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You Can Call Me Tommy by Bowles
Chapter 8 : Party Like You're Releasing Something, Part Two
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 3

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Well, it’s been a while (only a millennium or so, really).  But, but, BUT… I’ve got some good news: I’m not going to use that really lame Geico joke right here.  See?  All better!  Also, check out the first chapter if you feel like it – there’s a new bit explaining if this fic is AU or not.

Disclaimer: not mine.

                                    Eight: Party Like You're Releasing Something, Part Two



The Author sat at his desk (which he doesn’t use in real life, by the way… laptops are a godsend) and rubbed his hands together gleefully (you know, the evil genius kind of gleeful).  “It’s time to write!” he cackled insanely.  “It’s been too long since updates!  I must update for my plethora of adoring readers!”



This statement was important for several reasons.  1) He’d just learned the word “plethora” from a dictionary near his desk and decided it was his new favorite word, but he really didn’t know how to use it and had taken to saying it whenever it seemed marginally feasible (“Pardon me, Mother, but could you pass down the plethora of rolls in that basket there?”).  2) It tells you (the readers) that yes, the Author knows that he rarely updates, but he is such a Bastard (with a capital B) that he doesn’t care.  And 3) the Author has a plethora of mental issues (see the word usage?  Eh, eh?).  He did not notice that his latest chapter had two hits (both of which being himself – he forgot that he had the chapter saved on his computer and could just pull up the Word document).  Instead, he read the hit count as two million and thirty-six.  Don’t ask.  It doesn’t make sense.  Just like half of the deaths in DH.  (Ooh, spoilers!)



Just as he was about to begin writing the next terrible chapter, there was a crack and a man with dark gray hair and a green beard appeared in his room.  “Author!” he cried.  “Do not write!”



“Er…”  The Author pulled his fingers back meekly, although his pinky was trying desperately to reach the keys.  The other fingers quickly ganged up on the pinky, beat it into submission, and took its lunch money.  “Okay?”



“Good.”  The gray-haired, green-bearded man smoothed out his robes importantly.  He looked quite silly, really.  “Don’t say that, you cocky piece of tripe.  And before you ask, my name is Jack Sparrow.  And no, not that Jack Sparrow.  Although I have a case in litigation against the creators of that movie for sullying my good name, don’t you worry.”



The Author slowly slid his hand into his pocket and flipped open his phone.  His intention was to dial 911.  However, he did not know the keys of the phone without looking at them and instead dialed 666.  On the other end of the line a satanic voice began speaking, but the Author didn’t notice.  The voice began to get very angry (“I swear, Jesus, if you’re prank-calling me again I will bring this straight to your father, you little twerp!”) before the Author accidentally closed his phone because he was a klutz.  Oh well.



“Tsk, tsk, what a pointless paragraph,” said Jack Sparrow, shaking his head.  “You really are a terrible author, you know that?”



Yes.  “No,” the Author said.  Liar.  We both know we’re terrible.  “Shut up.”



“Stop talking to yourself.”



“Sorry.”  No we’re not.  “Shut up!”



“So much for not talking to yourself,” Jack Sparrow remarked dryly.



“Shut up.  This time I’m talking to you.”  The Author sighed.  “Who are you, anyways?  What gives you any right to barge in here and tell me I’m horrible?”  Besides the fact that we are, you mean.  “Shut up!  Damn it all!”



“I would be really confused if I wasn’t able to read the narrative right now,” replied Sparrow.  “But I am.  I don’t know how that works.  I’m pretty much omniscient, I guess.  And to answer your question, I’m a part of your conscience.”



“My conscience?”



“Yes.  That or your subconscious.  I always get those two confused.”  Sparrow straightened his cuffs dully.  “I’m here because you know your last few chapters have been absolute crap.”



“No they haven’t!” the Author protested in a hot voice.  “I’m quite proud of Chapter Five, thank you very much, and I thought Chapter Seven was up to the ridiculously high standards I have set for myself with my brilliance!”



