Chapter 2 : Causes, Pauses and Subordinate Clauses
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Dexter hadn’t found growing up quite so difficult. Part of that, he was sure, was being male – the odd sort of pressures were still there, but more seated under the requirement of getting laid, rather than getting bogged down in any of the complicated relationship stuff that Molly found herself wading in. More than that, he was happier within himself than Molly even had been (then again, he’d never been picked on continually quite like Molly, so perhaps there was a reason for that), so it had been easier for him to pick and choose the waves of what-you-should-be-doing-now – use them to his advantage. Basically, for him, it had boiled down to out-manning his teen friends via sex and beer and bicepts. And frankly, it hadn’t been that bad.
Molly was someone he’d always been fond of. He’d never been entirely sure why but there was a sense of attachment which meant that she was one of his oldest friends. He was still in contact with his old friends from school – with Ian, Zack and Tom – but they usually only met up bimonthly and drank too much alcohol. Erin was resolute in her insistence that they all stayed friends (abandonment issues?) and Dexter had often joked that was easier to just keep replying to her near-weekly-letters than to have Erin write still more, demanding to know why he hadn’t replied. He hadn’t seen much of Roxanne, but as Roxy was still under Erin’s influence he usually saw her regularly enough and had received an invitation to her wedding with the impervious Daniel a little while ago. He’d met him too. He seemed all right.
Molly was different, as inherently Molly had always been different. He missed Molly when he didn’t see her for long stretches of time – their strange back and forth dialogue, her ability to look ever so slightly awkward at all times and the way he seemed to have absorbed all this information about her. He’d become so accustomed to Molly settling into a period of self-blame after any relationship ended (as in, she couldn’t stick her male counterpart any further and sent him packing – quite literally, this time) that he generally expected the reversion to her insults stemming from a degree of self-dislike, was accustomed to the general pattern of Molly’s disaster-relationships too… to the point that he and Ian were perfectly accurate in betting when this particularly bloke would be placed in the recycling for someone else to pick up. He revelled in meeting Molly’s boyfriends and talking to them continually, throwing out a few choice facts to watch Molly’s face redden and steadily get madder and madder.
Admittedly he’d been rather more involved lately. He had been semi-responsible for another explosive end to a relationship (well, it had actually been quite a normal break up – but Molly had a tendency to exaggerate in the retelling) although Molly had to claim full responsibility, once again. She’s really honed her ‘your dumped’ skills over the years. And yes, when Erin had send him a short note with lots of exclamation marks apologising for not being able to make it to the pub he had definitely been rather pleased.
But it wasn’t an issue. He knew Molly Weasley. He knew that she was utterly hopeless. He knew that it was a bit futile, really.
Then again, that had never stopped Dexter before.
There was something slightly odd about waking up in bed with Dexter. Frigid bitch status aside (although, really, she’d lost that status a long time ago – she almost missed it), it seemed half unnatural and half perfectly normal to wake up with Dexter’s arms wrapped around her. “Well that was disappointing.” Molly muttered, reaching up and pressing a kiss against his lips.
“Really, we’re still doing this?” Dexter asked, amused. “Because in that case, your hair looks ridiculous.”
“I hate your flat.”
“You really can’t talk dirty.” Dexter returned, pulling her against her chest and kissing her again.
“I was hardly going to try very hard for you.” Molly countered, brushing his hair out of his face and kissing his forehead.
“I feel the need to go wash,” Dexter said, “you did sleep on me, after all.” One of his hands was on her waist, pressing her against his bed as he kissed her again.
“Sorry. You exhausted me with all the boring.” She muttered into his lips.
“I understand that you’re not clever enough to get me.”
“God, I’m such a lucky woman.”
“Woman is a stretch, isn’t it?”
“Gladly,” Dexter muttered, placing one last kiss on her neck before rolling out of bed, “coffee?”
“Please.” Molly watched him exit the room, pulling one of the sheets around her as she glanced around the room. “And put some bloody clothes on, Dex, no one wants to see that much of you!”
“Only if you do too,” Dexter said when he returned with two cups of coffee, passing one to her and falling heavily back down onto the bed, “I think the image of you naked is permanently etched on the back of my eyelids.”
