This is my first attempt at fan fiction, and will not be my last. It has taken me awhile to get to this point, but life seemed to keep getting in the way. This is a humorous, fluffy Harry/Ginny Ron/Hermione ship that is taking place During the Trio's 6th year, It is Rated PG-13. I want to thank my pre-betas Gwyn, Dawn and of course my own DADAGinny for their help. I also want to thank my Beta Jelsemium for her assistance and her friendly encouragement. This fic is submitted for the Fic-A-Fest Challenge, I hope you find it enjoyable.
OF PULSE AND IMPULSE
It was fall at Hogwarts and Harry and Ginny sat in the Gryffindor common room quietly studying, Harry for a potions exam and Ginny for her potions O.W.L. They both presented an illusion that they were studying schoolwork when in reality they were studying each other. Harry's mind wandered as he reflected back on the day.
He, Hermione, and Ron had been in the library studying and he needed to clear his head so he went for a walk
As he left the castle he saw the tiny frame of Ginny near the lake, her molten tresses left no mystery as to her identity. She, too, was taking a quiet stroll, enjoying the peace and quiet of the beautiful autumn day. The sun was shining and a few clouds floated lazily along in the sky. A brisk gust blew her hair from her shoulders and the sun ignited it into shimmering cascades as the strands tumbled back into place. Harry felt his knees go weak at the sight, then tightness in his chest and throat as he drank in her image. Harry looked at his shoes, quietly swallowing the lump in his throat that had welled up. He felt compelled to go to her, but instead he was only brave enough to risk a mere glance. He raised his eyes only to see the wind had once again sent her hair dancing around her face...but wait... hadn't her back towards him moments ago?
"Harry! Are you coming back to the library?" Ron's voice broke the spell and Harry felt his face flush.
Did he see what I was looking at? Did she hear him call my name? Does she know...? The questions ran through his mind.
Frantically, Harry turned towards the voice, glancing once more toward Ginny as he turned.
"Yeah, I'm coming Ron." He responded, his voice cracking mid-sentence.
Ginny was writing notes in her text as she and Harry sat together. She and Harry... studying... together. The feeling was always the same for her whenever she was near him, even just studying. Her heart fluttered and her face flushed as she remembered what had happened earlier.
She had gone for a walk around the lake. It was a beautiful day and she had wanted a break from her O.W.L. studies. As she walked she had a feeling of being watched, but it was not a threatening feeling so she risked a look behind her. There she saw him - he was looking at the ground but she could tell that his face was flushed over something. She longed to go to him, to see if he was alright, if he was ill or just embarrassed. Embarrassed, she thought, why would he be embarrassed out here... could he have been...
"Harry! Are you coming back to the library?" she heard her brother ask.
Then she saw Harry look at her, and her heart skipped a beat.
"Yeah, I'm coming Ron." Harry responded.
Ginny noticed the reluctance in his response and said to herself. Could Harry be interested in me after all these years?
Harry was brought out of his reverie as the castle suddenly shook violently. Harry drew his wand and moments later Ginny did as well.
"What was that Harry?" Ginny asked.
"I don't know, but I'm going to go have a look. You stay here in case there is t..." His sentence was cut off.
"Harry James Potter! Don't you dare finish that sentence! I'm going and I'm going with you in case there is trouble - you may need my help!" Ginny exclaimed furiously. "Now let's go!"
Harry had seen this look; it was a common one among Weasley demeanors. It was the "Don't try to stop me, I can handle it, don't even say I can't" determination that crossed the faces of Weasley's everywhere... and it always scared the hell out of him. Defeated, Harry conceded to Ginny.
"OK, Gin, together then, but please be careful."
They ran together through the common room portal, through the halls and out the castle gate. Once outside they could see several students, including Ron and Hermione, and professors; Dumbledore, Trelawney and Flitwick, holding their wands high as shafts of bright blue light struck what looked like the inside of an invisible dome. On the other side of the dome they could see beams of yellow light shattering against the dome. The source of the attack was from about fifty Death Eaters concentrating wand fire from the back of a single enormous bird, its wings spanning every bit of one hundred yards.
Professor Dumbledore saw them when they came out. "Harry, Ginny!" he yelled. "Aim up and say Magna Armoro Bolstero! Focus your will to strengthen the magic around the school! You will want to walk that way!" He pointed to their left. "If you see part of the barrier turn green, stop and concentrate the spell in that area, because that will indicate a weak point!"
