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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.

 

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