The Supremes, “I Hear a Symphony” Whenever you're near
I hear a symphony
Play sweet and tenderly
Every time your lips meet mine now baby
Molly sat in her usual bathroom stall, humming to herself as she used her wand to alter the small graffito heart that had been on the cubicle wall for the past year. MP + TP now read MP + AW. She wondered how long it would take Hattie to see that and start teasing her, and didn’t care. She was in love.
In love with Arthur Weasley.
She knew it was fast, knew it was silly to be in love after only one date and a picnic, after only two kisses (but what kisses!), and she didn’t care. He was so sweet, so charming, so thoughtful, and he kissed so perfectly, she couldn’t help but love him.
Now to get him to love her in return.
Molly smiled at her updated graffito and stood up. It was time to arrange the Gryffindor Girls Council’s next meeting.
The girls had a long-standing tradition of holding slumber parties for just the five of them, and called it the Gryffindor Girls Council because Petula thought it sounded more important. The name had made Siobhan roll her eyes every time she heard it until fourth year, but now they were all used to it. They would gather together and talk late into the night, and Molly privately thought it was the reason they were all so close. It had become harder to have regular councils since Cecilia got her prefect badge and had to do patrols, and their classes grew increasingly more difficult with more and more homework, but they still managed to hold them several times a year.
She announced it to her friends at lunch in a low voice before Arthur had arrived. “Girls, tonight we’re going to have a council.”
“Oh, good, we haven’t had one of those in ages,” Siobhan said cheerfully. “I’ll visit the kitchen and get some food, shall I?”
“Make sure you get éclairs,” Cecilia told her.
“Well of course, dear, we can’t have a proper council without éclairs.”
“I wonder if the house-elves have any fruit tarts,” Hattie wondered dreamily.
“What are we meeting about, Molly?” Petula asked.
“What do you think, silly?” Siobhan rolled her eyes. “Arthur Weasley, of course.”
“Oh, he’s coming, shhh,” Molly hushed her friends, then turned to smile at Arthur as he sat down at their table.
“Afternoon, ladies,” he said cheerfully. “What’s for lunch today?”
“Or maybe some gateau, chocolate gateau…” Hattie was lost in a pudding daydream. Molly kicked her under the table and she jumped, her eyes widening when she saw Arthur, who was looking at her strangely. “Oh, hallo Arthur, when did you get here?”
“Just now,” Molly said, looking daggers at her friend.
Hattie blushed and applied herself to her food, while Siobhan and Cecilia snickered. Arthur apparently decided it was best not to ask what was going on, and started talking about the weekend’s Quidditch match, Gryffindor versus Slytherin.
After lunch, Arthur walked her to class, and she gave him a kiss on the cheek before ducking into the classroom with Hattie, who was grinning at them fondly.
“I think he’s in love with you, Molly,” Hattie teased her.
Molly felt her cheeks grow hot but smiled back at her friend. “I hope so.”
Over the years of council meetings, Hattie had learned a number of useful spells just for that purpose: conjuring large poufs and pillows, soft and puffy sleeping bags, and warm fluffy blankets. Siobhan had learned how to get into the kitchens second year, and brought food for them to snack on every time, because Hattie maintained you couldn’t have a proper gathering without some form of chocolate.
Hattie was putting the finishing touches on her conjuring and Molly was pulling out the tray for the food (purchased in Hogsmeade third year and only used for these occasions) when Cecilia and Siobhan arrived carrying two large bags of food and drink from the kitchen. Cecilia handed the bags to Molly and headed over to her four-poster to change clothes.
“Why do we always sleep on the floor?” Siobhan asked as she pulled her pajamas out of her trunk. “Our dormitory isn’t that big, we could sleep in our beds.”
“Part of the fun is sleeping close together on the floor, like a campout. This is how we bond as a group and maintain close ties of friendship and feminine belonging,” Molly informed her. “Now get down here, you brat.”
“Oh, fine,” Siobhan grumbled, settling herself down on a huge, squashy purple pillow next to Cecilia, who was curled up on a sleeping bag and pulling a blanket up. “Where’s Petula?”
“She was in the library an hour ago and said she was nearly done,” Hattie said from where she was already settled on the floor next to the food tray, with a long knitted nightcap (a gift from Molly) perched on her dark hair. “She should be here soon.”
“Can we start without her?” Cecilia asked, eyeing the food that Molly was now arranging on the silver tray. “Those éclairs are calling my name.”
“No, we’re not starting until Petula comes,” Molly told her.
“Listen, that éclair is saying eat me, Cecilia, I taste so delicious. Can’t you hear it? Poor thing, I’ll just put it out of its misery.”
Molly slapped her reaching hand. “Wait for Petula.”
Once Petula had arrived, out of breath and apologizing for her tardiness (and blaming Professor McGonagall for setting difficult homework), Molly sat up on her knees and clapped her hands to get everyone’s attention.
“Good evening, ladies, and welcome to the two hundred and twenty-second meeting of the Gryffindor Girls Council.”
“Has it been that many times?” Hattie asked in surprise, an éclair halfway to her mouth.
“I’ve no idea, I just made that up,” Molly said in a businesslike voice. “Does anyone have anything they wish to discuss?”
“Reid Akins is a prat,” Cecilia volunteered, licking chocolate off her fingertips.
“I think that was noted and discussed at length last year, several times,” Petula said dryly as she changed into her pajamas.
“Well, it’s still true.”
Siobhan raised her hand. “Cecilia’s got an unhealthy obsession with hating Reid Akins, can we address that?”
“Only after we address your complete lack of brains,” Cecilia retorted. “Do you know what he did to me?”
“Yes, Cecilia, we were all there,” Molly said soothingly. “Anyone else?”
