"Welcome back, all!" boomed Professor Hagrid with a broad smile as his students gathered round. "Great to see so many in the N.E.W.T. level class this year!"
Al rubbed a bit of sleep out of his eye as he dragged himself up to the paddock fence alongside his six or seven classmates, most of whom were yawning. What had possessed him to take a class that started so early?
"Before we get started, I've got a special treat for you all today," Hagrid went on cheerfully. "Former student of mine, one of the top magizoologists. She's agreed to talk to you all about what you can expect from a career in magical naturalism. Ah — here she comes."
All heads turned to the woman approaching from behind them.
Al suddenly felt very, very wide awake.
She was a woman of about forty, with a pale, heart-shaped face framed by waves of long blonde hair. She was wearing neon pink wellies dotted with sunflowers, and a dress with jagged blue-and-white stripes that made Al's vision swim a little.
The dress was backless, which was because the woman had wings.
They sprang from her back like a pegasus's wings, covered in white feathers with shimmering silver and gold edges. They were huge — folded up as they were, the tops came well up over the woman's head, and the tips nearly trailed on the ground behind her. The students were all glancing at each other, as though ensuring that everyone else saw what they saw too.
Hagrid appeared unperturbed, offering the woman a hand up and over the broken bit of the fence. "Now, class, please give your respect and attention to Mrs—"
"Miss," she corrected him with an apologetic smile.
"Right. Sorry. Miss Luna Lovegood, everyone." As Professor Hagrid stood back to let her speak, he applauded, which seemed to break the mesmerising effect she'd had on the class, as they all realised they should probably applaud too.
"Thank you, Professor," she said in a soft, musical Irish lilt. She cleared her throat, and slightly opened and resettled her wings on her back. "As you've all just heard, I'm here today to talk about careers in naturalism..."
Al tried to listen. Really, he did. But it wasn't an easy task to turn his mind from his wild curiosity about this woman, to stop staring at her inexplicable wings, to listen to the words coming from her sweet, pink, gorgeous lips...
At sixteen, Al had a little more control over his body than in those miserable years when his prick seemed to jump to attention at the mere thought of a girl. Nonetheless, as he looked at Miss Lovegood, he felt his blood start to travel downward. He hastily sat down on a slat of the fence, rumpling up his robes in his lap to hide any embarrassing developments.
Hoping to distract himself he got out a bit of parchment and tried to take notes, but all he actually wrote was this:
Guest Lecture by
Miss Luna Lovegood
He inked-in and underlined her name several times. Under that, he idly tried to sketch a pair of wings, but they came out looking more like triangles with stripes.
"...and so, if you you practise a few simple Slipping Charms," Miss Lovegood was saying, adding to the diagram of a human leg that she'd drawn in the air with her wand, "I think you'll find that leeches can hardly drink very much of your blood at all, making it relatively comfortable to study the Amazonian Selkie in its natural habitat. Though, of course, there are the piranhas."
Professor Hagrid, whose expression of rapturous admiration had turned over the course of the extremely meandering lecture to something more akin to regret, coughed into his hand.
"But I don't expect we have time for that today." Miss Lovegood turned back to the class, her wings rustling behind her and shimmering in the morning sunlight. "Are there any questions?"
Every hand shot up.
"Why have you got," Ashish Patil started to blurt out, but his courage seemed to fail him before he reached the end of the sentence, and he broke off, looking embarrassed.
"Got what?" Miss Lovegood asked with a frown, peering down and touching her dress as though concerned she'd split something on herself.
"Erm... wings," Ashish managed.
"Oh! Is that what you've all been staring at?"
Guiltily, Al snapped his gaze from her chest to her face.
"It's not a very interesting story, I'm afraid," she said, looking over her shoulder and smoothing out some ruffled feathers. "While I was doing fieldwork in Russia, I had a bit of a run-in with a rare sort of creature. The local wizards call them Lovely Harpies. They're able to transmit their birdlike features to humans through their..." She paused to consider, then said very deliberately: "...bite."
"There's nothing they can do for you?" asked Scorpius without being called on, looking half fascinated and half horrified. "No cure?"
"Cure?" Miss Lovegood tilted her head to the side. "No, but I'm not certain I'd want one. But then, I never did mind being a bit different. Yes, you, in the back."
"Can you fly?" a Ravenclaw girl ventured.
"Of course." Miss Lovegood's eyebrows knit in perplexity. "I'd need a broomstick, though."
Al started to laugh, but then seeing the serious look on her face, turned it into a sort of cough. He wasn't entirely sure whether Miss Lovegood had a deadpan sense of humour about her condition, or was actually a bit mad.
Maybe it was both.
In the distance, the Hogsmeade clock tolled the hour.
