The lights flickered
slowly and then burst back into flame. Everyone blinked several times
to get used to the light, and then realisation dawned on them.
The thirteenth godmother had arrived.
Longbottom, recent graduate of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry and the newest recruit to One Wish, Inc. stood in the centre
of the room.
Well, actually, he stood on the centre of the One Wish table, having taken his Apparition instructions as literal to the letter.
made a less-than-magnificent figure, clad in the standard-issue scarlet
jumpsuit. Although, unlike the other One Wish operatives, the colour
rather suited him, the jumpsuit had been cut to fit a much larger
person and hung about him in great folds that made him look rather like
a crash-dieting elephant with a dreadful blush. A heavy bandoleer was
slung across his chest, holding his wand, a pair of shears and a
pump-handle plant spray.
He stepped down onto a chair and then
onto the floor, and approached the young Princess, taking care to steer
well clear of Malfoy as he did so.
"Er, did you use the spell of Wretched-Post-Pubescent-Death?"
"I have a fondness for the classics," Malfoy sneered, nodding. "And what are you planning on doing about it, Longbottom?"
by a prick. Well, need I say any more?" Neville went on, ignoring
Malfoy. Someone looking closely might have noticed that he was
trembling slightly, but his rather ill-fitting jumpsuit disguised this
rather well. Ron snorted at his comment, and he seemed to draw some
confidence from this.
"You're a botanist, Longbottom. You have no power here."
I were a botanist, you'd be right," Neville said. He looked back down
at Princess Susan, who had reawakened. She cooed and giggled as Neville
stuck his tongue out at her. He turned back to face Malfoy, and it was
as though someone had poured steel down his spine.
not a botanist, am I, Malfoy? After Pomona Sprout's last few missions,
you eliminated botany from the specialities offered by One Wish. You
sent me out on the worst jobs. You called me a Godmother Without
Portfolio. And now, Draco, I rather think that the joke's on you."
"What do you mean?" Malfoy asked, the first, tiny, hint of a confidence shortage appearing on his face.
"I don't have to stick to one area, Malfoy. I can cast any spell I want. I can prevent Princess Susan dying."
can?" the King asked. He was feeling rather behind current events, and
had just begun to contemplate the death of his daughter. He felt rather
cheered by the idea that he hadn't wasted too much energy by worrying
needlessly. "Well, bravo! Get on with it, then, and we can kick the
golden boy here out and get on with the feast."
Neville hesitated, and his confidence seemed to drain away.
can prevent your daughter's death, sire," he said. "But Malfoy has
cursed her, and the curse will still have some effect. Your daughter
will not die, but something will happen. On her seventeenth
birthday, when your daughter leaves her childhood behind and becomes an
adult, she will get a prick-"
The King's eyes narrowed.
"-from a thorn, perhaps-"
"I shall order the gardeners to grow thornless plants!" the King boomed.
"-or from a needle-"
"The new national dress is a toga. No sewing!"
"-or, well, the other..."
The King's eyes narrowed again.
man who comes near my daughter before her eighteenth birthday will have
his wedding tackle fed to the male cows in the field yonder. Why, if
any man so much as looks the wrong way at my daughter, then I'll-"
their bollocks to the bullocks, sire, yes," Neville said, hurriedly,
before the King got too caught up in his rant. "However, supposing that
all your plans and protections are unsuccessful, and your daughter
somehow receives a prick on her seventeenth birthday-"
she will, and it'll probably kill her anyway, Longbottom's so rubbish,"
Draco drawled, as he peered critically at his fingernails.
Neville turned hesitantly on his boss and, taking a deep breath, placed his face close to Malfoy's.
he said. Malfoy toppled backwards and fell on his pert, tightly-clad
butt. Neville turned back, his face rather flushed.
"Sire," he said, rather shakily. "Your daughter will fall asleep. And she will sleep until awoken by love's true kiss."
"Love's true kiss?" The Queen asked. "But she'll be asleep. How will someone fall in love with a sleeping girl?"
King muttered something under his breath about sleeping girls being
silent, but decided not to offer the observation up for public
"Your Majesty, the alternative is poor. This is the best I can offer you."
The Queen appeared conflicted, but with a sigh she nodded.
"Longbottom, I'm warning you-"
Neville screwed up his face and ignored Malfoy. He stepped forward and raised his wand over the Princess.
There was a flash, and Princess Susan began to cry. Neville stepped back with a worried look on his face.
"I hope that it worked," he said.
"You hope?" the King asked. "How can we tell?"
Neville gave the King a worried look. "We can't, your Majesty. Not until your daughter's seventeenth birthday."
years, eight months and twenty-seven days passed. Draco Malfoy was
jailed for crimes against fashion when he attempted to make his gold
hotpants the standard uniform for his employees. Hermione succeeded him
as the head of the company, and Neville followed her into the post when
she was appointed Minister of Magic.
Many questioned her
decision to take the office of Minister, as it was rather less well
paid and rather more boring, but Minister Granger announced a sweeping
series of social reforms that made wizarding Britain an altogether
nicer place to live and, as she said, as Minister she could grant the
wishes of an entire country and still have time for lunch.
placed Ron in charge of the One Wish uniforms following his years of
frustrated campaigning under his arch-nemesis and his girlfriend, who
were sometimes one and the same person. Displaying a hitherto
unsuspected flair for fashion, Ron opted for a conservatively cut set
of black robes with yellow highlights. Of course, having successfully
regained his rights to an individual uniform following the fortunate
incident of the cat in the daytime, and having swathed himself daily
for many years in the bright orange of the Chudley Cannons, it didn't
matter much to Ron what the new recruits wore.
But there was a principle at stake.
in the wizarding world, Albus Dumbledore finally stepped down as
Headmaster of Hogwarts having achieved a probably unbeatable fifty-year
run as head of the school. He is now expected to write his memoirs,
which may well take another fifty years, if not longer.
new headmaster of Hogwarts is expected to be the former Auror, Alastor
"Mad-Eye" Moody. Pupils at the school will be encouraged to take
additional classes in Defence Against the Dark Arts and study the
Unforgivable Curses. It is not thought that this is likely to lead to
the rise of a new Dark Lord, although the ambitious streak present in
all Slytherins, most Ravenclaws and a fair number of Gryffindors
suggests that the number of students who complete their seven years of
education may be significantly smaller than the number who begin it.
other news, Pansy and Millicent Snape, stepsisters of Ginevra Potter,
finally found love when they enrolled in a prison penpal scheme. The
blushing brides-to-be will meet their future husbands, Walden Macnair
and Rabastan Lestrange, for the first time when they visit Azkaban
prison for the wedding a week on Saturday.
