Chapter 2 : Rule 2: Trust No One
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And now, for more Molly/Riley shenanigans. (x
Edit v1: General typos/sentence structure fixes.
Edit v2: adding a CI by the fantastic inspector. <3
The next morning at breakfast, Molly tried not to think about her exchange with Riley. He couldn't have really meant it. It was a joke. It had to have been a joke. His little sixth year friends had probably dared him to go talk to her, the quiet one, the friendless one, the freak. She had wondered for a little bit though... maybe she could trust him, maybe he was right. She couldn't let go though, she couldn't just trust him like that.
And then he sat down next to her. “Good morning Molly!” he said and she frowned at him from behind the cup of coffee she was currently nursing. There was another reason she didn't have any friends. Molly wasn't exactly what one would call a 'morning person'.
“What do you want?” she snapped. Riley raised his hands in a placating gesture that didn't do him much good.
“Will you relax? You're so uptight. Don't hate a bloke for trying to sit next to a friend.” Molly rolled her eyes. He's still on about that nonsense?
“Very funny. I do believe that your real friend, Arnold, is sitting down there,” she said, gesturing to a dark haired boy with an impatient expression on his face. “And I think he's waiting for you. So, you should probably leave now.” Molly prayed that he would leave, this was getting embarrassing. And soon enough people would start asking questions. Questions meant that people would be paying attention to her. People paying attention to her meant that people would start talking to her. That meant complications. Complications were the last thing she needed.
“He'll be fine without me. So, are you ready for Transfiguration today?” He wasn't taking no for an answer. Molly sighed, frustrated. Why did he have to pick her, out of everyone?
“He looks like he's about to have a heart attack. You should leave.”
“If you insist...” Riley sighed. “I just hate seeing you look so lonely, Molly.” He walked away then, leaving her confused. He couldn't mean it – there was no way. Why would he care if she looked lonely or not? They didn't even know each other that well. Molly couldn't really trust him to care – not about her at least.
“Why do you bother with her? You don't even know her.” Risley's best mate, Arnold Wood, said a few minutes later as they began to tuck into their respective breakfasts.
Riley shrugged. He had his reasons – ones he would prefer not to share with the entire table. “She just seems like she could use someone to talk to, that's all. And we have had classes together before, so we know each other. Sort of.” The truth was, he'd been watching Molly since his first year. Her total independence had fascinated him. It wasn't till later years, and more observation, that he realized the truth. Molly was independent – and also painfully lonely.
That was the one thing he didn't understand. Molly didn't have to be by herself, she chose it. She was a Weasley after all, the name alone would have gotten her ten friends at least, if she hadn't had the personality to get them herself. But Molly didn't need to use her name. She was smart, kind, and even funny sometimes too, for how serious she could be. If she stopped pushing everyone away, she wouldn't be lonely. She would be happy. But, it seemed to Riley that she didn't realize that, or that she needed to be happy. Riley needed her to be happy, it hurt him to see her sad.
He was an idiot for never talking to her before. But she had always seemed so untouchable. So... above him and out of his league. It didn't feel like that anymore though, it felt like the invisible wall had been broken. Molly could pretend all she wanted that it was still there and she was as untouchable as ever, but Riley knew better. He would make her see it too.
Molly was as skittish as an elephant near a mousehole when she walked into Advanced Transfiguration for N.E.W.T. Level students. Riley was the only sixth year in the class, but it was nothing new. He had been in advanced Transfiguration classes since first year, so he'd been the extra in her Transfiguration classes since second year, She wondered what would happen to him when her class left – there wasn't an eighth year class he could take, unless McGonagall transfigured one into being.
She took her usual spot in the second desk in the middle row. She sat by herself, unless she was required to work with a partner. Thankfully, that was a rare occurrence and only when McGonagall was in a good mood. She was rarely in that good of mood, not that Molly minded. Her usual seclusion was the reason when someone else's books appeared by her own on the double desk, Molly was more than a little surprised to see them there. But when she looked up from copying the day's notes off the board, she wasn't at all surprised to see who was standing there.
She decided not to acknowledge him in hopes he would go away.
“Hi Molly! I hope you don't mind if you sit here, but you know, friends sit by friends. Are you ready for a great day in Transfiguration?” Riley said cheerfully – too cheerfully. The situation was quickly becoming hopeless. If she was mean to him now, it would be like kicking an adorable puppy. Scratch that – an obnoxious, but still somewhat cute, puppy. And Molly wasn't mean, at least not in that way.
“Sure.” Maybe if she refused to truly engage him in conversation he would give up and leave. And be completely dissuaded of this 'friendship' nonsense. That wasn't being mean, not exactly.
“Is Transfiguration your favorite subject?”
“Oh it's mine! What's your favorite subject?”
“Charms.” Thus far, her theory didn't seem to be working – but she would perservere. He would get bored eventually, and then she would be left in peace.
“Wow, that's my worst class.”
"Really.” She was itching to ask why, and to remark on the similarities in Transfiguration and Charms. The situation was almost humorously ironic, but she stuck to the plan. It was sure to shut up him, and hopefully make him leave. His cologne was very distracting and she was having problems concentrating on the notes she was trying to copy. He was quite a nuisance, without even meaning to be.
“Yeah. You know it won't work, don't you? I'm not going to stop talking to you until you answer me with more than one word.” Molly sighed. He couldn't be serious. He would have to stop when McGonagall walked in.
“Fine, I see you don't believe me. Well, Miss Molly, do you like me?” She blinked and looked over at him. How was she supposed to answer that in one word?
She did like him, sort of. It wasn't that she didn't like him, he just frustrated her sometimes – and his cologne distracted her. Besides, he was rather good looking for a sixth year, and that was rubbish in and of itself. Sixth years weren't supposed to be attractive. At least not to her. That was more of Dom's territory.
“Debatable.” Was what Molly finally came up with. It wasn't a complete sentence, which irked her, but it was good enough. Riley slowly smiled.
“Touche, Molly. I thought for sure I had you there.”
“Nope.” That one was easy, but Molly could see the wheels in his head turning and knew the next would be even more of a challenge.
“How about we make a deal? You say more than one word to me and I won't talk to you for the rest of class.”
Molly snorted. That was unlikely, but... it was worth a try. “Fine. Are you happy now?” she said and he grinned.
Molly expected him to start up talking again a few minutes later, but he didn't. True to his word, he stayed silent for the entire class, other than to ask her a relevant, class-related, question once. It was almost... pleasant.
It threw Molly off balance. He didn't act the way she expected him too. It was unnerving and intriguing at the same time. When he'd been quiet, she found that she missed the sound of his voice. That shouldn't have happened, she shouldn't miss the sound of anyone's voice, least of all Riley's. But, inexplicably, she did. And secretly, very, very deep down inside, she hoped he sat by her again next time.
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