neigedens: shirley examining tiny nipples (Default)
Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear? ([personal profile] neigedens) wrote2007-05-06 09:57 pm
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Hi! I'm not dead, in fact. I took a self-imposed leave of absence and kind of forgot about LJ. But I have fic, oddly enough. I started writing it after reading Catch-22, which may explain some things. Or perhaps not. It is the first chapter of a longer fic

Title: A Day in the Life
Author: Y HALO THAR
Word Count: 3,300 (this chapter)
Rating: PG
Summary: In the happy-go-lucky days following the defeat of You-Know-Who, the people have thrown off the Shackles of Tyranny, Dean is a journalist, Seamus is completely bonkers, and the Wizarding world seems to have misplaced their Chosen One...

A Day In the Life


I saw a film today, oh boy.
The English Army had just won the war.

Chapter 1


Dean didn't know why he was working as a journalist. He despised it. He knew this, quite consciously in fact, but for some reason it didn't bother him, or at least not enough. He'd applied at The Daily Prophet for reasons that were obscure to him now. He supposed in the beginning he'd had some vague notion of drawing cartoons for them, but the editor had been so adamant in turning him down that Dean had never dared to broach the subject again. Instead Dean had been kept on as a regular reporter, and so had been stuck in Goblin Affairs Committees and useless Wizengamot hearings for years.

The post-war Prophet was an odd place. For what Dean supposed was the first time in its long existence, there was no external government or organization pushing on the editor to conceal certain truths from the public, or forcing them to report sugar-coated versions of events. Censorship at the Prophet had been pretty much the norm since the Fudge years, probably longer. Now that the war and subsequent changes within the infrastructure of the government had put an end to all that, the Prophet had more freedom than it had had in decades, and no one seemed quite sure about what to do with it. Hermione Granger had been one of the most outspoken anti-censorship advocates at the paper, even during the war. "It's despicable," she had said when Dean interviewed her (a distinctly awkward occasion), "that this kind of repression exists in modern Wizarding society, right under our very noses. The government needs to keep itself out the news and let the people hear the TRUTH."

She had said it just like that, too, with the caps and everything, and only a very insistent copy editor had convinced Dean to change it before sending it out (the editor said it looked unprofessional, something that never would have occurred to Dean).

So with fewer controls and relative liberty Dean frequently felt suffocated. He supposed it was a simple case of being unhappy in a chosen career path, but he apparently lacked the initiative to do anything about it. He supposed some people could find endless intrigue and entertainment in the foibles and intricacies of the political system, but he was not one of them. The mundanity of the endless acts and laws of the bureaucracy bored him and the more covert, slightly corrupt part of their dealings only repulsed him. Despite all Hermione's proclamations against the government interfering with the "people's" news, the tragic fact was that historically the Prophet had been a government mouthpiece more than anything else, and now without that pressure the paper didn't really have much structure. Most of the news was quite vague and gossipy in nature and when it managed to be informative it was mostly because of pure luck. Dean didn't think any of the staff had been trained in journalism or writing of any sort. He knew he certainly hadn't. It seemed to him they were just making it up as they went along, but no one seemed to really mind too much. That's probably what bothered Dean most of all.

~


So Dean went on in an irritating sort of dream for nearly two years until the day the bum burst into The Daily Prophet's offices early in the morning, demanding to see the editor.

"I want to see the editor," he said. "It's important. You need to print a correction. It's urgent."

Dean watched rather bemusedly from the corridor with his cup of coffee. He could only see the man's back as he gesticulated wildly. The bum was raggedy and wearing a filthy cloak. He smelled of firewhiskey and the cheaper types of Muggle liquor. When asked the nature of his complaint, the man only repeated his insistence to see the editor.

As entertaining as the sight would probably prove to be, Dean turned down the corridor, deciding to let security sort it out. He'd already seen a few of them hovering around rather sheepishly, their hands in their pockets on their wands. Dean walked to his small, coffin-like office, reeled in by the call of his deadlines.

Perhaps ten minutes later, in the middle of arguing with himself over the proper spelling of "privilege," he was interrupted by one of his colleagues.

"There's a complete nut out in the lobby," the man, a loud and boorish man named Abraham Powers, said, nodding down the hallway towards the front. "He's on a tear."

