Author's Note: Another short story I wrote last summer.

From Fourteen to Seventy

Hermione eyed the chocolate candies on top of the Gryffindor Common Room's table suspiciously. She really wanted one, as the burst of energy from the chocolate would help her get through the long Potions essay she planned on writing. But Fred and George were lurking about, laughing with their friends and she knew they were pranksters. Lately they had been sneaking nasty surprises into candy and she didn't want to take the chance. She settled down at the table with her huge stack of books, a blank piece of parchment and her favorite quill. Dutifully she set to her work, but her brown eyes darted to the box of chocolates every few moments. They just looked so tasty. A few pieces were already gone from the box and she hadn't heard of any odd mishaps among the students today. Surely that meant they were safe?

"Oh, chocolate!" Colin cried as the younger boy ran up to the table where she sat. "Can I have one? Please?"

"Well, they're not mine..." Hermione started to explain but just then Colin's hand flew forward as fast as the golden snitch and he took one. Jamming it into his mouth, he murmured in please. "It's so good! And such sweet dark chocolate in the middle!"

Hermione watched in utter amazement as he hurriedly crammed his hand with pieces of chocolate and then hurried off to another table in the common room where his friends sat. He passed the candies around and everyone popped one into their mouths. A moment passed and then another. Still, Colin and his hyper friends stayed as they were and nothing odd happened to them.

Maybe the chocolates are safe after all? Normally she didn't bother with chocolate or any other candy as they were bad for her teeth, but today she just couldn't stop thinking about them. Glancing at the box, she saw there were just a few pieces left and soon there would be none. If she wanted one, she had better take it now. And she did just that, taking a large piece with a round dome and a dribble of white chocolate on the top. The shape reminded her of a chocolate covered cherry and she had liked those, even if they were incredibly sweet. She popped the piece into her mouth and the bitter-sweet taste of dark chocolate spread across her tongue.

Then she felt an odd tingle starting to spread from her mouth outward, the tingling sensation growing stronger as it spread.

NO! It couldn't be! How could she be unlucky enough to take the only piece of chocolate that was goofed up with some potion? The odds were against that, weren't they? Nether less, that was exactly what was happening to her now. She felt the skin on her hands tingling and she raised them before her eyes just in time to see her firm flesh wrinkle up something awful. Her poor hands looked worst than a raisin and all of those age spots!

A loud shriek flew from her suddenly dry lips as a tooth plinked down onto the table, bouncing off her parchment to clatter somewhere onto the floor. One wrinkled hand flew to her mouth, feeling at her teeth only to discover many of them felt loose.

"Hermione!" Ron exclaimed as he hurried over to her side. "Wow! You look really ancient, even older than Dumbledore!"

"No, not that!" Hermione leaped from her seat, the chair tumbling over backward and she hurried upstairs towards the girls' dormitories. She just had to see herself in a mirror. The potion only affected her appearance so she had no trouble taking the stairs two at a time. Breathless, she hurried into the girls' bathroom and skidded to a stop before the mirror. Her hands tightened into fists as she saw just how horrible she looked, far worse than she could ever have imagined. How could she go to dinner like this? And tonight of all nights? This was the special day when Dumbledore was going to say who the Champions were! And she wanted to enjoy it as herself, not be the subject of idle gossip! And here she was looking like an old crone covered in billions of wrinkles, a sagging neck, thinning white hair and no, was that a bald spot? It was! She was going bald, at fourteen!

"Hermione, are you all right?" Harry's voice called to her.

"No, I'm not all right!" She cried. "Those two red-headed fools poured aging potion on the chocolates! I must be at least seventy-years-old!"

"We're sorry!" Fred called.

"We just made a batch for ourselves tonight." George explained.

"We're going to use it to get our names into the Triwizard!"

"And be famous! But we must have accidentally spilled a bit onto those candies..."

"But thanks for testing it for us!"

"I could have died!" Hermione wailed angrily as she continued to gawk at her wrinkled visage in the mirror. Was that really how she would look as an old woman?

"Yeah, at least we know now it's safe."

"Really, it was an accident. Honest."

Hermione's shoulders slumped in defeat. She knew there was nothing to do but wait for the potion to wear off. It was still several hours until supper and she could only hope by then it would have worn off. Taking a deep breath, she silently vowed not to let the stares of the other Gryfindores to get on her nerves. If Harry could stand them gawking and whispering about him for months on end, why, she could surely take it for a few hours? And she did have that essay to write. Still, she would keep a close eye on Fred and George in the future to make certain no younger, more innocent students were harmed by their pranks.

Squaring her shoulders, she left the bathroom and headed for the stairs.