Mother Knows Best
by Victoria P.

1. Molly

A mother only wants what's best for her children. I think we all agree on this.

And as the mother of seven children, I have a great deal of hard-won experience in the matter. So it is with assurance I can say that Fleur Delacour is not going to make Bill happy.

In fact, there is not a woman alive who could make Bill happy.

I know what you're thinking -- I'm a mother, and as such no one will ever be good enough for one of my boys. And while there is a smidgen of truth to that, it is not what I mean in this case. In fact, no one was more surprised than I when Bill mentioned that he was seeing Fleur.

I have always tried to be discreet, have never pushed Bill or Charlie or even Percy about their romantic liaisons, though I know what goes on at Hogwarts. I do have seven children. No, I have a strict policy of non-interference where my children are concerned. I only speak up when I feel they're too young and foolish to see to their own welfare. Ron and Ginny still need a firm hand, for example (though Hermione does a fair job with Ron, I must admit), and someone must keep the twins in line, even now. And of course, without me and Arthur to guide him, Harry has only Sirius -- but I will say no more on that topic.

Bill thinks I have something against Fleur because she is part Veela, but nothing could be further from the truth. I like to think I'm as broadminded as the next woman -- broader even, given the circumstances in which we are currently living (when one is accepting the hospitality of a convicted murderer, even if he is innocent, one can't be too persnickety) -- and Fleur's background has nothing to do with my objections. Rather, it's because I know my son's true nature, and she will never make him happy.

I have danced around the subject long enough. This evening, after the Order meeting breaks up, I will confront Bill about his relationship with Fleur. I have been reading some Muggle books on the subject (Arthur occasionally brings home useful things), and they seem to make a great deal of sense. I will tell him that nothing he does will ever make me love him less, and suggest that his affections would be better directed toward someone who could give him the kind of happiness Arthur and I have shared for the past thirty years.

In fact, I even have someone in mind for Bill. Someone whose life has been filled with more sorrow than most, and who deserves a great deal of love and joy. They should be a perfect match, if they will only see the error of their ways and listen to me. I'm only thinking of their happiness, and a mother always knows best.


2. Bill

There's nothing subtle about Mum. She's outspoken -- loud, some would say -- interfering, ferocious in defense of her family.

For the most part, I admire her, and am glad she's on our side (and I'm very glad that I no longer have to live in fear of Howlers from her when I do something wrong).

However, there are times when her interference is not only wrong-headed, but completely irritating. I have a feeling this will be one of them.

This evening as the Order meeting breaks up, she tells me she wanted to speak to me privately, and heads out into the kitchen garden. Presumably, I am to follow.

"Better you than me, mate," Mundungus whispers, and Kingsley grins. It's easy for them to laugh, though Mundungus does step lightly around her since the incident with the cauldrons and the dementors.

Sirius claps me on the shoulder, and I must admit, I'm a little less irritated when I think about his mother.

I follow her into the garden and smile. I know how much Percy's defection has hurt her and dad, so I promise myself I will remain calm and respectful when she starts in on my hair and my clothes and everything else. I reckon I'm the only one even close to being ready to present her with grandchildren, so I should have some leeway.

Which just goes to show how inexplicable the female mind is.

"You wanted to see me, Mum?"

"Bill, I wanted to talk to you about Fleur."

"I know you dislike her, but if you gave her a chance--"

"Not at all, dear. Fleur is a lovely young woman. However, I don't think she's the right person for you."

'Of course you don't.' I don't say it out loud, though. I just grit my teeth and keep smiling.

"You see, Bill, you have to stop hiding your true self. It's okay -- it's more than okay to, well-- I'm not quite sure how to say this--" She fumbles for words, and blushes.

Mum has seven children -- she's no shrinking violet. Added to that, I have one of the most dangerous jobs in wizard society; Charlie's work is even more risky; the twins are terrors to make even Dumbledore tremble; Ron repeatedly tangles with Death Eaters and other assorted dark wizards; and Ginny was possessed by Voldemort himself.

