Wow, we already have fifteen chapters! We actually never thought that the story would make it so far! That's quite cool^^ Although it is getting weirder and weirder with every chapter...
And this chapter was up relatively fast, but don't expect that to be normal. We are still quite busy...
Latrisha: "Kaeera...will we ever finish this story?
Kaeera: "Hopefully....maybe in two or three years."
Latrisha: "We have been writing this for nearly a year now....that's kinda scary."
Kaeera: "I know....and we still have no idea how to end it. Well, probably with Ron and Hermione getting together. But I can't write romance."
Latrisha: "Me neither."
*both share a sigh*
Kaeera: "Remind me once again why we are standing here and talk about this."
Latrisha: *shrugs* "Dunno." *starts eating an apple*
Experiences and Hidden Feelings
Confusing Experiences and Hidden Feelings
by Kaeera & Latrisha
Chapter 15: The Week of the Fuming Neptune
"I don't like this." Hermione stared miserably at the stove and the small pan she held over the fire. Three eggs were frying in the pan, and it reminded her of the time when she had went camping with her parents when she had been younger. It wasn't a pleasant memory; her father had managed to burn the food, the tent had collapsed and it had started raining. The girl sighed defeatedly.
They had been told to divide in groups of three or four and had been handed a stove each. Now they were sitting in the Great Hall and tried to cook their breakfast, which of course proved to be quite a problem.
The Great Hall resembled a huge camping place. Everywhere students were sitting, walking around or trying to figure out how the stoves and the other muggle items worked. Since most students were pure-bloods, they had no idea of real muggle camping and therefore kept staring at the stoves, prodding them with their (now) useless wands and saying things like: "Come on! Burn! I'm hungry…please? Just for five minutes?"
Hermione just rolled with her eyes. She had tried to explain how this worked, but had given up after the fifth try, returning to cooking her own breakfast with Harry and Neville. Since Ron was still in the Hospital Wing, Neville had joined their little group. Unfortunately neither he nor Harry was of a big help, for both had no idea of how to use camping tools.
Hogwarts was in Chaos, to be quite frank. Professor McGonagall, unable to transform back to her human self, strolled through the students as a cat. Somehow, she still managed to glare at them so that they stopped doing nonsense – quite strange, if one considered that she had only the height of an average cat. It was embarrassing to be frightened by a thing which is only half a meter big, but this eyes…
There were different opinions among the students – some found it great that they didn't have to attend their usual classes; some found the lack of comfort deeply disturbing (Of course, Malfoy belonged to them and was complaining the loudest).
"I don't *like* this!" Hermione repeated and poked the eggs rather angrily.
"We know, Hermione," Harry sighed, "But killing our breakfast won't change anything, ya know."
The girl looked down on the eggs which she had managed successfully to cut into little pieces with her fork. "Oh," she said and blushed slightly. "I mean, it's just….everybody seems so confused, even the teachers, and McGonagall is a cat and Ron is in the hospital wing and we don't have lessons and everything is totally crazy…"
Neville sent her a pitiful look. "I totally understand you, but I must admit that I am quite glad about a week without Potions." He shuddered slightly as Snape rushed past and sent them an evil sneer.
"It's just a week, Hermione. You'll see it'll be over faster than expected!"
"But the lessons were supposed to start in three days…"
"Come on, we can afford to lose three days of teaching, can't we? It's not the world, really!"
She muttered something inaudible under her breath and Harry chose to ignore it. When she was in one of her moods, nobody could deal with her. Instead he watched the other people in the hall, curious about what they would do.
Most of them were eating and talking quietly. The Weasley twins were nowhere to be seen, but they were probably preparing their latest prank. Harry didn't know what they had in store, but after the grins they had been wearing when Dumbledore had announced that the Week of the Fuming Neptune had started, he suspected that it was nothing good.
