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The Luckless by peppersweet
Chapter 1 : The Luckless
 
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act one, scene one



Professor Dawson sighed as he surveyed the Great Hall, knowing that that year’s production of The Fountain of Fair Fortune was already in jeopardy – and rehearsals hadn’t even started yet.


It is a truth universally acknowledged that an amateur dramatics society in possession of a cast and a play must be in want of a set, and it had been with a certain amount of stoic optimism and faith in his students that he’d put up fifty posters around the school advertising the society’s need for capable and hardworking set painters. No stress, no pressure, and every muggle studies lesson that term off for the good of the production. Free biscuits, even. Tea for those who wished to carry on painting in their own time.


Art was not officially a subject at Hogwarts, but there existed both a craft club and a photography club, and he guessed that a small minority of students might paint in their spare time. As a creative himself, he knew all too well the futility of artistic isolation. He was betting that this was the opportunity for those creative students to come out of their academic shells and flourish; to meet other artists, to seek solace in the knowledge that they were not the only ones struggling at the dearth of Arts on the magical curriculum. In fleeting moments, he had seen it as a revolution. Artists of the world unite! The paintbrush was mightier than the sword!


That was until the prop sword cut the paintbrush in half. He was expecting ten students at the absolute least. He got two.


Professor Dawson did his best to smile, although it was difficult to conceal his disappointment. The Great Hall had never seemed, well, greater. He stood alone at the lectern and, below, a girl and boy sat at the end of the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables respectively.


It was already ten minutes past the stipulated meeting time of five o’clock. There was nothing for it. These two – a pair of misfits if he’d ever seen them – would have to do. He clapped his hands together, beamed, and began his speech.


‘Welcome, set-painters! Thank you for volunteering to be part of this marvellous production and choosing to be part of our team – let me tell you now that you will not regret this! It is both an enjoyable experience and one that may look good on your CV – and we have biscuits!’


To his chagrin, neither of them laughed. Not even a smile. The two of them sat there and stared sullenly up at him. They didn’t even look that artistic; the boy was suitably unkempt, but the girl had obviously taken some time with her hair – not very successfully, either. Professor Dawson tutted inwardly. Everyone knew that true artists held no truck with such pointless activities as grooming. It was pointless. Art had a dress code, and it was dress for mess.


‘As you probably know, this year we’re performing an exciting modern adaptation of The Fountain of Fair Fortune – this contemporary take on the play brings it bang up to date, setting it on a Glaswegian council estate! Well, we’re thinking of making it Manchester. We don’t have enough Scots. But,’ he attempted a winning smile. ‘That’s just being pedantic.’


No response but sullen staring. He made a mental note to break out the biscuits in due course.


‘So we’d like you to produce a stunning set for us that truly reflects the time and place in which this contemporary adaptation is set. I’m thinking,’ he squinted, as if straining to see something in the distance. ‘Grey. Bleak. Drab. Concrete. Stained concrete. But it opens to reveal-’ his hands fluttered from his sides, made shapes in the air. ‘The vibrancy, the colour the fountain brings.’


His eyes snapped back open and his hands fell to his sides. ‘Thoughts?’


A full thirty seconds passed before the boy at the Hufflepuff table spoke. ‘I was, er, thinking…maybe a fountain?’


Professor Dawson felt the time for biscuits had possibly arrived. Persuasion was needed, and there was nothing more persuasive than a packet of custard creams.


‘Alright,’ he sighed. ‘You two stay here and brainstorm some ideas. I’ll be back in a jiffy.’


It was a few minutes until either of them could bring themselves to talk. The boy turned to the Gryffindor table, trying out a pathetically fake smile that only made him look worried.


‘I’m Scorpius,’ he blurted out. ‘I’m…well, here for the biscuits.’


The girl, who certainly had spent time on her hair in the belief that Alex Carter of Ravenclaw (cast as Sir Luckless) would be there, gave an equally pathetic smile in return. ‘I’m Lucy. And I’m just here because we get to miss muggle studies.’


‘Ah,’ Scorpius said. ‘I see.’


‘Should we…er…brainstorm something?’


‘Uh…’


‘Because, to be honest, I was thinking a fountain too, but that isn’t really…adequate.’


Scorpius shrugged. ‘Well, he hasn’t even given us plans.’


‘Oh. Can you paint?’


‘Of course.’


