Chapter 1: Angst
Fred doesn't really care for Herbology. The squirm of the dirt under his fingertips, or the omnipresent fog on the greenhouses. How stupid he looks in the earmuffs, how pathetic he feels without a wand to wave around. It feels like a Muggle thing, boring.
And he doesn't really look up to Professor Longbottom. The war hero. As far as Fred is concerned they can all take their war stories and bury them deep, deep in the dirt, deep with their dead.
One day Professor Longbottom calls him into his office, just to explain how much he liked his essay. Fred knows how to write all right, how to transcend the everyday. "You'll go far," Longbottom promises. "I was a pathetic student when I was your age. Barely brave enough to stand up to my friends."
His friends? All Fred wants is to say once and for all he's not a prankster, a flier, and he never will be. Just to stand up, for once, to his family.
But he doesn't.
Chapter 2: Fluff
Fluff competition: second place.
The baby does not cry.
"Isn't it—he, he, supposed to do something?" Victoire panics. "Jean cried right away, why doesn't he?" He is staring up at them with large, wondering—wondrous—eyes, eyes that seem to say Oh hello, there's a ruddy big world out here, isn't there? Curious! Why'd it take so long to see it, eh? (Victoire's numb body is wondering the same thing.)
"He's fine," smiles Teddy, touching the baby's fine red hair. "The Healers know what they're doing."
Sure enough, he begins to shriek—not sad, really, but overwhelmed with whatever comes before emotion, the roar of sight and sound.
"I—look at him!" Teddy grins again. "I think we should name him Arthur. For your grandad."
Victoire hears her son's impossibly young voice and sees a hint of the Weasley red alive upon him. "Yes. Of course. That's brilliant."
There are magical tests, ordinary things, and of course he is fine. How could he not be? He is perfect, they can tell. But then all of a sudden Teddy seems downcast.
"What is it?" demands Victoire.
"Er. I thought, you know, he sort of looked like your grandad. With that hair?"
"Yes," she says, in no mood for hesitation.
"Er. His hair? Has gone rather blue."
Chapter 3: Slash
Slash pairing: use the words "deviate," "bleary," and "scattered." Try to stay near 100 words.
Scorpius Apparates home immediately. There is no transition time and thus no way for his mind to slowly forget about the papers still scattered across his desk. He had expected his new position to deviate from the old monotony by bringing more pay, not just more work, but instead his bleary eyes fight to stay awake through the reheated dinner as he grinds his teeth and tells himself not to think about work.
But every moment spent at home is another moment of Jeremy's quiet smiles reflecting off his bitten lips, and Scorpius would not have it any other way.
Chapter 4: Psychological Thriller
Psychological thriller: must have dark themes related to mental health, and be between 100 and 200 words.
Ginny does it because kids like to look at any magical pictures, don't they? With the moving faces? Harry does it because he didn't have any for almost twelve years. But when Andromeda gives her grandson photographs of his parents and grandfather...well, he drools all over them, he doesn't know any better, he's a baby. Later, though, he begins to control his powers, and she presses the images into his hands that much harder.
By the time he realizes what she craves, he is almost of age. His parents it is easy to imitate a bit more than is natural—he looks like them anyway. But he waits until he thinks she's gone senile before doing any more.
"Ted," she breaths from her bed when he enters the room. He kneels down and bends out of the way so that her kiss only lands on the top of his head.
Chapter 5: Poem
Poem: must include the words "figurative," "consternation," and "vulgar."
Nothing's figurative about the way
The magic lives inside you, bright and raw.
So you remind me, every brilliant day
That I too wield that power, bring that awe.
It's vulgar, almost, how unsubtle this
Is for you, cursed to changing in a blink.
Never to pass for Muggle—yet your kiss
Remains the same, enough for me to drink
In moment after moment. Here we stand,
The choice of magic made for us. There can
Be no consternation on my part and
Not yours either, I think. Another man
Could take your place in force, in time, or space.
But no others can touch our carved-out place.
Chapter 6: Halloween
Halloween celebration: character should be chosen at random (I got Albus but then James...showed up.) 100 words or less, should include the words "oddity," "crass," and "tenuous."
