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Hogwarts Overexposed Chapter 6 part 1

Hogwarts Exposed: TUESDAY!
This chapter was described as a double-length chapter, so I'm sporking it in two parts. The chapters have got longer as the fic has gone on: at 98 KB, this one is almost as long as the 116 KB final chapter of the first fic. (Which I sporked in eleven parts - these reviews are also getting longer!) Compare with the very first chapter, which is 24 KB but feels a lot longer.

“Our luxurious holiday is almost over,” Harry observed despondently between mouthfuls of his breakfast.

Nobody in this fic is ever just a bit miffed: they're always dejected, despondent, desolate or any number of other words beginning with D. It's like when they burst into tears at the slightest provocation: it blunts the impact when anything really dramatic happens. It's basically the emotional equivalent of brickwalling. Or the more colourful term I recently saw on fail_fandomanon: "emotional incontinence".

“I’m going to miss being treated as if I were a king.”

You should apply to be transferred to a Robst fic.

“It’s amazing how not being able to use magic doesn’t matter that much when you have people hastening to wait on you hand and foot all the time,” Jamie said, as she held a sleeping Ben in her arms.
“People who I’m sure are being paid well, receive time off and probably have an excellent benefits package to boot,” Hermione added.
“Hermione, we still have two days of our vacation left. Please don’t go spoiling them by starting up on the elf rights stuff again,” Ron moaned.

Especially as this is the first time Hermione's interest in elf rights has been mentioned in all of Hogwarts Exposed. The elves themselves are barely acknowledged (they've been mentioned, but none has had a speaking role) and at no point has Hermione said the first thing about their situation.

“Professor, have you noticed how I’ve finally evened out?” Kim asked out of the blue. “You can’t see my swim costume lines at all anymore.”
“Yes,” Harry answered. “I’ve also noticed that your confidence level has improved dramatically. I think you just might be starting to like being a naturist.”
“I believe I am,” Kim said. “I never thought I’d say this, but I’m going to hate going back to wearing clothes.”

How very convenient.

“Don’t believe her,” Caitlin giggled. “That’s not really Kim. Emily and I spotted whoever it is drinking Polyjuice.”
“Urgh! Caitlin, that joke is getting old,” Emily groaned.

Because Hogwarts Exposed would never drag out an already unfunny joke long past the point of no return.

Caitlin responded in kind by blowing Emily

Not for the first time.

a raspberry.

Oh, right.

“Mum, that reminds me, we have a question about Polyjuice,” Emily said. “When you guys used it in your second year, Dad and Professor Weasley became those blokes Crabbe and Goyle and you thought you were going to be that fat girl, Millicent Bullstrode. Could you have become perhaps Goyle if you wanted or must the person you change into be the same sex that you are?”
Hermione stared at Emily, then went to get up, but stopped, realizing where she was.

Hermione has had a sudden attack of IC: first talking about elf rights, now wanting to go to the library. I'm not complaining - I read fics about Hermione because I want to read about Hermione, not some bland sex doll - but I'm not sure why. I went onto the Yahoo group to see whether there had been any comments taking the author to task for his depiction of her, but nothing.

“Now you gone and done it; ruined Mum’s vacation,” Caitlin chided Emily. “You’ve asked her a question she doesn’t know the answer to and we’re two days away from a library.”

Wouldn't it be great if there was a wizard net in this fic?

“I don’t recall the potion having any restriction other than it had to be a human and not an animal,” Hermione said. “That would be truly creepy. Having your appearance change to that of another person is strange enough without it being someone of the opposite gender.”

Spending several weeks as a half-cat apparently isn't as bad as spending an hour with a dick. And again, this is pretty funny in light of the Seven Potters scene from Deathly Hallows. Unfortunately, it's where HE!Hermione and her newly found ICness part ways: I see canon!Hermione being more curious than creeped out, and she might even recognise the applications it could have for helping people who are struggling with their own gender identities.

“I’m going to make sure I get my fair share of food these last couple of days,” Ron said.
“Poor boy, like you’ve starved up to now,” Sam remarked, shaking her head at Ron.

I'm surprised HE!Ron gets a chance to eat with all the shagging.

“Tonight, of course, we plan on going to the casino with Jim and Bonnie. Are you guys sure you won’t join us?”
“You have your fun,” Hermione said. “I’ve been rather in opposition to gambling every since my grandfather became addicted. He died leaving my grandmother practically penniless. Thankfully, Mum and Dad had good jobs and could help her out.”

Yeah, I'm really not sure we needed a random tragic backstory that's never been mentioned before and won't ever be mentioned again to justify Hermione not wanting to go to the casino. Maybe she just didn't feel like it. Back to Hogwarts (which I'm slightly amused was already in my phone's auto complete) and the Draco/Ginny shag pad.

“Where are you off to so early?” Draco asked, pulling Ginny toward him and into an embrace.
“I have to go into Hogsmeade,” Ginny answered. “Ron asked me to remove the wards off their apartment so that the landlord could show it to some prospective tenants.”

There's been no mention of Ron's flat being warded. I'm reminded of the hotline to the Ministry he apparently had in ITWATN.

“Right. I forgot that your brother was moving into the castle this weekend,” Draco muttered. “There goes the neighborhood.”

Well, at least you can tease him mercilessly about how his sister told you all about his boners.

“Actually, I guess it not all terrible news,” Malfoy said, after some thought. “It will be nice having Timmy closer at hand. I’ll get to see more of my son and have the opportunity to take a greater part in his upbringing. It will be nice to see Samantha too, especially when she runs about unclothed.”

Yeah, just tell your girlfriend all about how you want to ogle your ex. What could possibly go wrong?

“You’ve seen Sam nude?” Ginny asked, visibly upset at the likelihood. “I mean other than when you two conceived Timmy.”

I like how she felt the need to clarify there.

