SIYE Time:18:58 on 2nd December 2023

Irretitus Amor
By Jeograph

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Category: SIYE Challenges new, The Detention Challenge (2023-1)
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, James Potter, Lily Potter, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Other, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Violence
Story is Complete
Rating: G
Reviews: 17
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.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3891; Chapter Total: 749
Awards: View Trophy Room

Author's Notes:
Thank you to my Beta reader, Arnel, for profound patience and wonderful suggestions.


Irretitus Amor Part Two
Fallacious Finger-pointing

After Wednesday morning breakfast, Hayley Olson had a free period while her boyfriend Gideon had to go to Astronomy. Normally she would just hang out in the common room until it was time for Transfiguration and she would meet Gideon there. This particular morning, however, she had a lot on her mind and so she had gone back up to her dorm where she would usually be left alone.

Hayley loved attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. She still remembered feeling envy when her oldest brother Ian had gotten his letter. Two years later her next brother Brenan had gotten his.

She had only been about to turn six when Ian’s letter had arrived but she already knew of Hogwarts from the stories her father so often told. She had missed her brothers once they had each gone off to the magical school, but once she had turned eleven and received her letter, she had both brothers here with her for a full two years. She would have loved to have all three of them in the same house, but Ian had been a Ravenclaw and Brenan a Hufflepuff, and she had landed in Gryffindor, the house her father had been in.

Hayley’s mother had been from Central America, Panama, specifically, and attended a school named Castelobruxo in Brazil. Her parents had met while her father was traveling extensively for his work with the International Portkey Company (IPC), establishing transfer sights along magical ley lines.

Even though her father and their last name were Scandinavian, she and her brothers had taken after their mother in eye, hair, and skin color. Her genetic ethnicity had never concerned her greatly, but it could sometimes be confusing to some of her classmates upon the first introduction.

She had always been quite a popular girl, and according to her peers, a beautiful girl. So, from pretty early on she had dealt with requests for dates from boys as old as seventh-years.

During her fifth year, she had set her eye on a boy in her house, Gideon Druery, whom she had been childhood friends with before Hogwarts. His father worked for the Ministry, in the Department of International Magical Cooperation, which sometimes intersected with her father’s work. The two men had become good friends and frequently, after her mother had passed when she was eight, she had stayed with the Druerys so that her father could make trips for work.

Gideon had long considered Hayley one of his best friends, but he’d been intimidated by her beauty and popularity at Hogwarts and so thought their friendship would become a thing of the past. During their fifth year, emboldened by rumors that she might be interested, he summoned the courage and asked her to the Yule ball. They had been a couple since that night.

Hayley had been part of the St Mungo’s work experience program during her seventh year, recommended by her Head of House, Professor McGonagall, and that had led to her acceptance into a Medi-witch apprenticeship beginning the next fall. She had wanted to become a Healer from a very young age, and this planted her firmly on the path. The news, however, had not set well with Gideon who had plans to become a curse-breaker and had arranged an internship in Egypt following his graduation from Hogwarts. He had asked Hayley to come with him, suggesting that she could find a place to study there, and hinting that they might get married once he had found employment in his chosen field. But she was not willing to give up her aspirations and suggested that they could endure the time apart. She had even added that due to her father’s position with the IPC, it would be a simple matter to travel back and forth quite frequently.

Over the past few weeks, they had begun fighting frequently and while they had managed to keep their issues largely secret from their friends, she was feeling considerable stress over the matter.

She woke suddenly, having fallen asleep atop her bed. She waved her wand casually asking it the time and realized with jarring clarity that her Transfiguration class started in less than five minutes.

Hayley grabbed her knapsack and bolted out the door. She ran full out for the Transfiguration classroom to the chagrin and protest of several prefects and one particularly annoyed group of first-years when she leapt onto the moving staircase, and with a flick of her wand sent it moving in her direction rather than where they had intended to go.

The corridors were emptying fast as she rounded the corner. She could see Professor McGonagall standing at the doorway as she commonly did. Hayley would have sworn that her favorite teacher had seen her, and so she breathed relief as she approached thinking the professor would hold the door. Perhaps she was wrong, as the classroom door suddenly closed just as she was about to reach it. She was confused, and even a bit hurt, thinking that Professor McGonagall must have known she was there.

She pulled on the door and slipped in as Professor McGonagall stepped up the classroom aisle toward the front, and turned around quickly. “Well, well,” Professor McGonagall started. “How nice of you to join this morning, Miss Olson.”

