The Harry Potter Universe belongs to J.K. Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Even as those who loved Fred still mourn for him, they each begin to realize that life must go on. This story is told from Molly's Weasley's point of view and continues from where Ginny's Sixth Year at Hogwarts leaves off. It takes place the year after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, therefore eighteen years before the Epilogue.
On the first of October, Molly woke up early. She was worried that the meeting with Kingsley about locating missing witches and wizards would not accomplish everything that she hoped. She made breakfast for Arthur and Harry, but was too nervous to do much but drink a cup of tea and nibble on some toast. She felt a little more confident after she dressed in her most professional-looking robes. As she Apparated to the Ministry with Arthur and Harry, she hoped that George would meet them on time. He and Ron were staying in the flat above the shop more often, with Ron sleeping in George's old room while George had dumped his clothes and other belongings in Fred's former room.
Kate Wallace and Nic Meath were already sitting in Kingsley's waiting room when Arthur and Molly arrived. Percy came out to greet them at precisely nine. The four of them joined Kingsley at his conference table while Percy sat next to him at a small table with stacks of parchment, several quills, and three inkbottles. A tea service, several cups and saucers, and a tray of pastries were on a small table on the other side. George arrived a few minutes later.
'Welcome to our first 'Inform the Missing' committee meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to improve the efforts the Ministry is making to disseminate the information about Voldemort's defeat to the witches and wizards who have not yet returned to our world. We suspect that many of them have integrated completely into Muggle life. We hope to come up with novel ways to communicate with those still in hiding,' said Kingsley in his deep voice. 'I am sure that you all know each other, but I'd like you to introduce yourselves and tell me why you are interested in this problem. I'll start and then we'll go around the table.' Everyone nodded.
'My name is Kingsley Shacklebolt, and I am currently Minister for Magic. My concerns on this topic are both on behalf of the Ministry and personal. Two cousins of my wife are still missing so I want to contact as many expatriated witches and wizards as possible. We don't even know how many people we are looking for or where they are likely to have gone. Whatever we do to find our missing families, friends, and co-workers, we must be mindful of the Statute of Secrecy.'
'My name is Kate Wallace. I am a producer for the Wizarding Wireless Network. Many of our former employees were Muggle-born or married to Muggles, so during Voldemort's regime, we lost a great many writers, directors, technical people, and on-air talent. They were well suited to integrate into Muggle life because they had skills that are in demand. We need their creative talents back in our world, so I hope to help find them.
'I am Nic Meath, and I have been the Head Announcer for WWN for many years. I'd estimate that more than half of our fellow employees are still missing. We need them to return to replace those of us who are nearing retirement. I agree with Kate that we cannot afford to lose so many of our co-workers, especially if WWN is going to expand to magical television programs.'
Kingsley, Arthur, and George looked surprised at Nic's last comment while Percy bent closer to the parchment he was writing on.
'My name is Arthur Weasley and I am the senior assistant to Minister Shacklebolt. He asked me to assist this group in any way that I can.'
George stood and bowed. 'George Weasley, at your service. I am co-owner of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. My mum thought I might have some new ideas of ways to get in touch with those still missing.'
'I'm Molly Weasley, and I have time to volunteer for a good cause. Contacting those who have not returned to our world seems like a good idea. They should be able to choose which world they want to live in.'
'Percy Weasley, junior assistant to the Minister. I will be taking notes and disseminating summaries.'
'We have some very talented people on this committee so I am sure we will make progress in finding and communicating with those who have not yet returned,' began Kingsley. 'Does anyone know what has been done so far?'
Percy raised his hand. Kingsley nodded at him encouragingly. 'The Daily Prophet has run some half-page adverts encouraging missing witches and wizards to return. The Ministry has put up posters in Diagon Alley announcing that Voldemort has been defeated and that it is safe for Muggle-borns to return.'
'The ones who haven't heard what happened to Voldemort don't read The Prophet or shop in Diagon Alley,' said George. 'Announcements on WWN won't reach them either.'
'If they have cut themselves off from the world of magic,' said Molly, 'we need to find a Muggle way to communicate. If we are to be successful reuniting family and friends, we need to use every resource we can.'
