Hari Rabbit: A Potter's Tail.
Disclaimer: If you can recognise it as part of Harry Potter or any Looney Tunes or Disney movie, cartoon or comic, I don't own it. If you don't recognise it, but it bears a lot of similarities to some mix of the above, I don't own that either. The only things I could claim are the plot and two characters from the Toon-town side of things (Rocket & Roxy: Flying Foxes!) and I'm not getting anything for them (except the enjoyment of telling a story). Now that that's out of the way, please enjoy.
I also do not lay claim to the 'Laws of Toon Physics' herein. They are not comprehensive, but they do fit those 'Laws' that the toons of my story are likely to let the rest of the world know about...
I also do not own or claim any of the song 'Cartoon Heroes' by AQUA. That's theirs alone, even if I used some words from it to get Hari's point across.
Some speech conventions:
Chapter 6: Charms, Herbology, Troll.
As the weeks flew by, Hari and Hermione became inseparable. The two of them were rocketing through their classes, and seemed set to take the top two spots in their year, academically. It helped that they had competent teachers (Professor Vaughn was firm, but everyone loved his lessons, and Snape was being mostly neutral after Hari's gift), but the fact was that with a friend who shared so much, even if one was a toon and the other just watched them, made learning that much more fun. Before they knew it, it was October, and Halloween was only a few days off.
Despite being a toon, Hari had always known she wasn't born that way, and didn't like the big to-do that always surrounded the holiday in Toon-town. She'd received and written enough letters to Rocket and Roxy that the postal owls (she always got Professor McGonagall to send them: rabbits and owls do not usually get along well) must have been exhausted... or that's what she thought until she and her bushy-haired friend discovered the International Postage Protocols in a History of Magic text. Who knew?
Despite Hari's lack of enthusiasm for the day itself, as it was the anniversary of her natural parents deaths, Halloween always managed to be a major event for the rabbit-girl. The whole TV thing that had first brought Jessica and Roger to her rescue was on Halloween, and then there was the first time she'd been hit by a car... since becoming a toon, fortunately. Sadly, her adopted parents also split up on a Halloween, but good or bad, it was always eventful.
Charms class that morning was an example. The two of them were split up by professor Flitwick to help with the Gryffindors who weren't quite getting it right. The part-goblin professor, unlike most of his House, held no grudge against them for outshining his Eagles, since they worked hard and sweated (figuratively and literally... Herbology was not for the lazy) to get there. This meant that Hermione was next to Ron Weasley, and Hari was sandwiched between the ginger and her partner for the day, Seamus Finnegan. She was fairly certain the Irish wizard's thick accent was hindering his magic, and was working him through it one syllable at a time. The boy must have had cluricaune blood in him for as much to go wrong around him as did. Or maybe he was a very small part toon... For now, though, the day had been uneventful...
Ron was reading something as they got ready for class, something everyone who'd had even the mildest contact with him had trouble believing, and the boy was the target of more than a few double- and even triple-takes. Then Hari caught a glimpse of the title, and a shudder went down her spine. 1001 Recipes for Rabbit.
"What's wrong, Hari?" Hermione asked, concerned. Hari pointed at the weighty tome that obscured their view of the uncouth redhead.
"That is one of the most vile, disgusting, horrendous books that humans have ever printed," she declared in ringing tones of righteous outrage. "It's a... a... cookbook, filled only with recipes for..." another shudder travelled from her toes to her ears, and everyone in the classroom (except Ron, natch) saw it, "...rabbit," she hissed, as the majority of the class broke into laughter.
Only six people didn't laugh. Hari, because she didn't think it was that funny (she didn't have a Daffy to play Bugs against, yet), Hermione, Susan and Hannah, because they were her friends (and didn't think it was funny to joke about or seriously consider eating a friend), Professor Flitwick, because it was his job to teach (he could see the funny side, but really thought it needed a duck, or a bald man with a rifle and a speech impediment, or both) and the ever oblivious Ron Weasley.
