Well, those who answered the survey asked for more vignette fanfiction, so here's a new "Once Upon a Freakin' Time." I've decided that I should start putting the title of the chapter before the lj-cut, so that people might actually have some idea what it's about. I can't believe it took me this long to figure that out. Anyway...
Lord Voldemort Builds a Better Mousetrap
Snape was slightly concerned.
It was bad enough that Lord Voldemort had activated the Dark Mark during a Potions class, causing him to accidentally fudge up instructions for a Cardiac Calming potion (“Add one part thorn apple to two parts…AAAAHHHH…rugula. Now grind thoroughly with your mortar and pestle.”) Luckily, though his ad-lib had not created a potion designed to lower the heart rate, it hadn’t created anything dangerous either. Just a delicious, if somewhat hallucinogenic, soup.
No, the worst part was that Snape was now standing on Main Street Hogsmeade with several other Death Eaters, listening to Voldemort outline his latest plan for capturing Harry Potter.
“It’s very complicated,” he was saying. “You all have to pay close attention.”
Snape was having difficult doing just that, as he was also aware of something even worse. This was one of the evenings that the Hogwarts students were allowed to come into Hogsmeade.
This was going to end badly.
“I’m dividing you into two groups,” said Voldmort. “The first group, consisting of Dolohov, Crabbe, Goyle and Wormtail, will remain on Main Street. The second group, including Snape, Lucius, Nott and Bellatrix, will come with me around the corner of Eadwacer the Handy Street. There will be a set of pre-arranged signals, which I will explain now. First, Dolohov will be on top of this building here, which is the Local 99 for the Magical Agricultural Union, who are currently on strike over importing regulations passed by the MEU. That’s why they’re not here, and that’s why Dolohov will be sitting on the far west side of the roof. When Dolohov sees young Mr. Potter coming down the street, he will place a marble in the gutter, and give it a push. When it exits the gutter on the east side…”
“Wait, we’re wizards,” said Dolohov. “Do we even have gutters?”
“I don’t see why not,” said Voldemort. “It still rains on wizards. I suppose we could have come up with a water repelling spell that sends water a certain distance away from the foundations of our homes, but why bother when a curved piece of housing does the job so well?”
“I don’t know,” answered Dolohov. “We do lots of useless things with magic.”
“Regardless,” continued Voldemort, “when the marble runs out of the gutter, which I assure you exists, it will jostle a plane of wood which is attached to a glass on a platform ten feet in the air. When the glass is toppled, it will spill its contents into another glass below it, which will spill into another glass below that. This will give Potter time to get closer.”
“How long did it take you to set this up?” wondered Snape aloud.
“When the last glass is filled, it will spill onto Goyle’s head, which will be the signal for him and Crabbe to start turning the crank, which I have already set into the front of the building. It will only look like they’re winding up the clock in the frontpiece.”
“What does the crank do?” asked Nott.
“Nothing,” replied Voldemort. “It’s just the signal for Wormtail to turn into a rat and run around the corner to the other group of Death Eaters, causing Lucius to squeal and run like a little girl…”
“Hey!” cried Lucius.
“…And Potter, being the adolescent hero that he is, will rush around the corner to see what’s wrong. And when he does that…”
“We hex the heck out of him?” asked Bellatrix.
“No!” said Voldemort. “There’s more! When Potter comes around the corner, he will step on this cobblestone here, which is unstable, and will cause him to trip. He will likely lose his glasses, and as we all know, people who lose their glass immediately drop to the ground and search for them on their hands and knees. Now, low to the ground, I have strung multiple threads, which are attached to bells on the roof of the adjacent building.”
“Uh, if I’m running,” started Lucius, “won’t I trip on those?”
“No, Lucius. You’re going to be on the other side of the threads. While Potter searches for his glasses, he will trip those bells, which the second group of Death Eaters will hear. This will be their signal to drop this giant fishing net on the boy. Everyone got all that?”
The Death Eaters just stared blankly at Voldemort.
“All right, then,” said Voldemort, clapping his hands briskly, “places everyone. We must be prepared.”
“This is going to end badly,” said Snape, echoing his earlier sentiment. But, like everyone else, he took his position.
Just then, Harry Potter came down Main Street, all by his lonesome. Dolohov, quickly dropped the marble into the gutter, and then flicked it to get it to roll. Sadly, as the building was flat, it only rolled a few feet before friction caused it slow down and stop. “Roll, damn you! Roll!” hissed Dolohov, giving it a few more flicks.
“Aw, screw it,” he finally decided, and picked up the marble, ran to the east side of the building and dropped it in the downspout.
The marble did hit the wooden board, but instead of just jostling the glass set ten feet up, it knocked it completely out of the air. The glass dropped squarely on Goyle’s head, which probably hurt. Luckily, by this point, Goyle had completely forgotten what Voldemort had told him, and took his bludgeoning as the signal. With Crabbe’s help, they started to turn the crank.
Wormtail, who hadn’t been paying attention to Crabbe and Goyle very much, had not noticed that his signal had come a little early, as there had not been the delay with the glasses filling. Wormtail simply turned into a rat, and ran around the corner toward Lucius.
“I will not squeal,” said Lucius to himself. “I will not squeal. I will not…AAAAHHHH!” And off he went.
Unfortunately, while Voldemort had had the foresight to put Lucius on the other side of his thread trap, he had not thought of Wormtail. Even though he was relatively small as a rat, Wormtail quickly became entangled in the threads, setting of the bells on the roof.
And although Harry Potter was not nearly as close as he should have been, his remarkably good ears (or perhaps just Lucius’s volume) allowed him to hear what sounded like a cry for help. He quickly drew his wand (because though he was mistaken about just about everything else, Voldemort had gotten this part right) and ran past the two men, cranking with all their might, and around the corner of Eadwacer the Handy Street. As predicted, he stepped on the loose stone. But instead of tripping, he just stumbled a little and recovered himself. Looking down, he discovered the morass of thread on the ground, which had apparently already ensnared some poor rat. “That looks like a mess,” he said, slowly backing out of the street. Just then a net dropped over the rat right in front of him.
Harry Potter, now entirely confused, put away his wand, and wandered home to tell Ron and Hermione that there was something weird going on at the corner of Main and Eadwacer the Handy Streets.
“Well,” said Voldemort, “that didn’t go quite as planned.”
Snape slowly shook his head. “Don’t you have magic?” he asked.
(A/N: Alternate title: Lord Voldemort Utterly Fails to Build a Better Mousetrap.)
- Fanfiction: Once Upon a Freakin' Time