"Oh?"

"I dunno what the hell he's on about, but whatever it is he won't shut up about it."

"What's he doing here?"

"He wants us to print a retraction about something in yesterday's edition."

"What about?"

"I'm not sure. He talks so much, and so fast, I can't understand a goddamn word he says. It's hilarious. You should go check it out."

"He's still here?"

"Sure."

Dean felt hesitant at first, but after Powers departed and Dean sat there staring at his pathetic scratches and inability to spell simple words like "privilege," he stood up, stretching his arms and arching his spine, feeling the crack in his back. A sudden feeling of vindictiveness stabbed at his insides, and suddenly the idea of going to listen to the ravings of some poor, deluded wretch as if he were some circus animal seemed far less distasteful than it would have a few minutes ago.

The man was indeed still there, regaling a good portion of the Prophet's journalistic, janitorial, and security staff with what seemed a highly complex and involved explanation.

"It's because everyone's trying to kill me," the bum summed up as Dean walked in.

"Everyone?"

"Oh yes."

"Surely not everyone could be out to get you," insisted one of his listeners in a patronizing tone.

The bum persisted. He had been captured during the war, he explained, by Death Eaters. He had been lucky to escape with his life and sanity still intact.

(A few people had the temerity to snort at this, but most kept silent and the bum continued.)

It was only when he had escaped into the larger world that he learned the horrible truth; the Death Eaters and You Know Who's other allies and cronies had managed to inflict upon the greater Wizarding world an epidemic of insanity that disabled any normal, right-thinking person of understanding the greater significance of things.

"I was an oasis," the bum explained, "a lone bastion of rock-hard sanity. Everyone else had completely gone off the deep end."

His audience asked him how so. He explained; the rest of the Wizarding world, for instance, assumed that You-Know-Who had been defeated by Harry Potter three years ago after a very bloody and tiresome war. Only the bum knew the truth: the whole thing had been staged. The person acting as hero and victor over You Know Who hadn't been the Boy Who Lived at all. Harry Potter had been replaced with a cyborg long before that.

A cyborg? asked his audience.

Yes, he responded emphatically, a cyborg, a Muggle invention, an unholy mix of a human and an android, unfeeling, semi-human, and easy to control.

"I was there," explained the bum. "Harry Potter was in my year at Hogwarts. I was there the night it happened." The Death Eaters had Oblivated him shortly thereafter, but the charm had worn off only a few years later. That's why they had to kidnap him again. They had Crucio'ed him within an inch of his life, then given him the horrible gift of sanity in a world gone mad.

He had been in danger of being turned into a cyborg himself, just like poor Harry had. It would've spelled disaster for his future plans, the bum explained earnestly, for cyborgs have a limited time before they begin malfunctioning and must be taken down for repair.

Cyborgs, the bum went on to explain further, were a Muggle invention, adapted by the Death Eaters in this case because of their unfamiliarity to wizards. They had worked remarkably well, in this case, had they not? One could see examples thereof anywhere one went, if one only looked.

The group he had been talking to sat in stunned silence as he took a break in his diatribe to take a drink of something from his filthy overcoat. His matter-of-fact, loquacious manner completely failed to belie his evident insanity.

The bum had continued developing his ideas about cyborgs and their relation to Harry Potter, but before he could properly get started a little cough interrupted him.

Everyone turned their head and even the bum's smooth manner and delivery were interrupted. The door to the editor-in-chief's office was ajar with the editor herself standing there in the threshold. The bum could hardly remain fazed for long; he regained his composure and greeted her like an old friend, which in a way she was.

"Hermione!" he said, grinning in a winning manner. "I've come to discuss a few things with you. They are of the utmost importance."

"Oh?" she asked tersely.

"I take it you were listening to what I've been saying?"

"Oh yes."

Her arms were crossed over her chest and one eyebrow was raised. The bum seemed surprised by her annoyance. "What, don't you remember me?"

"Should I?"

"Of course you should, Dean here already has." The bum jerked a thumb towards Dean, who had indeed recognized his old classmate almost at once and had been standing agape and speechless the entire time. "Don't you remember me? It's Seamus."

