The Many Faces of Harry Potter 30

“The Many Faces of Har—er, Adira Potter: Chapter 30”
By = Fayanora

Chapter Thirty: The Unexpected Task

Note 1: Text in 'Italics and British quotes' is Parseltongue.

Note 2: Once more, I apologize for the bits and pieces of canon dialogue/narration here and there.

Note 3: I have different styles for the internal speech of Alastair, Adira, and Zoey, and now #Iliana (bold, italic, underlined, and now between hashtags/pound signs because some people's computers don't do the B.I.U.).# and {Tier}.

Note 4: Harry Potter and his world are brought to you by the letters J and K, and by the Rowling Association of Britain. And, of course, by viewers like you. The rest of this fan fiction is brought to you by Fayanora. Which, if you were curious, is pronounced fay-uh-nor-uh.
If you weren't curious, my apologies.

*FAYANORA*

On Thursday, Iliana was Out for Transfiguration, where they were doing cross-species switches. She was dutifully taking notes, even though Transfiguration wasn't her best class. Oddly, for all that Zoey was great at wandless transfiguration, none of them was particularly good at the wanded version. They weren't the worst, either, but it was a struggle.

Toward the end of class, McGonagall made sure to get everyone's attention for a special announcement.

“I have something to say to you all. The Yule Ball is approaching — a traditional part of the Tri-wizard Tournament and an opportunity for us to socialize with our foreign guests. Now, just like the Hogsmeade visits, the ball will be open only to third years and above — although you may invite a younger student if you wish —”

Lavender Brown let out a shrill giggle. Parvati Patil nudged her hard in the ribs, her face working furiously as she too fought not to giggle. Professor McGonagall ignored them and continued.

“Dress robes will be worn,” Professor McGonagall continued, “and the ball will start at eight o’clock on the 23rd so that students may go home for Christmas, and it will finish at midnight. The Yule Ball will be held in the Great Hall. Now then —”

Professor McGonagall stared deliberately around the class.

“The Yule Ball is of course a chance for us all to — er — let our hair down,” she said, in a disapproving voice.

Lavender giggled harder than ever, with her hand pressed hard against her mouth to stifle the sound. Iliana could see what was funny this time: Professor McGonagall, with her hair in a tight bun, looked as though she had never let her hair down in any sense.

“But that does NOT mean,” Professor McGonagall went on, “that we will be relaxing the standards of behavior we expect from Hogwarts students. I will be most seriously displeased if a Gryffindor student embarrasses the school in any way.”

The bell rang, and there was the usual scuffle of activity as everyone packed their bags and swung them onto their shoulders.

Professor McGonagall called above the noise, “Miss Potter — a word, if you please.”

Wondering what this could be about, she grabbed her things and went up to McGonagall's desk.

Professor McGonagall waited until the rest of the class had gone, and then said, “Potter, the champions and their partners —”

Turning red slightly, Iliana asked, “Partners for what?”

Professor McGonagall looked suspiciously at her, as though she thought she was trying to be funny.

“For the Yule Ball, of course. Your dance partners.”

“Oh. That. Of course. Um... about that, I was wondering--”

“Yes, same-sex partners are allowed, Miss Potter.”

“That's good. But, er... there was another thing I wanted to know. Hypothetically, of course. But well, you know, with there being more than one of us in this body—”

“You wish to know if multiple partners is acceptable?”

She nodded.

“Well everyone present is welcome to bring a partner, Miss Potter, so if more than one of you will be present, you may bring more than one partner. Just do try not to make too big a spectacle of it, I think six partners would be a bit ridiculous, don't you think?”

“That won't be a problem. Zoey is six, Tier doesn't care, Chandra doesn't care, Adira is undecided, and really the only one of who wants to go with someone else for sure is Al. I just wanted information for, well, just in case, you know?”

“I understand. Do try to limit it to three partners, though. Anyone else you wish to go with will likely be there anyway, unless you wish to invite someone younger.”

Iliana raised an eyebrow. Even though she was 14, the thought of dating anyone younger than 13 felt more than a little weird to her. But she supposed that rule was for the 13 year olds dating those who were 12. If you could call it 'dating' at that age.

