For SQ - The Weasleys and something relating to, but not directly mentioning, the scene in OotP where Mrs Weasley faces the boggart

Molly Weasley wakes in the night to the stillness of a sleeping house, the ticking of clocks. She rises to fumble for slippers and dressing gown, her movements quieter even then Arthur's gentle snore.

She walks down the darkened hallway, feeling her way with her palm pressed to the wall, and is reminded once more of her great aunt Roberta. Roberta had lost her right hand long before Molly was even born, flesh and bone blasted away in spellfire beyond repair or healing.

Once she'd blurted out, very young and unthinking, but don't you miss it? Her mother had gasped: Molly, mind your manners!

But Roberta had laughed. Yes, my dear, of course I did! For a very long time. Then she had reached out with her left hand, cupping Molly's cheek, her smile quite kind.

Molly doesn't smile now, shuffling in the dark from door to door, counting on her fingers.

One, two, three flown from the nest already, and at that thought she sighs.

She pauses a moment in the hallway before Percy's old room - only a few weeks since he stopped by The Burrow to clean it out, so thorough and so severe. Poor Percy, yet to learn that family can't be as easily shed as a winter coat or a shoe outgrown.

The twins' room is next, inseperable in her mind as they are in life, and there's four and five she says to herself, putting her left hand in her pocket. Soon it will be their turn to move out of The Burrow and Molly tries to tell herself she will welcome the quiet.

She lingers longest by Ginny's bed, fussing at her blankets, smoothing back her hair. Molly couldn't play favourites if she tried but there is a special place in her heart for her only girl, the one she cossets and clings to most.

Yet it's Ron she thinks she understands best, who always wants so much and gives up more. Peeking in at his door she thinks not of him now - not the gangly teenager turning over in restless sleep - but a younger boy, earnest, giving orders to his hand-me-down set of chessmen.

Some pieces, you lose. It will happen. She remembers him saying that to Ginny, so matter-of-fact, so brave. You get used to it.

For a moment Molly is reminded of Roberta again, the words overlapping - One grows accustomed to loss, my dear. Even with just one good hand and a stump, she could crochet beautifully. One adjusts.

She spares a thought for Harry as she pulls Ron's door closed. As it did when she first saw him alone at King's Cross Station, and a hundred times since, her heart goes out to him. There is no one else left to watch over him, not even Black, but it is because Molly loves him that she counts Harry as the eighth.

The last doorway is her own. She slips back into the room and the warm bed, so quietly that Arthur's snore does not falter for even an instant.

Dearest, dearest Arthur. They've held this family together between them for so long, thumb and forefinger, and like so many who saw the end of the last War she had believed that they would grow old together, in peace.

But Molly has known for a long time now that the odds are against them; and as she did the night before, and the night before that, she lies wakeful in the dark.

And when at last Molly Weasley sleeps, in the hour before dawn, she dreams of learning to live with less than ten fingers.


February 2004

[Rowan's Fanfiction]