The Dread Ninja-Pirate Mad Anne Rackham Esq. (gal_montag) wrote in ffictionreview,
The Dread Ninja-Pirate Mad Anne Rackham Esq.

So, I wrote this like, three years ago. I'm struck with the sneaking suspicion that my style hasn't changed much since. But I dunno, since it's mine and I'm always looking at it.

Title: Noir
Author: Bartleby
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Ron/Harry
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Harry is afraid of the dark...
Archive: No
Feedback: Uh-huh
Series/Sequel: No
Disclaimer: Harry, the Dursleys, the Weasleys and Hogwarts belong to J.K. Rowling and to Warner Brothers. They're not mine.


Harry is afraid of the dark, because dark is the first thing he remembers. Fathomless dark spiraling out in front of baby eyes, already fuzzy for wont of glasses. He has his father's eyes. And on some level, he remembers the squarish wire frames that obscured James Potter's eyes. Near sighted like his father and green-eyed like his mother.

And the stairs creak awfully overhead, sending unseen fingers creeping down Harry's spine. The soft murmurings of Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia slithering through the vents become ghost voices in Harry's head. Even Petunia's shadow looming over to drop a bottle, either cold or far too hot, into his crib, became one of the monsters that haunted Harry's dreams.

He grows, as children do, and graduates, finally, to Dudley's old bed, which is too short and has a horrible sag in the middle. Harry also learns that he can make light dance on the tips of his fingers. Fine company until Petunia catches him.

She only catches him once, her face drawing tight. "Never let me catch you at that again." She spits. "Now, get out here and make breakfast, I won't have you making Dudley late for school again." She slams the cupboard door closed with enough vigor to rain plaster down into Harry's hair and bed sheets. She would never catch him again. Harry would make sure of that.

And never mind that Harry is late for school almost every day, and some days he doesn't make it at all. Especially on Tuesdays. Because Tuesday is laundry day, and Harry is charged with hauling the family's laundry to the launderette.

Harry doesn't mind it so much. He's learned to ignore the pitying stares and the stunned murmurs of people shocked at the sight of an urchin, in ridiculously outsized clothes, sitting atop a machine scribbling away at his schoolwork. And it's a few hours away from his aunt's shrill voice and Dudley's whining and random, but well placed punches.

He never speaks to anyone.

It has become normal for his teachers to cluck their tongues and extend due dates and assign make-up work. Because, in spite of everything, Harry is always an impeccable student.

This is far more than anyone can say for Dudley. But Harry has no one to coo over his scholastic achievements and give him treats for a job well done. So, he lauds himself as best as he knows how, congratulating himself for his achievements. He huddles alone in his cupboard, the lights in the palms of his hands chasing the shadows away from the corners and away from his heart.

His Hogwarts letter arrives the week before his twelfth birthday. He doesn't recognize the seal pressed into the wax on the back of the envelope, or the handwriting on the front, but it's addressed to him. And it imparts in him a strange sort of excitement that makes his fingers tremble as he picks at the wax to unseal the letter.

And then all is dashed when Dudley nastily snatches the letter from his hands and hands it over to Uncle Vernon. Harry feels betrayed. There had always been hope before this, hope that maybe they didn't hate him as much as it seemed.

Harry knows that whatever is in that letter is his chance out. And he also knows that Vernon and Petunia will never let him take the chance.

But apparently, no one refuses an invitation to Hogwarts. At least not Harry Potter.

And so he finds himself in the berth of a train with a red haired, freckled boy named Ron Wealsely. Harry had counted on making the trip alone, and so he appreciates the company of another person. They chat a bit, until the trolley dolly comes by and reminds Harry that he's brought nothing to eat. But he does have a pocket full of the gold galleons that were his parent's legacy to him. And when Ron pulls out an awful looking sandwich, Harry offers to buy the whole cart. He probably won't ever get a chance like this again, and it seems like a kind thing to let Ron have his pick.

