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Published: 01/24/2012Updated: 01/24/2012Words: 5,777Chapters: 1Hits: 0
My Best Friend Maggie
- Story Summary:
- Sequel of sorts to Fury. Cate's best friend makes a stupid decision that effects the rest of her life. It takes a wedding to change it all, but can things ever go back to the way they were before?
My Best Friend Maggie
Cate checked her watch quickly and swore under her breath. There was nothing she hated more than being waiting, and her best friend had yet to arrive. Maggie had always been a bit behind, usually late for classes or appointments, but they were reaching the hour mark, and she'd never been that bad. Cate felt her foot begin to tap and forced herself to stop, casting annoyed glances at the doorway to Muggle London.
It had been four months since Cate had graduated from Hogwarts. A month after she'd arrived home, she'd received her NEWTs- including O's in Potions and Herbology, she'd garnered a total of nine- and had started to apply for jobs in Potions, both the making and selling, though she'd also sent applications to a few Herbology positions. It was difficult for a werewolf to find a job anywhere, and the search had been fruitless thus far.
She hadn't realized that she hadn't spoken to Maggie in six weeks until she'd gotten the owl that morning over breakfast. She'd canceled the appointments her mother and grandmother had arranged for her, with a suppressed glee. It hadn't been hard; she hadn't cared much for tea with her cousin's friends or an afternoon at the salon with her mother and sister.
She was at the Leaky Cauldron, her finger nails- short, neatly trimmed- tapping impatiently on the tabletop, an empty drink at her elbow. She'd seen a few classmates, couple of her sister's friends, and a man that did business with her father, but no Maggie.
She was just about to get up and leave when her friend flew into the door from Muggle London, grasping her purse tightly in one hand and holding onto a man with the other. She glanced around the pub quickly, and her face lit up when she saw Cate. "Cate!" she squealed, grinning, and dragged the man with her to the table. She flopped onto the bench across from Cate, and set her purse in the corner.
Cate sighed, raising an eyebrow at the man, who simply blushed and stared around himself with wide eyes.
"Oh, Cate, I'm so sorry I'm late!" Maggie said in a rush, rooting through her purse for her wand. "I got sidetracked at Sean's, and I totally lost track of time!"
Cate smiled indulgently, keeping her annoyance hidden; it wouldn't do much good to scold, since Maggie never changed. "I thought it might be something, but you've never been this late before."
Maggie grinned, grabbing the man's arm and ignoring the statement. "I have some news."
Cate blinked. "I can see that."
Maggie laughed and held out her left hand. "I'm married!" she said excitedly. The man next to her cleared his throat. Maggie blushed prettily and gazed up at the man, who was grinning widely. "I mean, we're married."
Cate sat back in shock. "Who's we?"
The man rolled his eyes. "I believe you forgot introductions in your excitement, Maggie. As usual." He had a flat accent, one she couldn't quite place.
Maggie clapped her hands together. "Merlin, did I? So, Cate Moon, this is Sean O'Neill, my husband. Sean, this is Cate, my best friend." She giggled. "This is so wicked!"
Cate held out her hand and shook Sean's. "Hello."
Sean smiled. "Yeah. Hi."
There was a pause that stretched into the slightly awkward. Maggie was making eyes at Sean, who appeared to try to include Cate in what was rapidly becoming a date.
Cate was used to it. Maggie had been her friend since their first week of Hogwarts, when, during their first Potions class, she had dropped in too many beetle eyes and blown up their potion. They'd had most classes together- Cate was a Ravenclaw, and Maggie a Hufflepuff- and had spent a great deal of time in the library, with Cate helping Maggie go over parchment that frequently had pictures of boys and weddings rather than actual notes. She'd gotten used to Maggie, and had grown to appreciate, and even love, her.
Maggie glanced over at Cate and straightened. "Um, Sean, could you go get us drinks?" She handed him a handful of Sickles. "Tom's used to Muggles coming in, so he can help you out. I'd like a pumpkin juice. Get whatever you like, but stay away from anything with the word 'blood' in it; tends to be literal here."
