Potion Mishap & Wand Weighing
Harry and Hermione had not heard the cheers, claps, whistles, or even Colin Creevey snapping photos with his camera while they were engaged in their act of osculation. They had been lost in their own world, bereft of all other senses except the feeling of each other's lips. That moment of absolute perfection was lost when a loud noise had reverberated throughout the Great Hall. Looking back at the students, they found everyone was staring in the direction of Ron who was standing up on his seat. Harry and Hermione saw their friend's face turn a color of red that every Gryffindor in the Hall would be proud of, except those immediately surrounding Ron who were struggling to breathe at the moment.
Ron stepped down from his seat, filled his plate with more food and, grabbing his cup, he stormed out of the Hall.
"I think he might have been a little jealous," Harry whispered to Hermione.
"Possibly, but it is Ron, so we can't jump to conclusions," Hermione whispered back.
Harry put his arm around Hermione's waist and led her back to the Gryffindor table where several sixth and seventh years were trying to perform air freshening charms. None of which seemed to be able to cut through the smell. Finally, Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall had to come down to finish the air cleaning.
"Couldn't you have used a non-smelling jinx on that contract?" Harry whispered to Hermione.
"The jinx only creates the flatulence out of what is in his digestive tract. Merlin knows he eats anything put in front of him," Hermione whispered back.
"Oh crap," Harry whispered, looking very stricken with a sudden thought.
"You don't have to share a dorm with him," Harry whispered imagining night after night of similar smells.
"Let's hope he gets over it soon," Hermione replied sympathetically.
"Think I should go talk to him? Make sure he's alright," Harry asked.
"Well, he is probably jealous and embarrassed, so you might make it worse."
"True. Fine then, I'll try later or in the morning," Harry said.
"Well it's about time," came the simultaneous words of the Weasley twins who came over to them.
"About time for what?" Harry asked.
"For you two, of course, though if you could have waited until Christmas, Fred and I would have made a killing," George said.
"Killing? What do you mean?" Hermione asked.
"Why in Angelina's pool for when you two would finally figure it out," Fred said. Then, looking down the table, he called out, "Hey Angelina, who won it?"
"Uh.. Professor McGonagall did," Angelina said as she looked at a scroll.
"You were betting on when we would get together?" Hermione asked.
"No, of course not Hermione. We would never do that," George said smiling "You've been together forever. We were betting on when you would realize it."
Hermione noticed one person in particular at the Gryffindor table who was staring at her and not smiling. If looks could kill, Ginny Weasley had Avada Kedavras blazing out of her eyes directly at Hermione. Hermione just smiled at her female friend and then, taking Harry's arm, she leaned her head on his shoulder. Harry subconsciously put his arm around her and held her a little closer. That caused the youngest Weasley to storm out of the Great Hall as well. Hermione thought between the red hair and the steam that could almost be seen coming out of her ears, Ginny reminded her of the Hogwarts Express at that moment.
Harry hadn't noticed Ginny and was still chatting with the twins. "What do you mean we have been together forever? I..I mean, I liked other people."
"Ah yes, the lovely young Miss Chang, I do believe?" George asked looking over at the Ravenclaw table were the said person was also not particularly happy at the moment as she, too, was glaring at Hermione. "She never had a chance. You two have been inseparable since your first year. If you two hadn't realized it by Christmas, Fred and I had a few plans in mind to help us win the pool."
"Professor McGonagall actually wagered on us?" Hermione asked in disbelief. She turned and looked at the deputy Headmistress and could have sworn the stern professor almost smiled at her favorite student.
"Of course! And so did Professor Flitwick. Professor Trelawney wanted to bet that you would declare your love over Harry's grave," Fred explained. "But Angelina required her to give a specific date. Trelawney only stormed off muttering that the secrets of the future couldn't be wasted on a few galleons betting pool."
Harry was now desperate to get off the topic, and he remembered something else. "Guys, you're not mad at me for not choosing one of you as champion, are you? I know you wanted to enter."
Fred's grin turned into a large smile as he turned to his brother, "He thinks we would be mad at him?"
"He gives us one of the greatest gifts imaginable and thinks we would be upset?" George responded to his brother with a glint in his eye.
