Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, or any of his friends or enemies. I'm not making money off of him, blah blah blah.
Author's Note: This is a new idea I had, and it's going to be tricky to work. Note about title: Jezebel is a term meaning “a scheming woman”. Make of that what you will...
Chapter 1: Betrayal?
Fourteen month old Harry Potter crawled around his baby sitter's floor, looking for colorful things to put in his mouth. A sheet of bright, flame red caught his eye and he grabbed it. It turned out to be hair, to his great consternation. “Oh Harry, let go of her hair,” Lily Potter said, amused, as she picked up her baby boy. “There's a good boy,” she crooned, bouncing Harry on her hip and causing the baby to giggle.
“I don't think Ginny minded Harry sucking on her hair,” Molly Weasley said, also amused. Her amusement was tinged with delight, and the beginnings of plans that Lily caught.
“I'm sure she didn't,” the younger mother said sourly. “Well, I'd better be getting Harry home now. Thanks so much for watching him.”
“Oh, it was my pleasure! Please do come again,” Molly said. “I'm sure our babies would love a chance to play together again, and maybe Harry and Ginny can become friends. Maybe one day they'll get married and have little red-haired, green-eyed babies of their own.”
Lily's expression rapidly turned from sour to disgusted. “Just because my baby tried to eat your baby's hair doesn't mean he likes her! You know what I think? I think you're nothing but a Jezebel!”
Molly turned white, and then her cheeks flamed. “You know nothing of true love, you mudblood whore!” Molly screeched, and then suddenly she realized what she had said, and tried to apologize but Lily wouldn't have it.
“Jezebel,” she sneered, stalking out of the dilapidated house and Apparating to her own home.
Her friendship with the Weasley matriarch had been on somewhat shaky ground ever since Gideon and Fabian Prewett had been ambushed and killed. Molly continued to believe that James and Lily Potter had done nothing to protect her brothers, even though they were in the immediate vicinity of the ambush. No matter how much the Potters had protested that they were kept occupied by Lord Voldemort himself and six of his better Death Eaters, Molly wouldn't believe them.
In fact, Molly went so far as to mutter quietly that James and Lily had betrayed her brothers to their deaths for some obscure reason she hadn't made up yet. Whether or not her accusations were founded, Molly Prewett Weasley believed that the Potters had made a powerful enemy. And she swore, as Lily Potter stormed away, that they would pay for killing her brothers.
Over the next several weeks, Molly continued to stew over her private feud with the Potters. She believed that no one knew of her obsession, but her husband saw it. He saw it in the way her lips thinned when he mentioned a particular exploit of theirs, when they brought down a particularly ruthless Death Eater. He saw it in the way her eyes narrowed when, in late October, he told her that the Potter family had dropped off the face of the earth.
It was at that time when he found himself checking her left arm in bed. He wanted to feel guilty, and to kick himself for his mistrust. But he didn't. He knew in his heart that he was justified. He knew in his heart of hearts that his loving wife did feel pride for her pure blood, and he knew that one of the reasons she hated Lily Evans Potter was that the younger woman wasn't a pure blood.
He felt no guilt at going into the Auror offices, on his way to his own office, and reporting to a very discrete Auror he knew that he was afraid his wife might be a Death Eater sympathizer. The Auror nodded his head sagely, telling Arthur Weasley that it wasn't unheard of, and that he would be the first to hear if Molly had come under suspicion for illegal activities. Arthur wanted to hate himself for going behind her back like this, but he didn't.
Needless to say, he stopped telling her of the exploits of the surviving Aurors. She never noticed, because she was still trying to find any mention of where the Potters might be cowering. Arthur desperately wanted to believe that she was simply worried about her friends, but he already feared the opposite. At the beginning of November, the news was all over the papers. James and Lily Potter had been betrayed by their Secret Keeper, sold out to Lord Voldemort, who had done the deed himself. They were gone, dead, and Molly's obsession remained unsatisfied.
