You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


Why Not? by onestop_hpfan18

Format: Novel
Chapters: 23
Word Count: 75,783
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Contains profanity, Scenes of a mild sexual nature

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Molly, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 07/06/2009
Last Chapter: 10/14/2011
Last Updated: 06/11/2012

Summary:
https://flic.kr/p/Y8pGCt
Amazing banner by weasley_rules @ tda! ll 2011: Runner-up for Best Novel & Best Story w/in Staff @ TGS
Molly II wasn't your average Weasley. She didn't have the striking red hair, or freckles on her face. She wasn't good at Quidditch, or top in her class. All she wanted to do was fit in with her family.


Chapter 1: Intro
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter, nor do I own Molly Weasley (II).  All hail J.K. Rowling for creating the HP World for us to write fanfiction about.




 

Gorgeous chapter image made by blackisback @ tda!

 

Chapter 1
Intro


Molly Weasley (II) was not the average Weasley. For starters, she did not have the trademark red hair of a Weasley, but rather dark brown hair like her mother, Audrey Weasley. Then, another difference that really set Molly aside from the rest of the Potter/Weasley family was that she was not funny at all or even sarcastic like her cousins Rose or Dominique. She was quite dull when it came to hi-jinks, but she did have a sense of humour, unlike her father, Percy Weasley. She was also a Ravenclaw, not a Gryffindor.

Also, Molly was not the most girliest of girls either as she preferred not to spend hours on her make-up and hair, unlike most seventeen-year-old girls. Instead Molly found herself spending hours on end with her nose in a book whether it was for homework or pleasure. It was because of this that Molly had trouble socially interacting with her peers. She never exactly knew what to say to them, especially when her fellow classmates did something that she did not approve of. Very often she would scrunch up her small button nose at any behaviour that she deemed as inappropriate. But she was not completely socially inept since she could carry a simple conversation with her peers, even if it was not full of inside jokes and the like.

Which was why it was surprising that Molly even had the two friends that she did have. Even so, Molly could be very kind hearted like her grandmother, for whom she was named after. Not to mention, Molly opened up more when she was around her friends because she felt more comfortable and confident in their company. Her friends were both in Ravenclaw, too; Erin Long and Mathis Boot.

It was at that moment that Molly was currently in one of the horseless carriages with Erin and Mathis, which was carrying them through the entry gate and over the grounds toward Hogwarts castle. Molly looked out the window toward where the lake was glistening in the moonlight and starlight; she could just make out the boats that the first years were sailing in with the lanterns bobbing to and fro. Molly’s younger sister, Lucy, would be in one of those boats as she was just starting Hogwarts this year, while Molly was in her last year at the prestigious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The grounds were filled with the sounds of invisible hooves leading carriages, and laughter from the students headed up to the castle for the Welcome Feast. When the carriage that Molly was currently riding in with her two friends came to a halt, she stepped down and started toward the front entry way of the castle that she had attended for six years previous; she could barely grasp the fact that this was her last year.

“Is it just me,” Mathis said as the three of them entered the great oaken front doors and was walking through the grand entrance into the Great Hall, “or do y’all feel weird about this being our last year, too?”

“Yeah,” Molly agreed. “I was just thinking the same thing.”

“Yeah, it definitely feels strange knowing that we won’t be returning for another year after this one,” Erin concurred on the subject as the three of them sat down at the Ravenclaw table.

Molly looked over toward the Gryffindor table where she could see most of her cousins acting as rambunctious after the long train ride of sitting in one place for far too long and rolled her eyes. They would never change, that was for sure. Next, Molly turned to look over at the Slytherin table where her younger cousin, Albus Potter, sat with his best mate, Scorpius Malfoy. How a Potter and a Malfoy could be best mates might have been impossible to imagine in the days of her parents’, aunts’, and uncles’ school years. Nonetheless, things have changed a lot since then. Now it did not matter which family you belonged to, nor did blood status play as huge a role as it did back then. Turning her head again, this time toward the Hufflepuff house table, Molly found the last of her cousins that currently attended Hogwarts, Roxanne Weasley.

“Attention! Attention Students!” A squeaky voice from the staff table at the front of the Great Hall called. Molly turned her attention toward where Headmaster Flitwick was standing atop his chair to get the attention of her fellow classmates. “I’d like to welcome you all back, and now ask you to remain quiet and attentive as the first years enter and are sorted into their houses.” Professor Flitwick plopped back down in his chair as the line of first years filed into the Great Hall.

The first years looked scared enough to wet their new school robes as they walked up toward the front and Molly was able to quickly pick out her sister, due to her bright red hair, in the bunch of them. There seemed to be more of them than ever before, had the Wizarding World been experiencing a baby boom during the year that Lucy had been born? Molly’s stomach growled with hunger at the thought of having to wait through what looked to be the longest Sorting Ceremony that she had to sit through before the feast. And apparently she was not the only one thinking about how long it would take to get all of the new first years sorted before the feast, either, as Mathis cursed beside her,

“Blimey, this may just be the first year that I die of starvation.”

Erin rolled her eyes and shh’d Mathis as the first years reached the front of the dining hall and turned around to face the four long house tables in front of the staff table. It was after this that the Sorting Hat sang its song for this year and afterward the Deputy Headmaster and Head of Gryffindor House, Professor Neville Longbottom, unfurled a long roll of parchment that seemed to go on and on, “When I call your name, you will come forth and place the sorting hat on your head.”

“Alton, Natalya,” he called out as a rather small girl with fairy blond hair walked up to the stool and sat down before taking the hat from Professor Longbottom and placed it atop her head. It was several minutes before the brim opened up wide to shout, “RAVENCLAW!” and Molly clapped excitedly with the rest of the Ravenclaw table at receiving the first addition to their house of the school year. The little blond girl took the hat off of her head and skipped over to the cheering table.

The sorting continued on with first year after first year, and Molly was growing quite impatient for her sister to be sorted. When Professor Longbottom had finally called out Lucy Weasley to be sorted she was the only one left. Molly followed her gaze as Lucy sat down on the stool and put the hat on her head. It did not take long at all for her sister to be sorted into Hufflepuff, and Molly cheered for her sister despite the slight drop that her stomach had made; she had hoped that Lucy would be sorted into Ravenclaw. Molly watched as Lucy walked over toward the cheering Hufflepuff table and sat with the other first years, not far from where Roxanne was sitting.

Molly turned to the front at the sound of Professor Flitwick calling for attention once more now that the sorting is over. She listened as he went through the long list of things that has to be said at the start of each school year with Mathis complaining about how hungry he was beside her. Prof. Flitwick squeaked on about the never-ending list of things that are not allowed at Hogwarts that was attached to the Caretaker, Mr. Blunt’s office door. The list included every joke shop item from Weasleys’ Wizards Wheezes, and then more additional items. Flitwick then went on about Quidditch try-outs for each of the Houses before announcing that it was time for the feast to start.

The moment the food appeared in the dishes on all four house tables was when the sound reached high decibels, and Molly felt her eardrums vibrating just slightly as the voices rose a few octaves higher. The loud sound was what Molly could live without when it came to the Welcome Feast, but she knew that that would never change as she started to add portions of food to her golden plate. She ignored Mathis completely as he stuffed his face without chewing; he was such a pig!

“Hey Molly,” a voice a little ways down the table called to Molly, which caused her to turn sideways to find that Christian Davies had been the one to greet her.

“Hey Christian, how was your summer?” Molly said with a smile toward one of her fellow Ravenclaw Seventh years.

“Heh, it was okay, I guess,” Christian said with a shrug. “I spent most of it practicing Quidditch and spending time with my family. What about yours?”

“It was alright,” Molly replied. “I spent a lot of it with my big family. Oh, and my dad had me studying for N.E.W.T.s. I swear, if he harps on how poor my study habits are over Christmas break, too, than I may just punch a hole through the wall,” she rolled her blue eyes in aggravation.

Christian laughed, along with both Erin and Mathis who had been listening to the pair’s conversation. “Well, at least you’ll be prepared before the exams get here.”

“But it’s still annoying the way my dad always makes me study a year before any major examinations,” Molly sighed. “Though he was worse the summer before Fifth year, so I suppose it wasn’t so bad.”

“That’s the spirit,” Mathis teased. “There’s always a bright side.”

Molly and Erin both rolled their eyes, while Christian agreed with Mathis’s sentiment on a bright side to everything.

After the feast, Molly stood and started to walk out of the Great Hall with Erin and Mathis. The thought of her nice, comfy bed was the only thing that kept her moving up the staircase. It was when she had her right foot poised an inch above the bottom stair that she heard a voice that belonged to a Slytherin she had been hoping she could avoid seeing tonight.

“Oddball Molly,” the Seventh year Slytherin jeered.

Molly turned on her heel to face a Slytherin she knew just how to greet: “Shut it, Harper!”

“What are you going to do if I don’t shut it?” Harper said with that frustratingly annoying smirk on his face.

“Why do you always have to start something with me?” Molly asked. “Why can’t you find someone else to annoy, huh Harper?”

“Because you make it so easy to annoy you,” Harper said, and did a high-five with one of his Slytherin mates (“Nice one, Finn!”). “So, are you going to tell us how entrancing your summer was with that stupid family of yours?”

“My family is not stupid,” Molly said in a low voice; she was so angry that it was surprising that steam was not coming out of her ears.

“Really, because I beg to differ,” Finn Harper said. “In fact—”

But Harper never got a chance to finish his sentence as Professor Longbottom had just walked over toward the small group of students that had gathered around Molly and Finn. “What’s going on here?”

Finn turned on the charm that he saved for adults. “Nothing, I was only greeting Molly by asking how her summer was, Professor.”

“Well, now that you two have reacquainted then I think it’s time for you to head off in separate directions to your respective common rooms,” Professor Longbottom said sternly. “There will be plenty of time to socialize tomorrow and the rest of the school year as well. But now it’s time to go to bed.”

“Yes, Professor,” Harper said as he shot one last smirk toward Molly before turning and walking down the stairs that led to the basement and dungeons.

Molly was fuming as she climbed the marble staircase and did not talk until she was in the Seventh Year Girls’ Dormitory with Erin. “Why must he always get under my skin like that?”

“Because you’re an easy target to annoy,” Erin quoted Harper. “You should really learn to ignore him.”

“How can I ignore him when he is constantly making his presence known by calling out to me?”

“Easy, don’t respond back,” Erin said. “You don’t have to have a response for everything, you know.”

“Easy for you to say,” Molly retorted.

“Look,” Erin said. “It’s been a long day, why don’t we get some sleep and then we can figure out the best way to ignore Finn Harper tomorrow. What’d you say?”

“Yeah, okay. ‘Night,” Molly said as she pulled her pajamas out of her trunk and changed out of her school robes before putting her pajamas on.

“Good night,” Erin said from where she had just pulled on her own pajamas and was now putting her long blond hair up in a sloppy bun before getting into bed.

Molly climbed under the covers of her four-poster and closed her eyes. It was several minutes before she could get Harper’s taunting voice out of her head, but when she did she was asleep within seconds.



Author's Note:  So, this story is in response to ron.weasley's song/title/summary challenge, and I'd love to have some feedback on this first chapter.  I want to know whether it's worth continuing, or if I should rewrite it.  I'm liking writing it, but I feel as though this chapter isn't as interesting.  But not all first chapters can be full of interesting qualities.  The next chapter will definitely be better.

This chapter was beta'd by californialove (Alice).
Also, here's a Weasley family tree to get an idea of how old all the cousins are, as well as what House they're in:

Bill Weasley -- Fleur Delacour
Victoire Weasley - (19) {Was in Gryffindor}
Dominique Weasley - 5th year (15) {Gryffindor}
Louis Weasley - 3rd year (13) {Gryffindor}

Charlie Weasley - single

Percy Weasley -- Audrey Clearwater {younger sister of Penelope}
Molly Weasley (II) - 7th year (17) {Ravenclaw}
Lucy Weasley - 1st year (11) {Hufflepuff}

Fred Weasley - deceased {RIP}

George Weasley -- Angelina Johnson
Fred Weasley (II) - 5th year (15) {Gryffindor}
Roxianne Weasley - 3rd year (13) {Hufflepuff}

Ron Weasley -- Hermione Granger
Rose Weasley - 4th year (14) {Gryffindor}
Hugo Weasley - 2nd year year (12) {Gryffindor}

Ginny Weasley -- Harry Potter
James Sirius Potter (II) - 5th year (15) {Gryffindor}
Albus Severus Potter - 4th year (14) {Slytherin}
Lily Luna Potter (II) - 2nd year (12) {Gryffindor}



Chapter 2: Change Of Heart or Not
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter, nor do I own Molly Weasley II.  All I own is the plot and any OCs that you do not recognize.  All hail J.K. Rowling and the world that she created for us to play in!




Gorgeous chapter image made by iriki @ tda!


Chapter 2
Change Of Heart or Not






The sun shone brightly into the dormitory the following morning, waking Molly from her restful sleep. She opened her blue eyes as the sunlight glistened through the crystal clear windows before she rose out of bed to stretch before going into the bathroom. It did not take her long at all to shower and change into her school uniform and robe. When she was ready to head down to breakfast after getting her bag ready, she looked toward where Erin was packing up her bag.

“Ready to head down to the Great Hall,” Molly said with a questioning expression on her face.

“Yep, all set!”

“Great,” Molly said. “Let’s go, then, because I’m hungry.”

Erin rolled her eyes, “and I’m not?”

Molly shrugged as the two of them made their way down the girls’ dormitory staircase and through the common room before exiting out the doors. She could make out other students walking down to breakfast, the voices echoing off the walls.

When Molly and Erin finally entered the Great Hall several minutes later, Molly could just make out the Head of Ravenclaw, Professor Matilda Kirk, handing out class schedules; Professor Kirk was the Transfiguration professor. Molly was not a big fan of Transfiguration, but that was only because she was mainly average in the class since it was quite hard for her to understand and grasp the concepts of it. She was more interested in Charms as it was more practical and fun.

It was as Molly was sitting down at the Ravenclaw table with Erin that Mathis joined them within seconds with Thomas Rourke and Christian Davies.

“Good morning, ladies,” Mathis greets them in an overdone, comic way, which was his custom of getting them to laugh. “How did you sleep last night?”

Molly smiled and shook her head in an amused fashion. “’Morning Mathis, I slept fine, what about you?”

“Strapin’, just strapin’,” Mathis replied. “Did you sleep well, Erin?”

“Yes,” Erin said with a grin. “Of course I did, it’s the one time I don’t see you.”

Molly laughed with Erin as they watched Mathis grab at his chest in an attempt to feign a broken heart.

“Ouch,” Mathis said, still clutching at his heart while grimacing at Erin in a joking manner. “You cut me real deep just then, Long.”

“Aw, you’ll get over it, Boot,” Erin said, picking up on Mathis’s use of her last name and doing the same by using his.

“You two are such a joy to watch,” Molly said. “It never gets old.”

Erin rolled her eyes jokingly. “No, but Mathis being annoying every day sure does.”

Molly shook her head slightly at her friend as Professor Kirk approached them while shuffling through her deck of cards for their schedules. “Ah, Erin Long,” Professor Kirk handed Erin her schedule. “And Mathis Boot… Christian Davies… Molly Weasley… and Thomas Rourke…” She handed the rest of them their schedules before she moved on down the table.

“What class do you have first today?” Erin asked Molly as she scanned her schedule for today’s lessons.

“Defense Against the Dark Arts, you?” Molly said.

“Same,” Erin said. “And then I have Divination after that before lunch.”

“Why are you still in that class? It’s a total waste of time.”

“Hey, I happen to like Divination, thank you very much,” Erin replied stubbornly.

Molly rolled her eyes before she turned to ask Mathis what he had next. “So, Matt, do you have Defense, too?”

Mathis looked down at his schedule before he said, “Yeah,” and Christian and Thomas both replied that they had DADA first, too.

“Awesome,” Erin said. “We have the first class of the new school year together.”

When Molly and the others finished breakfast they headed out of the Great Hall and in the direction of the DADA classroom. The walk up the flights of stairs and through hallways was quite quick despite the congested crowds of students trying to get to their first classes on time. By the time they reached the classroom, it was to find that the Slytherins in the class already were waiting outside the closed door in the hall; and of course that meant that Finn Harper was already standing there as well.

“Well, if it isn’t Molly the Oddball,” Harper said with a smirk on his handsome face.

“Leave me alone, Harper,” Molly gritted through her teeth as she tried her best to ignore the brown-haired Slytherin.

“I’m not doing anything,” Harper said, and then added, “yet.”

Molly glared at him in warning, but that did nothing to faze Finn. If anything it just made him continue to talk, much to Molly’s dismay.

“You should watch out, or that pretty face of yours will get stuck like that one of these days,” Harper said. “On second thought, it’d be an improvement to what it looks like already.”

Molly removed her wand from the pocket of her school robe and pointed it at Finn, but before she could hex him the door to the classroom opened and the DADA professor stepped out. Professor Travis Neilson took in the scene before him, Molly with her wand pointing at Finn, and said, “Five points from Ravenclaw.”

Molly opened her mouth, but no sound came out and all she looked like was a fish choking out of water. She felt an elbow nudge her in the side, which brought her crashing back down to reality and she snapped her mouth closed—teeth clenched—as she walked into the classroom. She chose a seat at the back of the room with Erin next to her and Mathis in front of her.

“Don’t let him push your buttons,” Erin said, nodding toward where Finn had sat down with his posse of Slytherins. “He isn’t worth it.”

“Yeah, I know,” Molly said as she pulled out her secondhand DADA textbook, setting it in front of her on the table with her wand. “He’s just so…” She took out parchment and a quill for notes, still fuming over the Slytherin jerk that never had anything nice to say—or at least not to her.

“Annoying… cocky… rude…,” Erin listed. “And the list goes on.” She made a motion with her hand, and Molly smiled at her friend’s attempt to lessen her anger at Harper. “The point is he is not worth anyone’s time, especially not yours.”

“Thanks, Erin,” Molly said. “I feel better already.”

Erin smiled. “Don’t mention it.”

“Okay, class, settle down,” Professor Neilson said to the Seventh years at large to draw attention to the front of the room where he stood at the blackboard. “Today we will be practicing nonverbal spells that you all should still remember from last school year. Everyone pair up.”

Molly found herself paired with Erin as usual. And it was only typical that Molly found herself struggling with a few of the most difficult hexes; nonverbal was not her strong point. But she was able to fall back into the habit of using nonverbal spells by the end of the class, despite the fact that there are still a few pesky spells that she was struggling with.

“I don’t see how you struggle with performing spells and hexes nonverbally,” Mathis said. “All you have to remember before performing it is to clear your mind.”

“And that shouldn’t be hard for you, Molly,” Erin teased.

Molly glared toward her friend. “Nonverbal comes easier to you guys then it does to me. I have to practice and work harder with it, but I’m okay with that.”

“Really?” Erin questioned her. “I would think what with your father and all that you would want to be the absolute best in lessons.”

“Just because my father wants me to achieve greatness,” Molly said, “it doesn’t mean that I myself want to. I much rather achieve something on my own terms.”

“And that is?” Mathis asked.

Molly sighed. “I’m not sure, yet, but it’s different than what my father wants.”

~`~`~

The day was turning out better than it had started for Molly while she made her way through the halls toward the library during a free period. It was so quiet in the halls that she could hear the sounds of her soft footsteps echoing down the hall, or maybe that was only because she was paying attention to the sounds as she walked.

When Molly arrived at the library, the first thing that she did was walk over toward where the books on Charms were and grabbed one she had not read yet down at random. She opened the book up to the first chapter before she reached the secluded corner of the library where she often sat and sank down into the armchair by a window, pulling her legs up underneath her. In fact, she was getting so into what she was reading that she did not hear the footsteps of someone walking over to where she sat until the person said something.

“Oi, Oddball!” the voice of Harper said, which was the last voice that Molly wanted to hear. “Where are your dorky friends? Have they finally got tired of your poor sense of humor?”

Molly glared at Finn. “Where do you think they are? They have class this hour, jerk.”

“Ouch, you shouldn’t call people names,” Harper said. “It really hurts feelings.”

“Oh my goodness, Finn Harper has feelings?” Molly exclaimed in awe with her hand pressed against her cheek in shock.

“Har har,” Harper replied dryly. “You should be a comedian.”

“Maybe, but I don’t think my father would approve of that choice of a career,” Molly said icily.

“Do you always do what your father tells you to?”

“What does it matter if I do?”

“It doesn’t,” Harper replied. “But I can kind of see you as the girl to go against everything that her family does to find something that you want and like to do.”

“You don’t know me,” Molly said flatly.

“No, maybe I don’t,” Harper said as he slouched in the chair across from her, “but I can tell that you don’t know who you are, either.”

Molly said nothing, he was right and she knew that he knew that he had struck the right chord; Molly hadn’t found herself yet, but she did not like Finn saying so. “Why am I having this conversation with you, we don’t even get along?”

Finn Harper sighed. “Well, maybe I just felt like actually talking instead of arguing with you. You know, try something new.”

“Why?” Molly asked dubiously, one eyebrow rose in an arch.

“I dunno,” Harper mumbled. “I just figured that since my mates weren’t around it would be a good chance to actually get to know you more instead of making fun of you. You seem mysterious and cool.”

“I’m mysterious,” Molly repeated, still dumbfounded. “You’re the one who’s always picking on me, and now you actually want to be friends. Who are you and what did you do with Finn Harper?”

The last sentence actually made Finn crack a smile, a real honest to goodness smile that actually showed just how attractive he really was; not to mention those dimples. Get a hold of yourself, Molly, she thought as she mentally shook the thoughts of how good looking Fin was out of her befuddled head. She did not want to think of Finn in that kind of way, the main reason being of the way he had always treated her. “So, what have you done with the real Harper?” she repeated for the lack of anything better to say.

“Nothing,” Harper answered. “I’m just trying to be nice to you for a change, and it actually isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”

Molly glared. “Of course it’s not hard. It’s easier to be nice to people than to think of awful ways to treat them.”

“That’s what you think,” Harper said cockily. “But I find it quite easy to tease you since you get so mad easily.”

“You’re so in despicable,” Molly threw the word out as an insult, but Harper only grinned as though she had complimented him.

She sent one last glare his way before she stood and walked toward the exit of the library, the forgotten Charms book still clutched in her hand as she marched all the way up to the Ravenclaw tower to spend the remainder of her free period reading without being interrupted by annoying, good looking Slytherin guys. Scratch good looking, there was absolutely nothing handsome about Finn Harper. He was the most hideous, annoying git ever to walk the face of the Earth.

Molly plopped down on the sofa once she was through the door after successfully answering the riddle and cracked open the book. But she might as well have been reading Harper’s true intentions for talking to her in the library—which confused her to say the least—for she could not concentrate on the words in front of her. It was not like she had feelings for Harper, but rather the fact that he had left her exceedingly puzzled by actually being nice to her just moments ago.

Surely Harper had only had a minor lapse for showing good manners for once in his life, and the next time Molly would see him he would go back to his usual name-calling and teasing ways. After all, no one changes over night, not even if it would be nice if people did change that fast and suddenly; it just doesn’t happen.

“Hey Mol,” Erin said, sitting down next to Molly. “How was your blissful and relaxing break?”

“Actually, it was anything but relaxing,” Molly said truthfully.

Erin raised her brow before she decided to guess why it was not peaceful. “Did you run into anyone—anyone meaning someone in particular?”

“Yeah, actually I did.”

“What happened?” Erin asked. “What did Harper do this time?”

“Oh nothing, for once,” Molly replied. “He was actually nice.”

Erin made a gagged sound that showed how shocked she was by Molly’s statement. “Wait, so you’re actually telling me that Finn Harper seriously has a nice bone in his body?”

“Yeah, I know, I’m as shocked as you are,” Molly said. “Trust me.”

“So, how was he nice?”

“I dunno. We just had an actual civil conversation without him calling me ‘Jolly Molly’ or making fun of me.”

“Weird.”

“Definitely,” Molly agreed.

The conversation soon drifted to the fact that they had to head down to Ancient Runes, the last class of the day, before they ended up late. Molly still thought about how friendly and nice Harper had been to her, but not as much as she had been before Erin showed up. There will be time later to go over Harper’s sudden niceness.





 











Author's Note:  Well, I had fun writing this chapter... more fun than I had writing the first chapter.  And I already have ideas running through my mind for the third chapter: I kept having random dreams last night about what I want to happen in the next chapter.  I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, too.  I'd love to know what you thought of this chapter through a review xD  Thanks for reading!

This chapter was beta'd by californialove (Alice).



Chapter 3: An Explosion of Sorts
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter, nor do I own Molly Weasley (II).  All I own is the plot and any OCs that you do not recognize.  All hail J.K. Rowling for creating the HP world for us to play in.






Awesome chapter image made by Ginny_Hermione @ tda!


 



Chapter 3
An Explosion of Sorts






It was not until after lunch the next day that Molly’s path crossed with Finn Harper. Finn was standing outside of the Potions classroom, leaning up against the wall like he was the coolest wizard ever to set foot into Hogwarts. Molly could not hold back as she rolled her eyes ostentatiously.

“Hey Finn, look who it is,” Nott elbowed Harper to draw his attention over toward the direction Molly was walking over with Mathis and Erin. “It’s our favorite target.”

Molly glared at Nott, but could find nothing snippy to say in response and so she just stood there waiting for them to insult her. It was the moment she had been curious about, would Harper continue to be polite and civil like he was in the library yesterday or would he tease her? She vaguely felt herself take a deep breath and slowly release it as she waited for what Finn’s response toward her would be.

“Oi, Oddball!” Finn called to her with a grin on his face.

So much for hoping things would be different, Molly thought but then back tracked. Not hoping, thinking. Yeah, thinking things would be different. Molly was frustrated to say the least that Harper was now tugging her in two different directions. In one direction, she thought Finn was actually starting to mature, and in the other she was starting to see that he would never change. She was stupid to think things would be different after that one conversation that they had had the day before. Stupid, stupid, stupid me!

“Wherever you have you been all my life,” Harper joked, “could you do me a favor by returning back there.” Finn high-fived his just as annoying Slytherin mates (“Nice one!”) and turned back to await Molly’s retort, if she had one.

“You think you’re so cool,” Molly blistered out, “but really all you are is a mean bully.” She was being incoherent, talking before thinking, but she could not help it. “I hate you!”

“Ooh, I’m so hurt,” Harper mocked, with his hand clutched over his heart. “Let me know when you come up with a better response.” And with that, Harper turned his back to Molly and started talking in hushed tones with the rest of the Slytherins.

Molly crossed her arms and fumed for several seconds before the door opened to reveal the Potions master, Professor Holt.

“Good afternoon, class,” Professor Holt greeted in his usual warm, friendly deep voice. The students all started filing into the classroom with Molly being one of the last in. Molly grabbed a seat at a table in the somewhat middle of the room with Mathis, Erin, and a Hufflepuff named Holly Finch-Fletchly.

Molly pulled her Advanced Potion-making: Third Edition textbook, tools, and potion ingredients from her bag before looking back toward the front where Professor Holt waited for the class’ full attention. Once the Potions master had their undivided attention, he started to talk,

“First of all, I’d like to welcome and congratulate all of you to making it this far in N.E.W.T. Potions, and that this year will be one of your hardest yet,” Professor Holt smiled in a good-natured, welcoming expression at his students. “Now, for this year you all will be learning how to brew some of the more complicated potions that take time, like the Polyjuice potion, but none of these potions are to leave this office to be used in a way for any personal gain. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, sir,” Molly repeated with the rest of the class.

“You will also be working with more poisons in determining their antidotes throughout the course of the year. At the end of the year, you all will sit your N.E.W.T. examinations, and each of the potions that we brew and discuss in class will be on either the essay portion or practical portion, some both,” Professor Holt went on. “Now, I know that each of you have what it takes to complete N.E.W.T. Potions with at least an E since you’ve managed to make it this far already.

“For today, you all will brew a simple cheering elixir and then test it on each other at the end of the lesson. This will be the easiest potions you will have to concoct all year,” Professor Holt said, and then added that he would assign partners for the whole year. “Mathis Boot, you’ll be paired with Erin Long,” the two made faces at each other briefly, “Finn Harper with Molly Weasley.”

Molly stopped listening at that moment. How could she possibly work with Finn Harper when the two of them could not get along? Not to mention that Finn was the last person here at Hogwarts, no on the planet that she wanted to be paired with for an entire school year, in Potions, no less. Why, oh why, did she have to be paired with Harper? Oh bring on the humility and torture. This was going to be a long year.

The class was filled with the sound of shuffling once Professor Holt had finished reading off the partners. Molly chose to stay seated were she was because in her mind Finn should be the one to have to drag his own two feet and book bag over to the table she sat at instead of her going over to where he sat. But apparently he was thinking the same thing as he had yet to stand to make his way over toward the table Molly sat at either. It was once everyone was seated that Professor Holt noticed that Molly and Finn were still on opposite sides of the room, thus he called them out on it.

“Mr. Harper, Miss Weasley,” he cleared his throat with a distinction of authority. “Is there a problem?”

“I don’t know, Professor,” Harper said in his usual charm that was used around the professors—it made Molly roll her eyes. “Why don’t you ask Molly?”

“Miss Weasley?” Professor Holt looked toward Molly.

“None, Professor,” Molly said as she packed everything back into her bag and made her way over to the table Finn Harper sat at as slow as she could. It was better to be the better man, or in her case woman since it would undoubtedly take a longer time for Finn to get his own arse up off of his high horse to do something nice for once in his life.

When Molly sat down at the table, Harper was grinning and whispered for her ears only, “You honestly thought I was going to get up and walk over to you? That’s sweet, but not quite.” She glared at Harper before turning to the front as Professor Holt told the class that they could now start brewing the cheering elixir.

“Just a heads up,” Harper said, “I’m terrible at Potions, so you’ll be doing all the work.”

Molly rolled her eyes. “If you’re so awful at Potions, then you would never have made it past O.W.L.s and last year. I don’t believe you for a second. You’re just trying to get me to do all the work so you don’t have to do anything, but it’s not going to work because you are going to help brew the potions whether you like it or not.” Her blue eyes flashed with anger, which had Harper backing slightly away from her.

This was the first time Molly had stood up for herself to someone who was not a member of her huge family, or either Erin or Mathis. She actually felt good standing her ground by telling Finn that he was not going to take advantage of her by making her do all the work while he sat around doing nothing. It felt empowering to say the least, and she liked the feeling of it. She smiled smugly at Harper’s expression of total disbelief of being told off.

“Now, could you hand me that,” Molly asked, motioning toward the roots that were in front of Harper.

Harper shook his head slightly to clear it. “Nah, I’ll cut them up,” he said. “I don’t trust you not to stab me.”

Molly rolled her eyes for the umpteenth time that day. “Why would I stab you? Especially here, where there are too many witnesses.” Molly smiled at the uneasy expression that she got from Harper, all smugness gone from him.

The lesson went better than Molly had imagined it would after being paired with Finn, but there was still time for it all to go bad with only fifteen minutes remaining of it. And that was all that was needed for one small thing to go wrong, and by one small thing she meant their cheering elixir exploding into their faces after Finn added an ingredient that did not belong in the elixir. Molly cursed as she wiped the light blue liquid of the elixir off of her face and away from her eyes.

“What did you add?!” Molly exclaimed at Harper.

“I don’t know,” Finn grinned. “Just a little dried doxy eggs,” he showed her a few that he still held in his left hand.

“Don’t know what you’re doing, my arse,” Molly cursed in a disgruntled fashion. “You did that on purpose. Now we’re going to fail the easiest potion assignment of the year!”

Molly looked up toward the front where Professor Holt was marking a grade down for what Holly and her partner turned in before he started to make his way over toward them. She breathed in and out in preparation for what was to come, but she knew it would do no good. Molly was simply too frustrated with what Finn had done to sabotage their elixir, earning them a zero for the first practical grade.

“What happened here?” Professor Holt asked the pair.

“Just a minor mix up with ingredients,” Harper replied, in his usual charming way that only infuriated Molly more. “I tried to tell Molly, sir, but she dropped the doxy eggs in anyway.”

“What?!” Molly exploded with emotion. “I-I-I dropped the eggs in?! I did not! Professor, Harper purposely dropped the eggs into our potion!”

“Okay, that will be quite enough of the blame game,” Professor Holt said, clearly annoyed at the pair of them. “It’s both of your faults as you are both were responsible for brewing the potion properly. And you both will clean this mess up, and come to my office on Friday night for detention.”

“Detention,” Molly said, in total disbelief. “But I’ve never had detention before.”

“There’s a shocker,” Harper muttered, and rolled his eyes.

“That will be enough,” Professor Holt said, putting a stop to the pair’s banter for now. “Now clean this mess up.”

“Yes sir,” both said in unison.

Molly cleaned the mess up with Harper working as slowly beside her that she might as well be the only one cleaning the gooey mess up. It infuriated her to say the very least since he was the one to cause their potion to explode everywhere in the first place, and yet she was stuck after class cleaning with Finn and she had received her first detention on Friday with Finn. She saw enough of Finn for what little interactions they had, but now she was going to have to see more of Harper after lessons on Friday. In other words, life truly stunk.

When the table was spotless and you could no longer tell that potion had spilled all over it, Molly gathered up her things and left before Harper could say another word to her. She could just hear him yelling something after her retreating back, but she paid him no mind and so she missed what he had said. She had had enough of Finn Harper for one day that was for sure.

~`~`~

“He did that on purpose?” Erin asked later that night after dinner when Molly was sitting in the common room with Erin and Mathis.

“Yeah, he did,” Molly fumed. “And then he had the nerve to blame me for mixing up the ingredients when Holt asked us what had happened. And then I went off about how he had known what he was doing when he dropped the eggs in, but by then it didn’t matter as Holt told us to clean up the guck, and also that we had detention this Friday night. Can you believe it?! Me, detention?!”

“Yeah, that’s crazy,” Mathis agreed. “You’re not the type to get detention, and yet you get detention.”

“My father is going to go ballistic when he hears,” Molly said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a Howler being carried by our family owl as I sit before you at this very moment.”

“A Howler? No way,” Erin said. “There’s probably a letter, but not a Howler. Everyone makes mistakes, Molly.”

Molly rolled her eyes. “Yeah, try telling that to my father.”

“Is he really that strict?” Mathis asked. He had yet to meet Molly’s parents whereas Erin had stayed at Molly’s a few times over the past summers.

Erin let out a snort.

“He isn’t really strict, per se,” Molly said as she shot Erin a look. “He just expects a lot out of me.”

“Whatever, Molly,” Erin rolled her eyes. “You know your dad monitors what you do, and makes certain that you don’t slack off at all.”

“That’s not true,” Molly said, but she knew that it was. Her father did have a way with making sure that Molly had as little fun as possible while getting everything that he wanted her to get done (like studying for major examinations) like the perfect model daughter that she was. Sometimes she wished that her dad could be more like her Uncles as it would make her life a little less stressful.

And it’s not just studying, but her father had looked forward to the moment when she reached fifth year to see whether Molly would become a Prefect. When no badge arrived in the mail with the usual school list of books Molly could tell that she had let down her father and had a knot in her stomach every time he gave her that look of crushed disappointment. It got to the point that Molly was relieved when it was finally time to return to Hogwarts for another year. Then the following year Molly still did not receive a Prefect’s badge, and that meant that she would not be Head Girl like her father had wished of her.

Erin must have noticed the downcast expression on Molly’s face for her next statement. “Don’t let it get to you, Molly. I’m sure you’re dad won’t hear about this detention.”

“And if he does,” Mathis said, “so what?”

“Yeah, so what,” Molly said, but her attitude did not match the carefree nature of the statement itself.

Molly pulled out the book that she had taken from the library the previous day and opened it up to read. She found it quite easy to read and paid no further attention to the furtive looks that Erin and Mathis kept shooting each other every so often. It was as though she was locked in her own world where she alone could enter and not worry about others bombarding in, least of all Finn Harper.

After a while of reading, Molly started to grow tired and headed up to the dorm with Erin following her. The two got ready for bed in silence, and it was not until Molly was pulling the covers of her four-poster back and crawling under the sheets that Erin said anything.

“You should pull a prank on Harper, or something,” Erin said through a yawn as she lay back against the pillows on the bed straight across from Molly’s own. “That’d show him not to mess with you, especially if you did something that outweighed everything that he has ever done to you in the past. Yep, that’d show him.”

Molly frowned. “First of all, I don’t know anything about pulling pranks,” Molly counted off, “and next I would rather not stoop down to Harper’s immature level.”

“I think you’re forgetting who you’re related to,” Erin said, and Molly knew she was mainly referring to her younger cousins James Potter (II) and Fred Weasley (II).

“No, absolutely not,” Molly said. “Those two are more trouble than fun.”

“Suit yourself,” Erin said in a thick voice that sounded as though she were about to fall asleep at any second. “Let me know when you change your mind,” was the last thing Molly heard from her friend for the rest of the night.

It was not as though Molly did not think her cousins were not amusing, but rather the fact that she had promised her father to keep them out of trouble. If Molly asked her cousins to pull any kind of pranks then she would be going against her word, and Molly hated to do anything that would possibly get her into trouble.

Not to mention the fact that she really did not want to bring herself down to the level of Finn Harper just so that she could get even with him. Life was about more than getting even. And that was the last thing Molly thought before she drifted off into a fitful sleep.










Author's Note:  Whoa, I sure am updating faster than I normally do!  I have so much inspiration churning about in my mind, especially for this story.  And I'd love to hear what y'all thought about this chapter in a review, whether you loved or hated it.  Anyway, thanks for reading!



This chapter was beta'd by californialove (Alice).



Chapter 4: Detention with the Slytherin
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter, all hail J.K. Rowling and the universe that she created for us to play in.  The only things I own are the plot and any OCs that you do not recognize.




 

Chapter 4
Detention with the Slytherin


 




Molly was dreading her detention that Friday night, which naturally meant that time felt like it was zooming faster than normal. It was Friday morning at breakfast when Molly realized just how fast the first week had passed by. She had been busy getting used to her lesson schedule and starting her essays that she had very little time to actually think of the detention she had because of Finn Harper.

She had not even seen much of Harper since Tuesday except for in Herbology and Ancient Runes. Also, she was quite happy that she only had a few classes with the Slytherin and he was proving to be more of a prick than ever before.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s already Friday,” Molly voiced to both Erin and Mathis. “Not to mention I have my first detention tonight; with Harper no less.”

“But at least your father doesn’t know about the detention,” Mathis said. “And you were worried at first for nothing.”

Erin agreed. “I told you that there was no need to fuss over your father finding out about it.”

“I was not worried,” Molly said. “I just didn’t want my parents to be disappointed in me.”

“Puh-lease,” Erin rolled her eyes. “You are the most hardworking student in your huge family, and I’m sure both of your parents can see that.”

“Oh, they do,” Molly replied through her sigh. “But they also expect more out of me than any of my cousins or younger sister just simply because I am responsible.”

Erin rolled her eyes yet again—her trademark move. “You need to stop thinking so much about expectations that your high-achieving parents have set for you already. I’m sure they’ll be proud of you no matter what you do.”

“Yes, but they expect me to be the perfect model student,” Molly said while she yanked at her dark hair in frustration. “Besides that, they also expect me to be a role model to Lucy; and how am I supposed to be either of the two with a detention under my belt?”

“Chill, Molly,” Mathis said. “Everyone gets detention at some point in their schooling; it doesn’t mean that they will fail out, though.”

Molly glared at Mathis for acting so damn calm and annoying at a time like this. She could not stand the fact that Mathis seemed to careless about things like detention.

“I think it’d be best if you kept your mouth shut for now,” Erin bossed Mathis. “At least until Molly cools down a bit from this minor melt down of hers.”

Molly did not have anything to defend herself against Erin’s statement, but she did feel upset and angry. It was not that Molly was angry at the words that Erin had said, but rather her just bluntly calling Molly’s anger out as she had. That was what made Molly even madder than she currently was. “I’m not upset,” Molly defended her self. “I’m only releasing all the negative emotions that are churning inside of me.”

“Okay, whatever you say,” Erin said. “Let’s head to class.”

The students all throughout the Great Hall had started to clear out already for their first classes of the day. Molly stood and headed out with Mathis and Erin following closely behind her. She bid her friends good-bye when they had to go their separate ways to different lessons; Erin had Astronomy.

~`~`~

The day went by extremely fast for Molly, who wanted it to slow down the closer to seven o’ clock that it got. She entered the Great Hall for a quick dinner when her sister, Lucy, passed by. She had not had much of a chance to talk with the red-headed first year about how her first week at Hogwarts was going yet.

“Lucy, how’d your first week go?” Molly asked with a cheerful expression, with her blue eyes shining.

“Great,” Lucy smiled at her elder sister. “I’ve made plenty of friends and lessons are interesting enough, too.”

“That’s great!” Molly said through a huge grin. “I’m glad to hear that at least one of us had a great week.”

Lucy tilted her head with a blank expression on her face. “Your week wasn’t good?”

“Not really,” Molly said. “But I’ll live. Anyway, I’ll see you later. Perhaps tomorrow we can go for a walk on the grounds and you can tell me how your first week went?”

“Okay,” Lucy said, and skipped off to join her new friends at the Hufflepuff table.

Molly smiled after her sister before she turned on her heel and walked out of the dining hall. She passed students as she walked through the corridors and halls in the direction of Professor Holt’s classroom. The further away from the entrance hall that she went, the less people she met.

When she reached the Potions Master’s quarters, Molly hesitantly knocked and entered when she heard the Professor’s deep voice telling her that she can come in. As she entered, she found that Finn had yet to arrive, which was alright for now as Molly was five minutes early. It was a curse that Molly had to show up early for everything in her life because that was how her parents had raised her up to be.

“I do hope the rest of your week was better than receiving detention, Miss Weasley,” Professor Holt greeted her. “Now, if you could please take a seat while we wait for Mr. Harper.”

“Yes, sir,” Molly replied as she took a seat at a desk at the front.

Molly looked around the room at the bookshelves that lined the walls; filled with books and potion bottles in all kinds of shades and colours. The room was relatively neat, overall, with everything in a particular spot or shelves; and there were labels on the bottles to remind the brewer which potion it was. There were also portraits on the walls around the room of famous Potioneers.