“Thanks for the coffee,” Molly said, “although you should know that you’re definitely swapping to fairtrade.”
“Right,” Dexter smiled, taking a sip of his own coffee, “so when was it, exactly, that you decided you hated me in a good way?”
“Bedroom banter, not my forte.” Molly said with a grimace, taking another quasi-delicate sip of her coffee before setting it down and raising hey eyebrows at Dexter – her sort of mate who she’d sort of slept with.
“A normal person would say pillow talk, you know.”
“I suppose a few weeks ago?” Molly suggested. “I don’t know, just had to connect a few dots in my brain and work it out. But, like you said, I can’t resist an argument. Then it just seemed, well, inevitable. What about you, you humungous piece of lard? When did the unfortunate L word start festering?”
“I thought we agreed that was a weird hallucination on your behalf?”
“Hardly,” Molly shrugged, placing down her cup of coffee and edging towards his side of the bed, “I think the memory scarred me for life.”
“You’re really special, you know that?” Dexter said sarcastically, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and letting her rest her head on his chest. “In the abyss between Greg and Phil.”
“That’s a pretty big abyss,” Molly said, “I was hoping for a more specific time frame, here.”
“More leaning towards the Greg end of the abyss.”
“Anything to get away from Phil, I suppose.” Molly said, closing her eyes for a second. “But, really? So that’s like a whole year.”
“It wasn’t like a big thing until right before the incident, as you like to call it. Erin tried to give me a pep talk.”
“Hence upping the flirting at the pub before said incident. But, you were definitely reciprocating enthusiastically, I’m just saying.”
“You started it,” Molly answered, eyes still shut, “you said I was an undiscovered sex icon, I believe.”
“In my defence, I was very drunk. Should have known that it wouldn’t help my cause. You do realise the moment you jumped me was when I said your hair permanently looked like it had been rubbed against a balloon.”
“Stop it,” Molly said sarcastically, “I won’t be able to control myself.”
“Quit acting like that isn’t true.” Dexter grinned.
“So, are we a thing now?” Molly asked, pulling her head of Dexter’s chest and turning to face him – really, she thought the whole thing had gone moderately well. There’d been a bit of sticky moment when she was trying to explain how the whole passive seduction lark worked, but they’d gotten to the point in the conversation she’d been intending to reach in the end – it was just a slightly more convoluted path than traditionally travelled.
“Is that your definition for this?” Dexter asked, an amused sort of grin playing across his lips in a way that was quite cute, really, if you liked that sort of thing (and Molly supposed that all evidence pointed to the fact that she did).
“Well really, it’s up to you.”
“Talk about empowerment to women,” Dexter grinned, “I’ll take you on a date and tell you look horrible. Sound good?”
“Wonderful,” Molly returned, reaching forwards to kiss him and getting caught up in it all for a moment. It was quite a new thing, really, this kissing Dexter business. “Can we not tell Erin? You know she’ll want to double date.”
“Dear Merlin.” Dexter said, frowning before he kissed her again.
“Precisely. She’ll probably expect us to be nice to each other and, frankly Dex, I don’t think I could stand that.”
“This is going to be a strange relationship, isn’t it?” Dexter said with a bemused look in Molly’s direction, before setting down his coffee on the bedside table and watching her distractedly.
“I expect so,” Molly answered, reaching up and kissing him – wrapping her arms around his neck, pulling him towards her, “but the normal relationships haven’t worked out for us.”
“We’ll go out for dinner and throw things at each other.”
“Like drinks.” Molly agreed.
“Lots of those,” Molly smiled, “I like those.”
“Drink up,” Molly said, placing a bottle of gin on the centre of Dexter’s kitchen table where he’d been working on some complicated diagram about breaking curses which was somehow related to his job, “I have a requirement to get you very drunk.”
“Molly, even for you this is slightly odd.” Dexter said, looking up with a grin and smiling at the bottle. “Planning to murder me in my sleep?”
