"James Potter!" Molly poked her head out of the kitchen window frenetically. "Put that gnome down! He's drooling all over your head!"
"Sorry, Grandma." Although he sounded rueful, a self-satisfied smirk was evident on twenty-one-year-old James's face. Next to him, his girlfriend Alice Longbottom grinned sheepishly, slipping away from James and the gnome he was keeping captive. After dropping the repulsive creature to the ground, James chased after her.
"Really…" Molly leaned back over the kitchen counter and turned to face Ginny and her daughters-in-law, who were all sitting at the table wearing amused looks. "That boy is nearly twenty-two and still acts like he's twelve."
"But he's finally dating someone you approve of, Mum," Ginny reminded. She knew that although her mother could be contemptuous of some things, she only said what she did because she cared. "You were the one who predicted their relationship when they were babies."
Molly didn't answer, bending her head over a mixing bowl without a sound, but the other women caught sight of her pleased blush. Ginny smiled knowingly as she took a long sip of her coffee.
"They could easily be the next ones engaged, you know," Hermione said with a brisk, matter-of-fact tone. "I don't know how Neville would react to that though."
The others dissolved into giggly messes again, all picturing loving, protective Neville Longbottom learning of his daughter's engagement. Every father hesitated when having to give his daughter away to the other man in her life. Neville would certainly be no exception.
A baby's wail sounded from the next room over. The group heard a shuffling of feet; Victoire then appeared in the kitchen, eyes somnolent-looking and hair disheveled, six-month-old Dora Emilie in her arms. "Maman, she's fussy again – any ideas?"
Fleur rose from the table maternally, holding out her arms resolutely. "Give 'er to me, Victoire. You go rest."
Victoire's silver-blue eyes widened incredulously. "Maman, no, she's my responsibility-"
Fleur rattled off something in French to her. Victoire, who knew enough of the language to decipher her mother's sporadic rants, then surrendered her daughter to her. Turning to Molly, the new mother asked, "Grandma, may I nap in your room? I'd sleep on the couch, but I spilled some milk on it before when I was feeding Dora…"
Molly was quick to answer. "Go ahead, Victoire. I'll come and wake you when lunch is ready."
Her granddaughter shot her an obliged look as she made her way to the stairs leading to the second floor. Fleur had already begun cooing at Dora, sitting back down and reminding Molly of the days when Victoire was a baby, and she realized that she truly did love Fleur.
"Rose went dress shopping the other day." Hermione liked to update her sisters-in-law on the latest doings of her children; nowadays, her news snippets were always about Rose, who was to be married to Scorpius Malfoy come December. "She wanted a strapless gown, but I tried to tell her how she's not really…" She paused, and continued in a low voice. "…Full enough to keep one up."
"It's her wedding dress," Angelina said tersely. "If she wants to go all out and wear something strapless, I say let her." Her eyes twinkled roguishly. "And Scorpius will love her even more if her top falls off during the ceremony."
"I swear George has rubbed off on you somehow, dear." Molly playfully smacked the top of Angelina's head with her wooden spatula.
"Maybe just a tad." Angelina grinned, her cinnamon-colored cheeks reddening a bit.
As Ginny howled with laughter, completely comfortable with what she was doing, Audrey seemed to shrink away in her seat. Even from across the room, Molly sensed her distress right away. Although Audrey had been married to Percy for nearly twenty years, she had never entirely fit into the family like her sisters-in-law had. Perhaps it was because of her Muggle status, or that she was just naturally timid and soft-spoken. But whatever the barrier was, Molly tried extra hard to include her in conversations, to make sure that she felt at ease.
"How are the girls doing, Audrey?" Molly steered the attention away from Angelina and towards Percy's wife. The couple's two daughters were eighteen and sixteen years old – unbelievably, they were young women already.
Audrey's hazel eyes lit up superbly, as they always did when she talked about her children. "They're wonderful, Molly. But Lucy was so upset when I wrote her saying that we were all coming here for the day. I really do think your home is her favorite place in the world."
