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Voting: Round 4, Challenge 5

Sorry for the reminder being late -- I was flying home, so I had my fellow mod post it for me.

The following participants have been eliminated for not turning in their drabbles on time:

immovinout
savepureness

Please note that if you did not turn a drabble, you've been disqualified and will be banned from participating in round 5.

The rules for voting are as follows:

1. The drabbles are rated up to PG-13 and contain language and hints of slash. If any of that offends you, proceed no further.
2. Read with an open mind, and vote fairly. Please try to remember that the length and pairing of a drabble should not affect your judgment of its quality.
3. Contestants are not allowed to vote for themselves. If you vote for yourself, your vote will not be counted.
4. You're free to post about this competition on your personal journal, but do not tell your friends which drabble you wrote. It's unfair to your own writing abilities and to the other participants.
5. Voting will remain open until Sunday at noon EST.



Drabble 1

Title: Love Apart
Author: eerisedda
Rating: R
Warnings: language, hints of slashy infidelity and other infidelity, use of lyrics as narrative (tweaked a bit to fit.)
Word Count: 496

The parchment sat, tearstained but otherwise untouched.

It had been a hard couple months, but Ginny hadn’t actually believed it would end like this.

She hadn’t even expected him to find out, or maybe she’d just hoped. The fact that he was just as guilty as her, had been looking for the same thing in someone else hurt her.

All those years, ever since she was a little girl, she’d set him apart from everyone else, done all she could to get him to see her. She’d found him, but even when she’d thought he’d seen her, he’d still been looking for something else.

When he’d found her out, she’d felt guilt eat at her at the sight of Harry’s wide green eyes, but when he’d laughed, actually laughed at her and her lover in their bed, she’d felt so lost.

She had expected the typical reaction of any husband finding their wife in bed with another man. It had been logical for her to expect it. She’d thought of it as a science, like potions or something. She’d only been guessing, like in school when she’d guess at numbers and figures, trying to solve a puzzle and getting a different picture, the wrong picture.

The picture had been very different from what she’d thought. Vastly different. He’d revealed his affair with, not another woman, but another man, and then she’d done the stupidest thing she could have done: she’d fought with him. She’d screamed and shouted and the children had been sent to their Aunt and Uncle’s home.

The next day he’d sent the divorce papers. They’d sat there for ages it felt like, mocking her with their perfect parchment and the beautiful, curly writing that detailed their divorce and the demands of her soon to be ex-husband.

To add insult to injury, Harry’d gotten not only the best lawyer, but his lover to handle the divorce.

Ginny didn’t want to sign the papers. She wanted to talk things through, try and forget about their affairs, especially her husband’s. As far as she was concerned, he’d done her more wrong than she’d done him.

She just wanted to go back to the start, to the very beginning, because it was such a shame for them to part; images of him from their past haunted her; she wanted him to come back, tell her that he still loved her, but that was all just a fantasy. Truly, she’d always lived in a fantasy when it came to Harry Potter.

She walked to the table where the parchment sat, waiting to be signed. There was the end of her marriage, written in perfect letters by his hand, staring at her, waiting for her to sign, or fight it. The quill was in her hand before she knew it and she signed her name, right below the name of her now ex-husband and his lover.

In reality, they’d always loved apart, even when they’d loved each other together.


Drabble 2

Title: Back to One
Author: sellthelie
Rating: G
Warnings: -
Word Count: 433

I hover outside the door for a few minutes, trying to figure out what I'm going to say to her. To make her stay, I'll beg if I have to. Things haven't been perfect, and that isn't her fault, I think it's both of us. At the start we tried so hard, then I don't know what happened, but I know that it all fell apart.

She's going to leave, I'm sure of it. In my head I can hear the perfect argument to make her stay, to promise to be better, that it will be better. The tree down the park is very impressed, but now that I'm home, and have to deliver I'm blank.

I open the door and slip into our little flat, as I approach the living area I see Hermione stand up. She's fidgeting, her fingers pulling on the ends of her curls, she only ever does that when she's anxious.

I drop my keys on the bench, and start towards her, almost tripping over the bag on the floor. It's her bag, and it's full, the last time I saw it was when we went away for that week all those months ago.

"Hermione?"

"It's just for a little while, not permanent," she said quickly, her fingers pulling faster on her hair. "I love you, I do, I really do. You don't have to be blind though to see that this isn't working all that well at the moment."

"But, you can't go."

"Why?"

I stand in front of her, taking her hands in mine, her eyes look so deeply into my own, but I can't find the words. "Just don't."

