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Old April 1st, 2008, 2:55 pm
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Last Author Standing - Entries!

Week 1

Entry #1

The Hardest Conversation

You will understand in time
- Masquerade, The Phantom of the Opera

Dumbledore opened the August first issue of the Daily Prophet with trembling fingers. This was it. This was the last day he would need to read the birth announcements with fear in his heart.

He took a steadying breath. He would read the announcements, see that neither the Potter nor the Longbottom baby had been born, and then he could relax. After today, he would know that both babies would be born in August. The mystery of the identity of the “one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord” would remain, but that could be solved in time. Right now, the Potters and the Longbottoms were his main concern.

He turned the pages until he found the birth announcements. He skimmed quickly, only reading last names.

His heart sank as he saw the first one. Neville Longbottom had been born on the last day of July.

“Born as the seventh month dies,” he muttered to himself. “I suppose that the last day of the month certainly qualifies for that distinction.” He sighed. “I need to talk to Frank and Alice. Neville is in a great deal of danger.”

He was about to close his paper when another birth announcement caught his attention. Harry Potter, too, had been born on the thirty-first.

He had to read the announcement three times before he could acknowledge it. How could it be? How could the two little boys share their birthday? Only one would possess the power to triumph over Voldemort.

“Both of them,” he whispered. “But how . . .” His voice trailed off as he remembered the last part of the prophecy. “And he will mark him as his equal,” he muttered.

Voldemort would attack the baby he believed to be a threat. He would choose the child who he felt to be, as the prophecy had said, his equal.

Dumbledore pressed his fingertips against his temples. The Longbottoms and the Potters were in more trouble than he could have dreamed. He had to warn them.

“I’ll give them some time with their babies first,” he said to himself. “They need to have time to enjoy being new parents.”

He nodded, but the worried look did not leave his eyes. They had to know what they were facing – and soon. He looked at the calendar on his desk.

“I have to tell them soon,” he muttered. “This can’t wait too much longer. They have to know what they’re facing – they have to be prepared to defend their children.”

“Lily, he really is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Lily smiled as she looked at Olivia, who was hanging over the side of Harry’s hospital basinet, making faces in an attempt to amuse him. Lily and Harry were going home shortly; Olivia had come to help Lily pack. She had yet to do any packing, however. She had spent all her time playing with the baby.

“Thanks, Liv,” Lily replied. “He’s a sweetie.”

“I can’t get over how much he looks like James,” Olivia continued.

“His mother said that Harry looks almost exactly like James did when he was a baby,” Lily said. “She was actually a little disturbed by it.”

“I can see why,” Olivia grinned. “He even has his daddy’s hair!” She reached down to smooth the baby’s soft hair. Like his father’s, it merely bounced back up again. “Sorry about that, Harry. Maybe you’ll be better at dealing with it than your dad is.”

“I like it,” Lily smiled. “I’ve always liked it on James, too. I think it gives them character.”

“As long as you’re all right with it,” Olivia said.

Lily tossed the last of her clothes into her bag. “How are things with you and Greg, Liv?”

“Fine,” Olivia said, looking up from the baby. “Do you think I’m withholding news about our relationship?”

“No,” Lily said slowly, “I’m just surprised that I haven’t seen him since Harry was born. I mean, you’ve been here everyday, but he’s never been with you.”

“Oh,” Olivia replied. “Well, I suppose that’s my fault. I didn’t tell him that I was coming here when Sirius woke us all up to be here when you were in labor. I figured Greg would want to sleep – and, really, that was a time for friends, not for my new boyfriend. And since then, I just thought that you wouldn’t want to entertain visitors.”

“Liv, you and everyone else have been here at least once a day!” Lily laughed. “I think I’ve certainly had my fair share of visitors.”

“Yeah, but that’s different,” Olivia replied. “We’re like family. I know that you’re completely comfortable with all of us. But you haven’t known Greg very long. I didn’t want you to have to feel like you had to act differently when he was here with you. I think you’ve been through enough that you deserve to just relax for the next few weeks.”

Lily smiled appreciatively. “Thanks, Liv. But if you want to bring him over to meet the baby, go ahead. I’m sure that Harry would like to get to know him.”

Olivia smiled. “Thanks.”

“You don’t need my permission to bring your boyfriend to my house, you know.”

Olivia shrugged. “I don’t know, Lils. I mean, you haven’t exactly warmed up to him.”

“Oh, Liv,” she sighed. “I guess I just really wanted to see you with Sirius. But if Greg makes you happy, then that’s good enough for me.”

“He does make me happy,” Olivia replied with a smile. “He’s just – he’s sweet. He’s nothing like Sirius.”

“Are you saying that Sirius isn’t sweet?”

“No, not that. Sirius is sweet, too. But Greg’s so totally different from him . . . I had a hard time getting used to that at first.”

“Different in a good way?”

“Yeah, I guess.” A far-away look came into her eyes, and she smiled softly. “Do you know what I really miss sometimes?”

“What?” Lily asked softly.

“Sometimes I miss the debates that could turn into screaming matches that could turn into snogging sessions. Sometimes I miss the unpredictability. Sometimes I miss the spontaneity.” She smiled helplessly. “Sometimes I miss Sirius.”

“Oh, Liv,” Lily sighed.

“Is that terrible? I really care about Greg – I think I might even be falling in love with him – but sometimes I miss Sirius so much that it makes my throat ache.” She swallowed. “What’s wrong with me, Lily?”

“Nothing,” Lily said firmly. “Sirius was your first love, Liv. He was really special to you. I think he’s always going to be with you on some level.”

Olivia nodded slowly. “I’m not saying that I want to leave Greg to go back to him.”

“I know that. I never thought that you wanted that.”

“Good.” She sighed again. “Don’t say anything to anyone, all right? Can this stay between you and I?”

Lily smiled, and looked over at her sleeping baby. “No. But it can stay between you, Harry and I.”

Olivia grinned, and leaned over the baby again. “Right, Harry, you need to keep this conversation to yourself. No telling your friends what Auntie Olivia just said, all right?”

A knock sounded on the door, and it pushed open. James stuck his head in.

“Special delivery,” he grinned.

“James!” Lily exclaimed. “Does this mean I get to go home?”

“You’re all signed out,” James grinned. He opened the door fully, and pushed a wheelchair into the room. “And here’s a little parting gift for Harry.”

Lily gasped as she looked at the huge teddy bear that was riding in the wheelchair. “Where on earth did that come from?”

“Harry’s grandma bought it for him. She thought it would look nice in his nursery, since we used all that teddy bear stuff to decorate it.”

“I’m sure it’ll look great in there,” Lily said. She laughed. “But, James, it’s bigger than he is!”

“I know,” James grinned. “But it’s cute, don’t you think?”

“Adorable,” Lily agreed. “I just don’t know where we’re going to put it.”

“We’ll find space,” James promised. He parked the chair, and crossed to look down at his baby. “Well, Harry, it looks like you’re on your way home. Are you excited?”

Harry gave no response as he continued sleeping. James looked up with a grin.

“I guess I’ll have to take that as a yes.”

Lily smiled, and came up beside him. She put her arms around James, and laid her head on his shoulder. “He’s amazing, isn’t he?”

James pulled her close, and kissed the top of her head. “Amazing,” he repeated in a slightly choked voice.

Olivia quietly cleared her throat. “Do you guys need my help anymore, or should I get back to work?”

“I think we’re all right,” James said, looking at her over Lily’s head. “We’ll have everyone over in a few days to spend some more time with Harry.”

“Take your time getting settled in,” Olivia replied as she picked up her purse. “Harry’s going to be with us for quite some time. There’s no rush to have everyone over.”

“Thanks for all your help, Liv,” Lily said.

“You’re welcome,” Olivia smiled. She crossed to look at Harry one last time. “You take care of Mum and Dad, all right, sweetheart?” she said. She leaned down to kiss his forehead. “I’ll see you all soon.”

“Bye, Liv.”

With a parting smile, she Disapparated. James kissed the top of Lily’s head again.

“Are you ready to go home, Mummy?”

“Definitely,” Lily smiled.

“All right, then,” James grinned. He waved his wand to shrink the teddy bear down to a considerably smaller size, and placed it in Lily’s bag. “This wheelchair is all yours.”

“I can’t just Apparate home?”

“We have to Floo,” James replied. “Unfortunately, Harry can’t Apparate yet.”

Lily grinned. “I can’t wait to get him home.” She lifted him out of his cradle. He squirmed but did not wake as she adjusted him in her arms. “He’s a good little sleeper, isn’t he?”

“He gets that from me,” James grinned.

Lily shook her head. “Awfully quick to claim his positive characteristics, aren’t you?”

“Well, I think we can agree that he has my hair.”

“He has a lot of you in his appearance. Weren’t you listening to your mum the night he was born?”

James grinned, and ran his hand through his hair. “Well, at least we know that he’s handsome.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “Honestly,” she muttered. She sat down in the chair. “I’m ready when you are.”

James picked up her bag, and began to push the chair forward. “Let’s go home.”

Lily was sure she had never had so much fun as she did showing her son around his new home. She and James carried the baby through each room of the house, telling him where they were and what they would do there. Harry, who was now awake, listened attentively to the voices that he was quickly learning to love.

“And here’s your room,” Lily said as she opened the door of the nursery.

“What do you think?” James asked as he carried the baby inside the room. “Do you like it? Mummy and I spent forever trying to decide what you’d like. We can change it if you’d rather have it decorated differently.”

“James,” Lily laughed, “I really don’t think Harry’s ready to make decorating decisions yet.”

“He might be,” James insisted. “What if he doesn’t like the teddy bear theme we’ve got in here?”

“Then your mother is going to be heartbroken,” Lily smiled. “I think it’s going to be a few years before he starts telling us what he wants in his room.”

“I suppose,” James agreed with a smile. “Well, Harry, Daddy needs a drink. What do you say we go back down to the kitchen to get a glass of water?”

Lily smiled again, and followed her boys back down the stairs. James stopped short as he reached the kitchen, and Lily nearly ran into him. As he started moving again, she saw the reason for his surprise – a large owl was perched on the table.

“That looks like a Hogwarts owl,” she commented as James passed the baby to her.

“I know,” he said, stepping forward to take the letter attached to the bird’s leg. “I’m just surprised. I got my start of term notification last week.”

Lily shrugged as the owl, relieved of its burden, took off through the open window. “Open it.”

James broke the seal on the letter, and began skimming it. He frowned slightly as his eyes moved back to the top of the short message.

“It’s from Dumbledore,” he said. “Listen to this.”

“Dear James and Lily,

“First let me congratulate you on the birth of your son. I am certain that little Harry will be a source of joy to you for many years to come.

“There is, however, something related to your child that we need to discuss. I would like to meet with both of you on 10 August in my office at ten o’clock in the morning. If this is a problem, please let me know.

“Again, my congratulations. I hope to see you on the tenth.


“Albus P.W.B. Dumbledore”

Lily looked at James with questions in her eyes. “What on earth is that all about?”

“I have no idea,” James said. He read the letter again as though searching for answers. “What could we possibly need to discuss with Dumbledore about Harry?”

“I don’t know,” Lily said. “Unless . . .” Her eyes widened as a terrifying thought came over her. “No, never mind. That can’t be it.”


She shook her head, not wanting to speak her fears. “It can’t be.”

“Lil, we’ve got nothing here. There are no bad ideas right now.”

She drew a deep breath. “What if he isn’t magical?”

“What?” James asked in shock.

“What else could Dumbledore want to discuss with us?” Lily asked fearfully. “James, our baby must have been born a Squib! You know that Dumbledore and McGonagall have records of every magical baby that’s born – they must have seen Harry’s birth announcement in the Prophet, and then realized that his name wasn’t recorded as a wizard!”

She felt herself beginning to panic. She had not realized how much it meant to her to have a magical child until that moment. She wasn’t sure how she would handle knowing that her baby wasn’t a wizard.

“Lil, calm down,” James said firmly. “I’m sure that’s not it.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Come on,” James smiled. “With us as his parents, there’s no way this child isn’t a powerful wizard.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “You’ve always thought far too highly of yourself, Potter.”

“No, I’m serious!” James said quickly. “I’m not trying to be conceited; I’m just trying to think logically. When you consider all that you and I have done in our lives, it’s pretty apparent that we’re powerful wizards. Why wouldn’t our child be?”

“I’m the daughter of two Squibs,” Lily shrugged. “Does parentage determine power?”

“I don’t know.” James reached up to clutch his hair. “Look, we’re not going to know until we talk to Dumbledore, so there’s no use panicking yet. We’ll send him a reply to let him know that we’ll be there, and then we’ll deal with whatever news he gives us when he gives it to us.”

Lily nodded, and kissed her baby’s forehead. “James, if he is a Squib, do you think we should -?”

“Stop right there,” James said, cutting her off. “We’ll decide what to do when we know for sure that we have to.”

Lily nodded, and hugged Harry closer. She knew what it was like to grow up “different” from the rest of the family. She had never considered that her son would have to go through a situation similar to her own. She hoped that he would be strong enough to meet the challenges that lay ahead of him.

On the tenth of August, Lily and James took Harry for his first visit to Hogwarts. They Flooed into James’s office; neither of them had access to Dumbledore’s fireplace. They were both rather nervous as they walked through the long, empty corridors from James’s office to that of the Headmaster.

“It’s going to be fine,” James said. He shifted Harry to one arm so that he could take Lily’s hand.

“I hope so,” she said, her voice shaking slightly.

“Listen, Lil, even if he is a Squib, he’s still our son,” James said bracingly.

Lily turned to look at him. “Can you honestly tell me that you won’t be disappointed if Dumbledore tells us that Harry’s not a wizard? That you won’t be disappointed to learn that your son will never attend Hogwarts? That he’ll never have a wand? Never play Quidditch? Never fully be a part of our world?”

James drew a shaking breath, but did not reply. He knew that Lily knew what his answer would be. Yes, of course he would be disappointed.

“It’s going to change a lot about our lives, James.”

“We’ll deal with it when we need to,” James said. They reached the gargoyle guarding the Headmaster’s office. “Acid pop.”

The gargoyle moved, and they began the last part of their journey into Dumbledore’s office. Lily bit her lower lip. She needed to be strong. She inhaled and exhaled deeply, drawing up her strength and bracing her mind. She was prepared to face whatever news the Headmaster gave her.

The moving staircase stopped, and they stepped off. James and Lily both stopped short as they looked through the open door of Dumbledore’s office. The Headmaster was not alone; Frank and Alice Longbottom were sitting with him. Their baby, Neville, was cradled in Alice’s arms.

“Ah, James and Lily,” Dumbledore smiled. “Right on time. Please, come in and sit down. Would you like a drink?”

“No, thank you,” James said as they sat down.


“No, thanks,” she said. She looked from Dumbledore to the Longbottoms and back.

“Well,” Dumbledore said cheerfully, “thank you all for coming this morning to meet with me. It is wonderful to finally have the chance to meet your babies. I’ve already met young Neville – and who is this strapping young man?”

James grinned, and offered the baby to his employer. “This is Harry.”

“Well, hello there, Harry,” Dumbledore said, taking the baby. His eyes twinkled as he looked down at the little boy, and an expression of joy crossed his face. “I must say, you’re quite a handsome young man.” He looked up at James with a wink. “He looks rather like his father.”

James grinned, and nodded. “My mum was a little scared by how much he looks like I did when I was a baby.”

“I can understand why.”

After playing with the baby for a few more moments, Dumbledore gave him to Lily. He looked at both couples with concern in his eyes.

“I should tell you all why I’ve asked you to come here today. I must admit, it’s not an easy thing to say.”

Lily held her breath. Were Neville’s magical powers also in question?

“Your children are in grave danger,” Dumbledore said slowly.

“Danger?” Frank asked. “Is it because we’re Aurors? If that’s the case, we can hand in our resignation tomorrow.”

Alice nodded. “We won’t do anything to endanger Neville’s life.”

“No, it has nothing to do with your careers,” Dumbledore said. “Remember, James and Lily are not Aurors.”

“Is it because we’re Order members?” James asked tensely.

“No,” Dumbledore said. “It has nothing to do with what you’ve done. It has everything to do with a prophecy made before your sons’ births.”

“A prophecy?” Lily asked blankly.

Dumbledore nodded, and drew forth his pensieve. “Here, let me show you.”

He touched the surface of the bowl with his wand, and withdrew a memory. A woman none of them had seen before was soon before them, revolving slowly as she spoke.

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches . . . Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies . . . And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not . . . And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives . . .The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies . . .”

“But I don’t understand,” Alice frowned as the memory sank back into the pensieve. “What does that have to do with Neville and Harry?”

“One of these two boys will be the one to vanquish Voldemort,” Dumbledore said simply.

Silence fell over the room. The four young parents stared at him in disbelief.

“How can that be?” Lily finally asked. “How can one of these little babies – babies who have not even begun to develop their powers – be the one to vanquish Voldemort?”

“As the centaurs would say, the stars have aligned to give them this special blessing and curse,” Dumbledore said with a sad smile. “Consider the conditions of the prophecy. First, it states that the baby would be born to parents who have thrice defied Voldemort. All of you have defied him three times in battle.”

James and Lily exchanged a glance. As their past battles ran through their minds, they slowly nodded. They had, indeed, defied Voldemort three times.

“Second, it says that the baby would be born as the seventh month dies,” Dumbledore continued. “Both Neville and Harry were born on the last day of July.”

James’s words from the night of Harry’s birth filled Lily’s mind. Peter had asked what the baby’s birthday was. James had told him July thirty-first. “He only made it by about forty minutes, but it’s enough.”

“But you said that it will only be one of them,” Frank said. “If they both meet the criteria, how do we know which on it is?”

Dumbledore sighed, and folded his fingers together. “That, I’m afraid, is the decision of Lord Voldemort himself.”

“What?” Alice gasped.

Dumbledore nodded. “The final condition for determining which boy will vanquish Voldemort states that the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal. We can assume, therefore, that he will attempt to attack the baby he considers more of a threat – more his equal.”

“Does he know of this?” James asked.

“Part of it,” Dumbledore said slowly. “One of Voldemort’s spies overheard the first half of the prophecy. It is safe to assume, then, that he knows that a baby born at the end of July to parents who defied him three times will be his downfall.”

“But he doesn’t know that he must mark him,” Frank said.

“No,” Dumbledore said. “Which I assume means that he will attempt to destroy both of your children.”

Lily sucked her breath in quickly. “You mean he’s going to try to kill our babies?”

Dumbledore looked at her with eyes full of sorrow. “Yes, Lily, that is exactly what I mean.”

Lily felt as though she had been slapped. She couldn’t believe that less than an hour ago, she had been concerned that her son might not be magical.

“Did that one line say that the baby will have power the Dark Lord doesn’t?” James asked.

Dumbledore nodded. “We have a very powerful young wizard on our hands.”

“But the very last bit,” Alice said, her eyes shining with tears, “’neither can live while the other survives . . .’ what does that mean?”

“The one with this power must defeat Voldemort or be defeated by him,” Dumbledore said, sorrow etched across his face. “I’m so sorry to have to bring you this news.”

“What can be done?” James asked quickly. “We cannot let our children fall victim to this prophecy – not without a fight.”

“The easiest course of action is to go into hiding,” Dumbledore said. “Train your children in battle, and wait until the boys have grown older before exposing them to the threat of Voldemort’s power.”

James and Lily exchanged a glance. They were both thinking the same thing: they were not ready to give up their lives to hide from a distant threat.

“Are there no other options?” Frank asked.

“There are always other options,” Dumbledore said. “But the most important thing you must do is to protect your children to the best of your ability. I would also advise you to name guardians for them in the event that something should happen to you. It should be someone you trust to protect them at all costs.”

“What do you make of all this?” James asked.

He and Lily were back in their kitchen. Harry was sleeping peacefully in his mother’s arms. She looked down at the baby, then up at her husband.

“It’s completely unbelievable – yet I have no choice but to believe it,” she said. “How on earth did this happen to our little boy?”

“I don’t know,” James said, running his hands over his face. “But it happened, and now we have to deal with it. We have to decide what we’re going to do.”

