~ At What Price ~Author: islandsmokeCharacters/Pairings:
Molly, past Arthur/OFCRating:
darkish, (unseen) non-canon character deathWord Count:
Molly Weasley will always protect her family.Author's Notes:
Thanks to hogwartshoney
for beta work.
Based on the first comments, I have upgraded the warnings slightly.~ At What Price ~
As soon as she opened the door, Molly Weasley knew who he was. She knew in the way women know. It may have been the shape of his eyes, the way he shifted his weight from one foot to the other when he was nervous. There was no one thing she could point to, but she knew. Oh, she didn't know his name, but she knew who
he was, why he was there.
He was there to destroy her family.
"Ma'am." Even his voice told her. "Is Mr. Weasley at home, please?"
Her hand tightened on the door. "What do you want?"
The boy smiled and it stabbed at her heart. He was about Ginny's age. "I recently finished Hogwarts, and Mum thinks Mr. Weasley may be able to help me get a job at the Ministry."
"And why does she think that?" Not knowing Molly, the boy wouldn't recognize the warning edge in her voice.
"I guess they used to know each other." He reached into his cloak and withdrew a folded parchment. "She gave me a letter for him."
Molly glanced back over her shoulder at the empty house. Arthur had an emergency call at the Ministry, Ginny was off with Harry, and Molly had been about to join them for lunch, after which she and Ginny were going to look for a wedding dress.
Fleur had recently announced that she would be making Molly a grandmother at last, and Arthur had been promoted last month. They were just pulling themselves back together after the war, after the loss of her beloved Fred. They were finally starting to move on and put their lives back together.
And now this unknown boy was standing on her doorstep, waiting patiently to destroy her world while looking at her trustingly with Arthur's eyes.
"I think perhaps you should come in." Molly opened the door wide.~~
The house needed some repair, but the yard was tidy. The trim needed paint, but there were colourful flowers in and old wash tub by the step. The woman who answered the door was slim and pretty. She was about ten years younger than Molly, her sleek brown hair showing none of the grey that had come in so thick on Molly's head these last few years. Her smile was open and friendly, though it froze on her face when the wand was pointed between her eyes and the whisper of Imperio
made her face go blank.
She was walked backward until she bumped against a chair and sat. Still keeping her wand trained on the woman, Molly summoned a chair from the kitchen with her other hand and sat facing the younger woman.
Levelling her wand at the other woman's forehead, Molly murmured, Legilimens.
Eagerly, she dove in, shoving aside recent memories and searching further and further back. Ruthlessly, she cast aside feelings of pride over the boy's grades, over his being captain of his house Quidditch team. She faltered a bit over the agony of worry as she gazed down at the boy while he tossed and turned, his body burning with fever, but she soldiered on. On through the confusion and consternation as the boy's magic began to appear, through the relief and understanding when the Hogwarts letter came. Through the excitement and wonder of the first shopping trip to Diagon Alley, and pang of loneliness and pride as the boy got on the Hogwarts Express his first year looking tiny and lost and determined.
Further back Molly went, searching.
And then… there it was.
She was standing behind the counter of a Muggle shop. The air smelled of damp earth and sweet blooming things. It was a flower shop, and the bell over the door jingled as a tall, red-haired man came in, looking around with open curiosity. He appeared tired and careworn, but when he saw her, he smiled.
Molly pushed the memory aside and continued to probe. She almost dropped the spell when she suddenly found what she had been hunting for and, at the same time, dreaded finding. But she had to be absolutely certain.Arthur was making love to her. His strong hands stroked her face as he kissed her, She shivered as his mouth trailed kisses down her throat and she made a small, helpless noise and bucked up against him, pulling his head close as he suckled firmly at her breast. His long, thin cock moved inside her slowly, teasingly, pressing deep with each stroke. So deep.
With a cry of fury, Molly ripped herself out of the memory that another woman was holding dear, shoved herself back in her chair, and with her face twisted in hate, she raised her wand.~~
"What's up, Gin? Did the Holyhead Harpies lose a game?" The platter of bacon George had levitated in from the kitchen plunked down on the table.
"More like she missed a sale on brooms at Quality Quidditch Supplies," Ron laughed.
The room bustled with activity as the table was set and food prepared for their monthly Sunday brunch. Ginny had stayed out of the way by reading the Prophet in the corner.
"What is it, Ginny?" Bill took a stack of plates from Fleur and passed them around the table.
"Mark Cooper was killed."
"Who?" Percy was laying out the flatware.
"Did you know him?" Fleur frowned in concern.
"Wasn't he on the Ravenclaw team?" Ron stopped in the doorway and Harry bumped into him.
"He was captain last year. Nice guy, asked me out once."
In the kitchen, a jar of marmalade slipped from Molly's hand and shattered on the stones of the floor. Hermione moved to help clean up the mess.
"Did you go?" Ron teased.
"Of course not," Ginny was indignant, then she grinned mischievously. "Even if it weren't for Harry, he reminded me too much of you."
Ron threw a piece of toast at her, which she caught easily and munched on absently.
"What happened to him?" Arthur wandered in from the living room.
"Says here there was a gas explosion. Completely destroyed the house, and there were no bodies to find, but they think that Mark and his mother perished in the fire. They can't find any trace of them, at any rate."
"Maybe they planned it all so they could move away and start a new life?"
"George, that's nothing to joke about," Arthur admonished. "Why a gas explosion, Ginny?"
"His mother was a Muggle. They lived in a Muggle neighbourhood.
Ginny read from the paper.
Muggle authorities believe that Joy Cooper, a Muggle, and her Wizard son Mark, died in an explosion and fire yesterday evening at their home in Little Compton. Everything was completely destroyed, and while no bodies were found, authorities have not been able to find any trace of the two anywhere else and so are assuming they were incinerated along with everything on the property. Ministry authorities have conducted their own investigation and report they have no reason to doubt the Muggles' findings.
The Coopers had no known relatives.
"Joy Cooper?" Arthur frowned.
"Someone you know, Dad?" Bill put the last dish on the table and sat.
Arthur thought for a moment. "I remember meeting a Muggle woman by that name once, long ago. Nice girl." An odd look passed over his face, then he shook himself. "Would you please pass the eggs, Harry?"
"Well, I think we need to talk about something a little more cheerful." Molly poured tea for everyone. "Fleur said she felt my grandchild move the other day!"
Conversation turned to the baby, and Ginny's and Harry's upcoming wedding. Great Aunt Muriel would, it seemed, be loaning her goblin-made tiara to the bride once again. They all laughed about how, this time, there wouldn't be any unexpected guests disrupting the joyful day.~~**~~