Witches and Broomsticks
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 Betas, Letomo and EllandrahSylver, 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.# Many thanks to Wildred, for recommending me and to all those who leave reviews. 07 Witches and Broomsticks
“What is this, Miss Lovegood?” Snape waved the starfish shaped parchment she’d handed him.
“A request to brew in the Potions lab after class, sir,” Luna said.
“Brew after class? Brew what?”
“An experimental potion, sir.”
“Lovegood, I only let people brew after class who are working on their OWLS and NEWTS. I doubt that includes you.”
“Oh. I’ll need to find a different place then.”
Snape scowled. “No, Miss Lovegood, you may not. Brewing outside the assigned areas is strictly forbidden.”
“Oh. Is there no way for me to brew after class?”
“Not unless you get detention, Miss Lovegood,” Snape sneered. “But this week’s detention is brewing Scrubbing Lotion for Mr. Filch.”
“Oh. Okay,” Luna stuck out her tongue at the Professor and then made a face at him.
Snape blinked. “Miss Lovegood…” He sighed. “Ten points from Ravenclaw, and detention.” *I should send you to serve detention with Filch. But admit it, Severus, you’re curious what she wants to do.*
Luna Lovegood was scowling at her cauldron and Severus Snape was scowling at Luna Lovegood. Behind her three small cauldrons bubbled, each with its own pile of ingredients next to it. They did not have her attention, bar the occasional well executed turn that allowed her to add the proper ingredients to the scrubbing lotion.
“Miss Lovegood, what is this?” He picked up one of the orange berries that lay beside the cauldron.
“A berry from a Mountain Ash, Professor,” Luna replied as she carefully dropped two crushed rye grains into the bubbling liquid in the cauldron.
“I can see that, Miss Lovegood.” Snape sneered.
“Then why did you have to ask, sir?” Luna looked up, confused, while stirring the purple liquid with a wooden stirring rod.
Snape gritted his teeth. “I meant, Miss Lovegood, what the berries, which have absolutely nothing to do with the potion I set for this detention, are doing on your desk.”
“Oh, I’m making something different,” Luna said as if it was the most obvious and normal thing in the world.
Snape counted ten Thestrals. “And why do you think I would allow you to make something different, Miss Lovegood?”
“Oh, I am making the scrubbing lotion too; it’s on the desk behind me. Myrtle is monitoring that.” Luna pointed upwards. Myrtle, floating serenely near the ceiling, smiled down at Snape.
“I see. And what else are
you making, Miss Lovegood?” Snape asked silkily.
Luna reached into her bag, one eye on the flickering flames under the cauldron, and withdrew a leather bound journal, tied closed with a multicoloured braided cord. Like all her books bookmarks stuck out from it at all angles. She put it on her desk and then gently put a spoonful of crushed Mountain Ash berries into the potion, stirring several times, again with the pale wooden rod.
“I’m sorry, sir, but you did say that a good potion brewer lets nothing extraneous distract him from his work.” Luna’s tongue was between her teeth and she looked anxiously as the potion took on a deep red colour. She hastily consulted a parchment on the other side of the cauldron and started slicing mistletoe leaves.
“Oh, Miss Lovegood…” Snape said melodiously sarcastic.
“Yes, Professor?” Luna did not look up, slicing each leaf in exactly four pieces, after removing the stems and dropping them in the mix one by one.
aware that you are serving detention?”
“Yes sir, that was quite clear. Could you hand me the stirring rod at the end, sir?”
Snape handed the rod over. *This stirring rod is made from some sort of dried stem? Aconite. It’s the stem of an Aconite. And rye and Mountain ash and a Mountain Ash stirring rod… Merlin she recognized the potion I brought Lupin.*
“What are you brewing, Miss Lovegood?”
Luna bit her lip in concentration and sprinkled the mistletoe leaves into the mix, stirring carefully, then turned away to a mortar and pestle and started to grind the seeds in it. “It’s an old family recipe, sir.”
“Stirred with Aconite and containing mountain ash berries, Wolfsbane, mistletoe and rye. Miss Lovegood, Wolfs’ Balm is a proscribed potion for a reason. No one has ever successfully brewed it except for Selene D’Albane. And there are doubts she really managed it.”
“Oh, she did, sir.” Luna scowled at the pot as she added the crushed seeds. “But why doesn’t it change to silver, like it should? It’s going all orange!”
“Orange?” Snape exclaimed, before he dove at Luna and bore her to the ground, covering her body with his as the orange potion exploded with a force far in excess to the size of the cauldron it occupied. Boiling orange steam rose in a pillar to the ceiling. After half a minute or so Snape looked up. His hair was full of orange goo, already hardening and his back was covered as well.
