Four different Valentine Days for one couple take us from the first flush of young love to the joy of a lasting relationship.
A/N removed until after the contest ends -- just to be safe ;-)
It was February thirteenth and he still
hadn't bought her gift. How had he left it for so late?
Drawing his robes closer around him in the cold, damp air, Arthur
looked around for inspiration.
year since leaving Hogwarts had shown him how essential Molly was to
his life. He knew he wasn't a mother's dream for her daughter. As
Junior Clerk in the Muggle Liaison department, future opportunities
were not thick on the ground. With four older brothers, there was
no anticipation of a vast inheritance. The Weasley's had never
been blessed with an abundance of gold to begin with. The
Prewitt's, on the other hand, were quite comfortable; Mr Prewitt being
the director of wool-gathering at a northern mill, which produced
fabrics used by the finest robe makers. What would they think of
a poor wizard, such as himself daring to court their oldest daughter?
bell jangled as Arthur pushed open the door to Schriben and Sons.
His arrival was greeted with a shower of pink confetti. He jumped
as an arrow, shot by a cupid floating above him, bounced off his chest.
'Ah, a man already in the throes of love, I see.'
startled at the voice that appeared to emanate from somewhere around
his knees. Looking down he saw a woman dressed in ludicrous hot
pink robes, edged with miles of ruffled lace.
'Fredericka Annabel Schriben, at your service, sir. If I may be so bold…'
How could she not, Arthur thought wryly.
have the look of a man in a quandary. You, no doubt, are looking
for the perfect gift for the love of your life. You have come to
the right place, I assure you.' She waved her hand expansively
towards the racks of garish singing cards, extravagantly plumed quills,
boxes of sweets that glinted and winked in the bright lights, all
decked in more shades of pink and red than Arthur realised existed.
is just the thing, I think.' With a flourish, she produced a vase
full of roses whose tight buds immediately opened to full bloom, then
closed again, each time giving off a strong perfume. 'They are
guaranteed to continue blooming for one year,' Madam Schriben assured
'No, I don't think…'
tastes, perhaps...' apparently from thin air, the witch presented him
with another vase. It was filled with pansies of every
colour. Their sweet upturned faces each made smacking kissing
she an old fashioned kind of girl?' At Arthur's relieved nod,
Madam Schriben scrounged behind the counter and came up with a large
bunch of daisies, tied with a simple red ribbon. Just as Arthur
considered this bouquet, it burst into a jazzy chorus that ended with 'I'll sing to him, each spring to him, and worship the trousers that cling to him. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered, am I.'
not,' Arthur pronounced firmly. 'Thank you for your help,' and
before she could protest, he ducked out, leaving the bell ringing over
the door in a disconsolate manner.
was nowhere to be found. The giggly, blushing girls in the
Gryffindor Common Room hadn't seen her since breakfast. He had
finally snagged Jill, her roommate, as she hurried towards the portrait
hole, distractedly late for a meeting with her latest beau.
don't know where she got to, Arthur, but she was upset. She was
the only sixth year girl that didn't get a Valentine this
'B-b-but…' he stammered.
She gave Arthur a disgusted look.
'But I was coming here,' he explained hesitantly.
'And did she know?' Jill snorted impatiently as she shoved out the portrait hole with a final glare of disdain.
stood there deflated. His shoulders sagged as he realised that
Jill was right. He had wanted to surprise Molly and all he had
done was make her upset and probably mad. Molly mad was not
something he enjoyed. She had a temper on her, that one.
Arthur could enjoy it when it was directed at someone else, but at
him…he gave a shudder.
she was. Elbow deep in soil, repotting with manic vigour under
the grey, rain-washed glass of Greenhouse two. Her back was to
the door but Arthur could tell from the set of her shoulders that the
hard, filthy work had not lessened her anger. She set the newly
resettled plant on the counter with a bit more vigour than necessary
and reached for another terra cotta container. It slipped from
her hands, crashing to the floor.
she exploded. Shoving her fringe off her face with her forearm,
she flicked her wand at the shards and they reassembled on the bench.
quietly stepped behind her, placing his hands on the curve of her
hip. She jumped and spun around, wand up defensively.
