The Curious Case of the Sentient Hogwarts by Mutt N Feathers
Summary: ** Winner of Best Overall in the Cluedo Challenge **
Harry and his friends try to discover what has happened to their Defense professor and they have an unlikely ally in their quest -- the Hogwarts building is helping them find their clues.
Categories: Cluedo Challenge (2010-4), Cluedo Challenge (2010-4)
The Curious Case of the Sentient Hogwarts by Mutt N Feathers
Chapter 1: Chapter 1Author's Notes:
The Curious Case of the Sentient Hogwarts
By Mutt N. Feathers and Lunapup
“Did anyone else find that…weird?” Harry asked as he an Ron left the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. They were followed by Hermione and Neville Longbottom, who were both trying to make sense of the class that had just ended.
“What you mean Snape having washed his hair?” Ron asked.
“Or the fact that he was whistling?” Neville asked. “That was whistling, wasn’t it? I mean he wasn’t just making some strange noise while he breathed, right?”
“No,” Hermione confirmed. “That was whistling. I think it was a Muggle song called “Sexy Boy,” she shuddered.
“Eewww…” Harry turned green as he responded. “I’ll never be able to watch Top of the Pops again.. So, we’re all agreed,” he asked, “there’s something wrong with Professor Snape?”
“Something is always wrong with Snape,” Ron agreed. “But today, he was…wronger!”
“Most definitely,” Hermione added. “Anyone have any idea what might have happened?”
“Imperioused?” Neville suggested.
“Not likely,” Harry responded, “to hold an Imperious Curse that long, someone would have had to be in the room. No one in our class can do that. Is there any other spell that could make someone who’s usually a grump, pleasant?”
“I can’t think of one, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist,” Hermione said excitedly. “You know what that means?”
“She’s joking, right?” Neville asked under his breath.
“No, she’s not,” Harry muttered back.
“Research!” She excitedly pronounced.
“Bloody hell, Hermione,” Ron groaned. “ Don’t you have every book in the library memorized already?”
“No, Ronald,” she snipped back. “There are several books in the Restricted Section that I haven't cracked open yet.” The three boys groaned at her enthusiasm, although they all secretly knew that if anyone would figure out what was wrong with Snape, it would be Hermione.
The quartet rounded the corner and attempted to step into the Great Hall for their noon meal, when they were suddenly on a slide, gliding through the walls of Hogwarts to an unknown destination. They were rapidly approaching a wall, one that it would appear they were about to crash into. Harry withdrew his wand, unsure of what spell he could do to protect he and his friends, but wanting to do something. Ten feet, seven feet, and they seemed to be getting faster. Five feet, three…
“Hold on everyone,” Harry yelled before he cast a cushioning charm.
One foot and Harry closed his eyes, bracing for impact…
Plop. The quartet gently fell into a small pile of pillows. Each were able to maneuver themselves so that they didn’t land on top of the other, except for Hermione, who fell squarely on top of Ron. The two quickly scrambled away from one another, which made Harry just shake his head and sigh. He wasn’t sure that his friends would ever figure it out.
“Where in bloody hell are we?” Ron asked. “And how the hell did we get here?”
“I don’t know, it looks sort of like a common room,” Hermione commented. “But, it’s a little…” she stopped and ran her finger over a small table “…dirty.”
“Huh?” Neville said, looking around. “Wait a minute, look over there, at that wall,” he said pointing. “Don’t they look like the targets we used for our DA meetings last year?”
From out of the shadows, more bits of the room became clearer. The floor was crowded with pillows, and there were book shelves along one wall. On the other side of the room was a table, set with a buffet of meat, cheese, bread, fruit and flagons of juice.
“Yes, food,” Ron said as with three long strides he was across the room, already putting a hunk of cheese in his mouth.
“Could it be the Room of Requirement?” Hermione asked Harry.
“It could be,” he answered, “the room is supposed to become whatever the user needs. We need somewhere to do research.”
“But, how did we get here?”
“That I couldn’t tell you. Dobby told me that you had to walk in front of the door and tell the room what you needed to get in. We got here…through the door to the Great Hall?”
The wall opened up again, and Ginny and Luna came flying in, landing on the aforementioned cushions. The other four looked at them, and then Neville walked up and offered Ginny and Luna each a hand to help them up.
“Welcome to wherever we are,” Harry said sarcastically.
“Thanks,” Ginny replied. “Ah, I see that Ron has found the food,” she indicated her brother snacking away. “Better watch out there Ron,” she teased him, “or you might not be able to stay on your broom.”
