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Chapter 15 : You're The One
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Every time we meet, everything is sweet
Oh, you're so tender, I must surrender
My love is your love, now and forever
Baby, you're the one that I love
The second Saturday in November dawned cool and crisp, and Molly woke early to write an essay for Arithmancy before Apparition lessons. She, Hattie, and Cecilia stayed in their dormitory to work together, and were finished before lunch. Molly was feeling quite proud of herself: her schoolwork was back on track now and her marks were perfect again.
Arthur had taken the news that they couldn’t go out on school nights any more quite well, and they were finally settling into a study routine together. She was quite pleased at how he really listened to her when she gently corrected his sometimes erroneous notions about their shared classes. She could feel herself relaxing around him more now, and began finding herself lecturing him a bit and trying to arrange his study schedule for him. He didn’t seem to mind, however, and she drafted up a schedule for him for the next week, which she was gratified to see him look over with interest when she handed it to him at breakfast. She started planning to make him one for next week as well.
The girls went down for lunch before Apparition, and met up with Petula and Siobhan in the Great Hall. Arthur, Dunstan, and Cosmo were sitting with them, but Reid was further down the table with Roddy and a seventh-year boy whose name Molly wasn’t certain of. Cecilia seemed to be in a pleasant frame of mind because of Reid’s absence, and was laughing with Siobhan.
A single lonely owl flew in as the students were eating, carrying a large red envelope. It was headed for the Gryffindor table, and Molly spared it a single glance before continuing her lunch. She glanced over at Arthur’s plate and saw he had nearly finished, but was still animatedly chatting with Dunstan and Cosmo and hadn’t noticed his nearly-empty plate. She added another slice of shepherd’s pie to his plate. He didn’t seem to notice, but Hattie did, and smiled at her kindly. She went back to her own lunch with a grin that probably looked a little lovesick, but she didn’t care.
“Oh dear,” Petula said, craning her head to see down the table. “Looks like your brothers have gotten another Howler, Molly.”
“Again?” She put her fork down and stood up to frown at her little brothers, who were tossing the Howler back and forth between them as if it were boiling hot. “For the love! That’s their sixth this year, and it’s not even Christmas!”
The Howler burst open, and most of the students in the hall covered their ears as the magnified voice of Mrs. Prewett rolled over the tables, filling up all the empty space in the hall with the sound of her disapproval. Molly shook her head at her brothers, still frowning at them with her hands clapped over her ears. They were determinedly not looking at her, both of them ducked down with their fingers stuffed in their ears as the Howler let loose its fury.
“Gideon and Fabian! Not again! If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times….”
When her mother’s voice had finally died out with a final rebuke about bringing shame to the family, Molly tried to catch her brothers’ eyes, but they were now laughing to each other, though they looked a little red, and she glanced around and saw that even the teachers did not seem surprised or perturbed by yet another Howler for her brothers. The noise level in the hall had gone back to normal quite quickly too. No one else seemed at all concerned over the Howler. As she sat down, she realized the headmaster was watching her.
Dumbledore smiled when their eyes met, his eyes twinkling kindly at her, and Molly smiled sheepishly at him. She decided to let her brothers’ apparent misbehaviour go this time. She hadn’t been lecturing them nearly as much this year as she usually did, since her time was occupied so much with Arthur.
Arthur was currently finishing off the second slice of shepherd’s pie she’d given him, and he leaned over to peck her on the cheek when he noticed her watching him. Molly smiled and pulled her copy of the Ministry pamphlet on Apparition out of her pocket.
Four lessons in to Apparition, and only a few students had managed to Apparate. Cressida Titherington had been the first to Apparate out of their year, and Thaddeus’s look of pride when his girlfriend had managed this feat had been quite adorable to see. Last week two more Ravenclaws, Jasper Mussa and Letitia Watcock, and the Slytherin sixth-year prefect Lysander Acheron had all Apparated successfully. Tensions seemed to be running high between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff boys, who were all determined that their House should be next. Molly had never understood the obsession with competition of any variety that all boys seemed to have, but it wasn’t only the boys who were turning Apparition into a contest: Petula was also determined that someone from Gryffindor should Apparate next, and she had decided Cecilia and Roddy Feltham were the front-runners for their House, apparently having given up entirely on herself and not considering either Molly, Hattie, or Siobhan.