The boy-who-lived realised that Hogwarts was quite a strange place when there was no magic. The pictures on the wall were silent and resembled those old pictures one saw in muggle castles. The magic doors and walls had simply disappeared, and it was quite boring to walk through the corridors – not even a simple step changed under one's feet! It really was like in a muggle castle.
"Harry, what do you think they will make us do during this week?" Neville asked, while Hermione handed out the eggs.
The girl hadn't been very pleased with the idea of cooking, but since she had been the only one to know how to use a camping stove, there hadn't been another possibility. Unfortunately, she wasn't a good cook, although that was an understatement. As good as Hermione was in school, as bad tasted everything she made with her own hands. The eggs were no exception.
Usually it wasn't that hard to fry eggs, was it? One just broke them into the pan, waited a few seconds, moved them around so that they wouldn't burn – and finito! With bread and a tad salt you have a delicious meal. Of course you shouldn't forget the oil, or you will have quite a difficult task of cleaning the pan.
Hermione's eggs, however, were of a sickly grey colour and were burnt in some places while still feeling glibbery in others.
Harry and Neville just stared at them and shared a look of doom, then decided to switch off their taste and eat the eggs without complaining.
"I have no idea," he tried to answer Neville's question between to bites and quickly gulped it down as he received one of Hermione's looks. "They can't let us run around all the time, can they?"
"Maybe they'll teach us about muggle things?" Hermione suggested, slowly returning to her old self. "Ya know, it would be interesting for the whole castle to learn how a telephone works, or a television."
"I doubt they will do that. Most of the teachers have no idea how the muggle manage to survive without magic – they are as clueless as Ron when it comes to that!"
Hermione frowned. "Oh yes, Ron – we should go visit him. Madame Pomfrey said that he would be alright in the morning. He certainly doesn't want to miss the Week of the Fuming Neptune. Although I can't understand why."
"MORNING HARRY!" boomed a new voice, as Hagrid entered the Great Hall, holding a huge sack in his hands. He strolled over to the three and Harry could feel how Neville tensed beside him. The clumsy boy had quite a respect of Hagrid.
"An' 'morning, 'Mione!" he greeted the brown-haired girl as well. "Quiet a chaos out there, don' cha think? Everybody seems crazy since the magic has disappeared…" The giant man shook his head and let his eyes travel around the room. Most of the students had finished their breakfast by now and were leaving the Hall. They were allowed to walk freely through Hogwarts as long as they stayed in groups, but it wasn't permitted to leave the grounds or to venture more than a few hundred meters away from the castle.
"It's strange," Harry set his plate down and stood up. Even when he was standing, Hagrid still towered over him. "Even the Ghosts have disappeared, and everything is so…silent. And McGonagall is a cat."
"I know," Hagrid chuckled, "Poor Minerva – I know that it's not funny, but the idea of her walking around as a cat all the week is somewhat amusing." A thoughtful look crossed his face. "Hmm, I wonder if she can still take points from the students," then he slapped himself. "Duh, stupid me, nobody can, not with the magic disappeared an' all that…" He rambled a bit more and then finally walked away, saying something about being busy and having important things to do.
Neville stared open-mouthed after him. "He's…weird." He finally said with a hint of awe in his voice. Harry and Hermione had to suppress a snicker and shared a knowing look.
"Oh yes, indeed, he is."
Then they were interrupted by a huge flame which came out of a stove not far away from them. A student had managed to use too much gas and the stove had nearly exploded. Hermione sighed and then scurried over, teaching yet another lesson in 'how-to-use-a-muggle-divice-without-getting-burned'.
"Let's just hope that she doesn't teach them how to cook." Harry mumbled and shook his head, waiting for her to finish. He was eager to visit his friend. Ron certainly would be angry that he had missed the beginning of the Week, and was probably waiting impatiently for them to arrive.
The forest was beautiful; snow covered every tree and glittered in the morning sun. It was silent, because every animal had decided to hide somewhere. It seemed like a place out of a wonderland, charmed and beautiful, in ever-lasting peace….until a cursing voice disturbed this feeling.