Sean smiled at Cate and stood, slowly counting the money as he made his way to the bar.
Cate had to consciously close her mouth. "He's a Muggle?"
Maggie dropped her chin into her hand and stared after him. "Oh, yes. And gorgeous. Did you see those blue eyes? And that hair...Cate, he's perfect." She tilted her head slightly. "And did I mention that arse? Just look at it."
Cate rolled her eyes. "I'm not staring at his bum, Mags."
Maggie grinned stupidly. "Are you sure? It's lovely."
"When did you meet him? How did you meet him?" Cate forced herself to keep her voice level.
Maggie stared into space. "Well, so, I was walking down the street, and..." Cate tuned her out, nodding when she felt the conversation warranted it and making approving noises, until she heard, "and then, so that was five weeks ago today, and remind me to tell him that..."
Cate held up a hand. "How long ago did you marry him?"
Maggie blushed. "So, the wedding was three days ago..."
"And when did you meet?" Cate interrupted, dreading the answer.
Maggie glanced down at the ring, twisting it slightly. "If today is Wednesday, then five weeks ago. Today."
Cate clenched her jaw, trying not to yell. It took almost a full minute before the word, "What?" hissed out from between her teeth.
Maggie had the grace to look embarrassed, but that quickly changed to outrage. "What do you care? It's my life, and I fell in love with him, and he loves me, and what do you care?"
Cate fought to hide her snarl. "You've only known him for a few weeks, Mags! Why did you marry him?"
Maggie stood up, banging her knee on the table. "I love him, Cate, and I really thought you'd be happy for me!"
Cate stood up as well, thrusting the table back against Maggie's thighs. "I would be, if you even knew what you were doing!"
Maggie's face twisted with anger. "After all I've done for you and with you, you just...you...I hate you! Why couldn't you just be happy for me?"
Cate stepped out of the booth, grabbing her cloak as she went. "I would be if you weren't such an idiot!"
Maggie covered her mouth with her hand. "How...how could you?" Her eyes filled with tears.
Sean came over to the table, two drinks in hand. One was clearly a pumpkin juice, and the other appeared to be Firewhiskey. He looked between the two of them and frowned. "What's going on here?"
Cate flung her cloak over her shoulders. "Nothing. I have to go."
She stormed towards the door, but stopped when Maggie called her name. Cate turned back, looking at her friend. Maggie was in the arms of her Muggle, and tears were rolling down her cheeks. Everyone in the tiny pub was watching, even Tom, the barkeep, and his assistant, Hannah. "I don't ever want to speak to you again," Maggie called across the room.
Cate nodded, firming her jaw. Spinning on her heels, she walked out the door, not looking back.
Cate was walking down the sidewalk towards the Muggle London entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. She'd been searching through some of the Muggle toy stores, looking for ideas for the nursery. She had a bag on her shoulder, something that Hermione had given her, and she had added a few of the stuffed animals, including a blue dragon with iridescent scales and a fluffy wolf with black fur. She thought George would get a kick out of both of them.
She had just reached for the door handle when the door was pushed open from the other side. She stumbled backwards into a Muggle man with a briefcase, who cursed her soundly until he saw how very pregnant she was. She had just found her balance when the people on the other side of the door exited, apologizing profusely.
She was straightening her tunic when she finally glanced up. The words died in her mouth, and there was silence on the other end from half of the couple.
Cate swallowed. "Hi."
The woman's face soured. "Hello."
The man seemed surprised at the sudden tension. "And hello to the two of you."
Cate raised an eyebrow at him, then turned back to the woman. "How are you, Maggie?"
Maggie glanced down at Cate's protruding belly. "Clearly not as well as you."
Cate cupped her belly protectively, and shifted her bag on her shoulder. "Yes, well..."
Maggie grabbed her husband's hand. "I read about your marriage in the Daily Prophet, but I hadn't heard about this. I guess I should congratulate you." Her voice was stiff and unfriendly, and the least congratulatory tone that Cate had ever heard.
Cate glanced away, at the door. "Thank you." She watched as the man who must have been Sean glanced between the two of them, clearly curious. "I've really got to be going."
