The Sugar Quill
Author: Pain and Panic (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Harry Potter and the Magical Mystery Tour  Chapter: Chapter One
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

 

Notes: We realize this is really odd. We realize you won't get all of our absurd references. We don't mind. We think it's fun anyway.

Disclaimer: There's no way we'd ever be able to name everything we stole, so we won't try. Nothing is ours, a lot is Disney's or J. K. Rowling's, and we're not making any money anyway. What a cruel world. However, we will say that Ariadne Rutherford is Hallie's character, much as we may love her. The Mary Poppins idea really is original, despite the fic recently posted at The Sugar Quill (Would somebody please tell me what that's called so I can read it? - L.A.). The Yahoo chat that spawned the madness is testimony to the fact- it will be provided upon request. We also shamelessly stole the title- Magical Mystery Tour- from the Beatles (to which there are many obscure references). There are also a good deal of out-of-context X-Files quotes.

Apologies: We're sorry we're subjecting you to this. Walter Disney, if you weren't rolling over in your grave, we'd be sorry for causing your death. Lone Astronomer would like to apologize especially to Mother Goose and whoever performs Little Red Riding Hood (the song). Our deepest apologies to J. K. Rowling.

Rating: PG-13 for mild swearing and shirtless Oliver Wood.

 *

Harry regarded Hermione with the most disbelieving of glances, wondering if he were dreaming. "You want me to what?" he said, completely dumbstruck.

"Not I want, Harry," Hermione reminded him, still holding out the form he was supposed to fill out. "The Commonwealth for Magical wants. They want you to fly in the charity Quidditch match on Saturday. And I'm quite sure you heard me the first time and we both know you won't refuse, so you might as well just take the signup sheet already and fill in your name."

Harry took it from her, grumbling, and signed his name on the form. "Do I at least get to choose my team?"

Perking up a bit, Hermione said, "Oh, I suppose so. Three of the executive council want to play, but you can choose your Beaters and a Keeper."

At the mention of his Keeper, Harry felt his face warm. Out of habit, he looked over his shoulder.

"For goodness sake, Harry," Hermione chided. "You'd know if she was in the room."

His blush deepened. He held up the contract. "I guess I'd better go find some Weasleys," he said, shaking his head.

She put out a hand to stop him. "Not so fast." She had yet another sheet of parchment in her hand now, quite a bit longer. "There's still the issue of sponsors."

"Sponsors?" said Harry weakly.

"I'm sending this letter to Witch Weekly." Hermione grimaced. "It's the easiest way and probably the most responsive. All you have to do is look it over and make any corrections you feel are necessary."

This was new. Hermione was making him the final copy editor? Harry had all the grammatical grace of a flying cow. He gave it a precursory glance, then nodded in apparent satisfaction. "Perfect as always, Hermione."

She shook off his dry tone and snatched her letter back. "That's me," she said. "Hermione Granger, practically perfect in every way."

Something about the way she laughed after saying this should have set Harry on alert. But he really had no idea…

*

ONE WEEK LATER, the Muggle Studies classroom. Due to the absence of the Muggle Studies teacher, Hermione is substituting the class. Ron, because he has neglected to inform Hermione that he has Divination, has been allowed to tag along.

Ron surveyed the class, impressed. It hadn't even been five minutes since Hermione had announced her hostile takeover of the Muggle Studies class, and already the students respected her. He figured that it was probably because Hermione was very intimidating. Someone had dared speak out of turn and had ended up utterly humiliated by a series of impossible-to-answer Muggle trivia questions. In teacher mode, he discovered, she was unsettlingly like Professor McGonagall. She was also very fond of chalk; she had written her name in huge block letters on the blackboard so that the students wouldn't have to say, 'hey, you,' and the dust was starting to tickle his nose.

Luckily, she hadn't set too high a mark for the class that day. They were to be going over Muggle scripts and photography in preparation for watching a Muggle film the following class, Smarmy Bobbins or something. Ron flipped through his copy halfheartedly, then stopped. Around the middle of the page, there was a very long word. He decided to ask Hermione what it meant.

Hermione was in the middle of explaining the Muggle film-developing process to a third year. She had chalk on the sleeve of her robe. Ron could feel the dust getting up his nose. "Hermione," he asked when she was done her explanation, "what is a supercalibrat-"

"A what?" she said with a slight smile.

Ron ignored the queasiness this induced in his stomach. "That word, there," he said, trading papers with her. He noticed that the photograph Hermione had been explaining was of Harry, remembering when he'd taken it with Hermione's camera the summer before. "What's this mean? Supercalifragilistic-" Ron paused, bracing for a sneeze, but the tickle passed. "-Expialadocious?" he finished, relieved. And sneezed all over the photograph.

 

*

Ginny Weasley dipped her toes into the lake and hummed as she made a few more marks in her sketchbook. It was a lovely time to be outside…Charms had been cancelled due to Professor Flitwick’s fifth year Hufflepuffs accidentally putting an Elevator Music Charm on the classroom.

"Looks just like him, except…I’ve seen him without a shirt and it’s very--"

Ginny jumped and clutched her sketchbook to her chest. "Myrtle!" Ginny glowered at the ghost hovering over the lake trying to peer at her drawing. "What are you doing out here?"

Myrtle looked very sour at this comment, well, more sour than usual anyway. "I am not confined to the castle like most of the ghosts," she gave Ginny an offended look, as if she were to guess this offhandedly. "I can go on the grounds…I just have to stay around the lake. I only came out here because I was tired of listening to Eloise Midgen cry about some Neville boy never noticing her."

"Eloise likes Neville?" asked Ginny, interested. "I didn’t know that."

Myrtle pushed a piece of mousy-silvery hair out of her mouth and looked sulkily at Ginny. "I don’t like her. She flushed my loo when I told her she should wear robes that fit her. When…"—Myrtle’s eyes filled with tears—"When I was simply making suggestions to help her! She doesn’t bother to make suggestions to me… I’m just dead … she doesn’t care…."

Ginny refrained from rolling her eyes. "How very helpful of you, Myrtle."

Myrtle’s attention snapped back to Ginny. "Can I see your picture?"

Ginny frowned. Myrtle had a huge mouth; surely she would blab to someone that Ginny had drawn a picture of her Quidditch Captain. Plus, she really was quite fond of this one. Why would a ghost show such an interest in a sketch of Harry?

"Why?" Ginny asked flatly.

"I liked it. When I was—," Myrtle gave a liquidy sniffle," alive. I used to draw."

Ginny wasn’t convinced. There were loads of paintings and drawings in the castle that Myrtle could look at. "You fancy Harry, don’t you?"

She half expected and half wanted Myrtle to go into wild hysterics about being reminded she was dead, and there was no plausible way she could have Harry, but Myrtle remained floating over the lake…much to Ginny’s surprise, placidly. Like a horrible silver colored buoy.

"You do," confirmed Ginny, smirking at her. It was very refreshing to torment Myrtle about this for some reason. "But you’re dead." Ginny was sure to annunciate every word, especially dead.

Myrtle crossed her arms and Ginny could tell she was putting up an admirable fight to keep from sniveling about being dead. She supposed Myrtle must really like Harry a lot then.

"You’re one to taunt me," Myrtle said, in what Ginny guessed, her version of a high and mighty voice. "You’re sketching him. He wouldn’t like that at all. Even ghosts aren’t that scary."

Ginny blushed. Ouch. She looked up at Myrtle. "But you’re dead," she repeated cheerfully. Being mean on purpose to Moaning Myrtle really was deliciously entertaining, and Ginny decided that she should really do it more often.

"Harry is nearly killed every year," Myrtle said floating closer to Ginny. "I’ve only got to wait until he’s a ghost like me. Then we can spend et—."

"Shut up," said Ginny hotly. That was going too far. No wonder Myrtle wanted Harry, she thought he was going to die at any second…and he could be with her. "He’s not going to die! And he wouldn’t be a ghost anyway!"

"How do you know?" Myrtle wiped her nose on the corner of her wrinkled school uniform.

"I’m not showing you the picture!" Ginny slapped the sketchbook face down on the grass.

Myrtle looked at Ginny appraisingly. "What makes you think you deserve him more than me?"

Ginny snorted. She really had to repeat herself? "You’re dead."

"And what if you were also?"

Ginny frowned and felt a little uncomfortable after Myrtle’s statement. "Even then," she responded shakily, "I wouldn’t want him to die just for my happiness."

Myrtle gave her a patronizing look. "Mortals," she said rolling her eyes.

"Some mortals," Ginny said snappily, "aren’t selfish, like ghosts. And if the ghosts weren’t selfish mortals in their lifetime, they very well wouldn’t be stuck as ghosts, now would they?"
If Myrtle had had the ability to be another color other than bleary silver, Ginny expected she would be bright red at this moment. "You can be as high minded as you like—," Myrtle’s voice was becoming very high-pitched, "but you still want him."

"I don’t see why that is any of your concern."

"I want that drawing."

"No."

"I want that drawing," Myrtle repeated tonelessly.

"No!" said Ginny angrily. "Leave me alone! I’m going to report you to Dumbledore if you don’t cut it out!" She scooped up her sketchpad and began stalking off towards the castle.

Myrtle stomped her foot soundlessly and began shrieking. "If I don’t have that drawing, I’ll…I’ll…."

"You’ll die?" commented Ginny, turning around to smirk at Myrtle.

"How dare you! I hate you!" screeched Myrtle, beating the air with her fists.

Ginny was almost pleased with herself. Myrtle was throwing a full-blown fit. And after all this time, she had thought that Myrtle was only capable of whiny tears. Ginny pushed her ponytail behind her and tried to decide where she could go sit in peace.

What would Myrtle do with her drawing?

"If," Ginny said loudly, "I gave it to you, what would you do with it?"

Myrtle stopped crying so suddenly that Ginny was quite impressed. A trick like that had to have been practiced for quite awhile. "Keep it of course," she said thickly, wiping the tears from her glasses.

"Don’t be stupid, Myrtle." Ginny signed her name to the drawing and ripped it off the sketchpad. "This--" she waved it enticingly under Myrtle’s nose-- "this is a real, solid, mortal object. You are a ghost, you couldn’t hold it if you wanted to!"

"You’re the one being stupid," sniffed Myrtle. "I can have that."

"How?" demanded Ginny. This was ridiculous. Why was she humoring a ghost?

