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 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.
Molly was up early the morning that Ginny and Hermione were leaving for their last year at Hogwarts, but she let Arthur have a bit of a lie-in as she headed into the loo. She was still a bit worried that Ron wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to audit classes when he had the opportunity, and she was certain that Harry was going to be too busy with his Auror responsibilities to manage to sit for his N.E.W.T.s at all. Hermione had more influence with Ron than she did with Harry so she was relieved that at least Ron would be prepared. Neither Ginny nor Harry seemed to realize that they might regret his choice to have his scores waived so he could start his Auror career a year early. She shook her head. Minerva and Kingsley thought that they had been so clever, awarding Harry ‘life experience’ credit.
She knocked on the door of Ginny’s room and heard Hermione answer, ‘Ginny and I are both awake. We’ll be right down.’ Harry and Ron were less reassuring with their moans, but she was sure that Hermione and Ginny would make them get up to come to see them off on the Hogwarts Express. Molly gave an audible ’Humph!’ as she went down the stairs to the kitchen.
She was still muttering as she started porridge, some water for tea, and a small pot of coffee for George and Hermione. Molly realized that someone must be up because she heard water running in the upstairs bathroom. Nevertheless, she was surprised when George was the first one down the stairs. He was dressed in his magenta work robes so she knew he planned to go into Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes before joining them at King’s Cross Station.
‘Good Morning, Georgie,’ said Molly. ‘Going into the shop for a bit? Do you have time for breakfast?’
‘Do you have any coffee?’ asked George, looking a bit queasy. ‘And maybe a bit of toast?’
Molly poured George a mug of coffee and floated a jug of milk to his place at the table. She waved her wand to summon the butter and the apple butter. The toast buttered itself and fell in a stack on a plate. The jar of apple butter and a knife settled down next to the toast.
‘I may be coming down with something,’ said George, sipping his coffee. ‘I feel a bit queasy this morning.’
‘Arthur says the Muggles are convinced it’s exposure to germs that make people sick. Or is it jeans?’ said Molly. ‘You have obviously been exposed to one of them.’ She looked sadly at her son and thought, ‘And exposed to far too much Ogden’s, if you ask me, but nobody does. Poor Georgie.’
George nodded back at her as Ginny and Hermione came down the stairs, arguing.
‘If you had done as I suggested...’ Hermione stated in a rather firm voice.
‘Yes, Mum!’ answered Ginny in a sarcastic tone.
Molly looked at the girls. ‘Ginny, what are you telling me ‘yes’ to?’
‘I was talking to Hermione,’ Ginny said, coming over to kiss her mother. ‘She thinks I should shrink my robes and put them in my knapsack. I want to keep them in my trunk like I always do. She already put hers in her beaded purse.’ Ginny made a face at Hermione. ‘Morning, George,’ she said, ruffling his hair. George shook his head.
‘Suit yourself. Good morning, Mrs Weasley. Thank you again for putting up with me for the last week of the summer. My folks needed some time alone together, and I needed to be here at The Burrow.’ Hermione picked up a bowl from a stack of them on the table. ‘May I have some porridge? I like the way you make it.’ Hermione looked very emotional to Molly.
‘Certainly, dear,’ she said as she gave the full bowl back to Hermione. ‘I’ll teach you how to make it over the Christmas holidays. You’ll be back for them before you know it.’
‘I guess I am a bit nervous, going back to Hogwarts after all this time.’
‘Harry says he can’t get it out of his mind when he is there… the battle and all that happened then,’ Ginny said as she started on her porridge. Ron and Harry clumped down the stairs.
‘Morning, little girl students,’ said Ron, putting his arm around his mother and sister before nuzzling Hermione.
Harry kissed Ginny and grinned at her until she stopped glaring at her brother.
George got up and started toward the door, hugging Molly on his way. ‘I’ll be there before the train leaves.’
Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Ginny didn’t eat much even though Molly kept offering them more food. Arthur came down the stairs, drank some tea and ate some toast before he commented, ‘Time to bring the trunks down. The Ministry car will be here in a few minutes.’
The four teenagers went back up to the girls’ room to get the trunks. Molly called up the stairs after five minutes to say that the Ministry car had arrived and the trunks floated down the stairs, followed by their owners and boyfriends, all four with swollen lips and disheveled hair.
After so many years of starting for King’s Cross and having to return multiple times for something that had been left behind, Molly was surprised by how quickly they arrived at the train station with only two students. No one spoke much on the trip. When they were out of the Ministry car, Ginny slipped her knapsack on her back and locked arms with Harry as he pulled her trunk behind him. Hermione clutched her beaded purse in one hand and held Ron’s hand with the other. He dragged her trunk along with an increasingly distressed look. Molly and Arthur held hands, as well.