Harry and Ginny did as they were bid. Harry's voice rang out as if he was summoning his Patronus. "Magna! Armoro! Bolstero!"
Moments later Ginny's voice was heard. "Magna! Amora! Bolstero!"
Eldritch columns of energy erupted from their wands. Harry's was bright blue and Ginny's bright red. The beams intersected and formed a purple stream which struck the barrier just as another surge of yellow launched from the combined might of the attacking Death Eaters. The resulting impact caused the barrier to shudder and flare into an odd brownish color. Tendrils of energy surged throughout the barrier. Then there was a backlash of power and the brown fed back into Harry's and Ginny's wands, throwing them both back about 20 feet into unconsciousness.
Later, Harry awoke in the hospital wing. He felt whole but, kind of odd. Glancing around, he could see that all of the beds were full of teachers and students. Next to him was a bed with a curtain drawn about it. Harry heard a tiny sigh, followed by a...
"Harry!" and the beautiful face of Ginny Weasley parted the curtains to peer out.
Harry looked at her and how stunning she was, even with tousled hair. Then he felt like he should tell her how he felt and kiss her full on the lips... then the next thing he knew he was saying, "Ginny you are so beautiful." Then he walked over and kissed her full on the lips.
Ginny awoke with spots of red, blue, purple, yellow and brown flashing around her momentarily. When it stopped she let out a sigh, and then she realized that she was in the hospital wing. What happened? she thought. Abruptly, she thought of Harry and she called out to him. "Harry!" She sat up and parted the curtains around her bed to look out. There he was, and he looked at back at her strangely, the emerald green of his eyes drew her towards him, she wanted to go to him, but she was too late, he was closing the gap between them already...
"Ginny you are so beautiful." He said. Then he kissed her passionately on the lips.
The world spun around them and they were consumed with a desire to know every intimate detail about each other. Their lips parted, their tongues explored their mouths hungrily. Their arms enfolded each other and they stood kissing oblivious to the world around them.
"MR POTTER! MISS WEASLEY! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!" thundered the voice of Madame Pomfrey.
Stunned, they quickly separated, their faces turning scarlet as they parted, and looked towards Madame Pomfrey.
"What has gotten in to you two? Now get back to bed!" the nurse berated.
They both turned towards their beds, and for a moment Harry though how nice it would be to lay beside her and hold her, and then he turned towards her bed and taking a step to do just that.
"YOUR OWN BED MR. POTTER!" Madam Pomfrey scolded.
Harry drew a deep breath and let out a sigh before going towards his bed.
Ginny saw Harry turn towards his bed and she too thought it would be nice to be held by Harry, and if he couldn't come to her, than she'd go to him as she took a step towards him.
"MISS WEASLEY, YOUR OWN BED! NOW GO!" Madam Pomfrey reproved.
When they both were in their own beds they lay looking towards each other, a hunger visible in their eyes, then Ginny spoke. "Harry, do you know how long I've been waiting for you to notice me?" Her demeanor changed suddenly to one of anger. "Since the chamber. I thought it was a crush when you first came to the Burrow, but when you saved my life I knew my love for you was real. WHY COULDN'T YOU SEE THAT! WHY COULDN'T YOU SEE THAT I LOVED YOU! I WANTED MY FIRST KISS TO BE YOU, NOT MICHAEL CORNER!" Her pallor changed once again and she wept into her pillow.
Harry's heart was in his throat; his body ached to have her near him. Why didn't he notice before? He had noticed her before since his third year, but he was afraid to get close to her, he was afraid of what her family would do. He longed for her and he felt a stirring need to comfort her and he climbed out of bed to go to her...
WHAM! He walked right into an invisible barrier; he staggered back anger flashed through him as he looked at Madame Pomfrey standing nearby with her wand in her hand.
"We'll have none of that, Mr. Potter!" she proclaimed.
A seething anger swept over him and he went for his wand. She'd think twice about stopping him as a toad. His hand searched for his wand which was not with him. FINE! He said to himself, but even as he thought of her transfigured into a toad it happened - where she'd stood a toad now squatted. Fear welled up in him, what just happened? She was only trying to help him... to help Ginny. He wished he hadn't done it. I'll just change her back... and there she stood, back to normal.
Faced with the potential of what he could have done in his emotional state, Harry said the first thing that came to mind, "I'm sorry, please, Madame Pomfrey, stun me before I really hurt someone."
