The Harry Potter Universe belongs to J.K. Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
The weather at the Burrow during the month of October was unusually mild so Molly and Arthur were able to spend many weekends outside. They had planted most of the varieties of apple trees in the orchard and they always enjoyed apple-picking time. One Saturday, Percy even helped them Summon the apples from the top branches. Molly felt like a Chaser again, catching very small Quaffles. After they brought in the baskets of different species of apples, Arthur and Percy cast Freshness Charms on the ones that Molly wasn't going to bake into pies or other desserts.
Although Ron had written to his parents nearly every other week in September, his letters came less frequently in the new month. Fortunately, Ginny began writing an occasional letter, sending them with Pig. Molly had just put two pies in the oven when Pig fluttered outside the kitchen window.
"Hello, Pig!' said Arthur as he caught the fluff ball and removed the letter tied to his leg. 'This is from Ginny. Shall I read it out loud?'
Molly nodded and she and Percy listened to the note.
Dear Mum and Dad and Percy,
My third year is going very well. I am making friends with many other Gryffindors and even with some people from other houses that I have classes with. I am keeping up with my studies but am a little frightened of Professor Moody. He looks so scary that I try to remember that he is a friend of Dad's. Professor Snape is still mean acting but so far I am doing well in Potions.
Fred and George are still being nice to me and letting me eat with them and hang out in the common room but I miss Percy. He always asked me how I was doing.
The twins just tease me and Ron tells me to 'get lost'.
I try to listen to the Days of Destiny marathon on the weekend but am a little confused. Do some of the people who were in comas now have amnesia? Or is it some sort of multiple personality disorder that makes their voices sound so different?
The students from Beauxbaton and Durmstrang are going to take classes with us when they come the last week of the month. I hope I get to meet some of them.
Mum, I am making you something for your birthday. I hope I finish it in time.
Percy cleared his throat after he heard Ginny's letter. 'I have been so busy at work that I have neglected my brotherly duties. If you will excuse me, I will go and write a letter to Ginny telling her that we missed her when we picked apples today.' Percy climbed the stairs to his room and when he came down for dinner he had a letter tied to Hermes' leg. 'I told her that I would be coming to Hogwarts with Mr Crouch later this month,' he said as he tossed Hermes out the window.
Arthur and Percy were putting in long hours at the Ministry but Molly also had many tasks that kept her busy. She began doing some resistance training along with her walking and her dueling practice with and without Corrine. She wondered if Arthur could find her a set of Muggle weights in a second hand shop. He'd certainly enjoy looking for them. Kate Wallace used a set that had different colors for the different weights. Molly remembered that the pink ones were very lightweight. She decided to ask for some for her birthday.
Fred and George wrote home the last week of October. They sent their letter and a small packet tied with string with one of the school owls. Molly noticed that it said MUM all over it.
Dear Mum and Dad and Ministry Potentate,
We think we have figured out a way to enter the Triwizard Tournament contestants' pool. IT ISN'T OUR FAULT THAT WE WEREN'T BORN A FEW MONTHS EARLIER.
We are sure that an Aging Potion will do the trick. BUT WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE PEOPLE FROM THE OTHER TWO SCHOOLS GET HERE.
Angelina is making us revise for our N.E.W.T.s already. SHE'S NOT AS BOSSY AS HERMIONE BUT SHE CAN SURE BOSS FRED.
Mum, the packet has something in it for you. WE WISH WE COULD BE THERE FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY.
Love, Fred and GEORGE
Molly poked the packet lightly. It seemed to move away from her. 'Oh no!' she said. 'Not one of their Weasley Wizard Wheezes! I'll get Arthur to check it to see if it is safe to open.'
Arthur took the packet marked MUM into his tool shed and cut a little hole in it so he could see the contents. He immediately brought it back to Molly with a smile. ' They've made you some hand lotion pellets that smell of lavender."
'They've always been clever boys,' said Molly, rubbing one of the pea shaped pellets between her hands. 'Do you think they will be able to enter the Tournament?'
'Not a chance, if I know Dumbledore,' replied Arthur in what he hoped was a reassuring voice.
Molly settled into a routine for the rest of October. She walked on fine days and did her stretching and thrusting exercises on days it was too cold to walk. She asked her friend Kate Wallace where her small colorful weights came from and told Arthur where he could get them. Arthur brought her a couple of tins of tomato soup from a Muggle grocery and told her to practice lifting them to get ready for real weights.
Corrine came over once a week so they could practice dueling. Both of them noticed that they were more supple from all the thrusting and dodging and that they were sleeping better after they exercised. Ceddie had written a letter to his parents saying that he thought he should put his name in for the Triwizard Championship since he was now seventeen. He said he had not yet heard what the nomination process required.
"Molly, you are lucky that Percy has already left Hogwarts,' Corrine said over a cuppa after the two friends had completed their target practice and touch dueling. 'I am both proud of Ceddie and worried that he will be hurt if he is chosen.'
