To Achieve Weightlessness

A work of fanfiction based on the world of JK Rowling

Summary: Luna helps raise Snape's spirits for a few fleeting moments with an unusual concoction. A light, humourous fic.

A/N: "Drink me" is from Alice in Wonderland. I do not own Alice in Wonderland, nor do I own any armoires (or etageres). The ownership of my eternal soul is currently under debate. Snape is a smidge OOC in this story for humour purposes. I hope I've captured Luna in all her wonderful Luna-ness. Luna rocks!ยช

She stirred the contents of her cauldron without looking, knowing instinctively when they had achieved the desired shade of puce for the Weightlessness Draught. Her wandering eyes came to rest on the pale and drawn-looking Potions master. He looks like he could use some of this, she thought with a vague smile. She had a sudden image of Professor Snape drifting up to the clouds like a large black balloon and giggled, covering her mouth quickly.

But not quickly enough. Snape glanced up, obviously displeased to be torn from the slimy object he was dissecting. "Miss Lovegood. Did your imaginary friend say something amusing?"

"No, Sir," Luna said earnestly. "She and I aren't on speaking terms at the moment."

Several Hufflepuffs and a few Ravenclaws sniggered. Snape, who had been teaching Luna nearly seven years now, just rolled his eyes and went back to dissecting his frog... thing.

Luna's gaze didn't waver as she absently stirred her potion. Professor Snape had always fascinated her. There was so much there, just bursting to get out. He was rather like an overstuffed suitcase that someone had sat on really hard to zip shut. She wondered what would come spilling out if someone were to open him up. She blushed at this analogy, and giggled again.

Snape looked up in annoyance. "Explain yourself, Lovegood, or it'll be ten points from Ravenclaw."

"I was thinking about suitcases," said Luna.



"I see. And were these suitcases... pink with purple polka dots, perhaps?" This elicited several giggles.



Luna stared blankly. "What would be funny about that, Sir?"



Snape gritted his teeth. Patience, Severus, he thought. The school year is almost over, and better yet, Lovegood's leaving for... wherever she'll be going. Where would she be going, anyway? The girl was obviously intelligent; she'd have to be to qualify for his N.E.W.T.- level class. She'd probably go work for that ridiculous excuse for a newspaper her father ran. A shame, really. A waste of the girl's talents, chasing after crackle-humped snerkles and such. Ah well, it was no concern of his.

Bloody hell, why did she keep staring at him? Unnerving, that. "Please continue with your potion, Miss Lovegood."



"Oh..." She glanced into her cauldron. "I'm done."



"Very well. Bring it up, please."



Luna filled a small vial with her potion and carried it to Snape's desk. Snape examined the colour, texture, and thickness with grudging admiration. "Seems acceptable. You may do an extra credit assignment if you wish."

Luna nodded and returned to her seat. Extra credit, she mused. She had always wanted to experiment with the Weightlessness Draught, and what better time to try than now? She wondered what would happen if she added another hummingbird egg, and slightly less essence of violet...

The purpose of the Weightlessness Draught is not to make people so light that their feet leave the ground, despite her earlier fancy. (Not that this hadn't happened on numerous occasions, when the wind picked up.) It is used primarily by medi-witches and wizards to easily lift the injured, as it is gentler than the jolting Levitation spell. As Luna hoped to be a Healer, she was particularly interested in medical potions. But she was also interested in something else.

Her revised potion looked just as she'd expected; a lighter shade of grayish-purple, thinner in consistency, and less grainy (the last due to reducing the pureed radish root by one-third). She raised her hand.

Snape ignored her as long as was acceptable, then sighed. Just a few more weeks... "Yes, Lovegood?"

"I've finished my extra credit."



"Spiffing. Bring it to me and I'll check its properties later. When I'm not so busy," he added pointedly.

Luna just smiled and set the second vial on Snape's desk, avoiding the tracks of green, slimy ooze. "Ooh!" she exclaimed, spotting an intact specimen. "Are those flogwillies, by any chance?"

"They are Belgian Sea Frogs, Miss Lovegood. Very rare, indeed, yet still they manage to not be a figment of my imagination."

"What are they used for?" she asked eagerly.



"A very potent migraine cure." He wondered just how pointedly he would have to speak for her to get the, er, point.

"Oh, I'll remember that! My father gets headaches all the time."



"I'll bet he does," Snape muttered.



Several students were now bringing labelled vials full of varying degrees of grayish sludge to Snape's desk. He addressed the class. "Those who have managed to concoct a proper Weightlessness Draught may use the remaining period to study for their N.E.W.T. I assure you it will be time well spent." He made to return to his frogs, then noticed that Luna still stood in front of him, cocking her head like a bird waiting for a worm. "Is there something else, Miss Lovegood?"

