Chapter 1 : Molly
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Healer Burdick, who had helped deliver the latest addition to the Weasley family, had retired to her office, leaving the new parents alone with their little girl. On her way through the quiet corridors, she had peered into the waiting room, grinning at the sight of the bored nurses. One of them, a short, rather crummy woman in her forties, was just saying: “What if they know that Christmas is just a few days away? No child would want its birthday to be this close to Christmas! That would mean eleven months of no presents…”
Healer Burdick smiled. “Well, there is one child who doesn’t seem to mind.”
The crummy nurse seemed startled, but when she saw the healer standing in the doorway she smiled widely and jumped to her feet.
“Is it true? The baby’s arrived?” she asked, her face beaming with glee.
“It’s true”, answered Burdick. “A perfectly healthy baby girl.”
The perfectly healthy girl was currently resting on her mother’s chest. Well, her father thought as he regarded his wife and their firstborn, it was a big day for her. She had just been born into a new world – no wonder she was tired!
Percy couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from his daughter. Her skin had the furious pink colour that new-borns had, and her incredibly small fingers were gripping the blanket that the healer had wrapped around her. For every breath that Audrey took, the baby was raised and lowered along with her mother’s thorax.
“She’s perfect”, Audrey said, her voice full of wonderment. “I know that’s what every parent says about their child, but look at her!”
“I know”, Percy answered as a smile grew on his face. “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe how beautiful she is, or how amazing you were… I couldn’t have done it. But you were so strong...”
“I didn’t have much of choice, did I? She had to get out somehow.”
For the next few minutes, every nurse from the ward seemed to stop by their room to see the special baby that didn’t mind having her birthday that close to Christmas – although, as Percy pointed out, she didn’t have much of a choice either.
In the middle of the congratulations, cooing and fussing over the baby, Healer Burdick came back into the room. She had washed up and changed into a new robe, and she had to squeeze herself through the doorway, which was blocked by the group of curious nurses who had given up on playing Exploding Snap.
“Mr Weasley”, she said breathlessly. “Your parents are here. Do you want me to let them in?”
“You decide, Audrey”, Percy said. “Would you like to rest some more before we see my family? I’m sure they would understand if you did.”
“No, it’s fine”, Audrey said, stroking hear daughter’s back softly. “I think someone is ready to meet her Grandma and Grandpa Weasley.”
“I’ll let them in.”
After driving the nurses out of the room, Healer Burdick ran off to get Percy’s parents. Percy got up on his feet and walked over to Audrey’s bed. As he bent down to kiss his daughter’s forehead, there was a squeak as the door opened, followed by a gasp that Percy recognized as his mother’s. He turned around, grinning widely at his parents. His father’s chest seemed to swell with pride as he smiled back at him, and tears were already streaming down Mrs Weasley’s face.
“Mum, Dad”, Percy said. “Say hello to your new granddaughter.”
“It’s a girl?” Mr Weasley said. “Will you look at that, Molly? I reckon we’ll have more girls than boys in this next generation of Weasleys… who would have thought?”
“She’s beautiful”, said Mrs Weasley. “Congratulations, you two. How are you feeling, Audrey?”
“Tired”, answered her daughter-in-law. “But I’ve never been happier.”
Percy watched as his wife placed the baby in Mrs Weasley’s arms. His mother beamed with joy as she rocked her gently. Her eyes seemed to literally glow as she studied her perfect little face, and Percy could barely hold back his tears. It really was a beautiful sight. He had waited eagerly for the baby to be born ever since Audrey had announced to him that she was pregnant. He had pictured it a thousand times in his head, he had dreamed of what the baby would look like and tried to imagine how he would feel. But just like his brothers had told him, there was no way to describe the overwhelming, frighteningly deep love he felt for the little girl who slept calmly in her grandmother’s arms.
“You won’t understand it until you’ve held your baby for the first time”, Bill had told him. “Until you hear that first cry… or when he or she opens her eyes for the first time.”
He had told the truth. Percy’s imagination couldn’t have created feelings that strong. There really was no word for it.
“The rest of the family sends their love”, Mr Weasley said. “They are very excited to see the baby, but everyone agreed it would be easier to come visit you later today, instead of disrupting the children’s sleeping patterns by dragging them here at five in the morning.”
Percy nodded understandingly. Except for Charlie, he was the last one of his siblings to have a child. Even Ginny, the youngest out of all of them, had two already. George had two as well, and Bill had three. Mr and Mrs Weasley had enough grandchildren to start their own quidditch team, for Merlin’s sake. But it didn’t stop this child – Percy’s child – from being nothing less than a miracle.
Percy barely noticed the hours pass. Mr and Mrs Weasley took turns in holding the baby, Audrey struggled to stay awake and he was happy just sitting there, staring at his child. He saw no reason why he should ever stop staring at her. It wasn’t until Mr Weasley regretfully announced that he had to go to work that Percy turned his eyes to his watch. He blinked. Could it really be eight o’clock already? Had he really been a father for three hours?
“I’ll see you when I get home, Molly”, Mr Weasley said. He kissed his wife’s cheek before turning to Percy. “Congratulations again, son. She’s a beauty. Tell Audrey I said goodbye when she wakes up, will you?”
Percy nodded and turned his eyes towards Audrey. He hadn’t really noticed it when she’d fallen asleep, but sometime during the last couple of hours she had withdrawn from the conversation and succumbed to her fatigue. Having been too busy staring at the baby, Percy hadn’t been engaged in the conversation at all.