Everyone agreed that her idea was a good one but thought that they needed to find out more about Muggle media. Kingsley encouraged them to do some research, meet to brainstorm ideas, and bring them to the next meeting. He also said that he thought that the committee should have a new title, suggested by something Molly had just said.
'Percy will owl you summaries of the first meeting of 'Reuniting Families and Friends'. Please be ready to report your suggestions at our second meeting, two weeks hence, on October fifteenth.' Kingsley stood up to indicate the meeting was over. Molly, Kate, and Nic left together and spent a few minutes in the Atrium discussing what needed to be done next.
'We'll check again if anyone still working at WWN knows where their co-workers have gone,' said Nic. 'A few more witches and wizards have returned, and they might give us some fresh leads.'
'I promised Harry that I'd take a look at the little cottage he's moving into, so I'd better be going,' said Molly, kissing the air next to Kate's cheek and shaking Nic's hand. She threw some Floo powder into one of the Ministry's huge fireplaces and stepped into the fire, saying, 'the Burrow.'
As soon as she arrived home, Molly changed out of her professional robes and into the sort of outfit that she and Corinne had adopted for dueling practice. The belted coat and calf-length trousers reminded Arthur of costumes worn by Muggles for a form of Martial Arts. He said she was his 'Car-rot-tay Kid', whatever that meant. If Harry's cottage turned out to be as decrepit as he had hinted, she needed to wear something that she could do cleaning spells in. She put in a Floo Call to Andromeda, asking if she could come over to see Harry's cottage, and she was told that she was welcome to Apparate there. Molly put some cleaning potions, scrub brushes, and her copy of Gilderoy Lockhart's How to Clean a Filthy Hovel in a bundle and Apparated.
Andromeda already had nearly six-month-old Teddy in a sling on her back when Molly stepped into her house. 'I haven't been inside the cottage for some time. The last couple that leased it fled when Dolores Umbridge ordered them to come before her Muggle-born Registration Committee, so it's been empty for nearly a year.' She indicated a small building tucked behind a hedge as they went out the door.
Andromeda flicked her wand and said, 'Alohomora', to the front door. Molly was certain that the cottage must have been some sort of a pony shed when she saw how small it was inside. It had a small kitchen-living room with an even smaller bedroom with en suite. 'The young witch and her Muggle husband were newly-weds so it was big enough for them as a starter house,' said Andromeda as she brushed aside cobwebs.
Molly flicked her wand at the windows and cast a very strong Cleaning Charm, then waved on the torches in the living area. 'I'll have Arthur check the plumbing after work tomorrow, if that's all right,' she said when she could see more clearly. 'I wouldn't want to cause Teddy to sneeze when I remove all this dust so perhaps you and he might want to take a short walk.'
As soon as Andromeda and her grandson were back outside, Molly checked to be sure that the range and cooling cupboard worked, ran all the taps, and flushed the toilet. Satisfied with the appliances and plumbing, she began casting Dust Removal Charms, paying special attention to removing soot from the fireplace and chimney. After she had been working for about an hour, she heard Andromeda calling, 'Come and eat lunch, Molly. I fed Teddy and put him down in his cot. We haven't had a chance to visit in a Troll's age.'
Molly set scrub brushes to work on the kitchen walls, cupboard, and sink counter and then went for a bite to eat with her old friend. She told Andromeda about the 'Inform the Missing' meeting that she had attended earlier. Andromeda told her that Teddy was sitting by himself and able to hold a Muggle Tippy Cup fairly well. She still gave him a bottle when he was going to sleep, but he was drinking water and juice by himself. She was very excited that Harry was going to be living so close. She and Molly agreed that he was not yet ready to do all his own cooking and that he needed to feel welcome at either of their tables.
After lunch and a short visit, Molly inspected the kitchen at Harry's place, cast a few more Cleaning Charms on the insides of the cupboards and set the brushes scrubbing on the floor. She decided to cast an Insect Discouragement Charm tomorrow after she looked up some not likely to harm either Harry or Teddy. She would need to be casting infant-friendly charms when Bill and Fleur's first child was born, anyway. Molly bade Andromeda and Teddy farewell and said she'd be back tomorrow to help Harry get the bedroom ready for the bed they had yet to buy.
