The pair began working on the brew in silence, neither wanting to consider what its effects would be on them… particularly after last night and this morning. Despite their worries the pair proceeded in their work anyway. The potion changed from a deep purple to a crystal clear.
“Good,” Draco murmured, “I never knew you were any good at potions.”
“I am, but you know Snape used to deduct points from Gryffindor, even if it means he has to make something up.”
“As if McGonagall didn’t… no, I can’t even try and get that lie across. Everyone knows that she is entirely too fair for her house’s own god.”
Slughorn was walking around the room to check on people’s progress just as Draco was adding the final ingredient and the potion turned a deep scarlet.
“Excellent you two. Just excellent. I’ve heard from Professors Miranda that you two are also skilled on the dance floor. Perhaps you liked to come to my dinner party on Friday and show off a bit?” This was the first time Slughorn had ever included Draco in any of his events.
“Sure Professor,” Draco agreed easily. As he walked away Hermione looked at him.
“I thought we were going to have a prefects meeting that day?”
“We’ll move it to Thursday,” Draco said as if this were the most simple thing in the world.
“Your qudditch practice?” Hermione reminded him.
“Is in the afternoon. We’ll have the meeting after dinner.” Hermione ladled a cup of potion into two goblets and pushed one toward Draco.
“Fine. Cheers,” Hermione raised the cup to her lips as her partner did the same. The potions effects were not immediate, instead they sat looking awkwardly at each other.
“Anything?” Hermione asked plaintively.
“No. Nothing,” boredom trailed through his tone.
Instead of awkwardly looking at one another they began watching others in the lab. Only a few others were having any success, and they were still a few steps behind Draco and Hermione.
Hermione soon began to grow very warm. It was as a dim burning was pushing out from her stomach. She pulled off her robe leaving her in her shirt and skirt and then continued to look around the room.
“Hermione, are you feeling warm?” Draco asked. Her attention reverted from the classroom around her to Draco. He’d already taken off his robe, loosened his tie, and unbuttoned the first few buttons.
“Yes it’s fairly balmy, particularly for the dungeon,” She agreed. The warmth reached her neck and head and upon doing so a strong urge over came her. The desire to look at Draco. She did so, only to find him already looking at her. Then she wished to touch him and without question or thought grabbed his hand.
Within seconds this wasn’t enough. Draco pulled Hermione onto his lap and again, didn’t hesitate.
“Stop Draco. We can’t do anything else. We must control it,” Hermione cautioned.
As if coming up from underwater, Draco shook his head and replied, “Right, yes. Control.” The two struggled to remain stagnant when each would love nothing more than to take the other back to their room and shag them senseless. Slughorn was yelling at the lab station behind them for nearly creating a poison and therefore would soon be upon them.
Draco slipped a hand onto her knee, “That’s it, no more.”
“Right, this is okay,” Hermione agreed. This little bit more, couldn’t really do any damage, and they were touching enough now that they should be able to hold off this potion.
“I see your potion worked well. And that perhaps being dance partners has made you two a bit more amiable to one another.” They nodded in agreement, but were too focused on their breathing and remaining calm to actually speak. The Professor moved on to the next pair, who very clearly got the potion right as they were making out much to Slughorn’s displeasure.
“Please tell me we have a free period after this?” Draco whispered into Hermione’s ear. She completely understood why Draco would ask this as the heat and pressure of the potion were becoming unbearable.
“No. We don’t, and even if we did we probably shouldn’t be alone together under the influence of this potion,” Hermione was fighting to remain logical and responsible even as her body was telling her to do just the opposite.
“Damn,” Draco pressed his head against her back in defeat. The heat was becoming unbearable.
“Draco,” Hermione muttered, making him look up. Hermione lowered his lips to meet his, just a quick gentle kiss, but it immediately relieved some of the burn whipping through their bodies.
“Yeah, okay, I think we’ll be fine. This potion wears off in a couple hours,” Draco rationalized.
