Apples and Worms
Author’s Note: This is the direct sequel to Luna Lovegood and the Dark Portrait Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, J.K. Rowling and Joss Whedon do. Thanks very much to my Beta, Letomo, but all mistakes are still mine. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# This is going up early as I have no idea if I will be able to post it tomorrow. Hope you enjoy it. Chapter 5 Apples and worms
Minerva McGonagall stood looking in some amazement as Luna Lovegood carefully unfolded a piece of parchment containing a single wavy black hair, placed it on her desk and then reached into her bookbag to retrieve a huge, leather bound volume. The title was familiar to her, Les Fondations Arithmancical et Linguistique de l’Art de Métamorphose
, by C. de L. D’Albane. It was an old, rare and desirable book and to see it so casually carted around, festooned with slips of parchment of many colours, and odd bookmarks of many shapes and sizes, including one she was certain was an old silk stocking, set her teeth on edge.
“Miss Lovegood! How did you get hold of a work from the Restricted Section?” She asked severely.
Luna blinked up, confused. “Restricted Section?” She opened the book at the stocking.
“The only copy of this book within the walls of Hogwarts resides in the Restricted Section of the library, for consultation only.” Minerva answered, trying to rein in her temper. It was a continuous disappointment to Minerva that she had never once succeeded in convincing Irma Pince to let the book outside of the library for study.
Luna carefully laid the worn stocking aside, as if it was a great treasure, allowing Minerva to see the page. The professor stared aghast at the copious marginal notes and scribbling in the previously pristine tome.
“Miss Lovegood! What have you done?” She asked with disbelief and horror in her voice.
Luna was by now looking quite confused. “I took the stocking out, like Mummy taught me to?”
The entire class was looking at the conversation with great interest.
“Mummy? Oh, dear. Miss Lovegood, who made these notes?” Minerva asked with excitement in her voice.
“Great-great-great Grandmère Claire de Lune, and Great-great Grandmère Heloise, and Great-Grandmère Selene et Grandmère Lunette et Maman, Soleil.” Luna’s voice had taken on a distinct French accent as she spoke. *What a fool I’ve been never to make that connection when Soleil was in school.*
Minerva very carefully reached out a hand to touch the stocking, her heart beating very fast. “I see…And this is…”
“The stocking Great-great-great Grandmère used, oui.” Luna replied placidly.
“My word. And why…why do you have this with you?”
Luna looked surprised. “You told us that if we had mastered the spells you set and done our homework, we could pursue independent studies, professor.”
McGonagall raised an eyebrow. “You’ve mastered the spell for this lesson and done your homework? I see. And what is your independent study subject?”
Luna smiled placidly. “Harry tried to change this hair into a toothpick for me, and it almost did, so I’m going to find out how to do it permanently.”
Minerva managed to suppress a grin. “Very good, proceed. Miss Lovegood? Do find a very safe place for that book; it’s not in the restricted section for nothing.”
“Well then, class! We shall now continue with the lesson…”
Luna stuck her wand in her hair, crossed her arms and scowled. “No.”
The portrait looked down at her, amusement in its posture. “And why not?”
“You promised to teach me the language of cats. This has nothing to do with the language of cats.” The young blonde witch pointed out, reasonably.
“It is a very important spell. It will help you to fight against Dementors.”
“I don’t want to fight Dementors! I want to talk to cats!” Luna insisted.
The portrait chuckled. “Very well. How about I teach you spells to fight Dementors some of the time and mostly about the language of cats the rest of the time?”
Luna pouted. “Oh, very well.”
“Excellent. I take it you are not in the mood to study spells more?”
“Language of cats,” Luna said firmly, her arms crossed.
“Language of cats it is. Please summon a suitable feline.”
Luna grinned and pulled her wand from her hair, preparing the spell that would summon a cat from Hogwarts’ considerable population.
“Accio CAT!” She spoke delightedly.
The Portrait groaned. “Oh dear.”
There was a horrible mewing, snarling, growling noise and a clowder of cats flew through the air. More cats were being dragged up the stairs and the walls, their claws scratching and screeching uselessly against the hard stone of the balusters and the stairs. They came, individually and in groups, flying into Luna in snarling heaps of fur, claws and blazing yellow and green eyes. Luna squawked, her eyes wide and tried to ward them off, but was stunned when she was hit between the eyes by a huge, bandy legged red tom with a squashed face and then by a kitten barely six months old. Luna fell down in a daze.
