Chapter 1 : Here We Go Again
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“Cecilia!” Molly Prewett waved at her friend, reaching as high as she could to be seen over the crowd in Diagon Alley.
She could just make out Cecilia Fletcher's glossy dark hair, and suddenly Cecilia's hand went up, waving back to her, and the dark head began weaving through the crowd, coming toward her. As Cecilia drew nearer, Molly could make out another familiar face walking next to her.
Siobhan Fitzgibbon was wincing slightly as she made her way through the street, following her best friend. Siobhan's rusty curls were tied up into a knot on top of her head, tendrils sliding down to float around her shoulders. Her freckles stood out prominently on her pale skin. Cecilia was back to her full beauty after getting a little grubby the previous year. She was tanned and pink-cheeked, her hair glossy, and she looked very happy.
“Hello, dear,” Cecilia said breathlessly as she reached Molly, hugging her. “How was your summer?”
“Perfectly lovely. How was yours?”
Cecilia beamed. “I went to France with my parents, to the Riviera.”
Molly thought that rather explained Cecilia's tan. She often spent her summers in the south of France with her parents. Molly envied her friend the spoiled life of an only child of wealthy parents. She'd never been on a decent vacation in her life, she thought, feeling a little disgruntled.
Siobhan didn't bother to comment on her summer, but her face went taut as Molly reached out to hug her. Siobhan had never hugged her back, but that didn't stop Molly. She knew her friend just wasn't demonstrative with her feelings, and determined to make up for it by showing Siobhan that she cared for her.
“What's the matter, dear?” Molly asked as Siobhan winced again.
Siobhan and Cecilia exchanged a glance.
“Oh, go on, tell her,” Cecilia said, looking amused.
“All right, but promise not to breathe a word of this to Cecilia's parents,” Siobhan said warningly, shaking a finger at Molly.
“I swear, I won't.” She wasn't sure she'd ever said more than hello to Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher anyway, and now she was burning with curiosity about what they'd been up to.
“We were in Knockturn Alley-”
“Siobhan!” Molly gasped, then turned to frown severely at her other friend. “Cecilia, you're a prefect! I would have thought you'd be a better influence.”
Cecilia was grinning mischievously, however. “It was better than letting her get a Muggle one.”
“What did you get?” Molly asked, still curious in spite of her disapproval.
Siobhan rolled her eyes. “I was trying to tell you, but you interrupted me. Here, come in here.” She ducked into a small alley behind a secondhand robe shop and pushed aside the sleeve of her Muggle shirt as she presented her back to her friend.
Molly peered at the mark on Siobhan's shoulderblade, feeling rather shocked. “You got a tattoo?” she asked in hushed tones. “What does it say?” The elegant black letters that were etched into Siobhan's back on her shoulderblade were meaningless to Molly.
“It says 'witch' in Gaelic,” Siobhan said, and the letters flickered on her skin, as if they were on a banner that was waving in a light breeze, then settled back into their original position as Siobhan hiked her sleeve back into place and turned around.
“How did you even know there was a wizard tattoo shop in Knockturn Alley?” Molly demanded, giving Cecilia a glare. Siobhan was Muggleborn and would have no idea that wizard tattoos even existed, so it surely must have been Cecilia who told her about it.
“My dad's cousin Mundungus got one at that shop,” Cecilia explained. “He showed it to me last Christmas. He's a right old idiot, but it was a neat tattoo.”
“I've been wanting one for ages, and Cecilia told me about wizard tattoos last night, and offered to pay for one as an early birthday gift,” Siobhan said, looking very pleased with herself. “It ripples whenever someone says 'witch'. Isn't it fantastic?”
“I suppose,” Molly said, trying to keep the disapproval out of her voice. Siobhan rarely looked happy, and the tattoo seemed to have pleased her greatly. She supposed she could conceal her dislike, for her friend's sake.
Cecilia smiled at her as if she knew what Molly was thinking, and said, “Just wait until word gets around school about it. I don't think anyone else has a tattoo. The boys will be queuing up to have a look.”
Siobhan laughed, and Molly rolled her eyes. “Really, Cecilia, don't encourage her.”
Cecilia was laughing too now, her eyes sparkling. Molly decided to let both of them have their fun. Cecilia had spent the bulk of the previous year in a foul temper, and Molly much preferred her friend laughing and happy. She decided not to encourage either of them, however, and changed the subject. “Shall we have some lunch, then? Have you both already gotten your school things?”
