Chapter 1 : When Arthur Saved Molly
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For the 1000 Words Challenge
He was depressed.
Yes, that was it: Arthur Weasley was depressed.
Groaning, he kicked up the dirt under his heels in frustration. The realization of depression was not exactly a pleasant one.
But why shouldn’t he be depressed? Life was, quite simply, difficult. Too difficult for its own good, really.
Arthur was in his first year after graduation from Hogwarts. This was the time that he had waited for all of his life; he was free, he was independent, he was faced with the promises of the ages. And all of his potential was being well wasted in the back room on Dervish and Bangs.
He, a highly capable wizard of pure birth, was already struggling just to keep a place to stay. And as for all of those exciting dreams of a better future? Gone. These were dark and trying times, and there was no room for dreams.
He walked slowly along the Hogsmeade shore of the Great Lake. He had come out here after work in hopes of finding some peace and quiet for his troubled mind. And what had he found? That he was depressed!
Frustrated, he walked on, his head simmering in frustration. He had wanted to be alone, but now his solitude haunted him with darkening thoughts.
But he was not alone after all. There, standing over the lake on a not-so-distant overhang appeared a familiar silhouette, its robes and hair billowing freely in the cool breeze.
“Molly…” Arthur muttered with a roll of his eyes. Molly had been a member of his recently graduated Hogwarts class. The pair of them had spent seven years in the same house, just enough time for Arthur to know to keep his distance from this most questionable girl.
Molly was indeed a strange one. A “free spirit” they called her, radiant and bold. They could call her whatever they wanted – Arthur knew that she was an oddball.
He shook her from his mind and fixed his eyes on the ground beneath his moving feet. He had bigger things to think about than folly Molly. Darker things.
As bright as the day was and as beautiful the scenery, Arthur could not help but feel that it was all despite him. He was discouraged, and the more that his surrounding tried to cheer him the more he resented the world for it all.
His eyes drifted to the passing lake on his side. Its crashing depths were the only thing that seemed truly welcoming now. The plunge into the dark depths, and then the stinging chill, and finally the peace of oblivion.
It was dark, he knew, and yet it was so poignantly tempting. He could see it all, almost feel it, even hear the crash of his body into the waters….
But wait, that was no imagination – he really had heard it!
Looking up with a start, he saw the disturbed waters down below and above there was only emptiness where Molly had stood.
Letting out a shout of terrified dismay, Arthur ran forward, leaning over the deadly edge of the rocks. He lingered indecisively, kidding himself that she might pop up at any moment.
But this was no time for delay – the girl could be drowning!
Pulling off his cloak as he skidded down the sloped cliffs as best as he could, Arthur finally took a deep breath and dived in after her. He was not much of a swimmer, but he was sped on by thoughts of that daft fool, Molly.
Finally he reached the spot where she had entered, and swam downwards with all the haste he could muster, passing streams of exhausted oxygen bubbles as he went.
Then, finally, he could see her.
The girl was sinking steadily downwards, towards the lake floor. She looked strangely tender there, her gentle limbs stretched out above as she fell, her brilliant red hair spread smoothly, reaching out to the waters for support.
And then he had her, and was pulling her upwards with all of his strength. Her extra weight made the ascent difficult, but he knew that he could not simply leave her to die like this.
After what seemed forever, they reached the top.
He collapsed onto the shoreline, gasping for breath and pulling Molly up after him. Turning fearfully to the rescued girl, he saw with a start that she seemed fine. Her eyes looked somewhat dazed, but she was breathing alright.
“Are you – okay?” he gasped, reaching out to her.
Molly only smiled back with a slight nod, infuriating him beyond measure.
“What on earth happened?” Arthur demanded, perhaps more heatedly than suitable for treatment of the woman he just rescued.
“I jumped,” she said simply, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“What on earth for? Other than to give me a heart attack and a deathly chill?”
“I like the way it feels – falling to the bottom as you blow out all your air. It feels so surreal…”
“Are you crazy?” he cried, dismayed that he had gone through all of this effort for a crazy woman. “You could have been killed!”
“Of course not, silly,” Molly said with a laugh. “You were there to save me, after all.”
Arthur fell back in frustration. He didn’t know what was harder to believe: that he had just plunged to certain death after a drowning woman, or the explanation that she was giving him for it all.
“It’s true what they say about you, then…” he muttered.
“Oh yes?” she said with vague interest. “And what’s that.”
“That you’re insane!”
Molly smelled in a self-satisfied way. “Maybe,” she shrugged, “But the way I see it, if you’re not loving life you’re not really living at all.”
Arthur looked up at her uncertainly, gazing into her bright brown eyes, framed by her drenched locks of hair. Somehow it was like he was seeing her for the first time, and looking at her then, he just knew…
His depression was over.