When the rain of hissing, spitting felines had covered Luna completely and sat meowing at each other in annoyance the Portrait sighed and gestured. The cats were gently lifted aside and showed a scratched, bitten and guilty looking Luna.
“Yes, well. I think that the words we shall learn today will be ‘I’m very, very sorry.’” The portrait said drily.
Albus Dumbledore looked out upon the great gates of Hogwarts and pondered, sipping tea made almost into syrup by the addition of a goodly dollop of molasses. He was stirring the viscous liquid with a liquorice stick.
“I cannot believe you can drink that stuff.” Severus Snape said acidly as he sipped his own tea, with a few drops of lemon, standing beside the headmaster.
“It helps me think.” Dumbledore replied calmly.
“Helps you gain two stone a year, you mean.” Severus shot back.
Dumbledore smiled. “That too. Severus, can you perhaps enlighten me as to why I suddenly decided to allow parental visits despite opposing it for decades?”
“Because you underestimated Molly Weasley. Or maybe I should say Prewett.” Severus replied, taking another sip of his tea.
“How do you mean? She is a formidable witch, a canny duellist and utterly ruthless in the defence of her children. I’ve known that since the War.”
“Yes. You however, are a Pureblood. I am a half-blood.” Severus’ mouth twisted at the admission. “That meant that if I were to survive in Slytherin I had to do research. The Prewett women have long passed a certain power from mother to daughter…” He took another sip, looking expectantly at Dumbledore.
Dumbledore’s eyes were half closed and his bright blue eyes were flicking right and left as he thought. It didn’t take long for the Headmaster to reach a conclusion. “Of course. How obvious, once you think about it.” He chuckled, and then his eyes seemed to mist over as his gaze flicked to the hills.
“Hmmm. Isn’t it. Let me point out, Albus, that the last person to try and manipulate this power did not succeed?” Severus said with some worry in his voice.
“I know it. I know it well. I was just…wondering.”
Severus Snape eyed the apple on his desk with wariness. He did not know how it got there. There was no magical signature or aura around it. It seemed to be a perfectly normal apple. Green and red. It was obviously a trap. Probably sent by the Weasley Twins. It might even… no, even the Weasley Twins weren’t stupid enough to make and send him a Witch Queen’s Apple. His mouth quirked. *They might be able to make one… but they’d also know it wouldn’t work on males.*
Severus sat looking at the apple for a minute or so more, before drawing his wand and vanishing it.
Severus Snape glared at the man in front of him, his dark eyes blazing with fury and his lips pressed together to keep his mouth from snarling in a rictus of hate.
“Severus, he can’t help it that the Longbottom boy is afraid of you. He was teaching him to the best of his ability-” Dumbledore spoke soothingly only to be cut off with a gesture from Snape. The potions master’s gaze flicked from the DADA teacher to the Headmaster, and then he stalked out of the office, the door opening before him and magic crackling around him. The door slammed shut again, shaking in its frame.
“Well, that could have gone better.” Remus Lupin sighed. “Merlin, I wish I’d stood up to James and Sirius…”
Albus sighed, suddenly looking old and tired. “You at least had the excuse of youth. I do not have even that, just the foolish mistakes of a foolish man.” He looked wistfully at the door. “He never would have been purely light, but his life would have been so much easier if I just would have explained things to him, not forced him to…” He shook his head. “I’m a foolish old man.”
Snape stalked down the corridor on his way from the headmaster’s office, his robes billowing, face set in a thunderous expression. He rounded the corner and came face to face with two girls, one bushy haired, tanned and lightly freckled, the other pale skinned and with sun gold hair, both looking at him with wide eyes. From the corner of his eye he noted Mrs. Norris, who put up her back, fluffed her scrawny tail and hissed at the Lovegood girl.
“P-professor Snape.” Hermione managed to stammer. “H-hello.”
“What are you doing here, Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood?”
“We are going to the library.” Luna replied, looking at him with interest. “Are the Fizzlegiggs clustering, Professor? You seem to be earthing magic, sir.” She asked quietly.
Snape glared at her. “Fizzlegiggs? There are no such things. Twenty points from Ravenclaw for insulting my intelligence.”