“Unny, Inny,” he replied, his mouth still full.
“If he did fall off, we could charm him to bounce from that height,” Luna dreamily postulated. “Of course, it might just be his broom that would bounce.”
“Well then,” Hermione rejoined with a confused look on her face. “Ginny, have you noticed anything odd today?”
“You mean like Snape complimenting me when he came into the Great Hall for lunch?” She asked. “He said he was impressed with my flying at the Quidditch match on Saturday. We beat Slytherin, and he liked my flying? I couldn’t even reply, he’d taken me so by surprise.”
“Clearly, there is something very wrong with Professor Snape today,” Harry answered. “We’ve got to figure out what was done to him, who did it and why. Then we’ve got to…put him back to normal?”
“Why?” Neville asked. “I like him this way. Much less frightening.” Everyone chuckled as they went to the buffet table to get something to eat.
“Could it be a prank?” Ginny asked. “This is just the kind of thing that the Marauders would have done in school. Sirius told me about some of the things that he’d done…”
“I don’t think so,” Harry interrupted her sourly. Ginny internally chastised herself for bringing up Harry’s godfather. “If your brothers were still here, I’d think that it was them. I can’t think of anyone who’d try this, outside of us.”
“Yeah, well it wasn’t us,” Ron said between polishing off a sandwich and gulping down more juice.
“Thank you Capitan Obvious,” Ginny scolded her brother. While the rest of the sextet sat down to eat, Hermione ate on her feet in front of the stacks.
“There are too many books here,” she complained, “without having any idea of where to start looking, I can’t narrow it down. There are spells, hexes, curses, and potions that could produce what we saw. I need some more information before I can narrow down what might have been done to the Professor.”
“Then it sounds like we’re off,” Harry announced. The others rose and together they headed for the door. As Harry pulled on the heavy door, it appeared as if they were going to enter the usual seventh floor landing, but as they crossed the threshold, instead of seeing the hideous tapestry of the ballet dancing trolls, they found themselves in the base of the north tower, in the Divination classroom.
“How did we end up here?” Hermione asked. “What in the world is going on with castle today?”
“No bloody idea,” Harry mumbled. “The room looks different…”
“She re-arranged things after Umbridge fired her last spring,” Ginny explained. “She said the room needed to have it’s ‘Aura Cleansed’,” Ginny mused, doing a spot on interpretation of Trelawney.
“Ah, sounds like her,” Hermione said with a scoff.
“Harry,” Neville piped up as he looked around the room. “What if Hogwarts knows that someone is tampering with a professor? What if the school is trying to help us figure this out?”
“What do you mean?” the dark haired wizard questioned.
“Well, I mean, the Room of Requirement knows what you need…like it reads your mind or something, so that it can give you want you require. What if the whole school is that way?”
“Huh, well that would explain why we’re not ending up in the places we think we’re going to. The school is taking us places where the answers are,” Harry replied.
“So you’re saying that the school is sentient? Really?” Hermione questioned.
“Why couldn’t it be?” Ginny interjected. “Think of how the school changes all the time. Tables appear and disappear in the Great Hall, the ceiling reflects the weather outside. All of the houses can adapt to however many students are needed to be housed there. Why couldn’t the school be smart enough to help us solve whomever did whatever to Snape?”
“So, what are we supposed to find in here?” Hermione asked, putting her hands on her hips.
“I don’t know, but it must be important,” Ron snipped back at her. “Everyone look around, see if you find anything.”
The group began to search the room, Ron Harry and Hermione took the left side of the room, while Neville and Ginny took the right. Luna went to search behind Professor Trewalney’s desk. A moment later she lifted something up, looking surprised at it.
“Look what I found,” she cried out. The others rushed over to see whatever it was that had the Ravenclaw so excited.
“Is that Professor Trelawney?” Harry asked. “What’s wrong with her teeth? They look too big for her mouth.”
“Didn’t you know, she was a famous denture model in her youth. That’s the most famous picture of her in her Dr. Broadsmyle Custom Fit, Secure and Safe Dental Dentures.”
“Yeah, they had that great jingle that went with the radio ads,” Ron interjected. “Fix your smile, and dance a while,” Ron sang, Ginny and Neville started singing along. “With Broadsmyle Custom Fit, Secure and Safe Dental Dentures.” Harry and Hermione were staring at the other four.
“We’re the ads anywhere but on the radio?” Hermione queried.
“No,” Luna responded.
“So, she was a denture model in radio ads?”
