Last Author Sitting Down with a Cup of Tea
Please forgive the thread title, I couldn’t think what else to call it and well...it amused me.
Note: Submissions need to come to me by owl as other users don't seem to be able to post them here themselves. So send them to me and I will post them up.
I’ve been in touch with the mods here because I wanted to start a sort of non-competitive version of Last Author Standing. Personally I haven’t written any fics for a number of years and wanted a place where we could do something similar to LAS but without the voting element, so we could all practise our writing, give one another feedback and just have a bit of fun putting our own spin on HP scenarios. I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s personal interpretations of scenarios in the LAS thread. Happily the mods are amenable to the idea of us having a non-competitive writing thread, so here it is!
It’s going to work a bit differently from LAS. Because it’s non-competitive, there’ll be no expectation that everyone should submit something for every scenario (although if you want to, you can). I’m more thinking that people will submit fics about the scenarios that fire their imagination the most, and that way we’ll see some really great writing and we’ll have a lot of fun with it.
Ground rules (more like guidelines, really)
Because we’ve got to have some kind of order here, I’ve tried to come up with some ground rules/guidelines about how I envision this working:
1) Length - The idea is for the stories to be short “one shot” type fics, so for length it would be good if we could stick at no more than 2,000 words, although I’m not intending to word count them or be really militant about length. This just seems like a sensible guide. Don’t worry if you’re a bit over or under, it’s no big deal
2 ) How do we decide which scenarios we are going to write?
I’ve been thinking about this, and I think that the best way to do this is going to be to offer several scenarios at once, and people can pick which one (or two, or three!) they want to write about. As this is our first “round”, I’ll just make some suggestions to start, but if you guys could owl me with scenarios you’d like to suggest then I think that’d be the best way to go about things.
3) Time Limit - There's no formal time limit for submission. If people like this thread and it gets to Page 15 and you see something on Page 1 that you’d really love to write about, go ahead.
That’s it really. I want people to have fun, and for this to be a place for us to not only write but to give feedback and constructive criticism on one another’s efforts. Please be nice with your criticism though; make sure it’s constructive, be polite and don’t bash – although people here seem pretty nice so I doubt any of that would happen anyway. Obviously we need to follow all the usual CoS rules too and fics need to be family-friendly with nothing too explicit.
Here are four topics. Pick one, or more if you feel like it...and off you go!
1) A day in the life of a house-elf – this could be Dobby, Kreacher, Winky or a house-elf we didn’t meet in the series.
2) A story from Bill Weasley’s time as a curse breaker for Gringotts
3) Young, gifted and Black – tell us about a day in the life of young Bella, Sirius, Regulus and Cissy. What was their relationship like as kids? How did they get on with their mum? Was Bella always round the twist? So many juicy questions to be answered!
4) Write about a wedding that we know nothing about. Did Molly and Arthur have a big wedding? Did Lucius and Narcissa only marry because of their mutual pure-blood status? Did Ron get wedding-day nerves when he married Hermione? Was Ginny a Bridezilla?!
EDITED TO ADD: We needed a separate feedback thread. You can find it here: Feedback Thread
Last edited by RosieWildsmith; August 16th, 2011 at 1:11 pm.
Re: Last Author Sitting Down with a Cup of Tea
I made the thread, so I'll go first!
I'm probably going to do more than one of these but it took me days to get this one to a point where I was happy enough to put it up here. Expect lots of Malfoys (fair warning has been given, I feel.)
Bella was the character I most enjoyed writing in this. She's not quite gone round the twist yet (I don't think she really lost it until she got out of Azkaban) but she's already got an edge to her, she just acts up and you never know what she's going to do next. I think I'll be writing more Bella as time goes on, she's fun to play around with
Characterisations aren't as well-rounded as I'd like them to be but I was trying to stick to my own ground rules about word limits poor Cygnus didn't get much in the way of a personality. I also need to learn how to pace things properly :-/
Please forgive Lucius' middle name, I couldn't resist.
Finally, the whole interaction between Lucius and Narcissa was heavily inspired by the wonderful Makani's artwork which I have recently discovered and enjoyed immensely. Her pictures give such a tender depth to a relationship we really know very little about. They are just terrific.
Here's my effort. Let me know what you think.
Write about a wedding we know nothing about
Toujours - a Black/Malfoy wedding day
The day dawned bright and clear. Narcissa breathed a sigh of relief. She had been so worried it would rain. As soon as she had opened her eyes it had come back to her - today was the day. Today was her wedding day. She sprang out of bed at once. There was no time to waste. Her husband-to-be's family were very well connected and seemed to have invited everyone they knew to this wedding. Everything had to be perfect. She began to dress, and as she did so she couldn't surpress a smile. She hummed to herself as she pulled on her fine bridal undergarments. She still had trouble believing that she - never as outgoing as her sister, delicately built and somewhat lacking in confidence - would soon be marrying one of the most eligible bachelors in the wizarding world.
