Chapter 9 : Of Hangover Potions and Snowballs
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Of Hangover Potions and Snowballs
Dobby was very worried about his friend.
She had been there for a good half an hour, chugging bottles of firewhisky down like a baby needing its milk. After he had handed her the hangover potion, she had gone absolutely bonkers! He hadn't bothered to ask how she had acquired such numbness for the strong drink, knowing that it might disturb her from where she appeared to be deep in thought. Dobby just sat there, watching as she emptied bottle after bottle, until she was up to about five. He wanted to stop her, he should stop her, but there was this itching feeling that she needed to handle this by herself. But, he promised himself that if she asked for another bottle, he would refuse. Any more of that stuff and she could end up in a coma!
He loved his Hermione, worshiped her almost as much as Harry Potter himself. But there came a time where her best interests had to overshadow her need for alcoholic beverages. If he was thinking correctly, there were only two people that could make her stop, not including himself. The first was Harry Potter. He had been so nice and caring to Hermione that Dobby had to go to the side and jump for joy. She deserved real friends, especially considering her upbringing. Of course, she had had it better off that Dobby, but her battle with her guardians had been more internal. He noticed that there was a certain way that Harry looked at Hermione, a sort of high respect. Maybe that was why she didn't want him to reveal her previous housing? She didn't want to lose Harry's trust? Well, it was either that or she liked him, generally liked him.
No, he thought to himself, Miss Hermione had never liked anyone except for Dobby and maybe—
The entrance to the kitchens began to open and Dobby's thoughts were run short. He turned over to Hermione to see her looking at the entrance with a panicked look on her face. Quickly she stumbled over to behind one of the counters, hiding. “Dobby, please don't tell anyone I'm -hic- here!”
The house elf nodded and she curled up behind the small counter. She really needed to get him a lot of socks for all of the things he had, and was going to do for her, that day. She knew better than to go shopping for the things, though. If she recalled, she had quite a few pairs of brightly colored socks tucked away in her trunk from—ahem—her missions. They were eye-catching and she couldn't resist picking a few out from throughout the homes she had visited. It was quite a low thing to do, but she couldn't care less, they were just socks.
She heard the faint sound of footsteps and stiffened, trying her best not to make any sound. It was quite hard, seeing as she was pissed out of her mind. In fact, it was a miracle that she had any say over her actions at all. The only thing that told her she was drunk was her line of vision switching from in-focus to a blur every few minutes.
“Hello Dobby” a masculine voice said.
She knew that voice… she knew that voice. But who was it? Damn, of course the firewhisky chose now to interfere with her mind. Was it safe to come out of her hiding place? Her mind said to stay put, well, either that or it was telling her to spray soot…
Dobby's voice was a mumble and Hermione couldn't tell whose name he spoke. She cursed her ears and tried to lean to the corner of the counter so she could hear the conversation clearer. “No, Dobby, that won't be necessary” the stranger spoke. Hermione leaned a little further and twisted so that she could see the legs of which the voice belonged to. “I was just looking for something to bring back to the…”
Hermione hadn't realized that she was leaning closer and closer to the conversation. So it was quite a shock when her body lost its balance and collapsed on the stone floor, sprawling her for the stranger and Dobby to see. Her head was spinning and she groaned, not really grasping what was happening anymore. The only thing she was aware of was that no one was talking, and after comprehending that, she started to panic.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?”
The condescending voice was a dead giveaway. She turned to look up into his grey, piercing eyes and held back another groan. “Hello -hic- Draco.”
She saw him frown slightly, “You're drunk, aren't you?”
She narrowed her eyes, mostly because her vision was blurring again. “What gives you -hic- that -hic- idea?”
He raised his eyebrows, “Mia, what happened?”
She decided that now was the time to start to get up. Propping herself on her elbows she lifted her body into a kneeling position, grabbing the top of the counter to help pry her up onto her pair of little less than sturdy legs. She slipped a little, but caught herself before she tumbled back to the ground. “I don't want to -hic- talk about it.”