Maggie smiled, but it had an edge of unpleasantness. "Of course. We do, too."
Cate wanted to say something, but nothing she could think of lacked that hint of bitterness. She turned away, opening the door to the Leaky Cauldron. She turned, just at the entrance, and watched them walk down the street. For the briefest of moments, she thought Maggie hesitated, but then they turned a corner. She sighed and went into the pub, hoping to catch George while he was still at lunch.
Cate walked down Diagon Alley, the small hands held in each of hers dragging her along. Her husband walked behind her, laughing, holding a small baby in his arms.
Cate turned back to watch George coo to their daughter, calling, "I don't know why you thought this was a good idea, but I fail to see it."
George laughed, tickling Andromache's cheek. "Didn't you notice how happy the twins were? That's why I'm the brilliant one, love."
Cate rolled her eyes, and would have made a rude gesture, only Fred went one way, towards the Wheezes shop, and Leo went the other, towards the Menagerie. She grunted as they tugged harder, and was just opening her mouth to say something when a tiny brown-haired bullet slammed into her middle and bowled her over, taking the twins with her. George stood in stunned disbelief as she tried to untangle herself and get to one or the other of the twins, both of whom were crying.
A woman wearing a heavy red cloak rushed up to her, helping her to her feet and apologizing so quickly that Cate could barely make out the words. She hoisted Fred onto her hip, and pulled Leo closer. The toddler wrapped his arms around her leg and cried noisily into her thigh, while his brother snuggled into her hair.
The woman picked up her child, which Cate couldn't identify as either male or female, and began to gently scold it, throwing apologies towards Cate as she went. When the twins (and the other child) had finally stopped crying, the woman thrust out a hand, saying, "I'm so very sorry. She got away from me. I'm Maggie, by the way."
Cate froze, her hand halfway up. "Mags?"
The woman's eyes darted up, and her face paled. "Bollocks." She winced, then reached up and pulled the hood of her daughter's cloak over the girl's ears. "Don't tell Daddy I said that, okay, sweetie?"
She turned back to Cate, taking in the fashionable dark blue cape, lined with fur, the two small children wrapped around her body, and George, standing just behind her, holding a baby wrapped tightly in pale pink. "So," she said, trying to find a way out.
Cate smiled grimly. "We were just off to the Leaky Cauldron," she said, turning towards her husband.
Maggie smiled cheerfully back, but it looked brittle. "We weren't." She sucked in a deep breath. "Do hope you're alright. Won't happen again."
She spun away, heading deeper into the Alley, leaving George and Cate nearly alone, facing the ice cream shop. George came closer, bouncing Andromache in his arms to get her to sleep. "What was that about?" he asked, his voice low.
"Nothing. Old friend." Cate stared after Maggie, then shook herself. "Let's go." She hauled the twins away from the colorful display of sweets, nearly leaving George behind.
"Molly, thank you so much. I'll be back in a few hours to pick up the girls." Cate hugged her mother-in-law with one arm, directing the trunks of her twin sons out the door to the car. "I don't know how you did it, all those years ago."
Molly grinned at Cate, shooing the younger pair, identical redheads that were female versions of George into the living room. "Patience, dear. Lots of patience. And a quick wand. Why, I could tell you stories about Fred and George..." She glanced at the clock. "But not now. Best get a move on. Don't want to miss the train." Molly rushed to the door, where a pair of identical boys with dark red hair stood in front of their father. "Behave, now, and listen to your Professors. I know you'll make us proud." She kissed each of them on the forehead, patted them towards the car, then pointed at her son, who looked suddenly sheepish. "No foolishness with the car now. I expect them to get there in one piece."
She turned back into the house, calling out for Andromache to help her with the plates for breakfast.
Cate shook her head and shooed the boys into the car, getting in the front seat while George shoved the trunks, and owl cage, into the boot. The boys' owl, Antares, roosted in a tree near the car, one sleepy eye open.
They reached the train station much quicker than Cate had anticipated. She'd had to break up a fight between them over houses, proudly proclaiming her love for Ravenclaw while her husband gagged on the seat next to her. They were able to find a parking space quickly (she thought she saw George's wand flash, but pretended not to notice) and were through the platform barrier with twenty minutes to spare.