‘I can’t believe that this is the last September that we will be putting a child on the Hogwarts Express,’ said Molly, starting to tear up. ‘Ron, are you sure that Hogwarts is restored enough for classes to be held?’
Ron nodded. He spoke in the patient voice that he had used whenever they had discussed this topic before. ‘Don’t worry, Mum,’ he said. ‘Professor McGonagall and Minister Shacklebolt wouldn’t have sent the letters out if the school wasn’t ready.’ Molly gave him a hug. ‘Geroff me! I’m not going off to school. Pick on Ginny.’
Molly turned to Ginny, who was clutching Harry almost like she used to hang on to her ‘Dance With Me Harry Potter’ doll before she was sent up to bed. This Harry Potter was clutching back.
‘Let’s get these trunks up on the train,’ said Arthur, in what Molly thought of as his cheery voice. She looked at him to see if he was already crying as much as she was.
Harry and Ron picked us the trunks and paused. ‘Where do you want these?’ Harry asked.
‘We have to go up front to the Prefects’ car,’ said Hermione. ‘Good-bye, Mr and Mrs Weasley. Thank you for having me to visit.’
Molly threw her arms around Hermione. ‘Good-bye, my dear. Write to us. Let us know if you need anything.’ Hermione smiled as she backed away toward Ron. Then Molly attacked Ginny. ‘My baby is going to school for the last time. Write and tell us if there are any problems or if you need something.’ Ginny nodded, holding hands with Harry as they headed for the first carriage.
Ron and Harry climbed the steps and stowed the trunks. Then, they stood at the foot of the steps while both girls stood on the bottom step. Arthur had tears in his eyes as he said, ‘It doesn’t look like George will make it.’
At that moment, George ran down the platform carrying a box with the distinctive WWW logo on it. ‘I forgot you were Head Girl and seventh-year Gryffindor Prefect,’ he wheezed. ‘I was at the wrong end of the train.’ He handed Ginny the box and said, ‘Ginny, honour Fred.’ She nodded and grinned back at him.
Neville Longbottom and his grandmother walked slowly down the platform to the same carriage that Ginny and Hermione were in. ‘It won’t be the same without you,’ he said as he clasped Ron and Harry on the back. Augusta Longbottom kissed him on the cheek when he bent down so she could reach him. Hermione moved to let him go up the steps.
Molly felt tears pouring down her cheeks but through them, she saw Ron kiss Hermione and Harry kiss Ginny. The whistle blew and the train hissed steam so the girls climbed the steps and waved out the window. Both boys ran alongside the train until it left the station.
‘I’ll be home a bit later than usual tonight,’ said Harry, walking back to where Molly and Arthur were standing. ‘I am going to look at a cottage next to Andromeda and Teddy’s. It’s small but becomes available the first of next month.’
Ron and George kissed Molly and hurried off with Harry to Apparate from the alley.
“Mollywobbles, I fancy a cuppa and some of the excellent scones at our tea shop,’ said Arthur, guiding her out of the station.
Molly drank her tea slowly, holding hands with Arthur across the small table. ‘I’m worried that Hogwarts may have too many bad memories for Ginny. They tortured her. Fred died there.’
‘And Harry finished off Voldemort, and you bested Bellatrix Lestrange. There are good memories to help with the bad ones.’ He kissed her before he left for the Ministry, and she headed back to The Burrow to do some garden cleanup.
As they were getting ready for bed that night, Molly began to cry again. ‘George is so sad that he doesn’t know what to do. Ron can’t be at the shop all the time to keep him doing what he needs to do there. Now Harry is looking for a place to move to that is closer to Teddy. He isn’t home yet tonight.’
‘Mollywobbles, the changes we are all going through are not the end of the world. George will learn to cope. Ron has his own life to lead. Harry will always think of The Burrow as home.’ Arthur reached for the pendant between Molly’s breasts. ‘Is it still warm?’ She nodded. ‘Someone who loves you very much is thinking of you.’
‘And who might that be?’ asked Molly with a smile.
The next morning during breakfast, Bee arrived at The Burrow with two notes. One was for Harry, the other for Molly and Arthur. Harry took his with a big smile as he excused himself to get ready for work. Molly gave Bee an owl treat and she flew outside and perched on the garden bench. Pie flew down from Harry’s room and joined her. Ron looked disappointed that no owl came for him. George looked a bit hung over. Molly opened Ginny’s letter and read it aloud.