3: A Safe Haven
Molly went to take the trash out that chilly Tuesday morning in the beginning of November, still steaming about the murders of the Potters, dissatisfied because she hadn't been there to watch, or even help. She'd have liked to rub that upstart little bitch's nose in the fact that Molly was the better woman. She saw a man cowering by the corner of her house, and looked around.
“What are you doing here, Pettigrew?” she asked.
Peter Pettigrew looked ready to bolt, but something about her shifty eyes told him that he had found an unlikely helper in the most unlikely place. “I need help,” he said. “I couldn't finish the job. James and Lily are dead because of me, but the Dark Lord has fallen to Harry.”
“You need a place to stay until things cool off, don't you? Someplace Aurors or Sirius, or Remus won't find you,” Molly said, suddenly feeling excited.
“Yes,” he murmured. “Until I can make amends. Until I find out where the Dark Lord is.”
“You can stay here as long as my husband doesn't find you,” Molly promised, taking a step closer.
“Thank you,” he said, and transformed into a rat. Molly grinned and picked up the rat.
“Percy, look what Mummy has for you,” she called out to her young son. As Percy held out his hands for the unexpected gift, she placed the quivering lump of fur and worm-like tail in his cupped palms.
“A rat?” he asked, confused.
“Not just any rat; he's a magical rat, a wizard rat,” Molly explained. Percy missed the glint in his mother's eyes.
“Okay,” he said. “I'll take good care of him.”
“That's my boy,” Molly said softly as he walked off. She thought nothing about providing a safe haven for a Death Eater. She was helping the professed killer of James and Lily Potter, and that's all that mattered.
4: First Warning, 1993
“I say Harry doesn't need to know there's a killer after him!” Molly shouted to Arthur. “It would only hurt him and he's still a child! He's a little boy!”
“It would be better if he's warned about how deranged Black is,” Arthur said quietly. “The man killed his parents. He sold them to You-Know-Who, and now he's after Harry.”
“Harry is still a little boy, Arthur,” Molly whispered. Her tears looked so convincing, she thought.
“He's thirteen, and has already been in more trouble than most adults put together. He needs to know what he's up against,” Arthur said determinedly. “I care about him, too. He's our seventh son in all but name. But I still think he can handle it better if he knows the truth.”
“He can't handle the truth!” Molly looked almost deranged in her denial of Harry's abilities.
“How do you know? Perhaps he's stronger than he looks,” Arthur said, not backing down. The last time he had taken the easy way out of things, it was the wrong way. They always said hindsight was 20/20, and in his hindsight he supposed he should have known twelve years ago there was something really wrong. Hell, he should have known fourteen years ago when Fabian and Gideon were killed that Molly was unbalanced.
Forget Death Eater sympathizer! Arthur knew, he knew that Molly would have taken the Dark Mark if she thought she could get away with it. But she knew that if she received that tell-tale sign of her shift in loyalties that Arthur wouldn't hesitate to turn her in. And Arthur also knew something else about the war era; he knew that Lily Potter had called his wife Jezebel. It nearly killed him right there to think that Lily Potter had been spot-on. Molly was scheming, and she was playing around with peoples' lives. He had seen how she beamed whenever young Harry Potter even glanced in Ginny's general direction, even if he's asking his best friend, Hermione Granger, to pass him a quill because his broke.
Something else Arthur knew about his oh-so-clever wife: she talked in her sleep. She had mumbled several times that Lily thought her son was too good for little Ginny Weasley. Arthur privately thought that Lily might have been spot-on about that, too.
“Harry, can I talk to you for a moment?” Arthur quietly asked the young boy before he boarded the train.
Harry looked up trustingly, though there was still a hint of fear because Arthur was an adult.
“I know he escaped prison to come looking for me,” Harry sighed. “I, uh... I overheard you and Mrs. Weasley talking about it the other day.” He blew out a gusty breath, and then continued. “I'm okay, really I am. I'm not going to go looking for a nut who wants to kill me.”
Arthur looked into Harry's eyes searchingly for a minute, then nodded, satisfied. He had always known Harry would be able to deal with the news, and here was the proof. Harry turned to go.
Harry turned back, his green eyes wide with curiosity.
