Chapter 2 : Learning
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“Lucy?” I knocked softly on what I was pretty sure was her door, but the dark corridor was unfamiliar and unwelcoming. There wasn’t a reply, but I pushed it open anyway.
“What?” Lucy snapped, her eyes red-rimmed as I poked my head around the door.
Something clicked in my head, but I bit back the angry retort which instantly rose to mind. Instead, I said; “I can’t work the shower.”
Something was missing from my sentence, the ‘I don’t know how’ but Lucy overlooked it and I followed her to the bathroom. She twiddled a few knobs and water spat out the showerhead.
I murmured my thanks, and she left with a shrug.
She was angry with me, just like Audrey was sad and Percy was disappointed. They were already making plans for me not to go back to Hogwarts if my memory didn’t come back. Just to prove that I could do it, I flicked my wand at the curtains, opening and shutting them as I waited for the water to run hot. They swung closed just as I heard a shout.
“SHE DOESN’T WANT TO SEE YOU!” Percy yelled.
A guy’s voice started to say something, but he was cut off by the slamming of the front door. He started to hammer on the door, calling out to Percy. I was torn. Do I look out the window? Someone knocked on the bathroom door. I opened it, and Audrey stood outside. Her glance went from me to the window, and then she smiled.
“Is everything okay?” I asked. It clearly wasn’t, but I didn’t know how to talk to this stranger.
“Everything’s fine,” she said, but her smile wobbled. “But I just bought you some of your favourite shampoo, and I forgot to put it in the shower for you.”
She was acting like nothing was happening downstairs. She was stopping me from looking.
“Thanks,” I said, and took the purple bottle from her, meeting her smile with an equally fake one of my own. She lingered a moment more, and then went downstairs. I shut the door and dashed over to the window, but everything was silent, and no-one was out on the street.
The next morning, I woke up early, and went downstairs. Percy was leaning against the fridge, and handed me a cup of hot chocolate.
“You always have hot chocolate in the morning,” he said, smiling, and I saw that the lines in his face creased when he was happy, not sad.
“Who was that last night?” I asked nonchalantly, taking a sip, and the sweetness spread across my tongue.
“Salesman,” he said, equally suave, and he picked up his bag. “I’m off to work- your mother has gone shopping, she’ll be back before lunch and Lucy usually gets up at about ten in the holidays. Don’t answer the door to strangers and if the phone rings, just take a message.”
“You will be okay on your own?” he asked, more reassuring himself than telling me.
I nodded. “I’ll be fine.”
I saw him out the door, and called; “Have a good day!”
His face lit up. “You too!”
By the time Lucy had come downstairs, the kitchen smelt like heaven. Finding a cookery book, I was making practically the entire chapter labelled; ‘Breakfasts’. First I had made pancakes, and then I felt bad that I ate them all, so I made another batch for when Lucy got up. And then a tiny part of me said that Lucy didn’t like pancakes, so I had cooked a proper English fry-up, put a pot of coffee on and made myself another hot chocolate.
“Mum is going to go mad,” Lucy said, standing in the door.
I looked up from the oven, where I’d put a packet of croissants. “Really?”
“Yes. You have made the biggest mess in the history of cooking!”
“But I made you pancakes,” I said, my voice small.
“I don’t like pancakes,” she spat.
“I thought you didn’t, so I also did you sausages and bacon and mushrooms and tomatoes and coffee and croissants,” I said triumphantly, gesturing at the oven.
“You remembered?” Lucy asked.
I stopped dead, oven mitts on my hands. “More of a feeling, than a remembering,” I said, my nose screwed up in thought.
She sat down and I served up, piling her plate high with food.
“I think I like this Molly better than the old Molly,” she said around a mouthful of toast.
“You’re not worrying. You were always stressing about grades, or being a prefect and Head Girl, and Quidditch captain,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“That’s only because I don’t have anything to worry about,” I said somewhat bitterly. “My head is as blank as a canvas.” I tried some humour, but it came out flat.
Lucy still smiled. “See? You’re funny too. You were getting better before the accident,” she mused, “You snuck out a bit- and you even got grounded- I don’t know why James used to like hanging around with you before this summer, you were such a square.”
“Yeah, well you’re a triangle,” I quipped, tipping some more bacon on her plate. “Now eat my mess up before Audrey kills me.”
“Why aren’t you calling her Mum?” she asked. “You were her favourite, you know, because you were just as clever as Dad or Auntie Hermione. I’m a Hufflepuff.”
“She doesn’t feel like my mum,” I said, sighing. “And who cares that you’re a Hufflepuff?”
“You did,” she said, looking down at her plate. “You used to tease me.”
“Then I was a bitch.”
“And you definitely never used to swear!”
“Better get used to it, because I’m a hardcore Ravenclaw-”
Lucy speared a mushroom on her fork and pointed it at me. “I just said I liked this new Molly- do not ruin it by attempting to rap.”
I held up my hands in mock-surrender. “Not the mushrooms, please!”
