Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Like Some Song You Can't Unlearn

Out Of The Box

by BJH 36 reviews

Harry has defeated Voldemort and saved all the people he cares for, so why do they all hate him? More importantly, what will he do about it? In this chapter the staff tries to sort out Ravenclaw.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Ginny, Harry, James, Lily, Narcissa - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2007-06-04 - Updated: 2007-06-04 - 5023 words

Like Some Song You Can't Unlearn

Chapter Ten: Out of the Box

Harry strode down the corridor towards the Great Hall for dinner, grinning widely. This had been the most pleasant day he could remember in ages. It had started at breakfast when a large party of Ravenclaws had entered the room /en masse/. It was plainly seen that almost all of the upper-class females present were in the center of the group and shielded from the view of the rest of the students. From his position on the slightly raised platform the staff table sat on, Harry could see that most of them were sporting rather porcine profiles this morning. He even saw Cho Chang trying to hide a broad pink pig's snout behind a sheaf of parchment. She was one of the luckier ones. Most of them had ears as well as snouts. From the sounds they made walking, Harry could tell that many of them no longer wore shoes since the thick heavy four-toed feet they now stood on made it impossible and he almost laughed out loud as they shifted and shuffled in their seats, trying to get accustomed to sitting without crushing their curly tails. A quick tally showed that none of Luna's yearmates were present and two seventh years were absent as well. He could only conclude that they had changed completely into pigs.

Professor Flitwick came scurrying in a moment later in deep conversation with the headmaster. The two men gave disapproving glares to whatever student had the temerity to giggle at the sight. The Slytherins, of course, didn't mind at all as they teased and catcalled the Ravenclaws mercilessly. Harry almost envied them their freedom to do so.

He noticed Luna was sitting next to Ginny at the Gryffindor table. He would have said that she looked perfectly normal except that normal was never a word that could be applied to Luna. The two girls were huddled together facing away from the Ravenclaws.

His classes had all gone swimmingly as well, although there were fewer hands raised to answer his questions, he hadn't minded in the least. At lunch, there were even fewer two legged Ravenclaw girls than there were at breakfast, and some of the boys were starting to look rather boarish with bristly hair and heavy tusks jutting from their mouths. It was a grand time for all, well three-quarters at least.

Harry took his now customary seat at the staff table for dinner, and watched as the Ravenclaws were herded into the Great Hall. By this time less than half of the girls, and none in the higher years, were unaffected by the spells Harry had set, about a quarter of the boys were showing effects as well. Many of them could no longer sit and fewer still had hands to eat with. Harry had to smother his chortles in his napkin as they stuck their heads down into their plates to eat; food flew everywhere as their appetites got the best of their manners. Harry wondered for a second why Dumbledore had made them come to the hall at all, because he knew that none of the snooty witches were here voluntarily. But then again, sparing his students from embarrassment had never been high on the Headmaster's list of priorities. He watched as Cho, her nose still a snout and her ears rather pink and pointy, struggled to control herself as she ate with a knife and fork. He turned as Professor McGonagall walked up to him.

"Professor Harris," she said with her Scottish brogue peeking through, showing the strain she was feeling, "there is an emergency meeting of the staff directly after dinner."

Harry looked at the Deputy Headmistress feigning shock, "What's the emergency?" he asked. McGonagall just glared at him for a moment before glancing over her shoulder at the Ravenclaw table -or should that be trough? - and taking her own seat beside the Headmaster.

Harry calmly ate while the rest of the staff bolted their meals like Ron at the opening feast; he risked a glance at the Gryffindor table to see his former friend, head bent, in hushed conversation with Dean and Seamus. Probably trying to figure out who did the deed to the Ravenclaws and how he could squeeze some of the credit out for himself, Harry thought bitterly. Hermione had her nose buried in a book and would occasionally sneak a look across the room before flipping back to the index to look up some new facet of whatever academic problem she was wrestling with today. His fellow teachers were rushing from the room as Harry reached to give himself another serving of the roast lamb. He glanced down the staff table and noticed that only he and Snape were left there.

