Disclaimer: Not mine.
Molly Weasley has only received one letter from Ron since the day she waved goodbye to him on Platform 9 ¾, and it wasn't even a good, lengthily one at that. It was scrawled on a napkin of some sort in the messy script that all her boys seemed to have inherited from Arthur. Dear Mum, I've arrived safe and well. I'm in Gryffindor. Hope you and Dad are proud. Ron.
She replied in a letter just as short. Dear Ron, Of course Dad and I are proud of you. We hope you're enjoying your time at Hogwarts. Do stay well and owl us if anything happens. Love, Mum. She was careful not to mention anything about Harry Potter, despite her curiosity. The poor boy didn't need more people meddling in his life.
Of course, Molly didn't expected weekly updates. Boys would be boys. They had better things to do than write their mothers letters on the weekends. It is however, the second to last day of October by now, and she hasn't heard from Ron in almost two months. There are lots of questions she wants answers to. How are his classes? Is he making new friends? Are Fred and George behaving?
Her lack of expectations only makes the tawny owl pecking at her kitchen window even more of a surprise.
She puts down the knife she's been chopping potatoes with and eagerly rips open the envelope. It's a letter from her baby boy and she beams with happiness.
Sorry I haven't written as much as I should have. There's a load of stuff going on here and I never quite found the time to write. Anyway, I've been doing pretty well in my classes. Except for potions. But you can't blame me. The professor's evil. I swear it. He picks on Harry purposely, and when I try to stand up for him, I get punished too.
Speaking of Harry Potter (I know you're dying to ask about him), he and I are best friends now. He's been recruited as Gryffindor's seeker, the youngest in over a century! He even got an exemption from the "First years can't have brooms" rule. I'm very excited to see him play.
I wish I could say that all the people I've met are as great as Harry, but then I'd be lying. There's a Slytherin boy named Draco Malfoy that's an absolute pain in the bum. He taunts Harry and me whenever he can. I try not to hex him or anything, but it's hard. And there's this really annoying girl named Hermione Granger too. I met her on the train and was hoping that I'd never have to see her again once we got to Hogwarts, but apparently that doesn't factor into the grand plan of things. She's in Gryffindor too, but with her brains, she might as well be in Ravenclaw. She's super smart and never forgets to remind us of that. Every time a professor asks a question, her hand is in the air and she's practically standing up. She's got this bossy sort of voice and acts as if other people are lower than dirt. And she follows the rules as much as Percy and is no fun whatsoever. The other day, she said that expulsion from Hogwarts was actually worse than death. Honestly! I can't stand people like her.
Fred and George are up to their usual mischief but they haven't done anything that would result in expulsion. Only a couple of detentions. Percy's simply loving prefect duties and enjoys bossing everyone around (seriously, he and Hermione should get to know each other).
I hope you and Dad are well. I'll write again when there's time.
Molly smiles and tucks the letter back in its envelope. She slips it in a drawer where it will be safe until Arthur comes home to read it tonight. She finds it amusing that her son would write so much about a girl in his first real letter home. Even if he says he can't stand her.
She is sitting in Dumbledore's office with a handkerchief to her face, crying her eyes out. Arthur is pacing the floor in front of her while Dumbledore and McGonagall watch them, at a loss for words. What words could possibly ease the distress of the Weasleys, whose only daughter lies dead? Arthur places a hand on Molly's shoulder and is about to say something when the door opens and Harry, Ron, Lockhart, and Ginny enter. Her mind goes blank before she lets out a scream.
She does not remember how, but the next moment her arms are around Ginny and she can feel Arthur behind her. She cries into her daughter's shoulder, and it is not until she has familiarized herself with the shape of her daughter's body that she remembers the three other people standing next to her.
She throws herself around Harry and Ron and thanks them for Ginny. McGonagall asks how the hell they found Ginny alive and Molly releases Harry so he can explain. She keeps her arms around Ginny and Ron, though.
By the end of the strange tale, Molly is horrified at the thought of her precious daughter at the hands of Lord Voldemort, and thinks about punishing Ginny for being so stupid as to accept something that was obviously associated with Dark Magic, but decides that the whole ordeal has been punishment enough.
Ron is silent until Dumbledore mentions something about Mandrakes and the basilisk's victims, at which point he pipes brightly, "So Hermione's okay!" He and Harry accompany his family to the infirmary, and as soon as he's made sure Ginny's alright, he's off to sit by Hermione's bed. Molly knows that he wants to be the first thing she sees upon waking up.
