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Drabble Vomit Thread;

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Jormungandr, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Knyght

    Knyght Alchemist

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    You made me a little sad there, Cheddar. :cry:
     
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Wow, thanks guys. Glad that went over so well -- I'll look at extending it into one-shot as suggested, though I'm not sure of my ability to do it justice. Thanks!
     
  3. Portus

    Portus Heir

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    No lie, Cheddar - best short piece I've seen in a long while. You did a nice job with the Lavender one and proceeded to knock your Colin Creevey offering out of the park. Well done times ten.
     
  4. Nauro

    Nauro Headmaster

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    The damned forum is eating my post with timeout errors. 2 times so far.
    For the record, I hate mangling dialogue for Hagrid, Krum and Fleur, just because Rowling did so. Even more so, because I'm a foreigner. Thus, this almost-no-attempt with Hagrid.


    The Elemental

    There was a loud bang on the door, and it shook with the force that threatened to shatter each and every thing in the house made of glass.

    "I"m coming." Vernon squeaked - he was afraid, but he was even more scared of the possible rumors if someone broke in.

    Behind the door, there was a Huge man with a incredibly mushy hair.

    "What are you doing here?" Vernon demanded. It was mightily brave of him since he was shaking nervously.

    "I came to see 'Arry'" The giant looked angry.

    "Who?" Vernon was confused.

    "'Arry Potter." The giant shoved a letter to Vernon's face. "He hasn't been getting his letters, has he?"

    Vernon yelped, but read the envelope. And then, smiled, of course - very weakly. "As a matter of fact, he gets all the letters. Now, would you please stop sending them?"

    Hagrid opened his mouth and closed it. "I need to see Harry," he demanded.

    "He's in the living room."

    Hagrid frowned, but pushed through to the fat man - an impressive feat if there ever was one, because together they barely fit in the hallway, much less in the doors.

    There, in the living room a bright fire was burning in the fireplace, it’s flames playing with pieces of paper. Hogwarts admittance letters - Hagrid realised. A rather fat looking boy was slowly feeding letters to the fire. And something, Hagrid thought he heard a salamander hiss, was hissing contently. But it couldn’t have been, it was a muggle household, wasn’t it?

    “‘Arry?” Hagrid tried carefully. The boy turned around - no scar, Lily's eyes, nor anything else familiar. “You look different.”

    “I’m not Harry,” the boy squeaked alike his father had moments before.

    Hagrid took a look at his newest letter, as if seeing it for the first time.

    Mr. Harry Potter
    The Fireplace in the Living Room
    4 Privet Drive,
    Little Whinging, Surrey


    “What have you done!” He roared at the Dursleys. “Where is ‘ARRY POTTER?”

    “Who are you?” came a hissing voice from the fireplace. The fire was looking at him with green eyes. “Why are you shouting?”

    “‘Arry?” Hagrid dropped the letter on the floor. “Where are you flooing from?”

    But, as his eyes told him, this wasn’t like a Floo call at all - the flame wasn’t green anywhere but in it’s eyes, and there was a strangely shaped mouth in the little flames, the very same mouth that had just finished eating a letter of admittance.

    Hagrid gulped. “Yer an Elemental, ‘Arry?!”
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  5. Aerylife

    Aerylife Not Equal

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    Funny twist on one of the worst cliches :D
     
  6. Nauro

    Nauro Headmaster

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    Murder​


    Kingsley Shaklebolt, the first one to arrive at the scene, barely held his breakfast in place.

    "Merlin," he exclamed, and reached for the wall, thinking to lean heavily on it, until his stomach stopped screaming. His hand touched something wet and sticky. He jumped back like hit by a spell. It wasn't every day that you had
    to scrape victim's brains and blood from the wall.

    A quick cleaning charm removed the sticky sensation, but he still felt horrible. The scene had been so bloody that he doubted it could have been all one wizard's blood.

    The wals had numerous marks from spells, and his wand hummed as he performed the diagnostics. There had literaly been hundreds of different dark spells cast.

    The pieces of the broken wand were the next thing he checked. Mixed with blood, the biggest piece layed together with severed, burned fingers, and the wandip was piercing victim's eye, now forever blinded.

    There were unforgivables used with the wand - that, and a whole lot of
    dark spells - nothing exactly unknown. Kingsley frowned. What had killed the wizard in the room to leave such a mess?

    He prepared to send a patronus for Albus Dumbledore, or Alastor Moody - for these, he thought, might have been the only ones who could shed a light on the matter.

    But, casting the spell had taken a drop of his concentration away, and that was enough for an unknown assailant to stab a pair of scissors deep into his wand arm.

    He dropped it, but, Aurors weren't trained for nothing. He dove towards his wand with the left arm, at the same time rolling to the side, to increase the difficulty of hitting him. His teeth were clenched from the pain in his right palm.

    As he touched his own wand, however, his fingers simply exploded together with a loud snap, and the Auror started screaming from the pain.



    An hour before all that, Lucius Malfoy had a sudden bout of inspiration come to him. It wasn't like he couldn't think - but this time, the thought seemed so new, and never used, that he had to check.

    "Dobby?" he called lazily.

    The elf apeared, shaking from fear.

    He liked that the creature always knew its place. "Could you get past the wards of Harry Potter's house?" He moved straight to what was important. Elves could get everywhere, couldn't they?

    The elf nodded with a bow, his nose bumping into the ground.

    "Good. Could you, for example, pour a poison into his drink?" Lucius was already smiling - it was a perfect plan - he knew just the concoction.

    "Yes." Dobby shook from fear. Or excitement - Lucius could never tell it with house elves.

    "Perfect." Lucius laughed. "Perfect."

    "You is asking Dobby to make harm to a wizard?" Dobby asked suddenly.

    "Yes." Malfoy replied, grinning at himself. Asking for a servant to do such a task wasn't a thing to be proud off, but if it got the job done... You could take pride in the results. "Maim, kill, hurt, murder, yes. You could even kill Dumbledore, couldn't you?" Lucius was a shining example of pure joy.

    Dobby's voice changed, rang louder, cleared, more pronounce. "A house elf can hurt a wizard?" He asked, standing straighter than before.

    "Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore." Lucius threw rather harshly. "I don't want to repeat myself again."

    "Good." Dobby grinned. "You asked for it, Master."

    Lucius stopoed laughing. "What are you...?"

