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Molly Stone

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Molly Stone

It was just after noon, and February was dripping slowly into March. The snow was melting. There was still a brisk chill crisp and heavy in the air, but it teetered in severity by the hour, with the occasional spike of sun leaking through, hot and golden. Snowmen and snow-women and snow-crystals were thawing. Molly was well bundled up that day, but her ears were still bright and cold after a round on her broom with Hamish. Despite this, she was smiling widely enough to stretch her cheeks, to almost hurt her face as she ventured back toward the castle. It was during that trek, then, that she spotted a sharp flash of red, and whipped her head around.

 

"Fe!" Molly chant-cackled, rushing towards the red-head, the pom-pom on top of her knit-hat bobbing. "I was just going inside, but do you want to do something fun?" She grinned and tilted her head left then right, her neck cracking from stretch. "Shame we can't collect bugs in this weather. Oh, you know what we should do, though!" Her dark eyes suddenly sparked with an idea. "The Great Lake is frozen," she pointed out. "So we could go there and ice skate?" And talk, and catch-up, she thought, but didn't add. Things were light and friendly with Felicia: she wanted to keep them that way, to not burden her with talk and thoughts.

 

"You game?"

Edited by Molly Stone

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Felicia Fletwock

Felicia had packed a pillowcase full with snow; it was heavy and had hardened fast against her lugging back and she was going to put it in Cecily’s bed in place of her real pillow so when the girl laid down her ear would freeze to it and that would be that. Fe smirked and grimaced and smirked in turn, carrying the icy burden as far as she could before her limbs began aching and it was hard to breathe, with the air supercold. Even with the hat Lydia had knitted for her and Rowan’s threat to charm it to her head if she didn’t wear it, the Gryffindor was catching a chill, which given her exertion that day could probably be blamed entirely on the fact that she was only wearing a T-shirt under her jacket, because she wasn’t a baby.

 

When Molly caught her it was thankfully after Fe had caught her wind again, and she grinned. “I’ve got a delivery to make,” she said, hefting the pillowcase with one skinny arm and feeling the muscles that made it up tense, and not being worried at all because she’d mostly need her legs for skating, D U H , “but it can wait.”

 

Fe dragged the bag of snow to the lake side and then dumped it unceremoniously onto a large rock.

 

Having procured skates from a pair of older students about to go inside, the two girls took to the ice with the kind of gleeful ferociousness common in competitive people. “Wanna race, or something?”

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Molly Stone

"A delivery?" Molly's interest piqued, as did her grin: it cut the air, sharp. "To who? What's in there?" It was definitely something cool and intriguing, because Felicia would never make a boring delivery. "Oh, if you want, later, I can put a feather light charm on that pillow case so you don't halfta drag it. And then if you wanna make it heavy again, I know the reverse! After we skate, of course."

 

She'd tossed her old boots aside so they dented the snow, donning the skates and tentatively taking a step onto the ice, nervous for a moment that it'd crack and she'd sink, but it didn't. She glanced out across the lake, a sheet of dark and glistening blue immersing spikes of icicle-white that that stretched and stretched. Energy spilled from her gaze, from the corners of her smile, illuminating her features as she glided. Her movements quickened when Fe made the best suggestion.

 

"Duh! Let's race to that tree!" She pointed at one bare and far-enough, and then they took off, the cold wind smacking their faces. There was the clinking of metal blades against solid ice, the noise bouncing between them with the echo of laughter and the smell of wet snow and pine as they reached the tree.

 

"I'm not sure who won," Molly laughed. Her and Fe's arms had stretched out in sync, and it'd probably take a camera or a third party to figure it out. Sometimes she'd care, but today she didn't, and merely grinned as she used the branch to shoot off to the left, her motions slowing as she beckoned for Fe to follow her, their hot breaths fogging the air. She casually spun circles, toward and away from Fe, chatting generally as she tried to figure out how to broach the subject she wanted to broach.

 

Molly had been thinking a lot about the girl who'd kissed her on Valentine's day—softly, quickly, and to prove a point in public—but still, she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it like a cold sore on her mind. She’d always thought she liked boys, but only because that was normal, and Molly realized that maybe she’d been wrong.

 

She wanted Fe’s advice, and her opinion, because Fe always had the best advice and the right opinion. She just needed to ease into it.

 

“I heard about the Spin the Bottle game,” she finally spoke, looping around Fe again, dizzied. “With the Third Years.” She’d heard, because she’d been considering crashing it. “Did you kiss anyone cool?”

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Felicia Fletwock

On the rare occasion her father talked about his glory days as a jockey, he did so with big words. Dictionary-big, heavy under the weight of spare syllables and punctuated pronunciation, Fe rolled her uneducated eyes at most of them – why use such tangling language to describe simple feelings? – but turns out she retained some of them all the same, of which one was very apt here, and really any time she hung with Molly:

 

Exhilarating.

