Chapter 26 : We Can Work It Out
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Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can't go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.
Molly spent the evening after the explosion on the staircase sitting on her bed with the curtains drawn around her, fuming and crying. She felt so angry she wanted to break something or scream, but she felt foolish at the same time. A voice in the back of her head kept saying, it was just a silly prank, they didn't mean to hurt anyone, but she ignored it and clung to her anger.
How could he help them? He knew how she felt about their stupid, childish pranks. She’d thought he was above that sort of thing. They could have seriously injured someone, could have gotten themselves expelled. And there he’d been, right in the thick of things, laughing along with Gideon and Fabian.
And those two! The twins and their stupid pranks, it was all their fault. They never thought things through properly, so caught up in their own cleverness they didn't think of the possible consequences. She’d told Arthur she never wanted to speak to him again, but of course it wasn’t true, she already missed him, even though he’d been stupid and she was so angry.
It was all just so… so stupid! She wished she could take it all back and walk the other way, so she never would have seen any of it, never would have known he’d helped. It wasn’t fair, finally there was someone she loved who loved her in return and now it was just all ruined. She didn’t know what to do.
She thought about the devastated look on his face when she’d screamed at him that she never wanted to speak to him again and buried her face in her hands as the tears threatened to come out in a wail.
“Molly?” Hattie's voice came gently from the other side of the curtains. “Are you all right?”
“Go away, Hattie,” she snapped.
“We’re here for you when you’re ready to talk, Molly.”
She heard Hattie's footsteps leaving the dormitory, and picked up her pillow to clutch it to her chest while she cried.
The next morning's classes were hard on Molly. She kept glimpsing Arthur in the halls, and when she sat down in Arithmancy, Thaddeus Peabody came over with a sombre expression to tell her how sorry he was to hear of her breakup with Arthur, and what a shame it was that she'd let him get away. She narrowed her eyes at him dangerously at that, wishing she could hit him, but Professor Arccos was looking their way. Thad looked alarmed at her expression and escaped to his own desk quickly.
By the time lunch had come around, she'd seen from the expressions of everyone she passed in the hallway that the entire school knew she and Arthur had broken up. Molly was not used to being the subject of gossip, and it was not a pleasant feeling to have people watching her and knowing they were whispering behind her back. Her friends talked loudly at lunch about anything but Arthur and the break-up, and she determinedly did not look down the table to see him, though she caught flashes of his red hair out of the corner of her eye.
She dreaded going to her next class, because she shared Defence Against the Dark Arts with him, and knowing that he'd be there behind her made her feel angry and weepy all over again, and she spent the class snuffling quietly at her desk and hoping Professor Ampara did not want anyone to practice Patronuses, because at that moment, she knew she could not have produced a Patronus if her life depended on it.
She retreated to the dormitory after class and hid on her bed again with the curtains drawn tightly, curled up clutching her pillow and crying silently. She did not know how long she lay there, thinking about Arthur and wishing nothing had happened, when she heard footsteps thudding toward her bed and the drapes were pulled back abruptly. Cecilia loomed over her, looking angry.
“All right, that's enough of this,” she declared. “Get up, it's nearly dinnertime, you've had enough time to mope.”
She looked up at Cecilia and could see the other girls behind her. Hattie and Petula wore pitying expressions, and Petula's was laced with nervousness. Siobhan looked bored, as if she'd been dragged along against her will.
“You haven't even talked about what happened yet,” Hattie said gently.
“I don't want to talk about it,” Molly said crossly.
“Fine, then I will,” Cecilia retorted. “Hattie told us what happened. This is ridiculous. You need to be the one who goes and talks to him. You're the one who started this whole thing-”
“I did not,” Molly exclaimed. “He did with his-”
“You're the one who started it,” Cecilia repeated, talking over her. “He'll just have to learn like all the rest of us that you just get all crazy like that when you're angry and if he sticks it out until you run out of steam, he'd be fine.”
Molly was immediately incensed. “He nearly killed some first years with my stupid brothers! How can I just run off and forgive them! He never even said he was sorry!”
“You never even gave him a chance!” Cecilia shot back. “Go and talk to him, and stop laying about crying like an imbecile.”
Hattie and Petula were staring wide-eyed between Cecilia and Molly, as if they expected Molly to hex her. This had apparently not been what they'd had in mind when they'd come to speak to Molly.
“Well hark at you, Miss More-Mature-Than-Thou,” Molly said harshly. “You ought to follow your own advice and go have a chat with Reid, then.”
