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07 September 2004 @ 08:34 pm
Trusting in an unseen badness  

The next installment in the Sue Chronicles: Alanna goes to Hogwarts.

(Say yay, goddammit.)

IN THE FIELD

Alanna settled her neon-pink satin robes around her and carefully composed her face into an engaging simper. She had a niggling feeling that this mission was going to be more than usually difficult.

After a few minutes of sitting in a vapid manner, she got up, walked about to shake out the creases and fluffed up her fluffy pink pillows. She prodded her psychic cat, Frank, but he merely opened an eyelid and shut it again in a gesture of deepest disdain. Alanna and Frank had been assigned this partnership, but that didn’t mean they had to like it. Frank was used to participating in Hogwarts/anime crossovers, and seemed to regard his newest assignment to a pretty familiar as a demotion of some sort. Like all cats, he was of a deeply suspicious turn of mind.

Alanna had barely re-seated herself, tucking her legs beneath her in order to look as elfin and fragile as possible, when the oak door swung open, admitting three girls along with the sound of their voices. Two of them were engaged in a heartfelt discussion, while the last seemed to be reciting some kind of mantra.

‘And Firenze said I had true potential! Parvati, don’t you think his fur is just the coolest ever?’

‘It’s not his fur, it’s his hide,’ the third interjected dryly, breaking off her repetition of ‘Immobilius Corpus Rectum Ejecterus.’ The other two rolled their eyes, but otherwise didn’t acknowledge her.

‘It’s a really gorgeous colour,’ the other was saying. ‘I was just remarking to Seamus, I think I’ll get dress robes in that shade.’

Alanna decided that now was the precipitous moment to introduce herself. ‘Hello,’ she said, in a mysterious, enigmatic and yet sweet and docile tone that had earned her countless highly-prized flames from the Receptacle of Case-Studies. ‘My name is Alanna Princess Meera Montgomery-Leigh. I just got here from California.’ She thought for a millisecond, and added, ‘!’

‘Oh look, it’s a walking anachronism,’ the mantra-intoning one said, in a rather supercilious manner. ‘Hogwarts doesn’t accept transfer students. It says so in the appendix to Hogwarts; A History.’

‘Hermione, I reckon you’ve read that book far more times than is healthy,’ the girl who was not intoning a mantra and wasn’t the Indian one said, in a way that suggested that this was a serious pronoucement that should probably be noted for future entry in the Tibetan Book of the Dead or failing that, a Simpsons annual. ‘Hello, er….Hi! I’m Lavender Brown, and this is my best friend Parvati Patil.’ She pursed her lips. ‘And that’s Hermione Granger.’

‘I love the way you can make my name sound like a swearword,’ Hermione mused, pasting on an ‘You’re-an-idiot-but-I-can’t-be-bothered-to-tell-you-so’ smile. ‘In any case, it doesn’t change the fact that you, Miss Alanna Princess Meera Montgomery-Leigh, should not be here, and that your name cannot be for real.’

Alanna, with the grace-under-fire that recommended her for the Stardust Throne, smiled brilliantly. ‘I have a special dispensation -’ forged for her by the Elders ‘- from Professor Dumbledore, to allow me to study at Hogwarts for a year.’ She played her trump card. ‘You see, I’m related to Professor Snape.’

Really?’ Lavender giggled, and Parvati’s eyes boggled.

‘Oh, you poor thing!’ she sympathised, twirling the end of her plait. ‘You don’t seem to have inherited any of his facial characteristics, at least.’

‘No, you haven’t,’ Hermione said, narrowing her eyes speculatively. ‘But perhaps you, too, are a Potions Master?’

Her tone riled Alanna ever so slightly; it suggested that Alanna couldn’t possibly be anything of the sort. As indeed was the case; but however much she might like to, she couldn’t afford to get on Hermione’s bad side by being caught out in a lie. After all, it was in her brief to give her a makeover this mission; not to mention that her bad side would be only bested by Dante’s Inferno.

So she swallowed her anger and fluttered her eyelashes inanely. ‘I’m afraid I don’t have my uncle’s talents in that area,’ she said, pouting a little for effect.

It was Hermione’s turn to start. ‘Uncle?’ she barked. ‘Maternal or paternal side?’

‘Maternal,’ Alanna said smoothly. Hermione glared.