Hayley was dumbfounded; she had known Professor McGonagall to be quite curt and intimidating with first-years, but she was one of the Professor’s favorite students, or at least she had thought she was. “I am sorry, professor, I…”

Professor McGonagall had raised a hand to stop her mid-statement. “For your tardiness this morning, Miss Olson, I will take no house points, but you will stand detention this Friday evening with Professor Sprout.”

And that was it. It seemed so utterly unfair. It had never happened in seven years of Hogwarts attendance, but Hayley had detention.

****************************** ***************

At that moment in the staffroom, a red “D” appeared next to the name Hayley Olson on the chalkboard. Professor Vector noted the change and turning, addressed the room. “Did anyone have Hayley Olson of Gryffindor, as the first to receive detention?”

Madam Hooch turned from the table where she had been reading the Daily Prophet. “Blimey, that’s a real long shot, I would never have called that. I think either Charity or Horace may have had it.”

“If so,” Professor Vector proclaimed, “We may have our first winner!”

****************************** ***************

By lunchtime the whole school was abuzz. Apparently, during Professor Slughorn’s second-period Potions class Eddie Carmichael and Cormac McLaggen had been given Friday detention for nothing more than failing to thoroughly Scourgify their cauldron after creating a particularly sticky failed potion. And then their girlfriends, long-time friends, Marietta Edgecombe and Cho Chang, had been given detention as well when they whispered their disapproval together, at their table. The thing was, neither offense was something that hadn’t happened before, numerous times, and simply been overlooked by the usually jovial Professor Slughorn.

Professors giving detention, while not an uncommon occurrence, was normally reserved for something that was truly reckless, intentionally mean, a clear violation of school rules, or just plain stupid. And most often it was accompanied by some sort of loss to house points.

For five people to receive detention in one morning with no loss of any house points, for offenses that typically yielded the very opposite result, that felt unprecedented. Clearly, there was something wrong at Hogwarts, or at least it seemed that way.

By afternoon tea, Daphne Greengrass and Theo Knott had been separated and given detention in Muggle Studies for an “inappropriate public display of affection,” by the normally quite detached and ineffectual Professor Burbage. All the other students in the class claimed that the well-established Slytherin couple had only been holding hands as they entered the classroom and while they were seated together, no one witnessed anything more than the occasional toe tap beneath the table, which arguably could have been entirely accidental.

And worse even than that, Professor Sprout herself, had given her arguably favorite seventh-year student, Tracey Cauldwell, detention for allegedly, improperly mixing a batch of, Komodo Dragon chili, fire-whiskey, and Mooncalf dung, fertilizer, for the Flaming Citrus saplings in Greenhouse two.

Several students claimed they then saw the Professor using the allegedly faulty batch of fertilizer on the saplings later on during the very same class.

By the end of the evening on Wednesday the students had started a rumor that some of the professors had contracted a rare form of magical dementia that caused overreaction to the smallest and most inconsequential of events.

It was called Schizomalament-Deviatitus, and apparently, the only way it could be contracted was by ingesting the magical underbelly mucus of a carnivorous, tree-dwelling salamander from the island of Suwarrow in the Cook Islands of the South Pacific. But the symptoms seemed to fit, so the rumor kept growing.

At breakfast Thursday morning, students were warning each other not to use any of the imported mango jellies, as the Salamandridae Suwarrofice mucus had been traced to a contaminated jar.

Many of the first-and second-years fully expected that an announcement was forthcoming that the affected professors had, overnight, been transferred to St Mungo’s for specialized treatment.

When no such announcement came, most of the students accepted that it had just been a rather strange day of odd occurrences and attempted to make the best of the day before them.

By lunchtime, Alice Morgan had received detention from Professor Trelawney, for speaking out in Divination, against the seemingly arbitrary detentions that had been handed out the day before. And later in the day, Gideon Druery received detention from Professor Babbling for suggesting that the runes he’d been asked to translate were intentionally aligned in a way that made them untranslatable. Or at the very least creating a series that made no sense whatsoever.

The series had been from three, unassociated runic dead languages and so lacked any context to create meaning. Translated independently they read; The ruler; commands; without rules. Which Gideon had said lacked sufficient meaning and was therefore contradictory.

************** *******************************

At dinner in the Great Hall, Hermione observed that all the detentions, though they seemed to have been applied quite arbitrarily, had involved only quite prominent student couples at the school and theorized that some sort of social experiment involving the couplings could be behind the whole fiasco.

