Summary: Molly Weasley will never forget…the flames, the fear…that he has been here. Rated for mention of rape and disturbing content. If you are easily distressed, please don't read this. Based on the song No Bravery by James Blunt. Listen to the song, while reading this if you can. It is incredibly moving.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and the related characters and places belong to J.K.Rowling.
Dedication: In loving and eternal memory of Lauren and Abbey. Two years after…shine on my little stars x x
The village of Ottery, St Catchpole near Devon was small and peaceful. A perfect place to raise a family, one could say. And there was nowhere better to do this than The Burrow. As Arthur Weasley lay asleep in bed, he was content in knowing that his family slept safely in their beds, the warm summer night's air filling the house with the smell of the roses from the garden. It was not nearing morning, in fact Arthur had said goodnight to the twins not even three hours ago. Yet something woke the red headed man suddenly. He lay there, listening to his wife Molly breathing gently beside him. He gave a brief smile and kissed her lightly on the cheek, before climbing out of bed and heading for the window. He opened it, feeling the need for a cool breeze in the stuffy bedroom. A dog could be heard barking somewhere in the distance, in the village no doubt. Arthur turned to his bed, and then frowned. Slowly, he turned back around to the window and, squinting in the faint light, managed to spot numerous dark shadows silhouetted on the near by hill. Arthur remained very still, his eyes not breaking from the spot.
"Molly," his voice seemed loud in the silence of the night.
"Yes, dear?" his wife croaked, rolling over to see him. She saw his upright stance, recognised the panic in his voice and immediately she sat up, scrambling out of the bed sheets and wrapping her quilted robe around her.
"What is it?" she asked urgently, joining him at the window. He turned to her, his light eyes full of concern.
"Wake the children, we have to leave immediately." Molly gave a nod and left the room in a hurry. Arthur grabbed his wand from beside his bed, and followed his wife out of the room.
The Weasley children, all with trademark red hair (tussled from hours of sleep), made their way out onto the main landing at their mother's request. Bill the eldest, made his way down the stairs quickly, followed by Ron whose bedroom was at the top of the house.
"Dad, what's wrong?" Bill asked immediately, coming to a halt next to his younger brother Charlie. Ron wrapped a reassuring arm around Ginny, who shivered in the cool breeze while attempting to do up her power blue robe.
"Children, we aren't safe, we have to leave," Arthur said. Molly bit her lip in concern. Bill and Charlie made their way to the landing window, watching in horror as the shadows made their way down the lane, towards The Burrow. The young men gave each other significant glances.
"There's no time," Charlie said in dismay. "They're here."
Ginny gave a whimper of fear. Arthur was thinking fast.
"Boys, go further into the house," he told his sons. "Molly," he turned to his wife, she was trembling in fear. "Molly, take Ginny out the back, follow the river back to the village. Hurry." Molly nodded.
"Ron…you too," she said but her youngest son shook his head.
"No, Mama. I can do this. I can fight." Ron had always wanted to prove himself; Molly knew this and simply nodded, feeling her heart break. Ron gave her a loving glance before following the twins up the stairs.
"Arthur I'm scared."
"Me too, but we'll be ok. Look after Ginny." His wife nodded.
"I know, me too. Don't say it. This isn't goodbye Molly." The garden gate creaked loudly in the eerie silence. The three Weasley's turned their heads towards the sound.
"Go," Arthur instructed. "Run. Don't look back. Run!" Molly's eyes hung briefly on her husband, before taking her daughter's hand and pulling her down the stairs to the cold kitchen.
"Mama, I can stay. I can fight. Please Mama, they need us. I know what I'm doing," Ginny protested fiercely, though keeping her voice down. "I know what to do Mama, Harry taught me." Molly turned to her, fear and anger in her eyes.
"Harry's a child. You're a child Ginevra. This isn't a game," her voice wavered. She turned from her daughter and continued to the door. There was no time to be brave, there was only time to run.
Molly and Ginny heard the front door swing open with a bang as they made their way through the back of the house. Ginny gave a gasp and looked up to her mother.
"Mama, we can't run. We have to stay and fight. We can do this." But Molly shook her head firmly, grabbing her daughter's wrist with such force and pushing her out of the door.
"Come on Ginny, we have to hide. We will be safe, I promise you." She steered her child in the direction of the shed. Molly had left her wand by her bed, and she was relieved to find that the shed was unlocked. She pushed Ginny in fiercely and turned for one last look at her house. A whooshing noise filled her ears as a bright green light shot up into the sky, forming a smoky emerald skull and a serpent entwined with it. The Dark Mark. Molly froze in horror. Her eyes were wide and her mouth hung open.
"What was that?" Ginny called urgently from the shed.