Things didn't get much better during class, either. While Hari was coaching Seamus with the levitating charm, she could hear the redhead mispronounce the incantation, and she heard Hermione's response to his wand technique. "Stop it, Weasley! You'll have someone's eye out... too late. Sorry, Hari." The rabbit-girl snatched her right eye from Ron's desk and gave him a one-eyed glare that promised severe pain as she polished it clean on her robe and popped it back into her head. By now, she knew she was Madam Pomfrey's favourite student... she never met the mediwitch except when helping others!
Ron was belligerent. "If you're so clever, Ravenpuff, you do it!" His epithet for the intelligent Hufflepuffs was his own invention, but the insult kind of fell flat when Hermione and Hari thanked him and started calling themselves and their smartest friends Ravenpuffs, to the amusement of all the Heads of House. Hermione shrugged lifted her wand, and cast. Swish and Flick and "Wingardium leviosa!" The feather didn't budge. Ron on the other hand, lifted out of his seat an drifted around the classroom as she directed with her wand.
"Impressive work Miss Granger, but while it is impressive," said Professor Flitwick sternly, gesturing at the unmoving feather, "I believe the point of the exercise was to levitate the feather."
"Yes, professor," Hermione said as she continued Ron's tour of the ceiling. "But I thought the lesson might stick better if I lifted the feathers from Weasley's brain first." She lowered the angry redhead on the far side of the classroom from his wand.
Hari heard Seamus' attempt at the spell a little too late to do more than blink and wipe off the soot. "Win-garr-dee-oom leh-vee-yo-ser!" [WHUMP!]
"I think we need another feather, sir."
The afternoon class had them in Greenhouse two with the Slytherins. Hari did not find this happy-making. True, most of the plants they were working with that day were harmless, but you had to be careful of such plants as the Nights-rest, a thorn-covered vine whose barbs yielded a potent additive for sleeping draughts, and the Fanged Geraniums which made for very decorative carnivorous security.
Draco had his bookend bodyguards with him, as usual, at least until professor Sprout split them up, partnering them with other students who could help them learn. Draco was partnered with Miss Parkinson, who would have been Pansy to her friends... if she had had any. There was a momentary lapse in the teacher's attention, a subtle banishing charm and voila! Lord Voldemort wins...
The first Hermione knew of her friend's predicament was the incoherent urk as she was dragged into the fanged Geranium's gaping maw. Turning to where the toon should have been she saw her first and best friend's feet sticking out of a greatly distended Geranium, and heard muffled cries for help. Intellectually, she knew Hari couldn't really be hurt by this. Intellectually, she knew Professor Sprout was the person to handle this, both in knowledge and experience. Then her emotions got involved, and the deep loyalty that the Badgers were renowned for caught fire as she reached to the table behind her (there was a jolt as her elbow caught the possessed Draco in the solar plexus and sent him tumbling backwards into the Night's-rest patch) and grabbed a vine runner, a long shaft of wood as thick as her own thumb. Even as the Night's-rest, also called Slumbervine, lashed out around it before cocooning Draco, leaving the girl with more than a few scratches on her arms, Hermione rushed forward and began whaling away with her improvised weapon at the plant wherever she was certain her friend wasn't, screaming at it as she wrapped her other hand around Hari's ankle.
"No! Bad geranium! Spit her out, she's mine, you can't have her!" It has to be said in the bushy haired witch's defence, it was a very strenuous moment, and she didn't realize exactly what she'd said until later. She continued to fight, stunning her friends and classmates as she punctuated each spat word with a strike from the runner. "Let her GO! You pompous, prominently pernicious, perpetually pugnacious, poorly-potted petunia! You horrendous herbiage! Give... her... back!" Finally, with a mighty heave, Hermione dropped the runner and braced herself as the frightened flora spat her rabbit-girl friend out. She staggered back a bit and collapsed on her butt, arms full of a saliva-soaked Hari.
Hari, for her part, had heard everything, and knew that the young witch she called friend had saved her, if not from death, then from a miserable few hours as they pried her from the plant. With a cry of "My Hero!" she wrapped her Hermione in a hug like no other and planted (ignoring the pun) a kiss on the other girl's cheek... or tried. At just the wrong moment, Hermione had turned to face Hari, trying to see what her friend was up to, and was soundly, and loudly, kissed on the mouth.
