~ Draco and Hermione ~
"The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters.
We've all got both light and dark inside us.
What matters is the part we choose to act on.
That's who we really are."
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters and settings belong to J.K Rowling.
Hermione had a bad feeling about Harry's group before they'd even began the whole drinking process. It was obvious from their potions that something would go wrong, because their potions were all sorts of bizarre green and yellow colours thanks to Harry's sabotage. Everyone crowded around the final group as they prepared, and Pansy was almost pale from nervousness as she looked at the three horrid potions on the bench in front of her.
"If you've got cold feet, I'll be more than happy to-" offered Harry, looking rather amused but also slightly concerned at the same time.
"Shut up, Potter," Pansy snapped, but her feisty attitude wasn't there and her voice shook slightly. Theodore pointed to the potion on the right, which was dark green, bubbly and emanating black fumes.
"That seems like the best of the three," he said, almost as if he'd calculated the safety of all three potions and come up with the idea. Snape nodded in agreement just a tiny bit before speaking.
"As you should know by now, this subject isn't just about brewing the perfect potion. It is also about identifying foreign potions, understanding how different ingredients react, and evaluating the danger of potions," said Snape, as he nodded in approval for them to continue. Pansy took a deep breath, and began filling up a small flask with the bubbly green potion anxiously. As she did this Harry smeared his lips with his own Wiggenweld Potion, which he'd brewed flawlessly thanks to the Half-Blood Prince book. There was an eerie silence as all eyes were on Pansy. Her pale hand shook as she raised the flask to her mouth, her eyes conveying how badly she wished she didn't have to drink it. After a moment or two however, she quickly tipped a tiny amount of the green liquid into her mouth and swallowed in disgust. Then her eyes rolled back into her head and she passed out. The flask fell and shattered to the ground, and she slumped directly into Harry's arms.
"Tergeo," said Snape, casting the spell to clean away the spare potion that was on the floor. As he did this, Pansy suddenly began to convulse in Harry's arms. In the heat of the moment and having no idea what else to do, Harry kissed her. The convulsions stopped immediately as the Wiggenweld Potion went to work. The entire room was deathly quiet from shock.
"Everyone go back to your benches and make room. Potter give her more Wiggenweld Potion - not yours, mine, now!" ordered Snape quickly.
"What just happened, what the hell is going on!" Draco demanded, his eyes fixed on the Slytherin girl who's breathing almost seemed to have stopped. Harry held Pansy up as Theodore ran to Snape's desk, filled a flask of Snape's Wiggenweld Potion and gently opened her mouth to pour it in. Once this was finished, Snape lifted her like she was a feather and headed for the door.
"Draco come with me to the Hospital Wing, nobody else move, and if I come back to find anyone with a wand out you'll be expelled without hesitation," were Snape's last words before he departed. Draco shot Harry a glare of pure and absolute hatred unlike Hermione had ever seen, before grabbing his bag and following Snape out. The chaos that ensued was typical of their year group: within seconds accusations were shouted and wands were drawn. Blaise and Millicent were furious with Harry, and Hermione supposed that they had good reason to be angry. But it wasn't entirely Harry's fault, obviously if Pansy hadn't provoked him nothing bad would have happened. She said this aloud to try and defend Harry, and Blaise threw it right back in her face.
"So provocation is an excuse to poison someone so severely they end up convulsing and in the Hospital Wing? What, did McGonagall suddenly change the school rules?" he asked snidely, surprising Hermione slightly. He always acted annoying and stupid, but he sure knew what he was talking about and he had a good point.
"No it isn't an excuse, but Pansy's actions contributed to her being poisoned just as much as Harry's. If she hadn't ruined her own potion, she would have been fine," argued Hermione.
"If Potter hadn't ruined his and Theo's potions, she would have been fine," Blaise countered.
"Exactly my point, they're both equally to blame for what happened," said Hermione in exasperation.
"Pansy is in the Hospital Wing and Potter's fine, there's nothing equal about the situation-"
"Just put the wand down Zabini, you heard Snape," said Ernie, in an attempt to restore order.