“Puh-leese.  Chapter Five was ebola-infected donkey feces.  We both know it.  All of the readers hated it.  It’s probably the most hated chapter.”



“Really?  How do you know these things?”



“It doesn’t matter.”  It kind of does, but I won’t interrupt the flow of the conversation to tell you why.  “Thanks, Narrator.  And Chapter Seven… that was just odd.”



The Author snorted.  “And this isn’t?”



“No, it just proves you’ve finally gone ’round the bend.”



Finally?  We hadn’t already?  “Oh, really, would you just be quiet?”



“This is actually somewhat funny,” snorted Sparrow.  “Well, in comparison to the rest of your, and I quote, ‘parody.’”



“No it isn’t!” the Author protested hotly.  He’s so easy to rile up, don’t you think?  “No I’m not!”  Oh stop fooling yourself.  We both know you’ve got a short fuse.  “I do not!  If you don’t be quiet I’ll write you right out of this story!  Don’t think that I won’t!” Ah, temper, temper!



“Okay, that’s just too confusing,” Sparrow said, breaking up the inner dialogue.  “Stop it.”



“Fine.  As long as he admits that he’s just jealous of me because I’m corporeal.”  Ooh, big word there, tough guy.  I almost don’t know what that means.  “La la la la la, I can’t hear you – perhaps it’s because you’re not real!  You’re just a narrator!  You don’t even have a voice!”  Oh great, strike where it hurts.  Low blow, man, low blow.  “What’s that?  It might just be a leaf rustling in the wind… I don’t know, I can’t really hear anything…”  All right, that’s it, you and me, bub, right here, right now!  Put up your dukes!  “Sure, but it’s not like you can punch me or anything!  Bring it!”



“That’s enough!” Sparrow shouted.  “Now, I don’t know how to break up a fight between someone and their personal inner narrator, but if I have to, I’ll find a way!”



Well, seeing as your part of his subconscious and I’m his inner narrator, shouldn’t you have some control over me?  I mean, we’re both part of the same guy.  Unfortunately for you and me, he’s a complete buffoon, but that’s beside the point.



“Hm, that is true,” mused Sparrow.  He shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I’m not too sure how this whole thing works.”



“Let’s just end this,” the Author said wearily.  “Inner Narrator, let’s just have a truce.  Deal?”



All right, deal.



“Thank God for that.”  The Author smiled, completely unaware that his eyebrows were now missing.  Oops.  Honest mistake.  Could’ve happened to any narrator. “Anyways, continue.  I think you were vaguely threatening me or something like that.”



“Vaguely threatening you… ah yes, I know exactly where I am!”  Sparrow stroked his green beard thoughtfully.  “So, anyways.  As I was saying.  To be frank, your last few chapters have been terrible.  They made Saturday Night Live look funny in comparison.”



“Classic seasons or recent seasons?” the Author inquired.






The Author winced.  “Ouch.  That’s harsh.”



“It’s true.  Basically, I don’t want to see you write like this.  I like you, kid.  You’ve got potential.  But your ego’s the size of the national debt and your work ethic is smaller than a major league baseball player’s –”



“Don’t even say it,” the Author said sharply.  “I don’t think any of my readers would get the joke anyways.”



Sparrow looked befuddled.  “Really?  Steroids, shrinkage down there… they really wouldn’t make the connection?  I thought it was rather clever, actually.  Whatever.  You get the point.  You’ve got the ability… well, that’s being a bit generous.  You have some semblance of something that slightly resembles ability, but your attitude’s all wrong.  You’ve been slacking off.  It’s time for you to put your money where your mouth is.”



The Author pulled out a dollar bill and licked it.  “There.  Done.”



“That’s not what I meant and you know it, you cocky little bastard.”  Sparrow let out a sigh.  “But back to the point.  It’s time for you to pick it up.  This whole convention center storyline… maybe you should take a break from it.”



“Cheat on it, you mean!”