"Nothing," Molly lied quickly, joining her daughter and slamming the door before the girl had chance to see. However, the young girl took one look at her mother's face and knew that something was wrong. Ginny wiped at the grimy shed window with the cuff of her powder blue bed-robe. Her brown eyes widened with what she saw. She turned to her mother quickly.
"The Dark Mark," she squealed in fear. Attempting to open the door, she pushed her mother aside.
"Ginevra stop it! We mustn't be seen. Do you hear me Ginny?" she said firmly but Ginny pushed the rusty bolt aside and dashed out into the garden, her bare feet slipping on the dew-covered grass. Molly cried out and followed her. Both stopped as an almighty explosion shook the house. Ginny screamed and fell to the floor as shattered glass flew through the air. Flames licked the window frames on the second floor of the house. Molly trembled and took an involuntary step back. Ginny scrambled to her feet and headed back to her mother.
"Mama…Dad, the boys, they're still in there!" She didn't need to say it, Molly already knew. She looked into Ginny's frightened eyes. A shout from the house made them both spin around. It was a male voice, familiar but not one of their own. The man stood all in black, his face covered. He was soon joined by another, and another. Smoke billowed from the doorway, as they made their way out of the house, across the garden, looking eerily like Dementors. The certainly didn't look human, nor act it, though Molly knew they were. They were Death Eaters.
"Ginny back to the shed," she hissed and the two females ran to the hut. Molly bolted the door and leant her back against it, her chest rising and falling heavily. She could hear Ginny wheezing in fear, her skin was pale and a layer of sweat covered her face, catching the amber light through the dirty window.
"I know, Mama. We'll be ok." The girl took her mother's cold hand.
"BOMBARDA!" came a cry from outside and the wooden door flew open and off it's hinges. The man entered, followed by his comrades. Long, white blonde hair escaped from underneath his hood. His cool, sneering voice made Molly want to scream out as the man headed for her daughter.
"And the youngest one," his familiar voice said. "Not frightened, are we?"
"No," lied Ginny, her voice cracking in fear. The man's gloved hand went around her small throat. Molly screamed as the other robed men closed in on her. The blonde man spun around.
"No…let her go. She can live, she must remember." Molly shook unwillingly and felt as if her legs would give in at any moment.
"Let my daughter go…please. Take me," Molly pleaded. The man silenced her with a fist. Ginny gasped.
"No. The Dark Lord wants you," he said, turning to Ginny and stroking a piece of her crimson hair. "He's missed you," he whispered menacingly. Turning to Molly he barked a command.
"Go, woman. You don't want to see this." Molly was pushed from the shed where she fell into the mud. She scrambled up and ran, slipping once or twice in her slippers. She kicked them off and continued to the hill on the far side of the house. Ginny's screams filled the night. Molly felt as if she had betrayed her only daughter. She had left her there with those men. She had failed as a mother; she had not protected them. Tears blurred her vision as she made it to the other side of the house. The smoke was thick and black, rising into the night sky. Molly wept as she saw the flames spreading higher, faster. She turned once more and headed up the hill.
Molly's ankle caught in a groove in the grass slope. She slipped and fell, her fingers lacing with the damp grass as she gave a moan of frustration. Her body tumbled over and she unwillingly saw the devastation before her, her beloved home burning to ashes. As she watched in horror, the roof of the house collapsed onto the floor below; her Ronald's room. Molly gave out a howl and her shoulders shook uncontrollably. She lowered her eyes, she could watch no longer. A slow movement caught her eye at the bottom of the hill, and a cry of anguish echoed in the air. Molly could see the flowing red hair streaking after the girl, so similar to the flames that rose behind her as she stumbled towards her mother.
"Mama," she sobbed, her throat tearing. "Mama, please."
Finding the strength to move her limbs, Molly skidded down the hill which she had tried so hard to climb, and went to her daughter's aid.
"Ginevra," she tried to shout but her lungs ached too much to do so. The girl was without her bed robe, her camisole straps were torn and her shoulders were bruised with finger-marks. As the girl ran for the comfort of her mother, blood flowed down her naked legs. Her face had been badly beaten and her lips were swollen. She stumbled to the floor as her mother reached her. She was almost unrecognisable.
"Ginny, oh Ginny darling!" The girl groaned, trying to respond. Her mother shushed her, stroking her sodden hair gently and holding her in her arms. The girl smelt of men and sweat. Molly wanted to be sick; she swallowed hard to prevent herself from retching. Hot tears fell down her freckled face and landed on her only daughter.
"Mama, I'm so sorry. I wasn't strong enough. I'm sorry," the girl slurred. Her eyes began to close slightly. Molly began to sob.
"No. Ginny don't leave me. Please don't leave me. Hold on a little longer," she rambled desperately. The girl's brown eyes flickered open quickly.