There isn't much that embarrasses or scares her, and yet she's blushing.

This can't be good.

"It's not that I dislike Fleur," she says, though of course, that's exactly what the problem is. "I want that to be very clear. I just think -- someone else might be a better fit for you."

"Someone else?" Is she trying to set me up with Tonks? I like Tonks, make no mistake. But she's very... clumsy. And she has a crush on Sirius. Not that he's noticed.


"Someone I know?"


I wait. It's best to let her get these things off her chest. We will yell at each other until one of us starts laughing, and then she will hug me and tell me that mother knows best, but of course I must do as I see fit. She'll give me hurt looks for a few days, and then it will pass as if it never happened.

"I think you and Remus would make a lovely couple," she blurts.

I cannot have heard her correctly. "Excuse me?"

"I think you and Remus would make a lovely couple," she says again, her face beet-red and her mouth curved in a tentative smile.

"I--" There are so many things I could say in response, but I'm so stunned, I can't speak.

"He's only a few years older than you are, Bill, and he's a very skilled wizard. I'm sure he'd be a wonderful help to you in Egypt--"

"Mum, in case you haven't noticed, and I don't see how you couldn't, Remus is a man."


"Mum," I say desperately, "I'm not gay."

She shakes her head. "There's no sense in denying it, Bill. It's all right. We'll love you regardless. You don't have to hide anymore."

I wonder if the twins have something to do with this. If so, I'm going to kill them. Slowly. I've learned a lot in my time in Egypt. They'll be dust before anyone even thinks to look at me.

"I'm not hiding anything." I know that would be much more convincing if my voice didn't just break as it used to when I was thirteen and she'd caught me sneaking out to the garage to have a look at one of Dad's Muggle devices.

The look she gives me would be extremely funny if I weren't the one on the receiving end of it.

"Now, Bill, don't deny it. The hair, the boots, the earring -- it's all clear to me now." She pats my arm in what is supposed to be a comforting gesture. "I understand it can be ... difficult, but your father and I are behind you all the way."

I don't even want to know what Dad would think of this. Though he'd probably be fine with it, if I were gay. Which I'm not.

"And I think you and Remus would make a lovely couple."

I have obviously slipped into some kind of parallel universe, like in those Muggle books Dad brings home sometimes. Or Mum is drunk. But there's no smell of firewhisky on her breath. Could Snape have slipped her a potion? You can't trust that greasy bastard, despite what Dumbledore says.

I decide to try a different approach.

"He's shacked up with Sirius, Mum."

She sniffs. "Yes. A mistake on his part. I have no doubt he feels obligated because of their past ... relationship--"

"Even so."

"It's wonderful that you have scruples, dear, but Sirius is in no shape to handle a mature relationship, and Remus has had so much sorrow in his life--"

"And that's terrible, I agree. But I. Am. Not. Gay." Maybe if I say it slowly, it will penetrate.

But she just smiles and pats my arm again. "Of course you are, dear. I think you and Remus should talk. Maybe he can help you come to terms with...." She trails off uncertainly. Mum may be outspoken, but she's still British. "As a matter of fact, I told him you had some things to discuss with him."

"You told him?" Again, my voice breaks. This is just so very bad, in so many different ways. I wish I were back in Egypt, where deadly curses, sand demons and sphinxes are the most dangerous things I face. None of them has anything on Mum.

"Not exactly." She hesitates, and I can see how much she really wants what's best for all of us, Remus (and Sirius, though you wouldn't know it) included. "I'll send Remus out."

She hurries inside before I can say anything else.

I run a hand over my face. This is going to be embarrassing, no two ways about it. It would be even if I didn't like Remus and think he was a good bloke.

If it turns out Fred and George have anything to do with this, there will not be any place on earth they can hide from me.

"Molly said you wanted to see me?" Remus closes the door behind him and leans against it. He looks tired, but then, he always does.

He's not conventionally good-looking, but there is something attractive about him, even knowing what he is. And I'm secure enough in my masculinity not to be afraid of admitting that.

