The great hall at Hogwarts was suffocating, and it was only nine o’clock in the morning. The summer after Voldemort’s defeat has been the hottest for the past one hundred years. The worst thing about this is that all the students who attended Hogwarts last year are here during August, trying to complete last year’s exams so they can move on to the next year.

Ginny sat looking at her toast and iced pumpkin juice. She was miserable, even though she had the ability to cast Cooling Charms on her clothes; they still stuck to her because of the humidity. She wanted to be able to go out and fly on her broom, but there was no Quidditch. She hated being here. Especially since Harry isn’t here.

Harry apologized to her for breaking things off before going after Voldemort. She had pouted and refused to talk to him for another week, but she forgave him completely. They were having a wonderful summer together until Hogwarts reopened and she had return to complete her sixth year. Harry is somewhere training to be an Auror now. Kingsley had approved of him joining the training program even though he hadn’t completed his schooling. Wherever he is, it is probably cooler and more comfortable than it is here in this stinking castle. Ginny picked up her goblet of iced Pumpkin Juice and held it to her forehead, enjoying the cool droplets of moisture on her face.

“Didn’t you cast Cooling Charms on your robes?” asked Hermione. She had also returned to the castle. She wanted to retake the end of the year exams for sixth years. Ron thinks it is just so she can try to set some stupid record for having the highest score on an exam. She doesn’t need to return to school, but Hermione is Hermione and she has always been mental about her grades.

“Yes, but I don’t have my robes over my face. Now do I,” whined Ginny. She hated sounding like this, but it is just bloody miserable. “I cannot believe how hot it is this summer. Merlin, I wish I was back at the Burrow swimming in the pond with Harry.”

Hermione snorted at her comment. “You would want to be swimming with Harry even if it was freezing out. Ginny, you need to focus on your studies. It will take your mind off the heat. The reason why it is so hot is because the Dementors have all left England. The past two years they have made it extra cool and damp, and now the weather is making up for it.”

“Bloody Dementors,” grumped Ginny. “If I find out Harry was some place cool while I am stuck here...”

She never finished her statement, because a commotion in the entrance hall caught her attention. Turning she saw a sight that made her actually giggle. Hermione who was sitting across from her looked up and followed her eyes. There was Luna skipping into the great hall saying something quietly to everyone she met. She was wearing midnight blue double-breasted waistcoat with tails and brass buttons, black knickers, white knee socks, black shoes with large brass buckles, and a triangular hat with two things that looked like onions hanging off it in such a way that they bounced about her ears. She was also holding a bundle of these ‘onions’ in each hand and seemed to be offering them to everyone.

Ginny couldn’t help herself she doubled over with laughter. She loved Luna for things like this, whenever Ginny need someone to pick up her spirits, Luna always seemed to come through for her. Ginny watched as she skipped across the Hall towards them, as she spoke to the students a roar of laughter followed her. When she finally got close enough to be heard, Ginny and Hermione also started to giggle.

“The Wrackspurts are coming!” she announced gaily. “The Wrackspurts are coming.” Stopping at Ginny and Hermione, she held up her bundles of onions, “Do you want any Gurdyroots, to protect you from the Wrackspurts? You just need to hang one from each ear, or you can hang one by one ear and hold a finger in the other ear,” she told them in a soft and serene voice. “They are coming and you don’t want to be afflicted by them…” she paused for a second. “…or maybe you do.” She tossed four of the Gurdyroots on the table.

Ginny conjured two elastic headbands and secured the Gurdyroots to her head. She fought with Hermione until she also had an onion-shaped plants hanging at each ear. The entire time Ginny was trying to get them secured Hermione was protesting that there no such things as Wrackspurts. Ginny kept telling her that she should do it just in case there actually are. She was having so much fun fighting with Hermione that she no longer noticed how hot and sticky it was.

Luna had skipped around the entire hall telling everyone that “the Wrackspurts are coming” and offering them Gudyroots, but Ginny and Hermione were the only others with these strange plants hanging by their ears. No one even tried hanging one by one ear and placing a finger in the other ear. Luna had skipped back over to their table and sat down beside Hermione who gave her a dark look. “Oh look, they’re here,” said Luna pointing at the doorway.

Ginny and Hermione looked and saw nothing coming into the hall, but suddenly they noticed students acting strangely. Students by the door were shaking and turning their heads as though they were trying to shake water out of their ears. They would do this for a few seconds before a rather silly looking expression would appear on their faces and their behaviour would make Luna’s seem rather mundane.

Ginny and Hermione watched as waves of students were becoming afflicted. This behaviour seemed to be moving through the hall in a wave starting by the entrance hall students and gradually moving towards the head table, where the Professors sat. Students were dancing in between and on the tables, some were laughing hysterically, others were reciting horrible poetry. The Headmistress, Professor McGonagall was now standing and demanding that everyone be quiet. Suddenly she started twitching her head like everyone else had, this went on for several seconds, until she had a goofy look on her face and started dancing and singing.

Hermione looked at Ginny then at Luna. They seemed to be the only people who weren’t affected by this malady.

Most of the students in the Great Hall were doing something extremely strange; they had formed a Conga line of at least forty students. Others were hopping and skipping while holding hands, while others were just laughing and lying on the tables as though they were beds. The Headmistress stopped singing and walked to the podium at the front of the Hall. She placed her wand by her throat and announced, “We must leave this place – my children. We must run and climb over the mountains to find safety. Come with me, my children. Follow me to safety!” The Headmistress ran down from the podium and circled the Great Hall with her arms held wide at a fast gliding walk.

“Merlin, Ginny, she thinks she’s Maria Von Trap,” laughed Hermione.

Ginny looked at Hermione with a blank stare. She had no idea who the person Hermione mentioned was. The Headmistress was singing and all the students and Professors were following her in a circle around the hall. She suddenly turned and headed out through the entrance and onto Hogwarts grounds with everyone following close behind and Hagrid was at the end of the Conga line. As the Great Hall cleared out with Professors and students following the Headmistress to safety, Hermione, Ginny and Luna walked behind them.

They stood on the top step of the castle entrance, with Gurdyroots hanging by their ears, and watched as the procession headed towards the Front Gate. They could hear the Headmistress’ warbling soprano belt out the lines, “Climb every mountain, ford every stream, and follow every rainbow, till you find your dreams.”*

As they watched Hagrid’s enormous backside Conga through the gates, Hermione spoke in a worried tone, “We should Owl the Ministry, and tell them what happened.”

Luna placed a soft reassuring hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry Hermione. After all, there are no such things as Wrackspurts.” Luna turned and skipped away into the entrance hall of the school.

*from Rodgers and Hammerstiens Sound of Music

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