“No!  It’s not your girlfriend!  Or boyfriend, if you’re so inclined.”  At this very instant every single person reading this fic instantly thought, “Dumbledore!”  Meanwhile, Remus and Sirius moped around in the corner because everyone had forgotten about them.



“I’m not.”  That’s not what she – I mean, he – said.  “Really, shut up!”



“Okay.  Just saying.  But still.  It’s not a bad thing to take a little break.  I mean, look at Ross and Rachel.  That worked out great for them.”  Sparrow either completely ignored or was completely ignorant of the fact that it didn’t.  Somewhere a paleontologist with greasy hair screamed, “WE WERE ON A BREAK!”



“Nice Friends reference.  It doesn’t work at all in this situation, but still.  You probably just made half of my readers skip that paragraph entirely.”



“Oh.”  The elder man was unapologetic.  “That’s your problem.  You’re the one writing this, after all.”



“Fine,” the Author spat.  “Then I’ll do just that.  Out of my sight, old man!  It’s time to write!”



And Sparrow disappeared as if he was never there at all.  Perhaps he wasn’t.  In fact, he probably wasn’t.  It was probably just a fit of insanity from the Author.  He sometimes talks to people that aren’t there.  Don’t tell him I told you that, though.



The Author stretched his arms, washed behind his ears, trimmed his nails, and read a large magazine.  After all of this he sat down at his computer and began surfing the internet.  He quickly tired of this, though, and opened up a word processor.  It was then that he began to write.



Shit.  I was really hoping he wouldn’t do that – I’m pretty tired already.  As fun as this has been, I’ve gotta go.  Narrating to do, you know.



I’ll see you in a few lines.  Peace.








Hey, foo, wassup?  I told you I’d be back.  How you been?  Everything been going well?  Dude, I’ve got the craziest story.  You’ve gotta hear this.  So there I was, trying to get to the next paragraph, right?  And I’m minding my own business, but all of a sudden this little hyphen gets in my way!  And I’m like, “Hyphen, bitch, get out of my way!  I’m about to roundhouse kick you in the face if you don’t move!”  And then he says to me – you won’t believe this – he turns around and he says to me –



“Narrator!” Harry shouted.  “Shut up!”



Hey, chill!  I’m trying to tell a story here.  Damn!  This boy acting up and all.  I’m about to narrate some nasty shit on him for sho.



“When did the narrator become ghetto?” Voldemort asked.



Huh.  That’s actually a good point.  Sorry.  I’ll get back to narrating.



“Apology accepted.”



Now that our heroes were done having a conversation with a person that wasn’t really there, they noticed that they were no longer in the convention center.  As you recall, our heroes were split up into two teams and were doing something terribly important when we last left them.  I personally don’t remember anything that happened in the last chapter, so I’ll have to go check that right now.






All right.  So Team Scarhead (or was it Scarface?) was infiltrating the Harmonian camp.  Right.  Well, obviously, that’s not happening now, because Harry and Voldemort are in the same place again (which they obviously weren’t earlier – duh).  So you should have caught on to the whole scenery change about five paragraphs ago.  If you didn’t you’re an idiot.  That’s right.  You’re an idiot.  How does it feel? 



At this moment everyone who was going to review decided not to out of disgust over this insult.  The Author didn’t notice, however, and the story went on.



“Well, thank God that’s over,” Hermione said.  Harry and Voldemort jumped, not realizing that she had even been there.  “I don’t think I could have stood that idiot’s blabbering for another paragraph.”



“When did you get here?” Ron asked confusedly.



“Yeah!” agreed Harry.  He did a double-take.  “Wait a minute!  When did you get here, Ron?”



“Hm.  Good question.”  Ron stroked his chin in a manner that made himself look much smarter than he was.  “When did I get here?”



Ron proceeded to think this over, and you know how Ron’s thinking usually takes a very long time.  Thankfully, Hermione was still an obnoxious know-it-all with a supercomputer for a brain.



