The students in the hall gave a great cheer when Harry came in.
Harry did his best not to groan when he saw that he was going to sitting on the rather regal looking Headmistress’ chair; moved in front of the teacher’s table at the edge of the risers. As soon as he was sat Luna was back to putting the crown on his head, with four bobby pins of varying colours held in her mouth.
“This is ridiculous,” Harry muttered.
“Perhaps,” McGonagall said as she stood next to him. She raised her hand and room went mostly quiet aside from a few hushed whispers. “There are rules-” she said loudly, pausing briefly for the groans of dismay to pass, her mouth pressed in a tight smile entirely lacking in amusement. “You will form a single queue down the centre,” she drew an invisible line down the middle of the hall between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables. McGonagall had to pause again as the hall lurched in one great clattering mass towards the centre of the room like a contracting amoeba.
Harry breathed out a silent sigh, trying not to roll his eyes. He heard a similar exhalation from above him and glanced up, sharing a brief look with the Headmistress.
McGonagall clapped her hands, the sound unnaturally loud and bringing with it the silence of growing anticipation, “Next, you shall approach Mr Potter one at a time at which point you shall be allowed, to attempt-” she took a bracing breath, utterly seeded with distaste at the entire idea, “to kiss his cheek.”
“His CHEEK?!” A single anguished cry arose above the general shouts of dismay. And through that noise, a very familiar laugh.
Harry scanned the room and quickly spotted the mop of red hair sitting at the end of the Gryffindor table, laughing so hard Ron was bent double and holding onto the table to keep himself up.
Harry pulled his wand out of his sleeve and hit Ron with a stinging hex, cutting the laugh short with a yelp of pain. Ron glared at him and Harry gave him a pointed look back.
McGonagall pointedly cleared her throat.
Harry muttered, “I wanted to give him the two-finger salute,”
“You are commended for your restraint,” McGonagall said with quiet amusement.
There was a slight tug on Harry’s hair and he glanced up, watching Luna carefully placed another bobby pin. She still had four pins held in her mouth although these ones were all pastel coloured.
McGonagall didn’t wait for the hall to quiet on its own this time, drawing a sharp line over the crowd with her wand that culled all the sound in front of her, peoples mouths still moving in silence. “Thank you. If anyone attempts anything beyond a kiss on the cheek without Mr Potter’s express consent on the matter, they will be given a weeks detention and lose twenty house points, this extends from this point on through the remaining school year.” She paused, sweeping over the assembled crowd to drive home her point before continuing, “Once you have attempted a kiss, you will move to the side here when Ms Weasley will stamp the back of your hand.”
Ginny held up a large circular stamp the size of a galleon, dark purple with ink.
“This stamp shows that you have participated already and are not to get back in line for another try. The stamp ink is tied to Mr Potter’s magical signature so should you attempt another kiss all of your skin will be coloured purple for quite a long time,” McGonagall finished and ended the silencing spell.
“What if we bump into him by accident!” someone shouted.
“Mr Potter will certainly testify to such an accident and the ink will be removed at speed,” McGonagall said.
There was a derisive snort and someone else muttered just loud enough to be heard, “This is bullshite.”
“Then LEAVE!” Ginny snapped, “He’s not a fucking prize, he’s a person you ungrateful fu-”
“Ms Weasley,” McGonagall cut her off sharply.
Ginny stepped back, “Sorry. For swearing, not for what I said.”
McGonagall nodded in apparent acceptance.
Pansy rushed into the room, shoving through the line of people to the other side where she grabbed hold of Blaise by the front of his robes and hauled him to his feet, “Come on. I need you to do something.”
Hermione had been only a few seconds behind but was held up by trying to slip through the line politely, “Parkinson! We’re not done talking about this!”
Pansy let out a bark of a laugh, shoving back through higher up the line by the time Hermione had managed to finally get through, “I think we are, actually!”
Hermione spun round, pushing her way through without any of the politeness this time, “We’re NOT.”
“Is there a problem here?” McGonagall asked them.
“It’s fine-”“Everything’s fine-” The both said, already out the door.
Ron looked after them, gave Harry an apologetic shrug and followed them out.
The great hall was uncomfortably quiet in the aftermath.
McGonagall gestured at the front of the line impatiently, “I haven’t got all night.”
Just in time for NaNoWriMo this year, an E4W masterpost to beat all my others.
There are as many methods for outlining, as stories created with or without an outline, but here is a masterlist of story templates, outlining techniques, narrative or plot devices, plotting or pantsing appropriate tools, and much much more.