A/N: Written in place of Chaser 1 for Round 4 of the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition
Team: Tutshill Tornadoes
Position: Chaser 1 (written by Beater 2)
Optional Prompts: stupid; glasses; weekday
A BETTER TOMORROW
Molly Weasley was waiting anxiously in her kitchen, peeling potatoes "the old fashioned way" to try and keep her mind in check. So much had happened within the past 6 days. A war was virtually over because of a small child, and she thought things would be as it was. But now, the world was in chaos, trying to sort through the guilty and the cowards who were fleeing punishment.
The Ministry was up in arms over the ordeal. People were crying 'Death Eater' left and right. She had barely seen Arthur over the past 26 hours or so, and it was only a weekday. She knew weekends were out of the question, with all of the impending trials and mountains of paperwork to catch up with.
Sighing, she set her paring knife down and took another look at the clock on the wall. Despite the chaos in London, Arthur promised to come home for dinner. They had decided it was a good time to talk to their children about what happened on Halloween night.
Ron was playing with a miniature Quidditch figurine in his high chair. The newborn baby girl was sleeping peacefully in her own little play pen across the room. She could hear the twins ransacking something up above her, and she could only imagine what her older boys were torturing Percy with. His tantrum echoed down the stairs.
Suddenly, the arm on the clock written 'Arthur' switched from WORK to TRAVELLING. Molly exhaled in relief. She knew her boys would have so many questions. Arthur had a way of explaining things to them without bursting into tears.
A crack of apparition signaled the arrival of her husband, and Molly rushed to the door to let him in. But before the door was completely open, she felt the knob pulling it back shut.
"Molly, are you crazy?" she heard her husband say in shock.
"Am I crazy? You just locked yourself out of your own home."
"It's only been a week since You-Know-Who fell. Do you really think any of the Death Eaters would stop fighting just because he's gone? Ask me the security question we mapped for the week."
Molly sighed. She already had a lot to deal with. A snippy husband would not help her situation. "Fine. Why did Percy refuse to go to bed last week?"
"Because Charlie stole his Chudley Cannons pajamas. Now, you may let me in."
She opened the door grudgingly and stepped aside to let her husband through the threshold. "Honestly, Arthur, sometimes I think you believe I am stupid."
"You aren't stupid, darling. But these are chaotic times. We can't be too careful." He leaned in to gently kiss her lips. "Are the boys ready for dinner?"
"As ready as they ever will be," she said, taking off his traveling cloak and hanging it on the coat stand. "The twins decapitated the rest of Ron's Quidditch figurines. I'm not sure where the heads went. Possibly to use as ammunition for their slingshots. By the way, that was a terrible gift to give them, Arthur. I had to repair the glass on their bedroom window four times today."
Arthur started laughing, but stopped immediately after seeing the look on his wife's face. "Well, maybe if I tell them to aim towards the garden gnomes, you won't mind as much."
Molly rolled her eyes as she returned to the cooking meal on the stove, and set the table with the flick of her wand. Meanwhile, Arthur reached the steps and called up to the rest of the children. "Boys, it's time for dinner!"
Like a stampede, footsteps were heard thrashing down the many levels of the home, and laughing voices following suit. The twins were the first to appear. 3 and a half year old high spirited red heads were apparently racing. George seemed to cross the finish line first by jumping the final 6 steps.
"GEORGE! WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT JUMPING THE STEPS?"
"Mum, I won I won!" cried George.
"I don't care if you won! The next time you do that, you might crack your head open, and I am not in the mood to repair your skull. Never EVER do that again, do you hear me?"
"Muuuuuuum! George cheated!" said the other twin, who had finally reached the ground floor.
"Not to worry, Fred. George was disqualified for jumping down the steps when I specifically told the two of you not to do that. Now, go have a seat. Your father and I have something important to discuss with you before dinner."
The two boys did as their mother told them, but not without fighting about the results of their race. Arthur took another look up the stairs, but did not see the remaining 3 boys. He called out to them again. "Bill, Charlie, Percy! I won't ask you again."
"Coming, dad!" called one of the boys back to him.
Arthur made his way back to the table, also managing to take the knives out of the twins' hands to stop them from sword fighting. He walked past his youngest son in his high chair, ruffling his bright red hair as he giggled, and he visited the play pen to check on his daughter.
Bill and Charlie walked into the kitchen whispering and laughing quietly to one another. Soon, all but one Weasley were seated at the table.
Molly glanced around them. "Where's Percy?" she asked, almost accusatory.
Just then, a little five year old shuffled into the room sniffling, his eyes red from crying. "Mum, Bill and Charlie did something to my glasses."
Molly began staring menacingly at her two older sons, while her husband motioned for Percy for him to sit on his lap. "Let me see them, Perce." He inspected them thoroughly. "Well, son, they look alright."
"But I can't see through them when I put them on. It's all blurry!" Percy said, almost starting to cry.
"Let me see them on you."
