Disclaimer: Molly Prewett, Great-Auntie Muriel, Uncle Bilius,
Arthur Weasley and Hogwarts belong to JK Rowling. Dame Francesca belongs to
A.L. de Sauveterre. Lurch and the Addams Family belong to Charles Addams and the
Dread Pirate Roberts (mentioned in the previous chapter) to S. Morgenstern. If
you do not recognize the impression Alan tries to do in this chapter, it’s supposed
to be Cassius Clay, a.k.a. Muhammad Ali.
Author’s Notes: Thanks to Lady Narcissa for
beta-reading and to KateHC2 and Verin for the reviews!
Chapter One — Looking Into Your Magic
Mirror; or, A Spotted Elephant in a Fright Wig
Molly had no idea how she
smuggled the book out of Hogsmeade, into Hogwarts and all the way to the sixth-year
Gryffindor girls’ dormitory, all without Clare or Ginger seeing it, but she
managed to do so. She thought she was being ridiculous, acting as though she
had bought one of N. Ormous Wandwielder’s lurid romances instead of a perfectly
innocent book on winning a wizard’s heart, but she also feared how her friends
would react if they found out she was reading something so pathetic.
She waited until well after
lights-out to crack open her new book. After listening hard for any sign of
movement from the other girls in the dormitory, Molly produced her wand and
whispered, “Lumos.” Green light
filled the small space defined by her bed hangings and she reached under her
pillow, where she had hidden Dame Francesca.
Someone tossed about and Molly
froze, holding her breath. If anyone
asks, I’ll say that I’m on my way to the loo. But no one did, so she pulled
the book all the way out from under her pillow.
It was late at night, but Dame
Francesca was still fully dressed and made-up, smiling brilliantly, in her photo
on the back of the book.
According to the paragraph
underneath the photo, Dame Francesca Nadaworth was an emerging authority on
beauty and glamour, with her own regular column in Witch Weekly. It also said that she had been married eight times,
so she definitely knew how to “catch a man.” But not keep him, Molly thought, sniggering silently.
The photo of Dame Francesca
scowled up at her, as if it knew what she was thinking. Molly stuck her tongue
out at it, turned the book over, and opened it to Chapter One.
* * *
Imagine that you are looking into a magic mirror.
Observe how you look, behave and interact with others.
Molly was the last to awaken in
her dormitory the next morning. Once she realized that she’d slept halfway
through breakfast on a Monday, she bounded out of bed and hustled into her
school robes. “You look very nice, dear,” the dormitory mirror said in a bored
voice as Molly stuffed her feet into her shoes and attempted to put her hair
into some semblance of order.
Very nice, my Great-Auntie Muriel! she thought, frowning critically at her
reflection. Her knee socks made her knees look fat, her pleated skirt made her
behind look big, and her jumper seemed to stretch grossly over her chest and
midsection! Thank Circe for school robes
that cover a multitude of sins!
Ginger and Clare were already
well into their breakfasts when Molly dropped breathlessly into her seat at the
Gryffindor table. “I thought you were never going to get up,” Ginger remarked
as a plate materialized before the latecomer.
“I overslept.” Molly helped
herself to bacon, eggs and beans on toast. “What have you got there, Clare?”
she asked in an effort to draw attention away from herself.
Her cousin looked up from the
sheet of parchment in her hand. “Oh, it’s an owl from Dad,” she answered with a
smile that seemed to light up the Great Hall.
“Really? And how is Uncle Bilius
“Just fine. He says he’s watching
his diet like he promised, and remembers to take his foxglove tonic every
morning. I’m so glad; I was afraid he would forget without me to remind him.”
Clare took a sip of pumpkin juice and resumed reading.