Meanwhile, Parvati and Lavender had descended upon Alanna’s filigreed and champleve-d trunk with squawks of glee. They put Alanna in mind of a couple of mating parrots, particularly when the butterfly on Parvati’s plait got caught in the bed-hanging, but she forced a smile onto her face.

‘Yes, it was a gift from the Sultan of Ali-Bashir,’ she said breathily, in response to their animated queries. Behind her, she could feel Hermione roll her eyes, and her shoulders tensed. Sometimes Hermione was more easily cajoled into breaking with her true self; at other times not. This was looking to be one of the ‘not’ times.

Alanna continued her down-pat spiel, all in the same general vein, for some time. Her speech was punctuated by sighs of rapture and admiration from Lavender and Parvati, draped across her fluffy pillows, and periodic snorts from Hermione, who had withdrawn to her own bed with a book.

It was just after a glistening-eyed Alanna let fall a single tear, on telling of the death of her parents (currently running a gardening business in Sussex), that Frank decided to make his debut. Leaping from beneath the bed, where he had ensconced himself, he arched his back and puffed up his fur, making him look like an adorable ball of fluff. Lavender and Parvati predictably cooed excessively, and lavished him with pets and kisses. Frank soaked it all up.

‘What does you call this darling diddums, den?’ Parvati queried, picking Frank up around his middle and rubbing her nose against his.

‘His full title is Lord Three Small Brooks Fa Wong the Seventh,’ Alanna said, keeping an admirably straight face, ‘but usually I just call him Darling.’

Frank extended his claws so just Alanna could see them, which was his way of saying, ‘I’m only doing this for the kibble, remember?’

It was at this point that Alanna made the mistake of glancing over at Hermione, who had laid her book aside and was regarding her with a mulish expression, arms crossed over her chest.

‘So you attended the Salem Institute, then?’ she said sharply. ‘But you come from California. As far as I know the two places aren’t exactly down the road from each other.’

‘Where do you live? Is it down the road from Scotland?’ Alanna returned, and Hermione raised her chin. Alanna took it that she’d ceded that one to Alanna.

‘Yet you still haven’t said how you came to be specifically here,’ Hermione continued, kneeling up on her bed and smoothing down her striped pyjamas compulsively. ‘In this dorm room. How did you end up in Gryffindor? After all, you claim to be in some way a Snape. Why aren’t you boogying down with the Slytherins as we speak, as a natural progression from that…’ she paused, letting the word ‘assertion’ hang in the air, ‘relationship?’

Alanna shrugged, exquisitely. ‘The Sorting Hat lets you make your own choices.’ She sent Hermione a loaded look. Of course she knew about Harry’s dilemma in that as regards his ‘inner Slytherin’, but Hermione didn’t know she knew. For this mission, it wasn’t a priority to make much of it. Let her stew over Alanna’s knowing manner.

‘Fair enough,’ Hermione sighed. ‘Goodnight.’

‘Wait!’ Alanna said, holding up a slender moon-pale hand (Marilena swore by pumice stones and crushed egg-shells for removing blemishes and freckles). ‘I thought we could have a little sleepover.’

‘A sleepover?’ Hermione repeated, sounding mildly disgusted. ‘In case it has escaped your notice, we sleep here every night. All night.’

‘But I’ve brought all this stuff,’ Alanna said quickly, lifting a lacquered box from among her numerous possessions, and opening it to reveal a new definition of the word ‘sparkly’. Parvati and Lavender fell upon it like wolves on a carcass. Hermione raised an eyebrow.

‘No thank you,’ she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. ‘I don’t think hair gems just scream ‘Me!’ somehow.’

‘You never know until you try,’ Alanna said firmly. ‘If you just let me do your hair…’

‘No!’ Hermione exclaimed, as Alanna leaned over and tried to subdue her with a bobby pin.

‘Oh, go on, Hermione,’ Lavender said, grinning through a mask of shimmering necklaces. She resembled nothing so much as a rather excitable Tutankhamen.

‘We’re always trying to get her to do herself up a bit, but she just won’t,’ Parvati confided, as if she was imparting a state secret to a KGB agent.

‘I promise, I won’t hurt you,’ Alanna said, adopting a meek persona and holding up a cat-shaped ornament temptingly.

‘If I were a country, and even if I were a Communist state, the dictator would still be ME,’ Hermione grumbled, as she let Alanna deftly maneouver her stubborn locks into some kind of order. Alanna smiled secretly at this; Parvati made a moue of incomprehension.

