Title: The Effects of Dustweed
Author name: Airiviel
Author email: Author's homepage URL: www.airiviel.tk
Category: General/Romance (kind of?)
Keywords: Ginny, Hermione, Dustweed
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Not really any.
Summary: Summaries ruin the fun of ficlets, don't you agree?
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Other citations shall be made where necessary.

The Effects of Dustweed

Ginny wasn't sure where she was going. All she was aware of was that she'd woken up from a dream she no longer remembered, uncomfortable and sweaty, and needed to shake off the feeling that something was terribly out of place. She'd crept quietly out of the girls' dormitories, and out of the Gryffindor common room, ignoring the Fat Lady's irritated remarks about being woken up in the middle of the night.

She realized, upon further reflection, that she could not recall what day it was, or what she had done the day before. Strangely, this didn't bother her. Perhaps it was because of the exhaustion that always followed an interrupted and emotionally taxing dream…if only she could remember enough to figure out why it had been so draining.

Now, Ginny's bare feet carried her soundlessly down a long corridor that was too dark for her to recognize. Her eyes were slightly blurred with fatigue, and she'd lost track of how many turns she had taken. There was, oddly, no fear in her mind that she might be caught wandering around in the middle of the night and lose points from Gryffindor. The unsettled feeling in the pit of her stomach came entirely from the sensation that something was not right.

Somewhere along the corridor she must have passed a cracked window; a small breeze bathed her shoulders and arms in a chilled breath of air, and she shivered unpleasantly. Her right foot came down on something spindly that squished as her heel met the ground. She cringed. It felt like a spider. Without looking down, Ginny dragged her heel along as she walked to try and get rid of the crushed form of whatever it was that had stuck to the bottom of her foot. She shivered again as another draft slithered across the back of her neck.

Ginny slipped her hands into the pockets of her robe, which she couldn't remember putting on. Her left hand touched something smooth and cool. She pulled out the object, and squinting through the darkness, realized it was a glass vial. She didn't know where it came from. She could see nothing in it, and when she held it up to her ear and shook it gently, there was no telltale sound to provide evidence of any substance inside. Perplexed, she slipped it back into her pocket.

Her feet impulsively turned, and she moved into another corridor. There was a door somewhere on the right, her mind dimly reflected, although she still could not identify where she was, exactly. Ginny found the door and pushed it open, hoping that whatever it was she was looking for – she didn't realize she was looking for something until this very moment – could be found behind this door.

She entered a room devoid of furniture, except for a large wooden chest sitting against the eastern wall. There was light in the room only because the sole window in the room had been thrown open, and the full moon glowed brightly.

On the other side of the room, a lofty frame of some sort – taller than she – faced the chest. Some text was engraved or embossed across the top of the frame – she could not tell which, nor could she discern the words. The frame was only that: a frame. It had no back, so that if Ginny wished, she could step through it. Strewn on the ground around the frame were gleaming shards. They appeared to be glass, and vaguely piqued her interest, but she had no wish to bloody herself on broken pieces of glass, and the window was a more pressing matter.

From the moment she'd stepped into the room, the curtainless window had drawn her to it. She didn't know why, and wasn't sure she wanted to find out. But curiosity got the best of her and she took a few cautious steps across the room until she reached the window.

Now, the cold air was harsh and biting, and her teeth chattered as she placed her hands on the windowsill. A light wind blew a few deep red tendrils into her eyes, and she pushed her chin down to get the hair out of her face. Her eyes moved down as she did so, and involuntarily, she let out a small gasp.

Below the open window, a dark figure lay crumpled on the soft grass. Ginny squinted but couldn't tell who it was, until a new breeze swept pass. The gentle wind stirred the figure's hair, and fine wisps of silvery blond fluttered into the moonlight for only a moment. Her heart pounded and a cold dread accompanied the realization that suddenly hit her. Was he dead? she wondered, the dread squeezing her heart. She didn't have time to wonder why she had such concern for someone she believed she despised. It seemed that her lungs had collapsed and all the air was gone. Her mind barely registered that she was fainting before the world turned to black.

"Ginny, wake up," Hermione said, gently shaking her friend by the shoulders.

She opened her eyes and found that she was lying in her bed, back in the girls' dormitories of Gryffindor tower.

"What…?"

"I just realized," Hermione said quickly, "that by mistake I added something wrong to the potion."

Ginny blinked, fighting back fatigue. She pushed herself up, leaning on her elbows. "Potion?"

"For your headache," Hermione said impatiently.

Suddenly, Ginny remembered the vial in the pocket of her robes. She'd been getting strange throbbing headaches in her right temple recently, and when she'd gone to try and get something for it from Madame Pomfrey, the nurse had merely reassured her that the headache would go away by itself. "Oh, right," Ginny said. "What about it?"

"I just realized that I put dustweed leaves in it, instead of ground dustweed roots."

"Oh…" Ginny's head was spinning.

"You haven't taken it yet, have you?" Hermione asked worriedly.

"I…don't remember," she replied groggily.

"Well," Hermione demanded, "do you remember where you put it?"

"Er," Ginny began, and felt the pulsing ache returning.

"Because the potion I gave you is actually a different potion," Hermione told her.

Ginny blinked, ignoring the pain in her temple. "What potion is it?"

Hermione sat down on the bed. "Well, with dustweed leaves mixed in, it's a potion that supposedly shows you what you treasure the most through a vision of your greatest fear or something. I don't know. It's probably just nonsense. Whatever it is, I'm just worried it'll make you feverish when you're supposed to be having a 'vision'. So if you give me that vial I gave you yesterday, I can fix it, and then you can take the potion."

"Oh," was all Ginny could think of saying at the moment. Then she remembered Hermione was waiting for her to pull out the vial. "Well, actually, my headache's mostly gone now. In fact, I think I slept it off entirely. Thanks very much, anyway."

Hermione gave her a strange look. "It just…went away?"

Ginny nodded.

"Well, then. I can still take it back, and modify it in case the headache comes again…?"

"Oh, no," Ginny said hastily, "er, that's alright. I'm pretty sure I can get some dustweed roots and fix it myself, if I need to."

Hermione raised an eyebrow, and then stood up. "Well, I suppose I'll see you later."

"Bye!" Ginny called after her.

When the door had shut behind Hermione, Ginny crawled out of bed and over to the chair where she had left her robes. She fished into the left pocket and found the glass vial, and pulled it out.

There was nothing inside it. The dream came rushing into her mind like a tide on the shore, and she remembered Draco's crumpled body lying beneath the open window, the gentle wind stirring his blond hair.