Scarlet Women Chapter 19

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The binding ceremony had taken less than they had thought and was far simpler than they had expected.



After they had stepped out of the fireplace in Grimmauld place they had been greeted by Molly Weasley. Her face was flushed as if she had been crying and she looked as if she hadn’t eaten in a few days.



“Into the kitchen, now,” she had said as she herded them.



Hermione stopped and looked at Mrs. Weasley. Their eyes met and Mrs. Weasley began sobbing. To Hermiones surprise, Mrs. Weasley pulled her into a fierce embrace. Then she held her at an arms distance and began to shake her fiercely.



“That was a very dangerous game you two were playing,” she said pulling Hermione back into a hug. “What were you thinking?”



“Obviously,” Hermione said, her eyes beginning to tear and glancing over at a very confused Ron. “We weren’t.”



“You could have always called us for a little slap and tickle, Hermione,” said an amused Fred, popping his head out of the kitchen.



Hermione let out a shaky laugh and wiped the tears from her eyes before they began to fall. She hoped it gave her the impression of being tired.



“Thanks for the offer, but no thanks,” said Hermione entering the kitchen. Her eyes flickered to Snape, leaning against a wall. He cocked and eyebrow at her. Her cheeks turned pink. She continued wiping her eyes and sat down on one of the long wooden benches. She really hoped no one noticed.



She looked around her. Fred and George were sitting at a wooden desk they had dragged into the kitchen. The right side of it was against the wall. Fred, sitting at it properly was grinning at her. George sat on a stool across from him holding a piece of paper. Green sparks shot off the front of the paper, dissipating after a couple of inches.



“What’s that?” asked Ron, walking over to George. George reached a hand out to Ron and hauled him to him. He gave him a rough hug and kissed the top of his head. Ron returned it with a crooked smile.



“New idea for greeting card paper,” George explained as if there had been no exchange between them. “What do you think? It’s just an illusion so if some old biddy gets startled and drops it she won’t catch her house on fire.”



“Brilliant,” Ron said, turning it over in his hands. The sparks reversed themselves so they were still rising out of the side Ron was looking at. They came out red on this side of the paper.



“Mom came up with it,” said Fred, nodding towards his mother.



“Wow,” said Ron, stunned.



Hermione turned to look at the rest of the room. Professor McGonagall sat next to Mundungus Fletcher, who was happily snoring, head on the table. Her nose wrinkled distastefully. Snape sulked behind her, leaning against the wall. Arthur Weasley was cranking what looked like a muggle old fashioned ice cream maker. Tonks was watching him interestedly, a spoon in her hand. Kingsley Shacklebolt was also watching Arthur. He had a look of distrust on his face.



“You sure that thing works?” he asked.



“I followed the instructions to the letter,” said Arthur assuredly. “Just a few more minutes.”



There was a whooshing sound from the room they had entered through. Dumbledore soon came through the kitchen door.



“Ice cream!” he said cheerfully looking at Arthur. “How nice. I haven’t had hand cranked ice cream since I was a child.”



Arthur took the top of the ice cream maker off and began spooning chocolate ice cream into bowls. Tonks began spooning spoonfuls into her mouth.



Hermione smiled as Ron passed her a bowl.



Dumbledore sat down on the wooden bench across the table from them and peered over his glasses at them. Mrs. Weasley gave him a bowl of ice cream and he took a bite.



Between bites, Dumbledore pulled a shabby carpetbag up onto the table and brought a small silver chalice with a lid out of it. When he took the top off blue flames leapt out of it.



“Now, down to business,” Dumbledore said. “Do you promise to be loyal to the Order? To uphold its standards and obligations? To work against dark wizards in times of need and to fight when called upon?”



“We do,” said Hermione and Ron together.



“Then write your names on this parchment,” Dumbledore said passing them a blank parchment.



They did and passed it back to him. Dumbledore crumpled it and threw it into the flames.



“There,” he said putting the top of the chalice back on. “With that done, any new business?”



“That was it?” Ron blurted. “Toss your name in a cup over ice cream?”



“Yup,” said George, still playing with the paper. He folded it into an airplane and flew it in the direction of Dumbledore. It sparkled red and green as it floated toward him.



“Nice job,” said Dumbledore. “Molly, this is the enchantment you used while you were at school, isn’t it? Nearly burned down Gryffindor tower.”



“I worked out the bugs,” said Mrs. Weasley embarrassedly.



“You nearly burned the tower down?” said Fred, laughing. “At least we never set anything on fire.”



“Back to business,” said Arthur shaking his head.



“Well,” said Snape clearing his throat. “My contacts tell me both children are relatively unharmed. At least Ginny is being kept fairly well, unfortunately Draco seems to have gotten on his fathers bad side as of late and is taking the brunt of his anger, unfortunately.”



“Good,” Hermione heard Ron say under his breath. She kicked him under the table.



Mrs. Weasley let out the breath she was holding and Mr. Weasley patted her on the back.



“However,” Snape said with a slight edge to his voice, “This may not last forever. We need to move them soon.”



“How can we help?” asked Ron seriously.



“I am still hesitant to involve you in dangerous work,” said Dumbledore. He held up a hand before Ron and Hermione could protest. “I know you have experience doing dangerous work. However, you are only slightly out of your league.”



Hermione blushed. He was right, she knew. Voldemort had advanced his magics to go beyond what anyone had previously thought him capable of. They were far out of their league.



“We have agents looking into weaknesses in Voldemorts fortress as we speak,” said Snape. “I cannot make any further plans until I get a report.”



“You were supposed to have heard back from him by now,” said Professor McGonagall.



“I do realize that, Minerva,” said Snape testily. “But thank you for pointing that out so those who are slower could understand.”



Hermione wondered who ‘him’ was, but knew better than to ask.



“Well then,” said Dumbledore scraping his spoon along the bottom of his bowl. “Same time Saturday?”



“Done,” said Mrs. Weasley.