"Gift? What do you mean?" Harry asked nervously. When the twins responded with this much happiness, someone was in immediate danger of a prank.
"Obviously he doesn't understand, dear brother," Fred said.
"Then we should enlighten him, oh most honored brother," George responded before turning back to Harry. "This year was not shaping up to be much fun."
"No Quidditch, and ever since those other school arrived..."
"Filch and the Professors have been watching us very closely."
"Of course the best pranks would be against..."
"The Triwizard Champions."
"But we weren't going to prank you Harry," George said, then with a smirk to his brother, "Too much anyway."
"Cedric is just too good of a guy to prank."
"Besides we learned a long time ago, don't mess with the 'Puffs."
"Yeah, that loyalty thing, uh..well, just take our advice and don't mess with them."
"That left only the Beauxbatons' Champion and Krum."
"Madam Maxime scares us. She's bigger than Hagrid. And we can't get near Krum with all the girls following him around everywhere."
"But now Harry, you have given us Ron."
"Our own brother as champion! Now our outlook on the year looks much brighter."
"So you see, Harry, you have given us a gift beyond measure."
"Glad I could uh…help," Harry said hesitantly. "Just don't go overboard on him okay?"
Fred grinned at George and they both asked innocently, "Would we do that, Harry?"
Harry felt a sudden dread for what the twins might do to his friend.
Nobody noticed the beetle with strange markings around its eyes settling on the back of Colin Creevey. This particular beetle had been flying around Hogwarts ever since the Triwizard tournament champions had been announced. Now, the beetle wanted something, something the young man who she was riding upon could provide. The beetle wanted one of the photos Creevey had taken of Harry Potter and his girlfriend. The beetle stayed under the collar of Colin's cloak until later in the evening when he finally got around to developing his pictures. When he left his magical darkroom, the beetle transformed into a woman who took one of the photos and, after turning back into a beetle, she left Hogwarts knowing she had her next great story.
After dinner, Harry and Hermione made their way back up to the Gryffindor common room. As they entered the portrait hole, it became immediately apparent that Ron had still been suffering some lingering jealousy when he had come up earlier. At least the smell permeating the room indicated that.
"Oh Merlin," Harry said, tears coming to his eyes. "I think I'm going to sleep in the Forbidden Forest. Between being eaten by an acromantula and sleeping in this smell, I'll take being eaten."
"Oh don't be silly," Hermione said. "Let me show you the charm to put around your bed that will block smells from disturbing you." Out of pure necessity, it only took Harry ten minutes to perfect not only that spell, but an advanced air freshening spell as well as they cleared up the common room.
"At least you won't have to sleep with this in your dorm," Harry said when the last of the smell had been vanquished.
"No, but I'm going to have to sleep with protective wards, I think," Hermione replied.
"Ginny. She isn't very happy with me," Hermione explained.
"Why?" Harry asked again in a confused voice.
"You do realize that she's had a crush on you forever?" Hermione asked. "And when she saw us earlier, she looked like she was ready to kill me."
"I thought she was over all of that."
"Not likely," Hermione said. "I've even seen her writing 'Ginevra Molly Potter' on scraps of parchment like she is practicing for the future. One day, I walked in on her and I could swear she was practicing her wedding vows to you."
"But….but she's like my sister," Harry sputtered. "What can I do?"
"I'll deal with her, Harry," Hermione said. "Like I said, you're mine now Mister Potter, and I'm not letting you go. Now kiss me, then go grab your books. We have homework to do." As any good boyfriend should do, he did exactly what his girlfriend told him to do. Fortunately, Ron wasn't in the dorm though, from a few sounds Harry heard, he guessed the redhead was probably in the bathroom.
As they were finishing up the last of their essays, Ron came down the steps. Seeing them in the common room, he turned and stormed back up the steps with a minor "pbrrrrrp" trailing him, leaving an odorous barrier at the entry to the staircase.
Harry turned around in time to see Ron disappearing up the steps. "I really need to go talk to him," he said. The smell at the steps first repulsed him, but Harry held his breath and sprinted up the steps. He hesitated when he neared the dorm. After taking two deep breaths of non-smelling air, Harry open the door to the dorm. A hesitant sniff informed him that either Ron hadn't continued his gaseous purgements, or the smell had had time to dissipate from their room as the air was breathable.
