The Sugar Quill
Author: Suaine  Story: For One Day  Chapter: Default
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Disclaimer: The squid and all other HP characters belong to J

Disclaimer: The squid and all other HP characters belong to J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury and Scholastic. No money is made of this and no copyright infringement is intended.

 

 

For One Day

By Suaine

 

 

Voldemort’s creepy voice carried through the thick, damp undergrowth of the Forbidden Forest, scaring away any living creature in a two-mile area. Any creature, that is, but his most faithful servant, the infamous Wormtail - who had once inadvertently caused his master’s downfall by betraying the Potters to him. Lord Voldemort had not been able to kill a little boy, and since then Harry Potter had posed as an obstacle to his plans, but the boy’s chivalry gave a new life to Voldemort in the end. Now it was time for Harry Potter and all his friends to die a horribly slow and painful death.

“Wormtail,” the Dark Lord bellowed.

“Yes, master?”

“Do you have all the ingredients for our special Halloween surprise?” A thin, cackling laugh escaped from Voldemort’s cruel lips.

Wormtail, formerly known as Peter Pettigrew, bowed conspicuously low to avoid his master’s gaze. He was no fool, even if he behaved like one, and he could read Voldemort’s moods well – tonight the Lord was out to kill.

“Yes, sir. Of course, sir.  It’s all here.” And with that he placed the heavy cauldron he had been carrying in front of his Lord’s feet, and immediately lit a magical fire beneath it. After he had dropped the ingredients in the steaming potion, he backed away from his master, careful not to attract his attention again. It was better to stay clear of the Forbidden Forest tonight.

Voldemort did not notice Wormtail’s disappearance; too enthralled was he with the making of his newest evil creation. This potion, simply called Drought, when generously distributed to the waters of the Hogwarts lake, would end all his petty problems.

His evil laughter spread through the forest again, and this time there were no living creatures left to flee from him.

 

* * *

 

The giant squid did not reside in the lake in front of Hogwarts for appearances only. It was her job to cleanse the water and render it drinkable – not only to allow the Merpeople to live at the bottom of the lake, but also for use at Hogwarts. Where else would they get their water, if not from the lake? The Giant Squid loved her job and had never complained about anything until now.

Dumbledore watched Hagrid while the half-giant listened to the magnificent sobs of a very purple, very disturbed Squid. The headmaster sensed evil deeds and wondered whether Voldemort was involved in any of it. But what would be gained by poisoning the Giant Squid? Sometimes Voldemort’s twisted thoughts were beyond even Dumbledore’s understanding.

A grim smile played on the Headmaster’s lips. He wouldn’t allow Voldemort to destroy tomorrow’s Halloween party - the students needed a night of fun and laughter for a change. Things were tough enough with a war at hand and Death Eaters killing innocent Muggles left and right - his students deserved this break from reality, with a real Muggle-costume-party. He knew for a fact that even certain Slytherins were thrilled with the idea of dressing up and being someone else for one day.

He returned to the castle and nothing else of importance happened that night.

 

* * *

 

The houses were alive with silly chattering, laughter and preparations for the costume ball. A pair of blue eyes watched as Lavender Brown tried her best to convince Hermione Granger that dressing up as Yeti would not be the best choice for a costume, especially not if she wanted to attract *that* kind of attention. Lavender’s eyes strayed to the boy watching them, shaking her head – probably wondering for the thousandth time what her roommate saw in him. Shrugging, she seemed to resolve to leave it be and help someone who deserved her valuable assistance.

 

* * *

 

Hermione, however, did obviously not want to attract that kind of attention ever again, not after he had reacted so violently and critically. He was her best friend after all, and she couldn’t stand losing him. And if that meant giving up any hope of a romantic relationship with him, then she would gladly oblige. Or so she told herself over and over again. The sweet kitty costume that was hidden deep down in her trunk and emphasized her curves in all the right places – that was saying something else entirely.

 

* * * 

 

From a corner of the Gryffindor Common Room, two pairs of eyes looked on as Hermione fought off Lavender’s extremely – questionably? - beneficial comments. Harry Potter, the boy who lived and a great Seeker, watched the scene in some amusement, but his eyes rested almost as often on his best friend, Ron Weasley. He couldn’t help but grin when he was faced with the totally oblivious Ron, who had been in love with their other best friend Hermione since at least third year, if not earlier.

“Must be a spell of some sort,” the redhead muttered.

Harry almost burst out laughing when he realized what his best friend was on about. “A spell?” he asked innocently.

