Chapter 8 : Sunshine Superman
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A you-you-you can just sit there thinking on your velvet throne
'bout all the rainbows you can have for your own
When you've made your mind up forever to be mine
Arthur walked back to the castle with Molly’s hand in his, trying not to hold her too tightly or too loosely. This couples stuff was difficult. It was hard to gauge how to hold her hand. He didn’t want to crush her, but he wanted to hold her tight and never let go. He’d expected to be a bundle of nerves all morning, but he’d felt strangely confident instead, and now, afterward, he felt a little nervous. It had gone well, so he wasn’t sure why.
He’d been brave, like a true Gryffindor, and had found a perfect moment in Dervish and Banges to slip into a corner with her and give her a quick kiss. Her lips were soft and sweet, and he would treasure that sweet little kiss forever, he thought sentimentally.
Then she’d pulled him into an alleyway and smiled at him invitingly, and that kiss had not been quick. He would treasure that one even more. Especially if he managed to repeat it. He really, really hoped she would go out with him again. She’d said he wasn’t her boyfriend yet, sort of, but now he was feeling reasonably certain that he would be. They were comfortable together, they’d been spending their free time together and got on well, and now he knew they had a definite spark between them. The kiss had been amazing.
He smiled as they walked in a companionable silence up to the castle, wondering if she, too, was thinking about the kiss. There was a cheerful bounce to her step, despite the small run-in with her little brothers. He could only laugh at them, as he too was a younger brother and understood what it was like. He and Bilius had continually planned pranks on their older brother – generally of Bilius’s devising. Bilius had a… unique sense of humor.
Hopefully, it would be a while before Molly met his brothers.
“Do you want to sit with us at dinner tonight, Arthur?” Molly asked suddenly. “The girls and me, I mean.”
“Of course,” he said immediately, then hesitated as he remembered Reid’s remarks about him abandoning his friends. “But I think I’d better sit with my friends, actually, I haven’t seen as much of them lately as I usually do. Especially Cosmo, he’s not in any classes with me.”
“Oh, yes, of course.” Molly seemed a little embarrassed at being turned down.
“It’s not that I don’t want to,” he said hurriedly. “Of course I want to sit with you. It’s just, they're my friends, you know.”
She smiled at him. “It’s all right, Arthur. It’s not fair of me to take you away from your friends when I still spend time with mine.”
Oh, she was wonderful. He grinned, the devilish spark coming back into his eye. “Unless you think your friends would like mine to join you. I’m sure Reid would love it.”
Molly let out a low chuckle. “Cecilia would smother me in my sleep if I invited Reid Akins to sit with us.”
“He really didn’t mean for that to happen, you know, with the fireworks,” Arthur said, feeling compelled to defend his poor deluded friend.
“I didn’t think he did, but Cecilia is still embarrassed about the whole thing, and so she likes to be angry with Reid over it. It makes her feel better.” Molly shrugged. “I think she’ll get over it in time.”
“He fancies her,” Arthur told her in a low voice. “Don’t tell anyone, though.”
“Arthur, I think half the school knows that Reid fancies Cecilia,” she said dryly.
“You’re sitting with us?” Dunstan asked in exaggerated disbelief. “Did Prewett dump you already?”
Arthur flushed. “Of course not. She can’t dump me when we’re not going out. It was just a date.”
There was a round of snorts at that statement, indicating the general disbelief at the table.
“Oh, sure, you finally go out with Molly Prewett and you expect us to believe you didn’t throw yourself at her feet, begging to be allowed to feed her peeled grapes and fan her with ostrich feathers?” Dunstan asked, shoveling in cooked carrots and potatoes as he spoke.
“Peeled grapes?” Cosmo repeated incredulously. “Why on earth would anyone peel grapes?”
“Look, I just wanted to sit here with you idiots, although now I don’t know why.” Arthur scowled at his friends.
“Aw, ickle Artie wants to sit with his fwiends,” Reid chortled. “He missed us.”
Arthur threw a roll at him.
“So how did your date go, Arthur?” Cosmo asked around a mouthful of sweet potato.
He grinned happily. “Fine. It went fine.”
“Oho!” Dunstan pointed at him from across the table. “You kissed her, didn’t you? I can tell. You did.”
“Shut it, Dunstan,” Arthur told him cheerfully.
“Any word on the Cecilia front, Arthur?” Reid asked with studied nonchalance. “Not that I’m not happy for you and Prewett, do send an invitation to your wedding, I’d just like the focus to return to me now.”
Arthur ignored his last comment. “Sorry, mate, it’s not looking good. I think it’s time for you to withdraw the troops and wait for hostilities to ease.”
Reid perked up. “Do you think they will? Ease, that is?”
Cosmo was shaking his head. “She can’t stand you, mate. Move on. Find someone else.”
“Someone fireproof,” Dunstan agreed.
Arthur grinned and took a large bite out of his pot roast. Thaddeus Peabody came over to their table, dressed in his Quidditch robes for the evening’s practice, and sat down next to him.
“Were you snogging Molly Prewett behind Honeydukes earlier?” Thad threw an arm over Arthur’s shoulders companionably.
Arthur flushed, but he couldn’t help grinning at his friend. “Now, mate, you know a gentleman never kisses and tells.”
“Ah, so you did snog her then,” Thad chuckled. “Arthur Weasley, what will become of you?”