She saw him make an odd face, opening his mouth to talk again, but she lost balance a second time and felt her arm propping her up turn to rubber. Lucky for her, Draco had fast reflexes and caught her by the waist. Hermione made a quiet grumbling sound of protest as he picked her up to cradle in his arms. She could take care of herself, thankyouverymuch! But as she saw the room begin to spin all thoughts of protest began to slip away.
“I'm going to take you back to your common room, alright?” he said sweetly.
Hermione nodded her head, but found that wasn't the best idea as the room began to spin again. Deciding it was best to just stay still, she let her body relax into Draco's arms and heard Dobby calling a faint goodbye as she shut her eyes, thankful that it helped with the dizziness.
The only thing she was aware of was of her body moving slightly up and down with Draco's steps. She started to get used to the pattern and felt her body begin to drift into a sleeping state of mind. Tired, she was very, very tired. Just as her mind began to slip into unconsciousness, he stopped. Hermione shifted slightly. They couldn't be there yet, it had only been a few minutes—at least, that's what it felt like. Hermione forced herself to open her eyes to find that she was looking at the wall of a corridor, and not the corridor that was near her common room.
She opened her mouth to ask what was wrong when she heard footsteps coming from the other side of the hallway. Hermione remained quiet and looked up at Draco, who seemed as though he was making up his mind about something. And if she knew him, the end result wasn't going to be pretty. Then, proving her suspicions correct, she saw the wall moving downward and the stiff feeling of a floor come into contact with her back.
Draco leaned down with a painful look in his eyes, “You'll thank me for this. I'm sorry.”
She didn't quite register what he meant, but before she could ask, he was gone. Hermione let her mind process for a moment, thankful that she could still think. Her other senses were gone and she needed to milk this last one for all it's got. The conclusion wasn't pretty. He had left her there alone in the corridor! The bastard! When I find him, he's going to be sorry he was born, the slimy git! If he ever comes near me again I'm going to—
She was surprised that she could make out her name. The voice was chopped and she had to resort to opening her eyes again to see a burred face looking down at her. From what she could make out, he had dark hair and… and very brightly colored eyes. She knew him, too! But who was he, Damnit?! She groaned as she tried to think of the name. It rhymed with fairy… berry… Carrie…
“What happened to you?” the concerned voice spoke again.
The concern gave it away and she felt her stomach twist, “Harry?”
She saw him nod as his face came into view. How could she not remember Harry? “Yeah… and if you don't mind me asking… what are you doing lying in the middle of an empty corridor? You haven't been hurt or anything, have you?”
Hermione shook her head, “No I -hic- haven't.”
She saw Harry's face relax, but then return to one of concern again as she let herself let out another hiccup. “You're drunk?”
For some reason, she found that really funny and she giggled. “Yeahhhhhhh”
“Hermione, why did you—you know what, never mind. I'm just going to take you up to Gryffindor Tower, alright?”
“Okie dokie artachokie!” She felt herself being lifted again and she let out a “Weeeeee!”
Harry sighed as began to walk them up the few flights of stairs that lead to the common room. Hermione kept on squirming in his arms and he tried his best not to drop her. He had only gone down to the kitchen to get drinks for the victory party and instead found a tipsy Hermione. Ron was going to kill him, not to mention the rest of the tower, who was counting on him for drinks. But, he thought to himself lightly, I think Hermione has drunk enough for the lot of us.
When they arrived at the tower, he spoke the password and ignored the Fat Lady's spiteful gaze. Hermione heard a loud commotion as they entered the portrait hole and asked, “Is there a partyyy? I really love parties!”
“No party for you, Hermione. You're going straight to bed.” But it was then he realized that he couldn't get Hermione to bed, and he didn't want to bother Ginny. Making up his mind, he pushed his way through the crowded room and made his way to the stairs that lead to the boy's dormitory.