Luna tilted her head. “There are such things I believe, but proving it may be difficult. However, that is not an insult to your intelligence, merely a course of investigation that needs to be set out to achieve a definite proof of the existence or non-existence of creatures that may or may not cause wizards to discharge their magic involuntarily and feed upon it as it earths. The fact that until last year nobody knew a Basilisk was hiding below the school did not mean it was not there.”
Luna blinked at the two people who were looking at her strangely. Hermione seemed to be making a cutting or slicing movement in the air and Luna wondered what she meant by it. Professor Snape smiled, nastily, at Hermione, who blushed and hid behind her hair.
“You are right, Miss Lovegood. If at the end of this year you can prove to me that such creatures exist, I will return those twenty points to Ravenclaw and tell the Headmaster to award you at least two hundred more. If you fail to do so…” He leaned forward, a menacing scowl on his face. “I will take fifty more points.” He smirked at Luna’s stunned expression. Then his face went blank as the girl threw her arms around him and squealed.
“Oh thank you Professor! Now I know what I should research this year!” Luna happily skipped off. Snape glared after her, noting from the corner of his eye that Miss Granger seemed to be doing the same. He wondered why.
Severus Snape sat at his desk in his private office, marking and occasionally refreshing his mind with reading an article or two in a potions journal. He blinked. Hermione Granger had signed her essay, as usual, but instead of a dot there was a little heart over the i in her first name. He growled and crossed it out, subtracting a few points from her total, driving it down. *Idiot girl. The one pupil in her House who actually can think and she’s gone all silly.*
Remus Lupin was backed against the wall in the Headmaster’s office, his face pale and his eyes wide in near panic. A tall, elderly woman was facing him, her long horse face and huge yellow teeth very close to his own. *Wolves are not afraid of horses, neither are men!.*
He looked at the wobbling red flamingo and swallowed. *Except when the horse solidly trounced you several times.*
“So the only thing you could think of to make Professor Snape look ridiculous was to dress him up like me?” Augusta Longbottom asked in a dangerously soft tone of voice.
Remus quailed. The first time he and the others had gone over to visit Frank at his old family home, all of the Marauders had thought Frank Longbottom’s awe and fear for his mother was a bit silly. Those thoughts had died quickly when that tone of voice, and Lady Augusta’s broom, had been applied to a haughty Sirius Black, who’d stopped being haughty very, very quickly.
The last time he’d heard that voice it had been used on James and Lily when Augusta had caught them in one of Longbottom Manor’s guest bedrooms before they were married. After that… James and Lily had gotten engaged very hastily, and both had needed cushioning charms to sit for a day or two. Remus nodded. “Yes Ma’am, but in my defence you did always say I was dumber than a post.”
Augusta snorted. “Yes. It seems I was right.” She glared at Remus. “Your little tricks to get my grandson up to snuff had better work, boy.” She ran a hand down the parrot-headed umbrella and smiled. “Or else…”
Remus nodded fervently. “I will do my utmost, Lady Augusta.”
“See that you do. Now, I’m off to see my grandson. Behave.”
Remus wiped the cold sweat of his brow and wondered what a Boggart would change into if he met one now…
“Here is your essay, Miss Granger. As usual, verbose and filled with information that anyone who can read and think can find, regurgitated with the slightest appearance of understanding.” Snape leaned towards the bushy haired third year. “And kindly refrain from cluttering your work up even further with ridiculous symbols. Five points from Griffindor.”
Hermione took in the crossed out heart and flushed a deep scarlet red, gripping the edge of the desk, her eyes down. “Yes, sir.”
“Good. At least you show some understanding.”
“Severus! A word.” Minerva’s voice was icy as it came from the door to her office.
Snape lifted an eyebrow. “No if you please, Minerva?”
Minerva dragged him inside by his sleeve. “You don’t rate one. What in Merlin’s name did you do to Miss Granger, Severus? She’s been crying off and on for days! You may not have liked the fact the girl had a crush on you, but this was not the way to deal with it!”
“I did what was necessary, Minerva. Like I always do.” Snape said quietly.
Minerva was about to rip into him when she saw, for a fleeting instant, the look in his eyes, before the sneering, dark curtain swished closed again to hide his soul. She merely nodded. “Kindly be so good as to not disturb her further, she’s in a fragile enough condition as it is.”
Snape sneered. “Don’t worry Minerva; I won’t break your little Griffin.” He strode out of her office, robes billowing. Minerva looked after him, thoughtfully.
LLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSD Early October
Draco was whispering to a group of Slytherins as Professor Lupin passed him in the Hallway. “Look at him; he dresses worse than our old House elf.” Harry glared impotently at the Malfoy heir, unable to express his anger at the disrespect, no matter his own ambiguous feelings about Lupin.
Luna, nose in a book, passed the Slytherin group. “Yes, Dobby was able to throw your father down a corridor too.”
Draco hissed. “I’ll get you for that, Lovegood!”
Luna blinked. “Get me? Why? Are we playing tag? Or Kiss Chase?”
Draco flushed bright red as several of the Slytherin girls tittered. He rubbed his arm and glared at Luna, incoherent with anger.
Luna looked at him alarmed. “I thought your father took you to see a specialist. Didn’t you tell him about the Frumplers?”
“No, Lovegood. I didn’t tell him about your imaginary animals.” Draco said repressively.
Luna stuffed her book in her bag and grabbed Draco’s arm. The boy was so amazed he allowed it, and even looked on as Luna peeled back the layers of clothing that covered the place of his injury.
“It’s all red. That’s not good.” Luna scowled at Draco. “You should have told the doctor. Come on, we’ll go see Professor Kettleburn.”
“Kettleburn? He’ll just say there’s nothing wrong with me!” Draco pulled his arm back.
“Your arm is red, Malfoy, it should be just as pale as the rest of you.” Luna retorted, snagging his hand and pulling. Several of the Slytherin girls grinned again. “Come on, we can catch him before he goes into the hall for lunch.” Ignoring Draco’s protests, Luna dragged him off, Crabbe and Goyle hurrying along behind them. The Slytherin girls, now considerably less amused, followed. “Professor! Professor Kettleburn! Malfoy’s arm gets red when he’s excited!”
Minerva McGonagall snorted and Filius almost let out a giggle at Draco’s mortified expression.
Kettleburn did not seem amused. “Show me.” He held out a hand and took the boy’s arm, looking him the eye. Draco gazed back, palely and defiantly.
“Hmph, just as broken a wand as your old man. I wouldn’t wonder if the rumours were true and you’re not really a Malfoy. If I was your mother…” Kettleburn said dismissively.
“YOU TAKE THAT BACK, YOU BASTARD!!” Draco yelled; his face contorted in fury.
Kettleburn ignored him, eyes on the boy’s arm. “Morgana’s Migraine… POPPY!! MALFOY HAS FRUNNELWORM!” He grabbed Malfoy’s shoulder and grinned down at him. “Don’t worry lad, we’ll have them out of you in a few minutes, if the potion is on hand… Hmmm” He stuck his head around the door. “Ah, professor Snape is headed over here already. Come on lad.”
Luna looked at the old professor with huge, hopeful eyes. “Yes, Miss Lovegood, you may come along, but only if Mr. Malfoy does not object.” He looked at Draco, who, still white with anger, shook his head.
Kettleburn led the still livid Malfoy away, a hand firmly on his shoulder. “I apologize for what I said, Mr. Malfoy, but I needed you angry to be certain, and the best way to get a Malfoy angry is to impugn their family honour. No Malfoy has ever broken his given word.”
Draco blinked. “Oh. Err. It worked.” He rubbed the back of his head, looking confused and uncertain.
“Hmmm. Don’t worry lad, I know both your parents, you look like both of them and I doubt very much if the rumours are true considering what they got up to while they were still here.” Kettleburn grinned.
Draco blinked once or twice. “My Father told me he and Mother always behaved with the utmost decorum while at school.”
Kettleburn lifted a burned and scarred eyebrow. “If they can tell you that in front of me and Professor Flitwick without blushing, I’ll give you a Golden-tailed Peacock.”
Luna frowned, thoughtfully. “That will be hard to arrange, it would have to be at the station, or in Diagon Alley…”
Kettleburn lifted an eyebrow. Draco looked stunned. “Lovegood, what are you blathering about?”
Luna looked at him, and then shrugged. “Daddy says to never fear to tweak the nose of authority. And I like Golden-Tailed Peacocks.”
Draco Malfoy gave her an odd look. “Of course Lovegood. Of course.”