That night, Harry and Arthur were the only ones eating dinner with her. She told Harry that she thought that besides buying a new bed and a table with four chairs he might want to take an old love seat that was in Arthur's shed. Arthur readily agreed, saying that he'd offered it to Bill and Fleur, but that her family had supplied Shell Cottage with more than enough furniture. They even had a shed full of everything for a nursery, just waiting to have the Shrinking Charm reversed. Molly found her book titled, Charming with Children: Keeping Little Witches and Wizards Safe, and refreshed her memory about environmentally friendly Charms.
While Molly and Corrine practiced dueling the next morning, she asked her friend for suggestions about how to find the missing witches and wizards. All Corinne could suggest was that many of them were young adults with little children. Perhaps adverts in magazines about child rearing might be a fruitful media outreach.
Arthur and Molly Apparated with Harry to his cottage after an early supper. Harry was impressed by how much larger it looked after Molly had cleaned the windows and kitchen. They both worked on getting the dust and grime off the bedroom walls and cleaned the small bath while Arthur inspected the plumbing and cast some trap and line Cleaning Charms. He said the foundation was sturdy enough for domestic animals. Molly suggested that Harry call his first home 'The Pony Shed' and he agreed that he liked the sound of that.
Arthur helped Harry figure out where the love seat, table, and chairs would fit in the living area while Molly cast child-safe Insect Discouragement Charms all around the perimeter of the house. She approved of the fresh coat of barely pink-toned paint that the men had applied to all the walls when she finished. 'It makes the rooms look both larger and more cozy,' she said.
'A cozy shed, that's the décor I was aiming for,' said Harry as they all walked over to Andromeda's so he could say good night to Teddy and tell Andromeda that he and Molly were going to buy a bed and dining set tomorrow. As Harry played with a dark haired Teddy, Andromeda reminded him that he didn't need pots and pans or dishes and flatware because she had saved all of the household items that had belonged to Tonks and Remus for him. 'Nothing matches, but that's my daughter for you…' she said fondly.
'Arthur has a love seat that's just taking up room in his shed,' started Molly. 'Harry hasn't told you, but we'd decided on a name for his first place.'
'The Pony Shed,' said Harry laughing, as Teddy grabbed his glasses again.
"Well named!' said Andromeda
The weekend went by very quickly. As soon as he was finished with work on Friday afternoon, Molly and Harry used some of his gift certificates at Wizards' Wonder Woods for a double bed and a table with four chairs. Harry arranged for it to be delivered on Saturday morning. He and Molly bought bedding and towels for his bath and kitchen at Bewitching Bed and Bath before stopping to buy Muggle Chinese take-out for their supper. After seeing how much he enjoyed the food, Molly suspected that Harry would make a Floo call to his favorite restaurant at least once a week when he was on his own. She wondered if Ginny had ever eaten Chinese food.
Saturday was very busy. Harry Apparated to The Pony Shed very early with his trunk and Pye's cage. Molly and Arthur cast a Shrinking Charm on the love seat and an old rug that she and Arthur had found in the attic. While they were up there, Molly opened a trunk and took out an old quilt that her mother had made for her many years ago. She did a Shrinking Charm on it and the new quilt she had won at a Witches and Stitches raffle two years ago. He could use the new one on his new bed and use the worn out one as a cover for the old love seat.
They brought a basket of sandwiches and a jug of pumpkin juice when they met Harry close to mid-day. His bed and the table and chairs had already been delivered, so the men arranged the sparse furniture and reversed the Shrinking Charms. Molly made his bed up with the new sheets and quilt and laid out his new towels. Then she started to make curtains for the bedroom and living room windows out of an old ivory-coloured sheet.
Andromeda, with Teddy slung on her back, brought over a set of lace cottage curtains for Harry's kitchen window, along with a box full of pans, dishes, and flatware. 'Your kitchen faces ours so it will be handy for you to be able to see out of the top half of the window over your sink. We promise to be good neighbors.'
When Arthur and Molly returned to the Burrow, they decided on an early night but first ate some stew that was leftover from two days ago. 'Alone at last,' sighed Arthur, as he and Molly climbed into bed. 'We might as well make the most of our time without children.'
'Ron will be home tomorrow night,' said Molly. 'He'll have clothes to wash and there's no laundry cauldron at Harry's shed, either.'