‘Good,’ Lucy said. ‘Because...well...I can’t. And I'm actually just here for the biscuits.’


act one, scene two



Lucy was the sort of girl you could always rely on for a good laugh. Not because of her sparkling wit or quick sense of humour, but because she was awfully adept at blundering out of her depth, at woefully misjudging her every move, and at falling down Hogwarts’ many staircases. If clumsiness was an N.E.W.T subject, she could have sat it within a year and passed with flying colours, but the curriculum dictated that she must sit a handful of practical magic subjects instead, the vast majority of which she was quite hopeless in.


She was a pretty girl, prettier than average, with wide eyes and a charming smile, but suffered both from short-sightedness and outrageously frizzy hair. She was absolutely incapable of dealing with either. Her hair went untamed and, often, she refused to wear her ungainly spectacles, which left her squinting narrowly into the distance and gave her a near perpetual frown.


She was also popular, although, to be pedantic in the way that only teenage girls can, she was one of the unpopular popular people, one of the girls who drifted on the periphery of a vast, shrill group of other girls who generally talked and dressed in the same manner whilst selling themselves as unique individuals. These girls were the sort who would describe themselves as bubbly, but the rest of the student population mostly found them to be annoying.


Scorpius, by contrast, was unpopular to the point that he blended in with the wallpaper. People only knew who he was because his ancestors had a habit of popping up on the modern History of Magic syllabus. He was quiet, mild-mannered, meek, bespectacled, and generally inconsequential. You would miss him if you blinked; he was the sort of boy you really had to keep your eyes peeled for. Happily, one of Lucy’s main occupations was, in fact, keeping her short-sighted eyes peeled for things not immediately in front of her, and she rather took a liking to him once they were the official set painters.


Muggle Studies was, in the parlance of the Hogwarts’ students, a total doss, but both of them were still pleased to skip it. It was one of those lessons that hides in the timetable where you least expect it – in third period, when you are too hungry for lunch to give the slightest care about what is on the blackboard, or in fifth period, when the school falls into a post-lunch, pre-dinner stupor, and even the most studious of pupils struggles to raise their hand in offer of an answer. Muggle Studies had a habit of preceding lunch or the end of the school day: there really is nothing more tortuous than the job of a Muggle Studies teacher, who must deliver lectures about how aeroplanes stay up whilst the collective consciousness of the classroom is firmly fixed on chips.


Fifth period on the second Monday in January: Lucy Weasley, happy as a Horklump in mud to be missing sixth year Muggle Studies, entering stage right into the Great Hall, where Scorpius Malfoy was already sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of a large wooden board that had been primed with white paint and delivered to the hall that morning.


‘Come and take a look at this,’ he said, as Lucy dumped her schoolbag on the floor and almost tripped over her own untied shoelaces. She sat cross-legged beside him and peered up at the board.


‘It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen,’ Scorpius said despondently. ‘It’s like elephant skin. Old elephant skin.’


Lucy touched a finger to the board. White paint flaked off and drizzled over her kneecaps.


‘How many elephants have you painted, then?’ she said, brushing the paint from her tights.


‘Fifty-six, thank you for asking. Have you seen Professor Dawson around?’


‘Nah. He’s probably trying to persuade his Charms class to form a kickline.’


‘That I’d like to see.’


‘Right,’ she rubbed her hands together expectantly. ‘How do you paint?’


‘Long story,’ Scorpius said. ‘Also, the git forgot to bring us any paint.’


Lucy turned and squinted at the hall.


‘Bloody hell, you’re right,’ she said.


‘Well, he is an artist for a reason.’


The two of them considered the elephant-skin painted board for a moment or two.


‘I’m not going back to muggle studies,’ Lucy said.


‘Me neither,’ Scorpius said.


‘Know much about the play?’


‘Nah.’


‘I auditioned,’ she said. ‘All my friends did. I didn’t even make the chorus. But my best friend got the part of Asha, bit of a slap in the face really.’


Scorpius considered mentioning that, as the clumsiest person within a ten-mile radius, performance probably wasn’t Lucy’s forte, but decided he didn’t know her well enough to say that.


‘I always wanted to do something like this,’ he said. ‘Might convince my dad I can actually, well, art. And stuff.’


‘He doesn’t think you can…art?’


‘Doesn’t approve. Sorry, my grammar’s a bit wonky.’


They contemplated the board for a moment longer.


‘What makes you think this is serious, though?’ Lucy said.


