Neither of the tourists had said so much as "Thanks" after they stopped her in the rain for directions to the museum three feet behind them. So Abigail was both wetter and angrier than she'd intended to be as she rang the Folly's bell.
Molly - Peter said she wasn't a ghost, but Abigail wasn't so sure - opened the door and stared down at her.
Water was dripping down the back of her neck through the hole in her coat. Yesterday she'd thought it looked cool, seeing as she'd caught it on some barbed wire investigating weird noises down by the skate park. Today, Abigail wished she'd gone poking around for some duct tape to patch it up.
She shivered as she stepped inside and Molly took her jacket – another point in the corporeal and not a ghost column. “Is Peter here?”
“Ah, Miss Kamara.” Abigail tried not to flinch at the sound of Nightingale's voice, but he sounded like her scariest teachers. “I'm afraid Peter and Lesley had to go out for a bit.”
“Oh.” She looked back out to where it only looked to be raining harder.
“You're more than welcome to wait until they come back or the weather clears up a bit. Whichever you prefer.”
She eyed him speculatively. Hanging out with a copper like Peter was one thing, but Nightingale was a whole other level.
"I have some work to do myself, but Peter mentioned you were working on something in the library?"
"Oh! Yeah, I suppose that's all right."
"He mentioned you have undertaken a research project. Please let me know if you require any assistance."
Abigail nodded at him like that was ever going to happen. "Um, right."
Once she was settled into her favorite chair, she pulled out the battered copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them someone had given her when she was little. If anyone asked, she'd explain that she and Peter agreed it was a good start on sorting through centuries of magical mythology.
Not that there was anyone around to ask. Toby didn't seem to interested as long as no one made him move off the chair opposite her. Molly came in a few times, once with a sandwich and once to dust, but that was it; it was just Abigail and the seventy-five books about dragons.
Most of them were total bollocks, but she kept hoping she'd find one, because dragons. How wicked would that be?
She hadn't made much progress by the time she had to leave, and the rain hadn't let up either. But when Molly handed her her coat, she noticed that the hole was gone. And not just patched; you could barely tell that it had been there in the first place.
"Did you? Brilliant, thanks!"
She wasn't sure, but Abigail thought she might have seen Molly start to smile.
They'd given up on dragons - "The signal to noise ratio is awful," Peter had said, sounding almost as disappointed as she felt - and were working on giants when he and Lesley got called away.
She'd gotten better at being alone in the Folly over the past few months, so it wasn't that bad, even if the clock echoed too loudly in the hall as it clanged three times. Molly came in with a tray of sandwiches before Abigail even realized she was hungry. "This is way too many for just me. Did you not hear Peter and Lesley leave?"
Molly just stared back at her, looking supremely unbothered. Abigail was going to spend the next week practicing that look in the mirror for the next time one of her teachers had it in for her. Or shithead Oliver at school.
"But well, if you've already gone through the trouble of making them..." She grabbed two off the plate.
"Do you like working here?"
Abigail knew Molly wasn't much for talking, but it was just rude to ignore her if she was going to stay in the library. Besides, Peter thought she was able to communicate with Nightingale, and if he could do it, why couldn't Abigail?
"It's a pretty nice set up, but Peter's mum says he's a bit of a pig. And not just 'cause he's a copper." She grinned at her own joke, and thought Molly might have done that twitch smile, too.
"It's heaps better than the estate, but even that's not so bad. There's always lots of people around, which is cool, unless they all want to get in your business, and they all do."
"- And then Kira told Winston that if he didn't stop bothering her, she was going to force feed him his own balls. I don't know if it's actually going to last, but the look on his face -"
She was interrupted by the hall clock again, four clangs this time. "Oh. I didn't mean to talk your ear off -"
Molly waved a hand.
"- but I guess I'll see you next week?"
Abigail never actually saw Molly pack up the leftover sandwiches, but she still found them in her backpack when she got home that night. She'd given up on the ghost theory, but if she didn't figure out what Molly was by going through Fantastic Beasts, she'd make that her next research project.
Unless Molly wanted to just tell her.
Molly hovered in the hallway as Abigail looked around the foyer. "Empty nest?"
It was disappointing when no one was around to help her research things, but at least no one was making her study Latin this week. "I forgot my book, do you think Peter would mind if I borrowed his computer to look some stuff up?"
