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Journey to the Centre of (Molly’s) World in (Less than) 80 Days by 800 words of heaven
Chapter 3 : Uncharted
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 18

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There was someone singing. Loudly. And incredibly off-key. And not in English.

Molly sat rather awkwardly at the edge of the sofa seat, her backpack by her feet, and looked around the flat, whilst she tried to ignore the sound of an anguished man. Instead, she wondered what on this godforsaken planet had possessed her to agree to go on this crazy assignment.

Was it because Dennis Creevey, her supervisor and secret idol had asked? Probably.

Was it because she would be free of her loud and crazy family for the next seventy days? Probably.

Was it because she’d somehow convinced herself that this was going to be the new beginning she’d been looking for? Probably.

Molly sighed and slumped into the cushion. It seemed as if Heath, the complete stranger with whom she’d agreed to spend the next seventy days in rather intimate company, did not own a watch. He was late. And this was his flat. He managed to be late whilst still in his own Merlin-be-damned flat. This did not bode well for the duration of their journey together. She really disliked people who were always running late.

“Sorry I’m late!” Heath stepped out of a dim doorway with a pack similar to hers slung on his back. The wonders of modern magic allowed them to travel quite light. She’d been assured by her Aunt Hermione that undetectable extension charms were a traveller’s best friend.

“Are you ready to go?” Molly asked, standing up and brushing the creases out of her jeans. She’d packed and dressed comfortably, figuring that if there was going to be a chance of her having to wear the same pair of underwear for three days, she might as well do it in comfortable outerwear. She’d learnt that there was nothing like a short skirt and high heels to make you super aware of the state of your underwear on last year’s annual Auror-in-training boot camp. She’d thought the need to complete the obstacle course in high heels and a short skirt was absurdly sexist, but you never knew what kind of situation you might come across in the field.

Heath nodded. “Just let me say goodbye to Raj.”

She nodded in reply.

Heath went down a corridor and she heard him banging against what she assumed was the bathroom door.

“Oi! Celestina Warbeck!”

Mercifully, the singing finally stopped. The rest of the conversation was too muffled to follow so Molly decided to mentally go through the items in her backpack one last time.

Tent – check.

Socks and underwear – check.

First-aid kit – check.

Tampons, in case of no-magic emergency – check.

Insect repellent – double check.

Sunscreen – triple check.

“Ready!” Heath came back and gave her what he probably thought was a dazzling smile.

She scowled.

His grin faded into awkwardness. The clock on the wall ticked loudly without the dulcet tones of Raj the wannabe soprano.

She counted the ticks reach sixty. Heath continued to look at her, his expression inscrutable.

Molly’s scowl deepened.

“Right! Well. We should be heading off now. Don’t want to miss the train!” Whatever survey he’d been doing of her face seemed to be completed to his satisfaction. Finally.

“Lead the way,” Molly replied.


“Our first stop is Stonehenge?” Molly asked a little incredulously.

Heath nodded. They were standing in line at the only magical ticket machine. Obviously, it was the longest line.

“That’s only about a hundred miles out from here!” Whilst she didn’t really want to go on this stupid “adventure”, she had expected to venture out a little farther from home. Her grandparents lived in Wiltshire, for the love of Merlin’s grey underpants!

Heath gave her a blank look, the artificial lighting glinting off the small silver stud in his right earlobe. “How far away is that, exactly?” he asked.

Molly looked at him in surprise as they shuffled forward a few steps. A dumpy woman wearing a cloak in the most lurid shade of green Molly had ever seen walked away from the ticket machine muttering to the ferret that was trotting beside her on a matching lurid green leash. “A hundred miles is a hundred miles,” she replied.

Heath shrugged. “You may not have noticed, but I’m from the States. We use the metric system over there.”

Now Molly was really confused. Her cousin Dominique had once dated a Muggle chef from Texas, and she’d confided that she only ever understood him when he mentioned “pounds” and “ounces”.

“I thought you used the imperial system of measurement, like us,” Molly said.

Heath shrugged again, as once more, they shuffled just a little closer to the elusive ticket machine. This time, a man in an expensively tailored three-piece suit limped away after having kicked the machine in frustration. Molly meanly hoped that he’d scuffed his Italian-leather shoe. “Wizards in the States started using the metric system almost as soon as Napoleon thought of it when he was on the toilet seat.”

“How do you know he thought up the metric system on the toilet seat?”

“All the best ideas are thought up on the toilet seat.”

Molly opened her mouth to argue the point further, whatever the point actually was by this… er, point, but it was finally their turn at the ticket machine.

