Author's Note: Usual disclaimers apply. I don't own Harry Potter or the Harry Potter universe, of course. All persons and organizations in this story are fictional, except for those who are not. The non-fictional people are being used fictionally for entertainment purposes only, and no attempt is being made to reflect on the characters of the actual persons involved. Except the swamp rabbit. That's real, man!
This one was written for the Teachers' Lounge Crackfest '13: The Crackening. I got the cue "Luna and Dobby Working Together". Inspiration came partly from my sister. I thought of doing something with the title "The Cracken Awakes", but it didn't work. Instead, open up a bag of fresh-roasted peanuts, and enjoy:
Night of the Lagomorphmagus
Ginny Weasley and Colin Creevey greeted Luna Lovegood with smiles as the Ravenclaw sat down in the library with them. The two Gryffindors were comparing notes on the assignment Hagrid had given them for Care of Magical Creatures, to pick one Class XXXX or XXXXX magical creature, and do a research paper, five feet long, on the habits, dangers, and proper handling of said creature. Luna, being in the same class as them, was glad to talk about the assignment. She had an idea, but needed some help.
Ginny was going to write about unicorns, and Colin was going to write about griffins. Luna told the others she was planning on writing about lagomorphmagi.
"I thought you would write about Thestrals," Ginny said. "What's a lekomorphmagi?"
"A lagomorphmagus," Luna said very slowly, like one would to an eager but innocent child. "It's a class XXXXX magical beast."
"It's not in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," Colin pointed out.
"Not the recent editions, of course, but they were in the first edition. The Ministry made them take out the references to them, of course."
"Oh, I imagine Scrimgeour is in league with them. Him, the Rotfangs, the lagomorphmagi... they're all on the same side."
"But what is a lago..." Ginny asked.
"Lagomorphmagus. It's like a werewolf, but it turns into a rabbit."
"A bunny? And it's class XXXXX?" Ginny asked.
"Well, it's an involuntary transformation. Sometimes. Sometimes it's a voluntary one. And they're quite vicious. Daddy used to have a book about them, but it disappeared. Probably the Ministry took it, you know."
"Lagomorphmagi. And yes, very vicious. Brutal, ruthless killers, just like some werewolves. I suppose there are probably nice lagomorphmagi, like Professor Lupin is a nice werewolf, but it's involuntary, you know."
"Brutal killer werebunnies."
"Like in Monty Python," Colin said.
"Who's Monty Python?" Luna asked.
"Comedians my dad liked. They made a movie where there was a killer rabbit. Killed a whole bunch of knights. Only died because of a holy handgrenade."
Luna looked very intensely at Colin, which made the boy shudder and look away. "Muggles know about lagomorphmagi?"
"I don't think so, Luna. It was just a funny movie."
"But they're in Muggle stories and legends?"
"Well, the one movie."
At that point, Colin's younger brother Dennis joined the three fifth-year students. Dennis warmly greeted his brother and Ginny, and muttered a shy "hello" to Luna.
Luna, however, stared directly into the boy's eyes, so much so that small beads of sweat began appearing on his forehead. "Dennis, what do you know about lagomorphmagi?"
"Lagomorphmagi," Luna repeated patiently.
"Killer bunnies," Ginny explained.
"Like the rabbit in Holy Grail," Colin added.
"Do you know of any other Muggle legends about vicious killer rabbits?" Luna asked.
"What, like Bunnicula?" Dennis said. "It was a book I liked back in primary school. About a vampire bunny."
Luna shook her head. "Lagomorphmagi are more like werewolves. But the vampire aspect... that ties into Scrimgeour... I'll have to check it out. But you say it's a book? I bet Madame Pince could get me one. Thank you," she said directly to Dennis after speaking more to herself, and took her bag to talk to the librarian.
Ginny smiled and shook her head indulgently as her friend left. "Oh, Luna," she muttered. Colin laughed quietly, while Dennis stared after her, not knowing what to make of the whole thing.
