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Hermione’s Bad Idea….

Part Two

By Mena Baines

Hermione climbed reluctantly out of bed the next morning, finding that the room was freezing. Rosa—that moron—she left the window open. Hermione went to shut it, and something sharp stabbed the bottom of her foot.

“ Ow!” she shouted, picking up her foot to see a piece of broken glass protruding from it. Then Hermione remembered, in a rush, what had happened last night. Her dream…but that part was hazy now. She remembered drinking the love potion in a sleepy fervor, and breaking the bottle, opening the window so she could tell Rosa that wind knocked it over.

“ Herm-oine, you’re bleeding,” came Rosa’s voice, scratchy and full of sleepiness, “ What’s that?”

“ Broken glass,” Hermione said, “ It’s all over the floor—“

“ Oh, my potion,” Rosa said, climbing out of bed. “ Dang it. We must have left the window open. I’ll have to make some more tomorrow.”

“ Um, yeah,” Hermione said, a horrible, nervous feeling rising in her stomach, “ Too bad…”

“ Yeah,” Rosa said with a shrug, “ Draco will have to wait an extra day to become my love slave.” Hermione tried to return her cheerful grin, but she felt too much like she was going to be sick. Have I really taken the whole bottle…her knees began to knock beneath her nightgown…Great Wizards, what if it works? What if Harry found out…

Hermione’s hands shook as she got dressed. She could no longer see any benefit to having taken the love potion. It would only spoil EVERYTHING—Harry would never trust her again. I deserve this, Hermione thought sadly, I’m such a moron… They’ll be no explaining this time. He’ll know I did this…on purpose. Hermione looked over at the toilet, feeling she would throw up at any moment. Rosa knocked on the door and she jumped.

“ Come on, Herm-oine, we’ll miss breakfast!” Rosa called.

“ C-coming.” Hermione winced at her reflection as she pulled on her shirt. You stupid girl, she thought to herself, what have you done?

“ Are you okay in there?” Rosa asked.

Hermione stepped out, and nodded. “ I’m all right.” She said, “ I just feel a little…under the weather, that’s all.”

“ Yeah?” Rosa said as they walked toward the common room, Hermione’s heart beating out of her chest, more nervous than she had ever been. “ Well I’m not surprised after your little escapade last night out in the rain,” she grinned, “ What were you and Harry doing out there, anyway?”

“ Don’t get your hopes up. We didn’t do anything, and I have a feeling it’s gonna be over between us real soon.” Hermione muttered dryly.

“ Why do you say that?” Rosa asked.

“ I just have a feeling.”

“ I thought you didn’t believe in Divination, Herm-oine.” Rosa said with a sly grin.

“ I don’t.”

“ Well I do, and I think you two were made for each other.” Rosa said.

Hermione rolled her eyes. “ That’s rather cliché.” She said, “ Can we talk about something else, please?” They entered the common room and Hermione was pleased to see that it had, for the most part, emptied out. Harry wasn’t there, anyway, but then this was only a small relief, as she knew she’d see him when she went down to breakfast. Hermione’s stomach churned again as she climbed through the portrait hole with Rosa. Not only would Rosa know about Hermione drinking her potion the moment Harry saw her, but after the spell wore off, Harry would know what she had done. All my friends are going to hate me, Hermione thought dreadfully, and Draco will surely have a field day with this…

The closer they got to the Great Hall, the more Hermione could feel her terrified heartbeats shaking her entire body as she walked. Rosa was talking, but she couldn’t pay attention—there it was, the Great Hall, filled with unsuspecting students eating their breakfast…

They walked inside, and Hermione’s eyes scoured the room for Harry. There he was, sitting at the Gryffindor table with Dean Thomas and Ron, laughing at some comic Dean had drawn. Hermione’s stomach stopped churning and started doing flip-turns. Great Wizards….help me get out of this somehow… Of course the spell wouldn’t take effect until Harry saw her…Hermione ducked behind Rosa as they moved into the breakfast line. No, no, no, she thought, passing up all the food, disgusted with the idea of eating at a time like this. Rosa scolded her for going without breakfast, and they headed to the table, Hermione now fighting back the urge to just break down and cry.

Before they could get to the table, Draco stepped in front of them. Hermione was almost glad—at least she could stall for a few seconds before her life ended.

“ Draco Malfoy, what a pleasant surprise,” Rosa said, grinning, “ My, don’t we look snidely this morning?” she teased.

Draco ignored her. “ Hermione.” He said, his voice flat, his eyes wide and empty looking. Hermione frowned—she hadn’t even been paying attention to him. She was a bit surprised that he actually knew her name—he’d always just called her “that mudblood girl”, or worse.

