(AN: Okay, so this fic is total crack – the thought processes behind it were kind of ridiculous, you'll just have to bear with me. But I think it's pretty fun, and I haven't written fic in ages, so I'm proud of it. Also, this was written for my BFF/cousin for her birthday yesterday, so I've gone out of my way to include a couple of her favorite characters from the HP series even though they didn't appear in the musical. Hope you enjoy!)
Yum, Yum, Yum!
It was the third week of classes at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Draco Malfoy was already contemplating hanging himself with the Fruit by the Foot that awaited him in his lunchbag. Even if last year had been full of Voldemort returning, people dying and he himself making some not-so-pleasant revelations about his romantic side, at least it had been interesting. Now, without Professor Snape, even Potions class was boring. With his chin in his hand and his elbow on his desk, Draco tried not to fall asleep. The only consolation he had in Potions any more was that the new teacher, Professor Hopper, looked a little bit like David Henrie, and he could just stare at him and space out a little....
Space. Every time Draco saw or heard or thought that word, his subsequent thoughts couldn't turn anyplace but Pigfarts. He'd been so certain that this would be the year, the year that he'd finally get to blast off to Mars and attend Pigfarts Academy for Spellwork and Sorcery. He could practically feel it now - Rumbleroar's low bass presiding over the Great Station, cautioning them to maintain their spacesuits carefully; learning all the magical properties of the red dust that made up the planet's surface; finally being the coolest kid in school.... True, it had only been tentative before, but then there had been that Unbreakable Vow! Lord Voldemort had promised him!
But what happened to Unbreakable Vows after half of the vow-making pair was dead?
Draco sighed and dropped his forehead to his desk, then rolled his head around so he was facing the ceiling and could see the clock. Just ten more minutes of this misery, and then he could at least go to lunch and throw pieces of his white cheddar popcorn into Granger's stupid hair....
But as he stared at the ceiling, two loud clicks emanated from it, a telltale sign that Potter - up in Dumbledore's old office, running the school like he was some hot-shot scarheaded genius - was about to broadcast a message over the magical PA system. Draco sighed even louder, to the point that Pansy, who was sitting next to him, glanced over and rolled her eyes. (She still hadn't forgiven him for that whole Yule Ball thing. Was it really that big of a deal?)
"Hey Hogwarts, how's it goin'?" said Potter, after a moment of clearing his throat. "Listen, uh, I've got some urgent but totally weird-ass business to deal with so I need to see Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley..." He paused, and made a strange noise, as if he couldn't believe he were actually about to say - "and ugh, Draco Malfoy, up here in the office like ASAP. Potter out." He clicked his wand once more and the room fell silent.
Every Slytherin and Ravenclaw eye was trained on Draco as he collected his things and stood, heading for the door. Professor Hopper patted him on the shoulder, and then he left the room, utterly baffled.
What on Earth - or Mars, even - could Potter possibly want him for?
Ginny ducked out of Transfiguration and almost ran straight into a panicked-looking Draco Malfoy. She couldn't blame him - she was kind of panicking too.
"What do you suppose is going on?" she whispered to him, as they strode briskly past Filch on their way to Harry's office.
"I don't know and I don't think I care," said Malfoy sourly. "It's probably none of my business anyway."
"Oh, but Harry must have had a good reason to call you up here too, or he wouldn't have!" said Ginny. "I mean, he usually thinks things through pretty - "
"Okay, I realize you're making out with him on the regular, but Harry Potter does not think things through," said a snippy voice, and as Ginny and Malfoy rounded a corner they fell in step with Hermione, who'd just emerged from Charms class with Ron close behind her, wand in one hand and a bright blue Slurpee in the other. "That's probably why he wants us all up here - so we can figure out his problems for him. As usual."
"Hermione, you like figuring out other people's problems," Ron shot back, his tongue almost as blue as his drink.
"Oh, so is that why you two are dating?" said Draco. "So she can figure out everything that's wrong with you, Weasley?"
"Damnit, Malfoy - "
"You guys, shut up!" said Ginny. "We can't start fighting now! Harry needs us, or he wouldn't have made that announcement to the whole school. It's obviously important."
"Ginny's right," said Hermione, shooting dirty looks at both Ron and Malfoy. They'd reached the foot of the staircase that led to Harry's office, and with a collective gulp of anticipation (and in Ron's case, Slurpee), they headed up to see what was going on.
Ginny didn't quite know what she'd been expecting to see in Harry's office that needed such urgent attention from all of them. She was, however, pretty sure that she had not been expecting to see two big, angry-looking owls - one whitish-grey and one reddish-brown - perched on Harry's desk with thick message tubes attached to their ankles.
And she definitely hadn't been expecting them to be wearing space suits.
"I just...thought you guys should hear this," said Harry, from where he stood on the other side of his desk. With a pointed look at Malfoy, he added, "All of you."
Malfoy had fixed his eyes on the reddish owl and since then hadn't moved. "Is that - is that from - is it a message from - "
"From Pigfarts," Harry said, as if he himself still didn't believe it. "This letter right here - " he shook the one in his left hand - "is an invitation from Pigfarts Academy for Spellwork and Sorcery to take their side in - get this - an intergalactic war."
"A war?" said Hermione. "But who would they be fighting? Assuming, of course, that this isn't Malfoy's idea of a clever back-to-school prank!"
"Oh, I would never!" said Malfoy, looking appalled. "Pigfarts is something to be taken absolutely seriously. Besides, let me see that." He extended his hand, and reluctantly Harry handed over the Pigfarts letter. Malfoy scanned it quickly, and then pointed hard at the bottom of the page. "See? Rumbleroar's pawprint seal. This is real."
"Well if that's from Pigfarts, then who's the other letter from?" asked Ron, pointing down at Harry's right hand. He made a bit of a face at Malfoy. "A school on Pluto?"
"Not exactly," said Harry. "It actually says it's a school on the moon."
Malfoy looked up from the Pigfarts letter and made a face at Harry. "Oh, don't tell me it's those poseurs from Swineparts."
"Swineparts?" said Ron. "Really?"
"That's what the letter says," said Harry, shrugging. "The Swineparts Culinary Conjurations Institute. You know anything about this place, Malfoy?"
"Only that they're a bunch of wanna-bes that never create anything original for themselves. I heard they even stole the Pigfarts school song and warped it for their own demented purposes." Malfoy scoffed at the white space owl. "Swineparts, honestly."
"So Pigfarts wants us on their side, and Swineparts wants us on their side?" asked Ginny, trying to put the pieces together.
"But then whose side do we take?" said Ron.
"We don't take any side," said Hermione, "because all of this is completely bogus. I'm still having a hard time believing that there are any other wizarding schools out among the galaxy, let alone that they're about to go to war - isn't school kind of the antithesis of war?"
"Hermione, for Christ's sakes, no one cares about school as much as you!" said Ron. "Look, I say we go to Swineparts. If Malfoy hates it, it can't be half bad."
"Look, Weasley, just because - "
"Hey, guys, shut up for a second okay?" snapped Harry, and they all turned to look at him. "Look, maybe Swineparts is full of wanna-bes like Malfoy says. I hate to say it, but he's obviously the only one here that knows what he's talking about, because as far as I can tell, all this stuff is real, and he's the only one that knew anything about it before these letters got here."
Malfoy preened, and Ron kicked him in the shin.
"But Swineparts has a bunch of points in its favor already."
"Yeah, like what?" asked Hermione, still skeptical.