"Nonsense, Mr. Potter, it was an impulse, that's all. You received quite a jolt from trying to bolster the protections over Hogwarts. Get in bed and I'll give you something to help you sleep," she replied.
Harry complied, stealing a glance towards Ginny who had cried herself to sleep. "I love you, Ginny," he said aloud, blushing furiously.
He climbed into bed, and Madame Pomfrey gave him a steaming potion to drink.
"Here you go, drink this and get some rest." she said. Harry did, and in no time at all he was asleep.
Once he was asleep, Madame Pomfrey placed a sleeping charm on him and Ginny, just for good measure. They would not wake until the spell was lifted.
Others in the wing were waking now and yelling, and talking could be heard everywhere. Occasionally a scream would ring out, or a slap.
Professor McGonagall walked into the wing, "What is happening, Poppy?"
"I have no idea, but it is somehow related to the events from last night, I would suspect. Mister Potter and Miss Weasley were the first to awaken and they began behaving strangely. The others in the wing were the ones who were using the strengthening spell on the protective barrier."
At this point, Headmaster Dumbledore walked towards them. His face was smeared with chocolate, and in his hand was a bag of Bertie Botts. A mischievous twinkle sparkled in his eyes and he walked straight towards Professor McGonagall and kissed her on the cheek, smearing chocolate on it. He laughed and then tried to do the same to Madame Pomfrey, but she was faster; the sleeping charm was out of her wand and Professor Dumbledore fell over. Professor McGonagall hit him with a levitation spell and she maneuvered his floating body back to his bed.
Madame Pomfrey set to work putting the entire wing of patients under her sleeping charm. She found Professor Flitwick swinging from a tapestry with the image of a very surly Merlin embroidered into it. Merlin was grasping for his wand, but whenever he would get close, the little Professor would swing the other way causing it to roll away from his hand. Pomfrey cast her charm and eased him to the ground.
As she quested for more victims of the attack, she was taken by surprise at the sight of Professor Trelawney staring into a mirror, deep in concentration. Her focus was interrupted at the sound of Madame Pomfrey's footsteps. The seer turned towards her and in a very unnatural voice intoned:
"Four shall rise in arcane might,
To smite the darkness from love's pure light.
In times to come peace shall reign,
But first the Dark must be slain."
Then her eyes glazed over and she collapsed. Madam Pomfrey sighed, cast her sleeping spell upon her, and levitated her to a bed. She walked around some more and found Fred and George Weasley in the hallway outside the hospital wing.
One had slapped the other with a gauntlet shouting, "I am better at pranks than you! I challenge you to a duel!"
She couldn't tell if they were under the spell, knowing that this was normal behavior for the two of them. What were they doing here anyway - didn't they leave last year? Unsure, she put them to sleep anyway.
Next she came across Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger snogging in a corner, his hand groping her bum. Hermione pushed him away and slapped him across the face with a loud SMACK!
"RONALD WEASLEY! HOW DARE YOU!" Granger yelled.
Madame Pomfrey took that moment to put them both to sleep. She was soon joined by Professors Snape and McGonagall. Severus with an unconscious Parvati Patil floating behind him, Miss Patil clad only in her bra and knickers; Minerva with an unconscious Seamus Finnigan similarly clad in just his tartan boxers. Cho was found weeping over a portrait of Cedric Diggory. Luna was found staring at a picture of a golden dragon, but her eyes were fixed on a strange shadowy image far in the background. Finally, when all of the enspelled victims were secured and asleep in their hospital beds, Professors McGonagall, Snape, Binns, Sinistra, Vector, Sprout, Firenze and Hagrid all met in the great hall accompanied by Susan Bones, Neville Longbottom, Colin Creevey, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Katie Bell, Padma Patil, and Draco Malfoy.
McGonagall began, "You all know what has happened today. It now falls on us to figure out what caused it and what we can do to reverse it. So, what are your thoughts?"
Facing McGonagall, Poppy responded. "As I told you earlier, it started with the strengthening charm on the Hogwarts wards. Something obviously went awry, and all those who were engaged in the strengthening spell somehow got a magical backlash and their behavior is the side effect. I believe the center of the phenomenon was where Mister Potter and Miss Weasley were engaging the wards. They were the first to awaken, so I am speculating that this had to do with something they did, or perhaps did not do. The exact side effect seems to be that those enspelled seem to act on impulse, regardless of what the impulse is, good or bad."
