Chapter 3 : An Explosion of Sorts
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An Explosion of Sorts
“Hey Finn, look who it is,” Nott elbowed Harper to draw his attention over toward the direction Molly was walking over with Mathis and Erin. “It’s our favorite target.”
Molly glared at Nott, but could find nothing snippy to say in response and so she just stood there waiting for them to insult her. It was the moment she had been curious about, would Harper continue to be polite and civil like he was in the library yesterday or would he tease her? She vaguely felt herself take a deep breath and slowly release it as she waited for what Finn’s response toward her would be.
“Oi, Oddball!” Finn called to her with a grin on his face.
So much for hoping things would be different, Molly thought but then back tracked. Not hoping, thinking. Yeah, thinking things would be different. Molly was frustrated to say the least that Harper was now tugging her in two different directions. In one direction, she thought Finn was actually starting to mature, and in the other she was starting to see that he would never change. She was stupid to think things would be different after that one conversation that they had had the day before. Stupid, stupid, stupid me!
“Wherever you have you been all my life,” Harper joked, “could you do me a favor by returning back there.” Finn high-fived his just as annoying Slytherin mates (“Nice one!”) and turned back to await Molly’s retort, if she had one.
“You think you’re so cool,” Molly blistered out, “but really all you are is a mean bully.” She was being incoherent, talking before thinking, but she could not help it. “I hate you!”
“Ooh, I’m so hurt,” Harper mocked, with his hand clutched over his heart. “Let me know when you come up with a better response.” And with that, Harper turned his back to Molly and started talking in hushed tones with the rest of the Slytherins.
Molly crossed her arms and fumed for several seconds before the door opened to reveal the Potions master, Professor Holt.
“Good afternoon, class,” Professor Holt greeted in his usual warm, friendly deep voice. The students all started filing into the classroom with Molly being one of the last in. Molly grabbed a seat at a table in the somewhat middle of the room with Mathis, Erin, and a Hufflepuff named Holly Finch-Fletchly.
Molly pulled her Advanced Potion-making: Third Edition textbook, tools, and potion ingredients from her bag before looking back toward the front where Professor Holt waited for the class’ full attention. Once the Potions master had their undivided attention, he started to talk,
“First of all, I’d like to welcome and congratulate all of you to making it this far in N.E.W.T. Potions, and that this year will be one of your hardest yet,” Professor Holt smiled in a good-natured, welcoming expression at his students. “Now, for this year you all will be learning how to brew some of the more complicated potions that take time, like the Polyjuice potion, but none of these potions are to leave this office to be used in a way for any personal gain. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, sir,” Molly repeated with the rest of the class.
“You will also be working with more poisons in determining their antidotes throughout the course of the year. At the end of the year, you all will sit your N.E.W.T. examinations, and each of the potions that we brew and discuss in class will be on either the essay portion or practical portion, some both,” Professor Holt went on. “Now, I know that each of you have what it takes to complete N.E.W.T. Potions with at least an E since you’ve managed to make it this far already.
“For today, you all will brew a simple cheering elixir and then test it on each other at the end of the lesson. This will be the easiest potions you will have to concoct all year,” Professor Holt said, and then added that he would assign partners for the whole year. “Mathis Boot, you’ll be paired with Erin Long,” the two made faces at each other briefly, “Finn Harper with Molly Weasley.”
Molly stopped listening at that moment. How could she possibly work with Finn Harper when the two of them could not get along? Not to mention that Finn was the last person here at Hogwarts, no on the planet that she wanted to be paired with for an entire school year, in Potions, no less. Why, oh why, did she have to be paired with Harper? Oh bring on the humility and torture. This was going to be a long year.
The class was filled with the sound of shuffling once Professor Holt had finished reading off the partners. Molly chose to stay seated were she was because in her mind Finn should be the one to have to drag his own two feet and book bag over to the table she sat at instead of her going over to where he sat. But apparently he was thinking the same thing as he had yet to stand to make his way over toward the table Molly sat at either. It was once everyone was seated that Professor Holt noticed that Molly and Finn were still on opposite sides of the room, thus he called them out on it.
“Mr. Harper, Miss Weasley,” he cleared his throat with a distinction of authority. “Is there a problem?”
“I don’t know, Professor,” Harper said in his usual charm that was used around the professors—it made Molly roll her eyes. “Why don’t you ask Molly?”
