A/N- 70-review mark!! A new record for me! Guess what, everybody!! All-new, never before seen content in this one! Ok, so it's not really all-new… it's something I found on my computer that I'm rewriting, and I added some, but it's still new to you! And it's nice for lazy people like me… Anyhoo, as for the last chapter, I forgot to explain Mono, so helping me to explain is the cast of Harry Potter!
Hermione: YES! I'm back in my own body!!!! -hugs herself- I missed you sooo much! What did that mean boy do to you?
Harry: HEY! What are you implying???
Venus Goddess: Don't worry. It's only temporary
Hermione:-cough - You suck. -cough -
Venus Goddess: -sighs- Just define the term or I'll make you fall in love with Goyle…
Hermione: -gulps - Yes, ma'am! Mono is abbreviated from the term mononucleosis--
Ron: -eyes glaze over- Come on, Hermione… that's the boring definition!
-Ginny pops into the room-
Ginny: Oooo, who has mono???? -winks lewdly- Hermione, what have you and Harry been doing?
Hermione: -to Harry- See how fast it gets around to other people???? And nothing, Ginny! Geez… no one has mono!!!
Ginny: Gee, then you're still available, aren't you, Harry?
Harry: Errr… I don't think we ever actually defined it…
Hermione: -sighs- It's also known as the kissing disease, as it can most commonly be transmitted through contact with the mouth. It's able to keep a person semi-quarantined and bed-bound for up to months, though the witching world's version's span has been cut down to about a week or two.
Ron: -sighs- Leave it to Hermione to make mono sound boring…
-Lavender pops into the room-
Lavender: Huh? Who has mono????? Oooo, -winks lewdly- Hermione, what have you and Harry been doing?
Hermione: GAH!!!!! NOTHING!!!!!
Ron: You know, Harry, you probably should have taken the mono offer. Not only do you get a week off of school, but you also get to watch that neat little vein in Hermione's forehead throb… Wicked…
Venus Goddess: Well, I hope that explains it! Now, on to the story before Hermione goes on a spelling spree! Thanks to NothingComesBetweenMeHarr (Thank you very much! Reviews like this are so fun to see in my inbox!) Villagers (Another birthday wish! Kewl… thanks for the rave review!) Nachoman1 (Oh, lovely and coherent! Flattery's so fun for me… thanks!) roxy-babe88- (Thanks for the great review!) xPussyWillowKittenx (Heehe… I am pretty odd… -grins- And the Polyjuice potion's full explanation is coming soon… though thanks for making me think on that one! I hadn't thought of that!) friucake (thanks! I'll try to update again soon!), DarkHuntress (Thanks! This chapter should be.. interesting, too.), Sweet 16 Movie Buff (Oh, another frequent... I'm starting to get spoiled…), tom (all right! Will do! Thanks for reviewing!), Artemis Moonsong (Honestly! It was refreshing… -grins- Thanks for reviewing faithfully), fanjimmy (Thanks for the b-day wish -sniffles- I didn't even get any cards from distant relatives yet… only friends and close family!! -sigh- One even sent a birthday card to my sister (whose b-day is Aug. 16th) And not me!!!! I tell ya, I'm starting to feel like Harry here… -grins-), Funness (I hope the mini-segment helped you… I know I had fun writing it! Thanks for the compliments!), PrincessEilonwy (Another faithful reviewer! I feel so loved… Daily Prophet, eh? That would be interesting… Oh, and another b-day wish! -sniff- Thanks!!!!), Trumpet-Geek (Hey! You're new AND the first reviewer! Alright!! And I was pondering that… hmmm, I guess we'll see how it turns out!)
I really appreciate everyone's review … What a great section… Anyways, thank you all very, very much!
Chapter Four: Just kill me now… Hey! Wait! Not really!!!
