The Hunt for Xenophilius Lovegood
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. I am very grateful to borgrabbit, Daknee and docjen for recommending this tale, it means a great deal to me. Please, also keep reviewing, many of my ideas grow out of tiny (or not so tiny) seeds sown in them… 08 The hunt for Xenophilius Lovegood The Quibbler: All the Truth you dare to find out! Spotted Coblaugh seen in Argyle, by the Editor. A rare Spotted Coblaugh was spotted near the town of Lismore, the rare species of Coblaugh can only be found near Loch Linnhe. The more common tufted Coblaugh can of course, be found throughout the Inner Hebrides… Worrisome development: stillbirths, Squibs and deformities rising among pureblood children, by the Zephraïm Hurdlegurdle. M.W.. An investigation of the public records of St. Mungo’s over the past one hundred years shows the worrying trend that more children among pureblooded families are stillborn, and that far more are magically, mentally or physically handicapped today than fifty years ago. As breeders of magical creatures will realize, when the bloodlines of mating couples get too close to each other, the results are sometimes amazing but rather more often disastrous. Is pureblooded society, by its very nature, destroying itself?
Buckfastleigh, Devon (England) middle of September 1995
Buckfastleigh was a nice normal village, Xeno thought as he wandered through the town. He had learned that his usual combination of long coat and colourful clothes, together with his bangles and bracelets, drew him a few stares and rather more grins, but none of the strange looks his brother wizards got from the normal inhabitants.
Entering the village church he found and thoughtfully studied the Cabell monument and glanced around, noting nobody was in the small church and then cast a spell he had developed with Selene, detecting the minor amount of magic he was expecting. As soon as he had heard about the Hound he had started looking for it. Happily he had found a book about Sir Richard Cabell and the Hound of the Baskervilles. ‘Normals’ did go to extreme lengths to try and deny the magical and supernatural, he mused, leaving the church once more. He put his butterfly net over his shoulder, checked his belt for his specimen drums and jars, and mounted his ancient but trusty bicycle.
He whistled as he cycled; the air still redolent with the scent of rain and the smells of autumn over the moors. He waved at passing cars. His long hair, tied back with a leather cord, waved and floated in the wind. He reached the magically Unplottable area that was supposed to be the center of the apparitions and dismounted, locking his bike with a huge, ancient padlock. He also tapped the tip of his wand - held up the sleeve of his voluminous shirt - to it, a far more certain way to prevent it being stolen than a mere lock.
Then he started to jump from tussock to tussock, his net fluttering in the wind, a smile on his face, heading deep into Grimpen Mire.
Walden Macnair grinned as he saw the idiot Lovegood hopping from one patch of grass to the next. He was obviously headed to the cairn or the Dolmen that Macnair had seen from his broom. The gaunt, black-clad wizard mounted his broom again, flew to an area about halfway between Lovegood and the tor and stood waiting, disillusioned and quiet as a statue, until the blond wizard was close enough, ready to release the spell that would put an end to the annoying muggle-loving wizard.
At least, that was the plan.
What actually happened was that Walden Macnair set down in the middle of a marshy peat bog with a huge splash and started sinking almost immediately, his mouth full of boggy water and his heavy, wet robes dragging him further and further down, his hands clawing at the air and the rough grass as he desperately tried to gain leverage to lift himself from the moorhole, his wand sinking into the bog behind him and his broom entangled in his robes and hampering his legs; in the panic of nearly drowning not even a single thought of magic crossed the executioner’s mind.
Xenophilius Lovegood was making good speed through the moors and fens and hummed quietly as he kept a lookout both for butterflies and Shizhummers. Both were common on the Moors, even if the rarer types were hard to locate. He deviated from the direct route to the island to catch and observe as many as them as possible before releasing them once more. Xeno retraced his steps carefully, having visited similar areas before and knowing that he had to take care not to land in the bog. A man alone was very likely to drown that way, wizard or not, or be overwhelmed by Frunnelworms or Greidlom.