‘Dunno,’ Scorpius shrugged. ‘I guess it isn’t.’


‘No. I wasn’t intending it to be serious.’


‘Doesn’t help that we don’t have paint.’


‘Yeah, well, you know Dawson.’


Scorpius copied Lucy and scanned the surroundings. Then he swept a few loose strands of fringe out of his eyes.


‘The idiot didn’t even leave us any biscuits,’ he said.


Lucy’s eyes lit up. ‘Shall we go find some?’


act one, scene three



The set painters’ lack of paints was a shambles in itself, but nothing quite topped the rehearsals for the Fountain of Fair Fortune when it came to the shambolic. Many students suspected that each rehearsal was a new step towards Professor Dawson’s imminent nervous breakdown. The old stereotype dictates that creative types are more highly strung, and in many cases, this is not wrong.


First there was the acting, which, to be fair, was the sort you’d expect from students with little to no experience. Then there was the choir, which seemed to operate under a ‘pick a key, any key’ policy. There was the costumes department and their persistent problem with moths. And then there were the set painters, who had no paint, although they did have tea and biscuits.


They returned to the Great Hall after a quick detour to the basement, where they’d begged, borrowed and stolen biscuits, a thermos, and two mugs from the house elves, and popped into Hufflepuff house so Scorpius could pick up his own set of paints.


When they got back, it was to find that, in their absence, a rehearsal had begun. Quiet as mice, they sneaked back to the elephant-skin board with their modest afternoon tea.


‘Poor,’ Scorpius said, after they’d watched ten minutes of the show.


‘Pardon?’


‘It’s a bit, well, um…bad.’


‘Yeah,’ Lucy said, and sipped at her tea.


Another five minutes passed as they watched the chorus and dancers warble and lurch their way through ‘I Desire the Fountain’s Waters’, with a particularly poor turn from Asha.


‘She’s such an idiot,’ Lucy said abruptly. ‘I’m not sure she even gets the plot.’


‘If you could be any character in this, who would you be? Sorry, I know you said you auditioned…’


She pondered it for a moment. ‘Amata,’ she said. ‘She gets the guy. I mean, yeah, knowledge and money are great, whatever, but nobody wants to die alone. Oh, but I bet I will,’ she glared out at the cast. ‘I bet I’ll be one of those crazy cat ladies.’


‘You probably won’t be,’ Scorpius said, privately thinking the opposite. ‘I think…I think I’d be Sir Luckless.’


‘Really?’


‘Well, I am a bit…Luckless.’


‘He ends up with Amata. You trying to imply something?’


He wrinkled his nose at her. ‘Ew, no.’


‘Good,’ she said, elbowing him. ‘You’re a bit of a nerd.’


They sat in silence for the next few songs, before she patted him on the shoulder and said ‘look, Sir Luckless, I’ve got a plan. How about you paint, and I take biscuit duties?’


He frowned again. ‘Doesn’t sound too fair.’


‘No, look,’ she said. ‘The biscuits the house elves gave us – rich tea. Do you want rich teas forever? Are you really happy with that?’


‘Well, I’m quite fond of a rich tea-’


‘Yeah, but, what if you could have custard creams? Jammy dodgers? Bourbons? Garibaldis?’


‘I don’t like garibaldis.’


‘Custard creams?’


Scorpius’ face scrunched up in concentration. ‘Oh-kay,’ he said. ‘But at least help with some of the painting…’


She looked at him sternly. ‘Do you want biscuits or not?’


He nodded. ‘Biscuits.’


She patted him on the shoulder again. ‘This is just the more efficient way.’


act two, scene one



As it happened, Lucy never got around to fulfilling her part of the agreement. She brought the biscuits, even the custard creams, but never once lifted a brush.


Meanwhile, Scorpius had been busy at work. He’d sketched out the grim council estate Professor Dawson had requested on the board (although it was an abstract council estate, he insisted to Dawson, who’d hummed and hawed at the design) and begun to paint in the lines with a deep black he’d mixed himself. Scorpius, trying to shrug off the feeling of being an amateur, always mixed his own black from burnt sienna and ultramarine.


The council estate, he had to admit, was less of a council estate and more of an explosion in a geometry textbook. Mostly because he’d never seen a real council estate (despite his family being a bit downtrodden, he’d grown up in a Victorian townhouse) and also because his Arithmancy class was starting to look at the magical properties of shapes, so he usually had a set square or two to hand.