“Miss Weasley?” Professor Holt looked toward Molly.
“None, Professor,” Molly said as she packed everything back into her bag and made her way over to the table Finn Harper sat at as slow as she could. It was better to be the better man, or in her case woman since it would undoubtedly take a longer time for Finn to get his own arse up off of his high horse to do something nice for once in his life.
When Molly sat down at the table, Harper was grinning and whispered for her ears only, “You honestly thought I was going to get up and walk over to you? That’s sweet, but not quite.” She glared at Harper before turning to the front as Professor Holt told the class that they could now start brewing the cheering elixir.
“Just a heads up,” Harper said, “I’m terrible at Potions, so you’ll be doing all the work.”
Molly rolled her eyes. “If you’re so awful at Potions, then you would never have made it past O.W.L.s and last year. I don’t believe you for a second. You’re just trying to get me to do all the work so you don’t have to do anything, but it’s not going to work because you are going to help brew the potions whether you like it or not.” Her blue eyes flashed with anger, which had Harper backing slightly away from her.
This was the first time Molly had stood up for herself to someone who was not a member of her huge family, or either Erin or Mathis. She actually felt good standing her ground by telling Finn that he was not going to take advantage of her by making her do all the work while he sat around doing nothing. It felt empowering to say the least, and she liked the feeling of it. She smiled smugly at Harper’s expression of total disbelief of being told off.
“Now, could you hand me that,” Molly asked, motioning toward the roots that were in front of Harper.
Harper shook his head slightly to clear it. “Nah, I’ll cut them up,” he said. “I don’t trust you not to stab me.”
Molly rolled her eyes for the umpteenth time that day. “Why would I stab you? Especially here, where there are too many witnesses.” Molly smiled at the uneasy expression that she got from Harper, all smugness gone from him.
The lesson went better than Molly had imagined it would after being paired with Finn, but there was still time for it all to go bad with only fifteen minutes remaining of it. And that was all that was needed for one small thing to go wrong, and by one small thing she meant their cheering elixir exploding into their faces after Finn added an ingredient that did not belong in the elixir. Molly cursed as she wiped the light blue liquid of the elixir off of her face and away from her eyes.
“What did you add?!” Molly exclaimed at Harper.
“I don’t know,” Finn grinned. “Just a little dried doxy eggs,” he showed her a few that he still held in his left hand.
“Don’t know what you’re doing, my arse,” Molly cursed in a disgruntled fashion. “You did that on purpose. Now we’re going to fail the easiest potion assignment of the year!”
Molly looked up toward the front where Professor Holt was marking a grade down for what Holly and her partner turned in before he started to make his way over toward them. She breathed in and out in preparation for what was to come, but she knew it would do no good. Molly was simply too frustrated with what Finn had done to sabotage their elixir, earning them a zero for the first practical grade.
“What happened here?” Professor Holt asked the pair.
“Just a minor mix up with ingredients,” Harper replied, in his usual charming way that only infuriated Molly more. “I tried to tell Molly, sir, but she dropped the doxy eggs in anyway.”
“What?!” Molly exploded with emotion. “I-I-I dropped the eggs in?! I did not! Professor, Harper purposely dropped the eggs into our potion!”
“Okay, that will be quite enough of the blame game,” Professor Holt said, clearly annoyed at the pair of them. “It’s both of your faults as you are both were responsible for brewing the potion properly. And you both will clean this mess up, and come to my office on Friday night for detention.”
“Detention,” Molly said, in total disbelief. “But I’ve never had detention before.”
“There’s a shocker,” Harper muttered, and rolled his eyes.
“That will be enough,” Professor Holt said, putting a stop to the pair’s banter for now. “Now clean this mess up.”
“Yes sir,” both said in unison.
Molly cleaned the mess up with Harper working as slowly beside her that she might as well be the only one cleaning the gooey mess up. It infuriated her to say the very least since he was the one to cause their potion to explode everywhere in the first place, and yet she was stuck after class cleaning with Finn and she had received her first detention on Friday with Finn. She saw enough of Finn for what little interactions they had, but now she was going to have to see more of Harper after lessons on Friday. In other words, life truly stunk.
