Spin
an Eighth Year fic HP fanfic by canoncansodoff

A/N: Obligatory apologies for this not being an update to one of my other WIPs. I intended this to be a one-shot jump start to that process, but the story grew as my stories are wont to do. Good news is that there is a definite end-point to this story, and that I've actually got an outline to follow and chunks of text already written for the next chapter.

Story was inspired by re-reading a couple of fics that included problematic games of Truth or Dare. Story incorporates bits of the Eighth Year backstory for "Some Industrial Light and Magic," as well as parts of DH. But just because something sounds similar to what happened in canon, doesn't mean that everything that happened in canon happened as the backdrop for this story (cross-reference nom de plume).

Special thanks to that anonymous female bus passenger who sat across from me the other day with an opened paperback copy of "Fifty Shades of Gray"…acted as if reading mommy porn on the bus was the most innocuous thing in the world. Truly inspirational scene (pity that this wasn't my regular route) that will likely be incorporated into a future story.

Disclaimer:Not my characters, no money being made, etc., etc.

oo00OO00oo

Harry couldn't help but smile as Ron prodded the lethargic, brass-tinted rat with the tip of his wand.

"Maybe you need to get the pelt right before expecting it to tap-dance," he suggested.

The red-haired teen scowled…first at his failed transfiguration, and then at his friend.

"This assignment is a bloody nightmare!" whined the red-haired teen. "Had it working this morning at breakfast…you saw him standing up on two legs, right?"

Hermione looked up from her last-minute spell adjustments and smiled.

"I'm wouldn't count out the possibility that your little friend was just begging for some food."

"Hey, maybe that's your problem, Ron?" said Harry. "Focus on getting him to do something that you've already mastered…like eating half your body-weight in one go."

Ron replied to this bit of good-natured teasing with a half-hearted attempt at a rather rude gesture. "Oh, ha-ha…very funny, mate. Don't know why turning buttons into animals who are more than animals is NEWT-level in the first place."

"Oh, honestly, Ron," Hermione sighed. She glanced towards the transfiguration professor who was making her way around the classroom and said, "I thought that the basis for this homework assignment was perfectly clear."

"Well you would, being her teaching assistant…wouldn't you?"

Harry shook his head dismissively as he stroked the back of the transfigured rabbit that sat before him.

"Well it made sense to me," he stated. "And if you're wondering why we are doing this? Could have used this kind of spell a couple of months ago."

"And done what…turned Voldemort into a newt?" Ron scoffed.

"No, that would have been an animate-to-animate transformation," Hermione muttered.

"Indeed, Miss Granger," announced Professor McGonagall, as she approached the trio's work table. "Two points to Gryf…ach! There I go again!"

"No worries, Ma'am," Hermione said. "It's the thought that counts."

The elderly witch rolled her eyes. "Why the Board of Governors thought it was wise to…not that it was a bad idea to bring all of the Eighth Years together into one house, mind you…but not being able to award or take away points to your new house…"

She turned her head sharply towards Ron, who had been trying to hide the small happy dance that he was doing in his seat.

"You would do well to remember that I can still give out individual detentions, Mr. Weasley!"

"Yes, Professor."

McGonagall waved her wand across the trio's desk, reversing the transfigurations and turning their animals back into brass buttons. "So let's see what you've managed, then."

When Ron's attempt to create a tap-dancing rodent proved no more successful than his previous efforts, he tried to pass his transfiguration off as an armor-coated rat. This claim was found wanting when the Transfiguration Professor's cutting spell easily drew bronze-colored blood.

The sight of a transfigured toad dressed in top hat and tails brought a thin smile to the Professor's lips.

"And what do we have here, Miss Granger…an amphibian that dresses and undresses itself?"

Hermione's eyes twinkled.

"No, Ma'am…that's just his costume."

Ron snorted. "Just had to make me look bad, didn't you…I suppose that your transfiguration can tap dance, then?"

The Muggleborn witch smirked. "Actually, it's more of a high-stepping strut."

Taking this comment as its cue, the transfigured toad leapt up onto its back legs, thrust his little green jazz hands toward Ron, and began to sing.

"Hello, my baby…Hello, my honey…Hello, my ragtime gal. Send me a kiss by wire. Baby my hearts on fire! If you refuse me…."

Once McGonagall awarded full marks and excused Hermione from any follow-up written assignment, she turned towards The-Boy-Who-Won.

"And what do you have for us, Mr. Potter?"

Harry took a deep breath and transfigured his brass button back into an innocuous-looking white rabbit.

"Mr. Potter?"

"Erm…well, it's the Rabbit of Caerbannog."

"Harry!" Hermione chided. "I thought that we agreed on a Loony Tunes theme!"

He shrugged.

Ron asked, "The rabbit of caer…what is it?"

Hermione giggled. "It's the most foul cruel and bad-tempered thing you ever set eyes on."

Their red-haired friend scoffed. He pointed towards the transfiguration and said, "What…that?"

"Watch your finger, Mate…that is not an ordinary rabbit," said Harry.

"Yeah, it's got a vicious streak…it's a killer!" Hermione gleefully added. She then glanced down at her singing frog and sucked in a short breath. A precautionary counterspell quickly returned the transfiguration to its base button form.

Ron wasn't very impressed with Harry's homework assignment. "What's he do…nibble your bum?"

The-Boy-Who-Won shook his head and sighed.

"Perhaps you might encourage your fluffy friend to demonstrate its enhancements?" McGonagall asked.

Hermione chuckled. "Yeah, Harry…go find Malfoy and order him to lop its head off."

"If only," her raven-haired friend muttered.

When Harry gave the rabbit's hind quarters the gentlest of nudges, the long-eared transfiguration gave a meaningful glance towards Ron…then jumped across the table and bit the head off of his sedentary rat. Then the rabbit leapt high into the air and buried its teeth into the neck of the pig that had been flying in circles above the desk shared by Neville Longbottom, Susan Bones, and Hannah Abbott. Streams of blood sprayed everywhere.

"Oy!" Ron complained.

"Sorry," Harry offered.

This apology was lost amongst the shrieks and shouts as the killer bunny moved on to attack a half-dozen other transfigurations before Harry managed to get it back under control.

They were still reversing spells and cleaning blood-splattered surfaces when the end-of-class bell rang.

"Damn," the raven-haired wizard muttered. "I've got the Second Year Puffs and Claws now."

"Oh, go on, then," Hermione encouraged. "I'll finish up here."

"We can stay too," offered Hannah, slipping her arm inside Neville's.