“ What?” she asked, but he just stared at her, dazed. Afraid he was going to pull some awful trick, Hermione walked off, boldly, toward the Gryffindor table. If I’m going to go down in flames I might as well not postpone it, she thought, approaching the table. She was trying to be brave, but her knees were shaking, and her cheeks were already pink-tinted.

“ What’s up with Draco?” Rosa asked, coming up behind Hermione and sitting down. “ I can’t get a rise out of him this morning.” She said, chewing on a piece of bacon. Hermione’s breath was coming fast now—this is it, this is the end, she thought miserably, sitting down. She looked over at Harry, and their eyes met. Oh, Great Wizards, she thought, everyone’s going to know… I’m so pathetic!

“ What?” Harry asked, looking back at her frightened expression, confused. Hermione’s heart skipped a beat. How long did it take for the spell to take effect?

“ Huh?” she said, her voice coming out in a shaky squeak. “ Nothing. What?”

Harry shrugged, and then looked past her and frowned, and Hermione turned to see what he was looking at. She gasped when she saw someone standing very close behind her, and glanced up to see it was Draco again. He was staring down at her, looking curious and almost beside himself.

“ Hermione.” He said again, mindlessly.

“ WHAT?” she asked, annoyed. As if she didn’t have enough to worry about without Draco following her around like a toddler.

“ Geez, what IS it?” Rosa asked him. “ You look like a zombie, for crying out loud.”

Draco continued to ignore her, and got down on his knees so that his face was even with Hermione’s. He was looking at her the same funny way Harry did sometimes when they were alone together…

Wait a minute…

“ Hermione Granger,” Draco said her name like it was something too wonderful to bear, “ I, Draco Alowicious Malfoy do proclaim my love for thee.”

“ WHAT??” Harry, Ron, Rosa and Hermione screamed all at once. Dean just laughed.

“ Draco, quit teasing her,” Harry said, angry, “ We don’t come over to the Slytherin table and harass you and your friends.”

Hermione’s heart stopped pounding, her knees stopped shaking. So Draco had been affected by the love potion…but how? Did this mean the one she truly loved was Draco? A new kind of sick feeling arose in her stomach.

“ Is that what you want, my dear?” Draco asked, glaring at Harry. “ You want me to go? If that is what you wish, so I shall, as I live only to serve you.” Rosa, who Hermione would have expected to be mad about this turn of events, burst out laughing along with Ron and Dean, who were already rolling. “ But before you answer,” Draco continued, “ Heed this: Every moment that I’m away from you is like torture. My soul burns with an un-quenchable desire with each breath I take while you are away—“

“ DRA-CO!” Hermione hissed, trying to silence him, at least for Ron’s sake, save he explode from uncontrollable laughter.

“ With each step I take away from you my longing to bask in your un-matched beauty cuts a hole in my heart. But if you want me to go, to at least be left with the memory of your goodness, your purity, your loveliness, is still a gift I could never re-pay in a thousand lifetimes.” Draco had to take a breath when he finished. Rosa applauded.

“ Are you quite finished, Malfoy?” Harry barked, “ Quit goofing around and get out of here!”

“ YOU!” Malfoy shouted at Harry, “ How DARE you presume to know the desires of Hermione! Perhaps she wants me to stay,” he said, looking hopefully at her. “ After all,” he snapped at Harry, “ At least I recognize what a rare jewel this beautiful girl is. You moron—you wouldn’t know a goddess like Hermione if she slapped you in the face. How many chances have you had with her? Get over yourself, Potter.”

“ Oh—uh oh.” Rosa seemed to suddenly realize what was going on. Hermione looked at her desperately, willing her to make him stop. Where was Draco coming up with all this stuff? Harry was red in the face, and Hermione was too embarrassed to even look at him.

“ Well, my love?” Draco said, leaning back down near Hermione’s cheek. “ Do you want me to leave?”

“ No.” Hermione said, “ Don’t bother. I’ll go.” She got up and ran from the table. What was going on? How had everything gotten so out of hand? She heard Rosa following her, and slowed as she left the Great Hall.

“ Oh, Rosa,” she said, turning, and feeling the overdue tears spring to her eyes. “ What is this?”

Rosa grabbed her arm and dragged her around the corner. “ You drank the love potion, didn’t you?”

Hermione nodded, “ Yes, I’m sorry.” She said, hoping Rosa wouldn’t kill her. “ I didn’t mean to drink the whole thing—I was just going to have a sip…”

Rosa rolled her eyes. “ Herm-oine! Don’t you know anything about love potion?”

“ It was a subject I always sort of avoided.” She admitted.