And, with the
recent birth of septuplets to Oliver and Jessica Wood, the player-coach
of the Appleby Arrows has announced his retirement from playing in
order to devote more time to training his five sons and two daughters
in order to challenge the Ministry's ruling of 1674 and create a
fourteenth full-time Quidditch team in approximately eighteen years
And finally, we'd like to take the opportunity to wish
Princess Susan Bones a happy seventeenth birthday. May all your
birthday wishes come true, your highness.
Well, except for that one about dying, of course.
Princess Susan was beautiful.
Princess Susan was kind-natured.
Princess Susan was friendly and a good listener.
Princess Susan could speak many languages.
Princess Susan was sharp of wit and reflex.
Princess Susan was brave and adventurous.
Princess Susan was hale and healthy.
Princess Susan was protected by a powerful amulet.
Princess Susan had an excellent memory, particularly for dirty jokes.
Princess Susan was celebrating her seventeenth birthday.
Susan rose and, as she did every day, spent several seconds staring
blissfully at the many, many pictures of her favourite Quidditch player
that filled her scrapbook.
Princess Susan dressed in simple, yet elegant robes and left her bedroom to go downstairs to breakfast.
Princess Susan was headed for the pricked finger intended to kill her.
She didn't know this, of course, and sometimes ignorance is bliss.
In this case, ignorance was going to lead to all sorts of trouble.
as ever, was a triumph. The King in particular delighted in the annual
"What day is it? What day? Whose birthday? Only joking!" routine that
the entire court would take part in. Princess Susan, more lovely today
than yesterday, smiled and took it with the exceptional good grace that
she applied to every aspect of her life.
"Happy birthday, my
dear," the King said, smiling at his only child from the other end of
the long dining table. Princess Susan had grown used to interpreting
the King's movements at meal times, for the dinging table was over a
hundred feet long, and this morning the King certainly appeared to be
"Is something wrong, Father?" Susan asked.
the King replied, startled. "What could possibly be wrong? Nothing is
wrong. My dear," he asked his wife, "is anything wrong with you?"
Queen, seated halfway between her husband and daughter, shook her head
and blew her nose loudly on the tablecloth, having exhausted her supply
of tissues, handkerchiefs, napkins and sleeves approximately ten
minutes after waking.
"There, you see, nothing at all the
matter," the King replied. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with a
tissue from a dispenser held by a nearby flunkey. He threw the tissue
over his shoulder where it landed on a rather soggy pile of its
brothers. Already the pile was around four feet high.
And rather smelly.
Susan smiled. If she had a fault - and I am only prepared to admit that
it may be a possibility, for I am hopelessly smitten - it was that,
having been brought up to be honest and open, she assumed that everyone
else was similarly truthful at all times.
"I am glad, Father,
that things are well," she said, before tucking into a double helping
of eggs and bacon that would do nothing to affect her figure or
Smitten I may be, but that's so unfair.
breakfast, Princess Susan repaired to the courtyard for her morning
constitutional. Along the way she passed any number of flunkies,
guards, men at arms and coroneters who were suddenly and inexplicably
struck down by hay fever, allergies, bits of fluff in their eyes and
any number of other causes of watering eyes and runny noses. Always a
well-prepared girl, the Princess was able to supply the first few poor
souls with handkerchiefs, but soon even she had run out and had to
summon another servant with a roll of tissue paper for her to dole out
along the way.
Finally, she reached the courtyard where the
bright morning sunshine glinted brightly on the soft lines of the
award-winning Bones gardens. Susan smiled and made her way to a small
patch of tiger lilies that bloomed rather prettily in a corner of the
courtyard. Breathing deeply, she inhaled the perfume of the flowers,
and closed her eyes as a satisfied smile spread across her face. More
than anything, Princess Susan adored the smell of these flowers, and
she always took the time to smell them when they were in bloom.
her eyes, Princess Susan let her gaze fall upon a small door at the
foot of the one of the castle's many towers. Her brow knitted together
fractionally, for she did not remember the door having been there
before. Indeed, the tower was purely ornamental and had no stairs
within. If Princess Susan knew the layout of the castle properly - and
we can assume that she did, for she was an adventuresome and
inquisitive young lady who had explored the castle and grounds many,
many times - then the tower actually held nothing more exciting than
the castle's geriatric shoemakers, and while Princess Susan was a
naturally cheerful and sunny person, she would have been mildly
disappointed had her birthday offered nothing more exciting than a load
of old cobblers.
Still, Princess Susan was an optimist and a
witch. She had a certain feeling about the door. Doors that are there
one day having not been there the day before are either the work of
deliberate magic or very fast builders, and Princess Susan knew from
her father's long and detailed rants on the subject that no builder
worked fast when working slow was an available option.
Princess Susan smiled. Deliberate magic it was, and suddenly her birthday had just become rather more interesting.
open the door to the tower, she spied a set of narrow, steep stairs
leading upwards. She smiled again and nodded. What would be the point
of a magical door, after all, if it didn't lead to somewhere that was
also rather magical and somewhat more interesting?
Princess climbed the stairs with just the right mix of boldness and
trepidation, her wand glowing in the increasing gloom. The tower grew
darker and darker, the steps grew steeper and narrower, and the
Princess began to feel her internal scales weigh more and more heavily
towards the 'trepidation' side of the equation. The darkness gathered
around her like a cloak, and soon or perhaps after a long time even
the lit tip of her wand could not illuminate the gloom.
steps seemed to go on for a long time, and Susan was now making her way
up by touch alone. Brave, patient and kind of spirit she may have been,
but this was not how she had envisioned her seventeenth birthday, and
it was beginning to get on her nerves.
Finally she detected a
faint outline in the wall ahead where feeble light just managed to
illuminate the edges of a door. Not taking any chances, the Princess
drew her wand and cast an Unlocking Spell. The door shifted slightly,
and Princess Susan now almost all trepidation pushed it far enough
open that she could enter the room beyond.
It certainly wasn't
much to look at. A small, circular room with a single narrow window
that let in just enough light to allow Susan to see the huddled figure
tucked away in the shadows. A lock of white hair glinted faintly from
beneath the figure's hood.
"Are you the Princess Susan?" the figure whispered, croakily.
"I am. And who are you, my good woman?"
There was a sharp intake of breath.
"My good man?" Susan corrected herself.
The figure climbed to its feet a little reluctantly, and Susan spied a strange device behind it.
