*A follow up to Rorshach's Blot's Omake from "Odd Ideas" Chapter 100: Cupboard
As usual, I own nothing. New chapter for Tech Naruto will be coming soon, and I will follow the alternating chapters from each story deal as I have in the past, and hopefully I will have 2 Tech Naruto and 1 Rei Shinobi chapter out soon.
Just a one shot. Probably. No ships. Note, this is after the Justin incident, and before Hermione's encounter.
(This is the excerpt from Blotto's Story. Kudos to him/her for the idea, and now my plot bunny won't let me rest.)
Unrelated Omake: Cupboard
"Get in there," the girl said cruelly as she shoved Luna into the closet.
"Yeah," one of the others crowed. The group of second years was relishing the fact that they finally someone below them on the Hogwarts pecking order.
Luna's breath quickened as she heard the bolt slide home. 'They're just playing around,' she tried to convince herself,' they'll let you out soon.
She heard the faint sounds of footsteps retreating from the door of the closet and she lost control. "Let me out," she screamed, "don't leave me here." Tears rushed down her face. "Somebody let me out," Luna sobbed, "anybody . . . please," she whimpered, "please."
In the normal course of events, the girl would spend a very uncomfortable weekend locked in the closet until she finally managed to force the door open. By then, days of solitude and darkness would have already fractured her fragile mind and she'd spend hours talking about fictitious creatures that only she could see. This time, something else happened . . .
"Hello," Harry peered into the dark closet. He could have sworn he'd heard someone crying. His eyes slowly adjusted and he saw girl holding her knees to her chest and rocking back and fourth
Harry stared down at the girl cowering in the small space in front of him.
"Hello? Hey, are you alright? Hey, come out, are you ok? Come here, I promise I won't do anything to hurt you."
Harry thought that maybe she had seen him coming down the passageway from his morning class, and had ducked into here out of fright. He had been labeled the "Heir of Slytherin" ever since that incident with the Dueling Club and some of the younger years made haste out of his way, but hopefully, it wasn't bad enough that people actually ran and hid from him… was it?
The girl in question looked up and nearly leapt into his arms, crying piteously. Harry, stunned, could do nothing more than hold his arms around her as she wept her fears out on his shoulder. Minutes passed until she finally began to tire and finally cried herself to sleep. Of course, as she went limp in his arms, Harry panicked, realizing that someone was going to see this as another attack and blame him for it.
Harry, being only twelve and being rather small for his age, was not a very strong boy, and having a weight of even a small First Year girl was heavy to him. He put her into a fireman's carry and walked her to the Hospital Wing, where Madam Pomfrey bombarded him with questions, thinking she was another victim of whatever had been attacking the students. Once she had looked over the girl and performed a couple of diagnostic spells, she looked at him with a rather prim look and said that the girl was going to be alright and that she would wake later in the afternoon at the minimum.
Harry nearly sagged in relief. 'Whew, no one is going to blame me for this one. I'm so glad she's going to be ok.'
As she moved back down the ward to her office, Harry couldn't help but look at the girl he had "rescued" from the cupboard. She was small, and moderately thin, and had a pinched look that he knew all too well. He saw it in his own face after coming from a source of food to feed his growing body, to having that source cut 25% and the growth continuing. The look in the mirror after being fed half a bowl of cold soup at the Dursleys for a month, rather than the normal amounts of food for a boy that he had been receiving at Hogwarts. The poor girl must not have been getting enough food here at the school, and Harry could only wonder how that was happening.
Harry thought for a minute and with all of the knowledge of his twelve year old mind, he deduced that being hungry had made her go to sleep, since he knew those without food could pass out. Lunch was, Harry looked at the clock, almost over and he decided that he could find her food to make her feel better. Goal in mind, Harry went to the only people he knew that could get food outside of meal times, the Twins.
"So, you want to" "learn the secret passages" "around the castle" "without permission from the teachers" "and get into an area forbidden by students."
"Are we right?"
Harry could honestly say that he had no idea who spoke first, or which one was which. And talking in unison after the tennis volley was like going on a spinning ride that very suddenly stopped.
"Yes. I just need to get some food from the kitchens. That's all."