"Fuck off Macmillan," snapped Blaise crudely, but he lowered his wand before saying to Harry, "you're going to pay for this, I can guarantee it."
It didn't take long for half the school to find out what happened, and Hermione took Harry out onto the grounds to get away from the corridors and Slytherin's. They sat down on a hill near Hagrid's hut, and since it was lunch they wouldn't have to go to class for a while. After the final arguments before they left Potions, Harry hadn't spoken much and only just then Hermione realized that he looked rather upset about something.
"What's up? It wasn't your fault, you know that," said Hermione reassuringly.
"But it was," said Harry with a sigh.
"No, it wasn't. It was her fault, she shouldn't have ruined her own potion and she shouldn't have tried to get on your nerves. Everyone else will agree," said Hermione firmly, but this only seemed to make Harry feel worse.
"Everyone else will agree because everyone hates Slytherin and I'm famous, which isn't right. I'm beginning to think that what Lupin said was true," said Harry as he looked towards the Forbidden Forest gloomily. Hermione remembered the conversation she'd had with Lupin about Hogwart's tradition, and how Slytherin would probably be on the receiving end of bullying now that Voldemort was defeated. She understood where Harry was coming from, and perhaps it was unfair if they blamed Pansy for being poisoned.
"Of course what Lupin said was true, and of course it wasn't all Pansy's fault, it was both of you," said Hermione uncertainly.
"But it was ultimately my actions that caused her to be poisoned-"
"Harry, you're being too hard on yourself! And besides, I thought you wanted revenge just like Ron and the rest of them?" said Hermione, sounding rather bewildered.
"Of course I do, but not like that," said Harry in frustration.
"What do you mean?" asked Hermione curiously.
"I mean she didn't deserve it, Malfoy deserves it-"
"He doesn't!" Hermione disagreed.
"As much as you like him, and as much as he helped us, he has done worst things to us than Parkinson has," said Harry firmly, though he knew that Hermione would just disagree with him anyway.
"How about none of them deserve punishment, how about Voldemort is dead and the war is over and we should move on-" Hermione ranted furiously.
"Slim chance of moving on now, after what I just did," said Harry. Before Hermione could answer, they heard footsteps coming from behind them and turned around to see Ron as he sat down beside them, with a grin on his face.
"Bloody brilliant! How'd you do it?" Ron immediately asked, but he stopped when he noticed Hermione's disapproving expression.
"I didn't mean it to get this serious. She ruined her own potion and was being annoying as usual, so I ruined mine and Nott's," explained Harry shortly, not wanting to go into details. Ron still looked confused though, since he didn't do Potions and had no idea what the lesson involved.
"Them three were in a group, and one person had to drink a potion as part of the lesson," Hermione filled in quickly.
"Well that's dumb, I've always said Snape was a git. But why are you angry, she deserved it," continued Ron ignorantly.
"You weren't there Ron, it wasn't funny. It was like when you were poisoned in sixth year and I used the bezoar to save you, she was convulsing on the ground in the same way and Merlin knows what happened to her," said Harry as he stood up and started walking away from them. Ron and Hermione hurried after him, and thankfully Ron had gotten the message and was being a little more sensitive about it.
"Well what's done is done, Snape and Madam Pomfrey are geniuses so Parkinson'll be fine, we live happily ever after," Ron began.
"No, because Zabini and Malfoy want revenge," said Harry wearily.
"And what are they gonna do to us, when we have all of Gryffindor and Hufflepuff behind us? Screw those gits. It was an accident," said Ron reassuringly.
"It wasn't an accident, I ruined the potions on purpose!" Harry argued.
"But you didn't intend to put anyone's life in danger, that's what makes it an accident," said Ron firmly.
In the Hospital Wing Pansy was lying down on the bed unconscious. Her expression was calm though, and Draco watched intently from her bedside as her chest rose and fell delicately. All the memories from their first year flooded through his mind, and he was yet again reminded of how important she was to him. She had always been his best friend, the one person he could confide in, the one person he could always rely on, and the first girl he'd ever loved. In his eyes, Pansy Parkinson was truly one of a kind. Yet here she was, unconscious in a hospital bed with an unknown illness because of Potter. Draco glanced over at Snape and Pomfrey who were whispering to each other, holding up different healing potions and deciding what to do. They had already cast a spell on her and tipped a potion into her mouth the moment she arrived into the Hospital Wing, and that helped relax her body, but she was still pale and unconscious, and didn't appear healthy at all.
