Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
"Molly. I need you to look at me. The baby is fine. Look at me."
"Arthur, I need you to get her to pay attention to me."
"Mollywobbles, dear, I have the baby; you need to look at Demetria. Please, dear."
"Molly, you need to stop bleeding. I need you to concentrate on not bleeding right now. The potions we gave you aren't stopping it fast enough."
Light-headedly, she concentrated on making the bleeding stop. She wanted to see her baby. She hadn't gotten a chance to hold the baby for long. She needed to hold the baby.
Demetria seemed to know what she was thinking. "Molly, as soon as you stop bleeding, you can hold the baby for as long as you want. Arthur has him now. You just need to stop bleeding."
Stop bleeding to hold the baby. I can do that.
Demetria smiled at her. "That's it Molly. That's it. Good." She massaged Molly's stomach. "There you go. Arthur, bring the baby over to nurse, it will help."
The fussing baby was placed on her chest. "Another boy," she said weakly. As soon as he heard her voice, he calmed. Blue eyes looked into hers, and she felt she could be lost forever in them. She smiled at him. "Another beautiful boy."
Carefully, she latched the baby on. Demetria smiled at her. "That's right, Molly. That's causing your uterus to contract. It'll help stop the bleeding." She was still massaging Molly's stomach, but Molly wasn't paying attention; she was completely absorbed in the little life humming contentedly at her breast.
The baby's little fists slowly relaxed. Amalthea, Demetria's student, took off the cap the baby was wearing. As she replaced it with a new one, Molly brought her hand up to pet the baby's head. "Arthur, another redhead," she cooed.
Arthur bent down next to her and gave her a kiss on the forehead. He leaned over a little further and kissed the baby's hat. "He's beautiful, love. Just like his mother."
She looked at baby, asleep despite his nursing, and sighed her happiness. "He is perfect. A perfect little angel."
"Molly, you need to eat and drink a little. You need to start regaining your strength. You lost a lot of blood." Amalthea brought her a piece of cheese and glass of lemonade.
The thought of food made her nauseous, and she said so. Demetria gently coaxed her into having at least a couple of bites.
The lemonade burned her throat; she really had been screaming quite a bit earlier. But she forced the too-sweet liquid down and told her stomach not to revolt. The cheese, surprisingly, went down easier, but she turned her head away at an offer for more.
A while later, Molly never was able to tell how long, the midwives helped her to the restroom. She was incredibly dizzy, not to mention sore, but with some careful maneuvering, she was able to take care of business. She winced as her stomach cramped. She had forgotten about the after-pains. Amalthea offered her hand, and allowed Molly to lean on her. Molly's face went white, and Amalthea was just able to conjure a soft chair for her to sit on before she passed out.
She called Arthur in to help her get Molly back into bed. Black spots danced in front of Molly's eyes, but she smiled up at her husband. "I think I should lie down for a bit."
Worry flashed across Arthur's face, but he hid it quickly. He smiled down at his wife, laying her back, he levitated her into the bedroom and onto the bed. He brushed a strand of hair from her face as Demetria walked over to him with their son.
"He's a strong one. Good color, good reflexes, and his chest is clear. He's 4.3 kg, a big little guy," she told the new parents. She had dressed him in a blue newborn gown that matched his eyes. She lowered the baby next to his mother, who, despite her obvious weakness, smiled at him.
Arthur crawled into the bed with her and the baby. His eyes focused on nothing but the newest member of the family. "I don't think 'Ginevra' will do as a name for him."
Molly smiled and shook her head. Her pale little boy's eyes were open again, and his gaze bore deep into hers. He gripped her finger in his tiny hand. "No, you most definitely aren't a Ginevra." As much as they had expected a girl--what were the chances of six boys in a row?--she couldn't have been happier. "What about 'Ronald'? Ronald Bilius Weasley."
Arthur smiled down at his young son. He brushed the boy's cheek, and the baby turned his head in the direction of his father's hand. "What do you say, Ronald?" The baby stuck his tongue out and Arthur smiled. "I think it's a perfect name for my perfect boy."
Recognizing the signs that her baby wanted to eat, she latched him on again. "Here you go, Ronald. You can have as much as you want." She turned to her husband. "Wake the boys. I want them to see their new baby brother."
Arthur lifted his eyebrows. "Even the twins? I think it would be wise to let them sleep as long as possible today."
