Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mrs. Weasley's Pensieve

This is something completely different from what I normally write. Our library is having a Harry Potter fan fiction contest and it inspired me to write down this story I've had ruminating in my head. I've been piecing it together ever since I wrote my post  about "Why Being a Mom is Just as Cool as Being Harry Potter." 

It was also really fun because I haven't done any creative writing for... ages. So it was nice to do something different. I've written it like a missing chapter from the books. So if you aren't familiar with Harry Potter you might be a bit lost, but if you are Harry Potter fan I hope you enjoy it! 



Harry couldn’t sleep. He leaned over and used his wand to light up the watch on his night stand. 2 AM. Still hours to go before morning. He rolled over and flopped his head back on to his pillow. He heard Ron’s heavy snores coming from the bed across the room and for a moment he deeply envied his friend. How nice would it be if the most pressing issue on his mind was the contents of  Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches? 

He thought about getting up and going to the kitchen for a drink, but hesitated. What if someone was still awake? He knew that Mrs. Weasley, and just about everyone else it seemed, were overly worried about him. The last thing he needed now was for people to find out that he wasn’t sleeping.

Still, he desperately needed a drink. Deciding he could always lie and tell someone he’d gotten lost on the way to the bathroom, Harry quietly drew back the covers. He slipped his feet into the slippers beside his bed and grabbed his bathrobe. Before he closed the door he looked back at Ron, who was mumbling something that sounded suspiciously like “Hermione”, and stepped out into the hall.

If the old house at Number 12, Grimmauld Place was eerie in the day time, it was downright spooky at night. He, Ron and Hermione had spent the last several days helping Mrs. Weasley and Sirius clean out the old haunted house, and it had not been pleasant. He didn’t know how they both managed being cooped up in this creepy place, especially when there was so much going on outside. He was glad that he would be leaving tomorrow for Hogwarts.

When he finally reached the kitchen he was surprised to see that there was still a light on. He knew that members of the Order of the Phoenix were often in and out of the headquarters, but he wondered who would still be up at this late hour.

Cautiously he peeked into the kitchen. It was empty. The light he’d seen was coming from the dying fire in the large stone fireplace, and a single candle on the long table in the center of the room. Beside the candle sat a small stone bowl covered in ancient runes, its misty contents reflecting the dancing rays of the diminishing candle. Surprised, Harry quickly crossed the room.

The pensieve? He couldn’t believe it. What was it doing here?

Harry scanned the room again. There was still a pile of dirty dishes on the counter that Sirius had given up on earlier that night, having spent several expletive ridden hours trying to master a cleaning spell. He also saw that there was a large pile of confiscated items poorly hidden on top of the cupboard, including several pairs of extendable ears. He had no doubt that Fred and George would find some way to recover those in the morning.

Confident the room was empty he looked back at the pensieve. He recognized the familiar ghostly swirls circling inside of it. They were thoughts, or more precisely, memories. He leaned in further and could see the dim shapes of people and objects walking specter-like through the swirls. Harry was nearly bursting with curiosity. The last time he’d seen the pensive it had been in Dumbledore’s office at Hogwarts.

But Dumbledore wasn’t here, was he?

Curiosity getting the best of him, Harry bent his head over the pensive and touched his nose to the swirling contents. Almost instantly he felt himself falling. When the sensation finally stopped he righted himself and saw he was at Kings Cross on Platform 9 and ¾. The Hogwarts train was puffing furiously on the track and the station was crowded with Hogwarts students. It looked just as he had always known it except hanging across the station was a large banner with “Best Wishes Hogwarts class of 1969” in fancy letters that magically scrolled across the paper like an electric marquee.

Directly in front of him stood a girl, obviously saying her final farewells to her parents. Harry gasped. It was Ginny! Well, actually he realized, not quite. Her hair was long and bright red like Ginny’s but the girl was older, probably about 16 Harry guessed and she had a large prefect badge pinned to front of her robe. The man she was talking to was dressed as a muggle but by the atrocious way in which he was dressed Harry could tell he was a wizard. His outfit was bad, even for the 60’s. The woman on the other hand was dressed impeccably. Harry stepped in closer so he could hear what they were saying.