"I think Madame Pomfrey is correct in her speculation, the behavior of those affected does seem to be impulsiveness, often their first impulse." Snape added.
"I wonder what happened to them wretched Death Eaters? When the magic went crazy, I saw that the Roc and them Death Eaters that was on it fell into the Forbidden Forest. I haven't been ter see what happened when they landed, might be that they died, mabee not." Hagrid said.
"We can hope they are under the same effect." said Sprout.
"I'd like to see that, actually," said Katie laughing. "Death Eaters acting on their first evil, impulse would surely mean fewer Death Eaters!"
There was a chuckle among everyone in the group, save Snape and Malfoy. Malfoy looked pale when the statement sank in. This was quickly replaced by a look of barely veiled anger. Snape noted that Malfoy looked thoughtful for a moment and his mouth opened briefly to say something, and then decided against it before settling into his own thoughts.
McGonagall cleared her throat. "Ahem... lets stay on the subject. What do the rest of you think? Was anyone near Mr. Potter or Miss Weasley when they cast their spell?"
"I...I... was." Neville said sheepishly.
"I was too!" added an excited Colin. "And I took pictures of Harry and Ginny when they were casting!" He grinned broadly as he produced wizard pictures of the event.
"Excellent work Mr. Creevy, fifty points for Gryffindor!" McGonagall proclaimed. "Now let's see what you have."
The professors leaned in to study the four pictures intently. The first picture showed Harry raising his wand, a faint silvery glow washed over him as he spoke. The force of his words and a look of intense focus clearly visible in his profile showed how deeply he'd tapped that well of power within him, then a bright blue beam leapt from his wand.
The next picture showed Ginny, her back to the camera, raising her wand as she planted her feet firmly on the ground. A faint reddish aura seemed to envelope her and a moment later a bright red beam launched from her upraised wand striking Harry's dartle.
The third picture was a wide-angle shot that showed Ginny's beam merging with Harry's, producing a ray of purple that was four times the size of either of their beams individually.
The last picture revealed that the instant the purple column of magic struck the inside of the barrier. A yellow emission from outside the barrier also struck in the same place sending radiating tendrils of brown energy throughout the barrier.
"It would seem your assumption was correct, Poppy," drawled Snape. "Potter's spell seemed correct, though I am curious about that glow around him; I have never seen that happen to a wizard or witch. The same is true of the glow enveloping Miss Weasley, though she obviously used the wrong spell; fifty points from Gryffindor for miscasting a spell and failure to follow directions. That glow intrigues me, have any of you seen such a phenomenon in a wizard or witch? And why haven't we noticed it before?" he finished.
"That is not important right now, Severus. We need to figure out exactly what happened and how to reverse it." McGonagall's reply was terse and Snape was well aware that she knew more than she let on, but he didn't push the issue. Years of working with her had taught him better than that. Still, he would delve into this more when the immediate crisis was over.
"What if the glow around them is contributing to the problem Professor?" Malfoy asked.
"Mr. Malfoy, I can assure you that this in no way is contributing to the problem. Don't question me on this again!" McGonagall responded. "Now then, let's get back to what happened and why. Mr. Longbottom, you said you were there as well; what can you tell us?"
Neville's voice cracked as he spoke. "Professor... I ... um, don't remember - I mean I heard what they were saying and saw what they were doing, but I don't remember what the words were ... I... I 'm ... s... sorry." He realized he had not breathed in a few minutes so he gasped a sharp intake of air, and let out a deep sigh.
Professor Sprout looked at Professor Snape. "Severus, I have some gingko shrubs in the greenhouses and you should have the other ingredients. We could make him a hypnosis potion to recall what he heard at the event."
"Very well, I'll prepare the potion, but who's going to suggest he remember? It must be someone he trusts to question him, or it will not work." Snape responded.
"I'll do it." Sprout said. "He probably trusts me more than anyone here. You trust me, don't you, Mr. Longbottom?" she asked of Neville.
"Very well, we'll meet here again in the morning. You are all dismissed," said McGonagall.
Everyone stood to leave.
"Poppy, you should probably strengthen your sleeping charms and put a silencing charm around the medical wing so that no one wakes up unexpectedly," she added.
The next morning the students and professors met in the great hall once again.
"Mr. Longbottom, please have a seat in this chair." McGonagall conjured a plush, maroon recliner for him. "Once the potion is administered the rest of us should leave the hall so Professor Sprout can talk to Mr. Longbottom undisturbed."
