May Drabble #8: “Just the Cheese Before Bed” — A Sybill Trelawney drabble

Crystal BallThis one’s a double drabble for Sybill. Rated T-ish.

“Just the Cheese Before Bed”

by MMADfan

Sybill started awake, groping for her wand and glasses, but by the time she’d lit her lamp and found her parchment and quill, which fell, splattering ink everywhere, her dream had evaporated, leaving only vague feelings of horror, and the word “homunculus.”

Ridiculous. It was just eating cheese before bedtime. From now on, she’d stick to wine … it might dull the nightmares. She seemed to hear her gran’s voice, though, admonishing her not to flee her dreams, but to delve into them. Aunt Ada’s Gift first awoke in her dreams; it might be the same with her Gift.

If only her own dreams weren’t so nightmarish. Ada had dreamed of the spring lambing, weddings of well-suited couples, births to the long-childless. Occasionally, Ada’s dreams allowed the dead to send messages to the living, but they were the cheerful dead with instructions for finding jars of silver Sickles behind the pickled peppers.

Perhaps it wasn’t the cheese; perhaps it was the Hogwarts atmosphere. After all, her most Gifted students all Saw death and disaster. But they didn’t dream of deformed homunculi fondling giant snakes. She shuddered. Only a nightmare, but already one too many. Sybill Summoned a glass and a bottle.

8 responses to “May Drabble #8: “Just the Cheese Before Bed” — A Sybill Trelawney drabble

  1. Rather chilling, this, in the sense of ‘the future’ announcing itself as well as in the sense of denying what she Sees, for not being cheerful enough.

    I find interesting here, that you ascribe a greater Gift to Sybil, than she herself does and then what usually is accepted (as that Sybil would have near about nothing of a Gift, apart from these few predictive dreams).

    You may have a point: these two forceful dreams, which play their role in canon, could very well point at a greater Gift than obvious, due to being oppressed (it would explain Albus’s hiring of Sybil too: that he understands more of her than she herself or than other wizards and witches).

    And ahh, the wine. Surely also not enhancing the budding of a Gift. 🙂

    Disclaimer: this comment does not tell any thing of my real opinion of Gifts; just about Gifts in the sense of HP (fan) fiction. 🙂 🙂

    • I found it interesting in canon that Sybill never remembered her trances, let alone what she said during them, and even heartily denied falling into one when Harry told her that she had. And although she loves the drama of predicting rather generic gloom-and-doom for the sake of impressing an audience, she really has a lot of fear in her — it was almost as though by making these stagy predictions, she could fend off those things which actually frightened her.

      When Albus hired her after her prophetic trance, she hadn’t a clue that he had hired her because of it, and she (in my “head canon”) always was afraid of being found out for a fraud. She is never sure herself whether she has the Gift that runs in her family or not, and she props herself up using kind of stage effects and dismissing any sceptics as being “mundane” and not attuned with the psychic, but she’s always a bit insecure — which is why Dolores Umbridge can rattle her composure so easily.

      So I think that Sybill does have a greater gift, but in so far as it might be recognizable to her, she looks away because it’s too genuinely disturbing, but also she simply isn’t aware of those times when she is uttering a prophecy — perhaps in part because she is doubtful of her own Gifts and has become used to relying on her props and her knowledge of how to interpret signs and omens, even if she doesn’t see the signs and omens right in front of her face most of the time.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment! It got me thinking more about Sybill and how I view her!

  2. True, she is always coming across as nervous, frightened and insecure (in the films this is acted well, I think)and you go more in the depth of those traits in your ‘Head-Canon’ than is done in the books.

    What I had forgotten (oh substandard memory of mine), was that Albus hired her after that first, crucial, prediction and also that she herself had not been aware at all. So in this sense in Canon there may be enough of an explanation for Albus hiring her.

    I love how even such short stories as drabbles invite to think about the characters (standing symbol for RL, as they do, one might add)
    Of course, we can not expect the HP books to go into the depth of all characters (seven books were already quite an achievement), but sometimes one feels that several of the (adult) characters do not get much attention or are underdeveloped. The great thing of (quality and mature) fanfiction is that it allows us to explore these characters so much more, even only as a reader. But I know, that is a Widely Open Door,. 🙂 (and this last part is more a ‘note to self’ than to you – as you must have guessed)

    • It’s interesting, and kind of sad, that if Sybill hadn’t made the prediction she had, then the events that followed never would have occurred. They only happened because Severus overheard & told Voldemort. If Voldemort hadn’t known of the prophecy, he’d never have bothered targeting Harry Potter, and none of the events of the books would have happened. And if Severus hadn’t overheard it and told Voldemort, he never would have turned against Voldemort in order to protect Lily. Prophecy is dangerous business!

  3. That is Very True. Prophecies do tend to influence events.
    Voldemort would have been there, dangerous and all, but things would have gone very different.

    If Butterflies and their Fluttering are supposed to have an effect on the World, Prophecies could have the impact of Volcanoes (not to make a joke out of it, but because I really agree)

    • It is interesting, though, that this initial prophecy is only “true” because someone heard it, and then someone else heard it & interpreted it in a particular way — and because the bit that wasn’t overheard, the “good guys” interpreted in yet another way. But if the prophecy had never been heard, it couldn’t come true — so either the prophecy wasn’t a prophecy, or the prophecy itself was a part of the prophecy — i.e., that it was not coincidence that Snape overheard it and recounted it to Voldemort, but that it was essential for the prophecy.

      It’s all very tangled, the more you think about it!

  4. Poor Sybill. She lives in a difficult time (and place, as she seems to recognize) for Seers.

    • Sybill would definitely think that “May you live interesting times” was a curse! She wants to be a Seer, but she doesn’t want to have to see some of the awful things that are going on in the world at that time.

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