Disclaimer: No, I can't say as I own Arthur or Molly. And even as wonderful as the idea is to behold, I'm rather happy with J.K.R.'s ownership of them. She may not have opened all the secrets of the Weasleys wide open for the world, but at least we poor humble fan writers can have fun expanding on what we do know about them.
Worth the Risk
"Psssst," hissed a voice as loudly as one would dare at such a time of night.
Molly Prewett's thick auburn-red hair billowed slightly as she looked over quickly to see her cousin Gisella peering out from around the corner of the girl's dormitory stairwell.
"Where are you going?" the other 6th year asked in a roughly whispered tone.
"Never you mind, Gisella," was Molly's hurried response as she pulled her cloak on over her Gryffindor robes, "It's none of your business anyway."
Gisella's eyes went three times larger than their normally large size.
"You're not -- not going out to meet him -- are you?"
Anger reared in Molly's chest at Gisella's accusatory tone.
"And what if I am? What say do you have over it?"
"Molly, you know what Uncle Patrick said about them. Aunt Melinda -- your mum -- can't stand their family. If you're caught sneaking around with him…"
"I'll just have to make sure I don't get caught then, won't I?" was Molly's challenging reply before she shoved open the picture from before the port hole and clamored out.
"And where do you think you're going at this time of night, missy," questioned the Fat Lady as Molly shut her over the entrance to Gryffindor Tower. "You know you shouldn't be outside the common room after 9 unless you're accompanied by a teacher. Is it really worth getting caught and punished just to spend a little time with a boy? Who is it you're going to see anyway? It is a boy you're sneaking out to meet, isn't it?"
Molly clenched her teeth tightly to keep herself from shouting, 'What business is it of anyone else's where I go or who I spend my time with!'
She instead managed to bleat out, "I'm going for some air" before hurrying off down the halls.
What business was it of anyone else's? She had a perfect right to see anyone she wanted and if it just happened to be that the one she wanted to see was Arthur Weasley, then who was anyone else to say whether she could or could not. All this business about old families and high-and-mighty purebloods and such… So what if her father and mother thought they were better than the average wizard family. His family was every bit as pure blooded as hers. Not that that any of it mattered to Arthur. She could have been as Muggle as any in London and if he fancied her still, than there was little more to the matter to him. Of course with his keen interest in Muggles and their odd way of living, her being a Muggle would probably have been a bonus to his way of thinking.
Molly gave a grim smirk at that last. His way of thinking… It was rather odd when you looked at it from a more logical point of view. Well, a more wizardly point of view anyway. To be so interested Muggles and their world… It never made sense to her to worry about them so much. Certainly one had to know enough about them to not have accidents which revealed themselves, but his interest went beyond. The way he talked about sneaking out of his house during the summer to go snooping about the Muggle town nearby… He was seriously going to get in trouble one of these days with that Muggle fascination of his. And honestly, where could such a thing lead him if not to trouble?
Molly made her way through the halls and after two close runs ins -- one with Peeves the poltergeist, the other with caretaker Apollyon Pringle's new assistant, Mr. Filch, -- she found the secret stone and tapped twice on it with the end of her wand as Arthur had shown her only that morning. The stone vanished and Molly slipped through to find Arthur waiting for her just as he'd promised he would be. He quickly stood his tall lanky frame straight from his slouched leaning against the wall and gave three taps of his wand in the empty space, magically setting the missing stone back in its place.
At the sight of the young wizard's dancing blue eyes and shock of hair shining red even in the moonlight, Molly bit her lower lip as that strange wave of excitement and euphoria swept through her just as it always did when she was with him. Arthur looked down at her and grinned devilishly before he grabbed her hand and with a hushed, "Hurry, this way," quickly led her down to the edge of the lake and into the small grove of trees that lined a portion of the lake's edge. Once beside the lake they stopped and Molly looked out to see the reflection of the moon dancing upon the water's surface.
"Are you sure it's safe to be out here like this, Arthur?" she asked hesitantly as she turned to look back up at the normally light colored face that now seemed almost white in the moon light. "I mean, aren't there supposed to be…things…out here roaming about at night?"
Arthur gave a soft indulgent smile.