“You can do it, Cecilia,” Petula said encouragingly as they waited in the entrance hall after lunch. “We’ve got to make it this week, we can’t let Hufflepuff get there ahead of us. You don’t want Gryffindor to be the last House to Apparate, do you?”
Cecilia scowled at her. “Stop it, Petula, or I swear I will hex you right now.”
Petula turned her attention to Roddy, who had come over to join them with Reid. Siobhan was studiously ignoring him. She was now seeing Addae Owusu of Hufflepuff, or possibly Akwetee, Molly wasn’t entirely sure. It was possible that Siobhan wasn’t sure which twin she was seeing either. Molly felt a little sorry for Roddy, who had evidently felt that his relationship with Siobhan was more than just snogging, and had been watching her in the common room with a slightly hangdog expression.
“Roddy, are you feeling confident today?” Petula asked heartily, giving him a pat on the shoulder. “Do you think you’ll Apparate?”
Roddy looked surprised and wary. “Dunno. I might. Why, am I supposed to today?”
“Someone from Gryffindor needs to,” Petula said determinedly.
“I’m bloody well not going to, I suppose,” Siobhan said suddenly, rolling her eyes at Petula.
“Language, Siobhan,” Molly said, though it was rather half-hearted. She was becoming resigned to the fact that Siobhan would never clean up her language entirely.
“I’ll see you lot in the hall.” Siobhan strolled away in the direction of the Owusu twins, who both straightened up at her approach. Molly hoped Siobhan wasn’t snogging both of them. Roddy gazed after her, looking a little crestfallen.
“What about me, Petula?” Dunstan asked, and Molly glanced at Arthur in time to see him grin wickedly at his friend. She looked back at Dunstan a little more closely and saw the way he was looking at Petula. Oh dear.
“What about you?” Petula answered peevishly, then turned back to Roddy. “Don’t you want Gryffindor to be next?”
“Course I do,” Roddy said immediately. His eyes were on Siobhan still. “I thought Reid would probably be first though.”
“Really?” Petula looked surprised.
“I am doing eleven N.E.W.T.s, you know,” Reid said, looking disgruntled. “I’m not stupid.”
Cecilia let out a loud “Ha!” which caused Reid’s face to flush an ugly shade of maroon, and Arthur and Roddy apparently decided it was best to remove Reid from her presence, each grabbing one of his arms and hauling him away while he looked over his shoulder at Cecilia with a frown.
“What if he does Apparate, Cecilia?” Hattie asked. “He does get good marks, you know. He isn’t stupid.”
Cecilia scowled at her. “Oh, shove off, Hattie.”
“The doors just opened,” Hattie said calmly. “Let’s go in, shall we?”
Arthur appeared next to her in the hall with a speed that would have indicated Apparition if she hadn’t known that he couldn’t actually Apparate yet. He looked quite confident, and she began to secretly hope he would be the first Gryffindor to Apparate.
As luck would have it though, halfway through the lesson, just when Molly was beginning to get a fit of the giggles again over how silly everyone looked twirling hopelessly in the Great Hall, she heard a crack behind her and turned around just in time to see a very surprised-looking Reid reappearing inside his hoop. Dunstan started clapping for his friend and Arthur was grinning widely from beside Molly. Roddy clapped Reid on the back, making him stumble a bit. Thaddeus, over near the Ravenclaws, put his fists in the air in triumph.
Boys were very odd.
Molly turned back around and saw Cecilia stamping on her hoop in fury, with Petula grinning beside her. Hattie had her hand over her mouth to cover a big smile.
“Go, go Gryffindor!” Petula crowed, dancing a little jig on the spot, and Cecilia gave her a little shove.
Cecilia stalked off after Apparition with her wand in her hand, ready to hex anyone who got in her way, and no one was quite brave enough to follow her. She seemed to have taken it as a personal affront that Reid was the first Gryffindor to Apparate, even though two more Slytherins, another Ravenclaw, the Hufflepuff prefect Winifred Fairholm, and Thaddeus had also managed it this lesson. Molly was fairly certain that Cecilia would be in the library the rest of the day, determined to outshine Reid in the next Apparition lesson at any cost.
Arthur pulled out the schedule Molly had made him for that week and announced that he was off to do his Muggle Studies homework. Petula invited herself along unabashedly and left with Arthur for Gryffindor Tower to get their books. Hattie turned to Molly with a smile.
“Shall we work on Arithmancy this afternoon, or Potions?”
“Potions,” Molly sighed. “We’ve got to look up all the uses of leeches for Slughorn.”