"Well, that's all the time we have," Professor Hagrid said with some relief, clasping his hands together. "Thank you very much. Kids. Luna."
In the bustle and scrape of students picking up their things, Al ensured first that he could stand up without anything unwanted standing up as well, and then approached Miss Lovegood. He wasn't sure what he was going to say, but he could work that out later.
"Your lecture was very interesting," he said to her back, and then almost got hit in the face by her flight feathers when she turned round to look at him.
"Oh, was it?" she asked, looking faintly surprised. "That's very kind of you. I'm never certain if people are going to find things as interesting as I do." She hesitated, studying his face. "Aren't you...? Yes, of course, you're Harry and Ginny's little boy! I really have been away too long; last I saw you, you were..." Smiling warmly, she put her hand down to measure the height of an imaginary toddler.
To hear her call him 'little boy' was a bit of a blow, but Al forged ahead.
"I'm really interested in becoming a magizoologist," he said, which had not been the case a moment ago, but somehow, as he gazed into Miss Lovegood's grey eyes, her glittering wings a great shining halo above her head, it actually seemed true.
"That's lovely to hear," she said. "Actually, I was planning to do some work in the Forbidden Forest this week, before I leave. I've heard there are an awful lot of Violet-Headed Grootslangs about, if you'd like to join me looking for them. They're a sort of serpent."
Al found he had momentarily lost the power of speech. "S-s-s-serpents yes I think serpents would be a really good thing for us to look... erm, for."
Miss Lovegood beamed. "Wonderful. Tomorrow before breakfast, then. They tend to come out in the mornings."
Al nodded vigourously, hoping she wouldn't offer to shake hands because his palms were nearly dripping. Fortunately she only smiled beatifically, and turned to go.
As she did so, a long, silvery feather came loose from one of her wings and fluttered to the ground at Al's feet.
He picked it up, and moved to go after her, but then stopped. What was he going to say? Hey, you dropped this!
He tentatively touched the gilt edge of the plume, half expecting it to be sharp, but it wasn't. Though the little filaments looked like metal, they were incredibly soft, and as they passed along his skin, he felt a strange, pleasurable tingle run through his body.
With a quick check to make sure no-one was looking, Al pocketed the feather.
That night, Al lay in bed listening to the heavy, regular breathing of the other Slytherin sixth-years, and tried to reason with himself.
In his head, he knew it was absolutely ridiculous to imagine there was any way Miss Lovegood could be interested in a spotty teenager like him. She was just being nice. And she was old enough to be his mother. Surely all they'd be doing in the forest was traipsing around in the mud on the wrong side of breakfast.
That was in Al's head. Of course, his other head, where he often seemed to do most of his thinking, had different ideas.
According to his other head, Miss Luna Lovegood, eminent magizoologist and valiant survivor of a vicious harpy attack, was just as smitten with him as he was with her. I mean, who invites a boy into the Forbidden Forest to go looking for some stupid snake? As soon as the trees closed round them and they were out of sight of the school, she'd throw her arms around him and they'd tumble to the (miraculously non-muddy) ground in a cloud of fluttering feathers.
Well, anything was possible, right?
Al leaned over to his school uniform where he'd dropped it on the floor, and retrieved Miss Lovegood's feather from his pocket.
Lying back on the bed, he examined it carefully. He didn't need to light his wand, for he found that the feather gave off a soft, moonlike glow of its own. Luckily the bed-curtains were thick.
The feather was longer than a quill pen, nearly as long as his forearm. White in the centre and edged with a metallic sheen that looked sometimes silver and sometimes gold, depending on the angle. He ran his fingertip along the edge, more slowly and deliberately than before. It started that same tingle as it had this morning, and as he kept touching, it travelled through his hand, his arm, his chest, and straight down to his crotch. He shivered; he'd never imagined his fingers being a sexual spot before, but it was undeniable — anywhere the feather touched, it felt as sensitive as his cock, which was now tenting his pyjamas.
Growing curious, he drew the feather's tip across his lips, and almost couldn't hold in a groan. The soft stroke of it lit fires of pleasure all along his lower lip and down to the corner of his mouth. It was the same when he trailed it down his throat, carefully pressing his mouth closed to make sure no sound came out.
Was this where the harpy bit her? Here, in the tender hollow of her neck? Eyes fluttering closed, he drew circles on his collarbones, picturing Miss Lovegood helpless in the harpy's arms, blonde hair wild in the Russian wind and eyes rolling back in a near faint as the beast sunk in its teeth, ravishing her.
Al blew out a slow, controlled breath as he unbuttoned his pyjama shirt. He'd wanked in the dorm a thousand times and never been caught, but he'd never felt this good before and didn't trust himself not to cry out.