Looking through the window, he could see the sun rising. It seemed like it would be a beautiful winter day. In just a few hours the sun would peak, casting its beams over the snowy streets of London, reflecting in the ice crystals that hang from every rooftop and every windowsill. The town would glitter, creating an enchanting welcome for the newborn little girl.
“How are you feeling, Perce? Overwhelmed?” Mrs Weasley said. She was holding the sleeping baby in her arms, but her eyes were fixed on her son.
“A bit, I guess”, Percy answered. “I knew it would be emotional, but I wasn’t quite prepared for… this.”
“I know what you mean”, said Mrs Weasley and smiled sympathetically. “You don’t understand it until you’re a parent yourself.”
“I know. It scares me, to be honest”, Percy said. “How much I love her.”
“Welcome to parenthood”, smiled Mrs Weasley. “You know that worry you’re feeling, just looking at her?” Percy nodded. “That won’t go away. You’re always going to worry about her, wonder where she is and if she’s okay. You’ll be worried when she’s right there with you, too. And it gets worse when she grows up and walks away from you…”
She stopped abruptly. Her cheeks turned red, and Percy understood at once what she was thinking about. He had done that to his mother. He had walked away from her, from the entire family, at the time when they most needed to stick together. The second war had begun, Voldemort had regained his power, and Percy had walked out on them.
Everyone had told him multiple times to forget about it. They forgave him. Fred’s death had given them a new perspective, and no one was stubborn enough to hold a grudge against him. Not even Ginny. And yet, Percy knew he would have to live the rest of his life knowing that he had betrayed them.
His eyes lingered at the baby once again. She was so small. He tried to imagine what she would look like when she grew older, but he couldn’t. Would she do something like that? In twenty years, would she turn her backs on them, leaving them heartbroken because their child had betrayed them, consumed by that never-ending worry and indescribably strong, unconditional love? He couldn’t imagine it ever coming to that. But on the other hand, he was sure his parents couldn’t have guessed the day he was born what he would end up doing to them.
“Mum”, he said, feeling his eyes fill with tears. “I’m so sorry that I walked away from you. I’m so, so sorry…”
“Haven’t I told you to stop worrying about that, dear?” asked his mother. “I forgave you a long time ago, and so did everyone else. I don’t really think about the fact that you ever left. I focus on the next part.”
“The next part?”
“The fact that you came back to us.”
“But still, I was being a prat. I actually valued my boss’ thoughts about me higher than yours. And now that I understand the love you feel for your child…. I can’t imagine what it did to you, Mum. I’m so sorry.”
“I know you are”, Mrs Weasley said. “And I forgive you.”
And for the first time, as her piercingly blue eyes met his, he could really feel it. Everyone had told him that, time after time: “I forgive you.” He hadn’t believed it up until that moment, and he wasn’t sure what was different this time. He only knew that it was something, and that the words brought peace into his heart and made him feel like he could finally relax again, after years and years of beating himself up and blaming himself for everything that happened back then.
“Now that you’re a father you’re going to see things a bit differently”, Mrs Weasley said, interrupting his thoughts. “It won’t matter what this little one will do to you – you’ll always forgive her, and you’ll always put everything else aside to just be there for her.”
“You know, Ron told me it would be harder if she was a girl”, Percy remembered. “He said I’d probably lose my mind worrying about her, even more so than if she’d been a boy.”
“Well, he doesn’t have a son, does he?” smiled his mother. “Don’t let him scare you. It’s equally difficult and equally wonderful. But of course, there is a difference! I was a little scared when Ginny was born, to be honest. I knew how to raise a son, but how would I be able to raise her? Despite being a woman myself I had no idea how to help her turn into one. Your father was even more terrified than I was. But it worked out, didn’t it? She turned out quite wonderful.”
Percy smiled as his thoughts trailed off to his little sister. Ginny was one of the strongest women he had ever met. She never let anyone push her around, she stood up for herself and she was an incredibly loving person. Actually, Percy thought as he met Mrs Weasley’s eyes again, she reminded him quite a lot about someone else he knew. And if his baby took after that person as well, he knew he would have absolutely nothing to worry about – not that he would literally stop worrying, of course. He hadn’t forgotten: the worry doesn’t go away.
“Ginny turned out just like you, Mum”, he said. “Merlin knows I’ll be lucky if this little one does too.”
Mrs Weasley’s eyes flooded with tears. She was just about to answer him when there was a knock on the door. A few seconds later it opened, and Healer Burdick stepped inside the room once again.
“Is everything alright in here? Splendid. I don’t mean to disturb you, Mr Weasley, but the rest of your family is waiting outside. The nurses are thrilled to finally have some people out there, of course – especially children. But I think they’re all anxious to see you and the baby.”
“I should probably go get them, then”, Mrs Weasley said. “Before the kids blow the place up, right, Perce?”
She laughed, got up on her feet and placed the child in Percy’s arms. She then turned towards the door and was just about to follow the healer back to the waiting room when she stopped.
“Percy”, she said. “You never told me her name.”
“Oh… well, we’d like to name her… that is if you’ll agree to it, of course…”, Percy said.
His eyes turned from his mother to his daughter, who seemed to have finally woken up. Her eyelids fluttered and she sighed silently before finally opening her eyes. Percy could have sworn his heart skipped a beat. It was the most amazing thing in the world to see her eyes roam about the room; she was still unable to fix her gaze on anything. Percy looked up at his mother, who waited patiently in the doorway.
“Molly”, he said. “We think her name should be Molly.”
A/N: When J.K Rowling told us that Percy's first child was named Molly, it made me so happy, because I think it shows that Percy's 'betrayal' never destroyed his relationship with Mrs Weasley. For that reason I just had to write this story. Please let me know what you thought of it!