Laugh till you Crack!
Humorous one-shots put together...No links with any of the books...Just pure humor...No plots either...Good, huh?
Disclaimer: I solemnly swear these characters are not mine. Oh, and that they are up to no good.
“-maybe we should just forget about it this year.”
“Fred, we need a Christmas carol. We have one every year! We can’t stop the tradition!” George argued as the both of them descended from the stairs leading to the Gryffindor Boys’ Dormitories.
“I’m trying to think of something, George,” Fred hissed as they plopped down on one of the couches. “Let’s see what we have... How about “Silent Night”? We could write something about Ronnikins.”
“We did that during his first year, remember?” George rolled his eyes.
“Umm... “Dumbledore Is Coming to Town” then,” Fred suggested again.
“No, it’s not original enough. Besides, I think we did it before... Or was it Lee?” George frowned.
As the both of them were engrossed in thinking, they didn’t see Hermione (who was yawning sleepily) coming down. “Good morning, Fred, George.”
“-here?” They both ended in unison.
She rolled her eyes, “What are you doing?”
“Let’s ask Hermione, George. She might be able to help,” Fred proposed.
George thought over it for a moment and turned towards Hermione, “Say Hermione, are you well-versed in Christmas carols?”
Hermione arched her eyebrows but nodded.
“Brilliant,” Fred said, “Could you help us with writing a parody Christmas carol then?”
“It’s all in good fun, you know. Getting into the Christmas spirit and all...” George added, just to be safe. They didn’t want to get into the bad books of Hermione the Perfect Prefect.
She grinned, “Why not? Have you got a tune yet?”
Fred nodded while George shook his head. Then they turned to each other.
“We do?” George asked just as Fred asked, “We don’t?”
Hermione chuckled, “Do you or do you not?”
They both exchanged glances and then nodded. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” It was their favourite Christmas carol.
And then they spent the better part of the morning trying to come up with something that was actually good. There was a lot of singing involved as well as maniacal laughter. Thankfully for them, Fred and George had set up a silencing spell around them.
“Hey, hey you two, how about ‘Voldie the red-eyed Dark Lord, had fingers that look like sticks’?” George asked while Hermione and Fred cracked up.
“See this, ‘Ronald the red haired wizard, had a really pretty blush. And if you ever saw him, you might even get a crush’.” Fred sang but then shook his head sympathetically. “With his luck, he would never get a girl after this.”
“Let’s try mine then, ‘Sev'rus the hated teacher, had a long and hooked nose. He was tall and imposing, always dressing in black clothes.” Hermione suggested.
Fred and George’s eyes lit up. “Perfect Christmas present for Snape.”
“Peeves, would you do something for us?” Fred (or George, either one since Hermione is still unable to tell their difference) asked Peeves. “It’s got something to do with Snape.”
Peeves eyes lit up, “Is it anything... Humiliating? Embarrassing? Fun?”
Fred and George both nodded, “When is it not? It’s one of our Christmas carols.”
Peeves cackled evilly. He had sung their last creation during last year’s Christmas ball. “Anything for you, Mr. Weasleys.”
And then Hermione handed Peeves the parchment where she had written down the lyrics. Peeves scanned through it and cackled up again. “This is by far, your best!”
Fred and George nodded, “Well, we did have extra help this year.”
Peeves looked appraisingly at Hermione, then he grinned at her and took off his hat and saluted, “Didn’t know you had it in you, Ms. Granger.”
Hermione grinned, “Just make sure everyone hears it.”
Fred and George nodded, pleased. “We’ve successfully-”
“-turned you into-”
“-one of the most cunning-”
“-pranksters in Hogwarts. Wonder how we did that?”
Professor Severus Snape woke up on Christmas day with a really bad feeling. He never liked Christmas all that much. In his opinion, it was just an excuse for students to skive and make noises and cheer and laugh. It irritated him to no end.
He was already in a foul mood when he stepped into the Great Hall for breakfast, but nevertheless, fully prepared for all the joyous Christmas caroling and cheering today.
He wasn’t, however, prepared to hear Peeves belting out a song to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. But that wasn’t just it. It was a song, written about him.
“Sev’rus the potions master
Had a big and crooked nose
He was tall and imposing
Always dressing in black clothes.
The students -even the Slytherins- were laughing maniacally and cheering Peeves on. Peeves gave thumbs up to Fred, George and Hermione, who were sitting together at the back of the Gryffindor table.
Most of the Hogwarts students
Hated him and cursed his name
Giving Gryffindors detention
That was Sev'rus' claim to fame!
“Hear, hear!” Lee Jordon shouted and the Gryffindors cheered. Most of the Hufflepuff students were also humming to the tune along with Peeves singing. Professor Snape’s face was now so red it rivaled that of Ron’s when he was embarrassed.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
A salesman came to say
Sev’rus with your hair so greased
Won’t you buy shampoo tonight?
By now, the other professors had lost it. Professor McGonagall was laughing so hard that Professor Sprout had to stop her from falling off her chair. Professor Snape sent a glare to them.
Then all the students loved him
Even with his crooked teeth
Sev’rus the potions master
You’ll go down in history!”
“FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY!”
The poem took me five days to write...Feedbacks please...
Lee Jordan had never enjoyed going to weddings. The other weddings he had been to were those of his numerous older cousins. It was a time to wear stuffy dress robes, and for relatives that you didn’t even know you had to fawn over how much you’ve grown before reprimanding you for fidgeting in your seat.
Lee had been only twelve the last time he went to a wedding. Maybe being older would make it more enjoyable. Plus, it wasn’t his own family that he would have to deal with. However, he vowed to stay far away from Muriel. Fred and George had told Lee enough about her that Lee would rather face all of his own relatives combined than spend two minutes with Great Aunt Muriel.
Lee hadn’t seen Fred and George since Dumbledore’s funeral. They had written to him at least four or five times a week, but their letters were increasingly vague to the point of frustration. Lee had the impression that they were doing important work for the Order. He couldn’t wait to see them face to face and make them explain themselves properly.
The mass of red haired Weasley relatives made it amazingly difficult to find Fred and George.
“Hey, Lee!!!” shouted a voice very loudly in Lee’s ear, making him jump. Obviously, his friend had found him first and had decided to sneak up and scare him.
“Oh, there you are,” said Lee once he had regained his composure. He saw with a twinge of disappointment that only one of the twins was there. He could tell them apart only if they were both in front of him.
“Guess what? George and I have good news for you!” Okay, the twin was Fred.
“Is it that you’re hooking up with those pretty French veelas and making this a triple wedding?”
“No-- . . . wait, the idea has potential . . . no, that’s not what I was going to say,” Fred shook his head. Lee noticed that he had grown his hair out a bit so that it fell past his ears, “What I was going to say was, we now have a way for you and everyone else to tell me and George apart every single time.”
“That’s a good thing?” asked Lee, who knew that the twins loved to play their ‘switching game’ as often as humanly possible.
“I said it was good news for you,” Fred corrected, “I never said that we were happy about it.”
“Okay, then,” said Lee. Part of him suspected that Fred was just setting him up for a joke, “How do I tell you two apart?”
“First, we find George. Then, we’ll show you,” Fred wandered into the crowd with Lee following next to him.
“Can’t you just tell me?”
“Where’s you sense of drama, Lee?” Fred turned to his friend, “Come on, maybe he’s in the house.”
Fred led the way into the Burrow and up to the second floor. The twins’ bedroom was empty, but the bathroom was locked. Fred’s knuckles rapped on the door.
“George! Are you in there?”
“Yes!” George answered back.
“What are you doing in there?”
“Fixing my hair!”
Lee s******ed and Fred called back, “Do you want me to send Ginny and Gabrielle up here? They could help you put it in pigtails!”
“Shut up, Fred.”
“I swear, all of my siblings have such snappy retorts,” Fred whispered sarcastically to Lee. Then he yelled through the door again, “Come on, Lee’s out here. He wants to see the . . . erm, modification.”
“How much did you tell him?”
“Almost nothing!” Lee shouted back before Fred could answer.
“Maximum shock is important,” Fred said matter-of-factly.
“All right, already!”
George opened the door. Now Lee was sure that this was a prank. Other than the fact that George had also grown out his hair, he didn’t look any different than normal.
“Okay, I’m stumped,” Lee said after a few seconds.
“Show him,” Fred pressed.
George smirked and brushed his hair off of one side of his head. Lee gasped. George’s ear was gone. Nothing remained but a small, black hole. George let his hair fall back over the hole, though the hair lay flatter than it normally should have.
“Who . . . how the . . . when did that happen?” Lee asked once he found his voice.
“Few days ago,” George said, “Mission for the Order. It’s really a thrilling story how it happened.”
“Did a Death Eater do that?”
Fred answered, “Our dear old former Potions teacher, as a matter of fact. Fitting really, that a guy named Severus would specialize in severing.”
“And to think,” George continued, “I thought he was bad when the worst he did was deduct house points and give us detention.”
“There you two are! Dawdling as usual I see!”
Fred, George and Lee turn to the newcomer. It was a very old woman – she had to be over one hundred years old. By the way Fred and George groaned, Lee summarized that this was their Aunt Muriel.
She looked them up and down, “I see you haven’t improved since the last time I saw you. Look at the state of you: Growing out you hair like ruffians. Well,” she paused and eyed Lee with his dreadlocks, “I suppose it could be worse. Do you own a spider, boy?”
Lee was taken aback by her bluntness, but answered, “Yes, a tarantu—“
“Ah, that explains it,” Muriel interrupted before Lee could finish. Then turned her attention back to the twins, “I must find the bride to instruct her on how to wear my tiara. I will see you outside in a few minutes. Also, Fredrick, do you realize that your ears are lopsided?”
“Auntie Muriel,” said George slowly, as though explaining something to a dim-witted three-year-old, “I know you hate to be corrected, but there are three things wrong with your statement. First, no one in this house is called ‘Fredrick’ ever! It’s Fred. Second, I’m George. And third, it’s impossible for my ears to be lopsided, because I only have one!
“Oh, yes, Molly told me about that. Dreadful accident, I’m sure. Good day,” she marched smartly up the stairs.
“Good riddance, more like,” Fred said once she was out of earshot.
“Come on, let’s go outside and see who else has run afoul with Muriel, so we can all complain together,” George said as he led the other two downstairs.
“You think he will get the joke?” said Minerva anxiously. “After all he doesn't have what one would call a great sense of humour if any.”
“Of course he will.” answered Albus and in a whisper he muttered “I hope.”
“what did you just say under your breath?” asked Minerva, as she studied the Headmasters innocent look.
Albus sighed “Oh come on Minerva, every year you know I keep hoping to reach his hidden sense of humour, I'm sure he has one.”
“Oh sure, where?” asked Minerva. “I think the closest thing to humour he has is his funny bone.”
Severus had woken up to the realization that it was once again April Fools Day. The Weasley twins birthday of all days. He suspected that it was going to be one of those get Snape days, if Albus had anything to do with it. Humour especially that of the Gryffindor kind was not what he called pleasant fun.
This time though he smirked to himself as unbeknown to Albus, he got to the Weasley Twins first with a proposition of his own. They took him up on his offer as it was one deal that the twins just couldn't refuse.
George and Fred were grinning mischievously at each other as they prepared to celebrate their birthday.
“You know I didn't think we would be helping Snape prank the Headmaster.” said Fred to his twin
“I know what you mean brother of mine, I cant quite believe it myself. It is definitely a first in the annals of Hogwarts, but it is such an opportunity.” said George as he put the finishing touches onto the prank. “Are you ready?”
“Of course I am, lead the way.”said Fred as he ushered his brother out of the common room.”It'll be unexpected.
Severus came into the Great Hall as normal, he barely glanced at the twins who were siting innocently at the Gryffindor table after setting the prank up. Sitting down beside Minerva as usual he proceeded to eat his breakfast and was his usual snarky self. He didn't bother with drinking any of the morning pumpkin juice that was set out in front of everyone. Instead he drank a glass of water that he had disguised as pumpkin juice, and waited for the other members of the staff to drink up. He waited for the twins prank to come in effect..
The Headmaster was puzzled as to why Snape was not reacting to the glass of pumpkin juice set before him. He had heard that the twins had a great prank to set off April Fools Day and he had so much looked forward to see what was going to happen to the potions Master this year. After all it was the one day of the year that the twins could count on not getting punishment for creating a memorable prank. He didn't know what it was exactly, just something to do with the Pumpkin juice in front of Severus Snape.
The students whispered among themselves as they waited expectantly to see what the twins had planned this year for their amusement. Each year since the twins had come to Hogwarts, interesting things had happened to the dour Potions Master on this day. The castle ghosts were floating nearby, curious themselves as to what would transpire. They watched Snape intently as he reached for his glass and drank from it. Nothing happened as he calmly kept eating his meal. The students and other members of the staff who had been expecting something spectacular to happen drank their pumpkin juice in disappointment.
The twins were conscious of the fact that everybody felt like they had failed in their efforts to entertain the other students and staff so early in the day. The twins shrugged as they watched the staff at the Head table drinking their pumpkin juice. It wasn't long before something strange seemed to be happening. There was an eerie glow that surrounded the Head Table and mesmerized the students and ghosts who were excited to see what the mischief was, that the twins had planned for April Fools. The glowing faded away and for a brief second there was silence.
Then a ripple of laughter exploded as everyone observed everyone sitting at the Head Table, except for Snape had been transformed into a collection of multicoloured Medieval Court Jesters, complete with Hats that had bells that tinkled as they moved their heads. The hats were enchanted to stay on the wearers heads and each one matched the personality of each victim.
Severus looked over at Albus and Minerva. “I see both of you have dressed appropriately for April Fools Day.” He smirked. “I would of thought that as adults, you would have stopped participating in such childish games by now.”
It doesn't End! It never will...I will keep coming back for more. The books will always remain a part of who I am!
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Last edited by Vig; January 21st, 2008 at 1:46 pm.
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
The morning after James Potter, just before pulling out of what would have been a spectacular dive on his broomstick, collided with his father head on, Harry could not remember who Ron was.
He got out of bed and went downstairs like always, peeking in various rooms on the lookout for family members (Albus was reading on his bed, Lily still sleeping, and James nowhere to be found). Ginny was in the kitchen, drinking coffee and filling out a puzzle in ‘The Quibbler’.
“Morning,” he said, kissing her amidst her sleep-tousled hair before digging around the bowl of fruit in the middle of the table for an apple.
“Morning,” she replied, “Eleven letters for a ‘Christmas party ruiner’?”
“Ermm…” said Harry. He took a bite of the apple he’d recovered and chewed thoughtfully. He glanced at the title of the paper. “A ‘winged snaff’?”
Ginny surveyed the puzzle, brushing the end of her quill across her lips. She narrowed her eyes. “It fits,” she said, “But it sounds like something you just made up.”
He smiled. “Just about everything in there does. Since when do you do crosswords?”
“Hermione’s been trying to get me into sudoku for so long…” Ginny sighed, “And I really can’t get the hang of it. I figured I’d give this a try instead, but I can hardly figure out any of these clues…” She put down the paper and the quill and looked up at him, sympathetic.
“How’s your head?” she asked.
For a moment Harry was surprised. He raised one hand and brushed his fingers over the back of his head, which was swollen and achy. He recalled suddenly that the day before James had hit him with his broomstick.
“Fine,” he said, laughing a little bit, “Not the worst broom accident I’ve ever been in.” He looked around. “Where is James anyway, he’s not in his room.”
“Hiding,” replied Ginny, amused. “He got the idea you’re going to ground him and flew off to Ron’s. You know not being allowed to fly is a fate worse than death to him. We may never see him again…” she laughed and so did Harry, though of course he understood. All three of the Potter children were athletic and enjoyed Quidditch, but only James had inherited his father’s simple love of flight.
When Harry stopped laughing he asked, “So, where has he gone again?”
“Ron and Hermione’s,” repeated Ginny, her eyes straying back to her puzzle. Harry frowned.
“Hermione Granger?” he asked.
“Do we know any other Hermiones?” Ginny asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
“Well… no,” sputtered Harry, “I don’t know. It’s just you said Ron and Hermione’s. Didn’t you?”
Ginny said, “Yeees,” in a where-is-this-going sort of tone.
“Well, who’s R—“
“Hey,” said Lily, abruptly entering the kitchen and slumping down at the table. “Mum, can you make waffles?”
“You know how to make waffles,” Ginny pointed out.
Lily’s face became an exaggerated pout. “But Muuum, yours are better than mine. Right, Dad?”
“Right,” said Harry immediately, though he quite obviously wasn’t listening. Ginny shot him a worried look before standing up.
“All right,” she sighed, “I could do with some real breakfast myself, anyway.”
“We never eat any real food unless Grandma’s cooking,” Lily complained, “I dunno why Teddy shows up all the time…” At Ginny’s expression she added with a thumbs up, “Except waffles. Your waffles are great, Mum!”
“Thanks,” Ginny replied. She rolled her eyes, but she was laughing.
“So whose this Ron?” Harry asked suddenly.
Ginny and Lily stared at him, so he explained, “You said James is at Ron and Hermione’s. I mean, I guess that’s girl talk and all, but I would have thought she’d at least mention if she was living with someone…”
The girls continued to stare.
“Do you mean Uncle Ron?” wondered Lily.
“Uncle Ron?” repeated Harry, flabbergasted. “He’s Uncle Ron, now? Just who is this bloke?”
“Mum,” Lily whispered, although Harry was quite within earshot anyway, “I think Dad’s lost it. I bet it’s Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, like that therapist said…”
“She said it was odd Harry didn’t have Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome,” Ginny corrected her with a frown.
“What’s up with you guys?” Harry asked peevishly. Ginny approached him and bent down to stare right into his irritated, green eyes.
“Harry,” she said slowly, “Do you know who I am?”
“I imagine I do,” he replied sarcastically, “I married you, didn’t I?”
“I’m Lily!” piped up Lily helpfully. Her parents both shot her reproachful looks.
“Lils, go see if Al wants any breakfast,” said Ginny pointedly. Lily left in a huff.
“What’s going on?” Harry wanted to know.
“I don’t know,” said Ginny, “But I think you’ve got amnesia. I guess James hit you harder than we thought.”
“Amnesia?” wondered Harry. “But I don’t have amnesia. I still know who I am, and who you are, and the kids.” Suddenly he looked stricken. “There are three of them right?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Ginny, “Who else do you remember?”
Harry shrugged, exasperated. “I dunno, everyone. Your Mum and Dad. Hermione. Teddy and Andromeda… erm, Neville… how many people do you want me to keep listing?”
“I guess that’s enough…” said Ginny, biting her lip. “But you really don’t remember Ron?”
“Who?” asked Harry blankly before saying, “Oh right, right, this mystery man of Hermione’s…”
There was the familiar commotion of feet banging down the stairs and the two younger Potter children stomped into the kitchen. Al, like Lily, was still in his pajamas, and he’d brought his book with him.
“Lily says Dad’s lost it,” he told Ginny excitedly. “And also that you’re making waffles.”
“I am,” Ginny sighed. Her two children happily found places around the table and proceeded to stare at Harry with wide, interested eyes. Their father was distracted again, and didn’t notice. Ginny started pulling out ingredients for waffles.
“Well,” she said, now in a taking-charge-of-the-situation tone. “Ron is one of my brothers, and he’s been your best friend since you were eleven. He’s got red hair. Also, I believe he’s helped you save the world a few times.”
The kids, who had watched their mother as she gave this simplified explanation of a very prominent figure in their lives, now turned gleefully back to see their father’s reaction. Harry was still frowning thoughtfully, much as Ginny had been when she’d been pouring over her puzzle.
“I don’t remember that,” he said, which was rather obvious but he found it helpful to think out loud sometimes. “I mean, Hermione’s been my best friend since I was eleven, and God knows she’s helped me save the world a couple times. But Ron, Ron… it’s just not ringing any bells.” He leaned his head in one hand and drummed the fingers of the other. “How did we get across that chess board, anyway?” he wondered to himself quietly.
The door banged open and shut, and someone exclaimed, “Ginny, you’re cooking!” It was Hermione.
Ginny grumbled, “I cook all the time, what is it with you people and my waffles?” but hugged her sister-in-law nonetheless. She was particularly glad to see her on this morning. Hermione would know what to do.
As usual Hermione’s appearance was neat. Those in the Potter household tended to stay in their pajamas for most of the day when there wasn’t work or school to attend to, but you could count on Hermione to have combed hair and crisp robes no matter what the time of day. She cheerfully viewed the family before her, eyeing Lily’s nightgown and Al’s tousled hair fondly.
“Hi, kids,” she greeted them. “I haven’t stolen your brother, you know. Ron’s bringing him over with Hu and Rose any minute now.”
“Cool!” Lily cried, excited to see her friends if not her older brother. Al was more sensible about the situation.
“But Aunt Hermione, Dad doesn’t know who Ron is,” he pointed out.
Hermione finally turned her attention to her oldest friend, who still had his head in his hands and looked like he was trying to mentally solve all the problems in the universe.
“Oh dear,” she said, looking to Ginny for confirmation.
Ginny sighed. “It’s true. I didn’t think he’d have anything worse than a sore head after James hit him yesterday, but he woke up this morning and—“
Feet touched down on the grass outside. There was a clatter of broomsticks being dropped, and Ron called, “All right, the rule is no one’s allowed to kill James because it was an accident! What? Oh, I’m sorry. No one is allowed to ground him either!”
“What do we do?” Ginny whispered to Hermione, stricken. Hermione was already approaching Harry. She put her hands on his shoulders and whispered hurriedly,
“Look, that’s Ron outside. He’s the tall, skinny one, okay? Pretend you recognize him!”
Harry was flabbergasted. “But I don’t—“
“Trust me, Harry,” said Hermione, and of course he did. He hadn’t spent the past few decades of his life relying on her to be the brains of the operation for nothing.
The door opened and a whole new parade stomped in. First Rose and Hugo, both neatly dressed like their mother, if not a little windswept. They were laughing about something. James slunk in next, standing out from the Weasley children because he’d left his pajamas on, though he’d pulled a pair of jeans on over them. His eyes darted around as if assessing the kitchen for a quick escape. Finally came Ron, laughing along with his children. His eyes brightened automatically to see the family collected around him.
