|Scene Title||Shopping and Talking|
|Synopsis||Three Weasleys talk about what's really going on.|
|Date||December 23, 1994|
|Watch For||The Question!|
Christmas is nearing, and the children have arrived home from school. The Christmas tree is up and decorated, and there are paper chains all over the room. Twinkling little lights flicker in and out, some charm Molly's found to resemble lights. True to form, Fred and George are up in their room tinkering with something. Arthur is out in the garage tinkering as well. Molly finishes drying the dishes from lunch, and looks around. "Ginny!" Her call is loud, as usual.
"What!" Ginny cries from the upper story, a cry loud enough to rouse the dead. She's been laying in her bed, capital-P-Pondering. The moving poster of Gwenog Jones on her ceiling is almost hypnotically soothing in its familiarity. She sits up, knocking over a pair of boots that rested next to the bed. With a muttered curse, she rights them and comes to her door, peering downstairs.
"Mum? Got any firewhiskey?" Bill calls out as he stomps his feet on the rug in the kitchen door. His face is all red from being outside in the snow and he fumbles with frozen fingers to remove his gloves and scarf. He thoroughly harassed Percy by whipping a few snowballs at his window. Serves him right for being a prat during the holidays. This is no time to be working! It was of course, all in good fun to try and lure Mr. Serious out to socialize. "I need the extra warm-up." That's his story and he's sticking to it.
Molly sees the face on the stairs first, and responds to it first. "Come down here and put these dishes up. I've got to get the laundry starte—" Bill's words sink in, and Molly turns to face her eldest. "No, Bill. I don't think we do." Even having all the kids gone out of the house, they'll be lucky to have some less expensive potables around. "We don't usually keep more than just the one bottle, and I need that for the sauce." For some of the dishes she's making for the meal. "What do you need Firewhiskey for?" She takes in his appearance. "Step inside and get near the fire, dear. I do have some lovely hot cocoa I could stir up for you."
Ginny mutters and grumbles as she comes down the stairs, with the prerequisitive "Oh, Mum!" She tosses a smile to Bill, walking over to him and giving him a hug. "Eek, you /are/ cold! What'd you do, roll around in the snowbank?" With another grumble, she walks over to begin loading the dishes into the sink.
Stripped of his heavy cloak, gloves and scarf, Bill moves in towards the fire. "Cocoa will work then. Oh, just the extra warm-up it gives. I've only been out of the country a few years, you'd think I'd just bounce back for winter weather." He'll survive though. Besides, annoying Percy was worth it. When Ginny gives him a hug, he presses his cold fingers to the back of her neck, grinning teasingly at her. "I was trying to persuade Percy to put in a presence."
Molly bustles about fixing the hot cocoa, making enough for everyone, should they all decide to show up. She watches Ginny start to put the dishes in the sink. "No, dear, I just got done washing them. They need to be put away." She gestures to the cupboards, even going so far to open the appropriate ones with a flick of her wand. Though, internally, she thinks Bill has the right idea, it just wouldn't do to encourage him to pester his brother. "Do leave Percy alone, dear. He's got ever so much work to do. He'll come down soon enough." As soon as supper is on, she figures.
"Ack! Biiilll!" Ginny squawks as ice cold fingers touch her neck, jumping. She looks a little flustered as Molly corrects her. Apparently she's got something on her mind. With a blush, she grabs a stack of plates and begins to put them onto their proper places. They clink as she stacks them, and she grins, tapping out a beat on the clinking dishes.
"Ah yes, the report on thin cauldron bottoms. The world will stop if he doesn't turn it in well ahead of schedule," Bill says in a matter of fact manner as he pulls a chair to the fireplace to warm up further. He likes his own work, and is a bit of an overachiever, but nothing as neurotic as Percy. Holding out his hands to the flames he looks over at Ginny, brows raised somewhat. If he were Fred or George, he would tease her about the Yule Ball. That has to be what has her distracted, right?
Molly can't suppress a snort at her son's dry humor. "He is doing so well, Bill. He's well-liked." Being new, he probably gets all the tough jobs. Including 'cauldron bottom' reports. She finishes the cocoa and sets a mug of it in front of Bill, making herself one, and taking a few minutes to talk to her children. She catches Bill's gaze toward Ginny. "Is everything alright, dear," she asks her daughter as she takes a sip.
"Everything is just fine," Ginny says calmly, a little smile on her face. She begins to stack cups with careful precision, making sure each cup is spaced evenly apart from its mates. "Is everything alright here?" There's a cheery note in her voice, and she turns to smile at her mother and brother.
