One Night at Club Denial
By Darth Stitch
DISCLAIMER: They're not mine, they all belong to their various creators and I'm just playing in the sandbox.
The characterization of "Morrie" and Feanor is taken directly, with permission, from murasaki99's wonderfully hilarious fic Blue Notes. Morrie decided to hop on over to my head to wreak some mayhem and this was the result.
Thanks to blueraven and lherelenfeline for beta! XP
This is dedicated, with much love, to murasaki99 and larochka173 - hehe, getting the Gaiman got me into the groove for going ahead with this fic.
SPOILER WARNINGS FOR HBP AHEAD!
An Introduction: To Set The Scene and Get You Into The Groove
There's something strange at Club Denial that you just can't put your finger on.
You walk inside and you nod politely at the black-clad armored former Sith Lord, who happens to be the Club's bouncer and if you know what's good for you, you'll behave yourself fairly well while you're in the Club because frankly, you really don't want to piss him off. The fact that you don't really know what a Sith Lord is or why there should be such a person in this day and age who still wears armor like a knight of old doesn't really register in your mind as something unusual enough to comment on or do something about, like, oh say, call FBI Agents Mulder and Scully of the X-files to investigate.
It's the same deal with the bartender, who looks a bit like Billy Idol with the peroxide blonde hair and the excellent bone structure. He flashes you a toothy grin that exposes his very sharp canine teeth and gives you your usual – a light, dry beer – and then he passes on something in a bottle that is blood red to yet another blonde fellow, whom you recognize as your friendly local homicide detective. You take note of the fact that the friendly detective's blue eyes seem to shift to a feral green just for a few seconds when he gulps down whatever it is (and you really don't want to think of it as blood) – and then you don't find yourself panicking and calling the nearest Vampire Slayer.
You glance at the hooded stranger who's smoking a pipe in the far corner of the bar. His long legs are stretched out in front of him and bright gray eyes glint reassuringly at you from the depths of his green and weather-stained hood. Oddly enough, seeing him makes you feel much better, like you've seen a hero in disguise walk right out of the pages of your favorite fantasy novel and that everything will be just all right.
Club Denial has few rules, but the most important of these was never to remark upon the presence of the enormous black dog and wolf curled up happily together by the fire. It was understood that Dire Consequences were to ensue on the first person to make a joke about fleas or pets or collars.
You find yourself nodding or your feet tapping lightly to the rhythm of the music being played on the small stage. Most of the time, it's jazz, with a dash of rock n' roll thrown in on Fridays and Saturdays. The Club's owner, whom everyone calls Morrie, is a good piano player, his long-fingered hands alternately flying over and caressing the keys.
There's something even far more decidedly odd about Morrie – he looks as ordinary as yourself but then sometimes, you just look in his eyes… and something in them makes you shudder and think of great fires and Darkness Great and Terrible and horrors too much for any sane human to bear. And then, just as you feel you should bow down at his feet in worship and tear out your heart for him in sacrifice, he'll just laugh at you, offer you his coffee to sober up and play some more.
He's backed up by Feanor (funny name, that and most of the time, people just call him "Fred") on the coronet, who looks so beautiful that even you, who's pretty much secure in your masculinity, although you do understand what those Queer Eye fellows are talking about, feel like swooning at his feet. And then there's that charming fellow Jack Sparrow on the drums who, when he stands up, sways around like he's on a ship at sea.
Some of the ladies with a death wish will try to chat up Sev' - the guitarist and you don't quite understand why, because he doesn't look like anyone's idea of a looker, what with that scowl and that beak of a nose. But then, your officemate just told you, with a sigh, that it's his hands and the way they pluck and strum those guitar strings and that Voice (with a capital V you can clearly hear), never mind if he spits out caustic words at the drop of a hat and is generally unpleasant to anyone who tries to approach him.
But he plays like a dream and then you'll find, like the other regulars do, that you can forgive him anything.
The Strange and Unusual (and sometimes, Quite Horrifyingly Scary) will smile and nod and greet you in a friendly manner here at Club Denial but it will never really register in your mind that you just spent your after hours with vampires, werewolves, a Sith Lord, a Ranger of the North, the First and Greatest of all Dark Lords, an Elf, a wizard, a pirate and numerous other people and creatures who have just stepped out of myth and legend.
You just know that it's something strange, that you can't put your finger on and then you will go home and forget all about it. What will linger most in your mind instead is the music and you'll just keep coming back for more.
Welcome to Club Denial. Sit down, relax, have a beer. We hope you'll stay awhile.
The Tale: On the Nature of Boy Heroes and Half Blood Princes
Once you've been the First and Original Dark Lord, you just can't loose the knack of smashing all the Rules into smithereens.
Even if you are currently mortal and supposedly "reformed."
Your employees know quite well if they even breathe a word about your little fit of world-saving to anyone, they're going to have to face your Wrath, which is still enough to make any person with an ounce of common sense wet his pants. So there.
