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: This story is told from Molly’s Weasley’s point of view and parallels Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the summer after it.
There was an early snowfall the first week of December, followed by cold rain and wind. Molly was relieved that she and Arthur still had enough split logs for two years, thanks to the industry of the Hogwarts house-elves when they were house-sitting. She worried about Ron, Harry, and Hermione, who were probably living in Mr Perkins’ old tent. She hoped that Harry and Hermione were better at warming charms than Ron was.
She set her knitting needles to work all day and into the night because Christmas jumpers had been nowhere near the top of her priorities until she realized it was already December. She’d been so worried about both the three children on the run and about Ginny being treated harshly at Hogwarts that the time slipped away. The rest of their children were doing well. Bill was happily married and Charlie had made a fine friend in his ‘pen pal’. Fred and George seemed remarkably successful in their little joke shop. She was sure that they were also doing something for the Order but did not ask either them or their co-conspirator, Arthur. Percy’s estrangement from his family still hurt but she was thankful for the support of the rest of her children.
Christmas this year was going to be rather subdued. During the second week of December, Molly made biscuits and tarts to send to Charlie. He had stocked up on Moonsickle’s coffee while he was home on his short visit, so Molly sent him a nice assortment of parchment with some inks in masculine colors. She knew that he wrote to Kathleen and Tonks because they had each read parts of his latest letter when she went to visit them earlier in the week. She had started taking leftovers over to them a couple of times a week. It helped them to not have to cook, and it helped her and Arthur not to have to eat so many leftovers. Tonks was working again as an Auror and Kathleen had started writing another romance novel but wouldn’t let Molly read any of it yet.
After their dueling practices, Molly and Corrine missed their usual WWN programs but could not bring themselves to listen to the pure-blood propaganda that was only thinly disguised as entertainment. Last night at dinner, Fred and George had written out what they called a ‘password’ so she could tune into a program called ‘Potterwatch’. They said there was to be a broadcast tonight around dinnertime. She told Corrine that she was to point her wand at the wireless and say ‘pigeon cote’.
Arthur and Molly followed the instructions that the twins had given them and heard some rather slow music on the wireless. After about a minute, the music was broken into by a very familiar voice. ‘Welcome to our faithful listeners and any new witches and wizards who have just tuned in tonight. This is River, and you have my word that we will continue to inform you about what is really happening in our world. We will tell you what you will not learn from the two "Mouths of the Ministry", also known as the Daily Prophet and Dash Darywimple on All the News You Need to Know.’
‘Yes, that’s the problem. Certain people at the Ministry have appointed themselves to decide what we all need to know,’ said a voice that Molly and Arthur immediately recognized as Remus.
‘Romulus speaks the truth, as usual,’ said River.
Arthur whispered to Molly, ‘River is Lee Jordan.’ Molly smiled and nodded vigorously.
‘We have a number of attacks to report tonight,’ said Romulus. ‘Death Eaters have been reported in Ottery St Mary, Mortlake, South Chutney …’ Molly was shocked that the list of places attacked went on and on.
‘Some of those places are close by Ottery St Catchpole,’ said Molly softly.
‘We have a new contributor tonight. Her name is Pencil Pusher. She’s going to read the names of witches and wizards who have been reclassified as Muggles and stripped of their wands by Dolores Umbridge’s Muggle-born Registration Commission.
Molly could not quite place the voice that started reading a long list of Muggle-born witches and wizards who had been ‘reclassified’ by the Ministry. Whoever she was, she stumbled over some names and seemed close to tears by the end of the list.
River thanked her profusely for joining them and then said, ‘Now Romulus wants to tell you what we know about the whereabouts of Harry Potter.’
‘We don’t know exactly where he is at the present but do know that he is not at any of the places that Death Eaters have been watching. A large number of idle men have been observed hanging around a square in the center of London, day and night, but there have been no Potter sightings. The house where he lived with his aunt and uncle in Little Whinging in Surrey has been badly damaged but there are Death Eaters watching it, none-the-less. No trace can be found of the home of the Weasley family but a few Death Eaters seem to be wandering around Devon looking for it. In addition, there is the usual crowd of hooded men near the gates of Hogwarts, in Hogsmeade, and in front of the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley.’
