Title: Mischief Managed
Rating: PG for some sexual innuendo
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and am making no money from this story, all Harry Potter copyrights belong to J.K. Rowling. Also, there is a line shamelessly stolen from The Princess Bride, copyright William Goldman. Can you find it?
Warnings: Uh, incredible silliness?
Author Notes: The HP Lexicon was invaluable in the plotting and writing of this fic, as it gave me many ideas for the potions used & abused in this story. Cheers to bambu for helping me brainstorm, and to Lorett and deemichelle for the fantastic beta work. Is a bit EWE, but you could say it is selectively AU, rather than completely AU as I pick and choose parts of epilogue to use. Also, due to time constraints, it needs to be Brit-picked better than it actually is. Ah well. Enjoy!
Summary: Crazy things happen sometimes. Like utter Bedlam. Like learning how to fly a broom without dying. Like sudden verbal diarrhea. Like taking a chance. Like love.
Chapter One: In Which There Are Problems
Eleven Years after The Great Battle of Hogwarts In Which The Boy-Who-Lived Became the Man-Who-Vanquished-Voldemort
Hogwarts, Draco Malfoy's Potion's Classroom, Seven PM:
Bang. Bang. Bang.
James Sirius Potter was bored.
He rhythmically kicked his sneaker-shod feet against the leg of the desk he was sitting behind. Having a babysitter besides Nana Weasley had sounded really, really fun at first, but all Miss Pansy and Mr. Draco did was talk.
He was even in a new part of Hogwarts! He didn't get to go to the dungeons very much, because it was too dangerous. (Dangerous, it seemed to James, was a synonym for fun.) Here he was, in Mr. Draco's potions classroom, and he wasn't even allowed to touch anything. How unfair was that?
Bang. Bang. Bang.
Bored. Bored. Bored.
"Dear, here's a coloring book. Will you stop kicking? It gives Aunt Pansy a headache. And talking about Uncle Draco's cowardice already gave her nausea. " James looked at the coloring book excitedly and flipped to a picture of a heroic-looking wizard grinning and posing next to a dragon that moved sinuously on the page.
"Pansy, she doesn't even know I'm alive."
"Oh, she definitely knows you're alive. It's that she would prefer that you weren't."
James, like any good three-year old, lost interest when he discovered that the conversation wasn't about him. He turned to his charmed coloring book again, grabbed a purple crayon, and began to scribble furiously on the horrified-looking wizard's face.
"… just try and be nicer…"
Sticking his tongue out, his little black brows furrowed in concentration, James finished his picture. The once noble-looking wizard was covered in purple, tan, and green and looked decidedly unpleased, and neither did the puce and orange colored dragon. The picture-wizard scowled and shook his finger silently at the young wizard, but James's limited attention span had already moved on.
He was bored again.
"Nice is a point of view. From my point of view, I am very nice..."
He slowly crept out of his seat, as stealthily as a three-year-old can manage. (Uncle George taught him how important that was while placing flobberworms on Nana Weasley's pillow.)
The potions classroom was large, dark, scary and utterly fascinating to the fearless three-year old. Bottle-green eyes wide and sucking on one chubby fist, James toddled around the room, peering into spider-infested cupboards and investigating the ancient remnants of left over potions from generations of Hogwarts students.
"… I'll bet she doesn't even know you're interested."
"How did you guess? Was it the hatred or the juvenile cracks?"
In one corner of the room, James found an adjoining door. Quietly, so as not to get into trouble, he slowly pushed open the door to reveal an empty room. And what a room! Filled form floor to ceiling with bottles of every shade of the rainbow (from red to violet, James remembered proudly) and of every size and shape James could fathom.
Working at a large table in the middle of the room, was James's cousin Teddy. He seemed to be diligently labeling and sorting things into groups on the table, muttering to himself as he worked.
"Albino git. I need to go to the loo. I can't hold it anymore. He'll just have to wait or do this himself."
With that, Teddy left the room before James could make himself known.
James let the conversation from the next room wash over him as he stared at the gleaming bottles.
"… You could just ask her out, you know."
"Yes, I can imagine how that would go. 'Would you like to go out with me?' would immediately be answered by hexing my balls off. I am quite fond of my reproductive organs, thank you very much."
"Don't look at me like that."
"You are an utter coward, Malfoy."
The masculine voice sighed, "I know."
Seven PM, Still The Potions Classroom:
"James! Where did you go?"
"Potter Brat! Where are you?"
James toddled in from the other room, and Pansy scooped him up. She peered into his bright green eyes and smiled wryly, her short dark hair softly brushing his chubby baby cheeks. "If I lose you, I'll be in much more trouble than you ever dreamed. I'll probably be hexed within an inch of my life, and you'll never be let out of your mummy's sight again."
As if summoned, Ginevra Potter neé Weasley strode through the door.
"… And luckily, I found you before disaster struck," Pansy muttered into James's baby-fine hair as she handed him to his eager mother.
Ginny kissed the little boy fondly, and took in his unconcerned, unscarred, un-traumatized appearance. "Well, it seems my baby had a good time today. Thank you so much for looking after him, Pansy. I've been swamped at the infirmary today with that Divination accident."
