Putting Him in the Picture
Disclaimer: I do not own The Worst Witch or Weirdsister College or any of the associated characters. This story is entirely for fun and no money is being made.
A/N This story is set somewhere between the events of "Never on Fridays" and "The Gargoyle." Mildred's actions may seem a bit out of character, but I hope I've managed to explain them enough so they don't seem totally implausible
It was early afternoon at Weirdsister College and there were several students walking through the great hall on their way to various destinations. First Year student Mildred Hubble was one of these and she nodded pleasantly to a few people she recognised.
After morning lectures Mildred had enjoyed a very pleasant lunch with her friends at Misery's café and was now returning to her dorm. As she had no tutorials or practical sessions today Mildred had decided to spend the free afternoon going over her notes on Professor Thunderblast's spell theory lectures.
This might have surprised her old friends at Cackle's but after only a few weeks at Weirdsister, Mildred was starting to become a very different girl in some respects from the one she had been at school. After a difficult first few days, she had settled in well in her new environment, and although she still missed Cackle's and her old friends at times she was beginning to really enjoy student life. Mildred Hubble, once infamous as the Worst Witch in the whole of Cackle's Academy, was starting to grow up, even if she was not entirely aware of this yet.
An important catalyst in these changes had been her new friend Cas, who had gone out of her way to help and encourage her, even helping her buy new clothes. The new wardrobe actually had quite a profound effect on Mildred. It cemented in her mind the awareness she was no longer a schoolgirl to be told what to do or wear or when to study, but a college student, responsible for her own life and her own education.
Paradoxically, now that Mildred did not have to study, now there was no longer a dragon of a Potions teacher breathing down her neck and threatening dire retribution if her schoolwork did not come up to scratch, she found she actually wanted to. A strong motivation was the recognition that she was very lucky to have got into Weirdsister at all, and it was an opportunity Mildred was determined to make the most of.
Passing through their common room, she entered the bedroom she shared with Ethel and was surprised to find a dark clothed figure sitting on her bed reading a small book bound in red leather that looked familiar.
"Hobbes?" she queried. "What are you doing here?"
The young man leapt to his feet, hiding the book behind him. "Oh I as just returning some books to Ethel Hallow," he explained nervously.
"Then why are you still here?" she asked him. Sudden realisation struck her. "Were you reading my diary, Hobbes?" Mildred almost shrieked the question.
Slowly Nick Hobbes took the diary from behind his back and looked at it, smirking. Now he had been found out he saw no point in further concealment.
"Why yes," he told her. "I believe I was!"
"Give me that!" Mildred tried desperately to snatch the book from him. She was dismayed that someone had been reading her private diary, especially Hobbes as the last entry concerned him directly.
Laughing, Hobbes held the diary over his head. He was taller than Mildred and easily kept it out of her reach. He dodged round her bed, putting it between them to keep her at bay.
"I don't know why you're so upset, Millie, surely there's nothing in here that would embarrass you?" His eyes teased her wickedly as he flipped through the pages. "Unless of course it's the last entry!" And to Mildred's utter horror he began to read the one part she desperately did not want him to know about.
"I find Hobbes so confusing," he recited. "I'm still angry about the way he tricked me at the start of term and he's obviously very power hungry and manipulative, but despite that I can't help finding him really sexy, in a dark, menacing sort of way."
He paused for a moment to grin at her. Mildred stood rooted to the spot, too mortified to move or speak as he began to read again."In fact, I just can't help fantasising about him when I…"
Hobbes read no further than that. He dropped the diary with a yelp of pain as magical energy crackled about it. A second later it flew into Mildred's outstretched hand.
"Now that wasn't very nice," he chided her. "Rather pointless too, as I've already read all the juicy details." He shook his head, smirking at her. "It's always the quiet ones, isn't it? Who would have thought sweet, innocent Mildred Hubble would be so naughty?"
Mildred's face was as red as fire, but she managed to keep her voice steady as she responded.
"What I do in private is my own business, Hobbes. And you'd better not tell anyone else about this or you'll regret it!"
