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A Grinch in the Goblin Office & A Tree Squid In the Mistletoe by Ydnas Odell
Chapter 2 : The Tree Squid In the Mistletoe
 
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The Grinch In the Goblin Office & The Tree Squid in the Mistletoe 

by DA Jones Aka Ydnas Odell

Chapter II:  The Tree Squid in the Mistletoe


Audrey,

Forget the Goblins! Come to my office right away! Michael Corner and Dean Thomas are here from Ron’s office and they're not here to wish me Merry Christmas. They look awful Audie. Something’s happened and they won’t tell me what and they want you to come here too. I’m afraid for Ron, maybe something’s happened to the kids. I know I should’ve never sent them, I love Luna, but she’s not always that responsible and if something’s happened to Rose or Hugo or any of the others I will curse her faster then you can stamp denied on my petitions. 

Hermione    

Audrey finished reading the letter and looked about. It appeared that Melissa Atwood had decided to cut out a few minutes early. It was Christmas Eve after-all and unlike Hermione all the sane people had taken off or left early; so that wasn’t unexpected. 

But still, Audrey looked for the girl in the bathroom and a few other places, just to make sure that Hermione wasn’t playing a devious end-around trick on her and then just to be even safer locked the office and put all the ‘approved’ stamps in a warded safe for which only she had the key.

When she arrived at Hermione’s office at five after five, Michael and Dean were both there. Hermione was right, they did look grim. Suddenly Audrey’s heart began to pound. Something was wrong, something awful had happened. Christmas Eve would be ruined forever. She knew she would remember this moment for the rest of her life.

“Hermione,” warned Audrey “if something has happened to our family because you’ve put Goblins ahead of people…”

But Auror Corner cut her off and in a low voice said as his eyes began to fill with mist:  

“Minister Shacklebolt  has recalled Harry and Ron from Assyria… they’ll be here as soon as they can…but  I think you two should sit for this…”

Hermione half rose from her seat. “What’s happened, Michael?”

“Please, sit down,” said Dean helping Hermione back “and you too Audrey. There is no way to sugar coat this, although Luna’s father tried when he contacted us three hours ago. There's been a strange attack at Zeus….some of your family is missing.”

Hermione cried: "What do you mean, missing?" as Michael handed each of them a copy of the Quibbler. 

“Here," he said. "Mr. Lovegood has agreed to hold the story until his New Years edition out of respect for Harry…and it’ll take a while for the Prophet to cotton onto the fact that this Quibbler story is true, even though they should've learned by now.” 

“But Luna wouldn’t do that…wouldn’t tell her father before us…it’s our family,” protested Hermione.

“I’m afraid, that Luna’s among the injured,” said Dean. “Not badly, thank Merlin, but she’s going to be unconscious for a while. It’s Lavender who reported the story. She's been working for the Quibbler for a few months now and Luna invited her to Olympia, apparently they've become fast friends." 

Audrey opened the paper and scanned the headlines:


PROFESSOR TRELAWNEY’S ASTOUNDING PREDICTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR by Lavender Brown.

ICE-QUIDDITCH PLAYED BY SANTA’S HOUSE-ELVES AT NORTH POLE with photos by Rudolph Snow 

SASQUATCH SOLD BY SQUID FOR FUR, Part II of an exclusive interview with the discoverer of ‘Big Foot’ Rolf Scamander by Luna Lovegood 

LOSS WEIGHT FAST ON THE PUMPKIN JUICE & BUTTERBEER DIET!  By Millie Bulstrode.

IS LUNA IN LOVE?  LOVEGOOD’S NEW MYSTERIOUS BEAU with steamy pictures by Lavender Brown

VAMPIRE IN US STATE OF WASHINGTON RESEMBLES CEDRIC DIGGORY! IS DIGGORY DEAD OR UNDEAD? By Luna Lovegood

She quickly realized that only the main one was relevant.  

SOUL SUCKING SQUID-LIKE SPACE ALIENS & SASQUATCH ASSAULT  POTTER PARTY NEAR SEATTLE!  Two dead!  Near thirty missing!  As Dictated to Orla Quirke by Lavender Brown from her hospital bed. 

This was  illustrated by a moving artist’s conception of a space ship buzzing the space needle, plus hundreds of squid like creatures swarming along the ground dragging people away by their ankles and sucking brains while Sasquatch rampaged and heroic wizards (including a tiny depiction of Neville) flung curses every-which-way as a muggle tank blasted away in the background.  This was drawn by someone named Tom Dean.

Audrey folded back the front page to scan the main article in detail and glanced briefly at several sub-articles by Orla and Lavender with titles like:

EIGHT ARMED SQUID VS MUGGLE ARMED SQUIB 

NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM SLAYS EVIL ALIEN DARK LORD. 

HOW EIGHT YEAR OLD POTTER SAVED MY LIFE. 
 

But the main article was horrifying, even if it had a slight twist of dark humor. It was written from Lavender’s eyewitness point of view and began: 


My friend, Susan Boot died because there was a Tree Squid in the mistletoe and her husband Terry was drunk on punch and wanted to snog her silly, despite Luna Lovegood’s animate but vague warnings about Nargles. Well, Tree Squids are much more vicious than Nargles. There was quite a bit of blood and screaming and yelling afterward, then sudden flashes of light, curses and counter-curses, rampaging ape things and general chaos.

I haven’t personally cast so many spells or been so out of my wits since the night the Dark Lord fell. Due to a head wound, I don’t remember half of it, but I will try to tell you as much as I can. If only to help find the missing, among them my dear little towheaded son: Colin Creevey-Brown for whom words can’t express my love or at the moment my fear. 
 