Further research in the library on lagomorphmagi turned up nothing, but fortunately Luna got Bunnicula a few days later from the interlibrary loan desk, along with a disapproving look from Madame Pince. The book was no help, though. The vampire rabbit, who preyed on vegetables, showed no transformative abilities, as was entirely unlike the lagomorphmagi Luna was trying to research. Luna was aware it was a fictional story, but knowing as she did that legends often had the seed to truth in them, she resolved to keep an eye on the Ministry as best she could. A vampire like Scrimgeour might have use for vampiric bunny minions.
She was going to return the book to Madame Pince, but it disappeared from her trunk one night. Luna felt guilty about that, but Madame Pince didn't ask for it back.
Luna was walking in the halls with Ginny and Colin the next Saturday morning. "How's the lickamoor hunting going?" Colin asked.
"Lagomorphmagus," Luna said. "Poorly, you know. That book of your brother's wasn't much help. I think I need to watch that movie, but Madame Pince wouldn't let me borrow it. She said that kind of thing wouldn't work at Hogwarts."
"You need to watch it somewhere else," Ginny said. "Maybe over the Easter hols."
"Oh, I don't want to wait that long. Too bad there's no cinema in Hogsmeade."
"Too bad you can't go to my house," Colin said. "Dad has Holy Grail on VHS."
"Maybe you could switch subjects. Write about Thestrals."
Luna shook her head. "No, I think I want to find out more about lagomorphmagi. If information is this hard to find, it's obviously very important. Like how there's no books on Crumple-Horned Snorkacks in the library," she said sagely.
Dennis ran up and joined them. "Hi guys. Hi Luna," he said shyly. "I... I saw you reading Bunnicula. Did it help?"
"Not really, but thank you for telling me about it. Muggle stories are really very interesting, aren't they? Talking about magic even though they know so little about it."
"So seriously, Luna," Ginny interrupted. "Thestrals. Switch to thestrals, instead of lekho... werebunnies."
"Lagomorphmagi," Dennis corrected her, which made Colin laugh at his brother.
"No, I want to write about this. Would I be able to floo to your parents' place?" Luna asked Colin.
Colin shook his head. "They don't have a floo connection."
"That's too bad. And I can't go by broomstick, as Nargles took it in October."
"Ask a house elf," Dennis said, pointing to the S.P.E.W. pin on his bag. "Hermione was telling me all about them, and apparently they can do their elf-apparition anywhere. Ask a house elf to take you."
"I don't know your parents. And I don't know any house elves," Luna said.
"I could go with you, if you could find a way," Dennis said, which made Colin laugh some more, and Ginny give Colin a swat on the arm.
"And I know a house elf. DOBBY!" Ginny called. Moments later, a house elf appeared in front of the four teenagers.
"Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny called?"
"Hello Dobby. This is Luna Lovegood."
"Hello, sir," Luna said to the elf.
Dobby's eyes grew wide.
"Dobby, Luna is a friend of mine, and a friend of Harry's. She needs to go with Dennis, who is another friend of mine, to his house. Could you take them?"
"Dobby is not supposed to take students off school grounds," Dobby said warily.
"Please, Mr. Dobby, sir? It's for a school assignment. I'm researching lagomorphmagi."
"Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny's Loony..." Dobby began before being interrupted.
"Please don't call her Loony, Dobby," Ginny said.
"Sorry. Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny's Luna should not be researching such things. Very dangerous, they are. Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny's Luna should be very careful."
"It's very important, Mr. Dobby, sir," Luna said, her wide eyes looking imploringly into the elf's equally wide eyes.
Dobby sighed. "Very well." He snapped his fingers, and he, Luna and Dennis disappeared.
The three of them appeared in the drawing room of a pleasant-looking cottage, whereupon they were greeted by a shriek, and the thump of a woman fainting onto a floor.
"Melissa? Darling?" said a deep voice that came running down the stairs. "What's the... Who in the blazes are you? Dennis?"