“Why would the alcohol help?” Molly asked, resting a hand on her hip as she waited for his undivided attention – honey moon period aside (although given they’d known each other for such an extensive period of time, it didn’t exactly feel like a new relationship so much as a bit of a shift), Molly was becoming accustomed to Dexter being slightly more attentive than at current.
“Dull my sense. Wouldn’t scream so much.”
“If I was trying to kill you, you wouldn’t have chance to scream.” Molly continued, leaning forwards slightly in attempt to push herself into the forefront of Dexter’s mind. Normally, she wouldn’t have particularly minded him being so absorbed in his Runes, but this was quite the moment and he didn’t appear to have received the memo.
“At what point did this conversation get odd?”
“You entered it.”
“You started it.”
“I’m making a point.”
“What point are you trying to make? Because I think you’re missing.” Dexter looked up at her properly at last, and Molly offered him her best sarcastic smile (all her best smiles were sarcastic, actually).
“Let’s get drunk and snog a lot, Dex, I have an announcement.”
Dexter smiled and shook his head slightly in a way that Molly took to mean he knew exactly what she mean. And that was definitely an improvement on the last time she’d ventured into being sort of proactive relationship-wise.
“An announcement?” Dexter asked coyly.
“Okay, a deceleration. A declarative.”
“God, do you want me to tap it out in morse code?”
“That might make more sense than this, Molly. Although I don’t know morse code.”
“Neither do I.”
“So, is this some sort of riddle? Or is it like your stupid passive-flirting thing again.” Dexter raised his eyebrows slightly. Molly pouted. He was acting like he didn’t get it, the fool.
“That,” Molly countered, “was genius. Fool proof. As it had to be, with you involved.”
“So, what’s this deceleration?” He asked innocently.
“By the law of reciprocals, you should definitely be drunk.”
“Merlin,” Dexter said, pressing a finger against his forehead, “you should go into business as a headache-producer.”
“You understand exactly what I’m staying, don’t act dumb.” Molly said, lips twisting downwards into a frown – why did Dexter have to make everything so difficult? He wasn’t stupid, he knew exactly where she was going with this… the second he’d started paying attention he’d know he was just…
“Say it then.”
“Maybe I need to be drunk,” Molly said, “okay, Dexter – I love you.”
“On a scale of one to ten, how difficult did you find that?” Dexter grinned.
“Twenty four,” Molly said, “but, there you go, I said it. Now we’re even again.”
“There was a very visible ellipsis between my deceleration and yours. Of about eight months.”
“You know me, like to keep you hanging,” Molly smiled, “but, in my defence, you just dropped it on me. Mine made a lot more sense, okay, ignoring the prelude about getting you drunk, but two months into a relationship is a much more acceptable point to say it.”
“I can’t help the fact that I’m in love with you, Mols.”
“In love? You just added quite a serious preposition, Dexter. One that I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with.”
“Get comfortable,” Dexter said, turning back to his piece of parchment and narrowing his eyes at it, “it’s staying, I’m staying and you know you’re staying too, Molly. You haven’t gone home for a week. If you sell your flat and move in, we could afford a new television.”
“Nobody even knows we’re together yet.” Molly contradicted, feeling slightly shell shocked as she stared at where Dexter was completing a rather complicated arithmancy-related question that made her eyes hurt just from looking at it.
“Right,” Dexter said, his forehead creasing rather adorably (internally, Molly chastised herself for such a thought), “well, we should get on that at some point...”
“Erin will squeal and it will hurt.”
“For the sake of your ears, then.” Dexter said, before continuing to concentrate on the work related issue. Molly leant back on her chair and found herself smiling. Dexter’s easy, unargumentative (which was ironic, really) way of doing things made the whole relationship thing feel like it wasn’t a lot of hard work.
She’d never experienced that before.
“Screw secrecy.” Molly muttered, pulling Dexter to a mostly abandoned corner of the room and threading her fingers through his.
“What, all secrecy? The statute of secrecy?”
“No, you tosser,” Molly said, “not talking to you all day sucked. I know that we get kicks from continually abusing each other with mild flirting layered underneath whenever the others are around given they don’t know we’re sleeping together, but well... crap, Dex, I’ve misssed you.”
