This Is Not My Life

No. Really. It's not.

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Drabble Meme
CoS BBE Icon by poetrusic
I need a kick in the pants start.

MEME: The first fifteen people to comment on this post with a prompt get to request a drabble from you. In return, they have to post this meme in their journal (though, no pressure). Post all fandoms you’re willing to write for.

Um, the "fandoms [I'm] willing to write for" are pretty limited. I've only ever written extensively for HP, and mostly only about the bad guys. However, technically, I've also written for Bizenghast, Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings, so if you're feeling daring, you can request one of those.

Also, I loosely define drabble here, so it will be at least 100 words, but probably not that exactly.

At long last, my stalking your journal pays off. Something HP-ish would be fine indeed, preferably of a snarky sort.

You said "snarky," so I assumed you wanted something with Snape in it.

- - - - - - - -

You would think that a group of fully-grown, professedly-evil wizards would have enough Dark Magic experience to satisfy your average Dark Lord. But, no. Not Voldemort. Voldemort wanted “standardization.”

“I’ve been waiting for this all my life,” he said, “and I’m not going to let you idiots mess it up with your inconsistency.”

After weeks of laborious meetings and paper compilations, a Standards of Practice Guide for Death Eaters was published. Regular dueling recertification was instated, as well as a lengthy exam to test one’s Dark knowledge.

And so, it came to pass that Snape had to administer the oral exam to one Lucius Malfoy. “You’re in a dark room, lit by a single torch. There are exits to the north, south and east,” read Snape off his exam.

“Um, I go north,” started Lucius.

“You are in a moldy cavern. There is an exit to the east, blocked by a Muggle.”

“I want to make the Muggle spontaneously combust.”

“You can’t make it spontaneously combust.”

“What? Why can’t I set it on fire?”

“You can set it on fire, but you can’t make it spontaneously combust.”

“That makes no sense, Snape. Is that written on the exam? I knew we shouldn’t have let Crabbe on the exam committee.”

“No,” said Snape impatiently, “it’s just that you can’t make anything spontaneously combust. That negates the spontaneity of it.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Lucius. “I’m making him burst into flames out of nowhere. That’s pretty darn spontaneous.”

“As in ‘sudden,’ yes. But it’s an action perpetrated by you. It’s guided; it doesn’t come out of nowhere.”

At this point, their bickering had attracted the attention of Voldemort, which is never pleasant. Stomping over, Voldemort snapped, “Knock it off, both of you. No one else is going to be able to concentrate if you keep this up.”

“But Snape won’t let me set a Muggle on fire!” cried Lucius.

“I don’t care! Now, apologize, both of you. And shut up!”

“I’m sorry,” muttered Lucius, rolling his eyes.

“I’m sorry you don’t understand how spontaneous combustion works,” replied Snape.

Oh, would you mind doing something with Lucius? Though I have lately enjoyed him in an entirely different genre of fic, your Lucius always amuses me. :D

Either that, or breaking the fourth wall and Dumbledore reacting to everyone else's reaction to the recent news.

And I can't post the meme in my LJ, because I'm saving every ounce of creativity I have for NaNoWriMo. Because while I obviously want to make the 50k mark this year, I'd also be happy if I managed to break that 10k mark. Failed miserably last year at 8600 words. Which, come to think of it, is about ten times longer than most of my good fics. XD

I understand. I hate memes that try to pressure people into doing something they may not want to, which is why I added the "no pressure" to the original prompt.

I decided to go with the Dumbledore one because I couldn't resist.

- - - - - - - -

Albus Dumbledore could not sleep. The clamor outside was unceasing. He had made many an unpopular decision in his long life, and had even done some things that he himself had struggled to justify. But nothing had ever caused an uproar like this.

“Can’t they let a fictional dead man have his peace?” Dumbledore mumbled as he abandoned his bed and staggered to the window.

On the other side of the glass, dozens of Muggle reporters were camped out on his lawn, setting up their cameras in his rhododendrons, and making general nuisances of themselves. They had been there for several days now, hoping to catch a word with Dumbledore, or at least waiting for an opportunity to shout idiot questions over each other. As Dumbledore opened his window, they all stopped chatting amongst themselves and started prepping their microphones and gathering their notebooks.

“Dumbledore! Dumbledore!” shouted one. “How do you feel about your sexuality making international headlines?”

“Professor Dumbledore!” called another. “Former Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, claims that your extreme dislike of him stems from his rejection of your advances back in the 70s. Is this true?”

“Dumbledore! Do you feel that your character is a trick being played on the God-fearing readers of children’s books? Or, alternately, on queer-identifying readers?”