"I knew he would get me eventually," she coughed.
"Voldemort," the girl whispered. She was no longer afraid to speak his name. Her mother's eyes widened.
"He has been here." It wasn't a question. Her daughter gave a weak nod.
"He has been here."
Molly looked back up to her house. The green smoke, still shaped as a skull and serpent, continued to burn brightly over her home, licked by the amber flames as the fire rose higher and higher. Molly looked back down at her daughter. Her dark eyes remained open and were glazed, her lips were slightly parted and her petite form hung limply in her mother's arm. Molly let out a wail.
"Ginny! Ginny, no! Ginny!" She shook her daughter's battered frame but to no avail; her only daughter lay dead in her arms.
The woman retched and vomited on the grass. She thumped the ground with angry fists and her sobs echoed around her but nobody heard. She was alone.
Another green beacon of death shot into the air far in the distance, the other side of the River Otter. Possibly the Diggory's, they had lost to this war already, or maybe the Lovegoods; Molly didn't know or care. She had lost everything she loved and she was left to live, to remember forever.
Harry Potter stood in on the top of the hill, the early morning breeze moving his unkempt dark hair. He surveyed the scene before him in dismay; the home that he had felt so welcome in, the family that he had called his own, his best friend…all had been destroyed. Tears fell silently down his face, chilling his skin as they dried in the wind. He held the form of a frail girl tighter as she wept onto his chest. He lowered his face to her, breathing in the smell of her curly brown hair, rather than the stench of smoke and death that now filled the little valley. Hermione Granger's fingers dug into his flesh pinching his skin, so much so that he thought he would feel the pain, if he knew how to anymore. He didn't let her go though, but cried into her hair as she cried onto him. Their sorrow was combined. Their loss was combined. They only had each other now.
Through the tears Harry could see a woman at the bottom of the hill, rocking back and forth as she sat there alone, her little girl by her side. She had sat there for hours, her eyes never breaking from the burnt out shell she once called home. Mad-Eye Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt carried out the motionless forms one by one. As the first son was dragged from the ashes, the woman rose and ran barefooted to see her boys. She gave a wail as the he was laid to rest. Bill, her oldest. She touched his pale face with a trembling hand, and then covered him with a blanket. Charlie was then laid by his brother's side. His long hair matted with blood and his eyes still open, the look of fear so apparent that Molly could not tear her eyes away from him. She choked back tears as Kingsley covered the boy's anguished face. Fred and George were found together. Fred was badly wounded; his bedclothes still sodden with blood. George appeared unharmed, almost peaceful. It was as if the pain of his twin was enough to take his own life also. And lastly came Ronald; her baby boy. His freckled face was smeared with ash and his hair was singed from the flames. He looked so much younger than his years. He looked like a child. He was a child, her child, they all were. And now they were gone.
Kingsley carried over Ginny's limp form, and laid her lightly on the ground next to Ron. As Moody came out of The Burrow, the Auror turned to his comrade, who shook his head ever so slightly. Molly looked between them, confusion on her weary face.
"Arthur?" She scrambled up and ran to the house. She could still feel the heat on her face, hear the wooden beams creak as they cooled and the dripping of the water from the rafters.
"Arthur!" she screamed, causing her to cough. "Arthur!" she tried again. Moody held her back.
"Molly, don't. It's too dangerous."
"He's still in there, Alastor. He might still be alive," she insisted, fighting the man's grip. He shook his head and held her shoulders firmly.
"Molly. Look at me Molly. He's gone. He's not in there. He's gone." The woman stared at her friend blankly, before taking a step backwards. She turned and ran to her children once more, shouting incoherently. Falling to her knees she threw her arms into the air.
"Why!" she screamed. "Why did you take them from me? Why?" There was no response; she didn't expect one. "You could have taken me," she sobbed "Take me too, I beg you. Take me too." Molly curled into a ball and wept. "Why?" she moaned.
Behind her, the garden gate creaked open. Stood there was a tall, pale young man with curly red hair and horn-rimmed glasses. Behind them were pale blue eyes, filled with horror and grief. The man dropped his bags and made his way numbly over to his mother, his eyes briefly falling on the lifeless forms of each of his siblings. He dropped to the floor beside his mother and embraced her in his arms.
"Mother, I'm so sorry. Forgive me," he whispered, tears spilling from under his glasses. The woman held him tighter, crying on to her only son's shoulder.
Harry and Hermione watched their grief from a distance. They saw the look in the mother's eyes. She would never forget what she had witnessed that night. She would never forget the flames, the fear…that he had been there. A woman once so strong, so brave, was now broken forever, haunted by what she had seen. They saw no bravery in her eyes anymore, only sadness.
No bravery in her eyes anymore, only sadness.