|Scene Title||An Unexpected Christmas Guest|
|Synopsis||Bill shows up at the Burrow!|
|Date||Dec 20, 1994|
|Watch For||Bill! Also, normal Weasley parent behavior.|
It's a normal evening at the Burrow, though Molly is busily wrapping Christmas presents out in the living room since it's only herself and Arthur at home. She's wrapping the Cannons Jersey and chocolate quidditch goal she just picked up, for Ron and Ginny. Quietly humming, she finishes the jersey and taps it with her wand to affix it closed. Then, she levitates it over to the pile. Now to start on the other present.
Apparating in a short distance from the house proper, Bill doesn't want to be heard. He never wrote ahead of time to say he'd pop in for the holidays. It's his way of giving a Christmas surprise to his family. Bundled up under his heaviest cloak, which still isn't UK winter weight, he strides quickly up the drive and to the door. The bag over his shoulder is charmed to hold what he needs for the trip as well as the Christmas presents for everyone. Once at the door, he knocks, as politely as any guest might.
Arthur has been out tinkering in the shed for a bit, since, really, he only seems to get in the way with the well-organized Christmas-wrapping process - or so he tells himself, anyway. But he's managed to get his hands on a Muggle toaster, and it's simply fascinating, the way all the little thingies inside go red when you push the doohickey down. He might have burned himself once or twice, but at least it was in the name of science. He heads through to the living room and is just about to offer a greeting to Molly, when the knock at the door surprises him a bit. "Hello dear," is tossed out a little more quickly, so that he can get onto more important matters: "Who's that then?" He starts over to answer it, gesturing for Molly to stay put, and a bit of caution to his approach, considering all the trouble that's been going around these days. Suffice to say, his is an expression of definite surprise when he pulls open the door to see who's there.
Molly remains seated, but her hands still and her back stiffens almost imperceptibly as she hears the knock. She turns slowly to face the door, hand in her apron pocket around her wand. She watches Arthur's behavior, and blinks when he shows surprise. "Who is it, then, dear?" She figures anyone who surprises Arthur like that should be benign. She stands, and moves toward the door, and then, fairly knocking her poor husband out of the way, she shrieks, and embraces her eldest tightly. "Oh, Bill!" She squeezes him and then pushes back to examine him closely. "Dear. What a wonderful surprise. You don't have to knock, dear, it is your home too." She chuckles, secretly having enjoyed the 'prank'. Fred and George got their humor somewhere.
"Surprise!," Bill greets with a cheerful grin upon his face. There's a faint shake of his head as Molly pretty much shoves Arthur out of the way. He stoops some to give his mother a kiss on the cheek then to clap his father on the arm. "Thought I'd surprise you two for the holiday. Doesn't quite work the same if I just walk on in, now does it?" He's fine, in one piece, no new earrings or the like. "I tried to get Charlie to come along, but he had other engagements that kept him in Romania."
Arthur easily allows himself to be knocked aside, just chuckling indulgently at his wife's happiness, and beaming at his eldest, pleased well enough with the surprise himself! "All right then?" he greets, patting the lad on the shoulder. "Come in, come in. Not a night to be standing around on the stoop." He gestures them both back inside properly so that he can shut the door and keep the cold outside. "An excellent surprise, I must say! Too bad about Charlie," he agrees, disappointment flagging his enthusiasm for just a moment before he recovers. "He'll just miss all the fun then."
"Oh, that's nearly everyone, then." Molly says, moving to the kitchen. "Have you eaten, dear?" Of course, first order of business, feed the poor, skinny lad. "How was your trip?" Yes, it's apparating from one point to another, done in a short while, normally, but it's a trip nonetheless. "Oh, dear. I would've liked it for Charlie to make it, but …" She shrugs. "I'll just send his presents again." She's been doing that the past few years. "Well, it should be the rest of you lot. They'll probably be a bit late with the ball, but …" She smiles. "Here I am nattering on, and not letting you talk." She falls silent, starting to pull food out whether the man decides he needs some or no.
"Too right you are. I've been spoiled by the weather in Egypt," Bill states as he's all too happy to come in to his old home. A grin is flashed at his father, "Yessir." Then, wha? "Fun? It's a bit quiet around here. I take it the others haven't come home .. a ball? I think I'm jealous!" He doesn't seem to mind terribly about his mother's fussing. It's kind of nice, especially when you're grown up and can escape it when it gets tiresome. He sets his bag down just inside the door and shrugs off his cloak, shaking his ponytail free from under the collar. "The trip was fine, a bit boring, especially after the last tomb I went into."