“Can’t you tell why we’re here, Ron?”  Ron just had a glazed look on his face, so she continued without waiting for an answer.   “Obviously we’re in a new setting, and the Author is about to commence with a side story completely unrelated to the main plot (whatever that may be).  What better way to start a new story than with the main characters?”



Harry and Voldemort let out a collective, “Ahhhhhhhh,” and Hermione was very pleased with herself.  Ron, on the other hand, had misunderstood the meaning of “glazed” in the previous paragraph, and now was considering the possibility that his face was a donut, and that perhaps he should eat a chunk of it (really, who needs cheeks anyways?).  No one noticed this, for no one was reading the narration, and Ron was trying to stretch his cheek into his mouth when another voice sounded.



“As always, excellent deduction, Hermione,” came a low chuckle from behind them.   They all turned around and gasped – none other than Albus Dumbledore stood before them!  “Mr. Weasley,” said Dumbledore, with a familiar twinkle in his eye (because this must be said in every fic about Dumbledore), “you seem to have misunderstood the meaning of ‘glazed.’  It was used to mean ‘fixed, dazed, or lifeless,’ not ‘covered with a smooth, glossy surface or coating.’  Also, it is incredibly difficult to eat your cheek.  Once in my youth I tried, but alas, it was not to be.”



Dumbledore sighed sadly and held his hands together in front of his waist.  They waited for his jolly mood to reappear.



“Well, my jolly mood has reappeared.  No worries,” he announced after some time.  “Anyways, I admit I have been a bit late in my entrance into this story.  Rather unfortunate.  However, I intend to make up for the time I have missed, so no worries!”



“I’m sorry, Professor, but I just don’t understand,” replied Hermione.  “How could you be here?  This is for main characters, and not to offend you or anything, but in this fic you’re pretty secondary.  You weren’t even present in the first seven chapters.”



“I prefer to think of it as ‘fashionably late,’” Dumbledore said with a creepy chuckle.  I think you know what I’m talking about.  Yeah.  Chuckling old men are scary as shit.  No joke.  “I do apologize, though.  But you are right.  I believe the Author has placed me here to guide you to your next destination, which is obviously not where you were before.  Otherwise you would just be going in a circle, and that would be fabulously unproductive.”



“Ah.  I see.”



Everyone was silent.  Dumbledore held out his hand, which grasped a bright yellow package.  “Lemon drop?”



“Er, no thank you.”



He shrugged.   “Fine, suit yourself.”  He popped one into his mouth and instantly gave a little moan.  “Oh thank heavens,” he said.  “That’s right.  Oh yeah.  That’s the stuff right there.  That’s some high quality shit.  Damn.  High quality shit.  You sure you don’t want one?”



“No, that’s all right,” Harry answered, slowly backing away from his former professor.  “I’m fine without them.”



Hermione leaned over to him, cupping her hand over her mouth so the now even creepier old man couldn’t hear them.  “Is it just me, or does Dumbledore remind you of House without the cane and with candy instead of Vicodin?”



“You know,” Dumbledore said loudly, “House was actually based off of me when I was in my mid-forties and working at St. Mungo’s.  I walked with a limp from a bizarre gardening accident and had to use a cane.  Lemon drops were the only things that took away the pain.”



As if to prove this point, he popped another lemon drop into his mouth.  “Oh,” he groaned.  “That’s the shit.  Man, that is the shit.  Damn, I love my life.  These are some high-value lemon drops.  Hot damn.”



Meanwhile, the Terrific Trio all noticed that Voldemort had retreated to a safe distance away from the super-creepy old dude.  He was shivering and seemed rather nervous.



“Hey, Tommy!” Harry called out loudly and tactlessly.  “Why are you trying to hide from Dumbledore?”



The professor looked away from his candy packet and to Voldemort, letting out a slow sigh quite like his last one.  “I believe I know the issue.  Tom has always been afraid of me.”



“Afraid?” asked Hermione.  “Why?”



