Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter ©. I do not own the characters ®. I only own the plot of this story.
The Perfect Picture (A Yearbook Story)
The seventh years were all chatting away madly as breakfast starting vanishing before their eyes, eggs and toast and fruit being devoured quickly.
"So then the Transfiguration N.E.W.T.'s would probably be the hardest and all, because switching spells are bound to come up in it and I've lost my notes on that–" Hermione rambled helplessly, her fork of scrambled eggs hovering inches before her mouth; she was too busy talking about the afternoon's exams in two days, so it prevented her from eating.
Ron and Harry were not really listening, staring hard at their plates and trying to drown out the sound of Hermione's fussing. Their toast left rather quickly, since they were not distracted with talking. Harry was considering leaning over quietly and starting a whispered conversation with Ron about quidditch, but thought the better of it, and instead drained his orange juice.
"Hermione," Ron finally choked out, and Hermione stopped abruptly – looking affronted. "Can we please change the subject?"
Hermione looked hurt for a moment, and then mumbled 'yes' wearily. She looked down at her plate, her fork going for her mouth, when –
Her fork was down with a clatter and her mouth was open again. "I was thinking that after school when we're done, during my free time I'd make a S.P.E.W. faculty building with the gold from my Auror works. It would balance out fine, I've calculated–"
Ron groaned, his spoon hitting the table as well. "Oh, not that annoying spew again!"
"It's not spew, Ron, it's S.P.E.W. and if you're too childish to pronounce it correctly, call it the 'Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare–" She began irritably, but all of a sudden a deep throat cough of attention cut across her lecture.
Heads turned and chatter died as Dumbledore stood up from his chair.
"Thank you," He announced to the students courteously. "While I am aware that this announcement is rather last minute, I am to inform you, that as a memory of your life at Hogwarts, seventh years, we all are going to take a little visit to the Muggle side." Dumbledore began, smiling broadly, and there was an instant murmur among the students. All of the teachers looked unusually stiff, as though not approving of this idea.
"The Muggle side?" Harry muttered to Ron quietly, and Ron shrugged. Hermione shushed them bossily.
"Of course, to elaborate, I would like to announce that tomorrow, we will be having end-of-the-year school pictures for the seventh years to conduct a yearbook. Everyone will be getting a copy of course – the fee is only two sickles. Please bring your money to your Head of House by tomorrow morning."
Ron – among with many other students – still looked confused and possibly more than before when Dumbledore finished explaining about the end-of-the-year school pictures. He mouthed a 'What?!' to Harry, looking desperately up the teacher's table for more explaining, but Dumbledore had sat back down and was talking to Professor McGonagall.
"It's something Muggle schools do. Every student and teacher has their picture taken and displayed in this book like a photo album. It's to remember your classmates."
With a look of sudden disgust, Ron looked over to the Slytherin table.
"I don't want to remember any of them." He said acidly, pointing at Malfoy, Goyle, Crabbe, and Pansy Parkinson.
"Well, I don't either." Harry said wearily, and turned back to his breakfast. He looked over to see Hermione digging in her bag.
"I remember having a galleon in here. Where did it go?" She muttered more to herself than to Ron or Harry.
"I don't think I'm gonna do it," Ron murmured quietly. "I probably can't pay for it."
"It's only two sickles. I bet you'll be glad you did." Harry said.
"I don't even have one sickle."
"Well, you still have to have your picture taken."
"Why?" Ron asked frustratingly.
"Because the two sickles is just for having the yearbo – photo album," He corrected himself; Ron's face became slightly puzzled again. "If you want, I'll lend you two sickles. It doesn't matter," Harry said carelessly, but seeing Ron's declining face, he cut him off, holding up a hand. "It doesn't matter." He added firmly, and Ron smiled.
The next day for Transfiguration, Hermione was clutching a thick envelope with two bulging spots in the front. Ron looked at her quizzically.
