Title: The Avocado Cadaver Curse
Fandom: Harry Potter
Length: 1,700 + words approximately.
Rating: PG 13 +
Warnings: Spoilers for H.P. book 6... and … finger lickin' Inferi guacamole?
Setting: A 6th year DADA class (Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff), during the events of H.P. book 6 (HBP)
Disclaimer: J. is the creator and true owner of the characters of Hogwarts and the wizarding world, and no infringement of copyright is intended. I'm just messing around with them for my own amusement.
Author's note: This is another ficlet that was originally written for the "Snape's POV" thread on the mugglenet forums, August 2005 (Cruciatus Nox being my other one). The plot bunny bit when I read a quote someone posted mentioning an "Avocado Cadaver Curse" that had been mentioned in a spelling-challenged fan-fic.
Timeline source: The Harry Potter Lexicon
The Avocado Cadaver Curse
The Ravenclaws & Hufflepuffs turned their heads, as the door to the Defence Against The Dark Arts classroom flew open with a bang. He stalked into the room - his black robes trailing behind him like a banner. Reaching his desk, Professor Snape whirled around, planting his hands on the table before him. From that stance he stood grim-faced and silent for a moment, his black eyes scanning the faces of his students. Good … it looked like he had made a suitable impression on them. With any luck, some of them might even learn something from this session.
"Today" he suddenly said, timing his words for maximum effect, "we will continue to work on the various methods by which an Inferius may be overcome. And, as I shall once again remind all of you" he continued, "with the Dark Lord and his organization currently active, it is vital for each and every one of you to make as thorough an effort as possible to pay attention to what I have to say … if you don't want This" - he turned his wand to one of the pictures on the wall – "to be you" he illuminated his wand, highlighting a picture of a bloodied pulp of flesh that once was a wizard or witch (wizard, if his memory served him right. He reminded himself to look it up again some time - just to make sure).
He heard one of the Ravenclaw boys moan, and choke loudly. Well, lad – you've just nominated yourself to be the first one up on the stand Snape thought, while pretending to ignore him – and it's not as if he hasn't seen this one before anyway … if they could only realise just how little time they may have left for indulging in such nonsense… he pressed on with his lesson. "I have prepared for you some Inferi of a less dangerous type than the human ones you may encounter out in the real world later on - if you will all look this way …"
Snape aimed the light of his wand to a collection of moth-eaten, white-eyed chickens shuffling silently in their enclosure, drooling and bumping into each other. He thought she heard one of the Hufflepuff girls gasp, and suppress a sob. And you will be the next one up after him, he thought - while wondering what the Dickens it was about undead chickens that made girls want to cry …
Ten minutes later, Snape was standing next to a student in a space he had cleared in front of the Inferius pen. The others waited their turn in a semicircle behind them, wands drawn. He had made sure the class had practiced a basic object-freezing charm. With a wave of his own wand, he unlatched the door of the pen, letting one of the chickens out.
"Put your wand up, boy – and keep it aimed!" he snapped as the Ravenclaw flinched when the thing came at him, and ducked. An orange light shot out from Snape's wand before the bird could reach the other students. His aim was true, and the chicken flipped onto its back. But the thing immediately righted itself and hobbled back toward the boy, walking around in a funny, lopsided way for a few seconds before changing whatever it had for a mind. The Inferius attacked again.
Wheezing and fluttering, the bird flew up at them with outstretched claws and hammering beak. This time, the boy had (by some miracle) managed to keep his head, and even used the correct incantation as he had been instructed. He was successful. Snape dismissed him, and he stumbled back to his desk looking like his eyes were ready to fall out of his head. Well boy, should you ever have to save your own neck from one of those things … Snape thought, as he cleared up the remains of the exploded chicken … you may even bother to remember who it was that gave you that fighting chance. "Next!" He called, and the Hufflepuff girl came up to the enclosure.
One more Inferius to go, and one more student. He recognised the last girl as she walked dreamily up to where the last Inferius was waiting. She was the Ravenclaw who had lately, in the last two years, taken to mingling with Potter's mob. Lovegood - that was the name. He remembered her as the 'lights on but nobody home' type - though admittedly she had not proved as dangerous in class as Longbottom. He told her to get ready, and then released the ward.
