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Seven Years and Counting by Maelody
Chapter 11 : Chapter Eleven
 
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A/N: Alright, so techincally I had two more stories to update before this one, but I decided to take post on this one because I just had to take advantage of the short queue and how I already have this chapter ready! :) I hope those of you who read my other stories aren't too terribly upset with me. I promise to get to updating on them right away now! :) I want to give a big, no a huge, no a GIGANTIC thank you to all of those who have been commenting and reviewing on this story as of late! LuLuLuna, marauderfan, especially for commenting on if not every chapter, nearly every chapter so far! It has made logging on every day a treat and I'm so happy you and the others are enjoying this story! Anyway, here is chapter eleven for you! I hope you like it! Remember to review in the end!

It was the middle of October and a month had officially passed since Molly and Owen were paired together to make Amortentia. It was a good thing too, because Molly didn't think all of the patience in the world could save her from strangling Owen if she had to work with him for one more day. In the beginning, he was annoying, in the middle he was actually proving to be alright, and then in the end he would not give up on the fact that her best friend Luke had a gigantic crush on her. She would tell him about how Avery had a huge crush on Luke, but she was sure that wouldn't matter as much to him as it did her. Fortunately for Owen, however, they passed their assignment and she wasn't as ticked off with him as she normally was.

"So I see you managed to last for a whole month without passing out or anything. You even helped a little with the assignment," Owen teased, looking down at the essay Professor Wilkes had given back to them with their 'O' marking at the top. Ignoring her partner, she turned to her two friends to see their score.

"How did you two do?" she asked Avery who didn't seem too happy.

"We got a T," she said gloomily. "Professor Wilkes said it most likely wouldn't even work on a pair of mice."

"I want to know how she tests them in the first place," Luke scoffed. He had his head on his arms as they folded across the table. He wasn't very good at potions and the failing grade was more than likely due to him messing something up, but Avery was willing to look at the better side of things for him.

"I don't think I put in enough tabor roots, so it isn't your fault, Luke." She said, a vivid blush spreading across her face as soon as she said his name.

"Perhaps you're right," Luke said and he perked up a little bit. Molly noticed as her little friend sank in her seat and remained quiet for the rest of the class period.

Class was dismissed and the four of them began packing their books and Molly was just about to vanish their potion when Professor Wilkes caught her and made an announcement to the rest of the class.

"Please leave your potions where they are! They are perfect examples for the younger students so they can see the different variations of the working, and the nonworking potions!" she said with a toothy grin, but she shot a disapproving glance toward Avery and Luke. No one questioned her, however, even though Molly really thought she should. No one under fifth year should be exposed to the potions. There was no need to even know what they were. Considering the potion was illegal, its entire existence in the class for the most part was useless.

They exited the classroom and for once Molly was unsure of what to do after class. Before the project, she would just leave with her two friends to do homework before dinner (before she was an emotionless robot that is), but over the last month she was so used to heading out to get ingredients and making the potion with Owen. She stopped and looked at her new annoying friend and contemplated on inviting him to join them. They were, after all, in the same House. The other two stopped as well and Luke elbowed her in the side.

"What are you doing, Molly? Lets go!" he said while gritting his teeth. Owen noticed this and smirked.

"How would you like to join me for a picnic by the lake, Molly?" Owen asked with more confidence than she would like.

"Oh come off it, you!" Luke scolded without shame this time. "You have had all month with her! Give us our friend back!" Avery remained quiet but Molly did feel slightly guilty for leaving her small companion behind.

"It is a congratulatory picnic for a passing grade. I'd invite you, but, as you know, you didn't pass." He was sarcastic in every way and yet Molly couldn't help but let a small laugh escape.

"OK, but just this one time, then it will be just me and my two friends for the rest of our time at Hogwarts. Is that understood?" she poked back with a smile. Luke scoffed but Owen accepted it and offered to take her things.

"You don't think I've gotten strong enough over the month to hold my own things?" she asked, surprised by the fact she could tease about herself so openly. Only a week ago she would have hexed anyone who made a joke anything like the one she just made.

"It was a test," Owen smiled, taking his hand back. "I wouldn't have taken your stuff anyway. I say you get an Outstanding grade and we should go celebrate." She handed her stuff off to Luke, something that wasn't necessarily new to either of them, and then thanked him with a quick kiss on the cheek.

"We won't be gone long," she assured her two friends before turning around and joining Owen to the lake.

