Disclaimer: I do not own JK Rowling’s characters or
world. They are all hers. Dang it. I am making no money from this,
nor will I ever; no copyright infringement is intended. All hers.
Author’s Note: This parody
grew out of a week of flu, when all I could do was lie flat on my back, cough
and hack, and sporadically read fanfic. I think I went through the bulk of decent fanfics out there.
And, face it, when you read ten or twelve of the things at once, they
all start sounding alike. To amuse
myself I began keeping a checklist.
Harry and the Dursleys, check. Ron as Quidditch captain, check. Of course, many sixth-year fics have similar elements precisely because the authors
are drawing very carefully from canon, presenting believable situations based
on what we know, thinking carefully about character, and writing some damn fine
stories. This parody is meant to amuse,
not to say, “Do it differently.” (Well,
except for the pokes at punctuation issues, that is.) And, as always, many thanks to Alkari for
reading and letting me talk it out, and to Julie Rose for her snort of laughter
and great comments, and to the Evil Twins for general inspiration. And to one
Evil Twin, Pelirroja, for “Let’s Do the AK Again,”
(based on, of course, Rocky Horror) which you can see here
on p. 2.
sighed and leaned back against the headboard. The Dursleys
had said nothing directly to him during the journey back to Privet Drive.
Instead they had kept up a constant but inconsequential conversation
among themselves that only served to underscore their refusal to include
Harry. Petunia planned a shopping trip
to get new clothes for Dudley (“He’s had such a hard year, Vernon,
unlike other people I could name.”), and Uncle Vernon talked about business
(“Booming, Pet, there are lots of people who need drills because they do things
the proper way.”) Once at Number
Four, they had simply gone in to the house, leaving Harry to wrestle his trunk
and Hedwig’s cage up the stairs by himself.
He had started downstairs when he heard Aunt Petunia call Dudley to come for dinner, but with his hand on the doorknob he realized that
he could not bear more of his relatives’ inanities. He flopped on the bed, sighed, and leaned
against the headboard. A long, dreary
summer lay before him ...
“Oh, please. You’re going to make me suffer again, aren’t
you?” someone said in a disgusted voice.
Mincot jumped and spun her office chair around. To her utter surprise, a teenager was leaning
against the doorframe. She stared at his
black unruly hair.
“Don’t tell me.
You want to see the scar,” the boy said with heavy sarcasm.
“Forget the scar,” Mincot croaked. She was working hard
to suppress her inner fangurl. –Harry
Potter!! Not Daniel Radcliffe,
Harry Potter!!! In my house!!! “I was just surprised to see … well … uh … Hi, Harry.”
Harry Potter (for so it was) gave a theatrical sigh. He walked into the room and scooped a cat out
of Mincot’s blue reading chair, pushed aside the
pillows that Allemande had been using during her recent visit, and sat
down. “You thought I was fictional, like
all of the rest of them,” he said.
“Well, I look a little like Danny boy, but there are appreciable differences between us.”
Mincot goggled for a minute more, but then she took a
surreptitious swig of her Shiner Bock and pulled herself together. Harry’s shoulders were tense, and his lips
tight, and she did not want to be on the receiving end of a full blown Harry
Potter Angry Spell. Besides, she
couldn’t afford to replace anything in the house right now. “Well,” she said, striving for lightness,
“now I know better. Ummm
… do you want anything?” What did one
offer stray Rowling characters … sorry, real people … who dropped in
unannounced sans benefit of
door? Even in Britain, he was too young to be offered a beer, but she had
water and sodas and lemonade. Although
this was Georgia, after all, where kids started with Bud from the
cradle (and some of them through the umbilical).
“No, thank you,” Harry said politely, but Mincot got the
feeling that he was gritting his teeth.
“What I want is for you not to
write what you were about to write.”
“You were going to make me suffer, right? Make me brood about Sirius? Feeling guilty, angsty,
and so depressed I couldn’t do more than lie on my bed and twiddle my toes and
whimper? Make me fret endlessly about
not using Sirius’ mirror?”
“Well, you did
just lose him.” Mincot tried to make her
voice more sympathetic. “I mean, I know
what losing someone is like, and … well, if I were you, I’d be a basket case.”
