My Pet Monster Book of Monsters
March 13, 2005 2:12 PM
Luna smiled at Mrs. Wintourfall as the elderly witch rambled on about her crups. The small canines had taken the place of Mrs. Wintourfall's children, who had died during the war with Grindelwald. Luna suspected that most of her peers had also passed on, since the only thing Mrs. Wintourfall talked about in the present tense were the crups.
Luna was happy to listen to her stories, though. They were like glimpses of the past, laid out for her pleasure. All it took was a cup of tea, with lemon and no sugar, and she'd settle into one of the few chairs in the store and chat for as long as Flourish and Blotts remained quiet.
"I assume Duchess had an opinion about that," Luna prompted to show that she was paying attention to the story about Vasel running off with Duchess's favorite toy.
"Of course she did, my dear. She chased poor Vasel around the whole of the cottage, even after he had dropped it."
Luna smiled. The tinkling of the store bell distracted her from commenting, though. Mr. Pokeby was taking his lunch, which meant that she had to take care of any customers. She excused herself politely and moved to where she could see the door. Two people came in, a man and a woman who looked comfortable with each other.
The hanging out was getting better. They were moving towards real friendship, and that made Willow very happy. She was after books today. Not for research, but for fun. Oz had decided to come with her. They were talking about Mac and Kasie. Willow was pleased by how well the three of them got along.
She was particularly fascinated by Mac freezing cursed fake flowers of Kasie's, so Kasie could bring them to the Council. She was also fascinated by Oz worrying about Neville. Willow suggested he visit the guy. She knew Oz would approve of Neville.
Willow did not notice any store employees at first. Then her eyes fell on a blonde with wide eyes that was looking at them rather curiously.
"Hello," Luna replied with a smile. The two newcomers were about the same height, with similar hair colors, but she had a feeling that they were not related. "Welcome to Flourish and Blotts. If I can be of any help, please feel free to ask. My name is Luna."
She smiled again and wandered towards the counter so that she would be easy to find if they did need a hand. It also gave her a good angle on the door and most of the aisles. She didn't think they would try to nick the books, but Mr. Pokeby had emphasized that they could never be too careful. He refused to consider attracting a mobrey. She supposed that she understood that since the creatures reacted just as strongly to witches and wizards who were having lusty thoughts as they did to felonious thoughts.
Oz tilted his head to the side. He studied the blonde as Willow headed for the books. He moved slowly around, closer to the woman.
"I'm Oz. That's Willow."
He didn't know why he felt the need to speak to her. Maybe because her name meant moon, and he reacted to the moon.
"Hello, Oz. Did you need help finding anything? Or perhaps a cup of tea?" He had a bracelet around one wrist, a set of beads that looked well-worried. And slouched comfortably against one of the shelves. It was an interesting contradiction. He looked all the world like he had no cares, but had rubbed the shine off his beads.
"Tea would be good."
Willow shrieked. Oz darted towards where she was. Willow was standing on a step-stool and a book was growling and snapping at her from the floor.
It turned and came after him. Oz waited until it got close before leaning down and growling at it. The book stopped it charge, but kept making a growling noise. Oz growled back. It growled more. Oz growled in return.
"Oh, you poor thing," Luna murmured softly as she stepped around the still growling Oz. It was a deep growl, not human. And not something she could think about right now, not when she had a feral Monster Book of Monsters
trying to attack customers.
"Stop that," she admonished the book softly as she summoned a blank journal from the shelves two aisles over. "You don't want to bite him. I bet he's all meat and blood. You'd much rather bite this nice, tasty book, I would think. High quality paper," she cajoled.
The book quieted a bit and seemed to consider the journal, but a growl from Oz pulled its attention back to him.
"Stop that," she said, this time to Oz, placing a gentle hand on his arm and trying to move him back. "It's not helping any."
Oz ignored her and slowly lowered a hand to the book. He had his fingers curled in. It was the typical non-threatening greeting for animals.
"Oz," Willow warned.
"It's cool. We're understanding one another."
The book seemed to sniff his hand them made an odd sound. Oz picked it up and petted it a little.
"Think I might have to buy this one. Though if anyone would have a book for a pet, I'd have gone with you."
Willow giggled and stepped off the step-stool.
"I'm Willow," she said to the store clerk. "You'll probably be seeing a lot of me. I like books. It smells like old books in here and binding glue. Very comforting."
"Very zen," Oz agreed, petting his new buddy still.