Molly tilted her head and then began leading her down the hallway and out to the Mews.
"Holy shit, is this all Peter's? Really?" The electronics were top of the line, but Peter was such a nerd that he'd never go for anything less. "Does anyone ever actually need a TV that big?"
Abigail moved to the computer and fired it up. “Have you ever used one of these before?”
Teaching Molly was easier than teaching her Gran, mostly because Molly's vision was better and she didn't complain the entire time, she just watched intently. “- and you can look up all sorts of things, like that time Peter crashed an ambulance into the Thames.”
Just because she'd met Ash and knew why he had to do it didn't mean it stopped being funny.
After that first afternoon on the computer, it became kind of a regular thing. Molly never interrupted if Abigail was working with Peter or Lesley, but if she was alone, and Molly wasn't busy doing Molly things, she tended to hover around the library, until Abigail suggested they go out to the mews and use the computer. “You don't actually need me for this, you know,” she said one afternoon. “Not that this isn't great, but you don't need to wait for me to be around,” she added when Molly looked a bit hurt.
The next time she showed up, Molly had set up a YouTube playlist of dogs doing tricks. It was the first time Abigail heard her laugh.
“Have you seen the one with the dog and the goats?”
Molly shook her head.
“Oh, it's the best. I'll send it to you when I get home. What's your -” Abigail cut herself off. “We need to get you an email address.”
Molly shook her head again and took the keyboard, before signing into Gmail.
“Molly.Folly,” Abigail read from the top of the screen. At least ninety per cent of the email notifications were from Pinterest. “Well, that's easy to remember.”
“Hey, do you think we could get Toby to do that dance he does for a camera?”
Molly tilted her head to the side, considering, and then began looking around for a camera.
Abigail was pretty certain that this Stackpole was making a case for pixies being an actual thing in real life. Or he was as much of a nutter as everyone who wrote about about manticores but better at couching it in important sounding words. Peter was going to be hyped when she showed him. Maybe she could convince him they needed to do an excursion to Cornwall on her next break from school. She didn't actually need to do Easter hols with her uncle, right? She paused in her note taking to debate the odds of how that'd go over and heard a little cough at the doorway.
"I'm going to watch the rugby in mews," Nightingale said. "England versus New Zealand, if you would like to join me."
"You know the All Blacks are going to win, yeah?"
"Are you a fan?" Nightingale asked, sounding almost excited.
"Nah, but everyone knows that much."
"Well, the offer stands nonetheless. You never know, it could be quite the upset!"
"It could be," Abigail said, even as she waved him on.
Molly drifted into the room a few minutes later, putting down a tray of sandwiches. A quick glance made it clear that each one was a different kind.
"Did you need me to taste test?" Molly was finding all sorts of new ideas on the internet, and Abigail didn't mind trying them out. Plus, Molly might send her home with more of the ones she liked best.
“Abigail!” Peter's mum greeted her with a big smile. “How's your school work going?”
She shrugged, thinking of the history paper she was gladly avoiding. “Fine. Is Peter here?”
He'd obviously heard his mother's greeting because he was already standing behind her. “Is everything all right? Have you -”
“Toby ran off,” Abigail said to cut off his concern.
“Molly was walking him and something spooked him, and he ran off.”
“Oh. Well -”
“And Nightingale's still up at Oxford and Molly can't exactly call him.”
“Right. Right,” Peter sighed. “Sorry, mum.”
“I've got some left over lamb he might like, I'll go pack some up. And some rice for you later.”
She pushed past him to go back in the kitchen and Peter sighed, “If I gave Toby any of that, he'd be a fire-breathing dog.”
Abigail laughed at the thought. “He'd love it.”
“Wait, if Nightingale's not home, how do you know Toby's gone off?”
“Molly texted me.”
“Molly. Molly texts?” Peter looked gobsmacked.
Abigail shrugged. “She prefers email, but I guess she thought it was an emergency.”
He barely blinked as his mum put a whole bag of food in his hand. “Go find your little dog.”
“Yeah, go find your little dog. I'll tell Molly you're on your way.”
Peter jabbed the finger of his free hand at her. “We're talking about this later.”
"What's to talk about? Not every old person - or whatever - is as bad at technology as your dad."
"Hey, he's got an iPod!"
"Even Nightingale can work your TV." Abigail rolled her eyes. "Now go find Toby before someone steals him."