"How is she? Have they done anything?" asked Blaise suddenly, causing Draco to turn in surprise and realize that the Hospital Wing door was left open. Theodore was also there.
"Yeah, they gave her a potion and did some spell. Now they're just talking," muttered Draco.
"Potter's fucked for this," said Blaise, looking at Draco expectantly. It was usually Draco who initiated some sort of revenge scheme on the Golden Trio in their earlier years, and the rest of the Slytherin's just followed him. When he didn't reply, Blaise continued.
"I know," snapped Draco, not looking away from Pansy.
"What are we going to do?"
"I don't know. It can't be obvious, no-one can find out. Something related to Quidditch," said Draco quietly.
"Quidditch never works, don't you remember what happened when we dressed up as Dementor's?" said Blaise in annoyance.
"That was just a joke, this isn't a joke. He put Pansy in the Hospital Wing, I'm putting him in here. Whatever happens to her will happen to him, only worse," said Draco vehemently.
"And if she dies?" asked Blaise worriedly, glancing at the pale complexion of her face.
"She won't," said Draco firmly.
"And what about you? You with us or not?" demanded Blaise, turning to Theodore.
"I'll help get revenge, for Pansy's sake. But as I previously said, I'm not your little sheep anymore," stated Theodore.
"You were never a sheep, we all stuck together because we were friends," Draco snapped in annoyance.
"You didn't care about friendship, all you've ever been is a spoiled brat who used people to get what you wanted. Vincent and Greg were never your friends, they were your henchmen. It's thanks to you that every other house hates us, it's thanks to you Pansy is on that bed-" Theodore was saying furiously, but before he finished the sentence Draco had punched him square in the jaw, much to everyone's surprise. Before Theo could react Blaise had stood in the middle of them, hands outstretched.
"This your new bodyguard?" asked Theo sarcastically as he held his jaw.
"I'll accept everything you said, but don't ever blame me for what happened to Pansy," said Draco fiercely.
"Who's to blame then?" Theodore scoffed.
"Potter, you idiot!" shouted Draco.
"Do you think Potter would have done that to any other house? Has Potter ever done anything to a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw? No, because he hates Slytherin, because he hates you-" accused Theodore angrily.
"Because he's the Boy-Who-Fucking-Lived and his entire purpose for living was to kill You-Know-Who, it had nothing to do with me being a twelve year old bully!" shouted Draco furiously.
"Guys calm down," said Blaise firmly, pushing them apart a bit.
"It had everything to do with you being a bully!"
"You were just like the rest of us anyway, you hypocrite!"
"That's because at a young age you follow the house you're in, but I've had enough of your shit now," said Theodore, with a hint of finality in his tone. It was only then that the students realized that Snape and Pomfrey were watching them in shock. With that Theodore stormed out of the room, leaving the rest of them in silence.
Next lesson was Defence Against the Dark Arts with the Slytherin's. After the morning events in Potions tensions were running high in both houses and Hermione was rather anxious to see how things would play out. Lupin must have already heard about what happened, because he was waiting outside his classroom wearily when the Gryffindor's arrived first. Theodore was the first Slytherin to arrive, and everyone noticed the slight swelling and bruising around his jaw but he didn't say anything so nobody commented. At last the rest of the Slytherin's arrived, glaring pointedly at Harry.
"I know what happened this morning, and let me get one thing clear: what happens outside my classroom, stays outside my classroom. I hear one word, one whisper relating to what happened, you will get an immediate detention," began Lupin bluntly.
"McGonagall said Snape couldn't hand out detentions," said Blaise.
"And I'm not Snape, Mr Zabini. All Slytherin's sit on the left of the room, Gryffindor's sit on the right. Don't talk, don't even look at each other until I'm confident you can cooperate, understood?" asked Lupin, and everyone nodded. As they walked into the room, Draco reluctantly moved towards Theodore.
