(A/N) Just a little bit of Molly and Harry during CoS that popped into my head. For all the mums, especially my own.
Harry came down to breakfast without Ron. "Heís still asleep," he reported when Molly asked. "Are Fred and George up? Weíre supposed to play Quidditch with them today."
"Theyíve been and gone," she said. "Rather like a plague of locusts. Give me just a moment, dear, and thereíll be more eggs and sausages." She waved her spatula at the counter. "Meantime, thereís toast."
"Oh, and marmalade! Brilliant." He took two slices and set about heaping great spoonfuls of marmalade on top, a ritual already familiar to Molly from the previous two mornings.
She shook her head, smiling at the back of his head. "Really, Harry, donít your aunt and uncle buy marmalade?"
"Yeah, they do," he said over his shoulder. "But Dudley likes it, so he usually gets it first."
She frowned. "Doesnít your aunt make the two of you share?"
"Ermm--" Harry screwed the top back on the jar, his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth. "She makes me share with him, but he doesnít have to share with me. If that makes sense."
It did. Molly wished it didnít. "Thatís not right."
He shrugged and swallowed the enormous bite heíd just taken. "Well. Sheís his mum, not mine. You know."
Molly stabbed her sausages, wishing they were Petunia Dursleyís selfish heart. She would have liked to fetch the woman a slap that would make her ears ring.
Percy came into the kitchen. "Mother," he said, "have we got any spare parchment?"
"Thereís always some in the junk drawer, dear. But be careful; your brothers were doing something with it earlier."
He opened the drawer. It growled. He shut it quickly. "Ah--ah, maybe thereís some in Dadís desk." He went into the sitting room.
Molly glared at the junk drawer. Those two! She wouldnít be at all surprised if someday, Arthur went to investigate some ludicrous Muggle artifact and found them at the bottom of it all. Which reminded her-- "Percy! Be careful there, too, your dad brought home some--"
"Biting paper clips," she finished as Percy rushed into the kitchen with several bits of metal clamped onto his fingers. She pulled them off while he gritted his teeth against the pain. "Do you need parchment very badly, dear?" she asked, studying his reddening fingers and tightening her hand around the paper clips, which were now trying very hard to bite her palm. "I know thereís some around, I just have to rummage for it--"
"Iím almost out," he said, shaking his hand vigorously to ease the sting.
"Well, Iíll have a look."
"Iíll be in my room," he said and left with a slice of toast.
So now she had to either brave the biting paper clips, figure out what the twins had done to the junk drawer, or try to remember where sheíd seen that stack of parchment. Just another day at the Burrow.
Setting an Anti-Burn charm on the sausages, Molly left them and went into the sitting room. Moving quickly, she hurled the paper clips that had attacked Percy into the topmost drawer, and shut it with a snap. They clattered wildly in their wooden prison. She rolled her eyes and wished for the millionth time that Arthur wouldnít bring those ridiculous Muggle things home from work.
When she went back in the kitchen, the sausages and eggs were both done. She fetched Harry a plate. "There you go," she said, piling it high. "Dig in."
"Thanks, Mrs. Weasley," he said, picking up his fork.
For several minutes, the only sounds in the kitchen were the clink of his silverware and the occasional growl as Molly tried to suss out what exactly the twins had put in the junk drawer.
She balanced her copy of Gilderoy Lockhartís Guide to Household Pests against the edge of the counter. "Yes, dear?" Didnít quite sound like a rabid Puffskein . . . doxies didnít growl, as a rule . . .
"You were in Gryffindor, werenít you? When you were at Hogwarts?"
"Oh, yes, dear." Molly shut the book with a thump. Never mind, she was just going to lock the drawer and make Fred and George take care of it when they came back.
"Can you tell me anything about my mum?"
Her hands stilled in the act of sliding the book back on the shelf. She turned around to look at him. "Your mum?"
He was toying with his sixth sausage, and his voice sounded desperately casual. "Were you friends?"
"I--Well, Iím sorry, dear, but I was never in school with your mum."
His shoulders sagged. "Oh."
"Iím a fair bit--well, a little bit older than she . . . was." She managed a smile. "I know you children think all parents hatched from the same egg, back in the Dark Ages, but I left school before your mum ever got there."
"Oh," Harry said, looking down at his plate. "Yeah. Right. Billís all grown up and that, so I guess youíd have to be-- Wasnít thinking."
"I heard a lot about your mum," she offered, sitting down across from him. "Your dad, too. Even before--well, you know. They did a lot in the war. They were awfully brave. You should be proud."
