This story will eventually be Harry Draco Slash. It will probably take a while to get there from here. This chapter is rated for general audiences.
Again and still: thanks to ivyingarden for all the help making this a better fic! She patiently helps me brainstorm (with some great ideas to throw into the cauldron), is fabulous with canon, has a knack for language, and keeps at me to "write write write!"
First: my profound apologies for taking so long to post this chapter. However, the good news, is that I have several chapters in the hopper from NaNoWriMo that just need a beta read, some britpicking, and a touch of revising before I can post. Britpicking and comments and critique are more than welcome on this chapter as well.
Now, while this is at heart a Harry / Draco story, this chapter is Ginny POV. There will not be much of that in the story, but I wanted to explore certain things. I am interested in the culture as a whole, and some different slices of it. The next two sections (which will probably be in one post) will be Harry POV, and then we'll catch up with Draco.
Enough of me rambling.
May 3, 1998
The whoosh of the floo distracted Ginny from her task, and she glanced up from her list of Fred’s friends from Hogwarts. Ron would have been better at it, having spent more time with Fred and George, but he was needed at the family plot, setting the burial charms with Bill. Besides, Ron was mostly oblivious to what other people did. George would be still better. Anyone Fred knew, George knew. They had been in each other’s pockets from the start. No one had the heart to ask it of him, however, after seeing the blank gaze with which he stared out at the world. It hurt to see him like that. She would almost have been willing to be the subject of a prank, just to see the wicked grin on her brother’s face.
“Molly, dear, are you there?”
“Just a tic, Aunt Muriel. I’ll get her.” Ginny rose to go find her mum, hoping to prevent her aunt from –
“Ginevra! Ginevra, I’m coming through. Be a good girl and go tell your mother I’m here.” And with a green whoosh, Aunt Muriel was standing on the hearth apron. Ginny did not need to leave the room, to her dismay, as her mum must have heard the alert on the floo, and was coming down the stairs.
“Molly, dear, you must be devastated!” Aunt Muriel put the covered dish she was holding down on the table, and moved to pull her mum into one of her suffocating hugs. Ginny could smell the waft of perfume from where she stood. “How are you coping, dear? It must be awful for you. The boy never had a chance to grow up and be a proper man, how horrible for you never to be able to see him grow out of his heedless youth.”
Her mum’s face was turning red at the words, and Ginny saw her draw breath to launch a full diatribe, but Aunt Muriel continued before she had a chance.
Aunt Muriel snapped her bony fingers in Ginny’s direction. “Be a dear and fetch me a chair. I’m a hundred and eight, and floo travel is no better now than it was when I was young. Now, don’t fret. I have the owls arranged. I have placed the parchment order with the stationer, although I’m of a mind to find a new one. I don’t care if they’ve provided for the Prewetts and the Weasleys for over two hundred years, the clerk in the store was short with me. I told him I needed to examine the parchment…”
Ginny felt her mum used quite a bit of restraint. She watched as Molly Weasley actually stopped, took a deep breath, and did not start screaming.
“I appreciate your help, Muriel. Ginny has been assembling a list of Fr—“ She stopped for a moment, breathing as if running. “Fred’s friends. I still need to do the family. I have the genealogy book, it’s just…”
“I’ll take care of it, Molly. You just sit yourself down and rest. Where are the children? Ginevra, you are a good child, to look after your mother at a time like this.”
Ginny pushed her lips together. She would not scream at her aunt. If her mother could keep from shouting at her, so could she.
“Now, I have the Prewitt Genealogy at home, so I only need the Weasley Book. Ginevra, would you be a dear—“
Ginny answered by getting up and heading up the staircase, to the bookcase in her parent’s bedroom. She opened the wooden door and found the heavy, leather-bound book that had been passed down the Weasley family for generations.
The bookcase was charmed to withstand magic, not even an Alohomora or an Accio would pass by its small, specific wards. Her mum once told her that she did not dare keep the important books in the sitting room, with Fred and George around. Who knows what they might have turned into? The thought hurt. She couldn’t seem to go more than a few minutes without thinking of Fred. Ginny sat on the large bed, holding the book to her breast, and bent over it. Her face scrunched, but she could not seem to cry, right then. It hurt too much to cry. And they needed the genealogy downstairs. She did not want to leave her mum with Auntie Muriel too long, and the sooner she got the book, the sooner she would go.
When she got back downstairs, Muriel and her mother were sitting at the big dining table, with a few pieces of parchment in front of them. Her mother looked about ready to burst, and looked up with relief as she heard Ginny’s footsteps on the stairs.
“Here it is Aunt Muriel. I appreciate that you are doing this.” Her mum’s voice was remarkably even.
“Now Molly, you just set this from your mind. I'll send the owls today. You can be sure the announcements will be done properly, with my good writing, just as I've shown you. I know it is not your doing that you were never taught a beautiful hand, although it's not too late for young Ginevra.” Ginny cringed at the thought of lessons with Auntie Muriel. “Well, that’s a topic for another day. I’ll be on my way, Molly. You look after your family. Floo me if you need anything, and I’ll be here directly.”