"Well, for one thing, the moon is a lot closer than Mars," said Harry. "I don't want to have to travel so far, there's a greater risk. But for another.... Look more closely at this letter."
He passed it to Ron, who studied on it but couldn't seem to figure it out. When he handed it off to Hermione, she had barely read two lines of it before she gasped, hand over her heart, and gave it to Ginny. Ginny started reading down the page - humbly request your help, blah blah, your services in battle, blah blah, and it was by training at our facilities for the fight to come that it hit her.
"This is Professor Lupin's handwriting!" she said, waving the letter frantically.
"Wait, but I thought Lupin was dead," said Ron. "Didn't Mom say that right when she killed Bellatrix at the end of the show?"
"If any of this is real," said Harry, "then this means that Lupin's alive. And if he's alive, maybe everyone else is too - your brother, and Sirius Black, and..."
"And your parents," Hermione said softly. Harry was clutching the edge of his desk with white-knuckled hands.
"Hang on, Potter, haven't you listened to a thing that I've said?" said Malfoy. "Swineparts is full of thieves and liars! This could be a magical forgery, some kind of trick - you can't trust them! We have to go to Pigfarts!"
"Malfoy, you're just saying that because you've been trying to go there for years now!" said Ron. "We gotta side with Swineparts in this fight, Harry."
"Or we could just not side with anyone," said Ginny, softly. They all turned to look at her. "I'm serious, you guys. Harry, I love you, and I know you want to find your parents, but after all of last year...I'm tired of fighting. I say we don't get involved with this unless we have to. Let them fight their own war out there, and keep us out of it."
There were a few moments of silence, in which everyone regarded Ginny with intense thought, and then -
"Yeah no, that's the stupidest idea I've ever heard," said Ron. Finished with his Slurpee, he tossed it into the trashcan next to Harry's desk with a loud clang, and for good measure he clapped his hands smartly together right behind Ginny's left ear. She squealed and stepped closer to Harry, frowning.
"So it's settled then," said Hermione. "That's three to one, with one abstaining - sorry, Malfoy," she added, though she didn't sound very sorry at all. "We're going to go to Swineparts, and fight with them, and try to find Harry's family and friends."
"Hang on, you lunatics," said Malfoy. "I don't care if the whole bloody school goes to hang out with those idiots at Swineparts, I'm not taking their side in anything. I'm going to Pigfarts and none of you are going to stop me."
"Fine!" said Ron. "Who needs you?"
"But you guys might need him," said Ginny. "If you're gonna insist on doing this he's the one that's gonna be of the most help!"
"Swineparts," said Ron.
"Swineparts," Harry agreed.
"Swineparts," said Hermione, "I guess. To keep you two from getting yourselves killed."
"Pigfarts," said Malfoy defiantly.
"P...Pigfarts," Ginny whispered. They all looked at her, again. She was getting sick of everyone staring.
"But Ginny - "
"I don't want to fight, Harry," she said to him, reaching out and taking his hand. "I won't fight against you. But I'm not going to let Malfoy go on his own. And maybe we can get this whole thing resolved without violence."
"Ginny...you know that even if I find my family on the moon, it's not going to stop me from loving you like family too," he said to her.
"I know, Harry," she said, and leaned in to kiss him on the cheek.
"Okay, so after that revoltingly touching display," said Malfoy, rolling his eyes, "can we just get a move on, Potter? We're talking about this all so casually that I'm assuming you've just got a couple of rocket ships on hand, ready to blast off at any moment?"
Harry took a tissue from a box on his desk and used it to lift out two small charms, one from each of the message tubes - with the way he handled them, Ginny could tell that they were Portkeys. The Swineparts charm was a tiny layered cake, white with pink and gold frosting; the Pigfarts one was a miniature lion wearing a pointed wizard's hat. Harry passed it, tissue and all, to Ginny, who went to stand with Malfoy on the other side of the room.
"This isn't a rocket ship," he said with a frown.
"It's close enough, isn't it?" said Hermione.
They were all silent for a moment, gazing around at each other with pained looks. Ginny shared one first with Harry, then with her brother; she saw Malfoy giving the same one to Hermione, but it wasn't returned.
Were they really going to go to war on opposite sides?
But as both Malfoy and Ron yanked away the tissues, so that all five of them were touching their respective Portkeys, Ginny discovered that apparently the answer was yes.
Harry, Ron and Hermione landed solidly in a wide room of white marble, bordered with gold and smelling faintly of cake. Harry was feeling a bit sick - Portkeys always made him kind of queasy, especially after the last significant encounter he'd had with one - and the smell of food wasn't making it any better. Ron, meanwhile, was thrilled.
"Oh my god, that smells amazing," he said. "Where is that coming from?" He sniffed at the air, took a few steps forward and sniffed again. "Come on, guys, this way."
"But Ron, don't you think we should stay here for a minute?" said Hermione. "The Portkey probably took us to this spot for a reason - "
"Hermione, shut up, there's nothing here," said Ron. He was right - as Harry looked around the room, he saw nothing but a handful of wide windows, letting in faint light, and the expanse of white. There were doors on either end of the hall, two each, and as Ron followed his nose, it led them to the lefthand door on the righthand end. "Come on."
Harry shrugged and followed after him, and Hermione, giving up, threw up her hands and came too. Ron opened the door slowly, craning his neck around it. Harry leaned over him and looked, too, his head just underneath, and Hermione popped up just below him.
"Whoa," Harry agreed.
"Whoa," said Hermione.
The room they'd opened up into was probably the biggest kitchen Harry had ever seen - and he'd been sneaking down to visit the house-elves at Hogwarts since freshman year. There were huge cauldrons lining the lefthand wall, each one producing different-colored wisps of delicious-smelling steam; across the vast floor of the room, tables loaded with ingredients were getting chopped up by knives that were moving all on their own. The back wall was entirely composed of vast ovens that glowed with the rich warmness of cooking food.
"Culinary conjurations - they weren't kidding!" said Hermione.
"Did I die and go to heaven?" said Ron. "Is this real life?"
They pushed the door open further and walked into the kitchen, wandering around and examining all the goings-on. There wasn't anyone else in there; the food all seemed to be cooking itself, spoons stirring and shakers shaking by magic. From where Harry stood he could see at least six of his favorite kinds of food.
"Ohmuhgaw, Hurry, you've goah tryvis," said Ron around a mouthful of something chocolatey.
"Ron!" Hermione scolded, smacking him hard across the back so that he spit at least half of it out. "Don't take that, it isn't yours!"
"Oh, the boy is fine!" said a voice. "Let him take whatever he wants!"
Harry, still not seeing anything that looked human enough to be talking to them, pulled out his wand in suspicion. "Who said that?"
"It's just me, boy," whoever-it-was said. The voice was high and sort of floaty, but definitely male - Harry thought that if perhaps they ended up singing a musical number sometime soon, its range would fall somewhere between Malfoy's and his own. "I'm so glad you came - you've made the right decision, you know. Welcome to Swineparts."
"Okay, seriously, who is talking?" said Ron, who'd finally managed to swallow.
"It's me, right here!" the voice insisted, and suddenly Harry identified its location - it was coming from a huge, multi-layered cake that was perched on a table at the very center of the room. It was iced all over with white, pink, and sparkling gold; it looked just like the Portkey charm they'd used to get there. When the voice spoke again, two of the wider layers near the cakes base split apart like a mouth. The cake was talking to them.