"Molly!" Luke called out as they started walking away but she heard Avery say something quietly that must have made him shut up because he didn't try to interfere again. Molly let out a nervous chuckle but Owen put a reassuring arm around her shoulders and gave her a small squeeze.

It was a nice day outside considering it was the middle of October and Fall was all around them. The leaves weren't necessarily gone yet, so the beautiful colours added to a nice scenery. It wasn't until they reached the lake and she saw the picnic was already set and ready for two did she think there was something more behind this than a passing grade in Potions class.

"Owen," she started and she pushed away from the grasp she didn't realise he still had on her, "what is this really about?"

"You caught me," he smiled. "I mean, don't get me wrong. I knew we would pass that project with flying colours with you and I working on it. But, this is because of what you've been able to surpass this last month. You're a completely different person, Molly Weasely, and I'm not just talking about from the person you were all last month, but from the person you were before."

"I suppose you think you have some credit in making that happen?" she asked, not at all as upset as she thought she would be. He was right, she was a completely different person. Now that she thought about it, she didn't even think Owen really annoyed her. She just wanted to be in his presence all the time, and when he wasn't there, she was missing him.

"Well, you know. Maybe a little," he joked, sitting her down on the blanket he laid out. There was a lot of food. Most of it she suspected he stole from the kitchens, but she recognised some of the treats and goodies as things from Hogsmeade. He started dishing out plates for the two of them and even had two goblets to pour some pumpkin juice into.

She had changed a lot in the last month. She didn't really think of Noah that much, not when she was with Owen at least. She laughed more than she ever had in her life, and she felt the relief of having to constantly watch over Luke and Avery all the time. She regretted thinking that, but the two of them were honestly like lost puppies when it came to having to be without her. However, she wasn't exactly sure how she felt about all of it. What was it that caused all of those changes? Was it simply her friendship with Owen, even though she had always thought of him as that annoying boy in her House? Or was it because she was actually starting to take a fancy toward this boy who made her forget about her relationship of the last three years?

Of course the feelings couldn't be that deep yet. It had only been a month, but yet she felt as close to Owen as she did to Noah in the last part of their relationship. Was something like that even possible? Especially so quickly after? She had only been away from Noah for two months at the most, and during one of those months she spent the whole time pining over her Potions partner.

"Here is a toast to you, Molly Weasley," Owen said, raising his goblet and waiting for her to do the same thing. She gave a wry smile and copied the movement before drinking the contents of her drink. She worried about her feelings toward him. Out of all the things he could have done for her, a celebratory picnic was how he praised her? It was all a bit too much. What if the whole intent of the early dinner was so he could ask her out in some sweet and adorable way? What would she say?

I would say no of course! she thought, but then she immediately took it back. Of course I wouldn't! I mean, look at him! He is really cute and was able to handle my moodiness all month. He deserves a medal for all he has been put through! As she went back and forth in her head on rather she would date Owen or not, he watched her with amusement in his eyes and he spoke up.

"What are you thinking about, Mols?"

Oh Godric! He called me Mols! He called me Mols!

"Nothing," she said too quickly and rather squeakily as well. The sound was enough to make him laugh in the middle of taking a drink of pumpkin juice and it dribbled down his chin. She fought the urge to clean it up for him.

"Really now? How about we try being honest now?"

"Does he know what I'm thinking?" she wondered aloud without even realising it until it was too late. "Oh no!" she said, putting a hand up to her mouth as if to stop anything else that might leak out.

"Well, I don't know what you're thinking, but I'd like to know now," he said with an all too amused look upon his face. She wanted to smack it right off of him. How dare he find enjoyment out of her embarrassment!

"Owen, I just want you to know right now before things get too far that-" but before she could finish her thought he interrupted her, knowing exactly where she was going with this.

"Molly, I'm proud of you. That's it. I'm glad that we have finally become friends now after all these years. Yes, you're one beautiful sixteen year old girl that I would have no objections to dating, but you're not over Noah yet, and honestly, it's just not what I'm looking for right now. I just want us to enjoy this time together and for you to have a nice time that doesn't involve doing work together."

"You planned that speech, didn't you?" she asked, more than a little embarrassed.

"No," he said honestly, "but I mean it honestly. I don't think even you know what you want just yet."

"And how would you know what I do and do not want, huh?" she asked defensively.

"I've been standing in the background for a while. Long enough to even be able to tell that Luke really likes you, too and me stepping in the way of that would just cause more problems in your life."

