The Sugar Quill
Author: queeniorek  Story: The Eye of the Snake  Chapter: Chapter 1: Arthur
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Arthur Weasley shivered and drew the Invisibility Cloak tighter round his shoulders, straining to capture the little warmth it gave

The Eye of the Snake

 

Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters, settings, and happenings belong to JK Rowling.  I am just borrowing them for my own amusement.  The title also belongs to JK.

 

Arthur Weasley shivered and drew the Invisibility Cloak tighter round his shoulders, straining to capture the little warmth it provided.  His eyes drooped but he hurriedly snapped them open again.  It would not do to fall asleep on the job.  He wouldn't be able to forgive himself if it were he who enabled You-Know-Who to get hold of his most dangerous weapon.

Yawning, he sat up straight and peered down the dark hallway.  Though he wouldn't be able to see if anyone was coming, he wouldn't be totally unprepared either.  His right hand gripped his wand so tightly his knuckles were white, and the Invisibility Cloak gave him an advantage.  He tried to control the growing fear he hid in his heart.  He was not a natural fighter; his instincts had always been to peacefully negotiate.  Even the brawl with Malfoy in Flourish and Blotts had been reluctant and provoked.  Hermione's poor Muggle parents (fascinating people, really) were not used to prejudiced worthless excuses for wizards like Malfoy.  Weasleys had pride, and to be taunted and insulted by scum like Malfoy in front of his children and the Grangers left him no choice but to retaliate.   

His darling Ginny was so grown up, so mature at such a young age. Ron too had gone through so much so young. His two youngest children far surpassed their age in maturity and intellect.  They had both had such traumatic experiences in their first years at Hogwarts and had faced them bravely and triumphed. But he knew they were safe as they could be at Hogwarts while Dumbledore was there.

Fred and George were always ready with a laugh and a joke.  Though as much alike as ever, the subtle differences between them were becoming more pronounced.  They were becoming more independent from each other and from their parents.  Dumbledore had already hinted to him that their products would be helpful in minor defenses against You-Know-Who. 

Charlie and Bill were already fighting against You-Know-Who.  Bill had even given up treasure hunting at Gringotts for a desk job in England so he could be closer to the Order and Charlie was recruiting members abroad. 

Molly.  His sweet, beautiful Molly was being so brave.  She was dealing with so much, acting like a mother to the whole Order.  He was so lucky to have her.

Arthur had been so worried when Remus had told him about Molly's Boggart.  He understood; he saw the same thing every night in his dreams. He wished he could comfort her, confide in her, but Remus had told him she had not wanted to tell anyone.  She seemed reserved and was pretending nothing had happened.  He yawned and quickly sipped from his newly acquired flask.  Mad-Eye Moody had suggested Wit-Sharpening Potions to the Order in general to help stay alert on missions.  He had also generously provided all Order members with their own flasks.  He took another sip and shuddered visibly.  As helpful as it may be, the taste was awfully foul.  Then he allowed himself, for the first time in many months, to think about Percy. He had never really fought with any of his children, not about anything big anyway.  He would have given anything to shut out the Order, tell Percy he was right, and welcome him home with arms open wide.  But the Order needed him and his family.  He needed to let go and simply hope Percy would come around soon.  The risk involved with foregoing his duty to the Order could have a negative affect on the wizarding world's situation.  If Percy and the fools at the Ministry refuse to believe in You-Know-Who's return, You-Know-Who would have an easy time of recruiting supporters and taking over the wizarding world.  Even if Percy did come around, would Arthur be willing to forgive him?  He had insulted and degraded Arthur, blaming him for his personal lack of ambition and for the family's lack of money.  Percy's promotion at work had made him more of a smug prick than he had been before.  Yet still Arthur worried.  If Malfoy was influencing or controlling Fudge, Percy could be in danger since his new job was so close to Fudge's.

His wand began to slip from his fingers. Afraid of dropping it, he stowed it safely underneath his belt.  His eyes finally closed of their own accord regardless of the many gulps of Wit-Sharpening Potion to prevent them from doing so.

He was in the brightly lit kitchen of the Burrow, drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee, inhaling the delicious aroma.  Molly walked in from a door he thought hadn't been there before carrying a large trunk he had never seen before..

"What is that, Molly?" he asked her.  She didn't answer, but her smile conveyed a cold callousness that transformed her face into a mask.  He didn't know this Molly;  this wasn't his Molly.  As she set the trunk on the floor, the rusty hinges creaked slowly open and Percy rose out of it.  He immediately fell to the floor, blood pouring out of an unseen wound.  His mind, caught off guard, didn't react in time and Percy hit the floor with sickening thud.

"Molly, help him!" he shouted, kneeling beside his son.  But Molly had disappeared.  He looked wildly around for anything that might help him.  A faint hissing filled the room…

Arthur jerked awake, the hissing still filling his ears.  A huge snake, bigger than any he had seen, filled the shadowy hall in front of him.  Its coils trailed off into the impenetrable darkness.  He stood up, the Invisibility Cloak slipping off.  He raised his wand hand before realizing with sick horror that his wand wasn't there.  He grabbed blindly for his belt, hoping his wand was there.  Finally, his fingers touched wood.  He grasped his wand, took a deep breath, and shouted, "Stupefy!"  His caution was thrown to the wind in light of this new danger.  It had no affect whatsoever. He was powerless against this beast.  The snake rose above him, mouth open and fangs bared.  The fangs, so long, so sharp, cut into his flesh, tearing it.  The wound seared with pain as his blood poured out of it.

"No, Molly…Percy!" he screamed in pain, his shouts fading into unintelligible howls as the snake slithered away into the night.

//
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