"Just Professor Crumblecore, Headmaster here at Swineparts!"
"That cake," said Ron, "is talking."
"But of course!" said the cake. "Now, come with me, and we will head back up to the main school and get you three sorted out."
The cake bounced down off the table and hopped its way to the other side of the room, where on the far righthand wall a wide door stood open to an equally wide staircase. Harry didn't know what to make of this. A talking cake?
"I guess we follow him," Hermione whispered.
"Dude, I am so okay with this," said Ron, who started weaving through the food-laden tables to follow Crumblecore, snagging little bits and pieces to munch on as he went. Not really having much of another choice, Harry and Hermione tagged along after, and ascended the staircase behind Ron and the giant cake.
"You'll also need to be Sorted, of course," Crumblecore was saying.
"But, uh...Professor," said Hermione carefully, "we're already Sorted into houses at our own school. We're all in Gryffindor House."
"I'm sure that's fine and dandy for those of you down there on Earth, but up here we do things a bit differently!" said Crumblecore. "At Swineparts Culinary Conjuring Institute - well, don't you know the moon is made of cheese? Everything here is to do with food, of course!"
"Whoa, whoa," said Hermione. "The moon is not made of cheese. The moon is made of rocks and dust and soil just like any other solid-state celestial body - "
"The moon. Is made. Of cheese!" roared Crumblecore, his voice turning pretty frightening in its fury. After that, Hermione didn't really argue, and in a few seconds more, they'd arrived in the main hall of Swineparts.
There were huge windows down either side, and out the windows Harry could see a thick bubble of glass - that must have been what was keeping them all safe from the relative absence of atmosphere - and beyond that only stars and the grey-white-yellow surface of the moon. Inside the hall there were four long tables, much like the Great Hall of Hogwarts, for what Harry assumed were the four Swineparts houses. The table directly in front of him had a skinny blonde girl with wild, curly hair sitting at the very front end, and sitting at the very back end was -
"Oh my god, it's Professor Lupin!"
"Yes!" said Crumblecore. "Mr. Lupin is one of the finest professors Swineparts has had in years. He was very insistent that we contact you as soon as possible after we declared war on that wretched Martian institution."
"Can I go and talk to him?" Harry asked eagerly.
"In just a few moments, my boy!" said the headmaster. "Right now, the three of you are to be Sorted in proper Swineparts fashion. I hope you're thirsty!"
Up from a hole that had appeared in the floor rose a short pillar that came about to Harry's waist, and on top of the pillar were three fancy glasses of a bright purple potion.
"This is Consumptomus, the potion that we brew here at Swineparts in our Sorting Vat," Crumblecore explained. "Some of our, ah, cleverer students have taken to calling it the 'You Are What You Eat' potion. Simply down a glass of this, and for a brief moment, you will transform into the type of food that is most important to you, or that you consume most frequently - and with this indicator, we will place you into one of the four Swineparts houses! There's Bitter, in the back, Salty over on the left, Sour on the right, and here in the front, Sweet." The table for the house of Sweet was where Professor Lupin and the strange blonde girl were sitting.
"What's it taste like?" asked Ron.
"You'll just have to find out!"
"I don't know about this," he whispered to Harry.
Harry looked at Hermione. "Ladies first?"
"Oh, don't be such big babies," said Hermione. She lifted one of the slim glasses from the pillar and slowly downed its contents, and when the glass was empty, she was engulfed in a thick cloud of purple smoke and the glass clattered to the floor. When the smoke cleared, there sat Hermione on the white marble - a wide glass bowl full of salad, with a bed of leafy greens piled high with spinach, beets, little carrots, and a bunch of other shit that Harry definitely didn't usually eat.
"Oh my god," said Ron, "that's so perfect! I've been trying to think of a way to explain Hermione for so freakin' long and that is just exactly it. She's just a salad."
A moment later she was regular human Hermione again, and Crumblecore declared decisively, "Bitter House!"
Hermione bit her lip. "Guys, what are we going to do if we don't all get Sorted into the same house?"
"Ah, it'll be fine," said Harry. "I've got lots of friends in other houses at Hogwarts. Like there's...well in Hufflepuff I'm totally friends with...."
"You had that huge crush on Cho," Ron reminded him.
"Yeah!" said Harry. "See? We're cool, we're tight, don't worry about it."
"Well, if you say so," said Hermione, still looking worried. "I guess I'm going to go over there and try to introduce myself to my new housemates. Good luck, you two...."
"Bottoms up!" said Ron, grabbing the second purple glass. He chugged it all back in one swig and slapped the glass back down on the pillar with a sigh of refreshment before the purple smoke managed to surround him. It stayed there a good bit longer than Hermione's had, and when it finally vanished, Ron was still standing there, perfectly human.
"I don't get it," he said. "I was a chocolate bar, right? I know I'm not in the same house as Hermione, I am not a salad."
"Ron, you didn't change at all!" said Harry. "What's going on, Professor Crumblecore?"
"Well, ah, you see," said the headmaster. "This has happened once or twice before, where a student either eats so little or so much that no one food holds significance or priority to him or her any more. But this hasn't happened since that anorexic girl that graduated a few years ago...Mr. Weasley, I'm afraid we can't Sort you into any house if the potion leaves you unaffected."
Ron thought about this for all of two seconds. "All right, whatever. I'll just go wherever Harry's going."
"Don't you want to be with Hermione?" said Harry. "I thought you guys were, uh - "
"Oh, we totally are, but a lot of the rest of the time she's just annoying," said Ron. "Go on, you go."
Harry eyed the last glass of purple potion, and then swigged it down. It tasted a little bit like butterbeer, but also kind of the way roses smelled, and after it first hit his tongue it kind of stopped having a taste at all. He saw the smoke coming for him and just let himself fade into it, and the next he remembered, he was crouched on one knee on the floor.
"Oh, definitely Sweet House!" said Crumblecore. "Congratulations, Harry!"
As Harry and Ron headed to the Sweet House table, arms across each other's shoulders and big smiles on their faces, Harry just had to know. "What did I turn into, anyway?"
"You were a can of Squirt," said Ron. "But it's okay, I still love you."
They sat down at the table next to the weird-looking blond girl, and Ron immediately reached across for a huge slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream plopped on top of it. Harry contented himself with a piece of brownie.
"Hello," said the girl, "I'm Luna."
"Your name is Luna and you live on the moon?" said Ron. "That sucks."
"Well, I've gotten used to it. Usually no one cares about what I say anyway."
"That's a bummer," said Harry.
"Which reminds me," she said, "there's something I really feel like need to tell you. Crumblecore is not who he seems to be. Something very strange has happened with him lately, he's changed. I wouldn't trust him if I were you, Hogwarts ambassadors."
"Whoa, that's so weird," said Ron. "What is she saying? I can't make any sense of it."
"Yeah, that's bizarre," said Harry. "It's like she's speaking a totally different language."
Luna sighed. "Not again."
Draco Malfoy was ecstatic.
"I can't believe this!" he said, for what must have been the dozenth time. Here he was at Pigfarts! He and Ginny had been given their own special rooms that opened onto a shared little common area, everything done up in black and chrome and flat pristine white. There was a thick green space blanket on his wide bed, and above it on the wall hung an enchanted picture frame, the contents of which could turn into both a window to the outside (where he could see magnificent red craters for miles) and any poster he could possibly desire (including that amazing Zefron one they'd had to destroy because it was one of Voldemort's horcruxes). A silvery space suit - purple and green trim, and it fit him perfectly - stood in the corner for when he had to go out and attend classes. The house-Martian that had greeted them and shown them to their rooms had told him that they had an appointment with Rumbleroar in half an hour, and to just make themselves at home.
