It was the most horrific thing that Headmaster Dumbledore had ever done to the Students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even Professor Severus Snape had though it an eensy bit too cruel, and that was saying something, considering that his favorite pastime was to bully and generally make the lives of the students as miserable as possible.
Mistletoe. A harmless little plant, you think to yourself. What harm could a little sprig of mistletoe do to anyone?
When teamed with magic, the innocent little plant can fast become a thing of evil, offensive to behold.
Such was the case at Hogwarts.
Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore had thought it fun and festive to put a sprig of the offending stuff in doorways, classrooms, stairways, secret passageways and practically every nook and cranny of Hogwarts. The students at first, thought this was nice and sweet, and were compelled to carry out the tradition of kissing whomever you happened to be walking underneath it with.
This appeared to be no problem for everyone, however, that didn't last long.
Rumor had begun to spread throughout the school that the Mistletoe was cursed or jinxed, for two hapless students had refused the tradition when they wandered beneath the mistletoe without thinking of the consequences. These two students were an asset to research, ones Ronald Weasley of Gryffindor house and Pansy Parkinson of Slytherin House. They had discovered that should you refuse the traditional kiss, well, that was just too bad. The mistletoe, it seemed, did not appreciate refusal of any kind, and Ron and Pansy found this out in a very frightening and disturbing way.
They had wandered through the doorway to the Great Hall at dinner at precisely the same time. Not intentional at all, I assure you.
"MISTLETOE!" Someone shrieked, pointing at the green plant with white buds above the heads of the two unfortunate students.
Ron and Pansy looked up and snorted.
"I'd rather kiss a toilet seat!" Ron had remarked, thoroughly disgusted.
"The feeling is mutual!" Pansy agreed haughtily.
And the two went their separate ways. But they didn't get far. As soon as they had left the archway, some strong invisible force pulled them back beneath it. Not quite realizing what was happening, the two tried to part ways again, and again they were pulled back under the mistletoe.
"HEY!" Ron said in anger. "What gives!"
Well, as you can probably guess, they found out that the mistletoe was the culprit, and Pansy started shrieking in horror and Ron was yelling furiously about human rights.
They had caused a blockage now, and students were crowded at the entranceway trying to see what the holdup was.
The students at the front of the crowd looked on in bewilderment. By now, the students that were already in the great hall had noticed the commotion and had come over to investigate.
"What's going on?" Blaise Zambini, a Slytherin demanded.
"We are stuck!" Ron replied, straining against the spell.
"Stuck?" Blaise snorted.
"Yes, Stuck!" Ron repeated, getting frustrated.
"It won't let us walk through!" Pansy cried.
"Perhaps if we pulled them through, they might get loose." A Gryffindor by the name of Seamus Finnigan from the crowd trying to get into the great hall suggested.
"Worth a try I suppose." Blaise reasoned.
And so they all began a tug-o-war. The Gryffindors, starting with Harry Potter, who held Ron'd hands, Hermione Granger, holding onto Harry's waist, and Ginny Weasley holding onto her waist and so on until all the Gryffindors there had formed a large conga line.
On the other side of the door, the Slytherins in the hall had done the same, with Blaise Zambini holding onto Pansy's hands, and Draco Malfoy behind him, Crabbe and Goyle behind Malfoy and so on until they too had formed a line.
"Okay, on the count of three," Seamus shouted so everyone could hear. "One…two….three..PULL!"
All at once, everyone started pulling as hard as they could.
"Put your backs into it!" Blaise yelled, pulling as hard as he could, but not feeling much support from behind.
Behind him, he felt Malfoy yanking and pulling as hard as he could, and it was helping a little, but it was still not enough.
"Is everyone doing their best Malfoy?" Blaise asked the blonde Slytherin behind him.
Malfoy turned his head to check and stopped pulling. "No."
Blaise turned his head to see what the problem was and rolled his eyes.
Crabbe and Goyle, who were supposed to be pulling with Malfoy, were standing looking stupidly around them and picking their noses.
"CRABBE, GOYLE!" Malfoy barked. "You are supposed to be pulling!"