So you run your little Club and you tip a wink to all the misfits that end up there for a drink and a bit of music. And even if that long-shanked Ranger happens to be the very best of the Guys in White Hats, he's got a wicked sense of humor and he's part of "Fred's" family, so he gets a free pass. In any case, his job is to kick Sauron's ass and you're none too fond of your former henchman anyway, who wouldn't know an original idea for evil and mayhem if it came up and bit him on the bollocks.
Hey, with your son the Sith Lord doing bouncer duties, you can hardly start flinging accusations of nepotism around.
And then there's Severus Snape, who turned up at your doorstep one day, looking for a job.
Dark wizard, potions expert, unbelievably clever with spellcraft, cranky as all hell with a mouth like a marine. Where was he when you were making your plans to conquer the universe, eh? Good help is so hard to find.
First off, Snape tells you: "I'm not going to put myself in thrall to yet another Dark Lord, much less the Original one. This is just a business proposition, you understand."
"I'd be disappointed in you if you did," you tell him calmly. "After one mistake of that sort, I'd figure you'd stop while you're ahead, wouldn't you?"
You don't question how Snape figures out who you are. Sometimes, they just know. It's usually the ones who've been touched by… well, Darkness and Evil, who know you for who you really are. Although there's the rare fellow who mistakes you for Someone Else entirely and offers to sell you their soul. Idiot.
So you tell him you have, in fact, got an opening for another musician and a bartender and what do you know – Snape's not a bad hand at the guitar. Natural talent, although his real genre is rock n'roll, which you don't mind one bit. Between you, "Fred," Sev' ("Do not EVER call me Sevvie!" and with a shudder, you agree, because that's more evil than even you can contemplate) and Jack, you can really fill up this joint.
Being the Original Dark Lord means that you're not the average employer and soon enough, you fairly much know everything there is to know about your employees. Feanor is often surprised at the hints of compassion that you feel for the "Secondborn," at which point you make some pointed crack about Silmarils to really piss him off and distract him from the matter at hand and protect your precious reputation. Naturally.
Men or to be more precise, humans, are really fascinating creatures. You've seen just about every depravity they're capable of, seen just how low the lot of them can sink. And then you've seen the heights they can aspire to, where you can practically glimpse the face of the One behind their every move. And it's awe-inspiring. And after your fierce pride in the very fabric of the Earth you helped create, you look at Men and you realize what a clever, damn sneaky bastard the One can be. And you figure that after that, they're still worth saving after all. All of them and the ground they stand on.
And then you have men like Severus Snape, who walk in between, who've seen both sides and made both hard choices, neither black nor white and now, after all the sacrifices, are not entirely whole. And hell, you know pretty much how that feels, because you've lived it yourself and bought the t-shirt.
He's not a hero, not the way you know your heroes to be (and hell, you've seen far too many of them for your comfort). Personally, you feel that he should be. But no one else is going to understand that, except for you and the rest of the merry crew you've somehow managed to assemble here at the Club. Not that any of you lot are looking for Medals of Valor or ballads to commemorate your great deeds.
But like Snape, a little vindication would be nice. You're just not holding your breath waiting for it.
So it's fellows like Snape (or the really odd ones like Feanor and that Ranger) who turn up at your Club knowing what it is they're looking for.
That nice, good-looking boy with the green eyes and the lightning shaped scar on his forehead was the absolute LAST person you'd expect to turn up on your doorstep.
"What are you doing here!" you demand of the kid, who you know is being lauded as one of the greatest modern heroes of the age from here to the bloody North Pole. He's got everything – the kindly old mentor to give him wisdom, the stalwart best friends at his back, the deprived childhood that instead of warping him into some new Evil Psychotic Schmuck of the Month, made him into a stronger person, the beautiful girlfriend… hell, he's got "happily ever after" written all over him!
"I'm looking for a job," he tells you with irritating calm. "Says here you've got a spot open for a bartender."
"Job my ass!" you snarl. "What do you know about tending bar?"
"M'not an idiot. M'willing to learn and I learn fast."
"You're not even old enough to drink!"
"Since when did you worry about the little things like that?"
The ballsy little wanker. Your eyes narrow. Heroes, especially the naïve, innocent ones, usually didn't recognize any Evil Villain, especially Dark Lords, when they went incognito, so to speak. It helped them learn the value of not judging by appearances. But this kid pretty much knew who you were and even better, there was just this hint of Darkness in this kid's soul, the sort of Darkness that shouldn't even be there in a human so young.
Manwe's balls, a wonderfully viable protégé. Damn. Where was this kid when you were looking around for a suitable second in command and had to make do with that poncy git Sauron?
"You're hired," you tell him and you're mentally rubbing your hands and cackling with glee at the thought of the fireworks that would ensue.
Snape, naturally, did not disappoint you.
As soon as he clapped eyes on the kid, he threw the mother of all hissy fits, even beating one Noldor Elf for hissy-fit throwing and that was saying something. Snape was so very entertaining when he got wound up like that - a man who styled himself "the Half Blood Prince" had a flair for drama in spades.
And after all that vitriol and rhetoric, which included, of course, the absolute absurdity of Harry Potter's presence in Club Denial, it all boiled down to one thing:
"What in the name of God possessed you to come here!" Snape bellowed.