“Hush,” said Dumbledore. “I’m going to say this once and only once. Whom I tup is none of your business. If you don’t get off my lawn in the next five minutes, I’m afraid I’m going to have to curse you all with toenails that grow at an unusual rate. Thank you.”

And with that, he closed his window. “Rita Skeeters, all of them,” he sighed.

Within ten minutes (more than the five he had stipulated, but Dumbledore was a lenient man), his lawn had fallen blessedly silent. But before he could climb into bed and return to his rest, his fireplace crackled into life. Fighting a groan, he said, “This is private fireplace. I don’t know how you got here, but I’m on the ‘Do Not Bother List,’ so I suggest you just back out slowly and pretend this never happened.”

“Er,” said a familiar voice, “I was kind of hoping we could talk.”

“Ah, Tom,” said Dumbledore, “how can I help you?”

Lord Voldemort, for it was he, cleared his throat. “I noticed that you’ve been in the news recently.”

“Most unfortunately,” agreed Dumbledore.

“Look, I don’t want this to be awkward. I’d never known myself until now that you were…you know. I’ve noticed that you have…a type. Like, the good-looking bad boys. I don’t want to assume anything about our interactions in the past, but it would certainly make me feel better to know-”

“No, I have never been interested in you. My taste in men was terrible, Tom,” said Dumbledore. “But not that terrible.”

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
HP: something with Bellatrix?

Hmm, I've not done much with Bellatrix. Let's see.

- - - - - - - -

Lord Voldemort was an imposing man by himself, but when flanked by his most trusted lieutenant, Bellatrix Lestrange, he was at least one and half times more frightening. Bellatrix was the Dark Lord’s arm or leg or left kidney, depending on what Voldemort needed at the time, and she loved every minute of it.

Especially when she was at his side, applying the burning brand of her wand to skin of Lord Voldemort’s latest “informant.” “Don’t struggle,” she whispered with feigned sympathy to the whimpering wizard. “My wand might slip, and oops! You’ll be short an important appendage.” She giggled, feeling like a giddy child. “Or not so important, judging by what I see.”

“Hold one moment, Bellatrix,” commanded Voldemort. “I wish to question him now.”

The other Death Eaters stood around the three of them, witnessing and containing. They were her Lord’s fortress and bedrock, but she was more than any of them. They were the circle, but she was at the center.

She didn’t pay attention to the interrogation. She didn’t need to. She needed only to extend her wand when asked and to relish the closeness of her Lord. His presence, intent on the now weeping prisoner, melded into her, overpowering and bolstering her at the same time. She closed her eyes, hummed her pleasure and let herself go.

“What’s wrong with Bellatrix?” whispered Lucius to Snape at the outskirts.

Snape considered how much he could tell Lucius without shattering the man’s fragile little psyche, but then remembered that he didn’t really care. “I think she’s getting off on this,” he whispered back.

“Ewwwwwwww,” said Lucius.

HP: the black family + "merak" would be ever so horribly entertaining. they always seem to do perfectly ridiculous things.

This one was getting a bit too long. I may have to lengthen it into an actual story some day.

- - - - - - - -

The days had passed one after the other, in a very similar fashion, ever since Voldemort had informed Harry that his name was being changed to “Merak Black,” and that he might as well forget any connection he ever had to the Potters or the Evans, as he had a new family now. A family that included Draco, of all people.

Harry had responded…less than graciously. And had paid for it. He had seen no one except Voldemort for the past two weeks, and it was beginning to drive him a little crazy. So, when the door opened, and Voldemort was standing there, accompanied by Narcissa Malfoy, Harry felt a surge of gratitude. Maybe he would have an opportunity to talk about something other than Voldemort’s favorite subject: Voldemort himself.

“Merak,” began Voldemort, making Harry cringe a little inside, “your cousin…your second cousin…your godfather’s cousin…yeah, I’m not sure how you’re related. Mrs. Malfoy is here to see you. The two of you need to discuss how the Blacks will present you to the rest of the Death Eaters.”

Harry went cold imagining how this would go. The only way he would be presented to the Death Eaters was dead, probably tastefully arranged on the Black family’s ancestral china.

“Good evening,” said Narcissa.

“Hi,” replied Harry.

“No,” said Narcissa. “That’s no way to greet someone, let alone a family member. Let’s try again. I said, good evening.”

“Um,” said a surprised Harry, “good evening?”

“Is that a question?”

“Good. Evening.” Wow, no wonder Draco had a stick up his ass.

“Very good, Merak. I’m here to discuss your introduction to society. I suspect we shall have to wait until the conquest of the wizarding world, since I don’t know how I am going to find you a dance partner otherwise. Death Eaters are apparently incapable of producing daughters.”

