note: This story
owes its existence to a Brit-picking discussion about what to call the elastic
band with which you make a pony-tail.
Isn’t it amazing what will twig off a little plot bunny?
Hermione muttered absentmindedly, pulling at the shoulder area of her
robes. “My elastic has gone. I’ll have to go bra shopping next Hogsmeade weekend.”
Ron, in surprise.
blushed. “You know, girls…undergarments.” She blushed a deeper
shade of red when Harry helpfully started to gesture with cupped hands to
indicate what she was getting at. She
supposed Ron had not had much exposure to such feminine frippery, having grown
up with mostly men in the family.
the skelastic thing you were talking about?”
Hermione looked at him in shock. “Elastic? The stuff in the waistband of your underwear?” Harry was bemused. “Come on mate, I’ve seen you in your
boxers. The stuff that makes them
hold-up around your waist.”
went red at the mention of his unmentionables in front of a girl. “Buttons,” he muttered.
Hermione repeated, dumfounded.
buttons! My boxers are held up with
buttons, all right?” Ron said
forcefully. A few sniggers emanating
from a bunch of first years were quickly stifled as he glared at them.
frowned. “No elastic? But they look just like mine…”
elastic is a Muggle invention…” Hermione pondered. She turned to Harry. “They look just like normal boxers?”
nodded. “Well, except for the Chudley Cannons players moving all over them.”
“Oy!” exclaimed Ron, hitting Harry on the shoulder. “Do I tell Ginny all about your
underwear?” He turned to Hermione. “And when did you get to see boys’ underwear
– you haven’t any brothers!” Ron managed
to convey a sense that Hermione was bordering on becoming a Scarlet Woman in
rolled her eyes. “Ronald Weasley, you
are such a … prude!”
least I’m not talking about my drawers where anyone might hear! Next thing you’ll be up on the table showing
them off to everyone in the common room!”
lucky Hermione was not a practitioner of wandless
magic, or else his ‘drawers’ might well have been around his anger-reddened
going on?” Ginny wandered over, having just come back from the library.
“This prat,” Harry said, nodding at Ron, “was just suggesting
Hermione might like to do a striptease.”
blinked several times in surprise. “Has
he lost his marbles?”
“‘This prat’,” Ron spoke through gritted teeth, “is right here and
can hear you talking about him.”
“‘This prat’,” mimicked Hermione, “will never see my underwear, as
long as he lives!”
“As if I’d even want to!” The prat in question bellowed, before storming off in the
direction of the stairs. Harry, Hermione
and Ginny winced as they heard the door to the sixth year boys’ dormitory slam.
“How did that
start?” asked Ginny.
was obviously in no fit condition to answer, tears were welling in her eyes,
and her lower lip was quivering, so Harry answered. “We were talking about elastic in Muggle
underwear. Ron didn’t seem to have heard
shrugged. “I’ve not heard of it
myself. What is it?”
wasn’t about to show Ginny his boxers as an example. “Well-”
sniffed and wiped her eyes with a handkerchief.
“It’s a piece of cloth or cord woven with strips of rubber, which is
able to spontaneously resume its normal bulk or shape after contraction,” she
explained, sounding, as always, as if she’d swallowed the entire twenty-volume
set of the Oxford English Dictionary.
“Here, look.” She pulled aside
the top of her robes and school uniform, showing off a white bit of shoulder,
over which lay a bra strap.
looked closely. “I’ve never seen
anything like that!” she exclaimed.
“What did I
say?” yelled Ron from the stairs.
“Showing off her private regions the minute anyone asks!”
boil an egg!” Hermione retorted, only a
faint flush indicating that Ron’s words may have hit a nerve. “So… how does your underwear function?” she
glanced quickly at Harry. “I can…uh…
show you, if you like, Hermione.”
supremely happy that Ginny had tagged on only Hermione’s name to the
suggestion. He had no wish to see
Ginny’s underwear. Well, he did,
but not under these circumstances, and not when Ron was in a mood that might
mean castration to any male caught within viewing distance of his sister’s
knickers. Hermione and Ginny left,
presumably to go rummaging through each other’s lingerie drawers. “You may as well come and sit back down,
rather than lurking,” he spoke to the shadowy figure skulking on the boys’
in assent, and came to sit back down.
wouldn’t really show off to everyone, you know, Ron,” said Harry, reasonably.
his quill in anger.