It surprises Harry when Ron takes the time to educate him on the All-Flavor Beans, and make sure he doesn't eat any of the vomit or earwax flavored ones. Because Dudley never would have done that. In fact, Harry doesn't think he's ever known anyone who would have done that for him.

"Earwax?" He asks.

Ron shrugs noncommentally and eats a roast beef flavored one. "They are all flavor, after all. And some people like them." He grins a little. "My brother Fred loves them, but I think that's mostly to annoy my mother."

And so, it's decided that they're friends. Harry's never had a friend before, though. He isn't sure how to act or how to treat one. And part of him believes that there might be a condition attached, or that anything could change it. He resolves that he must be careful. It's a terrible thing to be alone.

They are roomed together, which Harry is grateful for. He doesn't think that he could start over with someone new. And his new room is enormous and the bed is a real bed with four posters and a thick downy comforter and long enough for a growing boy to stretch out on. There is a perch for Hedwig, and a desk and a wardrobe of his very own.

Except he really hasn't got much to put in or on either of them.

Ron is balanced precariously on the edge of his bed, putting up posters and pennants with thumbtacks that certainly shouldn't be able to penetrate the stone walls. But that isn't the strangest thing Harry's seen today, and there will surely be stranger things still so, he ignores it.

"Haven't you got anything to unpack, Harry?" Ron asks over his shoulder, bare toes curling in the blankets on the edge of his mattress as though that might halt his slide to the floor.

Harry shakes his head.

Ron half throws himself backwards, landing on his back, as hard as would be possible, in the center of his mattress. "Well we can't have your walls looking all bare like that, can we?" He leans over the edge of his bed and rummages through his trunk. "Hang this."

Harry unrolls the poster of a man with a little golden ball pinched between his fingers. He is using his other hand to wave at whoever is viewing the poster. "Who is he?"

Ron arches surprised brows. "Who is he? Bloody hell! Kurt Rawling!" Harry looks at him blankly. "Only the greatest seeker who ever lived!"


"You know, quidditch."

"What is quidditch?"

Ron smiles. "You've got a lot to learn." He says and drops a few thumbtacks into Harry's palm. "Let's get that hung up."

"I can't take this." Harry hands the poster back. "I haven't got anything to give you in return."

Ron looks at him strangely. "What made you think you'd have to?" He bounces a little. "Now, hurry, we can't be late for dinner."


At Hogwarts, it's lights out precisely at nine-thirty, every torch in every hallway, except those near the lavatories winks out. One after another as though snuffed by the pinch of invisible fingers. First through third-years are to be in bed by ten, even though the common rooms are always abuzz with activity well afterwards, and there is always a prefect or a head boy or girl to make sure that the little ones are at least in their rooms, if not in bed as well. And though they are usually a little more lenient with the second and third years, it is certain that all first years will be found and herded into their rooms.

Seeing no reason to argue, Harry allows himself to be pushed into his room, Ron behind him, putting up a little bit more of a fight. But only because that's in Ron's nature and not out of any real desire to stay up.

Harry begins dressing for bed immediately, and quickly, the old castle is full of chinks and drafts and he's grateful that he bought the flannel pyjamas Hagrid told him to buy. The very first pair he had ever owned, cream colored with black stripes, and he is frightfully proud of them. But now is no time for a fashion show, it's far too cold for that. He clambers onto his bed and tries to blow out his candle. It sputters and yawns, but doesn't go out. Harry tries again with similar results; in fact, it seems to be burning brighter and hotter than before.

"You can't do it that way." Ron says. "They're charmed. Do it like this." He stares at the flame for a moment and then says in a commanding tone: "De Illuminus!" And his candle flares up and then winks out.

Harry tries the same. "De Illuminus." Though his voice quavers. But the candle goes out with little protest and the shadows spring up to wrap themselves around Harry's small form. It isn't as dark as the cupboard; to be sure, the moon shines silver light through a single window. But the window is on Ron's side of the room and doesn't shed enough light to assuage Harry's fears.

He scrambles under the comforter, dragging the heavy down over the top of himself, fully knowing that it won't protect him from whatever he thinks is lurking in the shadows.

