|SIYE Time:19:57 on 19th October 2017|
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Category: SIYE Challenges, The Burrow Secret Challenge (2016-3)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Other, Ron Weasley
Story is Complete
Summary: Hannah Abbot saw Molly Weasley leaving St. Mungo's Hospital. Now the extended Weasley family is wondering why.
Hitcount: Story Total: 1269
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
In the retelling of a tale or the discussing of a problem, sometimes the problem grows progressively worse in the mind.
Auror trainee Neville Longbottom yawned as he walked into the classroom at the Ministry.
"Rough night, mate?" asked fellow trainee Ron Weasley, as he stifled his own yawn.
"No, just a late night," replied Neville.
"Late nights don't work well with the trainee lifestyle, Neville," said Harry Potter, their friend and fellow trainee.
"You're telling me," said Neville regretfully. "But," Neville said with a grin, "sometimes it's worth it."
"Oh?" Harry and Ron replied.
"It's worth it if I spent the evening in the company of a beautiful woman," Neville said smugly.
"She didn't have a vulture on her hat, did she?" asked Harry. "I don't think your grandmother's company counts, mate."
"You know, Harry," said Neville wryly, "if this whole Auror thing doesn't work out for you, I think you could find work as a comedian."
"Of course," said Harry drolly, "After all my name is Happy Potter."
"For your information, Happy," said Neville "I spent the evening in the company of Miss Hannah Abbot."
"Not bad," said Ron, "if you like blondes."
Neville's reply was lost when their trainer called the class to attention.
When the day's training was over the three friends slowly made their way to the Ministry's floos.
"My brain hurts," said Harry. "I think I actually miss Hermione's insane study habits. My brain hurt a lot less at Hogwarts."
"Ron misses something else about Hermione," said Neville tauntingly.
"Speaking of ladies," Ron said. "You never finished telling us about your date with Hannah."
"Right," said Neville, "it went well, I think. Nothing fancy, we just went to a Muggle park and walked around for a while. Then we went to a little cafe nearby and got something to eat. I lost track of time and so I got home later than I really needed."
"It was worth it, though?" asked Harry, waggling his eyebrows.
"Yes, definitely," Neville said conclusively. "Oh, Ron," Neville said quickly, "Is your mum doing all right?"
"Yeah..." drawled Ron with a confused expression on his face.
"Well, Hannah was visiting a relative at St. Mungo's and she saw your mum leaving. She said that your mum looked worried or something."
Both Ron and Harry stared blankly at Neville for a moment. Their eyes slowly widened as they considered the possibilities.
Harry coughed. "Maybe she was visiting someone, a friend who's ill," he said slowly.
Neville cocked his head. "I don't know, Hannah said she looked a bit peaky."
Ron and Harry looked at each other, concern evident on their faces.
That evening after training, Harry and Ron took Ginny and Hermione aside to discuss their concerns.
"So Hannah thinks that Mum is ill," said Ginny.
"That's what it seemed like to Neville," Harry replied. "I don't know. I'm so tired when I get home from training that I haven't noticed if she looks ill or not."
"Well, I have noticed that she's spending a lot more time in the loo these days," Ginny said.
"How much more?" asked Hermione. "I've been so busy getting my parents back from Australia that I haven't noticed if she's been off."
"I don't know," replied Ginny. "I hadn't really thought of it until tonight. I just figured it was an older woman's bladder."
"What if it's more, though?" asked Ron. "You don't go to St. Mungo's for being just a little off-colour. What if she's really ill?"
"Surely she'd tell us, though," said Hermione.
"Not if she didn't want to worry us," said Ron.
"Yeah," added Harry, "George is still in mourning, not that the rest of us aren't. Him, especially, though."
"She probably feels that we couldn't handle something right now," Ron said dismally.
Ginny sat across from her brother Bill and his wife Fleur. The previous day's conversation about her mother's health had her deeply concerned.
