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Chapter 3: Living
I woke up from the same dream with a start, the boy’s face imprinted on the back of my eyelids and his name dying on my lips.
The frustration I had managed to escape from came rushing back. I lay back onto my baby pink bedspread, angry again.
It wasn’t so much that I was upset, but Audrey and Percy made me feel like an imposter. I was Molly, and I wasn’t. I was different, I had changed, and what’s more, I liked this new me.
Differentiating between the old Molly and me was easier than trying to mould myself into a person I never knew. What Lucy and James and Uncle Ron had said about the old Molly sounded boring and annoying. She didn’t even sound like the sort of person I would tolerate.
But what made me angry was that people expected me to be the old Molly. Many things had changed with me while I was asleep –or maybe even before that- and I was now mercilessly judged when I had a different favourite flavour.
I couldn’t imagine what it must be like for my family, having to adjust to someone familiar and alien- but I was trying. I was going to the dinners, I was drawing, and I was trying.
It felt like they weren’t. I felt unwanted. Like an imposter.
I wanted to find someone who didn’t.
I buried my face in my pillow, and a tear leaked out of the corner of my eye.
I washed and dressed. The rain was beating down on the windows, matching my mood perfectly. I sat at my desk, waiting.
I was waiting for Percy to leave. I checked my alarm. Half past eight. He should leave right about- I heard the crack as he Disapparated to his desk job at the Ministry.
I waited a second longer, my heart thumping. “Pull yourself together Molly,” I told myself firmly.
“That’s right, dear,” the mirror agreed sleepily. “But things are always better after about nine o’clock, okay?”
I stuck my tongue out at it, a nervous act of defiance.
I tiptoed down the stairs, not wanting to wake up Lucy. I did not need any extra witnesses.
Despite all I was angry at, I felt like a guest in Audrey’s house. Being rude, or demanding, or even feeling the slightest bit angry with them felt ungrateful. It took all my self-control not to call them Mr and Mrs Weasley.
Audrey was in the kitchen, doing the washing up in yellow marigolds, staring out the window blankly. I clasped my paper tightly.
“Audrey?” I said tentatively.
“Yes dear?” she said. She saw my paper and smiled. “Have you been drawing?”
“Yeah...” I paused. “I remembered something, so I drew it, but I don’t know who this is.”
I turned the page so she could see.
Her reaction was instantaneous. The plate she was washing up fell from her hands and smashed, and the blood drained from her face.
“Who is he?” I asked.
“I- I- don’t know,” she stuttered. Her hands were shaking as she nervously smoothed out her apron. It was painfully obvious that she was lying.
“Please?” I asked.
Her eyes were wet with tears. “He’s not good for you, Molly,” she said.
“I just want to remember,” I pushed. “Please. You should let me decide what is right.”
“The last decision you made put you in a coma!” she choked out, but I could see that she instantly regretted it.
“I just want to remember,” I repeated. “I’ve lost so much of my life- let me find what I’m looking for.”
She took a deep, shuddering breath, and I internally cursed myself for asking at all. I should have waited, I should have asked Lucy or James, I should have gone out knocking on random doors until I-
“Leigh,” she said suddenly. “His name is Leigh. He’s a Muggle. You sneaked out at night to go see him, and you told him you were a witch. You brought him home to meet us, and you met his parents.”
She was crying, and I didn’t understand why. But I still stood there like a lemon, uselessly grasping my drawing.
“You were with him when the accident happened- you both ran out into the road but he was okay... he didn’t even need to go to hospital. When you didn’t remember anything, we thought we could keep you from ever being hurt by him again.”
I was stunned. Audrey was twisting a red and white chequered tea-towel between her fingers, tears streaking down her cheeks. I realised my own face was wet.
“I ran out into the road,” I said, my voice catching. “It was my fault. I dragged him across the road-”
As I said it, my hand stretched out as if he’d take it, but it dropped, empty, to my side.
Audrey gave a shaky smile through her tears. “It doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t have kept it from you.”
She opened her arms, and feeling like a little girl, I hugged her, and her hands rubbed my back as we both cried.
“Where does he live?” I asked finally, wiping my face.
“I’ll take you-” she began, but I cut her off.