"Hi Dad," the young Gryffindor said, rushing to hug his father.
"Why are you here? How did you get here?"
"Dobby here apparated us into the living room. Mum fainted."
"Hello Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny's Luna's Denny's Father."
"Er... hello. And who are you?" the man said to the blond girl.
"Luna Lovegood, sir," she said, extending her hand. "I'm a classmate of Colin's, and I was in Dumbledore's... a club with Dennis last year."
"Oh. Yes. The DA. Lovegood... your father writes The Quibbler?"
"Edits, sir. And writes most of it."
"Colin showed us the interview with Harry last year. Sobering stuff. So why are you all here?"
"Luna needs to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Dad," Dennis explained.
"It's for a research project, Mr. Creevey."
"Lagomorphmagi, sir," Luna said.
"Killer bunnies," Dennis explained.
"Which explains Holy Grail." Mr. Creevey shook his head, not wanting a further explanation. Wizards were strange enough, and if this girl was anything like her father, it was better not to go deeper down the rabbit hole, as it were.
Melissa Creevey slowly came to, took a look around, saw Dobby, screamed, and promptly fainted again.
Three hours later, Dennis, Luna, Dobby, and the Creeveys sat in the Creeveys' den as the movie ended. Mr. Creevey and Dennis were laughing uproariously, while Mrs. Creevey shook her head and muttered, "What a stupid movie", as she looked apprehensively at Dobby.
Luna, on the other hand, was transfixed. "That rabbit scene was extraordinary. It didn't transform, but it matches Daddy's descriptions of lagomorphmagus behaviour in their rabbit form. Mr. Creevey, do you know of any other depictions of this kind of creature?"
Mr. Creevey shook his head, but Melissa Creevey said, "Night of the Lepus".
"Night of the Lepus. Mutant rabbits attack America. It was a stupid horror film I saw when I was seventeen."
"Do you own it? On the VHR?" Luna asked.
"VHS. Or VCR. And no, thank goodness, I don't own that stupid movie," she said.
"We could rent it," Mr. Creevey said.
"We should be able to come back tomorrow, right Luna? Mr. Dobby?" Dennis asked. When the others confirmed this, they agreed to come back the next day. Dennis' parents gave him a hug, shook Luna's and Dobby's hands, and then the elf apparated them away, causing Melissa Creevey to faint once again.
Night of the Lepus proved to be a rather silly movie, in Luna's opinion, but it was another pleasant excursion. The Creevey's were very gracious, she thought, and not afraid of magic so much as afraid of house elves, who they had never seen before. But they gave her some wonderful fizzy Muggle drinks, and set out some crisps for Dennis, Dobby and her to share, and answered her questions graciously.
The two movie afternoons also resulting in a bit of teasing of Luna and Dennis by Colin, asking if they had fun at the movies together. Dennis shouted "Shut up!" at Colin, which made Colin laugh some more, while Luna just smiled and watched the two boys fight like the brothers they were.
Despite the artistic failings of the movie, it gave Luna a lot to consider. It again did not show any transformation of a human to a rabbit, but perhaps Muggles never saw that particular change. But just like Holy Grail, and just like Bunnicula, it showed a vicious rabbit attacking people (or, well, vegetables), and just like the other two, it was made in the 1970s.
At the height of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's rise to power, people were worried about killer rabbits to make two movies and a book about them.
It was all falling into place for Luna.
She went to bed that night with an angle for the next avenue of research into lagomorphmagi. She woke up to find her trunk open, her possessions rifled through, and a piece of parchment on top, upon which was written in a hasty scrawl, "Lay off the rabbits if you know what's good for you."
She was on the right track.
When Luna asked Colin if there had been any reports of rabbit attacks on Muggles in the 1970s, Colin had no idea where she should go, and suggested she ask Hermione. Hermione told her she had never heard of any rabbit attacks, but if she really wanted to know, she should write to a newspaper.
