by Lauren Greenleaf (aka Seagull Laridae)
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Look, everyone, I’m back into the challenge swing of things! Just to make sure I keep writing, of course... and I know I shouldn’t write drafts during Psych lectures, but what the hell. More notes at the end.
Of course, another METMA challenge response - rated PG, as usual, and here’re the criteria, as laid down by Her Holiness, METMA Mandy (I know your real name, Gred... hehehe!)
Disclaimer: Me and three other people have formed a fan club for my Psych lecturer even though he’s forty, balding, fat, and married with kids. Therefore, I’m insane and don’t need to disclaim this because JKR knows I’m not out to make any money. Are we cool? I will disclaim “The Lion King” as belonging to Disney, but who didn’t know that...
Dedicated to Dr. Ian Colrain. Woohoo! You go, fat, old, bald guy! *loses sanity and starts typing at the speed of light*
Does everyone know what the 31st of March is? *listens patiently as people say things like “Good Friday”, “My Mum’s birthday”, etc. etc. ad nauseam* The 31st of March is the anniversary of the day I first got an e-mail from our noble founder, making it the day I “met” her. And it would’ve been one WAY boring year without her *huggles Gred*!
The movie theatre was kind of old, VERY rundown and located off a side alley off a side alley off a not-very-main road somewhere in England. Which made it the ideal place for ten Hogwarts students to Apparate.
Their teacher, a Muggle-born woman who went by the name of Professor Alexandra Moore, glanced around nervously to see if anyone had seen them before leading her class across the road and into the foyer of the theatre. Over the door was a tattered poster and an entry price. The price was very low. This was fortunate, as the movie was at least a year old.
The group was comprised of five Ravenclaws, two Hufflepuffs, a Slytherin, Hermione Granger, and Parvati Patil. Parvati, whose idea of Muggle society was very much influenced by tabloid newspapers and People magazine, wore sunglasses with pink sparkly frames, and didn’t even take them off when they went indoors. Her sister Padma was wearing exactly the same glasses, except they had blue frames.
“Miss Patil and Miss Patil, if you would kindly remove your glasses... we are inside now, if you hadn’t noticed,” Professor Moore suggested. Neither of the twins took any notice of her. She hadn’t expected them to. She had only just begun teaching this year, and hadn’t earned much respect from anyone apart from Hermione, and Mandy
Brocklehurst, a Ravenclaw.
While Professor Moore went and bought their tickets, the students wandered over to the snack bar. There was a seedy-looking popcorn machine, a drinks dispenser with an Out of Order sign on the Coke button, and a dispirited, pimply teenage boy leaning on the counter and watching them apathetically.
Parvati seized Hermione’s arm and dragged her to the back of the group. “Isn’t he GORGEOUS!” she hissed loudly.
Hermione looked at the boy. “No,” she said.
Parvati snorted and went to hold a whispered confabulation - which involved a lot of giggling - with her sister. They both nearly tripped over their own feet as they went to buy their popcorn, although this might’ve been either from the sunglasses or the boy.
The popcorn looked stale and unappetising. This was because it was stale and unappetising. Hermione bought a box of Jaffas and a cup of lemon-flavoured water with bubbles in it, which was meant to be a soft drink. The Jaffas, she discovered, were welded together and fit only for throwing at the screen.
The Hogwarts group were the only ones in the cinema, which was probably a good thing. After a few minutes of muffled (and colourful) cursing from the projectionist’s booth, the previews (for movies that had already been released six months previously) began to roll.
“What exactly are we seeing?” Parvati, who had chosen to plonk herself down next to Hermione, whispered.
“It’s called “The Lion King”.” Hermione had already seen it, but had decided not to point this out to anyone. “It’s an animated movie - you remember, the ones where they draw the pictures and flash them past really quickly so it looks like they’re moving?” This was about as good an explanation as a Muggle would get anyway.
“Why don’t they just use magical paper? I would. I’d...” Parvati stopped talking and clutched Hermione’s arm as the previews ended and the dim theatre grew pitch-black as the lights went down. “Oooh!”
“Don’t worry, Parvati, it’s normal,” Hermione said resignedly.
Sitting in the row in front of them, the Slytherin boy was tall and wide and blocking the view - of course. His name was Jackson Ritter, this was his second trip through the fifth year at Hogwarts, and he was taking Muggle Studies as a soft option. He was a Beater on the Slytherin Quidditch team, and as big and mean as they come. And right now, Hermione could hear him whimpering to himself.
“Hey. Ritter. What’s wrong?”