While George tracked down his siblings, pointedly avoiding Percy, Cate took the boys to one side and leaned down. "Now, I know we've had this talk before," she began, looking into two pairs of earnest blue eyes. "But I wanted to remind you that your cousin Teddy has promised that if you ever need help or advice about anything, he's always there for you. And you know you can write to Dad and me anytime, right?"
Both boys nodded, Fred fingering something in his pocket. Cate raised an eyebrow. "What's that?"
Fred pulled out a folded piece of parchment. "Teddy gave me this," he said quietly, looking at Leo, both boys clearly embarrassed.
Cate unfolded it to find a checklist of things to watch out for, cleverly labeled "Furry Little Problems that Will Eventually Effect You, But Likely Not Until You're Thirteen". She kept her expression serious, handing it back to Fred. "Did Teddy give you one too, Leo?"
Leo nodded, his expression solemn. Cate patted them on the head. "Then you're all set. Now, I want you to behave as much as possible, but I expect that'll be difficult, given what your father packed in your trunks. So, don't get caught, write me every day if you can, and always finish your homework before anything else." She grabbed the pair into a hug and kissed the tops of their heads. "I'll miss you like crazy, boys. The house won't be the same without you. Now go find your dad, and say goodbye. The train leaves soon."
The boys took off down the platform, racing towards the group of laughing redheads. Cate watched, her arms wrapped around her body, before heading in their direction. She was halfway there when she tripped over a trunk, and nearly went sprawling.
A sardonic voice said, "We've got to stop meeting like this, Cate." A thin hand helped her to her feet, even brushing soot off of her skirt.
Cate looked up into Maggie's face and gave her a tiny, genuine smile. "Didn't expect to see you here, Mags."
Maggie shrugged. "I don't know why. My Diana is as magical as your boys, and she is the same age. She's a bit more Ravenclaw than I would have liked, but then, so were you."
Cate didn't know what to say, but George was waving at her. Impulsively, she reached out and pulled Maggie into a hug. "I'll see you around, Mags."
Maggie stepped back, looking completely surprised. "Yeah. You too, Cate."
Cate walked away towards her family, stopping to turn back and wave at Maggie, standing alone on the edge of the platform.
"Mum! Mum! They're here!" Twin voices, neatly in harmony, shouted up the stairs to Cate's attic workroom. Sighing, Cate finished up her project and set it aside, casting familiar spells on the door to prevent anyone entering but her.
She walked down the stairs, fixing her hair and making sure that none of the potion had gotten on her robes. She paused at the entrance to the living room, glancing in to see who had actually arrived.
She could see her son, Leo, with his arm around a slender girl with long brown hair, both facing away from her and talking to Fred, who was going on a mile a minute about Auror training. Her husband sat nearby, just watching, but there was a gleam in his eye that made her suspicious. The other pair of twins, Emily and Roxanne, were in the corner with a spellbook. Cate's fingers immediately itched to Summon it away; it was one of the books from her husband's private collection, and therefore off-limits to the twins who had yet to learn how to hide their pranks well enough to get away with them. Andromache sat on the couch, arms folded, wearing heavy dark makeup and long dark robes that clashed hideously with the pink streaks in her black hair.
Cate took a deep breath, plastered a smile on her face, and entered the room. "Hello, everyone. What's going on?"
Fred stopped dead in the middle of his sentence and rushed to her, throwing his arms around her in a breath-taking hug. "Hey, Mum." She relaxed slightly into his embrace; she hadn't seen him much since he'd begun Auror training. When he backed away, she raised an eyebrow at her other son, who was looking at her with something akin to trepidation and horror. George stood and put on a hand on Leo's back, encouraging him with a quick word.
Cate opened her arms to Leo, and he walked into them, squeezing tightly. "Hi, Mum."
She squeezed back, closing her eyes. "Hello, darling. Is this her?"
Leo pulled back slightly and nodded. "Yeah. Yeah." He blushed a little, then stepped back and took the girl's hand. "Mum, Dad, this is Diana O'Neill. My fiancée."