“Er,” said Harry, who had never paid much attention to Death Eaters reproduction.

“Now,” said Narcissa, dipping her quill and readying a piece of paper, “what kind of cake would you like? Chocolate? Vanilla?”

“They’re both fine,” said Harry.


“That’s a good compromise,”

“No,” said Narcissa, pointing her quill at Harry and dotting him with ink, “a Black does not compromise. The Black family knows what it wants and goes after it with single-minded determination. Once again, what kind of cake do you want?”

Harry sputtered out something about chocolate and dearly wished he was talking to Voldemort again. At least there he was on safe ground.

Ooo. I could use a kick in the pants myself, so this is an excellent meme.

Um, let's see...HP/Pirates crossover. Anything you want(I'd love to see Captain Barbosa or Davy Jones try to team up with Voldemort, or vice versa).

Oh, dear. I'm sorry I couldn't give you closer to what you wanted, but this was the first thing that popped into my head. And it's an HP/PotC/LotR crossover, too! More bang for your buck.

- - - - - - - -

It was a tense night at the Fantasy Villains Annual Awards Dinner and Virgin Sacrifice. The Best Villain in a Completed Series award had gone to Sauron every year since the publication of The Return of the King in 1955. But this year promised him some serious competition: the famous Harry Potter series had finally come to an end, and Lord Voldemort (né Tom Marvolo Riddle) was eligible to compete.

And so, it was an equally great upset to both when the winner was announced: Lord Cutler Beckett of Pirates of the Caribbean.

When the shock wore off, Lord Voldemort and Sauron, Mouth at his side, huddled together at the reception, gossiping relentlessly.

“I don’t know how he gets away with calling himself a Lord,” whispered Voldemort confidentially. “Where are his kingdoms of darkness, eh? How many subjects can he claim to rule tyrannically over?”

“Good evening, gentlemen” interrupted a courteous voice. It was the award usurper himself. Beckett carried his award, a golden spike topped with a golden bloody head, under his arm, showing it off for all to see. The bastard.

“Congratulations,” sneered the Mouth on Sauron’s flaming eye’s behalf. “Though I’m not sure how Pirates counts as ‘fantasy.’”

“We have undead, cursed pirates, fish men on a ghost boat, a waterfall at the end of the world, and a fifty-foot goddess,” replied Beckett calmly. “How would you classify it?”

“How did you do it? asked Voldemort, unwilling to suffer this polite conversation. “You ended up just as dead as us at the end of your series. What do you have that we don’t?”

“I killed a child,” said Beckett, smiling. “On screen.”

This gave both Voldemort and Sauron pause. “I tried,” muttered Voldemort.

“And failed utterly. But don’t worry, Voldemort. If the remaining movies take enough liberty with your, shall we say, completely idiotic plans, you may have a better chance in a few years.”

And with that, Beckett turned on his heels to leave Voldemort and Sauron alone, smoldering (in Sauron’s case, quite literally) in their suppressed rage.

Harry and Lucius trapped in a room. Maybe Harry tried to get out of RISK again and Snape got to suggest punishment. Maybe not.

Well, Harry's trapped, but Lucius isn't quite. But it is Snape's suggestion.

- - - - - - - -

“You’re doing it wrong,” said Lucius exasperatedly, yanking the bowl of shell peas out of Harry’s hands. “It’s like this. Watch.” Lucius picked up a peapod. “First you pinch off the ends, like so. Then you pull the strip on the side. See it there? It opens the pod right up. Now you push the peas out, and discard the shell in this other bowl here. We’ll make compost out of that.” Harry found himself miraculously holding the bowl again. “Now, you try.”

With deft, deliberate, almost mocking, motions, Harry quickly shelled a peapod. Lucius nodded in proud satisfaction, as if Harry had managed to disarm a bomb. “Good job. Okay, you shell those peas, and I’ll slice these onions.”

Harry shrugged and got shelling. He didn’t understand what was so horrible about helping Lucius prepare dinner. Snape had acted as if he was sentencing Harry to the cruelest of punishments. But he didn’t even have to peel a mountain of potatoes.

“Sorry you have to shell those peas, Merak. Shelling peas is absolute murder on the cuticles. And it leaves thick, green ridges under your fingernails. Before you go to bed tonight, you might want to soak your hands in some warm water mixed with corn starch. I’ve found that’s very a good way of keeping your hands soft after hard use. Of course, you should follow it up with a quality hand lotion, but that’s a given.”