“Tom has known of my sexuality for a long time.  He has subsequently been afraid that I might try to make a move on him ever since he was a student at Hogwarts.  This is the true cause behind his rise to power and the subsequent wars.  He only wanted to grow strong enough to destroy me and put to rest all of his childhood fears.”



“Afraid you’d make a move on him?” said Hermione incredulously.  “That’s ridiculous!  I mean, honestly, just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you’re a pervert or anything!  Really!  Tommy, how could you think such a thing!”



“You know, if there’s anyone you should be scared of, it’s McGonagall,” said Ron.  “She’s got a history of that sort of thing.”  He noticed everyone else’s stares and blushed.  “What?  I don’t know anything, of course.  I just… heard it from a friend that might have been involved in that stuff.”



“Hermione and I are pretty much your only friends, Ron,” Harry pointed out.



Ron shivered and covered his head with his hands.  “I am in my happy place, nothing can hurt me now…”



“You see!” Voldemort shrieked.  “This is exactly what these people –” he nodded to Dumbledore “– can do to us normal folk!  They destroy our minds!”



“C’mon, Tommy,” Harry said.  “Don’t make us turn this into some moral lesson.  That would actually give this fic a point, and you know we can’t have that.”



“Yeah, that would just make the Author more of an arrogant asshole!” agreed Hermione with bookish enthusiasm as a large group of squirrels drew straws to see who would be struck by lightning this time.  “Let’s go, Tommy!  Be tolerant so there’s no conflict, and thus no story!  Don’t let there be an underlying theme here!  Rebel!  Stick it to the man!”



Punk rock played in the background, and Hermione began dancing wildly.  While her speech had been deeply uninspiring, this dance completely changed his mind about everything.  Don’t ask me why.  It’s convenient and it moves the story along.



“Gosh, I never looked at it that way!  You’re right, Hermione!  I don’t give a damn about Dumbledore’s sexual preference at all!”  And he began dancing too.



“As glad as I am that we can see eye to eye, now, Tom, I must say that your dancing is quite horrid.”  Dumbledore clapped his hands and the music stopped.  “So sorry.  But we are dawdling.  There are places to be, you see.  We must hurry!”



“Hurry?” asked Ron.  “Hurry where?”



“Ah, that is the question, Mr. Weasley!”  Dumbledore looked positively delighted that Ron had asked this.  Dumbledore’s freaking weird like that.  “My boy, we are going back to a different time and place, a time and place quite unlike our own: we are going to the release party for the seventh book!”



“But that was months ago,” Hermione complained.  “It’s hardly even relevant now.”



“Yes, but it’s a handy vehicle for the Author to discuss the events of the seventh book, is it not?  And it keeps this fic in accordance with canon by merely stating that the preceding seven chapters were AU!”



“That doesn’t make any sense.  You just said it was canon because it was AU.”



“Yes,” he said.  “It is in accordance with canon because it is intentionally AU.  Before this chapter was written, the fic was AU merely because it was written before the seventh book!  But now the Author is revising that, and saying that the first seven chapters were intended to divert from the main plotline before the seventh book anyways, so it’s intentionally AU and thus not in violation with canon!”



For once in her life, Hermione Jane Granger didn’t understand something.  In other news, pigs flew, politicians actually gave a damn about the good of the country rather than their own selfish needs, celebrities adopted babies from somewhere other than Africa, and Severus Snape did a TV spot for a shampoo line.  “What?  That’s really confusing.  I think I get what you’re saying, but it’s still really stupid.”



“Sometimes it’s smart to be stupid,” stated Dumbledore in his usual aphoristic manner.  Damn straight!  “Well, some people abuse the privilege.”  Hey, what’s that supposed to mean, old man?  Huh?  Huh?  “Nothing.”  That’s what I thought.  Ain’t no one talking shit about this here narrator!  No one!



You Can Call Me Tommy: pushing the boundaries of stupidity since 2005!” Hermione remarked dryly.  She shook her head.  “Well, let’s just ignore that paragraph.  Anyways, where is this release party, professor?”