Lavender had already re-buried herself in the box, and muffled sounds of glee could be heard from its depths every five seconds.

When she was satisfied, Alanna held up a gilt mirror and let Hermione survey herself. Buried beneath a inch-deep shell of makeup, her hair trailing and wisping and curling around a Hallmarks-factory-worth-of-glitter-decked pins, she looked as beautiful and as characterless as a Barbie doll.

‘That’s disturbing,’ Hermione said quietly.

‘Wow! You look amazing!’ Parvati enthused. ‘You should do it like this tomorrow.’ She grinned. ‘Betcha Ron would love it!’

‘I’m sure he would,’ Hermione said expressionlessly, tugging out the pins one by one and lining them up neatly on her duvet. This done, she muttered a spell and at once, her face was bare again, complete with blotches, freckles and the odd spot.

‘That’s more like it,’ she said in relief.

Quietly, Alanna packed away her slap-pack and changed into her pom-pomed negligee. She said goodnight in a thrilling voice to the other girls, and snuggled down.

This was going to be a tough run.

~

The next morning Alanna dressed in the obligatory black school robes, although they were made of satin and the hem was embroidered with little diamante stars. Despite her protestations, with the help of Lavender and Parvati Alanna managed to coerce Hermione into allowing herself to be done-over once again.

‘I don’t know why you’re so keen to do this to me,’ Hermione grumbled. Alanna frowned as the movement of her lips caused the lip pencil to run in a wobbly line down her chin.

‘I just like helping people, that’s all,’ Alanna said winningly, snatching up a baby wipe and fixing Hermione’s chin. The Elders bulk-bought them from Pampers.

Hermione looked set to object again, but Alanna masterfully pinched her eyelid in her eyelash curlers and the pain distracted her sufficiently that she forgot what she was meaning to say.

Subjecting Hermione’s neat but careworn robes to a vigorous clothes-brushing, Alanna stood back to admire her handiwork. Parvati and Lavender looked ready to set up a shrine to her graven image. Hermione stood with her arms crossed defiantly, her wrists roped with bangles and silver torques. Her face glittered like a disco ball; the smoothness of her powder would have make sentient alabaster want to curl up and die.

‘I have this feeling that if I move my head too quickly three tonnes of makeup will end up on my ear,’ she remarked conversationally, barely moving her lips which were heavily slicked with foundation, lipstick, lip liner and lipgloss.

‘It’ll come to you in no time,’ Alanna said, speaking from genuine experience. ‘Just remember not to touch your face - ever - and preferably not eat anything that will touch your lips.’

‘So what, I’m meant to subsist on Smarties or something?’ Hermione said. Her face could have been expressing either sarcasm or horror, but it was hard to tell beneath the entire-Mac-counter of makeup.

Alanna merely smiled.

They made their way down together to the Great Hall, Alanna careful to remain in the shadows with Frank gambolling at her heels. It would never do for Ron, Draco or Harry to fall in love with her flawless face; her brief was very specific regarding what she was to guide them to achieve.

Harry and Ron were standing beneath a huge statue of a goat, conversing. They appeared to be chatting about Quidditch, judging from the sweeping hand movements Harry was making and the expressions of animated concentration on their faces. Alanna really didn’t think they’d come across the obscure sexual position that would merit those particular gestures; or at least, she sincerely hoped not.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Draco approaching from the dungeon entrance, flanked by his goons. Alanna crossed her fingers and willed Peeves to appear. She had met up with the ground agent the night before, prior to entering the dorms. He was the Sisterhood’s secret weapon in the Harry Potter fandom, mirror to the likes of Tom Bombadil; it was amazing how skilled at stealth he was.

Lavender and Parvati greeted the two boys perfunctorily before continuing on to the Great Hall, giggling mightily.

‘Hey Harry, hey Ron,’ Hermione said dully. Harry and Ron spun round to meet her, twin frowns lacing their brows on clocking her appearance.

‘Hermione?’ Ron asked hesitantly. ‘Is that you…under there?’

‘Yes,’ Hermione snapped, seemingly torn between wanting to defend herself and confessing the whole look had been someone else’s dastardly deed.