Since then, Draco hadn't been able to stop grinning. Pigfarts. Pigfarts! It was almost enough to make him want to...
He froze, and looked around. He changed the picture frame to a window and looked out, making sure. He got up and closed his door, making sure. And then, finally, he started to sing.
"Pigfarts, Pigfarts, here I come," he started, sort of quietly. "Pigfarts, Pigfarts, yum yum yum!
"A delicious, magic place Ahhhh, I'm at Pigfarts Pigfarts, Pigfarts, here I am
Sweetest school in outer space!
Ahhhh, I'm at Pigfarts!
I get all my smarts from Pigfarts
I win all the hearts at Pigfarts!
Pigfarts, Pigfarts, bim boom bam!
Teach me charms and teach me spells
Wouldn't learn them anyplace else!
Ahhhh, I'm at Pigfarts
Pigfarts, Pigfarts, here I am
He'd gained some volume and jumped up on his bed, and from somewhere magical his backup soundtrack had started playing. He took his wand in hand like a microphone and sang more dramatically, overjoyed.
"Ahhhh, I'm at Pigfarts All the best wi-zar-dryyyy Pigfarts, Pigfarts, here I go At Pigfarts!!!
Ahhhh, I'm at Pigfarts
I'm fourth from the sun at Pigfarts
But my number-one is Pigfarts!
And it's the only place I wanna beee
Pigfarts is for meeee!
Pigfarts, Pigfarts, ho ho ho!
Pigfarts, Pigfarts, here I come
Pigfarts - gonna get me some
All the best wi-zar-dryyyy
Pigfarts, Pigfarts, here I go
He leapt straight into the air and then landed bouncily on his bed, flushed and laughing. Never before had his life seemed so complete - he didn't care if no one had heard him. Nothing could be more spectacular than finally being at the place he wanted to be the most.
And then someone knocked on his door.
"Uh, Malfoy?" came Ginny Weasley's voice from the other side. He froze, and his smile faded. Had she heard the entire song? He was sure he had probably...gotten a little carried away....
Well, so what if she'd heard? He was proud of his loyalties to the Academy, and now that he was here, he didn't care what anyone thought. "Er, yeah, Weasley?"
"I think it's time for us to go see Professor Rumbleroar...and I don't know where his office is," she said. "You know how to get there, right?"
Draco didn't, but he figured it'd be easy enough to figure out. "Yeah, hang on," he said. "Let me get my space suit on." He climbed into the suit and secured the helmet over his head, making sure there wasn't any kind of leak anywhere, and waving a good Bubble-Head Charm over his whole body just to be on the safe side. Then he joined Ginny in their little common room and they exchanged weak smiles before setting off into the castle to find Rumbleroar's chambers. It turned out to not matter that he didn't really know where they were, because a trail of blinking red lights led them in the right direction (they could also have followed yellow ones to the Great Station for lunch or blue ones of differing shades to any number of classes). As they entered into the huge airlock and waited it to fill back up with breathable air, Malfoy felt himself beginning to shake. He was actually going to meet Headmaster Rumbleroar of Pigfarts! In person!
Ginny smiled a bit at him. "This must be what I looked like the first time I actually got to meet Harry Potter," she said through their glowing pink communication link.
Malfoy frowned, and did his best to stiffen up and stop trembling. "Whatever."
The door in front of them hissed open and Malfoy removed his helmet and entered. Behind him, he heard Ginny doing the same. He ascended the three steep steps in front of him and found himself in a large, sprawling office, where magical enchanted grass grew from the floor and the wide desk in the corner was mostly for show. Perched on a rock in the center of it all was Rumbleroar, looking majestic as ever with a maroon and silver wizarding hat nestled inside his glorious mane. And sitting next to him on the rock sipping at a Red Bull was Professor Dumbledore, and that was when Malfoy dropped his helmet and started feeling like he would scream.
Ginny actually did scream. "Oh my Yates!! Professor Dumbledore I thought you were dead!!" She ran to him, anxious for an embrace, but couldn't climb the big rock in her space suit and settled for bouncing up and down at its base looking up at him. "What are you doing here?"
"I am assisting Rumbie here in running his fabulous Martian school," said Dumbledore. "I was getting sick of Hogwarts. Everyone there is a real dumbass. You'd be amazed at how much smarter all the kids here are!"
But as they chattered on inanely about the pros and cons of Hogwarts, Draco could slowly feel all of his ecstasy seeping from him and dissipating, like wisps of air leaking out into the vacuum of space. Dumbledore was here? That old coot? This ruined everything! Draco had spent years dreaming of a school without Dumbledore, where he'd truly be respected for the great wizard that he was. And though he'd told Potter and his stupid friends that he felt bad for being part of the cause of Dumbledore's death, it hadn't really bothered him that much - not nearly as much as this was bothering him right now. If Dumbledore was here...would he even truly be getting the Pigfarts experience at all?
"Why the long face, Malfoy?" Dumbledore called over to him.
He didn't answer. "You wanted to see us, sir?" he said, specifically addressing Rumbleroar.
"Yes, boy," the lion said. "I need to explain to you the greater situation that is at hand, and begin preparing you for what is to come. This is going to take a bit of time, especially since we need to review for the audience at home, so if I were you I'd settle into exposition mode for right now."
Draco and Ginny set their space helmets on the ground and sat on them like little stools, paying rapt attention.
"A long time ago there were three great wizards who met at an intergalactic wizarding conference. One of them was myself, and one of them is the man sitting next to me." Dumbledore gave a jaunty little wave and knocked back some more of his Red Bull. "The third was a wizard in the form of a large cake, known as Crumblecore. In addition to all having cool rhyming names, we realized that we were all very concerned with the education of future wizarding generations, so we came together to make these magical schools, one on each of our home locations in space."
"But wait," said Ginny, "I thought Hogwarts was founded way before your time by the four wizards that our Houses are named after!"
"Ah, I just made all that bullshit up because it sounded cool," said Dumbledore. "Hogwarts has always been mine. Who do you think put that fucking cool swimming pool down in the basement?"
"Go on," said Draco, determined to ignore Dumbledore.
"We entered into a brotherhood that said we would share all of our magic together, as well as our educational techniques," said Rumbleroar, "but that other than that we were free to keep our secrets. Specific incantations for spells, songs and stories, and hidden mysteries within our institutions were kept private and often well-guarded. Dumbledore and I never betrayed this trust to one another. Very recently, Crumblecore has."
"And that's why you're going to war against Swineparts?" asked Ginny.
"Precisely. I do not appreciate our pact being violated in this way. We tried to pursue non-violent resolutions, but Crumblecore has been acting very strange lately, and did not take kindly to our negotiations. Now we have no choice."
"I'm ready," said Draco instantly, rising to his feet. "I'll do whatever you want me to in the service of Pigfarts."
"That's what I like to hear, Mister Malfoy. I've prepared a magical training regimen for you in one of our underground facilities. You will attend classes in the mornings until lunch, and then report there after you have eaten to prepare for battle." Rumbleroar turned to Ginny. "And yourself, Miss Weasley?"