“Hey Harry, where's the d—what's wrong with Hermione?” Ron called from his place standing on top of the couch. Harry chose to ignore him and pressed on, finally reaching the stairs. But before he could start to ascend him, Ginny popped up into his vision with a wide grin on her face.
“Hey Harry!” She glanced down to the bundle in his arms and her grin faded, turning to a look of worry. “Oh Merlin, what's wrong with her?”
“Nothing!” Harry said quickly.
Hermione chose then to tilt up her head and smile as she saw her friend staring at her. “Hi-lo G'nny, how are you doing this fine evening?”
Ginny's eyes widened and she looked at Harry with an alarmed look on her face, “She's drunk?!”
“Shh, it's a secret!” Hermione said, giggling as she put a finger over her lips.
“What—how you did… when did you… what happened?!” Ginny asked in a flurry.
Harry looked around for a moment before answering in a hushed tone, “I found her alone in the second floor corridor, lying on the ground. I… I didn't know what to do so I brought her here.”
Ginny looked taken aback for a moment before changing her look to one of sympathy, “The poor thing… do you want me to levitate her to her dorm?”
“No, it's alright, I was going to take her up to mine… more private, you know? I don't think that she'd want a bunch of girls questioning her in the morning.” he explained feebly.
Ginny narrowed her brow, “Are you sure? I could just—”
“Yeah, I'm sure, Gin. I'll be right back.” He said with a small smile. He didn't wait for her to reply as he continued up the stairs, not catching the sour look on her face as she stared after him and the girl in his arms.
He reached the seventh year dorms to find it unsurprisingly empty. Harry made his way over to his canopy and set her down gently. His arms were loosely wrapped around her as he released her onto the soft covers. He removed them and Hermione shivered as his brushed against her sides. She covered it up coolly and looked at him with glossy eyes. “Where'd the -hic- party go?”
“It umm… it left, too much fun with you there that they all tired themselves out.” He tried.
She giggled again and he sighed in relief, “Too bad, soooo sad. But it' okay… because I have…” she lifted her finger to tap his nose lightly, “you to keep me company.”
“Uhh, actually I was going to get back to the…” he trailed off, as Hermione puffed out her bottom lip and shook her head. “…party?”
“I don't want you to go” She said softly, “I want you to stay right here!”
Harry opened his mouth to say something, but she silenced him by pulling him by his collar to lie next to her. He faced her with his mouth agape. He could feel her warm breath on his face, and he flinched when he caught the scent of firewhisky in her breath. “Hermione I… I have to get back to the party.”
“Why?” she asked, a tiny whine present in her tone.
“Because…” she leaned forward and his breath caught, “Because I…” She was barely an inch away from him and he felt his eyes begin to drift close in anticipation. When he felt nothing but the air bushing against his lips, his eyes drifted open to see Hermione lying unconscious beside him.
Chirping was heard outside of the windows and Hermione groaned as the high-pitched noises. Damn birds!
She let her eyes drift open and closed them immediately as the sun burned her eyes. Gods, how she hated hangovers! The only good part of drinking was the part you couldn't remember, and the part you can remember is the most painful. The last think she could recall was being carried down a corridor by… Draco. Yes, that was it. Draco had found her in the kitchens and brought her to her dormitory. He could be a sweetheart, sometimes. But, of course, him being a prick always overshadowed that more times than not.
Hermione remembered Dobby giving her a hangover potion and reached into her pocket to grab it. However, when she groped around for the small vile, she found nothing but an empty pocket. Her eyes widened as she checked the remaining pockets for the potion and began to panic. She couldn't find it! Hermione twisted her neck around frantically, checking around her dorm. On her bedside table she found a small piece of parchment and picked it up.
It read: Hermione, I found this on the bed before I left; I think you might need it. -Harry
Hermione lowered the note to see the vial of hangover potion atop her desk. But before she could let relief wash over her, she re-read the note. Before he left… but that must mean… OH MY GOD I SLEPT WITH HARRY?!