After finishing his second helping, Harry looked at the afters and debated with himself if having that delicious looking éclair was worth remaining in the same room as Snivellus. He opted to place his napkin on the table and, as his dishes disappeared down into the kitchens, stood to leave. The quiet stroll down to the staffroom took him several minutes as he stopped along the way to chat with a quite delightful portrait of some wizards playing chess. They told him that they would be happy to tutor him in the game should he ever come back. Harry assured them he would and continued on his way.

As Harry opened the door to the staffroom a wave of noise crashed out and over him. There were so many people talking at the same time that it was impossible to sort out individual voices but it was obvious that none of them were happy. Harry slipped into the room and took a seat near the fireplace but facing the large table where the staff was gathering. Headmaster Dumbledore seemed to be the only one seated as the others paced, poked, and gestured about while holding as many conversations and arguments as there were people. Filius himself was standing on the table proper, pacing up and down its length and muttering. Harry smiled as he waited for the voices of Babel to bring the tower down. Albus finally looked over and met Harry's eyes. There was no twinkle there as the old man's fingers nervously tugged at his bushy eyebrows. He tried to speak several times but the overall volume of the room made understanding him impossible. After his fourth attempt he seemed to realize that it wasn't going to work and pointed his wand at his throat.

Harry just had time enough to plug his fingers into his ears before Dumbledore's magically amplified voice rang out, "SILENCE!" The sheer shock of it was enough to cause tiny Flitwick to drop onto a stack of books on the table and sit there stunned. The rest of the staff took their seats with varying levels of chagrin showing on their faces. Albus removed his wand from his throat and continued. "There, that's better. Now perhaps out distinguished Professor of Defense can shed some light on this issue?" He looked at Harry expectantly as all the other faces, one by one, followed suit.

"What issue is that, Headmaster?" Harry said.

This caused the recently stopped arguments to begin again. That was until Dumbledore raised his wand to his throat again and everyone quieted immediately.

"Perhaps, Odysseus, you've noticed the recent changes to our Ravenclaw students?" he asked patiently.

"Oh yes," Harry answered brightly. "They're pigs."

"But how did they happen to change into pigs?"

"Likely it was magic of some sort," Harry answered, barely holding on to an air of impassive academic curiosity.

"But what sort of spell was it?" McGonagall fairly screamed at him. "We've all tried to reverse enchant it, even Albus, and none of us can resolve what sort of spell it was!"

Harry nodded his head while seemingly absorbing this bit of information.

Dumbledore stared down his crooked nose at him. "Do you know what spell it was that did this?"

Minerva broke in, "Yes, Filius, run and fetch one of the students. Maybe Odysseus can work this out. Perhaps one of the least changed students would be best? They could tell us what was happening."

"No, Minerva," Professor Vector put in. "It would be best to bring in the most effected student as that way he would see the highest concentration of the magic."

"That would be Miss Barnes," Pomona Sprout added. "She's also a Prefect."

Filius shook his head at this. "No, no, that won't do at all. She has completely changed and is entirely uncooperative."

"Regardless, that won't be necessary," Harry said calmly. "I don't need to examine any of the students. I know exactly how it was done."

McGonagall arched an eyebrow at him. "Oh really, you do? So, /Gilderoy/, why don't you tell us?"

Harry's mouth fell open. "Really, Minerva! That was totally uncalled for."

"Well, how can you possibly know how the spell was worked if you don't examine one of the students under its influence?"

Harry folded his hands, resting them on one knee of his crossed legs, and re-adopted his pose of nonchalance. "It's quite simple really: I know how it was done because I'm the one who did it."

You could have heard a pin drop. The entire faculty of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry stood stock still with their jaws hanging down to the floor for almost a minute before James Potter burst out in a fit of snickers. Lily turned and thumped him so hard on the back of the head that his glasses flew off. This seemed to trigger the rest of the staff into action and they alternated between screaming at Dumbledore, Harry, and each other.

