Chapter 3: Bars and Basilisks
A/N: Thanks to my beta reader, Meril:)
"Row, row, row your boat."
"Shut up, Baldrick."
"Gently down the stream."
"Baldrick, if you don't shut up I'm going to shove a small carbuncle down your throat," said Edmund wearily. He didn't like boats, and the feeling seemed to be mutual judging by the number of times he had emptied his stomach. It didn't help that the boat was taking them to Azkaban.
"But my mum used to sing it to me," protested Baldrick.
"Your mum had the voice of a horse and the body of one as well. The only thing she could have sung properly was a vow of silence. Compared to you though, she was the seven times winner of the worlds most angelic singer award." Edmund could have sworn that his stomach must be empty, but as the nausea rose, he leant over the side and once again deposited the contents of his stomach into the churning waters.
"Buck up, Eddy-boy!" called Auror Flashheart from the other boat.
Edmund put all his malice into sending a glare at the Auror – and his prisoner, Percy Percy, for good measure. He had hoped that after leaving Hogwarts he would never have to see Flashheart again.
It was a pity that he hadn't mastered the art of projectile vomiting. The good Auror would have been the first person he targeted. He watched in misery as Flashheart manoeuvred his boat closer.
"Shouldn't have burnt the crossword, Blacky. Fudge might have gone easy on you if you hadn't," said Flashheart.
"Ah, yes. That's why we're all being sent to Azkaban for "Malignant Word Puzzle Abuse". Someday, you'll have to show me the law that covers that one." The boats bumped roughly against the shore. Edmund made sure to trample over Baldrick on his scramble to get to solid land. A few deep breaths later and his stomach had returned to normal.
He turned to watch the other three leave the boats. As soon as their feet touched the island, their expressions changed. Baldrick started staring at the ground and mumbling something about "his turnip".
Percy moaned in despair. "I can feel them even now. Stealing my thoughts and memories. I will never be happy again!" He began sobbing like a girl. Even Flashheart looked a bit less perky than usual, if only for a moment.
Edmund regarded them curiously. He felt nothing.
Flashheart came up and clapped him on the shoulder, just like he used to do in school, only without the obligatory wedgie afterwards. "You're a brave bloke, not letting the Dementors get to you."
Edmund slipped out from under Flashheart's arm, grimacing in distaste. He was really beginning to wonder about the proclivity of men of Flashheart's sort for touching other men. "It's hardly surprising considering I've spent my entire life with Baldrick. I've never had a happy moment in my life."
No, wait, there had been that one time when he had charmed a Muggle lawn machine to keep Baldrick out of the house. He had had the whole night to himself... Too late he felt the Dementors approach as they sucked the memory out of him.
Flashheart strode cockily up to the creatures and demanded that they let him through to place the new prisoners. The Dementors nodded their hoods like the ghostly wraiths they were, and parted to allow them through. Baldrick attempted to huddle against Edmund as they walked past, but a few kicks in the shins rid his servant of that notion.
"I don't come here that often, Blacky," said Flashheart conversationally as he led them through the dank corridors of Azkaban, keeping well behind the gliding Dementors. "Wouldn't want the female prisoners to riot. Woof! Woof!" He winked and made some sort of exaggerated motion with his hips.
"You make my heart riot!" came a yell from the cell they were passing. Flashheart perked up, and sauntered over to the cell door. Edmund groaned and stopped, cuffing Baldrick and a sniffling Percy when they bumped into him.
A woman's face peered through the barred window. Underneath her matted black hair and years of grime, Edmund could see that she was quite beautiful, but the madness in her eyes would have made Mad Martin, the completely off his rocker Muggle-lover, pause. He doubted Flashheart even noticed.
"Mrs. Lestrange," said Flashheart gallantly. "I can give you memories so happy not even the Dementors can take them away!" He winked at her.
She smiled lavisciously at him. "But can you..." She trailed off and Flashheart leant in to hear the rest of her words. For a moment, Edmund fancied he saw Flashheart turn red, but then the man straightened.
"This lion won't just make you roar, I'll make you sing!" He added in a few hip thrusts to make his point.
Edmund rolled his eyes. The number of times he had heard Flashheart compare his sexual prowess to that of his house's mascot, the lion, during their school years was beyond count.
"You mean he mates quickly and roughly with a few females while leaving the strongest of them to make the decisions?" asked Percy, innocently puzzled.