"Hey Ron," Harry said seeing his best friend lying on his bed. "You okay?"
"You just had to do it, didn't you Harry?" Ron exclaimed as he looked over at him. "Couldn't stand for me to get a little recognition, a little fame. No, not Harry Potter. You had to go and steal my spotlight. Had to kiss Hermione right at my moment to shine."
"That's not what I was doing," Harry replied. "I had just promised to kiss Hermione in the Great Hall. I figured everyone would be looking at you and she would be less embarrassed then."
"Yeah right," Ron snorted. "Look Harry, just leave me alone. Go back to your girlfriend."
"Fine, Ron," Harry replied. As the smell encroached into his airspace, tears materialized in his eyes. "I...I just wanted to make sure you were okay."
"What? Are you crying now?" Ron asked. "Can't stand someone to have a little fame?"
"I gave it to you, Ron," Harry said with his voice rising as he fought down his gag reflex. "I wanted you to have your chance."
"Fine," Ron replied. "So go and leave me alone."
"Look mate, we just want to let you know we're there for you," Harry started again after swallowing hard. "If you need help with anything, just ask. Hermione and I would be glad to help."
"Oh Merlin, I can't take this anymore," Harry gasped as he fled back down the steps.
When he got back down to the common room, Hermione asked, "How did it go?"
"Not so well," Harry replied. "He thinks I kissed you to steal his moment this evening."
"But.." Hermione started.
"I tried to explain, but from his point of view, he might have a valid point," Harry said.
"Anything we can do?"
"Not right now. He is still jealous," Harry said.
Hermione sniffed at Harry's clothes with a grimace. "Yeah, I can tell."
At that moment, Neville, Dean and Seamus came into the common room. Harry thought of the dorm, and yelled out a warning. "Hey guys, uh, I was just upstairs and Ron is still suffering from his condition he had earlier." Seeing the look of panic on the other three dorm mates, he explained the barrier and air cleaning spells Hermione had shown him. Hermione spent the next forty minutes showing them how they were done as well.
By the time Harry had said goodnight to his lovely girlfriend, including a good night kiss that came close to the kiss shared in the Great Hall, Neville, Seamus and Dean had done a pretty good job of clearing the smell in the dorm. Harry cast the odor blocking spell around his bed and fell into a deep slumber where he dreamed of a beautiful, bushy-haired girl.
The next week disappeared rapidly. Every time Hermione suggested that Ron join Harry and her in doing their homework, Ron just reminded her that unlike them, as a champion, he did not have to take end of year exams.
"But Ron," Hermione would point out, "you still need to learn the subject. You still have to take OWL's next year. And you're going to get points taken off if you don't turn in your homework." To this, Ron would just wave his hand in contempt and go back to either reading his Quidditch books or playing chess against himself.
Harry would, on occasion, ask Ron what he was doing to prepare for the tournament and Ron's usual reply was to point to the chessboard with, "Working on strategy."
It did seem that Ron was getting over his jealousy. Or at least by somewhat ignoring Harry and Hermione, he wasn't thinking about it. They had started avoiding kissing in front of him to help the situation along. That all changed the next Thursday morning when Owl Post started dropping mail and newspapers throughout the Great Hall. Hermione unfurled her copy of the Daily Prophet only to see the entire front cover with a picture of Harry and herself kissing in the Great Hall. The headline read, "Boy-who-lived, is now Boy-who-loves," The pumpkin juice she was about to drink was scattered all over the table.
Harry looked over at her and, seeing the picture, immediately grabbed Hermione's hand and started for the door to the Great Hall with most of the eyes of fellow students following them. About that time, Ron had finished filling his plate with food and glanced over at Neville's copy of the paper.
"PPPWWWWTTTTPPPPPPPWWWTTTTPPWW" echoed throughout the Hall as all eyes were once again focused on Ron Weasley, Triwizard Champion.
When Professor McGonagall made it to the Gryffindor table, she found Neville, Dean and Seamus had done a pretty good job of eliminating the smell. When she gave them an inquisitive look, they just said, "Practice."
"Mister Weasley, may I suggest a trip to Madam Pomfrey?" Professor McGonagall said to the the red-haired, red-faced Triwizard Champion.
