A/N: This was written for TamariChan's Cross-Gen Competition over on the HPFC forum thingy. It's the first Cross-Gen I've ever done and I was a bit hesitant. I searched around a bit and found out that Kingsley's age is never mentioned, so I took some liberties and made him old. Molly and Arthur old.
"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
- Mark Twain
He's old, really old, but she can't bring herself to care because his smile is young and his touch is fresh.
He's her dirty little secret. He's the man she keeps behind the curtains in her mind, hidden from her father, hidden from even the most skilled Legilimens. He's the man with the deep, deep dark skin and the smiles like sunshine breaking through clouds. But he's sometimes the man with the memories of war in his irises and the shadow of death in his speech.
He's the man with the tired eyes and the weary sighs and, she supposes, she's his dirty little secret too.
Because she's the girl with the freckled shoulders who leans against him in the night, the girl with the short ginger hair that stands up oddly in a million different directions in the mornings after, she's the girl, the girl, the girl-
You'll be happy to know that I've been talking to an old friend of mine, Kingsley Shacklebolt. I think you'll have met him at a party or two. Kingsley is the Head of the Auror Office, dear, and he's agreed to give you a little experience before your Seventh Year!
I know, I know, you wanted "to prove yourself" and "not rely on the Weasley name" but think about it this way – Kingsley'd have done it for you even if we weren't well-known! And I doubt you'd have complained then.
He's delighted to have you onboard for the summer. Three weeks in July. Told me he needs more Ravenclaws. "Too many brash Gryffindors without the skills to match," he said. So I told him you were the best of both worlds: a true Ravenclaw with a true Gryffindor heart.
I hope you're well. Granddad says hello!
PS. Here's some chocolate tart! I made it for your Granddad but you know what the Healer said about his blood sugar. Enjoy.
She's seen the way he looks at her grandmother so she knows that sometimes, when she talks to him, he forgets that she was born a Weasley, that's she's always been a Weasley, and he looks at her like he's sixteen again and her name is Molly Prewett and he still has a chance. He stares at her with stars in his eyes and his heart on show and she knows that, sometimes, she forgets he's a liar.
But it's okay because he kisses her and it's soft and tender and it's his way of apologising.
So she lets him, and they sink slowly to the floor in each others' arms. His fingers tangle in her hair and she tugs roughly at his clothes, nails digging into his muscled forearms, leaving bite marks on his skin. He knows it's her payback, a bittersweet revenge, and so he carries on kissing her sweetly, gently, as she bruises his skin and leaves cuts and scrapes on his back.
"What are you thinking about?," she asks after that first, confusing time.
If she didn't know better she'd swear he was blushing. She's think he was caught off guard, searching for something to say.
But it's Kingsley and she knows he's the epitome of calm and collected. She tells herself that the reason he sighs heavily and leans his head against the wall wearily is because he's tired.
"You, of course."
She's tired, too. So Molly lets the lie slip away into the darkness and curls up at his side. He presses gentle lips to her forehead and whispers his goodnights.
That night, Molly dreams she's older than the hills and wiser than the world and that Kingsley's kiss was meant for her.
(She even dreams his lies.)
Thank you so so so much! I loved working with Mr. Shacklebolt. He taught me so much and I definitely had a lot of new experiences.
And Gran? I think he likes you!
Love your favourite grandchild,
"You know, Kingsley, I'm smarter than I look."
He cocks his head to the side, bewildered, and she almost feels her resolve crumble at her feet. Gryffindor heart, Gryffindor heart, she chants.
"I'm not her."
"Molly, what are you talking about?"
He looks at the girl with the shining eyes and the choppy hair and even though she looks like a shadow of the past that he can't quite shake, even though he knows what's worrying her, the lies fit better on his tongue. Because no matter what truths he has to tell, neither of them can forget who they are and who they aren't.
"I'm Molly Weasley. I've always been Molly Weasley. I look like her. I know. It must hurt you to see… But I'm me, Kingsley. I'm Molly. I'm sixteen and you- you're not. You're not."
She doesn't expect the gentle chuckle but when it comes it warms her (Ravenclaw) heart and she feels like she can maybe smile again.
"If you could just- just tell me truth, Kings. Just tell me. Then I can leave and know it was the right thing to do."
"I love you, Molly," Kinglsey whispers, and she feels the pillowed blow of another lie. Only maybe it's not so much a lie. Maybe, just maybe, he loves them both.
And she walks away from him from the first time, grateful that he kept his lies up, so that when she thinks back, she can pretend.