"That's a little…over-the-top, don't you think?" said James, glancing down at his brother's fabric, fabricated dragon wings.
Albus shrugged, which almost knocked one wing off the tenuous threads connecting them to his robes. "Everyone's wearing something outlandish."
James thought there was a bit of a difference between the oddity of Rose in a Quidditch uniform, say, and Albus's crass, shiny, getup, but he just shrugged. "I'll clear the way the way for you."
Albus would need a yard of wingspan, either side. That and he could stick a Hex Me sign on.
Chapter 7: Adulthood
Male character growing into adulthood; length should not exceed 100 words
He had gotten plenty of gifts by owl at school, but his mother had slipped in a note saying that she wanted to wait to give him the last one at home.
"Some traditions," she said quietly, "don't ever need to change."
He blinked, nervously, as he gently opened the thin box. The watch inside had a thin silver chain, and when he slipped it on, it felt light around his wrist. "Thank you!" he smiled.
"Happy birthday, Scorpius," she said, her hug hiding Draco's misty eyes from his son's view.
Chapter 8: Fred
Include only Fred, less than 100 words, mention Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and summer break.
Fred can take whatever he wants from the joke shop, he knows, but there's nothing he wants to take and nothing he wants to give in return. It wouldn't be Galleons, just something like working the checkout counter for a few hours amid long days. Or coming up with ideas. Listening to ideas, anything. Being willing to smile and plot revenge if he was ever pranked, not hurrying to rinse off. Laughing along.
He turns and shrugs and Apparates to Honeydukes.
Chapter 9: New Year's
New Year's related, max 120 words. Extra challenge: emphasis on color description, no dialogue, and include: "hectic," "impassioned," and "clarity."
Fred hadn't drunk that much, but things seemed muted; the walls the same off-yellow as the champagne he poured himself. He'd never thought he needed to learn magical cures for hangovers, but suspected he might come to regret that. The previous December he'd have been in a different time zone, have had to stay up even later—no, that didn't make a real difference. Did it?
His mind, like the glass, seeming far from its deserved clarity, he tuned out the others' conversations. Which was easy to do. Let them fill the schedules of the hectic new year, make impassioned declarations about turning over new leaves; he did not want to go back to what he had left in the future.
Chapter 10: Confessions challenge: round 1
For the first round of another competition. There should be more on the way, so stay tuned!
When he turns eleven, Fred's parents give him an owl of his own. It's a huge owl with dark eyes who sits around looking serious a lot. He names her Athena. Uncle Percy approves, Fred's dad rolls his eyes, and Fred blushes. Roxanne tries to feed it a couple of times. It bites her finger, but Fred always knows how to sneak food in.
When he turns twelve, his parents send him a huge package of Bertie Bott's and a couple books of Muggle tricks, teaching him how to mark his own cards. Of course, his roommates don't understand, and Mike stays convinced that he's trying to practice voodoo or something by poking holes in cards instead of little models of people. Gabe the Git tells Mike to knock it off, because that's mean, but Fred doesn't pay attention and concentrates on not poking himself with a needle.
When he turns thirteen, his parents send him a stretchable quilt. The coursework has been piling up and it nudges insistently at him when it's really time to give up and go to sleep, or flattens into a shawl to throw about himself when he just wants to cry. It's so much faster than waiting for Athena to bring back their "you're doing fine, it's going to be okay"s.
When he turns fourteen, he pumps his fist in joy at the breakfast table for a new songbook and self-tuning strings. He'd gotten his first guitar the previous Christmas, chipping in some of his own Sickles once he'd convinced his parents that was what he wanted. Gabe the Git is not a fan of rock or roll.
The year that Fred turns fifteen, Roxanne gets her first new broom. It's very nice for a second year, but it's a little bit old. She doesn't ask because she's too busy testing it out, but he has to wonder how long his parents have been saving it, hoping he'd ask.
The year he turns sixteen, he buys his own replacement owl after Athena kicks the bucket. It's a short, ugly little owl, and he tells himself he won't get attached to it, won't get distracted like during OWL year. He also tells himself it was a rubbish idea to name owls after Greek gods—better something he actually believes in. Maybe something nice and English.