“Yes, Ron replied. “You could hear how nice her smile was.” Hermione rolled her eyes, adding another reason to think that the Divination Professor was a quack to her already long mental list.
“Lets go back to looking, shall we?” The group dispersed again, resuming their previous locations.
After a few moments, Ginny spoke up. “Neville, do you recognize this leaf? I found it under this chair here.” Ginny held a limp but still green broad leaf in her hand. Neville walked over to her, and lifted the leaf from her. The others soon joined him.
“It looks like a Heimia Salicifolia leaf, but that would be very odd,” Neville explained. “The plant’s from South America, and it’s hard to get.”
“What does it do?” Harry asked.
“It’s a hallucinogenic, a very powerful one.”
“Well, that would explain the whistling Snape, he was hallucinating,” Ginny added.
“Anyone want to venture what he was hallucinating about?” Ron asked, and they all shook their heads.
“If someone wanted this leaf,” Hermione began to question Neville, “where would they get it?”
“The only person who might have it would Professor Slughorn, but honestly, I would say that you’d need to get it from an apothecary.”
“Then it sounds like we need to go to the Potions classroom,” Harry suggested. “Let’s hope the castle lets us go.”
The sextet headed to the ladder to climb down, but instead of being the room that lead to the hallway, they found themselves in the Hospital wing.
“Another diverted trip,” Ron complained. “I wished this castle would just let us go where we want to go.”
“If we’re here, then there must be a clue here,” Harry suggested. “Let’s start searching.” As they began to move about the room, Madame Pomfrey and Professor Slughorn came out of her office, as surprised by the students and they were by the duo.
“Harry, please don’t tell me that you’re hurt again,” the school nurse said with exasperation.
“No, no ma’am,” Harry quickly told her. “Actually, it’s good that we found the two of you here. We found something strange in the Divination classroom, and we wanted to talk to you about it.”
“Alright, what is it?” She asked.
“I found this,” Neville said as Ginny cleared her throat, “okay, Ginny found it. I believe that it’s Heimia Salicifolia, right?”
“Heh,” Professor Slughorn said as he lifted the leaf. “You’re quite correct boy. Five points to Gryffindor for your identification. I heard that you were gifted in Herbology,” he quickly added as he eyed up Neville. “Perhaps you’ll be able to make our next little get together. Lots of fun, wasn’t it Granger?”
“Yes, sir, it was quite …” Hermione looked as if she was in pain as she spoke, “ …memorable.” The way she said the last word, it sounded as if the memories were anything but good.
“Horace, that’s not the point,” Madame Pomfrey scolded him. “This is a powerful plant. Leaves from the Sun Opener plant shouldn’t be just lying about.”
“Oh, well, of course not,” Slughorn replied. “Many of the potions that you could brew with them…well, there wouldn’t be a reason for a student to have them.”
“What sorts of Potions?” Harry asked.
“Well, a student as gifted as you are should already know, Harry my boy. Takes after his mother, he does.” Hermione pouted at the comment. “Well, since we haven’t covered it in class yet, I’ll tell you, Harry. Elation Tincture or Gauisus Affectus is a powerful potion, especially if given in improper doses.”
“Gauisus Affectus,” Hermione parroted, “happy emotion?”
“Quite right, Miss Granger. Another five points to Gryffindor.”
“Madame Pomfrey,” Ginny piped up, “what would happen if someone took this potion?”
“In the right dose, it works to help someone recover from a depression or malaise. It’s only to be brewed by a Potions Master or medical professional because if it’s brewed improperly, it can drive a person to mania. The creation of this potion is very tightly controlled, especially after what happened in the last war.” The potions professor grunted at this assertion.
“What happened in the last war?” Ron asked.
“Death Eaters were brewing it at strengths five or ten times stronger than usual. People would become so manic that they were oblivious to the world around them. A person dosed this way is susceptible to doing nearly anything. If someone couldn’t be Imperioused, then they could be manipulated this way.”
“Okay, well, um, thank you,” Harry said, already walking toward the door. “We’ve really got to run.” As quickly as they arrived, the gang had left the Hospital Wing. Surprisingly, this time they entered the hallway that they were expecting to. It caused Harry to stop in his tracks, his friends bumping into each others backs as they followed suit.
“Harry, why did you stop?” Hermione quizzed.
“Wait, we’re in the hall outside the Hospital Wing, right?”
“Yeah, huh, maybe the castle is done fooling around with us?” Ron suggested.
“I wouldn’t bet on it,” Ginny remarked. “I think we just needed to run into a certain someone.” Ginny pointed to the end of the hall where Professor Snape and Dumbledore had just passed each other. Dumbledore looked perplexed as he walked on toward the students.
