Chapter 4 : Chance or Fate
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Author's Note: Happy Christmas! /late I tried to finish this chapter before I left for my grandparents on Friday last week, it just didn't work out. But regardless, I finished it in time to post it up in order to give y'all a weekly update as usual. And now that I'm home I plan on writing a couple more chapters, at least, before spring semester starts next week on Wednesday. Anyway, hope y'all enjoy this chapter! And thanks for all of you that have either favorited/reviewed thus far! It means so much to me! I love you all so much for it! :) *squishes*
Lovely chapter image made by Branwen @TDA!
The week zoomed fast for Finn and it was Saturday before he knew it. Of course, when he could actually sleep in, he couldn’t. He was pouring himself a bowl of cereal when Nott dragged himself out of his own bedroom and into the kitchen. It had been a couple days since he had seen Nott considering they had both been busy with work. The last time they had seen each other was at the Leaky Cauldron before Finn left.
“I was beginning to think you had flown the coop, mate,” Nott said, pouring himself a bowl of cereal before joining Finn at the table. “What have you been getting into?”
“Heaps of work,” Finn replied. “Seems like vaults are turning over into new hands a lot more as of recently.”
“Ah, well you’ll never believe who I saw at work,” Nott said, a smirk forming on his face. “And I mean it, you will never be able to believe, let alone guess, who I saw.”
“Then tell me,” Finn said, losing patience.
“Oh, I don’t think you can handle this bit of information.”
Finn sighed. “Then why on earth would you even start a conversation about someone you saw if you’re not going to tell me who then?”
“I never said I wasn’t going to tell you,” Nott clarified, “just that I don’t think you would be able to handle it.”
“Then don’t say anything,” Finn replied. “I could care less about whomever it was you saw.”
“It was Molly.”
“You heard me,” Nott said simply, straight-faced. “I saw your Molly come in with a Portkey from the Australian Ministry of Magic.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“Am not,” Nott replied. “I am being completely honest.”
“Then tell me this, smart guy,” Finn said heatedly, “What’s she doing back?”
“Well she didn’t answer me, obviously.”
Finn rolled his eyes, not caring to respond. Nor was he hungry anymore as he stood and poured his half eaten cereal down the garbage disposal before dumping the bowl and spoon in the sink. The whole time the same thought ran through his head and that was why Molly wouldn’t say anything to him about coming back to England. He knew they had not left off on the best of terms several years ago, but he had thought they could still be the type of friends that kept in contact with each other. But no, that was poor judgment on his part as he had received no letter from Molly in all these years they had not seen each other.
It hurt him to think that she could just push him out of her life so easily. Here he was still not over her and she couldn’t even tell him that she was going to be in town. It was obvious she wanted nothing more to do with him. Yet, he still felt a pull of attraction to her, like they belonged together. He needed to get over it, maybe then he would not be let down anymore where Molly was concerned.
“Mate, I’m sure she feels the same for you,” Nott cut into his thoughts.
“Really,” Finn replied. “Then how come she didn’t write me to say she was going to be in England?”
“Maybe the owl got lost?”
“Yeah, sure it did,” Finn said, with his voice etched with doubt. “I’m tired of this, I’m tired of constantly being let down by her. Why can’t I just forget about her?”
Finn’s words hung in the silence between the two of them before he could no longer bear it. He turned on his heel and walked through the apartment to the fireplace and Floo’d to his brother’s flat. He hoped he would not be disturbing his brother, but he needed someone to calm him down. His nerves felt uneasy all over. He needed to talk it out.
But his brother was not home when he stepped out of the fireplace. He called for Declan a few times as he walked from room to room in the flat to no avail. There was only one other person that could cheer him up: his mother. As much as Finn would deny being a mummy’s boy, the simple truth was that he was and will always be one. Plus, it had been a while since he had last visited the family manor in Ireland and it was nice just walking up from the edge of the property line to the front steps.
He swore his mother had some kind of magical detection set up to allow her to know who entered the boundaries of the grounds surrounding the manor because she threw open the doors right as he reached the top of the stairs. Within seconds of the door flying open, his mother had pulled Finn into her arms in a loving hug that made him feel a bit better. He always felt content and relaxed when he returned home for a visit because his mother would greet him like she hadn’t seen him in ages, same with the rest of his family. It had to be the Hufflepuff in her that made his mother warm and welcoming. Hufflepuffs were people persons, right? Right.
“It’s been so long I’d begun to forget what you looked like,” his mother teased, giving him a nudge as he followed her inside. “Your brother said you were busy with work when he was over for dinner last weekend, though I don’t see why you have to work weekends.”
“Inventory purposes, mum,” Finn said in defence. “I only work weekends about once, maybe twice, a month.”
“That’s twice a month too many,” his mother scolded him. “You tell that boss of yours to let you off on the weekends so you can come visit us more.”