“We still have to buy books,” Cecilia said, still smiling mischievously. “Siobhan just picked up her scholarship money, and we were off to Flourish & Blotts when we heard you calling.”
Molly decided to accompany her friends to the bookstore, and waited patiently while they purchased their texts for the year. She'd already bought hers earlier that day with her parents and brothers, and had left her mother in Madam Primpernelle's, getting her hair done, while her father and brothers sneaked off to the Leaky Cauldron for drinks. Molly could only hope that her father would restrict the twins to butterbeers.
“Can you believe this is the last time we'll be buying schoolbooks?” Molly asked wistfully as they left Flourish & Blotts a short while later.
“Thank God for it, too,” Siobhan said dryly. “I'll be glad to be done with homework.”
“Cecilia, did you...” Molly paused, trying to think how to phrase her next question so that it would not offend Cecilia. If the answer was no, Cecilia was sure to be angry about it, and if the answer was yes, Cecilia might be annoyed that Molly had doubted it for a moment. She decided to just have out with it. “Are you Head Girl?”
Cecilia's face darkened with anger. “No, I'm bloody well not.”
“Language,” Siobhan said cheerfully.
“Shut it, you.” Cecilia looked disgruntled.
Molly had rather wondered whether Cecilia would receive the badge, since she had been made a prefect for their year, but last year's incidents with Reid Akins must have counted against her. Professor McGonagall surely wouldn't have been pleased with Gryffindor's bottom-of-the-race standing in the House Cup, and that had been in large part thanks to all the points Cecilia had taken from Reid. Their Quidditch team's failures on the pitch hadn't helped them in the House Cup, either. Molly was vaguely hopeful that Gryffindor would perform better this year, though she didn't much care for Quidditch.
“I'm sorry, then,” she said cautiously. “Have you heard who is Head Boy and Girl?”
“No,” Cecilia said bad-temperedly. “I suppose we'll find out on the train tomorrow.”
“Maybe it's Petula,” said Siobhan, attempting to look innocent.
“You really should be nicer to Petula,” Molly told her severely while Cecilia smiled.
“It's all in good fun. Lighten up, Molly.” Siobhan scratched her shoulder lightly. “It's itchy now, is that normal?”
“How the devil should I know?” Cecilia said. “Read the parchment they gave you about the healing process, why don't you.”
Molly sighed, shaking her head at her friend while Siobhan rummaged in her shoulder bag for the scrap of parchment from the tattoo shop. “Someone's bad language has been rubbing off on you.”
“I blame it on Reid,” Siobhan said sanctimoniously, her eyes twinkling.
Molly abandoned her parents at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters as quickly as possible on the morning of September first. Her mother was so busy lecturing her younger brothers, Gideon and Fabian, that she didn't even notice Molly was leaving. Molly's father did, however, and pulled her aside for a moment while behind them, her mother was telling her brothers that they might never see the light of day again if she had to send them any Howlers this year. They looked suitably cowed, but Molly was sure that was an act.
“You behave this year as well,” Hippolytus Prewett told his daughter, ignoring his wife in the background.
“I always behave, Dad,” Molly said lightly, and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
“My regards to Arthur,” he said, grinning at her.
Molly waved as she set off into the crowd, pushing her trunk on a trolley in front of her and scanning the crowd for a familiar ginger head.
She ran into her friend Petula Cordingley almost immediately. Petula looked quite cheerful as she greeted Molly, her blonde ponytail swinging as she came to an abrupt stop.
“Hi Molly! How was your summer?”
“Utterly miserable,” Petula said, though she was still smiling. “So glad to be going back to school so I can fail my N.E.W.T.s and get lectured by McGonagall. Where's Arthur?”
Molly laughed. “I'm still looking for him.”
“I'll tag along. I want to see if Thomas is here yet.”
“Thomas?” Molly echoed questioningly as they made their way through the crowd. The first-years looked younger than ever, and Molly wondered if she had looked so tiny and wide-eyed when she'd first come to Hogwarts. It all seemed so old-hat now.
“Thomas Ockham. You remember, I told you about him, I saw him a few times over the summer. I think he fancies me.”
“Oh yes.” No wonder Petula was smiling despite her determination that she was going to fail all her classes this year. Petula didn't like being without a boyfriend, and had spent their entire sixth year without one, complaining endlessly about that, along with everything else. That was just Petula's little way, though, and Molly didn't take most of Petula's complaints seriously.