“ Well then, it wasn’t such a good idea to drink it, eh?” she sighed, “ You CAN’T just take a little sip of love potion Hermione, it tastes so good no human can resist drinking the whole thing—you just lose your head as soon as you taste it.”

“ No kidding.” Hermione muttered.

“ And ANOTHER thing that might have been useful to know,” Rosa said, “ Is that any love potion is SPECIFIC FOR THE PERSON IT’S MADE FOR!” Hermione groaned. “ I made that potion for Draco, you see, and now you’ve drunken it so he’s after you. It’s like…Polyjuice potion. You just add something of them, like a strand of hair, and the potion becomes particular to that person.”

Hermione covered her face with her hands, not wanting to believe this…yet, it was a much better scenario than she’d expected. At least Harry wasn’t following her around acting like Malfoy was…she didn’t really want that for him, and finding out that she’d drunken potion for him would have ruined their relationship forever. As Hermione thought about it, a wave of relief spread over her.

“ So this isn’t so bad!” Hermione said, “ I’m sorry about it, though—I know you like Draco and all.”

“ Hey, don’t be sorry for me!” Rosa said, “ You’re the one who’s got to deal with him! I mean, it’s not so bad if it’s someone you really care for—not that I really care for him—but if it’s just some jerk who you don’t want around it can be real…awkward.”

“ Oh, nonsense!” Hermione said, drying her eyes, feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. “ I’ll just ignore him—he’ll obey my every command, right?”

“ Yes, but—“

“ Well, then I’ll tell him to leave me alone!”

“ Herm-oine,” Rosa said with a sigh, “ That’s NOT such a good idea.”

“ Well why on Earth not?” Hermione asked, annoyed. She always got uncomfortable when someone seemed to know more about something than she did—especially Rosa.

“ Because he LOVES you now, that’s the whole point of the spell!” Rosa said, “ And how do you feel when someone you love doesn’t want you around?”

Hermione frowned. “ Horrible, of course.”

“ Okay, well multiply that times about ten!” Rosa said, “ People who are under love spells have been known to do…irrational things, when they can’t be with the one they love.”

“ How irrational?” Hermione asked.

“ You don’t want him throwing himself off the Astronomy deck, do you?” Rosa asked.

“ Of course not!”

“ Well then you’ve got to play along for a few days,” Rosa told her, “ Don’t worry, the spell doesn’t last very long.”

“ But—“ Hermione began to panic again. “ What will Harry think??”

“ Oh, Hermione—really!” Rosa scolded, “ A little jealousy never killed anyone!” With that, she stormed off, leaving Hermione still feeling dreadful about everything she’d done.

****************************************************************************

After her little tiff with Rosa in the hall, Hermione slumped into Potions, where Draco greeted her at the door with a grin. Hermione had to admit that it was nice to have someone pull out her chair for her, and she let Draco sit next to her when he asked. She really wished he’d stop looking at her like that, though.

“ Draco, why are you sitting with the Gryffindors?” Rachael Beckett asked, glaring at Hermione. Rachael was the Slytherin girl who had trotted on Draco’s heels for the past couple of years. Hermione didn’t like her—she was always scowling and she filed her red nails into dagger-like points.

“ Sorry, miss.” Draco said, as if he’d forgotten her name, “ But love knows no boundaries.” With that he threw his arm around Hermione, and while her first impulse was to push it off in disgust, she remembered what Rosa had said earlier and resisted the urge. I won’t survive this, Hermione thought with a heavy sigh as Draco beamed at her adoringly. She turned and looked Harry as Rachael stomped back to the other Slytherins. He had been watching them, but he quickly looked away when his eyes met hers. Hermione tried not to feel too bad for him. She remembered how awful she’d felt when he and his ex-girlfriend Cho Chang had been joined at the hip every moment during their fifth year.

Either way, she hoped Rosa wouldn’t tell him what was going on—she was mortified at the thought of Harry knowing she’d drunken love potion—whether he thought it had been for Draco or himself. But Rosa was sitting alone toward the back of the classroom, blankly scribbling on her notebook. Hermione felt like a real heel for letting this happen—although Rosa got on her nerves, she had been nothing but nice to Hermione since she’d come to Hogwarts. Hermione had no idea that she liked Draco enough to be this mad about what was going on—it was really rather eerie.

Once class started, (after Snape had snapped at she and Draco for sitting too close together, much to Hermione’s embarrassment and secret delight—at least her shoulders were free of his arm for a while) Draco began writing feverishly in his notebook, and Hermione was able to concentrate on the lesson. She happily scribbled down equations and formulas for making twelve different types of healing potion, glad to be thinking about something other than boys for the first time all day. How did I ever become so impractical and silly? Hermione wondered, I never used to bother with this stuff, save that crush on Gilderoy Lockhart…

“ Draco!” Snape suddenly shouted, apparently very displeased with where he was sitting and his sudden interest in Hermione, “ You haven’t looked up at the board all period! Are you paying attention?”

