This story was written for Desertisle in The DG Forum Fic Exchange - Summer 2017 by a member of our forum. For more details, please visit our page.
Little Wonders: One
Meridian Hollow, Devon
The town of Meridian Hollow wasn't much smaller than home, but what it lacked in size it made up for in colour. The homes scattered about were painted in riotous neon and softly glowing shades, contrasting with and complimenting each other in turn. The businesses, mostly a smattering of artist enclaves and candy shoppes, were more sedately painted but extravagantly designed.
Molly suspected that her boys had come here when they were planning the construction of their shop, and it made a little part of her that still missed Fred with a burning ache flare up at the thought.
It wasn't a bad town, just different. As a young mother, she'd been aghast at the idea of living so close to the then tiny village. It wasn't normal, she'd thought, wasn't natural. Now, older if not wiser, she understood that it wasn't about her and her somewhat antiquated sensibilities. She couldn't continue to be so close-minded if she had expected to maintain a good relationship with her children, and well, as the years passed and her home began to look more like it belonged in the artist town, she started to realise how wrong she had been to believe there was something wrong with the people who lived as they did.
The portraiture master that lived and worked in Meridian Hollow was widely considered the best art-charmer in the country, despite having only been working in the artist community over the past seven years. Molly had met her-in fact, they'd shared duties of parenting an adult several times over the past six years-but she had never had the opportunity to visit her in her own (private) professional workspace before.
Today was different. Today, she... she was finally getting a portrait done, something that would last longer than her grandchildren's grandchildren. So there would be a part of her that could still watch over her family, long after she was gone.
None of the children would admit whose idea it was to pay for the session. She suspected Ginny, but she supposed it didn't matter in the end. They had all pooled together to pay for an extended package, one that would allow her grandchildren to be-fleetingly-a part of it with her. It was exorbitantly expensive, but she could admit, if only to herself, that it would be worth it in the end.
Amaryllis was the name of the building that housed the portraitist, an elegantly designed storefront in soft silver and black colours. The name hung over the entrance in swirling Slytherin-green, the letters occasionally sparkling with silver sparks.
Molly had been the one to suggest the name, back when Ginny was first dating Draco, mostly as an aside to Narcissa when they were commiserating over the reality that their children were disgustingly in love with each other. Things had changed after that, rather quickly really, but Narcissa had beamed at her over tea the day the shop's permits came in, sliding the parchment with the name over to Molly without another word.
Perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise to hear of Ginny and Draco's sudden engagement after that afternoon.
"Molly," Narcissa says softly when she finally breaches the doorway, stepping into Amaryllis with a smile of her own.
"Cissa," Molly replies, "I hear I have an appointment this morning."
"I've got the entire day saved for you, actually," Narcissa says, motioning Molly down the hall.
"The entire day?"
"Yes," she answers with the hint of a smirk on her lips, "I didn't think you'd want to handle all the little ones during the sitting more than once."
"Oh," Molly says softly, touched by Narcissa's consideration, "Thank you."
It's Astoria who shows up first, carrying her oldest on her hip and smiling tiredly up at her. Allie, all of five years, begs for her mother to put her down as soon as she sees Molly.
Astoria complies, dropping her daughter on the floor with practiced ease and letting out a soft sigh once she stands again.
"Are you sure it's all right, Molly?" Astoria asks, one hand unconsciously resting on the subtle curve of her stomach.
"We've been over this, sweetheart," Molly replies, taking one of Astoria's hands and squeezing. Astoria relaxes, just a little.
"Harry will be here in a bit. Jamie insisted on dressing up for you."
"Oh, that sweet child," Molly says as she bends down a little to place a kiss on Allie's cheek.
"Jamie's decided to be a dragon this week. Been growling and jumping off the sofa every time we look away."
"When Charlie was little, he did that same thing! Course, his magic decided to allow him to float, so he would jump off the stairs."
"Gran, is Mum doing pitchurs with us too?" Allie interrupts with a wide smile, pointing at her mother.
"Yes, she is. So the babies can be in the painting with you and Gran," Molly answers. Allie makes an excited squeal and hugs her, making Astoria let out a soft little laugh.