"Yes ma'am," He replied and went back to eating. No less than four times was the noise repeated. Each time corresponding to Neville turning the page of his newspaper, allowing the image of Harry and Hermione to reappear. After finishing his breakfast, Ron went to the hospital wing where Madam Pomfrey couldn't find anything wrong with him. She gave him several potions that she said should alleviate his condition.
As the Gryffindor and Slytherin forth years arrived for Double Potions that afternoon in the dungeons, a nasty drawl came from behind Harry. "So Potter, is the bucktoothed mudblood the best you could do?"
Harry's hand wrapped around his wand as he turned. "Shut up, Malfoy. Just because the best you can do is Pansy doesn't mean you have to insult Hermione. Especially since she kicks your butt in every class."
"Harry, just ignore him," Hermione pleaded.
"Listen to your mudblood pet Potter," Draco said, grinning at his own fabulous wit while looking at his oversized bodyguards Crabbe and Goyle.
Harry's wand was in his hand immediately. "I said shut up, Ferret Face."
Draco's eyes flashed as he pulled out his own wand. "Go ahead Potter. You don't have Moody protecting you this time. Do you have the guts?"
"Funnunculus!" Harry yelled.
"Densaugeo!" screamed Malfoy.
Jets of light shot from both wands, hit each other in midair, and ricocheted off at angles - Harry's hit Goyle in the face, and Malfoy's hit Hermione. Goyle bellowed and put his hands to his nose, where great ugly boils were springing up. Hermione, whimpering in panic, was clutching her mouth.
"Hermione!" Harry yelled turning to his panicked girlfriend. She had tears in her eyes. "What happened?" he asked. But he could already see her teeth growing below her hand. As she felt them, she let out a terrified cry.
"And what is all this noise about?" said a soft, deadly voice. Snape had arrived. The Slytherins clamored to give their explanations; Snape pointed a long yellow finger at Malfoy and said, "Explain."
"Potter attacked me, sir -"
"We attacked each other at the same time!" Harry shouted.
"- and he hit Goyle - look -"
Snape examined Goyle, whose face now resembled something that would have been at home in a book on poisonous fungi.
"Hospital wing, Goyle," Snape said calmly.
"Malfoy got Hermione!" Harry said. "Look!"
Hermione was doing her best to hide them with her hands, though this was difficult as they had now grown down past her collar. Pansy Parkinson and the other Slytherin girls were doubled up with silent giggles, pointing at Hermione from behind Snape's back.
Snape looked coldly at Hermione, then said, "I see no difference."
Hermione let out a last whimper and took off clutching her mouth. Harry, after a contemptuous glare at the greasy haired git of a professor, followed close behind her.
"Potter!" Snape yelled. "I didn't say you can leave."
Harry chose to ignore him and continued to follow Hermione to the hospital wing.
Back in the potions classroom, Ron had sat next to Neville right in front of Malfoy's table. Snape provided them with a complex potion to start brewing. After a few minutes, Malfoy said, "Hey Weasley, what do you think of Potter and the know-it-all?"
"I mean, he has all the fame and now he gets the girl?" Malfoy continued as he saw Ron's ears turn red.
Ignoring the smell for the moment, Malfoy pulled out his copy of the Daily Prophet and leaning over his cauldron, he put the picture of Harry and Hermione in front of Ron, "Doesn't that make you….." but that was as far as he got as…
"…Aaaaahhhhh!" Malfoy screamed. The flatulence had connected with the flames under Draco's cauldron causing an explosion that burned off both of his eyebrows and igniting whatever gel he used in his hair. For a short time, Draco Malfoy looked like a dancing human matchstick. In his panic, he knocked his cauldron over and the boiling liquid poured onto Pansy Parkinson's lap who in turn jumped up, accidentally kneeing Draco in the groin.
As Snape was trying to extinguish the flames from the top of Draco's head, a knock was heard at the door and Colin Creevey came in to say that Mr. Bagman needed the Champions for photographs. Snape's glare was enough to get Ron out the door as fast as possible.
Harry was comforting Hermione in the hospital wing where Madam Pomfrey had just shrunk her teeth when Snape came in levitating both Malfoy and Parkinson. Malfoy now looked like a burnt matchstick with the entire top of his head black and still smoldering. His legs were crossed and he was muttering incoherently while Pansy, though in obvious pain, was shouting some of the most obscene words in the English language at Malfoy.