Lunch was quite possibly one of the most painful periods Harry had ever gone through. No, the Slytherins (or anyone else, for that matter) hadn't caught wind of the accident, but he was facing something quite more torturous than any torment they could dish out. Yes, staring back at him from his lunch plate tauntingly was the bane of all existence for a teenage boy; its leafy greens taunting him from that most sacred spot that he usually filled with steak-and-kidney pie or a nice pork chop meal. Yes, Hermione had commandeered his plate and was now forcing him to choose between starvation and salad. The week looked bleaker than ever, though Hermione continued to munch happily on her sandwich, blissfully unaware of the mental battle Harry was raging beside her against this monstrosity of a meal.
"Watching the old waistline, Harry?" Ron whispered, spearing the single piece of lettuce garnish from his plate and brandishing it at him menacingly.
"Oh, shut up, Ron. I'm in a bad enough mood without having to eat this Dursley diet food." He groaned, then turned to Hermione with a renewed light in his eyes and whispered, "Hermione? I think that you look fine the way you are. In fact, you'd probably beat Pansy in a swim suit competition."
"Swim suit competition?" Ron murmured, drooling slightly at more than the food, "That sounds like fun… You muggles have some great traditions…"
"Keep it up, Harry." Hermione glowered almost inaudibly, "But flattery like that will get you nowhere but the hospital wing. Oh, and don't think I won't botch your little Quidditch match against Slytherin if you don't start to cooperate. Now. Eat your lunch, dammit."
"I don't think she has to try botching it, Harry." Ron moaned quietly, careful to avoid the wrath of Hermione, "But, really, what did Dumbledore do to make her so touchy? And why the hell are you eating salad?"
"It's a long story," Harry sighed, stabbing another leaf of lettuce more violently than needed, "But I'll explain later. All I've gotta say is that it's gonna be one looooong week."
Hermione groaned and motioned for them to follow her up from the table.
"I think I'll go for a walk. You two care to join?" She said, normal-toned.
Ron glanced at Harry, who shrugged, happy to leave the salad for the darkest recesses of the Hogwarts' trash bins. He went to straddle the bench to get out, but a buzz of chatter and several eyes (all directed at he and Hermione) watching caused him to pause. Seamus grinned evilly and gave him the thumbs up, while Fred and George ogled at him, making hand signs of simultaneous 1's and 0's.
"What?" Harry demanded fiercely, only to have half the students at tables in the vicinity to collapse into giggles.
"Err, Hermione?" Ginny's voice quavered, "You're kind of flashing everyone."
Though no one noticed Hermione in the corner, she smacked her hand against her forehead and muttered a few fragments about murder. Harry groaned and gave Fred, George, and Seamus a ruder hand gesture right back, and made way for the door way, dreading the wrath of Hermione all the while.
Was the Great Hall always this big? He thought desolately as the numerous pairs of eyes followed his every move, And were there always this many students at the school?
"I swear!" Hermione groaned as they turned the corner towards the lake, which was deserted of the usual lovey-dovey couples today, probably because of the sudden drop into almost-winter temperatures. "You leave him alone for one moment and he shows the whole school your underwear! Coupled with him in my Arithmancy classes, he'll destroy my reputation by the end of the week!"
"Yeah, well same goes here. You can't even fly a broomstick and Gryffindor is going to lose to Slytherin for the first time ever when 'I'm' playing!"
Hermione glared poisonously at him, and he almost thought of backing down, but it was too late.
"Thanks for having some faith in me!" She snarled.
Ron slowly backed away. It was never good to interrupt either of them when they got on a roll, but he'd never seen them have a row with each other where they were both raving mad. And getting in the middle of that couldn't be good for his continued health. Still, as the tension escalated, he knew that they had to vent on someone, and that someone was tragically him by default.
"I'm sensing that the talk with Dumbledore wasn't exactly what you wanted, was it?" Ron murmured, waiting for the explosion.
Instead, Hermione and Harry both seemed to deflate a bit, and Hermione sank to the grass with a sigh.
"It's not as though it's that bad… It could be much worse, I suppose. It's just that we're going to be acting like each other for the whole. bloody. week. I don't want to play Quidditch, I don't want to go to Divination, and I certainly don't want to spend the week in the boy's dorm. It was either that or being out sick with mono all week, and—"
Hermione glared slightly at Ron, who was having a hard time suppressing laughter.