'Arthur William Weasley, don't you dare sneak up on me like that.'
grinned and leaned in for a kiss. She turned away abruptly,
leaving his lips to land in the hastily gathered ponytail on the back
of her head. Arthur dropped his hands. It was worse than he
feared. He watched as she resumed potting the flitterbloom
cuttings violently. The silence was broken only by the squeaks and
chirps of the plants protesting their rough treatment. Arthur
stood helplessly watching her slam and bang the pots and tools about.
'Hey,' he said softly, touching the back of her earth smeared hand, 'it's not their fault.'
The pot was set aside and another snatched off the shelf.
Her hands stilled, but she didn't turn around.
wanted to surprise you. None of the cards seemed right, and the
flowers were just scary, so I decided to come in person to tell you,'
he hesitated. Molly turned around. He could see the trail
of dried tears on her cheeks. 'I couldn't say it with an owl,' he
explained in desperation. He reached up and brushed a smudge of
earth off her cheek, cupping her face in his broad hand. 'I love
you, Molly.' He saw, with panic, tears well up and threaten to
overflow her eyes. 'Molly, I'm sorry! I just had to tell
you. If you don't feel the same, I understand. I shouldn't
She pressed her fingers
against his mouth to stop his gibbering and laughed with tears now
running down her face. 'Silly boy.' She removed her hand
and as he opened his mouth to speak, she stretched up on her toes,
looked right into his eyes and said 'shhh,' before stopping anymore
arguments crossing his lips.
tugging at his robes and with a last minute check to make sure he had
everything, Arthur took a deep, calming breath. No sense
splinching yourself from nerves, he told himself. Fine how do you
do that would be, to arrive without an ear, or worse. Tonight was
too important. He smoothed his hair down and patted his chest
pocket, closed his eyes, took a breath and felt the now familiar
compaction. He opened his eyes to find himself at the magnificent
gates of Hogwarts. The school crest of wrought iron sealed the
portal. In years past the gates had stood open in greeting, but
that wasn't safe in these dark days. Arthur reached out and
pulled on the chain that hung from the gatepost. No bell was
heard, but a flock of starlings took to air with chatter. In the
distance Arthur could see the thin, tortured frame of Apollyn Pringle
limping towards him.
'Weasley. What do you want,' he snarled when he reached the gate.
'I've come to visit.'
offered a roll of parchment through the gate. The caretaker
unrolled it, inspecting it myopically. With a grunt of
disappointment, he thrust it back at Arthur and grudgingly pulled the
gate open just far enough to allow Arthur entrance by slipping
sideways. Arthur nodded his head in thanks, but it was lost as
the wheezing old man grumbled back up the path back towards the
This time he knew where to find her.
'Same as last year,' she had owled.
long legs couldn't get him across the grounds fast enough. In the
last dying rays of the weak winter sun he hurried past the doors of the
venerable old castle and headed for the row of glassed buildings in its
shadow. He pulled open the door and the warmth of the greenhouse
wafted a perfume of damp earth over him. Somewhere, in the
distance, he could hear the faint strains of music. Hurrying down
the rows of plants, he found her, once again, at the potting bench,
cooing over a vine that had just begun to climb its trellis.
He stepped behind her silently and slipped his hands around her waist. She spun around, wandless, with her face alight.
'You're here,' she breathed.
bent down to capture her smiling mouth with his. For what seemed
like forever, but not nearly long enough, she welcomed him. 'I'm
here,' he murmured, as he tasted the soft skin below her ear.
She drew away from him just as he reached for her mouth again.
