|Love and Laugh Again
Author: Jess.91 PM
The surprise - and almost definitely last - addition to my Again series. There was only one person Molly Weasley wanted - needed - to see when she died. One-shot.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family - Molly W. & Fred W. - Words: 1,786 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 34 - Follows: 2 - Published: 01-31-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4830254
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
OK, so I had no plans to do another one of these, and I highly doubt there will be any more. But it occurred to me that Molly deserved this, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Apologies for not writing one for Arthur, too, but I think it would be a lot alike, and therefore kinda pointless.
Love and Laugh Again
Molly Weasley had lived a long and, mostly, happy life. She'd birthed children – lost one, and hadn't ever completely got over it – watched them grow, suffered through two wars. She'd enjoyed a strong and happy marriage. She witnessed her children find happiness. All except one (two, really, but his life had been snatched away) had married, and Molly had watched. She'd been given grandchildren, and then she'd accepted others into her family, making genetically unrelated children her grandkids, as well. She'd watched as her grandchildren began to marry, and she'd sobbed, unashamed, when Teddy Lupin had placed her first great-grandchild in her arms. More great-grandchildren had come, of course, some blood, some stepchildren, some adopted. They were all hers, no matter what.
At the time of her death, Molly had received several members of another generation of her family. Some of her great-grandkids had married, had birthed their own children; some were still too young.
The only thing Molly Weasley regrets about her life (other than that, the most obvious) is that it's over, and she'll not meet anymore great-great-grandchildren. Not attend anymore weddings, not be able to gather her family around her.
She'd been lucky. Molly had been sleeping when her heart had slowed, slowed, stopped. She had slipped easily into death, hadn't felt a thing, hadn't moved. She hadn't woken Arthur; with a twinge of regret, Molly realised he would wake in the morning and find her lifeless body. She wasn't sure exactly how he'd manage to handle things, the funeral, the paperwork. The grief.
But the family would get each other through this, Molly knew. She'd given them, all of them, a secure base, and she knew that even her death wouldn't change that. The kids (and they were all still the kids, no matter how old they were, if they were married, if they had children of their own) would gather round Arthur, and they'd help him through this. That, Molly was certain of, and it was a comfort.
She looked around uncertainly. She'd been horrified to find herself naked, in the garden, even though she'd known she was dead. She hadn't felt it happen, but the second she'd opened her eyes, Molly had known.
There'd been no denial, no excuses, not sobs or pleas. This was her time, and that was all there was too it. (Hadn't she learned, a long time ago, that death was irreversible, no matter what?)
So she'd dressed, and realised she was suddenly younger. Not by many decades, but a good few. Moving wasn't as hard as it had been towards the end, and she didn't get that awful ache in her muscles. Her eyesight and hearing was better again. That had been absolute confirmation that she was dead.
But death didn't scare her. Or rather, her own death didn't scare her. (The deaths of her children, all of them, was still her greatest fear. She'd heard it said that once you faced your fear, lived through it, you'd overcome it, and it wouldn't scare you anymore. That was a lie. Molly had faced her worst fear, somehow found a way to live through it, and been even more scared afterwards.) She was just starting to wonder if this was it, if she'd spend eternity stood in her own back garden, when she saw him.
The back of the house was blurry, and seemed oddly far away. Molly had taken this to mean she wasn't supposed to go inside, though in another few minutes, she would have tried. But the back door opened, and she saw him. He paused, then lifted a hand in greeting, starting towards her. She daren't move; her throat seemed to close; if her heart had still beat, it would have sped up painfully.
He reached her, finally. And, with a sob, she grabbed him, tightly, sobbing into his neck and clutching him, hardly believing he was really here, really solid and real and being crushed by her arms.
"Mum. Mum, come on now." His voice was gentle, but his arms – which had wrapped around her when she'd grabbed him – shifted, moved, and gently pushed her back. "It's OK. You're OK, Mum, I promise."
"Fred." She whispered it. "Oh, you're alright. You're really alright. And really here. My baby."
He didn't look uncomfortable, simply smiled. "You know why, don't you? You understand."