‘Not that anyone with a Dark Mark can even enter the premises of that joke shop,’ commented River.
‘So we know where Harry Potter isn’t, ‘ said Romulus. ‘That leaves the rest of the British Isles.’
‘Or the rest of the world,’ said Pencil Pusher. ‘He’s almost like the Scarlet Pimpernel. To paraphrase –
They seek him here, they seek him there, Those Death Eaters seek him everywhere. Is he in hiding across the water? That damned, elusive Harry Potter! ‘
‘That’s Kathleen’s voice,’ said Molly in a whisper. ‘Remus must have come home.’
‘Good night, Harry, wherever you are. We are very proud of you,’ said Romulus.
‘See you soon!’ said River. ‘The password for Potterwatch next Sunday morning at 10 sharp is Filch’s List.’
Molly and Arthur went up to bed early and cuddled for a long time. ‘I wonder why Fred and George were not on Potterwatch. It seems like something they would be enthusiastic about,’ mused Molly.
‘They’ve asked me quite a few questions about how the Wizarding Wireless Network is transmitted and how to over-ride the frequency bands that they use, so I suspect that they were working on the technical end,’ said Arthur. ‘By Jove, I think they’ve got it.’
‘That’s from that play about the girl who sells flowers, isn’t it?’
Arthur smiled broadly and said, ‘Molly, my love, you are right in one.’
Molly and Arthur listened together to the next Potterwatch and were not surprised when both of the twins were on it this time. Of course, most listeners thought it was just one person named Rapier, but Molly and Arthur picked up the subtle differences in their manner of speaking, especially when one would start a sentence and the other would finish it.
Kathleen was not on this program. Lee, Remus, and the twins presented more information about Death Eater attacks, captures of witches and wizards by Snatchers, and the final segment that reported no Harry Potter sightings. The program ended the same way as the last one with Remus saying that they were proud of Harry.
The twins spoke next, alternating sentences. ‘Harry, do you remember that weapon that your very good old friend tried to leave you in his will…? The one that the limping lion wouldn’t let you have…? Well, some of your friends tried to get it so they could send it to you but they got caught. Don’t worry, they’ll keep trying.’
River said the password for the show on Christmas Eve after the Warbeck Special was ‘Cauldron’. The wireless dial twisted all around and they were gone. The slow sad music began again.
Molly Apparated into the alley next to King’s Cross by herself on Friday, December 20. She would meet the Hogwarts Express alone because both Arthur and Bill had to work. It was the height of the Christmas shopping season for Fred and George so they could not afford to leave Verity alone in the store.
Molly wished that Headmaster Snape had agreed to let the students go home using the Flood Network as they had last year. Unfortunately, he insisted that any students going home for Christmas must use the Hogwarts Express. The long train ride made Molly feel nervous because of all the Death Eater attacks that she had heard of, between what Arthur heard at work and the Potterwatch programs. However, she held her head high and kept her hand on her wand as she stood by the barrier where the Hogwarts students would emerge. She and Augusta Longbottom waited as a few Hogwarts students trickled through the barrier into King’s Cross and were greeted by their parents. Ginny was not among them, nor was Neville.
Suddenly, Xenophilius Lovegood Apparated right between them. His hat and robes were askew and he seemed distraught. ‘Has Luna come through? Have you seen my precious Luna?’ he asked.
Molly shook her head. ‘Ginny and Neville aren’t here either! Do you know what happened to them? Is something wrong?’ Molly was nearly shouting in her anxiety.
‘My good man, you must tell us at once if something has happened to the children. Neville is all that I have left!’ Augusta had drawn herself up to her full height but looked nearly as distraught as Luna’s father, if more appropriately dressed.