"Its a rooster! And its an Isle of Wight – Brigadoon Speckle cross" Lovegood exclaimed in abstract delight, while the Inferius she was describing dove at her feet. She shuffled aside at the last moment and it narrowly missed them. Snape felt his skin grow suddenly clammy. Scratch that last one he thought – the girl was just as dangerous as Longbottom. In a horrible mental flash, he imagined fronting up to Albus to report that a student had been injured in his class … the man was under more than enough pressure already …
"MISS LOVEGOOD! PAY ATTENTION! WATCH WHAT YOU ARE DOING!" he roared in horror as the chicken fluttered onto the girl's chest. Somehow, she managed to shake it off without being scratched, and then did an awkward little shimmy to dodge the thing as it hissed and scuttled after her feet. "The spell that I just taught you! The ones that the others used - use it! NOW!" he said while aiming his own wand, just in case.
"Oh, you mean that charm?" she said. Charm! That incantation was NOT a charm … Snape fought back a sudden urge to rip his hair out. "Yes! Use it, Girl!" he snapped, trying not to let his voice rise too high.
The Inferius made a kind of wet gobbling sound, before flying at Lovegood's face. She ducked her head as though shaking away a fly, and the thing flew over her shoulder, doing a little tumble before hitting the ground. It rolled back up to its feet, and Snape made ready to intervene. "No, professor. I'm going to handle this one. I know just what to do" Lovegood had a sudden look of focused determination. Snape felt his hands grow colder. For some reason, he felt that this did not bode well …
For the last two years, one of the questions Luna Lovegood had been pondering was whether a particular curse she had heard of would work on Inferi. She had not had the chance to see it demonstrated in class, she being a year behind Potter when the teacher who did it was there - that one who turned out to be someone else. Anyway, she had plenty of chances since to learn more about it, explore ideas and develop theories.
Hissing and cackling before her now was a chance to test one of them. If it didn't work … she could use that incantation from today's lesson. Before Snape could stop her, she pointed her wand at the chicken, and in a commanding voice said:
There was a flash of olive-green light, and a brief rolling sound. Snape's jaw dropped. Oh Merlin, she's just tried to use an Unforgivable! - He thought - and not only that, but completely bungled the wording as well! "Miss Lovegood!" He snarled, trying not to scream, "that was an Illegal curse you tried to use! Fifty points from Ravenclaw, and two week's detention for you!" He strode forward with his wand aimed. "You are dismissed, since you clearly are not up to handling the task I have set you - I will deal with this Inferius myself!"
"Oh, ok then" she said, as though she had merely been told the toast had burnt slightly (the other Ravenclaws were staring daggers at her) "I don't think that was the way it was supposed to be said" she mused, looking at something on the ground in front of her. "Did you hear me, I said you are diss …" - and that was when he too noticed what it was that she was staring at.
On the ground, in a small steaming mass, was what was left of Lovegood's chicken Inferius. He crouched down carefully beside it for a better look. Albus will most surely be interested in this, he thought in wonderment. The thing had been reduced to a shapeless mass of singed feathers and cooked meat … and covered in what resembled a strangely familiar-smelling green pulp. The odour of which he couldn't quite place, though he was sure had smelt it before. Was it in an apothecary? Or restaurant? Dim memories of a blackish-green, pear-shaped fruit came to mind. He'll have to look it up to jog his memory …
Rising to his feet, Snape turned to face the other students. "Class dismissed!" As the room emptied, he raised his hand to stop Lovegood on her way out. "You want to tell me who my detention is with, Sir?" She asked. He just shook his head, and checked to see that the last of the other students had gone. Then he turned back to her.
"Sixty points to Ravenclaw" he said, very quietly - "and you will spend your detention with Pomfrey, not Filch as I had originally planned. Dismissed". The girl just nodded and said, "That's nice". As she turned to go, he added: "And, Miss Lovegood …" - she turned to look over her shoulder – "I would appreciate it if you didn't tell too many others about this favour". "That's ok, Sir" she said, without any trace of irony or sarcasm – as if she was merely telling him the time - "it's always a good idea to maintain useful impressions, just in case you might need them later"
And then she left the classroom. After a few moments, Snape realised it would be a good idea to close his mouth before something flew in. Turning back to the remains of the Inferius, he took another whiff before cleaning up … and he finally recognised the smell. Avocados! Of course, "Avocado Cadaver!" - it all made sense to him now. Had any student dared to peer into the classroom at that moment, he or she would have borne witness to the much-feared Professor Snape - former Potions Master and current Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher – temporarily helpless with the giggles.