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Thread: Weekly Drabble Challenge - A Thousand Words: Days of Summer - Results

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  1. #1
    Ebil Gato Loco Ravenclaw
    He's The Dog... He's An Animagus...
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    Weekly Drabble Challenge - A Thousand Words: Days of Summer - Results

    A picture is worth a thousand words ~ Proverb

    Back by popular demand, the picture prompt!

    Your prompt this week is to write a drabble about the following picture:



    The following form must be used when submitting your drabble responses to this post -
    PHP Code:
    [B]Name:[/B]
    [
    B]House:[/B]
    [
    B]Title:[/B]
    [
    B]Warnings:[/B]
    [
    B]Word Count:[/B]
    [
    B]Author's Notes:[/B] 
    Winners will be awarded 15, 10, and 5 points respectively.

    All drabbles must be less than 500 words; All standard grammar rules, and MNFF submissions guidelines apply.

    The challenge will be up for a week, and be closed exactly a week later (August 12th).

    MithrilQuill and I will be judging them and posting results a couple of days later.

    All questions should be referred to the Question Corner - Do not post questions here. Only drabbles!

    Not So New Anymore for the Weekly Challenges:Due to a major lack of quality drabbles being submitted to the weeklies, Gato Loco will require that some real thoughtful, original submissions be posted from this moment on or you'll end up like this woman here. That's your one and only warning! XD


    Other than that...have fun!

    ~Gato Loco & Mith~


    I've left moddom/fandom...though don't be surprised if I get caught lurking once in a blue moon.
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    If you wish to keep in touch, feel free to friend me on LJ - I don't friend anyone under the age of 18. Sorry!

    Otherwise, so long, and thanks for all the fish!



  2. #2
    Evester
    Guest
    What a lovely picture, and this was quite fun, I must say, for my first challenge I've submitted to...

    Name: Evester
    House: Hufflepuff
    Title: Joie de Vivre
    Warnings: None
    Word Count: 497
    Authors Notes: When I opened the picture for the first time, my mind screamed The Secret Garden! And who belongs in a secret, magical garden more than Luna Lovegood? Takes place sometime in the trio’s fifth year, before Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Luna become friends. Hermione quotes taken directly or indirectly from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.


    Luna hurried away from the group, shaking her head to clear her mind of the ringing taunts. While her whimsical facade was protective, it wasn’t infallible and sometimes people were just too much to be around. They didn’t believe in magic, like Luna did. Sure, they did spells and transfigured things, and untransfigured things, but they did not believe in the sort of magic that entranced Luna. And sometimes, their skepticism broke through her fanciful cover to make her feel as though all the magic had been sucked from the world.

    Today was one such day. Oh, that Hermione, she was so annoying, and so right about everything. She didn’t believe in magic, and she spoke too loudly for the others to hear Luna’s translation.

    “No... there’s no such thing as a Heliopath...”
    “That’s because they don’t exist...”
    “Excuse me... but Crumple-Horned Snorckacks don’t exist...”
    “I’m sorry, but where’s the proof of that?”

    It was all too much for Luna. Who bloody cared if Crumple-Horned Snorckacks really existed? That wasn’t the point Luna had tried over and over to convey. It wasn’t the point at all, but thanks to Hermione’s incessant nagging, no one would ever understand Luna’s true message.

    What was her message? Luna didn’t even know anymore, herself. It was all such a muddled mess. Such a muddled, muddled mess of fantastic creatures that had no place in the real world and skeptics who did nothing but doubt and tease – causing Luna to gradually lose faith in her own magic. Bit by bit; every time she had to explain a Crumple-Horned Snorckack or Nargle, Luna became a bit more distracted from what she really had in mind. The sharper the image of that which she was describing, the fuzzier the moral became.

    Luna stopped when she reached the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Her instinct told her to keep going, but her head (devoid of radish earrings) told her to go back: the unknown was too dangerous for students. When she could almost see Hermione admonishing her, Luna made up her mind to go forward.

    After a few dozen paces, she came to a slight hill and saw with delight that someone, long ago perhaps, had placed wooden steps into its side. Sunlight dappled the treetops and for a moment, Luna forgot the distractions and fancied that there were mystical beasts roaming on the other side of the hill.

    She would climb up to look, and then she would go back.

    But when Luna reached the top of the hill, and saw nothing but the same grass on the other side, she smiled secretively to herself. The fantastic creatures may not exist, but imagination and a certain joie de vivre were both wonderfully, magically real – magic to be grasped and held on to.