"That's not a reason, we need some time apart. We need to get back to where we were, to the beginning when it was perfect. We lost that." Her hand comes up, and touches the side of my cheek, before she walks by me, picking her bag off the floor. "I wish someone had told us that this wasn't going to be easy."

"They sure as hell didn't say it would be so hard."

"Ron..."

"Right, language."

Hermione turns back to me, "Just because I'm leaving doesn't mean we can't see each other, maybe, dinner?"

"Like a date?"

"Exactly," she beams at me. "We never did that, we moved so fast, barely took the time to catch our breath."

I feel the smile come over my face slowly, "I like the sound of that."


Drabble 3

Title: You Could Be Happy
Author: lady_game
Rating: G
Warnings: No lyrics, just the spirit of it. Book 7 spoilers
Word Count: 269

The red ponytail flashes through the portrait hole and the Fat Lady shuts with a firm loud thud. Its inhabitant looks down at the sullen, angry, greasy haired boy and speaks to him sternly – “Now young man, get back to your own common room.” – but he doesn’t. He leans against the opposite wall of the corridor and melts into a puddle on the floor.

There’s nothing more he can do. He did the unthinkable and came up to the Gryffindor common room, to enemy territory, to talk to her, but she would hardly condescend to be spoken to. He told her he was sorry but she wouldn’t accept it. He wants so desperately to tell her the other things he’s always felt, that she’s always been too blind to see, but what chance does he have of that now?

It’s always been like this, though. Missteps and misunderstandings, offences unintended. He thinks back to the first time he spoke to her and cringes. It had all gone so horribly wrong, and he would give anything to go back to that point and change it, but they had worked through it. They can do it again.

Slowly, the Severus-shaped puddle reforms itself into something resembling a man. A leg solidifies just enough to support his weight and stand, an arm gains enough substance to haul himself up off the floor. He knows what to do, he’ll just start again. It will be hard and painful but she’s worth it, she always has and she always will be. They will work it out and then, just maybe, life will be good.


Drabble 4

Title: Reverse
Author: mossy_jade
Rating: PG
Warnings: Lyrics from The Scientist borrowed in this fic.
Word Count: 425

Remus Lupin had been alone most of his life. A lot of the time, it didn’t really bother him. He accepted it as a part of his life. But sometimes, like now, he couldn’t help but feel bitter about it. And he couldn’t help but reminisce about the few moments where he hadn’t been alone.

Come back and haunt me

There were three times that Remus had kissed Lily Evans. He always remembered them in reverse.

Come back and haunt me

James was dead, Sirius was chasing after Peter, and Lily was lying on the floor at his feet, dead. Remus sank to his knees, pulling her head onto his lap and stroking the hair back from her face so gently it was almost painful. Her death had left her unmarked, and Remus was grateful for that. It gave him some sense that Lily was still preserved, that her beauty would live on. Drying his own tears, he bent down and fluttered the lightest of kisses across her lips, afraid to make the farewell any deeper, scared of disturbing sleeping memories.

Come back and haunt me

Tomorrow they would go into hiding. A sealed envelope that would break open in the event of the Potters’ deaths, a few desperate, clutching hugs, and they would be gone. Possibly forever. James, unable to deal with such delicate things as emotions, had already left the room with Harry. Only Lily remained, hanging back for one uncertain moment, before rushing forward. Before Remus knew what was happening, she kissed him fiercely, desperately, lingeringly.

‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered, burying her face into his shoulder. ‘Goodbye, Remy. I love you.’

And then she was gone.

Come back and haunt me

On Hogsmeade weekends, Remus almost felt normal. Outside of school he could blend into the crowd a little better, be less afraid of drawing attention to himself, be a little more daring. This time, he had danced with Lily at the Three Broomsticks, James laughingly cheering him on from a corner. At the end of the song, Lily leaned forward and gave him his first kiss, brief but so achingly sweet. She smiled impishly at him, patting him on the cheek, and then pulled him into another dance.

Come back and haunt me

When he could not help but remember, Remus always remembered in reverse. For a few brief moments after the memories faded, he could almost believe that that was the true order; that she had been dead, but was alive once more.

Oh, take me back to the start


Drabble 5

Title: Fantasy Fallen
Author: my_quorum
Rating: G
Warnings: none
Word Count: 487

come up to meet you
tell you I'm sorry


She’d Apparated here before even catching her breath, her chest heaving as her feet flew up the cobblestone path, a flustered peacock bursting into perfect ivory bloom.

you don’t know how lovely you are

His hungry silver gaze caused her nerves to bristle. She’d known he was leaving before she’d come, but it was all too palpable here, every beat of her own heart thundering in her ears, reminding her of the inevitable, excruciating passage of time.

