Katherine saw a flash of green light out of the corner of her eye, and turned back to the lab bench just in time to see her Bunsen burner flare up and wobble, just a little.
"Oh," a voice said, slightly muffled. "I think we took a wrong turning."
There was a thump, and then the Bunsen burner fell over. A neatly manicured hand reached out of the flame and firmly grasped onto the edge of the bench.
"Hurry up, Hermione!" a second voice urged, sounding slightly singed. "I think my hair's on fire!"
The hand clenched at the bench and pulled, the Bunsen burner skittered across the surface, as an arm and then a shoulder somehow pushed free of the tiny flame. The shoulder turned into a curly haired head, another shoulder and a torso, and kept coming, tumbling off the bench onto the floor.
The woman stood up, let out a heavy, exasperated sigh that seemed to convey just how much she was done with this crap, and slapped out a flame that was burning neon green on her sleeve. She reached back into the Bunsen burner, bracing her feet on the side of the bench and pulled with all her strength. The burner birthed another human being, coughing and temporarily on fire.
"Get Draco," he said, choking.
"He got us into this mess in the first place," the woman said indignantly. "If someone would only learn to read directions properly-!" She addressed the comment pointedly at the Bunsen burner, which rattled angrily in reply.
Another hand, with a slightly better manicure, appeared out of the flame and grabbed at a beaker, knocking it over before finding leverage and pulling. A second man appeared, blond and inflamed.
"Oh, don't mind me," he hissed, brushing down his robes. "Just let me burn to death."
"It's your bloody fault! We could have died!"
The blond was about to reply when the first man interjected hastily. "Where are we, anyway?"
In unison the three turned around, and noticed Katherine, pale and frozen by the fire extinguisher.
"Oh, hello," the woman said, and gave Katherine a weak smile. "Sorry to just burst in on you like that."
"What." Katherine said, and blinked.
Matthew opened the door, holding a conical flask of toluene and humming a Disney tune. He stared at the group of smoking wizards. "Who's this, then?"
The brunet cleared his throat. "Right. Muggles."
Ten minutes later, Matthew was sitting with his head in his hands and Katherine was laughing hysterically.
Hermione, Neville and Draco were standing in an awkward silence. The Bunsen burner was still burning green.
"You'd think there'd be some kind of system in place," Matthew muttered, "To stop this happening."
"Why is it even called Floo powder?" Katherine asked. "What a stupid name."
"It comes from the 'floo' plant, actually," Hermione said. "Interestingly enough-"
Neville shot her a quelling look and she slowly shut her mouth.
"I know this is a lot to take in," Draco said, awkwardly patting Matthew on the shoulder. "And I appreciate that you are having a hard time dealing with this emotionally, but is it okay if we leave now? We're kind of in the middle of something."
"Draco," Hermione snapped, "It can wait."
"These poor people have had their lives turned upside down. We're not abandoning them just so you can beat Harry and Ron at a scavenger hunt. It's your fault we're here, deal with the consequences of your actions."
"In my defence, 'Bunsen burner' sounds an awful lot like 'Bunden burns'," he told Katherine, who stared blankly at him.
"Can I see your wand?" Matthew asked Neville.
"Wait, so there are plants? Tiny little plants? In there?"
Neville was jumping around in excitement, head bobbing as he looked back and forth between the microscope slide and the viewfinder.
"Yeah, sure." Matthew grinned. "They're tiny, but they're on the glass. The lenses magnify them so you can see them."
"And they aren't plants, they are bacteria," Kate added. "They look a bit like plants because of the flagellum."
"This is amazing," Neville crowed. "Tiny little PLANTS!"
Matthew and Katherine shared a glance, and sighed.
"So it's kind of like quidditch, but without the brooms?" Draco said, watching the football on Matthew's laptop with interest. He prodded at the screen, jumping a little when the cursor moved. Neville was adding packets of sugar to his breakroom coffee with intent fascination.
"Uh, I don't know what that is?" Matthew said doubtfully. "I guess so."
"Less balls, Draco," Hermione added.
"That's what she said," Katherine muttered under her breath.
"A pound in the jar, Kate," Matthew ordered. She sighed, but obediently dropped a pound into a nearly full jam jar labelled 'INNUENDO FINE'.
"What's a pound?" Draco asked.
Hermione let out a heavy sigh of her own, and helped herself to more custard creams. "You'd think we'd gone to a different planet instead of the next town over." She texted Ron, reminding him to pick up the kids from the cinema.
"You should totally come!" Katherine said, pressing an invitation into Hermione's hand. "I'd love to meet Ginny, she sounds great!"
"We'll be there," Hermione promised. "I've never been to a Hen party. Wizards don't really have them."
"It's going to be amazing! We're going rock climbing after the bar crawl!"
"Kate! You never told me about that!" Matthew objected. "Why can't I come?"
"We have to go," Neville said, reluctantly admiring the lab one last time. "The scavenger hunt ended hours ago."
"It was great meeting you! Come back and visit whenever you want."
They nodded enthusiastically, Draco clutching tightly to a biro he refused to give up. He'd given Matthew 15 galleons for it, despite Hermione's protests that she could get him thirty for under a sickle if she went to Tescos.
The three wizards twisted on their heels and disappeared, and Matthew and Katherine looked at each other for a long moment, before grinning broadly.
"Do you think we should have told them your brother goes to Hogwarts?"
"I'm sure Professor Longbottom will realise eventually."