“ Er…yes?” Draco’s cheeks turned pink.

“ Well then,” Snape said, his eyes sliding into mean little slits. “ I’m sure you can tell us the last equation we went over—the cold heat healing solution?”

“ Um…”

“ And no helping your boyfriend with this, Miss Granger,” Snape said with a wicked sneer. Now it was Hermione’s turn to blush as the entire class snickered, save Harry and Rosa.

“ Actually,” Malfoy said with a sigh, “ I was writing…love poetry.” Now the class burst out laughing, holding nothing back as Snape’s eyes nearly popped out of his head.

“ Of course.” Snape said, “ And if you have the gall to waste my lesson writing love poetry, Mr. Malfoy, I’m sure you won’t mind reading it aloud.” Snape said, thinking he’d concocted the perfect punishment.

“ Okay!” Malfoy said eagerly, jumping up. Hermione prayed to the Great Wizards that something would stop him. But the sages were not smiling down upon her that day.

Draco cleared his throat, “ Hermione, O Hermione!—how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”

“ That’s Shakespeare, you moron.” Harry said, “ You didn’t write it,”

“ SILENCE!” Draco screamed at him, and then prepared to continue.

“ All right,” Snape said, “ Sit down Mr.—“

“ Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Malfoy’s voice boomed in Hermione’s direction, “ Thou art more lovely—“

“ Malfoy I said THAT’S ENOUGH,” Snape shouted, losing his temper.

“ And more temperate!” Malfoy finished, and Snape had to grab his arm and drag him out of the room.

“ I really didn’t expect this irrational nonsense out of YOU, Malfoy,” Snape sneered as he pulled Malfoy out the door, trying to stop him from blowing kisses to Hermione on the way out.

Everyone was laughing hysterically except Hermione, who had her head down on her desk, and Harry, who was still grumbling about what an idiot Malfoy was. Hermione had always imagined that having two boys fighting over you must be the most flattering situation possible. But she didn’t feel flattered….queasy was a more appropriate word.

****************************************************************************

“ All right, what’s going on?” Ron was asking her later at lunch. They were out in the courtyard, and Malfoy had trotted off to go pick flowers for her. Hermione didn’t know where Harry was, but she was keeping an eye out for him. There had to be some way she could explain without admitting that she had knowingly drunken the love potion.

“ Ron,” Hermione said with a sigh, “ I don’t think you’d understand.”

“ What? Why not? I’m too dumb, is that it?”

“ Ugh!” Hermione moaned, “ Now you’re going to make me feel more guilty than I already do?”

“ Guilty? Look, I just want to know why you’ve been prancing around with Malfoy all day. Why are you putting up with him? Surely he’s up to something—you know the big Quidditch match is tonight? Who knows what he’s got up his sleeve, and I have a funny feeling that all this love business has something to do with it.” Ron raised his eyebrows.

“ Honestly, is everyone blind?” Hermione hissed in a low whisper, “ Can’t you see this is the work of a love spell gone horribly wrong?”

Ron scoffed, “ It’d have to go pretty darn wrong for you two to end up together, unless you substituted the word “hate” for “love”. What were you doing messing around with love potion, anyway? Don’t you know that stuff is DANGEROUS?”

“ Well obviously I DIDN’T.” Hermione hissed, having hoped he’d be a bit more understanding. “ And anyway, Rosa is the one who made it. I only ended up drinking it…accidentally.”

Ron gave her a look.

“ What? What? It was dark—I, I thought it was water.” Hermione muttered, unconvincingly.

“ Whatever.” Ron said, “ So Rosa made the potion for Malfoy and you…mistakenly…drank it. And now you’ve got to play along so he doesn’t off himself over you, eh?”

“ Yes…” Hermione said haltingly. Why did everyone but her know the workings of love potion?

“ Well, it’s not really all that bad, I guess.” Ron said, “ I mean, Rosa isn’t exactly a whiz when it comes to potions. I’m sure it won’t last very long.”

“ Yeah,” Hermione muttered, “ But I don’t think I can last very long like this either…Where’s Harry?”

Ron laughed. “ You really have a one-track mind, you know? He’s on the Quidditch field—making the team take an extra practice during lunch.”

Hermione sighed. “ He’s turning into a regular Oliver Wood.”