Cate couldn't breathe for a moment. She looked into a face that was as much like her old friend's as it was possible to get, with the exception of the hair and eyes. Maggie had blond hair and green eyes, and this girl, with her face, had bright blue eyes and brown hair nearly to her waist. When she didn't say a word, Leo tightened his grip and frowned. "Mum?"
Cate couldn't find any words. George, after a quick glance at her face, quickly ushered the other children out of the room, with Andromache racing up the stairs and the twins hovering around Fred, begging him to take them flying. Still, Cate didn't say anything.
George grabbed his son, slapping him on the back and offering congratulations to the pair, shaking the girl's hand and kissing her on both cheeks. Cate watched this, and knew she should join in, but it had suddenly struck her that her son, her baby boy, was old enough to get married, and she hadn't spoken to Maggie, truly spoken to her, in almost twenty-five years.
She and Maggie- or rather, mostly Maggie, since she hadn't thought much about marriage at Hogwarts- had dreamed about their children falling in love and getting married, making the two of them related in some way. Maggie had wanted Cate to stand up in her wedding, and Cate had always wanted Maggie at hers. Now, with part of that schoolgirl dream coming true, she felt the sudden urge to cry.
She fought her way through it, and in a croaking voice congratulated her son and the daughter of a former best friend. She could tell that it wasn't enough, but didn't have the heart to explain. She invited them to stay for dinner, and when they agreed, wandered into the kitchen to begin cooking. She heard George say something to their son, and he followed her.
"What's wrong with you? Our son is so happy, and you could barely get a word out. That's not like you, Catie." He sounded worried, and a little hurt.
Cate turned to him, wiping a tear from her eye. "Do you know who that girl is, George? That's Maggie's daughter. Do you remember her?"
George frowned thoughtfully. "Not really. Just that you were friends, a long time ago. I seem to recall the two of you running into each other a few times, and it was never pleasant."
Cate smiled. "She was my best friend, and then she did something I thought was stupid, and I said something stupid and petty in return, and we haven't really spoken since before I met you. And now, our kids are getting married, and we'll be related, and we'll see each other. We'll be grandmothers together. And I'm not sure how to feel about that."
George pulled her close to him, stroking her hair. "It really doesn't matter how you feel about it, love. What matters is that our son is in there, thinking that you disapprove or that you're somehow disappointed in him. Now put on a smile, be sincere, and be glad that you don't have to be Ron. Can you imagine, your daughter brings home a Malfoy?"
Cate laughed, and that broke a last barrier inside. She bustled around the kitchen making dinner, and when Diana came in and offered to help, she agreed with a smile. They were soon talking about plans for the future; Leo was training to become an Arithmancer under one of the top mages of the subject, and Diana wanted to study plants and open a greenhouse. She and Cate were soon deep in discussion about the types of magical plants used in potions, and their general effectiveness.
When the dinner had been eaten, and the children were either sent upstairs or waiting to leave, Cate pulled Diana aside, out of earshot of her husband and sons. "Have you told your mother, yet?"
Diana shook her head. "No. We were planning on going there tomorrow. Leo thought you and George might be easier to tell than my parents, and I think he was right."
Cate smiled. "Could you...could you give this to your mother?" She handed Diana a folded piece of parchment, yellowed with age. "It would be best if you gave it to her after you told her your news. I...I don't want to spoil the surprise. And try to keep her from tossing it in the fire; I can't replace it."
Diana grinned and tucked the parchment into her pocket. "Of course. And I'll see you soon, I hope."
Cate nodded, walking her back to the living room. "Oh, you can come on Sunday, for brunch. It's a family tradition."
Diana took Leo's hand, and glanced up at him. "I think I'd like that very much."
Cate watched them Floo away, followed by Fred, who seemed eager to return to his training classes. She leaned back into her husband, who kissed the top of her head.
"I'm proud of you," he murmured.
She didn't say a word, just reached out and kissed him. As usual, the tender moment devolved slightly when he growled and grabbed her arse.
