The Sugar Quill
Author: shellebelle (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: School Reminiscences  Chapter: Two: Quid Pro Quo
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That first week at Hogwarts was a never-ending stream of new faces and new information, and Arthur was afraid he’d never keep

Disclaimer:  All the characters and the magical world belong to the wonderful mind of J.K. Rowling. 

 

Many thanks (or is that THANX) go to my beta-reader, Elanor Gamgee, who helps me with grammar and points out weirdly- worded sentences.  She really ROX!

 

 

 

 

School Reminiscences

Two:  Quid Pro Quo

 

 

 

That first week at Hogwarts was a never-ending stream of new faces and new information, and Arthur was afraid he’d never keep it all straight, but he soon began to settle in and enjoy school. 

 

He found himself making all sorts of new friends, but out of all of them, he found Molly Dixon the most constant.  She was just always ready to listen to him or walk to class with him.  She had friends of her own, as did he, but she seemed to like him best.  Never in his life, he reflected, did he ever think he’d be anything close to best friends with a girl. 

 

She was kind of quiet now that her nervousness had calmed, but she could still talk a blue streak when she got the mind to.  He helped her with flying lessons, and she helped him in Charms.  She had a kind heart, and if anyone needed anything, she would try to get it for them, usually anonymously.  She told the best scary stories, and was well-liked by all the first year class.

 

Arthur liked all his classes; though Potions could be very trying…they had it with the Slytherins, and somehow, that made it just seem longer.

 

On this particular day, Arthur had drawn the short straw and was stuck in the back of the classroom, disemboweling toads for the next day’s class.  It was disgusting work, but mindless, and Arthur could see and hear everything that was going on in the room.

 

Molly was sitting beside her friend Agatha Krauss, and working on the Shrinking Solution that was today’s lesson.  Blanche Malfoy was sitting right across from them, and hissing horrible things at Molly.

 

“Hey, Dixon, are those your robes, or did your Mum just sew together dustrags?”

 

Not a very witty comment, thought Arthur distractedly, and not at all accurate.  Her robes are better than mine.  He saw Molly hunch her shoulders together, and he wondered for what seemed like the millionth time why she let Malfoy get to her all the time.  The girl seemed to have made it her personal mission in life to make Molly as upset as possible.

 

“I heard your Mum couldn’t even get through Hogwarts…I’ve heard she isn’t a proper witch at all.  My father told me she couldn’t even get through her first year.”

 

Arthur’s temper flared.  Now that’s going too far, he thought.

 

“You’re no better than a servant, Dixon.  Your Mum knew her place, and so should you.”

 

Molly’s hand by this time was shaking, and she ended up spilling a bit of the black snake venom in her ladle on her hand, burning herself.

 

“Professor Tinctus, Molly’s hurt herself!” Agatha cried.

 

“Oh, for Merlin’s sake, students!  You have got to be more careful with the venom!”  The professor went to tend to Molly as Malfoy sneered with pleasure at Molly’s predicament.

 

Arthur’s eyes narrowed, and his hands clenched, unfortunately squashing some entrails that were not yet in the bucket…  And then a terrible, wonderful thought occurred to Arthur.  Is it worth a detention? Arthur thought, then looked over at Blanche Malfoy, her long blonde hair tied behind her neatly, barely stifling her laughter.  Oh, it’s definitely worth it.

 

The Professor was distracted; the Slytherins were too busy chatting amongst themselves.  The Gryffindors wouldn’t say a word, with most of them looking daggers at the Slytherins.  “Wingardium Leviosa,” Arthur whispered, and the bucket levitated.  He was particularly good at this charm; seeing as how it had wonderful potential for all sorts of things, he’d practiced it quite diligently for some days until he was satisfied. “Inverto,” he muttered…

 

And a nearly full five-liter bucket of frog entrails emptied itself neatly onto Blanche Malfoy’s perfect blonde head.

 

Malfoy shrieked in surprise and horror, and stood up, the messy entrails sliding off her head, over her robes, and onto the floor.  Professor Tinctus looked up swiftly.  She took in the sight of Malfoy covered in frog guts, and then her eyes narrowed and fixed on Arthur.  “In my office, Mr. Weasley.  Right now, and don’t expect to get back to the dormitory anytime soon.”  Her voice was a low growl.

 

Arthur grinned.  “Yes, Professor Tinctus,” he said cheerfully.  “It will be my pleasure.”  He slid from his seat and began cleaning up his workstation.

 

Professor Tinctus sighed.  I’m getting too old for this, her expression seemed to say.  “Miss Malfoy, go clean yourself up.  Class, you are dismissed.  Come, Miss Dixon.  We will get you to the hospital wing.”

 

 

 

Arthur missed dinner completely, and did not get back to the Gryffindor common room until well after many students had gone to bed. 

 

“Password?” the Fat Lady asked sleepily, yawning.

 

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Arthur said tiredly.  Professor McGonagall seemed to like to instill old proverbs when she assigned passwords.   The portrait door swung open and Arthur stumbled inside.  The common room was pretty well deserted, and all he wanted to do was take a bath and go to sleep.

 

“Arthur?  Are you all right?”  Molly had waited up for him, which was strange--she usually was one of the first students to turn in at night.

 

“I’m fine, Molly.  Is your hand all right?”

 

“Oh…Madam Ernestine put a really lovely cream on it and it felt better right off.  What did Professor Tinctus have you do?”

 

“Well, I had to disembowel those frogs again…then she had me stewing boomslang skin for three hours.  Ugh.”

 

“I’m so sorry they made you miss dinner.”

 

“I’m not.  Blanche Malfoy deserved what she got.”

 

“All the same, Arthur, just leave her alone.  It’ll make things easier.  Though I do appreciate what you tried to do…”  Molly’s mouth twisted in a wry smile.  “I saved you something to eat, if you’re interested.”

 

Just a few short minutes ago, Arthur thought he’d never look at food again, but at Molly’s suggestion, he suddenly found himself hungry.  He nodded eagerly.

 

Somehow, she had managed to smuggle two roast beef sandwiches and a slice of trifle out of the Great Hall.  “Thank you, Molly,” he said earnestly.

 

“I had to thank my ‘knight in shining armor’,” she said.  “Though I doubt King Arthur would have used frog entrails.”  She grinned.

 

“He would if it was the only thing at hand,” Arthur pointed out around a mouthful of roast beef.

 

“True.”  Molly stood up.  “I should go to bed now…I’m about ready to fall off my feet.  Thank you, Arthur.”  Her voice was a bit thick, and Arthur thought for a panicked moment that she looked as if she would kiss him, but she only hugged him briefly, turned swiftly and went upstairs.  “Good night,” she called.

 

Arthur grinned.  “Good night,” he called back. She might be a girl, but she was a really good friend.

 

 

 

 

 

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