Author: enchanted nightingale
Disclaimer: The characters from 'Harry Potter' books and 'Southern Vampire Mysteries' do not belong to me, but to their respective authors. I merely use them in my plot for fun.
Timeline: After Book 4 and before Book 5 for Southern Vampire Mysteries.
Chapter 25 - Moon and Dog
Sam had not cooked in years but he is not about to turn away a customer. The blonde is seated at the bar, a cup of warm tea in front of her already while he prepares breakfast. She looks older than he thought she would be but at the same time younger. And he finds himself drawn to her on a level much deeper than the usual 'hot chick let's have sex' way. When the food is ready he serves her and she accepts the dish with a smile. He has many questions, about why she smells different, like that Harry bloke that hangs around Sookie and her brother Jason. He wonders why she smells like an animal in a way, an animal he cannot pinpoint.
"This is delicious," Luna tells him, breaking his train of thought.
"Um, it's just scrambled eggs and a slice of toast," he tells her.
"Thank you. Now, you said you wanted to talk with Sam Merlotte? That you had questions?"
"Are you Sam Merlotte, who owns the restaurant-bar 'Merlotte's'?" she asked and he gave a reluctant nod. "Then you can help me. I was spending time with a pack of Shifters from Boston… or was it Baltimore? Maybe even Mississippi?"
Sam has no idea what to say except, "More juice?" he asks and she beams at him.
"Thank you! Such a gentleman!"
Sam blushes at the praise a bit. "Yes, well… You know I'm able to… change."
"Into a doggie, yes," Luna states. "I saw you this morning while you were running. You have lovely paws."
There is nothing the diner owner can say to that.
"Anyway," Luna says after she wipes her mouth on a napkin. "I heard that you know the surrounding area very well considering you can turn into a dog and I would like to enlist your help."
"Who are you and what do you want?"
"Well, I'm a reporter for the Quibbler and I'm searching for the Crumple-Horned Snorkack. Have you seen it by chance?"
Seeing his lost look, her shoulders slumped a bit.
"Oh, you haven't. Must be shy then."
Sam stopped, took a deep breath and tried again. "You are a reporter?"
"From Britain, yes," she replies.
"And you are here, in Bon Temps for the Crum something…"
"Crumple-Horned Snorkack," Luna repeats. "They are smaller than an Erumpent, less explosive as well. They usually live in Sweden but lately I found they have migrating patterns and here I am, following their trail."
Sam blinked. "Okay," he mutters and takes a seat, feeling a bit faint. "You cross the world to find a… creature? Is it like the Big Foot?"
"Don't be silly! Crumple-Horned Snorkack do not walk on two legs!"
Sam can only stare at her.
'Merlotte's' is packed by the time the sun sets and Sam is still thinking about the perky blonde woman from that morning. The staff are giving him looks and he knows why. He has been absentminded since morning, paying them no attention. Arlene had tried talking to him but she just managed to worsen his mood. Sookie kept shooting him worried looks as well and for once he did not care if the young telepath read his mind or not. Perhaps if she did then she might make some sense of the girl, Luna, because Sam certainly had not.
"Sam? Are you listening?" Terry Bellefleur asks and the Shape Shifter blinks.
"Yes, more beer," Sam replied.
"Are you sure you should be here? Your mind certainly is miles away? What's got you in such a state?" the war veteran sounded a bit concerned about his boss and friend. He gets his answer when the door to the bar opens and Luna Lovegood walks inside for the second time that day. No one missed the way Sam's whole body seemed to perk up and his mind finally seemed to focus.
"I see," Terry grins and claps the blond man on the back. Then he walks away before Sam can correct his assumption.
Luna walks up to him, making him forget why he wanted to catch up with Terry in the first place.
"Hello again Sam Merlotte," she tells him. Her blue eyes take in the sight of the shop filled with costumers. "I liked it more during the morning, but even now it has a certain charm."
"Thank you," the shape shifter replies. "Did you have any luck trying to find the… uh, Crumple-Horned Snorkack?" he says the imaginary creature's name carefully, not wanting to butcher the words by mistake.
She beams at him. "Thank you for asking, but no," her shoulders slumped a bit in response.
Sam scratches his chin. "Sorry about it. Should I get you anything?"
"Well, something to eat and drink. Something that tastes good and orange juice."
