Molly was in the darkened kitchen when she heard the noise. As a mother of seven it would have been impossible for her to not recognize the sound immediately.
Heart-breaking, earth-shattering, desperate, hopeless sobbing.
She had been unable to fall asleep again after another nightmare – it was to be expected; it was not long since the war was over after all – and had dealt with it just like she always had; with some kitchen-cleaning under a heavy silencing spell in order not to bother anyone else in the house.
But it seemed someone was bothered nevertheless, though by no fault of her cleaning.
"Harry…?" she heard her youngest son's voice whisper from the living room.
Though part of her conscience was telling her to leave the boys alone, her motherly instincts simply would not let her leave a crying boy. There was also the fact that, whilst he had many other admirable qualities, Ron wasn't too capable when it came to dealing with emotional matters.
Hence, Molly Weasley withdrew further into the dark where she could easily observe through the open door, but wouldn't be as easily discovered.
Ron had apparently been sitting on the couch in the living room for at least a little while, alone in the dark, without her having noticed. Or at least it seemed that way, judging by the way he was curled up in the corner of the couch with his favorite blanket.
The light from the lumos Ron cast temporarily blinded her, eyes having grown accustomed to the dark, and she quickly cast a light concealment charm whilst blinking furiously as her vision adjusted.
What she saw when she did was nothing more than she had expected, but no less heartbreaking. Harry's damp face glistened in the conjured light, and the red-rimmed, green eyes looked half petrified half desperate behind the round glasses.
"Ron, I'm so sorry…" Harry's voice was rough and hoarse and it was all Molly could do not to run up to him and embrace him and tell him everything would be alright, that he had nothing to apologize for.
Ron got to his feet quickly despite being obviously surprised and having tangled a bit in the blanket he'd been wrapped up in.
A tremor shook little Harry's body violently before new sobs broke out from between his lips. In the next second he had thrown himself around Ron's neck and was crying in earnest. Like she had half-predicted, Ron looked thoroughly confused and uncomfortable and she had almost stepped out of her hiding place when…
When the look changed and Ron's arms wrapped around Harry's body in return.
"I'm here, Harry. I'm not going anywhere." Ron said, and surprised her with his calm, as he started stroking slowly up and down over Harry's back.
Harry buried in face against Ron's shoulder as his body shook and his sobs echoed through the otherwise quiet house. Molly clenched the rag she held in her hand.
My little boy… she thought and felt dampness touch her own eyes. She didn't know why Harry was crying like he was, and that made things seem somehow even worse.
The sobs had changed and now sounded like desperate repetitions of Ron… Ron… all while her youngest son was making hushing noises and put his cheek to Harry's properly tussled hair.
It surprised her a little how much intimacy he shared so readily, especially considering both of them being boys; they tended so often to be so silly about that kind of thing.
What really had her surprised, however, was to see someone needing her little boy, her little Ronald, the way Harry so obviously needed him now. Harry's hands fisted the back of Ron's nightshirt so hard that she suspected it would leave wrinkles that she would never get out. He clung onto him like he was the last hope in this world; Ron wasn't just his shoulder to cry on. Ron was what kept him going, Ron was what held him up.
Almost as if he was confirming her deductions, Harry suddenly spoke up, sobbingly and unevenly.
"Ron… I don't… I know you don't, I'm sorry… but I… you… I needed you. I needed you. I needed you." At the last word Harry's voice broke in the most heart-aching way.
Ron's arms tightened briefly around Harry's smaller frame. "I know. I know, Harry, and it's okay. I'm here."
Ron guided them carefully backwards until they could sit down carefully on the couch, at the spot he had just risen from. It was hard to say if Ron pulled him up, or if Harry snuggled up on his own, but somehow the boy with the round glasses and the lightning scar ended up halfway in Ron's lap, who in turn never eased his embrace but for a short moment in order to pull the blanket over them.
They looked so small where they sat cuddled together under that blanket. They were just boys; her little boys. Except one was the most powerful wizard of their time, and the other had helped him slay the Dark Lord.
Her little boys… Molly padded her now wet cheek with the rag she still clenched in her hand.
She had met Lily Potter through the order a few times. She had liked the woman well enough, though she had not spent a large amount of time thinking about her at the time. Since the boys had brought Harry home that first summer, though, she had thought of the other woman often. Dear Harry, poor Harry. She felt like she owed that to them both. Harry needed a mother, she firmly believed, but there was also the matter of someone being there and simply appreciating and observing. Molly felt like she had to experience with Harry what Lily couldn't; nag about eating too little, watch his grades, reprimand about chores, and fuss over his hair. It wasn't – and hadn't ever been – a mission that weighed heavy on her; it was self-assigned simply because of her belief that everyone should have a person like that in their life. It was important to her.
And then they had turned out so good, both of them. Though not solely by her doing, she thought she could rightly claim some credit.
And Ron, who had always been so worried he would be forever outshined by his brothers. She'd always known, despite his attempts at denial and secrecy. It was the curse of the youngest, she supposed. She had of course never kept any sort of tally in that way, but for his own sake she truly hoped that Ronald realized just how much he had achieved. How proud both she and Arthur were of their youngest son.
Harry had calmed a bit now; breathed more evenly with just the occasional sob disrupting the rhythm of it. He lifted his head from Ron's shoulder and wiped both under his eyes and nose with the back of his hand, pushing the glasses out of the way.
"Thank you, Ron." Harry said simply, voice almost back to normal.
"Hey… it's okay; it's what I'm he-rmmfh," Ron was interrupted but Harry suddenly and rather forcefully pressing his lips to Ron's.
Ron looked a bit startled at first, eyes wide. Then they softened as he lifted his hand to wipe a tear from Harry's face, and then finally closed as he turned the kiss into something more gentle and less desperate.
She decided that this was something she did not need to watch.
Molly stepped away from the doorway and over to the stove where she began to fuss around again, the silencing spell still in place.
Eventually the soft but easily distinguished noises of kissing were replaced by those of occasional, weak, sobs, and finally those too faded, to be replaced by the even breathing of someone that is asleep.
The light from the lumos went out.
At this time Molly took the two largest cups she could find out of the cupboard and poured the contents of the kettle into them. Was there something she had learned from Remus Lupin it was that chocolate was good for almost any situation, be it in liquid or in solid form.
She also added a sandwich to each plate beneath the cups, just because crying is something that can easily make one hungry.
Ron looked startled to see her in the doorway and made a motion to move away from the sleeping Harry. She quickly shook her head and then simply nodded to the cups in her hands. Ron stopped moving, but remained tense. She made a face and then simply walked up and put down the cocoa on the table.
She met her son's eyes as she put a stasis spell over the drinks so that they would remain warm. He looked questioning, so she simply smiled a little and nodded, and then straightened up and pulled at her apron to smooth it out.
Ron relaxed visibly and smiled a bit back. He glanced down at Harry for a moment, and then back up at her.
I love him, he mouthed.
I know, Molly mouthed back, and smiled a bit wider. Then she left the pair alone on the couch in the dark.
Surely Harry was the one that ought to be credited for saving their world, but she wondered if her little Ronald hadn't been the one to save the Savior himself.
Just a quick thing I threw together after reading Merlin FF all day. I bit random and a bit out of the blue, I know. And for my regular readers, I'm sorry this is what I post after such a long time of dead quiet. I am still writing, just not very actively as of late.
There is a new chapter HPDM coming up though - Quidditch themed - and it is possible I will upload the first chapter of it just to put some pressure on myself, but we'll see.
Anyway, hoped everyone liked this one! :)