Disclaimer: Not mine.
To Many Letters, of the Sober Universe came up with the following pairing and prompts.
"That's almost as bad as living with Muggles"
"let's try that again"
It turned out to be harder than it sounds (for me)…this is the first of two. My second attempt will be posted as chapter two but is by no means a continuation of this.
Of Dead Potted Plants and Knickers
Hermione rested her chin in her hand and nodded off to sleep at her kitchen table. She had finished her fourth report this month and still had six to go. Well, seven, but she had already planned to recycle a passable article she had found on the internet knowing that no one at the Ministry would have seen it anyway. She didn't consider it plagiarism but survival. She pushed the thought from her mind knowing that the information was wrong to begin with so she hardly thought the author would complain, even if he ever heard about it.
The activation of the floo startled her awake and she leaned back in her chair, tipping it on the back on two legs to look into the sitting room. Rolling her eyes, she called out a hello and told Luna that she was in the kitchen.
"Still at it?" Luna asked cheerfully as she breezed into the kitchen with two cups of latte and a bag of sweet rolls.
"You brought petro," Hermione grinned, grabbing the bag from Luna's hand. "The staff of life."
"There is a new shop on the corner," Luna said as she slid into the chair opposite Hermione and pushed one of the paper cups towards her. "When was the last time you were outside? You look pale."
"I watered the pots in the back," Hermione frowned and stood up to look out of the kitchen window. "Obviously not enough."
Luna joined her to peer at the dead plants. "Or not often enough. I thought you said working from home would give you more time. You should take care of them you know. Sharp Tongued Crumples are attracted to dead potted plants. Once they get into the soil you can never get rid of them."
Hermione bit the inside of her cheek and tried to look contrite and guilty for killing the greenery, but for the life of her could not even remember what she had planted. She looked at Luna out of the corner of her eye knowing that unless she changed the topic quickly they would be having a funeral for a crisp dead nameless plant.
"I didn't take into consideration that Baxter would think the same thing and give me more to do. I have most of the reports done." She returned to the table and handed Luna a pile of parchment. "Do you want to look them over here?"
"I thought I might," Luna sighed and pulled out a pot of red ink from her pocket and her very own chewable quill.
"Umm, Luna, I don't want to rewrite the whole thing. Perhaps if you find a mistake you can just ….you know, ink in the comma or whatever in my ink."
"I have a spell, a very Ravenclaw spell," she smiled. "We used it all the time. I'll edit and if you agree with me the spell will rewrite it correctly."
Hermione nodded and watched as Luna bent her head to the parchment and dipped her quill, already aggressively attacking the page. Lowering her own head and pretending to be working on her report Hermione watched Luna from under her brows, cringing as red ink slashed through entire paragraphs.
"I need that part," she huffed, pulling the parchment from Luna.
"You may but the report does not. Furthermore, the spelling is all off."
"It is not!" Hermione throwing the parchment back on the table in a huff. "I am using Headmaster Williamson's quote."
"You should cut that." Luna said decisively, reaching across the table and making another slash. "They won't believe anything from the Salem school anyway. You know, the whole Americans don't know anything debate. Dad got all sorts of complaints when he ran an essay of theirs in the Quibbler."
"I've used his quotes before. Anyway, the complaints were on the content not the grammar."
"I know you've used him. However, you were disagreeing with him so the Americanisms were quite fitting. An entirely different matter when you are using him as a source to support your viewpoint. You have to make him more…more…British."
"I am quoting him. His written work. It should be represented as he wrote it, not how we would have."
"Have it your way," Luna shrugged. "Just be prepared to be corrected."
"I'm having a problem with one of the papers." Hermione dug through her notes and handed Luna the reprint of a condensed version of a study she needed. "That's all I could find."
She waited while Luna scanned the page, flipped it over and looked up in surprise. "That's it?"
"I want to take a field trip," Hermione said chewing the end of her quill. "Since I am working out of home anyway I can just as easily do my work on the road. It is going to be impossible to finish the paper on second hand documentation. Everyone changes the wording in some ill-conceived attempt to make it easier understood. No telling what the original says."
"You are going to Salem? America?" Luna whispered, her eyes growing large.
"I wrote Headmaster Williamson, he says they have rooms for visiting academia. We would do the same for them, either at the Ministry or up at Hogwarts."
"That's almost as bad as living with Muggles." Luna shook her head and leaned back in her chair, folding her arms. "I hear they have strange ways of doing things."
Hermione ran her tongue over her teeth, thinking of her parent's home and her first shock of seeing Diagon Alley. "Strange? You think all this isn't strange to the rest of the world? Luna, they are witches and wizards the same as we are. I am sure it won't be that much different."
"They are strange. They put ice in their tea and hold their forks differently."
"That's it? You don't like that they ruin tea and eat…differently?"