Harry nodded along, concentrating on shelling the peas, which were, quite frankly, more interesting. Lucius chatted on, unconcerned by Harry’s lack of attention. “Draco was terrible at shelling peas, too. Narcissa used to tell me that he did it on purpose so I wouldn’t give him peas to shell in the future, but I think that Draco just didn’t have a knack for peas. He used to make the best tomato flowers when he was younger, but he grew out of that right before he started to attend Hogwarts. Personally, I wanted him to go to Beauxbatons, which has an excellent culinary program to go along with its magical studies.”

Harry began to wish that Lucius would stop talking. He had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of words and sentences that didn’t even seem to be coalescing into stories. The man went on: “They have an actual auditorium too, did you know that? That’s something I missed at Hogwarts. I was in the Choir Club when I was a first year through fifth year. I got too busy after that with my Dark Arts extracurricular activities to continue, but it would have been really nice to have some place to perform other than the front steps. But Hogwarts wasn’t really built for anything other than magic. That’s why you have to hire a quality tutor to get any working knowledge of the real world.”

In an unusual flash of insight, Harry realized why he hadn’t been given the task of peeling potatoes. If he had a potato peeler in his hands at this moment, he would probably attempt to put it through Lucius’s left eye.

As Lucius’s voice continued to wash over him, Harry grew stiff, lethargic, and began having trouble stringing proper thoughts together in his head. It was very much like how he imagined a Dementor’s Kiss would be, though rather than his mouth, his soul was being sucked out of him through his ears. Time contracted to the number of seconds it took to de-shell one peapod and start another, and then stopped altogether.

“I think that’s enough,” said a smug voice from somewhere far above him.

Harry blinked, and looked up to find Snape’s hooked nose and greasy hair far too close for comfort. He longed to say something snappy and sarcastic, but found himself unable to engage his mouth. He gaped uncomprehendingly at Snape.

Snape smirked as he grabbed Harry’s wrist and dragged him out of the kitchen. “That’s better. Who’s a good little brain-dead automaton now?”

You haven't done anything LotR in a while, and Moments Say So Much still makes me howl with laughter, so....

Elves + Young!Aragorn, prompt: It takes a village to raise a child.

Whoa, I have no LotR icons. There's something wrong with that.

- - - - - - - -

The White Council claimed there was still time.

Sauron was driven from Dol Guldur, but what good had it done them? On the wind, down the streams and through the roots of the earth, they whispered that Sauron had reappeared in Mordor, merely driven from one hiding place to another. And who would fight him there? Gondor, already fled from the Orcs in Ithilien. Gondor: alone, with no king, at the gates of Mordor.

Saruman claimed there was still time.

Looking down into the courtyard, watching the 10-year-old Estel at play, Master Elrond of Rivendell could believe it was true. Time was the province of children, in a way not even the Elves could match. True, time for the Elves could stretch into the thousands of years, but they could never truly possess it the way children did. Children knew only what was immediately before them, unencumbered with the knowledge of what could be lurking just over the horizon. Estel was the hope of the moment.

Galadriel claimed there was still time.

But one look at the boy’s mother was all Elrond needed to be thrown from the moment. Gilraen’s face held all the knowledge of time, of what had been, of what was, and what would come for the boy. Knowledge was coming for him, and Elrond would be the one to bring it. When the child came of age, Elrond would give him Narsil, the Ring of Barahir, and, almost most importantly, his real name.

It took a village to raise a child, but this child would need the whole world. Raised and educated by the Elves, he would go out into the world. He would go north to the Dúnedain, south to Gondor and Rohan, and perhaps even east beyond the Sea of Rhûn. All would work to form the man who would be the king the world needed. Estel would lose the moment, but the world would gain hope.

But for now, he only gave it to his mother, and to Elrond, from a distance.

There was still time.

Hoookay, I'm just throwing out a line: "Bloody seahorses." Do whatr you will. Preferrably HP and the inept Mr. Voldemort.

Yay, I'm working my way down.

- - - - - - - -

The warm summer sun beat down on the silent grounds of Hogwarts castle. The wind wandered the hallways, searching abandoned classrooms. The lake rippled gently, throwing off blinding shards of light, unseen by any eye. Empty of students, faculty, its illustrious Headmaster, even the ghosts (who are not immune to a little summer doldrums), the usually lively school was unnervingly still. Perhaps the school missed its noisy students. Or perhaps it preferred this peace and quiet. Being an inanimate object, it was unable to articulate its position, or hold a complex opinion.

Suddenly, breaking the surface of Hogwarts Lake in a gush of white spray and gasping breath, Severus Snape lurched onto shore. Silence returned in the instant following, and for a moment, all was as it had been. But as Snape hurled up water on the rocky beach, two more Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort popped out of the lake like Great White sharks in a synchronized swimming competition.

“Okay,” gasped Lucius, floundering onto shore, “we obviously can’t break into Hogwarts that way.”