Ron shrugged, “ Well they do have the most important Quidditch match of their lives tonight against Slytherin.” He said matter-of-factly. Hermione snorted. The words “important” and “Quidditch” didn’t quite fit together, in her humble opinion.

Before Ron could offer a rebuttal, Draco came traipsing over, holding a crown of pansies he’d picked near the Herbology labs. He grinned at Hermione and placed it delicately atop her head.

“ Thank you, Draco.” Hermione said, grinning despite the ridiculousness of the whole situation. Draco wasn’t so bad in this mindless, love-bird state. But she still wished his affections were directed at Rosa, rather than herself.

“ Where is Rosa?” Hermione asked Ron, “ I feel really bad…” she muttered, looking at Draco out of the corner of her eye.

“ Oh, yeah.” Ron said, rolling his eyes, “ Well, it’s not as if he really…oh never mind. I don’t even want to think about it. She’s at Quidditch practice with Harry—she’s the new Keeper, remember?”

“ Right.” Hermione said through gritted teeth, trying to ignore the fact that Draco’s head was on her shoulder. “ Um—Draco?”

“ Yes, my love?”

“ Could you be a dear and go get me another bottle of apple juice? I’m all out.” Hermione said.

“ Anything, my darling!” Draco said with a smile, jumping up as if getting juice for Hermione was the greatest thing anyone had ever suggested he do. Ron grinned at her.

“ Sort of convenient, having your own personal slave, eh?” he asked.

“ Stop it, it’s not funny.” Hermione said, feeling embarrassed that she was using Draco to run errands for her—but it was better than having him hanging on her every minute. “ What does Harry think about all this? Did he say anything to you?”

Ron looked thoughtful for a moment. “ Well, of course he’s baffled beyond belief—I mean, DRACO? It doesn’t make any sense. But I’ll just explain to him that Rosa made the potion—“

“ NO!” Hermione said, her cheeks flushing red at the very idea. “ Harry can NOT know that I drank love potion!”

“ Oh FINE.” Ron sounded fed up. “ Look, I never said I wanted to be the messenger between the two of you anyway.” He fell backward on to the grass in the courtyard, and shut his eyes against the afternoon sun.

“ Sorry,” Hermione said, taking off her crown of pansies and playing with the petals absently. “ I know I’ve made a mess of everything.”

“ It’s not just you,” Ron said with a sigh. “ Harry—the two of you—you need to just, I dunno, work things out with each other before we all lose our minds.”

“ I know,” Hermione said, pulling a purple flower petal off the crown. She muttered “Findidecipelius”, and the petal turned into a little butterfly. Hermione smiled—she didn’t even need her wand anymore. The tiny butterfly explored her hand for a few moments before raising it’s purple wings and flying away. “ I know,” Hermione whispered again, wondering what on Earth she’d say to Harry.

***************************************************************************

Harry had skipped dinner to remain on the Quidditch field, and Hermione still hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to him all day, not with Malfoy following her around every minute. Hermione had been having him do everything but her taxes, trying to keep him busy, but she was running out of tasks and he was getting all too entirely on her nerves.

“ Your hair looks lovely today, my sweet,” Draco cooed as they walked to the Quidditch field, petting her hair and gazing at her with watery eyes. Hermione wanted to just forget the whole thing and shove him off, but she wasn’t going to break anyone’s heart—even if he was just under a love spell. She knew all too well herself how that felt.

“ Thanks Draco,” Hermione muttered dryly, wondering how much longer the spell would last. Lots of the Quidditch players were standing in the lobby near the locker rooms as the crowd filed into the stadium. Hermione searched for Harry, hoping that if they just saw each other it would be of some comfort to both of them. But before she could find him Draco grabbed her around the waist.

“ Hey—“

“ Hermione,” he said, “ Tonight, I play to win. And I’ll dedicate Slytherin’s victory to you, my love.”

“ Hooray.” Hermione muttered. “ Shouldn’t you go get ready now? We wouldn’t want you to be late for your big…victory.”

“ Yes of course,” he said, his eyes looking…funny. Nervous, even. “ But one thing before I go.” He licked his lips.

“ Um—“ Hermione didn’t have time to protest before Draco had placed a sloppy, wet kiss on her lips. Hermione winced, though she hoped he didn’t see. “ Bye,” she said, pushing him away.

“ Farewell for now, cherished one!” Draco called, causing several onlookers to snicker. Hermione rolled her eyes. That wasn’t her first real kiss of course-- she’d kissed Harry once, though she still told herself in her more bitter moods that it had been an accident. She had been leaving the train station after their sixth year, and had leaned in to give him a quick peck on the cheek when Harry turned his head and caught it on the lips. Hermione had been so embarrassed she’d wanted to die, but it had still been a much better kiss that what she’d just had with Draco. Well at least things can’t get worse, she thought turning toward the stadium as Draco trotted off to his locker room.