“Professor Dumbledore,” Harry called out, and the headmaster rushed toward them. “How’s your day?” The question was asked in a very leading way.
“Interesting,” the old man replied. “There is something quite odd about our Defense professor today.”
“We thought the same thing,” Hermione answered. “We’re trying to find out what.” The headmaster’s lips curled into a smile, and a familiar twinkle returned to his eye.
“I see,” he said knowingly. “Well, when you think you’ve discovered the root of the problem, please come and see me in my office. I will be most anxious to hear what you have to say.”
“We’ve already found this leaf…” Neville piped up, but he was quickly cut off.
“Not now, Mr. Longbottom, only in my office, and only when you’ve found everything out. I shall be awaiting you most anxiously.” With that, he turned and walked away. As he did, the students looked at him quite confused.
“Anyone wondering if he’s been given a potion too?” Ron asked. Harry made a non-committal noise.
“You know, all of this seems quite familiar,” Hermione said. “It’s almost as if we’re stuck in a real life Cluedo game.”
“Well that would be barmy,” Harry replied. “Come on,” he said, took two steps and then stopped. “Anyone remember where we were going to go?”
“The Defense classroom, I think” Ginny answered. “If he was poisoned, then that’s probably where it happened.”
“Right, thanks,” Harry said and they took off again. This time, when the turned the corner to go into the Defense room, they were surprised to find themselves in the entryway to Hogwarts.
“This is quite annoying,” Ginny pronounced as she looked around. “So, what do you think we’re supposed to discover here?”
“Don’t know, but perhaps we should look around,” Neville stated.
“Good idea,” Hermione confirmed and five of the six began to search. Only Luna stood still, staring at the house cup hourglasses on the wall.
“Luna, Luna sweetie,” Hermione said before she stopped and put a hand on her shoulder. “What are you looking at?”
“I could have swore that we were in the lead this morning,” she answered. “But look, Hufflepuff is in the lead now, and by quite a bit.” The sextet looked at the standings for the House Cup. Sure enough, the badgers had taken the lead, by nearly one hundred points.
“Okay,” the Gryffindor Prefect said as she drew her wand. “They jumped nearly two hundred points today alone. It’s rare to go from third to first, unless another house lost a lot of points, which isn’t the case here. As Prefect, I can detect who gave the points and when.” She did an intricate maneuver with her wand, and a short list materialized in the air. It didn’t come as much of a surprise that nearly all of the points today had been awarded by Professor Snape.
“Hum, that is quite interesting,” Harry said.
“I’m think we might have a why as to the dosing of Professor Snape with his happiness potion,” Ginny added.
“Do you really think that someone would have been desperate enough to drug a professor for house points?” Ron asked skeptically. “It’s pretty early in the year for that?”
“It’s never right to drug a professor,” Hermione chastised.
“Yeah, you’re right, of course,” Ron back tracked.
“Come on, lets see if we can finally make it to the Defense classroom,” Harry suggested. The friends turned the corner, and once again, they found themselves someplace other than where they had planned.
“Bugger, its cold out here,” Ron complained.
“It smells quite awful as well,” Hermione added. She’d never been inside the owlery before, and she hadn’t wanted to be there now.
“Well, if we’re here, then there must be a reason,” Harry said sadly. Just then, Hedwig flew down to him, coming to perch on his shoulder. “Sorry, girl, I’m not here to see you. We’re looking for a clue to help us solve a mystery. Have you seen anything strange today?” The snow white owl cooed at him and then flew off, returning a moment later with a scrap of paper. Harry took it from her beak.
“Ron, give me something to feed her as a treat,” he demanded.
“Why do you assume that I have anything?”
“Because you’re always eating, Ronald,” Hermione stated plainly before reaching into his robe pocket and pulling out a small bit of sandwich that he’d hidden there. “Here you are girl,” she thanked the bird before she flew off.
“What does the paper say, Harry?” Ginny asked.
“Not much,” he explained. “It’s got a return address, and then some initials. Anyone know who G. B. Gilfuddey is?” Ron, Ginny, Neville and Hermione all shook their heads. Luna, however, looked thrilled.
“I do!” She cried out while raising her hand. Everyone else looked at her for a moment, before Harry finally had to prompt her to answer.
“Who is he?”
“Geoffrey Bunyonleaf Gilfuddey, the inventor of the Nargle Interpreter hat. You put it on your Nargle, if you ever found one that is, and it makes the noises your Nargle is producing understandable for human ears. He owns a shop in Ottery St. Catchpole, where he sells uncommon plants and animals. He and father are close friends,” she explained. The rest had to struggle not laugh at her.