“My butt is full of barbs,” Yaxley ground out between clenched teeth.

“You’ll probably want to put some salve on that,” advised Lucius.

Voldemort, comporting himself with as much dignity as he could muster, began to wring out his robes. “This was not a failure,” he said. “Merely a test.”

“I don’t know,” said Snape, finally lifting his head off the ground, “getting the crap beat out of us by merpeople certainly seems like a failure to me.”

Voldemort’s usually bone chilling glare was tempered by his emerging black eye. He held Snape’s gaze for a full minute before looking away ashamed. Touching the sensitive bruise, he muttered, “Bloody seahorses.”

I'd love to see your view on Aberforth's practicing of "inappropriate charms on goats".

This is probably not nearly as funny as you could have hoped, I suspect.

- - - - - - - -

Ariana’s small hand was cold in Aberforth’s grip. It was far too chilly for the young girl to be outside in only a nightdress. Albus would be furious if he caught them.

Not that he would. He was far too busy with that Grindelwald bastard to care what Aberforth and Ariana were up to. And what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt any of them.

Aberforth hated Godric’s Hollow; Mould-on-the-Wold was home and always would be, even if their fellow villagers didn’t feel that way anymore. But at least they were well outside of the proper town in Godric’s Hollow. They had space and privacy here, as well as a shelter for the family goats, Nanna, Clover and Blackie. Ariana, of course, needed the extra room for other reasons, but that didn’t change the fact that she loved the goats. And what Ariana loved, Aberforth loved.

The three goats were curled up in a pile of hay together, sleeping soundly. As they approached, Aberforth gestured for Ariana to be quiet, though it was hardly necessary. Such gestures were reassuring, however. For both of them.

Aberforth gently stroked Nanna’s head to wake her up, and her soft bleating brought the other two around. Aberforth beckoned Ariana to his side by the goat. Now for the tricky part. Ariana hated magic the way Aberforth hated Godric’s Hollow. If you wanted to do magic around her, you had to make sure it didn’t look like magic. He’d been practicing with his wand up his robe sleeve, and was certain he would get this right. Pointing his wand at Nanna’s throat, he whispered, “Capricarmen.”

Nanna twitched a bit at the magic, but instead of a sharp maaah, she gave out a sweet, high, musical note. Ariana blinked in surprise, as did Nanna. Shocked at the sound she had just made, she made it again, this time bringing the notes up and down the scales.

While Ariana was occupied with Nanna’s baffled musical cries, Aberforth quickly bespelled the other two goats the same. With in moments, the pair was surrounded by a bizzare cacophony of strange, goat-produced musical.

Ariana began to laugh. It was more beautiful than any goat song.

It couldn’t last, however. The goats, while capable of fantastic feats of musical ingenuity now, were incapable of moderating their volume. Within minutes, the lights came on in the house and Albus was flying out the backdoor, followed by Grindelwald. “What’s all this, then?” Grindelwald asked scornfully. “A country choir?”

“You’ll wake the whole neighborhood. What’s wrong with you?” hissed Albus, dragging Ariana back to the house. She struggled a little; Aberforth knew Albus would have no idea why. “Fix those goats. That kind of transformation is entirely inappropriate, Aberforth.”

Aberforth lifted the hex on the animals as the door closed behind his brother and his sister. Albus had no idea at all.

Something Snape-y please. And it must involve a pink feather boa. And bon-bons.

Whoops, I mistook this for another request and focused it on Voldemort. But it still does have Snape. And a feather boa. And bon-bons.

- - - - - - - -

The muffled whump of the ancient text hitting the floor was not quite the dramatic noise the situation required. The ringing clang of a dropped metal tray rolling into shadows, or the cacophony of a shattered china tea set would have been more appropriate, but Severus Snape was not in the habit of carrying trays or china. Lucius Malfoy, on the other had, was, but he so happened to be empty-handed at this critical juncture.

Standing alone before a giant gilt-edged mirror, looking annoyed at the interruption, was an unusually dressed Lord Voldemort. He still wore his trademark black robe, the severe color contrasting with his deathly pale hands and haughtily poised bald head. But draped around his neck and shoulders was a delicate boa of broad, pale peach-pink ostrich feathers.

“Wow,” said Snape, “I have to admit that I didn’t see this coming.”

“It’s certainly striking,” said Lucius in a conciliatory tone, “but, my Lord, accessorizing is a bit of an art.”

“What are you two on about?” snapped Voldemort. “I’m working on a very important magical experiment here. Can you see my neck?”

“What?” asked Lucius and Snape at the same time, united at last in their confusion.

“My neck,” said Voldemort, talking slowly as if to particularly dim squirrels. “Can you see it?”