Ron's pretend whip cracking was too predictable and too overused to generate a laugh.

Harry turned towards the transfiguration professor who had been monitoring the clean-up and arched an eyebrow.

"Go," she ordered. "It wouldn't do to keep your students waiting, would it?"

Hannah chuckled. "Yeah, Professor Potter…you wouldn't want to break those Second Year hearts."

"Can't break what he's already stolen," Ron quipped.

Neville added to the conversation by coughing up something that sounded a lot like "Lockhart!"

"Hey!" Harry complained.

McGonagall shooed The-Boy-Who-Won out the door before he was able to adequately defend either his honor or his instructional methods.

Hermione wasn't at all surprised when Ron begged-off staying behind as well, citing his need as a "special school prefect" to help monitor the start of the lunch hour in the newly-restored Great Hall. She was a bit surprised, though, when Susan offered to stay behind…not because the offer was made (given the pig-tailed witch's close friendship with Hannah), but because that offer seemed to have been strongly encouraged by both Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil.

Trusting her Muggleborn teaching assistant's supervisory skills far more than Ron Weasley's, McGonagal left Hermione in charge of the clean-up effort, and made her own way towards the Great Hall.

As the four remaining "Ochos" set themselves to the final bit of tidying, Hermione asked, "So what was that about, Susan?"

"What was what?"

"Lavender and Parvati giggling, as they pushed you to volunteer to stay behind."

"I was going to do that regardless, you know."

"Of course you were," Hannah agreed. "But why would those two care if you did or did not?"

Susan sighed. "Because of the party tomorrow night."

"Our house party?" asked Neville.

"That's right…the party that I practically got Imperio'ed into helping plan," said Susan. "The committee met last night, and those two came up with the theme."

"And?"

"And they…I mean we…we are interested in what the three of you think about the idea."

"The three of us?" Hermione asked skeptically. "Why would Lavender or Parvati value my opinion on any of their party plans?"

"Or my opinion, for that matter," added Neville.

"Because it would require more than just your favorable opinion," Susan explained. "We would need your help in order to pull it off."

Hannah asked, "What do you need our help with…the food…the music?"

"Erm, no…we've got those covered," her best friend replied. "It's the party games we're not sure of."

"Party games?" Hermione asked.

"Yes, party games," said Susan. "You know…games that you play at a party."

"Like what…Pin the tail on the centaur?" the Muggleborn teased. "Disillusion and Seek? Or maybe 'Duck, duck, griffon'?"

Susan wrinkled her nose. "Never heard of them…are those Muggle games too?"

"What games are you talking about, then?"

Susan nervously glanced down and smoothed the front of her robes with a hand.

"They want us to play some Muggle games tomorrow night," she explained.

"Well, that might explain asking for Hermione's input," said Neville. "But what would Hannah and I know about playing Muggle games?"

"Because it's more than just knowing how to play the games correctly," said Susan. "It's whether people would be willing to play the games in the first place."

"Why wouldn't they want to play…because they were Muggle games?" asked Hannah.

Susan blushed. "No…because they are a little…naughty."

A small breath caught in Hermione's throat. "So that's their game!" she hissed.

"What?"

"Spin the bottle, Susan?" Hermione asked.

The former Hufflepuff chewed the bottom of her lip and nodded.

"Truth or dare?"

Susan replied by voicing something that sounded more like a squeak than a "yes."

"I suppose 'I've never'?"

"You've never what, Hermione?" asked Neville.

"That's the name of the game," she explained. "It's called 'I've never'."

Susan sighed. "Yes, that one as well."

"How naughty is naughty?" Hannah asked warily.

"It depends on who is playing," Hermione replied. "Or why they are playing, for that matter."

"Isn't 'Spin the Bottle' some sort of kissing game?" asked Neville.

"That's right...the players sit in a circle and take turns spinning an empty bottle," said Susan. "Then you kiss whomever the bottle points towards when it stops."

Hannah and Neville glanced towards each other.

"I wouldn't be interested in kissing anyone else," he stated.

The former Hufflepuff rolled her eyes. "Oh, c'mon Nev…it's just a bit of kissing." Hannah then turned towards Hermione and asked, "It is just kissing…right?"

"Depends on who is playing and what the ground rules are, but…yeah. Spin the Bottle is usually just a kissing game."

Hannah reached out and squeezed Neville's hand. "Well, there you go."

"But…you would be okay with me…?"

Hannah shrugged. "Is this really more about me kissing other boys?"

"No, of course not…it's just…"

"Sounds like we have time enough to talk about this," said Hannah. "But if you are still uncomfortable after we talk, then I'd have no problem sitting that game out with you."

"Thanks," Neville replied.

"Actually, I'm supposed to figure out a way to get all three of you to play," said Susan.

Neville asked, "Why would that matter?"

Hermione snorted loudly. "Because if we don't play, then Harry won't…and getting Harry to play is the whole point, isn't it?" she asked.

"Well…"

"Hannah is right…we need someplace private to talk about this," Hermione asserted, glancing about the room to see if they had missed bits of blood splatter.

"You mean that you're not rejecting the idea out of hand?" asked Neville.

Hermione shook her head as she pocketed her wand and slung her rucksack over a shoulder.

"Not before I figure out what's really going on," she decided, as she led the other three teen-agers towards a doorway that sat just to the left of the classroom's blackboard.

oo00OO00oo

The Hogwarts Board of Governors had convened four months previous and passed a magically binding resolution that offered the Harry, Hermione and Ron free Hogwarts tuition…not only for themselves, but for each of their first twenty direct descendants (The initial plan was to offer free tuition over the next ten generations…until somebody remembered the Weasley Clan's fertility rate and worked out the math). This was done in recognition of not only their role in the defeat of Voldemort, but their leadership in the defense of Hogwarts and its students during that Fate-filled Final Day in May.

Ron had immediately and enthusiastically accepted the offer, as it deftly met his three most immediate needs…room, board, and birds. After having spent the better part of the previous year traipsing around Britain with Harry and Hermione as the three hunted down horcruxes, it had been a rude shock for him to return to the Burrow that Summer and return to his mother's direct and overbearing supervision. Not that returning to Hogwarts didn't come with its own set of rules and rule enforcers, but nothing came close to Molly. The same might be said for Molly's food, but the House Elfs cooked almost as well, and in no short supply.