Cecilia scowled darkly at her. “Oh you think so? That's completely different! Do you know-”
“Oh shut up, both of you,” Siobhan interrupted. “You're acting like children. Cecilia, go lie down and have some chocolate. Molly, if you're not going to go and forgive Arthur tonight, then just go to bed.”
“Do you all think I should just go and forgive him?” Molly asked incredulously. She could not believe they were taking his side after what he'd done, though her guilt over her outburst of temper at him nagged at the back of her mind even while she fanned her righteous indignation.
They all looked at each other and then nodded.
“You're my friends, you're supposed to be on my side!” Molly exclaimed angrily.
“We are on your side, Molly,” Petula said, sounding a little frightened. “But you love him, just go and forgive him and put both of yourselves our of your misery.”
Molly frowned. “He's been avoiding me. He's probably not miserable at all.”
“He's probably afraid of you,” Siobhan said, rolling her eyes. “And you did chuck him, you know. Generally when one chucks one's boyfriend, he does tend to stay away.”
“Molly, of course he's miserable,” Hattie said, sounding annoyingly reasonable. “He's still wearing that scarf you knitted him, and he's been clutching at it like a lifeline all day. It's quite sad.”
Petula nodded. “He spent all of class this morning drawing pictures of you, badly, and didn't even pay attention. He usually loves Muggle Studies. He's completely miserable.”
“Well then why wouldn't he say something?” Molly demanded. “Why did he just stand there and not say a word?”
“You were very angry,” Hattie said. “It was a little frightening.”
“Look, if you need more time to stew, then fine, stew away,” Siobhan said, rolling her eyes. “You know you're going to forgive him eventually, because you're miserable too.”
“Oh, just bugger off and go to dinner.” Molly rolled over, flopping back out onto her bed and grabbing her pillow again. “I don't care.”
She could hear their footsteps leaving the dormitory and felt angry again. Everyone was abandoning her. Didn't they know she needed someone to be on her side? No one had even bothered to correct her language.
She went back to crying and feeling sorry for herself for a while longer, until a soft noise brought her attention to the door of the dormitory. She rolled over and sat up, pushing the drapes open on her bed. Siobhan was standing there holding a small sack, and she smiled sheepishly at Molly as she kicked off her shoes and padded over to Molly's bed.
“Here,” she said, handing the sack to Molly. “I brought you a present from the house-elves.”
Molly peered into the bag, knowing what she'd find, and sure enough, there were several sweet rolls and a delicious-smelling piece of chicken inside. She pulled a roll out and started nibbling while Siobhan sat down next to her and stretched her legs out.
“I thought you could use some company, and some dinner,” she said, and Molly smiled at her gratefully.
“He is utterly miserable without you, you know,” Siobhan said quietly. “You should have seen him at the dinner table. He wasn't even eating once he saw you weren't there.”
Molly felt her eyes tearing up again, and she looked down at the roll, picking at it, to cover her tears. “I think I've messed things up, Siobhan. I lost control, I didn't mean any of it. I love him.”
“I know you do.”
Siobhan's presence at her side, normally so brash and sarcastic but so quiet tonight, was strangely comforting, and Molly found herself whispering her worst fear aloud without meaning to.
“What if he doesn't forgive me when I forgive him?”
“Of course he will.” Siobhan gave her hand a little pat. “He loves you desperately, Molly.”
Molly put the roll on her bedside table and slid back down into her bed. Her head was beginning to pound from all the crying and worrying she'd done. “I don't know what to do. I don't think I can just go talk to him. It isn't as easy as Cecilia thinks.”
“Don't worry about that now. Get some sleep, things will look better in the morning.”
“I don't know if I can sleep,” Molly said, pressing her fingertips to her aching head.
“My grandmother used to sing to me, when I wasn't feeling well,” Siobhan said, a little hesitantly. “I could sing to you.”
Molly gave her friend a watery smile. “That would be lovely.”
Siobhan stacked her hands behind her head, leaning against the headboard, and began to sing. Molly listened quietly to her friend's soft and lovely soprano as she sang of two lovers parted by war and death. The song made her feel even worse. What if she and Arthur never made up? What if they never spoke again? It was too horrible to contemplate. The more Siobhan sang, however, the more Molly became incredulous that her friend had thought to sing this particular song at all. It wasn’t exactly aimed at soothing an aching heart, and surely even Siobhan must recognize that.
Molly sniffed and wiped her nose with her handkerchief when Siobhan’s voice trailed off. “That was... That was awful! That didn’t help at all. Gore-stained bosom and clay-cold corpse? Honestly, Siobhan!”