Myrtle floated back through the ceiling into which she had retreated when the potion’s master had called out. Snape looked at her and Myrtle halted. The man rose, goo dripping and flaking. Luna looked at him with large, silver eyes.
“That was not
supposed to happen. This is
the Blood moon. Why didn’t it work?” She asked, blinking uncertainly.
“Miss Lovegood…” Snape closed his eyes and took three calming breaths. “Don’t you think that others haven’t figured out that ‘stirred during the bleeding moon’ means that the potion can only be made during the Hunter’s moon? And that the same result hasn’t happened time and time again to them? Wolf’s balm does not
Luna blinked. She stepped aside and around him and to the leather bound journal, untouched by a single drop of orange, opening it at one of the most garish bookmarks, woven from some grey hair and topped by a wolf’s head cut from green stone. “Of course… oh. How silly of me.”
“Really? You don’t say.” Snape said sarcastically.
“It doesn’t mean the same in French and great-grandmère’s handwriting isn’t the best…” Luna reached into her bag and took out a planner, opening it and leafing through. “Ah, yes, that will work.” She looked back up guilelessly. “I’ll clean this up, shall I, sir?”
Severus Snape sighed, the slight movement making orange flakes fall from his hair and clothes. “Yes, Miss Lovegood, that you will.” He glared at her and Luna took an involuntary step back, her eyes widening. “By hand. And you won’t be leaving this room until it is spotlessly clean and you have brewed at least a dose of scrubbing lotion. Is that understood?”
His glare was intimidating enough to make Myrtle slide into a wall and Luna swallowed. “T-that will take hours…”
“Yes, Miss Lovegood. So you may want to make that scrubbing lotion first.” Snape replied. He moved his wand over his body and the orange fell off his body, flecking the ground around his robes. He very carefully trod on them, grinding his dragon hide soles into them and then lifting his feet, tapping his wand to them, the orange paste under them falling to the floor in crusts. The stone was deeply ingrained with the orange potion residue.
“You will find the brushes, buckets, water and soap in that cupboard. I will write a note to professor Flitwick,” Snape said in a dangerously soft and cold voice.
Luna nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. “Yes, sir.”
Snape turned away to his desk. “And Miss Lovegood? Fifty points from Ravenclaw for utter stupidity.”
“Wood! Wait up!” Marcus Flint caught up with the Gryffindor Quidditch captain and nodded at him. “We should postpone the game.”
“Postpone? Why?” Wood asked belligerently.
Flint gestured outside. “Wood, I know you Gryffindors pride yourselves on your courage. Flying in that isn’t courageous, it’s insanity.”
“Scared, Flint? Think you will lose?” Wood sneered. “We’ve got a better Seeker than you do - a better team.”
“Wood, if we fly in that there will be a very good chance that we’ll lose our Seekers to the bloody lightning!” Flint said exasperatedly.
“We play, Slytherin. I’m not afraid of a little rain!” Wood stalked off.
Marcus Flint looked after him. “Rain I can live with. It’s the getting blasted off my broom by bolts of lightning that gets to me.” He muttered, before wandering off. “Stupid Gryffindors.”
Thunder rolled and lightning raged. The Quidditch stands were filled despite the cold, the rain and the fact that the cheers of the spectators were drowned out by the storm.
Luna sat in the Ravenclaw stands, her enchanted umbrella held over her head. It stood straight and unbending amidst the forest of whipping and sawing umbrellas, hats, cloaks and furled banners of the first-, second-, and third-years who had not yet mastered the necessary spells. The upper years had enchanted theirs. The weather was bad enough that no one would ever read the encouraging slogans the banners bore. She was looking worriedly at the players on their broomsticks. Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter were both excellent flyers. Unlike the Gryffindors she could see that Draco had talent for flying, yet unlike Harry he did not risk his neck as recklessly and sometimes needlessly. No doubt it had been impressed on him by his parents that his neck was too valuable to risk. Harry had no one to do so.
Luna gasped as Harry made a strange, whirling move and closed her eyes when Draco followed closely, both of them roaring towards the Snitch that hovered placidly and glinted in the rain and the storm. Their lithe forms were lit up from behind by the flashes of lightning. And that was when she felt them, felt their cold and hungry presence. Luna screamed, but nobody heard her over the roaring thunder and the cries of encouragement, and then the cries of horror as the Seekers both fell.
Harry woke up with a headache and a groan. He felt his hand was being held and opened his eyes to see who was doing it. The kind green brown eyes of Molly Weasley looked down on him and behind her stood the entire, very muddy, Gryffindor Quidditch team.
Hermione and Ron were there as well, Hermione looking very red eyed, as if she’d been crying. He turned his head, looking for someone else. Molly Weasley felt his hand tighten around hers and saw his face as he saw who was in the next bed over.
