Disclaimer: All hail J. K. Rowling, who created this world for us, and who doesn't sue our pants off for playing in it when she's not looking.
A/N: This is certainly Alternate Universe stuff.
The Owl Chronicles - continued
My liver and my hangover hate you too. Bloody shrewish Sybill. And bloody Lockhart too, for that matter. I'm going to have to burn that bathing suit now; I shan't be able to make myself wear it ever again.
Today we're taking the children to something called an amusement park, which apparently does not involve trees. Sounds quite twee; I can't imagine anything calling itself an "amusement" park to actually be amusing. Since I don't really know what to expect, I'll send this off now and owl you an update later, after I've had a look around the park.
We're supposed to spend eight hours there; I expect I shall be very, very bored.
The Muggles are crazy! Are you trying to kill us, you candy-addled old man? Do you know what an amusement park is, Albus? IT'S SUICIDE ON A STICK! Mechanical maelstroms to satisfy your every motion sickness need! They've got a cage that hauls you hundreds of feet into the air and then...just...DROPS you! They've got something like a giant saucepan that spins so fast that everyone inside it gets splattered against the outer walls! They've got a machine that hurls you into the air and then whirls you around in about fifty different directions at speeds sufficient to break your neck! They've even got something that looks suspiciously like those little railway cars that the Gringotts goblins stuff you into when you need to go to your vault! And it all relies on MUGGLE technology, Albus! This can't possibly be safe!
How am I supposed to justify strapping children into Muggle death machines all day, Albus? All I can hear right now is people screaming! HOW IS THIS PLACE SUPPOSED TO BE AMUSING?
I may need your help getting Gilderoy out of the funhouse. There are mirrors on every surface, and the silly twit is practically orgasmic.
Whatever you do, don't let any of your students buy that pink fluffy candy! Mine are just about ricocheting off the attractions; the stuff is made of pure sugar! It's worse than the sherbet lemons!
I have kneeled before the Dark Lord and begged for my life. I have seen death first hand, and escaped it by a hair. I have been tortured by Cruciatus, beaten by Aurors and had my very soul threatened by ravenous Dementors. And none of it - absolutely none of it - was worse than this nightmare in Muggle-land.
I just got off of a ride called the "Zipper", on which I had the misfortune of sharing a compartment - well, more of a padded cage with restraints, really - with Neville Longbottom.
Never in a million years, Albus, could I have conceived of any experience so horrific that it would leave me squealing like a pig and clinging to Neville Longbottom in abject terror for fifteen minutes solid.
Thank goodness Longbottom fainted after the first thirty seconds, or I'd have never lived this down. And thank goodness I went to the lavatory beforehand. Longbottom should have too; that much was clear.
Miss Granger wants me to go on the "Tea Cup" ride with her, since all the other little monsters think it's far too tame. For the sake of my pride, I may have to break down and agree to this, although I'm still waiting for the trembling to stop from the last ride.
Get your silly arse out of that funhouse, you idiotic peacock! It is not fair of you to saddle Sybill and me with all your students! Don't make me come in there after you!
This is a disgrace to the noble art of divination! I am outraged! How can the Ministry of Magic allow Muggles to do this?
There is a machine here in the amusement park that contains a plastic dummy (dressed in admittedly rather fetching attire) that - outrageously - spits out some drivel that is supposed to be your fortune if you feed it some coins! What atrocious hokum is this, Albus? A mere machine cannot possibly divine the future! That requires training! Skill! Second sight! This is an insult to seers everywhere!
I've demanded to speak to the management about this abomination, but these "Carnies" who run the attractions just keep leering at me and smoking in an insolent manner. I'm afraid I shall have to get rather stern with them in a moment.
All right, the "Tea Cup" ride wasn't so bad. No worse than traveling by Floo, at any rate, even if it did last longer.
But what sadistic Skrewt-brain thought up the concept for "Bumper Cars"?
Imagine this, Albus: you take a fully grown adult, shoehorn them into a miniature replica of a Muggle car (complete with a tiny steering wheel, just to give them that sad, misguided illusion of control) and then drop them into a pit of similarly equipped maniacs who have nothing better to do with their time than grin insanely and attempt to give everyone in their vicinity whiplash. How is this supposed to be fun? I shall never understand Muggles as long as I live, Albus.
And now I've been talked into going on the "Roller Coaster", which is the thing that I thought looked a bit like those railcars they have in Gringotts bank. Surely it can't be any WORSE than Gringotts is.
Dear Mr. Filch,
To your list of items that are banned from Hogwarts, I would like you to add the following: the "Super-Soaker Water Gun".