"Yes?" Hermione glared fiercely.
"Err.. nothing." He said guiltily, trying not to think about the rumors that would fly around school, "Come on, Hermione; don't take it so hard. You'll be fine… you're a genius. You'll come up with something. You always do. How about a Polyjuice potion? That seems fitting right now."
Harry perked up, but Hermione picked up a rock and hurled in into the lake, making an extremely large splash and making Ron glad she wasn't aiming for his head.
"You expect me to find something where Dumbledore didn't? Fat chance. And you know that a Polyjuice potion takes over a month to brew by oneself. And a considerable amount of stealing, too. Snape'd never let us have any of his stores either, I bet. Assuming he still has stores."
"Huh?" Harry puzzled.
"Oh, nothing." Hermione groaned in exasperation, "Come on, we need to go the Care of Magical Creatures, anyways. And Harry—?"
"Don't punch Malfoy if he makes some snide comment about my panties or something. That's not my style… most of the time." Hermione said with a grin.
"Well, can I?" Ron said with a wistful look.
"Oh, whatever." Hermione muttered, rolling her eyes, "Guys…"
"You know, I really don't feel comfortable with my body complaining about men… it seems a little off."
"Oh, shut up, Harry. Now, remember, if we make one slip like the one we made to Seamus in the hallway—"
Harry and Ron rolled their eyes at each other and pretended to eagerly raise their hands.
"Oh! I know! We'd suffer constant ridicule at the hands of our Slytherin classmates!" Harry grinned.
"Pick me! And remember, Harry," Ron said, mimicking Hermione's tone, "If you don't get every question right and you ruin my reputation, I'll jinx you from here to—"
Hermione glowered at them, but panic slowly took over.
"Errr, Hermione?" Harry said in growing dread, "What is our lesson today? Please, let it be flobberworms…"
She sighed and picked up her pace a bit more, making a beeline for Hagrid's hut, and nearly tripping over a inconveniently-placed stone in her haste.
"I don't know… Hagrid said that it would be a 'surprise' last lesson. I have a very bad feeling about Hagrid's idea of a surprise, too. Please, just pretend like you know, and—"
"Give up, 'Mione," Ron said, eyeing up Harry, "You're doomed."
"I know. Maybe if we make it to Hagrid's early, he'll tell us…" Hermione said, flustered.
Unfortunately, as they made their way across the school grounds, the forms of their Slytherin classmates were determinable as well as an absence of Hagrid's usual hulking figure.
"Hey, there, Granger" A familiar voice drawled, "We thought we'd come early to see if you'd put on another show for us."
Harry glowered and he and Hermione held Ron back.
"Then you'd better go ask Pansy, because she's the only one desperate enough to do that for you. Of course, you probably had daddy pay her off like everything else." Harry said, surprised that it hadn't come out as something more like 'Shove off, Malfoy'.
The effect, however, was interesting, he had to admit. Draco's eyebrows raised in shock and Pansy flew into a temper, her face bright red.
"YOU GRIMY LITTLE MUD-BLOOD!" She bellowed, flying at Harry, fists flailing.
And if there's anything more frightening than a thoroughly pissed-off woman, Harry had yet to see it.
"Is that the best insult you've got?"
"You always think you're so much better than everyone else, don't you?" Pansy sneered, nose-to-nose with Harry.
"Well, I personally think that's more of a Slytherin trait." Harry said, despite his best attempts at keeping his rebellious mouth shut.
This was rather fascinating… an unfiltered Hermione was an interesting idea to ponder, but when it led to this scary girl in his face, it lost most of its novelty. And then there was the fact that he was a channel to Hermione's thoughts, which made him even more uncomfortable. Until, that is, he was snapped out of his pondering by a sharp slap to the face.
"That's because we are, and you are scum. Don't you ever forget that again."
Hermione, Ron, and the rest of the class (who were now filtering in to a very interesting sight) stood back in utter speechlessness as Harry wrestled her to the ground by the hair and shoved her face in the muddy soil.
