by Dolores

Hermione didn't approve of the new direction Professor Snape's potions lessons had taken since they'd reached the Seventh Year. But then ever since the defeat of Voldemort and his romance with Madam Hooch there had been a lot of new directions where Snape was concerned.

"Professor," she began, formulating objections in her mind.

"Miss Granger," said Snape, dripping with contempt. "I have told you. Regardless of its legality or risks in the Muggle world, magical ecstasy poses no danger to the mature magic user, and you're old enough to use it now. Consider it my Christmas present to you all."

Hermione pouted, and ignored the look of exasperation she was getting from Ron. It just didn't feel right. Her parents could never know.

"Now," said Snape. "Take the hemlock..."


"Do I look alright?"

Hermione was in a strapless dress, which seemed to be made entirely of midnight blue glitter and sequins. Ron's eyes nearly popped out of his head. "You look gorgeous!"

She blushed, and returned the compliment. "You're not looking too bad yourself."

Ron grinned, and tugged at the hem of his sleeveless t-shirt, which was bottle green and had a large orange W on the front. He was wearing gold cuffs for some reason.

"Where's Harry?" Hermione asked, looking past Ron into the boy's bedroom.

There was a crashing noise inside, and purple sparks bounced off the doorframe. Ron sighed. "I don't know why he bothers, really. He's trying to fix his hair. It's not going very well."


In the girl's bedroom five minutes later, Ginny was suspicious. "Are you sure the charm will work?"

"Yes," Hermione said cheerfully. "You'll look just a little bit older. And then you can come out with us."

"I don't want to get in trouble..."

Ron handed her the vial. "Look, we defeated Voldemort. We have a few favours to call in. We won't be caught -- but if we are, it'll be fine."

Despite Harry's fervent nodding, Ginny still looked sceptical as she downed the potion.


When Professor McGonagall had talked about the privileges of the seventh year, she hadn't really mentioned getting to go to here. Ron had no idea there was a nightclub in Hogsmeade, let alone one that played this sort of music. Or catered for this sort of... crowd. Hermione suddenly gasped next to him.

"Isn't that Oliver Wood over there? With no shirt on! And he's kissing Professor Lupin!"

He followed her gaze, as did Harry. Their jaws dropped as one. "Bloody hell."


From the depths of her chic clutch bag, Hermione retrieved the four bottles of potion they had brought. She looked at Ron. "And you're sure this is legal?"

"Oh in the name of Dumbledore yes. Look around: do you really think Lupin and Sprout are drinking pumpkin juice?"

She looked at Professor Sprout, who was joyously hugging Professor Flitwick to her bosom as she danced, his tiny feet dangling in the air. "No, I don't suppose so."

They all took their bottle and pulled out the stopper. "Bottoms up then," said Ron, and they drank.


Things were decidedly crazy. Neville was dancing in a cage suspended above the dancefloor, gyrating against the bars as the revellers beneath him roared approval. Sirius Black had arrived in the tightest leather trousers Hermione had ever seen, and was now grinding against the back end of Professor Lupin, who was still kissing Oliver Wood at his front. MC Hooch surveyed the scene from her decks, scratching them with her wand as Professor Snape nibbled her shoulder.

Hermione felt too sober for all of this... until she began to feel a prickling behind her eyes, and her palms were suddenly hot. Something was happening.


The music was wonderful, and she felt like she would never stop dancing, and she didn't want to. She had never felt quite like this before. So close to everyone, so happy, so loved. Except it wasn't false, she knew that. It was real, what was always there, just amplified now. "Ron, I love you so much!" she cried over the music, and threw her arms around him.

"I love you too, Mi." he replied, and squeezed tight.

She broke off and turned to the next person, hugging them as much. "And I love you too, Ginny!"

When she and Ginny started kissing it was the most natural thing in the world to do.

And Ron just smiled and started hugging Harry.


"Did you have to transfigure my handbag into a feather boa?" Hermione asked Harry as they staggered home in the grey light of early morning. The boa was wrapped around his neck, moulting feathers onto the pavement.

He gave her a goofy smile and kept walking.

Ron giggled and patted Hermione on the shoulder. "I'll get him to change it back tomorrow. Today. Whatever. Anyway, glad you did it now?"

Hermione squeezed Ginny's hand. "You bet."

Ron laughed. "Same time next week then?"

For a second the old Hermione kicked in. "Perhaps we..." Then Hermione stopped herself and looked at Ginny. "Why not?"


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