***29 August 1986***
It was unusually quiet in the kitchen at The Burrow. Molly had sent her entire brood outside to be supervised by her eldest boys, Bill and Charlie. She wished to be alone with her house guest.
"Here you are dear," Molly passed a red transfer teacup to her young guest.
Lucy reached for the cup; her hand trembled slightly as she took a sip. "Thank you Mrs. Weasley. The tea's lovely," she said as she put the cup back on its saucer and held them both her hands in her lap. "It was very kind of you to invite me." Lucy began to stir her tea, and focused on the swirling liquid.
"You're welcome," said Mrs. Weasley as she took a seat at the table and turned herself towards Lucy, "And please call me Molly," she said as she reached out and patted Lucy's arm. "It must be lonely being so far from home and your man gone for weeks at a time."
"I do miss my family," Lucy admitted, still not looking up from her tea.
Molly looked at the young woman who sat across from her. She had invited Lucy to the Burrow at Severus' suggestion. Molly had not seen her since Harry's birthday party, but according to Severus, the child had taken a fancy to the young lady.
Apparently, Lucy had been in a sort of depression for the last three weeks. Her normally open and gregarious nature had become withdrawn and quiet. Since Lucy would not open up to her colleagues or even her uncle or grandfather, Severus thought it might be wise to adopt a different approach… the 'mother figure.'
"But what of your fiancé… Kevin is it?"
Lucy shook her head and released a long sigh as she laid her tea cup on the table. "Kenneth," she corrected. Lucy attention was drawn to the ruckus of children playing out in the garden.
"You know…," began Molly, "Sometimes it helps to talk these things out," she said as she tilted her head, trying to get Lucy to make some sort of eye contact.
Lucy turned and looked at the red headed matron. Molly was about the same age as Lucy's older sister, Theresa. Lucy had suddenly felt the urge for some sisterly advice.
"Well…Molly…" she began hesitantly, "I don't know how to feel…" she turned her head away again, watching the happy children outside.
"'How to feel?' You mean about Kenneth?" Molly inquired.
Lucy nodded, "Yes…He's supposed to be home next week and I…," Lucy couldn't wrap her brain around how she was feeling, because she couldn't understand it."
Molly's eyes indicated she knew exactly what Lucy was thinking, but could not say. "Are you having second thoughts, dear?"
Lucy was grateful that Molly had figured it out on her own. Lucy only nodded the acknowledgment because she could not bring herself to say the words.
"Perhaps it would help if you started at the beginning," Molly suggested.
Lucy took another sip of her tea. Still looking out at the children she said, "It started the night before Harry's birthday party….We had a huge fight."
Molly offered Lucy a scone, "Whatever about…if you don't mind my asking."
Lucy accepted the scone, but left it untouched on the plate. "Harry's party…he did not want me to go…"
Lucy hashed out the details of the fight and how unreasonably jealous Kenneth had been.
"Kenneth has been owling me ever since he reached the States. He wants me to forgive him," explained Lucy.
"Do you forgive him?"
"I don't know if it will matter. I keep telling myself that all couples fight from time to time…but I cannot shake this feeling…"
Molly put down her tea cup and looked at Lucy seriously, "It sounds to me as if your instincts are trying to tell you something…What does your heart tell you, Lucy?"
Lucy knew the answer to that…It was simply hard to admit it. "Well…first of all…he has never really apologised to me…in his letters he simply say that he wishes that I wouldn't be so upset and that I need to understand how he feels...what he is going through."
"How do you think he feels?" Molly asked.
"I think he thinks he loves me…but he does not trust me. He sounds jealous in his letters when he thinks that I have talked to anyone, even my own family."
Molly frowned, "Lucy…your Kenneth sounds like he could be a very dangerous man," Molly said worriedly. "This has all of the makings of a dangerous obsession."
Lucy shook her head. "He has never given any indication before that he…"
"But you said yourself that you are having some bad feelings about the man," Molly reminded her. "Your instincts are trying to tell you something that your heart is finding hard to accept."
Lucy sighed again. It was hard coming to terms with the truth of her relationship with Kenneth. She was having epiphanies about her feelings that she had not wanted to acknowledge before, but somehow she felt safe to confess her guilt to Molly without worry of judgment. "The hardest thing for me to face is in some ways Kenneth may be right…not to trust me I mean."
"Why? What have you done, dear?"
"I haven't done anything, " Lucy scoffed, "But how I feel…I've been happier this last month Kenneth has been gone than I have since I first came to Britain. I don't want him to come back," Lucy guiltily admitted.
"And why is that?"
"Because I feel free…I can visit my family…I've made new friends…I'm getting ready to start a job doing what I love…I don't want Kenneth to ruin that for me."
"Then my dear…I think it is obvious what you need to do next."
Lucy put down the scone she just took a bite of and took her last sip of tea.
"Dump the Jerk!" she exclaimed with a new found confidence.
"Precisely," Molly encouraged. "But let me give you a word of advice…do it in a letter, dear."
"That's a little cold, don't you think?"
"Trust me on this Lucy…do not tell him in person," warned Molly. "And whatever you do…do not meet this man alone outside the safety and protection of Hogwarts."
***2 September 1986 ~7:30 a.m.***
Severus looked glanced down the table at his new colleague, feeling both amused and empathetic… the latter being a novel sensation for him.
He was pleased to see that the talk with Molly Weasley had improved the woman's spirits. Severus kept telling himself he was tiring of Harry's bellyaching about how sad Miss Lucy had been lately.
