Chapter Notes: Wow two projects are now done! I am on a roll! I hope that means good things for BBS!
Anyway, last chapter was a bit controversial, I hope this chapter is less so. There were a few characters we hadn't heard from yet so I made this massive chapter to tie a ribbon around it. I hope it answers all remaining questions and isn't too pat and deux es machina. I don't want to sell out to a Hollywood ending, but I think it leaves the Weasley's in a solid place for the future. This story will be commented on in the future installments of the Tenacious Trio, so those who have read it...congrats you will be ahead of the game!
This is JK's Universe, and these are her characters...I just borrowed them for a spin around the dance floor!
When we last left our story...
Molly cooed and sang a quiet lullaby to Teddy. Arthur leaned close. "I know what you're doing?" Molly gave him a tolerant smile. "You do? What of it?" Arthur's eyes twinkled and he gave her that lopsided Fred-like grin. "So I'd like to help. Give me something to do." Molly beamed at him. "Well why you don't take your daughter-in-law to find something to eat. I'm sure she's hungry since she's eating for two. If, along the way, you were to bump into that sweet Assistant Healer Audrey, turn on that Arthur Weasley charm and see if she'll have herself assigned to Percy's care as a favor, since we like her so much."
His eyes twinkled and he rested a finger on the side of his nose and gave her a wink. "Fleur, would you like to help me find a snack, I'm bit famished."
Fleur tried not to look eager but failed miserably. "Oui, je suis affame'. I mean yes, I'd like that."
Arthur helped support her as they left.
Molly held Teddy, as she looked affectionately down at her son. She remembered that when this man was the size of the little boy in her arms, he always wanted to fix things, and put them back right, even then.
She reached down and touched the side of his wan, tired face. "Rest, my little boy, I am so proud of you. You can rest now, it's all fixed."
P.O.V. Audrey Barton at St. Mungos
Audrey walked through the familiar hallways of St. Mungos. She was dressed in her best robes of a deep red, and had her sister's borrowed Ruby earrings and necklace around her neck. She suspected she might look nice, and had it confirmed by more than one male Healer as they gaped at her when she walked by. She knew it was a little over the top, but it was an important occasion for the Weasley family, and she was escorting Percy there as a representative of St Mungos to make sure he did not get over excited, well that excuse would do for now. The truth was a poorly kept secret in the halls of this place of healing.
She knew that the elder Mr. Weasley had ulterior motives when he asked her to oversee his son's care, and she went along with it for proprieties sake, because deep down she was curious about the obvious affection Percy's family had for him. Her own parents never put themselves out for her and her two sisters to the extent this family had gone to for his sake. It had made her envious, and then something else had happened in the intervening weeks.
The first thing the young man did when he opened those blue eyes, so like his father's, was ask if everyone in his family was okay. His own health didn't seem to be a concern. Audrey had answered him that they had all been in to see him and looked fine. He smiled and sank back into a deep sleep. His body seemed to understand that it needed rest, so his periods of lucidity were rare in that first week or so. She met and conversed with all of his family as they all took turns setting at his bedside, except the daughter and Hermione Granger who were currently finishing their seventh year at Hogwarts. Included in that number was Harry Potter himself! It was an interesting bunch!
As Percy got better and his periods of wakefulness became more frequent, she had discovered that he was different from the rest of his family. They were laid back and accepting, his mind wanted to be about his business. They dealt with the tedium of a Hospital with a quiet utility, working on some project or other they brought with them. Percy read the paper, got so upset at some of the Ministry actions portrayed there, or typographical errors that she had to refuse his requests for a copy of the Dailey Prophet, until he calmed down. He was taking short walks on a cane a week earlier than expected and probably earlier than was wise, but went back to bed when she said he was pushing it easily enough. He was exasperating, frustrating, and a tad annoying and fussy, but he was such a gentleman about it she could forgive it. After a while, she actually found it endearing.
She had always had her head turned by the dangerous Warlock type, that little air of danger had caused her to make mistakes in her personal life more than once. Her mother had actually cared enough to lecture her on it more than once, and her sisters had begged her to settle down and take the Head Healers test, but she had longed for the unpredictable, and had always gone after the man she knew would disappoint. She knew the psychological implications of her actions, telling herself, until she found a good wizard who could hold her interest like the bad ones did; she would just have to put up with their mercurial natures, and accept their limitations.