'We'll always see our sons frequently so long as they are without laundry facilities. Now where were we?' said Arthur with a gleam in his eye.
Ron arrived home late Sunday afternoon. Arthur winked at Molly when the first thing he did was to unpack his dirty clothes from his knapsack. He told them that he had been working hard the whole time he had been at Hogwarts building new broom sheds before the new brooms arrived. Headmistress McGonagall had appealed to a former student who was now in the broom business and was able to buy Firebolts from last year's line for all four teams at a very reasonable price. Ron said that Ginny was excited about the new brooms and had try-outs for the Gryffindor Quidditch Team on Saturday. She let him be Keeper to test all the Chasers who were hoping for places on the team. He described the try-outs as, 'brilliant'. Molly and Arthur told him about Harry's new place and he insisted on leaving immediately to take him something that Ginny had sent him under an Imperturbable Charm. Molly recognized it as one of those CeeDee thingies that looked like mirrors but played music with a Muggle machine.
After Molly finished washing Ron's construction clothes the next morning, she took them outside to hang on her clothesline. It was so pleasant for October that she harvested the last of the summer vegetables for a stew. As she was bringing them back into the house, using her apron to carry them, an unfamiliar owl swooped into the yard and held out his leg so she could take the attached letter. She dumped the vegetables in the sink and got an owl treat for the messenger. Molly recognized the writing as Kate Wallace's and opened the letter.
Dear Molly, Arthur, and George,
Last Friday, I met with Audrey Anderson, the new Actors Guild Representative, and mentioned that our committee is trying to find a way to contact the witches and wizards who fled during the last regime and have become assimilated into the Muggle population. She is particularly interested in finding missing actors and on-air talent since they would be represented under the successful contract she has recently negotiated for both stage and media actors.
Ms Anderson has a Muggle personal computer and has volunteered to try Googling the names of actors who were either Muggle-born or married to Muggles. Google is a Muggle computer search engine and it is very likely that anyone who has adopted Muggle ways would be using this service. It would lead us to web pages or news about individual witches and wizards. She just sent me an owl with links that mention twenty-four of those whom we seek. We still do not have locations for them but now know that they are alive and on-line. I think we should try sending owls to the witches and wizards that we are sure are still alive.
Nic met with George and they think we might be able to get the information about the Battle of Hogwarts disseminated by making a YouTube video because many Muggles watch them. He and George went to a Muggle public library to look at some of them. Have you had time to find out about adverts in parenting magazines?
I am sending a copy of this letter to Minister Shacklebolt and your son Percy. By the way, is Percy still unattached? Ms Anderson is a single witch.
See you on Wednesday, Kate
"Hmm,' said Molly to herself. 'Arthur will be keen that we are using Muggle computers to help find those who are missing.'
That was indeed the case, as Molly found out when Arthur Apparated home after work. He said that Percy had sent him a copy of the letter that Kate had sent to Kingsley and him. Percy said that he was impressed with using Muggle searches to find assimilated witches and wizards. Arthur said that he could not wait until he got his hands on one of those computing machines. Kingsley thought Ms Anderson must be very clever and was sorry that there was too much magic in the air at the Ministry for Muggle electronics to work.
That night was surprisingly cool after the warm day. Molly felt her pendant warm as she and Arthur were snuggling before they went to sleep and thought that maybe Harry was thankful that she had given him such a warm quilt since it was such a cool night.
On Wednesday morning, Molly and Arthur arranged to meet George in Kingsley's waiting room. He told them that he had found out what YouTube was and how it worked. He had an idea for an informational video disguised as entertainment. Nic and Kate arrived as he was trying to explain what an entertainment video was. Nic understood immediately and told George that he and Kate were experimenting with a form of television that could be magically created and sent to Magic Mirrors that had a converter box. Percy came out and ushered them into Kingsley's office before they could explain how it differed from the Muggle version.
Kingsley started the meeting immediately by introducing Harry Potter. 'I've asked Auror Potter, my personal assistant, to join us this morning. We are all thankful that Ms Wallace has found a way to learn which of the missing former employees of WWN are alive and connected to a Muggle computer. We have sent owls to specific witches and wizards that we suspect are living as Muggles. However, there are many more missing for whom we have no names unless a Missing Wizard Form has been submitted to the Auror Missing Witch and Wizard Division.'