Lucy was a fifth year at Hogwarts, along with Alice's little sister, Eleanor. The two had just started taking their O.W.L.s and were probably praying for an escape from the realm of ceaseless books and studying. Molly was perfectly aware of how intelligent Lucy was; she was sure that the O.W.L.s would be no problem for her.
"…and Molly…well, you can ask her yourself how she is." Audrey smiled and gestured towards the opened window. Through it, Molly could be seen conversing with James, Alice, and Hugo. Although she was still in school as a seventh year, Molly had been permitted to leave Hogwarts for the weekend, having finished her N.E.W.T.s already. A wide smile stretched across her freckled face, the light wind blowing through her strawberry blonde hair. It was Audrey's hair color as well, she taking in great pride in sharing it with her older daughter.
"Still with Dean Finnigan, is she?" The girls confided in Ginny often, and she was well aware of her nieces' love interests and their quixotic doings.
Audrey nodded. "He's such a nice boy. Percy approves of him even more than I do."
They sat in silence as her words soaked in – all that could be heard were little Dora's whimpers. The young adults' squeals and laughter wafted through the window languidly. From behind the back door came the conversation of the women's husbands as they fixed up the dilapidated chicken coop – occasionally, a curse or two would come flying out of someone's mouth. Each woman was in her own little world, reflecting on the moment, for now they knew how quickly time passed.
At last, Hermione piped up to start another talk. "Fleur, how's Dom doing in France? Is her book about ready to go into stores?"
"Almost. Eet eez going through publishing and ze cover art is being done, too."
Inside, Molly's heart beamed with pride once again. Dominique was currently living in Paris with her boyfriend, adding the finishing touches to her second novel. Her first book had been a success among the female wizardry community and this next one, another romance story, was predicted to generate the same sensation.
The back door then opened, and twenty-one-year-old Fred trudged in from helping with the chicken coop. Pouring himself a glass of water, he promptly hopped up to sit on the counter.
"Fred Weasley!" Molly placed her hands on her hips out of habit. "What have I told you about sitting on my clean counter?"
"Not to rub my feet on it while I'm at it," he answered lightly as he slid off the surface. He knew better than to defy his grandmother. "Hey, Mum, I'm going to take off, all right? Arria's waiting for me."
Fred bent down to kiss his mother's cheek and then nodded at his aunts. After giving Molly a quick hug, he swerved in a circle and disappeared with a loud pop. Molly cringed at the noise, detesting it when people Disapparated inside the house.
"And Arria Jordan? How is Fred handling that matter?" Hermione raised an eyebrow quizzically.
Angelina rolled her eyes. "He's a Weasley. He'll date her for another five years before realizing he wants to marry her."
"Lily's not taking everyone dating very well," Ginny brought up quietly.
"But Roxy and Albus aren't seeing anybody." Molly distractedly began throwing together sandwiches. "Nor are Louis and Lucy."
"According to her, Louis is the way he is because he wants to be," Ginny replied dryly. "And honestly, she's right. Louis wants to be just like Charlie, you know."
"Ack!" Fleur spat as she shifted Dora to her other arm. "'E becomes a dragon keeper over my dead body!"
"…and Lily believes that the others all have someone who they're not officially with yet," Ginny continued. "Her exact words were that she'd never find someone like James and Rose and the whole lot had, and that she might as well join a Muggle nunnery." The corners of her mouth turned up for a moment, but she quickly turned somber again.
Lily was turning nineteen the following month. She had had few boyfriends during school, much to Harry's relief, but considered the number of her beaux derisory and embarrassing compared to her friends'. Ginny had no trouble at all in expressing her annoyance of her daughter's belief to her mother and brothers' wives.
"She's still young, Ginny." Molly distributed the sandwiches onto a plate and set the serving dish on the tabletop. "All you need to do is keep her positive and distract her from the idea as best as you can."