It's one thing to say a man is handsome, another entirely to want to shag him.

And I most assuredly do not wish to shag Remus Lupin. Especially not with Sirius Black glowering at me like a madman through the kitchen window.

"I uh-- I'm not sure," I begin, sounding like a third-year asking a girl out for the first time, "what Mum's said to you."

"Oh." He grins, and I realize he knows. "Sirius and I are--"

"I know!" I say quickly. "And I'm not-- Fleur and I are very happy."

"Good. I understand she's quite beautiful."


"Good," he says again.

"Yes. I mean, not that you're not-- I mean, if I were--"

"I understand."

"I would definitely-- If I did-- But I don't and I'm not."

He laughs. "Really, Bill, it's all right." He straightens, still smiling. "Your mother is a formidable woman, and she sometimes has ... ideas-- "

"Yes," I say, thankful that he understands. This has been the most embarrassing conversation I've ever had, and that includes The Talk with Dad back when I was thirteen.

"Let's go inside before Sirius eats all the trifle."


That went far better than I could have hoped, but knowing my family, this is probably not over yet. I brace for whatever utterly embarrassing thing Mum's going to say, and reach instinctively for my wand.

I've heard stories about what an excellent duelist Sirius was when he was in school, and I have no doubt he's the jealous type.

I just hope no one ever mentions this to Fleur. Neither Remus nor I would survive that.


3. Molly

Well, that didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped, but for a first discussion it wasn't bad. I can understand how Bill wouldn't like to talk about -- intimate relations -- with me, but I'm sure he and Remus will have a lovely conversation.

I can see them from here -- Bill is flushed, and Remus is laughing. They make a nice pair.

"Molly Weasley!"

And there is the fly in the ointment.

I have the utmost compassion for Sirius, but he clearly has to sort himself out before he's any kind of ready for a mature relationship, not to mention guardianship of Harry.

"Sirius, please," I say, remaining remarkably calm in the face of his rage. And truly, he is enraged. No doubt this was how he looked on that horrible day he was arrested for the murders of those poor Muggles. But I am made of sterner stuff than Peter Pettigrew. "Calm down."

"Calm down? You've just tried to set Remus up with Bill and you have the bloody nerve to tell me to calm down?"

"I think Remus and Bill would make a lovely couple, don't you?"

"No, I do not," he growls. I am not being fanciful when I say that. He literally growls. I think being a dog for so long has had an adverse impact on his behavior. Not as much as the dementors had, of course, but almost.

"For shame, Sirius. I didn't think you were a bigot," I say.

"A bigot?" He looks startled for a moment, then comprehension dawns. "Molly, I'm the one who's living in sin with a gay werewolf! I am not a bigot. I just want you to stop arranging Remus's love life."

"You want, Sirius. It's always about what you want. What about what Remus wants?"

"I think I know damn well what Remus wants," he roars. "I've thought of almost nothing else for the past twenty years."

That sets his mother's portrait off.

"Blood traitor! Abomination! Shame of my flesh, consorting with half-breeds!"

He crosses his arms across his chest and doesn't move to shut her up. Really, he's the most trying man. And I say that having lived with Fred and George for seventeen years.

"Unnatural sodomite!"

And that woman's shrieking is not suitable for the children.

"Sirius, please understand," I say, gritting my teeth and forcing a smile as she continues to scream.

"No, you understand," he interrupts. "Remus is mine. I didn't survive twelve years in hell and two years on the run without learning a few things, one of them is that Remus and I belong together.

"I should think you'd be encouraging Bill to go out and produce more redheaded sprogs with his Veela girlfriend instead of trying to persuade him to bugger Remus!"

His devotion is actually quite touching. And one can certainly understand why he'd want to hang onto Remus. No one else would put up with him. Though Tonks does have quite an infatuation...

Mrs. Black is rendered mercifully silent; perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on the twins, if they are able to help out in such a way. If it was not, in fact, Hermione who silenced her.

"Who's buggering Remus?" Arthur says, entering the kitchen, a wicked grin on his face.