    And Luna knew then that she could not give up. She never would have, but this secret place, so full of her magic, had bolstered her courage, and she would continue on.

  3. #3
    YourWildestDreams
    Guest
    My first challenge too.
    Name:Avery/YourWildestDreams
    House: Hufflepuff
    Title: Summer Pranking
    Warnings:none
    Word Count:338
    Authors Notes: A quick drabble about how the Weasley Twins liked to spend their summers.
    Quick, quick, quick! Fred and George burst out of the Burrow and sprinted towards the path leading away from the garden. They had only a couple of minutes, in which the plan must be carried out. Vigorously, they tore across the yard, and dived into their planned hiding spots. At last, they could relax and wait, with sweat dripping into their eyes.

    Fred crouched low in a tree, hiding his face from view with its leafy branches. The particular limb he was sitting on extended over the pathway, just barely holding his ten-year-old body. From it, Fred had a clear view of the scene, including George who was giggling in the bush opposite his tree. The suspense swelled in their hearts like a train gathering speed.

    Any second now, Ron would waddle through the garden path, to the bright, open field beyond. He would be looking for a place to use the bathroom, of course, as the twins had so thoughtfully planned it. The one at the Burrow was clogged, and Fred took full responsibility. Proudly.

    He ruffled the branches, rearranging them quietly to conceal his body as best possible. There were the natural sounds of crickets, birds, and wind echoing around them, adding a personalized sound track to the summer day. Luckily, Fred and George were hidden from the heat and humidity by the shady vegetation that surrounded them. It didn’t get much better than this.

    Wait, what was that? Footsteps? In a moment, Ron had appeared along the pathway, waddling as predicted in an uncomfortable manner. His flaming hair made him an easy target. Fred locked eyes with George, and together they mouthed the count down.

    Three.

    Two

    One


    Fred dropped from the tree screaming and banging his chest with his fists. At the same time, George sprang from the bush, waving a stick madly about. Ron jumped higher than Auntie Muriel doing yoga, and ran screaming back into the house, with a large wet stain covering his trousers. The soundtrack was drowned out with laughter.

  4. #4
    Mistletoe
    Guest
    Name: Mistletoe
    House: Slytherin
    Title: Hopscotch
    Warnings: None.
    Word Count: 495
    Authors Notes: Urg, I wrote this so many different time with so many different plots, all were centered around the sisters though. This was my final choice. It's really not my style, but why not.
    Sometimes we would set up patterns made of twigs and rocks on the elf-made steps and play hopscotch. They were very old steps that had been there as long as I could remember, which wasn’t very long. I was only nine.

    Today was one of those days.

    Narcissa and I had gathered everything we could to make the most complex hopscotch we ever had. There were twists and turns and sets of three and four where you had to hop with your hands. We looked down at our magnificent creation and smiled.

    “Can I go first?” Narcissa asked innocently, her child-like eyes trying very hard to convince me she was the best choice. “You went first last time.”

    Staring longingly at the arrangement on the steps, I sighed. “I guess so.”

    Her face lit up as she rushed toward me, enveloping me in her small arms. I wrapped my arms around in return and let go quickly, she was bouncing with anticipation to start. Looking back at me, her face still alight with excitement, she began to hop along. Song escaped her lips in tempo with her bouncing soles. I eagerly took my place at the beginning.

    “Cissy, you forgot to throw a stone,” I called to the top of the stairs where she now stood.

    “Oh . . . ” she replied, her eyes instantly darting around the dirt ground in search of the perfect stone. “Found one!”

    “We should start over now,” I suggested as she ran down the steps toward me.

    “That’s not fair!” she whined, crossing her arms and pouting her mouth in protest as she skidded to a halt. “I have to go first again.”

    “Uh uh, no way.” My lips curved into an angelic smile, mirroring the pleading expression she had used not minutes before. “You went first last time, now it’s my turn.”

    “But Dromeda,” she argued. My lips were still curved in smile as I tossed my flat white stone over the hopscotch obstacle. It landed with a perfect thud in the center of an easily avoidable square. “Bella would let me go again.”

    I felt a twinge of emptiness at the mention of our sister. Bellatrix was about to complete her first year at Hogwarts.

    “Bella always chose who went first at hopscotch,” Narcissa, who was now sitting on the lowest step, muttered.