“Maybe I’m just being stupid, but, James, I don’t want to go into hiding,” she said slowly. “I don’t want Harry to have to grow up like that. I want his life to be as normal as possible.”

“I agree,” James said. “If things get to be too much, we can talk about going into hiding. But for now . . . We just have to decide how we want to live our lives.”

Lily looked at him nervously. “We’re going to have to change some things.”

“Such as?”

“I’m going to quit the Prophet,” Lily said in a rush.

“What?” James whispered. “Lil, you’ve worked so hard to get where you are with the paper. And you love your job.”

“I know,” she said, tears gathering in her eyes. “But I love Harry more. My job is so high-profile, and all that Minnie and I do is so controversial – it’s not worth the risk, James. I’ll quit and stay home to be Harry’s mummy.”

“Are you sure?”


James nodded. “All right, then. That’s one decision made.”

Lily swallowed, trying to think of something other than her lost employment. “I heard Frank and Alice saying that they’re going to name Frank’s mother Neville’s guardian if something happens to them.”

James nodded again. “Yeah, I heard them say that, too.”

“Harry’s going to need a guardian, James.” She swallowed again. “The only family I have left is Petunia, and I don’t think that she’s in a position to defend him against wizards like Voldemort.”

“There’s my mum,” James said. “But I don’t want to ask her to do that.”

“You don’t?” Lily frowned.

James shook his head. “My mum is a powerful witch, but she’s also . . . If something happened to Harry while she was in charge of protecting him, she’d never forgive herself. She’s already shattered over my dad dying – I don’t even want to think about what would happen to her if something happened to Harry in her care.”

Lily nodded. “We need to choose someone really powerful to care for him – someone we’d trust with our own lives.”

“Sirius,” James said at once.


“Yes, Sirius. He’s one of the most powerful wizards I know, and he’s trained to fight dark wizards. You know him, Lil. He’d die before letting anything happen to us – and that includes Harry.”

Lily nodded slowly. “He’s the perfect choice,” she agreed. “There is no one I’d trust more than him to be my son’s guardian.”

“We need to make sure it’s all legal,” James said. “What do you say we make him Harry’s godfather?”

Lily smiled. “I think that’s a brilliant idea.”

James smiled. “Excellent. Now we just have to ask him.”


Sirius stopped just before walking into his office, and turned to see who had called him. He smiled as he watched Olivia walk toward him.

“Hey,” he said. “What’s going on?”

“Can we talk?”

“Sure.” Sirius couldn’t help but feel hopeful. Did she want to give their relationship another try? He had been thinking quite a bit about it recently, and was sure that he wanted to. He opened his office door fully, and looked inside. “There’s no one in here. Come on in.”

Once they were both in the office, Sirius closed the door and put a silencing charm on the room. Olivia unfolded the parchment she carried in her hands.

“I have orders from Moody,” she said without preamble.

“Okay,” Sirius replied, trying to hide his disappointment at their topic of conversation. “Where are we going?”

She rolled her eyes. “We have patrol duty in Diagon Alley. Can it get any more boring?”

Sirius grinned. “Hey, at least we won’t be in the office. We have to be thankful for small mercies.”

“I suppose. We’re supposed to Apparate there immediately.”

“All right,” Sirius agreed. “See you in front of Ollivander’s, then?”

“Why Ollivander’s?”

He shrugged. “Why not?”

“All right. See you there.”

Within moments, they were together outside the wand shop. Olivia folded the parchment again, and shoved it into her pocket.

“Now we just have to patrol,” she said.

“I think we can handle that,” Sirius said.

They began walking around together on the main street of the town. Both held their wands in their hands, prepared to defend themselves if necessary.

“So, how have things been?” Sirius asked as they walked.

Olivia looked at him with raised eyebrows. “Is there a reason you’re acting like we never see one another?”

Sirius grinned. “I feel like I haven’t seen much of you since Harry was born.”

Olivia smiled. “Have you seen him recently?”

“You mean in the week that he’s been home?”

She grinned. “Yeah, that.”

“No, not yet,” Sirius admitted. “I want to go over there, but I don’t want Lily to have to rush back into entertaining.”

“I know what you mean,” Olivia replied. “She told me that we’re all welcome anytime, but I still don’t want to impose.”

“Exactly.” He paused, trying to decide how to ask what he wanted to know. He decided to just go for it. “How are things with you and Greg?”

“Fine,” Olivia said evenly. “Don’t get your hopes up, Black. I’m still with him.”

Sirius raised his eyebrows. “What did I say to suggest that I wanted you back? I was just making conversation.”

“Yeah, right,” Olivia teased. “You know you want me.”

Sirius looked at her critically. “I’ve had you.”

“Sirius!” she cried, shrieking with laughter. “You can’t say stuff like that!”

“It’s true,” Sirius grinned. He sobered, and smiled again. “You know, Liv, we were really great together.”

Realizing that his mood had changed, Olivia, too, calmed down. “Yeah, we were,” she said softly.

“I really thought things would work out with us.”

“Sirius, I have a boyfriend,” she said warningly.

“I know that.”

“Are you sure?”

He sighed. “Olivia, I know that you can’t be mine – at least not for now.”

She opened her mouth to reply, but was cut off by a new voice.

“Sirius Black!”

Olivia jumped. “Did your pocket just scream your name?”

“Sort of,” Sirius grinned, wondering how James could have such awful timing. He pulled his mirror from his pocket, and saw his friend’s face looking at him. “Hey, Dad,” he smiled. “What’s going on?”

“Can you come over?” James asked. “Lily and I wanted to see you.”

“All right,” Sirius agreed. “Liv and I are patrolling in Diagon Alley right now, so I’ll just come over when my shift ends.”

“Perfect,” James replied. “We’ll see you then.”

“See you,” Sirius said. He waited until James’s face had faded from view, and put the mirror back into his pocket.

“Looks like you’ll get to see Harry again soon,” Olivia smiled.

“Looks like,” Sirius echoed. Concern darkened his features. James didn’t often summon him over for a chat. “I wonder what that’s all about.”

“Well, you don’t have to wait too much longer to find out.”

As soon as their shift ended, Sirius made his way to James and Lily’s house. He knocked on the door, which was opened by James.

“Hey, Padfoot,” he smiled, opening the door wider. “Thanks for coming over.”

“You know, you have the worst timing of anyone I know,” Sirius said in reply.

“What are you talking about?”

“Liv and I were having a pretty heavy discussion when you started screaming for me.”

James raised his eyebrows. “What kind of heavy conversation?”

“I got her to admit that we were good together.”

James frowned. “I thought you were over her.”

“Yeah, well . . .” Sirius grinned. “I guess I’m not.”

James shook his head. “Well, do you mind if we discuss this at length another time? Lily and have something we really need to talk to you about.”

“Sure,” Sirius said, instantly shelving his own issues. “What’s going on?”

“Let’s go find Lily and Harry,” James replied.

He led Sirius into the living room, where Lily was sitting on the couch. Harry was sleeping in a cradle across the room from her.

“Hey, Little Flower,” Sirius smiled, leaning down to kiss her cheek. “How are you feeling?”

“Good,” she smiled. “Thanks for coming over.”

“Sure,” he said easily. He crossed the room to look down at the baby. “Hey, champ,” he smiled. “How do you like your house? Are Mummy and Daddy treating you all right?”

“Believe me, he is our little prince,” James smiled. He sat down next to Lily, and took her hand in his. “Sirius, we want to talk to you about Harry.”

“What about him?” Sirius asked, looking up from the baby.

James smiled uncertainly. “Sirius, you are, in every way that counts, my brother. Along with Lily, you are the person in this world that I trust above all others – even more than I trust myself at times. Lily and I have talked about this, and we’ve decided . . . If something were to happen to us, we’d like you to take Harry, to raise him for us.”

Sirius’s eyes widened. “What are you asking me?”

“We’re asking you to be Harry’s godfather.”

Sirius looked down at the baby, then up at his parents. He blinked as he felt tears pressing against the back of his eyes. “You want me to be his godfather?” he whispered.

“Yes,” Lily said. “But before you agree, there’s something else that you need to know.”

“What’s that?”

James drew a deep breath. “Lily and I were just informed this morning that Harry is potentially the subject of a prophecy about Voldemort.”

Sirius frowned. “Come again?”

“Professor Dumbledore just called us in to tell us about a prophecy that was made before Harry was born. It says that the one with the power to vanquish Voldemort would be born at the end of July to parents who had defied Voldemort three times.”

Sirius looked down at the baby again. “Are you saying that Harry will be the one to defeat Voldemort?”

“Maybe,” Lily said. “It could be him or Neville Longbottom – Frank and Alice’s son.”

“How do we know which one it is?”

“The prophecy says that Voldemort will mark him as his equal.”

“So he’s going to attack one of them?”

“Yes,” James said. “But he doesn’t know that part. He just knows that one of them has the power to defeat him. So, he’ll likely try to kill them both.”

Without realizing what he was doing, Sirius put a protective hand on Harry’s cradle. “So you’re telling me that Harry is in a lot of danger.”

“So are James and I,” Lily said. “That’s why it’s so important to name a guardian who we trust to be strong enough to defend our baby. We want you to be his godfather, Sirius, because we know you to be an extremely powerful wizard, and because we know that you would do anything to defend us – and we assume that extends to our son.”

“It does,” Sirius said firmly. “Yes. I’ll be Harry’s godfather.”

“Are you sure?” James asked. “We’re asking a lot of you, Sirius.”

“I know,” Sirius replied. “I know exactly what you’re asking me.” He drew a deep breath. “I pray that I’ll never need to, but should something happen to you, I’ll do everything in my power to protect your little boy.” He reached down to touch Harry’s head. “As long as I have breath in my body, I will keep him safe.”

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Old April 4th, 2008, 11:48 am
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #2

Missing Scene

McGonagall and Hermione Discuss the Time-Turner

“Are you sure you want to do this Hermione?” asked Professor McGonagall.

“Yes, I’m sure.” Said Hermion.

“Three classes at once…no student has ever attempted this at Hogwarts”.

“But I really want to learn about muggles from a wizard perspective, and Ron and Harry are taking divination, and arithmancy is just the best…so yes, I want to do it”.

“Well, alright then. I have the time-turner. But the Ministry did not give it to me without a fight.”

“How do I use it?”

“First things first. You cannot tell any other students-“

“Not even Harry and Ron?”

“No. No other students can know. Second, it is very dangerous to have a time-turner. Professor Dumbledore, Professor Vector, and I are the only three who know besides the Ministry. Dumbledore told me of stories where wizards have killed their future or past selves accidentally by altering time. You must not see yourself! You cannot accidentally alter the events of time, you must use this strictly for studying. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Professor McGonagall”.

“Very well then. Here it is. Each turn of the time-turner will turn time back one hour. Be careful, Ms. Granger”.

“Thank you, Professor McGonagall”.

“You are welcome, Ms. Granger. Be very careful. Hide it away. Do not tell anyone”.

“I won’t, Professor McGonagall”.

“Very well then, you are dismissed”.

Old April 4th, 2008, 3:33 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #3

“The Dark Lord will rise again,” he stated emphatically. “His plans may not have always been made plain to us, but he spoke often to his inner circle of the many safeguards he had put in place to prevent himself from losing his life.” Lucius set down his goblet heavily, attempting to end the conversation.

“But if he already had a means of attaining immortality, why would he have attempted to acquire the Philosopher’s Stone last year?” Narcissa reasoned.

“We are not certain that that was his goal. That old man would say anything to throw the Dark Lord’s followers off his track, and Snape’s own word confirmed that no capture of any sort was made,” Lucius diverted patiently.

“But the Ministry, Lucius! Think of the effect on our standing if they discover—”

“Narcissa!” Lucius barked, scanning the room from his wife and son, to the portraits, and over to the single house elf in the corner. “I am quite aware of the situation with the Ministry. If it becomes necessary I will take action to remedy any…hindrance.”

Lucius rose from his seat, shooting orders with every step. “Elf!” he snapped. “Come. Narcissa, thank you for the lovely dinner. Do not worry yourself about the Ministry, it will be handled. Draco, you will assist me.”

He motioned for the boy to follow and Draco leapt from his seat with a grin, slopping his butterbear as he rose. “Remember your decorum, son.”

“Yes, father.” Draco gulped, wiping the smile off his face and falling in step behind his father. Narcissa frowned but said nothing as they left the dining room.

Father, son, and elf made their way to the drawing room. “Fold back the rug and open the chamber, elf,” Lucius ordered.

The house-elf moved as quickly as it could, using his magic to move the furniture before prying open the hidden room.

“Bloody, lazy elf,” Lucius murmured, kicking him to the side as he descended the old steps. Draco followed him and stood in awe at the bottom of the steps, staring wide-eyed at the assortment of strange and menacing items.

Lucius handed Draco a roll of parchment and a quill. “Sit there,” he ordered, motioning to an ancient looking desk, “and record the items that I will call out. If you can do your task neatly and efficiently, you’ll get that racing broom you’ve been pining for.”

Draco’s eye’s lit up and he dipped his quill in the nearby ink.

An hour later his hand was cramping, but it looked as though his father was coming to the end of the last shelf.

“Silver ring with eagle rampant. Spiked wings. Likely poisoned. Sell,” said Lucius in a bored tone. “Blood candle. Sell.”

“What does that do?” Draco looked up with interest.

“Meant to slowly melt the skin of the one whose blood was used to created it, but the victim is probably long dead. Has the subtlety of a charging hippogriff anyway, so it’s no great loss. I wouldn’t like to be found with one nevertheless.”

Lucius lifted the next item and examined it. “Leather book. Journal, rather. Empty—” Lucius stopped abruptly as he held the scuffed Journal.

“Sell?” Draco questioned, looking over his shoulder. “Father?” He drew his wand thinking he might need to dislodge his father from some curse.

Lucius seemed to come back to himself with a start and he glared at Draco. “Put your wand away, boy. Do you think you could stand up against any truly dangerous curse anyway?”

Draco put his wand away, but looked slightly dumbstruck by his father’s clearly shaken tone.

“You’re dismissed, Draco. You will accompany me to Diagon Alley in a few days time to disperse with these items and pick up your school things,” he said in a falsely calm manner.

“Yes, Father,” Draco answered, turning stiffly to the stairs.

Lucius rolled up the parchment his son had been using, and put out the candle, stuffing the journal into his robes. He ascended the stairs quickly and ordered his elf to close the chamber and bring tea and scotch to his study immediately.

“Narcissa!” he bellowed, moving quickly to his study. He was pacing the carpet in front of his fire when Narcissa entered.

“What in Merlin’s name is the matter, Lucius?”

“This is the matter!” he declared, thrusting the journal toward her.

“A book?” she asked calmly, pouring milk into the tea the house-elf had handed her.

“The Dark Lord left this in my possession before he…went away. He believed that it would be instrumental in clearling out the mudbloods from Hogwarts.”

Narcissa’s back grew straighter and she looked piercingly at her husband. “How?”

“That I don’t know. Certainly far more advanced magic than we are privy to,” he returned, taking the scotch glass the elf had just filled from the table and sitting across from his wife.

“If we were able to get this into the school somehow…” he wondered, “perhaps Draco—”

“No Lucius! You will leave Draco out of this. He is far too young to be involved in any plots.”

“Yes, you’re right, and we wouldn’t want it to have the possibility of being traced back to us anyway,” he nodded.

“Are you certain it would be wise to make use of the Dark Lord’s possession without his authorization?”

“If it is as good at it’s task as he made it out to be, I think he will be pleased with my initiative in preparing the way for him. And if we play our cards right, we may be able to hit a whole flock with one stone.”

Smirking, he drummed his fingers on the journal’s cover as he held his glass out to be refilled. “We could bring an end to Dumbledore, eliminate some of his pet mudbloods, and perhaps even strike a blow to that half-blood Potter that everyone is so wild about all of a sudden.”

The elf’s hand was shaking so badly that he sloshed the liquid over his master’s hand and then promptly dropped the whole bottle when Lucius jumped from his chair in a rage.

“Bloody elf! OUT!” The house-elf shivered in fear and popped out instantly.

Old April 4th, 2008, 9:17 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #4

Sirius knocked nervously on the door. He’d never seen a baby close up before and he wasn’t sure what to expect. James and Lily would undoubtedly go on about how beautiful it was, and he hoped that he would be able to agree convincingly enough not to offend Lily.
“Who’s there?” came the familiar voice from within.
“Padfoot,” Sirius said to the door.
“Who did Lily once say she’d rather go out with than me, and you never let me forget it?” Sirius gave a bark of laughter.
“The giant squid!”
The door was thrown open and the two friends grinned at each other.
“Congratulations Prongs!” Sirius said and pulled his friend into a huge bear hug.
“How’s Lily?” he asked releasing his friend and stepping inside.
“She’s fine. I don’t think she’s stopped smiling yet.”
“These are for her” he said handing James a bunch of flowers.
“I’ll put these in water. She’ll be down in a minute with Harry, she’s just changing him.”
James disappeared into the kitchen and Sirius was left looking around their little sitting room at the cards of congratulation and the various flowers that already adorned the room. He heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs, and the door opened and Lily came in looking tired but blissfully happy, and carrying a tiny bundle in her arms. James came back in with the flowers Sirius had brought in a jug.
“These are from Padfoot” James said to Lily
“Thank you Sirius!” she said smiling radiantly and kissing Sirius on the cheek.
“Well, what do you think?” she asked holding the tiny bundle in her arms for him to admire.
Sirius looked down at the baby. He had never imagined that a human being could be so small, and yet so perfectly formed. He was dressed in white, and had a rather red face, with a shock of jet black hair that seemed to stick out at all angles.
“He looks a lot like James” Sirius said truthfully. Lily laughed
“Everybody has said that! D’you want to hold him?” and before he had time to dissemble she had placed the baby in his arms. Sirius swallowed hard. The baby seemed to weigh nothing at all, and Sirius stood stiffly afraid to move in case he should drop the precious bundle. The baby’s little fists jerked randomly until one found its way to his mouth and he sucked it noisily.
“Harry” Lily said addressing the baby “This is Padfoot.”
Sirius looked down at baby Harry, who squinted and tried to focus on the unfamiliar face.
“Hello little fella,” he said feeling slightly foolish “Are you going to play Quidditch for England then?”
“Give him a chance, Padfoot,” James said. “He’ll have to win the Quidditch cup for Gryffindor first.”
Lily rolled her eyes.
“Perhaps he won’t even like quidditch,” she said.
“Yeah” Sirius agreed “he may prefer motorbikes.”
“Oh I can see you’re going to be a great influence on him!” Lily said and as she did so she looked meaningfully at James.
“The thing is Sirius, Lily and I would like you to be Harry’s Godfather.”
Sirius looked up in surprise.
“Me?” he said “but I don’t know anything about babies or ... anything. I thought you’d ask Dumbledore.”
James shook his head.
“You’re my best mate, and I know you’ll look out for him. That’s what matters.”
Sirius looked down at the tiny little baby that had now gone to sleep in his arms.
“Well if you’re sure” he said glancing at them both “I’d love to!”
Then holding Harry up close to his face he whispered.
“You and me are going to have so much fun… just don’t tell your Mum and Dad!”

Old April 5th, 2008, 1:57 am
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #5

The innocence had never seemed to look so soft or vulnerable before. He sat back behind the bushes watching the child as if it had no care in the world. His mother was inside the house cooking it’s dinner, and his stomach rumbled with great triumph as he watched it bounce a ball along the patio. The moon was almost set and his weeklong camping trip was finally about to become a success. He steadily licked his lips, knowing what was about to become of him.

Pain would soon overcome his body and he would not care. He would not care just as so long as the child stayed right where it was. As it rose, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise and he knew that the time had come. The painful transformation had overcome him at last and soon he would become the hideous beast that’s curse had been bestowed upon him when he was the age of the child.

At last, when the transformation was complete, and the full moon was risen to it’s highest extent, his eyes opened and there was only one thought on his mind at the moment.