But it was the dogging opportunities that were the most enticing for Ron. Lauded a war hero and awarded The Order of Merlin, First Class, the red-haired teenager had been thrilled to finally see his name on Teenage Witch Weekly's list of most eligible bachelors. He was even more thrilled when he rose in the rankings after the scion of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom announced his engagement to Hannah Abbott. Ill-timed and overheard musings over turning his listing into broom-closet bookings had killed the last, thin shred of hope that he would get together with Hermione (at least for the moment, and at least in his mind). That didn't make the musings any less attractive, however, and Ron had spent the first two months of his "Eighth Year" trying to prove them accurate.

And if all that time spent chasing after younger witches left no time for NEWT revisions? No worries…the Board of Governor's offer of free tuition, free room, and free board hadn't come with an expiration date. Ron was already working out the logistics of taking two or three more years to finish his "last" year of school at a leisurely (and lascivious) pace.

Hermione and Harry been far less eager to join Ron and return to Hogwarts to complete their magical education. While they shared his chaffing over returning to a structured and supervised environment, they didn't have a mum that absolutely forbid them to live on their own…at least not until after they had received their NEWTs. Some might have thought that they didn't need NEWTs after receiving Order of Merlins. But rules were still rules, and any decent job in the Ministry or any hope for a decent apprenticeship required NEWTs and a Hogwarts diploma. There were still plenty of Purebloods around to resist the idea of a Muggleborn or Half-Blood being granted exemptions to these rules, and these Purebloods worked hard to see that those exemptions weren't granted. Also nipped in the bud were Harry and Hermione's requests to still sit for NEWT exams, even though they had missed the last year of school. They would have passed most of these exams easily, after all of the independent training and revising they had done. But the rules said that only registered Hogwarts students could sit for NEWTs, and that NEWTs could only be administered once a year, during the first week of June.

The fact that NEWTs, OWLs and every other end-of-year exam had been cancelled that year (due to the extensive damage that both the school and its staff had suffered during Voldemort's attack) meant that Harry and Hermione had been in good company. Nobody had been able to sit for NEWTs, which also meant that nobody had been able to graduate that spring…not even those Seventh Years who had chosen to remain Hogwarts students. That entire class of students had no other choice but to retake their last year of classes as special "Eighth Years."

The uniqueness of the situation and the concerns expressed by the parents of Ginny and Luna's class year had led the Board of Governors to group all of the Eighth Year students together in a fifth house named after the late, great, Albus Dumbledore. As Minerva McGonagall had alluded to during the lesson, the "Dumbledores" weren't eligible for the House Cup, and couldn't be awarded or lose house points. They couldn't compete for the Quidditch Cup, and they weren't eligible for selection as Head Boy and Head Girl.

That last prohibition had really gotten under McGonagall's skin, as she thought there weren't two more perfect candidates for the positions of Head Boy and Head Girl than Harry and Hermione. After losing that argument to the Board of Directors (and to some rich and influential parents), she attacked the problem (and the injustice) from a different angle.

McGonagall agreed to take on the role of Headmistress, but only if she was also allowed to continue teaching Transfiguration. In light of this double duty, she demanded the authority to hire a teaching assistant to help with her lower-year classes. She also expressed her unwillingness to test the end of Voldemort's curse on the DADA position by just hiring someone and hoping for the best. Instead, McGonagall proposed that the instructional workload be divided between a retired Auror and a second teaching assistant (the latter to work primarily with the First and Second Years).

Some thought it a bit strange for McGonagall to think she could overcome Harry and Hermione's initial reluctance to return to Hogwarts by offering them teaching responsibilities on top of their own coursework. But she was one of those handful of witches or wizards who truly understood the two teenagers, and the offers were quickly accepted. Ron (who, sad to say, wasn't in that handful) thought his friends totally daft…until he heard about all of the perks that came with being a teaching assistant.

oo00OO00oo

Hermione entered her office and dumped her rucksack onto her desk. When she turned back towards the doorway she spotted one of her invited guests lingering behind.

"Something wrong, Susan?"

The pig-tailed witch shook her head, which both answered the question and shook her free of her initial confusion.

"This is really your office?" she asked, as she followed Neville and Hannah towards a small sitting area.

Hermione smiled, and dove into a well-worn explanation.

"There wasn't enough money in the school budget to pay Harry or me even a pro-rated instructor's salary," she began. "What with the enrollments being down due to the war, and the costs of repairing the damage to the castle...by the way, is it alright if we just take our lunch here?"

"Erm…sounds great," said Susan.

"Right, then…I think there's a menu on the table. Anyone want something to drink right away?"

Neville chuckled as he glanced back over his shoulder towards Hermione. "Pumpkin juice?"

"Are you sure?" she asked, opening the door to the magical chill box that sat right next to her large oak desk. "I've got some butterbeer here…real beer too, for that matter. Bottle or two of cider…Muggle fizzy drinks…"

"You've got alcoholic beverages?" Susan gasped. "Does the Headmistress know about that?"

Hermione smiled. "Why do you think I keep the cider chilled?" she asked.

"Butterbeers sound like a good idea…especially if we're going to be talking about naughty party games," Hannah decided.

"Good point," their host declared.

The sitting area was located on the right side of the magically-expanded room, with a large comfortable sofa and two leather chairs arranged around a low coffee table that sat in front of a stone fireplace. With Hannah and Neville claiming the couch, Susan settled into the chair to her best friend's right and took a second glace around the room.

Hermione smiled as she handed Susan an opened bottle of butterbeer and asked, "Would you like the grand tour?"

Susan nodded towards a small tent that was pitched in the far corner of the room.

"Is that a Muggle tent or…?"

"Oh, it's a very magical tent," Hannah quipped, as she grabbed Neville's hand and leaned her head onto his shoulder. "Right, Sweetheart?"

The teen aged wizard's cheeks flushed red. "Hannah!" he hissed.

"It was also home away from home while Harry, Ron and I were on the run last year," Hermione added. "Two bedrooms, kitchen, sitting area, loo…it's always seemed a bit odd to actually use that sitting area rather than this one, but the lavatory certainly beats using a charmed chamber pot."

"So that's where you sleep when you don't come back to the Ocho at night?" Susan asked.

Hermione shrugged. "Better than waking up in the middle of the night with a crick in my neck and the side of my face resting against an opened library book."

"Middle of the night?"

"Like I was saying…the Headmistress couldn't pay a salary, so she made up the difference in other ways. No curfews, unrestricted access to the library and its Restricted Section…"

"Free room service," Neville added. He picked the menu up off the coffee table and handed it to Susan. "You can get pretty much anything that's served in the Great Hall. Brekkers any time of the day, too."

"It's not as outrageous as it might seem," Hermione protested. "I don't order anything more than what I'd eat if I were taking the same meal in the Great Hall…it's more of a convenience factor."