As soon as Hermione turned around she finally spotted him—Harry, standing with Rosa and Stephen Gouish near the doors to the stadium. They were all staring at her, Rosa looking shocked, Stephen looking confused, and Harry looking both shocked and confused, and hurt as well. Hermione felt horrible. But what could she do? Harry walked past her briskly on the way to the locker room, his gaze unmoving, avoiding Hermione’s eyes as he rushed away.

“ Harry wait,” she protested, but he only ignored her and loudly slammed the door to the locker room behind him. Rosa walked over to her and shook her head.

“ You’d better go after him,” she said, “ He doesn’t know about the whole love potion thing.”

“ You didn’t tell him?” Hermione asked, her voice small.

“ No, I didn’t want to embarrass you.” Rosa said, her gaze softening a bit.

“ Oh, Rosa, you’re such a good friend and I’m horrible!” Hermione wailed, almost wanting to hug her after all she’d put her through. “ I’m so sorry, I’ve gone and ruined everything!”

“ Now, now.” Rosa said, patting her shoulder. “ Come with me. All is not lost. And you can make it up to me later,” she smiled sweetly, “ Everyone makes mistakes!”

***************************************************************************

Rosa led her into the Gryffindor locker room, and showed her where the boys got dressed.

“ I’ve got to go get ready.” She said, “ Just knock on the door and ask for Harry.”

“ But what will I say?” Hermione asked, wringing her hands nervously.

Rosa sighed, “ The truth, Hermione,” she said, “ Not that I don’t approve of a little white lie now and then, but you’ve gotten caught up in such an incredible disaster today that the only way out is to admit everything.” She shrugged, “ If Harry feels the way we all think he does…well, it won’t matter.”

“ What if he doesn’t?” Hermione muttered, eyeing the door to the boy’s changing room.

“ Don’t think about that now.” Rosa said, “ Just tell him. He’s feeling really upset about the Draco thing—he doesn’t understand. Don’t you see he wouldn’t care if he wasn’t jealous?”

“ You’re right,” Hermione said with a decisive nod, “ I can do this.”

“ You can do this.”

“ I’m brave.”

“ You are.” Rosa reassured, smiling, “ Oh, Hermione, how could anyone stay mad at you?” she asked, pinching her cheek, “ You’re just adorable! But no more kissing Draco, okay?”

“ Oh, Great Wizards,” Hermione muttered, “ Not if I can help it.”

Rosa giggled and walked off, wishing her good luck. Hermione raised a shaking hand to the door, knocking on it twice. Davis Richter, one of Gryffindor’s Beaters, opened the door, a towel hanging around his neck.

“ Hermione?” he said, his cheeks turning red, “ What are you doing here?”

“ May I please see Harry for a moment?” Hermione asked, embarrassed and scared. Geez, she thought as Davis walked off to find Harry for her, I’ve had birthdays that were better than today.

When Harry finally appeared at the door, he was wearing his Quidditch robes and looking remarkably angry. Hermione shrank—she was afraid there was nothing she could say…Harry would hate her for all eternity.

“ Harry I wanted to explain…” she began, her voice unsteady. He shut the door to the locker room behind him.

“ You know,” he said quietly, “ You really hurt my feelings.”

Hermione’s heart broke for him. “ I know, but it’s not how it looks.”

“ No?”

“ No.” she answered. She gathered her courage, and then uttered the two words that had momentarily ruined her life. “ Love potion.” She choked out.

“ L-love potion?” Harry frowned, “ For Draco?”

“ Yes.” Hermione said, “ Rosa made it for him. I…I didn’t know it was specific to the person you made it for….” She trailed off. Harry opened his mouth and then shut it quickly.

“ You know…you’ve hurt my feelings before, too!” Hermione said, looking away from him, her voice quaking.

Harry sighed. “ You don’t understand,” he said, “ This is why I can’t do this…”

Hermione didn’t know what she meant. Was this the big, romantic moment she’d imagined, where they spilled their true feelings for each other? It sure didn’t feel like it. The locker room door burst open, and the boys walked out in their robes, carrying their brooms and looking determined.

Davis glanced at Harry as he walked past, “ This is no time for romantic endeavors, Potter,” he teased with a grin, “ Let’s go kill some snakes!”

Harry returned his grin, but he looked tired. Something is going on, Hermione thought with a sigh, he’s not going to tell me… She looked up at him. He leaned close to her and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her.