"Harry," "young lad," "young trouble maker to be," "we would be GLAD to show you the ways around this castle," "BUT with one condition." "Yes, not everything is free." "You must" "Perform" "one prank" "this year" "or else" "we will NEVER" "give you advice like this again." "PLUS." "Oh yes, plus one other thing." "If you decide to split with this info," "we may decide that you are just equal to Oliver in status," "since you and he are both on the team with us," "rather than your current status of:" "not-prank-target-cause-he-kills-Dark-Lords."
The more they talked, the more Harry wondered what would happen if you gagged one.
"You are saying that I have to pull a prank, or you won't give me more help like this again, and that you may prank me in the future?"
"Alright then. Deal. Now tell me where the kitchens are please."
The Twins left Harry standing at a bowl of fruit that they had turned into a door, and wished him luck on his prank.
Walking through the door, he was greeted by the sight of dozens of the creatures that looked exactly like Dobby. He nearly fell backwards out the door trying to get away from dozens of the things that may not want him to be at Hogwarts before he noticed differences in the little beings that made him sure that they weren't all Dobby clones. Feeling brave, he walked up to the closest one, who was busy cutting slices of bread.
"Um, excuse me?"
"Yes? How can Baker help master?"
"Me? I'm not a master."
"You is student, so you is master. Can Baker help master?"
"Um, I'm definitely not a master, but I was wondering if I could have some food for me and my friend? She is in the Hospital Wing and I was going to bring her food."
"Baker would be happy to help young master. Trilly is bringing food and drinks in a basket for young masters."
As the little being turned away, another, obviously female house elf came up to him with a basket of food.
"Here master. A basket of food for hungry master and friend. Can Trilly help more?"
"Um, could you please stop calling me master? Just call me Harry please."
"As master Harry wishes."
"Is there anything that I need to do now? I don't have to pay you guys do I?"
Trilly's eyes got really big and she hurriedly stated, "Oh no no no master. Elves be doing their job for enjoyment, not for payment. T'would be wrong it would to accept payment from master."
Harry looked at the elf with a curious expression. But as he was about to ask another question, his stomach rumbled and he realized that both he and the girl should probably eat. He turned to the elf one last time. "Is it ok if I come back here? I may need food other times and it was nice talking to you. If the food is as good as the service, I will probably come back often."
Trilly and all of the other elves in hearing distance blushed horribly. "Master says kind things. Master is free to visit any time he pleases, especially with compliments about good service."
Harry laughed. "Deal." He raised his voice to a yell, "Thanks for the food everyone." The elves about the kitchen stopped and as one said, "You is welcome," before returning to their duties.
Harry returned to the hospital wing a little after 2, to find the girl awake in bed. He cautiously approached, still on edge in case she was afraid of him, though he doubted it.
"Hey… I got you some food from the kitchens if you want to share it with me." Harry figured that with being nice and having food, that between the two, she might not freak out on him.
Luna Lovegood looked into the green eyes that everyone in the magical world knew. She had no idea what he was doing here, but prior experiences with the popular kids in her House made her wary.
"Hello. The reflection of the light from Nargles off your eyes is pleasing. And bringing food was a nice gesture too." This was the test.
"Um, what? Nargles? Well, I don't know anything about those. But I figured you passed out because you hadn't eaten earlier, so I brought you food. Did you not get up in time for breakfast or something?"
"No, I did not pass out from low blood sugar due to lack of food, but that may have been a factor. If you'd like to hear the story, we have to get those pesky Grapphels out of your hair." He hadn't reacted like the others had…
"Grapphels? Uh… well how do we do that? Wait, how do you know there are things there anyway? I can't feel them." Harry ran a hand through his hair with a confused expression.
"Just because you can't see them, doesn't make them any less real to others. Is there anything you know of that you can see but others can't?"
Harry's mind jumped to the Invisibility Cloak at once and he couldn't help but agree with the girl.
"I guess you're right. So how do we get rid of them? And don't you want some food? I brought it up here for you." Harry couldn't see why the girl wasn't eating. She must be starving. All morning and halfway into the afternoon and she hadn't eaten…
Why is he not fed up with me by now? Maybe the food is pranked? "Oh, getting rid of them is easy. Let me look…" She reached into the basket and saw a relieved look on his face. So the food was spiked…
And promptly dumped a covered flagon of pumpkin juice on his hair.
Harry couldn't help but sputter and gasp as the cold liquid ran down his head. He quickly took his outer robe off and used it to rub his head dry, leaving him in his regular set of clothing. As he stopped shivering, he looked up to the girl who was watching in casual interest at his actions.
