Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers apply. I don't own Harry Potter or the Harry Potter universe, of course.

Give Them What They Want

The interview was not going well.

Sybill Trelawney needed this job. She wasn't going back to doing palm readings for Merlin-knows-what kind of deviants scuttling about Knockturn Alley, and getting crudely propositioned by her often repellant clientele, some of whom were likely Death Eaters. There was a reason she cultivated an eccentric, insectine appearance that made her look far older than her twenty-three years – well, two really. It kept a fair chunk of the riff-raff from hitting on her, and it was good for business. For some reason, people would rather hear the future from an outlandish-looking matron than the girl-next-door, and if that was the case, Sybill was going to give them what they wanted.

Albus Dumbledore was plainly looking unimpressed, though. Really, what did he expect? Prophecy on command? The Sight did not work that way – it wasn't like a lumos spell, that could be turned on and off at will. He was headmaster of Hogwarts – he should have known this. Perhaps the rumours were true; perhaps he really was thinking of cancelling the subject.

That was the very definition of lack of foresight as far as she was concerned.

This had to work. Decent sherry didn't pay for itself, and she wasn't going to be reduced to drinking cooking sherry. Other than going back to Knockturn Alley, her prospects were limited. She didn't want to settle down as some wizard's wife – she was young! She had her life to live! The Ministry had no place for a gifted seer like herself, and she wasn't going to waste her gifts.

She supposed she could have played fortune-teller to the Muggles. They really went in for the whole mystic-psychic fortune-teller thing, and it turned out that while the Inner Eye was unreliable, Sybill had a real gift for predicting the outcome of cricket matches – a fifty-six percent success rate over the last three years! She could make a decent living doing that, if she wanted to live as a Muggle. Which she did not.

Damn it, she was losing the old man. Time to bring out some anecdotes about Great-Great-Grandmum. She hoped they were true – Dumbledore had a good base of knowledge. Oh well. Better claim they're family tradition, to make sure.

No luck. Bugger. Maybe try some educational suggestions – start the kids on crystal balls early. A focus on death omens – that should be very popular with You-Know-Who running about, and no signs of anyone stopping him. Give them what they want.

Damn. Not right for the position? What on earth? Like the old man was going to find anyone else with the credentials, the ancestry, the Inner Eye that she had. Oh well, time to pull out the big wand. If he wanted a prophecy, Sybill would give him one, and if the Sight wasn't going to provide one at the moment, well, she knew how to work on her own.

He got up to leave. Sybill had to think... think! Dumbledore was always fixated on You-Know-Know, so Sybill thought something about that would hook the old man. Something about how to defeat him. It would have to be nice and vague... something believable, yet hard to interpret.


Sybill froze, like she was in a trance. Altering her voice, she began to recite – her "prophecy" wasn't particularly planned, but a Seer had to be quick in a pinch, and Sybill was very quick. She barely remembered what she was saying as she recited it – all the better to make it seem authentic. Something about someone defeating the Dark Lord, born to those thrice defying him, seventh month. Marked as his equal – yes, that was good. Power the Dark Lord knows not – that was nice and vague. Neither can live while the other survives – Sybill was particularly proud of that. People eat that stuff up. Repeat the bit about the seventh month, there you go!

She appeared to come out of the "trance", and looked like she had no idea what happened.

There. Dumbledore looked appropriately impressed. He was giving her the job! Starting immediately! Finally. Time to place an order for a couple of cases of Harvey's Bristol Cream.

Dumbledore shook her hand, and Sybill smiled. A part of her, a very small part, felt bad for misleading Dumbledore about You-Know-Who, but really, what harm could it do? Besides, Dumbledore obviously wanted to hear it, and if there is was anything Sybill Trelawney knew, it was how to give the client what he wanted.