Startled, Molly Weasley looked up from the pot of creamy sauce that she had been watching on the stove. The sound had come from the window. She gripped her wand carefully and crept slowly closer, peering at the glass. The yard looked peaceful enough, with the sun setting behind the hill. Then, all of a sudden, a thoroughly overexcited bundle of feathers flapped up from the ground to hover in front of the window.
“Oh my goodness, Pigwidgeon!” Molly hurried to open the window, and shut it as the owl flew in. “You poor thing! Are you all right?”
The tiny owl’s excited hoots were enough answer. Molly had never quite understood Ginny’s reasoning behind naming the owl “Pigwidgeon”, but the name had stuck, much to Ron’s annoyance. “Come here, you silly thing! I have to untie that bundle!”
The owl fluttered down onto the back of a chair, still hopping madly. Molly had to struggle to remove the small bundle of parchment. The owl had been carrying two letters; she recognized Ron’s untidy scrawl and Ginny’s small, neat handwriting on the outsides. She decided to open Ron’s first.
WE WON THE CUP! It was unbelievable, we beat Ravenclaw by more than one-hundred and fifty points. I was playing Keeper, of course, but Ginny had to play Seeker – Snape was in a foul mood one day and decided to give Harry detention on Saturdays.
Anyways, speaking of Ginny and Harry – they’re going out now. Started right after the Quidditch match, apparently. Don’t worry, Mum, I’ve already threatened him, and he already knows that if he hurts Ginny…well, if she doesn’t get him, there’s me and the rest of us as well. Poor bloke. I can’t imagine what this summer will be like, with the twins and Bill and Charlie all there this summer.
All right, I’d better finish up now; Ginny’s got her letter ready and is waiting for me to get Pig to bring these letters.
Molly smiled. So Ginny and Harry were finally going out! She had seen the signs, of course, during the last few weeks before school began. Her instincts as a woman and a mother certainly let her know that Harry had taken quite a liking to her daughter. Ginny was a different matter entirely, but Molly had known that she had never really given up on Harry. The obvious childhood crush was gone, but something else had lingered.
She read Ginny’s letter next. Her daughter had given her a similar account of the recent events, together with a small request to have the other Weasley boys not give Harry too difficult a time that summer. I think it’s going to last for a while, Mum, the letter read. I know I’ve had a few boyfriends already, but Harry’s different.
For years Harry had been almost like a son to Molly. Perhaps one day…
“Don’t start thinking that far ahead,” she murmured to herself.
“What’s that, Mum?”
Molly jumped as Bill entered the kitchen, Fleur just behind him. “Oh – nothing really, dear. Here, you have a look…”
She held the letters out to Bill, who took them with a quizzical expression. Fleur tilted her head so she could get a better look, her arm wrapped around his waist. Bill’s arm moved to rest on her shoulders.
My children are all growing up. Until that moment, it had never fully hit Molly. But now – here was her oldest, engaged to be married. And there was a letter from her youngest, explaining the situation with Harry.
It had taken her a while to accept Fleur – at first, Molly could not get past the thought that part-Veela’s beauty might have been all that had attracted Bill. But ever so slowly, she had learned that Fleur had her own brand of courage and strength that complemented Bill’s. She had been a Triwizard Champion, Molly remembered, and that had to count for something. Behind Fleur’s beautiful face was a good mind and inner courage. Of course, stubborn as she was, Molly had so far refused to admit that she saw this much in her future daughter-in-law, at least out loud.
“Eet has ‘appened then!” Fleur sighed happily. “I knew eet zis Chreestmas, whenever ‘Arry looked at Ginny…”
“He’d better be good to her,” Bill said in a serious voice. “Or else….” He trailed off.
Molly smiled. She knew that all of the Weasley boys loved their sister, but that Bill was probably the brother that Ginny admired the most. And truth be told, they were the most alike – not as serious as Charlie, more subtle in their humor than the twins, and slightly more even-tempered than Ron. “I’m sure Harry won’t do anything to hurt her, dear,” she said, “especially not with Ron there.”