“There's Roddy, I wonder if he's looking for Siobhan?” Petula said, pointing to a dark-haired young man in the crowd. Molly craned her neck to catch a glimpse of him; Petula was taller than she was and had a clearer view.
“Is Arthur with him?”
“No, I'm not,” said a deep voice behind her.
Molly whirled around and threw her arms around Arthur Weasley, abandoning her trolley, which bumped into Petula's and spilled her owl to the ground. Petula grumbled as she scooped up the cage and righted it. Her owl hooted angrily as it flapped around in the cage.
Arthur was laughing at them a bit, but he hugged Molly back. He didn't have his school things with him, so Molly assumed he'd already gotten a compartment on the train. He had grown a bit taller over the summer, and it seemed more obvious when she hadn't been with him every day as she was at school. His ginger hair shone in the morning sun on the platform, and his gold-rimmed glasses caught a glint of light. She knew she wasn't objective, but she thought he was incredibly handsome. No one else seemed to agree with her, but Molly didn't care.
“Hi Arthur,” Petula said as she set her owl back down on her trunk. “How was your summer?”
“Fine? Molly said hers was brilliant,” Petula said slyly, and Arthur's ears turned a bit red.
“Would you like some help getting your things on the train?” he asked.
Molly smiled at him in amusement for changing the subject, but she only said, “That would be lovely, thank you.”
Petula declined boarding just yet, and went back into the crowd to look for Thomas Ockham. Once Arthur had hefted Molly's trunk aboard the train, she followed him through a few carriages until he stopped outside a compartment.
A slightly plump girl with soft brown curls was sitting in the compartment, adjusting her pink hat in a mirror floating in mid-air in front of her. She looked up when they entered.
“Oh good, you found her. Hello, Molly!”
“Hi, Hattie.” Molly sat down next to her best friend, beaming at her. Henrietta Habbershaw snatched the mirror out of the air and stowed it in her pink leather handbag.
“It's lovely to see you, dear,” Hattie said, smiling fondly at Molly.
They chatted amiably for a while as students filed past their compartment, looking for an empty place to sit. Cosmo Graham arrived, and he and Arthur began to talk Quidditch until Petula arrived with Siobhan in tow. Petula only stayed long enough to tell everyone she was going to go sit with Thomas Ockham and his Hufflepuff friends. Reid Akins turned up just as the train was pulling out of the station, with Dunstan Birtwhistle on his heels.
“There you all are,” Reid said, flopping into the seat next to Hattie. “I've been all up and down the train looking for you.”
“No you haven't,” Siobhan said unconcernedly. “I saw you snogging Cecilia at the back of the train ten minutes ago.”
Reid grinned. “All right, so I came straight here after she abandoned me to go to the prefects' carriage. That doesn't sound nearly as friendly though.” He pulled a pack of cards out of his pocket. “Exploding Snap, anyone?”
The train ride to Hogwarts passed peacefully for a time, as Reid played cards with Cosmo, Arthur, and Molly, and Hattie attempted to corral Siobhan's mane of rusty brown curls into a braid. Dunstan was reading Invasion of the Body Snatchers in a corner by the window, Petula having sent him the book over the summer. The tea trolley passed, and Reid treated everyone to Chocolate Frogs while Hattie unpacked a picnic lunch she'd brought along, with sandwiches for everyone.
Molly looked around fondly at her friends as she ate a cheese sandwich, feeling quite pleased with the group. Arthur's friends had merged fairly seamlessly with hers last year after they'd started dating. It did feel a bit strange without Petula, though, and she found herself wondering what Thomas Ockham was like and if he'd fit in with their group as well. She hoped he wouldn't feel odd being the only one who wasn't in Gryffindor if he spent time with them.
Cecilia stormed into the compartment half an hour after lunch, slamming the door so hard that the glass broke. Molly repaired it with a silent charm, and watched her friend warily. Reid put an arm around Cecilia, who sat down poker-straight on the bench next to him, her face flushed.
“What's the matter?” Hattie asked in concern.
“Someone she doesn't like is Head Girl, I'll wager,” Siobhan said slyly. “Who is it? Take a breath and tell us.”
Cecilia seemed to be struggling to regain her powers of speech. “It-it's-”
Reid slapped her between the shoulderblades, and she drew in her breath sharply and blurted out, “It's Sophronia bloody Lefeuvre, that's who.”
