Disclaimer: Harry Potter and its characters, setting, and amazing-ness belong to the wonderfully talented J.K. Rowling. I am but a humble author doing what I can to make you all laugh and appreciate a fandom that should have been canon.

Brewing Up a Little Love

Chapter One

The day was like any other. The November sky had been overcast and a rumble of thunder could be heard on the horizon, the promise of a storm lingering in the near future. Students dragged themselves from their warm beds to greet the cold stone that lined the halls and then trudge to breakfast, backs laden with textbooks and parchment for another day of learning.

And just like every Monday in the history of Hogwarts, Hermione was up and ready to go promptly at six-thirty and waited impatiently for Harry and Ron to show themselves at seven. They had Potions at seven-thirty and then Herbology at nine. Slughorn had told them last class that what they would be working on starting the next week was a large portion of their grade. And always trying to keep her almost perfect list of straight O's, the Gryffindor witch was determined to excel at whatever the new Potion's professor gave them.

Tapping her foot impatiently, the girl gave a huff as the two boys in question made their way down the staircase. Ron was yawning loudly, giving everyone who was watching a full view of his tonsils, and running his hands through his messy hair. Harry hadn't even bothered, no one could tell when he brushed it or when he just came down a bed-head.

"How late were you up last night?" Hermione asked, noticing the dark bags beneath both sets of eyes, Harry's glasses doing little to hide his.

The two exchanged guilty glances. "Dunno," Ron said, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly and giving another yawn. "We were… working on our star charts… yeah, and they were really exciting… and we couldn't stop…" His hopeful grin made Hermione give a sigh and shake her head, amusement clear in her eyes.

"What am I going to do with the two of you?" she asked, shifting her book bag onto her shoulder and heading towards the portrait hole.

"You could take notes for us during Potions so we can sleep," Ron said, face completely serious.

She swatted the back of his head. "What we're doing today is a large part of our grade, Professor Slughorn said. So the two of you will both remain alert and attentive throughout class. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Hermione," they echoed, traipsing along behind her energetic step. The Great Hall was bustling with morning-students like Hermione when they reached it, while the night owls were nearly dozing in bowls of porridge. Ushering the two into their seats, the witch placed steaming plates of waffles in front of them and poured a large glass of orange juice for them all.

"Why were Mondays invented?" Ron moaned, chewing on his waffle with his head resting on the table. "Can't we just skip from Sunday to Tuesday? That just sounds better."

"Agreed," Harry said, a bit more awake than the redhead and actually eating his breakfast with a fork. "Or, if it just went Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and then back to Friday."

"Yeah!" Ron said enthusiastically. "But… we still have classes on Friday. So, just Saturday and Sunday would be better."

"The reason we're all here, you know, is to learn," Hermione said, peeling a banana. "Besides, seven-thirty isn't that early. You always manage to get up for early Quidditch practices that you have at seven."

"But that's different," Ron argued, reaching across Harry for the bacon. "That's, you know," he said, mimicking Hermione, "fun. And I like fun. I do not like Potions."

"Potions can be fun," she said. "You should at least like it a little better since Professor Slughorn is teaching it and not Snape."

"That may be true and all," Harry countered. "But Snape got moved to DADA. So, my favorite class ever, has now been utterly ruined."

"Better than when Umbridge taught it."

"… It depends on your point of view."

"At least Snape actually teaches us."

Ron, meanwhile, had tuned out the conversation that actually required thought processes and was shoveling hash browns at an alarming rate into his mouth. It was a wonder he hadn't yet eaten the fork.

A little while later the group headed off for Potions, with only a quick stop for Harry to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Ron, who had swallowed a teaspoon that he mistook for a sausage.

Entering the dungeons, they were quite surprised to find Slughorn fluttering about instead of sitting in his customary spot at the desk. He was decked out as gaudy as ever; orange and green pinstripe suit with garish silver buttons holding in his stomach.