“What’s this?” he said, spotting his sister first. “Making waffles?”
“Waffles!” Rose and Hugo cried in unison. They laughed and high-fived after realizing they had done so. Lily rolled her eyes before standing up to greet them—she never got on with her brothers nearly as well as those two did with each other. Al, on the other hand, had already gone back to reading his book. Even so, there was a small smile on his face as if he were waiting for the real excitement to start.
“Sorry, Dad…” James mumbled to Harry. His father smiled, and stood up to give him a hug. James would have protested that he was too old for that sort of thing, but it was too soon to say whether or not he was in the clear of getting punished.
“It’s okay, James,” said Harry, laughing. “You didn’t have to run away, you know. You’ll have to do something a lot worse than a little accident for me to take your broom away from you. However,” he added severely, prompted by a look from Ginny, “You need to be more careful.”
“I know,” James replied, catching himself before he rolled his eyes.
“See?” Ron told him happily. “No harm done. Like I told you, Harry’s had worse when it comes to broom accidents.” His eyes met Harry’s, sharing a private joke, and Harry did his best to grin back and not wonder what sort of private joke he could possibly have with someone he’d never even met before.
“We’re crowding you, Gin,” Hermione said suddenly. Perhaps she had noticed the tension. “How about we all go into the living room and leave you two in peace?”
“Yeah, so you can make breakfast faster,” Ron agreed readily. With Hermione’s help he shepherded all five children out of the kitchen, even Al who, once he had ascertained that no major drama was going to break out, had gotten so absorbed in his book he hadn’t realized everyone was leaving.
“What’s his name again?” Harry asked Ginny once they were gone.
“Shhh,” Ginny warned, hoping no one in the living room had heard that. “It’s Ron” she whispered. “I think it’s best to just do as Hermione says for now, okay?”
Harry shook his head. “I know, I know,” he said. “It’s just really weird. I mean, it’s like there’s a stranger out there with my kids.”
“He’s hardly an ax murderer,” Ginny replied dryly. But she saw the crestfallen look on his face and put her arms around him. “I’m sorry,” she murmured, “I know it’s silly, but I’m sure Hermione and I both think that of all the people you could have forgotten, Ron was the very worst.”
“Why?” Harry wondered. It seemed to him it would have been a lot worse to forget his own wife and kids, or his best friend Hermione. After all, he didn’t even know this Ron person.
Oh, he thought, realizing that in his current state that wasn’t really a valid thought.
“Just trust me,” Ginny sighed. She didn’t have enough time or energy to explain the difficulties of being the not-quite-as-famous best friend of an extremely-famous hero to Harry, especially when he couldn’t even seem to keep Ron’s name in his head for more than five seconds.
“Okay,” replied Harry. Not knowing something had always been extremely frustrating to him, and he burned to get to the bottom of this mystery, but for now he would have to trust Hermione and Ginny.
When Ginny had finished there were three heaping plates of waffles on the table—probably not enough. Her own kids were all skinny little things but she knew from experience that they could eat waffles like nobody’s business, and Rose and Hugo were only slightly better.
“Breakfast!” she called loudly to the other room. The ensuing rush to return to the kitchen looked and sounded like a stampede. It took several minutes for everyone to find a chair or stool to place around the too-small table. Luckily there were enough places to sit, as the Potters knew by now to be prepared for instances such as this.
“Thank God,” James sighed happily. He’d already piled five of the steaming squares onto his plate without batting an eyelash. “I thought I was going to starve.” There was a brief scuffle as he, Albus, and Hugo all reached for the syrup at the same time. Ginny sighed and conjured up another bottle, and finally everything settled down except for the sounds of everyone eating and enjoying it. In truth, Ginny’s cooking was often mediocre at best. She simply did not have her mother’s patience for it. Somehow, despite this, she had an innate talent for waffles.
She surveyed her extended family now with a small smile on her face. It was nice, really, when they could all get together like this. It really was. Then she shot a look at Harry, recalling that everything was not as perfect as it seemed.
Her husband had paused with his fork halfway to his mouth and was blinking rapidly behind his thick glasses. Then he looked up across the table, spotted Ron, and a grin broke out on his face.
“Oi, Ron,” he said, sounding surprised but pleasantly so. “When did you get here?”
Ron’s mouth was full of waffle. He raised his eyebrows at Harry and replied with a muffled, “Mmpf?”
The kids laughed.
It doesn't End! It never will...I will keep coming back for more. The books will always remain a part of who I am!
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Last edited by Vig; January 21st, 2008 at 1:44 pm.
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
If there was one thing James Potter wasn't good at, it was writing a love letter.
If there was one thing Sirius Black equally wasn't good at, it was 'helping'someone write a love letter.
James sat in the far corner of the common room, slouched over a desk, writing at top speed. Every now and then he would stop, read whatever he had written, and either scratch furiously at his work, or roughly scrunch it into a ball and throw it into the nearest trash bin (which he had already filled to the brim with discarded parchment), all the while mumbling obscenities under his breath. Then he would start over with a fresh sheet, and the cycle would repeat itself.
Sirius lounged about in a nearby chair, staring at his friend with curious eyes. He was very busy with not doing his homework, and was finding James' peculiar actions quite distracting. Remus had told him not to bother him when Sirius had suggested they see what he was up to, but then again, Remus had left a few moments ago to fetch a book from his trunk; now was his chance.
"Hey, Prongs. What are you up to?" Sirius asked casually, sneaking a quick peek over James' now tense shoulder before he covered the writing with his arm. The only words Sirius had caught were 'dear', 'Lily' and 'beautiful'. A knowing smile curved his lips. "Writing a letter to Evans, I see."
"Sod off," James hissed, adjusting his body to shield the parchment even more. "It's none of your business."
"No need to be bashful," Sirius told him, grabbing a chair, and positioning himself next to the messy-haired boy. James turned and gave him a look that read 'go-away'; Sirius did not oblige. Instead he puckered his lip, and said in a mocking tone, "If you want to write your girlfriend a letter, then you go right ahead."
"I wasn't... I mean... I... She's not my girlfriend," James mumbled, frowning.
Sirius gave him another knowing smile. "You wish she was, though." When James said nothing, he continued. "So is a letter your new unique way to get her to go out with you? Because if it is, mate, I'm sorry, but I doubt it will work; if she didn't get impressed by the fact that you bought a muggle guitar, rode your broom up to her dorm window and sang Spanish love songs to her all night, then nothing will."
James cheeks began to turn bright red at the memory, his voice growing louder, more irritated. "What part of 'sod off' don't you understand?"
"I understand the 'sod' part alright, but it's the 'off' part I'm having a bit of trouble with."
There was a slight pause, then, "Do you want to read it? Is that why you're bugging me, Padfoot?"
Sirius shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not. I mean, if it's anything like the time you accidentally hit her in the face with your textbook, and you wrote her that apology note saying that her bloody nose was as red as her gorgeous hair, then-"
"What is this, 'let's-remember-all-the-times-James-Potter-messed-up-at-getting-Lily-Evans' day? Here." He shoved the parchment into his friend's chest, inwardly hoping it would get him to shut up and leave him alone without additional comments. Unfortunately, and as expected, the results were much different.
When Sirius began reading, he snorted a few times. This led to slight hic-ups of laughter, which led to snickering. By the time he was finished, he was full-blown laughing, and a very embarrassed James had to forcefully pry the letter away from him. Minutes passed, people watching the duo with a mixture of amused and disturbed expressions, until Sirius' fits of laughter began to sub-side, and he was merely smirking.
"Prongs... you're joking, right?" Sirius asked.
James glared at him, not at all impressed by his friend's reaction. But despite his aggravated exterior, he questionably asked, "What's wrong with it?"
Sirius clasped James on the back. "Well, first of all, I doubt any girl would be flattered if someone compared their eyes to a piece of lettuce they got stuck in their teeth last week."
James, not waiting to hear anymore, tossed the letter into the garbage with his many other failed attempts, ran his hands through his hair, and groaned. "This was a horrible idea - what do I know about making love letters? I'm not romantic!"
Sirius stared at him, feeling pity and slightly revolted at how pathetic he was acting. "Yeah, you're not..." James gave him a look that clearly told him he wasn't helping. Sirius fumbled for words. "I mean... just... don't worry...?" It came out as more of a question, which gave the hazel-eyed boy no comfort.
"I should just give up," James sighed.
"No, don't give up," Sirius replied lazily, having gone through this conversation many times in the past.
"I've been trying to get her to go out with me for three years - since third year...!"
Sirius' eyebrows shot to his hair-line. "It's really been that long? Wow, that's-" Another look from James. "-that's... something else."
"Maybe I should try to get with Amelia Burntwood - she's pretty, and her hairs brunette, so I won't have to worry about another ruddy blood simile."
Suddenly, Sirius jumped to his feet, the bang of his chair hitting the floor causing the other Gryffindors to stare at them again, and even getting a group of first years to fearfully scurry away. James gazed up at him, startled. "Padfoot, what the-"
"Now don't even think about moving onto other girls! Look, that Evans is stubborn, but it's obvious she likes you! I think... Well the point is, this letter thing might really work!"
"But you just said-"
"All you need is a little help... okay, a lot of help, and... I'll help you! Besides," his voice lowered to a whisper, "I was planning on asking Burntwood to the next Hogsmeade visit."
"Okay...," James said slowly. "Was the standing up really necessary?"
"Yes it was!"
"My foot fell asleep."
"Oh, well... you're right! Lily Evans, the most beautiful creature to ever grace the Earth with her presence, is the only one for me! How could I have ever even thought to settle for someone second-best to her? I'm a bleeding fool!"
"Yes you are, and that's the spirit! Now then..." Sirius reached down and picked up his chair, moving it so he would be on the other side of the desk James sat at. "How should we start this?" he wondered aloud, making himself comfortable, and grabbing one of the many blank pieces of parchment James had scattered all over, as well as a quill and some ink.
James gave him a wary look. "Listen, Padfoot, it's nice that you want to help me and all, but..." His voice trailed off, and Sirius arched an eyebrow at him. He sighed. "No offense, but do you even know how to write a love letter? I mean... you've never been in love."
"I have so!" Sirius cried, sounding offended.
"Really? When?" said James, doubtful.
"Remember that Ravenclaw girl I dated around Christmas? I think her name was Sally... Sarah..."
"Olivia," James corrected dully. "And you didn't love her."
"I did too!"
"You couldn't even remember her name!"
"Yeah, well... my memory is a bit foggy."
"Not to mention you dated her for a week."
"So? It doesn't matter the quantity, but the quality."
"I don't think-"
"Through the whole time dating her, I couldn't eat or sleep - I hear that's what happens when you're in love."
James rolled his eyes. "You couldn't eat because her tongue was blocking any food passage, and you couldn't sleep because you two were too busy sneaking around doing who knows what. That's not love, Padfoot, that's just gross."
"Details, details," Sirius said nonchalantly, waving his hand in the air. "Does it really matter? Besides, I can come up with more romantic things than: 'Your teeth are as white as a loo I had to scrub clean for detention.'"
"Yes, really. You should have compared them to snowflakes - they're all delicate and what not; women dig that sort of stuff."
James blinked - he hadn't thought of that. Then he snorted. "Her teeth are 'delicate'?"
"Once again, details," said Sirius, shaking his head. "The point is, you obviously need my help, right?"
James bit his bottom lip nervously - snowflakes did sound more pretty than a toilet. He nodded his head after a few seconds of pondering the pros and cons - the pros surprisingly out-numbered the cons... then again, not by much. Sirius grinned from ear-to-ear. "Excellent!"
"But I want to write it," James explained, hastily snatching his quill and the bottle of ink.
Sirius shrugged. "Suit yourself. But be sure to write everything I say down, no matter what - Evans is an interesting breed, and she needs to be approached a tad differently than most girls. Bit of force... threats-"
"What? No way!" yelled James. "And I'm not writing everything you say."
"Alright, alright, don't get your knickers in a knot," said Sirius. "Okay, now start it off with... 'Dear Lily'."
James gave him a 'you've-got-to-be-joking' face, but said nothing as he quickly scribbled the obvious beginning down.
For the next half-hour or so the two friends worked at the letter, many of Sirius' ideas being rejected - one mainly involving the kidnapping of her cat - and James still having trouble with comparing her beauty with appropriate objects. Remus and Peter watched from afar, the latter confused at what they were up to, while the other inwardly chuckled at them. It was a quarter past eight when they finally finished, both showing great pride in their work. James especially felt giddy that he had finally made a decent love letter, and was quite grateful that Sirius had been there to help.
James had wanted to send it to Lily that night, but Sirius suggested in the morning; he didn't want to have to wait an entire night to see her most likely positive reaction. James was a bit reluctant, but Sirius finally persuaded him into waiting. After a while, James figured he didn't mind - if it be today or tomorrow, no matter, Lily was still going to love it.
James awoke early the next morning, feeling a little excited at the fact that there was a great chance that it might be the day he finally wins Lily's heart. Pushing his glasses on, he turned onto his side, and stared at his side-table, panic pulsing through him when he saw that the letter was no longer there. Bolting upright in his bed, he began to frantically look around the dorm, praying he could find it. Still no sign of it after a couple of minutes, James pulled the covers off of himself and walked over to Sirius' bed, growing more and more worried.
He was about to pull back Sirius' curtain, when his eye caught sight of his friend's side-table - an envelope laid beside his lamp, the words 'Lily' written in the middle of it with surprisingly neat cursive; Sirius must have placed the letter in it while he was sleeping. How thoughtful... and oddly suspicious. Glancing at the closed curtains, James reached for the envelope and was about to rip it open, when the curtains were pulled back and he dropped the letter with a start.
"Prongs...?" Sirius yawned, rubbing his eyes. "What're you doing?"
"Wondering why you did this," said James, reaching down, and holding up the envelope. He narrowed his eyes. "A little strange, don't you think?"
"What? Can't a guy do a favor for a friend without it being 'strange'?"
"Yeah, I guess, but-"
"Great." Sirius jumped off his bed, and stretched. "Now let's get that ready so it can be delivered with the other owls at breakfast, which starts in," he checked the clock, "twenty minutes."
All cautious thoughts seemed to leave James' mind at his words - twenty minutes until the sweet Goddess that was Lily Evans would read his letter, and realize his true feelings, which would most likely result in her returning them. Today was going to be a great day.
Lily walked into the Great Hall, and began to make her way towards her friends. Disappointed that she had to walk past James to reach them, she was slightly shocked that he hadn't moved over like usual and offered her the seat next to him, giving her that handso- annoying wink he always gave her. However, him and Sirius seemed to be watching her out of the corner of their eyes instead, making her knit her eyebrows together, feeling a tad nervous.
'Hmm, they must be up to something,' she thought to herself, wishing not to be involved, though in the pit of her stomach she knew she probably was.
"Morning, Lils," Mary MacDonald greeted as Lily took her usual seat next to her.
"Morning," said Lily, stifling a yawn, not even bothering to tell her how much she hated the nickname 'Lils' - her protest always seemed to fall on deaf ears.
"James didn't offer you a seat today. Is he feeling well?" said Mary, never seeming to not notice something.
Lily looked over at the Marauders, paying close attention to how the hazel-eyed one of the four seemed to be watching the high windows, tapping his fingers on the table impatiently. She turned back to Mary with a shrug. "Whatever's wrong with Potter, I'm glad; it's quite tiresome when he does that every time I walk in. Maybe it's a sign that today is going to be a great day." She smiled at the seemingly impossible thought.
They began to eat their breakfast peacefully, Mary going on about something uninteresting, and Lily only half listening to her friend's words - something about how she thought the Head boy was kind of cute. Whatever; pointless gossip, really.
"The post is here!" James randomly screamed with joy as the owls began to swoop in, throwing his arms in the air, and earning himself a few freaked-out stares from people close-by, including Lily.
'Yeah, he's definitely not feeling well,' Lily concluded, just as a tiny barn owl landed in front of her, which she quickly recognized as one of the school's. She absentmindedly pulled the envelope from it's beak, and the owl took off with a soft hoot. Turning away from James, she began to stare at the mysterious envelope, slightly curious to whom was writing to her, the most obvious of people never crossing her mind.
Tearing it open, she pulled out the parchment, Mary looking over her shoulder as she unfolded it.
"Guess you were wrong about it being a 'great day'," she giggled, catching the name at the end before Lily did. Lily moved her eyes to the bottom of the letter, a groan escaping her lips as she read the messy signature that said 'James'; it was yet another 'brilliant' idea to get her to go out with him, no doubt - no wonder he was so happy about the post. Not as bad as the 'night-of-everlasting-Spanish-love-songs' fiasco, but it was still pretty bad.
Going against the idea of looking over at them again, she returned her emerald-eyes to the top of the page, and began to reluctantly read:
Oi! Date me!
Now your probably wondering why I'm writing you this letter, and it's because I want you, and I think you're really great, pretty and talented... you have a nice body to. Everytime I see your lovly green eyes, I feel like touching you tenderly, and I'm staring into a perfect green medow, with harps playing and all that jazz. I believe you to be the most beautiful creature to walk the planet, in my opinion, though Anita Barns chaser for the bluetail foxes is in a tie with you for that spot, as well as the thousands of veelas, but heres why you are so darn precious to me,
1. Your hair is as red as a fresh picked rose, and reminds me of the flaming depth of hell... which sort of goes with your nasty temper, which I really think you should work on, by the way.
2. Your skin is as delicate as snow and as soft as the breez... which I only know feels soft because I 'accedentaly' brush up against you all the time, and then need to go run and tell my friends everytime it happens who really don't care.
3. Your laugh is like wind chimes... maybe you should do that more often because the screaming you do all the time isn't all that attractive.
4. Each one of your freckles is like a dot of utter beauty, and you have hundreds of them so I guess your just loaded with that. It's back-up for when you get old, right?
Oh, the list goes on and on, but I need to stop now or I will never stop. (Sexual inuendo much.) You just need to know that I really care about you, to the point where it's kind of stalkerish and my friends are a little worried about me psycologecaly, and I think I might be in love with you... No, I don't think, I do! Yes, that's right Lily Evans, I love you! (Which is bloody obvious!) So I don't feel ashamed when I end this with,
James, your soon-to-be sex God.
P.S. Please go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend?
Another P.S. Date me... or else!
P.P.S... or is it P.S.S.? Doesn't matter. Just need to tell you that your friend Macdonald is pretty fancable, and I think my good-looking, wish-I-was-him friend Sirius would very much enjoy going on a date with her. So if you could arrange that, that would be smashing.
Lily gapped at the paper, her face heating up. She had stopped a few times, fuming or heaving at certain areas, and was finally able to finish it. She wasn't quite sure what to feel at this point - sorrow, lost, curious, mad- yes, that was it! She felt mad. Mad as hell! Did James actually believe this was suitable to send to her? It was rude and hurtful, and he thought she would like it? Sure, there were some okay sections that didn't leave her wanting to punch him until he was black and blue and then some, but it was sloppy, so careless; it was as almost if two separate people played a part in writing it, but they both had such dreadful handwriting and didn't seem to know how to grasp the English language correctly that it was hard to tell them apart.
'There's only one other person who would agree to help James write something like this,' Lily thought, flashes of a very much dead Sirius Black running through her mind. But what sections did James write? The somewhat decent parts, or the mean ones? It's obvious Sirius was all for the mean ones, but James couldn't possibly think to compare her eyes to a 'perfect green meadow' - 'grass' would probably be more suitable for him, even something as graceless as 'lettuce'. Did they play a little in writing both? It didn't matter; she was just going to blame James. Besides, it was his name on the letter - how did she know that he didn't write all of it? Her body shook with silent anger at the thought.
"So what does it say?" Mary asked, not bothering to read it herself - nosy as she was, she never went through her friend's things without asking... except to maybe steal a top or two, that is.
Lily ignored her, and instead stood up. With the letter gripped firmly at her side, she marched down the row of tables, scowling as she walked. The students she walked by looked on with excitement, knowing there was only one person who could make her that angry.
"Tell me what's happening," said James, who had his hands covering his face, too afraid to look at Lily; Gryffindor or not, there was something about her that made him tremble.
"Okay, she's reading it," Peter, who was sitting right beside him, explained. "I think she's almost done, actually."
"What does she look like?"
"Mad?" he mimicked, puzzled; that was the last reaction he was expecting.
"Yeah... and her face is getting really red... and she's shaking... and... and she's coming this way."
James looked up just in time to see a beat-red Lily stomp up to him, fury etched on her flawless features. He looked up at her, smiling weakly; no, he wasn't expecting this at all; more so the complete opposite, with tears of joy, and hours of blissful snogging. And he certainly wasn't expecting Lily to lift the letter up, and tear it perfectly down the middle. James watched with aghast as she ripped it again and again, until it was a pile of what looked like tiny confetti, which she threw in the air like so. No, this was not his expectations one bit.
"Lils... why... no..." He struggled for words, stunned.
Lily jabbed a finger at him, her other hand holding her waist. "First of all, never call me that - I hate that name! Secondly, do you think I would like that? Do you think I would be impressed? Sorry, Potter, but I do not approve of my hair being compared to the flaming depths of Hell! Finally, I will not go to Hogsmeade with you, EVER!"
Sirius began to whistle at this point, looking everywhere but at James or Lily. Peter was rigid - having Lily Evans screaming right behind you wasn't the most pleasant of things, especially so early. James stood up at this point, staring at the hot-headed girl with confusion.
"What are you talking about? I never-"
"Telling me to date you, or else? Or else what?" yelled Lily, her blood boiling. Half of the Great Hall had stopped to watch by now, some wondering what James had done to upset Lily this time, others waiting on the edge of their seats to see what was going to happen next.
"But I didn't..." His voice faltered, and he snapped his head in Sirius' direction, his teeth gritted as he growled, "You... I knew it!"
Everyone's eyes turned towards Sirius, who was now looking up at James innocently. He said his defense in a rush. "I'm sorry, Prongs, but I was re-reading it last night after you went to sleep, and it just sounded so... plain - I just didn't think Evans would go for it. I mean, you wanted my help, so I helped a little more, and sort of... tweaked it a tiny bit with my own twist. Guess she didn't go for that either, but then again, what does she go for? Seriously, Prongs, maybe you should just move on to other girls like you said last night - if my charm doesn't work on her, it's obvious your's never will. It's like trying to nail pudding to a tree, winning her over that is. Stubborn as a mule."