Harry and Hermione left the hospital wing in a much better mood than when they had entered, especially later when they got the complete story about what happened in the Potions class. In all the commotion, Snape had even failed to take points from Gryffindor or put Harry in detention for not attending class.
Colin led Ron to a classroom upstairs where the rest of the Champions were gathered.
"Who wants photographs, Colin?" Ron asked.
"The Daily Prophet I do believe," Colin replied.
"Excellent!" Ron exclaimed and rushed into the room.
Ludo Bagman saw Ron come in and asked, "Who are you?"
"Ron, Ron Weasley. You know, the fourth Champion," Ron replied.
"Oh yeah; right..right," Bagman replied offhandedly. "Well, we are here for the wand weighing ceremony. The rest of the judges…," his voice trailed off as Ron had turned away to face a witch dressed in magenta robes.
"Rita Skeeter?" Ron exclaimed. "My mom loves you! Reads everything you write. If you want, I can give you an interview. Tell you everything you want to know."
"You're the Champion that replaced Harry Potter, right?" The reporter asked.
"Yeah, I taught Harry everything he knows," Ron said. "I pulled his rear out of so many spots in the last three years, without me, he would be dead."
"Do tell," the reporter said. She grabbed Ron's arm and whisked him out of the room. She quickly found a broom closet across the hall and led him in.
"Sit down," Rita instructed as she rummaged in her purse. She soon pulled out a roll of parchment and an acid green quill. "You don't mind if I use a Quick Quotes Quill do you?"
"Oh use whatever you want," Ron said happily. "Where shall I begin?"
"At the beginning of course," Rita said as she touched her quill to her tongue and then waited eagerly.
Twenty minutes later, the door of the broom cupboard opened and Albus Dumbledore stood there. "Ah there you are Rita, and with our forth champion. Excelent."
"Oh thank Merlin," Rita said through half glossed over eyes. "I mean, good to see you, Albus. Is it time to get back to the other champions?" She didn't wait for an answer as she hurried out of the broom closet, leaving behind the parchment and a Quick Quotes Quill that seemed to have snapped itself in half.
"But we're only through my eighth birthday!" Ron shouted after her. "Don't you want to know how much cake I ate then?"
"Come along, Mister Weasley," Professor Dumbledore said. "Time for the weighing of the wands."
When they got back into the classroom, the other champions were sitting in chairs near the door. Ron sat down next to Cedric. He looked up at the velvet-covered table where four of the five judges were now sitting - Professor Karkaroff, Madam Maxime, Mr. Crouch, and Ludo Bagman. Rita Skeeter settled herself down in a corner with another piece of parchment and a different Quick Quotes Quill.
"May I introduce Mister Ollivander?" said Dumbledore said to the room. He then took his place at the judges' table and addressed the champions. "He will be checking your wands to ensure that they are in good condition before the tournament."
"Mademoiselle Delacour, could we have you first, please?" asked Mr. Ollivander as he stepped into the empty space in the middle of the room.
Fleur Delacour swept over to Mr. Ollivander and handed him her wand.
"Hmm..." he said.
He twirled the wand between his long fingers like a baton and it emitted a number of pink and gold sparks. Then he held it close to his eyes and examined it carefully.
"Yes," he said quietly, "nine and a half inches. . . inflexible.. rosewood... and containing. . . dear me. . ."
"An 'air from ze 'ead of a Veela," said Fleur. "One of my grandmuzzer's."
'So she is Veela,' Ron thought. 'I'll bet now that I'm a Champion like her, she'll go out with me,' He started rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
"Yes," said Mr. Ollivander, "yes. I've never used Veela hair myself, of course. I find it makes for rather temperamental wands...however, to each his own, and if this suits you.."
Mr. Ollivander ran his fingers along the wand, apparently checking for scratches or bumps; then he muttered, "Orchideous!" and a bunch of flowers burst from the wand tip.
"Very well, very well. It's in fine working order," said Mr. Ollivander, scooping up the flowers and handing them to Fleur with her wand. "Mister Diggory, you're next."
Fleur glided back to her seat, smiling at Cedric as he passed her.