“Anyway, I was trying to say, Miss Potter, that you will need at least one partner for the Yule Ball, since you are a Champion. The Champions traditionally open the ball.”

“What, with an opening dance?”

“Exactly.”

“Um... what if we don't know how to dance?”

“I don't doubt someone can teach you. In fact, I have some dance lessons planned for students who wish to learn.”

Iliana tried to imagine McGonagall dancing, and found she couldn't. She tried to keep the shock off her face, but it didn't feel like she was very successful.

“You dance?”

“Yes, Miss Potter, I dance. Teachers are human beings with lives of our own, even though most of us have either never married or are... no longer married, or are... widows. Or widowers. After all, many of us are quite aged, I'm sure you've noticed.”

It was hard for her to miss the surge of emotion at the word 'widows.'

“My condolences on your loss, Professor.”

McGonagall blinked at her in surprise, then looked down, clearly upset. “Thank you for that, Miss Potter. But it was many years ago. Nearly a decade, in fact.”

Iliana didn't know what to say to this. Her parents had died 13 years ago, and Sirius, Remus, and herself still weren't over it. She said nothing, then.

“Well you should probably find out if Mr. Mendoza can dance, too, if Alastair is going to take him to the Ball.”

“Yes. Thank you, Professor,” she said.

“You may go now, Miss Potter.”

With the announcement of the Yule Ball, Iliana found she had to fend off more suitors than she would have imagined possible. It seemed that despite half or more of the school thinking they were an attention-seeking metamorphmagus and a liar, or else severely insane, it didn't stop people from wanting to go to the ball with a Triwizard Champion. Aside from being asked by several people – both boys and girls – whom she'd never even seen before, some of whom were as old as 17 or 18, they also got asked out by an annoying boy named Cormac McClaggen and once, by a second-year student. Most of them she could fend off by saying they had a date with Javier already – for she'd asked on Al's behalf and he'd enthusiastically agreed – but some of them, like McClaggen, didn't take no for an answer so easily. What was worse, McClaggen seemed to be convinced they had always been a girl, and the boys in the collective were just a disguise. How he could think that when their original name had been Harry Potter, she didn't know.

It got so bad after a few days that she had to hex a couple people to slow them down while she ran away into the library, which was blessedly quiet. In fact, she noticed that one of the few people there was Luna.

Sitting down across from Luna, she sighed. “Hi, Luna.”

“Hello, Iliana. You look out of breath. Are you trying to escape nargles?”

“No, trying to escape Cormac McClaggen. That berk can't take no for an answer. I had to hex him in the face to get rid of him.”

“What did you hex him with?”

Engorgio skullus.”

Luna giggled.

Iliana grinned. “Well he already had a swollen head, I just made it obvious.”

Luna put her hands over her mouth and was overcome with such a fit of giggles that Iliana was afraid she was going to pass out, and Iliana was having to try to apply what little occlumency she knew to block out the overpowering wash of amusement coming from Luna. Luna did things like that, sometimes; usually, she was placid almost to the point of stoicism, but every now and then her emotions would bubble over and she'd do things like going into minutes-long giggle fits. And Iliana being an empath, even with occlumency the laughter was contagious. Her resistance broke, and suddenly she was laughing – quietly – with such fervor that after a couple minutes, she had a stitch in her side and her vision was going weird from being unable to breathe.

When she started coughing, Ms. Pince tried shushing her, but then she fell out of her chair. Her own amusement of the situation ended, but the floodgates of her empathic sense were still open to a deluge of laughter from Luna, who was unaware of her plight.

OUT! shouted Al in their head, and suddenly there was an iron wall of willpower blocking their empathic sense. Iliana rolled onto her back and moaned. When she heard the sound of someone clearing their throat, she opened her eyes. It was Ms. Pince.

“Sorry,” she said weakly. “Empath, you know. Couldn’t stop.”

Ms. Pince glared then at Luna.

“Ms. Lovegood,” the old woman said.

Luna, still fighting to keep her giggles smothered, opened her eyes and looked at the severe form of Ms. Pince. This only served to give her a second wind.

“Ms. Potter, maybe you should take your friend to the hospital wing and get her a Calming Draught.”

“Yes, Ms. Pince,” she said.