I had to find you
tell you I need you
tell you I set you apart


“God, Draco, I -”

Words fill her mind but the ability to speak them falls away. He’s tearing her apart the way they’d always said he would. Don’t leave – take me with you – I need you.

... I love you.

tell me your secrets
and ask me your questions


It was in his eyes. He knew and maybe he just wasn’t capable of caring, maybe her boy of silver and ivory and marble was just as cold as the marble, the ivory, the silver. Words spilled from her lips as she watched his mercurial eyes watch her wine red mouth, distance etched into the sculpted lines of his face. Her chin rose as his rejection took hold.

“You can’t possibly be leaving.”

“Nobody said it was easy,” he murmured, killing her softly with each syllable.

it’s such a shame for us to part

“Nobody ever said it would be this hard,” she whispered.

tell me you love me
come back and haunt me


She saw something move behind his impenetrable gaze, and it wasn’t for her.

“You’re not giving him up.” The words were torn from her mouth, and as soon as they tumbled off of her tongue she knew she didn’t want to see the answer in his eyes.

“It’s a shame, Pansy. We made an attractive pair.”

She looked up; he was leaving, wand in hand, a sort of shallow disappointment darkening his brow.

And as he disappeared before her eyes, charcoal robes swirling about his aristocratic figure, her future dissolved into nothing with him. She’d never foreseen this scenario. She hadn’t known it would end like this. She hadn’t known she was right all along, and she didn’t know how to picture the rest of her life without this once permanent fixture.

She sat on the very edge of his bed, remembered a tangle of legs and arms and mouths and sank back into the mountains of satin pillows, silk sheets, too spent to grieve her loss.

It had just been an impulse. She’d known he’d been on a first name basis with the green-eyed monster of her past for months.

I was just guessing
at numbers and figures
pulling the puzzles apart


But somehow she hadn’t guessed until now that Harry Potter had taken her place in Draco Malfoy’s future.


Drabble 6

Title: Back to the Start
Author: that_september
Rating: PG
Warnings:I used both a bit of the meaning behind the song and the lyric "back to the start".
Word Count: 499

The woods were just as he’d remembered them—sprawling, full of towering trees, sparsely beautiful. This wasn’t a thick, dark forest, like the forbidden one at school.

Severus stuffed his hands into the pockets of his trousers, and stared gloomily around. If he hadn’t managed to botch everything up a few months back, Lily would already be here with him, lounging under their favorite tree, waving her summer homework around in his face, complaining about Petunia…

As it was, she wouldn’t even look at him. The train ride home in July had been absolutely miserable—Severus had sat alone, staring gloomily out the window. Usually, he’d have been holed up with Lily, sharing sweets, laughing, maybe debating the best potions ingredients.

Lily had made it perfectly clear to him: it was over. Seven years of friendship…gone.

Now, here he was, and Merlin, it was so bloody hard to think that this was the place his friendship with Lil really began—that this was where she’d chosen to talk to him after that first meeting, that this was where they’d shared hours of their childhood. That he’d almost kissed her here during Christmas...and that maybe, she might have kissed him back.

The worst part of it all was that Severus supposed he’d known all along it would have to end like this. From the beginning, they had been polar opposites, he and Lily; she was radiant, beautiful, bold…and he was all dark, dingy and skulking, squinting in disbelief at her brightness. It came down to their differences—perhaps it was true, what everyone said…perhaps Slytherins and Gryffindors really couldn’t mix. And still, he’d hoped…

I’m shaking, Severus realized, staring down at his trembling hands. He sunk to the ground slowly, resting his back against the broad trunk of a tree, letting his face fall to his hands.

She wasn’t going to come—he’d known that all along, too. Since they’d first gone to Hogwarts, they’d met here the evening before school started at exactly 7 pm. Even though Lily hated him now, he’d thought maybe…

Quite suddenly, there was a sharp crack from behind him. Severus scrambled to his feet, spinning around just in time to see Lily’s wide green eyes staring at him, disbelief written across her pretty face.

”I didn’t think you’d come,” Severus managed hoarsely.

“Me either,” Lily said, voice breaking a bit. “I suppose it’s habit now.”

“Lil—”

“I don’t want to hear it, Sev.” She took a step away. “Just…don’t.”

“Can’t we go back to the start?” Severus asked before he could stop himself. “Please, Lily. You don’t know how sorry I am—I’d do anything if you’d just…” He trailed off as Lily met his gaze almost painfully, eyes bright with unshed tears.

“There’s no going back, Sev,” she whispered. “Not from this one.”

