The Sugar Quill
Author: Norwegian Blue  Story: Before the Weasleys  Chapter: Chapter 1: When They Met
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Arthur ran panting down the corridor

A/N: You can thank the regulars on the Fluff thread for this one. A person can only read so much entertaining romance before some of it starts to seep in, although this is no where near as good as what you’d find there. Really, go read that thread now and save yourself the trouble of going through… this.

 

Thanks to Miss Daisy, Genesse, and Kit the Brave for pre-betaing this, as well as my general flist, who helped a lot with characterization, and magicaljules for just being all around encouraging and reading some early drafts, often while I was in the middle of writing them. Of course, special thanks go to my SQ beta, Beth, who not only read this during her midterms, she read the un-proofread version that I sent her by mistake.

 

Disclaimer: None of this is mine, of course.

 

 

 

Arthur ran panting down the corridor. He had been in the library, doing research for his Muggle studies class and had become so involved in his research that when he had finished the assignment he began looking through the other books in the Muggle Studies section, and had lost track of the time until Madam Prince announced that the library was closing.

Arthur had stared dumbfounded at his watch for a few seconds then gathered up the books so haphazardly that it caused the librarian to squawk angrily at him. After yelling an apology over his shoulder at her, he tore off down the hallways to Gryffindor Tower. Of course, it was just in his luck that it had been raining that day and puddles were all over the floors. As he skidded around the last turn for the tapestry that led to the corridor outside the Fat Lady’s portrait, he slipped on some slick stones and banged his chin on the wall as he fell. So in addition to the mud smeared on the front of his robes, he tongue was throbbing and he was pretty sure he could taste blood.

He did a half hearted cleaning charm on is robes, which really didn’t work at all, as his tongue didn’t want to work properly. Unfortunately, this obviously also prevented him from doing a healing charm on his tongue.

He stood outside the entrance to Gryffindor tower, while the Fat Lady waited impatiently for the password. He really didn’t relish the idea of going in to the Gryffindor Common Room to find a handful of angry prefects and an even more irate Head Girl glaring at him for delaying the first Gryffindor prefects meeting of the year. Figuring he couldn’t wait much longer or else his neck would be in danger of strangulation from at least one pair of hands, he said the password and opened the portrait.

Instead of the group of annoyed classmates that he had been expecting, there was really nothing out of the ordinary. People were discussing their first day of classes and bemoaning the fact that some professors had the audacity to lecture and assign homework on the first day. Others were playing Exploding Snap, or catching up with classmates whom they had not heard from over the summer. Maybe, he thought, watching a group of first years head up to the dormitories, the meeting had been called off. He brightened a bit. For one thing, that would mean he wouldn’t get in trouble. But that would also mean that he had suffered a bitten tongue for nothing. Then he saw a rather annoyed looking fifth year girl that he recognized from the prefect meeting on the train glaring at him. He walked over to her, but before he could say anything, she spoke up.

“You’re Arthur Weasley, aren’t you?”

Eryeth.” Arthur cursed inwardly. The sooner he learned nonverbal spells, the better.

“I’m Molly Prewett, fifth year prefect. For Gryffindor.” She added unnecessarily. “Catherine told me to wait for you after we had been here for a while. You’re to take me on patrolling with you. They’ve already explained everything on the train yesterday and when the meeting first started.” Her tone was faintly accusatory as she continued. “Catherine said that it isn’t my fault that you were so late, so we don’t have to do the extra time. She thought it would be a good idea if you did, but then you’d probably be caught by Pringle and not be able to do prefect duty another night.”

“All righ’, leth go,” Arthur muttered.

“Hold on a minutes. What do you have on your robes? And why are you talking strangely?”

Arthur felt his ears turn red. Thlipped in the hallway. Bid my tongue.”

Molly Prewett rolled her eyes. “You’re a sixth year prefect and you can’t do cleaning charms or a simple healing spell?”

Arthur’s tongue was starting to stop throbbing but he was getting rather annoyed with the way this was going. “Well, it ithn’t ath though I could thay the cleaning charm properly, wath it? And how wath I going to thay a healing charm on my tongue?”

Molly rolled her eyes again and performed both charms on him,

“Thanks,” Arthur said grudgingly.

“Charms is my best subject.” Molly said simply.

“Well, let’s go then.” They left Gryffindor tower and started down the corridors.

“So, are we supposed to be doing anything in particular?” Molly asked after a few minutes.

“No, this is pretty much it,” Arthur said, looking around. “This is the worst part of being a prefect, I’d say. It’s very boring.” Arthur cast about, trying to remember what the sixth year who had taken him around last year had said. Martin had given most of the rules in one breath then spent the rest of the time explaining where you could go if you wanted to be alone with a girl and how to get into Hogwarts kitchens and all the perks of the prefect bathroom. Somehow none of these seemed to be appropriate to be showing Molly Prewett. Well, except maybe the bathroom, but it wasn’t as though it wouldn’t be awkward for Molly to be in the boys’ prefect bathroom.

Er, Molly?” A thought had just struck him.

“Yes?”

