This story was originally a one-shot for a competition, but I decided to write a little more for it because I really enjoyed it (even if it's a terrible cliché), and many of you seemed to think the same :)
Thank you for all your nice reviews! You convinced me to keep writing :)
"No eating in class, Mr Malfoy!" Professor Slughorn's walrus mustache was vibrating with irritation.
Hermione rolled her eyes. Malfoy of all people should know better than to eat in Potions class. He was one of the few students who actually took the subject seriously and knew how to stir a potion three times right. But here he was, eating his apple as if Professor Slughorn wasn't standing right in front of him in all his crystalised pineapple-rounded glory.
For a second, Hermione thought she saw Malfoy's eyes flickering towards her, mischief gleaming behind his disinterested facade. Lazily, he proceeded to take a second bite from his apple.
Professor Slughorn huffed; he really didn't like being ignored. "Mr Potter." He turned around to the Gryffindor side of the classroom. "Switch seats!"
Hermione shot Harry a pitying glance. Now he would have to deal with Malfoy. Professor Slughorn had threatened to assign their partners himself if they continued to only listen to him half-heartedly and messed up potions, wasting valuable ingredients in the process. He might not be Professor Snape, but he was terribly concerned with getting good results. Hermione was certain that he kept the well-made potions for personal usage and maybe even sold them. She couldn't blame him for the part where good ingredients were wasted, but she was sure it wasn't usual procedure to use the students' potions for personal gain.
Harry gave a resigned sigh as he stuffed his books into his bag, getting ready to deal with Malfoy, who glared at him as if it was his fault that they were now forced to work together.
"You are working with Mr Nott this lesson," Slughorn announced, looking down past his enormous belly at Harry, who was sitting next to her. Hermione stared at their professor with surprise. That meant that- "Mr, Malfoy, come to the front where I can have an eye on you. I'm sure Miss Granger won't tolerate you soiling her excellent potion. It wouldn't hurt anyone in this room to take a page from her book." Professor Slughorn nodded nicely at her, as if his compliment would make up for the fact that she was now working with Malfoy.
Why was she being punished for his disrespectful behavior? Hermione couldn't prevent a disgusted shudder, thinking about the unwanted attention Slughorn paid to her lately. She really didn't want to become one of his next trophy students, and she had no intention of joining his Slug Club.
Angrily, she jotted down the instructions for a love potion Professor Slughorn proceeded to write on the board. They had studied Amortentia in theory for the last two lessons, and Hermione found herself a little disappointed that they were now brewing a less complicated concoction. As Malfoy settled down beside her, he scraped the chair across the ground loudly, bumping hers in the process. And he was still holding his damned apple.
Hermione made quick work of distributing the tasks, trying to talk as little as possible with Malfoy.
He irked her to no end. She could at least understand why he riled up Harry all the time. Even though she told Harry to ignore the Slytherin again and again, he couldn't help but rise to his bait every time. Meanwhile, Hermione had perfected the disapproving glare, followed by pointedly looking away and ignoring Malfoy's constant taunting. She couldn't fathom how he drew so much satisfaction from it still. It seemed as if he was trying even harder than usual to draw a reaction from her there days.
She noted that he cut his Valerian Root rather messily — probably on purpose. He kept standing in her way as she bustled about, working on their potion, and his gaze followed her every move, which unnerved her greatly. Trying to concentrate, she aggressively ticked off the steps they had already finished.
"Do you plan to stab that parchment to death, Granger?" His breath grazed her ear, and Hermione startled violently, nearly knocking over their cauldron.
"Stop pestering me!" She accidentally — or on purpose, if she was being honest with herself — rammed her elbow into his side as she straightened the cauldron.
Finally, they finished their potion. "This should be it; now stir three times left and once right until it turns cobalt blue," Hermione instructed, taking a step closer to the cauldron to check its colour one last time.
He didn't react, tapping the table with the stirring rod instead.
"Pay attention to me," she demanded.
He grinned at her, basking in her irritation. Impatiently, she took the stirring rod from his hands and dunked it into the cauldron with a splash, proceeding to do it herself. Groaning, she patted at the droplets of potion that had sprinkled onto her jumper. Usually she was more careful in Potions class, knowing well how dangerous some of the concoctions were. Malfoy just brought out the worst in her.