“It’s dark! I want Mr. Flopsy!” Ritter waved his wand panickedly and sent pink sparks showering upwards into the darkness. The others cried out in annoyance as the sparks began spinning wildly, resolving themselves into a hulking shape which hovered over the seats. It was clearly a bunny rabbit. A LARGE bunny rabbit. It began to shrink, slowly, and finally landed on Ritter’s lap.
“Mr. Ritter, what DO you think you’re doing?” Professor Moore shouted.
Ritter, cuddling the pink, fluffy bunny protectively, looked up at her and said nothing. Somehow, he’d brought the rabbit from wherever he kept it - probably under his bed back at Hogwarts. Maybe he deserved to be put back with the sixth-years. However, right now he was acting more like a six-year-old.
“Gilderoy Lockhart says you shouldn’t cast spells like that without warning everyone in the area,” Lisa Turpin, a Ravenclaw, said primly. “He says that matter transference on that sort of scale is dangerous and can lead to people disappearing.”
“Can everyone PLEASE be quiet and watch the film!” Professor Moore said.
Everyone was quiet and watched the film. For about ten minutes. Then Parvati and Padma started whispering again.
“Sssh, guys, keep it down,” Hermione said.
“We’re talking about Ron,” Parvati protested. “He’s been so unkind to poor Lavender lately.”
Hermione sighed. “What’s he done this time?”
“He keeps making insulting jokes about her Divination skills. What’s worse is that he makes them in different languages as well now. He’s your boyfriend, do something about it!” Padma said.
“He’s NOT my boyfriend. What’s he been saying now?”
Parvati said something Hermione couldn’t understand, then repeated it, slower. “He said, “Ani rotzah leeroat Uranus”, which means “I want to see Uranus” in Hebrew. Apparently he’s been learning different languages from McGonagall and twisting them to his own mean, nasty purposes!” She spilled her popcorn and absently scooped a
handful out of the lap of her robes. “I mean, it’s beyond insulting, it’s downright RUDE!” She stuffed the popcorn into her mouth and started chewing without thinking about it.
“Is that really meant to be popcorn?” Padma asked. “It looks disgusting.” She hadn’t brought any.
“Will you girls please keep it down?” It was Lisa again. “I’d cast a Silencing Charm on you, but Lockhart says they can be dangerous on people who can’t keep their mouths shut.”
Hermione, Padma and Parvati shot her a three-fold disdainful look. Lisa subsided and went back to watching the film.
“Is it ALL singing?” Ernie Macmillan, one of the two Hufflepuffs, complained a while later. On the screen, Timon, Pumbaa and Simba were getting into “Hakuna Matata”.
“No,” Hermione said over Parvati’s sniffles. Parvati, Padma and Ritter had all burst into tears when Mufasa died, and hadn’t settled down yet. “There’s some talking, some action, and some romance. You just have to live with the singing.”
“HakOOOOOna MATATA, Hakuna Matata!” Ernie’s fellow Hufflepuff, Sally-Anne Perks, had evidently seen the movie before. Hermione subtly threw a Jaffa at her and went back to trying to calm Parvati down. It was an uphill journey. At least Ritter, who was chewing distressedly on Mr. Flopsy’s ear, had something to cuddle.
“I think Disney just like making people cry. There’s Mufasa being stampeded on, Cinderella getting shafted all the time, Bambi’s Mum getting scragged by the hunters... Disney writers are all sadistic mongrels,” was the view of Terry Boot, sitting with the other Ravenclaws.
“But it says something about the nature of Muggles’ minds!”
“Just shut up!” Lisa was getting angry. “Lockhart says in “Magical Me” that it’s people like you who kept holding him back in his career, and I can certainly see why!” She delicately dabbed at her eyes with a tiny lace hankie before continuing. “It’s not meant to be SADISTIC - it’s meant to be MOVING.”
“Well, I think it’s going to move me - out of this movie theatre! It’s so dull!” Granted, “The Lion King” was perhaps below the intelligence level of some of the students, but apart from Terry, the others were quite enjoying it - including Professor Moore, who muted him using a spell.
The others applauded, except for Lisa. “Professor, do you really think that’s wise? That sort of spell can lead to people being unable to talk ever again!” she said.
“What a shame,” Professor Moore said, muting her as well. Lisa looked furious and made to get up, and Professor Moore cast extra spells on both her and Terry to keep them in their seats until the movie was over.
Parvati had recovered and was beginning to enjoy the movie at last, when the projection reel broke. Boos and hisses rose from the group, and an old man popped his head out of the booth to apologise.
“It’ll be back on in a moment,” he promised. “Just settle yourselves, and I’ll start it up again.”
The remaining two Ravenclaws, who weren’t muted or sitting near Hermione, had wandered up to the very back row and were casting spells at each other. Hermione could hardly remember their names, despite the tiny class size, but knew that one was David and the other Andrew.