“What, that Slytherin girl who called Arthur a blood traitor?” Molly demanded, outraged.
“That was ages ago,” Arthur said, looking unconcerned. Molly noted that he had crossed his arms in front of his chest, though. She sighed at his unconsciously defensive body language and slipped a hand into the crook of his arm. His hand found hers and squeezed gently, and when he smiled at her, she could see some of the tension slip out of his eyes.
“They probably just needed a token Slytherin,” Reid was saying consolingly, rubbing Cecilia's shoulder. “They haven't had a Head Boy or Girl from Slytherin in ages, that's all. Status quo, you know. Trying to make sure their slimy little feelings aren't hurt.”
Cecilia scowled at him, but allowed him to pull her close and kiss her forehead.
“Besides,” Reid went on, “you'll have more time for me this way. If you'd been Head Girl, you'd never have any free time.”
“You don't have any free time, you're taking eleven N.E.W.T.s,” Cecilia pointed out, though she looked quite a bit more relaxed now.
“Yes, how are you doing that, by the way?” Hattie asked, intrigued. “I happen to know for a fact that Arithmancy was at the same time as Care of Magical Creatures half the time last year, and Siobhan says you don't skive off from Magical Creatures, but I haven't seen you missing in Arithmancy either-”
“I have superpowers,” Reid said seriously. “Ask Cecilia. I used them on her this summer.”
Cecilia rolled her eyes. “Super idiot powers, maybe. Hattie, do you have a mirror? My hair's been acting odd today. I can't get it to lie properly flat.”
“Eldritch powers, even. Strange and powerful and eldritch. Want to see?” Reid brandished his wand.
Hattie was rummaging in her small beaded purse for her mirror and was no longer paying him any attention. Siobhan patted Reid's hand.
“Put it away, Reid,” she said, and he pretended to be crestfallen as he stowed his wand back in his pocket.
“And who's Head Boy?” Arthur asked.
“Virgil Kemp,” Cecilia said.
“I'll bet the Hufflepuffs are pleased, then,” Hattie said cheerfully, handing her mirror to Cecilia.
“Probably. That reminds me, I saw Petula sitting in a compartment with a bunch of Hufflepuffs. What's she doing with them?” Cecilia set the mirror in the air in front of her and pulled her hair out of its ponytail, staring into the hovering mirror as she combed her hair with her fingers.
“She fancies that boy, Thomas Ockham, and he's a Hufflepuff,” Hattie said. “Didn't she owl you about him this summer?”
“Oh, yes, him.” Cecilia scooped the mirror out of the air and handed it back to Hattie. Reid's hand inched up from where it was resting on her back to play with a strand of Cecilia's glossy dark hair, and Molly smiled at them. It was still a little strange to see Reid and Cecilia together, since she'd hated him most of last year.
“Let's not talk about who fancies whom, shall we?” Cosmo said, looking bored. “Did anyone read the paper this morning? There was another Muggle killed, outside Bristol. They said there were signs of Dark magic in the house.”
Molly felt the smile fade from her face, and everyone was suddenly quiet. Molly's thoughts were centred now on the horrible images and stories that had been appearing in the Daily Prophet of Muggles and wizards alike being murdered. It seemed to be happening more and more often, and everyone was attributing it to the mysterious Dark wizard who seemed to have come out of nowhere. She hated the talk of supremacy of blood purity that always accompanied the stories of deaths, but it seemed to be everywhere since You-Know-Who had appeared. As if it mattered - Siobhan was better at spellwork than Petula, and had less magical blood in her. The entire topic made Molly feel angry.
“Poor Muggles,” Arthur murmured. “It's all that Lord Voldemort, isn't it? He's stirring up all this anti-Muggle sentiment in the wizarding community. My dad says a lot of people agree with him that purebloods ought to be in power, can you believe that?”
“Don't say his name,” Hattie said, looking frightened.
“It's just a name,” Arthur said, but Molly gave him a nudge, and he added, “Sorry, Hattie. I won't say it again.”
Hattie nodded, looking appeased, and Molly scooted closer to Arthur to whisper a thank you to him.
“My mum is afraid for what will happen to me when I leave school,” Cosmo said. “She's a Muggle, you know, and she's getting to be afraid of wizards now, with all this. She thinks school is safe, but nowhere else is.”
“You can cast protective charms over your house, can't you?” Dunstan said. His book lay forgotten on his lap.