The chances of any of them placing a floo call to Auntie Muriel to come over were slim. Ron would paint his room green and silver first.
The room seemed suddenly very quiet, as the force of will that was Auntie Muriel no longer occupied it. Ginny took at deep breath, and caught her mother doing the same. It helped.
“Do you need me to do anything else, mum?”
Her mum scanned the room, seeming a bit lost. While Ginny was not as observant as her mother in this regard, she could not find anything that needed doing. Her mum had not even stopped to sit down for meals since the battle. And now, Ron and Bill were at the cemetery preparing the wards and blessings. Muriel had taken over the owls. There was enough prepared food to feed the Order and the entire Weasley clan, even with Ron at the table. Harry had gone outside to do something, or maybe just to be alone. She wasn’t sure where Percy was. George was—more lost than her mother. She thought he had gone up to the room he had once shared with Fred. Her father and Hermione were at the Ministry. There really was nothing for the two women to do. “Mum?” Her mother had picked up a quilt that had been lying on the back of the couch and started folding it. The edges would not come together, and she unfolded it, and refolded again. Ginny moved to help. “There were some books next to the genealogy that had our names on them. I was wondering—“
“Oh! Those! Haven’t I shown you those? Come upstairs, Ginny. I want to show you something.”
* * *
They climbed the stairs up to the master bedroom, and Molly opened the cupboard. “Here, help me get this down.” Molly retrieved several books, each with a photograph on the front. They returned downstairs and sat on the sofa in the main room.
“This is your book,” she said, as she handed Ginny a photo album with a picture of her on the cover. The picture had been taken the last Christmas, and she had her Weasley sweater over her pyjamas. “Why this picture, mum? Why could you not have chosen one that at least has me dressed, and with my hair brushed?” She added, as she noted that her hair was tousled from sleep and from just having put on a sweater.
“You look so cute. You are growing up so fast, but seeing this, I know that no matter how old you get, you will still be my little girl.”
Ginny grumbled. “Sixteen, mom. I’m sixteen.”
“Yes you are. And in a few months you’ll be seventeen. And I am very proud of you, growing into such a fine, and strong, and loyal young lady.”
Ginny winced briefly at the thought. She really did need to talk to Harry.
“And here is Ron’s, and Charlie’s. Oh, here it is! I only made the one for the twins. It always seemed that where one was, there was the other, so getting pictures of either alone was a feat. I figured that, when the time came, when they got married and settled down, I would duplicate the entire book for each of them.” Molly looked sad at the thought. “I guess I won’t have to, now. I should have done it from the beginning. Should have made it clear that I need both of them.” Her expression twisted into grief. “If only I had made two books.”
Reaching out over the books, she pulled her mother into a hug, the albums jutting into her stomach and one arm uncomfortably. She did not care. “It is not your fault. It is not any of our fault.” Ginny insisted. “It’s Voldemort’s fault, and he’s dead now.” She said that last with a vicious satisfaction filling her voice. The two women held each other for a bit, and then Ginny loosened her grip. “So, show me the pictures. I want to see Fred as a baby.”
Molly opened the album. There, on the first page, stood Molly Weasley, belly round, and large as a house. She looked young. “When I began to put this together, I figured I’d start at the very beginning. With two of them, I felt just huge. I was sure I couldn’t fit through the front door, every time I tried.” She turned the page. There was Arthur Weasley, sitting in a chair looking bemused, with two red-thatched white bundles, one on each arm. Their hair was even brighter than it became later, and looked almost like fire emerging from the white blankets.
The next picture had the two twins lying in one (enlarged) crib. They were holding hands. “They were inseparable, right from the beginning.” Molly commented, drawing a fond finger down one twin’s face on the photograph, then the other, as if she could caress them still. A few baby pictures later, the ubiquitous picture of babies in a bath (this one with two red haired babies, throwing bubbles at each other) had Ginny asking if there was one of her like that, and if so, could it please be destroyed. A few pages past that, they had reached toddlerhood, with the two each sporting a Weasley Sweater. “That was the first year I knitted initials on the sweaters. The twins were always together, and they so enjoyed being confused for each other. I played along. Never let them know I could tell. I decided to label them. For the good of wizardkind.” Her mum gave a half-smile, letting Ginny in on the joke. “But soon, George was wearing the F sweater, and Fred was wearing George’s. The two of them had so much fun swapping sweaters that soon little Ronnie wanted one with his initial, and shortly after that I was making them for all of my children.” Molly smiled and hugged Ginny close to her.
In just about every picture there was such energy. There was the one of the young twins, at what must have been a picnic in the garden, having invented a game that involved children’s play-wands, and the tossing of the evening’s pudding in great arcs across the table, followed by one with both twins’ faces covered in said pudding. There were pictures of them learning to fly, and terrorizing the gnome population. There were pictures of them in their Hogwarts robes, poking at each other and making hand shapes behind the other twin’s back, and later pictures of them testing out various products and transforming body parts into those of animals, changing colours.
