"Something Old, Something New, Something Fluffy, What else is new?"
by Seagull Laridae

A/N: Once again I’m going for the massively OOC stuff, wherever possible... we seem to have a Jewish McGonagall popping up in these things... OK, I know it’s bizarre, but what the hell, it got me SECOND PLACE in the last challenge! Here I go again!!!

It was late winter, and the Quidditch pitch was almost completely snowed under. Ron Weasley, who had never completely recovered from his dream of Hogwarts being in a movie (A/N: that was kinda the plot of “THE TRUTH ABOUT REDHEADS AND BRUNETTES”, natch), was practicing his position as Keeper. He didn’t have much to do. The rest of the Gryffindor team were mostly on the sidelines, searching for the Golden Snitch, which had inexplicably gone missing.

“It’s no use,” Harry Potter finally sighed. “We’ll have to use something else.”

“Here,” called Hermione Granger. “Use this.” She threw a ball over to Harry, who missed it and fell off his broomstick. He landed heavily on the ground. Hermione’s only comment was, “Whoops...”

Harry reached out and picked up the ball, which was a typical Muggle softball. “Where’d you get this, ‘Mione?” he asked.

“I brought it with me,” Hermione said. “I was thinking about starting up a softball league. Cho Chang said she’d play.”

The mental image of Cho Chang wearing a softball helmet (big and clunky), and wielding a bat threatened to have Harry fall off his broomstick again. He grabbed the stick hard to keep from falling and noticed that his watch, which had been working perfectly a few minutes ago, was now a bit broken. As in, there were clocksprings hanging out of it, making it look as if it had been disembowelled.

“Oh dear,” said Ron, having given up on Keeping when there was nobody trying to score. “What did that?”

“I think it was when I fell on it,” Harry said. He raised his voice. “Hermione, you’re a menace!”

Ron’s dream came back to him and he shuddered. Hermione had been altogether too much of a menace in THAT. Harry noticed his grimace, and grinned.

“That silly dream still bothering you, Ron? Never mind... Hogwarts isn’t nearly interesting enough to be featured in a movie, let alone any one of us.” (A/N: yes, that was intentional!)

“I suppose you’re right,” Ron said.

Hermione came down from the stands and examined Harry’s watch. “It doesn’t look TOO bad,” she said eventually. She raised her wand. “Hold on...”

Harry stood and whistled “Dixie”, waiting for her to work her magic. His attention was diverted, however, by a loud rumbling from the direction of the Forbidden Forest.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“Hmmm?” Hermione said at just the wrong moment, accidentally Transfiguring Harry’s hand into a snail.

“It’s not Gryffindor’s day for spells, is it?” Harry sighed. Neville Longbottom had been the victim of a hex from Malfoy, and was still hopping on one leg as he came down from the stands to join them.

“That... sounds... like a car,” he panted when he finally reached them.

Hermione’s eyebrows tried to attack her fringe. “A CAR? In the Forbidden Forest? You must be crazy!”

“No... just in a fair amount of pain,” Neville said.

“I still don’t know the counter-hex, Neville,” Hermione said, “you’ll just have to wait.”

“I’ll ask McGonagall later. She might know. I asked Snape, but he just laughed,” Neville said mournfully.

“OK. I’ll even help you up to her room,” Hermione said. “For now, I want to know what that noise is.” She drew her wand and walked purposefully towards the Forbidden Forest.

It WAS a car. A peculiarly small-looking Ford Anglia, in a rather fetching shade of hot pink. Ivy was draped all over its body, and a small oak tree was growing out of the driver’s side window. Hermione, Harry and the other two stared at it in surprise.

“It looks rather like that car we... lost... in second year,” Ron said finally.

“It does. Only it’s the wrong colour, and it’s smaller...” Harry scratched his scar and absently started whistling “Dixie” again. then he realised he was scratching his scar with his snail-hand, and stopped.

“Hermione, I think we’d better get back to the castle,” said Ron, who was keeping an eye on the time. “Forget the car. It’s not important. Getting Neville and Harry back to normal is.”

“All right then.” Hermione looked a little annoyed – she had been peering through the passenger side window, trying to determine if there was anyone driving the car besides the tree. She had concluded that there wasn’t, and was a bit disturbed.

Neville slung an arm around Hermione’s shoulders and the quartet walked (or hopped) up to the great front doors of Hogwarts Castle. Just as they started up the steps, the dinner bell rang.

“Good, food,” Ron said, rubbing his stomach.

***

Minerva McGonagall was Head of Gryffindor House, and the teacher of Transfiguration. She was sitting at the staff table when Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville (who was still hopping on one foot, and looked extremely sick of it) approached her.

“What have you done this time?”

She examined Harry’s snail-hand.

“Ah...” McGonagall scratched her head with her wand, turning her hair blue. “Oops. Anyway. FINITE INCANTATUM!”

And Harry’s hand was once again just that – a hand. A proper hand. But his watch was still broken. Hermione offered to fix it, but Harry stuffed his hand into his pocket and glared at her.

“Please, Professor... what about me?” Neville asked.

“Hopalong Hex, I see,” McGonagall muttered. “Um... hang on... hey, Flitwick, how do you reverse a Hopalong Hex?”

“Oh, that’s simple...” Flitwick twittered, but just as he was about to expound on exactly how to do it, there was a loud BOOM! From the door that led into the Entrance Hall. Every student currently sitting down to dinner turned their head.