Ron, eyes widening, tried to cover up his slip-of-the-tongue. “I… uh…” Well, Ron certainly wasn’t the most articulate boy on the planet when it came to the single most important subject: girls.

Harry raised his brow, reining in the grin that threatened to reveal his thoughts. Ron couldn’t stand his inquiring gaze for long and spilled the whole confusing story about how *something* had been affecting him for a while now, making his head all dizzy and his heart flutter. Harry couldn’t hold it back any longer and burst out laughing. Ron scowled.

 

* * *

 

All of Hogwarts went to bed with Halloween and costumes on their minds, but two Gryffindors in particular couldn’t find sleep at all. They kept thinking of each  other, knowing that nothing would come of tomorrow night except embarrassment and frustration. Each looked decidedly the worse for wear the next morning, and each had a mood to match – they were both touchier than landmines.

Hermione and Ron had somehow managed to get very angry at each other for no reason whatsoever. The Gryffindors kept well out of the line of fire. Still, by lunchtime, their new fight was common knowledge in the whole of Hogwarts. Maybe it was defiance, or annoyance - we may never find out - but Hermione decided to be the sensual cat instead of the timid Yeti at the ball.

Walking into the Great Hall with more than a little panic, she looked around for Ron and Harry, but the myriad of costumes made it impossible to recognize anyone for sure. She took another deep breath and just let herself be swept away by the animated atmosphere. She kept dancing with a tall boy in a Spiderman costume. She didn’t know why, but she felt inadvertently drawn to him. That would show Ron, she thought to herself, amused, dancing with the enemy, and one dressed as a spider, no less.

The teachers had, after many fights and arguments with Dumbledore, agreed to join in the fun and dress up as well. It was no big surprise that Professor Snape’s costume looked suspiciously like Count Dracula and Professor Sprout had dressed up as an Ent. The fact that they danced – with each other – was a shock though. Even Dumbledore and his staff seemed to be enjoying themselves when suddenly a flash of lightning broke the air, and Voldemort appeared with his goons. Hermione was about to ask how they had managed to Apparate onto school grounds when she realized how silly that would sound, swallowing her remark. A Portkey was the only logical conclusion.

Now, Voldemort is a scary sight, but imagine the darkest of dark wizards and a group of ten or more Death Eaters huddled around a pumpkin – with a bunny carved in its shell. Scattered laughter soon evolved into a roaring cacophony of laughing boys’ and girls’ voices. Dumbledore himself laughed heartily before he addressed the cause of all this commotion. His eyes were suddenly bare of all humor.

“Whatever brought you here, Tom?”

The Dark Lord obviously seethed with anger and frustration at being mocked. “I’m here to take what’s mine – and should have been for the longest time.” Despite the gravity of the situation – in most students’ minds the fact had registered that they were facing the real Voldemort – the involuntary rhyme sent the students into new fits of laughter. Sometimes, in a situation like this, laughter is the only thing that keeps one sane.

“Stop your cackling,” Voldemort yelled, causing the hall to fall silent almost immediately. “Your water was poisoned with a potion called Drought. It draws all the magical energy from the person who drinks it. You’re all at my mercy now!” The strange noise escaping from his lips must have been his excuse for laughter.

Dumbledore only smiled. With a flick of his wand, the Portkey activated again, sending the Death Eaters and Voldemort back to whatever hell they had come from. McGonagall raised an inquiring eyebrow at her mentor and friend, her eyes sparkling with something akin to admiration. Hermione herself didn’t know how he could have done it. When she strained her ears all she could make out was a comment about “bottled water from France” before the headmaster asked Professor McGonagall to dance.

When Dumbledore and McGonagall began to sway to the music, others fell in, and soon the hall was filled with couples waltzing the night away.

 

* * *

 

Another surprise was waiting for her when she turned around. The Spiderman had pulled the mask from his face, revealing telltale red hair and freckles.

Staring in the eyes of one very disturbed Ron, who had chosen to dress up as Spiderman for several reasons - none of them being the form-fitting outfit, Hermione swallowed the assortment of anger, pride and fear and held out her hand to dance.

Ron took it, his mouth slightly opened with unspoken questions.

 

* * *

 

Ron’s mind was occupied with love-spells and potions and the gravity of Voldemort’s appearance when he took Hermione’s hand to dance. He was surprised at how good and right it felt in his own, larger hand.

“No spell then?” he whispered in her ear and it a statement – not a question.

“No spells, no potions.” They locked eyes. “This is real.” It was a promise more than anything else.

And so passed another Halloween with evil madness, a sickly squid and love at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – not necessarily in that order.

//
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