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Chapter 9 : Alone on Halloween
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They were on their way down to the dungeons, which fortunately for Arthur, meant solo work. Although he would still be sat beside Molly, he wouldn't be forced to talk to her. This didn't make him feel any better though, for he had quite liked working with her. But seeing her at breakfast had confirmed his suspicions and fears- she was better off without him.
When all the first year Gryffindors were sat down, Arthur was surprised to see Molly with her head down, not chatting to her friends or even Professor Slughorn, whom she had found favour with in their first lesson by contemplating his walrus moustache. She didn't look up from her cauldron once, working purposefully with her entire body turned away from Arthur.
Had he insulted her by not letting her tell him to get lost? Could she really be the petty that she wanted to glorify in the humiliation of his loneliness? From what Arrhur had observed, he could see no evidence to support this wild theory. Molly had always been kind and considerate. Maybe, just maybe, she had been hurt when they hadn't gone to the great hall together. Maybe, just maybe, she really had thought of him as a friend-
Arthur wasn't sure what he was about to do, nor the reason why, all he knew was that he needed to know why she was mad at him. If it cost him his dignity then so be it, he couldn't let her stay upset if he was the cause of it.
She had jerked her head at the sound of his voice. Turning slowly, she raised her head, her beautiful brown eyes meeting his own. There were traces of red circles that Arthur couldn't help but notice, which only intensified his curiosity. He had to know-
"Are you mad at me?"
She shrugged her shoulders and returned to her cauldron, leaving Arthur more confused than he had been a few moments ago.
The Potions lesson ended the way it had begun, not a word was said by the once chatty girl. As they packed up their bags and left for their next class, Arthur thought he saw Molly waiting for him as if it were a normal day. Though perhaps normal would not be the best way of describing it. Bizarre, odd, abnormal. Yes, that would be a better way of defining what used to be a strange friendship. For who would have ever thought the loud, bubbly girl should befriend the timid boy? Certainly not Arthur.
Before Arthur could figure out if Molly was waiting for him as was usual, he saw her brown hair fly through the classroom doorway. If she had been waiting, she had given up or thought better of it. In any case, she probably hadn't been waiting for him at all; it was just wishful thinking on his part.
The long trek to History of Magic was a lonely one. Arthur hadn't realised just how far apart each classroom was until he was walking it in silence. When he arrived, he took his usual seat, right beside Molly. Professor Binns entered through the blackboard, not nearly half as terrifying as it had been on their first lesson. His monotone voice drove into Arthur, causing his concentration to fail him.
Molly too seemed to have become susceptible to the boredom, as her head was resting in her hands, her eyes unfocused. Apparently having the other person to talk to had made them immune to the infections drone that plagued the other students during History of Magic.
As Arthur's eyelids drooped, he drifted off into a daydream wherein Molly was still his friend and the two of them were chatting happily together. This alternate reality was cut short when the bell rang, shattering the illusion and bringing Arthur back to this reality where Molly was no longer speaking to him.
Due to the fact that it was Halloween, all afternoon classes were cancelled and a sense of excitement rippled around the school. All of the first years were keen to see how Hogwarts celebrated the day, and no one could wait for the grand feast at six o'clock that evening. Arthur seemed to be the only one not caught up in the magic of it all. Yes, he was eager to see Halloween at Hogwarts, but being separated from his only friend made him wonder how he could possibly enjoy it if there was no one to share the experience with.
Anticipation was building in the Gryffindor common room that afternoon, but Arthur chose to remain in his dormitory rather than watch Molly and her friends speculate what entertainment would be provided after the feast. Loneliness washed over Arthur in waves of dread; not just for tonight but for his future at Hogwarts. He wanted so desperately to have Molly at his side again, talking non-stop in his ears and piercing his soul with those beautiful brown eyes she wore only for him.
At the feast that evening, Arthur walked down with the boys and sat with them, but didn't join in with their conversation. Instead, he spent most of his time staring at the back of Molly's head, which was determinedly looking away from the gaggle of boys. Her friends were keeping their heads together, whispering nonwould-stop, but occasionally they would look up to shoot Arthur filthy looks. He couldn't understand why- girls were weird.
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