Hari was mortified at what she'd just done. Her first real kiss... Hermione... goooood... baaad girl... The toon girl's white fur turned red slowly, from her neck upward, until her entire face, even the full length of her ears, was a bright crimson where the fur wasn't black, and she fainted.
She came to her senses after the lesson had ended, although it took a while for her fur to return to its natural white. The rest of the class had already left, and Professor Sprout was waiting for the rabbit-girl to wake. As she stirred, touching her lips as if she couldn't get past what she'd done, the Herbology Master, her Head of House spoke up, without turning.
"So now, you're wondering if you're weird, right?"
Hari shook her head as she grinned. "No Professor Sprout. I'm a toon, I know I'm weird." Her cheeky answer caught the older witch off-guard, and Pomona Sprout laughed hard. When she managed to stop, she continued.
"That's alright then. Now, I'm sure what happened today was an accident. Well, the kiss was, I'm not so sure that you winding up in the Fanged Geranium is so innocent. Your friend Miss Granger showed the kind of loyalty that makes her a badger, as well as more than a dash of Gryffindor bravery... she'd have done well there, perhaps..."
Hari snorted. "With Weasley there? It would be constant arguments and them trying to hex each other until they either killed each other or mistook abuse for love. Maybe I wouldn't see that if I hadn't been taken in by the Rabbits, but that's my thoughts."
The Herbology Professor sighed. "Maybe you're right. She has the courage of a Lion, the knowledge of an Eagle, the cunning of a Snake and the heart of a Badger. Perhaps this was for the best. But she is your friend, and as a Badger and her friend, you two will always be that. Don't let this incident shape your lives, or rush you into any decisions about yourselves... even if you think into is the way to go. You talk to her, and then the two of you think about it, and how you feel about it. Remember, you're young. You have plenty of time."
As Hari left the greenhouse, Pomona noticed a smudge of white with a trickle of reddish black at the centre on the floor where the Fanged Geranium had spat out the young toon. Smearing it with her fingers, she lifted it to her nose and sniffed. It was some kind of paint and ink, mixed with... blood...
As Hari rushed towards the Great Hall, she paused. There, in the middle of the corridor was a small pile of carrots. As her nose twitched, she moved a little closer. Obviously, it was a trap. No-one just left carrots lying around like that. Carefully, she picked up the carrots, one at a time, to make sure she didn't set off the trap, and examined it. "Hmm. A simple tripwire holding down a noose. Now how would Unca Bugs or Daddy deal with this?" Roger would have tripped it and klutzed his way through the rest. The only person she'd encountered since who was anywhere near that degree of clumsy was a Seventh Year Hufflepuff, Nymphadora "One Warning" Tonks. Everyone called her Tonks.
Uncle Bugs on the other hand...
Concealing herself behind the door, in front of a portrait of an armoured knight called Sir Cadogan, a shameless flirt with the girls who challenged every boy he met to a duel for their lady's hand, she pressed on her throat a little and let out a sproing sound very similar to the sound this trap would make if set off. By dint of timing, she did this just as Fred and George Weasley, the self proclaimed second-best pranksters in the school's history, came around the corner. The two recognized the simplistic design of one of their younger brother's attempts at a trap. He'd tried the same thing with them, baiting the trap with Zonko's products, and scratching his head trying to figure out why the bait was gone when the trap hadn't gone off.
At Hari's sound effect, they had front row seats to see Ron leap from hiding to grab in the wrong direction with a cry of "Gotcha!" The universe held still for a dramatic pause as Ron looked down at his trap wrapped around his ankles. Looking straight at the twins, with a face that looked like he was about to burst into tears of sadness, he had time to whimper "Got me?" before being wrenched ceiling-wards by his feet... hoist by his own petard. The twins, and indeed, many others, were all laughing hard, many of them rolling on the floor, so no-one saw Hari, chuckling, get struck by Ron, upside-down, robes over his head, flailing wildly, and pushed into Sir Cadogan's portrait.