"Don't know how Loony manages to injure them in Divination," Draco muttered under his breath.
"Mum would have sat with him, but with her being in Romania, finding a sitter has been tight."
"It was my pleasure." Pansy smirked. "Just remember that favor you own me."
Ginny rolled her eyes slightly. "Why do I think that it won't be for a plate of cookies like a normal person?"
Draco lifted one haughty brow and said, "What's the fun in that? Predictability is highly overrated."
Draco's long form unfolded against his desk, black robes billowing around his body dramatically as he rose from his chair to greet Madame Potter. James's eyes widened in fascination as he took in Mr. Draco's height.
Ginny's hazel eyes twinkled as she asked, bluntly, "So, any progress with Mission Romance?"
Draco groaned and glared at Pansy. "Sweet Merlin, does absolutely everyone know about my pathetic love life?"
Pansy's lips curled sweetly. "I'm sure she hasn't figured it out yet. But, yes, well, that's about it. Perhaps Filch hasn't heard yet, but that's only because he's too smelly to gossip with. Too many sardines, you know."
Draco growled, his silver eyes snapping dangerously as he glowered at her. (At least, that's what his mirror told him when he practiced.)
Ginny and Pansy burst into laughter.
Draco spun from them in disgust and marched to the narrow door that was connected to the storeroom.
"Lupin!" Draco barked, "Are you finished organizing those potions for Madame Potter yet?"
Teddy came out, struggling with a large box. He set it down heavily on one of the desks. "Here it is, sir."
"Good," Draco said coldly, "And what did we learn from this experience?"
Teddy rubbed his sweaty palms on his robes hastily, replying, "Um, not to use unauthorized magic in the corridors?"
"Do try to say that with more conviction. I might believe you."
Teddy gulped, "I will not use magic in the corridors to cause mischief, sir!"
"Fine," Draco sniffed haughtily. "Get out of here before I decide I don't like your face and take away more House points."
Teddy's face went red, and he looked like he was choking for a few moments, but soon he spun and quickly walked out of the room.
Ginny shook her head slowly. "Been reading Snape's handbook, Teaching for Gits? Because that was quite the impression you just did there."
Draco smirked slightly. "I get results. Which is more than your dear brother can say."
Ginny put down her squirming son and levitated the heavy box with a quick charm. "He teaches Games and Flight, Malfoy. And does a fine job of it, too."
"And whose Quidditch team mauled his last year?"
"Oh, that's right," Ginny called out as she sailed out through the door, "You did beat Ron. Right before Harry beat you."
Pansy's loud laugh covered any disgruntled comments. (Which was probably for the best, as they were not fit for the sensitive ears of children.)
As she followed James's brisk toddler jog, she noticed Luna lurking about the corridor poking around the molding tapestries. Odd, Ginny thought, What is Luna doing so far away from the Divination Tower at this time of night?
Ginny made a move to talk to her, but noticed a small figure vanish around the bend that led deeper into the dungeon.
"James Potter! You get back here!"
A high baby-giggle echoed down the dark corridor.
"I think that boy has been taking trouble lessons from his Uncle George," Luna said reflectively.
"You think?" Ginny said sarcastically. "Luna, could you take this box up to the Infirmary? I need to catch a little brat."
With that, she hitched up her robes and sped down the hall after her errant son, leaving a wide-eyed Luna behind, staring speculatively at the heavy box.
Seven Forty-Five PM, Third Floor Corridor:
Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, the Man-Who-Triumphed, and general overall Good Guy was at this moment the Man-With-An-Enormous-Head-Cold.
Barely finishing his lessons for the day, he just managed not biting the heads off of a shrieking group of Hufflepuff girls in his last class. Ugh, Harry thought peevishly, Whoever actually wants fangirls is seriously misguided.
Maybe teaching isn't right for me, Harry thought irritably, At least as an Auror I wouldn't have to work with hormonal teenagers. But I would miss Hogwarts…
These thoughts occupied Harry's mind as he slowly made his way to his wife's office. He was supremely content with his life (overly-estrogenized teenagers aside), he had a family he loved, a happy home, a great job… what more could he want?
After the battle at Hogwarts, he had some groveling to do with Ginny. He had ignored her horridly that year and needed to show her that she still held a special place in his heart.
He wooed her and courted her properly and (with a little bit of help from Hermione) he finally won her over, and (Okay, with a lot of help from Hermione) married her after Ginny graduated from Hogwarts.
Naturally, as the savior of the wizarding world, he had been offered a horde of jobs. (The sheer gall of the competing office owls attacking Grimmauld Place at all hours of the day was the subject of ribbing for weeks.) But, of course, his mind had been made up long before they started attacking his residence.
He was going back to Hogwarts.
It was the only home he had ever really known. The only place he had ever really been happy.
The Hogwarts faculty, after the traumatic events of the last few years, were more than willing to take on the Miracle Man as a permanent staff member. After all, a battle was fought at the doorstep of the esteemed institution and even Minerva McGonagall, the new headmistress, could see the need for a little positive press.