"Lunchtime!" Molly had poked her head out of the window again, to call in the grandchildren who were out by the orchard. When she saw the young people still lounging in the shade of the trees, she sighed. "Oh, really…" She fumbled for her wand and found it in the pocket of her apron. Casting the Sonorus charm, she repeated herself. "LUNCHTIME! EVERYONE COME INSIDE!"
Footsteps came from the back of the house as the men tramped inside from their work. Previously content in Fleur's arms, Dora was now bawling, wriggling wildly. She had been abruptly wakened by Molly's booming voice. Victoire came running down the stairs, looking like she had gotten no sleep at all, and swiped her daughter away from Fleur to calm her. As the young adults came filing into the kitchen, chatting loudly, the noise multiplied. In the midst of it all, Molly only smiled and began passing out plates and silverware.
Fifteen minutes later, Molly had cast the Quietus charm on herself to return her voice to normal. She bustled about her family, stepping over their legs and dodging their elbows. They were eating buffet style, with the food laid out on the kitchen table and everyone eating in the living room. She hadn't even had time to put together her own plate of food; she was too preoccupied with making sure everyone else was happy.
Molly turned to find Alice rising from her seat next to James on the couch. "Yes, Alice, dear?"
"Why don't you sit down in my spot, Mrs. Weasley? I'll get you some food-"
Molly dismissed the matter with a wave of her hand. "Oh, no, dear, you sit and enjoy; I'll take care of myself…"
Alice only smiled gently. "Please? I really don't mind. You deserve some relaxation after making all of this food for us."
Molly didn't particularly like others serving her; the motherly side of her was always too dominant. But this time, she gave in, finally sitting down next to her grandson. "Oh, well, if you insist then…"
The yellow-haired girl grinned broadly, and Molly returned her smile pleasantly. As Alice disappeared into the kitchen, she glanced back towards James. "She really is such a lovely girl, James. You're lucky to have her."
James's face seemed to light up at the mention of his girlfriend. Flushing a bit, he nodded. "Yeah, she's pretty amazing…"
Molly sensed that he could say nothing more of her that wasn't as loving as that statement. She closed the discussion by rubbing his hand knowingly, leaning back onto the sofa until Alice returned with her food.
The Burrow was never only filled with redheads nowadays. Besides her, Arthur, and her children, only Lily and Hugo had vibrant shades of red hair, while Rose's and Roxanne's hair occasionally shone red in the sunlight. Victoire and Louis had both inherited Fleur's blonde hair; Dominique, however, sported brown hair that no one was quite sure came from. James and Albus were like Harry, with their jet-black hair that always stuck up, despite any amount of gel or combing. Molly's namesake had Audrey's hair, while Lucy had a darker shade of it. Fred proudly showed off long, black dreadlocks, blissfully ignoring Molly when she insisted she'd give him a haircut.
Also, not all of her grandchildren had been Sorted into Gryffindor. James, Lily, Fred, Roxanne, Molly, and Louis were Gryffindors, though, never missing opportunities to show off their House pride. The other six were scattered among the other Houses – Rose, Lucy, Victoire, and Dom inhabited Ravenclaw, while Hugo stood alone as a Hufflepuff. And Albus had even done something no one in his family ever had – he had been Sorted into Slytherin, ironically after a whole summer of James teasingly insisting that things would turn out that way. But even after becoming a Slytherin, Albus was still Harry Potter's son, and still a Weasley at heart.
They were all Weasleys, despite not following the stereotypes set by their ancestors. Even if they weren't all Gryffindor redheads, that never stopped her from loving them. How could anyone not love them? They were her legacy, her life, in the simplest amount of words. She loved them all no matter what…
"Fred Weasley! What have I told you about Apparating in my house?!?"
A/N: This was just a fun little next gen. piece I wrote when I had nothing better to do. Plus, I'm going away on vacation on Tuesday and will be gone for a week, so I thought I'd post something before I leave. So, please leave a word or two in a review, it'd mean a lot. I didn't have this beta'ed, but I think it's okay. Please excuse me for Fleur's dreadfully-written accent.