"Um… was that how you get rid of them, or did you just want to pour juice on my head to get me to go away?"
Luna couldn't help but open her mouth in shock. This was Harry Potter, the most well known kid… ever, and he had not gotten mad or indignant or repulsed by her behavior. Was he actually being sincere?
"Um… you know, if that got them away, then is it ok to tell me why you passed out? Or were in that cupboard? Are you sick or something?"
"They put me there."
Harry froze. Almost 15 seconds passed before he could form a hushed word, "What?!?"
Luna looked up to him with watery eyes once more. "They put me in there. Some of the older students from Ravenclaw. Well, most were closer to my age-second and third years or so, but there was a fourth year too. They put me in the cupboard and they play keep away with my food at meals sometimes when they get bored."
Harry could do no more than stare in horror. "They locked you in there? And they keep food away from you?" This was hitting too close to home for him. Hadn't he left this behind at the Dursleys?
Harry picked up a sandwich, but no longer felt hungry. He handed one to the girl almost absentmindedly and bit into another. To think that… that happened to others… no.
Harry thought for a second with a frown on his face. He suddenly remembered where he was, and looked up into a pair of curious eyes. He started, and then smiled. Neither of them noticed their Transfiguration professor walk into the ward. "You know, I never asked your name. I'm Harry Potter."
Luna however, had been watching, and had seen the calculating gleam in his eyes before his kind smile washed it away. She hoped that he wasn't planning on being mean to her. "My name is Luna. Luna Lovegood."
He smiled. "Luna, it was very nice to meet you. Maybe you would like to sit with me at meals? With my friends too?"
Luna smiled. "If your friends don't mind, I would love to."
Harry stood up. "Well, I actually have to be going Luna. I need to get to Transfiguration or McGonagall will dock points for being late."
"I believe that getting to class is not an option anymore Mr. Potter."
Will mild dread, Harry turned around to see Minerva McGonagall standing there, oddly, with a small smile.
"I'm in trouble aren't I?"
"Well Mr. Potter, you did miss class. On the other hand, when Madam Pomfrey messaged me that you were here, and the circumstances, I could not help but approve. Caring for someone is an admirable trait. It would have earned you points, but you did skip class. Therefore, no merits or demerits will be applied. However, Mr. Potter, do NOT make this a habit."
The older woman walked brusquely out of the Wing.
Harry stood there, mouth open in shock. He thought he was done for for sure. He turned at a giggle from the girl behind him.
"Oh, so it is funny to see the great hero frozen in fear?" He made a mock hurt look, but the grin gave him away.
Luna giggled again. "You are very different than what I thought you would be like Harry Potter. I am glad for that."
Harry couldn't help but feel happy and relieved, thinking she was talking about the Heir of Slytherin nonsense. He gripped her hand for a moment and said, "Well, I feel bad about leaving you here, but I have to get notes from Hermione or I am going to do horrible on my next assignment. I will talk to you when I see you at the next meal ok?"
He got up to walk out, but was stopped by a small hand around his wrist.
"Thank you." 'For saving me from there, for getting me here, for the food, for the company…' Luna couldn't bring herself to speak the rest out loud.
He smiled once more. "What are friends for?" And walked out of the Hospital Wing.
Luna sat on her bed, nearly in tears, from finally having a fellow human being be nice to her before she suddenly started laughing and giggling almost maniacally. The look on his face when the pumpkin juice went all down him… she fell back on the bed with tears of mirth running down her cheeks.
Harry couldn't help but wander about the castle a bit lost. Upperclassmen were being horrible to an eleven year old girl. For no reason. He decided to visit Hagrid, since the man was a good friend and always had something nice to say. Hopefully something that could make him feel better about the day.
"Harry! How are 'ya? I reckon it's been a mi' bit hadn' it?"
"Yes. I wish I could get down here more often to see you. Have you been well?"
"Fine, fine. Been worried a bit 'bout these attacks in the castle. But I'm sure Dumbledore will find some way ta stop it."
"Do you know what could cause this to happen? They aren't exactly knocked out, so something strong isn't doing it."
