shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (see Kitty read)
[personal profile] shallowness
Title: Mutation
Fandom: Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Rating: G
Characters/Pairing: Molly Mahoney/Henry Weston
Word count: 675.

Summary: In which Mahoney helps the Mutant to embrace serendipity. Cautiously.

Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine, and I make no profit from this fan-written fiction.


Mutation: shallowness



It was 8.28 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. The traffic had been kind to Henry, but he wasn’t thinking about that, and his “good morning”s as he made his way through the office were vague and indiscriminate. At that point in time and space, Henry was coming to a realization: he had enjoyed last night with Mahoney far more than any date he had previously been on.

It hadn’t been their first date. For their first official date - which had required a lot of planning and courage with a dash of foolhardiness on his part - he had taken Mahoney to the restaurant that everyone else in the office had liked so much. The ratio of the food on their plates to the amount they’d paid had been unsatisfactory, as had been a number of other things, such as Henry’s level of anxiety and the lack of sparkle in his date’s eyes. Perhaps because he’d spent the rest of the weekend itemizing those deficiencies, on Monday afternoon, he had gone to the shop, seeking to apologize by working in the back office, sorting, cataloging and untangling.

But Mahoney had smiled at him in welcome and spontaneously - not an adverb ever used for the adult Henry until he’d walked into the Wonder Emporium - he’d asked if she would like to do something with him afterward. He had been much more exact and prescriptive when he had suggested their first date. She didn’t frown now, but nodded, and then had to leave because there was a dinosaur roar from the wrong part of the shop entirely and some parents seemed to be panicking. Henry exchanged a glance with a girl in a trike.

He went to take care of things in the office and got so immersed that he was surprised by Mahoney, throwing a pencil over his shoulder by accident when she cleared her throat at the door.

“I’m sorry, it’s an hour after closing time, but there was this bouncing ball being recalcitrant and—You know what? I’m tired. Exhausted, in fact.” Before Henry could wonder whether he should offer to leave, she added, “Can we just walk and see where we end up?”

He had looked at her, millimeters away from leaning against the door-frame, nodded and set aside the notepad he was filling in. A few weeks ago, he wouldn’t have known what to do in response to such a suggestion, all his walking had a set destination and fixed purpose. Of course, the truth is that nobody would have made such a suggestion to him then.

He watched her lock up the shop, a process that seemed to be much like putting a child to bed. The door locked fast, they walked, Mahoney leading by a half step.

They had ended up finding an impromptu concert in a square that Henry would try to find later on a map of the city – a futile search. Two guitar players were riffing under the statue of an important man whose last chapter was written long ago. One player would take the other’s chord sequence and make something more complicated and daring of it. Then the other would accept the challenge. They were dressed as shabbily as itinerant musicians should be, and one wore a hat that Eric might have had something to say about.

At some point, Henry stopped watching them and left the music to his subconscious, which must have been why he was humming on his way to work on the Tuesday morning. Mahoney was rapt, her eyes alight, and the tiniest suggestion of a stoop that she had carried with her after her long Monday was gone.

“What is it, Mutant?” she murmured, his staring breaking through her concentration.

“Nothing,” he replied, smiling, taking her hand, although he would have to let it go when the time came to applaud.

Henry did not usually make personal calls from work, but as the next chapters of his life would show, that changed from that Tuesday morning onwards.


E-mail: profoundly_shallow@yahoo.co.uk


Fin.

Constructive criticism is welcomed as this was unbetaed.

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