Neville sat in the chair and Snape brought a smoking, olive drab potion to him. "Drink it quickly, it will burn less, Mr. Longbottom," he said coldly. Then he turned and strode towards the door as his cloak flapped behind him.
The others followed Snape and the door shut with a resounding echo, leaving Neville and Professor Sprout alone.
"Now go ahead, Neville," Professor Sprout said, smiling warmly.
Neville downed the potion, choking as the viscous solution burned its way down. Moments later he felt light-headed, and then he had the sensation that the top of his head had been removed. He felt his heart beat wildly, soon it calmed and sent a feeling of relaxation throughout his body. He felt tingling waves of energy pulse from his brain and radiate down to the tips of his fingers and toes in time with his heartbeat.
Professor Sprout noted the half-lidded expression that came over Neville's face as his body slouched further down in the recliner. Then his fingers began twitching, matching his heart beat; the potion worked perfectly.
"Neville," she began. "Can you hear me?"
"Yes Professor," he responded.
"Let your mind drift back to the attack two days ago, you were outside watching Harry and Ginny, Colin was with you taking pictures... focus on the words they said... let your mind reveal what they said... what were their words Neville? What words did they say? Focus let your mind... relax. Are you there, Neville?" she asked, and then she waved her wand in the air conjuring a floating quill and parchment. "Describe to me what you saw, and what you heard them say."
"I'm there," Neville responded. "Harry and Ginny are running as they look into the sky, then they both stop suddenly... Harry yells 'Magna! Armoro! Bolstero!' A blue ray is coming from his wand. Ginny is yelling now, she yells, 'Magna! Amora! Bolstero!' The ray from her wand is red. It just hit Harry's and got bigger, it's turning purple. Oh no! The Death Eaters yelled too, 'REVEALE! ACHILLO! DECIMATUS!' A yellow beam is coming from all of them combined. Harry! Ginny! Run! I'm too late, if only I could have helped... why is it so dark?"
Then Neville fainted.
Professor Sprout left the great hall to bring in the others. "We're done, and it worked. Poppy, you need to examine Nev- er, Mr. Longbottom, it seems he's fainted."
Madame Pomfrey went over to check Neville out while Professor Sprout used her wand to replay the recorded hypnotic episode. The group heard the whole episode in Neville's own voice and words.
McGonagall spoke, "So what happened was a merging of three powerful spells; the ward strengthening charm, a dispelling charm and an emotion strengthening spell. These three spells created a magical backlash to all who were connected to the wards."
Professor Vector suddenly announced, "Of course!" He began waving his wand, forming arcane symbols to hang in the air as if working out a complex mathematical problem. His voice took on a fevered pitch, picked up speed as sparks and magical writing danced around the Great Hall.
Then he continued, "The combined magic created a sort of inhibition-inhibitor web. Any magical connection to said web would have been affected. The spells striking each other under normal circumstances would not have that kind of effect, but somehow something boosted Mr. Potter's and Miss Weasley's enchantments. Add to that the concept of protection and the weaknesses revealed in the dispelling charm. This would create a sort of intoxication effect so that the minds of all affected would lose any sense of fear or propriety. Strong emotions would be revealed as well, but not held in check so if a random thought entered your head-"
McGonagall tried to interrupt, "Professor Vector-"
"-and no inhibition, then you would answer the thought with action. Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley must have a bond of sorts already and a powerful one at that, which could enable them to use each other's power in tandem to devastating effect-"
"Professor-" McGonagall repeated.
"-Also Miss Weasley said Amora, which is the same as Amore, which would have been further affected by the strengthening charm. They must be in love, but if they were in love before all of this then that could be the source of the power surge when their spells combined-"
"Professor!" she shouted.
"-However if the Death Eaters worked together through a combined spell, they could do a lot of damage unless there was a force of equal or opposite reaction working against them, but take into account everyone who was connected to the ward including the Headmaster who was resisting the attack of so many Death Eaters...that could cause a mirror effect, but the ward would still have a mild affect as well so-"
"PROFFESS-" she tried again.
"I'VE GOT IT! As Poppy assumed, the combined magics involved in the incident caused a side effect to all who had a connection at the time of Miss Weasley's spell the result was that all inhibitions have been removed and everyone is acting on impulse. They want to do something, but there is no controlling factor to their behavior so they act immediately upon it."
"So how do we reverse the effect?" McGonagall asked.
"We throw a party complete with spiked punch." Vector answered.
