A Witch Called Mandy
by American Hermione

Disclaimer: All of the characters and settings belong to J.K. Rowling. The mindless insanity belongs to me!!!  This is my first challenge, let alone my first fanfiction, so brace yourself.  I haven't read the book in over a year, so this may not all be factual...... oops.....  And Mandy, no matter what I write about you, I still love you. =>)  Set sometime after TGoF, possibly during the 5th or 6th year.

Shortly after dinner, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger sat chatting in the Gryffindor Common Room.  "It's after the first week of February and she's still not here!" Hermione said, exasperated.  

"Calm down, Hermione," said Harry. "After all, America is quite a long way from England."

"Great Wizards, what are you two talking about?" asked Ron. "America? What about America?"

Hermione laughed and turned to Ron, eyes twinkling. "You mean you don't.....? Ron, how is it that you always seem to be behind on all the news?"

"Well," Ron harrumphed, "maybe if certain people told me these things, I wouldn't have that problem!"

"All right, you win," laughed Hermione. "As Dumbledore announced to all of Hogwarts nearly a fortnight ago- you must have been asleep, Ron-"

"Hey!" protested Ron.

"Quiet!" grinned Harry. "Just listen, Ron."

"As I was saying," continued Hermione, "an American exchange student was supposed to be visiting Hogwarts in early February." She frowned. "It's the 10th and she's still not here yet."

"Oh!" said Ron. "I see. And our little, patient Hermione is willing to wait for the American's arrival as long as need be, right, Herm dear?" He and Harry snorted with laughter.

"So I'm looking forward to it!" huffed Hermione. "What's wrong with that? Especially," she continued smugly, "since Professor McGonagall told me that the student's a girl our age. She asked me to show her around the school."

Ron lapsed into his best imitation of Hermione. "And here's the Hogwarts library." he squeaked. "I practically live here!" The boys once again burst out laughing.

"Honestly, Ron!" said Hermione. She got up and abruptly escaped into the girl's dormitories.

"Um, I think you got her a bit angry." said Harry, trying in vain to erase the grin from his face.

Ron wiped his eyes and laughed. "It's all right, I'll apologize at breakfast."

***


But the next morning, there was no breakfast. Arriving at the table last of the three, Ron percieved the lack of food and looked positively crestfallen.

"Bread and milk for breakfast?" Ron said disbelievingly. "Why?"

"The house elves are on strike." said Harry. "Dumbledore's with them now, trying to negotiate."

Ron glowered at his milk and turned to Hermione. "It's all your fault!" he accused her.

"What?" said Hermione. "I don't know what you're talking about!"

"Do the letters 'S.P.E.W.' bring back any memories?" said Ron.

"It's not because of that, Ron, don't be a toad," said Harry, trying to stop the argument.  Hermione and Ron still glared at each other as Ron dejectedly looked at his meager breakfast.

Ron took a bite. "I'm sorry, Herm." he said under his breath.

Hermione cocked an eyebrow at him. "I suppose I forgive you, Ron."

"Good," said Harry. The tension broke somewhat, and they all finished their meal.

***


Two days later, the house elves had ended their strike, and the three could once again sit down to a normal breakfast. However, Hermione was still anxiously awaiting the arrival of the American, and it showed. Ron seemed nearly fed up with Hermione's mood, but tried to talk with her anyway.

"So, Hermione, uh.... do you know this girl's name?" he said.

"Mandy." said Hermione curtly. "I don't know her last name."

"Mandy," repeated Harry. "that's quite an odd name."

An uncomfortable silence ensued, and was finally broken by the arrival of a small, unfamiliar, and obviously hyper parakeet. It flitted around the room crazily, burdened by a roll of parchment, and dropped down beside Hermione.

"Wonder who this is from?" said Hermione, taking the parchment.

She slowly unrolled it and began reading as the bird quickly flew away. Her face suddenly lit up.

"It's from Mandy!" she said.

"Well, tell us what it says, then," said Ron.

" 'Dear Hermione,' " Hermione read, " 'If Eddie (my insane parakeet) has gotten this to you in time, my name is Mandy Smith and I live in Florida, in the United States. I am so excited to be visiting Hogwarts! I've heard it's awesome! It will be so cool to see England, too. Dumbledore owled me last night to tell me that I'll be staying in Gryffindor House with you. I should arrive about noon on the 13th. Gotta go pack! See ya! Mandy. P.S. Dumbledore also said that there was going to be a Mexican exchange student, a boy our age, staying in Gryffindor too.' "

"What kind of a word is awesome? And where's Mexico?" said Ron.

"South of America. They speak Spanish there." said Hermione.

"It's nearly 10:00 now." said Harry. "We should get ready for them."

