Happy Fiction Friday, O readers! To anyone who has found me only through my originals, or who does not care to hear any more about the Dangerverse, you may want to excuse yourself from the post today, as it is going to be quite DV-heavy. For anyone else, come right in, sit right down, and get ready for some Dangerverse fun.
As promised, I am working on a Dangerverse Christmas story, set nineteen years after the DV Final Battle (yes, that is a nod to Jo Rowling's epilogue in DH). However, the story is being a little bit refractory, not wanting to let me get it started. Still, I was able to slide into that era of the DV long enough to get a little flash fiction for you, featuring a certain young lady we met briefly in the main DV.
I do still intend to post the epilogue story -- now entitled "The Most Dangerous Time of the Year", because I'm horrible like that -- on or before Christmas Day, but I can't say exactly when, or how long or detailed it will be. Much is yet to be decided. Still, I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into the parts of the Dangerverse which came between Chapters 69 and 70 of SD.
Thanks, as always, for reading, and please don't forget, if you are able, to purchase an Anne original for Christmas! Every single sale is noted and very much appreciated, I promise you! Also, if there is anything you don't see on the website that you would like to see, or if something needs to be changed or updated, please, let me know! I have only one pair of eyes and one brain, and sometimes I miss things...
Nadia Abigail Lupin closed her eyes and allowed her magic to flow out through her and into the stone walls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the place above all others that came first to her mind when she thought about home. The Marauders' Den in Devon, the Manor Den in Wiltshire, Headquarters in London, all stood as acceptable alternatives at certain times of the year, but it was at Hogwarts that Nadia had been born, at Hogwarts that she had learned to walk and talk and play pranks, so that the beginning and ending of her magical education had really been little more than a formality.
"But I don't get special treatment just because of who I am." Nadia smiled, snuggling into the little nook the stone had formed around her body. "Not much, anyway. I still had to abide by all the rules or take my lumps if I got caught, and write my essays and sit my exams, and if I wanted a place on one of the sports teams I had to try out like everyone else. Which, I like Quidditch better to watch than to play, even with the extra House teams they added as Hogwarts got larger, but once some of the Society games were added as possibilities, and the rankings in them, just like the Quidditch matches, started counting towards the House Cup..."
The Society for Combat Approximation, launched by Nadia's most unusual family, the Pack, shortly after the ending of the Second War with Voldemort, had gained rapid acceptance in magical society as witches and wizards began to miss the camaraderie, the sense of purpose, the excitement and challenge which the war had given them. The idea of regaining those benefits without having to risk life, limb, or sanity had appealed strongly to a great many people, and so the Society's deliberately playful wargames had been well-attended from the very first War, held around the time of Nadia's fourth birthday.
This year's Winter War, as had become traditional for leap year, would take place at Hogwarts itself, one army attacking, another defending, and the stakes were higher this year than ever before, for it had been agreed at the Council of War last month that the winners would have the first right to advance their proposals on how the Society should be organized henceforth. Loose-knit groups of families, friends, and organizations from the time of the actual war, like the Order of the Phoenix and the Red Shepherds, had done well enough up until now, but with Nadia and her cohort (the Muggle term "baby boom" fit them nicely, as Nadia's Hogwarts year had been nearly twice the size of the one just before it) starting to come of age, a bit more structure seemed wise to have in place.
"Since almost all of us are involved with some aspect of the Society, even if we don't all take part in the fighting." Nadia swirled her fingers in a tight circle, conjuring a fireball, which sped outwards at her swift gesture and impacted the far wall with a sound like water on hot metal, leaving a tiny circle of black ash behind. "Broomstick biathlon, in my case. Broom-bi, for short." Another twiddle of fingers crafted her own form in midair, lying nearly prone along her top-notch Hotshot, eyes narrowed against the wind. "Flying an obstacle course, taking down targets along the way. Divisions for wanded spells and potion piece—they lump me into wand instead of piece, on the argument that at least what I do is magic. And the finalists in each division compete against one another for the championship."
This would be Nadia's first Winter War competing in the adult division of her beloved sport. She had chosen to retain her student status the year before, despite the legal adulthood she'd reached over the summer, so that her tournament points would accrue to Gryffindor's credit for the House Cup that year, and at the Midsummer War she'd been busy with her other great love, music. No fewer than three small ensembles, all with very different styles, had asked her to play with them, and Nadia had never been able to resist a challenge, so from one performance tent to the next she and Lady Danger had gone—
"Thinking about me," said a voice next to her, "or your violin?"
"Mummy!" Nadia slithered out of her wall perch to hug her mother tightly. "The violin," she confessed with a giggle. "About how much playing I did at Midsummer this year."
"Your poor fingers." Danger Lupin laid a kiss on the named body parts, then swatted her oldest daughter lightly on the back of the head. "I still say it was the world's prize piece of cheek to name that thing after me. And then to say it was because she makes noises like I do when I get angry!"
"I was eight years old when I did that!" protested Nadia.
"And now you're eighteen, and still just as much of a hellion as you ever were." Danger laughed. "I don't know what else I was expecting, of course. Born Marauders, every last one of you, and born Warriors too. Even those of you who don't compete on the battlefield, you've still learned your lessons well, starting with your games of 'bad guy' and 'run away' when you were little, and continuing right on to today."
"There are bad guys in the world." Nadia passed her hand across the perch Hogwarts had made for her, returning the stone to its original rough-textured verticality. "Which means that everybody needs to know how to run away. Or, once you're old enough, how to fight back. Whether that's standing and fighting, or hitting from a distance, or swooping in and striking fast and hard." She grinned. "Like me."
"I only pray you never have to use that skill in reality," said Danger softly. "One set of my cubs having known true war is enough."