Hermione counseled Harry and Ginny to forgo their usual after-dinner walk and simply spend the evening in the relative safety of the Gryffindor common room.

They agreed that, given the odd detentions and Hermione’s observation, coupled with the fact that Harry already had perpetual Saturday detention with Professor Snape, perhaps it would be a good idea to hide in the common room until whatever was happening could blow over.

After dinner, they were all headed to the common room when Ginny remembered that she needed a book from the library. She stopped suddenly. “Bollix, I almost forgot, I need to pop by the library for that book on exotic tropical animals to finish my report for Care of Magical Creatures. Luna had it checked out but she promised to return it today and Madam Pince agreed to hold it for me.”

“Maybe you can look up that Salamander all the third-years have been talking about,” Ron said.

“Maybe,” Ginny looked at Ron queerly. “But that is not why I need it. If we’re staying in the common room this evening, I’ll need it.”

“Well,” Harry said, “why don’t we just pop ‘round to get it quickly?” He was ready to go with her without hesitation.

“No, you three go to the common room and I’ll just run back for it. Probably safer to not be presenting as a couple too much just now. I won’t be a sec.” And with that, she was off.

Harry hesitated, watching Ginny speed away down the corridor in the opposite direction.

“Come on, mate,” Ron said urging Harry along. “Ginny’s probably right and you heard her, she won’t be a sec.”

Hermione, Ron, and Harry headed along their way.

In the Gryffindor common room, they discovered that almost everyone seemed to have the same idea about staying in. The room was full of Gryffindors, but they were able to secure a large study table and had just laid out all their revising materials when the portrait hole flew open and an obviously livid Ginny bolted into the room.

“Well, that’s done it!” Ginny proclaimed slamming her library book on the table. “Guess who just got detention!”

Hermione cringed at Ginny's careless treatment of the book but decided now was probably not the time to say anything. Instead, she asked, “What happened?”

“Well, I got to the library just fine,” Ginny began. “And I saw Madam Pince at the checkout counter. She even smiled at me oddly, which I took to mean she knew what I was there for. I marched up to her but I was still breathing heavily from being in a hurry and Madam Pince hit me with a loud ‘Shh,’ which seemed odd. I took a deep breath and politely asked for the book, which she had right there ready for me. She stamped the book and handed it to me. I hadn’t noticed that Agnes Minkeigh, that Slytherin git, rolled the sorting trolly right up behind me.”

“Oh, no,” Hermione said, anticipating what happened next.

“Well, I turned around quickly and banged straight into the trolly,” Ginny exclaimed.

“You didn’t,” Ron said.

“Tipped it straight over and sent books skidding everywhere as the heavy trolly slammed into the floor with a deafening thud.” Ginny was waving her arms to illustrate as she spoke.

“But that sounds completely like an accident,” Harry protested. “Surely, Madam Pince could see that?”

“I don’t think so, 'cause Agnes was giggling and looking at Madam Pince like it had been planned!” Ginny’s ire was up.

“So, what happened next?” Hermione asked.

“Well, Madam Pince stands up imperiously behind her counter and looks straight at me, and says,” Ginny planted her hands on the end of the table, and leaning in, launched into a spot-on nasally impersonation of the Librarian. “Ginny Weasley, you’ve just earned yourself detention tomorrow, for not watching where you are going!”

“That’s terrible,” Ron said. “Great impression, though, Gin.”

Ginny shot Ron a sarcastic smile and plopped down into the chair next to Harry, defeated.

“Well, you know what this means,” Ron stated matter-of-factly.

“What?” The others asked simultaneously.

Ron looked straight at Harry. “You’re next, mate.”

******************** *************************

Fr iday morning, Harry was on his best behavior. As willing as he was to share detention with Ginny, there was just something about going voluntarily that was against his nature.

He swore that every professor was observing him hawkishly at every possible moment. Still, he’d managed to make it through to lunch without incident. Oddly, during the lunch service, he observed the High Table, and all the professors seemed to be present, including Headmaster Dumbledor, which they all agreed was a bit strange. All, that is, with the obvious absence of Snape.

Harry caught the headmaster’s eye, and Dumbledore raised his glass to him slightly with a small smile and a subtle wink. Harry could only smile back.

The heavy main door to the Great Hall opened, and Snape entered. He was reading something from a small parchment, which he quickly rolled up and stowed in his robe pocket. He deviated from the central aisle between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables and chose to come up the aisle between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff instead. The room grew silent, and Harry’s heart sank.