"Nothing to worry about, Molly. Not here anyway. It's not a full moon, so no werewolves, and there's nothing that likes to walk on land that wants to get too close to the lake at night."
Molly gave him a grimace.
"Just the stupid fools standing here now?"
"And who's the more foolish? Me for being here in the first place or you for following?"
Molly gave him a sharp look and Arthur ducked his head slightly by way of an apology.
"Oh come on, Molly, lighten up. It's alright, really."
When Molly gave him no sign that her unappeased look would be relenting anytime soon, Arthur gave a soft sigh before he said gently and somberly, "Molly, do you really think I'd ask you to meet me out here if there was any chance of you getting hurt?"
Molly took in his serious expression before she finally sighed, her shoulders sagging slightly from their indignant set.
"I'm sorry, Arthur. I just…well…it just seems so dangerous out here like this. I mean with…him…running around and all…did you read the post this morning? Two more missing Ministry officials last week. Then there was that one woman from over in Kent that they found dead without a mark on her. Arthur, they have no idea what actually happened to her, but they're sure it was him. Or at least one of his followers. And it's getting worse all the time."
Arthur watched her quietly as Molly went on for several more minutes before the young woman suddenly found herself held against him gently. For a brief moment she could make nothing of it and was at a loss at how to respond, but she recovered quickly to realize he was trying to comfort her. Though he was hardly the big wizard at Hogwarts and no one could claim he was the bravest among them, Molly still found a sense of security and protection in his arms. One she'd never felt from anyone before. He seemed so strong just then. So sure. As if right here really was the safest place for her to be. And then of course there was that wonderful feeling of pleasure running through her at the touch of him.
"Molly," he began softly, "I would never bring you anywhere there was a chance of danger to you. I would never put you in harms way knowingly or willingly, and if by accident I ever did, I can tell you you'd be hard pressed to find anyone moving faster than I to see the mistake corrected and to see you to safety. I have it from the Headmaster himself that Professor Aquarilon places special enchantments upon the lake every year that keep students safe from being meals for anything serious in there and Gameskeeper Ogg says that with Hagrid's knack with the animals around here, nothing sets paw or hoof on the immediate grounds except by his say so. As for…him… Well, I've heard the teachers talking and they all agree that there is no place safer from him than Hogwarts. He doesn't dare set foot on the grounds what with all the protection around and no one yet who isn't allowed has found a way in. Trust me, Molly. You're safe."
Despite his convinced tone, Molly shuddered anyway.
"Maybe for now," she said, "But for how much longer?"
She shifted to look up, the worry plain in her eyes.
"It's not going to get better anytime soon, Arthur. It isn't. Everyone can feel it it seems, except for you. Always goofing about…never taking anything seriously. Honestly, Arthur, how you ever managed to make it to your seventh year is still beyond me. If it wasn't for Muggle Studies and Charms you'd be hopeless."
Arthur grinned smugly.
"Only nearly so. I do have you after all."
Molly felt the heat rise in her cheeks as she blushed warmly under his direct gaze.
"And just to clarify, I do take things seriously," continued Arthur admittingly. "Honestly, Molly, I'm just as scared as anyone else is right now. But I won't let it all keep me from living. There are other things out there besides death and fear and really, those aren't even the worst. Maybe I do come of a bit casual sometimes about some things, but it's only because I know that when the time comes for me to fight, I'll stand and fight and take my turn just like everyone else. I'll meet it no more bravely than anyone else. I won't go looking for it, but I won't run from it either. If I'm alive now, I'm going to live, not just exist. And, well, if I can make a few people smile too for a moment, than all the better. In the meantime, I'll hold out hoping that eventually it will all be over and we all can live the normal lives we're supposed too."
Molly looked at him a moment more before she smiled. When put that way, he was in a sense thumbing his nose right back at Lord Voldemort. And so was every other wizard and witch that still continued to do all the normal things people did. By not spending all his time worrying that the next moment would be his last, he was better able to enjoy his moments even with the dangers in the world. Voldemort could not control them all and he could certainly not stop people from doing all those natural normal things. There would still be families… There would still be friends… There would still be love…
Molly settled her cheek and palms against his chest with a soft smile.
"Oh Arthur. What am I going to do with you?" she asked gently feeling as Arthur leaned his face down onto her head.