“You’re over-reacting just a teensy bit here…”
was suddenly air-born as Ron flicked it away savagely. “I know.
But she shouldn’t be showing you!”
Ah, thought Harry. This, it seemed, was the heart of the
matter: in truth, a matter of the heart.
“So, if she showed you, it would be all right?” He managed to stop himself smirking as he
widened as he realised he’d been caught out.
exclaimed Hermione, holding up one of Ginny’s camisole tops and examining the
stitching. There was not a strand of
rubber, nor a hint of Lycra to be seen.
Support was provided merely by style and stitching.
“I have got
some more modern ones, based on the Muggle style, but those ones,” she nodded
at the item in Hermione’s hands, “are more traditional. And the modern ones don’t have any…eclastic.
There’s a charm to make them hold tight.”
noticed what Lavender and Parvati wear under their uniforms. Well, you don’t exactly look, do
you? And besides, it’s not as if Parvati
has a lot that needs supporting.”
giggled. “But you aren’t just
‘supporting’ – some of it is about ‘enhancing’.”
glanced down at her chest region and sighed.
“I don’t need enhancing, I’ve got enough to
“I think my
brother appreciates it.”
get a chance to appreciate it, if he doesn’t apologise.”
a bit old-fashioned about these things.”
snorted in an unladylike fashion. “Old-fashioned? If I gave Ron a time-turner set to come ahead
five hundred years, he’d still be in the Dark Ages.”
be interesting to know what the Purebreds in Slytherin wear,” said Hermione as
she and Ginny returned to the common room.
nearly choked. “I hope you’re not
suggesting we try snogging Malfoy to see if we can have a quick feel.”
sodding Malfoy?” exclaimed Ron, whose hearing was obviously finely tuned to
anything that might be considered unsavoury.
“Over my dead body!”
do anything to calm him down?” sighed Ginny as she sat next to Harry, who
shrugged his shoulders in defeat. “No,
Ron, we are not seriously considering snogging Malfoy. Nor the rest of Slytherin. We were just wondering…uh…what a Slytherin-”
“What a Slytherin, what?”
“-wears under his robes.” Ginny blushed, as her brother looked at her
in stunned amazement, his mouth gaping open like a codfish.
interesting!” Hermione exclaimed. “The Slytherin Purebloods seem the most
likely to stay away from Muggle inventions.”
suddenly remembered the elderly wizard wearing a Muggle ladies’ nightgown at
the Quidditch World Cup. He hadn’t been
wearing anything under it – apparently.
family only started wearing the more modern clothing after Bill and Charlie
left school,” added Ginny. “Charlie said
leather trousers were uncomfortable with nothing undernea-”
Ron slapped his hand over her mouth.
of our personal habits sacred?” he hissed.
“Or shall we just mention that Percy still prefers to have lots of air
circulating around his privates, whilst Fred and George have opted for a more form-fitting
style of underwear?”
choked back a giggle, and Harry turned his chortle into a well-timed
cough. This was more than either of them
really wanted to know about the Weasley family.
never before wished that someone would Obliviate
him. Even after Voldemort’s
resurrection, and Cedric’s death, he had not wished so sincerely to forget
something. However, the conversation
from the night before now plagued his mind, and he found himself noticing what
the other boys were wearing. Or not
wearing. At least he had not yet been
It was all
Hermione’s fault. Her quest for
knowledge had tainted everything. She
did have a slight point – it was interesting how the wizarding world had
adapted to do everyday tasks and odd jobs without using Muggle inventions to
get by. But that didn’t mean he was
about to go seduce a Slytherin to see what they were wearing as undergarments.
had become intrigued. It was she who
suggested that they each ‘try and find out’.
Harry still was a bit hazy how it had come about that he was to work on
Millicent Bulstrode; something about Hermione having
seen Millicent eyeing him in Potions.
Frankly, Harry wondered if Millicent had merely been eyeing him as one
might a pickled animal in a jar.
