Hermione sat in the Gryffindor common room, her papers set out in front of her in neat regiments. To any passer by, she looked like her usual, hard-working self. But rather than focusing on her homework, she was listening to her body screaming to go and find Draco. She could even vaguely tell where he was: somewhere in the dungeons. And she was sure that if she went down to the dungeon, her body would be able to tell her precisely where to go from there to find the boy that she hated.
Harry and Ron pushed their way past a group of third years who were flicking a ball of paper around with their wands and sat opposite Hermione. “It’s true?”
“You heard then?” She irritably tapped her quill against her ink bottle, wondering what she could do to make the constant ache cease.
“Everyone who was in your class has been talking about it,” Harry said, looking at her through concerned eyes. “What happened?”
Hermione sighed: this bit almost hurt more than her body betraying her. “I got the spell wrong.” As Ron opened his mouth to butt in with an incredulous joke, she continued over the top of him. “He did as well. We both cast the wrong spell at the same time, and somehow they turned into one spell. And then we both ate a bit of the apple and instead of wanting to eat the apple, we now want to be close to each other all the time.” She paused. “I can’t believe I just said ‘we’ and meant Malfoy and I. Eurgh.”
“You want to be close to him?” Ron began fiddling with her piles of parchment and she slapped his hands off touchily.
“Yes. My body won’t listen to my brain, which is telling it to stay the hell away from Malfoy. Right now, every muscle in my body is begging me to get up and go and find him.”
“I bet he did this on purpose.”
“Oh, come on Harry. He has absolutely nothing to gain from this. I just wish it would be over. Flitwick said that the charm would break eventually, but he doesn’t know when.”
“It could go on forever!” Ron exclaimed.
Hermione rolled her eyes and contemplated banging her head against the table. “Thanks for that Ron, that was exactly what I needed to hear.”
“Sorry,” he said, with the good grace to look slightly sheepish. “So what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to ignore my body and Malfoy. Simple as that.” She told herself that it would be that simple, that she would make it that simple, and that was the end of the matter. But it was so difficult to be fighting against her body, which had always worked in harmony with her before. It was like Malfoy was a magnet, pulling her towards him like she was nothing more than a tiny piece of metal. “You know what? I’m going up to bed. Maybe it’ll be easier to ignore my body if I get a bit further away from him.”
Her two friends watched her go, but she knew that they would say nothing. What could they say that would solve this problem?
Draco was sitting on one of the green sofas in the dimly lit Slytherin common room, acolytes surrounding him adoringly. Pansy was sitting in the most sought after place; next to him with his arm draped around her shoulders. Draco was cursing Granger more than ever in his head. He was in his element: surrounded by girls, all interested in what he had to say, and a dozen people for him to sneer at, and yet every muscle in his body was telling him to twist away from Pansy and run up to the higher levels of the castle. Granger was somewhere up there and it was driving him mad.
“I bet she planned it,” Pansy said, her face twisted with jealousy at the thought of having Draco compelled to run after her. “Why wouldn’t she?”
“In case it had escaped your notice, all of the Gryffindors hate Draco. Granger wouldn’t tie herself to him on purpose!” Another girl cut in over her, desperate to show Draco that she could be just as scathing as he could be. But it was a wasted effort, as the object of her lustful attention was just staring at the exit to the common room.
Pansy kissed his cheek and pinched his thigh, causing him to look around in irritation. “What?”
“Are you thinking about Granger?” she asked accusingly.
“Of course I’m thinking about Granger. Every part of my body is telling me to go and find her, it would be difficult not to think about her.” He extricated himself from her grasp and stood up. “I’m going to bed.”
“Oh, Draco, come on. Stay with me a bit longer.” She patted the sofa next to her and smiled invitingly.
“No.” He walked away and let himself into his dormitory, throwing himself onto his bed, already feeling the urge to run back out of the room and straight to Granger, wherever she was. It was the worst punishment he could ever have received for not following instructions in class: magically drawn to your worst enemy? Detention would have been a million times better.