“Remember when she was ten, that summer I came to visit? She wouldn’t stop going on about how she had seen Harry Potter at the train station!”
“Who would’ve known,” Molly mused.
“Who indeed,” Bill nodded. He grinned down at Fleur. “You didn’t even speak to me the first time you saw me.”
“Ah, I know. But even then…”
The two of them smiled at each other, saying more without words. Molly quickly busied herself with cooking so as to avoid staring at them. I’ve had a few boyfriends already, but Harry’s different, she remembered from Ginny’s letter. Molly had known a few of Bill’s girlfriends from over the years, but he had never interacted with any girl as he did with Fleur.
She was worried, of course, that they might one day simply disappear together and get married. She and Arthur had done just that rash thing when they were young, what with You-Know-Who rising to power. More than twenty years later, Molly knew that while she may not have done the right thing, at least to her family and his, she had married the right person. The corner of her mouth twitched as a thread of memory floated across her mind.
Arthur’s proposal had not terribly romantic. Well, it was, in its own way, since it was unexpected. No expensive candlelit dinners for him; they had simply been walking down Diagon Alley looking at the various shops when he had put his arms around her and asked her the question. A week later they ran off together and got married. That was so long ago; they had been fresh out of Hogwarts, younger than Bill and Fleur were now. Scarcely older than Harry and Ginny were, in fact, but they had been very madly in love.
And here she was today. She had never expected or wanted anything from Arthur but his love. His family had been by no means rich, but what she loved most about him was that he followed whatever dreams his heart had no matter what. She remembered him from Hogwarts – always working hard to be at or near the top of the class. Arthur was an intelligent man, and he could have chosen to take up any job in the Ministry or elsewhere that would have earned him a handsome amount of money. Instead he had decided to work in the place that allowed him to incorporate his passion – love of anything to do with Muggles – into his work.
But it never mattered to her that they were not rich in material goods, or that it sometimes seemed that they would not have enough to keep their children happy. They had all they needed in each other. People like the Malfoys would never understand that there was only so much that money could buy, and that the joy of having a house full of children was not one of those things.
But one by one they were leaving. Bill and Charlie had already left. Like their father, they had followed their passions – Bill to Egypt, and Charlie to Romania. But even if they were far away, they at least came back to visit. She never felt as though her family was in pieces because her two eldest sons were in far-off countries.
Percy – was Percy. It saddened Molly to think of him. He had been so absorbed in his work that when Penelope’s breakup letter had arrived with the post one morning, it had come as a huge shock. And then there was the fight that had taken place between him and Arthur. But nevertheless, in her heart of hearts, Molly hoped that he would come back again. No, she did not hope – she knew. Ambitious though Percy was, Molly knew that he would not forget that he was part of the family. One day he would find a balance between pursuing his dream of leading the Ministry and his family.
Molly was pulled out of her reverie by Bill’s voice. “Hmm?”
“You all right?”
“Just thinking. Go on, why don’t you and Fleur get some fresh air? I’ll finish cooking in here and call everyone when it’s time for dinner.”
Molly turned back to the window and released Pigwidgeon into the evening sky as the young couple exited the room. She watched through the now-open window as Bill and Fleur wandered out into the yard. The young woman’s silvery laugh rang out as Bill picked her up and spun in circles. Molly wistfully recalled the days when she had been able to lift Bill up and let him pretend that he was flying in circles. That had been so long ago! Soon enough she might be watching her grandchildren play. Bill had even told her what the name of his and Fleur’s firstborn son would be: Gideon, after Molly’s own brother.
