Brian's Bits

A Double Fistful of Drabbles

Author's Note: I think I've probably mentioned a time or two that I like to spend some time on potterficforum, and one of the things I enjoy doing there is competing in the drabble game. I even win some points for my house from time to time. The real fun though is in trying to write a story around the topic chosen.

The collection of drabbles below are some of my entries, and in case it isn't obvious, they are all separate and completely unrelated to each other.

. . .

#1: Christmas."Harry? What are you still doing here?" Kingsley asked, his face a mixture of concern and exasperation.

"Just getting the paperwork done, boss. I've tried charming the arrest record forms, but guess what, they still won't fill themselves out." Harry replied with a grin, but Kingsley noticed it didn't reach his eyes.

"Harry, it's Christmas eve. Go home!"

"You're still here." Harry pointed out.

Kingsley nodded, "that's right, but as soon as I can kick out the last of my aurors, I'm leaving. Now get the hell out of here before I have to lock you up for arguing with the Minister of Magic."

"Alright boss, you win. Just give me a couple of minutes to pack this up and I'll go."

Kingsley nodded and waited a moment to see that Harry really was getting ready to go before exchanging 'Merry Christmases' with him and wandering off.

Harry locked away the last of his files and then apparated home. After arriving in the living room at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, he shrugged off his cloak and threw it over the back of a sofa.

He'd barely had time to take a seat in a lounge chair near the fireplace, when Kreacher handed him a mug of eggnog, bowed, and then silently left.

Harry sipped occassionally from the mug, more out of reflex than thirst though, as he stared at the decorated fir tree in the corner of the room. A tear worked its way down his face unnoticed.

A few hours later, Kreacher covered his sleeping master with a blanket, then sat crosslegged on the rug in front of the fire watching him.

. . .

#2: Dragons.Hermione had searched Hogwarts from top to bottom, and still hadn't found Harry. He wasn't at the Quidditch pitch, wasn't visiting Hagrid or any of the other teachers, and most definitely wasn't in Gryffindor tower. He wasn't even sitting by the lake under his invisibility cloak as that was still in his trunk. She visited Hedwig in the owlery, but if his familiar had seen him, she didn't let her know, just nibbled gently on her fingers in appreciation of the visit and attention.

Finally giving up her search, she entered the library. She might as well see if she could find anything else about tri-wizard tournament tasks, and what the champions might have to-

"Harry? I've been looking everywhere for you! Why are you hiding in here?" she demanded. In her frustration at having spent the morning traipsing all over Hogwarts and the grounds, she'd ignored the half dozen books scattered around him on the table.

Harry winced at her tone. Hermione on a rant wasn't something he really wanted to deal with this morning, especially given the lack of sleep he'd had last night.

"I didn't know you were looking for me, and I'm not hiding. I'm reading."

Hermione finally noticed the books surrounding Harry, and after looking at the titles and drawing a conclusion about what exactly he was reading about she gasped.

"Harry, w-why are you reading about.. about dragons? Is.. is.." Hermione trailed off, unable to voice the fear building inside her.

Harry looked at her, unsurprised that she could so quickly come to the right conclusion, and nodded.

Hermione's eyes glistened, and she blinked rapidly as she tried to compose herself.

Clearing her throat she took a deep breath. "Well then, we'd best start looking up what to do then, hadn't we?" and with that, she dropped down into a seat next to Harry and pulled over the closest book.

. . .

#3: Ravenclaws.Harry watched as Luna skipped off to the leaving feast in search of pudding. He appreciated her words about meeting up with Sirius again, and took comfort from the thought that perhaps his godfather wasn't completely lost to him.

As he turned to trudge back to the Gryffindor tower, his eyes skimmed past Luna's notice, before he stopped and looked at it in disbelief. Reading it was somehow different to having Luna tell him about it. This was more... unforgiving.

Ravenclaws. They were supposed to be the house of the intelligent and thoughtful, and yet they did this to a lonely girl? What could she possibly have done to them?

He thought of Professor Flitwick and wondered how such a kind man could have allowed such things to happen. Didn't he know what occurred in his own house? There must have been some students that saw what was going on that weren't part of the bullying against Luna, and at least one of them would have said something? Wasn't there at least one person in her house willing to help her?

