Chapter 1 : Christmas Reflections
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--- Christmas Day, 2008 ---
Molly smiled as she watched her growing family. It was true all her children had long since left the Burrow for their own homes. But they stopped by nearly every week and the grandchildren stayed over most weekends. Celestina Warbeck played softly in the background for the moment. Soon it would change to some band she really didn’t know or understand, but her children and grandchildren loved trying to sing the songs – or making up words as the song progressed. The youngest of the children would soon try to dance in place to the delight of their parents.
The Burrow was decorated from top to bottom with mistletoe and holly. A large Christmas tree could barely be seen behind the stack of brightly-wrapped Christmas presents. A star rested at the top of the tree this year instead of a small angel. The glasses had been charmed to refill themselves as had the plates of food that were scattered about the living room and kitchen.
The entire family was gathered about the tree with differing amounts in interest. The adults kept a watchful eye on their older children who were eagerly awaiting their next present. The youngest were happily sitting next to their parents, wondering what was happening. All the children enjoyed ripping open the paper to reveal their presents. Thankfully there was also a charm in place that lifted the shorn paper into a bag away from the gathering.
In these years, so much had happened since the war. Too many people were lost. Too many people had given up far too much. Harry had caught her crying that first Christmas following the battle because Fred wouldn’t be there. He had looked her in the eye and told her that Fred was fine. That he was happy that everyone had a chance to live in peace instead of dwelling in the shadows. She had to shake off the idea that Harry had actually talked to Fred after the battle.
Arthur had changed little in these past ten years. He was still the Head of the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects. She had been pleased when he had been given a few raises and bonuses. His department had grown after the war because many wizards and witches found it difficult to believe that Voldemort was truly gone this time. Others feared the Death Eaters that had escaped after the Battle of Hogwarts. He was still fascinated with Muggle items and had continued to ask Harry about them.
Bill’s scars had paled a little but still caused him pain though everyone had learned to not mention it. Both he and Fleur were kept busy with their three lively children.
Bill still worked for Gringott’s. She was grateful that he had managed to keep Harry, Ron and Hermione from the severe punishment that the goblins could have enforced. He had taken the three back to Gringott’s where they had spent many hours in discussions concerning the improvement of their security after having to thoroughly explain how they were able to infiltrate the bank. It had taken many months before that particular story had been laid to rest.
Fleur worked part time at Gringott’s. Molly was more than happy to watch the children while they were both at work. Fleur would arrive at the Burrow just in time for lunch and take the children home afterwards.
Their eldest, Victoire, had been born just after the Battle of Hogwarts remembrance gathering. She was a born leader, even at a tender age of eight. She looked nearly identical to her mother, except for her brown eyes and her strawberry-tinged silvery hair. So far she hadn’t manifested her veela heritage, though Fleur didn’t look overly concerned. She was brave, but she was also very smart. There was always a book nearby if she wasn’t reading. She was fairly adept on a broom, but preferred her feet on the ground.
Dominique was nearly six and reminded her of Gabrielle, always following Fleur around. She also had silvery hair that was just barely tinged with red. She was an extremely curious child, always asking questions and wanting a true answer. She looked like a small owl as she watched you carefully with her wide eyes.
Louis took after Bill, looking for adventure even though he wasn’t even two yet. He was the one who would disappear only to be discovered in the oddest places. Bill and Fleur suspected the only reason he stayed inside the house was because of the child-proof charms. He loved flying and when he wasn’t disappearing, he was flying on his toy broom that hovered just enough for his toes to not touch the ground.
Her gaze fell on Charlie. She sighed a little with disappointment. Was it too much to ask for him to find a lovely wife and settle down instead of running after dragons all the time? He was the only one of her children not married yet. And yet he was also on the floor helping the youngest children open their presents or keeping them entertained while waiting for their next present. Perhaps she didn’t have to worry about him quite yet.
She shook her head slightly when she saw Percy sitting next to his wife Audrey. He had surprised them when he had brought her and his daughter Molly to visit after the battle. She still didn’t know how he managed to keep such a secret from her.