He watched her go silently, hands still shaking, a sour taste filling his mouth, as what was left of his sad, hardened heart, broke just the tiniest bit more.


Drabble 7

Title: In Circles
Author: anothersaturday
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: A bit of language. This is based on the last verse of the song ("Running in circles/Chasing our tails/Coming back as we are") rather than the overall meaning.
Word Count: 422

(Running in circles)
There is the madness of being confined, and a raw place in his chest where he knows he is abandoned. They’re meant to be here. He doesn’t know why they don’t come. It is nothing to do with precedent, or the things they’ve promised: it is an animal’s instinctual sense of rightness, or else wrong.

The other wrong thing is the scent, sweat and nervous stomach, unfamiliar; the hot staccato of blood beneath papery skin. It’s coming closer. The wolf lets a long sound pour from his throat. He braces his claws against the splintery floorboards, and waits. In his mouth, hunger and rage make a jagged knot.

(Chasing our tails)
”Only I’m sorry,” Sirius says. There is a desperate edge to his voice, but also a bit of impatience: as though if only Remus would understand this point, the matter would be sorted.

"I said that doesn't matter, though," Remus hisses. When he shifts in his narrow hospital-wing bed he feels a jolt of pain, and winces against his own unsettled flesh. "You told, you told Snape, of all fucking people--"

"I'm sorry."

Remus closes his eyes. They've been saying the same things for hours, just finding new ways to phrase them. They are only going round and round, and failing to take hold of whatever it is they're after. There is the madness of being confined. There is the raw place where he is abandoned.

(Coming back as we are)
He will be forgiven, he tells himself. On the long walk back from the hospital wing, Sirius repeats the words like a mantra, till they are only sounds. Moony will forgive him. He's always done, before. Sirius thinks of that old Muggle story, the bloke whose liver gets eaten every day by birds. He thinks of reincarnation, and feels as though they're living the same thing again and again, a million lives in one because they never learn. They can only be who they are: Sirius mucking things up, and Remus forgiving him.

There was the night when it started: I won't tell, though, swear, he'd said. Gen up. He remembers his little-boy glee at having worked out the secret, the thickness of fright in Remus's eyes. This was at least a hundred lifetimes ago, and he'd still believed, then, he might change for the better.

He will be forgiven. It will be alright. This is no pattern that they can escape.


Drabble 8

Title: The Bitterest Herb
Author: ifanciful
Rating: PG
Warnings: One swear word. Lyricus dialogueus! Or lyrics used in dialogue.
Word Count: 499

“It’s too late,” Remus pushed through a grimace. His pale eyes were clouded, the lids beneath holding the burden of blackened, half-moon bruises. “I’ve taken something. I can’t Apparate back.”

Sirius’d found him wrapped into the corner of an overturned semi-trailer that’d been detached from a lorry and thrown outside the Death Eater’s camp, only ten minutes before the Prewetts were scheduled to begin a big stir.

It was a lucky guess.

Remus looked as if he’d been handled the same way as the semi, though if the Death Eaters had gotten him, he wouldn’t have looked so alive. Which wasn’t saying much.

Sirius muttered something unbecoming of a Black heir. But then, civility was unbecoming of a Black heir, so perhaps not. “Tell me it wasn’t Belby’s half-formed idea involving that monkshood concoction, Moony. You know how he is.”

Remus trembled where he sat across from him. “I had to,” he shuddered. “They have Greyback, Padfoot, and it’s our first battle with the Order. It’s important. How did you even find me?”

Remus looked so far away that for a moment, Sirius wasn’t sure he’d found him at all. “I was just guessing,” Sirius breathed. “Think of it as pulling puzzles apart.”

“You mean putting puzzles together?”

Sirius leaned his forehead against Remus’ and shook his head. “Apart.” It was the one word that was right. He was staring into storm clouds. “Look, as soon as it’s over, we’ll bug off. You and me, Moony. Romping in meadows -” Remus trembled; Sirius grabbed his face. “Chasing our tails,” he breathed, keeping him steady.

Remus let out a painful-sounding laugh. “Padfoot. There are always uncertainties with these things –“

Sirius looked at him as if to say, No shit, but he could tell Remus was hurting for this. For them. “Uncertainties? You mean questions of science?” he said grandly. “Science and progress?”

Remus snorted, grimacing afterwards. “You know only Muggles call it science, Sirius.”

There was a crash and a tangle of shouts before the sky went ablaze.

“All the better,” Sirius grinned savagely. They waited. Lights whirled by, a new battle birthed into blazing tides beyond the metal walls, and Sirius itched with exhilaration. Somewhere he heard the unmistakable cackle of Bella. “Tell the moon to hurry, Remus.”

