Do you know how sometimes you get a story idea that's absolutely horrifyingly awful, yet you *can't stop thinking about it* until you give in and write the story, and then you feel the inexplicable sadistic urge to inflict the result on all your friends?
No? Oh. It must be due to the telepathic extraterrestrial thought-forms which have taken over our licensed realtors, then.
The following, like all the fic I've posted here, has been grammar-checked and slightly revised, but is not what I'd call "finished". (Do I ever finish anything?) I'm also tempted to try to find a Brit-picker for this. Actually, a Merkin-picker wouldn't be amiss either, I fear. Plus, it's been a *long time* since I last read The Baconburg Horror, so Rat's characterization is likely a bit off.
That's right! It's the *first ever*, *limited-edition*, Snarkout Boys/Harry Potter crossover story!
Draco Malfoy and the Rat-Faced Girl
Rat and Flipping belong to Daniel Pinkwater, he-who-is-beyond-compare. Practically everything else is J. K. Rowling's. Except the mayonnaise; I think that's Belgian.
Ron grabbed Harry's arm and pointed across Diagon Alley at a couple sitting outside the ice cream parlor. "Is that Malfoy? Who's he with?"
Harry squinted. It certainly looked like Malfoy, blond hair, rat face, and all. He was sitting across from a girl who was digging with enthusiasm into one of Florean Fortescue's Sweet Suicide Sundaes. She wasn't the sort of girl he would have expected to be with Malfoy, though. For one thing, she wasn't wearing wizarding robes. Although what she was wearing didn't really resemble any Muggle clothing Harry had ever seen either; she had on a shapeless red skirt that reached the tops of her black-and-white striped stockings, pointed patent leather shoes, and a jacket so large it would have fit Dudley. Her spiky blond hair appeared to have been dyed green at some indefinite point in the past. Malfoy was watching her with a look of resigned disgust.
"I don't know her either," said Harry. "But she's sort of cute, isn't she? In a horrible way," he added hastily.
"Euurggh, Harry," said Ron. "She looks like Malfoy! Even down to the rat face! I bet she's some sort of disgraced cousin or something. Come on, let's go talk to them."
"Talk to them? Why?"
"Because Malfoy looks miserable, and I want to savor the feeling," said Ron. He started across the street, and Harry sighed and followed.
"Hullo, Malfoy!" Ron said cheerfully. "Who's the girl?"
Malfoy looked at them with pure despair in his eyes. "O joyous day," he said. "Potty and the Weasel. Just what I needed to make this day perfect."
Harry smiled. He was beginning to see possibilities here. "Aren't you going to introduce us?"
Malfoy closed his eyes. "Ah, yes. Meet Bentley Saunders Harrison Matthews III, heiress of the greatest wizarding dynasty in the American Midwest. Not that that means anything," he added under his breath. "She and her uncle are staying at the Manor for a few weeks."
"Yo," said the girl, flicking her eyes up from the sundae for only a second, then sticking her hand out. She really did look like a rat, Harry thought. "Call me Rat," she said, in a pronounced American accent. "Everyone does."
Ron grinned and took her hand with exaggerated gallantry. "I am honored to meet any friend of Malfoy, ma'amselle," he said. "I'm Ron Weasley, and this is my friend Harry Potter."
"A pleasure," she said. Then she did look up, sudden interest in her face. Harry steeled himself to be asked about his scar, but she only scanned him quickly before turning to Ron. "Wait-- did you say Weasley? Are you related to the Weasleys?"
Ron looked blank.
"The ones with the catalog? The really awesome catalog with the canary creams and the apparation oranges?"
"Oh! Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. I didn't know they were selling in America already. Yeah, Fred and George are my brothers."
"Groovy," Rat said. There was a very scary look in her eyes. "Listen, they're, like, idols of mine. They're almost as cool as James Dean. Could you get me an autograph or something?"
Malfoy looked like he was trying to sink into the ground. Harry grinned and slipped into the empty seat next to him.
Ron glanced a question at Harry. Harry nodded. "Actually, Rat," Ron said cautiously, "They've set up a workshop in Diagon Alley for the summer. I could probably get you a personal tour right now." He raised his eyebrows. "That is, if you don't have plans with Malfoy."
"Oh, Drake won't mind," she said airily. Malfoy choked. "He's just under orders to keep me occupied while my Uncle Flipping Hades Terwilliger is buying potions ingredients. Knowing Uncle Flipping, he found someone he can argue with about the right way to julienne jackalope liver, and will disappear until further notice."
"Well, that's alright then," said Ron. "As long as Drake doesn't mind."
Malfoy made an incoherent sound and buried his face in his arms. Rat swung down from the stool. "We'll meet you down by Burke's, Drake," she said, grinning maliciously. "Lead on, Weasley."