A sheen of sweat shone on his forehead, but his large smile was what nearly blinded the students entering the dimness of the dungeons. "You're all in for a treat," he chuckled, rubbing his hands and beaming at them. "A real treat, I tell you."

"I don't like it when professors are so happy over something," Ron mumbled, sliding into his seat between Harry and Hermione. "He's probably found a new way to torture us or something."

"Professor Slughorn isn't like that, Ron," Hermione admonished. "What he has planned is very vital for our grades, so it probably is something to get excited about. I know I am."

"Well, that makes you the only one," Harry sniggered, looking at the faces of their fellow classmates. Their Potions class consisted of all the sixth year Gryffindors and Slytherins, although without Snape as the professor it was more bearable than previous years.

The Slytherins were all shooting evil glares at Slughorn as he continued to flap about in excitement, mopping at his forehead with a bright orange handkerchief. Once the clock struck seven-thirty, Slughorn coughed loudly and then grinned even wider, if it were possible.

"What we're going to be working on for the next few days is a large portion of your grade," he said. "I chose to do this now, and not later, because of what we've been studying the last few classes. Can anyone summarize it for me?"

Hermione's hand shot straight up into the hair and with a chuckle, Slughorn called on her. "We've brewed a sadness potion, an excitement potion, a fear potion and an anger potion over the last month," she said, the know-it-all tone creeping into her voice. "All of the potions dealt with emotion and feelings."

"Very good, ten points for Gryffindor," he said. "What Miss Granger said sums up very accurately what we've done. And if you had paid any attention and followed the directions correctly, you would realize all of those potions were brewed in similar manners.

"For this project, you will be making your very own emotion based potion relying on the past knowledge and ideas we have covered in class. You will have an entire week, including today, to do research and then make it."

"Excuse me, Professor, but how exactly will we know they work?" Hermione asked. Beforehand, all the potions they had done were standard textbook ones and so long as it turned out the color and thickness the book had described they were awarded full points.

"That's the fun part of this project," he chortled. "You'll get to test your potion on each other. Now, don't look at me like that," he said, holding up his hands as several students raised eyebrows and shook their heads. "I promise you won't be left like that; an antidote must also be made, which will then be applied. We'll know if it works if you actually need to use the antidote."

"And what if someone screws up the antidote?" asked Zabini, his dark eyes wary. They all had a right to be suspicious, Neville and Crabbe and Goyle were in the class. "All of the potions we've done don't stop working unless the antidote is applied."

Slughorn waved the question away. "If something does happen, I'm sure I'll be able to fix it. Just so long as no one throws out their potion, so I will require a small sample of everyone's to be turned in as well.

"Now, before you all start researching, there are a few things you should be aware of. First, all ingredients are available. If you require something that our basic stores don't have, ask me and I'll try to find it for you. Second, the partner you will test your potion on will be randomly drawn. So don't come to me if you get paired with someone you don't like. It'll only be for a few minutes anyways.

"And lastly, I'm deciding on the type of potion you'll be brewing. If I left it as a free-for-all I think things could get rather ugly," he laughed. "So, I've decided on a potion that hopefully won't cause too many disturbances in the class."

"Why does he have that gleam in his eye?" Harry whispered to Ron, the redhead shrugging and shrinking back in his chair.

"We'll be making… love potions."

A sudden silence followed the announcement. And then it was quickly followed by outbursts and complaints.

"WHAT?" Seamus roared, trying to lunge at the portly professor and only being held back by Dean. "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL? LOVE POTIONS?"

"You can't be serious," Draco Malfoy said, silver eyes flashing.

Slughorn waved his hands for quiet. "It will only be for a few minutes," he said soothingly.

"All it takes is a few minutes to scar someone for life," Blaise muttered, Gryffindors and Slytherins alike nodding and agreeing.

"Well, you either take a failing grade for it or you have some fun at someone else's expense for a few minutes. You'll get to get back at your partner though with your own potion, so it's not the end of the world.

