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Chapter 5: Brown-Eyed Girl
Van Morrison, “Brown-Eyed Girl”
Standing in the sunlight laughing
Hide behind a rainbow’s wall,
With you, my brown-eyed girl
Molly woke early the next day, and lay in her four-poster, staring at the drapes and thinking about Arthur Weasley.
She still couldn’t believe he’d asked her out. She’d given him love potion, by mistake, he must think her a complete idiot, and yet he’d asked her out. Thaddeus must have been correct, he really did fancy her. Only someone who really fancied her would ask her out after the love potion incident.
Then he’d waited for her after her detention to walk her back to Gryffindor tower. It had been a nice surprise to find him waiting in the corridor as she left Flitwick’s office, her hand cramped and her ego severely bruised from writing ‘I will respect the rights of others not to fancy me' for three hours (the first two of which she’d spent blushing a fiery red). His smile when he greeted her outside the office had been brilliant, and she found the more she spoke with him that she was drawn to him as she’d never been to handsome Thaddeus.
Arthur made her want to find out all about him. With Thad, she’d only ever imagined herself snogging him, never talking to him and enjoying his company. But Arthur… Arthur was different from other boys, at least to her. She didn’t understand it, but she was relaxed around him. She felt at home with him, wherever they were.
It was… strange, but nice. She flexed her hand, which only ached a little, decided it was none the worse for wear from her detention (though her ego might need some time), and got out of bed.
Once she was dressed and downstairs, she found Thaddeus Peabody sitting on the sofa in the common room, polishing his broomstick and listening to an early-morning broadcast on the Wizarding Wireless Network. The Singing Sorceress, Celestina Warbeck, was singing one of her latest hits. Molly smiled; Celestina was her favourite singer. A few other students were milling about, yawning, as they got ready to head down to the Great Hall for breakfast.
Thad looked up when he heard her footsteps. “Oh, morning Molly.”
“Good morning, Thaddeus.” She sat down in a chair near him. “How did things go with Cressida?”
He grinned sheepishly and set down his broomstick. He really was cute, she thought fondly.
“She agreed to go out with me,” Thad said happily. “I can hardly believe it.”
“That’s wonderful, I’m so happy for you,” Molly said, realizing she truly was happy for him. He was a nice boy, and very handsome, but she didn’t feel a connection with him when they spoke like she did with Arthur. Talking to Thad was like talking to one of her brothers, now that she’d gotten over her initial infatuation with his looks. Talking to Arthur made her feel warm and fuzzy inside. She was starting to realize she’d overlooked something potentially wonderful in Arthur Weasley all these years at Hogwarts.
“Well, it’s all thanks to you, anyway, for telling me to ask her out.” Thad leaned forward. “Arthur says he’s asked you out as well.”
Molly blushed. “Did he?” She glanced around the common room to make sure they weren’t being overheard, and leaned in to Thad. “What did he say?”
“He was practically bouncing off the walls yesterday with excitement. I’ve never seen him so happy.” Thad grinned. “He’s fancied you for ages; I didn’t think he’d ever get up the nerve to ask you out.”
Molly felt a rush of warmth. Bouncing around the room, over her… “I never would have given him a chance until you said he fancied me, so I guess it’s thanks to you, Thad.”
“Well, you may have meant that love potion to get us together, but it seems to have made both of us happy anyway, doesn’t it?” Thad looked extremely pleased.
Molly laughed. “Yes, I suppose it has. And thanks for not telling everyone about the love potion, Thaddeus.”
“Oh, well, Arthur told Dunstan it was just a misunderstanding, so of course I went along with it. Arthur’s my friend,” Thaddeus said, sounding embarrassed at getting the credit for Arthur’s idea. “I don’t want the whole school thinking we duelled, or gossiping about you, of course, Molly.”
“Thank you, Thad,” Molly said gratefully. “It was very chivalrous, you’re quite the gentleman.”
Thad reddened and mumbled, “It was Arthur’s idea, really. He’s the gentleman. I’d better go get breakfast. Bye, Molly.”
She leaned back in the chair as Thaddeus disappeared through the portrait hole. Arthur Weasley, protecting her good name from gossip… He was like her very own knight in shining armour. She was starting to feel a little giddy when she thought about him.
Her friends came down to breakfast while she was still eating some toast and sausages, and Arthur joined them shortly. He slid in next to her with a shy grin, greeted her friends cheerfully, and they started talking about the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend and their classes. Arthur fit in well, Molly reflected as she laughed with her friends at his little jokes. He was so friendly and easy-going, he fit in everywhere, it seemed. Hattie noticed her watching Arthur a little more than was strictly necessary and raised an eyebrow, smiling at her. Molly blushed and changed the subject to distract her friend.
Arthur walked her to class after breakfast, and she asked him a few more questions about Muggles, which set him off and running. She didn’t understand half of what he was talking about. He certainly knew a lot about Muggle artefacts.
Her bookbag was too heavy today; it was digging painfully into her shoulder. Molly adjusted the strap, grimacing, and Arthur took it from her and slung it over his own shoulder without seeming to notice what he was doing, all the while chatting animatedly about Muggle-wizard relations. Molly listened to him with half an ear, her concentration on watching him rather than paying attention to what he was saying. He was quietly chivalrous, smarter than she’d thought he was, and so thoughtful. He certainly did admire Muggles quite a lot, too. She wasn’t sure what to make of that. It was a little silly and yet charming at the same time. She’d never had much interest in Muggles herself, but there seemed to be rather a lot more to them than she’d thought, and Arthur was interested in all of it.