"Simple. You have to willingly give it to me. Then it becomes mine and I can touch it."

Ginny had to admit she had never heard of that before. Of course, she never made it a habit to regularly converse with ghosts.

"Why should I give it to you? I don’t get anything."

"I haven’t had anything new in decades," whined Myrtle. "What’s one picture to a mortal? You can draw another whenever you want to."

"But I don’t owe it to you," Ginny argued. If she had learned anything from living with her brothers it was never to bargain for anything quickly. "You don’t even like me!"

"You don’t like me either."

"So?"

Myrtle floated up right next to Ginny and kept up with her as she strode across the grounds. Ginny realized that Myrtle was still shorter than her, even hovering a bit off the ground.

"You’re a Gryffindor," Myrtle said slowly, as if she had just realized this.

"Duh. It’s only written on my robes."

"Then we’ll have a contest."

Ginny made a face. Oh brother. "What sort of contest?"

"If you win, you get Harry. If I win, I get the drawing."

"Why do I not believe you?" Ginny snorted.

"It’s not even a real contest, you’d just be competing against yourself. If you win, you get Harry, if you don’t win, you’ll be exactly where you are now."

Ginny narrowed her eyes. That was rude of Myrtle to say. "Tell me about it."

Myrtle picked the spot on her chin and looked quite pleased with herself. Ginny had never seen Myrtle look so happy and it bothered her immensely. Myrtle had plotted something.

"I’ll give you three days to get Harry to kiss you. If he does, you win and you’ll know he likes you back…."

"And if he doesn’t, you get my drawing," finished Ginny.

"Right," said Myrtle.

"I suppose it’s an okay idea…." Ginny blushed. This might be the push she needed to get closer to Harry. "Sounds fair."

"It’s not fair at all," said Myrtle.

"What? You just made up the rules!"

"Not all of them. You have an unfair advantage of winning."

"Yeah well, I’m not dead," added Ginny.

Myrtle clenched her fists and Ginny saw her silver fingernails were bitten down to the quick. "You could just ask him to kiss you," she said icily. "You’re pretty, he’d say yes."

Ginny was flattered for a moment, but then she realized that Myrtle wanted her to drop this advantage. "Excuse me! I am NOT going to transfigure another eye or something on my forehead! Forget it!"

Myrtle stuck out her tongue. "I didn’t say that."

"Then what do you want from me?"

"What I want from you is--" Myrtle’s face was now inches away from Ginny’s and she lowered her voice into a deep rumbly growl –"your VOICE."

"Would you please not do that?" Ginny stepped back quickly and made a face at Myrtle. "Do you know how weird that was?"

"Sorry," said Myrtle as she resumed picking at her chin again. "I really want it."

"And no!" Ginny exclaimed. "I am NOT giving you my voice? Are you crackers?!"

Myrtle rolled her eyes. "Just for three days. I’m just making it fairer!"

"Skewing the odds is more like it!"

"Some Gryffindor you are. Can’t even accept something halfway challenging. You’ll never get Harry if you just sit around and wait for him to do something…."

Ginny paused. "I could do it, stop patronizing me! I wouldn’t even know how to give you my voice for three days!"

Myrtle gave Ginny another exasperated look that Ginny was certain if Myrtle had ever had any friends they must have wanted to kill her just because of that look. "I can do magic you know."

"You’re de—."

"I was a witch before I died," interrupted Myrtle. "Ghosts can still do spells if a mortal permits it."

Ginny hadn’t known that either. "It must really be annoying having to get this mortal permission stuff."

"Ghosts don’t have strong magic," sighed Myrtle. "But I know I can take your voice." She crossed her arms and floated just in front of Ginny, obviously waiting for permission.

"Back off, Toilet Duck," Ginny held up her hands irritably. "I haven’t said yes. I have classes to go to. I can’t just prance around without a voice."

"Don’t you know the castle is under an enchantment?" Myrtle looked at Ginny as if she were quite stupid. Ginny reminded herself that she couldn’t strangle her. "You haven’t noticed the students and teachers walking around acting funnily?"

"No."

"Well, there’s some sort of enchantment over it, I’m not sure if all of them have noticed it yet…. Plus, I don’t think anyone can reverse it in three days."

"Is it a bad enchantment?"

Myrtle shrugged. "If someone keels over, you’ll know."

"Myrtle!"

"What? More company for me!"

"And what if they figure it out?"

"If they break the enchantment in before the third day is up, we can just call off the contest."

Ginny thought about this. "Well…."

"You want Harry, don’t you? You’re mortal, you haven’t got all the time in the world…."

Ginny narrowed her eyes. "You’re on."

Myrtle rubbed her hands together. "I need permission."

"Er, you have my permission," said Ginny nervously. Something about this entire thing seemed to scream an owl home to her parents. Oh well.

Mrytle steepled her fingers and smiled wickedly. "Ex-cellent."

Ginny rolled her eyes. "Have you finished being creepy?"

"All I need for you to do is to sing," Myrtle said excitedly. "You can do that, can’t you?"

"Yes," Ginny was becoming quite annoyed. "Yes, I can SING."

"Then do it!"

Ginny cleared her throat and smiled confidently. "I’d like to be under the sea, in an octopus’s garden in the shade."

"That’s terrible!" Myrtle interrupted wrinkling her nose.

Ginny glared at her. "I’ll just hum a few bars then."

"I bet you will," muttered Myrtle.

Ginny began humming while still managing to make a sour face at Mrytle. Suddenly she couldn’t hum anymore… But she hadn’t felt anything!

Ginny lifted her hand to her throat and tried to speak. Her nose twitched. Her voice really was gone.

*

Sybil Trewlaney poured a cup of tea for the red-headed woman sitting on the pouf in front of her. The woman clearly didn’t possess any divination abilities worth speaking of, and Sybil had just began to ponder why the woman had been sent to her…appearing out of nowhere.

"No, thank you," said the woman waving her hand at the tea. She was fiddling angrily with a small black object with rows of numbers on it.

"You’re foreign," said Sybil, setting a crystal ball in front of her. "We should consult the misty depths of the orb to discover the reasons we have crossed stellar pathways."

"We should not," said the woman impatiently. "I know why. Because Mulder showed up with a plane ticket to Scotland and as damned usual I don’t know what is going on."

"Ask the tea leaves your fate, my child." Sybil pushed the teacup into her hands.

"I don’t drink tea," said the woman, "and judging from this little…hovel you have set up here, I doubt those are just tea leaves in that cup."

"Palmistry, perhaps?"

The red head turned her attention to Sybil, and raised an eyebrow. "Cell phone battery would be far more helpful, thank you."

"Cell phone?" said Sybil, gazing at the black object. "Is this Dark magic you speak of?"

"Dark magic? Listen, Madam Cleo, I don’t know where the hell I am and I don’t really have time for your games. This is a cell phone," she held up the black object to illustrate her point. "You know…ring ring?"

"You’re at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," said Sybil. "Is this Ministry business?"

The woman looked slightly relieved at this phrase. "You know about government, then. I’m from America. F.B.I., Special Agent Dana Scully." The red head flashed a slip of paper at her, with a picture on it.

"Fellowship of Broom Inspectors? I’m afraid you’re going to want to speak with Madam Hooch."

"I’m sorry, did you say school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, earlier?"

Sybil nodded, calmly stirring her tea. "Of course."

"Mulder," she swore under her breath, "has outdone himself this time."

"This Mulder you speak of…."

"He’s my partner," she said, absentmindedly pacing the floor. "We were following a man who Mulder assumed to be a werewolf…and somehow I ended up here…I can’t figure it out."

"My dear, shall I do a short crystal gaze to help you remember?"

"Listen, I haven’t got any cash on me, nor the time for this."

"Cash?"

"Don’t you belong under some carnival tent somewhere?" said the woman, glaring at her.

"Closing yourself from your inner-eye can only cause you more confusion about your situation," said Sybil, waving her wand towards the fireplace and drawing her spidery purple shawl around her tighter.

"Neat trick," said the woman, rolling her eyes, "but I’m not giving you my credit card. The F.B.I. doesn’t exactly have a space for fortune-tellers on its expense reports."

"Credit card?"

Scully gave an exasperated sigh. "You know, money…surely that makes sense to you."

"Money!" exclaimed Sybil in spite of herself. She glared at the woman and adjusted herself on her pouf. "A true diviner does not ask for money for helping confused and lost souls!"

"Great, a fortune-teller with morals. How lucky of me."

"Diviner," said Sybil coldly. She was really becoming irritated with this visitor.

"Diviner, whatever you say. What if I let you read my palm…will you tell me how to get out of this place?"

"Most certainly," said Sybil.

The woman thrust her palm out and rolled her eyes. "No funny business, I’ve got a gun."

Sybil studied her palm. "You have a very odd love line, my dear."

"You’re telling me," said Scully dryly.

The fortune teller ignored her. "Interesting... do you often cross paths with a tall, dark, desirable man?"

In spite of herself, a smile tugged at the corner of Scully's mouth. "If you mean Mulder, then yes, we work together."

"And you're... friends?"

Scully shook her head. The woman had it all wrong. "We're more than that. We're partners." Her brain finally caught up with her mouth and she amended, somewhat horrified, "Not like that!"

The other woman raised an eyebrow. "How, then?"

Scully shrugged, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable. "When he's away, I feed his fish."

"And is he often gone?"

Something about the question set off warning bells in Scully's brain. She was sure she must be spending too much time in an incense-induced haze; she had no precognitive ability; that sort of thing was Mulder's department. Still, she felt that she had to answer honestly. "You know, I think about our future, and I wonder if he's even there."

"He loves you," said Sybil prophetically.

Scully's eyebrows nearly disappeared into her hairline. "He what?" She was seriously regretting allowing this woman to even read her palm and was now very glad that she hadn't let her do a Tarot reading, as well. Finally she laughed. "Good joke. Where's my partner hiding?"

Sybil leaned back a bit. "I don't know." And then, as if to make up for the fact that she had just admitted that she wasn't omniscient, "He's looking for you."

"And how would I go about finding him?"

"I sense," the Diviner answered, moving aside a rug and exposing a trap door, "that you need to go down."

 

*

Ginny was annoyed. Couldn’t anyone see what was going on? Even Hermione didn’t seem away that she was behaving oddly. In fact, she had made quite a show at the dinner table by pulling at least twenty books out of a…carpet bag. Harry just seemed very bewildered about it all.