“I’ll help you out, Petula,” Cecilia said. “We can practice right after Transfiguration, we’ve both got a free period then.”
“Thanks, Cilia. That would be lovely.” Petula reached over to give her friend a quick hug.
“There, see? It’s a good council already.” Molly beamed at her friends and picked up a treacle tart.
“Molly, go ahead and start talking about Arthur, we all know that’s why you wanted a council now,” Hattie said around a mouthful of food. “Not that I’m not grateful for it, of course, we should have them more often. With chocolate gateau.”
“All right, then.” Molly sat down cross-legged and leaned forward on her elbows with a misty smile. “I’m in love with Arthur.”
Her announcement was greeted with a complete lack of surprise.
“I thought you must be, or you wouldn’t have let him kiss you,” Hattie said placidly, still eating.
“Oooh, did you kiss?” Petula asked keenly. “Why doesn’t anyone tell me things?”
“And he’s been sitting with us at table every bloody day,” Siobhan said, and her eyes flicked quickly upward, but it was almost unnoticeable. Molly appreciated her friend’s effort to suppress her natural inclination to roll her eyes at everything.
“Language, Siobhan,” Cecilia said.
“Am I the only one who didn’t know they’d kissed?” Petula demanded, looking at each of her friends as she bit into a second éclair.
“Well, I assumed, but Molly didn’t tell us,” Cecilia admitted. “Obviously she loves Hattie more than us.”
Hattie gave her a cheeky grin.
“Hattie was the only one here Saturday night when I went to bed,” Molly pointed out, annoyed. “I’d have told all of you if you lot went to bed at a reasonable hour.”
“I can’t help it if I have to patrol,” Cecilia said.
“Yes, and I can’t help it if I had to snog someone in a broom cupboard,” Siobhan added.
Petula raised an eyebrow at her. “Who are you snogging now?”
Cecilia sighed in exasperation. “Oh, for the love. You’re lucky I’m the one who caught him after hours, Siobhan, I let him go with a warning. The other prefects would have docked him some points, and Pringle would have beaten him.”
Siobhan gave an elegant, Gallic shrug, and even managed to make rolling her eyes look delicate. “When the muse strikes…”
Molly snorted. “You’re terrible, Siobhan.”
“Molly, tell us about your snogging.” Petula sat back into a pouf and arranged a thick purple blanket around her legs.
Molly blushed a little. “It was during our date in Hogsmeade. First he kissed me in Dervish and Banges, just for a moment, then we kissed next to Honeydukes.”
“In front of everyone?” Petula asked in surprise.
“No, silly, there’s an alley next to Honeydukes that’s nice and secluded. Good choice, Molly,” Siobhan said approvingly. “I’d also suggest behind Gladrags, it’s dark but quite clean.”
“Siobhan, you’re such a chippy, dear,” Hattie told her fondly.
Siobhan didn’t look at all concerned about this, and smiled back at Hattie, then looked over at Molly again and asked, “So, Molly, how was the kiss?”
“Oh, it was wonderful,” Molly sighed. “It was perfect. He’s so sweet and thoughtful and wonderful, and he’s a wonderful kisser, and when he held me close, it was just…”
“Wonderful?” Cecilia supplied with a snicker.
“I noticed there was a change in the bathroom when I was there today,” Hattie said slyly. “In the usual cubicle.”
“The heart? I saw it has different initials now,” Petula agreed. “I’d almost forgotten you’d put that there, Molly.”
“Meanwhile, back at the ranch,” Siobhan said, rolling her eyes. “Molly, I’m glad you’re in love, you seem very happy. I think he loves you too.”
“I said that earlier,” Hattie said. “Didn’t I say that, Molly?”
“Yes, you did. Do you think he really does?” Molly asked Siobhan.
All four girls nodded, and Siobhan rolled her eyes again.
“Of course he does,” Cecilia said bossily. “It’s perfectly obvious from the way he looks at you.”
“He spends half of Muggle Studies doodling your name on his notes,” Petula told her. “He thinks I can’t see him at it.”
Molly smiled hopefully. “He does that? Really?”
Petula nodded, pouring herself some pumpkin juice, and Molly collapsed against her pillows, throwing her arms out wide. “I want him to love me, girls, I really do.”
“You’re adorable, Molly, he already loves you.” Hattie patted her knee.
“You certainly fell in love quickly,” Cecilia observed neutrally.
“I can’t help it,” Molly said, still stretched out. “It must be fate. Destiny.”
“Or good snogging,” Siobhan added.
“He is a good kisser,” Molly agreed absently, staring at the ceiling and thinking about Arthur and the way he’d held her in that alley in Hogsmeade. And he’d kissed her so sweetly in Dervish and Banges. Maybe he did love her.
“I prefer to think you’re destined for each other, Molly,” Hattie said, shooting a disapproving look at Siobhan. “It’s not just snogging, it’s love.”
“I suppose if it was just snogging, he wouldn’t be sitting with us constantly and daydreaming about you in classes,” Siobhan said with a grin. “He must love you, Molly.”
Molly sat up abruptly and looked at her friends worriedly. “You all like him, don’t you?”
“Of course we do,” Petula said briskly. “He’s a very nice boy.”
Cecilia nodded her agreement. “Yes, he is. I don’t know why he’s friends with that idiot Reid.”
“You make a lovely couple,” Hattie sighed dreamily.
“If he’s a good kisser, then I like him for you,” Siobhan told her. “You need some good kissing.”
Molly’s face had cleared as her friends spoke and she was smiling happily now. “Oh good, I’m so glad you like him.”
“Can we talk about something else now?” Cecilia asked. “If you’re finished with Thaddeus, can I have him?”
“He’s going out with Cressida Titherington,” Hattie pointed out.
“Language, Cecilia,” Siobhan said.
Cecilia stuck out her tongue.
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