When the table was spotless and you could no longer tell that potion had spilled all over it, Molly gathered up her things and left before Harper could say another word to her. She could just hear him yelling something after her retreating back, but she paid him no mind and so she missed what he had said. She had had enough of Finn Harper for one day that was for sure.
“He did that on purpose?” Erin asked later that night after dinner when Molly was sitting in the common room with Erin and Mathis.
“Yeah, he did,” Molly fumed. “And then he had the nerve to blame me for mixing up the ingredients when Holt asked us what had happened. And then I went off about how he had known what he was doing when he dropped the eggs in, but by then it didn’t matter as Holt told us to clean up the guck, and also that we had detention this Friday night. Can you believe it?! Me, detention?!”
“Yeah, that’s crazy,” Mathis agreed. “You’re not the type to get detention, and yet you get detention.”
“My father is going to go ballistic when he hears,” Molly said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a Howler being carried by our family owl as I sit before you at this very moment.”
“A Howler? No way,” Erin said. “There’s probably a letter, but not a Howler. Everyone makes mistakes, Molly.”
Molly rolled her eyes. “Yeah, try telling that to my father.”
“Is he really that strict?” Mathis asked. He had yet to meet Molly’s parents whereas Erin had stayed at Molly’s a few times over the past summers.
Erin let out a snort.
“He isn’t really strict, per se,” Molly said as she shot Erin a look. “He just expects a lot out of me.”
“Whatever, Molly,” Erin rolled her eyes. “You know your dad monitors what you do, and makes certain that you don’t slack off at all.”
“That’s not true,” Molly said, but she knew that it was. Her father did have a way with making sure that Molly had as little fun as possible while getting everything that he wanted her to get done (like studying for major examinations) like the perfect model daughter that she was. Sometimes she wished that her dad could be more like her Uncles as it would make her life a little less stressful.
And it’s not just studying, but her father had looked forward to the moment when she reached fifth year to see whether Molly would become a Prefect. When no badge arrived in the mail with the usual school list of books Molly could tell that she had let down her father and had a knot in her stomach every time he gave her that look of crushed disappointment. It got to the point that Molly was relieved when it was finally time to return to Hogwarts for another year. Then the following year Molly still did not receive a Prefect’s badge, and that meant that she would not be Head Girl like her father had wished of her.
Erin must have noticed the downcast expression on Molly’s face for her next statement. “Don’t let it get to you, Molly. I’m sure you’re dad won’t hear about this detention.”
“And if he does,” Mathis said, “so what?”
“Yeah, so what,” Molly said, but her attitude did not match the carefree nature of the statement itself.
Molly pulled out the book that she had taken from the library the previous day and opened it up to read. She found it quite easy to read and paid no further attention to the furtive looks that Erin and Mathis kept shooting each other every so often. It was as though she was locked in her own world where she alone could enter and not worry about others bombarding in, least of all Finn Harper.
After a while of reading, Molly started to grow tired and headed up to the dorm with Erin following her. The two got ready for bed in silence, and it was not until Molly was pulling the covers of her four-poster back and crawling under the sheets that Erin said anything.
“You should pull a prank on Harper, or something,” Erin said through a yawn as she lay back against the pillows on the bed straight across from Molly’s own. “That’d show him not to mess with you, especially if you did something that outweighed everything that he has ever done to you in the past. Yep, that’d show him.”
Molly frowned. “First of all, I don’t know anything about pulling pranks,” Molly counted off, “and next I would rather not stoop down to Harper’s immature level.”
“I think you’re forgetting who you’re related to,” Erin said, and Molly knew she was mainly referring to her younger cousins James Potter (II) and Fred Weasley (II).
“No, absolutely not,” Molly said. “Those two are more trouble than fun.”
“Suit yourself,” Erin said in a thick voice that sounded as though she were about to fall asleep at any second. “Let me know when you change your mind,” was the last thing Molly heard from her friend for the rest of the night.
It was not as though Molly did not think her cousins were not amusing, but rather the fact that she had promised her father to keep them out of trouble. If Molly asked her cousins to pull any kind of pranks then she would be going against her word, and Molly hated to do anything that would possibly get her into trouble.
Not to mention the fact that she really did not want to bring herself down to the level of Finn Harper just so that she could get even with him. Life was about more than getting even. And that was the last thing Molly thought before she drifted off into a fitful sleep.
This chapter was beta'd by californialove (Alice).
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