It's Quiet in the Countryside
Fred Weasley had been dead for thirty-seven days. The world had ceased to move in the Burrow for over a month. Dishes would sit on the countertop; there was dust on the mantle and the house looked like a crypt, housing only the dead.
Arthur and Molly Weasley were not dead, but Arthur knew with would have traded his life in an instant to return Fred to Molly's arms. Commendations of Fred's bravery and service meant nothing in place of his vibrant life in the Weasley family's eyes.
His family had in a sense shattered and fell apart, coming together as quickly as they were able. Arthur could see the toll of war on their bodies and written on their spirits. His real worry was for Molly; Arthur was scared she would stay as reclusive and depressed as she had since the funeral.
In the weeks after Fred's death, Arthur took a lot of long walks in the fields out back. He could never recall a time when he enjoyed the quiet, while the children were growing up it meant they were all in cahoots and planning something. Molly just hid in the living room looking through old photographs of her children with red-rimmed eyes.
Percy moved in to help out for a couple of weeks, he plainly felt awkward about being home but he was constantly busy at both the Ministry, helping Kingsley get established as the interim Minister. Then coming home to help his parents and finally as night fell, going out the door to find which pub George had wandered off to that night. He never seemed to rest and when Arthur was not working he could barely bring himself to do anything useful and Percy was damnably pushy when he wanted to be and Arthur did not have the energy to have a row with Percy. Arthur doubted Percy had the energy or the will to do either right now as things stood.
George was staying at home too, he could not bear to go back to the shop alone and stayed holed up in his old bedroom. He only came out to eat and go out to try and drown his sorrows in Diagon Alley.
Charlie did not stay long at the Burrow, he had to get back to the reserve and check on the new hatchlings after reports of fleeing Death Eaters got a little to close to the reserve for Charlie's comfort. He floo called every few days now to see how things were going and visited on the weekends when he could get away.
Bill and Fleur stopped in when they could, but there was a lot of chaos at Gringotts after Ron, Harry and Hermione had robbed the bank and escaped on a dragon. Bill was trying to make sure the three of them did not get lifetime bans from the bank and was trying to help smooth over relations between the goblins and the Ministry.
Ron had started working and training for the aurors with Harry to track down the remaining Death Eaters. He spent the night at when he had a few hours off. Which was not often, when he was not tracking he was training to learn field skills with some old retirees who where dragged back to the auror office to train the next generation. Ron liked to complain about his least favorite when the opportunity presented itself.
Ginny and Hermione were helping to rebuild Hogwarts while Hermione waited for word from the Australian Ministry on word of her parents location. The Hogwarts staff was also helping to rebuild Hogwarts with some of the Hogsmeade residents and other members of Dumbledore's Army who did not want to join the aurors. They felt they would be done in time for the next school year.
Arthur got up and went to work at the Ministry everyday and did his best to ignore that gaping hole in his chest as he did so. Now was his first day off since the battle and all he could do was look at Molly and think about their home and the life they at built together in pieces at their feet. He examined the photo albums on the end table next to the sofa, turning each page slowly and carefully because they carried the fragile memories of a simpler time.
There was a picture of the boys meeting Ginny for the first time. One of the family together before Bill left for Hogwarts for his first year. He and Molly's haphazard wedding, Arthur grinning like a fool while Molly put her hand in his and tried to pull him out of the picture. Arthur laughed and the noise felt strange and sounded choked.
Molly had to get out of the house. It would be good for her to do something like take a walk or go work in the garden, perhaps help with planning the memorial garden at Hogwarts that Minerva wanted to put in. The trick was going to be little steps, and Arthur knew just how to start.
She was in the kitchen putting dishes away. The dishes were wobbling from Molly's lack of focus on the task she was trying to accomplish.
"Molly," A teacup took a precarious dip towards the floor before flying upward back into the cabinet. "Let's take a walk the village."
Molly's brown eyes reflected an unfathomable exhaustion that came with the loss of a child. It reaffirmed Arthur's choice to get her out and give her something else to think about for a time.
"There's too much to do here." She sent a bread plate to its proper place in a far off cabinet. "These dishes need to be put away, the floor needs to be swept and I need to-" He voice was shaking, trying to go through the motions of being busy so no one would bother her about how she was doing.
Arthur walked over and put his hand on Molly's shoulder and stooped down to kiss her cheek. "I think it can wait an hour, Mollywobbles." Her face reddened at the nickname. "I'll get your cloak."
It was the first of many walks.
It became easier to talk about the children, the past and everything that they had lived through with each long walk through the fields, up the roads and between hedgerows. Molly grew more animated, discussing everything from the state of the Ministry, dinner plans and the memorial garden plans she was making with Minerva McGonagall.
With each walk, Molly came back a little more each day, focusing on her living children and trying to make sure they were happy in their personal lives. She talked less about the past and all they had lost and was now putting more focus on the future. Much to the annoyance of Charlie, George and Percy as she had told them it was okay to bring friends to dinner.
Arthur had to laugh when she said it, because the boys knew what she wanted and were going to refuse that request as long as they could. Molly was not going to just say it was because she wanted grandchildren to spoil. All of her children getting married would increase those odds exponentially.
With the new peaceful world before them, all things seemed possible.
AN: I'll be in South Korea until the end of January, if anyone has any ideas about where I can find an entry level job that does not require internship experience please let me know. If not, I'm going to have a go at copywriting or freelance work.
Inspired by It's Quiet Uptown from Hamilton.