"Good sir, what is that?"
spinning wheel, my dear," the man rasped, as he came forward. "But do
not concern yourself with that just yet today is your lucky day,
"It is?" Susan asked. She may have led a sheltered
life, but there is an inherited distrust in the genes of every human
being towards anyone who tells you that it's your lucky day.
"Certainly. You know, of course, that you have thirteen godparents?"
"Who gave you twelve gifts?"
Draco regarded the Princess suspiciously.
girl, work with me here, okay? Thirteen godparents, twelve gifts. Did
you never wonder what the thirteenth godparent would give you?"
"I... No," Susan said, simply. "I am grateful for what I have."
are?" the figure said, in a much more normal voice. "You don't want
another wish? Think of what you could have! Power, fame, riches,
"Well, that would all be very nice although as a
Princess I have those things anyway - but I wouldn't know where to find
the thirteenth godparent."
"Well, Princess Susan, today you are in luck!"
man threw back the hood of his cloak, revealing a handsome face crowned
with white-blonde hair. The light in the room flared up to dazzling
heights, and suddenly the room was bathed in gold. A chorus line of
dancing girls high kicked their way across the Princess' line of
vision, as an orchestra went 'Dada-dada-dada-DA-dada' and somewhere
behind her an elephant trumpeted loudly. High up in the rafters of the
suddenly-huge room, acrobats swung and soared, while all around the
edge a huge crowd had gathered, and were applauding as though their
life depended on it.
"Princess Susan," the man announced, into
the end of his wand. His voice echoed throughout the room, and brought
a fresh round of applause from the watching crowd. "You thought that
your chance for eternal happiness had passed you by, but little did you
know that every day I have been watching you, every day I have waited,
and now you are of age-"
"You've been watching me?"
"What, all the time?"
"What?" the blonde man looked nonplussed.
"I mean, have you been watching me get dressed? And in the bath?"
"Er, no, of course not," he said.
"Very well. I just wanted to check."
crowd and entertainers, who had rather lost their thread, picked up
again almost immediately. The blonde man struck another pose, and
absently stroked his golden trousers, as though deriving comfort from
the velvet material.
"Well, as I was saying," he restarted,
shooting Princess Susan an evil look. "I am that godmother, and I can
grant you that wish. Princess Susan, I am your humble servant, Draco
Draco bowed, his long, blonde hair sweeping the
ground before him. He frowned as he spotted the chewing gum that
someone had left behind, a fraction of a second after it became
irrevocably twisted into his fringe. He stood up with a slight grunt of
pain as his fringe was torn from his scalp at the roots.
"You're Draco M-"
Draco snapped. He wasn't in the best of moods. "Look, Princess, I've
got a wish for you, but if you're going to keep asking stupid questions
then I can just go. Honestly, there's a thousand kids at Hogwarts and I
can just go up there and give one of them the chance to wish themselves
out of Potions or Divination."
"Sorry," Princess Susan said meekly.
gave her a very haughty look, but subsided. The acrobats and dancers
started to breathe again, and the elephants trumpeted once more.
Draco said, a hint of resentment still colouring his voice. "Are we
quite finished? Yes? Are you sure? We have lots of time to spare-
Princess Susan lowered her hand.
"But, I thought you were in jail?"
"I was released. On a technicality," he spat.
"Hotpants came back into fashion."
Draco rubbed his scalp, which still rather stung.
as I was saying," he shot her another dirty look. "One wish, got it? No
more, no less. In fact, you don't even get to choose the wish I
Princess Susan nodded, having decided that it was best to keep quiet.
I know you like tiger lilies. Your wish will be an everlasting tiger
lily. Roses may be more traditional, but you like tiger lilies, and
never let it be said," he continued, with a somewhat evil smirk, "that
I don't follow through on a wish.
"However, you have to do just one thing for me in order to prove yourself worthy of the wish, indeed, prove that you are the Princess Susan, and not just an impostor."
Princess Susan nodded again. Draco gestured at the spinning wheel.
"You have to spin the wheel, and then we have a deal."
well," Princess Susan said, and stepping forward, she reached out to
the wheel. She was aware of a hush from all those around. The audience
was silent, the dancing girls were paused, mid-kick, the acrobats hung
in mid-air as they watched her, and there was even a sense of elephant
expectation in the air.
Steeling herself, Princess Susan
pressed on and reached out to the wheel again. Only her sharp reflexes
prevented her losing a finger as the wooden device suddenly snapped at
her, the wheel clapping against the seat as though trying to bite her
"Daring, intellect, sharp wit and persistence, these
are all gifts given the lovely Princess Susan by my fellow godmothers,"
Draco announced to the crowd, who oohed in appreciation. "And she will
need all these and more to defeat the dreaded Spinning Wheel of South
West Sodham-on-the-Wold, which to this date has claimed the live of
fifteen Muggle- What?"
For the crowd had started laughing. Draco spun on his impossibly-high platform soles and felt his jaw drop.
Susan had levitated a large rock and dropped it on the spinning wheel,
shattering it into innumerable fragments. She held the largest part
three-quarters of the wheel, still attached to one spoke and gave it
The crowd hooted and hollered, the elephants
trumpeted, the dancers finished their routine an as gravity got back to
its day job after taking a break to watch Susan's battle, the acrobats
plummeted groundwards, unnoticed by anyone.
"You... you broke it."
"Was I not supposed to?" Susan asked.
"Well, no," Draco said.
"But I completed the challenge."
"Yes, you did, er..."
"So, do I get my wish?"
"I'm sorry?" Draco asked, still staring at the shattered wheel.
"My wish. I'd like my wish, please."
"I... I... yes," Draco said, suddenly seeming to wake up. "Your wish. Well, never let it be said that I'm not adaptable."
Susan's face went blank as the curse caught her.
mean, is it me?" Draco said, spreading his arms wide and turning to the
audience. "Am I just incapable of inspiring proper effort? Longbottom
messes up my spell, the Princess messes up my spell, Weasley and
Granger had me jailed, my father prefers Azkaban to spending time with
me, my mother tried to have me assassinated..."
He looked around the silent room. From somewhere up in the audience there was a nervous cough.
Scowling, he turned and waved his wand at Susan.
"You, prick your finger on the pointy thing," he ordered.
Princess Susan raised the remains of the spinning wheel in her hand and rested her finger against the pointy thing.
"It's called a spindle," she said in a monotone voice.
waited seventeen years for this moment, woman. I'm going to kill you,
or at least put you to sleep for forever. Probably the former, since
it's Longbottom who tried to cancel the curse. Now, do it!"
