(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: One of Luna's creatures is causing havoc at Hogwarts. (SS/HG).
Summary: Luna gives Severus a new familiar. Unfortunately for Hogwarts, this creature shares his wizard's idea of humor.
Hermione Granger walked into the teachers' lounge, book in hand, thirty minutes early for the weekly staff meeting. She wasn't quite certain why the Headmistress insisted on these meetings when the students weren't in school, but Hermione knew enough to follow directions. She glanced around and looked at the only other occupant of the room. "What the bloody hell is that?" Hermione shrieked, seeing the furry something sitting placidly on Severus's shoulder, quietly chewing what looked like a horned slug.
He raised his left eyebrow, started to shrug, then thought better of it. "You can see it? I'll have to ask Luna about that next time I see her." He picked up his cup of tea and began to sip, losing interest in Hermione completely.
She huffed. Well, ignoring me is better than insulting me, I guess. She tried to bury the small bit of jealousy at the easy way he mentioned Luna. Obviously the odd little Ravenclaw had found the proper way to make friends with the cantankerous man, but then again, she was always good with the undefinable. Meanwhile, Hermione had returned to Hogwarts after an aborted attempt to improve the Ministry. She figured she was better off influencing young minds instead of trying to get blood from the rocks in the Ministry. She had made friends with most of the staff, but Severus insisted on acting like she was some sort of slime on the bottom of his shoes. She had the horrible feeling that he enjoyed making her feel awkward. She kept hoping for a hint that maybe he was teasing her, but she could never tell one type of smirk from another. Minerva didn't help things at all, saying that Severus was much kinder toward Hermione than he ever was to any other new teacher. Not that it is saying much, now is it?
She turned toward the window, then yelped as the little beast hopped off of Severus's shoulder and came toward her. "Severus Snape, you had better keep better control of that beast, because if it ever gooses me again, I'm going to hex it back to wherever it came from!" It was only the supremely shocked look on his face that kept her from believing he had instructed the little animal to... "Really, what is it? It looks like those crazy American jackalopes they like to sell to tourists."
"I do not know if I am allowed to tell you, Professor Granger. It did not come from Hagrid, if you are worried about it," Snape replied.
"I know you are friends with Luna Lovegood! She's just as bad or worse! And what has she done to merit being your friend, anyway?" Hermione quickly covered her mouth with her hand when she realized what she had shrieked. "I don't know why I said that!"
Severus took out a notebook and made a couple of notations.
"What are you writing? Is it about me? Why don't you ever talk to me?" The torrent of words just fell from Hermione's mouth, making her want to fall through the floor of the staff room. "Cover for me!" She demanded, then ran out of the room, her hand firmly clapped to her mouth.
Minerva passed her on the staircase, but Hermione only shook her head and kept running, determined to get to her rooms before encountering anyone else.
She sat down and wrote a letter to Luna.
Dear Luna,Before she could think about it, she called for one of the school owls and sent the letter off.
What is that thing that is riding around on Severus's shoulder? I didn't think jackalopes were real, but maybe they are. And maybe you are right about everything, which makes me want to hate you, because if I ever said anything like what you did, no one would ever speak to me, but you, you get everything, including friendship with Severus. You are travelling the world, and having fabulous outdoor sex with the lovely, intelligent Rolf, and ooh, if I didn't love you so much myself, I would hate you.
I should burn this letter, but I'm sending it.
Knowing she couldn't expect Severus to stave Minerva off for her, she cast a Silencing charm and returned to the staff room, trying to enter quietly.
"Hermione, lass, there you are! Did the new poltergeist goose you as well? Did you run because you were embarrassed by that happening in front of Severus? Were you afraid somehow he would find out about your crush?" Minerva blanched when she realized how much she had babbled. "Now I know why you had your hand over your mouth! Maybe I should resort to writing." She looked at Hermione expectantly.
Hermione grabbed a parchment off of the nearest table and pulled a quill from her hair. "It won't work." She wrote furiously. "You should see the letter I just sent to Luna. I hope she doesn't hate me after she reads it. But then again, she's Luna. I don't know if she is capable of hate. It is why I care so much for her. Even if she is traveling the world and having lovely outdoor sex with Ro--"
Severus grabbed the quill out of her hand. "Really, Professor Granger, control yourself."
"You should keep that jackalope leashed!" Hermione snatched the quill back from Severus and glared at him.
"Jackalope?" asked Minerva. "What does a colonial pest have to do with anything?"
"Can't you see it? It is sitting right there!" Hermione pointed to the chair the Headmistress usually sat in. "It seems to have finished its horned slug and is currently eating one of your ginger snaps!"
"Severus, really," Minerva admonished. "A hallucinogenic potion? I think your pranks have gone too far, dear."
Severus threw his hands up in the air, turned on his heel and stalked out of the staff room, robes billowing behind him.
The creature jumped out of the chair and hopped after its wizard. On its way out, it licked Hermione's ankle, hopped up and nibbled on the sprigs of heather on Minerva's hat, then quickly scooted out the door, goosing Pomona Sprout and Rolanda Hooch as it passed them by.
Both professors jumped.
"What the bloody hell was that?" Rolanda yelped.
