Title: A Pint of Firewhiskey
Author's name: Nagini Riddle
Ratings: 3rd-5th yrs
Warnings: for some drinking, implied sexual situations, and implied character death
Summer: He takes a "holiday" in the tropics for Halloween to clear his mind, but it only furthers his depression...
A Pint of Firewhiskey
He was seething over the pint of firewhiskey set before him, pondering the best method for revenge against the headmaster. His lank greasy hair brushed the top of the counter as he hunched over, vindictiveness in his body language, his hooked nose protruding slightly from the thin black strands he hid behind.
The other patrons gave him a wide berth, but they did nothing to dim their boisterous shouts and antics, reveling in the Halloween mood. They toasted with foaming butterbeers (or else something stronger) to skeletons, to cakes, to pasties, to drinking, to women... The list went on, many dancing and singing to the warbling of the Wizarding Wireless Network, others stuffing themselves with savories and sweets.
But he blocked out their idiotic merriment, brooding over his drink, counting down the time that he would be able to return to the castle and give Dumbledore a piece of his mind.
It had all started with Dumbledore reading too much into his sour mood. As the weeks had drawn closer to Halloween, the headmaster thought- foolishly- that one certain potion's master needed a break, time off to "recollect his thoughts" and "come to terms with his feelings." Preferably far away from Hogwarts. Far, far away.
Of course, he had done his best to argue and refuse. Argue didn't seem strong enough of a word to describe the shouting match that had ensued. But, as always, the headmaster used blackmail and now the teacher found himself holed up in a bar somewhere in the tropics.
Sun didn't suit him. He preferred the cold, dark, unfeeling sense of his dungeons. He supposed that's why Dumbledore had sent him here, of all places. He wished his staff to be as uncomfortable as possible.
He growled inwardly. He would never admit it, but he wished to be back in the castle, docking hefty amounts of points from the cheeky blighters in the halls, partaking in the delicious Halloween feast, and the feeling of, well, home. At least there, he was less inclined to nurse his wounded soul inside of him that constantly lived in a stone cage of guilt. Well, maybe. He wouldn't admit it this, either, but he thought of her continuously. Of the betrayal, their severed friendship, the debt he now owed.
Coldness engulfed him, and he immediately brought the pint to his pale lips and drank deeply. He tried to drive the unwelcome thoughts from his mind. If he allowed them accommodation, he knew it would end with morose regret and an empty, hollow heart.
He perceived the celebrations around him a little more fully, sneering at the laughter and stupidity that abounded. He snorted at their wild abandonment, their lack of discipline, of simple worries and cares.
Simple. It was something he lacked and yearned for. He was anything but simple. An intricately woven man with stressful duties, hauntings of what-ifs, and internally clashing ideals. And now, the festive spirit of Halloween threw it all into scrutinizing light brought on by blasted candles and lamps and jack-o-lanterns.
He shuffled his feet against the bar stool and quickly glanced around at the overly cheerful house. His stomach quite suddenly deserted him.
He was staring at Lily. Deep red hair, a winning smile, soft freckles, green eyes... And she was laughing in his direction, beckoning him to her.
He stonily stared, rational thought no longer existing. How he craved her so! Longed to be with her again, gain the woman of his dreams...
He groggily awoke in a soft bed and had the sensation of a cold body next to him. Perplexed, he glared at his left side and saw red hair splayed onto a pillow, but it wasn't Lily. Her features were too sharp.
And then he noticed one of the most horrific things- a thin black cloak gliding onto the bed, its silence eerie and foreboding- the carnivorous lethifold. If he strained his ears, he could only hear her labored, frozen breathing.
He groped for his wand, his dark eyes never leaving the movement of the silky creature. It was too late to save the girl, but he couldn't force himself to look away.
A hollow deadweight settled on him and, he stumbled off the bed, wand raised. He couldn't save her. He couldn't save her. He couldn't save Lily...
He groggily backed out of the blackening room, the walls suffocating as they closed in, the imprint of the woman still present amongst the woolen covers...