Suddenly the clamor was shattered by a very loud and high pitched whistle that cut through the noise like a knife. Little Professor Flitwick drew his fingers out of his mouth and asked, "Why would you turn my students into pigs?"

"Oh, I didn't turn them into pigs, they did that themselves. I merely performed the magic that facilitated it."

"And why would you do that?" Albus asked in a quiet, tired sort of voice.

"Because they are a herd of thieving swine and I decided that the outside ought to reflect the inside."

The outraged squawks that followed this simple bit of logic was quite amusing to Harry as he waited for Dumbledore to speak again.

"Perhaps you ought to tell us the entire story then?"

"Not much to tell, really," Harry began. "I stopped by Honeydukes and purchased a rather large box of sweets. I then inscribed each with a glyph and then combined it with a series of enchantments to lock them to one student's magical signature and set the triggers." He looked around and saw that they were all following. "Then, yesterday morning after class, I gave the box to the intended girl, had her key in her signature, then sent her on her way."

"So you used a student as an accomplice in this vicious little prank of yours?" Professor McGonagall sneered at him. She couldn't have been more angry if it had been done against her Gryffindors rather than another House.

"Not an accomplice, no," Harry answered. "In fact, I doubt she had any idea of what was going on. Although I assume that she does now."

"And she spread your poison among her fellow students? She'll be ostracized! How could you do that to an innocent child?" Minerva was fuming as she spoke.

By now Harry was getting a bit angry himself. "Me! How could I? How dare you accuse me of harming one of the students when it is you..." At this he pointed his finger, not just at McGonagall but at all of them. "...all of you, who had been allowing this poor child to be ostracized and abused by her fellow students for years!"

"How dare you speak to us that way!" McGonagall looked about ready to claw his eyes out, with or without changing into a cat first.

Flitwick spoke to Harry for the first time and said only one word, "Who?"

Harry sat back and folded his hands again. "That should be obvious."

Filius thought for just a moment then said, "Miss Lovegood?"

Pomona Sprout seemed dazed. "You mean the one they call Loony?"

Harry sent her a glare that caused her to bring a hand up to her throat. "And you've allowed things to get so bad that most people..." His glare intensified. "...even the staff, don't even know her real name."

"Why?" The Head of the oh-so-clever House seemed reduced to monosyllables.

"Because it was about time somebody did."

Dumbledore cleared his throat to gain the focus of the group. "Why don't you continue with your story, Odysseus?"

Harry sighed. "The wards I created were designed in ancient Egypt to protect against theft among slaves and servants. Should someone bound by the glyphs steal from the person they are keyed to then they are changed into an animal. The greater the crime the more sever the transformation."

Albus nodded. "And I presume you cast these wards on the chocolates?" Harry nodded. "And then Miss Lovegood's fellows took the chocolates?" Again Harry nodded. "And this triggered the changes?"

McGonagall was apoplectic. "You struck out against all those poor girls because of a box of sweets! How could you be so petty?"

Harry's head snapped around and he confronted his old Head of House, the one who told him to keep his head down around Umbridge and not make waves. "I would suggest you keep your mouth shut if you don't know what you are speaking of," he snapped. McGonagall glared back at him. "The chocolates were not the cause of any changes. The theft of such a little thing wouldn't have triggered the ward. They were merely the vehicle for transmitting the glyphs to those I wished to be affected. It is the magnitude of their past crimes against Luna that determine the severity of their changes."

"We have only your word on any of this." McGonagall was starting to sound an awful lot like Snape to Harry.

"They are pigs, aren't they?"

Minerva huffed. "But still we have only your word as to why."

Harry shook his head and looked at Dumbledore. "Get me the box," he said.

"What?" asked several members of the staff, including Flitwick and McGonagall.

Harry sighed deeply before responding, "Get me the box that the chocolates were in; it's only been a day, I assume it hasn't been destroyed yet."

Most just looked confused but Dumbledore snapped his fingers and a small, trembling house elf appeared beside his chair. As Albus whispered to it the conversations resumed.

