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.
On the first of November, Molly went into Diagon Alley to the Little Lamb Wool Shoppe to buy what she needed to knit this year's Christmas jumpers. She found that she could cast on the correct number of stitches while listening to the Wizarding Wireless Network unless something unexpected happened on Days of Destiny or Bedside at St Brigid's. Then she had to turn off her program and re-count properly without distraction. She started the needles kitting jumpers for each of the children and Harry.
That afternoon the letters from Hogwarts took on a sinister tone. Percy sent the first note with Hermes. Molly gave him an owl treat and asked him to stay the night because it looked like a storm was sweeping down from the north.
Dear Mum and Dad,
Something very worrisome happened last night. None other than Sirius Black slashed the painting of the Fat Lady who guards Gryffindor Tower. This is a serious breech of security.
So far as I can ascertain, this is the order of events that occurred. Following the Halloween Feast, the students from Gryffindor attempted to return to our common room. When I arrived, I was surprised to find a large number of them milling about in front of the door so I made my way to the front. That is when I discovered that the painting of the Fat Lady had been slashed and that she was nowhere to be found. I immediately took charge and sent a student to notify Professor Dumbledore. He arrived almost immediately and asked me to lead the Gryffindors back to the Great Hall while he and the other teachers searched the castle. Naturally, he left the Head Girl and myself in charge of all of the students with instructions to send one of the ghosts to notify him if there was any disturbance.
We slept in the Great Hall in sleeping bags that Professor Dumbledore conjured. The Head Girl and I managed the students quite well. We instructed the prefects about proper behavior and they followed our example. You would have been very proud of me. Professor Dumbledore returned to the Great Hall in the middle of the night and sought me out to inform me personally that the Fat Lady had refused to let Sirius Black in to Gryffindor Tower without the current password so he attacked her. She is very distressed and unable to function so we will have a substitute, Sir Cadogan, guarding our door.
The weather appears to be turning nasty, so I will send Hermes with this immediately. I am looking out for my younger brothers and my only sister in addition to being responsible for each and every other student at Hogwarts.
Sincerely yours, Percy
Arthur was just finishing Percy's note when a strange owl arrived with a letter from the twins.
'Listen to this, Molly,' said Arthur as he began to read. "Fred and George have a different take on the attack and the night in the Great Hall.'
Dear Mum and Dad,
What a Halloween! They finally let us go to Hogsmeade for the first time in the morning. IT WAS NICE TO GET AWAY FROM THE CASTLE WITH THE DEMENTORS GUARDING IT
Ron went to Hogsmeade for the first time with Hermione. HARRY COULD NOT GO SO THEY WERE GETTING SWEETS FOR HIM.
The stupid Muggles wouldn't sign the permission slip for him. NO WONDER HE BLEW UP HIS AUNT!
Percy was in his glory when the portrait got slashed. HE BOSSED EVERYONE AND ACTED LIKE KING OF THE CASTLE.
It was kind of fun sleeping in the Great Hall. BUT WHY DID DUMBLEDORE MAKE ALL THE SLEEPING BAGS PURPLE?
They found neither hide nor hair of Sirius Black. IT WAS LIKE HE WAS INVISIBLE.
A big storm is coming. WE'LL PICK THE BIGGEST STRONGEST OWL WE CAN FIND TO SEND THIS TO YOU.
Fred and GEORGE
PS. Did you like THE FIREWORKS?
'Percy saw the upheaval as a chance to show Professor Dumbledore how responsible he was,' said Arthur.
'And the twins saw it as an adventure,' Molly mused. 'They do remind me of Fabian and Gideon.'
The British Isles had wind and heavy rain all the rest of the week. Molly waited until it cleared on the weekend to send Hermes back with some biscuits for her children and Harry.
Hedwig arrived with two letters the following Monday. Molly opened Ron's first.
Dear Mum and Dad,
Maybe November is my unlucky month. I'll have to ask Professor Trelawney. It started off pretty well with the trip to Hogsmeade and a very big feast for Halloween, but then the Fat Lady got slashed and we had to sleep in the Great Hall. Percy was lording it over everyone but the twins and Ginny and I are used to him acting like that. Then Professor Lupin wasn't there to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts and Professor Snape came in and kept asking about werewolves. And Hermione tried to answer his questions and he called her 'an insufferable know-it-all' and then he gave me detention because I said he shouldn't ask questions if he wasn't going to let anyone answer. And my detention was scrubbing out bedpans.