"Oh, sorry Draco!"
The two boys said stupidly.
Malfoy was miffed. "Chimps! I am working with chimps!" He stated. He then began the task of instructing the two with what they were supposed to do.
Once the problem with teamwork on the Slytherin side had been rectified, they began their pulling again.
On the Gryffindor side, they had no such problems, but Ron hadn't budged.
"It's no use Harry!" Ron bleated woefully "My arms are going to pop out if we pull anymore!"
"No," Harry grunted, red in the face from his efforts "not giving up!"
Harry and his fellow Gryffindors pulled even harder, grunting, groaning and straining backs, shoulders and arms.
"Harry, my hands are slipping!" Ron called out. But it was too late.
Harry's hand's slipped out of Ron's and he and the Gryffindors tumbled backwards, like human dominos.
Yells of pain, surprise and defeat erupted from Ron's housemates as they landed on their rears and backs in each other's laps.
Oddly, and rather creepily, the same thing had happened to the Slytherins. Pansy shouted that her hands were suddenly slick and blaise lost his grip, sending the Slytherins into the same end as the Gryffindors.
Draco Malfoy landed with a grunt on his rear, the wind knocked out of him by Blaise landing on him.
Ron and Pansy looked down at their hands and frowned. They were covered in a thin layer of soap, making their hands incredibly slick.
They looked at each other, eyes wide and woeful.
"Where did this come from!" Ron asked fearfully.
A soft chuckle came from the Slytherin side of the Great hall, and all turned to see Dumbledore standing with an amused smile on his face.
"My, my, what teamwork!" he mused.
The students were silent, staring at the Headmaster in shock. Was he not disturbed by this?
"Are any of you injured?" he asked cheerfully "I imagine a few of you have bruised bottoms and backs." He added with a chuckle.
There were a few grunts and groans and 'what a stupid question!' comments from both teams in response to his question.
"Then I suggest that those of you who are injured or in pain, go to the hospital wing and Madame pomfrey will attend to you, those of you who are not, just walk through the doorway one at a time please."
The teams separated, those hurt went through the doorway, squeezing past Ron and Pansy who were still trapped, and headed for the hospital wing, while the rest, entered the great hall one at a time.
When the crowd had dispersed, Dumbledore approached Ron and Pansy
"Help Headmaster!" Ron wailed.
Dumbledor held up a hand to silence the two distressed students.
"Now, now, the solution to your problem is simple!" the old man chuckled, his eyes twinking. "You must follow tradition!"
"WHAT! NO WAY!" Ron bellowed.
Pansy was in hysterics by now.
Dumbledore shrugged "Then you will stay there."
Pansy and Ron looked at each other. Neither of them wanted to be stuck there forever. It was a no brainer really. They would just have to do it.
Ron winced and Pansy looked like she would throw up but they inched closer.
Dumbledore watched in amusement, his eyes sparkling.
One quick peck and the ordeal was over.
Wiping their mouths, and spluttering, the two traumatized students emerged from their prison and walked shakily to their house tables.
Harry awaited Ron at the Gryffindor table and looked happy to see him finally free.
"Did Dumbledore get you out?" Harry asked.
"No." Ron said miserably.
"What? Then how are you out?" Harry asked, wondering why Dumbledore had not freed them.
"He said that we had to follow tradition, if we didn't we'd be stuck there!" Ron explained.
"What was that supposed to mean?" Harry wondered.
Ron shrugged. "Dunno, he wouldn't explain it. That's all he said and then Pansy and me had to kiss."
Harry opened his mouth to protest but Ron cut him off.
"It was that or be stuck there with her forever!"
Harry closed his mouth and gave his friend a sympathetic look.
"Where's Mione?" Ron asked, wanting to change the subject.
"She went to the hospital wing, I landed on her and heard something crack, think it was her rib."
Ron winced. "Anyone else?"
"Neville, Seamus, Ginny and I think Colin Creevey went too." Harry said.
In the hospital wing, Madame Pomfrey was bustling about tending to the wounded soldiers.