Hermione suggested the Times or the Guardian, but Luna had had previous dealings with both papers, and they had been not-at-all helpful in Luna's quest to find information on Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. So the next Saturday, Dobby disguised himself to look less like an elf and more to look like a short man with large ears, and apparated Luna to the offices of The Sun, where she asked at the information desk whether they had any information on rabbit attacks in the 1970s.
"Rabbit attacks," said the clerk in a deadpan voice.
"Yes, in the 1970s."
"Bunnies. What, biting people's fingers?"
"No, trying to kill them."
The clerk rolled his eyes. "Look, little girl, I don't know anything about any bunny attacks..."
An older gentleman was walking by the information desk at that exact point. "Bunny attacks?"
The clerk sighed. "Sorry, sir. This little girl wants to know if we have any articles on bunny attacks."
"In the 1970s," Luna pointed out.
The older man thought. "Well, there was that rabbit that the Yank president fought off."
"What?" asked the clerk.
"Yeah, President Whatsisname. The peanut fellow. Was in a canoe when some photographer got a picture of him trying to shoo away some kind of angry rabbit. Made the news because it was so weird."
An American president fighting a lagomorphmagus! Finally! This was the information Luna needed. And in the 1970s... Her father, like many journalists, always spoke about the power of the press to keep politicians honest. He had tried to do it with Fudge and Scrimgeour, and he had mentioned an American president that had to resign due to some scandal the press found out... Nickle? Nicks? Nixon, that was it. Could that be the president? Could he have had to resign due to a lagomorphmagus, that may or may not have been in You-Know-Who's employ?
"Could you get me a copy of the story?" Luna politely asked the older gentleman. He gave her an appraising look, and said, "Sure. Why not. Wait here with your friend."
Soon Luna was back at Hogwarts, sitting in the library, holding a printout of a microfiche copy of a grainy photograph with an accompanying story. The headline was "PRESIDENT ATTACKED BY RABBIT". It showed the President (Jimmy Carter, not Richard Nixon) in a canoe, using a paddle to try and fend off a rabbit swimming towards him. The article made light of the President being attacked by a bunny, but Luna was sure it was a lagomorphmagus. It certainly would fit into You-Know-Who's anti-Muggle agenda.
That night, as Luna slept, she heard a noise in her room which woke her up. By the light of the full moon, she saw a large grey rabbit with deep red eyes and sharp fangs going through her trunk. She screamed, waking her roommates, who began yelling at her. In the commotion, the rabbit jumped out of the window. Luna ran to the window to the derision of her roommates, who claimed to see nothing at all other than "the stupid loon screaming like a banshee".
She saw a man running on the grounds toward the Forbidden Forest.
She looked in her trunk. The article on President Carter was gone.
She was so close.
The next morning, Luna was sitting in a disused classroom alone, thinking about what she knew. Lagomorphmagi existed. There were a rash of Muggle entertainments in the 1970s about vicious rabbits, at the exact same time You-Know-Who was trying to take over the Wizarding World. In 1979, a rabbit attacked the most powerful Muggle of all, the President of the United States of America.
Dobby appeared in the room. "Does Dooby need to take Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny's Luna anywhere today?"
Luna shook her head. She told Dobby what happened the night before, and said, "And we only know of one witness to a lagomorphmagus attack. If only I could talk to President Carter!"
No sooner had she said that than Dobby disapparated, reappearing a few minutes later with an elderly white-haired man dressed in a fine Muggle suit.
"What is going on?" asked the man in what Luna recognized as a southern American accent.
It took Luna only a moment to figure out what was going on. "Excuse me, sir, are you President Carter?" she asked.
"Yes. Who are you? Why am I here? Where's..." Jimmy Carter stopped and looked at the classroom, looked to Dobby, and then back to Luna. He saw the wand behind her ear, and asked, "Are you a witch?"
