A/N: So, erm, yeah. First ever Worst Witch / Weirdsister College fic. Was a big fan of both shows when they first showed on CITV and recently bought the dvds - region free - from Australia and spent a nice couple of days rewatching all the series. Except the New Worst Witch but that's mostly because I think it's not really the Worst Witch if it's set at Cackles and Kate Duchene isn't playing Miss Hardbroom. But, erm, yeah, first fic in this section and I can only ask for reviews to tell me if I managed to get the characters to remain in character for the majority of the fic.
So thanks for any reviews in advance. And I hope you like the fic!
Your Heart's Desire
The full extent of your true power
will be found within your heart's desire
His grandmother had spoken those words to him that summer; when he had made his expected appearance at her summer tea. A formidable old witch, it was widely known not to cross her, for she could hold a grudge, and would not rest until she had gotten her revenge. She had turned to him, staring down her long nose at him, unblinkingly. It was one of the few things in the world which could make him feel like a young child again; not as powerful and afraid. She was the only person who still called him 'Nicholas,' his parents no longer referred to him by that name, they didn't even call him 'Nick'.
He didn't quite understand his grandmother's words, the full extent of his true power found within his heart's desire … His heart's desire was power, something he shared with other members of his family; who were mostly known for being a bit on the side of the power hungry - well … more than a bit. Even still … he was sure that his heart's desire lay with the gaining of more power, and so far he hadn't seen any improvement.
Though there was the matter that it was the desire of his heart that his grandmother referred to. Above all else. His grandmother was a bit of a romantic. She had met his grandfather through rather romantic circumstances after; defying both of their families to be married. So it was highly possible that she meant the phrase in the romantic sense, rather than the goal which he was determined to achieve. Was in the past tense. After the incident with the Whisperer … well, his taste for power had died somewhat, though the desire for control over great power hadn't. What was power without control after all?
But, if his grandmother did in fact mean it in the other sense, then it could only refer to, to … he didn't want to think on it to much. He had blown his chance already anyway, and he knew she wouldn't give him a second one. Anyway, she already had a boyfriend. A boring, bland, good, normal boyfriend. Ben Stemson. From what he had heard, or at least what Ethel had spat in her jealous anger, Ben was a lot like a wizard they once knew, a Charlie Blossom. He had fallen for her as well, and she for him, her first love. That is, if the stories that were being told were in fact the truth of the matter.
He had to face it, he would never see the full extent of his 'true' power, his true power obviously being the magic that came naturally from him, because his 'heart's desire', the object of his affections, Mildred Hubble, would never look at him in that way again. He had blown it.
'"I'm sorry Millie, but … I just … I can't. I'm scared," he said, his face etched with worry, "for you as well as for myself. There's just," he paused, giving a dry laugh. "I've never thought I'd be that scared in my life," he paused once more, licking his lips to combat their sudden dryness. "I can't do this …. I'm sorry," he said, looking as sorry as he obviously was. "Please, forgive me."'
That had been a week after the incident with the Whisperer, almost two months ago now. Mildred had forgiven Ben, it wasn't as though he had been deliberately trying to hurt her. He was genuinely scared, and it had affected him, even though he hadn't really been involved much. But, as she had later learnt off Shaky, exposing a non magic user to that much negative magic had a knock on effect, and Ben had been carrying the All-Seeing Eye … A few days after the incident, and he was jumping at the slightest thing. Although them breaking up had hurt, and still hurt slightly, she had no ill feeling towards Ben. She had been there as a friend, waving him off on the day he left for university in Scotland, having gained a place in his dream course, and it was as a friend that she was missing his company.
Her second year had just recently started, and all students, even the new first years, seemed calmer than last year, the effects of the Whisperer still being felt throughout the college. The lecturers had become more involved, with tutors checking in on their students more often than they once had, and it had become normal to hear of 'bonding sessions' happening on Fridays, sessions that often were often mandatory to show up at. But, despite the faint lingering of the bad events, there was a general sense of hope, and it was something that Millie couldn't help but increase.
And there was also … Hobbes.
He was quieter than he had been the year previously, though still as serious as ever. After the incident, he had been released for a short period of time to go and stay with his family, though there were whispers that his family was worse than he was when it came to power. He had returned a few days after Ben had left, and had locked himself in his room, not emerging until classes started.
Term had officially started back a few days beforehand, and they had been easing them back into their lessons. Mildred sat in Misery's, cup of coffee within arm's reach, reading over the notes she had just taken in History of Magic, a class which she deeply enjoyed, as she found it endearing to know that all magic users, be they witch or wizard, were all connected by this rich history.
"Mildred Hubble," the voice was low, lacking in its mocking tone that had often accompanied it last year caused Mildred to look up from her reading. Hobbes stood just a few steps away from her table, hands in his pockets as always, looking at her with a clear expression.
