These are short pieces from the Daydverse that were written as part of a "Whose Fic Is It Anyway" improvisational fanfic writer's contest/exercise where you have a set amount of time - in my case, a little under two hours - to answer as many prompts as possible which are being supplied live in real time. The results are all completely unedited, single stream, as is in accordance with the rules, so please excuse any typos or general shittiness. I have indicated what prompt I answered for each one (one prompt and one answer were in the form of images, the latter of which I sketched). These contain spoilers for the entire published Daydverse and assume familiarity with at the very least the three major novels as so far published.
#1. Prompt: (image, cannot be uploaded to but can be viewed at farm8 .staticflickr 7169/6587210941_b5a62ca761_z. jpg if you remove all spaces in the URL)
It was their place, and sometimes, when Nattie was in day care, he still went. There was something comforting in the way it never seemed to change, the marshes and moors and tors almost immune to the seasons in what others found bleak. She had found it beautiful. She'd loved to bring her sketch pad out here or her camera, treasuring no bright day as much as the cutting forks of a distant, dusky storm or the keening winds slashing through the gorse.
She saw beauty everywhere. Pictures in the clouds, grace in her blades, poetry in the lines of her kata, badges of pride in the twists of her scars, beauty where everyone else saw broken. Even in him. He had the beauty she'd left him, of course, the only spot of it he could still find - he'd never had her gift for that - in the harrowing grind of trying to make it, but he still came here sometimes.
Maybe it was silly. Maybe it was too much a risk to climb the cairn with his bad leg to where they used to sit. But a man needed beauty in his life sometimes, and oh, he would forever need her. So he'd take the risk (she'd smile at him for that, he knew, and that made it worth it on its own) and watch the storms and the sky, lift the broken half of his heart to her long-gone pictures and close his eyes to just for a moment feel her there, making it whole again.
#2 Prompt: Hufflepuffs, stupidity, "how did that happen again?"
Response was a sketch and brief section of dialogue which may be found here by removing the spaces from the URL:
andythanfiction. tumblr post/ 30775915353/how-did-this-happen-again-justin-it-was
#3 Prompt: badger (the animal, not the symbol), forest, castle
It was just supposed to be a nice family excursion. Picnic in the forest, maybe drive down to the shore, take the children up to the castle and let them run up and down the steep stairs until they'd exhausted themselves enough to make supper and bedtime easy. It wasn't tourist season, Caernarfon was almost empty, the winter chill minimizing the number of elderly people with cameras endangered by their shrieking bundles of knit and down-stuffed clothing. It was a simple plan, a simple day, the kind of thing that only Rowan could complicate.
Sion spotted her first, and it wasn't until then that anyone even realized she'd scampered away. It had probably been her fault, a mother's wishful thinking that this time maybe the dolls would keep her occupied for at least a few minutes while she unpacked lunch, but there they were, tossed into the tall grass at the edge of the blanket, one staring mournfully back at her and the other decapitated. Rowan did not want them. What Rowan wanted was to play in the forest, of course, even though she'd been told -
By Lludd's hand! Sion and the other children were cheering, hopping up and down, but she shushed them desperately, her bowels knotted in sudden terror as she looked from her tiny daughter's beaming face to the snarling, frothing jaws of the badger. The badger that she was dangling by its tail, having to hold up at absolutely the extent of her arm to keep it's nose just off the ground. And how, how was a four year old girl strong enough to suspend an animal like that which must have been easily half her weight? More importantly, WHAT IF SHE DROPPED IT?
Never taking her eyes off the girl and her dangerous companion, she began to scramble through the picnic basket for her wand, trying to keep her voice steady so as not to alarm the girl. "Rowan, baby," she said carefully, "where did you-"
The wide eyes rolled in disgust, and she shook her head. "Mum, I KNOW it wants to bite. T's why I keep bash it's head, now."
Her hand stopped on the wand in nervous bemusement. "You what, love?"
The badger had begun to curl up, its teeth mere inches away from the tender little arm, but Rowan's round face showed nothing but boredom as she shook it like a terrier with a rat, mercilessly whipping it back and forth until it uncurled, hanging again now in limp dizziness. For a moment, she evaluated it, then her smile was any child's bright triumph as she bobbed it up and down a few more times, knocking its head into the stony ground until all signs of resistance had ceased again and she once more looked up at her mother. "Trainin' it so I can keep it, right? If't don't piss on't floor?"
"Rowan," she had the wand now, levitated the animal out of her daughter's grip, though heaven help her if she knew yet what to do with it, "we don't train things that way."
A skeptical, deep frown. "No?"
"How'd you train?"
"Later, baby." She sighed, watching it begin to recover and growl again and wondering if there was any way to just vanish it and pretend that wasn't killing. "Don't worry how to train things til later."