“Yeah,” Draco said understatedly. “I guess the first time was about four months ago. I was running early to pick up Timmy, and your brother had just departed a few minutes before I got to their apartment. Sam thought he had forgotten something and had returned – she flung the door open wide. I’m not sure which of us was the most surprised.”
“So what happened?” Ginny asked.
“She looked around the room and, after realizing there was nothing available to put on, just shrugged her shoulders. She commented that if she was going on a nudist cruise, she had better become accustomed to people seeing her naked. Anyway, Timmy was there. We had tea and then Timmy and I left.”
“My nude sister-in-law sat and had tea with you,” Ginny said flabbergasted. “You don’t think that perhaps you should have shared this news with me before now?”

Four months ago would put that meeting around the end of April, whereas in Too Exposed nothing at all seemed to happen between mid-February and the end of May. This has to be the first fic I've read that includes call-backs to scenes that never actually took place.

“No, actually I don’t see why you’re acting so upset at the moment,” Draco said. “I’ve seen her starkers on a number of occasions since then. Hell, a week doesn’t go by that I don’t see one of the Potter girls naked.”

That's a bit of a drastic about-face from Draco. Considering how down on (some) nudity he's been and why, I have to question his motivations for not minding seeing the girls, because Hogwarts Exposed. It doesn't help that the author doesn't seem to know what he wants to do with Draco, because he's been Trilogy!Draco, canon!Snape and generic Hogwarts Exposed sex fiend by turns. And speaking of this last:

He then pulled Ginny close to him, lifted her skirt and plunged his hand into her knickers. “I think you’re going to be late meeting that landlord,” he said, grabbing the delicate material in his hand and with a single jerk ripping the tiny knickers off. “Why do you insist on wearing these?” He asked, tossing the now worthless item of clothing to the floor.

Well, worthless until someone thinks to cast Reparo, anyway. It occurs to me that we haven't seen a great many actual sex scenes, but that's more than made up for with how bad the ones we have had are. And the fact that it's everyone's favourite topic of conversation. Which brings us back to:

“Ron, are you one hundred percent positive about tonight?” Bonnie asked, concernedly.
“Sure,” Ron answered. “I’ve been looking forward to it ever since our first conversation.”

Even the sycophants on the Yahoo group were starting to tire of this routine by now.

“It’s just that,” Bonnie hesitated, “I don’t want things to change between us. Jim and I have done this before, and in most cases, it’s been the last we’ve seen of the other couple. I like you and don’t want to lose your friendship.”
Ron stared at Bonnie, for the moment totally forgetting their chess game. “Why should an evening of gambling change how you feel about people?” he wondered.

This threw me at first because it looks as though he said that aloud, but he clearly didn't or she'd have cleared up the ~wacky misunderstanding.

“Bonnie, I’m hoping that we both have an enjoyable evening, but no matter what happens we’ve had a pleasurable week,” Ron declared, giving up on trying to figure out Bonnie’s concern. “I value the friendship that we’ve acquired and have no intentions of just tossing it aside.”

I think it's because we've seen a lot of him lately (stop giggling!) but the overly formal tone of the dialogue in this fic is an even worse fit for Ron than it is for Harry and Hermione. A load of old dung, as canon!Ron would put it.

“I haven’t seen you guys for the last few days,” Angel said as she walked up to Emily, Kim and Caitlin.
“Did you hear someone talking?” Emily asked the other girls, ignoring Angel.

For someone who likes to talk about how mature she is, she’s really anything but. Recall also that her new-found enmity for Angel is based on a fairly tenuous series of assumptions.

“Your aunt doesn’t want you hanging around us or having anything to do with us,” Emily said. “Well, tell her not to worry. We don’t want anything to do with you either.”
“But what did I…?” Angel stared at the girls, not seeming to understand why they were treating her as they were.

"Not seeming to understand" - with no sarcasm intended, this is how you give us an insight into non-POV character's minds without head-hopping. (Or at least a good start.) See how easy it is?

“Why don’t you just move along and go practice for the contest,” Emily said. “Obviously, winning it means an awful lot to you.”
Angel turned and ran, tears streaming down her face.
“She acted upset,” Kim remarked. “It was as if she didn’t know what we were talking about.”

Really, do you reckon? It's so obvious that their amazing deductions are, well, not. On the one hand it's good to give us some clues when the characters are mistaken, but on the other these characters are supposed to be Hermione-level geniuses. Supposed to be being the key phrase, unfortunately.

9:00 PM
“I’m happy that you were able to join us for dinner tonight,” Hermione commented as everyone finished up his or her dessert.
“It was unquestionably our pleasure,” Michelle said. “After all you and Harry are certainly the two most fascinating passengers on the cruise.”
“You have an interesting way with words,” Harry said, a smile on his face.

No she doesn't. She has exactly the same way with words as everyone else in Hogwarts Exposed, and I mean exactly. There are no distinct character voices in this fic.

“Don’t mind Michelle,” Lloyd said. “She adores you guys - has since she met you last year. The magic thing is just sort of a bonus.

That trifling detail, yes.

What are your plans for next year? Will you be returning to Cap d’Adge?”

So the beginning of Underexposed can be a rerun of Too Exposed?

Harry glanced at Hermione, who smiled and nodded her head. “I’m sure we will. Hermione and I have come to love the naturist lifestyle and the girls - well, you know that naturism is a very important aspect of who they are.”
“We’ll have to keep in touch then,” Lloyd suggested. “Perhaps we can schedule our holidays for the same time?”

Why would they need to do that when the power of plot contrivance will make sure they're on the same holiday anyway?

“Sounds good to me,” Harry said.
“Do you think your friends will be giving Cap d’Adge a try?” Lloyd asked.
“Not unless a miracle occurs in the interim,” Harry responded. “Sam and Timmy love everything connected with being a naturist, but Ron, I’m afraid, will always be a textile.”

Harry, you are not Emily.

“I noticed that he didn’t seem to be having a very good time accept when he was playing chess,” Lloyd commented. “Speaking of Ron and Sam, where are they tonight?”
“They dined at the early sitting along with the girls,” Harry said. “Jamie and the others are babysitting Lynn and Timmy tonight so that Sam and Ron can spend some time with Jim and Bonnie. They are going to the casino.”

The "casino", right.