Percy still worked at the Ministry, though he had transferred to Arthur’s old position for the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts. When she had asked one time, he had explained that he had gotten so caught up in power that he wanted to spend time away from it. Though it didn’t appear his plan on taking a break from gaining prestige would happen for him. He had literally transformed the office and since Perkins retired, he was the Head of the Department and had been given three employees to manage.
Audrey also worked at the Ministry as a secretary to the International Games Department. She had hinted there would be something fairly interesting happening in a few years if plans went well.
Little Molly was home for her first Christmas break and full of tales of Hogwarts, especially about Professor Longbottom who would tell them tales of Hogwarts during the dark times and if they were lucky enough, he would show them his coin that Hermione made all those years ago.
Their youngest daughter Lucy was envious that her sister was already at Hogwarts and would protest that she couldn’t wait for another three years to attend Hogwarts. And if she thought Percy could talk for hours on nothing, his speeches did not even compare with little Lucy’s. She was grateful that Lucy’s speeches had substance to them and were informative.
Her heart broke a little when her eyes fell on George. He had grieved hard as they all had for the loss of Fred. He had moved back to the Burrow for a time because he claimed that the apartment over their shop was too quiet. Lee and Angelina had been frequent visitors to the Burrow, helping George better than she ever could. She hadn’t been too surprised when George had proposed to Angelina or that they had gotten married quickly. Angelina brought back George’s smiles and laughter.
She had been worried that George would close the shop after Fred’s death. And it had been his plan to do so, if not for Lee and Angelina convincing him that would be the last thing that Fred would have him do. George finally agreed and kept the store open. Lee ran the store until George felt he could step inside once more.
Angelina had gotten George to return when she had insisted that she wanted to work there, but needed him to help her. At first, George only went when Angelina was working, but the lure soon changed that.
Their children, Fred and Roxanne, were showing signs of following in their father’s footsteps. Fred, especially, was mischievous. As if he felt he needed to live up to his Uncle Fred’s reputation. Many of the store’s treats were left around to catch the unwary and sometimes even the cautious. She was thankful that the treats tended to be ones that a six-year old found amusing – the fake wands and canary creams – instead of the more serious items. He also had a toy broom and rode around on it constantly and begged anyone to read him any book on Quidditch, proclaiming that he would be the youngest Beater.
Roxanne was still uncertain about her toy broom. George had given it to her for her first birthday, but she had refused to touch it for a long time. Now, two years later, she would ride it for a little bit, but would lose interest and find a picture book to read.
She chuckled to herself watching Ron and Hermione bicker. After all this time, she would only worry if they stopped bickering. They had been bickering with each other since they met on the train to Hogwarts their first year.
She had always been proud of him, no matter what he thought growing up. He didn’t appear to feel overshadowed by his brothers anymore. He had done what none of them had during the war. They had all fought, but only he had followed Harry and Hermione to destroy the dark magic keeping Tom Riddle alive. He had destroyed a Horcrux after saving Harry. He had figured out how Hermione could destroy another Horcrux. He had taken the offer to become an Auror without having taken his N.E.W.T.s. She hadn’t been thrilled with the idea, but knew why he had done so. He had resigned his position last year after deciding to go work with George at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.
Hermione had returned to Hogwarts, passed every N.E.W.T. she applied for before going to work at the Ministry on behalf of the Magical Beings. After years of dedication, she was promoted to Magical Law Enforcement and was currently rising up the ranks quickly. Minister Shacklebolt had selected her to help review the laws. There were too many laws that favored the pure-bloods and hindered all others.
Their eldest child, Rose, was currently trying to put the wrapping paper in her mouth, refusing to let Charlie take it from her. And yet all Hermione had to do was hold out her hand for Rose to give her the paper. Rose had just turned two and had decided on asserting her independence.
Hugo sat next to Ron and Hermione on the floor. They hadn’t really explained why they named their son Hugo. When asked, they would exchange a look and smile. He was a fairly laid-back child, though many were privately suspecting that in about a year, he would be acting just as his older sister.