He was about halfway to the small island at the centre of the Mire when he heard the splashing. Xenophilius tilted his head and tried to determine the direction of the noise. Having decided on the most likely one, he took out his compass, determined magnetic and magical north, and headed into the mire.
There was someone struggling in one of the deeper bog holes and Xeno made his way over, carefully. “I say, do you need help?”
“GAAAHHHRRR!!!” The man in the bog screamed, his mouth filled with rotten plant matter and dark, murky water.
“I’ll take that as a yes, then,” Xeno called out cheerfully. “I do ask, you know, last time I lifted three ladies from a similar hole and they were actually taking something called a bog-bath. Good for the skin apparently.” He looked thoughtful. “Perhaps we could see if it had any effect on your skin?” He inquired hopefully as he waved his wand in a wordless levitation spell. The man whom he’d lofted out of the muck sputtered and groaned.
“Oh dear, that does not sound good. We’ll need to get you to a place where you can rest without sinking. But I know a few spells that might help!” Xeno waved his wand at MacNair and spoke the wordsPulmonos Aeris
loudly and clearly. Macnair’s stomach and throat extended like a bullfrog in full voice and he let out a gigantic belch. Xeno smiled. “There! That should be better!”
Macnair groaned pitifully. Xeno looked for a place to lay him down but realized that there really was none and gripping his wand firmly, started jumping from tussock to tussock again. Macnair was bounced around, bobbing and weaving, behind and alongside and in front, of the cheerfully babbling Xeno. “So, are you a naturalist? Not many people visit these moors and mires; you need special permission from the ministry after all. What do you specialize in, Lepidoptera?”
Macnair let out another belch, his eyes rolling. Xeno frowned worriedly. “That does not sound good. Hmm, I’d prefer doing this while you were not floating, but I fear I do not have that luxury. Purgatus!”
Xeno’s wand made a short twirling motion and Macnair’s eyes crossed. Then he screamed and a huge, wet, noise emerged from his behind, the sodden, heavy robes lifted by the strength of the emitted gas and matter.
Xeno blinked rapidly in surprise at the floating wizard and sighed. “Dear me, what a silly fellow I am. I meant Emitis!
Macnair whimpered and then started to vomit, the spray of thick fluid brown with the swallowed marsh water. Xeno nodded cheerfully. “Much better. Well, onwards and upwards! Miles to go before we sleep! Oh, I say, I’ve got a lovely spell to clear your sinuses!”
The two men at the table in Neprasthus
, a bar that could only be described as a dive and then only by the most undiscerning of men, looked up in amazement to see the entry of Walden Macnair. The Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures’ Executioner was walking with an odd, wide legged gait and his eyes were glazed. He held one hand to his stomach and the other was rubbing his throat and nose in turn. His robes, though never the most pristine in the wizarding world, had obviously been very wet and dirty and had been inexpertly dried. He staggered to a chair at the table and sat down carefully. The others wrinkled their noses at the smell that surrounded the new arrival.
“Macnair?” One of the men asked. “Is it done?”
Macnair whimpered. The man nodded in understanding. “I see; your illness prevented it. Do you want another shot at him?”
This time a small scream erupted from Macnair before he replied. “No! Merlin have mercy, no! Don’t send me back to that madman. Mercy!” Macnair sprang from his chair and exited the room at high speed, or as high a speed as a man walking wide legged with unbending knees could manage.
The other two men exchanged looks. “Goyle? You want to take him?”
Goyle shrugged. “Fine by me, Crabbe. I mean, what can possibly go wrong? Macnair probably flew into a tree or something and fell into the bog.” The big, broad shouldered wizard took out a copy of The Quibbler and opened it. “Let’s see, he was in Dartmoor, next he’s going to be in Kirkcudbrightshire? Where in Merlin’s name is Kirkcudbrightshire?”
LLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDP The Quibbler! All the news no-one else will print! The mating dance of the Flitterering Waterskyte, by the Editor The Flittering Waterskytes, those rare and elusive inhabitants of some of magical Britain’s most secret lakes and meres, have been seen mating by a reliable witness. Mr. Garlock ‘Boozy’ Gardenistra, of 14 Heffalump Street, 100 Acre Wood, stated: ‘They was the most beautifully wondrously marvellous thing I ever see’d. Cor, thanks mate, I won’t say no to another one… Worrying developments in magical strength, by Walter Underwood Over the past fifty years or so, Ministry records, unearthed from the Archives with considerable time and effort, the number of Squibs among the children of pureblooded families has risen considerably. This in turn has led to considerably rise in the reported number of infanticides, as authorized by Ministry Law, statute 3, article 11 of the Pater Familias Act of 1823. The number of Squibs among families with half blooded and normal born parents on the other hand is much lower than averages for the previous century among Pureblooded families.
LLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDPLLDP Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, early October 1995
Virtuosity Goyle had been badly named. The Goyle part fitted well enough, but he was neither virtuous, rather the opposite, nor a prodigy at anything except perhaps low grade evil. Nevertheless he had risen high in the Service of the Dark Lord by the simple means of following orders and keeping his nose clean. Metaphorically, since personal hygiene was not one of Goyle's strong points.
Goyle was a follower, not a leader; a soldier, not an officer. His plan to deal with Xenophilius Lovegood therefore was simple and straightforward. He would follow the Zoologist on one of his treks into the countryside and cause him to die in some manner that might be mistaken for an accident. Macnair had planned to stun and drown the man, something like that suited Goyle perfectly.
So now Virtuosity Goyle was hiding in a rather prickly bush on the edge of a wild area near Creetown in Kirkcudbrightshire, his face a mask of glee and anticipation as he waited for his victim to arrive. As far as he could see, the area was used primarily for fishing or painting, considering the number of painters and fishermen. It had taken Goyle several hours to come to that conclusion, never having seen Muggle painters and hence being confused at the lifelessness of the depicted landscapes. He had also spent a good hour staring at a painter's model draped artfully across a couch wearing very little but a feather boa and had finally decided that killing the painters and having his way with the model might get him into more trouble than it was worth.
Goyle spotted the blond haired wizard making his way across the bracken and the heath, his long ponytail blown about by the harsh wind that beat the hills into submission. As always, Lovegood looked around himself with keen interest for everything nature related, but utterly ignored the possibility of a human opponent. Goyle sneered and started moving towards the man quickly and silently. Lovegood avoided certain clearings, no doubt afraid to pick up some of his imaginary pests. Goyle had no such fears and crossed the clearings confidently, sure that the idiot he was following would not notice him. Then ground gave way under his feet and the Death Eater without a current Dark Lord fell into the darkness of an old mine. The last thing that ran through his mind as he fell was that the Dark Lord keeping the secret of how to fly without a broom was really dreadfully selfish.
Goyle wasn’t certain how long he’d lain at the bottom of the mine, but he did know it hurt to cure one’s shattered leg bones with a Ferula
spell, followed by Tibia, Femur, Menisci, Patella and Pelvic Emendos
, and that he was much, much better at hurting people than healing himself and that his ribs ached terribly after falling fifty feet and that he was going to kill Xenophilius Lovegood.
LLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSD South Powys, Wales, second week of October 1995
A week later Goyle was limping along behind the blond naturalist, this time being careful to step exactly where his target stepped. This necessitated some awkward hopping at times, as Lovegood was fond of skipping and seemed more easily distracted than a toddler on a sugar rush. Lovegood was supposed to be exploring some place called Otter Hole, looking for a weird critter called the Sump Chalk Fairy, and Goyle was ready for him. He would jump where Lovegood jumped and dodge where Lovegood dodged. Goyle whimpered as Lovegood agilely jumped over a narrow burn and skipped merrily onwards, towards the estuary.
