The Path to Awesomeness

Step 7: Think Outside the Box

Charms was shaping up to be Mary's favorite class so far, despite her initial reservations about the professor.

You see, midgets, as previously stated, always freaked the girl out to no end. She just couldn't understand how nature allowed it. If something was going to go out of its way to be truly frightening, like midgets for example, they could at least have one redeeming quality to soften the blow.

Instead, midgets ran around in tiny versions of real-people outfits, reminiscent of dogs in human clothing. Always selling the lie they were normal. Ha! How could one be 'normal' when forever at ass height?

They were short. They were stumpy. And above all else, they never randomly burst into song or danced.

And they never had to wear a restraint to keep from biting (movies lie).

All in all, midgets were useless little lumps of horror. The last one she came across had been set aflame. Erm...by accident of course...

Anyway, Mary was happy to note Mr. Beaver was a bit different. Sure, he tried too hard and wore a suit (ick), and no matter how much she offered he just would not take that lollipop. But Mary soon discovered that this wasn't all a midget was good for.

They were surprisingly good targets.

Whenever Mr. Beaver wobbled around the room she'd catch him with a stick. And then again. And again. This time harder.

Once she actually managed to knock him down.

But Mary felt rather sad. Poking midgets may have been fun, but she couldn't get the most out of this if he never fought back. He grunted at the moment of impact, yes, but Mr. Beaver never did anything else. Pacifists were evil.

A few more well-placed pokes to the rib and Mr. Beaver looked ready to lose his senses. This was the moment Mary was waiting for, lovely fun! But that annoying bushy haired know-it-all ruined it. She kept insisting they be given an assignment on the first day and right before snapping, the midget relented. Something about feathers and all that hocus pocus.

Mary dropped her stick in disappointment.

Mr. Beaver thought Hermione very clever, indeed, for getting her feather to float a few inches above the desk on the first try. Mary gave her a withering look. No normal child would want to do work; she must be on steroids or something.

"That's nothing," Mary finally scoffed, unable to hold it in any longer. She shot Hermione a look, "y'all check this here shit out."

The girl lay down on the desk, put the feather on her face, and blew. Hers sailed a few feet into the air and drifted all the way across the room onto some Ginger's book. Mary sat back up and waved her head saucily in time with a cocky 'mmm-hmm' verdict. She snapped her fingers and stuck it to Hermione.

"Booyah."

"Are you retarded?!" Bossy girl snapped, standing bolt upright from her chair. "Honestly, just because you're American doesn't mean sense must take leave of your brain. That, whatever it was...Did. Not. Count!"

"Now, now, Miss Granger –" Flitwick considered both girl's achievements and rubbed his chin. "Miss Suevoumonteasey did make the feather float."

"Professor, with all due respect, she didn't even use a wand –"

"Well, that being what it may, you must admit that the feather floated, correct?"

Hermione made several nervous glances about the room, knowing the whole class was now staring at her and smirking. Flitwick moved his stubby little legs rather quickly to get back to his...um...stack of books.

"You all must remember that in times of crisis, you may not always have a wand. Mary, I like the way you think. Very 'outside the sugar-mice box'."

He giggled, trying very hard to forget she'd offered him a lollipop some twenty minutes prior. And that afterwards she'd poked him with a stick. Relentlessly. He'd probably bruise.

More than anything though, Filius Flitwick tried to push down the temptation...despite his self-respect....that a lollipop sounded pretty good to him right now. The professor wondered if she still had it with her.

"We all should learn from Mary's innovation and cunning!"

Hermione looked like she had swallowed a bug. In a great heap of dejection, she managed to fall back into her seat and keep the room from spinning. This surely wasn't happening.

"She didn't even...use a wand..."

"Jealous, much?" Mary teased once Flitwick was out of earshot, which wasn't hard because midgets were notorious for bad hearing. She smirked at Bossy Girl's white-hot temper.

But much to Mary's chagrin, her bushy-haired nemesis said nothing more.

After that, the excitement of class all but died away...until much later as they broke for lunch.

"You think you are so special, don't you?"

Mary turned from the mouth of her dungeon abode to see Bossy Girl, Staircase Tattoo, and Ginger Kid staring up at her in the foyer. Their faces were not kind. She would have laughed at the combination of ugly hair and oily skin but at the moment her stomach longed for mini marshmallows. She couldn't care less about this interruption.

So she did what any sane person would do and turned as if no one was there, but she found the door had been magically sealed. Grumbling something about Nazis, Mary rolled her eyes and turned to face her freckled opponents.

"Yes." She answered simply.

Staircase Tattoo gave an unsure glance between his friends.

"...'Yes' what?"

