Author's Notes: I do not own Harry Potter.
Ginny gripped her cup of tea so hard Molly thought it was going to break. She pried loose her daughter's fingers and made her set it down on the table, "Do you want to talk about it, dear?"
"Talk about what?" Ginny sat back in her seat, wrapping her arms around her stomach. Without the cup, it seemed like she had to hold onto something.
"Whatever's got you up at five o'clock in the morning?"
"What else? The war." She sighed, "I'm worried that the three of them are out there on their own… and then I'm even more terrified of who they might run into." All of the Weasleys had developed a habit of talking this way, with no specifics. They never knew when the Ministry would have an ear trained on the house. Ginny, especially, bristled under the lack of privacy.
"The mother in me wishes that I had forbid them to go," Molly patted down a couple strands of curly red hair, nervously.
"They wouldn't have listened."
"I know. None of my kids would. It makes me realize how grown up you all are…." She let the sentence trail off while she watched Ginny's expression. The same disparaging brown eyes she saw in the mirror everyday were reflected on her daughter's face. It wasn't a new addition though. She'd looked that way at the beginning of the summer after her fifth year, clearing briefly the week Harry had been with them. The minute he was gone again, a piece of Ginny seemed missing also.
Even though she'd never say it out-loud, Molly had almost been grateful to hear Ginny was causing trouble up at the school. Stealing Gryffindor's sword was dangerous and very, very stupid, but it proved that she still had the same fight in her.
Now, if only she could get her to talk more about the reasons she'd been withdrawn. It wasn't just sisterly concern for the trio, or remnants of a fan-girl crush she'd harbored for the Boy-who-Lived. It took something incredible and sincere to cause this much hurt.
"How long have you and Harry been dating?" Molly spoke the question gently. Ginny went rigid, like it was danger to move. "It's okay, you can tell me."
Ginny nodded, reached up for her cup again, and brought it down to her lap.
"Does he love you?"
"I think he does," Ginny murmured, "But how can I know for sure? We haven't seen each other for months." Not very stealthily she looked at the clock in the kitchen with all hands pointing to "in mortal peril". Her ex-boyfriend was out there somewhere, and this thing cast a long shadow on the floor like a death omen.
Molly tapped her daughter's wrist silently, a signal that she should pay attention, "I had the same fears when I watched your father go off on extended missions with the Order. One took three weeks and I nearly died waiting for him to come back to me."
"What did you do when you saw him again?" Ginny asked wide-eyed.
Her mother chuckled, "I yelled at him for a good hour. I told him if he really loved me, he'd never have put me through something like that."
Ginny thought about it for a moment, but then had to ask, "What did Dad say?"
"He said that he'd try not to leave me again, but it wouldn't always be possible. What mattered is that he'd always come back. That's what Harry's going to do, sweetie. He'll face a lot of danger, I'm sure. This isn't an easy war by any means. But he'll win it. He'll find a way you two can be together again."
Ginny felt the corners of her mouth twitch upward, "Then what? We'll live happily ever after like in the fairytales?"
For a minute, Molly had a flash-back to when Ginny was seven. Her red hair was in a tumble as she flounced down the stairs that morning, still clutching the same Harry Potter story-book she'd been read to sleep with the night before. Clamoring her way onto one of the big-people stools, she sat with her elbows on the counter, "He lives happily ever after, right Mummy?" Of course, she could only be referring to one person.
Struggling to hide her amusement, Molly had turned her back to the little girl and pretended to wash dishes, "No-one quite knows what happened to Harry the day he defeated You-Know-Who, except that he lives with his aunt and uncle in the Muggle World. I'm sure he's very happy there."
Ginny sighed contentedly, imaging a boy about her age with a shock of black hair and green eyes.
Now Molly looked at her sixteen-year old daughter, who was very much that same little girl, only her smile was twisted by irony, "Harry's a hero, dear, even if it's a different kind of hero than the stories make him out to be. I don't see any reason his happily ever after has to be all make-believe either." It was something like what Professor Dumbledore would say.
"I really hope you're right."
They sat together in silence for quite some time before the kettle finally blew its top. Ginny still had a full cup of tea, but she decided to pour it out in favor of a fresh batch.
The window was near the sink and she stared outside for a moment. Over by the Lovegoods' house, she thought she saw a flicker of movement, but it was probably just a trick of the light. After all, the sun was just starting its upward swing and the tinge of red, brown, and black on the horizon couldn't be what she thought they were.
Still, it was good to start a new day. Ginny felt refreshed after the talk with her mom, like maybe things weren't as desperate as they had been even a few hours ago. She could almost hear Harry's voice in her mind, reminding her that he was thinking about her.
Wherever you are, Harry, I'm thinking about you too.