The weird wizard approached a locked door in a stony riverbank and touched it with his wand, murmuring the Alohamora
spell and then going in and locking the door again behind him. Goyle followed and frowned at the damp cold of the place. Lovegood was quite a distance ahead and Goyle hastened to follow, not lighting his own wand for fear of alerting his quarry. He ran face first into a wall about fifty meters in. Swearing and feeling with his hands he found the low crawl tunnel Lovegood had passed into and followed him over the slimy and slippery ground until he reached a sandy cave with a few puddles and a smell of the sea.
Goyle saw that Lovegood had taken the passage beyond, one formed like an eight and followed quickly. Lovegood was strangely silent, none of his chatter or humming in evidence. Goyle grumbled and decided to risk a low level light spell. The cave was cold and damp and the big wizard shivered in his robes. “Damn stupid Lovegood and his damn stupid expeditions.” Goyle grumbled, before starting off down a likely looking passageway.
It was the wrong one, Goyle decided after about an hour’s wandering without spotting Lovegood. And there was something about the place that made him shiver. He carefully checked before lighting up his wand further.
That of course, was a mistake on his part. Had Virtuosity Goyle read the article written by Xenophilius Lovegood detailing his plans to visit various sites of natural interest around the British Isles, he would have noted the fact that the Sump Chalk Fairy was both highly territorial and unfond of light, as well as company. This meant that the enraged male who had been trailing Goyle for the past half an hour now really had had enough. The usual method of defence for the Sump Chalk Fairy, which Goyle might also have found, was to shoot across the ceiling, causing the average wizard to react with a Stunner or similar spell, thereby loosening the accumulated loose chalk and silt deposits from the ceiling. The resulting confusion could be used by the fairy to good effect.
Goyle was an average wizard, who reacted by instinct. This led to the subsequent fall of a considerable amount of the ceiling of the Unplottable part of the cave system, which again resulted in Goyle being covered in a partial cave in, which resulted in his wand being taken away by the triumphant male fairy to add to its family’s collection and allowed him to find a fine mate, much impressed with his prowess.
The loss of his wand more than hampered Goyle, it unmanned him. The big wizard managed to find his stumbling way in the dark, after much time and effort, to where he knew the exit had to be, only to fall in a deep, cold pool of brackish water. Goyle spluttered and in panicky fear managed to climb out of the water, crawling, shivering and whimpering, onto the floor of the cave, until the rising water chased him higher.
When the water dropped, six hours later, a very cold Virtuosity Goyle scrambled out of Otter Hole and into the welcoming night, and then started the long, weary walk to London, through the horrors of Muggle Britain and the safety of a new wand. Much, much later, whenever the words ‘cave’, ‘fairy’ or ‘sea’ were mentioned, he would tend to scream a little.
Xenophilius Lovegood description of the mating rituals of the Chalk Sump Fairies won him great acclaim among naturalists. But he never found out to whom the wand carried like a trophy by the male belonged.
LLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSD The Quibbler: All the news that must be told! Blackpool Beach search fruitless, Weston-super-Mare next, by the Editor A search on the beaches of Blackpool for an elusive creature that apparently travels in mated pairs; has shown to be fruitless. Assiduous research among Britain’s normal population has shown that these creatures do inhabit the seaside resorts, though they have become less common since the early nineteen seventies, for reasons unknown to the author, but apparently to do with greater opportunities and more ease and warmth that may be found on the beaches of France and especially Spain. The Blackpool resort was a disappointment to the author, who was hindered during the day by not inconsiderable numbers of normal bathers. It is unknown to the author how these apparently quite large creatures avoid the notice of the majority of normals and wizards. I will next continue my search for the apparently magnificent Humongous Gazongas. The Dangers of Dementors, by the Editor The dangers posed to the general public, both wizarding and normal, by the presence among us of those horrible and destructive creatures commonly called Dementors should be obvious to any intelligent reader. Where the Ministry avows that they can control these terrible monsters, it is quite obvious that as a matter of fact they do not, the clearest sign being the invasion of the Hogwarts train by several of these creatures, despite the fact they had been forbidden to do so. If this is the kind of control the Ministry has over these supposedly loyal demonic beings, it bodes ill for any other attestation by said institution that they are in control. It will be noted that in a previous article in this periodical the fact was revealed that Sirius Black was not given a trial, nor even questioned, by Ministry officials. How this might have occurred is not known to the author, but it may be assumed that he was in possession of a great number of facts that the Ministry was not keen to have aired in public court. Cont. page 3, Sirius Black and the Rotfang Conspiracy.