He worked hard, and eventuallydeveloped his own mix of teaching Defense Against The Dark Arts, which was quite popular with students. Noting his enormous success, McGonagall started to actively recruit young, energetic teachers. The older standbys were all more than ready for a well-deserved retirement anyway. (Slughorn, it was said, practically ran as fast as his chubby little legs could carry him.)
Hermione and Ron, of course, were the first to be contacted. Hermione agreed to teach Transfiguration as long as she was allowed to do research on the side. Ron signed up as soon as he heard he would be able to play games all day. Neville and Luna joined the staff soon afterward.
The most surprising additions were the two Slytherins, Draco and Pansy. No one was quite sure as to why they had taken the positions in the school, as they both supposedly had money shooting out their arses, but they mysteriously appeared one day prepared to teach and still seemed quite content about it.
The first year was a tense affair, played down for the student's sake, of course, but the tension at the staff meetings was so high one could have lit a match and the room would have surely combusted. Eventually, though, a camaraderie of sorts was established between the men through the one thing that had previously been the source of years worth of heated rivalry, Quidditch.
It had been decided that each Quidditch team would have a staff coach to augment the skills of the team captain. Harry, Draco, Ron and Ginny were obvious choices.
And, strangely, the better Draco's Slytherins did, the less Harry and Ron seemed to detest him.
It could have been that Draco had stopped composing songs demeaning Ron's masculinity.
It could have been maturity.
Or, it could have been the post-match congratulatory drinking at the pub.
Hermione, not to be outdone by this new, friendlier animosity, extended a cordial hand to Pansy, and was surprised that her overtures were pleasantly received. And was even further shocked that she actually liked Pansy. (Most of the time. Excepting when she decided that Hermione would look fabulous with her hair dyed blonde and cut short. Hermione considered giving her back after that.)
After Ginny graduated, she and Harry married. She then decided to take on an apprenticeship with Madame Pomfrey. ("Students always have the most interesting cases of accidental magic to correct." "Because they don't know what the hell they're doing?" "Exactly.")
Over the next few years, Harry and Ginny had settled into a routine, and they were very happy, especially when little James was added to their lives. ("He looks like a purple goblin." "Shut up, Ron.")
Harry reached the hospital wing and stopped short in the doorway of the infirmary, ignoring his pounding head momentarily and, leaned on the doorframe watching his wife work. Her red hair gleamed and her smile flashed brightly as she ran from patient to patient doing last call, Harry felt a swell of love as he gazed upon her proficiency and gentleness with her patients.
James, who was always underfoot, noticed his father first, and ran up to Harry excitedly. Harry ruffled his hair affectionately as he smiled at his wife. "How are my beautiful wife and the great Black-Haired Terror of Hogwarts?"
James giggled and said loudly, "That's not my name, daddy."
"That's not what I heard from Professor Malfoy today," Harry joked, smiling, headache almost forgotten.
"What did he say?" Ginny asked. "I just have a little paperwork to do before I can leave for the day."
"He said, and I quote, 'That spawn of yours is not fit to be let out in public. It's a menace.'"
"Ah, Malfoy. Always so caring, so tactful." Ginny rolled her eyes and signed a few more papers. Rearranging the folders on her desk neatly, she picked up her cloak from the hook. "I'll meet you at home in a trice. I just have one more patient to see to tonight."
"Oh, that's all right," Harry said, absentmindedly as he tickled a squirming James, "I've a bit of a headache. Do you have something for it?"
Ginny smiled, "Your Slytherin fan club again?"
"Worse." Harry shuddered. "The Hufflepuff girls."
Ginny giggled and rummaged around in the new stores from Draco that Luna had delivered earlier. She eventually located the right potion, and handed it to Harry. He flipped the stopper off with his right thumb and knocked it back in one gulp.
"Thanks, love, I feel better already. You're the most shaggable Mediwich there is. Any chance we could play Naughty, Sexy Mediwitch and Strapping, Innocent Patient tonight?"
Ginny blinked and flushed in surprise at her husband's words. (The Boy-Who-Lived-Only-To-Die-And-Then-Inexplicably-Live-Again was not usually so forward.)
Harry only smiled calmly at his wife, then turned to his little son who was currently climbing up his trousers. Scooping James into his arms and twirling him about, he cried, "There's my little hellion! You aren't going to walk in to our bedroom again tonight and interrupt our fun, are you?" Harry winked at Ginny, gave her a quick peck on the cheek and sauntered off.
Ginny watched him leave, head cocked quizzically, as he walked out the door, their squealing son tucked under his arm and shook her head indulgently.
Eight PM, The Infirmary:
"… This is all your fault!" Hermione Granger, Professor of Transfiguration, Heroine of the Wizarding World, Best Friend of Harry Potter, was currently seething. And, oddly enough, very… blue.
"Oh?" Draco cocked his head slightly, causing robin's egg blue hair to fall into his eyes. "Is that so?" He irritably flicked his hair out of his eyes and scowled at Hermione, folding his arms across his chest. "Let's work this out, like rational adults, shall we?" When Hermione only glowered in return, he lifted one elegant, long fingered hand. Eyes boring into hers, he ticked off the list of his offenses. "Somehow, I managed to convince that piss-poor Hufflepuff student to be rushing about the first floor corridor with his remedial potion."