Snape looked sour as he approached at a quickened pace. He stopped as he reached Harry, and Harry stood to face him in anticipation. Snape glanced around the room, whereupon the students began to talk again feigning conversation as though they weren’t all listening.

“Mister Potter,” Professor Snape sounded angry, but then again, Harry always thought Snape sounded angry.

“Yes, professor,” Harry said, pretending respect.

“Headmaster Dumbledor has requested that I allow you to serve tomorrow’s detention today. You will join the group in serving detention this evening with Professor Sprout, in lieu of Saturday detention with me.”

Harry didn’t know what to say. And Snape was already turning up the aisle. He simply said, “Thank you, Professor.”

And that was that.

*********************** **********************

Frida y at about half-seven, during the supper service, Professor Flitwick stopped by the staffroom. All wagers concerning the order of detentions had been assessed, finalized, and were being paid out by Professor Vector. Rules of conduct during that first round of betting were simple; if any legitimate opportunity to give a detention to any member of an elected couple presented itself it must be acted upon. No professor could win as a result of the detention they’d given. And, no discussion concerning when or how detention might be given was allowed. Other than that, the staff depended on Hogwarts’ reputation of truth, honor, and fair play to govern the staff’s behavior.

The slate was now filled with new betting options. Professors were allowed to wager on such things as, the order of couple arrival to detention, would particular couples get into arguments over the task, which couples would complete the planting, would a given couple break up during the detention, and if completed, would a couple’s planting be successful. There were categories for behaviors, expressions, order of events, levels of completion, and outcomes by individual couples or as a whole. Wagering was never compulsory, but over the years the whole event had become a bit of a diversion for the professors, and the wagering was considered all in good fun. In fact, many of the professors simply stated that anything they won should go directly into the school fund.

Professor Flitwick had placed several wagers on his house couple Marietta Edgecombe and Eddie Carmichael. He’d wagered that the two would arrive together and be the second couple to detention, that they would have at least one procedural argument, and that their overall planting would be successful, producing at least fifty surviving bonded plants with both blossoms and seed pods. He’d chosen the first blossom at five days, with a healthy pink color, and a yield of two pecks at five weeks, with a potions efficacy of twenty percent. As he filled in his wagers in the appropriate boxes on the grid, he took note of some of the other wagers. Professor Trelawney had wagered that Tracey Cauldwell and Alice Morgan, would be the first couple to arrive, and Cho Chang, and Cormac McLaggen, the last. She’d wagered that Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter, would break up during the detention and not complete their planting, and she wagered that there would be no harvest this year at all. Flitwick chuckled to himself thinking, for a Divination Professor, she had a reputation for very poor predictive skills.

Something that interested him greatly was that Headmaster Dumbledore had placed several wagers, which was, to his memory unusual. Dumbledore had wagered that Ginny and Harry would be either third or fourth to arrive, that they would carry out the assigned planting with complete cooperation, that all one hundred of their bonded plants would survive and produce both blossoms and seed pods, that their blossoms would be fully crimson, and therefore have an efficacy of one hundred percent, and their five-week harvest would produce a yield of at least seven bushels and two pecks. The man had gone all-in on his nomination. He was either quite confident in his nomination, completely barking, or he knew something that the rest of the staff did not.

Flitwick decided to duplicate the Headmaster’s wager concerning the arrival of Ginny and Harry as a couple, but he couldn’t justify the other, such bold wagers considering the Headmaster had been completely correct noting the last time the harvest had been truly successful had been nineteen hundred seventy-seven. It was either that student couples were not generally capable of experiencing actual love yet, or that the professors, who were all, for the most part, single, weren’t capable of recognizing it in their students. Either way, statistically the harvests over the years had been hit or miss at best.

The idea that Harry Potter might have somehow inherited, or otherwise learned, love from his parents was too big a risk to wager on when you considered that he was just fifteen months old when those parents were killed. No, that part just didn’t make sense to Flitwick, and judging by the posted wagers, it didn’t make much sense to many of the others either.

Professor Vector stood and announced that the participating students had all been sent notes informing them to report to greenhouse eight at a quarter past nine on the dot, to participate in their assigned detention with Professor Sprout.

“All wagers must be finalized by half-eight when betting closes,” Professor Vector continued. “All professors will then be asked to vacate the room for thirty minutes while the elves set up scrying pools, which are being brought out of Divination storage. When the room re-opens, we will be able to observe the detention in real-time from multiple perspectives. All events pertinent to wagers should be noted for verification by observing professors.” She paused.