Xenophilius Lovegood held his daughter’s hand as if his grip on it was the only thing keeping them both alive. Luna was pale and unconscious or sleeping. In the bed beyond Luna, beyond the even paler than usual Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy lay, his blue grey eyes on Luna’s still form. Harry’s eyes met Malfoy’s and the boys glared at each other. Narcissa’s eyes met Molly’s and for an instant Molly thought she saw there a deep font of amusement and love, before the cold veil lowered over them again.
“What is he doing here?” Harry asked, gritting his teeth.
“The same as you, Harry. He fell off his broom,” Molly said quietly. “From quite high up. If the Headmaster hadn’t caught both of you…”
“And Luna?” Harry asked, suddenly ashamed for doubting that Malfoy had a reason to be here.
“The Hirudi got her,” Xenophilius said, his voice barely a whisper and nothing like the warm, exuberant one Harry remembered from the table at Florean Fortescue’s.
“Hirudi?” Harry looked confused.
“Hirudo Animi, Dementors. Eaters of souls. They have many names, but none of them properly convey their true evil,” Mr. Lovegood explained softly.
“Oh. Will… Will she be alright?” Harry asked anxiously. Molly noted that Draco’s eyes were just as anxious as Harry’s. Again her gaze met Narcissa Malfoy’s and this time Molly was certain of the humour.
“She should recover as much as she ever will,” Xeno sighed, tiredly. He gently ran a finger down Luna’s drawn and still tear-streaked, haggard face.
Luna dreamed, always the same dream, it never seemed to end. She was sitting in the wicker chair in the corner of her mother’s cheerful and airy laboratory. She was reading a book on dragonflies and their magical properties. She had her own circle of protection, crafted very carefully by Maman and Daddy together.
Maman was studying an ancient spellbook, the one she had found in the old, old chest in the old family manor in France, the one with the funny writing on it. Maman had been so very excited at finding those books and Daddy almost as excited as Maman. Luna wasn’t really interested in the books; she couldn’t read them and some of the pictures made her shiver.
Maman had cast a spell, a circle of protection and then she had cast the spell that had her and Daddy so excited. And then the ratty, badly dressed little man had appeared, just like that, and gestured with a strange wand and Maman’s concentration had slipped and the spell had gotten out of her control and then the screaming and the blood… Maman had thrown her blood at Luna’s circle and the spell that tore Maman apart, with knives of silver mist, had not harmed Luna.
But Luna would never forget what she had seen, and heard that terrible day. In her sleep, her hand held by her father, Luna whimpered. Deep in the recesses of her analytical mind she noted that never before had the little man appeared in her memories, and she wondered why.
Harry looked at the shattered remnants of his broom, lying on the table in the Hobby room. Ron was beside him and Luna and Hermione stood on the opposite side of the table and he gave the two young witches a begging, piteous look. “Anything? Please?”
“Harry, I’m sorry, it really is beyond repair.” Hermione said kindly but sadly.
There was a snigger from behind them and Draco swaggered up to the table, leaving Goyle and Crabbe hovering at the door. “Is that your broom, Potter? Or a set of toothpicks?”
“It’s what’s left of Harry’s broom. If you can’t see that Draco, you really ought to get glasses, just like Harry. Glasses look good on a boy. My Daddy wears glasses to read.” Luna said absently, prodding the slivers and splinters with her wand.
Harry gave Draco a slightly smug look, straightening his glasses. “I know that, Lovegood. It’s called sarcasm.” Draco glared back at Harry.
Luna blinked at Harry. “You called your broom Sarcasm? Whatever for Harry?”
Draco gritted his teeth. “No, Lovegood, I used
“Oh. That’s not very nice, what with poor Harry having lost his broom.” Her brow furrowed. “I know! You can borrow my broom until you get a new one. Come on! I want you all to meet her.”
Luna walked out of the Hobby room, Hermione and Harry following. Draco trailed them, with Crabbe and Goyle, his eternal, if rather solid, shadows behind him.
Luna led them to the Ravenclaw tower. The doorknocker whispered a question and Luna whispered an answer back. The door opened and Luna went in and came out a few minutes later. She was carrying a white broom, with silver-white bristles, hung with ribbons, bells and coloured streamers, mostly blue and bronze.
“Come on, I’ll show you how to use it.” She set a quick pace for the Quidditch pitch and the small group followed. Ron looked at Harry. “She
is going to show you
how to use a broom?”
Harry shook his head. “Ron, this is Luna Lovegood’s
Ron blinked. “Point there, mate.”
Luna was crooning at the broom. It hovered beneath her hand and gently butted her. Her voice was soft and she was speaking rapidly, in French.