 

Not only for the speed and the chill (Fe felt it fighting to hollow her bones while her rushing blood battled to keep them warm), the smell of new snow and of pine needles crushed under it, how all of the Hogwarts grounds and sky were so white it was like being inside a cloud.

 

No, the exhilaration Fe got from being with Molly had no visible source, nothing she could put a thumb on and declare: “There.” It could be argued that Molly herself was visible and was therefore the source, but that seemed too obvious. After all, Fe looked at plenty of people every day and none of them got her excited like her friend did. Some made her feel angry, others made her feel good. Molly, moving in circles around her as Fe chipped chunks of ice with the blade of her skate, shaping her initials  – F.F., middle name missing because Qs were too hard – made Fe’s normal fire feel like an inferno. The two of them together burned bright and burst big.

 

She had just finished the second F when Molly’s question made her stop and look up, blinking away half-frozen eye fluid and grimacing. Her cheeks, hot already from exertion, blazing. She shrugged, then shrugged again.

 

“Nahh. I ditched. It was dumb.” Shel looked down at her skates, the ice beneath them. It was fogged, like a mirror someone had breathed on. She hacked another chunk out.  “Like, I went because I thought it was a game you could win, you know?” Hack hack hack. “But it was just everyone being dumb.”

 

And Elke wasn’t there. Hack hack. Suddenly she felt more like smoke than like fire.

 

“Why?”

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Molly Stone

Molly swallowed, a lump popping in her throat. She wished Fe would've followed the script, and talked about the people she had kissed, so Molly could use it as a transition--but no, she had ditched. Of course.

 

"Yeah, it does sound pretty dumb," Molly agreed hastily, nodding. "As a game, anyway. But I mean--kissing isn't always dumb, right? It can be good--feel good?" Kissing Arabella was definitely not dumb.

 

Molly had a way of wholly embracing the cacophony of sensations that constructed her surroundings: the clink of metal on ice, the cool buzz of the air around them, the scent of pine, the way Fe's hair, a streak of red, sharply contrasted the gray and white atmosphere. She spun in a circle, reveling. 

 

Why? Fe asked.

 

"I dunno," Molly replied, then she realized that was a lie and she couldn't lie on good conscience. She tried to sound casual instead, avoiding eye-contact with Fe, focusing on the precision of her motions. "I guess I was just wondering if you'd kissed any girls." She stopped spinning, then, to gaze at the girl seriously. "Because I think if it were me, I'd rather kiss girls than boys," she shrugged, a jerk of her shoulders, casual, completely casual.

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Felicia Fletwock

“Sure.”

 

(Fe wasn’t sure.)

 

“Games are almost always better, though.”

 

(Saved it. In a sense.)

 

The cold was really beginning to have bite now, a puppy’s play-nipping at what soft bits of flesh the bony Third Year possessed. She stopped hurling away at the ice and leapt off for a fast loop, to get her blood re-flowing. Even gone (only a few feet or so), she heard Molly’s next declaration, and sliced to a stop again, raining little shavings of slushy ice everywhere.

 

“Well, yeah, like. Duh.” Her breath was the color of sugar, but not as sweet. She’d never kissed anyone, but she did know who she’d rather. “Boys are cool and stuff but…” Fe fidgeted. Putting things into words was not easy for her. She had feelings from fighting, from racing and running and being an athlete, but the electric buzz she felt around Scout, or Elke, or Eli, or (maybe?) Molly (?) was not the same. Was that Wanting To Kiss…?

 

“Me too. For sure.”

 

For sure. Smooo o o o ooooth.

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Molly Stone

Molly hadn't been sure what to expect, but she nonetheless blew out a sigh of relief when Fe took her stance.

 

Well, yeah, like. Duh.

 

"Oh. Cool."

Molly continued her motions, trying a skate-trick that involved a spiral she'd never attempted before, if only to seem controlled and lax in her behavior. Her breath steamed the air.

 

"Boys are cool," Molly agreed. "Just not.. for romantic stuff. Duh," she repeated and shrugged. "So I mean.. just to clarify. When people, or girls you know, talk about boys they like, is it weird for you too?" Molly wondered, looping her form. The chill whipped against her reddening ears. "Do you feel like... distant from it?" She thought about Damaris, then about Seeley--of course, she supported them and their wild endeavors, but she could never picture herself in the same situations and it was probably the sole form of isolation from her peers she'd felt. Molly tended to understand situations by relating to them, so when she couldn't, she struggled.

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Felicia Fletwock

Fe had the thought that Molly’s steam looked like her steam and then remembered that all steam looked like that. She watched her friend loop and loop again, and followed her loop, close, to show she could do the same, exactly as good, and because such a conversation required closeness.

