"Molly, can I talk to you?" Lily pulled the older girl aside after dinner that evening.

"Sure." They ducked down a hall and slipped into a small alcove. "What is it?"

"I wanted to thank you for encouraging me to give Sev a second chance." She smiled at the memory of the relief and happiness on his face in the greenhouse. "I think it was the right thing to do."

"I'm glad to hear it." She grinned and shifted her books. "He seemed very sincere and I really did feel bad for him. It's good to know that you two have made up."

"But Molly, I have to know – why are you fooling around with Lucius?" She kept her voice hushed in case any other students came wandering down the hall.

"Why?" She laughed. "Oh, I don't know. Perhaps because I know I probably shouldn't? Because my brothers would hex the both of us if they ever found out?" She shrugged. "He's not exactly bad looking either."

"You have to know that it's just a game to him, though," Lily went on urgently. "Sev said that Lucius didn't want him to say anything, but that it's all just a game to Lucius. A bet with Sev, to show him that he could get a Gryffindor girl."

"I figured that much, though it's good to hear it confirmed." She leaned against the cool stonework. "I knew he had to have some ulterior motive. Though I'll admit, sometimes he got the strangest look…"

"Really?"

"Yes. Like he was unsure, or like he wanted to say something but didn't know how."

"That's odd." Lily frowned. "Sev said that he was being a bit confusing too." She put her hand on the other girls arm. "Anyway, I just wanted you to know to be careful, that Lucius is just playing games."

"That was what I'd assumed." She shrugged. "He's not going to get anywhere anyway. Maybe a quick snog, but that's about it."

"As long as you know." Lily stepped out of the shadows, towards the main hall. "We'd better get back before we run into Peeves or something."

"Alright."

"Will you still go out with Malfoy a second time?"

Molly looked bemused. "Probably. Even knowing it's all just a joke, it is kind of fun seeing a man I shouldn't for once, somebody a little less safe than Arthur or the friends that Fab and Gid are always trying to set me up with. And it lets me have a bit of fun with him too." She leaned over to whisper in Lily's ear. "You know I got him to wear Muggle clothes?"

Lily gasped. "Really?" She stifled a giggle. "How did he react to that?"

"Looked furious, but sucked it up and wore them anyway. I'm sure he didn't want me to think that I'd gotten to him."

"That's terrible!" She laughed again, but sobered. "Do be careful, though, Molly. Lucius has got a mean streak and his so-called friends do too. I don't want anything bad to happen to you."

"I can take care of myself." She patted Lily on the shoulder as they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady. "And besides, this will be the last time."

OOO

Molly returned from the library late that evening and was turning the corner to the common room when he suddenly felt a hand on her wrist tugging her aside.

"What the…"

"Hello Molly darling." Lucius Malfoy was there, sweeping a cloth around her that, judging from its silvery color, was an invisibility cloak. "I'm quite glad to see you. Do you know how long I had to lurk outside of this portrait? I very nearly gave up."

"I don't care!" She pushed away. "What are you doing here?"

"I simply came to give your brother's clothes back." He pushed a bundle into her arms. "Well, that, and to discuss our date."

"It's not for days! I thought it was on the weekend."

"It is. But I like to be prepared." He tugged her back under the cloak. "Since you got to choose the last time, I assume it will be my choice this time?"

She frowned and clutched the clothes. "I ought not even go with you. This is all just a game to you, isn't that right? See if you can seduce the Gryffindor girl?"

He glowered. "I am going to feed Severus to the damn squid."

"Don't go blaming him. I knew something was up with you. I didn't know quite what game you were playing, but I figured you were playing one."

"Then why did you trust Severus? If you thought it was all a game all along."

"He seemed more sincere. I've seen the way he acts around Lily. No chance he was making that up. Besides, whatever his reputation, it's not a tenth of yours."

"Look, Molly, I promise you this isn't… alright, so I did want to prove a point with Severus. But I truly do want to go out with you again."

"Why?"

"I don't know!" He hissed. "You have red hair, I like your curves, you're amusing, it's forbidden… what do you want me to say? Why do you keep going out with me if you are so determined to think it a bad thing, if you believe I am leading you on?"

Molly blushed. "I…" She trailed off, shrugged and looked away.

"Then let's neither of us worry about it, alright? Forget what Severus said, let's just see where things go."

"And what do I do if you make a fool of me? Use this to brag to all your Slytherin pals?"

"Send Fabian and Gideon after me. Hex me. Whatever you like." He readjusted the cloak to make sure they were still covered. "Now, to the point of why I hovered outside there all evening, what would you like to do for this date we have?"

"Well, it is your choice. I decided the last time."

"I don't want to do anything that you don't want to do."

"Unless you plan a lovely evening of Muggle-baiting, I don't know what you could pick that would be that awful."

He paused. "Would you like to make it a day-long affair?"

"Don't push it."

"Alright, alright!" He held his hands up. "But I shall make every effort to see that you have a lovely time, whatever you suspect my motives to be. Meet me in the library at five and we will proceed from there."

She nodded. "And you won't really do anything to Severus, will you?"

He smirked. "Nothing very serious…"

"Lucius!" She slapped his chest. "If you do anything to him, it's all off!"

"Alright, alright," he laughed. "Anything for a lady."

He smiled at her, held her eyes with his until she pulled away. "I need to get back Lucius."

"Goodbye, then," he whispered, "at least until Saturday."

He slipped the cloak off of her and made off down the hallway, slipping into a thankfully empty Slytherin common room. An idea was brewing in his head, so he went straight to his own bed and scribbled out a letter, affixing it to his owl and sending it out the window and on its way. As he watched the bird fly away, he paused before closing the window to see the starts sparkling far above him.

He grinned; even if his plan didn't work out, a moonlight stroll after an expensive dinner was never a bad idea to fall back on.