there for a few moments before Hermione stood back and held Rachel at arm's length.
"Let's get a look at you," Hermione said, looking at her seventeen-year-old cousin critically. "You're way too skinny. Don't those uncles of mine feed you?" She paused for a minute before a look of horror crossed her face. "Oh dear Lord."
"What is it?" Rachel asked, worried.
"I sounded exactly like my mother-in-law just then," Hermione said with a shudder.
"Is that a bad thing?" Rachel asked.
"Ron's mother is a delightful woman," Hermione said. "She's just a little... overzealous with the mother-henning sometimes."
"Sometimes a little mother-henning is a good thing," Rachel said. "And having an older woman to talk to sometimes is nice."
"Oh, Rach, I didn't mean..." Hermione said, chewing on her lip nervously. Uncle Hiram and Uncle Leroy had done such an awesome job raising Rachel that Hermione often forgot that her cousin didn't have a mother figure.
"It's not your fault," Rachel said.
"Actually, bringing up Molly made me remember something else," Hermione said as she began leading Rachel out of the airport and to the parking lot.
"What is it?" Rachel asked, curious.
"It's completely within your rights to say no, but I mentioned to Molly that you were coming to visit," Hermione replied. "She immediately told me to bring you over for Christmas dinner. I said I'd ask, but the decision is completely up to you."
"Well, what's Ron's family like?" Rachel asked. Hermione smiled fondly as she tried to figure out a way to describe the Weasleys without scaring Rachel off. After a few curious looks from her cousin, Hermione decided to go with the truth.
"They're loud, crazy and completely chaotic," Hermione replied fondly. "It was a little difficult to deal with at first, because I was so used to having just me, Mum and Dad around. To be thrown into a family that had seven children, it was a little overwhelming. I love them, though.”
“I think I’d like to go,” Rachel said. “I haven’t had a large family dinner since Nanna died. It’s usually just me and my daddies.”
“I’ll let Molly know, then, that we’ll all be there for Christmas dinner,” Hermione said.
“Do they know that I’m Jewish and that I don’t actually celebrate Christmas?” Rachel asked.
“It’s not so much a Christmas dinner as a get everyone in the country for a couple of nights once a year dinner,” Hermione said. “It just usually coincides with Christmastime.”
“Will there be vegetarian dishes?” Rachel asked.
“I’ll let Molly know,” Hermione said, mentally kicking herself. She’d completely forgotten that Rachel was vegan. Ron wasn’t going to be happy with all of the vegetables they’d be eating for the next couple of weeks. Oh well. If he really hated it, he could go for dinner with Harry at the Leaky Cauldron. It would give Hermione a chance to catch up with her favourite cousin without Ron hovering over her shoulder, anyway. “So, how’s school going?”
There was a light dusting of snow falling as they approached The Burrow. They’d had to come by car, much to Ron’s grumbling, but one glare from Hermione had cowed him into silence. The look of wonder on Rachel’s face as she approached Ron’s childhood home was enough to distract both of them from whatever argument that could have been stirred up.
“Oh, Ron, you grew up here?” Rachel asked, turning to her cousin’s husband.
“Hey, it may not look like much, but my parents made it into the best home that they could,” Ron said defensively.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Rachel said, taken aback. “I meant that this house is amazing. It looks almost magical.”
“Magic?” Ron asked, sounding a little panicked. “There’s no magic involved here. Nope, not at all. Just a regular, normal, everyday house that had no magic involved in its construction.”
“Are you all right, Ron?” Rachel asked, looking at him strangely.
“Ron’s just a little stressed,” Hermione said.
“All right,” Rachel said. She sounded like she didn’t quite believe them but didn’t have time to question it. The door was yanked open by an older redheaded woman with a large, motherly smile on her face.
“Hello there,” she greeted. “I’m Molly Weasley. You must be Rachel.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Weasley,” Rachel said, holding out her hand. “Hermione’s told me a lot about you.”
“Oh, come here and give me a hug,” Mrs. Weasley said, wrapping Rachel up in a hug. Hermione nearly giggled at the shocked look on her cousin’s face as she got wrapped up in a tight Molly Weasley hug. As she and Ron followed Mrs. Weasley and Rachel into the house, something occurred to her. Something important.
“Hey Ron?” Hermione whispered.
“Yeah, Hermione?” Ron replied.
“You told your parents that Rachel’s a Muggle, right?” Hermione asked.
“I may have mentioned it,” Ron replied. “Dad was nearly dancing with excitement.”
“You also told them that she doesn’t know about the wizarding world, right?” Hermione asked.
“Wait, Rachel doesn’t know you’re a witch?” Ron asked.
“No, Ron, she doesn’t know that I’m a witch,” Hermione said. Panic started to set in. “Oh Merlin, I really hope they put two and two together and don’t do any kind of magic or mention the wizarding world.”
“Good luck with that,” Ron said with a snicker. Hermione glared at him before she stalked the rest of the way into the house, moderating her speed as she got to the kitchen. She waved absently at Mrs. Weasley but her attention was Rachel. Or, more specifically, who she was talking to.
Arthur Weasley. And he was talking excitedly, waving his hands and asking questions that may or may not be seen as odd.
This was not good.
“Hello, Arthur,” Hermione said, trying to keep the panic out of her voice.
