The Sugar Quill
Author: zzzFF Fellytone  Story: An Aragog Story  Chapter: Default
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            “Ouch!” Aragog gingerly lifted one of his many hairy legs to rub at the eye that still smarted from being kicked.

            “Sorry, Grandad” called Leckie, his voice loud and excited and not the tiniest bit sincere. “I didn’t see you there!”

            Slowly Aragog raised his large body up so it towered over where his impetuous great-grandson’s voice came from. Was Leckie number 398? Or was it 399?

            “What has you in such a hurry?” The great spider asked. All he really wanted was to go back to sleep.

            Leckie opened his pincers, excited to tell the news when he was shoved from behind by another spider.  It was Tag. 

            “Grandad, all the family is coming!” she shrieked gleefully.  Aragog could hear her as she danced around, eight legs moving wildly.

            “Tag!” Leckie yelled. “I was going to tell!”

            “So?” she retorted “I can’t help it if you’re too slow.”

            “Slow?” Leckie crept toward her, “I’ll show you slow…”

            “Enough!” Aragog roared.  He closed his eyes wearily.

            “Tag, what do you mean all of the family is coming?” he asked quietly.  

            “From the castle, Hagrid’s den, everywhere!” she started dancing again. Leckie looked on with scorn.

            “Yes, but why?” Aragog asked, failing to keep the strain from his voice.  The whole family?  They usually didn’t get together except at their annual family reunion, and even that took months to get everyone here.  Aragog shuddered--all of his children, grandchildren and distant relatives--all together. In one place. Again. Bragging about who caught the most flies, or which type of weaving was better for their webs. 

Of course that was just the distant relatives. Aragog’s own descendants bragged about who had landed what deer or who survived their most recent encounter with a centaur. Aragog closed his eyes and sighed deeply. All the clicking and chattering was enough to drive any sane arachnid mad.

            “Because…of…it.” Leckie answered fearfully.

            Tag stopped dancing around, and for the first time in her life fell silent.

            “What do you mean, it?” asked Aragog carefully.

            “You know.” whispered Tag. 

It was true. He did know. There was something so inherently deep within him that always knew, and he remembered the first time he’d felt such fear.  He was in a box in Hagrid’s room.  He almost went mad with the fear. 

            “It is awake?” Aragog said, musing to himself. “Is there anyone to stop it?”

He sighed as he shooed his great-great-grandchildren away, both arguing over whether they would have to share their favorite dens with their cousins.

            “…no way am I sharing with Siimi, he clicks in his sleep.” Leckie was saying as they scurried away, eager to spread the news to the other relatives.  Aragog settled down to complete his nap. He needed all the sleep he could get.  Who knows who would be sharing his den, once the relatives arrived.

 

            As the days turned into weeks, more and more spiders crowded into the hollow.  The hollow, usually spacious for the large spider and his immediate family, became exceedingly cramped as hundreds and thousands of cousins, aunts, uncles and every other relation crowded in.  Sometimes the clattering and clicking threatened to drive him insane.  He entertained the thought of eating all of them, just to shut them up.

            Except for the fact that he didn’t eat his relatives. A shame really.

After one particularly bad night’s sleep, Aragog awoke suddenly. All the relatives chattered among themselves, louder than ever before.  He listened closely, trying to make out the cause of all the excitement.

            “…smells so fresh! I can’t wait.”

            “…partial to the stomach myself, I like it tender…”

            “…when will they be here? I’m starving…”

            “…so much better than competing with the centaurs, they don’t eat…”

Aragog slowly lifted his large head and sniffed the air. Despite himself, his pincers began to click wildly.  He could smell fresh meat heading right toward them.  It wasn’t Hagrid, he sniffed carefully, though Hagrid’s small companion was there.  Another sniff, there were two of them, younglings perhaps.

            The excitement grew and his stomach rumbled wildly as the prospective meals drew closer.  Aragog understood the excitement.  They usually hunted for their food, fighting the centaurs for the wild game and set with the task of devouring it before the thestrals smelled the blood and came to investigate.

            “They’re right outside!” Tag skipped and danced, her legs moving more wildly and out of sync than ever before.  Aragog stood, knowing none of his children would do anything without his consent.  It was too bad he was an insectitarian, as he would love a nice fresh arm or leg.  But his mate made clear in no uncertain terms what she would do to him if he broke his diet.

            “There they are!” clicked Tag.  Aragog stayed in the shadows. He heard his name being called. There, just inside the den, stood two humans.  They did smell wonderful.  Aragog steeled himself.

            “Make sure you scare them!” warned Tag “They’ll be easier to catch then!”  Aragog shot a withering look in her direction, but she merely focused all eight eyes on him and clicked cheekily.  He knew it, even though he couldn’t see her.

            “Little spoiled child of a fly.” he muttered, before lowering his voice deep within his throat so it came out raspy. 

            “Is it Hagrid?” he rasped. 

            “Strangers.” a gruff voice replied, Aragog tilted his head, it sounded like Arty, his nephew.

            “Kill them.” Aragog, enjoyed the smell of fear that increased on each of the younglings.  It really was too bad he couldn’t eat meat.  Blasted diet.

            “I was sleeping.” he finished trying not to smile.

All the family around him clicked in anticipation, excited at this new game to break up the monotony of spider life.  The relatives were always commenting on how much more fun the castle was. It was never dull, trying to dodge the students in search of potion ingredients. 

            “We’re friends of Hagrid’s.” a voice said bravely.  Aragog was impressed.        “Hagrid has never sent men into our hollow before.” Aragog waved a leg dismissively.

            “Hagrid’s in trouble,” said the boy, Aragog could hear his breath quicken “that’s why we’ve come.”

            The giant spider listened carefully as the boy explained what Aragog already knew, about the creature at Hogwarts.  The boy appeared frustrated at Aragog’s explanation about his time in the castle and the death of the girl while he was there. 

Aragog’s relatives, impatient at all of the talking, clicked excitedly as Aragog told the boys their fate.  Aragog breathed in deeply one last time, smelling the fear.  Oh they did smell good.  He wanted fresh meat so badly, he would even eat Hagrid’s furry companion. Though the hair would get caught in his pincers, he hated that. As he turned and headed deep within the hollow, he heard yelling and clicking coming from where the boys were held captive…and an unusual smell. 

Mentally shrugging to himself he settled down to go back to sleep.  He didn’t care if the meat escaped, he ate insects. Stupid diet.

For the next three months all Aragog heard were complaints and groans from his relatives about the loss of their dinner.  Every time the metal creature was spotted that rescued the humans, plots were hatched and discussions lead about how much web combined would be needed to stop it, and who had the most accurate aim.

Aragog closed each of his eyes, one by one, listening to the heated conversations clicking around him.  Do spiders count as insects?  He wondered drowsily as he dozed off.  Maybe it wasn’t so bad…being an insectitarian.

 

 

 

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