The rage of Humblebore had been cataclysmic, Swinemoles had shaken to its foundations as he berated the pair he had thought of as his star pupils for their undignified descent into muggleistic behaviour.
"YOU WERE HAVING SEX IN THE SHOWER!" the headmaster had stormed.
Sibilant Shush, who as housemaster had attended the interview, commented "Well I never did."
"We guessed that," Garry quipped,
"Muggles have drugs for the problem," Briony added.
At that Humblebore's rage had become incoherent as the young lovers stood side by side, pinkies entwined, looking incredibly pleased with themselves.
In the Wizard world sex was forbidden until after the age of 51 as it had a counter productive effect, distracting young participants from their magical studies and turning them towards drugs and rock and roll. Seventeen year - olds shagging in the showers was about as a great a misdemeanour as could be.
"But what can we do?" Prof. Philtre has complained, "they both grew up with muggle families and have been exposed…"
"Oh they have, as we are all aware," Sibilant said unnecessarily.
"…been exposed to negative influences. Muggles watch stuff on their televisions that would never be seen in a crystal ball."
Eventually all the teachers concerned agreed that the pair should be grounded until after the exams and Garry's cloak of invisibility would be confiscated to prevent secret assignations.
"Quite right, if Briony is penetrated by an invisible man she could end up having a phantom pregnancy." said Sibilant who, in the opinion of Prof. Philtre, seemed to be taking an unhealthy interest in the ins and outs of the incident.
"You were doing … it, WOW … and old Humblebore and Philtre caught you, and you were naked" Dementia said for the millionth time as a crowd of girls surrounded Briony in the dorm.
Briony was tired of explaining that yes, they had been doing it, and no, it did not mean they were married now and no, she did not know why they had done it, it just seemed like a good idea at the time and would everybody just shut up because it was none of their business.
Garry was getting a similar reception except that everybody in the boys dorm was pretending they had "done it" many times.
"Batto Bellfry reckons he has a spell that can magic up two prozzers for a threesome," a friend of the school bully and resident smartarse said.
"Yeah it’s the spell of having a rich Dad. Batto might teleport in ladies of negotiable affection from the Shepherd Market but he pays them Muggle money.
"I'm not going to bother with arms and legs and a head and that, girls are always whinging, I'm just going to magic the fun bits," Don Beesley said.
Typical of Don, thought Garry, he doesn't realise the bits that do the whinging can be fun too. He thought of his muggle books and some of the wild things the people in those pictures were getting up to.
Soon the threat of exams meant the novelty of Garry and Briony's love affair was forgotten and by using their gnome helps as go - betweens they were able to arrange a meeting.
They were mad for each other. For the first time there was no talk of magic or trickery, instead they talked of walking on sandy beaches or camping in the pine woods of the Spanish coast ; going to Glastonbury not for the mystical ambience of the Tor but for the vibrant energy of the Scissor Sisters and the Kaiser Chiefs; island hopping around the Aegean. And they made love.
Two weeks after the exams something happened and for everybody at Swinemoles life would never be the same again.
Briony had organised a picnic for everybody in their year. They had gpne off to the woods without any teachers accompanying them. Garry was still not supposed to see his girlfriend but he had managed to sneak into Humblebore's study and get the cloak of invisibility back and he followed on after the main crowd.
"What have they packed in the hamper Bri," the ever hungry Don Beesley asked as the group settled in a clearing.
Briony looked into the big hamper. "There are plenty of sandwiches, chicken, ham, salmon, loads of salad (everyone groaned) and lashings of ginger beer. Dig in everyone.
While the crowd were getting their food, Garry materialised among them.
Briony clapped her hands, "Listen everyone. We know you are enjoying yourselves but me and Garry have something to tell you."
Thirty faces turned towards the pair.
"Um - the - er - thing is," Garry said, sounding awfully like Hugh Grant, Briony thought, "the thing is me and Bri. aren't going to be around for the end of term party."
"We are going backpacking in France," Briony added.
"Yeah, well, - erm - everybody says we have done crap in our exams and neither of us can put a decent spell together since - er - you know…"
"Yeah, we have lost our magic powers, but we have found a new kind of magic haven't we Gaz?"
Garry put his arm around his sweetheart, "all that stuff about spells and wizardry and fighting the dark forces is for kids."
Several voices cried out "no!" or "shame" but Garry went on, "its like Star Wars and Batman, there is no great conflict between good and evil. The world is what it is, shit happens all the time, whatever spells people think they can cast to stop it. The thing is, knowing how to cope with what life throws at you and carry on the best you can, knowing that enough is as much as anyone ever needs, knowing that we are all responsible to each other and to the world, when you see someone who needs a helping hand, being able to tell yourself it IS your business and you should get involved instead of leaving it to God or the government or somebody, that's real magic."
Now everybody was dead silent as Briony continued, "the muggle world is a brilliant place but thanks to people who have been greedy for wealth, thanks to power - trippers who have used the five thousand year old superstitions of an ignorant and primitive tribe of desert nomads to mess up people's heads, thanks to the war mongers who have slaughtered millions because of their culture or skin colour, its in big trouble. Thanks to being here we have learned to see things clearly, but now we must go to learn more and see what we can do to help.
"But you will be back next term," a chorus of voices said.
"Not next term, maybe never," Garry said, "magic has nothing to offer us now, we must go and find our reality."