"What are two looking at?" asked Harry Potter curiously as he came down from the boys' dormitories and joined his two best friends at the back of a big group of people clustered around the bulletin board.
"I don't know," said Ron Weasley, squinting at the message board. A large black flyer with silver lettering and the Hogwarts emblem was stuck on top of everything else. A few third-years moved away and Hermione Granger stepped closer to the board and read the message out loud.
"'So you think you can duel? Come to the Great Hall at eight every Sunday night for an exciting duel. Meet and challenge your enemies, your friends, or maybe even your professors. Form teams and duel for house points. Must be third-year or above.'"
"Cool," said Harry.
"Er, Hermione, want to come with me?" said Ron, his ears turning pink.
Hermione raised an eyebrow at him. "We're all going, right?" she said pointedly.
"Oh. Right," Ron mumbled, turning an even deeper shade of pink.
"So!" said Harry. "A duel. I wonder if Malfoy's going to be here. I'd like a redo from second year. And payback for everything else."
"Can we really challenge the professors?" said Hermione wonderingly.
Harry shrugged. "You'd probably have no chance at beating them, though."
"True," Hermione sighed.
"What are you guys talking about?" said Ginny Weasley, joining the group.
"There's going to be a sort of dueling competition. We were thinking about going," said Hermione.
"Really?" said Ginny, edging closer and reading the flyer for herself. "Hmm. Interesting. Alright, Harry, I challenge you."
"What?!" Ron bellowed, causing a few first-years to scatter. "Are you mad? You can't challenge Harry! He's--he's the Boy Who Lived. He's defied You-Know-Who. You just don't go around challenging people like him!"
Ginny rolled her eyes and tossed her flaming red hair over her shoulder. "Yeah, whatever."
Harry grinned. "Sure, Ginny, I accept your challenge."
"Don't have to go easy on me," she said, winking and sauntering away. Harry felt his face flush and his stomach do a funny sort of flip.
"Hi Neville!" said Hermione as Neville Longbottom took Ginny's place. "There's going to be a dueling competition," she said when Neville opened his mouth.
"Oh," said Neville. He looked down at his feet. "I'm not going. You all know what might happen," he said sadly.
"Come on, Neville," said Harry encouragingly. "You've learned loads at the D.A. I bet you could beat someone."
Neville perked up. "Really? How about Malfoy? I've always wanted to do something to him."
"Er, maybe you should start a bit lower than Malfoy's level," said Harry.
Neville nodded happily. "Okay. Great idea. I'll see you guys later…I'm going to tell Luna all about it!"
Harry, Ron, and Hermione followed Neville out the portrait hole to the Great Hall for breakfast. There was a buzz of chatter, as usual, but everyone seemed to be talking about the upcoming duel.
"I'm going to challenge Ernie," they heard Hannah Abbot whisper as they passed the Hufflepuff table. "Maybe that'll get him to notice me." Susan Bones giggled.
"Hey Potter!" someone shouted from the Slytherin table. Harry did not have to look around to see who owned the drawling voice. "Potter, I'll see you on Sunday! But you might want to book a bed in the hospital wing first!" Pansy Parkinson shrieked with laughter.
"Git," Ron muttered, taking a seat at the Gryffindor table. Harry and Hermione joined him.
"So, you three are going to the duel, right?" said Dean Thomas eagerly. He elbowed Seamus Finnigan. Seamus scowled as his muffin flew out of his hand and hit Justin Finch-Fletchley in the head.
Justin turned around, muffin bits dotting his hair. "We'll settle this at the duel, Finnigan!" he roared.
"Not until I'm through with you," called Terry Boot from the Ravenclaw table. "I still remember, Justin."
"It was an accident! I didn't mean to make the toilet explode--"
Hermione shook her head. "Who thought of this? Hadn't they considered it might become violent and dangerous?"
"Relax, Hermione," said Harry and Ron at the same time.
"It's sure to be entertaining, though," said Dean. He glanced over at Parvati Patil, who was whispering into Lavender Brown's ear. "Good chance to show off."
Hermione rolled her eyes while Ron's ears perked up.
"Hello, Harry, Hermione, ickle Ronniekins," said Fred Weasley, grabbing a piece of French toast and stuffing the entire thing into his mouth.
"So it's a family trait," said Hermione drly. Ron looked puzzled but Harry chuckled.
"Saw the duel poster--" said George Weasely.
"Thought about going"
"Then we figured--"
"Why duel when you can--"
"Run the entire thing?" George finished.
"What d'you mean, 'run the entire thing?'" said Ron.
"Are going to judge--"
"And decide who wins the duel," said Fred.
"With Lee Jordan," added George.
"Won't you lot be a little, I dunno, biased toward Gryffindors?"
Fred smirked. "There's no need to be biased--"
"When half of us have been trained by a certain boy--"
"With a lightening-bolt shaped scar on his forehead."
"Yeah, we're going to win every duel," said Ron confidently.
Hermione frowned. "But Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws have been in the D.A."
"So we'll cream the Slytherins, then. Even better." Ron took a large gulp of pumpkin juice and wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his robe, causing Hermione to shudder in disgust.
"Well said, fellow Gryffindor and distinguished little brother," said George.
"But you're still ickle Ronniekins to us," said Fred, and the twins dashed away to meet up with Lee.
"What are you doing?" said Hermione to Ron, who was counting with his fingers.
"Two more days 'till Sunday," said Ron absentmindedly. "That gives me time--"
"Hello!" said a bright voice. Harry turned around to see Luna Lovegood staring right back at him.
"Hi Luna," he said.
"Are you going to the dueling competition?" she asked, her eyes bulging.
"Er, yeah, I think so."
Luna held out her hand to reveal a large hot-pink insect in a jar struggling to escape. Ron gave a strangled yell before realizing it had less than eight legs, and Hermione shuddered again.
"It's for you," said Luna, thrusting the jar at Harry.
"What exactly is it?" said Harry, tentatively accepting the jar.
Luna's eyes opened even wider. "It's a Zaffy-Ding-Batty bug. They're very rare. They give you luck, but you have to let them draw your blood first."
"Oh. Oh, thanks. I'll just…I'll just keep this safe," said Harry, shoving the jar into his bag.
"See you later," said Luna dreamily, skipping away.
Ron goggled at Harry. "I think she fancies you, mate."
"Luna? Nah, I don't think so." Harry turned back to his breakfast, pretending to forget about the subject. But in fact he was actually trying to imagine having someone like Luna Lovegood as his girlfriend. He gave up, and instead observed a certain redheaded girl out of the corner of his eye. She was quite pretty.
Ron meanwhile had formulated a plan in his mind. He would dictate it to Harry as soon as Hermione was out of earshot. He couldn't wait.
Hermione for her part disappeared behind the Daily Prophet when the owl post arrived and stared at an ad for broomsticks. She was getting quite fed up with Ron. She knew he liked her, so when was he just going to ask her out? She couldn't wait around forever...unless she made the first move.
Maybe she'd say something at the duel Sunday night.
Author's Note: There's the first chapter! I got the idea for the title from SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE? in case you wanted to know. The next chapters will have ____ v.s. ____ and so on. I think I'll do some of the minor characters first. Please tell me what you think, any criticism, or ideas, or suggestions. I love it when you review!!! Yours till the Humdinger blibbers,
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