Hermione was wimpering in pain as she waited her turn to be healed. Her shoulder was in agony. Beside her, Seamus and Neville and Colin were wincing in pain also, while Ginny was having her fractured wrist healed by Madame Pomfrey.
"Stop that infernal wimpering Granger!" a cold voice snapped irritably.
"Leave her alone Malfoy!" Seamus said sharply "She's hurt and in a lot of pain!"
"Aren't we all?" Malfoy drawled, hobbling closer with great pain and diffuculty. He was bent over double and was holding a hand to his lower back, apparently unable to straighten up.
"What happened to you?" Hermione had meant to ask scathingly, but it came out as more of a whimper as she turned to see him.
"I landed on Crabbe's knee, right in the middle of my lower back." Malfoy surprisingly told her "heard something crack, felt blinding hot pain, thought I'd better get it checked out."
The Gryffindors figured that Malfoy must have been in too much pain to be nasty and mean, so they just nodded.
"Do you mind Granger?" Malfoy asked, wincing as he grasped her shoulder for support, leaning most of his right side on it.
Hermione screamed with pain and Malfoy, shocked, let go as though he had been burned, causing him to overbalance and topple backward.
Luckily, or maybe not so, Seamus caught him before he hit the floor.
His back being snapped back, Malfoy roared like a wounded animal.
Seamus merely winced as his injured bottom was twinged in his effort to hold Malfoy off the ground. He hadn't intentionally caught him, it was more of a reflex action.
Hermione was wimpering and tears were streaming down her face. The pain was now unbearable, but she soldiered on and moved to help Seamus with getting Malfoy back on his feet and into a more comfortable position.
Using her good shoulder and arm, she linked it with one of Malfoy's and Seamus did the same with his other arm, using his leg to support Malfoy's back.
Malfoy was wailing in pain, his teeth clenched and his eyes squeezed shut.
With one swift pull, and a loud yelp of pain from Malfoy, Hermione and Seamus managed to get Malfoy back into the position he had previously been in.
His breathing labored, Malfoy looked up at Hermione and Seamus with pain clouded eyes. "Why did you do that!"
"Do what?" Seamus shrugged.
"Why did you help me?" Malfoy asked quietly. "You could have just let me fall!"
"We are Gryffindor's Malfoy, it's not in our nature to be evil." Hermione explained, her voice wavering tearfully, her shoulder hurt so bad!
Malfoy regained his composure. His encounter with immense pain had brought his guard down temporarily and now it was back up.
"More fool you!" he sneered.
Hermione was in too much pain to argue with him. She shook her head and turned away from him, carefully.
"Just think, all this over a stupid sprig of Mistletoe!" Seamus said bitterly. "I never want to look at that plant again!"
"You have no option, we have Herbology tomorrow morning, studying the magical properties of Mistletoe!" Neville piped up.
"Not to mention the fact that it's scattered everywhere around the school!" Hermione pointed out miserably.
"I wonder what it was that caused Ron and Pansy to get stuck!" Seamus wondered aloud.
Hermione was glad to have something to think about to take her mind off of the pain in her shoulder.
Frowning in concentration, the three Gryffindors thought long and hard, trying to figure out what it could possibly have been.
Malfoy watched them, scowling, but they ignored him.
The minutes ticked by in silence as they thought.
Finally, Malfoy got bored enough to enlighten them. "You aren't terribly smart when you are in pain are you?" He sneered "Isn't it obvious?"
Three pairs of eyes turned to him.
"What are you talking about Malfoy?" Seamus demanded suspiciously.
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "The old coot has jinxed the mistltoe!"
He gave them a few minutes to let it sink in.
"No way!" Hermione finally piped up with "Dumbledore would never force us to kiss if we didn't want to!" she decided.
"Yeah? You want to take a look at what happened to Weasley and Parkinson, Granger!" Malfoy said as-a-matter-of-factly. "Bloody plant wouldn't let them go until they submitted!"
"You think he could be right?" Seamus checked with Hermione and Neville.
Neville shrugged. "It's possible I suppose. Mistletoe generally doesn't have that effect on people. Muggles use it all the time at Christmas."