It's a Muggle thing, and it's quite dreadful. I nearly drowned. Weasley is still preening about having won it, the little hooligan.
Regards, Professor McGonagall
Gringotts. Doesn't. Turn you. Bloody. Up-side-DOWN. Just for the HELL of it. FUCK!
Circe on a crutch, Albus; I think I nearly had a coronary on that demon-begotten contraption called the "Roller Coaster". I'm applying for stress leave when we get back. And I'm probably going to need to dye my hair black again, too.
It's quite late in the day already, but my students don't seem to want any lunch. For the ones who are mildly green, I can understand that, but the others claim that they're just not hungry. I suspect they've been sneaking off to buy "corn dogs" and "funnel cakes" whenever I haven't been looking (and my second sight is dreadfully compromised by all the flashing lights and loud music, so I'm reduced to depending on my first sight right now). Do you think I should force them to eat something healthy? How much nutrition do you think a box of "cheesy taters" contains, anyway?
Get OUT of that funhouse, or I shall be sending the Carnies in after you! Don't say you haven't been warned, Lockhart: these are large, nasty looking men with serious tattoos and malevolent looking body piercings! There is nothing "Speedo" about these gents; you won't enjoy their company if we have to send them in there! Now get out here and act like a proper authority figure, you narcissistic, pixie-witted Kappa-head!
Severus somehow got talked into going on the "Zipper" one last time before we left, so I'm writing this because his hands are still shaking too badly to. I'll just summarise the day very briefly for you, Albus:
Lost students: 12 (all found) Lost instructors: 1 (also found, the bastard) Gigantic stuffed animals won: 1 Useless items of cheap trash won: 22 Violent incidents involving "Carnie" workers: 2 Bags of candy floss eaten: 57 (note that there are only 40 students with us) Number of corn dogs eaten: 37 Number of funnel cakes eaten: 49 Number of boxes of cheesy taters eaten: 41 Number of times that healthy food was eaten: 0 Number of puking students: 24 (several of those were repeats, however) Number of puking instructors: 2 (we're both feeling much better now, thank you) Number of soiled trousers: 4 Combined number of attraction rides taken by Hogwarts students and staff during the course of the day: 972 Number of students able to remain awake during the bus ride back to the hotel: 2 (so it's not all bad)
Just so you know - in the event of any future legal actions on the part of the hotel - Minerva, Sybill and I have barricaded ourselves in their room with six bottles of nice red wine, a fine selection of take-out cuisine, and a listing of all the movies that the hotel offers. Lockhart, having been remiss in his duties for much of the day, is taking care of the students this evening. The students, by the way, all seem to have revived greatly after their naps on the bus. I think it's called "getting a second wind". I'm sure Lockhart will manage quite adequately without us.
Sybill, Minerva and I are not opening the door (which has been pounded on violently eight times so far this evening) or answering the telephone (which we unplugged after it rang for the fifth time). We're just going to enjoy a quiet night in, watch our movies, eat our food, and serenely drink ourselves into a pleasant stupor. Good night, Albus.
Good morning! I don't know if you were told, but Severus, Minerva and Sybill let me have a free rein supervising the children last night, and good thing too! Why, if I hadn't been there, who knows how out of control that little blaze started by the firecracker under the ice machine would have got before someone arrived with the fire extinguisher?
Of course, those frightful Muggle contraptions are so ill built that the silly thing wouldn't turn off. You know, it really is surprising how much foam they can fit inside one of those things, but at least I did manage to put out the fire with it.
The hotel staff was very good about dealing with the fire department for me, which is convenient, since I was needed by the pool at that moment. Somehow both of the sofas from the lobby had accidentally fallen into it.
I do wonder what became of that foam from the fire extinguisher however - I looked out the window later in the night, and the fountain in front of the hotel was simply overflowing with foam! Piles and piles of the stuff! A big ring of students was standing around it, giggling their heads off. I naturally wondered if it was the same foam, but couldn't go down to find out for myself since I was busy dislodging Mr. Longbottom's arm from the candy machine.
The hotel staff did get a wee bit snippy about Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan trying to roast marshmallows over the hot rocks in the sauna. I understand that the boys inadvertently dropped a few, and then scarpered when place filled up with smoke. Thankfully I managed to smooth things over by flirting with the hotel manager a little. Very nice man.
Pansy Parkinson is missing one of her eyebrows and claims that one of the Patil sisters squirted depilatory cream from the spa at her, but I don't think that can be true. I had to break up a fight between Draco Malfoy and both of the Patil sisters (Draco was really taking a drubbing, poor boy) earlier in the evening. I sent them all to their rooms for the night, so neither of the sisters would have dared sneak back out later to attack Miss Parkinson.
