Irretitus Amor by Jeograph
Summary: ***Winner of the Most Humorous and the People's Choice Award in the Detention Challenge (2023-1)*** There is a little known tradition at Hogwarts that occurs once every four years. It has become a sort of a special event of the professors as it involves giving detention specifically to student couples, and creates an opportunity for the professors to wager on certain outcomes. Four years ago the event was postponed due to activity involving the Chamber of Secrets. This year however there is nothing to hold it back. Along with five other couples, Harry and Ginny are caught up in this special event and its arbitrary detention.
Categories: SIYE Challenges new, The Detention Challenge (2023-1)
Irretitus Amor by Jeograph
Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Nominations PleaseAuthor's Notes:
Irretitus Amor: Part One
Professor Pomona Sprout was whistling merrily as she sauntered her way to the Great Hall for breakfast, on the beautiful, sunny morning of Monday, June sixteenth, nineteen hundred and ninety-seven.
“Lovely morning children,” she said as she passed a group of first-years eyeing the House Point Hourglasses. The fact that she had startled them was lost on her as she proceeded to the staffroom past the Gargoyles flanking its entrance. It was her custom to stop by the staffroom each morning to check for any notices. It had been some years since she had received anything at all in her staff box, still routine was the backbone of life and she checked her staff box each morning before breakfast with strict regularity. Finding no notices, she exited the staffroom and crossed the Main Entrance to the Great Hall. She jauntily pulled open the doors and practically skipped her way down the center aisle. At the head of the aisle, she crossed diagonally to the side steps to reach the raised teachers’ dais, where the long High Table stood.
She was pleased to see the usual Professors already gathered for breakfast. Madam Pomfrey and the Librarian, Madam Pince were seated in their seats nearest the end and they greeted her with bright smiles as she acknowledged them with a delighted grin. She resumed whistling an early Madame Bletchley tune, as she nodded greetings to Professor Flitwick, Professor Sinistra, and Professor Vector. As she reached her normal seat next to Deputy Head, Minerva McGonagall, she gave a cheerful wave to Professors Babbling, Slughorn, Burbage, and Madam Hooch, who were all seated further down the table.
“You seem in unusually bright spirits this morning, Pomona,” Professor McGonagall said, as the Herbology Professor took her seat and began filling her plate from nearby breakfast platters.
“Indeed, it is a beautiful morning isn’t it,” Professor Sprout replied, happily.
Professor McGonagall glanced out upon the smattering of early-rising students who typically took their meal this soon during breakfast hours. On any given Monday only the most diligent students, or those who were naturally early risers, were present at this time, approaching half-seven, and more than an hour into the breakfast offering. As usual, none of the students seemed all that enamored of the bright sunny morning outside the castle. She would have described them on the whole as sluggish at best. There were, of course, a few notable exceptions. She met the eye of Harry Potter at the Gryffindor table and nodded congenially as he did the same.
“I am not certain many of our charges would agree with you, but I am pleased you are beginning your day so enthusiastically,” Professor McGonagall said, “May I inquire as to what has put you in this happy mood?”
Pomona Sprout leaned in conspiratorially and whispered. “The seeds have sprouted.”
“Goodness, Pomona,” Professor McGonagall said. “I dare say, that is a daily occurrence in the greenhouses. Would you care to be a little more specific?”
Professor Sprout grinned wide and said, a bit more loudly than she intended, “The seeds have sprouted in greenhouse nine.” She realized immediately just how loudly she’d spoken as a chain of urgent whispers suddenly broke in both directions along the staff table.
“Greenhouse nine you say?” the Deputy Headmistress asked more of herself than Professor Sprout. “Goodness, has it been four years already?”
“Indeed, it has.” Professor Sprout responded, punctuating her reply by shoving a large forkful of eggs into her mouth and nodding.
“How much time do we have?” Professor McGonagall asked as Professor Sprout swallowed her eggs.
“I asked Aurora nearly a month ago to confirm her posted schedule of astrological events,” Professor Sprout began. “She confirmed that this month’s full moon cycle begins in two days with the actual full moon presenting on Friday at twenty-one hours, eight minutes and forty-eight seconds.”