"Not to mention the privacy benefits," Hannah added with a wink.

Susan gave her best friend a quizzical look as she mulled over not just her latest comment, but the entire conversation. Then she glanced over towards the magical tent, and put one plus one together.

"Hannah! So that's where you and Neville…!" she shrieked. "Why didn't you tell me! All those time when I thought you were running off to some broom closet…" Susan then turned towards Hermione and said, "And you actually let them do it here?"

The teaching assistant straightened her back and primly stated, "Miss Bones, your allegations of my allowing any type of improper behavior within my office are completely unfounded."

The twinkle in Hermione's eye as she made this admonishment suggested to Susan that some part of the Muggleborn's tongue was in her cheek.

"How about the tent that stands within your office, then?" she asked.

"Miss Bones!"

"Should I ask whether you consider it improper for an adult-aged engaged couple to practice for their honeymoon night?"

Hermione sighed, shook her head, and changed the subject by calling for a house-elf.

"Klewy?"

A house elf popped into the office and took their lunch orders. Hermione preempted questions about the incongruity of the founder of S.P.E.W. doing this sort of thing by mentioning that she had learned much about house elf bonds and their love of working over the past two months, and that every member of the Hogwarts staff took meals in their offices from time to time.

The conversation on house elf rights had done a good job of stemming Susan's interest in Hannah and Neville's previous visits to Hermione's office. Neville tried to keep the conversation elsewhere by steering back towards original purposes.

"So, Hermione…you said that you knew why Lavender and Parvati wanted to play these naughty Muggle games?"

"Well, I have a pretty good idea…don't suppose they shared their reasoning with you, Susan?"

The strawberry blonde-haired witch shrugged her shoulders.

"They said that they were just trying to be helpful," Susan replied. "That it was time for Harry to jump back into the dating pool, and to realize that we're not all potion-brewing manipulative bitches like Ginny Weasley."

Hermione snorted. "More candid than I expected…and more or less what I expected."

"I don't get it," said Neville. "Those two think that they are going to prove that they aren't manipulative by manipulating Harry into playing these games?"

"Wizard's logic," said Hermione. "Or witch's logic, in this case."

"But…it's not really going behind his back if they've asked me to ask you three about it, is it?" Susan asked.

"I've already told you that I'll be talking with Harry about this before the party," said Hermione. "And I suppose that they're bright enough to know that I would, once I saw through their plans."

"But are they smart enough to know that you would see through their plans?" asked Hannah.

"Maybe," said Hermione.

Klewy the house-elf returned from the kitchens with their meals. A finger snap was all that was needed to bring the coffee table up to the right height, conjure up white linens, and lay out sterling silver flat ware. As they ate, Neville asked Susan how Spin the Bottle would entice Harry back into the Hogwarts dating scene.

"I think that some of the girls overestimate the power of their kisses," the former Hufflepuff confided. "They think that all they need is that one chance to kiss Harry on the lips, and that when they get that chance to kiss him that sparks will fly, and a golden nimbus will form, and that they will be instantly soul-bonded for life."

Hermione snorted. "Love at first snog?"

Susan shrugged. "The other idea is that just getting Harry to kiss other witches would be enough to him to realize what he was missing, and the wide-opened opportunities that are out there for him."

"More like wide-opened legs," Hermione sniped.

"So why do you need the three of us to play this game, again?" asked Hannah.

"They didn't think that Harry would play if you guys didn't."

"Why, though?"

"Because it would make it seem like the game wasn't all about him, even if it was," Hermione opined. "If I play along, then that's my personal stamp of approval…and if you two play, then it couldn't be that the only reason to play the game was to hook up with someone else, right?"

"What would they say is the purpose then?" asked Neville. "To swap spit?"

"Maybe Ocho House unity?" asked Susan.

Hermione shook her head. "The main problem with this scheme are the low odds. If this is a party game, and it involves kissing, then every bloke and his brother will want in. So the odds of a witch getting the bottle to point towards Harry would be, what…1 in 10? 1 in 12?"

"So they play the odds, and play ten or twelve turns?"

"That won't happen," Hermione stated. "If there are twenty people playing, and each spin and kiss takes an average of thirty seconds, that's at least ten minutes per turn. More if there are re-spins. Twelve turns is two hours, and nobody is going to want to play that long…especially once you've been forced to kiss a few berks or bitches along the way."

"There is that to worry about," Hannah agreed. "Any way we could avoid kissing certain players?"

Hermione shrugged. "Sure there is."

"How?" Susan blurted.

A smile formed on Hermione's lips. "Well, if I was in charge of this game…not that I'd necessarily be willing to play even if I was, mind you…"

"Oh, quit teasing us," Neville chided.

"Right, so one problem that I have with Spin the Bottle are the re-spins, and the arguments that erupt over which bloke is closer whenever a girl's spin ends up pointing towards another girl. It also isn't very sporting to assume that everyone playing is heterosexual."

"So normally, if I spun the bottle, and it ends up pointing towards another guy, I would either spin again until it points towards a girl or we'd have to figure out which girl was closest the time?" Neville asked.

"Exactly," said Hermione. "So in my version of the game, it doesn't matter. You have to kiss whomever the bottle points towards, whether it's a boy or a girl."

Neville winced. "Well, I definitely have no interest in playing by those rules…for me to have to kiss Ron…or Draco?"

"What makes you think that I would be any more eager to kiss them just because I'm a girl?" asked Hannah.

"You'd rather kiss Lavender…or Millie Bulstrode?" Neville asked incredulously.

His fiancé shrugged. "I guess you guys never learned how to kiss by kissing other guys?"

Neville's eyes went wide. "Are you saying that's how you learned, then? By kissing other girls?"

Hannah giggled. "Think hard about backing out if Susan is playing, Sweetheart. She's a heckuva kisser."

Hermione smiled as she watched Neville's eyes dart back and forth between the other two witches like a ping-pong ball. "Actually, my version of the game has an escape clause to deal with unwanted results," she stated. "You spin the bottle, and if you don't want to kiss the person it ends up pointing towards, then you...or they, for that matter...can remove an article of clothing."

"Oooooh, I like that idea!" said Susan.

"I like it better too," Hannah added.

"Why?" asked Neville.

"Because it gives the girls an advantage," Susan declared. "If the boys are too uptight to kiss other boys, then there's a 50% chance that they'll have to strip down every time they spin."

Hermione nodded. "Which is exactly why they probably wouldn't agree to play by those rules, so it's a moot point."