It was at the sound of the door scraping open wider that Molly turned toward it to find Finn Harper had arrived. Molly rolled her eyes back to the front of the room where Professor Holt stood leaning against his desk with his arms crossed in front of him.

The Potions Master cleared his throat. “Now that you both are here, you’ll be redoing your potion. Hopefully this time we won’t have any explosions,” he raised his brow as he looked at Harper before continuing on. “You may start now.”

Molly sighed as she and Harper got the ingredients they would need and set up a cauldron to brew their potion in. For the most part, the pair worked better together than they had earlier that week. Not to mention the fact that they were actually being civil enough to one another that Professor Holt was able to escape into the confinement of his adjoined office to record the Potions grades into his grade book.

“So, are you still mad at me for adding the eggs?” Harper said, breaking the mutual silence between them.

Molly glared at him. “What do you think?”

“Well, we’ll be getting a grade to fill-in that zero we originally got for this potion,” Harper said. “I think you should forgive me for making that slight mess-up with the doxy eggs.”

“Slight mess-up?” Molly repeated. “Slight? There was nothing slight about you tossing in those doxy eggs. You purposely threw in those eggs, thus causing our potion to explode all over the place.”

“Would it help if I apologized?”

“It’d be a start,” Molly said.

“Then I’m sorry, okay,” Finn apologized, truly sounding sincere.

“Apology accepted.”

“And what about you?”

“What about me?”

“Aren’t you going to apologize?”

“Apologize for what?” Molly asked, with her brow rose in question.

“For yelling at me for making a mistake,” Finn said with a pout that Molly knew he was faking. “No one’s perfect, least of all you. Hate to break it to you, but it’s true.”

Molly stopped talking from that point on, and for the remainder of their detention the pair worked in silence. When the elixir was finally completed, Professor Holt had already entered from his office about five minutes ago and he walked over to them as each tested it.

The effect of the Cheering Elixir was immediate; Molly’s mouth, which had been turned downwards into a frown, lifted upwards in a huge, silly smile all the way up to her sparkling blue eyes. Molly turned her head to notice that the elixir had had the same effect on Finn as well, for he looked extremely happy in a goofy kind of way much like her. The bad mood that Molly had only just been in seconds ago had completely vanished and would surely not return until the effects of the elixir started to wear off.

“Great job,” Professor Holt said. “Full marks and you are both dismissed.”

Molly packed up her bag and left, with Finn following behind her once he had gathered up his own belongings. Once out in the hallway, Molly turned and started to head up toward the Ravenclaw Tower with an extra spring to her step so that it looked as though she were skipping. It was not until she was climbing a set of stairs that she realized that Harper was following her as she turned around after stopping dead in her tracks.

“I believe your common room is down in the dungeons,” Molly said in a know-it-all tone.

“I know.”

“Then why are you stalking me?”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Finn said through the huge smile that was still plastered on his face from the elixir.

Molly rolled her eyes, though her expression was still overly happy. “Then why don’t you turn around?”

“Maybe because I don’t want to go to my common room just yet,” Harper said. “I’m going to go to the library to start on the rest of my essays.”

“The library is that way,” Molly informed him as she pointed toward the left.

“I know that,” Harper replied smoothly, still with that goofy grin on his face. “Do you want to come with me?”

“Hmmm, let me think about that,” Molly said, still smiling, “no.”

“Okay, fine,” Finn said. “I was only trying to be nice.”

“Ha ha, that’s rich coming from you,” Molly said before she turned around to continue her ascend up the stairs. All the while, she listened to make sure that Finn corrected the course of his direction; he did. After correctly answering the riddle, Molly entered the common room to find there were only a few people still up as most had already turned in for the night. She headed up the girls’ staircase to the Seventh year dormitory and put her nightgown on before climbing under the covers of her four-poster bed. It was not long before Molly was out like a light, still with that ridiculous smile on her face and her cheek muscles starting to feel strained.

The last thought that Molly remembered before she drifted off to sleep was that she hoped the weekend would be better than the week. As long as Finn Harper stayed out of her hair then she should have a nice, relaxing weekend. But that was her wishful thinking coming into play.




Author's Note:  So, I'm so sorry that this chapter came later than the others, but I wasn't able to type it up and post it due to my laptop crashing on me a couple weeks ago, but I got it back this past weekend.  It's good as new, just needed some tweaking as something had stopped working, which was replaced.  Anyway, hope you enjoy this chapter and let me know what you think.

This chapter has been beta'd by calfornialove (Alice).




Chapter 5: Of Blissful Moments with Friends... and Annoying Prats
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter.  No copyright infringement intended.  The only things I own is the plot and any original characters that you do not recognize.








Chapter 5
Of Blissful Moments with Friends... and Annoying Prats





Molly’s cheeks felt sore from all the smiling the elixir had made her do the previous night as she walked down to the Great Hall for breakfast Saturday morning with Erin and Mathis. The trio was happy that it was finally the weekend, but they still had essays to write already. Molly could tell that it was a beautiful day just by the sunshine that was pouring in through the windows, which were cracked open slightly to let in fresh air. It was no doubt that this would be one of the few last days of summer before fall.

When they reached the Great Hall, it was to find quite a few people at each table exclaiming how happy it was finally the weekend. Molly sat down at one end of the Ravenclaw table with Mathis and Erin, and grabbed a piece of toast. She listened to her friends as she spread grape jam on the golden, crunchy slice of toast before taking a bite.

“I should go upstairs to grab my broom,” Mathis said. “The weather is perfect for flying.”

Erin rolled her eyes. “Is that all you think about?”

“Of course it is,” Mathis proudly admitted.

Erin muttered something that sounded an awful like boys before she turned to look at Molly with a questioning expression upon her face. “So, how was detention last night?”

“It was actually all right,” Molly replied, “better than I thought it was going to be. But I still would have given anything to be anywhere other than a classroom with Finn Harper next to me.”

“What did Holt make you guys do?”

“Professor Holt had us re-brew the Cheering Elixir,” Molly said. “And this time there was no explosions and we received full marks.”

“Oh, well didn’t you get off easy in detention,” Mathis said sourly. “Any time I had detention I had to either clean the bed pans in the hospital wing or polish the trophies in the Trophy Room; without magic.”

While Molly and Erin were both laughing at both of the occurrences when Mathis had arrived back at the common room after each of those detentions in a foul mood, Lucy came skipping over to them from the Hufflepuff table. “What’s so funny,” she asked with a brow raised in curious question.

“Nothing, really,” Erin replied, still having trouble wiping the grin off of her face. “We were only thinking back to the humour of Mathis’s previous detentions since he had surprisingly not landed himself in one yet.”

“Oh,” Lucy said, her mouth forming a small, round shape in understanding.

It was only a few minutes later and Molly had finished with her breakfast, she exited the Great Hall with Erin, Mathis, and her younger sister, Lucy. The four of them walked out of the oak front doors, down the stone steps, and down to the great Black Lake. Once seated under a beech tree next to the water, the group started conversing about the first week.

“What’s your favorite class so far, Luce?” Molly asked her sister as she slipped off her shoes and dipped them into the cool water, causing slight ripples to break the smoothness of the surface.

Lucy, sticking her small feet into the lake water from where she sat next to her sister, said, “I really like Herbology. All the different kinds of magical plants are just fascinating to me.”

“Herbology?” Mathis repeated a bit dumbfounded. “But that has to be one of the dullest subjects taught here… Defense Against the Dark Arts is a lot more interesting.”

Erin rolled her eyes. “Ignore him, Lucy, we all do.”

“And there is nothing wrong with liking Herbology, either,” Molly reassured her sister. “Mathis just doesn’t like it because he has trouble remembering how to handle the number of magical plants, herbs, and fungi that we’ve learned about over the years.”

Mathis crossed his arms as he made a face. “I do not have trouble; Professor Longbottom just doesn’t like me.”

“Ha!” Erin laughed in his face before splashing water in Mathis’s direction. “Don’t make excuses because you’re terrible at the subject.”

“I’m not making up anything,” Mathis replied honestly, spashing water back. “Remember that one time I got tangled in that one plant because it had wrapped its branches around me and was trying to strangle me? Well I do, and Professor Longbottom had given me a detention just because I had bent a few twigs on the monster of a plant.”

Molly laughed with her sister and Erin. “Well, you should have listened when Professor Longbottom went over the directions on how to handle the Snargaluff.”

“Oh, is that what they were called?” Mathis smacked his head in comic realization. “I thought it was man-eating plant monster.”

“‘Man-eating plant monster,’” Erin repeated in a disbelieving tone. “Is that the best you could come up with?”

“Shut it, Erin,” Mathis splashed Erin, sending several stray droplets on both Molly and Lucy as well. “I still have nightmares about that damn plant.”

“Hey, language,” Molly warned him with a pointed look toward her sister, who protested.

“I’m not a baby,” Lucy said.

“I’m not saying you’re a baby.”

“But you’re implying that I’m too young to hear bad language,” Lucy replied back sharply, crossing her arms in front of her body to prove a point. “I am not a baby.”

“Okay, fine,” Molly said, raising her hands in surrender. “You’re not a baby just don’t tell that to dad; he will always see you as his baby girl.”

Lucy smiled. “Great, glad we settled that. Now I’m off to meet up with my new friends,” Lucy slid her shoes back on before jumping up and waving, “toodles.”

Molly watched her sister skip up toward the front of the castle before she turned back to her mates with an expression of annoyance upon her face. “And that is my annoying kid sister. Isn’t she just adorable, my parents seem to think so?” As Molly said that, she leaned back on her elbows; her feet still submerged beneath the surface of the cool water.

“Ah, I think she is cute,” Erin said. “But that’s only because I’m not related to her like you are so I don’t see the little monster in her as clearly as you do.”

Molly rolled her eyes in a joking manner. “Ha ha, I love my sister she just drives me crazy at times.”

“Times like now?” Mathis said. “Yeah, it shows. I’m off, got to get my broomstick and head down to the pitch for practice.”

“Boys,” Erin muttered as Mathis took off back toward the castle’s front steps. “Should we head back up; too, we can go to the library and finish up our essays?”

“Yeah,” Molly said as the pair of them put their shoes back on before heading back up to the oaken front doors that led into the Entrance Hall. They walked through the hallways and up various staircases before they managed to reach the bronze door knocker where the entrance into the Ravenclaw was located. Molly tapped the knocker a couple of times and then stood back as a soft tickle of music started to play, followed shortly by a musical voice,

“What came first, the chicken or the egg?” the voice asked.

“There is no definite beginning as a cycle goes round in a circle,” Erin correctly answered, and the door opened for them to enter the common room where a statue of Rowena Ravenclaw stood in the centre. There were a few younger students sitting in armchairs next to the fire, but for the most part everyone else appeared to be taking advantage of one of the last days of summer by lazing around outside on the grounds.

Molly grabbed her bag from her dormitory as Erin did the same, and together the two of them left the tower for the library, which was conveniently on this side of the castle; the Founders obviously knew what intelligent minds Ravenclaws were for making sure their tower and the library were near enough to the other. When they arrived at the library it was to find it relatively empty, save for a couple of students who wanted to get a jump start, or finish, their homework.

The two seventh year Ravenclaws grabbed a table in a secluded corner so not to be disturbed by those who came the library with other things in mind that did not include studying. It was not long before the girls had opened their books and continued the essay that they had left off with; Molly working on Arithmancy and Erin on Charms. The both of them held a conversation with quills scratching against parchment.

“Do you think our Quidditch team is going to come out on top this year?” Erin asked; she was more of an avid fan of the game of Quidditch than Molly was herself.

“I don’t know,” Molly said. “James and Fred seem to think that Gryffindor is going to win the Cup like usual.”

Erin cleared her throat in a dignified manner. “Well I think our team could really come out on top if they put in a little more practice,” she said. “We did take the silver last year, after all, so the potential for gold is there.”

“Whatever you say,” Molly said, she was already growing bored of the talk of Quidditch.

“Are you sure you’re a Weasley?” Erin asked, as she normally did when Molly showed no interest in the sport played on broomsticks.

“Quite positive,” Molly said. “Besides, it’s not like I’m the only Weasley who doesn’t care much for Quidditch; just look at my dad.”

Erin’s jaw dropped. “I thought you hated being compared to her father.”

“I don’t hate it,” Molly corrected exasperatedly. “It just gets annoying how everyone always assumes I’m like my father, especially my cousins; they never let me in on any pranks or jokes because they think I’ll tattle.”

“Well that doesn’t seem right,” Erin said. “Do your cousins exclude Lucy, too?”

Molly sighed. “No, they don’t. And Lucy has a bigger mouth than I do, but they manage to forgive her since she’s the youngest out of us all; she’s the baby.”

“Ah, well that doesn’t seem right,” Erin replied. “You can keep secrets.”

“Of course I can, but that doesn’t stop them from worrying I’ll tell my parents, or aunts and uncles,” Molly said as she finished writing the last sentence of her Arithmancy essay. “Well, I’m going to head down to the Great Hall for some lunch, are you coming?”

“Yeah,” Erin said, putting books and essay back into her bag as Molly packed her bag, too.

~`~`~

After lunch, Molly found herself climbing up the spiral staircase that led into the Owlery; if she did not write to her parents soon then they would be upset. When she entered the circular room with the glassless windows, she plopped down on a stool and pulled out parchment, ink, and quill. It took her a few seconds to decide what to put in the letter since obviously she could not put that she had received detention on the second day back.

When she was just about finished with the letter, Molly heard the door creak open as someone else entered. She looked up to find that the person who stood in the doorway was none other than Finn Harper. Molly groaned, she had thought that she would not have any interactions with him today as she had been lucky enough to avoid him so far. However, it appeared that her luck was running dry.

“Hey Oddball,” Finn said. “Are you writing to your mummy and daddy?”

“What’s it to you who I’m writing to?” Molly retaliated with a look that would have made any of her cousins back down (one that rivaled her Grandmother Molly’s), but it did nothing to faze Harper. “The last time I checked I didn’t have to report to you about who I wrote to.”

“No need to get your knickers in a twist,” Harper replied with more ease than someone who was being glared at should have. “I was only asking.”

Molly ignored Harper’s last statement as she signed her name to the end of the letter, folded, and sealed it. She then stood up and walked up and down the rows of owls until she finally found her own eagle owl perched higher up. It took a few more minutes for her to coax her owl, Wilbert, down, but when Wilbert had finally flown down to land on her shoulder she was able to tie the letter to his leg. Once the letter was secured, Wilbert took flight, pushing lightly off on Molly’s shoulder, out of the nearest glassless window.

Molly watched Wilbert until he was completely out of sight before turning to leave only to find her way block. Finn must have approached her when Molly’s back was turned because now he was standing right in front of her with that smug grin planted on his face.

“What do you want, Harper?”

“Nothing,” Finn continued to smirk as though he were hiding something from her.

“Whatever,” Molly said as she started to leave, her arm brushing Harper’s arm in the process of leaving, which left her arm feeling warmth that traveled all up and down it. She set the so-called sparks aside as she continued toward the door before Finn could say anything more to her.

Molly reached the door before he could, and left without a single glance over her shoulder. If Molly had looked over her shoulder, she may have seen the confused expression that had taken residence on Harper’s face as he rubbed unconsciously along the arm that she had brushed against.

On the way back up toward Ravenclaw tower, the encounter between her and Finn kept reeling itself in Molly’s mind. Not to mention the fact that her arm still felt warm and tingling where she had brushed against him. Though, Molly refused to believe that she was starting to have romantic feelings for Finn Harper; the mere thought of it was insane. There was absolutely no way Molly was starting to crush on Harper, she couldn’t stand him. Just thinking about Harper was making her anger boil.

In fact, Molly was so preoccupied with her thoughts that she hardly registered that she had tapped the brass Eagle door knocker and listened as music chimed, shortly followed by the musical voice,

“Is the grass ever greener on the other side of the bridge?”

Molly had to force herself to quit thinking of Harper with a great deal of effort before she was able to fully comprehend the question that she was supposed to answer correctly to earn entrance into the common room. “The answer is no as nothing ever is better than the other is up close; it’s all in your head.”

“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” the musical voice commented as the door swung forward to admit Molly in.

Molly caught sight of both Erin and Mathis sitting at one of the tables in a corner on the other side of the room and started to walk over toward them. When the pair of them saw Molly making her way over toward them, they waved with smiles on their faces; she loved her friends, no matter how dorky they could sometimes be. She sat down across from them before she started off on a rant about how frustratingly annoying Finn Harper was; both Erin and Mathis listened without interrupting until she finished, red in the face from her anger.

“So, what did Harper do this time?” Erin asked, with an exasperated sigh.

Molly crossed her arms in front of her. “He came up to the Owlery just as I was finishing up the letter to my parents and started questioning me in that infuriating way that he does it in. Also, he blocked my way out so that I had to brush against him; like I really wanted to touch him, ugh.”

“Ah, and I’m going to hazard a guess that you felt something when your arms briefly touched,” Erin digressed. “Am I correct?”

“No,” Molly replied shortly. “Why would I feel something for that arrogant idiot?”

“No reason,” Erin said.

Mathis had been following the conversation between the two girls as if he had been watching a tennis match, but decided now was a good time to speak since both of them had become silent for the moment,

“I think you did feel something,” Mathis gave his input on the matter. “Which really is weird since you can’t stand the prat to start with; heck, none of us care much about him at all to start with.”

“Excellent point, Boot,” Erin agreed. “Why is it that you are all of a sudden feeling like this around Harper?”

“I do not feel any way around Harper other than pure hatred,” Molly said, glaring at both of her so-called best mates.

“Then explain the warm, tingling feeling that you got when his arm touched yours?” Erin asked with a pointed expression upon her face.

“It was nothing,” Molly insisted yet again.

“And the more you say that,” Mathis said, “the more we will not believe you.”

“Ahhh! It was nothing, okay, nothing at all,” Molly fumed as she stood and turned on her heel. She marched directly toward the stairs that led to all of the girls’ dormitories and entered the dorm she shared with the other Seventh year girls in her House. She was quite thankful for it being completely void of any of her dorm mates.

Molly sat down on her bed and pulled the curtains closed before she buried her pillow so that it would muffle her scream. When she had let out all of her frustrations on her poor pillow, Molly pulled out her diary and started to write about what had happened today. Her main reason for writing in it was to let out her anger with Finn so that it would not build up to danger point.

It was several minutes before Molly had finally finished scratching her quill on the parchment of the small notebook; she felt a lot better. She felt calm enough to go back down to the common room where her friends were sure to still be; and they were. The trio spent the remainder of the day avoiding the subject of Finn Harper as they took turns playing each other in Wizards’ Chess. All in all, Saturday got brighter for Molly as she had fun with her mates.











Author's Note:  So, this chapter is more of a filler than anything, but it's still setting up the chemistry that is starting to form between Molly and Finn.  Let me know what you think as I'd love the feedback.  Also, I would like to know whether or not you like the story so far.  All kinds of constructive criticism is welcome.

Beta'd by californialove (Alice).



Chapter 6: Denial is Key
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter!  The only thing I own is the plot and any OCs that you do not recognize.




Chapter 6
Denial is Key




Finn Harper was currently lying on his comfortably soft four-poster bed Saturday evening after dinner. It was obvious to Harper why he had isolated himself from the majority of the other Slytherins that were scattered among themselves in the common room, but unclear to everyone else. The main point being, Finn had not told anyone—including his friends—about making contact with Molly Weasley in the Owlery earlier that day; and he had no plan to, either.

It was not as though Finn felt he could not tell his friends certain things, but rather the fact that he had spent all of his previous years at Hogwarts making fun of Molly and to all of a sudden be having possible feelings for her was insane. There must be something else that could have contributed to that funny, fluttery feeling he had got inside his stomach when Molly had brushed his arm, not to mention the butterflies were still flapping in the pit of his stomach hours after the incident had occurred.

While he was pondering over explanations that his mind could not grasp, the door to the dormitory creaked open—they should really fix that—to reveal Nott.

“Hey mate, what’re you doing up here moping in the dark?” Nott questioned him as he lazily strolled further into the room toward the bed that was directly opposite Finn’s own, and sat down upon it. “We’re about to start a game of Exploding Snap, you should join us.”

“Nah, I’m good up here,” Finn muttered as he reached over to grab something that sat on his nightstand. When he laid back against his pillows again he tossed said object into the air and caught it; it was a small Magiball that shouted words of praise when you made a particularly swell toss or catch. “I just want to spend some time by myself tonight. There’s a lot on my mind after this first week back; professors jamming information into our brains the second we step back into the classroom, you know,” he shrugged his shoulders before tossing the Magiball up at the ceiling and catching it just before it hit him square in the face: the ball made a loud squeal.

“That ball is obnoxious,” Nott commented as the Magiball started to boast about what an awesome catch Harper had made.

“You’re just jealous that you don’t have one.”

Nott scowled. “Yeah, right, well I’m going back up to the common room.”

“Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” Finn jokingly shouted as his friend left the dorm room.

Finn sat up, the ball quiet in his hand, and put his head in his hands. He ran his fingers through his trousled dark hair while squeezing his green eyes shut, dipping back into his thoughts of Molly. There was absolutely no way he liked her, she was just someone he loved to torment and that was all. Nothing special whatsoever, but then what was with these sudden feelings we was starting to feel toward her?

Finn let a low frustrated sound escape from between his lips as he stood and strode over toward the window, to which was bewitched to look out over the grounds. Even through the Slytherin domain was located beneath the lake and so there really was nothing to see if it were not for the enchanted windows. He stared without actually seeing the magical stars blink down at him.

How could one girl, one silly girl, have this kind of effect on him? Finn thought as he racked his memory for all the ways he has ever felt for a girl. None of them matched up to his reaction of Molly Weasley. It was ludicrous to say the least that Finn could possibly fall for a girl he had tormented since first year. In fact, Finn was half expecting this all to be some kind of farce since there was no way he could even be friends with Molly. The pair of them would kill each other if left alone together for too long; it was a miracle that they had even found a sort of common ground to work together on in Potions.

Finn ran his fingers through his dark hair, causing more spikes to stick out haphazardly. Maybe a walk might do him some good, just a bit of fresh air may be able to clear his head and rid him of thoughts of Molly. He was lucky there were still a couple hours before the 11 o’clock curfew for seventh years.

The common room was only slightly rowdy and Finn had almost made it out without anyone noticing before he heard a female voice call out to him: “Hey Finn!” He turned around to see Kaleigh Holts making her way over toward him; all long legs, blond hair, and blue eyes of her. “I haven’t had a chance to ask how you’re summer was?” She interlocked her fingers with his, making him feel a little guilty for not responding to her letters over the break.

“It was alright,” Finn casually responded, “how about yours?”

Kaleigh pouted. “It was completely boring without you.”

Finn was speechless, not to mention the fact he felt as though he was going to throw up with his stomach clenched in knots. He felt awful for ignoring her. He swallowed, but that only made his throat constrict along with the tightening knots in his belly.

“But now that we’re back at Hogwarts we’ll be able to see more of each other,” Kaleigh said, hope filling her crystal blue eyes.

“Yeah, sure,” Finn croaked, than cleared his throat. “But I have a heavier course load this year with it being my last.” Kaleigh was a sixth year, and therefore had no major examinations at the end of the school year like he would.

Kaleigh frowned, and Finn wished she wouldn’t because it makes him feel more uncomfortable than he already does. Why must this girl complicate matters for him more than they already are? Of course she does not know how confunded his brain was now so it wasn’t all her fault. But Finn needed someone to blame and right now Kaleigh Holts just happened to be the one he chose to put it all on as he relinquished the use of his hand out of hers.

“I’ll talk to you later, Kaleigh,” he said, and without waiting around to hear what else she had to say to him Finn slipped out of the common room and into the much quieter halls. He suddenly felt the muscles in his stomach unclench as the air around him seemed calmer and fresher than in the stuffy dormitory and common room.

The only sounds Finn heard as he strolled up the stairs toward the Entrance Hall were the sounds of his own footsteps shuffling forward. It was not until he had exited the front doors of the castle when he saw someone else out and about on this Sunday night. At first he could not tell who exactly it was, but as Finn drew up closer to the lake saw that it was Molly Weasley. The very girl he had not been able to take his mind off of.

Finn walked over toward her, his feet slightly dragging in his resistance to reach Molly, and cleared his throat loud enough for her to turn her head up to look at him from where she sat on the ground. The first thought sidled into Finn’s mind was of how attractive she looked with the moonlight shining down, reflecting on the lake behind her, than the next was to kick his self mentally for thinking such a thing. While he came around to his senses, Finn heard Molly scowl before she asked,

“What are you following me now?”

“Whoa, cool down,” Finn replied, his brows raised as he held his hands in front as a sort of shield. “I am out here on my own accord. I didn’t even know you were here so don’t get all hot with me. I just needed to get out to clear my mind.”

Molly rolled her eyes. “Fine, then find somewhere else to clear your head, that is if you really do have thoughts up there.”

“Ouch,” Finn said, a slightly comical expression mingled with hurt upon his face. “I had no idea you could be so mean.”

“I’m not mean,” Molly responded casually. “You just bring out the worse in me,” and to prove a point Molly stuck the tip of her tongue out at him, however immature it was.

Finn laughed. “You’re cute, you know that?” Only the way he said it was more rhetoric than question.

“And you’re not as mean as your friends,” Molly said truthfully, albeit reluctantly. “Even through you’re a pain in my rear end.”

“Rear end?” Finn laughed. “Who says that?”

“I say that.”

“Well don’t, okay,” Finn replied. “Just say ass already.”

“What if I don’t want to?” Molly tested, realizing how much closer Finn had gotten beside her as he sat down in the grass too. She scooted away slightly while still keeping her gaze on the Slytherin.

Finn, not even realizing it, edged closer to Molly as he continued to coerce her into saying a swear word. “Why not? Are you afraid you’re daddy’ll find out?”

“No,” Molly crossed her arms in front of her, “I just don’t curse. It’s a foul habit to get into.”

“It’s just ‘ass,’” Finn said with an annoyed expression. “Everyone has one, even prudish people such as you.”

“Well, yes, but there are other words to use then the one you’re using.”

“Just say it,” he pestered.

Finn wanted to hear her say something improper, it would be hilarious to hear ‘ass’ come out of Molly Weasley’s, daughter of Percy and Audrey Weasley, mouth. Plus, he was getting a kick out of teasing her as he always did.

“No,” Molly said firmly, crossing her arms. “I won’t.”

“Say it,” he repeated, a grin curving his mouth upward while he watched Molly’s resolve slowly start to unfold as she gave in.

“Leave me alone,” Molly snapped. “I will say what I want to say without you telling me what to say.”

Finn paused before he pushed forward he was having fun trying to get Molly to crack. “Just say it, you know you want to.”

Molly gave him a death glare as she stood up, and before she turned to walk away she said the word just to shut him up. “Ass, there, are you happy now?!” She stomped away from and up the sloping lawn leading toward the majestic castle.

Finn watched her walk away for several seconds before going after her. He had not expected Molly to cave in that fast. Heck, Finn had not expected her to give into his pestering at all. It was not long before he had caught up to Molly and cut in front of her as he walked backwards. “So, there is a wild spirit waiting to be released somewhere inside of you.”

“What are you on about?” Molly crossed her arms in front of her as she continued to walk and attempt to step around Finn, whom was watching her as he took each backward step closer to the front stone steps, but he only blocked her way by staying in front of her. That only infuriated her more, but she did her best to keep her frustration in check.

“I’m talking about how there’s a part of you that wants to be daring,” Finn said matter-of-factly. “Whether you know it or not, there’s something in you that wants to come out and have some fun. Why not unleashing her? Who knows, you might actually have fun for a change.”

“I have fun,” Molly replied resolutely as they had finally reached the castle steps leading to the front door. She climbed up after Finn, who was still walking backwards and she found herself hoping that he would fall as that would improve her mood tremendously. However, Finn seemed to be well capable of walking up steep stairs from behind as he did not lose his footing at all.

“Oh, yeah, I’m sure it’s fun studying all the time for examinations that are a year away,” Finn said sarcastically.

“For your information,” Molly started to say before continuing onward, “The N.E.W.T.s is less than a year away. Of course you’d know that if you actually paid attention to what the professors are talking about in lessons.”

Finn rolled his eyes. “Please, spare me. You know the only reason you start studying so early is because of your father.”

“That’s not true,” Molly blatantly denied. It was one thing for her friends to know about her father’s controlling nature when it came to her schooling, but another entirely for her sworn enemy to know.

“Sure it is,” he carried on, ignoring the evil glares being shot his way by the brunette following him as they reached the top of the marble staircase. “Why don’t you just act like a teenager for a change and rebel against your parents?”

“Maybe I don’t want to,” Molly replied. “I like my life just fine the way it is.” That was a lie too and Molly knew it. She did wish she could relax and have fun instead of busting her ass to do her absolute best in school, which was never enough for her father.

“And would you quit walking in front of me,” Molly snapped. “You think you’re so cool…”

“I don’t think, I know I’m cool,” Finn cut Molly off. “And you know it too, that’s why you’re getting defensive.”

“Defensive? I am not!”

“Are too,” Finn persisted, coming to a halt next to the entrance to the Ravenclaw Tower. He grinned as he continued to block Molly’s pathway into the common room.

“Please move, Harper,” Molly sighed, starting to become tired of arguing with Finn.

“Fine,” Finn said. “But I’ll only move because I need to head back to my own common room, not because you need to get into yours.”

It was with a low growl and death glare that Molly tapped the brass knocker to correctly answer the riddle before entering. When the door had closed, Finn let out a short whistle, “Maybe I actually do like her.”




Author's Note:  Hey everyone!  I hope you enjoyed reading this chapter as much as I had fun writing it!  Also, I'd like to thank everyone over at The Golden Snitches (TGS) for voting for Why Not under the "Best Novella" category, earning it the Finalist slot (second place)!  You guys are awesome!  Thanks so much!
Beta'd by the wonderful californialove (Alice).



Chapter 7: A Leap of Faith
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]


Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.  All hail J.K. Rowling for creating HP so that we can all play in her world with her characters.  The only things I own are the plot and any original characters that you do not recoginize.






Chapter 7
A Leap of Faith






Molly awoke on Monday morning feeling quite refreshed.  A part of her felt like something had shifted between her and Harper the previous night, however slight.  She still disliked him, but no longer felt the hatred that burned inside of her any chance she thought about him.  Though, there was no way of knowing if things were truly different between the pair of them, especially considering the fact Harper enjoyed playing his little games with her.  Whether he was being nice to her when it was just the two of them or making fun of her when around his friends, it drove Molly crazy.  Why couldn’t he just grow up already?  She thought to herself.  However, there was only one way to know for sure, and that would be if he treated her with or without respect in Defense Against the Dark Arts this morning.

It was annoying to say the very least that Harper was having this kind of effect on her.  What did it really matter if he really was changing the way he treated her?  It’s not like she liked him either way.  Though, she had to admit there was a small part of her that would have liked to become friends with Finn Harper, there was also the uncertainty in her stomach that he would hurt her in some way shape or form.  It was after this thought had processed, she realized how much power Finn seemed to already have over her by controlling her emotions and feelings toward him any given moment of the day.  First she liked him then she didn’t, and now she liked him again.  What’s next?

She supposed she shouldn’t be surprised since Finn already knew exactly which of her buttons to push when it came to messing and joking around with her.  Though it was different somehow, and the difference now was that Harper was toying not only with her anger, but also with her heartstrings.  Yes, Molly Weasley II was starting to fall for Finn Harper, despite her reluctance to admit it.  Now, to say she was falling for Harper was not the same as saying she was falling in love with him, but rather she found herself wanting to become friends with the Slytherin.

The only problem with becoming friends was Harper’s immature Slytherin mates.  It seemed anytime she came near Finn when he was around his rambunctious, rude mates, he would turn back into a hideous toad she did not want anything to do with yet again.  Though, there were times she saw him pause before calling her name or insulting her, she still felt as though things would never truly improve between the two of them.

“Rise and shine,” Erin exclaimed, while stumbling out of her own bed that was across from Molly’s bed and then threw a pillow at her.  “It’s not the weekend anymore.”

Molly grumbled.  “I am awake.”  She may not have been fully alert, but awake nonetheless, she thought this last bit to herself.

“Well, then get your lazy arse out of that four-poster, little lady!”  Erin scolded in more of a comical sense, causing Molly to smile and shake her head.

Molly grumbled one last time for extra measure before rolling out of bed to head to the bathroom to clean up and change into her school robes.  It was going to be an exceedingly long day, for she could already foresee it trudging along at a snail’s pace.  When Molly had finally finished getting ready after packing up her school bag, she walked downstairs through the common room and out the door with Erin, only to be joined by Mathis halfway toward the Great Hall for breakfast.  Like a dork, Mathis had called out to them to wait up as he sprinted in their direction.  Both of the girls burst into a fit of giggles when he had caught up with them, gasping for breath, before continuing on their way.

“Oversleep, much?” Erin asked, with a slight quirk of her eye brow raised.  She never missed an opportunity to poke fun at Mathis; the pair were perfect for each other, but Molly was not about to inform them of this again since she knew it would not go over well with either of her two friends.

“Joke all you want, but I have a good reason for sleeping in.”

“Oh, really,” Erin replied, “and what, dare I ask, is this good reason and how is different from your other harebrained excuses?”

“Hey!  I resent that!” Mathis said defensively.  “I’ll have you know that I was up all night finishing up that essay for DADA that is due this morning in class.”

“Like that’s an excuse,” Erin said, starting to lecture him on the importance of getting assignments done in advance.  “There was no reason you would have had to stay up late if you had finished it over the weekend.”

Molly tuned out their bantering as she fell into her own thoughts again for the remaining walk down to the Great Hall.  Once she had finished eating a bowl of cold cereal and slice of toast with marmalade spread thinly over the top, she headed toward DADA with her fellow Seventh Year Ravenclaws.  Any thoughts of Harper had momentarily left her mind as she discussed the properties of a few magical plants with Christian Davies, who shared her enthusiasm in the subject of Herbology.

By the time they reached the classroom, Molly barely had time to register that the Slytherins, let alone Finn Harper, had already arrived and were standing outside the closed door in the hallway.  They had been leaning up against the wall, but pushed forward off of it when they saw Molly approach with her friends.

“Oi, oddball!” Nott exclaimed.  “And her little gang of loser friends.”  He nudged Harper in the side, who was the only Slytherin that had remained leaning against the wall.

Molly scowled at Nott as Harper slowly looked up toward where she stood.  She found herself holding her breath, waiting for what was sure to be an outburst of insults aimed at her.  Though, what she got instead was a small smile.  That’s it, nothing else.  For once Finn Harper wasn’t going to make fun of her by calling her ‘Oddball Molly’ or whatever line he found clever and amusing.  Instead, for once, he had chosen to turn over a new leaf by showing her respect, and the best part was that they weren’t alone.  Maybe Finn was maturing after all.  Slowly she released the gulp of air she had been holding, about to say something in greeting, but at that moment the door opened wide to allow the students to enter the classroom.

All throughout the class, Molly could feel eyes on the back of her head though anytime she turned around to catch whoever was staring at her she would find no eyes on her.  Instead, she noticed how Finn would look anywhere but at her, his foot anxiously tapping lightly on the stone, tile floor.  She blushed before turning back around.  By the end of the lesson when Molly looked down at her notes it was to a blank parchment with ink at the tip of her quill dried up to the point of peeling.  She shook her head subconscienously before she stood and followed her friends from the room and out into the hall to head toward the next class.

*

Molly continued to puzzle over Harper for the rest of the day, all the way leading up to the following morning through breakfast and on the way to Potions.  She pointedly glanced in Harper’s direction as they waited out in the hall before class, but it seemed he was determined not to pay any mind to her in front of anyone else.  Nevertheless, she still kept watching him from the corner of her eye.  One thing she noticed was how much quieter he seemed lately, almost mature.  There was still that air of immaturity around him, but it was dimmer than before.  It was almost as though he was finished joking around with his friends, but at the same time she knew he would still be able to laugh and joke around as much now than he used to.

When Professor Holt finally opened the door to allow all of the students to enter, Molly walked inside the classroom and over to the table that Harper was sitting down at; they were still partners after all.  The only acknowledgement he gave her was a simple nod of the head before turning to face where the Professor was standing at the front, trying to get all of their attention.  While Professor Holt explained what potion they would be brewing during that lesson, Molly found herself wishing Finn had said something to her, anything.  She would have even settled for a simple ‘hey oddball’ instead of what she had gotten.  A stupid head nod.  The last time he had said anything to her was a couple nights ago down by the lake.  It seemed like an eternity ago.

She barely paid attention to the instructions being given, though when she opened her textbook up to look at the ingredients and steps it took to brew the potion she understood it well enough to earn an Outstanding.  However, if Harper decided to mess up this potion, too, then she would be extremely upset.  Which was why she thought it odd as the pair of them worked in a terse silence; the tension between the two was so heavy it felt like one of those wool army blankets had been draped over them.  The awkwardness stretched on until Molly could bare it no more.

“Why won’t you talk to me?” she inquired, causing Harper’s attention to snap up from the potion at her.  When his eyes found hers, she felt her face flush before tilting her head down so that her dark hair slid forward to cover her face.  Despite not being able to see the expression on his face, Molly could feel his gaze stay on her as he finally said something to her.

“It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you,” Finn said.  “I just don’t want to make you angry, and since it seems like you always get upset when I talk to you then I decided I’d give you your space.  Unless you want me to talk to you, then I figured I would leave you alone.”

“Oh,” Molly said.  “I thought you were avoiding me for some reason.”

“Avoiding you? Why would I avoid you?”

“I don’t know,” she said.  “You tell me, why would you avoid me?”

Harper paused in thought for a few minutes, stirring the potion counter-clockwise and then throwing in a clockwise stir after every six stirs, before he said anything.  “I don’t have any reason to avoid you, Molly.”

Molly’s brow creased.  “I think that’s the first time you actually called me by my given name instead of some crude nickname.  Okay, what’s up with you, Harper?”

“Nothing’s up with me,” Harper said, starting to get slightly exasperated.  “Maybe I’m just tired of making fun of you.  Perhaps I want to call a truest.  What’d you say; friends?”

“What about your dopey Slytherin mates?” Molly asked.  “Are they going to call a truest to become friends, too?”

“Probably not,” Finn said through a sigh.

“Then how do I know you won’t slip back to making fun of me?”

“I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it,” Finn replied.  “And just to let you know, I always stick by my word when it comes to friends.”

Molly hesitated for a fraction of a minute while she decided whether she could trust Finn’s word.  He looked sincere she had to give him that much credit.  Still not entirely sure, she nodded curtly.  “Fine, but you only get one shot to prove yourself as a friend, so don’t blow it.”  She was quite astonished to notice the way he beamed at her in a good-natured manner before the pair went back to brewing their potion.

By the end of the lesson, the two of them had received full marks on their potion and been able to act civilly toward one another, at times even playful with friendly banter and laughing.  Molly left the class thinking she had been able to get to know a side of Finn Harper she had not seen and couldn’t wait to get to know him more.  Of course, she was still on her guard in case he was tricking her into thinking they were friends.  Why he would do that, she had no idea, but there was just something that made her want to stand on her toes before she trusted him fully.  She was taking a complete leap of faith.



Author's Note:
Thanks for reading! And I'm so sorry for the delay on this chapter; I'm going to be working hard on updating more efficiently from now on, and I'm serious about it this time. I'd love to know what you thought of this chapter in a review! XD

This chapter had been beta'd by californialove (Alice).

Chapter 8: Moments like These
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter as it all belongs to J.K. Rowling.  The only things that I own are the plot and any original characters that you do not recognise.






Chapter 8
Moments like These










Over the next couple weeks Molly found herself enjoying Potion lessons. It was not so much the brewing of potions than it was the growing friendship between Finn and herself. Not only were they still getting along, but she felt a growing attraction toward the Slytherin that she had never thought she would before now. Though, Molly was far from liking Finn enough to actually want to date him, but she felt comfortable around him for the most part.

It was only during Potions that the pair socialized. Of course, the reasoning behind that had been simple since she was a Weasley and he a Slytherin; they were expected to loath each other by default like they had been taught for the past six years of school. It was during today’s lesson that Finn asked her if she would like to study some time outside of class.

“I guess,” Molly replied. “But what will you tell your rude, obnoxious mates?”

“Why do I have to explain myself in order to hang out with whom I want to hang out with?”

“You don’t,” Molly said tersely. “However your friends aren’t exactly going to like the fact that you’re spending time with me when they find out. Shouldn’t you tell them now and avoid the whole debacle it’s sure to cause by not telling them?”

Finn sighed. “Look, I just don’t see the importance of telling my friends that we’re friends. Do you tell your friends everything?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.”

“Have you told them that we’re getting along now?”

“Yes, actually I have.”

“Well, maybe I need more time than you do,” Finn said. “Guys don’t share like you girls do.”

“Maybe you should,” Molly argued. “It isn’t good to keep things locked inside all of the time. Sometimes it helps that you can actually talk about something with a friend.”

“For girls, yeah, that’s what friends are for,” Finn said, while he dropped in the daisy roots before Molly started to stir their potion counterclockwise.

“Then why don’t you tell me your definition of a friend?”

“Alright,” Finn said, scrunching his brows together in thought. “A friend is someone who will always have your back no matter the circumstances.”

Molly waited a few extra moments for Finn to continue on with his definition, but when he didn’t say anymore on it she rolled her eyes. “A friend is someone who does more than have your back when you need help.”

“Yeah, I’m starting to get that,” Finn replied sardonically. “Is that something you’re going to teach me in our study sessions—the true meaning of a friend?”

“If you want me to,” Molly said, completely serious.

“Wait, you can’t be serious?” Finn laughed dryly.

“Of course I’m serious,” Molly replied. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“I don’t know,” Finn said, with a shrug of his shoulders. “I suppose I thought you’d just leave it at that; you have your meaning and I have my meaning.”

“Ha, you’re not getting off that easy.”

“I’m starting to get that,” Finn said jokingly, a grin spreading across his face. “Should I know anything else about you other than your dedication to sticking by your friends?”

Molly rolled her eyes. “What do you want to know?”

Finn shrugged his shoulders, a characteristic move for him that Molly was starting to pick up on. Before either of them could say another word, Professor Holt had announced everyone to bring up a portion of their potion for a grade and class was dismissed shortly thereafter.

“So, I guess I’ll see you in the halls?”

“Or we could meet in the library after supper to get started on the Potions essay that’s due next class?” Finn suggested casually.