Percy put on the spectacles, and immediately Arthur could see why his son could not get any use out of the pair. As terrible as the prank was, he had to stifle in a fit of laughter. Bill and Charlie managed to put a charm on the lenses that magnified the 5 year old's eyes to look extremely large.
Bill and Charlie began laughing, which only made the twins laugh along louder, even though they didn't understand. Molly scolded the boys while Arthur fixed his son's glasses and set him down in his seat.
"Let's eat first, Arthur. I am not in the mood to discuss serious matters with boys that are too immature for their age."
"I am not immature, mum," Bill said defensively.
"Well, you could have fooled me otherwise! You'll be lucky if Hogwarts takes you next term! And that goes for you too, Charles. I have half a mind to take away your broom."
"But mum – "
"Just eat your dinner! And boys," she turned to the twins, "stop playing with your rolls."
The commotion died and the family began to eat. Soon, the plates were cleared and Molly nervously pulled her chair to sit next to her husband. Arthur nodded to her and turned to face his children.
"Boys, do you remember how your mother and I told you about You-Know-Who?"
The older boys hissed, and Molly flinched, but the boys nodded, suddenly realizing the serious nature of the conversation.
"Well," Arthur continued, "I have some good news and some bad news."
"Is he gone?" Bill blurted out.
He didn't respond immediately, but then nodded. "Yes, Bill. He is gone."
"How?" asked Fred.
"Well, it's a bit complicated. In fact, none of us adults really know what happened, either."
"Why?" asked George.
"Boys, don't interrupt your father," Molly interjected.
They all hushed, a heavy silence filling the room. Arthur tried to gather up what he was going to say next.
"It was a huge sacrifice, regardless of how he was defeated. A mommy and a daddy died. But a little boy, not much younger than your brother Ron, managed to come out virtually untouched."
"Wow!" whispered Percy, quite astonished. "Ron doesn't do much except drool and poop."
"Did you figure that out yourself, Perce?" Charlie chided.
"Boys..." their mother intervened.
"What's the bad news, dad?" Bill asked, trying to hide his nervousness.
Arthur sighed, running a tired hand through his hair. "Well, there is a lot of clean up to do. Bad people are saying You-Know-Who controlled them these past few years. It's going to be hard trying to see who is lying and who is not." He smiled at his boys, trying to not make them feel afraid. "It only means that I will still be working late days. It's nothing to worry about. I just wanted to tell you that now because the holidays are coming up and I don't want to promise I won't be working, okay?"
The boys still were not sure what to feel after the news, so Molly stood up and took down the family clock off the wall. She held it carefully and carried it to Bill. "Do you see anything different on the face, Bill?"
His brow furrowed as he studied each individual name on the clock. "It doesn't say 'mortal peril' anymore."
"That's right, Bill!" she exclaimed. "We are no longer in danger. Charlie, you can probably fly your broom outside even in twilight. And Bill, this means that your education at Hogwarts will start out as planned."
Bill and Charlie both smiled. "Really?" they exclaimed together.
Molly laughed jovially. "Yes, just as long as you mind your manners."
"Can we go play, mum?" the twins asked, getting restless in their seats.
"Play? It's almost your bedtime." The boys began to protest. "How about your father tucks you in? It's been ages since he sent you to bed." The twins didn't seem to mind this plan, and they raced up the steps.
"Daddy?" Percy asked, crawling into his lap. "Will you tuck me in too?"
"Tell you what, son," his dad answered. "I'll tuck you in and read you a story. How does that sound?"
"Yay!" he exclaimed and gave his dad a kiss. "Thanks for fixing my glasses."
Arthur chuckled and sent the five year old off to bed. Molly hung the clock back on the wall and sighed, not turning around to see Bill and Charlie stand up and give their dad a long hug.
"We love you, dad," she heard Bill say.
She knew her husband must have been getting emotional. "Love you too, boys. Now, go upstairs and get washed up."
Molly didn't turn around, but she felt two pairs of arms circle her waist. "We love you too, mom," Charlie said.
Tears escaped her eyes and she placed two wet kisses on top of their red heads. "Oh boys…" she choked.
"We know, mum. 'Go upstairs and get ready for bed.'"
"We'll see you in the morning."
The kitchen was finally quiet. Molly busied with the dishes, sending them all into the sink, and then cleaning up Ron, who was beginning to rub at his eyes, and whining for sleep. Arthur came up to help, and she shook his head. "I'll take care of the babies. You go upstairs. Don't keep the boys waiting."
Arthur smiled. "I love you, Molly."
"Don't make me cry, Arthur."
He placed a kiss on her lips. "It's almost over. We survived it, and our children will grow up better than we ever did."
She picked up Ron, who curled up against his mother's chest. "Do you think he'll come back?"
He sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows, Molly? The man was capable of so much. But let's not worry about it now," he whispered softly, kissing the baby in her arms as he started to close his eyes. "We have a lot more to live for now than ever."
"It will always be an adventure for you, Arthur Weasley," she smiled lovingly at her husband, "and I'm glad to be going on the ride with you."