There was a small inset picture of an adorable brown headed tyke who was maybe four years old. Lavender's son with Dennis Creevey. 

"I know only this. We're at war again, this time in America.  This was a complete disaster but no matter what happens no one should blame Luna Lovegood. It was not her fault…I was at her side, if it was somehow, it was a complete accident and she is sorry. But it’s not her fault. I’m sure of this. 

But the Amercians in Seattle blame her, they plan to arrest her after she recovers. Apparently in addition to the raid on us, there was also a small assault by Squid on Seattle.  The rumors are that they used flying machines. It makes no sense to me. Maybe Harry Potter can make sense of it and find my son and the others.  I’ll try to aid him by telling all I know. 

I’m using a Quick Quotes Quill and Orla Quirke's aide. The healers say it will take some time to re-grow my arms from the tentacles they've become. I hope that by the time they do, I’ll be holding little Colin with them..

This was hard for me. You readers can have no idea how hard. Before ever sentence, with nearly every word there were minutes of crying before I could dictate to Orla. 

My son, is missing, my friend is dead. A lot of other people are hurt or missing. The American Aurors want to arrest another friend of mine, and there are very strange creatures trying to kill us. At least we understood the Dark Lord. This was supposed to be a fun Christmas vacation with a group of friends, but it’s turned into a first class nightmare.   

But it all began with an unfortunate snog under the mistletoe…”   

The article went on to say that besides Lavender, Luna and Luna’s friend Rolf Scamander, only Neville Longbottom and Al Potter were accounted for and that they were both horribly wounded. They were lucky though. They seemed to have all their brains intact, but for Terry and Susan this was not the case. The Tree Squids had eaten their brains and the brain of Susan's fetus too.     

“This can’t be real,” said Hermione shaking.

“I’m afraid it is,” said Michael.  “Even as outrageous as it sounds.  Lavender and Luna’s boyfriend Rolf Scamader are at this moment the only conscious witnesses. But the American Aurors have confirmed everything with forensics.”

He paused for a bit as to gather himself and began to read from notes on a pad, wetting his finger on his tongue to flip the pages as he did so and spoke in a sort of monotone voice.  It was obvious that he was trying to hold back his emotions; Terry and Susan had been his close friends.

“Thousands of some sort of squid-like creature and a few ape-like things local muggles and Rolf identify as Big Foots or Sasquatches attacked the camp. Afterwards there were hundreds of the dead squid things lying around in the snow. Their blood is green. The American Aurors are doing an animal autopsy on the ‘squid’ and 'big foot' remains now. They squid-things might be some new creation of American dark wizards but Rolf keeps insisting that they are Pacific Northwest Tree Squids, but there is supposed to be no such species."

“Oh,” said Hermione. “Luna said there was…so maybe.”
 
"You think Luna has discovered another one of her impossible creatures? So do the American Aurors,” said Michael "that's why they want to take her in for questioning; but she may have discovered a new Being this time, not a new creature. The squids seem to be sentient, especially if the rumor about the attack on Seattle is true. Some of the Aurors think they control the Sasquatch as slaves. The squid were armed with weapons, some of a very mysterious nature and there is evidence that they can use magic.” 

Audrey began to cry:  “Hermione, they’re dead, they’re all dead! I know they are all dead and we couldn’t be there because you --!”

“They’re not Dead Audrey,” said Hermione.  “I refuse to believe that. Most of them have been in tougher scrapes than this. Harry will find them and the American and British Ministries will throw everything into the search. They’ll be found. I know it!” 

Dean summed up. “No one knows where the rest of your family are and I have to be honest, there is a strong possibility that the squid things dragged them off. The American Aurors have started a search, but until and unless Neville and Al wake up there are no other leads.”  

And that was it. They were too far away to do anything for now and could only wait for Harry and Ron to return from Assyria. 

Dean and Michael escorted them through the snow back to Audrey and Percy's flat in Elephant and Castle. Dean asked if Hermione wanted to speak to her parents but she said: "No, not yet. Not until I know more. I don't want to upset them." 

Michael awkwardly stayed with them, while Dean returned to the office. When Michael flooed Cho Chang to explain why he would have to miss their Christmas date, she insisted instead on coming over to try and comfort the sister-in-laws. This generally backfired. They probably cried more as a result.

The turkey and leftovers were ignored for endless tea and sugary cake, and even some French coffee and they paced and cried a river while Michael received various updates by floo. Another body had been found. A body of a young Veela. Gabby. Their sister-in-law, Fleur’s sister. 

Rose Weasley had been found alive if unconscious, wrapped in Gabby’s arms. It seemed as if the young Veela had given her life for the little girl. 

Hermione screamed with a mixture of anguish and  joy, but mostly joy and pledged to go to her daughter as soon as Ron arrived. But no word had arrived about Lucy or Molly, Audrey’s daughters.  
 
Hermione had been through stuff like this before. Her stoicism was helping to keep Audrey together as much as she could be held together. Which wasn't a lot. Her children were missing. She couldn’t think beyond that and panic was narrowly below the surface. Even her worry about Percy was dulled and diluted and only ever now and then would she surface and grasp that Hermione's Hugo was still missing along with all the other Weasleys and Potter's aside from Al and Rose. Even Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were unaccounted for.       

Then Ron arrived and Hermione flew sobbing into his arms and Harry stumbled out soon after. 

"Michael," he asked anxiously his pale face ringed with ash. "I've  heard about Al and Neville. Any word on Ginny or the others?" 

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------



 

 


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