Her eyes fell on her youngest and her husband. They had both overcome so much. While Harry was now at ease and could laugh and smile, it had taken a long time for him to do so. He had felt responsible for the pain of the wizarding world for far too long. It didn’t help when people randomly appeared blaming him for not getting rid of Tom Riddle sooner. Ginny’s look of fury when she heard them lambast him for something they wouldn’t have even considered trying lent a little extra to her already famous Bat-Bogey Hex.
Another almost insurmountable issue they had to learn to deal with was the press. Both were extraordinarily famous. Reporters and photographers followed them everywhere. Every little detail of their lives had been reported on. Their pictures plastered in the paper. Thankfully, after a few years, it eased up. This past May was the first time that the papers hadn’t run Potter family information from cover to cover all month long.
He had also chosen to become an Auror before having taken his N.E.W.T.s, though getting rid of the darkest wizard known to wizarding kind would have to be more difficult than any N.E.W.T. made. As he had made the youngest Seeker in a century, he had earned another title – the youngest Head Auror in known history. It had been unusual that a trainee had led many missions to capture the escaped Death Eaters.
Ginny was the only one out of the family who had played Quidditch professionally. The Holyhead Harpies had offered her a Chaser position and she jumped at the chance. She retired when they were expecting James and she had moved over to the Daily Prophet and worked her way up to the Senior Quidditch Correspondent.
James was only six and the amount of trouble he already had gotten into was more than the twins had ever done combined! It appeared he had learned how to use his magic to a small degree causing Harry and Ginny some grief, though both could now end any spell with a wave of their hand from the practice James had given them. When his antics surpassed the twins, Ginny would give Harry a look for having named their eldest after two Marauders, certain that he was trying to live up to their name.
Albus refused to let his older brother tell him what he could and could not do – it didn’t matter than he was only nearly three. They quarreled incessantly about nearly everything. If one had something, the other wanted it at that exact time. Any disagreement was quickly settled when Harry or Ginny looked at them with a raised eyebrow. Everyone in the family was surprised when his eyes turned out to be just like Harry’s.
Lily, who was the same age as Hugo, was sitting next to Ginny, playing with the boxes instead of the toys. Soon, Hugo would notice and join her. They had made up their own language and would speak it to the amusement of the adults and irritate all their cousins.
Andromeda and Teddy would soon be stopping by for a visit. Their presents were still waiting under the tree. Andromeda was another person who lost so much during the war – her husband, her daughter and her son-in-law. Her sister, Bellatrix, had been killed during the battle. Her other sister, Narcissa, though not in Azkaban, had not thawed to include her in any family celebrations yet. Teddy was Harry’s godson and he had invited Andromeda to join them that first year when she brought Teddy to visit. She had been overwhelmed with her inclusion and was an unofficial member of the Weasley family now.
Teddy would be starting Hogwarts next year and was looking forward to his letter in April. He was mostly patient with all the young children, amusing them with making different faces and changing his hair. He didn’t seem to treat Molly or Victoire differently, though he could be found talking with Victoire if not followed by all the other kids. When asked, all he would say was that Victoire listened.
He would get moody around the Battle of Hogwarts remembrance, even when he was too young to understand. Perhaps he picked up on the anxiety from the adults around him at first, but far too soon, Harry had to explain to him what had happened to his parents and why his parents were heroes.
They would soon be having another two families visit for the very first time. That had been one in a series of laws to get repealed. Hermione had rightly pointed out that many wizarding people have Muggle family members and they shouldn’t have to lead a double life, unable to tell their own relatives what they are doing. It was a hard fight, but one that had been won after Hermione had pulled out a notebook and began asking each of those in the Wizengamot about particular Muggle relatives. Once they had started squirming, she turned the topic to those who had died in the war – what had their Muggle relatives been told? She had looked them in their uneasy eyes and answered her own question. They hadn’t been told the truth – only a story so that their closest kin were not aware of how brave they had been.
Hermione’s parents would soon arrive, finally able to spend Christmas with the entire family. Arthur had spent the past few weeks writing out a list of questions he had for them, having decided that Harry spent too much time in the wizarding world to answer Muggle questions now.
