Disclaimer: The characters and setting within are not of my own creation, and I take no credit for them. No copyright breach has been intended.
Chapter 5 – The End
"Hermione? Hermione?" The voice sounded far away. "Hermione, can you hear me?" Harry's voice. "Hermione?"
"Unh… Harry?" She said, suddenly waking. "Where am I? Where's Draco?" She sat up in alarm and then fell back down again, holding a hand to her head and wincing at the pain.
"You're in the hospital wing. Malfoy's in the next bed, sleeping it off. You've been out cold since last night. Dumbledore said it would take a while to recover, he's going to explain it to you tomorrow morning. Madam Pomfrey wants you to sleep until then."
"Okay. And, Harry, I'm sorry about –"
"What, raising a wand to me? Don't worry, I probably deserved it. Sleep now, I'll go tell Ron you're okay." He smiled and left the room.
"Nice friends you've got there Granger. Waking you up so you can go back to sleep."
"Draco! So you're awake! How are you?"
"I've got a splitting headache."
"Me too. What do you think happened to us?"
"I don't know, but I suppose we'll find out tomorrow morning."
A thoughtful silence stretched.
"Well, I think I'll go back to sleep now."
"Probably a good idea."
Hermione rolled over to her side and closed her eyes.
"I'm glad you're okay, Hermione," he said softly. Hermione smiled.
I I I
Hermione opened her eyes and sat up slowly, trying to ignore the throbbing in her temples. "Yes?"
"Professor Dumbledore would like to see you now in his office. You know where that is, I presume?"
"The password is fizzing whizbee. You don't need to come back here as long as you go STRAIGHT BACK to your dormitory and RELAX after you see him. I don't want to see you wandering the corridors, understood?"
"Yes Madam Pomfrey."
"Alright then. There's a clean set of robes on the table next to you."
"Thank you, Madam Pomfrey."
Hermione stretched and noticed Draco's bed was empty. He must have left already. She stood and dressed and washed her face to wake up, then left the hospital wing to Dumbledore's office.
After ascending the spiral staircase, Hermione knocked on the door. "Professor Dumbledore, sir?"
"Ah, Miss Granger, come in and please sit down. I'm glad to see you recovering well. I apologize for the spell; it was most likely a little…" his eyes twinkled, "rough. But necessary, I assure you."
"Necessary for what, sir?" Hermione asked, and noticed that Draco was there also, lounging back in a chair with his hands on his hair, looking hungover.
"Firstly, where did you find this book?" Dumbledore asked quietly.
Hermione looked at Draco, who made no move to speak. "I found it in the restricted section, sir." She looked down at her hands, suddenly feeling guilty.
"And when was this?"
"A few days ago sir."
"What is all this about?" Draco asked suddenly, "I thought you were going to explain the whole thing, not interrogate us. Sir." he added as an afterthought.
"Quite right Mister Malfoy. But to explain one must first understand. Still," he cleared his throat. "This book is imbued with a potion. A very old, very powerful potion called Obsession. Quite a brilliant marketing ploy, no doubt," he smiled. "This potion, as its name suggests, causes the victim, in this case, any person who breathes while reading this book, to become obsessed with whatever they are thinking about at the time. Given the topic of this particular book, it would follow that most readers would become obsessed with the dark arts. Doubtless you tried some spells yourselves. The storm we had several nights ago, perhaps? And the moon of course."
"Yes, sir." They both replied. Hermione rubbed her head gingerly, it had been throbbing since the spell was lifted.
"Well! No harm done! The spell I cast on the pair of you neutralizes the potion, with some regrettable side effects," he inclined his head apologetically, and Draco winced at the pain in his head, "and the book has been returned to its shelf. Are there any other questions?"
"Sir, could the potion make someone obsessed with things other than what the books are about?" Draco asked suddenly.
"Certainly, Mister Malfoy. Why, there is a famous case of a wizard who became quite infatuated with the opera, because it was playing in the background while he read one of these books. It was only after he had put on a great deal of weight and was singing Karaoke with Viking horns that they managed to correct the situation," he chuckled. "Well, anymore questions?"
Hermione found the obvious question. "Why on earth do you have such a dangerous, mind-altering book in Hogwarts?"
"The book represents one of the last samples of such a potent potion. And that is why we call it the restricted section, Miss Granger. The two of you may leave now, I am sure I will see you again."
I I I
"Hermione! Wait!" Draco ran up to her and turned her around. Her eyes were brimming with tears.
"It's all my fault!" she cried, "I showed you that book and you got sick too! Who knows what could have happened! I –"
"Hermione, calm down. No one knows what could have happened because NOTHING HAPPENED. We're both fine. And even if something had happened it wouldn't have been your fault. You were drugged."
"But how could I have gotten you involved in this? Someone that I care about?"
Draco looked away, stony faced. "Don't you get it Hermione? It was just the potion, the book. You never cared about me. You were just… obsessed. We both were."
"I don't want to believe that Draco, I can't." She turned his face towards hers. "Are you saying that you feel nothing for me anymore? After all this?"
He looked away.
"Well, if that's the way it is…" she said slowly. Hermione turned and walked away.
Footsteps sounded behind her and a pair of hands reached out and pulled her around.
"I'm sorry, Hermione," he said breathlessly, with his hands tangled in her hair.
"Don't talk," she said back, and he kissed her. The world seemed to spin around them as they stood locked in emotion, and Hermione, finally, felt truly safe in the universe. They slowly drew apart with smiles on their faces.
"You know," he said, "just because we're not drugged any more, doesn't mean we can't still have a little fun. Want to skip Potions tomorrow?"
Hermione looked at him in disapproval, then grinned. "Definitely," she said, "I've had enough of potions for this week!"
Draco draped his arm around Hermione's shoulders. "I wonder what Ron and Harry are going to say," he said.
Hermione put an arm around his waist. "Let's find out."
Well, that's all she wrote. I'd love feedback on what you thought of this relatively short story! Please review! It's been great writing for you.