"I have several books up here on the properties of love potions. Feel free to come take a look, but you may not copy the exact formula. You need to make it your own. Let's get started. You have the rest of this class period to do research and then on class Wednesday and Friday you will be able to brew them. I'll be in my office if you have any questions."

Thus saying so, Slughorn took his leave, a bit too hastily for someone who was supposed to be unruffled, and left the class to their own devices.

"I refuse to do this," Ron said stubbornly, crossing his arms and glaring at his cauldron like it held the source for all his problems. "I don't know if I even could do it."

Hermione, having gone up to grab one of the books, returned and set the book on the ledge with a thump. "It'll be fine," she said, opening it and blowing the dust out of the pages. "So long as I don't end up getting paired with Malfoy," she said, shooting the silvery blond a dark look across the room. "And the odds of that are happening are quite slim. Only a little over 10 percent actually, assuming Slughorn is pairing us by gender. There are nine guys and nine girls, so we're pretty evenly balanced." (1)

New looks of horror crossed Harry and Ron's faces. "We might…?"

"…oh bloody hell," Ron muttered. "Slughorn wouldn't do that, would he?"

"He didn't say he wouldn't," Hermione reminded him. "And he said it'd be random picking, so it could be possible."

"I will fail before that happens," Ron said. "I mean, I guess it wouldn't be so bad if a girl fawned over me for a minute but… bad mental images," he said, shuddering.

Hermione gave a little laugh and began to read the book, jotting down interesting looking potions and ingredients to try.

When she had said anyone but Malfoy, she meant anyone but Malfoy. He was the one person she could say she actually hated. And hate really was a strong word. She had tried to give him chances to prove himself not all evil, but her patience had run out.

Since she had first met him, he had teased and poked fun at her. Then, starting second year, he began to call her that awful, cursed word. And it had only gotten worse. This year was no exception.

He seemed to have a personal vendetta against her this year, switching his attentions from Harry to her. She had been accosted several times in the halls by him, threats whispered in her ear against her and her friends. The taunting got worse, she was no longer even Granger but now simply "Mudblood."

She didn't know what had changed. Maybe it was Slughorn and how he hadn't invited him to join his little "Slug Club" while she, a muggleborn, had been. Or maybe it all dealt with their grades. They had all been owled their class standings before the year started, with the top three students listed for all to see to 'honor their achievements'. She had been ranked number one and he second (Ernie MacMillan was third).

Telling Harry and Ron didn't help matters at all. Ron swore vengeance and wanted to beat his "stupid pale face in" and Harry was all set to "accidentally" smash him into the Quidditch pitch during the next match as well as join Ron in some "Malfoy pummeling".

Whatever the case was, his hatred was now matched with hers. It wasn't helping matters as they both slowly began to realize they would most likely both be the Heads in their seventh year and they would be forced to share a living quarters together. She preferred not to dwell on that fact and only prayed Ernie would take his place (she adamantly refused to give up her claim on Head Girl).

The most she could do now was do her best to ignore him and hope he would do the same. Thus far, it wasn't working all that well. It didn't help that almost all of her classes had him in them. Her Advanced Ancient Runes, where there were only eight of them, and he just happened to be the only Slytherin there. Gryffindors had double DADA and Care of Magical Creatures with Slytherin so she saw him then. Their Transfiguration and Charms classes were next to each other and met at the same time so they often saw each other in the hallway leaving and going.

Almost as if he could tell she was thinking about him, the pale Slytherin glanced up from a discussion with Zabini and glared in her direction. She returned it, but ended up averting her eyes first. His gaze was like molten silver and it almost physically hurt to look at, much like one looking at the sun.

"So, any ideas?" Harry asked, looking half-heartedly at his notes from the previous potions.

"I want a slower acting one," the witch said, flipping through the thick pages. "All of the ones listed in here are quite fast-acting. Within minutes, actually. I don't know how I'll make a slower one, but I'm sure I can figure it out. The Antipodean Opaleye's scales are used in a lot of potions designed to slow the effects of something. They might work."