Remus’ hands coiled around Sirius’ wrists, peeling his hands from his face like something rain-soaked. “I won’t have to,” he grimaced before he slumped over, his fingertips twining into the ground. “Change,” he said, all broken edges. “Now.

The arc of Remus’ back caught a flood of moonlight, and Sirius curled and stretched into his paws.

Two tawny eyes blinked back at Sirius inquisitively, and he would have thought Belby’s potion worked if not for the feral vacancy there. Light sloughed off nearby curses bounced off the wolf’s coat as he leapt away, and Sirius bounded after him, feeling exhilarated. He would change back soon, but now he sprung toward the tumbling, crashing riot, yelping and barking the entire way.


Drabble 9

Title: one's not half two. It's two are halves of one
Author: i_claudia
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: References to (canon) character death; contemplation of suicide. The overall mood and theme of The Scientist definitely influenced this drabble, but I decided to use just a few of the lyrics to really inspire it – they’re written below (but not part of my word count).
Word Count: 487

(The title is from an E.E. Cummings poem of the same name.)

Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start

I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science
Science and progress
Did not speak as loud as my heart


After the Battle of Hogwarts, he locked himself in their flat, lying inert on the sagging mustard yellow settee they’d found on the side of the road one bright day just after they’d left school. All the days had been bright then – the sun had smiled at their exploits. So young, so successful; the world had been their oyster, and they had known it.

George didn’t feel young anymore. He was an empty husk that the war had sucked the soul out of more effectively than a Dementor; only one half of an entire whole.

His brothers came by now and then with bits of news or food from Mum. Someone – he thought it might have been Ron – had taken over the shop, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. Inventions, pranks, Wheezes… they were nothing more than ashes of those brighter days. He said nothing, ate nothing, refused to move, and ignored them all until they left. When Mum came and dissolved into tears, he turned away and burrowed further into the scratchy wool of the settee cushions.

He didn’t go to the funeral, though he had to fight off his entire family when they tried to manhandle him out the door. Sitting on the cold floorboards after dodging Ginny’s parting Bat Bogey Hex, he stared at the ceiling and counted the cracks in the plaster, trying not to think. Memories slipped unbidden into his mind: Fred turning Ron’s stuffed bear into a spider, Fred finding a way to make all of their ideas for Wheezes actually work, Fred’s face indelibly etched into his mind in that last, frozen, horrible laugh.

He squeezed his eyes shut, but the visions kept flooding in. Fred woke him up in the middle of the night to tell him about the idea for a Hogwarts swamp. Fred carried him out of the shop when an experiment backfired and melted all the bones in his legs. Stop, George thought fiercely, pressing his palm against his forehead. He needed to make it stop. His siblings had only lost a brother – how was he supposed to go on when half of himself had been ripped away?

He grabbed his wand, feeling determination for the first time in months. It was so simple. A few words and it would all be over. Mum might take it hard, he thought, but they’d learn to get along. They’d coped with so much already; one more death wasn’t that much to ask.

His fingers trembling, he raised the wand, placing it against his temple. He took a breath to steady himself and –

The wand gave an almighty squawk and turned into a rubber chicken. George looked at it, momentarily stunned, before finally giving into helpless peals of choking laughter.

“Okay, brother,” he whispered, the ache in his chest not gone, but no longer unbearable. “You win.”

He got up, unused muscles protesting, and searched for his coat.




Poll #1189201 Round 4, Challenge 5: The Scientist

Please enter the number of your FAVOURITE drabble.

Please enter the number of your LEAST FAVOURITE drabble.



Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
savepureness
May. 17th, 2008 08:09 am (UTC)
I have a question, and I hope it's not appropriate: since I've been eliminated, am I still:
o1. allowed to vote?
o2. allowed to take part in the next edition(s) of the competition?

Thank you for your time.
_pinkchocolate
May. 17th, 2008 09:30 am (UTC)
You're still allowed to vote, but you can't participate in the next round. You're free to participate in any rounds after that.
savepureness
May. 17th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
Oh, I see. I thought I wasn't allowed to participate for the rest of the competition, at all, in any rounds, that's why I asked about the next editions. LOL.

Thanks.
_pinkchocolate
May. 17th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, no, sorry for the confusion. Each week is a challenge and each collection of challenges is a round. You can't participate in any of the challenges for the rest of this round or the next round, but you can join any rounds after that.
savepureness
May. 19th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
I understand; thanks for taking the time to explain it to me. Will it be the case of a renewed application, then?
_pinkchocolate
May. 23rd, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
Yup :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )