“It’s the beginning of The End,” Snape sighed, and immediately jeered at himself for the sentiment
Disclaimer: We swear we did not make any of this up. It all really happened. Oh, wait…(**ivy pokes Gracie with her umbrella. "whisperwhisperwhisper"**) Right: we did not make any of the characters up; it was J.K. Rowling, the cousin of Mary Sue Drew, who did that. Also, we are not getting paid for this, though we are willing to consider serious offers.
A/N: Ten house points to Colleen, madam en and Yavanna for finding the obscure Pride & Prejudice quote. It was, indeed, from chapter 2 in which the Bennett family discusses the necessity of a proper introduction to Mr. Bingley. Mr. Bennett presses Mary for her opinion, whereupon: "Mary [Ron] wished to say something very sensible but knew not how." Also, we must dedicate this chapter to Fellytone, an expert on Common Room Romance. Thanks too, to Yolanda, who puts up with our nonsense. Now…enjoy The End.
"It’s the beginning of The End," Snape sighed, and immediately jeered at himself for the sentiment. The Potions Master was pacing the cold stone floor of his bedchamber, his mind in turmoil, his hair a lank and greasy, yet somehow attractive mess, much like the hair of the actor Vigo Mortensen playing the part of Aragorn Strider in Snape’s favorite Muggle movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring..
He closed his eyes and saw himself again, whirling around the Great Hall in a mad polka with Ariel Love in his arms. Intoxicating!
He hadn’t intended to dance last night – had, in fact, determined to stand to the side and sneer at the lot of them. Few people would have guessed that in addition to speaking seven languages, possessing a firm grasp of quadratic equations, and being able to parse and diagram a sentence, Severus Snape was also an accomplished dancer. Such were the benefits of the classical education bestowed on him in his Troubled Youth by a Cruel and Drunken Father.
He had tipped his hand last night when the shapely young DADA teacher had pulled him out onto the dance floor for a frenzied Macarena. He had forgotten himself completely and now…..
Que le gusta la movida guerrilera
Macarena suena con el Madam Malkin’s
Y se compra los modeles mas modernes
Le gustaria vivir en Diagon Alley
Y ligar un novio nuevo.
Macarena, Macarena, Macarena……
"Enough!" Snape commanded himself, willing his toe to stop tapping. This would never do! This was nothing more than the effects of the Personality Facilitating Potion, he knew. Professor McGonagall’s prophecy seemed to ring in his ears like a portent of doom…. "Some of you, I think, will find you will not want to resist it."
Snape pulled distractedly at his hair. There had to be an antidote! If he waited the final hours for the potion to wear off, he might do his reputation irreversible harm. There was the horrifying possibility that thousands of Muggle women across the globe might cast him as a Tragically Misunderstood, thoroughly Redeemable hero and begin to write stories about him, and post them on the Internet. It would never do! He would go now and find an antidote, or die trying!
Snape gathered fury and determination about him like a cloak and strode off toward the dungeons, slamming the bedchamber door behind him.
For the second time in as many days the professor swept angrily into the Potions classroom. He locked the door with an impatient twist of his wand, and turning sharply, collided with….. an enormous, silver yak.
Snape was knocked squarely on his backside. His wand skittered off into a corner. "What the…. How the…. Who the…." He spluttered, and then squinted at the animal in disbelief.
For a large, mountain bovine of the species Bos grunniens, the yak was startlingly lovely. Trim hooves, haunting blue eyes, and hair like…. like… well, like moonlight, actually. Snape’s jaw dropped. It couldn’t possibly be!
There was an audible pop and before he could blink the yak disappeared, and in its place stood Ariel Love. "Surprise!" She extended her hand and beamed at the man on the floor. "I’ll bet you didn’t know that I’m an Unregistered Animagus."
Snape took the proffered hand grimly and allowed himself to be helped to his feet. "You’re lucky I’m a vegetarian, Ms Love," he said, and Ariel was struck by the Silky and Dangerous quality of his voice. Snape’s voice was nothing if not Silky. And Dangerous.
There was a second, louder pop, and Snape disappeared. In his place stood a large, pink flamingo. Ariel gaped. After a moment, the flamingo transformed back into Snape.
"You too, Severus?" she asked. "I am all astonishment!"
"Yes, being an Unregistered Animagus came in handy when I was in the service of the Dark Lord. If I was on a reconnaissance mission, and in danger of being caught, I would simply transform and pretend to be a lawn ornament."