Cate watched George dancing with Roxanne, her red hair flying out behind her as he spun her in wide circles. She sipped champagne, noting with some amusement how the Muggles appeared astounded by the decorations they had set up that morning.
Leo was dancing with his new bride, and they made a lovely picture, something the Wizarding photographer picked up on, snapping a picture as Leo leaned over to kiss her. Of course, Fred chose that moment to pop up behind his brother and make a face, but Cate was sure (hoping, more like it) that no one would notice, and that it would spoil the picture overmuch. She rushed over and slapped his arm, and he darted off to find his date, who was flirting outrageously with the photographer's assistant. She suddenly hoped that Fred wasn't serious about the girl.
She found an open seat on the edge of the dance floor and sank into it. She wished she could be like the girls; Emily and Roxanne had both removed their shoes when they thought she wasn't looking and so were comfortably able to dance the night away. Cate, as a supposedly proper adult, couldn't find it in herself to do the same.
A few moments later, she heard a grunt as another body hit the chair next to hers. Grinning, thinking that it was either one of George's brothers or their wives, she turned and opened her mouth, only to snap it shut when she caught sight of the person sitting next to her.
"Hello to you too, Cate." Maggie gave her a wide grin, her eyes both tired and happy.
Cate found herself searching for the old animosity, and couldn't find it. "Hey, Mags. Don't they look happy?" she said, glancing back at the happy couple.
Maggie, her golden hair faded with the years and little wrinkles around the eyes, gave her daughter and new son-in-law a tired grin. "She's so beautiful." Cate glanced around, and Maggie snorted. "Trying to find a way to escape?"
Cate laughed suddenly, and Maggie looked surprised. "No, but I've got to keep an eye on the rest of the children. They brought a few items they think I don't know about, and their father is no help at all. They've got something planned, I tell you, and I'd like them to hold off a bit, but from the way Roxanne just ran off, I'd say it's pretty soon."
Maggie barked a laugh, and just as quickly turned serious. "Diana gave me your note. I can't believe you kept that."
Cate shrugged. "I had to. It was a very good memory."
Both women turned back to their children, and sat in silence for a few minutes. Maggie broke the silence. "I'd like to apologize for these last few...oh, decades, I suppose."
Cate stared at her, mouth wide. "Beg pardon?"
Maggie shrugged. "I overreacted. I've had time, these last couple of years, to realize that you were right. Five weeks...it wasn't enough time."
Cate grabbed Maggie's hand, and turned to face her. "I never said that." She smiled sadly. "You wouldn't let me. I never got the words out." She caught her husband's eye over Maggie's shoulder. He looked slightly drunk and very pleased with himself.
Maggie laughed suddenly, looking younger and happy. "You didn't, did you? For Merlin's sake, what has this been about, all these years?"
Cate found tears welling. "I have no idea, Mags."
Maggie leaned forward, wiping away a tear. "Well, if you had said the words, you'd have been right." She nodded over to one of the other tables, where an older gentleman with graying brown hair was talking to Diana and an underdressed redhead. "That's Sean, over there, with his new wife." Maggie took a deep breath. "She's about three years older than Diana, and she's pregnant."
Cate felt her mouth drop open. "I had no idea."
Maggie shrugged. "Our marriage was over years ago, around the time that Diana went off to school. She left, and suddenly I realized that Sean and I hadn't really spoken in years. I tried, but I think it was already too late." She glanced at Cate, gauging her reaction. "We divorced when Diana was thirteen. He married that tart there about four years ago, just out of school. She's a Muggle."
Cate shook her head. "It doesn't matter. You don't have to..."
Maggie interrupted her. "I don't really have friends, you know. So many of them went off to bigger and better things, and there I was, stuck in the Muggle world with a husband who was sleeping around and I had no one to tell. I didn't want to hurt Diana, but I think she knew. She hated coming home for the holidays."
A tear slid down Maggie's face. "I think the best day of my life was when Diana and Leo came to tell me they were getting married. I thought I would never have the chance to tell you any of this. I was a bit of a priss about everything."
Cate shook her head, tears in her own eyes. "I could have reached out just as easily. I thought you wouldn't want me to."