"Quite warm there still, I take it?" Arthur asks conversationally. Still, with the December chill setting in, it's nice to even think about these warm climes. "Oh yes, quite right, the Ball. I understand it's quite a big to-do this year at the school." He gives a little smile, remembering fondly when those sort of things just seemed so absolutely vital. For his part, he doesn't even really notice the ponytail anymore. And he's more interested in this talk of a tomb. "Nasty one, was it? Managed it all right though, I hope."
Molly quirks an eyebrow at the comment. "I worry about you going in those musty places, Bill. And so dangerous." She gives a little shudder. "You were sure to…" She cuts herself off, reminding herself that this is her eldest child, and he's a grown man. "Well, a mother worries." She ends her thought lamely. "Oh, yes. I should show you…" She sets out the plate of sandwiches. "I sewed Ron's dress robes this year, what with that incident with Percy's…" They all remember the time they nearly fell apart on him. She lifts her wand up, and wordlessly summons the finished robes. "I need to send them…" They're a dark green and in a classic cut. "Ginny's borrowing a dress from Sir Michael Noble's daughter, I do believe." That reminds her. "Dear, when I visited the school to talk to the children, Miss Noble invited us to their Christmas bash. I told her I would have to talk to you." She banishes the robes back to the couch and returns to bustling about the kitchen without much ado.
Bill sighs dramatically as he hooks his thumbs on the beltloops of his pants as he stands in the kitchen, "I'm already longing for the sun." The chilly brutality of the weather here is something he'll gladly face to see his family again. "Wow. I may have to see if I can't sneak a peek at the festivities." Or at least hope he can get into Hogsmeade and the students or visiting the village. "It was right nasty. Someone went through a lot of trouble to keep people out. The curses and traps started about twelve feet in and didn't let up. Really gave us a run for our galleons." Although, from his tone and the twinkle in his eyes, he enjoyed every second. "Mum, we watch each other's backs and we're highly experienced," he says, trying to ease Molly's concern. When the robes are summoned forth, he looks over them and knows Ron'll be pleased they aren't maroon. And they look fairly new. Something he doesn't comment on aloud. "She's made friends with the Nobles?," he asks, looking fairly impressed.
Arthur gives a longing sigh of his own as Bill speaks of the sun, but still, he's content with his lot here, even if the winter can drag on a month or two longer than it's welcome for. "Sounds exciting," he adds with a grin, as Bill details the challenge of the tomb. "Yes, dear, he's fine, remember?" he goes on more gently, before turning curious at the mention of a show and tell here. "Well, those did come out well, didn't they," he enthuses, giving the robes a proud look. "I'm sure he'll be pleased." To the matter of the Nobles, he turns a little more serious then. "They're still going ahead with it? I'd thought maybe with their recent troubles…" That's putting it diplomatically, no? "With everything, it might do to go and show them support."
Molly likes the thought of that. "You're right dear. I'll owl lady Edana and let her know we'll attend." She smiles. To Bill's narrative, Molly can only cluck quietly to herself, trying her hardest not to picture the situation. "Of course, dear. Your father and I have every confidence in you. You are an exceptionally skilled wizard." She beams at her son. "Well, the sun might be pleasant for a while, but I do like the winter, as well." She is used to Britain's weather, and likes it that way. A scheming look crosses her face. "Well, dear, perhaps you might be convinced to deliver Ron's robes to him, instead of me sending them by post?" Surprise his siblings at the school. That'd be a valid reason to pop over there, wouldn't it?
Bill grins across at his dad, sympathizing. Maybe there'll be a way to drag him off sometime for adventures in a warmer climate. About to launch into a discussion of the complexity of the curses and the skeletons they found, he senses more serious topics are afoot. He settles in at the table and looks between his parents, "What's been going on? I haven't been able to keep up with the news from here — Now mom, that's awfully sneaky of you. Of course I'll take them for you." There's no sense in tiring out poor Errol when he's perfectly willing to act as delivery boy.
