Molly Weasley sighed as she looked out into her garden. Five of her sons were languorously lying in the sun enjoying the small respite of cool weather that the summer had bestowed upon them. Her sixth and youngest son, Ronnie, was in his cot sleeping soundly. He had been up most of the night due to a light case of the sniffles and was still feeling exhausted after his mild recovery. She had given him some Pepperup potion straight away, but had resorted to using a slightly diluted form to keep him safe, and even that had him smoking at the ears for quite a while.
Molly had been up for much of the night herself, and not only because of little Ron, but because of her own bulging belly. She looked down and was met with the sight of her full-to-bursting stomach.
“I can’t stand it any longer!” she groaned to herself as she moved to the cooker and began her preparations to make that evening’s dinner. Barely paying any attention to her wand, she waved it in a manner that spoke of years of practice and set the potatoes to peel and the soup to simmer as she placed the dough for the bread in the oven.
Her bulging stomach had been at the height of her woes in the last few days. She had been waddling around for days, and she could barely stand the tension while waiting for the baby to arrive. This was to be their seventh child, and their last. The midwife had told her after she’d had Ron that Molly wouldn’t be able to have any more children, and she had almost erupted in a torrent of tears right then. She couldn’t help but think of how she had been unable to provide Arthur with a little girl; how much she wanted to take care of a small girl that was just hers, not her brother’s or her cousin’s, but just hers. A little girl, just for them. It wasn’t too much to ask for, was it?
After returning home that dreadful day, and settling the children in for an early night, she had turned to Arthur with her eyes full of sadness at her seeming inability. She smiled now as she remembered her husband’s words.
“We don’t need anyone else but you, Molly, we all have our girl right here, with us.” And with that he had hugged her, and kissed her, and comforted her until she fell into a deep sleep.
She really was a lucky witch, she mused with a small smile. She could recall quite clearly how her boys had tried to cheer her up, and it had brought warmth to heart to know that she had so much love and support from her family. They had been so funny, she thought as she sat down at the table with sigh, a small smile gracing her lips.
Just the next morning, she had trudged down the stairs only to find her boys in the kitchen attempting to make her breakfast, and failing miserably. The toast was burnt, the eggs were splattered along the counter, and the little that they had managed to salvage into the pan was littered with bits of shell. They had all looked up at her as one, slightly abashed and sprinkled with flour, but mostly afraid to hear her admonishing words because they had dirtied her kitchen. Even Fred and George seemed as serious as they could with handfuls of flour that, instead of being used for the pancakes, were being chucked at each other and their older brothers in mischief. It was quickly turning into an uproar as Bill and Charlie had stuttered and pointed openly to Fred and George who, they claimed, had foiled all attempts at making her a good breakfast. Identical expressions of outrage had popped up on the faces of her twins, and with their hands still full of flour, they ran as fast as their little legs could carry them after Bill and Charlie, and successfully ended up getting flour everywhere in her once spotless kitchen.
In the midst of it all, Percy was yelling at the top of his lungs for them to, “Stop it! Stop it and start cleaning the mess you all made! I told you not to let Fred and George help!”, his voice becoming faint as he ran after them into the garden.
Life was good then, she mused, but she had always felt the lack of a little girl glaringly obvious in her life. Now, as she felt the insistent kicking in her stomach, she could only hope that this last chance would prove to be the lucky one. She remembered how surprised she’d been when she had found out that she was pregnant again. After all the tears and sorrow on her part, she had been given one last chance to have what she wanted most: a little girl of her very own.
She remembered that day so vividly as well. She had returned home to find her boys settling in for the evening; Bill and Charlie telling the twins a story about dragons and mummies and dark caves protected by curses and jinxes designed to distort, deform, and kill. Percy was reading his favorite storybook, and Ron was in his father’s arms as he giggled in the pleasure of snatching his father’s glasses.
She Apparated with a small pop! into the sitting room, still stunned at the incredible news she had come home with. As she sat beside Arthur, her back rigid and eyes wide, she began to feel the truth seeping into her mind. Arthur looked at her curiously over Ron, who was wiggling and trying to get his chubby arms free to reach up toward his father’s glasses, and asked her what the midwife had said about her odd behavior.