She thought back to her days at Hogwarts, how she had noticed Lucius from the first. It was hard not to notice him, the way he strode into the Great Hall as if he owned the castle. He had had his share of admirers, even among the Muggle-borns and half-bloods. Of course, Lucius had never so much as looked at a girl whose blood status was less than pure. He had never even bothered to disabuse these girls of their fantasies. He simply ignored them as beneath his notice. But when he had met Narcissa, she had explained all about her family tree, mercilessly pruned of Squibs and Muggle-lovers. Lucius had heard of the noble house of Black. There were so few pure wizarding families left that for a wizard wishing to marry only a pure-blood witch, the choice was limited. They had spent a lot of time in Slytherin common room, talking and playing wizarding chess. Lucius had been such a strategist, she had yet to beat him. Gradually the way they interacted with one another had changed. While he had always seemed somewhat cold and aloof, towards her he became tender and chivalrous. Narcissa had known that she was seeing a side of him that few people had ever seen. He sought her out, was solicitous, and puffed up with pride like one of Malfoy Manor's elegant peacocks when she smiled at him. Both families had approved the match, and today she would become his wife. She had even practised her new signature, doodling Narcissa Malfoy over and over on napkins and scraps of envelopes, and she thought it had quite a ring to it.
The door burst open. Narcissa rolled her eyes. "Honestly Bella, don't you ever knock?"
"There's no time for that, Cissy. I'm here to help you get ready. Mum says we need to arrive in plenty of time, or the Malfoys will think we've had second thoughts. Anyway I had to get away from her, she keeps going on and on about how proud you're making our family, blah blah. She never went on like this when I married Rodolphus. Now, where's your dress?" Narcissa indicated the closet. Bella helped her in to the beautiful gown she had chosen. It was made of white silk, and fitted her slim frame perfectly. Pearls were stitched at the hem and high up on the bodice. Narcissa noticed how they caught the light as she turned, this way and that, to admire herself in the mirror.
Bella picked up a brush and began to brush out Narcissa's long blonde hair. Mrs Black came into the room, and for once her stern face was softened by a slight smile. "Cissa darling, you look beautiful! Such a high match for my daughter, such an ancient, pure-blood family. Not a Muggle marriage anywhere on that family tree, and that isn’t easy to say these days…”
Bella whispered in Narcissa's ear, "Told you she kept going on." "Ow!" exclaimed Narcissa. "Don't pull my hair!" Bella flashed her a small, spiteful grin. "My hand slipped."
"...such a handsome young man. Your children will be pure-bloods on both sides, think of that!" Mrs Black's eyes gleamed with a fanatical light. Narcissa blushed brightly. "One thing at a time, mum."
Fully dressed, and with her hair now pinned up into an elegant chignon, Narcissa descended the stairs at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Her mother and sister followed behind. As she passed by the portraits of the Black ancestors, they cheered and clapped their approval. Together they walked into the kitchen and arranged themselves around an ugly cracked, brown teapot. They each hurriedly pressed a finger to the surface of the teapot as it began to glow, whirling them all through space to the shelter of a small group of trees not far from the cathedral in Wiltshire where the wedding was to take place.
They landed smoothly; they were all used to apparition and their days of stumbling upon landing were behind them. Bella glanced around, smoothing her wild hair, and noticed a nearby Muggle tramp rubbing his eyes, staring at the space where the three of them had just appeared. Bella swiftly pulled out her wand and shouted “Hocus pocus!” at the man, sending him stumbling hurriedly away. Bella laughed at his retreating back.
“Really now, Bellatrix,” said Mrs Black reprovingly. “We should have modified his memory before letting him run off like that.” Bella pouted slightly. “Who’s going to believe him, about people appearing out of nowhere?”
Narcissa was more occupied with the butterflies in her stomach than the Statute of Secrecy. She just hoped she didn’t trip in her heeled shoes, or get to the altar and promptly throw up. She found herself wishing that her new family hadn’t invited quite so many of their friends and associates. Still, there was nothing for it now. She started towards the cathedral, admiring the shadow its tall spire cast in the morning sun.
At the great wooden doors they found a Muggle standing guard. As they approached he smiled, and waved them in. “Here for the wedding, are you? Well I can see that this must be the bride, and beautiful you are too if I may say so ma’am. Just go right in.”
Mrs Black remarked; “Whoever put the Imperius curse on him seems to have done a good job, but I do hope they remembered to prompt him with the other Muggles. Abraxas told me that if any of those Muggle tourists come to see the cathedral today, they’ll be told it’s been evacuated due to a bomb scare and no-one is allowed to enter until the Muggle Aurors have dealt with it. We can’t have a crowd of them wandering in and spoiling your big day.” Mrs Black physically shuddered at the thought. “Now, where is Cygnus?” Mrs Black went to look for her husband, and found him deep in conversation with Lucius’ father;
“…so I said to the hag, “Another ten sickles and you can have my wand as well!”
One look at his wife’s expression and Cygnus broke off the conversation; the time had come to do his fatherly duty by Narcissa, always his favourite daughter. Not prone to strange outbursts the way her sister had always been. Mrs Black led him towards where Narcissa waited, pale and beautiful, in her wedding dress, and Cygnus found himself at the mercy of the old cliché – he couldn’t believe how grown-up Cissy looked. He kissed his daughter on both cheeks and they linked arms. “Ready?” asked Cygnus. His little girl smiled back at him. She was a grown woman now, and soon another man would be taking over his role as her provider and protector.
In the body of the church, the organ music struck up. Someone had enchanted the organ to play itself, and the familiar music rang out. Narcissa took a deep breath and stepped through the double doors to walk down the aisle.