Glancing around furtively, Heath took out his wand and gave the machine three quick jabs in the coin slot. The image on the screen flickered into a deep purple background. The Ministry of Magic ‘M’ was spinning in its little circle in the top left corner, and all the writing was in gold cursive.

“Merlin’s gray boxers, is nothing in this country straightforward?” Heath swore as he squinted to read the instructions on the screen.

“And this, coming from someone who drives on the wrong side of the road,” Molly quipped. She found that she rather liked annoying her new partner. It was almost amusing watching him flounder.

“For your information, most of the world drives on the right side of the road.”

Molly was glad that he was too engrossed in the flashing lights of the screen to notice her disgruntled expression.


“Okay, so we have to go to platform nine and three-quarters. You know where that is?” Heath asked. It had taken them a good long ten minutes to buy their two one-way tickets to the underground station at Amesbury, the closest town to Stonehenge.

“Of course I know where that is!” Molly replied.

At another of Heath’s blank looks, she was reminded that Heath wasn’t local.

“The train for school left from that platform,” she explained.

“Warthogs, yeah?”


“Right, whatever.”

They walked casually towards platforms nine and ten in silence. “So… I heard the school has like, four really exclusive clubs, or something?” Heath asked by way of awkward conversation. Molly couldn’t quite fathom why he was so interested.

“They’re Houses, not clubs. The first years are Sorted into a House by the Hat on the first night of the school term.”

“A hat?”

“The Sorting Hat.”

“Does the hat talk, too?” Heath snickered at his own joke.

“No,” Molly replied, offended. You didn’t see her making fun of his stupid school. Who went and built a school in a town known for persecuting witches, anyway?

He grinned.

“It sings.”

The grin faded quite quickly after he realised she was being completely serious.


The train was eerily similar to the Hogwarts Express. Even the trolley lady looked the same. Molly almost jumped out of her skin when their compartment door slid open not five minutes into their forty-five minute train ride. Both Heath and the trolley lady gave her a strange look.

“Anything from the trolleys, dear?”

Molly shook her head, too flabbergasted to speak. She surreptitiously examined the lady as Heath made his purchase. No – just a close relative, like a sister, perhaps. Maybe the family was in the trolley lady business.

The trolley lady left and the door closed with a soft click. At least the doors never did that on the Express – they always banged.

Heath leaned into the upholstery with a contented sigh, a generous pile of chocolate frogs in his lap.

“You don’t get travel sick, do you?” Molly asked, eyeing the pile of candy dubiously. She may be trained in first aid, but there was not a power on this earth that could make her clean up puke, even with magic.

Molly liked to think she had a strong stomach. She didn’t faint at the sight of blood, nor did she really care if the room smelt of bat entrails. She liked sashimi, and there had been that one time when she’d had to pluck a chicken.

But vomit… was gross. She’d once shared a compartment with Henry Zhang on the train ride back home for Christmas all the way in first year. Little did she know that Henry Zhang, apparently like Heath, adored chocolate frogs. He’d scoffed about fifteen of them in seven minutes.

And then precisely six minutes later, he’d thrown up spectacularly.

And Molly had thrown up even more spectacularly about thirty seconds after that.

Henry Zhang and she avoided each other’s company after that.

“No, why?” Heath asked, returning Molly to the present. He was stashing all but two of his frogs into one of the pockets of his bag.

Noticing Molly watching, he explained, “You don’t get them anywhere else but Britain. I want to make ‘em last.”

“I see,” Molly replied, even though she did not, in fact, see anything. She preferred chocolate cauldrons, herself. They didn’t spontaneously leap away, and the mint ones bubbled pleasantly on your tongue.

They lapsed into a semi-awkward silence, where Heath savoured his two self-rationed chocolate frogs, and Molly watched him.

He wasn’t exactly what came to mind when someone mentioned travel journalist. There was nothing rugged about him, aside from perhaps his comfortably worn boots and his khaki jacket. His jeans were well-worn, like hers, but were surprisingly clean and had no visible tears or holes. His t-shirt was a plain dark blue. His hair was dark brown, with just enough product in it to make people believe that there was no product at all. As if his actual bed hair was anywhere near as stylish as that. It probably took him a good fifteen minutes to do his hair like that – it had always taken Johnny at least thirty minutes, and was the reason why he was perpetually running late. To someone like Molly, who spent no more than thirty seconds to tie her ridiculous hair out of her way, thirty minutes was twenty-nine minutes and thirty seconds too much to spend on your hair.