Molly watched the blonde girl
read her letter. The morning sun bathed her hair and perfect complexion in
gold, highlighting her beauty. A glance at Clare’s plate showed that she
probably hadn’t eaten more than a piece or two of toast that morning. She, on the other hand… Molly made a
sound of disgust and pushed away her half-eaten breakfast. “I’m not hungry
anymore,” she said as her plate hit Ginger’s with a loud chink.
other girl jumped, startled when their plates collided. She took one look at
her friend and rolled her eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re feeling ugly again.”
am not ‘feeling ugly.’ I know I’m—”
discussion diverted Clare’s attention from her letter. “What’s wrong, Molly?”
to her, everything,” Ginger answered
dryly. “Molly, you are not ugly.”
redheaded girl rested her chin on a plump fist. “You’re just saying that
because you’re my friend.”
am not. There are loads of things about you that are beautiful. Your hair, for
red,” Molly retorted, grimacing at
the wild red waves that were barely restrained by her black headband.
what’s so nice about it, in my opinion. And how about your skin? I thought that
those silly witches’ magazines you keep reading say that pale skin is ‘in’
think your freckles are sweet,” Clare told her cousin.
would be if there weren’t so many of them.”
how about your eyes?” the blonde girl asked, laying down her trump card. She
knew that Molly wouldn’t be able to come up with a reply to that.
enough, Molly fell silent at the mention of her eyes. The only feature she and
Clare had in common were their warm, sherry-brown eyes and Molly considered
them her one true beauty. But no one
looks at eyes any more, she thought morosely. When people looked at her,
they didn’t see a girl with beautiful brown eyes. When people looked at her,
they saw a spotted elephant in a fright wig.
“See?” Ginger concluded briskly.
“If there’s at least one thing you like about yourself, there’s hope for you
yet. You are not ugly.”
“All right, I may not be ugly,”
Molly agreed in a gloomy voice, “but I’m fat.”
“You are not fat, either. Madam
Sharp’s told you time and time again that you’re a perfectly healthy girl who
just happens to be carrying a little extra weight.”
“A little extra weight is not
necessarily fat,” Clare said wisely.
“Besides, curves are good,”
Ginger added. “Fellows like curves on a girl.”
“How do you know?” Molly
challenged her. “Are you a bloke?”
“No, but it’s easy enough to ask
one.” She turned to a couple of likely-looking candidates sitting further up
the table. “Oi! Arthur!”
The redheaded girl’s eyes widened.
“No! Not Arthur Weasley!” she hissed desperately, but it was too late.
“Do blokes like girls with
curves?” Ginger asked Arthur. “Like the kind Molly’s got, for instance?” she
added, causing Molly to cringe inwardly. Her friend had the subtlety of a rampaging
Arthur’s blue eyes goggled behind
his horn-rimmed spectacles. “Miss Molly Melinda Prewett has curves? ...Oh, yes,
of course she has curves!” he corrected himself with a grin that told Molly he
was up to no good. “Molly’s got some very nice curves, but it’s her uppercut
you really need to look out for!”
Alan Jackson thumped the
redheaded boy’s shoulder. “Those aren’t curves,
you ninny. They’re called hooks.” And
then he started punching the air and proclaiming in a strange voice that he was
Molly turned and gave Ginger a
baleful look as Arthur collapsed into laughter. “We’ll ask someone else,”
* * *
“Oi, Molly, why were you asking
whether I liked girls with curves?” Arthur asked as he caught up with her in
the corridor leading to the Muggle Studies classroom.
Molly clutched her books tighter
to her chest and quickened her step in the hopes of leaving him behind, but his
long legs made it easy for him to keep pace with her. “I wasn’t doing the asking,” she told him, “Ginger was. And she
wasn’t asking what you liked,” she
added. “She wanted to know what fellows in general liked. She thought you were
normal enough to give her a good answer, even though I told her otherwise.”
“Well, why was she asking whether
we fellows liked girls with curves?”
“Never you mind!”
Arthur, of course, refused to let
things be. “Come on, Molly,” he coaxed, “if Ginger fancies someone, you can
tell me. I can keep it a secret. Half the girls in Gryffindor House have told
me that they’re mad about Alan and I haven’t told him.”