"Stupid Christmas! I wanted to spend it with my friends, but no, they sent me here, in the middle of NOWHERE! Gosh, they don't even have a proper skate rink. Where am I? On mars???" The girl threw her hands in the air and then put them back in her pockets – the air was damn cold.
She had decided to do some cross-country skiing this morning – it wasn't as if there was anything better to do, and it was better than hanging around in the house. She had been quite fond of this sport when she had been little, but had soon abandoned it after she had discovered the positive points of a skateboard.
Her breath crystallized in front of her, so cold was the air. Glaring at every tree in her reach, Nat continued her way through the forest. She wasn't afraid of wild animals – every bear, wolf or whatever would have probably run away if it saw her face.
"Who cares if I am bad in school? I don't *mind*! And I certainly WON'T study, no, not after they have done this to me. They are destroying my wonderful, PRECIOUS holidays and I….ARGH!"
She cursed as her left foot with the ski sank into an invisible hole on the ground she hadn't noticed before. Cold, frozen snow entered her shoes and immediately melted to icy water, soaking her socks. Nat just glared at her shoes, maybe hoping that the snow would get afraid and disappear, but it had no use.
"I hate my life." She told the forest gloomily.
The trees seemed to glare back at her and she suddenly felt uncomfortable. She hadn't looked where she was going, and hadn't paid attention to the time. Angrily she realised that she had no idea where she was, nor how long it had taken her. Nat had been too absorbed in her brooding to notice anything.
Nothing moved around her; the trees were silent. Somehow, she found this disturbing and quickly continued her way. Aunt Kate had said that this forest was very small and it took only one hour to walk through it and return to the way which drew a circle around the forest, but Nat was pretty sure that she had been skiing for more than an hour, and she was *still* in the forest.
"This is why I live in a big city!"
Nat realised that talking to trees wasn't a very good sign, but she was still angry. Rather forcefully, she continued her way through the trees and the snow, which reached up to her knees.
Her socks were still soaked and made squatting noises with every step.
The first thing he noticed was that his head was pounding. I hurt. Immensely. He wanted to touch his forehead, but realised awkwardly that lifting his hand had become an unsolvable task. Groaning slightly, he blinked a few times and turned his head until he could recognise his surroundings.
Ron wrinkled his brows in confusion as he realised that he was in the Hospital Wing. What was he doing here? Was he ill? He couldn't remember falling ill…and neither had he and Harry pulled some dangerous stunts. They hadn't visited Hagrid either, so he hadn't been bitten by a dragon…so what had happened?
He dimly remembered that it was winter, and Christmas, and that he had been incredibly happy yesterday. Oh yes, exactly, he had received a wonderful present from Hermione…
And why was he ill? His nose was running! His head hurt! And he felt dizzy as if he had a fever. Oh well, he probably had.
The redhead sat up and leant on his elbows, groaning again. It remembered him of the time when he had been little – he had caught a really bad cold back then, but his mum had managed to make him feel better with a wave of her wand. Confused, Ron asked himself why Madame Pomfrey hadn't done that.
He blinked and looked out of the window, surprised to see that it was already morning – he had slept through the night? Coughing slightly, he fell back on the bed, waiting for someone to appear.
It didn't take long and he heard footsteps approaching. Two persons entered the hospital wing and were obviously surprised to find him lying on the bed instead of walking around and waiting to be declared healthy enough to leave.
"Morning Ron," Harry greeted with a slightly worried expression. Ron's face was flushed and sweat glittered on his forehead, indeed not a sign that he was well again, as Hermione had said.
"Morning," croaked the redhead and coughed once more. "Care to tell me why I am here? I can't seem to remember…"
"Well, you stayed outside too long and fell sick, so Hermione brought you here…but Pomfrey made you drink a potion and you should be okay now…" Harry stopped as Hermione slapped her hands over her mouth.
"Oh my…" the girl's eyes widened in terror. "The potion! It must have been too late! And so it lost its effect, that's why Ron is still sick!"
