By Sarah Sanderson
Haven't written prose in ages so I'm worried there's too much talking for ages and then too little and so on, but hopefully you guys like it. I won't be able to do anymore for a few weeks since I'm working on the Commonwealth Games, but if I get back and find a few reviews then I'll be motivated to do more sooner.
Chapter 1: The Guilt Trip
Bran was climbing. Miles above the shimmering great lake of Hogwarts grounds he clung with nimble fingers onto the thin slate tiles on the turreted roof of Gryffindor Tower. He'd chosen Gryffindor tower over Ravenclaw as it was taller, and filled with people more likely to cheer him on than run and tell on him to the nearest Professor. He had started weeks ago by climbing up on top of the Herbology green houses, but it just hadn't been high enough. He couldn't get anywhere from there, the bricks of the castle walls worn smooth by almost a thousand years of harsh Scottish weather so even his practised fingers couldn't get a purchase. Not at all like the walls back home in Winterfell where there where deep foot groves and sturdy wooden supports to walk along. But then it occurred to him he could just start higher up, and so he started slipping out windows when there was no one around and clambering onto the closest ledge and shimming over to the roof. Gryffindor Tower was the highest he had ever been.
He'd just reached the top and slowly adjusted himself so his back was to the point of the turret and he was facing out across the grounds. He could see all of it from up here; there was Hagrid's hut with its chimney puffing out smoke like a perfect fairy-tale cottage, and Hogshead with the derelict shrieking shake at the end, and… and… He could see the Baratheon's red bricked manor. In crazy detail! And was that a lion walking around it? For a moment Bran was at a complete loss, how could he be seeing the Baratheon Manor? It was all the way in London for Christ's sake! But then he was always seeing the Baratheon Manor in his dreams lately. Wait what? Oh right, he was dreaming again wasn't he? The truth of it felt like a great rain cloud shrinking over him, filling his brain with foggy dullness.
Bran opened his eyes like he'd never even been asleep but instead was just having a very long wearisome blink. He stared at his white plaster ceiling as reality sunk in. He was not at Hogwarts. He never had been and never would because Hogwarts was not real. Just a made up magical school from one of the many book series he's begun to live in since the accident. And most of all he was not climbing thousands of miles up above his own personal paradise, because he would never climb again. He would never run again, or walk, or play sports. He would never sit on the floor on purpose, or be able to get back up again on his own. He would never go deep see diving or horse riding or on rollercoasters. He would never stride confidently about in the Police uniform he'd dream of one day earning. He was a cripple. His legs where useless bags of flesh hanging from his body that couldn't even feel anymore. And he would spend the rest of his life in a wheel chair.
Stop it, stop it right now!
He mentally yelled at himself as he rolled out of bed into said wheel chair. He was not allowing himself a pity party. Not when he got so annoyed when he saw other people pitying him. He would not allow himself to think that way about his life. Plenty of his fictional heroes had things holding them back and look what they achieved. Harry grew up without parents and still managed to save the wizarding world, Sirius spent 13 years in Azkaban after losing his best friend and still managed to hold it together… most of the time. Ron had to grow up never getting anything new for himself and being crushed under the pressure to live up to his brothers, Neville had to grow up with his parents so insane they couldn't recognise him. And Snape! Snape lost the women he loved (Mostly because of his own mistakes) turned on his own beliefs to protect her legacy and was hated by, like, everyone for years and years of his life. He had to be brave like them, be strong and keep going and everything would work out okay.
But they all had their legs said a dark little voice in the back of his head.
No. He would not allow himself to sink to self-pity. Not today. Because today he was going to get what he wanted. He was finally going to make use of all those pitying looks his friends and family and everyone at school kept throwing at him. He was going to use them and then make them go away. Because he was not going to pity himself today – he was just going to make sure everyone else did for a little while longer.
"ARYA!" Catelyn Stark's shrillest voice, reserved for waking up her children when she knew they had hang overs, rang though the house. Arya awoke to the throbbing pain in her head and promptly grabbed a pillow and covered her head with it, willing the world to go away. It was her own fault really. She knew she's asked for the morning call the moment she had decided to stay out and extra four hours drinking in the park with Gendry and the rest instead of hurrying home for her 11pm curfew. Her mother never woke Robb or the other older boys up like this when she knew they had been drinking, but then again they were all over 18 and therefore legally allowed to drink, while Arya at a mere 15 was not. "Arya get down here right now! We've all been up for an hour!"
Arya, pillow still clamped tightly over her headache, somehow managed to belly flop out of bed onto her cold hardwood flooring. She mumbled out an answer of "I'm coming" to which her mother yelled back "What?" and Arya replied rather too loudly "I'M COMING!" as she stumbled out of the door into the hall. By the look on her mother's face at the bottom of the stairs she knew she would pay for her tone later, but right now she was too concerned with the extreme reaction her yell had caused inside her own head. As she reached the dining room, mother at her heels, she saw that indeed everyone else was up in the house. Robb, eldest of the Stark kids, was slouched in the ancient armchair by the dining room book shelf, playing with Jon's over long black mess of hair from where he sat on the floor at Robb's feet. Theon sat next to them; awkwardly perched on a stool taken from the kitchen. They looked up at her as she entered, Jon giving her a look of mock disapproval for the racket she must of made coming in last night and her appearance this morning.
