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Title: Her Mother's Wisdom
Rating: PG
Words: 1998
Summary: After her mother's death, Ginny is confronted with a painful mistake from the past.
Prompt: Silk/Linen
Written for the [profile] hpgw_otp's Paper, Diamond and Every Year in Between Challenge
Author Note: This is SO woefully late, and I apologise to the mod's of the wonderful community. I hope you all enjoy reading this. Thanks to [profile] queenb23more for looking this over, and to Harry for rescuing this fic for me.



Her Mother's Wisdom





Ginny rummaged through the linen cupboard with tears welling up in her eyes. She had to find the tablecloth, she just had to. It was the first Christmas sinceā€¦.She leaned against the wall and wrapped her arms around herself. Why did she volunteer for this? Fleur was willing to do it, but as the only daughter, Ginny felt it was her duty. Her mother would have wanted this to happen.

Three months ago, Molly Weasley had passed away at the tender age of one hundred ten, leaving behind fourteen grandchildren, thirty-five great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren. Ginny's father, Arthur, had died three years earlier and it seemed to Ginny that her mother had never recovered from the loss. At almost eighty, Ginny should have been better able to handle the loss of her mother. She had lived through a war, for Merlin's sake, but this... this was different.

Taking a deep breath, she once again began searching for the elusive linen tablecloth. When her mother had become too sick to live alone, her possessions were divided according to directions written down years before and folded inside her favourite cookbook. At the time, Ginny hadn't given too much thought to the ancient linens she was given; worry over her mother's health was more important at the time.

Ginny smiled weakly as she found what she was looking for, hidden away at the back of the third shelf: a linen tablecloth that once belonged to her mother's great-grandmother. With a heavy sigh, she unfurled the extremely long piece of embroidered cloth. Memories from over seventy years ago came flooding back.

"Can I help, Mummy? I can clear the plates!"

"Will you be as careful with the dishes as you would be with a new dolly?" Ginny had never had a new dolly and if she ever did, it would never get dirty and would always look beautiful. She could show Mummy that she was a big girl. All of the plates would arrive safely in the scullery.

"Oh, yes, Mummy! I'll be careful." Her mother patted her on the head and left Ginny in the kitchen with the very grown up task of clearing the table.

Ginny made five trips to the scullery and didn't drop a plate or goblet. Her smile was wide as she handed over the last stack.

"You can take off the tablecloth now." With a light skip in her step, Ginny returned to the kitchen.

Standing at one end of the table, she admired the expanse of white linen with embroidered curlicues and flowers. Her mother had told her a long time ago how it was made by elves who had spun gold into thread and gave the tablecloth to a young lady with strawberry red hair on her wedding day. She could tell that Mummy had made the story up; Mummy's always did stuff like that.

Ginny carefully lifted one end of the tablecloth toward the middle of the table and then scrambled to the other end. She scowled when she noticed the large pitcher of elderberry and pomegranate juice that she'd left on the table. With great concentration, she tugged on the tablecloth and watched as the pitcher scoot closer and closer.

"Ginny! Hurry up!"

At her mother's shrill voice, Ginny tugged violently and her eyes widened when she saw what was happening in front of her. As if in slow motion, the pitcher fell onto the tablecloth and the remaining deep scarlet juice splashed and spread onto the linen. Before Ginny knew it, there was a puddle in the middle of the table. Panicking, Ginny gathered the cloth quickly to her, grabbed the jug in her other hand and scurried into the scullery. Without saying a word to her mother, Ginny handed her the pitcher and took off with the tablecloth.

"Is it dirty, Ginny?" her mother asked.

"N-n-no, Mum!" she stuttered.

"Don't forget to fold it before putting it back in the cupboard," her mother reminded her.

With tears streaming down her face, Ginny stopped in front of the linen cupboard, folded up the tablecloth, and shoved it to the back, hoping that her mother would just forget about it.


Ginny would always remember how furious her mother had been when, three months later, she went to spread the cloth in the table only find it stained and mouldy. Oh how her mother had screamed! Ginny had been reduced to tears and was made to scrub the kitchen floor with a toothbrush.

"I'm so sorry, Mum," Ginny said in a low, moaning voice. She looked down at the cloth in her hands; there was still a large remnant of the stain. Her mother had never been able to get it out completely, and every time she heard her mother mutter about not being able to use the tablecloth, a knife twisted deep inside Ginny's heart. Funny how, even after all these years, it still hurt to remember how much she'd disappointed her mother.

She didn't know how long she'd been sitting there when she heard the front door open, then close. Harry was home.

"Gin?"

"In here, Harry," she called, pulling herself up from the floor. She should have known better than to sit on the floor at her age. Harry walked through the door just as she was upright.

"What's wrong?" he asked, his green eyes full of worry. He could always read her so well; comforting her was an entirely different matter.

"Just...just thinking of Mum," she whispered with a sniff. "And some stupid thing I did a long time ago."