Luna smiled a wide smile at that point. As a head of government, he would have been contacted by American wizards when he took office. This would be so much easier. "Yes, Mr. President. Luna Lovegood, fifth-year Ravenclaw at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. My father runs a newspaper here in Britain. This is Mr. Dobby, my house-elf friend who works for Hogwarts. He brought you here because I need to talk to you. I'm sorry he didn't ask, sir, but it's very important."
Jimmy Carter sighed. One of the few good things about no longer being president was that he didn't have to deal with wizards and witches, but this young witch was at least polite. "When I answer your questions, will Dobby take me back to Atlanta?"
"Yes, sir. Do you remember an incident with a rabbit in..."
"The rabbit incident? I don't want to talk about that stupid rabbit!" Jimmy Carter sighed. "That's all journalists ever seem to want to talk about – that stupid rabbit, the malaise speech, and the hostages. Well I've had enough, and I don't need to talk to you, Miss, about an incident I only barely remember."
Luna looked up. "You only barely remember it?"
"Yes. Look, it was just a swamp rabbit I shooed away almost twenty years ago."
"I think it may be something else, sir. I think you were attacked by a lagomorphmagus."
Jimmy Carter looked at Luna like so many others did, like she was a few dirigible plums short of a basket. "What is a lagomorphmagus?"
"An evil wizard who turns into a vicious rabbit. Like a werewolf. Only fluffier. And rabbittier. I think you were attacked by a lagomorphmagus sent by the Dark Lord." Luna turned to Dobby. "Can you get me a pensieve, Mr. Dobby?"
A few moments later, Dobby returned with the instrument in question. Luna asked Jimmy Carter to think about the incident, and drew the memory out of the former President's mind. She then took his hand, and they both stuck their heads into the pensieve.
The Ravenclaw and the former President saw a much younger Jimmy Carter paddling a canoe when a rabbit with deep red eyes and sharp teeth began swimming towards him. The President then tried to fend off the rabbit with his paddle before there was a sharp break in the memory, and the rabbit, now looking like a normal rabbit, was swimming away.
When the memory ended, Luna and Jimmy Carter found themselves back in the classroom.
"I think you were Obliviated, sir," Luna said. "Your memory was altered by a wizard or witch, so you wouldn't remember the attack. And furthermore, I think the lagomorphmagus who attacked you was the same one who was been appearing in my room at night, and that he's here's at Hogwarts!"
Jimmy Carter considered the teenage girl before him. She was the oddest-looking young woman he had ever seen. She had an air about her of distinct weirdness. What she was claiming was extremely strange, but no stranger than the existence of magic itself. And it would explain the whole stupid rabbit incident – looking back, he knew there was no way he would have worried about a simple bunny. Or even a swamp rabbit.
"Are you going to report this to your principal?" Jimmy Carter asked.
"No. Everyone thinks I'm 'loony'. And I want to capture the lagomorphmagus for my report. Thank you for your help, Mr. President, sir. Dobby can take you back now."
"Wait! If this is the same rabbit that attacked me, I want him caught. How can I help?"
After nightfall, a fifteen year-old girl, an ex-President of the United States, and a free elf found themselves wandering through the Forbidden Forest. Luna had her wand drawn, Dobby was alert for danger, and Jimmy Carter was just trying to keep up and keep his wits about him.
"How much longer are we going to look for this killer rabbit, Luna?" Jimmy Carter asked.
Luna sighed. They had been out here for two hours. While she had thought she was being watched, she had no proof that it was the lagomorphmagus. She cast a Lumos spell, and shouted, "Mr. Lagomorphmagus! We're looking for you! Please come talk with us!"
"Luna! Are you crazy?" Jimmy Carter shouted.
"Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny's Luna's Jimmy Carter should not call Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny's Luna crazy, Harry Potter's Wheezy's Ginny's Luna's Jimmy Carter, sir!" exclaimed Dobby.
"What? Sorry," the former President said. He then shouted, "Hey, Swamp Rabbit! I'm here for you! Let's finish what you started!"
"CARTER!" an angry voice shouted, as suddenly there appeared a scruffy man of about fifty in shabby clothes, pointing a wand at the former President.
