Disclaimer: Not mine.


This was inspired by the Reviewer's Lounge Halloween Challenge…


Halloween comes silently

On witches brooms

With ghostly ghouls

Long skeletal fingers

hesitate

poised in air

pointing at that hallowed spot

reaches out and hits

END


Happy Halloween

Filch's Last Halloween Surprise


Argus Filch was determined to catch the little mischief makers this year. Oh yes, he had come up with the perfect way to get even for all the years of pain they had caused him. He had cleaned up after their shenanigans for the last time. He had mopped floors, put things right, chased down pests, and put out exploding pranks. He was sick and tired of the Headmaster mollycoddling the little monsters, claiming that he had no proof as to who did the mischief. This year would be different. This year he would catch the pranksters dead to right, snap a picture and have the goods. Even if it was spiked punch.

He had scavenged for months to find the parts of his perfect costume, the perfect make over for his subtle disguise of deception. Never had he so looked forward to one the Headmasters parties as much as he did this year's Halloween Gala. The only thing that saddened him now was the thought of Mrs Norris not attending with him.

Irma Pince had offered to help him dress, to do his hair and help him with simple spells if he would only wear a costume this year. She would be a swooning Juliet to his brave hearted Romeo. As much as he wanted to share his surprise with her, and as much as he trusted her silence, he had to say no. When he asked Mrs Norris what to do, she only lifted her tail and walked away with distain. Clearly, he would have to ignore Miss Pince's noble offers again this year.

The first order of business in preparation of the Halloween Gala was to shower and shave. He used sweet smelling soaps to mask his smell of fish oil and menthol heated rubs. Finishing that and running his long skeletal fingers over his now smooth chin and head, grinning crookedly, as he looked in the mirror, imagining the finished result.

Picking up a jar that he had stolen from the Ravenclaw girl's shower, he checked the first and second thing off his list. Reading the directions on the label of the small pink jar, he shrugged his shoulders, wondering how hard it could be. Even little girls used this stuff. Even the Hufflepuff babies had this in their rooms. Do a small patch test first? Indeed. He was not about to be at this all night.

He smeared the hair removal cream from his big toes clear up to his brow, paying special attention to the hairier places. He paced the floor, watching the clock for fifteen minutes to pass. He paced faster as the thick paste began to warm, and then nearly ran around his small dingy room as the small pin points of heat soon turned into roaring flame.

He grabbed the jar and hopped from foot to foot, his long skinny legs and knobbly knees askew. He tried to move without letting his, umm let us say, without him rubbing certain parts. He read the caution section on the little girl's jar again. Grabbing up an old woollen blanket, he threw it around his now blistering shoulders as he took off at a dead run for the dungeons.

"Who is that?" Professor Snape sneered as he stomped to the door. "Stop that infernal pounding."

"Ah, Snape," Filch wheezed out and pounded on the door again. "I am burning, burning up. I didn't test it. It said right on it to test it and I didn't do it." His wails grew louder and more insistent.

Snape opened the door and looked out at a thin bald man hopping up and down with a blanket hanging off his shoulders. The man's head was completely bald. His yellowed eyes almost popping out of the parchment white skin, and his entire body, which was in evidence as the blanket fell open with every other hop, was not only naked, but also covered with a gooey mass of slime.

"Quiet!" Snape stepped back as he roared at him. "If you do not leave this instant on your own…"

"No Snape," Filch sputtered. He waved his arm and caused the blanket to open and droplets of goo to fall on the floor. "It is me, Argus."

"Argus who?" Snape took still another step back; least the flaying arms direct some of the substance at him.

"Filch, it's me Argus Filch," he emitted a yowl that could put Mrs Norris to shame.

"What is that?" Snape curled his lip in disgust as he pointed his finger at the sight in front of him.

"Hair removal, please I need help."

"The hair is gone. It worked." He slammed the door in Argus' face.

"No, no." He pounded on the door again.

"Now what do you want you insufferable squib?"

"Help me! I was getting ready for the Gala…."

Pointing his wand at the caretaker Snape cleaned of the offending sludge and curled his lip in distaste at what stood in front of him.