Hermione's shock was not as great as Dean's, but her eyes did grow a fair bit wider and when she spoke it was in a fainter, shakier voice one rarely heard from her while she was at the office. "Seamus? No, it couldn't be…"

"Oh, I assure you, it is."

"B-but, you're dead. Were killed."

Seamus spread his arms wide and grinned. "Here I am. They nearly had me, didn't they, but I gave them the slip and here I am." There was a pause wherein Hermione stared at him in something the bordered between tenderness and horror, and Seamus became indignant. "Don't look so upset and pitying like that. I've come to help you. Look, I know where Harry is."

These words caused a sensation greater than anything he had said thus far. Hermione's face grew beet red. "What?"

"I swear on my mother's eventual grave."

This was too much for Hermione; normally so composed, in three steps she had bounded over to Seamus and was shaking him by the collar of his filthy coat. demanding that he tell her all he knew. This was possibly the last thing anyone would have expected to happen, and so the watching staff only watched in amazement.

Dean, finally breaking out of his stupor, was the first to react. He separated the two, although once the impact of the scene she was making in front of her employees hit her, Hermione backed away, looking faint again. The entire office seemed to erupt in cacophony. There was so much noise and ruckus going on, and Seamus looked so out of place and, for a few seconds, almost scared in the midst of it that Dean did with him the only sane thing he could think of; he took him home and gave him dinner and a shave.

~


"Clean up, will you? You look like a something dead," said Dean.

Seamus saluted. "Yes, sir."

He had accepted Dean's hospitality with flamboyant cordiality. He smiled almost non-stop, something which disconcerted Dean because he could not remember such unflappable hilarity as a trait in his friend beforehand. Seamus also talked non-stop. Even the very large meal Dean provided could not shut him up. He continued to expand upon his theories throughout dinner.

Dean stared at him in disbelief. "I can't even believe you're sitting here. How come you never came to find any of us in the Order?"

"Everyone's trying to kill me," Seamus repeated, grinning widely.

"We thought you were dead."

"These two ideas could be related. You see, nearly everyone I've ever met since I got away from the Death Eaters has wanted me dead. They all hate me. I figure," he said, considering, "it's because I'm Irish." And he flashed the grin again.

"Were you really captured by Death Eaters?"

"Oh yes."

This was in fact the part of story Dean believed, though he'd never heard of a person reacting to enemy capture in quite the way Seamus had. Dean thought of the Longbottoms, Crucio'ed within an inch of their lives and thus rendered almost completely speechless. Seamus, on the other hand, had most likely gone through a similar situation and now apparently couldn't shut up. The disappearance would account for the radical turn in his friend's demeanor.

Seamus had shaved and now looked a little more human. He was rail-thin, though, and when Dean asked where the hell he'd been living he only grinned.

Eventually, though, Dean got a vague outline of what had occurred in Seamus Finnegan's life for the past five years or so. Omitting extraneous details and obvious falsehoods, it went like this:

After Dumbledore's funeral, Seamus' mother had brought him back home and had intended to keep him there. ("Distinctly mother-hennish," said Seamus.) She had been unable to exercise such control for very long, though, especially when the war had broken out. Seamus had ran away back to Hogwarts and eventually to London to join the Order.

("I knew about the cyborg-Harry at this point, but I had been Oblivated, as you may remember.")

Shortly afterward, and Dean did remember this part quite well, Seamus had been fighting in a skirmish in the country when he had been cornered and captured. How exactly he had escaped and what he'd done with himself for the three years afterward remained a bit foggy to Dean, though not to Seamus, who was quite lucid on the subject.

After finishing the sinister experiments on him the Death Eaters had needed to observe him in the real world a bit, and so had let him go. A sort of catch-and-release program, if you will. Fortunately he had been too quick for them and had escaped by his wits alone.

Dean refused to believe another word of his insane friend's ramblings after his capture by Death Eaters. Whatever had actually happened Seamus either could not or would not tell him. Dean began to toy with the unpleasant idea that maybe the Death Eater hadn't just Crucio'ed him, that they had done something even nastier to him to addle his brains to such an extent. What this could be Dean, not equipped with the resourceful, deluded mind possessed by Seamus, could not imagine.