"It's the sickles for the yearbook," She said brightly. "You two did bring yours, right?"
Harry nodded, and pulled out four sickles (he had forgotten, he just carried extra money around him occasionally.), thrusting two into Ron's hand. "We do now."
Hermione tutted quietly to herself, but seemed eager to talk about the yearbooks.
"I remember yearbooks and school pictures when I was in Elementary," She said smiling, recalling the memories in her head. "During Kindergarten I was so nervous I accidentally knocked the lens off the camera as I sat down on that posing stool." She laughed, and Ron looked lost.
"I never liked yearbooks. The kids made fun of my pictures because I was so skinny and scrawny then, with glasses that only held together with tape and that scar on my head." Harry said frowning; and he felt Hermione pat his shoulder soothingly. They had reached the Transfiguration classroom then, and stopped talking, instead depositing their sickles onto McGonagall's desk.
"Yes, yes, settle down, and–" With a large sigh, she muttered something. "–wands away, please." McGonagall said through gritted teeth.
Harry stuffed his wand into his bag.
"The headmaster feels the need for me to talk to you about this since I am the head of your house," She sighed again, and mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like 'regretfully'. "Anyway, tomorrow before our N.E.W.T.'s, we will be meeting in the Great Hall for 'school pictures'. Like Muggles, please try your best to look neat and proper. This will be how many students at Hogwarts will remember you by." There was some excited whispering around Parvati's and Lavendar's desks that sounded like a conversation about shampoos and conditioners.
They continued with the lesson, McGonagall unreasonably snappish. She seemed to be rather unacceptive about this Muggle tradition tomorrow, and Harry smirked at the thought.
When they were dismissed, McGonagall handed them each a small vile of clear liquid. Harry was unpleasantly reminded of Veritersarem. Why was she giving them this?
Some students were hesitant.
"Yes, you can take it, Finnigan, it's not dangerous. This–" She said, raising her voice to get everyone's attention as they scrambled to get to the small vials. "–is a potion concocted personally by Professor Dumbledore, so don't loose it. Do not open it before you are told to. Do not waste it. Do not share this with other students. Every seventh year in this castle is getting one. You are to drink it ten to fifteen minutes before school pictures tomorrow." She finished briskly, and thrust vials into Harry, Hermione, and Ron's hands.
Ron and Harry didn't care about the potion vials – they would take them tomorrow as they were instructed to. It didn't matter to them; the minute they were released from Transfiguration they threw the bottles into their trunks and could only hope that they wouldn't forget tomorrow to take them.
"Not with Hermione buzzing around." Ron said in an undertone, and Harry nodded.
But Hermione did seem rather irritated about not knowing the contents of the mysterious potion, and spent the entire evening with her nose in potions books, shushing waspish comments at people who were being loud or disturbing her while Ron and Harry played Exploding Snap.
"I'm kinda surprised that she isn't studying for N.E.W.T.'s. I mean, they are right after – what is it? – school pictures?"
Harry nodded mutely, carefully placing an Exploding Snap card on their pile.
The whole of Gryffindor tower went to bed after midnight, especially Hermione. During morning, the dark circles under her eyes looked extremely shadowy and rather sinister when she woke them the next morning since they had to be up early for their school pictures.
"She'll look awful on the pictures. Parkinson will be mocking her about it until the last day of school." Ron muttered worriedly to Harry, but Harry shook his head.
"She knows enough spells to make herself look normal." He reassured.
"Yeah. I guess."
Ten minutes after they had dressed (McGonagall had told them that everyone should wear their school robes.), Ron and Harry hastily drank their potion, their vial vanishing immediately afterward into thin air.
They were halfway down the boys' dormitory stairs when they had to stop, clutching their stomach in pain and keeling over.
Harry clutched desperately at the wall, and managed to sit onto the step while holding his stomach in agony. Ron rolled forward and hit the floor with a thud.