Ginny falls asleep soon, and even though Molly is holding her daughter's hand, her attention has shifted to her son and his friends. Hermione has just been administered her Mandrake juice and is now propped up on pillows, acting as if she had never been a victim of the basilisk's stare. Harry retells the story again, and Hermione claps her hands at the end, glad that they could figure out the clue she left them. Molly notices that Ron has not taken his eyes off the bushy haired girl the whole time.
In a while, Harry goes off to use the toilet, leaving Ron and Hermione alone. It's perfectly quiet in the infirmary, so Molly can hear everything the two say. They make small talk for a while, Hermione still excited about the Chamber of Secrets and wishing she had been there too instead of in the sick wing. There is a moment of silence where the two just look at each other with grins plastered on their faces. Ron reaches for Hermione's hand that rests on the blanket and grasps it in his. "You know, I was really afraid I would lose you," he says quietly. "That me an' Harry wouldn't be able to stop the basilisk and that you'd never wake up."
Hermione blushes and can think of nothing to say except, "Thank you."
Harry returns and Ron lets go of Hermione's hand. The three of them head downstairs for the feast. Behind them, Molly smiles.
Fred and George come home for Easter break, smiling and grinning as always. Even though the other Weasleys preferred to stay at Hogwarts and study for impending exams, Fred and George come home for Molly's delicious Easter cooking.
She picks them up at Platform 9 ¾ like she always does, and is almost immediately engulfed in a large hug from the twins. They've long since grown taller than her, and now they tower above her and tell her how happy they are to see her. She hugs each of them back and they bustle to a safe spot where she grasps their hands and Apparates to the Burrow.
They are hungry, of course, so she whips up something fast and sits down with them as they eat.
"How's school?" she asks as she places their bowls in front of them.
"Good," says Fred. "Only got detention five times last moth."
Molly pales and frowns. George laughs. "'e's juss kiddin'," he says through a mouthful of soup.
"Yeah Mum. It was actually only three times." The twins laugh at their little joke.
Molly laughs with them even though she knows she should be scolding. "How are your brothers and Ginny?"
"Good. Oh, 'cept Ron got into a big row with Hermione," says Fred.
"Yeah, I think they've stopped talking. Something about her cat eating Scabbers." added George.
"Oh dear," murmurs Molly, who wonders why Ron even cares if Scabbers is dead. He never liked the rat.
"Yeah there was screaming and shouting and everything. And they did it right in the common room too. I think he made her cry," says Fred.
"Poor Ronniekins has no tact when it comes to girls," laughs George.
"Do you think they'll make up?" asks Molly.
"Of course they'll make up," snorts Fred. "Who else is going to have bushy red head grandkids for you?"
George roars with laughter and spills his soup on the floor. "Sorry Mum," he says, trying to stop sniggering.
Molly cleans the floor with a flick of her wand. Despite herself, she smiles.
Sure enough, when Molly goes to Platform 9 ¾ at the end of the school year, Ron and Hermione act as if there was never a huge argument that threatened their friendship. Hermione hugs Ron and Harry before she leaves, and Molly thinks she sees Ron receive an extra long hug.
The look on her youngest son's face is priceless. He is walking on clouds at the moment. Molly wonders what's running through his head. Nervousness? Embarrassment? Longing for another touch from the girl he loves? She thinks the latter is most likely.
Behind him, Fred, George, and Ginny place bets.
"Five sickles that they're together by this time next year," Fred says.
"I'll take it," says Ginny, and she shakes his hand while George acts as witness.
"I can hear you, you know," says Ron in an irritated voice, and everyone dissolves in a fit of giggles.
Molly is trying new recipe in Witch Weekly when her eye catches Rita Skeeter's article. Harry Potter's Secret Heartache. She brushes her hands off on her apron and picks up the magazine, eyes scanning the article and not at all liking what they're seeing.
A love triangle. What a devious little witch. Molly is furious with herself for thinking that Hermione is a perfectly charming girl who would be a very nice addition to the family.
For a moment, she thinks of poor Harry, who she considers her son, being duped by a wench. Then she remembers Ron, her real son, and feels guilty for not thinking of him first. She knows what Ron thinks of Hermione. Knows that he likes her and is desperate for her attention. The walls of the Burrow are not as thick as they should be and on some summer nights, when it's too hot to sleep, she thinks she can hear Ron moaning Hermione's name in a sort of sensual way that makes her blush and plug her ears. She prefers not to know what Ron dreams about on those nights. On those nights, she prays she is the only one awake in the house, for Ron's sake.