Iliana struggled to stand. Being too weak to carry Luna herself, she pointed her wand at the giggling Ravenclaw and said, “Mobilicorpus.”

As soon as Iliana got Luna out the door into the corridor, Luna stopped trying to muffle her laughter and was cackling, chortling, and occasionally snorting with laughter. It was quite a sight to see Iliana using her wand to float the madly-laughing Luna along in the air. Iliana was growing more and more astonished by the minute at Luna's stamina. How she could still be breathing with as much as she was laughing was a mystery to Iliana.

“You made... his head... swollen...” Luna managed to say before doubling over with another fit of laughter.

Even more oddly, when Iliana finally got Luna into the Hospital Wing, Madam Pomfrey took one look at her and sighed with exasperation.

Again, Miss Lovegood? That's the third time this month!”

Madam Pomfrey moved Luna onto a bed with her own wand and got a small bottle from a cabinet, from which she used an eyedropper to get small amounts of the potion into Luna's mouth. Luna relaxed a little bit and went silent for a few moments, then started laughing all over again.

“She does this often, then?”

“Yes.”

Iliana had a sense like there was more the matron wanted to say, but wasn't. Probably because it was confidential medical information.

“I know she's prone to emotional outbursts, often inappropriate in strength or type, and not just laughter, but this is the longest I've seen one of her outbursts last.”

Madam Pomfrey dropped some more potion into Luna's mouth, and Luna relaxed for the most part, chuckling a little again here and there.

“Laughter can be a stress reliever,” Madam Pomfrey said. “It can be a safety valve, too. I suspect Miss Lovegood just needed a good laugh, and went a little overboard.”

“She'll be okay, though, right?”

“Yes, Miss Potter, she'll recover.”

Luna was back from the hospital wing in time for supper. When Iliana saw her, she went over to the Ravenclaw table and sat next to her.

“You feeling better, then?”

“Yes. I got a little carried away, but I'm better now. Oooh, black pudding.”

“Good to hear.”

Iliana stayed sitting next to her friend, and they chatted about this and that as she watched Luna eat.

“McGonagall said we need a date for the Yule Ball, because we're Champions. And of course Al and Javier are going.”

“Are you going, too?” Luna asked.

“Maybe. It'd be pretty easy to make an appearance. Adira is thinking about it, too. What about you, Luna? You going?”

“I don't know. It might be fun. But there could be a lot of nargles there, too.”

“You should go. It's more likely than not to be fun. And whether you have a date or not, you can still dance with people there.”

“I'm not sure...”

“Oh come on, it'll be great! I want to see you all dolled up, I bet you'll look amazing.”

“Well, Daddy did get me some new dress robes this year. It would be a shame to let them sit around doing nothing. Still, I'm not sure.”

“You know what, I will be there after all. I don't know about Adira, but I'll be there. I want to see you there. You can sit with us and the other Champions at the dinner, make sure the conversation is worth listening to.”

Luna smiled. “Well, if you're going to be there, then I guess I'll come. Yes, I'll even join you at the Champions' table for the dinner. That could be fun.”

“Good. And if you need any help doing your hair or makeup, come to Griffindor and Zoey can do something for you.”

“I think I will. Thank you, Iliana.”

“Good. I know it'll be Al at first, so you'll have to put up with him for a while, but I'll make an appearance if I have to shove Al head-first into the Basement myself.”

Luna giggled, snorting a little as she did, but didn't go into another giggle fit, thankfully.

~

The weekend came and went with no sign of Rita Skeeter writing about Hagrid or anyone else as far as they could tell, which relieved Al to no end. They talked with him about it in Care of Magical Creatures, while preparing food for thestrals. (They hadn't been introduced properly to thestrals yet, as that would be later, but it was something Hagrid wanted help with all the same.)

“She didn’ seem very int’rested in magical creatures, ter tell yeh the truth,” Hagrid said, when Al, Ron, and Hermione asked him how his interview with Rita Skeeter had gone during the last Care of Magical Creatures lesson of the term.

“She jus’ wanted me ter talk about you, Al,” Hagrid continued in a low voice. “Well, I told her we’d been friends since yer first year. ‘Never had to tell him off in four years?’ she said. ‘Never played you up in lessons, has he?’ I told her no, an’ she didn’ seem happy at all. Yeh’d think she wanted me to say yeh were horrible, Al.”