She automatically groped for her clothes to find them highly disheveled and she let her panic rise to the full capacity. How could she have done that?! She didn't even—okay, she liked him, but that was beside the point! She slept wither her fri—her target! Oh Merlin, what was she going to do now?! She had single-handedly sabotaged her mission!
Hermione heard the door creak open and she lay back down in her bed, feigning sleep. Footsteps approached her and she put the potion back on the nightstand, trying to remain still. The footsteps stopped right in front of her and she heard a soft whisper, “Hermione, are you awake yet?”
She allowed her eyes to flicker open and Harry' face came into view. Her heart leapt in her throat as she saw him smile at her. She propped herself on her elbows and stared at him, not really knowing what to say. Thankfully, he spoke up again, “You going to drink that?” He motioned to the potion and she nodded numbly.
Hangover potions were really a miracle. The sweet liquid slid down her throat and she sighed as she felt the symptoms dissipate. Glancing back up at Harry, she let her inhibitions fall as she opened her mouth to speak in a raspy voice, “I'm sorry about last night.”
“That's alright, we all make mistakes.” He said, looking at her with a strange shine in his eyes.
“Mistakes… right…” Hermione mumbled. “I don't really remember much”
Harry nodded, “I figured as much.”
“What happened?” she asked shakily, not knowing whether or not she wanted to hear the answer.
He took a seat on the bed and started to explain, “I found you in the second floor corridor, you were pissed and so I brought you up to my dorm.”
Hermione looked around the room to discover he was right, this wasn't her dorm. She was puzzled for a moment before regaining herself and asking the question she was most anxious to answer, “You mean, nothing else happened after that?”
Harry shook his head, “Not really, no.”
Hermione let a breath of relief out. She didn't sleep with him! Her body slumped against the covers and she let herself relax. Harry noticed her stance and smiled. She saw him out of the corner of her eye and turned to look at him, “What?”
“Well I was just wondering if you felt good enough to go outside?” he asked innocently.
Hermione narrowed her eyebrows, “Why?”
He shrugged, “No reason, it's the first snow of the year and I wanted you to see it…”
“S-snow?” she asked shakily. She threw off the covers and scrambled to the window, seeing the blankets of white powder covering the grounds. Her blood ran cold and she turned back to Harry, who was openly laughing at her. “You think it's funny?”
“Yeah, pretty much”
Hermione reached for a pillow behind him and smacked him over the head. He let out an audible “Oomph” as it collided with his skull and he looked up at her incredulously. She just smirked and tilted her head to the side in warning.
He stood up and faced her, towering over her petit for by a good few inches. “Get your jacket on, we're going outside.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow, “Make me”
“Fine” He raised his wand hand and flicked it in the air. Hermione looked at him oddly until a coat flew into his hand, her coat.
Hermione stared at him in awe, “How did you…”
“Shh” he said, putting a finer over his lips, “It's a secret.”
Something about that phrase struck a nerve in her, almost as if she had said it before. Hermione immediately banished the thought. She would never say something so… so childish! She was too busy thinking about why the phrase got a reaction out of her that when she felt the jacket being placed on her shoulders, she flinched. She craned her neck to see Harry adjusting it before pulling away and facing her again. She slipped her arms through and he smiled, making a beckoning motion with his hand.
Hermione harrumphed and followed behind him, not really knowing why. She knew where he was leading her, so why was she still trailing after him? Snow was freezing cold and here she was without the proper attire, save a single coat. She was risking catching a cold, or worse, pneumonia!
Harry seemed to sense her hesitation and turned around to grab her hand. The friction was instant, working its way from her fingers to her toes, the familiar feeling of a lightning strike awakening her senses. Harry seemed unaware of her reaction as he lead her to the entrance hall in a hurried pace. One might almost think he were late for something. No, this was a spur-of-the-moment thing… wasn't it?