But that wasn't the worst of it. Remember Draco Malfoy? Well, he has been pretending that his arm is really badly hurt and he convinced Madam Hooch that he couldn't play for Slytherin with such a serious injury. She moved up the Hufflepuff match and the weather was terrible. Anyway, a hundred Dementors came in the middle of the match and Harry went all wonky and fell off his broom. And Ceddie Diggory caught the Snitch for Hufflepuff and Gryffindor lost.
Professor Dumbledore conjured a stretcher and we all took Harry to Madam Pomfrey. But that is not the worst thing. Harry saw a Grim and he hears a woman pleading for his life when the Dementors are near. Did you remember that Harry had a Nimbus 2000? Well, the Whomping Willow bashed it all up into splinters. And he had to stay in the hospital wing all weekend.
I sure hope the rest of the month is better than the first week. Better weather would be nice, too.
PS. Thanks for the food. We need to keep our spirits up.
Molly had been alternating between giggling and gasping as she read Ron's letter. 'I hope Ginny has some good news,' she said as she began to read her letter.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I am so scared that Sirius Black is going to kill Harry. He is such an evil man. How could he hurt the Fat Lady? She was only doing her job. It was comforting sleeping in the Great Hall with all of my friends and my brothers. I was pretty close to where Harry was, too.
I was really terrified at the Quidditch match when the Dementors came and headed for Harry and he fell off his broom and it flew away all by itself. Professor Dumbledore was angry with the Dementors. They are not supposed to come near any of the students. Ceddie caught the Golden Snitch. I like him because he is nice to Luna and me but I would rather that Harry had not fainted dead away and fallen off his Nimbus 2000. His nice broom is just splinters now.
I made Harry a get-well card and charmed it to sing when it was opened. I brought it to him in the hospital wing. He put it right on his nightstand with a bowl of fruit on it so it wouldn't blow away. Maybe he likes it so much that he will always keep it and remember that I gave it to him. Do you think that he will? I hope so.
Percy has been acting bossy again ever since he got to be in charge, but that's OK. I know something secret about him and he knows that I know it so he won't boss me too much.
I love both of you and I miss you. I am not having many nightmares any more.
"Arthur will be glad that her nightmares have gone away,' said Molly, thoughtfully. 'I hope they don't come back with those awful Dementors guarding the school.'
As the weather turned colder, fewer letters came from the children at Hogwarts. Percy continued to write every week but seemed a bit distracted by all his responsibilities and homework so didn't provide the information on the younger children that Molly would have liked.
Dear Mum and Dad,
My responsibilities as Head Boy grow daily, as does the amount of homework that is expected in this, my NEWT year. My study and revision group meets nearly every evening. We are attempting to be well prepared for our end of the year exams.
I continue to watch over my younger siblings but my brothers seem to either avoid me or to become strangely silent when I approach them. Fred and George are up to something that involves Harry. I suppose it might be about tactics for Quidditch, but have a feeling that it is something else. I am sure that Ron is also concealing something from me. He and his two best friends change the subject when I sit near them at dinner. Only Ginny is still friendly to me. She probably is grateful for all that I did to help her regain her health last year. She says that she is having only a few nightmares and her dorm mates corroborate this. I am pleased that the Dementors do not seem to bother her any more than they do most of the other students. She certainly was strongly affected on the Hogwarts Express.
I am looking forward to being at the Burrow for the Christmas holidays. It will provide me with some time to study without being interrupted for Head Boy duties.
With filial devotion, Percy
Molly and Arthur discussed Percy's concerns that his younger brothers were concealing something from him. 'It is probably nothing but the twins trying to keep him off balance by pretending that they know something that he doesn't,' offered Molly.
'And I'd guess that Ron is so busy with his first real friends that he doesn't want Percy monitoring what they are doing,' added Arthur. 'Ron and Harry and Hermione got into some dangerous adventures their first year and last year, as well. I hope that they will be more cautious this year'
'I'm just thankful that Harry and Ron rescued Ginny last year. I hope all of them are staying in the castle with Dementors and Sirius Black just waiting for someone to do something foolish.' Molly was suddenly thoughtful. 'But at least, Ginny seems to be doing better.'
'Come on, Mollywobbles, let's get the kitchen cleared up and have an early night. You look like you could use a nice backrub.'
Molly finished Bill's Christmas jumper and wrapped it and several pounds of Moonsickles coffee, some good tea, and a new tea service. She then sent the parcel in with Arthur to go off with the posts from the Ministry. 'Bill likes a nice cup of tea in the afternoon so he may as well have a nice set to brew it in,' said Molly as she checked the progress of the rest of the jumpers.