"What about this I've never game?" asked Hannah.

"I've never can be more about drinking than being naughty, depending on who is playing," Hermione said.

"But how is the game played?"

"Easier to show than to tell," the Muggleborn replied. She looked at the mostly finished bottles that sat on the table next to mostly-finished lunch plates and added, "But that will require another round of drinks."

Klewy the house elf popped back into the room to clean off the lunch dishes while Hermione fetched four more bottles of butterbeer from her chill box. As she handed them out to the others, she said, "It's a simple game. Players sit in a circle and take turns announcing something that they've never done before. If anyone else in the circle has done whatever the first person has never done, then they have to take a drink."

"Doesn't sound that simple," said Neville.

"Like I said, easier to show than to tell," said Hermione. She sat back down in her chair and lifted her butterbeer bottle into the air. With a smile, she then proclaimed, "I've never touched Neville's todger."

"I should hope not!" Hannah said with a giggle, just before she took a sip from her bottle.

Susan and Hermione both gave Neville expectant looks.

"Well?" asked Hermione.

"I can't believe that you just said that!" he whispered.

"That's Ickle Firsty level stuff compared to what would be said tomorrow night," Hermione promised.

"C'mon, Neville…drink up!" Susan said gleefully.

"What?"

"Are you saying that you've never touched your own todger?" asked Susan.

Neville let out a deep breath and shook his head in amazement as he brought his bottle up to his lips.

"Your turn, Hannah," said Hermione.

"Wait…are we playing this game for real?" she asked.

Hermione shrugged. "People can be pretty devious and downright nasty with this game…but if there's enough trust between players…"

"Still could be risky, and there could be feelings hurt," said Neville. "What if the question inadvertently outed somebody…if it's I've never fantasized about shagging Harry Potter and one of the guys was forced to drink?"

"Well, they could always lie…at least if this was the Muggle version of the game and people couldn't be goaded into making magical oaths to play truthfully," said Hermione.

"Can you imagine if that really happened, though?" asked Hannah.

Hermione agreed. "I've never figured out a way to play that game that doesn't eliminate those risks," she said.

Susan snorted. "So you've got some personal experience here, then?"

The Muggleborn shook her head. "No, but I've read some horror stories."

"Why would Lavender and Parvati suggest playing it, then?" Susan asked.

"Probably because they're underestimating just how cunning and ruthless the boys will be," said Hermione. "Or just how shamelessly horny they would be, for that matter."

"Let me guess," said Hannah. "Half of the guys would be trying to get the girls drunk by proclaiming that they've never had a monthly, or never painted their toenails. And the other half would be trying to figure out which girls were the easiest by saying that they've never given a boy a broom closet blow job, or that they've never had premarital sex."

"But that would only be possible if they themselves were still virgins," Neville suggested.

Hannah nodded. "And how many of your dorm mates are still virgins, love?"

Neville thought for a moment, and then laughed. "Probably more than would be willing to admit the fact."

"So that game is out as well," Susan decided.

"Which brings us around to Truth or Dare," said Hermione. She gave the other three teens a quick synopsis on how the game was played…and then launched directly into the risks involved.

"The dares would quickly spiral out of control without the right ground rules in place. But setting those aside for a moment…Susan, do you have any idea just what kinds of questions you might be asked?"

"Well…kind of," the pig-tailed witch replied. "Lavender said that they would be things like who was the first boy that we kissed, or who was the boy in the room that we would most like to kiss."

"Ha!" Hermione snorted. "Only if the game was being played by unimaginative tweeners."

"How bad could it get?" Hannah asked.

Hermione snickered. "Hannah…Truth or Dare?"

"Erm…truth?"

"What's the biggest thing you've ever shoved up your vagina?"

Hannah gasped. Susan giggled. Neville choked on some spittle.

"And let's assume that if we were playing for real tomorrow night that everyone playing would swear a magically-binding oath to answer truthfully," added Hermione.

"But…but what's to keep anyone there from repeating…could we also swear an oath not to reveal or discuss what was said during the game to anyone besides those who were actually playing the game?"

Hermione nodded.

"In a perfect world we could trust people not to blab all on their own, but given who is likely to be playing…there's no way that I would play without that kind of insurance."

Hannah thought for a moment, then nodded her head.

"Let's do it, then."

"Do what?" asked Neville.

"Let's make those oaths and play the game right now," said Hannah.

"Really?" her boyfriend squeaked.

"Yeah, really," Hannah replied. "The only way that I would even think of playing this kind of game tomorrow night is if we had the chance to practice first...with people that I trust."

"Why would we need to make magically-binding oaths if the four of us trust each other?" Neville asked.

"Good point," said Hannah. She then reached out, and gave her fiancé's thigh a firm squeeze.

"Neville."

"Yes?" he asked.

Hannah giggled. "No, that's my answer."

Neville cocked his head in confusion. "Your answer?"

"Yup…you are the biggest thing that I've shoved up my vagina," Hannah said brightly. "Although, it's probably fairer to say that you do more of the shoving, right?"

"Hannah!" Neville exclaimed, his cheeks turning beet red.

"Oh, relax, Loverboy," said Hermione. "It's not as if I didn't already know what the two of you have been up to, right?"

"Yeah," added Susan. "But what we didn't know was…really, Hannah? Bigger than 'Big Blue'?"

Susan's friend replied with a very satisfied smile.

"Want me to take that oath?"

"Merlin's Marbles!" Susan gasped. "You lucky bitch!"

Neville's mouth kept moving and his head kept swiveling back and forth like a fish watching a tennis match.

Hermione giggled. "You name your toys, Hannah?"

"Ah, ah, ah…you already asked your question!"

"Damn."

"Damn is right!" Susan hissed. "And the answer is yes, she does. As for your other question…"

It was Hermione's turn to gasp as she gauged the distance in between Susan's hands.

"But that's a good…eight inches?"

"Nine," Susan corrected.

Hermione turned towards Hannah and said, "You lucky bitch!"

Neville leaned his head back against the couch and let out a deep sigh. "I am right here, you know."

"My goodness, Hannah…guess that's a different kind of reason not to play this game," said Hermione. "You'd have to beat back the other girls with a stick once they found out."

Hannah leaned towards Neville and planted a big fat kiss on his deep red cheek. "Nah…I trust my fiancé even more than I trust the magic behind our betrothal contract."

"Oh, Merlin…and they won't be able to do anything more than stew in their own jealousy," said Susan.

"Doesn't mean that we have to broadcast that sort of thing," said Neville.