    I sat down beside her. “Probably why she went first so often.”

    Narcissa’s pouting lips turned upward in a reluctant smile. “Yeah, probably.” She hesitated. “I miss Bella.”

    Throwing her porcelain arms around my neck, she pulled herself into my lap.

    “I miss Bella, too,” I agreed, hugging my baby sister close to me. “She’ll be home from school soon.” When I saw my sister wasn’t satiated, I continued, “There’s no way she could ever build a hopscotch as good as this one. What must she be doing without us?”

    Narcissa giggled and lifted her head. “You’re right. I bet all her hopscotches are really bad.”
    --Kat

  5. #5
    Honigkuchenpferd Hufflepuff
    "Greetings From Egypt..."
    luinrina's Avatar
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    Name: luinrina
    House: Hufflepuff
    Title: Top of Light
    Warnings: none
    Word Count: 419
    Authors Notes: <.< I looked and looked for mountains with forests... and finally settled on this one. Although I had to throw away my original intention of what to write, it turned out fine in the end. And here it is now.

    And thanks again to my beta Terri (mudbloodproud).

    ‘Hermione, please, not so fast!’

    With an exasperated sigh and a roll of her eyes, Hermione turned around. Behind her was Ron, crumpled on the ground, panting heavily. His face sported the same colour as his hair, but only half was thanks to exertion. Ron had also got sunburn. Currently he sat on one of the steps of the wooden staircase which had been built into the mountain’s path to help wanderers in their rise to the peak.

    ‘We’ll never reach the top of the mountain if you need to have a break every five minutes,’ Hermione said but walked back to him nonetheless.

    Ron huffed. ‘I demand breaks every fifteen minutes, not five, if you please. And it’s only ten in the morning. No need to rush.’

    ‘It took us two hours to get this far, and if I may remind you, we’ve still not completed the first half of the way.’

    ‘I –’ Ron started, but closed his mouth again not saying anything more than this one word. She was right, and he knew it. Plus, after all, it has been him who had invited her on this trip. It had been him who had wanted to show her the Stairs of Beinn Nibheis – a staircase built into the wooded slope up to Ben Navis, highest mountain of Great Britain. Legend says that the stairs were once built by and for the fairies that lived in this mountainous region.

    Hermione had been sceptical about the legendary figures – she was known to rather relate to facts than legends. But his telling had made her curious, even if she’d never admit it. Her reason to accompany him had been the chance to admire the landscape.

    She looked back the way they had come so far and then up to where they wanted to go. Suddenly, there, in the small place where light mingled with the shadows of the trees, glittered something tiny. It looked like a human but much smaller, with lightly coloured wings on the back. Hermione closed her eyes for a moment, but when she opened them again, the vision had gone again as fast as it had appeared. She blinked several more times, then, with a hearty, ‘Come on now, Ron, let’s get going.’ She drew her attention back to her companion and helped him up. Ron grunted in protest of being hoisted up, but complied nonetheless.

    Above the freshly married couple shone the bright summer sun, lightening both their way to the top of light.
    No longer a mod and no longer in charge of any forums.

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  6. #6
    MissyQuill
    Guest
    Name: Sammy
    House: GRYFFINDOR!!!
    Title: Missing
    Warnings: N/A
    Word Count: 499
    Authors Notes: *Sigh*

    “Where are we going, James?”

    “Somewhere special. I need to ask you something, but not here, okay?”

    “Wait, you’re taking me to the Forbidden Forest?”

    “Yes, and no, just walk a bit over here, underneath the branches, careful now, watch your step.”

    “Umm, James, I don’t think this is a good idea. I mean, the forest is forbidden for a reason. And we should be enforcing –”

    “Don’t worry, Lily, its perfectly safe. I’ve been here before.”

    “So have I.”

    “Pardon?”

    “Nothing, let’s get this over with.”

    “It’s not that bad, Lily. You’ll like this surprise, honest.”

    “Uh-huh.”

    “Look, I found this path in the forest. Aren’t the tree trunks laid out like steps? It’s hard to imagine they were made naturally.”

    “That’s because they weren’t.”

    *

    “Are you sure you are dressed warmly enough?” he inquired, his eyes taking in my cloak, scarf and gloves – yet still not satisfied.

    “Yes, Sev,” I replied in a bored tone. “Can we go already?”