"Oh, get off it. You probably enjoyed it. I'm sure that is more stimulation than you've gotten in weeks!" The generally good natured Pomona snarled her displeasure. She had apparently gotten tired of Rolanda's gripes about the lack of excitement at Hogwarts in the summer.
"Oh, and you have, you dried up old biddy? It isn't like you can just waltz into the Minister's office anytime you like! No nookie for Sprouty, no nookie for Sprouty!" Hooch singsonged the last bit.
"Ladies, stop it! Behave yourselves!" Minerva was beside herself. She couldn't believe that her staff was devolving into badly behaved teenagers because of a poltergeist.
"By all means, make them behave themselves, Minerva. All talk and no action, those witches," grumbled Filius as he walked in.
"That is IT!" shrieked Minerva. "Everyone stays in their own bloody quarters until we get this straightened out."
Hermione was pacing in her room, twelve steps from the sofa to the bookcase, a quick turn, and twelve steps back. Crookshanks kept eyeing her as though he wanted to bat at her on one of her passes, but something in her posture kept him from doing it. Kneazles were nothing if not able to judge their familiar's mood.
"I just don't understand. Why am I feeling this way? I thought I was generally truthful, but apparently I like to keep stuff bottled up."
"Mrrp." Crookshanks felt he needed to respond, even if he didn't quite understand.
Hermione nodded decisively, as though something momentous has been decided and strode out of her room. As the alarm klaxon started to sound, she waved her wand and it stood silent.
Had anyone been in her path, they would have flattened themselves against the stone walls in the hope that she wouldn't notice them. Her hair was crackling in her intensity, her stride was determined, her face was serious.
She stormed all the way down to the dungeon and stood in front of Severus's quarters. She raised her wand to blast his wards when the door opened.
Severus stood in the doorway, warily watching the witch who was emitting magical sparks from her curls at this point. "May I help you, Professor Granger?"
"Call me Hermione, you insufferable man! How am I supposed to get close to you when all you do is put me off? Luna is Luna, but I'm 'Professor Granger'." She attempted to mimic his deep voice saying her name, but it didn't quite work. "Don't laugh at me!" She shrieked after witnessing the small up quirk of his lips in response to her attempted mockery.
He reached out and pulled her into his quarters, shutting the door and setting all the wards to keep curious ears (the Headmistress) from hearing anything that happened inside.
"Pro—Hermione, you do not need to continually compare yourself to someone else. You are no more like Luna Lovegood than you are like Ginevra Weasley. Each has her virtues and flaws, just as you do," he said, hands up, showing he wasn't holding a wand. He wasn't certain of what his familiar's victims were capable of, after all.
She stared at him, then slowly started to sit down when, "Bloody hell!" She pulled the wand out of her hair and started shooting stunners at the rapidly hopping thing in Severus's quarters.
"Hermione, stop! Really, woman, you are going to damage my books!" Severus roared.
The thought of harming books made her stop in her tracks. She lowered her wand. "I'm sorry, Severus, but that horrible little thing goosed me again." She sat down, after carefully checking for little horned animals with strange senses of humor. "I'm a horrible person. How can I be so jealous of Luna?" She looked up at Severus with wide eyes.
"She is an intelligent young woman who has chosen to live her life as she wishes instead of according to anyone else's rules. You would like to do that but don't know how, and have never known how," he said ruefully. "I understand completely. I've never known how, either."
Hermione stared at him for a while, then realized she had no compulsion to say everything that crossed her mind. She jumped up and threw her arms around him. "I'm cured."
Severus cautiously placed his arms around her in response.
Feeling that she hadn't been rejected, Hermione rejoiced. "Would it be too much to ask for a kiss?"
"Not at all," he said and lowered his head to meet her lips. Just as they started to kiss, the wards shattered.
Luna bounded into the room. "Ooops, sorry! I certainly didn't mean to intrude. You two get back to whatever you were doing, and I will wait." She plopped down on the sofa and watched them intently.
"You don't honestly think I'm going to kiss him with you watching, Luna, do you? I would be expecting you to score us or something!" Hermione almost shrieked.
"Now there's a thought. The Furry-Nosed Wibblers kept looking at us during their mating season. I wonder if they were waiting for a score?" Luna pulled a quill out of her hair and a notebook out of her cleavage and started writing.
"Luna," Hermione said. She waited until the other woman looked up at her. "What are you doing here?"
"I came in response to your letter. I was worried about how to explain how you saw Severus's Crumple-Horned Snorkack, but since the two of you were about to kiss, I'm not going to worry about it anymore." She beamed at them.
When she didn't say anything else, Hermione and Severus looked at each other then turned slowly and stared at Luna.
"Oh! You still want to know?" She asked.
They both nodded.
"Well, if a Crumple-Horned Snorkack takes a witch or wizard as a familiar, they are generally invisible. But if that wizard has a soul mate, they can see the snorkack." She finished her statement as though she hadn't just thrown a fact of great magnitude at them. "By the way, Hermione, didn't you know jackalopes aren't real? A squib was selling snorkack skeletons in the Americas and they named them jackalopes. But he put a second horn on them to keep ahead of the Obliviators."
"Hmmm." Severus made a noise to keep Hermione from exploding. "Can you explain their penchant for goosing people?" he asked Luna.
"They have a strange sense of humor."