There, he lays curled into a frightened ball for quite some time. He can't say how long, only that his calves are cramping and that he must move or he'll be miserable in the morning. On the other side of the room, Ron sighs, a soft shuddery sigh, and swallows a sob. And Harry knows the sound.

"Are you all right?" He asks into the darkness.

"I'm not crying." Ron says, his voice is raw and Harry can hear the tears in it. "'M just a little homesick."

Harry dares to peek out from under the comforter. "You can. Sleep in my bed, if you want."

"What?" Ron rolls half over.

"I can keep you company. And. I'm um, cold."

Ron appears to think about this for a moment. "All right." He says and sits up, glancing about the room as though afraid someone might catch him. And then he's in Harry's bed, curled up under the blankets with his back to the other boy. Harry can hear Ron's breath ease a bit and Ron's warmth helps ward off the shadows. He smiles. And proceeds the have the first restful night of sleep he can remember.

It becomes a habit for the two of them to find comfort in one another. The two of them huddled under Ron's quilt with chocolate frogs melting in their fingers, Ron clutching Harry's hand at the back of the class during a particularly difficult potions test. They curl together in Harry's bed, back to back, and on bad nights, Ron huddles against Harry's side, weeping hotly into the collar of Harry's pyjamas until he falls asleep.

Harry secretly likes these nights best of all.

Ron does too.

And for some reason, it's never strange. In spite of whispers and meaningful looks and innuendo, they see no reason to stop what they've been doing.

Harry starts spending more time at the Weasley's in the summers. Because no matter what kind of creative cage Uncle Vernon manages to put Harry in, Fred and George will always find a way to spring him out. They're really quite fond of him, even though neither would openly admit it.

And Mrs. Weasley is always happy to see Harry, and always has the trundle under Ron's bed made up neatly and proper clothes for him to wear. Normally Ron's magicked to fit Harry's slimmer and slightly shorter frame. She always knows his size, no matter how much he grows between visits.

Ron's room is on the fourth landing of hole cut and folded in the space between the kitchen ceiling and the attic floor, made by his father when he realized he would not be able to afford the additions required to house his ever expanding brood.

It's small and terribly orange, but it's Ron's and Harry loves it from the moment he lays eyes on it. Best of all, the room seems imparted with a soft, ever pervasive glow that soothes Harry and keeps all the shadows at bay. He sleeps in Ron's bed anyway. Because it feels good to have the other boy snugged up behind him.

And with each passing year, Harry's fear of the dark becomes worse and worse. It's his turn to lay curled against Ron's side, weeping hot tears in his collar. Ron is more than happy to return the favor.

Harry bears more than a boy wizard should have to bear alone.

They kiss for the first time in a field of blue and pink wildflowers, sprinkled in Devon dusk with Mrs. Weasley's voice calling over the hills for them to come to dinner. Harry is content, just for a moment, to sit astride Ron's hips and smile down at him. Ron's broad mouth splits into merry laughter and Harry dips in for another kiss, swallowing Ron's voice, and his tongue, whole.

"I love you, Harry." Ron says solemnly, blue eyes bright as though he's been drinking too much butterbeer.

And Harry feels as though he's the one who's been drinking. Swoony and dizzy-like and he says:

"I love you, too, Ron."

"I always did, you know."

Harry realizes he does know. Because he always did too.

Mrs. Weasley's voice rises in pitch and her tone becomes more clipped, and even though Harry isn't really listening to her, he knows what she's probably shouting. Ron tumbles him into the grass and dead leaves. He's growing his hair out like Bill's and it's grown long enough now to brush his shirt collar, and Harry thinks he likes it better this way.

"Harry! Ron! HarryRon!" Ginny stands over them, breathlessly, with her hands braced on her knees. And then she looks at them. Really looks. Her eyes get huge and knowing. "Mumsaysyou'renottoooldforaspanking," Breath. "Andifyoudon'tgethomerightawayshe'sgoingtoprooveit." She says and then turns and sprints back towards the house.