    The elf's eyes were burning with red vengeance. "Finally." There was a snap, and both doors closed, and the room suddenly fell dark, all the shutters closing with a loud bang. It was dark. Lucius winced from a sudden cold he felt.

    "Stop this foolishness at once, Dobby!" he shouted slightly less dignified than he wished to sound.

    "No," came a silent, cold voice from somewhere in the room. "You have just freed me from my shackles, and I'll show you how grateful I really am."

    There was a laugh that sent shivers down Lucius spine - something from the old fairytales, something from before the house elves had lost the war. Was there a war? He couldn't remember what his grandfather had told him.

    "Don't worry, I'll kill everyone you wanted dead, too, Lucius. Later."

    Lucius started casting curses.
     
  7. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    I started this in response to this post in the 'Dumbledore is too late' thread from a couple of weeks ago. Never got round to finishing it, but I found it earlier, thought I'd stick it in here.

    The Only One He Ever Feared


    The cloaked figure swept down Knockturn Alley in silence. Normally, at this hour of the night, the Alley would be bustling, full of warlocks and minor dark wizards plying their wares. Such activities had been curbed in recent days though. Any wizard with even the slightest hint of darkness about them, even the merest suggestion of a connection to the Dark Lord and his followers…those wizards had learnt that it was best not to be seen.


    The wizard paused at a forbidding doorway, dimly lit by a lantern above. The light flickered over a creaking, faded sign swinging from a pole, a rotting hag’s head painted on it. A lock of blond hair poked out from underneath the wizard’s cowl. He rapped three times on the door, in a certain rhythm. Three heartbeats later, three heartbeats which saw the wizard casting nervous eyes around him, the door cracked open. The wizard wasted no time in entering the inn.


    Inside, the gloom of Knockturn Alley was much diminished, but the room was quiet. Whispered conversations came to a sudden stop as everyone looked up, beady eyes scrutinising the new arrival over the tops of their tankards. When he threw back his cowl, revealing a familiar face, conversation resumed. In the far corner, at a table more dimly lit than the rest, two figures, similarly cloaked, waved him over. He hurried over, taking a seat and leaning in.


    “Were you followed?” the figure to his left asked in a rough voice.


    The wizard shrugged, and his questioner rapped his fingers on the table nervously. “If you were…”


    “There’s not a whole lot I could have done if he is watching me, is there?” the wizard snapped. “I wouldn’t be able to fucking see him!”


    “He’s not that good,” the third member of the party said. She leant forward, further into the light, revealing eyes that held the tinge of madness. “He can’t be, it’s all Ministry propaganda.”


    “Bollocks it is,” the wizard hissed. “You haven’t been back to headquarters since the Ministry, have you? You haven’t seen him.”


    The witch paled. “You mean it’s true?”


    “Yes. The Dark Lord is…Well. He’ll live, at least.”


    “We need to rally round,” the second wizard said, “gather the troops. Show the Muggle-loving bastard we’re not scared of him!”


    “Yeah? Good luck with that, because I’m damn well scared of him. You want to take him on, go ahead Amycus. I’m sure the Dark Lord will be honoured by your sacrifice.”


    “You’re a bloody coward, Rowle,” Amycus spat. Rowle shrugged again.


    “Maybe. But I might walk away from it all at the end. Can you say the same?”


    Amycus opened his mouth to reply, but before he could say anything there was a knock at the door. Silence fell over the inn once more; it had not been the steady knock that Rowle had used, a knock known only to a few select individuals. In fact, there had been nothing special about it at all, simply the sound of knuckles rapping against ancient wood. It could have been anyone.


    Whether through instinct, magic, or simple paranoia, not one wizard or witch in the room had any doubt about who it was.


    Rowle stood up, drawing his wand, but he was too late. The door shuddered, and then crumbled into dust. The resultant cloud wafted into the room, obscuring whoever had destroyed the door, and Rowle cast a hurried spell into the midst of it. There was a flash of light within the cloud, followed by a high pitched humming noise. Rowle swore in pain as his wand suddenly became immensely hot, throwing it away. He wasn’t the only one, the room suddenly filled with people casting away their wands in shock. It was only as the wand hit the floor that Rowle realised what he had done.


    “Oh, bugger.”


    He turned to run, but the air was thickening around him, holding him tight. He only managed a few steps before falling slowly to his knees, barely able to breathe. He inched his head round, looking back at the empty doorway.

    He was standing there. He held his wand casually by his side, almost lost in the bright velvet folds. He did not look threatening, never had, as far as Rowle could remember. An old man in a stupid hat and worse robes, his face almost lost in the midst of all the white hair. Not a threat, then, until you looked at the eyes. The eyes that so often twinkled now blazed with cold fury, and Rowle knew that he would be begging for mercy before the evening was out.


    “I am looking,” said Albus Dumbledore, “for Thorfin Rowle.”
     
  8. Averis

    Averis Don of Delivery ~ Prestige ~

    Joined:
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    I thought about using this in my newest fic - Gone, No Goodbyes - but I don't think I can, in good faith, take Fleur to Africa. Or can I? Hmhmhm...

    The Flower With Fangs

    I had never seen a woman so beautiful, and rarely had I known one as intelligent. Her soft-spoken voice, pouty, glossy lips... had formed my name, and a shiver of pleasure engulfed my loins, red-hot and ill-advised, for her husband of a year was standing behind her, smiling at her dotingly.

    "It is good to see you," she said, in the midst of the crowd, and the words were just for him, as her husband had been turned away by Dedalus Diggle; a roaring laugh became another as the two former Order members shared a moment. I sighed, checking my watch and made as if to walk away from the attractive, and immediately unrelenting Fleur Delacour.

    "Are you to walk away from me, now, when we have just spoken? It has been quite some time, Harry." Her English was spotty at best, but she carried confidence that covered any loss in translation. Being breath-takingly beautiful had long ago shredded any language barriers that might have otherwise stimied her professional growth; as a go to between the goblins and the Ministry she had already proven herself a fiery negotiator.

    She guided me to a nearby sofa, patting it once as she seated herself. I complied with considerably less grace, taking my time to look around the area, not trusting myself to obey all of the laws of propriety. After all, this was Bill and Fleur's first anniversary, not my own batchelor party.

    "How are you, Fleur? This has been a beautiful party." I did not say more, again unable to trust myself around the girl. Her aura could not sway me, but it was still painfully hard to concentrate.