He let go of her hand and opened the door with a push, the cool breeze hitting Hermione like a ton of ice cubes to the face. She shivered and stepped back, attempting to make a run for it. Harry smiled at her mockingly as he grabbed her hand once more, dragging her out of the warmth of Hogwarts. “This isn't fair!” she screamed.
“Life isn't fair” he replied shortly.
“You'll pay for this Harry… Harry… I don't know your middle name.” She trailed off.
He glanced back at her with a small smile, “Its James.”
“Right” she said briefly, “Harry James Potter, you'll regret the day you ever forced me into the snow.”
“Well at least I won't go down alone” he said, coming to a stop in an open part of the grounds, near the black lake.
He let go of her hand and she stared at him with a confused gaze, “What do you mean?”
He just smirked and she felt herself becoming worried. Something wasn't right. Something was going to happen. She was in danger, she could sense it. She turned around; trying to observe her surroundings, but her vision was blocked when a snowball hit her square in the face. The freezing sphere melted down her face in droplets and she gasped. Wiping the residue from her face, she saw two figures coming towards her, both with flaming red hair.
“What is the meaning of this?!” she screeched at the three laughing teenagers.
“We told you that we needed to train you” Ginny said simply.
“But… but… now?” she asked.
“No time like the present” Harry said, forming another snowball in his palms.
“I have no idea how to make a snowball, let alone throw them!” she exclaimed.
“That's why we're here” Ron said with a nod. “To turn you into the best snowball fighter the Burrow has ever seen!”
“Right…” Hermione said uncertainly. “Good luck with that.”
Harry took a step towards her, “You're going to need all the help you can get and we are going to help you. What would you rather do: Get pummeled by a dozen Weasley's because of lack of experience or barely get wet at all and always being able to hit your target?”
“None of the above, I would stay in the house and read a good book.” She said, crossing her arms.
Ginny shook her head, “Wrong answer, Herms.”
Hermione groaned and took a quick look around, not quite sure what she was checking for. When she turned her attention back to them she decided to give up, “Fine, fine. I choose the second one.”
“Excellent” the three said simultaneously.
“Okay, that was a little creepy.” Hermione said honestly.
“You'll get used to it” Ron said with a certainty in his voice.
Hermione gulped and watched as Harry walked up to her. He bent over and picked up a handful of snow, placing it in her bare hands. She shivered and looked at him. “Now, round it with your palms.” He instructed.
She tried to do what he said, but found that she failed miserably, crushing the snow and sending it to the ground. Ginny giggled and Ron bit his lip to keep from laughing. Harry simply sighed, “This is going to be a long afternoon.”
Hermione gave him a small, apologetic smile. Harry gave her another handful of snow and told her to try again. She didn't get it that time, or the time after that. But, by the fourth try, she got the snow to form into a lumpy ball and grinned up at Harry who smiled in return.
“Now, I want you to aim for Ron.” He said.
Hermione gave him an odd look, “You want me to hit him?”
He nodded, “Yeah, that's the basic idea. Don't worry, he can take it.”
Ron grinned over at them, flexing his muscles, “I'm a big, strong man!”
They all laughed at him and Hermione threw the snowball, missing by only a few inches. “Damnit!” she cursed. She made a second snowball and tried again, this going clear over his head. Without waiting for another instruction, she angrily made another snowball and threw it at him with a strong force. It hit Ron square in the chest and she smiled victoriously, panting slightly.
“Well, now we know to get you all riled up before the fight.” Ginny said jokingly.
Hermione laughed half-heartedly and turned to Harry. He looked at her with a small glint in his eyes, “Are you ready for a practice round?”
Hermione thought for a moment, “I don't know”
“Well from what I've seen, you need a few minutes to get into it, so let's give it a go, alright? We'll split up into teams so we have equal chance of winning.”