With a faint huff of pain, Susan pricked her finger. Without a pause she collapsed to the floor.
a wave of his wand, Draco vanished the crowd, the dancers, the
elephants and even the people who had eventually tried to help the
He left the acrobats, and stared at them for a moment.
And then he vanished them as well.
sweet, naοve Princess Susan," he said, stepping over to her fallen
body. "At last I have fulfilled my vengeance. For seventeen years I
have waited. Seventeen years of dreaming," he snarled.
"Seventeen years of scheming," he ranted.
"Seventeen years of plotting your demise!" he bellowed.
He paused, and looked down at the young girl.
yet, now I have done it, I find myself curiously unsatisfied. Using
Imperio... It was almost crude - hardly the stuff legends are made of."
one hand on his hip, he stared at Princess Susan, absently tapping his
mouth with the somewhat tarnished star at the tip of his wand.
"I suppose that I could repeal the curse. It is in my power, as the one who cast it..."
Crossing his arms, he stared up at the ceiling, lips pursed as he considered performing a selfless act for the first time.
the ceiling fell a single drop of water, remnant of a passing storm
cloud that had been on its way to East Cheam, and which had found its
way through the cracks in the tower roof.
It landed on the tip of Draco's rather pointed nose.
"Raaaar!!!" he exploded, slinging hexes and jinxes and curses in every direction.
"Pustulo!" he roared, a wild swing of his wand sending the spell directly at Princess Susan.
rebounded, Mundungus Fletcher's protective amulet coming into play for
the first time in Princess Susan's sheltered young life.
The spell slapped wetly into Draco.
Draco froze, mid-hex. His wand clattered to the floor as he reached tentatively around to the seat of his trousers.
were, as usual, rather tight, and did not allow sufficient room for,
for example, a sudden outburst of boils on Draco's butt.
The trousers squelched slightly at Draco's touch.
suppose it could be said that I had this coming," he winced. With a pop
- with several, indeed, for the spell was still acting - he
Disapparated, and no more was heard of him for a very, very long time.
speaking, it was a very short time later that the King found his
daughter, alone and unconscious in the tower. However, it had been long
enough to scare the old king greatly, and at first he took his beloved
child for dead. Although he was greatly relieved when it was discovered
that she was alive, he was still deeply saddened. Despite his flippant
remark of years past, he had long wondered who there would be who would
fall in love with his daughter when she was asleep.
and queen led a procession of silent servants down the perilous steps
of the tower. The servants gently and carefully bore the slumbering
Princess down the steps on a bier, the King regretfully holding Draco's
They were joined in the courtyard by Head Godmother
Longbottom, who silently took Draco's wand and followed the royal party
up to Princess Susan's bedroom.
The servants laid the Princess
on her bed, and the Queen busied herself with arranging her daughter
just so. She crossed Susan's hands over her stomach, and pulled the
covers up to her chin.
"She won't move," Neville assured her.
"And she'll be perfectly warm, no matter how many blankets she has on.
The spell will keep her alive and unchanging until she is reawakened."
you do nothing?" the Queen asked. She had mellowed somewhat over the
years, and of course had been preparing for this moment since Draco had
cursed her daughter nearly seventeen years before.
for her, your Majesty," Neville said sadly. It was a conversation that
they had had time and again over the years. "My offer stands for you,
"To sleep forever, perhaps. Our people need us," the King sighed. "A Bones has never left his people wanting."
"She is our daughter," the Queen replied.
"She is of age."
"Your Majesties, I await your decision."
King and Queen discussed matters for some time, torn between their love
of their daughter, and their duty to their kingdom. At last the King
turned to Neville.
"We will sleep, Fairy Godmother."
"Very well. Accompany me, your Majesty. Rest assured that you won't feel a thing."
"We may sleep for a thousand years."
"You will be protected by the spell, and by One Wish, this much I pledge you."
King and Queen kissed their daughter goodbye, and retired to their
bedchamber. They lay down together, and sighed peacefully as Neville
cast his spell.
Neville passed through the castle,
placing to sleep the servants and flunkies and musicians. Only Chef
Molly refused, determined as she was to spend time with her children
Molly and Neville stood together outside the castle. Molly wiped a tear from her cheek.
"They're going to be okay," Neville said. "I think."
"I'm sure that they will be," she said. "This happened in Hogsmeade when I was a girl."
"Oh yes. Dumbledore sorted it all out, as quick as you like."
"What did he do?"
"He found the girl's boyfriend."
"Oh, well, Princess Susan didn't have a boyfriend, did she?"
"No, dear, she didn't. Her parents kept her close to them."
Neville sighed in relief. He hadn't even thought of finding the Princess' true love.
"Of course, that didn't stop Albus," Molly said, reflectively.
"It didn't?" Neville asked.
no. He just did a spell to find the one who would fall in love with the
princess and brought her to the house. There wasn't even time for the
roses to grow an inch."
Neville looked guiltily back at the
castle. The Bones plants, which required regular pruning under the best
of circumstances, were already looking likely to overpower the castle
by sundown. Dimly, he remembered Pomona Sprout mentioning that it was
one of the side effects of the spell, although it did seem to be
happening rather faster than she had said.
"Er I don't know any spells like that," Neville confessed.
"Never mind, dear," Molly said. "Would you like me to show you?"
"You? But you're a chef," Neville said. "When did you learn how to use magic to find your true love?"
after my Arthur was killed in the war against You-Know-Who, I needed to
find someone to help me raise my boys and my daughter." Molly said,
blushing slightly. "So I looked up love spells and found the one that
Albus used. It's really quite simple - it's just a locator. You find
the person who is most compatible with the things you're looking for."
"But, but, but... You married Snape!"
dear. I wanted someone who was honourable and intelligent and capable
of handling my children. On balance, I could perhaps have been a little
Neville tried to think of something to say to this.
"It... doesn't sound like the most foolproof method," he settled on.
"Nonsense, it works perfectly. I found Harry for Ginny, didn't I?"
"Certainly. Who do you think hired your business to set them up?"
me get this straight," Neville said slowly. "You used a magic spell to
find the man you believed would be perfect for your daughter? Then you
hired Ron and Hermione to cast spells on them so that they'd meet and
fall in love with each other?"
"And you don't see anything wrong with that?"
"I am her mother."
Neville shook his head, resignedly. "What do I have to do?"
"Hold your wand like this, dear," Molly said. "And..." she cast a look at the castle. "Let's hurry."
looked at the castle as well. There were leilandis that had been
planted along one wall, and these were now rather higher than the
shorter turrets. Even as Neville watched, one grew up and around a
passing owl, swallowing the unfortunate bird whole. By the sound of it,
another one of the evergreens held a thestral fast in its branches.