Siobhan started laughing.
“Your singing was beautiful,” Molly assured her. “But that’s a horribly depressing song.”
“Ah, well, that’s Ireland, dear.” Siobhan said, and her brogue was thicker than it usually was. She stretched out next to Molly and added, “At least I didn’t sing ‘The Patriot Game.’”
Molly smiled and shook her head. She had no idea what that song was, but after Siobhan’s first choice, she was fairly certain she didn’t want to hear it. “Sing something cheerful, please. I don’t need music to make me feel awful, I already do.”
“Go talk to him,” Siobhan said immediately.
Molly shook her head, and felt tears rising again. “I can’t.”
Siobhan laid next to her in silence for a few moments, and Molly sniffed again, wiping her nose and trying not to think of Arthur or replay the fight in her head again. The pounding in her head was increasing, and she opened her mouth to beg Siobhan to sing again, when Siobhan, staring up at the ceiling, started to sing.
One pleasant evening in the month of June
As I was sitting with my glass and spoon
A small bird sat on an ivy bunch
And the song he sang was ‘The Jug of Punch.’
Molly relaxed into the pillow and closed her eyes, letting Siobhan’s sweet voice wash over her. She was half-asleep by the time Siobhan finished, and hardly stirred when Siobhan gave her a little pat on the shoulder and slid out of the bed.
Molly and Hattie were headed to the library after Arithmancy that Friday, Hattie chatting in a determinedly cheerful voice while Molly walked along morosely beside her. She’d been angry and upset for the past few days, since the twins’ prank, and had been ignoring Arthur in class, refusing to look at him. Every time she passed the staircase where they'd set the explosion, or saw someone trip over the invisible hole in the step, which seemed to be permanent, it seemed to refuel her anger over the entire situation.
His friends had stopped coming to chat with her friends at mealtimes, and her friends seemed to be walking on eggshells around her since Cecilia had decided to have it out with her a few days ago. Molly was secretly glad of it; she didn’t want to talk any more about what had happened, though she dwelt on it endlessly. She felt stupid about losing it with him so badly, it seemed like such a silly thing in retrospect, and that made her angrier with her brothers, with Arthur, and with herself. She didn’t know how to fix things, how to go back to the way things were.
What if he didn’t want to be with her any more when she decided to forgive him?
They rounded a corner and ran into a large crowd blocking the corridor. Molly scowled at the students for being in her way, and wished she could hex a few of them to relieve her feelings.
“What’s going on? Is something wrong?” Hattie craned her neck to see over the crowd. Petula was shoving her way out from the centre of the crowd and then made her way quickly to Molly and Hattie when she saw them.
“Oh, Molly, it’s your brothers!” Petula’s face was frightened as she grabbed Molly’s hand to drag her to the front of the crowd.
Molly felt her heart leap in her chest when she saw her little brothers facing off with a group of Slytherins. She recognized one as the oldest of the Black sisters, who were related to her through her uncle Ignatius’s wife, and had a dark reputation, and before she could step forward to intervene, Arthur had stepped in front of the twins, his arms spread protectively wide to shield them.
“That’s enough,” he said clearly. “This stops now.”
Bellatrix Black sneered at him. She was only a fourth year but was already known in school for her duelling abilities. “Step aside, Weasley. They started it.”
“Don’t be stupid, Bella,” said a girl behind Bellatrix in a soft voice. She was plainly Bellatrix’s younger sister: the resemblance between them was strong. She looked nervous and plucked at her sister’s robes, but Bellatrix jerked her arm away and gave her sister a scathing glance as she raised her wand, aiming it at Fabian.
Molly thought her heart would stop. She ran forward, thinking only of protecting her baby brothers, her wand in her hand without her being aware of having drawn it. “This is ridiculous, all of you,” she said loudly, standing next to Arthur in front of her brothers. “Go about your business before a teacher comes.”
The other Slytherins seemed to see the sense in this, and were turning away, but Bellatrix’s wand was still raised.
Molly saw Bellatrix's hand twitch and reacted instantly, shouting “Protego!” She heard Arthur casting the Shield Charm at the same time, and Bellatrix was knocked backward, stumbling into the Lestrange brothers.
“You leave my brothers alone,” Molly said coldly as Bellatrix regained her feet.
The crowd was starting to disperse now, and Bellatrix gave Molly a venomous look as she left with the other Slytherins. The younger Black sister who had tried to get Bellatrix to stop glanced over her shoulder apologetically at the twins as the Slytherins disappeared down a staircase.
