As Junior Assistant to the Deputy Head of the Department of Moral Prudence and Virtue, Arthur Weasley was one of the first wizards to know that Miss Molly Prewett was to be reprimanded by the Ministry for 'attire inappropriate for the workplace, classroom or general public display'.
"You go, Weasley. It shouldn't be beyond even your capabilities. I'll expect the report on my desk first thing tomorrow morning."
Molly'd had been a chit of a fourth year student when Arthur had left Hogwarts, slim and pale and obedient and very much like her older brothers, who Arthur'd never really got on with. The sort that always became prefect and gave you detentions for being out after hours even if you were her best friend. He couldn't imagine her doing anything to lose a single point for her House, let alone earn a Ministry reprimand.
He tried to Apparate at first, forgetting the impossibility in his haste to complete his assignment, and landed on his arse in a bit of woods with the castle not even in sight. Apparating to Hogsmeade and getting a carriage up to the castle had greater success, even if it left him with dirt on his robes and dust on his collar, not to mentioned windswept -- and thus, possibly more fashionable -- hair.
"I'm here to deal with the Prewett situation," he said to the first professor he came across -- a squat and unfamiliar man -- squaring his shoulders and looking as important as he felt he ought to, under the circumstances.
"In my day," the professor sniffed, "proper young ladies didn't wear their robes above the ankle. The Headmaster has already gone up to the Ministry over it, you know."
No, Arthur didn't know that, actually. "I believe I'm hear to deal with the young lady directly," he said anyway, though really he had no such instruction. "Perhaps I should speak with the Deputy Headmaster, then?"
The fellow sniffed at the word 'lady'. "Yes, perhaps you should," he said. "I'd imagine you're expected, though of course no one would think to tell me any such thing. This way."
Arthur knew the way to the Deputy Headmaster's office all too intimately, but he allowed myself to be led regardless. It gave him time to fuss with his notes and assess just what he was meant to do. Not enough time, but time nonetheless.
The door was mostly blocked by the by-any-standards sizeable arse of Professor Blenkinsop, who stood tut-tutting the occupant of the office.
"Excuse me, excuse me, Ministry business," said Arthur, trying to push his way past. She moved slow as a barge, but she finally allowed him to squeeze past -- that is, if he held his breath and sucked in his stomach and stretched himself as long as he could possibly go.
"Arthur," said Deputy-Headmaster Dumbledore as he all but collapsed on the other side of the professor of Muggle Studies. Who had already reclaimed her place in the doorway. "Well, I see we are in good hands, Miss Prewett. Arthur Weasley will do what needs to be done."
The woman in the office with him was not the Molly Prewett that Arthur remembered. Her long red hair reached the middle of her back now, flat and straight and glossy; certainly not in the short curls he remembered. And her... robes. Her robes, yes, that was what he was here about.
Arthur gasped; Professor Blenkinsop tutted in agreement.
"What?" said Molly, her eyes flashing as she turned on him. "Hasn't the Ministry got anything better to do than take me to task on my robes?"
The robes in question barely reached the middle of her thighs. Beneath them her stockings rose to just above her knees and between... between were about four inches of creamy, smooth, bare thigh. Arthur didn't mean to stare; he hardly realised he was until the deputy headmaster cleared his throat.
"Now, Miss Prewett," he said. "We must abide by the headmaster's wishes in this.."
"Right," said Arthur quickly. "Right, yes. Else why would I be here?"
"Well, get on with it, then," she said, tapping her shoe against the floor. "I ought to be in arithmancy right now. You wouldn't want me to miss my classes entirely, now, would you?"
"Right, of course," said Arthur, clearing his throat. "Well, uh, Miss Prewett, uh... your robes don't appear to be, uh, regulation."
"They are black," she pointed out. "That's the only thing the Hogwarts dress code requires."
"Yes, but--" said Arthur, but he really hadn't any argument to that.