“The elves will be serving students the usual evening tea in the Great Hall beginning at nine, but I am told there will be a different menu here in the staffroom featuring hors d'oeuvres and several more grown-up libation options.” Professor Vector sat back down and began ordering the parchment slips in front of her, and checking all the ties on her coin bags containing the sums that had been wagered.

A few minutes later when Professor Flitwick exited the room through its main entrance, he could hear Professor Vector again. “Ten minutes remain to finalize all bets, people, let’s get it done please!” He chuckled to himself as he walked.

**************************** *****************

“The whole thing is just so unfair, it’s obviously a setup,” Hermione was ranting. “Harry, how can you possibly be so calm?”

“Well, let’s see,” Harry said smiling. “I get to be released from a dreadful Saturday detention with Professor Snape, in favor of serving detention in the greenhouses with Professor Sprout, on a beautiful, clear, warm, moonlit, evening. And best of all I get to be there with Ginny. As far as I am concerned, set up or not, I win.” Ginny squeezed his hand beneath the common room table they were sitting at.

“I agree that it was a set-up, Hermione, and the way the Professors handed out detentions was a bit underhanded,” Ginny started. “I’ll even admit that I was quite angry at first, but I have to say now, that I quite agree with Harry.”

Harry jumped back in, “Six couples were chosen for this detention and I am sure it has something to do with the special requirements of some plant that Professor Sprout is trying to cultivate. We could ask Neville.” Harry caught Neville’s eye across the room where he and several other boys were gathered at another table observing a heated game of Wizard’s chess. He waved Neville over. “With all the time I’ve spent in my Aunt’s garden at home, I’ve come to quite like working with plants and soil, and I think Ginny feels the same way,” Ginny confirmed with a nod. “So, I imagine, whatever lies ahead of us tonight, could be turned into fun rather than a punishment.”

“Oh, you’re just trying to make the best of it,” Hermione said in frustration.

Neville stepped up to the end of the table. “Hi everyone, did you need something, Harry?”

“Yes, Neville,” Harry began. “I was just pondering this detention tonight. As it turns out, there are exactly six couples involved and I am guessing it has something to do with some plant that Professor Sprout is growing or wants to grow. You are quite involved in what’s going on in the greenhouses, ever heard of plants that need couples to be involved in some way?”

“That is a very interesting question, Harry,” Neville said, “Normally I would say, let me look into it and get back to you, but, you only have maybe ten minutes before you need to get going. So, off the top of my head, I can think of three. The Erotas phalaenopsis, Amantis Vitis, commonly called, Lover’s Vine, and Aphrodite Rose..

Erotas phalaenopsis is a magical orchid originally native to Africa but cultivated widely throughout Southern Europe. It is commonly believed that the flower will only grow in the wild where lovers have tread. It is popular in the gardens of married witches and wizards throughout Spain, Southern France, and Italy, and some of the incidental research claims that if the flower has been planted by a couple and their love fades, the flower will stop blooming causing the plant to eventually wither and die.”

“Is that love orchid? Neville?” Hermione asked. “I’ve seen it on ingredient lists for love potions, in potions recipe books.”

Ginny, giggled knowingly.

“Yes, exactly,” Neville responded.

“In the United States, there is a wizard plant called Lover’s Vine,” Neville continued, “that requires two seeds, one male and one female. Couples plant the seeds together and it germinates into a plant that resembles a creeping ivy, only its small flowers are heart-shaped and bright red. It is not a difficult plant to cultivate and is extremely hearty. It doesn’t really require a couple to plant it, only that the two seeds are planted together. It is widely grown in the same way that Love Orchid is throughout Southern Europe. It has a much greater climate range, but no medicinal or potions uses that I am aware of, it’s just become a sort of a tradition for Wizarding homes in the United States and Canada.”

“You mentioned one more,” Ron reminded. “Aphrodite Rose.?”

“Yeah, are you all familiar with the myths of Aphrodite?” Neville asked.

Hermione and Ginny both said, “Yes.”

“We are?” Ron questioned.

“Isn’t that the Greek goddess of love?” Harry asked.

“Yes, exactly,” Neville confirmed. “Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and physical desire. In Greek myth, she was the consort of Ares, the god of war, and mother to Eros. The Romans called her Venus and we know her son Eros, better by his Roman Name, Cupid.”