"Ah, now, this is one of mine, isn't it?" said Mr. Ollivander with much more enthusiasm as Cedric handed over his wand. "Yes, I remember it well. Containing a single hair from the tail of a particularly fine male unicorn. . . must have been seventeen hands; nearly gored me with his horn after I plucked his tail. Twelve and a quarter inches. . . ash. . . pleasantly springy. It's in fine condition...You treat it regularly?"
"Polished it last night," said Cedric, grinning.
Ron looked down at his own wand. Fingerprints and food stains were evident all up and down it. He tried to rub some of the stains off of it but as he did, gold sparks shot out of the end. Fleur turned around and just snorted at him. 'She's going to play hard to get huh?' Ron thought.
Mr. Ollivander sent a stream of silver smoke rings across the room from the tip of Cedric's wand, pronounced himself satisfied, and then said, "Mister Krum, if you please."
While Viktor was shuffling up to Mr. Ollivander, Ron whispered to Cedric, "Hey Cedric, next time you're polishing your wand, can I join you? Maybe we can polish our wands together."
Fleur turned to look at Ron and giggled.
'She likes someone who takes care of their wand,' Ron thought as he continued with Cedric, "If nothing else, can I at least watch you polish yours."
Cedric just looked at Ron incredulously and scooted his chair away from him.
'He's just jealous that the Veela girl giggled at me,' Ron thought.
Mr. Ollivander had taken Victor's wand. "Hmm, this is a Gregorovitch creation, unless I'm much mistaken? A fine wand-maker, though the styling is never quite what I. . .however. ."
He lifted the wand and examined it minutely, turning it over and over before his eyes.
"Yes.. . hornbeam and dragon heartstring?" he shot at Krum, who nodded. "Rather thicker than one usually sees. . . quite rigid. . . ten and a quarter inches. . . Avis!"
The hornbeam wand let off a blast like a gun, and a number of small, twittering birds flew out of the end and through the open window into the watery sunlight.
"Good," said Mr. Ollivander, handing Krum back his wand. "Which leaves. . ." Ollivander turned questioningly to Ludo who quickly said, "Mister Weasley is our last one."
"Ah, yes. Mister Weasley, our newest champion," Ron quickly moved up to the front and handed his wand to Ollivander. "Yes, this is another one of mine. You just got it last year, after your other one broke. Fourteen inches, willow, with a unicorn hair. Is this blood on your wand, Mister Weasley? Are you injured?" Then Ollivander lifted the wand to his nose. "Ah, just strawberry jam," The aged wand maker gave the wand a quick wave and a fountain of water came pouring out. He handed the wand back to Ron, announcing it was in good condition.
"Thank you all," said Dumbledore, standing up at the judges' table. "You may go back to your lessons now - or perhaps it would be quicker just to go down to dinner, as they are about to end."
"What about the photos?" Ron asked. "For the Daily Prophet."
"Yes, we must have photos," Bagman insisted.
They spent the next hour taking the photos. Ron kept trying to get in front while the photographer kept shoving him to the side and had Krum and Fleur in the front. The photographer made several dozen photos of Fleur, several of Krum, a couple of Cedric and only one of Ron. 'I must be so photogenic, they know they only need one of me,' Ron thought.
After the ceremony, Ron was on top of the world. The Veela girl had giggled at him, Cedric was going to help him polish his wand and his picture was going to be in the Daily Prophet beside Victor Krum's. How could life be any better? He quickly dashed off a note to his mother to pay particular attention to the Daily Prophet tomorrow.
The next morning Ron was waiting impatiently for the Daily Prophet to arrive. He had already shoveled down three platefuls of eggs and bacon so the newspaper could have his undivided attention. When it did show up, he unfurled it quickly and there they were. The four Champions. Individual pictures were taking up the top half of the page. There was Fleur, Cedric, Krum and HARRY POTTER? Ron scanned the story, as it went into detail about each of the four champions and at the very last paragraph of the story was, "Unfortunately Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, was injured trying to perform an overly complicated spell for his age and will be unable to compete. Per the rules of the Triwizard Tournament, he named Tom Weasley, son of Arthur and Molly Weasley, as his replacement."
Ron looked over at Harry who at that moment was staring into the eyes of his girlfriend lost to the world.