Ron raised his eyebrows and Harry looked faintly confused. This didn’t surprise Alanna; it was generally his default expression. At that moment, to her relief, two things happened simultaneously. Draco came within hearing distance; and a loud whistling noise announced the entrance of a large, ornate chest, falling from somewhere in the shadow-hidden ceiling at a rate of knots.

Thrusting up her sleeves determinedly and shaking back her collection of bracelets, Alanna hopped forward in one smooth motion, apparently stumbled, and caught one foot in the hem of Hermione’s robes. Hermione, who had been glancing up anxiously, shrieked and tumbled into Ron as Alanna kicked upwards, bringing them both to the floor. Without pausing Alanna moved into the famous Grettalyn-Sue Drop-Roll (now a Trademarked Suejitsue move), sinking to the floor and whipping out a leg as she did so. Her movement propelled Harry forward, into Draco’s path and directly beneath the falling chest, which was aimed at Draco’s head. Frank stepped into the breach, mewling and twining himself around Hermione’s ankles in such a way that she couldn’t get up without standing on him.

Alanna scrambled backwards to watch. Harry, with one horrified look upwards, grabbed Draco’s arms and pushed him backwards. Draco protested vigorously, but the force of Harry’s shove sent them both to the floor and Harry’s weight on his chest knocked the wind out of him.

In the meantime, with an almighty bang, the chest had crashed to the floor, splintering violently.

Alanna gracefully got to her feet, and slipped nearer Harry and Draco. Harry seemed to have struck his head on the floor, for a cut on his head was trickling blood and his eyes were closed. Draco was whimpering beneath him.

‘Crabbe,’ he choked.

Alanna glanced around and grimaced. Indeed, the chest seemed to have come to pieces around a solid, prone body. This was most inconvenient. Gratuitous uncalled-for character death would not sit at all well with the Elders.

At least something had gone right, she thought, noting Hermione and Ron struggling to their feet. Hermione’s hair, originally held up with velvet-covered chopsticks, was in disarray. The poker straight parts in front tangled with the uncoiling strands from the bun, calling to mind a startled Muppet. In a fit of pique or fear, Hermione had scrubbed at her face with her sleeve, smearing mascara all over her cheek and removing most of her foundation in one foul swoop. As he helped her to her feet, Ron was looking at her like he’d never seen anything so beautiful.

‘What is going on here?’ a sharp voice demanded. Alanna hid a smile as she turned to face Professor McGonagall, who was surveying the scene of destruction with a wearied expression. Minerva McGonagall had seen it all before.

‘Professor, the chest just fell out of nowhere!’ Hermione said shakily, ignoring Ron, who was stuttering something that seemed to be a query about bruises.

‘Hm,’ Professor McGonagall said, pursing her lips as her eyes alighted on Alanna. ‘And you might be…?’

‘Meera Princess Montgomery-Leigh,’ Alanna said promptly. ‘Alanna Meera Princess Montgomery-Leigh.’

‘Good to know, Miss Montgomery-Leigh,’ Professor McGonagall said dryly. ‘Oh good gracious! Is the child dead?’

‘No, I should think Harry will be fine,’ Alanna said, smiling in a comforting way; and indeed, Harry’s eyes were starting to flutter slightly.

‘I was referring to the boy trapped beneath a ton of broken furniture,’ Professor McGonagall said, prissing her mouth. ‘Mr Potter has got himself out of worse scrapes than this, of that I assure you.’ She hurried forward and started lifting bits of wood from around Crabbe. Hermione, Ron, Goyle and Alanna knelt to aid her. Frank burrowed into Alanna’s thigh rather violently; she wondered if he was due to lay another egg, he was that temperamental.

‘Hello, there? Dying of Potter-suffocation?’ Draco whined, trying to shift Harry away from him and yelping as his twisted leg moved.

‘Oh, hush, Mr Malfoy,’ Professor McGonagall said in impatience. ‘We will see to you in a moment.’

‘What do you think happened here, Professor?’ Hermione said, rather breathlessly, heaving aside a nail-studded chunk. ‘No, Ron, I sincerely doubt that I’m concussed!’

‘I have my suspicions,’ the teacher said, narrowing her eyes and flicking her gaze onto Alanna for a millisecond. Alanna concentrated on projecting an aura of helpless innocence. ‘Perhaps…Peeves…is behind it. Yes. Peeves. That would - make sense.’

‘I never thought he would attempt murder! Serious injury yes, but never murder!’ Hermione gasped, horror-struck.