"Nobody slaps Hermione Granger. Understood?" Harry said through clenched teeth, not sure if this was Hermione or him in control.
Pansy glared up at her venomously, but gave the smallest shrug of her shoulders possible. Her friends immediately rushed over, twittering and trying to remember cleaning spells while they glared at Harry, making nasty comments.
"That was bloody awesome, Hermione." Seamus said in awe.
"Eh?" Harry said, slowly realizing that almost the entire class was now assembled around the scene of the fight, "Thanks, I suppose…"
As the buzz began to grow louder, Hagrid appeared from the top of the hill and began lumbering his way down alarmedly as he spotted Pansy's mud-covered robes and the bright red handmark on Hermione's face.
"Erkay, class, settle down!" He commanded over the hubbub, his voice carrying rather well, "Can somebody please explain wha's goin' here?"
"Hermione pushed me into the mud!" Pansy immediately cried, pointing an accusing finger at Harry, "She should get detention or something!"
"Yeah, well Pansy deserved it." Harry said simply.
"Eh? Well, wha'd she do, Hermione?"
"Well, I'm not one to stoop to her level of finger-pointing, but she slapped me… and called me a mudblood, not that I care…" Harry shrugged.
"WHA?" Hagrid bellowed, his face turning bright red as his enormous hands clenched into balls.
"And Draco made some snide comment." Seamus added helpfully.
Several of the students began to speak at once, recounting their version of the fight as Hagrid attempted to get his temper (and class) under control.
"All righ'! I understand, already! Pansy, I'll be giving the report to Dumbledore along with a detention slip. I'm sure he'll inform yeh to the date when yeh meet with him. Twenty points off Slytherin for now."
Pansy's mouth opened and shut soundlessly and the Slytherin side of the class produced several cries of protests, which Hagrid muted with a stern glare reminiscent of McGonagall, that is, if McGonagall were about double her current height and width. Needless to say, the class soon fell quiet, or as quiet as it got.
"Now, who can define a faerie fer me?"
"Besides what Harry is?" Draco muttered with a chuckle.
Hermione shot her hand into the air without thinking and mentally kicked herself.
"Err, Harry?" Hagrid said, mildly puzzled.
"Faeries are supernatural beings who have very powerful magic that has the power to distort human perception. Despite popular belief, they can be any size because of this power." She said, trying to stop herself.
"Tha's right…" He said, torn between being pleased and confused, "Ten points to Gryffindor."
Harry nudged Hermione slightly and she squeezed her eyes shut in frustration. Their Slytherin classmates erupted into laughter, only to be silenced by Hagrid.
"Now, there's been a problem with faeries meddlin' in the forest. How would we go about getting' rid of them?"
This time, no one raises their hand, though it takes Hermione considerable effort not to shout the answer to Harry.
"None of yeh knows the answer?" Hagrid murmured in disbelief.
The class stared at Harry, who chuckled nervously and avoided eye contact, that old trick of the unwilling volunteer.
"Hermione?" Hagrid said hopefully.
"Would you, errr.. lure them away?" Harry mumbled.
"Well, yes, but with what?"
Hagrid seems to flinch, but plays it off by pretending to bat a fly off his arm.
"Yeah, yeh could, but it wouldn't get rid of the critters permanently."
A cumulative gasp went up in the class. The unbeatable Hermione Granger had gotten her first question wrong, and no one seemed to believe it but the Slytherins, who snickered loudly.
"Not as smart as we think we are, huh, Hermione?" Draco stage-whispered.
"Go shove your head up your—" He began, almost inaudibly, before he felt Hermione's glare piercing him.
"Five points off Slytherin for that outburst, Malfoy. I didn't see ye' volunteering. Anyhow, for the type of faeries we'll be dealin' with, the strongest form of the 'erb Ue is deadly to them. We won't be going for anything quite that-- permanent, but we'll be spreading the weak potion around the forest. Yeh gotta be careful, seeing as this type of faeries are very dangerous. There're two types we'll be dealing with, the Duergar and the Lhiannan-Shee."