He beamed at her.  “Why, we’re already here!”



And so they were.  All around them excited Muggles were babbling about theories and Horcruxes and the hotness of each actor, along with the less excited Muggles who made it clear they were only there because their friends were there too (and because they’d seen the third movie and it was all right, although they didn’t understand all that crap at the end – were the serial killer and the professor lovers?).  Banners high above them said nerdy things like, “Neither can live while the other survives!” and “To the Boy Who Lived!”  Meanwhile, Harry’s face was plastered everywhere, or really the face of the actor who apparently played him in the film franchise (which is of course entirely fictional and not related to the real film franchise… in other words, don’t sue me).



“He looks short,” Harry commented, stepping forward to take a closer look at a large poster.  “And a bit sickly.”



“You look a bit sickly yourself, Harry,” Hermione pointed out.



Harry shrugged, regarding the poster distastefully.  “I dunno.  He seems like the kind of guy who’d go get naked onstage in a play about horses and whatnot.”



Near the entrance people were being funneled off into two directions, one direction reading “SNAPE IS GOOD,” the other reading, “SNAPE IS EVIL.”  Harry and Ron hurried to the evil side and began clapping the shoulders and shaking the hands of everyone that came through. 



“Good choice sir!  Very good choice, you look like a very respectable man!” Ron exclaimed.  “I quite like the mustache, too, I wish my facial hair was that bristly!  Very good, very good!”



Dumbledore and Hermione stood back and surveyed this display with a degree of sadness.  “Yes, I now can see why it was a mistake to have Snape tutor Harry in Occlumency,” remarked the headmaster.  “Harry really hates him, doesn’t he?”



“No shit, Sherlock,” snorted Hermione.  “Harry’s hardly going to go name his second-born child after the man.  Can you imagine how unrealistic that would be?  It would probably be revealed in some horrible overly cheesy epilogue at the end of the book.  Typical.  But don’t worry.  I don’t think the series will ever stoop that low.”



The Author would at this point like to thank irony for making this fic so much easier to write.  Also, he would like to thank crappy epilogues, the gifts that keep on giving for parody writers like himself.  That is all.



This madness went on for some time.  There was a costume contest, where people were dressed up as all sorts of things: Moaning Myrtle, Voldemort (“Who’s that good-lookin’ reptilian fella over there, hey?”), a troll, a clown (in actuality this was merely a confused man who enjoyed costume parties and had been attracted by the constant flow of nerds – I mean, really cool people – streaming into the building in their cloaks and pointy hats), and even a portrait (I shit you not – this is a true story).  In another corner there was a raffle with some really cheap prizes (hey, it’s been a rough year for book stores!).  In yet another corner there was an illegal game of high-stakes poker going on between politicians, lobbyists, and several Mafia members.  They were very irritated, as they usually played their poker game at midnight at the book store for secrecy, and now there was a whole crowd of nerds (I mean, cool people) counting down to the release of some blasted book about a dude in glasses.  Luckily for the nerds (really, what else are we?), this week was not strip poker week.  That would have been traumatizing for everyone involved.



Finally a rotund man with ginger hair stepped on top of the counter and waved his arms wildly above him to get everyone’s attention.  However, several people merely thought he was doing some new dance move, and so then someone else cranked up the music (wizard rock, of course) to an insane volume.  So all the nerds began their nerdy dances, and this continued for some time until the rotund man could finally yell over the music.



“Excuse me!  EXCUSE ME.”  The music stopped.  Every nerd guy groaned as his window to dance awkwardly with nerd girls suddenly slammed shut.  “Thank you!  Now, I’m your manager here at –” the Author wishes not to disclose the name of the book store so that he doesn’t get sued “– and I just want to ask you all if you’re having fun!”