There was a mock silence when he returned. His hunt had proven to be a success, but once the beast had been released from him there was no stopping him from sparing the mother once she had come to save her child. He had mangled the bodies until midnight had arrived and it was time for him to leave, and he ran back to the ruddy block of dirt that had blocked the passageway into the underground.

As he arrived he stopped and fell to the floor. It was time for him to transform back into a human. His hunt was over until the next full moon was ready to rise. As his body fell back into its original size and everything had grown back into his body, the heavily matted boulder of dirt and other surroundings from the woods had been moved out of the way before him. His body was trembling and he could feel the absence of his clothes, his eyes had been clamped shut. Two or three other men that were strong enough to lift him had lifted him and they then carried him to the underground.

This is how it was after every transformation. The werewolves had been weak, tired, sore, and most of the time, badly injured, once they had come back from a night of the full moon no matter how long in their lives they had been transforming. In fact, it almost seemed that after each transformation the pain was multiplied because of their old age. He was placed into a familiar cot and was finally able to open his eyes. There were two men and one woman standing in front of him and his cheeks boiled red with anger.

“What are you three doing here? I could have made it myself,” he said and he jumped off of the cot and onto his feet, despite his weakness. The woman blushed slightly and threw a blanket at him. He had forgotten about his nudity and wrapped the blanket around his waist.

“Come now, Greyback, you honestly didn’t expect us to leave you out there did you? People will be looking for you after what you have done.” It was one of the men who had spoke. He had fair brown hair that was already starting to grey at his young age. Unlike Greyback, these werewolves had been able to dress. They must have reached the cave before him. He glared at his partner and growled.

“Did you think of erasing any of my tracks, Lupin? They’ll find us if you haven’t. We’ll have to move again. He was angry, and it didn’t help that Remus Lupin was with him at this moment. Greyback didn’t like him, he realized there must have been something familiar about him and he smelled like a traitor, but he was one of the best werewolves for the job.

Lupin nodded his head and indicated to his wand. He was also one of the very few werewolves that knew how to use magic. All the more reason why he hated him, Greyback had never had the chance to go to school. The other man had just finished shutting the boulder of dirt and nodded at Lupin in such a way that he knew they would have to move yet again.

“Fenrir,” it was the woman, Virginia that had spoken. “Fenrir, we can’t just keep moving because of your monthly ventures.”

“You must not have hurt them too badly if no one is trying to find you, Fenrir,” said the other man. Greyback waved him off.

“I don’t think the father was there, he never came out. It will be a while before anyone discovers they haven’t come out of their house. We’re safe for now,” he said and he sat back down on the cot. He was weak. He must have really done it in for the mother and child. Lupin eyed him and his upper lip twitched as he growled once again. “Do you have a problem with that, Lupin?”

The other man didn’t even seem startled by his comment. “I thought we were in this for a mission, Greyback, not for your pleasures.” Lupin was sternly looking at him but never once had he faltered. They had been on this mission for a few months and each time it was because they had been chased out of the town. The four of them had left the rest of the werewolves in their original hiding spot in order to find more and any werewolves that could join their forces with Voldemort. So far, their journey hadn’t been going so well.

“Listen here, Lupin. I am in command of this group and we’ll leave whatever place we are at when I say so. Do you understand me?” Greyback clenched his fists and he was standing again, but this time he was ready for a fight. He could overcome Lupin easily; the child and his mother hadn’t taken that much energy from him.

“Fenrir, stop!” Virginia shouted, and the other, much larger man, had stepped in front of him.

“Get out of my way, Richard, or I’ll go through the both of you!”

Richard did not move but he understood that he shouldn’t try to stop him; he was after all, the strongest werewolf of all. “I understand you want to fight him, Fenrir, but not now, I hear something.” His voice was low and he was very relaxed. He wasn’t necessarily one of the best choices to bring along, but he was the scariest looking guy in the whole bunch.

Virginia was standing next to Lupin, and he knew that she was going to side with him. She was the perfect type for a sort of bate. She was beautiful and could lure in many werewolves with her persuasive voice. It was important to gain a larger army of werewolves; there were only a few of them as it was. Greyback pushed past Richard and punched Lupin right in the stomach. He fell to the ground and Virginia leaned down to help him up as Richard pulled Greyback off.

“Get a grip, Fenrir! I hear something!” Richard said, throwing Greyback back onto the cot. Normally, he would not allow anyone to touch him in that manner, nor treat him as such, but he knew that it was important to be quiet now. They were being hunted. “Quickly, tear everything down and run. We don’t want them to realize that we had been camping here, or they’ll think we’ve only gone off hunting again.”

Lupin nodded and with a few swirls in the air, the camping supplies had looked as if werewolves had torn it down. It would look like after his violent stroll with the child and his mother, he had found a group of campers.

“We must go now, Greyback. Where do we go now?” Lupin added as he opened the boulder of dirt and left it out of the way. Thinking quickly a grin suppressed among his lips. He knew of the perfect place, and it was bound to be full of children.

“We move to Little Hangleton. Tonight!” With his final words, they ran swiftly in the night and were never found by the mob of people. Soon, Voldemort’s army would be stronger than ever.

Old April 7th, 2008, 5:41 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Week 2

Entry #1

The Prophecy

Could someone deliver us?
Just send us some kind of sign
So close to giving up
’Cause faith is so hard to find
- Believe it or Not, Nickleback

Dear Madam Trelawney,

I would like to inform you that I have received your letter of interest regarding the position of Professor of Divination, as well as your resume. Upon reviewing your credentials, I feel that an interview would be the appropriate course of action. I would like to meet with you to discuss your abilities, as well as all that the position entails. Please inform me of a convenient time and place to meet for our discussion.

I await your owl, and I look forward to meeting you in person.


Albus P. W. B. Dumbledore


“Are we any closer to discovering this spy, then?”

“No.” Albus Dumbledore looked away from Minerva McGonagall, letting his eyes roam over the landscape that surrounded Hogwarts. “We are no closer than we were the day Lily Potter told me that her source had led her to believe that there is a spy.”

“You don’t believe there is a spy in the Order?” McGonagall asked, narrowing her eyes.

“No, I am quite certain that there is one. The problem now is not having any idea who it is.”

“Do you suspect anyone?”

“I suspect everyone,” Dumbledore replied.

“Don’t you think that’s being a bit too suspicious?”

“How can I not?” Dumbledore asked. “Every member of the Order is someone that I trust. If I did not trust them all, why would I have asked them to join me in this battle? Yet, clearly, I should not trust them all. How, then, should I decide who not to trust?”

“You should look at each individual,” McGonagall replied. “Consider each person’s characteristics, and decide if they would be likely to turn.”

Dumbledore smiled, his eyes twinkling. “I do not suspect you, Minerva, if that is what you are implying.”

She shook her head, the humor of the situation lost on her. “That’s not what I was trying to say, Albus.”

“I know,” Dumbledore sighed. He glanced at the clock on his desk. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut this meeting short, Professor. I have to meet with a candidate for the Divination vacancy.”

“I thought we had agreed to drop that subject from our curriculum!”

“I know,” Dumbledore said again. “That was my intention.”

“You never discussed an interview with me. And shouldn’t the Heads all be present, as we were when you interviewed James Potter?”

“Somehow, I had a feeling that your attitude would be a problem in this interview. I am going to speak with her on my own.”

“I was just so sure that you had decided against continuing with the subject.”

“I had. However, I received a letter of interest from Sibyll Trelawney, and it is only polite to grant her an interview.”

“Sibyll Trelawney?” McGonagall asked, frowning slightly. “Oh, yes, I remember her. She was an abysmal Transfiguration student. Have you talked to Professor Turner about her performance in her class?”

Dumbledore nodded. “Professor Turner assures me that she had acceptable marks in Divination. Madam Trelawney’s grandmother was a famous Seer. With a family history, chances are good that she, too, will have the Gift.”

McGonagall laughed. “You know as well as I do that there is no such thing as the ‘Gift’ or the ‘Sight.’ You’re only doing this to be polite.”

“You should try to convince Professor Turner that she does not have the Sight,” Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling again.

McGonagall waved her hand impatiently. “No matter what these so-called Seers predict, I will never believe in Divination as a viable branch of magic.”

“Now, my dear professor,” Dumbledore smiled, putting on his cloak, “surely you have heard of the prophecies that are kept in the Department of Mysteries. They would not be so heavily guarded if there was no truth in them.”

“I do not deny the existence of prophecies,” McGonagall said stiffly. “I do, however, deny that Divination is a branch of magic that should be taught at our school.”

Dumbledore smiled. “And deny the Seers of tomorrow a chance to develop their skills?”

McGonagall rolled her eyes. “Sometimes there is just no reasoning with you.”

“And that’s why the staff is thrilled to have you, Minerva, as Deputy Headmistress,” Dumbledore grinned. “If you would like to talk more later, come back to find me.”

She nodded. “Good luck with your interview.”

“Why, thank you.”

McGonagall rolled her eyes. “And be sure to be kind when you refuse her the position.”

“Now who is taking the role of a Seer?” Dumbledore grinned. “You already assume that I will not grant her the position.”

“You don’t believe that she’s a Seer anymore than I do.”

“We shall see,” Dumbledore said with a wink. “We shall see.”

It was not a long walk from the castle to the Hog’s Head in the village, but it had begun to rain by the time that Dumbledore arrived. He lowered his hood, and shook the water off his cloak, catching the attention of several patrons in the small bar. One man’s eyes followed the Headmaster as he crossed the room. Dumbledore did not look around; he merely maintained his course. His eyes twinkled as they fell on the man behind the bar.

“Albus,” the bartender greeted him.

“Aberforth,” Dumbledore grinned.

“She’s already waiting for you,” Aberforth said. “I gave her the parlor. She said that she was going to need the space to show you all she can do.” He shrugged. “She’s a little off, if you ask me. I think your school would be better off without her.”

Dumbledore smiled. “Thank you for that assessment. I’ll be sure to take it into consideration when I decide if I should give her the position or not.”

Aberforth shook his head. “It’s your school, Albus, and I can’t tell you how to run it. I’m just trying to say that if she applied for a job as a waitress here, I’d think twice before I’d give it to her.”

“Again, thank you for the advice,” Albus replied. “In the parlor, you said?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

Dumbledore nodded. “Thank you, Aberforth.”

“You’re welcome.”

The bartender watched as his brother made his way back to the parlor, a smaller dining room off the main bar. Both Dumbledores remained oblivious to the fact that one of the customers, too, was watching Albus’s progress across the room. When Aberforth went back to washing glasses, the customer stood up, and followed Albus to the parlor.

When he arrived, the door was closed. He was certain that this was the room that Albus Dumbledore had disappeared into. He could hear voices inside. He strained to hear enough to identify the speakers. Yes, one was Dumbledore. But the other . . . he wasn’t sure who the second voice belonged to. Regardless, if this person was meeting with Dumbledore, the information that was exchanged would be imperative to his master. Standing as close to the wall as possible, he began to listen.

“Madam Trelawney,” Dumbledore greeted, removing his cloak. “It’s wonderful to see you again. It’s been quite a long time since your days as a student at Hogwarts.”

“I want to thank you, Professor Dumbledore, for giving me this opportunity,” Sibyll replied, draping her gauzy shawl around her shoulders. “I hope that my skills will be what the school requires.”

“As do I,” Dumbledore said. “Now, a bit about the position to begin – should you be offered and accept the position, you will be given only students from third year and older to teach. You will need to prepare them to take their OWLs in fifth year and their NEWTs in seventh year. Professor Turner, our current Divination professor, will be willing to work with you over the summer to teach you her methods of teaching. You will not, of course, be required to teach the same way that she does, but you should know that she has always had success with her students.

“Professor Turner is also the Head of Slytherin House. However, I will not ask you to take that responsibility your first year; I am certain that I will find another teacher who will be willing to take it.”

He smiled at her. “Now, I believe a demonstration of your skills in the art of Divination is in order. Where would you like to begin?”

“If I could see your palm, Professor, I would like to demonstrate my abilities in palmistry,” she smiled.

After misreading the Headmaster’s palm, Trelawney progressed to reading tea leaves and the crystal ball. She went through a rather extensive list of omens that she could identify, and talked about her accurate predictions of the past. As the time ticked by, Dumbledore began to think that both Minerva and Aberforth were right. This woman clearly had no abilities in the art of Divination. He smiled politely as she continued with the demonstration of her “skills,” trying to think of a gracious way to tell her that he would not be requiring her services.

“There are many death omens,” she stated, “which can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. For example, it is possible . . .”

Her voice trailed off, and her eyes rolled back in her head. Dumbledore jumped out of his seat, thinking that she had fainted. He stopped short when she began to speak in a deep, harsh voice that was clearly not her own. The man waiting outside the room stood up straighter as he heard this new voice. He had never heard a prophecy before, but was certain that he was hearing one now.


The listener in the hall strained to hear the next words over the loud footsteps that were coming toward him. Aberforth frowned as he saw the man listening at the door.

“Hey!” he exclaimed. “What do you think you’re doing? Get away from there!”

“I was just – ”

“You were just nothing!” Aberforth exclaimed. He grabbed the man by the arm, and dragged him down the hall, away from the parlor. “You have no business being around here! If you can’t keep yourself to the front room, you will not be – ”

Aberforth stopped short as he looked down at the man’s arm. His sleeve had come up as Aberforth had been dragging him, revealing an odd tattoo – a tattoo of the Dark Mark. The man, realizing what Aberforth had seen, quickly pulled down his sleeve.

“What in the world is that?” Aberforth asked.

“None of your concern,” the man said quickly.

“But -?”

But before Aberforth could even formulate his question, the man Disapparated. Aberforth looked at the place where he had been standing for a moment, then hurried back down the hall. He wasn’t sure what had been said during the interview, but he was sure that Albus would want to know that this man – a man who was clearly a spy - had overheard it.

“Albus?” he said, opening the door. “Can I have a word with you?”

Albus was sitting in one of the room’s chairs with a dumbfounded expression on his face. Sibyll was calming producing a set of tarot cards to read for him. She looked up at Aberforth with a benign smile.

“Go ahead, Professor,” she said. “I’ll just be a moment in setting out my cards.”

Dumbledore nodded, and went out into the hall with Aberforth. Aberforth closed the door, and looked at his brother. He was sure he had never seen that shocked expression on Albus’s face before. He was staring ahead blankly, not looking anywhere near his brother. Aberforth waved his hand in front of Albus’s face, and the professor brought his eyes around to meet his brother’s.

“You needed something?”

“My God,” Aberforth muttered. “What has she done to you?”

“She just – I believe she just made a real prophecy.”

“What about?” Aberforth asked anxiously.

“She said – she predicted that the one with the power to vanquish Voldemort will be born this summer.”

Aberforth’s eyes widened. “She said that?”


“And you believe her?”

“If I had not seen it for myself, I would not,” Albus replied.

“Well, then you should really know what just happened.”

“What’s happened?”

“I was coming down the hall to see if you and Madam Trelawney needed anything, and saw someone standing outside the door.”

“Who was it?”

“I don’t know,” Aberforth confessed. “I had never seen him before. But he looked like he was listening – in fact, I’m sure that he was listening. He probably saw you go in there, and thought that he’d better see what was going on.”

“Where is he now?”

“Well, like I said, I saw him – and I know how much you value your privacy. So, I pulled him away from the door. But before we made it back to the main bar, he Disapparated.”

“Do you think he heard the prophecy?”

“Most likely,” Aberforth shrugged. He frowned. “Here’s the odd part – he had some funny tattoo on his arm.”

“What was it a tattoo of?”

“The Dark Mark.”

“The Dark Mark?” Albus repeated, frowning. “That’s odd. Why would he have that?”

Aberforth shrugged again. “I’m just telling you what I saw, that’s all. What you make of it from there is up to you.”

Albus frowned. “Well, if he had the Dark Mark on his arm, he is clearly working for Voldemort – although why he would have it is a mystery to me. Regardless, if he did hear the prophecy, then he will take it back to his master.”

“Most likely,” Aberforth agreed.

“And if that happens, then Sibyll is in grave danger,” Albus continued. “They will not rest until they learn the remainder of the prophecy. They will search for her, and torture her until she can remember it to tell them.”

“Is there any way to help her?”

“I can protect her.”


Dumbledore looked thoughtful for a moment. “I’m going to offer her the Divination position.”

Old April 8th, 2008, 8:51 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #2

Seeking a Seeker

"Six glorious years, Minerva. I think it's high time you let one of the other houses have the honour of the Quidditch Cup," Flitwick laughed, saluting the Gryffindor with his small glass of mead.

"Yes, it's not likely you'll find another Charlie Weasley any time soon. My kids will be happy to have a chance again. They do try so hard you know, and little Cedric isn't half bad if I do say so myself," Sprout agreed, as she joined the other househeads around the table. "Where is Dumbledore?" she asked looking about her, as though expecting him to pop out of thin air, which might not have been entirely unwarranted.

"I would hardly call Mr. Diggory little, Pomona. He's taller than you, and his voice is almost as deep as mine now," Snape put in with a sneer. "As for Dumbledore, he is likely teaching a group of first years to whistle in the corridor. Punishing the prompt as per usual."

"I've discussed it several times with Wood," McGonagall continued, ignoring Snape entirely. "Our Chasers work too well together to split them up, and the only other Gryffindors who could possibly fill in are Patricia Stimpson and Geoffrey Hooper. Well, Stimpson cries whenever she's critiqued and Hooper could out-whinge a 2 year old."

Madame Pomfrey, who had just sat down on McGonagall's right, laughed lightly, "I had a visit from Mr. Hooper this morning. He insisted that the house-elves had maliciously washed his sheets in wartcap powder. Honestly, a spot's a spot, and he'll just have to learn to deal with it."

"Precisely! I've decided to surreptitiously observe the flying lesson this afternoon," McGonagall nodded to Hooch, who sat stirring her tea on the other side of the table. "It may be our only recourse to spot a first year with some natural talent. The youngest Weasley boy started this year, so we might just be trading one Weasley for another," she finished with forced cheerfulness.

"Gryffindor will continue it's standing technique of befuddling the competition with the blinding red glare then?" Snape bit out.

McGonagall opened her mouth to retort, but Dumbledore flounced in at that moment, indeed whistling, and began the staff meeting.

__________________________________________________ ___________________

That afternoon McGonagall set herself up in the North corridor, shaded between a few pillars with a good outlook of the wide lawn. Hooch gave her a wink as she marched out towards the assembled first years and began their lesson.

Miss Patil seemed to have flown before, and was at least able to call her broom succinctly. She winced as she watched Mr. Longbottom kick off and hover unsteadily. Neither Frank nor Alice had ever had much skill in flying, so she didn't have much hope for their tentative son.

And indeed, no sooner had his feet left the ground than he began to teeter and rise higher into the air, gasping out frantic calls for help while the Slytherins laughed. McGonagall sat up straighter as she watched him tumble off his broom, but it looked like only a hurt arm. So much for this flying lesson though, he would definitely need to visit Madame Pomfrey.

She slowly got to her feet, meaning to meet her injured student in the hospital wing when she spied Draco Malfoy snatching up Longbottom's Remembrall yet again and taking flight. As he rose into the air, she realized that he was quite a good flyer himself. It's a good thing Severus didn't follow her lead today.

She froze as Harry Potter took off after him, smoothly cutting through the air as though he'd been born on a broom. James Potter had always been a fantastic Quidditch player, but being raised by muggles, his son could certainly never have flown before. Yet, there he was, practically jousting with the blond Slytherin, to the cheers of his comrades on the ground.

She leant out over the banister between the pillars, eyes glued to the dark haired boy as he shot after the glass ball Malfoy had just thrown. He hurtled toward earth fearlessly, snatched the ball from the air only inches from the ground, and twisted his broom handle up just in time to roll lightly onto the grass.

McGonagall was certain that her jaw had hit the stone cobbles, and she stood frozen for a moment before hiking up her robes and running full tilt toward the assembled students, who were now congratulating Potter.

"HARRY POTTER!" she shouted, her mind already racing with plans and arguments if Severus brought up the generally held rule that first-years did not play on the house teams. It really was only a formality to protect them until they could have a bit of training, which Mr. Potter clearly didn't need.