“You told her no? But I've done things in class that I shouldn't have.”

“Yeh, but on the whole, yer alright. Course, then she asked about Chandra and the others. Asked when each of yeh came around first. I told her yeh first changed in Snape's class, but not much else. Weren't really her business, I figure, but that much'd be common knowledge by now.”

“I just know she's looking to paint us as insane or attention-seeking. At least half the school already thinks that, she should ask them instead.”

“Rubbish,” Hagrid said. “Yer not mad! Yer just... diff'rent. Anyway, she's not allowed on the grounds. I told Dumbledore she was breakin that rule an' he took steps to keep her away. So she can't ask nobody else, least of all students.”

“Ah, but don't we have another Hogsmeade visit on Saturday?”

“Yes,” Hermione said. “So people can get things for the Yule Ball that they don't already have. Corsages, makeup, accessories, that sort of thing.”

“What abou' it, Al?”

“Well she could ask people questions then.”

“An' bother all them students doin their shoppin?”

“It's the kind of thing she'd do.”

Al shrugged.

“You coming to this ball thing on Christmas Day, Hagrid?” said Ron, to fill the silence.

“Though’ I might look in on it, yeah,” said Hagrid gruffly. “Should be a good do, I reckon. You’ll be openin’ the dancin’, won’ yeh, Al? Who’re you takin’?”

“Javier, of course.”

“Ah, shoulda known. Any o' the rest of yeh goin?”

“Iliana is going to make an appearance. She's already been experimenting with her outfit in front of the mirror in our room. Adira hasn't decided yet.”

“Well she better get a move on an' decide afore she ent got time left.”

“Yeah.”

“Any o' the rest of yeh takin anyone else other 'an Javier?”

“Not that anyone's told me yet. We asked McGonagall about it just in case, though. We can take up to three people if we want. Thank goodness, too. I mean, once the others start dating, things will get complicated, but I'm glad they're holding off for now. Adira thought about asking Cho Chang, but then we saw her and Cedric together, and that was the end of that, apparently. But Addy might still make an appearance.”

“Oh Hagrid, I just remembered something funny,” Ron said. “McGonagall had some dance lessons last weekend for those who don't know how to dance.”

“Wha's funny bout that?”

“McGonagall dancing. It was weird. I'd never have believed it if I hadn't seen it.”

“I wonder if the Slytherins got similar lessons. I mean, I know they're mostly purebloods, but some might have needed it.”

“Oy, now I'm imagining Snape dancing. I think my brain might just break from that mental image.”

“You got a date for the ball yet, Ron?” Al asked.

“Er... um, no. Not as such.”

“Well you better get on it.”

Ron nodded. Then he looked at Hermione thoughtfully, but nervously. “Oy, Hermione?”

“Yes, Ron?” she asked.

“Er...” his face turned red. “Um... dyawannagototheballwifme?”

“Pardon?”

Al grinned knowingly at Ron. “Yes, Ronald, you need to enunciate.”

His face turning even redder, Ron said, “D'you... d'you wanna go to the ball? With me, I mean?”

Hermione's face turned red, too, but Al didn't need to be an empath to see that she was going to have to let him down.

“Ohmygod, I'm so sorry, Ron, but someone's already asked me, and... and I said yes. I mean, I didn't think anyone was going to ask me at all, and then I just got so surprised to be asked, and I said yes right away. Sorry.”

“What? Someone already asked you? Who?”

Hermione's face went bright red. “I... oh, I'd tell you, but I hardly believed it myself, you'd never believe me if I told you.”

“Does that apply to me, too?”Al asked. “Because I'd believe it if Neville asked you. Actually, there's a fair number of boys I could see asking you out. Unless it was a girl who asked you?”

She shook her head. “No. I'm not into girls that way. It was a boy.”

That was all she would say about it, though, no matter how much they continued to pester her about it.

“Well, Ron, you could always take Luna. She's not attached.”

“Luna? No thank you, Al.”

“Oh come on, she's sweet and brilliant and understanding. And she could use a boost from someone asking her to go. I mean, I know she's going anyway, but she'd be thrilled to be asked.”

Ron shook his head. “Naw, mate. She's not my type.”