While she did all the work, he just leaned back against the table behind them after picking up his half-eaten apple again. She wished Professor Slughorn wasn't at the other end of the classroom, occupied with keeping Harry and Nott from killing each other with their cutting knives.
The world was suddenly tilting on its axis. Draco was aware of the apple falling from his hand, his fingers tingling numbly. Darn, he still had wanted to eat that apple. Then he concluded that said apple was likely responsible for him swaying on the spot. That last bite hadn't been one hundred percent apple, he was sure of that.
Damn Granger, splashing potion everywhere. How dare she contaminate his apple!
He really ought to be more careful in Potions class. They were making quite dangerous brews, after all, and there was a reason they weren't allowed to eat during lessons. But Granger just brought out the worst in him.
He found himself struggling to stay on his feet, his toes prickling with the same sensation as his fingers now. Draco slowly sank down onto his chair. He was going to die. He surely was going to die now. Granger had messed up the potion - she had poisoned him. Maybe even on purpose. An angry Granger was a force to behold. He knew he should let up at times, but taunting and teasing her at every turn was too rewarding to pass up. It was just so fascinating to watch the irritation sparkling in her eyes. She was a spawn of the devil, that much was clear. How could she be anything but sin, when she was so perfect and yet so forbidden?
Her face came into view — his quickly fading view, Draco noticed.
Merlin, please say that again.
Her voice was concerned. "You alright there?"
Please, please just say my name one more time.
She didn't accommodate his plea. Worse, she turned away from him, his hellish pleasure — his fallen angel — left him. "Professor! I think I need some help here," she called. Her voice sounded far away, echoing in his head.
He wanted to keep her from leaving his side, grab her hand and pull her closer, but his whole arm started tingling now. He groaned at the borderline painful sensation.
Her face was back into view. "Hey, just breathe. It's going to be alright, Malfoy."
Yes, yes, yes. Say it, say my name.
Her voice became distorted as she started talking to Slughorn; her words stretched like rubber over his ears, tasting like flour on his tongue and sparkling like glitter in his eyes. What a strange sensation. It was disturbing to taste sound — and it was a little frightening. But her hand was on his shoulder now, her thumb rubbing small circles.
Heaven. This was heaven.
"Don't worry, Malfoy. Slughorn will be right back. It's nothing deadly. You'll be alright."
Someone else shuffled closer, curious glances were thrown his way. Distant shadows at the edge of his vision. They seemed to loom over him like giants surrounding an ant.
Please leave me alone; leave me and my angel alone.
"Don't you have a potion to finish?!" Hermione barked at whoever was invading their space in a tone McGonagall would have been proud of. Yes, she was a force to be reckoned with, his little Mudblood.
Slughorn returned with Madam Pomfrey, and Draco was dimly aware that he was being carted off to the Hospital Wing.
"I think he accidentally consumed a bit of the love potion," Hermione said shakily.
He desperately searched for his angel's eyes. "Stay with me?" He didn't want it to sound like a question, but his voice had a desperate edge.
"I'm not sure—"
"Miss Granger, I think it would be wiser if you were to stay close," Pomfrey said. He thanked the woman silently in his head, sainting her ancestors and descendants. "The effects of love potions need to be treated carefully, and he seems to be quite focused on you."
Somehow, they managed to settle him on a bed in the Hospital Wing. He wasn't really aware of his surroundings any longer, just distant voices and Hermione at his side.
"Heartbreak is quite a serious matter and the reason why love potions are classified as dangerous," Pomfrey explained. "As a result, long term psychological issues can remain after the potion leaves his system. The worst symptoms are similar to the effects of a heart attack."
Hermione, who was standing beside his bed, sucked in a shocked breath and grasped for his hand immediately. It felt like she was pulling him from his grave, upwards to the skies, floating with him on a cloud.
He wouldn't mind suffering for her. He wouldn't mind at all.
Lying on the bed, he watched her. She seemed uncomfortable, but she didn't let go of his hand. Her face — he had never seen that expression directed at him before — was etched in worry.
Don't worry, love, he wanted to tell her. He tried a smile, but she just ended up looking more concerned.
"How long will this last? It's not exactly normal that he's affected this strongly, is it?" She nervously avoided his admiring gaze.
Why won't you look at me? His heart twitched painfully.
"It could be a lot worse, Miss Granger. We are lucky that he seems to have apparently consumed a miniscule amount." He didn't like Pomfrey talking about him like that. He wanted to be alone with Hermione. Just her and him. He squeezed her fingers, delighted that it drew her eyes back to his.