Hermione nodded, glad that she wouldn't have to depend on just herself so early in her learning. Ginny ran over to Harry's side and her confidence fell, a frown forming on her lips. She walked over to Ron, trying to cover up her disappointment. She saw Harry and Ginny speaking in hushed tones and her blood began to boil. Ginny pecked him on the lips and she almost lost it. Harry turned over to them, hand around Ginny's waist lazily, and asked, “You guys ready.”
“Yeah” Ron spoke on behalf of them.
“Oh yes” Hermione said through clenched teeth.
Ron looked over at her, “Are you alright?”
Hermione looked over with a sharp gaze, “Never better”
Ron seemed to take that as a legible answer and began to form a snowball. Hermione turned back over to Harry and Ginny and pounded snow together tensely, her jaw clenching.
“Ready… set… go!”
Hermione launched a snowball and hit Ginny square in the face, knocking her a few steps backwards. She smirked and launched one at Harry, but he dodged it easily. She quickly hid behind a nearby tree and gathered up more snow, trying to pick the best moment to emerge. She glanced around one side of the tree to see Ginny and Ron charging at each other with armfuls of snowballs and furrowed her brow. Where was Harry? No sooner did that thought cross her mind that a snowball had been crushed over her head. Hermione spun around and crushed the snowball in her arms atop the intruders head. He looked up at her and Hermione saw piercing emeralds staring at her. Her anger escalated, the scene before they began with him and Ginny replaying in her head. Grabbing another glob of snow, she threw it at his face and scrambled towards the clear patch of land.
She could hear Harry following her and picked up her speed. She knew that she had no time to pick up more snow so she was relying on her feet to carry her to safety. Unfortunately, she forgot to count the fact that it was open grounds and the nearest place of shelter was the castle.
Hermione felt arms snake around her waist to try and stop her. But by cause of the speed at which they were running, the two of them fell over. Hermione ended up on top of Harry and shifted uncomfortably. She made a move to get up when an idea struck her. Reaching to the side, she grabbed a handful of snow and pushed it onto his face, rubbing it in before flicking the excess off. Harry stared at her with an aghast look on his face as she smirked in victory.
Her victory was short-lived, however, as Harry used his strength to flip them over, hovering over her with a smirk to match her own moments ago. She was staring at him in shock as he grabbed a handful of snow and rubbed it in her face. She didn't know why, but at that moment she began laughing. Harry looked at her oddly before chuckling a little to himself. But, their laughter faded as they both realized what position they were in. They stared at each other, not really knowing what to do when they heard someone clear their throat. Both of their heads snapped up to see Ginny crossing her arms and tapping her foot, looking at them with narrowed eyes.
They both scrambled off of each other and stood to face the suspicious-looking Ginny. She tilted her head to the side and asked, “What's going on here?”
“We were just playing, Ginny” Harry explained.
Hermione nodded in agreement and Ginny kept her stance, “Yeah right, just playing… and Ron's an anorexic super genius.”
“HEY!” Ron yelled from a few feet away.
“Ginny, nothing was going on, it's not as though we were shagging in the snow!” Harry exclaimed, a slightly mocking tone to his voice.
“You were close enough.” Ginny said hotly.
Hermione opened her mouth to speak, but Ginny stormed off, Harry chasing after her like a lost puppy, calling her name as if his life depended on it. Hermione felt her eyes fill with something… as though water was being accumulated in her pupils. She was going to cry. She had never really cried before. A tear or two when she got a bit over-emotional, but she didn't count that as crying. She wiped her eyes before any tears could fall and walked to the school, sniffing. The cool breeze blew across her face and made her eyes tear up once more. She didn't wipe them this time as she made her way to the castle. It was safe to say that her day was ruined.
She blamed the snow.
A/N: Sorry for the long updates! I'm getting worse with age, I think. Looking back I used to updated directly after the previous chapter was validated and now it's just... well, a lot more different. Sorry if you guys hate it--I wouldn't blame you if you did. Just please stick with the story if you like it! And from the reviews I've been getting that's a large majority of you (YAYY!) so no excuses! Hehe.
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