"I do believe you looked better with it on." Snape sneered, as he took in the sight of the man's skinny legs, knobbly knees and shrivelled shaven body parts. "However if they give awards for the ugliest you have a better chance now. On second thought, it is not a costume."

Filch looked down at his body and wailed anew at the sight of blisters and open sores covering his hairless body. Looking back up he saw the door slam shut again.

Again, he pounded until Snape reluctantly opened the door.

"I could use a potion." He looked up in consternation and tried to adjust the blanket as he winced in pain.

"You could use more than a potion."

"Anything please, please it burns."

"I would suggest an Avada Kedavra. I believe I have an extra."

Snape turned and walked to his lab with a smirk. Returning he handed the poor soul two vials, careful not to touch his hand.

"The blue one is for the burn," Snape intoned. "The other you may take rather than bothering me again."

"What does it do?" Filch asked as he drank down the first potion.

"It is a surprise," the Professor drawled as he shut the door, feeling his lip twitch.

Filch felt much better now that the burns were healed, and wrapping the blanket around himself tightly he hurried back to finish what he had begun, thinking the little pain would be worth it. Yes, he thought. All this would be worth the price if he could catch just one picture of the golden trio up to no good.

He smiled as he thought of their faces when at the stroke of midnight he would reveal his ruse. He had taken a camera from that Collin kid. He would have the pictures enlarged and see them try to talk their way out of it. He hopped left and right, and left again, his knees going out of kilter, as he grinned widely in glee.

When he finally made it back to his room, and dropped the blanket to examine his body. The hair was gone, and it really did not matter too much, how his wrinkled skin looked, most of it he planned to cover anyway. He walked to the file cabinet marked M and pulled out a bag of Muggle make-up.

Two days he had sat by the make-up counter in "Witches Makeup World", watching witches put this stuff on just so he could learn to do the same. Twice the shops manager had come over and walked around him, trying to find what he was doing. Once he had even told Argus to put his hands on the counter thinking him a voyeur.

Smiling at the memory of his lessons, and his hands in his pockets, he lined up the tiny pots of facial paint and began. First he poured flesh coloured foundation in the palm of his hand and rubbed it over his face and neck, he applied bright red lipstick, and added the colour blue to his eyelids, and a dark rust blush to his hallowed cheeks, in a perfect line from above quivering jowl to ear.

Retrieving a short blond curly wig from the cabinet marked W, putting it on and pushing it high up on his forehead, he smiled as he slapped on a pair of black rimmed glasses and sparkling green earrings to complete the look.

Next, he sat on the side of the bed and grabbed the pair of stockings Rosmerta had bought for him, and this black lace thing with its web of straps that held them up. This had been the trickiest and most expensive part or the costume to acquire. He had gone to Hogsmeade, in the daylight, careful to keep his hands from his pockets, to talk to the hippy witch.

"You want what? For whom?" Rosmerta had questioned him, putting her hands on her ample hips when he had asked her for this favour.

"I have a lady friend. I told her I could get her stockings." He had stood meekly in front of her with Mrs Morris under his arm, his eyes darting around the floor as he lowered his head.

"Stockings. You told a lady friend you were going to buy her Muggle panty hose and she thought this was a good thing?" Rosmerta gave him a disbelieving look.

"Yeah," he said, running his hand over his head, "She doesn't put on airs like some."

"Let me fix you up Argus." She had smiled slyly. "Trust me. No witch would want those things."

A trip to Diagon Alley and a short walk into Knockturn enabled her to find what she needed. She shuddered at the thought of a witch with Filch wearing fish net stockings and a black garter belt. However, he had paid, so she picked them up, stopping in to see the Weasley brothers she had an itching spell attached. Some things were just too good to pass up.

When he finally had the stockings and garter on, having only fallen twice, he looked down on the bed and saw the thong that Rosmerta had referred to as knickers. He looked at the thong, down at himself, and back to the thong. He had to draw the line somewhere.

Walking on his tiptoes so as not to ruin his stockings, and holding on to his hair least it fall down, he found a roll of bright shinny silver tape. Albus had stocked up on Muggle tape to fix the leaking pipes and this came from that stock. He figured if it held water pipes, that it would hold his own pipe just fine.

