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.
Bold Face Type indicates a direct quote from Chapter Eleven, Aboard the Hogwarts Express, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fireby J.K. Rowling.
Molly rose early on the first of September to make breakfast for her family. She made a cauldron of porridge and started a knife slicing bread for toast. The bread toasted and buttered itself and fell into a neat stack on a plate on the kitchen table.
The kitchen fire flared green and Molly turned as Amos Diggory's head appeared in the flames. 'Good morning, Amos,' she said brightly, 'do you have time for a bite of breakfast?'
'No, Molly,' said Amos. 'I must speak with Arthur immediately. Something else has happened. We don't think it has anything to do with what happened at the World Cup but we need Arthur to assist in a delicate matter.'
Molly hurried over to the stairs. 'Arthur!' she called up the staircase. 'Arthur! Urgent message from the Ministry!' Arthur came down the stairs with his robes on back-to-front, followed by Fred, George, Ron and Harry.
Molly began rummaging anxiously in the drawers — 'I've got a quill here somewhere!'
Arthur bent over the fire, listening to Amos Diggory's head say, 'we need for you to go over and check on Mad-Eye… Muggle neighbors heard bangs and shouting, so they went and called those what-d'you-call-'em- please-men. Arthur, you've got to get over there —'
'Here!' said Molly breathlessly, pushing a piece of parchment, a bottle of ink, and a crumpled quill into his hands.
'— it's a stroke of luck I heard about it,' said Mr Diggory's head. 'I had to come into the office early to send a couple of owls, and I found the Improper Use of Magic lot all setting off — if Rita Skeeter gets hold of this one, Arthur —'
'What does Mad-Eye say happened?' said Arthur, unscrewing the ink bottle, loading up his quill, and preparing to take notes.
Mr Diggory's head rolled his eyes. 'Says he heard an intruder in his yard. Says he was creeping toward his house, but was ambushed by his dustbins.'
'What did the dustbins do?' asked Arthur, scribbling frantically.
'Made one hell of a noise and fired rubbish everywhere, as far as I can tell.' said Mr Diggory. 'Apparently one of them was still rocketing around when the please-men turned up —'…
Arthur asked a number of questions about what had triggered Mad-Eye's jinxes. Amos thought it had probably been a cat but said it was important that Arthur go immediately to get to the bottom of the matter and try to figure out how to charge Mad-Eye with just a minor infraction.
Arthur stuffed his notes in his pocket and dashed out of the kitchen.
Mr Diggory's head looked around at Molly.
'Sorry about this, Molly,' it saidsaid, more calmly, 'bothering you so early and everything…but Arthur's the only one who can get Mad-Eye off, and Mad-Eye's supposed to be starting his new job today. Why he had to choose last night…'
Never mind, Amos, ' said Molly. 'Sure you won't have a bit of toast or anything before you go?'
'Oh go on, then,' said Mr Diggory.
Molly took a piece of buttered toast from a stack on the kitchen table, put it in the fire tongs, and transferred it into Mr Diggory's mouth.
'Fanks,' he said in a muffled voice, and then, with a small pop, vanished.
Arthur called hurried good-byes to Bill, Charlie, Percy, and the girls. Within five minutes, he was back in the kitchen, his robes on the right way now, dragging a comb through his hair.
'I'd better hurry — you have a good term, boys,' said Arthur to Harry, Ron, and the twins, fastening a cloak over his shoulders and preparing to Disapparate. "Molly, are you going to be all right taking the kids to King's Cross?'
'Of course I will,' she said. 'You just look after Mad-Eye, we'll be fine.'
As Arthur vanished, Bill and Charlie entered the kitchen.
'Did someone say Mad-Eye?' Bill asked. 'What's he been up to now!'
'He says someone tried to break into his house last night,' said Molly…
'Moody was a great wizard in his time,' said Bill.
'He's an old friend of Dumbledore's, isn't he?' said Charlie.
'Dumbledore's not what you'd call normal, though, is he?' said Fred. 'I mean, I know he's a genius and everything…'
'Who is Mad-Eye?' asked Harry.
'He's retired, used to work at the Ministry.' said Charlie. I met him once when Dad took me into work with him. He was an Auror — one of the best… a Dark wizard catcher,' he added, seeing Harry's blank look. 'Half the cells in Azkaban are full because of him. He made himself lots of enemies though… the families of people he's caught, mainly… and I heard he's been getting really paranoid in his old age.
Doesn't trust anyone anymore. Sees Dark wizards everywhere.'
Bill and Charlie decided to come along to see everyone off at King's Cross station…
Molly ordered three Muggle taxis to pick them up and take them to London. She managed to do it over the telephone in the village post office.
