Astronomy Tower
Ginny Weasley
Romance Angst
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets
Published: 05/30/2004
Updated: 05/30/2004
Words: 1,472
Chapters: 1
Hits: 1,023

Empty Burrow


Story Summary:
Molly and Arthur have something new to deal with after sending Ginny off for her first year at school.


"Well, that's the last of them," Arthur said musingly, over breakfast on September second.

Molly passed him a plate of sausages. For the first time Ginny had gotten onto the Hogwarts Express and gone away, and for the first time not one of their children had come home from the station with them.

They looked at each other and breathed a small, mutual breath of relief.

There had been no time yesterday to think about it, what with Ron and Harry's automobile-theft stunt, but now they could reflect in the utter silence of the house. Seven children raised and off to school, and all on a Ministry salary. No easy feat.

Not that they didn't love Ginny, but she'd been in a strop all of last year, being the only one left at home and therefore not only Left Behind by her brothers as usual but also the sole focus of all her mother's attention. This was not necessarily a good thing, in Ginny's eyes.

"Reckon you'll do some cleaning today," Arthur said. It wasn't so much an order as, after over twenty years of marriage, a voicing aloud of what they both knew; unnecessary, but Arthur did it anyway. Molly had never been shy about telling him when he was buggering something up, but since it rarely happened (and she disregarded his many and varied buggering-ups with Muggle things as a form of mental disease for which he was only vaguely responsible), she was content enough to let him think he was making the decisions. He knew she always cleaned after they sent the children off to school. "Think I'll work in the garage," he added, which was code for Mucking About With Muggle Things.

"That sounds good," Molly agreed, saying nothing about his silent decision to take a work-holiday. He'd been putting in long hours, recently, and could afford a day off.

He looked tired, but that was probably just from yesterday's mess. Arthur was the sort to come back from any staggering blow -- and there had been a few, in their life together, though thankfully not many -- with a smile and a cheerful outlook, but it took energy to find the silver lining sometimes, and they were neither of them young anymore.

They finished their breakfast in comfortable if rather silent companionship, and Arthur kissed the top of her head as he made his way towards the garage.

Molly sighed, and picked up her plate, and set the scrub-brush to doing the washing up.

She'd tackle the downstairs first, she decided, so that the children wouldn't be upset that she'd been in their rooms. Goodness, after next year Percy would be out of school, and a few years later Fred and George. Ron two years after that and Ginny following on Ron's heels.

In seven years she would be fifty-two years old, and all her children would have finished school. By then at least one of the older boys would probably have married, and there would be grandchildren...

She distracted herself from thoughts of a permanently empty house by viciously beating the dust out of the curtains with a few good domestic charms.


Arthur was taking apart a Muggle bicycle to see how it worked, although his official reason to the Ministry was that most charms were tied up in the physical body of the object, and you had to really get in and disassemble a few things before you found out how it'd been done. In this case the bicycle was set to wail loudly if anyone but its owner touched it (he'd had to disable that early on) and also blare like a foghorn if the person riding it tapped the handlebars twice.

It was a gloriously greasy thing, a bicycle, all gears and chains and cables and levers. It was amazing nine out of ten Muggles riding them didn't die just by pulling the wrong lever at the wrong time. The things the poor people would do to compensate for not having flying broomsticks were amazing.

The book on Muggle bicycles he'd scrounged up said the thing he was now holding in his hand, rather like a surgeon with a spare organ, was called a derailleur. It was an ingenious contraption, to be sure. Perhaps Ginny --

No, Ginny was at school now, that was right.

He sighed. He suspected he was going to be doing that a lot in the coming days. Ginny and Ron had been the babies of the family, and he always felt he ought to compensate for their being left behind and teased by the older boys. Ron hadn't been terribly interested in Muggle devices, but Ginny had spent time out in the garage with him, holding a hammer or fetching medical assistance as needed.

His stomach growled, and he checked the Muggle clock hanging on the wall. Coming on lunchtime. He muttered a few cleaning charms to make himself presentable, and ducked into the kitchen. He was about to call out to Molly when he saw her standing in one of the kitchen corners, face in her hands, shoulders shaking.

"Molly?" he asked uncertainly. She looked up and hastily away, but he saw tears on her face. "What's wrong? Has something happened -- "

"No, nothing's wrong," she said hastily. "Something in my eye."

Hardly an excuse that would work on a man who'd shared her life for almost three decades. He crossed the kitchen floor and wrapped her in his arms, holding her tightly against his chest. Over the top of her head, he saw that she'd prepared three sandwiches for lunch.


"She was my baby," Molly said rebelliously, into his shirt. He sighed, and rested his cheek against her hair. "They were all my babies but Ginny was the last -- I always wanted lots of children, and I know we agreed after Ginny -- but she was my little girl, the only little girl, and she's still too little to go."

"There, there," Arthur said, feeling somewhat ineffectual. "She's no smaller than Percy was when he went."

"She'll be bullied."

"Nonsense. Percy and the twins and Ron are all there to protect her."

"They might bully her too."

"No more than they ever did when they were still at home. Shh, love," he said. "Ginny will be fine. She's a good strong Weasley child like the rest of them."

"And the house is so empty..."

"We'll get used to it. You could..." Arthur cast about desperately. "Get a pet. Or, or...take up a hobby. You'll have time now, won't you? Would you like to help me put the bicycle back together?"

She laughed a little, but didn't let go of him. He dropped another kiss into her hair.

"Just think how unlucky all those other parents are," he said. "They've only got one or two children to send off, and then this happens and they're all alone. We got seven, Molly!"

He felt her smile into his shoulder. "Only you could make seven children sound like a blessing, Arthur."

"Well, aren't they?"

She nodded. "Of course they are."

"And not a bad apple among them, you know," Arthur continued. "Bill's off with a good job with Gringotts, and Charlie's doing Very Important Work with dragons, and...and you know Percy's going to do well, and the twins..." he sighed. "Well, I'm sure they'll land on their feet, they always do. And Ron's brave and smart and already a hero."

"And Ginny?" Molly asked softly.

"Whatever she does, Ginny will do it with brilliant intellect, and charm, and beauty," Arthur said with a smile. "Like her mum."

Molly turned a little, wiping away a last tear.

"Mustn't be a wet hen," she said, stepping back. "I hope you're hungry, I made you two sandwiches."

He accepted the little fiction politely, and said that he was, and took down plates for the sandwiches. And he ate every bite of Ginny's, even though it had mustard on it.

"House is quiet without them," he observed. Molly nodded over her lunch. "Maybe...maybe this afternoon I could help you. We'll...move furniture about or something. And I can get dusting charms into the really high nooks."

Molly smiled. "We could clean the bedroom," she suggested.

"Oh, that we could," he agreed. Then the sort of smile she was smiling dawned over him, and he set his sandwich down slowly. "Er. We, we definitely could do that."

"I love you, you know," she said, quite suddenly. "Can you imagine how horrible it must be to send a child off to school and then come home and not be in love with the one person left?"

He matched her smile with his. "Good thing I don't have to find out."

They never did get around to actually cleaning anything, that afternoon.