Flitwick climbed down from the table and approached Harry. "Why did you have to take things this far? They are only children, after all."

"She's only a child too, why did you let things go so far?" Harry countered.

"Exactly how far had they gone, Odysseus?" This was from Albus, who had evidently finished with the elf.

Harry looked at the Headmaster and recalled his fascination with socks and the headache it had caused at the ministry a week ago. "Tell me, Headmaster, you are at least somewhat familiar with Miss Lovegood, are you not?"

"I try to know something of all of my students, yes."

"What type of socks does she wear?"

Albus grinned and his eyes twinkled merrily. "She has the most delightful disregard for wearing matching hose."

Minerva chimed in, still thoroughly vexed, "You mean that she never wears a matching set, in complete violation of the school's uniform code."

Harry's eyes grew cold once again. "Did she wear mismatched socks at the Start of Term Feast?" No one could remember, or more likely no one noticed. "Or at any time when she has just gotten off the Express?" Still no one answered. Harry snorted his disgust. "Could it be that she doesn't choose to wear mismatched socks but instead is left no other choice?"

Filius stuttered, "Y-you mean her roommates take her socks?"

"Not just her socks, and not just her roommates for if that were the case only the fifth year girls would have been effected by the wards."

"Socks and sweets still seem to be rather trivial things to warrant..." McGonagall's rant was interrupted by a glare from Harry that caused her to sit down rather abruptly, as well as the popping sound of an elf appearing in the room.

The creature held the partially crumbled white cardboard container from Honeydukes and carefully placed it on the table before the Headmaster.

"Dizzy be finding the top of the box, Master Headmaster, sir, but I not be finding the bottom yet. Does the Headmaster sir wish Dizzy to look more?"

Before Albus could respond Harry spoke up, "No, Dizzy, this will do nicely. Thank you very much for finding it so quickly. I hope it wasn't too much of a bother."

The elf looked at Harry as if stunned by his comment. "No, Master Professor, sir, it is not being any bother for us. If there be nothing else then Dizzy be getting back to her work now." Dumbledore nodded and the little elf disappeared with another pop.

Harry rose and walked over to the table. He picked up the box top, and the square of parchment stuck to it. "This is what I really needed anyways." A tap of his wand released the sticking charm. Harry lifted off the parchment and tossed the rest of the top into the fire. Harry placed the square in the center of the table and motioned the group to gather around it. In a moment he could see that they all had read the note.

"I still fail to see how this one note could justify your actions, Professor Harris," McGonagall stated tersely.

"It's more than just a note," Harry answered. "I charmed this bit of parchment to act as a recording vessel." He glanced around at his colleagues. "Rather like a Pensieve but less complex." He tapped the page and mumbled a brief incantation. As a small image appeared on the square, he spoke again, "It records images only however, so I'm afraid we won't be able to hear what is being said."

The group gathered around as the image coalesced into shape. By the time it clearly showed Luna carrying the box into her dorm room the staff had all seemed to settle in to watch. Looking over the head of Pomona Sprout, Harry watched as Luna, with a sad and resigned look on her face, took a last few pieces and put them in her pocket before walking out of the room. No one even had a chance to fidget at what they might have presumed was the end of the show before two other girls danced into the room. One turned to look back the way she came, Harry assumed to make sure Luna wasn't returning, while the other ran across to Luna's bed.

"Isn't that...?" Eliza Vector asked.

"Yes, that's Priscilla Barnes," said Pomona fondly, "the best in her year in my classes."

Flitwick added, "And the other is Melissa Malone, the seventh year Prefect."

Harry looked down at the parchment screen and noted that the silver Prefect's badges glittered plainly on the girls' robes. Priscilla took a moment to read the note before laughing and tossing the box top aside and grabbing several chocolates. By this time the first girl had waved several others into the room with them. The girls all took pieces without hesitation and proceeded to flop all over Luna's bed unconcerned. Harry noticed that most were sixth and seventh years, including the Prefects. Although no sounds could be heard, the girls were all giggling and chatting amongst themselves. In less than a minute the room was jammed with students when one simply took up the box and carried it out, assumedly into the common room for the rest of the House to share.