The aisle looked so long! To either side were the guests – Cissa spotted her cousin Sirius, his long hair wild about his face, looking sulky and disinterested. His younger brother Regulus was beside him, and he at least seemed to be paying attention. The back of Bella’s wild head was easy to make out, standing next to her husband Rodolphus. Narcissa looked ahead, fixing her gaze on the altar. In keeping with tradition, Lucius hadn’t seen her wedding dress, would only see it when she stood at his side as they took their wedding vows. Her heartbeat quickened as she caught sight of him, standing beside his father to the right of the altar. She smiled at the sight of the black, satin bow holding back his long hair. Her husband-to-be was such a dandy. She suspected that from now on, whenever they attended social events together, she would have to battle for the bathroom mirror while Lucius checked that his hair was just so and his cravat was precisely centered.
Finally, she reached the altar and her father patted her arm, smiling down at her, before letting go and moving aside. She stood next to Lucius, her delicate figure dwarfed beside him, and felt his presence in every nerve ending; she felt as if she was on fire. He cast a sideways glance at her, appraising, and their eyes met. Narcissa blushed beneath his look of frank approval. He smiled broadly, and mouthed discreetly; “You are so beautiful”. Without looking down, his hand sought and found hers. Together, they faced the altar, and prepared to say the vows that would bind them together for the rest of their lives.
“To my son, and his new wife. May they have many happy years together!” Lucius’ father, the usually stern Abraxas Malfoy, was in a jovial mood. He raised his glass and the other guests followed suit. House elves scurried between the rows of chairs, filling glasses and carrying trays of food.
Rodolphus Lestrange was now on his third glass of black mead. He shouted “Lucius, when they said kiss the bride, I thought you’d never come up for air!” Several nearby guests laughed, but Abraxas frowned at the unseemly interruption. “Ahem…and as a wedding gift, I am giving Lucius and Narcissa…” he gestured imperiously at the grand room in which they were holding the reception “…Malfoy Manor. My wife and I will soon be retiring to one of our properties in the South of France. After all, I want my grandsons to grow up somewhere befitting their pure-blood heritage.” The guests burst into uproarious applause.
At the back of the room, Narcissa blushed. Lucius sat with his arm around her, and he whispered into her ear; “Cissa, darling, you are so charming when you blush.”
“Everyone wants to tie me down with babies! We’ve only been married three hours!”
Lucius smiled. “Well darling, there’s no time like the present to, ah, make our contribution to the purity of the wizarding race.” He looked down at her keenly, a predatory look on his handsome face. Narcissa felt the butterflies in her stomach fluttering wildly, and as he bent his head to kiss her, she felt as if she was allowing herself to be consumed.
“To Mr and Mrs Lucius Elatus Malfoy. Long life and happiness,” finished Abraxas. “Long life and happiness,” echoed the rest of the guests.
“Are you happy?” asked Lucius, drawing back from his new bride and searching her expression. Narcissa smiled – a smile of pure joy and pure trust in her new husband. “Happier than I’ve ever been.”
He gave her a sudden, serious look. “I will take care of you, Cissa. You know that, don’t you?”
“I know,” she replied quietly, looking up at him with shining eyes. “Oh Lucius, this is just the beginning for us. Just imagine what the future might hold.”
Across the room, the band had finished tuning their instruments. They struck up a lively tune, and Lucius rose, holding out his hand to his bride. “May I have this dance, Mrs Malfoy?” Narcissa giggled. “You may.” She allowed him to lead her to the centre of the room, and the guests broke into scattered applause as they took the floor for their first dance together as husband and wife.
Last edited by RosieWildsmith; August 15th, 2011 at 5:35 pm.
Re: Last Author Sitting Down with a Cup of Tea
Here's a submission from USNAGator91 - a story based on Bill Weasley's time working as a curse breaker for Gringotts.
Apparently people aren't able to post here themselves, we're thinking possibly because it's in the sticky portion of the board. So it looks like submissions will have to come to me by owl and posted that way. This means we also need a separate feedback thread. *goes to create*
The Curse of the Magic Box
Bill Weasley entered through the bronze doors at the entrance to Gringott’s Bank on Diagon Alley. These days, security was especially tight, the normal complement of wizard and goblin guards augmented by hidden charms meant to detect the most complex of dark charms. Bill’s shoulders were slumped. He felt that every eye in the main lobby of the bank was on him. The side of his face itched and burn and felt to him like the harsh glare of a neon sign, a beacon drawing attention to the garish wound he’d received at the hands of Fenrir Greyback the night Dumbledore was murdered. To Bill, the wound served as a reminder of his failure to the greatest wizard of their age.
He ignored the goblins sitting behind the counter in the lobby and slinked his way down to his office. He slumped down behind his desk and put his head in his hands, ignoring his inbox. Just then, his door swung open and the incandescent vision of beauty that was Fleur Delacoeur strolled in and smiled brightly at him. For a moment, the emptiness that occupied his chest was filled with warmth and light. For a second, he allowed the feelings of love that she shone on him to drive away his depression. In that moment, she walked around and kissed him gently on the lips. Then, his condition overwhelmed him.
How could a woman of such perfection want a man damaged by such evil? His face had been marred by an evil man, on an evil mission, and somehow that evil had left a mark on Bill. Soon enough, he thought, Fleur would realize just how horrible he looked. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him with much more urgency. Again, he felt the demons flee from his spirit and he accepted the gesture of love she’d given him.
“Eets not much longer, mi amor.” Her voice seemed to reverberate through the room and into his body. “Just one more month, and we will be ‘usband and wife.”
“Are you absolutely sure, Fleur?” His face was bent with worry lines and fear. “It’s not too late for you change your mind.”