In Percy she had found a man who was brilliant, accomplished, with depth and determination, and yet he had a naiveté about interpersonal matters, and a passion for making sure things were done according to the rules. The first time she talked him into staying up with her a half an hour after lights out felt like an accomplishment, at that moment she realized he was going to be a challenge, but one that would last lifelong. So here she was contemplating something more permanent with a steady, balding, some would say boring wizard that her sisters would approve of, someone she have caused her to head in the other direction just months before, and strangely, it felt right.
She paused just outside of Percy's room and rolled her eyes as she heard him complaining about a Prophet article to one of the assistant healers. She cleared her throat, and walked through the door. He looked sheepish, sitting on the edge of his bed dressed in clean robes with his thinning hair parted razor sharp as always, and glasses perched on his nose, clear testament that he had been reading recently. The assistant healer, a pretty blond girl name Izzy was staring at the two of them with an amused look on her face. Audrey rolled her eyes and nodded toward the door. Izzy mouthed, "Good luck," as she passed by.
Audrey held out her hand patiently, Percy pulled the paper out from behind him and handed it over like a little boy caught in the act. "I was just reading the headlines," he said guiltily. "You never just read anything, Percy dear, to you, it's a contact sport," she informed him as she accepted the paper. "Are you all ready to go? Your sister-in-law's baby shower is in half an hour."
"I am ready as I'll ever be," he replied. He suddenly looked thoughtful. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"
She nodded pulling up a chair. She sat in it, and waved for him to continue.
He looked nervous, and for the first time since he regained consciousness, he seemed speechless. Finally, he found the words. "We've been seeing each other for a little while now, and I think we have been getting along famously, at least I feel like we have." Audrey nodded encouragingly for him to go on. "We are about to have our first family get-together in over a year, and well, I'd like to introduce you to them formally, if you don't mind," he finished expectantly.
Audrey gave him an amused smile, "Formally as what?"
He gave her that little shy smile, the one that melted her every time she saw it, "Well, as my girlfriend, if you're not opposed."
Audrey sighed. "Percy, dear arse, I've been your girlfriend for the last several weeks. Do you think I would come into work on my days off, and stay late on my days on, because I just can't get enough of this place?"
Percy seemed taken aback. "Oh," he said, his face betraying his confusion. She rolled her eyes and held out her hand to him, he took it eagerly with one of the first truly genuine smiles she had seen from him. "I'm really quite lousy at romance, sorry." Audrey grinned back, she couldn't help it. "If you weren't so lousy at it, I wouldn't find you as interesting. I think I've had enough of men who were great at romance but couldn't be bothered with everything else."
They held hands for a minute, just enjoying the eye contact; she pulled him to his feet. "Come on Percy, dear, we need to go meet the folks." He looked confused, "You've already met them, haven't you?" She sighed and gave him a peck on the cheek, "Mouth...shut, before I change my mind." He complied, but grinning the whole time. They turned in the spot and he squeezed her hand one last time as they apparated out.
Bill Weasley's P.O.V. at Shell Cottage
Bill sat in the living room of Shell Cottage. He looked around at the knickknacks of a life he and Fleur had been building together, listening to Monsieur and Maman Delacour informing their daughter about the impending Baby Shower that was occurring in a few minutes. She was being fretful about her appearance, and refusing to come out of her room. Gabrielle had arrived that morning to help her sister get ready. Fleur seemed fine, up until a few minutes ago, and then she had kicked Gabby out and slammed the door.
They were now all conversing in French trying to get her to come with them. She was chattering back rapidly, Bill's rudimentary French was not up to the task of understanding all she was saying, but the tone was clear. He sighed. He had brought this on himself. Being French, part Veela, and hormonal was not a stable potion mix in any stretch of the imagination!
Gabby swept in, looking like a beautiful slender version of her sister, and sat down across from Bill on the ottoman. "We 'av tried every 'thing. She iz 'orrible!" Bill nodded. He suspected that it would fall to him. He stood up and flashed Gabby his most confident smile, "Wish me luck!"
Gabby nodded solemnly. "You will need eet."