Dear Mum, Dad, George, and Ron,
We arrived safely after a long train tide. Our Head Girl is a stickler for meetings and patrolling but I love her, anyway. I didn’t even get a chance to open the box that George gave me, but I will as soon as I get a moment to myself. Hermione says I can sleep in the Head Girl’s room if I want to but I think I want to become better acquainted with the second-time-around Gryffindor seventh-year girls. I was surprised that Lavender Brown came back because she had such a hard time recovering from that awful werewolf attacking her. She and Parvati Patil are best friends and they are rarely apart. Parvati’s twin sister, Padma, is a Ravenclaw but spends quite a lot of nights sleeping here. She always asks about George and wants me to tell him that she is thinking about him.
Professor McGonagall is a good Headmistress, better than the Headmaster we had last year. Thank goodness, the Carrows are gone. I think you know Sturgis Podmore, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. He survived being in Azkaban for six months so he has had some practical experience. Professor Phoebus Penrose has come out of retirement to teach Muggle Studies. He recognized my name and asked if I was ‘Arthur’s wee bairn’. It was so embarrassing.
I will write more when I get a chance. We have a great many new students since some of them were in hiding last year. Tell Ron that Hermione is still working on her tome to him.
‘So Sturgis and Professor Penrose are teaching at Hogwarts. They are both good wizards. Percy is always quotingA Study into Muggle Suspicions About Magic,’ Arthur said, nodding his head.
Ron suddenly became interested. ‘Is he the one who says that Muggles think that Quaffles are from outer space?’
Arthur nodded. ‘More or less.’ He stood and kissed Molly and called up the stairs to Harry that it was time to leave. Harry appeared with a letter in his hand and went out to give it to Pie, who followed Bee as she flew north.
Molly was happy to see that Pig arrived almost immediately with an obviously shrunken letter for Ron. She gave him an owl treat, and he fluttered into Errol’s old cage while Ron stuck his letter into the pocket of his magenta work robes. He and George left for the shop while Molly sat down to re-read the letter from Ginny and have a second cup of tea.
Before she started washing Ginny’s and Hermione’s sheets in the laundry cauldron, she went out into the garden and picked a bouquet of flowers for Fleur and used the Floo Connection to wish her well and deliver her birthday flowers.
‘Zhank you, Muzzer Weasley,’ Fleur responded as she took the bouquet. ‘You grow such beautiful flowers at Ze Burrow. Eet is zo warm there. I will put zhem on ze table for dinner.’
‘Are you still feeling well? What does your midwife say?’’
‘Yes, ze bebe is growing. Ze midwife is ‘appy I do not ‘ave ze morning sickness and zo am I.’
That evening when Arthur and Harry returned from the Ministry, Molly remembered that Harry had gone to see the small cottage that was next to the Tonks’ home the night before. “What did you think of the little house that you looked at last night?’
‘It’s not quite a house. It used to be a pony shed, but Ted Tonks added a small kitchen and bathroom. I think he and Andromeda thought that Tonks might want to live there sometime. A young couple leased it for a year last September, but they fled from Voldemort after they’d only lived there a month, so it’s been standing empty for eleven months. It’s really small, but I’m inclined to move there when it is available on the first of October. Is it all right for me to live at The Burrow until then? I’ll need your advice about furnishing it when I am ready to move.’
Molly readily agreed to Harry staying, saying, ‘You are always welcome at The Burrow, son.’
Although it had been four months since Fred died and she tried to act normal when her family was around, Molly still felt very much at loose ends. Now that he was the Senior Advisor to the Minister for Magic, Arthur frequently had night meetings and occasionally accompanied Kingsley on overnight trips to foreign meetings. He always arranged for one of the boys to be at The Burrow when he was gone, but Molly missed his familiar warmth next to her in bed.
Her old friend Corinne was the only one who seemed to understand.
‘Amos doesn’t need to be gone overnight as many times now, but I remember how awful it was when he was in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and had to check on werewolf hostels every full moon. I was a mess for at least a year after Ceddie…’ Corinne began to cry as Molly comforted her with a cup of tea.
‘Finally, I began volunteering at St Mungo’s in the newborn nursery every full moon. A surprising number of little witches and wizards are born at the full moon.’ Corrine smiled at Molly. ‘You and Arthur helped more than you know. I was also comforted by my talk with Harry. He was with Ceddie when he was killed, and it helped me to know that Ceddie didn’t suffer.’
‘Perhaps I should start volunteering somewhere. If Ginny becomes a Healer, I might go to St Mungo’s and be a Pink Witch,’ Molly thought aloud.
Corrine finished her tea and said, ‘Molly, you have a lot to give as a volunteer, but we’d better get our practice in before it’s too late.’
Molly and Corrine went outside and dueled in the garden and scared a few garden gnomes.