“And what exactly is your type, Ronald?” Hermione asked waspishly.

“Yeah really, I thought his type was 'female and breathing.'”

“Oy!” Ron shouted, throwing a piece of bloody tendon at Al, who ducked.

“But seriously, why not Luna?”

“I'd be a laughingstock!”

“Why?”

“Cuz she's so weird!”

“You're best mates with a bunch of different people who share a single body, whom most people think is an attention-seeking metamorphmagus or insane, and you don't want to go with Luna because she's weird?”

“Well that's different. Apart from being a load of different people, and trouble being attracted to you, you're pretty normal.”

“Fine, whatever Ron. Luna deserves better than you, anyway. Someone mature and considerate of others, I mean.”

Ron chucked an entire kidney at Al that time.

“Oy, don' waste the meat you lot!” Hagrid snapped.

“I should get a move on, you know … ask someone,” Ron said. “Al's right. I don’t want to end up with a troll.”

Hermione let out a sputter of indignation.

“A … what, excuse me?”

“Well — you know,” said Ron, shrugging. “I’d rather go alone than with — with Eloise Midgen, say.”

“Her acne’s loads better lately — and she’s really nice!”

“Her nose is off-center,” said Ron.

“Oh I see,” Hermione said, bristling. “So basically, you’re going to take the best-looking girl who’ll have you, even if she’s completely horrible?”

“Er — yeah, that sounds about right,” said Ron.

“Ask Pansy Parkinson, then,” Al suggested venomously.

“What? Eww, no. She's a--- really horrible person. And she's too fond of Malfoy, anyway.”

“Honestly, Ron, Luna's very pretty, and she's nice. Even if you are an immature dunce, she'd be thrilled to be asked out by a boy, even one as emotionally stunted as you.”

“I told you, Al, she's not my type.”

“Fine. I'll see if Moaning Myrtle will have you, then.”

Ron glowered at Al.

~

On the last day of term, a Friday, the castle was looking amazing with Christmas decorations that put other years to shame. The ball was less than a week away, and yet Ron still hadn't found a date for the ball.

Not, though, for lack of trying. Sort of. Chandra had decided to make an appearance that day, and he and Ron were in the entrance hall going to dinner when they saw Fleur Delacour talking to Cedric Diggory. She tossed her hair, which sparkled with supernatural glamor, and Ron's face went slack. Then, without warning, Ron burst out speaking.

“WILL YOU GO TO THE BALL WITH ME?” he shouted at Fleur.

Fleur looked back at Ron like he was a sea slug. Chandra chuckled at Ron's outburst.

“Red Knight, what has come over you?”

Ron's face returned to normal, then, as he realized what he'd done, he looked horrified, and took off running.

“Odd,” Chandra quipped.

Fleur finally noticed him. “You again, from zat first night of ze tournament.”

“Yes, that is me,” Chandra confirmed.

“But 'ow... 'ow are you not a drooling eedeeot like your friend? I 'ad my Veela charm on, 'ow do you say... oh yes, 'full blast.'”

Chandra shrugged. “I do not know. But I should go see if he's alright.”

With Fleur staring incredulously at him, Chandra jogged after Ron.

When Chandra got back to the common room, he saw Ron sitting ashen-faced in a distant corner. Ginny was sitting with him, talking to him in what seemed to be a low, soothing voice.

“Are you alright, Red Knight?”

Ron looked up at Chandra, a sort of blind horror in his face.

“Why did I do it?” he said wildly. “I don’t know what made me do it!”

“She is part Veela. She was using her powers of charm on Cedric Diggory, and you got hit with it. I know, I was there with him,” he explained to Ginny.

“What did her charm make you do, Chandra?” Ginny asked.

“It had no effect on me. I felt it, yes, but it did nothing to me.”

“Really? But you're a boy. Right?”

“Yes, all day long.”

“Then it should have affected you.”

Chandra shrugged. “I have no explanation.”

“Did it affect any of the others?”

“They have been resting today.”

Ginny looked thoughtful, while still idly patting Ron on the shoulder in a comforting sort of way. “Have you ever felt, er, attraction to anyone before?”

“I am aware of how the sensation feels, from memories. But I do not recall ever experiencing it personally, yet.”