Ginny wanted to tell everyone what was going on, but of course…she couldn’t speak. How was it that she seemed to get herself into situations like this?

"This soup is too hot!" wailed Lavender Brown.

Ginny slapped her forehead. She was so stupid…she could just write it out to Harry! She yanked parchment out of her bag and started to scribble quickly.

"Try mine, Lav." Parvati switched bowls with her.

Lavender took a sip. "Too cold!"

Parvati adjusted the blue headband in her hair and shook her head. "Curiouser and curiouser!"

"Hey, Ginny," said Harry. "I’ve got a question."

Ginny looked up sharply. She nodded, hoping this would be enough for Harry to continue talking.

"I’ve been signed up for some charity Quidditch thing and Hermione thinks I should do it…and I get to choose most of my teammates. So, I was sort of hoping you wouldn’t mind being Keeper for it…you know…since we’re used to being on the same team…."

Ginny nodded reverently. And you could kiss me after the game, if you wouldn’t mind….

"Great!" Harry said, "I’ll owl them after dinner."

"Hey, look," said Ron, pointing at the ceiling, "there’s a really big owl coming towards us right now."

"It’s a bird!" cried Parvati.

"Of course it’s a bird," said Hermione, rolling her eyes.

"It’s a plane!" exclaimed Dean Thomas.

"A what?" Half the table turned to look at him.

"What’s a plane?" asked Neville.

"No," said Hermione, "it’s…duck!"

"A duck?" Ron looked at her. "You’re crazy."

Just then a small pachyderm crash-landed in the middle of the table. Goblets, plates, and food showered everywhere.

"It’s…an elephant," said Lavender.

A baby elephant with very large, comical ears sat happily on the creaking house table, which was bowing in the middle because of his weight.

Harry was wiping pumpkin juice off his face. "Why is there an elephant on the table?"

"Curiouser and curiouser," said Parvati.

The elephant waved the letter in his trunk like a flag.

"Thanks," said Harry, taking the letter. "I think…."

"Maybe Hedwig’s gone on vacation to the Tiki Bird Room," suggested Ron.

This time everyone stared.

"What are you talking about?" asked Hermione.

"I dunno, it just popped into my head," said Ron.

"Things have been sort of weird lately," said Harry.

Ginny thrust the parchment into Harry’s hand and waited for him to read it.

He smiled warmly at her. "Thanks, my robes are sopping and I think he’s sitting on my napkin." He blotted the front of his robes with the parchment and crumpled it up.

Ginny put her hands on her face. Harry might have defeated You-Know-Who a handful of times, but he certainly was a bit slow sometimes.

"Who’s the letter from?" asked Ron.

Harry was writing a reply on the back of the elephant’s letter. "I bet it’s from Sirius. I think the letter is a joke. The name sounds fake and everything."

"What did it say?"

"Something about some sort of land this guy owns and he wants to make a section of it about me…in America." Harry snorted. "Imagine that."

"It’s easy if you try," sang Ron. When the attention of the entire table turned to him again, he just shrugged and said, "What?" They went back to their dinner. He looked down at his plate, suddenly realizing that he wanted breakfast. "Scrambled eggs…"

"Ron, why are you singing to your meal?" asked Hermione.

"I don't rightly know," he answered ruefully.

 

MEANWHILE, two tables over…..

Draco Malfoy was cutting up his roast moodily. "Of course Potter is trying to show off…."

Goyle grunted in his goblet. Crabbe continued to shovel food in his mouth.

"Trying to impress, her no doubt," scoffed Draco. "He doesn’t deserve her."

Crabbe stopped stuffing his mouth full of rice long enough to see where Draco had waved his hand.

"She’s the one," Draco said grandly, "the girl I’m going to marry."

Crabbe swallowed his mouthful of rice. "But she’s…."

"The most beautiful girl here," Draco finished.

Crabbe and Goyle stared at him. Goyle scratched his head.

"But she’s…."

"She’s the most beautiful and that makes her the best! And don’t I deserve the best?"

"Yeah," said Crabbe slowly. "Is this a trick, Draco?"

"No Lafou, it isn’t!" said Draco leaping up from his seat.

Crabbe scratched his head again. "Lafou?"

Draco was too preoccupied with singing with his arm thrown out towards the Gryffindor house table.

"Right from the moment when I met her, saw her….

I said she's gorgeous and I fell.

Here in town there's only she

Who is beautiful as me.

So I'm making plans to woo and marry Belle!"

"Who’s Belle?" asked Goyle blankly.

"I don’t know," said Draco now admiring his reflection in a goblet. "I didn’t have time to think of a rhyme for Ginny."

"Isn’t he dreamy?" sighed Pansy Parkinson.

"He’s gorgeous," sighed the rest of the Slytherin girls together.

"Lafou! To the common room! We must think of a plan to woo Ginny!" Draco smiled brightly at himself in the goblet once more and strode away from the table.

Crabbe and Goyle looked at each other blankly and both followed.

*

MEANWHILE, walking along a path on the outskirts of Hogsmeade

It was a good thing to be back out in the open again, Sirius decided, practically skipping. And it was definitely nice to be out without a disguise. He wasn't exactly sure it was a good idea, but he figured that he didn't look much like his wanted poster anymore. He had flesh and muscle as well as skin and bones now. And he'd had to cut his hair. And shave his beard. Sirius shuddered. He did not want to think about what he'd found in his beard.

In short, no one would notice him. He was too fat to be an escaped ex-convict. So Sirius skipped happily along, swinging the basket of goodies that he didn't remember getting. But he was happy. Even if someone recognized him, he could transform into Padfoot and run off before they could do anything. Besides, everyone knew Sirius Black wouldn't be caught dead in a red cloak.

Having reached his destination, Sirius stepped up to the Shrieking Shack and rapped on the door. "Anybody home? I've brought a basket full of goodies!" He paused and considered his words. That was ridiculous. Why was he acting like that? Besides, it was just Moony. He opened the door. "Hello?" It closed quietly behind him.

Sirius found Remus upstairs in bed, covered from neck to toe with a blanket and wearing a strange lacy, frilly thing on his head. He seemed to be a little under the weather. He would have to be, if he were wearing that. "Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood."

"Remus. You're looking hairier than normal." He opened the basket. "Huh. Sachertorte and champagne. Hungry?"

"Wrong time of the month for chocolate," Moony grouched, wrinkling his nose at the Viennese cake. "But lay on the bubbly stuff."

Sirius Summoned two glasses from the small kitchen and poured the drinks. Someone had been very considerate, he noted, glancing at the basket. A small tag on the side said, 'To S and R with love from J, C and K.' He shrugged and toasted them mentally. At the same time, he wondered if giving a werewolf alcohol the day before the full moon was going to be good for Remus' self-control. It didn't occur to him that that might be the entire point of the exercise.

Several glasses later, Remus said, "Where's that music coming from?"

Sirius blinked. He'd noticed it, too. "Dunno. It's really hokey, isn't it?"

Remus nodded, then stopped and clutched at his head. "Maybe we should stop drinking this stuff. On the other hand, it could be the Muzak."

Sirius fingered his wand thoughtfully, then pointed it at the walls. "One more note and you're toothpicks!" he growled at them. The noise stopped. Remus regarded him curiously. "I saw it in a movie once," he explained.

"Movie?"

Sirius shrugged. "I don't know. It just sort of came out."

"Right."

They regarded each other blearily for a few moments. Then, out of nowhere- "What big eyes you have."

They continued looking at each other. "What's going on, exactly?" asked Sirius after a while. "Don't tell me that was a normal, in-character thing for either of us to say."

Remus shrugged. "Maybe J, C and K drugged the champagne?"

"Maybe," Sirius agreed. "Maybe it's a conspiracy that started at Hogwarts when Ron accidentally sneezed and cast a Muggle Media Charm on Harry's photograph, resulting in everyone he knows acting like someone from the Muggle world?"

They watched each other in perfect horror for a moment before bursting out laughing. "That's a good one, Padfoot, but maybe you should lay off the booze." He gently removed Sirius' champagne flute from his hand.

"I agree," Sirius said. "I mean, how far-fetched can you get?"

"Muggle Media Charm," Remus said with a snort. "Honestly. Did you just make that up?"

"I don't know. I opened my mouth and the words were just there."

"That kind of thing can be dangerous. We should put something else in your mouth to prevent such mishaps." They watched each other for a few moments longer.

Finally, "You'll get the cake knife, then?"

*

MEANWHILE...

A dark spot was growing on the wall of the castle. It started out as a tiny little point no wider than the tip of a very fine sugar quill, but quickly extended into a line that ran a full two meters up the side of the wall, over to the left, and down again. The bricks between swung aside, opening for two young women with pen-wands and notebooks.

"Where'd you say they'd be, Cait?" the taller one asked, glancing around and looking all too eager for someone who was at a school.

"Astronomy Tower, I thought," came the answer. "But didn't you say something about the library?"

She shook her head. "I didn't write it in- should have, though. Never mind- I think we have to go this way." They set off around the grounds. Then- "Wait a second." She pulled out her quill, scribbled a few lines in her notebook, and looked up again. They were suddenly right in front of the Astronomy Tower.

"Oh my," said Cait.

At the base of the Astronomy Tower stood a half a dozen firefighters. They looked as if they were waiting for something to happen.

Something did- that is, something besides the amazed staring of the two women. Harry, Ron and Hermione walked by on their way back from Care of Magical Creatures.

"Hey, that's good," said Cait. "Did you just make that up?"

"No," the other said with a pout. "They're getting away from me again. Something about that spell I made him use- I haven't got complete control anymore." She said all this with a very distracted air about her, like she wasn't paying much attention. Indeed, she was still watching the firefighters intently.

Although Ron seemed to have problems discerning girls, he seemed to have no such problems when it came to boys. Either that, or he had gotten a lot better at reading Hermione's expression since Goblet of Fire. He stepped in front of her, as if he were acting as a human wall between her and the firemen. "Hey!" he said to the two trespassers. "You're not allowed to be here! You're supposed to be writing the story!"

The blonde one crossed her arms and regarded him skeptically. "Who says?" She started reaching for her wand.

"Woah, Kait," said the other, "this is not the time. Hello? Firemen? Does that ring a bell?"

