I swore to myself that I wouldn't post another fic until I had finished at least one more of my many currently in progress…but this one was just so fun to write, and I just couldn't not post it.
There is actually a long story behind this…and I simply can't be bothered writing it all out now. If anyone asks, I'll tell…but it's midnight and I want to get this up sometime soon. Then I shall go to bed…eventually.
A Fairytale Disaster
Courtesy of SilverWolf7007
Chapter One – The Evil Eye-Twinkle
The general consensus in the Wizarding World was that Albus Dumbledore was completely off his rocker and that anyone he managed to conscript was pretty much doomed to humiliation in front of a large crowd.
Sitting in Dumbledore's office between Draco Malfoy and Seamus Finnigan on a small couch, Harry Potter wasn't going to dispute that. And as he looked about the room, he was fairly sure that not a single person there would disagree with him.
On a second couch on the other side of Seamus, Dean Thomas was perched right on the edge of his seat, foot tapping nervously. Beside him was a petrified Neville Longbottom, and beside him a disapproving and nervous Minerva McGonagall.
Sirius Black was standing behind Harry's couch, drumming his fingers right behind Harry's head. Harry was having a hard time not reaching back, grabbing his Godfather's hand and snapping a few fingers.
Behind the other couch, Fred and George Weasley were standing on either side of Oliver Wood, and for once all three of them looked completely serious…and somewhat scared.
Nymphadora Tonks and Blaise Zabini were standing on opposite sides of the room, each leaning against the wall and attempting – unsuccessfully – to vanish through it.
Justin Finch-Fletchy, Hannah Abbot, and Padma and Parvati Patil were standing in the back of the room, eyeing the door hopefully. However, Dumbledore seemed to have thought that some of his 'guests' might want to leave early, and had locked the door in preparation for that eventuality.
Sitting on the ground at Harry's feet using his legs as a leaning post was Luna Lovegood. For once she was not giving someone or the room in general an absent or dreamy look, and was instead staring at the lunatic – er, Headmaster – behind the desk in front of them with an expression akin to horror on her face.
After what seemed like a lifetime of sitting around waiting, Dumbledore cleared his throat and seemed likely to speak.
"Would anyone like a lemon drop?" he asked them all, eyes twinkling in that evil way that they did.
Every person in the room treated the aged and obviously mad Headmaster with their own personalised versions of the Evil Eye.
Dumbledore seemed not to notice. "No? Oh well, I should probably be getting on with this anyway. As I am certain you all know, I have decided to present a play to the general public here at Hogwarts for Christmas. I have called you all here today because I wish you all to be in it."
Harry gulped as a chill went up his spine. This was not looking good. But because not a single other person in the room seemed inclined to speak, he decided it was up to him. "What is the play, Professor?" he asked.
The old man smiled enigmatically, eyes still twinkling. "Now Harry, I cannot tell you at present, it would ruin the surprise!"
Again, Dumbledore seemed oblivious to the fear now crossing the faces of his captive audience. Harry sighed, suppressing an insane urge to grab Gryffindor's sword from its display case and run his headmaster through. Or perhaps just gouge out those annoyingly twinkling eyes.
"Now, I have chosen roles for you all to play." He held up a thick pile of papers. "Your lines and roles are highlighted in your copy of the script. I will give them out and let you read through them, before we meet tomorrow to begin rehearsing."
Harry felt terror grip him by the hand. Actually, as he realised as he looked down, that was Draco, not terror. He noticed that Seamus was shaking, and Luna seemed very tense. Sirius's fingers were managing to drum very loudly despite being tapped on fabric, and Dean's foot was bouncing rapidly. Neville was paler than parchment, and Harry could see that McGonagall's hands were clenched so tightly he was surprised that her nails weren't drawing blood from her palms.
Oliver seemed about to faint, and it was only the fact that Fred and George were each holding one of his arms that was keeping him upright. The Weasley twins themselves weren't looking much better.
Blaise was staring at the pile of scripts with a blank look on his face, while Tonks's hand was twitching at her side, as though she was yearning to draw her wand and set the pile aflame.
In the back of the room, Justin was fruitlessly prying at the door handle, while Hannah tried a few unlocking spells with similar results. Parvati and Padma just stood and stared around at everyone else, hoping against hope that they would end up with a minor, nearly non-existent part. All of the room's occupants were hoping for the same thing, though few of them were as lucky as the Patil girls.
Harry gulped again as Dumbledore passed him a script. He steeled himself before looking down at the cover. The title of the play sent more chills racing up and down his spine, as though they were using it as a two-way slide.