“Well,” said Lucius, “no. It’s under that boa.”

“You can see that?” asked Voldemort. “Drat. I thought I had it right this time.” He angrily whipped one trailing end of the boa over his shoulder. “I’d hoped that the all-natural material would be easier to work with.”

Snape debated the wisdom of requesting further information versus backing slowly out of the room. The absurdity of the situation goaded him on: “I’m sorry, what?”

“I’m making invisibility articles. Like a cloak, but not all encompassing. Invisibility boots, gloves, hats, etc.”

“Why would you want invisible clothes?” asked Lucius. “That takes all the fun out of it.”

“And an invisibility feather boa?” asked Snape.

“I was just trying things out,” said Voldemort, sulking a bit. “It doesn’t work anyway.”

“Of course,” said Snape. “Now let me get you some bon-bons before your low blood sugar causes you to swoon.”

Ooh, write something for Bizenghast, please!

Prompt(s), take your pick and interpret however you like: An Ill Omen (fortune teller; fate).

Oooh, I'm so glad to get a Bizenghast prompt! I hope you enjoy.

- - - - - - - -

THUNK! Vincent dropped the handsaw and grabbed the suddenly tottering table. “Stop it, Edaniel,” he said. “I won’t be able to cut this hole if you keep running into the table.”

“Take off the fishbowl, Edaniel. It’s unbalancing you,” advised Dinah.

“I can’t,” said Edaniel. “I’m Commander Keen. The atmosphere on your planet may kill me.”

Dinah sighed and lifted the fishbowl off Edaniel’s head. “You’ll be wearing it all afternoon,” she said, putting it aside. “Vincent, how big of a hole should I cut in the tablecloth?”

“I’m making the hole in the table about six inches. You can fit through that, right, Edaniel?”

“I can fit through holes of any size, Valentine,” said Edaniel proudly.

Dinah smiled, and quickly snipped a hole in the center of the tablecloth. The darkened tent was almost ready for the start of the school fair. The carefully painted sign outside read “Madam Dianora’s Fortune Telling,” and a diaphanous wall of fabric shielded those inside from curious on-lookers. On the inside of the tent, Dinah had hung a fancy astrology chart and few blowups of tarot cards. All that was left was the pièce de résistance: the draped table with the “crystal ball” centerpiece.

“Are you sure you’re ready for this, Dinah?” asked Vincent, finishing with the table and dusting off a few wood chips. “The kids at school already think you’re strange. They’re full of crap, of course, but this probably isn’t going to help that opinion.”

Dinah was silent a moment as she lay the tablecloth over the table and made sure the holes lined up. “This is what I want,” she said finally. “They’re not really full of crap, Vincent. I am strange. But if they think this is the kind of strange I am, it will go easier when I start school again.”

Dinah set the fishbowl over the hole. “Okay, Edaniel. Let’s see how it looks.”

Edaniel skittered under the table and a few seconds later, his head popped up in the fishbowl. “Hang on,” he said. “Turn down some of those lights, and let me get the flashlight on.”

Vincent turned off the work lights they’d been using, and Edaniel turned the flashlight on under his face. It really didn’t do much to highlight his mostly flat features, but a bright green cat in a fishbowl was eerie enough. “I’ve come from the world beyond to tell you your FUTURE!” he said.

Dinah and Vincent laughed. “All right, Madam Dianora,” said Vincent. “Put on your veil and we should be ready to open shop.”

Covering her head and eyes, Dinah made herself comfortable on a plush cushion on the far side of the table. Vincent squatted down on the other side. “I want to be your first customer,” he said. “Read my palm?”

Dinah took Vincent’s hand in her own, opening his fingers and studying the palm intently. “You have a strong heart line, Vincent,” she started, tracing it with her finger.

“Use your spooky voice,” said Edaniel from the center of the table. “Your spoooOOOoooky voice.”

“It cuts straight across your palm,” Dinah continued, ignoring him. “It means you care deeply about others. It even dips through your head line, here. That means that sometimes you make emotional decisions when you should make rational ones. You put yourself in danger when you don’t have to.”

Vincent leaned a little closer, presumably to see where Dinah was pointing, but she caught him peeking under her hooded veil. She blushed, and glanced back down at his hand. “That’s odd,” she said.

“What’s odd?” asked Vincent, who was obviously no longer looking at his own hand.

“There’s a gap in your life line. It just stops and then starts again a few millimeters away.”

“What does that mean?”

“I have no idea.” Dinah dropped his hand, puzzled and suddenly nonplussed. “Maybe we should let some customers in now, Vincent.”

Awright then... Hmm...