    “Wait,” he took off his heavy coat and placed it on my arm. I sighed and took it, rolling my eyes all the time.

    “At this rate, the fungus will be extinct by the time we reach it. Or are you forgetting that we have to do a fair bit of scrambling to where it grows?”

    “We won’t have to resort to that,” he replied with a smug little smile on his face that was absurdly easy to miss – or be mistaken for a sign of irritation – if one did not know Sev well enough.

    “What do you mean we won't–” I stopped dead. Stretching in front of me was possibly the most perfect path I had ever seen. Just subtle enough to give the appearance of looking natural, but not enough to fool me.

    He continued to smile that almost undetectable smile of his.

    “When did you -”

    “I had some spare time these past few weeks. And it seemed an interesting way to test Elemental Transfiguration,” he shrugged.

    “Oh, Sev!”

    Before I could stop myself, I was hugging him tight. I had the best Best Friend in the world.


    *

    “Lily?”

    “Oh, sorry. What were you saying again?”

    “Well, Lily, I- we- well, it's no secret that I love you like crazy. And this is our last year so, naturally, I- we have to think about the future.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Well, it’s just that I wanted to ask you- no, to give you something.”

    “James, you aren’t making any sense. Wait, what are you going down f –”

    “Lily Evans, I don’t know how long I will live. But for as long as I do, I will love you. Will you please do me the honour of marrying me?”

    “Wha -”

    “Aw, come on Lily.”

    “I c- ca-”

    “Is it so bad that you have to cry?”

    “No, I just… don’t know what to…”

    “Say? How about 'yes'?”

    “Yes.”

    “Really?”

    “Yes.”

    “I love you, Lily.”

    “I love you too, Se – so much.”

  7. #7
    Hufflepuff at Heart
    Guest
    Name: Hufflepuff at heart
    House: Gryffindor
    Title: Lily's Secret
    Warnings: None
    Word Count: 499
    Authors Notes: It is Lily Potter II that is talked about in the first half. Oliver is no particular relation to the Woods, I just liked the name.

    Lily's famous lower lip was trembling the way that only his seven-year-old friend's could.

    The party was in full swing at the Burrow, and the house was heaving with raucous laughter and drunken banter. Oliver instinctively knew another cheek-pinch from an overenthusiastic great-aunt would send Lily over the edge. Keen to prevent the threatened water-works, he did the only thing he could think of.

    "C'mon, Lily," he whispered. "Let's hide."

    She sniffed, nodding bravely, slipping her hand into his.

    "Let's go."

    Dodging through the circles of chattering adults, they slipped through the packed rooms. Keen to avoid tipsy great-aunt Trish, they nipped through the kitchen, out into the Weasleys' back garden.

    The two friends stood, temporarily stunned by the eerie silence that met them. The Burrow gently pulsated behind them, and the dark and damp of the dew-laden garden filled their senses.

    Lily gave a maniacal grin, looking nothing like the pouting girl from before.

    "Come on, then!"

    Laughing, she let his hand go and tore away across the lawn, arms outstretched, her crimson hair flowing out behind her.

    Oliver followed suit. He spread his arms wide and felt the wind clawing at his hair, believing with all his being that he would take off at any moment. For a just second, only he and the many stars which looked down at him existed, and he was capable of anything.

    Then the moment ended, and he found himself at the end of the garden, panting.

    "Well?" Lily said impatiently. "Ready?"

    "For what?" Oliver asked.

    "For my secret, of course!" She smiled. Crouching down, she crawled into a nearby bush and dissapeared.

    Intrigued, Oliver followed, emerging seconds later beside a sloping wooden pathway lined by foliage.

    "...This is the secret? We come here all the time!"

    "But I've never invited you here before, have I?" Lily pointed out.

    Oliver shook his head.

    "Exactly," she said, pleased with herself. "This is our secret. You're the only person I've ever invited here. This is our safe place, and only the two of us know that it's ours."

    Oliver stared up at the kindly twinkling stars watching over them, realising just how special it was.

    "Okay," he whispered.

    "But you have to swear," Lily turned solemn, "that you won't tell anyone about our secret. Ever."

    Oliver gulped. Forever. He nodded.

    "Good, then. Til death and beyond?"

    "Death and beyond," he echoed.

    ~~~~~

    "Grandad Olly! Quick! We have to hide!"

    Taking his hand, Lily led her grandfather down the garden, giggling. She brought him round the hedges to the old wooden walkway, where she crouched down, putting her finger to her lips.