'I fixed a Valentine surprise for you,' reaching down for his hand and pulling him through the doorway to the small tool room.
room had been transformed. A few torches along the walls lit the
small room that had been swept and scrubbed. In one corner stood
an old gramophone, from which emanated the music he had heard.
Along the far wall was a small table, set for two and candlelit.
'But I was going to take you….' Arthur protested quietly.
didn't want to share you with anyone tonight,' Molly said, pulling the
hand she grasped up to her mouth and kissing it on the knuckles.
pulled her to him, keeping their clasped hand caught between them and
wrapping his other arm around her waist. As they began to sway to
the gentle tune playing, she leaned in to rest her head on his chest.
is just the way I want it to be forever, Arthur thought, as he listened
to her breathing and felt her slim figure moving in rhythm with his
changed. A jazzy tune began. Molly changed her step to
match his and soon they were involved in a complicated box step, with
Arthur occasionally stepping out to twirl her under his upraised arm,
then pulling her back in and catching her tightly once more. By
the end of the song, they were both breathless with laughter.
Collapsing into a chair, Molly grinned up at Arthur.
'I think that calls for some refreshment!'
With a 'pop', dozens of delicious smelling dishes appeared on a sideboard next to the table.
'You've had the house elves working like mad, I see,' Arthur winked at her.
'I'll have you know, I made this myself!'
talents,' Arthur teased. He leaned over her. 'I want to
know everything about you,' he whispered as he caught her in another
kiss, which was interrupted by Molly's giggle.
'You're very suave tonight, Mr Weasley.'
ears turned a bright red as he took his seat and ducked his chin.
Molly stood up suddenly and chattered nervously as she served up two
plates. As she placed one of them in front of Arthur, she leaned
over and whispered in his ear.
'I'm yours to know, Arthur.'
Again his ears flamed, but there was a grin on his face this time.
ate in comfortable companionship, occasionally relating an amusing
anecdote or commenting on the food, but usually surrounded by the quiet
clinking of silver on china. When the last of the pudding had
disappeared, Arthur leaned back in his chair, groaning in satisfaction.
'I could learn to get used to that,' he grinned at her.
enjoy cooking. Mumma insisted that we learn. From the very
beginning, she had us down in the kitchen, chopping and measuring as
she tended the pots. Essie was put out occasionally when we took
over her kitchen, but she got used to it.'
'Our house elf. She's a wonder. Mumma says she could never tend to six children and the house without her.'
had gone quiet. A house elf. He could never give her a home
with a house elf. What was he thinking? He couldn't
possible provide for her the way she deserved. Was he being
selfish, loving her, wanting her?
'Arthur?' Molly's voice interrupted his thoughts.
looked up at her, and in that moment he knew. His father had told him
something once that struck him with a force he couldn't explain.
Even now, years passed, he could hear his voice. 'You will meet a
lot of lovely girls. You will fall in love with more than
one. But when you meet the woman you cannot live without, she
will be the one to marry.'
Arthur stood up and reached for Molly's hand. 'Dance with me?'
rose and he welcomed her into his arms. Together they again
swayed to the music, closing out the rest of the world. Molly
tucked her head against his chest again and Arthur revelled in the feel
of her tiny, warm hands in his. He bent his head and rested his
chin on the top of her head, occasionally placing a gentle kiss on the
crown of her vibrant hair.
'Molly, I want you to come to London with me.'
'For a holiday?'
She tilted her head up so she could look at him, questioningly. 'How long?'
Arthur took a deep breath. 'Till death do us part.'
blinked. 'That's a long time,' she whispered. She looked
down at their clasped hands. They had stopped dancing, but the
music continued to play.
'I'm asking you to marry me.'
Arthur waited, holding his breath.
'Arthur, you're so sweet,' she hesitated.
His heart fell. She didn't want him.
lifted her chin. Arthur saw it in her tear brimmed eyes. With a
shout of laughter and triumph, he bent down and captured her mouth with
The gramophone continued to play its jazzy tune.