She waved her wand and the piecrusts for dessert began rolling themselves out. Even now, she could picture it – a house full of young children once more, many of them with flaming red hair, others with blond, others with dark. Little Gideon, bright blue eyes alive with happiness, face sticky with sweets and juice (as Bill’s often had been, more so than any of Molly’s other children). She only wished that all of her as-yet nonexistent grandchildren would be able to grow up in a world that was not overshadowed by darkness, in a world that was not dominated by fear.
She knew the worry that came from having to brothers fight against You-Know-Who. She knew the pain that came from losing a sibling in the fight against evil. She did not want any of her children to feel that pain. She did not want any of her grandchildren even knowing that such a world could exist.
Of course, there were Fred and George, who could make anyone forget for just a moment that there was such a thing as darkness in the world. Even though she had not entirely approved of their idea to open a joke shop, she saw now that it was their dream to do so. And it was now more than ever that she truly appreciated their talent to bring laughter to others’ lives, now that You-Know-Who was back.
Perhaps Harry was the only one who could stop You-Know-Who, just like last time. It wrenched Molly’s heart to see him grow, to see him become ever more solemn each time. What he needed was some laughter and happiness in his life – and Ginny could give him that.
It was not actually clear to Molly just exactly where Ginny would take her life. By the time they reached his fifth year at Hogwarts, Bill had been studying as hard as he could to become a Curse Breaker. Charlie had unexpectedly chosen the path of a dragon researcher over that of a Quidditch player – but then again, he had always loved adventure, and had hardly hesitated when the opportunity came up to research Romanian Longhorns and Hungarian Horntails firsthand. Percy had been set in his determination to become a Ministry worker from his third year. And the twins had always been jokers.
The stew on the stove was bubbling merrily, and the potatoes were done. With a flick of her wand Molly sent the blueberry pies into the oven, emerging at last from her own thoughts. She peered around the entrance to the kitchen to find Arthur dozing upon the couch, newspaper in hand.
“Arthur, dear,” she said, giving him a kiss on the forehead. “Arthur, dinner’s ready.”
Her husband awoke. “Sorry, Molly,” he said, straightening his robes. “Work’s been hectic, I never – ”
“I was wondering why you weren’t coming into the kitchen earlier. It’s your favorite stew that’s for dinner, after all.” Molly straightened and headed to the back door to call Bill and Fleur inside.
They all sat around the scrubbed wooden table in the kitchen. Arthur walked into the kitchen and sighed as he put the paper down.
“You-Know-Who’s been at it again,” he said. “Three more attacks in the past week alone. I only hope that the Aurors are doing all they can to prevent any more.”
“D’you really think that what they’ve been saying is true?” Bill asked. “That Harry’s actually ‘The Chosen One’?”
“I don’t know, Bill,” Arthur said. “I want to believe in Harry, but at the same time…”
Molly spoke up. “He’s as close as a son in our family. We’re all just worried for him, what with all the danger out there.”
“Ron too,” Bill said. “He wants to be an Auror, remember?”
Molly had overheard a conversation during the previous summer in which Ron mentioned that he was considering a career as an Auror. It was fitting, considering that he was Harry’s friend. Even so, Molly was worried. She did not want to deter him, but her own brothers had been Aurors. And – oh, it pained her so much to hear Ron tell Ginny not to worry about his choice! It reminded her so strongly of her brother Fabian.
“I’m not going to stop him if he really wants it,” Molly said. “I tried with Fred and George, but it didn’t work. No matter how worried we’d all be – I’m not going to try and get in the way.”
“Mais – but ze job is so dangerous!” Fleur interjected. “If ‘e was to be ‘urt – ”
“But it’s not about that at all, Fleur,” Molly said. “This family is one of people who make their dreams a reality.”
There was silence for a few moments as everyone quietly ate. Then Molly added, “Harry’s as close as a son and brother in our family, and so I know that You-Know-Who will be defeated. And we’ll all help him get there – all of us, even Ginny. Especially Ginny. If we all together dream and work towards defeating You-Know-Who, then it can happen.”
And Molly knew that this was true.
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