She couldn't recall any time of Owen standing in the background of her life. They never even really talked before this year. What was it he was going on about? She didn't really know, but she knew that his comment about Luke irritated her a little bit. She was tired of hearing about it.

"Luke does not like me you you think he does!" she growled. "Why are you so insistent on thinking he does?"

"Fine, if you don't believe me I give it one week before he cracks and tells you all about his undying feelings for you," he teased, crossing his legs and taking a bit of a roast beef sandwich.

"What makes you think that after all these years he'll just come out with his feelings the week you say he will?" she asked, somewhat amused by his efforts.

"Easy," said Owen, "before, there was a man in your life. Now that you're free, he figures he'll give you a little time before jumping on you. However, now that I'm in the picture, and you spending time with me right now alone is making him worried sick that I'm asking you out, he's about to crack. A full week is the maximum amount I give him, by the way."

"I guess we'll see," said Molly, still disbelieving what Owen had to say though she couldn't admit to not being the least bit curious now.

It wasn't until the very end of their early dinner did she realise it was typically dinner time now for everyone else. The time flew by after Molly stopped worrying about whether or not Owen was going to ask her out and they stopped talking about Luke. They finished their meal and packed things up before heading to the castle in the same fashion they left it in earlier. She was going to mention that Owen had her arm around her again, but she decided if she pretended it didn't make a difference in how happy it made her, he wouldn't realise he was doing it.

"Maybe we should stop by the Great Hall while everyone is finishing off dinner," she suggested.

"Hmm?" asked Owen dreamily as they separated inside the castle. "Why?"

"So I have a chance to be with my friends for a little bit before going to bed tonight. You can come join us if you'd like."

He silently agreed with her and they headed into the Great Hall together. When they spotted Avery and Luke they were able to convince some of their other House mates to scoot down so they could sit next to her friends.

"I thought you ate at a picnic?" Luke asked scathingly.

"I did," Molly answered with a particularly chirpy voice specifically to annoy her best friend. "I just wanted to stop by and hang out with you two since it has practically been a whole month."

"You weren't really with us the first month of term either," Luke mumbled under his breath.

"I'm glad you came!" Avery said quietly and a thin smile spread across her face. She pulled a strand of straight, floppy hair out from in front of her face and tucked it behind her ear. "Luke hasn't shut up about Owen since you two left."

Molly nudged Owen in the arm so he wouldn't say anything about it. Perhaps she really should look further into her friendship with Luke.

"Well, at least I came, right, Luke?" she asked, throwing a roll at his direction. He cheered up a bit and decided sulking wasn't going to be the best course of action around her. She noticed that the goblet before her filled with pumpkin juice for her and she decided to drink it while she was there if she wasn't going to eat.

The Great Hall was pretty full for it being relatively early for dinner and there was a lot of talking going on all around them. Molly found herself talking to Owen, despite having come to spend time with her friends, about how Professor Wilkes looked like a giant Autumn leaf today with her orange dress on when she heard Avery let out an abnormally loud gasp.

"Luke, what are you doing?" She cried, smacking his hand away from Molly's goblet and spilling the contents of a small vial all over the table and some in her drink.

"I'm so sorry!" both Avery and Luke said at the same time, but all of the sudden Avery's face turned extremely red as she burst into tears and ran from the table. Owen's attention was now on Luke and Molly, as was the rest of the Ravenclaw students surrounding them.

"I smell fresh daisies, the fresh smell of rain, and a bit of honey. That's Amortentia!" Owen pointed out after sniffing the air for a few seconds. He had to hold in a laugh before pointing at Luke and shouting uncontrollably, "You tried to put Amortentia in Molly's drink while she wasn't looking! HA! Not even a day!" He emphasised 'day' because of the bet he had with Molly.

Molly was completely ashamed with what Luke had done and her face was red as well. However, she couldn't tell if she was embarrassed or all together enraged. Before she could say anything, however, like how stupid he was for trying to do something in front of the whole school that was completely illegal, Luke stood up and bowed his head.

"I'm so sorry, Molly! I'm sorry!" and then he too ran out of the Great Hall before anyone else could really register what was going on and before any professors could make their way down to ask him what had happened.