Molly turned to her brothers, pocketing her wand. “What did you do?” she demanded. “Did you start it?”
Gideon and Fabian looked slightly pale, and they both shook their heads.
“No!” Fabian’s eyes were wide.
“Not on purpose,” Gideon admitted.
“We just tried to talk to Andromeda Black, that’s all,” Fabian told her. “She’s really nice, for a Slytherin. She’s even nice to the Muggle-borns!”
Molly was still suspicious. She glared at them and wished she knew Legilimency to see if they were lying or not. Knowing them, though, they’d probably already learned Occlumency just in case, to block her.
“It wasn’t our fault, honestly,” Fabian said, still radiating innocence. “Bellatrix hates us, we didn’t do anything to her, I swear.”
“Honestly,” Gideon agreed. “She called us all blood traitors, Fab and me and Andromeda too. We just wanted to talk to Andromeda.”
“Fine. Get out of here. And lay low this weekend. If they see you again, they’re bound to try something, so stay in our common room, all right?” Molly folded her arms across her chest.
“Yes, Molly,” they chorused, looking dejected.
“We’ll make sure they get back to Gryffindor tower safely,” Reid said, startling Molly, who had forgotten that anyone else was there.
Petula left with Reid and the twins, and Hattie’s gaze darted from Molly to Arthur a few times, then she turned and followed the others, leaving Molly and Arthur alone in the corridor.
Molly watched them leave, then turned to Arthur, who had been staring at the floor, his wand still held loosely in his hand. “As for you…”
Arthur looked up at her, and she was surprised to see the despair in his eyes. He looked so unhappy and lost, and it made her heart catch to see that he really was miserable. She forgot about being angry with him over the twins’ prank and stepped closer, putting her arms around his waist. After a breathless moment she felt his arms clasp her tightly. He kissed the top of her head, and as his warm scent enveloped her, she felt the tension leave her shoulders for the first time in days.
“Thank you for protecting my brothers,” Molly said softly, her cheek pressed against the front of his robes.
“It was nothing,” he murmured. “I’m sorry for everything, Molly. Please forgive me, I can’t stand being without you.”
Her arms tightened around him involuntarily. He sounded desperate. She had missed him terribly, and it had only been a few days. “I missed you too, Arthur.”
He pulled back from her just enough to be able to lean down and kiss her soundly. “Will you forgive me?” he said then, his eyes pleading.
“Yes,” she said, standing up on tiptoe to kiss him, her arms sliding around his neck.
She didn't know how long they stood in the empty corridor clinging to each other, but when they finally broke apart, she thought it was lucky that no teachers had seen them. He was still holding her very tightly, his arms around her waist, as if he was afraid to let go of her.
“Do you forgive me too?” she asked in a small voice.
He looked surprised. “Forgive you for what?”
Molly pressed her face against his robes again, closing her eyes. “For screaming at you. I didn't mean it, really, I was just so... so angry.”
“It's all right, Molly. I shouldn't have done that. I feel horrible that your brothers got in trouble over it and I didn't,” he said guiltily.
“They deserved it,” she said sourly. “I know it was their idea.”
“I just don't want us to fight again,” Arthur said. He was stroking her hair gently, and she twisted her fingers into his robes, feeling embarrassed at her lack of control.
“Well, we’re bound to fight again,” she said uncomfortably. “I know I have a temper, but I don’t think I can change that.”
“I don’t want you to change,” he said immediately.
“I just need to get it out when I'm angry, I don't do well bottling things up,” Molly said in a rush, feeling compelled to explain herself. She'd tried most of her life to control her temper, but it always slipped and then she started shouting and then... Arthur was still holding her tightly, and she looked up into his eyes. “When we fight again,” she said slowly, “you have to come after me. Promise?”
“I promise. I wanted to come after you the other day, but I didn't think you wanted me to,” he said in a rush.
“I did want you to. I love you, Arthur,” she said, looking up at him and feeling a little pathetic.
His face relaxed then, and she could see the sparkle in his eyes again. “I’ll always come after you, then. I love you too.”
Molly stretched up onto her toes to kiss him again.
A/N: The first song that Siobhan sang, which was described but not quoted directly, was “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,” a ballad by Robert Dwyer Joyce written during the late 19th century, about the 18th century uprisings against the British rule of Ireland. “Jug of Punch” is a traditional Irish folk song – no one knows who wrote the music or lyrics. It is, like many traditional Irish folk songs, about drinking, but it's much more cheerful than the former song.
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