Creevey stood atop the highest point of the stadium, the Quidditch
World Cup held aloft over his head. Below him, he knew, his coach would
be having fits, but Dennis didn't care. With a wave of his hand and a
final lift of the cup, he stepped onto his waiting Nimbus and carefully
aimed it back down towards the rest of the team, who were cheering and
laughing at his antics.
And why not? Hadn't he scored for
England in the World Cup Final? Hadn't he been instrumental in securing
England their first World Cup in over two hundred years? Hadn't he
flown interference for Harry Potter during the ruthless Snitch hunt?
Indeed he had - and that was worth celebrating.
to the point, he'd done all of these things with a hangover the size of
a hippogriff, having tried to outdrink the Weasley brothers all on his
own the night before. Granted, it was a valiant thing to do, but
there's one of Dennis and five Weasley brothers, not to mention that
they had roped their distant cousin Ron into the proceedings as well.
a recklessly drunk Gryffindor isn't that much more reckless than a
sober Gryffindor, so Dennis' somewhat inebriated state hadn't been that
noticeable so far. It did however leave him rather more open to
suggestion than normal, which was about to become important.
(I hope you're all taking notes, by the way, there may be a quiz at the end.)
he came level with the rest of the players, he felt the flash of a
thousand bulbs popping in time with his racing heart. He gestured with
the cup at the blinding light, knowing that his brother was in there
somewhere, camera firing like crazy, gibbering madly into his quill.
Dennis could not have been happier.
thirty-two years of age, he had reached the pinnacle of his career.
Recognised world-wide as the finest Chaser of the last century, he was
as steady on a broom as Harry Potter himself, and some felt even more
inclined to reckless bravery than Potter when a match was at stake.
Perhaps, but he was a Gryffindor, after all.
unusual was it for Dennis to even falter on his broom that when he
suddenly lurched sideways, half of the eighty-thousand people in the
stadium laughed at his showboating.
The other half, who had seen the cup slip from his fingers, gasped as they realised something was wrong.
Summoned the Cup even as he flew over to Dennis, which at least showed
that his priorities were correct. Replacing a team-mate is only a
matter of biology and training. Replacing the ancient and magical World
Cup would take some doing
"Are you okay?" he asked as he reached his team-mate.
Dennis sat up straight again, his face blank.
"I am fine," he said in a monotone quite unlike his normal voice.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes I am. Please excuse me. I must go."
And he leaned over his broom and shot upward into the sky, leaving the World Cup and his thousands of adoring fans behind.
Dennis gone?" Angelina Johnson asked, soaring up to join Harry, and
taking hold of one of the Cup's handles possessively. Harry smiled as
he let his captain take the trophy.
"I don't know," he said. "He looked... Well, like he'd been Imperio'd, truth be told."
opened her mouth to reply, but started and nearly dropped the Cup when
a small sheet of parchment popped into existence between them. Harry
caught it before it fell away from them.
"Harry, had to borrow your Chaser, well done on winning the Cup, Neville. P.S. It conquers all..."
"Oh," Harry said. "It looks like Dennis is needed elsewhere."
"What's more important than the World Cup?"
glanced to his left. He could just make out a gaggle of redheads in one
of the boxes - and in the centre of that group, he knew, was his wife.
"One thing," he said.
was halfway to Bones Castle before he began to wake from his stupor.
Unfortunately for him, he was flying his broomstick - the fastest in
professional Quidditch, no less - through one of the colder parts of
thin air, and was nearing nothing more than a sweat-soaked Quidditch
Dimly, he wondered about his tackle. As a Chaser, it
was one of the most important weapons in his armoury, but he needed it
to be perfect when he got where he was going.
Dully, he shook his head. Something about that wasn't quite right...
He flew on, muzzily aware that he had no idea where he was going, nor what he was going to do when he got there.
Something to do with scoring, he thought. That much at least seemed to make sense.
"And this is going to work?" Neville asked.
"Oh, yes," Molly said.
"It seems a bit... unethical."
"You're a fine one to talk. How many love spells does your lot cast? Per week?"
Neville kicked at a nearby stone.
"That's different," he said.
part of an ancient and mystical organisation dedicated to bringing
happiness into the lives of those who most deserve it."
"Princes and princesses?"
"And normal people," Neville said, evenly. He was smart enough to know when he was being baited. "We believe in happiness."
"So do I."
"Oh... What if she hates him?"
Creevey? She's had posters of him on her wall since he turned
professional. They're old friends, really, or he's a friend of her
parents, anyway. And now she's an adult."
Neville sighed, and plucked the gold star that marked him as the head of One Wish, Inc. from his robes.
"Look, you're clearly more cut out for this than I am," he said. "Do you want to run the company?"
Molly raised an eyebrow.
"No, thank you dear. But it's a very nice thought."
"I just feel a bit useless is all."
"It's understandable dear, after all..."
you've only saved the Princess from certain death, been a wonderful
friend to my daughter in her darkest times, granted thousands of wishes
that have generally improved people's lives and afflicted Draco Malfoy
with the Curse of the Toad."
"I suppose you have a point," Neville said with a small smile.
"Although cursing Malfoy may have only made him more disagreeable, I suppose," Molly carried on.
"He deserved it," Neville said, scowling.
I happen to agree with you, dear. Draco certainly deserved some form of
censure for his prejudiced and disagreeable nature, and if making sure
that whenever he removes his trousers he hears the sound of a toad
croaking is what you felt necessary, then that's up to you. I perhaps
might have simply denied him access to my desserts-"
"Oh, come on now!" Neville said, clearly appalled. "There's no need to resort to torture!"
pleasant and somewhat meandering interlude was brought to an end by the
arrival of a lump of ice that plummeted from the sky and crashed into
the thick, rich, loamy soil that was the source of the fantastic growth
rate of the Bones plants. So heavy was the lump of ice and so floofy
the soil that it took the light from both Neville and Molly's wands to
make out the lump, stuck as it was down a hole some forty feet deep
that it had carved before coming to a halt.
"Is that..." Neville asked, before being hit on the head by a free-falling broomstick and falling unconscious to the ground.