Everyone stared at him.
"How is that going to reverse anything? If we get them all pissing drunk, won't they just be worse about acting on their impulses?" Snape inquired.
"We just need to get them drunk to relax them and suppress their impulses, and then we can administer sobering charms and perform a finite incantatum and hangover potions to all of them. I think the actual effects would wear off in time anyway, but I don't think any of us wants to wait out that storm. If we apply these things to the situation, I think we can reverse everything. We will have to chaperone aggressively while they are at the party, and we will want to put very conservative clothing on them to quell those particular impulses, but I think it's the best option we have," Vector responded.
"Couldn't we just do these things while they are asleep?" Poppy asked.
"Remember, when you are asleep your subconscious mind is most active. What has happened to them is their conscious and subconscious minds have switched places. If they are asleep the effects could suppress their conscious minds and cause a worse problem. We need to act on the part of their minds that are the most active. The alcohol will suppress their reflexes too. I'm not in any hurry to try to put a spell on the Headmaster who has full reflexes and is acting on impulse, are you?" Vector explained.
"Will there be any side effects to all of this, Professor Vector?" Susan Bones asked.
"Unfortunately for them, I can think of just one. They will remember everything up to the point they become inebriated, and some may remember that." He grinned mischievously. "However for all of us, it should be quite fun, don't you think?"
"Well, as much as I dislike the solution if it is our best shot, I guess we better get started," McGonagall said. "We will do it all tonight, starting at 7:00."
Later that night the Great Hall was set up with tables and chairs. There was food on long tables along the walls, and of course the spiked punch. All of the victims were levitated to the hall. Professor McGonagall stood to explain the rules to all for tonight.
"As a result of the attack, all of the students and Professors asleep before you have suffered a horrible side effect. Once they are awakened they will act on their every impulse. You are not to talk to them, goad them, or do anything that might cause them to react to their impulses. If you yourselves want a drink; then I suggest you have the green punch, the red punch is spiked. You are welcome to eat any food provided and you are welcome to visit with each other. If any victim approaches you, be as polite as possible, excuse yourself, and walk away. Professors, please try to discourage any untoward behavior you see tonight. No house points will be taken from anyone based on the behavior of the victims. You may take points away from anyone who is not a victim that tries to encourage any untoward behavior on the part of the victims. For everyone's protection the victim's wands have been confiscated. Does anyone have any questions?" she asked.
"Very well then, Professors - wake them."
The professors went around enervating the unconscious victims. It wasn't long before they all were alert and the party began. To explain the circumstances McGonagall spoke again.
"Welcome back everyone! In order to celebrate the defeat of the Death Eaters we have decided to have a victory party for the school. You are the honored guests this evening, so please have some food and drink and enjoy," McGonagall announced.
The victims began milling about doing any number of things. Ron and Hermione decided to find a corner to snog in and, finding it occupied by Parvati and Seamus, decided to find another - this one was occupied by Lavender and Dean Thomas. Hermione tugged on Ron's hand to bring him to another corner, this one was occupied by Harry and Ginny. Harry's arms were firmly wrapped around Ginny and he was planting gentle kisses on her face.
"HARRY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Ron screamed.
"I knew you were thick, Ron, but surely you can see what we're doing," said Harry.
A faint blue aura crept around Ron. "GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF MY SISTER!"
"HE MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOT, RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY! YOU LEAVE HARRY AND ME ALONE!" Ginny fired back. A faint reddish glow shimmered around her as she spoke.
"Honestly, Ron, leave them alone, we can find another corner-"
"HERMIONE, I'M NOT BLOODY WORRIED ABOUT THE CORNER! MY EX-BEST FRIEND IS SNOGGING MY SISTER AND I WON'T LET THAT HAPPEN!" Ron yelled to Hermione.
"RON! DO NOT TAKE THAT TONE WITH ME!" Hermione yelled back as a faint green aura surrounded her.
A moment later McGonagall was there with a tray of red punch.
"You four, stop this arguing this instant! You are friends and you had better begin acting as such, now have some punch and calm down."
"Yes, Professor," the four said in unison, taking the punch.
McGonagall made her rounds with the punch, cutting off catastrophes as she wandered to and fro.