Harry and Ron take their time because Ron is so too old for a spanking. And he knows that his mother would never give him one. She never has before, even when he really deserved it.

She smiles at Harry and gives Ron a slightly cross look as they sit at her table. Ron curls his mouth into a crooked smile, the look softens a bit, and she helps them both to an extra spoonful of mash.

Ever polite, Harry says, "Thank you, Mrs. Weasley."

Mrs. Weasley smiles brightly at Harry and lightly cuffs his jaw. "Molly, son. Call me Molly."

Harry and Ginny exchange a look, and Ron smiles into his potatoes and kicks Harry's foot under the table.


This one I wrote about five months ago. It's RPF, but I don't think it would be necessary to know who the people are to understand the story.

Title: That Girl
Fandom: Queens of the Stone Age
Characters: Mark Lanegan, Nick Oliveri, Brody Dalle, Troy VanLeeuwen
Prompt: #85 She
Word Count: 323
Rating: PG, but only barely
Summary: Genderfuck, you know you love it
Disclaimer: These people aren't mine, I don't know them, I don't claim to. This is all fiction.
Warnings: The word "dyke"

It should have been old hat by now, but waking up a girl for the past two weeks is really starting to make Mark lose his cool. He's back up to almost a pack a day again and he starves for a hit, slouching around in Brody's clothes, which are too big on top and too short on the bottom, hopefully looking surly enough to keep everyone away.

He's failing, though. He knows because every time he growls it comes out all wrong and Brody gives him a big hug and Nick mocks him openly. And Troy is forever offering fashion tips.

"Well, you look like such a dyke!" He says in exasperation.

Mark yanks the barrettes out of his hair and runs his hands through it until it stands more on end than usual.

"You're one to talk," he roars, though it comes out more like a shriek. "You know fuck all about woman's fashion anyway!" And he stomps off trailing ribbons and silk and lace.

Although, he admits to himself, his legs *do* look better in stockings.

And it's should be enough to still pass as a guy at 6'5", even with the peaches and cream complexion, if he dresses baggy enough. But his shoulders are too narrow and his hips are too wide and his breasts too perky and he keeps running into things with this ungainly, swaying walk that's more a glide than a stride. He can't even go get a pack of cigarettes without people goggling at him.

Look at that fuckin' girl, I wonder if the legs go all the way up.

And Mark doesn't even know what that means. He offers what he hopes is a withering glare, and probably isn't, and finds himself flouncing out of the store. Which totally ruins any sort of intimidating he'd been planning on doing.

But he clearly can't look *that* much like a dyke. And that makes him smile.


And a sequel...

Title: Don't Dream It...
Fandom: Queens of the Stone Age
Characters: Mark Lanegan, Brody Dalle, PJ Harvey
Prompt: #40 Sight
Word Count: 197
Rating: G
Summary: The continuing adventures of Girl!Mark Lanegan
Disclaimer: These people aren't mine, I don't know them, I don't claim to. This is all fiction.

It takes very little convincing to get Brody to help him pick out a bra. In their ever rotating cast of characters, he's the closest to a permanent other girl there's ever been and as rough and tough as Brody is, there are things in the world that only another girl could understand.

Mark gets that now.

They run into Polly Jean at the VC, which is completely surreal, only not because how often does one go bra shopping with Brody Dalle, or, in this case, at all.

"Hello Polly Jean." Mark says, because with him, it's never just Polly, always Polly Jean.

And she eyes him a moment before bursting into laughter. "Oh, Mark, you look horrible in drag." She chides.

Mark feels his face heat. "I'm not in drag." He says softly.

"Oh." Polly Jean replies. "Oh!" And of course she's heard of this happening; don't they read the Weekly World News? They don't. And she stands for a moment, chewing on her bright red lips and looking at them with mild discomfort.

"I didn't mean it, Mark." She says, finally. "You look great." And she is gone in a curly swirl of black hair.


So. In my own TL;DR kind of way, I'd like some feedback, please and thank you. Have I changed as a writer? For the better or the worse?
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