She could see that the boy was trembling in his boots, certain that he'd be expelled.

'Best keep up the act', she thought, 'wouldn't want the Slytherin's plotting before I've even gotten approval.'

She didn't disguise her shock as she spluttered, "Never-in all my time at Hogwarts - how dare you - might have broken your neck - "

"It wasn't his fault Professor--"

"Be quiet, Miss Patil-"

"But Malfoy-"

"That's enough, Mr. Weasley. Potter, follow me, now."
She ignored the smirking Slytherin's and led Potter back towards the castle.

Well, it was her prerogative to observe the first years, and Severus didn't complain this morning when he thought a first year on the Gryffindor team would be a hindrance! Certainly the boy deserves some joy in his life after growing up with those horrible muggles. Yes, that would sway Albus!

Harry marched behind her as though in a funeral procession, and she smirked to herself as she thought of what Wood would say. Coming to the Charms classroom, she opened the door and smiled at Filius.

"Excuse me, Professor Flitwick, could I borrow Wood for a moment?" Flitwick raised an eyebrow, but nodded indulgently. She knew to expect him at her office as soon as classes were dismissed this afternoon, ready to hear the news.

She led Potter and Wood to an empty classroom, too excited to make it all the way back to her office. She quickly sent Peeves on his way, and turned to the two boys with a barely contained grin.

“Potter, this is Oliver Wood. Wood - I've found you a Seeker,” she exclaimed proudly.

Wood's face lit up like Christmas had come early and he cried, "Are you serious, Professor?"

she said crisply, "The boy's a natural. I've never seen anything like it. Was that your first time on a broomstick, Potter?"

Potter nodded dazedly, as McGonagall passed the Remembrall he had retrieved to Wood.

"He caught that thing in his hand after a fifty-foot dive," she told Wood. "Didn't even scratch himself. Charlie Weasley couldn't have done it."

Wood's excitement was electric as he assessed the boy before him.

"Ever seen a game of Quidditch, Potter?" he asked breathlessly.

"Wood's captain of the Gryffindor team," she explained to the still stunned looking Potter.

"He's just the build for a Seeker too," Wood said, circling Harry like a farmer evaluating a new horse. "Light - speedy - we'll have to get him a decent broom Professor - a Nimbus 2000 or a Cleansweep 7, I'd say.”

McGonagall nodded, already planning her mode of attack. She obviously couldn’t expect his relatives to buy him a broomstick, so she’d have to take matters into her own hands. "I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can't bend the first-year rule."

'Better give him some motivation', she thought as she gazed at the bespeckled boy. "I want to hear you're training hard, Potter, or I may change my mind about punishing you. Your father would have been proud. He was an excellent Quidditch player himself."

She smiled at them, as he nodded yet again, still speechless, and she bustled them back off to class.

Elated that she might just be able to keep that trophy in her office for another year, she made her way to Professor Dumbledore’s office at a fast clip.

*Original dialogue from PS in italics

Last edited by hermy_weasley2; April 8th, 2008 at 11:50 pm.
Old April 11th, 2008, 10:15 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #3
The common room was packed to bursting and the cheering was so loud that some of the
portraits were covering their ears, but Ginny felt edgy and slightly sick. She had been determined that

they would win the match – and not just the match but the cup too. Anything less than absolute victory

would be letting Harry down, and she knew he would never have forgiven himself for getting himself a

detention during the last match of the season. She silently seethed at Snape. He had done on it purpose

of course, arranging for the detention to be served during the quidditch match, but it would take more

than that git to stop Gryffindor. What she wouldn’t give to see the look on his face when he heard the

result. She smiled to herself imagining, his shock and fury. At the moment though he was still denying her

Harry’s presence and she despised him for it.
And then there was Cho. Ginny’s insides writhed as she thought of the Ravenclaw seeker.
Harry was no longer interested in Cho, but the thought that he had snogged her had made Ginny

determined that Cho was not going to beat her at quidditch.
You’re a fool Ginny Weasley she told herself as her eyes rested on Ron with whom
she seemed to have unexpectedly developed a certain empathy.
“That was amazing, you flew brilliantly” a third year was clapping her on the back and she
smiled mechanically.

How could she enjoy the party? How could she celebrate when the whole reason she had
flown like a demon wasn’t even here?

She had tried. Nobody could ever say that she hadn’t tried to get over Harry. It had seemed to
work for a while as well. She had got over her shyness with him and had soon been talking and

laughing with him like any of his friends. Just as she was beginning to accept that that was all they were

ever going to be, she noticed a subtle change in him. Once or twice she had caught him staring at her and

sometimes he did seem to laugh just a little too loudly at her jokes. She didn’t want to get her hopes

up, but he was behaving for all the world like he fancied her. Hermione had hinted that she thought so

She could feel a little more in charity with Hermione now they had won the cup. That had
been another reason for playing so hard: Hermione’s holier-than-thou attitude over the Malfoy incident

in the bathroom. Yet there she was looking just as pleased as anyone that Gryffindor had won, and

hardly taking her eyes off Ron. Honestly those two! Would they never get together? Mind you looking at

her brother, she could hardly blame Hermione.
Ron as usual was behaving like a complete idiot. Any one would think he had won the cup
single-handedly. She smiled watching him re-play a particularly good save. Dean handed Ron the cup.

Her guts twisted again. She didn’t know why she should feel the least bit guilty about urging Dean to

get a blinking move on and score. It had been for the team, though in her heart she knew it had really been

for Harry. Even so her and Dean were finished, so what did it matter if she wanted them to win the cup

for Harry. Two large seventh years were now holding Ron on their shoulders and he was brandishing the

cup above his head, until one of the seventh years lost his balance and they all fell in a heap on the

floor. As Ginny laughed the portrait hole opened. She caught her breath. Harry was finally back from

Everyone was screaming and yelling as he was pulled bodily through the hole. Ginny struggled
to get through the crowd to him, her heart beating so hard and fast she thought it would burst.
“We won!” she heard Ron yell brandishing the cup. “We won! Four hundred and fifty
to a hundred and forty! We won!”
Ginny broke free of the crowd and ran towards him, as he stood there looking stunned.
She flung her arms around him unable to speak. And then the world seemed to stop moving.
Somehow his lips had found hers, and he was kissing her.
She had imagined this moment so many times, but the reality of it was something she could never have


Her heart felt like it was inflating. Her head was full of his scent; it was so familiar yet she could never

get enough of it. A subtle aroma that had always filled her with yearning, but now it was filling her up.
Was she dreaming?

No it was really real.

Harry was kissing her, and she was kissing him, and the world would never be the same again.

They broke apart.
Oh please! Please don’t let him blush and mumble that he was sorry – it had been a mistake.
She could here girls giggling and boys wolf-whistling, while Harry was looking over her head.
She didn’t dare look up. She wanted to hold the moment in her memory forever.
She felt him move and looked up. He was grinning down at her. His green eyes, his beautiful
green eyes looking at her in a way that took her breath away. He jerked his head towards the portrait

hole, and took her hand. She grinned back at him.

This party could carry on without them.

Old April 12th, 2008, 1:06 am
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #4

“Wait. All except…except for the Mudblood.”

The voice was speaking in a low, scaring calm. Hermione was terrified at how much joy and fear Bellatrix had taken to the thought of torture, or perhaps death. Her eyes were glued on the wicked witch for what seemed like such short moments until Ron had protested against her. Hermione dared to take a quick glance at him and caught a glimpse of Bellatrix Lestrange slapping her best friend. The sound echoed the room and Hermione tore her eyes away from the ginger haired boy and allowed tears to form in her eyes.

Bellatrix then looked at the man who had brought Hermione and her friends up to the Malfoy’s Manor. She did not know whom she feared most, Greyback or Bellatrix, but both were very wild and vicious. She listened to the heartless woman as she barked orders at him and finally what she had feared happened. Bellatrix unbound the rope on Hermione’s wrists, yanked her by the hair, and then suddenly Hermione was against Bellatrix’s body. Greyback took Harry and Ron and with shuffling feet she knew they were gone.

“Now, what to do with you? Such a filthy little Mudblood.” Bellatrix pointed her wand at Hermione and with a flash of light she was screaming with all her might. She had never felt the wrath of the Cruciatus Curse, and now she was sure she would die from the pain.

“Bella,” a voice interrupted the connection and Hermione was finally free of the curse. She dared to open her eyes and saw Draco Malfoy’s mother next to her sister, Bellatrix. “We need her to talk. Do not torture her unless it is for information, or the Dark Lord will not be forgiving.”

There was a moment’s silence and Bellatrix glared at her sister, but again she turned and pointed her wand at Hermione. “You will answer my every question or I’ll torture you slowly before I kill you,” she said menacingly. Hermione made no recognition that she had had heard her, the pain was just starting to recede and Hermione’s ears were ringing with the echoes of her screams. The tip of Bellatrix’s wand lit once again with the already too familiar curse Hermione wished she had never encountered. Screams were echoing the massive room, but they weren’t only Hermione’s.

“DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME, MUDBLOOD?” she shouted but Hermione couldn’t respond because of the pain. Her arms were twitching up close to her to her body, twitching violently. She had always feared something would happen to her eyes and now they were rolling painfully inside her head. Soon, her arms fell limply to the floor and she felt tears streaming down her face.

“Now, tell me where you found the sword.”

The voice seemed so demanding, and it seemed as if she were taking pleasure of it all. Hermione made for an answer but she couldn’t find her voice.

“I’m going to ask you again! Where did you find this sword? Where?” Bellatrix’s wand rose again but Hermione knew she couldn’t handle the pain anymore.

“We found it,” she realized she was running out of steam and she could hardly breath. “We found it. PLEASE!” Her last words were again finished with screams once the Cruciatus Curse hit her again.

“You’re lying, filthy Mudblood, and I know it! You have been inside my fault at Gringots! Tell the truth, tell the truth!” but she never gave Hermione the chance to answer. Her eyes were clamped shut and she couldn’t see anything, and even if she had opened her eyes tears would have blinded her. Never did the pain recede, and she was almost positive blood had started to gently trickle down from her nose. Bellatrix said something once more, but it came out in muffles. Hermione’s ears were ringing so loudly she had nearly deafened herself by her own screams.

She was longing for someone to step up to Bellatrix and stop her again. She didn’t care who it was, as long as the awful woman would stop hurting her. She feared of what Voldemort might do to her once he arrived, but she savored the thought of being free of Bellatrix’s curse for those few minutes once he stopped her.

Again the pain seared through Hermione’s body but she heard the last of Bellatrix’s words. “ANSWER ME!”

The only thing Hermione noticed was that this time the pain never stopped.

Again Bellatrix asked about the sword, and Hermione told her about it being a copy, but according to her violent-like seizer, it was apparent that Bellatrix didn’t believe her.

“Draco, fetch the Goblin, he can tell us whether the sword is real or not!” Hermione noticed that it was a man’s voice that had spoke, and she recognized it but she couldn’t place whom it belonged to. The curse was stopped at last and Hermione was left limp on the ground and sitting in her tears. She listened as Draco scuffed to the cellar and yelled at everyone below.

There was an extra presence in the room, she could tell, because there was a loud thunk next to her own body. The extra guest stood and straightened its clothes by patting at them as if to wipe away all dust on him. She tried to lean up herself, it was much harder than she thought, but someone had caught up to her too quickly and then preformed the awful spell on her again. She fell to the floor but this time it had all ended once she landed. She thought it was finally over, but again she was hit. The previous curser had not been Bellatrix.

“What was that?”

It was the male voice again. Hermione forced her eyes to open, and although everything she saw were blurry blobs of wet, she saw a shining blob of silver or something similar. Lucius Malfoy. “Did you hear that? What was that noise in the cellar? Draco, no! Wormtail! Make him check!”

Hermione shivered at the thought of being in the presence of Peter Pettigrew once again. The last time she had seen him was when he was cowering for his life at Harry’s feet. He was the true murderer of Harry’s parents and all those other people. Sirius had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, though if Peter hadn’t escaped that day he sure as well would have been dead. Sirius was, after all, going after him to kill him.

She heard whispers going on at the other end of the room. Everyone had forgotten about her and she took that exact moment to try and relax. Her breathing was finally starting to settle and the tears on her face were drying, though a few fresh ones would overlap the old ones but not quiet in such a flooding fashion. Finally, braving to open her eyes, she sat up and saw that it was the Goblin that had been brought up. She made no noise and saw that everyone else had been huddled in the far side of the room, talking about the sword no less.

Narcissa was looking back to a door behind her and Hermione noticed that everyone else had started to look as well. What could possibly be taking so long?” said Narcissa.

There were many load noises going on from the floor below and Hermione was curious as to what was going on. Leaning up to a nearly straight sitting position, she tried to look past the group, but the Goblin had grabbed her attention first. She knew his purpose up here, and that was to identify the sword.

“You need to tell them it’s a fake,” she whispered but the Goblin looked at her strangely. Her small and weak voice had apparently been loud enough for everyone to hear because everyone turned back to her and she realized she had made a mistake. Bellatrix ran up to her and grabbed her by the hair.

“What did you tell him? TELL ME!” Hermione was kicked viciously in the side and she fell to the ground, letting a loud scream pass her lips. It hadn’t hurt quiet as badly as the Cruciatus Curse, but it hurt her weakening bones that seemed to be bruised in every inch of her body accepted the pain just the same and then everything had gone black. She couldn’t see anything and knew that in some way, she must be unconscious, but she had still been able to hear.

“Well?" Bellatrix was asking about the sword now. She had been holding it this whole time and her attention never seemed to leave it. The small Goblin took a moment before answering the long awaited question of Bellatrix’s before Hermione had finally been able to completely relax.

“No. It is a fake.” The Goblin replied. Hermione tried to take a deep breath but it hurt too much. Her head was spinning and she knew she couldn’t take any more chances at trying to relax again.

“Are you sure?” Bellatrix seemed anxious and it seemed that she had been slightly frightened by the unexpected answer. “Quite sure?”

“Yes,” was the Goblin’s simple reply.

“Good.” There was a small whistling sound and Hermione was sure that Bellatrix had been using her wand once again. As if to be immediately answered, the Goblin fell the ground with a tiny shout of it’s own and landed next to her. “And now, we call the Dark Lord!”

Hermione was frightened and she knew that Bellatrix had won. All Voldemort had wanted was Harry and now she had captured all three of them, though Voldemort had now use for neither her nor Ron. Though she still couldn’t see anything around her and her breathing was less than steady, she knew that Bellatrix had used her Dark Mark.

“And I think we can dispose of the Mudblood. Greyback, take her if you want her.” Bellatrix said it so casually that Hermione was now fully aware of how dangerous the woman was. She panicked, and her head seemed to spin so quickly that she felt as if she would die from the pressure.

Her thoughts were interrupted from a loud, terrified scream. It had nearly sounded more terrified than her own thoughts. “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” It was Ron! “Expelliarums!” he thundered and there was yet another whistling sound of a wand, but only this time it had lasted much longer and then ended suddenly with a faint landing. She had no idea who had just been disarmed nor where their wand had landed, but she had hoped it was Bellatrix’s. Hermione was startled at the thought of not being able to see what was going on around her.

There was another curse of, “Stupefy!” and there was another loud thud on the ground but this time it was someone much bigger than the Goblin. There were curses being shouted from all over the room, and many sounds of breaking ornaments and shattered vases had echoed in Hermione’s ears. She was defenseless. Wanting to get up, Hermione tried with all her might to focus on the things around her. Things were gradually growing from black to a fuzzy white, though infamous blobs were starting to form. Trying to gather her strength back, she lifted her body slightly to the ground before landing back painfully on the ground. The next time she had tried she thought she had succeeded when her body was raised from the ground, but she then realized that she was being lifted from someone else.

“STOP OR SHE DIES!” A small knife was placed to Hermione’s small throat and she wanted to run away, or even defend herself by hitting the other woman, but she seemed unable to move in Bellatrix’s grasp. “Drop your wands. Drop them, or we’ll see exactly how filthy her blood is!” Bellatrix said. Hermione’s bones seemed to be shaking but she couldn’t control anything she had done anymore. There was only questioning of how exactly she was even still living at all and rather if her life would last much longer.

“I said, drop them!” With those last few words Hermione felt something hot barely oozing from her throat. She was afraid of her own thoughts, but she had to remain calm. She couldn’t think of the blood that may be trickling down her throat.

"All right!” It sounded like Harry and he was angry now. Hermione wanted to call out to him to run, that Voldemort would be coming soon, but even her voice seemed broken.

“Good!” said Bellatrix, and Hermione half hoped it would be her that would be getting their wands, but she had expected too much. “Draco, pick them up! The Dark Lord is coming, Harry Potter! Your death approaches! Now, Cissy, I think we ought to tie these little heroes up again, while Greyback takes care of Miss Mudblood. I am sure the Dark Lord will not begrudge you the girl, Greyback, after what you have done tonight.”

The thoughts running through Hermione’s mind raced as she imagined what Greyback may do to her, but she didn’t care nearly as much about herself as what might happen to Ron and Harry once Voldemort had arrived. They were all doomed! Before Greyback had ever approached Bellatrix or Hermione, however, there was a terrible sound from above and she felt Bellatrix’s grasp upon her loosen and her body fell with a great thump on top of the little Goblin. It was Bellatrix’s turn to scream, and Hermione was glad that she had finally realized what terrible pain had felt like, but she was never able to glorify the moment of glory once there was a shattering sound around her and the weight of a gigantic chandelier on the top of her.

At last, Hermione wasn’t able to hear, see, or feel anything at all. It seemed as if all of life had ended in the matter of seconds.

Last edited by hermy_weasley2; April 12th, 2008 at 3:02 am.
Old April 18th, 2008, 7:54 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry 1, week III:

The Edge

"Please, Severus."

Snape watched the old man slide down the wall. How could he ask me to do this!

Feeling as if he was going to be violently sick, he raised his wand.
"Avada Kedavra!"
There was a blinding flash and a piercing scream, then suddenly it was dark.

Severus Snape lay in the dark panting, his nightshirt damp with sweat, shaking uncontrollably, as
he realized it was his own voice that had screamed. Even in sleep there was no relief. He got unsteadily to his

feet and went across to a row of potions lined up neatly on the floor. Silently lighting his wand, he picked

up one of the bottles and with a shaking hand took a long drink. Dreamless sleep. How he longed for dreamless
sleep. He pushed his hair out of his face, feeling the tears on his cheeks. He wiped them away quickly, and sat

back down on the bed. The last months had been some of the worst of his life. It was bad enough trying to

cope with the loss of the one person who had ever trusted him, ever shown any faith in him, but that it had

been by his own hand! How could he live with himself? And then of course the entire wizarding world was

after him. So far he'd managed to stay hidden. He'd also stayed away from the other Death Eaters. Voldemort

had been pleased with him. Of course he'd been punished for his disobedience, but there was no mistaking

the air of triumph that now hung around the Dark Lord. So he'd been excused from other Death Eater

activities, and allowed to go into hiding. No one doubted him; no one suggested he had divided loyalties now;

no one thought he'd avoided the dirty jobs any more. He shuddered and by a tremendous act of will stopped

himself from vomiting up the potion he had just drank. The shack swam before his eyes - sleep at last.

When Snape awoke the light was starting to fade. He got up stiffly and stretched, trying to
ignore the aching hunger that wracked his body and the doubts that wracked his mind. If it was up to him, if

it was just about him he'd have already given up. Living was just agony and he didn't want it any more. But he

had to live. He had to hang on. Take care of Draco and Narcissa; search for the horcruxes. Protect Potter.

Potter! A surge of emotion filled him. Anger, hatred, frustration, and with it a vague feeling of admiration

and respect, which only increased his frustration. Why couldn't he hate the boy in peace?