This time, Harry looks rather panicked, despite himself, and his hand shoots into the air.
"B-But Hagrid, don't they use powerful dark magic to lure and even sometimes kill people?" He gaped, starting to get more and more nervous about the next lesson… and the whole foot-in-mouth syndrome he seemed to be suffering from.
The class' volume rises in a range from puzzled to startled to downright disturbed.
"We'll have it under control when we go out… yeh are wizards, after all. In fact, you'll be brewing the Ue yourselves in Potions."
The Gryffindor side of the class's voices rise in dread, and Neville groans audibly.
"Don' worry, 's easy." Hagrid said in a placating tone.
"Or so HE thinks... I'm gonna die!!!!!!" Neville whimpered to Seamus in terror.
"And, yeh'll have Snape's help." Hagrid said as several Gryffindors snorted cynically.
"With dying or the potion?" Harry mused thoughtfully, only to be roused by Hermione's elbow in his rib.
"Stay in character, dammit!" She whispered fretfully.
Ron groaned and rolled his eyes.
"Just peachy-- I have a feeling that only the Slytherins will be left after this expedition..."
Lavender Brown looked at him from a few people over and did the same.
"Tell me about it. Snape will probably ignore us if we ask for help-- either that or take points from Gryffindor. Great. He'll get to exercise his two favorite past-times."
"I don't wanna DIE!!!!" Neville bemoaned to himself.
"We WILL be going around as a class, right?" Seamus said, nervously eyeing Neville, "No partners, right?"
"Actually, we're going around in pairs like this: Harry and Pansy, Ron and Blaise, Neville and Seamus, Draco and Hermione, Goyle and Dean, and Lavender and Crabbe." He droned on with the rest of the class list, and the outraged noises came from both sides of the class.
"What does he mean pairing us up like that? I mean, come on! Blaise!" Ron shouted, shocked.
"Yeah!" Draco piped up in probably the only thing he ever agreed with Ron on, "What's the deal with these pairings? There's no way I'm going into the forest with that mu—"
"Yeh all knae that Dumbledore's been telling us that inter-house relations are important, so I decided that now was a perfect time to help the process a little." Hagrid declared proudly.
"But with Slytherins?" Ron moaned defeatedly to Hermione and Harry.
"I knew it." Seamus said, resigning himself, "Even when its inter-house groups…"
"All righ', settle down, settle down. I want your Ue ready for the next lesson. Class dismissed.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione stayed after the rest of the class was departed, and Hagrid looked at Harry's mark with concern.
"Is tha' still hurting you, Hermione? I think I might have a small piece of dragon steak left over from—well, you know…"
As he turned to go into his hut, Hermione and Harry exchanged glances and followed. It was obvious that Hagrid hadn't yet heard of their dilemma or he'd have been talking about it.
"No, I'm fine… but, errr, Hagrid, have you talked to Dumbledore yet today?" Harry asked.
"Dumbledore?" He said in mild bafflement, "What would I need to talk to him for today? Staff meetings are at the end of the week."
"Did you get any post?" Hermione moaned.
"Well, I can't say I've checked. The teachers get their mail delivered to their rooms, yeh know, and I was out making arrangements with Snape. Took a while, that did."
"So Snape didn't tell you anything… unusual?"
Hagrid looked at the two suspiciously.
"Why? Is there something yeh three want to tell me? Here, let me brew a pot of tea or…"
"Oh, I knew it… bloody Snape probably did this on purpose, not telling you…" Hermione sighed, "You see, we had an accident in Potions class, and—"
"Yeah?" Hagrid said with a sigh, "Don't tell me that this is another 'Snape is out to get us.' kind of thing. How many times do I have to tell yeh—"
"No, it really wasn't his fault." Hermione sighed, "Well, we accidentally brewed a Switching Serum, and… well, I'm Hermione, not Harry."
The shock on Hagrid's face was rather amusing. He stood with his mouth open, and the teakettle fell from his hands, shattering into several hundred pieces on his floor.
"Reparo." Hermione said, pulling out her wand and placing the now-whole kettle on the table.
