Witch for a Day
Chapter 1: In Which a Plan is Hatched
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Harry Potter world, nor the delightful characters that reside within.
Hermione sat with her quill poised above the parchment, staring at the elderly wizards opposite her. She snapped her mouth closed and wiped her free hand over her eyes, this could not possibly be happening, not to her.
"Gentlemen, Madam, I don't think that this is a very good idea, I…" She trailed off when she could see that her words weren't making any impression on the scholarly group in front of her.
"Yes, well that is settled then. Moving on." The Chairman of the Committee, Professor Chilton, pushed his spectacles up on his nose and tapped his wand against his goblet filling it instantly with the spiced pumpkin juice he liked to drink.
"If I may Sir…" Hermione interrupted him, his eyes snapped up to her, clearly filled with shock at her having questioned him.
"Very well Miss Granger, but make it short, we have a schedule to keep." He spoke more sharply than he ever had to her, making her take a deep breath and gulp before she began.
"I appreciate the 'honour' that you are giving me, however, I don't think I'm suited. I'm not going to be an asset in this particular venture." She tried.
"Nonsense." Came from one of the other aged men in the group.
"Truly, I am not the type that would bring in a high bid." She grimaced.
"Nonsense, you will do very well. Besides it isn't an auction, it has nothing to do with high or low bids. You are not cattle." The Chairman snorted.
"Can't we chose someone else perhaps?" She tried again.
Professor Chilton raised his hand and forestalled her from saying anything else.
"My dear girl, you are the only lady of our acquaintance who meets the 'a-hem' requirements." He looked at the only other female present, and that good Lady cackled appreciatively at Professor Chilton's criticism of her charms. Considering that lady's vast age, Hermione could see why she, Hermione, would indeed look to be a far better choice.
"Couldn't we perhaps, change our donation to the fete? Man a stall or something, sell charms, or trinkets…scones…" She trailed off again.
"Aha, Chairman I sense the young lady is modest." Alfred said and winked at Hermione, the rest of the men agreed and smiled at her in a way that reminded her too much of Headmaster Dumbledore for her comfort. She could never see twinkling eyes over a pair of moon shaped spectacles without a sense of foreboding.
Hermione knew she wasn't modest in the least, she was honest. To them, a group of scholarly wizards, with whom she had been working for the last five years, she must seem the very epitome of Witch-hood. With her bright eyes and intelligent conversation, they, with their limited contact with the outside world, probably couldn't imagine any one more suitable. She on the other hand knew that even with the draw of her literary accomplishments her boyish figure and wild hair would do very little to create any sort of interest outside their usual circles.
"I just…that is to say, wouldn't it be betterperhaps tolook beyond our limited acquaintance?" She attempted one last time.
"No need for that dear lady you are infinitely suitable. Professor Dingle will get the advertising in the weekly papers. All you need do my dear is look pretty and make intelligent conversation with the lucky winner." And that was the end of the conversation.
The next morning as Hermione was having her morning cup of tea when she noticed the advert for the yearly University Bazaar. She grimaced and closed her eyes. Taking a deep breathe she started counting to ten.
It wasn't until this point every year that she regretted her work with the organization of ancient wizards, that represented the governing body in charge of the "Muggle Manuscripts Management Division" of the University. Ordinarily she loved her work, and took pride in the fact that she, out of two-hundred candidates, had been chosen when a spot had become vacant five years ago. She loved the older wizards with whom she worked, and at any other time during the year they treated her as an equal, a vastly intelligent and worthy witch that deserved their respect. It was only during this one yearly event that they seemed to forget she that she was an award winning scholar with degrees and published works. And instead treated her like a half-wit child.
Every year the University held a charity bazaar and each organization and club was required to contribute with a donation of time or money. And each year, her particular group of fine old gentleman, and one lady, would create a new money making scheme certain to fill Hermione with shame. To be fair it was never their intent, but Hermione, given more to study and intellectual pursuits, would be forced to participate in their ridiculous charades. It was worse than dealing with Harry and Ron back in school.
This year when they had entertained the idea of a raffle she had actually breathed a sigh of relief until she had come to realize they were talking about raffling off a person and not a thing.
One of her clever old gentleman had mentioned that he had a wonderful idea, and after last year's kissing booth fiasco in which Hermione had been forced to man the booth, alone, for hours on end. She really didn't think anything could top the embarrassment of having to reduce the price from three sickles all the way down to one. Even then the booth hadn't been a success, to save face she had pulled money from her own pocket to show a profit. She had truly thought that nothing could be worse than that, but she had been wrong. This was much worse.
This new plan was to sell tickets at 5 sickles a piece and draw the winner out of a magical hat. The 'winner' would then have the pleasure of her company for a day.
It sounded even worse now than it had yesterday. There had to be a way to get out of it. With that thought in mind she folded her weekly university magazine and with a determined air went to dress for the day.
Hermione would just tell the Chairman that she couldn't do it, this very morning, before it was too late.
Unfortunately it was already too late, if Hermione had read on she would have seen the very interesting bulletin that had been placed the night before just in time for publication. Hermione had assumed, of course, that she had at least a week to try to change the mind of her companions, which is why the Chairman had felt he had no option but to place the notice immediately.
"WIN A WITCH FOR THE DAY!
The Governing Body of the Committee for
Muggle Manuscripts Management Division
has the pleasure to offer you the opportunity
at this years University Bazaar to win a day
with one of our rising stars.
Each ticket will be 5 sickles, and go on sale immediately.
DON'T HESITATE, we venture these will go fast!
See one of our committee members for yours TODAY!
As a side note we feel we must mention there is no need for any witch to be worried should her husband be the lucky winner as Miss Hermione Granger is a very delightful and morally upstanding young lady."
Draco Malfoy almost coughed up a bit of scone at that last line, delightful and morally upstanding? It all sounded positively Victorian, which made Draco start laughing so hard that Pansy rushed in from her outer office.
"Bloody hell Draco, what in Merlin's name is so funny?" She glared at him her pug nose wrinkling in disgust.
He didn't say anything, but waved his hand in the general direction of the magazine. She picked it up and read, then frowned at the man sitting behind the desk. If she knew Draco, and she did, there would be work to do. Work and late nights, it looked like Neville would be making his own meals again.
If Draco hadn't been her best friend, she told herself, she would have quit ages ago. With a sigh she shook her head and left Draco to his plotting; it was useless trying to dissuade him. When he had his mind set on something, somehow the world just seemed to fall into line, why should she be any different?
Draco Malfoy considered himself a very lucky man, but still he didn't take much stock in fate. He did however have great faith in his charm and the power of money. Hermione needed to be brought down a peg or two. His mind digressed to the times she had humiliated and laughed at him, when they were in school. The fact that they had been out of school for ten years didn't even enter into his mind, neither did the concept that maybe it was childish to hold grudges. He just smiled and picked up a quill. There was work to be done.
Now where had Pansy gotten?