This hardly mattered; Professor Dawson hadn’t seen a real council estate either, and his fervent vision of stained concrete, squalid houses and abandoned cars was completely unfounded. But stained concrete and an abundance of grey was what he wanted, so it was what Scorpius gave him, fuelled by Lucy’s daily delivery of tea and biscuits.


One session, however, she did not turn up. Slightly disappointed, Scorpius painted on an empty stomach, almost finished with the council estate, before packing up half an hour earlier than usual and heading for the dormitory.


He didn’t see Lucy again until after dinner, when he was leaving the Great Hall with his friends from Hufflepuff. They were just through the door when they passed a group of Gryffindors coming the other way. Ordinarily, the Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors would have ignored one another, although Scorpius (and most of his friends) were the sort of people polite enough to smile at a stranger. This time, however, the group of Gryffindors contained Lucy Weasley, and so Scorpius stopped, smiled, and said hello.


‘Er, hello,’ Lucy said, as she slowed to a halt and her friends followed suit, many of them looking at Scorpius in a mixture of disdain and bafflement.


‘I missed you at painting earlier, you alright?’


‘Yeah, fine,’ she said dismissively.


‘Come on, Lucy, it’s a chip day,’ one of her friends said.


She turned around. ‘Coming,’ she said, rolling her eyes. Scorpius wasn’t sure whether he was meant to see that or not and, if he was, whether it was directed at her friend or at him.


‘You’ll be there tomorrow, right?’


‘Sure,’ she said, whatever.’


‘Come on!’ the same friend pleaded.


‘Bye, then,’ Scorpius said.


Lucy didn’t respond, and as she walked away with her friends, he heard another girl say ‘who was that, Luce?’ and then Lucy answering in a faltering voice – ‘oh, nobody.’


act two, scene two



Scorpius had half a mind not to turn up the next day. He wasn’t quite sure why he was so affected by that little encounter with Lucy and her gang of girls. He thought he should have been used to such an easy dismissal by now, having been something of a non-entity within the school for six years. But he’d rather come to like Lucy, and it was nice to think he had a friend beyond his own little group of fellow Hufflepuff boys. It made him feel like he had some sort of worth in the world beyond his common room.


It was a Charms lesson that convinced him otherwise, however. He was just tidying up the pile of matchsticks he’d managed to enchant into a convincing marching formation when a shadow loomed over him.


The looming shadow was Professor Dawson, who had his own five o’clock shadow looming across the lower half of his face. The bags under his eyes had bags of their own, and there was a definite grey tinge to his skin, as if he’d been wallowing in Scorpius’ painted council estate.


‘Fantastic work on that set,’ he said. ‘You and Miss…er…you and your friend are doing a really splendid job.’


‘Thanks,’ Scorpius said. ‘By the way, sir, do you have any paint? Only I’ve been using my own and it’s running out…’


‘Didn’t I give you paint? Heavens,’ Dawson sighed, as Scorpius shook his head. ‘This play. It’s driving me mad. I’ll bring it tonight. Starting at four as usual?’


‘On the dot,’ Scorpius said, a slight sinking feeling in his stomach.


act two, scene three



The paints turned up, but Lucy did not. Nor did the biscuits and tea, which Scorpius sorely missed. He finished off the right-hand corner of the drab council estate and then dragged that board to the side, contemplating the one beneath.


Most artists have a strange, pathological fear of white space. A fear of an empty page; a fear of making the first mark. Scorpius experienced such a fear as he stood in front of the white board which, by Friday, would have to become the colourful fountain hiding behind the miserable (and imaginary) council estate.


He took out a pencil and started making marks within five minutes. Within three days he was painting and Lucy still hadn’t turned up.


act two, scene four



When the seventh-year in charge of printing the programmes had turned up to ask Scorpius about the set painting, Scorpius had been on his own in the Great Hall. It felt like the loneliest place in the world, sitting all by yourself at the foot of the house tables in a room built for hundreds. And so on the back page of the programme for The Fountain of Fair Fortune, a fragment of small text at the bottom of the page read set painter: Scorpius Malfoy.


He was still a little hurt that Lucy hadn’t turned up, but felt it was perfectly appropriate that she escaped mention in the programme. It wasn’t like she’d done much of the work. Or any of the work, really.