The journey was uncomfortable, owing to the fact that they were jammed in the back of the back of the taxis with their trunks… They were greatly relieved to get out at King's Cross, even though the rain was coming down harder than ever and they got soaked carrying their trunks across the busy road and into the station.
When they got to platform nine and three-quarters, Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off to find seats, and were soon stowing their luggage in a compartment halfway along the train. Ginny and the twins found another compartment and they all returned to say good-bye to Molly, Bill, and Charlie.
'I might be seeing you all sooner than you think,' said Charlie, grinning as he hugged Ginny good-bye.
'Why?' said Fred keenly.
'You'll see,' said Charlie. 'Just don't tell Percy I mentioned it… it's 'classified information until such time as the Ministry sees fit to release it,' after all.'
'Yeah, I sort of wish I were back at Hogwarts this year,' said Bill, hands in his pocket, looking almost wistfully at the train.
'Why?' said George impatiently.
'You're going to have an interesting year,' said Bill, his eyes twinkling. 'I might even get time off to watch a bit of it…'
'A bit of what?' said Ron.
At that moment, the whistle blew and Molly chivvied them toward the train doors.
The six children called out thanks to Molly and waved at Bill and Charlie. They again tried to find out what the older Weasleys knew about what was happening at Hogwarts. Molly, Bill, and Charlie smiled and waved back. Then the three of them Disapparated back to the Burrow as the Hogwarts Express pulled out.
Molly stripped the beds of the four children still at Hogwarts but had to dry them magically instead of hanging them outside. The rain had turned into a deluge. 'I hope the Hogwarts Express won't be delayed by this storm,' she said to Bill and Charlie as they helped her cast drying charms on the sheets and towels and fold them to go back in the airing cupboard.
Molly outdid herself in making a delicious dinner for Bill and Charlie's last night at home. Unfortunately, Arthur and Percy used Floo calling to say that they had so much to do that they would be greatly delayed so Molly and her two older sons sat down to dinner by themselves. Bill and Charlie tried to keep up her spirits by praising her cooking and promising that they would be back in England soon. They both turned in early to prepare for their long distance journeys the following day.
Molly kept plates warm for Arthur and Percy and stayed up to greet them when the Weasley clock finally showed them leaving the Ministry and traveling home.
'Molly, you needn't have stayed up on our account,' Arthur said as he hugged her. "Everything go all right getting the children off to school?'
'Yes, Bill and Charlie went with us in three taxis,' she replied. 'Although I do not know how those cars stay in business. The nine of us barely fit.' Molly put the plates of dinner on the table and sat with Arthur and Percy while they ate. Percy tucked right in, sent his plate to the sink full of soapy water, kissed his mother and father, and went up to bed as soon as he was finished.
'Percy is working very long hours. I hope he will not be so busy soon,' commented Molly. 'Did you manage to get the business with Mad-Eye straightened out?'
'Yes, but we had to Obliviate two please-men. No one wanted to stay out long in the driving rain. Mad-Eye will have to pay a small fine for disobeying a noise ordinance. He apologized for making such a fuss because he thought someone was sneaking up on him. I've never seen him give up an idea so fast. He's already started on his way to Hogwarts.' Arthur pushed his plate away.
'Why is Mad-Eye going to Hogwarts?' asked Molly as she had his plate scrape itself and settle into the sink and start washing.
'Dumbledore talked him into becoming the new Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts.' Arthur put his arm around Molly as they started to climb the stairs. 'I want a chance to talk to Bill and Charlie before they leave, so it's an early morning for me, my love.'
All five Weasleys were up before dawn so Arthur, Molly, and Percy got a chance to say good-bye to Bill and Charlie before they Apparated to the International Portkey Station. Since all of them knew about the Triwizard Tournament, it was the main topic of discussion.
'I, for one, am glad that the rules have been changed so the applicants have to be of age. Otherwise, Fred and George would surely try to enter,' said Molly as she put platters of eggs, sausages, and toast on the table. 'They won't be seventeen until next April.'
'My department, the International Magical Cooperation and Magical Games and Sports, has put in several safeguards to minimize the death toll,' said Percy in a pompous voice that he usually used when he was about to begin a long lecture.
Charlie interrupted him by snorting. 'Yeah, right, dealing with dragons isn't dangerous at all!'
Bill laughed. 'I am going to try to come for at least one task. No one is supposed to know anything about what they are but obviously dragons are needed for one of them…'
'The first task,' filled in Charlie.
Percy became livid. 'We have maintained the utmost secrecy about all three of the tasks,' he sputtered. 'No one is supposed to know what they are or their order.'