'Bugger it!' Harry thought angrily, before he snatched the note off the wall in righteous indignation and then set off in search of the charms master.

It was past time the man learned what was going on in his house and did something about it!

. . .

#4: DA outtakes.

"Stupefy! Stupefy! Oh, why won't this work?" Romilda hissed in frustration.

"Your pronunciation is fine, You just need to smooth out your wand motion and keep it even. Try again. You'll get it soon." Luna encouraged the fifth year Gryffindor.

"I don't need your help, Loony!" the ungrateful girl snarled back. Looking over at Nevile she called out to him for help.

Luna turned back to her own practice without reacting, her face expressionless.

Neville walked over to Romilda. "Show me what you're doing," he told her.

"Stupefy! See! I don't know what I'm doing wrong! Can you help me?"

"Your pronunciation is fine, You just need to smooth out your wand motion and keep it even," Neville advised her.

Romilda's took a step back at the tone Neville used. "I... Ummm. Well, that is... Thanks." She said softly, embarrassed.

Neville stepped closer and lowered his voice so that only she could hear. "Luna is one of the most dedicated DA members here. Whether you like her or not, she will fight for you and for any of us, even against the Carrows. Maybe you should think about that."

Romilda watched thoughtfully as Neville turned and walked away, and then she walked the few steps over to where Luna stood.

"Umm, Luna? Could you show me that wand motion please?" She asked.

"Of course. But I think you've got the movement right, it's just your speed is a little up and down. Keep a smooth, even pace, like this..."

. . .

#5: Scenes from the teacher's loungeSeverus stepped into the teacher's lounge with his copy of Brewer's Monthly tucked under his arm. The first week of term was always the hardest to deal with, however this morning had been a bright moment that he would savour for a month. Well, a week perhaps, until the next first year Potions class with the Slytherins and Griffindors.

"Ahh, Severus, there you are. Come and join us."

He looked over to see Minerva, Pomona, Filius and Poppy sitting in sofas around a low coffee table. Pomona's voice had its usual cheerful tone but the look in her eyes seemed almost... predatory.

"Perhaps... another time?" he replied, silkily giving his magazine a wave as explanation.

"Nonsense, Severus. Bring your tea and you can help us in our discussion." Minerva replied, and Severus realised he wasn't going to be left in peace to read.

Taking a seat alongside Filius, he took a small sip of his tea and hoped that whetever discussion ensued would be over before hs cup was empty. But perhaps, when it was empty he could-

"We were just discussing our favourite subjects," Minerva began, before leaning forward and looking directly at him. "Tell me, Severus, what is the first principal exception to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration?"

Severus frowned. He hadn't had to worry about Gamp's laws since he completed his NEWTs. Was that the one about the ratio of magical energy required to adjust the mass of the object being transfigured? "I don't know, Minerva."

"Tut tut, Severus. Potion mastery clearly isn't everything," she said, and with her phrasing Severus realised the purpose of this... gathering.

"Well then, Severus," Pomona interjected before he could reply. "Perhaps you could tell us how to harvest a-"

As Pomona leaned forward to ask her question, she knocked her tea cup over, spilling it and the contents onto the floor.

"Severus!" Filius called sharply. "Why didn't you warn Pomona before she knocked her tea over? Thought it would be amusing did you?"

Before he could respond, Poppy asked a question. "Tell me, Severus. How long does the pain last should a a mis-brewed boil curing potion come in contact with bare skin?"

Severus paused a moment and frowned before answering. He knew the answer but hadn't thought about it until asked the question. "The pain continues until treatment is provided. It lessens significantly after the potion is removed from the skin, and is barely noticeable after taking a healing draught."

"Quite correct. So what is the approprate first aid treatment, Severus?" Poppy demanded, her usually kindly face now red and enraged.

Severus closed his eyes. "Flush the affected area as soon as possible with water to dilute and remove the potion."

"And do you happen to recall the charm for summoning water?" Filius asked.

"Aguamenti," Severus replied softly, realising now that this wasn't about them protecting Potter. He had allowed a child to suffer unnecessarily. This would require some thought.

When he opened his eyes again. The others had already left, and he was alone in the loungeroom.

It was a while before he left, and his magazine remained behind, forgotten and unread.

. . .

#6: ColdAs Harry walked into the kitchen of Number 12 Grimmauld Place looking for breakfast, he took in the unusual scene in front of him.

