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    Author's Note: This is complete and utter nonsense. It was written in response to a challenge from an old friend, and as an exercise to get back into the fic writing game. If you are looking for tight plotting, a serious tone, or basically anything other than tripe, I implore you to look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, if you would like to know what sequence of events will lead to the only condition of the challenge (Harry and Ron must walk in on Hermione and naked house elves while she is wearing nothing more than a leather corset. Oh... and it all must be non-sexual), then by all means read on.


    Chapter 1: There's Someone in the Kitchen with Granger





    “Professor Slughorn?” Hermione's hand had shot up with about ten minutes left in Potions class, and she appeared to be so excited that she couldn't wait for Slughorn to call on her. It had been a long and boring lesson on a potion to reveal hidden messages on parchment, and Harry looked at Hermione with mild interest.

    “Oho!” exclaimed Slughorn as he turned to face his prized student. Or at least she was now that Harry was back to being an average potion maker once again. He refused to ever touch Snape's old copy of Advanced Potion Making ever again. “What is so important that it could not wait for me to call on you Ms. Granger?” he asked, though not unkindly. Harry couldn't help but think about the number of points that would have been taken from Gryffindor had Snape still been teaching potions. Not that the slimy bastard was doing much teaching at all now that the whole world knew what he really was.

    “Well, professor, I was wondering if I could have a word with you alone after class?” Hermione blushed slightly, and she seemed to shrink back into her chair. Harry wondered why she had called the attention of the whole class to herself if she was just going to be embarrassed by what she had to ask. “It's just I need a... I need a bit of help with a potion I'm brewing in my free time, and I thought that perhaps-” But she broke off before she could finish, noticing that everyone had turned to look at her. In particular she flushed several shades deeper at Ron's inquiring look.

    Professor Slughorn didn't appear to notice Hermione's sudden shyness however. “Of course, Ms. Granger! Though to be honest I am not certain how much help I can be to one as clever as yourself. I think that before long it shall be me who is asking your help with brewing potions.” If possible, Hermione shrunk even farther back into her seat as Slughorn beamed at her. “You know that you are welcome in my office anytime. Just hang back after we've finished with these Revealing potions, and I'll do what I can.” Hermione smiled briefly and nodded, but in no other way did she acknowledge Slughorn's offer of help. She also tried her best to ignore Ron and Harry's whispered questions for the rest of the period.

    “What are you brewing?”

    “It's nothing special Ron, I just need a little he-”

    “It must be a rather difficult potion if you need help,” Harry chipped in.

    “Well I- No, that'll be enough out of you two, you need to focus on your own cauldrons.” And try as they might, they could not get anything further out of her for the remainder of the class.

    After they had bottled their revealers and placed them on Slughorn's desk, Harry and Ron waited outside the classroom door for several minutes so they could try and get more answers out of Hermione. To their great surprise, however, she did not exit for more than five minutes, and by that time they were already running late for Herbology, which was a rather long haul from the dungeons.

    “What'dya reckon she's up to?” asked Ron, rubbing his nose. He looked seriously concerned that Hermione would be doing something behind their backs. “Do you reckon it's got anything to do with finding that fourth Horcrux?”

    “I don't think so,” Harry answered thoughtfully, “I think she'd have let us know if it was going to be anything like that. Where do you suppose she's brewing it though? In Myrtle's bathroom?” It was common knowledge among the three of them that this was the best location for brewing potions you did not want discovered.

    “Probably not. She knows that's the very first place we'd think of. Apparently she's trying to hide this from us.”

    “Well she could be brewing it in her dorm room- hey,” Harry slapped his head as a sudden inspiration struck, “D'you think you could ask Lavender if she's been brewing anything in there?” Ron went as red as one of his Weasley jumpers and looked at Harry as though he was just seeing him for the first time.

    “You're not serious are you, mate?” Ron looked as though someone had just punched him in the stomach. “Every time I even look at her for more than two seconds she sticks her nose in the air and runs away. And if I were to ask what Hermione was doing in her bed- well, I'd probably not come out of that conversation alive. Lavender thinks I fancy her or something.” Harry smirked and opened his mouth to say that he thought the same thing, but Ron cut him off with a very rude hand gesture. “Come on, we'll be late for Herbology. We can partner with Neville if Hermione isn't there.” And with that the two friends left the dungeons at a brisk pace.

    They didn't see Hermione at all in Herbology much to their surprise, and they grew even more worried when she was absent again from Charms. “It's just not like her to miss two classes in one day,” Harry said unnecessarily, as the two attempted to choke down the pumpkin juice that they were attempting to conjure. It was much more difficult to conjure food and beverage than it was things like chairs, as you had to be very deliberate to get the taste right.

    “Don't be daft, Harry, it's not like her to miss a class, period. And next time--” Ron suddenly erupted in a violent fit of coughing,“do you think-- you could add just a bit-- less pumpkin to this juice? I could do with-- out the seeds.” Harry pounded Ron on the back, and a pumpkin seed flew out of his mouth and hit Lavender on the back of the head. Ron once again blushed profusely, as his old flame turned in her chair to stare at them. She sniffed haughtily before turning back to her own work. Harry heard Ron mutter something indistinct that sounded like “worst mistake of my life.”