“Alright,” Molly said. “I’ll see you then.”

“Can’t wait,” Finn replied with a wink before he went to catch up with his friends who had already exited the classroom.

Molly sighed as she left the room to go find Erin and Mathis to tell them of this latest change in her and Finn’s so-called friendship. She still was unsure about whether they were actually friends or not. She supposed they were friends, but at the same time she couldn’t see how that would be great since Finn obviously did not hold his friends up higher than anyone else in his life. Either that or he just did not like to get too personal. Typical guy, she thought, never letting anyone close enough to see what’s inside.

It took Molly no time at all to find Erin as she was in the common room, resting until supper since both had a free period now. She remembered then that Mathis had Divination, a pointless subject in her own opinion but Mathis said he was only in it because Trelawney was hilarious and quite a joy to watch as she flubbed people’s futures during the whole class time.

Molly plopped down on the sofa next to her friend as she set her bag on the floor at her feet. “I have something I need to talk about or I think I’ll explode from all these thoughts in my head.”

“Shoot,” Erin replied. “I’m here to listen.”

“Okay, so Finn asked me if I’d like to start spending time together outside of class,” she said. “Starting tonight, we’re meeting in the library after dinner to start on the essay for Potions. Yet, I’m not sure how I feel about him after what he said in class today, which was that all friends is good for is covering each other’s backs and nothing else. Does he really think that’s all friends are or is he just trying to sound like a guy?”

“Actually, I think he meant it,” Erin said, but went on before Molly could say anything. “However, that doesn’t mean his friends aren’t important to him. It just means that Harper is like all guys in regards to where their friends stand in their lives, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t matter.”

“And do you think he sees me as a friend?”

“Honestly?”

“Yeah, I want you’re honest opinion,” she said, perking up.

“I think,” Erin said, slowly as though she were pacing herself, “that Harper sees you as a potential girlfriend. I’ve seen the way he looks at you even if you don’t notice, and he’s definitely got that puppy dog look that all guys get when they start to crush on a girl.”

“What?” Molly frowned. “There’s no way. We’re just now starting to get along.”

“And feelings change, they can progress as rapidly as a wildfire at times though I don’t think that’s the case with you and Harper.”

“Then what’s the case?” Molly asked, staring into the empty fire grate in her concentration to understand Finn’s motive for asking her to a study date that evening.

“I’m not sure,” Erin said. “Though, it may be that he wants to somehow make up for all those years that he made fun of you in the past. Boys mature and can feel bad about how they acted, and in the end they make a promise to themselves that they’ll do something that erases the bad that they did when they were young and foolish.”

“You sound like my Grandmother,” she remarked, though not unkindly. Molly loved her grandmother, though there were times when her grandmother got on her nerves with her constant badgering of every little thing. Her dad told her that her grandmother only badgered because she cared, but it still did not change how Molly felt about being questioned about every little thing that happened in her life. She was a young adult and therefore did not care to tell her elders, let alone her parents, everything; not that she had anything to hide because she didn’t.

Erin rolled her eyes. “So, are you going to meet him tonight?”

“Uh?”

“Harper,” Erin said, making a clucking noise with her tongue in annoyance. “Are you going to go to the library or stand him up?”

“Geez, you make it sound like a date,” Molly replied.

“Well, in a way it kind of is,” Erin said matter-of-factly. “It is a study date, after all.”

“Ugh, no it isn’t,” she argued feebly.

Erin nodded her head persistently. “It is too, whether you want to look at it as a date or not, it is. And I’m sure Harper wanted you to think of it as a date, too.”

“No, I’m pretty sure he wanted me to think of it as a means of getting together to study and help each other with our essays.”

“Whatever you want to tell yourself,” Erin said. “But I personally think you’re in denial with where your relationship with Harper is heading.”

“What the heck?” Molly questioned, confused. “First you tell me that Finn only wants to be my friend to make up for all the horrible things he’s said and done to me, and now you tell me that he asked me to study for a date. Which is it? Pity or date?”

“I never said he couldn’t like you,” Erin replied. “I’m only giving you suggestions so that you keep your mind open when it comes to your feelings for Harper and vice versa.”

“Fine, but should I go tonight or not,” Molly asked.

“Yeah, you should because then you’ll know whether Finn truly wants to be friends and not,” Erin said. “Not to mention that if he’s taking the initiative to meet you outside of class then it more than likely means he’s serious about being friends.”

Molly sighed. She supposed it would not hurt to at least go to the library to meet with Finn. After all they were only studying. It was not like it was an actual date or anything, to which Molly would have not agreed to because she still didn’t trust Finn completely.

After supper, Molly entered the library and glanced around to look for Finn, which she found him at a table by one of the windows in a corner behind bookshelves. She should have known he would still find a way to hide their friendship, even with it being out in the open instead of during class hours.

The pair of them worked silently on their respective essays until it grew that Molly had to break it. “So, how long are we going to go on without saying anything?”

“Uh,” Finn looked up from scrawling his essay in the messiest handwriting Molly had ever seen.

“Are we going to talk?”

“Sure, I didn’t want to distract you, though,” Finn replied. “We can talk if you want, what do you want to talk about?”

“I dunno,” Molly said. “Something, anything instead of this silence is better.”

“What’s your favourite colour?” Finn randomly burst forth with for want of something to say.

Molly raised her eye brow in question. “Are you trying to make this anymore awkward than it already is?”

“I don’t think it’s awkward,” Finn said. “I actually enjoy sitting in silence while working on homework. Why, was it awkward to you?”

“Just a bit,” Molly said sarcastically, holding up her thumb and forefinger close together where they are just barely touching. “But now that we’re talking the silence is as heavy around us. Who ever thought of making libraries quiet zones, anyway?”

Finn grinned, enhancing his physical features as his hazel eyes shone. “And again, I ask what your favourite colour is because you very rudely didn’t answer the first time I asked.”

Molly was struck by how adorable Finn appeared at that moment, but choked out an answer nonetheless to appease him, “green.”

“Ah, a Weasley likes a Slytherin colour,” Finn chided good naturedly. “What does your dear ol’ dad think about that?”

“It’s just a colour,” Molly said, rolling her eyes. “It’s not like I am a Slytherin, not that it matters of course in my family.”

“Yeah, sure it doesn’t.”

“It doesn’t, at least not anymore since the final battle,” Molly said. “And hello, I do have a cousin in Slytherin for your information if you haven’t forgotten.”

“Yes, but Albus is actually the only one of your family that I can actually tolerate for that very reason.”

“What about me?”

“What about you?”

“Well, you’re talking to me so I can only assume that you’re tolerating me,” Molly said, very smartly pointing out. “Or are you faking all of it and really can’t stand me?”

Finn sighed. “You’re different than your cousin.”

“Different?” Molly questioned. “How am I so different?”

“Well for one, we never got along before now,” Finn ticked off one-by-one, “for another, you’re not in my House. And lastly, you’re a girl.”

“How does my being a girl have anything to do with it?”

“You’re really asking this?” Finn asked, a crooked grin forming upon his face as he made eye contact with her for the first time since they had sat down just moments ago in the library. Molly felt herself catch her breath as she was sucked into the depths of Finn’s eyes, as cheesy as that sounds. They were again submerged into silence, only not-so awkward as before. The silence that fell between them now felt like a security blanket, soft and warm and safe.

After what felt like forever, Finn started to move in closer, until their faces were mere inches apart. However, Molly was not ready to take it to the next step with him and backed away by pushing her chair away from the table. She was still confused about their friendship and the last thing she needed was anything else to complicate matters further for her. No, they were better as mutual friends for now until she could figure out what this thing between them really was.

“What’s wrong?” Finn asked.

“Nothing,” she lied blatantly. “It’s just getting late.”

Finn shrugged his shoulders. “I guess, but seriously what’s wrong? I can tell there’s something up in your eyes.”

“There’s nothing wrong, I’m just tired is all,” Molly said tersely. “I think I’ll head to back to Ravenclaw tower.” She started to pack up her books whilst doing her best to avoid Finn’s eyes lest things get any weirder between the pair.

“Molly, stop,” Finn grabbed her hands. “Tell me what’s wrong?”

Molly stared resolutely at the table. She refused to look up at Finn for fear that she would lose herself in his eyes again, and if she did she would not be able to back away if he leaned closer a second time. No, it was better to just stare at the dark wooden surface of the table until Finn let her go so she could escape the suffocating library for her dormitory.

“Molly? Look at me, please,” Finn asked, his voice softening, causing Molly’s resolve to weaken a bit. “What did I do?” That did it, those last four words said in a kind of desperation as she finally lifted her head to look into his light hazel eyes. An electrical current passed between the two as their eyes locked once more and they were drawn back together like a moth to a flame.

Molly’s breath caught in her throat as Finn leaned in closer, his own breath warm and minty on her face, causing a blush to rise to her cheeks as his lips got closer still.

Inches.

Centimeters.

Then it happened, in a brief moment of moments their lips molded together gently. It was only a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity as Molly revealed in the sensation of the softness of Finn’s lips and vaguely registered his thumbs rubbing circles on her now open palms at the same time. When he pulled back, Molly found herself wishing he would go on and blinked in wonderment, staring at the Slytherin she had grown to despise the past six years.

Molly had heard of the saying ‘People can change’ but until now it had meant nothing. Now, however, she believed that quote wholeheartedly because now she was positive that she had fallen for Finn Harper. Oh, boy was she a goner. She might as well be a puddle of liquid mess as she smiled back at Finn. Her friends were not going to believe what had happened when she told them.



Author's Note:  See, I didn't forget about this story at all!  I've just been busy with school/work, but I am going to work on updating more frequently over summer.  So, hopefully y'all enjoyed this chapter and let me know what you think about that cliffhanger of a chapter ending, too.  Thanks for reading!

This chapter has been beta'd by californialove (Alice).


Chapter 9: It All Falls Apart
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter. All belongs to J.K. Rowling; the only things I own are the plot and any original characters that you do not recognise.





Chapter 9

It All Falls Apart





Finn felt like he had done something he should not have done over the next few days.  Sure, he still very much liked Molly, but he did not much like the fact he would be picked on by his mates when they discovered he wanted to be more than just friends with her.  Why couldn’t he have friends who would be happy for him landing one of the smartest girls in their year?  Instead he was stuck with the ones he had.

Not only that, but his mates seemed to be on his case a lot lately just for not insulting Molly anymore.  They kept saying he was losing his stride, while Finn thought differently.  The way Finn saw it he was a better person than he had been in previous years due to finally sharpening his manners and maturity over the summer.  This was because his parents had sat him down and told him to quit joking around; they also told him to get serious about his future as he only had this one year left at Hogwarts before he would be out in the Wizarding World on his own.

The thought of not being in Hogwarts was daunting to say the least, especially since Finn had no idea what he wanted to do with his life after his schooling.  His father wanted him to work for the Ministry, but he wasn’t so sure he wanted to.  Sure, the Ministry had come a long way since the days of You-Know-Who’s reign, but it still did not change the fact that most of the witches and wizards who worked inside the Ministry of Magic only cared about the operations that happened on the inside rather than the outside.  Finn believed that in order for things to get done on the inside, the outside had to have some kind of involvement in causing any kind of changes made from within.

Needless to say, Finn spent the remainder of that week in a sort of daze and only spoke when asked a question.  His house had no idea what was up with him as he normally would have joined in any of the conversations held in either their common room or at the Slytherin table during meals.  Not to mention he had not had any chance of alone time with Molly since their study date so he had no inclination as to what she thought of their relationship taking the leap from friendship to dating.

All of these thoughts were getting jumbled up with the ones of what he wanted to do after Hogwarts, which weighed Finn down.  In fact, they seemed to be taking presence over them.  How can Molly have this much of an effect on him when he had spent the better part of the previous five years taunting her?  Was it some kind of twisted joke on his emotions?  It had to be, there was no other explanation why Finn would suddenly start to like someone he had took such joy in mercifully making fun of.

By the end of the day, Finn found himself going for a walk after supper with Kaleigh Holts.  She had said she wanted to talk to him about something, but his mind was still so far lost that he barely could hear anything she was saying.  It sounded bad, but it was the truth.  He was so focused on what these feelings he was suddenly experiencing for Molly that he had no clue that Kaleigh was currently confessing to having feelings for him. 

Did that make him a terrible person?  He should hope not.

“Finn?”  Kaleigh waved a hand in front of his face as they stopped right beside the black lake.  “Are you even listening to a word I’m saying?  I feel like you’re on a whole other planet than standing beside me.  What’s wrong?”

Finn jerked his head in an attempt to shake the thoughts of Molly floating around in it out with no such luck before he said anything.  “I’m listening.”

“Yeah, then tell me what I’ve been saying,” Kaleigh prompted him.

“Uh,” Finn said, pausing as if to recall something and when nothing came up, clamped his mouth closed.

Kaleigh smirked.  “So, who is she?”

“Who’s who?”  Finn said, pretending to not know what Kaleigh was talking about.  How was it that she seemed to know him better than even his parents at times?  They barely ever hung out anymore due to being in separate years even if they were both in Slytherin house.

All Kaleigh had to do was raise her brow before Finn sighed and dropped down to sit on the grass, resting his arms on his propped knees.  “Is it really that obvious when I have a girl on my mind?”

“Yes,” Kaleigh replied, choosing the spot on the green beside him.  “So, are you going to tell me who she is or do I have to guess?”

Finn put his head in his hands and rolled his knuckles over his forehead in an attempt to smooth out all of these tangled up thoughts running through it.  When he realized it was doing nothing, he looked back at Kaleigh.  “I’m sure you could get it on the first guess.”

“Hmm,” Kaleigh hummed, her lips pressed together in thought.  “Is it that Hufflepuff you went out with?  What was her name?  Cynthia?”

“I take that back,” Finn shot out, “you obviously don’t know who I’ve been talking with a lot more lately.”  He turned his head to look across the lake, only instead of seeing was on the other side he saw an image of Molly flash before his eyes briefly before he was able to blink it away.

“Is it obvious?”

“I think it is,” Finn said.  “And I have a feeling Nott could figure it out if he put two and two together.”

“Care giving me a hint,” Kaleigh asked.

Finn rolled his eyes in exasperation.  “It’s Molly.  That’s who I’m thinking about.”

“Why?  I thought you couldn’t stand her?”

“Correction, I couldn’t stand her but now I can’t stop thinking about her.”

“But I thought you hated her.”

“No, I never hated her,” Finn replied to Kaleigh’s accusation.  “I never hated her, I just loved to pick on her.”

“Same difference, really.”

“No, it’s not,” Finn said, not knowing why he was defending his past behavior when it was just that, in the past.  He knew he couldn’t change the past anymore than the present, however the future can be altered anyway one so chooses to their liking.

“Okay, fine, you didn’t hate her,” Kaleigh said through a sigh, waving her hand as if it didn’t matter before she continued on.  “Then explain to me why you can’t get her out of your head.”

Finn heaved another sigh, not making any effort to open up anymore to Kaleigh.  He needed to talk to someone else who didn’t have a previous history with him, not to mention with someone who didn’t still like him because even though he had not been paying attention to what Kaleigh had been saying to him he still could tell she liked him based on how she acted around him.  But he did not like her anymore, and this was largely due to the fact he didn’t like how clinging she was.

Finn was not one for opening up when it came to his emotions, let alone how he felt about a girl, as was plainly obvious.  The most he ever said about how he felt was brief and contrived from only a fraction of what was running through his mind at any time, which was any typical teenage boy for you in a nutshell. 

“Have you been rethinking how you’ve treated her?”  Kaleigh said, trying to guess what it was that was bothering him.  “Or realized she is more your type than you thought?  Give me something to go off of here so I may draw a conclusion as to what’s going through that mundane mind of yours.”

“I don’t know what to think,” Finn said, sounding more defeated than he had ever before in his seventeen years of existence.  There was no way of telling how he truly felt about Molly, he thought, unless he was actually with her.  When he was in her presence, Finn felt sure of his feelings completely.  It was when he was away from her, and given time to think which was dangerous, that he second guessed how he felt about her.

“Well, how do you feel when you’re with her, then?”  Kaleigh asked.

Finn sighed.  “I have no second thoughts when I’m with her; the problem is when I’m not with her I start to rethink it all.”

“Geez, you really are messed up,” Kaleigh replied, before going on.  “Tell me how you feel when you’re with her so I may draw a conclusion as to how you may be feeling when you’re not with her.”

“Well, I feel like I haven’t ever been any happier for one,” Finn said, thinking back to the evening he and Molly had kissed in the library.  “In fact, I’d even go as far as to say I have pictured her as my girlfriend.  But then the tables turn over the moment I’m alone and I am left questioning if these feelings are real, and aren’t just a figment of my overactive imagination.”

“Whoa, it sounds like you have it bad.”

“You have no idea,” Finn grumbled moodily as he looked out over the smooth, glass-like surface of the lake.  “I just wish I were sure; not to mention, how do I find out if she feels the same way?  She could still hate my guts for all I know.”

“Maybe you should ask her,” Kaleigh suggested.  “It wouldn’t hurt, and at least then you won’t have to torture yourself over all this confusion and tangled feelings.”

“But what if she turns me down?”

“Then you’ll move on,” Kaleigh said.  “There’s more to life than holding back.  If you don’t go for something than you’ll never get the answer.”

Finn sighed.  He knew Kaleigh made an excellent point, but he had an irrational fear of being let down.  It was probably what was stopping him from opening up to these feelings for Molly.  He had spent so much of his time picking on her that he was finding it hard to think of her as a girl he could very well love.

Love.  That’s intense, too intense.

Finn couldn’t even admit he liked Molly, now he was thinking of love.  His mind was more messed up than he had originally thought.

“Well, I’m going to head back inside,” Kaleigh said, standing up and turning to leave.  Then, after only taking a few steps back to the castle she turned around.  “Ask her out to the next Hogsmeade trip.”

Finn nodded subconsciously, realizing he was now alone as Kaleigh made it the rest of the way back to the castle.  It would be easy enough to ask Molly out during Potions.  The only problem if she was still talking to him after he had kissed her the other evening.  He didn’t know why she would not talk to him after that, on the other hand it was Molly.  Everything about her scared him shitless.

*~*

The following day dawned bright and early for Finn.  He had not gotten much sleep, which was to be expected due to all the things he had on his mind.  He was glad it was a Saturday, and therefore would not be expected to follow what was being said in lessons.  On the other hand, a part of him wished it was a weekday just so he would be able to see Molly.  It was not that he would not be able to see her today, but it would take more effort than it would during the week because they didn’t have lessons.

While Finn was contemplating how he might go about approaching Molly today, a pillow soared in an arch and landed with a plop on his chest.  “Oi!  Who threw that?”  He jumped out of bed and looked around at his dorm mates before his eyes landed on a laughing Nott.  He snatched the pillow from his bed and threw it at his best mate, missing when Nott moved out of the pathway it was heading in.

“Grow up,” Finn retorted before he turned his attention to getting dressed for the day.

“Where’s the fun in that?”  Nott chided him.  “You know, I’m starting to wonder about you, mate.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You just seem different, is all,” Nott said.  “Less fun, as a matter of fact.”

Finn scowled.  “Just because I’ve done a bit of growing up over the summer it doesn’t mean I don’t still know how to have any fun.”

“Yeah, okay, whatever you say, mate,” Nott replied.  “Are you going to hang with us by the lake or sneak off today?”

“Sure,” Finn said, shrugging nonchalantly.  “Are we heading down there after breakfast?”

Nott shrugged.  “Dunno, sometime this afternoon.”

“Okay,” Finn said.  “I suppose I’ll see you then.”

It was without a second glance at Nott, or the rest of the others that shared the dorm with him, that he headed up the stairs which led into the Slytherin common room.  Because of it situated under the great lake, the lighting in the room was a pale green colour.  There were not many students in the common room, only a few as most were more than likely still in bed, as Finn made his way across to the entrance/exit and out into the dungeons.

In no time at all, Finn found himself climbing the stairs into the Entrance Hall and entering the Great Hall.  It took him no time at all to spot Molly at the Ravenclaw table with her nose in a book and no sign of her friends.  Was it his lucky day or what?  He casually walked passed her on his way over to the Slytherin table and whispered out of the corner of his mouth,

“Meet me in the empty classroom across from the Charms room after breakfast.”

He felt himself relax as Molly gave a curt nod of her head before turning her attention back to the black and white pages of her book.  There had been a small part of him that had been nervous she might refuse to meet with him, though he had no idea why.  Perhaps it was because he wasn’t sure she had felt the same thing he had when they had kissed the other evening.  There was that to consider, then there was the simple fact that he had no idea how she felt about him.

Obviously she didn’t hate him anymore or she would not have agreed to meet him in the library.  Not to mention the fact they both were able to get through Potions class without exploding any potions, a feat that Professor Holt had brought to light in the last Potions lesson.  Nevertheless, it was not until Finn was waiting for Molly in the deserted classroom did he start to second guess his feelings for her yet again.

Tap, tap.

Finn nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of someone tapping on the door before it opened to reveal Molly.  “Oh, it’s just you.”

“You asked me to meet you here,” Molly said shyly, taking her time to step completely into the room before shutting the door behind her.  When she had turned back to face Finn, she let a small smile break through her façade.  “How’s it going?”

“Alright, I suppose,” Finn replied, albeit sullenly despite the happiness he felt at being in Molly’s presence.  “I’ve been thinking a lot these past few days about that kiss.”

“Oh,” Molly said softly.

“Yeah,” Finn said, plowing onward in explanation.  “The main point being that I’m confused.”

“Why?”

“I honestly don’t know,” Finn said honestly.  “I just know that I feel like I’m being pulled in two separate directions.”

Molly frowned.  “Is this about us?  Or something else?”

“Us,” Finn replied, and then added, “I think.”

“You think,” Molly said, frowning deeper.  “Well, which is it?  You’re either thinking about us or it’s something entirely different.”

“I think I may actually like you, as odd as that sounds.”

“And what’s so odd about liking me?”

“Well, for one, I always picked on you,” Finn ticked off, using his fingers to make his point.  “Then, for another, I never imagined liking you as a possibility at all.”

“And why is it so hard to see yourself liking me?”  Molly said, becoming defensive.  “It’s not like I’m the insufferable Slytherin prat.  In fact, I’m the most tolerable between us.”

Finn scowled.  “Yeah, right, says the girl who considers herself high and mighty above all others in our year.”

“I do not,” Molly said, hurt.  “I never said anything of the sort.”

“You never had to as it’s plainly written on your face anytime a fellow classmate, especially me, makes a mistake.”

“I have no idea what you’re on about, but none of its true at all,” Molly argued.  “And I don’t know why you’re doing this either.  Are you just trying to pick a fight with me so things will go back to how they were before we got along?  Do you really want to go back to hating each other that much?”

“What?  No, of course I don’t,” Finn replied.  “Why would I want to fight with you?  I’m just stating why I never thought I would like you.  But you just helped me to add another item to the list; you think everything has to revolve around you in some way.”

“That’s not true,” Molly said, her voice starting to crack slightly as her resolve broke down.  “Why are you being so mean?”

“Oh, I’m being mean?”  Finn questioned her through a bitter laugh.

“Yeah, you are.”

“Well, did you ever stop to think this may be how I really am?”

“No, because I thought you had changed from the immature prat you used to be,” Molly replied tersely.  “Now I see that I was sorely mistaken in my observation.”

It was with that said that Molly turned on her heel and once she had managed to open the door with fumbling fingers in her haste to escape the room from Finn after only a few minutes.  The loud sound of the door slam nearly had Finn’s legs collapsing from beneath him before he was able to sit in one of the many chairs when he realised he had just blown any chance he had with Molly.  There was no way she would give him another chance when he had used up so many already.





Author's Note:  So, I've had this chapter finished for some time now, just haven't had the chance to post it. But now I have and I'm going to be working on ch. 10 when I'm able to fit some writing into my ever growing schedule. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this chapter!

This chapter has been beta'd by californialove (Alice).


Chapter 10: In Which Molly is Distraught
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter!



Chapter 10

In Which Molly is Distaught




Molly was distraught as she made her way up to the Ravenclaw tower, heads turning as she quickly passed through people on their way down to the grounds for a day of no class lectures.  The only thing processing in her mind was how much of a wanker Finn was.  She had misread him all wrong, thinking he really was changing and that he truly liked her.  By the time she had reached the brass door knocker and solved the riddle, Molly might as well be running as she raced through the common room so fast she did not even register Erin and Mathis sitting at a table in the corner doing homework, but they sure did notice her as she sped up the girls’ staircase to the seventh year dorm room.

“I’ll go see what’s wrong,” Erin said as she quickly made her way up to the dorm.  Upon reaching the door, however, she discovered it was locked.  While she could have unlocked it with magic, Erin felt she should show Molly more respect than that by allowing her to let Erin in before busting open the door.

Molly heard a knock on the other side of the door.  “Go away!” she shouted through her pillow, voice betraying the tears that were sliding down her cheeks.

“Molly, it’s me, Erin,” Erin said through the door.  “May I please come in?  I just want to know what’s wrong.”  Erin tried to sound as coaxing as she could, but one could only be so gentle while wishing her distressed friend would open the door.  “Does any of this have to do with Harper?”

Molly said nothing, though Erin could tell by how much quieter it got on the other side was a strong indicator that Harper did in fact have something to do with this break down.  Cursing the seventh year Slytherin, Erin magically unlocked the door and entered the dorm to find Molly in a heap on her bed.  Shutting and locking the door, Erin hurried over to Molly’s side and wrapped her arms around Molly, whose face was already red and blotchy from crying.

“Please, tell me what he did?”

Molly hiccupped, trying to regain enough composure to speak, though she could not and continued to cry as her shoulders shook.  She was a wreck.  Whatever Finn Harper had said or done to her had obviously affected her greatly, the great sodding git.

“Molly, please,” Erin said, brushing Molly’s hair out of the girl’s face with her hand.  “What did Harper do?  I’d like to get the full story before I tell Mathis to go beat him up.”

Molly immediately started to shake her head as though that was the last thing she wanted.  It was odd that Molly did not want to hurt Finn anymore than he had hurt her; she really had too kind a heart for her own good.

“Please talk to me, then,” Erin said.  “I can’t help you if you don’t talk about what’s the matter.”

Molly sniffled, sitting up as she slowly reigned in control of her emotions.  It took a few minutes before she had calmed enough to say anything.  Brushing aside the tears that still ran down her cheeks, Molly sighed,

“Finn finds it hard to believe that he could ever like me.”

“That toadstool,” Erin blustered, causing a short giggle to escape out of Molly’s mouth momentarily.  “Why I’m going to ring him around his ears for saying such words.”

“Please, don’t Erin,” Molly said, distressed. 

“Well how else is he going to learn to behave if someone doesn’t teach him a lesson when he does something exceedingly rude and pompous,” Erin said.  “I’m sorry, but I really don’t see what you are seeing in him all of a sudden.  He seems like the same prat he has always been in the previous six years we’ve been going to school together.”

“I know,” Molly said, albeit sadly; all the fight had left her completely.  “But I really thought he had changed, you know.  I wanted him to have changed.”

The expression on Erin’s face made Molly bury her face back into her pillow as it made her feel like she was being judged in the strictest of scrutiny.  She knew she should have kept her guard up with Finn, but it never helped to dwell on what one should have done when something had already happened.  In truth, Finn had been in the wrong here as far as Molly was concerned as he had led her on in believing he had changed for the better.  Not to mention how he had begun to treat her as though they were truly friends; he seemed so sincere, looking back, in every one of his actions he had shown her in the past few weeks.

If Molly was not so gullible to believe in the best of people she would have seen through Finn’s niceness straight away before it was too late.  By too late she obviously meant before she started to fall hard for Finn; now, because she had not been better on her guard, she had crash landed in a heap of tears.  She was a mess.

There was another knock on the closed door, followed by the voice of one of their dorm mates telling them that Mathis wanted to know if everything was alright up here with Molly.  Erin quickly said they were sorting it all out and would be down shortly before turning her complete attention back to Molly. 

“Molly, I know you want to believe the best in Harper but perhaps you’re falling too easily into his trap.  Did you ever think that this was his plan all along?  To coerce you into thinking he really did like you and want to be friends?  He is a Slytherin after all; you can’t say that the thought isn’t too farfetched.”

Molly sighed.  “I think I’d know if someone wasn’t being completely honest and sincere to me; I may have fallen into Finn’s trap, but I’m not gullible enough to let someone completely take advantage of my feelings.”

“I know,” Erin said, “but what I’m saying is that by trusting Harper you let a bit of your guard down, and by letting down your guard you opened up a chance of Harper hurting you.  You should never trust someone as Harper, especially since he’s made of fun of you mirthlessly over the years in only a matter of a couple weeks.”

“So you’re saying it’s my own fault; that I should not have trusted Finn at all?” Molly asked sounding hurt as she sat up and hugged her knees to her chest.

“No, I’m not saying that either,” Erin said, still appearing sympathetic despite the words she was speaking.  “All I’m saying is maybe you put a bit too much faith in trusting Harper too soon.”

“I think I’d like to be alone now,” Molly said, closing off as she wrapped her blue Ravenclaw duvet around her in attempt to secure what little security remained in her body.  She felt weak and small.

Erin stood and started for the door, but turned before she left.  “I’ll be downstairs in the common room when you’re ready to talk.”

Molly heard the door click shut, but it did not process fully in her mind that she was alone until several minutes later.  She felt as though she were having a mere out-of-body experience, like she was viewing herself from across the room as she sniffled with tears still leaking out of her eyes.  There was no doubt in her mind now that she had started to form a mutual understanding with Finn in the last few weeks as they got on well together.  While at the same time she felt Finn had betrayed their friendship when he told her he could not fathom liking her.

The minutes flew by but she was unaware of how fast for Molly had fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion after she had run out of tears.  It was a few hours later that Molly awoken to a migraine pounding in the left temple lobe above her eye.  She also found she was quite ravenous after skipping dinner due to being upset and crying herself to sleep; and it was all Finn’s fault.  If he had not upset her so by saying he could not believe he actually liked her by implying they were moving into friendship quite quickly than she would never had missed supper to begin with, thus her irritation at the Slytherin who had tore her heart out only hours ago.

Sighing, Molly sat up in her four-poster bed, trying with all her might to ignore the throbbing in her temple the best she could.  She glanced down at her watch to see it was nine-forty, which explained why the dorm was still empty as most everyone stayed up in the common room studying and socializing until around ten-thirty every evening, especially the older students.  She really did not want to be around people, but she was hungry and would have to pass through the common room at the very least on her way out to head down to the kitchens to beg some food off the house-elves. 

Molly slowly made her way out of the dorm and down the spiral staircase that led through a doorway which opened up into the Ravenclaw common room.  The first thing she noticed was the statue of Rowena Ravenclaw with her diadem fixed atop her head reading ‘Wit Beyond Measure is Man’s Greatest Treasure’, the Ravenclaw slogan.  Then, the next being her two friends, Mathis and Erin, who were seated at the table in the corner with their books before them and quills scratched over parchment.  Upon Molly’s approach of the table they each looked up with expressions of relief that she had finally emerged from her cocoon amidst her blankets.

“How are you fairing?” Mathis asked, with concern etched on his face.  “Erin told me what happened with Harper.  That’s really low of him to do, even for a Slytherin.”

“I’m alright, just really hungry,” Molly said as she took a seat across from her friends at the small, rounded table.  “Not to mention I have a monster of a migraine, but I suppose that’s from all the crying I did earlier.”

“Which you have every reason to be upset with what that toerag Harper did to you,” Erin fumed.  “He really is insensitive when it comes to the opposite sex.”

Mathis piped up.  “Not to mention how utterly rude it is to lead someone on for weeks before suddenly dropping off by telling said person they never wanted to be friends to begin with.”

Molly really loved her friends.  She could always count on them to cheer her up even when she was upset, which did not happen often but when it did she could always count on them.  Never mind she was still upset about Finn leading her but for now she did not care about what had transpired in that empty classroom with him presently.  She would undoubtedly see Finn in Potions first thing Monday morning, but she would cross that bridge when she came to it.  In the meantime, however, Molly felt she needed to put some food in her empty stomach before she fainted as she was starting to feel lightheaded from her pounding head.

“Do you need a headache potion?” Erin asked her, noticing the pale pallor of Molly’s face.  “I have a bottle upstairs in my trunk; I’ll go get it for you.”

“Thanks,” Molly said, choosing to wait while her friend when to go retrieve the bottle.

Erin came back down and poured out a small portion into one of those small cups used for measuring doses of medicine before handing it over toward Molly, who gulped it down in one swallow.  Molly had never quite liked the taste of medicine, but sometimes it was unavoidable.

“Now, let’s head down to the kitchens to get some food in you,” Mathis said, standing up and waiting for the two girls to stand before they all left the common room.  If it were not for her friends Molly would most certainly starve when she was going through a boy crisis.

*~*

Monday donned bright in early far too quickly for Molly as she made her way from the Great Hall after breakfast toward the dungeons.  She was not ready to see Finn.  In fact, she would be perfectly happy not to see him ever again if she had any say in the matter.  But that was not an option as they shared a few classes together, in addition to being partners in Potions.  In other words, Molly was going to have to interact with Finn whether she liked it or not.

Groaning as she rounded the corner with Erin and Mathis, Molly’s eyes fell immediately on Finn as he leaned his shoulder against the stone wall outside of the classroom.  She could not help it as Molly had grown accustomed to searching for Finn the last couple weeks that her eyes just automatically sought him out within seconds of coming into contact with him.  It was bad enough he had such an effect on her despite the fact he had flipped the switch off for them to continue being friends; now, however, he was controlling her without even realizing he was, which was far worse.

Molly forced herself to look away as she turned toward Professor Holt opening the door to let them in for the morning’s lesson.  Dragging her feet, she made her way into the classroom and over to the work table she shared with Finn, who was already setting up their station.  Upon her approach he grinned, but it quickly slid from his face when he noticed the infuriated expression on her face.

“Look, Molly, I’m sorry,” Finn said, attempting to clear the air between them.  “I never meant to hurt you.”

“But you did, Harper,” Molly said steely, choosing to call him by his surname.

Finn sighed.  “I know, and I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t get the image of you crying out of my head.  I really am sorry, you have no idea how much I am sorry.”

“Whatever,” Molly said, taking her seat on the stool beside him.  “Let’s just get on with brewing today’s potion so we can get on with the rest of our days.”

The class went by exceedingly slow, too slow for Molly, but when all the partners had turned in their stoppers with the brewed potion in it she could not have been happier to be rid of Finn.  Never mind the fact she would see him again in another class that day, but for now she was able to escape his presence until their paths crossed again.  Though, it seemed Finn had other plans in mind as he caught her arm just before she turned to leave the classroom.

“Molly, do you think you’ll ever forgive me?”

The look on his face was pained and Molly found her resolve slowly cracking.  Why couldn’t she stay mad at him?  He had insulted her by basically saying they had no future together, not even as friends.  Not to mention this was after he had led her on to believe he really enjoyed having her for company.  Did she really want such a guy in her life?  The answer was no, but Molly was finding it extremely difficult to say as much the more she looked at Finn’s distressed appearance.  Then Molly made the mistake of meeting his eyes with her own and their fight from the other day was all ancient history as she nodded.



Author's Note: All done! And I'm dreadfully sorry for the delay in posting this, but hopefully it won't be long for the next chapter update. Hope you all enjoyed and I'd love to hear what you all thought and any criticism is good, too. Thanks for reading! :)

This chapter has been beta'd by calfornialove (Alice).


Chapter 11: Of Fights and Nighttime Meetings
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Author Note:  And a quick update, yay! Now, let's not get used to this or I may go right back to long waits in between updates. But I really am trying to get better at this whole updating soon-ish thing. Anyway, instead of rambling on I'll just say I hope you enjoy and I'd appreciate any feedback you may be able to give me on this chapter.

On a side note, I'd like to dedicate this chapter to my dedicated reviewers, Darkladyofslytherin and miss_aurora!  Without either of their continued support in this story I probably would have lost inspiration to write this story long ago... well maybe not, but I owe my inspiration for this story to them. Hope you both enjoy this chapter! And everyone else, too! =)



Chapter 11

Of Fights and Nighttime Meetings



There was no thought in Molly’s mind that was coherent as the end of the day neared on her way down to the Great Hall for dinner after the last lecture of the day.  She should not have agreed to give Finn another chance; he has already had one chance too many.  Perhaps Erin was right in saying Molly was simply not on her guard enough where Finn was concerned as she should be.  For starters, the boy had been mean to her all throughout their first six years; now all of a sudden he is nice to her, well, save for the other day when he said he would never like her.  Yet, she was falling into his clutches the more they interacted.

Was she really that dumb?  Molly would not have thought in such a way had it been for the fact she suddenly felt like she was giving Finn too much leeway.  She needed to put the brakes on wherever their friendship was going.  It was simply speeding along so fast she could barely put two and two together where Finn was concerned anymore.  It was time for some evaluating of the situation.

Molly felt a tap on her shoulder just as she entered the Great Hall and turned to see Erin beside her.

“You haven’t said barely a word all day,” Erin said, a look of concern shown in her light, blue eyes.  “What’s wrong?  Is it Finn?”  She had not seen Molly and Finn exchange the most simple of truces at the end of Potions that morning having left when class was dismissed.  “Did he do anything else to upset you this morning in Potions?”

“No,” Molly blurted, a little too quickly for her own liking.  It took her a few seconds to recover to elaborate further.  “I mean, he didn’t, in fact he apologised.”

Erin sighed.  “You didn’t forgive him did you?” Her friend asked as they approached the Ravenclaw table and sat down in their usual seats where Mathis was already stuffing his face with fish and chips, the ever clueless one of their group.

“Somewhat.”

“Somewhat?” Erin questioned, her brow creasing her forehead in concentration.  “What does that even mean?”

“It means I may have let down my guard again,” Molly snapped, feeling annoyed at her friend for appearing judgmental.  “Can I really help it that every time Finn turns on the charm I forget for a second that I shouldn’t trust him?  No, I can’t.  How am I supposed to anyway?”

“Simple,” Erin said, choosing a more soothing tone that Molly hated even more, “by not allowing him to slip through your defenses.  Do you really want him to hurt you again, Molly?  The boy is trouble with a capital T.”

“Well I think you’re over exaggerating a bit,” Molly sighed, rolling her eyes as she crossed her arms in front of her.  “He isn’t all bad, there are parts of him that are good and that’s the part of him I forgave.”  All of a sudden Molly was not hungry anymore.

“What are you two arguing about?” Mathis asked, though it came out more muffled due to his stuffed mouth full of chewed up food.

“Gross, Mathis,” Erin said.  “Swallow your food before you talk.”

Mathis rolled his eyes in annoyance for Erin before he swallowed the clump of food in his mouth.  “I said, what are you two arguing about?”

“Molly forgave Finn,” Erin said.

“I did not,” Molly replied rather defensively, which resulted in both her friends looking at her with those stern expressions that told her they already knew the answer.  “Okay, I did, but not completely.  He apologised and I accepted it.  It doesn’t mean I’m going to fall right back into his trap; quite the opposite, actually.”

“Really, I’ll believe that when I see it,” Erin said.

“I thought you were supposed to be my best friend?” Molly said, hurt her friend would say such a thing.

“I am,” Erin replied.

“Then why are you acting like this?” Molly asked.  “Why aren’t you being more supportive of my decisions?”

“Because you’re not using your head,” Erin responded bluntly.

“Harsh, Erin,” Mathis retorted, ducking his head to avoid any verbal lashing his way.

“You hush, this doesn’t concern you,” Erin snapped at Mathis.

“Can’t you just hush yourself instead of telling others what to do?” Molly threw out at her so-called best friend.  “Have you ever thought that just maybe you don’t have all the answers to every little question?”

“I never said I did!”

“Then… quit… acting… like… it.” Molly said, enunciating each word so that they drew out longer than they actually were.  She shot her friend a sharp look that said plainly she was tired of her attitude over the whole Finn situation.  “Have you ever stopped to think that I might actually know what I’m doing where Finn is concerned?” She didn’t, but there was no way Molly was going to admit so aloud.

Erin obviously saw through that last statement.  “If you’re so sure of your actions where he is concerned then why do you have your worrisome expression on?”

“You know what?” Molly said, already fed up with where the argument was heading.  “I don’t need to sit here and listen to you patronise me more by the second.”

It was with that that Molly stood and retreated from the Great Hall, all eyes of those at the Ravenclaw that had heard her conversation with Erin unfold into disagreement on her as she escaped into the vast emptiness of the Entrance Hall.  She felt considerably lighter now she was free from her friend’s judgmental wrath.  It was not that she did not accept Erin’s opinions, but rather Molly felt she could not accept the way her friend was looking down on her.

So what if Molly gave Finn another shot to blow?  She would give him as many chances if she wanted to, it was her life and she was going to live it her way.

Oh, my, what has gotten into her?  It was not like Molly to go all boy crazy for a boy she barely even knew more about than his name.  Sure she had spent the past couple weeks studying with Finn, not to mention being his Potions partner now, but she still did not know much about his personal life; not really, no.  She was in trouble if she thought she actually had a handle over the whole Finn situation because the truth was she had no idea what to think when it came to Finn Harper anymore.

Yes, she was giving him another chance, but aside from that she had no idea what to do.  Should she allow him in, or keep the wall up thus blocking him from breaking her heart yet again.  And another thing, Molly was not even sure he had broken her heart the other day.  She had been sad, but it was possible she was only sad at having lost the friend in Finn she had found.  Who’s to say she actually had real, deep feelings for Finn Harper, anyway?  No one except her, that’s who!

Only Molly did not even know what she felt for Finn.  Her heart was saying one thing while her head was telling her another, and she was finding it extremely confusing to keep up with it all.  All of her thoughts and emotions were a tangled mess she had thus far abandoned all hope of ever straightening them back out again.  If only there was a way she could get truthful answers out of Finn without fearing he would take them back without a second’s notice.

“Ugh,” Molly said aloud as she left the confines of the castle and made her way down the sloping lawn to the great Black Lake before plopping down under one of the Beech trees.  Finn had her all torn up over how she felt about him and he wasn’t even with her at the moment.  How can have such an effect on her when he probably wasn’t even thinking of her at the moment?  On that note he probably only thought of her when she’s in front of him.  Boys are so narrow-minded!