"She spends her summers in France, you know," said Professor Blenkinsop in a hushed voice behind him, as though that explained everything.
"Yes," he went on, "yes, perhaps they would be more appropriate for, uh, activities outside of the classroom?"
"They're just minirobes," said Molly. "Everybody's wearing them in London, you know. I don't see anything wrong with them."
"Well, you see..." Arthur stammered. "You see, they could be considered, uh, distracting. Yes, distracting. For the other students. You see?"
"Are you distracted, Mr. Weasley?"
Arthur coughed politely.
"Oh, get on with it," said Professor Blenkinsop. "Let the girl know what's what and we'll be done. First those boys with the long hair and now this. It's positively indecent, what these young witches and wizards get up to."
"Yes, well..." said Arthur, then drew himself up straight again. He wasn't, after all, quite old enough yet not to be one of those so-called indecent young wizards. "Yes, I'm afraid this must be done privately. Ministry policy, you understand. If you wouldn't mind, Professor?"
She huffed and stalled, but Arthur stood firm and eventually she turned and left the doorway.
"Far be it from me to violate Ministry policy," said Professor Dumbledore, sounding distinctly amused. "I shall be in the next room contacting the Headmaster, if you need me. He'll be pleased to know the issue has been handled. Good day to you, Mr. Weasley, Miss Prewett."
"Yes, do get on with it," said Molly once they were alone, though with less impatience this time. "What would the Ministry have me do, Mr. Weasley?"
"The Ministry," he began, "Uh, that is, I... it might be best if you wore more traditional robes in the classroom, Miss Prewett."
"Would you like me to take these off, then?"
"Yes, I think that would be best," he said, with some relief.
"All right," said Molly, and reached for the clasps on her robes. "I might need a little help..."
Short-lived relief, that. "No, wait!" he said, without any notion what he was going to follow that up with. "I meant... not here of course. I meant in your dormitory. Where you no doubt have something more appropriate to change into?"
"Are you sure that's what you meant, Mr. Weasley?" she asked him, hand still at the clasp. She almost smiled at him, he thought, and paused for a devastatingly long moment. "It's all right, Professor Dumbledore had someone bring up my old robes. It would only take a moment, if you'd be so kind as to turn your back?"
Arthur swallowed and tried not to let his eyes be drawn down to those thighs again. Or even down as far as what she was currently poised to expose. He couldn't, however, quite bring himself to turn away.
"I remember you," she went on, when he said nothing. And finally let her hands fall to smooth out what little there was of her robes. "You were that awful boy who kept losing us points in potions class."
"I was rubbish at potions," he was forced to agree with her. Then, "Did you really think I was awful?"
"No," she said, and really did give him a smile this time. "Have you really got to reprimand me?"
Arthur cleared his throat again. "Consider yourself reprimanded, then," he said. "I don't suppose we need to fuss with any paperwork. I've got quite enough as it is." And, in fact, the notes and forms he carried in his arms were getting a bit restless.
"I'll go back to my dormitory, then, and change," she said. "Just for you."
"Thank you, Miss Prewett." He resisted the urge to wipe his forehead in relief, as it would probably be taken entirely the wrong way. Or, more worryingly, the entirely right one.
She was already halfway to the door when she paused and looked back over her shoulder. "My name is Molly," she told him. "Not Miss Prewett. Molly."
"Uh. Arthur," he returned.
"Yes, I know," she said. "Do you like the robes, Arthur?"
He couldn't help but look this time. It was practically an invitation. "I... as a representative of the Ministry, I cannot comment on that."
"And as Arthur Weasley?"
"Yes," he blurted out. "Yes, I quite do."
She smiled and nodded and then she was gone, slipping out the door and down the corridor toward Gryffindor tower. The robes swayed over her thighs, exposing more flesh than was decent, and Arthur found himself wishing he had done anything but stop her.
"I'm going to marry that girl," he murmured, watching her disappear around a distant corner before gathering his notes and heading back down to Hogsmeade.