She chuckled softly, not wanting to disturb the baby. "Even the twins. This is their brother too."
Demetria and Amalthea gave her a blood-replenishing potion and told her they would be back in the evening to check on her. The told her the warning signs for if she were to start to hemorrhage again, and she nodded, saying she understood. As they left the room, Bill and Charlie came bounding in.
"Wow, Mum, I didn't even hear you scream! I'm so glad it's another boy!" Charlie said, looking at the small bundle next to his mother.
"Charlie, they probably put up silencing charms," Bill said, all-knowingly.
"Oh, yeah." Charlie looked sheepish.
The twins had toddled into the room during the oldest boys' discussion, and climbed onto the bed. Arthur came in a few minutes later carrying Percy.
George poked the baby as Fred stole his blanket. Ronald slept through the exchange, and Molly pulled her covers over him. Percy buried his head in his father's shoulder. Molly held an arm out to him, and he dove from Arthur's embrace to his mother's side.
"Everyone stay right there, I'm going to get the camera." Arthur ran from the room.
Molly captured the twins, who were trying to get off the bed. They started to jump on the bed in response. She shielded the baby from the bouncing boys. Percy looked over her body at the sleeping bundle.
"That the baby?" Percy looked at her questioningly.
Bill did his best to lift his brother from the bed, but the both ended up in a pile on the floor.
"Yup, Perce, that's the baby."
"Oh. I love the baby. He has beautiful eyes. Mama? I'm the baby?"
"You're my baby too, Percy. You are all my babies." Bill had helped Percy back on the bed, and she gave him a quick hug.
Arthur came back into the room with the camera. Catching a twin under each arm, he quickly put them against the headboard. Charlie and Bill huddled close to the bed and smiled. He snapped the picture.
Years later, Molly looked at the picture and smiled. This would always be one of her favorites, a capture of that one perfect morning. Fred and George were still for a split second, then they were pulling each other off the bed with Charlie and Bill catching them. Percy kept gently touching the baby on the head, then he would hide his face in his mother's shoulder. Ron slept peacefully through the whole thing.
Arthur heaved a sigh and sat at the kitchen table. "There've been more attacks. Fifteen people were killed today in London, in plain view of the Muggles. The Aurors recruited anyone they could to Obliviate them. They're down one right now; Alice Longbottom just had a baby."
Molly patted her husband's hand. She knew he hated working with memory charms. She smiled. "We should send the Longbottoms a gift."
Arthur nodded slightly, but he still seemed more nervous than simply dealing with the use of memory charms. Just as she was about to ask him what was wrong, a large barn owl swooped in through the window and landed on the table. Before Molly could take its letter, Arthur snatched it away.
His face turned whiter as he read. He started to open his mouth, but Bill and Charlie came bounding into the kitchen.
"I told you she would be mad," said Charlie in a singsong voice, sticking his tongue out at his big brother, thinking his mother couldn't see.
Through clenched teeth, Bill shushed his brother with a "Charlie, stop it" and an elbow to the gut.
Molly stood up to her full height and looked down at her oldest children. Peering at them through narrowed eyes, she spoke quietly, "What will I be mad about?"
Bill swallowed, but Charlie smirked. "We were playing tag outside, and Bill made one of the garden gnomes grab my slacks, and look, they're torn now!"
"I DID NOT! Mum, he started it! He put the gnome on my head while I was counting. I threw it, but only because I wanted it off my head, and it grabbed on to Charlie's slacks..."
"ENOUGH!" Molly took a breath. "Let me see your slacks, Charlie."
Charlie turned around and pointed at the back of his left leg. There was a large piece of cloth missing, and Molly doubted she could mend it. Molly sighed and shook her head.
"Charlie, I'm going to need to get you a new pair of slacks. You'll both work the cost off around the house."
"Yes, Mum," the two answered together.
"Good, now, go wash yourself and your brothers up for supper."
"Yes, Mum." They dashed out the door, and she held up a finger to shush her husband until she heard the pounding of feet going up the stairs.
"Molly, dear, that was a letter from Gringotts. I'm afraid we simply can't afford to get Charlie new slacks right now." Arthur's voice was incredibly quiet.
"Whatever for? We've been using the same budget for quite awhile."
"Well, yes... but with all the recent attacks, and the new baby... I had to accept a pay cut. And Gringotts has refused to extend us any more credit... I'm sorry."