Molly groaned again for what felt like the umpteenth time, attracting a guy who looked vaguely familiar from where he stood on the opposite side of the lake.  She supposed he was cute, if one liked bookish type boys with short, sandy blond hair that had the tousled bed head look.  Perhaps she would have thought more of the way he smiled at her briefly as he walked over toward her if she had not been thinking of Finn presently.  That Slytherin would not leave her alone even when he was out of her line of vision, the stubborn bloke. 

“Hi,” bookish boy said with a sheepish grin on his face.  “I couldn’t help but notice how… stressed you looked.” The statement sounded almost like a question in the wording he had placed it in his tone.

Molly, feeling oddly comforted from this boy she had only just set her eyes upon, smiled up at him from where he stood above her.  “So you noticed?” she responded somewhat dryly.

“It was a bit obvious, yeah,” he said, smile still stretched across his face, showing of a dazzling white smile.  “Mind if I join you?”  He indicated to the spot of grass beside her before she nodded and he sat down, crossing his legs next to her.  “So, I suppose I should introduce myself, it’s only the polite thing to do; name’s Tyler Breton, Hufflepuff seventh year and Prefect.”

“I’m Molly Weasley,” she said, after giggling slightly at the way in which he had identified himself to her.  “The second, obviously, as my Gran is the original Molly Weasley.  I’m her namesake.”

“And I’m sure there’s more to you than just being the namesake of your grandmother,” Tyler said, having the knack to make her feel better the more she spent in his presence.  How was it he could make her forget all about… what’s his name?  Okay, so she had not forgotten about Finn, but she may as well for Molly was temporarily stricken by how attractive the boy before her was as each minute passed.  Here was a boy who actually made her feel happy to be herself instead constantly be on her guard about as she currently felt about Finn.

“I suppose,” Molly said.  “If only I knew what I was good at because there are times when I feel like I’m not good enough to be a part of my brilliant family.”

Tyler’s brow creased in thought.  “Now I’m sure there’s something you’re good at.”

“Not really, no,” Molly said. “I mean, my best subject is Herbology, but who really counts that as a subject?  Anyone can do well in that class.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Tyler replied, a grin forming on his face as his eyes glimmered as the moonlight danced down upon them.  “You’d be surprised how many people can underestimate the study of Herbology only to discover it isn’t as simple as it seems to be.  I’m one of the one’s who struggle with it, though I secretly think Professor Longbottom has somehow charmed his plants to conspire against me.”

Molly laughed, she couldn’t help herself.  “Why would he do that?”

“Because I accidently sat on one of his most prized plants, whatever the heck it’s called, back when I was a mere shrimp of a first year.”

“I’ve never known Professor Longbottom to hold a grudge against a student,” Molly said, doubtful for what Tyler was telling her, but nonetheless enjoying his story telling.  “He’s always seemed to be the patient type to me.”  Of course, it could be because she had known Neville since she was in diapers due to him and his wife, Hannah, being close family friends.

“Okay, I suppose you’re right,” Tyler said.  “But I still stand by my belief that his plants are conspiring against me in some kind of way, be that with or without Professor Longbottom’s influence.”

Molly continued to giggle.

“Oh, so that’s how to get you to laugh,” Tyler said, a playful twinkle in his eyes as he teased her.  “So, you like laughing at other people’s misfortunes, do you?  I’m sure you’ve had something embarrassing happen to you that I’ll find amusing just as well as you find my tribulations laughable.”

Molly stopped, doing her best to press her lips tightly together so not to laugh anymore for fear he would find out about her own mess ups just as she had.  Though, she was inclined to share with him as he had with her to level the playing field.  What was with her?  Only minutes ago she had been upset over fighting with her best friend over forgiving Finn and how she was laughing with a boy she had never before spoken to, or may have but could not remember doing so.  Sure, she remembered him, but not really as they were from different houses and all she could think of was that this boy had always been quiet.

“What does Molly Weasley have to hide?” Tyler asked, drawing Molly from her thoughts.  “There’s got to be at least one thing that has happened to you which will match what happened to me in first year.”

“Oh, I dunno,” Molly said, feigning forgetfulness.  Really, what had gotten into her?  Molly was not the type to flirt openly like this.  This was not like her at all, for that was certainly the truth.  More often than not she kept her head in order, except where Finn Harper was concerned.

“Would you like some help finding something to jog your memory?”

“How on Merlin would you know of any embarrassing moment I’ve been stuck in?” Molly asked, completely aghast for the fact she had no idea if he was bluffing or telling the truth; if he was, then what could he possibly know about her when they had never hung out before tonight.

“Shall I just say one name, then,” Tyler suggested.  “Does the first Potions lesson back at school with Finn Harper ring a bell?”

“Please don’t speak of that despicable prat to me,” Molly said, huffing through her nose as she crossed her arms back in front of her again that evening.  “That is the last person I wish to think of this night.”

“Ah, so you’ve had a row with him, have you?” Tyler said, pursuing the subject, though he was careful not to annoy her any further with understanding in his tone.  “What did he do to make you so angry, may I ask?”

“You may not,” Molly said.  “But I’ll tell you anyway.  It so happens I haven’t so much as had a row with him, but rather my best friend.  Though, the disagreement was about Finn Harper and he is currently the reason why I’m not up to speaking with said best friend.”

“Typical, always blame the male for whatever goes wrong,” Tyler said, his teasing nature still shining through.  If he had not been so open about teasing her than Molly may have turned angry against him, too, but he seemed like he meant well.

“In this case, though, it is his fault,” Molly insisted with earnest.  “And it’s all because I decided to give him another chance since he blew the last one the other day.”

“Oh, I see,” Tyler said.  “Which is why all other men have to suffer, because of stupid prats like Finn Harper?  Is that about right?”

Molly smiled.  “Well, I’m speaking to you and you’re male, so I can’t be holding what Finn did over you, now can I?”

“No, I suppose not.”

It was getting late, she should really head back up to the castle or she would wind up in detention for being out of bed outside of curfew hours.  There may have been lenient rules for seventh years, but they still got in trouble for being out too late and Molly was not the type to push her luck.

“I should really head back to the castle,” Molly said.

“Oh, I don’t think you’ll get into any trouble tonight.”

“You sound mighty sure of that.”

“Well I should since I am, after all, a Prefect,” Tyler said, grinning.  “Besides, I’m on patrol duty tonight.”

“And are you going to give me detention?”

“I think I’ll let you slide,” Tyler replied, “just this once.  Don’t let it happen again.”

“Oh, you’re so nice.”

“I try,” Tyler said, continuing to joke with her.

“But really, I should be getting up to the Ravenclaw Tower now so I can get to bed,” Molly said seriously.  “I wouldn’t want to fall asleep in my lessons tomorrow.”

“I’ll walk you, then,” he said, offering his hand to help her stand once he was on his feet.  The pair of them headed up to the castle in comfortable silence with the occasional remark spoken. 

Once they had entered the castle, they walked through the Entrance Hall unbeknownst to a certain Slytherin who was about to come up from the staircase that led into the basements and dungeons of the Hogwarts.  He had left his bag at the table during dinner, which was why he had to go to retrieve it before he could fall asleep.  When he saw Molly with the Hufflepuff Prefect he only knew by sight, well, he backed into the shadows until they passed to avoid being seen by either one.  When they had passed, the Slytherin could not help but feel a tinge of something his gut, like bile trying to make its way up to his throat.

Pushing the feeling aside, he forgot about retrieving his bag and headed back to the Slytherin commons.  There was no way some Hufflepuff goody-two-shoes was going to snatch up Molly where he was concerned.



This chapter has been beta'd by californialove (Alice).


Chapter 12: The Sharpness of Words
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, all belongs to J.K. Rowling!



 Chapter 12

The Sharpness of Words

Finn spent the next few days in a foul mood after spotting Molly with that pompous Hufflepuff Prefect.  It was not so much that he had seen them together a few nights ago, but rather that Molly seemed to be spending increasing amounts of time with the Hufflepuff; time that she could have been spending with him.  It seemed she had completely forgotten about their usual study dates in the library as she hadn’t shown up at all.

In fact, Finn had not been able to ask Molly at all that week if she’d join him in Hogsmeade that Saturday.  On Friday, however, he had woken up with a mission drawn up in his mind: he would ask Molly that day.  Of course there was every chance it would backfire on him as it had that whole week, but he was feeling strangely optimistic about it this time around.

Needless to say, he was not surprised when Molly was not on her own for the first half of the day; she was either in the company of her two ‘Claw friends or that Hufflepuff bloke.  Though, it was mainly the latter as Finn could not help but notice that Molly’s friendship with Erin seemed to be on the rocks at the moment, and nothing seemed to have changed that day.  It was not until lunch that Finn was able to steal a few moments to ask her to Hogsmeade the following day.

In fact, he had devised a perfect opportunity for him to steal her away from present company as he waited in the chamber located beside the Great Hall at the foot of the great marble staircase.  The door was cracked just barely so he would be able to view the students that passed by for a quick bite of lunch before afternoon lessons began. 

He did not have to wait long before Molly passed by the chamber Finn was currently hiding in with that stupid Hufflepuff and a couple others who were obviously the Hufflepuff’s mates.  Quickly as he could, Finn reached out and pulled Molly into the chamber after him before shutting, and locking, the door.  It suddenly got pitch black in the chamber before Finn muttered “Lumos” and the tip of his wand glowed, illuminating the inside of the compressed room.

“What on earth?” Molly questioned, her brow furrowed as she tried to push Finn away to escape the confinement of the small room; he side stepped in front of her, a grin set firmly on his face.  “Get out of my way, Finn.  I’m not in the mood for your childish shenanigans.”

“Not until I’ve gotten my questions out in the open,” Finn replied, hazel eyes gleaming from his lit wand.  “First of all, what’s up with you and that dimwitted Hufflepuff bloke?”

“He is not dimwitted,” Molly said, clearly flustered by his bluntness.

“Whichever,” Finn said, as he waved the hand that was not holding his wand for emphasis.  “Just answer the question.”

Molly crossed her arms before her.  “What’s it to you what is going on between me and another guy?  It’s not as though we’re together, anyway,” she said, lip curling into a scowl.  “I’m free to talk to whomever I wish to.”

“Will you just answer the question?” Finn said, clearly frustrated.

“You’re impossible, you know that?” Molly replied, exasperated.  “But if you MUST know, Tyler and I are only friends; at least presently.”

“Good,” Finn said shortly.

“Fine,” Molly asserted, “am I free to go eat my lunch freely now?  Or am I still being held hostage?”

Finn blocked her as she attempted another escape.  “I still have a couple more questions for you.”

“Well, get on with it, then,” Molly replied, “If you drag on like this I’ll miss lunch.”

Finn scowled before continuing on.  “I was only wondering if you’d like to spend tomorrow in Hogsmeade with me.”

“What makes you think I want to spend the day with you?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Finn said thoughtfully.  “Perhaps because we seemed to be hitting it off nicely before that git came into the picture—”

“That git has a name,” Molly cut him off, “and I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t insult my friends if you truly wanted to spend the day with me.”

“I do want to spend the day with you, though.”

“Well then it wouldn’t Avada Kedvra you to show some courtesy of others, will it?”

Finn rolled his eyes.  “So, will you go to Hogsmeade with me or not?”

“Not,” Molly said firmly, her minty breath hitting Finn sharply in the face.  “I’d rather eat slugs than go on a date with you.”

Finn felt his ego deflate a bit.  He had been so sure that Molly would agree to him asking her out.  Maybe he had misread her actions when they were together, that week excluded since they had not so much as spoken to each other.  If he did not know any better he could have sworn she had wanted to accept his offer.

“Are you sure about that,” Finn prompted her, hoping she might change her mind.  No such luck, though.

“I’m quite sure, now may I please go to lunch?”

“Not until you tell me why you won’t go to Hogsmeade with me tomorrow.”

Molly sighed.  “I just don’t want to.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“Yes it is,” Molly said.  “And a good one, even if you don’t like it.”

“I thought we were really hitting it off, though?” Finn asked, accidentally letting his resolve break, exposing himself to her.  But he could careless at that point.  “We’ve had our disagreements, sure, but I thought we were getting over them.”

“We were,” Molly started, “that is to say, we were until you back pedaled to where we were before.”

“Which is?”

“Not friends,” Molly replied.

“So now we’re not friends,” Finn said.  “What did I do this time?”

“It doesn’t matter what you did,” Molly said.  “The point is I’m done with you; us being friends just isn’t working out.”

“I thought you were going to give me another chance, though?”

“I was, but not anymore.”

“Why not,” Finn asked, completely dumbstruck by Molly’s change of mind.  “We were getting along fine.”

“We were,” Molly agreed, albeit begrudgingly.  “That is until I realised I couldn’t do this anymore, especially if you were going to continue on like this.”

“On like what?”

“Always bringing me down,” Molly said.  “That’s what.”

“I don’t, though,” Finn argued with her.  “You just take it all the wrong way.”

“Don’t you turn your rude behaviour around on me, Finn Harper,” Molly said tersely.  “You good well know how you treat me, especially when your friends are around.  If we’re going to be friends then it’s going to be out in the open, not in secret like it’s been.”

Finn groaned.  “You know how my friends are; they’d mock me mercilessly for befriending a Weasley.”

“Then obviously they’re not your true friends,” Molly said, standing her ground in the dark chamber room.  “Maybe it’s time you step back and evaluate who your real friends are instead of hiding behind a façade of lies.”

“You’re one to talk about hiding,” Finn snapped back, causing Molly to draw back at the forcefulness of his words.  “You’re always complaining about how you’re not as good as any of the rest of your family, choosing to hide in the shadows and playing it safe.  I bet that’s why you’re with that Tyler bloke, because he’s safe.

“Well, I have news for you, Molly,” Finn continued on with his banter.  “Playing it safe never got anyone where they ended up and if you don’t make mistakes you’ll end up nowhere.”

His words stung Molly to the point she did not even notice the light flooding in as Finn opened the door before it slamming shut jarred her from her senses.  She had not wanted to fight with Finn, yet somehow that was exactly where his asking her out had led them to.  Why were they always bickering? 

That had been their worse fight, yet.  She had not thought Finn capable of the amount of hatred she had seen in his face as his hazel eyes burned into her blue.  Sure, she knew he was an arrogant prat who enjoyed teasing her to no end, but she had not thought he would stoop so low as to say such hurtful words to her.  They were only words, but it was the way Finn had said them that had them tearing at the inside of Molly’s chest; it almost felt as though her heart were being ripped out.

Blast Finn Harper for being able to cut her with her own insecurities.  Was she really that transparent in doubting herself?

Wiping the tears that had slid down her cheeks without her realising she had even started crying, Molly left the chamber and headed out into the grounds.  She had no appetite for lunch, nor to attend any of her other lessons that afternoon.  Knowing her father would surely find out about her skiving off two classes she tucked away behind a bush next to the expansive lake, completely hidden from view.  She did not care about anything else.

Molly could not believe she had allowed Finn’s behaviour get to her again.  She should have already learned, having dealt with his antics over the years countless times.  It really was pathetic how much control he had over her when they didn’t even get along for the majority of the time.

Why did she allow him to treat her in such a way?  The thought kept circling around in her mind as she sat there, staring over toward the other side with unseeing eyes.  She was such a pushover; a Weasley was supposed to be bold and courageous, not a coward like she.  It was no wonder the sorting hat hadn’t place her in Gryffindor, it was because she was not brave enough to stand up for herself. 

There she went putting herself down again.  She really had to give herself more credit than that.  It was she, after all, who would fire back smart retorts to Finn when he poked a bit of fun at her.  Never before had she allowed him to walk all over her without throwing in her Knuts worth over it.  Then why for Merlin’s sake was she allowing his words to gnaw at her like they were now?  She could be tossing insults at him in response, not sitting out here sulking over his sharp words.

Molly was out on the grounds for some time contemplating over everything Finn had lashed out at her.  Before she knew it, the stars had started to show themselves by twinkling down over the vastness of the shiny, black surface of the lake and the sky was beginning to darken.  Hoping no one had noticed her absence, least of all her Professors as she stood and started up toward the castle with hesitancy.

Though, she had an irking suspension they would in fact notice she had not attended the lectures and would report her skiving to her father.  Molly could not escape the wrath of her father that time.  The first sentence of his pending letter would surely be about how she was screwing up her chances at scoring high on her N.E.W.T.s, which seemed to be all her dear father cared about her.  She did want to score well on her final examinations, but did she really have to study the whole of her final year?  Couldn’t she just enjoy it since it was going to be the last chance she would walk through the halls of Hogwarts as a student?  No, of course she couldn’t, because she was Percy and Audrey Weasley’s eldest daughter and therefore could do no wrong.

It was so stifling, this façade of perfection she was living under.  When will it be her turn to live life as recklessly as her cousins did, or even as her own baby sister?  She was so sick and tired of being the one her family looked at as someone with a level head and clear thought of what she wanted to do with her life after her schooling was finished.  The truth was, though, that Molly did not know what she wanted to go into as far as a career went.

She was sure her father would love it if she was able to land a job in the Ministry of Magic, but desk work did not interest Molly in the least.  She would much rather receive a root canal than sift through copious amounts of papers on a daily basis.  It would be less painful.

But her father would never accept what she enjoyed to do.  Anytime she brought up the subject of Herbology he steered the conversation to what he wanted her to focus on instead of those silly plants.  It hurt that her own father did not encourage her in what she wanted for herself; instead he pushed his wants onto her shoulders.  All of the weight was too much to bear.

If Finn only knew half of what she had to deal with when it came to her family, then he would understand why she was so insecure.  The whole reason she didn’t have a Sickle of confidence was because of the expectations of her family she was forced to live in.  Not to mention she was a Weasley without red hair; her younger sister had the trademark red hair, yet Molly had been born a brunette.  It was an everlasting joke amongst the whole of the Potter-Weasley clan that she had not been born with the infamous red hair and they never passed up a chance to make fun of her for it.

When Molly had finally reached the end of her trudge through these hallowed halls of the ancient castle, she correctly answered the riddle and headed straight to the Seventh year girls’ dorm.  She ended up collapsing into her four-poster without changing into her night gown, ducking beneath the dark blue duvet as a rabbit would hide in its burrow.  By that point she could sleep forever without any desire to wake for fear of having to face Finn Harper in the immediate future.  It was a good thing it was the weekend.



Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed this chapter! I had fun writing and hopefully the next update won't be too long of a wait as I already know what's going to be in it. Thanks for reading and I'd love any feedback you could give me in a review!

This chapter is un-beta'd.


Chapter 13: Of Howlers and Waiting
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Author's Note: I'm so terribly sorry for not updating in months, since January, I believe. But anyway, I'll be starting chapter 14 tonight so hopefully the next update will come quicker than this one. Also, I'd like to thank justonemorefic, Gryffin_Duck, Drecklin, darkladyofslytherin, gingersnape, obviously394, witnesstoitall, jeanie lee, and krayerth for encouraging me to write with word war after word war.

And because I feel I should share who I see my main characters as for y'all. Thanks for reading and I love reviews. *hint, hint*

Finn Harper -- Johnny Paccar
Molly Weasley II -- Rachel Bilson




Molly woke up with yet another pounding headache.  It seemed like she would forever have a permanent head cold with all of the drama Finn brought into her life.  She did not think she could take any more, and hopefully would not have to deal with him too much that day.  Even though she was vaguely aware of their encounter yesterday having blocked it from her memory for the majority of the day and evening after they had rowed with each other.


Though, she did remember skiving off her last two lessons, which made her sure to hear from her father in letter format that morning over breakfast.  She hoped it would not be a Howler that would arrive via her father’s old screech owl, but knowing her dad he would want to take out his frustrations by yelling at her.  And what better way to yell at her while she was many miles away from home. 

“Are you awake?” Erin asked her from where she stood at the door to the open bathroom.  “It’s almost time to head down to the Great Hall for breakfast.”

Molly grumbled, “Hmmm, almost, just dreading getting out of bed.”

“Well, cheer up,” Erin said, voice full of sunshine, “this weekend holds the first Hogsmeade visit of our final year.  Are you going with Harper?”  There was something that sounded like disapproval in her tone as she said Finn’s surname, but Molly ignored it.  “Or are you going with Tyler?”

“I’m not going with anybody,” Molly said, which was the truth.  She had told Finn she was going with Tyler to Hogsmeade, but that had been a lie. 

In truth, Molly had not been asked by anyone but Finn.  Not that she wanted to be asked by anyone.  Well, aside from Finn, but that was beside the point.  The main point being, Molly did not want to go with Finn when all they seemed to do was fight.  Being friends with him just was not working in their favour.  It was not for lack of trying, but maybe they should take a break from each other for a little while; let the heart grow fonder with some much needed space.

Besides, Molly did not even want to admit that any of the words Finn had thrown out at her in that broom closet yesterday was true.  He may have made a valid point as to her insecurities, but Molly was not ready to admit he was right.

“Alright, ready?” Erin asked, lifting her bag and heading toward the door that led out of their dorm.

Molly nodded, grabbing her own bag and following her friend from the room and down the spiraling staircase that led to the common room.  It was in the commons that the girls met Mathis before heading out into the hall and down to the Great Hall for what Molly felt sure would be an unforgettable breakfast.  She was sure she would be met with a Howler, and if it came to that she would run with it from the dining hall to avoid further embarrassment.  The last thing she needed was the whole of Hogwarts knowing that Molly Weasley II, daughter of Percy and Audrey Weasley, had skived off half a day’s lessons.

Upon entering and finding seats at the Ravenclaw table, Molly felt on edge as she remained very much on alert for the arrival of the owl post that morning.  Never mind that it usually took the owls until the last fifteen minutes of breakfast to swoop in through the high-ceilinged windows and she should have been putting something in her empty stomach having not eaten anything in the past twenty-four hours due to her fight with Finn before lunch the previous day.  But she was not hungry in the slightest due to the nerves that were knotting themselves in her stomach.

When the first owl finally flew through one of the windows, letting out a doleful hoot in glee as it swooped over the tables toward the Slytherins with a parcel beneath it, Molly’s stomach contracted as she held her breath.  After that first owl more soared in through the windows, bringing packages and letters to students.  It was as Molly was starting to allow herself to breathe again, when she spotted that old screech owl that belonged to her father.

Dread filled her as the blasted owl screeched and hooted in flight, all the way down to where she sat in pensive silence with her two friends watching across from where she sat.  When the owl perched on the edge of the table, she was able to make out the red envelope tied tightly to its right leg as it held it out toward her.  With shaken fingers, she unfastened it and stood, quickly making her retreat from prying eyes and, more importantly, ears.  Out in the Entrance Hall, she darted into the closest girls’ lavatory in the nick of time before the envelope began to smolder and go off:

“MOLLY RAE WEASLEY, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU SKIVED OFF YOUR TRANSFIGURATION AND DEFENSE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS LESSONS, BUT THIS BETTER NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.  YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO MISS ANYMORE CLASSES WITH THIS BEING THE MOST CRUCIAL OF YOUR SCHOOLING.

“IF YOU SKIP ANOTHER CLASS, THEN YOU’LL FIND YOURSELF CONFINED TO YOUR BEDROOM FOR THE DURATION OF THE HOLIDAYS AND NOT ALLOWED TO VISIT ANY OF YOUR FRIENDS.  NO DAUGHTER OF MINE WILL TURN SLACKER JUST BEFORE N.E.W.T.s.

“Also, you’re mother wanted me to let you know that you’ll be sleeping on the couch as your maternal grandparents will be staying over on both Christmas Eve and Christmas.  Consider this your punishment for skiving, at least until I can think of something else.  Both your mother and I really love you, Molly, but if you’re going to have to start realising that you’re actions have consequences.  Now, stay sharp and keep an eye on your sister, will you, you know how silly she can get.”

And it was just like that, that the howler shredded itself into teeny, tiny bits.  She watched it, stunned speechless.  She was so angry at how her father had basically called her irresponsible when he said she needed to think about the consequences to her actions.  It was like her father did not know her at all. 

Seriously, Molly was the most responsible of all of her friends.  It really irked her that her father saw her as such a failure when she made one mess up.  Was she not allowed to make mistakes now?  Course, she had deliberately skipped those lessons, but with good reason.  She really had been too flustered yesterday after her row with Finn, thus she would not have been able to pay attention to either of those lectures.

Needless to say, Molly was upset and had to wait until the tears that had came at disappointing her father had dried before she could even leave the lavatory.  Looking in the mirror, she wiped the salty trails from her cheeks with a paper tissue before taking a few deep breaths and releasing.  Once she had gathered herself up, she exited the lavatory only to find a certain Slytherin standing outside of the doors.

*

Finn had noticed Molly running from the Great Hall from where he sat perched on the bench at the Slytherin table, a letter clutched in her hand.  He could tell by her distraught expression that she would need someone to lean on.  Yet, neither one of her friends appeared to be racing after her, which meant it would be up to him to make her feel better.  Standing, Finn hastened across the vast room toward the doors and out into the Entrance Hall.

He must have missed her as he could not find her anywhere.  Hazarding a guess, Finn went over to wait outside the door of the closest girls’ lavatory for Molly to emerge.  It turned out she really was in there after only a few seconds when he heard the sound of a voice yelling—the letter was obviously a Howler which explained Molly’s distress—from within the lavatory.  Listening to what the voice was saying, he felt bad for Molly and immediately felt sorry for what he had said to her the previous day because that had to have been the reason she had skived off the rest of her lessons.

After several minutes of waiting, the door finally opened and out came Molly, slightly red-eyed from crying but still the same Molly he knew. 

Smiling sheepishly once she had noticed him standing there in the corridor, Finn made a few tentative steps toward her.  He had no idea what he should say.  All he knew was he needed to do something, anything, to make her feel better after that horrid Howler she had received, which had to have been from her father.

“What are you doing out here?” Molly asked, her eyes narrowing.

“I saw that you were upset and thought I’d come see if there’s anything I could do to change that.”

“Well you can’t,” Molly said, starting to walk away from him, toward the Great Marble staircase.  “Just leave me alone.”

Her voice sounded so tired and worn out, it broke his heart.  He had never felt so helpless than he did at that precise moment in time.  He would give anything to put his arms around her and hold her until all of her tension left her body.  If he could take in all of her stress he would, just to get a smile out of her.

Shaking his head, Finn ran after Molly, catching up at her at the top of the main staircase.  Reaching out, he grabbed her hand and tugged her to face him.

“Don’t,” Molly said, trying, and failing, to pull away from him.  When that did not work, she settled for looking away from Finn and out of the window across the hall, ignoring him.

“Why won’t you allow me to be there for you when you obviously need someone?”

“I don’t need anyone,” Molly said.  “I’ll be fine as soon as I can get a moment by myself to find my composure.”

“You shouldn’t have to deal with all of this stress by yourself, though,” Finn said.  “Is this how it always is with your dad?”

“You heard the Howler?” Molly said, shocked that he would eavesdrop on a private matter.

“I wasn’t trying to,” Finn backpedaled, “but it was loud and carried out into the hall.  Anyone walking past the bathroom would have had a clear shot at what he was ranting on about.  And your dad makes it seem as though you’re a bad student, when you’re actually at the top of our class.”

“Not the top,” Molly argued.

“Yes, you are,” Finn said.  “You may not be at the very top, but you’re definitely in the top few.”

Molly sighed.  “It doesn’t matter, if my dad hears that I’ve done anything that may affect my class standing then he blows his top.  To him, I’m supposed to be the perfect, model daughter.”

“What about your kid sister?” Finn asked.  “Does he put any pressure on her?”

Molly shook her head.

“Why’s that?”

“Because,” Molly sighed, “Lucy is his little angel that can do no wrong.  She can get away with anything and it makes me mad because he yells at me for stupid things like not studying enough.  When all I ever do is study, study and study until my eyes are blurry from staring at black and white pages.  But it’s never enough, never.  Not according to my dad.”

“Come on,” Finn said, pulling Molly off and up another flight of stairs. 

Molly followed without hesitation, too weak to resist and fight.

“Where are you taking me?”

“You’ll see,” Finn said, continuing to lead her up flight after flight of stairs before they reached the top of the Astronomy Tower.  He led her over to the low-walled side of the roof and said, “Isn’t it the best view?”

“It’s pretty awe-inspiring,” Molly said, a airy sigh escaping as she looked out over the lush green hills and tree tops, and at the calm surface of the black lake.  And further off in the distance were the snow-capped mountains.  It was breathtaking.

“I like coming up here when I have too much on my mind,” Finn replied in earnest, “it relaxes me.”

Molly turned her head toward him, blue eyes meeting his hazel.  “Thanks, it’s just what I needed.”  She smiled softly at him.

“Don’t mention it,” Finn said, then added, “see I can be nice, can’t I?”  His brow rose in query.  “I think you should rethink this whole ‘not being friends’ thing.”

“Maybe,” Molly said softly, the smile still playing at the corner of her lips.

It was then, Molly realised she needed to head to class.  If she skived again this year then her father was liable to have a coronary, and that would be a tragedy as she did not want to cause her father any pain. 

“I’ll walk you,” Finn offered.

“You don’t have to,” Molly said, “I know you have Ancient Runes, which is on the opposite side of the castle of where the Arithmancy classroom is located.”

“I don’t mind.”

When it was clear, after a few minutes of bickering, that Molly would not be able to rid herself of Finn, she gave in to him walking her to her first lesson of the morning.

The pair of them walked in silence, their feet falling into perfect rhythm with each other’s.  If that was a sign of them being a great match, then Molly felt she would need to run away.  The last thing she needed was to fall into another of Finn’s traps.  She feared she would forever get lost the next time she allowed herself to get close with Finn.  It was all going much too fast for her to keep up with.

Then, Finn was waving at her once they had approached the Arithmancy class before turning on his heel to head toward Ancient Runes.  He arrived in class, still with thoughts of Molly floating on the surface of his mind, and took his seat next to Nott without acknowledgement.

“You alright, mate?”

When Finn did not respond, Nott stuck the pointy part of his quill—ink already on the tip—into Finn’s ear to get his attention.  Jumping slightly, he turned to look at Nott with a furrowed brow.  “What was that for?” he asked angrily.

“I was trying to get your attention,” Nott said.  “You seem as though you’re lost in a daze.  What’s got your head all muddled?”

“Nothing,” Finn muttered, pulling a few sheets of parchment, quill, and inkwell from his bag as the professor shut the door and begun talking at the front of the classroom.

“Or should I say, who’s got your head all fogged up?” Nott said, emphasizing the ‘who,’ implying he knew who Finn was thinking about.

But how could he?  Finn thought hard.  He had not told Nott about liking Molly, yet it was a bit obvious as he thought it over since he had been hanging with her a lot the past few weeks.  Still, Finn had been careful to avoid the spots around the castle his friends hung out in, and his friends rarely ever went inside the library.  Was it possible that Nott had put two and two together, though?  It would not have been terribly difficult since he and Molly talked and laughed in Potions, a class that Nott was also in.  While at the same time, Molly was his partner, so it would only be natural for them to put aside their differences to get along in that class for the sake of their Potion scores.

“Am I right in assuming it’s a girl that’s got you all in a funk?”

Finn shrugged, choosing to play it cool.  If Nott guessed wrong, then he could pretend it was the reason for his muddled mind.

“Is it Kaleigh Holt?  I know she still likes you.”

Finn nodded, keeping his face as solemn as he could.  He could make Nott believe him as long as he kept his face expressionless.

“Or could it be that you have found another girl?” Nott said, smirk forming on his face.  Finn had no idea whether Nott was bluffing or if he really did know about the mutual friendship that had formed between Finn and Molly.

Finn shrugged, trying not to give anything away in his face.

“A certain Weasley, perhaps?”

He knew.  Finn cursed under his breath, causing the professor to shoot a disapproving look in their direction before continuing on with her pointless lecture.  How had Nott figured it out?  He had been so careful as to keep his seeing Molly from his mates, yet somehow Nott had discovered the truth.

Sensing the jig was up, Finn sighed and nodded.

“I knew it,” Nott whispered triumphantly, causing the professor to glance their way yet again and take ten points from Slytherin for their disruptive behaviour.  “I told the others, and they said no way, but I still kept up a vigilant act of watching the two of you together.  That’s why you don’t make fun of her anymore.  You really do like her, don’t you?”

“Yes, there, I said it,” Finn whispered back furiously. “Are you happy now?”

“Quite,” Nott replied back quietly, “now that I know you’re harbouring feelings for Molly Weasley, your used to be sworn enemy.”

“She was never my enemy.”

“Might as well have been.”

“No,” Finn corrected, “I just liked getting a reaction out of her the more I made fun of her.”

“So, what you’re saying is you always liked Molly, then.”

It was pointless arguing with Nott when he always twisted Finn’s words around on him.  He would never live this down, especially once Nott told the rest of their mates.  Nott was bound to tell the rest when they met up with the others in Charms next, and by lunch the majority of Slytherin house would know.  There was no hiding it from them anymore.  It was all going to come out as soon as Nott opened up his big mouth.

And Nott did not disappoint Finn’s expectations in the slightest in Charms, or lunch.  In fact, Nott exceeded them, as the news that Finn liked Molly spread to everyone that was currently in the Great Hall for lunch and by dinner the whole castle knew.  Even the professors were looking at him like they knew. 

It was embarrassing.  Finn hated being the centre of attention.  He much rather stay in the shadows; leave the spotlight for someone who actually enjoyed it, like Nott.  But the fact that all of Hogwarts knew who he liked was still not bothering him as much as Molly refusing his offer to go to Hogsmeade with him on Saturday.  It bugged him the Hufflepuff would get to spend time with her in the village.

“Oi, mate, are you asking your girl to Hogsmeade?” Nott asked him.

“Already did, and she’s not mine.”

“And?”

“She’s already got a date,” Finn said, shamefacedly.  “I asked her too late.”

“This is Molly we’re talking here, right?” Nott questioned sarcastically, brow raised mockingly.  “Who could be your competition?  I was under the impression that no one liked her, aside from you as of recent.”

“She’s seeing that Hufflepuff Prefect bloke in our year that you used to dunk head first in the toilets back in our fourth year,” Finn said, nonchalantly.

“That wanker?” Nott laughed.  “She clearly has bad taste, then, if she’s choosing him over you.  Don’t fret, mate, she’ll see through him in no time.”

“What will she see of him?”  Finn replied.  “It’s not like he’s a bad guy, just a bit annoying.”

“Seriously, it’s like you’re not even a Slytherin anymore, mate.”

Finn shrugged, not caring to respond to that statement.  He would always be a Slytherin, he was only maturing as he got older.  Something his friends needed to start doing.

He ended up spending the evening in the common room listening to his friends talk about nothing in particular, while occasionally teasing him for liking a Weasley.  It bothered him some, but not as much as he initially thought it would; he really was growing up. 

It seemed the next couple days before Hogsmeade would torment him, since he would not be able to spend the day with Molly.  He really had no idea where he stood with her after today.  He hoped he had landed back into her good graces, but there was a part of him which highly doubted that.  Girls could hold grudges for a long time.  It was as though they looked for things to be angry at.  It frustrated him.

Finn wanted Molly to forgive him so he could make it up to her.  He was tired of their nonstop bantering back and forth.  It was tiring him out.  While at the same time, he will admit it was fun to infuriate her further.  He found her adorable when she fumed at him, but that was beside the point.  The point being, Molly needed to forgive him, and the quicker she did the quicker he could be back in her good graces.

It was going to be torturous for him until she decided to let him back in, but he would wait because she was worth it.


Chapter 14: Hogsmeade
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter.

Author's Note:  Yay, a quick update, and chapter fifteen is almost halfway finished itself, so you all may actually get another quick update again. I'd just like to think all of my word war buddies yet again for driving me to continue writing over the past couple of weeks: darkladyofslytherin, Pheonix Flames (Drue), Gryffin_Duck, gingersnape, witnesstoitall, JeanieLee (SunSationGal 07), krayerth, and I'm sure I'm missing more, but our writing group on skype has multipled and exploded so much in the past week.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chapter as I had loads of fun writing it.




It was Saturday morning in no time at all, it seemed, and Molly was on her way down the sloping grounds toward the gates that led into the all wizards’ village of Hogsmeade.  She was walking with Erin, Mathis, Tyler, and a couple of Tyler’s mates.  While she would have preferred to be spending the day with Finn, Molly knew it could not be helped as she had, after all, lied to him in saying she was already going to the village with Tyler.  Which ended up being true, it just was not a date like she had implied it would be to Finn.


Maybe Finn would be jealous, as she could not hold back the thought.  She had never really felt the urge to make a guy jealous, but she could not stop from wondering if she had made Finn jealous.  Usually she had found herself jealous of other girls when they said they had the best boyfriend.  It had never occurred to her that a guy would ever feel that about her.

When they had reached Hogsmeade village, Mathis suggested they go to Honeydukes first and Erin made a retort about him and his sweet tooth.  But they still made Honeydukes their first stop. 

Molly always loved walking into the sweet shop.  She always felt comforted each time she stepped through the front door.  It was always so warm, the sugary smell enveloping her in a welcoming hug each time.  Hands down, it was her favourite shop in the village.  No shop could hold a candle to it, not even her Uncle George’s joke shop, since he had a few branches in other places aside from Diagon Alley.  In addition, her Uncle George always tried to work at the Hogsmeade branch of Weasleys’s Wizarding Weezes on the days that Hogwarts students were in the village, so it was always nice to stop in for a visit.

As much as she loved her Uncle George, there were times Molly felt as though she did not belong when she stepped into any of his joke shops.  She knew he loved her, but a part of her felt like her uncle wanted her to be more of a prankster like quite a few of her cousins were, and he had been a prankster before them.  Of course Lucy got on swimmingly with Uncle George, but she was also a jokester-in-training, much to her parents’ changrin.  But did her father do anything to put a stop to Lucy’s joking around?  No, of course not, she was his little angel that could do no wrong!

With that said, the next stop after Honeydukes was her uncle’s shop.  She did not see anything out of the ordinary upon first stepping into the store, however the further she got in she realised who was standing beside her Uncle George behind the counter; it was her father.  Now what was he doing here, she contemplated as she started to turn around.

However, her plan to evade detection was foiled immediately as her father had looked up at the dinging of the bell as she had came in and recognised her.  She watched as he turned to his brother to whisper something before heading in her direction.  There was no escaping now.  If she ran now, then her dad would send her another letter.

“Molly, a word please,” Percy said curtly, motioning that they head on to the storage room in the back.  Nodding, she followed her father with her head hung slightly in defeat.  He was going to let her have it now.  The Howler had been nothing compared to face-to-face lectures she had to endure from her father.

When they had reached the storage room and Percy had shut the door behind him after Molly had entered, the sounds from the front was immediately hushed.  It was so stifling in the room.  She had never felt so smothered in her life.  Chancing a glance at her father, Molly saw that he had his I’m-disappointed-in-you-Molly expression on, which instantly made her flush with shame as she looked back down at the floor.

“I don’t know what has gotten into you lately,” Percy started, “but I will not tolerate you skiving off your lessons.  And apparently, according to Neville and your other professors, you’ve been distracted in lessons and not paying as much attention as you normally do.  This is not the year to start slacking off, young lady.  What do you have to say for yourself?”

Molly sighed, resigned.  “I’m sorry.”  Tears had started to leak out of the corners of her eyes.  “I’ve just had a lot on my plate lately.”

“Well, I can’t see how you’d have any more on your plate than studying,” Percy said.  “Have you not listened to me at all?  You’re N.E.W.T.s are more important than anything else in your schooling.  If you mess up on them, then you won’t end up in a position working for the Ministry of Magic.”

“What if I don’t want to work for the Ministry?” Molly said, with her voice aquiver as she dried her tears to look up at her father.  “You never listen to me.”

“I listen,” Percy replied, “and what I hear is how uncertain you are.  Once you start working in the Ministry, you’ll realise it’s the right fit for you.”

“But what if I’m not cut out to work in the Ministry?” Molly questioned her father.  “What if I’m better off working elsewhere?  I’ll never know if you don’t let me decide for myself.”

“Then tell me, Molly Rae, what do you, pray tell, want to do after Hogwarts, because, as far as I can see, you haven’t made any concrete decisions about your future.”  

“I’ve already told you, but you never listen to me,” Molly said, frustrated to tears.

“Well, then, tell me again.  I’m all ears.”

Molly sniffled.  She hated fighting with her father, but she was tired of him constantly setting up her future for her.  He treated her like she could not make her own decisions, and she despised him for it.  Of course, she didn’t hate him, but she hated him telling her what she was going to do and how she was going to do it.  If he could just trust her to make the right choices for herself, then they would have a better father-daughter relationship then the one they currently had.  She really was more like her father than her mother as they were both stubborn.

“Well, what is it you’ve decided, then?”

“I want to work in a greenhouse,” Molly said, angry that her father was being so, ugh, at the moment.  “I’ve told you this countless times.  I like Herbology; never mind that it’s the one subject that I don’t actually have to work hard in.  I just get it without trying.”

“And have you taken any steps to finding a greenhouse you want to work in?” Percy said.  “You have to actually look around for a job, Molly.  You can’t just say you want to do something.”

“I know that,” Molly replied, tersely.  “I still have most of the school year and summer to look.”

“And it’ll fly by faster than you think it will.”

“I know, dad,” Molly said, her patience wearing thin.  “Why can’t you just trust my judgement for once?  Trust that I can make the right choices for myself?”

“I trust you,” Percy said.  “I only want what’s best for you.”

“And I don’t know what’s best for myself, is that it?”

“I didn’t say that,” Percy replied, obviously trying to smooth things out with his daughter.  “I can just tell when you’re confused and unsure.  I’m only trying to help you find your way.”

“Yeah,” Molly snorted, “my way to the Ministry, to follow in your footsteps.”

“What’s wrong with me wanting that for you?” Percy asked, hurt showing on his face.

“Nothing, except I have zero interest in working in a Ministry position.”

It was then that the door cracked open.  Both father and daughter turned to find the store owner, George Weasley, with his head stuck in between the jamb and door.  “How’s everyone doing in here?”  He said cheerily, ignoring both of their sullen expressions as he invited himself into his own storage room and shut the door behind them.  “Thought I’d pop in and say hi to my favourite niece.”

Molly rolled her eyes.  “Hi, Uncle George,” she said.  “How’re things?”

“Splendid, simply splendid,” George replied.  “How’re about yourself?  Having a great final year so far?”

Molly shrugged, not in the mood for sharing at the moment.

