Chapter 21 : When Was The Last Time You Yawned?
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Not a perfect replica of course however it was near close enough. I watched as the faces of my parents appeared and disappeared, followed closely by the face of Draco Malfoy, which instead of rising and vanishing remained floating just centimetres from my face. I reached out to touch the almost realistic looking image but watched in dismay as it passed straight through my hand vanishing to nothing. That was as close as I was going to be able to get to him now. I breathed in the familiar aroma of cherries and peppermint.
"Desire of the Heart…" I whispered to myself recognising the potion from the description given in the textbook.
"That is correct Miss. Granger! Ten point to Gryffindor!" Boomed Professor Slughorn, startling the class to life by appearing in the doorway suddenly.
I gasped as did the majority of the class, who were left either completely startled or grasping their chests in shock, desperately trying to restart their hearts. He walked forward brandishing a small bottle containing several unicorn hairs.
"Today we shall be attempting Desire of the Heart. Miss. Granger could you tell us what this potion actually does?" He asked taking his large comfortable seat at the front of the class.
"If you look carefully at the strange fog being emitted from the potions surface you'll notice images. These images show us what our hearts most desire is, alike the Mirror of Erised. However they don't show the future, it just shows us what we want more than anything in this world. No two people will ever see the exact same images, as you can probably guess this is due to the fact that the deepest desires of our heart are totally unique. So if I were to look into your potion I would not see your desires but my own. It smells thee same to all of us also, cherry and peppermint."
"Thank you Miss. Granger, take another five points for Gryffindor." He said standing and walking forward. "This is a complicated potion that will be required for your N.E.W.T.S, it has it's particular uses such as Miss. Granger has pointed out, but tends to be rather useless at anything else. However today you will also be using a rather new ingredient, Unicorn Tail Hairs. Now you are to be extremely careful with these, a centimetre too much could cause your entire potion to be ruined, therefore it is essential that you only used the amount described on page two hundred and three of your textbooks, you have seventy five minutes to complete this potion so hop to it!"
I almost ran to my seat, forgetting that I already had my cauldron set up, the only thing left to do was to find and prepare the many ingredients the potion required. I was first to the student store cupboard and first back, all fifteen of the ingredients minus the Unicorn Tail Hairs gathered in my arms. I carefully placed the other ingredients upon the table and grabbed my book and knife and walked to the front table where the Unicorn Tail Hairs lay waiting for us to use. I carefully measured the piece of hair I required against the marker in the textbook. I grasped the small shining thread within my hand and walked back to the table where I could admire it further. It glistened so perfectly in my hand, almost hard to imagine that one could even think of placing such a beautiful thread within a piece of wood.
I carefully began mixing the other ingredients, praying that I could see the strange faces once again. Almost two hours later I finally added the last ingredient, the Unicorn Hair. Immediately the potion turned a brilliant violet and the fumes begun to rise pleasantly. I stirred it thrice more as the book instructed, anti-clockwise and watched as soon as I had withdrawn my wand and hand the orbs appeared. They began slowly, as though almost hesitant but within minutes the cauldron almost seemed to be spewing out the orbs, many of which floated away, not changing just remaining as they were, however the only constants that I saw were Harry, Ron, Mum, Dad and Draco. Draco finally seemed to win against all the other desires of my heart being the only one I saw after a short period of time.
I knew this time not to touch any of the orbs and to just allow them to do as they pleased. I turned to see Seamus standing with his jaw agape, staring into the contents of my cauldron. He reached out to touch what ever it was he could see only to find that it disappeared within his hands. He gave me a shaky smile as though he lost something he did not wish to lose, however it was clear that my potion was going to be one of two upon the table of four that was actually going to work, Seamus's seemed to be spewing out a dark thick cloud of midnight blue smoke that caused your throat to tickle whenever you accidentally took a breath of it in and Ernie's seemed to have just failed to work entirely having given up long ago and cleared his cauldron. The only other potion upon the table that even seemed close to working was Draco's. He never spoke to any of us and kept his head down. It seemed as though his was going to be the only other successful potion on the table.
Almost ten minutes later Professor Slughorn begun his rounds carefully checking each potion for grading, examining and offering criticism when appropriate, as always he just looked sadly at Seamus, who had proved on several occasions that potions was just not his forte. I gave him an encouraging smile as Slughorn once again impressed upon him the importance of correct measurement and ingredients as well as following the instructions prescribed in the book. All of which he had failed to do which was clear on his face as he looked into his failed potion. Slughorn turned upon Ernie next who explained that he had failed to add the Essence of Dittany after stirring twelve times counter clockwise and four times clockwise. Slughorn commented that he be more careful next time to ensure he did not make the mistake again. It was then that he turned upon me.
