“You Are What You Eat”
It had been a typical day at Hogwarts. A new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor had shown up that morning, and by lunchtime, had vanished under mysterious circumstances. The interruption of attacks by Dementor Basilisks in the middle of Charms had been annoying, but a combination of Patronus Charms and large mirrors had easily taken care of the deadly monstrosities.
The daily time-turner and potions explosion had its usual results. Hermione sat in the corner, snogging herself like always, while Ron had tried, and failed, to kick his own ass after he caught himself looking at the wrong Hermione. His only consolation was that at least his other self had somehow also badly lost. Luckily, a quick dual Reparo and Finite Incantatum by the quick-thinking Flitwicks had quickly fixed everything back to normal.
Walking to the table for the evening meal, Neville sighed sadly. It had been nice to hang around someone who actually understood him, even if the other Nevilles had been incredibly depressing. In a weird way, seeing them had made Neville feel better about his own life. On the other hand, at least he hadn’t blown up any cauldrons, it was one of the other hims. Or at least, that’s what Neville thought. Merlin’s balls, time travel was bloody confusing.
Harry had gotten to the table early, as he didn’t really want to talk to anyone about the recent deaths of Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore, or possibly himself, depending on how the seventh book goes. And that other Harry from the past was always so annoying, asking questions about the “crazy future” and insisting he was the original Harry, when all the real Harry had really wanted to know was about the “crazy past”. Was that so much to ask? Git.
But Harry didn’t feel that hungry, so he picked at his food, and waited for everyone else to show up. After a few minutes, he was joined at the table by a red-faced Ron and Hermione, although each was embarrassed for a completely different reason. Ron began to shovel food into his mouth, seemingly without thinking about it.
Harry felt he wouldn’t be surprised if Ron accidentally ate the tablecloth at this rate.
After only a few minutes had passed, a couple of frantic house-elves had appeared in the hall, yelling and shouting at the head table. McGonagall had frowned disapprovingly and motioned for them to slow down.
“Headmizzus McGurkle!” The head kitchen elf shook his hands in nervous worry. “Theres is somethings awful happening with the food!”
Instantly, a shocked gasp arose from the horrified students. Everyone hurriedly spat out their mouthfuls of tasty Hogwarts fare and pushed away all nearby food. Well, everyone except for Ron, of course.
“Calm down, Ragnookie,” McGonagall told the head elf sternly. “Or perhaps I will ask Griphookie to take your place! Now, please to be explaining PRECISELY what has transpired. Immediately. And without delay!”
Ragnookie fingered his head kitchen elf badge worriedly and looked around at the students, who were all paying very careful attention. The elf mumbled something incoherently.
“What was that?” McGonagall asked in a severe tone. “Speak up. And clearly, I might add!” She added this in a clear and carefully enunciated tone.
“Well, Headmizzus,” Ragnookie said slowly. “Somehow the wrong potions gots mixed up with the foods. Instead of the health potions, we thinks it was Polygoose Potion.”
“Polyjuice potion?” Sprout repeated, aghast. “What would happen if food was mixed with Polyjuice potion?”
“Perhaps we should floo Slughorn and find out?” Flitwick asked calmly, ignoring the interim Potions professor, who was too boring to even be named.
“A reasonable idea.” McGonagall turned to the nearby floo fireplace. “Slughorn, answer immediately please! It’s about you,” she added, knowing exactly what would appeal to the corpulent retiree.
Naturally, Slughorn appeared right away, his great and magnificent mustache protruding even further from his face than normal. “Did someone say my name?” Slughorn asked in a rich, deep, mellifluous voice. Clearly he had been practicing his bombast.
“Horace, what would occur if Polyjuice were to be mixed with someone’s foodstuff?” McGonagall inquired.
Slughorn’s eyes widened. “You’re not seriously implying…?”
“I’m afraid so,” the Headmistress replied somberly.
“Well, then, I’ll contact St. Mungo’s.” Slughorn’s head disappeared from the fire abruptly. And, to be honest, a bit distressingly.
Then the changes began.
Half the Hufflepuff table had been eating mutton, and each began changing into hideous half-human, half-sheep hybrids, except for Hannah Abbott and several other girls, who admittedly looked rather adorable.