"Arthur, please don't be crude!"

"I am," Sirius responds at the same time. "Though your wife apparently thinks Bill ought to be."

"Bill? Really?" Arthur looks surprised. "I didn't know he was a poofter. Not that it's not all right if he is, but surely Fleur must be disappointed."

"Fleur could never make Bill happy," I say. Men never notice anything. "And 'poofter' is derogatory, Arthur. Please refrain from using it."

"It's okay among friends, Molly," Remus says, entering the kitchen. He puts an arm around my waist and kisses my cheek. I feel myself flush. He really is the most attractive man. Such a shame-- "As for who is buggering me, I believe I'm the only one who gets to decide that."

"And it won't be me," Bill says firmly.

"Damn right it won't," Sirius growls, glaring at him.

"And anyhow, I prefer to do the buggering, if you must know," Remus continues mischievously. Sirius turns scarlet and Arthur goes off on a coughing fit. I can feel my face burning. Bill is looking out the window, the tops of his ears red, trying not to laugh.


And of course, with the timing that's been the bane of my existence since they chose to arrive in the middle of my mother-in-law's sixty-fifth birthday party, Fred and George wander in. They have some sort of sixth sense for trouble.

"Oi!" Fred says, "if there's buggering going on, Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes has the perfect lube for all your needs--"

"Frederick Weasley!" I say in my best quelling tone.

"Fred!" George exclaims at the same time, blushing. Well, now, perhaps George and I need to have a little chat.

"Fred," Bill repeats, and his tone is more dangerous than mine. "And George. I think we should discuss some things."

The twins exchange a look and then, with a double crack of thunder, Apparate out of the kitchen.

"They can run but they can't hide," Bill mutters, and Remus laughs. Which does nothing to alleviate the jealous look in Sirius's eyes. "If you'll excuse me, I have some little brothers to torture."

He heads toward the door but Arthur stops him. "I just want you to know that whatever your lifestyle choices, your mother and I love you and are very proud of you."

This time, Remus has the coughing fit, hiding a grin behind his hand, and Bill just looks irritated. "I'm not a bloody poofter, Dad!" He glances at Sirius, who is scowling. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Sirius opens his mouth, but Remus shoots a warning look at him. "Not now, Sirius." Sirius snaps his mouth shut audibly, lips settling into a pout. I swear, that man is set on having his way, regardless of how childish he has to behave. Luckily, Remus appears to know just how to handle him.

Arthur says, "But your mother--"

"Molly was a bit confused," Remus interrupts. "It's all been -- ahem -- straightened out."

Bill laughs as he leaves the kitchen, and even Sirius's lips twitch at that.

"Okay then," Arthur says, "I hear there's some trifle left."

"Remus, I saved you some," Sirius says petulantly.

"Excellent. Let's go upstairs."

"But the trifle," I say.

He flashes me a wicked grin. If I weren't happily married, I'd say my heart skipped a beat. "We'll take it upstairs."

Arthur raises an eyebrow but says nothing as Sirius dishes out the dessert, and then drags Remus out of the kitchen.

"That's not a bad idea," he says when they're gone.

"Arthur!" I say, but I'm smiling and blushing slightly. We've been married over thirty years, and he can still make me feel giddy as a third-year having her first butterbeer.

He kisses me, and I can taste the sweetness of the custard on his lips. I do make a mean trifle.

"So Bill is not gay and the twins are producing marital aids in their spare time?" he says when he pulls back.

"Apparently. It's a shame, really. I was quite looking forward to having Remus as a son-in-law."

"If I didn't know better, Molly, I might be jealous." He kisses me again, laughing.

"Never, my dear. Never."

He holds up what's left of the dessert. "Perhaps we should follow their lead?"

"Oh, Arthur." He understands that's a yes, and we sneak up the back stairs.


4. Sirius

Remus allows me to drag him up the stairs toward our bedroom. We're just past my mother's portrait when he says, "This trifle is excellent. Thanks for saving me some."

