Chapter 13 : Amortentia
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Slughorn was already setting out books and extra ingredients that they would need for the day. As she walked by to sit at her desk she didn’t fail to notice the cauldron that sat on his desk. The steam rose in spirals and she could smell it from her seat beside Harry; freshly mown grass, new parchment and a new musk smell that’s she couldn’t place. It smelt familiar and safe but she had no idea where it had come from. She sniffed just to make sure. She couldn’t smell Ron in the potion anymore. Did that mean what she said at the weekend hadn’t been true, was she not in love with him anymore?
She set up her cauldron quickly and pulled out her ingredients from inside it. She knew that they would be making the love potion today. Slughorn had showed it them in sixth year but they had never got around to making it. Now was their chance. Slughorn stood at the front and the class fell silent.
“You all know what is sitting on the table behind me and those of you who don’t might want to think back to our first lesson in sixth year. Today we will be making Amortentia, the most powerful love potion in the world. Copy out the procedure that is in your textbooks and then get to work. You have an hour.” He went to sit behind his desk and Hermione instantly scribbled down the work.
She was the first to start the work and the last to finish. She had to make sure everything was perfect, she was now back on top of the class now Harry had got rid of his stupid book. He kept asking her for help as she stirred her potion from a blue, to purple to red. She told him that if he ever wanted to pass then he needed to learn how to do it himself. She gave in as she left her potion to simmer for three minutes and ended up chopping up the right amount of ingredients for him so that he didn’t get the measurements wrong. She glanced at Ron. He didn’t seem to be doing very well without her help.
Five minutes before the end of the class the potion room was awash with her favourite scents. The musky scent that was unfamiliar to her played on her mind. She must have smelt it somewhere, if only she knew what it was. Slughorn rang the small bell at the front of the class and everyone stopped working. Hermione stopped just as she stirred it for the final time.
She glanced over at Harry. His potion was a light pink colour but, even with her help, the spirals that were meant to be rising from the surface had turned into large sparks that shot into the air. She glanced back at Ron who hadn’t even managed to get his potion to turn red. Then she quickly glanced at Malfoy. His potion was perfect, almost as perfect as hers was. The mother of pearl sheen was a little duller than hers but is spirals matched hers for their shape.
“Miss Granger,” Slughorn said as he came to inspect the potion, “Excellent, it looks, and smells, just how I would expect, ten points to Griffindor. Do you still smell the same thing as you did last time?” Hermione nodded not wanting to say that any part of it had changed in case she had just smelled it wrong. She was still trying to figure out what the smell was. He moved along the rows and Hermione was glad to see Neville’s attempt had been better than Ron’s had.
Slughorn reached Draco and smiled.
“Well well well, Mr Malfoy. I would say this potion rivals even Miss Grangers.” He turned back to Hermione and smiled. “May I ask, what is it you smell?” a flicker of amusement crossed his eyes but only Hermione noticed.
“Deep red French wine, old dusty books mixed in with a flowery scent and…” he glanced at Hermione with a slight smirk on his face, “Chicken nuggets.” Hermione couldn’t help but let a small giggle escape from her mouth.
“Chicken nuggets?” Slughorn said.
“Yes sir,” Draco replied.
“Well Mr Malfoy, I have never heard that one before. Ten points to Slytherin.”
Hermione hung back after the class telling Harry that she would meet him at dinner. When he had asked her why she had said she just wanted to ask Slughorn something. He left without probing her further. Only her and Draco remained, he was taking his time clearing up his potion. Slughorn had taken Hermione’s to put in the stores. She had giggled when he had asked her. There had been rumours that he sent good batches of the potion to George for him to sell for a cut of the prophet. The professor charged Draco with cleaning up the books when he had finished before leaving the room. She hopped onto the edge of Draco’s desk and swung her legs under it.
“Chicken Nuggets?” she asked, her eyebrows raised. Draco shrugged and flashed her a crooked smile.
“Of course, what else?”
“Your other ones seem very odd, I imagined them to revolve around Astoria,” she teased, “I mean I can understand the floral smell but the books?”
“Granger, I have already told you that I am only with that girl because I have to be.”