“I'm not seventeen yet,” Cosmo reminded him. “My birthday is next week.”
“Well, cast them when you get home for Christmas,” Cecilia said. “My father's got lots of security on our house now. He cast a few charms on our Muggle neighbours, as well.”
“We don't have any Muggle neighbours,” Arthur said, looking slightly crestfallen.
“Arthur, you're such a pureblood,” said Reid, grinning at him.
“Well, so are you,” Arthur retorted, looking slightly offended.
“My grandmother was Muggleborn, actually,” Reid said airily, engendering an envious look from Arthur, whose family was pureblooded back as far as the eye could see. Molly felt rather guilty that she hadn't any Muggleborn family members of her own, Arthur would have loved that.
Hattie, who was pureblooded as well, remarked, “My mother's dating a Muggle.”
Arthur was diverted by this. “Really? What's he like?”
“He seems nice enough,” Hattie said, rather stiffly. “He doesn't know yet that she's a witch. He thinks I go to some sort of Muggle boarding school.”
Molly slid a sidelong glance at her best friend, wondering if it was the fact that he was a Muggle that made her disapprove of her mother's boyfriend. Hattie had never before expressed any prejudices against Muggles, but the topic hadn't ever really come up between them, now that Molly thought about it. On the other hand, it might just be that Hattie didn't want her mother getting remarried at all. Hattie and her mother were extremely close, since it had been just the two of them since Mr. Habbershaw had passed away during Hattie's second year at Hogwarts. Maybe Hattie didn't want her father being replaced.
Siobhan, who had looked bored during the discussion of blood purity and Muggle neighbours, probably because she was Muggleborn herself, opened her Chocolate Frog then and clapped one hand over it to keep it from hopping away.
Dunstan waved to her and said, “Watch this. Siobhan, aim it my way.”
She held her hand up pointing toward Dunstan, and released the frog. It made a leap for freedom, and Dunstan caught it in his mouth. Molly rolled her eyes at him while Cosmo and Reid applauded.
Ever since Molly's first year, when she herself was Sorted, the Sorting had seemed to take an inordinate amount of time, delaying the welcoming feast just when she was starved after a long day on the train. This year, however, since she was aware of it being the last Sorting she would see, it seemed to go very quickly. The Sorting Hat's song seemed quite short this year, and the small queue of first-years seemed sparse. Hadn't there been more of them last year? The Sorting had seemed endless last year.
She applauded enthusiastically for the new Gryffindors as the Hat sorted the children. It was over before she knew it.
“Lord, they look tiny,” Reid said as Zipf, Angela was made a Ravenclaw. “Have the firsties always been so tiny?”
“Hush,” Cecilia murmured. Her attention was focused on Sophronia Lefeuvre on the other side of the hall. Sophronia's Head Girl badge was shining brightly on her chest. Cecilia's eyes narrowed as Sophronia laughed at something Edwina Crouch was saying.
Molly rolled her eyes. She hoped Cecilia wasn't going to dwell on her defeat for the Head Girl badge for the rest of the year. It would get tedious quickly.
“Finally,” Dunstan exclaimed as the food appeared on the table a moment later. The boys dug in with almost indecent haste, and Molly calmly scooped mashed sweet potatoes and fried chicken onto her plate.
Hattie leaned over to the girls. “Tonight, Gryffindor Girls Council,” she said in a low voice, surveying her friends with her brows raised.
“I can't, I'm seeing Reid tonight,” Cecilia said briskly.
Hattie gave her a reproving look. “Your friends are more important.”
Cecilia frowned. “But I hardly saw him all summer!”
“Molly's never missed a Council for Arthur,” Hattie pointed out.
Molly smiled smugly at Cecilia, who looked disgruntled.
“I suppose that's true. All right, I'll see him another night.”
“You'll see him every day anyway,” Molly said helpfully. “And he's in all your classes.”
Siobhan rolled her eyes. “Shall I get some food from the kitchens, then?”
“Something chocolate,” Hattie said firmly, and that was the end of that.
Molly arranged her blankets over her legs, seated on the floor in the middle of her dormitory. The blankets and pillows were arranged on the floor on top of the squashy pink sleeping bags that Hattie had conjured for them. The Gryffindor Girls Council, as Hattie had named their little slumber parties, had been meeting several times a year since their first year. The girls camped out on the floor, talked late into the night, and ate far too much fattening food that Siobhan sneaked from the kitchens. Molly greatly enjoyed these nights with her friends, when they all made sure they had time to focus on each other and shared what was going on in their lives. They were particularly fun after the summer, when everyone hadn't seen one another for a month or two, and they could reconnect.