"Oh dear!" Hobbes sniggered at her. "Forgive me if I don't tremble in my boots Mildred, but you're not exactly the most intimidating of witches. From what Ethel's told me you've never been all that good at magic. They even called you 'The Worst Witch' at school, didn't they?"
A moment before, Mildred's face had been red with embarrassment, but it was now chalk white with fury as she heard the words 'Worst Witch.' How she loathed that phrase! It was a reminder of all the miseries and humiliations of her childhood, every mean trick Ethel and Drusilla had played on her, every unfair and undeserved punishment she had been forced to endure. She had come to Weirdsister College hoping for a fresh start, hoping to put the past behind her, but even here that hated name followed her. It was like a curse she could never escape from!
"You shouldn't take everything Ethel tells you at face value." Mildred's voice was so cold it could have frozen an erupting volcano. She walked to her desk, and putting her diary away started to shuffle papers, her hands trembling with suppressed rage. "I'm a lot better at magic than she gives me credit for, and you should remember as well I'm not just an ordinary witch."
"Ah yes, you're special gift!" The mockery in Nick Hobbes voice was palpable. "What are you going to do then, Millie? Sketch a dragon and send it after me?"
"No," she replied, picking up a piece of paper from her desk. "I don't think that will be necessary." She turned around, holding up a blank sheet of paper in front of her. "All I have to do is put you in the picture!"
"What's happening!? What are you doing?" The outline of Hobbes body was suddenly wavering and undulating, like a reflection in rippling water. A second later he vanished.
"Where am I? What have you done to me?" Hobbes's voice came faintly form the paper Mildred was holding. Looking at it she saw a drawing of Nick Hobbes, but one that was moving like an animation.
"I've turned you into a drawing, Nick," Mildred explained. "You obviously didn't realise I can not only make drawings become real, I can turn real things or people into drawings!"
"You won't get away with this!" he protested.
Mildred did not reply. She walked to her bedside table and with a wave of her hand lit the candle on it. She briefly waved the paper over it.
"What's happening, why did it get so hot?" Hobbes asked.
Still not speaking, Mildred moved the paper over the flame again.
"Mildred please don't do that!" There was a note of desperation in his voice now. "Surely we can talk about this?"
Mildred put a corner of the paper to the flame and watched as it caught fire, the paper blackening and burning away.
"Mildred stop! It's like a furnace here!" There was evident panic in Hobbes voice now. "I'll never touch your diary again, I'll never tell anyone what I saw in it, I swear!"
As the corner of the paper Hobbes was crouching in began to char and smoulder, a terrible scream filled the room.
"Mildred, you're killing me! Please! Stop it!"
With a quickly whispered spell, Mildred conjured a glass of water and tipped the contents over the burning paper, extinguishing the flames. She held the charred and sodden fragment in front of her and an instant later Hobbes was back in the room, but looking very different from the arrogant boy who had teased her moments before.
He was soaking wet, his hair and clothes singed and there were streaks of damp soot on his face. He crouched on the carpet, trembling uncontrollably but seemingly incapable of any voluntary movement.
"I'll take you at your word Hobbes." Mildred felt grim satisfaction when she saw him cringe at the sound of her voice. "You will never touch any of my personal things again. You will never tell anyone what you saw in my diary. And if you ever, ever mention again what I was called at school you will be very sorry indeed. Do you understand me?"
Nick Hobbes was still unable to speak but he nodded jerkily.
"Then get out!" Mildred snapped.
Still not speaking, the fledgling dark wizard staggered to his feet and then stumbled from the room, leaving a wet, grubby trail behind him on the carpet. Mildred stared at the mess for several moments. Her anger against Hobbes was already diminishing and she was now feeling rather ashamed of herself. It had really been an abuse of her powers to do that, but he had deserved it and a good scare would do him no harm. It might even improve his attitude, although she would not be holding her breath.
Mildred cleaned away the mess with a spell and then turned back to her desk. Her anger at Hobbes might be fading but she was furious at Ethel for telling tales on her out of school. She really did want to make a fresh start at college and she would not let Ethel spoil that, poisoning people's minds against her with exaggerated stories of how hopeless she had been at Cackles.
Mildred picked up another blank sheet of paper and looked at it thoughtfully.
Perhaps it was time to jave a few words with Ethel Hallow.