"Huh?" Ron, still somewhat dazed, didn't understand any of this.
Harry slapped a hand on his face and sighed. "You're right….usually her potions take immediate effect!"
Then he turned to Ron, deciding to help the boy out of his confusion. "Well, to be quite frank, the Week of the Fuming Neptune started yesterday and therefore all magic has disappeared. Apparently it has begun just a few minutes before you got your potion, thus cancelling every positive effect of the medicine. That's why you are still ill…..how do you feel, by the way?"
Ron pulled a face. "That's so typical – the Week starts, an event which occurs every five hundreds years or so, and I am in the hospital wing, feeling to sick to get up. ARGH! I hate my luck!"
Harry and Hermione just shared an exaggerated sigh.
"Why are most of the teachers still here although we are supposed to have holidays?"
"Probably because of the Fuming Neptune – they need to take care of Hogwarts. Why are you asking? It just serves our purpose!"
"You're right, I was just curious." They both laughed and rummaged through the bag they had brought with them.
"Those muggle things are quite nice, although not as interesting as our own inventions. But it should be enough."
"Have you remembered everything?"
"Yes, of course – you're insulting me, my dear brother."
"I would never do that, my fellow twin."
Once again quiet laughter filled the air as the twins glanced around the corner to the staff's room. The professors were holding a meeting and the twin's had chosen this particular moment to start the series of pranks they had planned. It was early afternoon and the castle was silent.
"We have to be extra-careful, McGonagall is probably near the door, and you know how good cats can hear!"
"Yeah, yeah, I know."
The duo sneaked closer to the door, Fred holding some metallic instruments in his hand.
"Like I said before," he whispered and grinned, "It's always good to learn muggle techniques." And he put the tools into the lock of the door, working silently until a soft click told them that the first step had been accomplished – they had locked the teachers into the staff room.
"Without magic they won't be able to escape." George smirked.
"Gives us enough time to finish this!" Fred agreed and they started to work on the corridor.
In truth, the teachers wouldn't even notice for the next thirty minutes that the door was locked, and then the twins would have everything finished and opened the lock again, but they went for the words 'Better Safe than Sorry'. If one of the teachers went out earlier, he would see what they were doing…and well, that wouldn't be funny anymore!
Carefully, they took some strange coloured powder in a box out of their bag and a bottle with water. They filled the powder into the liquid and shook it until it was clear again. Then they took some brushes and started to paint every door handle in the reach with the liquid. Soon their task was finished and they unlocked the door to the staff room, disappearing quickly to continue their work in other parts of the castle.
"You know what? Everybody will *know* that it has been us!"
"Yeah, but nobody can actually prove it!"
"And the teachers can't take points of our house!"
"…..I like this week!"
After visiting Ron in the hospital wing, we decided to return back to the Great Hall. Nobody really knew what to do – I mean we couldn't play most of the games, because they involved magic; we weren't allowed to go outside, and the teachers…
Yes, the teachers. The thought suddenly popped into my head, and I looked around, realising that I hadn't seen one of them for the last hour. I had quite a few questions – if we had to stay in the Great Hall for the whole week, for example, or how we would cook lunch (I was firmly convinced that I wouldn't survive this week if I had to live from the…food Hermione cooked.)
"I wonder where the teachers are." Hermione voiced the same thing I was thinking.
I shrugged. "Well, they are probably discussing how to make this week the best for us, inventing rules and stuff." I felt somewhat grumpy. I had expected to be able to enjoy this week with Ron, but now that he was in the hospital, it was somewhat boring.
Don't understand me wrong; Hermione was great and I liked being her friend, but when it came to having fun, we shared different opinions. Oh well, at least it was not as extreme as Ron and Hermione, who seemed to have different opinions about every topic. I really wondered when the two would officially come together…and who would win this famous bet.
I opened another door and was surprised to walk directly into Ginny, who had been opening the door from the other side. "Oh, Harry!" she said and blushed a bit.