Castigatus Crabbe looked with some surprise at his friend since their schooldays as the other man whimpered whenever anyone with blond hair came near. Goyle had also asked to meet away from Nephrastus
, since the dark, dank atmosphere got on his nerves. That was a new development, but now they were meeting at Ye Olde Tea Shoppe
. Goyle also had a new wand.
Crabbe looked at the other man at the table, Walden Macnair. Macnair also flinched at every blond, and in addition winced whenever any sort of spell was cast in his vicinity. The man was as near to nervous breakdown as Crabbe had ever seen anyone. He’d almost cried when he had seen the free offer of Bog-mud baths advertised in the Quibbler for Merlin’s sake. And neither man would tell why their behaviour was so strange.
That meant that Crabbe would have to deal with the matter himself. Lovegood would have to die or otherwise be rendered incapable. He opened the Quibbler to see where Lovegood was supposed to be the next week and smiled when he noted that the man was visiting Cornwall.
LLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSD Cornwall, British Isles, last week of October 1995
It was, Crabbe reflected, a beautiful day in October. He was trailing after Lovegood and doing it easily. The man had no notion of personal safety. Lovegood hummed and dithered and Crabbe felt himself getting rather annoyed at the noise. *Will you just get on with it and walk to the edge of a cliff already!*
Instead Lovegood seemed intent upon wandering around aimlessly, sticking his head into rabbit holes and around standing stones and into dolmen and cairns and he kept up the infernal, bloody annoying humming! Crabbe was certain the humming alone was going to get him off if he was ever charged with killing Lovegood, it made it justifiable homicide without a question.
He stalked the man now, as Lovegood pranced about in his silly leather trousers and leather padded robes. It was then he noticed the little fairy and launched his stunner, knocking the creature from the sky, its blue light and hide and silvery translucent wings blinking out as it hit the ground. Crabbe grinned. “Annoying pests.”
Crabbe ignored the angry buzzing of the fairies as he stomped along after the oblivious Lovegood, launching stunners at anything blue that he saw.
Lovegood had moved into a stand of Broom and Crabbe followed over the crumbly path that led atop the narrow ride flanked by the copious growth. He ignored the flittering fairies and contemptuously eyed the wizard in front of him, who was dodging around the bushes aimlessly and with a vapid expression on his long, horse like face. Crabbe grinned. Lovegood was getting nearer to the cliffs, and there Crabbe would kill him. A loud humming distracted him momentarily and Crabbe failed to see the branch that swung towards his back, driving spines into his shoulder blades. “Merlin’s balls!” He swore and turned his head to try and see the damage just as a second branch of thorny gorse hit him from behind, and instead of hitting his pointy-hatted head face, it struck him hard in the face, the thorns slashing his cheeks and forehead and one jabbing into his left eye.
This time the reaction was not printable.
Crabbe screamed and moaned and desperately tried to get the thorns out if his face and especially eye and thus did not notice until too late the half-clewd of Fairies that attacked him from above, buzzing loudly in their anger, glowing brightly in an excess of emotion.
The light hurt his wounded eye and the movement and the noise startled him and in his pain and misery Crabbe stepped back. The path crumbled beneath his feet and he stepped further back, swaying, waving his hands in the air, trying to remain upright. Two fairies flew into him and a branch struck his legs, Crabbe whimpered as the thorny spines penetrated through his robes and trousers and into his legs and then he fell off the ridge, uncontrollably rolling down the gorse-grown hillside. Thorns tore at Crabbe’s clothes and hands, face and hair, his tall hat lost as soon as he fell, gorse and stone and fairies all competing to do as much damage as possible to the dark wizard.