“So what exactly is this floral smell?” she asked helping him to put the rest of the books in the cupboard. He turned to her and let the trademark smirk settle on his face. Except this time the smirk was accompanied by an almost seductive look in his steel grey eyes.
“Lilies,” he said, “Cali lilies to be exact.” He turned on his heel and left the room quickly, leaving Hermione to process the information he had just told her.
She was still thinking about it when she sat herself down in-between Ginny and Luna at dinner.
“Hermione,” Luna said, “what is the matter?” Ginny twisted to her best friend, who’s faced was dazed and seemed to hold a cross of shock and a smile. She wasn’t sure why but she felt her heart lift slightly.
“Mione,” she said with an interested smile, “what’s happened?”
“Nothing,” she said quickly, collecting herself and starting to eat the lamb hotpot that was in front of her.
“Mione!” Ginny cried.
“Gin!” Hermione replied mocking her friend, “honestly its nothing.” She glanced behind her at the Slytherin table. Draco was staring at her with a smirk on his face, ignoring everything that Astoria did to try and get his attention. She turned back blushing.
She was slightly confused. Cali lilies where her favourite flower and they were the ones that Draco had sent her. Did that mean…? No it could mean it, it wasn’t possible. She shook herself into her senses and joined into the conversation about how Dean had walked in on Ron shouting at Lavender telling her that she wasn’t Hermione. She knew that this news should have made her happy but she couldn’t quite get herself to that state. She had someone else on her mind.
The train to take everyone home for Christmas left the following morning. Most of the first four years left apart from two fourth years and three second years. Hermione felt slightly guilty about leaving them out of the Christmas ball and so she arranged that they go down to the kitchens on Christmas day and have a Christmas dinner together. They seemed happy with the idea and so Hermione was happy. Everything seemed to be going off without a hitch. Everything was sorted and now all the prefects and heads had to do was wait for the date to arrive.
Everyone still could stop talking about their dates and what they were going to wear. Hermione had fixed it with Ginny that her and Harry weren’t officially going as a couple but where going to go as friends. She felt slightly better by this news but still wished Ron would hurry up an apologise so she could go with him.
The castle was a lot busier than it had been in previous Christmases, bar the fourth year. Nearly all fifth and sixth years had stayed and all of seventh had made the common room their home for Christmas. The day after the train had left Hagrid had got to work pulling in all the Christmas trees and now the entire castle was fit to bursting with Christmas celebrations. The seventh year common room had also been decorated. All the girls had begged Hagrid to bring in one of the large trees and they had spent the Sunday and Monday decorating the room, much to the boy’s annoyance. They had set up a major chess tournament and they had said that the girls were getting in their way.
Of course Ron looked on at the boys with envy. He was the best chess player in the school and he knew that if he played he would win. Hermione could see that it took all of his strength not to shout out moves to Harry when he was playing Michael Corner. Part of her felt sorry for him but then the other part would spot lavender and be glad that no one was talking to him.
Every boy in the seventh year had joined in, with the tournament beside Ron, even Blaise and Draco had given it a go. It had turned into some sort of major thing in the castle with Ginny announcing the scores at breakfast, lunch and dinner. People had turned up with friends to try and watch them play but thankfully, Hermione was able to limit the amount of people who were in the room.
Seamus managed to beat Blaise in the semi-final on the Tuesday evening and Draco beat Ernie in their semi-final, Harry having gone out to Seamus in the quarter final after he had brought it back to a win with Michael Corner. Hermione knew that he had persuaded Ginny to whisper him moves but the red head had refused to do it for more than one game.
The final took place on the Wednesday evening. They had used the day as a break and to practice in warm up games against others. Blaise and Ernie had played for third place in the afternoon before dinner and Ginny had announced that Blaise had been the winner, much the Slytherin delight. By the time that the evening had come around there were at least forty people gathered around centre of the common room. The sofas and pouffes had been moved further towards the wall to make room for the table and two chairs that had been set up. Some of the professor’s even turned up. Mr Anderson, much to every girl’s delight had come with Professor Harrow (who was supporting Seamus), professor Slughorn had come to support Draco and even professor Flitwitck and McGonagall turned up. McGonagall tried to stay neutral but it was obvious by the end of the match that she was supporting Seamus.