"Little Allie, how are you this morning?" Narcissa asks her when she opens the door to her workspace. Allie bolts to her side and starts chattering away.
George and Angelina drop their twins off twenty minutes later, the two girls running inside without waiting. Angelina follows long enough to leave them with a kiss and hugs for Molly. Fred, for her part, obediently waits for her mother to leave before climbing all over the backdrop set up behind Molly's chair. Zane has no such compunctions, already halfway up the thing before Angelina turns away.
Allie joins them quickly enough, ignoring her mother's protests and jumping behind Fred. The room is full of laughter and childish glee when Harry comes in with Jamie, the child dressed in a deep brown tunic and dark green cloak. Jamie's hair was swept to the side, dirty blond with a red tinge, something that Molly liked to say was because Jamie was a little bit Weasley.
Jamie joins Narcissa after a polite hello to Molly, asking the woman all sorts of questions about magical portraiture. Harry kisses his wife hello before turning to engulf Molly herself in a hug.
"Excited for this?" He asks with a grin, and she can't help but return it.
"It's really too much," she admits, shaking her head a little, "but I love it already."
Hogwarts Grounds, Scotland
Ginny Weasley doesn't feel twenty one when she's standing with the rest of her family at the end of Victor's Field. She feels sixteen again, scared out of her mind and full of hatred. She hated a lot of things back then, most of them people who stuck their hands inside her life and twisted until it felt like finally when the war came to Hogwarts in a way that was deadly and couldn't be ignored.
She doesn't hate most of those people anymore. Most of the ones left living she pities, stuck in the reality of what their decisions cost them.
But she's still afraid.
It isn't that she's afraid of the ones that are left. If the past five years have taught her anything, it's that fears because of people can be beaten. It's just... she's twenty one years old and her brother's been dead five years and she doesn't even have anything to show for it. She's older than he was when he died and she's not even doing anything with the life she was gifted.
She'd played Quidditch, briefly. She'd enjoyed it, of course. It just, wasn't enough. Her family's newfound notoriety, tempered a little by the past five years, gave her enough room to write her own way anywhere.
And instead of doing whatever passion she could, she was living at home with her parents and hardly leaving the house.
So she's standing with her family at the edge of Victor's Field, afraid that she's disappointing her family, her friends, and Fred's memory.
The memorial service is set to start in an hour, food catered from the Hogwarts kitchen by the very house elves who had risked their lives in the same battle that Fred died in. Victor's Field is already lined with rows of simple, unadorned tables and chairs.
She thinks she hates Victor's Field though. Not because people died here-she's sure some did but most of the fighting was elsewhere. No, she hates it because the perfectly shorn field of soft grass and faerie light had been their spot, back before... everything. And now it was a memorial to her dead brother and her dead friends and the rest of the dead.
Everything left in her life was tainted by memories that didn't belong.
She hated herself for wishing a memorial were elsewhere so she could have happy feelings here.
Her parents start moving forward finally, taking up a conversation with someone she recognizes but doesn't care to place. Everyone seems to take that as permission to fall out of line, content in knowing that they'll meet back up before the start of the service and sit together, a solid wall of capital letter FAMILY together with one missing piece.
She joins Hermione by the band, some older classical group her mum used to play them while they studied. Hermione is staring down at her hands, counting them for a reason she doesn't know.
"You alright?" Ginny asks her, one hand gently pressing Hermione's arm. She hadn't seen her in awhile, more laziness than anything else, but she couldn't remember seeing the older woman like this since just after the war.
"'m fine," Hermione says, her face suddenly flushing. The sun, still forty minutes or so before the noon hour, is shining brightly but Ginny knows it's not the cause.
"No flashbacks?" Ginny follows up, and Hermione stops counting to stare up at her.
"Flashba-oh, Merlin, no," Hermione hisses, more embarrassed than anything else, "I was going to get a drink and realized I might be pregnant."
"You might-what? You were counting your cycle then? Is it... is it possible?"
Hermione shushes her, and looks around. Unsatisfied with what she sees, she nods her head away from the field. Ginny follows her lead.