She smiled at her husband, though her heart felt heavy. "Well, then, we'll just have to make do, won't we? I'll learn to sew and knit and make clothes for the boys."
"Oh, you don't have to do that, I know how you hate..."
"Molly," he lowered his voice even further, "we're going to have to be extra careful right now. You know... six is quite enough, and we can barely afford that."
Molly blinked back her tears. Logically she knew that six was enough, but some small part of her didn't want to be finished yet. She nodded just as the five boys came crashing through the kitchen door.
"Hummy! Hummy!" the twins were chanting.
"Oh, you're hummy are you?" She lifted Fred up. "I think I have some yummy food to fix that!"
Fred glared at her and pouted. "I hummy," he declared.
She laughed and placed him at the table, quickly filling up plates youngest to oldest. She was just lifting a forkful of food to her mouth, when Ronald started to cry from the other room. Shaking her head, she left to get the baby. Another night with a cold supper, maybe six really was enough.
She sat and looked down at his face while he nursed. "I love you little one." She cried freely, knowing that he would be her last.
Molly looked at her children playing quietly and ran to the bathroom, closing the door as quickly as she could. Three minutes peace, that was all she wanted. She grabbed The Daily Prophet to bring in with her, she sighed as she looked at the headline: How To Avoid Death Eaters This Halloween. As she started to do her business, there was an incessant banging on the door.
"Just a minute, George. I'll be out in just a minute," she said, hoping it really was George and not Fred on the other side of the door.
"Okee," the small voice answered her.
Then it became suspiciously quiet. She wished she hadn't sent Bill and Charlie to day school. She never realized how much they helped until they weren't there.
"Percy, Fred, George, what are you doing?" she called out.
There was no response, though she thought she might have heard a soft giggle on the other side of the door. She finished and left the bathroom as fast as she could. Sitting in her bedroom were Fred and George, covered head to toe in powder, lipstick, eye shadow, and blush. They had her make-up out--which she almost never used--and were decorating each other, and her room.
She was getting ready to yell at them, but then they looked at her with big grins on their faces.
"I'm cute!" announced George.
"And me!" Fred joined in.
She rolled her eyes and sighed. "Come on, boys, let's clean you two up." She gathered a twin in each arm, leaving the mess for when she could have Bill and Charlie watch the crew.
Wizarding make-up had a special charm in it to make it last for quite awhile on skin. Until it was spelled off, both her boys were sparkling... quite literally.
She was just finishing getting the mess off the second twin when she heard a high-pitched scream from downstairs. Dropping Fred to the ground, she rushed downstairs to Percy and Ronald.
Percy was standing in the doorway to the kitchen with a steak knife in his hands. Molly carefully got the knife from her son, who burst into tears at having his toy taken from him.
She started to comfort her son, telling him that knives were ouchies, and that he shouldn't play with them. Then she looked at the ground near where Ronald was sitting and blowing raspberries. There were bright red spots on the ground. Recognizing blood, she quickly looked over her crying child for injuries. Finding none, she turned her attention to the baby.
Letting go of the tearful Percy, she went over to Ronald. She quickly saw that his hand was covered in blood. Grabbing the eight-month-old, she ran to the sink and started to wash his hand off, trying to find the injury. The top joints of his pointer, middle, and ring finger were sliced open--as if he had grabbed a knife and had it pulled from his grasp. She grabbed a clean dishtowel, and put pressure on his fingers. He fussed and wriggled trying to get out of her arms.
"Sorry, love. Mommy's sorry. Just need to get this to stop bleeding."
Somehow holding him and keeping pressure on fingers one-handed, she grabbed Floo powder and yelled into the fire, "St. Mungo's."
"St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, how may I be of service?"
"I need a Healer, quickly."
"What is the nature of the emergency?"
"My baby's fingers have been sliced open."
"One moment please."
She was fine with healing cuts in general, but this was right at the joints, and she was afraid of healing a tendon or nerve incorrectly.
She jumped away from the fire, and a young mediwitch stepped through.
"Let me see." She was trying to be reassuring.
Molly unwrapped her son's hand and showed it to her. The mediwitch took out her wand and mumbled a few spells. Molly watched in relief as her baby's tiny hand knitted itself back together.
"There will be no permanent damage. Your boy is quite a trooper." She smiled at Ronald, who was struggling to get on the ground to crawl.
