The Sugar Quill
Author: Madhuri (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Of Inoculations and Insanity  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

***

Molly Weasley walked briskly past the tree and flower-bush lined pathways towards St. Mungo’s, clutching Ginny’s hand tightly and checking over her shoulder every so often to make sure that Ron was still trailing behind them. She hated these annual visits. Last year had been nightmarish enough, but at least it hadn’t been Ginny’s turn yet. Molly glanced down at her six-year old girl.

Ginny’s face was unnaturally pale and her lips were pressed tightly together. Her feet dragged and she whimpered occasionally, jumping every time a doctor passed them on the pathway. Molly had caught the twins whispering something into her ear just before they’d left, and Ginny had been as twitchy as a rabbit ever since. Molly sighed inwardly; that would teach her to leave Ginny alone with Fred and George for about three seconds.

Molly looked back to check on Ron, only to realize that her youngest boy had sat down on the middle of the stone payment, removed his shoe, and was very intently fiddling with a shoelace. She let out a grunt of exasperation; she was late enough for the appointment already, and spun on her heel, striding quickly towards her son. Ginny seemed very eager to keep apace with her, or at least go as far away as possible from the hospital.

Ron looked up from his activity to notice Molly and Ginny heading towards him. He grinned disarmingly, displaying his lack of two front teeth with pride. “Hi Mum! Can we go now?” he enquired.

Ginny tugged on her mother’s robes, looking up at her pleadingly, as if to second Ron’s suggestion. Molly sighed.

“We haven’t even gone in Ron,” she explained. “We have to go in, do our business, and then go home.”

“Oh,” frowned Ron, taking in this piece of information. “All right then.” He went back to studying his shoelace.

Molly shifted her handbag to a more comfortable position on her shoulder. “Aren’t you going to come in with me?” she queried, trying to sound calm.

Ron grinned again. “My shoelace came undone. I have to fix it.”

Molly let go of Ginny’s hand, knelt down beside Ron, grabbed his shoe, stuck his foot into it, and tied the worn shoelaces securely and efficiently. She took hold of his hand and heaved him up from the stone pavement, ignoring his cries of protest. She whirled around and caught Ginny’s hand as well before her daughter could try to surreptiously slip away.

Her two children started to groan and whine. It was a peculiar sound. Ron and Ginny seemed to be so in sync with each other that when Ron’s lament stopped, Ginny’s sighs would begin. There would be the beat of trainers scuffing the ground, interspersed with a few whimpers. A strangled cacophony that somehow had a rhythm to it. Molly expertly ignored the duet until she reached the imposing stone walls of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

“Now look,” she said, facing them, “we’re going to be in here for an hour at most. I want the both of you to be at your best behaviour, understand? No whines, no moaning, no complaining. If you behave properly I might get you a couple of Chocolate Frogs from the Apothecary. If you make any sort of trouble, no dessert for you tonight. I’m serious. Do I make myself clear?”

Molly looked very imposing indeed.

Ron and Ginny glanced at each other haplessly, but nodded all the same. Molly breathed an inward sigh of relief, and shepherded Ron and Ginny into the hospital. Last year, she’d ended up owing Fred and George a pair of toy broomsticks, and Ron a Chudley Cannons poster, as bribes for not becoming hysterical. Maybe if she didn’t accept any nonsense from Ron and Ginny this year, the whole ordeal would be over with quickly and (hopefully) quietly.

She had no idea what she was in for.

*

Molly flipped aimlessly through an old copy of Witch Weekly as she waited for their turn with Dr. Krevon. She needn’t have been so worried about arriving late, apparently the doctor had just returned from lunch. His receptionist, who looked barely older than nineteen, sat back in her chair with her feet propped up on the table, expertly blowing Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum and listening intently to the weekly soap on the Wireless Wizarding Network- As the Cauldron Bubbles.

I found you in bed with my mother!” The actress’s plaintive mewls drifted towards Molly from the radio. “What kind of a father are you?”

Molly rolled her eyes and tried to concentrate on a recipe for Peppermint Humbugs.

Ginny swung her legs back and forth. Ron examined a piece of snot he had scraped off the inside of his nostril. It really was a work of art. He was sure that no other kid had ever found a piece of snot that looked so very interesting. He showed it to Ginny, who recoiled and scowled at him. Ron grinned sinisterly, his missing teeth making him look like a Halloween pumpkin, and shoved the artefact back into his nose.

Ginny wondered when she’d lose her teeth. Ron had already lost two, and Fred had lost three while George had lost five! Ginny remembered how impressed she had been when George had fearlessly yanked the first tooth he had lost from his gums, and held it up, the white little tooth stained red with blood, for all the world to see. He had refused to let it go for days, treasuring it in a small glass jar Mum had given him, until finally Percy had taken charge and thrown it out, saying that it was… Ginny struggled to remember the word… unsanitary. Ginny didn’t understand what Percy meant by that, but it was funny to see his spectacles fly away during dinner.