"Nick Hobbes," she responded, feeling a slight sense of déjà vu, remembering the first proper conversation they ever had. "Do you want to sit down?" she asked, gesturing to the empty seat beside her. He nodded, sitting down almost awkwardly, not looking as comfortable in his surroundings as he once did. "Are you okay?"
"It's … odd," he replied, "not being hated. I had gotten used to it," he shrugged, " and after … I just didn't expect for people to be okay with me this term," he admitted, leaning back as if he had just released a great weight from himself. Maybe he had, with just that small statement.
"People aren't all bad, despite what you might think," Mildred told him, "they tend to forgive, especially if the problem was resolved," she explained, picking up her cup of coffee. Hobbes studied her carefully, keeping quiet as he watched.
"Doesn't stop me thinking it," he admitted eventually, causing her to smile sympathetically as she replaced her coffee cup on the table. He coughed slightly, an odd feeling twisting in his stomach at her smile, looking around the café with a hint of his usual sneer. "So, where's … Ben?" The name came from him with a hint of annoyance and dislike. Mildred looked down at the ground, shifting slightly in her seat, a picture of discomfort and upset. "Ah … " he began, "sorry, shouldn't have asked."
"No, no, it's okay," Mildred assured him. "It just, we broke up," she explained, fidgeting with the hem of her t-shirt. Hobbes frowned, if he knew one thing about that relationship - a relationship which he really didn't like - it was that it was stable, with no sign of it ending. Another thing that he didn't like. He remembered trying to stop the formation of the relationship before it had even started, mostly because he didn't like the idea of … he stopped his mind before it went there. She was never his, and would possibly turn him into a frog if she ever heard him refer to her in such a way. "He was too scared, after … well … just after." Meaning that the break up was partly his fault, though not in the way he ever intended.
"I'm … sorry?" he said, though not entirely sure that she would ever believe him.
"No, you're not," she said straight away, looking away from his as she said it. Hobbes frowned, thinking over the situation.
"You're right, I'm not," he said, nodding. There was a silence between the two, an oddly comfortable one. "So … why isn't he still here? Doesn't he go to a local college?" Hobbes asked, looking at her with slight more interest that he had a few moments previously, though he knew it was mostly due to knowing that she was single again. (Another thought that if voiced out loud would get him turned into a toad)
"He got the course he wanted, at a university in Scotland," Mildred explained, "left a few days before you came back," she expanded, picking at her thumb. "It's best really, the course is perfect for what he wants to do, and it means a job when he finishes it and … "
"And despite what you like to tell people you're still deeply hurting and are trying to deal with it by denial," he sighed, rolling his eyes slightly, leaning his head back of the back of his seat, turning in that position to face Mildred. She stared back, before nodding slightly. "Last time you kept all this bottled up you were ready to leave Weirdsisters. And that was over your cat," he reminded her with a slight tone.
"And you didn't help matters," she said, glaring at him. There was a nod, before he nodded.
"Admitted, but my point still stands," he continued, "bottling things up doesn't work for you."
"Seems to work for you," Mildred pointed out. There was another pause, as Hobbes looked to the ground. "After all, you're keeping whatever would have kept you out of Weirdsisters bottled up, not to mention …"
"I dealt with all that, even though it might not seem like it," Hobbes said quickly. "As for the latter, that's why I was sent away this summer," he added, leaning forward in his seat.
"How was your summer?" Mildred asked, leaning forward with interest. "I mean, we all know you got sent home," she paused looking slightly embarrassed. "I mean … "
"News travel fast, and colleges have big ears," Hobbes laughed softly. "They sent me to stay with my grandmother," he told her. "Strict old witch she is, could straighten out even the darkest of wizards."
"What about your parents?" she asked, her interest at its highest, watching him carefully, studying him almost. She could see the good looks, the face that she had been willing to do so much for on her first day of college, the face that she had fallen for again, though in a different way, during … the incident. She could remember the conversation they had, the questions he asked, the way he looked … almost as though he was disappointed that she didn't fancy him anymore. Well … at least then.
"Worse than me when it comes to power," Hobbes said, giving a small shrug. "My grandmother basically runs the family, you don't cross her," he told her, giving a small smile. "I spent the summer with her. It cheered her up, being able to show off her youngest grandson, fresh out of his first year of Weirdsisters College," he shrugged, playing what he said off as nothing, but there was the smallest hint of red in his cheeks. He was embarrassed at being nice to his grandmother.
"That's nice," Mildred said sincerely, "that you did that for her," she continued, smiling softly. Hobbes looked up and looked away again quickly, another small hint of red in his pale cheeks. "Your care about your family," she said, looking at him, "I would have never guessed."