Scorpius bought a programme as well as a ticket to the show – he thought he may as well see his work in action, even if the sight of it made him cringe slightly. His friends, keen to offer moral support (even if they mostly just took the mick out of him), all bought tickets too, and so the five of them took up a third of a row on the night of the performance, Scorpius sitting in the middle where he hoped he could easily blend in with the crowd.
The performance was just about to begin when a small kerfuffle from the end of the row caught his attention; he sat up in his seat and peered along his friends, seeing Lucy standing in the aisle, a carrier bag swinging from her arm.


‘Hello!’


‘There’s no more seats,’ Scorpius said, thinking for a minute that she wanted to sit with them.


‘No,’ she beckoned to him. ‘Come on!’


Perplexed, he abandoned his friends (he hadn’t really wanted to see the play already, having been present at almost every shambolic rehearsal since the first) and went to join her.


‘Biscuits,’ she said, holding up the bag.


‘What good are they now?’


‘Don’t be like that,’ she said. ‘Come on…’


She led him to the side of the hall and then up along the shadows, towards the folding screens that served as a backstage.


‘Look,’ she said. ‘After scene one, the entire cast is basically going to be onstage – wait until you get to see the props department…’


Still perplexed, he followed her backstage. They’d just made it behind the screens when the lights dimmed.


‘Have you ever heard of prop beards?’ she said.


‘Well…yes.’


The band had struck up. The cast had already started to file onstage. Only a few people lingered backstage, one of which was Professor Dawson, who was holding a hip-flask.


‘You’re going to like prop beards. Bourbon?’ Lucy said, thrusting the carrier bag at him.


‘Okay,’ he took the bag. ‘Are we allowed to be here?’


‘Doesn’t matter,’ she said, plunging into a trunk.


‘Okay,’ he said, and peered into the carrier bag. He had thought it felt a bit heavier than it should do considering it only contained biscuits, but when he looked inside he saw it didn’t just contain biscuit but lots of biscuits. It was like she was saving up for the End of Days.


‘There are a lot of biscuits in here,’ he said.


She straightened up. ‘Yes.’


Before they could discuss the matter further, Lucy had turned around and slapped Scorpius in the face.


It took a moment for him to process what had happened. Prop beards, biscuits, what on earth was she up to? But it hadn’t been a slap, as such, more a firm press. And then there was something stuck to his face. And then whenever he breathed in, an odd musty odour filled his nostrils.


‘Well!’ she said, sounding flustered, after he’d spent a minute before her, totally immobile. ‘Sir Luckless does have a beard in the script!’


He felt a little of the hurt creeping back. ‘Do they ever say if he has a first name?’


‘I don’t-’


‘Is it…nobody?


Her face crumpled a little. ‘I’m sorry, but, well, you know what my friends are like, I know I’m a total prat, couldn’t bear to show my face after that, but I went and got biscuits anyway…’


He swiftly realised his dejected look wouldn’t have much of an effect on her considering she’d managed to equip him with a violently ginger prop beard. ‘It was a bit cruel.’


‘Yeah,’ she shrugged. ‘All in the past now, right?’


‘I don’t…whatever.’


He sat down on a nearby trunk, setting the biscuits down at his feet. ‘I finished the set by myself.’


‘I saw. Looks bloody marvellous.’


They shared a silence before Lucy began to giggle.


‘The beard looks a bit silly-’


‘I’m not taking it off,’ Scorpius said gruffly, still a bit mad at her. Fairly soon the absurdity of the conversation caught up with him and he started to laugh too, the beard peeling off at the edges.


act three, scene one



Two hours and a lot of biscuits later and it almost felt like they’d made up, even if they hadn’t been friends for that long in the first place. Scorpius reflected that, in the great scheme of things, Lucy’s absence hadn’t mattered much because she couldn’t paint, and Lucy reflected that, in the great scheme of things, perhaps it was better to be friends with nobody than with the usual shrill lot.


‘Probably best you weren’t there,’ Scorpius said, admitting his thought. ‘That board – it was awful to paint on! Like elephant skin!’


She grinned. ‘I know, I remember you saying.’


‘I mean, the one for the fountain painting was way worse – god, you should feel it, awful priming, wood all buckled, I had to layer the paint on so thick…’


They both rose at the same time.


‘Needed a walk anyway,’ Lucy said.


The two of them crept to the side of the stage, where the edges of the painted board overlapped with the folding screens and makeshift velvet curtains. Lucy ran her hand along the strip where the painting ran out and the primed board picked up again, talking in a whisper.