She felt his lips pull up into a grin before his muffled voice answered from her hair, "Let me take you on that stroll I promised and maybe talk about something other than the world's worries?"
Molly's smile broadened as well before she nodded silently.
"So we're to pretend nothing exists but us then?"
"Even if only for a little while," affirmed Arthur.
The young woman stepped back then as the wizard took hold of her hand and began to lead her along at a leisurely pace along the chilly tree lined beach, and for a while, nothing did exist but the two of them. They talked at length about many things: school, other friends, Quidittch, detentions, lessons, family and even their own personal thoughts about their futures. Sometimes serious, but most often laughingly, Molly managed, though not without a little effort initially, to play along. After a bit however, her smiles became fully natural and her keening interest in Arthur rose high as the magic of their private moments took them over. Soon they were playing about in a loose 'catch-me-if-you-can' game until Arthur caught her in his arms and surprised her by leaning in and kissing her…
Molly's shock could not have been any greater than if he'd suddenly admitted that he was Lord Voldemort himself. She knew clearly that Arthur liked her. Of that there had never been doubt, but this was a move she hadn't expected from him. At least not right now with he being such the gentleman he was. But then again…
Perhaps it shouldn't have been quite so unexpected. When she considered what he had said earlier about going on with the business of living despite the troubles in the world, it in fact made sense that he would tempt the fates (as well as her possible rebuke) with a kiss. He lived for the here and now and worries were handled when it was time. He didn't avoid them or hide from them. He just didn't spend hours at a time as she did obsessing over the least little thing before it happened. When he felt the need to do something he did it and strangely enough was that it rarely was off the mark.
Even now, as she tried to understand the motivation for his kiss at this moment, she suddenly realized that she hadn't pulled away to admonish him for his unusually bold step. His lips still met hers in that oh so gentle of touches and even more amazing was that she found herself with no interest what-so-ever in stepping away. She should have. She knew it. Her mind was telling her quite clearly that she had to pull free and tell him off for taking such advantage of her. Her body, however was on quite another train of thought about it. One that was most adamant about leaning in that much closer and allowing it take her away.
For a moment hardly definable by any ordinary measurement of time, her mind and body tug-of-warred undecidedly over the issue before her heart overrode both of them. Her heart, remembering that she had already felt the stirrings of being in love, convinced her to take the kiss for all it was worth and her lips instinctively softened against his.
There was a soft catch of breath from him in response, her body was pulled closer as her arms snaked up to settle around his neck, and from there the world was transferred into a hazy film of touch and pleasure.
Whether it was seconds minutes or hours that ticked by, she couldn't tell. Not that she cared. All she could be sure of was that when Arthur pulled his face back to look at her, she was suddenly struck with the awful feeling of disappointment that it had ended. All she could think was how lovely it would have been to continue so much longer.
Gazing up at Arthur, Molly saw a gentle content expression upon his face and with a demure tilt of her head, she gave a soft playful smirk at it. Arthur's eyes sparkled as he grinned widely.
"Rather pleased with yourself, aren't you?" asked Molly lightheartedly. "Taking a chance like that… Risking I might be mad at you for it."
Arthur grinned even wider with a nod that was only half admitting in nature.
Molly rolled her eyes as she teasingly continued, "And here all this time I thought you were a gentleman."
"I am a gentlemen," Arthur said with airy confidence.
The young woman fixed him with a loose skeptical glare.
"And how exactly do you figure that?"
Arthur grinned again with mischievous intent.
"I didn't run up and kiss you the first time I saw you. Honestly, Molly. It's been absolute torture waiting so long for this. "
Molly blinked in wide eyed astonishment for a second before her cheeks flamed red at what he was inferring and she could not help but look away overwhelmed.
"I mean that, Molly," Arthur continued softly after a few moments. "The moment I saw you step up for sorting, I knew there was just something about you that took me completely over. Something wonderful and special… Something I just couldn't shake even if I'd wanted to. Every time you walked by, I just had to stop and watch. And the more I watched, the more I wanted to know you. I was a little afraid at first, that you wouldn't want to have anything to do with me, but somehow you did and I know I'm lucky for having had any chance at all."