And – all of a sudden – he was fine.
Harry's watering eyes were still closed when the pain left him. He stood up carefully, but the pain didn't return. It was like taking polyjuice potion.
He walked down the rest of the steps, were Ron was face-on-the-carpet gasping and breathing rapidly. Shaking, he stood up too. Harry gasped.
Ron had his hair back sleekly, his freckles slightly vanished, and his eyes glowing brighter than usual. His entire features seemed to be enlightened somehow.
Ron looked at Harry like he was a replica of Fluffy, the three-headed dog.
"What?" Harry asked, even though his eyes were still wide with surprise.
"You – you–" Ron stammered, but instead pulled Harry back up the stairs and thrust him into the tiny bathroom. His reflection was shining in the mirror.
Harry's eyes widened even further – his hair was actually neatly laying back, his green eyes sparkling as though enchanted, and his skinny figure looking more tough and well-built. His scar still shone brightly, maybe even more brightly than he had ever seen it, but his entire face was practically glowing.
After observing himself, he pushed Ron in front of the mirror instead.
Harry nodded feverishly beside him, still marveling at his enlightened face.
"C'mon, we better hurry, we need to be in the Great Hall." Harry said, and Ron finally tore his face away from the mirror.
The two friends were glancing edgily around the common room – what if everyone else still looked normal and they would think that Harry and Ron were just taking this school picture thing too seriously? – but they must have been in front of that mirror too long; the common room was entirely empty.
They ran along the Great Hall (where the four house tables had been vanished in), and burst through the doors, and when they did, Ron and Harry couldn't believe their eyes.
"Oh – my – god." Ron breathed, and Harry nodded weakly.
Everyone was different. They were beautiful to everyone's eyes, and before they could get used to everyone's appearance, they saw someone rushing toward them.
But this time there was no flying bush or flyaway papers surrounding her; Harry was reminded of the Yule Ball.
"Harry! Ron!" The beautiful girl shouted, and Harry looked over to see Hermione's face shining in the light. "Thank god, I thought you might have forgotten or been too late."
Harry looked over, and saw that Ron was gaping.
Hermione's hair was not bushy and bouncy, but shiny and smooth – her hair curly and glowing in the light. It looked as though she had put on eyeliner and mascara; her eyes were the center of her face, light and protuberant in a good way, and her dark brown eyes were lighter and sparkling. Her teeth were whiter than usual and her skin looked flawless.
"I just hoped you hadn't forgotten to take your potion or something – or fall back asleep again, I was really worried – my god, you two look amazing." She said, stopping herself and looking very impressed.
"What about you!" Harry burst out, finding control of his voice. Hermione's face spilt into a faint smile. "You look positively gorgeous, Hermione, honestly–" Her face broke into laughter and a wide grin.
"Oh, and – you, too, Ron." Hermione remembered suddenly, and her smile vanished to turn to look at a thoroughly dumbstruck yet disgruntled Ron.
Harry patted Ron's shoulder reassuringly. "C'mon, mate, we're blocking the entrance."
Ron slumped forward with both of them moodily, and Harry was able to see everyone more properly. He looked up and saw with a burst of laughter that Dumbledore had persuaded the teachers to take the potion as well. The professors were standing stiffly and occasionally snapping at students.
Professor McGonagall had her hair down, in a wavy fashion, and her spectacles were gone. Her eyes shone as brightly as everyone else, and her face looked less old. Professor Snape, Harry was horrid to see, had not been affected much with his potion. His hair was not so greasy, and tied back.
McGonagall was ordering them into a line.
"Miss Patil, we're going alphabetically, move up, please – no, I cannot put my hair up, the potion forbid it–" She added irritably, and Harry's eyes widened. Apparently Snape's ponytail was not his idea; these hairdos were irreversible right now, and Harry marveled at the idea of not being able to make his hair look untidy.
He felt a push in his back.