The conversation that she’d had with Corrine was much on Molly’s mind when she met Kate Wallace for lunch in Diagon Alley around the middle of September. Molly was glad that Kate had returned to London after many months abroad. The star of Bedside at St Brigid’s and her partner, Head Announcer Nic Meath, had been warned by a member of the Order of the Phoenix when they were about to have the Imperious Curse cast on them so they would be more manageable at the Wizarding Wireless Network. Molly knew that Station Manager Trixie Quafflebaum suspected that both of them had re-programmed the station so that Pottercast programs could override the network. They first fled to Kate’s family home in Tralee, but it soon became evident that they were endangering her Irish relatives, so they Portkeyed to the United States. They kept abreast of information about what was happening in the British Isles, so they returned from San Francisco about two months after Voldemort was defeated.
‘How has Nic adjusted to your return?’ asked Molly. ‘Did he like the United States?’
‘He’s come with me a few times when I visited my daughter and her family there. He likes it there because of the theaters and symphony,’ Kate smiled and continued, ‘Nic loves everything about San Francisco, actually. It is beautiful and has a large and active wizarding community.’
‘I heard his distinctive voice on the wireless the other day so I know he’s back at work.’
‘He’s working only part time now. After all, he will be eighty late in January. Death Eaters did considerable damage to our house and terrorized our house-elf. He’s so good at home repairs, both magically and in the Muggle way, so he has enough to keep busy,’ said Kate, as they finished lunch. ‘I’ve decided to stop being an on-air performer. I was seventeen when I became the first Fiona, nearly fifty years ago. It’s time to do something else.’
‘What will you do? Will you teach again?’ asked Molly.
‘I have a few ideas for new shows so I think I am going to produce some of them,’ said Kate. ‘Quite a few of the on-air talent that fled Voldemort have returned. They have joined with stage actors into an Actors Guild so they cannot be removed without cause. We are just beginning to see the possibilities in making wizarding movies and transmitting a magic version of Muggle television.’
‘Arthur is very keen on that,’ said Molly. ‘He saw it in a shop window. He said that it looked like a wizard picture because everyone was moving. He thought it was brilliant of Muggles to have figured it out without magic.’
‘Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if television caught on in the wizarding world. Some of the receiving devices look like free-standing magic mirrors.’
Molly could hardly wait to tell Arthur what Kate had said that night. He listened with great interest but then said, ’Many of the on-air talent at WWN were Muggleborn or married to Muggles. They really need to lure them back, but no one is sure where all of them are hiding. Kate says that they are going to have to either find them or look for new actors, writers, directors, and technical people.’
Arthur snuggled his beloved wife. ‘I’m so glad that everything worked out for Kate and Nic. He’ll be happy refurbishing their double row house. Kate always says he has always been so good with tools.’
Molly smiled. ‘You and your double-entendres! I wonder if anyone is thinking loving thoughts about me. Does my necklace feel warm to you?’’
Molly and Kate talked several times over the Floo Connection or in person during the rest of September. When Molly realized how many witches and wizards who were Muggleborn or married to Muggles had gone into hiding, she felt that she must do something to help find them and bring them home. She and Kate decided to write a letter to Minister Shacklebolt requesting a meeting about what they proposed to do to seek out the expatriate witches and wizards. They wanted to start trying to find former employees of the WWN, but they were more than willing to widen their search to include other missing witches or wizards.
Kingsley was interested in their idea so a meeting was set up for the first day of October. Kate and Nic said that the meeting that they had with the Actors Guild Representative Audrey Anderson had been productive. She wanted to be kept informed about any progress that they made in finding witches or wizards, especially those for whom she would be negotiating salary and working conditions.
Molly had a hard time falling asleep as she snuggled next to Arthur on the last night of September. Her mind was racing. She kept thinking about their children. Ginny was too busy at Hogwarts being a Prefect and getting ready to organize the Gryffindor Quidditch team to write to anyone except Harry. Meanwhile, he was unusually busy at work while looking forward to moving this coming weekend. Ron was also stretched too thin between helping George at the shop and working on projects for Minerva at Hogwarts. At least he was able to see Hermione. George seemed almost normal one day and completely depressed the next. Percy was still single, but at least she’d see him tomorrow at the meeting. She was sure that somewhere there was a nice young witch just waiting to meet him. Charlie seemed comfortable living with Kathleen, although there had been no mention of marriage. Bill and Fleur were having a baby — her first grandchild. Molly finally fell asleep smiling at the thought of a blue-eyed baby boy.
A/N: Audrey Anderson is St Margarets’ character. I am hoping to arrange circumstances so that she and Percy just miss meeting each other all during this story, but cannot always control what the characters decide to do.
A rough draft of this chapter was posted on my LiveJournal page and I heeded the comments posted there. Bookish327 tidied up the next version, and finally, Trelawney 2213 was generous with helpful comments to make this chapter more readable. It’s a special magic when the three of us agree.