    Their classes finished for the day, Ron and Harry retired to the Gryffindor common room, fully expecting to meet Hermione there. She was, however, still missing. There was only one thing for it.

    “Let me run up and grab the Marauder's map,” Harry whispered to Ron, who nodded silently and went to wait by the common room entrance. Once alone in the seventh year dormitory at the top of the tower, Harry dug through his trunk and found the map carefully slipped in between a copy of Quidditch Through the Ages and his broomstick servicing kit. He unfolded it gingerly and tapped it with his wand. “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

    It took him several minutes to locate the tiny dot indicating Hermione Granger. She was in the kitchens surrounded by a gaggle of dots with labels like Saucy, Steamy, and Poke . Harry sincerely hoped that these were house elves and not unfortunately named Slytherins, as he didn't much feel up to a rescue mission. Rescuing the locket horcrux from Regulus had taken a lot out of him. He tapped his wand to the map and whispered “mischief managed,” the elaborate drawings of Hogwarts fading into nothing. He then patted his pocket to ensure that the invisibility cloak was present, put the Marauder's map in his other pocket, and went to join Ron.

    “Did you find her?” Ron asked as soon as they had left the common room.

    “She's in the kitchens,” Harry answered as they set off towards the ground floor. It was only a matter of minutes before they were standing in front of the appropriate painting of a bowl of fruit; it was much easier to roam the halls of Hogwarts without Snape or Malfoy to worry about. Harry reached up and was about to tickle the pear in the painting but hesitated.

    “Well go on then,” Ron prompted, looking anxious.

    “Do you think we should put on the invisibility cloak?”

    “I don't see the point. She's going to know someone is there when the door opens.” Harry nodded. Ron was right of course, but Harry had the distinct feeling that they were going to be walking into a situation that they probably shouldn't be walking in on. However, before he could say anything, Ron reached his right hand up and tickled the pear. The door to the kitchens swung open before them.

    It was a site unlike any Harry had ever seen before, and he immediately started to choke for want of either laughing or crying, he wasn't sure which. Ron had simply gone as white as a ghost, and had started to stammer incomprehensibly. “I- wha- wh- th- bloo- fu-”

    Before them stood Hermione, but she did not look as she normally did. She had disrobed to the point of wearing only a strappy leather corset that left little to the imagination. There was whipped cream covering several portions of her anatomy, and her hair was distinctly whiter than normal. Harry thought he could smell flour. Hermione had her back to them, she was standing over a stove and concentrating hard on chopping up what appeared to be a strawberry. It was the naked house elves rushing up to Ron and Harry that alerted her to their presence.

    She shrieked, and threw her hands up to cover her chest, causing the strawberries she had been holding to go flying towards the two shocked boys.

    “Um...” began Harry, trying to wrap his brain around the situation (Ron had gone completely silent and his left eye was twitching violently).

    “Well don't just stand there! Close the door!” sqealed Hermione, her voice two octaves higher than normal. Harry had never seen her so red. Without thinking, Harry turned around and closed the door behind himself and Ron. “No, with you on the outside! Oh bloody hell.” Hermione turned around and bent over to pick up her discarded robes, the first Harry had registered there presence. As she bent over blood began to trickle down from Ron's nose. He was completely oblivious.

    “Um... Hermione, why are the house elves naked?” Harry asked as innocently as he could.

    “Oh very good Harry,” fumed Hermione as she struggled to put on her robes without revealing anything more than she already had (they were, Harry noted, also covered in flour and whipped cream). “Why are the house elves naked? That's the first question that sprang into your mind? Not: 'Why don't I ever knock first?'” She looked on the verge of tears.

    “Harry! Harry Potter!” Harry groaned as he saw a naked Lobby come running towards him out of the crowd of house elves around Hermione. “If you please, sir, it was my idea to get disrobed for Ms. Granger!” Beside Harry, Ron was finally starting to regain his senses.

    “I knew you had a thing for house elves, Hermione, but I thought S.P.E.W. was a little less hands off than this.” He started to laugh, and though at first she looked furious, Hermione too started to giggle. Within moments all three of them were laughing far harder than they had in months.

    It took a while for the truth to come out in it's entirety. Hermione had been intent on making a birthday cake for Ron without using any magic whatsoever, and had asked for the help of Professor Slughorn in interpreting some of the instructions on her recipe. Unfortunately, Slughorn was no more used to Muggle baking than Hermione, so she tried on her own, making a violent mess of her robes. She took them off to continue, and the house elves had followed suit, so as to not be wearing more clothing than their master.

    “So happy birthday, Ron,” she said, her cheeks tinged with pink. I know it isn't quite finished, or cooked, but have a cake.” Ron gave her a lopsided grin.

    “Can I eat it too?” He asked, and the trio again dissolved into a fit of laughter.

     

     

    A/N: Bah... I tried to warn you, did I not? There will be no more chapters of this, but do look for a new full-length seveth year fic to start up soon. I've already plotted it out and written some of the more thrilling moments, and I feel safe in telling you that it is the best idea for a story I've ever had. And, if I may say so, that's saying something.

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