"Here's some paperwork. I'm sure you are aware of the extra cost of house-calls."
Molly sighed and nodded.
"Owl it when it is completed."
"Any time." The mediwitch stepped into the fire and Flooed back to the hospital.
Molly heard a crash from upstairs and suppressed a scream. "Fred, George, I'm coming up there!"
Running back up the stairs with Ronald on her hip, she found the twins in the middle of the never-cleaned make-up.
Bill and Charlie came home to find her sobbing in her bedroom with their four younger brothers covered in make-up.
Bill quickly took charge; he instructed Charlie to clean up the mess in the bedroom. Molly said her thanks through her tears.
After the bedroom was cleaned up, Bill left the room and returned with his father.
"Bill said there was an emergency. What happened, love?" He gathered his wife in his arms.
"Ronald... Percy cut Ronald's hand open with a knife," she said through her sobs. "Fred and George got a hold of my make-up... covered... I'm just..." She buried her head in her husband's shoulder and just cried.
"All right, boys. Let's go to the kitchen and make dinner. Your mum and Ronald can take a nap."
After spelling the little ones clean, he put George on his shoulders, Bill took Percy's hand, and Charlie took Fred's, and the entire troop went downstairs.
Arthur fed the children that night, and even gave Molly a somewhat passable dinner in bed. He put all the boys down, and climbed into bed next to her.
"I love you; you're beautiful, you know?"
She gave him a small smile, and put her head on his chest. He ran a hand through her hair, and gave a contented sigh.
"I filled out the papers for St. Mungo's. Don't worry about the cost, love. Ronald needed it. I will never have a problem with paying for emergencies. Do you understand?"
She sniffed and nodded.
"Go to sleep."
She fell asleep to the sound of her husband's heartbeat.
She woke up to the sound of her baby crying. When she slowly started to roll off her husband, he grumbled and pulled her back. She could see that he wasn't awake.
She tried to pull herself out of his grasp, but he held on to her and rubbed against her.
"Arthur, I need to get the baby," she tried.
He pushed her onto her back, and continued to rub against her. She knew they couldn't do this... not now in her cycle. He pinned her underneath him, and she let a tear fall.
"Arthur, please... we can't do this now. Ronald is crying... my cycle." She spoke over Ronald's cries.
But Arthur wasn't awake, and apparently was too far gone to hear her. He freed himself from his pajamas, and worked hers off as well, keeping her well pinned the entire time. Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to stop crying and to start thinking. She couldn't reach her wand. He wasn't waking up through voice. She tried pushing him off again, but in his sleep-filled mind he didn't even seem to notice her.
She finally decided there was little to do but tune the baby out and surrender to the sensations. He shuddered and his eyes opened wide. She gazed at him in the dimly lit room through her tear filled eyes.
"I'm going to get the baby now. He's hungry."
She nodded, pulled up her bottoms, and ran to get Ronald from his crib. She brought the baby back to her bed, and nursed him until he had fallen asleep again. Arthur, however, was still awake.
"Mollywobbles, I'm so sorry. I didn't... I mean..."
"It's ok, I know," she said softly.
"I love you."
"I love you, too," she responded.
She gazed at the sleeping boy next to her, and petted his head. She listened as her husband's breathing evened out. Only then did she allow herself to cry softly into her pillow, knowing that he wouldn't wake.
For the sixth time in her life, Molly urinated into a Perfect Pregnancy Test bottle. She swirled the potion, and silently prayed to whatever gods were listening that it wouldn't turn red. She watched in horror as it changed to red. Arthur was not going to be happy.
She could not have this child. As it was, they could barely afford to feed their whole family. She was getting better at making clothes from scratch and mending the ones they had, but with four children under five, getting time to actually work on clothing was difficult.
She gathered all four children, connected them to her, stepped into the Floo, and called out "Demetria Dogwood". She landed at her midwife's office. The older boys all ran over to a wooden train set they felt needed playing with. Ronald crawled after his brothers.
Demetria came out into the waiting room. "Molly! What can I do for you?"
Molly let out a sigh. "I'm in need of a midwife."
Demetria quickly drew her wand and waved it over the younger woman's abdomen. "Yes, yes, it seems you are. Congratulations!"
Molly gave a small smile. "I don't think I want it," she whispered.
