The Last Straw
With the battle raging around her, Molly Weasley felt sick. Sick because she had already lost one of her babies – the mangled body of Fred, her Fred, was lying somewhere upstairs, lifeless and cold. Sick because each and every one of her other six children was somewhere in this castle, fighting, possibly having already joined Fred among the casualties without her knowledge. Sick because she had so, so much to lose.
It had been with joy that she had learned that Percy had rejoined the fold – his absence had worn on her heart, his absolute repugnance of everything connected to the Weasley clan one of the hardest things she'd had to bear. Until tonight, that was. The loss of Fred was a pain more than she thought she could bear, and while reuniting with Percy had taken some of the pain off for just a little while, it was with a heavy heart that she saw the rest of her children re-joining the battle. Even Charlie, who she had thought was far away and safe, had been spied hurrying up the drive, eager to fight.
And now, this further heartbreak, with the death of Harry. While not of her blood, she looked on him with as much affection as anyone who wasn't actually his mother could. Seeing Hagrid carry him up from the forest, amongst the victorious Death Eaters, had reduced her to tears, and not just from the reactions of Ron and Ginny. And Hermione, of course. Losing Harry was potentially the one thing that the resistance couldn't survive.
But then chaos had begun, with Voldemort's attempted torture of the Longbottom boy somehow going awry, and Molly felt her husband grab at her arm.
"Where's Harry?" he whispered.
Confused, she looked around. Surely Harry was wherever Hagrid had left him, she thought. It wasn't as though he would have been able to move by himself, was it?
But no. As she searched the area where he should be, she realised Arthur was right. Where WAS Harry? Not anywhere near Hagrid, not being trampled on the ground, not by the pile of bodies she could see by the wall. In fact, their fallen saviour was nowhere to be seen.
"You don't think ..." she began, then stopped. No, that was stupid. Harry couldn't have somehow survived, could he? It was impossible. Yes, he had lived through the killing curse once from Voldemort, but even Harry, charmed life though he seemed to have in some ways, couldn't manage that feat again. And she knew that Voldemort would have used nothing short of Avada Kedavra
– he wouldn't have risked Harry surviving yet again.
Arthur was shaking his head. "No, I can't see how he could have lived," he agreed, then pulled his wand out abruptly. "But we're not going to have time to think about it," he went on hurriedly. "Look."
Taking a deep breath and grabbing her own wand, Molly looked grimly at the approaching Death Eaters. They were busy fighting whoever was in their path, including a frightening number of teenagers who had thought they were up to a battle of this magnitude and were quickly learning they weren't. As a mother, Molly hated this, but she couldn't escape the battle. All of her remaining children were fighting, even Ginny who she had strictly forbidden to join in, and she had to make sure that they had as little to do as possible.
Arthur took off to duel a huge, blond Death Eater while Molly found herself battling a dark, sullen-looking man who seemed to take delight in trying to Crucio her. Fortunately from her years of dealing with Fred and George she was well versed in dodging spells, and none of them hit her, though there were a few close calls. Finally she managed to hit him on the chest with a Stunning spell that knocked him over, and she bent over and hit his head on the floor a few times for good measure. Hopefully that would knock him out for a while, she thought, meaning that he would miss the rest of the battle and, if by some miracle they were victorious, the Ministry could deal with him later.
If the Ministry came out of Death Eater control, of course. But she could see Arthur and Percy working together to take down the current Minister, who they all knew was under the Imperius Curse, so it looked like that would be taken care of. Briefly, between battles, her heart swelled with pride. Percy was back and was actively working with his father for good. It was as it should be.
Suddenly, though, she froze. Through the crowds she had seen her daughter, her very own Ginny, battling none other than Bellatrix Lestrange. This was the woman who could defeat Sirius Black – and while she'd had her reservations about Sirius as a person, she'd had the utmost respect for his abilities – and she was fighting GINNY? Yes, Ginny had some support, thanks to Hermione and the Lovegood girl, but Molly couldn't let this continue. She'd already lost Fred and Harry; she couldn't lose Ginny as well.
Forcing her way through the chaos, Molly got within ten feet of the duel when she saw a green flash almost graze Ginny's face. The Killing Curse, against a sixteen year old girl? That was it.
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"
Molly yelled over the racket.
Bellatrix turned around and saw her and began to laugh, apparently seeing this short, middle-aged woman as less than a threat.
Molly didn't care. The woman had threatened her daughter, nearly killed her, and she was going to pay. She would not be allowed to get away with that. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Nay, like a MOTHER scorned. That was much more formidable.
Pushing the teenagers out of the way, she entered into what had to be the most frenzied duel she had ever participated in. Moving her wand more quickly than she'd even realised was possible, she cast every curse and hex she could think of at the woman, even hitting her occasionally and stopping her in her tracks. Molly herself was also hit once or twice but not by anything that could stop her. She was more determined than she'd ever been in her life. The Lestrange woman had to be defeated. End of story.
She pushed away some more teenagers who seemed to think she needed help. It was almost comical, the way they kept thinking she was helpless. Even as she pushed them away she kept her wand moving quickly, darting spells and curses at her opponent. The stone floor felt hot beneath her feet but she didn't care: this battle was more important than anything. Even if she died trying, she intended to stop Bellatrix Lestrange from casting a Killing Curse at anyone else's child – or her own, again.
The Lestrange woman smiled nastily, an ugly taunt forming on her lips. "What will happen to your children when I've killed you?"
she asked. "When Mummy's gone the same way as Freddie?"
That was the last straw. Molly was absolutely determined that this woman would never see the light of another day.
"You – will – never – touch – our – children – again!"
she yelled, if anything gaining even more fervour for the fight. Even as her opponent laughed, Molly gritted her teeth and sent one, final curse in Bellatrix's direction.
It worked. The woman froze, realisation on her face, then fell to the ground. Shocked herself, amazed that she had actually fought like that and defeated such an adversary, Molly too froze to the spot, staring at her vanquished foe.
Things seemed to happen in slow motion. The fall of Bellatrix Lestrange, the clattering of the dead woman's wand to the floor, the hushed stares of the onlookers, the scream of Voldemort as his most trusted ally and fighter was defeated. Now it was over, Molly had no idea how it had all happened. All that mattered was that, now, her children were safe from this woman. She had succeeded. She was still a good mother.
And then, suddenly, Molly was brought back to reality by the shout of a Shield Charm, and realised belatedly that it had been placed between her and Voldemort himself. Surely he hadn't tried to kill her? Her, Molly Weasley, who had never even fought a proper duel before tonight? It was almost unheard of.
But what grabbed her attention most of all was the person who had cast the Shield Charm. Like everyone else in the room, her eyes were drawn to a tall, slight figure, with black tousled hair and glasses, pointing his wand determinedly at Voldemort.
Harry. Harry was alive. It was impossible, but it had to be true – she could see him herself, living, breathing, fighting, eyes fixed on the Dark Wizard who had, until then, been winning the battle.
Amid the stifled cheers, Molly found herself again and faded into the crowd, watching the duel that was about to take place. While realistically she knew that Harry had little chance against someone like Voldemort, the fact that he was even there, alive, was enough to warm her heart. There was still some hope left.
Disclaimer: Text in bold is dialogue taken directly from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", pp 589-590, UK paperback edition.
Thanks to ericajen for her great job beta-ing this story.