George spoke next. 'I'm glad you're here, Harry. I was going to contact you about Nic's idea of making a video for our missing persons that is entertaining, but also informative. I think we should do a simplified version of the Battle of Hogwarts as a short action video. You'd play yourself, and I think that Angelina could Glamour me into a scary Voldemort.'
Harry looked at Kingsley. Molly could tell that acting as himself was not what he had expected to be doing to find lost members of the magical community. 'Minister Shacklebolt told me that that the Actors Guild Representative had found some people with a computer.'
'Actually, Ms Anderson only found out that some of the missing WWN workers were mentioned on sites that had computer links,' began Kate. 'Nic and I sent owls to those witches and wizards, all of whom were actors, members of the technical staff, or WWN office workers. We haven't heard back from any of them but we haven't had any owls return either.'
'If they were still fearing Voldemort and his Death Eaters, they might be afraid that answering the owls would lead them into a trap,' said Arthur thoughtfully.
Molly thought that he made a good point, so she said, 'I think Arthur is correct. If I had heard about my neighbors being killed or had my wand snapped, I'd not return to this world without being sure that it was safe.'
Nic had been listening silently. When he finally spoke, everyone listened to his trained announcer voice. 'I think what George proposes is brilliant. Harry and his Dumbledore's Army and some of the Order of the Phoenix would make a very realistic cast. Molly was there the whole time, so she could tell Kate what to write. I think a re-enactment of the Battle of Hogwarts would be a very exciting action video. Muggles watching it would think it was an advance trailer for a movie or television series. Only witches and wizards in hiding would see it for what it was. They'd all believe Harry Potter.'
'I could learn how to compute if it would help,' said Percy, suddenly. Molly and Arthur smiled at him.
Kingsley asked, 'How many members of the committee think we should make this video to inform the witches and wizards still in hiding that the forces of good won?' Everyone raised his or her hands. 'Very well, I will appoint Molly, Arthur, George, Kate, and Nic to write the script, find those willing to act in it, and conjure authentic costumes and make-up. I will explain to Headmistress McGonagall that we need to use the Great Hall when the preparations are complete. Will Muggle cameras work at Hogwarts?'
'No, they won't. There's too much magic there to use ordinary cameras, but this will give us a chance to try our newly developed cameras that work by magic. We can take a video of the final product with a Muggle camera to download on YouTube. Our completed video may be the first one shown on the WWN-Tell-a-Vision as well. The technology required for turning Magic Mirrors into Tell-a-Vision receivers with a converter is nearly perfected.'
Everyone left the meeting pleased with the progress they were making. Kingsley said that the script-writing sub-committee should inform him when they were ready to meet again. Molly returned home full of ideas about what needed to be in the script.
Ron came by the Burrow Thursday evening to say that he would be at Hogwarts for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. He took the clothes he wore while doing construction and some nice Muggle clothes he had bought with the money he was making working at the WWW shop and at Hogwarts.
When Ron returned on Sunday, he was very cheerful. He talked all during dinner and said that he was able to get all of the Quidditch Stands re-built by working all day Friday and Saturday. He told them that Hermione was getting very good at helping him hold the sort of Binding Spells that were needed for such large construction. 'The two of us make a good team,' he said with a broad smile.
''How is Ginny? She hasn't written to us for weeks. I suppose I will have to go over to Harry's to find out if my only daughter is well,' said Molly with a smile. ' Would you like more mash? And maybe a little more roast and gravy?
'Yes, please. Hermione says that Ginny writes to Harry every day and that he writes back. It's a good thing that they got a pair of owls. One would wear out going back and forth twice a day. She's fine, but busy. She was glad Hermione was helping me because then she didn't have a N.E.W.T.s study group to go to Saturday afternoon. Quidditch practice starts on Tuesday, and the first Hogsmeade Weekend is Saturday. Harry and I plan to go to meet them at the Three Broomsticks at noon.'
Molly winked at Arthur. 'As I remember, you have to get there early if you want a table in back away from the door.'
Arthur nodded and winked back.
