Chapter 4 : Back to Earth
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Arthur stirred in his sleep, gathering her closer, and mumbled something that sounded like her name. She lay next to him, looking at the wall, with his arm wrapped around her bare back, and thought about their little wedding yesterday, listening to his heart beating, slow and steady.
Suddenly a realization occurred to her, and she bolted upright in bed with a little squeak, clutching the blanket to her chest. Arthur blinked a little.
“What’s wrong?” he asked sleepily.
“We’re going to have to tell our parents what we did,” Molly said in horror.
He looked confused. “I’m not telling them anything that happened last night –”
“Not that.” Molly gathered the blanket around her quickly to cover up, sliding out of bed and leaving him with the sheet, although he didn’t seem to care about her seeing his nude torso, because he didn’t make any effort to pull the sheet up when she took the blanket. “I mean we got married! We eloped! My mum is going to kill me. My dad is going to kill you.” She scanned the room, trying to find where her bra had been thrown the previous night.
Arthur looked a little worried, but he didn’t get out of bed. “We don’t have to go home now though, do we? It’s early still.”
“We have to eventually,” she said. “Have you any idea what my mother's going to do when she realizes I never came home last night?” She found her underwear on the mantel above the fireplace, where they had apparently landed after Arthur had tossed them over his shoulder last night, and she snatched them down, trying to wriggle into them without dropping the blanket.
Arthur watched her struggling with the blanket and started to grin. “I saw you last night, you know. I don’t mind if you take the blanket off to get dressed.”
“Well, I mind,” she said crossly.
“But you’re so beautiful,” he said, and Molly turned to him with narrowed eyes to see if he was teasing her. He was looking at her a little hungrily, much like he had last night, and she realized that he truly did think she was beautiful. She smiled at him, her heart tugging.
“Oh, Arthur,” she said, and went over to the bed to collapse next to him. He wrapped her in his arms, and she sighed as she cuddled up against him. “What are we going to tell our parents?”
Arthur’s attention was clearly no longer on their parents. He was staring intently at her as he ran his hand down her arm and onto the blanket that was still wrapped around her. “We’ll think of something. We can go downstairs-” and he gave the blanket a little tug “-have some breakfast-” another tug “-and figure out how to tell them.”
Molly could feel the blanket peeling off her, but she didn’t bother to cover back up. He was right, after all; he’d already seen her last night. It seemed different in the daylight, though. She could feel her cheeks growing hot, and her insides seemed to have turned to liquid under Arthur's heated gaze.
“My wife,” he murmured as he leaned down to kiss her.
It was another hour before they managed to get down to breakfast, and Molly was starved. She ate quite a bit more than she usually did that morning, and Arthur just grinned at her appetite as he shovelled in the usual gigantic quantities. She couldn’t understand how he didn’t weigh twenty stone with the way he ate.
“You seem a little hungry this morning,” he said between bites.
“I took some exercise,” Molly said seriously, trying not to blush.
“We have to tell them, you know,” she said then.
Arthur’s smile faded. “I know. I’m just… not ready to go yet.”
Molly nodded. She knew what he meant; she wasn’t quite ready to let go of their little excursion from reality either. Somehow being together here in this Muggle village felt safe, much safer than the wizarding world felt right now. Everything was rosy and picturesque, from the adorable little inn to the black-roofed blacksmith’s shop where they’d been married. There was no one to question their decision, no one to burst the happy little bubble they were in. She didn’t want to leave just yet either.
However, with the way things were going in the wizarding world – with Dark wizards becoming more powerful and dangerous, and especially after Cecilia's family had just been killed only a few weeks ago – if her parents noticed that she hadn't come home last night, they’d be calling out the Aurors to find her. Her mother was convinced Molly’s body would be found in a ditch somewhere if she didn’t check in with her parents every morning and night.
“Whose parents do you want to tell first?” Arthur asked.
“Yours,” Molly said immediately. “That way if my father does kill you, we’ll have already told your family.”
“Right.” Arthur was silent for a moment, examining his glass of orange juice minutely, as if it might contain the answers to the universe. “D’you think your dad is likely to actually kill me?” he asked finally in worried tones.
“I hope not.” Molly pushed the remains of her breakfast around on her plate. “He did once say he would kill you if you tried anything with me, and I think we can now safely say you have, in fact, tried something with me.”
“Tried, yes, but I rather thought I succeeded, too,” Arthur said. His ears turned pink, but he was grinning now.
Molly smiled at him. “I rather think you did.”
“Ready?” he asked.
Arthur smiled and gathered her a bit closer in his arms. “Here we go.”
Molly squeezed her eyes shut and held tightly to him as the feeling of compression surrounded her. She could still feel Arthur’s arms around her, holding her close and keeping her safe, and the next moment they landed in the front yard of Cedrella and Septimus Weasley’s home.
Arthur released her, but grabbed her hand as she stepped away. He led the way up to the front door, and they paused on the threshold.
“Now or never,” he said nervously, smoothing his hair back.
Molly nodded and took a deep breath, trying to calm her racing heart.
The door opened just as Arthur reached for the knob, revealing a stocky young man with a shock of curly red hair who was quite familiar to Molly.