    "Relax, Harry," she soothed me, perhaps reading my hesitation. She knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was aroused by her, and I imagined she was amused more than disgusted; Veelas tended to be impressed by shows of affection, especially those that they coerced themselves. Though a quarter Veela herself, Fleur had that particular trait in spades. "You know that you are always safe when we are together. Why can we not talk like friends?" She smiled endearingly, and I couldn't resist my lips quirking slightly upward. I redoubled my efforts not to smile, but it was to no avail.

    "We are friends, Fleur. Its just that - I do not like to intrude on other people's special occasions. Surely you would rather be entertaining your husband, Mrs. Weasley?"

    That was about as strong a blow as I could muster while staring longingly at the woman. Her smile fell a little, but she let the question roll off of her easily enough. "Harry, you understand why we had no choice but to do what we did--"

    "But that doesn't mean I have to like it," I mumbled. I suddenly found a glass of champagne being pressed into my hand by a waiter, a portly man who reminded me distinctly of Horace Slughorn, and I downed a marginal amount of the alcohol. That is to say, I drank all of it in one gulp.

    Fleur watched me as I swallowed, the burning taste feeling good against the tide of cold indifference that was rising in my stomach. If she wanted Bill I could live with that... in fact, I had no choice but to live with it. No matter how grotesque his facial scars had turned, Fleur had been steadfast, at least in the public eye, and she had never once looked at him with pity.

    Thats one thing Fleur and I did not share in common. I pitied the man because his wife was in love with another, and he had no idea the magnitude of the betrayal going on around him, even at his own anniversary party. No idea that Fleur was the instigator, and that I had followed her dutifully, absorbed by her tempting beauty and determined to have it all to myself.

    Yet, she would never allow me to follow through on my enraptured thoughts, eager to please the woman who had me so thoroughly wrapped around her finger. Instead, she gave me unexpected, lingering kisses in her den.

    We broke apart quickly, owing to my revulsion and arousal. I shot from the sofa like a rocket, taking a few steps away and leaning against a rather large chesnut cabinet. I could feel sweat beading my brow, and my heart ran rampant in my chest.

    "What the hell was that?" I whispered, keeping my voice low so none of the scores of other people in the house would notice. "We can't do this all the time, Fleur!"

    "And why not?" she said simply. "No one will notice. Bill never comes in this room, because I warded it myself - only those I allow in can enter. So, Chosen One," she said, joining me by the cabinet and pressing her face near mine, her tiny voice ticklish on my neck. "Give me one good reason why we can't."

    Despite her hand on my waistband and her general proximity, I somehow continued to refuse her advances. "You are married - remember? This is your one year anniversary. He will notice your absence."

    "I rather hope he does," she muttered against my lips, her soft tongue seeking entrance. With a sigh of resignation I allowed her entry, the kiss growing more and more passionate as time passed. When I next came up for air my shirt had been tossed on the sofa and I had been deposited on the floor, my pants slowly but unerringly being pulled to my ankles.

    I kicked them free with some degree of difficulty, and she shifted her momentum, rolling me so that she was on the bottom, leaving me in control. I made quick work of the buttons on her dress before stopping halfway, manuevering myself so that I was in between her legs. I brought my face down to hers again, our tongues writhing against eachother, and I placed my hands on her hips.

    She shivered with pleasure as I trailed kisses down her neck before pushing myself up with my hands and admiring her ethereal beauty. She was truly unique, head to foot, and every inch each of her was so close...

    A crashing noise echoed through the room, and we both stilled, having been seconds away from intercourse; she met my eyes with astonishment in hers, as if she did not know how we could have been so close to being such fools. To descecrate a wizard's home as adulterer was an even larger offense than in the Muggle world; in fact, the man was ultimately entitled to a duel to the death. I'm no slouch, as my offing of Voldmort proved to the world, but Bill Weasley knew Egyptian torture curses I couldn't pronounce and would be hopelessly outclassed by if it came to that.

    With unspoken agreement the two of us stood from the floor. I gathered my shirt and used a quick silent spell to replace it on my torso. She straightened her attire and also used magic to make herself a bit more presentable. When the two of us were ready we exited the room, finding the entire Weasley clan assembled.

    Ron spoke first, "Bloody hell! We were trying for ages to enter the room but there is some kind of ward up." He narrowed his eyes. "What were you two up to?"

    Ron had cottoned on the most to the newfound relationship between Fleur and I, though he had no clue how deep the ties had grown. Naturally, he disliked the thought of his best friend hanging out with his brother's wife.

    Fleur pasted a smile on her face, looking at Hermione rather than Ron. "We were talking about the tournament, weren't we Harry?" She giggled slightly, and Harry spared a glance at Ron to see his eyes were glossing over just slightly. "Gabrielle had such a crush on you!"

    "Er..." I said, as I was moment late catching her obvious intention. I grinned, trying to erase my confused look completely. "We were both young then - I'm sure she'd tell it differently now that she's older. I'm glad to hear that she's doing well though." It sounded like we were just wrapping up a conversation about Fleur's sister.

    Suddenly the inquisition ended as quickly as it had come, as Ron decided to inform us it was time to open presents instead of interrogating us further. Hermione looked at me strangely for a few seconds before joining him in heading back outside.

    "That was a close call, eh?" It was an understatement to say the least, but I nodded anyway. Fleur pulled me closely for one more kiss and said, "Meet me in the back gardens in thirty minutes; no earlier, and no later."

    Was it so wrong that I shivered in anticipation? The revulsion that crept up my throat a moment later, knowing that I would be stabbing my entire adopted family in their backs all at once, did nothing to cure the erection stiffly pushing against my jeans.

    I shook my head and was much slower joining the others, embarrassed and... well, for lack of a better word...

    Horny.
     
  9. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

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    @Shinysavage: I'm kind of pissed off that you ended it there.

    @Averis: I think you should definitely use this in Gone, No Goodbyes.
     
  10. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    I did start another scene, but not enough of it to be worth posting. I might come back to it at some stage, but I've got enough actual stories to be getting on with as it is, I'm afraid.
     
  11. Celestin

    Celestin The Cursed Child

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    It's my 2000th post. I was planning to do something special because of this, like posting the first chapter of the ultimate fanfic I'm working on. The idea behind it is awesome in my opinion, but don't hold your breath for more than a decent execution of it. Or that you will even see it. ;)

    Anyway, since I didn't finish it, I thought that I may at least post one of my other, probably never to be finished, stories that have at least one decent idea in them. Or at least I think it has.