Just then, Neville poked his head through the barrier and back again. Then he came through, dragging his trunk and holding Trevor the toad. Ginny followed him. Molly’s heart nearly stopped. Both of them were ashen with dark circles under their eyes. Neville was much thinner than Molly had ever seen him.
Before she or Augusta could call out to them, Xenophilius Lovegood stood in their path and shouted, ‘Where is Luna? Did they really take her? Is it true?’
Neville and Ginny blanched even paler and nodded their heads. ‘Yes,’ Neville said softly. ‘Death Eaters came on the train looking for specific people. We saw them and tried to get Luna to hide in the loo with us but she said that…’
Ginny finished his sentence, ‘Luna said the Death Eaters would not harm her. She said that she had special protection from Nargles or something…’
‘Ginny and I went into the loo and locked the door. Then I cast strong Disillusionment Charms on both of us. I’m of age since last July.’
‘They opened the door and looked in the stalls but they couldn’t see us standing on the toilet seats,’ said Ginny. ‘Neville was so brave. He was going to jinx them if they could see us.’
Augusta held her hand over her heart. ‘Death Eaters on the Hogwarts Express!’
‘Luna! My Luna!’ shrieked her father. ‘Did you see them drag her off the train?’
‘We heard the Death Eaters in the loo say that they’d got The Quibbler man’s daughter. We knew that they meant Luna,’ said Ginny.
‘We would have held them off if we had known they wanted her,’ said Neville. ‘But she was so calm and sure that she’d be safe.’
Xenophilius Disapparated without another word. Augusta shook her head in disapproval. ‘Come, Neville! We have things to do.’ She marched him toward the alley. Molly and Ginny watched them go.
‘Neville thinks almost as fast as Ron does in a crisis,’ said Ginny. ‘Have you heard anything about…?’
‘I think we had better get home to your poor sick brother,’ said Molly, looking very worried and starting toward the alley. ‘You look like you could use a nap yourself before dinner.’ She Side-Along Apparated Ginny to The Burrow and sent her upstairs to bed immediately.
Molly made herself some tea but ran up the stairs to comfort her when Ginny screamed in her sleep. Although she was fast asleep, Ginny was repeating, ‘Luna, you must hide with us… Not Luna! Don’t take Luna… Don’t look at us. I’m so scared...’
Molly rubbed her back until she fell into a deep sleep. She didn’t wake for dinner.
That year, the Christmas holidays were not merry, no matter how Arthur and Molly tried to pretend that they were still celebrating. Ginny moped about, looking like she had lost her best friend; for indeed, with both Hermione’s and Luna’s whereabouts unknown, she had no girlfriends left. The first time Molly saw her smile was when she put her hand on Tonks’ stomach and felt the baby kicking. She and Kathleen became friends immediately and talked about Charlie and romance novels that they both liked for hours. Molly was surprised to hear that Ginny had read several of Fifi La Fetes novels. She thought she had hidden all of hers in a box on the floor of her closet behind her hiking boots.
Fred and George came over two days before Christmas to say that they had important business both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Molly knew that they would be doing Potterwatch on Christmas Eve but didn’t ask about Christmas Day. They left off their presents, including a very big box for Ginny and a long flat present for their mother and father.
Listening to Celestina Warbeck’s Christmas Eve program was usually a highlight of the holiday season for Molly, but this year she found herself waiting for it to be over so she could hear the twins on Potterwatch. This week’s program was a memorial to all the people who were known to have been killed by Death Eaters in the past year. River introduced ‘Royal’, but the deep voice that solemnly read each name could only be that of Kingsley Shacklebolt.
If it had not been for the final segment featuring the twins telling very bad jokes about how many Death Eaters it would take to do various things with and without wands, the program would have been unbearably sad. Molly saw Ginny tear up when the twins took turns saying, ‘Harry Potter, we don’t know where you are… but we hope you can hear us.’
‘We want you to know that many people love you… and will fight with you.’
‘Happy Christmas, Harry Potter… wherever you are!’
