Special thanks to my Beta Reader, ABlack; without you I would never have had anything posted. Cheers, thanks a lot!
All the students were eagerly chatting away about the upcoming trip to Hogsmeade, when Professor Snape made his usual dramatic and terrifying entrance. As he stood before the class a hush came over the students. He then went into one of his quick lectures about what they were to make.
“I don’t expect anyone in this class to be able to brew the Concentration Potion correctly the first time, but with N.E.W.T.s and O.W.L.s coming up I figure you could use all the help you can get. Maybe some of it will permeate your thick skulls and you will be able to do what the rest of us call thinking. Now who can tell me the most important ingredient for this potion?”
He surveyed the class and saw the usual know-it-alls raising their hands, and the rest of the students cowering in terror. Only one complacent face sat among the lot of them. Luna Lovegood was staring off into the distance with a serene smile spreading across her lips.
Snape quickly slinked over to her and crouched in front of her face. “Well, Miss Lovegood?”
She looked at him vacantly, and said, “I believe that would be Coca root, Professor. Although my father prefers to use a derivative of Ashwinder bark, because it produces less jittery side effects.”
“You are correct about the Coca root, Miss Lovegood, and your house would be receiving five points for it, but you prattling on about your father using made up ingredients negates those points, so your house gets none.”
Snape heard her fellow Ravenclaws sigh, they were close in the Cup running this year, and Luna seemed to be indifferent to them winning. In fact she had lost a point or two for the house due to her figmented statements in other classes.
“But Professor, Ashwinder bark does exist. Although I do admit that it is quite rare,” she added with a slightly furrowed brow.
“Are you arguing with me, Miss Lovegood?” Snape cornered her.
“No, Sir. I was just stating a fact,” she answered flightily.
“Well that fact just bought you a detention. After you finish dinner, you will report immediately to the dungeon,” he said icily.
“Of course, Professor,” Luna stated placidly.
Severus could not figure this girl out. She never appeared to be concentrating, but when he singled her out she always answered correctly. Whenever she was given detention she acted as if she were just invited to tea, and worst of all when she served it, she did so with a calm and peaceful demeanor. He could not seem to rattle her and it was driving him crazy.
Professor Snape sat at his desk, scratching vigorously at parchments of student homework. With a smirk of satisfaction, he had just finished tearing up a first year’s essay, when he saw the door quietly open. Luna seemed to actually be floating towards his desk, her light tread punctuated with a bounce. Snape got the distinct impression she was trying very hard not to skip. She stood in front of the large black cherry desk, with her usual idiotic grin. Severus began to absent-mindedly grind his teeth. He rose out of his chair and walked around towards her.
“Miss Lovegood, I see you are more than happy to serve your detention, so let us get on with it. You are to procure, dissect, dice, and add all the ingredients to make the potion we made in class today, and fill one hundred phials with it. If you do it quickly it should only take you until midnight. If you dawdle it will take you until breakfast tomorrow,” he said behind an unpleasant sneer.
“Certainly, Professor. I will do my best to hurry, so that you and I will be able to get some sleep and be rested for the upcoming day,” she replied pleasantly and immediately got to work.
As Luna was working she began to hum a blithe tune. Severus was at first annoyed by it and almost told her to stop, but the more he listened to it the more it seemed to calm him. It was like a song he had heard a long time ago, almost like a lullaby. He was surprised by the memories it brought on and the sense of peace that washed over him. He found he was no longer able to write acerbic comments on the papers he was grading and picked up a magazine and began to read about recent herbal discoveries.
As the large Hogwarts clock chimed ten, Luna made her way to Snape’s desk. He was deeply concentrating on a new article in the Potion’s periodical and did not notice her approach.
“I am done, Professor,” she pronounced airily.
Severus looked up, astonished.
“We will just see about that,” he proclaimed.
He walked over to her station and noticed, not only had she finished the task, but she had already cleared everything away. The hundred phials were filled and the work area was all in order. He fought not to open his mouth like a codfish. Luna stood by and seemed to absent-mindedly pick lint off her sweater.
“It appears I have underestimated you, Miss Lovegood. How were you able to finish the task, so quickly?” he asked with an air of disappointment.
“I just did as you instructed,” she replied.
“I see,” he stated. “Well, then you may go. I hope this will deter you from crossing me in my class in the future.”
“Most definitely,” she agreed.
And with that she did indeed skip out of the classroom, while Snape stood pondering the peculiar, hopeless happiness that was the essence of Luna.