Chapter 1 : You Can't Hurry Love
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The Supremes, “You Can’t Hurry Love”
You can't hurry love
No, you just have to wait
She said to trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes
Molly Prewett peeked out the cubicle door in the girls’ lavatory. “Hattie! Hurry, come in here.”
Henrietta Habbershaw looked over her shoulder before she ducked into the cubicle with Molly. There was a cauldron over the toilet, and the potion inside it was a bright and garish pink. On one of the walls of the cubicle was drawn a heart with MP + TP inside it. Hattie had seen the graffito so often she didn’t even notice it any more. “Is that it, then? It’s done?”
“It’s done,” Molly whispered back in satisfaction. “I’ve got some butterbeer from Hogsmeade, I’m going to put it in the bottle. He won’t notice the color then.”
“Are you sure this is a good idea, Molly?” Hattie whispered. “Have you ever made a love potion before? How do you know it will work?”
“Of course it will work,” Molly said, looking annoyed with her friend. “I followed the recipe exactly.”
Hattie looked doubtful. “Well, I hope you know what you’re doing. What will it do to him?”
“It will make him love me, of course, for a day or so. Then he’ll realize he really does fancy me and we’ll be together.” Molly busied herself at the cauldron, examining the potion.
“But he’ll still act like himself?”
“Well…” Molly wasn’t sure, but didn’t want to admit it. “Yes, of course.”
“Oh, Molly,” Hattie sighed. “I wish you would just get over Thaddeus, it’s been since last year and he hasn’t noticed you romantically.”
“Well, this will make him notice me, won’t it?” Molly brushed a strand of dark red hair out of her eyes. “I’m tired of pining for him. It’s time to do something about it.”
Hattie didn’t look convinced, but she said, somewhat reluctantly, “All right, Molly, I’ll help you. I know you love him.”
“I do. And soon, he’ll love me in return.” Molly scooped up some of the potion and mixed it with the butterbeer.
They went to Arithmancy, where Molly had a difficult time paying attention to Professor Arccos. Arithmancy was her favourite class, because she shared it with the object of her affections. She couldn’t stop looking at Thaddeus Peabody, at his handsome golden hair, square jaw, and velvety brown eyes. He smiled so beautifully. He was an easy-going young man, a beater on the Gryffindor Quidditch team and a school prefect. He was quite popular, friendly to everyone, and not at all stuck up.
Her nerves were fluttery over how to give him the butterbeer. They weren’t really friends, but obviously having been in the same year in Gryffindor together all this time, they knew each other. She decided to brazen it out. She was fairly confident he’d take the drink without suspicion. She was a Gryffindor too, after all.
When the class ended, and Hattie was fussing over the homework they’d been given, Molly screwed up her courage and sauntered over to Thaddeus.
“Fancy a butterbeer, Thaddeus? I thought it might make you feel better, since you missed Transfiguration this morning. Someone said you weren’t feeling well.” She kept smiling flirtatiously but was mentally kicking herself, knowing it was a weak line.
Thaddeus didn’t seem to notice, however. He seemed a little flustered when she said he’d been ill. “Yeah sure, thanks Molly.”
She felt like swooning. He said her name! “Oh, it’s nothing. Enjoy. I hope you feel better.”
He glanced around a little sheepishly and grinned at her. “I wasn’t ill, actually, I was just skiving off to have a bit of a lie-in. It was a late night at Quidditch yesterday and I didn’t fancy going to class this morning.”
She couldn’t help grinning back at him, although she disapproved of skiving off. He was so handsome. “Well, I hope you don’t get in trouble, then. I’m off to the common room with Hattie. See you in Charms.”
“See you later, than.” Thaddeus saluted her with the bottle of butterbeer. “And thanks, Molly, that was right nice of you.”
Hattie was waiting for her outside the classroom when she came out with her bookbag slung over her shoulder, and they both hurried down the corridor and ducked into a niche with a suit of armor to wait for the other students to pass them. Thaddeus didn’t seem to notice as he walked past their hiding spot, and they followed him down the corridor.
They hid in one of the many shortcuts in the castle, behind a tapestry outside the Ancient Runes classroom, where Thaddeus had stopped to chat with a few of the other sixth-year students. He still hadn’t opened the butterbeer. Molly was peeking out from behind the tapestry, watching him anxiously, with Hattie behind her, craning her neck to see over Molly.