"You're a git!" Lily barked at him, which Sirius smugly replied to by sticking up a crude finger. Lily gasped in response.
"Five points from Gryffindor, Padfoot," Remus grumbled in a bored manner. Sirius gave him that 'are-you-crazy' look that he always gave him whenever Remus took away points from him, James or, to a lesser extent, Peter - they were in the same house after all, not to mention friends. Oh, the betrayal.
"I can't believe you!" James screamed, shaking with anger. "You ruined it...! Why?"
"You wanted my help, and that's what you got," Sirius retorted, folding his arms over his chest. "It's not my fault it wasn't good enough for Evans. Besides, I just added all the things I told you to include in the first place." James gave him a pained expression, and Sirius added, as if reading his mind, "Don't worry, I left the part out about us kidnapping her cat if she didn't go to Hogsmeade with you."
"What?" Lily squealed.
"Oh, which reminds me, about that date with MacDonald..."
"What? No!" Mary, who was one of the many onlookers, cried from down the table.
James began to speak again, his voice cracking in places. "I wanted your help, yeah, but... you were just suppose to... you wrote... you didn't even ask...!" He let out a weird noise, which sounded like a cross between a growl and a moan. "This was suppose to be a great day! Lily was suppose to read my letter, be left breathless by my love for her, and then she would finally agree to be my girlfriend, followed by agreeing to get married later down the road and having hundreds of little green and hazel-eyed babies-"
"Excuse me?" Lily cried. James bit his tongue, and sheepishly looked at the red-head; he really didn't intend to go that far, but he sort of got caught-up in the moment - he tended to do that a lot. "If you think I would be that - let alone at all - flattered by a letter you wrote, then you have been falsely informed! I don't, and never will, love you, like you, or will even be slightly interested in you, Potter, let alone think about you and I having... babies!" She inwardly gagged at the thought. "Oh, and by the way... you both are crummy at spelling and lack proper grammar skills!" With a flick of her fiery hair, she briskly turned around and stalked away, leaving an open-mouth James in her wake.
"Told you she was stubborn, mate," Sirius sighed, suddenly appearing behind James, and slinging a brotherly arm around his shoulder. James turned to him, and one look at his face made Sirius drop his arm and turn his attention towards Peter. "Say Wormtail, want to play a game of Wizards' Chess?" Peter, who still had yet to relax, fidgeted in his chair and nodded a little. "Wicked! I'll go get it."
"Oh, you're going somewhere alright," said James, his voice dangerously calm, turning around to fully face Sirius; his face looked just as content, with a hint of complete insanity - frightening, to say the least. "I always felt the Giant Squid needed a bit of company..."
Sirius lifted his hands in defense, and let out a nervous chuckle. He began to slowly back away, James advancing on him at the same pace. "Prongs, you don't mean... come on, you know I was just trying to... look, Evans is taking off her shirt!" Swiftly turning around, Sirius dashed for the exit of the Great Hall, a raged James following at his heels. The students watched with mild interest, many wondering what they were up to now, those who had heard laughing aloud. Peter mumbled, "Can someone please inform me on what just happened?" Remus shook his head, and said, "I told Sirius not to bother him." And Lily rolled her eyes, and grumbled, "Prats...," but it wasn't enough to stop the corners of her mouth to slightly turn upward.
Despite the rude tidbits Sirius had added, the in between bits of the letter were kind of - as much as she hated to admit it - nice. Nothing that would 'leave her breathless', but nice none-the-less. It was James, though, that had written those sweet things, and she had already convinced herself that she would never, in a million years, even if he be the last boy on Earth, date him. Still... after reading his section of the poor and corny, yet still cute - his part, anyway - letter, the thought of them with hundreds of little green and hazel-eyed babies seemed... slightly less unappealing. (Not that she would ever tell anyone that, though!)
But in the end, he was still James Potter, and he was still a git. A git who didn't know how to spell 'lovely' correct. A git who just so happened to write the most terrible, horrible, worst, most wonderful piece of rubbish Lily Evans ever had the misfortune to read. And if it wasn't for his git-of-a-friend Sirius Black, he may never have succeeded in doing just that. He may not have won her heart, no, but for the first time in his life, James had impressed Lily... sort of.
It doesn't End! It never will...I will keep coming back for more. The books will always remain a part of who I am!
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Last edited by Vig; January 21st, 2008 at 1:41 pm.
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
Rita Skeeter stalked down one of the many hallways in Hogwarts, looking for Harry Potter. The first test had been completed not even a week before and Rita was looking for another exclusive.
She turned down another corridor and flashed a grin when she saw a group of students at the other end, coming towards her. The woman quickened her step as she unclasped her crocodile skin bag and freed her Quick-Quotes Quill. Before she could ask the little Ravenclaw students on the whereabouts of Harry Potter, she caught their conversation. Apparently, they had just come from Potions class.
“He is absolutely mental!” cried one curly-haired boy. “Two feet of parchment by tomorrow? Doesn’t he know we have other classes?”
“Oh, he knows,” spat a girl with long blond hair. “He just wants to torture us. If we had had Slytherin students in the class, we wouldn’t have such a stupid assignment.”
“He shows so much favoritism, it’s absolutely appalling,” a taller boy snorted. By this time, Rita had reached the group of five and stopped them.
“Who do you happen to be talking about, children?” the woman asked sweetly. She donned her nicest imploring expression. The first years, however, were all silenced by her presence. They had been warned about her.
“Oh, come now. You can tell me,” Rita added at their obvious hesitation.
“We... we were talking about Professor Snape, ma’am,” a girl in the back admitted softly. Rita’s notepad flew from her handbag and found the Quill, which was hiding behind the woman.
“So is this really how bad the teacher is?”
“No,” said the curly-haired boy with a sad shake of his head. “Usually he’s worse.”
Rita prevented a grin from cracking on her face while her Quill zipped across the pad.
“Well, what does he do to you poor dears?” the woman asked with a concerned expression. The first years exchanged glances.
“Most of the time he just takes away points,” replied the tall boy.
“From all the Houses except Slytherin’s,” the girl in the back added. “He practically lets them do whatever they bloody well please.”
“And how can he get away with this?”
“Who knows. Maybe just because he’s a teacher or a House Head,” the boy in back, who had so far been silent, spoke up. Before Rita could ask another question, the Ravenclaw students informed her that they had other classes to get to and rushed past her.
Once they had left the corridor, the woman snatched up the notepad and began reading over the few pages. Then a wicked grin did spread across her face and she murmured, “Lovely.”
Her next victims were two Hufflepuff students who appeared to be fifth years. The boys were the last in the group filing from the History of Magic class. Like the rest of the students, they looked extremely bored. One was rubbing an eye as if he had just woken up.
“Hello, there,” Rita chirped. She held out a recently-manicured hand to make sure they stopped in their tracks. The boys nervously returned the greeting while exchanging glances. They, too, knew of Rita’s reputation.
“During the slow periods of the Tournament, I’m starting pieces on the teachers. What are your thoughts on... Professor Snape?”
“I think he shouldn’t be teaching. You’d think those rules about ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ would be in effect here... but apparently not,” the boy with black hair said quickly.
“Really? And what makes you say this?” questioned the woman, a hand resting on her chin to give herself an intellectually concerned look.
“Absurd homework assignments, which sometimes he doesn’t even accept, sometimes he makes us do them all over again, is one. Another is how he takes away House points for trivial things. Although he doesn’t give Slytherin points all the time, he never deducts from them,” replied the boy. His friend chuckled, nodding.
“This seems to be the popular opinion of him,” Rita added with a prompting tilt of her head.
“If you call the opinions of the Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw Houses popular,” said the shorter boy with a grin. The Quick-Quotes Quill was in a writing frenzy.
“Well, if three of the four Houses dislike a teacher so much, why hasn’t anything been done?”
“Because everyone’s afraid of him,” the black haired boy said simply.
“And the rumors of his past,” added his friend. An excited grin again creased Rita’s face.
“Rumors?” she repeated scandalously. “Lovely! Oh, do tell!” At her sudden enthusiasm, the two fifth years began edging away.
“It’s... it’s nearly dinnertime. We should go,” announced the second Hufflepuff student before both boys hastened away.
Before the Great Hall was completely filled, Rita managed to corner Slytherin and Gryffindor students and get their takes on Snape. The Gryffindor third year bunch had the same mindset as the two houses she had already interviewed, and the Slytherin seventh years had nothing but wonderful things to say about their favorite teacher. With each interview, Rita learned new information and began thinking more and more that this story would cover the entire front page of the Daily Prophet.
After dinner the woman asked for directions to Potions class and was surprised when she was led to the dungeon.
“Poor lighting,” she reported to her Quill. “It just feels damp down here... and what is that smell? Simply nauseating!” It took her a minute to locate the classroom, but she was excited to see Snape there, sitting behind his desk, grading papers. The Quill and notepad zipped behind her back as she entered.
“Professor! Imagine finding you here,” Rita exclaimed. As she progressed further into the room, her gaze zipped all around, taking in everything with a semi-disgusted expression. Snape looked up at her briefly, bothered, then returned to viciously grading some poor Gryffindor’s paper.
“If you’re looking for the bathrooms, they’re on the first floor. Not down here,” the man said curtly. Rita gave a fake, dismissive laugh as she neared the desk.
“No, I was actually looking for you, Professor. Might I have a moment of your time?”
“I’m busy.” Snape crossed off a whole paragraph of the student’s report.
“I could wait until you’re done grading,” she suggested in a sensitive voice; it was obvious she didn’t use that tone often.
“I will be checking the day’s potions after this,” said the Professor shortly. “I really have no time.”
“Really, it won’t take but five minutes.”
“Whatever it is, it can wait,” replied Snape. An edge entered his voice that he usually only used when talking down to students. Unlike his students, however, Rita did not shrink back in fear.
“Oh, come now. Do be a dear. I only have a few questions,” she persisted. Her manicured hands were clutching the desk edge and she was leaning over it, trying to read the comments Snape was scrawling next to his vicious corrections.
When the professor’s head snapped up, Rita straightened and put on an innocent, unconcerned expression.
“Miss Skeeter, what is your business here?” the man demanded.
“An interview,” she said quickly, almost desperately. “I’ve already talked to some of your students and now I want to hear your side of the story.” Her nails were nearly digging into the desk and it appeared that she would not go, even if he positively declined to participate.
“An interview?” repeated Snape with an air of disgust.
“Yes, to really get to know the teachers of Hogwarts,” Rita said, regaining her composure. “It won’t take but five minutes.”
“I’m sure you could find a much more interesting teacher. Professor... Flitwick, perhaps?” Snape replied almost carelessly. He did not look up from the paper. Rita gave a fake laugh and an equally fake dismissive wave of her hand, which the teacher didn’t see.
“Oh come now. Don’t be modest. You are quite possibly the most infamous teacher this school has had in decades. You certainly are the most scandalous piece of news here...” At that, Snape’s eyes flicked up and stared at her in a hard, warning sort of way. Rita cleared her throat and sat on the edge of the desk, pushing a stack of books further away to make more room for herself. In doing so, she knocked a pile of essay papers that were behind the books onto the floor.
“Oh! How terribly clumsy of me!” the woman said genuinely, but made no attempt to pick them up. Neither did Snape.
“It’s where they all belong, anyway,” muttered the Professor. Rita checked her hair and cleared her throat again, but was ignored by her interviewee.
“Now then,” she said suddenly, “how long have you been teaching here?”
Snape was thoroughly convinced by now that he would not be rid of this maddening woman until he had answered at least some of her questions. But there was no reason he couldn’t be difficult about it. So he replied, “Long enough to get an article written in such a paper as the Daily Prophet it would seem.” He finished his last comment on the essay and stacked the parchment uncaringly on a nearby pile. Snape picked a report from the mess on the ground, freshened his quill, and immediately began scribbling complaints and corrections.
“Then how do you explain such an extended teaching career when three out of the four Houses hate you?” Rita kept her fake smile when the Professor’s head shot up.
“I am not here for a popularity contest, Miss Skeeter. I am kept here because the Headmaster recognizes the job I’m doing instead of what the students think of me. If I seem like a hard teacher, it is because of... their lack of character and discipline.” He was noticeably careful with his word choice at the end. He had seen Rita’s articles lately. And though he enjoyed their effects on Potter and his grubby friends, he knew he still had to watch what he said around this reporter.
“Or maybe does Dumbledore keep you because he knows something about your alleged scandalous past that no one else knows?” Rita asked, leaning forward. Snape straightened; she finally had his full attention. There was a subtle difference in his expression and now he was looking curious. He looked mad, too, instead of annoyed like before, and Rita slowly leaned back again.
“Miss Skeeter, it was my assumption that you were here to talk about my teaching, not anything I allegedly did previous to my position here at Hogwarts.”
Rita responded to his growing scowl with a cheery smile, flashing a couple of gold teeth. “Background information, dear. The readers love to know the history that motivates you... and how your shady past somehow catapulted you into this teaching position that Dumbledore lets you have though everyone else disagrees is what the Daily Prophet readers need to know.” Through her speech, Rita kept leaning further and further across the desk and now she was eye-level with Snape. He remained silent, but continued to scowl. Rita straightened.
“I hear that you have been vying for the position of the Dark Arts teacher for years. If Dumbledore fights the mounting opposition of your Potions teaching position, why not just let you have that job?” She propped her chin on her hand and donned an intellectual look.
Snape’s eye twitched at her twisted description and he said in as calm a tone as he could force, “Dumbledore finds teachers he believes are more fitting.” Instantly, he returned to grading, scribbling with renewed rage.
“So you don’t agree with the Headmaster’s choices?” Snape didn’t answer, but it didn’t matter because Rita spoke again before he would’ve had time to reply. “But of course you don’t. Three years ago the teacher was possessed by You Know Who, two years ago the teacher was a liar and a plagiarist, last year the teacher was a werewolf... I wonder what problem will arise with the current Dark Arts teacher... what’s his name again?”
Snape stabbed his quill into his ink bottle so hard that the desk shook. He wrenched it out and blobs of ink flew everywhere, a couple of drops landing on Rita’s hand. “Alastor Moody,” he growled through gritted teeth.
“Or does the Headmaster choose other men because he knows you’ll have even bigger problems than all the others before? Because of your... past, probably?”
Snape scribbled even more vigorously, and his comments on the innocent little Hufflepuff’s report grew meaner and meaner.
“Miss Skeeter,” he said at last, not looking up, “I highly doubt your readers will care to be reminded of facts they already know. If you really want to bother me with an interview, at least waste my time on better questions.” The professor scribbled on as if he was then ignoring her. He had no reason to be polite to her; she didn’t deserve pleasantries. As a reporter, it was almost a rule not to be pleasant. Snape saw through all her fake smiles.
He figured this was what Potter had endured, but felt no pity for him. Snape felt no pity for himself for being cornered like this, either. But now he knew that half of Potter’s exclusive was probably lies. It was of little consequence to the teacher, just that he couldn’t deny the falsity of half the articles written about the students. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.
Rita had been quiet for several moments, lips pressed in a displeased line. The Quill dangled impatiently behind her back.
“Professor,” she spoke up sweetly. That immediately made Snape suspicious. Rita’s fake smile reappeared. “I heard a lovely bit of news from one of your students and I was wondering if you could confirm or deny it.” That was polite for her. Snape set his quill back in the ink bottle and look straight at her.
“It’s a little rumor around the school that you spent some time as a Death Eater and was in–”
“Who exactly did you hear this rumor from?” interrupted the professor. Rita’s smile beamed on.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t reveal my sources.”
“No names needed, just what House the student is from.”
“So you can cruelly wrench away points from those terrified students who are just trying to get by?” Rita added quickly, arching a heavily penciled brow.
“Terrified students? Did you question the first years of every House?” muttered Snape. He picked up his quill again and browsed through the report again until he found where he left off. “I discipline by subtracting points. These students need discipline. All the other teachers are too easy on them.”
“Can I quote you on that?” questioned Rita, almost eagerly.
“Haven’t you been quoting me on everything else?” Snape stopped reading then and slowly looked up at the reporter. He had been so annoyed with her that he hadn’t even noticed... where was her notepad? How was she quoting him at all? She couldn’t possibly remember everything.
Rita sensed a change in his reactions and instantly changed tactics. “What teacher here do you most admire?” She saw his critical stare sweep over her.
“Professor Flitwick,” Snape sneered at last. He set his quill on the parchment, letting the tip dribble a few drops of ink, blacking out a word. “Miss Skeeter, what was that question you asked a little bit ago... with the Headmaster in it...?” He folded his hands together on the desk and watched the reporter expectantly. Rita’s smile flickered. She readjusted her glasses in a stalling way.
“Oh, that was probably one of those questions you didn’t want to answer because it didn’t quite stick to your teaching career.” Rita waved her hand in a matter-of-fact sort of way as she talked. Snape arched a brow.
“‘Probably?’” he repeated. “You don’t know for sure?”
“Well then, it wasn’t important, was it?” the reporter said with a smile of finality. She readjusted her hair. “Now then. Every teacher has a favorite student. Who’s yours?”
“Draco Malfoy. He has the character of a leader.” Snape watched her closely, trying to figure out how she was keeping notes. It couldn’t be in her head– no one had that good of a memory.
“Oh, but he’s in your own House. What student from other Houses do you like?” When the professor remained silent, Rita prompted, “Harry Potter, perhaps?”
A cruel smile flashed across Snape’s mouth, too fast for Rita to catch. “Of course. Who doesn’t adore the Boy Who Lived? I even heard the Ministry was going to make it illegal for anyone not to like Harry Potter. The crime would earn you a month or two in Azkaban.”
For several seconds, Rita was speechless, staring almost wide-eyed at the teacher through her glasses. Then, unexpectedly, she broke out laughing. Fake laughter, of course. “Oh, it was a joke! Lovely, I understand. You are a kidder, aren’t you, Professor Snape?” She added a few more hollow laughs. “I see humor is your strong suit.”
“Just as reporting is yours.” To his slight disappointment, Rita took it as a compliment. Snape picked up his quill in the silence that followed but suddenly stopped, listening. He heard scribbling. Very fast scribbling. The professor nonchalantly put his quill into the ink bottle and rose to his feet.
“Miss Skeeter,” he began slowly, listening all the while for the sounds of writing, “a wonderful follow-up to this interview would be one with Professor... Flitwick, let’s say. He sees Harry Potter quite often. A favorite student of his as a matter of fact, I believe.” Snape was inching his way around the desk. He was certain the scribbling was coming from her... she was hiding it. He just didn’t know where.
Rita seemed to be considering the idea. The Quick Quotes Quill and the notepad were inching around the reporter, trying their best not to be seen. They kept her body between them and the professor at all times.
“How lovely!” Rita exclaimed at last, jumping off the desk. She turned to face Snape and once again the Quill was sheltered behind her back. “What if you introduce me to Professor Flitwick? He is, as you said, something of a mentor after all. Then we could have a little back and forth between you two and it’ll be lovely. The readers will eat it up. Front page news for sure: Hogwarts Teachers and What They Really Think of Each Other.” She had moved her hand quickly to the right with each headline word and had nearly whacked the Potions professor in the head.
Snape pretended to be giving the suggestion some thought. “Let’s... not and say we did.”
Rita looked shocked. “You mean lie to my faithful readers?” she asked in a scandalous tone.
“I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard, Miss Skeeter.”
“I would never lie to my adoring audience!” the reporter said with such genuine ardor that Snape expected a halo to appear above her head at any moment.
However, he replied, “See? That was utterly convincing. Well done.”
Rita’s saintly expression vanished and she stared at Snape almost coldly. “I’m not about to guess what you’re implying, Professor, but I’m sure I can’t put that in my paper.”
“Your paper?” he repeated. An appeasing smile flickered on Rita’s features. As she quickly searched for something to say, Snape again heard that mad scribbling. Now he knew exactly where it was coming from.
The professor dove behind Rita in a swoop that Fawkes couldn’t even have attempted. When the woman turned around, Snape had her notepad in one hand and her struggling quill in the other.
“A Quick-Quotes Quill?” he questioned in his condemning, authoritative teacher’s voice. It made Rita flinch. “This is illegal in Spain and Canada and how many of the American states?”
“Only a few,” the reporter said with a nonchalant wave of her hand. She reached for her confiscated things but Snape pulled them further away. She sheepishly gritted her teeth as the professor examined the notes.
“Rita asks if Professor Snape will introduce her to Professor Flitwick, Snape’s beloved mentor who had taken the edgy teacher under his wing from the start. Snape seems caught up in old memories as he still circles his desk, piled with students’ papers he never will read. ‘Let’s not and say we did,’ replies Snape. It looks like the greasy professor has other things on his mind–” The man’s head shot up. “Were you intending to print this?”
“Well, of course I’d go over it and... and edit it... afterwards,” Rita said quickly. She grimaced as Snape leafed through previous pages.
The professor’s expression grew grimmer and more disgusted with each passing moment. So this is what had happened to Harry Potter. At least that was funny. This was just tasteless.
Finally Snape had had enough and he snapped the notepad closed. He looked at the reporter as if she were a weak Ravenclaw first year. “Miss Skeeter, I will pretend this interview never took place. Just be on your way. I have work to do.” Rita again reached for her possessions, but the professor moved them behind his back. Rita put on the most pathetic, pleading smile Snape had ever seen.
“You may keep the notes, but the Quill is the property of the Daily Prophet. I’m just borrowing it.” Her hand inched forward.
“Does the paper hand these out ot all their reporters?” Snape questioned, slight surprise in his tone.
“Well... possibly. It’s not illegal here, you know.”
“Yet.” He eyed Rita’s creeping hand and figured the quickest way to get rid of her was to give her what she wanted. The professor brought the Quill out from behind his back and held it out to her. She reached for it and Snape again withdrew it from her grasp.
“Just to be clear: if you use this again on me or anyone in my House, I will take it, Daily Prophet property or not, and you will never see it again.” This time he let Rita take the Quill, which seemed to be shivering with fear. The woman quickly slipped it into her purse.