Molly thought that Ron must have teased his sister about not writing to anyone but Harry because Ginny's owl, Bee, arrived at the Burrow with a letter on the Tuesday after the first Hogsmeade weekend. Molly gave the owl a treat as she perched outside on the garden bench. She opened the letter and read,
Dear Mum and Dad,
Ron said that you seemed to think I was busy with classes and homework, my prefect duties, Quidditch practice, meetings about house-elves' rights, study groups for my N.E.W.T.s, and writing to my boyfriend. You are right, as usual. I feel like there are never enough hours in the day. However, that does not excuse me for not writing home, even if it is to say that I am busy.
We had our first Hogsmeade weekend last Saturday. After we ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks, Hermione and I Apparated with Ron and Harry to see Harry's darling little godson. Teddy is sitting up by himself now and mimics what others do. Harry is trying to get him to say his name. but I think he is a long way from being able to do that. He can change his hair to dark and messy when Harry is holding him. He is pretty good at trying to match my hair, too. I really miss seeing him learn how to do new things.
Before we went back to Hogwarts, we went to see Harry's new place, The Pony Shed. It is really small but seems just right for one person. We found out that Harry's bed is very comfortable and big enough for two people. Do not get your knickers in a twist! Hermione and I were the two who tried it out. It was very thoughtful of you to give him two quilts. It will be cold very soon. It's almost the end of October.
Speaking of what time of the year it is, Happy Birthday, Mum. Being fifty is not so important a birthday as the seven-times-seven lucky one you had last year. Hermione says that Muggles call fifty-year-old women, Golden Girls, but she couldn't explain why. Luna says that she knows it is not because of Golden Snitches because they can make themselves invisible to Muggles. I wish I could be there on your birthday.
Molly's birthday was the following Thursday. Before she and Arthur got up, he held her tight and said, 'Mollywobbles, I am the luckiest wizard in the world. I am happily married to the most wonderful witch imaginable. You have done a spectacular job raising our children, and I want you to know I love you.'
'Is there something that you are not telling me. Arthur?' answered Molly with a smile.
'The present I ordered for you will be coming in about a week,' said Arthur. 'I didn't want you to think I had forgotten your birthday.'
Bill and Fleur prepared a delicious dinner at Shell Cottage and brought it to the Burrow by Portkey. Fleur was feeling wonderful as she entered her final trimester but had decided to quit working at Gringotts to prepare for their first child's birth. She was glowing as she and Bill gave Molly a photograph album to fill with baby pictures. Although neither Ginny nor Charlie could be at the Burrow for Molly's birthday, they had each sent a gift. Ginny made her a handsome brown boucle' hat and scarf while Charlie sent her a brown dragon-hide brief case, 'for your important meetings'. Enclosed in the brief case was a story that Kathleen had written about Molly and how she overcame the insanely evil Bellatrix Lestrange. The note said that her publisher was very interested in it but that she wanted her to be the first to read it. She hoped that she would like it. Percy came after dinner, explaining that his very important meeting went long. He admired the briefcase from Charlie and said that his gift of a self-inking quill and a stack of parchment would fit handily in it. George and Ron went in together and bought Molly a new russet cloak for the cooler weather that was sure to come. George said that russet was one of Fred's favorite colours so he would have approved. Harry gave her a box of Honeyduke's best chocolates. Molly thanked them all and distributed pieces of the very fancy cake that Fleur had made for the occasion.
Molly was happy to have so many of her family gathered around her but it reminded her that many families were still mourning loved ones whom they lost in the war, or missing friends and families who had not yet returned. She was glad that she was doing her part to help reunite families.
A/N: St Margarets has given permission to mention her character, Audrey Anderson. Her story, titled The Flat, tells how Percy and Audrey met, but takes place many years after Ginny's Seventh Year. I'm not sure I can keep them apart as long as she did. A rough draft of this chapter received many suggestions from my flist at Live Journal. Without the careful corrections of Bookish327 and Trelawney2213, this chapter would be harder to read. I appreciate their suggestions.
A/N 2: My friend Collinda (hgrhfan35) made me a lovely banner to celebrate finishing all the stories while Ginny is at Hogwarts. It shows the Burrow, Molly and Arthur, and Ginny growing up. I've posted it on my Live Journal Home Page if you'd like to see it. http://grandma-kate.livejournal.com/69592.html