Creevey, fresh from his Quidditch match, having flown through sub-zero
temperatures in sweaty robes to reach us? Yes, dear, I believe it is."
are few nicer ways to be awakened than by someone waving a hot mugful
of sweet tea in front of you. Neville and Dennis were thus pleasantly
brought back to the land of the living and refreshed by Molly's
"Er, what am I doing here?" Dennis managed
to ask at last, through chattering teeth. He wasn't entirely certain
that it had been necessary for Chef Molly to remove his robes to dry
them, but she had insisted. There wasn't an ounce of spare fat on his
perfectly-toned, well muscled frame, and he was still feeling rather
"And, er, are my robes done yet?"
"Very nearly, dear," Chef Molly replied, from her wash bucket. She grinned at him. "Another fifteen minutes of the washboard-"
"Surely you mean on the washboard?"
right, dear," Molly said, her eyes never leaving his stomach. "Now,
Neville dear, weren't you going to get Dennis a six-pack?"
"Er, a sword, wasn't it?"
Neville rolled his eyes.
"Aren't you Neville Longbottom?" Dennis asked.
"Yes, that's me," Neville said. "You must be wondering why we brought you here."
really," Dennis sighed. "You're One Wish, I'm a Quidditch player. It
seems to come with the job. I was called out five times last year to
birthday parties, and twice to hen nights."
"Yes. And they all ended up with me naked as well."
Neville went on hurriedly. "You being naked isn't quite what we were
after, although," he glanced at Molly. "I suppose it may have been a
step on the way for some of us. No, do you recognise the castle behind
Dennis turned and looked. Then he turned around still
further and looked that way as well. He turned around more, but this
simply brought him back to facing Neville.
grimaced as he looked at the forest that had sprung up while he was
unconscious. He looked down at the sword he was holding in one hand.
sword of Gryffindor is a fine device for stabbing, and it is even
possible that it could be used to, for example, cleave a Dark Wizard's
head clean from his shoulders.
despite its ruby-studded hilt, and fancy carving of 'Gryffindor' into
the blade, it's not the weapon you'd necessarily choose to take into a
forest where the trees were growing even faster than Hagrid's pumpkins.
No, for that, you needed an axe. A great, big chopper.
"Speaking of which," Molly said, intruding on Neville's thoughts. "Here are your robes back, dear."
Dennis thanked her, and dressed quickly.
"What am I doing here, then?" he asked. "This doesn't seem like much of a hen night."
castle is in there," Neville said, pointing at the flourishing forest.
"You have to fight your way through the plants and wake up Princess
"Princess Susan?" Dennis asked. "Is this a Sleeping Beauty spell?"
"Isn't the forest supposed to grow over a hundred years or something?"
"I've got green fingers," he said, helplessly.
steps into the forest and Dennis felt as though he had almost reached
the centre. It was dark, and he could see hardly any distance in any
direction. He looked back over his shoulder, but couldn't even see the
gap that he had squeezed through. The trees were growing even more
frantically, it seemed, with every passing second.
He was all alone, with nothing but his broomstick and a large axe for company.
barely a hint of trepidation he mounted his Nimbus, which rose
obediently until he hovered about five foot above the ground. Looking
down, he saw tree roots snacking across the soil, twisting over and
around each other. While his experiences as an impromptu strip-a-gram
had taught him much about fighting off unwanted attention, he was glad
to be up in the air where he felt safest.
He eased the broom
forward, lashing out at any branches that got in his way with the axe.
Dead wood fell about him, but was quickly swallowed up as the trees
absorbed the fallen limbs.
It took only a few minutes for
Dennis to realise that he was lost. He had never bothered equipping his
broom with a compass, and had no idea which way the castle was. Casting
about, he realised that he was trapped. The trees had closed in around
him totally, leaving him no way forward and back.
wondered whether he really liked the Bones family that much to begin
with. Chef Molly's cooking was certainly nice, but she was on the
outside anyway. The King and Queen had been nothing to write home
about, while the Princess he was supposed to be rescuing was a pleasant
enough girl, but still a child. He had a rather gloomy suspicion that
his status as the Wizarding World's Most Eligible Bachelor (Unless
Harry And Ginny Ever Get Divorced, Which Isn't Likely But We Single
Girls Can Hope) which Witch Weekly had recently awarded him for the
seventh year running had come back to bite him on the arse.
a grunt of effort he wrenched his broom free of the questing, probing
branches. The manoeuvre left him pointing upwards, and sent the axe
flying from his grip. Before he could react, the weapon was swallowed
whole by a particularly mean looking silver birch, which seemed to leer
at him even as it reconstituted the axe blade into a pointy set of
metal twigs that stretched out towards him.
Dennis frowned. He
had about as much desire to be hugged by the birch as he did by his
Auntie Ida, who had a whiskery moustache and an unfortunate odour
With a sigh, he abandoned the idea of tackling the forest as a hero, and decided to tackle it like a Quidditch player.
that?" Neville asked, seeing the shape tearing free of the canopy of
the forest, trailing a few terminally stubborn branches behind him.
"Oh, just a hero with brains," Molly said, without looking up from her cooking pot. "Try this, dear."
"Mmm, that's good," Neville said, tasting Molly's latest dish. "Needs a little salt."
"Sorry?" Neville asked. With Molly's cooking in front of him, he wasn't paying too much attention to anything else.
hovered over the forest. The canopy was thick, but he could see through
patches of it. Here a lake, there a pond, everywhere a water feature.
you think he's found the castle?" Neville asked, distractedly. He was
watching Molly heap a spoonful of jambalaya into a bowl that he hoped
was coming his way.
"Probably, dear. He is a hero, after all."
"He's a Quidditch player."
"He's her hero."
"If you say so," Neville said.
a crash, Dennis shot through the window, dismounted his broom just
before it buried itself nose first into the solid stone wall and landed
gracefully on the bed.
He looked down, mildly disappointed
that he had landed in a guest bedroom, but still rather pleased at the
dismount with double-twist and a pike that would have brought gasps of
admiration from even the most cynical of announcers.
to the door, he opened it and stepped out into the corridor. The inside
of the castle was pristine, the plants not having intruded beyond the
walls, but everywhere Dennis went the floors were littered with fallen
flunkies and servants, all of them fast asleep. One was lying with his
face in a pool of tea having been carrying a mug of the drink when he
had been struck by the spell. Another was paused with one shoeless foot
propped on the opposite knee, a pair of nail scissors in hand, the
blades paused halfway along a particularly grubby and yellow toenail.
looked around, trying to figure out which of the hundreds of rooms
belonged to the Princess. It was a search, he thought, which seemed to
be lacking other versions of the story that he'd heard. Sometimes the
hero was guided to the Princess by magic, or by allies - which
sometimes took the form of small furry animals, the appearance of which
in a story had always made Dennis want to throw the book out of a
window - and sometimes the Princess just seemed to sleep in the room
nearest the castle door.