“I doubt that if the kids are being babysat,” said Michele rather maliciously. “Jim and Bonnie are swingers.”

This isn't exactly malicious as such - just seems to be a statement of fact. If she's that concerned, why didn’t she say anything before? And it's awfully convenient (again!) that she just so happened to know them already.

“I don’t understand,” said Hermione.
Michele stared a Hermione in disbelief. “I think you’ve been away from our world too long.

This doesn't make sense. We've had the likes of Bullchip and the Busters (and there's the worst name for a wizard rock band ever) talking about perversion, so we know that the wizarding world has boundaries for socially-acceptable sexual behaviour and people who transgress them. Not to mention the characters we've seen actually doing so. So it stands to reason there'd be swingers, because that's one of the most obvious and (if everyone involved is okay with it) harmless ways of pushing the boundaries.

“My god, I can’t believe they’d do this!” Hermione bawled as she and Harry practically ran through the passageways until they reached Ron’s stateroom.

Picture the scene: Harry Potter and Hermione Granger charge stark bollock naked through the corridors of a cruise ship, screaming at the top of their lungs. For best results, imagine Yakety Sax playing in the background.

“What do you intend to do?” Harry asked. “They are adults.”
“Harry, they’re our best friends,” Hermione cried. “This will destroy their marriage; we just can’t stand by and let them…”
“We can’t just barge in either,” Harry warned. “What if Bonnie and Ron are, you know, doing it?”

Surely Harry would be the one who's impulsively rushing in half-cocked with his "saving-people thing" (a term Hermione herself came up with) and she'd be trying to calm him down. There's no good reason I can see for the role reversal, and at no point is it acknowledged that this even is a role reversal.

“If they are, I hope they both enjoy spending the balance of their lives as slugs,” she vented maliciously.

MISUSED BALANCE COUNT: 59 (there were a couple I missed in the last chapter)

Hermione pointed her wand at the door to Ron’s suite. “REDUCTO,” she shouted, blasting the door to shreds, and then charging heatedly into the room.
Before Harry could follow, Hermione’s face turned pallid and then crimson.
“Oh my god Harry, I can’t believe what I just did,” Hermione said, looking as if she were about to heave her dinner. She turned back toward the opening, shouted “REPARO” and then rushed to their accommodations.

I like how Harry can somehow see Hermione's face when she's facing away from him.

Caitlin stuck her head out to check on the noise, but Harry motioned with his hand for her to return to her room.

I'd love to see how they explained this to Caitlin and the others afterwards. But come to think of it, the HE characters would probably just tell the kids straight up that they thought Professor Weasley was shagging a woman other than his wife, because discretion is for preps "textiles".

Hermione flung herself on the bed, tears pouring from her eyes, as there was a knock at the door.

The few times in canon that Hermione acted remotely like this were rather more dramatic than a recycled sitcom routine, it has to be said.

“Hermione, I don’t understand. What happened?” Harry implored.
Hermione looked up at him as she fought to hold back the tears. “I shattered the door and barged in on Ron and Sam having sex.”

Is that all? I'm not even being sarcastic here - unless she's got some kind of unresolved issues with Ron (like how he apparently can't look at her without getting a boner) then we're in "temporary embarrassment everyone will look back on one day and laugh" territory, not "nearly throw up and have a massive tantrum". And to be honest, HE!Ron being who he is, they'd have been lucky to find the five minutes a day that they're not at it.

Earlier that evening 7:30 PM after the Early Seating

Oh dear. I have no faith in this author's ability to write a nonlinear narrative, because he can't keep his continuity straight when everything's happening in the regular order. Just look at what a disaster his experiment with time travel was.

The door had no more than closed behind them when Jim turned and said. “You rcan’t imagine how eagerly I’ve awaited this moment.” Without further word, he seized Sam and slid his fingers into the fold of her vulva.

Wait, what? For heaven's sake, even if they'd both been on the same page here, this would have been a bit forward. We'd have had the same story if he'd just tried to snog her and he'd not have looked like such a pervert. Especially as we're about to see that he's meant to remain a sympathetic character.

“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!?”

... YOU MOTHERFUKERS!

Sam yelled as she pulled away from Jim and gave him a firm slap across the face.
Jim looked at her, both surprised and confused. “Why did you do that? I thought you were looking forward to swapping partners for the night as much as I was?”
“Swapping? SWAPPING PARTNERS!? Is that what you meant by adult entertainment!?” Sam asked incredulously.

I don't know why she's so surprised that such a transparent euphemism turned out to mean something dodgy. It doesn't take much for a Hogwarts Exposed character to think of sex, however much they protest how nudity is completely nonsexual.

“Did you truly think I would have sex with you?” Sam asked, dismayed. “Jim, I thought you were a nice guy, but I’d never consider cheating on my…” Then Sam came to a horrible comprehension. “Is Bonnie under the same misconception? Does she think Ron wants to swap?”
“I would imagine that they might be doing so at this very moment,” Jim said. “Under those circumstances are you sure you don’t want to reconsider?”

Okay, not only is he the kind of arsehole who goes straight to fingering when he's alone with someone he thinks he's pulled, he's the kind of arsehole who tries to manipulate her into sex when she's told him she's not interested. That this guy isn't being treated as a bad person by the story tells us... nothing we didn’t already at least suspect about the author, quite frankly. We're probably going to find out that it's all because of his overbearing grandmother.

“No I don’t,” Sam said mournfully. “I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to forgive Ron, but I know I’d never excuse myself.” Sam headed for the door.
“Where are you going?” Jim asked. “What if they’re still at it?”
“If that possibility is reality, don’t be at all surprised if your wife returns to you in a somewhat bruised and battered condition.”

The real problem with trying to be dramatic here is that, again, everybody is completely naked. However much gravitas you try to convey, it'll still look like the worst ever Carry On film.

Sam stood outside the door, not knowing what to do. A part of her wanted to burst into the room and hex the occupants fiercely. Another part of her wanted to collapse of the floor and drown in her tears.

The latter part is very Hogwarts Exposed.