“Well, Professor Snape, it was a... um... pleasure, let’s just say, to meet you. Now I see why your students say what say about you.” Rita hung her purse on her arm. “I must have an article in a couple of days, so can you suggest someone I can interview?”
Snape looked down at the notepad in his tightly grasped hand, then up at her. “Professor Flitwick.” A fake laugh escaped Rita’s lips.
“Is he really a professor you admire?”
“Interview him and see,” the Potions teacher said shortly as he reclaimed his seat and grading quill. Rita turned and walked toward the entrance as if she had scored the best interview since Harry Potter’s.
“Oh, and Miss Skeeter,” Snape called once she reached the doorway. “It’s thirty-nine.”
“Pardon?” asked the woman, tapping her nails on the door frame impatiently.
“The number of American States in which your Quick-Quotes Quill is illegal,” Snape said without looking up.
“Well, out of sixty, that’s not bad,” she said. Rita gave an uninterested wave of her hand and left, leaving Snape to stare after her. He gave a disgusted shake of his head before opening a desk drawer of confiscated student’s things he had collected over the years and dropping the notepad into it. Hopefully it would be hidden amongst all the Weasley twins’ junk and never be found.
The next evening as Snape made his way to the teacher’s table in the Great Hall, he caught a glimpse of Flitwick coming down the middle aisle, nervously rubbing his little hands together. The Potions teacher took his regular seat and waited for the half-goblin to pass.
“Professor, is something the matter?” Snape muttered. Flitwick jumped, quite surprised at who was inquiring.
“Oh, no, Professor... well, possibly. I will be fine if that Skeeter reporter doesn’t show up.” Flitwick cast a quick, searching glance all around the Hall.
“Oh? Has she been bothering you, Professor?”
“I’d be grateful if it was just bothering me. I think she’s stalking me!” Another check of the Hall. “Funny thing, however... many of her question rampages lead back to you, Professor.”
Snape tried not to appear too startled when his whole body snapped around in the chair to face Flitwick. The Potions teacher grasped his spoon and whacked it on the edge of the table. He didn’t even notice that decapitated his silverware. Upon seeing that, Flitwick began edging away but Snape held out a hand. “Professor, if Miss Skeeter bothers you any more, just inform me.”
“Ah... why, Professor? What will you do?” Flitwick seemed apprehensive as he questioned, and shrunk back afterward as if he expected to be lashed out at.
“Oh, nothing much. I just remembered I have a draught that will turn one mute for a week,” Snape said almost pleasantly, returning his headless spoon to its place.
“If only her words were the problem,” sighed Flitwick. “But just her presence makes you feel like... like...”
“...You want to stab yourself to death with your own quill?” Snape finished. The other teacher nodded quickly.
“Yes, yes! That’s exactly it, Professor.”
“Well, there is a potion that will make sure miss Skeeter stays far away from you, but...” he paused to look around himself, “that kind of magic is not fit to be discussed here, Professor.”
Flitwick nodded conspiratorially, looking a great deal relieved. “Thank you, Professor. I’ll see you after dinner about it then.”
“Professor,” Snape replied with a concluding nod. Flitwick hurried off to his own seat as food began appearing. The Potions teacher fixed his spoon and as he looked up around the Hall, he noticed Rita peering in. She disappeared just as fast.
Snape sneered. He figured he could get in trouble for giving a reporter a harmful potion, but that trouble wouldn’t come from anyone at Hogwarts. Not even the Headmaster.
“Sixty states,” he muttered, clenching the spoon again.
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Last edited by Vig; January 21st, 2008 at 1:40 pm.
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
"And they're off! Potter takes the Quaffle immediately, flies right past Avery, passes to Prewett, back to Potter and score! Gryffindor leads, taking the first point only seconds after the referee's whistle. Slytherin can do nothing but watch their betters at work."
" Mr. Black!"
"Right… Potters gets the Quaffle back, dodges a Bludger by the soon to be hexed Flint, passes to Smith and… it's intercepted by Rosier, which really, if you think about it, it's quite surprising not only because of his poor broom technique but also because of the big nose he has obscuring his visi—"
"Mr. Black! I'm warning you."
"Sorry, Professor. Let me just take this moment to introduce my reluctant co-host, Professor Minerva McGonagall. She teaches Transfiguration at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, her animagus form is a tabby cat and on her free time she enjoys—"
"The whole school doesn't need to know what I do or do not enjoy."
"Right… James, stop laughing and steal the bloody Quaffle! And Potter takes the Quaffle and scores! 20 to nothing, Gryffindor. And the crowd goes wild, chanting and cheering and I can just see Potter's head inflating even more… he's gonna be a pain to live with this week."
"I'm sure we all mourn for you, Mr. Black. Now kindly go back to the game."
"Yes, Professor. Avery in control of the Quaffle, he dodges past Prewett and… Yes! Nice save by Fenwick, and may I just say what a fine girl she is."
"No, Mr. Black, you may not!"
"Avery, who most definitely isn't fine at all - sorry, Professor - takes the Quaffle. He dodges a Bludger, passes to Rosier, back to Avery and… bloody he--! Er, well, they score. 20-10, still Gryffindor lead. Potter takes the Quaffle and he's fast! The bloke can fly! And he scores! 30-10 Gryffindor. Take that! With that aim few would know Potter's blind as a bat without his glasses. I tell you, in the morning before he finds them he literally stumbles all over the bedroom, knocking into trunks, beds once into Peter too, that was fu—"
"As interesting as you think Mr. Potter morning rituals are, Mr. Black, this isn't the time or place to recollect them."
"Sorry, Professor, just trying to spice it up a bit. Right… no spice. Anyway, Smith has the Quaffle, passes it to the much discussed Potter, back to Smith and she scores! Fine girl that one too. No sign of the Snitch yet. Jefferson and Yaxley are circling the field and doing their best to glare at each other while they search, and after the incident earlier today in the corridor Jefferson has every right to glare."
"You and Mr. Potter are still serving detention tonight for that."
"It' the price one must pay to avenge the honor of fellow Gryffindors, a noble endeavor indeed… and Prewett steals the Quaffle from Rockwell and scores! Gryffindor chasers are flying superbly today… Rosier with the Quaffle, past Smith, moves to the left but there comes Potter and he steals it! Rosier isn't looking to happy about it, not that he ever-– James, look out!… That sneaky bloody fuc—"
"Language, Mr. Black!"
"But, Professor, the slimeball grabbed James' robes. That Bludger almost broke his head because of it."
"I'm aware of the foul play and so is the referee. If you hadn't been to busy yelling you would have noticed he just awarded Mr. Potter with a free shot."
"Right. Potter takes the shot and scores, of course. 50-10, Gryffindor. The dirty tactics of the Slytherins won't scare one James Potter, that's for sure. And they don't scare me so stop glaring, Rosier. Prewett steals the Quaffle from a distracted Rosier - I do wonder what he found so interesting here on the stands - passes to Smith, Smith to Potter, back to Prewett and another beautiful play by the Gryffindor team, leading 60 to10. Avery takes the Quaffle, passes to Rockwell and Potter intercepts it! Watch out Slytherin, you managed to anger James and there's no stopping him when he gets this way, stubborn as a mule, that one, I should know."
"We all do, unfortunately."
"Well put, Professor. Oh and yes, Potter scores again. Rosier with the Quaffle, flanked by Avery and closing in to the Gryffindor goals. Prewett and Potter move to intercept and, bloody hell! Sorry, Professor. Potter flies back into the fray after avoiding a nasty Bludger. Avery takes the shot and its blocked by Fenwick! Didn't I say she was a fine girl?"
"I believe I stopped you, Mr. Back."
"Indeed. I'll just have to leave Fenwick's praising to his boyfriend, then."
"I'm sure he will appreciate that. And I believe Potter scored again."
"You say it like it's something special, professor. He scores all the time. That was a compliment, James, no need to glare. He's touchy about his flying."
"Anyway, Rosier takes the Quaffle, passes to Rockwell, Potter flies dangerously between them trying to intercept them and loops, evading the two Bludgers aimed at him. Potter goes back down, tries to steal the Quaffle and is forced to pull away by another Bludger aimed by Flint. Slytherin beaters seemed determined to keep Potter away. Smith steals the Quaffle, not good to forget about her fellows, she's one hell of a flier, passes to Prewett and… it's blocked by the Slytherin keeper. Prewett with the Quaffle, tries to pass to Potter but Potter is forced to dodge another Bludger, moving him out of position. Reading between the Bludgers, I'd say they are targeting you, mate. Probably they just realized he's a superior flier. Slytherins do tend to be slow."
"What are your thoughts on the Slytherin's strategy, Professor?"
"Mr. Black. I'm not here to offer commentary. My purpose is to make sure you don't step out of line, as long as it can be helped."
"And a fine job that is… Still no sign of the Snitch. Potter is still being forced out of the plays by the Bludgers which, unfortunate as it is, leaves Prewett and Smith free to score, so score, damn it!"
"This is exactly the type of commentary you are supposed to refrain from."
"Duly noted, Professor. However inappropriate, Smith - smart girl that she is - takes my brilliant advice and scores. 90-10, Gryffindor still leads. Avery with the Quaffle, Smith barely dodges a Bludger, having caught apparently the attention of the Slytherin beaters, which, of course, leaves Potter free to intercept the pass and fly towards the Slytherin's goal post and score! Welcome back, James! Have you noticed how he always manages to score the 100th point? Some would say it's just a coincidence but this is James we're talking about, he does like the spotlight… No need to give me that look, Professor, you know it's true."
"I shall refrain from making any comment."
"Potter looks crestfallen at the Professor's apparent rejection but it doesn't affect his flying as he steals the Quaffle again. Potter to Prewett, Prewett dodges a Bludger, past Avery and scores! Go Gryffindor! Come on, people, let's see a wave! It's pretty clear that Gryffindor is outclassing the Slytherin team--"
" And unless Yaxley gets the Snitch, which he won't, the outcome of the match is easily foreseeable."
"Please refrain from making predictions, Mr. Black."
"No faith in my Inner Eye, Professor? … Right… Rockwell with the Quaffle, passes to Avery, heading fast for the goal and almost knocking Smith off her broom. You would think I hit a nerve. He shots and Fenwick deflects it. Smith catches the rebound, passes to Prewett, Prewett to Potter, he takes the shot and scores! Let's see that wave again!"
"Do not guide your house into cheering or waves, Mr. Black. You are supposed to be impartial when commenting!"
"Sure, Professor. Rockwell takes the Quaffle and… Jefferson is diving! The Snitch has been spotted! Yaxley follows him but Jefferson is faster. Flint aims a Bludger at Jefferson but he's not pulling away. The Bludger is catching up, where are our Beaters anyway? You'll think they'll—James, bloody hell!… Potter manages to stay in his broom but I bet the ****** broke his arm again. What sort of git dives willingly on the path of a Bludger?"
"Sorry; Professor but you have to agree on that. Anyway, thanks to the ******'s antics Jefferson has caught the snitch and Gryffindor wins 270 to 10! What a victory, don't you think Professor?"
"I must say I am pleased with the outcome."
"As I am, Professor. This was Sirius Black, narrating with the help of the lovely Professor McGonagall. I now shall leave you all to your cheering for I surely need to accompany the git that calls himself my best mate to the hospital wing, again. This is fast becoming a tradition and not one of our better ones, I tell you. Anyway, party on the Gryffindor Common Room, bring your drin--… Er, I mean a quiet celebratory gathering with tea and biscuits, Professor…"
"Sure you do, Mr. Black. Sure you do."
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
This was definitely behavior unbecoming a professor. Even a former one. James, wherever you are, I hope you are getting a good laugh out of this. He and Sirius both had infinitely more experience inside Hogwarts broom cupboards than Remus did, and sometimes even for this same reason. The other Marauders had ribbed Remus all through school about his lack of broom cupboard experience. Well, he was getting it now. This was the second time in fact that he had used this particular broom cupboard since graduation.
There were footsteps outside the door and he froze, cursing the fact that he couldn’t reach his wand to cast an imperturbable charm. Moody would have his hide if he heard about Remus’ lack of CONSTANT VIGILINCE. There just hadn’t been time to grab his wand before dashing into the cupboard, and his arm was now entangled with a mop, making it impossible to move without making noise.
Had the footsteps moved on? He held his breath, listening. It was not the footsteps that he could hear now, but a crashing noise from just behind him. That’s all I need just now, he thought, a boggart. He was quite certain though, that for once in his life, the boggart would not take the form of the full moon. It was much more likely to take the scarf-draped, overperfumed, decidedly daft, rather amorous, form of one Sibyl Trelawney.
Remus knew better. He knew better than to walk through the halls of Hogwarts without keeping an eye out. The marauders map, confiscated from Harry, had done a fine job of letting him know when it was safe to be out during his stint as a professor. He should have borrowed it from Harry for this trip. Harry wouldn’t even have to know it was gone. I could just sneak up to the tower and… this was getting out of hand.
Remus John Lupin, he said sternly to himself, you are an adult. You are a member of the Order of the Phoenix. You transform into a terrifying beast every twenty-eight days. You have faced boggarts, grindylows, vampires, and trolls. You can certainly face one woman.
Another voice spoke up in his head, a slightly whiny voice which, even after all these years, sounded a bit like Peter Pettigrew You can’t go out there. She won’t leave you alone. She’s like the giant squid only handsier. She’ll try to drag you off to that tower room of hers and overcome your common sense with that incense and awful tea and then tell you that you will face terrible tragedy soon and isn’t that awful and she understands and would you like to go stargazing?
Yet another voice interjected at this point. This one was calmer, a cool breeze of sanity clearing his crowded head. It sounded a bit like Lily. This is ridiculous. Go out there, and meet whatever awaits you. Be a man. He had never been able to say no to Lily.
Detaching himself from the grip of cleaning supplies, Remus opened the door and peered out. He wasn’t sure how he would explain his undignified appearance if he met someone, but luckily the corridor was empty. He grabbed his wand, resolving to keep it where he could get to it, and used a series of spells to fix his rumpled and dusty appearance. Then Remus set off for the Headmaster’s office, ready for a rushed meeting with Dumbledore and Minerva that they had squeezed in between dinner and the final Gobstones match of the season; Hufflepuff vs. Ravenclaw. He could hear kids several floors below, heading for the library and their common rooms. He was always tempted when he was here to stop and see some of his old students, but then he would have to explain what he was doing in the castle. And he didn’t want to know which of them would now fear him, knowing what he was. Besides, the quicker he could get out of the castle, the less likely he would be seen by—
“Dear Professor Lupin!”
He stopped dead in his tracks, closing his eyes for just a moment to gather his patience. He turned toward her, trying to keep a smile on his lips. “Professor Trelawney! How nice to see you. I would love stay and chat but I have a meeting with the headmaster now, and—“
“Oh, but my dear,” she said a on overly-dramatic voice, grabbing his hand “the things I have Forseen! You must allow me to crystal gaze for you!”
Hoping she would release him before he had to extract his had from her grip, he backed away, “I am running rather late, and I really must….”
“How unkind of me! I had forgotten! The inner eye often makes me forget all else! Young Lavendar told me of your fear of the crystal ball; but it is of no importance; tea leaves will do as well for you. You must” here she grabbed his shoulders “allow me to show you what the future holds!”
The strong urge to laugh as she mentioned his fear of crystal balls evaporated as he found himself in the heavily perfumed embrace of Sibyl Trelawney. Words failed him. Desperate, he tried to recall the voice of one of his friends to help, but all he could hear was Sirius laughing his head off. He is certainly the last person I would want to know about this.
I take that back.
Around the corner, apparently heading for the same meeting Remus was, came Nymphadora Tonks.
She froze, apparently shocked. Her eyes widened for a moment, and her jaw dropped. Her hand flew to cover her mouth. Was she that surprised? Suddenly her resemblance to Sirius was striking, and Remus realized that she was laughing.
Sybill was still talking in her misty voice, trying to convince him that the fear of crystal balls was one that could be overcome with familiarity, completely unaware that Tonks was behind her, shoulders shaking with laughter. He met her eyes, hoping the she could read the silent plead in his expression. She nodded, composing herself. The wicked Black family twinkle was in her eye.
“Remus!” Tonks screeched, moving toward them. Trelawney started, pulling away.“I’m so glad I caught up with you, darling!” She turned to Trelawney, smiling hugely, “So good of you to keep him busy while I catch up. I am always hopelessly late.” She had taken his arm in both of her hands, and was possessively stroking it.
Trelawney looked as though she had been slapped. The misty quality to her voice was gone as she said, “Nymphadora Tonks, how little you have changed.”
“Oh, but I hardly recognized you, Professor! I didn’t realize it had been so many years. You’ll have to excuse us now, we have other places to be.” She steered Remus in the other direction and sent a little wave behind them.
They had gone a couple of steps when he heard a decidedly un-mystical shriek. He turned it time so see several scarves whipping behind her as she ran down the corridor.
Tonks still had his arm, and was laughing again.
“Tonks. What did you do?”
“I used the bat bogey hex. Ginny taught me.” She was laughing so hard now that she was using Remus’ arm to hold her up. “I’ve been wanting to do that for years.”
I couldn't help but let out an extravagant yawn as I glanced back at the clock sitting on my nightstand. Heavens. It certainly was late. But I was determined to finish this chapter before turning in for the night. I needed to finish this chapter by the end of the night. I still had a long ways to go with this book, and it was due to come out a few months from now. Cursed publishers wouldn't extend my deadline on the grounds that the public was expecting my autobiography this summer, and that much publicizing had been done to drum up sales for my book. I didn't know why they had bothered with that...I already had several published works under my belt and my name alone merited enough publicity to drum up sales without some silly press releases sent out to the Daily Prophet.
Not that I minded the publicity, of course. I just didn't appreciate my agent using all these expenditures as an excuse to pressure me to finish this book on time. The nerve of some people. I was Gilderoy Lockhart, damnit. They had absolutely no right to insist that I meet my end of the bargain just because I had already spent the advance they had given me for this book! Still, I was a silent sufferer, as heroes tend to come. Even now, as I scratched away with my favorite cherry red peacock feather quill, I felt myself quietly wasting away into the night, sacrificing my sleep to complete Magical Me. I glanced at the clock again. It was ridiculously late. I needed sleep if I was going to continue to hold my #1 position on Witch Weekly's "Sexiest Wizards Alive" list. I frowned slightly at the thought, wishing I had brought this up with my publishers. Loss of sleep would certainly take a toll on my appearance, which was of course, a crucial part of my image.
I sighed. Alright. Another ten minutes of work and I'm turning it. It's nearly 9 o'clock! Obscurus Books couldn't really expect me to work late into the night when the baggy eyes I would receive in result would only tarnish my image. Of course not.
I glanced down at the page in front of me. I was nearly done with this chapter. I was just finishing my description of being inducted into the Order of Merlin, Third Class.
...as the audience stood up en masse to applaud me when I finished my acceptance speech, I could feel myself welling up with a fierce sense of pride in my work. The forty five...
No wait...was there really only forty five people there?
That doesn't sound right. And anyway, it doesn't achieve the affects I'm looking for.
The one hundred or so gathered there were applauding me. Expressing their gratitude for my contributions to wizard society. It then hit me like a ton of bricks: I was an important...
well, really important, actually.
I was an indispensable component to our world. People looked to me with admiration, hoping to follow in my footsteps.
Hmm. People? More so the women than the men. I'm not sure I want people to know that though. Oh hell. Sex sells, doesn't it?
Mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters looked to me with admiration and as an inspiration, while their male counterparts looked on jealously, though silently hoping to one day follow in my footsteps. I had been seriously considering retiring from the adventurous life to pursue my lifelong dream of creating my own line of hair care products, but lo; the thunderous claps of gratitude all around me immediately convinced me to do otherwise.
I smiled tiredly at my manuscript. Excellent. What I needed now was a nice transition into the next chapter, where I would discuss how fame has affected my personal life. Perhaps a little anecdote from the reception that followed the induction? Let’s see, what would work?
I shook hands with Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge as he sat down and joined me at my table…
No. The minister’s rather over-exposed. He’s hardly even a celebrity. That won’t do. Scratch that. Well, I suppose one of the biggest consequences of my fame is the attention I receive from women…perhaps an example of their fawning over me would be a better transition…
I shared a laugh with a Miss Catherine DuGrey, Order of Merlin, First Class, who…
Oh wait. She was rather ugly and old. And some sort of Runes expert. I haven’t really delved into that subject matter in any of my books. She’ll overshadow me then in that respect. Right. I need someone else then…
Ah, of course! Appeal to the nobodies!
At the reception, I had met a young woman, a server, actually, who was had been very sweet about pointing me to the men’s room.
“I love your books, Mr. Lockhart!” she said after she had given me directions.
Hmm…maybe she didn’t exactly give me directions to the restrooms, because she had been in such awe at me…
“I love your books, Mr. Lockhart!” she gushed when I had asked her to point me in the direction of the men’s room. “Wandering with Werewolves was my absolute favorite. Please tell me you have plans to write more!”
I smiled at the young server and genially agreed that Wandering with Werewolves had actually been my favorite to write.
Oh, now what had happened next? Oh, right. She had walked away and I had gone to the loos.
“And what’s your name, dear girl?” I asked as I watched her wave her wand to turn the napkins she had been folding into the shape of swans.
Think. What’s a pretty name? Gilderoy…no, a girl’s name. Gil—Gilda? Gilda…Goldilocks! Oh! No, but I would most definitely like that as a nickname…
“Greta” she replied.
Oh, no. That sounds horrid.
“Lola.” She replied, blushing furiously.
“What a lovely name.” I said, smiling at her while she giggled.
My memory must be slipping…I’m almost certain she nearly passed out. Oh! Silly me; none of this even happened! Well, I suppose if I’m going to embellish a little…
I smiled at her and she swooned.
Yes, that works. Now what? Oh, conclude:
All in the life of a celebrity.
I glanced at the clock. Great Scot! It was 9:25 p.m. I had no idea I had been writing for twenty-five minutes straight! Absolutely spooky how time flies when you’re having fun. But as all good things must come to an end, so must this writing session. After all, I didn’t become a five time winner of Witch Weekly’s “Best Smile Award” by getting only seven hours of sleep a night. Now…where the devil are my curlers?