Peace. He'd never had any peace. He dressed swiftly, his wand by his side on the bed.
A noise downstairs caught his attention. He listened carefully, straining his ears. Something was
coming up the stairs. He picked up wand, his eyes fixed on the door, holding his breath. A cat walked

haughtily into the room and he sighed, put down his wand, and struggled to swallow the lump that had just

formed in his throat. The cat jumped on to the bed and a familiar voice said,
"Severus, you look terrible!"
Professor McGonagall looked truly appalled at what she saw. Her eyes had become shiney with
unshed tears and she blinked rapidly. Don't cry Minerva, Snape thought, please! He struggled again

with the lump in his throat. His stomach rumbled loudly, and she pursed her lips and looked at him a

little accusingly.
"Have you been looking after yourself Severus?" He didn't think she expected an answer. Without
a word she waved her wand and produced a table, a plate of food and a goblet. Snape hesitated for only a

second, then tucked in. It tasted fantastic! "What do you think Dumbledore would say if he saw you like this?"

He froze - that was low. He slowly resumed chewing and swallowed.
"Well, we'll never know will we," he said, trying to keep his voice level and even.
"For goodness sake Severus, stop it! You had no choice! Dumbledore laid it all out very plainly."
She paused for a moment, apparently struggling to maintain her composure. "You did a very brave thing

Severus." Snape stared at the floor examining cat paw prints in the dust, his jaw clenched very tight. He

couldn't speak. He wished she would change the subject. His throat was constricting painfully from the effort

of holding back the tidal wave of emotion that threatened to crash over him and the only way he could

stop it was to think of something else. A tricky potion; the draught of peace was very fiddly - shredded

chamomile leaves, added to an infusion of lavender flowers boiled rapidly over a high flame for two minutes.

Extinguish the flame and allow to cool for one minute before adding powdered bluebird feathers. Stir anti-

clockwise seven times... Snape breathed steadily, as the tightness in his throat relaxed. Minerva sniffed

and when she spoke again her voice was business-like.
"How are the Malfoys?" Snape paused swallowing hard before he dared answer.
"Narcissa." He sighed and shook his head and resumed eating. "Narcissa is... very weak! She's...
terrified of what Draco will be asked to do next. The Ministry are after them and she seems incapable of

surviving without all the comforts of home! Draco... Draco is at least listening to me now. The Dark Lord

punished him... very severely. He… it affected him badly. He's used to being privileged and… he's not

used to being punished." Minerva nodded. "What about Hogwarts?" Snape asked suddenly. "Has the security

been increased again?"
"Yes. The Ministry has provided six aurors to patrol the school and grounds as well as guard trolls
at strategic positions." Snape sneered. "And of course we have our own additional security."
"What of Potter? Is it true that he's back at Hogwarts?"
"Yes," Minerva replied. "But not as a full time student - he is studying Defence against the Dark
Arts and also Charms at NEWT level. I think we have Miss Granger to thank for that."
"Who is teaching Defence against the Dark Arts?"
"Anna Hartley." Snape frowned; he knew the name, and his mind ran through his mental
database of students. Ah yes, Anna Hartley! "She got 'Exceeds Expectations' in her potions NEWT - and

'Outstanding' in Defence against the Dark Arts if I remember correctly."
"You do Severus - she was head girl as well." Severus nodded as he cleared his plate.
"As I remember she never stopped talking... and she smiled too much." A muscle in McGonagall’s
cheek twitched. "And who's teaching transfiguration?" he asked, picking up the goblet.
"Nicodemus Baddesley." There was unmistakeable disapproval in her voice. Snape choked.
"Does he still have the tail?"
"No," replied Minerva her lips twitching "But I am still teaching the NEWT students." Snape
refrained from commenting. "Potter... " McGonagall started tentatively. "Potter is spending a lot of time

working on something that Albus left him." Snape nodded."You know what this is then?" Minerva asked.
"Yes - in fact" - he took a roll of parchment out of his robes and handed to her. It was covered in
small cramped writing. "One moment," he took the parchment back from McGonagall and tapped it with

his wand. The writing instantly transformed into Dumbledore's loopy hand. "There - if he saw my

writing he'd put it straight in the fire." Minerva nodded
“After what he witnessed on the tower…" she said sadly.
"Whereas before that I was his favourite teacher," Snape snapped back. McGonagall looked
"You could have made more of an effort Severus!"
"He had enough people falling over themselves to pamper him."
Minerva, her lips pressed together and her nostrils flared, maintained a dignified silence for a few moments

before replying.
“I haven’t come here to argue about Potter.” Snape’s eyes flew to her face and he recognised
the steely glint in her eye.
"Well, see that he gets that - it's important information," he said sulkily. Minerva nodded and
stowed the parchment in her own robes. "With Dumbledore gone it is extremely likely that the Dark

Lord will try to take the school," Snape said getting to his feet and lighting a row of candles with a wave

of his wand.
"Yes, it had crossed my mind," Minerva answered acidly.
"And the Ministry? What do they say about that?" he asked frowning. McGonagall snorted
"They are determined to believe that their security is impenetrable!"
"Fools!" Snape spat. "They are still more concerned with how things appear, than how they
actually are. I think we have some time though. With Dumbledore gone he does not seem to regard Hogwarts

as a priority. He seems to think he can simply stroll up the drive whenever he pleases." Minerva pressed her

lips together indignantly. "At the moment he is more concerned with the Ministry."
"That is fortunate for us," Minerva said. Snape paced up and down, trying to find the words
to voice his concern.

"Then there's Bellatrix Lestrange," he said, and turned towards McGonagall. "She's completely
"I think we've been aware of that for some time Severus" she said dryly.
"She's desperate - desperate to regain her place as the Dark Lord's most trusted servant. She
will stop at nothing." Professor McGonagall's face paled.
"Even killing you?" she asked tentatively. Snape sneered and waved her concern aside.
"Oh I'm sure she wants to, but she knows that would not please the Dark Lord. But she's planning
something. There are the rumours among the Death Eaters - rumours of experiments."

"What kind of experiments?" Minerva asked. Snape shook his head.
"I've heard whispers of dark creatures and transfiguration. I'm not sure I can begin to imagine
what they are doing. But I fear… I fear that she will attempt to bring Potter to the Dark Lord." He looked

down at McGonagall; her eyes were wide and fearful.
“The Order are prepared to protect him Severus,” she said lifting her chin proudly.
"What news of the Order?" he inquired, looking away, knowing the loss of Dumbledore would
have hit them hard.
"Well, we have a new leader." Snape nodded, knowing he couldn't be told their identity.
"And several new recruits." She paused for a moment. "Do you need anything Severus?"
"No," he said quickly, he could look after himself. But then there was… maybe he could. "Actually
- I need somewhere to store my books." McGonagall’s eyebrows shot up.
"Your books?" she asked faintly, looking totally bewildered as to how he could be thinking
of books at a time like this.
"Yes - I managed to remove them before the Ministry arrived at Spinner's End. Some of them
are very rare, and rather delicate, and they need the right environment."
"Of course I'll look after them Severus." Snape got the feeling she was trying not to smile.
"They may prove useful - to Potter, or at least to Miss Granger, which is the same thing.
They're in the trunks downstairs. It might be best if you come back another evening."

"How long are you staying here?" she asked.
"I'm leaving tonight - I can't risk being in one place too long. I've been using polyjuice potion
when I travel. It removes a lot of the risk." Minerva nodded, her eyes shining again.
"Take care of yourself Severus. We need you." Snape froze. He knew it was true, but
to actually hear it. They needed him. That was what kept him going.
"Thank you Minerva." McGonagall frowned.
"What for?"
"For believing in me," he said, looking at the floor. Minerva sniffed loudly.
"After everything you've done for us Severus, of course I believe in you. I must get back to the
school," she said. Snape nodded.
"I will contact you in the usual way," he said. Minerva stood up, transforming back into the
cat as she did so. Snape watched her go, sure that she had no idea that she had probably just saved his


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In case I forget: Opinions posted in the US Political Discussion forum are posted as a member and not as a moderator

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth. - Oscar Wilde

We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving. - Kingsley

Sustainability should be a part of what we do every day.
Old April 18th, 2008, 7:55 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry 2, Week III:

"Grampa Ted said that my roar's better'n Livy's, Daddy!" Leo crowed as he raced across the sitting room with his red overnight bag strapped to his back.

"Did he? Well, you've got the name advantage, so you can't be too hard on her," Remus smiled softly, snatching the 3 year old up into his arms. He watched Livy shuffle in slowly--her eyes wide and her book clutched to her chest--definitely not looking up to roaring.

Grandpa Ted followed with his hand on Teddy's shoulder, "We'd be happy to keep them for another night Remus. I know you must be--"

"No, it's good for them to be home, and the healers say they'll only be another day or so in St. Mungo's. You and Andy have done more than enough." Remus raised his hand to stroke Livy's blonde curls and watched Teddy flop onto the couch without saying a word, his hair black as soot.

"Andy's staying with Dora tonight, so be sure to get some sleep, yeah?" Ted advised in a fatherly manner. Nodding Remus sighed and thanked Ted again as he showed him back to the flew.

Returning to the quiet sitting room, he settled himself into his patched arm chair, with Leo on his lap and forced a smile to his face, "Did you have fun with Grandma and Grandpa?"

Livy came over to sit beside her father in his big chair and snuggled up to his side. They all sat quietly for a moment before Livy broke the silence. "Are Mummy and baby Johnny gonna be alright?" she asked hesitantly.

Teddy raised questioning black eyes to his father, looking desperate for a real answer. Remus knew they probably had gotten little more than vague comments that things weren't quite right, and they deserved an explanation. "Mum's just fine. They kept her at the hospital to make sure that her blood was okay and to see if she could help the baby if they put special medicine in her milk." He looked from face to face, and hugged Leo closer to him.

"Johnny...well, Johnny," he stopped and took a deep breath, starting again slowly. "When your mummy and I got married I wasn't sure we could have kids because I thought my being a werewolf might hurt our kids or change them. Your Uncle Harry convinced me that I was just being silly, and I'm glad he did because without him I'd have never met Teddy and Olivia and Leo," he said, squeezing Leo's knee and putting his arm around Livy.

"All three of you were fine and we thought...well, we thought it wasn't a problem. But a few days ago, when Johnny was born, the healer noticed that he had yellowish eyes like I do."

Teddy made a small gasping noise and Livy stiffened beside him. Remus gulped, knowing the older kids had already realized what this might mean.

"The healers tested Johnny's blood, and it turns out that he's a werewolf like me," he said, trying to control the tremor in his voice. Livy looked from her Dad to Teddy and back again, nervously picking at the corner of her book.

"They've never seen an infant--a baby, that had werewolf blood, and they didn't know if Johnny could take the same medicine that I do." He cleared his throat, "Also, there are some people in the government who think that werewolves are completely bad, and those people thought that the healers shouldn't even try to help Johnny."

Leo squirmed in his daddy's lap, clearly restless in the tense room, but he kept uncharacteristically quiet. "Uncle Harry and I and lots of our family have been doing our best the last few days to make sure Johnny is safe. Aunt Hermione is doing all she can to find a potion that Johnny can take, and Uncle Bill's been working on making a better place where we can go--"

His voice broke and he ran his hand across his face. Teddy stood up and came to lean against his dad's legs. Remus took a deep breath and continued, "--where Johnny and I can go on the full moon, so I can h-help him."

Leo turned and peered into his Remus' eyes, worry etched into his little face. Livy was grasping her father's hand now, book forgotten, "But he'll be okay, right? Every time, you're okay. It just hurts a little."

Unconsciously Remus winced a bit, but nodded, "I think so. Everybody's doing their best to make sure, honey."

"But they know werewolves can be good because they've met you, Dad. They can't keep us from helping Johnny! That's not fair," Teddy whined in a scared voice.

"No, it's not fair. You're right, and Mr. Weasley, Professor McGonagall, Uncle Ron, and everybody is making sure that they can't keep us from helping him," Remus said firmly, looking into his sons eyes.

Turning in his father's arms, Leo said confidently, "Johnny's going to be a nice werewolf like you Daddy." And he changing his eyes to gold to match his father's.

Remus patted his brown curls and smiled at him as Teddy piped in, "Yes, he will! Johnny will be a very nice werewolf, Leo. We'll make sure!" And he too turned his eyes and hair to match his father's. He even copied the white gashes that ran across the werewolf’s cheeks as he stood proudly before them.

Remus felt his own eyes fog with tears, and he pulled his oldest son down to kiss his forehead. "Yes! You're right! With such a great family, he's bound to be great!" He patted Teddy's shoulder and smiled warmly at his children. “We’ll go see Mummy and Johnny tomorrow so we better get to bed.”

"I think Johnny can win at roaring, Daddy," Leo said seriously. Livy and Teddy giggled while Remus let out a laughing sob, ruffling his son's hair, "I think so Leo. I think so."

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In case I forget: Opinions posted in the US Political Discussion forum are posted as a member and not as a moderator

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth. - Oscar Wilde

We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving. - Kingsley

Sustainability should be a part of what we do every day.
Old April 18th, 2008, 7:56 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry 3, Week III:

Another year at Hogwarts begins, but where is Harry Potter? He is not there, no one, not even members of the Order of the Phoenix know where he is. “He must have just slipped our minds, they all say.” Which creeps people out because most of the students don’t know who they are, and also partially because they all say this in perfect unison. But the teachers aren’t too worried, they figure that Harry can take care of himself, considering all that has happened these last few years.

In fact, Harry is not in trouble as you might suspect, he is actually at a local carnival where Voldemort has taken him out as a birthday present. Even though it is a little late in the year, Dumbledore always used to say you should know your enemies. And every time he started thinking about what Dumbledore used to say, Harry’s eyes began to tear up and he immediately decided to do whatever he thought Dumbledore would have done. And as Hermione mentions after, he could be quite wrong about what Dumbledore had said, and that she didn’t actually ever recall him saying that people should eat so many hotdogs they throw up.

Anyways, at the carnival, Harry is riding the Ferris wheel with Voldemort, or as Harry now likes to call him, Goldieport. Given the new technologies of the 20th magical era, Voldemort, or Goldieport has died his hair blonde, he couldn’t stay bald forever now could he? On the Ferris wheel, after a minute of awkward silence these two magical powers begin to discuss potatoes.

“I believe that Sam Gamgee had an excellent opinion about potatoes, although he could have used a nice curry instead of coriander.” While Goldieport is speaking Harry nods politely, although he has no idea what curry or coriander is, he is thinking that Dumbledore would have wanted him to pretend to understand. As the conversation moves to politics, Harry is still as confused as ever, and, still nodding politely, begins to stare out the window.

Down on a bench near the carnival entrance he spies a beautiful young girl. Immediately he decides that Dumbledore would have wanted him to think of a poem he could say to her once he got off.

Meanwhile unbeknownst to either of these unacquainted lovers, there is a terrible scheme being played out, Voldemort, or Goldieport as he now like Harry to call him, is in fact not being kind and generous at all, but is planning to kill Harry as soon as the ride is over. He had decided that since killing Harry in a sparsely populated graveyard didn’t work, he would try again in a place so packed you couldn’t see your feet. He still couldn’t believe his good fortune when Harry had actually said yes to his proposition. He thought for sure that Harry would decline after he had accidentally lost his temper and turned Harry’s relatives into cute little puppy dogs.

As the ride finally drew to a close, they stepped off the platform, adrenaline was pumping in Goldieport’s veins, how he would relish this moment later, he couldn’t wait to get home and tell Snuggles, his pet gofer, all about it.

As they walked toward the carnival exit, Voldemort can hear Harry muttering underneath his breath, something about beautiful hair and coriander.

“Alright Harry, this is it, draw your wand!” Voldemort rages

“Um, ok.” Harry says, as he draws his wand, but his mind is too preoccupied to register exactly what Goldieport is doing, too busy thinking about coriander and potatoes.

“Avada Kedavra! ****, missed. Avada Kedavra! **** I missed again, too many people. Avada Kedavra! Darn it, why are all these people here?”

Meanwhile, Harry Potter has still not caught on to what Voldemort is doing. What is he doing, he wonders? Then everything clicks into place, the people that have been following him for weeks, the sorcerers stone, the cat that had been reading a map outside his door, everything. But the first thing his brain system gives him as a solution is WWDD what would Dumbledore Do?

The love poem, that’s what he would do, Dumbledore would have wanted Harry to recite his love poem before he died, because didn’t Dumbledore say, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, or something like that? And if Harry hadn’t seen this girl, he would definitely be reciting love poems to himself right now.

So Harry sprints over to the girl.

“Um, hi, I’m Harry Potter, I um, saw you from on the Ferris Wheel and I would like to, uh, read you a uh, little love poem I wrote.”

Giggle giggle she says, “I know who you are, I’ve read about you in Hogwarts, A History.” Giggle giggle.

“Gees, has everyone red that book but me? Anyway, here it goes, ahem…

Roses are red, Violets are not
I reach out my hand

And it’s your nose I’ve got

“um, that’s kind of it, because I couldn’t find anything that rhymes with curry or potatoes, but I hope you liked it.”

“Oh, it was wonderful! I especially liked the part where you said not, and then you rhymed it with got, I love poems.”

At this moment, Goldieport, who had been trying to curse Harry the entire time, finally gets a killing curse strong enough to poke Harry in the back. All this strenuous exercise had been very laborious to Goldieport, and his magical energies were very drained, but don’t criticize, have you ever been dead for fourteen years?

Anyways, crawling on the ground, Goldieport unleashes his final, and what he hopes to be the most powerful killing spell ever performed. Needless to say, he was greatly disappointed when Harry at that precise moment chose to look on the ground and spy a dime and pick it up, causing the curse to rocket harmlessly into the atmosphere.

Completely drained, Goldieport just lay there on the ground, watching potatoes go around and around inside his head. But almost immediately the muggle ozone patrol show up and take Voldemort to jail, and as an answer to Harry’s questioning look an officer points to a sign next to a tree.

Damage to the Ozone will be punished to the full extent of the law

Surprising to say, this was quite a happy ending overall, the world saved, and Snuggles the gofer can finally fulfill his lifelong dream and go and live with Harry forever and ever. However, this love story does not go too well for Harry, because in reality, the beautiful girl Harry had spied from the Ferris wheel was actual Mad-eye Moody drinking polyjuice potion. This lead to many awkward moments at the Order of the Phoenix head quarters later that night. It seemed that Mad-eye was the only one to escape the parallel imperious curse that the death eaters had cleverly performed, but instead of helping the rest, he pushed his advantage and tried to lure Harry to safety by himself using unusual techniques, aka, polyjuicing a beautiful woman.

Goldieport’s killing curses seemed to not function the same way as they used to, not a single person was killed, or even harmed during Goldieport’s Avada Kedavra rampage, and as Harry discovers later, it was due to Voldemort’s new golden hair, the blondness took away the usual amount of brainpower needed to successfully do the curse. Lucius Malfoy doesn’t count.

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In case I forget: Opinions posted in the US Political Discussion forum are posted as a member and not as a moderator

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth. - Oscar Wilde

We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving. - Kingsley

Sustainability should be a part of what we do every day.
Old April 25th, 2008, 11:23 am
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Final Week

Entry #1

I woke up freezing cold. I took a deep breath and felt a weird tingly sensation shoot along my body. I wasn't in pain though. That was a good sign, right? I could hardly think I was so cold. Where was I? I vaguely remembered being in a boat of some kind with...my gram? Weird. Must have been a dream.

"Is he up yet?" a voice asked.

I opened my eyes and screeched at the top of my lungs because somebody's face was right in front of mine. I raised my hands to push them away, but then that tingly feeling was back, running down my arms and making me shiver.

"Oh sorry, my boy, I didn't realize you were already with us," the intruding face said.

And then I recognized him, "Sir Nicholas?" My voice sounded very strange, like I was talking through a tunnel.

"In the flesh...well, you know what I mean," he floated back from me and turned around. "Yes, he's up now, Friar. We’ll be out shortly. Let the others know."

"Oh wonderful! How does he feel? Does he remember yet? Who did he speak to?" the Friar questioned excitedly.

"Just give him some time won't you? Go on and tell everyone. They're waiting!" Sir Nicholas answered impatiently.