“No- it doesn’t matter. I’ll find it.”
The rain was still pouring, a proper summer thunderstorm, and I ran without thinking, the paper in my hand becoming soggy and heavy.
I ended up in a street which I knew- and I didn’t. I pushed angrily at the barriers blocking my memory, but they stayed firm, just taunting me with the briefest flashes of recognition.
I felt like screaming.
The rain was freezing, and I had run out without a jacket. The torrents bounced off the pavement, stinging my bare legs and I was soaked to the skin. My hair was plastered to my skull and the rain mixed with my angry tears.
I couldn’t stand not remembering any more. I had lost my whole life.
Then, through the rain, I heard a voice. “Molls?”
I turned, and saw a figure running towards me, their coat over their head. “Molls?” they called again.
“Molls!” He reached me, and draped the coat around me. “Jesus, Molls, you’re freezing! What the hell are you doing out? And here? Your dad said you didn’t want to see me- look, after the accident I was going insane with worry, but of course you weren’t in any of our hospitals, and Percy wouldn’t let me see you, and I should have pulled you back...” He trailed off. “Molly?”
“Leigh...” I said again. He was exactly like I remembered.
The tousled dark hair, the ‘manly’ stubble he never could be arsed getting rid of, and the fire which danced in his eyes even as they looked at me, filled with concern. I lifted a hand to touch his cheek, and felt his cool skin under my wet fingers.
I realised I was staring. “It wasn’t your fault.”
He pushed his hair back from his face, and the rain made it stay slicked back. “I should have stopped you.”
“It still was entirely my fault,” I said, shaking my head. I was falling back into a familiar rapport. I felt forced and jerky at home, and this with Leigh felt so easy... and I had known him for all of two seconds. “And I’ve explained that to Audrey- I mean, I explained it to my mum. Listen, there is something you need to know-”
“You are okay?” he asked, suddenly concerned.
His eyes stopped me as they widened with terror. He gripped my hand. “Molly-” he said.
“Shush! Let me talk!” I snapped, putting a finger to his lips, but I was smiling. I hadn’t felt this way since... I hadn’t ever felt this way. Since I could remember, anyway. Pure happiness made me positively glow. “Leigh, I can’t remember anything that happened before I got hit by the bus.”
He winced at my frankness, but I was tired of tiptoeing around the gap where my memory used to be. It was like a great crevasse, swallowing my happiness up into the blackness. His face dropped as he registered what I said.
“Nothing. Well, except me trying to pull you across the road as well. Good job I didn’t, or we’d both be screwed,” I said, trying to get him to grin with me.
He didn’t smile. “Will it come back?” Leigh’s voice was still coloured with concern.
I shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“But you’re okay?” he asked again. “Because that bit is all that honestly matters,” he said, sounding relieved.
And I felt a weight lift from my mind. My memories didn’t come rushing back in one giant clichéd bundle, if that’s what you were thinking- but Leigh was accepting that I had changed. He didn’t care that I was different, that food fights and de-gnoming weren’t ‘Molly’ thing to do, and he didn’t mind that we had to get to know each other all over again- that I had lost my memories of us together didn’t matter to him.
He pulled me into a bone-crushing hug. “I was so goddamned worried.”
I nestled into his chest, and the rain carried on beating down. He was worried. He isn’t any more, I thought to myself happily. He loves me anyway.
The next summer, Leigh had finished his Muggle apprenticeship, and I finished my last year at Hogwarts- it was hard, but not impossible. We got a place together in York, where he started up his own carpentry business and I got a job as a junior reporter for the Prophet, managing to work from home most of the time.
We got married after he broke his leg, and proposed to me in the ambulance. The Muggle paramedic had to give Leigh extra painkillers after he started spouting about how he’d asked Percy and escaped without being hexed.
Two years later, we had our first child, and she was the most beautiful thing in the world- and we both made sure she was extra careful around roads.
I still don’t remember anything from the first seventeen years of my life.
But I don’t mind anymore, because I found what I was looking for.
A/N: That's the end of Molly's story... I hope you liked it! Please review, and thank you so much for reading :D
Beta'd amazingly by TenthWeasleyWriter.