There is no way Hermione can't know how Ron feels for her, Molly decides. He is not as subtle as he thinks he is. Some times, he pretends to sit in the wrong seat at the dinner table, so when Hermione comes down and asks why he's in her chair, he can stand up and help her into her seat. Other times, he lets Hermione have the last piece of apple pie, his favorite. If he concentrates, he can avert his eyes from Hermione's tongue licking the crumbs off her lips.
And yet, after all these signs, Hermione chooses Ron's best friend over him. A flare of anger erupts in the pit of Molly's stomach. She is not the type of mother to stand around and watch her son get his heartbroken. Hermione will pay for hurting Ron.
Molly digs out her Easter egg recipes, and sets to the task of making Dragon egg sized chocolates filled with toffee for Harry and Ron. For Hermione, she thinks smugly, she will make a solid chocolate egg no larger than a chicken's. She knows she's not being any more subtle than her son, but at the moment, she doesn't care.
Later, when she's at Hogwarts to cheer Harry on in the Third Task, he tells her that Hermione is not his girlfriend. Molly can barely keep her sigh of relief in. There is hope yet for Ron. She reaches for Hermione's hands and holds them kindly, smiling at the confused girl.
When Harry and Cedric do not reappear out of the maze, they are escorted to Dumbledore's office to wait while people try to figure what the hell happened. Unanswered questions hang in the air. Molly wonders if she'll ever see Harry alive again. Beside her, Hermione is shaking in Ron's arms as he strokes her hair awkwardly and reassures her that everything will be okay.
It is then that Molly decides subtlety is overrated.
Molly is sitting next to her dozing husband at St. Mungo's Hospital when Ron approaches her, a red tinge around his ears.
"Hey, Mum?" he asks timidly.
She looks up and smiles at him. "What is it, dear?"
He clears his throat nervously. "Well, you know how Christmas is coming up an' everything? I dunno what to get Hermione," he pauses. "or Harry," he adds as an afterthought.
Molly's a bit confused. "Harry and Hermione? But you've been giving them presents for years without any problem. Surely you know them well enough to give good presents."
Ron's face flushes scarlet and suddenly Molly knows what he's really saying. "Harry's not really the problem is he?" she asks, a ghost of a smile appearing on her face.
Her son shakes his head half-heartedly and takes an immense interest in his shoes.
Her smile broadens and she pats the chair by her side. "All right mister, let's talk."
Ron slumps into it and twiddles his thumbs. "It's just," he says slowly, "I want to give her something special, you know? Something she won't throw into the corner and forget about."
Molly thinks it's absolutely adorable that Ron's come to talk to her about this. "Well, why don't you go buy a nice necklace for her?"
Ron sighs exasperatedly. "Everyone gives her jewelry and books! I wanna give her something different." He pauses. "You know, something from….my heart." As he says these last words, his face reaches a shade of red rival to his hair.
"Well, you could write a book just for her. Not too long or anything. A short story," Molly suggests.
"Great idea, except I suck at writing."
Just like that, a brilliant idea comes to Molly. She digs into her bag and hands Ron the latest copy of Witch Weekly. He stares at it, confused. "This issue is completely dedicated to perfume recipes," she tells him. "Make her something special."
Ron stares stupidly at the magazine for a while, and then beams. "It's perfect!" he says happily. "Thanks Mum." He gives her a quick hug before running off.
Over the next week, Molly can smell a strange scent wafting out of the basement and wonders if anyone else notices. It reminds her of freshly mown grass, parchment, and something else she can't quite place her finger on.
On Christmas morning, she watches as Hermione rips the wrapping off Ron's present and uncorks the bottle. She takes a sniff and her eyes widen. Turning to Ron, she tells him that the perfume is really unusual. Ron smiles and says it was no problem, but when he catches Molly's eye, he winks and mouths "Thank you."
Months later, when Molly goes to pick her children at Platform 9 ¾, she thinks she can smell grass and parchment on Hermione as she passes by.
Harry and Ron come back to the Burrow for Christmas, and the very first thing Molly notices is that Hermione is not with them.
"Is Hermione arriving later?" she asks, but Ron doesn't answer and simply pushes his way through the door. Harry looks at her apologetically and says, "No."
She knows something has gone horribly wrong between Hermione and her son. She tries to ask Ron about it, but he snaps whenever her name is mentioned and tells her to stop bothering him. When she asks Harry, he turns red and mumbles something about it not being his business. He does tell her though, that he is tired of Ron being so dense as to not notice the signs Hermione's sending him.