Harry watched her slouch off after Ron. Malfoy moaned again, then cautiously raised his head. "Potter, could you answer a question for me?"
"Hmm? I suppose."
"Did the girl I was taking around just go off with a Weasley?"
"Yes, yes I think she did."
"Leaving me here with you?"
"That's what I thought." He banged his head against the table.
"Oh, come off it, Malfoy," Harry said. "It didn't look like you were actually enjoying yourself or anything."
"I don't mind her leaving, Potter," he said. "But now I'm going to have to come up with some way to thank Weasley."
Harry felt a smile playing around his lips. "She couldn't have been that bad."
"Bad? Bad?" said Malfoy. "What do you know about bad? What could you know about terrible, soul-destroying torture?"
"Well," said Harry, slightly taken aback. "I have faced down Lord Voldemort several times. And survived all three unforgivable curses from his wand."
"Ah, but you've never heard him sing karaoke," Malfoy muttered.
"What?" Harry said.
"Never mind," Malfoy said, waving a negligent hand. "You've also never spent five days in the company of Bentley Saunders Harrison Matthews III, so clearly you know nothing about the depths of torment the human body can be forced to endure."
"Are you sure you're not exaggerating, Malfoy?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Potter, I'm sure. She spent breakfast trying to convince my mother that opera music was a work of the devil. She keeps insisting on eating something called a "hot dog." She calls all the house-elves "Heinz." She tells me in detail what actions of a necrophiliac nature she would be willing to do with the corpse of somebody named James Dean, and no-one else. And she described the Dark Lord as a sub-moron. In front of my Father."
"And she's still alive?"
"He wants me to be nice to her, Potter. Nice. 'Make her feel welcome.' Her family is in trade. Granted, it's the trade of selling poison to Muggles under the guise of fizzy drinks, but it's still trade. And she insists on wearing that horrible Muggle clothing."
"You poor thing, Malfoy," Harry said, standing up, suddenly very aware of the old clothes of Dudley's he was wearing. "I'll leave you to your torment, then. Wouldn't want to contaminate you with muggle germs."
"What? No! Don't go, Potter!"
Harry stared at him. To his credit, Malfoy looked just as shocked as Harry did. "What did you say, Malfoy?"
"I . asked you to . keep me company," Malfoy said, spitting each word out as if it were poison.
"Why?" Harry asked.
Malfoy thought for a minute. "Because you're a goody-goody Gryffindor and wouldn't abandon even your worst enemy to a horrible death?"
"A horrible death?" Harry sat back down. "Do tell, Malfoy."
Malfoy grimaced. "I'm supposed to be sweet-talking her and winning her over to our side. If Father finds out I let her spend the day with a Weasley . . well. But if I can convince him that I spent the day suborning you instead, Potter, he'll be quite proud of me."
"I see," said Harry. Now that he thought about it, he wasn't particularly excited about spending the morning alone in Diagon Alley either. Or in spending the day at Fred and George's, with them awkwardly trying to thank him for the start-up money without letting Ron know why. "Well. I imagine Professor Dumbledore would be interested in the details of an attempted alliance between the Malfoys and the American wizards. Perhaps that intelligence would be worth the pain of enduring a few hours in bad company."
"Don't use the word alliance, Potter. Please."
"Why not?" asked Harry. Then he made a sudden connection and said, "Don't tell me your father is hoping for you two to make that kind of alliance?" Malfoy's face told him the answer, and he started laughing. "That's brilliant, Malfoy! Rat . . and . . . fer-"
"Potter," said Malfoy slowly. "You will never speak of such again, on pain of extreme pain. Do you understand me?"
Harry was never sure exactly how he agreed to spend the rest of the day wandering around wizarding London with Draco Malfoy. He almost lost an eye when he tried to keep Malfoy from taunting a vicious eagle owl in Eeylops; then they got kicked out of Quality Quidditch Supplies, and when Malfoy made a crack about Ginny Weasley while they were in Flourish and Blotts, carnage was only prevented by the lucky appearance of a shop assistant.
He was stalking down the street with Malfoy trailing behind him when Malfoy unexpectedly said, "Let's get lunch in Knockturn Alley before we meet the others."
"What?" Harry said. "Are you mad? Knockturn Alley?"
"Don't tell me you've never been there before," he smirked.
"Of course I have!" said Harry, suddenly very glad of that Floo mistake he'd made in second year.
"Well, then, what's the problem?"
"It's Knockturn Alley, Malfoy. It's dangerous. Besides, someone might see us there."
"If you're worried about your reputation, Potter, I'd say you're a bit too late." Malfoy raised his eyebrows and Harry went red.
"Those articles were lies. And besides, they were your--"
"And don't tell me the danger bothers you," Malfoy cut him off. "I've been going there since I was four. Brave Harry Potter isn't afraid of a few ickle dark wizards, is he?"
