Chapter 1 – In which glitter enters the scene

It's been so long! Hello everyone - I was debating whether or not to post this today, and I couldn't help myself. I promised myself that I'd write ten chapters first, but that's gone out of the window. So! A few warnings for this story - it's going to be lighthearted and stupid at times, so that means for the purpose of the overall plot, I've allowed characters to behave less seriously than they would usually. I think that's about!

Hermione sighed, for what must have been the fifth time in the last minute. It was bad enough that she had an entire pile of bloody paperwork to do with a deadline for Monday – but she'd opened her first file, and found a copy of the Prophet with Skeeter's repulsive face leering up at her, in what she presumed was an attempt at a seductive smile and flirtatious wink.

"She couldn't seduce a boggart with that face," She muttered, "so I don't understand why she has to put the Wizarding World through the torture of looking at it. She's clearly trying to rip the last shreds of sanity any of us have to cling on to." She shook her head with disgust, and was about to toss the newspaper aside, when she caught sight of the words "Harry Potter" in the article - not that his name wasn't a frequent occurrence. She knew she'd regret it, but she smoothed out the page all the same, and began to read.


The headline says it all. Once again, the Daily Prophet is delighted to announce that after some difficulties, "The Orb" is to be launched once again. For those pathetic little imbeciles who don't know of the already famous concept – yes, I mean you – "The Orb" was a quite fantastic scheme which was attempted to be started last year. Difficulties with an infestation of nargles (or so claimed, by a certain Looney – ahem, Luna Lovegood) meant that the ingenious plan had to be postponed, but the Prophet is now finally able to let the wonder begin again. For the sheer purpose of entertainment for all you witches and wizards out there, "The Orb" was created – a stadium from the outside, spectators can be seated and enjoy the madness to follow from within; where the dimensions can be adapted to resemble any location and size. Ten lucky celebrities will be taken to the Orb, and following just over a month of amazingly hilarious challenges, one pair will be crowned the conquerors after a cruel elimination process. Naturally, The Prophet will be reporting for you after each challenge – but there's nothing like seeing the live show! Owl for daily tickets to the address below – rumours have it that the legendary Harry Potter has been requested to enter "The Orb", so don't miss your chance to see the Boy-Who-Lived live!

"What the – GABRIEL! GABRIEL, GET UP HERE NOW!" Hermione roared, slamming her fist onto her desk. She could have gone down to the office to speak with him – but when she was angry, it was far more satisfying to yell at her PA.

Gabriel Fredward Humphrey Fitz-Anderson stumbled into the office, tripping over his own feet and sprawling across her desk as he entered. He quickly pulled himself up – scattering papers across the floor in the process of doing so – and accidently knocked his thick-lensed glasses off his nose.

"Oooh, I'm so – so – so s-s-sorry!" he garbled, biting his lip and attempting to peer at Hermione.

"I'll get them." She ground out from between gritted teeth, but just as she leant across her desk to pick up the glasses, Gabriel stuck his hand out in an attempt to grab them. His obscured eyesight meant that instead of grabbing the glasses, his hand smacked straight into Hermione's chest – where he prodded for a moment, trying to work out why his glasses appeared to have moulded into something far different. When he realised what he had actually groped – quite literally – he withdrew his hand faster than she could hex him, and turned a rather attractive shade of crimson.

"GABRIEL!" Hermione bellowed, slamming the glasses onto his rather sorry looking face.

Gabriel opened his mouth, then closed it, opened it again, and then swallowed rather audibly. He caught sight of a glass of water which thankfully hadn't been knocked over on Hermione's desk, and desperately lunged forward, tipping its contents down his throat. But just as he swallowed, he realised that it wasn't water that he'd drunk – but some considerably strong firewhiskey.

As his eyes opened wide, Hermione could only shrug nervously – with a job as stressful as hers, a daily glass was all that kept her going. However, what she hadn't noticed was that Gabriel had begun to splutter and wheeze, and seconds later he was gasping for breath.

