Disclaimer: Sadly to say, I do not own the Harry Potter universe.
Summary: During a Potions lesson, Neville's potion goes awry (as usual). This time, however, it means trouble for Draco and Hermione. The sequel to Tangled Hair and Prefect Badge, but reading that one first is only recommended, not strictly necessary.
A/N: Well, the sequel is here! I sure hope it lives up to expectations ... In case anyone decides to blame me for taking so long with this, I must say a word in my defense! was being all wonky this morning, so that delayed it by a few hours. And I spent forever deciding on a suitable something-and-something title for this. :) Just thought I'd mention this as well: this will be the second part in a trilogy, so keep a lookout for part three! (if I ever get down to writing it, that is)
Wombat's Fur and Sticky Green Pus
Snape glared accusingly at his class for no apparent reason, stalking past Neville Longbottom's cauldron and cast it a disapproving look which only served to make Neville let out a frightened squeak and spill a handful of wombat's fur in. Hermione, who was seated next to Neville tried to stop him, but was too late, and Neville's potions began bubbling vigorously.
"You potion should be turning yellow now," Snape said, folding his arms and looking down his nose at Neville. "Unless you've done something wrongly, in which case it would resemble sticky, green pus." Neville yelped, stirring his potion fervently in the hope it would turn yellow.
Draco Malfoy stood up and crossed the room under the pretense of getting ingredients from the store cupboard, stopping behind Hermione to peer at Neville's potion.
"I guess I shouldn't have expected anything better from you, Longbottom," he drawled scornfully, smirking at the disgusting green substance. "You'll always be such a loser." Hermione got to her feet angrily, turning to Draco, but the minute his eyes met hers, she blinked rapidly, memory of the kiss returning to her. "Do you have anything to say, Granger?" Draco asked, leaning closer so that their noses almost touched. Hermione's eyes widened when Harry and Ron caught sight of this scene from across the classroom and jumped to their feet.
"Get away from her, Malfoy!" Ron yelled, dashing madly at Draco. Snape slammed his palms on his desk and got up, hurrying to deduct points from Ron, but Ron was too quick. Before anyone had anytime to react, he was flying at Draco, who looked vaguely shocked for one second.
The class had abandoned all their work; all staring at Draco, Ron, Harry and Hermione as best as they could through the acid fumes that filled the air. There were sounds of a scuffle, then Neville's high-pitched scream, followed by a yell from Draco, a shriek from Hermione and cursing from both Harry and Ron.
What had actually happened was that Ron had tripped and pushed Draco, causing him to topple sideways, grabbing the only source of support available – Hermione. He grabbed her hand and yanked it forward, accidentally plunging both their hands into Neville's potion. According to Lavender, however, who sat at the back of the class and had to squint to even see Draco's bright platinum blond hair, Ron had spotted Draco and Hermione kissing and was boiling with rage. No one believed her, of course, except for Parvati, and they spent the rest of the time whispering intently to each other.
Snape stood before Draco and Hermione, glowering. "Let us just hope Mr. Longbottom has brewed his potion correctly, then," he said, yanking Hermione and Draco's hands out of the cauldron by grabbing hold of their elbows.
"Why, professor? What if –" Hermione began as Draco tried to yank his hand away, but he ended up pulling Hermione forwards against his chest. Ron turned scarlet and yelled at Draco, but Snape simply sneered at Neville.
"If the potion is not brewed correctly, the substance will be incredibly sticky," Snape replied, a twinge of amusement in his usual flat voice. "Sticky enough to bond to human skin." His face broke out into a sickly grin, and he leered down at Draco and Hermione. "I'm afraid there's nothing I can do. You shall have to go to Madam Pomfrey for a dissolving serum."
His words were followed by an ominous silence in which Hermione gaped openly, Neville looked despairingly at his potion, Harry sank against the desk, Ron turned red, and Draco flung his arm hopelessly against his side in a futile attempt to release Hermione's hand. Then Snape grinned gleefully – even though he was known never to grin – and pushed Draco and Hermione out the door. They let him, stumbling out of the doors as Snape began to deduct a crazy amount of points from Gryffindor.
Hermione turned to Draco blankly. "Why does this keep happening to us?" she asked irritably. "And why is it you? Why is it always you?"
Still trying to release Hermione's hand, Draco turned his half-hearted glare on her. "Do you have any idea how many girls would be dying to be in your place?" he snapped angrily, fiddling with his left hand to get his wand out of his pocket and try some spells on the potion.