“Now Molly, you keep yer socks on straight this year,” the man drawled as he light heartedly tousled her hair, “This here is yer last year at Hogwarts and I expect you to enjoy yerself. Don’t study too hard or yer liable to go write yerself into the history books.”

“Oh Dad, “the girl gushed, “No fear of that, I’m sure.”

“Well don’t you under estimate your potential young lady,” the woman quickly added in, “seven O.W.L.S, with perfect scores in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Transfiguration, a Prefect two years in a row and head girl this year. You are a chip off the old block, that’s what I say. After this year you’ll have your pick of any place in the ministry, and they need more women like us at the ministry.”

The girl looked down and smiled, a bit embarrassed, “Mother, I….”

Her response was cut short by a shout from across the station. “Molly, hey Molly!”

The girl turned her head and Harry followed her gaze. A long lanky fellow with equally bright red hair and shabby robes was pushing through the crowd towards her. Oddly he carried an umbrella at his side, opened wide, despite the obvious lack of rain. As he pushed through the crowd, it snagged the robe of a formidable looking witch raising it high above her head and jerking him backwards.

A wide grin spread across the girl’s face. “Love you Mom and Dad,” she said quickly as she pecked each one on the cheek, “I’ll see you at Christmas!” And before her parents could respond she was racing off across the platform towards the lanky red-head, who was trying to free his umbrella from the unfortunate witch’s robe.

“Oh, that Arthur Weasley again. I was hoping she would have forgotten him over the summer.” Harry turned back to look at the girl’s mother who had just spoken. He saw that she was looking disapprovingly after her daughter.

Weasley?

And for the first time it dawned on Harry whose memories he was witnessing. He was in Mrs. Weasley’s memories! This must be Ron’s mum and dad when they were at Hogwarts and these, Harry thought, must be Ron’s grandparents.

The man put his arm around the witch, who was still watching her daughter, “Oh, he’s a good boy Ginevra, maybe not as ambitious as you’d like, but he’s a good boy.” And with that they left the platform. Harry turned back, searching for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley whom he glimpsed just in time to see entering the last train car.

The train whistle sounded and Harry raced across the platform, plowing between a fat witch and wizard as he jumped onto the train. He found the young Mrs. and Mr. Weasley, snogging in the end corridor. Harry tried to turn away but the train was pulling out of the station, and there was nowhere to go. He felt his face growing hot and was glad, for his friend’s sake, that Ron wasn’t there.

“Oh Arthur, it’s so good to see you,” Mrs. Weasley breathed when she finally surfaced for air, “Its been so long. “

“Sorry about that blasted contraption out there on the platform, “Mr. Weasley apologized, “I got it for 2 pounds from the muggle porter at the station, he called in an um- bree-la, said its used for keeping rain off your head. Imagine that!”

He searched around his legs for the offending contraption but Mrs. Weasley put her hand on his cheek and directed his face towards hers. Harry was afraid they’d start snogging again, but just then the door to the corridor opened and a young woman walked in. She was about the same age as Mrs. Weasley, but dark complexioned, with long raven black hair and piercing eyes. She was already dressed in her robes and she had a Slytherin prefect badge pinned on the front. She would have been extremely beautiful if it wasn’t for the cruel sneer that lingered on her face.

“Well, well… Moll-ee Prew-ett, “She purred, emphasizing the endings of each word, “How’d I’d guess you’d be back here with this muggle-loving freak?” She inclined her head towards Mr. Weasley,

Mrs. Weasley pulled away and swirled around to meet her, “Good to see you too… Bellatrix, “she retorted, a hand clenching around the wand in her pocket. Harry recognized the all too familiar signs of a nemesis. “Didn’t know if they’d let you come back this year after what you did to that poor girl over the summer.”