Arthur laughed and shoved him away. “Go on, then, you’re going to miss Quidditch practice.”
Thad shook his head, still grinning. “Can’t let that happen. Mustn’t let Slytherin win next weekend, you know. I might get a chance to hit a Bludger at that Jarvis idiot. See you later, Arthur. Bye, fellas.”
“Bye, Thad.” They waved at him vaguely, Cosmo with his fork.
“Snogged her behind Honeydukes, did you?” Dunstan asked, grinning evilly. Reid and Cosmo were sniggering into their plates.
“So, Apparition lessons start next week,” Arthur said, bravely changing the subject. “Should be a lark, eh?”
“Wish I was taking Apparition lessons,” Cosmo said enviously, picking up his goblet in his free hand, his fork still loaded with food in the other.
“Oh, Apparition,” Reid waved it off as if it was first-year flying lessons. “Piece of cake. I tell you, it’ll be a breeze for someone of my keen and penetrating intellect. That’s why Cecilia secretly loves me.”
Cosmo choked on his pumpkin juice. Arthur and Dunstan both broke out into gales of laughter.
He spent the evening with his friends watching Quidditch practice, all of them critiquing the team’s every move, and then went back up to the Gryffindor common room, where he was disappointed to find only Petula was there out of Molly’s crowd, working on a Muggle Studies essay, the others having already gone to bed.
Arthur managed not to be distracted by quizzing Petula about Muggles and went up to his dorm room, where he closed the curtains on his four-poster and stared at the ceiling, stretched out on his back with his hands stacked under his head.
Molly Prewett let him kiss her. Twice. She had giggled and flirted when he mentioned being her boyfriend. This was going well.
He hoped he didn’t screw it up.
The next morning, Arthur bounded down the stairs in a cheerful mood and found Molly and her friends sitting on the sofa and chairs in front of the fireplace, laughing and chatting. Molly had a pair of knitting needles in front of her, which were knitting merrily away without her touching them at all. The yarn was a deep, rich blue, and Arthur thought it would look well with her ginger hair. He couldn’t tell yet what it was going to be, it just looked like a square to him.
Hattie noticed him first and waved him over. “Good morning, Arthur,” she said as he came to join them.
The sofa was already full with Molly, Siobhan, and Petula sitting comfortably, so he sat down on the rug in front of the fire, his back to the empty grate.
“Don’t even ask about Reid,” Cecilia warned him.
“I wasn’t going to,” he said mildly.
“What are you doing today, Arthur?” Hattie asked.
“I don’t really have plans. I ought to get my homework done for Muggle Studies,” he admitted.
“We’re going down to the lake for a picnic lunch together, if you want to join us,” Petula said. “You can bring your friends if you like; Molly said you wanted to spend more time with them.”
Arthur was cheered that she was obviously talking about him to her friends, and that they wanted to include him in their group. “I’d like that, thanks.”
Molly smiled at him. “I’ll make sure we get enough food for all of us.”
“But not Reid,” Cecilia said.
“Reid’s one of my friends too,” Arthur responded evenly.
“Maybe Arthur can search him for firecrackers before lunch,” Petula suggested, snickering.
Cecilia scowled at her.
“I promise I won’t let him bring any,” Arthur said.
“Oh go on, then, bring him. But don’t expect me to be nice to him.” Cecilia sat back in her chair and crossed her arms.
“Don’t worry, Cecilia, we never expect you to be nice,” Siobhan assured her.
Arthur and his friends went to the entrance hall at lunch and found the five Gryffindor girls waiting for them, Hattie carrying a large hamper of food and Molly holding a thick purple blanket draped over her arms in front of her. Cecilia gave Reid a dirty look, and he held up his hands as if to show he was firecracker-free, grinning at her. Cosmo looked slightly intimidated to be the only one there who wasn’t a sixth-year, and was staring at the girls with his eyes slightly wide.
The group headed down to the lake and found a sunny spot where they spread out the blanket and started unpacking the food. Cecilia didn’t seem to unbend at all toward Reid the entire time they sat there, talking and joking, even though he was particularly funny that morning and had the other girls all giggling and Dunstan rolling on the grass with laughter. Cecilia kept looking daggers at Reid and scowling when he made a joke. Molly sat close to Arthur and eventually she was leaning against him as the group chatted, snuggled into his side, and he put an arm around her waist. Hattie was smiling at them fondly, and Arthur grinned at her for a moment, feeling exultant.
This day could not get more perfect, he thought happily. Molly Prewett was cuddled with him on a blanket as their friends chatted, sitting in the cool October afternoon air, the sunlight glinting off the lake. The giant squid surfaced briefly and seemed to be waving a tentacle at them.
Molly smiled up at him and said softly, “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
Arthur gave her a tender smile and said, “It’s always beautiful when you’re around, Molly.”
Apparently the others hadn’t missed this exchange, because Siobhan rolled her eyes, Hattie let out a sentimental sigh, and Dunstan mimed gagging into the picnic basket. The others laughed, and Molly and Arthur joined in, a little red-faced but still happy.
Hattie had the group pose for pictures for her, and made sure Arthur kept his arm around Molly for the picture. Arthur tried to restrain his emotions while Hattie snapped photographs, and hoped that the photo him wouldn’t be doing anything embarrassing with the photo Molly.
The photo Cecilia would probably be strangling the photo Reid.
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