a one-shot by Ada Kensington
AN: This is a little bit fluffier than my usual, so I do apologise if you came here seeking angst-ridden fanfic. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it!
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This is a story.
It’s not particularly profound. Nor is it anything spectacular - you know, the sort of feast for the imagination, everyone is so fond of. It’s not action-packed either. In fact, it’s pretty ordinary, actually. Splinching, after all, according to the latest edition of the Annual International Wizarding Statistics occurs once every three minutes (cf. chapter fifty-four: ’Accidents occurring during magical transportation, including portkeys, floo-powder and apparation). Think about that for a minute. That’s twenty cases of splinching in an hour; four-hundred and eighty in a day; a whole three thousand, three hundred and sixty in a week; a massive thirteen thousand, four hundred and forty in a month; and a whopping seventy-four thousand, eight hundred and eighty cases in a year!
That’s a whole lot of splinching.
This is a story about splinching. It’s also about how two young men, due to the twisted machinations of fate (face it, he likes a joke just as much as anyone!), came to be in that sorry state and how they managed to get out of it.
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Ashok Patil, newly appointed junior Healer, tried his hardest to stifle a snigger. In front of him, stood his dear friend and one-time housemate, Evelyn Lovegood, his indigo robes trailing out behind him and a petulant scowl gracing his usually cheerful, cherubic face. At least, one half of Evelyn Lovegood stood before him…
“Best consult your better half before you go through with this, Moony,” James Potter choked out, hanging off Frank Longbottom’s shoulder, both of them almost crying with laughter.
“Yeah,” Frank sniggered. “Don’t do something you’ll regret. The two of you would make a lovely couple.”
The mild-mannered Gryffindor rolled his eyes and sighed resignedly as his two friends dissolved into fits of hysterical laughter. “Ashok, how long will it take to separate us?” he asked, with just a hint of irritation in his voice.
“It had better be quick!” Evelyn snapped, as his wide, blue eyes narrowed impatiently. “I’ve got to meet Persephone at Florean Fortescue’s in half an hour!”
Deciding that he had better do his best to remain professional, he fought back the giggles and ironed his face. Immersed in his clipboard, he walked around the splinchees making notes. After observing them for a moment, he realised that it really was a most curious case of splinching. Usually, the person who was splinched (or the splinchee) left parts of themselves behind - a pair of legs or their head, for example - though this only tended to occur during cases of unlicensed apparation. Both Evelyn and Remus had obtained their Apparation License a fortnight ago. It was unfortunate, that such a mishap ought to occur so soon after, but these things happened, he thought, grinning to himself.
The result of this particular splinching was as if the two young men had been split down the middle and stuck together, with their two heads balancing neatly on one pair of monstrous shoulders. Again, he had to stifle a laugh. Obviously, there was nothing illegal about this particular case, so he could go right ahead and ask questions. Of course, this was in order to ascertain how this accident had come about, not out of personal curiosity…
“Okay, you two,” Ashok said lightly, handing them both a piece of paper. “You’ll have to write down everything that happened immediately prior to the splinching. It shouldn’t take too long,” he added, hearing Evelyn sigh huffily, “not if you get these two to help you,” he continued, indicating Frank and James who nodded eagerly in agreement. “I’ll leave you in here and you can give me a call when you’re done.” With a wave of his wand, two rook feather quills appeared on his desk which James and Frank picked up with a grin. “I’m just going to get some of the splinching restorative draught to help put you two back to normal,” he said, moving toward the door. “I’ll be back to check on you soon.”
With that, Healer Patil shut the door and left the four young men in his room.
“So, who wants to go first?” Frank asked.
“I’ll take Remus and you can take Evelyn,” James said, suddenly business-like, his quill poised at the ready. “Ready, Moony?”
“I’ll fire away then, will I?” Remus retorted, looking at Evelyn, who shook his curly-haired head exasperatedly.
“I feel your pain, Remus,” he moaned.