"Well, I dunno what's doin' it, but jus' remember Harry, strong in the magic world is not always measured by size. Someone drinkin' Re'em's blood could knock me out no matter their size. Phoenixes are powerful magical, and… well, you ain't exactly the biggest guy, but you can put a good spell down can'tcha?"
Harry smiled, "Thanks Hagrid."
"Ah, think nothin' of it. Now, I know it might not be sommat you want to talk about, but you think you can snake speak with the tail of a mantico… Harry? You ok?"
Harry couldn't even hear Hagrid. Of course. That would be perfect.
"Uh, hey Hagrid, I gotta go. See ya next time ok?"
And with that, he ran out the cabin door.
"Harry wait! Aw dang… I DIDN'T mean nothin' by it! Wow he is fast… but I only wanted to see if he could help me tame that manticore out in tha forest… dang."
Though it was the weekend, Harry had only seen Luna once, and had waved to her. She had shaken her head at his invitation and sat at her house's table like normal. It bothered him to see the treatment of her by her housemates, but he couldn't enact his plan yet. He could only memorize faces. On the other hand, he had another thing to do…
"Hey Fred, George… whoever you are! Could you pass me the pumpkin juice?"
The pumpkin juice was all over him, but the blue spots on his skin wasn't what the juice did to anyone else…
"Fred and George Weasley! Detention for dying a housemate in dots!" McGonagall had arrived.
"It wasn't us Professor!" "Honest!"
"Oh come on guys, I saw you put the vial in your left pocket… George I guess."
McGonagall turned to the boys with flames in her eyes.
"No look! See! Nothing here but… wait! That's not mine! I swear!"
"You dumped it, and he dropped the drink on me."
"No we didn't." "But it is kinda funny."
"Funny or not boys, detention for both of you."
As the boys were lead off, Harry winked at the two of them, who stared back in disbelief. Harry smiled. Reverse pickpocketing that vial and a well timed trip jinx made for a prank well done.
Later that night, Harry waited for the Twins to get done with their detention. As the portrait opened, and the two trouble makers walked in, Harry could only feel a little apprehension, but kept his face schooled neutral. They marched directly up to him.
"Can I help you two?"
"We already know how you did it." "How you got it under our nose… well we never expected you to hit us." "We were cocky."
"I did that to you for the challenge of it… and also because I don't want to make this a consistent thing… to have to do pranks for help."
"Sending a warning spell?" "My, my… Harriekins is showing his Gryffindor fangs…"
"No, it's just a hassle I don't want to deal with… however, if you need me to pay you for the help I get, then I can agree to that."
"Oh, so this is about a" "further transaction?" "Where does he want" "to sneak off to next?"
"Oh, I just need some help doing 2 things… I need to buy some Re'em blood and I need to learn that snake spell."
"Well, the spell is kinda easy" "especially if the Ponce can do it." "But the blood costs a bit of money," "you'll have to pay for it if you want us to get it." "Luckily we happen to have some," "otherwise, you'd have to wait for a week or two."
"I got the money. But I need it asap."
"How much do you need?"
"1 galleon, 20 sickles."
"Done. Now, that spell?"
Sunday night, Harry figured, was a good night to try to talk to the whole Ravenclaw house at once. After the library had closed, but before curfew, there was a grace period to give students time to get back to the dorms. He followed a Ravenclaw to her where she disappeared into what must have been their dorm. He downed the blood and walked up to the portrait.
"What moves beneath the sun, but makes no shadow?"
"What moves beneath the sun, but makes no shadow?"
'The Ravenclaws must have to do riddles instead of passwords to get in,' Harry concluded. He thought of things that made no shadow… invisible things… but even invisible things sometimes cast a shadow… clouds? No, they cast shadow… AIR!
"Correct young Gryffindor."
As he walked through into the Ravenclaw common room, he started to look around and noticed that conversation stopped as people began to notice him.
Eventually, the common room was quiet except for a few whispers.
"I have come here tonight, to right a wrong that is happening in this house, to a friend of mine. People have been treating a first year horribly and I want it to stop."
"What proof do you have? And who are you to tell us what to do?" A sixth year demanded from the back.
"I have no proof beyond what I have seen. I know you are smart enough to keep it out of the eyes of the professors, but I warn you that I will know. And as for who I am? If it wasn't enough that a Dark Lord died in an attempt to kill me when I was 15 months old, there is also a rumor that I am the so called "Heir of Slytherin."