To appease Harry, Severus had confided in Aberforth, Albus and even Minerva, over Harry's concern for Lucy's melancholy. At one point Severus had tried to get Lucy to open up to him. When Severus was finally at his wits end--he thought of Mrs. Weasley.
Whatever the Weasley matriarch had said, it seemed to have worked. Lucy had been in better spirits since her return from The Burrow. But Severus could not but be slightly agitated with Molly. No matter how much he pressed, she would not divulge the topic of her conversation with Lucy. He casually suggested to Harry to make inquiries when he spent the day at The Burrow today.
However, Lucy's demeanour had changed once again, but this time the cause was no mystery. Severus suffered from the same affliction two years ago…'First Dayitus'.
Yes…this morning Lucy's alabaster skin had changed to a lovely shade of chartreuse.
Severus remembered how he too, thought breakfast his had looked and smelled like a Polyjuice Potion gone bad on his first day of teaching.
Before they adjourned for lessons, he would offer her something to ease her collywobbles.
Just then, Lucy suddenly bolted up from her seat next to Albus, and dashed out the staff entrance.
"Lucy?" said Albus as he arose from his seat concerned. The rest of the staff was staring at the doorway Lucy had just exited.
Severus wiped his mouth and laid his napkin on the plate. He arose and placed a hand on Albus' shoulder as he walked past. "I'll see to her, Albus…I'm pretty sure I know what is is the matter."
Severus left out the same way Lucy had, only to find himself shadowed by Albus.
"Go back to your breakfast, Albus. It is only first day nerves…I'll give her something for them," Severus said irritably.
"Lucy is a seasoned professional, Severus…she has taught since she received her first Bachelor's at eighteen. There is no reason for her to be this nervous."
The men approached the women's staff lavatory and Albus entered without hesitation. Severus hesitated outside the door, taken aback with the old man's boldness. What if the poor woman was…indisposed?
Suddenly the door partway opened and a lavender robed hand grabbed Severus arm and pulled him in.
Severus composed himself. Honestly? What was it about extreme old age that allowed one to throw all propriety into the rubbish bin?
Severus was about to launch a volley of insults at his employer when he noticed the reason he was in the ladies room.
Lucy was leaning over the washbasin, rinsing out her mouth and spitting out the water.
"I don't suppose one of you gentlemen have a mint tucked in your robes, do you?" she asked as she splashed her face with cool water.
Albus immediately obliged. "Do you need something from Severus or Madam Pomfrey?"
Lucy popped the mint then took out her wand and conjured a dry flannel from mid-air.
She shook her head, "I'll be fine…" she said as she dried her face, "I think I may have eaten something off a couple of days ago."
"What makes you believe that?" Severus asked, feeling decidedly uncomfortable standing in the middle of the ladies loo.
"It's comes and goes…ever since yesterday."
"I think a trip to Madam Pomfrey is definitely in order, young lady--I don't wish to be on the receiving side of my brother's wrath should you become ill under my care," admonished Albus.
"If it continues, I'll see her during my lunch break… Now if you gentlemen will excuse me…I'm not about to miss my first day of classes." She Vanished her towel and pushed her way past the invading men and into the corridor.
Severus and Albus looked at each other with raised eyebrows and followed the irritable witch out.
"Lucy," Severus called out.
Lucy stopped and waited impatiently for the men to catch up. "If you don't mind I can give you something for the nausea until you see Madam Pomfrey," Severus offered.
"I can tough it out," she said. "If I am sick…I'd rather not mask the symptoms."
"You may not be able to teach your lessons without it," Severus reasoned.
"Severus is right, child," said Albus, "Take something now and go see Poppy this afternoon…save an old man some worry."
Lucy released a long drawn out breath and stuck out her hands and wiggled her fingers. "Give me another mint." Albus gave her the entire tin. "Alright…I'll take Severus' potion and go see the nurse this afternoon," she grudgingly agreed.
***2 August 1986-4:30 p.m.***
"But I feel perfectly fine, Severus."
"That could be from the effects of the potion," Severus countered Lucy's protest. "Were you not the one this morning who argued about masking symptoms?"
Lucy arose from the chair behind her classroom desk and began to cast the spells to clean her blackboard and tidy her classroom. "Shouldn't you be picking up Harry right now?" she said, trying to change the subject.
"I've already contacted Molly…I told her I'd pick up Harry after I saw you to Poppy. Now unless you intend to have me keep my son waiting all night…I suggest you get your arse down to the hospital now."
If looks could kill, Severus would be on the slab. "That's pretty low, you know," she said. Severus knew her soft spot for Harry and was not ashamed to exploit it.
"Flattery will get you nowhere," said Severus with a mock bow. "Now, after you," he gestured to the door.
"Flattery will get you nowhere," Lucy mocked in a nasal voice as she marched out the door and down to see Poppy.
Severus chuckled as he followed her out. He could definitely identify with the witch. He too, was irritable when suffering from the collywobbles.
Lucy came out from behind the screen fastening the top buttons of her robes. "Will you tell Jack-ass over there that I'm perfectly healthy," Lucy pointed an accusing finger at Severus who was sitting on a bed opposite her.
Poppy looked at Severus and said in all seriousness, "Jack-ass...she is perfectly healthy."
Severus crossed his arms and looked defiantly at the two women before him. "I have done nothing to warrant such abuse…Now if she is perfectly healthy…why hasn't she been able to hold her food down?"
"Let me rephrase that," said Poppy. "There's nothing wrong with her that another seven and a half months will not remedy."
Severus' eyes widened with disbelief.
Lucy plopped down on the closest bed. "You've got to be shitting me."
This definitely wasn't the collywobbles.
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