A second finger joined the first. "And- amazingly I might add- I also seemed to make you appear in the same first floor corridor."
He smirked as he ticked off the third finger. "Then, I deviously managed to distract you with a few brilliantly timed questions about the staff meeting."
Draco could hear Hermione's teeth grinding, but miraculously she was still silent.
"Meanwhile, I caused the clumsy oaf to trip on his own two feet." He paused for a moment and arched an eyebrow at Hermione. "It would appear I am very gifted."
He stopped short and raised a hand to quickly quell Hermione's comment as she opened her mouth to protest. "Ah, Granger, I'm not finished yet. You'll enjoy this much more if you lay back and let me work. Let's see, where was I?" Enjoying her obvious wrath, he ticked off his last finger. "Ah, yes. Let's not forget how I also somehow managed to get us to be perfectly in range for a full dose of the spray of the evidence of his ineptitude. And, this really is the kicker, I ensorcelled him into making the wrong potion."
Draco paused, rubbing his full, teal lips with a navy finger, "Yes, I am truly an evil mastermind."
Hermione narrowed her cornflower blue eyes, "No, just a bloody idiot."
"I think you're actually upset that this dreadful potion is ruining my fabulous good looks."
"Yes. I think Smurfs are incredibly attractive. I want to throw myself at your pasty blue self and lick you as if you were a hot muffin topped with fresh like blueberry frosting."
"Snarfs? What the bleeding hell are Snarfs?"
"Never mind. It doesn't matter."
"That frosting part sounded appropriate. You may proceed."
Hermione huffed in exasperation, "You are incorrigible! Don't you think of anything besides your pecker?"
"Is that a trick question?"
Ginny stood back and watched them squabble for a moment, wishing she had a camera to capture their rather amazing appearance. Her inner devil (well-trained as a youngster by Fred and George) lamented the loss of blackmail material momentarily but she shrugged it aside.
Instead, she noted how very close Draco was standing to Hermione, so close that their bodies were almost touching. He continued to tease her mercilessly, at one point reaching very close to her to tug on a springy sapphire curl. Any otherwitch would have caught his not-so-subtle flirting.
Strangely, Hermione didn't seem to notice, and kept ranting about something or other, gesturing wildly, poking Draco's rather wide chest a few times for emphasis.
That sexual tension will spontaneously combust someday. I hope I'm there to see it.
Ginny saw Draco hesitate for a moment, and he looked distinctly uncomfortable. "Uh, Granger, do you…?"
Ginny chose that moment to make her presence known. "Well, don't you both look smashing? There seems to be something different, though. Did you get new robes?"
At Draco's glare, Ginny smiled sweetly and raised her eyebrows pointedly.
Not here, you moron!
Draco had a highly developed sense of cowardice, and more than his share of astuteness. (Unlike Ron, who never really developed that certain knack to understanding unspoken messages. An incident involving Molly Weasley, an unfortunate mauve gown, and Ron being bald for a week came to mind) Hence, he recieved the unspoken message, and closed his mouth sharply.
Ginny rolled her eyes. Men really do have an underdeveloped sense of Romance. Must be all that sweat.
Hermione quickly explained their predicament, while Ginny ran a few diagnostic spells.
"… and it was all Draco's fault."
Draco snorted, "You need a new line, Granger." He leaned close to her and fluttered his cobalt eyelashes and his voice dropped low. " Something along the lines of, 'Draco, darling. I just loooove your gorgeous, manly body. I just want to take you back to my room so we can shag each other rotten for a week straight,' Would be lovely."
Hermione flushed brightly, and her lips twitched.
"Ha! You want to!"
During this process, Ginny de-colorized them fairly easily, wondering if they realized how obvious their attraction was for each other. She knew that Draco wanted Hermione, but she wondered if Hermione had any clue whatsoever how much she wanted Draco? Humming to herself, she rummaged through her potions and gave Draco and Hermione each a vial.
"Now, that spell I did will energize you for about twelve hours, so I gave each of you a vial of Dreamless Sleep to take before bedtime."
"Finally. I can look in the mirror without shuddering. Aren't you glad my electrifying good looks are back, Granger?"
Hermione snorted, "I'm certain you are." She held his grey gaze for a charged moment, then spun on her heel, departing without a further word to Draco and only a terse 'thank you' to Ginny.
Her back was turned, as she strode out of the room without a backward glance, and therefore missed the wistful expression playing in Draco's soft grey eyes.
Breakfast, The Great Hall:
Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, Hero Extraordinaire, Order of Merlin (First Class!), and Honorary member of the Wizengamot, would never attain the title of Morning Person.
For as long as anyone could remember, Harry had adhered to the same morning routine. (Exempting attempts on his life, of course.) Blearily wake up. Grope for glasses. Shower. Dress haphazardly. Stumble to breakfast. Drink coffee. Lots of coffee.
… And the occasional morning shag, which made Morning-Harry much more bearable.
Hence, when something was wrong, it was immediately obvious.
Draco leaned back in his chair at the head table, and miraculously balanced on its two back legs. "Granger," he stage-whispered.
Hermione, sitting next to him, studiously studied the Prophet.
Hermione took a sip of her coffee.