"I'm telling you," she said, "Mum's been looking peaky, she's constantly in the loo, and now Hannah Abbot saw Mum hurrying out of St. Mungo's.
Bill looked thoughtful. "Mum's been going through a lot," he said. "She's under a lot of strain."
Fleur nodded her assent. "She is grieving a son. She had to kill that 'orrible Lestrange woman. Such things can take a toll on someone's health."
"I just don't know what we can do," said Ginny exasperatedly. "What if it's nothing? What if it's something horrible?"
"We'll certainly keep an eye on Mum," Bill promised. "She'll tell us when she's ready, but I don't know when that will be."
"Should we talk to George?" asked Ginny. "I hate to dump this on him, but I hate to leave him out even more."
"No, we should let him know," said Bill. "He's just been so distant since Fred -- died."
"He's been letting me in," said Ginny, "at least a little. I can talk to him."
"All right, then," Bill said firmly. "I'll talk to Charlie and Percy."
The following Sunday noon, the Burrow began to fill in anticipation of the family's Sunday lunch. It had become so much more important to them in the wake of the war that had concluded just two months previously. This time, however, the atmosphere was charged with tension.
Molly Weasley loved her kitchen. Some people saw cooking as a drudgery. Molly saw it as an artistic endeavour and relished the chance to create edible works of art. Whether simple or elaborate, meals at the Burrow were always prepared with skill and joy. She had made sure that all of her children knew how to cook and they all had taken many turns assisting her. After Ginny had left for Hogwarts, Arthur often joined her in the dance of meal preparation. Harry had skill, but those cursed Dursleys had deprived him of the enjoyment of cooking. On weekends, though, he would help her in the kitchen, learning the magic of cooking, both literal and metaphorical. The fact that Ginny was there and he could sneak her the occasional kiss while cooking certainly didn't discourage him from helping, either.
Usually, Molly relished help in the kitchen. Today, however, was different. Today, everyone was in and out of the kitchen, constantly stepping on each other and getting in her way. It was almost like they were trying to coddle her. Too many cooks were in her kitchen, and they were going to spoil the broth.
Not soon enough, the meal was served and everyone sat down to eat. However, the tense atmosphere did not dissipate. After enduring a meal filled with awkward silences and furtive glances, Molly had enough. "All right, out with it," she said with that look in her eye that said that she meant business.
Everyone looked around. Clearly no one wanted to be the first to speak.
"What do you mean, Mum?" Bill finally said.
"William Weasley, you know exactly what I mean. Nobody's said a word and you lot keep looking at each other. So, whatever it is, out with it."
Molly's tactic had a greater than desired effect, however, since everyone began speaking at once. Quickly realizing the utter futility of talking all at once, the assembled diners stopped talking, one by one.
Finally, Ron spoke. "Mum, Hannah Abbot saw you at St. Mungo's. She said you looked worried and a bit off-colour."
"We're just concerned," Ginny interjected.
"You've been sick lately," Charlie added.
"Even I've noticed," said George.
"We've all noticed," Percy said firmly.
Molly Weasley sighed and turned to her husband for support.
"I think it's time to tell them, Molly," he said, taking her hand.
"What is it?" asked Harry. "How bad is it?"
Molly sighed again. "It's not bad, we just didn't know how to tell you."
Molly opened her mouth to speak, but she couldn't find the words.
"Best tell them directly, Molly," Arthur said reassuringly.
"You see," Molly Weasley said, "I'm pregnant."
How's that for a surprise? I wouldn't know how to tell them either.
Molly was born in 1949, so she's not yet 50. The average age for onset of menopause (for British Muggles) is 51 (according to the NHS website), so it's certainly more than possible that she could get pregnant again. Besides, we know that magical people live significantly longer than Muggles, so it's certainly possible that a witch wouldn't begin menopause until her 60s or even later.
I've long had this headcanon that many wizarding families will raise two or three separate families, one at a time.
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