 

And a lot of shrugging.

 

“I dunno.” Fe twisted her ankles niftily, forming weird runic patterns in the ice. “I don’t hang out with girls who talk about that stuff. Just like. You and Row and Elliot.” She stopped, impressively quick, and tap-tapped on the ice with one skate. “Elliot thought I liked her brother.” Fe grinned, the commonplace feral thing she wore when she found a thing wickedly funny. “I told her I didn’t and she believed me, and she never believes anything I say, so.”

 

The tip of her nose was icy now, but Fe resisted the urge to scrub her hands up and down her arms for warmth. “It was weird for me for Eli to think that, so like. If it’s weird for you to get them, then it’s just weird for you,” she said, simply and through chattering teeth. Some things were simple.

 

Others, like how she was somehow still warm in the gut, in her soft hip- and belly-bits, were not.

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Molly Stone

At some point, Molly began to gaze at the ice, wondering if the scrape of metal-skate left lasting marks. She would occasionally see the outline of a change in shine from her movements, but nothing she thought would stick. 

 

Molly didn't hang with girls who talked about that stuff, either, but that didn't mean she hadn't been around them. She almost wished she could agree wholly with Fe though, because then she'd be as cool as Fe. 

 

Molly laughed when Fe mentioned what Elliot thought, but it was more a laugh of obligation than a laugh of genuine humor or understanding, considering she was still struggling to wrap her head around the situation: her own sexuality, and if it was the same as Fe's. The more information that dripped in, the more she had to process.

 

"Yeah. Whatever," Molly nodded, trying to sound as casual-constructed as she wished she could feel. "I've been skating around the point, though," Molly intentionally punned with a wide-crack grin and wink. Humor had always been her defense mechanism. She exhaled. "So to clarify: we both like girls and not boys, right?" 

Right?

Their breath steams swirled.

 

(She was asking herself as much as Fe).

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Felicia Fletwock

Their lung air blossomed around them and make it hard for Fe to clear her head. The chills up and down her arms had inched for her spine now, too, and she finally crossed her arms over her chest, to protect her lungs and her heart from frostbite.

 

"So to clarify: we both like girls and not boys, right?"

 

Something about this conversation felt pivotal, and Fe was close to putting her finger on it: it was going to happen again and again and over and over her whole life. She would never be done having it. Something she had found the answer to, everyone else would always call to question. It would get boring quick. The redhead furrowed her brow and huffed out another bloom of breath. Looked Molly dead in the eyes. Something right under her ribs spun, tight twisting rounds.

 

“Right.”

 

It felt different than telling Eli, different, she supposed, than it would telling anyone else. Maybe it wouldn’t get repetitive. Maybe it would keep being new.

 

A strip of ice scurried up her back and Fe shuddered with cold.

 

She wanted to ask So what do we do about it? but what came out was “I think I might freeze and die if we stay out here.” Another shiver, then a pause.

 

She offered Molly her hand. “Ready?”

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Molly Stone

Molly didn't typically need to clarify these things. She typically felt confident, buoyed in her assumptions, in her brainpower, and yet now, for some odd reason, she was repeating herself, wording the same question multiple times--boring herself with her repetition--but she had to know with certainty. She couldn't let herself believe it unless the puzzle was weaved and hooked in front of her.

 

She didn't care much with anyone else though, so why did she burn to know with Fe?

 

"Right."

 

And why did she suddenly feel so bright?

 

"Okay. Right," she echoed, smiling shakily, the corners of her lips trembling up. She didn't look at her friend.

 

Molly had thought that maybe everyone in the world was straight, but of course it wasn't true. Couldn't be true. Arabella claimed to be straight, even when she kissed her, but Fe didn't. Fe wasn't.

 

Now that she said it once, Molly decided she wasn't going to say it again. She was just going to be herself, out. She didn't want to have to tell everyone she liked girls--she wanted them to know without her whistling the words as she walked. Then again, she silently mused, she didn't want it to be something about her that defined her in any way. Would it? It was rubbish to think anyone would define her by her sexuality. Girls who liked boys were not defined that way. And she was so much more than that.

 

All she knew was that she wasn't going to come out to another damn person unless they asked, no way in hell. Straight people didn't have to come out and tell people they were straight, so why did she?

Molly formed a flame on the tip of her wand at Fe's words and let it dance there, angled toward the girl, shimmering light. She realized a moment later, however, that if it reached the ice, the sheen below their feet may melt, so she quickly dimmed it and nodded slowly.

 

"It's cold as hell, but you're not gonna die and neither am I, no way." She grabbed Fe's gloved hand and aimed a grin in her direction. "Ready."

 

-fin

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