They're opposite the apparition point and far enough away for Hermione's silencing spell to not call attention to them when she casts it, then settles herself down on the grass, a faint violet tinge to it.
"Are you pregnant, Hermione?" Ginny asks, unable to wait any longer. Hermione looks down at her hands-her fingers now laced together-and shrugs.
"It's been three months," she admits, not daring to look up.
"It's not my brother, is it?" Ginny asks, though she'd much rather ask more details instead.
"No," Hermione replies rather vehemently, "I can assure you I haven't seen your brother naked in several years."
"But there is someone...?" Ginny asks, and can't help but grin at the way Hermione softens at that.
Hermione's potential pregnancy aside, Ginny doesn't expect much happiness from the memorial. It still hurts, realizing that her brother is gone and won't be coming back. She can't imagine how it makes Harry feel, having lost so much more.
She's heading toward her family, lining up at the table to be seated together, when someone grabs her arm. It's not painful, just startling, and she nearly smacks the person whose fingers are wrapped around with the business end of her wand.
"Sorry!" he says quickly, releasing her arm with quickly enough that she can feel the displaced air brush her skin.
He looks the same as he did back then, before. He looks different too. Older, his features sharper and his eyes deeper. But otherwise, it's the same Draco Malfoy she had known in school.
The same Draco Malfoy she had loved, once upon a time.
"I didn't mean to startle you," he says, reaching for her face for a moment before dropping his hand to his side instead.
"It's all right," she says, unable to stop her voice from going that breathless tone that it usually did when they were alone and the attraction was undeniable.
"I know your family won't want to see me," he admits, looking down at their feet, inches apart, "but I miss you."
Her breath hitches in her throat at his words, her mouth parting open. She feels something, something like a tumultuous river during a raging storm rising in her chest.
"It's been five years," she whispers, something like yes and promise on her lips. Because it has been but she still feels something when she thinks about him.
"You said these were Fred's favorites," he said then, a box of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes Swamp Monster Fireworks in his hand.
Ginny knows that the box in his hands is one of her brother's most expensive packages. It always had been. She doesn't imagine that George or Ron or even Verity would have chosen to go down in price for Draco, given that all they knew of him was only a part of what she had known. And well, they never knew about them.
"-thank you," she manages to reply, her throat full of words that she can hardly choke down.
She doesn't ask if there had been other people after her. He doesn't ask either. Both of them had been thrust into the public eye through the outcome of the War, and even now the public still speculated about every potential outing with the opposite sex.
It isn't as if she hadn't loved other people, before or after him. But there was a part of her that had never stopped wanting him, even after he'd been taken out of school and their relationship just kind of stopped.
"Hey! Leave my sister alone!" Ron's voice cuts through their quiet conversation, and Ginny hesitates to pull away from Draco.
"It's fine, Ron," she says to her brother, not looking away from Draco, "he was just giving me something for after the service."
"I bet it's-"
"It's Fred's favorite fireworks, idiot. Don't cause a scene."
"What? You actually-"
"Shut up, Ron!" She hisses, finally pulling away. Her brother actually looks cowed at that.
"I've never liked you, Weasley," Draco says then, and Ron's face goes angry again, "but that's not necessarily true of the rest of your family. Your brothers pranked everyone, but they didn't do it maliciously."
"And your sister," Draco continues, turning back to Ginny, "I'd like to date you."
Before Ron can say anything to that, Ginny can't help herself but ask, "you mean that?"
When he says yes, she can't help her wide open smile, even through Ron's protests.
Desertisle's Prompt #3
Basic premise: Molly is seating for her 60th birthday portrait surrounded by her grandkids thinking about how DG reconnected after Fred's 5th year Death Anniversary memorial service.
Must haves: Understanding, forgiving Malfoys and Weasleys, grown up Draco and Ginny. Include all Molly's grandkids including Harry's with Luna or Astoria or Pansy or your choice.
No-no's: Modern names for DG kids, words as Mudbloods, Blood Traitors
Rating range: K-M
Bonus points: "All is well."