All of the younger guests of the house, as well as a couple of the older ones, were staring at Tonks with open amusement on their faces.

Tonks herself didn't seem to be at all amused. She was mostly slumped over the table clutching a hanky and making small sniffling sounds.

'Tonks is sick and that is somehow funny?' Harry thought to himself as he started to become a little irate at his friends for their lack of concern for the quirky metamorph.

Fred, picking up Harry's mood from his expression, decided to get in first with a little explanation. "Harry, it sn't what you think, it's just-"

He was interupted as Tonks started trying to hold back a sneeze. As she did, all of the other occupants perked up and stared intently at her.

"Ahh... Ahh... Ahh..."

Confused, Harry followed their gazes and saw Tonks' face for the first time as she lifted her head from the table in preparation for her sneeze, hanky at the ready.

"...CHOOOO!"

As she sneezed, her hair lengthened and stood straight out from her head as though she'd stuck her finger in a light socket and then cycled through all colours of the rainbow. As the sneeze ended, it curled into a giant afro before slowly returning to her normal pink spiky haired look.

Harry tried to hold in his laughter as hard as he could, but a grunt managed to escape him and Tonks looked up at him bleary eyed and red nosed. "Oh, just let it out, Harry. It is a bit funny after all." She gave him a small smile before slumping back down and putting her head back on her arms on the table.

Harry guiltily let out a few laughs that joined in with the others around the table as Molly came up to Tonks with a cup of something that had a light orange smoke curling out of it.

. . .

#7: Bedtime StoriesHarry looked around the cozy living room and saw his young daughter starting to nod off while playing on the rug. Unfortunately, bedtimes were still seen as a punishment by the girl instead of the normal end to a day. He sighed as he wondered how he was going to accomplish the task without tears this evening.

He felt his wife squeeze his hand from where she sat next to him, and when he looked up she smiled warmly at him. He knew that this particular smile meant that she knew what he'd been thinking and had a solution. She turned to their daughter and spoke with a light and almost excited tone that implied fun and games.

"Come on, Leeny. If you change into your nightie quickly and hop into bed, I'll tell you the story of how the Snorkack's horn got all crumpled!"

The girl's eyes blinked rapidly a couple of times as though dispelling the drooping they'd been doing earlier. Without a sound she hopped up and dashed off to her bedroom as fast as her little legs could carry her, grinning all the way.

As Luna got up to tell the promised bedtime story, Harry recaptured her hand and she looked back at him.

As Harry climbed to his feet to follow her he grinned. "Hey, Selene's not the only one that likes that tale."

. . .

#8: Whomping Willow.The little blue bird flew happily around the scottish highlands. It was finally spring, and springtime meant looking for a mate, building a nest, eggs, and then finally hatchlings. This was life for the bird and it was truly wondrous.

As the bird flew, dancing in the wind, and through the flowers, it startled an insect that unwisely took off the leaf it had been resting on. All too soon it became a midmorning snack for the bird that gave no thought to the insect's own future plans for young of its own.

As the bird flew on looking for a good nesting site, it flew through a dark place that was full of hard and grey that it didn't understand. After all, what were walls to a bird? It started to become cold, and so it beat its wings faster and faster, trying to escape all the grey back into the sun and warmth.

Flying out into the open again, it flew above the rocks and grass and continued searching for a new home. Joy! Pleasure! A tree! A lone tree stood proudly ahead, and the bird flew with renewed energy as it spied what it saw as its future home.

The blue bird noticed that the branches moved through the air lazily, as though blown by a wind. Did the tree remember a wind, as there was none blowing now? There was just the warm spring breeze that carried the promise of a home and a mate and eggs.

And now the bird had found a tree that would become a home, and it couldn't contain itself any longer and broke into a melodic song.

A branch suddenly whipped in front of the bird, narrowly missing it and the bird fluttered silently in confusion, flapping its wings nervously with no clear direction in mind as it contemplated its near death experience.

When no further branches came close, the bird flew quietly from branch to branch, seeking the ideal nesting spot.

The Whomping Willow relaxed as it appeared its new tenant understood the rules: You can stay as long as you keep the damn noise down!

. . .