"Not very considerate of them, I'll grant you, but..." Minerva began acerbically when she was cut off by Sprout's hand on her arm.

Looking back at the scene playing out, there were only two girls left in the room, the two Prefects. Priscilla Barnes, a smear of chocolate across her chin, flounced over to Luna's dresser and started rooting around in the drawers, tossing socks, knickers and other articles about the room without concern. Throwing back her head in laughter, she pulled out a pair of small objects and held them up to her ears. Squinting, Harry noticed that they were a pair of outlandish plastic radish earrings. She danced around the room for a moment with the earrings still held high, to the great amusement of her companion, before she tossed one back into the still open drawer of the dresser. The second one she dropped carelessly on the floor and crushed it beneath her foot as she left the room.

"I think we've seen enough," Harry said as he closed out the charm with a tap of his wand.

The Professors sat back into their chairs with their mouths hanging open. All except for Flitwick, who continued to stare at the small square of parchment as if trying to reason out how it worked, or how to erase its damning content. Harry stared long and hard at Flitwick who seemed to shrink even further in the face of what his own beloved Ravenclaws has done.

"Tell your students, Filius, that Miss Lovegood is now under my personal protection. Any future actions taken against her will be dealt with... most severely."

Harry looked around at his silent colleagues; even now, with incontrovertible evidence plainly placed before them, some still looked less than completely convinced. "So, Minerva," he asked pointedly, "you've taught Miss Lovegood since she arrived here at Hogwarts; how would you characterize her work?"

The Transfiguration Professor thought for a moment before speaking. "She has some very interesting insights and her efforts are always thought provoking..." Harry looked around and noticed that all of the other staff members were nodding at this. "but it is always poorly presented. She has a good head on her shoulders but puts so little effort into actually doing her assignments that it is easy to overlook."

"Yes," Flitwick agreed, "her poor execution does detract from what could otherwise be excellent work."

"If she only took a little time in her efforts, it's almost as if she dashes off her essays on the way to class," Pomona said while the others agree.

"Or perhaps," Harry said, "her work looks like she dashes it off in ten minutes because that is all the time she has? Perhaps, if she does her schoolwork the night before, or over the weekends, she has found that her classmates take it and hand it in as their own?" He looked around at the now silent group of teachers, catching each of their eyes with his own. "Perhaps she thinks about her assignments carefully and deliberately, then has to write them down as quickly as she can on the way to class so that she can get any credit for them at all?"

All of the teachers seemed too stunned to speak, except Minerva, who couldn't seem to let go of her umbrage long enough to consider what she had seen. "A few distasteful actions I'll grant you but it hardly seems serious enough...

"HARDLY SERIOUS ENOUGH!" Harry raged. "They destroy her possessions, steal her food, her clothing, even her schoolwork! Just what would you consider serious enough to warrant action, when they start stealing the very blood from her veins?"

"But if things were this bad, why didn't Loony... um, Miss Lovegood turn to one of the Prefects?" Sinestra asked, bewildered.

"Tell me," Harry responded, "who is the Prefect in Luna's year?"

"That would be Miss Barnes," Filius answered automatically then quieted as he remembered the actions of the girl in the images they had just seen.

"And what is Miss Barnes' condition tonight?" Harry asked pointedly, driving home the point. "Or the condition of the other girl's Prefects?"

"But she could have come to one of the staff?"

Harry sneered at the Astronomy Professor, who was suddenly glad that she had never been asked to become a Head of House, regardless of the increase in pay. "And who is it that selected the Prefects? Why on earth would Luna trust you to discipline the Prefects for abusing their power when you are the ones who gave them that power in the first place?"


"How many Prefects were on Dolores' Inquisitorial Squad last year, hmm? And how many of those were removed this year?"

"That is completely uncalled for!" Snape said from the corner he had been hiding in to enjoy the show. "What the Slytherin Pre..."

