Chapter 6 : Bitter Changes and a Chilling Truth
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“Come on. I know you know it,” the old man urged.
“Well, if you know, then why not let me in?” Draco anticipated.
The old man shook his head. “You know the rules.”
Draco anxiously ran his hand through his hair. He heard some footsteps nearing him and prayed that it was Harry to tell him the password. When he turned toward the sound of the footsteps, he saw the steps belonged to Hermione.
“Hi, Harry. What happened to you? You weren’t at breakfast. Is everything alright?” she asked, as she walked closer to him.
“Do you always pester him with these many questions?” Draco rolled his eyes.
“Huh? Who?” she inquired.
Draco shook his head, remembering that he was suppose to be Harry. “Nothing. Forget it. I forgot the password.”
Hermione stared at him for a few seconds. She thought it strange that he forgot the password and began thinking that perhaps this wasn’t Harry at all. She placed her hands on her hips and tilted her head, searching for some sort of sign. “Quick, who do you like?” she asked, making sure this really was Harry and not an impostor who took Polyjuice Potion.
“What?” Draco snapped. “Why are you asking me that?”
She squinted her eyes as she stared into his. She found them to be a little cold and empty, which frightened her. “How can I be so sure that you’re really Harry?”
Draco sighed. She was smarter than he gave her credit for. He thought for a few moments, trying to think who Harry liked. He remembered he had a thing for Cho, but that didn’t last long. Then he remembered that he had started dating Ginny. While trying to figure it out, so he could pass Hermione’s test, he suddenly remembered what Harry had said in the bathroom. He remembered how Harry became jealous at the thought of him snogging Hermione.
“You should know who I like. She’s standing right in front of me,” he said, trying to muster the words from his mouth.
Hermione smiled. Harry had just told her two days ago about his feelings, and she knew it hadn’t gotten around school yet. The only other person who knew was Ron. “Sorry, Harry. You know we have to be careful. Especially with You-Know-Who on the loose.”
“I know,” Draco nodded, happy to have passed her test.
“Wizards duel,” Hermione said to the old man in the portrait.
“Ugh, you’d think I would’ve remembered that,” Draco pretended, hoping that Hermione would not try to question him again.
They entered the common room, and Draco quickly walked over to Harry’s room. Hermione headed toward a table near the couch and stuffed a few of her books that were laying there into her bag.
“Don’t be too long, Harry. We have Charms in ten minutes,” Hermione called.
Draco rolled his eyes as he entered Harry’s room. Man, she’s annoying, he thought, as he picked up Harry’s books and placed them in Harry’s bag. He then stopped packing and smiled at the thought of Hermione. Well, she really isn’t that annoying. He thought it was kind of refreshing to have someone worry about him and think about him in a caring way like she did.
“Harry, we have to go,” she called from the other room.
“In a minute,” he barked. Of course, he still didn’t like being hurried, or told what to do.
Hermione and Draco silently walked down the hallway. There was nothing he had or wanted to say to her, and she was rather upset about how he yelled at her just before. She knew Harry was hiding something from her, and it saddened her to think that he couldn’t trust her.
As they entered their Charms classroom, Hermione spotted Ron waving them over at a table he was sitting at. “Good, Ron found us seats,” she casually said.
“Oh goodie,” Draco sarcastically said.
Hermione ignored his comment and sat down on Ron’s right side; Draco sat down on Ron’s left. Ron curiously looked at both of them, wondering why the two weren’t sitting together. He leaned toward Draco and whispered, “what’s going on with you and Hermione?”
“Nothing,” Draco coolly replied.
Ron heard Hermione huff and he turned toward her. She had her arms crossed and was staring at the front of the classroom, patiently waiting for Professor Flitwick to begin his lessons.
Charms class went smoothly for Draco, which made Ron a little suspicious. He knew Harry was okay in class, but nothing like he saw today. Harry knew a lot more Charms than usual and was able to perform them on only his second try, when it usually takes him about five.
When class ended, Draco hastily shoved his books in his bag, hoping that he could get out before Ron and Hermione were ready.
“What’s your rush?” Ron asked.
“Just don’t want to be late for Transfiguration, that’s all,” Draco stated.
“Transfiguration? We don’t have that today,” Ron explained.
Draco stopped packing and looked up at Ron. He forgot that the Slytherins had Transfiguration today, not the Gryffindors. “Oh, right. I forgot.”
“It seems like you’re forgetting a lot of things lately,” Hermione sighed.
“Well, I do have a lot on my mind,” Draco retorted.
“I know, Harry. So, please stop biting my head off,” Hermione fought.
“Whatever, Granger,” Draco uttered.