“No offence intended, but why are you partnered with me? I mean, usually, I think, girl prefects go with girl prefects and boy prefects go with boy prefects so they can show them the bathroom and things.”

She scowled but Arthur swore he saw an amused grin pass over her face. “Tristan—he’s the other fifth year Gryffindor prefect—almost attached himself to Patricia as soon as Catherine said that we were to partner up with you two. He doesn’t even try to hide that he fancies her.” The amused smile flittered over her face again.

Arthur pictured white blonde Patricia with the mousy haired fifth year he had met on the train yesterday and couldn’t help grinning.

“Well, good luck to him, I say.” Arthur turned toward the corridor that would take them to the prefect bathrooms. “Well, I can’t take you in there, but I can definitely show you where the girls’ room is.”

Molly looked up at him and slowly blinked. “You know, I think our head of house would find it interesting that you know where exactly the prefect girls take showers and baths.”

Simultaneously Arthur felt his face turn bright red and his throat contract, making him start choking. “I didn’t mean it like that!” he gasped. “They’re right near the boys’ rooms! You’ll see them!” He rubbed a hand over his face.

He heard a strange noise and saw that Molly had an outright smirk on her face. He shook his head slightly and forced his face into a neutral expression. “Shall we be moving on then?” he asked with an exaggerated bow.

They made their way to the girls’ bathrooms, which Molly acknowledged were close to the boys’ room. Then Arthur showed her what else they should be looking out for, namely hopeful Quidditch players trying to sneak out to the pitch to get some practice in and students keen on demonstrating inter-house rivalry.

“After this first time, one prefect is supposed to stick around the entrance to their house’s common room, in case they need to stop someone in the act, but since we’re all out tonight we’re supposed to keep an eye out especially.”

“You said we’re to keep an eye out for students trying to go flying.” Molly said. “Are we supposed to go outside, then?”

“Technically, yes. But Pringle sort of does that, unofficially. And if he catches you outside, he’ll ‘forget’ that you’re a prefect and hex you on the spot for being outside the castle after curfew.” Arthur rolled his eyes. “Dan Gooding—he was seventh year prefect last year—found that out the hard way. Got some nasty scars.

“It’s only for another couple of weeks that we have to worry about the Quidditch hopefuls and then the teams are picked.” Arthur felt himself straightening up a little. “I’m up for Seeker this year, myself.”

“I know,” Molly said absently.

Arthur blinked. “You did?” he asked, taken slightly aback. Most people didn’t take note of what he was doing other than the fact that he was a prefect and they’d better be careful what they did around him, lest he report them.

“Of course,” Molly said.

They walked for a few minutes. “Do you think I’ll get in?”

Molly looked at him. “Do you think you’ll get in?”

“Well, I hope so—”

“You should think you’ll get on. Otherwise why would you try to get on the team?”

Well, I thought I shouldn’t be steering myself for disappointment…”

“Nonsense,” Molly said dismissively. “You’re smart. If you didn’t honestly think you’d get on the team, why would you bother trying out?”

“What makes you think I’m smart?” Arthur asked bewilderedly.

“Well, you’re a prefect for one thing. It isn’t as though they pick duffers to be prefects. For another thing, I’ve heard you’re the best in your year for Muggle Studies and Merlin knows they aren’t easy to understand.” Molly smiled warmly at him. Then, suddenly, her face blanched. “What time is it?”

Arthur glanced at his watch. “Great. First night of the year and we’ve been out too late.” They hurried back to the Fat Lady’s portrait, who gave them an earful about setting an example for the younger students before letting them in but Arthur couldn’t help smiling the whole time.

****

After that first night, the prefects went back to taking turns on walking around Hogwarts the first hour after curfew. Generally, the prefects were supposed to do this on their own, but sometimes his and Molly’s paths would intersect while they were out and they’d walk the rest of the time together. Sometimes, if they knew ahead of the time that they’d be patrolling the same night, they would walk together the whole time. Arthur rather liked talking with Molly. Whenever he talked with her about things that were bothering him, she seemed to be able to cut away all the extra things that were hanging around it and made his problems so simple and easy to solve.

This was very hard to explain to his friends and classmates.

“She actually lets you talk?” demanded Gideon Prewett, Molly’s older brother and Beater on the Gryffindor Quidditch team (which Arthur did indeed make). “She hardly lets anyone have a word in edgewise when we’re at home.”

Arthur frowned. They were having Quidditch practice and he was trying to keep an eye out for the Snitch and thus wasn’t really paying attention to what he said next. “Well, maybe that’s because you don’t have anything to say worth listening to.”

Gideon snorted. Fabian, who was floating on his broom not too far away, said “Oh yes, Arthur. We all know that you’re so deep and philosophical.”

A whistle sounded just then, ending the conversation. For all their jokes, though, Arthur noticed that the Prewett twins, who were seventh years and whom Arthur had barely known at all before he started playing Quidditch, started hanging around him a lot more since that conversation.

***

One night, towards the end of April when it was starting to get nicer and Arthur and Molly were both going to be on patrol that night, Molly came with an interesting bit of news.

“Mr. Pringle is in the infirmary with a bout of the flu.” Molly smiled mischievously. “The poor man. I guess that means that he won’t be able to check the Quidditch pitch tonight.”