How about some sort of Bizenghast/HP crossover? And for randomness sake, see if you can work in a violently lime green somethingorother. Not required, though.

Luckily, Edaniel counts as a violently lime green somethingorother.

- - - - - - - -

As the giant, three-headed dog reared up over her, it occurred to Dinah that she had never encountered a ghost who had set up so many damn death traps. One major death trap, or two or three minor ones, was par for the course. But so far they had fled a dragon on flying broomsticks, crossed a pond full of floating dead bodies, and Edrear had hacked the head off of what had appeared to be a giant snake. The worst by far, however, had been the tall, black draped figures that had tried to corner them. The endless chill that had filled Dinah had been worse than going insane. Luckily, Edrear’s quick thinking had saved them, and he’d collapsed the wall on top of some, and blocked the way to the rest.

Of course, it had also blocked the four of them in with the three-headed dog.

“Nice doggy,” said Edaniel. One of the dogs’ heads barked echoingly and chomped at him. “Well,” he said, wiping off some dog saliva, “there goes my chance to strike a blow for dog/violently-lime-green-cat-monster relations.”

“Edaniel, keep distracting that head!” commanded Edrear. “Miss Dinah, Vincent, you two keep another head busy. I’ll start hacking them off while they’re paying attention to you!”

“No!” said Dinah. “You can’t solve everything by cutting its heads off. I don’t think it’s trying to kill us. Look, it’s standing on a trap door!”

“That’s great,” said Vincent, “but it still won’t let us get close. How do we get by, then?”

“Maybe the flute I picked up from the graveyard outside,” said Dinah, putting the flute to her mouth. At the first few tentative notes, the dog began to calm down.

“Huh. Soothes the savage beast, and all that jazz,” said Edaniel.

As the dog lay down on the floor, Edrear pulled open the trap door. “Let’s go,” he said, and disappeared into the darkness below. Edaniel and Vincent followed quickly. Still playing as best she could, Dinah backed slowly to trap door before turning suddenly and jumping in.

She could see nothing as she fell, and could hear nothing but the whistling of wind as it went past her head. With a sudden jolt, she landed on a hard, stone floor. “Ahhh! Ow,” she said.

“Dinah!” Vincent appeared out of the darkness at her shoulder. “Are you okay?”

“Yes, but where are we?”

“Some kind of storeroom,” said Edaniel, winding from between Vincent’s legs. “A storeroom for glass balls.”

Looking around, Dinah could see Edaniel was correct. Around her was shelf after shelf of dusty glass balls. Leaning in close, she could read names on them, but it made no immediate sense to her. “I wonder what they are?” she asked.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Edrear shortly. “No one has tried to kill us yet, but we need to be on guard.”

In a tight group, the four of them crept down the narrow aisles between shelves. There was no sound, no sign of any living or dead thing but themselves.

A sharp noise like a sob pulled Dinah up short. Pulling ahead of the others, she rounded a corner and found a girl, no older than 13, clutching one of the balls and crying. “What happened?” asked the ghost.

“I…I don’t know,” said Dinah.

The others came around the corner behind her and stared at the ghost. “What happened?” the girl said again, plaintively.

“Oh,” said Vincent. “That makes sense.” He stepped away from the others to stand next to Dinah. He then addressed the ghost: “They find and destroy the Horcruxes, while spending a lot of time in the woods. Harry dies, but comes back to life again. Pretty much half the rest of the cast dies, but doesn’t come back. Snape is a good guy with a lifelong crush. Voldemort is an idiot. Neville is awesome and Luna is awesome, but her dad not so much. Um…oh, and Dumbledore’s gay.”

“I knew it!” cried the ghost, as a burst of white light took her to her final rest.

How about an epistolary meme? Letters between the members of the Evil Supervillains Consortium, perhaps?

That would be an awesome idea for a new meme. It probably wouldn't work for this one, but it would be neat to start one up.

Ooh, is it too late to ask for Bizenghast fic? I just finished the 3rd one and that would make me very happy. (Darn you for getting me hooked on a manga of all things.) Something with Vincent and Dinah in the real world, though if creepy stuff follows them there that's okay.

It's never too late for Bizenghast! I just it's not too late for my ficlet. I'm glad I could get you interested. Just so you know, I imagine this as taking place shortly before the series starts.

- - - - - - - -

Vincent had told Dinah to be at his house at 4:30. If she stayed for three hours, and left promptly at 7:30, she would have half an hour of summer sun left to get home before darkness fell and her mad visions came on. Assuming that she took the quickest path through the woods, went full tilt on her bicycle through town, and did not apply the brakes while going down the hill on Blair Road.

Before she met Vincent, Dinah knew she would not have been brave enough to do that. Of course, if she hadn’t met Vincent, there would be no reason for her to do that.