He wanted to say something, assure her that there was no need to be concerned for him, that he felt just great. Even the tingling had stopped! But his mouth was ashen and dry, and his tongue too heavy for words. What wouldn't he give for a little water right now.
"You want something to drink?" She could read his thoughts. She truly was his soulmate. He nodded, but when she was about to extract her fingers from his, he held onto her.
Let someone else fetch water, he wanted to tell her. He did his best to convey it with his eyes.
She sighed — what a lovely sound — and flicked her wand, conjuring up a glass of water. Hastily, he drank the cool liquid. He wanted to thank her, but his head was throbbing, and his eyes grew heavy. He only wanted to watch her. He didn't need to rest. He just wanted to watch her face.
She leaned over him. "Try to get some sleep, Malfoy. I-I won't leave if you want me to stay," she said. It sounded reluctant.
Stay, he thought, confident that she could read his thoughts.
Hermione's neck felt stiff from the position she had curled up into. At least she'd had the sound of mind to transfigure the wooden chair into a comfy wingback before falling asleep.
She rubbed at her eyes that were clotted with cristalline sleepy dust. Prying them open against the soft light shining into the hospital wing with the rising sun, she surveyed her surroundings. She was startled when she found Malfoy staring at her. At first, she thought he still had the drunken stare of a lost puppy, but she quickly realised that he was glaring at her.
"Good morning?" she tried.
"Granger," he growled.
It was a relief, really. He seemed to be completely back to normal. At least she didn't have to hold his hand anymore. Not that she had minded terribly; she didn't want him to suffer from a broken heart or anything. And he had nice hands, actually. It was just a relief that they could go back to normal now.
"I'll leave then?"
"You tried to poison me, Mudblood. You'll pay for that."
Hermione huffed. "You should be glad that my potion was flawless, or you might really have died."
He sat up angrily and grabbed his school jumper from the nightstand. Uncaring of her presence, he pulled the top of the hospital pyjamas over his head and slid into his own clothes.
Hermione pointedly looked away, her cheeks glowing bright red.
"Yes, your potion was just bloody perfect. Why can't you fail at something once?" he grouched.
"You'd rather have died than embarrassed yourself for a few hours? You're unbelievable, Malfoy. Is it so bad to be infatuated — even briefly — with a Muggle-born?!"
He groaned. "Don't remind me, Granger, or I might throw up."
"No, please explain to me how this is worse than actually dying!"
"It's worse because it doesn't go away!" he shouted.
She scoffed, crossing her arms. "I'm sure by next week everyone will have found something else to gossip about."
He put his face into his hands. "You don't get it, Granger. Your potions are too bloody perfect."
"I know, I don't make half— wait, what?"
"It's still there," he seethed. "I can still feel it."
"That's not possible. Madam Pomfrey said it would be gone in a matter of hours. Also, you seem to be yourself again."
"You mean I'm not in a drugged stupor."
"I'll get this cleared up," Hermione sighed, getting up from her wingback and leaving him to get fully dressed behind the hospital curtains.
She found the school matron cleaning her medical stocks in her office. "Madam Pomfrey, is it possible that the potion can last longer than a few hours?" Hermione asked.
"No, of course not," the nurse answered, dusting off a bottle of Skele-Gro. "As soon as the potion wears off, he should feel just the same about you as he felt before."
"So now he should hate me again?"
"If that is what he felt before, yes," she nodded and disappeared in her storage room.
Hermione was shocked, when her brain came to the only logical conclusion. Noting movement behind her, she turned around to find Malfoy standing there. He clearly had heard every word and was now glaring at her.
"Don't you dare tell anyone, Granger."
"I want to know what went wrong. You clearly seem to know why the potion still affects you."
"Does it?" He leaned closer, and Hermione blushed. She suddenly became very aware of what those effects could possibly be.
A/N: My first thought when I hear Love Is All Around is that it's so sweet that I want to vomit :'D It just can't be natural love so I wrote this awful cliché of a Potions lesson gone wrong. I also got a little inspired by the lyrics in some parts ;)
This story is written for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition
(ROUND 3, Wilbourne Wasps - BEATER 2)
90s Nostalgia! – Love Is All Around, Wet Wet Wet
(dialogue) "Pay attention to me."
Thanks Nora Fares and tonberrys for betaing!