However the hero managed it, Dennis
supposed that he had probably invalidated any claim he had on help -
small and furry or otherwise - when he took a non-hero route through -
over - the forest.
With a sigh, he walked to the next door on the corridor and opened it.
"Toilet," he muttered, and walked along the corridor to the next one.
And the next one.
And the next one.
in short, was in for rather a long search. However, it could have been
worse. The Sleeping Beauty curse is a popular one that has been cast
over and over throughout the ages. The wicked Godmother always tries to
kill the child. The last Godmother always saves the child from death.
It's one of those things that can't be explained - it just is.
is possible, however, that there are places where the wicked Godmother
is successful, where the precocious, beautiful, vibrant and charming
Princess dies from a pricked finger, and that everyone involved is just
too embarrassed at having messed up such a well known story that the
whole thing is hushed up.
I didn't say that it was likely.
But it is possible.
Dennis continues his search - and, between you and me, he's started in
the wrong wing of the castle so he'll be a while - allow me to take you
off to meet up with Chef Molly and Godmother Neville again. Rather than
just sitting around and trying out some new recipes that Molly had come
up with, they had become embroiled in a plot to overthrow the
masochistic dictator of far off Kioraland, which had culminated in a
short and bloodless coup.
So short, indeed, that by the time
we get back to them they're back where we left them, almost giving the
impression that they've not been doing much.
But trust me, they have. You've got my word for it, okay?
"I always wanted to see Kioraland," Neville said.
"Me too," Molly replied, settling back in her chair. "Cup of tea?"
observant among you may have noticed that Molly has somehow obtained
much of the furniture associated with a kitchen since she fled the
castle with Neville, and indeed this is so. The small clearing that
they have bedded down in is now home to a cooking fire, several pots, a
kettle, a medium-sized table, a cupboard, a spice rack and several
Asking how this is possible is rather like asking how fish swim, or how humans breathe.
"How do you think he's doing?" Molly asked, as she poured milk into Neville's mug.
"Oh, fine," Neville said. "Thanks," he added, as he took the mug. "He's a hero. He'll be in her bedchamber any moment now."
as if by magic, Dennis was just leaving the king and queen's
bedchamber. Princess Susan's was the next room on the corridor -
although he didn't know this - and he was approaching the door when he
"Yes?" Dennis replied, cautiously.
"Can you help me out?"
"Well, maybe," Dennis replied. "What is it you need?"
"Directions, I think. I appear to have got lost."
Dennis looked at the wolf.
"I think so," he said. "You're a wolf, aren't you?"
The wolf nodded.
"There's no wolves in these parts," Dennis went on.
"I just feel like I need to be here," the wolf said.
"Are you here to give me directions?" Dennis asked.
The wolf looked at Dennis, and at the way Dennis was fingering his axe, a little too eagerly.
"Not at all," he replied, scrunching up the map of Bones Castle in one paw.
I tell you what, there's a man and woman out there," said Dennis who
was not above taking revenge on the people who'd landed him in this
strange situation (and who had, after all, stripped him naked as well).
"Go and speak to them. They might be able to help you."
"One of them's a Godmother."
The wolf looked doubtful.
"Godmothers and wolves don't usually get along," it said. "They're usually on different sides, you might say."
this is true," Dennis said. "But the Godmother's a man, and I'm
supposed to be a hero but I'm not being very heroic. Maybe this is a
time for all sentient beings to throw off the shackles that cultural
momentum would place on us, as it were, and embrace the possibilities
offered by a new present in which the hero can, for example, break off
his search for the Princess to embark on a conversation with a
supporting character from another story."
"You think there might be a role for me in a story?" the wolf asked.
Wolves are always in demand. Three pigs, a lonely girl in a forest...
Even if it's just stand in work as an extra in the background of a
cautionary tale about playing God and trying to create life, well, a
wolf's virtually guaranteed a spot."
"I see," said the wolf. He appeared to be deep in thought. "Do you think I should have some headshots done?"
raised an eyebrow and stepped past the wolf towards the next door in
line which, I'm sure you will remember, was Princess Susan's bedroom
"What about an agent?" the wolf called after him. Receiving no reply, he slunk off to try and get a role in the next story.
Dennis shook his head and, turning the doorhandle, pushed open the door.
With a smile of relief, he beheld the Princess Susan.
And fell head over heels in love.
Delacour was a very clever witch, and had cunningly enchanted Susan to
become hugely attractive to men only when she reached the twelfth hour
of her seventeenth birthday and had had the chance to adapt to her
coming of age in the wizarding world. Such foresight was not something
that Fleur herself - being one-quarter Veela - had ever been fortunate
enough to be blessed with. From the age of eleven when she had begun to
grow into her looks, she had been pursued down the street by movie
producers, record moguls and modelling agents, which is all a bit of a
pain when you just want to go to the movies with your mates.
course, the Princess was now seventeen, and the charm had kicked in.
She had been rather attractive beforehand, but even lying in her
curse-induced repose, there was a certain air about her, a particular
something that cannot be defined - which, frankly, saves me trying to
define it - and which only belongs to a very few women in the world at
any one time.
Whatever it was, she had it, and Dennis approached the bed with a very dry mouth.
"When?" Molly asked.
"Soon," Neville replied. "Do you have any biscuits?"
Molly burrowed in her larder and produced a biscuit barrel full to the brim with chocolate digestives.
really are quite good at this, you know," she said. "You have the
instincts, you just need to believe in yourself a little bit more."
Neville didn't say anything. He had two biscuits in his mouth.
approached the bed, heart in his mouth. He was on the verge of saying
something like 'My darling Susan,' but stopped himself before he became
completely a lost cause.
Of course he knew of the Bones
traditional blessing by the One Wish operatives, but never before had
he quite believed that it were true. He hadn't seen the Princess in
several months, and she had become a fine woman.
And he was the man chosen to awaken her. He was her true love. He was the one who would be her husband.
He was the one sitting on the side of her bed, staring in wonder at her pale, delicate face.
He leant forward, eyes fluttering shut as he brought his lips to meet hers.
A pixie chorus popped into existence over their heads, and lit up with a romantic refrain.
yes, they're the same pixie band that was there when Harry and Ginny
kissed for the first time. They're very popular for big events. They
get the theme from "A Summer's Place" just right, and that's a tricky song, believe you me.)
Dennis kissed Princess Susan softly on the lips.
Princess Susan's eyes opened, ever so slowly.