Siobhan peeled herself away from the Owusu twins and hurried over to talk to Molly and Hattie.
“Was that one of your patented Molly-Bosses-You-Around homework charts I just saw?” she demanded in an incredulous voice. “Did you make one for Arthur?”
Molly glared at Siobhan. “Yes, I did. He was glad of it, too.”
Siobhan shook her head. “Of course he’d say that, he fancies you. He’s just letting you boss him around so you’ll keep snogging him.”
“I’m not bossing him around, I’m just helping him to be organized. And that’s not true. Arthur wouldn’t do that,” she added in annoyance.
“All boys do that,” Siobhan said.
“Not Arthur,” Molly retorted confidently.
Hattie was staying studiously quiet, staring up at the ceiling.
Siobhan put her hands on her hips. “Excuse me, who knows more about boys here, me or you?”
“You know more about snogging,” Molly said, feeling stung. “That doesn’t mean you know more about boys.”
Hattie’s eyes widened slightly, but Siobhan just stuck her tongue out. She didn’t appear to take that remark to heart.
Years of arguing with their dormitory mates had given the girls the ability to ignore most of the criticism that came their way. Upon further reflection, Molly thought that might be why they hadn’t managed to stop Siobhan from swearing. Living together for the past five and a half years had not always been harmonious, and the occasional loud and sometimes theatrical fight had erupted, but Hattie was a great peacekeeper and generally settled the bad feelings before they festered. The girls had learned each others’ personalities well enough that they knew in a fight, for example, Molly had a short fuse but forgave quickly, Petula liked melodrama and could create it out of thin air, Hattie bottled up her feelings because she wanted to be a proper lady, Siobhan would curse a blue streak and then go snog someone to vent her rage, and Cecilia held grudges, as Siobhan put it, as if she were Irish.
Siobhan didn’t bring up the schedule Molly had drawn up for Arthur again that weekend, although she rolled her eyes whenever she saw him looking at it. By Monday, Molly was starting to wonder whether Siobhan didn’t have a point about it after all, and perhaps Arthur was only putting up with the schedule because he was hoping for continued weekend snogging. But then, he seemed to be using it, and he was getting all his schoolwork done in a timely manner since she’d been setting their study times, and wasn’t that what was important?
Still, she worried about it most of the day, and by the time class had gotten out for the day Monday afternoon and she settled in on the sofa in front of the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room, she was debating internally whether or not to ask him about it.
Arthur came to join her for an evening of studying for the next day’s lessons, and gave her a quick peck on the cheek as he sat down next to her on the sofa with a contented smile.
“Siobhan says you’re only saying you like the schedule so I’ll keep snogging you,” she blurted out in a rush as he pulled out his Transfiguration textbook, then winced. She hadn’t meant to ask quite like that.
His ears reddened, but he said immediately, “Not at all. I’m pleased with the schedule. I know you drew it up with my best interests at heart.”
“Yes,” Molly agreed swiftly. “I want you to do well in school, Arthur.”
It occurred to her that he had managed to get eight O.W.L.s without her help, but he distracted her by giving her a kiss and saying, “I’m not just saying it so you’ll snog me, Molly. I really do appreciate you taking the time to make that schedule for me.”
Molly sighed, her shoulders relaxing. He really was so sweet. “I’m glad. I was getting worried about it. I’m not bossy, really.”
“Yes, you are,” Arthur said easily.
Her eyes widened at that. “Arthur!”
“I like you anyway,” he grinned.
Molly had to try hard to hold on to her frown, but he started chuckling and she couldn’t help cracking a little smile.
They studied together until late into the evening, with Hattie joining them to do a little revising for their Transfiguration test the next day. Molly’s brothers strolled past shortly after Hattie had called it a night and gone to bed, looking suspiciously innocent as they waved to their big sister, and she narrowed her eyes at them as they went out the portrait hole.
“Where do you suppose they’re going? It’s past curfew.”
“Perhaps they’re returning a library book,” Arthur said calmly.
“At this hour? Them?” Molly snorted. “They’re making trouble.”
“Do you want to follow them to see what they’re up to?” he asked, blinking at her over the rims of his glasses.
Molly watched the portrait hole for a moment while the natural sisterly urge to go knock some sense into her brothers’ heads wrestled with her desire to spend the last of the evening with Arthur.
“No,” she said finally. “I ought to go to bed soon. I’ll deal with them later.”
