|Out With A Bang
Author: James Jago PM
Sequel to 'And They Said LIFE Sucked': The Hogwarts ghosts are putting on a show for the Graduation Ball, with a surprise guest appearance...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor - Cedric D. - Words: 2,923 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 11-28-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2679428
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
All the usual disclaimers. This follows the story arc established by The Order Of The Basilisk, in which Voldemort arrives at Godric's Hollow only to be handed his arse by a large number of teenagers from the future (plus an older version of one of them from the unaltered timeline who's rigged the Horcruxes to blow), all of whom are carrying automatic weapons! Having accomplished this feat, they form the Order of the Basilisk, an inseparable body of friendship and loyalty that transcends the years and House boundaries. And now they're about to enter the big wide world...
Ever since the ghosts had volunteered to provide the entertainment for the Graduation Ball, rumours had been flying everywhere about what they were planning. Some thought it would be a play, others envisioned Sir Nicholas reading poetry, but the deceased inhabitants of Hogwarts had closed ranks.
The only living person in Hogwarts who actually had the faintest idea was Luna Lovegood, and that was only because she'd given Myrtle the idea. Needless to say, she was looking forward to seeing the end result, even though she didn't leave Hogwarts for another year.
"I say it's going to be Macbeth, with a living person playing the ghost," Hermione remarked, examining the sketch she'd drawn with a critical eye. The others shook their heads; somehow, Hermione doing anything with a pencil that didn't involve homework seemed wrong, even with NEWTs well and truly behind them.
"I thought it was Hamlet that had the ghost in it," Draco replied, looking up from the Terry Pratchett book he'd borrowed from Harry.
The Order had established its headquarters in the Room of Requirement, which was currently blending Gryffindor and Ravenclaw colours and providing a selection of sofas. They'd adopted it soon after returning from their camping trip in Romania, seeing as neither Luna nor Draco were entirely comfortable in the Gryffindor common room. Luna was currently stretched out across a sofa, her face obscured by a copy of the Quibbler. Ron was slumped in an armchair, with Lavender draped across him in a rather suggestive pose. In one corner of the room, complex Latin incantations could be heard as a brown-haired young man with piercing grey-blue eyes tuned up his customised racing broom.
Richard Malone was Draco's first cousin, and had quite an interesting family history. His father had discarded the Malfoy name and all it stood for in favour of the Muggleborn girl he loved, and had home-tutoured his children in magic whilst they attended a regular comprehensive. This had come to an abrupt end when Fudge had got wind of it, and summarily despatched Rick and his sister to Hogwarts.
"I've got ten quid on Myrtle's new boyfriend being involved somewhere," Rick observed in passing. "And Fran's talking about running a sweepstake on what they duet for."
"Two galleons on anything by Rick Astley; Tilly loves his stuff," Luna added.
"You're on, Lulu!"
"Better than some of the petnames I've heard Fran use," Lavender pointed out. "I mean, she only started calling you Herm after Draco told us it was a type of Ancient Greek fertility idol in the shape of a bloke with an almighty hard-on!"
"I'm not going to dignify that with a response," Hermione growled.
"Is this a bad time to bring up the whole 'Won-Won' thing?" Draco said in his most innocent tone of voice.
"Only if you want to be turned into something even less dignified than a ferret," Lavender replied in a poisonously sweet voice that Dolores Umbridge might have admired.
"Temper temper," Ron admonished mildly.
The rest of the group appeared at that point, carrying two cases of Kronenbourg and two bottles of red wine from the Tesco's outside Hogsmeade; Muggle alcohol was easier to smuggle in. "Hi guys," Luna said dreamily. "How was the class, Cho?"
"Okay. A couple of the Slytherins got a bit over-enthusiastic, but nobody had anything worse than a nosebleed." Whilst she waited for the Ministry to process her application for Auror training, Cho was running a martial arts class in the Great Hall on Friday evenings. Rick and Harry were regular attendees, though Rick had missed the last couple of sessions due to a Quidditch injury.
They distributed the booze, and chatted about nothing in particular for a while, then headed off to change into formal attire for the Ball.
"I really wish I wasn't doing this," Rick grumbled. "I've always hated these things. I can't dance, I look like a prat in a tie, I fall asleep after three beers..."
"Cheer up," Ron laughed. "At least your sister won't try and get off with whoever you fancy."
Rick snorted. He'd spent a long time in the shadow of his extroverted, cheerfully 'out' sister (they weren't actually twins, but they'd been born within the same calendar year; Rick had been a couple of months premature), and found that she tended to be attracted to many of the same characteristics in the fairer sex as well as being a sight more successful in her overtures towards them. This irritating state of affairs had persisted until Fran had been introduced to Hermione Jane Granger, source of all knowledge and wisdom for the occupants of Gryffindor Tower and probably the one person least likely to tame the product of (in McGonagall's words) "A dangerous experiment in cross-breeding Malfoys with Liverpudlians."