"Why not?" asked Hannah. "It's not like you would be bragging about how big your wand is…it's something that just happened to come out as part of the game."

"And if this incidental truth does make the other witches stew in their own jealously?" asked Hermione.

Hannah shrugged. "Fair game to ask a person the same question that they asked somebody else…right?"

"Yes," the Muggleborn replied. "Although…you usually have to wait a round before you can challenge the person who just challenged you. And it might get boring if the same question gets asked over and over."

"Wait a round?" asked Neville. "How long does this game last?"

"As long as the participants want to play," said Hermione. "We would probably want to all agree at the start that a person couldn't be challenged twice before everyone else was challenged…and that nobody could quit the game until each full round of challenges is completed."

"Well that's a bit involved," Susan offered.

"Wouldn't be much of a game, otherwise," Hermione reasoned. "Every girl with the hots for Harry would be daring him to kiss her, or asking him titillating questions."

Neville nodded in agreement. "And if they're all ganging up on Harry, then he'll see right through the reason for playing the game."

"I still plan on warning him," said Hermione.

"What's the point of working this all out in advance, then?" asked Susan. "If you warn Harry, then he won't play, and it'll just be another boring party."

Hermione smiled. "Just because I'll be warning Harry about the party planner's motivations doesn't necessarily mean that he won't play their games."

"Why would he?" asked Neville.

"Maybe he really is ready to start thinking about getting back into the dating pool?" Hermione offered. "Or maybe he's just as daring as they are…or just as horny, for that matter. And if the right rules are in place beforehand, then…who knows?"

Hannah snorted. "Yes, speaking of who knows…Susan, truth or dare?"

"We are still just doing truths, right?" her friend asked. "And no asking the same questions?"

"Okay, fine," Hannah said with a huff. "What's the highest number of fingers that you've stuffed up yourself at one time?"

"Hannah! I can't believe you?"

"What?"

"That you'd force me to answer a question like that in front of other people!"

"You think that the question is any more embarrassing than what I was just asked?"

"Well…yeah. There's a big difference between admitting that you're shagging your boyfriend and admitting that you play with yourself."

"But the only reason why I didn't have to admit that I do that sort of thing is because my boyfriend is hung like a hippogriff!" Hannah reasoned.

"Hey, Hannah…here's a bit of advice," said Hermione. "Neville and you could at least partially protect yourselves by challenging each other whenever there's a chance."

"So she should have asked me a question instead of Susan?" he asked.

The pig-tailed witch laughed. "Hey, Neville, do you want to tell us about the number of fingers you've…well I guess it couldn't be the exact same question, could it? Fingers up your bum, then?"

"Susan! Behave!" Hannah chided. "Obviously I would have asked him a different question."

"Maybe now's a good time to bring up paying penalties?" Hermione asked.

"What do you mean?" asked Neville.

"There has to be a worst-case fail-safe scenario that everyone agrees to in advance," the bushy-haired witch explained. "A penalty that could be paid if you refused to answer a question or complete a dare."

"I still don't get it," said Neville.

"Like I said before…people are going to underestimate just how deviously deviant guys like Seamus are going to be when it's their turn. An escape clause would be something fairly embarrassing, but still less embarrassing…either to yourself or someone you care about…than completing the dare or answering the question."

"So it's possible to be asked a question that is more embarrassing to somebody else than to me?" asked Neville.

"Hey, Nev…what's the filthiest thing that Hannah has ever screamed out loud while you two were shagging?"

"Susan!"

Hannah frowned. "She can't ask a question until she's answered her own, right?"

Neville cast a calculating glance in the Muggleborn's direction.

"Have you played this game before, Hermione?"

"No."

"Then how do you know so much about the rules?"

Hermione shrugged. "I read a lot?"

"You read about playing naughty games?" asked Susan. "What section of the library are those kinds of books found?"

The bushy-haired witch rolled her eyes. "You won't find those kinds of books in the school library."

"Where would we find those kinds of books then…hidden underneath your mattress?" Hannah teased.

"Oh, please," Hermione whined. "Games like 'Truth or Dare' are a very common plot device in Muggle contemporary coming-of-age stories."

"So are there established rules, then?"

Hermione shook her head. "No, while the basic rules are fairly well known, the devil is really in the details, and those vary from story to story."

"How do these stories turn out, then?" asked Susan.

"Depends," Hermione replied. "Doesn't seem to be much middle ground…either the players chicken out and stop playing as soon as things get serious, or somebody blurts out some dark secret that breaks up relationships and sends the girls off crying…or the game serves as foreplay for multi-partner orgiastic sex."

"Wow," said Neville.

Susan giggled. "And what kind of stories do you prefer, Hermione?"

The bushy-haired witch rolled her eyes. "The kinds of stories that contain the fewest number of plot lapses and logical inconsistencies."

"Getting back to paying penalties when you don't want to answer an especially pervy question…what are we talking about here?" asked Susan.

Hermione glanced down at her butterbeer bottle and, finding it empty, made another run to the chill box.

"Anyone else want one while I'm up?" she asked.

Hannah giggled. "Why not? We've got herbology later this afternoon….I've never attended class while tipsy."

"Save that fact for the next game of 'I've never'," Hermione quipped.

"The penalties?" Susan reminded.

"Why Sweetheart…it sounds like you really don't want to admit how many fingers you've used," Hannah said with a bright smile.

Hermione chuckled. "The only one story that I've read where the players had this penalty in play used something they called 'The Wheel of Shame.' The wheel was divided into different penalties, and if you wanted to chicken out you had to spin the wheel and do whatever the marker landed on when the wheel came to full stop."

"What were the options?" Neville asked.

The Muggleborn shook her head. "That story wasn't very realistic. Most of the penalties were worse than the dares…things like anal-to-mouth, or squatting down on a wine bottle."

"Is anal-to-mouth as nasty as it sounds?" Hannah asked.

"Depends on how well you clean out your bum before it's buggered," Hermione quipped.

"Ewwww!"

Neville, who was far too embarrassed to make eye contact as he asked questions, posited his query to the bottom of his butterbeer bottle.

"So who would risk spinning the wheel, then?"

Hermione shrugged. "Poorly-written characters looking for thinly-veiled excuses to engage in group sex?"

"Well, if that's the only story, and you don't think much of what was used...why did you even bring up the subject?" asked Susan.

"Because the concept of having an escape clause penalty is sound, even if penalty selected in that story was stupid."

"Ah…so that means that you've got some better ideas?" Hannah asked.

"Maybe."

Susan giggled. "And that also means that you've fantasized about playing a better version of this game as well?"