"No one would, they just like to assume I'm all evil, that there's no good in me," Hobbes said, pulling on the sleeve of his coat to straighten it a little, "and, up until recently, I would have agreed whole heartedly with them," he added, looking at Mildred with a straight expression on his face.
"You aren't evil Nick, misguided, but not evil," Mildred said, looking at him again with sympathy in her features.
"You're the only other person, apart from my grandmother, who believes that," he told her. Mildred stared at him, not quite able to believe what he had just told her. The only other person who believed it … not even his parents … "Don't think that," Hobbes said, looking at her sharply. "Don't think what a sad life I must have had. What's past is past, and I don't want to think about mine."
Mildred nodded, understanding what he meant. Her mind raced, looking for another topic of conversation, and finding one, thought she wasn't entirely sure how it would be received. "Nick, when, well, you know," she began, "why did you ask me if I liked you?"
"Because I like you," was Hobbes' simple answer. Actually, for him it was so straight forward that Mildred was thrown for a bit. "I never lied about that, about wanting to see you," he informed her, taking slight advantage of her silence. "Ethel told me what she told you … and she's right. I do have a soft spot for you," he added, beginning to be a bit worried by her silence. He fidgeted slightly in his seat, standing up suddenly. "Apparently I've disturbed you, so I'll go," he said, moving away from the table.
"No," Mildred said, calling him back, "it's just, well, I don't quite understand why," she explained to him. "I always thought that it was you and Ethel … " Hobbes gave a small scoff at this, looking back at Mildred with a look of amusement.
"Millie, you think I would like someone who was as sly and manipulative, and twisted, as myself?" he asked, amusement in his tone. "I enjoyed working with her, but that's all it ever was, work. Despite her efforts and hopes," he added, still looking at her. "But I liked you, genuinely, part of the reason why I used the dream-catcher. I wanted to make sure you liked me back."
"But I did, all you did there was make me not like you," Mildred pointed out, frowning at Hobbes, remembering what he had told her 'We'll see Millie, one day.' Nothing to suggest anything about power, but that the incident was more personal. Why hadn't she realised at the time?
"Which is why I regret doing it," Hobbes told her, looking down at the ground as he sat back down. "Ethel didn't stop crowing for a week after that one," he muttered, remembering the taunts that Ethel had been so quick to dish out. He looked back up, seeing Mildred biting her lip, something he had learned with a bit of a nervous habit. "Do you like me?" he asked, some hope glimmering in him. Surely she wouldn't ask if she didn't like him, at least, just a little bit.
"I'm not quite sure yet," Mildred answered honestly.
"But there's hope?"
"There's hope," she nodded, smiling in response to the smile that graced Hobbes features. He didn't smile often, but, as she was know realising, when he did it was something that you would want to see on him more often, as it lit up his whole face, added to his already handsome features. He nodded, turning his head to face the table, taking this information in. Mildred could almost see the cogs in his mind turning as he thought it all through.
"Would you like to go out with me? Maybe later this week?" he asked, slowly sounding out the question as if unsure of its presence on his tongue. It was endearing, how different he was when taken out of his element, out of his comfort zones.
"I think I would like that," Mildred replied, smiling at him still. He nodded once more, clearly unsure of what to do.
"Erm, great, that's … that's great," he stuttered slightly, trying to regain control of the situation. What was power without control? Nothing, especially in affairs of the heart, he realised with a jolt, remembering all his grandmother had told him that summer.
Mildred stood, looking at the clock. "I have a meeting with my tutor," she told Hobbes, " but I'm working here later. If you want to talk, that is," she added, playing with her bag strap in a burst of shyness.
"I'd like that," Hobbes replied, his voice soft for him, though there was still a small trace of his usual self there. Mildred moved away from the table, a small smile on her face, before pausing and turning back. He was sitting there, looking completely confused as to what just happened, something which often happened when he wasn't in control. She walked back over, drawing his attention. He looked up as she bent down, dropping a small, sweet, entirely innocent kiss on his cheek, before turning to leave.
Hobbes watched as she walked out of the café, leaning back in his seat with a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach. He sighed, shaking his head slightly, leaning forward and reaching out for his cup, which slide forward into his hand, causing him to stare.
The full extent of your true power
will be found within your heart's desire
Is this what is grandmother had meant? Getting another chance with Mildred? He frowned, still staring at his free hand as he picked up his now cold coffee, thinking it over. If he gained the full extent of his power while, hopefully, dating Mildred … that would just be a nice little bonus. But, for now at least, he thought, a smile slowly crawling over his face as he magically heated his coffee, he would rather take the option of - if he even dared to think it - being a boyfriend. Mildred Hubble's boyfriend to be exact.
It would be a new type of power trip.