The first time he managed to tape himself back he sat in a wooden chair to test out the fit, only to jump up with a yelp of pain. Reaching down and pulling the tape off, to adjust himself to the left, he was instantly on his knees, tears running down his made up face, gasping for breath. He threw his head back with a yowl that brought Mrs Morris running.

Mrs Morris looked at this person collapsed on her master's floor. Walking slowly around the still yelping squib, she wondered why anyone would want to look as this thing did. Thinking it perhaps a Polyjuice potion gone badly she drew out her claws, and gave the intruder a good whack on the arse. Lifting her tail in disgust, she walked off only to recognise the wheezing cry. She walked back and gave him two more whacks for being the fool.

Filch staggered to the bed, and grabbed up the bra, determined not to hold on to his pain. He strapped on the bra, fastened the clasps, and then looked down. Two empty pockets lay on his hairless chest. In a moment of inspiration, he stuffed the bra with his old socks, three in each side. Yanking the green satin green dress over his head, he pushed his arms in the sleeves and tried to breathe as he pulled the now to tight fabric over his chest. Pulling out one sock from each side, he was a little saddened to see his chest shrink. A typical response in many a small busted witch.

He smiled, perhaps not as widely as he had before, thinking of what he was so close to doing. If he could just make his eyes stop running his make- up, he knew, would look better. One earring fell off and rolled under the bed. He was about to get on his hands and knees and poke around for it, but thought of Mrs Norris and knew it best to go one earring short.

As he put his wig right, tightened the lone earring, tugged down and smoothed his skirt he hobbled to the mirror. They had not defeated him yet. He could do this yet, he could. It only the itching would stop.

Not bad, he thought, squinting into the mirror thru the phoney glasses, able to see only a wavering outline.

Filch stood up as straight as he could, determined to go to the party. He thought to go to Snape for a stop itching potion, and then remembered the second vial. He drank it down knowing that the kind Professor would have known the healing flesh would cause an itch. He wondered what the surprise would be as he felt a harding of his skin.

He forced his bunion riddled feet into the stiletto heels and tottered into the hallway ignoring the still itching of his skin, the pain in his feet, and the pinching tape. Finding a way to walk, bowing his legs and taking short mincing steps, he gingerly walked off to the party, feeling the itch grow into crawling sensation.

Hermione Granger was going to arrive at the party late. Her unruly hair had been hard to control this evening as the earlier rain and added humidity had frizzled her curls. Her robes billowed behind her as she rounded the corner and she was quite pleased with herself for discovering Professor Snape's billowing charm. As she neared the doors to the Great Hall, stopping to adjust the black waistcoat and robes she wore, she silently hoped that Snape believed in imitation being the best flattery.

Looking up, sneering at the sight of Rita Skeeter who had just opened the door to the festivities Hermione pulled out her wand. As if green scales, a hunchback, and a sidewise gait could disguise the witch, she thought with a smirk. Flicking her wand, all in the spirit of Halloween, she smiled evilly and watched as a beetle now flew into the hall.

If Skeeter had thought to sneak in, she should have worn a better costume. Let her stay like that a few hours, Hermione thought to herself as she walked into the party proudly. Cheap harpy can't out do me.

Hermione continued into the Great Hall and walked to the punch bowl, looking around the room and admiring the decorations. She saw Professor Snape where he sat frowning out at the students from the shadows and thought that the clothes may indeed make the man. She twirled her wand in her fingers and smirked.

Snape rolled his eyes, as he caught sight of her, seeing himself in drag. He leaned back in his chair as he scowled at the group of Gryffindors in the far corner, wondering what they were plotting. He shook his head and grimaced as a squeal came from the youngest of the Weasley's, and echoed thru the room. Oh, how he hated these parties.

"Ginny." Harry laughed. "It's just a little bug."

"I hate those things." Ginny nervously looked around to find where it had landed.

A sharp crackling sound came from under Ron's left foot.

"It's fine, Sis." He grinned at her, and lifted his foot to show her. "I took care of it for you."