“I didn’t realise you got so flaming sentimental at weddings.” Dexter grinned, taking a step back to absorb Molly’s bridesmaid dress with an eyebrow raise. Molly sighed at that did a brief twirl, forcing Dexter to pull her inwards and wrap his arms around her as she did.
“It’s my best friend’s wedding,” Molly said, “It’s perfectly reasonable for me to feel criminally alone because of it.”
And a truly horrific wedding at had been, too. As of late these wedding seemed to be cropping up from nowhere and suddenly all these people she knew we generally getting married. Roxanne’s wedding had hit a little close to home, given she’d been the sodding maid of honour and that Roxanne was her best friend (some of the time) and now she was benignly wondering whether she should be itching to get married and things. Because, frankly, she’d had enough of weddings for at least a year.
She hadn’t liked them all that much in the first place.
“Of course it is. Roxanne really went all out on the all-the-bridesmaids-must-look-crap tradition, didn’t she? Nice colour on you, Molly. You look like someone drained the colour out your face.”
“Your tie looks like someone vomited a rainbow,” Molly returned, stepping forwards and straightening it slightly, “but yes, this is the worst dress I’ve even been forced to wear. Still, Roxanne looked pretty.”
“Did she?” Dexter asked, reaching forward and kissing her briefly. “I didn’t notice. I was admiring Erin.”
“Who’s the best man again?” Molly asked. “Tradition states that I’m supposed to sleep with him, yes?”
“In that dress, no one’s going to sleep with you.”
“Yes, I imagined it might be quite constricting.” Molly smiled. “If you don’t want me to take it literally, then don’t make it so easy. How long is it till I can get the damn thing off?”
“The disco hasn’t started yet,” Dexter said, “so I imagine it’s going to be quite a while.”
“Bugger it all,” Molly said, folding herself into his arms, “you should dance with me later, Dex. It’ll make it much easier to avoid Phil.” Dexter raised his eyebrows at that but wasn’t about to raise objections – this was the furthest away from secrecy Molly had gotten in terms of their relationship and he wasn’t about to squander that by bringing up anything to do with Phil. Phil was a moot point, anyway. Phil had always been a tad irrelevant to things – an inconvenience.
“Oh my God.” A rather shrill voice called out. Erin.
“Brace yourself, Molly-wobbles,” Dexter muttered into her ear, “this is about to get supersonic.”
“Are you guys together?” Erin’s face crumpled into an expression of utter delight as she stood, in a matching hideous bridesmaid dress, her bouquet of roses on the floor from where she’d dropped it in shock: the very picture of a wedding scene drama.
“It would seem so.” Dexter said, before Molly had a chance to say anything patronising or sarcastic. It was probably for the best, but Molly had been saving up these Dexter/Molly relationship insults for ages.
“Couple of months,” Dexter said, snaking an arm around her and pulling her closer to him.
“We should definitely double date!” Erin declared, eyes still sparkling as she bent down to retrieve her bouquet, lest Roxanne appeared and yelled at her for disrespecting the day or something else ridiculous and bridezilla-esque.
“I told you she’d say that.” Molly frowned, turning to Dexter deliberately.
“I know you did, Molly. I was there.”
“Well, God, I’m sorry Dexter. You don’t normally listen to what I’m saying, you gigantic arse, so how I supposed to know what you’ve retained in that thick skull?”
“You’ve scared me permanently with your incessant talking, love, it’s like dating a sodding dementor of all the peace I get.”
“Are you... in the middle of a fight?” Erin asked, her lip jutting out slightly in a pout – the acute expression of someone who’d just gotten something they’d wanted for a very long, and realised that what they’d wanted might not work out so well after all tarnishing her features slightly. Molly frowned again. She really hadn’t wanted to play into what everyone wanted quite so much as she had (apparently, according to Dexter, there was a whole host of people who’d wanted them to get together – even his rather boring ex Lisa) and, honestly, she hadn’t wanted to deal with everyone being so pleased.
But she had to hand it to them, it was a rather brilliant idea.
“Perpetually.” Molly returned happily, reaching out and kissing Dexter on the lips.
