A/N:  Sort of to give a little background on this fic.....I've always pictured Mrs. Weasley with longer hair than she does in the Harry Potter movie.  One day, I started thinking up reasons of why she might have cut her hair....and that led to this fic. 

Oh, and a little note on the timeline of things....this takes place during a trip to Diagon Alley the year that Fred and George start Hogwarts, so that would make the twins eleven.  And yes, Bill is still in school in this fic, about to enter his seventh year.  If you read, please leave a review!  My poor little literary heart feeds off them. 

Disclaimer:  I own nothing, except a random shop in Knockturn Alley and the woman who owns it.


"Arthur, we can't even afford to get them secondhand robes."  Molly had said in quiet, despairing tones to her husband earlier that day.  The twins had been too busy ogling over Gambol and Jape's window display to pay attention to her words, but she had kept her voice low just in case.  "We just can't afford it, not since we had to pay the hospital bills for Charlie's arm .  The other boys can't do without their textbooks, but we can't very well send Fred and George off to Hogwarts without any clothes...."

"We could sell something....." Arthur had said halfheartedly, and had run a hand through his thin, balding hair, worry evident in his normally childlike eyes.  "I'm sorry, Molly....it's all my fault, I can't --"

"It's not your fault, Arthur." his wife had interrupted sharply, then softened.  "It's....it's just the way things are."  They had both grown silent then, watching all seven of their children as they walked several paces ahead, little Ginny sitting on Bill's tall shoulders.  Molly had glanced over at her husband as he once again ran his hands through his red hair, and for some reason she had brought a hand up to her own red locks......

And the next thing she knew, she had excused herself from Arthur and the children, telling them that she had a few errands to run and that they should go ahead and get their books.  Now, she stood nervously in front of a dingy, nameless shop, too close for comfort to Knockturn Alley, that a crusty old witch had directed her to.  Taking a deep breath, she stepped inside, her worn, fraying handbag clutched tightly in both hands.

"May I help you?"  The voice was low, but decidedly female, and Molly nearly jumped.  A tall, dark haired witch stood before her, eyeing her doubtfully. 

"Yes.....I....."  Molly trailed off, unsure of what to say.  Breathing a small sigh, she pointed her wand at the back of her own head and uttered the spell to loosen the thick red bun gathered there.  Her hair tumbled down her back, reaching past her waist, and she automatically tilted her chin a bit higher with pride.  The thick, luxurious red mantle of hair had always been her crowning glory, even as a girl; it was her most prized possession.  True, it was beginning to turn a little gray at the roots, but most of it was still red as the setting sun. "I was told that you buy hair."

"Yes.  I do.  Usually the hair of wizarding folk is stronger than that of Muggles.....they love to get their hands on it, though they never know exactly where it comes from." The woman smirked slightly and stepped behind Molly, sizing up her hair, weighing it with her hands.  After a moment, she said, "I must admit, you do have beautiful hair.  I'll give you eleven galleons for it."

"Fifteen." Molly said, her voice firm, but inside she was shaking. 

"Twelve." The hair hawker answered, looking slightly annoyed.

"Fourteen." Her small hands clutched the worn handbag tighter, and Molly nearly held her breath; she was terrified of losing the deal completely, but determined to squeeze everything she could out of it.

The woman's eyes narrowed slightly.  "Thirteen galleons and seven sickles." she said tersely.  "And I won't give you a knut more than that."

Molly agreed; she had actually been surprised at the offer of eleven galleons.  She never dreamed her hair could be worth even that much.  The woman led her to a room in the back of the shop and sat her down in front of a mirror with a cracked corner.  Pulling out a wand, she began expertly cutting Molly's hair just below her ears.  Instinctively, Molly shut her eyes when the first strands were snipped away, unable to bear the image in the mirror.

But a voice inside her said, "Be brave.  You're doing this for your boys."  So she opened her eyes and watched the entire process.  Time ticked away minute after agonizing minute; the woman was very careful in her work, making sure not a single strand was damaged.  Molly began to grow a little impatient; she wished it to be over, now that there was no turning back.  She felt almost disconnected from her own body as the last locks finally disappeared; she had never realized how heavy her hair was until it was gone.  Standing up slowly, she hesitantly brought a hand up to her head, making sure that the short-haired woman she saw in the mirror really was her and not some stranger.  Satisfied, she numbly counted the money that the woman gave her and headed back out on the street to catch up with her family.

She spotted them outside Flourish and Blotts', their backs turned to her as they walked away from the bookstore.  "Arthur!  Children!" she called out, and all eight red heads turned in her direction.

"Molly!  Where have you...."  Her husband trailed off, his jaw falling slack as he stared at her chopped red tresses.  He finished his sentence weakly. "....Been."

There was a moment of shocked silence.  "Mum, what'd you do to your hair?" Ginny finally asked, dumbfounded.  Molly smiled at her only daughter fondly.

"Oh, I just decided it was time for a change." she replied lightly, slipping over to Arthur's side.  "Fred, George, time to go get your school robes....and Bill, I think you're due for some new robes, as well."  She smiled at her oldest boy's surprised face.  "It's not every year we have a Head Boy in the family.  After that, you can all have an ice cream sundae."  she added, seeing the hopeful faces of her other four children.  There was a general cheer; even the normally solemn Percy grinned at the unexpected treat.

"Molly...." Arthur said quietly as they headed towards the robe shop, bewilderment in his voice.  "I thought....how can we....."

Wordlessly, Molly pulled out her small leather money pouch and pressed it into her husband's hand.  He stared at the heavy sack for a moment, puzzled, then looked up at her, his mouth open to ask a question.  It shut when he once again caught sight of her hair, realization dawning on his features.  "Molly....you...." he started softly, but she shook her head slightly, silencing him.

"I'll tell you about it later." 

Slipping the money back into his wife's handbag, Arthur reached down and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.  Together they walked, hand in hand, worries free from their mind for at least a little while.


That night, Molly sat in front of the dresser mirror in their bedroom, studying her shorn hair.  Her hands gently traced over the smooth, polished wood of a brush and comb set Arthur had given her for Christmas not long after they had gotten married, and she had to bite back tears as she brought one hand up to touch the short red tresses.

Arthur came up behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders.  He watched her in the mirror for a moment, then gave her a gentle squeeze.  "It'll grow back." he said softly.  She smiled at his mirror image and reached up to place a hand over his.  They stayed like that a moment, then she stood up with a sigh, moving away from the dresser and towards the door to make sure all the children were in bed. 

But Arthur caught her around the waist, pulling her towards him and bringing a hand up to trace a finger along her jawline.  "Molly Weasley, you're the most wonderful woman in the world." he said, his voice tender, and she blushed.

"Arthur - " she began, but he silenced her with a hand on her lips.

"You're also the most beautiful woman in the world." he continued, gazing down at her lovingly.  "Even if you had no hair at all, you'd still be the most beautiful.  Every day I thank God that I'm lucky enough to have you as my wife."

Her eyes moist with happiness, Molly put her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly to her even as his own arms wrapped closer around her waist.  She pulled away just enough to give him room to lean down and kiss her softly.  Pulling his wand out of the pocket of his robes, Arthur flicked it towards the lamp, and the light winked out