They all laughed, which seemed to dispel some of the tension hanging around in the air.
“Alright then,” Remus said briskly. “Well, I got that owl from you, James…”
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Congratulations on getting your Apparation License! Not before time, might I add. Nah, I’m just pulling your leg, mate. I know you’ve not had much time lately - and besides, Peter is still to get his.
Anyway, what I wanted to say was that I think we should all go out to celebrate. The Leaky Cauldron is the venue. Half-past eight is the time. Sirius and Peter can’t come (you know why!) but they send their best wishes and all that. Sirius wants me to remind you not to get splinched and Peter says congratulations.
Be there or be splinched! (just kidding…)
PS. Frank’s coming!
With a smile, Remus fed James’ owl a thin strip of bacon and let it fly out the window, only after making sure it had a drink of water.
So, he was going to see James. He was quite looking forward to seeing his old friend again. Ever since he had been forced to move from his cottage in Hogsmeade, he hadn’t been able to see any of his school friends as regularly as he’d liked. During a particularly difficult transformation, he had somehow managed to break free from Sirius and had almost bitten someone.
The story had been plastered all over the front page of the Prophet for days. Amidst the fear and confusion, Remus had quietly gathered his possessions and had moved away under the pretence of fleeing the from the lingering shadow of the werewolf. Sirius, who had been living with him in Hogsmeade, had stayed with him when he been forced to move back into his parents’ old house before being called up for Order business with Peter. It had been a painful, sobering time, but the letters of correspondence from his three friends and his occasional missions for the Order had been what had kept him going. He had seen even less of James lately, as his friend had been kept rather busy, what with the news of the imminent arrival of the first little Potter.
But he was going to see James. Frank, too, who was also expecting a little bundle of joy. Remus shook his head, smiling wryly, as he imagined what the conversation would be like. He looked at the clock and it read eight exactly. Well, there weren’t any other pressing matters to be dealt with at the moment. He could wander around for half an hour before making his way over to the Leaky Cauldron before meeting the two fathers-to-be.
His mind made up, Remus raised his wand and performed the incantation…
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Of course I’d love to meet you at Florean’s! Half-past eight sound good to you? Excellent! And while we’re there, I simply must show you the latest developments as far as my Youthfulness Potion is concerned! It’s coming along nicely, but I’ll have to drop in at the Apothecary afterward to get a few things!
You’ve also made me very curious, I must say, Evelyn! What is it you’re wanting to ask me, I wonder…
Persephone (missing you very much and looking forward to seeing you again)
PS. Uncle Dedalus says hello!
Carefully, Evelyn Lovegood folded the piece of parchment in two, creasing the fold meticulously to ascertain that each half was equal and deftly placing it in his letter rack. Then, he let out a great whoop of joy and danced round the room, kicking his legs in the air and making his owl, Pompadour, screech and scratch at the bars of its cage.
“All right, all right, Pompadour…” Evelyn said soothingly, though his voice quivered with excitement. “I’ll let you out, just hold on…”
Removing the catch, Pompadour hopped out of his cage and onto Evelyn’s outstretched arm, ruffling his feathers imperiously, before nipping his owner affectionately on the cheek and flying off to his perch on the windowsill. Dancing toward the door of his little Hogsmeade cottage, Evelyn grabbed his navy-blue travelling cloak and threw it over his shoulders.
“Today’s the day, Pompadour!” he sang happily as he dashed into his bedroom and brought out a tiny blue box, tied with a gold ribbon.
From the window, Pompadour hooted curiously, his head cocked to one side and his round, yellow eyes fixed upon the small object.
As if answering the owl’s unvoiced question, Evelyn offered with a huge smile: “It’s a ring, Pompadour. I’m going to ask Persephone to marry me! I’m meeting her at Florean Fortuscue’s at half past eight - so I’d better be there early to get myself organised! You know what I’m like…”
Evelyn trailed off suddenly, placing his hands on his hips, a puzzled frown furrowing his brow.
