Chapter 12

The Black Lake

Hermione's body was shaking and practically rattling from whimpers. Suddenly she felt a warm hand on her shoulders. With her head facing the floor, struggling to open her eyes, and several tears dripping onto the castel's floor, she could make out another hand holding a tissue. She hastily wiped her eyes with the sleeves of her jumper and blinked.

"There, there," said Dumbledore, his voice more somber than ever…or so it seemed to Hermione in this moment. She took the tissue he had handed her and blew her nose.

"Here," he said, handing her an entire packet of what seemed to be muggle tissues.

"I find some muggle inventions to be rather ingenious," he said, a gently smile streaming through his long beard.

"Take a walk with me, Miss Granger, I can't change the past, but I believe I can make your present easier to understand. And I believe people like you and me find great comfort in knowledge and understanding,"

Hermione simply nodded, her voice completely lost on her.

The professor and Hermione walked for some bit in silence, but as they were about to reach one of the castle's exits Dumbledore began to speak.

"Firstly, Miss Granger, let me reassure you that Mr. Weasley will make a full and swift recovery. He is in best hands. That aside, all he needs now, really, is to rest. As should you, after our walk that is," he said.

How could Dumbledore be this calm and in a situation like this, Hermione thought? Had he gone mad after all?

They had reached the castle grounds and were slowly making their way towards the Black Lake.

"You see, Miss Granger…in times like this, I tend to look for the good things that have happened, rather than the bad. People unlike myself would hone in on the fact that Mr. Weasley was poisoned. People like myself however would focus on the fact that he was saved by his best friend and will make a full recovery."

Hermione's voice was still lost on her. Even if she could speak, she would have no idea what to say.

"You should also know…I've been informed by professor Snape that the curse placed on you by none other than Lavender Brown was not an accident. She did indeed do it purposefully. However, when questioned by professor Snape, it appears that Miss Brown had not read the full description of the curse. Miss Brown merely thought the curse would get you and Mr. Weasley to get into an argument–"

Hermione stopped in her tracks.

"But we did get into an argument!" squeaked Hermione.

Dumbledore stopped and turned around.

"Sorry," she said softly, her head tiled down, purposely avoiding Dumbledore's gaze. "Her curse worked…"

"Yes," said Dumbledore, "and no. You are both correct and incorrect, Miss Granger. It worked, but not as intended. This curse is not aimed to incite arguments. It is also not meant to make a person to act a certain way either. There are already curses for that, sadly…No, this curse touches a person's very soul in an attempt to corrupt it and the life and the lives of the person around it. Normally it develops gradually and naturally. Making the resentment seem genuine. In this instance…your friend Mr. Potter caught on rather quickly…

Miss Brown didn't fully understand the curse and therefore did not properly perform it. She seems to have been able to get you to…how shall I say…exhibit a certain behavior…what she could however not do was to actually alter your feelings toward Mr. Weasley."

Hermiones cheeks lit up red.

"Feelings?" she shrieked.

"I consider it, you, Mr Weasley and Mr Potter are the closest of friends. Therefore you must have certain feelings for your friends. What they truly are…only you can ever really know, Miss Granger," said Dumbledore, smiling gently across the Black Lake.

"But…but I didn't just say all those things to Ron, professor," Hermione blurted out. "I—I actually felt them…I remember…" Her lips began to shake and more tears formed in her eyes.

"Ah," said Dumbledore, "you see, Miss Granger, professor Snape may have lifted the spell off you, but…sadly…this is one of the few curses that require…non-magic remedies, so to speak. Once this curse truly ends, as it did with you, it attempts to trick you by giving you back the memories of your interactions with Mr Weasley. It does its best at attaching feelings that are not real."

"So…so I just said and did those things, but…but the whole time I felt…normal…?"

"The beautiful thing about us, Miss Granger, is that our inner most feelings and desires can never truly be touched. No curse or potion could ever permanently alter them. Curses and potions can make us feel things, however…not real things…"

"I understand…but…but earlier you said that Lover's Quarrel attempts to corrupt ones soul and so…how can it do that, but then again not actually…ever change our true feelings…"

"I believe that almost anything corrupted…can be redeemed. Therefore a corrupted soul that is put back in order after the curse is lifted…it would seem to me that the true feelings have always been there, and can never be erased. While it may be scrambled and unorganized, causing different feelings to emerge…all the pieces still remain…one must simply…" he said, flicking his wand towards a tree branch on the ground ahead, causing said branch to reunite with the tree it fell from. "put the pieces back in their original order…"

Dumbledore looked over to Hermione, his eyes gazing at her over his glasses. But Hermione was looking at her shoes, trying her best to keep the tears that had already formed contained within her eyes.

"As much as I would like to be able to put things back in order in this matter, Miss Granger…I believe it is in your and Mr. Weasley's best interest to mend the situation yourselves. I have the upmost faith in that."

Hermione nodded…

"I suggest you get some rest, Miss Granger. I'm assuming Mr Weasley will be awake by Monday. But due to the circumstances I can't allow you to see him until after your classes on Monday. Madam Pomfrey will spend the majority of the day running tests to ensure Mr. Weasley's recovery."