Ginny bit her lip, fidgeted with a lock of her hair, and then slowly shook her head. "Sorry, Mr. Roar, but count me out. I'm happy to support you guys passively but I just can't bring myself to fight any more. I feel like all I've done is fight lately, and I need a break. Besides," she said, "...Harry's fighting over there. And my brother, and one of my best friends. I can't just turn on them like that."
"Weasley, you've got some balls to say no to a lion that could easily jump over there and bite your face off," said Dumbledore. "I respect that about you. You can just go to classes like a normal Pigfarts student all day and I won't bust you for anything. But, if you don't mind me asking, why'd you come along in the first place?"
Ginny smiled at Draco. "Well, I couldn't just send one of my friends off into outer space all by himself," she said.
Rumbleroar smiled a great feline smile at the two of them, and Draco just scowled. Did Ginny Weasley really think of him as...as a friend?
They put their space suit helmets back on and left the office. Ginny followed a string of dark blue lights to Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Draco spotted a new line - deep purple - that would lead him to the underground training facilities. But as he drifted off in Mars's low gravity, he couldn't help looking back at her, and watching her as she departed.
Hermione woke up the following Wednesday morning in her bed in the Bitter House dormitories full of excitement. Ever since she'd seen Professor Lupin in the Great Hall the afternoon before she'd been eagerly awaiting his class. True, her other classes had been very interesting, but she'd never been a very good cook - the lessons at Swineparts were broken down by culinary classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and sorcery classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, with the two classes that combined them - Brewery (a less-traditional form of Potions) and Magi-Baking - on Fridays. Professor Lupin still taught Defense Against the Dark Arts, with a concentration in defending oneself against enchanted animals, plants, and food and kitchen items. This sounded much more interesting than the properties of murtlap, gillyweed and flobberworm slime in mixed drinks.
She was also still a little upset about getting Sorted into Bitter by herself while Ron and Harry got to go hang out in Sweet, which seemed infinitely cooler. So what if she prided herself on eating healthily and actually wanted to stay at a reasonable weight? Salads were tasty and nutritious, damnit, and if she ate them a lot, that was because they were good for you. She just didn't understand why the house color for Bitter had to be brown. Her new sweatervest was pretty much the exact same color as her hair and it all sort of ran together.
Hermione was apparently not the only person to notice this. "Whoa, I almost missed you there," said Harry, as she met him and Ron on their way to Defense. "You're just kind of a big fudge-colored blob."
"Thanks, Harry," she said sarcastically, clinging a little more tightly to her textbook - its dust jacket was navy blue, and would perhaps break up the color a bit more.
"Don't worry," said Ron, "we're not gonna be here for too long. Then you can go back to wearing boring gray instead of boring brown and accepting the fact that you're a horrible cook." He scarfed down a spoonful of round, brightly-colored pellets out of a styrofoam cup. Hermione made a face at him.
"Ron, are those Dippin Dots?"
"Yeah, so?" he said, swallowing. "I'm in Sweet now, I get to eat sugary crap as much as I want."
"Like you didn't already," she said.
"She's got a point, dude," said Harry, "I mean, all this fancy culinary crap and you're eating Dippin Dots?"
"Hey," said Ron, brandishing his plastic spoon very seriously. "This? Is the ice cream of the future."
With a roll of her eyes, Hermione continued on to Professor Lupin's class, wondering if perhaps it was good that they were in separate Houses after all.
The class was extraordinarily interesting. Professor Lupin discussed very articulately the ways in which Portkeys made from ingestible food could be utilized as Dark attacks, especially against unsuspecting Muggles - they'd eat the food without realizing it was a Portkey, and soon their stomachs would have vanished to another location entirely, which was often fatal. He set out a beautiful tray of fruits and, after teaching them the faint but telltale signs of an edible Portkey, asked them to identify safe pieces of fruit before eating them. Hermione got two strawberries and a wedge of pineapple flawlessly and munched on them until her fingers were sticky. Ron had to guess four or five times before Professor Lupin let him eat so much as a grape. Harry opted for the grapefruit, which was supposed to be a garnish and which Professor Lupin had already told them was not enchanted at all.
"An awfully sour decision for someone in my house!" he said. "My Consumptomus revealed me to be a bar of chocolate, you know."
"I think I could've guessed that, yeah," said Harry. "It's so cool to have you as my Head of House! McGonagall is all right but she's a total bitch."
"Harry!" Hermione yelped, mortified. "Don't talk that way about a professor!"
"Yeah, not unless it's Snape," said Ron, who'd finally picked out a big slice of apple and was chomping on it loudly. "Oh wait - "
"He's dead!" Harry finished with him, and they exchanged a fruity high-five.
Professor Lupin looked startled. "Snape's dead?"
"Yeah, Bellatrix Lestrange killed him with a snake to the wiener," said Harry. "We would have sucked the poison out, but..."
"No, no, that's completely understandable," said Lupin. "Here, I'd love to continue this chat, but more privately, and the class is almost over." He stood from his desk to address all the other Sweets and Bitters in the class. "Great job today, folks! Hurry on and get a head-start to Transfiguration, I'll see you on Monday." Hermione, Harry and Ron stayed back, and Lupin waved his wand to remove the Portkey charms from the fruit tray so that they could continue to eat all of it without risk.
"I don't understand it, Professor Lupin," said Harry after the room was cleared. "How is it that you're here? We all thought you were dead, too."
"Which is exactly what we needed you to think, Harry," said Lupin. "After Dumbledore's death, Hogwarts needed a leader who would do just as much justice to the school, and if you thought you could come away with myself and Sirius - "
"Sirius is here too!?" Harry cried. "Oh my god, where is he?"
"He's up in the Pastry Tower, working on a new creation for dinner tonight," said Lupin. "While we've been here at Swineparts, Sirius has found quite the culinary calling. He's an amazing chef. He put together this fruit tray, even."
"But why are you here at Swineparts anyway, Professor?" asked Hermione. "Why didn't you just go away to some place on Earth?"
"Yeah, like, I dunno, Fire Island or something?" said Ron.
"Well, it's remarkable, actually," said Lupin, "but I've discovered that here on the moon, my...condition has almost completely vanished."
"You mean that recurring wart thing on your - "
"My lycanthropy," Lupin specified. "The trigger for that, naturally, is catching sight of the full moon. But if I'm here on the moon, I never see a full moon."
"Right," said Hermione, "because the phasing of the moon is an illusion created by light from the sun reflecting off - "
"Hermione, shut up," said Ron.
"Well it is," she said, crossing her arms and pouting a little.
"So, you and Sirius...is anyone else here?" Harry asked, a little too casually.
"No, Harry," said Remus sadly. "The other members of the Order of the Phoenix that passed away during the battle at Hogwarts are, in fact, actually dead...as is just about anyone who died beforehand, Snape included, apparently. I'm sorry, Harry."
Harry looked down at the floor, and Hermione didn't blame him - it was a lot to process. Sirius and Lupin alive...his parents still dead...a wizarding school on the moon, where everything seemed to be made of food...
"This year is almost weirder than the last one," she said, anxious to break the silence, and it seemed to work, at least a little. Harry looked up at her and gave her a sincere smile.
"In fact," said Lupin, "why don't we go and visit Sirius right now? I'll excuse your tardiness to Transfiguration. It's just been so long since I've seen the three of you...and Sirius will be even more overjoyed than I am. Follow me."
They did, out of the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and up a huge, winding staircase in the direction of another one of those incredible smells like the one that had greeted them upon their arrival. As they climbed higher, the smell was accompanied by a soft humming coming from behind what they soon discovered was a tall silver door. Lupin gave three short knocks and the door opened on its own.