Bellatrix’s eyes flashed dangerously for a moment and then she gave a cruel laugh. “No need to worry about that, I have…. connections. ” She stopped and examined her wand, rolling it between her fingers, “Let me just say, you don’t want to tangle with me this year. I learned more this summer than you will learn in a life time. Things you’ve never even heard of.” She leaned in dangerously close to Mrs. Weasley’s ear and spoke in a tense whisper, “Powerful magic… the most powerful type of magic…. Things that a straight laced girl like you wouldn’t have the nerve to do…”

She was nearly nose to nose with Mrs. Weasley now and they both gripped their wands in their hands. Their eyes were locked in an intense duel, and the atmosphere in the train was suddenly extremely tense. Finally Bellatrix gave a flippant laugh and tossed her beautiful dark hair over her shoulder. 

“Besides, “she said turning way, “soon none of this… “She gestured around the train, “...is going to matter. Things are changing, changing fast, and you better stay out of my way or I’ll give you plenty of reasons to regret it.” Then she gave another of her cruel laughs, a sound that made the hair on the back of Harry’s neck prickle and disappeared into the corridor, the door slamming behind her.

Mrs. Weasley steamed, her eyes still fixed on the door Bellatrix had just exited through and her wand clenched tightly in her hand. “One day Arthur, I tell you, one day…. Bellatrix is going to get it. “

The memory began to melt away and soon Harry found himself in a new scene. The room was dimly lit and unfamiliar to him, but the white head of Dumbledore, kneeling on one knee beside a chair was unmistakable. Dumbledore was speaking softly to someone and as Harry got closer he saw that the person on the chair was Mrs. Weasley. She was older than he had last seen her, but still young. She was sobbing, uncontrollably, and clutching a sleeping baby to her chest.

“Now, now, Molly,” said Dumbledore, placing a hand tenderly on her shoulder, “tell us what happened.”

She looked up at him helplessly, her eyes wide and full of tears. “Never again,” she wept, “I can’t, not ever again, not ever again” and then unable to get her crying under control she hugged the baby closer to her chest.

Helplessly Dumbledore looked up at Mr. Weasley whom Harry saw was standing beside the chair. His shirt was torn and he had blood on his cheek.

“We barely made it out alive,” he said looking down at his feet. Harry noticed he was still clutching his wand in one hand. “They knew were coming Dumbledore. There were loads of Death Easters. We didn’t stand a chance.” He paused and placed a hand on his wife’s shoulder. “Molly was brilliant, she took out two of them by herself, but, but… we lost Fabian.”

Here his voice cracked and he choked on his words, he paused and brushed his hand through the sleeping baby’s hair. “You know Fabian was Molly’s favorite brother, they even have a little girl about the same age as our Charlie.” He wiped a tear from his eye with the back of his hand and then looked at Dumbledore, his voice dropping to a near whisper, “I think it has shaken her bad, I’ve never seen her like this before. ”

Dumbledore knelt down on the rug next to the chair and reached out and placed a hand on top of Mrs. Weasley’s. He didn’t say anything but just waited till her sobs subside. Soon she lifted her face up to meet Dumbledore’s.

“I can’t go out again. I just can’t. We were almost killed tonight, both of us, and…, “her voice broke and she dropped her head, looking at the baby in her arms, “…. he needs me Dumbledore. He needs me.”

Harry expected her to cry again, but she didn’t. Instead she held Dumbledore’s gaze, a deep intensity burning in her eyes. “I need to be here, with him.”

She and Dumbledore looked at each other for a long time, and a something silent passed between them. Dumbledore stood up and placed a hand on Mr. Weasely’s shoulder and smiled reassuringly, “I understand, truly I do. “ He looked down at the baby in Mrs. Weasley’s arms and his smiled faded. “Sometimes my dear,” he said giving a deep sigh, “the hardest, and bravest, thing to do is to remain behind.”

The scene began to retreat and Harry felt his view moving again. This time when he stopped he found himself standing in the Burrow, a home Harry knew well.

Mrs. Weasley was sitting on the sofa by the fire, a pair of knitting needles in her hand. Her face was still young, though there were lines on her brow that hadn’t been there before. Two little red headed boys were curled on the on the sofa next to her, wrapped in a large quilt. Another one was asleep in the chair closest to the fire and with her foot she rocked a large cradle, magically extended, where two little red headed bundles were sleeping soundly.

Her needles clicked away furiously and Harry could see that it was the beginnings of one of Mrs. Weasley’s notorious sweaters, the ones she made for each of her children at Christmas. Harry could see that this one was a hideous green color and had the beginnings of a large “A” in the center.