    Beyond Good and Evil​


    Night.

    He always liked this part of the day with no disturbance around him. It was only him and his thoughts.

    He'd never needed to sleep that much. Two, three hours a day. That left him with much time to explore Hogwarts. Of course, at first he couldn't do that, not without getting caught by Flitch. But when he got the Invisible Cloak as a Christmas present, nothing could stop him.

    These days he probably could go without it, but he always felt more secure with the cloak around him. Actually, it was probably more secure than any spell you could cast considering its origins and he had so much work to do that getting cough was not an option.

    Not tonight.

    *

    Narcissa Malfoy wasn't a bad wife. Quite contrary, she was the best kind of woman Lucius could dream of. But even she had her faults. Like cheating on her husband with much younger men. It wasn't like he didn't do exactly the same to her.

    “Have more wine, Cissy,” said Armand.

    “Thank you.”

    She met Armand two weeks ago. He was a Squib, but she didn't care about it. What she cared about was a passion that he brought back to her life. Not to mention he made her feel safe when she was with him.

    With her husband in a prison and with her being a guest in her own home, she could use a little security in her life. Even if that was just an illusion of it.

    They were kissing when someone knocked the door.

    “Don't open. It's probably the room service,” said Cissy, but the knocking didn't stop.

    “Argh! Wait here,” said Armand standing and leaving the bedroom. “I will tell them to get lost.”

    Narcissa felt hot, but her lover had this kind of effect on her. She checked herself in the mirror when she heard a thud.

    “Armand?” She asked. No one answered, but she could hear nearing footsteps.

    After a moment someone entered her room and it wasn't Armand.

    “Potter!” Narcissa hissed in surprise. He was aiming his wand at her.

    She dodged and the spell hit the place where she was a second ago. Potter tried again, but she was quicker. Once her wand was in her hand she attacked him. Soon enough the difference in their skills became apparent.

    “I'm more dangerous than most think. I may not be my sister, but as a Black I was taught how to duel from the moment I could hold a wand by the best teachers my father could buy. You, on the other hand, are nothing more that a pathetic little boy who thinks he is special,” she said when she had him on defensive.

    “I know that. Why do you think I spiked your drink in a first place?”

    “What?” she felt it now. The room grew even more hotter than before.

    “Please, do you think I'm stupid? I'm aware of my shortcomings,” he said and using her distraction finally landed a disarming curse.

    “Now lets talk,” he said and sat down on one of the chairs looking at her lying on the floor. “And don't worry about the poison. It feels bad, but we still have few more minutes before it kills you.”

    “Go to hell.”

    “Maybe later. But now Cissy, can I call you that?” She remained silent. “I will take it as yes. Now, let's talk about you, Cissy. You may wonder why I wasn't surprised that supposedly harmless trophy wife is a deadly dueler. That's because I can recognize when someone is simply acting their role. It's because I'm kind of an actor myself and I had a very hard teacher in person of my uncle.

    “He was a horrible man, but surprisingly perceptive all things considering. Always calling me a monster and trying to beat my unnaturalness out of me. It took me years to perfect my act around him before he started calling me just a freak, because of my magic. But before that any mistakes were always severely punished.

    “But I'm trailing off when I should tell you why I'm here. As I said, you are more than meets the eye and because of that I think you will be a perfect spy.”

    “You are out of your mind if you think I will spy on the Dark Lord for you. You can't even imagine what he would do to me if he found out.”

    “Cissy, Cissy, Cissy. You shouldn't be worrying what he can do to you later, you should be worrying what I can do to you now. And since actions are louder than words. Crucio.” The spell hit her and for a few seemed eternal moments all she felt was pain.

    “But you are...” She said weakly when it was over.

    “The Hero of the Wizard World? Dumbledore's Poster Boy? Simply a good person? I told that I'm an actor. And quite a good one I think.”

    “I'm not even marked.”

    “Exactly. And yet you are so close to his inner circle with your husband. Your sister. And soon enough with your son. And since we are talking about dear Draco, I heard that he isn't exactly in Voldemort's good graces after his father spectacular failure. Being a Malfoy sure suck these days, but it can always be much worse,” he said threatening.

    “If you touch my son, I will...” she started to say when she was hit again by the Torture Curse.

    “Really Narcissa is it really needed?” Harry showed fake concern. “It's painful to watch you in so much pain. Make yourself a favor and give up. The deal is simple. You spy for me and you will not need to worry about Draco having some unfortunate accident.”

    Narcissa was in much pain. She couldn't even think straight. But when she was about to agree to everything, she noticed something under the table they knocked out in the duel

    “Mhnmn...” she murmured.

    “What? I didn't hear you,” Potter said and got closer to her. He neared his head to her to hear her better.

    “I said, die!” She said hitting him with a letter opener in his neck and forcing his wand from him.

    She lay, trying to gather her strength to look for help while watching with satisfaction as Potter was slowly bleeding out. Then she once again felt the wand leaving her hand.

    “My, my,” someone said behind her. “You are even more dangerous than I though. I must apologize for underestimating you. I will not do his again.”

    “Potter!” Narcissa couldn't believe her own eyes. In front of her, partially hidden under the Invisible Cloak, was standing another Boy Who Lived. “Then who...”

    He looked at the her previous attacker and the illusion disappeared.

    “Draco!” She instantly found herself beside him, using the strength she didn't know she still had and tried to stop the bleeding.

    “I was wondering if making him to take my place wasn't too much, especially when I'm still not very experienced with the Imperius Curse. But now I'm glad I took that precaution. How do you feel knowing that you killed the one you wanted to protect the most?”

    “I beg you! Save him!”

    “I can do that, easily, but you know my price,” said Harry.

    “I don't care if you want my soul, just save my son. Please.”

    “Swear to me. Swear on your life and magic that you will do everything I say.”

    “I swear.”

    Potter flicked his wand and Draco's wound was instantly healed.

    “Drink also this,” he gave her a potion. “It's an antidote. And when you feel better, we will talk about details of what I want you to do.”

    Looking at her son, Narcissa Malfoy knew that for now she must be obedient.

    For now.

    But she also knew that there will be a day when Narcissa Black will have her revenge.

    *

    Harry was back in Hogwarts just before dawn.