I smiled at her. "Hey Gin, are you on your way to Ron?"
She nodded and looked a bit uncomfortable. "Is he alright again? Why didn't he return with you?"
Hermione sighed and started to explain. "Because he is still ill; it was too late yesterday and the magic of the potion lost its effect. He's up in the hospital wing with a really bad cold, and it hasn't much use to speak with him, because he's too tired and cranky to hold a decent conversation."
I didn't miss the guilty look on her face; there was something she didn't tell, and I had the suspicion that it involved Ron. Ah well, they probably did something….argh, what was I thinking? I had the decency to blush and quickly directed my thoughts into another direction.
"Oh, and by the way, I wouldn't do that." Ginny interrupted my thoughts and pointed to the door handle on which my hand was still lying.
"What?" I didn't understand.
"Touching things without looking at them first. Fred and George have started their…ehm, little jokes, and you will find them everywhere in the castle." A somewhat pained expression crossed her face which was framed by her beautiful, red curls.
Hermione beside me groaned and I quickly pulled my hand away, staring at the palm intently. Nope, I couldn't discover anything. "What have they done?"
Ginny shrugged. "Don't ask me…you will see it when you cross the way of some teachers. Ehm, and take my advice – better go *not* and see Snape right now….he's…very furious."
Hermione rolled her eyes, "Snape is always angry – but Gin, what have they done with the door handles?"
Ginny blushed and held up her hands, looking on the ground. My jaw fell open as I saw the palms of her hands which were coloured in a bright, shining green colour. It was glowing slightly in the dim interior of the corridors, letting Ginny's face appear pale against the soft light.
She just nodded. "I just wanted to push the door open – I didn't see anything at first, but after a few minutes, my hands started glowing. I hope it will go away soon…"
In horror I stared at my own hands and was relieved that nothing was there – yet. Hermione rolled her eyes and brushed past me. "Honestly, those two….," she mumbled aggravated, carefully avoiding to touch anything.
Ginny stared after her and frowned. "Is something wrong with her?" She asked and fell in step with me as I followed Hermione at a slightly slower pace.
I shrugged again. "I think she's worried about Ron, and she's hiding something, but I don't know what." I scratched my head, feeling overwhelmed by the whole situation. Ron was ill, Hermione was in a weird mood, the teachers had suddenly disappeared and adding to that came the fact that the magic had gone and that the whole wizarding world would be seen by muggles.
"They'll need a LOT of memory charms to make this undone."
"Dad already told us that they will have to work overtime." Ginny said sadly. "The outside world must be a chaos."
"I guess we can be glad that we are in Hogwarts. It's safe here."
Ginny smiled. "Well, relatively…it can never be safe when Fred and George are around."
I was on the verge of agreeing when suddenly Professor Flitwick rounded around a corner. He walked past us without sending us another glance and my jaw fell open as I looked at his head.
His hair was shining in the most brilliant purple I had ever seen.
His steps echoed through the hallway and Ginny and I stood like frozen, mouths wide open. After a few minutes of awkward silence, the redhead beside me finally regained her composure and coughed. "They are really enjoying this, aren't they?"
I nodded mutely, stilled shocked by the sight, and wondered what else they had in store. The twins were probably working overtime right now, so that really everybody in Hogwarts got his fair share of their pranks.
"I just hope that they don't do anything too extreme – it might be dangerous!" I said and brushed through my hair.
Ginny looked at me and started giggling. "Harry….your hands!"
"What?" I replied irritated and turned my head to look down on my hands.
My palms and fingers were glowing in the brightest and ugliest baby pink I had ever seen.
The snow had started to fall again as Nat struggled through the trees of the forest. She was pretty sure that something was very wrong by now, for she still hadn't reached the path and was skiing deeper and deeper into the forest.
"I bet ol'aunt Katie has lied to me about this forest. Making fun about the city girl, huh?" She hmph-ed annoyed and ruffled through her black hair, trying to get the snow out of it. It wasn't really much of a use, really, since her hair, as well as her clothes, was already soaked.