This was really strange. What on earth was happening? Did we win? Where was Harry? It looked like I was still at Hogwarts, but from the rough stones and charmed windows I think it was one of the deserted rooms in the dungeon. Maybe that's why I was so cold.

"Now don't rush young man. I know it's all a bit confusing, but it will all make sense in the end. Do you remember the battle Mr. Creevey?" he asked me calmly.

That scared me more than anything. Sir Nicholas was always excited and loud, never quietly calm. What had happened? Had everybody died? I tried to jump to my feet, but all I felt was the whooshing of wind as I was catapulted across the room.

"Hang on there! Hang on! Takes a bit of practice to get the hang of that. Just take a few breaths and listen to me!" he cried, but listening was the last thing I wanted to do. I started gasping and looked down at my body. I was see-through! I screamed again and stared in horror at my transparent hands. I must have begun drifting because I floated into the wall, and again felt that tingling all down my back.

Sir Nicholas rushed forward and grabbed my arm, pulling me back into the room as he muttered comforting words to try to calm me down. "We won the war so Hogwarts will be back to it's old self in no time. It'll be all right. We'll help you out. This is the best place in the world to be a ghost."

"A ghost? A GHOST! Oh Merlin! Oh no! But...what? I--how?" I screamed hysterically.

He grabbed my shoulders and gave me a shake. "Pull yourself together man! You're a Gryffindor! I know this is probably a huge shock, but everything will come clear eventually. Now what's the last thing that you remember?" he insisted.

I took a breath and closed my eyes. Maybe this was still part of the weird boat dream. Yea, that's it. This can't be real, so why not just go along with the mad dream? What did I remember? I gulped, "Well, I snuck back into school to fight. Things were mad. I was outside, and there were Death Eaters everywhere and giants and...Wait, one of the Death Eaters--her mask slipped, and I saw her. She...she knew I recognized her." I was racking my brain trying to put all the pieces together. "But who was she?"

"That's good! That's very good lad. So is she the one that killed you?" he inquired matter-of-factly.

"Killed me? What?" My head was starting to pound. "Oh, yea, I'm dead then aren't I?" I paused thoughtfully, then remembered, "Oh no! Dennis! Mum & Dad! Are they alright? Where--"

"Oh no you don't, stay with me now! From what I've heard around the castle your family is all still among the living," he reassured. "Though they'll have quite a shock when they find out about you. So back to the Death Eater woman."

"Umm....yes, I'd shot a stunner at a werewolf that had grabbed Oliver. When I turned around I slipped in the mud and fell. She was a few meters away and when she realized that I'd seen her she came right at me. My wand was covered in mud and she shouted..." I stopped in stunned silence. Could this actually be true? I really did remember all that happening, and it was all too horrible and disgusting and scary to be a dream.

"Yes, lad, very good. And do you remember right after that? Anything at all? A place where you were waiting? Someone who was helping you maybe?" he prodded.

The memory filtered in like sunlight through the dingy window. "Gram? Gram was there! On the lake!”

“You were in the lake?”

“What?” I asked distractedly, “No, well, yes, we were in a boat--like the kind Hagrid uses to take the first years across.”

“Ah, very good, yes. And what did your Gram say?” he encouraged. But before I could respond there was a loud clanking noise and Peeves flew into the room with a trail of old cups and tins hooked to his ankle.

“Oooo, new ghosty whosty! Is the Gryffy boy read to make mischief with Peevsey?" he shouted whirling around my head.

"Go away Peeves! I'll get the Baron to--" but only a breath behind Peeves flew in what had to be every ghost to ever grace the hallowed halls of Hogwarts, clamoring for a look at me and all asking questions at once.

"The ghosties are ready for a party! Show the Gryffy boy just how fun death can be! Peevsey will bring the noise makers and the sparklers!" He howled and clattered out the door after a glare from the Bloody Baron.

"Silence!" Sir Nicholas shouted to the assembled ghosts, and most of them obeyed. "I know we haven't had a new addition in quite awhile, but you'll have to give him a bit of time! You all know how disconcerting it is in the beginning."

"Well, what does he remember?" the Gray Lady questioned.

"He was killed by a female Death Eater after he recognized her," Sir Nick explained.

"Oh a traitor! I bet that's it. Or a spy! How exciting! I knew it would be something juicy," Moaning Myrtle exclaimed happily, clapping her hands.

Her words seemed to spark something in my mind, but I couldn't quite grab a hold of the details.

"It's alright young man," commented Gray Lady. "You have decades to work it out before those involved are dead. No need to rush yourself."

"That's right. It took me fifty years to get my story worked out," Myrtle swooned, floating over to me and running her hand along my arm. "I'd love to help you figure everything out. I was a Ravenclaw so I'm good at solving puzzles! You're the first one of my age to ever join us. You know that?"

"Just hold off a moment, Myrtle. Honestly! Let the boy breathe," Sir Nicholas continued. "Does that story sound right Mr. Creevey? She was a traitor and you chose to stay on to make the truth known?"

I looked from face to face, trying to sort out my thoughts. "I remember Gram saying it was terrible that I had to die so young. That I couldn't enjoy life. That the one responsible would roam free, and maybe hurt others. She said..." I shut my eyes and tried to hear her voice again. "She said, I could choose to stay if I wanted. That everyone I loved was still there--here, well, you know."

The Bloody Baron nodded somberly, and Professor Binns said, "I've informed the head mistress that we have a new addition. Are you ready to meet her Mr. Creepy?"

I rolled my eyes. My luck I'll be destined to an eternity of being called Mr. Creepy. "Just call me Colin, Professor. And, yeah, I guess I'm ready to talk to McGonagall. How long has it been since the battle?"

"Only a few days. But they already had the funerals. Did them all at once. We think you were the only ghost that stayed around here though," the Fat Friar bumbled. "Pretty lucky I say. We don't want any decapitated Death Eaters floating about do we?"

We slowly made our way through the corridors. It was a bit strange getting used to the floating and the weird tingling feeling I got every time I touched anything. When we arrived in the headmistresses office, she was leaning on the large window and gazing out at the sunset over the Forbidden Forest.

I cleared my throat, and she gasped when she spun around, certainly shocked to find a whole slew of ghosts clogging up her office. Then her eyes locked in on me, and her hand went to her mouth. I saw her eyes filling with tears and I rushed forward wanting to comfort her, but I knew it wouldn't do any good.

"It's alright, Professor. I'm--I chose to stay." I said lamely. I didn't know how to say what I needed to.

"Oh Colin!" she sobbed. "I'm so sorry! I should have made sure. I should have--"

"No Professor! It was my own choice, and I don't regret it. I'm proud really!" I insisted.

"But--you're here! Why did you choose this, Colin?" she asked cautiously.

"The Death Eater that killed me--I recognized her Professor!" Once again I scoured my memory trying to see the face that had screamed that final curse.

"Who was she? You mean she wasn't a known Death Eater?"

I nodded and bit my lip in thought. "I've been trying to remember, it's still a bit hazy."

I moved over to the window and looked out at the darkening sky. The moon was rising over the tree and the stars seemed cold up in that blackness.

And then it clunked into place. The face, the voice, the form. "Professor Sinistra! It was Professor Sinistra, ma'am! She's the one! She's a Death Eater. She killed me because I recognized her."

"Sinistra? That's quite an accusation. Are you certain, Mr. Creevey?" McGonagall asked seriously, back in her teacher mode.

"Absolutely! It was her! Black hair, brown eyes, small nose, tall," I listed, feeling my anger build. "I'm sure it was her."

"She disappeared after the battle. We suspected she might be dead. I'll make certain that she's brought to justice," she said firmly, and I knew she would.

"Thanks, Professor," I grinned, feeling like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, but at the same time it made me feel a bit empty. I realized that I had eternity in front of me. What was I going to do?

"Would you like me to let your family know, Colin?" McGonagall inquired gently.

I looked out at the forest, and then back at all the other ghosts crowded into the room. I decided that Nick was right--this was the best place in the world to be a ghost, and like Gram had said everybody, and everything for that matter, that I really loved was here.

I shook my head with a laugh, "Nah, let them have some time to accept it all. Maybe I'll surprise Dennis when he comes back to school. Might as well make the most of my new ghoulish abilities I guess."

"Just mind you don't scare the boy to death. I might need to retire before I even get a chance to start if I'll have two Creevey ghosts to deal with," she returned with a smirk.

As we all floated out of McGonagall's office, Myrtle siddled up to me again. "So, Colin, how would you like me to introduce you to all the pleasures of death, huh?"

I shook her clingy hand off my arm and answered with a grin, "Uh, no thanks Myrtle! I think I'll go track Peeves down! See ya!"

Old April 26th, 2008, 1:38 am
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #2
Neville tugged at his tie. It was a blisteringly hot day and the atmosphere in the marquee was
almost unbearably stuffy. He could feel himself getting very red in the face and beads of sweat were

trickling down his temples. Ron sitting at the front looked rather pale. He also looked extremely nervous

and kept turning round to look at the entrance to the marquee his face a picture of nervous anticipation.

Next to Ron, Neville could see Harry nudging him and whispering to him, and then Ron would nod before

glancing around once again. A few rows in front of him Neville could see Ron’s parents. Molly was

clutching a handkerchief and Arthur looking proud, seemed to have even less hair than Neville

The last time Neville had been here in Ottery St. Catchpole was for Harry and Ginny’s wedding
the previous September. Now here they all were again; all of Dumbledore’s Army. He’d already caught

up with Luna and Cho, and briefly spoken to Terry Boot and Michael Corner. The Patil twins came and

sat next to him and Parvati was still telling him about her job in the ministry when there was a call for

silence. He stood up with everyone else and turned to gaze at the entrance where Hermione, a vision in

white, her face radiant with joy was making her way into the marquee. Neville glanced at Ron, who was

now gaping at Hermione looking dazed, and smiled to himself. If ever there were two people who belonged

together it was Ron and Hermione. He sighed as she made her way down the aisle, wondering if he would

ever find a girl to love and who would love him in return.

With Ron and Hermione the question had always seemed to be when rather than if they would marry.

Everyone had known that this day would come. It had been inevitable, if not from their first day at

Hogwarts, at least from that day over two years ago when Voldemort had been defeated. The euphoria

following the overthrow of the Dark Lord was like nothing Neville could have imagined. The parties

seemed to go on for days, and the celebrations had been so wild that in some cases even the muggles

had noticed. After the first week it had all quietened down and the wizarding community had begun the

long and arduous task of rebuilding itself. It had been an exciting time with everyone full of hope for the

future, but it had been full of sadness as well. So many of their comrades had fallen; Fred Weasley,

Colin Creevey, Remus Lupin and Tonks. He had attended the funerals, paying respect to those who

had fought alongside him. Many strange rumours had circulated at that time, but Neville had got the truth

from Harry. The hardest thing for Neville to understand was that Snape had been working for

Dumbledore all along. It seemed impossible to Neville, who had been at Hogwarts as Snape had presided

over the school as headmaster, but Harry it seemed had all the facts. Snape had been a spy in the enemy

camp and had died a horrible death at the hands of the man everyone had thought was his master. It

seemed ironic to Neville that he had been the one to kill Nagini; that he Neville, whom Snape had bullied

and terrorized, had avenged his death by killing the snake. When he thought of it Neville smiled and put

up his chin. He could never have liked Snape, but now in death he could respect him.

Neville’s grandmother had been extremely proud of him, and the part he had played in bringing down

Voldemort. She always insisted that everyone hear of how Neville had killed Voldemort’s snake, though over

time Neville began to not recognize the story. She had assumed that with the war over Neville would

follow in his father’s footsteps and join his friends Harry Potter and Ron Weasley as aurors at the

ministry. Telling her that that was not what he wanted was one of the hardest things Neville had

ever had to do. He would rather have beheaded a hundred snakes than face his grandmother’s

disappointment and anger. But he was not a boy anymore. As much as he respected his grandmother

he would not let himself be intimidated or cajoled into doing what he knew was wrong for him.

He had answered an advert in the Daily Prophet for an assistant herbologist on a team carrying out a

survey of magical plants and fungi across Europe. Professor Sprout had written him a glowing reference

and he had got the job. It had meant a lot of traveling from the cold north of Scandinavia down to

the hot shores of the Mediterranean; from the Western coast of Ireland to the Eastern reaches of

Russia and Neville had loved it. After each trip he returned lean and weather beaten, and with more

enthusiasm for the subject than ever. Now he had his own greenhouses with an impressive selection of rare

magical plants. Neville had never imagined he could feel so fulfilled. Life after Hogwarts had turned out

better than he had ever hoped, but there was an aching loneliness within him that he had no one to

share it with.

“Do you Ronald Bilius, take Hermione Jane…?”

Neville could see Molly brushing a tear from her cheek, while Mrs. Granger was sobbing into a lacey

handkerchief. He wondered why women always cried at weddings, but then perhaps if he had a girlfriend

he might understand women a bit better.

“…I now pronounce you bonded for life.”

There was a huge cheer and everyone stood to give them a resounding round of applause. The walls of

the marquee disappeared relieving the oppressive atmosphere. The chairs were regrouped around small

tables on the dance floor which had appeared and Neville went over to congratulate the happy couple.

He had to wait a long time for Ron and Hermione to re-appear out of the throng of well wishers, so he

could clap Ron on the back and kiss Hermione’s cheek.

Neville turned to look for a place to sit. There didn’t seem to be many empty chairs, but he finally found

one at a table occupied by DA members. He sat down next to a pretty pink faced girl with shoulder length

blonde hair who was fanning herself with a napkin.

“It’s Hannah isn’t it?” he asked “Hannah Abbott.” She nodded and smiled shyly at him.

“It’s very hot isn’t it” he said conversationally. She frowned slightly

“Are you…? You’re not… Neville?” she said in amazement.

“Yeah that’s me,” he said feeling himself going red in the face.

“I would never have recognised you” she said “You’re so tall and … well different.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” he said with a grin. “You look exactly the same,” he said and then

added quickly “but in a good way. You always looked nice” And he felt himself going even redder. “I’ll get

us some drinks,” he added quickly and got up to search for a waiter.

Don’t mess this up Neville! he thought, trying to compose himself as he took two glasses of iced

pumpkin juice from a tray carried by a passing waiter. He turned and smiled at Hannah and made his way

back to the table. He was just thinking about how to compliment Hannah on the lovely colour of her robes

when his foot caught the leg of a neighbouring chair. He fell forward throwing the contents of both glasses

over Hannah who shrieked as ice cold pumpkin juice dripped down her robes.

“I’m so sorry,” Neville said earnestly and pulling out his wand he siphoned off the pumpkin juice. He

stowed his wand back in his pocket and turned away mortified.

“Well that’s one way to cool down on a hot day” Hannah said brightly. He turned back towards her and

she was smiling at him.

“So are you going to get us another couple of drinks? Susan Bones told me you’ve been traveling all over

Europe and I’m dying to hear all about it.”

Old May 6th, 2008, 12:01 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Round II
Week I

Entry #1

The Centaur’s Discovery

Magorian reentered the forest, rubbing his hand gingerly across his chest. Although he usually displayed contempt for human magic, he had to admit that they had made great strides in the area of healing.

During the battle, a Death Eater’s curse had slashed his chest deep enough to reveal the white gleam of ribs. It was an injury that would have taken weeks to heal if he were among his kinsmen in the Forbidden Forest. And yet, only twelve hours after being healed by Madam Pomfrey, the wound was completely gone—not even a scar!—and the former stabbing pain in his torso had been reduced to a dull ache.

As he trod through the forest, making his way back to the centaurs’ secret home, a glint of reflected light on the forest floor caught Magorian’s eye.

Striding over to it, he saw that someone had dropped a ring in a pile of dead leaves. The ring itself was made of burnished gold—although tarnished with age, it was clearly of a high quality.

Set into the ring was a black stone, like an onyx, with an odd symbol carved into it. It looked a little bit like an eye, although more triangular than the eye of any creature Magorian had seen.

Magorian debated whether to pick up the ring or leave it where it lay. Either way, he could not linger here too long, for he must get back to his home in time for Bane’s funeral.

The brave and noble leader of the centaurs had not been as lucky as Magorian—he had been hit with the Killing Curse during the fight against Voldemort’s minions.

At the thought of Bane, tears stung Magorian’s eyes. Of all the centaurs who lived in the Forbidden Forest, Bane was the most accomplished at interpreting the complex movements of the stars and planets across the heavens. He had also sought to protect the centaurs’ unique and ancient way of life from the corrupting influences of other cultures.

This had sometimes led to controversy—as when Bane banished Firenze from the Forest for accepting an offer to teach at Hogwarts—but it had allowed the centaurs to preserve their heritage despite the human Ministry’s continual attempts to influence or restrict them.

It had been Bane who taught Magorian all he knew of the centaurs’ secret lore. And it had been Bane who, in the end, had persuaded his brothers and sisters to take up arms against Voldemort.

“Why should we interfere in a war between wizards?” Magorian shouted defiantly. “The constant warfare of the humans only proves their foolishness. We centaurs do not trouble ourselves with such concerns.”

“You do not understand!” Bane shot back. “This is no ordinary conflict. Look!” He pointed upwards, to where Mars hung, bright and red, above them. “Mars has never been so bright or so large in my lifetime, nor in my father’s lifetime, nor even in my grandfather’s. This war will determine the shape of the world for decades to come, and if Riddle triumphs tonight, it may never end!”

(The centaurs did not refer to Tom Riddle by his chosen name of Voldemort, for centaurs understood that names have great power.)

“Why should we risk our lives for the humans, who think us little more than a curiosity?” demanded Magorian. There was a murmur of agreement among the others, and he knew they were all thinking of Umbridge, who had had the gall to refer to their noble race as “filthy half-breeds.”

“Do you remember what it was like for our people the last time Riddle was in power?” retorted Bane.

“No, I was only a foal at the time, as you well know.”

“Well, I remember it. The Death Eaters hunted our kind for sport. Or they put us under the Imperius Curse and forced us to act as their mounts and guards in battle. Dumbledore’s students and teachers may be arrogant, and they may not appreciate our wisdom—but at least they have never treated us like slaves or game animals!”

A roar went up from the watching crowd of centaurs, and soon men and women were strapping on quivers and testing their bows.

“We shall not be treated like that again! We shall not again suffer the indignities inflicted upon us by the Death Eaters! We fight today for the freedom of the centaurs, for the pride of our ancestors, and for the hopes of our foals!”

Magorian clutched the ring tight in his hand, thinking of Bane. Who would lead the centaurs now? Who would keep the ancient customs and lore alive? Who would teach the foals to cherish their heritage and be proud of what they were? Who would look to the stars and read in them the destiny of all the sentient races?

In his distress, Magorian had begun to fidget with the ring. Had he looked to the sky, he would have seen an omen there. Two planets shone faintly in the reflected light of the setting sun—Jupiter and Mars.

Together, they could have told him all he needed to know about the ring he held: that it was an object of great power, but also one with the potential to bring trouble and strife.

But Magorian did not look to the sky, his thoughts absorbed in contemplation of the great leader his people had lost. Unconsciously, he turned the ring over in his hands.



Three times…

Old May 7th, 2008, 9:37 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #2

Last Author Standing II – Platinum Wands and Magical Lights

The last human customer had left the bank hours before, and Gristhammer waited patiently by the large bronze doors as the remainder of the human employees made their way from their offices and out into Diagon Alley. Gristhammer was old by even goblin standards. He was short with dark skin and a pointy beard that held traces of white and gray. He wore a worsted-wool charcoal vest with a long golden chain protruding from the vest pocket and a silver, hand-crafted monocle over one eye. His face as impassive, almost stony, as the last human employee of Gringott’s Bank walked from the rear of the main teller area and headed for the front door.

“I’m terribly sorry about this, Gristhammer, old boy, the paperwork from the recent Skeeter lawsuit is horribly complex.” Bill Weasley bowed his head steadily, his ponytail flipping over his shoulder inadvertently. The tall, slim wizard smiled at the old goblin and continued his passage out the door, once he realized that no response was forthcoming.