“Bad day at work?” Dexter muttered, looking up from the couch to where Molly had apparated into the flat.
“Bad doesn’t cover it,” Molly said, scrunching up her forehead and folding her arms, “astronomical doesn’t even cover it. It was beyond the realms of awful.”
“Debbie’s back from maternity leave,” Molly frowned, “and there were three underage uses of magic. There was some wizarding stag do the night previously, so there were three separate drunk idiots wondering around London setting off phallic shaped fireworks.”
“Crap.” Dexter said appreciatively.
“So, anyway, Dexter. I’m too damn tired to argue with you right now so I’m just going to -”
“Then don’t,” Dexter shrugged, “we don’t always have to argue,” Molly made a face, walked over to the kitchen and flicked on the kettle, “you know Erin and Roxy are convinced that we act differently when we’re alone. More like a couple, I mean.”
“Why?” Molly asked, hovering in the doorway so she could watch him whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. She liked watching Dexter – for all her sins, it gave a nice sense of domesticity to her life which was quite reassuring after a day like this. Because, naturally, after all these years Dexter had yet to do a runner; it was nice.
“Because, well, that’s how relationships work.”
“Our relationship has never worked like that.” Molly countered.
“Yeah, but, it is a bit different now...” Dexter said, shifting his position so he was looking over the back of the sofa at her.
“What are you saying?” Molly asked, slipping back into the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea.
“That I don’t think we can keep the hate up forever,” Dexter shrugged, pulling himself off the sofa and joining Molly in the kitchen. “I don’t think you have enough internal angst to sustain the continual insults.”
“But that’s what makes us, us.” Molly countered, forehead creasing slightly as she waited for her tea. She wasn’t entirely sure she could deal with Dexter shaking things up right now: frankly, she wanted him to shut up and just look pretty for a bit.
“Not it’s not,” Dexter, “I think it’s just one of many quirks.”
“So, what do we do?”
“Whatever we want.” Dexter said.
“What I really want is a hug,” Molly admitted, stepping forwards and allowing him to pull her into her arms, “it was such a crappy day, Dex, she wouldn’t stop goading me. I swear I could have jinxed her till next week.”
“At least you didn’t,” Dexter said, muttering into her forehead, “financially, that would be an issue.”
“At least there’s always tea.” Molly muttered dejectedly, pulling away from the hug to retrieve a mug and busy herself getting milk and sugar. Dexter was lovely, but he wasn’t necessarily a cure all – they didn’t tell you that about love, either.
“Molly, have you been crying?”
“Mols, come on, I’m not an idiot. Your voice goes funny when you’ve been crying.”
“Why do you remember stuff like that, you creep,” Molly said, shaking her head slightly and trying to ignore Dexter’s arms circling round her waist as she tried to make her cup of tea, “Lucy visited me at work, too,” Molly said, stirring her cup of tea rather violently and leaning back against Dexter’s chest, “her boyfriend he... he got her pregnant. And you know what a prat he is, Dex, he talked her into getting an abortion and now she’s just a complete mess.”
Dexter kissed the top of her hair. Molly closed her eyes and very much wished she was allowed to sleep.
“She says she’s going to break up with him, but... Lucy’s far too impressionable. She likes to please people. Anyway she just turned up at my lunch break and started crying on me, and I was my usual awkward self, and I told her she should have talked to me about it first and...”
“And she said she’d talked to Rose about it?” Dexter suggested.
“Yeah,” Molly breathed, feeling the tears starting to spring up in her eyes again, “I know it’s pathetic but I... I know I could have talked her out of it.”
“Let’s watch a film and get a takeaway,” Dexter muttered into her hair, “go put your hideous comfort trousers on, I’ll ring for a Chinese.”
“For such a horrible bastard, you’re not so bad.” Molly said, feeling the weight of his arms around her disappear as he reached for the phone. Molly placed her cup of tea by the sofa, pulled on her most unattractive pair of jogging bottoms and sunk onto their sofa.
A few minutes later Dexter returned, collapsed onto the sofa next to her and pulled her into his arms. Molly Weasley took a sip of tea, closed her eyes and concluded that she quite liked Dexter and didn’t feel like destructing the relationship just yet.