Ariel clapped her hands in delight. "Oh, how clever of you Severus! But tell me, if it isn’t too painful…. How did you come to leave the service of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and come to live at Hogwarts?"
"Severus," Ariel murmured. "Talk to me. There’s so much to say and so little time…"
Her words sounded a warning bell in Snape’s head, and he remembered his resolution to find an antidote to the potion. His resolve wavered. After all, he had led a Cold and Lonely Existence for so long…. Surely an hour’s delay would do no harm. (Snape, incidentally, was unaware that this same rationale was the downfall of millions of dieters the world over.)
Ariel didn’t wait for a reply. She crossed her arms and wiggled her nose, and a small, overstuffed love seat appeared out of thin air.
"Well done, Ms Love," Snape said grudgingly. "An impressive bit of Wandless Magic, I must say."
"Thank you," Ariel answered. "Only the most powerful witches and wizards can perform Wandless Magic, you know."
They sat together, and Snape began to speak, baring his soul in an emotional and un-canon-like manner that would have made J.K. Rowling turn over in her grave, had she been dead. He told her of the Struggle That Had Warred In His Soul during his years in the Dark Lord’s service. He spoke of the night when he had made the decision to change masters and, in a crashing thunderstorm, had run, weeping to Dumbledore to Confess his Crimes and Seek Absolution.
And then he kissed her.
He kissed her long and thoroughly and well, and Ariel was struck by the thought that she wanted nothing more than to kiss this man every day for the rest of her life. She knew that they could have several children together, and that he would be a Wonderful Father, even though he had never been anything but abusive to his own students. Sadly though, she would be leaving Hogwarts forever in a few hours, so it simply wasn’t possible.
So they made the most of the time that they did have, and the Authors leave you to make of that what you will.
Meanwhile, back in Gryffindor Tower…
He was running. Running down a long, dark tunnel, and at the end he could see the faintest pinprick of light, like a lone star in the vastness of the night sky. He didn’t know where, or from whom he was running, he only knew his life depended on that spark of light. He must reach it. It was His Destiny. His chest burned and his legs burned and he longed to stop, but the light was growing brighter now, and it seemed to be calling to him, compelling him closer. He ran and ran--would he never reach it? Ah! He could see now that the light was red. It glowed and pulsed with the color of a Thousand Sunsets. It took on the form of a very freckled girl. She, he somehow understood, was going to be his salvation. If only he knew who she was…
Harry awoke with a start. Sweat beaded his brow and the covers were tangled about him. What a strange dream it had been. Something about a redheaded girl who held the key to his heart. He was completely bewildered by it all. What could it mean? His bedside clock read 4:09 a.m. It was no good, he would have to get up and go down to the common room to clear his muddled thoughts.
Silently, he crept down the stairs. There--he never would have predicted it--fast asleep on one of the sofas, was Ginny. He tiptoed over.
The firelight cast a soft, orange glow on her features, which made a very convenient light in which to study this girl he had Never Noticed Before. She had the soft, helpless appeal of a kitten, and yet possessed a fierce air of independence that somehow made Harry want to marry her and have six children with her someday, two of whom would be twins they could name ‘Fred‘ and ‘George.’ Also, in the firelight, her hair was exactly the color of tinned tomato soup, and her freckles--had he ever Truly Seen her freckles before this? They were everywhere; on her nose, the soft curve of her neck, the palms of her hands…So thick were they, in fact, that Harry thought she looked as though she had been breaded; dipped in egg white, then rolled in crumbs and fried to a light, golden brown. He moaned softly, and wondered at the hunger she stirred in him.
Briefly, he thought of his dream about the redheaded, freckled girl, then dismissed the thought. He was sure it could have nothing to do with Ginny. After all, it was only his Fifth Year, and too soon for his True Destiny to be revealed, especially as it related to All Things Romantic and So Forth.
She stirred on the sofa, and opened her eyes. "Harry!" Abruptly, she sat up, brushing the hair from her face in an Endearing Gesture. "I must have Accidentally Fallen Asleep here, while I was brooding in front of the fire. What are you doing up at this hour?"
Harry sat beside her on the couch and sighed heavily.
"What?" she coaxed. "You can talk to me, you know."
"Awwww," Harry hesitated. "You’re just my Best Mate’s Little Sister. What would I want to talk to you for?"