Molly looked back to him with a gentle smile.
"Arthur, you've always had more of a chance than most."
A delighted smile crossed his face at that and he quickly pulled her back into a tight embrace.
"It doesn't matter that my brother, and your parents, they might not approve of this?"
The young woman shook her head against his chest.
"Not in the least."
"And what about you? Not afraid my mother will have my brothers stuff you into cupboard or send you into the middle of the North Sea?"
Arthur gave a sharp highly amused bark of laughter.
"Fabian and Gideon absolutely love me."
Now it was Molly's turn to chuckle.
"Perhaps, but they do love me more."
The seventh year nodded.
"So they do. But I doubt highly that they would let your mother bully them into doing anything to me for no reason at all except that I exist. All I need to do is make sure they have no reason to come after me themselves and I'll be quite safe."
"With my brothers and their tempers that's quite a risk. Are you sure it's one you really want to take?"
"Molly," came Arthur's quiet response, "You are worth any risk."
There was a moment before Molly tightened her arms around Arthur and for a while there was no more to be said. There was nothing she could say. Arthur had just revealed to her a level of commitment and interest she'd never imagined anyone could have for anything. But to discover that he held just such a level of interest in her alone… Not even his Muggle fascination could compare to this. It was easily apparent as well that if she so demanded it of him, he would more than likely have foregone his Muggle obsessions just to be with her.
Molly closed her eyes.
She would not do that. No, she would not ever ask him to give up something he loved so much. She could not ask it of him. It was a part of him and as such she could accept that. She would accept it. And she would share him with it. She could do that.
Arthur gently rubbed her arm.
"Well, Molly girl, I think we should head on back, before we're missed."
Arthur pulled away slightly and looked down at her in surprise.
Molly blinked at him.
"Molly, I never thought you of all people would want to willingly and unquestioningly break the rules to the point of un-salvageability. Me on the other hand…"
"Yes, well, breaking the rules never felt quite so right before."
Arthur laughed as he slipped an arm around her shoulders and started to lead them back to the school.
"Maybe, but I wouldn't want your good name ruined in just one night on my account."
She looked up at him with an impish smirk.
"Now that's more like it," he said with a grin.
"Oy! You there! What do ya' think you're doin' out 'ere! Come 'ere you!"
Arthur's smile died instantly as they looked to the right and saw a figure striding quickly towards them from the direction of the Forbidden Woods.
"Bad luck for us, it's Pringle!" he said earnestly as he shoved Molly before him. "Run to the stone, hurry!"
Picking up on Arthur's panic, Molly ran as he instructed, but called back as they rounded a corner of the castle, "Bad luck? What do you mean?"
"It's better to be caught by just about anyone else as you'll get no more than a severe ear full and a few detentions. But Caretaker Pringle still has the old punishments in place. If we get caught, he's got permission by the old codes to do worse then yell!"
"You don't seriously mean that he would…"
"That's exactly what I mean!" Arthur answered quickly as they pulled to a stop before the secret stone. He tapped the magic entry way twice and gently pushed Molly towards the opening.
Molly stopped halfway through.
"Wait! What about you?"
"He'll be around the corner any moment, Molly. If he doesn't see anyone when he comes around he'll figure we've gone in somehow and he'll do the same. He'll alert the portraits and ghosts and before you know it he'll know exactly who was out. I kept you in front of me so he wouldn't see both of us and would assume it was just one person. I'll occupy him long enough for you to get to the tower and then I'll lose him and get back in myself."
"But that's not fair, Arthur! I'll stay with you…"
"No Molly, go!"
Arthur gave her a further gentle push causing her to stumble slightly back through the rest of the opening and into the castle. She saw him tap the air with his wand thrice and back the stone appeared in its correct place. Molly stared at the stone for a moment in unhappy indecision. She wanted to go back with him; risk whatever penalty was in store if they were both caught. Even if it was as Arthur suggested and far from a benign punishment, it just wasn't fair that he might have to face it alone when she was by rights just as in the wrong as he.
But he'd been so insistent…he'd even tried to cover her presence by running just behind her so Caretaker Pringle hopefully saw only one of them.