"Remus, babe, come in!" said Sirius, sounding more chipper than Hermione had ever heard him. He was hunkered over a vast wooden table with his sleeves rolled up past his elbows, and didn't bother to look up as they came in. "Look, I know you like raspberry the best but this one just isn't going to taste as good unless I use blu--holy shit, Remus, you brought me my godson!"
"Sirius!" Harry cried, rushing to him and embracing him in a huge hug with no regard to the fact that his hair and clothes were getting covered in flour.
"Oh, Harry, look at you," said Sirius, smiling, if possible, even more broadly. "And there's Weasley and his little girlfriend, how great. You've got some cool friends, Harry, if they'll follow you all the way to the moon."
"I know," said Harry, and they exchanged smiles all around. Sometimes he wasn't so knuckle-headed after all.
"What are you working on today, Sirius?" Lupin asked, smiling as well.
"Oh, you know, pies, cakes, the usual," said Sirius. "Living with the head of Sweet I get used to baking a lot, you know?" He gave Harry a sidelong look.
"Gosh, Sirius, when did you learn to do all of this?" said Harry.
"Yeah, everything looks so delicious," said Ron, gazing over a shelf along the wall where three pies and about seven cakes sat cooling. "Way better than the crap my mom makes most of the time."
"It's a funny story," said Sirius.
"I just throw stuff in the oven It's a talent I've discovered
With some magic and some lovin'
And out pops food I did not know I could make
Since I've been undercover
I've got a knack for things that I can stew and bake!
It's a talent I've discovered
He picked up a muffin from a rack at his table and tossed it to Hermione, who fumbled some but caught it, and brought it to her mouth for the most amazing buttery-lemon flavor she'd ever experienced. She almost cried.
"So here's some food for you
And I promise it's delicious
Here's some food for you
Though it may not be nutritious
It's the very least that I can do
Here's some food for you!"
"This is incredible!" said Ron, who'd taken a piece of the cake that seemed to have cooled the most. "I don't even like carrots, but when you make them into a cake, it's like - ugh, irresistible."
"You should see what this man can do with chocolate," said Lupin, in a way that sounded to Hermione's ears probably a little dirtier than Lupin had intended. "He just gets into the zone and there's no stopping him."
Sirius fully admitted to that.
"I might exhibit strange behavior
When I decide upon a flavor
I've got bitter, salty, sour, sweet and more."
"Sirius, this tastes damn awesome!" called Ron.
"Can I try that pumpkin blossom?" said Harry.
"And those pound cakes look just like old Crumblecore!" added Hermione.
Sirius laughed. "Of course!
"That's some food for you I'm in the mood for you
Made with extra special patience
Here's some food for you
And though the recipe is ancient
I can spice it up like new
Here's some food for you!
To sample all my dishes
Here's some food for you
To grant your stomachs' wishes!
It's the very best that I can brew
Here's some food for -
Here's some food for -
Here's some food for you!
I'm in the mood for you
Sirius threw one last dash of powdered sugar into the pie in front of him and then, with a wave of his wand, sent it floating off into an oven in the back corner. Hermione, Ron and Harry were left breathless and grinning, from both the song and the amazing food they'd sampled. Maybe Swineparts wasn't going to be so bad after all.
As she slumped against the wall trying to catch her breath again, a bizarre sort of contraption in the corner opposite the oven caught Hermione's eye. "Sirius, what is that?"
Lupin turned to look. "Oh," he said, "that's a magical cooking device that Sirius and I have been trying to perfect for quite some time now. If we do it right, it'll be able to launch a stream of piping hot pancake batter from here all the way to Mars, to blast those scoundrels at Pigfarts and show them that we mean business. But there's this last little kink I can't seem to get worked out."
"Which surprises me, because Mr. Lupin here is usually quite the master of kinks," said Sirius, grinning. Okay, that settled it - there was definitely something going on there. Judging by the sick face Ron had pulled, even he was picking up on it.
Harry, meanwhile, was focusing on the batter cannon. "What if you tried this?" he said, and he lifted a lever on the side and prodded at it with his wand. The whole thing glowed hot orange for a second or two and then faded back to normal.
Sirius stared, impressed. "What did you just do?"
"I'm not really sure," said Harry, "but it just seemed like something was missing there."
Lupin smiled at him, and then at Sirius. "Oh, Padfoot, sounds just like you when you're onto something confectionary. I can see where he's your godson."
"You're a genius, Harry," said Sirius. "A genius! You three go on to Transfiguration, and I'm going to go tell Crumblecore about this. We might be attacking as early as tonight!"
They left the Pastry Tower with their robe pockets loaded down with sweets - Hermione had taken practically that whole tray of lemon muffins - and headed across the wide marble moonbase to the place where the funny Transfiguration teacher, an Asian man called Professor Umami that Hermione had met last night at dinner, held his lessons. As they walked, laughing amongst themselves and occasionally humming strains of Sirius's musical number, they brushed by that funny blonde-haired girl from Sweet, whose name Harry had said was (quite unfortunately) Luna.
"I couldn't help but overhear that nice song you all were singing," she said. "I'd hate for your fun times here at Swineparts to be ruined."
"Uh, thanks?" said Harry, looking confused.
"And that's why you simply can't let Crumblecore attack the Martian school," she said. "I brushed against him in the hallway just after breakfast this morning and he felt hollow - like someone had eaten out his insides and was hiding away in there. I seriously don't believe he's acting in his right mind any more. He can't be trusted."
Hermione raised one eyebrow, and leaned in to whisper in Ron's ear. "Okay, no offense to your house or anything, but this girl doesn't make a drop of sense. What in the heck is she talking about?"
Ron turned to whisper back. "I dunno, man, she's always like this. Maybe there really is a Moonspeak here on the moon and she just kind of falls into it by accident?" With his mouth near her ear already, he went ahead and stuck his tongue in it, and she shivered in a mix of pleasure and revulsion and shoved him away, blushing.
"I think she's just weird," said Harry, as they walked into Transfiguration. Storming off the other way, Luna merely rolled her eyes in frustration.
Ginny sat at a small, round table in the Pigfarts cafeteria, staring out one of its round, porthole-like windows off into the red and black beyond. Her rehydrated tomato soup and pre-packaged sandwich in front of her were growing cold, but she couldn't bring herself to eat them. She'd just...lost her appetite.
Maybe Harry, Ron and Hermione had been right in all of this. Though Dumbledore was here at Pigfarts, and they did seem to be in the right in this whole situation, it was awfully boring, and she couldn't help but wonder if Swineparts had truly been the way to go. Her professors were all militant and strict, and though she felt like she was learning, she wasn't having any fun. Hogwarts was always fun, even when McGonagall was breathing down her neck in a lecture or her brothers were poking fun of her in the Gryffindor common room. Even running around trying to defeat Voldemort had been better than this. Ginny just wasn't cut out for war. And most of all, she missed Harry.
She sighed, and was trying to eat another bite of her grilled cheese when Malfoy ambled up to her table, excited as usual about his freeze-dried rice and plastic packet of pumpkin juice. "Hey, why the long face, Weasley?"
"Oh, Malfoy, I just...I'm homesick, I guess," she said, stirring forlornly at her soup. "I wish we hadn't had to come out to this war. It just seems so pointless."