"Yeah," he said, sliding his fork under a bit of egg on his plate and turning it over like a pancake. "I know."
Molly felt helpless, and she hated it. He didnít want generalities or platitudes, he wanted something real. He had so very little. But the stories she remembered about James and Lily Potter were not ones that she wanted to tell to a boy who was the same age as her youngest son, sitting in her sunlit kitchen eating toast with half a jar of marmalade on it.
She wracked her brains for something--anything--the merest crumb. "You know, dear, I think I might have met her once."
He looked up. "Yeah?"
His eager face made her stomach sink. "Just once," she dithered. "Very briefly." But Harryís eyes were still fixed hungrily on her face, so she gave in. "She came to a meeting of--well, never mind who it was. It was all very busy. I think I noticed her because of her hair. It was just the color of--of one of my brothersí hair." Poor Fabian, heíd always hated his hair. "It was like wine in the candlelight. She had lovely hair, you know. Very pretty girl."
"She was beautiful," he said quietly. His eyes were on his plate again. Molly wondered what image was in his mindís eye.
"Youíve seen pictures then?" she asked kindly.
He looked up, blinking a little. "Pictures," he said. "Uh--yeah. Hagrid gave me a photo album at the end of term. Itís got loads of pictures."
And he had probably pored over them for hours, she guessed, trying to find something of the people his parents had been in captured moments, flickers of smiles on faces, the way they laughed or the way they moved their head.
"I think," she said, trying to flesh out her scrawny little memory as much as she could, "that perhaps sheíd just got engaged--or married. One of the two. I remember I told her congratulations." She thought. "Perhaps sheíd just found out she was going to have you." She smiled weakly. "You know, if I could even remember what year it was . . ."
"Itís okay," he said.
She realized something, looking at him. "You know," she said, leaning across to touch his hand. "You know, I really think you have your motherís--"
"Eyes. I know. I look like my dad, except I have my mumís eyes." He said it in a sing-song voice as if it were a very familiar phrase.
"Oh." For a moment, sheíd thought sheíd found something she could give him. She bit her lip. "Would you like some more breakfast, dear? Thereís plenty."
She took his plate to the stove and loaded it up again. Just when sheíd given it back to him, an unholy racket made them both look up.
Ah, yes. The gentlemanly, sedate tread of her youngest son coming down the stairs. Like a butterfly, it was. A butterfly the size of Australia.
THUDTHUD . . . THUMP.
"Oh, for heavenís sake! Ron! Iíve told you and told you, donít jump off the third stair up like that, youíre going to break an ankle and Iíll have to get out my Mending books!"
"Aowwww, Mum, donít pester," he said, scooping eggs onto his plate with a generous and sloppy hand. "I smelled sausages."
"Here," she told him, sliding several onto his plate. "And Iíll pester if I like. Itís my job."
He looked at his loaded plate with an expression like Oliver Twistís. "No more? Iím famished!"
Hard-hearted, she nudged him away. "Thereís toast, too. Remember your sisterís still got to eat!"
He snatched another sausage from the pan and yelped, whether from the light slap she gave his wrist or the heat of the sausage, she didnít know. "Hey, Harry," he said. "Quidditch today, then?"
"Yeah!" Harry said, and they plunged into a fierce strategic discussion about how to beat Fred and George this time. Molly dearly hoped she hadnít heard the words "exploding" or "tie their shoe-laces together."
Adding an egg to the pan, she called out, "Ron! Did you get your socks like I asked?"
"--and weíll--what, Mum?"
"Socks," she said. "I asked you to get me your socks. Iíve got to wash them and mend them before you go back to school."
"Oh . . . well . . . theyíre right in my room if you want them . . ."
"Ronald Weasley, I am not a house-elf. Now you go upstairs and get your socks!"
"But! Mum! Quidditch!"
"Quidditch will wait ten minutes. March!"
Scowling and muttering, he thumped up the stairs. Molly looked at Harry. "You too."
He looked up in surprise. "Me too what?" he asked inelegantly.
"Socks, dear! Bring them down."
"Iíve seen them, like Swiss cheese they are. Run upstairs and bring them down, Iíll mend them. Youíd have to wait for Ron anyway."
A smile broke out. He started to rush out of the kitchen, skidded to a stop on the threshold, and turned. "Thanks, Mrs. Weasley."
"Go on!" she said, flapping her dish towel at him.
His feet thudded up the stairs, a butterfly at least the size of New Zealand. Molly picked up his plate and stacked it on top of Ronís, both of them cleared right down to the glaze on the china. She thought what it must be like to be a child without a mother, and wished with all her heart that sheíd been able to give him just a little bit more.