‘Wow,’ she said. ‘Well, you’ve got to hand it to Dawson…’


‘I know,’ Scorpius whispered back.


‘What’ll they do once the show is over? Chuck these out?’


‘Dunno. I’d quite like to keep them.’


‘What for?’


‘Well…dunno, really. Only I might like to be a painter someday. It’s useful.’


‘That’s cool.’


‘Oh, but there’s no way I can. Dad doesn’t approve.’


‘That’s sad.’


‘Yeah.’


‘Well, yeah,’ Lucy muttered. ‘My friends don’t approve of me being friends with Malfoys.’


He shot her a curious glance. ‘No idea why,’ she said, quite innocently.


‘That’s sad too. I’m not like…weird, or anything.’


‘You are wearing a false beard.’


‘Yes, well, you put it there.’


A pause, which was drowned out by the cast and chorus warbling their way through ‘The Fountain’s Fair Waters’.


‘I was thinking of defying my dad, you know,’ he said. ‘And maybe being a painter. So maybe you can defy your friends.’


‘Maybe,’ she said.


‘Just think about it,’ he shrugged, leaning nonchalantly against the board. ‘Just something to consider.’


And thus Scorpius inadvertently wrote his own stage direction into the script. The board, propped up with little more than magic, did not entirely support his weight and began to creak slowly backwards. Scorpius attempted to counter this by jumping back from the board, only to blunder straight into the folding screen instead. The folding screen, already delicately balanced, tipped over, pulling on the velvet curtain, which pulled on the metal curtain pole, and then the entire affair collapsed upon Scorpius like an avalanche.


But Scorpius had developed steady, quick hands from painting, and before Lucy could gasp or even laugh his arm had shot up and caught the curtain pole as it fell – only for the curtain to , swoosh past him and leave him exposed before most of the school.


Enter stage left Scorpius Malfoy, who, with the addition of prop beard, could have been the understudy for Sir Luckless himself.


encore



Monday was a return to reality.


After the madness that had been The Fountain of Fair Fortune, the Great Hall was cleared, the set was put away into storage, the props and costumes were packed up and sent back to Professor Dawson’s office, the cast and crew were disbanded, and students were forced to attend Muggle Studies again.


Likewise, Scorpius had imagined that his life might also return to normal. As had Lucy, who was secretly glad she no longer had to beg, borrow and steal biscuits from assorted students and house elves. She decided not to tell Scorpius about the Hogsmeade trip she’d used to stock up from Honeydukes.


But life has a fairly ordinary habit of not obeying the wishes of those who live it, and life never truly went back to normal after the debacle of Scorpius bringing the house down at the close of The Fountain of Fair Fortune. For that, he got himself noticed for almost the first time in school – mostly because people had started referring to him as Sir Luckless.


And life never truly went back to normal for Lucy, who’d had an epiphany of sorts when she realised she’d had much more fun sharing biscuits with a shy, bearded painter than she’d had in ages with her usual lot. She thought about herself, and she thought about the way she was renowned for making mistakes and tripping over things, and she had something of a mid-week crisis, and eventually she decided that Lucy the Luckless was a pretty cool moniker.


On Monday morning she waited outside the Hufflepuff common room with a packet of custard creams and five good reasons to skip second period Muggle Studies. The boy she’d now decided was her new best friend agreed with four of them.


As to the fifth: ‘Well, Lucy,’ Scorpius said. ‘As fun as it sounds, the last thing I want to be doing on a Monday morning is breaking into Dawson’s office…even if it is for a fake beard.’



a/n: 'oh, great! Julia's written another story about artists that involves Lucy and Scorpius! wow, what a win for originality!' - said no one, ever.
a wee bit of crediting to be done: the line beginning 'It is a truth universally acknowledged...' is, of course, the (paraphrased) opening line of pride & prejudice by Jane Austen. I am not the first to parody it, but obviously I claim no ownership over it whatsoever. The Fountain of Fair Fortune and the charcters of Asha, Amata and Sir Luckless come from The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I used Hermione Granger's translation as a reference, although I believe my edition was edited by someone known as J. K. Rowling. You may have heard of her.
and finalement: this fic is roughly 80% inspired by the two months I spent designing and painting set for a school production of 42nd Street, and the suffering I went through by having to paint during rehearsals...and having to paint on a board that had probably been primed sometime in the 1500s. here's to you, art department. it was a blast...




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