‘I do not think he aimed to kill, as such,’ Professor McGonagall said shrewdly, again blinking in Alanna’s direction.

Once the wood had been cleared, Professor McGonagall conjured a stretcher and levitated Crabbe onto it.

‘You three, see to your breakfast,’ she said, kindly but firmly. ‘You may visit your fallen comrades at break time. I mean it! Shoo! No, not you, Miss Montgomery-Leigh - you stay for a moment.’

Relucantly, Goyle, Hermione and Ron left for the Great Hall. Hermione looked backwards several times; Ron kept trying to hold her hand and thinking better of it. Alanna smiled in satisfaction, and turned to find herself beaming at Professor McGonagall’s stern face.

‘If you would be so kind as to get Mr Malfoy and Mr Potter to the hospital wing?’ she asked in a falsely sweet tone. ‘I will see to the injured incidental.’

‘Thank you, Professor,’ Alanna said, curtseying. The teacher rolled her eyes and moved away, the lump in the stretcher floating in front of her.

Alanna turned her attention to the two boys. Draco was very red in the face, and his eyes looked rather wet, as if he wanted to cry but refused to. Alanna knelt next to him.

‘How are you, Draco?’ she asked gently.

‘Absolutely bloody fabulous!’ he snapped. ‘Potter has died on top of me and I think my leg is broken, but otherwise I’ve never had a better day!’

Harry moaned and opened his eyes. He blinked, and raised his head to push his dangling glasses into place. He stared for a moment at Draco’s furious face, then screamed loudly and jumped up, treading on Draco’s leg as he did so. Draco yelled in pain and swung his fist wildly, connecting neatly with Harry’s groin. Harry’s eyes bugged and he doubled over.

Hurriedly, Alanna grabbed Draco’s wrist. Her martial arts training (in all of the six disciplines: Suedo, Suejitsue, Suedo, Kung Sue, Tae Kwon Sue and, of course, Suemo) in the Sue Academy stood her in good stead, and he pouted as her vice-like grip held his flailing arms steady.

‘I need to get you two to the hospital wing,’ she said firmly. ‘Harry, will you help me lift Draco?’

‘No way! He’s just rendered me impotent!’ Harry exclaimed.

‘Please!’ Alanna said, shoving her hair out of her face and doing her best damSue-in-distress impression. ‘I don’t know the spell for conjuring a stretcher, and I won’t be able to lift him on my own.’

‘Oh, fine,’ Harry grumbled, after a moment’s pause. Reluctance oozing from every pore, he reached down to grab Draco around the wrist. Alanna slipped one hand around Draco’s waist and together they hauled him upright.

‘Don’t put any weight on your broken leg,’ Alanna instructed.

‘What do I look like, a halfwit?’ Draco said indignantly. ‘Oop- owowshit!’

‘Yes, you do,’ Harry confirmed.

‘Stuff it, Scarface,’ Draco snarled.

‘Did you ever consider that this constant tension is a sign of some deeper bond between you?’ Alanna interjected. Both boys stared at her in disgust.

‘Of course it is,’ Draco said, tossing his hair. ‘It’s a sign I’m going to bloody well kill him one of these days.’

‘Not if I kill you first,’ Harry objected.

‘I consider that highly improbable,’ Draco said smugly.

Frank trotted forward, padding between Alanna and Draco in such a way as to force Draco to shuffle nearer Harry. Inspired, Alanna put in a convincing stumble, and frowned. ‘Harry, you’re going to have to take more of his weight. He’s too heavy!’

‘Oh, cheers,’ Draco said sarcastically, while Harry muttered, ‘In my last life I was a murderer, clearly,’ and grabbed a fistful of the back of Draco’s jumper. Draco obliged by leaning entirely towards Harry, resting his arm on his shoulder so his elbow poked into Harry’s neck. Harry gritted his teeth. Alanna smiled slightly.

‘Honestly, boys,’ she said lightly. ‘You obviously hate each other, but hate is very close to love, you know.’

Draco made a gagging noise. Harry looked grim.

‘I don’t hate him,’ he said. ‘I despise him. There’s a difference. And the only thing close to being despised is being more despised.’

‘Hey!’ Draco said in an injured tone. ‘What did I do to merit that?’

‘Oh, lemme think,’ Harry sneered. ‘How about existing?’

