Challenge 017: Red Heads
Characters: Caithion, Edward, Fred
Timeframe: During Half Blood Prince

"Who knew Death was a raging poof!" Edward bellowed with laughter, rubbing tears from his eyes.

Somehow Caithion remained dignified in the face of the fat old Squib's voracious laughter, arms folded and cigarette burning away between his ivory pale lips.

"It may have escaped your brilliant mind, Ed, but I am neither male nor female. Indeed, I am barely an I."

"You are too!" Edward said earnestly. "I've seen you take a slash!"

Caithion shot him a dirty look. "The typical laws of gender and attraction hardly matter to anthropomorphic personifications of mortality. My form depends purely on what people expect to see, and humans always expect to see something when the bell tolls. In Germany I appear as the Erl King, in Ireland the Grey Lady." He tapped his cigarette ash on the floor of the Leaky Cauldron. "Now drop it."

There was a short silence.

Edward propped his elbows on the table, cupping his chin in his hands and watched the Irishman's pale, handsome face with the wide-eyed curiosity of a child.

"Can you turn into a red head?" The Squib grinned. "I love red heads."

At that moment Fred Weasley strutted through the door of the Leaky Cauldron, with all the irritating confidence of a rutting peacock. Caithion's glare sharpened.

"Even Death has standards."


A/N: Let's face it, Fred and Death will never be best pals