Hermione's knuckles went white, gripping her mug like it was the slender white throat of the annoying man sitting next to her.
Draco watched her, enjoying her reactions immensely. As she tightened her grip on her coffee mug, he thought, I'm glad my neck isn't that handle. But if her grip was on other parts of my anatomy… well. That would be much more interesting.
Shifting his wandering thoughts with regret, he drawled, "Grananananger."
"What!" Hermione hissed, her annoyed gaze slicing into the amused blond.
"Someone testy this morning? Too hot and bothered to sleep last night?" Draco smirked, and his voice lowered to a sexy purr. "Perhaps you should come my way tonight. I have some fantastic remedies for insomnia."
Hermione flushed prettily. "My sleeping habits are none of your concern. I'm sure that's not what you were bothering me about so persistently."
Draco's eyes gleamed wickedly. "Why are you having problems sleeping, Granger? I know the remedy, of course." Hermione groaned. "You just need to dream of me and all your troubles will melt away."
Hermione's flush deepened. "I don't have any problems! None that is, except for you."
Draco ignored her completely and a slow, utterly masculine grin turned up one corner of his lips as he leaned closer and whispered, "Tell me, Granger - do you dream about me?" Hermione folded her paper and smacked it down smartly on the table turning fully to face Draco and fixed him with the vilest glare she could muster. His eyes ran over her face, searching for what she had no idea, before he sighed dramatically. "Never mind, we'll talk about that fascinating topic when there is less of an audience."
Hermione snorted. "Can't wait. Is there anything else?"
"Correct as usual, Granger," Draco paused and looked at the other end of the staff table. "Do you notice something… off… about Scarhead this morning?"
Hermione sighed and quickly glanced at the other end of the table. She then looked back down at the article about the high concentration of Giggly Mold Spores in Wales, and read a few more lines, when her brain finally processed what she had seen.
Her head snapped up so fast, her massive mane whipped into Draco's face.
"Hey! Get that nasty stuff away from me." Draco said spitefully. He gently pulled her soft curls away form his face and caught a whiff of lily of the valley, starting a visceral ache in the pit of his belly. Who knew her hair would turn me on? Draco frowned, I really must be desperate.
Hermione grunted and swept it out of the way, ignoring Draco's comments about registering her hair with the Department of Magical Disasters, as she stared at Harry.
He was… perky.
"So, last night I thought that perhaps we should take a holiday." Harry chirped happily. "Not just any holiday, mind you, but somewhere nice, like Southern France. They have topless beaches there. Or maybe Thailand. I always did fancy Asian birds…"
Ginny stopped trying to control James's enthusiastic spat with his porridge, and Pansy had stopped eating as they stared at the rambling hero in disbelief. Ron was also staring, but, of course, had not stopped eating his breakfast. (Once, when he had the stomach flu, Ron had given up his second after-tea snack. All agreed that the world momentarily stopped spinning on its axis.)
Ginny felt his forehead, staring at his scar speculatively. "Not hot. Probably not possession, thank goodness."
"What are you feeling my forehead for, Gin? My headache is completely gone. It didn't go away until later last night, actually. Are you sure that potion works correctly?" He leant in towards her, tempting her with a wink. "But it did go away, right after we put James to bed and then I convinced you to put on that cute little French Maid outfit I bought from Sexy Witch. My head really wasn't bothering me about the time when you took your feather duster and…"
Ginny flushed a deep scarlet, clapped her had over her husband's mouth, hissing, "Harry!"
Ron, who had been shoving sausages into his mouth, grimaced around his food. "Thart's 'oody dish-ushting. 'Course nothin' is ash awful ash You-Know-Who comin' back."
Pansy's nose wrinkled in disgust. "I beg to differ. Your table manners, I think, would rival the horror of the Dark Lord's return."
Ron swallowed and rolled his eyes. (But blushed profusely, although he would have denied under pain of Certain Death.)
"It's like he has no filter," Hermione mumbled as she sipped her coffee slowly, trying to puzzle out what was wrong with Harry.
"Hm, very true. Although that's not unusual with Scarhead, nevertheless, he is behaving in a much more Weasel-esque manner. The crudity, the poor taste, the overwhelming idiocy- all classic Weasel."
Hermione delicately covered her lips with her napkin, but her eyes were twinkling merrily.
"Oh! The Post!" Harry cried, still oblivious to the attention he was receiving. "Maybe my new issue of Playwizard is finally here. Celestina Warbeck is the centerfold, and she's got a bloody gorgeous…"
"…Set of booboos, Daddy!" James finished proudly.
Ginny suddenly stood up, jerking her husband's arm fiercely, causing him to spill pumpkin juice all over Pansy. (Who cried out in alarm and sent a Slytherin Death GlareTM his way.)
"We are leaving!"
"But darling, I haven't finished my…"
She tugged the arms of her two males as they lamented their lost breakfast.
Hermione shook her head slowly, intrigued. She opened her post absently as her logical brain whirred and buzzed, happily trying to solve the puzzle of Harry.
She glanced down at her letter, and Harry was instantly forgotten.
"YES!" Two voices screeched over the usual breakfast clamor, causing a sudden silence in the Great Hall.