She also began to gather the presents for Charlie's December birthday and Christmas just in case the post going to Romania was delayed. 'I know that he likes the Moonsickles Christmas blend but I think I'll get him a couple pounds of the Wake Up Wizard, too. It's funny how both of the older boys took to drinking coffee at Hogwarts,' mused Molly as she embroidered the C on the front of his jumper. 'I think I should pick up a few pair of fire resistant socks for Charlie next week when I go into Diagon Alley.'
Late in November, Hedwig arrived with a letter from Ron.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I know you wanted us all home for Christmas this year but I don't want to leave Harry here all alone. He 's had a very bad time between the Dementors making him feel terrible and Sirius Black waiting to kill him. He needs me to stay so he won't be here alone. Hermione is staying at Hogwarts over the Christmas holidays so we could get a lot of our homework and revision done. I know you want me to do well in school. Hermione is taking more classes than Harry and I are so she is always reading or doing homework.
Please let me stay. I know that Harry would feel better if I were here.
Molly sighed when she finished Ron's letter. 'I suppose there will be other years when everyone will come home for Christmas. Harry has had a bad year and Ron and Hermione may make him feel better.'
When Arthur got home from work, Molly handed him Ron's letter. After he read the whole thing, he said, 'Perhaps Professor Dumbledore will let Harry and Hermione come here for Christmas. If he trusted us with Harry when he was a toddler, surely he will trust him with us now.'
'I'll send Errol off tomorrow asking him if it would be safe for Harry and Hermione to come. How was your day, Arthur?' Molly asked as she bustled around the kitchen getting dinner ready to serve. 'Any further sightings of Sirius Black?'
'Nothing that can be followed up on,' said Arthur with a sigh. 'It is as though he has vanished off the face of the earth.'
'The weather is getting quite cold and damp,' commented Molly as she began putting their dinner on the table. 'But I'd guess that vicious killers are not bothered by rain.'
Arthur and Molly immediately received Professor Dumbledore's reply to their question about whether it would be safe for Harry and Hermione to visit the Burrow during Christmas holidays.
Dear Arthur and Molly,
I wish that the situation were such that Mr Potter and Miss Granger would be able to join your family for Christmas holiday. Unfortunately, Minister Fudge has specifically and strongly insisted that Mr Potter be kept inside the castle at Hogwarts at all times. He feels that the security provided by the Dementors will discourage Sirius Black from attempting another incursion. Miss Granger's parents will be on the continent during the period of time the school is on holiday. I believe they ski on snow on special staves with pointed poles. Muggles are so inventive.
So my response to your request to have Mr Potter and Miss Granger spend even a part of the holiday at the Burrow must be a regretful refusal. However, I think that Mr Potter and Miss Granger would appreciate your son Ronald's company. As I understand it, they are planning to begin revisions in several subjects.
So if you are willing for young Ronald to remain at Hogwarts, as he has for the past two Christmas holidays, we will certainly be able to accommodate him. I trust that you and the rest of the family will have an enjoyable Christmas.
Sincerely, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Order of Merlin, First Class, and Grand Sorcerer Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot Headmaster, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
'We'd better get word to Ron so he can sign up to stay at Hogwarts.' Molly turned to Arthur and hugged him. 'I do so want to see Ginny. Fred and George can plan on doing some homework while Percy is doing his. We'll have a small but happy Christmas.'
Meanwhile, Molly continued to exchange letters with Kate Wallace. She was very curious about what Kate had been doing in the years she was in America so that was the first question she asked in the next letter.
You lived in America for nearly thirty years. Do you have family there? Are the people there nice? I've never been there but I have seen pictures of tall buildings.
I liked what you told that Healer who is such a busybody on today's program but I guess you don't get to decide what you are saying when you are just playing a part.
I hope this finds you well. My husband Arthur sends his regards. He thinks you taught at a Muggle University. He really is interested in Muggles.
Your friend, Molly
Molly gave Hedwig a few extra treats and asked her to take the letter to the WWN headquarters. 'It's for a friend of mine. Thank you, Hedwig.'
Kate responded very quickly.
When I was in America, I was living and teaching at a big university in California. My first husband was a Muggle professor. We had a happy marriage and produced three children, all magical. Unfortunately, he smoked and therefore died quite young.
My next husband was also a professor with three children of his own. He was a wizard who ran afoul of Death Eaters on a business trip to Europe so I share your feelings about Voldemort. Our children were all grown so it seemed like a good time for me to return to London.
My friend Nic and I have Saturday night dinner parties quite frequently. Perhaps you would be able to dine with us on Saturday, the eleventh of December?
Let me know if you can join us.