"Well," Ginny ventured, "Maybe if you talk to me for a few minutes, you’ll find that you’re suddenly O.K. with life. I could help you sort out the last fifteen years."
"Really?" he said, "You could do that when even Dumbledore hasn’t been able to?"
"Try it Harry," she said earnestly, "Tell me what’s been bothering you all this time."
Harry took a deep breath and picked up Ginny’s hands in his. "Ifeelunlovedandunwantedbymyauntanduncleandalsoguiltyforeverythingbadthat’shappenedinthewizardingworldsincethedayIunwittinglydefeatedVoldemort."
There was a moment’s silence when he had finished, and a grin spread over his thin face. The emerald/Kelly/forest/hunter/jade-green eyes glowed with a new life. He felt suddenly lighter, like a new person. Ginny had been right, he could talk to her. She just made everything so easy, somehow.
He lowered his lips to hers and they met, tenderly, awkwardly, yet in a manner that was both passionate and respectful. It was, he reflected, much better than snogging Cho.
"Harry!" Her eyes were filled with tears of joy. "How did you learn to kiss like that?"
"Didn’t you know?" he said, "Sexual prowess is directly related to ability on the Quidditch pitch. I’m the youngest House player in a century, ergo I am also a great kisser." A thought occurred to him then, causing a jealous fire to begin to smolder deep inside. "You’re not so bad yourself. How did you get to be so good at it?"
"I learned it in my Muggle Studies class," she murmured.
Harry was puzzled, as the two had seemingly little to do with each other. He supposed, though, that it was just another fanfiction oddity.
Ginny spoke again, her voice filled with tenderness. "Do you realize, Harry, that your breath is still minty fresh, even after a full night’s sleep?"
"Yours too, Virginia," he muttered hoarsely, although no one had ever said for sure if that was her real name. He wasn’t accustomed to being this vulnerable with someone, so he covered his awkwardness by crushing her body to his and burying his face in her
breaded freckled neck.
Ginny sighed, and sank into him for a moment before she broke the silence.
"I love you. I really have to use the loo."
"Oh. Right. Hurry back then, and we can fall asleep in each others’ arms before daybreak."
Hermione sat in the common room alone, with a parchment and her Arithmancy text. The others were out at the Quidditch pitch, introducing Mary Sue to the sport, but Hermione would never be so Personality-Altered as to postpone homework for pleasure. She brushed a sleek and glossy strand of hair away from her eyes, and bent to her work.
The common room door swung open, and Neville Longbottom clambered through the entrance hole. He saw Hermione, and his eyes brightened with excitement. "Hermione!" he exclaimed. "Have you heard the rumor?"
Hermione looked up from her work and eyed him coldly. "If you mean the rumor that Harry is pregnant by Hedwig, then I can tell you right now, Neville, it’s a load of rubbish. You shouldn’t listen to gossip anyway."
Neville looked taken aback. "Oh. I hadn’t heard that rumor. I was talking about the one where Malfoy is pregnant, and Hagrid is the father." He paused, considering. "How does that work, anyway?"
"It doesn’t," Hermione bit off. "At least, not on Sites With Standards."
The door swung open again, and Malfoy climbed into the room. "Has anyone seen Harry?" he asked them.
"Malfoy! What are you doing in the Gryffindor common room, and how did you find your way here, and how did you know the password?" Hermione wanted to know.
"Inexplicable Fanfiction Occurance," Draco explained. Then – "Harry?"
"He’s on the Quidditch pitch," Hermione answered warily.
"Oh. Well, I’ll just wait for him then, shall I?" Malfoy perched on an armchair in front of the fire. "And while I’m waiting, Neville, may I say how much I’ve always admired your abilities in Herbology. My compliments to you; I’m glad we’re on the same side of things now that You Know Who is back."
Neville turned as white as a sheet, probably assuming that Malfoy was possessed, and turned to flee the room, almost colliding with Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Mary Sue, who were just coming in with their broomsticks over their shoulders.
Malfoy stood and approached the small group grinning, his hand extended. "Ah, Harry! Good to see you, mate!"
Harry took the proffered hand automatically, wondering what was up. "Hello, Malfoy," he said cautiously.
Draco beamed all over his pale face. "Harry, I just wanted to say, about the Quidditch match between Slytherin and Griffindor this week…..well, good luck, and may the best team win. I know we’ll both try our best and play a clean game. After all, winning isn’t everything, is it?"
He clapped Harry on the shoulder and walked out, whistling, leaving a very stunned group of people behind.