Bill suspected she was right. Monsieur Delacour was pleading with his daughter, and trying to keep his wife calm at the same time, as Bill ascended the stairs. The kindly short plump little man was tugging on his pointed black beard nervously, his eyes showing his gratitude to his son-in-law. Maman Apolline was stalking back and forth in the hallway, gorgeous in her fury looking ready to fling fire at the door. Bill had heard stories that told him that was a literal possibility.
"If you don't mind," Bill said kindly, "I think I can talk her out. Just get our things together; we should be with you shortly."
"What makes you think you can get our daughter out if we cannot?" declared Maman Apolline archly, obviously spoiling for a fight. Bill gave her his most placating smile, "I am a Gryffindor, dear lady, if I have to, I'll break down the door and stun her."
Maman Apolline seemed mollified and swept by. Monsieur Delacour gave him a sympathetic glance as he bustled after.
Bill sighed deeply. He rested his forehead against the door. "Dear? Fleur? Are you alright?" He called.
"Go away! I look 'orrible!" she screeched.
Bill sighed. What would my dad do in this situation? Weasley's seemed to have a soft spot for complicated, difficult women. He tried to think of the times when his dad had to talk his way out of one of his mum's fits. Suddenly he had a strategy. He silently thanked his dad.
"It's fine, dear. You stay there; I'll floo home right quick and cancel. They'll understand. Mum will get over it."
"Fleur's voice sounded snotty as she replied, "No! Don't do that. I'm coming. I look 'orrible and ugly and...gros but I'm coming." Bill sighed and rested his head against the door, knowing her head was just resting on the other side. "There is nothing in this world that will change the fact that you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. You are carrying our child, you've never looked more beautiful than you do right now."
Bill put as much sincerity into his words as he could. He said nothing but the truth. "Je t'aime ma petite Fleur."
She opened the door, her face was blotched and tear streaked. He opened his arms and she filled them. "I 'av been crying, I look 'orrible." She said against his shoulder. "You have two women downstairs that can help," he replied. She nodded. He kissed her forehead and reluctantly left her embrace. "I'll send them right up."
He paused, and turned back. She reached and traced his scarred cheek. "Je t'aime mon bel homme."
He held her hand against his face. When he got those scars he was so terrified that this luminous creature before him would find someone more suited to her radiance, but she had never wavered for one moment. For that kind of devotion, he could put up with any temperament. That was the secret of his parent's marriage, and the feeling of gratitude welled up inside of him that he had found it for himself.
Fleur wiped his newly damp cheek. "Don' you start too," she cooed. She gave his cheek a light smack and a saucy wink as she turned back into the bedroom. He went down to get the ladies reflecting that he was starting to understand Monsieur Delacour more and more everyday!
Angelina Johnson's P.O.V. at WWW
"Come on George! We're going to be late!" she called through the door of the "laboratory" that George had set up for new product development.
When George arrived back at WWW after saving Percy he had been amazed at some of the new products they had been placing on the shelves. He thought they were unrefined but inventive. When she introduced George to the singed little elf behind it, he had taken to Dinky like a long lost little brother.
She wouldn't see either of them for hours on end, and then there would be an explosion.
"Miss?" The sweet little voice of the WWW's top salesperson broke the silence.
She looked down into Sweedy's large blue eyes with the impossibly long lashes. The little girl elf was wearing a blue gingham dress and had blue bows on both ears. Angelina had no idea how anyone could withstand her charms, and truth be known, most who visited the store didn't.
"Master George and Dinky left a little while ago for St. Mungos, Dinky burned his hand again."
Angelina sighed wearily, "How bad was it?"
Sweedy looked just as tired, "Dinky seemed very happy, Miss, so I'm thinking it must be bad."
Angelina shook her head, "Why on earth, did I bring those two together?"
"I'm glad you did." came the voice from the door to the storeroom/office. George and Dinky came out. Dinky was heavily bandaged and smiling, his favourite goggles slid back on his forehead. "Besides," George declared, "Dinks okay." Dinky saluted her with his wrapped hand. The little guy was mute, so you had to read his hands, now that one was bandaged it was going to be difficult to communicate. Sweedy rolled her big blue eyes and took Dinky into the back where they kept their nest, scolding the unrepentant little elf the whole way. He just shrugged like George had been known to do.