“Any guys on the horizon?”

“I hope you’re kidding,” Percy said.  “Molly knows how important her final year is.  She can’t avoid to waste any time on blokes.”

Molly remained silent.

“Isn’t that right, Molly?” Percy prompted his eldest.

“Hmmhmm,” Molly hummed, pursing her lips together.

“Ooh, so there is a boy,” George twittered on.  “Well, who is he, then?”

It was clear that her father wanted the topic of conversation to change as much as she did, especially with how uncomfortable he looked as he switched from one foot to the next where he stood across from her.  She was doing her best to avoid looking either of the two before her in the eye to avoid any further confrontation.  If her father found out about Finn, or even Tyler, then he would yell at her more about how she was not focusing enough time on her studies.  She was a Ravenclaw, after all, didn’t that say anything about her?  She was always studying.

“Hey dad,” Fred said, popping his head in the storage room, “oh, hi there, Molly!  I didn’t know you were back here.  How’re things going with that Slytherin friend of yours?”  He raised his brows suggestively.

She could kill him, she really could.  Okay, maybe not kill, but definitely cause him injury.  Just when she thought she would be able to avoid the topic of Finn with her father and uncle, and Fred had done the honours in opening up that can of worms for her.  He was toast.  In fact, if looks could cause harm, then Fred would be writhing on the ground for the expression Molly was giving him that current moment.

“Whoa, there, it was only a question.  I didn’t mean anything by it,” Fred said, raising his hands in front of him in comic surrender.  “Forget I said anything,” then he turned back toward his dad.  “Anyway, is there anymore Extendables, dad?  James and I need another pair.”

“What for?” George asked.  “I just gave you a few new pairs before term started.  What happened to them?”

“Well, they may or may not have been confiscated by Holt.”

George sighed, shaking his head at his son’s carelessness.  “Have I taught you nothing, Fred, you’ve got to take better care not to get caught.”

Molly watched as her uncle went over toward the shelf on the back wall where the extra Extendable Ears were located at.  As he took down a couple pairs, she thought how cool he was to actually want his son to cause mischief at school, though it was obvious that her father did not think along the same lines.  In fact, judging by his expression, it was clear he was doing his utmost best not to say anything to his brother.  She had to bite her lip to stop the smile from forming on her face; some things would never change.

Once the Extendables were in Fred’s clutches, he raced from the room, stopping only a few seconds before exiting back into the hallway that led back up to the front to glance at Molly.  “Don’t worry, Molly, I have faith you and Finn can work past your differences.”

Molly watched as Fred dashed out of the room, that playful smirk now stuck in her head.  Now she really could kill him.  She started toward the door, but was stopped by a hand on her upper arm.  Turning, she saw it was her father who had stopped her.

“Is that what’s got you in a slump?” Percy inquired.  “So, it is some bloke that’s got your priorities all twisted around.”

“It isn’t even like that,” Molly said, cursing Fred for bringing Finn to light in front of her father.  “He’s just a friend.”

“Is this the same boy that used to give you trouble in the past?”

So he does listen to her complaints.  Well that was just peachy, that was.  And to think, she had only just accused him of not listening to her.  Oh, bugger.

“Now, Percy,” George came up, sliding in between the two of them to act as mediator.  “She is a teenager after all; you can’t expect her to not have any interaction at all with blokes, let alone feelings for said blokes.  Need I remind you of you and a certain Ravenclaw girl that Ginny caught you with in your dorm in your sixth year?”

Molly was intrigued now.  She had never thought of how her father had been when he was at Hogwarts, but this small glimpse into his schoolboy days had nonetheless piqued her interest.

“Yes, but I didn’t allow it to affect my studies,” Percy blurted.  “I have heard from the professors that Molly isn’t paying attention to her fullest in lessons as of late.  So, obviously, she is letting this boy mess with her head.”

“I am not,” Molly said.  “And I’ll have you know that most of our time spent together is in the library, studying for our lessons.”

“Or is it studying that the two of you are doing,” George said, a twinkle in his eye.  He was worse than his son.

“Ugh, you’re impossible,” Molly said, letting her frustration show in her tone and face.  “We’re just friends, nothing else.  That is, if we are even friends anymore.”

“Uh oh,” George teased, “trouble in paradise already?”

Molly turned away from her uncle to look at her father, who looked uncomfortable and out of place.  It looked like he felt the same way she did at the moment, especially considering she was his daughter and the last thing he probably wanted to know about was her love life; or lack thereof.

“What do you think, Perce?” George asked her dad.  “Should we give her the talk?”

Percy cleared his throat. 

“I’ve already been given the talk,” Molly supplied readily, jumping at the opportunity to avoid any further awkwardness with her father over the current topic.  “Mom gave it to me, so you’re already too late to preach it to me.”

“Well that’s a relief,” Percy said, finally breaking his stoic stance.  “So, are you going to tell me anything about this Finn guy?”

“What do you want me to say?”

“That you won’t allow all of your time to consume around a bloke,” Percy said, continuing on with his lecture as though there had never been an interruption.  “In fact, you don’t even need to think about boys this year.  You should be constantly thinking and studying for N.E.W.T.s as you breathe, eat, and sleep.”

“Now where’s the fun in that, Perce,” George said, feeling he needed to provide commentary to keep the atmosphere light.  “She needs to have some fun.  It’s her final year.”

“Just because you dropped out before you sat your N.E.W.T.s,” Percy said, turning on his brother, “doesn’t mean you have the right to encourage more fun over studying.  In fact, you should be an example of what not to do during one’s Seventh year.”

George gave a toothy smile.  “You’re only jealous that you never had near as much fun.”

Percy rolled his eyes before turning back to his eldest daughter.  “The point being, you need to focus on your studies, not boys.  If I hear that you’re still allowing your attention to wander, then I’ll volunteer you to spend your nights studying with the N.E.W.T.s study group.  In fact, I don’t see why you don’t study with that group, anyway.”

“Because, dad,” Molly said, rolling her eyes in annoyance, “I study better on my own.  Besides, there group consists of only a couple students.  Not exactly a lot of motive to join when I can form my own study group with more people.”

“You only need a few people to study with, Molly.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Molly said.  “I’m not joining it.  They study more than I do, and that is a lot.”

“Well obviously you don’t study enough if there’s someone who is studying more than you are,” Percy commented.

“Ugh, I don’t care,” Molly said.  “I’m tired of arguing.  Can I go now?  I just want to enjoy my Saturday doing absolutely nothing, while thinking of absolutely nothing.”

“Now that sounds like a perfect Saturday,” George said, yet again butting into the conversation.  But they were kind of standing in his storage room, which meant he could interrupt all he wanted to.

Percy sighed.  “Okay, but as long as you promise me you’re going to try harder to focus more on your lessons from henceforth on.”

“Fine, I will,” Molly said, while at the same time thinking that she already did pay close attention in her classes.  But whatever it took to get her dad off her case at that moment, and she would agree.  “Now can I please go find my friends?”

Percy nodded.  “Have a nice day, and don’t forget what I said about not letting blokes mess with your priorities.  Stay focused.”

“I will,” she said, itching toward the door.

“And—” Percy started, but was cut off by his brother.

“Oi, leave her alone, will you,” George said, clapping Percy on the back.  “Molly has a good head on her shoulders; don’t worry, she’ll make the right decisions for herself.”

Molly smiled at her uncle and father, then turned and escaped from the storage room, back into the bustle down the hallway and toward the front of the store.  Turning her head every which way, Molly’s eyes finally landed on Erin, but she could not see the others.  Still, she made her way over toward Erin and tapped on her shoulder to get her attention in the over-crowded joke shop.

“There you are!” Erin exclaimed, eyebrows rose in emphasis, “we were wondering where you had gotten off to.  The others left to head toward the Three Broomsticks.”

“Let’s go, then,” Molly said, a bit too eager to leave her uncle’s joke shop.

“Alright,” Erin said, still glancing sideways at her as they left the store and made it out on the side of the street.  “What happened to you in there?  I didn’t see you at all.”

“My dad pulled me into the storage closet to lecture me about skiving lessons and staying focused in class,” Molly said.  “I swear, if he’s going to pop into Hogsmeade on student visits like this, then I don’t think I’ll be coming at all.”

“Really?” Erin asked.  “Honestly, your father is so controlling.”

“You have no idea,” she replied, her face solemn.  “If he continues on like this, I won’t want to return home for Christmas break.”

“But your family is all get-together-y around that time of the year,” Erin said.  “Do you really think they’d let you stay at Hogwarts instead of coming home?”

“They will if I tell them I’m going to spend it studying,” Molly said.  “Or rather, my dad will.  I’m not sure anyone else will, though.”

“Hmm,” Erin replied.  “You could always come home with me if you don’t want to spend winter hols with your parents.”

Molly smiled.  “Thanks, but I don’t think that would go over too well with my family, either.  I’m going to end up stuck at home, I just know it.”

“So, what did your dad say to you just now?”

They were approaching the pub where their friends awaited their presences.  As they entered, Molly said, “Just lectured me to continue my constant studying and that if he hears of me slacking off anymore, then I’ll be confined to my room the whole of winter hols.  Oh, and my Uncle George interrupted us to get supplies, as well as Fred.  Fred ended up blabbing about Finn, thus opening up a whole new can of worms for my dad to lecture me on keeping my nose in the books, and not flirting with blokes.  Honestly, I’m not senseless.”

Erin laughed.  “He obviously doesn’t know you if he thinks you’d lose your head over a bloke.  Though, you have been slightly out of it lately,” she added the last statement, pursing her lips together slightly, then added hastily to back track.  “’Course, you haven’t let it interfere with your coursework.”

“Of course I haven’t,” Molly said tersely. 

The girls found their friends at a booth near the back of the pub and took seats across from each other on the end.

“Where’d you run off to?” Mathis asked Molly from where he sat across from her, on Erin’s left.

“Her dad was at her uncle’s shop, ready to pounce the moment he saw her,” Erin supplied for her.  “And lectured her over her slacker-like tendencies,” Erin added, a smirk on her face.

Molly grinned.  “Laugh all you want, but he also had the audacity to tell me that I couldn’t make my own choices because I didn’t know what I wanted to do after Hogwarts.  Let alone that I didn’t understand how important this year was to my schooling.  Ugh, it makes me so angry.”

“Whoa, your dad sounds strict,” Tyler said from beside her.  “And I thought mine was tough, always on me about Quidditch and lessons.”

“You have no idea,” Molly said.  “Mine was so disappointed when I wasn’t made Prefect that he actually sent a letter to Professor Flitwick in complaint for the Head’s obvious error in judgement.”

“Honestly, you’re joking right?” Tyler asked, with his brow rose in question. 

“I kid you not,” Molly said.  “And he still did not give up hope that I would be made Prefect in either sixth or this year, which never happened, obviously.  To tell you the truth, I’m quite happy that I wasn’t made Prefect as I have enough to deal with without that added responsibility.”

“And Professor Flitwick obviously knew that,” Erin said.  “Which is why he never gave you the badge;” instead Erin had maintained the Prefect’s badge from fifth year on, along with Davies, for Ravenclaw.

“Rightly so,” Molly agreed wholeheartedly.  She never had wanted to be Prefect; though there was a time she thought she should have wanted it, just to make her father proud of her.  But, honestly, if her dad wasn’t proud of her for her current accomplishments, then he had his own problems to sort through.

When the group had finished their sugary, fizzy Butterbeers, they headed back up toward the castle.  Molly was exhausted after the row she had with her father, and was starting to feel the effects of how tired she was of trying to get her point across to him.  When would he be able to see that she knew what she wanted?  It was true that she had no idea how she would get from point A to point B, but she would cross that bridge when she got to it.

However, once Molly was in the Great Hall for the Halloween feast, she was able to loosen up and enjoy the remaining of the evening with her friends.  The atmosphere was too light-hearted and cheerful to angst over the fight she had had earlier with her father.  In fact, she actually found herself laughing when her cousins James and Fred set off a firecracker that danced merrily around the whole of the Great Hall before fading away to dust.  She was not about to let anything sour the night for her, not even the mounting pressure on her shoulders.

In other words, she would not let her father get to her.  She was going to have fun while she was still at Hogwarts.  And when N.E.W.T.s arrived, she would hunker down and study until her brain bled with the information she would need to know to earn high scores, but until then she would focus on her lessons as they came and spending time with friends.

 


Chapter 15: A Little Less Pressure
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Author's Note: And another quick update, that's what, two fast updates? I'm getting pretty good at this updating thing... let's not jinx it, though. As usual, I'd like to thank the awesome skype warring group: darkladyofslytherin, JeanieLee, Phoenix_Flames, marinahill, Erised, obviously394, lia (ailhsa), Gryffin_Duck, gingersnape, and a more! Our group is just expanding!  Anyway, hope y'all enjoy this chapter!




After the weekend passed, and lessons had resumed, Molly felt as though she was under more pressure to excel.  In fact, after Herbology, Professor Longbottom cornered her, apparently her father did not trust her to make her own ambitions reality, he had to help her every step of the way.  It was like she was learning to walk all over again, with him holding on tight, afraid to let her go for if he did she would fall down.  But sometimes it was good to fall down a couple of times, you learn more that way.  She wished he would let her make her own errors to learn from.


“A moment, Molly, if you please,” Professor Longbottom said, approaching her.  “Your father wrote to me, explaining that you wished to be a Herbologist, and wished for me to help steer you in the right direction toward a few possible jobs,” he continued on, his brow furrowed.  “How far would you be willing to travel to work as a Herbologist?”

Molly sighed, could she not be trusted to find her own way?  She looked up at Professor Longbottom, whom she had known all her life as he was a close family friend, as he awaited her response expectantly.

“If it gets me away from my father, then yes,” Molly said.  “I don’t know how much more of him telling me what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it that I can take.”

“He means well,” Professor Longbottom told her.  “Your dad wants the best for you, is all.  He’ll come around eventually.  Anyway, there are more opportunities for Herbologists in places like South America and Australia, even Greece; more herbs and plants in the tropics to study than in non-tropical locations, such as our area.”

“Alright, I’ll check out those continents for magical botanical organisations.”

“And I will too,” Professor Longbottom replied.  “In fact, I’ll write a few recommendations and help you with landing a job, you’re one of my best seventh year students, Molly.”

Molly felt bashful with the Professor’s praising.  “Thanks,” she said shyly.

“Now get on to dinner,” the Professor said, “I’m sure you’re hungry after a long day of demanding lessons.”

She nodded, thanking Professor Longbottom for his words of encouragement and promise to help her find a job working as a Herbologist in a greenhouse.  It felt nice to have someone believe in her for a change.  Sure, her father probably believed in her, too, but he did not act very encouraging as he was more demanding.  She had to do something a particular way where her father was concerned, there was no other way around anything at all.

When she had reached the castle and walked inside to the Great Hall, finding her friends at the Ravenclaw table, Molly sat down and spooned a few scoops of the vegetable stew into a bowl for her supper.  Next, she snatched up one of the warm, buttery rolls to soak in the soup.

“What did Longbottom want?” Mathis asked, slurping up spoonfuls of soup through his teeth.

“He wanted to tell me of how my father had wrote to him about my being a Herbologist,” Molly said, “apparently my father can’t trust that I’ll make headway in finding a job on my own.  However, Professor Longbottom was a lot more encouraging than my own dad as he said he’d write up some recommendations to some of the Herbology organisations that are set up around the world to help me get my foot in the door, so to speak.”

“That’s wonderful, Molly,” Erin said, beaming at her.  “I know how much you love digging around in the soil, getting dirt under your finger nails.  It was only a matter of time before you admitted that’s what you wanted to do after school to yourself.”

“Yeah, it feels great to get it off my chest,” Molly said.  “Maybe this means things will finally turn around for me,” she added, thinking of her fight with Finn and hoping he would give her another chance.  She had given him chances like candy, so it was only fair he would hand her a second chance to be friends.

Sure, she was still annoyed with how he behaved and kept their friendship secret where his friends were concerned.  But she liked being around him.  She felt as though she was free to be herself around him, no consequences added.  He never judged her harshly, either.

“So, does this mean your father has accepted that you aren’t going to work in the Ministry of Magic?” Mathis asked.

“I’m not sure,” Molly replied.  “Though, he’s certainly giving me an opportunity to find another job that isn’t in the Ministry, isn’t he?  I can only assume that he trusts I can make it in whichever field I work in.”

“Well, that’s great news, then,” Erin said.  “You’re finally free to be yourself, instead of someone your father wants you to be.  Of course, I’m sure he’ll still expect you to keep your nose in the books and earn high marks.”

“Of course,” Molly said, rolling her eyes, “that’s a given.”

“But at least he is actually accepting your choices now,” Erin said.

“Yes, but this is the first time I’ve actually argued back and told him what I wanted to do with the rest of my life after I’ve finished school.”

“And it paid off, too,” Erin said, applauding her for standing up to her father.  “Because now you have more room to breathe and focus on what you want to do instead of what he expects of you.”

Molly could not agree more with Erin’s words.  She was finally able to open her mind to more options than the ones her dad had given her.  In fact, she was curious about what her mother thought of all this change to “the plan” that had been made in the course of only a few days since Molly had stood up to her dad.  Her father had to have told her mother about their disagreement in Hogsmeade this past Saturday, there was no doubt about it.

Molly’s mother, Audrey, encouraged both her daughters in whatever they accomplished, and lived more in the moment with minimal planning ahead.  It was a surprise her mom and dad were even together, considering her father had to plan everything in advance.  Nonetheless, her parents were both very much in love and always backed each other up when needed, creating a united front where raising both her and Lucy were concerned, as well as making decisions for the family on the whole.

If it were not for her mother, Molly would have gone nuts with all the bossing around she endured from her father.  Her mom helped keep her father from overworking her.  Though, both of her parents had high expectations for her, but that was also because Molly had set the bar high ever since she finished her first year by earning Outstanding in all of her lessons/exams.  They knew what her best was and expected her to throw her all into everything she did. 

But, Molly had her own expectations to live up to, as well.  She was her father’s daughter, very much so, but she was also her own person.  For Molly to be able to be happy with herself she had to achieve all her goals and earn high marks, but she wanted to have fun along the way, too.  She could be hard on herself at times when she received a lower mark than she had anticipated, but she never punished herself for it, choosing to work harder and strive to do better next time.

After supper, Molly headed for the library with her two friends, prepared to make a decent start on the Potions essay due the following week after next.  She had already finished her essays that were due this week and the next, now she was working on the essays due the following week.  Erin was a couple essays behind her and Mathis was still working on two more essays due that week.  The worse Ravenclaw ever would have to be Mathis; though he was smart, he lacked the proper motivation of getting his assignments done ahead of time, choosing to wait until the last minute to race to complete them all.  It made her and Erin laugh at him, and even Mathis on occasion.

It was several minutes before Molly looked up from her Potion’s essay, textbook sprawled open before her, and realised Finn was seated with Nott, Bennett, and Avery a couple tables away.  The four of them were bent over their own textbooks as they studied, though Molly only had her eyes trained on the brown haired, hazel-eyed Slytherin.

*

Finn was very much aware of Molly sitting only a few tables away from him and his friends.  However, he was trying his utmost not to think about how close, yet far off, she was.  He supposed he could walk up to her and ask to join her and her friends, especially since his cover was blown with his own mates since they knew he liked her now.  But, he had no idea what he would say, let alone where he stood with her.

He knew she had been angry with him after their fight last week, but then she had leaned on him to make her feel better after she had received that Howler from her father.  Never before had Finn been more confused than he already was over a girl.  Sure, he had an inkling she still liked him, but he did not want to push his luck any further than he already had.

However, he was not the only one who had noticed Molly’s presence in the library that evening, for the Hufflepuff bloke she had been spending time with entered at that moment and headed straight for Molly’s table.  Finn made a sound that was a cross between a groan and a growl in his throat, causing his mates to look questioningly up at him.  All he had to do was make a noncommittal nod of his head toward the pair in question before they understood why he had growled so vehemently.

“You should go over there, mate,” Avery whispered.  “She obviously doesn’t like that bloke anymore than a friend, just look at the way they’re talking.  They’re acting too formal to like each other anymore than the best of mates would.”

Finn shrugged.  “I’ll talk to her later on.  I don’t want to interrupt.”

“Sheesh,” Nott rolled his eyes in annoyance over Finn’s reluctant behaviour.  “Just get over there; you know you’ve been wanting to ever since we came up here.  Might as well get it over with and talk to her.”

“I don’t know...,” Finn said, hesitating.  “She may get mad at me again.”

“Please, spare us your excuses,” Bennett hissed, “and get over there already.”

Finn hated being peer-pressured into doing something, while at the same time his mates had a point.  If he wanted Molly’s friendship back—which he did—then he needed to do something about it, and quick before her new bloke started in on her.  The last thing he needed was for the Hufflepuff to ask Molly out again, like he had that past weekend, and ruin Finn’s chances of ever being with Molly. 

He had only realised what an arse he had been to her over the years, never mind not telling his mates he had been studying with her the past couple weeks.  The last thing he needed was to lose her friendship.  If he never got the chance to date her, then it would be alright as long as he remained her friend.

Of course, he would have to speak with her about where they stood in terms of friends.  He could not assume she did not still hate him for what he had said to her in that broom closet.  While he had meant every word, he still felt bad for saying it.

“Will you get your arse over there, already,” Nott whispered furiously.  “If you don’t move quickly enough, she will end up with the Hufflepuff prat, and then you’ll end up moping around and I don’t think I can handle anymore of your hopeless pining.”

Finn shot his mate an angered expression, brow furrowed, before he stood to make his way over toward where Molly sat.  The short distance proved to be the longest six or so feet he had ever walked in his lifetime.  By the time he had reached her table, the stupid Hufflepuff had already taken a seat beside her.

Clearing his throat to make his presence known, Finn waited until Molly had looked up at him before he said anything.  “Hmm, Molly, I was wondering if we could talk for a moment?”

“I suppose,” Molly said, standing and heading over to the other side of the library where there was an alcove that usually remained empty.  He followed closely behind her, taking care not to step on her heels, until they stood next to the window that had a perfect view of the whole Quidditch Pitch.

“So, uh, I was wondering,” Finn started, feeling more nervous than he had ever felt while speaking with Molly at that moment.  “I was wondering where we stood, in terms of friends.  If you were still angry at me for saying the things I said to you last week.”  He raised his brows in question.

Molly shrugged.  “I suppose we’re still friends.  You made up for it by being there when I needed a friend after that Howler from my dad.”

“See, I thought you had forgiven me,” Finn said, relaxing a bit, “but I wasn’t sure.  I never know what to expect with you, you’re a lot more different than other girls.”

“Well, worry not,” Molly said, “we’re friends.”

Finn released a sigh, he was glad to have Molly’s friendship again.  She was the best mate he had ever had, considering he couldn’t talk to his own mates about some stuff. 

“Well, that’s great,” he said.  “I’m glad you’re giving me another chance.”

“I’m giving you another chance,” Molly said, stunned.  “I’ve been worried about whether you’d give me another chance.”

“Why would you need a second chance?”  Finn asked.  “You’ve always had my friendship; I never stopped being your friend.”

“But I thought you were mad at me.”

“Mad at you?”  Finn said, brow going up.  “Why on earth would I ever be angry at you?”

“I don’t know,” Molly replied, feigning bewilderment.  “I thought you hated me because of how weak I am, not being able to figure out what I want to do with my life, and letting my dad choose my path for me.  Then, I fired off at you about being too chicken to tell your mates we were friends.”

“I wasn’t mad at you over that,” Finn said.  “I was only frustrated because it seemed you couldn’t think for yourself.”

“Well, I can now,” Molly retorted.  “My dad showed up in Hogsmeade to speak with me and I told him that I didn’t want to work for the Ministry after Hogwarts, and that I wanted to be a Herbologist.”

“How’d he take that?”

“He took it well, I think,” Molly said.  “Though, he wrote to Professor Longbottom, which is why he held me after class today.  He’s going to help me find greenhouses where I could work.”

“That’s great,” Finn said, really meaning it.

“So, I miss our study sessions,” Molly said, changing the subject abruptly.

“Me, too,” Finn replied in agreement.  “Shall we meet in the library tomorrow, same time after supper?”

“Sure,” Molly said; then the librarian came down upon the pair of them for talking in a library.  They both apologised, pretending to look for a book on the shelf next to where they stood before the librarian walked off.

“Alright, can’t wait,” he said before turning around to head back to his friends, Molly following him until she reached the table where her friends were still at.

Finn had barely sat down when his mates started in on him.

“Did you ask her out?”

“What’d she say?”

“Are you two back together?”

Finn interjected at that point.  “We were never together, just friends.”

“Alright, so you aren’t dating her,” Nott said.  “You’re still on her good side again, which means you’re that much closer to being more than friends.”

“Maybe,” Finn said, not wanting to push his luck with Molly.  He had only got her back a couple minutes ago as a friend, and he did not want to lose her again.  It seemed their friendship was a wild ride of ups and downs.  Thus, it made him more hesitant to test her temper further than it was liable to bend.  He liked her as a friend and could wait for something more to stir between them. 

If it was meant to be then it would happen on its own, like the kiss they had shared it seemed eons ago.  He could wait for Molly to come around.  She still had to figure out who she was before anything else; and judging by how that was going, it seemed Finn had done some good in pointing that out to her in their broom closet fiasco.

With that said, Finn started to pack up his books to head back to the common room.  He had finished the essay he had come to finish, now for sleep.  His mates saw he was loading his things into his bag and joined him in shuffling their books, parchments and quills in their own bags.  When they had all finished packing up, the boys left the library to head back down toward the dungeons where their dorm awaited them.

*

Molly could not very well concentrate after she had spoken to Finn.  All that kept running circles in her mind was of Finn feeling he needed another chance this time around, insisting she had done nothing to warrant a need for a second chance.  It appeared he blamed himself for the things he had said all along, while she blamed herself.  If there was a pair more perfect for each other, than that had proved just how right for each other they were.  Of course, she was thinking along the lines of friends, nothing more.  Or was she thinking of Finn as more than a friend? 

It was odd how she felt she liked Finn, then turned around and suddenly didn’t like him when he pulled something over her.  Their relationship was filled with ups and downs, yet they had only been friends for around a month or so now.

She could never keep her feelings straight where Finn Harper was concerned.  Yes, he was every bit the Slytherin, yet, she found herself liking him more for those Slytherin traits of his.  If he had not been a Slytherin, then would he have pointed out her flaws as straightforwardly as he had last week?  She should think not; while on the other hand, she was not exactly sure.

Giving up, Molly packed up her things and told her friends she was going to head up to Ravenclaw tower to turn in early.  They accepted her explanation, though Erin gave her a look that stated quite plainly that she was not getting off that easily.  The look meant Molly would have to tell Erin all about what she and Finn had discussed behind the rows of books earlier that seemed to have lodged up permanent residence in her mind.

It was all fine and dandy by Molly, though, as she hated keeping things bottled up inside to herself.  She would divulge everything Finn had said to her tomorrow, after she had time to mull it over in her sleep.  And it did not take her long at all to reach the tower, or to slip in through the common room undetected as Molly was generally one to stand back and let others have the attention.  Then, in a matter of minutes, Molly was slipping off to sleep, all the while still with thoughts and visions of Finn proofing in and out of her head.  But all in all, she slept very fitfully, despite her restless thoughts.


Chapter 16: Walls Crash Down
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

 Author's Note:  I hope you lot enjoy this chapter as I sure did have fun writing it!





The seasons changed from autumn to winter as they moved through November.  The Seventh years were busier than ever, with very little time for themselves at all.  Also, the first Quidditch match happened mid-month and everyone, or so it seemed, took advantage of the chance to be outdoors instead of in a stuffy castle.  It was the Gryffindor versus Slytherin match, which naturally meant tensions had built to impressive lengths the whole week leading up to the game between the two houses.

Finn did not play Quidditch, but he certainly enjoyed watching it.  He was walking down the sloping lawn toward the Quidditch Pitch with Bennett, both Avery and Nott were on their house’s team, and both were prepared to yell themselves hoarse for what was sure to be a great match.  They had beat Gryffindor for the Quidditch Cup the previous year, however they had also lost a few players that had graduated and had to add in replacements.  In other words, Finn had no idea what to expect as the match’s outcome.

But it did not matter because he was going to watch this match with Molly.  He would be leaving Bennett to climb one of the Slytherin columns to meet Molly at the Ravenclaw column on the left side of the field.  It was a good thing she was not a Gryffindor like the majority of her family, least he would be expected not to speak with her and he did not think he could handle that.

The pair of them had been getting on smashingly since their chance rendezvous in the library the week after the Hogsmeade visit.  In fact, they were back at their regular study dates and she was speaking with him in Potions again.  He could not have felt happier to have her as a friend again.

Not only that, but Molly seemed to be adjusting to finding herself quite well, though she still seemed to be acting careful, almost tiptoeing, so her father would not lecture her again about slacking off.  It was bollocks, Finn knew, as Molly never slacked in anything, but her father was a regular stick in the mud.  Of course he did not tell her that, but he thought it all the same.

“Well, this is where I leave you,” Finn told Bennett.  “I’ll see you in the common room after the match, though.”

“Alright then have fun with your girlfriend,” Bennett said, smirking, as he headed off toward the Slytherin column and started up the stairs.

Finn rolled his eyes, because of course he and Molly were only friends but that did not stop his mates from teasing him otherwise.  He found Molly exactly where they had planned to meet and together they headed up the creaky stairs toward the stands that sat atop the column.  It was when they had reached the top that he noticed the majority of the Ravenclaws in this particular stand were supporting Gryffindor and they boo’d him when their eyes rested on him.

“I don’t think I’m wanted over here,” Finn said cheekily.

Molly grinned, showing off her pearly white teeth.  “Oh, come on, you know it’s all in good fun.  Besides, I want to watch the match with you.”

Finn could not help but smile back at her response.  In that moment, he felt closer to her, despite the Ravenclaws that were booing him to cower down the stairs and toward his own house mates.  He did not care that he was not wanted by some of Molly’s fellow house mates, but rather was just happy she wanted him there.

Then, it was at that precise moment that Coach Krum blew his whistle from where he stood at the centre of the Pitch to capture the gathered audience’s attention.  Finn glanced away from Molly, down toward the mound as the commentator, Louis Weasley, started to introduce the two teams as they flew out of the locker rooms on opposite sides of the Quidditch Pitch.  He was not all too fussed with who made up the Gryffindor team as he knew the Slytherins would put up a decent fight, besides they had Albus Potter as Seeker and he was every bit the flyer as his dad had been known as during his years at Hogwarts.

“On the Gryffindor team,” Louis commentated buoyantly, making it quite clear who he was rooting for, “we have their Captain and Chaser, James Potter; followed by his fellow Chasers, Fred Weasley and Nicholas Sharp; the Beaters: Hugo Weasley and Yolanda Thomas; then we have the Keeper, Ryan Alton and Seeker, Lily Potter!

“Then, squaring off against them, we have the Slytherin Captain and Keeper, Alex Nott,” Louis continued.  “Followed closely by his Chasers: Nathanial Avery, Scorpius Malfoy, and Brandon York; followed by the Beaters: Matthew Goyle and Kaitlin Vaughn; and last, but certainly not least, their Seeker, Albus Potter!”

Finn cheered for his fellow Slytherins as they flew out onto the Pitch.  He was aware of Molly politely clapping beside him, and was therefore glad she would not turn sour anytime he cheered on her opposing team as it was obvious she would cheer on Gryffindor; she had cousins on the team, of course she also had a cousin on the Slytherin team but that was beside the point.  The point was, there were more of her cousins on the Gryffindor team.

The match started with Potter quickly gaining possession of the Quaffle once it was tossed into the air.  Already, the game was off to a good start when Vaughn aimed a Bludger toward Potter as he soared across the field toward Nott at the goal hoops, hitting him in the arm with such force that he dropped the red, leather ball.  Then, as the Quaffle plummeted downward, Avery zoomed down and under the bewildered Potter, clutching his upper arm, and snatched the Quaffle from the air.

Finn, as well as the other Slytherins, went wild with that incredible grab.  Things were already leaning in their favour, and they could not have been more proud of how things were panning out.

He watched as the Quaffle was passed like a hot potato between the Slytherin Chasers before reaching the Gryffindor Keeper, Ryan Alton, who was a new addition to the team.  At the last second, Alton blundered and dived left—falling for Malfoy’s feint—as Malfoy went right, allowing the Quaffle to soar through the middle of the centre hoop, bull’s eye.  He cheered, the applause overpowering the booing from the Gryffindors.

It was from that point on that the game intensified with a fire like no other as each team went up against the other with their all.  They scored a couple more times, but Gryffindor was in the lead by thirty at that moment, having succeeded in finding a weak link in the Slytherin team.  But Finn did not give up hope, especially since Albus had very nearly caught the Snitch once already.  Albus had missed the winged, golden ball by mere inches when his sister had veered him off course by knocking into the side of him with oomph.

Then, when both teams had each scored a couple more times a piece, with Gryffindor still in the lead, there was an erupted cheer as Albus Potter held up his hand with the Golden Snitch clutched within it.

“And Slytherin wins!” Louis said, though he sounded a bit downtrodden after all the hype he had been building for a Gryffindor win.

“Yeah, go Albus!” Molly shouted, cheering her cousin on.  “Great catch!”

Finn cheered alongside her to what the chanting Slytherin supporters were yelling.  “Raw, raw, Slytherin!”

“It’s a shame you can’t come to the victory party,” Finn said loudly, turning to face Molly, noticing how her cheeks were tinged pink from the chill in the air.  “I don’t mean to brag, but our house parties are really wicked.”

“Oh, is that so?” Molly raised her brow flirtatiously.

“As a matter of fact, it is.”

“Well, you obviously haven’t seen a Ravenclaw let loose before,” Molly replied conversationally.  “Now if anyone can party, it’s an overworked Ravenclaw when they finally kick back.”

“Really?” Finn said, grinning.  “I’d love to see this side of you that you speak of.”

“Oh, you thought I was referring to myself,” Molly asked, pressing a hand to her chest in shock at his misunderstanding.

“You mean you’ve never partied?”

Molly shrugged, still smiling at him.  “That’s for me to know, and you to find out.”

“Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be,” Finn said comically, still grinning.  “I see.”

Then, at that moment, Molly’s two friends came over to join the pair.  At first, she was too busy flirting shamelessly with Finn to notice, but then Erin drew her attention away by clearing her throat.  Instantly, Molly sobered as she looked toward her friends.

“What are you two laughing about?” Erin asked.  “The game’s over and everyone is heading back up toward the castle.”

Molly glanced around to find that everyone was, indeed, heading back up toward the castle in droves of either Gryffindor or Slytherin supporters.  Then, looking back toward her friends and Finn, she suddenly clammed up.  She had not hung out with her friends with Finn as it had always been just the two of them.  For all she knew, Erin and Mathis hated the fact she had turned a new leaf over where Finn was concerned because he had treated her so poorly in previous years.

However, if she thought her friends were about to say something rude to Finn, then she was entirely wrong.  It was as she stood there, speechless and waiting for one of them to make the first move that she realised how so very much she had underestimated her best mates.  They really would try to make amends with Finn, despite the fact he was every bit the Slytherin.

“Awesome match, that was,” Mathis was the first to break the silence.  “I’m actually quite glad Gryffindor lost, served them right the ninnies they are.”

“Hmm, right,” Finn replied.  “Though, I honestly thought Gryffindor stood a chance at winning, as much as that makes me sound like a horrible Slytherin.  We had lost a few of our key players at the end of the last school term.  But, as it turned out, we still have a team that fly strong and don’t back down from a challenge.”

“Your mates are on the team, aren’t they?” Mathis asked quizzically, brows furrowed.

“Yeah,” Finn said.  “But, they too had said something along the lines of how they were just working up to where the team had been at the end of last season in practice.”

Erin rolled her eyes.  “Boys and Quidditch go hand and hand, I swear.  They can’t go two seconds without hashing it out over who the stronger team is.”

Molly laughed as her friend had a point there.

“I’ll have you know that I can go days without talking Quidditch,” Finn said, by way of defending himself, “which is why I don’t play.  I’m not much for breathing the sport twenty-four seven.”

“Fair enough,” Erin said.  “But you’re still talking Quidditch like you know it well.”

“Well, I am a guy,” Finn replied.  “Not to mention we just finished watching a match.”

“Exactly,” Mathis said, jumping into the conversation.  “We just finished watching the first match, and what a game it was indeed.”

They went off on discussing the highs and lows of the match, leaving Molly and Erin to roll their eyes at each other.  By the time they had begun to head back up the sloping lawns, there were only a couple of clustered groups hanging out on the Pitch.  Neither of the teams were there anymore; the Gryffindors had obviously sulked up to their common room and the Slytherins to their own to celebrate.

Erin and Mathis ended up leaving Molly alone with Finn in the Entrance Hall, choosing to head back up toward the Great Hall.  It left Molly to give her a bit of privacy with Finn before the Slytherin made his way to his own common room to the victory party.  She looked up into his hazel eyes, unsure of what to say.  They had just spent the majority of the day together, and not to study.

“So, that was some match,” Finn said, causing the tension to build between the two of them. 

Molly wished he would act normal, his anxiety was making her just as nervous.  She really wanted things to work out with Finn, yet how could they if he was forever sending their progress backwards with awkward moments such as now.  She could slap him for it, really she could.

“What are your plans tonight?” he asked her, the electricity from the tension in the air still buzzing.  Really, he was so infuriating.  Could he not tell that she liked him and wanted more from him at that moment?  Like perhaps regular conversation and no awkward pauses?  While at the same time, she still found everything about the way Finn was looking at her adorable, from the way he shuffled his feet and stuffed his hands in the pockets of his cloak, and right down to the small sound he made in the back of his throat when he got nervous.

“Uh, I dunno,” Molly said, feeling she should at least respond to his stupid question.  “Probably just curl up by the fire with a book.  I just checked out a new one on herbs from the library.”

“That’s cool,” Finn said, making that little throat-clearing sound again.  “Err, you wouldn’t be interested in meeting me in the Entrance Hall later, for a walk on the grounds, would you?”

Molly smiled, now they were getting somewhere.  “I’d love to.”  It was the perfect distraction she needed from all the revision she had been doing to prepare herself for the mock N.E.W.T.s that would take place in the week before winter hols.  Any time with Finn always made her feel light, and it turned her mood right around.  That boy had yet to mess up their friendship in the past couple weeks, if anything their friendship had only strengthened since after Hogsmeade.

“Great,” Finn said, smiling that crooked grin of his that she was finding herself to love so.  “I’ll meet you in the Entrance Hall, say, at around nine, then.  And I will find a way of extracting myself from the victory party that will still be raging in the commons.”

It was with that said, that Finn gave her a brief hug and last glimpse of that crooked smile of his before turning tail and headed down the stairs that led toward the dungeons.  She could barely contain her excitement.  Finally, she finally had an official date with Finn with no studying or Quidditch watching to be done.  They were finally branching off into unchartered territory in their friendship.

A smile still firmly in place on her lips, causing her blue eyes to shine brighter than ever, Molly followed shortly thereafter and headed into the Great Hall for something to eat.  Despite the elation, she was feeling rather ravenous for something to eat after being outside in the shining sun, yet frigid air, all afternoon.  She found her mates stuffing their faces at the Ravenclaw table; or rather Mathis was stuffing food haphazardly into his mouth while Erin watched on in disgust as she ate like a civilised human being.

“How do you manage not to choke with so much food in your mouth?” Molly questioned her friend in slight admiration tinged with disgust.

Mathis opened his mouth to say something, but all that came out was muffled words as he sprayed a bit of food not only back onto his plate but also on the table surface.

“Please, save the questions until after he’s eaten,” Erin said, cheeks turning a light shade of green as they puffed out a bit in her queasiness over Mathis’s rude table manners.  “I can only handle so much of his inadequate manners before I vomit up the food in my stomach.”

Molly grinned, she loved her friends.

Then, she put her attention toward the food before her and started to make herself a plate of fish and chips, and filled her goblet up to the brim with pumpkin juice.  She busied herself for the next half hour toward eating her supper, while occasionally laughing with her mates when Mathis either made faces with a mouthful of food or tried to tell them something and it came out like a string of muffled sounds rather than words.

*

Upon arriving in the Slytherin common room, Finn was immediately embraced in shouts of glee and loud bursts of random singing.  Pushing his way through the crowd of people that covered the whole of the common area, he managed to find Avery, Nott, and Bennett laughing with a few of their other friends in one of the corners.  He snuck up, barely making any sound so not to draw attention to his self, and was therefore not acknowledged for at least a quarter of an hour.

“HARPER!”  Avery shouted.  “How long have you been standing there?  I didn’t see you come in.”

Finn shrugged his shoulders.  “A few minutes, not long at all.”

“Liar,” said a voice close to his ear, just behind him.  Turning around, he found himself face-to-face with Kelsey; he seemed to be seeing quite a bit of her lately, especially considering they weren’t in the same year and thus did not have any classes together.  “He’s been standing there for quite some time now.”

“Gee, thanks for blowing my cover, Kels,” Finn said sardonically, grabbing a bottle of Butterbeer from the ice chest that was set out on the table they were standing next to.  Popping off the top, he took a swig of it.  “Next time I want someone to blow my cover I’ll know who to call.”

“Just trying to make honest fellows out of you lot, one bloke at a time.”

“Har, har,” Nott said.  “I’m already honest, so there’s nothing to change in me.”

Kelsey rolled her eyes dramatically.  “The day that Alex Nott is actually honest instead of a snake will be a shocking day for all of us; in fact, hell may even freeze over on that day.”

Everyone laughed out right at that.  It was amusing because they all knew it to be accurate, as there really was nothing nice about Nott.  Well, except that he happened to be a good friend, but if you ever happened to get caught while out of bounds, then you might as well haul arse as fast as you can because chances were Nott would already be half way down the hall in front of you saving his own skin.  But that was any Slytherin; they only cared about saving their own necks and no one else’s in the process.

To trust a Slytherin to get you out of a sticky spot when they were also on the line was very slippery indeed.  That was where Finn was different, in a manner, as he had his friends’ backs to an extent, depending on how much trouble he would face in the end.  If he would only end up with detention, then he would take the punishment as it was dished out toward him.

“Laugh all you want,” Nott said, being the first to break up the laughter.  “But, as I’m sure to be right, the whole lot of you would act just the same.  We are Slytherins, after all.”