Arthur’s heart soared. He had been either cooped up inside doing homework inflicted upon him by professors who seemed to think they were doing him a favour by preparing him for exams or outside on a broom in Quidditch practice in preparation for the House Cup. Going outside for a while for a walk sounded perfect. “You know, I did hear that there have been some first years sneaking out to the pitch to practise for next season. We should investigate. It’s for their own good, really.”

They went through the other parts of their prefect duties quickly and managed to escape outside, feeling strangely guilty.

They walked out to the lake and stood there for a few moments. Beside him, Molly breathed in deeply. “It’s so nice being able to see the stars. Between the weather and the curfew, I don’t think I’ve been able to see them properly since school started in September.” She conjured a blanket and laid it flat on the ground, sitting on it. She tilted her head back and stared at the stars. Arthur stood awkwardly for a few minutes.

“Arthur, sit down.”

Right.” Arthur sat on the edge of the blanket. For a few minutes, they teasingly tested each other on Astronomy for a bit. Then they just sat and watched the stars. After a bit, Arthur lay on his back on the blanket. Beside him he felt Molly do the same.

They really should go back in soon, Arthur thought, noticing that Molly was so close to him that he could feel her warmth. They were bound to be breaking curfew. But this was so wonderful, it probably wouldn’t matter if they were out here for a few more minutes. He closed his eyes as a cool breeze blew over his face.

Seconds later, it seemed, he heard Molly’s frantic voice. “Arthur! Arthur, wake up! We’ve been asleep for hours!”

“What?” Arthur bolted up right. “But we’ve just come out here!”

“No, we fell asleep! See, look how far the moon’s gone!” Molly frantically pointed at the sky.

“All right.” Arthur said, taking a few deep breaths. “We’ve got to calm down. Maybe no one’s noticed that we’re gone. We’ve just go to keep quiet or else we’ll wake someone up.”

Molly picked up the blanket and they rushed quietly back to the castle. They made it back to the doors to the Entrance Hall without the castle suddenly flooding with light, but the doors themselves were locked. Arthur swore under his breath.

“It’s okay,” Molly hissed. “You can use Alohomora on it. If you weren’t supposed to be on school grounds you’d set off wards by now out by now so they don’t use anything stronger.”

Molly’s arms were full with carrying the blanket so Arthur went for his wand. After a few minutes of searching it was obvious that the wand wasn’t anywhere in his pockets.

“It must have fallen out of my pocket back there.” Arthur looked behind him.

“So, get it tomorrow!” Molly said urgently, shifting the blanket around to get at her own wand.

“What if I’m not the first out there?”

“It’s a wand! It isn’t as though there is a big flashing sign on it!”

What if someone steps on it?”

What if you step on it while you’re looking for it?”

“Molly—here, let me take the blanket—have you got your wand? Open the door, and go back to the tower. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

For once, Arthur won. Molly rolled her eyes but grudgingly did as he said. Arthur gathered up the blanket and sprinted back to their spot by the lake and felt about frantically. After a few minutes, he found what felt like his wand. Just to be sure, he lit it with Lumos. It lit up, but he vanquished it almost as soon as the light appeared lest anyone see it from the castle. He ran back to the doors, which had been left slightly ajar for him, ran back up the staircases, all of which miraculously stayed put while he was on them, and was almost back to the Fat Lady’s portrait when he heard a shuffling noise, then a wheeze.

“Thinks she can keep me locked up in that filthy infirmary of hers,” a voice muttered. “That’s what she thinks…” With a sudden cold sweat, Arthur realized that it was Pringle. Frantically, Arthur tried to hide himself in the shadows before Pringle turned the corner. Unfortunately, the sudden movement caught Pringle’s attention, and with an agility surprising for someone who had been supposedly laid up with the flu, managed to stand a few inches in front of Arthur’s face in two steps.

“Aha!” he hollered. “Barely out of the hospital wing and I already catch one of you brats!”



About ten minutes later, Arthur limped his way back to Gryffindor Tower. He noticed with relief that the Fat Lady was snoring away and Molly had again left the entrance ajar. Carefully he climbed through the entrance.

Molly was sitting in the Common Room waiting for him. “Arthur! What happened?”

“Pringle,” Arthur grimaced.

“What’d he do to you?” Molly gasped as Arthur started to cast healing charms on himself.

Arthur glanced up at Molly. “Oh, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Nothing too bad.” He tapped one of his newly healed wounds. “See, I can do healing charms as well as the next person.”

“Very nice, Arthur,” Molly laughed nervously. “But honestly, Arthur, you better go to the infirmary, or else you’ll have scars.”

What, and you won’t love me without my flawless good looks?” Arthur asked teasingly. Then the moment realized what he said happened to coincide with his entire body turning red. Otherwise he would have played it off.

Molly watched him for a second. “I’d love you the way you look right now. What flawless good looks are you talking about?” Then she leaned over and kissed him just close enough to the mouth.



A week or so later, there was a stern note on the message board notifying them that night time patrols were being reassessed due to fraternization between the prefects.

//
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