Ginny hugged herself as she swung her legs. It was getting cold in the room. She didn’t like this place, with the high ceiling and the stone walls and the funny window so high in the ceiling and the people screaming in odd rooms. Fred and George had been right; this had to be the place where they… She shivered, not wanting to think about it. She sneaked a glance at Ron. He was looking rather nervous as well. Oh no. Ginny swung her legs back and forth with increased urgency.

Molly sighed and checked her watch. Arthur had had it specially designed for her birthday, a few years ago. It was a miniature replica of the grandfather clock in the kitchen, custom designed for Molly’s needs, and right now it was indicating that it was time to do the laundry and to check up on what the twins were up to. Molly wished again that the whole ordeal would be over soon. Ron and Ginny were getting very fidgety indeed.

The small owl on the receptionist’s desk hooted loudly just then, startling Molly and the kids. “Mrs. Weasley?” the receptionist said, popping her gum and not tearing her eyes away from the Wireless, “You’re (pop) up next.”

Molly heaved a sigh of relief and gathered up her purse, muttering at Ron to get his finger out of his nose. The door to Dr. Krevon’s office swung open and a rather dazed looking young man stumbled out. “And don’t worry about the blue saliva!” called a voice from inside. “It’s just a little side-effect.”

Molly quickly ushered Ron and Ginny into the office when she caught them staring at the patient in fascination (he was starting to drool), and greeted the old doctor. “Good aftern-”

“Weasleys!” shrieked Dr. Krevon, growing rapidly pale.

“Nice to see you again too, Doctor,” Molly muttered, all the while clutching Ginny’s hand with a firm grip.

MUM!” Ron roared. “You brought us to HIM? AGAIN?”

The seven-year old spun around faster than a drunk hag and made straight for the door- which was suddenly blocked by the receptionist, who, Molly noticed, seemed a lot bigger and sturdier now that she was out from behind the desk, plus a lot more imposing with the ridiculous gum out of her mouth.

“Not so fast there, young man,” she commanded, and glanced at Dr. Krevon. “Reinforcements?”

“Yes, please,” said the old man, mopping his bald head with a tiny handkerchief.

“Orderlies, get into position! We’ve got a couple of Weasleys on our hands!” barked the receptionist.

“Reinforcements?” queried Molly, a little alarmed. “Now really, Doctor, do you think that’s necessary?”

“Mrs. Weasley, with all due respect, I am far too old to survive another encounter with your family by myself. You understand that, don’t you?” asked Dr. Krevon, now strapping something that looked suspiciously like a Viking helmet to his head.

“But really Doctor, the twins don’t need to be inoculated this year, and so it’s just Ron and Ginny. Ron might be a little… reluctant,” said Molly watching Ron trying the best he could to get past the receptionist, “but I assure you that Ginny is very well-behaved and-”

She was cut short by a shrill, ear-piercing shriek. “Bubotuber pus!” cried Ginny, pointing wildly at the various potions nestled along the shelves in the office. “He’s going to give me Bubotuber pus! Fred was right!”

And with one almighty wrench, Ginny freed herself from Molly’s grip and slipped easily out of the office underneath the receptionist’s legs. Ron cheered, the receptionist cursed, Molly gasped and the old Doctor cowered.

“That’s it, Ginny!” Ron yelled, trying to shove the furious Receptionist aside. “Run!”

Ron!” Molly admonished, striding forward and grabbing him by his collar. She sighed wearily and turned to the Receptionist. “Will you please search for Ginny? She couldn’t have gone far.”

The girl looked over her shoulder. “Not to worry, Mrs. Weasley,” she said in a clipped tone.

Molly peered over the girl’s shoulder and cried out in indignation as she saw a couple of burly male nurses march towards them, one of them having slung a kicking and screaming Ginny over his shoulder. “That’s my daughter you’re carrying like a sack of potatoes!” Molly cried.

“You tell ‘em, Mum!” Ron yelled, and before she knew it, had snuck out of her grasp and was shooting towards the door like a runaway Bludger. Luckily, the Receptionist was ready for this, and caught his arm firmly before he could escape.

Ron let out a strangled yell, and this, interspersed with Ginny’s loud wails, made Molly massage her temple to ease the frustration she felt. The other nurse literally picked Ron up off the ground and set him down securely in a large chair, holding on to him firmly.

“Mum!” Ron bellowed. “Tell him to let go of me! Gerroff, you,” he addressed the offender directly.

“Not until you behave yourself,” said Molly sternly. Ignoring Ron’s protests, she turned to Ginny, who had also been set down (albeit a bit more gently) in another chair at the other end of the room. Ginny was wailing bitterly but fortunately didn’t seem to be making any immediate move to flee. Stroking her daughter’s hair absently, Molly whispered to Dr. Krevon “I think it’s better if Ron gets his dose first.”