“But we have the rest of our classes together,” Hermione sighed.
“We’ll just explain it to them, and keep everything under control. That’s the best we can do,” Draco stated as if it were law.
“What classes do we have today?” Hermione asked. She gently ran her hand absentmindedly down the length of his arm. It was amazing that this potion could really make them this comfortable together. But last night had to have changed things a little, and honestly Hermione liked feeling comfortable with him. Having Ginny, Neville, and Luna was great, but Hermione was used to having close best friends, particularly guys.
“After this we have transfiguration, then charms, care of magical creatures, and then herbology,” Draco replied.
“Merlin, a full day,” Hermione groaned. She turned around and gave Draco a quick peck in a very nonchalant manner. “Draco, this… ease between us, is it just because of the potion, or have you finally relaxed around me. I like the change. I was hoping last night may have made this happen and-“
“Hermione, I’ve got issues, you know that, but I think you understand them better than most, so if you’re willing to put up with that, I’d like if we tried to be friends. Besides, if I keep up without talking to anyone I may forget how.”
“Okay, so we’ll try for friends,” Hermione restated.
“Right. Friends-“ the words were barely out of Draco’s mouth when an explosion came from across the lab. Acting only on instinct Hermione and Draco were on their feet with wands drawn and pointed at the source of the noise.
The explosion was only a potion gone wrong, but the damage was done. Hermione and Draco were the two here were most involved in the war. The explosion was enough that they had gone into a frozen flashback. They were not attacking, but they were not seeing the lab. They were seeing killing curses striking across the room, walls crashing down, and blood. The rest of the class remained silent, not wanting to unintentionally set off the pair who still stood in fighting stance. Their chests were rising and falling violently. Upon clearing up any danger from the explosion Professor Slughorn went to address the cloud eyed pair.
“Easy you two. Relax,” He muttered. He knew better than to try and removed the wands from their hands. That would only result in curses actually flying through the room. “Hermione, Draco, come back. The war is over. Come back to us.” Slowly their breathing came easier, and their muscles relaxed. Within moments their wand arms lowered and their eyes came back into focus.
Finally they were back to the present and the minds were all there, though they were uncertain as to what had actually just happened.
“What?” Hermione asked in a half sleeping voice. Her muscles seemed to weaken. Thankfully Draco had the sense to pull her towards him. He supported her both for her sake, and for his. The closeness helped keep him from going into shock.
“You two just had a flashback,” Slughorn explained calmly, “It was just a cauldron explosion. I think you’re going into shock. You both need to go to the hospital wing and get a potion for shock since she recently acquired my entire stock of it. Then I want you to go to Professor McGonagall and explain what happened, she needs to know. Understood?”
“Yes Professor,” Draco acknowledged.
“Hermione?” Professor Slughorn questioned.
“Sir, I think she still in shock a bit. I’ll see to it she gets her potion,” he took responsibility. The professor waved the pair out of his room and they made their way to the hospital wing.
Professor McGonagall immediately dismissed her class upon hearing Draco’s explanation for their presence. She brought the pair into her office and sat them down before calling for tea.
“So, you say you two had flashbacks because of an exploding cauldron?”
“That’s right,” Hermione agreed shakily as she sipped her tea.
“I was afraid we were going to see this once everything was said and done. I think it was wise of the Minister to take precautions within the ministry for this, and foolish of us not to do the same at Hogwarts. We have students who were soldiers on both sides of this war. All I can say is that we had it coming. We will alert the staff of this occurrence so that they are aware, and add a few other students to the list. How are you two feeling?”
“A little shaky, but I think I’m okay now,” Hermione reported.
“I think I’m fine,” Draco acknowledged.
“You two have me next anyway, and I’m sure your classmates are waiting on us now. As long as you feel up to it I think it’s time we go back to class.” She stood and the two heads followed her back out to the classroom.
The war may be over, but its effects were, unfortunately, lingering in the survivors.