"Move on, Potter, back here, behind Miss Patil, hurry up now, Miss Granger, in the front – Weasley, to the back, we don't have all day–"
Each house was ushered into a line by their head of house. As Professor Sprout passed, he saw that her frizzy hair was neat and straight, elegantly flowing past her shoulders, with her face seeming less chubby. There wasn't a patch of dirt on her nose or forehead. Professor Flitwick was looking slightly taller, and Harry saw a slightly heeled boot. His hair was not flyaway and electrified looking, but combed and put back neatly. He was grumbling.
Hermione and Ron were shunted away from him the next second. Next to him he caught a glance of Malfoy – his hair was not packed with gel, but slightly longer, slightly darker than his dazzling platinum blonde, falling carefully around his face. His eyes were much lighter, reflecting a white light, sort of.
Up in front of him, Parvati was desperately trying to apply a red lipstick to her mouth, but nothing appeared on her lips. She sighed irritably, and McGonagall whipped it out of her hands.
"Miss Patil, it's pointless, you won't be changing – the potion forbids it."
"Will we – will we get–" Parvati began nervously.
"You will change back at the end of the hour." McGonagall snapped, and strode away.
All of a sudden, Dumbledore's booming voice rang out in the hall. Harry gasped when he saw him.
His beard had not the 'slight-frizz' look to it, but was tied together at the front and looking extremely neat. His hair was also looking more auburn than white, he was surprised to see, and his entire face seemed more alert.
"Yes, yes, students. It might have been quite a surprise to find yourself in this form after you drank the potion. Yes, this what we intended to do. Well, I intended to do it," Dumbledore corrected, smiling serenely.
"But why?" Parvati whispered in front of him, looking thoroughly puzzled.
"Everyone in this room is gorgeous. Everyone is beautiful to everyone, and everyone is equal in appearance. Your looks are not as far-fetched as they may seem. You may not even like your new appearance (which will fade away after school pictures…) but everyone around you those. Your face right now is how everyone wants to see it, the features that enlighten your face are now brighter.
"However all of this change is change that you can change yourself. But mostly, we went over to the Muggle side." Dumbledore smiled faintly, his grin twitching mischievously.
"With some help of makeup and other products, you are looking the way you are." He smiled so broadly Harry thought his face would spilt.
Parvati looked very doubtful that this was the truth, along with many others, but Harry smiled. Brilliant.
"Now…" Dumbledore said talking over the murmurs. "Let the pictures start." He waved his wand and four large cubicles appeared in front of the lines, which were made of wall dividers.
The first kids walked in and a large flash of a camera flickered, and they walked out slowly, waiting in a new line by the wall.
Before long, Hermione left the cubicle, grinning broadly. Instead of joining the line, she ran down and beamed at Harry.
"Ohh (the double 'h' is not a typo!), it's so lovely, Harry, I never thought school pictures would happen again, it's great!" And she kissed him on the cheek before hurrying off to the finished-people-line.
When Harry walked up to the cubicle, there was a small black stool waiting for him. He glanced nervously at the background they would be getting. At Muggle schools, it was always a dreary gray, but here it was a picture of Hogwarts from the outside, the lake and the Whomping Willow randomly in the background. He thought for a moment that his eyes were tricking him, but the lake seemed to billowing and the Whomping Willow was moving, thrashing dangerously about. The picture was so real Harry's eyes were almost lost in it.
The photographer cleared his throat and Harry hastily took a seat, and studied the camera.
Besides the pimply and irritated face behind it, it was a Muggle camera, which was extremely large and shiny. The photographer mumbled something.
"Say 'N.E.W.T.'s." He said unenthusiastically, and Harry laughed. Usually at Elementary school they had him say 'cheese' or occasionally another food type like 'peaches' or 'cookies'.
"N.E.W.T.'s!" Harry said laughing, and the camera flashed, and the photographer immediately began shoving him out of the cubicle. Behind him as he walked away he could hear: "Say Transfiguration, kid." From the photographer, and he slipped into the finished-people-line with Hermione.