Blaise Zabini followed after him, casting one longing look at the bevy of girls that Draco had left behind him, but deciding that the opportunity to rib his friend was too good to miss. “So, Granger, eh?”
Draco lay on his bed and pulled a pillow over his face. “That’s what I said. About a million times. Pay attention Zabini.”
“Touchy.” Zabini slouched on his own bed. “It could be worse.”
Draco tossed the pillow off his face and glared across the dormitory. “How could it possibly be worse? I am inextricably linked to Hermione Granger, with no knowledge of when this link will break. I am having to fight against my own body. I am thinking about Granger when I have got all the Slytherin girls sitting around me waiting for my attention. How the hell could this be any worse?”
His friend paused and looked at the ceiling. “At least you don’t want to sleep with her,” he suggested. “At least your mind’s still working properly, even if your body isn’t.”
“My body wants to get me closer to Granger. Who knows what it’s going to do if I give in and get closer to her?” Draco asked morosely, pulling the pillow back over his head.
“You’re screwed then. Not literally of course.” Zabini stood up and stretched. “Well, you’ve left a group of girls sitting out there without anyone to bat their eyelashes at. I’m sure you won’t mind if I…” And with that, he slid out of the room, leaving Draco grumbling on his own.
His body was twitching now, aching to go and find Granger. It was intolerable. There was no way that he could sleep with this much tension. Rubbing his eyes sleepily, he looked at the dormitory door and felt his body get ready to spring into action in grateful anticipation. Turning his head in the other direction, he swore and threw his pillow across the room. Maybe if he didn’t go and find Granger but if he just went to the halfway point? Maybe that would relax his body, give him his dose of Granger. Wrinkling his face at the thought, he stood up and slid out of the dormitory, making his way across the common room and ignoring the cries of his friends.
He looked around in the corridor. No one was following him. Sighing in resignation, he began to make his way up through the dungeons. Third floor. That was where he would stop.
Hermione tossed and turned, causing Lavender to throw a pillow at her. “For Merlin’s sake Hermione, some of us are trying to sleep!”
“I can’t help it,” Hermione spat. “I’m trying to sleep as well.”
“It’s only Malfoy, why don’t you go and find him?” Parvati murmured irritably.
“Precisely because he’s Malfoy.” Hermione rearranged her pillows as far away from the door as she could manage without falling out of bed.
“I am warning you Hermione, do something to relieve whatever it is you’re feeling, because I am about to do something that I would regret if I wasn’t cranky and tired.” Lavender growled.
Hermione sighed and sat up. “I could try and go a bit nearer to Malfoy. Maybe that’ll help.”
“I don’t care. Just do it.” Parvati’s words were muted as she pulled her quilt over her head.
Hermione stood up and let herself out of the dormitory. Her body was thanking her with every step she took, and she had to force herself not to run. If she lost control now, there was no telling where she would end up.
As she let herself out through the portrait hole, she stopped to think. Her common room was on the seventh floor, Malfoy was in the dungeon. A halfway point would be the best thing. Any closer and…she shuddered to think of what would happen if Malfoy caught her lurking outside his common room. Third floor. That would suffice.
She made her way through the corridors, the ache in her body alleviating slightly as she passed down through the castle. Finally, she got as close as she dared to go and slumped down onto the floor, her muscles still begging her to carry on moving, but not paining her in the way they had been. Burying her head in her hands, she wondered what on earth had possessed her to be so stupid. She should have just let Draco cast the spell. Or she shouldn’t have eaten the damn apple.
She froze, and looked down the dimly lit corridor. Footsteps were coming towards her. Standing up, she wondered if she should flee back to the common room, but then she noticed that the ache in her body was vanishing, although she was feeling a stronger urge to run in the direction of the footsteps: her muscles promising her that it was what she really wanted. She knew precisely who the shadowy figure coming towards her was, and she subsided back to the floor, sullen but unwilling to go back to a bed where she would get no sleep.