    He used one of the tunnels he found in the Chamber of Secrets. When he was first exploring it, he hoped to find something else, like an ancient books with powerful magic described in them, but an entrance to the school that nobody else knew was just as good in his opinion.

    “What are you doing here, Potter,” he heard a voice behind him when he entered the bathroom with unconscious Malfoy levitating ahead of him. “And what did you do to Draco?”

    He looked around to see Snape pointing his wand at him.

    “I don't think you will believe me when I say that there is a perfect explanation for this that doesn't make it look so bad?” He looked him innocently. “No, of course you don't.”

    “I think the Headmaster should see it,” he started casting a spell to call Dumbledore when Harry attacked him.

    “Really, Potter?” Asked Snape effortlessly countering any spell that came his way. “You think you can defeat me in a duel?”

    “No,” said Harry trying very hard to not lose.

    Snape felt spell coming from behind him and in the last moment avoided it. When he saw who attacked him he couldn't believe.

    “Lily?”

    “Hello, Sev.”

    “That's not possible.”

    “Everything is possible when the magic is involved,” said Harry.

    “No, it's a trick. An illusion or some variation of the Polyjuice Potion.”

    “Well, technically you are right. The body is not of my mother, but we got one that she easily could make look like hers,” he said and as a proof Lily's hairs changed color from red to lavender and back to red.

    “What have you done, Potter?” asked Snape.

    “What any respectful wizard should do – I pushed boundaries of magic and in this case brought back the dead. Truthfully, it wasn't all my idea. The possession I stole from Voldemort. He also unconsciously gave me the knowledge where to find an artifact that I needed for it to work, but I like to think that the rest was simply me being brilliant.”

    “What you did is not achievement. It's evil. And for all your faults I didn't expect you to fall so low.”

    “That's because you never saw a real me. It's what I do. I give everyone what they want. The Wizarding World their hero. Dumbledore his martyr. You, a second coming James Potter. And nobody bothers to look behind this facade.

    “And you say it's evil? I'm beyond such a trivial concepts like good or evil,” he said. “And I must say that I'm disappointed, Severus. I hoped that someone like you would understand me. Especially when you see my mother standing beside me. I was wrong.”

    “It's not real Lily. It's sick abomination that you brought from Merlin knows where.”

    “You hurt me Severus,” said Lily.

    “And what did you do to Tonks?”

    “She is still in her body. Somewhere, I think.”

    “Sev...” started Lily.

    “Don't talk to me. We are done here. I will bring both of you to the Headmaster,” he said preparing for a battle when the spell hit him in the back.

    Harry looked at the lying body of the Potion Master.

    “That was definitely too close for my liking,” he saw Draco wand still pointed at the place where Snape stood a second ago. “Good thing I still have control over Draco, though I wasn't sure if I could wake him up.”

    “You did good, dear.”

    “More that I got lucky, but I will not complain about it.”

    “What do you plan to do with Severus? I hope you don't plan to kill him. We still can make him our ally if we approach him in a right way.”

    “I know. Just erase his memory of this event and take him to his room. I will take care of Draco.”

    As he looked at his mother obliviating Snape, Harry couldn't stop to wonder – what if Snape was right? It wasn't something that didn't occur to him earlier, he just chose to ignore it.

    Maybe she was his mother or maybe not. You can't always be sure of everything in your life, sometimes you need to choose what you believe in. He chose to believe in his mother.

    And hope that if he's wrong, the only consequences will be his death. Because Dumbledore was right – there are things worse than death.
     
  12. Jormungandr

    Jormungandr Prisoner

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    Okay, Lily in Tonks? That's awesome. Or Tonks posing as Lily, to get a hand over Harry? Strangely creepy, yet awesome.
     
  13. Xakoro

    Xakoro First Year

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    The idea's great, but I found Harry's dialogue to be a bit hammy in places.
     
  14. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

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    You bastard, I had an idea for a HP/NT oneshot where Tonks pretends to be Lily to mess with Snape. Ah well, it probably never would have got written.

    Definitely interesting and some potential there.
     
  15. Portus

    Portus Heir

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    Just got round to catching up on this thread and I must say it did not disappoint.

    Shinysavage, your writing is, as always, a real treat. I appreciated the way you came at D'dore obliquely, building the tension and anticipation thru the Death Eater POV instead of a straightforward D'dore perspective. You turned the He Who Must Not Be Named on its ear as well with their use of 'him.' And the D'dore dialogue was appropriately succinct and proper, without being over the top <-- that's a trap many of us fall into. Great work and I'd love to see more, though I see this as complete as-is.

    Celestin, you magnificent bastard. That was really enjoyable, the language missteps notwithstanding. You know I despise you for all your great ideas, and here are more examples, thrown in my face. Damn you to hell!!! I agree that Harry's dialogue was overdone and shared WAY too much for someone supposedly so secretive and like a chameleon, but I get you were attempting to convey info in a short space and would (hopefully) show instead of tell if this were expanded. GREAT stuff as far as ideas, decent stuff in the execution department.


    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  16. Celestin

    Celestin The Cursed Child

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    Yes, I know. You should see the idea behind my ultimate fanfic. That would make you hate me. ;)

    Well, the idea was to make Harry intentionally theatric in the way he speaks sometimes, because he thinks it's funny. But even then I wasn't exactly happy with his dialogues, but since it's just a drabble I left it as it is.

    But yes, some of things he said are there only because I wanted the readers to know them about them. Like about his uncle. It was to show that this Harry was like that not because of Dursleys. There was even a bit that Petunia was actually nice to him before she saw the real him, but I cut it out.
     
  17. Thyestean

    Thyestean Slug Club Member

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    I was trying to get shit done, but this annoying idea kept interrupting me.

    Random Shit

    I am a teacher. They say I am happy, full of cheer, and sometimes even nice. I would say they are stupid. I was terrifying, brutal, and always ruthless. I was the best. I was ‘The Champion’.

    Pathetic, the puddle beneath me signified a piss poor weather charm, I should kill him. The razor sharp hail cut my face as I let the rain wash away the blood. Ha, can’t even make it all hail, I think I will kill you. I raised my wand overhead, the rain and hail coalesced together, freezing into long streams climbing towards the heavens. I leaped into the air, the auburn spell dissipated into the water beneath me. Stupid bitch, my height isn’t a weakness.