"Right," replied Kait, following the gaze of the other two females. "Does that one remind you of Charlie?"

"Excuse me!" interrupted Ron loudly, in a voice that suggested he wanted pretty much anything but to be excused. "But they are not supposed to be here, either. Make them go away."

"Shut up, Ron," said Hermione distractedly, staring at the firefighters in a way that was sure to make Ron very unhappy.

The authors snickered. "Kait, give Ron a jealousy complex."

"Way ahead of you," she answered, tucking her pen away.

"I do not have a jealousy complex!" ("Good job adding denial, too, Kait.") "And get those... man-Veela out of here!"

"Shut up," Hermione hissed. "They write R/H fluff!"

"Fine," said Ron moodily (looking like cute Weasleys always do when they're sulking). "If you won't get rid of them, I will." He ran over to the group of firefighters, who despite being really brave, noble, sexy, grown men, fled at the sight of an enraged, screaming redheaded teenage boy.

"Can he do that?" Cait asked, aghast.

"Apparently," answered Kait. "After them!" She started to run, but Cait laid a restraining hand on your arm.

"Are you crazy?" she asked. "They'll get all hot and sweaty!"

Kait paused, looking almost as if she were fighting an inner battle. "Is that..." she said slowly, "a bad thing?"

"Not necessarily."

"Won't it... tire them out?"

Cait shrugged. "I guess we'll find out later." She sighed. "It's really a pity we don't have complete control anymore. I'd really like to write Ewan in... sort of just half done to only write hot firefighters."

"Tell me about it. We're not forgetting anyone, are we?"

Cait thought for a moment. "Where did you leave Remus and Sirius?"

Harry's eyes grew to the size of saucers.

"Shh!" Kait hissed. "Not in front of the kids!" She looked wildly from side to side. "Oh, and speaking of firefighters..."

"Yes?"

"We're going to need some in the Astronomy Tower in oh, say, an hour."

"An hour?"

"They'll be done by then," Kait assured her. "At least they should be. But as I've lost control..."

"I don't want to hear this!" Harry said, covering his ears. He began to sing loudly. He did not realize that his song of choice had been a bad one until he reached, "In Penny Lane, there is a fireman with an hourglass. And in his pocket is a portrait of the queen. He likes to keep his fire engine clean; it's a clean machine." By that time, the two strange authors were already gone.

*

Belle, er, Ginny was heading up to the Gryffindor common room for more parchment…..

This is crazy, she thought to herself. Harry won’t believe me. He barely even notices me…besides, he hasn’t got the slightest idea everyone is under an enchantment. Why did I agree to give my voice to Myrtle!

Luckily, right at that moment, a very conscious Oliver Wood fell through the roof. He was quickly followed by a stack of earth-toned sweaters that landed beside him with a soft ploomf.

Hel-lo, Ginny thought, stepping back in amazement.

"Bloody hell!" exclaimed Oliver coughing from the dust and brushing sheetrock out of his sexy, tousled hair.

Ginny raised an eyebrow. Harry who?

"Where’s my shirt?!" said Oliver looking down.

Who cares? Ginny thought to herself.

"And WHY am I at Hogwarts?" Oliver stood up and brushed more sheetrock off of himself.

Cait and Kait chose this as an opportune moment to skid around the corner.

"Oh bravo," said Kait delightedly, "We’ve got an Oliver in this now. Glad we wrote ourselves in this part."

Cait was giggling furiously behind her notebook. "I had to."

"Shirtless with khakis," snickered Kait, "I like the way you think."

"What am I doing here?" Oliver demanded. "I was in the middle of a Quidditch game!"

"I didn’t mean to take away your shirt," Cait said, sounding anything but sincere. "I might have imagined it unconsciously."

Kait snorted with laughter. "Oh, is that what you’re calling it now?"

"What am I doing here!?" said Oliver, putting his hands on his hips. He then realized he was still shirtless and made a dive for a sweater.

Ginny, who had a rather funny smile on her face, handed him a very lovely rust-colored one.

"Thanks, Ginny," said Oliver, glaring at the authors.

"You’re lucky she can’t speak," giggled Kait.

"And you cut that out," added Cait waving her pen at Ginny. "You’re Harry’s soul mate. Remember?"

Oh yeah. Harry. I like him. I could settle for Oliver though, you know.

"Excuse me…I know I’m devastatingly handsome and all that…but could you explain exactly why I’m here?"

"Mmm," said Cait. "Drat. I wrote you in and now you’ve got to do something useful. Silly writing rules."

Oliver’s sweater vanished and the other Kait looked extremely pleased with herself. "That’s useful."

"You’re here to…umm tell Ginny that Harry deserves a great girl like her. Sort of…ummm be a fairy Godmother type." Cait began scribbling on her notebook. "Yeah. That’ll work."

"You’re the perfect match for Harry," Oliver said dully. "Can I go now? I was in the middle of a great game."

But the authors were gone.

"Great!" howled Oliver, looking adorably putout. "I don’t know how to get back!"

 

*

MEANWHILE, somewhere in Romania…

 "Bill!" exclaimed Ariadne Rutherford, running up to the magic carpet. Seeing as Bill lived in Egypt, she decided not to ask about it. The vest and funny pants were really stretching it, though. And purple didn't suit his hair color at all. Still, it was a good thing he was there. She didn't know how to handle Charlie when he got like this. "Thank goodness you're here."

"Where's Charlie?" Bill asked curiously, jumping gracefully off of the carpet. Ria watched it suspiciously. Even with no rider, it followed Bill around. The effect was rather creepy, especially considering the monkey on his shoulder. She definitely didn't trust the rug.

She sighed, exasperated. "Your brother is singing to his invisible dragon in the garden again."

Bill looked almost amused. "What, the real ones aren't enough?"

"Apparently not," Ria replied dryly. "Come on, I'll take you to him." Sure enough, Charlie was right where she had left him- in the garden, under a shade tree, singing away. "Is it bad?" she asked, looking at Bill.

He shrugged. "I don't know. I haven't seen him like this before." He was quiet for a moment. "What's that he's singing?"

Ria rolled her eyes as they moved closer to better hear Charlie's surprisingly good tenor, passing under the nose of a large, sleeping dragon. "Always the same thing, over and over. 'Boo bop bopbop bop.'" The dragon awoke and, illogically, seemed as if it were raising an eyebrow at her. It said nothing. This was not unusual, as it was a dragon.

"… Bopbop bop, I love you, too," sang Charlie as they came into earshot. Bill shot Ria a questioning glance, but she could only shrug.

"Charlie," she tried for what had to be the fifth time that day, "who are you talking to?"

And Charlie replied just as he had the previous four times. "Elliot. But you can't see him, he's invisible."

"I see," Ria said, deciding to humor him. She knew from experience that further questions would get her nowhere.

"No, you don't," Charlie insisted. "He's invisible. Aren't you, Elliot?"

Ria could have sworn she heard something go bop. Then again, it was probably just her imagination playing tricks on her like Charlie's seemed to be. Shaking her head, she decided that maybe Bill could talk some sense into him and that she definitely couldn't handle the absurdness of both of them at once. She left them in the garden and retreated to the house.

*

Ria glanced in the mirror, wanting to ensure that she didn’t leave the house looking like she had the last time she'd saved Charlie from a rampaging Romanian Longhorn. However, when she did so, she noticed that while image in the mirror was rather familiar, it (thankfully) bore no resemblance to her whatsoever. In the mirror was a woman with a very flat face and large, round bespectacled eyes. "Are you lost?" Ria asked her irritably. "The butterfly convention's in Greece this year."

The mirror did not answer her directly, although it wasn't like Ria had expected it to. Instead, it merely blinked once slowly and said, "Beware; beware the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep."

Ria snorted. What was it with everyone and imaginary dragons lately? At least Charlie was the only one singing, she reflected. She didn't imagine that anyone with such a misty, weak voice as the bug-woman in her mirror could sing very well. Still, she glanced out the window out of curiosity and was surprised to find that yes, there really was a large, green dragon with, yes, red hair, a true Weasley, sitting on the doorstep with Charlie. "How did you know?"

The mirror person blinked knowingly. "My Inner Eye," it said wisely.

Ria scoffed. "Your Inner Eye? You're two-dimensional!"

The mirror harumphed and vanished with a puff of smoke, leaving Ria staring at her reflection. Well, really, she thought to herself. I ought to take some security measures, that's what. Anyone could just pop in and peep at us while we're in the shower! She decided not to notice that this implied she and Charlie were ever in the shower at the same time, which Hallie will tell you they weren't.

*

 

AN UNKNOWN CASTLE, SCOTLAND
MOMENTS LATER...

(read: Mulder scene. Kait's attempts at humor: jabs at book-burners, lame X-Files plotlines, and men in general. Be forewarned.)

If Scully were here, Mulder thought absently, she would be really pissed. Luckily, he'd lost Scully a few moments ago and didn't have to admit that he was completely lost. One minute they'd been tracking a lycanthrope across Scotland. Somehow they'd ended up at the ruins of an old castle on a hill. Ignoring the signs warning of danger, they'd gone inside and immediately gotten separated. It was like a rip in the time-space continuum: Mulder assumed that he was inside the castle as it had been before whatever disaster had caused its collapse.

There was just one problem with this theory: the castle was alive.

Well, maybe not the castle itself, Mulder reasoned, looking incredibly sexy and feeling very out of place as he walked down the not-quite-deserted halls in his standard-issue F.B.I. trench coat. It almost looked like a school- young people running about in very strange uniforms, brandishing sticks and speaking in Latin as well as English. Also, he could have sworn the eyes on that photograph really were following him down the hall. He didn't like the lustful expression on her face, either. There was also the odd ghost drifting about, which didn't really surprise him. Mulder decided that this had to be some sort of place of worship for occult members.

He was just about to reach for his cell phone and call Scully when a voice yelled from somewhere above him, "Excuse me, sir! Yes, you with the tastefully-cut Muggle clothes!"

Mulder turned around, looking for where the voice had come from. Several young female occult members were staring at him now, giggling and whispering to each other.

"If you don't identify yourself, I shall have to take security measures. Sir, I'm up here."

Mulder tipped his head back, eyes searching the ceiling. By the time his eyes lit on the figure- another ghost?- a water-filled balloon had been lobbed at him. It exploded a few inches away, splashing the hem of his trousers. "Hello? I'm, ah, Agent Mulder. F.B.I.?" This had suddenly become a question. Hopefully these people knew what the F.B.I. was.