And the sixth anniversary of Lily Potter's demise drowned in a pint of firewhiskey.
Title: Out of the Fog
Warnings: Character Death (sort of?)
Ratings: 3rd-5th years
Summary: They came out of the fog, surrounding and closing her in, bringing hopelessness in their wake.
It started with the shadows. They appeared in my peripheral vision, and then they were gone before I could look and see. Passing through the woods, I suppose. I was more careful after the first few. You get strangers up here now and then, but best to be safe.
This evening the fog set in. That's not odd in itself, of course. I’ve always rather liked it - nothing more lovely, in its own way, than the world softened and blurred, odd shapes appearing suddenly. But this brought with it cold fingers of dread that slipped in under the sleeves of my jumper.
I suppose you’d say I’m just being fanciful, but I’ve never felt like that about fog. It wasn’t right.
And then they came out of the fog. They were in fancy dress, and at first I thought they were just kids from the village up to their tricks. I’m not supposed to have a shotgun, but a woman living alone in the middle of nowhere - I need it. I went out to scare them off, but it didn’t work. They just kept coming, crowded me back against the house. Eventually, I let off a shot to show them I was serious. Still they moved forward.
I was scared by then, and finally I took aim and fired at one.
It didn’t stop him.
The door’s bolted behind me. I don’t know if it will hold them. They haven’t tried to get through yet.
They’re still out there. Just standing there. Watching. Waiting? I don’t know for what. I don’t know what they are. If it was just a prank, I doubt they’d still be here, and there’s the one who didn’t even stir when I shot him...
Every time I look out the window, even the window in the loo, I see just a line of them, half hidden in swirls of fog. They’ve circled the house.
I feel so hopeless. I’ve never felt like this before, so drained of life.
I can barely bring myself to write.
If I stay here a moment longer I’ll go mad. I’m stuck inside this house, stuck inside my head, hemmed in by nightmares. That’s what they are, out there, or something like it. See what they brought with them.
To tell the truth, if I stay here a moment longer, I’m afraid I won’t move again.
Making a run for it.
From the Dementor Restraint Unit’s files:
Rogue dementors found near Dendles Wood on Dartmoor. Victim found: Helen Burton, aged fifty-three, Squib, unmarried, no family. Dementor’s Kiss administered, based on victim’s writings, on October the thirty-first as she attempted to escape the house. Dementors subdued. Passed victim onto St. Mungo's and the Office of Misinformation.
Title: Jack O'Lantern James
Ratings: 1st-2nd years
Summary: A Halloween prank turns against James and Sirius - not once, but twice.
The Great Hall was bustling with the sounds of hundreds of students tucking into the annual Halloween feast. Shimmering pumpkins grinned from the windows, and the castle ghosts floated about in their best finery, wistfully staring at food they could never eat. At one end of the Gryffindor table, two dark heads leaned close, whispering.
"What are they up to now?" asked Peter, sitting down across from James and Sirius. Remus rolled his eyes as he helped himself to more treacle tart.
"Halloween prank, of course," he answered as he reached for the pumpkin juice. "Apparently we'll get to experience it in just a few minutes."
Peter shook his head and began to serve himself. "I hope we don't all get in trouble like the time they turned everyone—"
He was cut off by shriek from the Slytherin table. Within moments Severus Snape was glowering behind them, red-faced and furious. He was also covered in straw: it was sticking out from his pants, his sleeves, and his collar. A large floppy hat fell across his eyes.
"Potter!" he shouted. "I know you are responsible for…for this!"
James hid a grin, turning around to gaze with a straight face at Snape’s ridiculous appearance. "I don't know what you're talking about," he replied as blandly as he could. "Ask Black."
Snape turned on Sirius, who raised an eyebrow. "A Snapecrow, then? Wish I had thought of it. Think he'll scare away the pixies, Prongs?"
James burst out laughing, and Sirius quickly joined in. Instead of infuriating Snape even more, their laughter had the unexpected effect of calming him down. Snape appeared to manage his anger as he slowly nodded. James and Sirius stopped laughing immediately, thrown off by the unusual reaction.