Finn grinned. “Will do, first thing I’ll do come Monday morning when I walk into Gringotts.”
“Now, why don’t you tell me why you really came home,” his mother said, jumping right into fussing over him. “I know there’s something wrong; a mother can always tell when her son is upset.”
Finn sighed as he plopped down on the cushions of the couch before the fireplace in the sitting room. “I’m fine, mum, honest. I just wanted to visit you and dad.”
“Yeah, you’re not fooling me, mister,” his mother said while sitting down next to him. “Now why don’t you get it all out and over with, just tell me what’s eating at you.”
He did not even know where to begin. He had never felt comfortable talking about girls to his mother, even though she wound up making him feel better in the end; it still felt awkward to do so. For lack of anything better to say, he cleared his throat before asking,
“Where’s dad at?”
“He and Declan had to interview a client who isn’t available to meet up during the week,” she explained, answering Finn’s unspoken question of Declan’s whereabouts, too. It explained why his brother had not been at his flat. “But enough avoiding the issue and tell me what the matter is.”
“Nothing’s the matter,” Finn replied. “I just found out that Molly’s back, probably just visiting family, though.”
“Ah, she’s such a sweet girl.”
His mum had liked Molly a lot when he had brought her over for Christmas when they were dating. It was saying something too, considering his mother had not liked the majority of his girlfriends that he had introduced to her.
“So, what’s the problem?”
“The problem is,” Finn started, “that she didn’t even tell me she was coming. No, I heard about it from Nott this morning that she had arrived back.”
“Oh, Finn,” his mother said, putting her arm around his broad shoulders and rubbing soothing circles into his back.
“I’m fine, mum,” Finn said, not sure who he was trying to convince: him or his mum. “It’s just... why couldn’t she had at least written to tell me she was coming?”
“Maybe she was waiting until she was back to send you a letter,” she suggested, ever the optimistic. “You don’t know for sure that she wasn’t going to write.”
“Yes, I do, mum,” Finn said sadly. “I’ve been fooling myself thinking we’d get another chance to be together, but to be honest I knew deep down that there wasn’t going to be another chance. We’re over, mum.”
“Oh, honey,” his mother pulled him into a hug and ran her fingers through his hair as she rocked his head. He let her because it calmed him from breaking down. It was because of his mother he was able to keep all his resolve together and remain strong.
Finn felt like he had when he had scrapped his knee back when he was eight when his mother had cleaned the cut and hugged him. Needless to say, he felt snug and secure as he had then. It was not until several minutes later that his mother left him to fix some lunch since his father would be arriving soon from his meeting.
While his mother fixed lunch, Finn wandered up to what used to be his bedroom and with some digging in his trunk he found his old Magiball that still worked as if it were brand new. It had gotten him through so much in his youth, all the ups and downs of his years at Hogwarts including his relationship with Molly in their seventh year. And it still knew exactly what to say to cause his lips to twitch upwards at the corners.
“You’re such a great catch, boss,” the Magiball squealed after Finn had tossed it up in the air before catching it in his hand, making him smile.
“Mum said you were here,” Declan said from where he was leaning against the door jamb. “You okay, baby brother?”
Finn heaved a sigh before collapsing onto the old twin bed he used to sleep in throughout his childhood and later on breaks from Hogwarts. Was he okay? He had thought he had done a decent job of moving on, despite still thinking of Molly on occasion, but now he was not so sure. In fact, he felt a bit peeved that Molly still caused the insides of his stomach knot up in such a way. She had broken up with him. That alone should have made him hate her. Yet, he still found himself being pulled back to her more so now that he knew she was back visiting. And it hurt that she had not thought to let him know she would be in England.
“You seem like you have quite a bit on your mind,” Declan said, not waiting for Finn to say anything. “What’s wrong?” It almost seemed like Declan already knew what could have gotten under Finn’s skin, but was holding back on saying anything until Finn confirmed it.
“Molly’s back from Australia,” Finn said. “Nott saw her come in the other day and he told me this morning. But you knew she was back already, didn’t you?”
There was no point in hiding things from Finn where Molly was concerned, he could just tell what wasn’t being said. It was like a sick and twisted sixth sense he had, being able to sense where Molly’s presence in a conversation resided. There were not many conversations that had not involved her over the years as she always found a way to worm her way back into Finn’s life, despite being in another hemisphere.
“I ran into her on the day she arrived in the lift,” Declan said. “I told her she needed to write to tell you she was back in town when she said she hadn’t let you know she was visiting family for the summer. She didn’t look thrilled, just that she had been caught. But I think she’ll come around, I really do, mate.”
“Yeah, like she came around when we were still at Hogwarts,” Finn replied sardonically. He was still bitter over her breaking his heart, but it still did not change the fact he would like nothing more than to see her again. He did still miss her, after all.
“Look, it’s not my fault she didn’t tell you she was coming,” Declan said. “I understand you’re still hurt, but maybe it’s time to do something to change that.”