The bloody idiot had only gone and choked on her drink.

She quickly ran round the desk and grabbed her useless assistant from behind, forcefully squeezing his stomach in a rather impressive imitation of the Heimlich Manoeuvre. When Gabriel finally recovered, he turned slowly to face her, still wheezing slightly, and trembling simply from the force of her glare.

"You can call me Gabe?" was his tentative response.

She flared her nostrils. "Where you're going after I'm done with you, you'll be lucky if they call you anything at all, sunshine."

It was quite obvious that since leaving Hogwarts, Hermione Granger had developed some slight…anger issues. Whether she was seriously unhinged or simply stressed – no one could tell – but the general response for those who did notice her tendency towards violent behaviour were provided with the same answer: her hectic schedule managing the affairs for post-war "heroes" meant that studying no longer provided her with an outlet for her frustrations.

Either that, or she was seriously deprived of a sex life.

"Please forgive me!" Gabe screeched, and seconds later, he'd quite literally thrown himself at her feet, and was clinging onto her knees. Miss Granger had developed quite a reputation for being ruthless.

"Get up." She snapped. When he made no move to stand, she pinched his ear and twisted it until he yelped, springing to his feet. "I want to know what this," she spat, pointing to the offending newspaper, "is doing here. I specifically instructed that under no circumstances would this…rubbish be allowed anywhere near me – let alone delivered with my files to my office!" she raged. It may have been unfair to take all her frustration out on Gabe – but she was Hermione Granger (and an angry Hermione Granger too) so under her supervision, it was allowed. End of.

"I'm - " Gabe whimpered, but he was cut off by Hermione. It didn't help that not only was his employer terrifying, but he happened to have a teensy, tiny little crush on her. Who could resist such magnetic, understated beauty as one of the saviours of the Wizarding World?

"Less than three weeks on the job, and you've already made a balls-up." She glared at him. "Don't make me remind you what happened to Nia when she messed up before I had to go and bloody hire you!"

Gabe gulped for a second, contemplating which would be worse: facing the former Boy-Wonder, or his livid employer. "HARRY POTTER DID IT!" He yelped, before fleeing through the door, into the safety of the men's' room.

Clearly enduring Harry's wrath was the easier option.



Draco sighed, pushing aside the documents in front of him. He knew what was coming next. Only one person he knew smelt like cologne crossed with overpowering jasmine.

"DRACO!" In burst none other than Blaise Zabini, dressed perfectly ordinarily – save for the wreath of flowers adorning his hair.

"Should I even ask?" he raised an eyebrow.

Blaise decided to ignore his darling friend's snide comment, choosing instead to throw himself onto Draco's lap and wave a sheet of parchment in his face.

"Get off me, you oaf!" Draco shoved Blaise aside, trying not to groan. "What the hell was that?"

"THEY DID IT!" Blaise trilled, jumping to his feet, not put off in the slightest. "They sent you the contract! THEY WANT THE PARTNERSHIP!"

"You're joking." Draco lunged for the parchment, trying not to shake, reading the print in complete disbelief. "After all this time? I thought they'd abandoned us months ago…I don't believe it!"

"Well you'd better bloody believe it, because it says they want to get started as soon as possible!" Blaise grinned. "Congratulations, my darling!" he leant forward to kiss Draco – on the cheek, thank Merlin – but he was swiped aside.

"Don't even think about it." He warned. He could barely think straight, thanks to the turmoil of confusion in his head. He'd been trying to gain partnership into one rather complicated business for a while now, but the sheer success of "Nott's Knots" meant it was a difficult sell. Sure, Theo had been an acquaintance in Hogwarts, but he was business minded like Draco – and the downfall of his family had only made him more determined. Draco had needed the success of sharing Nott's business solving "magical mishaps" to boost him forward in the Wizarding business world, and to finally gain an acceptation of his offer was beyond belief.