#4 Prompt: Luna, next gen kid, frustration
"It willnae!" Cecily stomped her foot in frustration, crossing her arms and pouting with all the wounded indignation that could be produced by a five year old who believed she had been lured under false pretenses. "It willnae never!"
"Not if you stomp and fuss," Luna agreed placidly, moistening the side of her own hand again to welcome the sweet scent and subtle sparkle of the crystalized honey dust and floral essences she sprinkled on the little damp patch before holding the packet out to the scowling child. Cecily declined.
With a shrug of suit yourself, Luna failed to argue as had been expected, instead stepping away a few paces with her back turned to spread her skirts in the grass and settle herself as if Cecily no longer existed. Eyes closed, she reached her hand out in front of her and held it perfectly still, experiencing her breathing, the muffled sniffling of the girl, the gentle sounds of the garden until...there.
The touch, bare as a fairy's eyelash, opened her gaze again, and maybe there was just a little bit of smugness, Goddess forgive her, to her smile as she turned with perfect, fluid, unhurried grace to the now goggle-eyed Princess of the DA. "See? Perhaps no one who stomps and shouts through the world will ever hold a butterfly, but it most certainly can be done."
#5 Prompt: ringtones, seamus, dean.
It was the ringtone he used when Russ called, but it wasn't for him, not really, any more than any of this was if you came right down to it. He wore all their names, true enough, and they all mattered, fucking hell they did, but it had started with one cross before the guilt of making it seem like his was the only one that mattered made him add Lavender's. Then Colin's, because damned if that brave little bastard hadn't saved them all, and of course Colin would be nothing without Dennis and so it had gone until they were all woven there. But it had started with Dean. It all came back to Dean. The most restless ghost of all, and it was to solace and mercy and impossible forgiveness that each summons to a new victim prayed with every call.
There will be an answer, let it be...
#6 Prompt: Neville, dreaming, women
In his dreams, she still lived. There the voices of the servants at their spindles in the halls below were hers in the early hours of the morning when she would sing to the kitchen wireless, awake before anyone else to start the breakfast rolls for the Leaky. There the Caer's cats who believed the fur coverlet was their domain were the soft warmth of her golden hair against the back of his neck. There the sigh of the wind was her breathing again, sometimes even deigning to whisper his name. There he held her, kissed her, laughed with her, grew old with her rather than watching the years fall as an instant curse. In his dreams, he still lived.
# 7 Prompt: Lavender, theater, gold
It wasn't about the gold. Well yes, but no, not the way people thought it was. She'd have sooner strangled herself with her own measuring tape than said yes if he'd asked her, even if they'd been old enough. She didn't want his money that way, and certainly not to be his mistress or paramour or courtisan or whatever those sort of people called it these days. It wasn't about getting his money, or him spending it on her, it was about the doors it could open.
Well, to be even more honest, it was about what you wore through those doors. As a person, she actually couldn't particularly stand him - he was a priss and a prat and maybe even a poof - but oh, the things she heard him talk about! Things where you wore furs and diamonds and Gowns that had to have a capital G. Things like the Opera, the Races, the Theatre.
It was worth almost anything to just feel like the dream of that was within her reach. She spent weeks sketching patterns, sourcing fabric, cutting muslin, getting it perfect and hardly daring to imagine what it would finally be like...
Descending the staircase, every voice suddenly hushed. The elegant line of her leg with the slit up to there but not an inch further, the perfect, exquisite, ethereal heels, the flawless white silk of the elbow-length gloves, the perfectly coy collar that looked like a necklace but was such clever beadwork, the drape of the train and every envious stare and barely concealed gasp when she revealed that it was her own confection.
It was worth any number of hours, any amount of boring blather, anything at all. Well, almost anything. When she found out that Malfoy had made Hannah cry by convincing her that her dear friend was in the clutches of a galleondigging Harpie, it might have been enough to give her pause. However, when the young Viscount - Theatre with a capital T and Gowns with a capital G or not - attempted to what he thought was discreetly touch her left tit on their second date, two things came to an immediate resolution.
First, of course, was that at least when it came to the Magical world, or at least when it came to certain Gryffindor girls within that Magical world, Viscount was a word that took a distant runner-up's importance to "haymaker." Second - though probably, when she thought about it, easily implied from the first - was that she no longer needed the dress.
#8, Prompt: Morag, Ernie, kilts
"I need tae -"
"You dunnae need tae naught," Hannah snapped back immediately, locking her elbows in the doorframe of the boy's dormitory. Her flagrantly awful mocked burr made Morag's eyes narrow angrily, but Hannah was one of the very few girls who could meet those eyes almost on a level, and with more than enough solidity both physical and in personality to make the young redhead pause.