    An uneasy feeling permeated my stomach–I’m at the peak, time to bleed. I twisted my arm toward my opponent, flicking my wrist upward. The frozen streams followed the tip of my wand, twisting around each other, mimicking the motion of my arm. Time slowed down as my magic pooled, the intoxication burned, I fucking loved it–the pain, the pleasure. Time blurred in front of me, the high gone as my wrist completed its upward flick. Icy daggers flowed down my arm–It didn’t have to hurt, but I wanted it to–passing into my wand. The ice shot forward, spinning; cracks formed, discharging jagged pieces of ice in random directions.

    I felt the muscles in my face twitch as my opponent conjured a silver shield–blood seeped down my face, running down the lips of my smirk, Mmm, earthy. Shards of ice impaled him as they simply passed though the shield, my handwork of course. A gasp echoed around me as people ran onto the stage. Shit, it looks like he will live, I guess it is true what they say about you, lucky indeed.

    “And your winner is FLITWICK,” shouted the announcer.
     
  18. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    Okay. That was fucking epic, Celestin.
     
  19. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

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    Ok that was pretty cool and it encapsulates all of the potential of a badass portrayal of Flitwick.
     
  20. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    This was inspired by my good friend Hellinbrand. I was originally intending to write a short fic around it, but I have neither the time nor the interest to expand it any further than its current form. It's been sitting in my documents for about a year as it is. The fight scene at the end is, I think, pretty shit, but I'm quite proud of the earlier stuff.

    The Ballad of Serenity: A Firefly/Cowboy Bebop crossover



    Gorram, but he hated this suit.


    It was a necessary evil, and he was used to more than his fair share of those, but he really, really hated the suit. It made him respectable, legitimate – which would be fine if it were true. He was by no means respectable, especially now. Breaking into the offices of a widely regarded charitable organisation, even if they did work for a branch of the Alliance, was a special kind of low. He hated that it had come to this. But he had to admit, the coin was good. Very good, in fact; enough to keep Serenity flying for near a year, if he was any judge. He couldn’t pass this opportunity up.


    That, and if they went any longer without work Jayne would probably stage a coup, and he really didn’t want to have to kill the big man.


    Mal shook his mood away as they neared their target. Somewhat ironically, the imposing steel door was the first thing that had made him feel at home since they arrived on the planet – almost every building they had been in appeared to be constructed entirely from glass, and just walking along the top floor of the skyscraper they were robbing was enough to give him vertigo. Zoe drew a lipstick from her purse, and twisted it twice. The stick fell out, revealing a little gadget, humming softly as it revolved. She clicked a hidden button on the side of the casing, and the humming increased in pitch, to almost uncomfortable levels. They were rewarded by a shower of sparks from the holo-cam at the end of the corridor. She looked at him, awaiting orders.


    “Best get this done with. Don’t wanna be here longer than we need, understand?”


    “Understood, sir,” she said with a sharp nod. With a swift motion, she drew the split of her disturbingly slinky dress apart, and pulled the garter from around her thigh. Mal averted his eyes, blushing.


    “Damn it, Zoe, give a man a little warning!”


    “You know, sir, I could take that a little more personal than you’re perhaps thinking,” Zoe said conversationally, flashing her teeth in a grin. Mal scowled at her.


    “Just do the job, will you?” Watching as she stuck the garter over the lock, Mal marvelled at his second-in-command, not for the first time. He wasn’t certain he would have the nerve to wear explosives around his leg, however weak they were. Not that he would wear garters at all, of course. Once she was satisfied with the positioning, she took a step back, tearing a loose strand of lace from the material. There was a crack, and a puff of smoke, and the door shifted slightly. Holding his breath, Mal reached out, and tugged the door open. There was a deafening silence, which he broke with a sigh of relief.


    “Nicely done, Zoe. After you.”


    “Always the gentleman, sir.” She poked her head through the doorframe, and then drew back. “Five of them. Playing cards.”


    Mal cursed under his breath, and sneaked a look of his own. There was a bottle of whiskey on the table as well, which was a relief. They probably wouldn’t be fighting at their best, if it came to that.


    “Well, sir? Think we can take them?”


    “Not sure. I know the guy nearest the door’s got a piss-poor hand, but I can’t see the others. Wanna see if they’ll deal us in? Could be considered a mite rude, this late in the game.”


    Zoe rolled her eyes, and tugged the chopsticks loose from her hair. Dark waves fell about her shoulders, which most men would have given their right arm to see. Mal just found it unnerving; he couldn’t remember the last time he had seen Zoe with her hair down, and he was fairly certain it only ever happened when she and Wash were…engaging in their marital duties. He really didn’t want to think about that.


    She snapped the top off one of them, and rolled it down the corridor to the group of guards. It came to a halt right next to one of the table legs, perfectly positioned. Mal held his breath, and was rewarded with a much louder explosion than the garter-bomb had caused, with a flash of blinding light. Zoe charged round the corner, and he followed swiftly at her heels, driving his fist into the nose of a disoriented guard. Zoe had tackled another, and was busy beating him senseless. Mal’s opponent staggered back, stumbling over the table and crashing to the floor in a heap. Mal let out a little cheer, which died away as two more guards, quicker to recover from the disguised flash-bang, prowled towards him. He grinned, shakily.


    “Oh darn.”


    The guard on his right swung and missed; Mal grabbed his fist and pulled him in front of his own body as the other guard brought his gun to bear. He pushed the guard away, sending the other one to the floor, loud laser bursts cascading from the barrel of the rifle. Mal winced. There were sure to be other guards around to hear the shots, but hell, when had their jobs ever been simple. He jumped back into the fray, swinging wildly at the armed guard, who was climbing back to his feet. Instead of shooting, the guard just thrust his rifle upward, ramming the barrel into Mal’s ribs.


    He doubled over, winded, but managed to cling onto the rifle as he fell to his knees, dragging it away from the guard. Swinging it round, he clubbed the man’s knees, hearing the crack of bones from the impact. He slammed the butt of the rifle into the man’s face as he fell, putting him soundly out of the brawl. Behind him, Zoe had disarmed a fourth guard with casual brutality, stabbing her second chopstick flash-bang into his hand before slamming his head into a wall. The final guard, who appeared to have lost his weapon in the initial confusion, backed away from them slowly.


    “Uh, there’s…there’s really no need to, you know, hurt me. Seriously.”


    Zoe looked at her captain questioningly. Mal shrugged. “You sure about that, son? You try and stab us in the back, I’m goin’ to be all manner of annoyed, you follow me?”