"Come on then!" Blaise waved the parchment under his nose again. "What are you waiting for? Sign the damn thing!"

Draco looked around. "Accio quill." He grasped the instrument, pausing for a moment to allow himself a grin of triumph. "That'll show Skeeter, thinking I needed "help" and trying to lure me into her game."

"Draco." Blaise shook his head. "If you ask me, you were lucky to be asked to be considered for the Orb."

"What, making a complete idiot of myself in front of thousands of people?" he scoffed.

"It would have been fantastic publicity."

"Publicity my arse." He scratched his signature onto the bottom of the page – but just as he finished, it burst into a puff of magenta coloured smoke in his face, leaving him gasping for breath. As he looked up, eyes watering, he saw the words "Congratulations, contestant!" lace the air in horrifically glittered writing, and out of nowhere, an object dropped into his palm. He opened his fist, to see a small key inscribed with the words: "We'll see you at the Orb", which disappeared a moment after he'd read them.

"WHAT IN MERLIN'S NAME WAS THAT?" He bellowed, striding over to Blaise who was slumped in a corner of the room, shaking with laughter.

"What do you think, love?" Blaise finally managed to choke out. "You're a real contestant now!"

Draco's eyes widened comically. "But – How – What – "

"You signed the acceptance form Skeeter owled." His "friend" grinned.

"I thought I threw that away!" Draco swallowed. "But you said - "

"Yes, I know what I said. I lied. We still haven't heard from Nott."

"But – I read the parchment."

Blaise smirked. "Simple charm. I would have expected more caution from you, Draco." He mocked.


"Oh yes." Blaise smirked. He began to pace around the room – clearly thoroughly enjoying himself. "See: here's what happened. Skeeter owled you, offering you a place in the Orb, her new "fantastic" competition for the purpose of entertaining the Wizarding masses. You obviously discarded the form. I, however, owled Skeeter asking her to send another, saying we misplaced it – which I then altered using a simple charm. Hogwarts stuff, really. You signed the form, thinking it was a business agreement, and now, my dear, you are well and truly stuck, because you have no choice but to appear in the Orb. And that was my mastermind plan." Blaise dipped his head in a dramatic bow. "The End."

"You little – why? Why would you do that? You know that I'll be made a laughing stock!"

"Because." Blaise grimaced. "You remember that date I had, the other night?"

"Um. That Charles guy?"

"Nope. The other one."


"No! The other guy! Handsome, blonde."

"You just described me, Blaise." Draco smirked.

"Funny." Blaise sneered. "The tall one."

"Oh! Dave-I'm-A-Slob!"

"NO!" Blaise roared. "I'M TALKING ABOUT SPENCER!"

Draco sniggered. "I remember. I was just winding you up."

"I hate you." Blaise glared at him. "When Spencer and I came home, you were in my apartment and you refused to leave, and I made it blatantly obvious that we wanted some alone time. If you know what I mean."

"A little too obvious, Blaise. You were desperate, mate."

"Thanks." He frowned. "And then you told him all about the previous men I'd dated, and you kept on saying that I hit on you! You made me sound like a player!"

"You do hit on me! This is ridiculous!"

"Yes, well I'd given him the whole "I haven't met that special guy yet. I haven't dated for a while," speech, and it was working until you told him everything – and then he left!"


"YES IT WAS! He could have been the one."

"Every man is "The One" for you, Blaise."

"Yeah, well, I really thought that relationship could have been the right one for me. And you went and completely wrecked it – and this wasn't the only time you've done that."

Draco shook his head. "Wait a second. You're saying that because I sabotaged your date, you got me into a hellish competition that could completely destroy my reputation?"

"Pretty much."

"I would hurt you right now, but you're not worth it." Blaise cowered away. "That's it. I'm going to speak to Skeeter right now." Draco began to stride towards the fireplace.