Molly huffed. Well, if he wanted her to go back to the tower, than she would. But she was going to wait in the common room for him. Wait until he made it back in safe and sound. Just to be sure. And then she would let him know precisely what she thought of his bossing her around…even if it was for her safety. If he was going to include her in his life, then to her it meant in every way appropriate and that he would have to accept her opinions and choices as well. If they did something wrong together, then they would stand and get in trouble together. He didn't hide from the responsibility of his actions and neither would she.
Molly's return to the common room was easy only in so far as she ran into no one on her way there. Her arrival, however, was marked well by a very indignant Fat Lady.
"Where in the good heavens have you been young lady? Do you realize how late it is? Four in the morning! No! You didn't know, did you? Just flitting about all night getting into who knows what with who knows who... No self respecting young woman should ever dare do such a thing. Why, I was worried sick about you! Asking all the other paintings where you'd gone off too and if you'd come back in…I was just about ready to send for the headmaster! Don't give me that look young lady! I could still just as easily do it now and let you get into all the trouble you deserve. Why, I daresay you could even be expelled for this.
"Really! A witch of your blood and breeding ought to know better. Ought to do better. Ought to make an example to all the other younger witches how to be a proper young lady. I used to think that if ever there was a girl with a good head on her shoulders made just for going places grand in the world, it was you. Now I can hardly believe I used to call you one of my favorites. Really! I'm so upset and insulted. I've half a mind not to let you in at all. Let you sit out here in the hall and if someone catches out of the tower, let them take you for it and toss you out.
"Humph! And all that for a boy no doubt. Who is he now? Who is it that has you so confounded that you would let yourself do something so brainless? You won't tell me? Fine. Keep your secret. I'll know soon enough anyway. But let me give you a little piece of advice missy. Whoever he is, he's not worth it. Here today, gone tomorrow you know. I've seen it a million times, and don't think I haven't. They're so quick to move from one to another…can't ever seem to make up their minds. Why, they never even realize when they let someone good go, and oh, don't let them get in trouble because of you. They'll send all the blame your way and write you off a moment later. You see if they don't."
The Fat Lady finally swung open to admit Molly.
"Now you get on in there, and don't you dare let me catch you doing something like this again. I'll call the headmaster immediately and everyone in the school will know about it. I promise."
Molly, though tired and concerned for Arthur, was half tempted to argue in return to the Fat Lady, but wisely decided against it. She was letting her go without turning her in to the headmaster (or anyone else for that matter), and while it would have felt immeasurably gratifying to get some of her frustration out, now was just not the time. So, she climbed through and into the common room barely in time to keep from getting caught by the door.
She looked about the darkened room before sighing. Her anger abated, her frustration once more giving way to her worry, she slowly curled up on the nearest chair and staring into the last of the dieing embers within the fireplace, she waited for Arthur's return.
It was a very long wait.
A/N: Well, as you can see, to go along with my madness for fluffy cute pairings, I have a particular interest in Arthur and Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter books. There's just something about those two. Both in the books and their portrayal in the movies, they come off to me as quite the couple. They're quite adorably amusing together, very loving and the history that is suggested for them is intriguing as well.
He has a brother with which he apparently refuses to speak to, Molly (the poor thing) lost both of her brothers to Death Eaters (it took five of them to bring those two down!), he's the more relaxed of the two while she the stalwart rock of the family… I think I could really have some fun with these two during their Hogwarts years. Besides the potential for fluffiness I'd be willing to bet that they had some adventures of their own within the years of LV's height of power.
Anyway, this is just a little something I came up with when the idea to do a fic with these two was at it's strongest. It references a little incident that Molly spoke of during her and Bill's visit to Hogwarts as Harry's family in "The Goblet of Fire". She mentions how the Fat Lady was there when she was a girl and gave her "such a telling off" after coming in at four in the morning. Poor Arthur had been caught by the caretaker of that time and still 'had the marks' from that late night stroll. Since Filch mentioned in "The Sorcerer's Stone" that he wished the old punishments hadn't died out ( "hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days" ) and that he kept the chains oiled just on case, we can reasonably assume that Arthur's punishment, being as he still bears the marks, was not a particularly pleasant one. (Sigh) Poor Arthur.
Hmmm. You know…I might just have to make this a two parter. :D