Despite the peaceful ambiance of the room Mrs. Weasley looked anxious. Her hands moved mechanically while her eyes kept darting to a clock on the wall. Harry was surprised to see that it was the same ingenious clock that still hung in the Weasley house, but instead of nine hands there were only seven-- Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, William, Charlie, Percy and Fred and George. All the hands were pointing to “home” except the one for Mr. Weasley which was pointing at “mortal peril”.

Mrs. Weasley reached the end of her row and lifted her wand to the knitting she had just completed. She began to murmur something under her breath, but Harry couldn’t hear what she was saying. He stepped in nearer, almost leaning over her shoulder and was surprised to hear her casting shield charms.

“Protego, Protego, Protego,” she repeated with each line of the knitting. But before Harry could figure out what she was doing, there was a commotion from the fireplace and he looked up just in time to see three men emerging, evidently having used floo powder to enter the house. One of the men was Mr. Weasley and the other, though much younger than Harry had ever seen him, was obviously Mad Eye Moody. They were dirty and bloodied and between them they were carrying a man whom, Harry thought, had obviously had a rough night.

Upon seeing them Mrs. Weasley jumped up and, quickly casting a spell to mask the sound for the sleeping children, she ran over to help them. “They attacked the ministry tonight Molly” Mr. Weasley began to explain, almost apologetically, “Mad Eye was there for the order and they needed all the help they could get. I told you I wouldn’t get involved, the kids and everything, but… “

“Hush, hush, no need to explain,” Mrs. Weasley said as she helped them move the injured man to the couch furthest from the fire.

“Do you think you can help him, Molly?” Mad Eye asked, his magical eye roaming the room, and pausing long enough on Harry to make him wonder if it could see him.

“I’ll see what I can do, “Mrs. Weasley said as she got out her wand. She pulled back the robe covering the man’s face and gasped, and then covered her mouth with her hand. Harry moved in closer to see who it was, but before he could get a good look he felt the memory fading.

When he stopped this time he found that he was still at the Burrow, but this time there was light pouring in from the open windows and the door to the yard was open, letting fresh spring air fill the kitchen. There was a delicious smell coming from the oven and two women sat at the table, tea spread out before them.

Outside in the yard two robust boys were playing on broomsticks, while a younger, mousy boy ran in between them hoping madly after a pair of shoes that they were throwing back and forth. Squeals of “Give it back, you…”and “Wait till I tell mum…” filtered in through the window. In the corner of the room Harry was surprised to see a clothesline magically suspended from wall to wall. Underneath the clothesline were two red-headed twin boys, both dressed in overalls. A piece of rope had been looped through the back straps of their overalls and then tied to the clothesline above them.

This unusual set-up allowed the two toddlers to run back and forth along the clothesline, but greatly restricted their movement. Like two dogs on chains the little boys were straining against their restraints, apparently intent on reaching a beautifully frosted cake that was sitting on the counter. Harry laughed, Fred and George hadn’t changed very much.

Though he was curious to see how they would manage he forced himself to turn his attention back to the women at the table. One of the ladies was Mrs. Weasley, and she was much like Harry had always known her to be. In fact, Harry was fairly certain she was wearing the same duster he’d seen her in the day before at Grimmauld Place. Her warm face was lit up with an understanding smile and she had her hand placed compassionately on the arm of a younger woman. The younger woman was sitting with her back towards Harry, but he could see that she was brushing tears from her eyes.

“I’m sorry Molly, I don’t meant to come here and cry all over your good table cloth. You must think me so silly, “she said.

“No, dear, no. I very much understand. Becoming a mum for the first time is hard enough, but in circumstances like these,” Mrs. Weasley clucked her tongue, “It is enough to make any woman rethink things.”

At this the young woman began to cry again, sniffing miserably against a runny nose. Mrs. Weasley pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket and handed it to her, patiently waiting for the crying to subside. Before the young woman could compose herself a piercing squeal came from beside the table and Harry noticed that there was a tiny baby, wrapped in a homemade quilt, swinging magically in the air. With a flick of her wand Mrs. Weasley sent the baby swinging again, its cries subsiding as it began its rhythmic pattern.