Sam nods, taking the order himself and then seeing the odd girl to a booth. He ignored the looks the regulars were giving him but Terry's jibes when he handed the cook the order were hard to ignore.
"So, she's the reason you're so damn moody?" the war veteran asked with a smirk on his face.
"Just finish the darn order Terry," Sam shot at the cook and went back to see Luna, something about her drawing him back to her.
Sookie, when she had a few minutes to take a breather and rest her legs, saw Sam, seated in one of the booths. The Shape Shifter was regarding with what was a bemused look the young woman that sat across from him. The blonde was beautiful and had something that reminded Sookie of Pam, but the girl was human, if the way she had demolished her hamburger was an indication. Sam was staring at her with fascination, like a lovesick puppy really. Sookie tried not to snicker at that thought.
Arlene walked up to her. "See the boss?"
Terry looked out from the kitchen, one ear on the girls and the other in his kitchen.
"Yes," Sookie nodded.
"Nice looking bird," the war veteran cut in.
"At least he's not being all weird again," Arlene said. "Seeing him looking all lost and absentminded was scary. I prefer him all grumpy and mean."
Sookie and Terry stared at her aghast.
"What?" she shrugged and went to wait on her tables.
Terry sighed and the blonde waitress was now eyeing him.
"Well, I think it's about time that guy found someone," Terry commented.
"Do you notice something… off about her?" Sookie asked. While the war veteran was not as involved in the Supernatural, he had a sixth sense about danger and the oddness. Also, Sookie knew that he was one of the few friends Sam had in Bon Temps. She valued Terry too, because he was one of the few in this town that never treated her as if she were retarded and never feared her, despite the fact that it was a common secret that she had telepathic abilities.
Terry nodded once and flipped one of the burgers he was grilling.
"Yes, I noticed," the cook told the blonde waitress. "But I'm not worried. After all, Sam's not all that regular for a guy either, if you know what I mean."
And Sookie nodded. Because a guy who turned into any animal he chose was hardly normal.
"As long as he's happy," she said and stood. "Is that order for me?"
Terry nodded and it was back to work with them.
Sam is unaware of the comments and the gossiping all around him, eyes and mind focused on Luna. The girl was full of fascinating stories about exploring creatures and plants all over the world. There was not a place she had not visited.
"… Apart from the Amazon of course," Luna told him. "But I want to. Daddy was reluctant though, even if he wants to see the Emerald Fin Dolphin."
Sam grinned. Half the names were like out of children's books, but the way she told them actually made him want to believe that most of it was real. The childlike glee she had when she spoke, the passion, it made her eyes shine, her face light up and her hands moving and gesturing.
"You know," Luna tells him and he blinks to attention again. "I bet you would be a lot of help," she muses.
"Help with what?" Sam asks feeling a bit alarmed. It earns him a wide, winning smile and he's half way gone before he even hears her demands.
"Be my guide?" she asks, her lips pouting.
He splutters. "I do have this place to run, stock up on things… I'm too busy…" he tries but her pout just got more pronounced.
"Well, I only ask because I think I saw a panther…" she looks so innocent and wide eyed as she says this.
Sam wants to bang his head on the table in front of him. "What time?" he merely tells her and she squeals with delight, standing and giving him a hug. He hair covered the Shape Shifter's face but he did not need eyes to know that everyone in 'Merlotte's' was watching them. He was itching to tell them to mind their business but Luna was off again, making a schedule and plans and Sam's attention went back to her.
It was three hours before dawn and Sam was nearly asleep on his feet. He was dressed warmly, packed a bag and waited for Luna to finish her breakfast, his treat again. He had been a bit worried, afraid that she was homeless but she had dissuaded that notion.
"I just can't cook, at all," the blonde woman had admitted after finishing her toast. "I nearly burned my house down and the house I'm using is a friends. It wouldn't be good manners to burn his house down, would it?"
"Not at all," Sam agreed.
After that they had started their adventure. Luna had insisted they went off the beaten path, deep in the forests. Sam complied, taking trails he used to take as a dog; four legs were after all better than two for this terrain. He did not dare transform, even though Luna had said she knew of his other form.
"Here!" the blonde witch said. They where deep in the forest, off the beaten path and not near any trail Sam usually took, but that was fine. The Shifter who usually favoured the form of a dog was actually enjoying this trip, being so close to nature. It was a small expedition like adventure. Luna acted like she knew where she was going. It seemed like she was following clues. Her clues had not been on the soft ground. Yet Sam did not care about it, basking in Luna's weirdness and oddness.