She had been having some trouble sleeping, and her monthly was two weeks late. She had not dared to hope before her visit that she was pregnant; she had tried to tell herself repeatedly that this may have been normal for many women. But when she came home with the hopeful news and looked into Arthur’s blue eyes, she couldn’t stop herself from gasping it out in surprise as it finally hit her: she was pregnant. She was going to have a baby!
He looked as stunned at hearing the news as she felt. As his arms went slack, Ron wasted no time in reaching up and getting a hold of the glasses slipping down his father’s nose. He looked at them curiously, and without further hesitation stuck the lenses in his mouth and drooled happily all over them.
Molly was still in a state of shock. The midwife had been just as shocked when she had proclaimed it with an astonished whisper, and even Molly had never considered the possibility. Of course she had hoped for it, and wished it with all her might, but she had never thought her wish would come true. Now, as she cried with relief in Arthur’s arms (little Ronnie crawling off with glasses in tow) she felt him breathe easier, too. He had been trying as hard as he could not to expect this pregnancy; almost as much as she. He held her tightly in his arms, his relieved face belying his comforting posture, and her head bowed and nestled under his chin; they sat that way for the remainder of the night, anticipating the next addition to their family.
They had another chance, Molly thought silently, and be it a boy or girl, they were going to love this baby with all they had.
She jumped as the door crashed open.
“Mum! Fred and George turned my hair green!” Percy was trying valiantly not to burst out crying. As she looked at him, she held in her smile. His hair was fluorescent green and flowing to his waist. Fred and George had passed their terrible twos, but had never grown out of them. Now at almost four years of age, Fred and George had begun having their bouts of accidental magic, and poor Percy was usually with them when their magic struck. Molly chuckled to herself, imagining what it was that Percy had done to deserve this beautiful green hair and listened with half an ear to his complaints as she righted the colour and length of it with her wand.
“There, all done, dear. Now you go back in that garden and tell Fred and George that Mummy told them not to turn your hair green,” and then she added in a conspiring whisper, “or she’ll do theirs for Auntie Muriel’s visit.” She patted him on the back gently as he trekked back outside as if he was walking to the gallows. A shrill whistle from the oven let her know that the bread was done baking and she turned to take it out as she called out the window for her boys to come in for dinner.
“Mum! Fred and George did it again!” Percy wailed, as he trudged into the kitchen, wearing the long, green hair just as before, but now with a resigned expression on his small face.
“Fred and George Weasley! You stop that this instant or you’ll be sorry!” She said, attempting to sound terse when what she really wanted to do was burst out with laughter at Percy’s hair. “Really! If I see Percy’s hair green one more time, I’ll be sure to set you straight! Never mind Auntie Muriel, I’ll set the charm so that your hair is green until you go to Hogwarts!” She waved her wand and adjusted poor Percy’s hair to its original state.
As they sat down at the table, Bill and Charlie were shooting Fred and George their famous “told-you-so” looks and then shaking their heads at Percy as though it was all his fault in the first place. Molly set down the pot of onion soup and began ladling it into their bowls.
Most of her boys were a rambunctious lot, she mused, and it was just Percy who didn’t seem to be as lively as the rest. She was worried, if truth be told, he was the oddball, the black sheep. And Fred and George had always picked on him because he was so different. Then she shook her head, even at the age of three and a half, they were so mischievous, what would Percy do at Hogwarts when they knew actual magic without her there to protect him?
It seemed so long from now, but it really wasn’t. Her little Billy would be attending Hogwarts in a month’s time, and it felt as though it was just last year that he had barely learned to walk! Her boys were growing up so fast, and her eyes were tearing up just at the thought of it.
She wiped her tears as she walked back to the kitchen. Arthur had said that he would be home in time for dinner, but he hadn’t yet called in and she was growing worried. She glanced at the clock in her sitting room and saw that Arthur’s hand was still pointed to ‘work’. Bogged down, most likely, by another unfortunate case of magical misuse of Muggle artifacts. Molly sighed; she seemed to be doing that quite a bit lately. Maybe she just needed to calm down; he was only at work after all, and with You-Know-Who fallen, there was no reason for her to be anxious anymore.