She let him talk for a while, listening to the sound of his voice more than his words. He seemed more handsome to her when his face was alight with passion as he described the wrongs done to Muggles by wizards, and shyly outlined some of his ideas for changing things to protect the Muggles. He was quite the idealist when it came to Muggles, and it was rather endearing.
He was so cute.
“Here I am, prattling on and on,” Arthur said then, seeming embarrassed. “You’re probably not at all interested.”
“No, it is interesting,” she assured him, though she hadn’t really been listening. “I don’t know very much about Muggles, really.”
“Petula’s never told you about the class?” He sounded surprised, as if he couldn’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t tell their friends how wonderful Muggle Studies was.
“No, not really.” She didn’t have the heart to tell him Petula had only continued with Muggle Studies because she thought it’d be an easy N.E.W.T.: her mother’s family wasn’t magical, so she already knew quite a lot about Muggles. Petula wasn’t really interested in studying them; she just said she was in order to stay in the professor’s good graces. Petula had barely scraped five O.W.L.s, and her parents felt she wasn’t living up to her potential (as Petula said while making extremely unpleasant faces), so she was trying to get as many N.E.W.T.s as she could.
They were nearly to her classroom when he said, “I’d better go, I have to get to the library. I didn’t exactly finish my Transfiguration homework last night, and McGonagall’s bound to dock some points if I don’t get it done.” He paused, and then said shyly, “I really enjoy talking to you, Molly. And it was nice to walk you back after your detention last night.”
“I hope you don’t think that last night counted as our date, Arthur Weasley,” she said sternly. He still hadn’t mentioned any details on the date, and she wasn’t about to let him get away with walking her back to the dormitory after a detention and calling it a date. She was going to have her date with Arthur Weasley, get to know him better, and see what happened, come hell or high water.
“No, Molly, of course not,” he said hurriedly. “I thought, this weekend, we could go into Hogsmeade together…”
“That sounds lovely,” Molly smiled, but her voice was firm.
“Hogsmeade, then, Molly. We can have breakfast and then go in to town, would that be all right?”
“Yes, Arthur.” She was starting to love the way he said her name. And she loved saying his name.
Hattie was waiting for her outside the Arithmancy classroom, and as Arthur returned her bookbag to her, Hattie grinned at them.
When Arthur had waved and stuttered his goodbye, and disappeared into the crowd of students in the hallway, Hattie turned to her friend and put her hands on her hips. “Molly Prewett!”
Molly rolled her eyes and went into the classroom with Hattie right behind her. Thaddeus was in his seat already, and they smiled and waved to each other. She was already thinking of him as a friend and forgetting her long-standing crush on him.
Hattie sat down at their usual table, and Molly plopped into her seat next to her. Hattie leaned forward and said in a low voice, “You fancy him! You fancy Arthur Weasley, don’t you?”
“No. Maybe. I think so.” Molly glanced around, but no one was paying them any attention. “I don’t know what to think. I don’t even think I fancy Thaddeus anymore, and I… I keep thinking about Arthur. It’s too fast. Is it too fast?”
“Oh, you make such a cute couple,” Hattie said in a teasing voice, and Molly turned pink.
Professor Arccos was starting class then, and Molly shushed her friend. Hattie continued to throw her mischievous glances for a few minutes, then the complicated lesson captured their full attention.
Molly had a free period after Arithmancy and went to the library, hoping to find Arthur still there before Transfiguration, and sure enough, there he was, bent industriously over a long piece of parchment, his quill scribbling furiously as he completed his homework. She’d been up until one o’clock finishing hers. She was resolved never to get another detention, if only for how it interfered with her ability to get her homework done. She hadn’t gotten a letter from her mother yet, either, and she was dreading that.
He hadn’t noticed her yet. She watched him for a moment, forgetting her worries about the impending maternal letter of doom, and felt her stomach flutter. He was quite attractive, really. She was really looking forward to their date, and found herself wondering what it would be like to kiss him.
She realized quite suddenly that she was standing in the middle of the library staring at a boy, and so she promptly went over and sat down next to Arthur. He glanced over at her absently, still scribbling, then did a double-take as he realized it was her, and his quill skidded across the parchment, leaving a trail of ink behind it.
“Oh dear,” Arthur mumbled.
Molly drew her wand and repaired the damage quickly. “Do you need any help finishing? I’ve already done mine.”
“No, I’m nearly done, but thank you.” Arthur sat back and smiled at her. “Did you come here just to see me?” He looked hopeful.
“Erm…” She’d already said she did her Transfiguration homework, and she only had Arithmancy and Defence as well today, and he knew that they hadn’t been set any homework for Defence. She didn’t have a reason to be in the library. “Well, yes,” she admitted, feeling silly.
She felt better when he smiled at her. He was obviously very pleased that she’d come to see him. She cast around for something to say. “Well, I suppose I’ll leave you to it, then. I don’t want to disturb your studying.” She smiled at him, hoping he’d tell her to stay.
Arthur looked disappointed, but then he glanced down at his Transfiguration homework and back up at her. “Yes, I think you’d better had.” He mumbled something then, and Molly frowned at him.
“I’m sorry, Arthur, I didn’t hear you.”
He turned beet red and said gruffly, “I can’t concentrate around you, Molly.”
She floated out of the library. Her presence interfered with his concentration! She’d never thought anyone would feel that way about her. He really did fancy her!
“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” she said to a passing Slytherin fourth-year girl with curly blonde hair, who looked startled. Molly practically skipped back to the Gryffindor common room.