It looked like it was almost physically painful, but Hannah could have sworn that the expression that eventually twisted its way onto Morag's face thought that it was a conciliatory smile. "Hannah, love," she took half a step back, spreading her hands as if to prove that punching was at least for this moment not high on her list of choices. "Ya said yourself they're fine done up and I just -"
"NO." Hannah kept her palms pressed immovably against the stone uprights as she shook her head. "Because they ARE looking gorgeous, both of them, but those tickets are ridiculously expensive, Ernie's been looking forward to this for months, and I know damned well he's as proudly patriotic a Scot as you could ever imagine no matter how much he tries to sound like Justin, so there is no way in hell, high water, or highlands I'm letting you anywhere near him when he's in that kilt."
#9, Prompt: "What's the use in praying if there's nobody who hears?" Seamus, Icarus
It had been a long time since anything could wake him, but it had been a long time, truthfully, since he had slept rather than passed out. At first he thought it was that bloody cat mewing, but as Seamus sat up on the narrow second-hand couch, he saw the animal stretched out on the floor grate of the heater something rather like comatose, and he frowned.
It wasn't his imagination either. Ignoring the headache that he knew was just the whispering vanguard of what would be coming soon if he didn't get the next drink he'd sworn he wouldn't, he pushed aside the blanket and stood. It was instinct that put him, even in this safe place, on the silent balls of his feet, that kept to the shadows and hugged the walls like a housebreaker instead of the houseguest he still couldn't quite believe himself to be. It kept him unheard, unseen, unnoticed as he worked his way down the short hallway and stopped at the only closed door.
He'd expected the latch to be no different from the penny slot nothing on the bathroom, but his eyebrows raised as he saw the shiny new adversary that faced him here. A deadbolt, proper expensive one too, and magical made. Not thrown right now, to be sure and grateful, but his head tilted in a frown to himself as the mewing was too clearly sobbing now.
Part of him wanted to pretend he'd never heard it, go back to the couch because there was nothing he could do, but he couldn't, even if he didn't know why. Instead, he saw himself push the door open, take a tentative step inside, and the sound of his own voice surprised him with a tone that almost seemed like it remembered kindness. "Now then, what'd have a lad brave enough's t'take the likes o' me out t'gutter with a lock like this on his door and tears in the night?"
Russ whirled, open-mouthed in a terrible kind of shock, and Seamus barely caught him in time before he'd have gone down. In another life, it would have been easy to tease him about swooning, but this was no such thing, and Seamus had seen enough real horror to know. This was being strung so tight that the slightest pluck of the cord could snap you, and he eased the other youth to the floor, smoothing a hand through his sweat-drenched hair. "Easy, boy, easy easy there. Didn't mean t' -"
"I weren't nothin'!" Russ gasped, recovered enough now to twist away even as he'd begun shaking violently. "Just..." he shook his head harshly, snapping a wrist towards the little cluster of candles that had been in front of him when Seamus had entered. "Prayin." His eyes were grey, but they took on the yellow glow of the flame and looked too like the cornered animal he was. "And what's the use o' prayin' if there's nobody who hears?"
It was good for a child's attempt, but not nearly good enough to push away someone as hard as he'd become, and Seamus only gave a bitter curl of a chuckle as he smiled. "Ah, but I heard, I did...heard and seen and now I ask again; for who's the lock?"
The dark head dropped, the shoulders shuddered again, and there was the faintest hint of another mewling catch before the words bled a frozen whisper into the little room. "You won't believe me. No one does."
"And there you're wrong again." Seamus closed the distance between them again, crouching and bending to tilt his face up to Russ' despite the awkward angle, forcing their eyes to meet again. "I'll believe ya," he swore, and he let the sincerity of the oath be felt in the tingle of his hand on Russ' knee every bit as much as the spark in his unwavering look. "I'll believe ya every word, for I owe ya me life, so I sure's fuck owe ya a listen."
#10 Prompt: Rowan, Vicky, religion
"Do you ever wonder," Vicky grinned naughtily as she ran the tips of her fingers across the nape of her girlfriend's neck, tickling the close-cropped hairline, "what God thinks of this? I mean, if they're right?"
"Hmmph," Rowan's dismissive grunt did not seem at all amused by the playfully philosophical turn, but Vicky had learned to read the little glimmer in the back of her eyes, the hint of a quirk to the edge of her lips that said there was so much more than the gruff exterior.
Even still, she did not seem inclined to answer, too busy with her mouth at the dip of Vicky's collarbone, and that was far, far too nice to argue with, so when she did reply at last, it came as a surprise, even as it came with breath and tongue that arched her spine into a gasp and almost-moan atop the laugh. "If they're right about their God, he's a man, and ifn's that, he likes to watch us sort, so we're good, and y'can shut it."