She picked up her knife, and began slicing thick wedges of bread for later. Bill was getting hungrier these days; he would be able to eat a hippogriff in no time at this rate. Again, her eyes began to water as she thought about him leaving home for Hogwarts. Who was going to feed him? She wiped angrily at her tears, what was going on with her? She didn’t usually start bawling at the thought of Bill going off to school. And they had terrific food at Hogwarts; he would never go hungry there. You’re just having an emotional moment, that’s all Molly, she reassured herself as she resumed cutting the bread.
Then, quite unexpectedly, she felt a slight pressure in her abdomen, and felt water running down her legs followed by a telltale splash. With a pale face and wide eyes, she looked down and saw a small, wet puddle on her normally sparkling floor. She dropped her knife on the breadboard with a clatter, and stepped away from the counter. My water broke, she thought numbly as she stared at it with wide eyes.
Bill rushed in at the sound of clattering, and saw his mum standing there in a numb state of shock.
“Mum! What happened, what’s wrong?”
She jumped as she heard his voice, and with blinding speed, things began to snap into place: her water had broken; she was going to be in labor soon. She had to call the midwife. Oh, forget the midwife, she had to call Arthur!
“Floo your father, Bill, tell him to come home.” She said breathlessly as she took up a parchment and quill, then she added, as if she didn’t quite believe it herself, “Tell him my water broke.”
Grabbing a piece of parchment, and dipping a quill into a small pot of ink, she brought it to the table, sat down with a groan in the wooden chair, and began writing a note to the midwife saying, in no uncertain terms, that her baby was coming. Molly remembered the midwife, Sarah’s, words clearly. She had said that Molly needed to be careful with this baby; it was a more dangerous situation than most because this baby had been conceived during an uncertain time when her body wasn’t prepared for it. She gasped as a sharp pain cut through her lower abdomen. Oh Merlin, this one seemed to be in a great deal of hurry to get out.
Finally, the telltale whoosh of the Floo informed her of Arthur’s arrival, and she looked up to see him rushing through the kitchen door, his hair unkempt and his robes billowing behind him as he ran to her.
“Molly!” he panted, “Let’s get you on the settee.” He took her hand gently, and helped her up from the chair, guiding her to the sitting room and passing their wide-eyed boys as they went. A cry rang out from up the stairs and Molly looked up, her eyes plainly showing her apprehension at Ronnie’s cry.
“Bill, run upstairs and give Ron his milk bottle.” Bill ran upstairs as soon as the words left his father’s mouth, as if he too knew the gravity of the situation. “Charlie, you take the twins and Percy and keep them busy,” Arthur said, taking his wand out from his pocket, “and don’t come downstairs until I say it’s ready.” He added anxiously, his wand shaking in his hand as he held it to Transfigure the settee into a bed.
Charlie didn’t move. “What’s wrong with Mum?”
“Nothing! Nothing’s wrong with her. We’re going to have a baby in the house, but you can’t be around here to see it yet.” Charlie stood still. “GO! NOW!”
Molly clutched at Arthur like a lifeline, screwing her eyes shut in pain as she heard Charlie do as he was told; Arthur never raised his voice, and when he did it was downright frightening. She opened her eyes and watched as Charlie corralled Fred and George up the stairs, and motioned for Percy to follow him as he led the way. She stared at him as he took the first step, and, as he turned around to meet her eyes she sensed a bolt of fear running through him at what he saw. She reckoned he had never seen his mum in so much pain before and understood why; she had never felt such pain, not even the night when she had Ron. Sitting down with her back pressed against the arm of the Transfigured settee, she watched as he led the way up the stairs, and as he turned back once more, she could almost see the hope that shone in his eyes, hoping that everything would be alright.
At last in the early hours of the morning, with the sun beginning to peek over the horizon, a sharp cry rang through The Burrow, and Molly’s shriek followed moments later, awakening her two eldest sons. They climbed out of bed, and leaned against the door of their bedroom only to realize that their mum had started bawling much like the baby in her arms. Bill and Charlie looked at each other through terrified eyes; their mum didn’t yell and cry like that when Ron was born.
