Title: Halloween in July

Summary: A general Harry Potter fic. The Order and friends have a costume party; hilarity ensues. Various highlights on many relationships, romantic and otherwise.

"Sirius, you're not serious!" exclaimed Molly Weasley, looking at their host with an incredulous expression.

"I assure you, Molly," he protested with a twinkle in his eye, "that I am both Sirius and serious." The Weasley matriarch opened her mouth to reply, but was interrupted by a groan coming from none other than Hermione.

"If you don't mind," she said in a pained tone, "I'll just leave you all to your discussion, before it turns into a rendition of 'Who's on First.'" Harry was the only one to get the joke, laughing for a moment before trying to turn it into a cough as the roomful of Weasley and Order members stared at him and Hermione. "Never mind," she said, a little huffily. "It's a muggle play, by-" she was cut off by Sirius, who had also managed to block her escape by moving to stand in front of the door.

"It'll be fun!" he said enthusiastically.

"Fun to dress up like idiots and pretend we're muggles?" asked Ron, incredulously.

"The muggles wouldn't see us, Ron," said Tonks, surprising everyone by taking Sirius' side. "It would just be like a costume party."

"Halloween in July," Molly scoffed angrily.

"Well, Molly, I suppose they wanted something for their children to do, rather than vandalizing the neighborhood," Arthur said, referring to the latest Muggle news report.

"It might be fun to do Halloween without having Dudley beating me up for my candy basket," mused Harry. A chorus of hesitant agreement sounded around the room, and Sirius beamed.

"Oh, all right," Mrs. Weasley said in a begrudging tone, surrounded by hopeful looks on all sides, red-haired and otherwise. "But!" she added quickly, rounding on the twins George and Fred. "You two are absolutely forbidden from handing out your concoctions to anyone, muggle or otherwise!" By the crestfallen looks on their faces, she (and some of the other occupants of the room) was glad she'd remembered to point that out.

"Don't worry, mum," George said.

"The muggles don't even know the house is here!" Fred assured her.

"Are all of us required to attend?" a voice from near the fireplace asked, stiffly.

"Oh, I think so, Minerva," Dumbledore said cheerfully. "After all," he said with a mischievous gin, "This new 'Halloween in July' thing happens to fall on the same night as our next meeting." He chuckled at the dismay on a few of the adult's faces, as they realized they wouldn't be able to avoid the planned festivities. "I think I even have a costume in mind…" He made his way to the door, and Sirius moved to let him pass. A dozen pairs of eyes followed Dumbledore as he exited the room, leaving them with an entirely too lively, "Splendid idea, Sirius!"

"Well," Mad-Eye Moody said in a grumpy voice. The sentiment was echoed in the facial expressions of most of the older Order members.

"If you don't wish to attend," Fred Weasley piped up in a cunning voice.

"You can always test one of our Skiving Snackboxes!" finished George. The irrepressible twins gave shot each other a look, and both apparated a split second before their irate mother reached them.


"I think Dumbledore has finally gone mental," complained Ron the next morning, as he and Harry watched Hermione trying to teach Ginny how to knit.

"Honestly, Ron—couldn't you see why Dumbledore said we should do it?" Hermione said in an irritatingly superior voice.

"It seemed to make Sirius pretty happy," mused Harry.

"Exactly." Hermione looked away from Ginny for a moment, during which the younger girl said a quick spell under her breath, and a neat row of knitting appeared in her hands. Harry was hard-put not to laugh, and Ron just gave her a thumbs-up, which caused Hermione to look back at her friend quickly.

"Oh, Ginny!" she said in a frustrated tone. "You'll never learn how to do it properly if you magic it all the time!" Ginny just shrugged, and gave Hermione a little hug.

"Just not my thing, I guess," she said. "So!" she said to the room, "Any ideas of what costume, yet?" Harry and Ron's facial expressions answered her question, and all three of them turned to look at Hermione.

"What?" she said, coloring slightly.

"Don't tell me," Ron said on a groan, as Hermione bent to concentrate on her knitting again. "She'll probably go as a non, or something."

"A what?" asked Ginny.

"A non," explained Ron. "You know, the muggles who dress up in all black robes, wear their hair up in a-" he broke off as Harry burst into hysterical laughter, and Hermione shot the redhead a look of purest loathing.

"A nun!" she said, her voice getting dangerously high pitched. "You think I would dress up as a nun?" Her knitting forgotten, Hermione stood, drawing herself up to full height and putting her hands on her hips. She stared at Ron in anger. Ron stood up as well, facing off with her and starting to speak again, completely ignoring Harry, who was making desperate 'wave off' hand gestures.

"Well, you know," Ron said irritatingly, "something all prim and proper." Both Ron and Hermione were now beet red, and Hermione had her wand out.

"Breakfast!" rang Mrs. Weasley's voice from the kitchen below. Ginny caught Harry's eye and they shared a look of relief.

"Come on, Hermione," Ginny said, grabbing the other girl's hand and practically dragging her from the room. "Last time, Fred and George ate all the muffins before we even got down there."

"What did she get all upset for?" asked Ron, oblivious.