Unfortunately, the patron saint of England is named George. That'd just be weird.
When he turns nineteen, Roxanne sends him a fake mustache and eyebrows, explaining it's a Muggle thing. The card says I miss you—we all miss you—but don't rush back to England. Take your chance to be someone who isn't Fred.
He doesn't use the new owl, Hamnet, to reply, because he doesn't need his dad knowing where he's at. He just says Thank you.
Chapter 11: Round 2
Lucy and Lily, swimming.
Another Weasley-Potter weekend together. Another well-intentioned destination. Another day just managing to stay under control.
"Come out with us, Lily!" called James Potter, blowing a tall spurt of water through his plastic noodle.
"Nuh-uh," said Lily, shivering and turning over another shell on the shoreline.
"Are you chicken?"
"No!" she quickly snapped.
"Aw, little Lily's scared of the water…"
Al's more diplomatic approach was perhaps more likely to talk his sister into joining them, but he was busy evading another splash from James. However, Lucy swam back towards shore, stepping out and joining Lily on the beach.
"That's a nice shell," she said. "Do you collect them?"
"I don't know," Lily shrugged, "I just saw a few of them and thought these ones looked cool."
"Can I see the big one? Please?"
"Uh-huh." Lily handed it over. "Look, this one's got a big stripe on it, see?"
"Mmhmm," said Lucy, scooting back a few steps until she was wading once again. "Where'd you find it?"
"Over there, I think." Lily nodded at a sloppy mound which Lucy took to be the ruins of Roxanne's short-lived sand castle.
"Cool," said Lucy, before clutching the shell tightly and launching into a dog-paddle.
"Hey. Hey! Give that back! Mum, make her give it back!"
"You can give her a turn for a little bit—" Ginny began.
Enraged, Lily plunged into the water and immediately began swimming full-force towards Lucy. "Give it back, it's mine!"
"Whatever, I wasn't going to break it or anything," said Lucy, handing it back before floating off again.
No one brought the incident up to Lucy. Perhaps no one had noticed. But Lily kept on splashing with her brothers and cousins, staying in the water the rest of the afternoon.
Chapter 12: Round 3
Love triangle: prompts "oasis" and "mint."
There are hundreds of staircases in Hogwarts. There's a library and there are ghosts, there's a lake with a squid and secret passageways around every corner. Teddy has so many memories of sneaking out with his friends to find some new hidden nook or cranny that in the end, he can't believe Dominique needs an oasis from all of it.
"Surely there has to be something there you like?" he finally asks one day once their lips separate.
"No," she maintains, "nobody's as sweet as you, and as nice and cute and—"
She looks like she's going to break down again so all he can do is hug her closer and grow thicker shoulders (being a Metamorphmagus has its advantages, after all).
Truth be told, he's a little surprised Rose has anything in the way of a love life at all. She doesn't seem to need anyone, but sure enough, there she is, prattling away about Abner the Muggle from the Royal Mint. "It's really brilliant how they do all these things to stop counterfeiting—it's like Charms, really. D'you know Isaac Newton used to work there? Great at passing for a Muggle, Newton..."
"Isn't he a bit old for you?" he has to interrupt, one day.
She looks up at him but then quickly turns away, not meeting his eyes. "Oh...no, no, I don't think so."
But Abner doesn't want to be very serious with her, and it grates on her not being able to tell him anything about magic. When they break it off, which it didn't take a Seer to see coming, Teddy gives her a copy of his old alchemy textbook to read for fun.
"How come you never give me books?" Dominique asks.
"Sorry," he blushes, "didn't know you like to read."
"Well...I guess I don't. Let's go to Honeydukes!"
It isn't so much that he falls hard for the younger girl, in the end, as it is that he spends time with her, talking books when she's closing in on herself. And he realizes, when he's there for Dominique to cry on, he thinks of how great and noble he's being by being there for her. But when he's there for Rose, it hardly feels like a sacrifice at all.
He doesn't explain it that way to Dominique, of course. She wouldn't understand, that way, and that only makes him more sure he's doing the right thing. And when he starts going out with Rose, well, they have so much to talk about that silly little things like how he fell in love with her don't really matter.