'Now we know that there are three tasks,' said Bill with a smile. 'I think I'll come for the final one. Come on, little brother. We'd better be on time for our Portkeys.'
Percy and Arthur hugged Bill and Charlie and prepared to go into the Floo System to go to the Ministry. 'Charlie, let your mother and me know when you arrive at Hogwarts.'
Molly hugged all four of her men good-bye and wiped a tear with the hem of her apron. 'Be careful, all of you.'
Bill and Charlie hugged her and Apparated away.
Arthur kissed Molly and said, 'I'll try to get home at a reasonable hour, Mollywobbles.'
'We are so busy that I am all but certain that I will be late,' Percy said with a sigh. 'I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd leave me some dinner.'
'Of course, son,' Molly replied. I am going to be hard pressed to find out what is happening at Hogwarts this year. You've always been the most faithful letter writer.'
Percy beamed at his mother's praise. First he and then Arthur threw some Floo powder in the fireplace and each said, 'The Ministry!' and disappeared into the green flame.
Molly started the breakfast dishes washing and sat at the kitchen table for another cup of tea and some leftover toast and sausages. 'Another school year,' she said to herself. 'It's been fun having all the children home for a change but I have a great deal to do to get the house back in order.' She summoned the sheets from the beds that Bill and Charlie had been sleeping in along with the towels they had been using. They floated down the stairs and put themselves into the laundry cauldron.
'It won't hurt them to wait until this horrible rain stops,' Molly said to herself. 'Drying charms just don't make sheets and towels smell as fresh as line dried ones.'
Molly heard a tapping on the windowpane and opened it to let a soaked unfamiliar owl in in. She quickly cast a drying charm and gave the brown owl a piece of toast. 'There you go girl,' she said as she took the letter tied to her leg. 'Go rest by Errol's cage. No sense going back in this deluge.'
Molly opened the parchment and read one of Fred and George's two-person letters —
Dear Mum and Dad and Percy,
We nearly drowned on the way here. WE REALLY FELT SORRY FOR THE FIRST-YEARS GOING ACROSS THE LAKE
One of the new Gryffindor boys fell in the lake. AND HE LIKED IT.
Mad-Eye Moody is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. HE SCARED US ALL WHEN HE CAME IN TO THE GREAT HALL LATE.
Did you know that the Triwizard Tournament will be held at Hogwarts this year? NOW WE KNOW THE SECRET THAT PERCY KEPT HINTING AT.
Love, Fred and GEORGE
The handwriting changed to Ron's scrawl-
We are safely at Hogwarts and have finished the Sorting. Harry and I are very disappointed that there will not be any Quidditch this year. Hermione went mental when she found out about house-elves making the food and doing the laundry and cleaning. I guess she thought it was all done by magic.
Harry and Hermione want to thank you for letting them stay this week. Harry would have let us borrow Hedwig because Pig is too small to fly in storms but she's still delivering a message to his godfather. I hope the school owl can find The Burrow.
The last bit of writing was in Ginny's round hand —
Dear Mum and Dad and Percy,
Students from Beauxbaton and Durmstrang will be coming to Hogwarts this year. Fred and George are going to try to figure out a way to enter the Triwizard Tournament even if they are not seventeen yet. They want to win the thousand Galleons that is the prize.
I hope it stops raining soon. Classes start in the morning.
Molly folded the letter from their four children and put it at Arthur's place on the kitchen table.
When Arthur arrived home, he was carrying a copy of a special afternoon edition of the Daily Prophet. 'That Rita Skeeter is out to embarrass the Ministry, and in particular, me.' he said, shaking his head. 'It wouldn't be so bad if she hadn't exaggerated what happened at Mad-eyes and mentioned the flying car. There's even a picture of the two of us standing in front of the Burrow.'
Molly took the newspaper and read the article. She made a face when she saw the picture of them waving at the camera. 'It isn't even a very good picture. It was taken before I started to exercise and practice dueling. It makes me look fatter than I was. Come read the letter that all the children wrote. If Percy will be late, we may as well eat dinner at a reasonable hour and turn in early.'
Much to Molly's surprise, Pig arrived at The Burrow with a note Thursday of the first week. Molly made a fuss over the excitable little owl and sent him to rest in Errol's cage.
Dear Mum and Dad,
It stopped raining just in time for our first classes. We have Mad-eye Moody for Defense Against the Dark Arts and he is scary. He keeps saying, 'CONSTANT VIGILANCE!' He's cool in some ways. Malfoy tried to attack Harry when his back was turned so Moody turned the slimy git into a ferret and bounced him up and down. Professor McGonagall made him stop but I'll always treasure the memory of him as a white ferret. Then Moody used the three Unforgivable Curses on a spider in our first class. It gave us all chills. Longbottom was so shaken that he had to go have tea with Moody.