    The guard nodded furiously. “Absolutely. I’m just doing a job, dong luh ma?”


    “Don’t want to look like you gave up without a fight though, do you?” Zoe pointed out. “Not if you want to keep doing a job.”


    The guard stared at her, and sighed. “Fine, what do you want to do?”


    Mal grabbed one of the discarded rifles from the floor, and studied it with distaste. “Never really understood these. They just stun, right?”


    “Yes, sir,” the guard said. Mal smiled, and shot him in the chest.


    “Shiny.”


    Throwing the weapon down, Mal looked around the room. There was supposed to be a safe somewhere, but as far as he could see the room was empty. He looked over at Zoe and shrugged.


    “Think maybe we should have asked him before you knocked him out?” Zoe enquired. Mal waved a hand dismissively.


    “Nah. Fanty and Mingo’s info’s been good so far, it’ll be here. We’ve just gotta…”


    “Tear down the walls? Great plan, sir.”


    “Always with the nitpicking,” Mal grumbled. He walked over to the bank of flickering security consoles, tapping at them while listening intently. Behind him, Zoe sighed and mimicked his actions against the steel plates on the wall. “At least there’s no more guards,” Mal called out to her. “They’d have come running by now.”


    “Always grateful for small mercies,” Zoe replied absently. She rapped her knuckles against one of the wall plates, and there was a distinctive echo.


    “Sir?”


    “Sounds good to me.”


    Combining their efforts, they were able to tear the plate from the wall, revealing an imposing safe, positively dripping with expensive looking locks. Mal hurriedly reached into his jacket pocket, pulling out a cigar case. He didn’t smoke, of course; they had been supplied, along with the flash-bang chopsticks and garter-bomb, by Fanty and Mingo’s client. The twins had been closed mouthed about the client’s identity, but it didn’t really matter to Mal, so long as they got paid. There was only one cigar in the case, the end already clipped slightly for ease of use. When Mal tore it off though, the cigar was revealed as a high tech micro key. He teased it gently into one of the locks, and tapped the other end of it. There was a slight whir, just on the edge of hearing, and after a few seconds, the lock clicked open. He breathed a huge sigh of relief. He had been reluctant to trust the technology, but it was working better than he could have hoped. Then he looked at the safe door again.


    “Well, just another ten or so to go…”


    XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxX

    Half an hour later, and Mal and Zoe re-entered the casino on the ground floor. It wasn’t a permanent fixture, merely there to raise funds for Alliance projects. That said, the place was bustling, heaving crowds gathered around the various tables. Soft, brilliant music flowed over the room from a quartet on a raised stand. They seemed an unusual combination for such a high class event, but they were performing well; a dark haired young woman, more a girl really, dancing exquisitely in time to the music, while an older, more exotic looking woman sang next to her. Accompaniment came from two men, one sleek, playing the piano, the other looking as if he would be more at home herding cattle, and playing a guitar. Mal grinned slightly as he watched them.


    “We should leave, sir. No sense sticking around any longer than we have to. We’ve got the drive,” Zoe said, her eyes flickering around the room, eying up the security.


    “We’ve barely been seen down here, Zoe,” Mal pointed out. “If we leave too early, people will get suspicious. Trust me. Besides,” he flicked a coin into his hand. “I want to see how much I can sting out of these fat cats…”


    “Oh good. This’ll go well…”


    “Hey, I’ll split it with you guys!” Mal said defensively.


    “I appreciate the thought, sir, but a ninth of nothing is still nothing,” Zoe retorted.


    “I’ll have you know I’m a great card player.”


    “Really? Oh, sorry, sir. Didn’t realise you were taking on all those chores out of the goodness of your heart. I’m honoured to serve under such a fine captain.”


    Mal muttered extensively and foully under his breath, walking over to a table and tapping the edge meaningfully. The dealer slid a few cards his way, and he sat down to play.


    Another half hour later, and his pockets were feeling a lot lighter than they had done at the start of the evening.


    “These guys are good,” he told Zoe, standing up and leaving the table without a backward glance.


    “Well, they must be, beating a gambler of your calibre,” she said, her expression blank.


    “Let’s just get out of here,” Mal said.


    “Couldn’t agree more, sir.”


    They made their way across the room to the door. Mal reached out to push open the door, his hand on the small of Zoe’s back to usher her through, when someone tapped his shoulder. Instantly tensing up, he looked round. The man standing behind him was possibly the strangest person he had seen in a while. Tall, but rake thin, he had mismatched eyes, green hair, and was wearing a suit that even Mal could tell didn’t quite meet current fashion. He sported an easy grin on his face, and a cigarette between his lips. He looked like a rich kid out for a night’s entertainment.


    “Hey there, captain.”


    Mal’s eyes narrowed, and he reassessed the man. Nobody here should know who he was. “Sorry, but I think you must be a touch confused; I’m no captain.”


    “Sure you are,” the man said. “Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Browncoat. You’re kinda famous in some circles, y’know.”


    Mal ran his hand through his hair, forcing a grin onto his face. “Nope, never heard of him. Can’t think what an Independent would be doin’ in the Core anyhow.”


    “Taking things that don’t belong to him, that’d be my guess.” The man’s face hardened, almost imperceptibly. “More to the point, things that have a high bounty on. That’s a lot of cash you’re walking away with there, friend.”


    Mal’s heart sank. Just when it had seemed to be going so smoothly, as well. “Bounty huh? Guess that makes you a cowboy.”


    The man nodded modestly. “Name’s Spike. And I’ll be wanting that hard drive you’ve got there.”


    Mal could feel Zoe preparing to attack beside him, and he squeezed her arm. He was confident that between the two of them, they could take this ‘Spike’, but it would attract far more attention than they wanted. “No need for trouble – why don’t we talk about this over a drink?”


    “Sorry, Captain Reynolds, I’m just not that thirsty.” Spike shrugged. “This isn’t anything personal, you understand. Man’s gotta eat.”


    Mal snorted with wry amusement. “I know that feeling. Hence the theft, you know. Gotta keep flying.”


    “You going to make me take it from you? It won’t be hard,” Spike said, his voice full of calm confidence. Mal scowled.


    “You so sure about that? There’s two of us…”


    “Yeah.” Spike took a last drag of his cigarette, and flicked it away. Then, before Mal even had time to think, he punched him twice in the stomach, before delivering a side kick that knocked Mal from his feet. The air rushed out of him, and he lay on his back, wheezing. Raising his head, he watched as Spike blocked Zoe’s retaliatory strikes before sweeping his leg across her feet. She fell to the floor, and he pinned her, smiling. “Told you, Captain.”


