The Fanlore fandom wiki defines “drabble” thus:
Traditionally, a drabble is a piece of fiction that is exactly 100 words long. However, it is not uncommon for people to label any extremely short piece of writing a “drabble”. This is known to irritate some readers, while others consider the distinction unimportant.
Rather like my current fandom obsession, I’m fond of discipline, so I fall in the “irritated” camp. I think writing a piece of exactly 100 words, no more, no less, is a great exercise and a real gas, in nearly that order.
You’ll notice that a few of these are longer than 100 words. Drabbles can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled—you get the idea—but each section must be 100 words.
Here’s Looking at You, Cat
Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Minerva, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three secondary school teachers don’t amount to a phial of bubotuber pus in this crazy world.
We’ll always have Hogsmeade.”
“Severus Snape, come forward!” commanded the Dark Lord.
Severus stepped from the semi-circle of black-robed figures. He was wearing his own threadbare robes and felt exposed in a way he hadn’t since the day Potter had removed his pants in front of everyone at the Black Lake.
Nerves. I’ll feel better when I get my robes.
He knelt, as Lucius had instructed him, and extended his left arm.
“Do you swear loyalty to me until death?”
“I do, my Lord.”
He kissed the ring.
As his arm began to burn, he wondered if it was too late to turn back.
“Severussss,” hissed the creature. “You are late.”
“Forgive me, Lord, I thought it might benefit our cause were I to appear to remain loyal to that Muggle-loving fool. Thus, I could not join you immediately, as I would have wished.”
The Dark Lord extended a skeletal hand. Snape stood there.
“Well, Severus?” said the creature impatiently. “Do what you have to do, and be quick about it.”
Merlin, don’t make me do this.
As he kissed the ring for the second time in his life, Severus felt an unexpected power coursing through him.
As you wish, Albus. I choose this.
Hermione was the first to notice the spots.
The little elf looked startled. “Yes, Miss?”
"What are those green spots on your ears?"
By the time Madam Pomfrey had consulted a Healer with expertise in elf diseases, the chlorothema auricularum elforum virus had already felled most of Hogwarts’ house-elves.
At an emergency staff meeting, it was determined that elves’ temporary incapacitation would provide an excellent "learning opportunity" for the students, who would be enlisted to perform their duties.
Ravenclaws were set in charge of the kitchens, Hufflepuffs the grounds, Slytherins the public rooms, leaving the Gryffindors with the laundry.
All went well until it came time to sort and fold the clean clothes.
Someone had forgotten to tag the staff’s laundry before sending it through the Auto-Scourgi-Fi-and-Dri, leaving the Gryffindors to sort out whose things were whose.
Outer robes were easy to guess, but when it came to underthings and nightclothes, the students hit a snag. Hagrid’s things were a cinch, of course, and Professor Sprout, as the largest female staff member by quite a margin, would be assured of getting the right knickers in her dresser.
"Urrgh!" exclaimed Neville, holding up a miniature—was that a leather thong?
"Is that Flitwick’s?" asked Harry as Neville held the thing aloft by two fingers.
"Must be," said Ron. "Wouldn’t fit anyone else, would it?"
The three boys shuddered as Neville dropped the thong into the "Flitwick" pile.
Next, Harry held up a set of lurid purple silk boxer shorts with the word "Monday" embroidered in mauve on the bum.
"Dumbledore," the three said in unison, and into the Headmaster’s pile they went.
"Ho, ho, ho. . . what have we here?" cried Ron as he fished a matching set of skimpy black lace knickers and brassiere out of the pile.
The boys stared at the lingerie in reverent silence.
"Whose do you suppose they are?" whispered Neville.
"Dunno," shrugged Harry. The remainder of the female staff were more or less the same general size and shape, as far as Ron, Harry, and Neville could tell.
"Sinistra?" queried Ron. The Astronomy teacher was the youngest of them, and thus, reasoned the boys, the most likely to own such enticing items.
"Could be," said Harry. "Or maybe Pomfrey?"
"Nah," said Ron. "She’s bigger than that . . . up top."
They were out of their league, and they knew it.
"Hermione!" Ron called.
"Well," said Hermione after she had examined the perplexing items, "that leaves Hooch, Burbage, McGonagall, Vector, Babbling, and Pince."
"You forgot Trelawney."
Hermione made a face. "Right."
Neville offered, "Maybe we can do this by process of elimination?"
"Yes, great," said Hermione. She held up a sports bra and fished around until she found a pair of sensible-looking boycut knickers. "These, I imagine, belong to Madam Hooch."
The boys nodded their agreement. They tossed the lacy lingerie into the "unknown" pile, adding several more generic items.
"Um . . . guys?" said Harry. "I think we have a problem."
Harry held up an amazing item. It was leather and complicated, with all kinds of metal thing-a-ma-bobs and cutouts where the nipples and crotch should have been.
"What the hell is that?" asked Ron as the three others moved in closer to Harry to inspect the thing.