“Like write her or something,” Declan replied as though he were speaking to an obtuse child. “If you still have feelings for her than don’t stick around waiting on her. The both of you are too prideful for your own good; I have never known two people that were more perfect for each other and do nothing about it for fear of rejection.”
“You don’t understand,” Finn said, running his fingers through his hair in frustration, elbows rested on knees. He probably looked like some tortured soul.
“You say that,” Declan remarked, “but who’s the one person you have been running to with Molly-related issues since the pair of you were in Hogwarts. Blimey, you were complaining about her even before you started to like her.”
His brother was making some valid points, but Finn did not want to hear it. If anyone were to make a move, it would need to be Molly since he had made plenty to no avail during their seventh year. He was getting tired of being turned down by Molly; it was her turn to do something where their relationship was concerned.
Of course, if he waited, then it was possible nothing would happen. Unless Molly had changed since the last time he had seen her, but he could remember her being the type of girl waiting for a guy to approach her, never approaching. If he waited, then it could be he would never get another chance to be with her. But did he really want to give it another chance for them to make it and it turn out they were destined to fail all along? That was the one thing holding him back. He did not want to be let down yet again.
“What if it doesn’t work out?” he finally spoke aloud, voice filled with raw emotion.
“How will you know if you don’t try?” Declan prompted. “If that’s the only reason holding you back, then it isn’t a very good one.”
Another good point brought to him by his big brother. It seemed fate had brought Molly back that summer to simply give them another chance to be together. He would believe it if he had faith. Then again, it could be that he needed to see Molly again just to see if there was anything left there, anymore spark, in order to be able to move on. He had been stuck on Molly for so long he felt like he needed to make contact with her at least once while she was back in town.
“Look, if you don’t write her,” Declan said, “then I will, and if I have to write her than I’ll force the pair of you to meet up somewhere for lunch or something. I will find a way to get you two talking. If anything, you could be friends with Molly again.”
“I don’t want to be her friend.”
“I know you don’t,” Declan said. “But sometimes you have to settle for second best.”
“What if I don’t want to be second best?”
“Than do something about it,” Declan said, getting annoyed at his younger brother’s complaining. “There’s more to life than sitting around moping about something that didn’t work out. You have to go out there and give it another try and hope it works out.”
“You really are the best brother I could have asked for, you know that,” Finn replied with a grin. “Thanks for putting up with all my crap.”
Declan grinned. “Hey, what are big brothers for if not to give their younger, more stubborn, brothers a swift kick in the arse?”
The brothers laughed at that for a few minutes before they left Finn’s room to head downstairs to the dining room once their mother had called them down for dinner. It was nice having supper with his parents and brother, the only member of the family missing being his older sister. Afterward he stuck around and chatted for a bit before Apparating back to his flat, which was empty, and sat down at his desk to put quill to parchment. He had a letter to write to a certain young woman.
It was hard writing it, but eventually he finished. He ended up only keeping it simple by asking how she was and what she had been up to in only a few sentences. While his brother probably meant that Finn needed to write a full length letter, he really could not think of what to write to Molly because they had not spoken in several years.
In the end, Finn folded the parchment up and tied it to his owl’s leg before sending it off into the star-filled night sky. He watched his owl until he could no longer make out its shape, then he called it a night and went to bed.
On Monday morning, Finn walked into work as he normally did. He still had not heard back from Molly, but he had sent the letter on Saturday night, which meant she had not received it until Sunday. No matter, he was still a bundle of nerves at what her response would be. Let alone if she would even respond back.
He was kept pretty busy for the first half of the day, but come lunch he felt run-down. The morning had been spent riding a train car from one vault to the next to either put items of value back, move them from one vault to the next, or take the items out for testing. It was astounding at some of the things wizards put in their vaults at Gringotts and it never ceased to amaze him the longer he worked as a Curse Breaker.
Finn was so tired, in fact, that he wasn’t paying much attention while he and Connor walked over to the Diagon Alley for their lunch hour. It was for that reason he almost missed her. Almost, though not quite. She was standing outside of the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes shop, laughing with her friend, Erin.
He felt himself inhale sharply, stopping in his tracks while Connor walked on. It was not until Connor had walked at least ten feet in front before he realised Finn was no longer with him and turned back.
“What’s up?” Connor raised his brow.
Finn snapped out of it, still dazed, and nodded toward Molly and Erin. All Connor did was gape at the girls before looking back at Finn with a confused expression, and it was no wonder since Connor had not known either of the girls.
Finn mouthed ‘Molly’ before he glanced back at the precise moment that both girls looked over in his direction and spotted him. All of a sudden his hands felt sweaty, along with his throat drying up instantaneously.
It was hard to tell by Molly’s expression whether she was happy or upset to see Finn. But it was clear that she was as surprised to have bumped into him as he was her.
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