"Pomfrey says to go to the Hospital Wing," he said, pointing at his jaw.
"Fuck you," was Theodore's instant reply.
"Suit yourself," Draco snapped, sitting down with Blaise, Crabbe and Goyle in their own row of seats. Theodore sat by himself at the back, and Hermione sat with Harry, Ron and Neville, after watching the little encounter between the Slytherin's. She was dying to find out what was going on between Draco and Theodore Nott, and whether Pansy was alright, and whether they were going to get revenge on Harry or not. There was quite a few unanswered questions, but Lupin started the lesson immediately and gave them no chance to dwell on the past.
"I think the best start to Defence Against the Dark Arts, especially at your age, is facing boggarts," said Lupin with a grin. Some people groaned, and others looked rather excited at the idea.
"It's been what, three or four years since you last had me and we did boggarts? I want you all to remember what your boggart was, what your greatest fear was, and now think to see if it has changed. At the age of thirteen your fears are quite simple and typical: spiders, snakes, monsters-" Lupin was saying.
"Dementor's," said Draco, with a slight smirk. Unfortunately it was just loud enough for everyone to hear, and Hermione gave him an angry glare.
"Point proven," muttered Theodore from behind them.
"And Dementor's, since some people's memories are so horrific, the prospect of reliving such memories are their greatest fear," said Lupin, as though what Draco said was a genuine idea and not an insult to Harry.
"Can anyone remember the spell used to combat a boggart?" asked Lupin, though before he had finished the sentence Hermione's hand was in the air. He smiled and nodded towards her.
"The spell is a charm and the incantation is 'Riddikulus', however the incantation and wand movement alone won't affect the boggart. In order for the charm to have any effect, the person must concentrate on changing their fear into something amusing or different," said Hermione rapidly.
"Very good Hermione. And can a boggart ever be killed or truly defeated?" Lupin continued, hoping to get an answer from someone else. Only Hermione raised her hand though, so he nodded to her again.
"No, boggarts can never be killed or truly defeated because they are amortal beings, meaning that they have never died, cannot die and were never alive to begin with, a state of non-being. Using the Riddikulus charm only temporarily confounds them," said Hermione, causing a few Slytherin's to roll their eyes at her.
"Brilliant explanation! And that pretty much sums up boggarts, they are peculiar creatures that are not exactly a threat, but we must still know how to defend ourselves against them. In the wardrobe at the back of the room is a boggart, and we will be taking turns to face it. So can everyone please move the desks and chairs to the sides of the room, and we can begin," ordered Lupin, gesturing towards the large wardrobe that nobody had actually paid any attention to. Everyone got up and began moving the desks and chairs, and once that was complete, stood around the wardrobe hesitantly.
"Wands out, and form a line in Slytherin-Gryffindor order behind me," Lupin instructed, causing the students to groan as they went in that order. People who went straight to the front included Harry, Ron, Neville, Theodore, Crabbe and Goyle, who all looked fairly confident. Hermione followed Draco and Blaise to the very back and placed herself between them, determined to get answers. After glancing at Draco and noticing how pale he was, she was suddenly worried about what his boggart would become. Would it be Voldemort, or something he'd never told her about?
"I will begin to demonstrate. As you all now know I am a werewolf, so the boggart should change into a moon," said Lupin, as though this were normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone watched in excitement as he pointed his wand at the wardrobe and cast a silent spell to unlock it. Out of the wardrobe came the black swirling figure that was the shapeless boggart, and then it suddenly whirled and changed, constantly shape-shifting into new blurs. At last it stopped and to everyone's shock, there lay Tonks with a baby in her arms, both pale and dead. There was a deathly silence as Lupin stiffened. There was nothing amusing about what they were seeing, and Hermione knew that you couldn't change it into anything amusing either.
"Riddikulus!" shouted Lupin, and the result was priceless. Tonks awoke with a smile and said, "April fools!" and the baby was laughing delightedly, before the boggart warped back to blackness and was sent smashing back into the wardrobe with considerable force. Everyone in the class cheered and clapped at that and the previous tension was lifted.