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
It was a dark night, but then again, all nights are usually dark-aren’t they? So that was a useless comment. Anyway, it was a dark night that was illuminated by the glow of the full moon. The moon shone over Diagon Alley, in which a young man with tousled, long brown hair was walking. An odd man he was, fore he was walking in an alley in which all the stores were closed, in the middle of the night. Who knows what his reasons were for being there. All that is important is that he was there, walking past Ollivander’s.
He continued walking down the alley when he saw a most peculiar thing. Okay, so maybe it was not that peculiar, but it was peculiar to a poor, deprived man like himself, whose life was about as dull as an extremely old professor giving a long, boring lecture about a typical day in the life of a rock.
The peculiar thing that this young man by the name of Argus Filch saw was a box.
Now, remember-this young man lived a horrible life. He had no friends, found out he was a squib, and basically lead a life that would probably turn him into a cranky, ill-tempered man when he’s older. So, of course he was fascinated with such a simple thing like a box.
It was your ordinary, everyday, cardboard box and his pale eyes stared at it as he jaunted up to it. With extreme care, he pulled open the two flaps on top of the box, and then proceeded to open the other two. Inside the box he had discovered a bundle of hair.
Well it was more like fur. Multi-colored fur. Most of it was a sepia color, while parts of it were black and gray.
He eventually found out that this bundle of fur was actually a creature. (Hey, he was a bit of a dimwit too, to add to the list of Why His Life Is Awful) He examined it. It had a long tail, four legs and pointed ears. It indeed was a cat.
The cat had been lying in the box, staring intently at the cardboard wall in front of it. Argus reached out his hand and touched the dear cat. The cat instantly looked up at him with her bright red eyes.
They looked into each other’s eyes.
And it was love at first sight.
An instant connection sparked between them.
They felt a special bond between them.
Argus suddenly began to feel happy. He had never felt this happy in his entire life. For the first time in his life, he had found a friend.
A friend to have and to hold…A friend to cherish and love…Oh god, this sounds like a wedding ceremony…
It also seemed like Argus was the cat’s first ever friend, for the cat leapt right up into his arms. Argus cradled the dear cat in his arms, making sure he would not drop her because this cat was his treasure and he did not want her to be damaged.
After he himself discovered that the cat was indeed a female, he continued to hold her as he sat up against the wall. Petting her ever so gently, he figured that he better give his new friend a name, considering she did not have one or if she did, how the heck was he supposed to know?
Then it dawned on him.
What if this cat belonged to someone? Someone else that was not by the name of Argus Jasper Filch! A pang of terror went through Argus’s body.
He did not and would not let his new friend go. He was determined to keep her all to himself. Since finding this new companion, nothing was going to ever tear them apart from one another. The pain would be just too much to bear.
He also thought that if someone really did own this cat, why the hell would they leave her in a box in Diagon Alley? They were not a proper owner for her.
So there you have it, Argus said to himself, I will be the proper owner for this darling cat…this cat needs me!
Suddenly, Argus remembered that the cat still needed a name.
So Argus thought and thought and thought. He thought so hard it almost looked like it was killing him.
And then the light bulb flashed on in his head.
He picked up the cat and held her up so that her face looked into his and their noses almost touched.
“My dear lovely cat,” Argus began, “I have come up with a superb name for you, but before I tell you what it is, I feel that I must tell my reasoning for it and the background of it. Now, you may not know that I love my mother very much--So much, that others would make fun of me for it--calling me a Momma’s boy –if only I was able to curse them into oblivion- . But anyway, she means a lot to me…So then I thought I SHOULD NAME YOU AFTER MY MOTHER! So I took my mother’s maiden name and then slapped on a title to it…So your name is Mrs. Norris!”
Mrs. Norris did not seem thrilled about the news, but Argus was too elated to take notice. He got up off the ground and began to twirl around as if he were a ballerina.
After a few minutes of this dancing in the moment, Argus pulled Mrs. Norris into a hug.
They would go through life, side by side-as if they were a famous duo like Batman and Robin.
And they would be together forever.
Somehow, at the start of his fourth year of teaching, Professor Snape was the target of the fifth-year Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw combined Potions class. He wasn’t sure if it caused by a single event, or if it was a decision made by the students during the summer, but he realized one September morning that the twenty students were organized against him.
No one was talking in the hallway outside of class. No one was talking during class.
All assignments were finished and handed in on time. And almost all were correct on every point.
There were no accidents in the cauldrons.
The class was...perfect.
It was the assignments that first annoyed him. They were all worded differently, but they had very few errors in concepts or spellings.
The tests were next. The class curve had been at "Acceptable" for the past three years. The students’ works were now "Outstanding".
Something was going on.
He kept his eye on them for weeks, but didn’t see anything he could take points for, nothing directly out of the ordinary that would explain the almost perfect papers, the high test scores. Nothing in the Great Hall, nothing in the corridors or library marked these students as different from any other group. None of the other teachers made any remark of things being out of the ordinary in their classes. (Not that he would admit to them that anything was amiss in his…)
It was time to get back into the habit of spying.
He followed them on the first Hogsmeade visit of the school year, staying far back enough to appear as just one of the staff members out for a walk to the village.
He stood outside in the lane and watched the general swirl of students, keeping his eye on the twenty, some of which were in Honeydukes, the usual first stop of the teen-agers.
Six of the fifth-years students bought something amd hurried out of Honeydukes to the Owlery.
Snape followed them, slipping into the building, and then sliding immediately into a half-hidden opening between the outside wall and the wall of perches. He had been here many times years before; he remembered to do a bubble-head charm to keep the dust, feathers, and dung out of his nose.
“All four, same address?” the postman was saying. “And two to St. Mungos?”
The students paid him, and watched while he filled the orders. “Contents?” the postman asked. Snape heard the answers and glowered.
While the postman tied the packages onto the owls, Snape carefully slipped out and went around to the other side of the building, Scrougifying his robes. Snape scowled as he watched the birds fly away, the boxes swinging below them. The mystery of how their papers were so accurate was solved. Four boxes of gingered pineapple to former potions Professor Slughorn, always eager to please for a price, and two boxes of the best chocolates to St. Mungo’s Potions Master Jean Smyth, a soft touch and an all-around goody two-shoes.
Apparently the two had been proof-reading the students’ essays: he was being undermined. If he made a mistake in his grading, neither would ever let him forget it. He mulled over his options and decided he would give pop quizzes for the rest of the term.
For the first surprise test they got low scores. Then – somehow – they got flashcards to test themselves. At mealtimes, in the library, in the courtyards, whenever the students had free time, their cards flashed pictures, questions, and diagrams. The students used them publicly around the other teachers, but never when it was just himself, where he could confiscate them without a public outcry. Around the students of the other two houses, the cards simply appeared to be ordinary face cards. He wished he had a set for the Slytherins, but they were not in any of the catalogues, and he was not going to lower himself to asking where they got them. He suspected Flitwick had some hand in it, but his colleague made no indication of ownership, and instead fussed over the novelty. Snape wondered if the students were plastering them on the walls of their dormitories and common rooms. Before long, the class aced every exam.
Perhaps, he pondered, he could get them on a practical exercise. He wracked his brain, thinking of what could possibly upset the class members the most while they were doing their best. Then he remembers a prank pulled by a Slytherin the year earlier, and it involved…Dungbombs. However, Dungbombs took more than a week to prepare, and then they were too stationary for what he had in mind. He wanted something that would make a noisy stink when it hit the right temperature at the right time. He searched for such a potion in the small library that he kept in the back of the classroom.
Oudre of the Awefull. Old English name, terrible spelling, but perfect potion - especially if all twenty cauldrons exploded at the same time. Or, one after another, like popcorn. Too bad he would be – where? – at a meeting? Of course! His face hurt from the unaccustomed grin, as he unconsciously rubbed his left arm.
After the twenty students silently filed in, sat, down and sullenly faced him, it took every ounce of self-control to put and keep a scowl on his face.
“Class, here are the ingredients and directions of today’s lesson. After completing it, please write one foot of parchment identifying what the potion is, and its use or uses. Unfortunately, I have been summoned to a meeting, and will not be here during most of this class session. If I am not back at the end of class, please leave your paperwork on my desk. Any questions?”
Almost gleefully, he stormed out of the room, his robes billowing, and went to the staff room, where he sat, waiting and reading periodicals while keeping an eye on the clock.
An hour later, when he thought the potions might be almost ready (he longed to see them flustered), he returned to find the empty classroom clean and neat, and not smelling one mote different than he left it. One his desk was one foot of parchment, signed by all twenty.
To: Professor Snape
Re: Classroom assignment
School regulations from the Hogwart’s Student Code Book, page 3, section 9, paragraph 4 states: “No student shall prepare a potion in the absence of a member of the faculty or staff.”
So we didn’t.
We did however, comb through the Potions Class library by the storage and found that the potions and procedures listed in today’s lesson is the ‘Oudre of the Awefull’, which is the liquid basis of what is commonly referred to as ‘Dungbomb’ The uses of the Oudre are as listed, but not limited to…
Twelve solid inches, with no spelling or grammatical errors. It even included fourteen uses he wasn’t even aware of including “toenail fungus remover”. And every use was footnoted.
He had to grit his teeth: it was another “Outstanding” paper.
At the holidays, the Hufflepuffs hired Slughorn for extra classes; the Ravenclaws, Smyth. Snape learned about it in Slughorn’s annual Christmas letter, and Smyth actually had the nerve to invite him to her class. (He ignored the invitation, but used the parchment it was written on to practice his Incendio! spell.)
He missed all their gossip. He had no idea who was seeing whom, who dueled whom (and how the match ended), how anyone was doing in any other class, or if anyone of the class was on a Quidditch team until he was actually at the game. He missed the Gobstone semi-finals, sponsored by the fifth-year Hufflepuffs; he learned - too late! - the night of Ravenclaw Poetry Bash. (Not that he was into poetry, but it usually gave him a week of material for sneers, puns and rude comments.)
He longed for some sort of variety to the weekly set of perfectly brewed potions, the error-free essays, and the still and silent youth, who were busy stirring up mischief elsewhere...
When fifth-year Ravenclaws Josephine Miller and Belle Topper got into a cat-fight, and both ended up in the hospital wing with whiskers, tales, and fur, he learned about it at dinner a night later, after they’d been set back to right.
When Hufflepuffs Tim Cratchit shoved Richard Wilkins off the Astronomy Tower, he found out only because the Slytherins were reenacting the scene.
And when Tim’s twin, Belinda Cratchit, was given detention by Professor Sprout for growing some banned plants, her detention job was to scrub a greenhouse's glass walls with a toothbrush. The Hufflepuff miscreant bribed the caretaker Filch with a charmed toy Doxy that sang, "This is the Song that Never Ends", and he allowed her to use magic to finish the job. Snape discovered the giddy caretaker singing and dancing to its "music" in his office at midnight, and heard all the sordid details from him. ("Are you going to give her another detention?" Filch asked eagerly.)
Hufflepuff had a food fight on a Sunday night. Not a single dig he made the following Monday morning received anything more of a response than Jacob Marley (Ravenclaw) politely pointing out that they were there for their Potions class, and not to rehash hash. The students ignored Snape’s witty comeback.
Every Monday morning the twenty came, voiceless, soundless, made their potions, took their notes, sat for their exams, and left, like so many emotionless Inferni. The only noises were Snape’s pen as he scratched it across the papers he was grading, the squeak of his shoes as he roamed about the classroom, and the faint “dink, dink, dink” of sand falling through the hourglass. He put a partial Silencing Charm on himself when he realized all body sounds in the class were his and his alone, and when he made them, one or two students would give him a cold stare for so rudely interrupting the quiet. In any other class, someone would have snickered and lost a few house points, maybe even have received a detention, but the cold and frosty looks were beyond the pale.
Perhaps if the class had been in an afternoon, or maybe Friday, or even Thursday, he would have looked forward to it. But it was Monday morning, and the rest of the week was work, work, and more work.
He wished desperately for that class’s ready-to-publish papers as he swept red ink all over each and every sorry excuse of an essay, written by the students in the other classes.
He longed for the class’s quiet behaviour when first-year Slytherin Rose Maylie threw her cauldron at Gryffindor Noah Claypole for something said two days earlier. (Ten points from Gryffindor for Claypole's failure to stop the cauldron. After class, Maylie was quietly assigned detention in the Hospital Wing, folding bandages.)
He compared the class’s discipline to that of the fourth-year Ravenclaw and Gryffindor combined class, when two students started a shouting match about sunstones or moonstones for a warming hand lotion, which somehow involved the rest of the class as it shifted into the topic of who snogged whose girlfriend at what tapestry, and then diverted into who stole whose paper in History class, and where did the notes go anyway? And there was something about chocolate frogs and mint crickets, but he missed what it was.
How he let the arguments go for so long, he really wasn’t sure, but he did secretly enjoy it. When the melee ended, most of the students were hoarse and a few in tears, each had zero points for the day, two feet of parchment make-up essay, and Saturday detention. It being a Hogsmeade weekend, it went over as well as could be expected. That Saturday, it was pouring rain. Everyone was outside, picking up litter and raking the grounds under his, Filch’s and Professor McGonagall’s supervision. (Snape thought Sprout and Hagrid were too soft on students, and Filch wouldn’t - or couldn't - take a bribe with McGonagall standing next to him.)
He was a bit mortified, he lied to McGonagall, that he had not stopped the tiff when it started. Then he remembered that two feet of make-up essays meant forty feet of fourth year Ravenclaw and Gryffindor jumbled garbage: forty feet of tedious paperwork for him. The joy was gone.
The day of the O.W.L. exams arrived.
“Amazing, Professor Snape,” said one of the examiners. “If I hadn’t administered the test myself, I would say that there was some foul play here, but each of these particular students breezed through, the most thoroughly prepared class I have ever seen! Why, not one of them broke a sweat during their individual oral exams! What an outstanding job you’ve done here – no pun intended, of course. I assume you were testing out some newfangled teaching method? Well done; I suggest you use it for all four houses next year.” The examiner smiled as he swept the top of his quill down the list he held. Snape could see that the Slytherin and Gryffindor grades were as abysmal as he thought they would be.
Snape could only glower. Never again would there be a class like this. His reputation of turning out top students was already ruined; next year’s O.W.L.s would be back to ordinary. This whole group could be in his N.E.W.T.s class next year. Would any of these students put up with him for another two years? Could he put up with them and their continued silent treatment?
The day of the Leaving Feast, Professor Snape was standing in the entrance of the Great Hall, staring at the hourglasses. He had decided on twenty points per student. Two hundred for each house. Should the points be awarded for being the least disruptive, most productive, most obedient class he had ever had? Should the points simply be forgotten, a truce as it were, between students and teacher? Or should the points be taken away, for being twenty of the most insufferable, know-it-all prats ever!
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
Nymphadora Tonks fiddled with her wand. Her favorite old wizarding band T-shirt had been traded in for no-nonsense robes, and she wore her hair in a conservative style, in a nice chestnut colour today. She hadn’t thoughtlessly turned it orange again, had she? A quickly-whispered spell revealed that she had not. Nothing was outwardly wrong with her. She’d make a wonderful impression on the Aurors. She hoped.
Mentally, Tonks went through her introductory speech again. She knew her lines, knew her law, and knew her spells. She knew she was prepared for this. So why didn’t she feel ready?
Because it’s Mad-Eye that’s doing the interview, she reminded herself unnecessarily. Alastor Moody was known across Britain as one of its most effective – though also most paranoid – Aurors. How he had ended up with such a silly assignment as interviewing a witch straight out of Hogwarts for an application was beyond Tonks. She did not know whether to feel honored or frightened. Surely, they didn’t think that just because of her aunt, Tonks would have Death Eater sympathies, did they? She did not kid herself into thinking that Moody would not know of her relations.
Still, her mother’s name had been blasted off of the family tree, and knowing the rest of the family, that suited Tonks just fine. At best, her mother’s clan was over-obsessed with bloodline, arrogant, and prone to giving their children such silly names. Even though Andromeda wasn’t as bad as all that, Tonks was a prime example of what she believed was a Black conspiracy to turn its scions into prats. What child, when stuck with a name like Nymphadora, would not turn into an arrogant snob? She was thankful for a good solid Muggle last name to go by, at least.
But funny names did not begin to excuse what her estranged kinsmen had done. Aunt Bellatrix and her husband were infamous Death Eaters. Aunt Narcissa’s family had supported the Dark Lord, though there had never been enough evidence to convict them. Her cousin Regulus Black was dead; and his brother Sirius, the one member of the clan that had acknowledged Tonks and sent her Christmas cards, the one who had let her ride in front of him once on his motorbike when she was five, the one that had encouraged her love for Weird Sisters… Sirius had betrayed them the most deeply of all. He had infiltrated the Order of the Phoenix; the select group of loyal Aurors that had fought He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Then, just when there had been a chance of success, Sirius had turned against his best friend and betrayed the whole Order to the Dark Lord. Who knew what would have happened if He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named hadn’t been defeated?
Tonks was glad that it was neither Sirius nor the Dark Lord she was facing; Moody was daunting enough. She would make a poor Auror if she lacked the courage to even face her associates, but she couldn’t repress all her jitters, given Mad-Eye’s reputation. He was an Auror of the old sort: a former member of the Order, and scarred inside and out from his experiences. That magical replacement eye twitched wildly in the nightmares of Death Eaters and law-abiding witches and wizards alike. And he had come down from his escapades of legend to interview her. Tonks fiddled with her wand again.
At long last, the door to the office opened. A tall, well-built black man walked out, giving her a light smile. “Good luck,” he offered in an undertone.
“Thanks.” Tonks returned his grin, hopefully looking a bit more confident than she felt.
“Just ask for Shacklebolt once you get in; I’d be happy to show you the ropes sometime.” He really did have a lovely smile, just what she needed to feel a bit surer of herself for this interview.
“I’d appreciate that,” Tonks said, squaring her shoulders and walking into the office. It wasn’t so frightening. Moody was famous, and paranoid, and according to rumor, a few broomsticks short of a full quidditch team, but he was surely just your average wizard, when it came down to the heart of things. Your average wizard that was willing to cast Unforgivables on anybody. But he wasn’t He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, for Merlin’s sake. “Hello there, sir, my name is – Wotcha!” Tonks ducked a sudden spell, breaking off from the introductory spiel she had worked so hard to memorize.
“Well, you’re quick enough, girl, but you ought to be able to disarm your opponent as well as avoid the attack,” the man behind the heavy desk said, setting down his wand. His mismatching eyes took her in appraisingly. “Don’t they teach Expelliarmus at Hogwarts anymore?”
“I wasn’t really expecting an attack, sir,” Tonks offered lamely. She rose from the floor in slow increments; whispered tales of Mad-Eye’s insanity reeling through her mind.
“Constant vigilance, girl. Never know where the next attack will come from. Now, you said you were ‘Wotcha?’ I’ve got an interview written down for an N. Tonks. What’s your business?” The wand was in his hand again.
“I’m Tonks, sir. You caught me by surprise, is all,” she said rather sheepishly.
“Nymphadora, isn’t it? Or do you usually go by ‘Wotcha?’” he examined the papers before him with one eye. The magical one continued to scan the room, turning backwards into its socket eerily.
The room itself appeared to be a war zone. Piles of paperwork sealed the desk into a verifiable fort, and tailsmans that she had never seen the like of hung from every clear vertical space that had not been taken up by posters of wanted and captured criminals. Even the people in the pictures seemed wary of the room’s main occupant, slinking to the edge of the poster or diving for cover as the old Auror’s electric blue eye passed over them.
“Tonks will do fine, sir.” She attempted to keep her calm, brushing off her dress robes.
“The Ministry’s heard some good things about you, Ms. Tonks. They want to take you on as an Auror. However, there are a few issues that make me a bit leery of working with you.” Tonks wished he wouldn’t emphasize the point with his wand.
“If this is about my family, sir, I assure you that my mother cut off all ties with the Black clan before I was born.”
“Burned off the family tree, wasn’t she? Hmm… The Blacks have dismissed family members before, and a really ambitious witch might earn her way back into the family’s good graces, if she could take down the Aurors that arrested her kinsmen.”
“I’m not Sirius,” Tonks cut him off fervently. She promised herself that she would never turn into Sirius. She didn’t understand what had driven him to betray his friends, but who really understood what made Death Eaters tick, after all?
“We encourage a relaxed working atmosphere, in order to better embrace all our employees’ special eccentricities, but we do hope you’ll take your job seriously.” Mad-Eye almost managed to sound less than fully sarcastic, which Tonks hoped was a good sign.
“Oh, I am serious, about the job, I mean, sir. But I’m also serious that I’ll never turn into another Sirius Black.” Tonks felt like she’d been tripping up over her own tongue throughout the whole interview, but at least she might be able to walk away from her meeting with Mad-Eye Moody alive.
“Good,” Moody said. “He was a damn fine member of the Order, before he turned on us. I hope that there is some of that Black ambition in you, Ms. Tonks. I just want it controlled and on my side.”
“Certainly, sir. I mean to do the best I can here on the job. I daresay I’ll try my hardest to fit right in.” She nodded, hoping that the intentions behind the words got through, even if they were a little trite. Blending in would be so much less of a problem if she weren’t stumbling over her words and feet so often.
“We need more than fitting in. You’re going to have to excel if you’re going to get through training and be of any use in the field. Too many bright young things fizzle out halfway through the programme and never live up to their supposed potential. The Ministry doesn’t have rigorous enough standards, if you ask me.” Moody tapped the scar that ran from forehead to eye to nose with his free hand and turned the wand once more toward her, as if to remind her that said bright young things could be elimnated by more than a failing exam grade. “Most of the rest of the lot that make it through training end up doing something bloody stupid on their first assignment and we’re left trying to scrape up the mess and explain it to the Muggles. Bah! You know what causes them to fail? They don’t watch what they’re doing. That’s why I’m not too keen on some hotheaded youngster trying to take over the postion with only three years’ worth of experience, but better the evil I know than that I don’t.”
“You, er, know me, sir?” Tonks wondered just how far the paranoid Auror was willing to go in the name of research.
“Do you know what Shacklebolt and I were discussing eariler?” Moody raised an eyebrow.