"Good one, Black," said Snape. "But easy enough to overcome." His lips moved silently, and the straw disappeared; apparently Snape had mastered wandless magic far ahead of the other sixth-years. James felt the tiniest bit of admiration tinged with jealously. Sirius looked irritated.
"Show-off," he muttered.
Snape smirked and moved his lips once more. Then he gave them a small bow and left the hall without another word.
James felt a strange sensation in his bum. It was growing—very fast, very large, and very round. He glanced at Sirius and saw a look of panic on his friend's face. They quickly stood and excused themselves. By the time they reached the Entrance Hall they were running, and the sound of laughter followed them.
They hurried back to Gryffindor. Just as they shouted the password at the Fat Lady, however, the last person they wanted to see stepped out from behind her: Lily Evans.
James felt his face flush. He brushed by her without looking up and barely heard Sirius mutter a greeting. Evans was sharp, though, and knew immediately that something was wrog. Being stubbornly curious as well, she followed them back into the common room.
Walking behind them, she could hardly miss it; even under their robes it was obvious. She laughed. James spun around and pulled his robes tighter, but to his horror, she flicked her wand and they flew right off. She cocked her head, green eyes dancing merrily.
"Turn around, Potter," she ordered. “I have to see this to believe it.” James looked desperately at Sirius, who simply shrugged.
"Maybe she knows the counter-curse,” Sirius replied. “It would save us from having to look it up."
"Do you?" James demanded, suspecting that even if she did know the counter-curse, he was probably the last person she would give it to.
"I might," she answered. "I’ll need to see it more closely, though."
Once again, James felt his face redden. He was not used to being in this position: he was both the victim of a prank and hostage to Lily Evan's superior wandwork. He could not have imagined a worse Halloween.
Slowly he turned around to reveal his backside. His bum had now burst the seams of his pants, magically charmed into an orange pumpkin that was growing more uncomfortable by the minute. He hadn't altered any of Snape's body parts; turning a man's buttocks into a large fruit seemed unfair revenge for a bit of straw.
Evans burst into laughter, and even Sirius cracked a smile. A small part of James really wanted to join them, but his pride was too injured, and his sense of humor couldn't compensate. "Can you fix it?" he snapped.
She sniggered again, eyes twinkling. "Of course. Just stand still." She took out her wand again and made a few elegant gestures. James felt a warm touch, but did not feel his backside return to normal proportions. He looked over his shoulder, and his eyes widened in shock, for instead of removing the curse, she had carved a large, grinning face into the pumpkin.
"Jack O’Lantern James!" she exclaimed, and Sirius doubled over with laughter. A few quick flicks of her wand and Sirius's backside matched. With a sly smile and a parting wink, Evans hurried through the portrait hole, leaving them alone in the common room with their newly decorated pumpkins.
“Merlin and Morgana,” said James, almost sick with disbelief. “Please tell me the last ten minutes did not just happen.”
Sirius, however, seemed to be enjoying the prank. “Jack O’ Lantern James!” he cackled. “That’s even better than Snapecrow. We were just bested, Prongs—by Evans!”
“Then why are you grinning like an idiot?” demanded James, irritated with his friend’s flippant mood.
“You have to admit they both got us good,” replied Sirius cheerfully. “Besides,” he added with a wink, “We have every reason to get them back now, and I’m already thinking of how. Something to do with a Sleepwalking Curse, perhaps.”
James couldn’t help it: the thought of getting even made it much easier to accept their botched Halloween. “And perhaps a Repelling Jinx.” With a grin, he hurried upstairs with Sirius to find the counter-curse and begin the settling of scores—with both Severus Snape and Lily Evans.
Title: An Act of Chivalry (or what would later be known as the Pumpkin Plummet)
Warnings: Butterbeer influence
Summary: It’s Halloween. It’s Hogsmeade. Three girls attempt to make their way back to the castle on the spookiest night of the year.