Finally, Molly corners Ginny after dinner and insists that they talk.
"Why me?" Ginny whines, "Why not just ask Ron himself?"
"Because you know your brother wouldn't tell me a thing. Now spill. Why aren't they talking?" demands Molly.
Ginny rolls her eyes. "Well I don't know the complete gist of it, but Ron's mad at Hermione about something and as revenge he's going out with Lavender Brown and snogging her in plain sight."
Molly blinks. "That's a rather strange way to get revenge," she says.
Ginny snorts. "Yeah, well, this was done right after Hermione asked Ron to go to Slughorn's party with her."
Molly sighs. Ron can really be quite a dunce.
The next time she sees Hermione, they are sitting by Ron's bed in the infirmary. Molly feels a sense of déjà vu. Four years ago, it was Hermione on that bed with Ron looking over her.
The others have gone elsewhere, and Arthur is still upstairs in Dumbledore's office. It's just her and Hermione. Ron is asleep, and the place is quiet except for Hermione's occasional sniffs. Molly wants to say something to comfort the girl, but no words come to mind. She can only hold her son's hand and wait for him to wake up.
Ron stirs. "Er-my nee," he croaks, and shifts uncomfortably. Hermione jerks awake and smoothes his hair.
"It's okay Ron. I'm here," she whispers, but he's already gone back to sleep.
The two women share another moment of silence before Molly says, "He really cares for you, you know."
"I know," Hermione says with a sniff.
"He's never been very good with expressing how he feels," Molly offers as an explanation for her son's behavior.
Hermione gives her a watery smile. "I like him. I really do. I have no idea why he's been so mad at me lately."
Molly can't think of anything to say, so she pats Hermione's hand kindly.
"One minute he agrees to go with me to Slughorn's party and the next he's snogging Lavender in the corner, where he knows I can see them," Hermione continues. "I don't understand."
"Well, perhaps he was trying to make you jealous," Molly suggests. It doesn't make much sense to her, but a man's mind works differently than a woman's.
Hermione frowns. "Why would he need to make me jealous? Honestly, he's the only guy I'd ever consider being with." She pauses, embarrassed. "Was that an inappropriate thing to say in front of you?"
Molly smiles lightly. "Not at all dear, not at all."
Molly wakes up at half past 5, and for a moment, she does not remember any of the horrific events of the final battle. Then she looks out the window and sees the miserable lump in the ground that is Fred's grave, and the moment is shattered. The memories rush back to her. Her son is dead. Tonks. Lupin. Dead. A wave of sadness swells in her, but she holds back the tears, refusing to cry anymore.
Cry. In the week following the defeat of Lord Voldemort, it seemed like that was all anyone did. For the first time ever, the Burrow was completely absent of laughter. Before, Fred and George supplied jokes in tough times to keep everyone's spirits up. But now…
Molly swings her feet out of bed and pads quietly to the door as to not wake Arthur. She has a strange urge to watch the sunrise with Fred, and she would like it to be a solitary activity. Just a mother and her son.
She is going down the hall when she notices that Ron's door is open a crack. She frowns. Ron is very guarded of his room and it is rare to ever see the door open. She tiptoes to it, ignoring the KEEP OUT signs and peers inside.
Ron's back is turned away from her, but she can tell he is hugging something to his chest. She wonders if he found an old teddy bear to comfort him at night. Such a theory is proved wrong as Ron kicks off some blankets with a soft grunt, revealing another body next to his.
Molly's cheeks turn bright red as she realizes the brown "fur" she took to be a stuffed animal's is actually hair. And that the hair is connected to the head and body of Hermione Granger.
As embarrassed as she is to have intruded on such a private moment, Molly cannot say she is surprised. She has watched the two since summer started, and is witness to the growing love between them. They hold hands whenever possible, and even when they're apart, they find ways to touch each other as if to reassure themselves that they have found love together. They think they're being clever, with accidental hand grazes and such, but Molly's keen eyes catch it all. She knows that at dinner, Ron's hand is holding Hermione's under the table.
Once, she walked in on Ron crying as Hermione held him. It warms her heart to know that her son has found someone with whom he can drop his mask and let his true emotions out. He knows that Hermione will not think any less of him for his tears.
As she watches them sleep, Hermione turns so that she is facing Ron and settles her head against the crook of his neck. Molly marvels at how well she fits, as if Ron's genetic blueprints have specially designed a nook just for her.
It is with a smile that Molly tiptoes away from Ron's door and heads out to the garden for her sunrise date with Fred. She has so much to tell him.