“But you're 14, right?”

“Yes.”

“Huh. Odd.”

“Anyway, the silver flower is wasting her time with the badger seeker, for he is dating the eagle seeker.”

“God,” Ron said. “At this rate I'm gonna be the only person in school without a date. Well, except Neville.”

“Neville's got someone, Ron,” Ginny said.

“He does? Who?”

“Me. He asked me, and since nobody else had asked me yet, I said yes.”

Ron sunk down in the chair he was sitting in. “Damn. Even Neville has a date.”

Just then Hermione climbed in through the portrait hole.

“Why weren’t you two at dinner?” she said, coming over to join them.

“Because the Red Knight got whammied by the silver flower's Veela charm, and asked her out. She had been aiming at Cedric Diggory. But he is spoken for.”

“Yes,” Ginny said, “and Chandra got hit by it too, only it didn't affect him!”

“Really? But he's a boy. Right?”

“Yes, I am a boy today.”

“Hmm... I wonder if your gender flexibility has anything to do with it.”

“He says he's never felt attracted to anyone before.”

“Really? At 14? Hmm... I wonder if you're asexual, Chandra?”

“Pardon?”

“Asexual. It means you're not attracted sexually to other people. Possibly aromantic, too, since the two can be connected.”

“From context, I assume that means 'not feeling romantic attraction'?” Chandra asked.

“Yes. I read about it over the summer, at the public library.”

“He could just be a late bloomer, too.”

“Yes, that's a possibility.”

Ron groaned. “I'm going to be the only person without a date to the ball.”

“You should follow Sarcastic Defender's advice, and take the moon that loves well.”

Ron just threw his head back and gave a frustrated grunt.

“Or if you don't wish that...” he trailed off, for he had spotted Parvati and Lavender coming in through the portrait hole. He considered Parvati at first, decided from the collective memory that she was too pretty to not have a date already, and even though Lavender probably had a date as well, he decided to try anyway, and went over to Lavender.

“Hello, Lavender.”

“Oh, er... hi. Chandra, is it?”

“Yes. My friend, Ronald Weasley, is having difficulties finding someone to go to the Yule Ball with him. He is quite distraught at the moment, so I decided to ask for him. What do you say?”

Parvati and Lavender giggled. Then Parvati spoke. “Are you looking for someone, too?”

“No. I have no interest in the ball, and Alastair is going with Javier.”

“Oh. Lav?” she asked her friend.

Lavender looked back at Ron, and giggled. “Well, he wouldn't be the first to ask me, but I haven't said yes to anyone yet. I wanted to know what my options were. Hmm... he's for sure better than McClaggen. He's friends with you, that's a plus. He's not bad looking, either... Yes, I'll go with Ron to the ball.”

The two girls started giggling again.

Chandra bowed. “Thank you. I shall inform him.”

He went over to Ron, and poked him in the shoulder.

“What?”

“Lavender Brown will go to the Yule Ball with you, Red Knight.”

Ron perked up at once. “She will?”

Lavender nodded, then giggled again.

“Brilliant! Thanks, mate!”

“You are most welcome.”

~

A couple days before the ball, the Potters woke up in Zoey's body and decided to go with it. Zoey spent an inordinate amount of time getting ready, mainly because she was transfiguring her existing clothing to look different, and ended up walking into the Great Hall wearing a dress that was eye-wateringly neon yellow with silver reflective trim, and a neon-orange witch's hat with silver reflective trim. She also had on heart-shaped sunglasses with one lens black and the other lens green, and also her great pink feather boa, but was wearing normal shoes. Several people choked on their food when they saw her outlandish outfit.

“Oy, Zoey, you dress worse than Dumbledore sometimes,” Ron said.

“Thahnk you, dahling,” she said with the 'snooty rich person' accent she occasionally used.

“It is too ’eavy, all zis ’Ogwarts food,” they heard Fleur saying grumpily from behind them. “I will not fit into my dress robes!”

“Oooh there’s a tragedy,” Hermione snapped as Fleur went out into the entrance hall. “She really thinks a lot of herself, that one, doesn’t she?”

“Hermione — who are you going to the ball with?” said Ron.