#9: Sage.[Introduction from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorceror's Stone, by JK Rowling]

"The forest?" he repeated, and he didn't sound quite as cool as usual. "We can't go in there at night--there's all sorts of things in there--werewolves, I heard."

Neville clutched the sleeve of Harry's robe and made a choking noise.

"That's your problem, isn't it?" said Filch, his voice cracking with glee. "Should've thought of them werewolves before you got in trouble, shouldn't you?"

Hagrid came striding toward them out of the dark, Fang at his heel. He was carrying his large crossbow, and a quiver of arrows hung over his shoulder.

"Abou' time," he said. "I bin waitin' fer half an hour already. All right, Harry, Hermione?"

"Hagrid! Thank goodness you're here. Mr Filch has been telling us we need to do detention in the forest, and we were starting to get worried that it was true." Hermione said, barely stopping for breath in her rush to get the words out.

"Well, 'e's right abou' that I'm afraid. But e's got no business trying to scare you lot!" Hagrid had bent down and given Hermione a kindly expression as he spoke to her, but as he turned to look at Filch he straightened up and glowered at him fiercely.

After exchanging heated words with Filch until the bitter old caretaker stomped off, Hagrid then got into an argument with Malfoy about their detention. Harry listened half enjoying Malfoy getting taken down a peg or two by Hagrid, before he realised that he had a point.

"Err, Hagrid. We're not really going into the forest are we?" Harry asked.

Hagrid frowned at him in confusion. "Well, o' course we are. Wha' 'ave I jus' been sayin'?"

"But Hagrid, there must be a mistake. The headmaster told us that the forest was forbidden to all students. We've been given detention for breaking the rules, and the detention is breaking MORE rules? That doesn't make any sense at all." Hermione said.

Harry nodded and added a thought of his own that he thought Hermione would have mentioned first. "Besides Hagrid, exams are just a few days away. Does it make sense to you that students should be kept awake all night as a punishment? We should be getting our sleep or studying."

Hermione nodded approvingly at Harry's comment. "Not to mention that Hogwarts has a duty to protect the children in its care. How could any adult possibly justify sending children into a dangerous forest where unicorns are being killed?"

"Is this really the punishment Professor McGonagall set for us, Hagrid? You know she's already taken 50 points off of us as well. This seems a bit much for breaking curfew." Harry added.

"Here now, 'taint your place to be questionin' the perfessors." Hagrid said, finally finding something he could respond to.

"So it was her idea then?" Harry pressed.

"Well, p'raps she don' know all the details like, but she did assign yeh all to me for detention."

"Hagrid, I think we should all go back to the castle to check with Professor McGonagall. Perhaps there has been a... a misunderstanding. We wouldn't want you to get in any trouble over this," Hermione said.

Hagrid sighed and nodded before gesturing for them to head back to the castle.

When it became obvious to Malfoy that they weren't going into the forest after all, his arrogance returned and he started muttering about what he was going to tell his father.

"Oh, stuff it, Malfoy! It's all your fault we're out here anyway. If it wasn't for you trying to cause trouble, we wouldn't have lost all those points and we wouldn't be out here freezing. Maybe you should spend more time focussing on what you should be doing as a student instead of always picking on others."

"Sage advice, Harry," Hermione said approvingly.

"Speakin' o' which - Malfoy, get back on the path and stop walkin' through me herb garden, or I'll be asking the perfessor ter take more points off yeh!"

. . .

#10: The Strangest Ship."Draky-poo, what's wrong, you seem very distant today."

"Sorry Pansy. It's just... I don't know what to do!" he wailed.

Pansy was used to his histrionics and just patted his back to calm him down. It usually worked if you showed you were paying attention.

"Oh, Draco, I'm sure it's not all that bad. Tell me what's wrong."

"Well... I... I think I've fallen in love with a Gryffindor."

"WHAT?!?" Pansy screeched, before pushing him away from her and off the sofa they'd been sitting on. "How COULD you do that to me?"

"I didn't mean to. I was just sitting there eating some chocolates she gave me, and I couldn't help but realise how blind I'd been not to see her before. Don't you think Romilda Malfoy has a nice ring to it?"

Pansy just let out an enraged shriek and smacked him on the back of the head as she stalked past and out of the Slytherin common room.

"Well, that went well." Draco mused, before going back to daydreams of his new love.

. . .

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