“Where,” said Bilius Weasley, “have you been? Mum’s going starkers.”
Molly’s eyes widened as Arthur's older brother surveyed them both. He frowned as he looked them up and down, and Molly was glad her left hand, with the silver ring on the all-important finger, was hidden in Arthur’s hand. Bilius seemed to know something was different about them, however.
“What have you done?”
“Go away, Bilius,” Arthur said irritably.
“We have to tell him too,” Molly pointed out.
“Not before we tell my mum, I'd never hear the end of it.”
“What’ve you done?” Bilius repeated as Arthur pushed past him. He followed them as they headed for the kitchen, where Cedrella Weasley was mixing something vigorously in a yellow bowl. She let out a loud gasp and dropped the bowl when she saw Arthur.
“Where have you been?” she demanded, ignoring the shattered remains of the bowl. “I was so worried about you!” She rushed at him and kissed his cheeks, murmuring, “Oh, my baby, my baby…”
“Mum, calm down,” Arthur said as she knocked his glasses askew.
Septimus Weasley was sitting at the kitchen table with the Daily Prophet open in front of him and blue smoke curling out of his pipe, creating smoke dragons that swirled lazily in the air above him, their wings flapping slowly as they floated upward and dissolved in the warmth of the kitchen.
“Afternoon, Arthur,” he said around the stem of the pipe. “Cedrella, get a hold of yourself.”
Mrs. Weasley ignored him, still holding Arthur’s face between her hands. “Your father was frantic with worry,” she said, despite evidence to the contrary.
“Afternoon, Miss Prewett,” Mr. Weasley said calmly to Molly, giving her a wink.
“Good afternoon, sir,” she said nervously.
“My dear girl, have you been missing as well?” Mrs. Weasley let go of Arthur abruptly and turned to Molly, putting her hands on Molly’s shoulders as she looked her up and down and Arthur straightened his glasses and smoothed his hair back into place. “Your parents must be just sick with worry.”
“I’m all right, Mrs. Weasley,” Molly said, though she felt a little uncertain about that assessment of her parents' likely state of mind. Arthur's mum probably had a point there, though livid with worry might be more accurate.
Arthur was rolling his eyes. “It was only one day, Mum. We weren’t missing.”
Mrs. Weasley stepped back and frowned at them. “'We'? Were you together this whole time?”
“It was only one day,” Arthur repeated.
Bilius was leaning against the doorframe, his arms crossed in front of him, looking relaxed and smiling smugly. He was clearly enjoying watching the scene unfold. “Punish him, Mum!” he chirped.
“Get a job, Bilius,” Arthur shot back at him over his shoulder.
Bilius made a rude hand gesture at his little brother, which their mother didn’t notice, her attention still focused on Arthur.
“Mum, Dad, we need to tell you something,” Arthur began.
Mrs. Weasley sat down abruptly, looking horrified. She put a hand to her heart. “What happened?”
Mr. Weasley was still holding the paper up in front of him, but he was looking at Arthur questioningly over the rims of his glasses, his eyebrows raised.
Arthur put an arm around Molly, pulling her close to his side. “Molly and I got married yesterday,” he announced proudly.
There was a ringing silence in the kitchen. No one seemed to have expected that. Even Bilius appeared surprised by the news.
Finally Mrs. Weasley said in astonishment, “You got married without your own mum there?”
“No one was there, it was just us,” Arthur said, a little irritably. “We eloped. You don’t invite your mum along when you elope, Mum.”
Mrs. Weasley rose to her feet gracefully and walked over to them. Molly shrank back a little, clinging to Arthur, her eyes wide. Though she knew Arthur's mum quite well, and knew Mrs. Weasley was fond of her, she wasn't entirely sure how Mrs. Weasley might react to her baby boy having run off and gotten married – without his mum there.
Mrs. Weasley stared at Molly inscrutably for a moment, then embraced her tightly, pulling her out of Arthur’s grasp. Molly’s breath came out in a small oof! as Arthur’s mum squeezed her tight.
“I always wanted daughters,” said Mrs. Weasley tearfully. She gave Molly a damp kiss on the cheek.
“Th-thank you,” Molly said weakly, hugging her back.
“Congratulations,” Bilius called from the doorway.
“I suppose I should have said 'good afternoon, Mrs. Weasley',” Mr. Weasley said, giving Molly another wink and shaking out his newspaper a bit as he turned the page.
Arthur beamed at his father and brother. “Thanks, Bilius,” he said happily.
“Eloped, eh?” Bilus said, grinning at his little brother. “Didn’t anyone want to see my flower trick at the wedding?”
“Not really,” Arthur said.
“Decidedly not,” said Mr. Weasley, not looking up from his newspaper.
“I thought I had forbidden you to do that again,” Mrs. Weasley said sternly. “You nearly caused a riot at your cousin Hector's wedding. I had owls about you for weeks.”
“What’s the flower trick?” Molly asked. Mrs. Weasley had one arm around her still, and Molly was actually quite glad of it. She wanted Arthur’s family to like her and was relieved this had gone as well as it had.
“It’s best not to ask,” Mrs. Weasley assured her, giving her another little hug.
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