Hours later the victims were sufficiently inebriated, save Professor Dumbledore. He was the last man standing, but after several dances with every remaining female in which he demonstrated remarkable savvy and proficiency with everything from the waltz to disco. He was even a fair hand at the tango, meringue and salsa, but soon he too had succumb to the effects of the spiked punch. Then the spells began, the remaining professors and students systematically drifted around casting the prescribed spells and then it was done. All that remained was to wait until morning to see if it all their efforts worked.
As dawn's rosy fingers crept across the grounds of Hogwarts, the professors took to the medical wing to check on the victim's status. They were rousing now and, thanks to the anti-hangover potions, there were no telltale moans to mark the festivities of the previous night.
The unaffected students and professors waited with baited breath to see if their plan had worked. Professor Dumbledore sauntered over to Professor McGonagall.
"Interesting night, wasn't it?" His visage showed simple amusement and perhaps a bit of veiled mischief. The usual twinkle in his eyes was there also, but perhaps a little brighter. "I haven't danced like that in years." He smiled warmly and winked. "You did very well, Minerva, thank you."
"Thank heavens," McGonagall sighed audibly, and let out the breath she'd been holding.
Harry and Ginny walked out side by side, their faces as red as the trademark Weasley hair. They were followed closely by Ron and Hermione who burned just as crimson.
Harry looked at Ron, swallowed a lump in his throat and quickly grabbed Ginny's hand. Ginny gasped, as Harry pulled her closer him.
"Ron, we all know what happened last night, and quite honestly I don't want to stop seeing Ginny. Whatever spell was upon us, deep down I know my feelings for Ginny are as real as yours are for Hermione. You can hate me if you want, but I'm not going to give up Ginny. So where you and I go from here is up to you. If you want to stand between us, it is your choice. You're my best friend and that won't change for me, and I hope you feel the same way. I want to keep seeing Ginny, if she'll have me." Harry looked at Ron then turned towards Ginny and gazed deeply into her beautiful brown eyes. His knees went weak momentarily, but his weakness was rewarded with Ginny's embrace.
"Oh yes, Harry, I'll have you," she replied. Ginny then turned towards Ron as a slight reddish aura shimmered around her. She paralyzed Ron with her gaze and his knees went weak as well, but for different reasons. "WELL?" Ginny snapped.
Hermione reached out and gently squeezed Ron's hand. "Who would you rather have with her, Harry or someone else who may not treat her as well? Don't you think this is a little weird for them also, you and I together, and the two of them suddenly discovering each other?"
"My vote's for Harry," Fred's voice said from behind them.
"Mine, too," added George.
"We think it's absolutely spiffing that wittle Harry-warry and Ginny-poo found each other," the two of them said in unison. This was followed by obnoxious kissing noises and faces that were suddenly squashed as Ginny spun, blazing hair flying in a flurry around her. Fred and George visibly cowered as she caught them with her gaze, the aura around her brightening a bit. She took a long step towards them and they recoiled, visibly. Ginny raised her arms and caught them both in a bruising hug that didn't seem possible coming from her tiny frame. Ginny laughed and kissed them both.
"Thanks you two, you know, you were always my favorite twins!" She laughed merrily and Harry felt his legs weaken again. Ginny turned again to Ron. Her face softened and the aura receded. "Ron," she said softly and, looking into his eyes, closed the gap between them until she was barely a hand's breadth in front of him and out of earshot of Harry. "I love him and he loves me too, though he won't admit it right now. He does, I can feel it." Her voice was barely a whisper, but the phrase melted Ron's resolve entirely.
Ron gently pushed her to the side and he walked up to Harry. "Welcome to the family, Harry, don't make me regret this." With that he pulled Harry into a brotherly embrace, and realizing this he quickly stepped back clearing his throat. "Be good to her or face us all." He tried to reinforce that statement with a stern look, but found himself grinning madly.
"I'd say it worked, better than expected," Professor Dumbledore said to Professor McGonagall as they watched the tender scene unfold. "The effects of the spell seem to have broken some barriers for good. I think we'll see greater things from our students yet; thanks, oddly enough, to the Death Eaters."
"Albus, have you noticed the power fields on the four of them, before this?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"From time to time there have been brief, faint shimmers. I have been keeping track of the episodes in which the fields have revealed themselves. It has always been in the presence of strong emotions; in due time they will learn to control it. I suggest we introduce a new class to our students for that purpose. Next week we will begin The Study of Elemental Magic, but let's let them enjoy their victory for now. Next week will be here soon enough - for now let's just let them breathe. The attack could have gone very wrong, but it didn't, and they have earned a little peace, don't you think?"