Couldn't sleep, and wouldn't sleep,
When love came and told me I shouldn't sleep
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
looked at the box in his hand and grinned. It was perfect.
He handed it to the clerk who set it on the wrapping counter. A
jaunty red paper immediately began to busy itself with folds to enclose
the package whilst a ribbon spool twisted and spun itself into an
intricate bow. Coins were presented and Arthur was soon stepping
out into the street with a shopping bag containing the precious parcel
clutched in his hand. He whistled as he made his way down the
busy street. He grinned to himself when he realised the majority
of the shoppers were men. No doubt out on the same errand as he.
the blink of an eye, he was home. He stood in the garden looking
with a small bit of pride at the house he and Molly now called
home. It wasn't grand by any stretch of the imagination, but he
could pride himself in the fact that he had done most of the work
himself. He had found it whilst out on an investigation of an
incident of rather nasty Muggle baiting. It had been a run down
stone hut on the verge of collapse, but many weekends of both manual
and spell work had made it a tidy little nest. Molly had
christened it 'The Burrow', and set about turning it into a proper
home. The kitchen was her kingdom. The parlour was warm and
welcoming, even if the furniture was second hand. As each child arrived, Arthur had expanded the house under the eaves. Growing children needed a growing house.
The front door burst open and two redheaded whirlwinds came flying towards him.
daddy! Mummy's barfing again! It's gross!' With that
pronouncement each boy grabbed a thigh and stood on one of his feet as
he began to take stiff-legged steps towards the house. Bill
looked up at him with a grin. His two lower teeth were
missing. 'Mummy says we are demon children and she doesn't know
why she's got herself into this again.'
'Demonths!' Charlie echoed with apparent relish.
Well, why don't you fine young demons stay out in the garden till I
call you for tea and let mummy have a bit of a lie in.'
'Mummy cook tea, but she barf!' Charlie proclaimed.
'Yuck!' they both squealed with glee.
gently disengaged them from his legs and they ran off towards the rope
swing that hung from the ancient hickory tree, squabbling and
himself into the kitchen door. Seated in a big squashy chair by
the fire sat Molly. Her eyes were closed and her legs were tucked
up under her skirt. A shawl she had knit was thrown over her
shoulders. Arthur leaned down and planted a kiss on her forehead
and tucked the shawl more tightly around her. Without opening her
eyes, she smiled and murmured a thank you.
'The boys said you barfed over tea.'
'Don't remind me. Poor things must be starving. I'll be up in a minute and finish it up.'
'No, you rest. I'll do it.'
She reached a hand out and patted his. 'Dear man,' she murmured with a small smile.
moved to the cooker. He prodded the flame higher under the kettle
and then began assembling the chicken legs, potatoes and veggies that
were all in the warming oven. As he pulled the meat from the dark
compartment he heard a scuffle and turned to see Molly escaping the
room at a run. He shook his head in sympathy and put the food on
After laying out plates and cutlery, he went to the door.
Bill, time for tea,' he called. Soon he was busy filling plates
and cups as the boys ravenously gobbled down the meal. Molly did
not make an appearance. After setting the dishes to clean, he
herded the boys up the stairs to the bath. Stripping them of
their clothes while the tub filled with warm, scented water, the boys
regaled him with stories of their day's adventures. Apparently
Charlie had spied a Nogtail on the edge of the paddock. Arthur
made a note to himself to borrow his neighbour's white dog. It
wouldn't do to allow the animal to stay.
Clean and sweet once more, Arthur tucked the boys into bed.
'Tell us a story, Daddy!' they begged.
Arthur agreed. 'Once upon a time there was a family that lived on
the edge of the wood. They lived in a cosy house. A mummy,
a daddy and two little boys.'
'Just like us!' Bill crowed.
like us,' Arthur agreed. 'They were very happy.' Charlie
nodded happily and snuggled into Arthur's side. 'But one day a
surprise happened. A baby fairy came to their house and told the
mummy and daddy a new baby would soon be arriving.'