“Oooh, I don’t think I can watch!” Hattie suddenly turned away, her back against the stone wall, and closed her eyes, wearing a pained expression. “Let’s just go, shall we?”
“Don’t be a goose, get over here,” Molly said, grabbing the sleeve of her friend’s robe and tugging on it. “I want to see if it works.”
Thaddeus was goofing around with Roderick Feltham, another sixth-year Gryffindor, still holding the bottle of butterbeer Molly had given him. She heard him say, to her horror, “Well, have a drink before class, anyway.” Thaddeus pointed his wand at the bottle and said clearly, “Geminio.” There were now two bottles of love potion-spiked butterbeer.
Hattie gasped and clapped her hand to her mouth. “Oh no!” she squeaked. “Will the potion still be there? Will it still work in the second bottle?”
Molly thought she was going to faint. “I don’t know, Hattie.” Please don’t drink it, Roddy, please don’t drink it… Her wonderful plan suddenly seemed extremely foolish and childish. Why had she given him a love potion? She had to force herself to watch, and not hide her eyes as Hattie was now doing, peeking between her fingers.
To Molly’s relief, Roderick was shaking his head. “No, I’ve never liked it much. You go ahead. I’ve got to get a seat, I’ll catch you in Charms.” He ducked into the Ancient Runes classroom, waving at Thaddeus, just as another Gryffindor sixth-year came up behind Thaddeus and clapped him on the shoulder.
“Here you are, Thad, all taken care of. Professor McGonagall says she hopes you feel better and not to miss another Transfiguration class.” Arthur Weasley was handing him a sheaf of parchment that was probably a copy of his notes on this morning’s Transfiguration class. “And Madame Luscinia gave me a potion to give you to help you out of bed.” He handed Thaddeus a small bottle, and Thaddeus laughed.
“Arthur! Thanks very much for covering for me, you have no idea how much trouble you’ve saved me. I thought for sure McGonagall would give me detention if I got caught.” Thaddeus did look quite relieved. He handed Arthur the second bottle of butterbeer. “Have a butterbeer?”
“Cheers, mate.” Arthur took the bottle and popped the cork as Thaddeus opened his. They clinked their bottles and set off down the hall, drinking the butterbeers.
Molly’s heart was pounding in her chest as she sank back against the stone wall behind the tapestry. They both drank the potion… “What am I going to do, Hattie?”
Hattie’s eyes were wide as saucers. “They both drank it, Molly, they both drank it!”
“I know!” Molly ran her hands through her hair. “Maybe it won’t work on both of them. Maybe the Geminio charm didn’t duplicate the love potion.”
“We could ask Professor Flitwick more about the Geminio charm,” Hattie suggested.
“Yes, good idea. We’ll go to class early today so we can ask him before anyone gets there. Let’s go back to the dormitory for now, I need to get my Charms textbook.” Molly bent to lift her bookbag and set off with Hattie in the opposite direction that Thaddeus had gone.
“Professor Flitwick, can we ask you a question please?” Molly put her bookbag down on the desk and smiled hopefully at the tiny Charms professor. Hattie looked slightly embarrassed, clutching her textbook to her chest.
“Of course, girls,” Flitwick responded in his squeaky voice, smiling kindly at them.
“When you use the Geminio charm, does it duplicate everything about the item you cast it on?”
“Well, that depends on the properties of the item in question. If it had innate magical properties, or if it carried a Dark curse, it would not duplicate that. More complicated spells cast on the original item would not be duplicated.”
Hattie looked relieved and took her seat, but Molly wasn’t sure yet. “Professor, what if someone duplicated something, a drink, that had been spiked?”
Flitwick seemed confused. “With alcohol? It would be duplicated with the added material.”
“What if it was spiked with a potion? Not a dark potion, just a… a potion.” Molly was crossing her fingers behind her back, hoping to be in the clear.
“Well, I suppose it would depend on the potion, but in most cases, yes, the potion would also be duplicated.” Flitwick was staring at her curiously now, but when Molly sat down next to Hattie, he seemed to decide that was the end of things and pointed his wand at the blackboard, and chalked words began to appear for today’s lesson.