The other family arriving soon was the Dursleys. Vernon wanted still wanted nothing to do with Harry though Petunia kept secretly in touch with him. However, Dudley was bringing his wife Caroline and their four children, the eldest about five and the youngest not even a six months. She had been as surprised as everyone else when Dudley had contacted Harry after the war and proved true to his word in wanting to fix their relationship.
In all this time, she hadn’t been able to meet his relatives though many of her family had. Their reports were troubling. But after the war, Harry had spoken with Arthur and her about whether he ought to give Dudley another chance, showing them the letter with many mistakes in it, as if Dudley had had trouble saying what he meant. Harry had pointed out how Dudley was concerned about him before they went into hiding, a point that Hestia and Dedalus had confirmed later. They let him talk himself out, asking questions only when necessary. It had been Harry who decided on his own to give Dudley that second chance. One that Dudley had taken.
Harry had only time enough to give her a little information on Caroline and their children. Caroline was a Muggle from Ottery St. Catchpole where their family now lived in the Muggle section of town, which made it all the odder that she hadn’t stopped by for tea, now that she considered it.
Their eldest child was named Arthur and would start primary school the following year. Their daughter, Mary, was next and was slightly older than Roxanne. Mark was a little younger than Louis, though supposedly more adventuresome which was a little frightening to consider. Their youngest was Andrew who was a little younger than Lily and Hugo.
Neville and his family would stop by just after dinner. He also became an Auror without taking his N.E.W.T.s and after the last known Death Eater had been caught, resigned his position to become a Professor of Herbology, allowing Professor Sprout to retire after a particularly nasty incident with one of the plants. She had her suspicions about which plant, but no one would agree or disagree.
His wife, Hannah, had taken over running the Leaky Cauldron and old Tom was talking about giving it to her outright.
They had three lively and curious children – Franklin, Alicia and Melania. Neither Neville nor Hannah were pressuring their children to follow in anyone’s footsteps and wanting to see where their own talents would take them.
It had surprised no one that Franklin and Alicia had been named after Neville’s parents who were still at St. Mungo’s. She was uncertain where they had found their youngest child’s name.
Franklin was the spitting image of his father and was looking forward to seeing Hogwarts for himself. He had already started counting the days until he would get his letter even though it wouldn’t be for another two-and-a-half years.
Alicia looked so much like her mother with her blonde hair and kind smile. She was quiet and laughed easily with a sparkle in her eye. She insisted on carrying a small Muggle dolly around wherever she went even though she was nearly seven. It had been Ginny who had told her about Harry greeting the dolly and shaking its tiny hand to Alicia’s delight.
Melania didn’t look like either of her parents, though there was talk about her looking remarkably like her great-great-grandmother, Callidora Black Longbottom, with her dark black hair and dark eyes that watched those around her. She was just leaving the terrible twos behind, much to everyone’s relief.
Luna had sent a card apologizing for not being able to visit as she and Rolf were in Albania looking for an elusive creature. Hermione had rolled her eyes, Ron had snorted while Harry and Ginny had exchanged a patient look. They had each confided at different times that while the creatures Luna and her father searched for might not really exist, there was always a chance they might.
Molly sighed with contentment as she watched her family as they laughed and joked with each other. The end of the war had been a costly victory for too many people. Losing Fred left a gaping wound in their family that had been slow to heal. Her smile trembled as she remembered the year their Christmas tree star was actually a garden gnome dressed up as an angel. She had let them believe she hadn’t noticed.
A single tear ran down her cheek as she reflected on the various escapades of her children as they grew to adulthood and the sweet memories as her children married and had children of their own. Her attention had turned from mothering her own children, though she still reserved the right to do so, to spoiling all her grandchildren. Her knitting needles were kept busy as she still made her customary Weasley jumpers for everyone.
“Grandma, why are you crying?” little Fred demanded, causing her entire family to pause in their activities and watch her.
“Because I’m so happy that we’re all here together,” she replied as Arthur put his arms around her.
A/N: As always, I hope you have enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you thought about this chapter, especially if you have constructive criticism! I am always looking for ways to improve my writing! Thank you very much!