"Yes, yes, I know what happened to me. Oh, Fred, I'm so sorry." And she had to say it, had to make sure he understood how sorry she was, had to absolve herself of her greatest regret. "I should have been there, I should have protected you – I failed, I failed as a mother -"
"Stop it." His voice was sharp, but his face was anxious. "Please, Mum. You didn't fail. You're a fantastic mother, and grandmother, and great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. They all love you so much, every one of them. Please, Mum. It was just my time to go. My life was supposed to end when it did. How it did."
"You were all alone." She choked it. She hadn't, of course, had any idea what would happen to her son after his death. But the idea of him being alone had almost destroyed her, in those first few months.
"No, I wasn't. Mum, listen to me. You have to stop feeling guilty – it was not your fault. And I wasn't alone. Sirius and James met me. You know, Harry's dad."
"They did?" Molly repeated, half surprised, half-grateful.
"Yeah. And they've looked after me since, too. We, well, I'm not really supposed to tell you too much, you're meant to find out yourself. But there's a place, where we can stay, if we want. We can watch what's happening with you all, sometimes. I, um, I wasn't ready to leave there yet. And Lily and James, they want to be here when Harry dies. And Remus and Tonks are waiting for Teddy. There's others, of course. Loads. But a lot of people just pass straight through. We think Sirius will leave us soon."
"Leave you?" Molly croaked. It was all so overwhelming.
"Yeah. He's been restless for a while now. Time's different for us, but still, it's been a while. And Sirius...he's never been happy with who he was, not really. He's hoping he'll get a better deal in the next life. James and Remus are gutted, but they understand. Sirius hasn't got ties like the rest of us, he's got very little reason to stay around. Don't say anything, but I think as soon as he's seen Harry one last time, he'll go. Then again, maybe he'll want to meet Teddy, too."
He was talking mostly to give her time to recover from the shock of seeing him.
"You've really been alright?" She whispered.
"Yes. Mum, really. Wait till you meet Harry's parents. You'll understand. It really is awful that he didn't get to keep them. I've been fine."
"What happens now? To me?" She managed finally.
"You'll come with me, when you're ready. You have to understand that you can't go back. You have to understand that even if you wait around, eventually you'll have to move forward. That's the cycle."
"What are you waiting for? Why haven't you moved on?"
He shifted, finally looking uncomfortable, if only slightly. "I had to wait." He said simply. "For you, and Dad." Had to see you one more time, had to say all the things I never got the chance to when I lived. "And George." And, God, hadn't it nearly killed him, again, at first, to watch his twin struggle and sink and drag himself back to the surface? To know that if he'd been better, stronger, faster, smarter, he could have lived and spared them all that pain? Even if he understood, now, how unstoppable his death was, the guilt had been almost impossible at first.
"Ah, speaking of Dad, he'll only manage another few months himself. He can't stay away from you for that long."
"Arthur's going to...?"
"Yeah, but don't worry. They rest of them'll survive. It'll almost be a comfort, that you'll be together."
"How do you know?" Molly demanded, confused. "How do you know the future?"
"We don't. Only a few things are set, and – you'll see. I'm not supposed to even tell you this. Just let me know when you're ready."
Molly nodded. "Why...why are we in the garden?"
Fred flashed a smile. "Because it holds some kind of significance for you. It matters."
"The family." Molly murmured. "This is where we all gather. We've had weddings right here." She laughed a little. "We even had a birth."
"I remember. I watched. I didn't know babies could even be born that fast."
"Neither did Dominique. She was horrified. Didn't even have time to get inside." Molly smiled at the memory.
A moment passed, maybe two. Then she looked back at her son. Her lost son, now back with her.
"I'm ready now. Let's go."
"You're absolutely sure, Mum?"
"Yes. Come on."
She'd already made her decisions, too. She would wait. Spend a few months with her son, greet her husband. Then they could go on with the cycle. She was ready, finally, to let them go, let them live without her.
"D'you know where I was? When I died?" Fred asked her. "The kitchen. Yep, our kitchen. I walked through the kitchen door. That was my big entrance into death. Can you believe that?"
She laughed, overwhelmed with love. Her son's death had almost destroyed her, but her was here now, with her. And that was, for the moment, all that mattered.
They crossed the garden together.