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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.

 

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