A/N: My feeble attempt to explain why there's such a large age gap (6-7 years) between Charlie and Percy when the other age gaps seem to all be 1 or 2 years. J.K. Rowling owns everything. Oh, and for those of you who will probably leave reviews telling me that Molly's eyes aren't blue..well, I don't think they're blue, either, but I wanted them to be for this fic.

Twenty-one year old Molly Weasley kissed her two young sons goodbye before leaving them with her mother-in-law for the afternoon. Bill and Charlie were two of the three dearest things in her life (the third being Arthur), but it WAS awfully hard to get any shopping down with Charlie in her arms and Bill clinging to her robes. She smiled to herself as she walked beside the shops in Diagon Alley, mostly window-shopping for things they couldn't quite afford. They indulged in a few luxuries now and again, but she and Arthur both wanted a large family and knew that they'd have to start saving up now for the future.

Molly couldn't help but smile fondly at a little toddler girl being tossed into the air by her father outside the ice cream parlor. How she wished she had a girl to dress up and pet! She loved her boys dearly, and knew she wouldn't love a daughter any more or less, but a girl would be nice for a change. She and Arthur had been talking about trying for a third child soon; perhaps this time, she'd get her wish.

Too wrapped up in her own thoughts to realize where she was heading, the redhead didn't notice how close she was getting to Knockturn Alley, nor did she see the dark-haired man that had been following her for some time. If she had been aware of either of these things, she probably wouldn't have stopped to investigate the sounds of a crying child in the darkness of the forbidden street. Then again, knowing Molly, she probably would have tried to help a child no matter what the circumstances.

The next thing she knew, a silencing spell had been cast on her from behind and a strong pair of hands pinned her arms to her sides. She tried to scream, but of course no sound could escape her lips. The only person in sight was an aging prostitute standing on a corner; she merely glanced Molly's way before turning her head towards another part of the twisted treet. Another spell was murmured into the redhead's ear, and she found she was unable to struggle any longer; the man who grabbed her had disabled the use of her limbs, making it all too easy to drag her into an abandoned shop with broken, empty windows.

"No. Not me. Why me?" she thought frantically, trying to think of an escape. Her wand was in her pocket, which she couldn't get to because she couldn't move her arms any longer. There was still feeling in her head and body, but that left her unable to do anything but writhe furiously against the man's touch. She heard him give a low chuckle as she was strapped around her middle to the floor with some sort of belt, and wondered just how many women he had practiced this on. She wanted to tell him that he was making a mistake, that she had a husband and children to care for, that she was young and caring and had her whole life yet to live. If only she could talk, she could babble on and on about what darling boys Bill and Charlie were, about how hard Arthur worked at the Ministry, about how she had gotten top marks in Charms when she was at school and was a wonder at performing all sorts of little household spells. But all she could do was stare at him in the darkness with large, frightened blue eyes while he stripped her of her robes, her mind still racing with, "Why is this happening to me?"

Even as she watched him pulling up his own robes, she prayed that the witch who had seen her outside would send someone for help. Even as she felt him invade her body in a way only one other man ever had, she hoped Arthur would somehow sense her in trouble and come to her rescue, her own personal white knight who would vanquish the evil villain and carry her away to safety. But no help came. Molly cried openly, her pride gone and the parts of her body that she could feel aching from the man's rough attentions. The light was too dim for her to properly see her captor, but she knew he was large and his hair was dark. He took his time with her, enjoying the pain he was inflicting upon the petite redhead.

But, after a while, he finished, and the suffocating weight of his body was lifted from her, leaving behind a sense of violation and filth. Molly continued to cry voicelessly for a moment; then, she was aware of a blinding pain in her skull when his dirty boot met with her head, and everything was dark.

~*~*~*~

Before she even opened her eyes, she could tell she had been moved. The light outside her eyelids was obviously brighter than the dingy room where she had been raped, and this place smelled much cleaner. She was in a bed, under fresh sheets. Her head, among other places, was aching terribly, and the numbing spell that had been placed on her limbs was gone, because she could feel someone holding her hand.

"Molly.." Arthur's voice called to her softly, his voice tired, and her eyes flew open. He looked terrible. His robes were disheveled, his hair was mussed, his eyes were red-rimmed, and his face was white. To Molly, he was the most wonderful sight she had ever clapped eyes on.

"How long have I been here?" she asked, but no sound came out of her mouth. The silencing spell had gone undetected and unremoved by the medi-wizards. Arthur frowned and reached for his wand lying on her beside table.