Tonks bit her lip and looked away. Surely, it had not been her. He was just trying to make her as paraniod as he was. She tried to think about the man that had walked out as she had entered Mad-Eye’s office. That smile was easy to remember, at least. But she had been too distracted to note much else about him, or his mission. “Not exactly, but I assume it had to do with the reasons why you’re interviewing new potential junior Aurors,” Tonks said at last.
“Good enough,” Moody nodded grudgingly. “They say I’m getting too old for this sort of thing. The upper mangement says I ought to retire, maybe teach a little. I haven’t lost my edge, though, and I don’t intend to be sent off to some educational pasture just yet. If you younglings are still outgunned by me, I don’t think these Ministry bigwigs will be pushing me out anytime soon. As to your question, I know your type: decent grades in school, not particulary talented in any field, but good enough to get what you want. You know how to work hard, so you’ll keep doing so on the job. But we don’t get many learning experiences out in the field, so you’d better make all the mistakes you’re going to make in the next three years. You survive them, and then maybe you’ve got what it takes to be a good Auror.”
“I’ll make sure of it, sir. And if you don’t mind me saying, I think it’s because you haven’t lost your edge that they’re so eager to have you out.” Tonks knew she shouldn’t have been so bold, but the ghost of a satisfied smile in Alastor Moody’s natural eye made it worth the rejection letter her loose tongue had most likely earned her.
“That’s what Kingsley told me.” Moody paused, and for a brief moment, both eyes focused on Tonks. “Now, the other matter that concerns me… You won’t be blasting that wretched garbage that passes for music amongst younger wizards all throughout the office, now, will you?”
Tonks smiled genuinely for the first time during the interview, though she kept a wary eye on his wand. She tried to think of anything besides what that wand just might shoot out next. “Not too often, sir.”
“Well, I’ll have to finish up the rest of the interviews, Ms. Tonks, but we’ll keep you in mind, girl. Expect an owl within the next three weeks.” Moody added a few final notes to a hidden paper.
“Thank you very much, sir.” She stood, extending a hand. He examined it distrustfully.
“Go on, girl. Before I decide you need practice with something more dangerous than petrificus totalus.” He shooed her off without touching the hand. “And what happened to your hair?”
Tonks reached up, blushing. She pulled forward a lavender curl. “Metamorphmagus,” she mumbled.
“Well, see that it doesn’t happen on the job,” Moody said, waving her out with the wand.
“Yes, sir.” Confidence breaking, she beat a hasty retreat out of the office. Well, that hadn’t been too much of a disaster, she told herself. They might even hire her.
“Shacklebolt? Can you come into my office, please?” Kingsley put down his pen, shaking his head. This poor Muggle had been in too deep for a long time.
“How can I help you, sir?” The secretary to the Prime Minister watched his employer scan his face for any signs of humor, and was careful to show only distant sympathy in his dark eyes.
The Prime Minister waited until Kingsley had closed the door, and then raked his fingers through his thinning hair. “Can you keep a secret, Shacklebolt? I know I’ll sound like the poor devil in Finances, but I have to let this out and I’d prefer if the news-stations didn’t get ahold of it.”
“Certainly, sir,” the secretary said warmly. He was not exactly sure why the political leader of Great Britain had chosen Kingsley Shacklebolt to take into his confidences, but surely there would be no harm in hearing the Muggle out. “I won’t go blurting to the tabloids anytime soon.”
“Look at that picture, Shacklebolt,” the paler man said, directing Kingsley’s attention to a rather ugly portrait of a little man in a long white wig. “Is there anything… odd… about it to you?”
Kingsley studied the painting over his employer’s shoulder. The little man winked at him. “No, not that I’ve noticed. Does it bother you?”
“It can’t be pulled down. Nearly everyone in the office has had a go at it. And sometimes, when I’m not paying close attention to it, I think it, well, moves. Mad, isn’t it?” The Prime Minister gave a nervous laugh, and Kingsley struggled to maintain his calm. “Bah, I sound bonkers now, don’t I?” he attempted to shoo his previous comment away with an airy wave.
“Of course not,” Kingsley reassured him. “There are a number of paintings that seem to follow you about the room when you look at them. They’re rather clever, really.”
“Yes, yes, of course,” the Minister agreed. “It’s very clever.” He paused for a moment, fiddling with his glasses. “What’s your opinion on Scrimgeour?” he asked in an undertone.
“Bit militant, but after working with Mad-Eye, he seems normal in comparison,” Kingsley answered absently.
“Mad-Eye?” the Prime Minister asked dazedly. Kingsley was unsure how they had gotten on this line of inquiry, and to see the other man’s expression, so was his employer.
“You probably wouldn’t have heard of him,” the taller man added. What was he doing, blurting the names of Aurors as if he were sitting in Number 12 Grimmauld Place with a beer in hand? No matter how sorry Kingsley might feel for him, the Prime Minister was a Muggle, for Merlin’s sake! Shacklebolt should not have been name-dropping, and then he had to give Alastor’s nickname, of all possible wizards! He was likely only making it worse.
“He’s one of the other minister’s people, then?” The way the Prime Minister emphasized the word let Kingsley know that he knew – and didn’t necessarily approve.
“You might say that.” Kingsley looked away.
“He showed up today, that other minister. Him and the new one. They said that you were, ahem, acting as a liasion.” Kingsley Shacklebolt was an Auror. There were very few things that scared him. However, this currently included meeting the leader of Great Britain’s eyes. The pause dragged out uncomfortably long. “You don’t have to say anything, Shacklebolt. I may be completely off my rocker, but I’m happy to have your services either way. If you can point out others who may know a little bit more about the bridge and the fellow in Finances and all that, I’d appreciate it. If you can’t, well, I understand.”
“It might be easier if you didn’t have to think about all this, sir. You’ve got enough on your mind,” Kingsley reccomended quietly. Memory charms weren’t his specialty, but he did have his wand available.
“No, no, best that someone knows what’s going on around here.” The Prime Minister dismissed the option, though Kingsley hadn’t.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Kingsley promised.
“Thank you. It’s good to know I’m not completely mad, you know?” The Prime Minister readjusted his glasses, and his secretary gave a deep, gentle laugh.
“I think we’re all getting there, though.” The wizard released his wand. There wasn’t any point in erasing the Minister’s memory right this second. The Muggles didn’t need a Lockhart in the most powerful part of their government, on top of everything else.
The Prime Minister glanced at the clock, using it as an opportunity to sneak a quick glance at the portrait behind him. “Oh, but don’t let me keep you, Shacklebolt. We’ve both got more important things to do than compare our slippery grips on sanity. You’ve finished your reports?”
“Yes, sir.” It really took no time at all to finish these things once he could get alone with a Quick Quotes Quill. Some of his office-mates looked at him a bit funny for his penchant for wizarding writing utensils, but Kingsley was simply happy that he had remembered Muggle clothing style well enough to blend in fairly well.
“Well, no sense in keeping you late, then. Get on home, and we’ll see you bright and early tomorrow.” The Prime Minister gave the black man a brief, worried smile. He would not be heading home anytime soon. And to tell the truth, neither would Kingsley. There was the other ministry to watch and report to, and then the Order would be drilling him for information. Sometimes, the cares of Muggles seemed so much simpler to Kingsley. Here, most problems could be solved with a quill and a steady hand.
“I’ll be seeing you, then.” The tall black wizard smiled, giving a quick salute before turning out of the office.
“Oh, and Shacklebolt? The information?” A voice called his attention back behind the door.
“It’s perfectly safe with me, sir,” Shacklebolt reassured him. Now all he would have to do is assure himself that it was perfectly safe with the Prime Minister.
In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools. -- Doris Lessing [How true!]
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
I can sense him looking at me.
I can see him out of the corner of my eye. Staring. Smiling his loathsome, empty-headed smile. Everywhere I go, his eyes follow me. From room to room, even. I can see him everywhere.
He’s plotting against me, isn’t he? Half the wizarding world would love to kill me. Just the other day, Black nearly killed me when he bumped into me and made me tumble headfirst down the stairs. He said it was an accident, but I’m sure he was just trying to get me out of the way. I wonder what Dumbledore sees in him.
But Black isn’t the point here. It’s him. Him.
He of the stupid hat and god-awful haircut. He’s staring at me from across the kitchen, smiling as he watches me. He’s very sneaky. I’m sure he’s plotting something! I just know he is! Normal people don’t smile like that!
Look at him, so smug and pleased with himself. The *******. What gives him that right? What has he done? I’ve only prevented hundreds of deaths in the course of my career! I’ve only brought in dangerous Death Eaters! And what does he do?! Besides sitting there looking like he owns the world?!
Well, you won’t get me!! I’m on to you! You won’t take ME by surprise! Not I! You’d better just keep your eyes open, and don’t you dare sleep! We’ll see who gets who!!
Mrs. Weasley picked up the Quaker Oats box. “Would you like some oatmeal, Alastor?” she inquired.
Moody leapt to his feet. “SO THAT’S YOUR GAME!” he roared, pointing his walking stick at the oatmeal box. “I’LL TELL YOU, MR. OATMEAL-BOX MAN, YOU’RE NOT GETTING RID OF ME THAT EASILY!!!”
And with an insane cackle, Moody ran from the room, leaving Mrs. Weasley and the rest of the Order to stare blankly after him.
Mrs. Weasley looked down at the smiling face of the man on the oatmeal box. “I wonder what’s wrong with Alastor,” she said, crossing over to the stove to start breakfast.
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
“How many times have I told you: you can’t just pick out names the way you pick out robes,” Hermione admonished her husband, “It has to be something special.”
“Well, I’d say Seyton is special all right,” Ron muttered, shaking his head.
“It’s from Shakespeare.” Hermione protested. “He’s one of the greatest playwrights in history. Any child should be honored to be named after a character in one of Shakespeare’s plays.”
“You know what, Hermione, why not skip Seyton and go straight to Beelzebub, or Lucifer, or Mephistopheles.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Ron, they’re not even spelled the same. Seyton is S-e-y-t-o-n and Satan is S-a-t-a-n. They’re clearly different.”
“Right. When the Deputy Head announces our son’s name to the whole school, it will be a great comfort to know that the names aren’t spelled the same.”
“Hermione, what do you think of the name Sean?”
“You don’t like it.”
“It’s not that I don’t like it, Ron… It’s just so—normal.”
“That’s why I mentioned it.”
Ron set down his coffee and looked up from the morning Prophet. “Good morning to you too, dear.”
“No, Ron, for the baby. Stephen is a nice, normal name—you can’t object on that count—but it still has a rich history. I think we’ve found our name.”
“Stephen Orpheus Weasley?”
“Yes.” Hermione reached across the table for the newspaper.
“But Hermione: the initials.”
“No, Hermione, not so: sow. S-O-W. Sow.”
“Can I make a couple of baby name suggestions?”
“Never mind. I’ll ask you in the morning.”
It was a Saturday afternoon. Hermione and Ron were taking advantage of the quiet afforded by Rose’s naptime to get some work done.
“Ron, do settle down so I can concentrate.”
Ron looked up confusedly from the report he was reading. “What?”
“Not you, Ron.” Hermione put her hand on her stomach. “Your son.”
“But you said Ron.” Ron pointed out unnecessarily.
“Well, yes.” Hermione agreed. “That’s to be his name.”
“But Hermione, that’s my name.”
“I know. I think it’s a perfectly lovely name. Don’t you agree, Ron?”
“Hermione, it’s not that it’s not a nice name…”
“I was talking to Ron, Ron, not to you.”
“But I am Ron. The name’s taken.”
Hermione ignored him. “It came to me last night when I was reading that book your mother gave me. We can follow the tradition.”
Ron set down the report resignedly. “What tradition?”
“You do know why so many of the old pureblood families named their firstborn sons after their fathers?"
“To save paperwork when the heir took over his father’s estate?” Ron suggested.
“Well, that too. But mostly because there are charms that you can use on your firstborn to increase his magical potential. We wouldn’t perform the charms, of course. They didn’t work anyway, and they may even have been responsible for a lot of the squib births in the 17th and 18th centuries, but we could still follow the tradition with the naming. ”
“Right.” Ron looked skeptical. “So you want to name our child after a…what was basically a curse?”
“Well, when you put it that way…”
“I thought not.”
“No.” Ron was emphatic.
“It’s too hard to pronounce. And too long.”
“We could still name him after someone in your family,” Hermione suggested.
“We could.” Most of the people in Ron’s family had reasonable names. Ron thought they had a chance of coming up with some reasonable ideas.
“How about Bilius?”
“Hermione, I think I’ve finally found a name we’ll both like.”
“Oh?” Hermione reached for a napkin to wipe the mashed potatoes off of Rose’s forehead. “What?”
“Hugo Weasley. It actually sounds kind of nice. And Hugo isn’t too common.”
“—But it’s common enough that everyone will be able to say it—”
“And you know that Victor Hugo wasn’t just a famous writer, either; he was also a human rights activist.”
“—which would give the child something to aspire to.” Ron agreed, starting to feel relieved.
Hermione frowned slightly. “Only there’s no connection to us. I had sort of wanted the child to be named after you.”
She picked up Rose, whose head was bobbing dangerously close to her dinner plate. It wouldn’t be the first time she had fallen asleep at the table.
“Actually, Hermione,” Ron knew he was pressing his luck here, but he had to try. “Rose was sort of named after me. Ron and Rose both start with the letter ‘R’. And Hermione and Hugo both start with ‘H’. So—even if no one but us realizes it—our children would be named after us, in a way.”
Hermione smiled at him. “Ronald Weasley, you are brilliant.”
“Always the tone of surprise.”
Hermione stood up to take Rose to her bedroom.
“Hugo Weasley. I like it.”
P.S. Ron does not yet realize it, but the initials HW spell out a common abbreviation for homework. It will be several years before Hermione informs Ron of this. Ron will reply with, “Well, at least they don’t spell out SPEW.” The two will start speaking to each other again within a few hours.
Hugo won’t make the connection until much later, when the (misinterpreted) phrase “do HW” on his girlfriend’s to-do list will lead to an initially awkward but ultimately rewarding discussion about their relationship and values.
Hugo Weasley will inherit his father’s taste in names, for which his children will be very grateful. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Rose.
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
Treacle tart was going to be the death of him.
Charlie was disappointed to realize this because he’d come to expect it would be in the rush of battle or at the claws of a particularly ornery dragon. If he was lucky, Charlie had always thought, he could probably wrangle a death where nudity and a smile on his face were involved. But, no, Molly Weasley had to have her way when it came this. Her treacle tart had laid its claim and there was little he could do to change it.
He let out a whoosh of air as he unbuttoned the top of his trousers and walked up the creaky stairs of the Burrow. Never before had he cursed the walk up to the old room he’d shared with Bill for a time, but then again it had been a while since he’d had three servings of desert in him.
One could say he brought it upon himself; Charlie was content to pat his stomach and play ignorant.
Thinking to himself that the house elves in Romania never quite made food like his mother, Charlie didn’t notice the dark hallway on the second floor or the draft coming from the open window. He did, however, hear the soft scrapes of movement and his hackles rose when he couldn’t see who was responsible for them.
Forgetting his overfilled stomach, Charlie bent to retrieve his wand from his boot and rolled to the side quickly in one swift movement. “Lumos,” he whispered. “Who’s there?”
Bill blinked wildly at the light in his face and glared at his younger brother. “Shut that off, you prat.”
“Bill? “ Instead of shutting off his light, he moved it from his brother’s face and asked, “What in the world are you doing hiding in the hallway?”
And indeed he was hiding in the hallway, hunched underneath the open window and still glaring at Charlie. “I said shut it off.”
“Is someone out there?” Charlie began to rise to look over the sill, but Bill pulled him down
“Yes. Do you know nothing of covertness?” Bill pulled the wand out of his hand and whispered “Nox.”
“Didn’t you see my roll? I’ve worked hard on that.”
Bill rolled his eyes, but threw Charlie’s wand back at him. “A whole lot it’s going to do you inside the house. What were you trying to fend off, a puffskein?”
Ignoring him, Charlie chanced another try at looking out the window. “What’s out ther-Bill Weasley, are you spying on Harry?”
Looking a little uncomfortable, Bill shrugged his shoulders from where he sat on the floor. “I wouldn’t call it spying, per se.”
“Well, let’s see then,” Charlie started. “One, you’re sitting in the dark. Alone. Two, you’re under a window that gives a direct view of a certain young man out in our pasture. Who can’t see you seeing as he’s turned the other way. Three, you throw a hissy when I interrupt you. I’d call that spying, wouldn’t you?”
“Keeping an eye on someone for their own well-being is not spying,” Bill protested. At Charlie’s hard look, he sighed, “Ok, maybe a little bit.”
“Right then,” Charlie said brightly and sat down next to his brother. “How’s the spying business these days?”
“I’m not going to get rid of you, am I?” Bill replied wryly.
“Haven’t done it since you were three, why would you think you could start now?” Charlie gave him a big grin.
“Ponce,” Bill muttered. Sighing again, he explained, “It’s just the first time he’s been out of Ron’s room since he got here. I was curious.”
“Ah, yes, the secret meals in the little one’s room and lack of conversation. Harry has a grasp on remaining concealed. How many days has it been now?”
“Six. Dad and some of the Order picked him up from those damned people on Thursday.”
Charlie’s face darkened as he thought of the stories of Harry’s Uncle and Aunt. “It was good of Dumbledore to get him out before his birthday this time. The kid doesn’t need things any worse than they’ve been lately.”
Bill murmured his agreement and they were both silent for a short while before he added, “Ginny’s out there, too.”
“Really?” Charlie peeked out the window again and, sure enough, right beneath the window sat Ginny on a picnic table set outside their kitchen door. “Looks like she’s watching him, too, though I’d say she’s not very good at hiding.”
“Nah, I heard her ask Ron if she could take Harry’s food to him. Odd, though, she’s just sitting there.”
“You don’t think…” Charlie gave Bill a questioning look. “She can’t still fancy him, can she?”
Bill shrugged again. “Ron’s been in a blaze since he heard that Dean bloke wrote to her a couple times; you don’t think she’d be writing to someone else if she still did, do you?”
“I don’t think I’m the best one to ask that.”
“Ah, yes, I’d forgotten the Claudia-Charlie-Cheryl debacle. Who won that one anyway?”
“I did,” Charlie answered with a cheeky grin.
Bill chuckled and shook his head. “Hopefully our little sister has a better head on her shoulders than you.”
“Or George. I hear he’s still jugging Alicia and some retailer he met in Diagon Alley.”
“You would think it would be Fred to carry that off, wouldn’t you?”
“George has always been the quieter one; those are the ones to watch out for.”
“Yeah, well, Ginny always used to be quiet around Harry,” Bill murmured, as if to himself. Stopping that train of thought, he added, “I’m surprised mum has been all right with Harry hiding out in Ron’s room all this time.”
“Well, you know mum, she knows when someone needs their distance.”
Bill gave him a strange look, “And when has that ever stopped her before?”
“Harry’s different, always has been.”
“Yeah, he has,” Bill agreed. “Poor kid. I can only imagine what losing Sirius did to him.”
“Merlin,” Charlie threw his head back. “I can’t believe he hasn’t exploded.”
Charlie and Bill both jumped in shock, but their wands were in their hands and pointing at Ron’s head before he could take a breath. Ducking and throwing his hands over his head, Ron exclaimed, “Watch it!”
“Be quiet!” The other two hissed in unison.
“I can’t even walk through our house without being at wandpoint,” Ron grumbled, but softly this time. “What are you doing?”
“Talking,” Bill answered.
“Spying on Harry and Ginny,” Charlie added helpfully. Bill elbowed his side, but Charlie ignored him. “Want to join?”
“Sure. I was doing it downstairs, but mum made me leave the kitchen.”
“Excellent,” Charlie said as he tucked his wand back into his boot. “Have any information you want to pass along to your favorite brothers?”
Ron rolled his eyes, looking eerily like Bill when he did so, but said, “Ginny’s just been sitting there with his food. Must be trying to pluck up the courage to talk to him. Keeps getting up and sitting down then getting up and sitting down.”
“Bill, love, you failed to mention that part.”
“Seeing as I was interrupted, Charlie, I didn’t exactly see that.”
“You’re not very keen on observing well.”
“If I remember well, you were trying to fight off a ball of fluff earlier. You’d best think twice before commenting on my skills of observation.”
“Well, for someone spying on Harry, you’re not doing a very good job.”
Ron ignored them as they bickered lightly and kneeled down between them and looked out the window. Placing his chin on folded arms, his head bobbled as he said, “I have tried to get him to come out before, you know. Surprised he’s out right now at all.”
Both Charlie and Bill stopped and looked up at their little brother. His frustration was evident, as was a certain sadness that they weren’t used to seeing in his eyes.
“He’s going to be okay, Ron,” Bill attempted to reassure him in hushed tones.
“Is he?” Ron shook his head. “Hermione keeps saying so, but she hasn’t been here.”
“When will she be? She’s usually here by now, isn’t she?” Bill asked.
Ron frowned, “Her parents weren’t pleased about the Depar-that thing that we did at the end of the year. She said they’re keeping her close for a while.”
Neither of the older men answered at first, but got up on their knees so that they were on either side of Ron as they looked out the window. Bill rested his hand lightly on Ron’s left shoulder. “She’ll be okay, too, Ron.”
“Clever witch like her can’t help but be on the straight and narrow all the time,” Charlie added in a whisper.
“I just miss her, is all,” Ron said quietly before looking startled and glancing between each of them in alarm. “I mean, I could use some help on my homework and, you know, to help with Harry.”
Bill concealed a grin, but left him alone. “Of course.” Charlie would have liked to say more, but a stern look from Bill behind Ron’s back stopped him short of doing so.
Ron’s attention was caught by movement below them. “She’s getting up again. Oh, wait, no, she’s sitting back down.”
Watching for a moment and then looking back at the other two, Charlie said, “About that, Ron. We were wondering, does our Ginny still fancy herself to be a Potter one day?”
Ron frowned. “I don’t know. She told me she’s interested in Thomas these days.”
“Is that Dean’s last name? Who was the last one?” Bill asked.
“Michael Corner,” Charlie volunteered. Ron made a face, so he added, “I say she’s young, let her have her fun.”