Draco and Hermione stood- post clutched in their hands, arms akimbo, chairs hastily knocked to the ground- and stared at each other dumbly.
Hermione recovered first, "Well. Your news can't be nearly as fantastic as my news."
"Ha! My news makes yours look like the Weasel in dress robes."
"Anyhow, my book is going to be published."
"My trust fund has been restored."
Hermione blinked in surprise. "Well. I never knew it was gone, but that makes a certain sort of sense. That is good news. I am happy for you, Malfoy."
Draco scratched the back of his head and smiled sheepishly. "I suppose your news isn't half-bad either. Congratulations. I know how hard you worked on your manuscript."
They smiled at each other and chatted amiably, enjoying their shared good fortune, until a niggling feeling of disquiet settled in Hermione's breast.
This is Malfoy, she reminded herself softly, He hates you and everything you believe in. This has to be some sort of trick.
She hardened her heart with regret, turned away from him, and took a small sip of her coffee.
An uncomfortable silence settled between them.
Hermione knew that she and Draco couldn't have a civil conversation. It was unnatural, immoral, inhumane, and generally against the Order Of Things.
… Wasn't it?
Morning, The Infirmary:
It was a normal morning for Ginny. After dropping off a very excitable James at the Burrow in the care of her poor father, she dropped into the infirmary to start work. (After scolding Harry soundly for his behavior this morning. With threats that if he ever spilled information like that again, those things he liked for her to wear would disappear. Forever.)
The morning was filled with the usual accidents, fevers, aches, pains and sores. Ron, for example, had a minor sprain teaching the Slytherins the finer points of Wollyball, and Neville happened to have been cut by his shears at approximately the same time.
Ron knocked back his pain-killing potion, and squinted at Neville, who was balancing his blood-replenishing potion clumsily in his bandaged hand.
Ron walked up to Neville put his arm around his shoulders casually as he steered towards the exit, "Hey, mate, do you have a new cologne? It smells fantastic…"
Ginny was tending to a third year with a sinus infection when Professor McGonagall stormed in, rubbing her temples furiously.
Ginny gave the boy a potion, and turned to the headmistress "Talk to the ministry again?"
"That Umbridge woman… I have no idea why she hasn't been sacked yet. No one with that level of incompetence should be on the payroll. Anywhere."
"What was it about this time?" Ginny asked as she rummaged about the box of potions for her headache cure-all.
McGonagall took the bottle, relieved and rolled her eyes. "This time it was about Hogwarts 'hogging' all of the heroes. The gall of that woman- accusing me of keeping you all here under lock and key!"
Just before lunch, Pansy stopped by for a refill of her contraceptive potion ("Not that I have had any reason to be on this lately," she said gloomily) followed closely by an immaculately groomed Hermione.
Hermione waved at Pansy's retreating figure distantly, muttering to herself. Rounding upon Ginny, she said testily, "Look at my hair."
"Uh, it looks good?"
"Exactly! I've been trying to get it to look like this for years. Years! I've found a book in the library that I've needed for weeks, my book is being published, and I look better than I have in years with absolutely no effort."
Hermione sat on a low cot and stared out the window, serious brows furrowed in concentration. "If I didn't know better, I would say it was the luckiest day of my life, except I keep running into the Ferret. That certainly doesn't fit the pattern."
"I don't know, he is rather handsome... Isn't it good fortune to keep running into such a good-looking bloke?"
Hermione blushed a little and averted her eyes. "Certainly. But he knows that all too well. And that doesn't cancel out his overall nasty character."
"True," Ginny said. She was silent for a moment, and then continued, hesitantly, "But he's been so different lately."
Hermione shrugged uncomfortably and hunched into herself, looking small and lonely. "Perhaps, but I don't want to let my guard down when it comes to him."
Ginny walked over and sat next to her on the cot, putting her arms around Hermione's small frame. "It's not like you not to give someone a chance. You're the most generous person I know. You forgave Pansy of all people, why are you being so hard on Malfoy?"
Hermione shrugged helplessly. "He's… well, he's always had the power to hurt me. Even when we were very small. If I let him into my life, can you imagine the damage he'd do?"
Ginny smiled cheekily. "Come now, Hermione. That doesn't sound like the Gryffindor I know. Where's your courage? Your friends and family all love you. You have a fantastic job that you adore, and you're the Heroine of the Wizarding World. Why don't you give him a chance? Really, what's the worst that could happen?"
Lunchtime, The Great Hall, Hogwarts:
Hermione and Ginny slowly walked down to the Great Hall, chatting about this, that and nothing. Ginny was puzzling out Hermione's hair, while Hermione asked about Harry's incident at breakfast, and they shared some nonchalant gossip about Luna and Neville's budding relationship. They reached the Great Hall, the door opened and they strode forward, empty bellies eagerly leading them to lunch.
And stopped dead in their tracks.
The Great Hall was in incredible, utterly bizarre chaos.
Students, instead of sitting, chatting, and eating were running in every direction. A third-year girl walked by in a daze, tripping over a small redhead who was rolling on the floor, giggling madly. A cluster of seventh years were standing on the Gryffindor table singing raucously with puzzled expressions on their faces. Two beautiful seventh year girls were dueling fiercely over a bemused (but extremely pleased), skinny, hopeless, Ravenclaw anorak.