"Odd," Luna said, studying the book in Oz's arms. "I've never seen The Monster Book of Monsters
react like that to anyone. Hagrid liked to treat them like pets, of course, but most of the students had to bind them with straps or cage them. If you stroke the spine, it will open docilely for you and you will be able to read it." She considered the book and its new friend for a moment before reaching a decision.
"You may have it free of charge, if you wish. Mr. Pokeby will just be happy that it's not in the store. The last one I found he threatened to burn. No book should ever be burned.
"Oh," she said as a new idea came to her. "You don't suppose that they were mates or something, do you? There might be little booklets hiding under one of the shelves, terrified because mummy and daddy have both disappeared."
She blinked and dropped to the ground, pressing her face against the hard wood floor. "Where did it come from?"
"I didn't see it until it nibbled my shoe," Willow replied, leaning down and mimicking Luna's position.
Oz blinked when the air went warm.
"I don't sense anything down there," Willow whispered.
Luna had crawled halfway down the aisle before she realized that she was going about this all wrong. She was a witch, after all, and a fairly accomplished one. She sat back on her heals and turned a bit to face Oz.
"Please keep a tight hold on that one. It's nice and calm now and I'd hate to have it upset by flying around the store." Then she raised her voice so that it could be heard throughout Flourish and Blotts, mainly to warn Mrs. Wintourfall of what was about to happen, and pulled her wand from behind her ear.
"Accio Monster Book of Monsters
She waited a moment, but beyond a slight tightening of Oz's grip on his book, nothing seemed to happen.
"Accio Monster Book of Monsters
!" she tried one more time, with the same results.
"Well," she said, climbing to her feet and dusting off the knees of her long skirt. "That answers that question. No booklets. And Mr. Pokeby will be pleased to know that yours was the last book in the store."
She looked past Oz to see Willow still on the floor.
"It is a very comfortable floor, isn't it? Please overlook any dust bunnies you might find. I think the nikadix must be feeling ill. It's been letting the dust bunnies breed and usually a single nikadix is enough to keep the population at a manageable level."
Oz blinked again.
"I've never even heard of a nikadix," Willow said as she got to her feet. "And I've heard of a lot of things, but most of my things are evil things, and we're trying to kill them and something that eats dust bunnies doesn't sound evil at all and you know, not all demons are evil. Some of them are helpful members of society. Like the nikadix. It's all helpful and clean-y. It may not be the most important job, but it's still part of the whole process. Of life. And stuff."
She had just talked a lot.
Willow looked at Oz. "You're supposed to stop me when I do that."
"I still like it when you do that."
Luna giggled a bit. She liked the couple, she decided. They were unusual, even by wizarding standards. Willow didn't dismiss her claim of nikadix and Oz growled. She thought that he might be a werewolf, though he didn't act like any werewolf that she'd ever met. Admittedly, Professor Lupin had been the only lycanthrope that she'd ever spent much time around, but most tried to hide their condition more.
"So did you study to know about creatures and stuff?" Willow asked, excitedly. "Or is this just one random things you knew about? Or is it like a hobby? Or did you grow up on a hellmouth too?"
Luna giggled again and Oz started chuckling.
"I just geeked out about the knowledge, didn't I?"
Oz nodded. "Pretty much."
She looked at Luna. "I'm not normally this spazzy, but I get around books and smart people and I get all bluhhhh."
The 'bluh' was punctuated with an odd face and a waving gesture made with both hands.
Luna smiled and shook her head. "It's more of a hobby than anything else. I like creatures. If you want to know more about them, there are some very good books I can point you to. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
is perhaps the most popular, but Mr. Scamander tends to leave the more exotic creatures out. He skips nikadix entirely, as well as wrackspurts and nargles. I've tried to point out this oversight several times with no result. Still, Fantastic Beasts
is the best place for a beginner to start."
She paused and cocked her head to the side for a moment before making her way to the section of animals. "You're American. Does the Salem Institute not require a creatures class? Hogwarts does for the first two years, but I continued for the entire seven. Our professor for most of that time was a bit different, but I still learned a lot, even if I have no desire to have an agromantula as a pet."
Willow blinked. "I went to Sunnydale High School. In California. I'm mostly self-taught. Most of my creature classes were extracurricular."
"One of them she called her boyfriend once upon a time," Oz said.
"We grew up on a Hellmouth," Willow explained. "So if you have any books on hellmouths that would be great, and I'll take the creature book."
"You said you were coming in here for leisure reading material," Oz said. "This sounds like work."
"Well, then if there's any girl on girl romance novels, toss one of those in as well."
