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Never too old by melian

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Molly Weasley's lips pursed. "Arthur, what are you doing?"

 

Her husband looked up. "What do you mean, dear?"

 

"Playing with a child's toy? Whatever for?"

 

Before the words were out of her mouth, though, she knew why. It was a Muggle toy. Percy's wife, Audrey, was Muggle-born and therefore her parents liked to shower their grandchildren with non-magical playthings. This, clearly, was no exception.

 

Arthur watched the comprehension dawn on her face and smiled, then looked down at her namesake, Molly, just four years old.

 

"This is how you do it, Grandpa," the girl said, taking the contraption from him. "You stand on it and you jump."

 

Arthur's eyebrows rose. "Jump?"

 

"Yes. Like this!" And she expertly balanced on the thing and took off across the yard.

 

Molly went to join her husband. "What I wouldn't give to have balance like that again," she said quietly.

 

Arthur seemed to barely hear her. "Amazing things, those Muggle toys," he said enthusiastically. "I wonder if I could have a try."

 

"Arthur Weasley, don't you even think about it. You're far too old to even consider such a thought."

 

He clearly didn't hear her, his attention on the little red haired girl bouncing around the yard, periodically falling off and collapsing into a sea of giggles. It wasn't until their eldest son appeared that his gaze wavered at all.

 

"What's that called again, Percy?"

 

Percy grinned, setting a pot of tea and some mugs down on the outdoor table. "A pogo stick. Doug and Wendy got it for them."

 

"Not just one," Audrey added, sitting down with them, Lucy on her hip. "Dad got them one each, remember?"

 

Arthur's eyes lit up. Molly groaned, and Percy shook his head.

 

"Dad? NO."

 

Her husband hurriedly backtracked. "Oh, don't worry, Percy, I'm not going to take her toy off her." He paused. "But ... do you have the other one? Just so I can have a look at how it works?"

 

Audrey gave an exaggerated sigh. "Arthur, it's just a spring. Nothing very complicated at all."

 

Arthur was still watching his granddaughter bounce around the yard, still falling off occasionally and laughing. "Ingenious, though, isn't it? They way Muggles can survive without magic?"

 

Molly sighed. Here we go again, she thought. Arthur really was incorrigible when it came to Muggle devices.

 

Percy had gone to get the other toy - Lucy, the youngest, was barely even walking and so was far too young for such a contraption. Molly wondered briefly why Audrey's parents had bothered to get her one, but then she remembered all too well when her children were small. If they didn't have to share, it made things much easier.

 

Arthur's eyes lit up when his son returned and handed him the stick. "Incredible, isn't it?" he enthused, turning it over in his hands and peering into the spot that seemed to house the moving part that enabled it to bounce. Sighing, he put it on his lap, conjured a magnifying glass and tried again.

 

Molly suppressed a smile. Arthur was the same as ever, but his body was beginning to let him down. She understood; hers was, too.

 

Her smile turned to horror, though, when Arthur put the contraption on the ground and tried gingerly to stand on the foot rests.

 

"NO!" Everyone said it at the same time, but Arthur ignored them, as usual. His balance failed almost immediately, and fell with a crash onto the table. Food, drink and dishes flew up everywhere, and they were all covered in pumpkin juice, treacle tart and what used to be a plate of bacon sandwiches, rapidly cooling.

 

"Arthur! What WERE you thinking?" she hissed, wiping bits of tart from her face, but her voice was drowned out by little Molly's laughter. Usually quiet and subdued, the child was erupting into a cacophony of joy. Even Audrey looked surprised, like she'd never heard her daughter being so loud.

 

"Grandpa! Did you really try to pogo?" she managed to get out.

 

Arthur had the grace to look somewhat abashed. "I seem to have chosen the wrong place to try this thing out," he said, thankfully apparently unhurt by the whole thing.

 

Her breath caught. "Wrong PLACE? Arthur, it's not the wrong place!  It's wrong, full stop! You shouldn't have done it at all! You're far too old!"

 

He just smiled at her and beamed at his granddaughter. "Never too old, my dear!"

 

Molly junior was now lying on the grass, apparently unable to contain her mirth, and her grandmother thawed a little. It really was very infectious.

 

Percy and Audrey were busy trying to clean up the mess Arthur had made. Molly thought about helping but decided they had it all under control; and anyway, she and Arthur had cleaned up after them enough times. It was about time the tables were turned.

 

In the midst of the chaos, little Molly had recovered from her fit of giggles and was helping her grandfather to try the pogo stick again. "Hold onto a post if you don't want to fall," she said earnestly. "Then once you get jumping, you just stay up."

 

"But how?" Arthur asked, clearly bewildered.

 

"You just do," Molly said. "Come on, try it!"

 

The elder Molly sighed. This was plainly a lost cause, and her husband would never rest until he'd had a turn on the ridiculous item. He'd been like that when they first met, and his interest had never waned in the years since.

 

She watched him take the contraption to the nearest post and pull it upright, holding onto the post as his granddaughter had suggested as he tried to balance. He nearly came a cropper two or three times, but somehow managed to stay upright. Four year old Molly, on the lawn, clapped with enthusiasm.

 

"That's right, Grandpa!" she squealed, getting onto her own stick and hopping around the yard with it. "Like this!"

 

Once more he tried to emulate her, and once more he fell flat on his face. Molly sighed. This was turning into a long day.

 

Finally, after knocking into the pergola, three pot plants, the Muggle trampoline he nearly broke a leg on last time, the broom shed and a ladder Percy had leaning against the roof so he could get to the gutters to clean them out, Arthur had some success in hopping from one end of the yard to the other. Black and blue, his clothes torn and with grass and other stains all over him, he smiled one of the broadest smiles Molly had ever seen.

 

"See, my dear?" he said as he sat down next to her at the now empty table. "Told you I wasn't too old."



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