“Well, most of us,” Avery said, “there are a few of us that don’t act like it at times.”  Avery pointedly stared at Finn.  “Isn’t that right, Harper?”

It was all in good fun, his friends making fun of him, but that did not mean Finn liked it any more.  In fact, he despised that about his friends; it was the way they treated each other like outsiders any time anyone of them did something that the others did not like.  While they had been supportive in the past couple weeks they had known about Finn’s friendship with Molly Weasley II, they had still thrown out a bit of good natured teasing.  There was only so much of that he could take before he went off on his mates, and they were skating on thin ice as it were. 

The next couple of hours seemed to drag by for Finn, during which time he had eaten some Cauldron Cakes and Peppermint Toads, and putting another couple of Butterbeers into his system.  When it was finally five minutes until nine o’clock, Finn extracted himself from his mates while they were busy playing a rousing game of pin the wings on the Hippogriff while taking turns blind-folding each other.  Still grinning, he pushed open the entry/exit and tumbled out of the common room to make his way up toward the Entrance Hall to meet up with a particular Ravenclaw.

He was a few minutes late upon arriving, but he wasted no time in greeting Molly as he walked over toward her, attracting her attention to him.  “Brilliant, how was your evening, Molly?”

“Alright, I suppose,” Molly shrugged.  “I just read for a bit, feeling content that I’m not a Gryffindor like a lot of my cousins so that I did not have to listen to them groan about their loss.  They really are a sorry bunch.”

“Most Gryffindors are,” Finn said.  “Of course, it is extremely loud and cheery in the dungeons tonight.  The victory is still being celebrated jubilantly as we stand here and speak.”

“Who would have thought,” Molly said, through a smile, “Slytherins, a cheery bunch.”

“I know,” Finn said, then realised she was taking a jibe at his house.  “Hey!  I’ll have you know we can be very friendly and outgoing on occasion.”

“Oh, I have no doubt,” Molly said, still grinning at him.  “I was merely commenting.”

“Merely commenting?” Finn grinned, before changing the topic.  “What say we head out into the grounds now?”

Molly nodded, and together the pair of them exited through the main doors and took the stairs down onto the sloping lawns and hills that surrounded the castle.  He led the way down toward the Black Lake and they started to make the trek around it.

It was quiet for several minutes as they walked in rhythm of each other, but it was a comfortable silence, like the ones they fell into during their study sessions.  While both felt they should break it, they also felt it would ruin the moment and neither wanted that.  They enjoyed the peaceful moments they shared, revelled in them.

There was a soft breeze, gently blowing their hair back as it kissed their faces.  The moon was almost full, whether it was waning or waxing was up for debate as Finn did not follow the moon’s progress, as they each stopped and looked at the reflection from the billions of stars and moon on the calm, glassy surface of the lake.  It was a perfect night for a walk, a bit chilly, but with their cloaks over their robes they were able to fight off the frosty bite in the air.

“Care to have a seat?” Finn asked, not waiting for her response before sitting on the frost dusted grass.  A few seconds thereafter, Molly followed suit.

“It’s such a wonderful night.”

“I know,” Finn said, breathing the cool air into his lungs before exhaling slowly.  “Winter is so refreshing.”

Molly laughed at his comment.  “You are such a dork.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You heard me,” she said, testily.

“So I’m a dork now, uh?” Finn said, with his eyebrow arched in question with that crooked grin of his forming on his lips.

Then, before she could come back with a retort, he leaned toward her and began tickling her.  It got the response he wanted; she shrieked in mirth as he continued.  He laughed with her.  It was not until several minutes of their play had lapsed that Finn suddenly was very much aware of Molly’s presence, and he was sure she felt the same way as they gazed at each other in wonderment.

Putting his hand to her cool cheek and the other in her long, curly brown hair, Finn closed what little distance remained between them as he touched his lips with hers.  In only a few seconds since he had initiated the kiss, he felt her kiss him back as she placed both her own hands in his short, tousled brown hair, raking her fingers through.  Not only did it cause goose pimples to erupt up his back and neck, but also on his scalp, too.

He continued to kiss her, not bothering to surface for air, not that they really needed it.  It was just air, right?  Who needed air?  Not he, nor she, apparently.  Neither surfaced until they found themselves falling, she backward and pulling him forward onto her.

“Whoa,” he said, “easy, you alright there?”

Molly blushed.  “Yeah, I guess we just lost our graces.  Sorry.”

“No need to apologise,” Finn replied.  “I was afraid I was going to crush you.”  He was now leaning over her with his hands planted firmly on the cold ground, one on either side of her head.  “Want to try that again?”

He need not even ask as she pulled on his green and silver tie, forcing him back into a dip toward her before their lips collided again.  She tasted so good, like sugar and honey; she must drink a lot of tea, as that was his only reasoning for why she smelt and tasted so sweet.  She was giving him a sugar rush, causing a whirring rush to whoosh through his head and thus making him feel lightheaded.  But that did not stop him from kissing her anymore than she had yet to pull out of his embrace.  She felt so good in his arms, a perfect fit.

Running his fingers through her long locks of curls, Finn tried to keep his concentration on the one hand that was keeping him from collapsing on top of her.  He did not want to topple on her again, he already felt bad about their first tumble because he had not been paying attention before.  Then again, it was not like he had much experience with snogging lasses on a regular basis.  In fact, he had only kissed a few lucky ladies in the past.  He was not generally the type of bloke to go around kissing girls just for the heck of it; the girl had to mean something to him before he even considered snogging her.

That was how Molly was different from the few girls he had dated in the past.  She was special, and he actually felt like he could be a better person with her.  Not only that, but he wanted to be a better person instead of a slimy snake.  For once, he actually had feelings that ran deeper than attraction for a girl.  His grandfather would be proud of him, considering he had always taught Finn to treat a lass with respect, instead of like a piece of meat to be ravished.

Of course, presently Finn was coming damn near close to ravishing Molly.  They were only kissing, but he was very much enjoying himself.

*

Molly could barely comprehend the moment she was currently experiencing.  She was snogging Finn Harper, her sworn enemy of years one through six, whom had all of a sudden turned into her best mate in the past couple of months.  Despite the trouble they had been through, they were still holding onto their new found friendship.  But tonight, well tonight they had bypassed friendship and were in uncharted territory.

Seriously, she really should pull out now while she still could.  What if he ended up breaking her heart?  The last thing she needed was to fall irrevocably for Finn, then later on down the line be crushed because he decided she was no longer his type.  While she would like to put more faith in Finn than she was, she still barely knew him.  Sure, she knew him more than she had in the previous six years, but she still had a lot to learn about him and the kind of person he truly was.

It was several minutes after he had begun playing with her hair as they kissed before she gently shoved his chest with both hands.  He detached himself from her lips with an expression of utter confusion planted on his face.  In that moment, she found him completely adorable.  So few guys could pull off the adorable, innocent puppy dog look, and Finn had it down to an art for she was sure about it.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Molly said, frowning as she shifted in her position so she was sitting up and away from him.  She had to keep him out of her view or else she would change her mind.

“What’s up?” Finn asked, after several seconds of silence, clinging in the air between them.  “Did I do something wrong?  Just tell me and I’ll apologise.”

“You didn’t do anything,” Molly said, sighing.

“Then why aren’t you looking at me?”

The way he spoke made his voice sound choked, like he was fighting the urge to turn her around to face him.  But she knew if she looked at him then she would lose it.  She would fall right back into his arms, and it would be like she had not put a stop to their snogging.  No, not looking at Finn was better, much better.

“Molly, look at me,” he said.  “Look, I’m sorry if I was going too fast.  I promise to never make you do whatever you don’t want to again, but I thought you wanted it, too.  I must have read the signals wrong.”

Molly wanted so bad to reassure him that he had, in fact, read the signals correctly.  However, she was currently busy rebuilding her wall, which had come crumbling down all around her the moment Finn had started to kiss her.  She had spent all her life crafting that wall, and for what; for Finn to come along and bash it down?  She was stronger than that; there had to be a way for her to keep her wall and be with Finn, had to.  If there was not, then she would keep her wall firmly intact.  It was the one thing she had complete control over: her walls.

“Please look at me,” Finn continued his attempt to sway her, “I’m sorry, okay.  Just, please look at me, alright?”

Molly tried to remain firm, set in her place, but it was too hard to ignore Finn, and sure enough she found herself turning to look at him and all his adorableness.  He really was not making it easy for her to reconstruct the walls he had so miraculously brought crashing down around her.  She was exposed.  Completely vulnerable now, she had no idea what to say or do.

“Listen,” Finn said, putting his hands on her cheeks to wipe the tears that she had not realised had started to fall from her crystal blue eyes.  “You don’t have to be afraid of anything.  I promise I’ll never hurt you again.  And I mean it, too, I never back down from my word, you have to believe me when I say that.”

“But...,” Molly said, lip aquiver.  “I mean, I really do like you, it’s just...”  She let her voice fade away, not sure how to go on with the sentence.

“It’s just what?”  Finn repeated her words back to her.  “If you’re worrying that I won’t hold true to my promise, then you have nothing to fear.  I’m completely yours, Molly, honest.”

She wanted to believe him, she really did, but her heart was not ready to let him in completely yet.  She wanted to be able to so bad, but at the same time she was not ready to.  There was still so much of herself she needed to discover as she had only just stood up to her father a couple weeks ago after all the years he had dictated her.

Yet, somehow, Molly found herself nodding in thought in that moment.  She really was a goner where Finn Harper was concerned if she was ready to believe anything he told her.

“I believe you, I do,” Molly said.  “But I also think we need to slow down a bit.  Give me room to grow into my own person.  I’ve been doing what my dad has wanted from me for so long that I don’t even know how much of it was what I truly wanted for myself.”

“And I’m willing to take things as slow as you’d like them to go,” Finn responded, his expression changing from one of desperation to agreement.  “I’m just happy you’re not closing the door on us.  There’s something there between you and I, Molly, and I for one don’t want to lose it, or for that matter, you.”

“You won’t ever lose me,” Molly said, “because I don’t want to lose you, either.  I know we didn’t get along before this year, but I can honestly say you’ve grown on me, Finn Harper, and I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you as a friend.”

“You don’t have to worry about that because I’m never letting you go,” Finn said, with sincerity pouring forth from his voice with each word spoken.  It made Molly’s heart turn to mush, and she was not a sentimental girl.  She was sensible and had a good, level head on her shoulders.

It was from then and on up toward mock exams that they remained on good terms, even the best of terms.  Their friendship continued to grow for the next week as they studied.  While neither had initiated another make-out session, they definitely had found a common ground to work with in leading up to more of those moments.  But that week they were too busy studying for those blasted mock exams that would tell them where they stood in terms of the actual examinations that would count at the end of the year.  Hopefully they would be able to spend some time before they parted for a whole month over winter hols.


Chapter 17: Time Goes On
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Author's Note: I hope you all enjoy this chapter! It's mainly another transition chapter, but it has some scenes to help make the transitions bearable. Thanks again for all of my readers, and especially to the reviewers as I love reviews. Reviews make me smile. :)




Molly found it easier, if anything, to concentrate on her studies as the mock exams approached with Finn in the library each evening after supper.  He did not expect her to talk with him, yet she still found herself taking short breaks to flirt.  She found him even more adorable the more time they spent together, and she never tired of seeing that crooked grin of his.

“You’ll be fine,” Finn said, quelling her nerves. 

It was Sunday evening, the night before the first mock exam and Molly was a nervous wreck.  Not only that, but she had received a letter from her father’s old screech owl earlier over breakfast.  She had immediately flew up staircase after staircase, feet pounding down on the marble/stone flooring, to spend another day in the library.  Her father had lectured her in his elegant script the importance of mock exams, how he had not had such a luxury during his final year at Hogwarts and she had better take advantage of the chance she was getting to perform at her utmost best.  Her brown hair was a frazzled mess due to all of the stress that was currently weighted on her shoulders.

“Relax, you’ll do magnificently,” Finn continued to encourage her.  “Herbology is first, and you’re the best in our year in the subject.  Just ask Longbottom and he’ll go on and praise you again if you need the extra boost.  Matter fact, we can go down to his quarters now if you’d like.”

Molly giggled.  “Thanks.”

“For what?”  Finn asked, with a crease in his brow.

“For being so encouraging these last couple of weeks,” Molly said.  “I would have lost it if you hadn’t been at my side, so thanks.”

Finn shrugged, accepting the kiss she planted on his cheek before turning his head to catch her lips on his.  She felt his lips curve upward against hers, warm breath spilling from his mouth as he spoke, “It’s nothing.”

“But it means everything to me.”

The pair rested their foreheads against each others, content by being in the other’s company.  They were still only friends, taking it slow, but their relationship continued to grow stronger and closer the more time they spent together.  While Finn wanted Molly to be his girlfriend, he respected her decision for them to take it slow before reaching that point.

If Finn had not been there to sooth all of the tension out of her muscles with only his expression of assurance and lopsided grin, then Molly would have lost it already and these were only mock exams, after all.  The real N.E.W.T.s weren’t for another few months after the winter holidays.  She can only imagine how she would be in a few months’ time.  But with Finn, all of her worries seemed to minimize instead of magnify the longer they sat there, not caring for the first time what marks she would receive.  She would miss him while she was home spending Christmas and New Years with her family.

While she loved her family, they were a lot to handle all at once and she would surely go crazy with the insanity that will take place over the break.

“I’m going to miss this,” Molly said, breaking the silence.

“What are you going to miss?”

“This,” Molly repeated simply.  “Us, just being with you.”

“We can find time to meet up over break,” Finn said, “We don’t have to spend it apart.”

“I doubt I could find time to sneak away from all of my relatives,” Molly said.  “In case you haven’t noticed, I have an extraordinarily large family.”

“You could think of a way,” Finn replied. 

“True, I could.”

She let her statement trail off, hanging in the empty air between them, before suddenly realising how late it had gotten.  She really needed to get some sleep or she would be an even bigger mess than she already was come tomorrow morning.  But she did not want to part from Finn as he was making her feel so much better about mock exams starting tomorrow morning at nine o’clock.

Eventually, though, she found herself packing up her bag with Finn doing the same beside her.  He ended up walking her up to the Ravenclaw Tower, giving her a slight hug, before heading down to the dungeons for his own dorm.  She could not help but think how lucky she was to have acquired Finn Harper’s friendship yet again, despite how she had once harboured a distinct hatred for the Slytherin in the past years.  It was funny how people could creep up on you and change your whole perspective of them.

While she still was not sure of the relationship that was progressing between her and Finn, Molly knew better than to ignore her feelings for him.  She really enjoyed spending time with him, and what was better was she could tell he liked her, at least, as much as she liked him.  It was nice to have someone reciprocate her feelings that were not related to her.

On that final note, Molly finished getting ready for bed and crawled under the blue duvet as she shut her eyes.  There were thoughts running through her mind of facts on plants and herbs, spells to use on plants, and so forth as she drifted off to sleep.  She needed to do her best tomorrow morning, especially since she wanted to be a Herbologist.

*

The following day dawned bright an early as Molly made her way down to breakfast with knots in her stomach.  She did not think she could eat anything.  How could she be this nervous when mock exams were only supposed to be practice to show where they needed to focus their revisions on before the actual exams?  Never before had she been so anxious over any test, not even over her O.W.L.s.  It more than likely had to do with her standing up to her father about what she truly wanted to do after school.  She felt like she had to prove she knew what was best for herself, which she did, by earning high scores in all the right areas.

Nevertheless, she forced herself to munch on some buttered toast and sip from a goblet of pumpkin juice.  It was all she trusted her stomach to be able to keep down.  The last thing she needed to do was to vomit all over the essay portion of her Herbology exam, then later on Professor Longbottom as he examined each of the Seventh years’ work in the practical portion.  She was so on edge that she jumped out of her seat when she felt a hand on her shoulder, letting loose a yelp from between her lips.

“Easy,” came Finn’s soothing voice from behind her as she sat back down, turning in her seat to glance back at him.  “I only came over here to see how you were holding up.”

“She needs a good slap across the face, that’s what she needs,” Mathis said, pointing his fork with a bit of egg yolk on it at Molly in a comic fashion.  “She keeps fidgeting.  These exams are only for practice, Mols, no need to get your britches in a twist now.”

“Come on,” Finn said, gently tugging on Molly’s hand to force her to stand.  “I’m taking you to the Hospital Wing for a Calming Drought.  You really could use one now.”

“I’m fine,” Molly grumbled, but allowed Finn to lead her out of the Great Hall without further argument.  She was in a daze, only aware of his hand in hers, as they climbed staircase after staircase before finally reaching the Hospital Wing and entering.

“Madam Midgeon,” Finn called as they walked farther into the infirmary.  “I have a patient who needs calming.”

Madam Eloise Midgeon bustled into the ward from her office in the back, took one look at Molly and sat her down on one of the white sheet covered, twin-sized beds as she went back to get a Calming Drought.  Upon returning, she poured out a single dose portion into a medicine glass before handing it to Molly,

“Drink it all and tell me how you feel after.”

Molly drank the contents of the glass, doing her best to ignore the disgusting taste of it.  She had never enjoyed drinking potions as a child, her parents had actually had to hold her down to force her to drink potions when she was sick, and nothing had changed since except she no longer needed to be held down.  Once it was all gone, Molly held up the empty glass before setting it down on the nightstand beside where she sat.

“Any better?” Madam Midgeon asked pointedly.

Molly thought about it for a moment before nodding, she did feel a bit more relaxed than before.  She was still anxious of her Herbology mock exam, but the Calming Drought had unknotted her muscles enough to where she need not feel worried anymore.

Nodding, Molly stood and left the infirmary with Finn after Madam Midgeon had said “good” before sending them on their way back down to the Great Hall.  The other Seventh Years were all standing around in the Entrance Hall, waiting for the professors to swap the House tables for individual tables.

Molly stood there with Finn beside her, not saying anything, as Mathis and Erin came up to them to check on her.  She found herself nodding and shaking her head to their questions, still not trusting herself to speak actual words.  She was feeling better, but not enough to actually partake in a conversation.  Then, Tyler joined their group and it was obvious Finn would had rather he not have come over.

“All set,” Tyler said, ever the chirpy lad he was.  That only seemed anger Finn more as Professor Longbottom finally opened up the doors which led into the Great Hall,

“We’re ready for you now.”

Taking a deep breath, Molly concentrated solely on putting one foot in front of the other instead of on Finn’s obvious jealousy toward Tyler, whom was only a friend.  She would talk to him about it, though it would have to wait until that weekend after mock exams were over.  Now, well now she had to focus on her Herbology mock exam and hope she did not completely blow it or she would lose all hope in getting an Outstanding on her N.E.W.T. at the end of term.

When they were all seated at separate, individual round tables, Professor Longbottom passed out the mock exams and returned to the front to turn over the hour glass as they would only have a specific amount of time to complete it as if they really were taking their N.E.W.T.s.  As soon as he gave the say so, Molly flipped the test over and was lost within its contents as she scribbled answers with her quill after reading and thinking every so often.  By the time they had run out of time, she had been finished for a good five to ten minutes.  She stood and left the Great Hall with the rest of her classmates so the professors could fix the Great Hall back up with the four house tables for lunch, then they would have the mock practical portion afterward.

Molly was a bundle of nerves over lunch, too.  Finn had joined them at the Ravenclaw table to make sure she ate something, but she did not feel the need to eat anything.  Never mind the fact she probably could not keep any food down.  She may have taken a Calming Drought earlier, but she still had some nerves that were beginning to knot themselves back up in the pit of her stomach.

“You have to eat something, Molly,” Erin said.  “It’ll help you concentrate better.”

She nibbled on some chips, dunking them in ketchup with each bite, until she felt she would not be able to hold anymore in her system.

“Well, let’s be thankful she ate, even a bit,” Finn said.

Then it was back into the Entrance Hall as the professors replaced the house tables with dozens of the individual round tables.  Molly re-entered with her classmates to find a Snargaluff Stump atop each table waiting for them.  Taking her place, she waited until receiving the say so from Professor Longbottom before getting started on collecting the round eggs and bursting them to spill the tubers into the dish that sat beside the stump on the table.

Once time was called, Professor Longbottom spent around an hour going around the Great Hall to give each student critique.  He also let them know they would be given more plants/herbs to work with than the stumps, but he felt the stumps would suffice to prepare them as it was the hardest to maintain control over, all things considered.

Thus, the day was over and they still had other mock exams that week to complete, but somehow Molly was able to get through each without need of another Calming Drought.  It surprised her friends, except for Finn for he knew why she was most anxious over Herbology than the others.  Nonetheless, when the week ended, Molly found herself rushing around the dorm to make sure she packed all she would need over break.  There was a gentle snow falling outside as she rode in the carriage into Hogsmeade with her friends to board the Hogwarts Express.

The ride went by too fast for Molly before the train was pulling up toward Platform Nine and Three Quarters.  She did not want to have to say good-bye to Finn for a whole month.  Yet, he somehow made it better by telling her he would write her and that they would meet somewhere at least once before term resumed in January.

“Molly, there you are,” came a voice that sounded an awful lot like her father’s.  Molly looked over her shoulder, and sure enough saw her father coming her way.

“Yikes,” Molly said under breath, looking back at Finn.  “I better go before he flips his lid.  I’ll see you soon?”

Finn grinned that lopsided grin of his that made him look oh-so adorable.  “Definitely, I’ll write you and we’ll figure it all out.”

It was with that final word said on Finn’s part which had Molly turning and dashing over toward where her father was.  She gave him a hug back as he wrapped his arms around her before grabbing the handle of her trunk for her.

“Best be off, then,” Percy told his eldest daughter.  “Your mother and sister have already headed through the barrier and are meeting us in the alley to Apparate home.”

Home.  The word was enough to bring warmth within Molly, despite the frigidness of the air as she stepped out of the front entrance of King’s Station several minutes later.  The snow crunched beneath her feet as she walked along the sidewalk toward the alley where her mother and Lucy were waiting for them.  Once they were completely in the alley, Molly spun on the spot with a soft popping sound and appeared on the front walk leading up toward the wraparound porch.  Looking up, she was able to spot the window that looked into her bedroom.  She always loved the feeling she got upon arriving home for break.

No matter how much she would miss Finn, it was still nice to be home with her family.  While she was sure her father would lecture her more, she did not care as all that mattered at the moment was that she was home for the next month.

“It would have been nice if you would have waited for the all clear before Disapparating, Molly,” Percy scolded his daughter as he Apparated with a loud crack beside her, shortly followed by her mother with Lucy wrapped in her arms.  “You’re lucky no Muggles saw you disappear like that, no regard for the Statute of Secrecy.”

Molly rolled her eyes.  “I’m not a baby.”

Her father was about to lecture her further, but she paid him no heed as she stomped up the snow covered walkway, the frost crunching under the soles of her shoes, and up the porch before entering the house.  Her parents had put a charm on all the doors that led into the house to only admit the four of them when no one was home, unless otherwise modified, years ago.

She continued on her march up the stairs and into her room, throwing herself with a disgruntled sigh onto her window seat.  Crossing her arms, she grabbed one of the throw pillows and buried her face into it before screaming.  Her scream came out muffled, which meant the pillow was still doing its rightful job.  She called it her Scream Pillow because it was the pillow she used to muffle her screams and curses into anytime her parents, mainly her father, frustrated her.

It was several minutes as she sat and stewed before there was a knock on her closed bedroom door.  As much as she would have loved to tell her parents to go away, she did not have it in her to go that far.  Therefore, she told them it was open, and in walked both her mother and father.

“We’re really not going to take this kind of attitude, Molly,” his father started in his warning tone.  “It would be nice if we could all have a nice time.  It is your last winter break home as you’ll be off on your own after you finish this term at Hogwarts.”

“What your father means,” her mother amended, “is that we’ll try if you try, too.  Meaning, both of you will need to set aside everything to ensure the break is a fun one.”

Molly really loved her mother for being the peacekeeper she was.  It was obvious that Audrey had been a Hufflepuff by her sheer patience, nourishment, and loyalty toward her family.  They were all the traits Lucy had inherited from their mother, while Molly got her father’s traits, which was why she butted heads with him so often.  She and her father were so much alike that they fought over everything imaginable, specifically what Molly was going to do with her life after Hogwarts.  But, he was coming around, that much was evident from their argument in Hogsmeade.

“Now, while we’re all here,” Audrey continued, as though she were not chastising her husband and eldest daughter, “I think it best to say what we have to say now, and then make a pact not to talk about it for the rest of break.  Just get it all off of our chests now.”

“I have nothing to say,” Molly said resolutely, hugging her Scream Pillow to her chest.

“Well, I do,” Percy said.  “How did your mock exams go?”

Molly shrugged.  “I’ll know how I did when I return back to school next month.”

“How do you feel you did?” he pushed.

“Alright, I suppose.”

“Just alright,” Percy continued to push, “or better than alright?”

“That’s enough, Perce,” Audrey said, sighing.  “No more pushing Molly about school.  She said she’ll find out after break, until then let’s just enjoy our time together.”

“Fair enough,” Percy said, relenting to his wife.

There were a few minutes of silence between the three of them before her parents finally exited her bedroom.  She was alone, finally alone at last.  However, now she found her mind drifting toward a certain Slytherin.  Shaking her head, Molly decided to go find Lucy.  If anyone could make her forget what was on her mind, it was her little sister.

 


Chapter 18: A Surprise Guest
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Author's Note: I'd like to thank the skype word war chat for keeping me writing while my muse is dancing around in glee to finish this story. I hope you all enjoy this chapter! It was a lot of fun for me to write! (:



Finn was home for winter holidays and found himself quite bored.  It was not as much fun when both his older siblings had already flown the coop, so to speak.  His older brother, Declan, was a twenty-six-year-old working in the Department of the Detection of Counterfeit Objects for the Ministry of Magic, thus the reason why he had uprooted from Ireland to live in a small London flat.  While his twenty-two-year-old sister, Renee, was a journalist for the Daily Prophet and also had a flat in London with one of her friends.  So, you can imagine Finn’s boredom upon being stuck with his parents for the majority of his break, trapped in Ireland.

It was a good thing he could Apparate away whenever he felt the need to escape from beneath his parents’ noses or he might go crazy.  So far he had written to Molly a few times since being confined to the Harper Manor and the surrounding grounds; they had agreed to meet up toward the end of the month at the Leaky Cauldron.

He felt weird, but in a good way if that was possible, about the impending date.  It would be his first official date with Molly outside the boundaries of Hogwarts.  Also, there was the simple matter of what gift he should buy her as he really had no clue what she liked.  Cursing himself for not finding out more about her aside from the fact she liked Herbology, he spent a good few hours trolling Diagon Alley during the first week he had returned from Hogwarts in search of a perfect present for her.  He had eventually settled on a necklace that had a potted Mandrake poking its head within view charm dangling from the thin, gold chain.

While he considered sending it off with his owl, Finn kind of wanted to hand her the wrapped parcel in person, but wanted to give it to her on Christmas day.  He had an idea of where she lived, but not a precise one.  All he knew was she lived in England, a couple miles off from St. Ottery Catchpole.  He supposed he could figure out where the Burrow was located as she was sure to spend most of that day at her grandparents, but he had no idea whether she had told any of her family about him.  Obviously her cousins that attended Hogwarts knew about them, but Finn did not want to draw attention to himself if she had failed to tell the rest of her family.

However, he really wanted to surprise her somehow.  He had no clue how, so he ended up asking his brother when he was over for dinner on the eve of Christmas.  They were in the den, only the two of them, waiting for their mother and sister to finish the dinner and their father was due to return home from work any moment.

“Uh, Declan,” Finn said, with uncertainty of the best way to ask for advice, “can I ask a favour of you?”

“Sure can,” Declan said, sensing his brother’s uneasiness and immediately guessing on what was troubling him.  “Is it girl troubles?”

“How’d you know?” Finn said, both his eyebrows going up as he frequently looked around to ensure neither of his parents or sister had suddenly entered the room; they were both still alone.

“Finn, you’re my little brother, I can pick up on these things,” Declan said, giving him a pointed look.  “Besides, you never were good about hiding your emotions from showing on your face; it’s always been your downfall.”

Finn gave a sheepless smile with a shrug of his shoulders before continuing.  “It’s this girl I’ve been seeing for a couple months now, though we’re not officially dating yet, and I kind of want to surprise her with her gift tomorrow.  But I don’t want to show up with most of her family wondering who I am and what I’m doing there because she does have a very big family.”

Declan laughed.  “Easy there, bro, there’s no need to get all knotted up over it.  You should just go for it, who ruddy well cares if she told her family about you or not.”

“You sure,” Finn said, still doubtful, “I don’t want to show up only to have her angry at me.”

“Please, like any girl could ever stay mad at you,” Declan said.  “You’re forgetting that we Harper men are irresistible to the ladies.”

Finn rolled his eyes.  “Seriously, though, I don’t want her to be angry with me.”

“Finn, relax,” Declan said, clearly getting annoyed.  “If this girl likes you anymore than I can tell you like her then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.”

Finn nodded, not sure what else to say.  A part of him wanted to go for it and show up at the Burrow in hopes Molly would indeed be there like he thought she would, while another part wished there was a way to surprise her without her family being around.  It was completely out of his control.  There was no other way around it as he would have to surprise her while she was with her whole family.

He hoped she did not reject his present and refuse to speak with him ever again.

*

Molly was awoken at the early hour of seven o’clock on Christmas morning to get ready to leave for the Burrow.  Her parents and sister were already in the kitchen when she finished changing into jeans, a red sweater, and shoes when she entered and put a couple pancakes on her plate.  She spread grape jam on them and started to eat, rinsing it all down with pumpkin juice.

By the time she was finished, her parents were hustling her and her sister out the door, and they were Disapparating only to appear on the front lawn facing the Burrow.  She could already hear the faint sounds of her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all under one roof.  Sighing, she followed her family up to the front door and entered without knocking because her grandparents were already expecting them.  What she discovered upon entering was that all the males appeared to be shouting about who was going to be on their team for the annual Christmas Weasley-Potter Quidditch match.  She never played, but that was only because she was horrid at such things as Quidditch.

“I want to play!” Lucy immediately joined in the jumbled conversation, jumping up and down in place.

“We got Lucy,” Fred said over the rumble of chatter.  “Who wants Molly?”

Molly sighed.  Her cousins knew she did not play Quidditch, yet they still could not resist taunting about how bad she was at flying and playing the sport.  She was more for stimulating games of intelligent rather than barbaric things such as the game of Quidditch.  In fact, she had gotten into a few arguments on numerous occasions about how pointless a sport it actually was to play.  Sure, she still enjoyed watching, but she saw no point in it.

“Molly can’t play at all,” James replied, with no shame at all, “she sucks.”

“Who said that?” came the voice of Nana Molly, for whom she was named after.  “James Sirius Potter,” her eyes fell on the eldest Potter boy, “you will not use that kind of language, especially today.”

Molly glimpsed James rolling his eyes before he replied that he most certainly will be on his utmost best behaviour for the rest of that day.  That caused Molly to snort.  If anything, James would manage to be good for fifteen minutes tops before doing or saying something that Nana Molly deemed inappropriate.  But it would not be a family gathering if Fred and James did not cause Nana Molly to yell herself hoarse at the pair of them.

Molly shook her head and squeezed through the crowd of her family members that were racing out the door and spilling out onto the back lawn to head down to the open field used for matches as she headed into the den.  She sat down, heaved a huge sigh of relief and laid her head against the back of the couch.  She already felt drained and she had only been there for around a quarter of an hour.

Then, when she thought she had the den to herself, in walked Nana Molly with her mother, father, Aunt Hermione, Aunt Fleur, Dominque, Victoire, and Hugo; the rest of the family were clearly outside either playing or watching.  She scooted over on the couch to make room.

“Hullo Molly,” Victoire said, “How’s your final year going so far?”

“Alright, I suppose.”

“I heard you took your mock exams before break,” Victoire continued on, “how do you think you did?  I didn’t do as well as I thought on my mocks, but I did way better on my N.E.W.T.s.  I think mock exams really help.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Molly said with a shrug.  “I really don’t think I could perform at my best, though, if I didn’t do well on the mocks, but I won’t find out my scores until I’m back at Hogwarts.”

“I’m sure you did fine,” Victoire assured her.

Molly nodded, not knowing what else she could say on the subject.  She had never particularly felt as though she were on friend terms with Victoire, merely cousins who acknowledged each other with mutual respect.

The rest of the morning sped up and it was soon striking two o’clock in the afternoon and everyone had already eaten an early feast.  Molly was in the kitchen, helping Nana Molly clean up and pack the leftovers away so they would not spoil, when Lucy floated in with a skip in her step and smile planted firmly on her face.

“Guess what, Molly,” Lucy sang with a trill to her voice.  “Someone’s here to see you.”

Molly glanced up toward her younger sister from where she stood at the sink, washing dishes, brows creased closer together.  Who could possibly be here to see her?  She was expecting no one to stop by for her.  The only plans she had made were with Finn at the end of the month, but that was it.  Nothing on Christmas day.

Wiping her hands on a dishtowel beside the sink, Molly removed the apron and hung it on the chair before turning to Nana to tell her she would be back as soon as she discovered who was at the door for her.  She watched as Lucy skipped out the kitchen and down the hall, back toward the den where everyone else were.  Well, everyone except her father, who stood at the front door with it propped open enough to reveal,

“FINN!” his name was out of her mouth before Molly’s mind even processed that he was standing on the front porch.

Percy glanced at his eldest daughter.  “Why haven’t you told me you’re seeing a boy?”

“Because, dad, we’re only friends,” Molly said, finding it difficult to fight the urge to not roll her eyes.  “There’s nothing to tell.”

“Obviously there is,” Percy said, “especially since he showed up unexpected like this, with no warning from you to tell either your mother or I that he would be coming.”

“That’s because I had no idea he was coming,” Molly said.  “I’m as caught off guard as you, though I’m not going to lie and say I’m not pleased to see him because I am.  Now if you’ll excuse me, father, but I think I’m going to step out front where I can visit with Finn without further hounding.”

Before her father could say another word, Molly had flounced past him and shut the door as she turned to face Finn.  She found herself unable to catch her breath as she looked into his hazel eyes, which were currently a green colour.  It was several minutes before she said anything and even then the words more or less tumbled out of her mouth.

“What are you doing here?” her blue eyes lighting up with each passing second they stood there, facing each other.

“I wanted to surprise you,” Finn said, lopsided grin and all.  “Well, that, and I couldn’t wait to give you your gift.”  He held up a small parcel wrapped in shiny, green paper—her favourite colour—before he handed it to her and motioned for them to sit on the porch swing.

Sitting down, Molly took the proffered gift.  “I wish I’d known you were coming then I would have brought your present for you to open, too.”

“That’s alright,” Finn replied good-naturedly, “I can wait to open mine.”

“Alright,” Molly said, then started to gently rip the paper to reveal a small box that usually contained jewellery.  Glancing up at Finn briefly before looking back down at the little box, she lifted the lid off to discover a necklace nestled inside with a charm on it.  Upon closer inspection of said charm she realised it was a potted Mandrake plant.  She absolutely loved it, joy feeling her heart.

“Oh, Finn, it’s gorgeous.”

Finn grinned even broader.  “I’m so glad you like it because I had the hardest time finding the perfect gift for you.  You’re not exactly an easy person to shop for, young lady.”

Molly giggled.  “Can you help me put it on?”  She asked him, a shy smile spreading on her lips.

“Sure,” Finn said, taking the necklace in his hand as Molly turned so her back was facing toward him and he lifted his arms up and over her head, entrapping her within his arms as he fastened the necklace.  Then, once Molly had turned back around, he cupped her chin in his hand with the other resting on her knee as he brought his lips down to hers.

It took Molly only a few seconds before she was kissing him back.  And when they had surfaced, her cheeks felt flushed, and she was sure they were tinged faintly with pink.

“Thank you for the necklace,” Molly said, still smiling.  “I absolutely love it, it’s perfect.”

Finn grinned, reminding her of a puppy dog yet again.  He really was adorable and what she loved most was that he did not seem to flaunt it at all like other guys.  Really, he was just too perfect.  Was there any time Finn wasn’t attractive?  Molly pondered those thoughts as she leaned her head on his shoulder; she did not even care if any of her family, even her father, came out and caught them cuddling on the porch swing, she was that content in his arms.  He really was a great guy and friend.  No pressure or anything, and things happened naturally so she did not have to worry about being forced to do something she did not want to do.

All most guys cared about was making out with girls, but not Finn.  She’s thought it before and she’ll think it again, Finn was different.  She actually found herself, for the first time, picturing her and Finn as a couple.  It might actually work, especially since their friendship seemed to be working well this time around.  They had only needed a bit of good old fashioned trial and error before they got it right.

“Molly,” Finn said, startling her out of her trance.  In her response, Molly made a small hmm’d noise.  “I really like you, you know, and I think we should take the next step toward a relationship.”

“Uh, I really like you, too,” Molly said, completely caught off guard by his confession, but not at all disappointed in the least.  Actually, quite the opposite, as Molly found herself not the least bit opposed to being in a real relationship with Finn.  And that scared her.  She had no idea why, just that it did.  She was so used to being single that she could not imagine being someone’s girlfriend, let alone that person being her boyfriend.  Even if it was Finn, she still was allowed to have her doubts.

“What’d you say?” Finn asked her, crooked grin lighting up his eyes and making him as adorable and playful as ever.  “Shall we give it a try?”

She wanted to say yes, she really did, but she could not bring herself to say that three-letter word.  It was by far one of the easiest words in the English language, yet she found herself unable to say it aloud to give Finn the answer they both desired.  Her heart was breaking as she continued to look into his eyes and could almost feel his heart breaking the longer she said nothing.  What to say, what to say?  What was that word again... it was on the tip of her tongue and now it’s gone.  Oh, Finn, how she wished she could be more straight forward like him.

 


Chapter 19: Christmas Festivities
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I do not own anything!

Author's Note:  As usual I'd like to think the skype word war chat for keeping me writing!  And I hope you all enjoy this chapter as much as I loved writing it!  (:



Finn felt more nervous as he waited for Molly to respond to his question.  Never before had a girl made him so anxious.  He was literally sweating as he sat there, waiting.  What was she thinking?  Was she going to turn him down?  Would he be stuck in the friend zone with her forever?  These were only a few of the questions that spiralled out of control in his frazzled mind.  Like a hurricane had been released in his mind and was wrecking havoc on his brain.

Really, he was a mess.  Was she trying to torture him so?  If yes, then it was most definitely working.  Yes, it was indeed.

Honestly, Finn did not know how much longer he could wait for Molly to say something before he spontaneously combusted.  Or cried and pulled at his brown, tousled hair in frustration, at least.  What was she thinking?  He had thought she liked him as much as he liked her; rather, the signs appeared to be there unless he had confused them for what they really meant.  That was part of his problem.  He thought way too damn much for his own good.  He would be better off not thinking so much.  Seriously, he would.

“Oh, Finn,” Molly finally said, breaking the long silence that had followed Finn’s question to move from friendship to a real-honest-to-God relationship.

Finn had no idea what her saying his name meant.  He could no more read her expression in that moment than he could gauge what her response would be based on the tone in her voice.  He was so clueless where Molly was concerned.

“Oh, Finn,” she repeated, and he wished she hadn’t as it made him feel more anxious if that was even possible at this point.  “I just don’t know... I’m still working out where I’ll be after Hogwarts.  What if we’re forced to part ways?”

“Then we’ll handle it then,” Finn said, desperately pulling at straws in an attempt to cause her to change her mind.  “Isn’t it worth giving it a try, just for the time being while we can; trying us out?”  His voice sounded pained and whinging, he hated that it did.  He wished he could have sounded put together, like he was holding himself together instead of falling apart at the seams.

Molly bit her lower lip to stop it from trembling briefly.  “I want to, really, but I just don’t know.”

“Then let me prove to you that we can make it work,” Finn said.  “Let me take you out on a real date as a couple.  If you’re not impressed, well, then I won’t pester you anymore.”

“Oh, Finn, I want to, I really do,” Molly said, sighing as she rested her head on his shoulder.  His response to her touch was immediate as he lifted his arm to rest on the swing behind her, hugging her to him.  She wished she could stay wrapped in his embrace for all of eternity.

“Then say yes, it’s not that hard, Mols.”

“Hmm,” she purred, the sound tingling her pressed together lips.

“You know, if I didn’t know any better,” Finn said, a lopsided grin forming on his face as he regained some of his light-hearted sense of humour back.  “Then I would say that was a yes, and that you have finally caved to my dashing good looks.”

Molly giggled, she could not help it.  “Okay, I’ll give you a chance to prove to me why you think we’re oh-so-perfect together.”  She rolled her eyes sarcastically, but in an all around playful way as she snuggled closer to him and closed her eyes in content.

He could not believe he had managed to talk Molly into a date with him.  His brother was right about just going for it with Molly.  Maybe he did have the Harper men swagger like his father and brother.  He had always thought of himself as something of a dork when it came to girls, even if he had managed to date a few in the past he still had little experience with them.  While he still felt like a dork when dealing with the ladies, his self-confidence had been boosted because Molly had said yes.  Or rather she had said she would give him a chance, which basically meant yes because after one date she won’t be able to turn him away any longer.

The pair of them were made for each other, Finn thought to himself.  She fit under the crook of his arm perfectly, snuggled up close so that they stayed warm.  However, like any great moments, theirs had to end as Molly’s parents opened the front door to step out onto the front porch then.

Finn glanced up at the sound of a throat clearing, as he felt Molly’s head lift from his shoulder at the same time, too.  He found himself faced with her father for the second time that day and a woman that could only be her mother.  Never before had he been busted by parents, while at the same time he had nothing to feel guilty about since he and Molly had only been talking and snuggling.

“Aren’t you going to introduce us, Molly,” Percy said.  “I think we have a right to know who your boyfriend is.”

“Dad, Mom,” Molly said, sighing, “this is Finn; Finn these are my parents, Percy and Audrey Weasley.”

“Merry Christmas, Mr and Mrs Weasley,” Finn said, ever the gentleman.

He could not be any happier than he currently was at Molly not correcting her parents that they were not yet officially a couple.  It gave him hope that someday she would cave.  Hopefully that day would come soon, as in on the day he took her out on their first real date instead of those study dates of theirs.