"No," Hermione stated flatly. "All I know is that I'm dying not to be in this place." Seeing Draco trying to get his wand out, she quickly whipped her own wand out as well.
Draco glanced at her and narrowed his eyes. "Why do you have your right hand free?" he asked accusingly, trying to pull his wand out of his right pocket and getting it caught awkwardly in his robes, where he moved it around blindly, poking Hermione in the ribs with it. She let out a yelp and spun to face him, glowering with anger, all thoughts of embarrassment gone.
"That hurts!" she cried angrily, and Draco was momentarily reminded of their little encounter a few days ago. But that was soon replaced by indignation when Hermione continued ranting at him. "And the reason why I have my right hand free is because this is entirely your fault! You were the one who grabbed me and plunged your hand into Neville's potion, knowing that it was brewed wrong and sticky and –"
For the second time in a space of ten minutes, Hermione was interrupted mid-sentence as Draco grabbed her free hand with his free hand and pushed her against the wall, eyes narrowed. "Stop talking!" he hissed at her irritably. "Just … stop, okay?" Then he tried to stalk off dramatically, leaving Hermione standing against the wall in confusion. But he happened to forget that they were still stuck to each other, and ended up yanking Hermione behind him so suddenly that they both toppled to the floor.
Hermione opened her mouth to shout something at Draco, presumably something that went along the lines of 'What is wrong with you?' but her mental capabilities seemed to leave her as she found brilliant grey eyes staring into her own brown ones. Her heartbeat increased rapidly, but the blood seemed to rush not to her brain, to sustain her train of sensible thought, but to her cheeks, turning them pink.
Draco noticed immediately that Hermione was blushing and felt his breath catch in his throat. He hated it when he made her blush; it always made him feel so … squeamish. Because she was Hermione Granger, for crying out loud! She wasn't supposed to blush because of him, she was supposed to be immune, she was supposed to be a super-human, unaffected by things that usually affected girls.
Another glance into her eyes confirmed that Draco had been wrong all this while. She was human, after all, and her honey-gold eyes shone warmly, enticingly, welcomingly.
"I knew you couldn't resist me, Malfoy," Hermione said, in a rather unconvincing imitation of Draco. Her voice was hushed, and Draco could feel her breath against his cheek, which was making him nervous. Trying to convince himself that he was purely disgusted at being in such vicinity to Hermione – though it was not a first for them – Draco pushed her off him and clambered to his feet, pulling her up with him.
An awkward silence passed between them, hanging heavily in the atmosphere. "We should get to Madam Pomfrey's," Draco suggested. When Hermione nodded mutely, he pulled her along, ignoring the strange looks they were receiving throughout the entire journey there as best as they could.
Which wasn't very well at all, because everyone was blatantly staring at them and whispering in not-so-hushed voices.
"Can we hurry up?" Hermione asked urgently, quickening her pace. Draco followed her silently, trying not to feel disappointed at her anxiousness to remove herself from his vicinity. They continued the walk up to the hospital wing in complete silence after that, stealing glances at each other every so often.
They opened the doors together, using their free hands, and Madam Pomfrey gasped when she saw them. She stared at them intently, then beamed. "I knew those two would soon get over all that childish bickering and come to admit their feelings for each other!" she announced to nobody at all, clutching her hands to her chest. Both Hermione and Draco coloured instantly, all the awkwardness that had slowly begun to dissipate between them returning.
"Um, no, actually ..." Hermione tried to explain, but made the mistake of glancing at Draco, who was smirking. "What are you smirking at?" she demanded angrily, and Madam Pomfrey's face fell when she realised that she was wrong in assuming that they were holding hands of their own accord. She was soon given the full story in bits and pieces from Hermione, because Draco kept cutting in to say things like 'Weasley was obviously jealous of my dashing good looks' or 'Longbottom's never made a decent potion in his life'.
Madam Pomfrey dabbed on a foul-smelling purple liquid and glared at Draco after he asked her if she had put too little of the serum for the fifth. She then pushed them out of the hospital wing, telling them it was already time for dinner and the serum would take around half-an-hour to take effect. Then she proceeded to shut the doors on them heavily.
"Let's go for dinner, then," Draco said quickly, pulling Hermione along.
"How what?" Draco asked. "We walk there?"
Hermione sent him a glowering look. "No, what I meant was: how do we sit at our house tables if we're stuck together like this?" she questioned, frowning. Draco stopped in his tracks to glance at her.