“Now where on earth did I put my wand?”
There was a flutter and then Pompadour descended from on high, landing lightly on Evelyn’s shoulder. With a dignified hoot, he dropped the wand in front of his owner and flew back to his perch without further comment.
“Thank you, Pompadour! Where would I be without you?” Evelyn said cheerfully, as he rose his wand to perform the incantation that would transport him to Diagon Alley as quick as a thought.
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“So you two must’ve apparated at exactly the same time!” James exclaimed, putting down his quill and leaning back in his chair. “What are the odds of that, eh?”
“If you must know,” Evelyn snapped, his curly, white-blonde hair looking rather windswept, “splinching is a rather common occurrence. There were over fifteen-thousand cases in Britain last year alone and everyone was put right eventually.”
“Thank goodness for that…” Remus muttered, putting his head in his one available hand.
“Look, Evelyn, if what you’ve said is true, then there’s nothing to worry about,” Frank said placatingly. “Ashok will be right along in five minutes and he’ll have the potion that’ll put you both right.”
James leaned forward conspiratorially and whispered: “What Frank’s trying to tell you, Evelyn, is not to burst a blood vessel…”
For a moment, Evelyn looked as though he was going to do something rather nasty; his lips thinned and a flush of red crept into his pale cheeks. “I DON’T HAVE FIVE STUPID MINUTES!” he yelled across the table to a thoroughly mortified James. “I AM SUPPOSED TO BE MEETING PERSEPHONE RIGHT NOW! I WAS GOING TO ASK HER TO MARRY ME, BUT I SUPPOSE SHE WON’T BOTHER NOW ON ACCOUNT OF ME STANDING HER UP, WILL SHE?”
Fuming, he tried to fold his arms but realised that there was only one available, which only served to perpetuate his anger, so he sat there, seething.
“Do you want me to help?” Remus asked, waving his single arm tentatively in the air to remind his other half that there was another appendage that could be used.
With what appeared to be an enormous effort, Evelyn replied courteously, “I should like that very much. Thank you, Remus.”
The two folded their arm into the other’s, which allowed Evelyn to sit and scowl with the appropriate body posture. All the while, there was a short, shocked silence in which the disbelief could be felt as keenly as a slap in the face. After a while, James ventured to speak.
“I-I’m sorry, Evelyn. I had no idea,” he said sheepishly, running a hand through his tousled hair.
“Forget about it.”
“No, really. If there’s anything I can do…” James continued imploringly, his hazel eyes shining with concern.
Suddenly, Remus had an idea. “Where were you supposed to be meeting her, Evelyn?” he asked, casually.
“Florean Fortescue’s,” the wispy-haired young man replied gloomily. “I was supposed to turn up at half-past eight. I’ll just have to send Pompadour out with a letter explaining myself - yet again. Why do you ask?”
Remus smiled and turned his head quickly to face James, who was looking at him curiously. Then, the door opened and Ashok Patil stepped inside followed by an older, larger, more senior-looking Healer who sported a rather fetching pair of half-moon spectacles and a curly moustache.
“What’s up, Moony?”
“You’ve got ten seconds,” he said urgently. “It’s already quarter to nine. Run over to Florean’s and tell Persephone what’s happened. Make sure she comes here.”
“Alright,” James said, springing to his feet and already halfway to the door.
“Hey! Where are you going?” Frank called out, but James had already barreled past Ashok and the other Healer, disappearing down the corridor. Frank gave Remus a bewildered look that said “what was that all about?” and shrugged.
“Ready to go?” the older Healer asked jovially, gesturing towards the door.
Remus and Evelyn both nodded at the same time (which made Frank giggle) and they were both escorted to a bed on the ward.
