Title: Carving Notches

Author: Solstice Muse

Beta: lj user mjki5cr4

Rating: PG13

Pairing: Ron/Rosmerta (but mainly about Molly and Rosmerta)

Warnings: Bitchy witches!

Disclaimers: Harry Potter is the property of J.K. Rowling and her publishers. The author of this work receives no profit from it, nor do the creators/maintainers of lj comm hpqfac or lj comm quillsforacause. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Notes/Dedications: To my four sponsors, Jocap, Maple, Patronus and Lnalvgd.

Carving Notches

Rosmerta leaned against the doorframe and watched Molly busying herself in the kitchen before spotting notches carved into the wood all the way up with different initials beside them.

There was one at the same level as her hip and she smiled as she saw the letter 'R' carved into the door frame. She traced the letter and then the notch with her finger.

"I expect there are notches on your bedpost older than that," Molly sniffed disapprovingly.

"Come now, Molly," Rosmerta said as she moved into the kitchen and sat her curvaceous bottom on the dining table, "we promised Ron we'd be civil this time, didn't we?"

"Offer him some chocolate did you?" Molly turned on Rosmerta and waved a wooden spoon threateningly. "Give him a sweet reward for being a good boy?"

"Oh he'll get his Molly, don't worry about that," Rosmerta smirked.

Molly flushed bright red and turned back to the sink with a huff.

"I thought I raised him better than that."

"Oh you did Molly, you raised him right well you did, never seen him take sweeties from strangers...only those that know him."

Molly spun around and slapped Rosmerta across the face hard. The two women stared at each other in shock before Molly turned back to the sink and plunged both hands into the soapy water. Rosmerta rubbed her prickling cheek and slid off her perch on the kitchen table.

"What would you prefer, Molly? Those giggling teenage groupies who only want to know him because he's Harry Potter's friend? You want him to be betrayed by another kiss-and-tell tart like that Lavender Brown girl? You want him with a blithering giggling harlot his own age or you want him with somebody who treats him like a man and gives him self-respect?"

"I want him to have a solid relationship with somebody who isn't just using him for his youthful naivety."

"Oh, come on, Molly," Rosmerta rolled her eyes and wandered over to the back door to gaze out at the garden idly before mumbling under her breath, "you forgot about the incredible stamina."

There was a splash and Molly dropped a mixing bowl into the water before marching across the tiled floor towards the buxom landlady who'd mesmerised her youngest boy with her massive breasts.

Rosmerta raised both hands defensively, prepared for another slap, and Molly stamped her feet as she drew up before the woman and put her soapy hands on her hips, staring up into Rosmerta's face.

"I've had enough of the snide comments whenever I go shopping for groceries. I don't want to open the morning paper and read innuendos about you and my Ron and your oversized chest over my breakfast. I don't want you making my boy a laughing stock and then throwing him away when you're done with him."

"Look," Rosmerta's amused expression faded as she took Molly's shoulders gently with both hands, "you got comments over the cabbages and accusations of all sorts of behaviour in the papers when he was with the gibbering fan club, didn't you?"

"Well..." Molly was reluctant to admit this was true.

"And did he come home to you laughing those stories off?" Rosmerta asked, lifting her chin defiantly.

"No," Molly shook her head, "no he didn't, he was always very upset. It broke his heart he couldn't trust anybody."

"So why does he roll his eyes and shake his head when he sees the paper nowadays, Molly?" Rosmerta pushed further.

Molly gulped and looked down at her feet.

"Because they make those stories up. Because none of those tales come from you. Because you never betrayed his trust to make a name for yourself."

The voluptuous landlady smiled at the flustered, soap-sudded witch and tried to convey her need for a truce. Ron would get so tense when he was about to visit his mother and she would always have to do so much work to get him to loosen up again when he got home.

She also knew that Molly would have spent many an evening trying to coax a smile out of Ron after he had been treated badly by one of his exes. She understood the need to protect him. Ron wasn't suited to brooding, he always looked so much more natural when he had a smile on his face, and a frown only narrowed those bright eyes.

She wasn't with him for validation. It wasn't that she got a kick out of such a sought-after young buck worshipping her like a Goddess. He was a man now, not a boy, and a man who wanted somebody with as much life-experience as he did. What woman on earth, other than Hermione Granger, had lived as much as he had by his age?

He would always be Molly's fragile little baby. It was time that Molly accepted that other women, other girls his age, didn't see a baby boy they wanted to take care of. He was a meal ticket, a conquest, a stepping stone to bigger things. He was to be used and disposed of in the eyes of his past so-called girlfriends. Rosmerta saw their relationship for what it was - an honour. She was honoured to be with him and he made it clear he was honoured to be with her.

Rosmerta hugged Molly and rubbed her back soothingly.

"I'm too old to want to be famous by association Molly. I like loyalty and trust and a young firecracker who makes me feel as if it's blonde in my hair rather than grey."

"But I want him to settle down with a nice girl...not a woman of experience," Molly stared up into Rosmerta's eyes, sadly.

Rosmerta tried to take this in the way it had been meant and not as the insult it had sounded.

"You want him with his Hermione, and his Hermione left him to study ancient Greek magic with other geniuses. She might come back to him in ten years Molly but don't make the poor boy wait all on his own during the most active years of his sex life."

Molly cringed in her arms. Rosmerta laughed into her hair.

"He has sex Molly. He's a Weasley through and through."

"Oh stop it, I don't want to know!" Molly squeaked into Rosmerta's shoulder.

"You've got seven children Molly, you know about the fire in the blood, at least be thankful I'm too far gone for pregnancy scares!"

Molly laughed and leaned back from Rosmerta to slap her playfully on the shoulder. The two women smiled and took a couple of deep breaths before going back to what they had been doing before their little confrontation.

"So are you staying for dinner, Rosmerta?" Molly asked, sounding a little forced and uncomfortable, just as Ron stepped into the kitchen and looked from one woman to the other nervously.

"Everything all right? Fred said he thought he heard...a problem," Ron looked very edgy.

"No problem, my lover," Rosmerta smiled at Ron, who clearly didn't buy the act at all, "and yes, please, Molly, dinner would be lovely."

Ron moved across the kitchen to Rosmerta at the back door and furrowed his brow.

"What's going on?" he whispered.

"I was just looking at your height markers on the door over there, my love," Rosmerta nodded to the other door and pulled a small knife from the top of her stocking. "I think it's time to update it, don't you, Molls?"

"What's that?" Molly asked with a bright smile as she turned to watch Rosmerta leading Ron by the hand to the other doorway.

Rosmerta stood Ron against the doorframe and he gave her a confused smile before she prodded him in the chest.

"Stand up straight love, I want to get this right for yer mum, she wants to see how much her baby boy's grown up, don't you, Moll?"

"Oh yes, that would be lovely, thank you Rosmerta."

Ron still looked slightly confused but he held still while Rosmerta carved a notch into the wooden door frame above his head and then gouged a crooked letter 'R' beside it.

"There you go," Rosmerta smiled before leaning in to Ron and stealing a kiss, quietly pleased with herself. "You stopped being six years old Ron. You're a big boy now."

Ron grinned and curled his arms around Rosmerta's waist and nuzzled into the side of her neck. Rosmerta knew that Molly had turned away to clank the dishes together noisily until Ron sniggered and dragged Rosmerta up the stairs towards his childhood bedroom.

"Where are we going now, love?" Rosmerta chuckled as she let herself be led.

"There's some ghosts to exorcise in my bedroom too," Ron smiled with a waggle of the eyebrows.

A/N This is the thirtieth fic I've posted on this site. I knid of wish I'd gone for something more monumental but oh well!