Mr. and Mrs. Weasley of The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole, were loath to say that they were perfectly normal. However, after years of being the first people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious - thanks to their connection with Harry Potter, the adventure-prone savior of the magical world - normal is what they became, if only by wizarding standards.
Indeed, the three years of postwar existence for the Weasleys had been singularly lacking in excitement of even the garden gnome variety. Bloodshed and espionage seemed distant memories. Only Fred Weasley's clock hand, eternally pointing to "Beyond the Veil" on Mrs. Weasley's venerable family timekeeper, served as a reminder that the war did make its indelible mark on the family.
After the war ended, Mr. Weasley was promoted within the Office of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic. While he continued to investigate occurrences of improper use of magic against the non-magic British population, he now also assisted in auror training. His "Muggle Technology 101" course, which featured a demonstration of the use of power drills, was a particular favorite among his pupils, although none of them outshone Arthur when it came to enthusiasm for the subject. He also taught a Muggle popular culture course with the aim of aiding trainees in interacting with Muggles while working incognito.
Mr. Weasley's admittedly bumbling sessions were considered a soft option by the aurors at large, but quality improvement studies leaked from the newly instituted Office of Magical Research revealed a marked improvement in wizard-Muggle relations, particularly between the non-magical and wizarding governments. It proved, head researcher Hermione Granger mused, that fostering greater understanding between the two communities was all that it took for much-needed social change to take root. A Muggleborn herself, Hermione was perhaps Mr. Weasley's most vocal advocate at the Ministry.
Mrs. Weasley returned to her prewar lifestyle of cooking ever-more-delicious savories for her ever-more-numerous family. Yet a spark, yet to be extinguished, had been ignited inside her when she wrought vengeance on the dastardly Bellatrix Lestrange during the war. As soon as her daughter Ginevra left home to play for the Holyhead Harpies, leaving an empty nest in her wake, Molly Weasley's restlessness became obvious to the rest of the war-hero crowd.
On this autumn evening, Mrs. Weasley had laid out quite the feast for her visiting brood. Ronald Weasley passed the treacle tart to Harry, who played a double role in the family as Ron's best friend and Ginny's boyfriend. George animatedly demonstrated samples of his joke shop's new line of children's toys to a squirming Victoire, while her possibly pregnant mother—no one quite liked to ask—Fleur looked on disapprovingly. Teddy Lupin happily smashed more peas with his tiny fists than his grandmother Andromeda could manage to stuff into his mouth. Mr. Weasley and his eldest son, Bill, conversed quietly about Muggle perceptions of goblins. Off to one side of this Rockwellian tableau sat the gathering's two oddballs, Hermione and Percy Weasley.
Hermione was no longer quite certain where she fit in with the group. She and Ron had found during their brief dating stint that they could agree only on one thing: their romantic incompatibility. She and Ginny were friendly, but they did not call each other best friends, not in the way that Hermione and Harry were best friends. Hermione continued to visit the Weasleys each Sunday out of habit, long after she and Ron had fizzled both as lovers and friends. She liked Mr. Weasley best of the lot, but she could always just visit him at work. Why did she continue to attend these family dinners? Why was she still invited?
Perhaps Mrs. Weasley thinks Ron and I will rediscover a long-buried passionate love for each other, she reflected gloomily. Spying Ron shoveling peas into his mouth a la Teddy, she shuddered. A very, very deeply buried love, maybe.
"What do you think, Hermione?" Percy asked, uncomfortably close to her ear. She jumped slightly.
"I'm sorry, Percy, what were you saying?" she replied apologetically, guiltily aware that she had zoned out on the brainy Weasley son for at least the fifth time that night. Percy had lightened up considerably by the end of the war, but he still favored cauldron bottoms and their ilk as dinner topics. Maybe Mrs. Weasley thinks Percy and I will discover a long-buried passionate love for each other, she pondered. The idea held some water; arguably, Hermione and Percy were well matched intellectually. It was only too bad that Percy, like Ron, had the emotional range of a teaspoon.
"To be honest, I'm surprised you haven't brought it up yet," Percy began. Here we go, Hermione internally sighed. "You've heard about the new lightweight 14-carat-gold cauldrons that have been entering the international market from France, yeah? Well, they're saying in my department that there's actually something rather odd going on with those—they think the person who patented them is someone who's supposed to be dead."
"Hmm," said Hermione, interested in spite of herself. "Who do they think it is?"
Percy puffed up slightly. "Well, they think it might be dear old Prof—"
"Attention, everyone!" Mrs. Weasley tapped on her wine glass and beamed genially at her loved ones. "I am so pleased that you could all be here tonight."
"As if we aren't here every Sunday night," Ron muttered, shooting Hermione a look that all too pointedly called her out on her unwelcome presence. Harry frowned and nudged Ron in the side, simultaneously sending Hermione a commiserating glance. With his mouth full of treacle, he looked rather froglike. Hermione choked back an unladylike giggle at the thought of the horror Harry would feel if he knew that in that moment he looked like Umbridge.
"I have some news," Mrs. Weasley enthused. "My dear Arthur, have you heard that the old Bagshot estate in Godric's Hollow has been purchased at last?"
Arthur replied that he had not.
"But it is," she replied. "Dawlish was just here this morning, and he told me all about it."
Everyone was astounded. Why was the Minister of Magic visiting Molly during work hours? When did Molly and the former auror even reach speaking terms?
Amid the resulting din, Molly could not be heard. Harry, taking pity on her, tapped his glass with his spoon. "Hem hem." Everyone noticed the likeness to Umbridge this time and shuddered collectively.
"Thank you, Harry," Mrs. Weasley said primly. "Well, don't you want to know who has taken the estate?"
"My dear Molly, you clearly want to tell us, and I personally have no objection to hearing it. Does anyone else?" said Arthur.
"What I'd like to know is why Dawlish doesn't have anything better to do with his day than gossip with Mum," George stage-whispered. The rest of the table nodded fervently. Molly ignored him.
"The Minister says it's been taken by a very rich young man who grew up in this country but lately has been in France. He came down last Monday on a magic carpet—a family heirloom, apparently, even though it's illegal to distribute new ones. He was so delighted with the old place, even though it badly needs fixing up, that he made a deal with the Minister immediately. You know that the house has been in the Ministry's hands since Bathilda's passing. The Ministry has had no idea what to do with it, so they are greatly relieved. The new family is moving in by the end of the month, and their house elves will be in the house by the end of next week."
"Who's the rich bloke?" Ron asked through a mouthful of roast beef.
Molly paused dramatically. "Draco Malfoy."