He kept springing this question on her, hoping to startle her into a response by asking it when she least expected it. However, Hermione merely frowned and said, “I’m not telling you, you’ll just make fun of me.”

“You’re joking, Weasley!” said Malfoy, behind them. “You’re not telling me someone’s asked that to the ball? Not the long-molared Mudblood?”

Zoey turned and pointed at him, and suddenly he was a white ferret again. Naturally, the room erupted into a riot of laughter from most tables, and righteous indignation from the Slytherins.

“Woah, Zoey!” Ron said when he stopped laughing. “I didn't know you could do that!”

“Normally I couldn't, but Malfoy's body still remembers being a ferret, so I just reminded it. That's a lot easier than trying to turn him into something different.”

“Miss Zoey Potter,” McGonagall's sharp voice sounded from behind her.

Zoey grabbed the table and leaned back to look at her upside-down. The hat, remarkably, stayed on her head.

“Yes, Professor?” she asked in a would-be-innocent voice. She glanced at the Slytherin table, and saw Malfoy was human again and storming out of the Great Hall.

“You know full well what I mean, young lady. Twenty points from Griffindor and a detention with me tonight. And if I catch you turning anyone into anything else against their will, I will make it fifty points. Do you understand me?”

Still looking at McGonagall upside-down, she let go with one hand to give a thumbs-up.

“Okie dokie, Professor. I promise I'll be good.”

McGonagall snorted. “That'll be the day,” she said. “Your detention will be at 7 o'clock tonight, Miss Potter.”

“I'll be there,” Zoey said.

“See that you are,” the professor said before walking back to the staff table.

Zoey righted herself and started making herself a sandwich from the foods available. She took some toast and buttered it, dousing the butter in sugar and cinnamon. Then she put bacon, eggs, tomatoes, kippers, cheese slices, and sausage patties on that piece of toast. Next she took a piece of French toast, slathered it in blueberry jam, sprinkled pepper on the jam, squirted some ketchup on the jam, and made that the top piece of her sandwich. Ignoring the gagging noises of everyone around her, she bit into it with gusto.

“Yummy!” she said when she'd swallowed.

Several people moved further down the table as she continued eating the bizarre sandwich. The Weasley twins, however, watched in horrified fascination as she ate the entire thing, and washed it down with a mixture of orange juice and milk.

“Ah, orange juice milk, the nectar of the gods,” she said.

She looked up. “Ron? Hermione? Drat, I scared them away.”

“You grossed them out!” one of the Weasley twins said.

“Yeah, they ran away halfway through that sandwich,” said the other.

“Brilliant prank, by the way.”

“Prank? I was just having a delicious sammich.”

The twins rolled their eyes at her. She rolled her eyes back at them.

~

With time til the Yule Ball growing short, Zoey spent a lot of time designing dress robes for Professor Lupin, who hadn't gotten any for himself with his teaching salary, and figuring out what she was going to do for Ron's robes. Complicating things slightly was the fact that her transfigurations normally didn't last more than a few hours, except when the collective was transfiguring their clothes during transformations; for those, skin contact kept them in their transfigured state indefinitely, and they wouldn't start to change back until after 36 hours without skin contact from Zoey or one of the others. Which just meant she had to leave her projects out in the room and touch them for a minute or two every once in a while to keep the transfigurations recharged.

They were also working on what to do for Al, Iliana, and now Adira, which involved a lot of switching back and forth among them, and some drawings by Zoey. But once they got the things done, Zoey could pull the completed transfigured objects in with her, and they could come back out with whichever person they went with.

She was really pleased with her work so far. They were all so beautiful she even thought about making one for herself and surprising everyone with an appearance. She was only six, but they couldn't get rid of her, since the shared body was old enough to be there. She grinned at that idea; she hadn't seriously thought about it before, but it would be a great prank to pull on everyone. So she got to work again, humming happily to herself the whole time.

~

On the 22nd, Zoey was taking a break in the common room. She was nearly done with the outfits she was working on, so she was resting for a bit by sitting with Ron and Hermione. Ron was making a house of cards out of Exploding Snap cards, a dangerous idea since they could explode at any moment and bring the whole thing down.

Zoey, for her part, was reading 'A Wrinkle In Time' by Madeline L'engle. Hermione was studying Potions.