Molly looked closer at the stranger sitting across from her, now in the throes of rapture, having just bitten off the head of his second chocolate frog. His eyes, closed in apparent ecstasy at the moment, were the same colour as the world-famous-in-Britain Honeyduke’s chocolate brick, Molly’s favourite. His face was lean, like the rest of him. Molly imagined that he would’ve been quite gawky and gangly during his awkward phase. The image of Heath the Scarecrow brought a little quirk to her lips.

“What are you suddenly looking so happy about?” Heath asked suddenly, shattering Molly’s little vindictive daydream. To be fair, he didn’t deserve that, since it wasn’t his fault that Dennis Creevey had cornered her of all the Aurors-in-training into this bogus assignment.

Molly tried to school her errant thoughts. Thinking such negative things wasn’t part of the Plan of New Beginnings to Kick-Start Molly Weasley’s Life in the Right Direction.

The name still needed a little work.

“Nothing,” Molly replied a little too quickly to sound completely innocent.

A beat of silence. “Stonehenge will be cool, I promise,” he said, once again, quite suddenly. Molly wondered if this was the way he usually talked, or nerves were making him a little more excitable than usual. Either way, she hoped he’d start talking like a normal person soon – keeping up with all his tangential conversations was exhausting.

“You promise?” She raised an eyebrow, punctuating her question. “Have you ever been before that you can make sure of that?”

“No…” He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “But I’ve heard that it’s run by this really cool organisation – they even allow wizards to go inside the structure.”

“How… fascinating.” Molly was a huge nerd by anyone’s standard; she’d been raised to be that way practically from the cradle by her father. But even she couldn’t get excited about a bunch of old stones out in the middle of nowhere. “Why are we going there, again? Aside from it being run by a cool organisation, of course,” she added. She couldn’t help the tinge of sarcasm that crept in.

Heath pouted. “Aside from the cool organisation?”


The Prophet wants me to.”

Molly couldn’t help but laugh. “The Prophet wants you to? What does that mean?”

If possible, he pouted even more. “They wanted the first article to be on something local, and there really isn’t much else in all of Great Britain and Ireland that they could find that could be classified as a ‘great wonder’.”

“I thought it was a travel magazine. Isn’t it supposed to inspire people to leave what they know behind?”

Heath raised his eyebrows. “Have you met your average witch or wizard? Do they strike you as the type to want to go bungee jumping?”

“What’s bungee jumping?”

“Never mind. But seriously, witches and wizards are still stuck in the Middle Ages, for all the advancement we’ve had in sanitation and transportation since then.”

Molly thought about this. She’d met plenty of people, even her own age, who were quite happy to spend the rest of their lives living in some tiny village in Surrey or whatever, Apparating into the Ministry at nine-o-clock to partake in the daily slog up the bureaucratic ladder of success, only to Disapparate at precisely five-o-clock, if only to do it all over the next day.

And the next.

And the next.

Even after all they’d been through as a society, from the bubonic plague, to widespread witch hunting, to the most evil person ever to exist since possibly the dawn of the dinosaurs, a trip down to a pile of stone as old as writing was probably incredibly exciting stuff.

No wonder she was expected to live out the same perfectly boring life as Agatha Painsley-Bumbershuffle.

“I see.” And this time Molly did, in fact, see.


“Welcome to Stonehenge, dudes,” the bloke standing in front of their little group of tourists had a bushy grey beard and was wearing a dark blue gown with yellow stars sewed on. When he walked, Molly noticed that he was rocking the ever-stylish combo of socks and sandals. “I’ll be your guide today, but it is important for you to open your souls and let your spirits guide you to contentment.”

It seemed that Heath’s “very cool organisation” was a cross between Molly’s crazy old Divination teacher and the fringe hippie movement that it was rumoured her own Granny Molly had been a part of.

She gave a significant look to Heath, who was sporting an expression of mild indigestion. “Very cool,” she said.

“Shut up,” he muttered, and they followed Socks and Sandals out and up into the autumn sunshine.

They came up above ground next to where an old wall used to encircle the structure that stood stark against its flat background. Despite herself, Molly became a little breathless at the sight of it, still standing resolute against the test of time.

“Can’t the Muggles see us?” a nervous-looking man with a ferrety sort of nose asked. There were six of them in total, including Socks and Sandals.

Socks and Sandals shook his head. “We’re inside the boundary that was established in the late 1970s, when The Order of the Star-Spangled Merlins first came to call this place their spiritual home.”

“Sounds like the name of a really patriotic rock band my dad might’ve listened to when he was our age,” Heath murmured next to Molly’s ear. His warm breath tickled.

Molly valiantly suppressed an unexpected laugh.

“Quiet,” she admonished. “Aren’t you supposed to be writing this stuff down or something, for your article?”

He waved a little notepad and a self-inking quill in her face and winked, before once again turning his attention back to what Socks and Sandals was saying.