Hermione organised a small party with food for the winner, which turned out to be Seamus. Much to everyone, but Hermione’s, surprise Draco stood up after the match and shook Seamus’s hand and congratulated him on a good game. Hermione was curled up on one of the armchairs by the bookshelf on the other side of the room away from the action. She had known who was going to win. Draco was all about flair but he got cocky and Seamus could take advantage of that. She had in her hand her long peacock feather quill and her purple notebook. She was very near the end of describing what had happened in the department of mystery’s and was about to start a new chapter describing what Dumbledore said about the prophecy. She didn’t notice Malfoy walk up to her and stand behind her as she scribbled quickly.
“Homework?” he asked leaning over the back of her chair. She snapped the book shut quickly and looked around to him.
“No, it’s private.” Draco moved around to sit in the other armchair next to hers.
“You’re always carrying that around with you. If your nose isn’t stuck in a book or doing homework you’re doing this.”
“That’s because it’s important,” she replied sipping the book and the quill in her bag.
“But I don’t get to know what it is?” he asked.
“Nope,” she said with a smile. “So, where is your girlfriend, I’m surprised she hasn’t come to watch her little Draco play chess.” Malfoy shrugged.
“Merlin knows where she is,” he said, “probably staring at herself in the mirror.” Hermione laughed.
“I know you said you are only with her because you have to be but I’m surprised. She’s everything I expected you would want.”
“I told you once Granger that you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the surface.”
“Oh we are back to Granger now are we?” she asked.
“Old habits die hard,” he replied picking up the textbook that was on the arm of Hermione’s chair, turning it over in his hands before putting it down.
“So, she’s not what you want? I still find that hard to believe. She’s rich and she’s beautiful-”
“Just because she is beautiful to everyone else doesn’t mean she is to me. And anyway, she might be good to look at but she’s nothing behind the eyes. What you see is what you get with Astoria and that can get irritating.”
“Oh, so I’m not the only one who thinks that then?” she asked laughing, “that’s good to know.” She glanced up at him through her lashes and her eyes locked on his.
Then it happened again. That connection. As she gazed into those eyes the safe and comfortable feeling flooded back to her. Hermione wondered how many more times this could happen. Her heart faltering, her breathing stopping, time standing still. She didn’t get why this kept happening but she could tell by the look on his face that he felt the exact same. He was gazing at her in the same way she was at him. Her lips where slightly parted, her brain was rushing around in circles and her palms had got sweaty. Something about this moment felt right. Even though she knew it was unbelievably wrong on all levels, it felt right.
She pulled her gaze away first, a light blush falling over her face. She didn’t understand how she had let it get this far. How they had become like this. Less than a year ago he had been her enemy and now her was…we she wasn’t even sure what he was, it was like they were friends but not. They were more than friends but at the same time less than friends. She couldn’t work it out in her head it was all so confusing.
She looked back at him and he had leaned forward slightly. Gently and slowly, as if he wasn’t sure he was supposed to be doing it, he placed a single pale hand on hers. The touch sent tingles shooting up her arm and down her spine. It wasn’t cold like she had expected. It was warm and inviting and safe. He dropped his voice and leaned in towards her ear.
“Hermione…” he faltered and his voice cracked slightly. Hermione couldn’t breath. Everything had stopped, her head was spinning, nothing made sense. He started again.
“Hermione, I need you to know…”
“Mione!” Ginny cried running up to her. Draco snapped back and stood up making his excuses to leave. Ginny sat in his seat. She hadn’t noticed the way he had been leaning towards her friend and she hadn’t noticed the way Hermione had responded by angling her body towards him.
“Mione, your blushing,” Ginny said handing her a couple of biscuits.
“Am I?” she asked. “I didn’t notice.”
“What did the ferret what anyway?”
“Head girl stuff, nothing interesting,” Hermione shrugged using the usual excuse that came out of her mouth whenever she was caught talking to Draco.
She glanced over to where he stood with Blaise. They were talking and laughing with Dean. Hermione smiled. It was strange to see a Slytherin and a Griffindor talking without ripping each other’s heads off. Maybe this was proof that they didn’t always have to be enemies. Proof that friendships where forming out of the most unlikely places.
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