In fact, he did not even care that Molly’s father seemed to be giving him a stare down, as if waiting for him to flinch.  Never one to back down, Finn held his eye contact.  He would not be backed into a corner and intimidated by Molly’s father, he wouldn’t.  It had taken him the whole first half of term to become best mates with Molly and he was not about to allow her father to back him away from her.

“It’s lovely to meet you, Finn,” Audrey chirped, ever the delightful woman she was.  “I can tell Molly thinks highly of you, especially the way she won’t stop smiling.”

Finn glanced at Molly, who had bowed her head so her brown curls covered her glowing red cheeks.  He thought she looked extremely cute and wanted nothing more than to kiss her right then and there; however, it was not the most perfect time to do so what with both of her parents standing before them.  Either way, he would have to remember he owed her a kiss for her adorable bashfulness later when they were alone again.

“Would you care to stay for leftovers later,” Audrey asked, addressing Finn again.

“I’d love to, Mrs Weasley.”

“Great.”

While Finn felt happy that Molly’s mother appeared to like him, he did not feel the same about her father as Percy kept a stoic expression planted on his face with his arms crossed in front of him.  It was not until after Finn had accepted Audrey’s dinner invitation that Percy spoke at all, and even then it was not particularly friendly, but rather intimidating.

“I hope you aren’t distracting Molly from her studies too much,” Percy said.  “She has her grades and test scores to think about, as do you as well.”

“Don’t worry, Mr Weasley,” Finn said, hoping he was coming off as polite to her parents, “all we do is study in the library.  If anyone is going to earn perfect scores in every subject, it’s Molly.”

“Oh, hush,” Molly said, playfully pushing Finn’s upper arm.  “You’re just as brilliant.  Really, he is, if it weren’t for him I would not be doing nearly as well in Transfiguration as I am currently.”

Finn grinned.  “Well, I don’t mean to brag, but I am awesome in Transfiguration.”

“Please,” Molly said, rolling her eyes before looking toward both her parents.  “He’s the best in our year at Transfiguration.”

“That’s quite a difficult subject to succeed in and be the top of the year in, too,” Percy said.  “You must be intelligent.”

“Nah,” Finn said. “I’m just selectively good at certain subjects.”

Percy was about to say something, but Molly cut him off.  “He’s kidding, really he is, dad.  Finn likes to joke around about not being particularly smart when he really is in all actuality.  He actually received all O’s except for one E on his O.W.L.s in fifth year.”

“That was a fluke,” Finn argued, “I told you that the other week when we were discussing our O.W.L. scores while taking a break from studying for mocks.”

“Fluke smuke,” Molly said, waving her hand as if pushing his words to the side.

All Finn could do was shake his head in amusement.  He loved how Molly defended him, she got so into arguing her point and he loved how cute she got, too.  Really, he loved her.   Well, not the heavy-loaded meaning of love, but the platonic sense of the word.  He had no idea of how deep his feelings for Molly went.  All he knew was that he really liked her and enjoyed spending time with her.  He also liked kissing her, but that was beside the part as their kissing was limited to whenever Molly let him kiss her since they technically were not a couple yet.  It was only a matter of time before she caved into his pestering her to be his girlfriend.

When her parents had gone back inside, Finn looked at her with a smirk.  “You thought they were going to hate me, didn’t you?  I’m telling you, parents love me, seriously.”

“Really, do they really,” Molly questioned, a twinkle in her blue eyes, which he now knew she had inherited from her father but really did not want to think about that.  He liked her eyes because they were hers, not her dad’s.  “And I suppose you think my dad loves you?  It’s my mom that fell immediately for your charms; my dad, on the other hand, will make you work harder for his approval to date me.  That is if you do still want to date me after spending the evening with my wacky and crazy family.”

“Of course I’ll still want to date you after tonight,” Finn said, an overplayed eye roll, nudging her shoulder with his own.  He held her eyes, unblinkingly, and made a face.  It caused her to blink her eyes as she burst into a fit of giggles.  There had never been a staring contest he had not won; he just never felt the desire to blink.  Even while intensely staring into another’s eyes.

“How do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Not blink,” Molly said.  “You’re like a robot with your unblinking stare, then you make a face yet your eyes stay wide open.”

Finn shrugged, not knowing what to say except play innocent and look adorable.  He was the king of the lost puppy dog gaze, having learned from the best.  His brother, Declan, had told all about flirting with girls and what facial expressions to pull at certain times.  But, his brother had never expected Finn to outshine him in expressions nor out-passing him in attractiveness.  Of course, his brother was good looking, but Finn had more personality that enhanced his appearance ten-folds.

Needless to say, she ended up in his arms as they stood where they had gotten up when her parents had come out onto the porch.  He pushed back a few stray strands of brown curls that had fallen from her sloppy half up-half down ponytail from her face as he leaned down to brush his lips on hers in a quick kiss.  It was over as soon as it had started, and they were heading inside to socialise with her family.

Then, remembering she had been helping her Nana in the kitchen before Finn came over, she turned to him and told him she had to go make sure her Nana had finished tidying up and putting everything away.  He offered to help, but she shook her head and motioned down the hall toward the den.  Nodding in understand, he smiled before turning away from her as he made his way over toward the den and found the majority, if not all, of the Potter-Weasley clan as rambunctious as ever.

“Whoa, Finn,” came a voice over by the window, it was Albus.  “What are you doing here?  Couldn’t stay away from my cousin, uh?”

Finn felt his cheeks grow warm, looking down briefly before he headed over toward the fourth year Slytherin.  “How’s it going, Al?”

“Alright, but seriously, what are you doing here?” Albus asked again.  “Did Molly know you were coming?  She didn’t say a word to any of us about inviting anyone.”

“Nah, she didn’t know,” Finn said, grinning.  “I wanted to surprise her.”

“That’s so sweet,” Dominique said, coming over and sitting on the window ledge with googly eyes.

Finn supposed she was pretty, but from what he could tell Dom was high-maintenance.  Besides, he did not find her as attractive as the other boys at Hogwarts did; he was into girls who had little clue of the affect they had on the opposite sex.  Girls like Molly, actually.  He had not thought about how Molly was quiet and chose to observe from the outside looking in instead of being the centre of attention.  But it actually made more sense now that he was thinking about it.  Molly was his ideal girl, if people am had a perfect match.

“Seriously, that’s it,” Albus said.  “You came over here to fight craziness of the Potter-Weasley family just to surprise her?  Man, you must be really into her.”

“You have no idea, mate,” Finn said, shaking his head, “you have no idea.”

Then, at that precise moment, he noticed Percy start to make his way over from across the room.  It only took a few seconds before Albus and Dom realised who Finn had noticed walking over before they took off in opposite directions, anywhere but there.  When Percy reached Finn, his smile forced, he asked what Finn’s intentions with his daughter were exactly.  Finn wondered if Molly had complained about him in the past.  Of course, it had been common knowledge to all of Hogwarts that the two had fought for their first six years, but was it known to her family?  He hoped not.

When he realised Percy was still waiting for a response, and had started to tap one of his feet in agitation, Finn swallowed.  Maybe adults did not like him as much as he had originally thought.  Or it was only Percy who seemed to have a bone to pick with him.  Sighing, he replied,

“Well, right now, sir, we’re friends.  However, she did accept when I offered to take her on a date and if it goes well then I hope she finally allows us to be together as a couple.”

“And what about her future,” Percy said.  “She has to keep her mind clear with what she wants to do after this term, and having a boyfriend will only complicate things for her.”

“Not to worry, I would never make her choose between an excellent job offer and me, sir.  In fact, I still have opportunities to consider at the end of the year, too.”

Percy nodded.  “All the same, I think it’s best that you remain strictly friends with Molly.  It’ll keep her head more focused on her studies and job search.”

Finn was about to say something, but he need not as Molly had entered and snuck up on them both.  “I’m perfectly capable of keeping up in my studies and having a boyfriend, father.”  He sensed an edge to her tone and thought it best not to say anything, or even breathe in all actuality.  He did not want to come between her and Percy.  But, as it would appear, Molly had different plans as she took his hand in hers and marched him from that den, down the hall and out the front door.  Then they were on the path leading up the porch before she turned on the spot and Disapparated away, bring him along for the ride.

Once the tight feeling of being compressed from all sides was gone, Finn blinked his eyes open to look first at Molly then their surroundings, and again at Molly once he realised they were in Diagon Alley.  He had no clue what they were doing there, but felt it best not to argue with her.  Never before had he seen her temper flare quite as much as it had only moments ago with her father.  And he hoped he never had to cross her, lest he end up in her wrath.

“What are we doing here?” he asked, tentative.

Molly shrugged.  “It was the first place I could think of.  I just needed to get away for a bit, you know.”

“Hmm, I could tell.”

“He just makes me so angry,” Molly fumed.  “I mean, it’s like he doesn’t even trust me at all.  It’s so infuriating.  Ah!” she let out a short scream at her frustration, pulling at her stray curls hanging loosely about her face with complete abandon in her fury.  Then, “I’m going to be in so much trouble for taking off like this.”

“Then we better make the most of your freedom while we still can,” Finn said, a grin forming on his lips with his hazel eyes gleaming a steely blue.  “Shall we head to the Leaky Cauldron since it’s the only place that’s opened around these parts on Christmas?”

“How do you do it?”

“Do what?” he asked, brows creased in question, yet again making him even more adorable.

“I don’t know,” Molly said.  “Make me feel better when I feel wretched, or just, you know, everything you do.”

Finn shrugged.  “I care about you.”

“Why now, though,” Molly asked.  “You never did before, why now?”

“Why not now,” Finn said.  “I like you, Molly, and I don’t want to see you upset.”

Molly’s reaction was a bit delayed, but she eventually smiled and hugged him.  He loved her hugs.  Honestly, her hugs were better than the stolen kisses.  Anytime she hugged him he felt warm inside; she fit perfectly wrapped in the confinement of his arms.  He could have stood there, in the centre of the cobbled street, hugging Molly and not feel like time had elapsed at all; that’s how content he was.

But eventually all great things had to come to an end, though Finn had a better place he wanted to take her other than the Leaky Cauldron.  He wanted to take her home to meet his family as his siblings were both still over.  But how to convince her, he had no idea.  Then, just like that, he came up with a thought of how he could persuade her to spend Christmas night with his family.  He stopped walking and turned to face her, her eyes showing her confusion as to why they had paused.

“Uh, I was wondering how you’d like to come to my place for the rest of Christmas,” Finn said.  “I think you’d like Ireland, plus my siblings are pretty awesome and my parents are a tad embarrassing, but all together they make for some grand times.  So, what do you say?”

“Sure,” Molly said.  “Sounds like fun.”

“Really,” Finn said, shocked at how fast she had agreed to his proposal of spending it with his family.

“Of course, it sounds like fun and you obviously think the world of your family.”

“Great,” Finn said, “hold on tight.”  And just like that, Molly had perfectly snuggled up to him as he wrapped his arms around her before turning on the spot to Disapparate only to Apparate several minutes later right outside the closed gates at the entrance into the grounds surrounding Harper Manor.  He was suddenly aware of how huge his family’s home was and hoped Molly would not think him as some sort of rich prat. 

*

Molly looked around, unsure of what to think while at the same time marvelling in the snow covered, rolling hills and snow capped, bare trees of the Irish country side, mountains off in the distance.  Then she turned back to face Finn to find him with an expression that resembled one of nervousness.  Smiling, she reassured him. “It’s beautifully.  You really grew up here?”

“Yeah,” Finn said, relieved that she did not think any less of him.  “Pretty much only had my older brother and sister to play with and then they started Hogwarts, leaving me to my own devices when they weren’t home for breaks.  And now they’ve long since flown the nest.”

“How much older are they?”

“Well, my brother’s twenty-six, and my sister’s twenty-two,” Finn replied.  “But I barely registered the age difference because they always are there to help give advice when I need it.”

Molly’s brow furrowed, though she still smiled.  “Did you tell them about us?”  She was not sure whether she liked him talking to his brother and sister about them.  Especially considering what their relationship had consisted of before they were friends.

“Only my brother,” Finn said.  “Though, I only asked him if he thought it was a good idea to surprise you today with your gift.”

“And what did he say?”  Molly asked, a smirk playing on her lips.

“He said I should just go for it,” Finn said.  “Of course, he only said that because he could tell how much I liked you.  See, my brother knows me really well and can read me like an open book.  There’s nothing I can hide from him.”

Molly giggled.  She really loved how Finn could continue to make her laugh and have a good time, even moments after she had been feeling rotten.  How had she ever gotten through life with his friendship? 

Then they walked up the path, snow crunching beneath their feet as they made their way up toward the manor.  Upon reaching the front doors after climbing the steep steps that led onto the veranda-styled porch, the door immediately opened to reveal a young man that Molly assumed had to be Finn’s brother.

“There you are,” Declan said.  “I was getting worried, you said to only cover for you for a couple of hours.  Wait, hang on, is this Molly?”  He paused in his speech as he realised who was standing with Finn on the porch.

“Uh, yeah,” Finn said, albeit some nerves knotting on the inside of his stomach.  “Declan, meet Molly; Molly, this is my brother Declan, who is wicked awesome for covering for me long enough so that I could sneak off to give you your present.”

Molly laughed at Finn’s long-winded introduction.  “Nice to meet you, Declan.  Finn speaks highly of you.”

“Really,” Declan said, doubt in his voice and brows raised in unison.  “This is the same Finn Harper you’re talking of, right?  Annoying, predictable little brother Finn Harper?”

“Oh, shut up, Declan,” Finn said, knowing his brother was only jerking around with him.

“C’mon you two,” Declan said.  “Everyone’s in the dining room sipping Butterbeer and talking about boring, tasteless topics.  I feel so out of place without Finn to laugh with.”

Molly smiled as she followed the two brothers inside and through a couple halls lined with oil portraits, the occupants moving from within their frames, hanging from the walls before finally reaching the dining room.  When she had entered she had not been expecting what she saw.  There was definitely more people there than Finn’s parents and siblings.  She was okay with meeting Finn’s family, despite a bit anxiety, but she was not ready to meet any more people than that.  She felt really overwhelmed.

Beside her, she felt Finn rest his hand on her lower back and rub soothing circles.  He obviously could sense how nervous she was and she was thankful for his thoughtfulness.  If he had not been beside her she would have more or less ran from the room without haste.  She did not do crowds, and more importantly she did not mingle with a crowd of people she did not know.  However, she found she could get through the evening as long as Finn remained at her side.

When she had finally shaken thoughts loose to focus on her surroundings, Molly saw a middle-aged couple making their way over toward them.  It had to be Finn’s parents.  She felt her palms begin to sweat as she swallowed, despite her mouth and throat being parched.  She was not ready to meet his parents.  They weren’t even dating yet.  Why had she agreed to come over to his place?  She had had a momentary lapse of judgment in her frazzled mental state over being mad at her father. 

Then she was vaguely aware of his hand moving from her back to her hand, their fingers intertwining.  She felt a bit better knowing Finn was there next to her.  Not only was he holding her hand, but she could feel his soothing confidence radiating from him toward her.  It forced her to raise her chin and stand up straighter despite her earlier qualms.

“We were starting to worry, Finn,” his father said.  “Where’d you run off to, and who is this lovely young lady you’ve brought with you?”

“This is Molly Weasley,” Finn said, smiling as he introduced her to his parents and vice versa.  “Molly, meet my parents.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr and Mrs Harper,” Molly said, smiling warmly.

“The pleasure is all ours, Molly,” Mrs Harper replied in earnest.  “It’s nice to meet the girl that has our son happier than usual.”

“Mum,” Finn said, embarrassed as Molly giggled.

“Well it’s true,” Mrs Harper said.  “I can always tell when you have a girl on your mind, Finn.  You are very easy to read.  Besides, I don’t think I’ve seen you more happy than you’ve been since you returned for winter break.”

“But you didn’t have to say anything.”

“Our little Finny is embarrassed,” Declan said, ruffling his brother’s hair.  “Isn’t it the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?”  Thus, it caused Finn to swat at his brother in defence.

Molly smiled as she watched Finn joke around with his brother.  She could tell how much Finn loved his brother.  It was always nice to see how other siblings behaved toward one another because she loved her little sister. 

Once the brothers were through horsing around, Molly found herself being led around the room by Finn and meeting everyone.  Then she was being led out of the room and through more halls until she found herself being pulled outside in the back yard.  The view was like a winter wonderland with all the snow on the ground and in the trees and bushes.  There was even a stone fountain, though the water in it was frozen, but that frozen water shot up in the air as though it had froze that way.  It was beautiful.

“This is my favourite part of the grounds,” Finn said.  “My brother calls me a sissy for spending a lot of my time in the garden no matter the time of year, but it relaxes me.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hanging around in a garden.”

Molly was discovering more about Finn, and she could not have been happier.  She loved spending time with him and on more than one occasion that evening she had found herself imagining what it would be like to officially be dating Finn.  He would treat her with respect and care, for that she was positive.  He was such a gentleman.  Never before had she imagined him as anything but a prat.  But now she had trouble seeing the Finn in him that she knew before seventh year; he was like a completely different person and she liked it.  She liked him.

Gosh, what was wrong with her?  Why hadn’t she said yes earlier that day when he asked her to be his girlfriend?  He obviously liked her as much as she liked him, so what was her problem.  Seriously, she should give him a chance and say yes.  Surely he would be happy she changed her mind and decided that she wanted to be more than friends.  Friends were alright, but she found herself wanting more.  For the first time she found herself not wanting to be single.

She still enjoyed being single, but now that she was growing more sure of her feelings for Finn she found herself wanting to be his girlfriend.  And that’s why she decided to voice her change of thoughts to him at that moment, while they stood beneath a bare, snow covered tree, its branches tangled above their heads, in his backyard.

“I like you, Finn,” Molly said, “and I do want to be your girlfriend.  I’m sorry I was so stubborn as to refuse earlier today.  Forgive me?”

Finn punched the air, his lopsided grin visible.  He was so adorable in that moment, more so than usual.  He looked like a little boy whose wish upon a star had come true.  It made her love him even more.

“You are so cute,” Molly said.

Finn stopped then.  “Did you just call me cute?”

“So what if I did,” Molly said, unfazed.  “What are you going to do about it?”

Molly watched as he scrunched his face up in thought, tapping his finger to his chin, before bending down to ball up a snow ball.  Immediately realising what he intended to so, she ran off behind a tree.  But she ended up peeking out and getting a face full of snow.  Oh, that did it, it was war now.

The pair immersed themselves in a snow ball fight, and Finn’s siblings came out in search of them and ended up joining in.  It was girls versus guys, and the girls were kicking the guys’ butts if she did say so herself.  Then she realised how dark it had gotten and knew she should be getting home.  She mentioned this to Finn, who wasted no time in offering to take her home.

While it would be perfectly safe for her to Apparate home, Molly agreed without any hesitation at all.  And since there was no Apparating and Disapparating within the Harper grounds, they had to walk back through the gate before turning on the spot to find themselves moments later in front of Molly’s house.  The lights were on in the kitchen and Molly knew her parents were still up, waiting on her.

“Well I better go in and face my punishment,” Molly said.  “Wish me luck?”

“Of course,” Finn said, kissing her on the lips before wrapping her in a hug.  She loved his hugs; they were so warm and made her feel secure in his arms.  “I’ll write to you about our date later this month.”

“If I’m not grounded for the remaining of the break,” Molly said, not wanting to let go of Finn.  She had only just accepted him as her boyfriend, why did she have to let go so soon? It was true she would see him in a couple weeks on the train back to Hogwarts, but it seemed so far away.

Then it was all over as light flooded them with the opening of the front door.  Both of her parents were standing in the doorway; her father looked furious, while her mother looked as though she had been worrying over where her daughter had run off to.  Bidding Finn a good night, she watched as he turned and vanished with a crack on the spot before starting up toward the house where her parents awaited her.

“Where have you been,” Percy started in.  “You shouldn’t have run off like that.  What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking that I needed to get away,” Molly said, truthfully.  “I’m so tired of you dictating my life, dad.  I’m old enough to know how to live it myself.”

“And you’re still under our roof until you move out after this school year,” Percy said, “which means you will follow our rules and do as we say, and I forbid you to go out with Finn or any other boy for that matter.  Also, you’re restricted from doing anything for the rest of break.”

“What your father means,” Audrey said, putting her arms around her daughter in a hug, “is that we were worried about you.  But you’re home now, and safe.  And while you are an adult, I stand by your father in your punishment.  Next time you need to get away, tell us where you’re going to and when you’ll be back.”

“Okay, mum, I will.” 

And then they were all heading inside and up the stairs; Molly to her room and her parents to theirs.  After she finished getting ready for bed, Molly lay awake in bed thinking of Finn and how she had had the best Christmas ever that day before finally drifting off to sleep.

 


Chapter 20: Rebel in All of Us
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Author's Note:  I am so sorry for the delay in updating.  I was doing good on weekly updates, but this first month of the fall semester has been hectic the last couple weeks.  But that's no excuse.  I promise to try harder.  In fact, I'm still pledging to have this story finished next month.  

As usual, thanks to the skype warring group, without whom I probably would never had finished this chapter today.  Also, I do hope you all enjoy this chapter, despite how overly fluffy I'm finding it to be. :)




 


Molly spent the next week under house arrest with her father keeping watch over her.  She also continued writing letters to Finn, explaining how she was grounded and might not be able to get out of the house for their date because her dad didn’t think she was mature enough to handle having a boyfriend while focusing on everything else.  And that led to her rants of how irrational her father was being and how she could not wait until she was through with Hogwarts and could escape him.  Maybe things will be better once she’s graduated and out on her own with a job.

While Finn was supportive, he also did not seem able to rant over the rules laid out by her father.  In fact, he was against Molly sneaking out when she brought it up in one of her letters, but Molly still brought it up again a couple days before their date.  She wrote that she would meet him in The Leaky Cauldron (she didn’t think she had to worry about the Longbottoms telling her dad that she was there).

She was not proud of herself.  The last thing she wanted to do was sneak around behind her parents’—especially her father’s—backs, but how else was she supposed to see Finn.  She did not want to cancel their date because of her father.  Molly would not give her father the satisfaction of keeping her locked up for her last winter break living at home.  She was seventeen, almost eighteen, and perfectly capable of knowing what was best for her own self; she did not need to be bossed around anymore.

It was just so frustrating.  Molly hated fighting with her father, yet she always found herself caught up in a disagreement with him over something.  It was all her father, she thought.  But then she would find herself thinking more on it, and found that she liked arguing with him.  It gave her a sense of control over her life when she went against him that she otherwise would not have.

So, upon the afternoon of her date with Finn, Molly decided to leave before her father would return home from work.  However, she had not planned on her mother coming home early, like she had.

“Mum,” Molly said, surprised as she nearly collided with her mother in the foyer in her haste to get out the door before she was busted for sneaking out.  “What are you doing home so early?”

“Well, I got everything done at the office and decided I’d leave a bit early today,” Audrey replied.  “What have you been up to?  Not planning on going anywhere, are you?  You know what your father said; you’re under restriction until you go back to Hogwarts.”

Molly looked down, avoiding her mum’s steady gaze.  “Uh, well, I heard someone arrive and was not sure who it was.”

“Yeah, sure you were,” Audrey said.  “Why don’t you tell me the truth now and we can skip this whole charade.”

“Fine,” Molly sighed.  She never could fool her mother, might as well not attempt to start now.  “I was about to leave to meet up with Finn.  We had planned before dad grounded me to lunch at the Leaky Cauldron and I was not about to cancel on him.”

“Oh, Molly, why must you constantly go against your father?”

“I’m not going against him,” Molly said, then thought better of it.  “Well, I suppose I am, but he’s being completely unfair, mum.”

“Yes, but he’s still your father and you have to continue to show him respect,” Audrey lectured her daughter, “and part of that respect comes from doing as he tells you to.”

“But mum...”

“No buts,” Audrey said; then she went on to add more before Molly could get another word in.  “On the other hand, I think you’ve earned yourself this one day out of the house for good behaviour.  I’ll tell your father where you’ve gone and that I said you could go.”

Molly smiled broadly before hugging her mother.  “Thank you, thank you!”

“Just make sure you’re back by eleven at the latest,” Audrey said.  “If you’re late then dealing with your father will be the least of your worries, as you don’t want to lose the trust I have in you.”

“Yes, of course,” Molly agreed with a nod of her head.

Then she was out the door and in front of the house before turning on the spot to Disapparate to the Leaky Cauldron.  The moment she appeared she was being greeted by Neville and Hannah, both of whom came from around the bar over toward her.  She smiled back and answered their questions of how her break had been thus far, and then reciprocated the question to inquire over their Christmas.  By the time she was caught up with the family friends, she was turning around to make her way over to a booth in the corner.

It was out of the corner of her eye as she made her way over toward the booth that Molly noticed Finn enter from the front into the busy, chatter-filled pub.  There was a slight rush of cold air that was let in with the opening of the doors that blew back to where she stood, causing her to shiver a bit and hug her cloak more snugly around herself, as she watched a bit of snow flake follow Finn inside before he managed to shut the doors against the sleet.  When he had turned back around, she waved him over with a hand in the air to grab his attention.  Managing to do so, Molly sat down at the booth and waited as Finn made his way over toward her and sat down across from her.

“Hullo there,” Finn said, sheepish, “I hope you haven’t been waiting long for me.”

“Nah,” Molly replied, waving her hand to the side.  “I don’t mind.  I caught up with Neville and Hannah a bit in the few minutes I was waiting for you.  Really, you don’t have to be sorry about making me wait as I didn’t mind in the least.”

Finn sighed.  “I didn’t want to be late, but my brother surprised me with tickets earlier this afternoon to see The Telekinesis’ perform at an all wizards’ pub in Dublin and I only just managed to get away.  Had to convince him that this was more important than catching the last of the concert; honestly, the mate needs to find himself a girlfriend.”

Molly giggled.  “Did you have fun, though?” Molly asked.  “For what you saw, I mean.”

“I suppose,” Finn shrugged.  “Wasn’t their best performance, but good overall, I suppose.”

“Well, aren’t you a music snob,” Molly commented.  “I hadn’t have pegged you as one before today.”

“I am not a music snob.”

“Oh, really, then I suppose you listen to all kinds of wizard rock as opposed to a selection of bands?” Molly said, with sarcasm in her tone.

“As a matter of fact,” Finn said, raising his brows, “I do listen to all bands.  However, I have a selection of favourites I enjoy.”

“Music snob,” Molly coughed, barely masking it.  She was rubbish at the fake cough as she could never quite pull it off.  But that did not stop her from fake coughing in the least, nor did it stop Finn from making fun of her for her hacking attempt.

“Did you just try to fake cough make fun of me?”  Finn smirked, with that crooked grin of his she loved so much.  “Seriously, you call that a fake cough?  Sounds more like you’re trying to hack up a lung, never mind that I still heard what you said.”

Molly glared.  “I’d like to see you do better, then.”

Finn flashed her yet another crooked grin before coughing, and she had trouble deciphering what he had masked beneath it.  It could have been either ‘goof’ or ‘dork’.  She would never know, unless he decided to take pity on her and tell her what he had said, which was unlikely.  More than likely he would take immense pleasure in holding something over her head.

She watched as he pulled a face before grinning again.  He could seriously rival a puppy dog, he was that adorably attractive.  She was melting where she sat; a puddle on the cushion of the very bench seat of the booth she sat on.  Honestly, did Finn have no clue what he did to her?  Or did he purposely love melting her so?  Knowing him, she would have to hazard a guess that he loved causing her to melt into a pool of mush.

“Okay, you win,” Molly said, once she had controlled her giggle fit to a minimum.  “Now tell me what you said.”

Finn laughed.  “I’ll never tell you.”

“I knew you’d say that.”

“Oh, you did, did you,” Finn said, laughing.  “Then tell me, what am I going to say now?”

Molly giggled at Finn’s raised brow in mock question.  He sure did love trying her temper, didn’t he?  And it was not that she was getting mad in the slightest, only annoyed at him for not telling her what he had coughed moments ago.  The boy tempted her too often for her to keep count.

The friendly banter lasted the remainder of their “date” before Finn Apparated Molly home before Disapparating back to his family’s manor in Ireland.  She had watched him do a bit of an Irish jig, for laughs more or less, just before he turned on the spot in her front yard, vanishing into thin air with a crack.  She could not wait to return back to school next month simply because she would be able to see him more.  It was going to be a long week waiting for the return journey on the train back.

But first she had to go inside and face her father.  The thought alone had her dreading the impending lecture that she was sure to get an earful of the moment she opened the door.  Her dad was likely waiting in the foyer for her return.  And she somewhat correct, she thought, as she opened the door and discovered Percy coming out of the kitchen to greet whoever had entered through the front door.

“Where have you been, young lady?” he started in on her.  “I thought I told you that you were grounded for the remaining of break.”

“Percy, I told you,” Audrey said, following behind Percy from the kitchen, “I gave her permission to go out and have a bit of fun for good behaviour.  Even prisoners get time off for good behaviour on occasion.”

“And that doesn’t make the fact she was about to sneak out before you gave her that permission,” Percy said.  Honestly, was there nothing her parents did not share?  Molly thought in annoyance.  “Basically, you gave her time off for attempting to sneak out.”

“I did, but she was going stir crazy, Perce,” Audrey said, keeping her voice levelled.  Her mother really was the peace-maker of the family, always calming the tensions when they surfaced between Percy and their eldest daughter.  “She would have found another way out either way.  What I did was give her permission so she would not have to go against us in order to meet up with a friend.”

It was more like an argument between her parents than one between her father and her.  She hated seeing her parents fight, though it was not necessarily a fight.  Her parents rarely fought, and when they did they tended to work out their disagreement within minutes while still arguing.  The argument they were currently battling in was that way as it took no time at all for her father to see the reasoning of her mother for allowing Molly to leave the house for a few hours.  She felt like she was facing her parole officers, checking in before heading back up the stairs toward her bedroom.  The mere thought made her smile, seriously, that’s how amusing the whole situation she was in currently was.

“Alright, but you’re not to leave this house for the rest of break.”

“Yes, sir,” Molly said, then turned and headed up the winding staircase to escape the stares of both her parents.

*

The first thing Molly did the following morning after returning back at Hogwarts was swat away a pair of hands that had been attempting to shake her awake.  Her eyes were still firmly shut, as she protested within her mind at the injustice of classes the following day of arriving back at the castle.  It was madness that the professors actually thought the students could pay attention so soon after almost a month long break away from their studies.

“Molly, you need to wake up now,” Erin said somewhere on the left side of her four poster.  “We’ll be late for Potions for sure... already missed most of breakfast as is.”

Molly turned over, pulling the dark blue duvet up and over her head in the process to block out the sun filtering in through the window that was now behind her.  She had been awake for most of the night in the commons with Erin and Mathis, so really it was their fault she was so exhausted.  They had been catching up on what each had done over winter hols, in addition to badgering Molly about her “date” with a certain green-eyed Slytherin.  Honestly, if they were not her best mates she would have left them to their own devices the moment they started in on poking fun at her.

“Fine,” Erin said, sighing in resignation.  “I’ll tell Finn you’re indecent, and that’s why you can’t make it to Potions this morning.”

That did it; that was what got her out of bed.  She would not allow Erin the chance of telling Finn such a thing, even if she did only want a lie-in from her morning lessons.  She would not give her friend that satisfaction, she would not.

It was with that final note, Molly washed up and put on her school uniform and robe with the Ravenclaw emblem emblazoned on it.  Once she was through getting ready and packing up her bag with the books she would need that day for lessons, both Molly and Erin dashed down the spiral staircase and through the common area as they exited into the near empty corridor.  Having no time for breakfast, the pair headed straight down to the dungeons to Double Potions, the door already having been propped open by Professor Holt.

Molly made her way over toward the table where Finn had already begin to set up his cauldron and potion supplies along with ingredients they would need as was listed on the blackboard at the front of the class.  She paused where she was briefly to catch her breath before taking the remaining steps over toward the table and sitting on her stool.  She nodded and smiled at Finn as he greeted her.

“How was the rest of your break?”

“It was alright,” Molly replied.  “Bit dull, but now it’s about to get busy with N.E.W.T.s only being a few months away.”

“You are such a Ravenclaw,” Finn said; failing a bit at insulting her since Ravenclaws were, in fact, book nerds.

“Do you know when we get our mock results back anyway?”

“I think we’ll be getting them back over dinner this evening,” Finn guessed.  “No idea, though.  Your guess is as good as mine.”

“I hope it’s soon,” Molly said, biting her bottom lip.  “I’m a bundle of nerves, and these are only mocks.  Imagine how I’ll be waiting for my N.E.W.T. results this summer.”

“You’ll do fine,” Finn assured her, with a soothing half smile.

Molly smiled back, but she was not completely into it.  Then it was time to get for the lesson to start as Professor Holt shut the door and started lecturing them on the potion they would be brewing.  For the remaining of class, Molly and Finn worked on their potions with more concentration than either had before.  The tension between the pair hung in the air between them, causing them to focus even more on the task at hand than ever before.  Their relationship had changed over break, and now neither quite knew where go from the changes that had developed.


 


Chapter 21: An Unexpected Turn
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own anything. It all belongs to J.K. Rowling. The only things I own are the plot and any characters you do not recognize from the books.

Author's Note:  Here's another nice and long chapter for y'all! I hope you all enjoy. And I'd like to thank tell_me_what_the_truth_is for helping me to write and finish this chapter in the last couple days with our constant word wars on skype. Also, I'd like to thank her for helping me settle on the chapter title, for which was not thought on until after this chapter was written. Anyway, enough of my babbling, hope I don't disappoint y'all, and enjoy!




The first week back after winter hols sped by fast Molly barely even blinked for fear she would miss something.  She barely saw much of Finn, always seeming to miss him.  If she was busy, he wasn’t and vice versa.  It seemed as though professors were pumping up the volume in their lectures and coursework with only a few months of the seventh years’ schooling left before them. 

Molly was about ready to scream halfway through the second week back.  Things kept happening.  Not to mention the seventh years had yet to get the results from their mock exams back.  How were they supposed to know where they needed to concentrate their studies on for N.E.W.T.s if their mock results haven’t come back yet?  What was the point in mocks if they were not graded at a reasonable time anyway?  Honestly, they needed to get with the program.  She was not sure how much more of the waiting she could handle; she was already going insane with worry and it was only mocks.

However, after supper on that second Wednesday back, Finn caught up with Molly leaving the Great Hall.  She had missed spending time with him.  He looked different, somehow, that evening.  Ruffled, or a bit at least, like he had been spending all of his spare time hunched over textbook after textbook studying; there were definitely bags under his eyes.  He looked wretched.  She could only imagine how she appeared to him.

She had to confess she had not so much as glanced in a mirror in the past week, not caring much to spend any of her time on vanity.  All of her time went into her coursework.

“Molly,” he finally said.  “Do you have a moment?  I was wondering if we could go for a walk around the lake.”

“Sure,” Molly said, instantly agreeing to time with Finn.

“Great,” Finn replied.  “I’ve missed spending time with you.”

“Me, too,” Molly said. 

Both of them fell into step alongside each other as they exited through the front doors in the Entrance hall in comfortable silence.  The night was chilly, snow still thick on the ground.  Though, it had stopped snowing earlier in the afternoon, so the snow that blanketed the grounds was crisp and clean.  Snow crunched beneath their feet as they made their way down the sloping grounds toward the frozen solid lake.

“It’s always so beautiful during the winter here,” Molly said, content.

“Hmm, it is,” Finn replied, putting his hands in the pockets of his cloak.  “How have you been?”

Molly stopped walking, glancing up into Finn’s eyes.  He was not much taller than her, only a few inches, and she did not have to look too far up.  “I’m alright, but how are you?  You look tired.”  She worried at her bottom lip some.

“I’m alright, honest,” Finn said.  “I’ve just been studying nonstop.  The professors sure don’t waste much time after break to heap on the loads of coursework, do they?”  He grinned, attempting to crack a joke and failing.  He really looked exhausted.  Molly reached out and grabbed hold of his hand with hers.  “Really, I’m okay, Molly.”

“You know, it’s okay to sleep,” Molly said, smiling wanly.  “No one is going to fault you for getting some rest, you know.”

“Hmm,” Finn said, in thought. 

“What is it?”  Molly asked.

“I’m just confused what I should do after Hogwarts is all,” Finn confessed.  “I mean, do I work in a Ministry position or as a Curse Breaker for Gringotts.  Do I go for money or something I’d enjoy?”

“Do you want me to answer this?”  Molly asked, knowing already what she would tell him.  She was choosing a path after Hogwarts of what she loved to do.  She loved Herbology, the feel of the soil in her fingers as she dug or buried a magical plant to discover its properties.  There was always something new to discover.

Finn raked his fingers through his dark, tousled hair in frustration.  “Ah, I don’t know.  My dad works in the Magical Law Enforcement department as a solicitor, same as his dad and so on.  Even Declan followed in our father’s footsteps, working right alongside him.  There’s more than what I love to do at stake.  It’s all about whether I choose the same path as several generations of males on my father’s side has done, or do what interests me.  Do I go against my family or follow in his footsteps?”

“Well, it isn’t supposed to be a hard decision, now is it?” Molly said, with her brow rose in question, “If you’d rather be a Curse Breaker than a solicitor, go for it.  What do you have to lose?  I’m sure your family will accept your decision.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” Finn said.  “But I feel like I’m obligated to follow into the family business.  My dad has his own practice set up within the Magical Law Enforcement and I’m sure he’s hoping that I join him and my brother’s partnership.  It’ll be a father and sons practice, as opposed to only a father-son practice like it is now.”

“You know,” Molly replied, “I’m having a hard time imagining Declan has a solicitor.  He really doesn’t seem like the serious type.”

“He’s not,” Finn said, a smile breaking the surface.  “But he is damn good at arguing a case.  And he can handle himself well, while thinking on his feet if need be.”

“I suppose being Slytherin and all, you’d make a good lawyer.”

“Yeah, we are sly ones at that,” Finn said in agreement.

“But you should decide to do what you want to do because it’s something you truly want to do.  It isn’t about money or family, it’s about you.”

“Yeah, I suppose so.”

Molly led Finn down the rest of the way toward the frozen lake.  She stopped at the edge, but Finn continued walking, stepping right onto the solid, frozen lake.  Naturally Molly followed since her hand was still entwined in his.  She felt dangerous, standing on the solid ice that was the lake without ice skates on.

But apparently ice skates were not needed as Finn incanted a charm on their shoes to glide safely over the ice.  She slipped and slid a bit before regaining her balance, holding onto Finn’s arms while peering into his bright, green eyes for support.

“Whoa, there,” Finn said aloud.  “Careful.  You don’t want to slip and bust your arse, as that would hurt.”

“You would know,” Molly said sarcastically.

“Actually, yes, I would,” Finn said.  “I busted my arse gliding on the frozen lake at my family’s manor a few years’ back.  Ask my brother, he loves to recount that particular tale, especially seeing as he was the one to cause me to fall.”

Molly rolled her eyes.  “Why are boys so violent?”

“We’re not violent,” Finn argued, “just rambunctious.”

Molly raised her brows, before giggling.  She continued to giggle with sheer abandon, forgetting to keep her balance, thus sliding to the side.  In his haste to help her back into an upright position, Finn ended up tumbling down after her. Both of them ended up in a heap on the cold, frosted ice.  When she tried sitting up, Finn pulled her back down and caused her to lose her balance all over again before she had barely regained it from their tumble in the first place.  Deciding to quit and give into gravity, Molly rolled over and lay on her back on the thick iced-over lake beside Finn, both gazing at the stars that shown down on them.

“Do you think we’ll last?”  Molly asked, after a brief silence that had fell between them.

“You mean as a couple?”  Finn said, his confusion pouring into each word. 

“Mmmhm,” Molly said, nodding her head, gently bumping it back on the ice.

“Maybe,” Finn said.  “I’d like to hope so.  But we are only in the beginning stages and already finding it hard to spend time together.”

“What about in a few months after we’ve graduated?”  Molly asked, voicing her fears aloud.  “I don’t want to lose touch with you, Finn.”

“You won’t,” Finn replied, determined.  “I won’t allow that to happen.”

Molly sighed, feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders as she did.  “But what happens if I leave the country for a job offer?  It’s going to be awfully hard to keep up our relationship long distantly.”

“We can survive it,” Finn said, ever the optimist of the pair.  “I won’t ever let you go; I already lost six years of being your friend, I’m not about to lose anymore, Mols.”

She wanted to believe him, she really did.  With all her heart, Molly trusted him fully and completely in everything he said now.  They had come so far since the start of that school term.  She started it out hating him, or rather not liking him for his constant bullying of her.  It was all still so new, raw, and who knew if it was strong enough to hold should either one had been forced to move a great distance away.

She wished she knew; all of the uncertainty surrounding them at the moment was driving her mad.  She had to know, had to. 

“We should maybe stand now,” Finn said, being the one to break the silence this time around, “before our cloaks, you know, end up stuck to the ice.”

Molly nodded, but did not make to get up.  Instead she lay there until Finn proffered his hand to help pull her up.  His hand was warm, engulfing her cold hand.  It felt nice.  Looking into his green eyes, she felt the butterflies in her stomach continue their tireless fluttering again. 

“Thanks,” Molly said, suddenly feeling bashful as she was made more aware than ever being in Finn’s presence.  One might think she would be used to his attentions now, but no.  She still felt like a giddy first year on her first day of Hogwarts. 

Finn shrugged, showing her that dashing crooked grin of his again.  She would never become immune to the effects his grin had on her, never.  Forever she would find herself going weak as long as he continued to grin at her that way.  She really was hopeless where Finn Harper was concerned, for she was certain.

They ended up slipping and sliding, while keeping their balance for most part, toward the edge of the lake to step back onto the fresh, crunchy snow that blanketed the frozen earth.  Once they had reached solid ground, the pair stood in a contented silence before trudging back up toward the castle in the dark of the winter night.

*

Finn sat in the Slytherin common room a couple nights later with his mates.  They were all laughing at the way a fourth year Gryffindor boy had caused a statue to explode earlier that day.  The boy had thrown a tantrum over his wireless being stolen.  He had not been around the area where the event had occurred, but had heard of it being passed around so often he felt as though he had watched the statue go KA-BOOM instead of only hearing the rumours. 