"This time I'm sure it's a Crumple-Horned Snorkack."
Sam shrugged and followed after her. He did not notice just how wet the spot was. He slipped in the mud and lost his balance. He shouted the blonde's name but she barely had time to react except for the widening of her blue eyes when the witch saw the Shifter slip in the mud and tumbled into her, making them both fall in the mud and roll downwards. The fall ended with Sam crashing in the muddy terrain with a squishy sound and Luna landing on top of him. They both looked a mess, mud covering their hair, clothes, most of their faces too. They stared at each other and then they started laughing.
"Sorry," Sam told her.
She giggled. "It doesn't matter." She tried to stand but she slipped in the mud again, splashing them both. They started laughing again.
"This is…" Sam shook his head.
"I believe the word you are looking for is 'ridiculous'," Luna helpfully told the Shifter who snorted and attempted to stand. Then he pulled her onto her feet and they both stood there.
"Okay, we looked like wet, muddy dogs," Sam muttered.
"I know a place we can clean up, I'm staying there," Luna offered. "Owner is a friend and he's away currently."
"In Bon Temps?" Sam frowned.
"No, Shreveport," Luna replied. "By the way, I'm a witch."
Sam blinked. "Wha…"
Then the woman Apparated them both out of the mud pit, the forest, away from Bon Temps and in front of a house. Sam felt the world spinning around him and his stomach protest a bit but his mind was sharp.
"What on earth…?"
"Apparation," she responded as she unlocked the door and walked inside. She threw him a look over her shoulder. "By the way, I've heard the bathtub is quite big…" the way she studied his body made Sam feel self-conscious and a bit glad for the mud, it covered the blush on his face.
The witch giggled. "You are so cute! Come on, let's get cleaned up. Separately," she sighed regretfully at the last bit. "Come on Sam, I don't bite."
Sam sighed and followed her inside the house.
Harry entered his home at Willow's End. The wards had alerted him to the fact that he had guests and the green eyed wizard desperately hoped it was not Lucius and Severus again. That pair was taxing to deal with. He had asked Draco to warn him if his father and godfather decided to pay him a visit anytime soon. If Harry found out he had not, he would set the Weasley Twins on him and see how the blond wizard liked it.
Stepping further into the house he almost collided with a very naked, save for a towel around his waist, Sam Merlotte. The blond man saw him and stopped short, red flush on his cheeks, jaw hanging open as he floundered around, trying to cover up and find something to say. Harry was also left staring, and appreciating the nice view. The standoff was disrupted when a certain former Ravenclaw witch appeared. She was carrying a pile of clothes and underwear, freshly washed and ironed. She had a serene look about her. Seeing Harry, she smiled, pressing the clothes to a still shocked Sam. Then the blonde witch hugged Harry around the waist and the raven haired wizard squeezed back.
"Harry! I'm so happy to see you! The Krables were unhappy so I knew that you would return soon, you never like to stay away from home for long."
Harry, well versed in Luna speech, did not try to understand what Krables were, just smiled fondly at the girl that he liked as a sister and nodded. "Glad to see you, Luna."
With a kiss on the cheek, Harry was released from Luna's embrace as the pixie like girl sauntered back to Sam.
"Here you go, freshly ironed too," she tells the Shifter who stutters his thanks, shoots one last look at Harry and slips back inside the room he had been in.
The green eyed wizard stared at the fond smile on Luna's face. "Luna…"
"Hm? Yes Harry?"
"Why is Sam Merlotte naked in my house?"
The smile she gave him was secretive. "Well…"
"No, wait!" he tells her, hands up to stall her. He had just remembered that it was Luna and nothing was to be taken for granted. "Never mind. I don't think I want to know."
That makes her giggle and he chuckles along.
"Merlin, I've missed you," Harry tells her. It earns him another hug from the blond witch.
"Missed you too Harry," Luna smiles and steps away.
"Why are you here?" the green eyed wizard asked his friend.
"Why, looking for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks."
Harry sighed. "Of course, what else."
"But I think I'm staying a bit longer," she said, eyes darting towards the direction Sam Merlotte had disappeared to.
"Right," the former Gryffindor muttered half heartedly.
"Chin up, Harry! We are going to have so much fun!"
"That's what I'm afraid of," the wizard muttered.
End of chapter