A/N: All right, boys and girls, here it is! This is the sequel/Romione version of Faintest, Slimmest, Wildest Chance covering Ron and Hermione's summer after the Battle of Hogwarts. I wanted to have the entire story completed before I started posting it, but that process has been very cumbersome, and I finally decided y'all would rather get started and then pause the updating than continue to wait several more months for this fic. So, I will update weekly on Wednesdays as long as I have edited chapters; right now that number is eleven. If you haven't read FSWC, this story should stand alone just like FSWC's readers were able to follow along without having read this fic first. This prelude is short, so I will post again in the afternoon. The title comes from Ron's repetition in DH of the famous quote "all's fair in love and war."
Disclaimer: You know the drill ;)
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
May 2, 1998
Molly Weasley surveyed the Great Hall from her position at the Ravenclaw table. Minerva had replaced the house tables, and the Weasleys had simply sat down where they had previously been standing. Ginny's head rested on her mother's shoulder, and Molly stroked her hair absently as her eyes bounced round the room, moving from child to child in the old ritual she used to keep track of them in public. Bill, sitting across from her with Fleur. Charlie, next to Bill. Percy … despite his slumped posture and pale complexion, Molly's eyes feasted on her prodigal son for a moment before searching the doors into the Great Hall. Arthur had gone with Fred and George, and they weren't back yet. Ron and Hermione were at the table behind her with a group of friends. Ginny nestled under her wing. Harry sat with the Lovegood girl beneath a window at the Gryffindor table. Bill and Fleur, Charlie, Percy … Arthur and George still weren't back, and Fred wouldn't be with them when they were.
Fred would never be with them again.
Molly pulled Ginny a little closer and resumed the ritual that had kept her children safe during countless visits to the Muggle village, Diagon Alley, even Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Ron and Hermione, still talking with other members of Dumbledore's Army, almost directly over the spot where Remus and Tonks….
Molly had been so close … so close to keeping her family intact through this war. Percy had stumbled into the Room of Requirement and her heart had positively soared—soared straight into her mouth and robbed her of speech so that Fred had actually been the first person to greet him. Mere hours … her family had been whole again, if scattered across the castle and grounds, for mere hours before Freddie….
"Mum, you're hurting me," Ginny said gently.
Molly realized her fingernails were digging into her daughter's arm and Ginny's face was squashed against her shoulder. She let go with a gasp, stroking the nail marks with her opposite hand. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, love, I—"
Where was Harry?
Molly turned round. Ron and Hermione were gone too. Frantic, the natural worry of motherhood expounded by years of fear, Molly repeated the ritual. Bill and Fleur, Charlie, Percy, and as she scanned the doors for a sign of George and Arthur, she spotted them—Ron and Hermione leaving the Great Hall with an unnatural gap between them. Understanding and remembrance washed over her, and Molly settled Ginny's head back on her shoulder.
They were safe. Voldemort was dead—she had watched him fall—and his best lieutenant with him. Greyback would never threaten any of her family again. It was not without cost or sacrifice, but her family was safe.
As long as there was breath in her body, Molly Weasley meant to keep it that way.