The normal students were hiding- underneath the tables, behind staff members, hugging the walls- staring goggle-eyed at their friends, who, to all appearances, had gone dead insane.
Hermione quirked a brow at Ginny, "You were saying?"
Ginny snapped her jaw shut. "This is unbelievable. Absolutely incredible. Has everyone gone nutters?"
With that, they ran to help the poor, befuddled staff members try to bang out some order.
About ten minutes later, Draco sailed through the chaos, miraculously unharmed, eyes wide as he took in the carnage happening around him. Projectiles would sail gracefully over his blond head. Students jostled around him, but never ran into him. A sixth year girl, who seemed to think she was some sort of carnivorous animal, made to attack him, but changed prey at the last moment to attack the hapless third year standing behind him.
Hermione watch this display thoughtfully from the amid the mess of students and staff, her head slightly cocked, one hand toying with a springy curl. Nodding decisively,
Hermione marched through the students, almost tripping on a few poor children whose hair was growing at a ridiculously fast rate, making a slippery pool around their bodies. Taking Draco's arm, she steered his unresisting tall form towards the staff table.
"Draco, we need to talk."
"We need to talk about the incredible good luck we've had today."
Draco stared at her for a moment, deliberately turned his head and stared at two boys levitating six feet off the ground, who were cheerfully pelting everyone with remnants of lunch, and turned back.
He raised a pointed brow and cleared his throat. "Don't you think we have more important matters to attend to?"
Hermione flushed slightly. "Of course, but it may have something to do with this mess."
"Right. Out with it then, before something happens to ruin my good hair day."
"That's just it, Malfoy. I don't think anything will. Not today, at least. I think we've been dosed with Felix Felicitas."
Draco's brows furrowed. "Felix Felicitas?
Hermione quirked her lips. "It's the only way to explain the statistically high percentage of fortunate events happening to the two of us."
Draco smiled, leaned close to Hermione and purred, "I love it when you talk dirty."
Hermione suppressed the shiver that walked down her spine and returned to trying to control an unfortunate student in love with Hagrid.
On the other side of the Great Hall, Ginny and Harry were having an equally difficult time trying to figure out what was wrong with Pansy.
She was breathing hard, flushed, and her clothing sat dangerously askew as her eyes glittered dangerously, in search of new prey.
She settled on Ron.
"Oohh… Ronald Weasley." Pansy sauntered up to him, fevered eyes appraising his tall form hotly, winding one sender arm around his back. "I always did like my men tall, handsome and not too bright."
Ron swallowed reflexively, his skin turning a deep shade of crimson that looked horrendous next to his auburn hair. He tried to gently set her away from him, but she had turned into a human octopus, limbs grasping and clutching, hips pressing and churning, leaving Ron in quite… a state.
"Harry, mate, save me!"
Harry (who was goggling at this display, mouth open) replied, "Save you from what?"
Ron goggled at him, still trying to escape the purring mass of Slytherin female attached to him without touching… sensitive… areas.
Ginny rolled her eyes, pulled out her wand, and tore Pansy off effortlessly. "Are you a wizard, or aren't you?"
Ron blushed, and mumbled something about being put on the spot and not being trained to handle such situations.
Pansy, it seemed was not put off by Ron's rejection, and had moved on to easier (or at least more willing) prey.
Ginny's brows furrowed as she restrained Pansy from sitting on a shocked Filch's lap. "You'll thank me later, Pansy. Even you can't be that desperate. What's gotten into you?"
Pansy ran a trembling hand through her short hair, giving her a wild appearance. "I don't know Ginny, I just can't seem to control myself. I'm just so… so… hot."
Ginny sighed and shook her head. This is crazy. What is going on here? Pansy was acting normally this morning! And so was Helena… and Geoffrey…
Ginny's eyes narrowed suddenly. Wait. What if…
Unfortunately, this thought was not completed, as there was a new development.
Luna came floating down the stairs, bangles jingling, looking mildly worried. (Which meant an event approximately the size of the apocalypse had occurred.) "Professor McGonagall seems to be dead."
The staff (and the few unaffected students) heard this impossible pronouncement and gathered around the usually inscrutable woman at the head table.
"Well, she seemed to be anyway. At first."
Hermione took a shaky breath, and gritted out, "You mean she's not really dead?"
"She's only mostly dead. I checked. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead."
Ron blinked hard. "Should we be worried?"
"I did a diagnostic spell, and she probably had a large dose of the Draught of Living Death, or was hit by a strange stunning spell."
Draught of Living Death? Ginny thought, puzzled. Why would the Headmistress take the Draught of Living Death? Unless it was an accident… Unless…
Ginny's head snapped up and she looked at the chaos before her with new eyes.
Shit. Well. There goes my afternoon off.
"Oh," Luna said absently, "I ran into Neville on the way, and he as the most lovely new look."
That caught everyone's attention.
Harry broke the sudden silence. "What do you mean Luna?"
"He's too modest to show you, so I'll get him." Luna skipped down the length of the great hall, her pink and fluorescent-green robes swirling around her body gaily. She stopped at the entrance and spoke quietly, her expressive hands beckoning to the man just out if sight.