***


Two hours later, everything was squared away and the whole Gryffindor House was waiting expectantly. Suddenly, the word spread that the students had arrived. Hermione was near bursting with impatience and muttering to herself, to the amusement of Ron.

"Willshelikemewhatwillidoifshedoesn'tohdearican'ttakethiswaitingmuchlonger," mumbled Hermione. Harry tried to calm her down while Ron mocked her irreverantly.

Suddenly, the common room door swung open, and Dumbledore and the exchange students stood in the doorway.

The girl was short with blond hair and a huge goofy smile. "Hi, I'm Mandy!" she quipped.

The boy was tall and lean, with black hair and a smile to die for. "Me llamo. Oh. Perdoname. My name is Ricardo." he stuttered, with a slight Spanish accent. Half of the Gryffindor girls were already gazing and drooling at the sight of Ricardo, but he didn't seem to notice.

***


Dumbledore spoke up.  "These students will be staying here for the rest of the school year. I want you to treat them as you would any other Hogwarts student, and help them when they need it. Is that understood? Now, if Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley would step forward."

He turned to the exchange students. "Mandy, Ricardo, these are your guides around the school. They will show you to your rooms now. I'm sure they'll help you with anything you need." And with that, he left.

"I'm his guide?" Ron squeaked, moving towards Ricardo through a crush of Gryffindor girls.

"Looks like it," Hermione said coolly. "Hello, Mandy!"

"Hi!" Mandy replied. "It's so great to be here! Dumbledore is so nice!"

"Yes, he is." said Hermione. Mandy giggled. "What?" Hermione asked.

"It's just- your accent. It's so new to me. I think it's so cool." She laughed. "Sorry. I guess you're probably thinking the same thing about the way I talk!"

"Yeah, we don't get many Americans round here..." Hermione said in an affected American accent. Both girls laughed and headed towards the dormitories, friends already.

***


Meanwhile, things weren't going so well for Ron.

Ron finally escaped the mob of girls with Ricardo intact and pulled him into the boy's dormitories, shutting the door quickly. He sighed and turned to Ricardo. "Well, this is it, I suppose," said Ron. "Welcome to Hogwarts."

"Gracias. Thank you. Um, excuse me for my difficult with English." said Ricardo.

"Actually, it's quite good," said Ron, sitting down on a dusty, unused bed. "This is where you'll sleep....achoo!" He tried in vain to clear away the dust.

"Tienes constipado?" asked Ricardo.

"Um, excuse me? " said Ron. "Did you just ask me if I was constipated?"

"Como?" asked Ricardo. "Huh? I just wanted to know if you had a cold."

"Oh." said Ron, slightly red. "So....um......welcome."

***


The next morning Harry, Hermione, Ron, Mandy, and Ricardo all sat down to breakfast together. Hermione and Mandy were getting on famously. Ricardo looked up at the ceilings, puzzled.

"Why, um, what do you say, rosado? And why the hearts?"

Hermione, confused, looked up and giggled. "Oh, that. Today's Valentine's Day." She shot a sudden, yearning look at Ricardo that no one noticed but Ron. Ron flushed with jealousy and gripped his napkin until his knuckles were white.

"Wonder if Harry will get another singing Valentine from Ginny?" said Hermione. Harry blushed and suddenly was very interested in the tablecloth.

***


Suddenly Fred, one of the Weasley twins, came running up to the table breathlessly. "Hurry, hurry, come see!" said Fred. "George is about to slip a love potion into Snape's orange juice!"

"He wouldn't!" said Mandy. "Isn't Snape the Potions master?"

"Yes, but we developed a special recipe. It's temporary and so it should be unrecognizable!" Fred grinned evilly.

The whole table began laughing. "Hurry!" said Fred.

They all ran towards the teacher's table, just as they saw George deftly serve Severus Snape a glass of orange juice and wink at Fred. Snape lifted the glass and swallowed. Just as Mandy stopped beside him, he turned and opened his eyes. They were very curiously glazed over.  Quickly he gripped Mandy's hand.

"Aren't you Mandy, the exchange student?" he smoothly inquired.

Suddenly Ron and Hermione gasped and the twins began to groan.

"Yes," Mandy said rather uncomfortably, starting to shake Snape's hand. Before she could, Snape raised her hand to his lips and kissed it.

"SEVERUS!!!! WHAT ON EARTH HAS GOTTEN INTO YOU?" McGonagall roared.

"Me? Nothing, I'm just in love with a beautiful woman." said Snape. As the Gryffindors and McGonagall looked on in horror, Snape pushed out his chair and bent to one knee, still grasping Mandy's hand.

"Oh, no, he wouldn't..." whispered Harry.

"Mandy Smith, will you marry me?" pleaded Snape.

And Mandy promptly fainted.

A/N: R/R please! =>)

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