“I also wanted to warn you about...Molly. She's...”
“Not right in the head?” Harry asked.
“How did you know that?” Arthur asked, astonished.
“I've had enough experience with Snape to tell when someone hated my family,” Harry said. “I don't know why she would hate my parents, but I know she did.”
“She does, Harry,” Arthur said, looking around, watching. Harry nodded, and got on the train before it left without him.
5: Second Warning, 1994
“I didn't mean to, Sirius!” Peter Pettigrew wailed. Sirius and Remus advanced threateningly, wands raised. “He was getting too powerful! What was there to be gained by opposing him?”
“What was there to be gained, Peter? Only innocent lives!” Sirius shouted.
“He would have killed me!”
“Then you should have died! Died rather than betray your friends, as we would have done for you!” Sirius was incandescent, his rage was so great.
“But-but-” Peter began, but he was cut off when Remus grabbed him by the collar.
“You really should have chosen death, Peter,” he said almost conversationally. “Didn't you know that if Voldemort didn't kill you, we would have?”
“I can name Death Eaters!” Peter suddenly shouted. After it had sunk in what he had said, it was as quiet as a tomb.
“Then name some,” Harry said, speaking up for the first time. Sirius jumped, as though he had forgotten that Harry had a tongue.
“Malfoy! Snape! Karkaroff! Crouch! Macnair! Lestrange!” Peter rattled off, gasping after each name. “Weasley!”
Silence. Peter was pale as milk, and just about as solid.
“I'm not a Death Eater!” Ron Weasley shouted, his ears turning red as he tried to stand up on his broken leg.
“Not you, you little shit,” Peter said scornfully, suddenly sounding stronger, more in control. Sirius and Remus shifted uncomfortably. “Your whore of a mother supports the Dark Lord.” He glanced in Harry's direction, and muttered, “She technically isn't a Death Eater, but she wants to be one. She hates the Potter family, especially your parents.”
“Stupefy!” Harry incanted, Stunning Peter. “Sorry Ron, but I already knew what your mum is doing.”
“Harry, you can't think-” Ron began, but Harry cut him off.
“I know she's your mum, but she's not right in the head. She's sick, and she needs help. If someone can question Pettigrew, and find out just how truthful he's been...” Harry looked down, embarrassed at how he'd spoken against his best friend's mother.
“Aurors can question him under Veritaserum,” Sirius said. “He can clear my name, and get Molly Weasley the help she needs.” Harry nodded, and they took Peter out through the Whomping Willow.
“Hey, Sirius,” Harry said as they walked. “Wouldn't it have been funny if Snape came in just in time for Pettigrew to denounce him?”
“Yes, it would,” Sirius agreed. “Too bad dear old Snivellus didn't come.”
“I said never to call me by that infernal name!” Snape himself shouted as he met them halfway. Harry flinched, and Snape sneered. He knew the effect he had on children and relished in it.
Sirius launched himself at Snape with an incomprehensible growl of rage, and pummeled the greasy “teacher” with his fists. When Remus pulled his friend off of Snape, they both looked down, while Sirius breathed hard. “He deserved it,” Sirius said.
“I know,” Remus said. He kicked Snape in the gut quickly and gave Sirius a high-five. “I'd always wanted to do that.”
When Dumbledore heard the news, or rather, when the news literally dragged him out of a sound sleep in the middle of the night, he was nearly ill. His first thought when he woke up to see Sirius Black, his gaunt face lit up by the almost full moon, had been that death had arrived to take him. Then he heard the adolescent baritone that he had spent most of the last three years listening for.
“Sirius! I don't think Professor Dumbledore appreciates being levitated out of bed!” Harry said, barely controlling a fit of laughter at the situation.
“Sirius, Harry's right,” Remus Lupin said calmly. “I only gave you the password because I assumed, erroneously it seems, that you'd wake him up in a civilized manner.”
“That just shows how little you know me, Moony old friend,” Sirius said jauntily.
“The last time I had so many men in my bedroom I was a student here myself,” Dumbledore muttered, releasing himself from Sirius' Hover Charm with a flick of his wrist. He fell back onto the bed with a soft thump. “Now what, may I ask, brings you three here in the middle of the night?”