Ginny laughed at that batch. She had been pranked by their experiments so often that it was good to see them experiencing the charms and hexes they used. Fred had such a wicked grin on his face in one, as George had one arm transformed into a canary wing, and the other into a butterfly wing, and a distinctly baffled expression on his face.
“I guess they had not perfected that one yet,” she commented.
Neither mother nor daughter visibly reacted as George crept into the room, but when he quietly sat in a chair next to the sofa, Molly adjusted so the album could be seen by all three of them. George did not point and laugh, but he drank in the pictures, one after the other, of him and his twin wreaking their own brand of humour and havoc through the years.
Toward the end, there was a picture of the store front of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, with the two of them mugging for the camera. It was a publicity shot, part of their grand opening, which they had published in the Prophet and the Quibbler. For all that their mum had complained that the joke shop was not an appropriate way to earn a living, she had hunted down an original of the photograph, not a newspaper copy, to put in the album. She had even labelled it: “The Weasley Entrepreneurs.” Ginny met George’s eyes, and saw a bright glimmer of emotion. Ginny realized that her brothers never quite knew that their mother was proud of them. She herself had not known until that instant.
At the very end, there was a picture that Fred had sent from when he was in hiding with Potterwatch. This one with Lee Jordan and Remus Lupin, which made Ginny wonder how Harry was feeling. He seemed fine when she saw him and Ron through the window, playing one-on-one Quidditch, but Harry could be a little too good at hiding his emotions. She really did need to talk with him, just... not yet. Ginny reached for another album. “What’s this one, mom?”
It was thicker and more ragged than the others, and had an oval wedding picture labelled “Molly Prewitt and Arthur Weasley”, in script that curved up around the bottom of the photograph. They were looking into each other’s eyes, smiling, and every once in a while Arthur would reach up and tuck a strand of red hair behind Molly’s ear.
Mrs Weasley moved closer to Ginny, and patted the sofa on the other side, so George could move next to her and not have to reach so far to see. She opened the album to show pictures, side by side, of baby Arthur and baby Molly. “I got Arthur’s pictures from his mum shortly after he and I got married. Cedrella came by and placed a huge box of them on the table, and gave me a lecture on the importance of family, and of recording family history. Of course, I already knew that, but she was Arthur’s mum, and I was just married, and I was not about to start something with her right then. She was a formidable woman. She carried herself as if she knew her own importance... which I suspect is part of how all of the Blacks were raised. But it was her idea to start these. She brought her family album out, complete with commentary for each picture, and then brought out a blank one, this one, and we started putting the first pictures in together. I never took her for the crafts sort.”
Ginny tried to imagine her grandmother doing crafts, and failed. Septimus and Cedrella Weasley were more reserved than the family she grew up in, and she could not imagine them living at the Burrow, although she knew they had at one point. She remembered being told they passed it on to Arthur and Molly when Bill had been born.
Beneath the pictures were her parents names and birthdates. These were followed by pages with pictures of her dad’s childhood on the left, and her mum’s childhood on the right. One of her dad with his first broom. Then her mum with a mini potions kit, with the label “brewing hot chocolate in a cauldron.” All the ingredients were food, as regular potions ingredients were too dangerous.
“I loved potions, when I was little.” Her mum said, somewhat wistfully. “I wanted to go into medical potions. I had an apprenticeship all set up at St Mungo’s, when I graduated Hogwarts. They have a whole research wing for developing new potions. The apprentices start making the potions for the hospital, under supervision of course. This gives the Potions Masters of St Mungo’s the time to complete their own research.”
“You liked potions, mum? What happened?”
“Bill happened. Arthur and I got married a bit earlier than expected. A potions laboratory is no place for a pregnant woman.” Molly answered.
Ginny digested this. She had known that her mum got married fresh out of Hogwarts, but this was new information. Suddenly, her mother’s protectiveness of her only daughter made a bit more sense.
Why don’t you make potions now?”
“Who do you think makes the bruise balm, and the fever reducers, and all the droughts and elixirs in this house, young lady?”
“I thought you bought them. I never saw you making them.”
“I couldn’t make them while you all were awake now, could I? Potions can’t be interrupted, and I could not waste ingredients like you all did at school. One skinned knee, or one of your pranks,” she turned to give George a fond but exasperated look with that last, “one distraction and the potion is either ruined or exploding. Cooking is more forgiving. So while I was pregnant with Bill, I took cooking classes instead of the completing the apprenticeship. I still get to see the results of my brewing whenever someone sits down at my table.”
“Mum, do you ever regret—” Ginny started.
Molly put her arms around her two children and pulled them close. “Never. Not one moment. I am prouder of all of my children than I ever could be of any potion, any invention. Watching each of you stand up for what you believed in, despite all odds... you terrified me, starting so young, but never doubt that you make me proud.”
Chapter 1 (start at the beginning)
Chapter 6 (previous chapter)
Chapter 8 (on to next chapter)