Gristhammer let out a sigh and swung the front door closed. He reached into his vest pocket and withdrew an overly large brass key and carefully inserted it into the locking mechanism on the door and turned the lock. There was a loud, agonizing sound as the tumblers fell into place, securing the facility for the night. At eye level, goblin eye level that is, there was a small flap on the door which the small goblin flipped open and peered through. Seeing no sign of any humans in the darkened alley, he shut the flap and turned. He began his slow shuffle to the back of the bank.

As he made his way into the giant waiting area, the large clock hanging from the ceiling clicked loudly and began to toll its eight bells, signifying the arrival of the eight o’clock hour. Gristhammer mumbled a curse to himself and cursed Bill Weasley for taking so long to leave. Normally, the human employees didn’t stay around much longer after the bank’s doors closed to customers, but Weasley was too conscientious for his own good and now Gristhammer, who did not move nimbly to begin with, would be a few minutes late to the meeting. Ever punctilious, Gristhammer hated being late, especially to these meetings, considering the attendees. There was nothing he could do about it and he made his legs move as fast as he could. After a tremendous effort, he finally reached his destination, the first floor conference room, and pushed open the large mahogany door and walked inside.

The attendees had all arrived and Gristhammer had to remind himself to be civil among the different creatures that were in attendance. He ignored the annoyed stares from his fellow goblins, especially Mrrgok, who was even more punctual than Gristhammer was. Despite their disaffection, Gristhammer made his way to his seat at the large oval conference table. He looked around, seeing that most of the attendees had made the meeting. It was truly an eclectic gathering. Gristhammer and four other goblins were arrayed along the side of the table, opposite the door. In this way, they would always be facing the door and any danger that wandered in. Opposite them were five of the diminutive house-elves, all free, as demonstrated by their strange array of attire, including pillow cases, torn tee-shirts and in once case, a very tasteful Christian Dior gown which was a season out style, so Gristhammer was told.

At the far end of the table, two of the reclusive centaurs stood, obviously foregoing chairs and standing where the ceiling was the highest. One was an older male with long flowing black hair streaked with tinges of silver and a matching black coat on his equine body. The other was female, with rich, full blonde hair that draped in front of her chest, strategically placed in deference to propriety, even though no humans were in the room to feel shame or discomfort.

Generally, goblins are not known for their sense of humor, but Gristhammer could not ignore the complete irony of the situation. He’d been to the Ministry of Magic on occasion, and he’d seen the absolute condescension in its atrium’s fountain. The three races represented in this room were looked down upon, historically, by the wizards and witches, yet momentous decisions, affecting human-kind in general had been made in forums such as this. In the past, the so-called “magical creatures” had been disjointed, separate in their activities around the humans. Goblins had tried rebellions on several occasions, to no avail. The house-elves had surrendered their liberty, building a culture of servitude to their human oppressors. The centaurs had withdrawn their culture and their society completely from interaction with humans. None of these separate paths had provided efficient avenues of redress. Recent events, however, among the humans, including the defeat of the Dark Lord and the rise of a new government had offered an opening to the oppressed non-human cultures. It was actually Desdemona, the centaur at the end of the table that had started the collective process. She’d placed feelers to the representatives of the other races and managed to facilitate the first meetings among them. Today was the culmination of her efforts.

“Might I suggest that we begin?” The placid features of the centaur belied a steely resolve beneath. She cast a delicate glance at the ebon skinned goblin seated beside Gristhammer. “Mrrgok, you requested this meeting, would you like to start.”

Young and temperamental, Mrrgok had risen through the ranks of the goblins by exhibiting a singular talent for metalworking. His works were considered the finest among his peers and were highly sought by the upper echelons of wizard-kind. Like most prodigies, he was surly and unrefined, prone to intemperate outbursts and a considerable hate for wizards. He grunted and reached behind him and pulled out a folded square of oilskin and deftly placed it on the table in front of him. With a practiced ease, he used his long fingers to unfold the cloth and reveal the contents within. The other creatures in the room, including his fellow goblins let out a collective gasp and one of the house-elves cast himself beneath his chair and began prodding his eyes sockets for having seen Mrrgok’s new creations.

“Please be still, everyone. Claptrap, would you please ask Minx to stop that?” Desdemona cast a pleading glance at one of the house-elves, who reached down and pulled his self-flagellating companion from the floor by the scruff of his neck. Relative order had been restored and the wistful centaur looked over to Mrrgok with a severe stare.

“What is the meaning of this, Mrrgok? Why have you done this?” Desdemona watched as Mrrgok allowed himself a satisfied grin.

“They’re wands, of course.” Indeed, they were wands. Lying on the oilskin were four tapered rods of differing metal. One was platinum, one was gold, one was bronze and one the last was iron. Each was intricately inlaid with careful scrollwork that seemed to have taken a painstaking amount of time to create. Each bore the unmistakable signature workings of Mrrgok’s handiwork and the presence of each was tantamount to treason. Mrrgok sat back in his chair and moved his head from side to side, offering a defiant stare at each of the attendees.

“Claptrap knows they are wands.” The speaker was the house-elf in the Dior gown, the nominal head and speaker for the house-elf contingent. His mistress had been an eccentric fashion devotee who latched on to any fad of a cause as it pleased her. Once the Voldemort War had been won, she’d become enthralled with the Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare, better known as S.P.E.W. In a fit of pique, and in order to discard a rather garish wardrobe, she’d bequeathed the gown to Claptrap, and he became free. Now, he was here, in the gown and trying to determine what Mrrgok was up to.

“Claptrap is wondering what Mrrgok, the silly goblin, is up to, in creating the banned wands?” Claptrap’s bat-like ears were fully extended and his wide eyes were focused not on Mrrgok, but on the wands on the table.

Mrrgok let out a contemptuous sneer. “I don’t have to answer to a simpleton like you, but if you must know, I feel it’s time for the humans to allow our kind the use of wands. In fact, if things have changed, I think we should use wands anyway.”

Claptrap gave a shrewd glance around the table and turned as the gnomish figure beside him, the elf known as Minx let out a whimpering stutter. “What is it, Minx? Speak up why don’t you.”

Minx, dressed in a dirty pillowcase, refused to even look in the direction of the offending wands and shook from pure, unadulterated fright. After several attempts, he finally got the words out he was trying to say. “Minx doesn’t need a wand. Minx makes magic with his fingers. There is no reason for Minx to offend his old master.”

The room echoed with Mrrgok’s sneering laugh and the goblin was slapping his fellows on the back, as if including them in on the joke. Gristhammer winced from the display, which was unseemly, even for a human. While Mrrgok had his fun at Minx’s expense, Gristhammer looked down to the end of the table and watched with interest as the older of the centaurs whispered to Desdemona who nodded sagely.

“Theseus has something to add, Desdemona?” Gristhammer was curious, to be sure, but he’d always been suspicious of the centaurs, who were all too human in their casual disregard of other magical creatures. Before Desdemona could speak, the other centaur placed his hand on her arm and nodded over to Gristhammer.

The centaur looked around the table and when he spoke, his voice was surprisingly soft, almost whispery, like the night breeze through the trees. Nonetheless, he was old and exceedingly wise and the room grew quiet, even Mrrgok stopped his cackles to listen.

“I am Theseus. Aside from Gristhammer, whom I have known for almost two centuries, you do not know me.” He looked over at Mrrgok, who was surprised, because the expression wasn’t angry, nor annoyed. It was simply disappointed. “I wonder, Mrrgok, why do you laugh at Minx’s words? Of anything that has been said in all of our gatherings, Minx’s statement is the wisest thing that has ever been uttered.”

Mrrgok seethed at the rebuke, but before he could cast a rejoinder, Theseus held up his hand. “Stop for a moment, and think, Mrrgok. The humans lack a fundamental understanding of magic and its inner workings. They think that the wands are the key to performing magic, when, in reality, they simply channel the magic inside all magical beings. None of us need wands to perform magic and the humans have grown lazy by using the wands. In effect, they rely too much on wands and not on the magic. The wands are simply talismans, symbols if you will, but are not the essence of what makes us what we are.”

Theseus lowered his head, an obvious indication that he was finished. Mrrgok’s dark skin seemed to flush, but the remarkably passionate goblin stood and slammed his hand on the table.

“You’re right! The wands are symbols. They are symbols of power and of oppression. The denial of wands places our kind in a position of fealty and weakness. I know we don’t need wands to perform magic, but the denial of their use is a way for the humans to keep us subservient.” Mrrgok’s argument was surprisingly cogent. Gristhammer nodded his head, pleased that, at least, his fellow goblin was thinking before his rash argument.

They were at an impasse, and Gristhammer knew that they were in danger of destroying their carefully built interaction. He sighed heavily, thinking that he was far too old for the arguments of youth. He placed a careful hand on Mrrgok’s shoulder and rose.

“I think what Theseus is saying, Mrrgok, is that our ability to perform magic without wands is a superiority we have over the humans. If we were to use wands, we would surrender that advantage.” The aged centaur nodded in agreement. Gristhammer picked up the platinum wand and waved it about. “The work is exceedingly beautiful, Mrrgok, but the intent is off base. We must find our place in this world another way. Wands would create unnecessary trouble for us with the humans, but most importantly, wands would limit what we can do. I must vote against this action.”

Gristhammer looked around the table and saw everyone, including the other two goblins were in agreement with his decision. Mrrgok was sullen. Defeated, the goblin artisan carefully folded the wands back into the oilskins and the trudged out the door. This would not be the end of this, to be sure, but that was for another time. Wearily, the ancient goblin sat down and nodded over to Desdemona.

“Since we are here, does anyone have any other issues to raise?” The sing song voice of the centaur soothed Gristhammer’s troubled mind. As he looked around, he saw the house-elf Minx raise his hand. Desdemona acknowledged Minx with a wave of her hand.

Minx mangled his first attempt to speak, but became more emboldened by the centaur’s smile. “Well, Minx would like to ask that the group raise a concern with the humans, if would not be too much trouble.”

“By all means, what is the request?” Desdemona was surprised. Normally, the house-elves did not complain, nor did they raise issues that they would bring to human administration.

The house-elf allowed his ears to flap down and then he gave a nervous laugh. “Well, Minx would like to stop the frozen light giving.”

Desdemona glanced around the table, puzzled. The house-elves were nodding in agreement, but no one else knew what they were talking about. Her eyes fell on Gristhammer, who had his hand to his forehead and was shaking his head from side to side.

“Gristhammer, do you know what they mean?”

“Yes, Desdemona.” Gristhammer sighed. It was a minor thing, really, but given that the house-elves had asked for anything, it was a positive step towards their acceptance of independence.

“You see, one of the ancient tasks of the house-elves is to turn the light on in the human refrigerators when the door opens, and turn them off when they close. Apparently, no human has been able to really figure out how to do that on their own.” Gristhammer grunted. He really was getting too old for this.

Theseus shook his head in amazement. “You mean the light goes off?”

Apparently, in many ways, they were really like the humans, after all.

Old May 9th, 2008, 2:33 am
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #3

Heart of the Merpeople

“Ah, Harry, I’m so glad you could come. I have a message for you. The Chieftain of the Merpeople would like to speak with you.”

Harry looked around the office as if expecting to see the subject of the invitation, then at the headmaster in confusion. “Why would he want to speak to me?”

Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. “I’ll let him tell you.”

“How can I speak with him? I don’t speak Mermish? And where can we…?” Harry’s words drifted off as he heard someone else enter the office.

Severus Snape glared at Harry, then looked at Dumbledore. “I have brought the item you requested, Headmaster.” Snape glared again at Harry before continuing, “Although I am very reluctant to give this to a student who has stolen it from my personal stores before.”

Dumbledore shook his head. “Do you have proof Harry stole the Gillyweed from your personal stores?”

Snape’s glare turned lethal. “Of course not. If I did, I would demand he be expelled.”

“I didn’t steal the gillyweed!” Harry protested.

“Oh? And how did you acquire such a rare plant?” Snape posed.

Harry licked his lips and looked at Dumbledore. “Uh, a, uh, friend, uh, gave it…to me,” he finished uncertainly, knowing that was far from an adequate answer, but unwilling to risk getting Dobby in trouble.

“And which friend was that? And where did your, ahem, ‘friend’ acquire the gillyweed?” Snape probed.

Harry licked his lips nervously again and looked toward Dumbledore pleadingly.

Dumbledore smiled and intervened. “Now, Severus, the Triwizard tournament traditionally involves ‘help’ for the champions, and they should not have to divulge all their secrets. Now Harry has an appointment. Have you brought what I requested?”

Snape glared at Harry again before handing him a large vial of gillyweed and turning on his heel to leave.

“That should be enough gillyweed to allow you a nice, long visit with the chief. Please don’t keep him waiting,” Dumbledore urged, motioning Harry out of the office.

Although it had been two weeks since the 2nd task, Harry still had vivid memories of the frightening people beneath the surface of the lake and was not eager to return, but he couldn’t let Dumbledore down, so he returned to his dorm and put on his bathing costume, quickly explaining what little he could to Ron & Hermione before heading down to the Black Lake for his appointment.

The air was still bitterly cold, so Harry quickly swallowed a handful of the rubbery weed and dove into the water. After the somewhat painful transformation, he was quite comfortable in the chilly water and tried to remember exactly where the merpeople village was. He had no trouble finding it, for he was quickly met by an escort.

The warriors nodded to him respectfully and Harry returned the gesture. He tried to speak, but the warriors couldn’t understand the garbled words from the bubbles that erupted from his mouth, so they simply motioned for him to follow them. He spent the time watching how gracefully they swam and trying to imitate their actions. They noticed and tried to give him pointers on making his movements more smooth and efficient, and found he made the trip without being nearly as tired as he had been two weeks prior.

Many of the merfolk stood by and watched as Harry entered their village and was brought to the palace in the center. He tried to smile at them and nod respectfully as his escorts had greeted him.

When he saw the chief sitting in the large throne, he approached slowly, hanging back as his escort rushed forward to speak to the chief. As he listened to their gibberish, he realized that he had never gotten an answer as to how he was to communicate with the chief, since he didn’t speak Mermish.

The chief finally concluded his conversation with the escort and dismissed them, motioning Harry forward.

“You are very patient and respectful for one so young,” the chieftain told Harry in only slightly accented English.

“You speak English!” Harry bubbled in relief, then became embarrassed by his outburst and by the garbled bubbles that spewed from his mouth.

The chieftain smiled. “I learned from Albus Dumbledore when he was a student here. We were both young and I was as intrigued by humans as he was by merpeople. Albus taught me many things. Before he learned our language, he gave me the name Greenfin. You may address me this way, Harry Potter.”

“Thank you, Mr. Greenfin,” Harry bubbled, amazed that the creature before him was as old as Dumbledore, or at least near his age. Not that Harry would have been able to guess, if asked, how old he thought the merchief was, but he just didn’t look as old as Dumbledore. Harry smothered a smile as he tried to picture the merchief with a Dumbdledore-like beard.

Greenfin smiled. “You are very respectful for one so young,” Greenfin repeated. “You treat me with great regard, even though I am not human.”

“Not being human doesn’t make you less worthy of respect,” blurted Harry through his bubbles. He wondered how Greenfin could understand him, but he obviously could.

“That attitude is not widespread for many of your race.”

Harry hung his head, ashamed of some of his fellow humans. “There are many humans who disagree with such prejudices. One of my best friends is working to free the house-elves from enslavement.”

“And do you help this friend?”

Harry blushed, but answered honestly. “Well, actually, they don’t seem to appreciate her efforts for the most part. I don’t want to force freedom on them when they don’t seem to want it.”

“And yet, you freed a house-elf yourself?”

Harry wondered how Greenfin knew that. “Well, Dobby was different. He was being abused by his owners and wanted to be free. I would be all for helping any house-elf who wanted to be free, but I just don’t think she should force them.”

Greenfin nodded. “Again, you show respect for them and for their wishes, even though many of your race would never even consider them as worthy of such treatment. I find your care for others to be very commendable and wished to have a talk with you. I am glad you consented to join me.”

Harry was beginning to find it difficult to breathe and began trying to gasp for air. Greenfin noticed his difficulty, but mistook the reason at first.

“Are you frightened of me or my people?”

Harry rapidly shook his head and began reaching for the vial tied to his waist. Greenfin understood and urged him to consume the gillyweed quickly. Once he had chewed the rubbery weed, his breathing settled.

“I’m sorry,” Harry started to apologize, but Greenfin waived it away.

“I should have watched for this. Sometimes, Albus would use gillyweed, although he usually preferred the bubblehead charm. He did complain that it distorted his vision, but made it easier for him to speak and lasted as long as he wished. He had to use the gillyweed if he wished to speak Mermish, however, as the water is required to make the proper sounds in our language.”

Harry nodded, remembering the horrible screeching sounds that came from the egg when it was opened in the air. He didn’t see how Prof. Dumbledore could have made those sounds.

“I watched when you dove down to rescue your friend. You were the first here by quite some time and could easily have won the task if you had not determined to rescue them all or at least, wait to see that they were rescued. Did you fear we would harm them?”

Harry blushed again. “Well, the song…you know, the song from the egg, the clue…well, it said we only had a hour and then…I don’t know. I guess I should have known Prof. Dumbledore wouldn’t have put them in danger, but I guess I wasn’t thinking. I just thought how it said we only had an hour to recover them or….”

“Or what? What did you think would happen to your friends?”

“I…I don’t know. Of course, I didn’t realize at first that it was them I’d have to rescue. I thought some thing had been stolen. When I saw them chained like that under the water and remembered the rhyme, I guess I just panicked and was afraid for them.”

“But you were not afraid for yourself? Even when confronted by my warriors with tridents, you didn’t take your hostage and flee. You demanded help, then at least to be allowed to help them all yourself.”

Harry thought back two weeks. “I guess I didn’t have time to be afraid for myself. I was too afraid for them.”

Greenfin smiled. “Most creatures fear for themselves first, then for others if they have time. You are a unique young man. And Dumbledore has told me of the burden you bear. You must face he who calls himself Voldemort.”

“You don’t fear saying his name?”

Greenfin’s smile grew wider. “I call him many things, and I am not afraid to voice any of them.”

Harry laughed at the mischief in the chief’s look and tone. Then the pair grew serious again. “Your eyes remind me so of your mother, but your features and laughter are your father’s.”

Harry grew excited. “You knew my parents?”

Greenfin nodded. “That is one of the reasons I wished to speak with you. I have been watching you, as I watched them, as I watch all the students who come by the lake. I wanted to speak with you before, but I was not certain if you would wish to do so. And you have faced many challenges from the beginning. But after seeing you during the task, I asked Albus to ask you if you would be willing to meet with me today.”

“Did you ever speak to my parents?”

Greenfin smiled in remembrance. “I spoke with your mother once, in her last year, but I spoke with your father and your godfather many times. James, Sirius and Remus would come here often. They played tag with the squid and with the merchildren. Many a night was spent with the three boys swimming through the lake teaching the children to play human games and learning to play our games as well. The bubbles around their heads distorted their appearance and made the children laugh at the faces they made.” He grew serious. “I also watched as Remus struggled with his horrible affliction and his friends—in animagus form—tried to help him cope during each full moon.”

Harry realized that Greenfin hadn’t mentioned Wormtail. “What about their other friend?”

“He was too frightened to enter the water. James said he had always had a terrible fear of water. They tried to coax him to join them at first, but his fear was so great at the thought that they ceased their efforts. He would remain on the bank and watch, tossing balls back to them and joining in as he could from there. I found it difficult to believe when Albus told me of his betrayal.”

Harry nodded, his throat too full of anger to speak.

“They only brought your mother once. She was not as eager as they to break the rules, and there were strict policies against being out late and against swimming in the lake without a teacher present. But I still recall her eyes, the kindness in them, the wonder at the new world she saw here, the respect she also showed our people. Just like yours.”

Harry blinked rapidly.

“My men told me that you tried to imitate their way of swimming.”

“Well, it seemed better than I was doing. They showed me how to use these flippers.”

“It is good you are willing to learn from others.”

“I appreciate the help they gave me,” Harry replied.

“Uh, could you tell me more about my parents…and Sirius?”