“I don’t doubt it,” Ron sniggered under his breath.
“The kind of place where you’d buy an uncommon plant from South America?” Hermione suggested.
“Why, yes, I suppose it would be,” the blonde girl responded.
“Okay, well at least we know how the plant got into the castle,” Harry said. “The only other thing written here are the initials, H.A.”
“No, it can’t be,” Neville blurted out before he took off running, slipping on the owl dung but somehow staying on his feet.
“Neville, wait,” Ginny cried out after him. “What’s going on?”
“I think I know who did it, I just need to check something on my Herbology text.” He continued running, not at all surprised or slowed down by his running right into the Gryffindor common room.
“Did he just say “on” his Herbology text?” Ron quizzed Harry as they struggled to catch up to their roommate.
“I believe he did,” Harry responded. They finally came to their bedroom, and Ron realized that in his haste this morning, he’d left his dirty underclothes on the floor. He attempted to kick them under his bed, but instead he sent them airborne, coming to rest on the top of his head, as if he was wearing a veil. They all laughed at him.
“You made a lovely bride, Ron” Ginny commented, and Ron tossed the offending clothes at Ginny. Her reflexes being better, stepped out of the way, and the garment instead landed upon Hermione’s lap. She squealed, tossed them away and turned beet red in the matter of seconds.
“Hermione, can you do that spell thing that you did last year, where you could tell if there was a potion in a drink? Remember, you did it when you were afraid that someone might try to poison Harry?” Neville asked.
“When were you afraid that someone might poison me?”
“Never mind,” she hastily answered. Hermione withdrew her wand and waved it over Neville’s Herbology book. “Neville, how did you know?” She asked, quite surprised.
“Just a hunch. Come on everyone, we need to go and see Dumbledore.” The rest looked at each other, quite surprised, but followed Neville out of the room. Instead of encountering the stairway leading back to the Great Room, they found themselves in front of the headmaster’s desk.
“I’m quite surprised to see you here so quickly,” he said as he removed his half moon spectacles from his face. “Have you an answer for me, Harry?”
“No, I don’t, sir.” Harry said honestly, “but I think that Neville might.”
“Sir, I think that Hannah Abbott brewed the potion. This morning, she and I were meeting with Professor Sprout about a special garden that we’re planting for extra credit. Professor Snape came in to speak with Professor Sprout, and she offered him a cup of tea. I got so nervous about him being there, that I spilled the cup that had been poured for him. Since I hadn’t drunk out of mine, I handed him it. Hannah got very upset when I did this, and tried to wrestle the cup away from Professor Snape. Some of his tea sloshed onto my text, which was sitting on the floor. He drank the whole rest of his cup of tea down with one gulp, and then took ten points from Hufflepuff.”
“So, Neville, you think that you’ve solved the mystery?” Professor Dumbledore asked.
“I do. It was Hannah Abbott, in the Herbology building, with the Elation Tincture.”
“But, why would she do it?” Harry asked. “Hannah seems like such a pleasant girl.”
“I believe that we’ll have to ask Miss Abbott about that,” the headmaster responded. “In the meantime, I need to have Madame Pomfrey see about setting Professor Snape to rights.” A Patronus flew from his wand, headed to the Hospital Wing.
A few minutes later, Hannah Abbott was escorted in my Professor Sprout. She was rather defiantly staring at the wall, not making eye contact with anyone.
“Miss Abbott, did you make the Elation Tincture?” Dumbledore asked.
“Did you plan on giving it to Professor Snape?”
“No, I made it for Neville.”
“Why?” the tall Gryffindor asked.
“Because, you’re always so sweet when we’re alone and in the greenhouses, but then we come back to the main building and…and…you’re always with them and her,” she said pointing at Luna.
“Huh?” Neville responded.
“I thought that if you were happier, you might want to have a girlfriend, or you’d want me for your girlfriend.”
“Oh,” he commented.
“But what about the house points?” Ginny piped up. “Hufflepuff is up by like two hundred points, today.”
“That was me too,” she explained. “When I realized that Professor Snape had reacted so strongly to the potion, I told him that it might be nice for us to get some extra points. We’re always behind,” she whined. “I think that he took to it a little too enthusiastically.”
“I should say so. It would appear that our entire mystery can be chocked up to young love,” Professor Dumbledore pronounced with a sigh. “Everyone off to your afternoon classes.”
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