“ Stupid,” he whispered in her ear, “ What do you need love potion for?” With that he walked off, leaving Hermione filled with the first good feeling she’d had all day. She grinned slightly to herself, hoping he meant what she thought he did.

****************************************************************************

Hermione sat watching the match with Ron and Ginny, hardly noticing who was winning—just happy that Draco was away from her and that Harry and Rosa didn’t hate her. She watched them whip by on their brooms, thinking that Quidditch was really like a very complicated aerial dance. She watched all the people in her life flying about up there on their brooms, intent on what they were doing, each with their own part in the dance-- Rosa keeping things safe for the home team, Draco threatening to trip them all up at any moment as he sped around erratically on his broom, and Harry, shooting around all of them, almost oblivious to the other players as he searched relentlessly for something none of the others were looking for. You could say Draco was also looking for the Snitch, but mostly he was just watching Harry’s every move for clues. In fact, the way he was watching him was beginning to bother Hermione…

Draco suddenly shot up from below Harry and knocked into him. Harry managed to hang on, but he flipped over and flew off course. The Gryffindor side of the stadium booed.

Before Hermione had a chance to move her eyes from the field, Draco was after him again—now grabbing onto the end of Harry’s broom and tossing him toward a flying Bludger. Davis reached over and knocked it out of the way just in time. Now the Gryffindor side let out a collective sigh of relief, as the Slytherin side booed.

“ What is Malfoy doing out there?” Ginny asked, “ Has he gone mad? He’s not even looking for the Snitch!”

Ron yawned, “ Geez, Ginny, wake up,” he said, “ Malfoy’s always been a mad little bugger. He’s not acting any differently than he normally would.”

“ No,” Hermione said, shaking her head—“ She’s right, something’s wrong…”

They watched in horror as Malfoy approached Harry again, this time from the side, giving the end of his broom a swift kick. Madam Hooch finally blew her whistle for a foul, but Malfoy just ignored her. As Harry was trying to regain his balance, he knocked him off his broom entirely, raising a surprised gasp from both sides of the crowd. Harry fell to the ground with a sickening thump.

“ He’ll be okay, Hermione,” Ginny said—But Malfoy was still after him! He raced to the ground and met the injured Harry there, while the rest of the Gryffindor team finally realized what was happening and soared down to try and help Harry.

But Malfoy, with a wild look in his eye, raised his broom and spilt it in two over his knee. He brought one of the halves up above his head, and pointed the sharp end at Harry’s chest, glaring down at him with intent.

“ THIEF OF HEARTS!” He screamed, Harry trying to inch away, his leg obviously broken, “ IF I CAN’T HAVE HERMIONE NO ONE CAN!”

“ Great Wizards!” Hermione screamed, jumping up and running down the bleachers, “ He must have seen Harry and I in the hall!” Ron followed her as she vaulted over the wall and onto the field, rushing to stop Draco. Members of the team were trying to help, but Malfoy was fighting them off with his wand. Meanwhile, Harry reached for his—

“ Wait!” Hermione screamed, running to them, but Rosa got there first.

“ Okay,” she said, still calm. “ This has gone on long enough.” With that Rosa raised her wand to Malfoy, and shot a blast of orange-ish light in his direction. The crowd gasped again. Malfoy fell to his knees, dropping the sharp piece of broken wood.

Malfoy looked up, shaking his head and blinking as if he were trying to adjust his eyesight. The stadium had fallen silent, everyone watching the scene in the middle of the field. Hermione ran to Harry.

“ Are you okay?” she asked, pulling his head into her lap.

“ A little sore….” He winced, “ What just…happened?”

“ I’m not quite sure.”

Everyone looked to Rosa, who was helping Draco up. He looked so weak all of a sudden, but he didn’t seem angry anymore. What had she done to him?

“ It’s all over folks!” Rosa announced loudly, “ Nothing to see here! Move along, move along!”

Hermione saw Professor McGonagall and Madame Hooch running toward them, both looking extremely angry. She looked down at Harry, and pushed his bangs off his forehead.

He stared up at her, a dream-like expression on his face. “ Some day, huh?” he said, smiling despite his pain.

“ What is going on here Rosa?” McGonagall demanded, looking like she may have exploded at any moment, “ And YOU, Draco Malfoy—“

Malfoy looked extraordinarily confused as he steadied himself against Rosa. He looked at her wearily.

“ McNally,” he muttered, before fainting into her arms.

***************************************************************************

Hermione waited until everyone else had gone to bed before she went to visit Harry in the hospital wing. Madame Pomfrey had insisted he stay there for the night, though she’d been able to easily repair his broken bones. Hermione found him lying in a bed near the window, looking bored and eating chocolate.