She spoke in a very loud whisper. "May I come see you later so I can test my new potion?"

He sighed. "I suppose so." Drat. So much for his end-of-day bubble bath and bottle of wine.

They agreed to meet after dinner. The class let out noisily with Snape yelling above the din, "Remember to study your N.E.W.T.! If you don't, I can promise you that..." He stopped. The dungeon was empty. And gloriously silent. Well. He might have to postpone the bath, but there was no reason he couldn't get started on the wine.

Snape was able to hold his drink, and no one at the Head Table was any the wiser. He suspected that Albus was perpetually intoxicated anyway, using his fanciful speech and ever-twinkling eyes as a decoy. Luckily he always managed to sober up whenever evil dark wizards and the like showed up.

No one paid much attention to Snape, anyway. If he ran down the hall yelling "Fire!", five minutes later someone would sniff and say "Hey, do you smell smoke?" Well. There had been the ghost girl, Myrtle. She had paid him quite a lot of attention. He wondered how she was faring in her new home. Miserably, most likely. He allowed a fond smile to cross his face. He even allowed himself to remember the night she'd visited his private bath. It was late. The bubbles had diminished, the bottle of wine was quite empty, she had come up through the drain, and... oh, my.

Right. He would save that for another time. Dratted Luna Lovegood. Dratted Ravenclaws with their dratted extra credit. Drat drat drat. He sat behind his desk, wishing he was anywhere else. He glanced at the potion waiting in the vial; it looked like a very weak Weightlessness Draught. This was what he'd surrendered his private time for?

There was a light, dancing tap on the door, which echoed through the dungeon and came back as a funereal dirge. "It's me, Professor, Luna Lovegood!"

"Yes, Miss Lovegood, come in."



Luna opened the door and strolled in. Her life-size Snitch-shaped earrings dangled precariously from her small ears, but he had to admit she carried them almost regally, like the Queen might when decked out in the crown jewels. He blinked. Where had that come from? Ah. Wine. Right, then. He tried to clear his mind.

"Hi, Professor, lovely evening, isn't it?" She pulled up a chair.



Snape checked the enchanted sky. "It's raining."



"I know!" Luna smiled. "Rain is a gift from the sky."



"Ah... yes. Well, then, let's have a look at that potion, I'm sure you're eager to... go dance naked around trees, or whatever it is you do." Why had he said 'naked?' Why, why, why?

Luna blinked. "I'm not actually a member of the Xincthatahopl tribe, but I'm honoured you would think so!"

Snape grimaced. "There is no such... never mind." He rubbed his eyes vigourously. "The potion, Miss Lovegood."

She reached for the vial and unstoppered it. A purple-tinted haze wafted up. "I call it the True Weightlessness Draught. Well, I will if it works, anyway!" She let out a loud, sudden laugh.

While Snape went to his office for a test subject, Luna took a swig.

He returned with a squirming ferret, and looked around blankly. "Oh, bloody hell," he said. The ferret turned around and glared at him.

"Yoo hoo, Professor!" He looked up sharply. Luna waved.



Snape knew the girl was flighty, but this was ridiculous. "What are you doing up there?" He loathed the resignation he heard in his voice. Is this what a nearly twenty-year teaching career had amounted to, chasing stray girls from his ceiling?

"It worked! My potion worked!" She looked like she should be holding a pickaxe and shouting "Eureka!"

"What were you thinking of, testing it yourself? You could have been seriously injured and I would have taken the blame! Now get down from there at once!"

"Why don't you come up here instead?" she suggested brightly. She reclined in midair, as if there was an invisible chaise lounge beneath her.

Snape gawped. "Did you hear me? I said, get down!" He made a concerted effort to not glance under her robes as he stalked back to his desk. He was not a pervert, no matter what he might do with ghosts in bathtubs. And why in the bloody hell was he still clutching a ferret? "Accio cage!" he shouted, managing to point his wand in the general direction of his office, a rather brilliant feat considering the angry ferret was latched onto his wand hand. The cage sailed through the air, causing Luna to jump aside with a squeak. Once the beast was caged he tended to his hands, which were dotted mercilessly with red nips and scratches. Of course.

He took a deep breath. "Lovegood, either you come down this instant or you lose your extra credit." There. That ought to shoot a Ravenclaw from the sky as effectively as an arrow.

"Oh, I don't really care about that. I just wanted to see if it would work."

"Very well. Then I shall take twenty points from Ravenclaw. And I believe you are currently in the lead for the House Cup, are you not?"