"Is it just a silencing charm?" he asked gently, still holding her hand and rubbing his thumb in small circles against her skin. She nodded weakly, and he cast the counter-curse to restore her speech.

"How long have I been here?" she repeated, her voice slightly cracked. Arthur leaned over to kiss her forehead tenderly, putting down his wand again and reaching his free hand up to stroke her hair.

"They found you last night. It's nearly lunch time...are you hungry?" he asked suddenly, and she could tell by the look in his eye that he was hungry and probably hadn't eaten since yesterday. However, the thought of food right now was positively revolting.

"No, darling, not just yet..you go ahead and get yourself something. You look tired," she replied softly, her ever-watchful blue eyes studying his face. Arthur smiled, squeezing her hand and shaking his head at the same time.

"I've just been so worried about you..you're everything to me, Molly." he admitted softly, almost tearfully. She realized that he hadn't yet asked any questions about the incident. She wondered, for a brief moment, if he knew what had happened, but then told herself that the medi-wizards probably realized it the moment she was brought in.

"Arthur.they didn't..catch him, did they?" she asked hesitantly, and his face paled. He obviously hadn't thought she would be prepared to talk about things so soon after her ordeal. Slowly, he shook his head no, and she sighed heavily, letting her eyes close again. "I suppose it was too much to hope for."

"We'll find him. Somehow, we will. Oh, Molly," he sighed, laying his head on the pillow beside her, his face buried in her red, cinnamon-scented hair. "I'm sorry..I promised a long time ago I wouldn't let anything hurt you, and something has."

"This isn't your fault," she insisted firmly, slipping one arm underneath his body to hold him close. "It's no one's fault except the man who..who did this.." Memories threatened to flood back into her brain, but she kept them at bay stubbornly, focusing instead on her husband beside her, on the way his breath warmed her neck, the way he smelled of parchment and warmth and green grass and all things good and wholesome and ordinary. He was her Arthur, her husband, the father of her children.

But her thoughts had taken another wrong turn there, and a stab of fear worried her heart. Children. She seriously doubted the man who had raped her would have bothered with any sort of contraceptive potion or charm. A whole new fountain of worries sprang forth inside her head. What if she was pregnant? Yes, she wanted more children, but she wanted Arthur's children, not the offspring of some dirty man whose face she had never even seen! She really wasn't sure she -

"Molly, dear, are you all right?" Arthur had lifted his head and was staring at her worriedly. She blinked at him, returning to Earth once again, and nodded silently. "I was asking you if you think you'll be feeling good enough to go home this afternoon or tomorrow...the Healers said you'll be free to go as soon as you feel up to it."

"I'm ready to go home right now," she answered quickly, forcing a smile. She knew they were both thinking the same thing; they didn't have enough money to pay for a long hospital stay. The sooner she was home, the better. "Just sign the papers and get me out of here." He nodded, kissed her forehead again, and rose to leave before she asked, "Are the kids still at your mum's?"

"Yes, and she said she doesn't mind to keep them for a few days while.while you recover," he replied falteringly, the topic of his wife's rape very upsetting to him. "I've taken off work today and tomorrow - "

"Arthur, we can't afford for you to do that," Molly replied, a little sharper than she had intended. Her husband blushed, and she immediately felt guilty; she knew he had always felt bad about not being able to give her the things she wanted - and in some cases, needed. "I'll be all right," she reassured, softer, and was rewarded with a smile.

"I know you will be, love, but I want to stay with you. I'll be back in a flash!" he called, not realizing the irony of how contradictory his separate thoughts were when placed next to one another. Molly smiled as she watched him go, but the expression soon faded as she let her mind be consumed with her previous worry. She could be pregnant; in fact, it was highly likely that she was. She wasn't about to have an abortion; she could never bring herself to destroy something so innocent, no matter how sinister its beginnings might be. But could she bear to keep it? She knew Arthur would accept her decision, no matter what it might be. If she had a child, he would be the good man he was and try to treat it like the other children, try to love it like he loved his own...but she knew he never truly could, not when seeing the child would just be seeing a reminder of that day and that man.

She thought of that dark hair, those cold eyes...she would never really be able to love another man's child the way she loved Bill and Charlie: the way she loved Arthur's children. Arthur was everything to her; she could barely remember her life before he was in it, and life without him would be a horrifying, empty existence. Everything about him...the way he smiled, the way he laughed, the way he cried, the way he held her, the way he made love..he completed her. She couldn't bear to place the burden of raising another man's child on him. If there was a baby, she would put it up for adoption and let their lives continue as if nothing had changed.