Slowly she grasped the knob

Unfortunately for Jim the pervert, not his.

and opened the door. There they were: together in the middle of the room – playing chess. “Chess! You’re playing chess!” she said, choking on her tears.
“I’m not a family wrecker,” Bonnie said. “I’ve been struggling over tonight for the last few days. I like both you and Ron a lot and didn’t want to lose our friendship. I was relieved to discover that it was all just a misunderstanding.”
“Then nothing happened between you?” Sam asked.
“Not exactly nothing,” Ron answered. “She’s beating me pretty quickly here. Guess my mind was on you.”
“But when you realized what was going on, why didn’t you come after me? Weren’t you concerned?” Sam asked.
“It was a combination of trust and guilt,” Ron said timidly. “Bonnie assured me that you were safe and that Jim would never force you to do something you didn’t want to do. I knew that if you decided to sleep with him, it would be of your own volition.”

I don't know where anyone could even get the idea that Ron talks like this.

“You would have been all right with that?” Sam asked stunned.
“No, not really, but I felt I owed you,” Ron said. “I haven’t been there for you and Timmy this week – not one bit. I’ve been hiding behind a chessboard. I trusted you not to, but at the same time if you had, I could hardly blame you.
“I’m not going to hide anymore,” Ron said. Before either Bonnie or Sam realized what was happening, he slipped out of his shirt and dropped his shorts and drawers to the floor.
“I’m going to be one of you at least for the rest of this cruise and I hope beyond.”

This counts as a happy ending in Hogwarts Exposed.

Sam rushed to Ron, smothering him with kisses and embracing him tightly.
“Sam, I swear I’m going to do this, but it won’t be easy if the first thing you do is cause me to have a stiffy in front of Bonnie.”

And the constant repetition of "stiffy" is even worse when set against the (ahem) stiff and overly formal tone of the rest of the dialogue. I'd call it "Sophisticated as Hell", but with Hogwarts Exposed dialogue "Pretentious as Hell" is more like it.

“I think that’s my signal to go,” Bonnie said. “Are the three of us alright?”
“We’re more than alright,” Sam said. “And the damage between me and Jim is repairable.”

Sure, he indecently assaulted her and attempted to rape her by coercion, but that's no reason not to be friends! I hate this fic.

“Then I’ll be going,” Bonnie said. “I suggested to Ron earlier that we actually go to the casino, but I have a feeling you two might have other plans.”
It seemed Ron and Sam hadn’t heard her. They were already initiating their ‘plans’ as she slipped quietly out the door.

And were apparently still at their "initiated plan" an hour and a half later. That's some stamina.

“Harry, they’re our best friends, but I’ll never be able to face them again,” Hermione cried burying her head in the pillow.

Considering that the premise of Hogwarts Exposed is that Hermione is reunited with her best friends after five years of absence, you'd think she'd have a bit more perspective. Considering that she's Hermione, you'd think she'd have a bit more perspective anyway.

“Well you’re going to have to, and, as you Brits say, ‘straight away’!” Sam said with quite a bit of indignation.

The author has just remembered that she's supposed to be American, even though she talks in exactly the same way as everyone else in the fic.

She and Ron had suspended their hormonal activity

That sounds like a status report from a computer. HORMONAL ACTIVITY: SUSPENDED.

and followed Harry and Hermione back to their stateroom.
“I’m so sorry,” Hermione blubbered, incapable of looking directly at either of her friends.

Hermione Granger does not blubber.

“I’m sorry Ron, I should have had more faith in you, but when I became aware of what Jim and Bonnie truly meant by ‘adult entertainment’, I panicked,” Hermione said, her head still buried.

It hasn't escaped my notice that the one time the fic actually does give Hermione any agency, she's embarrassingly wrong. And behaving more like Harry would in canon.

“I understand,” Sam said. “As much as I love Ron and recognize that he loves me, I too was concerned, especially when I got to our stateroom and heard Bonnie’s voice inside.”
“Then you understand why I burst in?” Hermione said, hoping that somehow Ron and Sam could forgive her.

Somehow. Because it's so hard to forgive an embarrassing misunderstanding.

“We understand,” Ron said seriously, “but we’ll still have to perform a memory charm on you.”

Congrats on remembering those things exist. It makes the whole "Hermione can't face them now she's seen them at it" thing pretty pointless when, if the worst comes to the worst, she can just erase that memory anyway.

Hermione’s head burst out of the pillow as together she and Harry looked at Ron in sheer disbelief.
“He’s kidding,” Sam said. “What’s done is done. We’ll all just have to learn to live with it.”

Let's recap, shall we? Harry, Ron and Hermione were involved in a war against the world's most dangerous wizard while they were still at school. Then they were separated from each other for five years, which included Ron being locked up for turning into a werewolf and biting someone's leg off. Since reuniting, Hermione has been kidnapped, tortured and lost her memory, and they've all been caught up in a terrorist attack that killed their favourite student until they used the world's worst time travel plot to save her. Yeah, I think they'll get over a minor embarrassment.

“If we’re going to just live with it, could you two possibly have another go at it since I missed it the first time?” Harry asked, a wide grin on his face.

HE!Harry is the last person, except possibly HE!Ron himself, who needs that.

“You know, sort of a show and tell for adults. I’m always keen to be taught new techniques.”

Do they even do show and tell at Hogwarts? I'd imagine it'd have to be right at the beginning of term, what with the whole "bring something from home" thing.

“Then you will have to get some porn,” Ron retorted as he gave Harry an evil look and Hermione tossed a pillow at him.

Presumably from the friendly village XXX shop next door to the backstreet abortion clinic in Hogsmeade, since nobody ever seems to use the wizard net.

Sam reacted differently, however, as she threw her arms around Harry and kissed him. “You two are the best friends a couple could ever have,” Sam said, giving Hermione a caring glance.
“How come he’s always the one to get kissed?” Ron complained.
“Because you always back away whenever I get within touching distance of you,” Hermione countered briskly. “Stay put and I’ll give you the identical treatment.”
Ron did not have time to respond before Hermione had closed the distance between them and kissed him, too. It wasn’t until Hermione felt something squeezed against her that she broke the embrace.
“Ron, you’re naked,” she said, as much amazed at the fact that she hadn’t noticed as she was at the fact itself.