“No, no! We really should be heading back to the castle…” Alicia giggled. She shot a glance at Angelina and Katie as the handsome Hufflepuff boys, whom they had shared perhaps one Butterbeer too many with, pleaded earnestly that they stay just a few moments more.
“You won’t regret it,” one of them said with a wink, smiling mischievously.
Tempted, the girls lingered, but Angelina was the one to rise determinedly from her chair. “No, we should leave. Really, we’ve already stayed too long! Come on, girls. It’s already past dark.”
The threesome made their way towards the door, staggering slightly and holding on to each other for support. Wearing her sweetest smile Katie managed to wave back at the whistling group of boys before Alicia dragged them all out the door and out on the street.
Hogsmeade village was dark and quiet apart from the laughter and music issuing from The Three Broomsticks behind them. Alicia did her best to steer her two best friends in the right direction while Katie and Angelina still stumbled about in their fits of giggles.
“The tall one was cute,” Katie exclaimed, her cheeks flushed and her voice shrill. “And Alicia… that dark-haired, mysterious one was obviously staring at you the whole evening…” she smiled.
“He was!” Angelina added as Alicia was about to object. Then she stumbled slightly sideways and the three girls nearly fell over, laughing, grabbing hold of the back of a wooden bench to stop themselves.
After regaining her breath, Katie said, “This is by far the best Halloween ever.”
Her statement was followed by the howl of a faraway wolf.
“There’s even a full moon,” added Alicia. She then joined in the wolf’s howling, turning her face toward the night sky and stretching to her full height.
“Shh!” Angelina giggled. “Do we really want to be accompanied by werewolves as well? I think we’ve had enough action for one night…” With a firm grip around each of her friends’ arms, she proceeded to steer them further down the cobbled street, towards the castle looming before them.
“Ooh!” Katie suddenly called. “There’s supposed to be a short-cut, I think it’s here, come on!”
Katie maneuvered them into a narrow alley between two residential stone buildings. With no lights, the girls blindly stepped on each other’s feet and accidentally kicked something that sounded like a tin can, causing them all to resume giggling and hushing at each other.
Suddenly, a loud bang made the three girls stop abruptly in their tracks.
“What was that?” Angelina whispered.
“I dunno,” Katie breathed back. The girls stood still for a moment.
“Boo!” called Alicia, causing the other two to jump, and laughed as she dragged the girls along further down the alley.
Finally, the girls glimpsed the eerie glow of the castle lights looming above as they neared the end of the alleyway. They were all about to draw a collective sigh of relief when they were met by a disturbing sight.
Next to the small hut where Professor Hagrid lived, a large, dark shape was taking form. It was round, enormous and seemed to be swelling more and more by the second.
“What…” Alicia started, but was interrupted by another loud bang.
The ground beneath them started to rumble. Something sounding like either a thunderstorm or an oncoming train reverberated in the air, growing ever louder. The girls’ clench on each other’s arms tightened as they realized that the great, dark shape was heading towards them, tumbling down the hill from Hagrid’s hut towards Hogsmeade village.
If the girls screamed, their cries were drowned in the deafening crash of the figure reaching the end of the slope and colliding with a solid tree trunk.
All three stood rooted to the spot, mouths open and eyes wide, unable to see more than the silhouette of the wreckage. The sounds of coughing and sputtering reached them. Angelina fumbled to retrieve her wand, and uttered, “Lumos.”
Huge chunks of bright orange were spread over the stretch of grass before them. Most of it had accumulated at the tree trunk, and from the large pieces of gooey mesh emerged two figures, equally orange.
“Well, that didn’t exactly go as planned,” one of them called to the other.
“I wouldn’t say that. We did get to Hogsmeade,” the other answered, picking chunks of the orange off his face, “and we found the girls!” he added as they looked up and noticed the confounded threesome.
The Weasley twins stepped briskly towards them with broad smiles on their pumpkin-smeared faces. “We were about to come and pick you up, Halloween style. We were going to engorge and bewitch a pumpkin, and have it as a carriage, but…”
“A walking escort will do too, right?” they said, extending their pumpkin-covered arms towards the girls.