Molly smiled to herself as she watched the girl blush profusely as her youngest son held out a chair for her. This adorably gentlemanly behaviour had started the second Hermione had arrived at The Burrow; he had rushed out to a weary and slightly tearful Hermione and put his arms around her in a way that she had never seen him do before. It had shocked her at first – she was so used to the boy tiptoeing around his feelings for the poor girl – but then she supposed that the danger of an impending war made previously scary steps seem quite foolish to ignore. It certainly had made her take giant leaps in her own relationship – and she could never even begin to regret that.
The tearful state of the girl had worried her at first, but she couldn't help but catch her breath at the way in which Ron had pulled her up the stairs, holding her hand with his left and carrying her suitcase with the other, tenderly offering her a handkerchief that was sticking out of his pocket.
It seemed that Hermione and herself were not the only ones surprised by Ron's sudden change in behaviour either – she had caught a flabbergasted Ginny (who had been absolutely dismal all summer) flash a smirk at Ron, who had proceeded to turn a violent shade of scarlet. It was nice to know that he hadn't completely matured in the whole four hours that Hermione had been here.
She did however notice something odd, Fred gave Ron a slight nod with (now this was the odd part) an expression completely devoid of any humour, before exchanging a proud look with George. Molly loved her twins, but she had to admit they were absolute pains in teasing people, and this would be a prime opportunity for them to make fun of Ron and his recent displays of affection. She made a mental note to corner them about it later as she observed Ron passing the salt to a very flustered Hermione, who seemed to blush even more fiercely as he beamed adoringly at her.
The fact that Hermione was obviously just as confused by his behaviour as everyone else (even Bill had pulled away from gazing into Fleur's eyes long enough to look stunned) made the whole thing even sweeter. Unlike with her eldest son, she had always considered Ron's relationship with Hermione to be very sweet, probably because of how unable they both seemed to be able to express their feelings towards each other, especially when they were two of the most emotional people she had ever met.
When dinner was finally over and Ron and Hermione had excused themselves, Hermione's excuse was to unpack and Ron's was to help her (Even Bill couldn't resist commenting "Better leave the bedroom door open then." Which only made them hurry up the stairs faster, refusing to look at each other) Molly managed to corner the twins by asking them to help with the washing up. They were so distracted laughing that they didn't even consider that Molly washed the dishes with magic and therefore couldn't possibly need any help until everyone else had left the kitchen, by which time Molly had sat opposite the two at the table. They paused to examine her serious expression, giving her the chance to speak first.
"What did you do?"
The twins were visibly confused, seeming to run every prank or misdeed that they had pulled in the past week through their heads, coming up with nothing that their mother would be this serious about.
"Honestly, we haven't a clue what you're on about Mum." Said George.
"What have you done to Ron, is it a potion of some sort? Or a sweet from your shop?" She inquired huffily.
The twins snickered, "A potion!" cried Fred.
"A sweet?!" Asked George.
"Oh, Mother dearest! Have a little faith!"
"He's doing this all of his own accord!"
"There may have been a little prodding, but he got there all by himself." Finished Fred
Molly considered her sons' innocent faces for a moment before questioning, "Really?! Then what was that look earlier?"
"What-" George started before Fred nudged him, seeing Molly's eyebrows raised in disbelief.
"We may have given him a little advice." Fred muttered sheepishly.
Molly softened at this; her twins were typecast as the annoying older brothers who mercilessly teased, but sometimes their kinder side would appear, the side which showed they really did care about their siblings.
"Yeah, It was getting a little ridiculous, I mean, it's not even funny anymore." George added.
Molly had to agree with that, but she understood, it was a big step going from friendship to love, and neither of the two had handled it very elegantly in the past. However, the fact that even Fred and George, the constant comedians didn't find it funny anymore showed that maybe they were taking a little bit too long. She gave them a little smile and rubbed their shoulders as she exited the kitchen, informing everyone that maybe they should think about going to bed.
She made her way up the stairs, carrying a pair of pyjamas for Ron when she heard it.
"It's just so strange to think that we're not going back, that in a few days Harry will be here and then we'll have to leave." Hermione's voice drifted from Ron's closed door.
"I know, I bet you'll really miss it, especially the library." Molly could hear the smirk in his voice, and the thump that followed as Hermione probably hit him with a book.
"Won't you?! I mean I know you don't like school, but Hogwarts is more than just a school!" Molly gasped as the information sunk in. They weren't going back to Hogwarts! She felt a burning shock deep within her, a fire kindled by her motherly instinct which insisted that all her children needed to have a full education; she was so enraged that she missed the rest of the conversation. The door opened and Hermione came out, Ron standing in the doorway. Molly was about to race up the rest of the stairs and confront the pair when Ron pulled Hermione back, wrapping his arms softly around her, both of them taking a deep, yet slightly ragged breath. Then, after far too long a time period for it to be remotely platonic, Ron pulled back and gently, but hesitantly placed a kiss on her forehead before whispering "Goodnight Hermione" and entering his room, shutting the door behind him.
Hermione stood there for a few moments, a look of breathless delight on her face. She lifted her hand to her forehead, closing her eyes and biting her lip. Molly swore she even saw a joyous tear leak from a closed eyelid and chose to quickly move back to her bedroom while she had the chance.
She entered her room to find Arthur sitting in bed. She regarded him for a moment before the words came bursting out.
"When did my little boy get old enough to be in love?" Arthur looked confused.
"Bill? He's nearly 30!" Arthur remarked, utterly befuddled at how it was only just coming out now.
"No! I mean my baby, my little Ronnie! When did he get old enough to be so hopelessly in love?" Molly implored frantically, sitting down on the bed next to Arthur.
"Ah. You noticed too then." He smiled, putting his arm around her.
"Of course I did!" Molly scoffed "I'm his mother. And he couldn't be more obvious if he tried!"
Arthur laughed. "I know, the poor girl didn't know what to do with herself."
They both laughed, before settling into a peaceful quiet.
"I'm losing them Arthur." Molly remarked sadly. "They aren't going back, they're going off on some mission."
It was a testament to their marriage that he knew what she was talking about really.
"You're not losing them. They just grew up."
He always knew what to say, it may not have soothed her much, but she knew he was right. So she got into bed with him and they turned off the lights, listening to the hum of children arguing for the bathroom and saying goodnight, Molly vowing to confront her son in the morning. They we're almost asleep when she couldn't resist one last comment.
"I just don't ever think I've seen him be so affectionate!"