But then who'd have thought I could have fallen head over heels in love with Luna Lovegood? he reflected, straightening his tie and heading for the Great Hall.
There was a large buffet laid out on several tables along one wall, accompanied by a small bar manned by Dobby. Nobody ever found out where he'd got them, but be was sporting a perfectly house-elf sized shirt/bowtie/leather bar apron ensemble that wouldn't have looked at all out of place in a Bogart film, and was doing a creditable job of the accent to match. Rick leaned against the bar, a bottle of bourbon and a shotglass in front of him. Winky had persuaded him to put on a trenchcoat and fedora, and charged him a sickle to have his photograph taken in said pose by Colin Creevy, the proceeds apparently going to Children In Need.
"Mr Lazlo Woodbine?" a familar voice enquired. Rick smiled slightly; he'd been wondering who kept pinching his Robert Rankin novels. He raised the fedora slightly, and turned towards Luna, who was wearing a gorgeous silver dress that hugged every curve and detail... especially since she wasn't wearing a hell of a lot underneath.
"What's a beautiful girl like you doing in a dive like this?" he enquired, trying and failing to sound like Mickey Rourke.
"Laz, what've I told you 'bout hittin' on the broads?" Dobby interjected. "This is a respectable joint; I got a reputation to maintain here And who's place are you callin' a dive?"
"Did they rehearse this?" Neville wondered. Padma, who had consented to accompany him, merely giggled.
One end of the Great Hall had been given over to a large stage, much as it was when the Hogsmeade Amatuer Dramatic Society borrowed the hall last year for a well-recieved production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Hagrid playing Bottom, a somewhat unwilling Madame Maxime in the role of Titania and Snape making a surprising but very successful appearance as Oberon. The curtain was down, but the sounds of scenery being shuffled and people milling about were clearly audible.
"So, has anybody got any theories about the surprise entertainment?" Draco enquired.
"There's a lot of cash riding on Myrtle and her new gentleman friend being involved somehow," Harry replied.
"Oh. Who is she seeing these days, anyway?"
The five students who actually knew exchanged glances. "No idea," Cho replied carefully.
"Popular opinion's split on either Peeves or Nearly Headless Nick," Harry added.
"Girl's got no taste at all," Ginny laughed. "But then what do you expect from someone who turned Tom Riddle down to go to the Yule Ball with Hagrid instead? I know which one I'd have shagged at that age!"
"I worry about you," Ron said wearily. Draco merely shrugged.
Dumbledore took to the stage. "Welcome, all of you, to the farewell gathering for the Class of 2005. The road has been long, winding and occasionally unpleasant going, but you will soon look back on the last seven years and think... 'Thank Merlin I don't have to go through all that again.' I won't bore you with a long speech, but before the awards are presented, some of our spectral inhabitants have prepared a short performance that will impart a piece of advice that will probably be the most useful words you ever hear."
"Has anybody else got a bad feeling about this?" Lavender said quietly as the Headmaster left the stage.
"Just so long as Peeves had absolutely no part in the planning or execution of whatever's about to happen..." Rick said grimly.
The stage remained eerily dark as somebody struck up a tune on the minature organ that Snape kept in one corner of his private laboratory; as well as being in keeping with his image, he actually found it rather relaxing to bang out a few tunes after a bad day. "That can't possibly be what I think it is, can it?" Harry whispered.
"Some things in life are bad," a familiar alto began. "They can really make you mad,
"Other things just make you swear and curse."
"But when you're chewing on life's gristle," a mezzo-soprano replied,
"Don't grumble, give a whistle!"
"And this'll help things turn out for the best," they chorused. "And..." The lights went up, to reveal the departed shades of Cedric Diggory and 'Moaning' Myrtle Bamfylde standing centre stage, with most of the Hogwarts ghosts behind them in a chorus line. The organ was off to one side, presided over by Professor Snape himself in a tailcoat that he'd probably borrowed from the local undertaker, and clearly enjoying himself.
"Always look on the bright side of life!" The whistling was provided by one of those two-tone slidey things they used for The Clangers.
"This is surreal. Very surreal," Luna concluded.
"Coing from you, that's saying something."
As they moved on to the second verse, the ghosts who'd been beheaded began tossing their heads to one another in time to the beat. As they finished the second chorus, Snape upped key and tempo, and Cedric and Myrtle embarked on what looked like a salsa routine.
"Always was a good dancer," Cho remarked, as her late boyfriend twirled Myrtle around and lifted her into the air. "Never would have let him try that, though."