"I... I don't think we have any like that," Luna said after a moment. "Most of our romance genre involves handsome princes and servant girls. But we do have a couple on hellmouths." She pulled Fantastic Beasts
off the shelf and continued on towards the section where mystical convergence books were kept. Willow and Oz trailed behind her.
"Hello again, Mrs. Wintourfall," she greeted as she led the couple past the tea cart. Mrs. Wintourfall smiled and waved her on.
"Was it interesting growing up on a hellmouth," she asked Willow and Oz as they continued.
"That's a word for it," Oz said.
"It was," Willow said. "It was also scary and could be sad. I lost friends, loved ones. I also learned a lot about things that go bump."
Her smile was sad this time. "I think that's just life, the scary and sad part, at least. It's part of growing up, isn't it?" She pulled a book from the shelf and handed it to Willow.
"This is the only one specifically about hellmouths. The others are more general in nature and cover more subjects. The Restricted Section of Hogwarts Library has a better selection, but most of the books are restricted for a reason."
"Yes, we have our own section in the Council library that's off limits," Willow said flipping through the book.
"Yeah well, real life isn't scary until you've met your evil vampire twin from an alternate reality," Oz remarked in a dry tone.
Willow snapped the book closed. "Did you really need to bring her
"Yeah. Well, we were talking about scary things."
Luna blinked. And then blinked again. "You don't really need to specify evil there. Vampires are inherently evil, so saying 'evil vampire' is redundant. Though, there are rumors of two in the Americas that are less than evil. Most common wizards think that's rubbish. The Quibber
featured an article on them and I'm told that the reader response was not very encouraging."
"That's ironic since both of them are from the United Kingdom originally."
Luna had a look.
"I know Angel and Spike."
Oz chuckled. "She's being modest. She's fought beside Angel and Spike. So have I. They're good guys. Well, Angel is. Spike can be a bit of a douche. She restored Angel's soul."
"Twice. The books probably called them Angelus the Scourge of Europe and William the Bloody. Very real. Living in Los Angeles. Both with souls."
"So, um yeah," Willow said. "Not all vampires are evil. Those two, not so much with the evil. They've helped save the world lots of times."
"Really?" Luna mentally repeated the names. Her father would be very interested in them.
"Living on a hellmouth must
be interesting, then, for you to have gained such... Unusual friends." And Harry Potter thought that she was odd for making friends with the thestrals.
Willow and Oz exchanged a look.
"Maybe you should visit us," Willow said, taking out her business card. "We're in Wiltshire. We have a demon and a few other things working with us."
Luna accepted the card, which had Willow's name, an address in Wiltshire, and a string of numbers.
"That would be nice," she said after putting the card in her pocket. "I've never met a demon before. Is it very strange looking?"
"She spends most of her time in her human visage," Oz said. "Like me."
Willow elbowed him. Oz just grinned. This Luna could handle it. He could tell. He liked her. She had a nice smell. He couldn't quite put a finger on what she smelled like, but it was nice. It suited her personality.
"Huh," Luna said. "Do many demons have a human visage? The only ones I've heard of have slime dripping off horns and spikes and such." She ran her fingers over the spines of the closest books, absently checking to make sure that they were in order.
"You you shouldn't be so free with that information, Oz. The Ministry forces known lycanthropes to register so that they can keep track of them. And known lycanthropes still suffer from a terrible amount of prejudice by the wizarding world." She was still guessing, but sometimes it was fun to see if she could shock people.
"Was there anything else you needed?"
"I was here before. I've already been bagged and tagged."
Willow looked at him. She had not known that. "There's a lot of people they like to monitor. Thanks, Luna. I think this will do it."
"The Ministry likes to think they they have their fingers in every pie," Luna said as she led them back to the counter. "Unfortunately they seem to have a problem with identifying those that they actually need to keep an eye on. Even when they've had prior warning."
Luna picked up the first book from the pile Willow had set on the counter and started ringing the order up. The red head had picked up a good selection of general knowledge books, a little bit of information on a lot of subjects.
She knew. Willow studied the other woman. She knew things. She had been there - the front lines. It was too soon to ask, though.
Between Oz and herself, they managed to pay with the wizard money - which Willow still found a little confusing.
"Thank you," Willow said as she and Oz moved towards the door.
"You're welcome," Luna replied, giving the two of them a little wave. "Feel free to come back whenever."
The passed Mr. Pokeby as they left, and the manager grimaced and backed away as the book in Oz's arms growled at him.
"It's the last one, Mr. Pokeby," she called to him as she went back to Ms. Wintourfall and her tea.