The older Healer, whose name, it transpired, was Healer Chesterton (“just call me Gilbert”) corked open a vial of the draught that was supposed to separate them into two distinctly unattached individuals. They both blanched visibly when Gilbert had told them candidly that de-splinching was a very painful process - indeed, excruciatingly painful. However, their fears were abated as the cheerful Healer explained to them (twice!) that they would be drinking a powerful Sleeping Draught, so they wouldn’t feel a thing.
“Will they be in here overnight?” Frank asked, conjuring up a chair and taking a seat by the bed.
“Oh yes, definitely,” boomed the Healer, as he separated the Sleeping Draught into two smaller vials. “We’ll have to keep an eye on them, just in case there are any complications through the night. Not that there will be any,” he added quickly, laughing heartily at the terrified looks on Remus’ and Evelyn’s faces.
“I’ll stay here with them, then,” Frank said with an indulgent smile, taking up Remus’ hand and patting it tenderly. “My little Reemy-Weemy…”
“Get off, Frank!” Remus laughed, snatching his arm away and accidentally whacking Evelyn in the face. “Whoops! Sorry! I didn’t mean that - really I didn’t!”
“Just you watch it, Lupin,” Evelyn warned jokingly, waving a finger. “I could take you down blindfolded…”
“Oh?” Remus said nonchalantly, but there was a little glimmer of mischief twinkling in the corners of his brown eyes. “When will that be then? When hell freezes over?”
Just as the most bizarre pillow fight ever witnessed was about to break out, Healer Chesterton brought them back down to earth, swiftly confiscating the offending makeshift weapons. “Boys… Boys! That’ll be enough, thank you very much! There’ll be no fighting on my ward. You’ve got some de-splinching to be getting on with.” He turned to Frank, who pretended to look startled at all the attention he was suddenly receiving. “I don’t recommend you stay in the same ward as these charming young men, as the separation process can be a little messy.” Frank cringed and nodded as Healer Chesterton went on. “I can, however, put you up temporarily in the Visitor’s Quarters if you have nowhere else to stay near Saint Mungo’s.”
“Yeah, that would be great, Healer Chesterton. Thanks very much!”
“Oh, young man, I insist you call me Gilbert,” he said, with the good-natured bossiness that every experienced Healer should have, handing a vial of Sleeping Draught to both Remus and Evelyn. Both looked at each other with trepidation. “And now I insist you both drink up. I’ll administer the Separation Draught when I am certain you are both sound asleep.”
“You think he knows Madame Pomfrey?” Evelyn whispered, with a giggle as he downed his potion in one gulp.
Shrugging and shaking his head, Remus followed. The Sleeping Draught tasted a little bitter, but he’d ingested concoctions far worse. Realising that he… well… they were still sitting up he turned to Evelyn and said “I think we should maybe lie down.”
“Good call, Lupin. Don’t go getting any funny ideas, though,” Evelyn yawned.
There was a bang as the door to the ward opened and there was the sound of two pairs of footsteps rushing toward them. Healer Chesterton (or Gilbert) appeared to attempt to usher them out, but Frank’s voice called out ‘It’s okay, Healer Chesterton, they’re here with us! Bloody hell, it’s about time you got back, James… and I see you’ve brought someone with you…”
Persephone Diggle stood there beside James, gaping. Her long, straggly, dirty blonde hair was piled up on her head with all manner of coloured pins stabbed into it; her floaty blue skirt and white blouse making appear even fragile and waif-like than she actually was. Her pale blue eyes stared in amazement and she rushed over to Evelyn and clasped his hand in hers.
“Evelyn!” she breathed excitedly. “You must tell me! What’s it like to be splinched? Does it hurt much at all? Does it tickle when Remus breathes? Is it…”
“Persephone!” James interrupted, grinning and waving a hand in front of her face, realising that it was essential to cut her off before she got into full flow.
“Yes, James?” she said, looking at him intently, twisting a strand of hair around a thin finger.