"Expelliarmus!" shouted Luna, casting a Disarming Spell at the lagomorphmagus at the exact time he did the same thing. Both their wands flew away, and they found themselves disarmed, facing one another.
"You just couldn't give up, could you, little girl?" asked the man.
"It's for a school report," Luna said, shrugging her shoulders.
"So what's all this about, werebunny?" asked Jimmy Carter, and angry tone in his voice.
"Lagomorphmagus!" he shouted. "I was one of the Dark Lord's top agents. After all, who suspects a simple rabbit? Who would suspect a rabbit of attacking the president of the United States? Who would suspect a rabbit to be a master of mind magic?"
"Yes, I obliviated you! I placed a compulsion charm on you!"
"Malaise!" hissed Jimmy Carter. "That speech! That was your fault! I knew I wouldn't do that normally!"
"And I made you look foolish! I weakened you, the most powerful Muggle of all! Oh, I could have killed you, but I probably would have been killed by your Secret Service. But a simple swimming bunny rabbit, scaring the President... It hobbled your administration, that one picture. Add that one speech, and well... The Dark Lord didn't appreciate it enough, but he will. When he returns to Hogwarts, he'll see me! He'll appreciate the subtlety, the nuance, the cunning!"
"Unlikely, Bugs," Jimmy Carter said.
"Damn you! You'll pay for that, Carter!" shouted the lagomorphmagus. "Just as soon as I take care of blondie here!"
And with that, the lagomorphmagus transformed into a vicious grey swamp rabbit, and leaped at Luna, who screamed in terror. The ex-President tried to run to her, but knew he wouldn't reach the girl before the evil wizard did.
Dobby snapped his fingers, stunning the lagomorphmagus with his elven magic. Before he could do anything, though, the trio heard a booming voice shout, "What's going on here?"
"Hagrid!" said Luna. "Mr. Dobby, take President Carter back. He shouldn't be here!"
"But Harry Potter's Wheezy's..."
"Mr. Dobby! Now please! I'll face Hagrid!"
With another snap of his fingers, Dobby disapparated the former President away before Hagrid saw them.
"Luna! What are you doing?" shouted the half-giant, running up to her.
"I lost my wand, Professor," Luna said.
"You shouldn't be ou' here at all! An' look! You've stunned a poor defenceless bunny! Twenty points from Ravenclaw! Let me take that bunny an' make 'im all better. I expected better of you, Luna," said Hagrid, disappointed.
"I'm sorry, sir," Luna said, although she really wasn't.
Luna unfortunately got a Poor grade on her report on lagomorphmagi. Hagrid said it was well-written, but insufficiently sourced, and didn't focus on a known creature. He gave her an opportunity to write a new report, however, during the four-week detention he gave her for being out in the Forbidden Forest at night. She wrote about Thestrals and got an Exceeds Expectations this time. The Quibbler, however, published her original report on lagomorphmagi, as did the Atlanta Seer and Owl Post, oddly enough.
Hagrid himself was disappointed that the bunny Luna had stunned disappeared before morning. He thought no more of the matter, though. Luna, however, saw a dead rabbit among the corpses in the ruins of the Great Hall a year later, and while she wasn't happy with that, felt a certain satisfaction that the matter had been resolved.
The Lovegood's house was rebuilt after the war with aid from wizards sent by the British branch of Habitat for Humanity. The elderly white-haired gentleman who showed up to help was unremarkable to the wizards of Ottery St. Catchpole, but in the Muggle part of the village, he received a notable welcome and was feted by the mayor for reasons the wizards of the village didn't quite understand.
Dennis Creevey felt left out that Luna hadn't invited him to her adventure in the woods, especially after helping in research. He mourned his brother after the Battle of Hogwarts, and was so disappointed that his only take-down was of a rabbit that he never mentioned the matter to anyone. He did invite Luna to watch movies at his parents' house after the war, where they would occasionally take in a horror movie.
No rabbit-themed ones, though.