"I don't need to defend my courage to you, Malfoy," Harry said, narrowing his eyes.
"So? Look, we'll have to go to Borgin and Burke's to meet up with Rat and Weasley anyway, you might as well come now."
Harry suddenly realized that Malfoy didn't want to go alone any more than he did. "Fine," he said, with the sinking feeling that he was doing something remarkably stupid, "But you're paying."
Harry did not think he had ever imagined what it would be like to have lunch with Draco Malfoy in Knockturn Alley, but if he had, he was fairly sure it wouldn't have involved soggy fish and chips. On the other hand, he thought, poking halfheartedly at the meal Malfoy had carried over from the grimy counter, he had to concede that he would be hard put to come up with a more inherently evil sort of food. He wasn't sure he could tell which was the fish and which was the chips. They were lukewarm, and tasted rather like cardboard dipped in stale grease.
Malfoy was devouring his with apparent pleasure, and had smothered them with a white condiment which he had a horrible suspicion was actually mayonnaise. This frightened Harry far more than anything he had previously encountered in the Alley. That is, until the door opened and two men stepped into the dim, dusty shop. "Malfoy," Harry muttered, kicking him under the table, "Who just came in?"
Malfoy looked up, and his eyes went very wide. "Oh no, it's Rat's Uncle Flipping."
"The one over there, standing next to the man with the big nose and . . greasy . . black . . . hair.. ."
"The one talking with Professor Snape, you mean?" Harry asked viciously.
Malfoy scooted his chair over closer to the corner, so that he was out of their direct line of sight. "Potter," he whimpered, "You're a hero, you'll protect me, right?"
"It looks like they're getting take-away," said Harry hopefully. "Maybe they'll leave without noticing us."
"Maybe you have that sort of luck, Potter," said Malfoy. "But in case it's escaped your notice, I--"
"Shh!" said Harry suddenly. Professor Snape had turned around, leaning against the counter and lazily scanning the room. He passed their table without remark at first, but then his gaze swept back and he raised his eyebrows very high. He turned to Uncle Flipping and started gesturing.
Harry turned to Malfoy and said, with what he thought was remarkable calm, "When I die, promise to deliver my body to Sirius Black."
"You think that's bad?" said Malfoy. "You haven't met Uncle Flipping yet."
"Well, well," said an all too familiar voice behind him. "Imagine finding Harry Potter all alone in Knockturn Alley. This is Harry Potter, Flipping," the voice said,"I was telling you about him?"
Uncle Flipping came around the table. "Harry Potter! It's a pleasure to meet you, young man. Call me Uncle Flipping. Oh! You're here with Rat's little friend. Drake, was that your name? I've just had the most interesting discussion with your professor."
"Draco Malfoy?" Snape exclaimed.
"Um, Hullo, Professor," Draco said with a sickly sort of smile.
Snape shot them both a look that clearly conveyed the statement 'I will be getting an explanation of this later', but only said, lightly, "Yes, Flipping here has the most fascinating ideas regarding egg fu yung. I think I may have to share them with Mr. Filch, in fact."
Draco blanched. Harry blinked, but managed to say calmly, "So, what brings you to Knockturn Alley?"
"Shopping!" said Uncle Flipping. "The supplies here are many times better quality than what is available back home in Baconburg. I do really need to make time to stop by London more often in my globe-trotting sojourns."
"By the way," he asked quizzically, "What have you done with my niece? Weren't you two planning to spend the day together, Drake?"
"My friend Ron Weasley is getting her a tour of his brothers' workshop, Uncle Flipping," Harry said quickly. He decided he liked Uncle Flipping, even if he did keep bad company. Harry hardly had room to talk on that point, anyway.
"Weasley?" exclaimed Uncle Flipping. "Not the Weasleys?"
"Yes," said Harry smiling, "The Weasley's Wizard Wheezes Weasleys. She seemed rather excited."
"Of course she was!" said Uncle Flipping. "I've always believed those young men were geniuses in their field. Geniuses! And being a mad scientist myself, of course," he said, tapping his nose, "I know that of which I speak. Any young woman of intelligence would be overjoyed at the opportunity to meet them! In fact," he said, lowering his voice, "I'd quite like an introduction myself. I've a few ideas for collaborations that I think could be very profitable with the help of my brother-in-law's capital. I don't suppose--"
Harry looked at Professor Snape, who was frantically miming "No!" behind his head, and at Draco, who was echoing the sentiment. He smiled evilly. After all, he had almost been as Slytherin as they were. "I'm sure they'd be happy to talk to you, Uncle Flipping," he said. "In fact, if you head over to their workshop now, you can probably catch Rat there. Here, I'll write you directions." He scribbled them down on the brownish paper napkin which had come with his 'food', and handed it to Uncle Flipping, who looked as if Harry had made his day.