She tapped him lightly on the top of the head and then traced her fingers down the line of his scar. “Shush weeth that, mi amor. I have to hear that from your family, I do not have to hear it from you.”
He laughed and made an apology. “I’m sorry. I’m a lucky, lucky man to have you.”
“I am the lucky one, Beel. Never forget that. Besides, you look very manly with this scar.” She placed her lips on the scar and kissed it gently. Abruptly, she rose. “I have to go. I’m meeting your mother at the dress shop, and then I must find some clothes for when we go to get ‘arry.”
“We still have a planning meeting with Madeye tonight, right?” He asked.
“Yes, mi amor.” She reached inside the pocket of her dress and pulled out a bit of parchment. “Griphook wanted you to handle a cursed delivery. Apparently something we were consigned to deliver to a customer is impossible to open.”
He picked up the parchment and saw the address was further down Diagon Alley. Truth be told, with He Who Must Not Be Named back, the Alley had seen over a third of its tenants flee or worse. It was a good thing to have an assignment so close.
“Okay, I’ll take care of it and then meet you at the Burrow for the planning session, okay?”
She reached up to his cheek and kissed him again. “You still love me?”
“Of course I do. Always.” He returned her kiss and watched her leave the room. Almost immediately, the depression returned and sighed heavily. He gripped the parchment and followed her out the door.
The address on the parchment led him to a large, dilapidated building at the end of Diagon Alley. This part of the Alley was abandoned and the only sign of life was the glaring façade of his brothers’ business about five blocks away. The building had once been impressive and had the look of an old theatre. Its windows were boarded up and the glass on the box office was shattered. He walked up to one of the doors and knocked gently. Slowly, it opened to reveal the stooped figure of an old man standing in the shadows.
“I’m from Gringott’s. I’m the curse breaker.” Bill said, walking inside the dark lobby of the old theatre. The man was ancient. He had a pot belly and shoulders hunched over as he leaned a small cane that was almost three inches too short for its intended purpose. He had balding head with a bushy range of hair around the sides and a white, thick walrus mustache on his lip. His eyes were dim and black and he squinted through a pair of thick spectacles that made his eyes seem to bulge like a lizard’s.
“It’s about time you got here. Been waiting almost two days.” His voice was gravelly and gruff, and he broke into a spasm of coughs as he spoke.
Another voice broke out behind him. Another old man, this one thin and tall, with a full head of grey hair combed over into a pompadour. He was clean shaven and had the look of man who availed himself of muggle tanning salons, his skin a dark hue of orange and brown. The newcomer wore pink shorts with a white leather belt, white knee high socks and a pair of brightly polished black dress shoes. He wore a lime green and white striped golf shirt and his face bore an infectious smile.
“Shush, Stan, let the man be.” The tall man looked at Bill and shrugged his shoulders in apology. “You’ll have to forgive my brother. He was never a nice man when he was young.”
The man called Stan grunted derisively. “He doesn’t look like a curse breaker. Look at his clothes! “ Bill was clad in black jeans and a black concert tee shirt from a band that was currently popular with younger wizards and witches. Stan raised his diminutive cane in an accusing posture. “And look at his hair and that fang thing in his ear. He ain’t no banker!”
His brother held a finger up to his head and made a twirling motion. “My brother doesn’t get out much. But the delivery was worth it. It holds our family fortune. We sure could use your help.”
Thankful for the return to the task at hand, Bill allowed the taller man to guide him into the main theatre. They were trailed by Stan, who was grumbling obvious obscenities under his breath.
The main theatre area was dark and musty, most of the upholstery on the seats torn and moldy from years of disuse. Bill followed along to the stage.
The stage was empty save for an oblong object in the center. A bright spotlight encased the object, which as Bill got nearer, he saw was a wooden crate. The crate was about six feet long, and two feet wide and two feet tall. It was unremarkable in appearance, a simple shipping crate, complete with the Gringott’s seal of security on it. It was common for Gringott’s to handle transporting their customers’ valuables to their final destination, in keeping with their security policy. Containment spells, however, were tricky things and being jostled in shipment or stored for long periods of time tended to knock the charms awry. Typically, it was left to curse breakers like Bill to rectify the situation.
Bill turned to the taller of the men. “This shouldn’t take but a few moments, sir.”
“Ollie, young man, call me Ollie.” He pointed to his brother. “And you’ve met Stan, my brother.” Bill nodded and looked back at the box. He drew his wand and held it before him, closing his eyes. Through the darkness of his lids, he saw a faint green aura emanating from the box. He murmured a counter curse and the green aura turned blue.
“Alohamora.” The nails in the crate snapped out and the lid popped open slightly. Bill reached down and pushed the lid off the box and looked inside to find another crate, only smaller inside. Bill nodded to himself. This was typical. For smaller magical items, Gringott’s used a Babushka doll arrangement, with several crates enclosed in others. Each crate was charmed.
“Harumph! I’m not impressed.” Stan’s voice echoed in the empty theatre. Bill ignored him and whispered another charm. The smaller crate lid popped off and Bill reached down to toss it off, only to be encased in a cloud of orange powder. Bill coughed out loud and looked about him. He wasn’t hurt, but the powder clung to ever part of his body. He was a bright orange color.