The fans all shouted and hollered as best they could.  The disinterested non-fan Muggles carried on their conversations and completely ignored the manager.  Our heroes said nothing, with the exception of Ron, who was currently cleaning up in that illegal poker game I mentioned earlier.  “Look at his poker face!” marveled one of the corrupt politicians.  “I mean, honestly!  I can’t even tell if he’s bluffing!  I haven’t seen someone with such a good poker face since I told those voters I would lower taxes!  Or that time when I told my wife that really, I don’t care for sex, and no, I’m not sleeping with my intern!”



The secret to Ron’s success was simple: he had no idea what he was doing.  There was no bluffing, because he did not even know how to play poker.  Sometimes it’s better to be lucky (or stupid) than good, as they say.



“That’s what I thought!” exclaimed the manager.  “Now, lemme hear you all!  Can I get a ‘what’ up in this house?”



There was a loud, nasal “WHAT” from the crowd.  One geek stopped fiddling with his pocket protector long enough to ask another, “What?  What do they mean, ‘what?’”



“I don’t know,” said the other geek.  “It doesn’t make sense.  They’re not asking anything.  Or, as (insert sci-fi android/computer here) might say, ‘Does not compute!’”



And the geeks giggled.  As the narrator, I would just like to take a moment to say that this treatment of nerds and geeks is really hysterical.  The Author is as big a geek as anyone.












Right.  Not a nerd.  Not a ringwraith.  Got it.



“That’s right!” continued the manager.  “Well, anyways, only FIVE MINUTES ’TIL THE BOOK IS RELEASED!  Can you guys believe it?”



“I’ve got six!” shouted one man from the back.



“I’ve got four minutes and 37.5 seconds,” shouted one girl.



“Approximately,” corrected the manager.  “Give or take one or two.  But anyways.  The hour is almost upon us!  As Mad-Eye Moody might say, wands at the ready!”



“Constant vigilance!” growled Moody, who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere.  Strangely, none of the fans noticed his presence.  In fact, no one seemed to notice any of the characters at all, probably just because they thought that the characters were merely exuberant fans that had way too much time to make costumes.




“Alastor!  You’re here!”  Dumbledore clapped him on the back with the usual merriment.  “May I ask what brings you here at such an hour, though?”



“There are dark things afoot, Albus,” said Moody.  He twitched as someone passed near him.  “Dark things.  I hear someone might try something funny.”



At this point he looked pointedly at Voldemort with his good eye.  The magical eye was checking out a good-looking lady who appeared to be dressed up as a Quidditch player.  Moody’s a playa.  What can I say?



“What?” griped Voldemort, irritated.  “I’m not a danger to anyone.  I’m completely rehabilitated.  There was that one slip-up back in Chapter 5 where I killed fifteen people or something, but besides that I’ve been entirely clean.  I feel remorse for what I’ve done.”



“If you felt remorse for what you’ve done, you’d no longer have any Horcruxes,” stated Hermione.  “I mention that in the new book.  It’s apparently a pretty painful process.”



“Quite like going through a break-up, I imagine,” said Harry mournfully.  He sighed and reapplied his lip gloss.  “I mean, you try the best you can, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out!  Just because you got drunk that one time in Cancun and you might have slept with that transvestite stripper.  It could happen to anyone, honestly!  But then she leaves you for that man-whore who’s all ‘masculine’ and ‘manly’ and whatever, and you just want to curl up in your bed, put on some depressing music, and cry yourself into a nightmare-filled sleep!”



Hermione and Voldemort were quite used to Harry’s outbursts by now, but they were something new to the other two.  Moody regarded Harry as if he were a particularly intriguing three-car pile-up on the freeway.  “There’s something called Prozac, Potter.  Use it.  I’ll forge you a prescription if I have to.”



“Why are you singling me out?” demanded Voldemort, eyes flashing a dangerous red.  “Look at that group over there!  They look far more murderous than I do!”



Moody’s eye swiveled to a group of angry-looking people with large signs who were yelling and chanting various things such as “No pay, no script!” and “We’ll see how much you miss us when you’re stuck with reality TV shows!”



“Them?” Moody asked.  “They’re just a bunch of writers on strike.  Relatively harmless.  Unless you factor in all the non-writers who will lose jobs over this strike.  But who cares about them, anyways?”