Harry twisted his hands in the pillow. “Well, yeah, I miss Sirius; yeah, I’m mad;
yeah, I feel guilty, but give me a break! I’m tired of being angsty. And he
didn’t say anything much to me either, remember--communication is a two-way
street. And as for his stuff … doesn’t
anyone do anything with it other than making me and Remus inherit it all?” He leaned over and fiddled with the lever
that raised the chair’s footrest. “”At
least somebody usually puts Kreacher out of our
misery. --But back to the Dursleys. And that fic you’re
writing. Don’t you dare have Aunt Petunia
suddenly start trying to be nice, even just a little. That’s weird, too.” He ran his fingers through his untidy black
hair. “I suppose she cut a deal with the
writers because she was tired of being cardboard, just like I’m tired of being
sad. Speaking of Aunt Petunia, what were
you going to do with the Dursleys? Let me guess: they were either going to
ignore me, or give me twice as many chores, or be overtly polite but really
rude under their breaths.”
Mincot felt herself going red. “Well …”
“For a writer, you’re not very articulate, are you? At least you didn’t mispunctuate
their name, as well. I get so tired of
living with the Dursley’s. Haven’t any of these fanfic
writers read Strunk and White or Eats, Shoots, and Leaves?
And it’s almost as bad having Sirius always be my Godfather, not my
godfather--it sounds as if he had been in the American Mafia. What happened to the distinction between
proper and general nouns?”
tabby cat that Harry had displaced, Bella, had been sitting on the floor and
staring fixedly at Harry, clearly angry that he had disturbed her nap. The fact that there was a stranger in the
chair was clearly no reason for her not to sit there, too, but he seemed
oblivious to her hints. Finally she gave
up and just leaped onto the arm of the chair.
Giving Harry a low-lidded stare, Bella began scolding him
imperiously. Harry did the only sensible
thing: he started stroking her. Then he
looked over at Mincot. “What else? Oh, yes, I bet I was going to blame myself
that my friends got into danger, right?”
“What, you were not going to worry about them at
all? What kind of a varmint are you?”
Mincot asked, her Texas roots appearing momentarily. “What did you
have in mind, buster?”
Harry ran his free hand through his messy hair. “That’s the problem, isn’t it?” he asked, his
voice less angry. “All these things are
logical, but I have to do them over and over and over! I mean, there’s wallowing and then there’s
wallowing! Once is quite
sufficient. But in every bloody fanfic! I had to
have my tear-ducts cleared after the last one, they’ve gotten so clogged, and
I’ve gone over every nasty memory so often that I don’t feel anything. I could face a Dementor
and not even blink. So. Were you going to have me just worry, or try
to distance myself from them?”
“Neither,” Mincot said.
“You were going to write long letters and try to work it out with them
via owl post.”
Bella edged on to Harry’s lap. “Well, that’s different. And you’re letting me have some communication
“I would think that the members of the Order would have
learnt about keeping you in the dark,” Mincot started, but was surprised that
Harry began saying exactly the same thing.
“Oh, dear, that’s a trope now, is it?”
Harry recited, “I either get no communication with my
friends, or we work out a system not involving Owl Post, but at least people
tell me what’s going on.”
“You want that they should leave you in the dark?” Another cat had come out …the one that Mincot
took her screen name from, in fact. So,
confusingly, Mincot sat on Mincot’s lap and started
It was Harry’s turn to turn red. “Just tell me you weren’t going to have me
work out my differences with Ginny. I’m
doomed to take notice of her this year, I think. She’s either hauling me up short for
self-pity, or being the only one who knows how to let me heal. And either way I
start noticing that she’s …” His hand made a vague gesture at his chest. He bit his lip and said hastily, changing the
subject, “And then there’s Occlumency lessons.”
Mincot sighed and wished she
was magical so she could accio
another beer or four. At this rate she
would need them, and soon. “Don’t tell
me. Remus, Albus, or a chastened Severus
Harry nodded glumly.
“What the fanfic writers don’t know is that I
made a deal with Rowling. She’s invented
a heretofore unmentioned but highly known potion that completely blocks my
thoughts, which I can take and forget about things. Of course, it leaves me a little wonky and I
tend to pull a Lockhart from time to time, but it is better than dealing with
Remus’ angst, Dumbledore’s apologizing, and Snape in general. It helps with the depression, too. Of course,” he added, thoughtfully, “most
people think that Remus is getting … ah … comfort … from Tonks, so I suppose
he’s okay on his own.”
Quietly, Mincot deleted the file she had been working
on. It looked as if it was all going to
be rubbish, anyway. She reached for her
legal pad, on which she had written a list of ideas. Mincot the cat opened her eyes and glared at
Mincot the person, annoyed to have her soft lap move, even slightly. “So what about the prophecy, Harry? Are you brooding over becoming a murderer?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Hell, no. Hermione gave me a lot of books over the
summer—lots of Greek tragedies and stuff.