“He looks like an Oompa Loompa!” Stan laughed with a sneer and Bill noticed that his brother had a small grin on his face. Bill could only think what he looked like. He peered down warily and saw that the second box contained another, smaller box. Bill sighed and spoke another charm. The third box popped open without fanfare and Bill waited for a moment and not seeing any aura, pushed open the lid of the third box.
There was a flash of light and a crack of thunder and then nothing. Bill tensed and felt no ill effects. Stan, however, was howling with laughter.
Bill looked down. His skin was still bright orange, but his clothes had been replaced by a white sailor suit, complete with a Dixie cup hat and a navy blue bib on the back. Instead of jeans, he had starched white shorts, knee high socks and canvas sailor shoes. Bill would have turned red, if he wasn’t already dyed orange.
Bill took a deep breath and looked down. There was one more, smaller box inside the third box. He closed his eyes and concentrated. Still, there was no dark aura of a curse, but there hadn’t been with the other boxes. Still, he made his precautionary charm and again, the last box lid popped open. He turned to Ollie, who’d walked up on the stage.
“This should be the last one.” Bill said. Ollie nodded, his face still in a grin. Ollie whispered, almost in awe. “This is our family’s greatest treasure, worth more than kingdoms. Perhaps I should open it?”
Bill waved his hand. In for a sickle, in for a galleon, besides, while the curses had been benign, who knows what had been saved for last. Bill knelt down opened the box. Another flash of light burst out and Bill was blinded for a moment and then his eyes cleared.
Bill shuddered as he heard Stan’s bellowing voice laughing uncontrollably. He looked out to the seats where he found Stan rolling on the floor holding his stomach, laughing uncontrollably.
Stan paused long enough to yell. “Does the widdle baby want his bottle?”
In horror, Bill looked down. He was seated atop a tricycle and his wand was topped off with a giant lollipop while he held a huge, adult sized pacifier in his other hand. Bill rolled his eyes and looked inside the last box, resolved to see what was worth all this trouble. The inside of the box was covered in red felt and lying on the felt was a small, rectangle of golden paper, embroidered with red letters. Bill’s eyes grew wide and stood up, nearly tripping as the tricycle became tangled in his knees. He pointed his wand, the giant lollipop head aimed at both brothers and shouted.
“Homenum Revelio!” The candied head flew off his wand and struck Stan on the forehead. Both brothers seemed to sneeze and then transformed, revealing the chuckling forms of George and Fred Weasley. Bill stamped his foot down.
“What do you two think you’re doing?”
Fred, who was Stan, wiped a tear and looked at George. “Mum always said he was the smart one. He doesn’t look it though.”
George smiled at Bill. “You’ve been so down in the dumps over your newfound love of steak tartar that we decided to bring you back to reality.”
Bill suddenly realized that he’d hardly thought about feeling sorry for himself. He’d only noticed how ridiculous he looked. He started laughing and turned and picked up the golden ticket in the box. “Your family’s greatest treasure?”
The script on the ticket was visible. “The bearer is entitled to five galleons worth of merchandise at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.”
Fred laughed. “Of course. There’s nothing more valuable to me and George than giving things away.”
A crafty smile covered Bill’s face. “I see your point.” He tapped the ticket with his wand and it disappeared in a cloud of golden flame. He turned to his brothers. “I have to get going. I have to get this stuff off me before the meeting.” Bill leapt off the stage and started walking down the aisle. He turned and looked at his brothers.
“Thanks, you two. “
Fred and George shared a serious look with Bill and watched them go, then followed behind. They walked out of the theatre and trailed behind Bill, eventually stopping at the doors of their shop. Bill stopped near Gringott’s and gave the brothers a wicked grin. Curious, Fred and George shared a look of panic and threw open the front door of their shop. Inside, it was packed with shoppers, shoulder to shoulder and clamoring for attention from the hapless clerk. Each held up a hand, and in each hand was a brand new, golden ticket, everyone announcing a special five galleon gift. Fred and George looked down the street at their brother, who tossed them an offhand salute.
George shook his head. “You know what, Fred?”
“What’s that George?” Fred responded, his voice despondent.
George had a tone of admiration in his voice. “Mum was right. Bill is the smartest of us all.”
Re: Last Author Sitting Down with a Cup of Tea
I wrote another one. It's for the "Young, Gifted and Black" topic.
And this time I remembered that Cissa and Bella don't live at Grimmauld Place. Go me.
I'm off work this week and this has massively increased my productivity in writing fics. I feel this one is better constructed than the first.
No Cousin of Mine
A Black family confrontation
“I don’t want to go!” insisted the boy. “I hate going there. They’re all a bunch of stuck-up idiots!”
Walburga Black pursed her lips. “That’s enough, Sirius. We’re going to visit your aunt and that’s the end of it. Go and tidy yourself up. We’re leaving in ten minutes. You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.”
Still grumbling, Sirius slouched off in the direction of the bathroom. His brother Regulus came into the kitchen and Walburga nodded her approval. Regulus at least kept his hair to a sensible length.
“When are we leaving, mum?” Regulus helped himself to a homemade Cauldron Cake. “As soon as your brother is fit to be seen in public.” Regulus snorted. “So, never then?”
Sirius came back into the room looking fractionally tidier. “I suppose that will have to do. At least you’ve brushed your hair. Why you don’t have it cut, Merlin only knows…” Walburga fetched the Floo Powder from its container on the windowsill. “You first, Regulus.”