'A baby fairy. What does it look like? Is it itty-bitty? Does it bite, like a doxy?'
'No, baby fairies are very nice. They only bring good news, about new babies.'
'Then what happened?'
'Well nothing yet. The mummy and daddy are still waiting for the new baby.'
'When will they get it?'
in about six more months. Meanwhile, sometimes the mummy feels a
bit sick, because the new baby grows in her tummy and the new baby
doesn't always like the smell of food. Sometimes the mummy is
very tired because growing a baby is hard work.'
'Hang on, is that why Mummy is so sick and tired all the time? Because she is growing a new baby?'
'Yes, exactly,' said Arthur, pleased that Bill had worked it out so well.
'Will it be boy baby or girl baby?' Charlie piped up for the first time.
'Well, we won't know until the baby gets here. It's a surprise.'
'I hope it's a girl. I already have a baby brother.'
'I not baby!' Charlie sputtered.
either one will be wonderful. We love both of you so much; we
wanted another baby to love, too. We will have a great big
wonderful family. Now it's time for two demon children to go to
sleep. Mummy will be in a minute to tell you good night.
Remember tomorrow to let her rest and help her all you can, so she can
grow a good, big baby, alright?'
'Okay, daddy. Good night.'
kissed each of them and snugged the blankets around them. With a
slight flick of his wand, the lights dimmed, illuminating softly the
ginger coloured hair peeking out from under the covers.
Arthur was putting away the last of the dishes when Molly came into the kitchen.
'Are they asleep?'
sound asleep.' She came across the kitchen and slid her hands
around his aproned waist. 'That was a sweet bedtime story you
told them,' she said, resting her head against his back.
well I figured it was a good time to tell them.' He turned
around, wiping his hands on the apron. Molly grabbed the tie and
gave it a yank, causing the apron to fall to the floor. 'Why Mrs
Weasley, are you sure you want to disrobe me?'
'It's just the apron, silly.' Molly swatted at him playfully.
'Feeling better?' Arthur asked, leading her to the seat by the fire.
'Yes, thank you.'
'Up to some broth and bread?'
'Maybe a bit.'
'You need to eat.' With a wave of his wand, a mug and plate appeared on the hearthside table.
wrapped her hands around the mug and sipped slowly. 'Mmmm.
This will do. Thanks.' Arthur, propped on the arm of the
chair, stroked her hair as she nibbled on the crust of brown bread,
occasionally dipping it into the steaming broth.
over,' Arthur said, squeezing into the chair. Once they were
settled, Molly snuggled against him leaning onto his chest, her legs
draped across his. He rested his hand on the slight bulge of her
stomach. Arthur sighed with contentment. 'I could stay like
this forever,' he whispered into her hair. He felt Molly nod
against his chest. 'I almost forgot. I brought you
something.' She whimpered slightly as he disturbed her to stretch
out his wand. 'Accio,' he muttered. The parcel flew into
his hand. 'I found this today and thought it was perfect.'
He offered her the box. She took it and looked at it, stroking
the fluffy bow and shiny paper. Arthur laughed. 'Open it.'
took all of his strength not to rip the paper and ribbon for her as she
carefully untied the ribbon and opened each seal. She lifted the
lid of the box and gasped.
a charmed bracelet,' he explained. 'There is a charm for each of
the children. It will change as they grow. See, this one is
for the baby,' he said pointing a gold charm no larger than the head of
a pin. 'As they grow, the charms will grow and change
shape. By the time they are adults the charms will be about this
big and will just be a silhouette of their face.' He waited for
her to say something, but she just continued to tentatively touch the
charms. 'Is it alright?'
Molly looked up at him, her face aglow. 'It's perfect.' She stretched out her arm. 'Put it on me?'
took the delicate chain and with difficulty, opened the clasp and
wrapped it around her thin wrist. His fingers felt too big and
the clasp shut several times around air before he got it closed.