Luna patted the air next to her. "It feels just like floating on a cloud. Really, it isn't like Levitation at all, which always give me a spot of stomach trouble, if you know what I mean..."

Snape sighed, for a change. He was tired. He was in the last stages of drunkenness. He was vaguely horny. And most of all, he did not want to take points from Ravenclaw, as Gryffindor was running a very close second. There was silence. Then:

"Like a cloud, you say?"



"Oh, yes. Cumulous." She smiled serenely.



Snape looked at the vial. Was he drunker than he thought, or had a sign reading "Drink me" suddenly appeared on its side? "Oh, what the hell," he muttered. He held his nose. He closed his eyes. He took a drink.

Ah! Floating... like nothing he had ever felt before! Floating above his classroom... above his students... above the two hundred papers he had yet to grade... above Hogwarts itself... above the world!

Bliss.



He tried a little swoop.



Luna laughed merrily and joined in. "It's fun, isn't it?"



Snape might have said, "Whee!"



Luna flung off her robes. To Snape's great relief, she wore a Muggle t-shirt and jeans underneath. "I wasn't aerodynamically sound," she explained, then proceeded to execute a perfect triple somersault. Snape admired her... flexibility.

Snape, in a fit of mirth, removed his own robes, revealing a sporty black ensemble. Okay, so it was his customary high-button shirt and slacks, but he was working it.

He and Luna frolicked, swooping this way and that, occasionally brushing against each other's arms or legs with a little thrill of electricity. It was the most physical contact Snape had had since... do ghosts count as "physical contact?"

"How do you feel, Professor?" Luna called.



He stopped mid-flip, which was lucky as his head was about to connect with a very large, pointy piece of furniture. (It might have been an armoire; it might have been an etagere. He'd never been sure.) "I feel... I feel..." That was a good question. His mouth twisted sourly when he realised the answer. "I feel like someone else entirely."

Luna shot him the thumbs-up. "Brilliant!"



"No, no, you don't understand... is there an antidote to this little concoction, by the way?"

"Antidote? Er." She looked a bit nervous.



"Yes. An antidote. You know, that little detail that allows you to return to the GROUND?" He hovered over her like an angry bat.

"I, well... I guess I didn't think about coming down."



"Of course you didn't. Because your head is permanently in the clouds, is it not? Never mind. I'll get the antidote for the Weightlessness Draught, and you'd best hope that it works!" He tried to stalk off to his office but instead glided along quite peacefully. He growled.

He plucked the antidote from a high, dusty shelf and glided back to Luna who sat, infuriatingly cross-legged, in midair. "Did you find it?" she asked, in the same tone one might use to inquire after a lost sock, or whether someone had remembered to pick up the milk.

"Yes." He shoved it at her. "You first."



She shrugged. "Well, bottoms up!" She laughed and took a sip, making a horrid face. "Ack! This tastes like... like..."

"Groundhog hair?"



"Yes, precisely!" She fell from the clouds with a thud.



Once Snape was certain there were no ill effects, he drank, falling to the ground without ceremony. He regretted it instantly. He'd rather liked it up there, even - or maybe especially - in the company of Miss Lovegood. Why couldn't he have a moment's peace? Why must he always be interrupted by... himself?

Luna stood, rubbing her sore behind. "Well, Professor, that was fun! Do I get my extra credit?" She slipped her robes back over her head.

Snape broke from his reverie. "Ah... yes, Miss Lovegood. In return for your silence, of course."

"Oh, don't worry, I'm very good at keeping secrets! I never told anyone about the time I caught Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley sno..."

"Thank you, Miss Lovegood, you may go."



She gave him a soft smile. "Take care, Professor. You really ought to get off the ground more often." She winked, and closed the door behind her.

Snape replaced his robes and returned to his desk. He picked up the vial, rolling it absently between his hands. He sat down and placed it in front of him; it swirled invitingly. That girl does know her way around a potion, he thought.

After a moment, he took a slip of paper from the desk, dipped his quill, and wrote:

TRUE WEIGHTLESSNESS DRAUGHT



To achieve weightlessness, take a teaspoonful as

you will. But, be warned: The return to earth may

not always be pleasant.



He affixed this to the side of the vial, stoppered it, and put it on one of his many high, dusty shelves. At long last he went to draw his bath.



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The next time he came across it, while searching for a Boil Reductor (bloody first years), the label again read, "Drink me." He paused, then slipped it into his pocket before stalking out and yelling at This Year's Morons.

In a far-off corridor of St. Mungo's Hospital, a blonde first-year intern smiled serenely, her bedpan-shaped earrings swinging as she went to tend to a patient.



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