It never snowed that much in the city.
"Great. Great. Great. Great…." She had been cursing for the last hour and had no intention to stop her rambling about the injustice of the world and her parents in particular.
However, she stopped to mutter words in her not-existent beard as she realised that the trees were standing wider apart a few hundred meters away.
"Finally!" she exclaimed and increased her pace, eager to leave this gloomy forest. She was getting hungry and tired from all the cross-country skiing - after all she hadn't done it in a very long time.
However, her relief was short lived as she didn't see a path as soon as she left the forest – instead a huge castle stretched in front of her, bigger than anything Nat had ever seen in her life.
Her jaw hung open. "Wow," she managed to say after a few minutes of stunned silence and observed the towers, the huge, now frozen lake, the gate, the windows…
Why had nobody told her about this? Surely one would know if there was such a big castle in the near…tourists had to love this place! And it wasn't as damaged as many other old buildings Nat had seen in her life.
She scrambled forward on her ski, deciding to take a closer look.
"Have you seen Flitwick?"
"Of course! Hah, that colour really fits him, he looks excellent!"
"Yay, and all the students with their glowing hands…we really can congratulate ourselves, not George!"
"Sure thing, Fred!" The twins eagerly shook their hands and returned to the list which was lying in the corner. The two redheads were crouched down on the floor and planned their next prank.
"Okay, first day: Success!"
"And six more days to go! Yeah!"
They exchanged a high five and grinned at each other. They were pretty sure that half the school would be ready to kill them as soon as the week was over, but hey….it was worth it! The look on Flitwicks face had been priceless, and Snape…
"What a pity that I didn't take a picture of Snape – I could have framed it and hung it in my room, that way I would always have something to laugh!"
"It will be imprinted in our minds, my dear brother…and we will never forget. Even in the hour of my death I shall recall this particular expression!"
To be continued....
Some people complained because we didn't write an answer session in the last chapter...BUT WE WILL DO IT NOW! So beware of the madness...and please review!!!
Araanaz - We're glad that you are still with us! Oh well, tons of chapters? We fear that will be a problem...take a look at our current lives and you will realise how busy we are...
Latrisha: "Yeah, with Kaeera having orchestra practise five times a week...."
Kaeera: "...and Latrisha writing her ZK's soon, we are overloaded with work."
But be assured that we always try our best!
MUH - Of course we remember! Dinge in Deutsch zu schreiben ist einfach lustig! Glad that you liked the chapter, we hope that you like this one as well. Say hello to your grandma!
meskup - Yes, Nat is coming nearer...she has reached Hogwarts by now! Wow...
Latrisha: "Actually we have no idea what to do with her."
Kaeera: "Yeah, we just invented her because....uhm....because..."
live the rainbow - Here you have your answering session! Sorry, but we just wanted to get the last chapter up as fast as possible, and therefore didn't have the time to write those. You are seeing a central plot in this story? Cool...ya know, actually we never discussed about a real plot, we just said we want to reach this and that and then started writing...The invention of the 'Week of the Flaming Neptune' was never planned, until someday we started talking like: "Hey, it would be cool to see Hogwarts without magic..." And bang, a new plot idea was born. *lol* It's great that there are people who like the idea!
Caylen Rider - Seems as if somebody is a LotR fan as well! As for the short Ginny and Harry scene...if you liked that one, you will probably like the scene in this chapter even more. We are not sure how this might develop and which role Nat will play in all this...so everything can still happen.
Kaeera: "Well, actually we had a plan about the pairings."
Latrisha: "Yeah, but since we are known for changing everything, you can forget about them."
Kaeera: *sighs* "True, True. The only SURE thing is that this will always be Ron/Hermione. And the rest...Everything is possible!" *cackles*
Latrisha: *looks at Kaeera* "Which is quite bad, when I hear this evil laugter."
Katie Bell - A plot! Yes, a plot!
Latrisha: "Uhm...in our minds?"