She was on time, but there was little else for her to do these days but be on time. Vincent’s parents’ house (he repeatedly insisted that it was theirs, not his) was an imposing mansion from a time when not just anyone could afford to have a mansion. Set far back on a goodly piece of land, it looked deserted, though not particularly creepy, to Dinah as she came up the driveway. To be fair, it was mostly deserted, as Vincent lived in the garden behind the house.

Walking her bicycle behind the house, she found Vincent on the stone patio, apparently building a gigantic house of cards. Her breath froze in her chest; she was suddenly paralyzed by the idea that her slightest movement would bring the entire creation down.

“Hi, Dinah,” said Vincent, standing up and swinging his limbs around as if he were unaware of fragile buildings he threatened. “I’m glad you could make it past your aunt today.”

“What are you doing?” Dinah whispered, trying to create as little breeze as possible.

“Oh, I’m building a card castle for my friend Peter. He’s using it for a photo shoot.” Vincent casually touched a tall tower of cards.

“Don’t!” cried Dinah. But nothing happened. The card towered remained steady, and the still queens and kings stared blankly on, mocking her overreaction.

“Huh?” said Vincent. “Oh, I’m taping them together. It’d hardly stay up for a minute otherwise.”

“That’s cheating!” said Dinah, feeling something shockingly akin to panic bloom in her breast. “Card houses are not supposed to stay up for more than a minute. They’re delicate, and useless, and too difficult for most people! Why not build a house out of sturdier materials instead?”

“Dinah, it’s a prop for some pictures, not a philosophical dissertation on the fleetingness of security.” Vincent smiled reassuringly and reached out his hand to Dinah. “Besides, why shouldn’t something fragile be given a little support now and then? Now, come on. Help me finish this, and we’ll take a walk out by the bridge.”

Hi! Um...I think I'm number 15... I'd maybe like something about Draco's receding hairline? Maybe he's talking to Scorpius or something...

Well. This came out entirely different than it started.

- - - - - - - -

Looking back on his life, Draco Malfoy could clearly see that his entire destiny following the final battle at Hogwarts had been arranged by two specific people: his mother and Harry Potter.

At first, his mother’s influence had been the most obvious. After he had slunk through his final year of education, his mother had arranged for him to take a job with Gringotts. This would be ideal, as it would keep him busy, as well as far out of the country. But at his interview, the goblin in charge had leveled a suspicious look at him over his glasses and told Draco that his references were “unsatisfactory.”

Furious that someone, somewhere had backed out of a deal, his mother called up for Draco an unimpeachable reference: Harry Potter, hero of the wizarding world himself. Draco was given the job on the spot.

Humiliated and unsure why Potter had come to his rescue, Draco had been grateful for the opportunity to disappear for a few years. He could lick his wounds, build a new reputation and brood on his newly receding hairline without ever having to see Harry Potter again.

Oh, how wrong he was.

Draco was back at the ancestral Malfoy home within five years for his mother’s funeral. And who did he see coming down the receiving line toward him, full of sympathy for his loss, but Harry Potter, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go Away.

Later, while distant relatives gorged themselves on crudités, and Draco’s father, Lucius, sat quietly in a corner pretending he didn’t exist, Draco pulled Harry aside. “What are you doing here?” he demanded.

“I came to pay my respects to your mother,” said Harry.

Respect,” sneered Draco. He had never been able to rid himself of the habit.

“Yes.” Harry smiled. “She and I had very similar views on what’s important in life.”

“Well, I don’t think she’s going to notice, Potter.”

“I didn’t come to see your mother’s body to pay her my respects, Draco. I came to see you to pay her my respects.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means you should come home. Take care of your father. Get married. Have kids. Whatever it takes for you to prove to the world, and yourself, that you’re respectable again. Or for the first time. It means I’m going to give you advice, no matter how much you don’t want to hear it. For example, did you know that Muggle scientists have determined that male pattern balding comes from the mother’s side of the family? So much for the Black family heritage, eh? So, basically, if you want any sons you might have to avoid a similar forehead, you might want to take a look at your prospective wife’s--”

“Shut up,” interrupted Draco. “I don’t need advice from you.”

“All right,” Harry said, holding up his hands in mock surrender. “But if you ever need anything, well, I shouldn’t be too hard to find.” He was half-way out the door before Draco even noticed. “For your mother’s sake, Draco.”

Draco swore he would never take Harry up on his offer. But when he finally came home and married less than a year later, he found his attention frequently wandering to his bride’s male relatives’ hairlines.

He wouldn’t choose a bride based on Harry Potter’s mocking. He wouldn’t. He swore he wouldn’t.


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