As Hari lay sprawled in front of the panted knight, he looked down and orated. "What I would not do, that I might possess thee... and a can opener. My very kingdom for a can opener, and my very life for thee!" As Sir Cadogan stepped forward, Hari sprang to her feet, panicked, and ran off to the next portrait in the Hall, with the Knight in swift, if leisurely, pursuit. He reminded her too much of the infamous Monsieur le Pew that her dad and uncles had all warned her about, and she was determined this would not end the way his cartoons always did...
Hermione stepped out of the toilet stall, and began to wash her hands. The soapy water splashed up her arm as she absently thought of today's events, and one hand rose to her lips. She still didn't know what to think or feel about that. Wasn't she too young for this?
The stinging pain in her arms dragged her from her musings as she pushed up the sleeves of her robes to reveal deep scratches. At the time, with Hari in trouble, she hadn't thought, and hadn't even noticed getting these. Now, afterwards, she looked at them and shivered with reaction. She'd risked her life for her friend, when her friend couldn't be killed. She was a toon, and the only thing that could end a toon was a strange concoction of paint thinners and chemicals to erase... ink...
Hermione's conscious mind made the connection, now, that her subconscious mind had made, then. The saliva and digestive juices of a Fanged Geranium were used to erase inks and paints! Argus Filch kept them around his office for dealing with graffiti! And she had dragged Hari out of one. She had saved her first and best friend's life when no-one had realized just how much danger she'd been in... She dropped to the floor, wrapped her scratched and slightly bleeding arms around her knees and sobbed.
In the Great Hall, Argus Filch and his cat, Mrs Norris, raced across the floor to the head table screaming in panic. "TROLL! There's a troll in the castle! Some student let it in, I saw 'em! Couldn't tell who!" there was an instant commotion as the students began to panic, but Professor Dumbledore stood, roaring out "SILENCE!" as he did. Having achieved his aim of freezing everyone in place, he turned to Professor Vaughn. "Your show, I believe, Charles."
As the Defence teacher stood, he began laying out the plan. "We don't know where it is, only that it's not here. The students will be here while the teachers scout the thing's location. I'll remain here until it's found, in case it finds us first. Staff, no less than three to a group, and only one over the age of sixty in each group. Who can perform a patronus? One of you in each group at least, communication is key." It was rapidly becoming obvious he had the right job.
Hari had stopped dead in her tracks, pressed against the side of the painting as she looked frantically for the bushy brown hair of her friend. She couldn't see her, she wasn't there. As Sir Cadogan closed the distance between them, gaining on her now that she wasn't running, she strained and with a tearing effort, not noticing the ink and blood from several scratches in her right arm, leaned out of the painting until she was hanging next to Hannah.
"Where's Hermione?" she demanded, and while the shriek Hannah emitted was amusing, it was less than helpful. The whole Hall was looking at her now.
'S-second f-floor girls' b-bathroom," Hannah stammered, one hand clutching at her heart. "Said she had to clean up before the feast..." Turning, Hannah discovered she was talking to empty air. A crashing sound, as of plate armour thrown against a wall drew everyone's attention to the portrait where hari was pushing Sir Cadogan against... the surface of the painting? No-one knew how the toon had gotten in there, but it had to do with one of those Laws she kept yelling about. Hari was yelling at Sir Cadogan.
"For your information, Sir Cad, I don't kiss boys. I don't have time to play." Clearly visible in the portrait, her magic was roiling around her like flames. "My friend might be in danger, and I demand your assistance. Now. Were... does... that... door... go?" As she gritted the question out through clenched teeth, she indicated the door at the back of the painting.
"I-I-I d-don't know," the painted knight whimpered, very intimidated by the rabbit-girl in front of him, a scene which brought Monty Python to the mind of every muggle-born in the Hall. "We can't open those, we're just memories in visual form, we can't affect the paintings."
Hari dropped the knight as she strode to the door in question. "Well, we toons are imagination in visual form. We are what we're supposed to be. Illusions of your fantasy. All dots and lines that speak, and say," here she turned to face the stunned hall-full of magicals. "What we do is what you wish to do!"