After a second of hesitation, she flicked it at me, so I launched a tomato at her and it splattered onto her pale yellow pyjamas. Her mouth opened in astonishment. Food-fights were clearly not a ‘Molly’ thing to do. She narrowed her eyes and threw a sausage at me. I got a spoon and started to toss the pancake batter at her, while ducking from an assault of toast crust.
“What is going on?” Audrey’s voice sounded harsh in the soft flurry of food.
Lucy dropped her toast and sat down, looking ashamed. It was a long shot, but I flicked a spoonful of batter across the kitchen, and it landed right on target- Audrey’s coat.
You could have heard a pin drop- and then she threw down her shopping, and started a barrage of fried tomatoes so hard I had to shelter behind the table while crying for mercy.
That evening we sat out in the back garden. It was early August and the humidity was making my hair frizzy. I was drawing, the same boy’s face that I could remember, but when Percy stopped behind me, I hid it and concentrated on a still life sketch of the lemonade glasses on the garden table in front of me.
He put his hand on my shoulder. “What are you going to do next?” he asked when I had finished.
“You?” I said, reaching for a clean piece of parchment while still covering my drawing.
Audrey looked up. “But you don’t like drawing people,” she said.
I cast my mind back to the drawings in my room- I couldn’t remember seeing any portraits. I looked up at Percy, wondering if I had done something un-Molly-like, but he smiled and took the seat opposite me.
“If you make me look too old then you won’t get your commission,” he said jokingly, and my mouth spread into my first genuine grin since coming home.
That night I dreamed about the guy from my memory.
I could feel my face aching from all the laughing, and the stars shone brightly in the night sky, joining in with my happiness.
I grabbed his hand, and pulled him down the street, and then danced out into the road. I saw his eyes widen-
-and then I woke up, the sensation of my hand in his still lingering.
There was banging on my bedroom door. “Get up now please!” called Audrey. “It’s Sunday- we’re going to the Burrow!”
I groaned and rolled over.
Someone up there hates me.
I managed to stick close to Lucy for a bit, and she helped me with names and faces, but when we sat down to a positive banquet she ended up the other side of the table and I was squashed in between James and Grandpa Weasley. Seeing that everyone called him that- even blonde twins who were no relation to us- it was fairly easy to slip into the habit. Unfortunately, Albus and Hugo seemed to delight in firing questions at me and seeing if I could answer them correctly. Or like the old Molly, at least.
I got them wrong more than right, and soon the adults stopped listening, until Lorcan yelled from the other end of the table; “WHAT’S MOLLY’S FAVOURITE BERTIE BOTT’S FLAVOUR?”
It took me a second, like always, to realise that Molly was me. I lifted my head from my mountainous plate of shepherd’s pie.
“Apple?” I said quickly. I hadn’t had one since I had woken up, but I was pretty sure it was right.
Halfway down the table, Lucy nodded. “That’s right,” she said, a smile on her face, but my stomach sank. It wasn’t right.
“I thought it was pineapple?” Lorcan said, and his twin backed him up.
“It is apple,” said James, next to me, and I smiled gratefully, but the other end of the table wasn’t having any of it.
Soon it was reaching World War Three proportions. Grandpa Weasley just let the arguing wash over him, Grandma Weasley was unsuccessfully trying to shut people up by hitting them with her mashed potato ladle and the rest of the adults were managing to shout over the debate.
I ducked out of the room, unseen.
Hiding seemed to be my thing recently. I sat outside on the front door step, watching the gnomes chase the chickens for no other reason than to watch them run about, flapping their wings helplessly.
It felt like a great metaphor for my life.
Uncle Ron sat down next to me, and I jumped. I hadn’t heard him come out.
“Grandma Weasley is going to want us to de-gnome the garden soon,” he said, stretching out his long legs.
“How do you do that?” I asked.
“You swing them around your head a couple of times, and then launch them into the next field. I find it’s very good for stress, especially when your Auntie Hermione gets a bit clever for me,” he said with a smile.
“That is a lie.”
He held up his hands. “Not a single word.”
“Fine,” I said challengingly. “Show me.”
He got up. “I bet I can throw them farther than you can!”
“What are you two doing?” Hermione said, about fifteen minutes later.
I was so surprised I dropped my gnome, but he sunk his tiny pointed teeth into my finger and Ron had to forcibly prise the vicious thing off my hand.
“Are you all right?” he gasped after I was free.
“No! That bloody hurt!” I said, looking around for the offender. He was sprinting to his gnome hole, but I easily caught him and his short legs paddled helplessly in the air as I drop-kicked him over the hedge.
“And don’t come back!” I yelled, panting. For a short little thing, it weighed the same as a bag of rocks.
I was suddenly conscious of a massive audience, who, after a second, burst into applause.
“She’s more of a Weasley than she was before!” I heard Uncle George cheer, and he high-fived me.
But Percy and Audrey looked more concerned than anything.
A/N: reviews are always welcomed with hot chocolate and cakes :P Beta'd by TenthWeasleyWriter
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