“She doesn’t fancy anyone. And Alan thinks all the girls
are in love with him anyway, so it doesn’t matter if you haven’t told him about
any of those girls who fancy him.”
“Do you fancy him?”
Molly’s cheeks flamed and she wished
that she had lied about Ginger fancying someone. It would have shifted the
focus from the fact that she, Molly, fancied someone, even if that someone was
not Alan. “No! And stop pressing me about this, Arthur Weasley, because I’m
a male voice grunted.
Distracted by Arthur, Molly had
not noticed that she was about to collide with someone until it was too late
and a heap of robes, books and parchments lay at her feet. To her further
mortification, she discovered that the person that she had knocked down was
none other than Geoffrey Blaine.
She dropped her own books and
rushed to his aid. “Oh, my, Geoffrey, are you—are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” he replied shortly,
trying to get up.
Unfortunately for Molly, a few of
his friends were on hand to help him up and dust off his robes, so she didn’t
get to touch him. She moved to gather his things instead. “I’m so sorry,” she
babbled, scooping up books and rolls of parchment. “This is my fault; I was
being so clumsy, not looking where I was going…”
“That was quite a spill, mate,”
Arthur remarked as he stood uselessly by. “All right there?”
“I’ll live,” Geoffrey answered.
Molly snatched the last book away
from one of Geoffrey’s friends and proffered the stack she had gathered. “I
think this is all of them,” she told him. “I’m so sorry, Geoffrey—”
He waved off her apology and took
his things from her. “It’s all right,” he said, and turned to address his
friends. “Come on; we’d best be getting to class.”
Molly watched Geoffrey and his
friends continue down the hall with a heavy heart. Not only had he not looked
at her during their entire conversation (the first they’d ever had), he had
sounded annoyed with her, too. Congratulations
on making such a lovely first impression, Molly Prewett!
Arthur, on the other hand, was
jubilant. “That was bloody brilliant, Molly!” he chortled. “I saw everything —
you were walking, he was walking; he could have knocked you down, but you stood
your ground and he bounced right off you!”
She glared at him. “It’s not
funny! He could have been seriously hurt!”
“Well, if he had, then you would
have done Gryffindor House a great service. Geoffrey Blaine plays Chaser for
Slytherin, you know, and Gryffindor has a match against them next. If he had
sprained his wrist or something, he wouldn’t have been able to play!”
“A human life could have been at
stake and all you can think about is Quidditch?”
“If I can arrange for you to run
into him again, could you hit him harder?”
“Braaaaughhhh!” Molly hauled off and smacked her tormentor in the ribs with her
Potions book before stomping off down the corridor. “Don’t you ever speak to me
again, Arthur Weasley!”
* * *
On a normal day, Molly enjoyed
Muggle Studies. Professor Trombone, who had begun teaching the class that term,
was young, good-looking and much more up-to-date with the Muggle world than his
predecessor had been. However, this
was not a normal day. Instead of paying attention to the discussion, Molly was
spending the time reliving her encounter with Geoffrey in excruciating detail.
As Alan Jackson taught everyone
the lyrics to a song about the Addams Family, Molly sighed and tortured herself
with memories of the disinterested, even annoyed, expression on Geoffrey’s
face. He was ever so handsome when he smiled, she thought gloomily. He was
never going to smile at her now, not after what had happened.
Suddenly, something pale scuttled
over her foot and began crawling up her robes. She gasped, stifling a scream,
and then saw that it was a bug made of folded-up parchment. Her name was
scrawled on its back. A note.
By now, everyone else in the
class was trying to sing the Addams Family song. Under cover of the noise,
Molly cast a discreet Finite Incantatem
and the enchanted note lay still.
When she unfolded the parchment,
she found that a cartoon had been drawn upon it. Two stick figures — one a
girl, judging from the skirt, high-heeled shoes, and crazy zigzags of hair that
had been added to it — stood triumphantly over a third figure that was lying on
the ground, apparently in pain. The figure standing next to the girl sported
eyeglasses and a mop of hair. A speech balloon issuing from its widely smiling
mouth proclaimed, “Molly Prewett is
Molly chanced a glance to her
left. Arthur grinned at her from several seats away, looking very much like the
stick figure that proclaimed her as bloody brilliant. She groaned.