“Well,” Molly said briskly, looking around at her friends. “How was everyone's summer?”
A small chorus of “fine” met her question, from everyone except Siobhan, who only rolled her eyes. They all looked at each other for a moment, and then all of them burst into giggles, again except Siobhan, who smiled tolerantly at her friends.
“All right, how were your summers really?” Molly asked, the laughter still on her face.
“Lovely,” Hattie said, smiling. “I went to New York City with my mother. We saw a play, about King Arthur and Guinevere. It was so romantic, and the music was beautiful.”
Molly smiled at her best friend. She'd already known about the play. Hattie had been to Molly's house shortly after her birthday, testing out her new Apparition license, and they'd stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking.
“That sounds brilliant,” Petula said enviously. “I wish I could go to a play. What did you wear?”
“Nevermind that,” Cecilia said. “Molly, did you and Arthur get engaged?”
She turned bright red. “Not officially, no...”
“What do you mean, not officially?” Cecilia demanded.
“Well, he's been saying he wants to marry me all year-”
“That counts,” Siobhan said, grinning over at Cecilia. “Pay up.”
Cecilia grumbled under her breath as she reached for her bookbag, fished around for a moment and then pulled out a Galleon.
“You placed a bet on me?” Molly exclaimed, outraged.
“It was all Cecilia's idea,” Siobhan said. She was still grinning widely.
Cecilia's eyes widened. “You bloody snitch! Is that how you want this to go?” She looked around at their friends and said loudly, “Siobhan got a tattoo!”
Hattie's mouth dropped open, and Petula leaned forward.
“Where?” she asked eagerly. “Let's see it, then.”
Siobhan rolled her eyes, and then turned around and pulled up her nightshirt, showing off her back for a moment. “It says 'witch' in Gaelic,” she explained as she dropped her shirt down and turned back around. “I got it done while Cecilia and I were in London right before term started.”
“You got 'witch' tattooed on your back?” Petula said, frowning in bewilderment.
Siobhan nodded, grinning. “I certainly did.”
“I think it's brilliant,” Cecilia said bracingly.
Hattie gave a little sniff, but she didn't say anything.
“I was going to say how horrible all my sisters were all summer, but it doesn't sound nearly so interesting now,” Petula said bad-temperedly. “I want a tattoo as well.”
“Copycat,” said Siobhan.
“All right,” Hattie said, “I went to New York, Molly didn't get officially engaged, Siobhan has a tattoo, and Petula's sisters are awful. What about you, Cecilia?”
“I went to France with my parents,” she said smugly. “I did some shopping with my mum in Paris and we did a bit of sailing along the Riviera.”
“I wish I had your life,” Petula sighed.
“Well, I'm glad we went, because since we've been home, my father's been extremely busy,” Cecilia said, sobering. “All this business with – well – You-Know-Who, it's been keeping his office absolutely swamped. I've hardly even seen him for the past week.”
Hattie murmured condolences. Molly made an appropriate noise, thinking of the conversation on the train. Petula had missed that conversation, but she didn't look too eager to join in.
Cecilia picked at the chocolate on an éclair. “My dad says You-Know-Who is getting more powerful, a lot of people are listening to him-”
“He frightens the life out of me,” Petula interrupted, her eyes wide. “Let's not talk about him any more, shall we? I'll have nightmares.”
“That's probably best,” Hattie said soothingly. “Petula, how is Thomas?”
Petula's expression changed to a happy smile as if by magic, and she chattered happily about Thomas Ockham for a while.
Molly noticed Cecilia give Siobhan a look, and Siobhan reached out to pat her best friend's hand. Cecilia was more worried about her father than she'd let on.
Molly sighed and turned her attention back to the conversation, allowing herself to be distracted by Petula's budding romance with Thomas.
A/N: Sorry if this seemed a slow chapter - just getting the story started :) I expect this to go 15 chapters, probably half the length of Unsinkable. This story will NOT include Molly and Arthur's elopement, but don't fret, because I've already started writing that and will start posting it once this is complete, as promised. So, I hope you enjoy, and welcome back to the little version of the Potterverse's history that exists in my head :)