“Oh, dear,” Professor McGonagall declared, “We haven’t much time than have we?”
Harry couldn’t remember a time in his life when he’d been happier. It was as though his destined life had been put on hold, and for a glorious month, he’d been allowed to have someone else’s. A different life, a magnificent life of joy and happiness, and it was all because of Ginny. He squeezed her hand as they walked together and she gently squeezed back. They had been a couple for just over four weeks, yet everything with Ginny was easy, felt complete and so, so right.
Hermione had seemed to think it inevitable, and Ron had quickly come around to the idea that his sister and his best mate were a good match. Harry couldn’t help but smile.
He had always been an early riser. Perhaps it was just training and habit formed by years of being pressed into breakfast kitchen duty by Aunt Petunia, but he always seemed to naturally wake around half-five, and he was glad of it as it had, at Hogwarts, provided time for him to catch up on his revising.
Ginny, was a different story; she was not nearly as bad as Ron, but she liked to sleep, and getting up early in the morning was not a habit she had acquired in the Weasley household. Still, for the last month, she had met Harry in the common room by six every morning and they had been able to take a walk together either before or after breakfast.
This morning had been so bright, sunny, and warm, that their walk had to come before breakfast.
They had made their way down to the lake shore, like usual, wandered along the footpaths till they reached the stone stairs, and then made their way back up to the castle, choosing to go the long way around the greenhouses, rather than through the courtyard.
As they came toward the greenhouses there had been a clatter of one of the greenhouse doors and they had stopped, just to see what might happen.
Professor Sprout emerged from the door of greenhouse eight, which was commonly believed to be nothing more than a tool and supplies shed for the other seven greenhouses. They would have called a greeting to the usually friendly professor, but as she stepped out there was a strange lilt to her gait and she had paused to do an excited little dance there at the cobblestone entrance.
Ginny giggled lightly. “My goodness, I wonder what has gotten into her?”
“I don’t know,” Harry said, genuinely perplexed by the professor’s behavior.
Professor Sprout hadn’t turned, and so didn’t notice them, but began quickly along the path toward the castle at a happy clip, whistling as she went.
“Funny,” Harry said. “But clearly something good must have happened to her.”
“And why not?” Ginny responded. “It is a glorious morning; why shouldn’t good things be happening?” She squeezed Harry’s hand again.
They gave the Professor a beat to get well ahead of them and made their way following her, along the path toward the castle and the breakfast service.
They arrived at the Entrance Hall in time to see the first-years startled by the enthusiastic Professor. Their curiosities had been piqued by the odd behavior so as Professor Sprout turned toward the staffroom, they entered the Great Hall and quickly made their way to join Ron and Hermione who were already eating in their usual spots.
“Nice walk?” Hermione asked as they approached. She didn’t need an answer as it was written clearly across their faces. But there was something else in Harry’s expression, a look of intrigue and curiosity that she knew well. He was watching the entrance behind him.
“We just saw the funniest thing,” Ginny said as she sat, pulling Harry into the space next to her on the bench.
“What’s happening?” Ron asked after a heavy gulp of juice.
“Professor Sprout is extremely happy about something. We saw her doing a sort of a happy jig as she came out of greenhouse eight and headed up to the castle,” Harry said.
“She’s always a pretty happy professor, but this was a bit unusual,” Ginny added. “She was whistling a happy tune all the way to the castle. One of those old songs Mom loves when it comes on the wireless.”
Just then the main doors opened and Professor Sprout entered. She practically floated down the main aisle, intent on reaching the High Table. Coming behind the seated staff, she made her way enthusiastically to her spot next to Professor McGonagall.
They watched curiously as the two professors seemed to exchange greetings.
Professor McGonagall surveyed the student tables and when her eye met Harry’s she smiled and nodded by way of acknowledgment. Harry nodded back.
The two professors then engaged in conversation.
Harry and the others were close enough to the staff table to overhear when Professor Sprout declared, “The seeds have sprouted in greenhouse nine.”
“There, you see,” Ron said. “She’s excited about something she’s growing. Makes perfect sense. Probably something dangerous and difficult to grow.” He shoveled more eggs and sausage into his mouth and packed it in with a bite of toast.