"You have a good point there," he said musingly, and Hermione was about to snap an 'Of course' when Draco shrugged. "We'll walk to the Great Hall slowly, then wait outside until the serum takes effect."
His plan was as good as any other, and the pair began to walk down the empty corridors with slow, deliberating steps. Hermione soon let out a burst of giggles at the comical way in which they were walking: reaching out with one leg, then placing it on the ground gently, before carefully lifting the other leg and repeating the action. She was convinced they looked like they were walking on the moon.
To her great surprise, when she mentioned this, Draco did not smirk and tell her she was being immature, but laughed, nodding in agreement. Hermione's gazed went to his face, dimmed by the shadows but brightened by the soft moonlight, and his eyes, shining like two beautiful silver moons.
As if feeling her gaze on him, Draco turned and met her eyes. Eyes that weren't quite brown – that didn't do justice to the sparkling colour that was exactly the hue of pure gold, bright against her porcelain skin and rosy cheeks.
They came to a stop, just one corner away from arriving outside the Great Hall, staring intently at each other, hands still joined. Torches flickered dimly against the walls, while shafts of white light poured in through the windows. Hermione felt herself stop breathing as Draco leant closer, their noses bumping together and sending shivers through her spine.
Draco hesitated. He wanted to kiss her, that was for sure, but he was afraid of how she would react. When usually it didn't matter what the girl thought, Draco would just kiss her if he wanted to, this time it mattered, for some inexplicable reason. He didn't want to kiss her if she didn't want to, he didn't want to kiss her if she'd be afraid, he didn't want to kiss her if it would make her angry. Thinking all this, Draco began to turn away, until he felt a hand around his neck, pulling him closer.
Letting her Gryffindor bravery come into play, Hermione touched her lips to Draco's softly, like she was testing the waters. When he didn't pull back, but placed his free hand on the small of her back, Hermione leant even closer, abandoning all rational thought and thinking only about how nice it felt to kiss Draco. The thoughts running through Draco's mind were eerily similar, and he absorbed himself in the kiss, letting all emotion run through. The mental barriers he had built up over so many years to compartmentalise his emotions had collapsed the moment Hermione let her lips touch his – barriers that had been shaky from the minute he had met Hermione.
The hands that were joined to one another fell apart – the serum had taken effect. But neither of them noticed, only engrossed in the kiss.
A kiss which was interrupted by a familiar giggle.
"Am I," Lavender Brown paused to giggle again, "Interrupting something?" She seemed particularly amused that she had yet again interupted them.
Draco felt like whipping out his wand and hexing her. Wasn't it obvious that she was interrupting something? Why couldn't she just go away? There he was, absorbed in the most wonderful kiss in his life, and she had to go spoil it!
"No, no!" Hermione hastily said. "It was just … Neville's potion! We were stuck together, it was only a normal …" she trailed off lamely after that, not sure how to explain why she was kissing Draco.
Neither Draco nor Hermione had realised that their hands were now hanging limply by their sides, no longer stuck to each other. Lavender, however, noticed this immediately. Not saying anything, she raised her hands and clasped them together slowly, as if demonstrating something to them, then let her hands fall apart. Without waiting for them to register what she had shown, Lavender let out a high-pitched giggle and ran off, under the correct impression, this time, that she had interrupted a secret rendezvous.
After a few seconds, Hermione looked down in comprehension, and upon seeing the empty space between her and Draco's hands, felt her heart lurch with disappointment. Not sure she could stand meeting Draco's gaze, Hermione mumbled a vague goodbye under her breath and tried to turn away.
She felt a hand grasp hers tightly and turned to see Draco staring down at her, his eyes pleading with her not to leave. A moment passed, in which Hermione could not bear to tear her eyes away from Draco, the mournful look on his face pulling at her heartstrings. Something about Draco just made her unable to control herself, as Hermione placed her hands on his shoulder, standing on tiptoe to gently brush her lips against his.
If Draco had taken this as her answer to his unspoken question, his wordless plea, he would have been disappointed. A smirk broke out on Hermione's face and she grasped his hand in hers tightly, before letting go abruptly.
"I'll see you around," she said in imitation of Draco, right down to the smirk on her face. "Draco."
As she turned into the Great Hall, Draco glanced down mutely at his right hand, thinking of the wombat's fur and sticky green pus that had caused him and Hermione to be stuck together for the most wonderful hour of his life, and smiled genuinely.
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