"It's not pointless," Malfoy insisted. "Swineparts and their sham of a headmaster broke an ancient, sacred bond of wizarding trust. I hate Dumbledore but even he didn't do something stupid like that. This is serious and they deserve everything we're going to give them. You should see what I learned today, and that's just my second day of training! We're going to kick ass out there, Weasley."
"I'm sure," she said. "Just...go easy on Harry and our other friends, will you? They don't deserve any of this, they didn't - "
"Whoa, wait a moment," said Malfoy. "Our other friends? I'm not friends with any of those losers."
"...Oh," said Ginny, even more sadly. "I just - thought we were all getting so much closer together, is all." She sighed again, and went back to staring out the window, abandoning her dinner entirely. "I'm just.... I'm worried about Harry, out there, Draco.
"I've always had my dad, and I've always had my mom To pass him notes, fix his ties And I'm missing you
But his life, it just...hasn't been the same
But he's had me, and I've been there
He's had me, someone who cares
See the hurt that's in his eyes
Or just make out and share some snacks
Now I don't know when we'll get back....
I'm just missing you...
To pass him notes, fix his ties
And I'm missing you
She was smiling sadly, and Draco, personally, took this as his cue to leave. But as he stood up she reached out her hand and stopped him, just for a moment.
"Do you understand how I'm feeling, Draco?" she said. "Haven't you - isn't there anyone that you love like that, so much that you just have to worry about them, like a switch you just can't turn off?"
Draco instantly thought of someone, and then just as instantly wished he hadn't, trying to push her stupid hair and commanding voice out of his thoughts. "Er, yeah, I guess there is," he said, stupidly.
"Then you know how it is."
He didn't answer her, and she finally just lifted her hand from his arm and let him go. "Turning in early," he told her by way of excuse, "worn out from all that training tonight. It's great, Weasley, just great."
But as truthfully tired as he was, as he lay in his green space-bed later that night, Draco realized that it wasn't really all that great - that none of Pigfarts was. It was actually just a lot like Hogwarts: same dumb classes, same irritating professors, same stupid Dumbledore roaming around the campus and occasionally calling him a little shit. He'd been dreaming of it for so long, he'd never imagined that it could be anything less than perfect. True, he loved training up to be an attack wizard - he thought he could probably be pretty good at it if he kept up, and it was definitely gaining him some cool points - but there were some things that even Pigfarts didn't have. Atmosphere, for one. It was impossible to play a good game of Quidditch up here on Mars, because you just couldn't fly anywhere. Draco loved Quidditch.
And also, he realized, with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, Pigfarts didn't have any of his friends. He'd left in such a hurry that he hadn't thought to bring Crabbe or Goyle along. Pansy still wasn't even speaking to him. And...
And his other friends had all gone to Swineparts.
"They're not my friends," he insisted out loud to himself. "I hate them." But even to his own ears the words were unconvincing. He missed arguing with Weasley and Potter about class and Quidditch teams and even Pigfarts itself. And he missed Hermione Granger, a lot.
He wanted to go back.
Just as Draco was finally getting all his ridiculous thoughts and revelations in order enough that he thought he might get to sleep sometime soon (though surely not without some irritating dreams), a loud thundering noise like the hot hiss of something hot and melty against something cold that was going to solidify it resounded through the whole of the Pigfarts base. It startled Draco back awake at once - and then it activated the magical alarm siren in Rumbleroar's office, which could mean only one thing. They were under attack from Swineparts.
He leapt from his bed and put his space suit on right overtop of his Camp Rock pajamas, going as quickly as he could while still maintaining astronautical safety. By the time he made it into the common room, Ginny was there too, and they headed out onto the main base to try and find the spot that the attack had hit.
It was easy to locate. Plastered across their main bubble dome was a message, written in what looked like hot pancake batter, and still being scribbled out as Draco watched. The neatness and accuracy of the penmanship was pretty impressive from such a great distance.
"To the people of Pigfarts: Prepare yourselves! Our numbers are increasing and we are building up quite the arsenal of spells and potions to unleash upon you. If you surrender now we MIGHT not turn you all into chocolate pudding! But don't count on it. By the way, Rumbleroar is nothing but a wussy pussy and he doesn't scare us at all. Have fun being little green men over there on Mars, bitches! ~Headmaster Crumblecore and the Crumble Corps
Prepare yourselves! Our numbers are increasing and we are building up quite the arsenal of spells and potions to unleash upon you. If you surrender now we MIGHT not turn you all into chocolate pudding! But don't count on it. By the way, Rumbleroar is nothing but a wussy pussy and he doesn't scare us at all. Have fun being little green men over there on Mars, bitches!
~Headmaster Crumblecore and the Crumble Corps"
The letter finished up just as Draco did, with an overextravagant flourish. It took Draco all of two seconds to figure it out:
He knew that flourish.
Judging from Dumbledore and Rumbleroar's faces as they appeared next to him in their own spacesuits, so did they.
"I can't believe I missed this until now!" Dumbledore whined. "It should have been so freakin' obvious."
"What do you think we should do?" Rumbleroar asked.
"We've got to put a stop to him!" said Draco.
"Who? Crumblecore? I don't get it!" Ginny fretted.
"You have to send us, Professor," Draco said to Rumbleroar. "Weasley and myself. They'll listen to us." He set his face into what he hoped was a hard look of determination, hoping to counteract how lame and girly his next declaration sounded. "We're their friends."
"I dunno how anyone could be friends with you, Malfoy, but I guess you're right," said Dumbledore. "How quick can we make a Portkey to the moon, Rumbie?"
"I'll get to work on it right away, and it should be done by the morning."
Harry Potter woke up the next morning feeling pretty fucking good about himself. He couldn't believe he'd managed to fix that pancake batter cannon the way he had! Their late-night attack on Pigfarts had gone swimmingly, and now it was all anyone at Swineparts could talk about. As he and Ron strode through the halls talking and laughing and trying to figure out what they wanted for breakfast, people he didn't even know would shout out to him in excitement and awe.
That's right, he thought to himself, I'm fucking Harry Potter.
"I need some breakfast cereal in the worst way," Ron was saying as they entered into the Great Hall. "I know they make like, the most amazing waffles and pancakes and shit ever here, but sometimes you just get cravings, you know?"
"Yeah, I feel you," said Harry. "Hey, where's Hermione?"
"Probably sleeping in," said Ron. "We were up pretty late last night~..."
"Giggity!" said Harry, slapping him a high-five. "Ugh, is she any good, 'cause I don't know, I still keep thinking about her like you said, like a salad."
"Dude, don't think about it like a gross salad from Wendy's or something," said Ron, as they sat down at the Sweet house breakfast table. "It's like, a Cheesecake Factory salad. Emphasis on cheesecake, if you know what I mean."
"Cheesecake?" said Crumblecore, appearing suddenly at their table. "Taking a fascination with it, boy? Perhaps you were right for Sweet house after all!"
"Nah, man, I think the potion pegged me right," said Ron. "Totally could have gone for some Chinese last night after - well, you know. Always makes me hungry."
"Everything makes you hungry," said Luna Lovegood from Harry's left. "Just something I've discovered about you."
"Too true, too true," said Ron.
"So you're going to listen to me today?" she said.
"Yeah, sure, don't we always?" said Harry.
"Only I've just...I've discovered that there really is a Dark wizard inside of Crumblecore's hollowed-out body," said Luna. "He's been living there for nearly a month now, slowly but surely subverting Swineparts to his own dark purposes. He's the one that declared the war on Pigfarts, not the real Crumblecore!"