We are homesick for your cooking.
Molly smiled at the broad hint but set to work making a batch of chocolate biscuits as soon as she put the letter at Arthur's place.
Molly's fear that her four youngest children would not be writing home as often as Percy had proved correct. She tried sending biscuits in with Arthur to put in the Ministry post every other week or so. Sometimes one of the children wrote back thanking her, but mostly they did not.
Molly began harvesting everything from the vegetable garden and casting Preserving charms on the vegetables and putting them in storage. She wished she had had time to make jams and preserves while Ginny had been there to help her. She agreed with Great Auntie Muriel that the Muggle way of boiling the fruit with sugar and pectin made a superior product than using magic but she was very tired by the time the apple butter and raspberry jam was in jars.
She and Corrine continued their dueling practice. They gradually got much better at rolling away from curses and spells. Their Shield Charms grew stronger with practice and they could cast several spells in an amazingly short time. Neither wanted to even try any of the Unforgivables.
'Arthur says you have to really want to hurt or control someone,' said Molly when she and Corrine stopped for a break to have a pot of tea and listen to Days of Destiny and Bedside at St Brigid's. 'I'm not sure I'd ever be able to cast a curse that might kill someone.'
'I'd do it to save Amos or Ceddie,' said Corinne with conviction. 'I bet you'd be able to cast a powerful one if someone was trying to kill your children.'
Molly nodded. "I never want to have to kill someone but I remember wanting to when the Death Eaters killed Fabian and Giddeon. I still miss them.'
Both women drank tea and ate biscuits as they listened to the WWN. They noticed that there was a substitute announcer instead of Nic Meath. The people on Days of Destiny who had been in magically induced comas for most of he summer began to wake up. Molly and Corrine both thought that the actors and actresses who played those parts might have been on holiday with their families. Corrine didn't usually 'stay tuned' for Bedside at St Brigid's so was happy to have Molly bring her up to date on the current plot line.
'You know that Kate Wallace has a featured role but I think she and Nic Portkeyed to California to see her new granddaughter,' said Molly with a twinkle. 'I wonder if they will put her character in a coma until she gets back?' They laughed when Chief Healer O'Toole reminded Healer Hoover that Healer O'Malley was at a convention in America giving a paper on new ways of preventing Dragon Pox.
"I guess that Healers can't be falling into comas every time they need a little time off,' said Corrine. 'I need to go home and get Ceddie's coming of age watch wrapped so we can send it to him before his birthday, so I better be going.'
She hugged Molly, gathered her belongings, threw a pinch of Floo powder in the fireplace, and said, 'Diggory Downs.'
Molly sent the dishes to the sink to wash themselves and went up and took a nap.
Ron surprised Molly by writing more often than he had during the previous years. However, he rarely mentioned anything about how the twins and Ginny were doing. Pig fluttered in with a letter during the third week of September.
Dear Mum and Dad and Percy,
My classes are good. It think that Divination is kind of easy because all you have to do is try and guess what is going to happen. We are writing down whatever we think up. Professor Snape is as mean as ever. And Hagrid is making us raise Blast-Ended Skrewts. They are very nasty. But we are learning a lot from Professor Moody. He really knows how to cast Unforgivables.
Molly shivered but kept reading to herself.
Hermione is going to have a birthday this week but is still all excited about the house-elves. She started something named SPEW and is trying to talk people into joining it. Ginny might wear one of the dumb badges.
Fred and George and Lee Jordon are working on something. I wonder if they are trying to figure out how to enter the Triwizard Tournament. Angelina Johnson just turned seventeen so she wants to put her name in to be picked. I heard that Cedric is going to enter, too. The prize is a lot of money. I wish I could win it. Having that much money would be brilliant.
Molly smiled at Ron's frank admission. She knew he hated having to wear hand-me-downs. Maybe having Charlie at Hogwarts for part of the year would help him realize how much he was loved by his family.
When Arthur came home that night he said that Percy would be very late because he was working on the details for the Triwizard Tournament. 'I think he is making the final travel arrangements for the Beauxbaton and Durmstrang students,' he said as he sat down to read Ron's letter.
'Why don't we eat early and have an early night?' suggested Molly as she began dishing up their stew. 'I'll leave Percy's dinner under a Warming Charm.'
'You know I treasure the time we spend alone together, Mollywobbles,' said Arthur with a broad smile.