"Thanks mum," Bill says as he takes the mug. An experimental sip is taken, then he chuckles a bit, "I know. He works hard, he just needs to learn how to relax a little. That's all I'm saying. There's no crime in working hard or excelling in what you do. Perce has always been on the serious side." Broomstick up the you know what serious. "Just fine Ginny.. Oh I ran into Tonks the day I took Ron his robes. Almost didn't recognize her."
"And how is dear Nymphadora?" Molly takes another sip and sets the mug back down, wincing slightly as one of the cups Ginny is setting in place wobbles just a bit. She closes her eyes, intentionally deciding to back off, and exhales. "Well, that's true, dear." There isn't much for her to say at this point. An explosion from upstairs worries her, and she turns toward the stairs. "Fred, George! That's enough of that!"
Ginny jumps at the bang, just managing to keep a glass from shattering. She should be used to the bangs and explosions by now, but every so often they catch her off-guard. Carefully placing the next glass in its proper place, she smiles over her shoulder at Bill. "Really? Was her hair green or something?"
"She seemed just a little down, but she said she's been having a rough time at the Ministry." So that's what Bill attributes it to. If there's more to it, she didn't let on. The bang from upstairs has him looking towards the ceiling with a grin, "Aaah, missed the noise. Leaving alone in my flat, it just gets too quiet." Grinning, he looks at Ginny, "It was bright blue actually."
"We never did have her out here for supper." Molly's words are a bit contemplative. "She and Remus are hard people to get a hold of. Even if they do work in the same building as your father." She's heard Lupin has a job, but isn't sure what at this point. "Do be careful dear." She reiterates this to Ginny, but it's more of a habit than a sincerely meant caution at this point. Everyone deals with the crashes and bangs in their own way.
Ginny smiles at her mother, and begins putting silverware in the drawer. "I ran into Tonks a while ago in Hogsmeade. She looked well enough to me. Is there more trouble at the Ministry?" Ginny turns around, her smile fading as a serious expression comes to settle on her features.
Bill glances over at Ginny, with a bit more scrutiny as he tries to discern why she's a mite jumpy. Maybe he'll talk with her in private later about it. "Tonks did sound as if work was coming down hard on her. There's still time if you wanted to try and have a huge dinner. I can track her down, send an owl if you need me to." He immediately clams up at Ginny's question and oh hey, cocoa! Conveniently, he takes a drink to avoid answering. So not going there. If mum wants her to know, she'd tell her. (Although, on the sly, he might share information with his sheltered siblings.)
Molly turns to look at Ginny. "What do you know about the trouble at the Ministry dear?" This might be for a jumping-off point for an explanation, but knowing Molly, likely not. "Well, I do know she spends her holidays with her parents. If I remember correctly, Andromeda does still invite her home." As any good mother should, right? "Perhaps after Christmas day. It'll be plenty busy with just us, though I do wish Harry would've joined us." Poor boy, left alone at school. She gives a quick glance Ginny's direction after she says that, as though she's gauging her reaction.
Ginny purses her lips thoughtfully. "Well, I know Fudge got ousted and there's an Acting Minister, Umbridge. Is she any good?" There's been gossip otherwise, but Ginny is determined to find out the truth, right now in this kitchen if it's necessary.
Bill casts a sneaky look at Ginny too when Molly brings up Harry. Just a concerned big brother drinking his cocoa, that's all. Although, when Ginny asks if Umbridge is any good, he snorts into his cocoa and pretty much scalds the back of his throat and it all darn near goes out his nose.
"Bill," Molly starts when he nearly snorts cocoa out his nose. "Oh, do be careful dear." She stands to get him a napkin. "Well, I wouldn't say that, exactly." Which from their mother is pretty much saying 'she's lousy at it, thanks.' "I'm certain they could find someone to do a much better job." She moves to sit down again, and considers what to tell her daughter. "They're questioning people right and left just for knowing about certain things." Which things she will not be telling Ginny. "It's become unsafe to express opinions other than …" She considers how to phrase this. "How did Arthur's muggle book put it? 'the Party line.'" She takes another sip, and frowns. "It's getting challenging for everyone, I do believe." That's enough for a thirteen-year-old, Molly thinks.
"Challenging? Challenging how?" Ginny's eyes narrow, and she places a hand on her hip, a gesture that yes, she'd learned from her mother. Her head tilts, and a single eyebrow raises. "You okay there, Bill?" She asks her brother.
Bill takes the napkin and mops up his face with a murmured word of thanks for his mother. "She's been a bit on the nightmare-ish side, and seems to get worse with the more power she gets. Or so I've read over the years." He coughs again, and the resemblance between sister and mother just strikes him as uncanny. Yipes. "Oh yes. Got it all up."