"She's lost me again," said Ron, shrugging.
"I know, right? Look, I'm sorry, Luna, but you're just not making any sense to me," said Harry. But Crumblecore was looking absolutely murderous (at least, as much as a fluffy-looking pink cake could look murderous). He was fixing her with his cakey stare so fiercely that Harry was pretty confused. What the hell had she said to get him so furious?
"What I'm saying," Luna finally snapped, "is that this cake - "
"THAT CAKE," cried an irritatingly familiar voice from the door to the Great Hall, "IS A LIE!"
Harry whirled around to look, with Ron not too far behind, and saw Draco and Ginny (both in space suits complete with bubble helmets) and a sleepy-looking Hermione all standing together at the entrance, staring down the huge cake that was seated at Harry's table.
"What?" said Harry. "What do you mean?"
"Grab him, Ron, right now!" yelled Ginny. "Stop him before he - "
"You're too late!" cried the cake in another irritatingly familiar voice, and its vast, artfully-frosted pink body burst open to reveal the two-faced form of Harry's old Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Quirinus Quirrell, with none other than Lord Voldemort attached to the back of his head.
"Voldemort?" Harry demanded, jumping to his feet with his wand instantly at the ready. "How many times do I have to kill you, man?"
"Apparently more than once!" he scoffed, and Harry got a sick feeling of déjà vu.
"He's been in there the whole time," said Hermione, as she came to stand alongside them, still in her pajamas. "I figured it out last night during the attack on Pigfarts - after all that time we've been spending with Sirius, I'm starting to understand cakes, and something about this one didn't quite smell sweet enough."
"I've been trying to tell you that the whole fucking time," said Luna Lovegood, but no one heard her.
"I recognized his handwriting after we got that note at our castle," said Draco, as he and Ginny, too, joined them with their wands out to face Voldemort-Quirrell. "I told you, Potter, I told you! I told you to side with Pigfarts!"
"It has nothing to do with Swineparts," said Remus Lupin, as he and Sirius approached them from the opposite end of the table, "and everything to do with this abomination here. Explain yourself at once." They, too, fixed their wands on the Dark Lord.
"Yeah," said Ginny, "I thought you said you didn't want to kill Harry any more!"
"Just because I don't want to kill Potter," said Voldemort's sick-ass face, "doesn't mean that I'm not interested in taking over the world! And when I learned that I could possibly rule the universe - that I had the opportunity to subvert this age-old brotherhood of queers and sissies - it was just too good to pass up! It was only by my own fortune that Potter fell right into my lap as well."
"Swineparts never wanted to go to war!" said Hermione. "You did all of this!"
"That's right!" he hissed. "I planned to sabotage - from within!" Standing as he still was in the carcass of the great cake headmaster, he laughed at his own pun, and trained his wand on Harry. "And I'll start, like always, with you."
"Look, if you wanna fight, I'm just gonna fucking kill you again," Harry told him. "Don't act like I won't do it."
"Don't do it!" Ginny screamed, and she threw her space helmet to the floor with a resounding Crash! of broken glass. The rest of them all turned to stare at her - this was beginning to become a trend - and let their wand hands fall slack.
"Damnit, you guys, I am sick of everyone trying to kill everyone!" she said. "Too many people are dead already! We thought you were dead," she said to Lupin and Sirius. "Our brother Fred is dead," she said, turning to Ron. "Your parents are dead," she continued with a glance to Harry. "And I don't know where the fuck your families are," she told Hermione and Draco. "The point is, everyone deserves a chance to live. And I think that's what's got Voldemort so pissed." She looked at him, then, and the sorry existence he was living out on the back of his best friend's skull. "It's not too late to turn around and find a better way. It's not up to fate to lay the ground...look for a better day!"
"She's right," said, of all people, Draco. "Pigfarts and Swineparts and Hogwarts should all learn to work together in harmony again, not fight and compete like they are right now."
"And if Voldemort here could just have a body of his own again, I'm sure he wouldn't be making the same mistakes twice," said Harry, finally starting to catch on.
Voldemort's wand fell completely to his side, then, and he looked pitifully down at the hollow shell of the cake he'd been occupying. "I just...I just want to go rollerblading," he said to Quirrell.
"I know you do," came Quirrell's voice from the other side. "It's all I want, too. But what can we do?"
"Yeah, I don't know how to fix this one, guys," said Hermione. "We can't just whip him up a body from scratch!"
But Lupin's eyes lit up. "What if we can?"
"Huh?" said the five of them, baffled.
"We've got with us here the best cook I've ever met," he said, throwing his arm across a blushing Sirius's shoulders. "And fuck it, we're all wizards. Surely if Sirius cooks him up a decent enough body, we can stick his soul inside of it, get that sick-ass face off the back of poor Quirrell's head, and give everyone a happy ending!"
"Hey, that's so crazy it just might work!" said Ron, raising his morning glass of orange juice in a toast. The rest of them quickly followed suit.
"To my new body!"
"To happy endings!"
Sirius led the way up to the top of the Pastry Tower, with the rest of them following along behind him. At the back of the group, Draco fell into step with Hermione.
"That was pretty brilliant that you figured all of that out all the way on Mars, Malfoy," she told him, albeit a bit reluctantly.
"I only wish I didn't recognize Voldemort's handwriting," he said, hanging his head a little. "You know I still feel awful for everything I did back at Hogwarts."
"It's okay," she said. "You're leaving us behind now, and you can make a new name for yourself at Pigfarts, and maybe not screw up so much, you know?"
Draco steeled his nerves, and finally made a decision. "But I'm not going back to Pigfarts," he said. "I'm going back to Hogwarts, with the rest of you."
And unless his eyes deceived him, Hermione's face lit up a little at that. "Really? But you've been so obsessed with it for so long, I just assumed - "
"It's really not all it's cracked up to be," he said, trying to sound casual. "After all, I don't have nearly as many friends there."
She smiled brilliantly, and then, in a freak of nature occurrence that Draco was barely able to enjoy from how startling it was, she leaned in and kissed him straight on the mouth. He blushed right down into his space suit, a smile following faintly after her lips had left his, but she already seemed to be regretting it.
"Oh my god," she said, "holy shit. I'm just going to - let's just pretend that never happened."
And Draco knew what he had to do. "It didn't," he said, pressing the tip of his wand to her temple.
"Wha - "
"Obliviate." Her face glazed over just a little bit, and then they just kept climbing the staircase, as though nothing had ever happened. Draco got to keep his dignity - he'd erased all of that namby-pamby heartfelt stuff about friends - and he also had that one brief moment of happiness to cherish forever, that no one else could ever get at where it was hidden down inside of him.
It was so hot in the Pastry Tower with the ovens going at full blast that Draco and Ginny had to squirm out of their space suits and stand there in their pajamas. While Ginny and Harry had some alone time in the corner where the pancake batter cannon used to stand, Sirius instantly got to work on Voldemort's new body, making sure he did everything to his exact specifications. Draco never remembered what set him off singing, but soon enough, everyone had joined in.
"If your attitude is shifting I can build it, I can make it Here's some food for you,
There's some flour I've been sifting
And this yeast will rise just like I know it can
If it's dough, then I can bake it
A new life just takes an hour in the pan
And I'll shape it to be perfect
Here's some food for you -
There's never been a cause more worth it!
It's the only thing that I can think to do -
I'll make some food for
Open a new door
Do some good for you.
I can build it, I can make it
Here's some food for you,