Nudity: completely nonsexual!

“And your flaccid,” she then added. “Considering as what I just did, should I be happy or depressed?”
“Be happy for me,” Ron answered. “It seems my subconscious has finally acknowledged that there is a difference between nudity and sex.”

He doesn't get the horn for her because he doesn't fancy her. This isn't a puzzle that should stump anyone. In fact, it's an all-round good thing that he doesn't fancy her because they're both married to other people. Anyway, next day:

“Where is Jim today? He’s not avoiding me because of last night is he? It was just a misunderstanding. I’m not angry.” Sam blushed before continuing. “If the truth be known, I’m rather flattered by the whole incident.”

See, this would have been a sensible reaction if he'd simply propositioned her. Not, you know, groping her out of the blue.

“It’s not you, he’s avoiding,” Bonnie answered, her face turning serious. “It’s me. I told him I didn’t want to have anymore to do with this swinging lifestyle.

Not, you know, the fact that you'd rather not continue exposing yourself and your child to someone who has trouble grasping the idea of consent. And I like how all it took for these characters (who we'll probably never see again) to reconsider their wicked ways was a chance encounter with our sainted protagonists.

I imagine he is trying to decide if he wants to be monogamous. ”
Sam looked at Bonnie compassionately. “Personally, I think he’s a fool. He should have been able to make that decision without any thought.”

Flattery will get you... everywhere, it seems.

“Ron did it,” Hermione squealed excitedly as she bounded over to joined Sam and Bonnie.

The degeneration of HE!Hermione is complete. She is now actually a toddler.

“I never thought I’d get to see him naked.” Hermione paused after realizing what she just said. “That didn’t sound very proper, did it?”

The only reason it wouldn't sound proper is if nudity wasn't completely nonsexual, so it's up to you.

“Are you going to give us a hint about the show tonight?” Hermione asked. “The girls won’t even tell us what song Kim is singing.”
“She’s singing two songs, both show tunes,” Bonnie confessed. “But I can’t tell you anymore.”
“Is she going to dance, too?” Sam asked, pressing the issue.

"I hate this fic," said szaleniec1000, expressing his dissatisfaction with the fic.

“We didn’t have time to come up with anything too fancy,” Bonnie answered. “She’ll be more moving and strutting about than actually dancing.”
“It must be thrilling to be on stage dancing professionally in front of an appreciative audience,” Hermione commented enviously. “Do you dance ballet or is it more modern, Broadway show type dancing?”
“I took ballet lessons for ten years,” Bonnie said, looking dejected, “but no, I’m not in the ballet.”
“Don’t tell Harry, but I used to attend dancing school when I was younger,” Hermione divulged.

I'm not sure why this is something that should be kept from Harry.

“They have tryouts for amateurs monthly,” Bonnie said. “If you come and show them what you got, I’d be willing to guarantee that you’d be offered work.”
“It sounds so tempting, but we’ll be heading home immediately at the conclusion of the cruise,” Hermione sighed. “Maybe in another life.”

Or another fanfic. I smell a reference. I think it's to the sequel to Trouble in Paradise, which I still haven't read but was described by otakukeith in the comments thus:

I gave up on it after a bunch of torture stuff in the second fic was followed in the next chapter by GRATUITOUS BRAZIL, and not the Terry Gilliam film. For some reason I can't remember, Hermione ends up living in Rio with a Muggle she escaped from the villains with, buying a bikini and working as a waitress in a strip club.

It'd certainly fit. Anyway, cut to the evening and the girls are watching the talent contest. It's being held on (where else?) the FPODD, and Angel has just played an unspecified song on the piano.

“She was terrific,” Kim declared after Angel finished her piano number. “I’d be willing to give up my magical aptitude in order to play an instrument that well.”
“Be careful,” Caitlin warned. “Don’t use the ‘M’ word; someone will hear you.”

I honestly doubt any Muggle who overheard would assume she was talking about real magic. Especially as they're at a talent show, and could just as easily be talking about a stage magic act.

“You can’t be serious,” Emily whispered. “You’d give up you-know-what just to be able to play some stupid instrument.”

Speaking of references, the second Psychic Serpent fic is set in an alternate universe where Voldemort took over, so Hermione didn't go to Hogwarts and instead became a concert cellist. Coincidence?

“Do you know what I don’t understand?” Caitlin asked. “Why did Angel have Roz eliminate Monica from the contest? She was no competition.”

Maybe because you were wrong? As, indeed, Kim is about to find out by the power of convenient eavesdropping:

As Emily and Caitlin waited for the second performer to come on stage, Kim walked toward the rear exit door. She was just about to step outside when she heard two people talking behind a side curtain.
“That was wonderful,” Roz said approvingly to Angel. “I knew you’d been taking lessons since you were five, but I had no idea you played so good.”
“Thank you Aunt Roz,” Angel said appreciatively. “I wish you hadn’t always been too busy before to attend any of my recitals.”

And convenient expospeak. There is never an excuse for characters to tell each other things they already know; find another way of conveying the information, if it's necessary.

“So do I,” said Roz matter-of-factly. “If I had known you were so good, I wouldn’t have needed to go to the trouble of eliminating that no talent Frenchie. I can’t believe I actually thought she might have a possibility of beating you.”

Now you've finished telling her how good she is, it's time to tell her how you thought she'd be beaten by someone you think has no talent. And oh-so-conveniently revealed what anyone with a brain reading this already knows.

“Eliminating?” Angel murmured to herself. “You’re not saying… Aunt Roz did you step on that girl’s ankle? On purpose!? How could you?”
“I did it for you. I knew you had practiced hard, and I wanted you to win,” Roz said as if justifying her actions.

Why "as if"? That's clearly what she's trying to do!

“Win no matter what! That’s cheating!” Then Angel came to a realization. “You’ve done this before, haven’t you!?” Angel asked seething. “Jamie’s sisters and her friends know, don’t they? That’s why they were nice and now they’re mean to me.”
“Forget them! I told you before that you’re better off without their kind,” Roz declared.
“No!” Angel said noticeably shaking, a tear in her eye. “I’d be better off without you! GO AWAY!”