“Oh, hello Hermione,” Arthur greeted. “I was just speaking with your delightful cousin. Where have you been hiding her?”
“Well, after Uncle Hiram moved to the states and married Uncle Leroy, most of the family lost touch with them,” Hermione said. A pained look crossed Rachel’s face, and Hermione couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for bringing that up. Her parents – her mother was Hiram’s sister – had no problems with her uncles’ relationship, but there were some in the family who were still a little shocked by it. “Can I borrow her for a little while? I’d like to introduce her to a few people.”
“Of course, of course,” Arthur said, waving them off. “I’d like to finish our conversation, Rachel.”
“I look forward to it, Mr. Weasley,” Rachel said with a warm smile before she allowed herself to be led away, to be introduced to various members of the Weasley family and their spouses.
As the night went on, Hermione continued to get tenser and tenser, stopping people from mentioning things about the wizarding world in front of Rachel. She was rushing around, hovering nervously near Rachel all night, breaking into the conversation when she thought things were getting too close to wizarding territory. Thankfully, that didn’t happen too often – the Weasleys and Harry were more than happy to ask Rachel questions about life in the States, school and having two daddies for parents.
It was near the end of the evening when Hermione and her frazzled nerves had been calm enough to leave Rachel alone with her in-laws for a few moments. It had started to snow and Hermione wanted to see it close up, unimpeded by the fogged glass of the windows. She nearly jumped when she heard the small, tentative voice behind her. “Hermione?”
“What is it, Rachel?” Hermione asked, turning to see her cousin. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders – Molly’s insistence, probably – and she was looking at Hermione apprehensively.
“Are you all right?” Rachel asked. “You’ve been acting weird all night. Is anything wrong?”
“No, nothing’s wrong,” Hermione replied.
“Are you ashamed of me?” Rachel asked. “I mean, I know I’m not as smart as you and I’m a little more self-absorbed than I should be and I don’t know magic and I didn’t come into this world or grow up in a more conventional way, but those aren’t reasons to be ashamed, are they?”
Rachel’s babble had been so fast that Hermione nearly missed the crucial piece of information in the middle of it. When she went back to analyze it, it hit her in the ace like a ton of bricks.
“What did you say?” Hermione asked.
“That there is no reason to be ashamed of me,” Rachel replied.
“And why would I be ashamed of you?” Hermione asked. She felt no such thing. She was sometimes embarrassed by her magical in-laws because they had no damn common sense when it came to talking to an obviously Muggle person, but she’d never, ever be embarrassed or ashamed of Rachel. She was proud of the teenager for beating all the odds, standing tall and doing her thing even though she lived in a small town with a population of people with even smaller minds. Rachel was going to be a star, Hermione knew it.
“Because I’m not as smart, I’m self absorbed, I don’t know magic and I have two daddies?” Rachel said uncertainly.
“That’s what I thought you said,” Hermione replied before she reached out and grabbed Rachel, hugging the shorter girl tight. They stood there for a few moments, letting the snow fall around them as the rest of the world seemed to fall away. Only when Hermione really began to feel the chill did Hermione come back to the present. “I’m never, ever going to be ashamed or embarrassed of you. Ever. I do have a question though.”
“What’s that?” Rachel asked.
“How in the world did you learn about magic?” Hermione asked. “Muggles aren’t supposed to know.”
“I really hate that term,” Rachel replied, wrinkling her nose. “It makes me feel like less of a person.”
“Fine, I personally will not use that word around you. I can’t make any promises about anyone else, though,” Hermione said. “But some kind of explanation about how you know magic would be nice. Right about now, preferably.”
“My grandmother on Papa’s side was a witch,” Rachel replied.
“And how did you know I was a witch?” Hermione asked.
“Deductive reasoning, mostly,” Rachel replied. “I also confirmed with your parents. They didn’t want to tell me at first, but I was able to convince them.”
“So, let me get this straight,” Hermione said. “You know about magic.”
“Yes,” Rachel replied.
“And you know that I’m a witch?” Hermione asked.
“Correct,” Rachel replied with a nod.
“Then why didn’t you tell me?” Hermione asked.
“I’d assumed you knew that I knew,” Rachel replied with a shrug. “Obviously I was wrong and in hindsight I probably should have said something, but it’s not like I could travel back in time to change this.”
“Actually...” Hermione said, thinking of her Time Turner, before she shook her head. No, bad idea to tell Rachel that time travel was real. “Never mind.”
She was about to suggest that they go back inside when Ron poked his head out the door. “Mum’s about to start serving the pie, are you two coming in?”
“In a minute, Ron,” Hermione replied, waving him off. Ron shrugged and ducked back into the house and Hermione turned her attention back to Rachel. “Shall we?”
“Under one condition,” Rachel replied.
“Name it,” Hermione said.
“You stop running around like a crazy person and stopping people from talking about magic,” Rachel replied. “Harry was getting really worried about you when you went to the bathroom and left me alone with him for a few moments. I’m sure everyone else would be voicing their concerns as well.”
“Harry knows you know?” Hermione asked.
“He’s the only one,” Rachel replied. “So, no more stopping people from talking to me? I find the magic world fascinating and would love to hear some views on it.”
“Deal,” Hermione said with a nod, mentally tacking on another reason why Rachel was her favourite cousin.