Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Growing up, my mother took it upon herself to teach me everything she knew, both muggle and magic. Mind you, I am never going to be able to bake a treacle tart like Molly Weasley or be able to clean an entire living room with one flick of my wand, but at least I won’t keep my husband hungry and will be able to maintain a loving and tidy home. Or so Mum tells me.
At first, I resisted it. I didn’t want to be stuck inside the house learning how to roll pastry from scratch, the muggle way. I wanted to be outside with the boys, looking for frogs in the long grass that surrounded the Burrow or climbing trees. Though I could never run as fast as them, climb the tallest trees or throw garden gnomes as far as they could, I hated being excluded and had spent most of my childhood set out to prove that I could be one of the boys. Staying inside with a magically shrunken apron tied to my skinny body went against everything I wanted to show my brothers. But if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that trying to say no to Mum is like trying to defeat a dragon without magic – it’s just not possible. So I would stay inside and help mum around the house while the boys did whatever it was they did to keep themselves busy.
More than teaching me how to keep a house, she would also dispense as much advice to me as possible. It started out with telling me how to match my hair ribbons to my socks when I was little while she attempted to turn me into her very own life-sized doll that she could play dress-up with. Then there were the months of horror where she told me in a very matter-of-fact way about the changes to my body and hormones – it was much appreciated but I think it will be best if I never tell her that most of my education on those matters came from TeenWitch magazine and hands-on experience in darkened corners of Hogwarts. But as I grew up, it turned into very valuable life lessons, most of which I hope to pass onto my own children.
And she absolutely thrived on it. She adored having a girl around the house with whom she could talk about things that the boys just wouldn’t understand or care about. Suddenly, after six boys who would sooner fly on a broom than use it to sweep, she had a girl whose hair she could braid and dresses she could iron. Don’t get me wrong, the Weasley brothers six are a good lot but I don’t think they would appreciate having life lessons come from their mum. No, they are Real Men who learn from life experiences. I say that they’re just prats but that is another matter entirely.
There were seven of us, one for every day of the week. But Fred and George were born on the same day so we had an extra day of rest. And it seems that extra day of rest had ignited a fire inside my mother; she was on a mission to make sure each and every one of her children knew The Ways of the World according to Molly Weasley. She had tried her best with the boys but they had resisted and succeeded from her clutches.
I had not.
I don’t know if it was the girl or if I was forever doomed to be tiny in every way possible, but I could never escape her long talks with me on everything, from matching the right knitting spell with the right knitting needle to how to get into the Hogwarts kitchens. I’m never going to forget the look on Fred and George’s faces when they took me to the kitchens in the third week of my first year and I tickled the pear without them telling me what to do. Mum might be strict but she does have a definite wilder side to her. The boys will never truly know about it but I suppose that’s their loss. Or maybe it’s just a girl thing and I can detect it more than they can. Whatever it is, it is good to remember that Molly Weasley was not always as straight-laced as everyone believes her to have been.
And part of me liked it, too. I may have fought against it, but a large part of me adored having that close relationship with Mum that none of my brothers had. I had their clothes, their books, their wands and their toys. But the one thing that was entirely mine was the bond that I had with Mum, something I never had to share with them. Though I could have done with a lot less scrubbing and dusting, the girl in me adored having time away from the boys. Sometimes, it was easy to forget that I was, first and foremost, a girl, but a long afternoon session with Mum always reminded me once more.
Though she might act more like a mother hen that suffocates me with her incessant checkups to ensure I am keeping the house clean and incessant questioning about whether the children are okay, I really do admire her. I don’t know how she has managed to raise all of us without being admitted to the ward at St. Mungo’s with the Longbottoms, but she has done a marvellous job. Sure, we are not without our faults, but overall I think we turned out all right. We may have lost Percy for a while but he did come back and I can’t help but think that it was the Weasley in him that made him leave but the Prewett part of him which brought him home.
Of her admirable traits, the one which both infuriates me and leaves me in awe is how she can read people so easily. None of us have ever been able to lie to her and get away with it. Most of us had given up around age five in trying to get things past her. Fred and George were a bit ambitious and made it to age seven but they quickly cottoned onto the fact that Molly Weasley either has eyes in the back of her head and can smell a lie a mile away.
After tearfully confessing to breaking the vase that Dad had gotten her for their tenth wedding anniversary the summer before I left for my first year at Hogwarts, I had asked her how she knew I had been lying when I first denied being anywhere near the kitchen when the vase broke. She had smiled at me and told me that she had read my eyes. She must have sensed my obvious confusion and had gone to explain that a person’s eyes are the gateways to their souls and that if you can see what’s in their eyes, you can see what’s in their heart.
My eleven-year-old self dismissed it and thought she was a bit barmy but as the years have passed and I have had children of my own, I have come to realise that it’s true. And I am proud to say that I can add my own tenet to a Molly Weasley Principle of Life.
Yes, the eyes are the window to a person’s soul and heart. Yes, you can read a person very easily if you can read their eyes.
But there is more to it than that.
See, the one thing that Mum had not told me was that it only happens when that person loves you. When a person loves you, their entire lives are written in a single glance in your direction. Strangers are difficult to read. Those who love you are not.
Though they may try their best to hide, the ones who love you not only wear their hearts on their sleeves, they wear them in their eyes.