A/N: DEATHLY HALLOWS SPOILERS.

Not sure what inspired me to write this, but here it is. Molly-centric, post battle.


Molly Weasley was a brave woman.

She had fought tirelessly in the Battle of Hogwarts, stopping only in the brief break in the fighting to sob over the body of her lost son. When her one and only daughter had been threatened, she stepped forward to fight again, and the sweet, plump housewife had brought down You-Know-Who's best lieutenant. After Harry's defeat of the Dark Lord, she had held herself together to comfort her grieving family. In spite of the pain of the loss they had all just faced, there was still relief and joy in the newfound freedom of the wizarding world.

She hadn't cried again until the time came to move Fred's body, and even then, she was able to work through the tears in order to take care of arrangements. Later, she had gone with Arthur to tell Andromeda Tonks about the death of her daughter and son-in-law. She had cried with the other woman, trying not to think about the fact that she had been the one who killed Andromeda's sister, however estranged they had been. But through it all, she had held together enough to support those around her.

It wasn't until the morning of the next day that she and Arthur had returned home to the Burrow. There had been so many things to take care of, and the work was far from finished, but they had to go home sometime. The children remained at Hogwarts, doing the best they could to help with the clean-up, but someone had to return to the Burrow to take down the wards and enchantments protecting it before the family could come home.

It had been weeks since Molly had seen the inside of her house; they had left in a bit of a hurry when they moved to Aunt Muriel's, taking only what they needed. A fine layer of dust greeted her eyes when she walked through the door, and she sighed tiredly as she surveyed her home. She was too exhausted to grieve properly for what they had lost, and there was still so much to be done. Deep inside, she knew that if she kept busy, she wouldn't have time to let herself be overcome with pain. She pulled out her wand and set to work cleaning; she would not have her children return to a place that was anything less than the home they had left.

When she turned to start working on the mantle, her entire body froze, her wand falling from her hand to clatter on the kitchen floor.

Arthur was outside taking down the last wards that surrounded the fenceline when he heard his wife's scream from inside the house. Without stopping to think, he took off at a dead run, wand at the ready. He burst through the door, ready to tackle who-or-whatever was attacking her, and he almost collided with her body on the floor in his haste.

His wife was on her knees, her head in her hands as she rocked back and forth. The loud, violent sobs that escaped her lips were the most anguished sounds Arthur had ever heard in his life, and if he lived to be two hundred, he prayed he never had to hear such sounds again. He knelt beside her, taking her in his arms, asking her what had happened, but she was inconsolable. Desperately, he looked around the room, trying to place what could have set off such a torrent of grief when she had seemed under control only minutes before. His eyes travelled to the nine-handed family clock on the mantle, and a fresh wave of grief ripped at his own heart when he realized what Molly had seen.

The hand labelled Fred was splintered in two.