A/N: Just an interesting idea that came to me on the bus ride to school one day. I thought of how Molly and Lily were likely never friends but could have been great ones. As soon as I got home I couldn't help but write it, and it all flowed from there. I'll put my list of ages for the Weasleys just for reference underneath this note. Enjoy!
Fred/George: 2 years
Ron: 4 months
Diagon Alley was unnaturally bustling that day, despite the imminent threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Witches and wizards of all shapes and sizes seemed to be in the crowded streets, picking up everything from owl treats to newt eyeballs.
Lily Potter was among them, hurrying along by herself, one hand over her rounded stomach where the baby was kicking her uncomfortably. Eight months along in her pregnancy, and Lily was beginning to anxiously await the day that she could finally get this baby out of her. His sharp jabs hurt and she winced a little every time.
She missed James. She knew that he needed to go to work today, and she wasn't allowed to accompany him due to the baby. But Diagon Alley just wasn't the same without her husband. It made her uneasy to be out alone, even though she knew that aurors were swarming the place. Add these to the feelings of abandonment that come out when she's upset and pregnancy hormones, Lily was not a happy camper.
She marched into Gringotts, intent on getting to her vault as quickly as possible. She hated the carts, and pregnancy wasn't helping. The goblins stared at her as she walked in, her red hair and tall, thin stature setting her apart from nearly every other creature in the large, marble hall.
Lily stared at the floor. She had always hated Goblins; they made her uneasy. Likely due to the stories she had heard in History of Magic about what they were capable of.
One wild, vomit-inducing cart ride later, a very disgruntled goblin showed Lily out of the bank, muttering about pregnant women.
Already upset, the goblin's behaviour only made it worse. Intent on getting the potion ingredients that she needed and going home to actually do something useful and brew potions for the Order, Lily strode into the apothecary, determined to get these awful errand over with.
"Hello, sir," she said to the man at the counter. "I need three pounds of rat's spleens, six unicorn hairs and three lacewing flies."
"Sorry Madam," the greasy man grunted. "Just sold the last of my lacewing flies. I'll be gettin' more t'morrow if you wanna come back."
It was just her luck, Lily thought, to come out on the day that the apothecary didn't have what she needed.
"All right," she said, holding back tears. "Just the spleens and hairs, please."
The man handed them to her, and she paid, leaving the store in hopes that she could just go home.
But of course, no such luck as her day steadily grew worse and worse. Her bag ripped, and the jar of rat spleens broke, spreading them everywhere over the cobbled street.
This was the final straw for poor Lily as she burst into tears, sitting on the ground, her entire bosy shaking as she picked them up.
"Are you all right, dear?" a kind-sounding voice came from behind her. It was a plump redheaded woman carrying a newborn baby in a carrier around her neck and pushing two twins in a stroller. Holding her hands were a four-year old and an eight-year-old, and behind her was a ten-year-old. All had bright red hair and freckles, and all except the twins had solemn faces.
"I'm fine," Lily sniffled. "Just having a bad day."
"I've been there," the woman said. "You're hormonal. Trust me, it happens. My poor husband has had to deal with it five times so far—it's even worse when it's twins. I'm Molly Weasley. Would you like to come and get some ice cream with us? It's Charlie's late birthday treat—Fortescue's ice cream."
"I wouldn't want to impose," Lily replied, ignoring her stomach's newfound craving for chocolate ice cream.
"Please," the other woman shook her head. "Join us. You look like you need somebody to talk to right now."
"Thank you," Lily said as she stood up, leaving the spleens and repairing the bad with a quick wave of her wand. She sniffed again, tears still running down her face.
"Why you crying?" asked the four-year-old.
"Percy!" the woman admonished. "Don't say that. I'm sorry. I'm Molly Weasley by the way. This is Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George and Ron." She pointed at each child in order of age.
"Nice to meet you," Lily replied. "I'm Lily. Lily Potter."
They arrived at the ice cream shop and Molly settled her children down at a table, before turning to Florean and ordering a small bowl of ice cream for each child, knowing their exact flavour preferences.
Lily ordered hers after, taking far less time.
"How did you memorise that?" Lily asked in astonishment.
"Years and years of practice," Molly said. "Every year, on their birthday, each child gets to pick a special birthday treat. Most of them want ice cream."
The man came back with their ice cream, and Lily took a large bite out of hers, sighing as the chocolate flavour overtook her taste buds.
"So what was the problem today?" Molly asked as she handed Fred and George their identical cotton-candy flavoured ice cream.
"I don't really know," Lily said honestly. "It's just all so difficult. We're in the middle of a war, my husband is an auror working overtime when I'm not allowed to work anymore, so I'm stuck at home by myself all day. I mean, I have my neighbor who's a sweetheart, but I can only take so much of one person, you know?"
Molly nodded. "I know."
"I'm sure you don't want to be hearing about all of this," the younger redhead said. "I'm sorry."
"No, no, dear," Molly said. "I don't mind. It's good to let it all out. I know that I'm a complete stranger, but honestly, I remember what it's like. My husband works a lot too, and I stay at home with all six of these ones," she gestured to her children. "Fred, George," she snapped. "Eat with your spoons, not your fingers. Sorry."
Lily smiled at the toddlers. "They're sweet."
"You don't live with them," Molly grimaced and then chuckled.
"How do you deal with it? I don't even think I'll be able to handle one baby. I don't know how you handle six."
"It's tough," Molly said. "But not unmanageable once you get the hang of it."
"How do you not worry all the time? I'm so worried that I'll mess something up and the baby will hate me forever, or that I won't do something right and he'll be affected by it for his entire life. What if I completely screw him up?"
"You won't," Molly replied. "As long as you give him all of your love, he won't. A mother's love for her child overpowers nearly anything else. As long as you care about that baby inside you, he'll grow up to do great things."
"Are you sure?" Lily asked.
"Positive," Molly nodded. "Fred! Do NOT wipe your dirty hands on your brother."
The baby started crying.
"I've got to clean these two up," Molly sighed. "Will you hold Ron for a moment?" she passed the baby to Lily, who stared at him for a moment, not knowing what to do. Slowly, she rocked him back and forth, praying for him to stop crying. And sure enough, he soon nuzzled into her chest, beginning to sleep again.
Molly finished with the twins and looked at Lily. "See, I told you that you could do it."
Lily smiled. "I suppose you're right. Thanks."
The man came back with their bills and both women pulled out their purses to pay.
"I've got it," Lily said. "You've been far too kind to me today. It's the least I can do."
"I can't let you do that," Molly said, flushing a crimson red.
"Of course you can," Lily said. "I insist. And thank you for everything. If you ever need a babysitter, you can always call on me. Potter Cottage, Godric's Hollow."
"Thank you very much. Boys, what do you say to Lily for buying your ice cream?"
"Thank you," they all chorused.
Molly gathered her children and stood. "It was nice to meet you, Lily."
Lily returned the sentiments and the two went their separate ways. Molly never called on Lily to babysit her children. In fact, neither woman spoke to each other again. But neither forgot that day in Diagon Alley. Over time, even Bill and Charlie forgot about the day that they had met the Boy Who Lived's mother.
But Molly never forgot, part of the reason she tried so hard to make Harry part of her family. Lily had been so worried about not being there for her son. And now that she couldn't be, it became Molly's job. She wanted to make Lily happy, wherever she was. And even though Molly had only met her once, she knew that Lily would have indeed done a fantastic job raising her son.
But Molly was there since Lily tragically was not. The older woman never mentioned to her honorary son that she had met his mother once, because she was sure that it would only upset him. She never even told Arthur that she had met a pregnant Lily. But she never forgot.