Worrying about prophecies never seems to help anyone, so why should I
bother? It’ll come true with or without
my help—and anything I do will likely be wrong, because I have misunderstood it
or something.” He had stopped stroking
Bella, and she blatted at him and butted him with her chin. “Besides, I like to think of it as
justifiable homicide, not murder.” He
began humming “Let’s Do the A-K Again” under his breath.
Mincot nodded, a little nervously. She thought it would be a good idea to
interrupt before he got to “Just an Imperio to the left, and a Crucio to the right…” and decided
to act out the song. “Okay, Harry, so
long as you’re happy …”
“That’s the point.
That doesn’t seem to be anyone’s goal, my happiness. They all want me to be immured in
sorrow. I am having a horrible,
terrible, no-good, very bad life, and I think I’ll move to Australia.”
“Alkari will be happy about that,” Mincot said. “Just don’t scare her horse. I’m told he spooks at mosquitoes. So: I guess that means you won’t be going
either to the Burrow, to Grimmauld
brood, or staying with the Dursleys, right?”
“Luna’s father offered me a reporter slot at the Quibbler, and it’s tempting. The twins offered me a job, but I’d have to
be a guinea pig—sometimes quite literally—so I said no to them, too.”
“So what are
you going to do?”
Harry smiled, but then hastily rearranged his face in a
dour, sad expression. “I have all this angst;
it would be a shame to waste it. I think
I’ll go to America and be a professional mourner.”
“Ummm, Harry, that’s more of a
European thing. And I don’t think
there’s that much call for it any more anyway.”
“With your election politics? I figure I’ll be in high demand by members of
both parties. I might even have to take
a year off Hogwarts.”
A new voice cut in, “That could be fun, but don’t even
think about it.”
hissed at the newcomer, a young woman with thick hair and a firm expression,
and jumped off Mincot-the-human’s lap and stalked out of the room.
that was friendly,” the woman said. “You
don’t happen to have an extra chair?”
usually only me in the study, Hermione,” Mincot said, trying hard to keep her
voice calm. Her inner fangurl was squee-ing loudly
again. “You can get one from the living
Hermione returned, Harry said, “Not doing any magic outside of Hogwarts, are
lamented Hermione, glaring at Mincot. “Uber-canon witch here says no magic by underage wizards.”
nodded. “That’s an improvement,
Hermione; fanfic writers often have us given leave to
practice this summer. And don’t say you
want to learn—you’re just indulging your stereotypical side again.”
“On the other hand,” Mincot said, rather
testily, “if you could just accio me another Shiner, please …” Hermione shook her head smugly, and Mincot
glared, got up and went out to the kitchen.
When she returned, she sat down on her chair again, adjusting her new
lumbar support. It didn’t fit her
thirty-eight-year old chair very well, but a rubber band or four helped
that. She wished suddenly for a
Permanent Sticking Charm. “I assume you
both did well on your O.W.L.’s?” she asked, prying
the cap off her Shiner Bock, and was rewarded by a glacial smile from Harry.
sighed. “I, of course, get the top
number of O.W.L.’s ever, even in subjects that
haven’t been offered for the last three hundred years and were then only given
in classes that met in Uppsala. Harry and Ron
either scrape by the middle, or are right up there behind me.”
I don’t get my O in Potions, no matter what …”
if you’d apply yourself and just ignore Snape …”
therefore can’t take Snape’s NEWT-level class, which means I can’t be an auror. But Someone
will intercede for me, and Snape has to take me. Which means he’s twice as
bitchy as he usually is.”
asked, “Wonder if it’s hormonal? Harry,
have you noticed any cycle in how oily his hair is?”
answered Harry, “You know I never am allowed to notice stuff like that. I’ll start keeping notes.”
surreptitiously crossed out another idea she had had for the sixth-year fic. She found
herself wondering what Rowling was going to have left to write. A sudden thought struck her. “Now that Voldemort’s
back, what’s going on?”
said, “Well, we’re supposed to have a new Minister of Magic, but that happens
either early or late in the year, depending on how much trouble Harry needs to
be in. Meanwhile, there are either lots
of Death Eater attacks, usually on Harry’s friends, or the Death Eaters are
conspicuously quiet and everyone worries about what they are up to.”