"Splendid," Arthur replies, nodding approvingly to this idea of owling Lady Edana and getting it all squared away. "You'll, ah, remind me when it gets a bit closer?" He's not even going to pretend it wouldn't slip past him or he'd get his dates muddled somehow. He still finds himself surprised daily that it's already December! He just grins to himself as Molly hatches her plan for getting the robes to the school, moving to take a seat himself at the end of the table. He turns more serious as Bill asks after the current news. "Oh, well, ah, it's … a bit of a mess, I'm afraid. So many rumours flying around, it's hard to tell what end is up. But Sirius Black has taken it on the lam, and it seems one of the Noble boys is connected somehow. 'Wanted for questioning', is how I believe they're putting it." He frowns at that wording, especially considering some of the other changes in the Ministry these days.
"And that horrid…" Molly stops herself. "Minister Fudge is no longer in office." She rephrases primly, and scrubs on a pan briskly. "And his …" She hates to speak ill of anyone, really, but she'll make an exception here. "And that horrid woman, whom everyone was sure was…" Well, maybe not that much. "Well, his assistant is now acting minister, and she's acting like a two-year-old who can't get her way. Allowing the Cruciatus during questioning. I ask you." She bangs a spoon into the water. Washing dishes manually? Something's up. "That boy is a gentleman, from what I can remember." She frowns, trying to remember when she saw the second Noble boy last. "Were you in school when he was, Bill?"
Bill rubs a hand across his face, hiding the grin that forms. Some things never change around here. Dad's mental lapses for one. The smile does fade quickly when Arthur gives a brief explanation of current events. The eldest son frowns at the rundown, "I had heard he had gotten out of Azkaban, but not the rest." A faint frown forms as he watches Molly washing dishes by hand. Uh oh. "I know of the family, I don't remember if I've met any of the Nobles on a personal level." Could be his years overlapped with one or two. Sometimes it's hard to keep up. "Sounds like things have been a right cock-up as of late. Fudge wasn't the greatest leader, but why replace him with worse?" Or does he even want to know?
"And I've heard through the grapevine that Sir Michael's found himself under review," Arthur adds, shaking his head. "Not really a surprise, I suppose. You just have to look at the woman funny to get put on that list. Still, it's just not right. Bullying, really, is what it is." Not something he approves of at all. And he's been sorely tempted to say as much a few times, except then he'd risk bringing trouble down on them all. "Just hope he can give her a bit of a run for her money," he can't help but suggest with just a little amusement.
"Hmmmph." Molly puts the pan up onto the counter and turns to face the men again. "It's too bad I can't go give her a talking-to like she deserves." Ever the mother, Molly thinks most things can be fixed with an attitude adjustment. "Well, that's enough talk about politics, now. Let's have more pleasant conversation, shall we?" She smiles, although it's a little forced. "Have you met any interesting young ladies lately, dear?" The question is a rather pointed one.
"From what I've heard about the Nobles, they seem to be an upstanding family." Bill states. "Isn't the elder Noble on the Wizengamot or something?" Go away for a few years and some of your Who Knows Who information goes out the window and gets muddled. "Unless the entire Wizengamot is completely cowed, they won't be pushed around." Then, that seems to be the end of that. Respecting his mother's request, and then debates on going back to current affairs at her question. "Quite a few mum, but nothing serious," he says firmly. Otherwise he might never hear the end of prying.
"Well, here's hoping," Arthur replies with a wan smile, as to the Wizengamot not being cowed. He'd like to believe it, but the changes at the Ministry are hard to ignore these days. Still, since Molly puts paid to the political talk and is clearly getting a bit worked up, he's quick to change courses and go with the flow on this one. "Oh well, you're young yet," he assures Bill, though it's maybe more for Molly's benefit than his eldest's. "We aren't all so lucky as to find what we want straight off in life," is added with a wink towards his darling wife.
Which comments immediately set Molly to blushing. "Oh, well…" She turns toward the sink, levitating the dishes up to the cupboards. A flick of the wand, and they're headed to their respective places. "So, dears, any particular requests for the holidays? Meals or anything?" She wants to try to make the time the best she possibly can. When Bill mentions several girls, she nods knowingly.
Bill leans back in his seat and grins a touch at his parents, "Work keeps me busy enough. Settling down and getting married just isn't that big of a priority right now." Probably not what Molly would like to hear, but that's her eldest for you. Laying it down to try and circumvent an argument. "Nothing in particular mom, don't go to any extra trouble. Just make what you like."