"That little elf is twisted enough as it is without picking up your bad habits," Angelina declared. George grinned at her; he had a smudge on his cheek. "Oh he's alright. You saw him. He's happy!"
Angelina glared at him a moment, but she had to smile. "We need to go; the shower will be starting in a bit."
George grinned even wider, "Hold on I need to get something from the back."
She watched him retreat into the lab. "You better not prank anyone there!" she called after him. He waved her off and closed the door.
She sighed, walked to the door of the shop, and turned the closed sign out. The shop business was getting better every day, and George was insisting that she take that Chaser try-out with the Magpies.
It was hard to believe he was the same man that had been drinking himself into a coma less than a month before.
She turned and surveyed the shop. Fred was gone, but you could feel him here, especially when the shop was deserted like this. WWW was his baby, and as long as the shop was alive, Fred was still in the world.
George came out of the back acting exasperated. "Well come on, slow poke, we don't want to be late."
She crossed to him, "What did you get out of the back?"
He showed her a slip of paper, "I wrote a toast."
He had another package behind his back, but she didn't feel like finding out what it was.
He slipped an arm around her shoulders and they went into the office to the fireplace. "Well off we go!" George declared.
Angelina smiled to herself, "Yeah, I wonder how far?"
Arthur Weasley's P.O.V. at the Burrow
Arthur was up in the dusty attic with the ghoul, currently snoring under a sheet in the corner seemingly glad there was finally enough noise for him to get some sleep. Arthur had not been up here in months, but he placed something up here yesterday for this occasion. It wouldn't be long now before he could unveil it. He listened to the loud conversation and bustle going on below in the de-gnomed garden where they had set out a table.
His children and had all arrived and the quiet that had been The Burrow the last dark months was broken with a flair.
George had arrived with Angelina Johnson, with a black smudge on his cheek from what he called a "tiny" explosion. Angelina gave Arthur a wry smile that told him all he needed to know. She might not look like the Weasley's on the outside but he could see she would fit in just fine. George was animatedly talking about his new product line that he was launching in a month or so, and thanked Percy for the two remarkable house elves that Percy had hired during his short managerial ship of the store. Arthur was curious to meet this Dinky. He had never heard of an elf that enjoyed punishing himself, and it sounded like the young elf actually enjoyed being the product tester. George was quick to assure Hermione that he never commanded the elf to do so, most of the time he had to tell the little guy when to stop! Evidently Dinky had a sister named Sweedy, also working in the store who was a very convincing salesman. "People just trust house elves!" George declared happily, "it's brilliant when you think about it! I don't know why anyone else has."
Percy and Audrey arrived, but then they didn't let go of each other's hand afterward. Arthur exchanged a knowing look with his wife. Molly winked at him and put a finger beside her nose. Arthur grinned back.
Bill and Fleur arrived and the party had begun in earnest. She looked absolutely radiant, and her parents and sister fit right into the rabble. Molly was happily busy in the kitchen making a feast of epic proportions just for the occasion, turning down all offers to help. This Baby Shower, first of her grandchildren, was something she wanted to savor.
Harry and Hermione were down there with Ginny and Ron looking comfortable and Arthur was so happy that it looked inevitable that they would be family in name as they had always been in heart.
Arthur's eyes fell on a charred looking trunk with the initials F.B.W. on it. He felt a pang of pain, but it was getting better every day. Fred was gone, but he was still here in every one of them. You could hear echoes of his laughter in the joy below. Here in the quietest place in the house for the moment, Arthur said into the silence, "Glad you could make it Fred."
He smiled to himself and picked up his burden for the trip down the stairs.
He arrived in the garden now lit in the dying afternoon light by various lanterns and lamps. They all looked content and happy. There was an empty chair between George and Percy, at Percy's insistence. "You never know," he said with a smile.
Arthur cleared his throat and they all quieted.
He sat his packaged down. "I've been working on a little project for the last couple of weeks," he began, "It occurred to me that all of the oldest wizard families have their own coat of arms, and motto, so I came up with this."
He lifted it up and pulled off the paper. He could see from the awed looks he was getting that he had made a good choice.