As she watched, one of them turned a piece of popcorn into a beach ball and threw it at the other, and they began bouncing it back and forth using only sparks from their wands. The ball began glowing brighter and brighter, and suddenly transformed into a basketball. As the game went on, the ball kept changing - from the basketball to a
softball, then to a netball, then to a cricket ball, and finally (and quite unexpectedly), to an inflatable life jacket, which blew out to its full size, bounced off the ceiling, and turned back into the piece of popcorn.
“Very amusing, boys,” Professor Moore commented dryly - it had been her spell that disrupted the game. “However, the movie is about to begin again, so if you’d like to return to your seats...” They did so, without too much fuss.
“I can’t see the screen properly. Is it meant to be this dark?” Padma asked as the movie began from the point where it had left off.
“Padma, you’ve still got your sunglasses on!” Hermione said. “Take them off, you’ll see better.”
“But then I won’t look cool and Wollyhood,” Padma complained.
Hermione tried not to choke as she patiently explained that, actually, it was Hollywood, not Wollyhood. Then she raced out to the toilets and howled laughter, hanging onto the sink and laughing until she coughed.
The walls in the toilets were absolutely covered in graffiti. Some of the writing was the usual intaglio of utter garbage, but Hermione saw a few interesting lines: LET’S PARTY LIKE IT’S 1699 was perhaps the most confusing.
Hermione took out her quill and murmured a brief charm over it, then wrote her initials and the date neatly on the wall over the mirror. She didn’t know why - she just felt like it.
When Hermione got back to the cinema, the movie had reached its final climactic scene. She stood in the doorway to watch it, aware that climbing back over Padma and Parvati to her seat would probably be very unwelcome at this stage.
Professor Moore made the class sit through the credits, then unfroze Terry and Lisa and let them get up. Both of them looked very disgruntled, but too scared to say anything.
“Miss Granger, where have you been?” she asked, seeing Hermione in the doorway.
“Toilet,” Hermione said. “Are we going already?”
They made their way from the darkened cinema into the foyer. Jackson Ritter dropped Mr. Flopsy and bent to pick him up, but David (or Andrew) was faster than him and levitated the rabbit with a flick of his wand.
“MR. FLOPSY!!!” Ritter yelled.
David-or-Andrew made the bunny fly around the foyer. Professor Moore whipped her wand out - Hermione already had hers out - and at the same moment they yelled, “PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!”.
David-or-Andrew fell to the floor.
Mr. Flopsy began to grow again.
“Oh, NO!” Professor Moore moaned. The ticket seller, the popcorn boy, and the projectionist had gathered in a corner and were staring wide-eyed at the flying, giant stuffed toy. Professor Moore waved her wand...
...and everything stopped.
Hermione could see everything happening around her at extreme speeds - that is to say, everything that Professor Moore was doing. The teacher ran first to the Muggles and cast a Memory Charm on them - Hermione heard her speak it as a high-pitched, chipmunkesque blurt of words. Then she captured and shrank the toy rabbit and tucked it into Jackson Ritter’s frozen arms. Finally, she revived David-or-Andrew
and gave him a rather stern talking-to.
“All right.” Hermione blinked. Time had returned to its normal speed. “Thank you for having us today - the movie was excellent, wasn’t it, class?” Professor Moore sounded rather like she’d bite the head off anyone who disagreed, and none of the class did as they mumbled a thank-you and shuffled outside to the Disapparation point.
“Everyone ready to go? Everyone got their bunny rabbits and suchlike?” Professor Moore smiled icily, looking rather like Snape for a moment. Everyone just nodded.
“Stay put, then. I have to get some vitamins for one of the other teachers.” She black-cloaked off around the corner in a swish.
“Vitamins?” Parvati asked.
“Snape’s pregnant,” Hermione said.
“SNAPE?” The Ravenclaws looked surprised. “How’d... how’d HE get pregnant?”
“It’s a long, convoluted story,” Hermione said, and proceeded to tell it, with great delight. Sally-Anne started singing “Hakuna Matata” again. And the last thing that anyone said before Professor Moore reappeared and whisked them back home was, “But Professor Lockhart says it’s not possible for men to get pregnant!”
And we can all guess who THAT was.
Author’s Notes: Terry Boot’s opinion about Disney writers being sadists is like one voiced in Stephen King’s Dark Tower books. It’s also one I happen to agree with.
“The Lion King” was released in 1994, and this story is set in late 1995 - however, this movie was the one I knew the best from that approximate time, because I’m not big on movies (unless it’s the Lord of the Rings, which I’ve seen six times so far).