At that moment, one of the train cars came flying toward Ronald, who stopped it in mid-air and giggled as it flew around him. Molly gasped in excitement and waited for him to put the train down before lifting him into her arms. "Oh! Ronald, you just did your first magic!" She squeezed him, and he wiggled to try and get back down on the ground to play with his toy. Molly acquiesced and put him down, handing him the car. He squealed with delight at his prize.
Demetria told Molly that the car was his; it wasn't every day a baby she helped bring into the world did magic for the first time. Molly smiled gratefully; Ronald didn't really have any toys of his own.
"Now, Molly, what is this about not wanting the baby?"
Molly sighed. "It's just, we have six already, and I'm going out of my mind some days to take care of them. Poor Bill and Charlie never get me alone any more. And I'm incredibly tired. Not to mention the cost..."
Demetria pulled Molly into a hug. "I know how much you love your children. All of them. I know that this seems horribly overwhelming right now. But you need more time to assimilate the idea. Have you spoken with Arthur?"
Molly shook her head.
"You found out this morning, didn't you?"
"Think back to the first times your other children did magic. Did that ever happen on a 'bad' day?"
Molly thought back and shook her head.
Demetria smiled knowingly. "Molly, initial magic in a child as loved as your children simply cannot happen when there are bad things happening. I know you. If you were to terminate this pregnancy, it would destroy you. Speak to Arthur. Find out when he's off and I'll schedule your first appointment around his work schedule. If he's upset, I'll speak with him."
Molly wiped a tear from her eye. She knew Demetria was right. Ronald's magic wouldn't have happened today if she were meant to terminate the baby. She rubbed her stomach and looked down at it.
"Can you ever forgive me, little one?"
Demetria answered quietly, "Of course the baby forgives you."
Molly spent the rest of the day in the kitchen; the children "helping" her make all of Arthur's favorite foods. Ronald sat in his high chair playing with his new train car and gurgling happily.
Bill and Charlie set the table with the best tablecloth and silver. Both asked their mother what the special occasion was, but she said it could wait until their father came home.
Arthur came, whistling, through the door just as she pulled the pudding out of the oven. "It smells wonderful, love." He looked around and noticed the nicely set table. "What's the occasion?"
Bill and Charlie nodded their agreement with the question.
Percy spoke up, "Baby Ronnie made the train fly."
"Oh, he did, did he?" Arthur knelt down to look his son in the eye. "Was it a big one?"
Percy shook his head and pointed at his brother who still held the car in his hand. "That one!"
"Oh, and where did he get that?"
Molly broke her silence, "At Demetria's office. She gave it to him after he made it fly around his head."
"My little Ronald did magic? Our baby has done his first magic?" He ran over to the boy and lifted him up and threw him into the air and caught him. "That's my boy!"
Ronald clutched his train and blew a raspberry at his father, laughing with delight at the motion.
Arthur's eyes widened and he looked at his wife. "What were you doing at Demetria's?" he asked sharply.
"Seven is a lucky number..." she said and smiled shyly at her husband.
He sank into a chair and put his head in his hands.
Bill spoke up, "Mum, can you make this one another boy?"
She laughed and told him she would do her best.
Arthur looked at her. "You want this baby? You're barely holding it together now."
She nodded. "I can't... it just doesn't feel right to end this pregnancy. This baby is special. I know it."
"All of our babies are special."
"I know that, too."
He stood and gave Molly a hug and a deep kiss.
"EW! Mum! Dad! Stop." Charlie whined.
Arthur looked into her eyes. "Molly, I love you, and I will love this baby. Just give me a few days to get used to the idea."
She smiled and nodded. "Demetria wants you to come to my first appointment."
"Of course, let me check my schedule."
A few days later, Molly lay on a bed in Demetria's office. Arthur held her hand, and her boys all stood around her as the midwife cast various diagnostic spells on Molly's stomach.
Suddenly they heard a fast pulsing sound. "There's the baby's heartbeat."
"Only one?" Arthur asked, whispering a prayer after he spoke.
Demetria laughed. "Yes, only one."
Molly let out a breath she didn't realize she was holding, and Arthur squeezed her hand. He bent over and kissed her. Then he went over to her stomach. "I hear you little one, and I love you already." He looked at his rapidly growing family. "I love all of you."
Molly smiled and sighed contentedly. She really did have a perfect family.