A/N: So, this is my second Private Peaceful fanfic, because, just recently, I can't get the story out of my head. I swear I've never cried that much at a book. Anyway,
this is set after my previous fanfic, Taking Chances, as Molly is aware of Charlie's sentence. If you haven't/aren't going to read my other fanfic, just look at it as in Charlie called Molly and told her the night before, 'kay? But y'know, I'd appreciate it if you read Taking Chances! ^^

Disclaimer: The characters' in this story do not belong to me, they belong to the awesome Michael Morpurgo! ^^

I lay there, wide awake, trying to decipher my thoughts behind getting into bed in the first place. How had I ever expected to sleep? Especially on a night like this.
It was like Christmas Eve, but there'd be no presents the next day. Just the fateful death of the love of my life, Charlie Peaceful. The bed seemed cold, and empty. I tried to tell myself that I had to get used to it; it would always be like this, from now on. There'd never be anyone lying next to me, wrapping their arms around, radiating warth and happiness into our - my - cosy little room. Just me, nowadays.

I hadn't been able to bring myself to tell Mother of Charlie's sentence. I hadn't stopped crying for hours, and my eyes were still wet now. How could I even try to explain what had happened to Charlie, to his beloved Mother? Charlie, Tommo and Big Joe were Mother's life, and the death of just one of them would tear her apart. She loved them dearly, as only a mother could. Charlie's death would be a terrible blow to everyone: it would break my heart, send Mother into a deep grief, and Big Joe would just be in the middle of everything, trying and failing in a desperate attempt to understand why his little brother would never return. And Tommo... what would it do to him? Charlie and him had been inseperable their entire lives, best friends as well as brothers; did Tommo even know of Charlie's sentence?

Sighing, I sat up, running a hand through my frazzled hair. I couldn't waste this night sleeping: I want to remember everything of Charlie. I can't ever forget. I made a promise...

***

"Charlie! Charlie!" I cried out to the kind, big boy across the playground. He was not much older than me, but he was nearly in Mr Munning's class. I was alone today;
my best friend wasn't in, and the people we were with were her friends, not mine. Charlie looked over at me, meeting my eyes. He smiled.

"Molly," His voice was gentle, but not in a way that made me feel anything less than him. "Are you alright? Where're your friends?" I explained at a non-human speed, and he nodded. Charlie was always kind to me. I liked Charlie, lots and lots. The rest of the day, I stayed by his side, and he didn't desert me once. I was around him and his big, tough friends all that day, small as I was. I remember telling my Mother I'd had the best day ever.

I never forgot the gentle friendliness Charlie showed me that day. I felt obliged to help little Tommo, when he arrived. He walked into the classroom, his hair in his eyes, but not hiding his terrified expression. My heart went out to him, especially as he struggled to tie his laces. Tears welled up in his eyes. I would've tied them for him whether Miss had asked me to or not. I smiled to show him he wasn't alone. He had at least one friend here.

Throwing him glances across the playground, I watched him practice tying his laces again, and again. I could see Charlie watching him too, protecting him even from a distance. No one would cross Charlie. Finally, he tied them in untidy loops that drooped to the floor, but he looked as pleased as if he'd just performed Mozart for the queen. He threw me a radiant smile. I felt Charlie's curious gaze on me; he had clearly seen. The thought made me smile.

It was a few days later when the fight occured. I didn't blame the Peaceful's at all for what they did. If anyone had ever insulted Charlie, or Tommo, to my face, I would've smacked them one too, and they weren't even my brothers. I felt a strange closeness to the Peaceful family, and I longed to get to know them better. I watched from a distance as Tommo threw himself at a big boy, whose name I didn't know. I didn't know why until later, that the bastard had insulted Big Joe, called him an idiot. It wasn't true: Big Joe was kind. The big boy quickly floored Tommo, who cried out in pain. A second later, Charlie had hurled himself like a human cannonball at the boy, swearing like a soldier (how ironic). They rolled around, gathering dust, until Mr Munning charged out of his office, throwing the two boys to the ground. Frogmarching them to his office, little Tommo was left on the ground, muddy and bloody. Tears stained his plump cheeks. Pity overwhelmed me, and I abandoned my friends. He looked up at me, his face a mixture of hate and despair. I wet a tissue, and gently dabbed at the cuts he had acquired. He watched me silently.

"I like Big Joe," I spoke quietly, "He's kind."

I was speaking the truth: Big Joe was always charming to everyone. I didn't care if he had problems in the head, he was still a lovely person to know, and there was no way he ever deserved teasing like that bully gave him. Tommo gazed at me, with something I couldn't identify in his eyes. It was after that I really began to get to know the Peaceful family, and their problems. It was then I began to fall in love with Charlie.

A/N: Sorry, that was quite quickly-paced, and not the most interesting thing to read, but I just wanted to get the whole meeting part over, so I could move onto where Molly actually began to get to know Charlie! ^^ Expect more soon! R&R! Molly.