"Not necessarily!" Hermione protested. "I just can't stand stories that are stupid…and sometimes it bugs me enough that I'll take the time to logic out how the stupid story should have unfolded."

"What would you propose for tomorrow night, then?" asked Susan.

"Or for right now, for that matter," added Hannah. "Susie is still on the hook to answer my question."

Hermione smiled. "Well…the possibilities that I came up with are predicated on specific ground rules for the game itself. They wouldn't work otherwise."

"What do you mean?"

"Remember what I said about accepting worst-case scenarios?" Hermione asked. "One of those worst-case scenarios might be stripping starkers in front of everyone else."

"Doesn't sound worst case to me…if the alternative is sucking on something that has just been up my bum," said Susan.

"True…I guess you could call it an acceptable worst-case scenario…what the players would know in advance would be the most outrageous or embarrassing thing that could happen to them."

"And you think that girls would really play the game if they know that's a possibility?" asked Neville.

"I'd expect they'd consider it a fair bargain, so long as Harry was playing," said Hannah.

"But even if everyone was willing to accept stripping naked as an alternative to a particular dare…where do you go from there?" asked Hermione. "What's the next dare given to somebody who is already starkers?"

"Ah… those were the stories that quickly developed into multi-partner orgies?" asked Hannah.

"Yeah," Hermione replied.

"Care to lend any of that bedtime wank reading out to your friends?" Susan teased.

Hermione giggled. "Sorry, Susie…no internet access in the castle."

The blush that had developed on Neville's cheeks over the course of this conversation involuntarily deepened at the thought of Hermione or Susan masturbating as they read naughty stories in bed. He tried to pass off these less-than-impeccably-faithful-to-his-fiancée thoughts and the reaction that they provoked with another eyes-cast-downward question.

"So if your self-imposed penalty for not doing a dare or answering a question is getting naked in front of everybody else…then you would need a ground rule that prevents dares that involve nudity, right?"

"That's right," agreed Hermione. "Although I'd also think that we'd also need ground rules that limit how much sexual contact or activity could be involved even in the absence of nudity."

"How much is too much sexual contact?" asked Susan.

Hermione shrugged. "Again, that's for the group to decide in advance."

"Or else it's Terry Boot daring Susan to let him slip his hand inside the front of her knickers?" asked Hannah.

"Eeeew!"

Hermione reacted to Susan's reaction with a sympathetic pat on the leg. "That's exactly right… you could be facing that even if there was a rule against daring nudity."

Neville asked, "Where would you draw the line, then, Hermione?"

The Muggleborn shrugged. "Well, it would obviously depend on who was actually playing. If guys like Draco were in the circle, then the line would be drawn this side of a saucy wink."

"But if were a group that only included guys that you liked…or trusted?" asked Hannah.

Hermione's eyes darted towards Neville's face, causing his cheeks to darken a deeper shade of crimson. They then slowly shifted back towards his girlfriend's surprisingly intense gaze.

"Well, obviously, I would defer to whatever limits were proposed by the girlfriends of those trustworthy guys. If they weren't comfortable with the possibilities, then there wouldn't be a game…would there?"

Hannah held Hermione's gaze for a moment, then shifted her eyes to gauge Susan's reaction to that statement. The former Hufflepuff then took a deep breath and reached out for her fiancé's hand.

"Ladies…if you'd excuse us for a few moments?" she asked.

"Sure," Hermione replied. "The tent's unoccupied."

"Thanks, but I'm thinking that we'll need to make a quick run back to the Ocho."

"Why's that?" her fiancé asked.

Hannah pulled Neville close and whispered something into his ear that made his eyebrows arch up towards his hairline.

Hermione cast a Tempus charm. "Sorry, guys, but if you are hoping to run back to the dorm for a clean set of underwear…I've got posted office hours starting in fifteen minutes. Unless you'd want to risk having our game interrupted?"

Hannah snorted, and shook her head. "I'm afraid that I am going to lose my nerve if we don't do it right now, but…maybe it would kill two birds with one spell?"

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked.

Neville's fiancé gave his hand a squeeze. "Well, I wouldn't want Nev to feel horribly outnumbered if we're really going to do this game right…and you did say that you were going to warn Harry, right?"

Susan gasped. "So you do want to play with Harry, don't you?"

"No!" Hannah protested. "I mean, well…I wouldn't put it that way, but…"

Hermione chuckled. "That's actually a pretty good idea…assuming that Harry would agree to it."

"Wouldn't Harry already know how to play Truth or Dare?" asked Neville.

The Muggleborn shrugged. "I've never asked. But even if he did, and he decided not to go along with the party plans…he might agree to play with the four of us just to provide you with some moral support."

"Moral support?" Susan asked. "More likely manly support."

Hermione shrugged. "Well, there's no time now regardless, so either way…"

"Will the four of us will still play a practice game later today even if Harry doesn't want to join?" asked Neville.

"I say we can do both," Hannah declared. "We'll reconvene here after dinner, with or without Harry, and with or without our nicest sets of knickers, but in the meantime…fair is fair. Fifteen minutes is more than enough time for Susan to answer my question."

Susan whined, "What about Neville or Hermione, then?"

Hannah rolled her eyes. "If you would just quit stalling and answer the damn question, there would still be time for them to answer their own questions, wouldn't there?"

Susan glanced at Hermione. She shrugged and nodded in agreement. After a pointed elbow to the ribs from Hannah, Neville did the same.

The pig-tailed witch then let out a deep sigh, and said, "Fine…the answer is four."

"What was that question again?" Hermione teased.

"Four is the highest number of fingers that I have stuffed up myself at the same time," Susan said with a huff. "My turn, then?"

"I suppose so."

"Neville, what's the highest number of fingers that have been stuffed up your bum at one time?"

"Susan!" Hannah gasped.

"What?"

"Oh…just….Susan!"

"Do you want to water this game down, or play it like it will be played tomorrow night?"

Neville shook his head and placed a reassuring hand on his fiancé's shoulder.

"Better we know what to expect now than to be surprised tomorrow night, right?" he asked.

"I suppose."

"Good."

Neville then turned towards Susan and announced, "One."

"Really?" the teen-aged asked. "Your finger or Hannah's?"

"Sorry…that's a separate question," Neville replied smugly. "So I guess for the round to be complete…"

The teen-aged wizard paused when his fiancé leaned over and began to whisper something into his ear. He turned towards Hannah and said, "I can't ask Hermione that!"

"Weren't you the one that just said that we all have to know what to expect tomorrow night?"