He glanced around at his companions in this room of torture, and noted, as they received their scripts and read the title, that their faces all reflected the same dread that he felt.
Draco still hadn't let go of his hand, and as the blond read the title of the play Harry felt his fingers being crushed just a little bit more.
As the two of them gathered up enough courage to open their script books and discover their roles, Draco released his death grip on Harry's hand. While his seatmate wasn't looking, he flexed it warily; making sure it was still working and wincing in pain.
Draco let out a whimper as he read off the names of the cast, and Harry was reminded to open his own copy.
When he did so, he regretted it immediately. As he had feared, he had been lumped with the leading role. He looked over at Draco, who glanced up and caught his gaze. They were startled from their combined horror at Sirius's rather unmanly indignant squeak as he read which character he would be playing.
Dean and Seamus were both staring open mouthed at their script books, wanting nothing more than to be anywhere else.
Dumbledore cleared his throat a second time, and was rewarded by seventeen Death Glares. Even the four up the back, who had been given small, non-speaking, once in the entire play roles, were upset by the casting of their friends…one of them in particular.
"Professor, was there any particular reason that you found it necessary to give me the role of the title character?" Harry asked icily, fingers tightening around the pages he held.
Smiling brightly and oblivious to his student's tone, Dumbledore replied. "Well Harry, I simply thought that you would perform the role admirably. The same reason I gave everyone their roles."
Sirius muttered something under his breath that no one quite caught, but Harry thought a few words sounded like 'fairy', 'stupid', 'miracle', 'dead', 'murder' 'possible accident', and 'godfather'. He was rather thankful that he had missed out on the specifics.
"All right then, I have a question," Seamus said, tone similar to Harry's. "Why this play?"
"I thought about one called 'The Cowpokes of Calico', but I decided against it due to the lack of narration. This play seemed ideal." He smiled at them all. His eyes seemed to be twinkling more than usual. This had the effect of sending shivers of terror down everyone else's spines. "Well then, I believe now would be a good time for us all to go to our beds. I might also suggest that you all do a little bedtime reading in the form of the script you each hold in your hands. I expect everyone to meet me in the Great Hall after breakfast tomorrow with at least a vague idea of how the script goes and a better idea of your own lines or part."
"What about classes, Albus?" McGonagall demanded. "I have to teach, and the students need to learn."
"Not to worry, Minerva," he assured her, the twinkle seeming to grow. "Remus has agreed to fill in for you in conjunction with Severus and occasionally myself. He has also agreed to provide tutoring for the students while they are involved in the production of this play."
When no one else seemed to have anything to say, he smiled again. "Well then, those of you who do not have dorms or rooms to return to, I have had the house elves prepare several rooms up in the guest wing of the castle for you. I shall take you there now. Goodnight, everyone."
Dumbledore stood, unlocked the door and proceeded out of the room, followed by Sirius, Oliver, Tonks, Fred and George.
Justin, Hannah, Padma and Parvati left right on their heels, obviously keen to return to their dorms. McGonagall stayed just long enough to nod goodbye to the remaining students before hurrying out herself.
Blaise finally left the wall and slumped onto the couch between Seamus and Neville. "This is like a nightmare, only I can't seem to wake up."
Nodding, Dean grimaced. "If it weren't for what happened to Harry, I'd say Seamus and I had drawn the short straws."
"Maybe that's how he picked," Neville suggested glumly. "Maybe he just picked straws, or drew names out of a hat."
Seamus sighed and shook his head. "'Fraid not. I think it was all planned. I mean, sure, Dean, Blaise and me? We could all be pretty random. But Harry, Sirius and you? No way. I mean, Nev, you're the Herbology expert, and you're playing a gardener. And you see how Sirius got his role."
"I still don't get me," Luna told them. Seeing their looks, she rolled her eyes. "I don't mean it like that. Of course I don't understand myself, what would be the fun if I did? I just meant, why should I narrate? And for that matter, why are Harry and Draco in their roles?"
"It's a mystery of Dumbledore's brain," Harry said morosely. "Supposing he actually has one left," he added spitefully.
Draco winced in sympathy. "I hate to say it, Harry, but you really ended up with the worst role of the lot."
"I know," Harry sighed heavily. "And boy do I wish I didn't. I'd be happier with Seamus's role."
"I'd offer to swap, but not only do I not want to, but Dumbledore and that evil eye-twinkle of his probably wouldn't let us." Seamus shrugged. "We're all pretty much doomed, I'm afraid."
Harry looked back down at his script book and reread the title.
'Cinderella Rides Again'.
Yes, they were truly doomed.
Thank you for reading the beginning of something that should be fun…to write, at least. I can't give an opinion on the reading side of things…