    Mal grunted, and took a comlink from his pocket. “Jayne, we’ve had a bit of a complication. I think it might be time to blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together?”


    On the other side of the room, the guitarist stood up, ripping the front of his guitar off. Concealed inside was a high-powered assault rifle, that only a very few people knew was called ‘Vera’. Jayne raised the rifle to his shoulder as the guests scattered, screaming.


    “Let’s jam…”


    Bullets spat from the barrel as he squeezed the trigger, and Spike dived behind a Blackjack table, kicking it over and crouching. He drew a pistol from inside his suit, and returned fire. Jayne ducked behind the grand piano, kicking the pianist – otherwise known as Simon Tam – away. The other two band members, River and Inara, followed the doctor’s lead, scuttling after him towards the doors. Mal hauled himself to his feet, and ripped a roulette wheel from an abandoned table. He tossed it like a Frisbee, and it hit Spike’s arm, throwing his aim off. The cowboy rolled away, coming up into a crouch with his gun now aimed at Mal. Jayne took the opportunity to make a move forward, sprinting for nearer cover. Spike pulled the trigger, and Mal dived away. The bullet clipped his arm, and he yelled out in pain.


    “Jayne! Would you just shoot this hanyupinyin already?”


    “Hey, you’re the one who had to have a complicated plan!” Jayne called back, firing another volley at the bounty hunter. “Told ya we should have just blown a hole in the roof!”


    “Everyone’s a critic,” Mal muttered, examining his wound. He winced as he prodded it; he’d need to spend some time in Simon’s care, that was for sure. Speaking of the doctor… “Doc! Might want to haul yourself outta here! Alliance are goin’ to be poking their noses in any moment. Get to the shuttle, we’ll meet you back at the ship.”


    Simon shot him an anguished look, which Mal understood completely. The doctor was an honourable man, but he would do anything to protect his sister. Even sacrifice his principles. Slowly, Simon nodded, and he stood up, dragging River to her feet.


    Which was when Spike took another shot at Jayne. The bullet tore through Simon’s shoulder, and he went white with shock. As he sank to the floor, blood beginning to seep from the wound, River began to scream. Inara tore the sleeve from her dress, turning it into a makeshift bandage. Jayne, cursing foully, grabbed the doctor’s leg in one hand and began dragging him out of the hall. Spike grimaced – whether he regretted shooting a potentially valuable bounty or whether he regretted shooting an unarmed man, Mal could not say – and leapt over the roulette table, preparing to charge Jayne.


    He might have been successful had Zoe not clobbered him with an expensive vase. He dropped his gun, and she drove her knee into his stomach. For a moment, the battle seemed over – Zoe was a formidable fighter, and while this Spike was clearly a tough customer, it seemed impossible for him to fight his way out of this corner.


    He had counted without Zoe’s slinky dress though (he cursed Wash in every way he knew how). It hampered her movement, reduced her options…and, it turned out, Spike was abnormally good. He twisted out of range of Zoe’s fists quicker than Mal had thought possible, grabbing her wrist and flipping her over his back. Mal ran at him, landing a punch or two, but the bounty hunter was just too good. Maybe if Mal had his gun with him…ducking Spike’s next blow, he kicked the abandoned pistol into the air, and grabbed it. He snarled triumphantly, and squeezed the trigger.


    It was empty.


    “Gorram it!” Mal yelled, cursing the sheer unfairness of it all. He threw the gun at Spike, but the bounty hunter dodged it easily and closed in for, figuratively speaking, the kill. They traded blows for a few tense seconds, but Mal already knew he was outclassed. Spike finished the fight with a hard punch to one of the few nerve clusters that hadn’t been shredded during the war, and Mal found himself sagging to the floor. Spike came to stand over him, dusting his hands off.


    “Sorry ‘bout your friend.”


    “You really will be,” Mal spat back, brimming with defiance behind the pain. Spike shook his head in amusement.


    “Gotta say, Captain, I really admire you. Not many bounties would be quite so chipper, y’know?”


    Out of the corner of his eye, Mal could see Zoe slowly inching her way across the floor towards them. He focused on Spike, trying not to give her away. “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, cowboy.”


    “Neither have you. I hear Mister Niska’s got a real itch he wants to scratch with ya.”


    Mal’s blood ran cold. Niska. Hadn’t that son of a bitch learnt yet? Well, if it was Niska behind all this, hell if he was going down without a real fight. He pushed himself off the floor as hard as he could, fists swinging. The cowboy dodged easily, practically laughing at him, but he ducked back right into Zoe’s fist and he staggered away. The three of them squared off against each other, the cowboy still looking rather more confident than either of them. And then a bullet buried itself in the casino floor, right between Spike’s legs.


    Jayne had returned, standing on the bandstand with Vera pressed to his shoulder. He was squinting through the sight, the barrel raised for a perfect shot right between Spike’s mass of green hair.


    “You want I should shoot him now, Mal?” the big man asked.


    “Not yet,” Mal said with a shake of his head. “I wanna ask him a few questions first. He’s working for Niska.”


    Goshi,” Jayne muttered, adjusting his grip on the rifle slightly. “Oughta just blast outta here right now, sir.”


    “Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Jayne,” Zoe said quietly, not taking her eyes from Spike. “Doc’s hurt, Alliance have got to be on their way…we should cut and run while we can.”


    “Not disagreeing, Zoe, but we’re takin’ this one with us,” Mal ordered. She nodded sharply, the discussion over, and moved to bind the cowboy’s hands.


    Then the ceiling collapsed. Mal grabbed Zoe, throwing her out of the way of the falling debris and landing on top of her.


    “What in the blue hell is goin’ on now?”


    There came the whining of a finely tuned engine, and a gunship dropped through the hole where the ceiling had been. The canopy was clear, showing an impractically dressed young woman at the controls.


    “Sorry, cowboy – looks like this is my bounty.” Her voice came out distorted through the ship’s speakers, but it was still clear that she knew Spike. For his part, he barely looked at her, simply rolling his eyes.


    “Buzz off, Faye. If you’re good, I might give you a share once I’ve cashed ‘em in.”


    “Always nice to be popular,” Zoe muttered from beneath Mal. He rolled off her.
     
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