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Harry Potter and the Dangerous Manuscript (one-shot) - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Harry Potter and the Dangerous Manuscript (one-shot)




‘Yes, love?’  Ginny was standing rather uncertainly in the doorway of his study.  Which was odd, as Ginny hadn’t been uncertain, least of all ’round him, in fifteen years of marriage.  It had not been on a whim or as a favour to Harry that Kingsley, of all paragons of rectitude, had placed her on the Victory Honours List; and the more Harry had learnt over the years, in bits and pieces, of what she had done at Hogwarts in the Resistance whilst he had been hunting Horcruces, the more had he pitied and the louder had he laughed at those diehards who insisted that ‘the Weasley chit’ was unworthy of, and unequally mated with, their Hero.  Nor had her well-earned, mature fame in her own right, on the pitch and after, as the doyenne of Quidditch reporting, tended to make her doubtful of herself or of him.


‘Yes?’  He repeated himself, surprised to be thus forced to coax and encourage.


She came into the study and sat down with rather more haste than he was wont to see in her.  ‘Darling,’ said she, in a tone as brittle as it was meant to be airy, ‘don’t be cross, but I think I may have done something rather silly.’


He smiled, and set down his quill, leaning back in his chair behind his intolerably cluttered desk.  ‘Anything to do with your surreptitious meetings, strange absences, and all that?’


She paused.  ‘You’re not the man to use your position to keep an eye on a wife.  I suppose my brother has been snooping?’


‘Which one?  I’d not put it past George, Ron, or Percy, in particular, to hover and keep an eye on you.  But none of ’em – not even Perce – is rash enough to suggest anything to me, or let slip any such undertaking.’


‘No, I rather suppose not.  You simply can’t help noticing, I suppose.’


‘Engrained habit.  Kept us both alive rather often, I may add.  Now.  What’s all this in aid of, hmm?’


‘It’s not an – affair – if that’s what you’re thinking.’


Harry laughed aloud.  ‘Love, I’d never think that.  I can’t see that I’m a catch worthy of you, but you’d never stray.  Oh, perhaps in some sudden moment of temper you might be tempted, but a course of lengthy adultery?  It’s not on.  You’ve too much self-respect, let alone morals; you’d think it beneath you.  No, you’re up to something, I grant you that, but something dishonourable?  Balls.  Now: again, what is it, and how can I help?’


‘I’ve been writing.’


‘I should hope so.  That’s what you’re supposed to be doing.  Or have you had a fit of madness and written a tell-all about us, hmm?  I don’t mind, but James, Al, and Lily will be furious –’


‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous,’ snapped Ginny, jolted from her tentative approach.  ‘Although it’s almost as bad, I suppose.  I was writing … well, it was never supposed to leave my folder of exercises and experimentations.  A … novel.’


‘Yes?  I’m sure it’s a cracking good read.’


‘That’s as may be.  The problem is, I was rather inspired by those Muggle telly programmes and so on.’


This time, Harry really did throw his head back and crow with laughter.  ‘Oh, God.  You’ve been discovered as a secret writer of fan-fiction, and some unsuspecting Muggle solicitor has sent you a starchy letter!’


As he had calculated, this was enough to shatter her defensive air.  ‘Don’t be a fool, Harry.  What I wrote was a remarkably steamy novel about professional Quidditch players, their husbands, wives, lovers, and the husbands’ and wives’ lovers.  Trash, and a pastiche with it, but a worthwhile technical exercise.  Unfortunately, someone found it in my bottom drawer – a warded bottom drawer – and sent it off to my publisher.’


‘They can hardly force you to publish it, unless this same someone forged your name to a contract, I should imagine.  You might ask Hermione for a learned opinion.’


‘The point is,’ said she, through clenched teeth, ‘that it is known to exist.  It can be leaked, they’ve had the manuscript long enough to have read it, even if they have returned it after my loud insistence.  If it’s not published, that garners it still more attention.  And it will be thought that it was withdrawn because it was too near the knuckle.  It will be taken as having been a roman à clef that hit too close to home.  And you see what that means, not least to you.’


‘Oddly enough, my dear, my faculties are yet sufficiently acute that I see all of that, even had you not set it out for me.  The children are still too young to face any teasing over it.  I’ve not given a damn about my reputation in two decades.  Your family are too well-respected for it to matter.  Our friends – well, there may be some hurt feelings, but we can explain the situation.  Although if there’s a character at all like Oliver in it, he’ll want considerable soothing if the portrayal’s unflattering.  Tell them to publish and be –’


‘Harry!  Stop being reasonable and infuriating!  You don’t understand just how bad this is.  When I say it was steamy and trashy, I mean it.’


‘You have a character whom people will take as meant for me doing unspeakable things, do you?  You do, I can see it in your face!  Anything exciting we might try at home?  A sexy beast, is he?’


‘With his wife, and with a posh, pointy blond bloke, bisexually, and also in various ménages à trois … or more.’


Harry broke down, sniggering.  ‘He’ll have a fit.  I’m flattered, and intrigued by your reticence to now, do you have any other ideas for us to –’


‘You.  Are.  Impossible.