Arthur reappeared in the doorway of her room, managing to hold three blueberry muffins in one long hand and a cup of tea in the other. A fourth muffin was in his mouth. He mumbled something muffled that she understood to mean, 'Want one?', and she shook her head, unable to keep from smiling at him. Her darling, lovable, Muggle-obsessed Arthur. She would not let their lives be changed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was three weeks before Bill's fourth birthday when Molly went into labor with the child she'd been pretending didn't exist for ninth months. They had told only who they had to about the situation; rather, Arthur had told. Molly never spoke of her pregnancy, not since it had been confirmed and she had told Arthur of her decision to put the baby up for adoption. He had seen to it that a couple was found to take the child, taking care of all the arrangements while Molly went about her life. Still, no matter how hard she tried to be normal, there was a separation between her and the rest of the world that could not heal until she was free of the baby. She could pretend nothing was wrong on the outside, but on the inside she felt the kicks and squirms that had brought so much joy with the first two children; now, they were only a painful reminder that she longed to end.

Once again, she was in the hospital while the children were left with Arthur's mother. Bill and Charlie had been born at home, but this time was different. She'd be leaving the baby at the hospital with new parents at the end of the day. They had been there to meet her when she first arrived, a very sweet middle-aged couple who had smiled at her kindly, trying to look sympathetic, although in their eyes shone pure excitement at the prospect of taking home their new baby, and she knew she was no more than a brood mare for them. She'd wanted to scream at them. She'd wanted to tell them every horrible detail of how this child she was going to birth for them came into being. She'd wanted to cry over how tortured she had been, having this thing growing inside her against her will while at the same time she couldn't kill it; it was an innocent life. But she merely returned their smiles forcedly before she was taken into a room.

Hours later, through a pain-filled haze, she was aware of the medi-witch telling her that the baby was a girl and asking if she would like to hold her. In a response that surprised even her, Molly answered yes. She wanted to see the child she had brought into the world, if only once. She had to know exactly who she was giving away. The infant girl was placed into her arms, a tiny, red-skinned bundle whose cries seemed oddly subdued. Her hair was every bit as black as her father's had been, and Molly closed her eyes, shutting out the memories once more. By her side, Arthur watched the scene with some concern for his wife's emotional well-being as he smoothed back strands of damp hair from her forehead.

"She's a lovely child," Molly commented aloud, her voice sounding slightly detached. The baby opened her eyes to look at her mother; they were the same shade of sky blue as Molly's. 'Silly, all babies have blue eyes, you know that.' she tried to tell herself, but in her heart of hearts she knew that the girl would have her mother's eyes for the rest of her life. A single tear slid from Molly's cheek to land on the newborn's forehead. A girl. The little girl that she had been dreaming of having only a few months earlier, the little girl she had wanted to dress in pink ribbons and lace, the little girl she had wanted to teach to cook, to knit, to love, to protect herself against getting hurt in a world full of pain.

For one brief moment, Molly thought about changing her mind. She had a right to keep her own daughter, didn't she? But then she looked up at Arthur's worried, apprehensive face, glancing from her to the baby as if afraid the child was going to hurt Molly, and she knew it had to be done. There was a couple waiting outside who had wanted this child for months, whereas Molly had only wanted her for a few seconds. They would love her and raise her as their own in a place where she wouldn't be given odd looks as the only dark child in a family of sun-bright redheads. She would belong.

With a small sigh, Molly bent her head down to kiss the baby's forehead and looked into her eyes one last time before handing her back to the nurse. She and Arthur would return home with their sons who were too young to even understand that their mother had been pregnant, much less that she had given up their baby half-sister. It would be eleven years until Molly would see her daughter again, boarding the Hogwarts Express and waving goodbye to the only parents she had ever known, not realizing that her biological mother was the woman fussing over the crowd of redheaded boys in the station. For seven more years, she would watch the girl grow, careful to keep out of sight of the kind couple who might recognize her. Arthur would never even notice the girl; if he ever even managed to put together the fact that she would be old enough to attend school, he never let on to his wife. And every year, as she was waving goodbye to her sons aboard the train, Molly Weasley would blow a kiss meant for the dark-haired, blue-eyed memory she had never quite been able to forget.