Oh, and I did catch Theodore Nott teaching Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe how to smoke cigars, but he said he had a note from you saying that he could, so that's all right, isn't it?
Yes, Albus - all in all, last night went so well that Severus, Minerva and Sybill are completely confident in letting me continue to keep tabs on the children during the bus ride back to Hogwarts. The three of them are sleeping peacefully (although they occasionally complain rather irritably when the children get too noisy) knowing that I'm in charge! Their faith in me is very touching - but of course, well justified!
Sincerely, Gilderoy Lockhart
Lockhart is in the bathroom, whimpering a lot and refusing to come out. Minerva is outside attempting to talk the driver back into the bus. The students are all striving to look very, very innocent. We're not sure what happened, but it is a pity. I was having quite a pleasant little nap before it all went crater-shaped.
As we proved on the journey into London, the best place to keep Lockhart is barricaded in the bathroom, so I think we'll just leave him there. However, we do need the driver back.
The driver refused to come back.
I would still like to know what happened, but the man was quite hysterical and said he would rather walk back to London than get on the bus again. The students still won't tell us anything, the little bastards.
So... Sybill says she's driven a Muggle car before. That's better than either Minerva or I can say, and given that I would rather walk back to London myself than let Lockhart take the wheel, Sybill is up at the front re-acquainting herself with the controls right now.
We should see you in a few hours, Albus.
We're going to be a little late.
The bus is in the ditch and we're having a bit of trouble getting it to un-tilt again. No one is hurt, although we've damaged a farmer's fence somewhat, and Lockhart keeps whining through the bathroom door that his cloak got stained by that foul blue water from the toilet.
We finally had to get Lockhart out of the bathroom to help us with the bus. The fourth wand made the difference, and we're back on the road again. Sybill is confident that she knows what she did wrong the first time, and she's going to try to make up a bit of lost time by speeding up a little.
Sybill has been arrested.
Please contact the Ministry of Magic and arrange for Portkeys to be sent here to get the students back to Hogwarts with. I am going to talk some sense into these police officers and get Sybill back.
Severus has been arrested.
He was being quite sharp and sarcastic with the officers, and now they've decided to take him away to perform something called a "cavity search" on him. Miss Granger keeps blathering on about it involving teeth. She says her parents are dentists, so I suppose she knows what she's talking about. Given the state of Severus's teeth (please don't tell him I said that), I feel rather sorry for the poor police officers involved.
I have to send this off now, Albus. There's a frightful racket going on in the back rooms where they took Severus, and I need to find out what's going on.
Scratch the Portkeys; owl the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad and inform the Ministry that there's been a serious - but unfortunately necessary - breach of the International Code of Wizarding Secrecy.
I swear, I never dreamed that Muggles could be that...personal...about security, Albus. I may have over-reacted a little bit.
Ah...we should be back at Hogwarts rather sooner than we expected, now. You remember that business at the start of the year with the Weasley boy and Potter, Albus? You know...with the flying car?
Ah. Let's just say that we're letting the Weasley boy drive now, because at least he's got experience with this sort of thing.
He says the bus doesn't steer as well as a Ford Anglia, however.
Dear Professor Snape,
You will be pleased to hear that the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad has finished Obliviating the Muggle police officers, and that due to the overcast conditions and the lateness of the day, it appears that no other Muggles saw the flying bus.
It has been decided that given the large number of minors entrusted to your care, and the difficulty of your circumstances, that your use of the Bat-Bogey Hex in front of Muggles, as well as your enchantment of a Muggle vehicle, were justifiable actions. You will not be disciplined for them.
With best wishes, Yours sincerely, Mafalda Hopkirk Improper Use of Magic Office Ministry of Magic
Dear Severus, Minerva, Sybill and Gilderoy,
Welcome back to Hogwarts, and let me be the first - but not the last! - to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication this past weekend. I've enclosed with this card (signed by all forty students!) the many, many notes that I have received in the past few days from both students and parents, raving about the unqualified success of the Muggle Studies field trip. By their account, a wonderful time was had by all of the children, with many valuable skills learned, and much appreciation for Muggle culture obtained.
I hope you are all simply bursting with pride for making this field trip such a roaring success! I thank you again for your hard work and commitment.
PS - Er, the four of you are going to be able to take up your teaching duties again soon? Aren't you? Maybe another day or two of rest will get you back on your feet? Just wondering. Let me know.
PPS - We're a little bit strapped for instructors right now, you know. Just a thought.