Flashheart ignored the comment. He was still flirting gamely with Mrs. Lestrange. "Just let me get rid of these sods, sweetcheeks, then you and me will do the jail house rock! Woof!"
"Oh yes!" agreed Mrs. Lestrange.
Their new cell was across the corridor, and they were herded inside. Flashheart walked around the cell, examining the three cots and nodding his approval of the facilities, which consisted of a hole in the floor.
"Looks quite cosy. Much like those Slytherin dungeons, eh?"
"I'd prefer something with a window, and without these two idiots," said Edmund quickly before the Dementors sucked the happy idea out of him.
"No can do, Eddy-boy. We're getting overcrowded with all you idiot Death Eaters being caught."
Something snapped inside Edmund. He took Flashheart's arm and started leading him out of the cell. "Oh, we deliberately let ourselves be caught so we could take over Azkaban from the inside and return it to the Dark Lord. Did you know the Dementors are voyeurs? Have a nice day." He pushed the man out of the cell and slammed the door closed. "Wanker."
Edmund surveyed their pitiful cell, taking in the weeping Percy and Baldrick sitting on a cot with a stupid look on his face. No correction, Baldrick's face was the definition of a stupid look.
"Well, that's that then. Doomed to life in Azkaban. No way out, and surrounded by some of the greatest idiots known to man." Well, the second greatest idiots. Fudge was back at the Ministry after all.
"I have a cunning plan, sir," said Baldrick eagerly.
Blackadder rolled his eyes. "Do you even know what cunning means, Baldrick?"
"I thought it was when a man..." began Baldrick.
Edmund had a quick and fatal vision of what his incompetent servant was going to say.
"Never mind," Blackadder said hastily. "Tell me your "cunning" plan." It would provide a moment of entertainment and happiness that would perhaps send the Dementors swooping down to take him out of his misery.
Baldrick took something out of his pocket and showed it to Edmund. Cradled in his dirty hand was a small, white egg.
"I have this," said Baldrick triumphantly.
Blackadder snatched it up and examined it closely.
"I hate to disappoint you. No, on second thought, I love to disappoint you, but this is a simple hen's egg. Not a cunning plan."
Baldrick shook his head. "It's not. Fellow I got it off of said it was a rooster's egg." He sounded absurdly proud of himself.
"Roosters don't lay eggs, and I will not explain the facts of life to you again." The first seventeen times had been enough.
Percy Percy let out a sob from the corner.
"Shut up, Percy," said Edmund and Baldrick together.
"It's a magical egg. You put it under a toad and let it hatch, and it becomes a Basilisk. Then we use the Basilisk to slip through the bars and kill the Dementors and escape," said Baldrick.
"A magnificent plan, except for one tiny flaw. Unless Percy's hiding one under his robes, we don't have a toad."
Percy leapt up and began frantically patting at his clothing looking for a toad. Across the way, Mrs. Lestrange catcalled at him to take it all off. Edmund supposed Flashheart had decided to take the easy way out and leave.
Such a pity about the toad. Other than that, the plan did have merit. The image of Percy dropping dead from looking it in the eyes of the Basilisk was quite entertaining. If only toads were native to Azkaban...
He glanced around their tiny cell in the vain hope that a toad had miraculously appeared.
Baldrick was hunched up in the corner, his hand poised to capture a giant beetle that was making its way across the floor. His tongue was hanging out he was concentrating so hard. Edmund tilted his head and looked at his much maligned servant. Crouched like that, with his tongue out and ready to eat a bug. There was one thing that Edmund was reminded of.
"Baldrick!" he called.
Baldrick looked up and the beetle skittered away to freedom.
"That was supper, sir," said Baldrick reproachfully.
Blackadder sidestepped the still flailing Percy, and went to carefully place the egg in a corner of their cell.
"Come over here, Baldrick, and sit down."
Over two weeks later, Baldrick started claiming that his 'baby' was moving.
"It had better be," Edmund growled. He had already decided to commit suicide days ago, but he wanted to kill his companions before he did so. Every time he thought of it, the Dementors would steal his happy thoughts on the matter.
"Oh woe!" moaned Percy Percy from his cot.
"Shut up, Percy!" said Blackadder and Baldrick.
"Let's see," Edmund said, motioning for Baldrick to move from his corner. They both crouched down to stare at the egg which was indeed rocking slightly.
"Come on, luvely. You can do it. Mummy's here now!" crooned Baldrick.
"Are you trying to encourage it not to come out?" asked Blackadder, making a face. Baldrick gave him a confused look.
