Title: Harry Potter and the Smurfy Guest
Fandom: Harry Potter/The Smurfs crossover
Rating: U
Originally posted: 2 October 2005
Disclaimer: All original works are copyright of their respective owners; I lay claim only to this particular story.
Summary: A special visitor to Professor Slughorn's Potions class provides Harry and his friends with an unorthodox assignment.
Notes: This story was written solely because of a story title given to me by a friend during a writing challenge in March 2004. It took more than a year for me to come up with an appropriate response -- if this response can be considered 'appropriate'. Set during Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Harry Potter and the Smurfy Guest

Harry found it very difficult to hide his disappointment when Slughorn said that they wouldn't be working out of their Potions texts during their next class. Hermione, on the other hand, didn't bother to conceal her elation, and her grin only widened further when Slughorn explained exactly why they were deviating from the standard coursework.

'We'll be having a very important guest,' he said, smoothing his robes with his hands and all but preening as he paced back and forth in front of the class. 'A Potions master who has made a very important discovery -- I don't hesitate to say that it's almost revolutionary! And you lucky children will be the first wizards and witches in this country to have the honour of hearing a special lecture on his work!'

He wouldn't give them any more details, though. Even Hermione, with all her skill at flattering information out of teachers, couldn't get anything further from him but an enigmatic smile and a somewhat patronising, 'You'll see, Miss Granger -- you'll see.'

Understandably, excitement mounted as news of the upcoming lecture spread. By the time the special Potions class rolled around all of Slughorn's advanced pupils were in their seats well before class was due to begin. No-one wanted to miss a single moment. Hermione had a freshly-sharpened quill poised over the inkwell, ready to catch the very first words from their distinguished visitor's lips.

It came as no small shock, then, when the man who followed Professor Slughorn into their classroom was...not perhaps as distinguished as the class might have anticipated.

Distinguished was hardly a word that one would use to describe the man. Not with his hunched back, sallow skin, and patched, soiled robes. Not with his beady black eyes and bulbous nose, not with the unkempt fringe of dark hair surrounding his oily bald head. There was something predatory about the way he moved, like a vicious wild creature eternally on the hunt. Those nearest the aisle unconsciously shrank back from him as he passed them. Hermione's hand wobbled over the inkwell, and she had to clasp her wrist with her other hand to steady it.

Harry, in his shock, could think of nothing but how closely their 'distinguished' visitor resembled...well, Snape. Or rather, a balding, snaggle-toothed Snape who had suffered from some serious dietary deficiency as a child.

That horrible mental image was enough to make him miss the first part of Slughorn's introduction. He snapped back to reality just as Slughorn was beginning to wind up his speech.

'...and I do hope that you will give him your fullest attention for his talk on the alchemical properties of...well, I will let him explain his own research, of course. If you please, Professor Gargamel?'

Professor Gargamel made a face that Harry assumed was meant to be a smile. It was difficult to tell, since it looked more like he was gritting his teeth in a spasm of pain.

'As your professor has mentioned,' he wheezed, breathing heavily, 'most of my work has been in theory, though I have had some practical successes with various experiments. Even if a few of my earlier projects did not turn out exactly as I had planned' -- his scowl deepened, curling his upper lip -- 'I can safely say that this time I will meet with success.'

Harry frowned slightly, but before he could puzzle out the meaning of that statement Professor Gargamel reached behind Slughorn's desk and picked up what appeared to be a small birdcage covered in worn black cloth.

'In return for the help of Professor Slughorn's...numerous contacts, I have agreed to give you all the chance to witness a triumph of the alchemical art.' He banged the cage down on the desk, making the cloth flutter. 'With the aid of a cauldron of boiling water -- and my secret ingredient -- you will see how to make pure gold from worthless trash! Behold!'

And with that, Professor Gargamel whisked away the cloth.

Harry blinked.

Then he took off his glasses, polished them, put them back on and blinked again.

Inside the cage...no, they were far too small and squat to be Cornish Pixies. But they were a similar shade of blue, though there was quite a bit of white in their colouring as well. They were nothing that he'd ever seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and nothing that he'd ever seen in The Monster Book of Monsters or any of the other books he'd used during his Care of Magical Creatures classes. Or his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes. Or for that matter, in any book he'd ever used for any class. But whatever they were, Professor Gargamel had a cage full of them.

And from the look of things, they were all still alive.

He glanced over at Hermione. She was staring at the cage with an unreadable expression on her face. Her parchment was half-covered in notes, but there was a large smear of ink halfway down the page, as if she had let her pen slip in the middle of writing something.

'Simple, really,' he heard Slughorn say cheerfully, though the words sounded as if they were coming from a great distance. 'Just eviscerate 'em right here and boil 'em up, and they turn into blocks of solid gold! Extraordinary! And to think we might never 've heard about it, except for a lucky chance!'

Harry thought of his Potions text, the Prince's text, stuffed into the bag at his feet. He had never wanted to have a boring regular lesson straight out of the book so much in his life.

A movement nearby caught his attention, and he turned to look at Hermione. Her face was dead white, and she was putting the parchment and quill and ink back in her bag. Harry's heart leapt, convinced that she was about to run out of the classroom and get McGonagall, Dumbledore, someone to come and throw this madman out --

-- but then she rummaged around in her bag some more, and took out her set of brass scales and weights and set them on the work-table.

'Well, best get started,' she said under her breath, and picked up her best Potions knife. 'We don't want to be late to Charms.'

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