In his lifetime so far, Dexter had told seven girls that he loved them. Dexter had believed himself to be in love approximately four times in his life. When it came down to it all, he thought he’d probably actually been in love at least twice.
The first girl had been a Muggle, Augusta Rivers. Five months when he was fifteen years old and he’d been utterly besotted with her. He was all kinds of devastated when she hadn’t believed his I’m a wizard story and had subsequently moved elsewhere.
The last girl before Molly probably fell into the ‘thought he was in love’ category. It was the longest of all his relationships thus far (although he was hoping for Molly to blow that record under the water) – just under a year with Lisa Bradnick, whom he’d met through a series of unfortunate events placing him in St Mungo’s in the bed next to her with a slightly crippled leg (it had taken a week to be healed properly, which in magical terms meant he’d done a right number on himself) whilst she’d managed to do something quite awful to her shoulder when someone’s spell had backfired and hit her. This had sparked up quite the report between them and, incidentally, when Molly had grudgingly visited (pre dating the Greg period by a good five months, meaning Molly was in a glorious state of in-between relationships), she’d muttered something about how his next ‘fling’ was looking slightly better than the last.
A date had followed his discharge from hospital, then a continual sting of dates which stretched the span of ten months – it was a long enough relationship for him to get used to it, for sex to become oddly efficient and to upturn a few underlying issues about things they didn’t like about each other (she was oddly accident prone and he never folded his robes properly), then she’d startled him with a conversation about the future and Dexter had been a bit blown away to realise that he didn’t want a future with Lisa Bradnick. She was lovely and the idea of living together wasn’t entirely horrific – but, he couldn’t see this woman as the mother of any potential children and suddenly that felt like quite an issue.
It really wasn’t, Dexter realised afterwards, because he definitely wasn’t old enough to be thinking about any of that yet, and instead he’d done a bit of a Molly – projecting some minor issue till it became a big deal because it simply wasn’t right.
(He was still in touch with Lisa, actually. She was madly in love with a French bloke with a ridiculously French name and said she’d called the whole Molly situation the second time she’d met her. Molly didn’t know about this continued contact. Jealous Molly was really quite something, but he wasn’t sure Lisa would survive it.)
Either way, there was a parting of the ways and Dexter began to enjoy his state of singledom again. It was nice, actually, refreshing not to have anyone irritated about the way he folded his robes – then, of course, Molly broke up with Greg and he was a little too pleased. Following that uncomfortably epiphany was a few months of total mental breakdown, when he tried to track the festering thought back through the years and came back a blank – of course he’s always liked Molly, so the line of when he’d liked Molly like this and when she’d just been his rather amusing mate were somewhat blurred… eventually he gave up, fessed to Erin, the incident occurred and after the Phil-era Dexter finally managed to get what he wanted (and crap, had he wanted it).
Shockingly, it was better than he’d expected. The whole things was so delightfully easy and difficult at the same time. Molly Weasley was, quite honestly, an incredible woman and the fact that he was continually guessing about what the hell she was on about, combined with knowing her really quite well, made him feel like he could be locked in a room with her for the rest of his life and not get bored. Quite, quite remarkable.
And maybe Dexter didn’t have a great track record with meaning his ‘I love yous’ but then all of those faux-declarations had been sparked by the pressure that he should love the girl in question – it would be rude not to say it, really, even if it was stretching the truth a tad. But, his impromptu drunken declaration to Molly that time had been anything but necessary and thus, well, Dexter supposed that he’d meant it even at that point.
And he definitely meant it now.
And it was a very satisfactory place to be.
Hullo! So, I hit a million words posted on this archives which is incredible. There's going to be four chapters here - the next one will be a more solid continual bit, then another bitty one like this. With a bit more of Dexter too, because we don't get to see him all that much. This is a bit of a self indulgence for me - just writing about Molly nd Dexter because I want to, but yeah... I've had a blast writing this so I'm glad you all seemed to have enjoyed it thus far. Thanks for reading and reviewing guys, I really appreciate it! It really makes my day whenever I find one of your reviews :)
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