Your friend, Kate (or should I say Fiona?)
Molly was very excited at the prospect of actually meeting Fiona and going to her house for dinner. She knew that Nic was Dominic Meath, Sr because she had read about their reunion when Beside at St Brigid's was in rehearsal. She didn't often read the tabloid Entertaining Spells but just happened to pick up the copy with the headline- 'FIONA AND RODERICK-TOGETHER AGAIN?'
It told all about their forced separation for thirty years and the tension in the studio when they met again. Molly thought that 'locking glances through the glass separating the studio from the control both' was so romantic. She remembered that they had locked glances across a crowded room when they first met on Days of Destiny.
When Arthur Apparated home, she ran to him and gave him a hug as she said, 'I'm so excited! We've been invited to dinner with Kate Wallace and Nic Meath.'
'I knew you had been writing back and forth but you've never met her, have you?'
'No, not really,' said Molly in a strange voice. 'I wrote a fan letter to her and she was so nice and interested in our family. She wrote back and I wrote to her again and then she invited us for dinner. I feel like I know her because she was Fiona.'
"But you really don't know this actress. You only recognize her voice on the Wireless?'
'And she sent me a picture to replace the one that Fred and George drew all over.' Now Molly was close to tears. "And she's a Healer on the new show that's in Ireland at St Brigid's.'
'We'll go to dinner with this actress if you want to. Don't cry, Mollywobbles. You know I don't know what to do when you cry...' Arthur started patting Molly on the back.
'Maybe you'll like her. She lived in America and one of her husbands was a Muggle.' Molly still wanted to meet Kate Wallace because she had felt so close to Fiona when she was at Hogwarts. 'I am supposed to let her know if we can come Saturday, a week."
'That'll give me time to listen to an episode of the show she's on so I'll recognize her voice, too.' Arthur was trying to make Molly feel better.
'Whatever am I thinking of? I don't know this actress. I don't want to be at a dinner party with strangers,' Molly said in a very small voice. 'I don't even know what to wear to a dinner with actresses.'
'You have new robes that you look beautiful in,' Arthur said soothingly. 'You'll be the prettiest witch there. Just write and tell her we can come. And find out the coordinates so we won't splinch ourselves on the way.'
Molly listened to both of the morning serials and hoped that none of the characters she liked would develop Brain Drain, a mysterious illness that Healer Darcy was investigating. People could no longer talk when they were in the advanced stages so the Healers and their family members had to communicate by eye blinks.
After the programs were over, she wrote back to Kate Wallace accepting her dinner invitation.
Arthur and I would be delighted to accept your kind invitation to dinner on Saturday, the eleventh of December We'd appreciate it if you would send us your Apparation Coordinates and specify a time
You asked me to tell you more about our seven children. Our two older boys are finished with Hogwarts and pursuing careers that interest them. Bill is a Curse-Breaker for Gringotts in Egypt and Charlie is doing dragon research in Romania. We miss them, of course, but I always say our job as parents is to give them roots and wings. They will always remain close to their families if they have strong roots but they will be able to 'fly away' on their strong wings to form their own families.
Our five youngest are all still at Hogwarts. Percy is Head Boy this year, just like Bill was. The twins, Fred and George, are on the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, as was Charlie. They are Beaters while he was a Seeker. Ron, our youngest boy, is a third year and our only daughter Ginevra, who is called Ginny, is in her second year.
Arthur and I are so looking forward to seeing you and your friend Nic Meath. I read the account of his former wife's unfortunate accident with the rampaging herd of hippogriffs a few years back in The Daily Prophet. Rita Skeeter was way out of line wondering if it might not have been an accident. She has written some very untrue stories about my son's friend, Harry Potter.
We'll see you on Saturday, 11 December.
Your friend, Molly
Molly looked over her letter just in case she had spelled something wrong. Maybe she should get one of those self-correcting quills. Actually, if she was going to spend money on one of those, she should send it to Ron. His spelling was still atrocious. It was a good thing he had Hermione to correct his essays for him.
She got up and looked in the Strengthening Pellet box and realized that she had better brew up some more Strengthening Potion so she could make some more of them for Errol. Their poor old owl was clumped in a heap on the bottom of his cage. Letters to seven children and a new friend seemed to be more than he was up to. Thank Merlin, Percy's Hermes and dear Harry's Hedwig came often enough that she could send some letters with them.
As though he knew that she had been thinking of him, Hermes flew in the window with Percy's weekly report She gave Hermes an owl treat and asked him to take her letter to her friend at the Wizarding Wireless Network after he had rested a bit.