"F.B.I.?" repeated what he now assumed (from the manipulation of mortal objects) was a very messed-up poltergeist. "Oh, you mean the Fellowship of Broom Inspectors. Well, that's no problem then, we'll just see if Madam Hooch has time to-"

"Do you need something?" a cool voice interrupted. The poltergeist fled through the ceiling. Mulder lowered his gaze to meet this newcomer. He noticed peripherally that the students that had been watching the confrontation had scattered.

Reaching for his badge, Mulder took in the sinister appearance of the other man- if that was what he was. He was roughly Mulder's height, with dark hair slicked back, a pronounced widow's peak, and disturbingly pale skin. Hah! Thought Mulder. I knew Elvis wasn't dead. He decided to go for the innocuous. "I work for the F.B.I." He flashed his badge. "Just looking for my partner."

The other man regarded him coolly. "You did not, by any chance, leave him at the broom shed?"

Broom shed? thought Mulder warily. "Her, actually. And no, we haven't been out to the broom shed just yet..." Fellowship of Broom Inspectors. I'll have to remember that one.

"Why are you dressed like that, anyway?" he appeared to be scrutinizing what was, in some areas, very tasteful clothing. Something else occurred to Mulder and he made a mental note to find out what a 'Muggle' was.

"Been traveling," he replied evasively.

"Ah," the other man appeared to understand. Mulder thought he heard him mutter something under his breath about Americans and sports equipment. He held out his hand. "Professor Severus Snape."

Although at first he looked at the hand as if it were about to bite him, Mulder accepted it. "Special Agent Fox Mulder."

"What an unexpected pleasure. It's so kind of you to want to visit me in my loneliness."

Mulder snatched his hand back. He had met some genuine creeps in his life, but this guy was giving him the heebie-jeebies. "Right." He suddenly wanted nothing more than to find Scully and get the heck out of... wherever they were. "Look, if you'll just help me find my partner-"

Snape interrupted impatiently, "Yes, yes. What does she look like?"

Mulder held out his hand at just below shoulder height, "About so high, redhead, short fuse, probably wants to kill me about now..." He thought he heard the other man mutter something about a surplus of redheads, but ignored it, continuing, "Answers to Scully."

"Haven't seen her," Snape replied shortly.

"Okay," Mulder said. His patience was really starting to wear thin. People these days. You go off on a perfectly normal X-File and end up one partner short in a Monty Python sketch. "You don't happen to have a missing persons department...?"

Snape fixed him with a cold stare. "We do not." He sighed impatiently. "You'd better come with me to the dungeons. I can't help you search for her, I've got a class, but with any luck I'll be rid of you before we even get there."

It occurred to Mulder that the last place he wanted to follow this Snape character was to the dungeons. "You know, you're just the type of person that gives perversion a bad name."

"How very flattering," Snape sneered. "This way."

The dungeons were many stairs away, Mulder found, and true to legend they were underground. It was rather dark, and the floors were slippery with who-knew-what. It also reeked somewhat of decomposing flesh.

"I'll help you look for your wayward partner later. Right now, you need to stay out of my way. I have a class to teach."

So Mulder sat back in the shadows, trying very hard not to lean against the wall, and watched the scary wraith-man drill facts into his students' heads. When he started going on about the Draught of Living Death, Mulder finally couldn't restrain himself any longer.

"Who can tell me what ingredients one needs to brew the Draught of Living Death?"

Mulder jumped out from the shadows. "The Draught of Living Death, where have I heard that before..."

Snape glared at him from the front of the classroom. Mulder didn't fail to notice that he had also captured the attention of a few select students. "Would you kindly take your seat? You are interrupting a lesson."

Mulder quirked an eyebrow. "Yeah, because you're telling them so much about this particular potion. What kind of a teacher are you, anyway, making your students do all the work?"

"I don't know how it works in America, Mr. Mulder, but here at Hogwarts it is customary that the students do work!"

He crossed his arms. "You can talk to my government about the deplorable state of the education system. And that's Agent Mulder to you, Professor."

"Oh, I beg your pardon. I certainly didn't mean to offend you."

Right. "And I didn't mean to interrupt your lesson. By all means, carry on."

Snape spitted him with a dark glare before continuing to quiz his students mercilessly. Well, maybe not quite mercilessly. Mulder noticed that he seemed to be giving one side of the class a much easier time than the others; he wondered if those were the slow learners. After another ten minutes of indoctrination, he again felt the need to interrupt.

"Are you going to tell them that the 'Potions Master' who invented it was an American Hippie from the 1960s that had one too many magic mushrooms that day?"

"Silence!" roared Snape, throwing both hands in the air in a very dramatic gesture. "You will not make a mockery of this class!"

Mulder kept perfectly calm. "Hey, don't look at me, buddy. You’re the one who is a vampire."

Snape strode to the back of the classroom and began talking in a whisper. "You're not supposed to know that!" he hissed. "That's highly classified Order business."

This time, Mulder allowed himself to laugh outright. "It's a highly classified lie." He poked Snape in the chest. "The truth, my dear Professor, is out there."

Snape looked at the same time threatened and angry. "Detention!" he screeched. He added, quieter, "And see me after class."

This guy needs a vacation, Mulder thought amusedly. He sat back in the shadows and propped his feet up on an empty desk to wait.

He didn't have to wait long. A cauldron exploded near the front of the classroom. Something tells me this experiment isn't going to be on Beakman's World. Eventually the students cleared out and he was left alone in the room with the nutty professor.

"Who are you," said the professor coldly, adding some ingredients to a foul-looking potion, "How did you get here," it began to fizzle, "And why are you still maintaining the pretense of being a Muggle?"

That word again, thought Mulder. "I already told you- my name is Fox Mulder and I work for the American F.B.I. I would appreciate it if you could tell me how I got here, and what the hell is a Muggle?"

The expression on Snape's face was quite priceless. "You mean you don't know?"

MEANWHILE,
A GINNY/FAIRY GODMOTHER INTERLUDE...

Harry was being really stupid again. Ginny fought the urge to curse- a good thing, as she didn't have a voice- and instead resumed her frantic pacing. She was down by the lake again, luckily alone this time, trying to figure out how on earth she would get the message across to Harry if he kept insisting on ignoring clues like he did. She must have been thinking very loudly about how her mind needed a release from Harry, because eventually Oliver fell from the sky again.

Thanks, she thought to no one in particular, taking in his once-again-shirtless appearance.

"Oh, fine, just send me out here with no warning!" Oliver shouted, his head tilted backwards. "It's not like we were involved in a game or anything! Can't I at least have a shirt? It is cold in Scotland, you know!" Giving a frustrated sigh, he turned his attention to Ginny. "Oh, hi Gin. You must be the reason they sent me here."

Lucky me, Ginny said. Hey, wait a second. I don't get it. How can I talk to you if I have no voice?

Oliver shrugged. "I'm not really sure. I'm no physicist, but I think that technically, you can't. Technically, I'm not even here. Apparently technically doesn't count for much."

Okay, fairy godmother. I want answers. Not this dancing-around-the-truth mumbo-jumbo.

"Alright, alright. I suppose I'm reading your mind or something." He caught the alarmed expression on her face and continued, "No too deeply! And- would you stop imagining me with wings and leotards? You'll give them ideas!"

Too late.

Ginny had to make a conscious effort not to drool.

Oliver, now with fairy wings and dressed in a one-piece lycra suit, was doing his best to look angry. "No! I thought you cast someone else as Peter Pan! You said I could be done with this onstage business!"

We lied.

Ginny watched contently as Oliver proceeded to get very indignant. "You get these fairy wings off me right now or I will get violent!"

Is that a promise?

"Aargh!" shouted Oliver in frustration.

The voice seemed to laugh at him. Ginny chose this moment to ask her very tactful question. Oliver.

"Yes?" he replied, slightly distracted.

Why weren't you wearing a shirt?

Oliver flushed slightly. "That's actually a very personal question."

Ginny crossed her arms and tapped her foot. This took a lot of concentration when faced with a lycra-clad Oliver.

"Which I have to answer because they're making me!" he shouted the last part skyward. Unhappily, he turned back to Ginny. "I wasn't wearing a shirt because technically, where they come from, I don't exist. But they believe I do, so I can stay there. And," he smiled slightly in spite of himself, "they don't believe in shirts."

Just pretend you’re Oberon. Ginny politely suggested, hoping to pacify poor, handsome, shirtless Oliver.

"Who?" Oliver stared at her blankly.

He was the king of the fairies.

"Great. Not only do I look like an insect, I am king of a whole community of insects."

Perfectly on cue, a large golden crown came hurtling out of the sky and conked Oliver on the head.

Ginny winced as he clutched the side of his head and shook his fist at the sky. Uh oh. I don’t think the authors are pleased with you at all.

"I don’t rightly care!" Oliver howled. "They can throw all the bloody tea in China for all I care! I’m not doing this anymore! Mwhissi!!!"

Look out! Ginny covered her head with her hands and ran for cover under a tree.

Oliver narrowly dodged another metal object that whizzed by faster than a Firebolt. When it landed in the grass, it gave a reverberating clang.

"A sceptre?"

Before he could examine the sceptre further, he luckily noticed yet another thing falling from the sky.

"CUT IT OUT! I’M SORRY!"

The large, flat, and rectangular thing suddenly stopped plummeting straight at him and began floating gently like a feather. When it had landed gently on the grass, (with a rather heavy thud) Oliver and Ginny examined the engravings on it. Ginny was admiring the finely drawn socks when Oliver interrupted her thoughts.

"KoHG?" Oliver said thoughtfully. "What is that supposed to mean? Is this a fairy king nameplate?"

If Ginny had had her voice, she would have laughed when lettering appeared under the KoHG. Someone was writing it very irritably, for they underlined it firmly.

Official Creed

*

Harry stepped into the dressing room, his team behind him. It consisted of most of the Gryffindor Quidditch team- that is, Fred and George were acting as Beaters, Ginny as Keeper, and he was Seeker- but he hadn't yet met the Chasers. He looked around suspiciously. There were no partitions, which wouldn't normally have been a problem, except that Ginny had brothers on the Quidditch team who would beat the Seeker to a bloody pulp if he so much as looked at her sideways, let alone when she was changing. Confident that he could change his robes without perfect vision, Harry removed his glasses.