“This coming from the one who was caught between Teresa and Shirley,” Ron grumbled.
“I won that one, too,” Charlie answered when Bill’s eyebrows shot up.
“Never mind, Ron.” Bill replied. “Let’s just hope Ginny’s more like me and you than Charlie or George.”
“Besides, just because she’s dating them doesn’t mean she wants to marry them,” Charlie said from his other side. “She’s not even 15 yet, give her a break.”
“I can’t,” Ron protested.
“And why is that?”
“Because, Bill, she’s always liked Harry and she’s loads better than any Tornados fan that’s crying all the time.”
Charlie looked perplexed. “Who did the Tornado’s make cry?”
“Everyone,” Ron said in exasperation. “That’s not the point. Harry’s a good guy and Ginny’s a good girl and they can be… good… together. I guess.”
“There’s a lot more to it than that, Ron,” Bill chided him gently. “You can’t make them like each other. Stop bothering Ginny about it; Harry’s got enough on his mind without having you push her at him at every chance.”
“I just want him to be happy. Ginny makes people happy, so why can’t they just figure it out?”
“It’s frustrating it, isn’t it?” Charlie mused. “Seeing two people who are meant for each other, but instead they just ignore it… bicker… drive everyone else insane…”
“Ginny and Harry don’t bicker,” Ron said in confusion while Bill resisted the urge to laugh.
“Don’t listen to him, Ron.”
“But you see what I mean, don’t you?” Ron looked at them expectantly. “It makes sense, doesn’t it?”
Bill hesitated before saying, “I really don’t know, Ron.”
“Charlie?” Ron pleaded.
“You know, I think I missed the memo that we’re supposed to hate that our sister is dating, but why in the world would you want your best friend to be her boyfriend?” Charlie shuddered. “Imagine the inconvenience.”
“No, it’d be great,” Ron said with a trace of hope in his voice. “It’d just be four of us instead of three; Ginny would fit right in.”
“Last I heard, a couple only consists of two people…” Charlie replied. “Unless you’d like to be there when they’re snogging.”
“Ew.” Ron wrinkled his nose at the mental image, but then shrugged it off. “I won’t be there for that part.”
“Or you could get your own snogging partner.”
“Never mind.” Charlie sighed. His brother’s simplicity was refreshing at times, but then it could also be a pain in the arse.
Bill appeared to be deep in thought before saying, “Ron… do you want them together because you want Ginny safe from other boys, or do you really think they’d be good together? Because if it’s the former, you’re really on the wrong track. They can’t date for the sake of dating and keeping Ginny dating someone else.”
“Well, listen to the long-haired pillock make sense.”
“Shut up, Charlie. Ron?”
“I…” Ron said nothing for a while, instead staring out the window as once again Ginny began to stand and then sat back down. After a couple of minutes of gathering his thoughts he began to explain.
“I know it could be weird and I really don’t like all this writing business with Dean… but it would make sense, wouldn’t it? She’s loads smarter and stronger and prettier than Cho could ever be and Harry was nutters over her. Ginny needs someone who’s just as strong and smart as her and that can take care of her but still defend himself against her magic when she gets angry.”
Charlie and Bill laughed quietly at this undeniable statement. Ginny’s bat-bogey hex was a thing of beauty and pure terror. None of them liked the thought of being on the receiving end of it.
“And if she does get angry,” Ron started to speak a little faster as his thoughts came pouring out, “she only does it when someone’s really gotten on her last nerve and I think she could teach Harry to control himself a little more. And…”
“And what, Ron?” Charlie prodded him on.
“Well, at the Department of Mysteries…” Ron trailed off for a moment but then finally said, “Harry was ready to protect her. That LeStrange slag said something about hurting Ginny and Harry… he moved in front of her. To protect her. That’s got to mean something, doesn’t it?”
“Harry protects a lot of people, Ron,” Charlie said quietly, fighting the horror rising up in him as he thought of what could have happened.
“Yeah, so who could be better? Do you want someone for Ginny who can write letters or who’s just… Harry? And they’re already friends. Kind of.”
Uncertainty kept Charlie from agreeing, “Maybe it makes sense, but I don’t see it.”
“I see what you mean,” Bill nodded from Ron’s other side. “But you still can’t force them to like each other. I guess it’s one of those things where you can hope that it seems right right, they’ll see it eventually, too.”
“Exactly,” Ron said, just a little smug.
“Don’t get too full of yourself, this doesn’t mean it’ll happen,” Bill warned him.
“But it could.”
“It could,” he assented.
Ron’s smile was even smugger than before, but Bill seemed to decide to let him have it.
“Hey, guys, I think she’s actually going to do it this time,” Charlie nudged Ron’s side and the other two looked back out the window.
“It looks like it,” Bill began to say before he started furrowing his eyebrows together at the sight before them.
Oblivious, Ron said, “It’s a good thing mum put a warming charm on the plate, it’d be stone cold otherwise.”
“Don’t know what took her so long, really.”
Something wasn’t right and Charlie’s eyes widened as he caught onto Bill’s uncertainty. “Well, Ron, as much as I think you gave some thought into what you just said… are you sure Ginny was scared of going to Harry-“
“Or just really, really angry?” Bill finished for him.
“What?” Ron finally looked at his sister and all color drained from his face. “Oh. Oh, no. No no no.”
“I think… it’s too late.”
“He’s a goner.”
Watching helplessly, it was undeniable for all three of them to see that Ginny was walking in a way they’d only ever seen when their mother was pursuing them with her wand or a switch in hand. It was obvious that Ginny was approaching Harry with barely contained fury.
Charlie, Ron and Bill gulped in unison.
“She should have sat longer,” Bill whispered.
“I can’t watch,” Ron covered his eyes.
“Well, he must have hit that last nerve,” Charlie said blithely before diving away from Ron’s swinging hand. “I was just agreeing with you, Ronnie.”
Though the night was dark, the lights of the house could just make out where Harry had been sitting, staring at the stars all the while they were talking upstairs. He didn’t appear to react to Ginny’s approach but for a bit of tensing that they could barely distinguish. Charlie couldn’t think of what she would have to say and he figured surely she couldn’t have expected for Harry to make the first move. So they all watched, expecting the worst.
And they all watched as Ginny turned the plate and dumped it entirely over Harry’s head.
“Enjoy!” They barely heard her say gaily before turning around and stalking back to the house.
“Oh, Harry, don’t get up, don’t… no,” Ron had taken his hands down in time to see Harry recover from his shock and stand. “Don’t follow her… oh, no. Run away. The other way.”
As Ron writhed in agony beside them, urging his unhearing friend to stay away from danger, Bill and Charlie realized that they were soon to be within sight of their sister’s gaze.
“Duck, you ponce!” Charlie pulled Ron down as Bill dove down, as well.
“Well…,” Bill took a deep breath. “I suppose we should have expected that.”
Before Ron or Charlie could reply, they could hear Harry’s voice from below in a mix of astonishment and rage. “What in the world was that for, Ginny?”
“I have to explain it to you?” Ginny’s voice rang out as clear as a bell. “I thought you were hungry, so I brought you your food. So sorry that you couldn’t figure it out yourself.”
“My dinner is on my head.”
“Yes, well, there doesn’t seem anything but self-flagellation and pity going on in there, so I thought some change in status would do you a world of good.”
“Shut up, Bill.” Charlie rose up slowly his knees, Ron and Bill following until they all slowly peeked over the sill. Below them Harry and Ginny were nearly nose to nose, both of them white with anger.
“So you thought that this would make it all better? And I’m not… not whatever you just said.”
“Oh, yes you are,” Ginny stuck out a finger and poked Harry in the chest. “And I, for one, am sick of it. You may be used to everyone else coddling you, but I am done with it, do you hear me Harry Potter?”
Harry took a step back when the finger poke turned into a shove, but grabbed Ginny’s arm when she started to walk away.
“Bad idea,” Ron muttered miserably, “Let her go, Harry.”
“Let me go,” Ginny’s voice had gone deadly calm, but she ripped her arm away from Harry as she said it. “If I had to do something like this to get your attention then I’ve done it and I won’t regret it. I know you’re hurting, but has it even crossed that self-absorbed mind that there is a family here that loves you and wants to be there for you?”
“Has it crossed your mind that I’m not ready to talk to anyone?” Harry shot back.
“Not ready? When are you going to be ready, Harry? Because I have yet to see you discuss anything at all with anyone. Not what happened during the TriWizard tournament or what Umbridge did to your hand-”
Harry’s head snapped back. “Who told you about that?”
“I have eyes, Harry. It’s amazing what you can see when you actually care about someone’s well-being,” Ginny brushed away his surprise and kept going. “And you haven’t said a word about what you saw in your dream since Christmas break and you have yet to say one word about the Department of Mysteries.”
“I’m not ready,” Harry said in measured tones, but it was apparent that he was barely holding back a flood of emotions.
Ginny’s face grew considerably softer and she closed her eyes for a moment. Biting her lip, she finally said, “I know I didn’t really know Siriu-“
Harry cut her off, “Don’t say his name.”
All sympathy vanished from Ginny’s face. “SIRIUS! Sirius-Sirius-Sirius-“
“I WILL NOT STOP!” Ginny threw her arms up and yelled every word to the sky, causing her brothers to recoil at the emotion in her voice“ SIRIUS! LISTEN TO THE NAME, HARRY, BECAUSE IT’S OF SOMEONE WHO LOVED YOU. HIS NAME WAS SIRIUS!”
Ginny let her arms down and stared at the boy in front of her.
“Good God, Harry, he loved you, and he deserves more than you blaming yourself because he went somewhere to keep you safe.” Slowly deflating once more, she brought her hands to her face and covered it for a few moments as Harry moved away from her. “Please think of how he loved you and wanted you to be strong and do something more with your life than acting as if everything is your fault because it’s not.”
“It…,” Harry’s voice was raw with feeling and he couldn’t seem to continue.
“Hurts. I know it hurts, Harry,” Ginny gently finished for him, lowering her hands. “Then hurt. Let it hurt. I would never stop you from doing that; no one should. Get it out because he deserves to be mourned. But you don’t.”
Harry turned back to her, his face questioning.
“You’re not dead, Harry. But the more you keep your distance and shut us out, the more you lose yourself and the more we lose you. And you’re not dead yet, so I’m not going mourn for you. I refuse.”
Ginny took a deep breath, her body visibly shaking. “I’m not asking you to cry for me or make me your confidante. Mum or Ron are there for you for that, but I am telling you that you have to keep going. Otherwise, you’re dishonoring all that he did so you could survive.”
Above them, Charlie lowered his head shamefully and, out of the corner of his eye, saw his brothers do so as well. Each word Ginny was saying was hitting him hard as he realized he’d been one to coddle Harry, not by telling him what he was doing to himself was acceptable, but by acting like it was.
“She shouldn’t have to be the one saying this,” Bill whispered from where he was and Charlie silently agreed. Outside, the tension was slowly dissipating.
“If I had to dump some food on your head to help get that message across, I’m willing to live with it,” they heard her add.
“I… I have mashed potatoes in my hair.” Harry’s voice was calmer than before when he spoke at last, but with it was a trace of astonishment.
“You could have had dinner with us, it would have made it into your mouth if you had.”
“And gravy. I think there’s gravy in my ear.”
A very soft giggle could be heard and Charlie looked out in time to see Ginny reach out a hand and wipe something off of Harry’s cheek. “You really are a mess.”
“Yeah, thanks for that.” Flicking off a piece of roast from the back of his head, Harry said, “I really do look horrible, don’t I?”
“Well, you clean up nicely,” Ginny said kindly. Wiping whatever was on her hand on her skirt, she shook her head. “I’m not going to say I’m sorry.”
“I was guessing that,” Harry replied dryly.
“But it would be nice if you joined us for breakfast in the morning.” Ginny smiled at him. “No questions asked. Just eggs and soldiers and maybe some orange juice. We’ll aim for a plate and glass.”
Harry waited a beat before cautiously asking, “Can I think about it?”
“Of course. But then I’ll get to see what you look like wearing toast.”
Harry chuckled just a bit, but nodded slowly. “I’ll be there.”
“Good.” Hesitating just a little, Ginny took a step towards Harry. A beat passed and she reached out her hands to grasp his arms. “Harry…”
“Yeah?” Harry appeared alarmed as he realized how close they were.
“Just…,” Ginny sighed and then pulled in to hug him briefly and then pulled away. “Just... remember, okay? I’d never ask you forget, but don’t make it the center of your world. Sirius would hate that and I think you know it.”
“I-“ Harry was cut off as Ginny stood on her toes and kissed the cheek she’d cleaned off moments earlier. “Uh, okay.”
Ginny nodded and then stepped away from him entirely. Harry brought a hand up to his cheek, but Ginny had already turned away from him and started walking away from the house and didn’t see.
“I think I’ll stay out here a while. I’m sure there’s still food inside.”
Breaking out of his reverie, Harry replied, “I’m not really hungry now… but… Ginny?”
She looked at him over her shoulder. “Yes?”
“Never mind.” Ginny nodded once and then turned away.
Harry touched his cheek again and went inside of the house when his hand still to his puzzled expression.
The three brothers on the second floor watched their young sister, who suddenly didn’t seem so young anymore, with stunned expressions and silence until…
“Dean, who? HA!” Ron’s triumphant declaration was louder than the level they’d held their conversation.
Bill brought hand to cover Ron’s mouth, but it was too late. Ginny was turned and her face aimed at their window in a split-second. They were caught red-handed.
“Boys,” she said with an edge. “How long have you been there?”
“Um, well, not long,” Bill began to rise, dragging Ron up with him. “You see, Ron fell and I-“
“Bill,” Ginny began threateningly.
“Beautiful night for young love, now isn’t it?” Charlie stood up, coming to their rescue.
Ginny’s breath caught and she suddenly looked very, very uncomfortable. “Now see-“
“Don’t worry about it, Ginny,” Bill stopped her from going on. “We understand and, you know, good job.”
Looking slightly pleased, Ginny asked, “Really?”
“Yeah, really. Right guys?” Bill turned and gave them a steely look, warning them to keep their teasing at bay. Charlie held up his hands as if surrendering; if Bill wanted it that way, he could go along with it just fine.
“Right,” Ron and Charlie echoed.
“Right!” George and Fred’s voices burst out from above. Ginny looked further up, as did Bill, Ron and Charlie in time to see matching hands in a thumbs-up position burst out from an open third story window. Fred poked his head out and looked at the three heads emerging from the floor below. “Surely, you have to admit we’re far better at stealth than the rest of you lot.”
George looked out as well, “You should be ashamed of yourselves. Jolly good, Ginny, about time a Weasley put that boy in his place.”
“Yes, seeing as you were all lining up,” Ginny said, placing her hands on her hips.
“We were right behind you, really.” George shot her a wicked grin. “Though I would have made Fred kiss him.”
“George…” Bill started warningly.
“Look at the time, must be off to bed! G’night all!” Fred gave a wave and then pulled his twin away from the window. Their voices could be heard fading away as Fred said, “At least she wiped away the gravy…”
Shaking her head and looking slightly abashed, Ginny gave the other three a sheepish wave. “Can I have some time to myself now?”
“Definitely,” Ron tugged at Bill and Charlie’s sleeves. “See you in the morning, then?”
“In the morning,” Ginny agreed. She smiled lovingly at them before climbing back on top of the picnic table and looking out to the dark pasture.
Stepping back from the window, the three looked at one another, each with their own thoughts running rampant. A bit away, the creak of the steps could be heard underneath Harry’s feet as he reached their landing and then continued upstairs to Ron’s room. The scent of gravy was palpable and Charlie couldn’t contain his grin when he saw that the boy appeared to be in a daze. He waited until Harry was out of earshot before he remarked, “Only Ginny.”
“Only Ginny,” Bill agreed, stepping away from them. “I’ll be off as well, I suppose.”
“I should go up and see if he wants to talk,” Ron said. Bill clapped a hand on his shoulder and nodded before walking away. “Good night.”
“G’night, Ron. Charlie” They watched Bill leave; when he was gone, Charlie looked once more out the window. He didn’t respond when Ron murmured good night; he stared out at his little sister, treacle tart long forgotten and instead with his mind on how roast, potatoes and gravy had made a world of difference instead. Combined with a Weasley temper that is.
“Yes, Ron?” He look over to where Ron had stopped several steps away.
Ron laughed quietly to himself. “See? I mean, really, do you see?”
“Yeah, Ron,” Charlie said slowly. “I do.”
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
I got bored, so decided to post another one-shot! Here it is...
“It’s really quite simple, Mr. Weasley.”
Harry James Potter, the infamous Boy Who Lived, was in quite a predicament. How it had come to this the young wizard had absolutely no idea. But, in some horrific, sick twist of fate (Harry really needed to find out how to use the Bat-Bogey Hex so he could use it on the life-screwing dunghead), he found himself attempting to teach his best friend’s father how to wash clothes- without magic. Apparently, Arthur Weasley had defied his formidable wife yet again and had gone to a muggle garage sale and purchased some new toys.
“This is called a wash machine, right Harry?”
“Errr… it’s actually called a washing machine, Mr. Weasley. Muggles use these to clean their clothes instead of Scourgifying charms. They’re right useful.”
Mr. Weasley looked almost apoplectic with excitement at his chance to use the non-magical implement. On the other hand, Harry was just somewhat bemused at the red-haired wizard’s antics. Ron’s dad and his quirks…
“You see,” Harry said while taking a spaghetti sauce-stained blouse in his hand, “the detergent there will take off the sauce when you run the cycle. Then all you need to do is dry it and you’re done.”
“Detergent? It looks like some sort of potion… Judging by the fragrance, a Hair-Cleansing Solution. This blouse isn’t made from furs though, Harry. Are you sure it will work?”
Struggling to hide his grin and succeeding only barely, Harry attempted to explain once more.
“It’s not a Hair-Cleansing Solution Mr. Weasley, it’s just a soap for the clothes. You dab it on in the little basin here after you put in the clothes and it’ll clean everything.”
Still looking a bit skeptical, Mr. Weasley nodded.
“Right. Now the next thing you need to know about washing clothes the muggle way is that you have to group the clothes properly. If you don’t, you’ll probably end up with pink grundies at some point,” he continued while Mr. Weasley listened attentively. “The general rule of thumb is that you never put anything red with anything else that isn’t red.”
Looking somewhat confused, the muggle-fond wizard pointed at the white red-stained blouse and said, “So what you mean is that I should put that with the other reds like those pants over there?”
Now appearing a tad frustrated, the only one who could defeat Voldemort tried to clarify.
“Well, actually that would go with the non-reds. The stain is red, but the blouse itself is white, see?”
“I’ll take your word for it Harry…”
Walking over to the dryer now and faltering slightly as he tripped over one of Ginny’s stray flip flops, Harry gathered his courage as he readied himself to explain the dryer. ‘I am a Gryffindor. I am a Gryffindor,’ he chanted in his mind. Suddenly imagining how Voldemort would react if he managed to glimpse into Harry’s mind right now, the green-eyed teen almost burst out laughing. ‘He’d probably snuff it after seeing something so impure-blooded. Save me a load of trouble tracking the evil git down though.’
Getting back to business, Harry gestured to the old dryer and began his explanation in response Mr. Weasley’s curious gaze.
“This thing here is called a dryer, Mr. Weasley. After the clothes are washed in the washing machine muggles put them into here where they get dried and so they can wear them.”
“It’s so much more complicated than a heating spell! They’re ingenious!”
“Do you think you’re ready to try them out?”
“Of course! Let’s get right on it!”
-After 30 minutes, much swearing and soapsuds-
“I think we did rather well,” said the now wet and soapy Mr. Weasley as he evaluated their handy work.
Harry looked at the pink, shrunken and inexplicably charred mess and imagined Mrs. Weasley when she saw her clothes. Shuddering from the mental carnage, he decided that now would be a good time to pick up his school things from Diagon Alley. Far, far away from the Weasley matriarch.
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
Trevor the Toad, Matchmaker[Inspired by the unintentional matchmaker but in this case the matchmaker can't speak and it is very much intentional]
Luna Lovegood’s hair was almost the same color as Draco Malfoy’s. The basic difference was that Draco’s was greasy and disgusting, like his malformed soul, and Luna’s was soft and light and lovely. Luna had her wand behind her ear, as she almost always did, and her hair lay wispy and feathery around it, the candles behind her lighting up the flyaway strands like a pale corona.
Neville tended to end up eating on the later side of dinnertime, because he was always trying to finish one thing or another first so that he wouldn’t have to interrupt a train of thought with the meal. Luna seemed to like dinner on the late side, too, maybe because she didn’t want to have to deal with the rush of people that accompanied six o’clock.
She went straight from staring off into space to looking intently at him, suddenly and without warning. He wasn’t really surprised. She did that a lot. “Do you like animals?” she asked.
Neville thought about it. “I like plants better,” he decided. If that wasn’t the truth, he didn’t know what was. Care of Magical Creatures had been mortifying, no less because Hagrid had taught it. Something about Hagrid—the big, booming voice; the massive frame; who knew—made Neville feel less than safe. Significantly less than safe. Throw some bloodthirsty monsters in there, and it was more fun than a whole barrel full of hippogriffs.
Or roughly equivalent to a whole barrel full of hippogriffs.
When Luna looked vaguely disappointed, he amended, “I have a toad, though, and I do like him.”
A blue-gray flame of interest surged in her wide eyes. “What kind of toad?” she wanted to know.
Helplessly, Neville shrugged. “Never thought to figure out,” he admitted. “Why don’t I bring him tomorrow, and you can take a look at him?”
Neville set his skin-breathing friend down on the table. “This is Trevor,” he announced, distantly sort of sad that there wasn’t any fanfare.
Luna peered at the toad, setting her chin on the table to be at his level. “Hello, Trevor,” she greeted him solemnly. “Neville’s told me about you.” She tilted her head a little, then looked up at Neville. “There are clairvoyant toads from South America that sometimes get taken along covert trading routes to Europe,” she told him. “There was an article about it in The Quibbler.”
“I read it,” Neville reported.
Bemusedly Luna nodded, focusing on Trevor again. “He’s got a knowing look in his eyes,” she decided.
Neville edged around the end of the table, maneuvering over next to her to examine his pet. Trevor tended to look kind of glazed and kind of bored. Knowing was not an adjective that usually came to mind.