BOOM!

“Open th’ door!” Hagrid yelled anxiously. “It migh’ be Norbert!”

Draco Malfoy, looking disdainful, got up and pulled the door open, then hastily dodged out of the way as the fluorescent pink Ford Anglia rolled slowly through the doorway. Hermione let out a gasp of recognition, and the car seemed to hear her. It rolled forward, between the Slytherin and Ravenclaw tables, and came to a halt just in front of the staff table. Hermione went to it and patted it a little selfconsciously on the bonnet.

When the normal level of chatter had returned (only a moment later – Hogwarts students were used to these weird happenings), Hermione tried talking to the car. It made feeble hooting sounds. The horn clearly wasn’t working very well.

Neville hopped over to join her. “They’re no use,” he panted. “she forgot about me when that car came in.” He looked rueful. “I’ll ask her later.” From behind him, Hermione could hear McGonagall asking Snape to pass the bread.

“Let me try,” Hermione said. She raised her wand. A burst of green sparks flooded from it and settled all over Neville. When they cleared, however, he was still hopping.

“What have you done? That’s not the one!” he said.

“Sorry,” Hermione shrugged.

Ron and Harry joined them. “We’d better get this car out of here,” Harry said. “Snape’s giving us evil looks.”

Snape was, indeed, doing just that. McGonagall looked peeved – she’d asked him for the bread four times, it was right beside him, but too far away for her to just lean over and grab it.

“Get. Out,” Snape said.

“We’d better go, don’t you know,” Neville said. He stuck out his tongue and touched it. It looked all right to Hermione. “You’ve stuffed up this time – I’m talking in rhyme!” he said rather angrily.

“We’ll sort it out LATER,” Hermione replied loudly. “Come ON!” And, beneath the glower of Snape and the curious gaze of a few of the students, Hermione, Neville (leaning on her), Harry and Ron walked with the pink car as it reversed slowly out of the Hall. Just before they left, they heard McGonagall scream.

“ANI ROTZAH LECHEM!”

Snape, looking scared for the first time since Harry had met him, passed her the basket of bread.

***

The Ford Anglia led them to the edge of the Forbidden Forest, but once there, seemed confused. It whined a little, and its headlights flickered agitatedly.

“Well?” Hermione asked impatiently. “What do you want?”

“It wants to go home. It feels all alone,” Neville said.

“That hardly rhymed,” Hermione said.

“So sue me, I didn’t write this fic.”

“We’d better hurry, if we’ve got to figure out what this thing wants,” Harry said. “It’s nearly dark.”

Ron, meanwhile, had a thoughtful expression on his face. He was mumbling something to himself. He walked around the car twice one way, then walked around it the other way. Then he realised the other three were staring at him as if he had gone completely off his rocker.

“What?”

“What on Earth are you doing?” Hermione asked.

“This car is smaller than the other one. It’s younger. And, to be incredibly sexist and use that whole “blue-is-for-boys-pink-is-for- girls” thing, I think we have my Dad’s car’s daughter here.”

This got three different reactions. Harry snorted and started hiccupping. Hermione laughed out loud and doubled over, hands on knees, hysterical.

And Neville fell over.

“Ow, that fall really hurt. But then, Hermione’s wearing a skirt...” Neville had a surprisingly lecherous grin on his round face as Hermione hastily took three big steps away from him and ran into the car. She turned and looked down at it.

“Are you lost?”

Its headlights blinked furiously, and a long trickle of oil ran down from one of them. Strange as it seemed, the car was crying.

“OK, let’s go,” Hermione said. “We have to find this car’s parents.” As she strode into the Forbidden Forest she realised what she’d just said, and grinned to herself. If any of her old school friends had heard her say that, they would think she was insane...

***

They stumbled along for quite some time. It was getting dark, and Neville, hopping along, was having far more trouble than the others. Finally he gave up and sat on the bonnet of the Ford, while Ron and Harry tried to remember where they’d last seen the car’s “father” – a difficult task, as it was nearly three years ago.

Finally Hermione let out a soft cry. “Here!” She was holding her wand up high, the thin beam of light from it shining through the trees and striking something metallic and turquoise. There was a flurry of honking from beyond the trees and the group had to hurry to keep up with the little car, which had sped up at the sound.

“Oh, would you look at that? That’s cooler than the Sorting Hat!” Neville said, sliding off the car’s bonnet as it came to a halt on the edge of a small clearing.

The clearing held two cars – Mr Weasley’s old Ford Anglia, of course, was one of them. The other was a slightly dented red Holden Commodore. This car was the one making all the noise.

Their car moved forward slowly and the Holden beeped at it. Then the Holden raced forward and one door opened hard against the boot of the smaller car.

Hermione giggled.

“It’s giving it a smack for running away,” she said.

“Yeah, and that’s less than we’ll get. We haven’t come out of the woods yet,” Neville said. “We’d better return to the castle before seeing becomes a hassle. Hermione, lead the way, the sky is going grey.”

“You’re a poet and you didn’t know it,” Ron said, laughing.

“Ah, be quiet, Red, before I thump your head,” Neville said.

A/N: That met all the criteria... I think... I thought this one was much better than the last one, IMHO. “The last one” being “The Truth About Redheads and Brunettes”, available on FF.N.

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