Slowly he drew the feather's tip down his rising and falling chest. In the plume's moonglow, his sparse hairs cast thin, curlicue shadows on his skin. It almost made it look like he'd been drawn on, and he flashed on Miss Lovegood using her own feathers as quills to write sweet nothings all over his body... beautiful girlish cursive with curves and flourishes.
When the feather passed over his nipple, his mouth flew open in a silent cry, his back arching off the bed. He'd never touched himself there before, and he felt a flush of nebulous embarrassment rise and mingle with the heat of sex as he gently flicked the plume back and forth.
What if it were Miss Lovegood teasing him like this? Straddling his hips and looking down at him with that sweetly dreamy smile, a feather in each hand. Her wings, too, would be touching him, brushing against his thighs as she leant forward to kiss him. If just one feather could drive him mad, what would it be like to rub up against those great gorgeous wings?
Al's hand trembled as he stroked the feather further down, circling his navel. He shifted his hips back and forth in the bedsheets, feeling his prick move against the light fabric of his pyjamas, that becoming a tease in itself. He'd never felt so needy, his prick shouting out for a touch, a rub. He struggled against the urge to give in and wank himself hard — he didn't want it to be over yet. He found himself wanting to tease even more, to see how bad he could make himself want it.
His arse tense, thighs taut, he pushed his pyjamas down, letting his cock free. Even just the way it moved as he wriggled out of his pyjamas felt good. The feather's glow seemed to intensify as he brought it lower, his cock's shadow moving across his thigh like a sundial.
Al was a virgin, but he knew exactly what he wanted. As he drew light feather-circles on his taut bollocks, panting harshly, he imagined Miss Lovegood naked, lowering herself down onto his prick. He tried so hard to imagine it, as though that would make it real. The scent of her hair, the warmth of her skin, and the hot wet joy of her pussy parting for the tip of his cock. She'd have to push a little at first, and then she'd swallow him in, yes, her head thrown back and wings spread wide in ecstasy, flapping soft and silent as an owl.
His desire growing unbearable, Al at last let the shining feather caress the underside of his cock. A small, raw, helpless note of need did escape his throat, then, and he bit down on his lip to silence it. It was almost torture, such piercing pleasure, with a ticklish undercurrent as the feather's vane fluttered against his most sensitive spots. Al's face contorted in a silent grimace in the semi-darkness; he had to almost force himself, pretending he didn't control his own hand, and had no choice but to endure the pleasure.
If Miss Lovegood did it... if she feathered his prick like this...
Al's orgasm started deeper and climbed higher than any he'd yet felt in his sixteen years. At the height of it he actually felt light-headed, like flying — carried up on angel wings, looking down on the world with vertigo, and then falling, falling, falling.
His eyes shut tight while he came, Al didn't see the feather shine brighter and brighter until it bathed him in golden sunlight, which seemed to absorb into his skin as his climax ebbed and the glow faded away.
Al lay stunned on his back, chest heaving. He hoped he hadn't made noise — he honestly couldn't remember. But the dorm was quiet, filled only with harmless breathing.
He reached for his wand and whispered a Cleaning Charm before getting back into his pyjamas. Very carefully, touching only the quill end to avoid setting himself off all over again, Al stowed the feather away in the recesses of his trunk, next to his rag-tag collection of dirty books, which he couldn't imagine himself needing ever again.
When Al woke up the next morning, his back itched.
He wriggled about sleepily in his sheets, trying to scratch it, but it wasn't working. He was lying on something — a bunched-up blanket or a shirt — but it wouldn't straighten out, wouldn't get off him no matter how he turned...
He sat bolt upright, stomach plummeting.
Slipping into the loo in a silent panic, he tore off his pyjama shirt and twisted round to look in the mirror, already knowing, but daring to hope it might not be.
Two small nubs had sprouted between his shoulderblades, covered with tiny new feathers.
"You really ought to have that looked at, dear," said the mirror in a cheerily helpful tone.
Only half-dressed, his robes wrapped around him, Al sprinted across the courtyard down to the edge of the forest, where Miss Lovegood was waiting for him. He skidded to a stop before her, and put his hands on his knees, too out of breath to speak.
"Whatever's the matter?" she asked, touching his shoulder with concern.
He shrugged off his robes and showed her.
"Oh dear," she said, one hand on her mouth, her expression a mixture of mortification, amusement, and something else Al couldn't name. "I must have lost a feather."
As he gazed at her miserably, she lightly touched his wing-buds. He could feel it, which was deeply weird.
"I suppose I should have been more straightforward in my lecture," she said. "I've been working at being more... appropriate, lately, but I'm afraid I'm not very good at it yet."
Al swallowed noisily, still winded. "What..."
"As you may already have gathered," she said, her cheeks pinkening, and hiding a smile behind her hand, "Lovely Harpies don't actually bite."