Harry pulled out a chair and sat down, his knees creaking as he did so. "What's with the tablecloth?" He nodded towards the cloth in her hand while he silently Summoned a bottle of Butterbeer from the refrigerator. "I've never seen that one."

Ginny grimaced and sat down across from him. "Well, it's horribly stained."

"So, why do you still have it? I would've thought you'd have got rid of it if it was ruined," he pointed out.

Her bottom lip began to tremble. "I...I can't. Mum...she, well, she was so angry at me. I disappointed her, Harry. She never forgave me for it." Tears began welling up in her eyes and she could no longer stop them as the tears began trailing down her cheeks. She tried to tell herself it was only her change of life, but even she knew it wasn't a good enough excuse.

"Hey, slow down, love," he tried to reassure her. Harry reached across the table and took her wrinkled hand in his. His grip was firm, yet gentle, just the way it was the first time he held her hand. "What's this all about?" He locked eyes with her and lifted her to hand to kiss her knuckles.

She went on to explain about the incident with the tablecloth. Details about that day that she'd long forgotten spewed forth and before she knew it, she was again crying, but this time, there was laughter mixed with the tears. It boggled her mind that she'd forgotten that it was the day before the twins left for Hogwarts for the first time. They'd used their brand new wands to charm Percy's glasses to hoot like an owl every time he pushed them up his nose. She'd forgotten that it was the last time her Uncle Bilius visited their house before he died. Memories of her father's stories about televisions also crept out from the dark corners of her mind.

"So why are you so upset about the tablecloth? There has to be more to it than the stain."

"I tried to get the stain out every so often once I'd started Hogwarts, but I couldn't. I thought that maybe if I could make it perfect again, Mum would trust me with magic around the house. Ever notice how she always made sure that I was the one who had to so everything without magic?"

Harry nodded. "I just thought she was being your mum. You know, overprotective."

Ginny snorted in reply. "She never trusted me."

"Ginevra," he said in the voice he had used when the children were younger, "that's not true and you know it. She didn't interfere when the children came. She was there when you asked, not hovering over you. And even though she was scared to death when you played Quidditch pregnant with Albus, she knew you wouldn't let anything happen you either of you." He took a deep breath and set his jaw before continuing. "You earned her respect and trust that day at Hogwarts when you stood beside your family and friends, despite her admonishing. How can you say she didn't trust you?"

By the time Harry had finished, Ginny's eyes were once again filled with tears. "I just thought I disappointed her in so many ways, Harry. I ruined an heirloom tablecloth, I ran off to the Ministry looking for Sirius, I played Quidditch for a living, and I moved in with you before we were married. I didn't do things the way she wanted."

"Of course you didn't!" He slapped the table with his hand, making her jump. "You are Ginevra Molly Weasley, not Molly Weasley. I love the woman you chose to be and wouldn't have wanted you any other way, love."

"But...but she gave me this," she said, indicating the tablecloth. "Why would she want to remind me of how much I disappointed her?" Ginny grabbed a paper napkin and dabbed her eyes.

Harry sighed again, shaking his head. "I don't know. Maybe it was her way of saying that she didn't care about what happened to the tablecloth. Maybe she just wanted you to remember life isn't perfect and to stop being so hard on yourself. You've been trying so hard over the past few months to prove to everyone how much like your mother you are. No one expects it of you, and I'm fairly certain your brothers don't want you to. There will never be another woman like her."

"Thank Merlin," she said with a laugh.

"Exactly."

"Harry!"

"Well, we had her for a long time and loved her. But I don't think any of us, you included, would want anyone to try and take her place."

Ginny got up from her chair and crossed over to him. As she placed her hands on his shoulders, she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. As she drew back, she smiled sweetly at him. "Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?"

Harry snorted. "You can thank your daughter."

"Ariana?" she answered with a laugh. Ariana, who was born when Lily was thirteen, was one of a handful of psychological Healers in the wizarding world. "Did she get you on the couch?"

He shook his head. "Don't you remember who helped her revise for exams?"

"Whatever it was, you're right."

"Mark the calendar, we must save this moment for posterity," Harry teased as Ginny swatted him on the shoulder. "Hey, stop it! I bruise easily."

"Prat. But you're my prat." She leaned in and kissed him soundly on the mouth. When she pulled back, Harry wore a stupid grin on his face.

"And I always will be." He kissed her again and let his hands roam over her backside, making her moan into his mouth.

"Did you take your little blue pills today?" she asked as she pulled away.

He gave her a wounded look. "Me? Take little blue pills? I'm the Boy Who Lived, for Merlin's sake!"

She put her hands on his cheeks and shook her head. "And you're also the Man Who Can't Get It Up on occasion."

"You're mean."

"And for an old man, you're still sexy as hell."

"You're forgiven."

At Christmas dinner two days later, no one had the heart to mention to Ginny that the cloth on the buffet table had a rather disgusting looking stain right in the middle.

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