‘What a cogent argument,’ Draco drawled. ‘Next time I want to captain a losing debate team I’ll be sure recruit you.’

‘Who said I’d let you recruit me?’ Harry asked indignantly. ‘…and why are you the captain?’

‘Of course I’m the captain, it’s my debate team,’ Draco said, rolling his eyes as if pointing out the blatantly obvious.

‘Which doesn’t exist,’ Harry added.

‘Yet.’

‘Never.’

‘Well, your LOSING debate team doesn’t exist, maybe!’

‘Malfoy, you’d be as useful in a debate team as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest. Your idea of seeing the other person’s point of view is to skewer their eyeballs!’

‘Urkle, Potter, must you be so graphic?’ Draco said, scowling. ‘And I’ll have you know I’ve never skewered someone’s eyeballs.’

‘Yet.’

They glowered at each other. Alanna, completely disregarded, choked down a gleeful giggle. One last test…

‘Oops,’ she simpered inanely. ‘Stop for a minute, would you please?’

Obligingly, Harry yanked backwards on Draco’s jumper, pulling it taut around his neck. Alanna let go of Draco and delved straight into her practised routine.

Slowly, she pulled up the hem of her robes, revealing one slim, tanned ankle. She let it fall back over her knee as she bent forward, quickly undoing several buttons to expose her cleavage, and fiddled slowly with the buckle of her patent-leather pumps. She added in a hair-toss for good measure, and stroked her neck in such a way that it seemed an entirely necessary thing to do.

When she finally stood up again, Harry was staring at her with a rapt expression. For a moment her heart sank; if he was turned on by her little performance it would make her job ten times harder. But the next words out of his mouth saved her.

‘Malfoy, your hair!’ he snickered. ‘I just saw the reflection in her shoe…look at your hair!’

‘What do you mean? Is it still there?’ Draco said frantically. He lifted a hand to his head, patting it. Harry laughed harder. Draco finally found the part at the side where it was standing up like porcupine quills and he flattened it, glaring at Harry.

‘I really don’t think that you, of all people, are in a position to be making a mock and scorn of somebody’s hair,’ he said frostily. ‘Particularly when yours looks like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards every bloody day…’

‘I can’t help it, it just grows that way,’ Harry said defensively.

Draco curled his lip. Harry poked out his tongue. Alanna took Draco’s arm and started to guide them down the hallway. It was rather difficult, as they seemed to be having a staring competition.

At the door to the hospital wing Harry let out a victorious yelp. ‘You blinked! I win.’

‘I never did,’ Draco denied.

‘Open the door, Harry,’ Alanna instructed.

Inside they were greeted by a bustling Pomfrey, who eyed Alanna with a knowing expression and led them to a cubicle. She toed Frank back out the door.

‘Cats carry diseases,’ she sniffed. Frank stared at her in indignation, then decided to salvage his dignity by lifting his tail and flashing her as he sashayed out, one paw ahead of her foot. ‘

Mr Potter, Mr Malfoy, sit on the bed. I will be with you in a tic.’ She tipped Alanna a wink and bustled off.

‘What’s this? Sharing? They’re having a run on beds now?’ Draco said in disgust. Harry ignored him and sank onto the duvet, tentatively feeling the cut on his forehead.

‘You never said who you were,’ he said to Alanna. ‘Are you a teacher?’

‘No, a transfer student from America,’ Alanna said, beaming effusively. ‘My name is Alanna…Montgomery-Leigh.’

‘I’m Harry Potter, and that’s Idiot Extraordinaire,’ Harry said, thumbing at Draco.

‘Draco Malfoy,’ Draco cut in smoothly. ‘You must be losing your memory, Potter - you’re the First Idiot around here, remember?’

‘If I have, it will be your fault,’ Harry said.

‘Not a chance! I’m not taking responsibility for you deciding to save my life,’ Draco declared. Harry stared at him in consternation.

‘You’re amazing,’ he said, shaking his head. Draco smiled, or at least bared his teeth.

‘It’s always nice to be appreciated,’ he remarked fatuously.

Madame Pomfrey returned and inspected them. ‘That’s a nasty break, Mr Malfoy,’ she said slowly, as if reciting something. ‘And Harry, I think you may have a concussion -’ ‘Ha!’ Draco said triumphantly ‘- so I want to keep you two in here until tomorrow for, ah, observation purposes.’