"Sit down and shut up, Snivellus, before I fry you in the grease from your own hair." Harry looked at the group of teachers surrounding him. "You're all a bunch of total failures at protecting your students."

Minerva looked as if she were about to physically attack when Albus restrained her with a hand on her elbow. "You have made your point quite clearly, Professor Harris, now I think it is time to dispel your wards."

"No," Harry answered calmly.

"Perhaps I did not make myself quite clear, Odysseus; you will remove the spells you have cast from those students immediately." Dumbledore's words, while spoken softly, were clearly an order.


McGonagall screeched like a scalded cat. "How dare you refuse a direct order from the Headmaster! You will remove those spells at once or you will be sacked!" Albus raised his eyebrows as if daring Harry to contradict his Deputy.

Harry, to the contrary, lost his temper as well. "Go ahead!" he shouted back. "FIRE ME! I've already done what I came here to do, so go ahead. Sack me and let me get on with the rest of my life!"

Harry had done it, McGonagall had raised and he had called her. Now it was up to Albus to either carry through on her threat or fold. You could see the Headmaster considering what to do next. He couldn't just abandon Minerva, that would undermine her position irreparably. But on the other hand, Odysseus just might be the one spoken of in that prophesy made so many years ago. Could he risk losing his only real hope of defeating Voldemort?

Luckily, before he had to reach a decision, the tension in the room was broken by tiny Professor Flitwick. "Please, Professor," he pleaded, "give them another chance. I promise you that I will do better by them."

Harry looked down at the man and remembered his own Professor Flitwick, the one who had pressed a box of Ice Mice into his hands when he realized he had been mistaken oh so many years ago. Harry's anger melted even if his resolve did not.

"I'm afraid you might have misunderstood me," he said quietly. "When I said no, I didn't mean that I wouldn't, I meant that I couldn't."

This ignited Minerva once again. "You mean to say that you caused permanent damage to those students! That those transfigurations can never be undone?"

Harry shook his head sadly at his old Head of House. "That is not what I said. The spells are quite simple to reverse; it is just that I can not do it."

"Then who can?"

Harry now grinned. "Why, the affected students themselves, of course."


"All they have to do is to apologize to Miss Lovegood for what they have done and repay her for the damage they have caused."

"And that is all that is needed to counter the wards?" Filius sounded shocked that it could be so simple.

"Yes, if the apology is truly sincere and the atonement fair and freely given, the punishments will be lifted."

"And those dreadful wards will be gone for good?" Minerva sounded almost pleased now.

Harry shook his head. "No, the wards are permanent. None of the people affected by the glyphs will ever be able to steal from Luna again without reactivating them."

"That hardly seems fair to have those poor girls forever bound..."

Harry was incredulous. "You think it hardly fair that a group of catty little bints be denied their right to steal from and torment an innocent girl?" Minerva wisely kept her mouth shut.

Harry turned to once again face the Head of Ravenclaw House. "Oh, and one other thing, Professor." Flitwick physically recoiled from the perceived threat. "When Luna first arrived at Hogwarts she was wearing a necklace, a single strand of pearls. They were a memento of her mother, the only thing she had to remember the mother who died in her arms when she was only nine years old. That necklace mysteriously disappeared within a month of her arrival in this castle." Filius looked shocked, while Harry could see Pomona wiping at her eyes. "I expect to see her once again wearing that necklace no later than Friday next."

Filius nodded then darted out of the room, the other members of the staff quickly followed until only Harry and Albus remained. Snape was the last one to slither out of the door. The Headmaster looked saddened but Harry could only shake his head ruefully.

"Repentance and restitution, Albus," he said quietly. "True redemption can not occur without them."

A/N - Yes, it has been some time but I ran into some issues, the main one being that Harry is tired of all this argueing and wants some action. I promised him some in the very next chapter so he let me finish this one.

Oh, and I have been very neglectful in not pubicly thanking my beta, Helen. She endures a lot from me and I want you all to know how much I appreciate her efforts. (And yes that was an intentional Freudian slip on my part ;)
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