"You were here," the kid shrugs. "And I missed you."
"The last time we met, you said you were going to kill me," Snape told him dryly.
"The last time we were together, I found out the entire truth. Everything. Why Dumbledore did what he did. The things that you had to do," The kid has the audacity to smirk at him. "I'm not really that bad a student, you know - eventually what you teach me does sink in."
Feanor, being the nosy Noldor that he is, whispers in your ear: "Is it time to separate them yet?"
"Shush and lemme enjoy the show," you hiss back.
"Well it's over, do you hear?" Snape snaps back. "Voldemort is dead - congratulations, you're a bloody hero and I'll go down in wizarding history as the bastard who murdered Albus Dumbledore. I'll be fair game for any neophyte hero wanting to make a name for himself and I'll just have ever so much fun handing their bollocks back to them."
"I'm sorry," Harry tells him quietly. "I'm sorry for everything, Professor Snape."
"Apology accepted," Snape snarls at him. "Now, with your Gryffindor sense of nobility satisfied, will you please GO HOME and live happily ever after?"
Of course, you're not the Original Dark Lord for nothing and with the look on young Harry's face, you figure it out before Snape does, even if you haven't had a lot of experience with this particular human phenomenon. "I'll be damned," you say aloud and start to laugh.
Feanor, who's not slow on the uptake, gets it too and raises his eyes heavenwards. "Men!"
Snape rounds on you, of course. "I'm SO glad that you find my predicament so amusing, O High and Mighty Dark Lord of the Sith."
"Wrong kind of Dark Lord," Your son Anakin interjects from his post at the bar as he helped Spike clean up the glasses. "Haven't you sorted out the difference yet?"
You jump right back into the fray before this turns into yet another contest between magic and the Dark Side of the Force. "The kid is mad about you, Sev. Twitterpated. Completely in love. So shall I start playing Gershwin now or let you two keep on with your lovers' spat?"
"Lovers' spat!" Snape's eyes are bulging now and he's the very definition of spitting mad. "You're insane, the entire lot of you and I -- "
You have to hand it to young Harry for his initiative. Snogging Severus Snape silly to shut him up isn't an option available to most people of his acquaintance but then, from Snape's reaction to the kiss, it was certainly an option open to young Master Potter and one that he knew full well how to use.
Snape is too obviously reluctant to stop kissing (and was definitely giving back as good as he got) but then, alas, "sanity" returned and he says, "This is completely against the Rules, you realise. You're the hero. You're supposed to snog the pretty girl, raise a whole passel of redhaired green-eyed brats and live happily ever after. Not end up in a club run by the Great Enemy, snogging your nasty, greasy, traitorous git of a teacher."
You'll get Snape for that crack about being the "Great Enemy" later. You gave up that sort of thing aeons ago.
Harry, however, still definitely had his priorities straight. "Hell, Severus, I'm not really a hero. I wouldn't have offed that bastard Voldemort if you weren't there to stick a knife into his back first." He smiles faintly and traces a finger down Snape's cheekbone. "And while the girl is pretty, I've realised I'd rather snog the greasy, cranky git for the rest of my life and raise a passel of green-eyed brats with his nose." He kisses the appendage in question. "I'm very fond of this nose, you know."
"And what about the Rules?"
"Sod the Rules."
And this time, Snape does the sensible thing and kisses the audacious, delightful young fellow, who's now your new second bartender, quite thoroughly.
You applaud the clever lad. And no, there's no suspcious sort of mistiness in your eyes. None at all.
At that point, Snape finally realizes his very interested audience and drags young Harry out of the club with a muttered request for "a brief personal leave of absence" from you. You, pardon the pun, cheerfully give them your blessing as they run out of the club - in the form of playing "As Time Goes By" on the piano. You're quite sure that young Harry will not allow Severus out of his flat (more likely, out of his bed) for the next 24 hours or so
- at the very least.
"So how are we going to find ourselves a guitarist for tonight's gig at such short notice?" Feanor asks you while you cheerfully play Snape and Harry's song.
"Feh - Dawson's coming over with Methos. I'm sure I can talk them out of playing something other than just the Highland blues."
And then, you realize something. "Bloody buggering hell!"
"What?" Feanor asks.
You facepalm theatrically. "Moony and Padfoot should have been here to see the Snape and Harry fireworks! Think of all the entertainment possibilities! Lost forever!"
"Morrie," Feanor tells you sternly, although there's a decided twinkle in the Elf's eyes. "You're evil."
"Dark Lord," You remind him with exaggerated patience.
And with a wicked grin, you keep on playing the piano.
- end -
The Fandoms involved/mentioned in this Fandom Soup, just for the hell of it:
Lord of the Rings
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pirates of the Carribbean
Heh. Have I missed anything?
Oh. And Anakin Skywalker a.k.a. Darth Vader, really IS the son of Morgoth Bauglir, the Original Dark Lord of Tolkien's LOTR saga and the Silmarillion. Come on - virgin birth and midicholorians my furry blue arse! Morrie thought Shmi was cute and they had this very hot weekend together. snickers And little Ani definitely took after "Dad."