One might think a magical school would be able to protect its lawns and greenhouses from the onslaught, but it apparently couldn't care less about its grassy knolls.
It was out-and-out war every single year. The three of them showed up on the lawns the week before classes began, dressed in their grimiest gardening clothes, or in Snape's case his most comfortable set of black dress robes, each ready to do battle.
What were they fighting, you might wonder? What could be insidious that the three of them would come together, ready to fight a common enemy? Could it be vampires? Death Eaters? Potters?
None of the above actually. They were moles. Nasty, dirty little moles. And they were everywhere. Every year. Without fail.
No one knew why the moles loved Hogwarts so much, but they reappeared every year, bringing lawn destruction in their wake. Just about this time of year, they would burrow under the walls of the greenhouses, looking for some warmer dirt for winter. And, without fail, Dumbledore instructed this crew to take care of them.
"We wouldn't want the lawns looking a mess for the students, would we?"
Rumor had it that McGonagall used to be a part of the mole-fighting brigade, but upon assuming the role of Deputy Headmistress had told Dumbledore where he could shove his pointy hat.
They made an unlikely trio—certainly not a Golden Trio, more like Dirt Brown. Hagrid, divested of his overcoat, wielding his pink umbrella both as a wand and as a mallet. Sprout stood in clam diggers and a baggy button-down shirt, her sleeves rolled to the elbow. Snape, just as buttoned up as ever, sneered at the ground with a look on his face that clearly indicated that Dumbledore was his least favorite person for making them do this.
Every year they began at the gates, making a sweep of the lawn for the little buggers, each with a different mode of attack. Sprout would aim her wand and Banish the little blighters to wherever Banished things went; she hoped it was some nice, soft-earthed hill far away from here. Snape used the same Blasting curse he routinely used on rosebushes, loving the singey noise the creatures made. Hagrid would attempt to zap the creatures if they were too far away, and resorted to clubbing them with his umbrella if they were close enough, usually with tears in his eyes ("the poor little buggers!").
In fact, the only unaffected area of the entire lawn was a circle around the Whomping Willow. The game Whac-A-Mole™ must be universal, as the tree had been entertaining itself in that way for years.
In years past, they had tried a multitude of techniques to get rid of the moles. One year, before Dumbledore had instituted the "This Must Be Done Before Students Return" rule, Snape had assigned every Weasley in the castle detention, thinking their lawn gnome experience might be transferable to moles.
Another year, Sprout had suggested they Summon the animals to them and drop them into sacks. Too bad no one had thought to Stun them first. The scratches Snape had sported on his face refused to heal with magic because of the toxins in mole saliva, and he had sat humiliated at the Welcoming Feast for the required twenty minutes before he was allowed to leave.
But this year, they had planned ahead. Hagrid had made a cage for the moles so they could be transported (well-Stunned, of course) to a lovely field far, far away. Sprout had been treating the earth of the greenhouses and the lawns with mole-repelling crystals (specially formulated to not affect magical plants) all summer. Snape… well, Snape had his wand in hand. He saw no need to patent a potion or research Dark spells to ward off moles. Blasting them was too much fun.
They stood at the ready, preparing to rid their beautiful space of the demonic animals. Snape raised his wand in classic Blasting stance, but Sprout staid his hand. "Not just yet, Severus… And no Blasting. Wands set to Stun, lads."
Snape looked a bit disappointed
Suddenly, mole-heads popped up from the ground, their blind eyes unfixed, their claws terrifyingly pointy.
Snape twitched. Hagrid's eyes got misty, looking at the pests like they were the most adorable Pygmy Puffs he'd ever seen.
At least fifty moles had appeared in the span of about a minute. Still, Sprout was holding them back.
"Wait for it…"
She cast a charm that activated something in the mole repellent. Suddenly, every mole on the grounds surfaced, clawing through the dirt maniacally, in an attempt flee from the repellent.
"NOW!" Sprout bellowed.
Sprout began sending Stunners as fast as she could, the moles flying across the lawn and landing with a thud. Snape followed suit. Soon, the lawn was peppered with mole bodies.
Hagrid, wanting to help, began casting Stunners as well, something one should never attempt with a broken wand.
With every direct hit from Hagrid's spell, the moles began multiplying. One became two, two became four, and… well, you get the picture.
"Stop it, Hagrid! You're making it worse!" Snape yelled.
But Hagrid didn't hear him over the cacophony of Stunners and squeaking moles.
Then it got ugly. Somehow, the multiplying moles began communicating with one another. They began to line up and charge towards the three of them, teeth bared, claws flexed.
Hagrid's face was lit up with joy. "Aww, they want to play!" He continued casting Stunners.
Sprout did the only thing she could do in a situation like this—she cast Hagrid in a full Body-Bind before spinning to ward off the impending attack.
Snape paled, visions of moles clawing his face to death clouding his brain. A smack across the face from Sprout bringing him back to the situation at hand.
"Keep it together, Snape; I need you here. Feel free to Blast away."
And so they did, back to back, in perfect harmony as the moles closed in from all sides, seemingly less blind when they felt threatened. Teeth, claws, beady eyes—it was the stuff of nightmares. They just kept coming and coming. They knew the end was near, when…
Suddenly, all of the moles disappeared. Snape and Sprout both whipped around, looking for whatever could have called off the onslaught.
Dumbledore stood at the gates with a smug look on his face, sheathing his wand like an Old West dueler.
Sprout was flabbergasted; Snape was pissed off. The man had the ability to remove this menace that easily, and yet he had let them suffer all these years?
A vein in Snape's forehead threatened to explode.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk," Dumbledore said, shaking his head at them. "I can't believe the three of you haven't yet figured out how to eradicate the moles. I thought I could rely on you. I suppose I'll just have to do it myself from now on." His blue eyes twinkled brighter than a candle in a cave.
Snape spluttered. "How did you do it? Honestly, how?"
Dumbledore grinned. "Magic, my dear boy. Magic. Oh, and please, do take Hagrid home."
Dumbledore left them, tired, sweaty, and frustrated. Sprout and Snape looked at each other, and Snape didn't need Legilimency to know they were thinking the same thing.
AN: So the wonderfully awesome Clairvoyant made me a killer Bellatrix pendant for Infinitus. I promised her a drabble in return. This was her prompt:
clairvoyant: i'm thinking snape, sprout, hagrid and moles invading the greenhouses and generally messing up the lawns of Hogwarts.
clairvoyant: i thought about this last fall when i removed the electronic chasers on November 1st along with all the Halloween decorations... and the next day the lawn was riddled with mole trails... little buggers couldn't wait to exact their revenge on me. glares are sightless rodents
stopper: too bad you don't have a bunch of weasleys to swing them around in circles and make them wander away dizzy :-D
stopper: accio moles!
stopper: btw, my idea does not involve accio or weasleys
Well, sorry, I lied. I included both Accio and Weasleys. Shoot me.
Thanks so much to writtermerrin for the super-speedy beta job! :).