Both Ginny and Hermione had begun to blush.

“So, before Aphrodite was married to Ares, she fell in love with a mortal named Adonis, there is a whole story, but basically Adonis loved to hunt, and Aphrodite pleaded against such a dangerous activity. One day while out hunting Adonis pursues a wild boar, which it turns out is the god Ares in disguise. The boar turns on Adonis and gores him with its tusks, leaving him to die. Aphrodite arrives too late to save Adonis and her sorrow causes Adonis’ dripping blood to turn into anemone.”

“Ewe, isn’t that like a sea slug?” Ron asked.

“No, Ron,” Neville said. “There is a sea anemone, which is a creature that lives on a coral reef, but in this case, I am talking about a type of flower. In any case, in the Muggle versions of the myth, Adonis is transformed into short-lived flowers to represent lost love. However, there is a Wizard version of the myth in which Aphrodite secretly takes the body of Adonis to the base of Mount Olympus and buries him in a meadow filled with wild-rose, in which she casts all her eternal love for the mortal she has lost.”

“Okay, this is very romantic and all,” Harry said. “But can we just get to the Aphrodite Rose.?”

“Yeah,” Neville responded. “So, the Aphrodite Rose. is actually an extremely rare magical species rose, what we call naturally occurring roses, that grows in the area of the real Mount Olympus in Greece. The five petals of each flower are described as so deeply crimson, that the edges of the petals are nearly black. It is found in small clutches of magical woods and is said to have the ability to store love.”

“Store love?” Ginny asked, “What does that mean?”

“The plant has the magical property of absorbing the emotion of love from the experience of the one who planted it or first found it in the wild. Then if brewed into tea, the most primitive form of a potion, that emotion of love can be experienced for a time by the drinker of the tea. It is described as a particularly euphoric and emotionally healing experience. But, mind you, the plant itself is extremely rare and it has never been cultivated outside of Greece, so it is doubtful that is what is growing in greenhouse nine.”

“Thank you, Neville,” Harry said. “That was very interesting, but now we had better go if we don’t want to be late.”

“Thanks, Neville,” Ginny added as she and Harry got up from their chairs and turned toward the portrait hole.

“Good luck,” Neville said, as the fat lady swung open allowing Harry and Ginny to exit.

“Neville,” Hermione said before he could turn from the table. “There is another ingredient I have seen in love potion recipes, and in a lot of potions actually, as an ingredient and often as a recommended additive. It’s called Heart Petal. What do you know about it?”

Neville slapped himself on the forehead. “Of course, I should have thought of that one too. Heart Petal is pretty interesting stuff. It comes in different strengths according to its color and is used in a lot of potions as an alternative or direct substitute for Love Orchid. It is also widely used as an optional stabilizer. Back in the eighteen-nineties, there was a Greek Herbologist witch, with an American wizard husband, and together they were able to create a hybrid plant from a Lover’s Vine and an Aphrodite Rose. What they got was a vine with varying-sized blossoms that resemble natural rose flowers. I don’t know too much about it, but I guess it is very difficult to cultivate. That said, it is not restricted to any one place like the Aphrodite Rose. There is also something about the plants being tied to the romantic relationship of whoever planted them. There are a bunch of other requirements, but I would have to look it up in a planting guide.”

“Could that be what Professor Sprout is growing?” Hermione asked pointedly.

“Huh, I doubt it,” Neville said, and then he paused. “I mean it could be, but Professor Sprout has never talked about anything like that. And, she is generally very open and proud of what she has cultivated in the school greenhouses. She is a very accomplished Herbologist, you know, Hogwarts’ Mandrake is a particularly sought-after commodity in the Herbology world,” Neville said proudly.

“Really?” Hermione said with an expression of understanding.

“Well, if you don’t need me for anything else,” Neville said. “I would like to get back to the Wizard Chess game, we’re going to do challenge rounds this evening. Ron, are you interested, you haven’t joined in a while?”

Ron looked over at the table where the chess game was surrounded by observers and then looked back to Hermione.

“Oh, just go,” Hermione said exasperatedly. “You hardly need my permission.”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to leave you just on your own,” Ron said.

“Sweet, but unnecessary,” Hermione said sarcastically.

“You’re the best, Hermione!” Ron said, getting up from his seat. He and Neville quickly crossed the room to the ongoing Wizard Chess game.

He says that a lot, Hermione thought to herself. I wish he would just get a bloody clue and do something about it!

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