    "Shh!" She whispered. "We're hiding from the troll."

    Oliver nodded conspiratorially, bending down as far as his back would let him.

    "We have to stay quiet," she instructed him. "This place has to be our secret!"

    Oliver smiled.

    Through patches of sunlight he saw a liberating night sky.

    Anything was possible.

    He was keeping his promise. So had she.

    Til death and beyond.

  8. #8
    Azhure
    Guest
    Name: Azhure
    House: Ravenclaw
    Title: Falling Down Stairs
    Warnings: Implied character death (canon), DH Spoilers.
    Word Count: 479
    Authors Notes: Thank you so much to Hermoine Jean Granger for her blubbering support - in a good way (don't ask, it's a long story)! Also, thanks to Phia Phoenix for fixing up a few minor problems.

    The sunlight dappled through the trees, illuminating my beautiful daughter in the soft yellow light. She was dancing up the stairs towards our house, her hair as green as the surrounding trees. I smiled as she spun with the elegance of a dragonfly floating lazily above a lake, and I chuckled as a giggle burst from her lips.

    “Mama!” she screeched with joy. “Look at me!”

    “Yes, I see, Dora. You look beautiful,” I said to her. A wide smile spread over her lips and her hair turned a bubblegum pink colour. She continued to spin and dance as I followed her up the stairs. We were almost at the top. Then, suddenly, Dora’s feet tripped over each other and she went crashing to the ground. A wail left her lips this time, and I hurried up the few steps separating us.

    “Are you okay?” I asked as I knelt down beside her. She nodded in assent and I let out a breath. She was always knocking things over or falling down; one day she would do herself a serious injury!

    “Here, let me carry you,” I said comfortingly, because, although she had said she was fine, I knew this was not the case. My Dora didn’t like to rely on others, which was a strange thing for a toddler.

    She gave a small smile as I lifted her up and carried her to our house. She sniffled in my arms, and I squeezed her tightly, my heart elated. I had always wanted to be a mother, a good mother. And now I truly felt like dream had been fulfilled.

    ***

    My heart ached, my mind was blank. I was drowning, falling, suffocating. Yet no one would save me. I could scream, but nobody would come. Yet, the thing was, I didn’t care. I wouldn’t care if my heart was literally torn out from my body, for it felt like it already had been. The pain overpowered me, it consumed me, and I did not wish to fight. My whole life felt as though it had been wasted, my most cherished possession snatched away by ruthless and cruel people who hadn't ever felt the power of love... my only daughter, my Dora, was dead!

    She had been torn from existence, leaving only her dear son behind. I knew it was my duty to care for little Teddy, but how could I? His very face reminded me of hers. Every time I saw him, I was seeing her. Every time I noticed him, I was remembering what had been, and what never could be.

    These stairs no longer held the comfort of home. They held the pain of memory. The stairs which my daughter had danced up were now lonely.

    Only the wind would dance up these stairs…

    Only the memories would laugh with joy…

    Only the pain would remain…

    ~~Azhure~~

  9. #9
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
    Kill the Spare
    Equinox Chick's Avatar
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    Somewhere safe.

    Name: Equinox Chick
    House: Hufflepuff
    Title: Somewhere safe.
    Warnings: Possiblle HBP and DH spoilers.
    Word Count: 468
    Authors Notes: When I saw the picture I was struck by how inviting it looked to walk up those steps away from the dark. Thank-you to Terri (mudbloodproud) for checking it for me.


    Crack! The harsh sound rent the sky. A man appeared in the clearing, shaking with fury. He gulped large breaths of the warm night air and lifted his head to the stars.

    “I AM NOT A COWARD!” he roared.

    But the boy’s furious face remained imprinted in his mind as clear as if he were still facing him. So like his father it made him want to weep. Huge waves of despair shuddered through his heart.

    He collapsed onto the soft, mossy ground, put his head in his hands and cried great agonising yelps that rasped at his chest. He thought the choice would be easy but he’d been wrong.


    ‘Somewhere safe, Take me somewhere safe,’ he’d thought as he’d Apparated.

    He looked around and laughed bitterly for he had felt safe here a lifetime ago. It was here that his world had seemed complete. Here it had made sense as he’d danced with her in the starlight intoxicated by the sweet scent of her hair. He’d seen neither disgust nor fear in her eyes and he’d vowed he’d be with her forever. But that life had belonged to someone else - someone whole.