“THREE MINUTES!” shouted the manager from the front.  Every fan in the building squealed simultaneously with delight. 



It was then that things really began to get interesting.  Mean little kids ran around screaming “BELLATRIX KILLS RON!  BELLATRIX KILLS RON!”  Fans everywhere screamed; soon people had swarmed the little kids with their pitchforks and commemorative collectors’ wands.  “KILL THE HERETICS!” they roared.  “THEY HAVE SPOILED THE BOOK FOR US! TAKE THEIR LIVES AS REPAYMENT!”



“Do you think we should tell them that Ron doesn’t die?” Hermione wondered aloud.



“I die?” shrieked Ron.  He began grasping at his hair and his clothing wildly.  “Oh my God!  Am I fading away?  Oh no!  I swear, I can change!  I never meant to marry that girl in Vegas!  She must have slipped something in my drink, I swear!  I’m not that guy any more!”



Hermione watched him with a sense of humored detachment.  “On second thought, never mind.  Let’s just say nothing.”



By now the little kids had all but vanished underneath a pile of angry fans.  One teenager paced around the area, muttering to himself, “But it makes perfect sense!  In book one Ron is taken during the chess game – by the Queen!  It makes such sense!  Oh no, oh no…”



“TWO MINUTES!” shouted the manager.  Several members of the mob actually looked up from the lynching to whoop or cheer. 



“What people don’t realize is that the book’s not going to come out at all,” commented Harry with a chuckle.  “You all have probably heard about that writers’ strike.”



“First of all, Harry,” replied Hermione in a very know-it-all voice that she’d perfected further over the duration of Chapter 7 (which she had not appeared in, in case you’d forgotten), “that’s in America.  Second of all, that’s for scriptwriters.  Thirdly, that’s going to take place about four months from now.”



“Ah.  Well, scriptwriters aren’t that important anyways.  This means there’ll be more reality TV!  Woohoo!”



Hermione stared at him in disbelief.  “You actually like reality TV?”



“Yeah!”  He grinned.  “It’s so real!”



“Yes,” she muttered, “it’s not scripted at all.  Right.”






Everyone squealed once more, including the paramedics that had been called to attend to the poor idiots who had stupidly thought to scream out a (fake) spoiler.  Together all the fans began to count down the seconds to the release.


“60… 59… 58…”



“This is going to get really old after a while,” Voldemort pointed out.



“OH MY GOD!” screamed Ron fearfully.  “WHAT ARE THEY COUNTING DOWN TO?”  He grabbed Harry by the shoulders and shook him roughly.  “Come on, Harry!  They’re counting down to the end of the world!  As your sidekick I’m obligated to get you out of this building!”



“They’re counting down to the release of the book, Ron,” Hermione said with a sigh.  “Countdowns don’t always end in explosions, contrary to what action movies may have taught you.  Also, if the world is really going to end, it doesn’t matter if you get Harry out of this building.  He’d still die.”



“37… 36… 35…”



Dumbledore whistled merrily to himself.  “Jawbreaker, anyone?  No?  No?  Fine, I’ll just have one to myself.”  So he popped one into his mouth.  “Oh yes.  Oh sweet merciful Jesus yes.  That’s the stuff.  That’s some shit there, boy.  That’s some fine shit.  Wow.  Hot damn.”



And again everyone was creeped out for several moments.  Except for Moody.  Either he was used to Dumbledore’s candy habit or he was busy checking out a group of female (overage, might I add – I don’t want to be suspended or anything) fans near the counter.  I’ll leave it to you to decide which it was.



“27… 26… 3… 2… 1…”



 (Okay, so I skipped ahead a little.  I got bored.  And this is where I’m ending this chapter because it was the only good place to end it and the other half of the extra-large chapter will be posted in a week or two.  Hooray for quick updates!)



“That author’s note really ruins the flow,” Hermione pointed out.



(Shove it.)




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