Hermione looked up at him, with tears starting to form in her eyes. She quickly packed up her belongings and hurried out of the classroom. She couldn’t understand why her best friend, who told her that he liked her just a couple of days ago, was snapping at her and now calling her by her last name. Luckily, she had Ancient Runes next and wouldn’t have to see him until later.
“What did you just say?” Ron asked, utterly shocked.
Draco looked toward Ron, baffled. He couldn’t recall what he just said, but he knew that he didn’t call her Mudblood. He made sure not to call her that. “What? What did I say now?”
“You called her Granger. And almost exactly the same way Malfoy does,” Ron explained.
Draco smirked at the mention of his name.
“What’s going on, mate? I mean, why the sudden attack on Hermione?” Ron asked.
Draco sighed. “Doesn’t she ever just annoy you?”
“Well, yeah, but that’s what makes her Hermione,” Ron laughed, lightly punching Draco in the shoulder. “Come on. It’s our free period. Let’s go see Hagrid.”
Draco groaned. There was no way he was going to visit that big oaf. “Maybe some other time.”
“But, you promised him on our first night here that we would go,” Ron exclaimed.
“Yeah, well, things change,” Draco muttered.
“Harry, seriously, what’s wrong? You’re really different since the last time I saw you,” Ron worriedly said.
“Maybe I am,” Draco shrugged, walking out of the classroom, and leaving Ron scratching his head in confusion.
Draco walked down the hallway, snickering to himself. There was no way he was going to hang with Ron on his free period. He was Harry Potter. He had more important things to do.
“Damn it!” Draco shouted, as he lifted his hand to the throbbing scar on his forehead. The pain was so unbearable, that he had to stop walking and crouch down on the floor. He had felt pain before, but never like this. He rubbed the scar harder, hoping that it would ease the pain, and to his avail, it worked.
He felt a little weak, as he tried to stand up. He had no clue what that was about, or why it had happened. He was just minding his own business when he suddenly felt the scar sting his forehead. “Man, I hope that doesn’t happen again,” he frowned, rubbing his forehead again.
Hermione skipped lunch in the Great Hall and decided to eat in the kitchen of her common room. She was still not ready to see Harry; however, she knew she would have to see him in her next class, which was Potions. At least Ron will be there, she thought.
After lunch, she walked to the Potions classroom, with her head lowered. As she made her way to the door, she bumped into someone. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she started, but after looking up, frowned. Not now. Not him, she thought, as she looked up into those cold, gray-blue eyes. But, to her astonishment, his eyes didn’t look as cold as they normally did.
Harry smiled, but it faded when he looked a little closer and saw the pain in her face. “What’s wrong?”
“Since when do you care what’s wrong with me, Malfoy?” Hermione snapped, as she stormed into the classroom.
Harry shook his head. He hated that he would not be able to talk to her while he was in Draco’s body. She would never give him the time of day, even if he tried to be polite. He became enraged, thinking that it had to have been Draco who caused her to feel this way.
He walked inside the classroom and took a seat in the back. He watched Hermione lean on her hand, staring absentmindedly out the window. He wanted so desperately to go over there and take her in his arms. He sighed, knowing he would not be able to touch her for a while. When he turned around, he saw Ron and Draco enter the classroom and sit down next to Hermione, with Ron in the middle.
“What are you staring at,” a voice called out.
Harry turned and saw Blaise Zabini throw his bag on the table and sit down next to him. He then felt a hand gently caress his shoulders and noticed Pansy Parkinson sit down on the other side of him. “Better not be another girl,” she said, looking in Hermione’s direction. “Ew, I know you weren’t staring at Mudblood Granger.”
“Don’t call her that,” Harry said, through clenched teeth.
“Why not? You do,” she argued.
“Well, it’s about time I stop,” Harry announced.
Blaise and Pansy looked at each other and then burst out laughing.
“Oh, that was good. I needed a laugh,” Blaise said, as he wiped some tears away, when the laughter died down.
“Drakey,” Pansy started, placing her hand on Harry’s thigh.
Harry flinched at her touch. He remembered what Draco had said about her not liking the word no. He knew he was trapped and had to find a way to get her to stay away from him. He positioned himself in a different way, but unfortunately, her hand remained. He thought about possibly taking her hand off his thigh and holding it in his, but the thought repulsed him.
“You’re coming to see me tonight, aren’t you?” she flirtatiously whispered in Harry’s ear.
He became paralyzed at her words that breathed in his ear. He felt a wonderful sensation inside of him and couldn’t believe that Pansy was the one who gave him this. No other girl had ever been able to do that, and it frightened him when he started to fantasize about her. He was very tempted to tell her yes, but when he looked over and saw Draco’s scornful look, he quickly withdrew Pansy’s hand from his thigh.
“Drakey, what gives?” Pansy huffed.
