written for the tgs "through the universe" challenge and the QLFC training camp finals

QLFC: SEEKER: write a fic about Molly and Arthur

Through the Universe Celestial Equator — (ship) MollyArthur

wc: 1522

a/n: thanks to shay for betaing!

this is AU, as in this takes place during the marauders' era because i couldn't find any other friends for molly. this sets back the weasley children's timeline a lot but they're not mentioned so just ignore it, okay please

. . .

Molly Prewett is eleven when she meets him. Of course, she's eleven when she meets most boys her age, anyway, so it's not really very memorable, but it still is the first time she meets him.

They're at King's Cross station, bustling and alive as she's about to make her way to Hogwarts for the first time. Molly's mother is smiling, wide and bright, her father standing stoically by her side. Gideon is already past the barrier and Molly can almost see him standing there, tapping his foot with an urgent impatience, muttering, "Where the hell is she? First years," while Fabian laughs at him, a raucous thing, probably thinking Gideon, Gideon, although he's the silent type so Molly knows he will only laugh.

She keeps Gideon in mind when she crosses the barrier a moment later, freed from the Muggle eyes at last.

The Hogwarts Express shines, level with the ground but somehow high above Molly at the same time, with the gleaming red paint polished to perfection. Molly doesn't know what the expenses or the maintenance costs for the Express are but she thinks they must be pretty damn high.

It's a bit disconcerting, honestly. Where does Molly board? Which compartment does she go to?

Fabian sends her a knowing look and then sends an annoyed one at his twin, off gallivanting with his girlfriend someone-or-other. Molly doesn't know her name, only that Gideon just drops everything including his identical twin brother. Sometimes Molly can't tell them apart — they look exactly the same, red hair, freckles in the same areas, the same kinds of noses. Then again, Molly thinks the freckles might not be in precisely the same spots, but they're close enough that she can't tell.

Molly looks at the enormous train in confusion, not very sure what to do or where to go, but Fabian starts moving toward it and so Molly begins to push her trolley, following suit.

She's too busy staring at the train in awe to notice the redheaded boy until her trolley crashes into him — with a sound like a bit of a crunch and maybe the feeling of metal on skin there's a heap of something red and white underneath the trolley, and belatedly Molly realizes — Oh. It's a person.

Oh, wait, I just crashed into a person, a real living being is pretty much trapped under my trolley, and where is Fabian?

Molly rushes to move her trolley backwards, trying her best not to wince when the figure emits a groan, and then she feels compelled to say something. It turns into rambled apologies soon enough. "Oh, goodness, I'm so sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going, I literally crushed you with my trolley, I'm so sorry!"

How could she have been such a klutz?

"Ahh," the figure says from his ominously still crumpled position on the ground — somehow, magically, no one is paying him much mind — "it's alright."

"It's alright?" repeats Molly with a degree of incredulity. "You're laying there on the floor and I slammed my trolley into you, and it's alright? I don't even know your name!"

"Arthur." It's all he says to her, not acknowledging the rest of her statement or even offering a surname. Molly isn't sure if he's trying to be rude or polite. "You?"

"I'm Molly. Molly Prewett."

"Well, Molly Prewett," says Arthur, "you did slam your trolley into me, so now you owe me. We're friends."

So they are, thinks Molly. It is what it is.

. . .

Molly ends up in Gryffindor alongside Fabian and Arthur, and Gideon, the Hufflepuff of the family, simply scowls at the red-gold table as if it has betrayed him.

Molly feels a little bad for him, but then again, Gideon tends to ditch everyone for What's-Her-Name, so she thinks it must be karma of some sort.

She and Arthur are all in the same classes — well, of course they are; they're first years and in the same House.

Molly develops an affinity for Hexes (specifically, the Bat-Bogey) and Charms, although she is dreadful at Potions and she's not very fond of Professor Slughorn, either.

Professor McGonagall is by far her favorite teacher — she and Arthur work hardest in that class, and it's always a bit of a disappointment when she can't quite make her standards.

Molly becomes friends with a few of the girls in her year, such as Lily Evans and Marlene McKinnon — Lily is a particularly hotheaded girl and Marlene is much more calm, serving as a bit of a mediator between Molly's smothering personality and Lily's stifling fire. Lily constantly complains about "James Potter! He's such a git, insufferable, asking me out as if we're not eleven and completely inexperienced…" Marlene always responds with a sigh and Molly always tells her that she needs to calm down and that James Potter is nothing serious.

His friend, Sirius Black — Molly doesn't trust him, the way he speaks and his cocky manner, the way he treats that Severus Snape, who's Lily's friend. He might be Slytherin and Molly might not like him, but she doesn't like the way he's treated by the so-called "Marauders" — dubbed the name because of their frequent roaming around and sneaking about. Marlene has a bit of a soft spot for Black.

She's only really okay with Remus Lupin. That's mostly because he seems like a decent human being, although Molly doesn't approve of the company he keeps. And Peter Pettigrew is simply too timid for her liking.

Over the years, things change — Arthur becomes a lot more mature and a lot more good-looking — since when do the Potions fumes make him look that good? It's just not possible — and James Potter is either more of an ass or less of one, Molly isn't really sure, and somehow Remus Lupin manages to get himself sick all the time. The mother in Molly worries for him, but then again, it's none of her business.

Arthur smiles at her and helps her with the Transfiguration he's gotten so good at — Molly's left in the dust there, and it makes her a little bit mad. They were at the same level and now he's so much better at her, turning his eyebrows from green to yellow to blue right there and then red again as if it's nothing important. It makes her so bitter, because he gets the good looks and the Transfiguration skills and the — gosh, she doesn't need to hate Arthur, but she tries to be bitter because it should be illegal for his redheadedness to make her feel like this, swooping butterflies in that cheesy romance novel way. It infuriates her, makes her so mad, because it's so stupid. She's not supposed to be the girl who wants to date her best friend but doesn't have the courage to say anything. She's not that girl.

Molly is stuck with these feelings for Arthur, and damn it. Why? Of course Arthur doesn't like her, they're friends and that's that —

He shuts that down during fifth year when he asks her out for Valentine's Day.

"Um. Molly," he asks her — no, not really a question, more like a very shaky statement. "Would you — um, would you —?"

"Just spit it out," Molly says. She doesn't like timidity and she doesn't like dawdling and Arthur is sort of doing both. Why is she so moody lately?

"Will you go on a date with me —?"

"What?"

"I mean, you don't have to if you don't want to —"

"Arthur, did you just ask me out?"

"Yeah, but I'm definitely not saying you have to —"

"Shut up. I'm choosing the place."

There's a bit of silence after that. But at last her words catch up to him and he beams, nodding. Molly likes it when he smiles.

She chooses Madam Puddifoot's tea-shop because that's the place to go for Valentine's, is it? It's not a spectacular disaster of a date, but Molly can tell he hates Madam Puddifoot's. It's very lovey-dovey, not at all mechanical or practical the way he's fond of. The look on his face is a bit sour but there's some measure of 'This is worth it' written on his face, and so she gets him some Quidditch broom polish as a way to make up for it. She owes that to him, at least.

It is worth it in the end, though. She gets a kiss for "her trouble."

. . .

"Molly Prewett," he says unexpectedly when the Order is done meeting.

"What?" she asks.

"I was just realizing...what if we go through this war and we haven't even gotten married?"

She turns her head to face him, a little bit confused. It takes her a moment to realize what he's implying.

"Are you asking what I think you're asking?"

All he does is smile at her.

It is what it is.

. . .

It's not really troubling for her to go from "Molly Prewett" to "Molly Weasley."

(That's his surname. Weasley. She finds out from experience.)