"I think the more interesting question is: Whose is it?" said Hermione.
The other three just looked at Neville, who said defensively, "Looks like something designed to . . . you know . . . inflict pain."
"Actually," said Hermione thoughtfully, "it looks more like something you’d wear if you wanted to experience pain."
"Either way," said Harry. "It looks like something that would belong to a Death Eater."
The other boys nodded their agreement, but Hermione still appeared sceptical. "Maybe," was all she would commit to, and insisted on tossing the item into the "unknown" pile.
The only remaining item was a pair of greying briefs.
"’I’m guessing Filch," said Ron. The other three agreed immediately.
"So, what’s left in the unknowns?" asked Hermione.
The lacy underwear, the fascinating corset-with-hardware, and three sets of cotton brassieres and knickers in various colours remained unidentified.
"We’ll just have to make our best guesses," Hermione concluded.
Dumbledore sat back, watching the chaos, as his staff members exchanged misdirected clothing.
Aurora held up the lacy lingerie: "Who’s for these?"
An irritated Minerva swiped them from her hands with a crisp, "Thank you."
"Really, Minerva? Black lace?" said Severus. "I would have thought tartan and sensible cotton."
"And exactly what is that thing you’re holding?" she asked him, pointing to the hardware corset.
"I’m not sure, actually, Minerva. I was hoping someone would fill us in."
Just then, the door burst open to reveal a panting Argus Filch, greyish underpants balled in his hands, screeching, "Where’s my corset!"
Truth or Dare
“Truth or dare?”
Ginny smiled her wicked smile. “You have to kiss . . . the next male that walks into the room.”
What happened next was even better than Lavender could have hoped for in her most malign fantasies.
The portrait-hole opened to reveal a pair of black eyes glaring from a sallow face connected to the lanky figure of Professor Snape.
The sudden silence from the gaggle of giggling Gryffindors told Severus that something was up. He was about to start his inquisition when Granger walked up, stood on her tiptoes, and planted a smacking kiss on his sallow cheek.
The girls turned from the astonishing sight of an astonished Professor Snape and a blushing Hermione to find their Head of House surveying the scene with annoyance and—could it be?—a touch of amusement.
“Sorry, Professors,” stammered Hermione. “It was just a silly game. I meant no disrespect.”
“Yes, Professor. Truth or Dare; it’s—“ Ginny started.
“I’m familiar with it,” said Professor McGonagall. “Perhaps instead of playing foolish games inside, you girls should be outdoors on this lovely day.”
As the girls filed out, Professor McGonagall added, “Fifty points from Gryffindor for inappropriate behaviour.”
When the girls were gone, Professor McGonagall harrumphed, “’No disrespect’, indeed.”
Severus seemed to have recovered his powers of speech, because he said, “That was most surprising.”
“Yes, Severus,” replied Minerva. “I would never have imagined Miss Granger would indulge in such shameful antics.”
“What was surprising, my dear Minerva, was the fact that you took points from your own beloved House.”
“Of course. It was an insult to Gryffindor. The girl obviously has no idea how to kiss a man properly,” said Minerva.
She strode up, pulled Severus to her, and kissed him on the mouth, thoroughly and long.
Requiem for a Spy
“Unfathomable,” was the first, and least helpful, from Arthur Weasley, who knew him a little.
“Reliable,” sniffed Minerva McGonagall, concise and uneffusive as a Calvinist prayer book.
“Strangely etiolated. Dungeon-dweller, you know.” That’s Pomona Sprout.
“Bastard. Turn-coat. Made up for it, though,” was Aberforth Dumbledore’s grudging valedictory.
“The man was tortured,” Poppy Pomfrey told me with tears in her eyes, and she should know. In retrospect, though, it’s unclear if she meant in body or in spirit.
How to write an epitaph for a man known to all and by none? There is no lexicon for mourning a deliberate cipher.
It began with a raised eyebrow, as Severus looked at the password that appeared magically on the self-destructing parchment.
"Slippery when wet," he intoned, and the staff room door swung open.
When it was his turn to set the password, he hesitated only a moment.
Minerva blinked once before giving it: "Have you seen my pussycat?"
They moved through "Touch me, Titus," "Queen Anne’s clitoris," and "The early village cock/Hath twice done salutation to the morn," before anyone caught them at the game.
"A hard man is good to find," Minerva read, before she heard Filius say, "Indeed," behind her.
Very Short Fiction
These stories aren’t drabbles, as they don’t meet the “100-word” test, but they’re really too short to even be called short stories.
Dulce et Decorum Est (with apologies to Horace and Wilfred Owen)
Minerva McGonagall has always hated lies and liars. Now, as she stands in front of the six-and-fifty children she has sworn to protect with her life and her blood, she finds herself repeating, exaggerated Scottish “Rs” rolling and enlivening the Latin, words that taste like death and betrayal in her mouth:
“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”