"They attract Spine…"
"Oh stop," Hermione said with a deep sigh. "I could tell Baxter I need an assistant if you want to come. It may be good for you to see that they are not that so very different from us."
Luna rested her elbow on the table and twisted a lock of hair around her finger studying Hermione's face. Colouring slightly she lowered her eyes to the table and shrugged her shoulders. "I hear they don't wear…you know…knickers and ….knickers."
"They don't call them…you're right. You should stay back. It would be horrible not to wear knickers."
"Oh, no, I didn't mean that at all. I don't wear knickers now. I thought it may be fun to go where no one did."
Hermione took a large bite of her sweet roll, cramming her mouth full, looking everyplace but at Luna.
"Do you? Wear them I mean?"
Hermione nodded her head, shoving more into her mouth, her eyes large as the stared at Luna, just wanting her to shut up and not start on one of her rants again.
"I overheard one of the boys, it was fifth year I think, yes fifth year. He said he could see the line the knickers left on Lavender's arse right through her uniform. That's when I stopped." She took a bite of her roll and chewed, looking at Hermione thoughtfully. "Not many wear them you know. I've looked."
Hermione swallowed hard. "You looked?"
"For the line of course. I don't find many at all."
"I…I see," Hermione said, pulling herself up to the table and lowering her head back over her report.
"Every one has a different one you know."
Hermione lifted her head slowly, watching Luna twist her hair and smile wistfully at the ceiling.
"Of course Lavender's was the first. Have you ever noticed how she jiggles?"
Hermione shook her head, unable to find a proper response.
"Cho, now… hers looks rather like a heart, only upside down. You now, the full part on the bottom and it points up to her…"
"That's enough," Hermione said louder than she had wanted, suddenly able to find her voice.
"Yours is too flat."
"Flat?" Hermione said incredulously.
"Yes, you know, not full. You should eat more."
"I don't want…I mean…it's …I…" Hermione stammered, sorry she had responded at all. "I like it flat."
"Mine isn't flat. However, it is rather difficult to study it myself. I like to watch them in motion," Luna sipped her coffee, peeking over the rim of the cup.
"Okay," Hermione said, reddening. "Let's try that again. I could ask Baxter to send you as my assistant, if you wear knickers, are you interested. Because, I am not, in you I mean."
"He is, Baxter I mean."
"In your knickers?" Hermione started to feel better.
"No silly," Luna chuckled. "In your arse. At least that is what it sounded like."
"What did he say," Hermione hissed. "Exactly."
"He called you a hard arse. It is rather firm you know. Flat and firm."
"Did he? That is, did he..." She paused, swallowing and wildly looking around the kitchen. "I'll kill him. I'll bloody kill him."
"Is it something I said?" Luna whispered, lowering her head. "There, I've done it again. I am trying so hard not to say things that upset people."
"Luna, I'm sorry," Hermione reached over and covered Luna's hand with hers. "Just don't talk to anyone about…knickers and comparing arses. Trust me."
"I'm not even watching them anymore," she sniffed. "Although I do notice a strange one from time to time."
"Good girl," Hermione patted her hand and pulled back, picking up her quill and lowering her head to the report.
"Baxter said the new girl, down on the first floor, intake I think, he said she has a camel toe so now I am watching feet. I don't understand how he can tell. Do you?"
"No," Hermione choked, crossing her legs and giving Luna a thin smile.
"You look ill."
"I'm fine," she squeaked.
"Oh, I almost forgot. I got my very first assignment…all on my own. I have to research and write on…where is it?" Luna dumped her pocketbook upside down on the table, digging through bottle caps and things Hermione did not even recognise, pulling out a scrap of parchment. "Oh, here it is…from the Sports and Gaming Reports division. Since it is a magical item covered under our office, they transferred it to us and Mr. Baxter said I should do it. He offered to help with the research."
"Well?" Hermione said impatiently, trying to read the note.
"They want me to research different methods of erecting …let me see," she squinted at her handwriting hearing Hermione's snort, "tents. Very nice of him to offer his help, don't you think? Of course…I imagine the type of fabric would make a difference. He claims they always have problems with limp erections at the World cup camps."
Hermione looked at the window and bit the inside of her cheek. "You know, we really should take care of those pots. I am worried about the Sharp Tongued Crumples. Perhaps we should bury them properly."
Hermione watched Luna happily jump up and start to the back door. Unable to stop herself, she tipped her head to the side and watched Luna's arse as she walked away. Rather like a pear, she thought, and only a slight jiggle. Snapping her eyes up as Luna spun around she turned red and tried to smile, feeling like Crookshanks caught with an extendable ear in his mouth.
"Ready?" Luna asked, looking at her oddly.
"Yes," Hermione said jumping up and following her into the yard to have a funeral for dead potted plants.