She groaned loudly enough for
others in the class to hear her. “No, no, Molly, that’s not what Lurch sounds
like at all,” Alan told her. “He sounds more like this…” And he proceeded to
make a noise that sounded like a Graphorn’s mating call.
Professor Trombone and the rest
of the class laughed while Molly managed a weak smile. She did not like being
singled out for attention, but she supposed it was better for them to laugh at
her for a mistake she did not really make rather than be called on the carpet
for passing notes in class.
* * *
Molly rose gratefully when
Professor Trombone dismissed them for the day. Transfiguration was supposed to
be their next class, but Professor Dumbledore had been called away so the
sixth-year Gryffindors would be having a break instead.
On a normal day, she would have
been disappointed; she enjoyed Transfiguration and Dumbledore was her favorite
professor and Head of House, besides. Today, Molly was grateful for the free
time. Things were not going too well thus far: she had overslept, been annoyed
by Arthur Weasley, made the worst possible first impression on Geoffrey Blaine
and been annoyed by Arthur again, and it was barely time for lunch.
“I’ve got to go back to the
dormitory,” Ginger told her as the brown-haired girl shoved spellbooks into her
bag. “Want to come with me?”
“No, thank you,” Molly answered,
putting her things away more slowly. “I’ve got some reading to do.” She hadn’t
really meant it, but once the words were out of her mouth she decided that
perhaps some quiet time in the library would do her good.
“All right. I’ll see you in
As Ginger rushed off, Molly finished
packing up and decided that unless she fell asleep, she would probably use her
library time to finish the essay on human transfiguration that Professor
Dumbledore had assigned before his departure. That sounded like a nice,
productive thing to do, she thought; just the thing to keep the morning from
going to the Crups.
Unfortunately her resolution to
be productive suffered a serious blow when Arthur waylaid her outside the
Muggle Studies classroom. He was still grinning. Apparently, his morning was far from going to the
Crups. “What did you think?” he asked.
“Of what?” Molly snapped.
“Of the drawing, of course!” As
he spoke, a lock of his hair flopped into one eye.
She scowled at the errant lock of
hair. It was so long and untidy and that color
— nothing at all like Geoffrey Blaine’s perfectly cut golden hair. “I didn’t
think it was very funny.”
“Why not? I thought it was
Molly fumed silently. “Well, I
thought it was mean of you to laugh at someone meeting an accident that way.”
“It wasn’t a serious accident!
And besides, Blaine’s a big boy. He can take care of himself.”
“That doesn’t make it right for
you to laugh at him!”
Arthur gave her a puzzled look.
“Why are you so upset about this? It’s just Geoffrey Blaine. You’ve never
spoken to the bloke — in fact, you hardly know him. And in case you haven’t
noticed, he’s a Slytherin!”
She pressed her lips together
tightly. She had one very good reason to be upset about bumping into Geoffrey,
but she wasn’t going to share it with Arthur Weasley, of all people. Instead of
saying anything, Molly hit him again with her Potions book and took off down
* * *
In the library, Molly attacked
her Transfiguration assignment with gusto. She worked as though her very life
depended upon it, as though every word she wrote was a blow against Arthur
Weasley, the bane of her existence. Take
that! she thought as she scribbled line after line of her essay. And that!
It wasn’t until the free period
was almost over that her anger burned itself out and guilt began to seep in.
Arthur had been annoying, that was true, but he had also tried to cheer her up
in his own way. He might have stopped if she had said something calm and
dignified instead of hitting him with her book.
And to think, Molly thought
morosely, Dame Francesca had instructed her to observe how she interacted with
others. She did not like what she had seen during that episode with Arthur, and
she was certain that Dame Francesca would not have liked it, either.
If you could say something to
yourself through the magic mirror, what would it be?
Molly Prewett, you
have a lot of work to do.