Draco was feeling exactly the same thing, and was wondering if he had misjudged the distance of the Gryffindor common room. Surely they couldn’t be this close? He had always gotten the impression that they would be up somewhere high, persuading themselves that they were lording it over everyone else.
He was so caught up in his own thoughts, that it wasn’t until he was nearly upon her that he noticed the small huddled figure at the side of the hall. She raised her face to glare at him, and he almost jumped out of his skin. “Merlin Granger, what the hell are you playing at?”
“I’m sitting in the hall, unable to sleep and cursing your stupidity.”
“You’re just a little ray of sunshine, all the time, aren’t you?” He growled back, sitting at the other side of the hall. Despite their mutual hatred, there was no question of either of them leaving. They both knew what the other was feeling, and they knew that to leave would bring back the ache that was now reduced so much it was barely noticeable.
“When I can’t sleep because I want to go and see you, I know that there’s something seriously wrong! And I know that your idiocy is the reason that I’m feeling like this! So I’m cursing your stupidity much like it’s cursed me!”
“Keep your voice down!” He hissed. “Much as this kills me to say it, I need you to stay here because otherwise my body is going to drive me mad. And if Filch comes and find us, we are going to get even more punishment.”
She nodded and tipped her head back against the wall. “How long do you think this will last?”
“Do I look like a psychic Granger?”
“Doesn’t matter if you were, I still wouldn’t believe you.”
“Then why bother asking me?” He wondered at his misfortune. He couldn’t have ended up bound to the most beautiful, quiet girl in Hogwarts. No, he had to end up next to the one girl who never shut up. He glared at her, and noticed her pyjamas. “You wear pink pyjamas.”
She looked down at herself and wanted to die, especially when she noticed that he was still dressed, just slightly dishevelled. “And?”
“It wasn’t the sort of thing that I would picture you wearing.”
”I hope to God that you never try and picture me in my pyjamas.”
“I won’t need to any more. Now I just know that you look all…fluffy.”
Hermione lowered her head onto her knees and contemplated cursing him. It would shut him and his sneering smirk up. “My normal ones were in the wash.”
“You don’t need to explain yourself to me Granger. And don’t try and ruin the illusion for me.”
“Please be quiet. Please.”
He tipped his head back against the wall and Hermione looked at him surreptitiously from under her eyelashes. He looked just as tired as she was from fighting against her body; purple shadows forming under his eyes. The pink of her pyjamas, now hideously offensive to her, kept catching her eye and she picked at the material covering her knee, feeling very self-conscious.
“Relax Granger and stop staring at me.”
“What?” Surprise at being caught made her high pitched.
“You’re looking at me, and you think you’re being sneaky, which is almost worse. I’m a Slytherin: epitome of sneaky, remember? And stop picking at your knee. They’re just pink pyjamas.”
“Don’t say it like that.”
“Say what like what?”
“Pink pyjamas. You’re…laughing while you say it.”
“And you wouldn’t, if you saw me in pink pyjamas?”
“You’re still doing it!” She protested. “And of course I’d laugh if I’d seen you in pink pyjamas. It’s not exactly the kind of clothing that I’d associate with you.”
“Now you know precisely how I feel.” He rolled his eyes. “Pleasant as this has been, do you think this will be enough to let us go back to our respective beds?”
“Hopefully.” Hermione stood up and took a couple of steps away from him. She wasn’t feeling like she wanted to smack his head against the wall, which made her hate him even more. Why wasn’t he being his usual self? Why wasn’t he hating her and judging her and mocking her? The pyjama thing didn’t count – that was almost affectionate, in the most unsettling, hateful and odd way ever.
As they moved away from each other, Draco looked at her. “Granger.”
She looked around, her face stony.
“This stays between us.”
“You honestly think I’m going to tell people that I met you in a corridor in the middle of the night and stayed with you for more than thirty seconds? What’s wrong with you?” She turned away and made her way up the corridor. Draco watched her depart, the pink of her top visible in the gloom. He shook his head, and resigned himself to the ache that was already growing in his body as he made his way back down to his common room.
AN: Hope you enjoyed, please review! xxx