"Harder to act without worrying like the Ministry's going to say something about it." That's how Molly will explain it for now. She doesn't want to go into more. Perhaps it's the refusal to admit that her little baby is now a teenager instead of a little girl. "I haven't heard it put so boldy, Bill, but yes, that does happen to be how she is. She's very much like a toddler unable to get her way." She snorts, making sure there's no cocoa around. Bill gets a searching look, like 'are you really okay?"
Ginny frowns, her brow creasing. "But, if she's so bad.. why doesn't someone oust her? Can't someone do that?" She looks from her mother to her brother again. "She can't just be allowed to go on being bad." Her idealist streak is showing, it would seem.
Bill is fine! No more coughing or snorting of the cocoa! "I don't work for the Ministry and I don't live here anymore. So as I see it? I can speak as plainly as I like around the privacy of family." He knows he can't be terribly bold in public without it coming back on people around him. "I'm afraid it's not that easy Ginny. It might be better to wait until it's time for elections and she can be easily ousted."
"Well, just do be careful that it is just around your family, Bill, dear. Because I wouldn't want you to find yourself in the same position as that poor Noble boy." Molly takes another sip of her cocoa, and frowns at her daughter. "It would be lovely if everything worked like that, dear, but it doesn't quite." She wishes it did. "I do hope people are smart about their vote when the election does happen." And she's not sure when that will be. "Of course, she will probably not want it to happen very soon."
Ginny purses her lips again, and then lets out a gust of air in a sigh. "Well, everything will work out," she says firmly, determinedly. "And if it doesn't, well.. we'll deal with it then." Ginny pauses to put a few bowls in the cabinet. "Right?" She asks over her shoulder.
"I know mum," Bill says in a firm manner, to show that he understands the seriousness. "The adults will deal with it Ginny," he says as he finishes off his cocoa, sans snorting. "No offense sis, but this is a situation for older wizards." He looks as if he's already regretting putting it that way, but why mince words? Especially when Molly will simply put her foot down.
Molly is proud of her son. "That's right, Bill." She turns toward her daughter. "I know you're friends with Harry dear, but don't go getting ideas." She understands that the poor boy doesn't have someone to watch over him all the time and make sure he doesn't get into these scrapes. Her children do. "Well," she drains the rest of her cocoa. " I do have to finish the laundry, dears. Thank you, Ginny."
Ginny makes a face, but she makes sure her back is turned when she does. No sense in getting in trouble. Instead, she busies herself with straightening the dishes. "Alright," she says agreeably, turning to smile at Bill and Molly. She does trust them, but she's not entirely sure if they're right.
"Maybe it is a shame Harry didn't come to stay for Christmas." Bill and his brothers could have a 'chat' with the lad. Or maybe just Bill. Somehow, he has an idea that Ron, Fred and George might not be as protective. He scoots back in his seat and gets up. His mug is set in the sink before he turns to give his mum a kiss on the cheek. "I told some friends I'd meet up with them today, I'll be back in time to help you with dinner." He moves over to give Ginny a kiss as well, then whispers in her ear, "We're just worried about you, y'know?" Grabbing his cloak, scarf and gloves, he then pulls them on and heads off.
Molly accepts the kiss gratefully, and smiles. "Thank you, dear. Enjoy." She turns toward Ginny and smiles. "Alright, dear, what do you have planned for the afternoon?"
Apparating to places one isn't really familiar with is much harder than it looks. Stumbling a little on the landing, Siobhan pauses to check and make sure all her respective bits are in the proper order. Satisfied, she tugs down the bottom of her dark red sweater and marches right on up to the door. At least the return trip will be easier. Several knocks against the wood and she settles in to wait, seemingly heedless of the sight she makes in her denims, sweater and wizard's magenta cloak.
Molly hears the knock at the door, and moves toward it, frowning. "Whoever could that be?" Bill was apparating to see his friends, so it wouldn't be any of them, would it? She grasps her wand in her apron pocket and slowly opens the door, inhaling in surprise as she spots Siobhan on the stoop. "Miss Noble. Oh, do come in. What brings you all the way out here?"
Ginny looks up as there's a knock at the door. She isn't expecting anyone, is she? Walking towards the door, she comes to stand behind her mother, peering over Molly's shoulder to see who might be at the door. "Sio?" She asks, surprise clear on her features. "What're you doing here?"