How is she noticeably shaking when she's hidden behind a curtain? For that matter, how can Kim see the tear in her eye?

“You unappreciative little bitch,” Roz yelled, slapping Angel sharply across the face. “I hope that fucking little tramp hammers you.”

The baddies in Hogwarts Exposed all talk like they've stepped out of a Robst fic, and the goodies like they've got sticks up their arses. Nobody's idiolect actually seems to reflect their background in any way, so we have Rosalind the status-obsessed, implied upper-class madam talking like the street gang from Chapter 2.

“Angel, I’m sorry,” Kim said sheepishly as she came within reach of the weeping girl. “I was going out for a breath of fresh air and overheard you yelling at your aunt. I’m sorry that we treated you badly. We were wrong to jump to the conclusion that you were involved in what happened to Monica.”
“It’s okay,” Angel said with a sigh. “I don’t blame you though. After all, I’m no baby. I should have known. Good luck in the contest. I have to go tell my parents what happened and drop out.”
“Drop out!?” Kim said incredulously. “I’m the one that should be dropping out. I only entered the contest out of anger. I thought you were mixed up with Monica being hurt. You were great tonight; you deserve to win.”

She entered the contest because she was pissed off that someone she barely knew got nobbled by someone else she barely knew.

“That’s up to the judges. I’ve seen you,” Angel said. “I think you could win.”

How has she seen her? I thought Kim's act was a secret.

“Maybe if the best competition is eliminated,” Kim countered. “By dropping out, you’ll be doing the same thing for me that your Aunt tried to do for you; eliminate the strongest competition. No matter who wins this contest, they should win because the judges found them to be the best, not because they were the only one remaining.”
“If I stay in, will you promise to try your best?” Angel asked.
“I’ll try,” Kim said. “My first priority will be not making a fool of myself because I’m so nervous.”
“Kim, hurry up!” Caitlin yelled after finding her.

She just noclipped into the room.

“They’re at contestant number eight; you’ll be on soon.”

The third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh contestants must all have had very short acts to be done in the time it took for a few lines of dialogue to be spouted.

“She’s on next,” Harry whispered excitedly to Hermione. “Do you know either of the songs she is singing?”
“No,” Hermione said shaking her head. “They’re both show tunes according to the program.”
The house lights dimmed, as a spotlight illuminated the side curtain. The band played a few introductory notes and then an off stage M.C. announced, “The Princess Lines’, one and only burlesque theater, presents Kim Thatcher as Miss Gypsy Rose Lee.”
As the trombone player started playing, Kim took a deep breath, pushed the curtain aside and strutted on to the stage.
Let me entertain you
Let me make you smile

“Oh my god Harry, she’s playing a burlesque dancer,” Hermione whispered nervously.

A twelve-year-old doing a burlesque routine: still not as ridiculous as Hermione's Talent, but even creepier. Speaking of HTG, her Hermione is more in character than she is in this fic, and her Hermione doesn't have a character.

“Please tell me that she didn’t actually do that,” Hermione said aghast. “I am going to kill Bonnie for teaching her that.”
“But listen to the applause,” Harry said. “They loved her.”
“The young boys and depraved old men maybe,” Hermione said disgustingly.

"Not to mention the author!"

“I’m sure it was intended to poke fun at the old burlesque since this is a naturist cruise, but I just find it poor judgment.”
As Harry and Hermione had talked, two young girls pushed a mirrored dresser on stage. The one handed Kim a shirt that she hurriedly put on while the other girl sat a chair next to the dresser.
“Look! It’s Caitlin and Emily,” Jamie said elbowing Hermione. “I didn’t know they were in the show.”

Neither did we. In fact, neither did they. It's not been mentioned in any of the scenes where the three of them were together, as if they're staring straight through the fourth wall, know we're reading and want to keep it a surprise. And a surprise it indeed is, as the three of them perform what I'm reliably informed is a song from The Great Muppet Caper. In scriptfic format. I kid you not. And speaking of muppets, here's HE!Hermione:

“They were good, really good,” Jamie said, sounding exceedingly impressed.
“Yes! They were,” Hermione said positively, apparently forgetting about the first routine.

Apparently to whom?

“While the judges are tallying their scores and deciding the top three winners, the captain would like to discuss a matter of great importance with you,” the M.C. announced.
“Whatever it is, I’m innocent this time,” Harry kidded.

Even when the author remembers that Harry is supposed to be snarky, it still feels forced.

“The old wharf rat, in all probability, wants to give us a sales pitch on future cruises,” Ron commented unconcernedly.
“Hem, hem,” the Captain said clearing his throat as he approached the microphone. “That was a very enjoyable show tonight. Each of the contestants is a winner in his or her own right. Hem, hem. I hope you all had a pleasant experience on this Princess Cruise and will sail with us again soon.”
“Here we go,” said Ron. “Sales pitch time.”

Ron's first line here is redundant with his second, and his second sounds like something that a human being would actually say.

“We were very fortunate this trip in that we were able to avoid Hurricane Emily, which was in the Caribbean area the same time as us,” the captain noted. “I’m afraid, however, that our luck has come to an end. As we speak, Emily is approaching Fort Lauderdale and will be in that vicinity for most of the next twenty-four hours.

There actually was a Hurricane Emily in 2005, after this chapter was written, but it went nowhere near Florida. It's not the coincidence it seems, because the list of names for each year's hurricanes is chosen in advance: I guess the author couldn't resist.

“Due to the storm, docking tomorrow is an impossibility. The bad news, I’m afraid, is that you are stuck with us for an extra day. We will endeavor to help you make whatever adjustments are necessary in your post cruise transportation.
“The good news is that Princess Lines will be picking up the tab for all expenses tomorrow. This includes up to four complementary cocktails per adult and a complementary twenty-five dollar credit in the ship’s casino. We’ll keep the ship out of hurricane range so that you can enjoy another wonderful day of sunning and swimming.”
Ron just stared into space - his worst nightmare was about to take place.