"And how is my baby sister this fine morning?" Robb asked too loudly.
"Better than you three where after Roz's party last week" Arya shot back with a smirk. All three had arrived home after the sun was up and had refused point black to get out of their beds for over a week. All three of them looked ashen faced at the thought, and Arya used their distraction to flump down next to Jon on the floor, pillow still clamed firmly over her head. From the table she heard a small noise of disapproval that could have only come from Sansa. Arya squinted though the light from the window at her sister who was pruning and adjusting the vase of flowers Arya swore she had fixed just the night before. Rickon, squirming in the seat he had clearly been told to stay in rather than play, sat to Sansa's right. At age 10 he had somehow retained the same attention span since the age of 6 - about a minute max. Arya lowered her pillow over her eyes again and leaned into Jon's shoulder. She could feel rather than hear him laughing at her. She could see her mother's feet as she sat across from Rickon, and her father's shinny work shoes where by the chair across from Sansa. Why was everyone here? And why did she have to get out of bed for this? She thundered to herself mentally. She was just about to ask who died, tact be dammed, when Sansa started humming to herself and the sound combined with the suddenly sensation of a drill burrowing into her head made Arya shut up.
That's when the wheels of Bran's 2 month old wheelchair moved into her vision. Arya glanced up at him despite the hangover. He hated how people didn't look at him anymore so she'd decided to always pointedly do so. His elbows on the table along with several sheets of paper, and intent and determined look too his face. Though Arya's now blinding headache she began to wonder who was in charge here.
"Wha's going on?" Arya managed to get out though the pain, adjusting herself on the floor as she spoke. "Bran wanted us all to be here, he -" their mother started, but then faulted and fell silent, unsure how to finish. She clearly knew no more about what was happening than Arya. Bran looked around the room, as though checking all their moods, before speaking up himself. "Yes I wanted us all to be together so I could tell you – tell you that I've decided what I want to be when I'm older". Arya watched as both her parents legs tensed ever so slightly, worried their son would wish for the impossible no doubt. "I want to be a director. Of like, movies and plays." Arya felt Jon let out a breath she hadn't realised he's been holding as both her parents visibly relaxed. Arya resisted sniggering at them; she still had some booze running though her so any kind of tension or pretence seemed hilarious at the moment. Jon nudged her in the ribs with his shoulder, clearly guessing her thoughts. They were very similar drunks.
"A Director. How wonderful" Their mother said, fighting to hide her relief in her voice. Directors rarely had to be physically active, and as they called the shots on sets getting things like ramps put in would be simple Arya reasoned. It was certainly more likely than his idea just days after the accident of joining the army. And a lot less scary in terms of his motivations. "Yes" Bran continued, seemingly still nervous. "And I was thinking, well, I need to start making things like short movies and shows now, all the best directors start making their own stuff as soon as. And…" He paused, taking in a deep breath before continuing on in a rush of emotion Arya wasn't sure was entirely real. "I wanted to make a play, a musical, about the original order of the Phoenix from Harry Potter. It's a really good story and there are loads of bits we don't know for sure because it's never explicitly said in the books so I could be really creative with it – and I'm really sure that as long as we – I – we- don't make any profits from the production then it's just a fan thing so we won't be like arrested for copy right breach. And since I can't go on rides or anything anymore so there is really like no point in going to America for the wizarding world of Harry Potter anymore, and you said I could do something big and Harry Potter related for my birthday, so I thought maybe if people would agree to be in it then – then I could put on this musical called Phoenix." He finished and took in a big breath that he seemed to hold most of in, waiting.
"Wait, let me get this straight, you want to put on a play, a musical, about some of the characters in the Harry Potter books?" Their father spoke for the first time. "Yes" Bran replied, steadying his resolve. "And you're sure it won't infringe copy-right?" Robb from somewhere above Arya's head. "I'm sure. I've had this show in my head for a while now, even since before…" He paused than rather mention the accident, and Arya became sure he was trying to guilt trip them into something. "Well I've looked into it and as we wouldn't be broadcasting it or anything, it would just be for us, for me. So it's fine." Arya covered her face with her pillow again, trying to think though the now stabbing pain in her temple. "Wha d oo mean by 'We'?" She spoke though the pillow, her words muffled so she wondered if anyone had actually heard her. When she lowered it everyone was looking at her with complete shock. Sansa's face was hilarious, she seemed to think she was being selfish and hurtful to Bran or some rubbish like that. Everyone else just looked impressed that with her more than obvious hang over she was the one to pick up on the 'We' Bran had kept slipping in.