Severus Snape was scowling at the apple on his desk. An apple had appeared on his desk every day since the first week if Term. It was getting to be worrisome. He’d analysed each and every one of them extensively, reducing them to their constituent parts in his private laboratory, running tests that only the best potions masters could manage, as well as using his extensive knowledge of curses and the Dark Arts. Finally he’d asked Filius to check them for charms as well as curses and Minerva for Transfigurations. Both had done so with slight smirks, assuring him they were perfectly normal, healthy apples. Minerva had made him eat one, saying he looked peaky. He folded his hands under his chin and gazed at the offensive fruit.
“You told Harry he is going to die. The boy is frightened and uncertain enough as it is. You told him The Grim was after him.” Albus Dumbledore said with exasperation and anger in his voice, sipping his syrupy tea.
Sybil Trelawney added a dash of gin to her tea and tasted it, adding another dash. Dumbledore looked on disapprovingly.
“That is because he will. I know the prophecy I made, Albus. You didn’t really think that I was so incapable a Seer as not to be able to recall them if I had to?” She replied calmly. “And some great black dog is in his future. It may be a familiar for all I know. But Harry Potter will die, must die, if Vol… Riddle must.”
Dumbledore opened his mouth to respond but Sybil forestalled him by raising a hand. “He will die and he must die, you and I both know it. At least this way I will have told him, even if he thinks I’m a batty old fraud. I will have that much.”
“Sybil, why don’t you use your talent in a more controlled fashion, guide yourself through meditation…” Albus tried.
“Do you know why I wear these glasses, Albus?” Sybil asked, sipping her tea.
“I assume you have bad eyesight?”
“When I was younger, I was very enthusiastic about my Curse. I guided it through meditation and dream quests, reading and the use of many devices far more reliable than any I teach. And the things I saw…” She looked at her empty cup and sloshed it full of gin from her flask, drinking it down. “Even the greatest Mediwitch can’t grow back eyeballs perfectly if you’ve clawed them from your face and let the sockets weep for a week or two.” Sybil rose and smiled at Albus. “Thanks for the lovely tea, Albus. We should do this again sometime.”
With shaking hands, Albus Dumbledore poured a very tiny measure of well aged Firewhiskey in a crystal tumbler and drank it down in a single gulp, grimacing.
LLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSD October 28th 1995, Hogsmeade Weekend
Harry glumly left the common room to find something to do while Colin Creevey gushed behind him. Shoulders slumped he made his way through the corridors. Study was the last thing on his mind. He heard footsteps and was about to dive into a side corridor only to notice there were none. He sighed, resigned to his fate. He perked up considerably when he saw who was approaching him, blonde head bowed over a book, humming and skipping lightly. He stopped her before she walked into a wall. Myrtle, floating behind Luna with a decidedly harassed expression, gave him a relieved look.
“Luna, you really shouldn’t read while walking.” Harry gently chided her.
“But there’s just so much to read! I need to find a way to prove to Professor Snape that there are creatures that make wizards discharge their magic and then feed upon it!” Luna replied dreamily. “It’s so exciting! Such a wonderful assignment!”
Myrtle shrugged helplessly at Harry. Harry grinned. “Well, I’m glad you have something to do.”
Luna blinked, and then her brow furrowed. “Oh… You should be in Hogsmeade. Harry, why aren’t you in Hogsmeade?”
Harry scowled. “Because I’m not allowed. I don’t have a pass.”
“Oh. I see. Why not?”
“Because my Aunt and Uncle wouldn’t sign it. They are my guardians. No pass, no visit.”
“Oh. I’m sorry. Ummm…would you like to walk through the castle with us?”
Harry shrugged. “Sure, but put the book away.”
Luna nodded and skipped along beside the slouching and sulking Harry. “I heard you got Malfoy cured. I didn’t think there was anything really wrong with him.” Harry finally said.
“He had Frumplers, or Frunnelworms. They feed on negative emotions and eventually kill you. It’s quite painful.” Luna said softly. “They sometimes live under the nails of predatory magical beings, such as Hippogriffs.” She perked up. “Professor Kettleburn has decided to teach a class on magical parasites and such, and I got fifty points for Ravenclaw.” Then she pouted. “But I won’t get the class until next year.”
Harry smiled. Somehow it was very hard to be upset with Luna, or upset around her. Behind the two of them, Myrtle smiled. End note: As you can see my tampering has forced the first Hogsmeade Weekend onto another day, Halloween in 1995 fell on Tuesday. For all you Harry Potter purists, if you are a purist, why are you reading this? ;-)