The last of the sunlight was fading, and a chill sharpened the air when Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Mary Sue made their way down to the lake. Hermione glanced at her wristwatch. "Our fanfiction weekend is almost over," she said, her voice tinged with relief.
"Yes, I’ll soon be on my way back to River Heights," said Mary Sue. "It’ll be good to see my cousin again. You may have heard of her: Her name is Lara Croft, Tomb Raider."
Ron stepped close to her. "There’s no Hogwarts without you, Mary Sue," he said, in a voice choked with emotion.
Harry tried, and failed, to stifle a snort of laughter. "What kind of thing is that to say, mate?" he asked. "It sounds like a throwaway line from a Muggle film."
Ron turned murderous eyes on his best friend, a sure sign that the Personality Facilitating Potion was beginning to lose its effect.
Mary Sue tactfully defused the situation by turning to Hermione and linking their arms together. "It’s been fun, ‘Mione. Who would have guessed we‘d turn out to be such chums?"
Hermione pulled her arm away and turned toward the American girl. "You know," she said, "we really aren’t chums. I’ve realized that I don’t even like you, and frankly, I’ll be glad to see you leave Hogwarts."
Mary Sue looked wounded. "’Mione, what have I done to offend you?"
"Well, for starters, you’re calling me by that stupid name! Who said you could give me a nickname? I hate nicknames!"
"’Mione, I understand you‘re upset--" began Mary Sue, but Hermione interrupted.
"There! There, you did it again! Stop calling me ’’Mione!’ The name is Hermione. Her-MY-oh-nee. I mean, you’re not even shortening it all that much, for crying out loud! How much harder is it to add the extra syllable and CALL ME BY MY REAL NAME?" By this time, she was shrieking at the American girl, who shook her head sorrowfully. Harry, Ron and Ginny watched in uneasy silence.
"We’re friends," Mary Sue said firmly, "and friends can work through anything, if they just try hard enough." She thought for a moment. "I know!" she exclaimed, "Herms, or even Hermy would work. Those are shorter names!"
Hermione spluttered incoherently, and her face turned the color of a boiled ham, as she lunged for the American Girl’s neck.
"Harry My Love, help me!" Mary Sue cried out.
It was the only cue Ginny needed. She, too, ran at Mary Sue, and together, she and Hermione bodily lifted the beautiful sleuth and flung her into the lake.
"Help!" cried Mary Sue, who was an excellent swimmer but nevertheless, had never encountered anything like the arm of the giant squid that was wrapping around her, pulling her under. Harry and Ron watched in horror, Hermione and Ginny in satisfaction, as the girl surfaced, just once, in time to cry, "I’ll be back! It’s been fun to match wits with you in The Mystery of the Word That Cap’n Kathy Hates, but you haven’t seen the last of me! Look for me in my next bestseller The Clue of the Heir of Hufflepuff!" And then she was gone, with nothing but four small bubbles to mark where she had been.
Ron turned on Hermione, disbelief written on his face. "How could you! You killed her!"
Hermione leveled a cool look at him. "Don’t worry Ron, she’s not real, remember? Believe me, Mary Sue will always be part of fan fiction. She’ll pop up again and again, you’ll see."
Ron gazed out over the lake, its now-placid surface winking at them with the thousands of thousands of eyes that were the stars in the night sky. He sighed. "She sure was good-looking though."
No one spoke for several minutes, then, as Harry’s digital watched beeped the hour of eight o’clock, Ron spoke again. "I guess we go back to the way we’ve always been now, huh?" Hermione nodded. Suddenly, Ron clutched at her arm in a desperate move."I can’t stand it! What if I never see her again? You know about this fan fiction stuff, Hermione, just tell me--please--do I get the girl of my dreams in the end?"
Hermione looked him straight in the eye. "Yes Ron, you do."
He gazed hungrily out over the lake. "You mean it?"
"Trust me Ron, you get the girl of your dreams in the end," she said quietly. "You just don’t know who she is yet." And Hermione Granger smiled a very satisfied smile.
Our profoundest gratitude to all of you who share your works with us on the Sugar Quill, who make us laugh, and cry, and who laugh with us in turn. We lift a Hagrid-sized tankard of mead and propose a toast: To Fanfiction Cliches – may they live long and prosper, and may the world of Harry Potter, and all who love it do the same. A very Happy Christmas to you all.
Respectfully Submitted –
ivy & Gracie