"There was the time I locked myself outside the girls' bathroom in nothing but what most Hogwarts students used for hand towels and Luna Lovegood had to rescue me." A takeoff from The Family Clock....
I walked into the Prefect's Bath just after the Slytherin's practice--Professor Snape had wanted me to fix the snitch.
I knew the password, but I hadn't actually used the bathroom yet. But today, I wanted a proper bath, one that no one could walk into.
The Founders had apparently thought that since no blokes could get into the girl's dorms, putting locks on the doors in the tower would be a moot point. You would think that Rowena Ravenclaw was more intelligent, but…
Added to that was the fact that three hours after diner on a rainy, muddy day was the absolute best time for one of my well-meaning roommates to walk in on my bath, and I was finally making use of the privileges my prefect status gave me. I always felt a bit guilty taking advantage of those because of tha fact that I was probably prefect by default. Sarah Freeson rarely came out of her studious daze to look at the rules, Lareena Carlson would have dropped prefect duties in a second if the other option had anything whatsoever to do with Quidditch, and I shudder to think what Sam Redfern would have done to the prefect meetings.
But after spending an hour in the rain watching Draco Malfoy miss the snitch (which was once again fully operational), I would have used the bathroom off of the Weasley twins' dorm for a chance of a long soak.
So, since the Prefect's bath actually had a lock (albeit a bit rusty), I was venturing into the large room. It was very nice. I had, of course, had a look around when I was first made prefect, but somehow the site of a swimming pool-sized tub with about a hundred taps for water and bubbles makes me want to look again.
As far as I was concerned, there were only two problems with this room: the mermaid and the lack of a clock.
Since I was, as always, wearing my grandmother's clock necklace, the last matter wasn't as dire.
But the mermaid was very annoying.
She was sitting on this rock, graceful and with a perfect figure and hair that had obviously never ever seen chlorine, giggling and flipping her tail and sighing a bit when she noticed that I was not male.
I could deal with her. I mean, you can't really hear anything with your ears underwater, and there was this ledge on one side that was just the perfect height for this. It even had a nice cushioned part for my head.
Still, I topped the bath with foam so thick that Harry Potter couldn't see a snitch through it, and grabbed one of the towels and wrapped it around myself as I got in. There were plenty, even if the whole Slytherin team decided to hold a pool party.
At least the door was locked.
I was very comfortable when I discovered the one drawback of the pool and the ledge:
A: Apparently, ghosts can go through pipes.
B: Moaning Myrtle's favourite pipe was directly above my head.
I managed to insult Myrtle as a first year when I asked if she had been decapitated, too. (Ian had thrilled me with tales of Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, and when I glimpsed him flipping his head over his shoulder as if it were a scarf, I was determined to see it up close.
Unfortunately, as you rarely see ghosts outside of their haunting grounds, I had no idea that some of them are distinctly offended if you make a comment relating to such things.
So when Myrtle zoomed out of the pipe and ruined any feeling of warmth I was regaining in my ears, she was not well pleased.
"Oh, it's you," she said, making it sound as if I were some sort of fungi. "I was hoping you'd be the Quidditch team."
So they do have pool parties after practice. Some of them, anyway. I doubt that the Hufflepuffs would, but the others…
So why was everyone hoping I was male?
"I'm a little surprised, though, that you're in the bath," Myrtle said, sticking out her jaw and looking down to see if she could examine her chin.
"Where else would I be?"
"Well, with your thing for clocks, I thought you'd be looking at the door."
"Well, you are a Ravenclaw, aren't you? Hasn't the Grey Lady told you about the lock?"
"Told me what about the lock?"
"Well, there's been a rumour going around that the Founders put a clock on the lock in the door, so that people wouldn't take too long in the bath. The door was supposed to unlock after half an hour, but they took the charm off when they made it so that he bath was just for prefects. The clock's still there, though."
"Well, I haven't actually checked. I'm not interested in that sort of thing."
"Maybe I'll look when I get out."
"You might as well look now. You were planning on locking the door, weren't you?"
"Oh!" I jumped up. Just now, I wasn't worried about covering up. "Can you see it? The lock, I mean?" A rather disturbing thought struck me. "Wait--can you see through walls, and things?"
Myrtle sniffed. "Oh! Well, that's nice! Come see Myrtle see through walls? The best sideshow since the Tattooed Fat Lady!"
She swished--through me again, I might add-- back up her pipe. Water--at least that was hot--rolled up over the edge of the bath and swamped my clothes.
And all of the towels.
By now, I was swearing like a carpenter. I leaped out of the tub and grabbed the sodden towels. Maybe they hadn't soaked all the way through.
