A Pair of Reprobates
- Story Summary:
- In 1959, teenagers Arthur and Molly catch the train to Hogwarts and discuss the permission slips they got at the end of last term. Not exactly a prequel to The Permission Slip, just part of a loose series of connected fanfics.
- Author's Note:
- Thanks again to Anne for beta-reading this story.
A Pair of Reprobates
Molly's father puzzled over the Muggle coins he'd taken from his pocket but, with the taxi driver's help, he managed to pay the correct fare; with, he suspected, perhaps a larger tip than he'd intended to give. Then he and Molly lifted her school trunk up onto a luggage cart, and wheeled it into King's Cross, looking out for anyone they recognised. He greeted four or five of his old friends, and his daughter smiled politely at them, and nodded demurely in response to their comments about how grown-up she was now looking -- she seemed distracted, and was doubtless hoping to see the red-headed Weasley family. However, none of them were visible from where they were standing, and her father pushed the luggage cart over to the hidden entrance to Platform nine and three-quarters, where they cautiously pushed the cart through the wall.
Once on the platform, they saw far more familiar faces, including Arthur Weasley, who politely greeted Molly's father and helped him get her trunk onto the train.
Once the whistle blew, and the train moved off, Molly waved from the window until her father Disapparated, and then sat down in the compartment with Arthur. Neither of them said anything for a while. Finally, Arthur asked, 'Did you have a good summer?' and the two of them discussed their summer holidays for a while, avoiding the topic each knew the other was thinking about. When Arthur started talking about the two new Muggle plugs he'd got for his collection, Molly couldn't stand it any more.
'You know you want to talk about that permission slip,' she said, then blushed and looked out of the window.
'Yes, I suppose so,' he answered, his blush less noticeable against his red hair. He looked out of the window too but, instead of the scenery, he was looking at the faint reflection in the glass of Molly's face. Then he realised she wasn't looking at the scenery either -- both laughed at catching each other.
'So ...?' she asked.
Arthur sighed. 'It's very difficult to start the subject, isn't it? I mean, Dad's talking away about how I want to be considering a nice steady job in the Ministry, and I'm explaining that I'd really like a job working with Muggles instead -- how am I suddenly supposed to stop and say, "This is all too far in the future -- what I want to do this term at Hogwarts is sleep with Molly!" -- it's just too hard to do.'
Molly blushed further. Although they had discussed this to some extent during the previous term, it had always been through a veil of vagueness and allusion. Arthur had finally come right out and said it, which she hadn't expected quite so soon, and certainly not on the Hogwarts Express, rather than in the Gryffindor common room. Although, after a little more thought, she realised they probably had more privacy in this compartment.
'Sorry,' said Arthur, 'but after all, it is the truth.'
Molly nodded, unable to speak just yet.
At that moment, the lunch trolley came along the corridor, and the two of them were distracted by choosing what they wanted to eat. Then they sat quietly eating what they'd bought, and just looking at each other occasionally. Once they'd finished, neither of them seemed quite sure how to continue.
Arthur eventually asked, 'How did you bring up the subject of permission then?'
Molly groaned. 'I kept trying to talk to Mum about it. The first time, I tried to bring up my future after Hogwarts, and she got all enthusiastic and talked about how I could be a teacher, because she's obsessed with this idea I'd be good at it. Then she said I'd have to stop teaching when I got married and had a family, and I thought, "Right, this is where I can mention it", but she was off talking about who would have to be invited to the wedding, and clothes, and if cousin Edith would make her famous pies for the reception, and -- it was two days before I could get a word in!'
'Well, maybe not quite two days,' Molly admitted, 'but the moment had gone.' She paused. 'The second time, I decided to try the "When you were at Hogwarts" approach, hoping there'd be some chance to mention the permission slip -- because someone said they've been handing these out for well over a hundred years now, so she must have had one when she was a girl.'
'That sounds like a good approach. I wish I'd thought of that one when I was talking to Dad.'
'It still didn't work. Oh, but I found out how Hagrid got his job as assistant gamekeeper -- he released a monster into the castle, which killed a girl in Mum's year, and he was expelled.'
Arthur's jaw dropped open.
'Professor Dumbledore didn't believe he was the Heir of Slytherin though, and was convinced it was an accident, and he persuaded the old Headmaster, and got him a job helping Ogg.'
'I can't imagine him actually attacking anyone -- or anyone believing that he could! I know he looks scary when you meet him, but he's so gentle really.'
'Yes, that's what I thought. But, you know, after all that, it wasn't quite the moment to talk about ... that potion.'
'No, I can quite imagine it would be awkward,' said Arthur with a chuckle.'"I'm sorry your friend died, Mum. Oh, I want to sleep with Arthur, so can you sign this?"'
'Then, the third time I tried talking about Potions class, and about the hospital wing, to see if she'd make the connection. I think she did -- she gave me a very odd look, and changed the subject to talk about the people who were going to be coming to dinner that evening. But I still didn't manage to mention the slip.'
Arthur shook his head.
Molly sighed. 'Your turn; how did you manage it?'
Arthur swallowed nervously. 'I didn't plan anything like you did, I just hoped Dad would be talking about something and I could bring the subject up. It almost worked; once we were sitting around the table, and he asked, "How serious are you about young Molly then?"'
'"Young Molly"?' she repeated incredulously.
'That's what he calls you. Sorry.'
'Oh. No -- go on.'
'It was just about the perfect way to bring it up; just the sort of thing that I'd hoped he'd ask.'
Arthur looked out of the window again, unable to look her in the eye. 'But he asked it when we were sitting around the dinner table, with Mum there, and Dad's cousin and his wife and their daughters, who'd come round for a meal.'
Molly burst out laughing, and Arthur looked back at her with a sheepish grin. 'Well -- I just couldn't ask him in front of everyone!'
'No, of course not,' she said when she'd finally stopped laughing. 'How did you eventually ask him then?'
Arthur bit his lip.
'You never asked! You chickened out!'
'I'm sorry. I did try to get him to sign it, really. Now you're going to tell me it just didn't mean enough to me to get it signed, and I'm not the man for you after all. But I did ...' he faltered and stopped, as she was now frowning at him.
'After all the planning I did to get Mum to sign mine, you just trusted to luck, and it just didn't work!'
'No,' he admitted. 'But I have ...'
Molly suddenly laughed. 'All my planning didn't work either. We're both hopeless at it.'
'Oh. So yours isn't signed?' Arthur looked disappointed.
'We both chickened out,' she said, watching him closely. She felt in the pocket of her robes for something.
'Actually -- I did forge Dad's signature on mine,' he admitted ruefully. Then he noticed what Molly had taken from her pocket: a signed permission slip.
'I forged Mum's,' she said, grinning. 'Aren't we a pair of reprobates?'
'I wonder why the school doesn't Charm them against that?' mused Arthur.
'I suppose they'd rather we had the potions, if we're going to be ... getting up to anything. This way, they can act all innocent and produce the signed slip, and go "Surely you aren't saying your own daughter would forge your signature?"' she said, putting the slip away in the trunk now that Arthur had seen it.
When she sat back down, Arthur reached over and took her hand, and held it until the train reached the school.