Hogwarts was having a stupid Halloween ball.
It had been McGonagall's idea; to liven spirits of the students as the castle had seemed so gloomy this school year. The Carrows had vehemently opposed it, mostly because of the fact it had been McGonagall's idea, but also in part because they never wanted the students to enjoy themselves.
Snape said he really didn't care one way or the other, so McGonagall and her precious little Gryffindors had proceeded to plan the bleeding costume ball.
Draco had declared the entire concept stupid. There were important things going on in the world, such as a war and the Dark Lord's rise and commanding the proper level of respect from the lower ranking members of Slytherin house.
Until Amycus Carrow notified Draco that instead of going to the ball, he was going to supervise detention.
Now, he was ticked off.
Why should he have to supervise detention? Why shouldn't he be allowed to go to the damned ball if he wanted to?
And, he didn't really want to admit, even to himself, using the Cruciatus curse on people who really didn't deserve it wasn't nearly as fantastic as he had imagined it would be.
His mood only slightly improved when he saw his detainee. Luna Lovegood.
At least this should be good for a laugh.
And she wouldn't tell on him if they both sneaked out early.
"Lovegood," He folded his arms as she entered the classroom and sat at one of the front desks, walking up to tower over her. "And what, exactly is it that you have done to deserve detention?"
"I'm not sure, actually." She tilted her head as she looked up at him.
"You're not sure?" he arched an eyebrow at her. "Or you just don't want to tell me?"
"Really, I'm not sure. I seem to have upset both of the Carrows, so I'm not sure which one of them gave me detention." She shrugged.
"And what did you do to upset Madam Carrow?" He rolled his eyes.
"Well, that's the odd thing. I actually gave Professor Trelawney a gift for her birthday the day before yesterday. It was a snow globe. I made it myself. I didn't realize it would cause such a commotion." She frowned slightly.
"You're the one responsible for her running into the Great Hall shouting that the Dark Lord was going to send snowmen to attack Hogwarts!" Draco realized.
"That wasn't what I intended at all. I knew she liked winter, and that Hogwarts is the only home she has, so I made her a glass ball with a winter scene of the castle." Luna replied.
"And told her it was a crystal ball!" Draco accused.
"I didn't tell her it was a crystal ball." Luna shook her head. "Seamus did. And then Madam Carrow said it was a muggle artifact and became most distressed over it. It really isn't a muggle artifact. I used magic to make it."
"Figures." Draco snorted. "She's not the sharpest tack. What did you do to upset Professor Carrow?"
"We were talking about the ball in class. Someone asked if he wasn't going because he couldn't find a suitable costume. I suggested he should go to the ball as a caterpillar. He thought I was comparing him to a worm, or perhaps intending a slur on his masculinity, suggesting that he was akin to a creature that turns into a butterfly."
"Were you?" Draco arched an eyebrow at her.
"No," she shook her head. "But I was insulting him. Caterpillars are not very bright. Some smell very bad. Caterpillars of the polyphemus moth can eat 86,000 times their body weight. And leaf-rolling caterpillars can propel fecal matter from their bums as a form of attack."
"So you said he was a worm that spews shit?" Draco laughed.
"Pretty much." Luna smiled. "I'm sorry you have to miss the ball to oversee my detention, Draco."
"What were you going to be for the ball?" He asked.
"A flamingo." She reached into her bag and partially withdrew something covered with pink feathers.
He laughed again. "That's appropriate. You're going as a creature that can be spotted a mile away."
"Flamingos don't have to depend on camouflage for defense." She looked at him sympathetically. "They live in large groups, and they protect each other. It's a shame you can't depend on your friends to protect you."
He didn't answer that, because, well, he just wasn't going to get into Death Eater internal politics with her. "If you were going as a bird, why didn't you choose an eagle, if you're a Ravenclaw?"
"I think Rowena Ravenclaw was making a jab at the male house founders when she chose an eagle as her symbol. Female eagles are always larger and more dominant than male eagles. They frequently eat snakes and have been known to kill young lions." She gave him a wry smile.
"I can't say that I blame her, because there are a few young lions I could do without myself." Draco snorted.
"So what were you going to be for the ball?" she asked.
"I hadn't planned on going." He admitted.
"Oh. Because you didn't have a date?" she tilted her head again.
"No!" he answered a little more forcefully than necessary. "I just thought the whole thing was kind of stupid." He forced himself to calm somewhat. "But now I think I might go, if I could find a costume. It's not like there's anything else going on around here tonight."
"I do believe a swan would be a good choice for you," Luna nodded. "I could help you transfigure your robes into one. I'm very talented with transfiguration."
"A swan." He said, raising his neck and pretending to preen majestically. "Are you passing commentary on my masculinity, Lovegood? A bloody swan? They're about as effeminate as possible. And I'm perfectly capable with transfiguration myself, mind you. I don't need your help."
"No," a brief frown passed over her face. "Swans are very protective of their families. Swans have been known to kill humans who wandered too close to their nests. I believe you would do anything to protect the ones you care about. I see that in your aura. They're mostly very pale. And they're not really effeminate. Male swans are the only birds that have a penis."
A shocked laugh bubbled out of his mouth. "So you've been thinking about my penis, Lovegood?"
'I've heard quite a few students have seen it." She shrugged. "Perhaps you're so fond of showing it to the females to prevent questioning of your sexuality. Swans are also one of the few creatures that form same sex pairings in nature."
"If you ever experienced my penis, you wouldn't question my sexuality." He smirked.
She ignored him. "Does that mean we can leave detention early if you have a costume?"
"I thought we might." He shrugged. "I mean, if we're going to be in costume, the Carrows won't know it's us, right?"
"Well then, if you'll turn your back while I put my costume on, I'll help you with your robes and then we can be off." She offered.
"I'm sure you'd like to get my robes off," he muttered as he obligingly turned around. There was a rustle of fabric that set his mind to wandering into places he quickly yanked it out of.
"You can turn around now." She said softly.
She looked like a cute little pink cartoon bird, but he wasn't in the mood to offer compliments at the moment.
"You look like a pink chicken." He taunted.
"Chickens aren't closely related to flamingos. Flamingos are water birds, while chickens would drown. Flamingos can only swallow if their heads are upside down, while chickens can't swallow if their heads are upside down." She tilted her head again, and then retrieved her wand from behind her ear. She flicked it at him, changing his Slytherin robes white and covering them with feathers. "I actually used feathers from different types of birds for the costume, and then charmed them all pink. Flamingo feathers lose their color once they're no longer attached to the bird. Flamingos eat a lot of shrimp and algae, which is why their feathers are pink. Actually they can be red or orange, depending on the exact diet of the specific bird. Their name comes from the Spanish word flamenco, which means flame, in reference to their color."
She flicked her wand again at his Potions textbook on the teacher's desk, turning it into a white feathered mask with a shimmering ebony and coral beak, which she handed to him.
"The flamenco is also a kind of dance, which is rather erotic. Meet me back here after the ball and I'll teach you. By the time you leave, you won't be doubting my sexuality." He smirked.
She smiled as if she saw straight through his attempt to bait her. "I'd be careful if I were you, Draco. Young male swans are rather promiscuous, but once they mature, they mate for life." She leaned up on her tiptoes and placed a gentle kiss on the corner of his mouth. "Of course, so do flamingos."
She turned and glided toward the door.
"See you after the ball." She called.
She was out of the room before he could answer, leaving a wide-eyed Draco with his hand pressed to the corner of his mouth.
A/N - all the creature facts mentioned are true, in case you ever need to impress anyone with useless knowledge.