"Wonderful! I can't thank you enough," he said, shaking Harry's hand. "I'd better head off then. Severus-- thanks for the recipes. Always a pleasure to meet a fellow avocado enthusiast. And do say Hi to Filius for me when you see him."
"Of course," said Snape, nodding stiffly. He watched Uncle Flipping out the door, then turned furiously and loomed over Harry. "Do you have any idea what you've done, boy?"
"I'm not sure," said Harry, contemplating one of his soggy chips. "Released a chaotic force with destructive potential possibly as great as Lord Voldemort's?" He decided that yes, he was brave enough to attempt to eat the chip. "We'll just have to hope they cancel each other out, won't we."
Snape fumed. "Very well, Potter. You know best. But if I see a single stuffed Indian fruit bat next term, you will be the one getting the detentions." He swept around, then turned back. "I was planning to insist on an explanation for your presence here, but under the circumstances perhaps I am better off not knowing. Do try not to get killed, Potter, or the Headmaster will have my wand. And Draco--"
Malfoy looked up from his meal. "Yes?"
"Miss Matthews seems to be quite an intriguing young woman. Good luck with that."
Malfoy went pink. Snape smirked, nodded at Harry, and stalked out.
"Potter?" Malfoy asked. "Kill me now."
Ron and Rat were late getting to Borgin and Burke's. Harry and Malfoy sat at the curb, playing a vicious game of Gobstones with a set Malfoy had bought inside, which squirted Flesh-eating Slug Slime instead of stink juice. It was lucky they had Seeker's dodging skills, or they would have both ended up with rather less skin than they'd had at the start. When he finally caught sight of the other two, Rat had her jacket off and was attempting to straighten her tight black top, and Ron looked fairly traumatized. Harry caught only a snippet of their conversation.
"--of course I would normally only do that sort of thing with James Dean," Rat was saying, "but since James Dean is, tragically, dead, and after all your brothers are *nearly* as awesome, I thought what a horrible calamity it would be if they died too before I got a chance, so--"
"Oh look," said Ron, pointing. "They're waiting for us. You haven't killed Malfoy yet, Harry?"
Malfoy looked up and drawled, "You haven't killed Weasley yet, Rat?"
Harry took the opportunity to score on one of Malfoy's gobstones. He didn't notice in time to avoid the stream of caustic mucus, and shrieked as it started eating a hole in the sleeve of his robe. "God, Potter, what was that for? I could have died!"
Harry grinned. "I wouldn't want to disappoint Ron."
Ron was snickering. Rat merely rolled her eyes, as if to say that all this was beneath her. "Fred and George Weasley gave me a whole bag full of free samples. I want to get back to your house and start trying them out-- Is something wrong, Draco?"
"Um. No. Nothing," Malfoy said, standing up hastily and incidentally kicking half the gobstones at Harry, who just barely jumped out of the way. "Where's your uncle?"
"He and George Weasley were working on something in the lab; he said to leave without him. We're Flooing out of that bar, right?"
"The Leaky Cauldron? That's how we're getting home!" said Harry brightly as he (very carefully) gathered up Malfoy's gobstones. "We can walk back together!" He didn't notice, until too late, Ron's eyes widening in horror.
They were silent most of the way back. That is, Ron and Harry and Malfoy were; Rat had started talking about Art. They were right outside the Leaky Cauldron when Ron said suddenly, "Oi, Harry, I was meant to warn you. George said Dad's got a Muggle fi-hi from somewhere, so he'll probably tackle you with questions the second we get home."
"Do you mean a hi-fi, Ron?" Harry asked with amusement.
"Uhh, right. A muggle thing that plays music."
Rat swung around so fast that Malfoy, walking next to her, nearly tripped out of sympathy. "Your dad has a hi-fi?" she asked, with a demented light in her eye.
"Yeah," said Ron cautiously. "He has this hobby of bringing home old Muggle machines and taking them apart to get them working with magic."
"Awesome!" said Rat. "Listen- I know everything there is to know about hi-fis. And those -ah - purebloods I'm staying with don't even know what electricity is; I'm suffering here. I could give your dad expert advice; I own the greatest hi-fi in the tri-state area-- do you think he'd mind if I stopped by to help?"
"Umm--" said Ron, with a hunted look.
"Great!" said Rat. "Drake-- tell Uncle Flipping I'm on a mission with Weasley to rescue a hi-fi. He'll understand. C'mon, Ron, show me the Floo address."
Malfoy stared after them in shock. "But-- Rat-- my Father--"
Harry smirked. "Look on the bright side, Malfoy. Maybe he'll be so disgusted with her love of Muggle technology that he'll give up on the alliance."
"Besides, now me and Ron are going to have to put up with her for the rest of the day."
Malfoy brightened. "You know, Potter, that's true. Maybe it's not a total disaster, after all."
does anyone know if tinfoil hats work against space realtors?