I stop in my tracks. I'm worried about the state of our relationship (Oh, God. I'm turning into a woman) and he's eating pudding.

"You're eating it?"

"Of course, I'm eating it. Isn't that the whole purpose of a trifle? To be eaten?"


"Sirius!" he says, smiling. He's always been a tease; he just hides it better than James and I did.

He has a bit of custard on his cheek. I'm still holding his arm, and I pull him close.

"You're making a mess," I say, licking at the custard. The silky sweetness melts on my tongue, an interesting contrast to the slightly salty taste of his skin.

"Mmm," he replies, leaning into me. "A second, more intriguing purpose for trifle." He kisses me and I slip my hands into his hair. He pulls back before I'm ready for the kiss to end.

"Molly actually thinks you and Bill would be good for each other." I know I sound whiny and spoiled, but Bill is young and good-looking -- stiff competition, considering Iím not as handsome as I once was.

"Molly means well, but she's mental. I thought you knew that." He takes another mouthful of trifle. "Bill's quite fit, but you're the one for me, Sirius." He slides a hand inside my pocket, and frowns. "Extendable Ears? Going a bit far, don't you think?"

"I needed to hear what Bill was saying to you! This isn't funny!"

"Yes, it is. I can't believe you're," he grins, "serious."

I have to smile at the old joke. "Fine. Laugh if you like. But that woman is a menace."

He kisses me again, and I respond eagerly. I've almost forgotten what I was annoyed about, when he says, "Takes one to know one, Sirius. I do hope you at least paid the twins for the Extendable Ears." He leans back against the wall and pulls me after him. I can't get close enough. I unbutton his robe and push it off his shoulders.

"Of course I did. Worthy successors to us in mischief making. Have to support the side," I manage, all the while kissing his jaw and neck; he makes the sexiest little growls in the back of his throat. "Though even I'm not brave enough to try lube brewed up by those two."

"Probably turn your prick purple or make your arsehole glow in the dark or something," he agrees, grabbing my arse and thrusting his hips against mine.

"All that talk of buggery made you a little horny, eh, Remus?"

He snorts. "I'm not the only one." He slides his hand in my pocket again. "Are those Extendable Ears in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

I groan and slip my tongue in his mouth. It's the only way to shut him up, really.

We've forgotten the trifle, the twins and everything else, and are about to get down to some seriously spectacular snogging when I hear a door creak open.

"Sirius? Professor Lu-- Oh!"

We spring apart. Moony's face is crimson and I can feel mine burning. Harry, Ron and Hermione are standing in the doorway a little ways down the hall.

"Never mind," Harry croaks.

"They're bloody poofs!" Ron says. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Hermione just stares, eyes as wide as saucers, mouth hanging open.

Harry and Ron disappear back into the room, but Hermione continues to ogle Remus.

"Oh, my," she says breathlessly. I look at him, and he is quite a sight, with his robe half off his shoulders, hair mussed and lips looking thoroughly kissed. He grins sheepishly, which only adds to the attraction. She looks as if she's about to swoon when Ron appears again for a moment, and hauls her back into the room.

"We'll tell you about it in the morning," Remus says loudly. "We do owe Harry an explanation," he says more softly, to me.

"No, no, that's okay!" Harry calls back. "Have a good night!" The door slams behind him.

I hold my breath for a moment, hoping my mother's portrait doesn't start up again. Silence settles on the old mausoleum, and Remus and I both breathe out in relief.

"Bedroom," Remus says, gesturing with the bowl of trifle. I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out how he manages to hang onto sweets even under the most distracting circumstances. "I don't think I could take it if Kreacher interrupted us."

"I did not need that imagery, Remus. You may have just put a damper on the rest of the evening."

He laughs. I love the sound -- I haven't heard it enough, and Merlin knows, he hasn't had reason enough to laugh over the past few years, but all that's going to change.

"Oh, I shouldn't worry too much," he says. "I've still got the trifle."

"Think you can teach an old dog new tricks?"

"I know I can." And with a wicked grin, he leads me to the bedroom. I'm only too happy to follow.


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