It wouldn't have been as bad if Owen hadn't leaned over and whispered, "I told you so."

~~~

Ever since Addie let Noah off of getting that detention, the two had been hanging out more often. She had hoped that with her absence, James would notice and hang out with her more. She was completely and utterly wrong about that. All he managed to do in the last month was manage to meet and talk to Angel more. Now they were sitting in the Gryffindor common room talking about her mother's upcoming wedding.

"Do you think your mum would allow me to bring a date?" James asked her while she was painting her nails at the end of the couch. Will looked up hopefully at this question too and she briefly wondered who it was he was planning on inviting.

"I don't see why she would. She opened the two slots so, well, so you two could pretty much be my dates to the wedding." Addie said bluntly, afraid that he was thinking of bringing someone else. That someone else being fourth year Hufflepuff Angel Robins. "Why do you ask?"

"I was just wanting to ask to see if Angel wanted to be my date, seeing as how we've been talking lately and it would be a good stepping stone to the beginning of a relationship." James said without even noticing how curt Addie had been with the whole situation. She slipped up on one of her fingers and the blue varnish got on the couch as well. She cursed under her breath and cleaned the mess up with her wand.

"What about you, Will? Do you want to take a date?" she asked a little more forcefully than she should have.

"I don't have anyone in mind, but I thought it would be nice to consider," he answered quickly. Now that she thought of it, she didn't even know who Will had a crush on either. What kind of friends were they if they didn't tell her the important details like that?

"Do you think you could at least ask your mum about it? Please, Addie?" James turned on her all of the sudden and before she knew it he was practically right on top of her, his face in front of hers and doing the puppy-dog pout. He even took his glasses off for extra measure. Her breath caught and she didn't even realise her nail varnish vial was tipped over and spilling all over the carpet beneath them.

"I-I'll write her tonight and ask," she said lightly, feeling light-headed all of the sudden. He kissed her forehead before pouncing back to his original position. She cursed herself on the inside for agreeing to let him take Angel as a date to her mother's wedding. She knew her mother wouldn't mind, she just wanted to come up with an excuse so he wouldn't be able to.

"That reminds me," James said, reaching into his sack. "Mum sent me some of her brownies again. Care to join me?" he asked with a cocky grin like he knew the effect he had over her. It was like he didn't even care at all. She was about to say yes, because she was that weak on the inside toward him, but luckily for her Noah Clark was descending down the boys' dormitory.

"I've got to go!" Addie exclaimed and leapt up from her seat, making her way toward the older Australian. James was baffled by her sudden departure and turned to watch her make her way to Noah. Unfortunately, she didn't see as he smiled and turned toward Will to indicate he thought the two were an item.

"Hi, Noah!" she beamed.

"Oh! Hey, Ads," he replied, genuinely surprised to see her. He smiled and made a gesture for her to walk next to him. "Sorry, I'm just about to go for a run. You can come join me if you'd like."

"No thanks," she denied politely. As much as she wouldn't mind seeing him run from behind, running just wasn't something Addie liked to do very much. "I just had a quick question if you don't mind talking for a minute."

Noah smiled and stopped without making her wait for an answer. He seemed happier these days. She knew he was having a hard time getting over Molly, but with Addie and his hanging out recently, she felt that he didn't think about the past as much. "Shoot," he said, waiting patiently for her to begin.

"Right," she started. "So, as you know, my mum is getting remarried over the Christmas holidays. Well, I was wanting to know if you wanted to go as my, well, as my date?" She finished quickly. She never had to ask out a boy before and it was nerve-wracking. Now that she had done it however, she couldn't help but feel slightly more accomplished.

Why is it so hard to do that with James? she wondered.

"Oh, Addie," Noah said suddenly really surprised. Her high from moments ago started to shrivel away as she heard the let down in his voice. "I would love to, I really would, but I have to-"

"No!" Addie intervened. "That's OK, you don't need to explain. I understand," she was rambling now and she could feel a slight lump in her throat. Now neither James nor Noah wanted to go to her mother's wedding with her. Noah caught on to this and he reached out for her, but she shrugged him away and smiled.

"No, really, Noah. I'm OK." Addie cleared her throat, took a deep breath, blinked her eyes a couple of times, and then smiled once more in full composure to show him she really meant it. "See? Sorry, it was just a bit of a let down is all." She said honestly.

"What about James?" Noah suggested, obviously unaware about the whole situation behind the scenes of Addie Sanders.

"He has a date already," she answered somewhat honestly. It was true, considering he was going to ask out Angel Robins as soon as she told him he could. Noah's face fell and he extended his offer for a run once more, but she declined the offer and said her goodbye before returning to the two boys she called her friends.

"What was that all about?" James asked with a cheeky grin.

"Just saying hi," she lied. "By the way, you can take Angel with you. I reread mum's letter and noticed she already mentioned we could all bring dates."

"I didn't see you go upstairs," Will pointed out.

"The letter's in my pocket, you git," she snapped, but neither boy noticed. "Anyway, Will, you have to be my date if you want to go." She tried to recompose her normal, spunky self.

"Why do I have to be your date?" he whined.

"Because I said so! Don't argue or you're not going."

"Fine," he groaned and then sprawled across the couch as if no one else was going to sit there for the remainder of the night.

"Hey! Where do you think you're going?" Addie asked just as James started to get up and head for the portrait exit.

"To the Great Hall! I've got to ask Angel out on a date!" he replied before skipping out of the common room.