Malfoy and his cronies often break out of Azkaban,” Harry said. “Ever notice how, when something’s really,
really hard and nobody ever does it, how suddenly everyone does it? Sirius started a breakout trend—nobody had
ever broken out from Azkaban before, and then the Lestranges
did it and then Malfoy and others. Makes
you wonder why the Ministry bothers to put people there in the first
place. And despite the fact that
McGonagall said that Animagi were really rare, and
that there were fewer than ten registered Animagi
last century, I know of at least 40% more, including Rita Skeeter.”
of what?” Mincot looked confused.
thought you Americans just ate up meaningless statistics. Forty percent of all San Antonio Spurs
followers, if you like.”
likes the Spurs???”
voice rose. “Anyway, Harry, all that proves is that not only is the
transformation easier than people have said, but that only fewer than ten
people were stupid enough to register themselves.”
of the Malfoys,” Mincot
said, but was interrupted by Hermione, who was happy that someone had read Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.
said, rather grumpily, “I learnt to
punctuate properly, Hermione, long before that book appeared. But I can write “Malfoy’s”
if you really, really want me to.” She
stopped, and then said, “On second thought, I don’t think I can. Carry on.
Can I at least say that you all either ignore Malfoy on the train, or
get into your usual exchange of pleasantries?”
he’s either the head of a pack or has lost all his cronies,” Harry snapped,
“and he’s usually lost his prefecture, and occasionally we start making some
kind of truce, because after all I always have to root for the underdog;
anyway, I’d rather you just write him out of the story entirely.”
what JKR said, too. Wonder how much
it’ll take to bribe her? She gets all
the royalties for the books and movies, and none of us get so much as a knut.” Harry stood
up suddenly, dumping Bella on the ground.
She scolded him, but then slipped up and sat on the warm chair seat
before Hermione could move to sit down herself.
looked up and sternly quelled her inner fangurl. Or Fangurl, if one wanted to use fanon punctuation. All of a sudden she remembered Dickens’s
three spirits from A Christmas Carol,
and she wondered if she had had enough spirits to deal with this
conversation. She forced herself to look
down at her notebook rather than at the brilliant redhead sitting on the floor. “Umm, Ron? Is it okay if I make you Quidditch
captain? Because Harry can’t …”
the three shouted as one.
Mincot rocked backward, surprised.
inner Texan is showing,” Ron said kindly.
I thought … “
course I want it, I’m not mental.” Ron
shook himself. “And quit writing me as
always calling people mental.” Mincot
hastily erased a word on her page. “But
I’m always getting it, even though Harry can play again, and it’s putting a real
strain on our status as boys, worrying so much about each other’s feelings,
see? Let Katie Bell do it.”
raised one eyebrow, a trick she had learned from her mother. “If you want,” she said dubiously. “Will Ginny have to try out, like everyone
thought for a moment. “I suppose
so. But, look, could you please let me
and Hermione not snog quite so much?”
said the other two. Hermione blushed.
shrugged, clearly unrepentant. “I’d
think you’d ask the same thing about Ginny, Harry. And I’m neither very pleased about you getting
on with Ginny and noticing her … uh …”
His hand made a vague gesture at his chest, “nor about to knock your
block off for it.”
looked over at Mincot. “You’re repeating
what?” Mincot shot back. “JKR does it.”
can we get back to my love life so we can tone it down?” Ron asked. “I mean, who needs that much
embarrassment? Everyone’s always walking
in on us, forcing us to Declare Our Love.
You two, too.” He paused, and
then said, in a considering voice, “And, Hermione, I love you, but we snog so much I think we’re sharing sinuses, you know? I’d like a break from the mucus.”
have a lot more time for Ginny—okay, yes, I’m emotionally clueless, but I get a
lot fewer colds that way and life is less complicated!” Harry said, glaring meaningfully at Mincot’s legal pad.
With a small sigh, she crossed another item off her list. “As I was saying, I’d have a lot more time
for Ginny if I didn’t have to run the DA.”
thought that was just last year’s expedient experiment?” Mincot said.
was,” Hermione said, ‘but a lot of people have jumped on the defence bandwagon.
Anyway, the new DADA teacher is either an auror
is cute, but Kingsley is really cool too,” Ron put in. “Of course, nobody seems to be able to come
up with anybody new.”
rolled her eyes.
you stopping arguing because you’ve figured out you’re in love?” Harry said brightly.
Harry,” Hermione snapped. Mincot quietly
erased another line on her legal pad.
“Stop interrupting. We don’t
argue in person; it’s bad enough doing it all the time in canon. As I was saying, the new DADA teacher is
either an auror, and has another job as well as
teaching, or is vaguely competent and friendly, but inconsistent. Either way, we need Harry.”
will we or won’t we let the Slytherins in?” mused Ron. “I’m all for it, seeing as how most fanfics make me dead-set against them. I say everything short of the only good
Slytherin is a dead Slytherin.”
least the fanfic writers have finally figured out
that Blaise is male,” Hermione said.
“Although I never understood why they thought he could be female in the
first place; it is not a female
name. Of course, people called me “HERmy-Own” until I paid JKR to put the proper pronunciation
in one of her books, so I suppose nobody bothers to read nineteenth century
literature or has watched Gigi in the last ten years.