When he lay at the bottom, gazing up at the periwinkle blue sky, torn and bloody, his wand a broken twig in his hand, he suddenly saw the beaming face of Lovegood. “I say, that looks dashed uncomfortable.” Lovegood eyed him and then tutted. “You broke your wand, how terrible. Let me help you. LEVICORPUS
!” Xeno shouted gleefully, and then blinked as the man screamed as he was yanked face first through a particularly thick stand of gorse, the needle sharp thorns laying open the man’s face even further until his robes fell down and covered it. “Oh dear. That did not quite go as planned. Ah, I know! Spinus articulatus
The still floating Crabbe was suddenly struck by dozens of spiny, thorny branches that whipped and flailed at him, slashing whatever skin on his back and legs was unmarked and the bits that were marked as well. Xeno sighed. “Well, dear me, call me Mr. Silly. I seem to be casting all the wrong spells. Hmm, I need to think about this…” Lovegood’s eyes seemed to seek the middle distance as the branches and thorns continued to scourge Crabbe, who was still being hoisted around by his ankle and whose screams and cries were muffled by his thick, black robes. Xeno snapped his fingers. “Ah, I have it!” He seemed to notice the predicament his fellow wizard was in for the first time and slapped his forehead. “Oh, dear me; Soleil did always remind me to finish things before I started thinking. Finite Incantatum
Crabbe fell from a height of about four feet straight into a gorse bush, his robe draping over it as his face sank deep into the prickly interior of the shrub. The black clad wizard screamed.
“Now, a few simple spells ought to get you out of there… Stupefy! Mobilicorpus!” Xeno deposited the man on the ridge of the hill next to him and smiled sunnily. “There, all safe. Now, a group of fairies my daughter befriended tells me some of their number have been injured, so if you’ll excuse me I’ll go tend to them, they were injured first! Cheerio!” The blond wizard jogged away, leaving Crabbe stunned on the edge of the steep hill. He saw the flitting of the fairies from the corner of his eyes, edging nearer and nearer, and internally screamed.
LLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSD Dear Luna, As you have read in the Quibbler I’ve not come any closer to locating the Humongous Gazongas, but I feel I am getting closer. I cannot wait to see them, and hopefully get my hands on a pair. It will no doubt make my reputation as a naturalist to describe in detail, such a magnificent previously unknown creature. I’ve been exploring various sites of natural beauty around these British Isles and have once again been struck by the majesty of nature in all her infinite variety. I have managed to catch and study, and then release, mindful of your instructions, several rare species of butterflies and shizhummers. I have been able to observe closely the Marsh Fritillary and I’m absolutely positive a Tor Azimuth Spectre flew around me. I spent some time in Otter’s Hole, studying Sump Chalk Fairies, I am certain my description and recording of the creature’s mating dance will earn me a commendation from the Society of Wizarding Naturalists, if not a Scamander medal, and of several types of blind cave insects as well. I must remind you, however, not to feed your Clewd too much chocolate, some of them were quite weighty still from your overgenerous feeding. Yes, they love it, and yes they are adorable. However if I find that you have done so again I will be most harsh and tell Argent not to let you fly until you have created a training regimen for the poor fairies to lose weight. I’m certain your mother would approve heartily of the punishment, so be warned! (Approximately 2000 words omitted, regarding Black Nargles, Green Frothwings, Flittering Waterskytes and the Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae.) Well, my little Moon, the light of my heart, I miss you dreadfully, my little turnip, but I will persevere and bury myself in work. And you need not worry, Mrs. Weasley comes by at least twice a week to make certain I eat, you need not write to her again. All my love, your Dad P.S. Your dear old Dad really ought to brush up on his first aid spells, considering how many budding naturalists I’ve had to rescue the past few weeks. One actually managed to roll down three hills in Cornwall and was quite pathetically grateful when I finally got him to St. Mungo’s. I fear I was not as effective with them as I could have been, but I did manage to quite satisfactorily heal a few members of your Clewd. I repeat, don’t feed them too much chocolate; it’s not good for them.