Arthur closed his textbook with a determined look, as if he’d been waiting for the topic of bedtime to come up.
“I couldn’t help but notice,” he began carefully, sounding rehearsed, “that on the schedule you gave me, you’ve put bedtime at ten o’clock.”
Molly wasn’t sure where he was going with this, and gazed at him warily. “Yes,” she said slowly. “A good night’s sleep is important to getting good marks.”
“Right. Well, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind getting a bit less sleep if there were something more interesting to, erm, do.” His ears had turned a bit red.
She frowned at him for a moment, then realisation dawned and she felt the blood rising into her cheeks. “Oh. Oh! Yes.” She glanced down at the schedule she’d drawn up for herself, which also had a ten o’clock bedtime. “Well. I didn’t think of that.”
“I’d be just fine with an hour or two less sleep,” Arthur said firmly, as if he had planned out what he was going to say and was determined to get through all of it. “It would give us an hour or two more to spend together. In fact, I think as soon as our homework’s done, there’s no reason why we can’t see each other on school nights as well as on the weekend.”
Molly was feeling a little railroaded, but she had to admit that he made an excellent point. Sleep did sound less appealing than spending time alone with Arthur. And maybe sneaking about the castle for a good snog. “I suppose that’s true, yes,” she allowed.
Arthur put the schedule she’d made for him back into his bag. “Well, that’s settled then. We can go out after we’ve finished our homework.”
“I’m done with mine right now, actually, if you’re free,” she said, trying to sound sophisticated and worldly.
Arthur grinned widely as he grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet. “Oh, I’m free tonight, Molly.”
She noticed a small change in Arthur’s behaviour as the month wore on, and the final Hogsmeade weekend before the Christmas holiday approached.
He spoke louder when they passed someone in the hallways talking about Hogsmeade, as if he were trying to cover up any mention of the village, and their friends had not mentioned it at all, when normally they chatted quite a bit about the upcoming weekend in town. She had no idea why he didn’t seem to want her to know about the Hogsmeade weekend, when it was perfectly obvious the school was having one – there was always one right before the holiday.
Something strange was going on.
She tried to ask the girls about it late one night, but Petula stared at her blankly, apparently not having noticed anything, and Hattie just shrugged. Siobhan rolled her eyes and started in about the schedule again, which effectively derailed the conversation for the rest of the night as Cecilia argued against trying to arrange your boyfriend’s activities and Hattie loyally defended it as simply part of Molly’s caring and helpful nature, which set Siobhan to laughing hysterically.
Molly threw a pillow at Siobhan, frowning at her. “I am caring! I just want him to do well in school.”
“You’re being very controlling,” Cecilia said. “Would you want him to give you a schedule telling you how to spend your day?”
“You’re just angry because Reid Apparated before you did,” Molly said crossly.
Cecilia’s nostrils flared as she drew in a sharp breath. “Do you know what he did to me?”
“It is a little bossy, Molly,” Petula threw in half-heartedly. She clearly did not want to get involved in the argument, but was siding with Cecilia and Siobhan in it. Petula was often the swing vote in their dormitory.
Molly scowled at them. She was regretting the schedule heartily now and felt like shouting at her friends until she felt better. “I was just trying to help. I’ve made homework schedules for you lot before, at exam time.”
“Yes, and it was very helpful for studying for our O.W.L.s, wasn’t it, girls?” Hattie said, glaring at the others.
“I suppose,” Cecilia allowed grudgingly.
“You are very good at keeping a hectic schedule straight,” Petula admitted. “I might have gotten even fewer O.W.L.s without it.”
“There you go,” Hattie said triumphantly. “Now leave her alone.”
“Oh, all right.” Cecilia exchanged a sly grin with Siobhan as she turned around to change into her pyjamas, and Molly wondered what that was all about as she whispered a thank you to Hattie for sticking up for her and her bossy homework schedules.
A/N: Gah! I never do author notes, I know, but hopefully this chapter seemed like more than just filler, since I meant it to show the beginning of Molly/Arthur settling into a Molly's The Boss situation. And yes, the girls are picking fights so Molly won't find out about the concert - they're so subtle LOL. The concert comes next, I haven't finished the chapter yet - it's only about 1400 words right now and I have a lot more to write. Hopefully this week it'll be done. I've actually been sitting on Ch.15 for a while, I wasn't sure I was 100% pleased with it. Ok I'll stop now. Good night. I hope you enjoyed it.
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