He'd have to read Hogwarts Exposed.

“Hem, hem. Now the winners of our contest.”

Followed by a scene break. It's not the end of the chapter, so it's not even a cliffhanger: I don't see the point of not announcing the winners now and instead waiting to have it relayed second-hand in the next scene. Still, it's as good a place as any for the halfway point.

Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
duster
Jul. 16th, 2014 04:57 am (UTC)
Ho boy. Forgive some tl;dr here but this update is pretty rank.

Caitlin responded in kind by blowing Emily

Not for the first time.

I CHOKED ON MY GUM. NO REGRETS.

Hermione flung herself on the bed, tears pouring from her eyes, as there was a knock at the door.
Oh shit this must be serious! Like Hermione's super put together I can't imagine what would make her fall apa-

“Hermione, I don’t understand. What happened?” Harry implored.
Hermione looked up at him as she fought to hold back the tears. “I shattered the door and barged in on Ron and Sam having sex.”

OH COME ON. As you pointed out earlier, Neil seems to think that every emotion is turned up to 11 by default. Nobody is ever okay, they're either hysterically bawling or... no that's kinda it.

When someone sneezing in your direction makes you have a complete meltdown, it takes away from scenes that someone would legitimately freak out at. I mean at this point Voldemort could show up and the resulting panic wouldn't even register because that's just how emotionally overwrought the characters are.

“Jim and Bonnie are swingers.”
“I don’t understand,” said Hermione.
Michele stared a Hermione in disbelief. “I think you’ve been away from our world too long.

You know, I can almost buy legit Hermione not knowing about swinging if it was set up right and we had an IC Hermione to begin with. But yeah, gonna second your point that there have to be some wizards and witches that get freaky (and maybe they have magic-exclusive ways of doing things. Someone on AFF has to have done that by now with varying degrees of success.)

She and Ron had suspended their hormonal activity
Credit where it's due; Hormonal Activity is probably the best porn parody title of Paranormal Activity.

The author has just remembered that she's supposed to be American, even though she talks in exactly the same way as everyone else in the fic.
As someone so American I live behind a McDonald's, I can assure you that even Americans don't talk like these characters do. I mean it's not like you can write characters with different speech patterns, habits, or even regional dialects, that's just silly.

“If we’re going to just live with it, could you two possibly have another go at it since I missed it the first time?” Harry asked, a wide grin on his face.
Okay even by HE's turbopervert Harry standards he's out of character and really creepy here.

Ron just stared into space - his worst nightmare was about to take place.
Putting aside how overwrought this sentence is (really one of the guys who defeated the greatest magical villain in the world is afraid of nudity) What's honestly stopping Ron from just locking himself in his room until it's over? Be a little self sufficient, dude. I know the HP cast had to check their spines at the door for the fic casting call but c'mon.

(Fix'd them HTML tags.)

Edited at 2014-07-16 05:03 am (UTC)
szaleniec1000
Jul. 16th, 2014 09:19 am (UTC)
The only difference between how characters talk is whether they're supposed to be good (pompous pricks with their wands firmly lodged up their behinds) or evil (effing and blinding like a Robst character) - it doesn't reflect their personality (not that any of these characters have one) or even where they're from. Or, as I put it elsewhere: "The Hogwarts Exposed cast are the most American-sounding British people I've ever seen. Apart from Sam, who's the most British-sounding American person I've ever seen. The phrase "epic fail" hardly seems sufficient."

Ron's worst nightmare isn't the nudity, but that the delay means that it's the full moon and he'll turn into a werewolf. Because they didn't account for delays when they booked the cruise. Meticulous planning!
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:03 am (UTC)
It's like when they burst into tears at the slightest provocation: it blunts the impact when anything really dramatic happens.

No kidding. It's like when Hermione fell all over herself after the announcement of the Zacherly parents' deaths back in Exposed. Sure, it was ridiculous that she suffered a breakdown at the deaths of people we hadn't seen her interact with at all onscreen, but it might have worked a bit better had she not been busy bursting into tears at the slightest nudge prior to.
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:04 am (UTC)
You should apply to be transferred to a Robst fic.

I'm actually a bit curious, now: ITWATN vs. Hogwarts Exposed. Which is the worst, in your opinion?
szaleniec1000
Jul. 21st, 2014 08:08 am (UTC)
Still Hogwarts Exposed. ITWATN is bad, and bits of it get as bad, but it's not as bad in so many ways.

(Incidentally, have you heard Robst has buggered off? His fics are still up, but his profile is blank and replaced by a pic of Porky Pig going "That's all, folks!" which is also now the icon for his ongoing rewrite of Knowledge is Power. I've no idea what happened.)
szaleniec1000
Jul. 21st, 2014 12:17 pm (UTC)
Scratch that: he objects to FF.net having more negativity than it used to. As someone who's been visiting it since 2000, LOL.
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 03:25 pm (UTC)
I have not heard about that, actually. Good riddance, in any case. That guy's self-righteousness really rubbed me the wrong way but in a different way from Neil's.

Edited at 2014-07-21 03:26 pm (UTC)
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:07 am (UTC)
How very convenient.

It's the best way for her to pull off her ultimate plan of destroying this entire abhorrent universe. She's gotta make it clear to her so-called "friends" that she's been fully indoctrinated.
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:32 am (UTC)
“I’ve been rather in opposition to gambling every since my grandfather became addicted. He died leaving my grandmother practically penniless. Thankfully, Mum and Dad had good jobs and could help her out.”



What in the fuck!?
szaleniec1000
Jul. 21st, 2014 08:10 am (UTC)
This was never mentioned before and will never be mentioned again. A bit overkill, I can't help but think, when she could just have not felt like it. It's not the kind of thing you need a tragic backstory to justify, and what's the point of a tragic backstory that never actually becomes important to the plot?
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
Well, at least you can tease him mercilessly about how his sister told you all about his boners.

That would require Draco to be in character, which is about as rare in Hogwarts Exposed as proper uses of the word "balance."
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:37 am (UTC)
Even the sycophants on the Yahoo group were starting to tire of this routine by now.