~~~

Jackson Winters may have deemed himself the leader of the Dark Angles, but Chloe knew exactly where the loyalties of most of the group were and she knew she had a reputation to withhold. She was the brains of the group, even if she was only eleven years old. In fact, if it weren't for her, they wouldn't have Albus as close to them as they did now. It was her idea to suggest to their Master that she use Amortentia to lure the Potter boy in. Professor Wilkes was having her students make large abundances of the potion, so she may as well make good use of her resources.

Ever since the first meeting Chloe had slowly been mixing the potions in the things Albus ate and drank. It was useful that most of the time he spent consuming it, the potion was in a wine so he was most likely confusing the effects with being drunk. Sure she was a bit young for the thirteen year old to fall in love with, but if it were anyone else they would screw up the entire plan. No one had the brains she did. She was starting out with a lot of the weaker potions. Just enough for Albus to want to, no, have to listen to what she said because he would do anything for her. He didn't know he would yet, but he would. The plan was really working, considering there had been no surprise visits from the Ministry and he hadn't told anyone outside of the Dark Angels about the group.

Of course, Chloe couldn't just abuse her powers of him listening to everything she said. The potions were just weak enough that he still had some free will, but not a lot. However, she was running out of the last batch she stole so it was now time for a new one. Professor Wilkes had a terrible habit of leaving the door unlocked when she was in her office. If Chloe was quiet enough, which she always was, the woman wouldn't hear her sneaking around and stealing a couple vials worth of Amortentia. It was dinner time now and getting the potion wouldn't be that hard with the professor out.

"I knew you would be in here!" Hayden Winters said loudly, coming in from the door behind Chloe. It made the raven haired girl jump and she nearly dropped the vial in the potion.

"What are you doing here?" Chloe asked in hushed tones. She was used to Professor Wilkes being in the other room after all.

"I just came to make sure you get a strong dosage this time is all," Hayden said merrily. Chloe looked at her quizzically and drew her vial back. She was about to fill it with an extremely weak dosage, one that would possibly give Potter a little more free will and make things seem a little less suspicious.

"Why would I do that?" Chloe asked, screwing the top back on the vial.

"The Master said so. He said it is high time we start getting Potter on our side. Either that, or we get to kill him!"

Hayden was far too excited about the whole ordeal than she should have been. Chloe knew that the demands were drastic, but there was no point in arguing with the other girl because she would just run to her brother and he would have Chloe writhing in pain in the matter of seconds at their next meeting. She was a talented witch, but she couldn't control magic like the Cruciatus Curse just yet.

"Don't you think the changes will be more obvious?" Chloe pointed out.

"Who cares?" Hayden said. She was a prime example as to how smart Chloe truly was. "The bottom line is, you'll do it or else." She showed no signs of leaving either, so Chloe knew she would have to get one of the better potions.

She dipped the vial in one of the prettier potions that swirled with a pearly complexion. She smiled as she smelled new parchment, ink, and that new book smell. At the age of eleven, there really isn't much more to love than homework and books after all. She screwed the top on once more and then pocketed the tiny vial before leaving the classroom with Hayden following quickly behind. There was a meeting tonight, and Chloe knew that meant tonight was the night Albus Potter would lose all free will. 

A/N: Welp, there it is. What did you think? Surprised about that last bit there with Chloe? Well, get ready to be even more surprised in the near future, because it's about to get even more twisted than that! Leave your comments and questions in a review! They are greatly appreciated and make my day! I'm not kidding when I say that either! :)


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