A small crack appeared in the egg a few minutes later, the rocking having increased to a frenetic pace. All of them watched in silence, Percy Percy having actually stopped sobbing for a moment to witness the birth. In one smooth motion, the head broke through the shell, and Blackadder averted his eyes, unwilling to be the Basilisk's first victim.
"Oh," gasped Baldrick. "She's so beautiful. I didn't know! So tiny and fluffy!"
Edmund's eyes flew open, as he stared at the form nestled in Baldrick's hands. It was, as he should have expected, a fluffy, white chick, pecking half heartedly at its "mothers" fingers. Blackadder groaned, then went to bang his head against the cell wall in frustration. He changed his mind at the last moment and went to bang Percy's head against the wall instead; privately noting he would have a good chicken dinner in a month if nothing else.
He was stopped in his entertainment by a voice from outside the cell. "Oh, Edmund, luv!"
"What?" he asked. It sounded like Lestrange again. If she asked one of them to strip one more time, he was going to train the chicken in assassination and make her its first target.
"I'd prefer if you didn't kill Percy Percy. My lord requests his presence."
"Oh? And how does your lord request his presence? Has he learnt the secret Dementor hand signals?"
She laughed. A long low laugh that sounded different than her usual insane cackles. "He did better. He learnt their price! All the Death Eaters are free and we shall return to our rightful place at his side!"
"Oh really?" Edmund let go of Percy to walk over to the door. He could indeed see Lestrange standing right outside, wand and key in her hand. "Let us out then, and we shall rejoin him."
She shook her head while smiling at him. "Not you. You sold us out, Edmund. The Dark Lord is... displeased with you."
"I did not!" Edmund protested. There had been no opportunity for him to do so.
"You told that auror that we had allowed ourselves to be caught so that we could take over from the inside!"
"But – I didn't – It wasn't meant to be taken that way!"
"You nearly destroyed our plan!" she screamed. "I heard you!"
Blackadder lost his temper. "It was a jest. How was I to know that Voldemort would follow such a moronic plan?"
"Are you calling our Lord a moron?"
Edmund hesitated. "No. Never." He would prefer to call him a nit brained nincompoop with a Napoleonic complex and horrible taste in symbolism.
She smiled again, and he shuddered. "Good. Percy Percy is leaving with us. Our Lord still has some use for him. You are no longer useful. I should kill you, but I think I will leave you here with your monkey. You will die a slow and painful death."
Not if he could help it, Edmund vowed grimly to himself. He was mostly silent through the rest of the proceedings, following Lestrange around at a distance, hoping to have the opportunity to steal her wand. It never came.
The Death Eaters left in the remaining boats with the Dementors following close behind. Blackadder had pushed Baldrick into the arms of one, realising it was his last chance to get rid of his servant, but the Dementor had taken one taste of Baldrick's soul, then promptly fled. If Dementors could be sick, Edmund was sure it would have been choking in its own vomit. There were no other prisoners left on the desolate island, the others having been given the choice of joining Voldemort, or having their heads bashed in.
Blackadder sat down heavily on the jagged rocks that lined the shore. Baldrick sat next to him.
"Well, Mr. B. It's just you and me and Sally."
Edmund shuddered. If there was something worse than dying in the presence of Baldrick, it was dying in the presence of a chicken named Sally. At least he could eat the chicken when he got hungry. Eating Baldrick was asking for food poisoning.
Of course, he was hoping something he hadn't dared mention in the presence of that crazy bint. Namely, that the Aurors would show up eventually to investigate where all the prisoners and guards had gotten to.
"Cheer up, Mr. B. It–"
"If you say "it could be worse", Baldrick, I'll stake you out on the beach here for the crabs to devour."
For once, Baldrick shut up, and they sat there in silence, with only the soft chirping of Sally and the sound of the waves to keep them company.
A few hours later, they watched curiously as a boat approached. Mrs. Lestrange was in the front while her husband was rowing.
"I don't suppose you've come back to tell us all is forgiven?" asked Blackadder.
Lestrange smiled her insane smile. "I've missed you, Edmund. You were something handsome to look at for the past few months."
He was taken off guard by the flattery. "You were certainly a sight, yourself," he responded, as hope began to grow.
She laughed. "Just kidding, luv. Our Lord commands your death." She pointed her wand. "Avada kedavra!"
A/N: Before anyone flames me about the ending, I'd like to remind you that Blackadder series only end one of two ways, and it would have been near impossible to make a wizard King of Britain:P Reviews appreciated.