“Oh, that little Ron of mine is sure a howler, “Mrs. Weasley said jovially, “He’s just a few weeks old, but already I can tell he’s going to be a handful. Though, I sure hope he’s not like those two back there”, said Mrs. Weasley indicating with her head the two twins in the corner, whom Harry noticed were now stacked on top of each other’s shoulders in their continued attempt to reach the cake.

The young woman wiped her nose, and smiled reluctantly, “I don’t know how you have done it Molly. I really don’t. I am beside myself with worry. How am I supposed to have a baby in the midst of all this? “ She sniffed hard to keep herself from crying again, “Our life is anything but secure. James is gone half the time on assignments from Dumbledore, and you know I can’t rely on help from my family. They just don’t understand what is going on.” Her composure began to crack and she pressed the wet handkerchief to her mouth, “I don’t think I am brave enough for this. “

“Oh, honey,” Mrs. Weasley said as she caressed the young woman’s hand, “I don’t think any of us feels brave enough, but trust me you are. Don’t let the darkness, keep you from bringing light, and that is what babies are, pure light. Besides,” she scooped sugar into her tea cup, “what good is our fight if there are no children to enjoy our victory?”

“Fight?” the young woman exclaimed. “How am I supposed to be of any use like this,” and she placed a hand over her slightly bulging abdomen, “I don’t feel very useful at all.”

“Lily Potter, don’t you even get me started," chided Mrs. Weasley wagging a tea spoon in her face. “Just because you aren’t out there running around and waving your wand at every dark creature you see, doesn’t mean you aren’t useful. You might not be able to see it, or even feel it yet, but there is a powerful magic, the most powerful type of magic brewing inside of you right now. It is the type of magic that some people go their whole lives without knowing, so they can’t begin to comprehend how it works. But those of us who love… we understand.”

She stopped and took a long contemplative sip of her tea. When she began again her voice was resolute, “In fact, dear, I’m certain that the hardest, and bravest, thing that anyone can do is to love.”

Suddenly an enormous crash came from the corner that made Harry jump. He spun around just in time to see two naked backsides shimmy off the kitchen counter and race out into the yard. The remains of the smashed cake dish were scattered across the kitchen floor and a big portion of the beautiful cake was missing. Harry looked over at the corner where Fred and George had been tethered and saw that two pairs of empty overalls hung limply, still suspended to the clothesline.

“You two! “ Mrs. Weasley shrieked. Waving her tea spoon like a club she jumped out of her seat and chased hopelessly after the two naked boys, “What in the name of Merlin’s beard am I going to do with you?!”

The young woman at the table gave a small laugh and turned around. Harry stared at her face. He couldn’t believe it. It was his mom. Despite her puffy eyes and the tear marks on her cheeks, she was beautiful. She looked just like he remembered her from his photo album. He’d never been this close to her before and he found himself paralyzed with disbelief. How many times had he imagined what it would be like to be near her, to hear her voice? She was so close, if he just stepped a little nearer he’d be able to touch her.

He held his breath and took a tentative step forward, but just as he did he felt a strong hand on his shoulder, and someone pulling on him. He cried out against it, but everything went dark and he rose through the air. Then with a swooping feeling he somersaulted out of the pensieve, and felt his feet touch the floor of the kitchen in number 12 Grimmauld Place.

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust but when they did he saw Mrs. Weasley’s face staring back at him. Instead of being upset or annoyed like he’d feared, she was smiling; the same sad smile he’d just seen in the pensive. Without a word she pulled him close.

“She loved you so much, Harry, so much…”

Against his will Harry felt hot tears stream down his face. He’d been so close, closer than he had ever been to her. The old familiar ache rose up in him and he was powerless against it. He felt angry that he was crying in front of Mrs. Weasley and tried to pull away from her.