Neville looked down at his plate of mushrooms and lamb chops and began to worry. He glanced at the head table for support, but they had problems of their own.
“Um, I ate Mentos® and Diet Coke,” Ginny said nervously. “What does that mean?”
Hermione gasped and jumped behind Ron just in time, as Ginny’s head detonated, and her body dropped, burnt and smoking, onto the floor.
Ron blinked at looked around in confusion. “Whuh?” he asked intelligently. Suddenly, he began to shake violently, and his skin began to bulge, changing into a mix of hideous colors.
“Hermione,” Harry asked in a low voice. “Do you remember what Ron ate?”
Hermione nodded her head and was about to say something, but she suddenly shifted into a giant bushy pumpkin, albeit with arms and legs. “Oh, for the love of… Harry, all I had was some pumpkin juice!”
Harry wracked his brain frantically, trying to remember exactly what, if anything, he had eaten.
In the meantime, Ron had changed into a twenty foot blob of horrifying colors and textures, an expression of confusion evident even on his malformed, hideous face. The nearby first and second years saw his expression. They screamed in terror and ran.
Neville looked from Ron back to his plate of food and bit his fingernails nervously.
The giant monstrous blob of Ron shrugged his shoulders and continued eating. He was interrupted with a hug from an approving Hagrid, who had apparently had a mix of various hairs from many dangerous animals that had fallen into his food from his clothing, and had changed into a freakish giant with wings, claws, fangs, hooves, and giant spider legs.
Hagrid had never felt so beautiful.
“Oh no, look at me!” Parvati gasped in horror, having grown cute cat ears and a tail. “I think Padma’s cat’s hair must have gotten on my clothes… and then I must’ve eaten it! Gross!” Parvati’s eyes narrowed as her twin rushed over, in a similar predicament.
“Parvati, I think dander from Priya got on our clothes.” Padma pouted and fidgeted with her tail. “Dander is very small, it must’ve been floating in the air after we sat down!”
“Oh no,” Parvati burst into tears. “We’re hideous! I can’t believe I’m ugly.”
“No!” A feathered Lavender pulled Parvati into a hug. “You look cute! I’m the ugly one, I look like a giant chicken!”
“You don’t look ugly either,” Parvati insisted through her tears. “You really pull off that look!”
A frustrated Padma turned to Harry, who had just realized Ron had eaten whatever food had been on Harry’s plate, whatever it might have been.
“Harry, you still look normal.” Padma said, getting Harry’s attention. “Would you please tell these two they still look fine?” She smiled at him. “Would you please?”
Parvati and Lavender turned to look at Harry, paying very close attention.
Harry gulped. “Um, right. You, uh, you both look quite fit right now.”
The two Gryffindor girls grabbed Harry and hugged him.
“Oh, thank you Harry!” Parvati said, still crying. Lavender sobbed too loudly to speak.
Harry looked back at Padma with a frantic expression, but she shook her head in exasperation.
Neville realized he longer felt quite so nervous. In fact, he almost felt… like laughing. For unbeknownst to him, although he had consumed mushrooms – they were in fact Agaricus terriblus, the most evil fungi in the world.
Meanwhile, at the Huffepuff table, a frightened Susan Bones was comforting her sheepish friends, but was secretly glad she hadn’t eaten anything.
She looked over and was utterly shocked to see someone she had never expected to see again. The stately, but quite nervous face of Amelia Bones looked back at her.
“Auntie? But that’s…” With growing horror, she realized just who had been sitting there. Her face grew scarlet in fury. She pulled out her wand and growled angrily.
“Ernie, could you explain how exactly you turned into my Aunt?”
Ernie Macmillan looked around, but saw nothing that might save him. He had never seen Susan quite so angry. “Um, Susan, it’s not what you think. Honest!”
Susan spat in his face. “Then tell me what it is, Auntie.”
“It… it was probably just her hair. It must’ve fallen in the food from my clothes or something!” Ernie’s mouth snapped closed as he realized this did not sound much better.