Just then, the door burst open. Harry squinted, not really conscious of the fact that his robes were only half-buttoned. In the doorway stood three blurry shapes he assumed were the Chasers. The pink one said, "Goodness! Are we in the right place?"

The green one said, "I think so, Fauna. Look, they've all got brooms and gloves! What do you suppose they're going to do with those?"

"They fly on them," said the pink, Fauna, proudly. "I saw the last team play."

"Fly?" asked the green. "On those?" She tittered with laughter.

"Oh dear," said the third, looking dolefully at the other members of the team, now clothed in their uniforms. "This simply can't be right. It just won't do. Red, black, and white? The color we should be, is blue!"

Is that a spell? Harry wondered. It reminded him of something he'd heard before… Sunshine, something, butter mellow… Something about a stupid, fat rat… He grinned maliciously. Fumbling for his glasses, he soon found that his uniform had, in fact, changed colors. He glanced at Ginny and found that she was looking at him appreciatively. He blushed.

"Blue!" said Fauna, snatching Harry's attention again. "Don't be ridiculous. We'll play in pink, of course."

He closed his eyes. He had no desire whatsoever to see himself in pink. "Um, excuse me," he said, feeling somewhat silly. "Er… don't you think we ought to be warming up rather than um… whatever it is we're doing?"

The woman (if she could be called that) dressed in green put a hand on Fauna's shoulder. "He's right, you know. We really ought to get used to our brooms before we play."

"You mean you've never played before?" asked Fred, horrified.

"It's for charity," Harry reminded him. "If we lose, Slytherin's not going to get any bonus points." He wondered he could sound so calm when he felt exactly the opposite. He had never played in front of this many people before. "Let's go."

The other team was already on the field warming up when Harry led his team onto the pitch. He felt his eyes widen. They were huge, even bigger than the Slytherins, or at least it seemed that way at first. He realized that they were probably wearing a lot of padding under their uniforms, which were white, red, and black and had names written across the back. Guess it's a good thing we changed our colors, after all. All seven of the other team's broomsticks lie on the ground beside them. They were arranged in a semicircle with one, presumably the captain, in the middle, leading them in stretches. They were scarred, and all looked somewhat bewildered. The scene was familiar somehow, but Harry couldn't quite place it.

"Alright, everyone, listen up." The other six of his team gathered around. He took in their somewhat wary appraising glances and winced. It was up to him to give them the confidence they needed. "They might be bigger than we are… and they might be stronger than we are… and they may look like they've seen more combat than Alastor Moody. But there's one thing we've got that they haven't got!"

"Fear?" said Fred.

"Pink uniforms?" supplied his twin, poking himself in the nose. It made a strange honking sound.

Fred bounced, producing an identical noise. "Women?"

"No!" Harry practically shouted. "Speed! Look at the size of them! How fast can they be? We may not be able to outplay them physically, but we can outmaneuver them, certainly." He held his broomstick aloft. "Ready for some airtime?" He winced as the three Chasers made as if to sit sidesaddle on their brooms. "Let's go!"

They took off. Harry was surprised to see that the sprightly old ladies were in fact in perfect control of themselves, even if they did seem to be holding on to their brooms with their legs and achieving altitude by some other means. Harry flew a couple of loop-de-loops to let off steam, then heard a whistle being blown and headed down to the ground.

A voice from all around boomed, "Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the five-hundredth annual Quidditch-a-Thon for Charity!" There was a general sense of halfhearted cheering. "This year's lucky recipient is the Commonwealth of Magical Orphans! And now, all the way from the Great White North, let's introduce the Men with Brooms! We've got, let's see…" Harry could see the man in the announcer's box shuffling through a stack of papers. "The three Chasers, Fleury, Kariya, and Iginla!" The crowd went wild as three men flew onto the field. Someone shouted, "Marry me, Jerome!"

"The Beaters, Shanahan and Gagne!" More cheering as the two of them did a lap around the pitch. "Seeker Steve Yzerman!" The announcer, seeming to get more involved in what he was saying, called out, "And Captain and Keeper Marioooo Lemieux!"

Harry thought his ears might fall off if the crowd made much more noise.

"And the opposition, a team put together by our very own Charity Council, please welcome the opposition, the Team Which Wins!" Harry winced at the name. "TWW Chasers are Flora, Fauna, aaaannd Merriweather!"

If Harry thought the applause for the previous team was loud, he hadn't heard anything yet. The green, pink, and blue women waved jauntily and smiled at the crowd. "Hello, dears! Oh, you're a doll! How sweet! Thank you!"

"And on defense, the Beaters, the Terrible Twosome, Fred and George Weasley!" Someone in the audience was throwing roses. Fred and George rose in to the air and took several deep bows. "Playing Keeper for the Team Which Wins is Ginny Weasley, the youngest Quidditch-a-Thon player ever!" Pink in the cheeks as well as in the uniform, Ginny Weasley flew up to hover among her brothers. As soon as she got there, however, her robes mysteriously switched from pink to blue. Harry blinked, wondering if he'd missed something. "And finally, Captain and Seeker of the Team Which Wins… ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to present to you the youngest, possibly best-qualified Seeker since Charlie Weasley, as well as the Boy Who Lived… Harry Potter!"

The applause was deafening. Harry felt his face burn as he joined the rest of his team in the air. The whistle blew again and both teams landed back on the ground. "Adjudicating the match will be Canada's own Donnnnn Cherry!"

An evil-looking old man with a bushy white beard dressed in a very tacky Muggle suit appeared at center-pitch. The crowd jeered. Harry overheard Fauna say, "Isn't that the lovely boy that dated Cupid?"

Fred and George looked at each other with disgust. "He's officiating?" George wrinkled his nose. "We want someone impartial!"

Suddenly, a bolt of lightning shot through the clear blue sky. It struck Don Cherry right on the head and fried him to a crisp. Then, out of the sky fell…

Well, Harry wasn't sure what it was at first, because it looked like a superheated bit of rock, or something. It landed on top of the now-crispy Don Cherry and began brushing itself off. Harry could now see that it was in fact Oliver Wood, dressed in form-fitting leather and with wings protruding from his back. One of the fairies tittered with laughter. "I'd like to try on his glass slipper!"

"Hubba hubba!"

"Are you single as well as devilishly handsome?"

Oliver turned a very flattering shade of red. "To your brooms!" he yelled. Harry faced Lemieux as best as he could- the older man was a good seven inches taller than he was. "On your marks," Oliver called out. Harry glanced down the line at his team. Beside him, Ginny was looking absolutely radiant. She stood directly across from the man who had been introduced as Kariya, and Harry was amused to notice that she was almost as tall as he was. However, after his gaze fell on Oliver, he had a hard time focusing on Lemieux again. Oliver was looking very curiously at Ginny, and Harry didn't like it at all. He didn't much like the way Ginny was staring back at the referee, either. He didn’t have time to do anything about it, however, because Oliver blew the whistle and they all rose into the air. Oliver tossed up the Quaffle and released the other three balls.

The first thing Harry found that he had to do once he was in the air was get out of the way. The players from the other team were faster than he'd expected. They also didn't seem to have any qualms about chasing down players- one Beater, Shanahan, lobbed a Bludger at Ginny right off. She dodged it just fine, as she was at the other end of the field, but Harry felt himself tense up. So they were going to play like that, were they? He was just about to give Fred and George instructions not to let Shanahan get anywhere near any of the players when something massive hit him from the side and sent him reeling. When he got his glasses back on straight he saw the retreating backside of Simon Gagne and his resolve thickened.

Merriweather had the Quaffle. She didn't look as if she knew what to do with it. Harry did notice that it seemed rather more blue around her than red, as it should have been. She tossed it disinterestedly to Flora, who dropped it. It was picked up by Jerome Iginla, who passed it to Fleury, who passed it back to Iginla-

He threw it at the center hoop, but he didn't have a chance against the fireball that Harry had playing for him. She intercepted the Quaffle without any difficulty at all and passed it back to Fauna. The game was on.

"Hey watch it!" Harry shouted, as Yzerman, the other Seeker nearly smacked into him.

"Sorry, pal," said Yzerman. "Getting used to this thing. Okay, I'm supposed to get the Snitch before you do?"

"Yes," said Harry irritated. "You don't know that?"

"Small gold ball?"

"Yes."

"Okay." Yzerman saluted Harry briefly and then swerved directly towards him.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" Harry shouted, going into a dive to escape him.

"Checking!" shouted Yzerman. "You said I had to get the Snitch before you!"

"There's no checking in Quiddich!" Harry yelled back. "That's a foul!"

Yzerman struggled to pull his broom out of the dive. "Oh. Well, this is a worthless sport, isn't it? I don't even remember how I got here."

"It's not worthless!" growled Harry.

Harry’s team didn’t have much to do since the hockey players were more interested in getting a handle on their brooms, so after Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather scored two more goals, they turned their attention to the twins.

"Hello," giggled Fauna smiling at George.

"Hi," said George distractedly watching the other Beaters smacking into each other trying to avoid the Bludgers he and Fred had been pelting at them.

"Shouldn’t you lovely ladies be scoring points?" Fred suggested.

Merriweather glanced down at the other Chasers fumbling around with Quaffle. "But we did. We don’t want to make the poor boys too depressed, now do we?"

Flora nodded. "You two are doing a splendid job."

"We know," said George smarmily. "We’re very splendid players."

"And very handsome," Fauna added. "What part of the magical world are you from again?"

"Never Never Land," Fred said sarcastically. "Look, you ladies are cute and all, but my brother and I prefer to stay in our species. Do you know what a Weasley with wings would look like?"

The three fairies exchanged glances and tittered with laughter. Ginny threw the Quaffle at them, but they disregarded it entirely, watching interestedly as Jarome Iginla sped through their midst.

"I don't think they're getting the message," George said ruefully, smashing a Bludger in Iginla's direction. "This calls for desperate measures."

"I don't think Harry would appreciate it if we lobbed the Bludgers at our own team," Fred replied moodily.

"How about a nice little limerick for them?" George said raising his eyebrow evilly.

"What did you have in mind?" Fred grinned as George quickly recited something to him.

"I do believe you perfected the sky-writing last summer, care to do the honors?" asked George.