Malfoy have been easier? he grumbled to himself. At least then he could have ‘accidentally’
gone into the Slytherin changing room after Quidditch, maybe with an
explanation that a Bludger to the head had confused
that he thought about it, it would have been a brilliant plan - aside from the
potentially revolting possibility of seeing Draco Malfoy naked.
that he thought about it again, he was rather glad he didn’t have to do it
after all. Aside from the fact it meant Ginny
might have to see Draco naked. And that
was not good at all. Not that Malfoy had
anything bigger or better than he had – at least he hoped not.
Merlin, Harry banged his head on the desk
in front of him. Why, oh why, did
Hermione have to come up with this?
Hopefully we can talk her out of it; maybe it’s a passing phase?
having problems, Potter?” Professor Snape’s usual smoothly sarcastic voice
interrupted Harry’s efforts to dent either the desk or his head – whichever
came first. “While
I can well imagine that you might believe that striking your head against the
desk will assist in learning the material, Potter,” said Snape smoothly. “May I suggest that simply paying
attention might be a novel approach for you to try?”
banged his head once more, more to brass Snape off than anything else, and
tried to ignore the fact Snape had just taken twenty points from Gryffindor.
all right, Harry?”
Hermione looked at him with concern as they left the Dungeon and made
their way to the common room.
“Just a few too many odd thoughts.”
attempted a grin. “I wish. More like ‘You-Know-what’. Are you positive you really want us to
looked at him in shock. “Of course! It’s
fascinating, Harry! Just think –
everyone knows about the obvious difference between Muggle and wizarding
outward attire, but I’m guessing no one has ever looked into the differences in
underwear. We could even write an
Ron could tell Hermione was willing to babble on about this subject for hours,
possibly even days. They were beaten and
they knew it. They shared a glance.
“All right, all right. We’ll do it,” sighed Ron.
“I think we
need to do some planning.” They climbed
through the portrait hole. “I’ve been
thinking about second year. We could do
the Polyjuice again.”
“Yuk!” Ron wrinkled his nose. “That was so revolting!”
“But it did
get you into the Slytherin common room.”
into the hospital wing!” Ron retorted.
“But if we do the Polyjuice, will we even have to go to their common
room? We could just have a look at
‘ourselves’ and see what we’re wearing!”
sounded nice and easy to Harry. Although
he still didn’t like idea of possibly seeing an exposed Slytherin.
Hermione sighed her usual ‘you boys are thick’ sigh. “But you won’t be wearing what the person
you’ve changed into was wearing. You’ll
be wearing your own clothes!”
Ron, deflated. “Right.” He paused.
“You know, I wonder if …everything is replicated, to the last detail?”
Harry was very glad that these thoughts
did not occur to them back in second year with Crabbe and Goyle.
their potions lab of choice was Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. At first, Ginny was not eager to go in; her
memories were dominated by the Chamber of Secrets and Tom Riddle’s diary. But soon, she decided she wanted to replace
those memories with others, memories of fun and laughter. She and Hermione giggled and gossiped, as
well as talked about more serious topics such as their schoolwork, whilst they
brewed the potion.
going to go pinch the other ingredients from Snape’s private stores?” Ron was
leaning against one of the cubicles, watching Hermione stir the half-finished
Harry volunteered. “I’ll use my invisibility
you going to get past the wards?” asked Hermione.
getting detention?” suggested Ron. “Then
it would be dead easy to nip into Snape’s office.”
get detention,” said Ginny. She was
highly amused at the lengths Ron and Harry were willing to go to appease
Hermione’s thirst for knowledge. “I’ve got Potions tomorrow – Harry doesn’t
have it ’til the day after. He could
come with me under the Invisibility cloak, ready to dash in for a bit of
pilfering when there’s an opportunity.
If Snape doesn’t know Harry’s there, he won’t miss him when he goes to
get the stuff.”
plan.” Harry grinned.
didn’t think much of the plan a couple of days later as he watched Ginny scrub
noxious-smelling cauldrons. He wished he
could help her, but that might alert the Potions professor to his
presence. So instead, he watched for his
opportunity and inched closer to the door to Snape’s office, which luckily was
slightly ajar. Hopefully, it wouldn’t
squeak as he pushed it open enough to squeeze through.