Both boys sighed heavily, but the prospect of missing classes was not to be sniffed at. After Madame Pomfrey had splinted Draco’s leg and healed Harry’s cut, she brought them a pair of pyjamas each.

‘I’m not wearing these!’ Draco declared.

‘Why not? Need your monogrammed silk ones or something?’ Harry scoffed.

‘No, for your information, I sleep naked,’ Draco said loftily. Harry paused in unbuttoning his shirt, looking dumbstruck.

‘Okay, I did not need that mental image,’ he said, sounding strangulated. ‘But by all means, go ahead. Far be it from me to stop you.’ He gulped and turned his back on Draco, pulling off his shirt and unbuckling his trousers before reaching for his pyjama top. Draco watched him thoughtfully for a moment, tugging at his lower lip, before stepping into the next cubicle and starting to strip. Without pulling the curtain to.

Softly, Alanna headed out, feeling her work there was done. She slipped out the door and motioned to Frank, who took it as permission to jump up on her shoulder. Alanna glared sideways at him, but he merely grinned back, and began washing his paw in a way calculated to show off his superb dexterity and balance.

Smoothing her hair, Alanna made her way back down to the Entrance Hall, just as Hermione emerged from the Great Hall. Quickening her pace a little, Alanna walked through the doors into the grounds. She could feel the Elders signalling her to leave and report.

‘Hey, wait!’

Alanna spun on the balls of her feet. Frank miowed in annoyance and leapt gracefully to the ground.

Hermione hurried down the steps after her, tugging the last butterfly clip out of her hair and handing it to Alanna.

‘Thanks, but you didn’t need to,’ Alanna smiled. ‘I have hundreds.’

‘I noticed,’ Hermione said wryly. ‘Where are you going? Class is about to start.’

‘Oh, I have something I need to do,’ Alanna said evasively. ‘I’ll probably catch up later.’

‘Oh,’ Hermione said, biting her lip. ‘Well, Ron is acting…strangely. He told me - or at least I think he told me - that he ‘kindoffanciesmesortofabit.’ I venture that the makeup was a catalyst.’

‘It often is,’ Alanna told her, shrugging her helplessness at the vagaries of fate.

Hermione frowned, then said abruptly, ‘Who are you? I know you’re not a bloody transfer student. Are you a spy for Voldemort?’

Alanna quickly shuddered. It wouldn’t do to come across as too brave; perky was about the limit. ‘Of course not!’

‘But you aren’t a student?’ Hermione said persistently.

‘No,’ Alanna said slowly. She twisted her mouth thoughtfully as an idea occurred to her. ‘Have you thought about what you’re going to do when you leave Hogwarts?’

‘Of course. I haven’t decided yet, though. I want to do something really worthwhile.’ Hermione shrugged, looking confused.

Alanna dug in a voluminous pocket, finally unearthing what she wanted beneath the enough cosmetics to open a shop, several rape alarms and some Pepper Jack cheese. ‘Here,’ she said, proffering the sky blue card to Hermione. ‘I know you love reading, so it doesn’t come much more worthwhile than this. And we’re always on the lookout of Hermione!Sues and Crossover Agents.’ She beamed at Hermione, who took the card suspiciously between her finger and thumb.

‘ “The Sue Academy: training the Sues of tomorrow! Do you think you have the qualities of determination, bravery, diplomacy, stealth, clear-headedness, deviousness, grace-under-pressure, beauty and charm? Do you want to use your gifts for a higher cause? Then ask us about enrolling today!” ’ she read aloud, tracing her finger over a gilt phone number and address. ‘ “FOR WITHOUT THE DARKNESS THEY WOULD NEVER KNOW LIGHT; AND WITHOUT THE SUES THEY WOULD NEVER KNOW GOOD WRITING”.’

A faint pop made her look up, and then around frantically. Of Alanna and Frank there was no sign.

‘But you can’t Apparate off Hogwarts grounds…’ Hermione said to herself, her voice trailing off as she glanced at the card again, rubbing her thumb across the motto.

And smiled.

FIN

My life: So far

Today my father and I went in to pick up my debs dress and sundry items, such as jewellery, to go with it.