Fred tapped his wand on the tail of his broom and muttered a spell. "Why, I’d love to!"

In blue smoke coming from the tail of his broom, Fred artistically wrote the following:

Ode To the Chasers

In shades of blue, pink, and grass

Three ladies looked into their glass

One said to the others,

"Let's get those two brothers!

They sure are fine pieces of—

TWEEEEEEEEEEET!

"FRED!" shouted Oliver. "What do you think you are doing!?"

The crowd was roaring with laughter and all three of the Fairy Chasers had their hands covering their mouths in horror.

"WELL!" huffed Merriweather. "I’ll never!"

"The nerve!" chimed in Flora

"Hooligans!" added Fauna.

"Oh, get over yourselves," said Fred contemptuously. He took a swing at a Bludger and was rewarded with Mario Lemieux wobbling dangerously on his broomstick. Unfortunately, as the Quaffle was with Paul Kariya at the other end of the pitch and the three Chasers were still staring at him in indignation, this did nothing to aid their score.

Suddenly- "Oof!" Fred whirled around just in time to see Simon Gagne speeding away from Harry. Harry looked pale- he was wobbling dangerously. Fred could see that the Seeker was clutching at his side with both hands. Even as he watched, Harry was toppling from his broom and plummeting down towards the earth.

Steve Yzerman saw it, too. He must have thought that Harry was going for the Snitch, because he pointed his broom towards the ground, as well. Now that he and the other hockey players had a better grasp of their broomstick, Fred almost worried that he had seen the Snitch- and it soon became apparent that he had. The entire crowd was on its feet, cheering them on.

Before he was even halfway to the ground, Harry yelped, "Ouch!" and reached up to his face just as Fauna and Merriweather, having abandoned their brooms, grabbed hold of his sneakers. He held his hand up- or rather down. The sunlight reflected off of a small, winged golden ball.

The team landed roughly, Flora with Harry's Firebolt in her left hand. "We won!"

Harry, standing up to let the blood flow away from his face, turned and smiled. "Good call, Oliver," he said with a grin. "Nice uniform, by the way."

Oliver shrugged. It was a very odd shrug. He almost seemed to be motioning to someone behind Harry.

Harry turned around to see who was there. Oh, he thought. It was only Ginny. "Uh," he said, feeling like he should be saying something. "That was, um…" He panicked. "Good flying," he finished lamely.

She smiled slightly and turned very red before suddenly and unexpectedly flinging her arms around him.

Crap, thought Harry. Now what do I do? He was spared having to answer his own question, however- Fred and George, with identical honking noises, hoisted him on their shoulders, thus breaking his contact with Ginny. He was both grateful and annoyed, but he understood- they were her brothers. They didn't want him anywhere near her if there was going to be physical contact involved.

He didn't know exactly why, but this saddened him.

*

"Scully, where are you going?" He had just found her again, and already she was pissed off at him. Story of my life, Mulder thought ruefully. "Scully!"

She turned sharply around as he caught at her wrist. "Mulder, what are we doing here?"

A fine time to ponder the meaning of life, Mulder thought dryly. "I was hoping you could tell me. But what I really want to know is… where are you going?"

She shook off his arm. "I'm finding a way out of here. My cell phone won't even work, Mulder! We're in some kind of alternate dimension, or something!" Scully paused, probably realizing that she sounded exactly as spooky as everyone always said Mulder was. "You can either come with me, or stay here and chase shadows!"

"Scully, I-" Well, damn. Now he was caught between actually finishing up a case for once and his loyalty to his partner. He was tempted to ask for a little more time- a day, a week, a few hours, whatever she would give him, but Scully didn't even let him finish the thought.

"So are you coming with me? Or not?"

Mulder sighed, knowing he didn't have the willpower to do otherwise, and followed her out the door into the bright sunshine.

Immediately he felt better. There was something about the castle that didn’t sit right with him. He had a sudden epiphany that it wasn't the magic, or the potions, or the ghosts- it was the fact that it was stuffier than the basement FBI office that was home to the X-Files.

"Mulder."

"What?"

Scully pointed behind him.

There was nothing there except for the dusty old ruins that they had investigated in the first place. Directly above his head was the sign that warned of danger. "Well, I'll be damned. This has been the strangest X-File…"

She gave him a skeptical look. "Not even close."

"Yeah?" Mulder challenged. "Well, it's about to get a lot stranger." And without further warning, he leaned over and kissed her on the lips.

There was the vague sensation of being torn apart and reassembled agonizingly slowly. Then he opened his eyes. "Whoa, Scully," Mulder said, looking around him. "We're not in Kansas anymore." All that he could see in any direction was rows upon rows of wheat. The sun was just peeking up over the horizon. "Where are we?"

His partner held a hand to her brow, gazing off into the distance. "Well…" She turned her head up at the perfect, clear blue sky. "The best I can do is an educated guess."

"Give it to me straight, Doc."

Scully kicked at the dirt. "We're in Kansas."

Mulder looked at her incredulously. "You're kidding."

"No."

"Oh. Only one thing to do, then." His mind still reeling a bit, Mulder's worse judgement got the better of him. He leaned over to kiss his partner again. He was just getting rather involved when he heard a most annoying and unwelcome sound. Reluctantly, he pulled away. "Phone?"

"You know, ring ring?" She looked down at the small black device curiously.

"Yes," said Mulder. "Off switch. You know… click?"

Scully nodded and shut the wretched thing off. They were just getting back to business when…

Mulder swore, took out his cell phone, saw the producer's number on the display, and answered the call, "DAMN YOU, CHRIS CARTER!" He then separated the phone from the battery and flung it as far as he could.

His partner was watching him with a bemused expression. "Whatever happened to the off button?"

"I don't have an off button," he informed her seriously. The two settled down to do some more serious snogging without the interference of sadistic producers.

*

"Could you go sha-la-la-la-la somewhere else?!" Harry finally shouted. He slammed his Transfiguration book shut and whirled around to face the entourage of people and animals that had suddenly decided to follow him around. Everywhere. Harry didn't understand it. Was this part of a wizard culture he didn't know about? Was he supposed to give them candy and they'd leave?

Four ladies with tiaras and sceptres, two owls, and Neville’s toad, Trevor, stared at him, completely silent. Harry now felt extremely embarrassed. Maybe it was a religious group and he had offended them.

"Sorry," Harry blushed. "I um. Well, I might have some candy." Not knowing what else to do, he pounced on his trunk and started rummaging around. Harry turned a darker red when a pair of his tartan boxers fell out of the trunk.

One of the tiara women squeaked and pointed, her mouth agape.

Oh no, Harry thought. Now I’ve really offended them. "I think…I’m out of Every Flavour Beans. I’m really sorry…my pal Ron must have taken them. Can I give you a few sickles for the singing? It wasn’t bad…."

More silence and staring. Harry thought he heard crickets, but he was probably just imagining it in his humiliation.

"Er," said Harry intelligently. He shyly turned away from them and picked up his Transfiguration book again.

"SHA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA MY OH MY—."

Harry swung around and the singing ceased instantly. After another thirty seconds of awkward staring, Harry briefly considered making a break for it and running straight for Dumbledore’s office.

In fact…that sounded more and more like a fantastic idea the longer he stared at these people…and animals…singing animals to be exact.

Harry raced down a corridor, still in hot pursuit by his musically inclined fan club. Why? Why didn’t anyone ELSE have these problems? He had a Transfiguration test to study for and he doubted Professor McGonagall would le—

Harry had rounded the corner and screeched to a halt. And what he saw before him made him feel…

Completely.

Utterly.

Undoubtedly.

Horrified.

Ginny Weasley was standing with Draco Malfoy in the corridor. Pretty Ginny Weasley…WAS STARING at Draco Malfoy, who was on bended knee…speaking to her.

Harry found the collective gasp from his entourage entirely appropriate. They could certainly stay if they felt that way about this also.

Ginny backed against the wall, trying to find the most appropriate spot to kick Draco Malfoy, while he yammered on about loving her. Of all the times not to have her voice… She had quite a few words to say to him right now. Almost every one the words would land her in detention.

"Hey!" shouted someone loudly. "STOP!"

Ginny’s head snapped up. Thank you! She could finally escape! Then Ginny bothered to notice that the person who had shouted was none other than Harry himself, striding over to her. Wow. Really, thanks!

"Ginny!" Harry was still trying to survey the scene and his green eyes were enormous. "Why?!"

Ginny opened her mouth to protest and was still trying to regain her hand back from Draco. Of course she couldn’t defend herself. It was too bad Myrtle was dead already, because Ginny was ready to kill her.

"Hey, let her go!" Harry shouted, approaching Draco.

"Back off, Potter!" Draco growled. "You’re too late!"

"I said let her go!" Harry pulled out his wand and pointed it at Draco.

Draco laughed. "Did you actually think she could ever love someone like you when she could have someone like me?"

Harry’s entourage unexpectedly started to boo. Yeah, exactly, Harry agreed with them inwardly. These people weren’t so bad after all.

"If you don’t get away from her, I’m going to hex you so badly it’s going to take three surgeons and an iron six months to straighten you out again!"

Harry was pleased to hear the smattering of clapping behind him. Could he possibly be paying these people by the hour?

Draco stood up and pulled out his wand. "She’s mine. I told you to leave."

His? Harry wished Ron was here to hear this….

"She’s not yours," Harry snarled. "She doesn’t even like you!"

"More mine than yours," smirked Draco.

"Why don’t we let Ginny de—."

BAM!

Before Harry could even finish his sentence, a very small red-head had stepped between him and Draco and punched Draco directly in the face. Hard.

Draco staggered backwards, clutching his nose. Ginny swung around to face Harry, the expression on her face absolutely livid. Harry shrank away, thinking she was about to knock the daylights out of him also. But, Ginny merely threw her hands towards Draco and gave Harry a very clear "GET HIM!" look.

Harry understood. (A/N: For once.) Amidst cheers from his entourage he tossed his wand aside and punched Draco. Harry decided that this was most certainly not enough retribution everything Draco had done to him over the years, grabbed the front of his robes, and punched him again. After Draco had been thoroughly beaten to a pulp, Harry stood up and brushed off his robes. "Are you okay, Gin?" he asked concernedly.

Ginny nodded vigorously.

Harry looked quite embarrassed. "I don’t think you should really get…um… involved with Malfoy. I mean… it just doesn’t seem right."