Oh yeah? What, exactly, was said?
szaleniec1000
Jul. 21st, 2014 08:12 am (UTC)
I'll try and dig up the post.
szaleniec1000
Jul. 21st, 2014 08:18 am (UTC)
"I find Ron and Sam's naivete about the swingers is starting to wear thin -- I'm glad you're resolving the issue in the next chapter."
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:46 am (UTC)
“She acted upset,” Kim remarked. “It was as if she didn’t know what we were talking about.”



I'm keeping this here for later. Especially when the inevitable part where Emily goes "Oh my gosh, why didn't I think of that!?" happens.
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:48 am (UTC)
“I’m sure we will. Hermione and I have come to love the naturist lifestyle and the girls - well, you know that naturism is a very important aspect of who they are.”

Neil perfectly captures the voice and character of Harry Potter, doesn't he?
szaleniec1000
Jul. 21st, 2014 08:29 am (UTC)
"The dialogue for all the characters is very appropriate and matches their styles. It is also very realistic dialogue; it sounds like that which people would really say." - an actual review of Hogwarts Exposed. Normally when I disagree with someone I can at least understand where they're coming from, but here...?
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC)
So it stands to reason there'd be swingers, because that's one of the most obvious and (if everyone involved is okay with it) harmless ways of pushing the boundaries.

Not to mention the fact that surely Hermione would know about such behavior, being that she's freakin' Hermione! Unfortunately, this is Hogwarts Exposed...
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
Picture the scene: Harry Potter and Hermione Granger charge stark bollock naked through the corridors of a cruise ship, screaming at the top of their lungs. For best results, imagine Yakety Sax playing in the background.

And thus Neil turns what was supposed to be a serious moment into a ridiculous and comedic moment because he wants to fill out his nudity quota.

Thing is, why couldn't this have just been set on a standard pleasure cruise and then have the kids' and adults' wanting to be naked clash with the need to maintain decorum? Wouldn't that have made for a far more interesting plot instead of this plodding, boring retread of last fic's holiday?
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC)
Surely Harry would be the one who's impulsively rushing in half-cocked with his "saving-people thing" (a term Hermione herself came up with) and she'd be trying to calm him down. There's no good reason I can see for the role reversal, and at no point is it acknowledged that this even is a role reversal.

Isn't it OBVIOUS, szaleniec? Hermione is a woman, and thus she would be prone to her irrational womanly urges due to her periods and emotions! All women are like that, mate!

- Neil
szaleniec1000
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, for all he claims to like Hermione, what he really seems to like is his interpretation of her character. Which is, as you say, laden with dodgy gender role stuff and includes... the next chapter has an inline author's note (!) talking about how well-endowed she is, and he's not talking about her brain.
szaleniec1000
Jul. 21st, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
(next chapter I'm sporking, not the next chapter from this)
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 21st, 2014 05:32 pm (UTC)
MISUSED BALANCE COUNT: 59 (there were a couple I missed in the last chapter)

We should procure a little clip of that "Ding-dong" sound that Linkara uses in AT4W.
katistrophe
Jul. 23rd, 2014 05:44 am (UTC)
What if Bonnie and Ron are, you know, doing it?
AND DOBBY WAS WATCHING!1


Eergh. Twelve-year-old burlesque dancer. THIS. FIC.
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:45 am (UTC)
It doesn't take much for a Hogwarts Exposed character to think of sex, however much they protest how nudity is completely nonsexual.

Nudity is SO NONSEXUAL, szaleniec! You just don't understand: The reason those girls buried Ron up to his head and left his junk uncovered was to show how nonsexual nudity is!
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:48 am (UTC)
We're probably going to find out that it's all because of his overbearing grandmother.



PLOT TWIST: Jim is actually Neville's twin Squib brother...
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:49 am (UTC)
The real problem with trying to be dramatic here is that, again, everybody is completely naked. However much gravitas you try to convey, it'll still look like the worst ever Carry On film.

Carry On Film?
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:51 am (UTC)
I don't know where anyone could even get the idea that Ron talks like this.

You just don't get Ron as well as Neil gets him, mate. Ron's nothing more than a Filthy Weasley who deserves nothing but Malfoy's sloppy seconds in Neil's mind. So giving him proper characterization is not on the agenda...
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:54 am (UTC)
Considering that the premise of Hogwarts Exposed is that Hermione is reunited with her best friends after five years of absence, you'd think she'd have a bit more perspective. Considering that she's Hermione, you'd think she'd have a bit more perspective anyway.

That would require putting effort into making Hermione into anything other than a simpering halfwit in the story.

Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time Hermione or some other character in HE burst into tears or was crying, I'd be able to pay off my goddamn college debt!
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:55 am (UTC)
The author has just remembered that she's supposed to be American, even though she talks in exactly the same way as everyone else in the fic.

That's the damned conundrum with the dialogue in HE. The Brits are too American and the Americans are too British!
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:56 am (UTC)
Hermione Granger does not blubber.

She's a WOMAN, szaleniec! So, naturally, Hermione is incapable of anything other than being at the mercy of her emotions and her menstrual flows!

- Neil
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:57 am (UTC)
It makes the whole "Hermione can't face them now she's seen them at it" thing pretty pointless when, if the worst comes to the worst, she can just erase that memory anyway.

I mean, it's not like PENSIEVES are a thing in the HP universe...oh wait.
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 08:59 am (UTC)
“And your flaccid,”

His flaccid what?
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 09:01 am (UTC)
The degeneration of HE!Hermione is complete. She is now actually a toddler.

Still more preferable behavior than Satan's Hellspawn Timmy.

Edited at 2014-07-25 09:01 am (UTC)
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 09:06 am (UTC)
We were wrong to jump to the conclusion that you were involved in what happened to Monica.”

Looks like that Sherlock clip I posted was gonna be appropo a lot earlier than I was expecting.
Jeremiah Smith
Jul. 25th, 2014 09:08 am (UTC)
A twelve-year-old doing a burlesque routine

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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