“Why do you have to call me that?” Harry asked.
Pansy smiled. “Come on, Drakey. You know you like my little pet name for you.”
Blaise quietly chuckled to himself, but Harry was still able to hear him. He knew that Draco and Blaise were best friends, so after hearing him laugh, he knew that Draco must really not like the name. Thank Merlin, he thought.
“Come off it, Pansy. You know I like that name just as much as I like muggles,” Harry said, turning away from her and smirking at Blaise. He felt sort of bad treating her that way, but he knew that’s what Draco would have done.
Pansy crossed her arms and started to pout. She did not like getting rejected. She looked toward Draco and saw him staring at her. She smirked and leaned toward Harry. “Looks like you may have some competition,” she whispered.
Harry turned back around. “What?”
Pansy tilted her head toward Draco’s direction. Harry turned in the direction she was motioning and saw Draco still watching them. “I always did find Potter rather sexy,” Pansy teased.
Harry had to stifle a laugh. He couldn’t believe Pansy said that she thought he was sexy. He watched Draco turn back around in his seat. He turned toward Pansy and smirked. “As if he’d have you.”
He couldn’t believe what he had just said. Was that me or Malfoy? He didn’t know what made him say it, but he felt rather good afterward.
Professor Slughorn entered the classroom and pointed his wand toward the chalkboard, where words suddenly appeared, which looked vaguely familiar to Harry. He leaned forward a little more, reading the words again, and slowly moved back in his chair when he remembered where he had seen those ingredients before. He looked over and saw Draco quickly look back at him. He knew that Draco had figured it out, as well.
“Today we are going to learn about Desiderium and the effects it can have on a person,” Slughorn began.
Hermione’s hand shot up in the air, which Slughorn took notice. “Yes, Ms. Granger.”
“But, Professor, we won’t be making that potion, will we?” she frantically asked.
“No, of course not. As I’m sure you already know why,” he winked at Hermione, who proudly smiled, knowing the reason.
Draco, on the other hand, did not understand and quickly raised his hand, speaking before being called on. “Why not?”
“Desiderium is considered very dangerous,” Slughorn explained, walking toward the center of the classroom, to gather the students’ attention. “Imagine a potion that can grant one of your deepest desires.”
“That doesn’t sound like such a bad thing,” Lavender Brown stated.
“Well, of course that doesn’t sound bad,” he laughed.
“Then why is it dangerous?” Neville Longbottom shyly asked.
“Well, as the potion became more and more widespread, people greedily started taking it, not thinking about the consequence.”
“Consequence?” Harry gulped.
“What makes this potion highly dangerous is that there is no known reverse to it.”
Harry’s eyes widened and he went immediately pale. He could not believe what he just heard and knew it had to be a joke. Snape would not have let us make a potion that had no reverse. Or would he?
“What about a bezoar?” Draco asked, looking rather pale himself.
“It’s too powerful of a potion for that,” Slughorn said, returning to his seat. “It’s so powerful that even if one were to inhale it, they would become affected. So, now you can see why we won’t be making that potion.”
“But, I still don’t understand why it’s dangerous. I mean, so what if there’s no reverse. You’ll have your wish come true,” Lavender dreamily spoke again.
“But, who really knows what they truly want, Ms. Brown,” he responded. “You may think you want something so badly, but when it happens, you may realize it wasn’t what you wanted after all. And then where does that leave you? You wouldn’t be able to change it.”
“Can’t you just take the potion again and wish for a reverse?” Blaise asked.
“Sadly, no. Once your wish is granted, the effects of the potion cease to work on you again. And, no,” he continued, seeing a few hands rise in the air. “Somebody else cannot wish for the reverse on you, since the potion only works on the person who takes it.”
“What do you mean?” Ron questioned.
Slughorn rubbed his chin, searching for an explanation. “Let’s say you took the potion and wished somebody to drop dead. Nothing would happen because the potion can only affect you. Now, if you were to wish that you dropped dead, you would. Get the picture?”
The students nodded in understanding.
Terrified, Draco slowly turned and looked over at Harry. He could see that he was breathing very rapidly.
Harry turned toward Draco and felt his mouth start to quiver. His whole body went cold and started trembling, and in the next minute, everything turned black and he fell to the floor.
“Drakey!” Pansy screamed, jumping to her feet and looking down at Harry.
The other students in the classroom rose to their feet and surrounded him. Draco, knowing that Harry had gone into shock, quickly ran over to his limp body on the ground.
“He needs to go to the hospital wing,” Slughorn announced.
Draco nodded and without hesitation, he scooped Harry up, ignoring the murmurs and stares from the other students, and rushed him out of the classroom, toward the hospital wing. “Hang on, Potter,” he nervously said. “Just hang on.”
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