He stood there rather strangely just staring into the fumes from the potion, evidentially able to see what he desired most. After several seconds he turned his gaze to me, "Wonderful, a perfect potion. Many could take your potion as an excellent example for what should have been done." He added on the side. "Take ten well deserved points for Gryffindor."
"Thank you Sir." I added bottling a small sample of the potion in a phial and pocketing it.
He did not notice this, nor had anyone else. Ernie and Seamus had turned their attention to Draco as Slughorn carefully watched his potion. He did not stand as long as he had with mine. He opened his mouth as though he were about to say something but closed it before he allowed himself to comment. After several moments of silence he finally spoke, as he did so he paced towards the front of the class.
"There is one more thing about this potion that some of you may have noticed." He said. "Would anyone care to tell me what that is?"
I raised my hand confidentially but unsure whether this was what he was actually asking.
"Yes Miss Granger." He said instantly.
"The potion maker leaves their imprint upon each potion they make, although most of the time it isn't noticeable, however Desire of the Heart is different, it leaves a visible trace of what the potion makers hearts desire may actually be, you may not be able to physically see it but in some potions you will not be able to see anything due to the fact that the potion maker had such a different hearts desire to yours that it just fails to work. For instance if your hearts desire was a golden necklace and you made this potion I would not be able to see my hearts desire within the fumes. Merely because an inanimate object is far too different to a human being for it to be able to visibly change within the fumes."
"Correct!" Slughorn boomed. "I personally was unable to see anything within ninety percent of the potions that were completed here today; however the select few who managed to be able to recreate my hearts desire have my thanks and congratulations. That concludes today's lesson, I would like you all to write an essay of the properties of Unicorn Tail Hair in potion making ready for handing in next lesson please, it need be no longer than a scroll. Good morning class."
"Good morning Professor." We all chorused in unison as he swept out of the room.
"How strange." Seamus noted. "That if our desires are different to that of another person we can't see them in our potions?"
"That's not entirely true." I pointed out. "If your desire is inanimate and mine is say a living being you would not be able to see anything, mainly due to the fact that it is outside the potions capabilities to change in substance entirely. When we make this potion we pour just a little of ourselves into it, we may not notice it but we do. That is the reason why it differs so greatly."
"That makes sense." He said emptying his cauldron.
Draco finished packing up and walked slowly from the room as if waiting for someone, but gave up walking off into the distance as the bell sounded. Ernie looked over at me after taking a quick glance around.
"When is the next meeting?" He asked.
"Soon I hope there has just been so much on that I haven't had a chance to organise anything, I'll be sure to let you all know when we decide a time." I said softly, remembering that I had completely forgotten Dumbledore's Army, and it would seem so had Neville, Ginny and Luna also. No-one had mentioned it.
"Alrighty then." Ernie said happily. "See you around Hermione."
"See you." I called as he walked out the door.
"Malfoy was acting strangely this lesson." Seamus noted as we walked from the room.
"What ever do you mean?" I asked. "I noticed nothing."
"He just stared at his potion for ages, he looked so lost, and strangely he looked rather human. It was actually rather frightening. It must have been something extremely important to him in his potion if he could stare at it for so long and not even notice that everyone was watching him." He said,
"I wasn't watching him." I pointed out; despite the fact I had seen him preparing his potion out of the corner of my eye.
"I know, are you alright Hermione?" He asked.
"I'm fine, why do you ask?"
"You're just looking so pale and thin, almost as though your not eating or sleeping." He noted.
"Don't worry, I'm just not sleeping that well. It's nothing I promise. It's happened before." I added to avoid more questions. "Don't worry about me."
"It's just I worry, what with Harry and Ron gone that you'll slowly lose the plot." He said with a shaky laugh.
"Don't worry about it." I said yawning. "It's nothing I promise, just a lack of sleep which is nothing major."
"If you're sure." He said. "Look I got to go to Divination; I'll see you later yeah?"
"Sure." I said pleasantly, walking down the corridor alone.
I stopped in a nearby bathroom, I had not noticed it before but I was more pale than usual, looking more thin and worried. My sleep had been so very troubled recently that it seemed to be catching up with me during the hours I was actually awake. I was so worried about the Hearing, Draco, Harry and Ron and among all this I had to manage to avoid detection from the Carrows, which was proving more and more difficult as the days past. Their lessons had become truly torturous; we had advanced to having to be able to perform the Cruciatus Curse upon students who had in some way whether guilty or not earned themselves a detention. I was fortunate to have avoided actually having to do this yet, but the screams of the younger students haunted my sleep. Leaving me almost wishing that it was me instead of them so that they would not feel such pain. I was not sleeping, I could barely eat, I could barely breathe at times almost as though I was watching the world I called home fall apart piece by piece. I took one final glance in the mirror, yawned and walked down the stairs towards my Dark Arts class.
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