“Evelyn wants to ask you something,” he answered, sitting back in his chair, nudging Frank knowingly in the ribs. Frank grinned and leaned forward in his chair, waiting for the big moment and Remus stared at the ceiling and listened intently, feeling rather awkward but excited…
Persephone focused her pale eyes quizzically on Evelyn, who blushed furiously. “What is it, Evelyn?” she inquired concernedly. “Is there something the matter?”
“No! No, there’s… nothing the matter,” he replied, yawning. “Err… (yawn) What I wanted to say was… Well, the reason I asked to meet you at Florean’s today was… (yawn) Well… Before this all happened anyway…”
“Evelyn,” she chided gently. “Spit it out before you drop off to sleep on Remus’ shoulder.”
“Well…” he began again, blushing even harder, “I was wondering if you would…” he trailed off, rustling in his pockets for something and pulled out a little blue box tied with gold ribbon. “I was wondering… (yawn)… Oh dear, I do apologise. This is not ideal… (yawn)… I was wondering, Persephone, if you would do me the honour of… of being my wife?”
There was a sudden silence. Everything in the ward ground to a halt. Healer Chesterton stopped administering a potion to his patient, a female splinchee who looked over the large man’s shoulder; Ashok, who was talking to another female Healer brought the conversation to a halt and stared, open-mouthed at the scene at his friend’s bedside; Frank and James were gripping each other’s shoulders expectantly and there was an audible hush throughout the ward. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath - waiting for Persephone’s answer.
The woman in question appeared to be deep in thought, nibbling at her fingernails as she turned the concept over and over again in her head to see if it met her approval. Evelyn, in comparison, had gone quite pale and was staring intently at the beside cabinet, determined to keep his eyes open and fight the effects of the potion. Suddenly, Persephone’s face broke out into a huge grin. Evidently, the concept had met her approval, as she squealed and wrapped her arms violently around Evelyn (and by default, Remus).
“Of course I’ll marry you, you silly thing!” she cried, kissing him on the cheek.
Blinking once or twice, unable to evade sleep any longer, Evelyn managed to reply weakly “Oh! Wonderful…” before slumping back onto the pillow into a peaceful sleep.
A great cheer resounded throughout the ward. Ashok, all pretences to professionalism abandoned, danced down the aisle with the female Healer shouting out about how his studious, wacky friend was finally getting hitched; James and Frank leapt out of their chairs, patting each other on the back; and Healer Chesterton’s voice resounded loudly above them all, congratulating Persephone on her engagement and about how this was most definitely a first for the ward. Remus was feeling really quite tired now. His head was feeling warm and fuzzy and his vision was blurring…
“It’s all down to Remus, really,” he heard James’ voice echoing in his mind, although it was as if he was hearing it from a great distance. “He’s the one who told me to come and get you…”
Suddenly, he felt a something brush his forehead.
“Thank you, Remus…” Persephone’s voice filtered into his thoughts amidst the indistinct melee of background noise.
“No problem. All in a day’s work,” he heard himself murmur before he finally drifted off to sleep.
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AN: First of all, if there’s something dodgy about the mathematics, then I apologise. Maths was never my forte. Secondly, thanks go out to Mysterious Muggle, as without his extremely valuable throwaway remark, this strange little one-shot would most definitely not exist. Thirdly, this is part of a fanfic challenge on the Fanfiction Challenges Thread where you have all been… well… challenged to write your own splinching one-shots. If you think you can do better (and that wouldn’t be hard) then get writing. I look forward to seeing the results! Fourthly, (I do go on, don’t I?) before you say anything about how Evelyn is a girl’s name, remember the author Evelyn Waugh. I’d also like to point out that Persephone Diggle is Evelyn’s future wife and Luna’s mother. I thought that a combination of the Diggles and the Lovegoods would make a good explanation for Luna’s wackiness.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to leave a little review on your way out. You’d make me very happy, and you’d like to give your Karma levels a little boost, wouldn’t you? Thanks!
- Ada K.