"So you admit it! You are the Heir!" Fearful whispers sprang out amongst the crowd.
"If you would use your brain, then you would realize that no I did not. I merely commented on the rumor… however, if it happens to be true… well, you wouldn't want to anger me would you?"
"Look you punk, I'm not going to put up with this so-"
As the 5th year boy grabbed Harry's arm, Harry cocked his fist, and drove it into the boy's stomach, propelling him across the room. The entire crowd froze.
Harry straightened himself. "Padma, come here."
A shaking girl was slowly pushed out of the crowd and stopped 10 feet from the Lion in the Bird's nest.
"Padma. Padma." The girl jerked her head up. "I am not going to hurt you." The girl looked confused. "Your sister is in my house, and I feel that you can be trusted like I trust her. All I want from you, are the names of the people who are hurting Luna Lovegood."
"Loony Lovegood? That's who this is for? Why that's stup-"
Remember… question mark wand movement. "Serpensortia!"
Thirteen snakes appeared on the ground.
"These, are King Cobras. They can spit their venom, so dispelling one of them, will make the rest spit."
Harry hissed and the snake turned to the girl who spoke out.
"Padma, who is that?"
"Miss Chang, I can understand that you find my friendship with Luna to be stupid. To be honest, I believe that anyone having friendship with you is stupid." The girl whimpered in terror as one of the snakes circled her legs. "HOWEVER. She will not be harmed. Do I make myself clear? None of you will take food away from her at meal times. You will all go about your lives like normal, and if you want to be friends with her, as long as she is ok with it, then so am I. But should I find out that any of you has hurt her again. The day I hear about it will be your last."
Harry looked about the room that was stunned into silence. "I do not want to do this, however, this is WRONG. She is ELEVEN years old. She is just old enough to start giggling about boys and stuff, not live in mortal terror of those she lives with. You call yourselves the House that values intelligence and wisdom… but this is the stupidest move you have ever made. I am here to scare you. Do NOT make me act on my threats, for they are promises, not threats. Tell the teachers what happened here. Do anything at all… except harm Luna. Do I make myself clear?"
As a whole the room nodded.
"Padma, I want you to tell me if anything happens to Luna from here on out ok?" The Indian girl, now assured that she wasn't going to become snake food nodded.
Harry turned to Luna. "Want to go get some food from the kitchens?"
Luna nodded and walked to him as he turned to leave. He paused as he got to the portrait and snapped his fingers, appearing to dispel the snakes. Hidden in his other hand, he slipped his wand back into his pocket.
After walking a little way, he opened his bag and pulled out his Cloak.
"Here, we can hide under this until we reach the kitchens."
Harry looked at her for a second.
"At the place I live… with my family, they forced me to live in the cupboard. LIVE there. My first Hogwarts letter was addressed to 'the Cupboard Under the Stairs.' They withheld food from me. I know the terror of being alone there in the dark. That you will be there forever. That you are all alone. That you will die there. That no one will love you like you want. I know that feeling. I can do nothing to my relatives since I can't do magic. But here, against these people… I can. I can make them feel the fear that I do. That's why I scared them."
"Why did I hit them and use snakes? Because no one else can do that. People will always fear what they cannot do or understand. Parseltongue will always be feared by people like them. No one else could match my strength and so they feared it. Later, I would use spells that I learned, but for now, I couldn't match any of them in spells."
He looked back at her. "Does that answer your question?"
Luna shook her head. "No… why are you doing this for me?"
Harry blinked for a second, then smiled softly. "I helped you that day because I felt for you like any other human being with compassion should have. But I help you today because you are my friend, and there is not a force in existence that I wouldn't stand against for you. Not even the so called "Smart House."
Luna giggled through her tears. "You didn't say any force in particular. Don't tell me you believe in crazy things that no one else does."
Harry grinned, "Hey, up until 2 years ago, I had no idea magic existed, so I am not going to exclude anything else that might be lurking out there both on Earth or not."
Then he noticed her small, but sly grin.
"Wait a second… you didn't actually see any animals that day in the Hospital… you just dumped that juice on my head for shits and giggles didn't you!"
Luna Lovegood was seen only by the portraits that night chased halfway across the castle by an indignant Harry Potter who was carrying a bag and a silvery cloak.
5:23 am and I have been typing since… 11:30 or so. Hope you enjoy!