Molly twisted her hand in the air, admiring the bracelet as the
firelight glinted off it. Arthur reached out and caught a strand
of her hair, winding it through his fingers.
'I'm sorry you had a rough day.'
'I've had worse. I'll live.'
Arthur ran the back of his hand down her cheek. 'I wish I could get you a house elf, or something, you know… to help out.'
Molly snorted. 'That's silly. I'm pregnant, I'm not dying.'
'I just wish I could…'
hand came up and covered his mouth. Arthur stilled. They
both leaned back and resumed their admiration of the fire.
Arthur broke the silence. 'Do you ever regret you said 'yes'?'
'Which time?' Molly said, poking him in the ribs. It was Arthur's turn to snort.
'Mrs Weasley, would you do me the honour of dancing with me?'
'Why Mr Weasley, I'd be honoured.'
stood and turned around, pulling her out of the chair. He pointed
his wand at the wireless and as a soft tune began to pour from the box,
he gathered her in his arms.
I'm wild again, beguiled again,
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I
'Ronald Bilius Weasley, put that right back!'
looked up from his Daily Prophet to see his almost three-year-old
hastily return the biscuit to the plate on the countertop. He
looked around for his wife, but she was no where to be seen.
does she do that?' he wondered for at least the millionth time.
Seven children, and she seemed to know exactly what they were up to at
all times. His mother must have told him the truth when she told
him she had developed magical eyes with the ability to see through
walls and out the back of her head when she became a mother. He
gave Ron what he hoped was a stern look. It wouldn't do for the
sympathy he felt for his youngest son to be seen at that particular
Molly came into the
kitchen with Ginny on her hip. 'Honestly,' she was saying.
'I swear the blue this girl will wear on her wedding day will be her
nappy pins.' She put the toddler down and she streaked off after
her older brother. Within moments they were squabbling.
Arthur could get out of the chair to separate them, Molly had them, one
in each hand. Ginny was scrabbling for Ron's puffskein, which he
was holding up out of her reach.
that's Ron's. You have to ask permission to play with it.
Ron, don't you think it would be a good idea to share with your
Ron wriggled out
of her grasp, but before he could make his escape, Arthur caught him
and turned him back to face his mother, as she wrestled Ginny.
'Mummy wobbles,' Ron proclaimed gleefully.
wobbles. Look,' he repeated, pointing a chubby finger at Molly's arm,
as she made another grab for the wriggling eighteen month old.
froze as Ginny giggled. Ron poked his mother in the flesh of her
upper arm. Sure enough, Arthur observed, the skin was a bit
Arthur took hold of the
situation. 'That's enough, Ron. You share your puffskein
with your sister, and I don't want to hear any more fights.' The
two left the room, now fast friends. Arthur turned back to his
wife, who had busied herself at the sink. The dishes were being
punished for their transgressions. Between the sounds of pots and
pans knocking together, Arthur heard a sniff. He stepped quietly
behind his wife, slid his hands around her waist and pulled her to
him. He bent down and nuzzled her neck just below her ear.
As his hands roamed territory that was more familiar than his own body,
he felt her chest heaving. He turned her around, finding the
expected tears. But they were tears of laughter.
wobbles. I'm not the eighteen-year-old you proposed to anymore. I
guess you could say I'm twice the woman you married,' she snorted.
'I wouldn't have it any other way,' Arthur stated emphatically.
'Ever regret I said 'yes'?'
time?' Arthur retorted. He gathered her in his arms once
more. The kiss was long and slow. Years had taught them
well. Arthur's hands again roamed her curves. 'I love the
way you feel, wobbles and all.' Molly shook her head, but he
could tell she was pleased.
'Shall we dance, Mollywobbles?'
She smacked him gently on the chest.
Prodded by magic, the wireless emitted a soft tune.