Seamus insisted that Harry Potter, who had been missing for the last two years, was still alive and being held captive in a strange land. He was still a cyborg, regrettably. Seamus insisted that only two people in the world knew exactly where Harry Potter was right now.

~


Indeed he was right; only two people did know where the Boy Who Lived had gone, and those two were not the ones who were should have. They were certainly not the ones who desperately wanted to.

Hermione went home very late that night. After Seamus Finnegan's extraordinary pronouncement and the ensuing chaos it brought about she had locked herself in her office and asked not to be disturbed. Then she had buried her head in her hands and thought.

Seamus Finnegan, she thought. It was unthinkable that he had survived and had kept off everyone's radar for so long.

Dean Thomas had been so insistent about spiriting him away that she hadn't even got a chance to ask him any questions. She had flown upon him in a rage of inquisitiveness and had probably scared him half to death, poor scarecrow of a thing he was.

That was the thing: Seamus was so obviously completely potty that Hermione couldn't believe she lent any credence at all to his claim about Harry.

I've tried everything else, she reflected bitterly, might as well take a lunatic's advice as well as any.

So she put out inquiries about Seamus Finnegan and his connection to Harry Potter, dispatched these missives to the Ministry of Magic's offices, and went home.

These notes were very typical inquiries that the Prophet normally sent in. They were received, however, with much more interest than was usual.

~


By one o'clock that night Dean very politely sat down his former best mate, told him that he couldn't remember when he'd been more happy to see anyone in his life than he had been to see Seamus that morning, and then very kindly told him to shut the fuck up so he could get some sleep. Dean tended to get cranky very late at night, a fact his friend remembered too late.

Seamus grinned. "Right, just let me finish this thought."

"Tomorrow."

"But it's very important. It's about Harry."

"Tomorrow. You've already told me. He's being held captive."

Seamus only grinned. "You don't know half of it, mate. Believe me."

~


Indeed Dean didn't know half of it. He actually didn't know very much at all.

Harry's story began immediately after the war had ended. Only a few months after he defeated Voldemort the owls started coming.

Unbelievable, he had thought. The pressures of fame had been crazy enough before, but this was insane. He tried hiding out at the Burrow, Grimmauld Place, even Lupin's house, but the owls found him wherever he went.

The sheer amount of the correspondence intimidated him. So many pounds of parchment and owl droppings each day of the week. The pictures people sent him. The gushing letters of praise were almost as disturbing as the infrequent bits of hate mail. The odor of obsession in which the letters had been written and endless owl feathers seemed to cover the entire flat. Harry shuddered at the thought.

Ginny suggested rather tersely that he hire a secretary. He did, but it didn't help much. The pounds of paper were an invisible load upon him. He couldn't even go out in public. People waited outside his house. When he placed the security charms and jinxes the herds of people were driven away, but Harry neurotically felt he couldn't venture far from the house for fear of them. He started imagining Romilda Vane-clones around every corner.

"Understandable," said Ginny when he told her of the fearsomeness of these imaginings, and she tried very hard to be sympathetic to make him snap out of it in her subtle yet long-suffering way. "It's silly," she reasoned, "that the biggest hero of the century, the bloody Chosen One, is sitting here in his underwear on a Thursday afternoon, refusing to open the drapes."

There was that. Harry realized that he probably looked a little stupid. He'd faced down one of the most powerful wizards of the century, he should be able to handle a little social embarrassment. He promised Ginny to try hard to be more outgoing and less paranoid. He started by going out to see Ron and Hermione nearly every day, and then improved upon this small victory gradually. He still, however, felt uneasy in his mind. Fans of all sorts were apt to follow him and jump out at any time. When he was with Ron it was a bit amusing to try and shake people off, but when he was alone Harry felt uncomfortable in their presence. He decided he must be of unsound mind. After all, it was like Ginny had said; he was the Wizarding world's golden child, he supposed he had really saved their bacon, in a way, shouldn't he be able to put up with a bit of gushing for their sake, at least? But he could not, it seemed.

He couldn't shake off the feeling that there was something wrong with his mind. This impression was not helped when he chanced to meet Seamus Finnegan in a pub one day.

"I must be completely crazy," said Harry upon seeing him again.

"Right on, mate," said Seamus, and grinned.

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