With that, she flung open the door and disappeared out the back of the painting.
Hermione stopped in her tracks and looked up. She'd just emerged from the bathroom after drying her eyes. She'd come to the conclusion that she hadn't felt she deserved the kiss Hari had 'rewarded' her with, even if it was intended for her cheek, because Hari hadn't been in danger. The fact that the toon had been, and might have died otherwise, had sent the young witch into shock for a while. Once she got over it (Hari wasn't dead, obviously, and so the 'Hero's Reward' she'd received had been well-earned... and kind of nice... no, bad thoughts, bad), she had again scrubbed her face at the sinks and headed for the feast... or that was the plan.
Now, staring up, and up, at the towering mass of muscle, fat, muscle, stupidity, muscle, ugly, muscle and stench... oh, and muscle... that was a Scottish Mountain Troll, her mind went blank. "Great," she thought, "I just get used to being Hari's hero, and now I need one. That's it, I've had enough." Her rational mind was frozen. So she screamed.
Hari threw herself at the front of the painting, giving its usual occupants, a medieval monk and an oversized man with a quarterstaff (at his size, more of a buck-and-a-quarter-staff) barely enough time to get out of the way, just as the troll raised its club. As the club began its downward arc, the rabbit-girl shoved her friend to the side and took the full brunt of the impact, her right arm 'bleeding' more, unnoticed, as the blow from the hundred kilogram piece of tree smashed the toon into the floor. There was a wheezing, music-like sound, as from an accordion, as the concertinaed form of Hermione's friend rose from the crater in the floor. "Is that-" WHAM. The troll brought the club down again, apparently amused by the sounds the toon made after getting hit. "All you've-" WHAM. "Got... oh look, little broomsticks..." Bored, the troll decided to change things a little. After all, if this creature made a few funny sounds when you it it, what kinds of sounds would it make as it bounced off the walls...
Hermione grabbed Hari's arm and screamed "RUN!" Unfortunately the troll had much monger legs and one step brought it into range for its club again. Hari was still a little woozy, but she saw the approaching club and wrapped herself around Hermione, determined to cover her from the impact.
Neither one noticed the trickle of link and blood that belonged to Hari trickling down Hari's right arm... and into the scratches and cuts from earlier...
The troll's club drove Hari hard into Hermione, and still retained enough force to fling them both, not at the wall, as the dim-witted troll intended, but at the portrait hanging there. A portrait they both fell into... and found themselves lying there, inside the painting. Hermione looked sick, like she was in pain, and Hari knew that the painting wouldn't hold up long if the troll figured out they were in it. She dashed to the next portrait, popped her head and wand arm out, and threw red sparks at the troll. Her plan was simple, lead it away. The troll wasn't playing along and grabbed her before she could dive back in, dragging her out of the picture. As it brought her up to its face, in desperation, just as Professors Sprout and McGonagall got to the top of the staircase behind her, the raven-haired Potter-Rabbit shoved her wand up the troll's nose, where its spell-resistant hide was of little use to it, and screamed, pushing all her magic into it. "RUBRO SCINTILLEO!"
It was only the red sparks spell. It was meant for signalling, for fun, or for calling for help. But it was being fuelled by desperation and a desire to protect Hermione long enough to figure out exactly what they meant to each other, to keep her friend safe, and was fed with every scrap of magic the toon-rabbit could push into it. Deep within her, a binding shattered, and her eyes blazed with emerald fire even as cascades of crimson sparks fountained from the troll's ears and a very surprised look washed over its face. Hari pulled her wand back out of the troll's nose and glared at the puzzled look on its face as smoke poured out of its ears.
"This is the part where you fall down," she said, as she forced herself to move towards the painting she'd left her friend in, and lift her out before dropping to the floor to lean against the wall, with Hermione cradled in her arms.
After some thought, a few moments at most, the troll said "Oh." and fell over. As the Defence, Transfiguration and Herbology professors arrived, with Hermione safe and looking up at her, Hari felt she had to say it before she passed out.
"Professor Vaughn, I really hope this isn't on the test."