Regulus stepped into the fireplace and released the Floo Powder, saying “32 Backhouse Place,” clearly. He vanished. Sirius stepped in next. “32 Backhouse Place,” he repeated, in a desultory tone of voice.
He appeared in the other fireplace almost instantly. The rest of the Black family didn’t live far from Grimmauld Place. He stumbled out, coughing – he thought he might have inhaled some Floo Powder. As soon as he stepped out of the fireplace his mother appeared. A thin, aged-looking witch, Walburga Black looked strangely similar to Druella, her sister by marriage, who was also as thin as a wand. Walburga’s dark hair was streaked heavily with grey, whereas Druella’s pale blonde remained as bright as ever. The two women embraced.
“Druella, you’re looking well my dear. How are the children?”
As if on cue, a wild-looking young girl strode into the room. “Bella, how many times do I have to tell you! Slow down when you’re in the house. If you break one of our family heirlooms…!” The threat went unfinished. Bellatrix Black slumped down at the kitchen table. Behind her, her younger sister entered the room almost timidly. Where Bellatrix had inherited the Black family looks, with dark colouring and strong features, Narcissa Black was her mother in miniature. Slim and blonde, she was a quiet, sweet girl, as shy as her sister was headstrong. Bella nodded her head briefly at Sirius. “Bella,” he said politely. There was no love lost between the two of them, and since Sirius had started at Hogwarts last year he had heard disturbing whispers about his older cousin and the things she was involved with. Because of his age, Sirius wasn’t privy to most of the adults’ conversations on the subject, but rumour spread fast at Hogwarts.
People said that there was a Dark Wizard who wanted to purge the Wizarding community of all non-purebloods. Sirius had grown up in a family where having pure-blood was seen as next to being a member of the Royal Family, and most of his family had lapped it up. Sirius supposed it made them feel special, made them feel important. But he had heard that Bella was involved with this Dark Wizard more than most – that she was, in fact, becoming a trusted member of his inner circle. Sirius didn’t feel any compunction to defend her from the gossip that was circulating about her; that she was becoming more and more deeply immersed in the Dark Arts.
There had been unexplained disappearances lately, and rumours of worse – deaths and torture of wizards who opposed the group. Looking at his beautiful cousin, Sirius had to admit that it was uncannily easy to picture her being involved with these kinds of things. She had been well and truly brainwashed into thinking all non-purebloods were scum, unlike Sirius himself who had never been able to follow his family’s logic. In fact, one of his friends at Hogwarts was Muggle-born. He could only imagine his family’s reaction if he ever let that one slip.
The family sat down at the kitchen table, except for Druella, who bustled about making drinks and refreshments. She flicked her wand at the teapot, which began to pour tea for them all. At another flick, a plate of biscuits sailed over to the table and landed in front of Sirius, who mechanically reached for one.
“So, how are you enjoying Hogwarts, Sirius?” Druella tried to be polite to her sullen nephew.
“It’s great fun, I’ve made lots of friends in Gryffindor.”
The entire room went silent. Bella looked as if she had swallowed a slug.
“We were certainly…surprised that he wasn’t sorted into Slytherin,” said Walburga. “He’s the only Black in living memory to be in any other house.” Walburga laughed feebly. Sirius could feel the disapproval in the room, and it put him in a perverse mood, making him want to annoy his family all the more. They were so narrow-minded, it drove him nuts. One of these days he’d just get so sick of it that he’d pack a bag and clear off somewhere. He wondered if James’ family would put him up.
“I like being in Slytherin,” said Narcissa. “There’s always someone interesting around the common room to chat to.”
“Yes, Malfoy must be a lot more interesting than I thought. I keep noticing you two in the Great Hall looking rather cosy. Is he telling you all about his daddy’s properties in the South of France?”
Narcissa blushed fiercely. “Sirius you’ve never even spoken to him.”
“No,” agreed Sirius. “And I don’t plan to start anytime soon.”
“Now really Sirius,” said Walburga. “The Malfoys are a very respected family. There’s really no need to be unpleasant about them.”
“Very respected bunch of pratts,” muttered Sirius. Walburga ignored him.
“Regulus is really looked forward to going this year, isn’t that right Regulus?”
“Yes, I’m sure I’ll be in Slytherin. I can’t wait to go. Is it true that there’s a giant squid in the lake?
“Yeah,” said Sirius. “It’s vicious too. I’d avoid the lake if I were you.”
Bella rolled her eyes. “It’s not vicious, he’s only winding you up. The Slytherin common room is underneath the lake.”
“What’s it like, being in Slytherin?” Asked Regulus, his eyes wide.
“Well, Lucius says…” Narcissa’s cheeks flamed again “that only really intelligent and ambitious wizards get into Slytherin. It’s kind of elite, really. Some of the oldest families have been in Slytherin for generations.”
Sirius made a face. It was obvious that lately, every third statement out of Cissa’s mouth was preceded by “Lucius says”. He couldn’t understand why she hung round with him. The guy was an arrogant berk, always going on about his rich father and his blood status. As if that mattered to anyone anymore. Well, anyone apart from the Malfoys – and the Blacks. Sirius had seen the way Lucius looked at Lily – early in the school year they had had a confrontation when Lily revealed she was Muggle-born. He looked at Lily with utter disgust, as if she was something nasty he had found on the toe of his immaculately polished shoes. It made Sirius furious.
“Yeah, could you imagine being in Hufflepuff?” said Bella. “I’d die of shame!” she let out a wild laugh. “Mind you the Gryffindors aren’t much better. All bravado and no brains.” She looked pointedly at Sirius.