"No!" came Neville's disembodied voice from the hallway. "I'll be in the infirmary. They can meet me there."
"But they will be so disappointed when they miss your new look."
"They won't. Trust me."
Luna's delicate brows furrowed, and she grabbed Neville's hand forcefully, pulling him into the Hall.
There was a moment of complete silence in the Great Hall. (Which had not happened since the time of Orlan the Odd, when he came to breakfast starkers and wondered when the Great Hall had become so shamefully drafty.)
The students shrieked.
It was a brown, fuzzy, man-sized, trouser-wearing, eye-popping…
"It's me, Professor Longbottom! Please calm yourselves," the rabbit-man-creature squeaked, causing the students to laugh/shriek.
Neville sighed, whiskers trembling. He quickly walked to the Head table and stood helplessly in front of Ginny.
"I took my blood-replenishing potion, and suddenly I turned into this… this creature!"
"Wow, Nev. You look really stunning in fur."
"Wot?" Ron said around a bit of his sandwich, "Neville, mate, come sit next to me."
Neville tentatively sat in the open seat next to Ron, his long, floppy ears twitching nervously.
Hermione bit her lip hard and looked like she was trying to suppress a fit of giggles.
Draco and Pansy were not nearly so tactful; they were laughing hysterically.
"This," Draco huffed in between chortles, "this... is the… best day… of my life."
"Dear Merlin," Pansy moaned, tears streaming down her face, as she clutched the shoulder of a very disapproving Ron. "It hurts… The blackmail! Think of the blackmail!"
Draco laughed even harder.
"Neville," Hermione said, after taking a moment to get herself under control, "do you have any idea what sort of potion could have done this to you?"
Neville slouched in his chair miserably and shook his head.
Never one to turn down a puzzle, Hermione squinted at him hard (which made Neville nervous) as the wheels of her quick mind turned. Her eyes suddenly widened (which made Neville really nervous), and exclaimed, "Oh no! You likely imbibed a dose of Polyjuice that was mixed with an animal hair. It should wear off- it lasts a bit longer than normal Polyjuice, but you should be back to normal by evening."
Harry lit up. "Like you in second year, when you turned into a…"
Hermione clapped her hand over Harry's mouth, and smiled tightly. "… A Slytherin. Yes. I used Polyjuice to turn into a Slytherin girl second year."
Harry's brows drew together in confusion. "No, Hermione, that's not right. Second year you turned into a…"
Everyone stared at Hermione in confusion. (Except for Ron, who was turning purple. However, he wasn't going to risk Hermione's wrath for the momentary pleasure of enlightening everyone. He had dated her once, thank you very much.)
"Erhm," Hermione said awkwardly. "I think Harry had a bit of Veritaserum."
Ginny squinted at him, and remembered, "He did have an anti-headache potion yesterday, but if it was Veritasterum, the effects should have worn… off…" Ginny gasped, covering her mouth with one hand, eyes wide.
Hermione sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "How much did he have?"
Ginny gulped, "The whole bottle."
"What's the usual dose?" Pansy murmured to Draco, shifting in her chair restlessly, her dark eyes hungrily lingering on two well-built Seventh Years. (Who were currently shirtless and bench pressing the Hufflepuff table. By themselves.)
"Oh. Rotten luck there. Wouldn't like to have my internal monologue exposed like that."
Luna looked thoughtfully at a group of Ravenclaws that were joyfully dancing on the tables, creating bursts of flower petals and streamers from their wands. (This was not pleasing to the other students, as Rose Petals do not go particularly well with treacle.) She mused, "I suppose there are no antidotes on hand for any of these maladies."
Draco looked at the chaos serenely. "Not on hand for most. Some can be brewed quickly, but others… they may take awhile." He smirked slightly. "But with my luck, I could probably brew them in a few hours."
Great, Pansy thought, With one application of Felix Felicitas, his ego somehow managed to leap from huge to gigantic. That'll really help his chances with…
"Humility, Malfoy, is not one of your redeeming virtues." Hermione said acidly.
Draco rolled his eyes. "Humor, Granger, is not one of yours."
Pansy winced at the carnage. (But was strangely turned on by it) Draco looked stunned; his grey eyes wide, as one manicured hand rose and cupped his tender, pink cheek. No, he's definitely not going to get anywhere. He needs more than luck. He needs a bloody miracle.
"Luckiest day of my life, my arse!" Hermione cried fiercely as she stormed out of the Great Hall.
Ginny looked around at the madness she helped create, and sighed heavily, raising her wand and jumping into the fray. This, she thought dully, Is going to be a long, long day.
Would you prefer an art or fic gift? A fic.
Describe your ideal gift in as few words as possible (plus rating): Comedy, a bit of Drama, perhaps a who-done-it??? Oh yes. A wildly imaginative creation. Purdy please.
Dealbreakers (absolute no-no's): No character death. Must be nice to Ron and Pansy. Not too much angst. Oh and please, if in the case that you decide it is imperative that Draco and Hermione bump uglies, I don't want non-con, s&m, etc. Lets keep it respectful.