“ Hey,” he said, grinning when he saw her. “ I guess you heard what happened.”

“ Yeah—Rosa—I could kill her!” Hermione said, sitting down on the end of Harry’s bed. “ She knew the reverse spell for the love potion all along—she just wanted to teach me a lesson about messing with other people’s things.” Hermione shook her head, “ And to think I was actually beginning to like the little witch!”

“ Ooh,” Harry said sarcastically, “ Don’t let her catch you calling her that!”

Hermione glared at him, though she couldn’t help but smile. “ Don’t tease me,” she said, lying her head down on the bed. Harry reached down and smoothed her hair.

“ Anyway,” she said, closing her eyes, “ I suppose I deserved it.”

“ Yeah,” Harry said thoughtfully. “ You did.” They both giggled. Hermione was surprised with herself—she didn’t feel very nervous. I guess I’m just glad everything’s back to normal, she thought happily. But Ron was right—I need to get some things straight…

“ Harry,” she said, sitting up and looking at him. “ How many things have we talked about since we've known each other?”

“ I don’t know,” Harry said, a bit puzzled, “ A million? Everything.”

“ But we’ve never talked about what we think about each other.” Hermione said, trying to remain cool and composed.

“ No,” Harry said, sliding his tongue over his teeth, “ I don’t suppose we have.”

“ I-I don’t usually do that sort of thing, I guess.” Hermione said, “ Analyzing things and all. Some things are better left unsaid.”

“ I agree,” Harry said, clearly not knowing what to think.

“ Do you?” Hermione wasn’t sure she could go any further.

“ Yeah—um, well, I suppose I haven’t had much experience in that area anyway…” Harry was sort of rambling now, looking around the room.

“ Yes, well.” Hermione was trying to be determined to see this through, “ It’s a fascinating subject.”

Harry nodded.

Neither of them said anything for a few seconds, both on the verge of speaking, but Harry was frightened and Hermione was disconcerted. Nothing ever goes how I plan it to, she thought sourly, but even so…

“ So I guess we’ll have to play Slytherin again next week,” Harry blurted out, changing the subject in the worst kind of way. “ After what happened…”

“ Yes, I destroyed a whole whole Quidditch match, isn’t that something?” Hermione said, annoyed.

“ Well it wasn’t really all your fault—“

“ Anyway, I don’t think I’ll come to the next one,” she said, pretending to be bored, looking out the window, “ I’m rather tired of Quidditch, I always seem to end up watching you have a near death experience.”

“ Hmm.”

Again they were silent, but longer this time, and Harry offered her some chocolate, which they ate together quietly. It was snowing outside, and Hermione was disappointed again, but she didn’t want to leave, and Harry’s eyes were as big as dinner plates. She found it rather fascinating that she had this effect on him.

“ Hermione, I have to tell you something,” Harry said, rushing to get the words out.

Madam Pomfrey walked in the room, frowning when she saw Hermione.

“ What are you doing in here so late?” Pomfrey asked, “ Out you go!” she gestured to the door.

Hermione got up to go but Harry didn’t seem to be finished.

“ It's about - you know - my feelings - for, er,” he called, “ Should I say out loud? I mean, do I have to? Need to?” Hermione turned back to him, and even Madam Pomfrey was now listening with intent.

“ No, Harry,” Hermione said, smiling. " You don't have to say it." She glanced at Madam Pomfrey. " I know."

“ And you’re not angry?” Harry blurted, and Madam Pomfrey actually laughed.

“ All right, you two, enough is enough,” she said, shaking her head, “ Back to Gryffindor Tower, young lady.” Hermione nodded, then cast one last look back at Harry.

“ Great Wizards, Hermione,” Harry said, “ It’s very selfish of me to do this to you right now.”

Hermione frowned. “ What? Why?”

“ Because,” he looked back and forth from Madam Pomfrey to Hermione, “ I’m in trouble.”

“ What do you mean, tro—“

“ YOUNG LADY, I believe I asked you to depart.” Pomfrey said, in an uncharacteristically harsh tone. She cast a meaningful look back at Harry as she pushed Hermione out the door.

Hermione turned to her once they were in the hall. “ What was he talking about?” she asked, “ What’s going on?”

Madam Pomfrey looked sad for a moment, then a determined look fell over her face. “ Go.” She said, pointing toward Gryffindor Tower.

Hermione turned and walked away through the dimly light halls of Hogwarts, peeking out the windows at the falling snow. I feel I’ve picked a horrible time to fall in love with someone, she thought to herself. She reached up and touched the amethyst trinket Harry had given her, and prayed she wouldn’t have any dreams of the Forrest—not tonight.

THE END….for now!