“No, there is something more going on,” Hermione said. “Look at the way the other professors are reacting.”
There was a wave of whispering chatter moving outward from the center among those professors who were present.
For the rest of their breakfast, the four kept a quiet eye on the professors. Some seemed to hastily finish their meals and quickly depart, while others seemed to be observing the students with unusual attention. Professor Vector even appeared to be taking notes on a scroll as she scanned the room.
Finally, when all but Ron had finished eating and they felt they had lingered much longer than normal, Hermione said. “I am certain, something is going on. The professors are behaving oddly, but not oddly enough to cause alarm.”
“Agreed,” Harry said.
“It may just be something that concerns the staff, but not the students,” Ginny suggested. “Like a wedding or a birth, or maybe Sprout is going to be published in Magical Botany Today. Something like that might be a fire under other Professors to set some new goals.”
“Whatever it is, I’m sure we’ll find out about it in the next couple of days,” Ron said as he stood up from his spot at the table. “And, if we don’t, then it was nothing, to begin with.”
Whatever it had been certainly seemed to grow far less important as the day progressed.
On Tuesday, the staffroom was buzzing with activity as Dumbledore entered. It seemed as though every Hogwarts Professor at the school was present. “Who is supervising lunch with the students?” he asked as he stepped next to Minerva McGonagall.
“Headmaster,” McGonagall said, “lovely of you to join us. I believe Professor Hagrid is eating lunch in the Great Hall at this hour.”
“Never one to get much involved in the world of flora, our Hagrid,” Dumbledore said. “Unless it is food for any of his fauna.”
“Not much for romance either,” McGonagall added. “Nevertheless, he was happy to sit a long lunch today so that others could indulge in our little diversion.”
“Indeed,” Dumbledore responded, looking around.
One whole side wall of the room was taken up by a huge blackboard. On the far left of the blackboard, in neatly handwritten text, categorized as cross-house, and in-house, were the names of every known student couple presently at Hogwarts.
The first column was cross-house where there were listed all the student couples who came from different houses. This was the longest list with a total of seventeen couples. The in-house category was divided into four columns by house. Gryffindor house listed six couples; Hufflepuff, five; Ravenclaw, five; and Slytherin, eight.
“This is quite a list of couples this year,” Dumbledore noted. “I confess I have not been paying as close attention to this aspect of our institution as I have in years past. I am curious how is it that Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley got listed as a couple? Or has something happened of which I am unaware?”
“No, Albus, nothing has happened,” McGonagall explained. “Poppy Pomfrey insisted we list them as a couple based on the displays witnessed during Mr. Weasley’s recent stay in hospital. She says the way he called for Hermione, and the way she stayed at his side, show unusual devotion and blossoming love.”
“Ah,” Dumbledore nodded. “The idea being that even if they don’t know it yet, Pomona’s seedlings would still be able to tell.”
“Exactly,” McGonagall confirmed. “Unfortunately, there are only six planting beds, so I find it unlikely that they will survive beyond the pruning round.”
“Standard rules apply?” Dumbledore asked.
“As always,” McGonagall confirmed. “No couples are allowed involving anyone younger than fifth-year. All staff members are allowed to add to the couples list, which is open to discussion and debate. That is where we are right now. Then, each head of house is allowed to nominate one couple involving a member of their house. This frequently results in couples where both parties are from their house, but that is of course not a requirement. As Headmaster, you are allowed to offer a nomination, if you choose, though, if memory serves, you have never elected to do so. Whereupon the additional couple or couples, are chosen by the remaining staff, in a straight ballot, the two couples receiving the most votes will be chosen.”
“Thank you for such a concise review of the rules, Minerva,” Dumbledore said.
“Well, as your Deputy Head, I could not chance you ever thinking that I have been lax in my duties,” McGonagall stated.
Just then Professor Sprout stepped up to a podium in front of the blackboard wall, where there was a gavel and block. She picked up the gavel and rapped it twice against the block causing the room to fall silent.