The merchief obliged with several stories of the boys’ high jinks, making Harry laugh and earning the boy’s eternal gratitude. At length, Greenfin turned serious again.

“I invited you here, not just to reminisce about your parents, but also to offer the assistance of the merpeople, should it ever prove helpful in your quest to defeat the evil one. We are restricted in what we can do, but I offer my assistance just the same. Have you any plans as to how you intend to defeat him?”

Harry shook his head. “No, I only know that I’ll defeat him or die trying…as my parents and Sirius did.”

Greenfin nodded and made his decision. He reached into a small box beside his throne, from which he drew a small stone that was blood red and seemed to pulse with a faint light deep inside it. “This is a sacred relic of our people, to be saved for times of most dire need. It has only been used twice in the history of our people.”

When Greenfin paused, Harry asked, “What is it?”

“It is made from the heart of the very first merchief and energized by the blood, willingly sacrificed, of each merchief since.” Without warning, Greenfin pulled a wicked-looking dagger from his waist and slashed off a finger, which fell to the floor and rolled under the throne.

Harry gasped and rushed forward to aid the chief, but Greenfin waved him back and held his hand over the relic. As his thick, red blood dripped slowly onto the stone, the faint pulse grew brighter. It seemed to beat in time with Harry’s heart, which thrummed loudly in his ears as he watched the merchief’s bizarre actions and tried not to be ill. He wondered if he would be expected to cut his finger off and tried to decide how to avoid doing so.

Finally, Greenfin must have decided he’d shed enough blood and clamped a strange, shell-shaped…something on his finger to stop the bleeding. He had poured a great deal of blood into the stone, which had grown and was pulsing brightly as it lay in a clam-shaped container. Greenfin closed his eyes and seemed to be resting from his ordeal.

“Do you want me to get you some help?” Harry asked tentatively.

Greenfin managed a wan smile. “No. I need no help from any of my people. I am giving my help to you.” He looked back at the stone and seemed satisfied with its changed appearance. “The heart of my people is beating strongly once more.”

“What is that?” Harry asked again. “I mean, what does it do? What is it for?”

“I cannot tell you the true name of this relic, as only merpeople are allowed to speak it. You may call it the Heart of the Merpeople. It is a powerful, ancient talisman, created by the first merchief to protect his people in times of great peril. As long as the current merchief is willing to die for his people’s protection, they will remain safe.”

“Are you going to die?” Harry asked, afraid the man would collapse and die right here in front of him. What would the other merpeople do if they found him here with their sacred relic and their dead chief?

Greenfin almost seemed to be able to read Harry’s mind. “I must be willing to die for my people. I am. I do not have to actually die to keep the Heart of my people strong.”

Harry looked at the stone once more. As the light pulsed, it did look more like a heart. Harry swallowed hard and tried to keep his stomach strong, as he didn’t think he’d impress the merchief if he lost his supper in front of the merchief’s throne.

“I have still not told you of the power of the Heart. You are still being very patient and respectful. I know you will appreciate the honor bestowed on you and will wield this awesome power wisely.”

Greenfin took a deep breath and tried to regain enough strength to complete his explanation. “The Heart of the Merpeople gives the holder the combined strength of all the merpeople. When you need strength, hold the Heart in your hand and call on the strength of the merpeople; you will feel your body grow strong enough to face whatever evil you must confront.”

He tried to hand Harry the case holding the relic, but loss of blood made him weak and he nearly dropped it. Harry dove forward with his seeker reflexes, using the moves the warriors had shown him to dive forward through the water and catch the sacred stone before either it or the case fell to the floor.

Greenfin smiled tiredly. “I knew you would care for this well.”

“You can’t mean to give something so sacred and powerful to me! What if your people need it? If I don’t defeat Voldemort, he will try to wipe out all creatures but pureblood wizards, including your own people. You need to keep this for your own protection in case I fail.”

Greenfin shook his head. “No, I must do everything in my power to ensure you don’t fail. You are the hope of all creatures of the Light. You are the one of the prophesy. If you can’t defeat Voldemort’s evil, I don’t believe anyone can. It is the responsibility of the merchief to do whatever is necessary to protect his people. I would give my life, my blood and the Heart of the Merpeople to you, the Chosen One. I know you will protect it and us to the best of your ability. Use the Heart wisely, Harry Potter. And defeat the evil Voldemort.”

Harry realized he had to accept this priceless relic. The honor was one he couldn’t refuse, though he didn’t feel equal to the faith Greenfin had in him. He pulled the case close to his own heart and could swear he could feel it beating through the case.

“Thank you, Mr. Greenfin. I accept this and will guard it with my life. And when I have defeated Voldemort, I will return this to you and your people.”

Greenfin nodded and gave a brief, weak shout. Harry’s escorts returned.

“Go, Harry Potter, and remember that you carry not only the fate of the wizarding world on your shoulders, but also that of the merpeople and all the other races. If we can ever assist you in any way, all you must do is ask.”

“Thank you.” He could see the chief was tiring rapidly and quickly left with his escort.

They didn’t try to communicate with Harry, as they could see he was thinking very hard about what their chieftain had told him and given him. When they approached the surface, the warriors bowed to Harry and turned to leave him. He tried to convey his appreciation to them and hoped they understood.


Harry stood at the bank of the Black Lake. Ginny laid a hand on his shoulder. “Are you sure you want to do this now? There’s really no hurry.”

Harry nodded and shed his robes. “I want to do it now. I want them to know that without the added strength of the Heart, I would never have survived.”

He quickly cast the bubblehead charm and dove into the water. To his surprise, the same warriors from two years before met him shortly after he entered the water. He nodded to them respectfully and pointed to the case, trying to convey that he wanted to see the merchief and return the Heart. They nodded their understanding and bowed to him, then offered their escort to the merpeople’s village.

Greenfin met him at the edge of the village. “Welcome, Harry Potter. You have defeated Voldemort.”

“Yes, and I couldn’t have done it without your help. When my strength faded, the Heart of the Merpeople fortified me. Even when I forgot I had it, it gave me strength in my most trying battles. I can never thank you enough.”

“You are the one who deserves our thanks, Harry Potter. You saved everyone at great cost to yourself.”

Harry’s eyes dropped as he thought of the cost and all the friends he had above awaiting burial.

“I wish there were something to ease the pain of your losses, but great rewards often require great sacrifices. And often, it is more difficult for ones like you to see others make those sacrifices than it would be to make them yourself. But you must go on, Harry Potter. You may be needed again.”

Harry swallowed hard and lifted the case from where he had fastened it to his waist. “Here is the heart of the Merpeople.” He opened the case to show it still pulsing, but more faintly than when he had taken it. “May it always beat for your people and may it never be needed again.”

Greenfin reverently took back the case and stared at the ancient, sacred relic of his people. “When I gave you this, I never expected to see it restored to us again. I knew you would face a difficult quest and it might not survive.”

“Or I might not survive,” Harry injected.

Greenfin shook his head. “I had faith in your ability to survive and defeat Voldemort. You have more than earned the gratitude of the merpeople. If you should ever require any assistance, all you must do is ask and it will be granted to you…up to and including my very life.”

“That won’t be necessary, but I thank you.”

Greenfin seemed to understand that Harry wouldn’t be returning to the Black Lake. While saddened by this knowledge, he certainly understood. “Goodbye, Harry Pott
er. I look forward to meeting your children someday and watching them play with my young ones.”

Harry blushed as he thought of having children with Ginny. "I will make sure they have large stores of gillyweed
," he promised, and meant it.

Old May 9th, 2008, 8:09 pm
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #4

Total Immersion

"Are you certain you want to do this, my boy? We could always set you up to have a nice semester at Beauxbatons," Professor Fortescue said coaxingly, as he watched the young man fill a large container with a gloppy green mixture.

"I'm quite decided, Headmaster. Professor Radford kindly interpreted for me while I discussed the details with Mercheiftan Moray. She assisted me in learning the basics of mermish, and has provided me with her entire stock of gillyweed. Elphias even found a few ways to extend the gillyweed's effectiveness. Ground valerian root seems to almost triple the potency when taken in successive doses." He tapped on the container excitedly, as he made his way through the corridors.

"Yes, indeed, I did read your paper, Albus. But, your parents aren't worried for you?" Foretscue asked, barely keeping up with the long strides of the auburn haired boy. He smiled at the Fat Friar as they made their way toward the Entrance Hall.

"I do believe I included my parents letter of permission. I've learned all I can above ground, sir, and I think it's time for what the muggles call 'total immersion'--if you'll forgive my pun," he laughed.

Albus came to a stop in the Entrance Hall to face his headmaster sincerely. "I appreciate your support in this matter sir. I really believe it could open new roads of communication between our two peoples."

The rotund man gave a little hop as the boy sped off again, out the front doors and into the bright sun. "Yes, yes, all very interesting, but are you sure that you can make it all summer? I hope you are aware that the merpeople have not always been at perfect peace with the human world. Why only 80 years ago they used their influence to encourage the giant squid to be less than his amiable self and--"

"Absolutely sir! They have a fascinating culture and history," Albus interrupted. "I have been assured that they will make my safety a top priority, and I have extended the hand of trust. Mr. Ogg has kindly assisted me in setting up a tent on the far side of the lake since it wouldn't be possible for me to sleep in the water of course."

He pulled at the neck of his royal blue swimming costume, and breathed deeply of the breezy air as he strode toward the lake. "I've made contact with a mer-family who has offered to take me in, if I'm willing to help their family run their algae cutting business--which I assume is similar to gardening. I will also be attending several weekly training sessions set up for the young merpeople. I believe I have attended to all your prerequisites, sir."

"Oh, yes, it seems as though you have," Fortescue said distractedly. "Though I never--forgive me, I thought it was just a wild notion. I never quite thought you'd get this far, only being a fifth year."

Albus smiled proudly as they finally approached the edge of the lake where the regal Merchieftan waited, flanked by his surly looking, spear-laden guard and the bemused mer-family Albus had contacted.

With the help of a strong translation spell, only partially effective with the non-human tongue, Merchieftan Moray was able to greet Professor Fortescue hesitantly. "You're precocious young one seems to think this will open a new book between our peoples. I am looking forward to seeing what he will make of us."

His low voice sounded grating but his expression was welcoming. "There is no need to worry about his safety. My people have been informed that he may commit small infractions and that they must have patience with him as though he were an untrained grindylow."

Professor Fortescue smiled confusedly. "It loses something in the translation, Professor. Not to worry," Albus whispered.

Fortescue seemed to resign himself to the venture, and patted him on the back gently. "Well, good luck, my boy. I hope this endeavor is very productive and a good learning experience for you. Be careful and use that head of yours," Fortescue warned. "And don't forget to enjoy yourself!"

"Thank you sir. I'll see you in a few months." Albus opened the container that hung over his shoulders and swallowed a large mouthful of the strange concoction it held. He shook his professors hand and slowly made his way toward the lakes shore as he felt gills form at his throat.

He entered the cool water and took a large breath of water as he gave one glance back toward the castle and Professor Fortescue. He was greeted warmly by his new family, the mother and father now joined by their little son and their daughter, who looked like she might be a teenager. After an encouraging word from the merchieftan he was led to their home.


"Murcus! Hurry! I highly doubt anyone will care about your hair! Kelan won't even be there," Albus shouted.

"I'm looking for my gemstone necklace, the purple one," Murcus shouted back frantically.

"There won't be any space left if we don't leave soon! We'll end up circling like sharks if we want even a glimpse of the stage."

"Fine I'm ready," Murcus said, as she swished out of her bedroom, hooking the necklaces clasp around her neck as she came.

As they sped off in the direction of the concert, dodging merpeople, grindylows, and algae hedges, Murcus looked back at Albus, "Let's make your last night, a night to remember, huh?"

"But Kelan's gone hunting with his father and Maija's singing tonight," Ablus smirked back at her, purposely goading her.

"Hey, we're wild and exciting, we don't need them!" she retorted. She spun quickly around an old couple and almost barreled into a mermaid with a small baby.

Albus laughed as she apologized with flushed cheeks. "Oh yes, best to stay clear of my algae clipper and your coral flute. Quite the ruckus!"

"Now is when we're supposed to make a ruckus, before we get old and stodgy," she shot back as they made their way through the crowd assembling for the concert.

"I only intend to get more exciting and mad with age. Scare all the children with my wild beard, just like your father's, and still swim circles around you," he teased, tugging on her dark green hair.

She stuck her tongue out at him. "Well I'll be Merchiefteness one day and you'll have to clean my clams!" she whined out in a wonderful impression of her younger brother.

"Well then I'll be headmaster one day and you'll have to gather enough clams to feed my whole school!" Albus laughed.

Murcus laughed as she listened to the musicians warming up. "What will you tell the humans about us?" Murcus asked, more seriously. "Will you write a tell-all paper book with all our deep dark secrets?"

"I'll tell the truth," Albus answered, still smiling. "That all the mermaids want to be humans, that grindylows are vicious predators, and that the giant squid is really plotting to take over the Lake!"

Murcus laughed so hard that a cloud of bubbles blocked the view of those behind them and a chubby merman glared at them.

"And you know any book I write will have every waterproofing spell I've ever learned so that your mum can show it off to all of her silly swarm of friends!"

She smiled softly, "Just as long as you don't forget us."

"No chance of that!" he reassured. "I've even got scars to remember you by."

"That was not my fault and you know it!" she cried with a grin. "Come on, lets see if we can sneak our way to the front and grab Maija's fin!" she cried, darting down and around.

Albus laughed and followed quickly behind her, "It's your funeral!"

Old May 10th, 2008, 4:10 am
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Entry #5

Blood Tales

The house-elf dutifully led the small, stout, bespectacled man to the drawing room. Heavy drapes were drawn over the windows, casting the room in shadows. In the dim candlelight, he could just barely make out the figure of a man lurking in the far corner.

“Master’s guest has arrived,” the house-elf squeaked as the man moved gracefully into the light. He was tall man with ebony hair flowing past his shoulders. His ears were slightly pointed and his skin was pale as death.

“Eldred Worple at your service,” the smaller man said, extending his hand. “I can’t tell you how delighted I am to meet you at last.”

“Your persistence was … intriguing,” said the man, grasping Mr. Worple’s hand. “I must admit I was a bit surprised at your interest.”

“My dear Count!” Worple exclaimed excitedly. “The whole world will be interested to know your true story. When Sanguini told me of you …. You have led such a long, adventurous life. I would be honored to record it for prosperity.”

“Adventurous,” the Count smiled revealing sharp, pointed teeth. “Yes, I dare say my life has been adventurous. And it certainly has been long. Centuries … but this has already been documented. Who doesn’t know the story of Count Dracula?”

“A work of fiction,” Worple persisted. “Rearranging the facts to tell an entertaining story! I wish to record your actual life sir.”

“True,” Dracula smiled again. “It is believed to be fiction by most of the world. And much of it was pure invention by a very clever Muggle – though I did help him along the way. Would you like to hear the tale?”

“Very much so!” said Worple, accepting a glass of wine from the house-elf bobbing around his ankles. “Would you mind if I took notes?”

“If you like,” Dracula waived his hand indulgently as Worple pulled a quill and parchment from his case. “It is rather an entertaining tale. I was quite young then … for a vampire. I had grown bored of merely hunting and feeding. I wanted a bit of sport.”

Worple sucked the end of the quill and set it on the parchment where it began zooming across the surface, recording the Count’s every word. The house-elf returned with a large glass of what was unmistakably blood and disappeared quickly after the Count had accepted it.

“I was around 300 years old at the time and I had caused my fair share of death and destruction. But everything I did was chalked up to animal attacks or what was commonly called ‘consumption’. I craved recognition for myself. I wanted glory and fame.” He smiled ruefully. “I had been in Slytherin house at Hogwarts in my youth – before I was turned of course.”

“Of course,” Worple agreed, returning the smile. “I have already done extensive research into your life. Quite an impressive student you were. You became an animagus while you were in school, did you not?”

“Yes,” the Count nodded. “An ability I retained after my transformation. It is rather ironic that my animagus form was a bat even when I was human. But it was very useful in my game with Mr. Stoker. My skills as a wizard have greatly assisted in my … adventures as a vampire.

“I would imagine so,” said Worple.

“I first saw Mr. Stoker at a dinner party. He was stuffing himself with dressed crab – he was particularly fond of that. I overheard him discussing his wish to write with a colleague and was inspired. Here was my path to fame and glory. This aspiring author would tell the world about me and they would tremble in fear.” He paused to take a delicate sip from his glass and sighed in appreciation before continuing.

“Later that night – well after Mr. Stoker had retired to his bed – I appeared at his window. A simple Confundus charm convinced him to invite me in – I convinced him that he was having a dream.” He smiled again, revealing the points of his fangs. “It was remarkably easy. I transformed into a bat and flew in through the window. Mr. Stoker was quite shocked.”

“Yes, I can see where he would be,” Worple chuckled.

“He began muttering that he had eaten far too much dressed crab and I assured him that he had indeed. He would awaken from his nightmare soon. I enthralled him with tales of my conquests and victims – young Mina had been a particularly tasty morsel and he seemed very interested in hearing her story. It was rather amusing to read the embellishments on that tale.”

“Yes, of course,” said Worple, checking the quill and parchment to be sure every word was being recorded.

“I spent an enjoyable evening with Mr. Stoker. I took him on a hunt with me – under the Imperius curse of course. I will always remember the look on his face as he watched me feed. It made the experience all the more enjoyable for me. His terror and revulsion – I almost regretted making him think it was all just a dream. But that was for the best. My story was told – embellished, but the world knew my name.”

“It was a very good story,” Worple admitted. “But the truth –”

“Is never as exciting,” Dracula smiled. “Because of that, I don’t think I would like to have a biography written about me.”

“B-but,” Worple faltered, “you said … in you letter … you indicated –”

“Of course, I had to meet you.” Dracula smiled. “You had already done so much research. I can’t risk anyone discovering the truth.”

“Risk?” Worple glanced around the room nervously. “Surely you don’t … I would never …”

“No,” Dracula said, from behind him. Worple started at the sudden appearance in his space. “You will never.” He lowered his sharp fangs to Worple’s exposed neck. “Never again.”

Old May 12th, 2008, 11:30 am
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Re: FAD: Last Author Standing -Entries!

Week II

Entry #1

“For o'er a thousand years now,
my job it's been to be
the one who sorts according to
those talents that I see.
And every year I sing a song
to tell you eager souls,
of Hogwarts' storied founders
and their ancient, noble goals.
But mark my words, this year I have
a little more to say,
and you'd better pay attention
or there'll be a price to pay!
The four houses of the founders
were never meant to be
the only thing you need to know
about your destiny.
We've all been through, to say the least
A terrible few years.
There's been tragedy and horror
and no shortage of tears.
Yet with the fall of You-Know-Who
my hopes were raised anew.
'Surely,' thought I, 'they'll all see now
what they were meant to do?'
They'll take to heart the lesson
from those days of yore
when Salazar Slytherin was best friends
with Godric Gryffindor.
Helga Hufflepuff made three,
and Rowena Ravenclaw four;
wise and steadfast friends were they
who never would make war.
But now as then, no sooner
has the fighting come to an end,
than feuds and grudges flare anew
to separate friend from friend.
It's worse, I say – and that's saying a lot –
than before the war came here!
You wage vendettas, settle scores
And everyone lives in fear.
Gryffindors stand ready
to nobly defend,
but only those select few
they deign to call a friend.
You Hufflepuffs, who once were known
as friendly, just, and true,
you still are ceaseless workers
for what might benefit you.
Ravenclaws, sagacious folks,
are clever, keen, and wise,
but these most studious students
hoard their knowledge like a prize.
And Slytherins, what need I say?
What others say of you
is worse than anything except
the things you let be true.
I'm sick at heart (figuratively),
so here's my plea,
and ultimatum as well: make peace else
you'll hear no more from me!
That's right! No more will I sort you;
this time will be the last!
You may have thought I've got no choice
but you thought wrong, alas!
And just to make my point,
here's the most pointed part of my song...
Some of you, I just sent
somewhere you don't belong!”

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