“The Muggles aren’t allowed inside the boundary, and we’re not allowed out,” Socks and Sandals continued. “Of course, we have to figure out a way to cohabitate on equinoxes and solstices and such, but for most of the year, it’s not a problem. Plenty of cosmic energy to go around.”

Molly rolled her eyes as they traipsed closer to the circle of stones. She’d only taken NEWT-level Divination because her father had insisted that it could be useful in the future. She’d found it a rather useful time to take a well-deserved nap.

They reached the outer circle of stones. There was a subtle change in the air around them, but they all felt it. It had been windy out in the open, the crisp autumn breeze tugging at the wisps of hair that had become loose from Molly’s ponytail, but here, inside the shadow of the mighty rocks, their colour like thunder and lightning, the air was a little stiller, the breeze a little less mischievous.

“We have entered the sacred space,” Socks and Sandals said reverently.

Molly couldn’t quite make herself roll her eyes.

They took their time walking around the concentric circles of ancient stone, quietly listening to Socks and Sandals slightly barmy explanations. Molly tuned out most of the things about “agriculture” and “ancient astronomical calendar” and “death rites”.

As they slowly approached the grassy expanse in the centre of the Henge, the air became stiller and stiller. By the time they reached the centre of the circles of stones, the wind was all but gone. It caressed Molly’s face as softly as a dream half-remembered in those few moments between asleep and awake, before the full dullness of reality came and slapped you in the face. Like those precious moments it served as a reminder of a different place, a different time, where the air was purer and the water sweeter.

“Molly.” Heath had just murmured her name, but it was an unexpected enough sound to make Molly jump.

“What?” she snapped – quietly, still aware of where she was standing.

“You okay?” His voice was just as quiet as hers, laced with concern.

“I’m fine,” she replied a little calmer, yet still unable to completely let go of her terseness.

It seemed that time operated differently at Stonehenge. They’d apparently been here for hours, first down in the underground visitor centre, and then wandering the ruins of… whatever this place was. Twilight was fast approaching.

“We shall spend the night under the stars, like our Neolithic ancestors,” Socks and Sandals intoned. The strange magic of the place was a little dented by the sounds of humanity once again domesticating a place almost wholly ruled by nature. In short order, they’d set up a campfire, and an elderly man dressed in mismatched tweeds and a sweater vest clearly knitted by his great-grandmother was now presiding over the communal stew pot, like some pagan goddess of food and abundance.

Molly sat down beside Heath, who was squinting through the shadows of the fire at his notebook.

“Anything good so far?” she asked conversationally.

Heath looked thoughtful. “Some things. I don’t want this to be like all the other travel articles.”

Molly nodded. “Maybe you could write about the strange effect this place has on people.”

Heath turned to look at her face in confusion. “What strange effect?”

“Never mind.”

“It’s your totally rad aura, dude,” Socks and Sandals’ disembodied voice came to them from the void beyond the other side of the fire.

Heath yelped at the sound.

Socks and Sandals walked around the fire and knelt before Molly and Heath. “May I?” He reached out a hand, palm up, toward Molly.

It took her a moment to realise that he wanted her to give him her hand. “Oh, of course.”

Socks and Sandals’ grasp was cool and surprisingly soft. He probably moisturised after washing his hands with the same buttermilk and sandalwood lotion, specially imported from India, as her mother.

Either that or the cosmic energy of the universe was really good for your skin.

He clasped her hand in both of his and closed his eyes. “Your aura is like, totally ace,” he said. The entire group leant in to hear his words.

Molly leant slightly away, feeling something disturbing stir in the pit of her stomach.

“It is clouded,” Socks and Sandals continued. “You are lost… and confused… That’s so screwby, dude.”

If by screwby, he meant a little creeped out, then Molly was beyond screwby. She’d only believed in Divination as far as to pass her exams. And even though she read her horoscope in Witch Weekly, she didn’t take it seriously.

Alright, she took it semi-seriously.

But this was definitely beyond her level of belief.

Socks and Sandals wasn’t done yet. “You’re sweet wave is coming,” he said. “The Dude with the Silver Dragon will be your partner on this soul-searching journey.”

And then he promptly let go of Molly’s hand. The building tension immediately snapped around the circle. There were a few watery chuckles, and Molly felt her face heat with embarrassment.

A quick glance in Heath’s direction showed her that he wasn’t even smiling.


“Heath! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” They were standing next to a stick growing deep into the grass, which marked dead centre of Stonehenge.

“Weren’t you listening to Beard and Sandals this afternoon?” Heath asked.