“Okay, thank you, everyone, for your suggestions, we have had all yesterday and this morning to compile the list of young couples here at Hogwarts,” Pomona began. “I am now inclined to halt discussion on the list of couples so that we can proceed with nominations. Let us remember that I have room for six couples, and we will need to arrange for members of the elected couples to be given detention, which is often the most difficult part of the project.”
Filius Flitwick had climbed up onto a chair and now he stepped up onto a table so that he could address his colleagues. “In the interest of narrowing the list, I would like to propose that any couples that have not been dating longer than six months, be stricken.”
“I do not agree!” Poppy Pomfrey objected. “What does the length of their dating have to do with anything? The point here is to pick couples who we think may truly be in love, and the newness of any relationship is not necessarily a measure of what the future may hold. I myself have proposed a couple on the list who are not technically even a couple, yet their observable behavior leads me to conclude that they someday will be, and a successful pairing at that.”
“At this point, the decision to nominate a given couple rests with each Head of House,” Pomona reminded her colleagues. “That is the standing tradition established on the premise that these professors are most actively observing their students. Without objection, I believe that we can move forward without any further editing of the established list.” There was a short pause during which there seemed to be no objection. “Very good, it seems we are agreed, so I call upon Deputy Head and Head of House Gryffindor, Professor Minerva McGonagall to make our first nomination.”
All eyes turned to Minerva who took a small step forward and cleared her throat into her handkerchief. “Thank you, I am honored to make the first nomination. We have created an extensive list. As I know best the students of my own house, after consideration, I am nominating a couple who has been together since both were fifth-years and have lasted nearly without conflict until this their seventh-year: Gryffindors, Hayley Olson, and Gideon Druery.”
There was a small, contained applause, during which, Professor Vector raised her wand and added a tick next to the nominated couples’ names on the blackboard.
“Next we shall hear from Professor Filius Flitwick, Head of House Ravenclaw,” Pomona announced.
“Well, then,” Flitwick began, “I too am inclined to go with a seventh-year couple who I have observed develop in my own house. Some of you may be inclined to discredit my choice based on certain events of last year. I would remind you that most of the events of last year were the directed doing of one Dolores Umbridge…” Mention of the despised name drew a hiss from many of the Professors. “…And, any actions on the part of students were clearly coerced. The couple I am nominating is Marietta Edgecombe and Eddie Carmichael, and I would ask you to consider that the coerced action of Miss Edgecombe last year, has nothing to do with whether or not this couple may truly be in or heading for love. Further, consider that Mr. Carmichael did not abandon Miss Edgecombe in the face of the backlash.”
Applause followed as did the placing of a tick next to the couple’s name on the board.
“Next we will hear from Head of House Slytherin, Professor Severus Snape,” Pomona called. “Is Professor Snape here with us?”
“I am indeed,” Snape responded, emerging from a shadowed alcove along the exterior wall of the staffroom. “When I was confronted yesterday by the other Heads of House with the news that Professor Sprout’s Irretitus Amor seeds had finally sprouted, my first thought was to dread the idea of having to make this nomination. However, as the former Potions Master to this institution, I am only too aware of the value of Irretitus Amor petals as a widespread potions ingredient, or additive, and its rather exorbitant cost of acquisition, due to some rather odd and specific cultivation requirements. Normally, I would be inclined to make a nomination based on the values of Salazar Slytherin, my house namesake, which would suggest that heritage and status should drive the decision. A couple like Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy comes immediately to mind following this guidance. Though, as the cultivation of the herb in question is dependent on, among other things, the presence of love in the relationship of the planting couple…” Snape said the word love with a combination of doubt and disdain. “…I must consider which couples have demonstrated the likelihood of a strong, loving relationship. I, therefore, nominate a sixth-year couple from House Slytherin, Daphne Greengrass, and Theo Knott.”
This announcement met with enthusiastic applause and received its tick on the board.
“That gives us half the required couples,” Professor Sprout said. “This brings us to my nomination as Head of House Hufflepuff. As most of you know, Helga Hufflepuff, as one of our founders, valued fair play, understanding, and tolerance regarding all aspects of learning and people. In the spirit of tolerance, I am inclined to nominate a couple from my house whose relationship in some circles is considered controversial. I however base my decision not on the controversy, but like Professor Snape, based on what couple I believe is most likely to yield a positive outcome in the cultivation. I, therefore, nominate from House Hufflepuff, Tracey Cauldwell, and Alice Morgan.”
