[identity profile] sabretoothmolly.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] bait_backup

*Her first thought as her eyes snap open is: the baby! But it isn't the baby, who is resting peacefully at the moment, as if to make up for every ill-timed pulse or kick of the weeks previous. And for once--for once in the fresh unmitigated hell that someone decided to name the third trimester--it isn't her bladder. She's just awake, suddenly and unceremoniously awake next to her gently snoring husband for no reason at all. Experimentally, Molly shifts onto her side and finds it no more comfortable than being on her back. She shifts onto her back and finds it even less comfortable then it was to begin with. She closes her eyes and thinks of what she'd like to do around the house in that mythical future in which she Has The Time--clean out the broom shed and repaint it light blue, recover the frayed ottoman in the den with something fresh and pretty, ask Arthur to make her a new knife rack--and although this usually helps her get to sleep, she opens her eyes some fifteen home improvement projects later no more drowsy than when she began.

So, sighing, Molly heaves herself out of bed and slides her swollen feet into her slippers, shouldering on her dressing gown and tucking her wand in the pocket. Arthur stirs a bit, his arm flopping around in search of her, but he quiets, and she shuffles downstairs into the kitchen in search of a cup of tea, because her day has begun whether she wants it to or not. She's just pouring the boiling water into the mug when the clock begins to grind and clank, an ugly, mechanical sound like it's chewing on something.

She looks up at it in blank confusion with the kettle in her hand. It grinds and grinds and emits a few sparks, and then two identical hands pop off it, one after the other, and bounce onto the table blackened and smoking.

Very carefully, Molly replaces the kettle. She scours a fleck of last night's dinner off the stove that she must've missed last night. Conscientiously, she waters the plants by the sink. Every time her eyes wander over to the little smoking twisted bits of metal on the kitchen table, she drags them back again and gives them something to look at. Every time she almost allows herself to think, to know--her hands find something to do, with the sudden certainty that if only she behaves perfectly normally, perfectly calmly, whatever godly figure is observing her will have time to correct his error, no harm done.

It's more than an hour later that breakfast is not only ready but flawless. Molly keeps a warm and welcoming home, but not always pin-neat one--today, though, is another story. The kitchen is sparkling. The table is immaculately set for seven (plus Ronald's high chair) down to the neatly folded napkins. There's towers of toast and lidded platters of eggs and sausage and sliced tomatoes arranged just-so on a plate. There's tea and coffee, and hot cereal for the boys, and a bit of mashed up fruits and turnip for Ronald. There's a glistening pitcher of pumpkin juice, and when the Prophet arrives she makes sure it's folded neatly at Arthur's plate. As the new sunlight filters into the kitchen, the table is faultless. Molly sits ramrod-straight at her place, ashen-faced and very still, her hand laid over the little blackened twists of metal as if to stop them marring the picture.*
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