"You didn't let 'im try a lot of things," remarked Fleur, who was taking over the Ancient Runes post next year.
"And you did, I suppose?" Cho enquired archly.
"If I 'ad known 'e was seeing you, I would 'ave told 'im to go to 'ell. Besides, 'e was a rotten shag!"
Harry prudently kept his mouth firmly shut. "Good kisser though, from what we could see that time just before the Yule Ball," Luna remarked.
Fleur arched a curious eyebrow, and Cho sighed deeply. "Oh, must we relive the whole thing? I've been trying to forget that ever since. It would have been bad enough walking in on Derek engaged in a massive snogging session with somebody else when they were both alive!"
Several persons present sprayed their drinks across the room. "This I just have to hear!" Rick declared.
The music was reaching a climax, and Peeves appeared above the gathered students and let off something like fifty heavy-duty Filibuster's Fireworks overhead as Cedric swept Myrtle backwards in the sort of melodramatic finale that really demanded he have a rose clenched between his teeth. The entire room burst into wild applause, cheers and whistles.
"Be funny if the Death Eaters turned up now, wouldn't it?" Luna quipped.
Rick sighed. "You..." Words failed him. "Want to dance?"
Before he could lead her to the dancefloor, both of them performed classic double-takes. Argus Filch, in surprisingly nice dressrobes, was dancing with a heavily pregnant Dolores Umbridge. Dolores Filch, now; the wedding rings were clear to see.
"He's knocked her up?" Ron said in horror.
Hermione would have berated him for this rude comment, but a sudden mental picture of those two consumating their marriage flashed across her imagination. It was an image sufficiently ghastly to turn the very strongest of stomachs. If I hadn't made my mind up already, I'd swear off men for life here and now, she thought to herself.
"Good luck to the pair of them, I say!" Lavender declared. "Who knows, maybe he'll stop hating the whole of creation now." Misgivings aside, the others had to admit he looked a lot more cheerful than he usually did. He was also probably the only person in the room who danced worse than Neville.
The DJ, a Muggleborn Old Boy from Luton who did this sort of thing for a living, maxed all the volume controls on his magically-powered decks and let loose with the first request of the evening. It was something of an in-joke with the very few individuals who knew exactly what Harry and his friends had got up to during their summer holiday in Romania.
"I'm beginning to think this might have been a bad idea," Harry said quietly, thirty seconds into the song.
"Well how was I supposed to know she'd be a Rocky Horror Show fan?" Hermione complained. "Somebody might have said!"
"Nobody's blaming you," Fran said soothingly. "Besides, Colin's getting the whole thing on tape."
"I won't need the tape," Ron moaned. "I'm going to be having flashbacks about this for the rest of my life!"
Draco held Ginny in a protective embrace, determinedly refraining from laughing. Nobody, he decided, deserves to have their mother do the Timewarp in front of anybody they'll have to see again! Fleur was quietly wondering just what in God's name she'd got herself into when she accepted a marriage proposal from a Weasley, whilst Bill was doubled over with laughter.
"I knew taking her to see that show was a bad idea," Arthur remarked to one of his Ministerial security detail. "Do you have a proccedure for your principals trying to kill each other?"
"I'm afraid not, sir."
"Well, you might just have to make it up as you go along," the Minister concluded, watching Ron's features suffuse with embarrassed rage. Fortunately, he song came to an end and was replaced by something Lavender liked, and Ron was hauled summarily to the dancefloor.
Between dances, Cho found herself standing beside Myrtle and Cedric. "Having fun?" the latter enquired.
"Yeah. So whose idea was this, anyhow?"
"Would you believe Luna?"
Cho laughed out loud. "But she bet on you singing something by Rick Astley!"
"Maintaining her cover," Cedric guessed. "And we did consider the idea."
"He already knows the lyrics to most of them," Myrtle added.
"Yep, that he does. I got the better half of the trade there!"
Cedric shook his head in wonder. "You aren't trying to tell me she used to fancy Harry, are you? Did you three set the whole thing up with Riddle or what?"
"Rita Skeeter already suggested something like that," Cho pointed out. "And what are you complaining for? You swan-dived off a broom on Tilly's account!" She swiped affectionately at him, but her hand passed straight through the back of his head, setting them all off laughing. Cedric exchanged looks with Harry, who shrugged.
All in all, it was a really high note on which to end the year. But the way they spent the holidays was even better... which is another story entirely.
Acknowledgements: whydoyouneedtoknow for beta-reading and supplying me with a copy of the song, JTBJAB (aka my best mate Jenni) for unswerving loyalty to my insane scribblings, and The Abbey Minstrels for giving me the idea for this work of lunacy!