Hermione nodded, confirming this. "That's true. But why would Dumbledore do that to us? It's too mean!"
"Naïve aren't you Granger!" Malfoy said, smirking.
"What's that supposed to mean!" Seamus said, his eyes glinting in warning.
Malfoy smirked some more. "It means, you fool, that Dumbledore isn't all she thinks he is!"
"If you are trying to say that Dumbledore is really evil, think again Malfoy. That will never happen!" Hermione said, getting heated up. How dare he say that about Dumbledore!
"I didn't necessarily imply that he is evil, Granger, I merely said that there's a part of him that you don't know, and he's using it, right now." Malfoy said in a 'ghost telling' type voice.
Neville was spooked. "What if he's right?" he squeaked. "What if Dumbledore really is using mistletoe as a plan to take us all down!"
"Oh for goodness sake!" Hermione snapped. "This is ridiculous! I won't believe that Dumbledore is hatching an evil scheme until I see it with my own two eyes!"
"Suit yourself Granger." Malfoy said nonchalantly, "But I think he's trying to kill us with our own kisses!" he added dramatically.
Neville whimpered. "What do you mean?"
Thoroughly enjoying himself, Malfoy hobbled closer to Neville and spoke in low whispering and creepy tones, for emphasis.
"Just wait and see. It started out innocently enough, oh yes…but now…" Malfoy paused to shake his head sadly "Now it won't let us go, once we are beneath the evil cursed plant, it has us! Not letting us go until we do it's bidding!"
Neville whimpered fearfully and grasped Seamus' arm for support.
Hermione rolled her eyes. This was stupid.
"And soon," Malfoy continued "it won't just want us to kiss! Soon, it will force us to create a new generation…a generation of halfbloods! It's Dumbledore's sneaky way of eradicating all of the purebloods at Hogwarts, when we die, there won't be any left, and the old loon will finally have what he's always wanted! And just remember, it all started with a simple kiss."
By now, Neville was shaking visibly and looking pleadingly at Seamus. "I don't want to k…kiss anyone!" he whimpered.
Malfoy smirked, his aim at terrifying Neville had been successful. His triumph was short lived however, when Hermione brought reason back to him.
"Neville, don't listen to Malfoy, he's lying. It's all utter nonsense, Dumbledore would never do such a thing." She said soothingly.
Malfoy had to nip this one in the bud before she ruined his work. He hobbled close to her, so close that she had to lean away so that his nose wouldn't touch hers.
"Just think, Granger," he said softly "what would you do if you get caught under there with…Professor Snape?"
Hermione gasped as the disturbing image came to her mind. But Malfoy didn't stop there. He began to circle her, it was difficult, but he managed. He had a mission after all.
"What if Dumbledore sneakily puts a sprig of mistletoe in the potions classroom? You won't know until it's too late, will you?" He leaned in close to her ear, his breath tickling it. "You'll be trapped! Trapped with Snape, until you realize that the only way out….is to kiss him…perhaps more!"
Hermione gasped again and covered her ears, ignoring the searing pain in her shoulder as she did so. "NOOOOO!" She cried, losing all grip on reality.
Malfoy smirked, very pleased with his work. Gryffindor's were so easy to torment.
Thankfully, Madame Pomfrey heard Hermione screaming and came rushing over to her to see what the matter was.
"Dear girl, surely you are not hurt that bad!" The nurse hushed as she ushered Hermione to a bed and made her sit down.
"Image…wont...leave…my…head!" Hermione muttered, rocking back and forth. "Snape…Malfoy…said…kiss…".
Madame Pomfrey looked worried and quickly retrieved a calming draft, giving it to Hermione to drink.
"I told Dumbledore that the mistletoe was a bad idea, but would he listen?" The nurse fretted as Hermione drank the potion.
Then Madam Pomfrey set about healing. "Now, where are you hurt dear?"
"My shoulder." Hermione replied, feeling the effects of the potion calming her down and ruining all of Malfoy's hard work.
But Malfoy didn't mind, he would get her again, now that he knew what her biggest fear was.