He had been in a Prefect meeting at the time, which had been about the excess of accidental magic that had bursted forth among the younger students lately.  More than there used to be.  Basically, the Head Girl and Head Boy had told them they needed to pay closer attention to the younger students as a way to step in before accidental magic would be released.  That way the youngsters would learn better how to harness and control their bouts of unexpected magic that so far their emotions are controlling.

It was a bit ironic that during the meeting, another young wizard had lost all control over his magic in his rage.  Never before had Finn ever lost so much control over his own magic, and could barely believe his ears when he had first heard.

Currently, however, Finn was not thinking of what his friends were laughing over.  He kept running Molly’s words of doubt around his mind.  He understood what it meant to be optimistic versus realistic, yet he had trouble deciphering how exactly he was being over their last discussion.  He was a natural optimist, but could already place Molly as a realist as she did not seem to think of only the positive outcome of something.  Rather, he was becoming aware of how Molly seemed to weigh in all the odds before coming up with an answer to a question she was otherwise unsure about.  It would either be a pro or con that helped them in the long run.

Finn did not wish to think about what it would mean to lose Molly’s companionship.  He cared too much to let go, especially when he had only just gained Molly as his girlfriend; it would almost seem like he had thrown out all of the hard work he had gone through to make Molly realise how great a match they made.

“Oi, Harper,” Nott said, tossing a wadded up paper ball at his head.  “What’s up?”

Ducking to avoid the paper ball, he shook his head clear of thoughts of Molly.  “Nothing, just thinking.”

“That’s some pretty hardcore thinking, then,” Nott replied conversationally.  “You have been letting Kelsey’s cat curl its body around your ankle for at least half an hour, when you usually shove it away.”

Finn looked down at his feet and sure enough saw and felt the black cat rubbing itself against his shins.  Scowling in disgust over the pitiful excuse of a feline, he set his feet up on the foot rest before him.  It was not that he did not like cats; he just did not care much for the particular cat that constantly had to rub up against him.  Kelsey’s cat never left him alone, which was buggering to say the least.

“Now, tell us,” Nott continued on, “what had taken all of your concentration in thinking over?”

“I dunno,” Finn replied, shrugging. “I suppose I’m thinking of what Molly brought up the other night.”

“Care to elaborate,” Avery prompted him.

Finn shrugged his broad shoulders again.  There were some things he cared not to discuss with his friends about his relationship with Molly.  They knew they were together now, but that was all they knew.  He kept to himself when it came to what he and Molly got up to, not much caring for his friends’ commentary.

“Seriously, we can’t help you if you don’t share,” Nott scolded.  “We want to help, mate.  You’re obviously torn about something with all the gloom show you’re putting on now.”

“I don’t care to discuss it with either of you,” Finn said.  “It isn’t anything major, only a minor road block that lays ahead of Molly and mine relationship, waiting to test its strengths.”

“What’s that?”  Goyle asked, ever the thick lad.  “What’s it testing?”

“Isn’t it obvious,” Avery said, rolling his eyes and giving Goyle a smack on the head with his palm.  “Something is already testing the restraints that hold Harper together with Molly.  Thus meaning it could end what they have together all too soon.”

“Wait,” Goyle said, scratching his head.  “They’re dating now?  I thought we hated Molly?”  Poor fellow looked ever more confused than he usually did, it was pitiful.

“Seriously, where have you been?” Nott said.  “You are dumber than a troll.”

“Enough,” Finn said, constantly feeling like a referee that would forever step between his friends’ spats.  It kind of made him feel like a Hufflepuff, to which made him shudder at the very notion.  He was very un-Hufflepuff-like; too cunning to be considered as kind-hearted and hard working.

“All right,” Avery said.  “Tell us what’s going on between you and Molly, then.”

Finn sighed.  His friends would never learn to forget and let live.  “We’re afraid we’ll have to part ways after we’ve graduated.”  That was all they would get.

“Mate,” Nott said, “I know you’ve really taken to Molly these past several months, but you had to have seen it coming.  You both are on different paths, only briefly meeting before parting ways again.”

“When did you become a poet,” Finn snapped at him.

“Stop avoiding the inevitable,” Nott continued.  “You should end it now before either of you end up more hurt than you already will be.  Besides, you could find a girl that’s a more suitable fit.”

“It’s already too late to go back,” Finn replied.

Avery whistled.  “Oh man, we’ve lost him to the point of no return.”

The point of no return was a saying the boys had come up with when they had first started dating girls back in their fourth year.  They would only use the saying if one of them had crossed over into the great beyond, nearer to the heaviness of that love squishiness.

“No,” Finn said, back tracking.  “You haven’t lost me.”

“And he’s clearly in denial, too.”

“Man, this is bad,” Nott said.  “We’ve lost Harper, the one we felt sure would never cross over while still at Hogwarts.”

“Clearly we need to keep better watch on him,” Avery commented.  “Especially since he has apparently become accustomed to denying what he really feels.  Stubborn, he is.”

Finn rolled his eyes.  He clearly was not lost as he knew exactly how he felt about Molly.  His friends may mean something else entirely, but he thought he could not have been more alert to what was happening with him and Molly.

Then just when he thought his friends had given up on trying to persuade him of how truly gone he was they started up again.  Tiring of their conversation over him, Finn decided to call it a night and head up to bed.  Though, instead of going to bed when he entered the empty dormitory, he wrote a note and transported it to Molly with a single wave of his wand; he was rather crafty at communication spells.

The note he had sent her was nothing of an upsetting nature.  It was more along the lines of inquiring whether she cared to meet up atop the roof of the Ravenclaw Tower for a late night rendezvous.  Her response came back within several minutes of waiting: Yes, meet you there in a few.

He punched the air in triumphant before realising he would have to walk through the common room, thus his friends possibly stopping him.  He really did not want to talk with his friends anymore that evening.  But how could he escape without them seeing him?  There was no other way.  He had no other option but to walk past them and hope he was able to escape unscathed from them.

Crossing the dorm room, Finn left and headed back down toward the common room and walked straight through, praying his friends would leave him alone.  He could still hear them speaking, but they had yet to notice his return as he sidled to the door and listened in on what they were talking about.  He froze right beside the portal when he heard his name, realising then they were still speaking about him; despite the fact he was no longer sitting before the fire place in the chaise, leather armchairs with them.

“Harper needs to figure out what he wants to do,” he heard Avery say, his back to his friends as he was facing the portal.  “If he really cares about Molly, then he’d end it now before the both of them end up more hurt when they finally say goodbye.  He said himself, he and Molly want different things; they’re on completely different life tracks.”

“I get what you’re saying, I do,” he listened as Nott put in his Sickles worth.  “But honestly, I think Harper could make it work with Molly if he really wanted it to.  I see the way he is when she’s around and the mate really fancies her; and what’s more, she fancies him as much back.  If anyone can make it work, they can.”

“If I’m being honest, I think Harper will get bored after so long with Molly,” Avery said, Finn feeling his fists clench defensively.

“What makes you say that?”  Nott testily retorted.  “You haven’t known him as long as I have; I’ve been mates with Harper since we were tots, I think I know him a bit more than you do.”

Finn hated listening to his friends fight like they were, but at the same time Molly was waiting for him.  He could not keep her waiting for much longer.  While at the same time his feet refused to cooperate with his brain, remaining firmly in place as the arguing carried on right behind him with his friends still unaware of his presence feet away.

“I thought Harper liked Molly,” Goyle spoke up, causing Finn to bite his lip from bursting out with a laugh.  Leave it to Goyle to remain clueless in anything being discussed, the boy really was hopeless.  “Why would he break things off with her?”

“Because Goyle,” Avery said, sounding annoyed, “he can’t be with her forever.  They are on different paths, as I’ve been saying for the last hour.”

“And I’m saying,” Nott said, getting more annoyed with Avery by the sounds of it, “I’m quite positive I know Harper a tad more than you do, Avery, and I’m sure he won’t break things off with Molly even when they have to part ways.  He’ll want to try long distance at first to see if they can pull it off before deciding anything.”

Finn felt a sudden sense of loyalty for Nott.  He and Nott had their differences, but when it came down to it they always had each other’s backs whenever either needed it.  It was with that final thought stuck in his mind that Finn finally exited through the portal into the dungeon corridor and made his way up toward the Ravenclaw Tower.  He did not want to keep Molly waited any longer than he already had.

Though, when he arrived, it was to find the top of the tower to be void of people, or so he thought upon first glance.  It was several moments later that he noticed Molly sitting down against the curve of the wall that rose up toward the left of the door that led back into the castle; he had turned to go back through when he discovered her.

“There you are,” Finn said, sighing in relief.  “Couldn’t see you at first; thought for sure you had stood me up.”

“Me stand you up,” Molly replied.  “I thought you had stood me up, playing some kind of cruel joke on me.”

“I wouldn’t dare,” Finn said, squatting down before Molly with his elbows resting on his knees.

“What took you so long?”

Finn sighed.  “Overheard my friends talking about me and it made my ears burn, had to listen.”

“What were they saying?”  Molly asked.  “Or you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, I understand.”

“It’s alright,” Finn replied.  “They were talking about the same thing they were trying to convince me of before I left them for the dorm, which was about our relationship and how we’re moving in different directions.  They think we should break up now before we have to part.”

“Oh,” Molly said softly.  “I see.”

“Yeah, well, I told them I had no intention of breaking up with you earlier, so they had right to talk behind my back like they’re doing.”

“But they are right, you know,” Molly said, frowning.  “We’re not moving together, but rather away from each other.  It’s like we discussed the other night.  You didn’t tell your friends about that, did you?”

“Only that we discussed it, but nothing specific.  It’s our business, not theirs.”

Molly nodded, as though in approval for his response.  He did not need her approval and felt resentful toward her for it.  Then he hated himself for resenting her when he had probably taken her nodding the wrong way.

“You seem... different tonight,” Molly said as she met his eyes.  “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing,” Finn replied, plopping down on his butt while still facing her.  He reached forward and grabbed her hands with his own.  “I’m just frustrated with my friends is all; a couple of them seem to think I should dump you, while Nott is the only one who is on my side.”

“Well that’s stupid,” Molly replied.  “They should keep their petty opinions to themselves.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Finn said.  “But it still isn’t stopping me from thinking about what it would be like if we did break up now, before we graduated and went our ways.”

“Are you saying you want to break up now?”  Molly asked, confused and hurt by what she was hearing, even if part of her thought it would be for the best to get it all over with now.

Finn backtracked.  “No, of course not, I’m only saying it’s hard to imagine even parting ways with you.  I wish we could stay together and weren’t studying for different job areas.”

“Well, I’ll make it easy for you,” Molly said, making to stand up before Finn pulled her back down into her sitting position in front of him.

“I’m sorry,” Finn said.  “I don’t want you to leave at all.”

“But that doesn’t change the fact that I very well might be,” Molly replied tersely. 

“Yes, but we can still be together until then.”

“Yes, I suppose,” Molly said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”  Finn asked her.  He was already frustrated at his friends; he did not want to hear anything that might be doubts coming from Molly.  He had been expecting her to agree completely with him now, after their talk about it all a few nights ago.  Apparently he had thought wrong.

“Nothing, just that...,” her voice trailed off.

He did not like what he was hearing.  How was Molly doubting them; still?  He had thought he had convinced her they could try to make it all work already; though, he obviously had been mistaken.  Why does he even bother?  What’s the point anymore if all the odds were stacked up against them; constantly raising as to whether their relationship can wither through it all in the end?  What if they were destined to fail?  He hated to think so negatively, but Finn could not help it when Molly was doing the very same thing.

Finn continued to gaze at Molly, words failing him.  How dare she sit there before him, acting all doubtful and pessimistic about them?  Why was she giving up on them so soon?  Was it something he could have said to make her change her mind about him?  His mind was spinning with all the questions, barely able to comprehend it all into one coherent train of thought.  Could she even see what she was doing to him on the inside by looking at him in such a way as she was now?

“Finn, I’m sorry, I am,” Molly said, sounding strangely out of breath.  “But I don’t think we can carry on together like this.  It’s just not fair when I’ll more than likely move to another country to work as a Herbologist.”

Finn ran his fingers through his tousled brown hair, causing it to stand up in spikes as his hair poked out between his fingers.  “And I told you the other night; we can make it work if we really wanted it to.”  Why wasn’t she listening to him?  It was as though the words coming out of his mouth dissipated into thin air, hushing as the icy wind overtook it from atop the tower.

Molly smiled sadly, he wished she would not.  He wanted to see her happy smile, not one that revealed the end of them.  It was the most torturing move she could make.  That smile.  It ripped at his gut, attempting to push what he had eaten for dinner back up and out of his stomach.

They sat there in silence for what seemed like forever, Finn agonising over what Molly could be thinking about.  She was staring heavenward now, brow furrowed and frown formed on her pink lips.  He wished he could reach out and smooth out her furrow, but he was sure she would pull away from him.  There was so little space between them, yet she seemed eons away from him; completely out of his reach at that moment in time.

“I think I should head back to the common room,” Molly replied.  “I still need to finish writing an essay before I go to bed.”

He could not believe she had managed to speak over the stilted silence, and about turning in to boot.  All he wanted to do was to pull her into his arms and keep her tucked there forever.  But alas, that would get him nowhere with Molly.  In order to prove to her they were compatible and could wither any storm that tried to wreck them, he would need to keep her the space she needed then.  Even when keeping his distance would hurt; he had to give it to her in order for her to see how hasty, and wrong, the choice she was currently making at wanting to break things off with him.

“See you tomorrow?”

“Hmm,” Finn said, snapping into focus.  “Sure, see you tomorrow.”

It was just like that.  With a promise that sounded as empty as a bell jar, the pair headed back down the spiral staircase of the tower and parted at the foot as Molly lifted the knocker while he continued to walk away without a second glance.  He vaguely heard the musical chimes and muffled sing-song voice ask the riddle that Molly would surely answer quickly to gain entry into Ravenclaw Tower.  But the silence of the castle enveloped him the farther he walked away and down toward the dungeons to his own commons.


Chapter 22: All Great Things End
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I don't own anything but the plot and Finn Harper. Also any other OCs you spot, such as Erin Long and Mathis Boot.




The next day dawned early and he was thankful the sun could not disorient him first thing in the morning for the Slytherin commons and dorms being under the lake.  It was for that reason alone why it was always so chilly in the wee hours of the morning and late at night, making it hard to get out of bed.  His friends were already up and preparing for the day ahead of them as he remained in bed.  All he kept thinking about was what had happened between him and Molly last night on that forsaken tower.

Finn groaned, thus causing Nott to snatch aside the curtains as the others came closer from their own living spaces.

“What’s up with you?” Nott asked.  “You aren’t still moping about what we talked about last night, I hope.”

“Nah,” Finn replied, swinging his legs around and touching the floor.  He sat like that, his head in his hands, for several minutes before finally standing and heading toward his trunk at the end of his bed to change into his uniform.  He could feel eyes on him the whole time, as though they did not believe him.

He was fine in all honesty; he just needed to convince himself he was if that made any sense at all.  There was a part of him still clinging onto one thing while the other was trying to move forward to give Molly some space, all the while still prepared to show her how right they were for each other.  He had to do it all.  Maybe it would be easier than it had been to get Molly to agree to go out with him in the first place.  He doubted it, but it was worth hoping.

When he had finished changing, he followed his friends silently up to the Great Hall.  He listened as they spoke of their plans to study in the library before their first class since they all had a break that morning before their first class.  Finn had a break, too, but already planned on spending it with Molly.  They would take their books to their private little alcove in the library and hole up until they had to leave for their separate classes.

The first thing he looked for upon entering the Great Hall was Molly, whom he found within a minute of his quick scan of the Ravenclaw table.  She was sitting with her two friends, animatedly chatting about something or other.  It was nice to see her happy, the opposite of how she was last night, and he hoped her cheeriness would carry on to their study session.  He would not be able to handle anymore gloom between them.  Last night was enough to last him for eternity.

“Coming, Harper,” Avery looked over his shoulder at where Finn had froze in step, still looking over at Molly.

Finn stirred, coughing as he hastily turned away from where his girlfriend sat.  “Hmm,” he replied before heading over to their table.  He downed a glass of pumpkin juice and bowl of warm porridge before he glanced over toward the Ravenclaw table in time to spot Molly standing several minutes later.

Wiping his mouth with his napkin, he stood without a single word to his friends and followed Molly and her friends, hoping to meet them at the double doors.  He had not reached them in time, though he caught up with them at the foot of the grand marble staircase.  He tugged on the strap of Molly’s bag to get her attention so not to startle her.

“Hi.”

“Hullo, there,” Molly said, turning to face him completely as she paused on the step.  “Are you heading to the library as well?”

“Yeah, thought we could studying together,” Finn replied.  “What do you say?  There’s an alcove with our name on it, just waiting for our presence.”

Molly frowned.  “I would join you, except I promised Mathis I’d help him with his Herbology work.  He’s having trouble, see, and I’m best out of the three of us at the subject.”

“Try best out of the whole year,” Erin said, interrupting.  “Even better than those Hufflepuffs who are rumoured to have a variety of all sorts of plants in their common room, even talking and singing plants.  But no non-Hufflepuff can confirm due to no student that isn’t a Hufflepuff ever having trespassed in their common room.”

“That’s because they have a defence mechanism set up outside the entrance of their common room unlike any of the other common rooms, isn’t it,” Mathis said.  “I tried to get in with Chris in fourth year, and we both ended up covered in vinegar.  Strong, disgusting smelling stuff that.”

“I’ve always wondered how the Hufflepuffs got inside their commons,” Finn said in thought.  “There are so many tales of students, who aren’t Hufflepuffs, that have attempted to enter, but none have made it in and all were squirted with vinegar.”

“I wouldn’t want to cross a Hufflepuff,” Mathis said, “going on the defence set up to keep students of other houses out.  They are tricky little buggers, just like the badger.”

“Are we going to the library or just standing around,” Molly said, prompting the others to continue to move.  It worked, as they all started walking up the stairs.  “Besides, it doesn’t matter whose better at Herbology, the only thing of importance as of now is to get Mathis to the point where he understands what’s happening in the class.”

“Good luck with that,” Erin chirped up.  “Mathis is so thick and inept when it comes to any kind of plants, even daisies.  He thinks that Muggle show that I watch over the holidays at home, ‘Pushing Daisies,’ is a show about the flower.  And he’s so insensitive when handling plants, especially the Mandrakes back in second year.  He’s actually made them leak out tears.”

“Oh, hush,” Molly said, though she was smiling.  “It’s not his fault he doesn’t know how to handle them.  Personally, I think he’s afraid of mishandling them, thus causing him to be inept about proper care for them.”

“Thank you, Molly,” Mathis said.  “I’m glad someone understands my hesitancy with those blimey plants.”

“Honestly, mate,” Finn said, as they were rounding the final corridor and the library came into view up head.  “Herbology is pretty tough.  You pretty much need a green thumb in order to fully comprehend and master it.”

“Don’t tell me I need to tutor you, too,” Molly said, exasperated.  “I can only handle one thick skull at a time.”

“Hey!” Mathis said.  “I resent being referred to as thick-headed.”

“Erin refers to you as thick all the time,” Molly pointed out, “and you never object to her.”

“Yes, well,” Mathis mumbled letting the sentence die before it even started.

Molly rolled her eyes as they all entered the library and sat down at the table she, Erin, and Mathis usually sat at when they studied.  Her friends were ever clueless about how they felt about one another that it was sad watching them pretend they did not care by poking fun at one another.  Those two would never learn.  But they amused her to no end, regardless of their resilient stance toward each other.

“Okay, first things first,” Molly said, opening up her Herbology textbook, indicating Mathis do the same.  “Let’s go over the proper handling of magical plants, herbs, and fungi before how to care for them.”

“I’m already anxious that this will not sink in.”

“See, thick skull,” Erin said, tapping Mathis who was conveniently sitting beside her.  “Exactly what I’ve been saying since year one, he can’t retain anything but Chocolate Frog card information and Quidditch statistics.”

“Enough,” Molly chided, then added upon spotting Mathis’s mouth open and ready to retort, “the both of you.”

“The pair of you are perfect for each other,” Finn said, which opened up another can of worms entirely.

“Oh, no, we aren’t,” Erin argued.  “He is not my type, far from it in fact.”

“Why would I want to date her,” Mathis scoffed.  “Do you even see her?  She’s... blech.”  He shivers in disgust.

“Like you’re any better,” Erin commented, voice dripping with equal disgust to match his.

Finn laughed with Molly.  “Even listening to the pair of you voicing your disgust for each other is hilarious, and it proves that you are perfect for each other.”

“He has a point there,” Molly said.  “I’ve noticed this about you two for so long and it feels so good to get my opinion off my chest finally.”

“Traitor,” Erin grumbled, slouching down in her chair as she buried her nose into her Defence of the Dark Arts textbook.

Molly coughed.  “Okay, um, onward with the proper handling of magical plants.  Never bend or tear or crumple anything, how would you like it if someone balled you up in their fists.  Also, manhandling is a don’t as you should always handle with care, or the plant will fight back.”  After she said that last sentence she laughed, thinking of the story Tyler had told her earlier in the year.

“What?” Finn asked feeling left out by Molly’s giggling.  “What’s so funny about that?”

“It’s just, I was thinking of a story Tyler told me,” Molly said.  “Tyler is the Hufflepuff Prefect—”

“I know who he is,” Finn was quick to interject.  “Thanks, but I remember him all too quick for my liking.”  He was still sore over the fact Tyler had stolen so much of Molly’s free time in the first part of the year.  It was not that he was jealous per se of the Hufflepuff... wait, who was he kidding?  Of course he was jealous.  Though he really should be over it by now since he was dating Molly, but he was not.  He was still insecure that Molly would suddenly decide she liked Tyler more than him.

“Honestly, Finn,” Molly said, clearly annoyed with him by her expression.  “As I’ve told you before, I’m only friends with Tyler, you have nothing to worry about,” emphasizing the word for him to grasp it better.  “I’m dating you, isn’t that all the proof you need to see who I like more.  Seriously,” she grumbled.

“I know,” Finn said.  “It’s just that... well you’ve got to admit you were awfully close with him last year.”

Molly sighed.  “I never liked him the way I like you, you have to know that.”

“Well, I know that now,” Finn said, “but before I wasn’t so sure, especially since you gave me such a hard time.”

“Blimey, I wonder why,” Molly replied with certain knowingness.

“You’re impossible, you know that.”

“As a matter of fact,” Molly said, smiling at him from across the table, “I do.  Now, we really must get on with studying or I’ll never be able to teach Mathis a thing about Herbology before class and the time will have been wasted.”

Mathis groaned.  “I still don’t understand why I must know this stuff.  It’s all utter rubbish in my opinion.  Who cares about plants?  It’s not like they can understand our intentions.”

“Have you even been listening to a word I’ve been saying at all?” Molly inquired.  “Honestly, I should give up and let you fail.  At least then I’ll save myself a headache from attempting to tutor such a hopeless cause.”

“Because I need to pass,” Mathis said.  “If I don’t, then I can kiss being a Dragonkeeper goodbye.  Dragonkeepers are in short supply these days, you know.”

“Then I concede,” Molly said, “you need to pay closer attention to what I say, or you can start looking at other options that aren’t as fascinating to you.”

“Fine,” Mathis huffed.

It was with that that they continued to study, with Molly putting emphasize on notes Mathis needed to remember.  He was getting some of it, but he would need to revise loads more before he would even come close to being ready to pass the N.E.W.T. in the next couple months.  Then, as they started to pack up, they heard Headmaster Flitwick’s voice, magically enhanced to address the castle at large, “All seventh years are to report to the Great Hall at this time.”  That could only mean one thing: their mock scores were in.  Molly felt queasy at the prospect of finally seeing what she had earned.

“It’ll be alright,” Finn said, as he took her hand in his and the four of them left the library.  “I’m sure you did fine, there’s absolutely no need to worry over it.”

All Molly could do was nod, unable to open her mouth to allow words that temporarily escaped her to come forth.  It was the moment of truth.  She would find out in a short several minutes if she was cut out to be a Herbologist.  And to think, she had actually been having fun earlier, but now she felt a gigantic weight being dropped on her shoulders as she walked down to the Great Hall to receive the scores that had been constantly on her mind since she returned back from break.

The others did not appear to be as nervous as she was with their steady talking of something that was unrelated to mock exams.  Molly heard them talking, but had trouble processing their words; each word went in one ear and out the other without allowing her brain to process the meaning of it.

When they entered the Great Hall it was to find it full of the rest of the Seventh years.  No one appeared to be sitting, but rather standing around in nervous anticipation.  It was not until Professor Longbottom magically projected his voice to tell them to sit down at their respective house tables that anyone made any move to sit down.  Once she was seated at Ravenclaw table with Erin and Mathis, Finn having left them for the Slytherin table, Professor Longbottom started walking around the hall.  He was holding a stack of envelopes and handed them to each student in turn.  The envelopes must have been in alphabetical order, which meant Molly would be one of the last to see her scores.  Why did her last name have to be Weasley, of all the surnames in Great Britain it had to be one that started with a ‘W’?  Life was cruel.

Mathis was the first of their trio to get his mock results.  He actually did surprisingly well, except for the ‘Dreadful’ in Herbology.  He would need to up it to at least an ‘Exceeds Expectations’ in a few months’ time when they sat their N.E.W.T. examinations.  Erin was picking on him for doing so dreadfully on his Herbology mock that she nearly jumped when Professor Longbottom held out an envelope with her full name on it.

Molly watched as her friend opened it with shaken fingers and took her time pulling the sheaf of parchment out.  It made Molly feel as though she were waiting for her results, not to hear Erin’s results instead.  “Well, how did you do?”  Molly finally asked her friend.

“Alright, I suppose,” Erin said.  Since they were on opposite sides, Molly had no way of looking over her friend’s shoulder, but Mathis could and he did.

“Alright,” Mathis repeated, “you did better than alright.  According to this the lowest score you earned is ‘Acceptable’ and that’s in Transfiguration; that’s a tricky subject for anyone.  Then you earned ‘Exceeds Expectations’ in both Defence Against the Dark Arts and Herbology.” 

“That’s not bad at all,” Molly said.  “You’ll be able to get those marks up in the few months before we sit our N.E.W.T.s.”

“Hmm, I suppose,” Erin said, still unconvinced. 

Molly frowned.  She knew her friend’s own expectations were aimed high and that Erin got upset when she did not earn the grade she was aiming toward.  “It’ll work out in the end.  All you have to do is study on the areas you want to improve.”

“But what if I end up earning higher in Transfiguration and lower in the other subjects?”  Erin bit her lip.  “I won’t get hired into any department at the Ministry of Magic with anything less than Outstanding.”

“Nonsense,” Mathis said, waving his hand to the side.  “They take students with Exceeds Expectations and Acceptable just as much as they take in those who earned all Outstandings.”

Erin rolled her eyes.  “But I won’t accept myself if I earn anything lower than an O.”

“You’re too hard on yourself,” Molly said, while at the same time wishing Longbottom would hurry up and reach the W’s.  She was growing antsy as she waited for her own scores.

“Like you’re any different than I,” Erin said.  “You’re just as judgmental when it comes to what scores you earn as I am.  Don’t even try to tell me it doesn’t bug you when you get lower than you anticipated on earning.  What do you suppose you earned in Herbology, huh?”

Molly swallowed.  “Uh, well, I suppose I’d like an O as well, but it is only mocks.”

“Molly Rae Weasley,” Professor Longbottom said, striding over toward the Ravenclaw table and handing over an envelope with her name written in a cursive scrawl on it.  He winked at her before turning to call out the name on the next to last envelope in his hand.

Molly gulped, her fingers fumbling to open the envelope she now clutched in her hands.  It was all she could do not to drop it and run away screaming for dear life.  But she had to face her mock scores at some point, might as well be now.  When she had finally managed to extract the square bit of parchment from the envelope, Molly stared at it without taking any of it in.  It was only when Mathis snatched the card from her hand that she truly snapped out of it.

“One ‘E’ and the rest ‘O’’s,” Mathis announced, “and you were worried for nothing.”

Molly snatched it back, glancing back down at her scores.  Sure enough, she had received all Outstandings, aside from one Exceeds Expectations.  That one black ‘E’ seemed to be mocking her as it sat next to Herbology.  It was laughing at her.  She should have known she was not good enough to earn an ‘O’ in Herbology, but everyone had been so encouraging.  And Professor Longbottom, too! 

“What’d you get?” Finn’s voice came from behind her.  He must have seen her shock from the Slytherin table and decided to come over to see what was wrong.

“I... I... I didn’t get...,” Molly started, letting her words trail off.  She was incapable of speech that moment.  It had all soaked in and hit her hard.  She vaguely felt the parchment leaving her hand in its transfer to Finn’s own hand.

“Molly, this is still great,” Finn said, sitting down beside her on the bench and turning her to face him.  “You can easily study enough to earn an Outstanding N.E.W.T. in Herbology, I know you can.”

He was so encouraging, Molly thought.  How was it she deserved someone as wonderful as he?  Especially when she was planning on taking off the moment she graduated Hogwarts and received her N.E.W.T. results in the mail.  He was too nice for her; she did not deserve to call herself Finn Harper’s girlfriend. 

“What’s up?” Finn asked, noticing Molly’s expression as she continued to stare at him.  “What’d I say?”

“Nothing,” Molly said, not wanting to get into any of it while her friends were hanging onto their words.  “Just thinking is all.”

Finn narrowed his eyes suspiciously at her before taking her hand in his.  “Come on, let’s walk.” 

Molly let him lead her out of the Great Hall and up the grand staircase.  They weaved around corridors before either of them said a single word, and when the words started coming there was no stopping them. 

“I don’t deserve you,” Molly said.

“Where’s this coming from,” Finn asked.  “Of course you deserve me, we’re great together.”

Molly shook her head, frowning, as she looked down at the marble tile.

“Molly,” Finn said, “I won’t let you slip away from me.  It took me all the first part of the year to get you to agree to go out with me, I’m not about to give up on us that easily, and I won’t let you either.”

“But you could find someone who won’t leave you this summer,” Molly said. “I don’t want to hurt you, but let’s be reasonable here.  We’re both heading in two separate directions, there’s no way we can continue on long distantly when we’re still young.  We have our whole lives ahead of us.  Just listen to reason.”

“No, you listen to me, Molly,” Finn said stubbornly.  “We belong together, and no matter what you say we could make it work if we really wanted it to.”

“But we can’t, Finn,” Molly said.  “We can’t make it work.”

“Can’t or won’t,” Finn put the question out there.

Molly could not answer.  To answer would mean exposing herself even more to Finn, and she had already allowed him to see so much of her.  It was not a matter of not wanting it to work out between them, but she could not face knowing they were still together while in different countries.  The pain would be far worse knowing what she had waiting on her return than it would knowing what she had left behind.

“Molly, answer me,” Finn said, “you can’t or won’t try to make it work?”

“I can’t,” Molly said, with her lip trembling as a tear slid down her cheek.  “I can’t stand the thought of leaving you and knowing you’re waiting when I don’t know when I’ll be able to see you.  It’s better this way, without all the uncertainty.”

Finn put his arms around her.  “Don’t cry, please don’t cry.  I’m sorry.”

Molly relaxed into his arms, tears falling more freely.  She would miss his hugs, but they had to end it.  There was no future for them.  They had different plans, their sights set on completely different jobs.

They stood like that for what felt like hours, but were only minutes. 

When she stepped back from Finn, Molly sighed and crossed her arms around her chest self-consciously.  These next few months of the school year would make leaving him harder, so harder.  She could not handle it, could barely handle it as it were.  She could not carry on with Finn for a few months knowing they would part at the end of it.

“Oh, no, I know that look,” Finn said, breaking the heavy silence that had blanketed over them.  “No, you are not ending it.”

Molly nodded, resigned.  “I can’t do this anymore.  I can’t pretend everything will work out in the end.”

“Don’t I get a say in any of this?”

“Of course you do,” Molly said, tears still leaking from her blue eyes.  “But you can’t want to hurt anymore than now.  We have to end it now.”

“And what if I don’t want to,” Finn replied stubbornly.  “What if I want to selfishly keep you to myself until you leave this summer?  You might not even be leaving, either, so why are you going to end a perfectly good thing?”

“Because I can’t stop thinking about leaving you if I do leave,” Molly said.  “Please don’t make this harder than it already is on me.  I don’t want to end it, you have to know that, but it’s the only way to stop us from hurting more in the long run.”

“Oh and what if it hurts more now, huh?”  Finn threw the words out at her.  “Ever thought about that?”

“Please, don’t,” Molly said.

“No, you don’t,” Finn replied, causing Molly to intake a sharp breath.  “Why can’t you see we’re meant for each other?  What are you so scared of?  That you’ll end up sticking around instead of running off, is that it?”

“I’m not scared,” Molly said, voice small.  “I just don’t want to have to say good-bye to you.”

“What if it isn’t good-bye, though?”

Molly shrugged.  “That still doesn’t change the fact that I’m planning on leaving this summer in search of a Herbologist job.”

It was frustrating.  Couldn’t Finn see how bad she was hurting; how much she did not want to end things, while at the same time not get hurt?  She wanted to be with him, but it was not realistic in thinking they could hold a long-distant relationship.

“Fine, you know what,” Finn said shortly, “I’m done, whatever.”  Then, like that, he was walking away from her and out of her life.  She felt a twinge of hurt at her heartstrings as she watched him walk off down the hall, heading nowhere in particular.  Letting more tears slip down her face, Molly leaned back against the wall and slid down, glad that no one appeared to be in the corridor as she broke down.

*

Finn was seething angry, too mad to even think about crying.  He needed to talk to someone, but the one person he wanted to hash it out with was not at Hogwarts.  His brother would be the only one to calm him, yet he was in London.  The only way of communication he had with his brother while at school was by owl or fireplace, and fireplace was out of the question at the moment as Declan would still be at the Ministry of Magic.

He headed for the Owlery with no thought as to how to get there, allowing his feet to lead the way after many years of making the familiar trek.  All the while, his mind kept straying toward Molly.  It angered him so that she would end things between them in such a manner.  They still had a few months before they graduated, and they were partners in Potions for Christ’s sake.  He would have to suffer through seeing her and knowing there was no chance of them ever being together because she had closed the door on them.

By the time he reached the Owlery, Finn was somewhat calmed enough to form enough sentences on parchment to send off to Declan with his owl.  He finished writing it and tied it to the owl’s leg after locating him.  He had added a postscript to the note asking his brother to contact him via the fireplace in the Slytherin common room either tonight or tomorrow night, whenever he happened to get the note.  He needed to actually speak with his brother, see his face and hear his voice.

Hopefully his owl would not run into any obstacles in his flight and reach Declan by the early evening.  Sighing, he collected his bag and headed toward his next class.  He was sure he would not be able to pay attention in his afternoon lessons and right he was.  The afternoon drifted by lazily as thoughts of his fight with Molly filled his mind.

When dinner time rolled around, Finn felt he could not face eating supper with Molly seated at the table beside the Slytherin’s.  Instead he stopped at the kitchens to grab some grub on his way to the Slytherin commons to isolate himself while all of his housemates were at dinner.  His friends had tried to get him to tell them what was up during lessons, but he had shrugged it off.  He did not want to talk about it to anyone besides his brother.

While he sat on the leather couch in the common room, Finn stared off into the fire grate, even though he was not seeing it.  His thoughts were still on Molly.  That was why it took him a few minutes to realise his brother’s head was staring up at him a while later.

“Declan!  Why didn’t you say anything?”  Finn jumped where he sat before settling back against the cushions.

“I did,” Declan said.  “But you were long gone, off in your own little world.  Thinking of Molly by any chance?”

“Yeah,” Finn said.  “I wish she wasn’t being so stubborn.”

“Well, look at it from her perspective,” Declan reasoned, “she’s planning on leaving this summer and do you really think it would be any different watching her leave later on rather than now?  It might not be that she wanted to end the relationship, but she felt she had no other choice in the matter and wanted to get it over with as soon as she could.”

“But why now?”

“Why not now,” Declan countered the question back to him.

“It still doesn’t change how I feel about her,” Finn said hopelessly, still trying to gasp at straws.  “I don’t want it to end now.”

“You may not have wanted to end things now, but she did,” Declan said.  “Though, it doesn’t mean she wanted to end them now either, but she felt she had no other choice.”

“I wish she hadn’t ended it.”

“Of course you do,” Declan said, “but she did and I think you should focus on these last few months instead of stewing of it.  You still have your N.E.W.T.s to study for and you know you’ll need top marks if you want to be a Curse Breaker.”

“How did you know?”  Finn asked, caught off guard by his brother’s last statement.

“Hey, give me some credit as your big brother, will you,” Declan said.  “I noticed how much you enjoy reading Ancient Runes textbooks in the library over break and Dad said you had brought the subject up with him once a couple years back.”

“But I wasn’t serious when I brought it up then,” Finn said.

“Yeah, I figured as much when Dad told me you might not join us in the firm a couple years ago,” Declan replied, “but now I’m positive you’ll end up working elsewhere.”

“I’m still not even sure if I’ll be able to be a Curse Breaker,” Finn said through a heavy sigh.  “I mean, my mocks are spot on to pursue a career in Curse Breaking, but that doesn’t mean my N.E.W.T.s will match up in a few months; I’ll still have to study to maintain the scores.”

“Ah, so you all have received your mock scores now.”

“Yeah,” Finn replied, “and I think that’s what pushed Molly to finally end it.  She had been teetering on the edge to break things off for a while now as we’ve had a couple conversations in the past week about it already.”

“I’m sorry, bro,” Declan said, truly sounding sincere.  “On the other hand, you are only eighteen; you didn’t really think you found your true love already, had you?  I’m twenty-__ and I still haven’t found that one woman I’d want to spend the rest of my life with.  Don’t beat yourself up over this break up; you still have many years ahead of you.”

Finn shrugged nonchalantly.  His brother made a lot of sense, but it still did not change how he felt about Molly.  He had thought she might be the one and only because it had taken him so long to actually see her for who she was, versus someone that was conveniently there to pick on whenever he turned a corridor.  All these years he had taken advantage of her by laughing and poking fun at Molly until they returned back for their final year; it was not until that year that he truly started to get to know Molly and in doing so he fell for her, oh man did he fall for her.

Now it was over, like that, and he felt like his world had come to an end.  Or maybe it was only the end of a chapter in his life.  It was possible he would see Molly years later, but if he did would he still feel the same way about her?  A part of him wanted agree with his brother that he would get over her through time, while another part—his heart—thought differently.

“Look,” Declan said, breaking through the surface of Finn’s thoughts.  “I have a lot of paperwork to sort through before bed, if you need me then send an owl and I’ll get back to you pronto.  Is there anything else you wanted to talk about, though, before I pull my head out?”

Finn thought and came up with nothing.  He shook his head.  “Thanks, Declan, I appreciate it.”

“Anytime, little bro, anytime,” Declan said, flashing him a smile before he vanished from the fire as he pulled his head out on the other side, breaking their communication line.

Finn sat there for several minutes, processing everything his brother had told him, until the common room started to fill up with his fellow housemates.  The quiet solitude had been nice while it had lasted.  Now he would have to move on, laugh at his friends’ jokes and start on his essays that were due next week.  There was no time to dwell on his failed relationship with Molly, no matter how brief it had been.  At least not now, time continued moving on.  No matter how much he wished he could freeze time to the moment right before Molly started doubting their strength as a couple, he came up short with nothing.  It seemed all great things had to come to end.

 


Chapter 23: Epilogue
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter.  All I own is the plot and Finn Harper, and any other OCs you saw in this story... such as Erin Long and Mathis Boot and others.




The last day of their final year was spent sitting in chairs at the front of the Great Hall where the staff usually sat.  Seated at in chairs where the four house tables usually stood were family and friends come to watch the graduating seventh year students.  Also, the younger students who could be bothered to watch the graduation instead of take advantage of the lovely outdoor weather were there, too.

Molly had no trouble finding her family members clustered together amidst the vast audience.  For one, most had flaming, red hair, and for another, there were so many of them you would be hard put to miss them at any event big or small.  Smiling, she waved at them as Professor Flitwick announced the Hogwarts Graduating Class of 2021.

After that, they all threw their black-pointed hats into the air as they stood up.  It was a sea of hats as they went up and floated back down, raining on them.  Not bothering to find her hat, Molly made her way down the steps and over toward where her family was waiting for her.  The moment she reached them she found herself sandwiched between both of her parents.  Her mother had tears in her eyes, as did her father.

“We’re so proud of you, Molly,” her mother said.

A couple weeks earlier Molly had received an owl of confirmation stating that if her N.E.W.T. scores were as high as her mock results then she had a job as an assistant to a Herbologist in Australia.  Professor Longbottom had helped her find the position and draft up an essay as to why she would be the perfect applicant for it.  Needless to say, the position was hanging by a thread until her N.E.W.T.s arrived in a month’s time.

She felt eyes on her as she pulled back from her parents and looked around before she spotted the familiar green eyes as they flickered away from her.  Finn was standing across the Great Hall with his family, but it felt like they were farther away.  These last few months had been stiff for them.  Sure, they had managed to get along corrigibly in Potions so there would not be any mishaps, but they were no longer as close as they had gotten that year.

While she missed him, she still felt she had done the right thing in ending it between them when she had.  She continued looking at him until he finally looked back and smiled that frustratingly attractive half-smile of his.  Smiling back, she lifted her hand in a small wave as if to say goodbye. 

Molly would miss Finn, but maybe she would still see him around when she came back to visit her family.  Goodbye did not mean you wouldn’t see someone again, but more like you would catch them later.  It was only a simple saying that people used in farewell no matter how brief the time passed until the next time they saw that person again.  She felt sure she would see Finn again in that moment.  Molly had not seen the last of Finn Harper. 




Author's Note:  I hope you liked the last chapter and epilogue, also enjoyed the story as a whole.  I'd love to hear your feedback... I respond to all my reviews because I treasure each and every one of them. 

Also, there will be a sequel titled "Because I Love You" that takes place several years later when Molly and Finn find their paths crossed yet again.  It'll be another novel, for that I'm pretty positive.  I still have the planning to do in regards to the sequel, though, as I only have a skeleton of an idea for the plot points I want to happen.  But expect the first chapter, hopefully, sometime over winter break in December.

Anyway, thanks so much for following this story these last two years.  I really do appreciate all of you who have taken the time to read, and did I mention how much I love reviews?  Yeah, I do love reviews.  Thanks again!  I love all of you! (:


http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com