Susan sat up, ever so quickly. She caught Dennis across the side of his
face with her chin and sent him sprawling to the floor.
"Bloody hell!" Susan swore. "My back is killing me."
Wincing, she reached around and massaged the small of her back.
"Ohhh..." she groaned. "What in the name of Merlin was I sleeping on?"
"...what?" Dennis said quietly. He had had rather a hard landing on the cold flagstones.
She swung herself out of bed with a pained grunt and, complaining the whole time, reached down to grab the edge of the mattress.
With a grunt of effort, she lifted the thick, heavy mattress up and tipped it off the bed and onto the floor on the other side.
Or, more accurately, onto Dennis who was on the floor on the other side.
The Princess stared at the minute object that lay in the centre of bed frame.
pea," she said, rubbing her back, which was twinging and twanging in a
way that demanded the attention of a masseuse, or at the very least
several hours in a piping hot bath. "That great git Malfoy had me
sleeping on a pea! He actually put a pea under my mattress! He tried to
make me sleep forever on a pea!"
And, well, we all know what sleeping on a pea does to a princess, don't we?
Well, yes, it puts them in a bad mood, but...
Ah, forget it.
Princess Susan strode around the bed, eager to get back out into the world and find out how long she had been asleep.
Dennis groaned softly.
Susan froze in mid-step, and looked about herself. This time, she realised with a slight frown, it wasn't her who had groaned.
turned around and cautiously approached the bed, one wary eye on the
moving mattress. Susan was aware that in other, poorer, households it
was not uncommon for mattresses to move on their own accord, but Susan
was a Princess, after all. She had never even seen a cockroach, let alone had any in her bed.
She poked the mattress tentatively, and stepped back quickly when it swore.
"Hello?" she said.
The mattress stopped moving.
"Er, hello?" it replied.
"Is that you, Malfoy?" Susan asked, wondering where her wand was.
"Malfoy? No, it's not Malfoy. Who the hell is Malfoy, and why would he be in your bedroom?"
"Look, would you mind getting this bloody thing off of me?"
"The mattress, woman, if it's not too much trouble."
"Oh. You're under the mattress?"
There was a moment of silence.
"Where," the voice asked, "did you think I was?"
"Well," Susan rallied magnificently. "You could be a ventriloquist."
"Is this Malfoy character a ventriloquist?"
set her jaw. "Shut up," she said briskly. Spying her wand on the
nightstand she picked it up and waved it at the mattress. The mattress
leapt up into the air, flipped over several times, wrapped itself
neatly in sheets and blankets and landed, with pillows neatly stacked,
on top of the bed.
"I can breathe..."
course you can breathe," Susan snapped. Her back was still rather sore,
and she was not feeling particularly well-disposed to anyone at that
moment. "You're talking, aren't you?"
Dennis tried to push himself upright.
"You're not Malfoy," Susan said.
"No, I'm not. I'm-"
"Dennis!" Susan gasped, as he managed to right himself.
"Susan?" Dennis asked.
"Are you alright? Did I hurt you?" Susan half-squealed, half-gasped.
"Yes, and yes," Dennis said, but he did not seem particularly bothered by this.
"I'm so sorry. There was this dreadful Malfoy man, and he cursed me, and... That's the last thing I remember."
were placed under the Sleeping Beauty curse," Dennis said, levering
himself onto the bed, rubbing his head gingerly as he did so.
you're hurt," Susan said, rushing to his side. She knelt beside him,
and tentatively reached out to the large bruise blossoming across his
"Well..." Dennis said, and then submitted to her
ministrations. He was very aware of her warm breath tickling his neck,
and had to clench his fingers on his knees to stop him simply seizing
her and kissing her again.
Susan, faced with the prospect of
the man she cared for more than any other, alone with her in her
bedroom, was not so reticent. Seizing his chin in her hand, she turned
his head until he was facing her.
And then she took a very
deep breath, screwed up every ounce of courage, and took advantage of
what could well have been her only chance to do something that she'd
dreamed of since she was old enough to dream about it.
With a smile, Neville sat back in his chair. The portable crystal ball in his hand vanished with a pop.
He heaved a great sigh of relief and sat back in his chair. For the first time in nearly seventeen years, Neville relaxed.
Even more than a Bones christening, a royal wedding brings out the finest and greatest, the cream of society.
And everything else that rises to the top.
King and Queen of Bones Park were marrying their daughter off to one of
England's Quidditch World Cup heroes - it doesn't get much bigger than
Neville and Molly walked down the aisle and took their seats.
"I think that a day of sleep is better than a hundred years," Neville said.
"I agree, dear," Molly said.
know you do. You're the one who made me find her true love - but anyone
would have fallen in love with her when they walked through that door
and saw her. And anyone who kissed her would have been her one true
love. That's how the spell works. I looked it up."
"Is that a fact?" Molly asked, not looking him in the eye.
"I suppose you never stop being a mum, do you?"
dear, never. We used to have some interesting talks, Susan and I. She'd
come to the kitchens, and we'd bake biscuits and discuss her dream
"And how close is this?"
"Pretty close, dear, pretty close. The groom's here. That's usually enough."
"Shush. It's about to start..."
stood at the front of the chapel, fists clenched nervously at his side.
His brother stood at his side, a charmed camera recording every moment
of his brother's discomfort for future generations to enjoy.
chapel organ wheezed to life, a sprightly tune heralding the arrival of
the bride and her father, who walked her down the aisle safe in the
knowledge that a fine feast awaited them all once the ceremony was out
of the way.
The priest took his place and opened his order of
service. With a final clearing of the throat, he began to address the
"Wuv, true wuv," he began.
Down in the
kitchen, magical fires flickered to life, their flames guttering their
way to a roaring blaze as the feast began to cook. Chef Molly was
always right in these matters, and the meal would be ready in three
("Dearly beloved," the minister began, as Princess
Susan and Dennis smiled at each other and then stood side by side. "We
are gathered here today to join this woman and this man in the bonds of
holy matwimony. Both Dennis Colin Dennis Colin Dennis Colin Dennis
Colin Cweevey and Pwincess Susan Amelia Jacinta Theodowa Samantha
Thomasina Thumbelina Daphne Stacy Beatwix Bellatwix Sidney Clawissa
Jennifer Sabwina Susan Stephanie Awiel Belle Jean Gwizelda Awabella
Angelina Alicia Katie Sophie Bones the Fourth-"
"Er, excuse me," the King began, his stomach rumbling noticeably in the echoey chapel. "It's Sophia, not Sophie...")
...but then, perhaps there are times when something is worth waiting for.