Arthur gives Bill a bit of a nod, but moves on quickly, trying to keep that statement from becoming a bone of contention here. "Oh, well. You know I like most everything you make, dear," he says with an easy grin. "Though, ah, maybe some of those little tarts like you did up that one year…" It might have been last year, might have been a few years before. He just remembers the tarts. "Speaking of the holidays, did we hear anything back yet on if we should be expecting any guests?" He doesn't think he's heard back anything about Harry possibly coming along with Ron.
"Well, I told Ronald to tell him to come. But I haven't heard back, and …" Molly didn't get to talk to the Headmaster. "I do hope it's alright with Albus. He was ever so busy when I arrived." She frowns, and steps toward a shelf to grab a parchment, quill and ink. "Well, I'll send him another letter to be sure, but I've been preparing as if he was coming. I did think about inviting Lupin and Tonks for a meal sometime during the holidays as well." Not on Christmas proper, because Tonks has her own family, and in Molly's perfect idea of the world, Lupin would be joining her. "Tarts?" Molly tries to remember the tarts. When she can't, she accios a book down from the shelf. Perusing it slowly, she comes across the page. "Oh, I think I can do that." She nods, and adds it to the mental list.
"I'll take Ron his robes in the morning and see if he's got an answer for you," Bill says, seeing as he's going to help his mother out anyway. Wait, back up? "Tonks? Nymphadora Tonks?" He then laughs and wows, "Do that, I haven't seen her since Hogwarts!" He remembers her as Charlie's friend. "When I go out tomorrow, is there anything else you two need me to do for you?"
"There's an idea," Arthur agrees, approving of Bill's efficient plan. "Make sure he knows he's more than welcome, of course. No trouble at all." He wouldn't want Harry worried that he's putting the family out at all, even if they're happy to do so. He gives a nod, smiling a bit to the idea of having more company around. "Yes, that would be nice. We can all squeeze in around the table and make it a proper do." He watches Molly fetch down the book, a little bemused. Were the tarts really so long ago? Oh dear. "Only if it's no trouble, dear." And then to Bill's offer, he shakes his head. "No, I think I'm well set, but thank you."
Molly takes a little longer to think. She does have the whole list to plan. "No, dear, I think I've pretty much got the holiday squared away." She considers for another moment. "I finished the last of the shopping just today, actually." She appears quite pleased with herself at the accomplishment. "Now, it's just a matter of finishing wrapping and decorations." The last part usually waits until the kids arrive home, though it may be a bit earlier than usual with the ball. She steps toward Bill again, engulfing him in another hug. "Welcome home, dear. I'll go get your room ready." She positively beams as she moves to kiss Arthur, as well.
Squeezed in around a table, just like old times with everyone in one spot. It was a tight fit, but more fun to say the least. Bill nods to Arthur, "It's not a problem at all. I was working up a way to slip into the school anyway." He grins with mischief, but wouldn't have /really/ acted on it. Unseemly behavior of a former Head Boy and all. Molly's hug is returned before he gets up, "I'll come help you." And get settled in. Apparating around was a bit tiring.
"Sounds like you've got it all well in hand then, dear," Arthur commends with a pleased smile. "We certainly are lucky to have you," is added more lightly, though there's no denying they'd be utterly lost otherwise. Bill's mischievous grin is just met with amusement, before Arthur returns Molly's kiss, giving her a fond pat, watching as the two others prepare to head on up. "Anything I can do?" he offers, though he doesn't seem to expect there will be. Room-readying is really more a speciality of Molly's, and he can't exactly get settled in for Bill. "Otherwise, ah, I might just nip back out to the shed for a bit before bed…" he notes a little more hesitantly. Goodness if that toaster doesn't have him truly flummoxed. How does it know when to go red?
"No, dear. That sounds lovely. Do be careful, though." She saw that the wound paste was just a little lower. Molly nods toward the stairs. "Well, come on, then. Let's get you squared away." She hurries toward the stairs, grabbing the robe on the way. "Dear, here you are, you can just take this and…" She continues to chatter as she heads up, about holidays and Egypt and whatever else comes to mind. Her son is home. She's happy.
Any additional notes fall to the bottom.