A/N: Sorry it took me so long to write this...although I don't think anyone was particularly waiting on it. Still, it's finished now. Hope you enjoy! Please review!
Molly Weasley's heart had been in her throat from the moment the loud clanging chime of the grandfather clock downstairs in the Burrow had sounded that night. She had only heard that sound a handful of times in her life, and each time, it sent an unearthly chill through her bones. She had rushed downstairs, nearly fainting right there in the living room floor when she saw that it was her husband's hand pointing to 'Mortal Peril'. After that, everything became a blur; she had read the note Albus Dumbledore sent as soon as it came, read it over again until the words were swimming in front of her eyes. More owls came, from the hospital, from the Order, and then somehow she had ended up in the waiting room of St. Mungo's, staring at the mediwizard blankly as he told her that Arthur had been badly injured, that they were having a hard time getting him stabilized. The words seemed a dull hum in her ears as the healer talked, and she heard him say that she wouldn't be allowed in to see Arthur just yet because he had to be operated on right away. She kept nodding in understanding, even though she didn't really understand at all, didn't understand how this could be happening.
"Mrs. Weasley?" the young wizard talking to her called, and she blinked at him, realizing that she hadn't heard his last couple of sentences. He looked at her with sympathy; she vaguely felt like punching him in the nose. "Mrs. Weasley, would you like to use a hospital owl to get in touch with your children?"
"Oh. Oh, yes," Molly murmured in reply, nodding again. "Yes, I would." She followed him to a room filled with about a dozen or more owls; there was such a room on each floor, if she remembered correctly. She scrawled out a note to the children at Grimmauld Place, one to Bill, one to Charlie, and one to Percy before going back to the waiting room.
It couldn't be happening, not like this. Arthur had promised. A part of her wanted so badly to cry, but she knew that if she once got started, she wouldn't be able to stop. Besides, she was mostly numb. There was this horrible aching deep in her chest that made breathing a bit difficult, but other than that, all her senses seemed blurred. She wouldn't let herself think about what would happen if he didn't pull through; he had to pull through. They were going to be together through this whole thing...he had promised.
She didn't even realize that Bill had walked in until he was sitting down beside her, and she nearly jumped out of her chair when he first laid a hand on her arm. "I came as soon as I could, Mum," he said quietly, his eyes filled with concern. Suddenly, Molly felt very old. Her eldest son was all grown up, sitting beside her looking at her sympathetically, with an air about him that said he knew he had to watch over her. She just stared at him, not saying a word until he finally asked, "Have they said any more about Dad?"
"No, not yet," she replied, forcing a weak smile. It faded very quickly. He rubbed her back absently with one hand, and she stiffened slightly; his treatment of her was suddenly making it that much harder not to cry. Somehow, he seemed to understand, and he removed his hand, letting it rest on the arm of his chair. There was a long few minutes of silence before either of them spoke again.
"Did you owl the others?" Bill asked abruptly. Molly nodded silently, her eyes straight ahead. If her other children had been there, she probably would have been trying to put up a more talkative front in order to reassure them that their father was going to be all right. But she was finally beginning to think of Bill as more of an adult; he didn't need that sort of reassurance from her anymore.
"I was hoping Percy would be here soon," she commented absently. Bill sighed a little.
"Mum...I don't think Percy--" he began, but she cut him off.
"He'll be here. I don't expect Charlie to come, at least not right away, but Percy lives right here in London. He still loves his father," she said, and her voice cracked on the last sentence. She bit her lip hard, turning her face away from Bill, who cleared his throat a little uncomfortably.
"I'm going to go see if I can find out anything else." he said, standing up from his seat. She nodded quickly, still not looking at him. "Will you be all right here by yourself for a bit?"
"Of course, Bill," she replied, swallowing the lump in her throat and forcing another weak smile. He leaned over to kiss her cheek, patting her shoulder as he did so, then exited out into the hall.
He hadn't been gone more than thirty seconds before the same young mediwizard came through the waiting room doors; Molly was on her feet before he even started speaking.
"Mrs. Weasley, you'd better come see him now. The wound won't stop bleeding, and they're giving him a Blood Replenishing Potion, but there's a chance it won't take effect quickly enough, there's nothing more we can do right now..." She wasn't listening to him; she hadn't really heard a word after his first urgent message that she go to see Arthur. Later, she wouldn't be able to recall how she managed to find where he was; no one showed her, because she taken off at a run down the hall before the mediwizard even finished speaking. Yet somehow, she had made it there, into the room where they had operated on Arthur. There were still a few mediwitches and wizards standing around, but the Healer who seemed to be in charge motioned them all to leave for the time being.
Arthur looked as white as the sheets he was lying on. Somehow, Molly remembered being told earlier that he was losing a lot of blood; she could see the bandages wrapped around his chest and shuddered at the thought of the monster that had done this to him. Carefully, she took his hand in hers and sat down on the edge of his bed.
"You've gone and gotten yourself into a right mess now, haven't you, Arthur?" she said shakily, reaching to smooth back some loose strands of hair from his balding forehead. His skin was clammy, and his fiery red hair looked out of place against his too-white skin. "I can't keep you out of trouble all the time, you know," she added with a choked laugh. His stone-like face didn't respond; even his lips looked white. Molly's face crumpled suddenly as hot tears began spilling out of her eyes.
"You promised, Arthur," she whispered, a little angry but mostly broken. "You...you promised me that we were going to be all right."
Her husband still lay motionless, and a quiet sob escaped her as she lifted his hand to her lips and kissed it. His hand was large and thin compared to her small, plump hands, and at the moment, they were also very cold. Absently, she began rubbing his fingers as she cried, instinctively trying to warm his skin. After a moment, her sobs subsided, giving way to sniffles as she calmed down.
"Bill's here, Arthur," she told him, somehow hoping that if she just kept talking, he would have to hang on to life in order to listen to her. "And I've...I've sent an owl to the other children. All of them," she added quietly. She lapsed into silence for a moment before starting in on another topic, her voice still wavering slightly. "It...it's getting close to Christmas, Arthur. I haven't quite finished all the jumpers...I've just been so busy with everything. You...you'll have to get out of here soon, love, because I want us all home for Christmas."
The minutes ticked on with no response. The sensible side of her knew that rest was really the best thing for him at the moment, but her heart needed some reassurance. She needed a sign, even a small one, that he was going to pull through.
"Please, Arthur," she pleaded softly, her voice low. "The children still need you...I need you, Arthur. You remember your promise? Our promise...please tell me you remember."
At first, she almost didn't notice the movement of his hand; it was slow, almost imperceptible. But suddenly, she realized that his fingers had weakly curled around hers, and a flood of relief rushed through her. She fervently pressed her lips against his hand again, and tears of joy began spilling down her cheeks.
Bill walked in a few moments later, his face grave. His mother looked up at him, eyes shining, as he came to stand beside her, one hand resting on her back.
"He's going to be all right, Bill," she announced, smiling. He sighed quietly.
"Mum, they...they still don't know. I just talked to one of the mediwizards. They said they won't really know if the potion took effect for at least another hour..." he said gently, but Molly interrupted him with a stern voice.
"Bill Weasley, don't contradict your mother. He's going to be fine," she added, her tone satisfied. Still smiling, she looked back down at her husband; maybe it was only in her mind, but she believed she could see some small hints of color returning to his cheeks.