The smattering of applause that followed revealed that not all of the professors of Hogwarts were as tolerant as Professor Sprout hoped they would be.
“To put forth a same-sex couple is unprecedented,” Professor Snape said, addressing Professor Sprout. “Leaving any personal feelings or arguments aside, might we ask the Headmaster to make a ruling on the matter?”
Professor Sprout responded by looking directly at Headmaster Dumbledore.
“Let me approach the matter by asking two questions,” Dumbledore said quietly as he took a step forward toward the center of the gathered professors. “First, have both students reached the age of seventeen? Second, have the two students in question made it clear through their speech and action that they are indeed a couple? And they are indeed ready to make this openly known to the Wizard world at large?”
There was a general nodding of positive acknowledgment.
“In that case, I see no reason that they should be excluded and no evidence that they should be any less loving than any other declared couple. Therefore, I say, let the nomination stand.”
This did not seem to increase the smattering of applause, but the couple did receive its tick.
“That gives us four of six couples.” Professor Sprout continued enthusiastically. “Now, you have each been given a small slip of parchment. Heads of Houses excluded. At this time, you may write down the names of two of the remaining couples from the list, and place your parchment in the box provided here.” She motioned to a wooden ballot box on the end of the table upon which Professor Flitwick was still standing. “Professor Hagrid has given me his parchment and has agreed to vote in absentia, as he is presently supervising student lunch.” She stepped forward and placed Hagrid’s parchment in the box. The other professors followed quickly.
When the voting had ended Madam Hooch stepped forward and poked the side of the box with her wand causing it to rise into the air and shake and flip itself vigorously, mixing up the slips inside. After a half minute, it settled back to the table. She gently tapped the top of the box with her wand and one at a time the parchment slips began to pop up from the slot and float, twirling in the air, until she reached out to retrieve them. She read each entry aloud whereupon either Madam Pince or Madame Pomfrey alternately, would flick their wand to add a tick next to the appropriate couple’s names on the blackboard.
Headmaster Dumbledore watched and listened to this process until about three-quarters of the votes had been tallied. A clear winner was emerging as the relationship of seventh-years Cho Chang of Ravenclaw and Cormac McLaggen of Gryffindor, was receiving a clear preponderance of available votes. Seconding the emerging winner running neck and neck, were the relationships of Hufflepuff sixth-years Susan Bones and Ernie Macmillan, and the fifth-years Katherine Markhum of Ravenclaw and Gordon Blau of Slytherin.
“Ahem,” Headmaster Dumbledore announced his presence, which was enough to silence the room. “I do believe it is traditionally within the rules to offer the Headmaster an opportunity to make a nomination, is it not?”
“You are quite correct, Headmaster,” Professor Sprout responded. “I apologize. Since you have never chosen to exercise that privilege, I assumed… Well, I am very sorry, Albus, and if you would care to make a nomination now, we will gladly hear it.”
“You are right that I, in my time as Headmaster, have never cared to add a nomination of my own. I confess, I have simply never found a compelling reason to do so, generally believing, perhaps foolishly, that my students are too young to truly know matters of the heart. Even in nineteen seventy-seven, when the harvest was last found to be truly successful, I failed to recognize the strength of the love of two of our now rather famous students who were most assuredly responsible for the remarkable harvest that year.” He paused letting all present consider his words. “Now, however, I find myself in the position of considering the name of the son of that famous couple right in front of me on this slate.” He gestured to the large blackboard on the wall. “I have to ask myself if a boy born to a couple with such a clearly demonstrated love, might carry something of that love inside himself,” he paused again allowing time for consideration. “Therefore, with your indulgence, I would like to nominate, even though it is a very new relationship, from House Gryffindor, fifth-year, Ginny Weasley, and sixth-year, Harry Potter.”
There followed enthusiastic applause as the Headmaster flicked his wand and added the appropriate tick to the board with a substantial flourish.
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