“You mean hair from her corpse?!” Susan screamed furiously. Her eyes narrowed and she held out her wand. “I think it’s time to use an old spell my Auntie taught me.”
Ernie froze solid in fear.
Susan held out her wand. “Imperio Obliviatum.”
You are now and forever my beloved Auntie, Amelia Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
The figure that looked like Madame Bones blinked once and looked around in confusion. “Susan, what’s going on here?”
Susan ran over and grabbed her surprised aunt in a hug. “Oh, Auntie, it’s so good to see you. Do you know a stabilizing transfiguration spell? Like for someone under Polyjuice who wants to stay that way?”
Madame Bones blinked but smiled slightly. “In fact, I do, but it’s illegal to use. I certainly hope you have good reason to use it, Susan.”
Susan smirked. “Oh, I think I do.” After a quick glance down the table, she looked up at her aunt. “And Auntie? I think Terry Boot’s a cannibal – it looks like he accidentally consumed Polyjuice mixed with a young girl.”
Madame Bones frowned and drew her wand, a steely expression on her face. “Don't worry, I’ll take care of that perverted monster.”
Over at the Gryffindor table, Neville Longbottom realized he was meant for bigger and better things. He was no longer Neville, the shy Gryffindor. Now he was the great Ovinomancer, Neville the Sheep Lord. He stood on the table and amplified his voice, eyes flashing with pure evil.
“My sheeply minions! Come before me, and bow before your true master!” Sure enough, the various sheep students ran over and quickly gathered at Neville’s feet. Well, they were sheep, after all. “Fellow sheep, follow me and we will have this world at our feet. For I am Neville, Sheep Lord!” Neville burst into evil cackles, although they sounded a bit like bleating.
His sheeply servants burst into a chorus of supportive bleating and applause. Hannah Abbot the sheep grinned widely. Finally she had a proper leader to follow.
“Harry, you’ve grown gills!” Parvati said suddenly from Harry’s lap.
“And your skin has gotten all shiny and pretty, like a rainbow!” Lavender enthused, rubbing her hands over Harry’s arm.
Padma sighed and looked over at them with a smirk. “Clearly Harry has consumed some sort of fish. Maybe some sort of rainbow trout?”
Harry nodded slowly. “Actually, that sounds right. Although I’m not sure what kind of fish it was – it was fried, as I recall.”
Hermione the pumpkin was still trying to escape Ron’s sudden hungry attention, and had banished several hapless vegetable students in his path. Surprisingly, being a pumpkin hadn’t reduced her magical skill at all.
“Oh, hello, there Harry.” Luna appeared in front of Harry, albeit dressed in a pink hood and an extremely short pink dress. “My, it looks like you’ve changed a bit.”
Parvati scowled at Luna and held onto Harry a bit tighter. “Luna Lovegood, do you mind? Padma, can you talk to her? She’s in your house.”
Padma shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t think there’s much anyone can do to dissuade Luna from doing anything.”
Luna smiled proudly and nodded.
“So, what did you eat, Luna?” Harry asked, trying to defuse the situation. “Something pink?”
“Exactly, Harry.” Luna replied. “I ate some pink Phelldagraf eggs. They are some of the most powerful aphrodisiacs in the world.”
Harry began to feel affected a bit like he did around veela, and didn’t doubt what Luna was saying. He suddenly noticed Padma moving a bit closer and felt a bit warm.
“Harry, have you ever heard that old Muggle nursery rhyme?” Luna asked suddenly, leaning over him.
“Probably,” Harry answered nervously. “How does it go?”
“Oh, I think I ought to change it a bit.” Luna moved closer, her eyes boring into him. “Little Bo Luna has lost her Man-Tuna, and doesn’t know where to find him. Hmm, there it is.”
“Technically, I think he’s more of a rainbow trout,” Padma said absently.
“Whatever,” Luna said blithely, shrugging her shoulders.
“Say, George, this doesn’t look the Polyjuice potion we made for the Order.”
“I think you’re right, brother of mine. It looks more like the health potions the Hogwarts kitchen elves use.”
The twins shared a look.
“Perhaps, Fred, we should not inform anyone of this mixup.” George pointed out.
“No one needs to know.” Fred agreed.