Even though Harry was still just small enough to sleep
somewhat comfortably on a couch, he and Ron were both stretched on their
stomachs in sleeping bags over a rag rug so that they could share Ron's
Extendable Ears. Ron's parents were whispering over coffee in the next room.
"I've just given them both Draughts of Dreamless Sleep,"
Molly announced with a heavy fwump that told the boys she had sunk into a
chair. "Honestly, Arthur, I don't remember it being this bad when I was
counseling for the Ministry last time." Harry hadn't known of Mrs. Weasley's
employment outside the Burrow, but, thinking about it, he supposed that every
helping hand had been needed during Voldemort's first attempt at world
"Well, no, Molly, it wasn't," Arthur said sadly. "This case
is unique. Not being able to use Memory Charms, even though they're Muggles.
I'd wager there's some major regret at having not listened to her warnings. And
then there's the shock not only witnessing serious magic, but of it coming from
their own fifteen-year-old-- did she really put a Full-Body Bind on her
"The girl had little choice, Arthur. But I think I have them
convinced to be afraid of the right things now."
"Death Eaters instead of their daughter. It would have
helped a bit if she could have cried in front of them-- let them see she's
still human. They say she screamed like a wild thing at Lucius, but then she
was impassive on the Knight Bus, not even nauseous from all the popping
cross-country. She did something with the Malfoy's--they were vague with that, of
course. Then she handed Dr. Granger an overnight bag, stepped outside, and
stuck out her wand hand to call the Bus, without a trace of a tear. They're
used to her being a regular fountain of emotion-you've seen her with the boys.
They were afraid to hold their own daughter!"
"I'm sure you've done what you could, Molly. They're lucky
she brought them to you so quickly," Mr. Weasley soothed, and Harry's
imagination saw him giving his wife's shoulder a comforting rub.
"Where will they go?" she asked, still worried. "They can't
stay here. It's not just finding space-- they're not ready for a wizarding full
immersion right now. And it's too many people to Floo out in an emergency."
"Hermione said she thought they'd prefer to return home and
work, if possible. They're Muggle tooth-healers. So Dumbledore's working on
getting a Muggle-born Ministry Auror to pose in their office as a receptionist
and watch them at home. As for Hermione-"
"She won't be with them?" When Mrs. Weasley asked this,
Harry felt Ron tense next to him.
"We have reason to suspect that-- well, they're less of a
target on their own," Mr. Weasley started cautiously.
"But they're her parents! In a time like this, a girl needs
"She needs people who understand her. And you know she won't
have that there, Molly."
"They love her," Mrs. Weasley replied firmly.
"They've barely seen her in two years, and two long years at
that. She's had more dinners with our family than with her own. And she's been
living in our world, not the Muggle one. She'd be miserable and isolated in her
own home. Is that what she needs? The people who know her best and can support
her best are those two boys and our Ginny. We've kept her away from her parents
before. The Order has and we have. We're part of the reason their relationship
is the way it is now. I think it's our responsibility. I know it's one more
person to Floo, but this place is nearly secure now, and I'm sure she'll go so
quickly it won't endanger Harry or Ron. And," Mr. Weasley finished hopefully,
"she'll make the boys do their homework."
After a period of silence ringing in his Extendable Ears,
during which Harry found all sorts of new admiration for Mr. Weasley, Mrs.
Weasley said dubiously, "It's selfish of me, but it would be nice to have
another female around here. If she wants to stay, that is."
"The boys will be pleased," said Arthur.
The boys were very pleased. Harry almost forgot that
Hermione hated him and Ron alternated between staring at the ceiling in rapture
and muttering balefully about "even thinking about making her stay with ruddy
"They're her family, Ron," Harry mumbled.
"Bet not. Bet she was adopted. Not even Muggle-born. Hey,
maybe she's your sister!"
That sounded familiar to Harry. "You ever hear of a movie
called Star Wars
"What's a movie?"
Harry chuckled and then he was asleep.