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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.


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