River ended the program by wishing the listeners a grand holiday and saying the password for New Year’s night was ‘Freedom’. After the dial twisted around, the voice of the new head WWN announcer, Titus Turnpike, intoned, ‘Pay no attention to the preceding program. It has not been approved of by the Ministry of Magic.’ Then the slow sad music came on again.
Molly got up at the usual time on Christmas morning and made sure that Ginny and Arthur had something to open first thing. She noticed that Ginny had cast a Silencing Spell on her room but thought that she might have got used to doing so at Hogwarts. Arthur surprised Molly with a new wireless that could also play some round disks called CDs. He said that they were like the big records that Muggles played with a needle but also like the tapes that they listened to music on. ‘They are like mirrors on one side,’ said Molly, looking at herself. She gave Arthur a very small digital camera that Bill told her did not need film. That way he could take this year’s Christmas picture himself.
Ginny was still not sleeping well and did not feel much like getting up on Christmas morning, so Molly and Arthur stayed in bed as well. Molly was roasting a chicken, rather than a turkey, for just the three of them so there was no need to start lunch early. Molly baked the Christmas bread and she and Arthur had a quiet breakfast before Ginny finally appeared just after ten o’clock. ‘I’ve been having terrible dreams,’ she said. ‘Harry is being hurt in them and I can’t do anything to stop it.’ She burst into tears. Molly ran to comfort her.
When they opened their presents, it seemed very strange for just the three of them to be opening such a mound of presents. Arthur, Molly, and Ginny each got new dress robes from Bill and Fleur. Ginny’s present from the twins was one of every product that Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes made. The large flat present turned out to be a photograph of Ron sitting in a chair. He looked a little the worse for wear but well fed, with new clothes, a fresh shave, and a haircut. Molly thought his eyes looked haunted but was glad to have his picture. Ginny immediately pointed out that she could sit on a footstool next to the life-sized picture when their father took the picture for Christmas Memories with his new camera. Molly hoped that Bill would know how to get the picture out of the tiny camera so it could go in her book.
The Floo flared and they could see Remus in the flames. ‘Happy Christmas! Tonks, Kathleen, and I would like to come over to bring you something,’ he said. Arthur took the barrier off the Floo Connection and Remus and Tonks came out of the fireplace together, followed by Kathleen, carrying presents. She had small dragon skin pouches for each family member from Charlie. She also brought three signed copies of her last book for Molly, Ginny, and Fleur, along with two out-of-print Fifi Le Fete books for Ginny and Molly to share.
Then, Tonks and Remus held out a small square piece of film to show them. ‘This is the first picture of our baby,’ Tonks explained. ‘He’s waving at you from inside me.’ Molly and Arthur looked at the faint shape swimming around and marveled at the wonders of modern Healing. It had not been possible to take pictures in utero sixteen years ago.
The last week of the year passed quickly. Fred and George showed up for dinner on Boxing Day and also came for dinner and to spend the night on December 28. Molly heard Ginny tell them that she had a strong feeling that Harry was near The Burrow that day. She said that she sometimes felt that he was watching over her right before she fell asleep at Hogwarts but today’s feeling of proximity was very different and very strong.
Fred and George tried to draw her out about her feelings but finally decided that she must be experiencing some of the ‘second sight’ that the Prewett women were known for. ‘Just don’t go all Trelawney on us,’ said Fred.
‘Or take to drink like she did,’ added George. Ginny pretended to drink from a sherry bottle and laughed for the first time since Christmas. They all turned when they heard a distant booming sound shortly after that.
‘If it’s Harry, he’s making a big impression on someone,’ said Fred.
‘More like he’s making a big explosion on somewhere,’ corrected George. The three of them shrugged their shoulders. They knew that they were safe because The Burrow had a Fidelius Charm on it so no one could find it, except those who had been told where it was by their father.
Molly, Arthur, and Ginny stayed up to see in the New Year, 1998. They toasted each other, and all of them wished for a better, more peaceful year with their loved ones safe around them.
A/N: Bookish 327 and Trelawney 2213 greatly improved the readability of this chapter. The New Year is going to be difficult.