Harry pulled himself together.  ‘I think I’d best fire-call him.  It’s not worth mucking up Al’s friendship with Scorpius – why the devil we allowed them to attend the same prepper I’ve no idea, I said so at the time, but there’re years yet before they’re off to school and get sorted – still, for Al’s sake….  No, my dear, I shan’t be a moment, just you wait right there.


‘Malfoy?  Look, could you and Stella stop by for tea?  It’s short notice, I know, but rather urgent.  No, Albus does not have some loathsome disease he’s passed on to your precious son and heir, just you stop by and eat us out of Gentlewizard’s Relish and lap up our Oolong.  Right.


‘And now,’ said Harry, turning to his displeased wife with a chuckle, ‘we wait, and unmask the culprit over tea.  No – not a word, love.  You’ll see.’


Draco and Asteria (née Greengrass, and like her elder sister dowered immutably with a school nickname, hers of ‘Stella’ being at least an improvement upon ‘Queenie’) joined the Potters for tea, Draco with very bad grace.


Stella, to her everlasting credit, found the story quite as funny as Harry did, although she was carefully sympathetic to Ginny’s concerns.  Draco was simply furious with prospective embarrassment.


‘Damn it,’ said he.  ‘I should be fire-calling my solicitors at this instant!  We must enjoin them, we must Obliviate them, we must put everyone at Dust & Mildew under Unbreakable Vows!  And most of all, we must find the culprit!  Could one of the children – meaning no harm, not realising what the book was about and “helping Mummy” – or Teddy, perhaps, have – ?’ 


‘No,’ said Harry.  ‘I think not.  They’re all of them far too young to realise, yes, but they’re also thus far too young to manage to send the thing to the publisher.  I think the culprit is elsewhere, equally well-meaning and equally ignorant of the potential consequences.  But let me have this cleared, and clear the mystery up at the same time.  Kreacher!’


When the ancient elf appeared, he saw that upon Draco’s face, and Ginny’s, that tempted him, for the first time since the death of Sirius, to flee.  But Master Harry’s face was kindly, if rather ominously amused.


‘Asteria,’ said Harry, formally and pleasantly, ‘would you excuse us for a moment?  Narcissa’s son; Cedrella’s granddaughter – and Lucretia’s, to be sure – and Sirius’s heir and cousin, as it happens’ – Harry smiled – ‘want to explain a few things to the ever-loyal servant of the House of Black; and doubtless Draco has evolved a Slytherin stratagem to set this to rights, and if he hasn’t, I have.  Thank you.  Now, Kreacher….’


Several months later, a still-subdued Kreacher, who had meant only to help, queued up with the family’s vault key to purchase the bestselling, if racy, new novel, Writhing Orchids.  The attractive Witch who was being celebrated for this, her first book, smiled down at him.  ‘Here, Kreacher, dear.  Let me sign the copy for dear Harry and Ginny.’


Kreacher suppressed a wince.  ‘Kreacher must obey orders.  Kreacher must be thanking you, on behalf of the Family … Miss Daphne Greengrass.’



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10 comments or Leave a comment
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 18th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Writhing Orchids? I dread to think. Though at least it's more creative than Quidditch Players' Spouses


Well said!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 19th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thankee, lass.

I'll reveal an alternate ending anon.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: October 18th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Writhing Orchids

I'll be looking for it on the bookshelf right next to The Tales of Beedle the Bard...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 19th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

You'll have rather a wait.

I thank you nonetheless.
themolesmother From: themolesmother Date: October 19th, 2008 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)

So - is Ginny set for a career as the underground Jilly Cooper of the wizarding world?

wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 19th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, dear.

I really mustn't start another hare. This one stays a one-off.

Edited at 2008-10-19 02:21 pm (UTC)
wren_chan From: wren_chan Date: October 19th, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
*dies of the laughing* Oh help! Oh Gin! Oh my stars and little fishes... (It's such fun to mix exclamations). This is much more fun than my never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Linguistics project.

It's always so lovely to see all my favourites done properly. I've been reading too many fanauthors who think that the only way to polish up their favourites is to bash up the competition, be it by lying, bribery, or adultery--alas for that some of them actually write quite well.

(I have a recurring fantasy whenever I read a Manipulative!Dumbledore (Did I thank you for the scene in Gates in which it gets pointed out very clearly that war leaders must do with Need To Know?)with the optional Bribed and Lying!Weasleys attachment... y'see, those tend to have Our Gin painted as a frumious wench who uses blood to dye her hair who'll get her talons into Our Harry by any means necessary, up to and including love potions.

The fantasy is very simple:
When a lying bastard in fake beard and twinkly robes presses a potion upon Gin with which to dose and vamp Harry, she smiles politely, accepts it, waits for him to turn around...

dumps it over his head...

..and sets him on fire.

It's most diverting.)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, my dear.

Diverting indeed.
blamebrampton From: blamebrampton Date: October 20th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
HA! Delicious! I love Draco's reaction (though I considered that he protested too much *squints meaningly in his direction*)

Ginny as Jilly was all too believable, and what fun for her! I loved your portrayal of their relationship and the meta touches provoked many giggles.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, yes.

On all counts.

Thanks, love.
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