Maggie laughed, and grabbed Cate into a hug. "I missed you so much."
Cate squeezed back, tears freely flowing down her cheeks. "I missed you too."
Neither woman noticed the photographer snapping photos, or the explosion of fireworks overhead, spelling out congratulations.
"George, if you don't get your old arse up these stairs right now, you're going to miss everything!" Cate shouted down into the basement.
George grumbled as he moved, achingly slowly, up the stairs. "Bloody woman. What's the matter?"
Cate rushed around the kitchen, gathering up cloaks and shoes. "Diana's in labor. Leo just Flooed. He wants us there."
George was suddenly at her side, fully dressed. "Why didn't you say so?"
Cate watched Leo dance around the room, hugging first his brother, then his youngest sisters, and finally Andromache. Cate herself stood just inside the bedroom, George at her back, both looking into the tiny, sleeping face of their first grandchild.
"He's beautiful," she whispered, leaning into her husband. "Have you ever seen anything more perfect in your life?"
Maggie was suddenly at her shoulder, a wide grin on her face. "Maybe this face," she said, holding up the screaming version of the baby in Cate's arms.
Leo jumped up suddenly, taking the crying, red-faced boy out of his mother-in-law's hands. Cate was soon surrounded by daughters. Emily and Roxanne both begged to hold the sleeping infant, while Andromache stood back slightly, her eyes pleading even as she sneered at the antics of the twins. Fred was 'helping' Leo, poking him as he tried to calm his screaming son.
"What are their names?" Andromache asked suddenly, as the little boy in Leo's arms stopped screaming and settled contentedly in Fred's arms. Cate was amused to see that Fred looked shocked, horrified, and wildly protective, all at the same time.
Leo, his chest thrown out proudly, said, "Mum's holding Michael Leo Weasley, and this idiot here is holding Greyson Fred."
Fred looked stunned, and then grinned wickedly. "We're going to have to teach you how to be a Weasley twin," he whispered into his nephew's ear, rocking him gently.
Cate handed little Michael to her husband, and let Maggie pull her slightly out of the way.
Maggie slipped a piece of paper into Cate's hand. "I think you should keep this."
Cate glanced down at the yellowed, brittle piece of parchment, and impulsively grabbed Maggie into a bone-crushing hug. The t two women cried together, happy and proud, until there was the sound of glass breaking, a swearing Leo, and George's voice, over it all, yelling, "Roxanne!"
They pulled apart, and Cate rushed to see what had happened.
There was no need to look at the parchment. Cate herself had written the letter nearly thirty years before, in the days following Maggie's impulsive marriage and their falling out. The parchment had originally been from their school days.
Margaret Joy Anderson, maid of honor
Colors: purple, I think, to bring out my eyes, but whatever color you think is best
Flowers: it has to be daisies, because they're your favorite, but I personally prefer lilies
Dress robes: white, of course, in the antique style, because you look fantastic in them
Catherine Elizabeth Moon, maid of honor
Colors: blue, because it's your favorite color
Flowers: Lilies, because you like them, even though I think you should have roses, because they're deeply traditional
Dress robes: again, white, but you are more suited to the fairytale wedding, according to Witch's Weekly, so there you go
Best Friends Forever and Ever
I'm sorry. I don't know what I could have done differently, and I still don't like that you wouldn't let me be there for you, but I understand. I love you, and I miss you, even though it's only been a couple of days.
Do you remember writing this? Of course, I think we had several rolls of parchment full of wedding plans. What would your Sean think of those, eh? I think the reason I was so hurt and upset was because I had always, since you asked when we were fourteen, planned to be your maid of honor, and then you went off and got married without me.
I don't know if I'll actually send this to you yet; wouldn't want you to rip it up or throw it in the fire before you read it. I don't have any more of these things. Mother thought they were a waste of time, and I'm slightly inclined to agree, even if they were fun to write. Please, please, please forgive me. I don't know what I did, exactly, but I'll get down on my hands and knees and beg if I can have you back as my friend.
I love you, and I wish you well,
Best Friend Forever and Ever