Tiptoeing down the stairs and toward the sitting room, the two boys caught sight of a small bundle of pink blankets in the arms of their mum, their dad sitting beside her on the Transfigured settee, and, looming over them, Sarah the midwife was muttering complicated-sounding spells and waving her wand in a series of difficult motions.
They looked happy enough; their mum was sitting with her back against the enlarged arm of the settee, her brow sweaty, and her cheeks wet with tears as she smiled and cried, looking at the little bundle in her arms. Their dad’s eyes were a bit misty, as well, as he looked down into his baby’s face, grinning widely all the while.
“Well, Mrs. Weasley, everything seems to be in order here. I trust you’ve had quite enough practice with babies to know what to do with this one,” Sarah said, nodding her head toward the bundle. “She’s a fighter, she is, and I never would’ve gue –”
“She?!” Charlie burst out, unable to suppress his surprise. Bill slapped a hand over his brother’s mouth a second too late as everyone’s heads whipped to look up at them on the stairs. Bill glared at Charlie.
“Thanks,” he said, sarcastically as he took his hand away, “now you’ve done it.”
Molly smiled at them and beckoned them to her, “It’s alright boys,” she said quietly, a serene smile on her face as she looked into her baby’s eyes. “Meet your new sister.” She passed the little girl to Arthur so that her sons could look into the baby’s tiny face. Sarah turned to Molly as she gathered her things.
“Well, Molly, I would say that my work here is done. I’ll come by tomorrow afternoon to check up on you and the baby, then. Good day!” She waved as she took off in the Floo.
After a few moments of peering into her face, Arthur looked up from the innocent eyes of his baby girl, only to be met with dubious expressions from both of his sons.
Charlie looked up at him. “Is that all there is?”
“Is that all there is? I mean, I thought...you know, she would look more like Ron did.” He paused, looking at his mum. “Well, Mum’s stomach was really big!” he added defiantly, as his parents began chuckling at him. Bill shuffled nervously at his side. Obviously, he thought she was quite a tiny thing as well.
“Yes, that’s all there is, Charlie,” his dad said, still chuckling at Charlie’s description of her. “She’s your little sister, and no matter how small she is, I have a feeling she’s going to be quite a handful for you lot. You’ll be thanking the stars later that she isn’t any bigger.”
Charlie pulled a doubtful expression as he looked into his baby sister’s face. She was just so tiny, it was hard to believe she’d ever be a handful to take care of. He regarded her silently as she looked up at him with big, bright eyes, and he had the sudden urge to brush the tuft of red hair off of her forehead. He did, as gently as he could manage, and she blinked up at him, curiosity alight in her eyes.
“I’m your big brother,” he said, the wonder apparent in his voice. This was going to be a new experience, he realized. He had a baby sister this time.
Molly was tired, very tired. She was tired from lack of sleep, she was tired from running to every cry the baby uttered, and she was tired of her sons’ constant hovering near the cot. Now, four weeks later, it was apparent that, contrary to her sons’ expectations, Molly’s baby daughter was indeed a handful. She woke at odd times in the night, and slept through most of the mornings and afternoons. When she did awaken, she was constantly bawling if she wasn’t occupied otherwise. And it wouldn’t have been so hard if she actually stayed occupied. Nothing, however, would keep her attention for long. The Quidditch mobile that was strung to her cot was only amusing for the first five minutes of wakefulness, and then she would want something new to look at, wailing all the while until it appeared.
Yes, Molly sighed, the baby was quite a handful. Just like her name, though, she was beautiful. They had named her Ginevra. It really was a beautiful name and Molly had always wanted to call her daughter that; she just never knew she would actually have the chance. The boys, though, insisted on calling her “just Ginny, because Ginevra was too girly”. Honestly, she was their only sister, and they still insisted on treating her as one of the boys.
Bill had strung up the Quidditch mobile as soon the cot had been put up, and Charlie had given her his favorite stuffed dragon to play with. Percy and the twins just stood staring at her, and always, always made sure she didn’t have on any pink clothing, because pink was an “ugly” color as George so quaintly put it. She was sure Ron would have said something corresponding to his brothers’ opinions but as he only spoke in broken sentences, she was saved from yet another statement that Ginny should be as “less girly” as possible.
Yes, Molly Weasley was most definitely tired, but she loved every minute of it.