“I’m sorry…” he began clumsily, wiping tears from his eyes but hoping it looked like he was just adjusting his glasses. “I didn’t meant to, I mean I thought it was…”

“It’s okay, dear,” She interrupted, releasing him, “There isn’t anything you saw that I’m ashamed of. I’ve just been sorting through memories. Dumbledore brought me the pensieve this afternoon and said I could borrow it for the evening. Thought it would help remind me, help me remember why I am here, what I need to do, why I…”

She trailed off and stared into the remnants of the fire, as if she had suddenly remembered something important. Seeing her distracted Harry took no time in high-tailing it for the door, his slippers flapping against the stone floor. He was about to the stairs when he remembered why he’d come down in the first place. He went back into the kitchen and saw Mrs. Weasley still standing where he’d left her, staring absently into the fire.

“Um, Mrs. Weasley… do you think I might be able to get a drink of water.”

She turned to look at look at him and Harry saw that she had tears in her eyes, “What did you say dear?”

“A drink of water, it’s what I came down for in the first place.”

“Oh, of course, of course,” she said quickly snapping out of her reverie, “That’s what I am here for.” She filled him a large tumbler full of water and watched him while he gulped it down. When he was finished she took the cup and patted him lovingly on the shoulder.

“Now you best head to bed and get some sleep. We will have to leave early tomorrow for the train.”

Harry gave a slight nod and headed back towards the stairs, suddenly feeling very weary. As he climbed the stairs back to the attic room he thought about his mom and what he had seen in the pensive. He thought of the tears he’d just seen in Mrs. Weasley’s eyes and the weight she seemed to carry. He realized, like he never had before, that courage came in many different forms.











24 comments:

  1. Well that made me tear up. I love it!

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  2. Well that made me tear up. I love it!

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  3. Thank you for writing this stunning little piece of fan fiction. I needed this. I admire all your work so much.

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  4. Brilliant! That was delightfully imagined and fits perfectly in with the canon. Powerful lines about motherhood and light in a dark world. Give me more Molly Weasley stories, she's my hero.

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  5. Brilliant! That was delightfully imagined and fits perfectly in with the canon. Powerful lines about motherhood and light in a dark world. Give me more Molly Weasley stories, she's my hero.

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  6. I want more stories like this... Even though the author has been second guessing herself about Harry and Ginny ending up together- I still say it was the best outcome for Harry. He needed Mrs Weasley (and Ginny too) in his life. She truly is a virtuous woman of great worth. (and my favorite fictional Mom - messy, loud, gentle, kind, long-suffering, and loving...)

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  7. Love it! I'm seriously impressed by your creative writing skills.

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    1. Thanks! It has been so long since I have done any creative writing and so I appreciate the compliment. It was fun to do something different.

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  8. This was perfect!!!!!! Molly is one of my favorite characters! <3 Well done!

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  9. I love this so much! Thanks for sharing!!! And, if you need a really great read, check out "How Harry Cast His Spell" by John Granger-- he explores all the Christian symbolism in the HP series and now I love them even more than I did before (which I wouldn't have thought was possible)!!!

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  10. That's really sweet. I like it! It's rare that anyone recognized the importance of those who "stay behind" and keep the home fires burning. I'm teaching a 50+ group of kids a song right now about important figures in early American history. It annoys me that the song says, "Whenever there was a job to do, there was someone who was a man!" I wish I had the opportunity to tell the kids the importance of the wives that supported many of these historical figures. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  11. This was brilliant. It really could be a lost chapter from the books. Well done!

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  12. Heather, that was GREAT! And totally fun!! Good job, even though I am a little later than everyone else in the reading of it

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  13. Thank you for this! It bugs me to hear people scoff at how Molly took out Bellatrix, assuming that because she's a stay-at-home mom, she must not be any good at magic or anything. On the contrary, she's always been shown to be competent and dependable, like you portrayed her here. :-)

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  14. This is beyond perfect. Moving and beautiful all at the same time. As a mom of a big, sometimes shabby brood (a real life Molly Weasley, if you will) I find this touching and deeply affirming.

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  15. Thank you, I loved your story and your perspective! Home and family are so important and love really is the most powerful magic.

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  16. Wow, I imagined everything as if I were watching it in the movies. What a great writer you are. This really came to life and couldn't have been better written by JK Rowling herself. In fact, your ideas are probably much closer to what I always find myself looking for in the actual books and movies. Thanks a bit of great distraction this afternoon.

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