Considering that mother and daughter almost echo each other, Siobhan answers to birds with one stone. "I came t'see you, actually." She nods to Ginny. "Wondered if you wanted to come shoppin' with me in Hogsmeade." From her jeans pocket, the seventh-year pulls a piece of lined notebook paper and waves it about a bit sheepishly. "Last minute Christmas shopping, you know. Figured it'd be a bit more fun with company."
Molly frowns, and gazes at Siobhan intently. "Just the two of you?" She's not sure about this, but is considering it. "Are you of age, dear?" In case something does happen. "How would you get there? I'm not sure I'd like for you to apparate her…" She's being the protective Mum. "Oh… Where are my manners. Would you like some hot cocoa?" It's already warm.
Ginny grins at Siobhan. "Shopping? Together? Hogsmeade? Oooh, Mum, can I can I?" She bounces up and down for a few moments, then moves back so Molly can move back and let Siobhan out of the cold and into the house.
Thankful to be out of the cold for even a moment, Siobhan shakes her head regretfully. "I'd love to stay for a cup, Mrs. Weasley, but I'd really like to get done before it gets dark." And in the winter, that's pretty early here. Seeming to sense, perhaps, the mother's wariness, she offers a warm smile. "Yes, ma'am. Turned 17 last June. An' yeah, figure Hogsmeade's safe enough so long's it's light out." Pushing her hood back from her face, she shakes out her blonde hair and winks at Ginny. "I can Apparate, yeah, but if you'd rather, we can floo t'my brother's office an' leave from there?"
"Have you finished your other chores, Ginny?" That's Molly's first worry. Work before pleasure. "Well…" She considers. "Is that going to be dangerous, flooing into his office when they're looking for him so?" Nevermind that the ministry types probably wouldn't be able to get in, nor would they be working when they could be spending time at home with their own families. "If Ginny's finished her other chores, and if you'll promise to make it back before suppertime…" She looks up out of the corner of her eye, calculating how long that will be. "I believe that should give you three hours. Is that enough time to finish your shopping, dear?" If it's not, that might be a problem.
Ginny looks beseechingly towards Sio. Say yes! She wills her friend. "Yes, Mum, I finished everything," she says, nodding vigorously and still pouncing on the balls of her feet. "Eeeeverything. Done to perfection, I swear!" Her voice is fervent.
Siobhan has to bite her tongue to keep from giggling at her friend's antics. "Not at all, Mrs. Weasley. Jack an' I - an' Janet of course, but who could stop a House Elf? - are the only two who can get in." Not even his secretary managed on her own. "An' yeah, three hours'll be more than enough time. I've only got a few things left t'get." That cheeky, reassuring grin spreads right over her face. "Don't worry about a thing, Mrs. Weasley. I'll have her home in plenty a'time for supper."
Molly is still a little apprehensive, but she nods. "Well, then, dears. Have fun. Do be careful, but enjoy yourselves." She gives Ginny a tight squeeze, and then offers a hug to Siobhan, which she'll give unless the older girl asks her not to. "Thank you, dear. It's a rare thing that our Ginny gets to do something with another girl. Well… Luna does live over the hill, but she doesn't shop or … " Her hobbies are a little less mainstream.
"YAY!" Ginny squeals with unbridled glee, and flings her arms around her mother to hug her tightly. "Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'll just go upstairs and get my pocket money." With that, she dashes upstairs. There's clattering in her room as she seeks out her stash.
Siobhan is starting to bounce a bit herself - seems that Ginny's enthusiasm is more than a little contagious. Molly's hug is returned heartily, the youngest Noble offering the Weasley mother a brilliant smile before stepping back. "Hurry up, Gin! We've gotta run!"
Molly chuckles at the girls' enthusiasm, and gives a quiet "You're welcome, dear." Then, she heads to the other room to finally get to the laundry.
Ginny comes clomping back down the stairs, a rucksack over her shoulder and a parchment list clutched in her first. "Okay, I'm ready!" She cries loudly, despite now being a few feet away from Siobhan. "Are we going by Floo, or apparating?"
"Floo, I think. We can leave from Jack's office then. Maybe snag a bit of coffee before we go." Thank Circe for the EverReady coffe-machine. "Ready?" Siobhan grins over at her younger friend. "Uhm…where's your fireplace?"
Ginny points towards the fireplace that takes up one wall of the kitchen. "Over there." She leads the way, gesturing for Siobhan to take a handful of Floo powder. "Where to?" Ginny turns to ask the older girl.
"I'll go first." And with that cheeky grin, Siobhan grabs a fistfull of the powder and chucks it forcefully into the flames. As soon as they flare green, she calls out a strong "Torchwood Offices!" and is engulfed.
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