“Pity Slytherins never put their brains to much use, apart from discussing their family trees on a daily basis. It’s really boring.”
Walburga looked down her nose at her son. She had raised her children to be proud of their ancient blood heritage. Sometimes Sirius, with his long hair and unsavoury views, seemed like a stranger’s child to her. She had tried to raise him correctly, but Sirius had always made up his own mind and gone his own way. “Sirius, I raised you to respect your family. You need to practise keeping a civil tongue. My ancestors went out of the way to ensure the purity of the bloodline, and you take their efforts for granted. How would you feel about being descended from half-bloods, or worse, Mudbloods?” Walburga looked horrified at the thought.
Sirius jumped down from the table. Rage coursed through him. He was sick of all their nonsense, sick to the back teeth of it. He had never wanted to come on this stupid visit in the first place. “You know, one of my friends is a so-called Mudblood. And I’d rather hang round with her than spend a minute longer with you lot. And you know something? At least so-called Mudbloods would be able to have fun. They’d be focused on the present, and not always banging on about ancient history. And they wouldn’t go around with their noses in the air, thinking they were better than everyone else all the time.”
Sirius headed out the door. “Young man, where are you going?” demanded Walburga.
“Away from you lot. I wish I’d been born a Mudblood. Then I wouldn’t have to listen to this rubbish.”
Walburga looked like she might faint. “YOU DON’T MEAN THAT! Oh, Druella, how could he…how could my son…”
The front door banged shut. Walburga was openly weeping. “I raised him to have family pride, I tried to raise him in the old ways. I don’t know where I went wrong, Druella.”
Druella put an arm around Walburga’s thin shoulders. “It’s not your fault. Sometimes, you can do everything and they still throw it back in your face. These young ones, they have no idea. These days, no-one values wizarding blood the way they used to. It’s a shame, a dreadful shame.”
Bella was beside herself. “Did – did he mean it? About being friends with a Mudblood?”
Cissa said gently; “Lucius says he’s friends with the Evans girl. She’s Muggle-born. She’s quite pretty…”
Bella spluttered; “Friends with filth! No Black has ever lowered themselves...well, that does it. From now on, he’s no cousin of mine.”
Druella looked at Bellatrix adoringly. “As you can see, our Bella understands our feelings. She’s got her pride. She knows what’s due to her.”
“Never catch me hanging round with Mudbloods.” Bella pulled out her wand, and toyed with it menacingly, staring at the place where Sirius had been as if wishing she had taken the opportunity to hex him into oblivion.
“No cousin of mine,” she repeated softly.
Re: Last Author Sitting Down with a Cup of Tea
I might just go for the full sweep now. Here's a day in the life of Dobby. Well, not a day exactly. More like "20 or 30 very specific minutes in the life of Dobby."
This came about because:
A) I wanted to write the scene where Dobby overhears about the plot in CoS. We know he overhears it, which is why he turns up at Privet Drive to warn Harry. I thought it would be interesting to imagine that scene in more detail.
B) I thought I should write something less sympathetic about Lucius. Nonwithstanding how well Jason Isaacs suits that wig, he's not a very nice man when you get down to it.
I really like my cursed painting. That might appear in the next one cause I need to do Bill Weasley next. It would fit in nicely.
I don't know where my thing about Lucius and Firewhiskey came from, it's a bit of a running theme when I write him. Firewhiskey, yum.
A day in the life of Dobby
Dobby knew he shouldn’t linger in the Master’s Study. He had already cleaned the fireplace and dusted the bookshelves. He still had to beat the drapes. The heavy embroidered curtains were prone to dust and doxies if left to their own devices. Dobby had even brought a bucket for any doxies that might have escaped last week’s cleaning. Dobby should really be getting on with his work. If Master Lucius returned to find that it wasn’t done, he would order Dobby to perform extra punishments. Dobby was frightened of his Masters. Of Master Lucius most of all, but also Master Draco. Master Draco watched everything with his cold eyes, and reported back to his father if Dobby hadn’t completed his chores. Dobby had to careful when Master Draco was around.
On the carved, wooden desk sat a tatty old book. Although the Masters scarcely suspected it, Dobby had magic of his own. A different magic to theirs, but powerful all the same. He kept glancing at the book fearfully. There was something about the book that made him uneasy. Dobby could sense a powerful dark magic around the object. Of course, Dobby was used to dark magic. His least favourite task was dusting the secret room beneath the drawing room floor where Master Lucius kept many dark objects. Dobby remembered one occasion when he had gotten a little too close to a cursed painting. It wasn’t a very beautiful painting – in fact it only showed the inside of a bare little room. But Dobby had found himself staring and staring, until he felt as if he was inside the room in the painting – Master Lucius had come in just in time. Once Dobby had recovered from the blow to his head, and realised he was still in the secret room, Master had given him such a telling-off. “Stupid, useless elf! Do you know what powers that painting has? Another few moments and you would have been sucked into that room. You would have become part of the painting, trapped in it until you starved to death. That is exactly what happened to the previous owner. What use would you have been to our family then? You should keep your eyes down when you are cleaning this room. Any one of these objects could kill you. New house elves are, regrettably, hard to come by.”