    Reality had dragged him away. Reality and the awareness that he was not good enough. In the end the torment had proved too much and he’d run. Flight had cost him everything, he was sure, and in truth he deserved nothing more.

    ‘Somewhere safe.’

    Slowly his breathing returned to normal. If he had lost everything then his way forward was clear. There was no need to be afraid. He could discard his wand and end it all.

    “You see,” he said out loud as though the boy were still in front of him, “I don’t fear death. You cannot call me a coward.”

    In the dark he could make out the steps built into the slope. If he walked up them to the garden he’d be lost, utterly lost. Far easier to walk back into the forest to live amongst the shadows where he felt he belonged.

    ‘Somewhere safe. Take me somewhere safe.’

    A muffled sob escaped from his lips. In reality the decision had been made for him as soon as he’d Apparated to this place. He no longer had free will.

    ‘Somewhere safe.’

    This was where he needed to be with the one person who made his tortuous life not just bearable but right.

    A half moon came out from behind a cloud and illuminated his weary looking, desolate face as he climbed the steps. If he were lucky she wouldn’t know he’d ever left.

    Tonks looked out of the bedroom window at her parent’s house and caught her breath.

    “He’s come back, little one,” she murmured caressing her softly swollen stomach. “Daddy’s home. You’re safe now.”
    I'm a BARMAID. I write. I drabble. I duel. I poet. I'm a BADGER!!!

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  10. #10
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
    I See Dead People... In Mirrors
    Phia Phoenix's Avatar
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    I kinda forgot the "Days of Summer" part of the prompt. Oops. I just printed out the picture and wrote the drabble in my room... Ah well.

    Name: Phia Phoenix
    House: Ravenclaw
    Title: Sunlight
    Warnings: None
    Word Count: 500

    She hurries up the mossy steps, her back to me, cloak wrapped around her as though to ward away any spirits in the brooding forest surrounding her. She is near the top – near the burnished pool of light – her steps quicken, head lifts in anticipation –

    ‘Excuse me?’

    I jolt out of my doze, shaking my head to discharge the sluggish remains of my vision. A customer lingers at the tent door, form dark against the sunlight streaming through it.

    ‘Oh, I’m sorry – please come in. I just drifted off, late night, you know…’ I wince. My first day at the fair, and I’m already destroying any shreds of mystique my trade holds. Sure, Muggles have the whole futuretelling gig wrong – it’s not just old, heavily made-up gipsies that can use crystal balls - but I do need that image if I want to make money from them.

    The man picks his way to my dimly lit table. I straighten my shawl – ugly thing – as he seats himself, and look up when we’re both ready.

    I know this boy! Moon-grey eyes peer from beneath a fringe of white-blonde hair, and his smooth brow creases at the look on my face.

    ‘Draco Malfoy!’ I exclaim in delight. ‘How are you?’ Seeing his mystified expression, I introduce myself, offering my hand. ‘Astoria Greengrass. My sister Daphne was in your year at Hogwarts, I think. In Slytherin, with you.’

    His face clears as he shakes my hand. ‘I remember Daphne. You’re her younger sister, the one she said was so good at Divination?’

    I laugh in delight; he did remember me. ‘Yeah, Divination and not much else. That’s why I’m here… Embarrassing, making a living out of predicting Muggles’ futures, but there you have it.’ I frown, remembering his pure-blood mania. ‘What are you doing here, at a Muggle fair?’

    He shifts uncomfortably. ‘My father is in the area looking for work, and I decided I’d rather waste some time here than accompany him to his… destination.’

    I nod. I know enough about the Malfoys not to ask any more.

    ‘Well,’ I say briskly, ‘Do you want your future told, then? It’ll be nice to be paid in actual wizarding money, for a change.’

    He agrees with a smile; I ask him to place his hand on the crystal ball. I gaze into it calmly, breathing deeply, willing the mists to part. I lean forward…

    She trips over the last step, and is caught by a laughing man with hair the same colour as the sunlight he stands in. She pulls back her hood and stretches up to kiss him tenderly on his pale lips, then steps back to take a bundle from his arms. She turns, cooing to the babe, and I gasp as I see her face at last. Her eyes – my eyes – sparkle with laughter as she seems to look directly at me. She winks, and wraps one arm around the man beside her, hugging her child to her with the other.

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