'At least he is of age and has had more experience than the twins,' Molly sighed. "I just have a feeling they will try to enter underage. They seemed very interested in the prize money. I think they are still planning to develop and sell jokes.'
'Ceddie tricked me with one of the wands that they made that turned into a rubber chicken,' said Corinne, laughing at the memory. 'No harm done except to the icing of the cake I was working on.'
Ginny and Ron sent Molly a card and some embroidered handkerchiefs for her birthday. Molly was surprised that Hedwig brought them along with letters from each of them.
I am doing very well in all of my classes. It is fun to meet people from other Houses but I am glad that I am a Gryffindor. Some of the Ravenclaw people spend too much time revising already.
Mum, have a good birthday I hope you like the handkerchiefs that I embroidered your initials on. They are from Ron, too. He paid me with Honeyduke's chocolate. And you know how I love chocolate.
Percy wrote that you are dueling with Ceddie's Mum. I'd like to see that!
Ron's letter was darker in tone.
Dear Mum and Dad,
My classes are a lot harder this year. You would think that they'd give us an easy year when we don't take our O.W.L.s until next year. But most of the teachers act like we don't have anything else to do but write essays. Defense against the Dark Arts is different and I sort of like all the new things I am learning. My Divination teacher says I am a 'natural', whatever that means. I hope the things I predict don't all come true.
The students from Beauxbaton and Durmstrang are coming on your birthday. Some of them might move into Gryffindor Tower. That would be brilliant.
Have a good birthday.
PS. The handkerchiefs are from me, too. Harry's owl needs the exercise.
Molly put the letters from the children at Arthur's place. Then she went to the fireplace and called Corrine over the floo to find out if she and Amos could come to a small dinner she had decided to have for her birthday. Corrine thought that they were free that night so Molly made a floo call to Kate Wallace to see if she and Nic Meath could come as well. She liked the idea of celebrating turning forty-five with her friends. Who knows what might happen in the next five years to keep her from having a big celebration when she turned fifty? Molly shivered, hoping that she wasn't having a Prewett premonition.
Molly's birthday dinner was a very happy time. Molly roasted chickens and some of her favorite fall vegetables, made individual loaves of bread, and an apple spice cake. Percy Apparated home with a lovely bouquet of fall flowers for the table while Arthur carried a small but heavy package wrapped in her favorite red and orange combination. Molly made a low arrangement with the flowers and put them on the already-set table as Kate and Nic Apparated to the front porch. They each carried a bottle of Muggle wine.
"We didn't know what you were cooking, so to be safe, we brought both red and white,' said Nic. Arthur immediately started talking to him about the strange names Muggles had for wine that was usually made from grapes.
"I thought rosï¿½ wine was made from roses,' began Arthur. But Perkins says they mix red and white together.' Arthur paused as Nic started to laugh. They both went into the lounge to wait for dinner and talk about wine.
Molly and Kate were did their 'air kissing' while hugging and then picked up small plates of fresh veggies with different sauces for dipping. Kate commented on how well Molly was looking. 'It is not only the weight loss,' she said. 'You just look so much more fit. Did Arthur get you the weights like mine?'
'I think so,' said Molly carrying the veggies into the Lounge. 'Hello Corinne and Amos, I didn't hear you come in. Kate and I were chattering away about keeping fit.'
Amos handed Molly a bottle of elf made wine and kissed her on the cheek, 'You're looking very well, Molly. I know Corrine feels better on the days that you get together and exercise. We are both worried and yet proud that our Ced will enter the contest to become Hogwarts Champion.'
Kate and Nic had heard only vague rumors about the Triwizard Tournament so they shared what they knew about it while eating the excellent dinner and drinking two bottles of Molly's birthday wine. They all tried some of the exercises that Nic knew for using weights. He suggested carrying the lightest pair while walking so Corrine asked Amos for a 'set like Molly's' for her January birthday.
Percy gave his opinion, 'One must be very careful in buying weights since the Muggles don't control for quality like we do in our specifications for cauldron bottom thickness'.
After the guests left, Molly and Arthur quickly tidied up while Percy volunteered to do the dishwashing charms. 'I need the practice for when I am living on my own,' he explained.
Molly and Arthur discussed the possibility of Percy leaving while they were having a cuddle that night in bed. 'I hate the idea of Percy moving out,' said Molly.
'On the other hand we'd really be like honeymooners again,' said Arthur with a happy smile. 'Now let's go to sleep before it becomes Halloween.'
A/N- Much to my embarrassment, I neglected to thank all the faithful readers who have left so many thoughtful reviews and suggestions here at PhoenixSong and over at Live Journal. My friends, girlyswot and Kathryn, have been generous enough to Brit-pick so the chapters don't sound quite as much as they have been written by a little old lady from California as they otherwise would. The glorious St Margarets has never complained about my elaborations on her Days of Destiny.
It was just a year ago that I wrote my first Harry Potter fan fic and had the good fortune to be assigned Trelawney2213 as my beta. She has guided me through all of the stories written from Molly Weasley's perspective and I am in her debt.