Dobby appreciated the Master saving him, although Dobby wondered if it had been necessary to hit him quite so hard. Besides, Dobby knew that Master was only concerned about keeping his servant. Dobby was bound to serve the family, as his brother had been before him, and his mother before that. The next time he had entered the secret room, the painting had been covered with a dust sheet. Dobby finished cleaning as quickly as he could and scurried back up the stairs into the drawing room, being careful to close the trapdoor behind him. Master had always collected dark objects. But this book was somehow worse than the others. Dobby could sense that the book was – alive, in some way. Aware, certainly. And that the book’s intentions were evil beyond imagining. Still, the elf was drawn to the book. He approached it nervously, creeping closer and closer…
“What do you think you are doing?” The Master’s voice was flat and cold.
Dobby started, his heart pounding as adrenaline shot through him.
“Dobby did not hear you enter, Master Lucius. Dobby was just…just…”
“Just poking his nose into things that don’t concern him.”
The Master’s eyes flashed dangerously. “Now, get on with your work, or get out of my sight. I have things to attend to.”
“Yes Master. Dobby was just about to clean the drapes, Sir. Unless Master would like any refreshments? Mistress Narcissa has been to Honeydukes and bought all manner of…”
Lucius cut him off. “A glass of Firewhiskey will be fine. See to it.”
“Yes Master.” Dobby backed his way out of the room to fetch it. When he came back, Master Lucius had been joined by Mistress Narcissa. Master held the tatty book in his hands, and they were talking in low voices.
“But what will the book do, Lucius?”
“Do?” Lucius Malfoy smiled. “My darling Narcissa, it will do nothing short of cleanse that school of all the Muggle filth that old fool has seen fit to allow through its doors. The Mudbloods will be killed off, one by one, until only purebloods are left. The school will be a much better place for Draco afterwards, don’t you agree?”
“Kill the Mudbloods – do you mean the children? Lucius, I…”
“Muggle children,” emphasised Lucius. “Children that are not fit to study alongside our son, Narcissa. Children who should never have been admitted to Hogwarts. I still think we might have done better to send Draco to Drumstrang. They’re much more, ah, selective about who they teach.”
Narcissa shook her head, and said gently; “Lucius, we’ve been through this. It’s too far. He’s our only child. I couldn’t bear for him to be so far from us for most of the year.”
Lucius nodded slowly. “I do understand your point, my darling. Once I put my plan into motion, however, Hogwarts will be the next best thing to Durmstrang. Draco will have the opportunity to study with children that are his equals. He will not be forced to mix with inferiors.”
Dobby entered the room slowly, using all his willpower to stop the silver tray from shaking in his hands. The Malfoys barely seemed to notice him as he placed the tray on the desk. Dobby crossed to the curtains and made a show of dusting them. He wanted to overhear what his Masters were saying. Maybe if he could hear the rest of the plan, he could somehow try to stop it – try to help those children. Fortunately, his Master and Mistress were paying no more attention to him than they did to the patterns on the wallpaper. Dobby continued dusting, listening with all his might to their conversation.
“But Lucius, you can’t be seen to have anything to do with this. If anyone was to find out…”
“Don’t worry, Narcissa, I don’t intend to allow anyone to make the connection. I was rather thinking that I would simply allow the book to fall into the hands of one of the students. Preferably one of the blood-traitor Weasley’s disgusting brats. Did you know he’s supporting this latest piece of Muggle Rights legislation? It’s madness, Narcissa, and someone has to stop it. I intend to be that person.”
“Dumbledore will never allow it,” said Narcissa. “He’s a powerful wizard. He’ll find a way to put a stop to it.”
“Dumbledore will not be able to stop it. Once the other governors see that he’s unable to do anything to protect his students, I’m sure they’ll be amenable to asking for his resignation. That’s the beauty of my plan, my darling. In one fell swoop we will cleanse the school of all the Muggle filth and that old Muggle-lover at the same time. Once Dumbledore is out of the way, we can begin to make changes to the regime at Hogwarts. Changes for the better.”
“What about Harry Potter?” asked Narcissa. Recently the young wizard had defeated Voldemort for a second time, the Dark Wizard to whom the Malfoys owed allegiance. “He seems to be stronger than any of us realised. They say he’s a favourite of Dumbledore’s. Mightn’t Potter put a stop to it once he realises what’s happening?
Over by the drapes, Dobby caught his breath. Dobby had heard Harry Potter’s name before – he was the little boy who had defeated the Dark Lord, sending him into exile for many years. He had been just a baby when he survived Voldemort’s killing curse, which had murdered both his parents. Dobby had heard Master Lucius use some very nasty words about Harry Potter, but Dobby thought the boy must be very special to have defeated the Dark Lord, who had been very powerful at the time of the confrontation.
Lucius Malfoy waved Harry Potter away with a lazy sweep of his hand. “Draco tells me the Potter boy is really nothing special. Woefully average, in fact. His defeat of the Dark Lord was down to luck, nothing more. He’s a mere boy, and certainly not as intelligent as Draco. He poses no threat to us. He’s the son of the Mudblood Evans, after all, and bad blood will out, Narcissa. I am not worried about Harry Potter. You should not be, either.”
Dobby had to do something. He couldn’t allow his Masters to go ahead with this plan, to put all the children in danger. Especially not Harry Potter. “The boy who lived,” they called him. The only one known to have ever survived a killing curse. Dobby must find Harry Potter. He must find him, and he must warn him. And he must do it without his Masters finding out.
Last edited by RosieWildsmith; August 18th, 2011 at 1:23 am.
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