I don't reread my long stories in this manner - which often received ridiculously large amounts of feedback by ridiculously large amounts of people. I always, without fail, see the flaws. There are parts which I adore, jokes which only a select few will get. The long stories, they're time capsules of a feeling, a knowledge, a perception, long since passed. My shorter fan fictions generally seem to hold more integrity under close scrutiny.
I write this because I started another short fiction this morning, and was amused to find it immediately bearing similarity to the aforementioned piece. Sometimes I just get the inspiration of a phrase and start. Here's the original, and if I continue to write it, I'm sure the latest written piece will appear at some point.
Title: A Dinner of Figg
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: 806 words.
Notes: Written May 2004.
The room was quite possibly the worst place he had ever been, and for a boy whose bedroom was underneath a staircase, that was saying a lot. There was the odour of mass feline habitation, heavy lavender, and what was quite possibly stewed cabbage. The worst of it was that it was not the first time he had been there, and was certain not to be the last.
The young boy with infernally messy hair was sitting extraordinarily still, his hands resting on his knees and his eyes staring fixedly at the seemingly blank opposite wall. He did not make a sound, except for a shallow wheezing most likely brought on from mowing the lawn of Number 4 Privet Drive long after twilight had passed on a cold and blustery day.
Young Harry Potter was not at Number 4 Privet Drive today, however. He was visiting. This was obviously an occasion of great importance to the Dursleys. If it had not been they would not have carted Harry off to the terrifying old lady with the wrinkled face that closely resembled a balloon that has lost all its air. They would have locked him under the stairs. Indeed, Uncle Vernon apparently had someone over who had a friend of a friend of a colleague of a brother-in-law's cousin who had some standing in the Aristocracy.
As he sat, Harry attempted not to wonder what odd gurgling noises coming from the Kitchen were. He was absolutely determined not to touch anything in the room. He had done so before and had received a tremendous slap on his hand. He had learnt his lesson, the sweets were not for his consumption, no, they were reserved as treats for proper guests.
When Mrs. Figg came shuffling in, Harry greeted her as he had been told to. He stood up to his full height of four feet six inches, said 'hello' and gave the stooped elderly woman a kiss on the cheek. Harry tried not to speculate on the number of years it had been since Mrs. Figg had brushed her teeth, used mouthwash, or had a mint, but it was indeed the most difficult of tasks and took all of his willpower.
"And what have you been up to in school, then?" Mrs. Figg asked in a somewhat (extremely) strong (aggressive) manner. She seated herself directly across from him. Her eyes drilled into Harry and he squirmed uncomfortably in his chair.
"We've been doing some Mathematics, and some English and we've been studying the Frogs in the school pond," Harry replied in a short and slightly intimidated manner.
"Maths, eh? Pi and all that?"
"Pie?" Harry said confused, "no, we never talk about food."
"I meant the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle, boy, don't you know anything? Just what do they teach these days? How old exactly are you?" Mrs. Figg responded in a loud voice.
Harry slid down slightly in his chair, "Uhmmm, err…"
"Well spit it out!"
"I'm only seven, Mrs. Figg," Harry eventually managed to reply. He pushed his glasses up on his nose. They had managed to slide down with him.
"Only seven," Mrs. Figg scoffed, "when I was only seven I not only knew Pi, I was well acquainted with the workings of Plato, I had performed in several of Shakespeare's plays and could write Latin fluently!"
Whilst not exactly knowing what any of these meant, Harry nonetheless realised the validity of the statement and contrived an expression of suitable chastisement on his face.
"What have you been doing then? What about English?" Mrs. Figg asked after a long pause.
"We've been asked to write stories about why we like our families, Mrs. Figg," Harry replied, looking suddenly at the floor.
"Oh yes, and how have you been finding that?"
"Quite difficult, Mrs. Figg."
"Oh? I would have thought it was easy for one of your verbal skills." The sarcasm was not lost on Harry, who was still looking at the floor with a slight frown marking his forehead. "Don't you get food, shelter and clothing? Don't you have an education? Surely the Dursleys are a wonderful family?"
"Perhaps they are," Harry said, looking up as rapidly as he had looked down, and gazing intently at Mrs. Figg with crystal clear green eyes, "but they aren't my family."
For a moment Harry thought he saw a glimmer of something like tenderness cross Mrs. Figg's face. He could almost swear he saw pity and sorrow in the depths of those usually cold and bitter eyes, but the expression vanished as soon as it had appeared and the old woman stood up quickly and shuffled out of the room. She came back shortly afterwards with a bowl of congealed gloop that smelled exactly like stewed cabbage.