“Well, he said that one of the hypothesised uses for Stonehenge could have been as a sort of connection. There are heaps of these types of structures across the British Isles and Europe!”

“Do you mean like there’s some sort of cultural connection?” Molly frowned in confusion. It was the middle of the night, and adventuring was turning out to be an exhausting business. Even though the ground was hard and the air was cold, all she wanted to do was cuddle up inside her sleeping bag and sleep.

“No – I mean like an actual connection.”

“What? Like a portkey?”

“Quite like a portkey, dude.” This time, both Molly and Heath yelped at the sound of Socks and Sandals’ voice. For such an impressively dressed bloke, he sure did move quietly. “Except the portkey is like, the entire Stonehenge. Like I said this afternoon,” Socks and Sandals shot Molly an admonishing look, and she felt inexplicably ashamed for tuning him out. “Stonehenge is connected to other similar structures across the land. They’ve been used since ancient times as a way of moving from one place to another. It’s totally kamikaze.”

“You mean to tell me that the great mystic Stonehenge is just some sort of ancient train station?” Molly asked incredulously. It was a little difficult to believe that a place where the very air felt old was just a prehistoric Kings Cross.

“The cosmic energy that connects us all is especially strong in this place, dude. The ancient dudes recognised this, and built a structure that uniquely channelled that cosmic energy, allowing them to move across great distances.”

Both Molly and Heath stared at Socks and Sandals, mouths slightly agape. Who knew that Neolithic witches and wizards were so clued in?

“Does it still work?” Heath asked.

“Of course, dude!” Socks and Sandals looked affronted at the question. “Why do you think the Order of the Star-Spangled Merlins chose this as their spiritual base? It is one of our most sacred vows: to maintain the passage between two henges.”

“Can we try it?” Heath asked eagerly.

“No!” Molly yelped. It was all well and good traipsing across the world, taking pretty pictures of busy tourist sites – that’s what Molly had signed up for.

Using Stonehenge as a transportation device was most decidedly not what she’d signed up for.

“Oh, come on!” Heath whined. “Why not?”

“Because – because!” Molly spluttered, looking around desperately for an excuse. “Because it’s unsafe!”

“I assure you that it’s completely safe,” Socks and Sandals interjected. “You might not end up where you expected, but you’ll definitely end up there in one piece. No one’s been splinched since the 1950s!” he said cheerily.

“See?” Heath argued. “That’s even safer than Apparating! What could possibly go wrong?”

“We could end up in the middle of nowhere?” Molly replied.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“Because it is a bad thing.”

“Look, what’s the worst that could happen? We end up someplace else in Britain?”

“Or we end up somewhere in Europe.”

“Which is where we were going to go next anyway.”

“You’re insufferable.”

“I prefer unstoppable.”


Ten minutes later, Molly and Heath stood holding each other’s hands over the stick in the mud, their backpacks settled securely over their shoulders.

“Are you ready, dudes?” Socks and Sandals asked.

“No,” Molly muttered.

“Totally!” Heath said. The white light from the half-moon cast his face into manic relief. His dark brown eyes were glinting a little feverishly.

“Don’t worry,” Socks and Sandals said cheerily. “Your auras are strong. Open them to the great cosmic flow of energy and let them guide your path!” Easy for him to say – he wasn’t about to attempt to use a prehistoric portkey to journey across the country, or worse, the Channel.

Socks and Sandals began waving his wand in an intricate pattern and chanting in what sounded like Celtic. Slowly, a white fog began to settle over them.

Molly unconsciously tightened her grip on Heath’s hands. The increasingly dense fog began to muffle Socks and Sandals’ chanting. Then the chanting stopped.

“Is that it?” Heath asked, sounding a little peeved. “Did it work? Are we there yet?”

“The transportation is about to begin,” Socks and Sandals voice came to them muffled by the white fog. “Hang ten, dudes, and remember –”

His voice suddenly stopped.

All sound stopped.

All that was left was silence.

AN: Hey y’all! Welcome to chapter three! I hope you enjoyed it! This chapter introduces another element from VioletBlade’s Five Elements Challenge: an earring. Also, I haven’t been to any of the places that Heath and Molly are going to go (except one), so I’m making a lot of this stuff up. I’ve tried to be as accurate as I can, but I’ve definitely taken a few liberties. Saying that, the oldest part of Stonehenge is as old as the first know form of writing, and it was built during Britain’s Neolithic period. So yeah, Stonehenge is old.

The title of this chapter, as well as the lyrics in the summary is from the song ‘Uncharted’ by Sara Bareilles. And if you want to know the song Raj was singing… well, it’s a great song, he’s just not very good at singing.

Adios, amigos! :D


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