There was one towel that was reasonably dry, but it was one of those small ones that some people like to dry their hair with. I grabbed it, then straitened up as a rather horrible thought struck me: what if Myrtle was right, and the door was unlocked? I had been a bit distracted as I came in, what with the mermaid and the bath and all, so it was within the realm of possibility…
If anyone came in, I would dive for the towels, but they were quickly turning cold.
Still holding my towel, I scooted towards the door. It was unlocked: it was standing ajar! Anybody could have walked in and--
Never mind. I'd lock it, no harm done.
Except it so happens that when a ghost suddenly whooshes through you, you can't help but step back. And the rush of air from said ghost going back through the door can cause it to close.
It also so happens that during the last prefect meeting, I hadn't been paying attention when they announced the date, time and new password of the next password change.
I was so very, very, dead.
I was stranded outside of the Prefect's Bath, in what most pupils used as hand towels.
It would be just my luck for the Weasley twins to show up.
Or Professor Snape.
Suddenly grateful for my small stature, Tickes hands and the fact that, because of the visitors last year, the walls were realatively spotless, I pressed into the corner that the door jamb made and spread the towel over as much as it could cover.
"Ah… Soap!" Okay, I was not at my most literate. I was trying to figure out the password. The last one had been Pine Fresh, and I figured it must have something to do with cleanliness.
"Soap bubbles! Towels, washcloths! Shampoo! Tiles!" I was definitely starting to loose it.
I was muttering the possible passwords in the softest voice I thought I could get away with. Have you ever tried to say something quietly in an empty hall in Hogwarts? It echoes. A lot.
So I was hissing away like some sort of demented Parselmouth when a saviour arrived in the form of Luna Lovegood.
Did you know that people actually call her Looney? I mean, she was a bit dotty, and could space out, but I do the same thing if I get to talking and go off on a tangent and it takes me ten minutes to tell someone that I didn't like the roast beef at the Yule Ball.
It's not that there's anything wrong with the cooking. It's just that I don't like roast beef. It was something that my brother and I had in common, and it was useful for keeping him away from my socks when he forgot to put his in the wash.
Luna Lovegood wandered up to me, looking rather dazed, which was normal for her.
"Oh, hello," she said. She has a kind of silvery, dreamy voice, and I think that Trelawney tries to imitate her. It fits Luna, though.
"Yes" I said quickly. With Luna it is best to get to the point as quickly as possible, or you will become very confused, very quickly. "D'you know the password to the Prefect's Bath?"
"They changed it today at eight thirty today, didn't they?"
"Yes, and I didn't get it when they announced it and all of my clothes are in there and I would really appreciate it if you knew it," I said, teeth beginning to shiver. Spring was kicking and dragging it's heels, and the stone hallways were very chilly.
"Yes, of course I know it." She said this as if it were common knowledge, and it occurred to me that she shouldn't know it. She was only a fourth year. "Why are your clothes inside if you're out here?"
"It's a rather long story, and I'm starting to get cold. Could we maybe continue the conversation inside?"
"Of course. After you." The thing is, she wasn't even being mean about it. She was just being Luna.
"I don't have the password."
"Oh, of course! Spit shine." I was right, even if that particular method is not very sanitary. "Are these your clothes?"
"Yes. Another long story. Moaning Myrtle was in here, and…"
"Oh, she was? I'm sorry to have missed her. She is always interesting to talk to."
"Um, yes. Interesting." Now I was beginning to understand the 'Looney' thing. "The water slopped up when she went through."
"Here." She tapped them with her wand, and they stopped dripping on the tiles.
I take back anything I ever thought about her eccentricities. "Thank you!" I grabbed my clothes. They were heated, like they just came out of one of those muggle drying contractions.
"Aren't you going to rinse off?"
I noticed that there were still soapsuds on my shoulder and knees. "Right. Do you mind?"
"Not at all. I don't think that there are any Lorpons in the water, so you're safe." She turned to go. "Goodbye!"
Really, I thought as I sank back under the water (after making sure the door had closed and locked behind her). She isn't so bad.
So what are Lorpons?
A/N Like? Love? Loathe? Review! (Yes corny, but how else am I going to know what you think?) Constructive criticism is appreciated, praise is delightedly devoured, flames are decidedly unappreciated--for Pete's sake, people, if you don't like my fic, tell me why, don't netscream it in a dialect so peppered with cursing that it's hard to see the actual words.
Jan. McNeville is the creator of the idea for this fic. You can find her 'The Family Clock' under my favourite stories.