"Well, that was unexpected. Now imagine if I wasn't a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, I would have been a mess!" said Lupin with a smile, although it was half-hearted and he did indeed look a bit shaken up. Next up was Goyle, who was grinning slightly as if he knew what his was already. The boggart came out and changed into an empty plate with no food, and Goyle waved his wand and changed it into a gigantic plate with all of the nicest desserts imaginable, causing everyone to laugh. Ron's was a huge spider again, like in their third year. Crabbe's was the sight of himself falling, and he changed it so that he fell onto a broom in midair and shot away. Hermione was surprised by their imagination, and the fact that Crabbe was afraid of heights yet he still played Quidditch. Harry's was inevitably a dementor, and he used Expecto Patronum to force it back into the wardrobe which caused everyone but the Slytherin's to cheer and clap. Neville's fear wasn't Snape anymore, it was Hogwart's on fire, and he waved his wand to change the fire into Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes fireworks, causing everyone - including the Slytherin's this time - to cheer and clap. Down the line it kept going, with everyone succeeding. In Parvati's third year it had been a giant bandaged mummy, however this time the boggart changed into the lifeless body of her twin sister, Padma. She dropped her wand and burst into tears, shocked and unable to look away from the nightmarish vision she was seeing. The lesson had to be temporarily stopped and Parvati taken to the Hospital Wing to get a calming potion.
"As you can see, as you grow up your fears may change and mature. Instead of being afraid of Egyptian mummies, Parvati's greatest fear changed to that of losing her twin. Due to the Wizarding War, my own fear changed to losing my wife and child. I might add, if the boggart changes into a dead person and you cannot think of anything amusing, which is understandable, simply step back and let the next person have their turn," said Lupin, before continuing the lesson. It gradually got closer and closer to Blaise, Hermione and Draco, who were the final three in that order. For Blaise the boggart turned into the Slytherin banner in the Great Hall in flames, and he was so shocked that he used Aquamenti to put the fire out without realizing it was fake, causing the water to simply go through the image. Then he used Riddikulus to get rid of the fire and restore the banner. Hermione was surprised at how important his house must have been to him, but before she could dwell on that, it was her turn. She stepped forward nervously, and watched as the boggart warped and changed almost immediately into herself lying on the ground in Malfoy Manor with the words "mudblood" cut into her forearms, and Bellatrix Lestrange standing above her, wand at the ready. Lupin jumped in front of her and caused it to change to Tonks and his baby again, before shouting Riddikulus to send it flying back into the wardrobe. There was a shocked silence as Hermione took a deep breath and shakily put her wand away. She turned and glanced at Draco, who looked even more pale than before, as she walked over to Harry, Ron and the other Gryffindor's.
"Hermione, can I have a word with you after the lesson please?" asked Lupin in concern, and Hermione nodded.
"And now for our last one!" announced Lupin to divert the attention away from Hermione, and he nodded to Draco as he unlocked the wardrobe again. The boggart wafted out slowly and seemed to take forever as it transformed from various indescribable shapes, and nobody knew what was taking so long - and Hermione noticed Draco's wand-hand beginning to shake. She didn't know whether he was nervous because he knew what was coming, or because he didn't know what was coming. Suddenly the boggart stopped on the same scenario that Hermione herself had feared only a minute previously, except the Hermione on the ground was screaming in pain from what could only have been the Cruciatus curse.
"Expulso!" Draco shouted immediately, and the explosion spell shot through the image of the boggart and blasted the wardrobe behind it into thousands of pieces. A shockwave went through the room from the impact, knocking some people backwards into each other; and the boggart vanished in a puff of black smoke. Tiny pieces of broken wood fell to the ground all around the classroom as the students were left in a stunned silence.
"Where did the boggart go?" asked Hermione curiously, to break the silence.
"To another hiding place, because its wardrobe is gone. Destroying its hiding place is a last resort for those who are desperate. I would like you to stay after class as well, Mr Malfoy," said Lupin sternly.
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