"You asked if I thought I was special. I answered. Now let me go."

"Why don't you use your wand?" Bossy Girl sneered before being pulled back by Ginger Kid. "No, Ron, it's true! She doesn't even have one – I told you."

Mary stood there unimpressed.

Soon a very large angry gurgle erupted from underneath her "I Shake Babies" T-shirt and thrust them all into a very long embarrassed silence. Ron felt oddly at home. Hermione couldn't decide which was more frightening, Snape or this girl's hunger. And Harry, poor Harry, only agreed with the sentiment and rubbed his tummy. He looked behind them towards the doors of the Great Hall.

Most of the other students had already found their way in. He sighed.

All three had only just noticed Mary was wearing muggle clothing. How odd to see it in such a magical setting. You see, Mary had deposited her school robes somewhere beforehand but couldn't bother to remember where. She knew Batman would have a fit but she hated the itchy wool!

On a possibly related note, much later, Filch would find a girl's set of robes in the third floor lavatory and have a flashback of falling down stairs, mini marshmallows, and maniacal laughter. He'd quickly burn these robes and suck his thumb in the quiet of his rickety old chamber.

"Mini marshmallows..." the girl whimpered, feeling her stomach rumble for a second time. She pawed sadly at the door which led to the underground dungeons.

"Hermione," Staircase Tattoo insisted, pointing a thumb over his shoulder, "we should get to lunch. Who cares if she doesn't have a wand?"

"Yeah, 'mione."

"You two can go off if you want," Bossy Girl burst in anger. "I'm staying."

She crossed her arms and stared daggers at Mary, who had looked away and was now staring intently at something across the room behind the three of them.

"This isn't over. I don't know why Professor Dumbledore let you into this school but...but...WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"

Mary had walked around the Three Stooges to pursue a First Year who had just begun opening a large oak door. With a precision all her own she crept behind him, swiped his stack of chocolate frog cards, and knocked him into the wall all in one fluid movement. He cried.

She munched happily.

"Like I told Santa, he didn't have to invite me." She plopped down on the cold marble floor and folded her legs beneath her, waiting with some interest as Bossy Girl gathered her words.

"I'm a muggle through and through; that whole thing at the café was a fluke.

"I just love mini marshmallows, that's all." Mary shrugged, eating another card.

"I have no doubt of this," A man sneered from behind her, making the other three shiver in fear.

He stared down at her as if she was a stain on his carpet.

"Which is why I know you can't be trusted. Now, as much as it pains me to say it, give Mr. Creevey back his cards."

He indicated the crying boy on the floor by the Great Hall, looking sadly over a broken camera.

"Awww, but Batman..." Mary pleaded, turning on the spot. She had a card in her mouth and continued eating despite the deadly glare. "I'm hungry and these three buttwipes won't let me into the dungeons."

Snape sighed like a man who had looked Death in the eye, only to remember Death had no eyes at all and probably shouldn't be able to laugh at him either. With muted shock he discovered a white hair and sighed again. All her fault.

"Not that you're at all interested in propriety, but I'm sure even you understand the concept that 'lunch is to be eaten in the Great Hall'. I suggest you find your robes and –"

"Shit," Mary interrupted and stood up. "I just remembered I had an emergency pack stashed somewhere around here..."

She left the four of them in a hurry, checking behind one of the massive House Point hourglasses. Snape, despite himself, exchanged a startled glance with the three children behind him, who then remembered themselves and scattered off to the Great Hall, fearing a verbal lashing. No longer was the matter of wands important, even Hermione dashed off quickly.

So it was just the two of them now, damn it.

"Just in case something like this happened, always have a backup."

Before Snape could say another word Mary turned around with a happy grin and a bag full of mini marshmallows. She opened the bag with a satisfying pop and got herself a great big handful.

"Mmmonmph sphome?" She offered, holding the bag at length for him. Her mouth was full to the brim with fluffy white yum.

"Why...do you insist on ruining my life?" He barely managed to whisper, a loss for words. Snape watched the girl stuff another handful into her mouth once the first was down. He shook his head miserably.

"Just get your robes and leave my sight."

"Sure you don't want some, Batman? They are mighty tasty." Mary offered the bag again. She wrinkled her eyebrows in thought, amazed at herself.

"You know, it says a lot that I'm offering to share. Huh. Before I met you I'd take someone's hand off if they even thought about eating my mini marshmallows.

"I guess that means we have to get married. Personally I've always longed for an Autumn wedding..."

Snape looked like someone had lit his ass on fire. With a start he gritted his teeth and left the scene, a cackle following close behind. Mary called after him, still laughing.

"Does that mean we should see other people, Darling?"