"WAIT!" Blaise bellowed. "You signed the form. That's it, Draco. There's nothing you can do about it. If you tell Skeeter, she'll make a massive story out of it, and it'll humiliate you far more than anything that could happen in the Orb."

Draco stopped dead. "You're right."

"Aren't I always?"

He turned to face his friend. "I'm going to kill you now."


Hermione stepped into the fireplace, calling out "The Potters' Residence!" as she entered, and was swallowed by the flames, leaving the office behind her unattended. A second later, she stepped out into Harry's living room only to see with Ginny lying on her back on the floor her legs straight up in the air, stretching her arms up behind her head. She looked as though she was in some serious pain – put the entire sight was rather comical, and was almost successful in dispersing Hermione's foul mood.

"Ginny?" she stepped forward.

Ginny let out a little screech and jumped to her feet, pulling her wand out as she leapt up.

"It's only me!" Hermione tried not to laugh as Ginny began to blush. "What exactly were you just doing?"

"Um." Ginny swallowed. "You – you surprised me Hermione!"

"I can see that." She raised an eyebrow.

"I was just…stretching."


"Yeah! Trying to…you know. Get into some sports. Become more fit. I've never really been that in shape. You should try it." She half muttered, half spoke.

"Ginny – you play quidditch."

"Yes." She nodded, but didn't bother to explain any further. "But enough about me – why are you here, Hermione?"

Hermione sighed, trying not to become frustrated as she knew she wouldn't get anything else out of Ginny. "Where's Harry?"

"Upstairs. I'll run and get him?"

"Yep. Please." She ground out from between gritted teeth.

Ginny jumped up and disappeared out of the room, and a minute later, snatches of some urgent conversation drifted down the stairs – Hermione couldn't help but listen.

"I knew she'd come here - "

"That's not my fault!"

"We should have just told her - "

"It'd be too out of the blue - "

"And you thought she's just volunteer?"

"Well - "

"It was a stupid plan, and not nearly obvious enough - "

"We had to keep it subtle!"

"Will you just get down there?"

"But - "

"I'll get the others. GO!"

Another couple of minutes passed, and then not two – but at least four people could be heard walking down the stairs. Into the living room marched Ginny, followed by Ron, Neville, Luna and Harry – the latter looking thoroughly terrified.

"'Sup Mione?" asked Ron, swallowing hard.

"Don't speak like that, Ronald. It makes you sound uneducated." She snapped. "And my name is Hermione."

"Well, that's what you think." Luna spoke, smiling.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Ginny. I'm not going to ask why everyone's here. I just want to speak to Harry." She glared at him.

"Please don't let her hurt me." Harry whispered to Neville before stepping forward. "Uh – hi!"

"Harry. My assistant was even more of an idiot today than he normally is, and he brought me a copy of the Prophet with your name in it, then told me it was all your fault. Care to explain?"

Harry opened his mouth, then closed it again, looking at the others in the room helplessly.

"Here." Ginny shoved him aside, and thrust a piece of parchment into Hermione's hand.

You have already been contacted, sir/ma'am, about the optional position held open for you or a friend/family member in the Orb. Needless to say, it is an honour to be considered – simply sign below to confirm your entry, and contact Rita Skeeter for any additional details. Further explanations will be provided following your confirmation.

"So it's true?" Hermione spluttered. "You're entering the Orb?"

"Not quite." Ginny stepped forward, clearly deciding that Harry was unable to explain himself.

"It's complicated." Added Neville.

"I think I'll be able to keep up." Hermione scowled.

"Well, ordinarily Harry wouldn't even consider something like this – but the thing is, Kingsley's been warning us recently that it's been five years since..." she paused "V-Voldemort's defeat, and the public have barely seen anything of the "war heroes"."

"That's because we need our bloody privacy! And we're not heroes!" Hermione yelled.