Ron placed the last two cards on top of the castle and the whole lot blew up, singeing his eyebrows.

“Nice look, Ron … go well with your dress robes, that will.”

It was Fred and George. They sat down at the table with Zoey, Ron, and Hermione as Ron felt how much damage had been done.

“I'm transfiguring his dress robes to look nice,” Zoey said.

“Really? Can you do ours, too?” George asked. “We tease ickle Ronniekins about his, but ours aren't much better.”

“Sure, I can do that.”

“Thanks, Zoey.”

“No problem.”

George turned to Ron. “Ron, can we borrow Arnan?”

“Sure, he's in my room” said Ron. “Why?”

“Because George wants to invite him to the ball,” said Fred sarcastically.

“Because we want to send a letter, you stupid great prat,” said George.

“Who d’you two keep writing to, eh?” said Ron.

“Nose out, Ron, or I’ll burn that for you too,” said Fred, waving his wand threateningly. “So … you lot got dates for the ball yet?”

“Yes,” Ron said.

Fred regarded Zoey. “Oh yeah, Al's probably going with his handsome little snake. But you, Ron? You managed to get a date?”

“Always the tone of surprise,” Ron said, annoyed. “Yes. Lavender Brown and I are going together. What about you? Who're you going with?”

“Angelina,” said Fred promptly, without a trace of embarrassment.

“What?” said Ron, taken aback. “You’ve already asked her?”

“Good point,” said Fred. He turned his head and called across the common room, “Oi! Angelina!”

Angelina, who had been chatting with Alicia Spinnet near the fire, looked over at him.

“What?” she called back.

“Want to come to the ball with me?”

Angelina gave Fred an appraising sort of look.

“All right, then,” she said, and she turned back to Alicia and carried on chatting with a bit of a grin on her face.

“There you go,” said Fred to Zoey and Ron, “piece of cake.”

He got to his feet, yawning, and said, “Well let's go get Arnan, George, come on.”

They left. Zoey, getting a feeling that they were up to something, put her book aside, took her wand out, and Disillusioned herself, silencing her feet and robes to sneak after the twins.

She found them in Ron's dorm, attaching a letter to Arnan's leg, then letting him fly out the window before leaving. Without thinking about it, Zoey bounded up to the open window and looked out, to see Arnan flying off. She didn't have much time.

Accio owl,” she said, the Long-Eared Owl being pulled, struggling, into her hands.

Ignoring his indignant hoots, she took the letter off him and examined it. It was addressed to Ludo Bagman, of all people. More curious than ever, she used her wand to open it up and read it. From what she read, she gathered that Bagman had paid them their winnings in leprechaun gold, apparently deliberately. They'd given up trying to get their winnings from him, and were now just asking him for their original bet money back.

“Ah,” she said at last. “So that's what they're up to. Well yeah, I'd be pretty peeved too, in their place.”

She added a note on the other side of the letter:

Dear Mr. Bagman,

I'm Zoey Potter. Fred and George are my friends. Please return their original bet money to them as soon as possible, or I will turn you into something horrible. I assure you I can do it. If you don't believe me, ask around about my skills with wandless transfiguration.

Sincerely,
Zoey Potter

Then she reattached the letter to Arnan's leg. He wasn't happy about her treatment of him, but she apologized by giving him some owl treats from Ron's bedside table, and he seemed to be somewhat appeased with this by the time he started to fly away again.

Well, time to plan some backup plans in case Bagman doesn't listen to me, she thought with an evil giggle.

Endnotes: Both myself and a friend of mine, Lily, are prone to giggle fits like the kind Luna has here. Mine don't usually last more than five minutes, but some of hers have been known to last for hours. Some things are so funny they just keep sparking a new fit of laughter, and we get into feedback loops. Like Iliana with Luna, I don't know how she does it; I usually stop when I can't breathe anymore. (The key word being 'usually.')

I don't know if this is relevant to Luna or not, but inappropriate laughter can be a symptom of depression. And Luna strikes me as the type who suppresses her emotions, which causes them to eventually boil over from the pressure. Especially since she's been shown to have fits of inappropriate laughter in canon, though not nearly as bad as here. :)

None of us share food tastes with Zoey, either. Not even Molly, the one Zoey is somewhat based on.



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