Unfortunately, Ron overheard. “No way!” he yelled. “I’m not drinking that stuff! Not again! It burns,” he declared with finality.

Ginny’s wails became louder.

Molly frowned at Ron. “Now look what you’ve done, you’ve upset your sister.”

“No I haven’t!”

At that moment Dr. Krevon came towards Ron nervously, clutching a beaker full of bubbling green liquid. Behind him, the receptionist staggered under the weight of a small cauldron labelled “Potion #1040”, almost spilling over with the same green brew. Molly remembered how the Doctor had lost a month’s supply of that potion the last time she’d visited, courtesy of Fred and George. He obviously wasn’t taking any chances this year.

“Now Ron,” said Dr. Krevon softly. “You just have to drink this little potion, and you’ll never get the Quiffles, the Flea-Flu or Dragon-Pox in your life. You never need come back here again if you drink!” said the Doctor, looking immensely grateful.

The two nurses were now pinning Ron securely to his seat, rendering his desperate efforts towards freedom futile. “I’m not drinking that! It’s horrible!”

“Now Ron… if you would just… keep… still…” Dr. Krevon struggled to manoeuvre the beaker towards the boy without being kicked in the face. Ginny meanwhile, had stopped crying and was instead watching the proceedings with fascination.

With one well-aimed jerk, Ron’s foot make contact with the beaker. It went sailing through the air and out the window, potion spraying out of it as it soared. Ginny shrieked, Ron cheered, the receptionist scowled and Molly bristled.

Ron!” she scolded, enraged.

“I’m never drinking that! Not even if you tie me up and hex me and stuff it down my throat and-”

“Oh for Merlin’s sake!” cried out the Receptionist, who apparently had had enough. She set the cauldron down hard on the Doctor’s table, whipped out her wand and pointed it at Ron, shouting “Lasesco!

Ron immediately went lax, his limbs slackening and his eyes going unfocused.

“A sedative charm,” she explained.

Dr. Krevon, Molly and the two burly nurses cried out in unison “Why didn’t you do that in the first place?”

The receptionist shrugged, embarrassed.

“I’m really getting too old for this,” the Doctor sighed. He conjured up another beaker and filled it with potion from the cauldron. He nodded towards the Receptionist. “You deal with the boy now.”

The immunizing potion in hand, Dr. Krevon made his way towards Molly and Ginny. He stooped down a little to face Ginny and said, “Well, I guess it’s your turn now, young lady.”

Ginny’s eyes grew as wide as saucer, her pupils dilating and her face rapidly becoming pale. “I don’t want to,” she whispered.

“Ginny, it’s just a potion. It’s for your own good. The next time you take it will be one year from now,” said Molly, in what she hoped was a comforting tone of voice.

“What’s wrong with Ron?” Ginny whispered again.

“Ron’s just… a little relaxed, sweetie. Now be a good girl and drink the potion.”

“Fred said-”

“Don’t you know better than to believe everything he says? I’m going to deal with the little storyteller the moment we get home, all right? Now drink the potion, it’s good for you.”

Ginny pressed her lips together tightly.

From the other end of the room, one of the nurses yelled, “Blimey, I think the sedative charm’s wearing off!”

Dr. Krevon and Molly whirled around, just as the other nurse said, “Oh, no wait, he’s still out.”

The two then turned back to face… an empty chair.

“Ginny?” Molly called out in bewilderment.

“There she goes!” yelled the Receptionist pointing towards the open door at a streak of red.

As the Receptionist and the three orderlies raced after her youngest child, Ron stared blankly and Dr. Krevon muttered about his lack of youth, Molly sank into the newly vacated chair with a groan. Maybe if she was lucky the clinic wouldn’t charge for ‘psychological damage’ this time.

*

Molly walked down Diagon Alley, holding on to Ron with one hand (the boy was still in a mini-stupor) and lugging a whole lot of packages in the other. Ginny had pretty much cleaned out the entire toy store. The shopkeeper was delighted- he hadn’t had so much business from the Weasleys in years. Ginny skipped along besides her, hugging her new stuffed unicorn, christened ‘Mr. Bombadil’, to her chest and cheerfully prattling about how she was going to scare Charlie with her new fake fangs when he came home for Christmas.

After Ginny had finally been caught and brought back to Dr. Krevon’s office, she worked up such hysteria that Molly promised her a shopping spree in her favourite toy store if she drank the potion. The bribe had worked beautifully, as bribes always did with her children. But, Molly mused, as Ginny insisted on a singing cake for dessert that night, why on earth had Ginny been afraid of being poisoned? Even when Ron was kicking up a tantrum, he certainly wasn’t afraid for his life.

“And could we get some Acid Pops for Fred and George, Mum?” Ginny chirped. “Because they were so nice to me today and so sorry that I was going to go and visit a bad Wizard like the Doctor and…”

Molly resolved to spend some quality time with the twins later that day.

*

 

//
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