"I know, I know." Ginny soothed. "But the thing is, we have barely attended any public events at all, and people want to be reassured that we're okay. They want to see their supposed "saviours", and that war we took part in – it bought us a celebrity status for life. We're meant to be connecting with people, and instead, we've shut ourselves away from them."

"And what's this got to do with the Orb?"

"Well. Kingsley – and dad – think that if one of us took part in the Orb, it would help us show everyone that we are part of their world – and it'll be something "fun", which would be brilliant for our reputation. Publicity, really."

"This is absolutely ridiculous. I can't believe I'm hearing this from you."

"I know. I'm sorry, but it's the truth – we have to do this. Obviously Skeeter sent Harry an application, but he and Ron are needed by the other Aurors, so he can't enter. Neville is far too busy helping the committee preventing further "dark groups" from rising, and Luna…" everyone turned to stare at the blonde gazing into space. "Luna doesn't count." Ginny whispered.

"What about you?" Hermione snapped.


Harry cleared his throat, breaking the silence. "Ginny's pregnant."

"What?" Hermione choked out.

"Yeah." She smiled, shyly.

"Oh, Ginny…congratulations." She stepped forward to hug her friend.

"Thanks, Hermione."

"Is that why you were – um – stretching?"

Ginny blushed. "Kind of." She shook her head. "That's the thing – one of us needs to enter this competition, or we'll look like a bunch of secluded grumps, and the only person left is…"

"Oh no." Hermione shook her head, backing away. "I'd rather burn in hell."






Each of the group stepped forward into a line to face her – even Luna – in a clearly rehearsed movement, and spoke in unison.

"We need you."

"That's just creepy." She frowned.

"Please. We're desperate." Harry ran his fingers through his hair.

"And you think I'm not just as busy as all of you?"

"No! We didn't say that!" Neville stuttered.

"You're just as important as pumpkin pie!" Ron smiled.

This time, everyone turned to face him. "What?"

"Sorry." He shrugged sheepishly. "I'm hungry…and confused."

"That makes two of us." Hermione scowled.

"You're hungry too?"

"NO!" the group yelled.

Ron frowned. "Okay. I'll just leave." He slouched out of the room.

"Hermione, look. We wouldn't ask if we didn't have to – we all know how much you hate Skeeter."

"Hate doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about that woman!"

"We know. And to be fair, you don't have to do this. We'll just tell Kingsley it didn't work out, and we'll issue some public statement. So no one is forcing you to…we completely understand if you don't want to do this." Ginny said, and the others nodded.

Hermione exhaled slowly. "Okay…I'll – go now." She nodded and began walking towards the fireplace.

"Wait, WHAT?"

She turned around. "You said I didn't have to do this!"




"Guys." Neville hissed. "Plan C. After three."

The group nodded.

"One - "


"Two - "

"What are you doing? "

"Three - "

"You're scaring me."


Neville, Harry, Ginny, and surprisingly Luna, all leapt forward at the same time, and tackled Hermione to the floor. As Neville held her legs down, Luna pinned down her left arm, and Ginny sat on her back to stop her from moving. Harry quickly grabbed the parchment and a quill, and gripped Hermione's right hand tightly, forcing her to scratch out her name – rather wonkily – on the dotted line as she screamed and ranted.

As soon as the "i" was dotted, the parchment burst into smoke, and glittery writing looped through the air above Hermione's head, saying "Congratulations, contestant!" before it disappeared, and a small key dropped onto her head, bouncing onto the floor.

The group backed away from their friend, panting hard.

"Good job, team." Ginny whispered.

Hermione pulled herself up from the floor and began advancing towards them, hair and eyes wild.

"I'm going to enjoy slowly killing each one of you." She hissed.

Neville gulped. "Would now be a good time to run?" he whispered.

Luna smiled. "I should think so."

Hopefully you enjoyed reading that...if you did, please do review and tell me your thoughts, because it's always lovely motivation for another chapter, and I love to hear from you all. I think this turned out longer than I expected, but oh well!

Love y'all,

Tris xx