Fate was on
his side. As Snape billowed away from
his desk to check on Ginny’s progress, Harry nipped into the office. Now it was a matter of locating the correct
items: Boomslang skin and Bicorn
horn. Feeling slightly nauseated at the
sight of some of the things contained in jars on the ceiling-high shelves,
Harry soon found what he was looking for.
Opening the correct jars, he took some of the contents and placed them in
the containers Hermione had provided.
out through the door, he felt a sense of elation. That was far easier than he’d expected. Maybe it was all the practice he’d had,
sneaking around the castle. He sat down
on the floor to wait for Ginny’s detention to be over. He noticed Snape was as sarcastic as ever,
insisting that Ginny re-scrub several cauldrons that were not up to his
exacting standard – apparently his sharp tongue was not just aimed at Harry,
Ron and Hermione. Although, he supposed,
Ginny would be considered ‘yet another Weasley’ in Snape’s eyes.
Ginny was allowed to leave, and Harry stood up, ready to quickly follow her out
of the Dungeons. He kept the Cloak over
himself until they turned a corner, in case Professor Snape followed for some
Ginny, glancing around. “Are you here?”
decided to keep hiding for a moment longer.
Potter!” Ginny’s eyes were flashing, and
Harry could see she was getting just a little tetchy. She put her arms out and started seeking him
in the corridor around her.
noise in a cupboard nearby startled her for a moment, before she stalked over
and flung open the door. “Harry, what
are you doing in-” she demanded. “Oh!”
she gasped, her mouth dropping open in stunned surprise.
flabbergasted as well. He blinked. Had he really seen what he just thought he
he had; they now knew what both Millicent Bulstrode and
Draco Malfoy wore under their robes. And
it was not a pretty sight.
Harry couldn't tell where Millicent stopped
and the underwear started. Actually, he
also couldn't tell where Millicent ended and Malfoy began, but he didn't really
want to focus on that.
thought that he’d seen some terrible things in his life: death, torture and
other unmentionable subjects. But somehow the sight before him was horrifying
in a whole new dimension. He shuddered, wanting to turn away, yet unable to
tear his eyes from the sickening sight.
Bulstrode and Draco Malfoy. Together. Closely together. Robes at their feet.
courage failing him, he was about to run screaming from the scene when he came to
a sudden realisation. There was not a single piece of elastic to be seen. He felt almost gleeful as he realized that he
could now tell Hermione that Draco Malfoy wore green underpants with dancing,
silvery snakes, interspersed with Slytherin crests. Millicent, on the other hand, seemed to
favour the ‘less is more’ maxim, with unsightly bulges where no bulge ought to
All in all, it was a shame Colin wasn't
around with his camera.
Harry walked into Myrtle’s bathroom with
Ginny, smug in the knowledge that they finally had an answer to Hermione's
Ron’s mouth dropped open at the description
of Malfoy’s boxers. “What do they do in
Slytherin – brand them all over?” he muttered.
"I wonder if You-Know-Who insists on Dark Mark-emblazoned
"All right," Hermione said
musingly, her mind dismissing such trivial concerns. "We know what
Gryffindors wear. We know what the purebred Slytherins wear..."
Harry felt a sinking sensation. Hermione’s
brain wasn't turning off as he'd hoped. The wheels were continuing to turn.
"We better not know what the Purebred
Durmstrang students wear," interjected Ron.
Hermione ignored yet another of Ron’s
attempts to determine the precise circumstances surrounding her former
relationship with Victor Krum.
"What, exactly, do the teachers wear?" she asked, causing
terrible visions of Snape-wear to fill Harry and Ron's horrified brains. Harry suddenly had flashbacks to Snape’s
greying underwear as seen in the Pensieve the year
It seemed this year was going to be
dominated by the investigation into Purely Antiquated Notions Towards Intimate Elastic Strapping. If they were lucky, Hermione might forget to
include House-elves within the parameters of her enquiry.
tribute to RG and Michael who came up with brilliant acronyms despite wondering
about the status of my sanity. (Anyone finding my sanity,
please notify the Keepers or Admins of phoenixsong.net. Thankyou.)
Felina Black, Sib and Sherry for excellent beta
reading and story-segment suggestions.