This being MY father, we took the roundabout way, calling into:

1) A Chinese shop selling cures for, among other things, impotence, irregular periods and PMT (they were just the ones that sort of JUMPED OUT),

2) A holistic massage and aromatherapy centre, ‘for a look’,

3) A furniture shop in a converted factory, which was airless and stuffy from the ten thousand lights, many in the shape of turtles, dotted around on chairs and pretty pillows and screaming ‘FIRE HAZARD!’,

4) A café, because he was hungry, and which sold chocolate milkshakes that tasted of cocoa (not necessarily a bad thing, I’ll admit),

5) An architect’s gallery located inside an old church, complete with graveyard, smack bang in the middle of a busy city street.

Eventually I managed to coax him into jewellery shops (it has to be admitted he has exquisite taste, with patience in inverse proportion to it). I got some sparkly drop earrings for a tenner and a purty necklace with a purple stone in it, thirty-eight euro, an entirely different flavour of purple to my dress. Of course.

I was meant to get a delicate, preferably silver, evening bag to go with it. I came out with a silver bag, all right; but it was covered in chains and had a target and the words ‘NONCONFORMIST’ printed on it in red. Still, carrying it should be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy *anyway*.

My brother asked me to stand for him at his conformation (I think this would make me his sponsor; he thinks I would be a conformator. Thinking we’re both wrong). I’m oddly touched by this. Don’t know what kind of Catholic role-model I’d make, being a utterly cynical atheist and all, but still. Touched.

Went to Bernie’s for her to practice fake-tanning me (it came out streaky, but I don’t suppose anyone else’s will be that different). On the way home we gave a lift to my cousin Gemma to her grandmother’s. My brother had to sit on my father’s lap to make room, and stuck his head out the window.

ME: You know, your head’ll get cut off by a passing lorry.

GEMMA: *giggles* At twelve midnight? And he’s on the wrong side!

ME: …Wishful thinking.

He bought Lynx. First time. They grow up so fast! *sniffs*

....Annnnd sprayed it all over the living room whilst trying to reason out how to work it. Yeeech.

Also went in to have a trial on my ‘up-style’ (for some reason that sounds so wrong) and to highlight my hair again. It came out a LOT blonder this time, but everyone says it looks great, which means they like me if not it. I let Majella do whatever she wanted to my hair, which pleased her greatly (unlike eg my mother I don’t question doctors or hairdressers) and it ended up in a sort of spiky French twist. Which is fine by me - I don’t have to look at it after all.

I was texting Sean fairly regularly the last few days. I really seem to have struck gold for once - he is genuinely nice, not at all sleazy (or at least not where I can see it), and he writes more than three word text messages! Truly he is a gem among men. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve actually getting a decent date - I gave up worrying about it after an hour, and it just happened. I suppose the fact that my mother set it up, because he works for her, will have some people smiling into their sleeves, but in truth I imagine at least half of the people attending will have had to ‘set it up’ in some manner. Few enough of us would have a legion of boys willing to drop sticks, get into a penguin suit, buy a corsage and spend the night dancing attendance on a ball-gowned drunken girl and her equally drunken mates whom he doesn’t know - a fact not taken into account by whoever came up with the idea of a debs in the first place.

Misc

On music: is it just me, or in one foul sweep has Beyonce’s ‘Naughty Girl’ negated all feminism has achieved in the last hundred years?

And what is up with playing Bryan McFadden’s song ALL THE TIME on EVERY STATION? Why why why? Also, urkle. Mind you, if I heard right and it opens with ‘Bullshit dinners and the free champagne,’ I shall feel slightly better.

*pleasant images of feeding BMcF and all of Westlife bulls’ shit*

 
 
Current Mood: bitchybitchy
Current Music: 'Teenage Dirtbag,' Wheatus
 
 
 
gabbysun on September 9th, 2004 06:38 am (UTC)


WE SALUTE YOU.

I like all of it! It's just that that one sentence just popped out at me. I NEEDED TO QUOTE IT. xD
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on September 9th, 2004 12:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, quote away! I like your man. He's fair fit. Erm. Yeah. What kinda uniform is he wearing?
gabbysun on September 9th, 2004 12:58 pm (UTC)
...Do you know, I have no idea? xD Isn't it great what you can find on google?
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on September 12th, 2004 08:03 am (UTC)
You said it, sister. I think I shall marry him and bear his illegitimate children. I would like them to have his hair...

Raving again.
gabbysun on September 12th, 2004 03:41 pm (UTC)
:O

EW...?
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on September 13th, 2004 10:41 am (UTC)
In a word. xD