"Yeah, but…"

"Do you have a better question in mind?"

Neville whispered something into Hannah's ear. She snorted in disbelief, then said, "We definitely need some more time to work on your creativity…go with my idea."

Her fiancé looked at Hannah for a moment, then sighed and said, "Yes, Dear."

"Oooh, good training!" Susan quipped.

Neville ignored the gentle tease as he summoned up his courage.

"Hermione," he finally asked, "What, in full and explicit detail, is your boldest sexual act?"

Hermione frowned while Susan laughed and congratulated Hannah on her cunning suggestion. When the strawberry-blonde witch finally noticed the frown, she said, "Oh, don't look so said…it's only a game, right?"

The Muggleborn shook her head. "I'm not sad…I'm just trying to sort out how to answer the question." She turned to Neville and asked, "When you say 'boldest' do you mean the bravest thing that I've ever done sexually, or the most advanced?"

Hannah's eyes lit with delight. "Oh, definitely 'bold' as in your bravest, most daring act of depravity, Little Miss Gryffindor."

Neville shot a glare in his fiance's direction. He held that stare for a few moments, before reluctantly turning back towards Hermione.

"What she said."

"Okay."

They might have heard a pin drop out in the Transfiguration classroom had privacy charms not been set in place.

Hannah watched Hermione mull the question over for a while, before asking, "Don't tell me that you've got too many to choose from!"

Hermione glanced up and smiled. "Okay, then…I won't."

"You won't answer the question?" Susan asked incredulously. "Does that mean that you're going to strip naked?"

"No, that means that I won't tell Hannah that I've got too many daring acts of depravity to pick from."

"Darn, and here I was, getting my hopes up," Neville quipped.

"Way to go, Nev!" Susan cheered. "Finally getting into the spirit of the game!"

"Right," Hermione decided. She took in a deep breath, expelled that deep breath, and began her story.

"So I had this huge secret crush on this guy. We were…friends…but in terms of me being a girl with curves and hormones and needs…I didn't think that he thought of me that way. Not that he didn't have a million other things on his mind…but you all know how scary things got last year. I really didn't want to die a virgin, but I was too scared and insecure and worried how horribly awkward it would all be if I just surprised him by wrapping bows on my bits and offering myself as a Christmas present…"

"Wow, that's too bad," said Susan. "Because that certainly would have been daring."

"Oh, be quiet and let her get to the naughty parts!" Hannah complained. She then turned towards Hermione and asked, "There are naughty parts, right?"

The Muggleborn rolled her eyes. "Forgive me for trying to put what I did into context."

"Get on with it!" Susan said with a giggle.

Hermione sighed. "So…at the end of a long and frustrating period of time during which I tried to prove to this clueless bloke that I was a girl with curves and hormones and needs…I was doing things like flashing some cleavage when I accidentally missed blouse buttons or flashing some thigh when I let my night robe accidentally slip open…I sucked up my nerve and left the bathroom door ajar while I took a shower."

Susan frowned. "That's it?"

Hermione chuckled and shook her head. "Did I forget to mention that I knew that he was going to pass by that open doorway as I showered, or that I could see the hallway from the shower, and that the reason that I could see the hallway was because I had cast anti-fogging charms on the shower doors?"

"Erm…no, you didn't," Neville squeaked.

Hermione shrugged. "Well, then I probably also forgot to mention that while I was in that shower I also fingered myself to a very quiet but very satisfying orgasm."

"Right in front of him?" Hannah gasped.

The Muggleborn gave the former Hufflepuff her best Mona Lisa smile. "I'm not sure, since I had my back turned to the doorway the whole time."

Susan clapped her hands in approval. "Brava! So did he watch?"

"Who was it?" asked Hannah.

Hermione shook her head. "Sorry, but you'll have to save those questions for tonight."

Susan's protests were snuffed by the sound of a perimeter alarm.

"Oh, shite!" Hermione hissed, glancing at the results of a hastily cast Tempus charm.

"Office hours?" Susan asked.

Hermione nodded. "You guys need to go."

Hannah licked her lips. "Might be less awkward if you let us hide for a few minutes instead?"

Hermione's eyes traveled in the direction of Hannah's focused gaze and landed on the large tent in front of Neville's trousers.

"Oh, go on then," she smirked, nodding towards the tent. "Just don't come out until I give you the all-clear."

"You're the best, Hermione!" Hannah whispered, as she dragged her fiancé up off the couch and into the magical enclosure.

Susan gasped when she heard a knock on the door. "You're going to let them…in there…while you've got students out here?"

The teaching assistant shrugged, and called out, "Just a minute, please!" In a much quieter voice, she said, "There's plenty of room in there in case you want to join them…"

"Hermione!"

"Join them in hiding," the Muggleborn clarified. "I did say that there were two bedrooms in that spell-silenced tent, didn't I?"

Susan giggled. "Yes, and a sitting room, and a kitchen, and a lavatory…I don't suppose it's a lav whose door opens into a hallway, is it?"

"Oh, hush!" Hermione hissed. "Grab your bag, then."

"Why would I…oh…right."

That Klewy the house-elf chose that moment to pop back into the office and clear out the empty butterbeer bottles and clear the air with a freshening charm didn't escape Susan's attention. She wondered just how many times this had happened…and how many times Hannah and Neville had put the tent to good use…and how much she really knew about Hermione.

As she guided Susan towards the doorway, the Transfiguration teaching assistant loudly stated, "Well, Miss Bones, why don't you go off and practice that spell on your own…and if you're still having problems, let me know and we'll figure something out.

Susan's eyes lit up with understanding. She gave one last incredulous glance towards the closed tent flaps, then turned towards the door that Hermione was opening.

"Thank you for your help, Ms. Granger," Susan said politely, as she slipped past the First Year Ravenclaws who had been patiently waiting their turn. The pig-tailed witch took a few steps towards the classroom exit proper, then turned and watched as Hermione guided the two eleven-year old witches into her office. She left the office door opened, allowing Susan to listen in as the Muggleborn witch began working with the Ickle Firsties as if it were the most normal thing in the world…and as if there weren't already two other students in that office, shagging away like bunnies.

The thought of doing something that deliciously naughty herself, with a wizard who was hung like a hippogriff…or as part of a three-way…with the right couple, mind you…

There was a good reason why Susan had chosen not to join Hannah and Nevile in the tent. But that reason didn't make her any less randy after hearing Hermione's story, or her knickers any less moist. The pig-tailed witch rushed out of the classroom, intent on solving both of those problems with some private time back in the Eighth-Year dorms.