"Did you see Pansy Parkinson? She doesn't look that bad, actually!" Hermione said admittedly.
"I had a really grumpy photographer. What did he make you say?"
Hermione's face darkened. "I know. He made me say 'Wingardium Leviosa." She rolled her eyes and sighed, folding her arms.
Students were still randomly called into the Great Hall for posing for certain groups or clubs. Harry was only called out for the Gryffindor quidditch team around noon, while Hermione left lessons regularly. He was rather surprised when McGonagall slipped into Charms later on, and beckoned Harry and Hermione out.
"Not now, Potter, just follow me. You too, Miss Granger, in the Great Hall." McGonagall said shortly, and pushed them through the archway in the Great Hall. Another photographer was leaning coolly against an open cubicle, a toothpick between his teeth. He grumbled for them to hurry up.
Harry was relieved to see that Hermione looked as puzzled as he was, as he was thrust against the cubicle wall and the camera got into position.
"C'mon, now, both of ya, would smile? This is fir the yearbo'." He muttered over to lens, and Hermione exchanged a glance with Harry.
"Excuse me, what is this for?"
"Ya were voted as the 'the two students most likely to become girlfriend and boyfriend'." The photographer muttered dully, and Harry expected Hermione to burst out laughing.
"Would ya hurry up?" He snapped, and Hermione pinched Harry's arm as he opened his mouth to retort.
When they hurried back to Charms, Hermione was rather silent, so Harry decided to break the silence stiffly.
"Yeah, so that was stupid wasn't it?"
"No, no it wasn't." Hermione brushed off, and pulled him roughly through the Charms classroom.
"Oh," Harry said as he saw that Charms must have finished – the classroom was empty. "Looks like they left–"
But he was stopped by Hermione suddenly crashing her lips down onto his mouth and grabbing tightly onto his face.
Harry 'mmphed!' into her mouth, but her nails just dug into the side of his face and he wordlessly found her waist.
Suddenly he was jerked off of her and Hermione was rubbing her neck awkwardly – looking extremely embarrassed and flushed.
"I told you I didn't think it was stupid." Hermione said quietly, and Harry realized that she was talking about earlier when he tried to lift off the awkwardness by saying how stupid the boyfriend-girlfriend pictures were.
"Do you think so?" She asked shyly, her eyes meeting his.
Harry didn't know what to respond, and instead wrapped his arms around her shoulders and planting a soft kiss on her lips.
"Do I?" He asked smiling against her lips.
Their house tables were back in position and the cubicles were gone. After Hermione and Harry had rejoined the Potions classroom, hand-in-hand – Ron looking furious and accidentally falling halfway into his cauldron – their yearbooks were passed out when they went to lunch.
McGonagall dumped a yearbook onto his lap. Harry eagerly pushed his porridge away and opened his yearbook. Next to him Hermione was doing the same, and laughing at certain pictures.
They left their breakfast and sat down in the Gryffindor common room, sharing on yearbook and pointing out random pictures. Ron pointedly looked away when the 'Students Most Likely to Become Girlfriend and Boyfriend' picture came up.
Hermione smiled at their moving picture. Although they were quite stiff while the cameraman had taken the picture, they were laughing cheerfully and linking hands occasionally in the picture. While examining the picture, Harry felt Hermione lean forward and peck Harry on the cheek.
"I'm glad we don't look so stiff and stern. People would think that we hate each other." Hermione whispered in his ear.
"Isn't it the opposite?" He whispered back, and Hermione blushed.
"Maybe yearbooks weren't such a bad idea." Hermione mused, and Ron sighed loudly and obviously next to them.
"I just hope that I won't have to remember you with a yearbook." Harry said aloud, and Hermione squeezed his hand reassuringly.
"Don't worry," She soothed. "You won't."