As he joined Luna and contemplated Trevor, though, the toad still looked… kind of glazed and kind of bored.
Disaffected, maybe, but even that was a bit of a stretch.
“What do you think he knows?” Neville asked Luna, still looking for some uncanny glint of understanding in the bulbous eyes of his longtime croaking companion.
Luna tilted her head the other way, as if she was a very slow pendulum. “He knows,” she answered absently, “that only Harry Potter can be Harry Potter, and it is not by any means disappointing if a person is someone else instead.” She paused, put a finger to her lips, and then nodded. “And the world only has room for one Harry Potter, anyway.”
Bewilderedly, Neville looked at her, but she was still looking at Trevor. After a moment, however, she smiled to herself, and he smiled a little, too.
Sometime later that week, as Neville sidled into the Hall, he saw that it was empty but for Luna and for the usual scavenger-worthy quantities of food the House Elves hadn’t reclaimed yet. He went around and sampled a few things, discovering that today’s pumpkin juice was particularly good. Then he went and sat down next to Luna, setting Trevor gently on the table again. Trevor sat obediently. Or was it lazily? Hardly mattered; he sat.
“I asked Hagrid what kind of toad he was,” Neville told her. He had, and it had been terrifying. Hagrid made Neville want to bolt the door, string a tripwire across the doorframe, curl up in a ball under his bed, and go into a blanket cocoon, never to be seen again. “He wasn’t sure.” Truth be told, Neville had been rather glad that the conversation had proved so short. It meant slightly less cowering for him.
Luna nodded, her gaze on some distant spot of air. “He’s probably the psychic kind,” she declared.
Neville smiled a little. “Wish he could help with my homework.”
“Or with the Quidditch scores,” Luna replied blithely, selecting a new section of empty air now. “You could start a betting ring and make an obscene amount of money.”
Neville had just taken a sip of pumpkin juice, and he sprayed it all over Trevor—and the table—laughing. It took them about ten minutes of frantic mopping, most of which Neville also spent apologizing profusely, to clean it all up.
Trevor didn’t look too much worse for the experience.
The next evening, Neville found himself crawling on his hands and knees chasing Trevor down the hallway. It was very stupid, very undignified, and very unflattering; and that toad wasdevil-spawn, he knew it; and if he ran into Luna, he’d just—
“Hello, Neville; Trevor.”
Oh, if only it were that easy.
He was pretty Gryffindor red now, no doubt about it. Pity it was all in the face. “Hi, Luna,” he managed.
Trevor stopped right before Luna’s untied shoes and seemed to look up at her. She bent and plucked him from the floor, and then she stroked his head a little before glancing at Neville, who was hastily getting to his feet. “Was he misbehaving?” she inquired, smiling a little.
Neville, by some feat of humanity, went a bit redder still. “Rather,” he confirmed.
Luna stepped forward to hand him the toad back. She stepped remarkably close, in fact. Very, very close. Close enough for Neville to discern her individual pale eyelashes. To count them.
She put the toad in his hands, which he didn’t see because her eyes had his bound. It was then that she eliminated the remaining distance between them and put her lips against his.
He was pretty sure she had no more idea what she was doing than he did. Trevor probably understood the whole concept more clearly. But somehow, that was kind of okay. Everything was kind of okay.
No, everything was amazing.
“Goodnight,” Luna said, a few inches away again. She sauntered back down the hall, her hair swaying, her wand over her ear bobbing a little. Neville was glad the latter item hadn’t poked him in the eye; that might have ruined the moment a bit.
Neville considered the amphibian in his hands. “Trevor,” he said, “you sly dog. Sly toad.”
Trevor looked pretty pleased with himself.
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
Sirius Black knows that Remus Lupin is a werewolf. James Potter told him so.
Something about the revelation is expected, and now the problem lies in actually telling him that his three housemates know about his snarling, growling, and rather nasty, arm-consuming, leg-digesting, organ-eating counterpart.
Sirius could easily say that James is ever-so-slightly loony and that he is a bit psychotic, but that excuse gets old after awhile, and quite frankly, the idea of Remus being a wolf quite fits. Wolves are furry, and there is just something oddly furry about Remus, but he’s not scratchy enough to be a kitten or playful enough to be a puppy or bouncy enough to be a rabbit, so a wise, old, and semi-ferocious wolf fits. After all, he is rather violent about his books.
James, Peter and Sirius are not quite sure what to say to him, but since he is sitting on his four-poster, eyes darting between the three, the obligation to say something exerts its pressure, because Sirius can practically hear Remus’ brain whirring with several reasons why three careless and somewhat clueless twelve-year-olds would confront him so seriously. Most of them involve blood, bowels, and detentions.
“Is there a problem?” he inquires detachedly, an unusual suspicion suggested in the crease of his left eyebrow and stiff back. Sirius is the first to answer.
“Yes. Yes, there is,” he says factually.
“There is?” presses Remus.
“There is. A problem. A big problem,” James confirms with a slight nod.
“A monumentally big problem,” adds Peter, providing assurance.
“That’s great. And what is this problem?” Remus asks flatly, but his back is stiffer and the crease is more severe, and he keeps pursing his lips nervously.
“You remind me of my dog,” Sirius says.
A blank stare from Remus, an amused glance from James, and perplexed gaze from Peter prompt him to continue.
“Well, I mean, I don’t have a dog, but if I did, you would remind me of it.”
Sirius happily notes that Remus is beginning to look more comfortable with the conversation, as obviously it has nothing to do with sharp teeth and pointy claws and ripping children to shreds. Sirius shudders a bit at the thought of his friend possibly eating him in his sleep, and dismisses his gory, sticky, sanguinary idea of what a full moon must look like, because he quite likes Remus, and he figures that he fancies Remus’ advice and books and company more than he deplores the repulsion of his extremities being eaten by a giant, scratching, biting canine Remus.
“I know exactly what you mean,” James agrees, “Dogs are… furry.”
“Exactly. Remus, you are a very furry person,” Sirius accedes.
“You’re making him sound like a bloody coat, Sirius.”
“Well, he can be a coat. But not a fur coat.”
“No. Never a fur coat. I rather fancy the idea of a brown coat, though. It seems a sensible color, yes?”
“Very. Can’t go wrong with a brown coat, I think. It’s mature-like.”
“My point exactly. Yes, Remus. So say you are a brown, sensible, mature coat,” James suggests.
“I’m a coat,” Remus repeats, somewhat dumbfounded.
“With green buttons, I think,” Sirius supplies dreamily.
“Mm, what kind of green? Lime is a bit bold, but too dark would just be boring, and we can’t make Remus boring, but lime would be simply too bright. Remus is subtle in his mischief,” James says, studying the skinny, light-haired boy through slightly squinted eyes, despite the glasses that rested on his nose.
“Well, grass green is not so bright that it would attract Filch’s attention, and it is not a boring color either, so that might work,” Sirius exhorts.
“Slightly brighter than grass green. That will do it,” James decides.
“But I thought he was furry, like a dog,” Peter chimes.
“True, true. Yes, so Remus is furry. Not like a dog, though. He’s just not dog-like,” Sirius asserts, shaking his head slowly in thought.
“No, Remus doesn’t have dog breath, so he can’t possibly be a dog. He is a small furry animal, wearing a brown, sensible, mature coat, with slightly-brighter-than-grass-green buttons, and breath mints in his breast pocket,” James delivers thoughtfully.
“Which pocket though? Left or right?” Sirius asks.
“Hm. I want to say left. The left pocket. Remus is right-handed, so it only seems fair that if he’s right-handed, he’s left-pocketed.”
Sirius is sure that Remus is lost, and that he has no idea what they are talking about. Sirius knows that Remus has always known his friends were unique, but to provide an all-out confrontation to tell Remus that he resembled a creature that they might name something cute like “Snuggleface” was more than his werewolf friend ever expected.
As a matter of fact, he is sure that Remus is trying to remind himself why he worries at all about his dormitory mates learning of his whereabouts every full moon, and probably decides the attempt futile when Peter pipes up again.
“So that must be a rather tough left pocket, then. I mean, if he is left-pocketed, he might pocket everything and anything he must ever pocket in that poor left pocket,” the small blond contemplates aloud.
“That’s it! That’s perfect, Peter!” James exclaims, and Remus pinches his nostrils together and shakes his head.
“So my coat has a tough pocket? Is it bound with steel or something?”
“Uh, noHello? The point Peter and James are making is that the pocket is weak and falling apart,” Sirius corrects him.
“Often,” James adds as an afterthought.
“Monthly,” Sirius says conclusively.
“May I ask what was so pressing about this matter that you three felt you must pull me away from my rather endearing and purposeful conversation with Miss Lily Evans?” Remus asks sternly, though the slight upturn of his mouth and the happy crinkle of his eyes betray his amused state.
“Other than the fact that no one cares about Evans. Well, except you. And James. And Slughorn. You just needed to know that we know that you are a small, furry animal in a sensible, mature brown coat, with slightly-brighter-than-grass-green buttons and breath mints in your left pocket,” Sirius answers for him.
James continues, “And you really, really, love your breath mints. They are a wintery, peppermint type flavor. Unfortunately, your horribly weak left pocket has trouble with all the weight it must carry, because as a left-pocketed, small, furry animal you pocket everything that you must pocket in that lonely, weak, and worn pocket.”
“So, unfortunately for a mint-loving fur-ball as yourself, the pocket falls apart on a monthly basis,” Sirius explains.
“And everything in that pocket just spills, all over the floor. Your mints and other pocketed items are wasted. Think of it, your breath mints, gone, your pocket dictionary, splattered with mud, your pocket money scattered on the ground, and your pocket handkerchief dirty and useless. And we all know that you do not much like waste, so you become very, very angry. I mean, I think you would, anyway,” James says thoughtfully.
“Angry enough to eat fingers,” Sirius expands.
“And whole children,” James finishes for the two.
Remus has been called many things, and none of them have ever been remotely related to stupidity, so by this time, Sirius is almost positive that Remus understands what his friends are hinting at, and Remus’ face is caught somewhere between forced impassivity, relief, worry, and dying enjoyment.
“The coat also has a right pocket,” Remus says in a quiet, hopeful voice, because, Sirius thinks, he is hoping that maybe, just maybe, his friends don’t know.
“It does have a right pocket. A large right pocket. A right pocket that is perfectly good for pocketing pocket-sized things,” James replies.
“It is a very reliable pocket. It never breaks, so your breath mints are safe, and your pocket dictionary is clean enough to be readable, your money is safely kept, and your handkerchief is marred only be tears and snot,” Sirius affirms.
Peter says his rare piece, “So the right pocket pockets toughly?”
“Very. What color do you think-”
Remus cuts Sirius off before he can continue on that line of thought.
“So, would you flank me if I asked you if you knew of my condition?”
“Not at all. It was what we were trying to convey, after all,” says James.
“And would you hit me repeatedly with a Hagrid-sized bludger if I were to guess that the three of you are my reliable, right pocket? Which I can count on?”
“Never,” Sirius answers.
“We’d just tell you that you’ll sound like a bloody female if you say anything about the strength of our friendship next, or get philosophical on us, but you do get the general idea,” James says with a nod.
Remus chuckles slightly.
“I’m thinking purple. Purple for the right pocket?” Peter suggests.
“A sort of lavender shade, perhaps?”
“Ah, we’d make Dumbledore proud with that color choice…”
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
Re: Laugh till you Crack!
Ron lay with one eye open, watching as his wife put the final touches on her make up. Crookshanks sat at her elbow, occasionally nudging her forearm. Hermione rewarded him each time with an affectionate scratch behind his ears. No one knew Crookshanks’ precise age, but other than McGonagall’s most recent transformations, Crookshanks was the oldest, grumpiest cat in memory. Although Ron would have denied it, he had secretly been feeding Crookshanks vitamins and rejuvi-potions for several years, hoping to assure his longevity. His jealousy of the cat, only half in jest, had been a steady source of Hermione’s amusement for over a decade.
Years ago, Ron and Crookshanks had been like enemy satellites orbiting the same planet, but their mutual love for Hermione had ultimately resulted in the affectionately grudging public détente they now observed. In Hermione’s presence, that is. What went on between them in private was an entirely different matter. Crookshanks had a habit of emanating a certain animosity towards Ron whenever Hermione wasn’t looking, and a result, Ron frequently made joking threats at Crookshanks’ expense.
Snuggling down into the mattress, Ron feigned sleep. He was hoping to enjoy a bit of a lie-in after Hermione left for work. Or perhaps even better. As Hermione approached the bed, Ron carefully repositioned the sheet and burrowed into the mattress. “Love you,” he murmured, trying to look as if he’d just woken up and hoping that he looked fetching.
“Wouldn’t want you to get cold, Ron,” Hermione smiled as she pulled the sheet back up over his bare bum. “You can’t afford the shrinkage.”
Ouch! Talk about cold, Ron thought grumpily.
Hermione tucked Crookshanks into the nook behind Ron’s knees. “Okay boys, you two keep each other warm,” she said, dropping a kiss on Ron’s shoulder. A few moments later, he heard her take the Floo.
As soon as Hermione left the house, Crookshanks dropped all pretense of civility. Ron’s blood ran cold when he heard the ominous low “Raaaaaawwwwrrrr” from just behind his insufficiently protected bum. Not for the first time, he felt Crookshanks’ incisors penetrate the skin of his arse.
“Gerooofff me you ******!” Ron yelped, thrashing about and hoping to unseat Crookshanks by whipping the sheet out from under him. Ron did not anticipate the full effect of his movement and he was surprised when the sheet formed a catapult of sorts, launching Crookshanks forcefully off of the bed and through the air at high velocity.
“Mraaaawrrrrrrrr!” Crookshanks protested, mid-flight. “Mra…” Crookshanks hit the wall with a heavy thud. He plummeted limp-legged to the floor, where he lay motionless.
Ron, taken by surprise, was now sitting on his knees in the bed with the sheet pulled up to his chin. His heart was thudding rapidly. “Uh…Crookshanks? Cat? Crookshanks?” Ron had sworn the next words would never cross his lips. “Heeeeere kitty kitty kitty kitty kitty.”
Crookshanks remained prone on the floor, not dignifying this with a response. Although the ancient cat had been momentarily stunned, he had returned to his senses just in time to hear the ginger-haired interloper doing the ridiculous “kitty kitty” routine. Crookshanks had immediately opted for complete and utter stillness. This could be fun.
“Bloody hell! I’ve killed him! I’ve killed her cat! Bloody hell.” Ron quickly pulled on his jeans and began pacing about the room, keeping a wide berth from the fallen feline. “She’ll kill me. She’ll kill me! She’ll think I did it on purpose!”
Ron was quickly becoming frantic. He summoned enough courage to stand over Crookshanks and prod him gently with a toe. Dead weight. “****e! ****e ****e ****e!” Ron flung himself down on the bed, head in his hands.
Crookshanks was so delighted with the proceedings that it was a struggle for him not to purr. Playing dead is my new favorite game.
Let me think. Let me think. Ron struggled to formulate a plan. “Medi-Vet!” He remembered seeing a 24 hour Emergi-Medi-Vet just down the street from St. Mungo’s. Flinging himself down in front of the Floo, he frantically fire-called the Medi-Vet. As Ron’s head erupted from the ash, a young Medi-vet wearing white robes was just pulling a grate down over the clinic’s hearth. “Sorry, we’re closed.”
“But the sign says ‘Open 24 hours!’” Ron wailed.
“Well, not in a row,” scowled the Medi-vet, slamming the grate in Ron’s face.
Need to call Harry. Need to get help. Need to call Harry. Need to get help. Ron repositioned his head in the Floo, mentally changing his trajectory. “Harry! Get over here. Now!”
“Can’t right now, mate. What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong? I think I’ve killed Crookshanks, that’s what’s wrong! Threw him against the wall. Didn’t mean to, you understand, but Hermione thinks I’ve always wanted to. Said so often enough. And now she’ll think I went and did it. On purpose! Murder me Harry. Murder me quick. She can have a double burial.”
“Ron, listen to me. You’ve got to calm down. You’ve got to come up with a plan.”
“Plan, yeah, that’s right. A plan. How ’bout I plan to move to Siberia before Hermione figures out I killed Crookshanks? How ’bout I plan to just pack my stuff and check in to Azkaban? That’ll be more laughs than living with her after what I’ve done.”
Suits me, thought Crookshanks. Let me get your bag. He was enjoying the interloper’s distress immensely. Although it was increasingly hard to conceal his glee, Crookshanks had twitched not so much as his tail.
“Ron, that’s not helping. A plan, Ron. Make a plan. First, you have to make sure Crookshanks is really dead. Can you do that, Ron? Ron! Can you do that?”
“I think so, yeah.” Ron pulled his head out of the Floo and approached the cat. He was trembling from head to toe and he was so distraught that he couldn’t think properly.
Crookshanks lay as still as he could, scarcely daring to breath. The cat had quickly formulated a plan of his own. I’ll wait until the very last minute and come up hissing and scratching. This is too purrrrfect. Oops. Hope he didn’t hear that.
Harry’s voice from the Floo was an order. “Ron! Make sure Crookshanks is dead.”
Ron didn't hesitate. “Avada Kedavra.”
Crookshanks’ eyes flew open. For an instant, shocked yellow eyes met equally shocked blue ones over a deadly green light. For once, Ron and Crookshanks were in complete accord. ****E!
“What was that?” Harry’s face in the Floo was ashen; his glasses were askew. “Ron, what have you done? Tell me you did NOT just AK Crookshanks.”
Ron was frozen on the spot. His voice climbed to a new octave. “You said make sure he was dead. So I did. Made sure he was dead.” His high pitched wail trailed off into wordless whimpers. Had Harry not recognized the sound, he would have thought his best friend had been overtaken by a fit of girlish giggles.
Harry spoke slowly, as if to a first year. “Ron, I meant for you to check the cat to make sure that he was actually dead, not just injured or unconscious or something.”
“SHOULD'VE SAID SO, THEN! Now I’ve gone and done it! Killed Crookshanks! AK’d him right in the middle of the damn bedroom! She’ll kill me. She’ll kill me! First it’ll be the birds, then she’ll bloody kill me! And she’ll never forgive me. Not for this. Harry, what do I do?”
Harry had always liked Crookshanks but he was finding it hard not to laugh at his friend’s predicament. “Nothing for it, mate. You’ll just have to tell her it was an accident. It’s not like she won’t notice that he’s not, er…feeling fit.”
Ron had thrown himself down on the bed, head once again in hands. Let me think. Let me think. Taking several deep breaths and determinedly calming his trembling, Ron assessed his situation. When at last he raised his head, the sadness and guilt in his eyes had been joined by resolve. Harry was right. There was nothing else for it. Ron stood up slowly and dropped the sheet over Crookshanks’ body. I’m really sorry, Crooks. I swear I didn’t mean to.
Ron took a deep, steadying breath before whirling around and drawing his wand on Harry, whose bodiless head still poked from the Floo, defenseless. “Best not to have witnesses, Harry.” Harry’s jaw barely had time to drop before the flick of Ron’s wand. “Obliviate.”
Ron quickly stowed his wand and, without missing a beat, scowled at Harry. “Well that’s right pervy, don’t you think?”
Harry was quite startled to find himself peering into Ron and Hermione’s bedroom. “No, Ron, really, I…”
“Just limit yourself to the one in the parlor from now on, alright? What do you want, anyway?”
Harry’s brow was furrowed. He felt a headache coming on. “Uh, I don’t, uh, remember, really, I uh…” Harry’s head disappeared in a puff of ash.
Hours later, Hermione came home to find Ron sitting in the dark, head in hands. She rushed to his side.
“Ron, what’s wrong?”
“What?” Hermione sank to the sofa, her face crumpling in tears. “But he was fine this morning. Where is he? What happened?”
Ron couldn’t lie but he couldn’t tell all, either. “When I got out of bed he was lying on the floor. Like he was sleeping except he wouldn’t wake up.” Tears slid over his freckles. “I’m so sorry, Hermione.”
As was often the case, Hermione coped with unwanted emotion by turning it into anger.
“Ronald Weasley, how could you?”
Merlin, she knows! How the bloody hell does she know?
“Hermione, I swear I didn’t mean…”
“You can be so insensitive! You don’t just blurt out and tell someone their cat died. It’s too shocking! You’ve got to build up to bad news like that. Break it to a person gently.”
“You don’t just tell someone ‘Your cat died.’ It’s far too blunt. You’ve got to give them some sort of preamble. To lessen the blow, for Merlin’s sake.”
Hermione mopped her tears with her sleeve, glaring at Ron all the while. “Preamble, Ron. To give the news time to sink in. You say something like ‘Hermione, Crookshanks crawled out on the roof.’ Then you go on to say that he was sitting happily in the sunshine, that he was chasing birds or something, that he was having the time of his life when he took a misstep, fell to the ground and, despite every effort on your part, he expired. And that he never knew. He never knew what hit him.”
“But he wasn’t ever even on the roof.” And I’m fairly certain he knew what hit him.
“Ron, you’ve missed the point entirely.” Hermione stood up in a huff and marched off to their bedroom, where Ron knew she would cry herself to sleep. At least the worst was over. Or so he thought.
Hermione remained so distraught that Ron asked her mum to come and stay with her the next day. As luck would have it, Hermione was called to the Ministry unexpectedly and Ron ended up spending the afternoon alone with Mum Granger. She made herself busy in the kitchen while Ron lounged on the sofa watching televised quidditch. Broadcasting a magical channel on the Muggle telly was George’s best idea yet.
As the sun began to go down, Ron realized he hadn’t heard anything out of Mum Granger for several hours. He went to the kitchen to check on her. It was not good. Mum Granger was laid out motionless on the kitchen floor, body horribly contorted, eyes glassy.
“Bloody Hell!” Ron was racing towards the fireplace to fire-call Harry when Hermione stepped out onto the hearth.
She stood on tiptoe and kissed his nose before burying herself in his arms. “Ron, I’ve missed you. How was your day?”
Though his mind was racing, Ron drew a calming breath.
“Hermione, your mum crawled out on the roof.”
I cried, when I saw the "It all ends!" banner!!
But now I know, it never will....
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