She turned in surprise and saw Thaddeus, with Arthur Weasley right behind him, waving for her attention at the door. They were both grinning with a distinctly lovesick expression, jostling each other for a position in the doorway. Her hand flew to her mouth and she glanced at Hattie, whose eyes had gone wide.
“Oh no…” Hattie moaned.
Thaddeus and Arthur were tripping over each to get to her desk. Thaddeus pulled up a chair next to her and smiled as he grabbed her hand and kissed it.
Arthur took her other hand, and Thaddeus threw him a belligerent look that was quite out of character for him, off the Quidditch pitch anyway. Molly felt extremely conscious of Flitwick’s eyes on her back. Why had she asked him so many questions? Surely he knew now what was happening.
“Molly, I…” Thaddeus was watching her soulfully. “I think I love you.”
“Molly, darling girl,” Arthur said, his voice earnest and his hand stroking hers. “Your beautiful eyes outshine the sun.”
Thaddeus’s hand tightened around Molly’s rather painfully as he scowled at Arthur. “I was here first, Weasley.”
Hattie looked frightened as Arthur drew his wand on Thaddeus. “That hardly matters, Peabody, if I love her more.” His face was thunderous as he stared down Thaddeus, but his hand remained gentle around Molly’s.
“She’s mine!” Thaddeus’s wand was in his hand now, pointed at Arthur’s chest.
Molly was turning bright red. This was not exactly how she’d envisioned things going when she gave Thaddeus the love potion. She thought about being caught by her classmates in this position and reddened even further. Boys did not spout poetry and fight over Molly Prewett. Everyone would know what she had done… If they hurt each other because of her, she would never forgive herself.
“Mr. Weasley, Mr. Peabody, outside, now.” Flitwick’s voice rang out across the classroom.
Thaddeus and Arthur obeyed reluctantly, letting Molly’s hands slide out of theirs. She held up one hand to wave to them as they left the classroom, both staring at her over their shoulders and pushing each other slightly as they went out the door while their classmates came in.
“Miss Prewett, come here.”
Molly shuffled up to Flitwick’s desk, her stomach twisting into knots, relieved and apprehensive all at once. “Yes, Professor?”
The tiny Charms professor sounded both tired and exasperated. “Did you give those boys a love potion, Miss Prewett? Is that what all the questions about the Geminio charm were about?”
Molly stared at her feet. She knew she was turning bright red. “Yes, sir. I didn’t mean to give it to both of them, and I, well, I didn’t know it would make them act like… like this.”
Flitwick gave her a stern look. “Miss Prewett, I’m disappointed in your behaviour today. You’ll serve a detention tomorrow evening in my office, and I’ll be speaking to your Head of House about this.”
Molly’s shoulders slumped. She had never had a detention before, and hated to think what McGonagall was going to say to her. “Yes, Professor.”
“Go and make sure those boys get an antidote for the love potion.”
She went out into the hallway and nearly bumped into Thaddeus and Arthur, who had clearly been lying in wait for her in the corridor. They crowded around her.
“Molly, go out with me, please,” Thaddeus begged without preamble.
“Oh Molly, please don’t, I love you so,” Arthur hurried to add.
“I saw her first, Weasley,” Thaddeus shot at him, scowling.
“It’s her decision, Peabody,” Arthur retorted.
“Erm.” She looked between the two of them and wished heartily that Thaddeus had never cast that Geminio charm. “I’m sorry, Arthur, but Thaddeus-”
Arthur Weasley’s shoulders slumped, but he didn’t argue further. “If that’s what you want, Molly.” He stepped back, and turned away, heading down the corridor toward Gryffindor tower with his head down. Molly watched him go, feeling a tug on her heart. Bewitched though he was, he was stepping aside for Thaddeus because that’s what she wanted. She couldn’t help admiring his character for that, but she was distracted by Thaddeus’s presence at her elbow. He was holding her hand now, making her heart flutter wildly.
She looked up into his handsome face, smiling at her, and saw his eyes. They seemed blank, glazed. The potion had made him fancy her, but not of his own free will, and it had caused him to fight with a friend over her. Molly felt a little sick with herself.
“We’d better get you fixed up,” she said, forcing her voice to be cheerful.