“Death Eaters,” Sirius said succinctly. Remus rolled his eyes. “Oh bravo, Sirius, O great master of simplicity.” Sirius gave a short bow, which allowed him another chance to hit Pettigrew, who was laying quite Stunned at Harry's feet.
Dumbledore's eyes followed Sirius' motion, and they widened so much his eyebrows disappeared into his hairline. “He's supposed to be dead,” he muttered unnecessarily.
“He's gonna be, after we get the truth out of him,” Sirius promised grimly. “I promised Harry that we'd confirm this bastard's testimony before we get revenge.”
“Then I'll need to wake up Severus and get some Veritaserum,” Dumbledore said, standing up and pulling on a robe.
“Ummm, that might prove tricky,” Harry mumbled. Dumbledore's x-ray gaze fell on him consideringly, and he flushed and looked down. “He's kind of...indisposed...at the moment.”
“Who beat the crap out of my Potions Master? Or do I even need to ask the question?” he asked, his considering gaze falling on Sirius' smug look. “Sirius, you must learn to forgive and forget.”
“'Forgive and forget' that he wanted to kill James? 'Forgive and forget' that he wanted to get into Lily's pants? 'Forgive and forget' that I've suspected him of physically and mentally abusing students all year?” Sirius was just getting into his stride, and he looked quite deranged. Dumbledore took a step backward.
“We'll talk about this later,” he said coolly, going to the fireplace to floo to Snape's office, from which he could reach the aforementioned “teacher's” private stores.
6: Prewett-Weasley vs. Potter
Peter confirmed everything. He confirmed that Molly Weasley had willingly offered him sanctuary for the past twelve years, immediately following his failed attempt to kill all three Potters. He confirmed that, over the course of those twelve years, he and Molly had shared several conversations in which her hatred of the Potter family, and Lily Evans Potter in particular, were apparent to anyone who cared to listen. And worst of all, Molly had plans to help her young daughter seduce Harry Potter, and then fake a pregnancy so that she, Ginny, could ruin him. And perhaps kill him.
She also had plans to cause a major accident for the entire Granger family if Hermione persisted in smiling at Harry in that special way. Oh, she didn't want Hermione to marry Ron; Peter was very certain of that. She just didn't want to risk Harry not falling for Ginny; she had repeatedly mentioned an instance when Harry was a baby and he had started sucking on Ginny's hair.
Harry was sickened by all of this evidence of Molly's treachery and scheming. The word came to his lips almost naturally. “Jezebel,” he murmured.
“Pardon?” Sirius asked, leaning closer to Harry.
“Oh, I just thought of the word. I think I've heard it before, but I can't think where,” Harry said.
“Your mother called Molly that years ago,” Sirius explained. “She had asked Molly to babysit you while she and James worked once, and after she had picked you up, she told us what had happened. How Molly had said that just because you had sought out the flames Ginny Weasley calls hair that meant you'd one day settle down with her and make little red-haired, green-eyed babies of your own. Your mother was less than pleased with that bitch mapping out your life for you, and she called her on it.”
“Well, I think Mum would be pleased. I have no intention of becoming a pawn to any Weasley woman. In fact, I've been dating Hermione for six months,” Harry confessed, grinning. “I love her, and I fully intend to marry her as soon as we're old enough.”
“That won't be for another four years,” Dumbledore said absently as he finished arranging for Pettigrew's formal arrest.
Harry looked up at Dumbledore as though the old man would never figure out an obvious truth. “The Dursleys may have never encouraged academic excellence for me, but I can still count. Three years, three months, and twenty days. I plan to propose Christmas of sixth year, and ask you to marry us the day after her 17th birthday.” Sirius and Remus looked astonished, while Dumbledore tried to find a legal loophole to get out of performing a wedding during school.
* * * *
EDITOR’S NOTE: Yet another Evil-Molly story. I wonder why they’re so easy to do… :)
Anyway, what do you all think of this particular twist? Review! And thanks for reading.