Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything affiliated with it. It all belongs to the talented J.K. Rowling and her wonderful imagination.
A/N: Finally the Next Generation Fic I've been working on has begun! Check it out and let me know what you think
Arthur Weasley stalked into the kitchen of the Burrow. He slammed the door behind him with an alarming bang, swearing profusely as he went. Leaning against the counter, he pinched the bridge of his nose.
Across the room, his wife looked up from the table. "It's happening again," she said calmly. "Isn't it?" Arthur noticed that her mug covered a bit of the prophet. An image of a man with red eyes stared back, his nose splotched from where some of the tea had fallen.
"You can't believe everything you read in there," he said shortly, gesturing to the paper. "Most of it's rubbish."
Molly looked at where the prophet lay. Her eyes were rimmed with red. "Most of it," she whispered. "But not all of it. Arthur, look at me," she commanded, her voice wobbly. He met her eyes reluctantly. Raw fear and pain sparked within them, speaking truths to him that she could not say aloud. Arthur clutched the counter until his knuckles went white.
"Is he back?" she asked quietly. "If the prophet's true.." She trailed off, letting her words hit him like blows. Arthur winced. He crossed the room, coming to sit by her. Molly's hands traced circles on his knuckles.
"No, he's not back," he said finally. Molly let out a sigh of relief. "But," he continued tiredly, "his forces have not fallen."
Molly's eyes widened. "Do you mean- not the death eaters, surely?" she asked, her hands squeezing his. Arthur regarded her calmly.
"Yes," he said.
His wife went still. Her eyes, half-closed, flickered restlessly. "How many of them?" she asked. "How soon? Does Kingsley know? What does he plan to-"
"Molly," Arthur said, holding up his hand. "I don't know." He buried his head in his hands. "I don't know." he repeated, his voice muffled.
A hesitant hand touched his back. Fingers began to comb rhythmically through his grey hair. "The prophet's sending out warnings," Molly said softly. "It's just how it was before the war. It's starting again."
Arthur raised his head to look her in the eye. They were hard as steel. "We were younger then," he reminded her. "It will not be as easy this time around."
"We have more to lose," Molly said quietly.
He was reminded of similar words Kingsley had said to him as he had left the Minister's office. Arthur looked to Molly. "The more we have to lose," he repeated, "the more we have to love. And love is what won us the war last time."
Tears filled his wife's eyes. She wiped at them quickly, her sleeve damp from wet. "The grandchildren," she sniffled. "We need to warn them."
Arthur's back stiffened. He stood in one swift motion. "No," he said, shaking his head. "Absolutely not." His head had begun to spin and he steadied himself, one hand resting on the table. Molly stood up as well.
"Why wouldn't we?" she snapped. "They're old enough to know the truth now, Arthur. We would be doing them more harm than good if we kept this from them."
Arthur took a steady breath. He closed his eyes, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. "Molly," he said. "This isn't their war to fight."
"For Merlin's sake!" his wife burst out. "They're the same age as Ron and Ginny were! Lily's sixteen now, and so is Hugo. Louis is almost the same age as Fred was when he-"
She stopped, her entire face draining of blood. Arthur pushed her gently into a chair. She sat almost numbly, clasping her hands until they turned white. "I'm not saying that we should put them in the front lines of the battle," she whispered, her voice hoarse. "I'm saying that they're old enough that they deserve to understand what's going on."
Her head was down, her eyes trained on her twiddling thumbs. Arthur stooped beside her. He lifted her chin gently so that she looked at him. "Tell me," he said. "Do you see a warrior when you look in Louis' eyes? In Hugo's?" He paused, retracting his hand. "These children are not hardened from battle. Not like the others were. They are as innocent as foals."
Molly's face had regained normal color. Her eyes swept his face, sharp and searching. "That doesn't change the fact that they need to know," she said firmly. "We don't have the right to withhold information from them."
Arthur shook his head. He stood slowly, picking up her cold coffee mug and bringing it to the sink. "No, we don't," he agreed. "That right falls to their parents." He watched as the soggy brown remnants swirled away, staining the sink. Molly's eyes burned holes through the back of his neck.
"If we raised our children right," she said, "they'll tell the grandchildren. They'll let them know." Arthur set the cup aside. He turned to face his wife again, his face drawn.
"We did not raise all of what is now our children," he reminded her. "You've heard Harry on the subject of the war. He never wants James, Albus or Lily to hear a word of it."
Molly chewed her lip. Her eyes were wide with surprise. "Surely he must understand that's impossible," she said. "With all the press that follows them around, Lily especially, there's not a chance that they haven't heard a word on it."
Arthur looked at his wrinkled hands. They were wet and red from the hot water of the sink. He was reminded of blood. "Harry grew up with the prophet following him," he said. "He'll have pulled every connection he has ever made to ensure that his children are safe from the news."
"But the other children attending Hogwarts," Molly pressed. "Surely they will have said something."
Arthur turned towards the blank spot on the wall where the clock had once been. His shoulders slumped wearily. "No one talks about the war today, Molly," he said. "Not even in the Ministry. No one wants to be reminded of all the loved ones that were lost."
A short silence fell. Arthur missed the constant, steady ticking of the clock. "I still think we should tell them," Molly said. "It's better coming from us than wherever else they might find out."
Arthur turned to face her. Molly was a small form on the chair, her arms and knees tucked into her. She looked vulnerable and child-like. "No," Arthur said firmly. "It's not up to us. If their parents don't want them to know, we won't tell them."
He walked towards the stairs tiredly, pausing only to look at a clock hidden in a drawer.
Eight hands pointed in the direction of Mortal Peril.
A/N: Just a little bit to get you started... let me know what you think! Favourite quotes, anyone?