Bran hesitated for a minute before he spoke. This was clearly what the guilt trip was for. "We, as in us the family, and a few of our friends, being in or at least involved with the show" There was another long silence as everyone let it sink it. "So you want us to act in your show?" Theon spoke up this time. "Do we get to choose our parts?" Bran looked embarrassed. "Erm, well no you can't choose. The characters are all have very set appearances and ages and I've kind of already casted-" he'd been unconsciously shuffling the papers in front of him as he spoke and Sansa, seeing this, snatched them up and began to read. Bran's failed attempt to snatch the papers back and the look on his face was enough to make Arya laugh out loud, something she instantly regretted as her head throbbed menacingly in retaliation.
Professor Dumbledore = Dad (with a fake beard)
Professor McGonagall = Mum
Mad-Eye Moody = Uncle Benjin
Fabian Prewett = Robb
Gideon Prewett = Theon (With a ginger wig)
Molly Prewett = Mera (With a ginger wig)
Young Bill Weasley = Rickon
Marlene McKinnon = Jeyne
Frank Longbottom = Jojen
Alice Fortescue/Longbottom = Arya
Sirius Black = Jon
James Potter = Gendry
Peter Pettigrew = Hot Pie
Lily Evans/Potter = Sansa
Snape = The Hound"
"The Hound?" Mother asked. "He's a friend of Joff's" Sansa supplied quickly before saying "And If I'm playing Lily then Joff will insist on being James" Arya was torn between loving and hating her sister for this statement. She hated it when Sansa was so easily controlled by her monster of boyfriend, even when he wasn't even there she would play to his every whim like the idiot she is. But on the other hand Arya was not at all happy at the idea of Sansa and Gendry, her best friend Gendry who was much closer to Sansa in age and would obviously make a million times better a boyfriend than that idiot Joffrey – she stopped herself from finishing that thought. Gendry was not hers. She had no right to try and keep Gendry away from her perfect sister. And why the hell was she even thinking about him as a possible boyfriend for anyone?!
"But Joffrey's blonde!" Bran broke across Arya's mental rant. "He can't play James! James has black messy hair like Harry's! That's why I thought Gendry-" "He can wear a wig like Theon and Mera" Sansa snipped back at him, taking control. "We'll get Joff a black wig and he can be James, and Gendry can be…" She looked down at the list thoughtfully "Well you know Benjen is really busy at the - ""Gendry would die of stage fright if you make him play a character as eccentric as mad-eye!" Arya blurted out in defence of her friend. She wanted him to be in this thing with her and he wouldn't if Sansa made him look like an idiot. She grabbed the paper herself for a look. An evil smile crossed Sansa's face before she calmly said "Well then why doesn't Jojen take Benjin's part then? He'll love dressing up and acting all mad, he's always been a bit weird. And Gendry can be Frank". Arya was suddenly completely unaware of her hang over as she stared open mothed at her sister. If Gendry played Frank, and she was cast as Alice, then that meant…
"Brilliant!" Bran said beaming. "That solves Benjin, I was never sure he'd be able to get time off" All the teens turned to look at Mr and Mrs Stark, waiting for the final approval. Arya, having abandoned her pillow for the sheets of paper, could see Rob and Theon where both nodding enthusiastically, clearly under the impression I'd be a good laugh. Sansa was still smiling at what she had just done to Arya, and Rickon was smiling just to join in and be included so it looked like he agreed. Arya for her part tried her hardest not to scowl for Bran's benefit. Then Bran sealed the deal with "It really would mean the world to me" and it was all over. Their mother had that look in her eye. Her baby, who's dreams of being a footballer or a climber or a Policeman had all been crushed when he fell and now he had a dream she could make come true the armies of Hell would not stop her. Their father shook his head resigned to what was about to happen.
"I'll call the town hall. We can rent it out for rehearsals and the performance. And your school, I'm sure you can all rehearse on the school stage during your brakes, the school show isn't for months! And I'll get the shewing machine out and get some really good costumes for you – Sansa you can help with that – and you three boys can take Bran downtown and find him some good fake wigs and a beard for the show. Oh there's so much to do!" She pulled out a notepad seemingly from thin air and started scribbling down notes.
Arya and the others took this as a sign of dismissal and all got up and moved towards the door. She was determined to get back at Sansa somehow. She wasn't even sure if Sansa knew what she had done exactly, but that had never stopped Arya's wrath before. Just as they both reached the stairs Arya leaned close, a gleefully glint in her eye. "You do realise that Lily's got two love interests – there's James and then there's Snape. Bran cast the Hound for that part didn't he?" Sansa looked like she's been winded and Arya had to supress open laughter as she sprinted up the stairs, finally locking herself in her room and getting the painkillers her hangover was begging for.
Okay so I haven't really done much to show this Modern AU's take on the story/world, but there are a few hints in there. I know this seems like a fun AU where I ignore more of the book plot but I am going to have like modern day versions of the book events happening in the background of scenes and like little snippets of adults talking or acting weirdly before the teens really work out anything bad is happening. The scenes from Bran's show will be seen though rehearsals so that'll be fun. And there will be more point of views later on like Sandor and Gendry.
Please Review! It would be really awesome so therefore by extension it makes YOU awesome too!