The crest was a red field, shield shape outlined with a gold ragged Raguly line for troubles encountered, inside a line that looked like a castle battlement that meant protection, with four partitions. The first corner top left was of two lions, one passive, and one fierce and they were entwined. He didn't feel a need to explain that one. The field just below it was of seven Fleur-de-lis representatives of the children. The space across was empty except for one sheave, for the grandchildren. The one above had a lion passant but vigilant. He looked meaningfully at Percy when he pointed that one out. "I think we have a guardian angel looking out for us, don't we Percy. Percy smiled his eyes shining with unshed tears. "I think so to." There was a banner at the top with the Weasley family name. At the bottom was another scroll banner with a motto on it.
"Ensemble, nous avons la victoire," Arthur read, "It means, roughly, together we win."
He saw Fleur suddenly shoot up in her seat when that motto was read. She waved Bill close and whispered in his ear, and a broad smile touched his scarred face. He clanged a spoon against the side of his glass, and stood. "Fleur and I have been trying to come up with a name for our daughter. We just decided. She will be called Victoire Gabrielle Weasley.
Fleur's sister squealed in delight and ran over to hug her sister. Mr. and Mrs. Fleur seemed delighted by the name, as was the rest of the Weasleys.
The dinner was served, and beforehand, George asked to give the toast.
He squeezed Angelina's hand and stood. He cleared his throat meaningfully as they all raised their glasses of elf-made wine:
For those we love who are still here,
We pledge our love, and give three cheers,
For those we love, who cannot be,
We give a salute to these three,
The Potters, the Tonks and Sirius too,
And to my fine brother Fred,
Ears to you!
He finished his toast by popping his fake ear out and holding it up. The Delacours were appalled. Angelina rolled her eyes as if she had heard it before. Charlie broke the silence, "Ear, ear!"
They all started laughing. It was nearly ten minutes later before they all took a drink from their glasses. Suddenly Percy's glass began spouting wine everywhere, soaking him and Audrey and everyone on that side of the table. Angelina punched George on the arm, revealing the culprit. George rubbed his arm but was unrepentant, "That's my newest product Perce, not sure what to call it, I was thinking of Weasley's Fountain Flask, what do you think?" They all went quiet, waiting to see Percy's reaction. He looked thoughtful as he wiped his face with a napkin. "How about Weasley's Geyser Goblet?" he inquired.
George grinned. "How about Percy's Geyser Goblet?" Percy was quiet, and then he nodded, "I'd like that."
Molly scolded George and sent him inside for her wand so she could clean the mess. She had it sorted soon enough and the dinner began in earnest.
All in all it was quite the party.
Afterward it was just Arthur and Molly in the living room resting on the sofa. The house had been put to right, and the guests departed.
She settled into Arthur's arms comfortably as they stared at the new family crest over the fireplace.
"Victoire Weasley," Molly mused, "I like the sound of that."
Arthur agreed. "You know all those weeks we struggled, I kept thinking over and over, it's over, Fred's gone, it will never be the same. The magic has departed. Then just recently, I realised something."
Molly snuggled in tight and looked up into his eyes, heart close, "What did you realise?"
Arthur smiled down at her. "After the old spell is gone, you can't get it back, but that doesn't mean you can't make new magic with what's left."
Molly kissed him and rested in his arms.
"New magic," Arthur concluded hugging her tight, "old reliable ingredients."
Character Notes: For those who read this chapter and think, "gee Percy took that prank rather well," I'll have to say I thought about a while and I just think that Percy's got a sense of humor in there somewhere, you saw it when he cracked that joke while jinxing Pius Thicknesse. For those who dont know French these are the rough translations, I'm sure I got something wrong so feel free to correct me.
goss = fat
Je t'aime ma petite Fleur. = I love you my little flower.
Je t'aime mon bel homme. = I love you my handsome man.
Ensemble, nous avons la victoire = Together we win or Together, we have victory
Bill and Fluer have never been a couple I've written about before, but that exchange was something that touched me so deeply and I recalled how much I was touched by that exchange at the end of Half Blood Prince where Fleur was appalled that Mrs. Weasley would think that Bill didn't love her anymore because of his scars, when you would think she would be shallow then she showed so much depth. I hope I showed a little bit of that magic here.
I hope that last conversation between Molly and Arthur explains the title of the story as well.