And as for those people who insist on calling Sirius “SIGH-rus,” well, it just proves that people never learnt to
sound out words in school …”
to punctuate,” Harry said darkly. Mincot
hastily checked over her rough notes for any stray punctuation error. “Well, that’s the start of the year,” she
said, trying to sound cheery. “What
about the rest of it??”
reached down and picked Bella up, and began to stroke her again. “Well, there’s developing romance … “
my Occlumency lessons … oh, usually I learn to block Voldemort, so he gets inventive, or I can’t block Voldemort, so I have bad dreams … “
about partly blocking him?” Mincot asked facetiously, but Hermione just tutted at her.
there’s a new magical talent that is critical but nobody has ever heard of it
before,” Ron added. “And I get to be a
Seer and make genuine predictions.”
erased another line on her list. There
was almost nothing left.
Ron!” Hermione cried out. Bella yowled
in protest as Harry’s arms tightened convulsively. “You forgot Bellatrix and the Death Eaters.”
like a new band,” Mincot muttered.
they don’t torture people by singing atonally, but they do play together,”
Hermione said wisely. Harry had begun to hum “Let’s Do the AK Again.” “They just torture people the good old
fashioned way. A lot. And sometimes Remus gets to hunt Bellatrix
down for Sirius—revenge, you know.
Unless he is distracted by his love for Tonks, or by a vague Secret
Mission. But he keeps in touch with
Harry by using the magical mirror, you know; he fixes it.”
it wracks Harry with guilt every time he sees it, but he uses it. We’re all in learning-from-our-mistakes mode
in fanfic,” Ron added. “And so we ALWAYS keep in touch with Harry.”
I feel like a bloody octopus,” Harry said.
“Who wants to hold my hand-hand-hand???”
ignored the bad Beatles imitation and looked at her notes. “Umm, Trio?”
call us that!” they snapped, in perfect three-part harmony.
nodded. “Well, whatever collective noun
you choose, you have to tell me what is
left for a sixth-year fic?” She showed them her paper, with every line
crossed out. Mincot-the-cat came in
again, leaped lightly onto the desk (alliteration being all-important for
satisfying the inner fangurl) and sat on the legal
original?” Harry suggested sarcastically.
that has description and conversation mixed in—that isn’t just line after line
of dialogue? I mean, we can hardly keep
it straight—how can you?”
looked puzzled. “Umm, which one of us
was just speaking?”
had been stroking Mincot-the-cat, and hadn’t noticed. In the end, they decided that it must have
been Bella (because of course Ron couldn’t say anything smart unless it was
Heartfelt Wisdom …)
everything’s borrowed,” Mincot said sourly.
“You should know that. All
writers are in an ongoing dialogue with other stories, with their own time
period … intertextuality rules and that’s the way it
sounding like Hermione,” the boys chorused.
and what of it?” Mincot said right back.
conversation continued on, but they came to no conclusion. At great length, Harry (who had lost his
voice by then) realized that he was needed somewhere else. “Don’t you hear those keys clicking?” he
rasped at the others. Even his voice
sounded tired. The Tri-- sorry, the
primary characters couldn’t Disapparate, because, war
or no war, they were underage. Finally,
they just faded away, in the way of would-be-real fictional characters or
Dickensian spirits. At least Scrooge had
had to deal with only one Spirit at a time, Mincot thought.
shook her head, bemused, and looked down at her legal pad. One perfectly entertaining sixth-year fic, completely shot down.
She’d have to start over.
Meanwhile, Bella had come up to Mincot-the-cat, and was washing
Mincot-the-cat’s ears. Mincot-the-person
sat back to watch—voluntary ear washing usually became forcible ear-washing,
and that led to scuffling, and then to a fully fledged feline wrestling match.
She found herself wondering if Harry could learn Muggle wrestling techniques as
part of his extra training.
heard a loud pop!, and looked up. A
scrap of parchment had appeared in mid-air over her desk and was floating down
toward her. She opened it, and saw the
words “been there, done that” in handwriting that somehow (magically! She thought) conveyed utter boredom. Okay.
Scrap the jujitsu / tae kwon do
approach. Was there anything left even for JKR to
write? she wondered.
she yanked the pages from her legal pad and fed them to her shredder. They would make great packing material. Then she opened yet another beer and happily
began scribbling down the record of the last two hours’ worth of conversation,
thinking that she might have to graduate to gin if the Marauders showed up.
chirped at her and insisted that she sit in Mincot-the-person’s lap. Any typos in this transcription are all her
fault. It couldn’t possibly be the Shiner.