"I didn't think that Hermione would normally fight Pansy. And I knew that yeh would've known about Ue… but how did Herm—err, Harry know about the Duergar and the Lhiannan-Shee?" Hagrid muttered, still getting over the shock.
"That's what we're off to find out right now."
"An' I put yeh with Draco, Harry! Try to keep unner control, please. If—"
"It's alright, Hagrid. I'll figure a way to put up with a prat like Malfoy." Harry sighed.
"I'm sorry if I embarrassed yeh in front of the class, Hermione. It's just that yeh always know the answers, a real teacher's lifesaver…"
"Oh, its fine, Hagrid. It was only one question." Hermione smiled while managing to glare at Harry the tiniest bit.
Harry coughed nervously and sighed.
"Well, we'd better get going. We're probably going to have to talk to Dumbledore again today. Just… please, don't tell anyone."
"Yeh can trust me with a secret." Hagrid said, oblivious to the skeptical stares from the three students, "Well, good luck to yeh. I'll be readin' this letter, tha's fer sure."
Outside, Hermione glared at Harry downright evilly.
"There's no way I'm gonna get through the week. Never. I knew we just should have said we were sick! Of all the bad ideas... I can't believe I actually-- EVERYONE THINKS I GOT A QUESTION WRONG!!!! YOU'D BETTER STUDY AND NEVER MAKE ME LOOK BAD AGAIN, GOT IT????"
"Calm down, Har—Hermione." Ron said, rather cowed.
"I HATE THIS! I'm going to my room! I'm just glad that there are no more classes today! AND I'm starting to smell!!!!!!" She screeched, starting back toward the castle.
Ron looked from Hermione's retreating figure to Harry with sympathy.
"I pity you. How do you two do it?"
"I'd almost rather be at the Dursley's right now than deal with this." He said, gesturing to his body.
"Don't look now—" Ron warned, looking past Harry.
Surely enough, Harry turned around, only to see Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil rushing toward him. He looked around frantically, searching for an escape route, but found none. Steeling himself, he turned back.
"Hi, Hermione!" Parvati called, sealing his fate.
"Ermm, hi, Lavender, Parvati. What's wrong?"
"Can you help us with the ingredients to the potion early tomorrow? We really don't want to mess up." Lavender pleaded.
Panic swept over Harry in a cold wave. This was not going to be good; he didn't even know how to brew the damned potion.
I'd probably do pretty bad in most of my classes if it weren't for her… He mused, wondering when the last time he'd had to pick up a book and really study had been. Too long ago to remember, that was for sure…
"Ummm…" He said intelligently.
Lavender and Parvati both looked at him pleadingly and he gave in.
"Ok… but—" He protested in vain.
"Thank you soooo much, Hermione! I'm gonna get you the best Christmas gift ever!" Lavender squealed.
Parvati nudged Lavender and looked pointedly at Ron, but Lavender blushed furiously and retreated, her friend in tow to choruses of "Shut up!".
"What was that all about?" Ron muttered.
"Honestly, sometimes guys are SO dense." Harry scoffed, not really thinking.
A look of utter betrayal crossed Ron's face, displayed by his mouth hanging open.
"What did you say?" He gaped, horror-struck.
"Dense as in stupid— Oh crap, this definitely isn't good... I've gotta go talk to Hermi-- erm," He glanced across the grounds in case Lavender and co. were heading back, "That is-- Harry... before I go crazy!!!"
"I think you're too late."
"Shut up, Ron!" Harry called, sprinting across the lawn as though his sanity depended on it— which, in fact, it did.
Post-story A/N- Oh, a long post!!!! Still… I can't wait to get to when they go into the forest! I have a veeeerry interesting idea for that one.. it'll probably be in about two chapters, though. The Quidditch game should be interesting, too…-sigh- Oh well… As always, the periwinkle box is calling. Until next time, everyone! I lurve you all for helping me hit the seventy-mark!!!! Questions, comments, flames, and ideas further than that which the periwinkle box can communicate can be sent to me at laceyk1717 at ! Au revoir!