Malfoy took out his wand and gestured, at the same time that Ron did. “Lingua Franca!”
Harry and Hermione gave to two boys a look. Ron flushed a little. “It’s err, a spell to understand languages. It’s taught to all pureblood children at the age of eleven.”
They could understand Luna now. “Really, you’re being quite ridiculous about it. It’s just Harry, not some ogre; his hair is just a little scruffy.”
The broom shivered in a way that made Draco grin. “The broom thinks you’re an ogre, Potter.”
Harry glared and continued to listen to Luna coax her broom. “They’re just boys!”
The broom hovered to Ron, seemed to sniff his ankles, it shivered and the bristles shook. “Argent!” Luna said repressively and looked apologetically at Ron. “I’m sorry Ronald, but Argent thinks you should wash your feet.”
Hermione sniggered and Ron flushed. Draco let out a howl of laughter.
Argent moved towards Draco. It balked at Crabbe and Goyle, until Draco waved them away. The broom hovered to Draco and floated in front of him, before recoiling, bristles shivering. Draco glared at it. “What is that about? I’m not an unwashed ape like Weasley!”
Luna coughed. “A little too washed. Err… perfume?”
Draco flushed but did not look ashamed. “My Mother’s, she hugged me before she left.”
“Argent also thinks that your hair cream smells funny.”
Draco glared at the broom again. “What? How exactly can it smell? And where does it keep its brain?”
“The bristles. The connections between them when they touch are a basic neural network. And most of these are there to allow her to perceive things.” Luna gestured at the decorations, gently touching a dried nosegay. “She smells through this.”
Hermione looked about ready to burst with questions. “Luna, that’s incredible! I mean the spells and charms to create that, a broom an item like this, where did you get it?”
“I got her
from my mother.” Luna corrected Hermione; her voice quiet “She’s called L’Orage d’Argent, the Silver Storm and she’s the greatest broom in the world. She’s three-hundred-forty-six years old and has been a D’Albane family heirloom since she was created.”
Draco and Ron were staring at the broom with awe and respect. “L’Orage D’Argent… I thought she was a myth…” Draco whispered.
Ron glared at the blonde girl. “You haven’t kept her locked up, have you?”
“Oh no, Maman used to fly Argent while she was Ravenclaw Seeker, and to do shopping and I always fly her. Maman used to take the extra enchantments off for Quidditch, but we need to ask her if she is willing to allow that.”
She put a strand of hair in her mouth and Harry absently reached out to take it out before the magic even had a chance to function and drag it out. Luna glared at him and then huffed. “Argent! Let’s go flying!” The broom made a tight loop and flew up behind Luna who jumped on as she passed, clasping her ankles around the handle and her hands higher up. The broom took off. Harry and Draco studied the flight clinically as Luna swooped around the posts and the sheds and under the bleachers.
“She’s very good. But then Soleil d’Albane was the best Ravenclaw Seeker for fifty years,” Draco said quietly.
“I don’t think Argent is quite as fast as the Nimbuses,” Harry noted.
“Better manoeuvrability though, much better.” Draco tensed as Luna flattened herself completely and flew through the opening between two benches, where Filch had removed a section to repair it, leaving just enough space for a small girl on a broom to go through.
“Yes. She would be a very bad Seeker.” Harry relaxed visibly once Luna had flown through the gap in the bleachers.
“She’d start thinking about Crumple-horned Snorkacks or Huminiferous Gazangi and miss the Snitch even if it flew up her nose,” Draco commented with a smile that, if anyone could have seen it, could only be described as tender.
“Much like you then, Malfoy.”
“Really, Potter, I didn’t see you catching a Snitch in the last game,” Draco sneered.
“Shut it, Malfoy, you didn’t catch it either!”
“I, however, will, Potter. At least my hair is not in my eyes.”
“No, you just smell of grease.”
Behind the two Seekers, Hermione and Ron relaxed. The world had started spinning on its axis again, Malfoy and Potter were arguing. Behind them, Crabbe and Goyle did the same.
Myrtle grinned as the huge, bandy legged red cat glared at Luna from its squashed face and then took off at a run. Luna looked after it with a woebegone expression on her face. “None of them want to talk to me.”
“Well you did drag all of them up to the Mezzanine. You should just be glad Minerva wasn’t walking around as a cat.”
Luna winced. “That would have been bad.”
“Like you wouldn’t believe.” Myrtle smirked. “So, did Argent allow Harry to ride?”
“No, she balked. Wouldn’t let him touch her, she kept shying away from him, every time he leaned towards her she’d move off.”
“That’s odd. Well, come on, Mr. Portrait is waiting and he’s been worried about you since the game.”