Despite some people's expectations, this is the last chapter - Advent doesn't include Christmas day itself! If you want some Weasley Christmas days, there are twelve in my last year's Christmas fic, "My true love given to me" (including a brief mnention of Christmas 1980!)

A Weasley Family Advent

24th December (Christmas Eve)

Arthur leaves for work early, in the hope that will mean he can finish at a reasonable hour. Which is all very well, but it leaves Molly – who is feeling very sick this morning – alone to cope with five highly excited small boys and a baby who is inclined to be grizzly, for no good reason that she can see. Halfway though breakfast, she thrusts Ronnie's bowl of half-eaten porridge at Bill, and bolts from the room, her hand over her mouth.

Bill puts down his own spoon resignedly, and starts to shovel porridge into his youngest brother's mouth.

"Looks like you aren't stuck with being the baby after all, Ronnie," he observes. Charlie stares at him, and then starts to giggle. The younger boys merely look puzzled, and Bill does not enlighten them.

Molly thinks that this is possibly the longest Christmas Eve ever. She does not remember ever feeling quite this sick so early in pregnancy before, although perhaps she did and has subconsciously blanked out the memory. She thinks irritably that it is about time someone found an effective spell to deal with so-called "morning sickness".

In between bouts of sickness, she manages to get the vegetables prepared for Christmas dinner; help the boys with their present wrapping (a complicated business because of no one being allowed to see his own presents); deal with Charlie falling off his broom (again); make lunch for the boys (she herself manages a piece of toast and some weak tea); sort out a squabble between the twins and Percy over the ownership of a particular picture book; rescue Crackle from the top of the wardrobe in her bedroom, and make yet another batch of mince pies.

When Gideon, Fabian and Dorcas arrive in the late afternoon, Molly is upstairs, and the boys are in the living room. Ronnie is crying on Bill's lap, and Bill dumps him unceremoniously in his Uncle Fabian's arms.

"He won't stop crying for me," he informs him. "Mum's upstairs. Being sick."

The adults all raise their eyebrows, and Gideon starts to laugh. "Uh-oh!" he says. "You probably weren't supposed to tell us that, Bill."

Bill glares at him. "Mum thinks I haven't noticed," he says grumpily. "But I'm not thick, Uncle Gid!"

Dorcas says nothing, but heads for the stairs. Fabian sits in the rocking chair with Ronnie, who snuggles against his shoulder and stops crying. Gideon swings the twins in turn into the air, before subsiding onto the settee and pulling Percy onto his lap.

"Where's your dad?" he asks the room at large.

"Still at work," Charlie says. "He said he shouldn't be too late tonight…"

There is a shriek from upstairs, and Molly comes down in a rush, pulling Fabian out of the rocking chair and into a crushing hug that squashes Ronnie between them and starts him wailing again.

"You asked her, you actually asked her! I can't believe it! Congratulations!" She bursts into noisy tears, just as Arthur comes in.

"Molly? What on earth's the matter?" he asks, as he rescues the yelling baby from Fabian's arms.

"They're engaged, Arthur! Fabian and Dorcas are finally engaged! Oh, isn't it wonderful?"

Arthur slaps Fabian on the back, with a hearty "Congratulations!" and kisses a blushing Dorcas. Then he hands Ronnie to Gideon, who is grinning in the background, and heads to the cabinet in the corner to pull out a bottle of elf wine.

"Knew we'd find a use for this one day!" he says, smiling, and pours four generous glasses for himself, Fabian, Dorcas and Gideon, and one much less generous one for Molly. Charlie and Bill are sent to the kitchen to bring pumpkin juice for themselves and their brothers.

Arthur raises his glass to Fabian and Dorcas, who now have their arms round each other.

"Congratulations and Happy Christmas!" he says, and the family echo it as they raise their glasses. Molly is still wiping her eyes.

Despite the war, it is going to be a very merry Christmas.