He looked at his shoes and added a muttered, "If you don’t mind me saying…."

Ginny smiled broadly and nodded her head again.

"…I just want you to be happy," Harry added. "You are my friend after all…and you and Malfoy. I-um. Are you going to say something?"

Ginny sighed and shook her head no. She would love to say something.

The entourage seemed to be singing that Sha-la-la-la song again. "What was with that?" Harry wondered.

Harry looked disappointed. "Oh, okay. See you at practice then?" He turned to leave.

Harry jumped when his entourage groaned loudly and slapped their foreheads. They all looked very put out with him.

Then it clicked.

Harry turned around to face Ginny and grabbed her hands. "You can’t talk, can you?" He looked at her searchingly. "That’s it, isn’t it!"

"YES!" Ginny mouthed. She clutched Harry’s hands and nodded.

"Then," Harry said slowly his eyes widening, "then… that’s why everyone has been acting so oddly! Is it an enchantment?!"

Ginny threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. Finally!

"Oh, you have no idea how much this clears up," Harry laughed as he hugged her back. He pulled away. "But how do I fix it? Are we the only ones who realize it?!"

Ginny felt a blush rise to her cheeks. She could tell him how to fix it, if he would just….

Harry paced. "Everyone keeps talking about… fairy tale stuff. How do they fix things in fairy tales? There’s no dragon to slay… Hagrid and Charlie’d kill me anyway… There’s no Princess that needs to be sa—."

Harry looked up sharply at Ginny. More realization.

"Gin," he said taking her hand again. "We’re really good friends, right?"

Ginny was horribly tired of nodding, but this was important.

"But, do you ever sort of wish it could be a little more than that?" Harry asked, his eyes looked hopefully in hers.

Ginny squeezed Harry’s hand.

"Me too," Harry whispered as he leaned over to kiss her.

"HARRY!" screamed a voice, just before they were about to kiss.

Oliver Wood careened around the corner and tripped. Papers flew everywhere and Oliver groaned on the stone floor as he picked himself up.

"She can’t talk!" Oliver shouted at Harry. He shook papers at him. "I have proof! The authors gave me the beginning part of the story as proof! You have to- oh."

Oliver studied Harry and Ginny holding hands, very close to each other, staring at him rather annoyed.

"Yes, I know, Oliver," said Harry.

Oliver sank to the floor again, still panting. "Well, all that running for nothing! At least they didn’t drop me from the ceiling this time…."

Harry’s entourage rounded on Oliver. "SHHHH!" they said.

"Oh. Right," said Oliver. "Carry on, you two."

Harry leaned over and gently brushed his lips over Ginny’s. There was a loud crack and they were engulfed in purple smoke.

Harry and Ginny both started coughing.

"You figured it out!" Ginny exclaimed, waving the smoke away.

"Yeah," Harry grinned. "I wish I had figured it out a lot sooner!"

The smoke cleared and Oliver and the entourage were clapping and cheering wildly.

"They’re still here?" Harry asked. "But, I thought…."

Two birds flew through the window and dropped two crowns made out of flowers on Ginny and Harry’s heads.

Ginny laughed at the sight of a wreath of flowers on Harry’s head. "Say Finite Incantatem," she said sweetly.

"Finite Incantatem."

~*~

EPILOGUE

 

Moaning Myrtle glumly made another loop of the girl’s loo.

"Nine-hundred and ninety nine," she sighed and made another loop. "One thousand. Typical that’d finish so quickly. Now what am I supposed to do for the rest of the day?"

She was very sour that things had turned back to normal around the castle. She didn’t even win the contest that she had made with that Gryffindor. Mortals always got what they wanted.

Myrtle stopped pouting. She thought she heard voices….

"Come on, Harry. She won’t bite. It was part of your idea anyway…"

"I know, but she’s creepy. I don’t like being around her, she always starts crying…."

Myrtle listened curiously. Who could they be talking about? Whoever it was sounded highly unpleasant.

"But she won’t this time. Please?"

There was a pause.

"You had to make that face. Fine. I’ll go."

"Thank you!"

The door to the loo creaked open. Two students walked in, holding hands.

Oh. It was them.

Myrtle felt very annoyed. What could they possibly want?

"Hi, Myrtle," said Ginny brightly.

"What do you want?" Myrtle sniffed. "I’m mad at you."

Harry gave Ginny a meaningful ‘I told you so’ look.

We’ve come to visit you," Ginny smiled. "And we brought you something."

"Brought me something?" Myrtle’s eyes narrowed. "Don’t taunt me. It’s rude. I’m only a ghost, but that doesn’t give you any—."

Ginny held up an object wrapped in shiny silver paper. "I willingly give this to Myrtle, ghost of the Hogwarts Girl’s Loo."

Myrtle gasped. "For me?" she squeaked. "A present?"

Harry and Ginny nodded. "Go on," said Ginny. "Take it."

Myrtle tentatively reached for the object and found that she could touch it. She quickly grasped it with both hands and took it. There was a small flash and the present became as transparent as she was.

"Don’t rip the paper," Harry advised. "You might have it for awhile."

Ginny nudged him sharply in the ribs and he laughed quietly.

Myrtle was too preoccupied with trying to work the shiny paper off carefully to take notice of Harry’s comment. When she had finally taken it off, she had uncovered a frame with—

"The picture!" Myrtle exclaimed happily. "But it was yours…you won the contest."

Ginny shrugged. "I wanted to give it to you. Sort of to say thanks."

Myrtle hugged the framed picture happily but then looked at Ginny suspiciously. "Why?"

Ginny blushed and bit her lower lip. "Well… I have the real thing now. It was sort of your doing that Harry and I are together now…."

Myrtle looked at her approvingly. "That’s fair."

"Thanks," Ginny smiled again and looked over at Harry. "Harry’s got something for you too."

"You’re the only other one who remembers anything," said Harry. "About the enchantment, I mean. Everyone else just went back to normal and never noticed that they had been acting oddly."

Myrtle shrugged. "Well, I’m a bit more clever than everyone else."

"Uh huh," Harry said dryly. "That’s probably it." He refrained from rolling his eyes.

"You have a present?" Myrtle persisted.

"Yeah," said Harry. Ginny handed him two small packages and he hesitantly held them out to her.

"You have to say that you give them to me," Myrtle said impatiently.

"Right," said Harry making a face. "I willingly give these to Myrtle."

Myrtle tore into the packages. "A sketchbook and drawing pencils!"

"Harry and I had been talking about what happened, and he suggested that we give them to you so that you could draw your own pictures too," Ginny explained.

"That was nice," Myrtle said looking at Harry.

"Sure," muttered Harry. "I think we’ll be going now…."

"Going?" Myrtle said her eyes filling with tears. "But you said you’d come to visit! I never get visitors!"

"Um," said Ginny backing towards the door with Harry. "See you around."

"That’s rude!" Myrtle shouted at the closing door. "Both of you are very rude! Thoughtless!"

Myrtle sighed grumpily and looked down at her new things.

Well. Maybe not that thoughtless.

~*~

UNDISCLOSED POOLSIDE IN TEXAS

"The end!" said Caitlyn, happily writing the words with her quill. She shut the book and sat back happily in her chair.

"We do write good endings, don’t we?" said Kaitlynn yawning and patting the book. "Nice cover you chose, by the way."

"Thanks," said Cait taking a sip of her drink. "Gracious, we had to bind it into a book after Oliver threw all those papers in the corridor. That was a mess!"

"Speaking of Oliver, where’d he go?" Kait asked, picking up her margarita from the table and settling herself by the pool to sunbathe.

"Dunno," Cait frowned. "He’s being quite slow."

"Oy!" Kait shouted. "CABANA BOY! Hurry it up! We need some brie here!"

"Oh, don’t shout, Kaitie. He’s very fond of us now. We wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings!"

Kait smiled slyly and looked at Cait over her sunglasses. "I’m not going to hurt his feelings. He likes me being saucy."
Caitlyn quickly swallowed the Manhattan she had been drinking before she laughed at Kaitlynn. "Point taken."

"Who called for brie?" Oliver said coming out of the house. He was dressed only in a pair of red Hawaiian shorts with white hibiscuses on them and flip-flops. He was balancing a silver tray on his hand very well for someone who usually only played Quidditch.

"Kaitie did," said Caitie pointing to Kait.

"Of course," said Oliver setting down a plate of brie and crackers in front of Kait. "And another drink for you, Caitie. With the little umbrella."

Caitie clapped. "He remembered!"

"Yes, it’s pink also," said Oliver proudly. "In half a mango. I don’t know why you two insist on having your drinks served in glasses made out of fruit…."

"Thank you, Oliver," they said smiling at him.

"We finished the story," Kaitlynn announced, raising her pineapple glass to toast Caitlyn.

"Really?" said Oliver, glancing at the familiar red book between their chairs. "How’d I turn out in it?"

"Quite well," said Cait. "Happy ending and everything."

"Almost as good as the real thing," added Kait with a laugh.

Oliver smiled almost a little smugly. "Yes, I was a favorite character, wasn’t I?"

"Yup," Cait yawned. "But where’s the sunblock? I don’t want to get burned…"

"Excellent idea!" Kait crowed. "Oliver, find the sunblock!"

After Oliver scampered off to find the sunblock, Caitlyn sat up and frowned.

"Kait?"

"Wha?" said Kait opening one eye.

"We forgot something."

"No we didn’t," Kaitlynn laughed. "You’re just paranoid! Harry and Ginny kissed, remember?"

"Then where did you leave Remus and Sirius?" Cait asked quickly. "That wasn’t my scene."

Kaitlynn bolted up and stared at her. "Oh-oh."

Just then, the red book burst into flames.

The girls shrieked and leapt from their chairs.

"Throw it in the pool!" Kait shouted. "We’ve still got a sequel and we’ve got to refer back to it!"

"Eek!" squeaked Cait throwing a towel over the book and kicking it into the pool.

The book hissed and steamed and floated placidly down to the bottom of the pool.

"Harumph," said Kait. "I thought we put firemen in for a reason."

"Too hot for them to handle?" Cait suggested.

Kait giggled. "Sounds good to me."

"And here comes Oliver," Caitlyn said happily settling back into her chair.

"Cheers, Cait," said Kaitlynn raising her pineapple glass with a smile.

"Cheers!"

 

THE END

 

//
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