"The anti-what a dean?" Ron asked, glancing up from his tic-tac-toe game against himself.

"The Antipodean Opaleye," Hermione said patiently. "It's a dragon native to New Zealand and Australia. But I'm sure those aren't in the student supplies; they're quite rare. I'll have to go ask Professor Slughorn," she said, sighing and rising to her feet. "Be back in a few minutes."

Rapping lightly on Slughorn's office door, she let herself in, sighing in defeat as she glanced over her shoulder and saw Harry participating in Ron's games. The Potions professor was sitting behind his desk, reading a novel with a pair of gold spectacles perched on his nose.

"Hermione, dear, what can I do for you?" he asked, reverting back to the very personal Slughorn everyone in the "Slug Club" had come to known.

"I need your help, Professor," she said, taking a seat in the red cushioned chair opposite him. "I want to make a slower-acting potion, but all of the ones we made and the ones in the books are all fast acting."

"Slow acting?" Slughorn interrupted. "What do you mean?"

"Well, all of the general love potions make a person fall in love right away. I want to try and make one where it's gradual… like the person who took the potion notices small positive things about the person and they fall in love, for real. It'd be like magnifying all the good points and making them see what they thought was bad or never noticed pop out more."

"So it modifies the emotions?" he asked for clarification.

"Sort of… I can't say for certain, but it doesn't really change someone's emotions. It would instead sort of bring down their walls, so to speak, and make them more aware of the other person. So I guess, it sort of would modify emotions, because the person under the potion would act upon their newfound feelings instead of ignoring them like they normally would have because the potion wouldn't allow that.

"And I figured that Antipodean Opaleye scales might work, because they're used to slow down effects of poisons. But I don't know where I would find any. Although this is all just speculation," she admitted. "I'm not sure if it would even work at all."

"I'm certain if you put your mind to it, Hermione, you can do anything," he said warmly. "As for the scales, those certainly are rare," he said, tapping his round chin thoughtfully. "But since you're one of my dearest students, I shall try and procure some for you. I know of several previous students who have connections with the Australian Wizarding Council. I'll talk to them on your behalf. Do you know how much you'll require?"

"Um," she said, brow furrowed. "Maybe ten ounces? A little more would always be better, in case it isn't strong enough."

"I'll do what I can, my dear," he said, patting her gently on the hand. "Just leave it to me."

"Thank you, Professor," she said with a large smile. She hated to get special favors, but it wasn't like she had done anything different to gain Slughorn's interest. And if he could get the scales for her, she'd be all too happy to be roped into the "Slug Club" life. At least for a little while.

He waved her off with a smile, already drafting a letter to whatever associates he had that might be able to obtain the scales. Humming, she exited back into the class, and over to her book again.

"Could Slughorn help?" Harry asked, jotting in an 'o' and grinning as Ron scowled.

"He said he'd contact some friends in Australia for me and see if they couldn't not get me some."

"Don't use that," Ron muttered, hatching an 'x' and giving a smug smile to Harry as he won.

"Use what?"

"That double… double niffler? Double nerkin…?"

"Double negative?" she supplied.

"Yeah. They confuse me."

She laughed and shook her head. "I don't really notice when I use them. But I think they sound sophisticated."

At that exact moment, they all clearly heard Malfoy telling Zabini, "It's not unlike anything I've ever seen…"

"Okay, dropping the double negatives," she muttered, while Ron and Harry burst into loud laughter. Feeling her cheeks redden, she turned back to her book and remained like that for the rest of the class, hoping to be a role model to her best friends. But it didn't work. Not like she had ever expected it to; the day was as normal as ever.

xxx

The rest of the day passed by quietly and without surprise. Herbology had been simple and after eating lunch with Harry and Ron, Hermione had vanished to the library to get her essay for Snape done and to plan a bit more on her potion.

From there, she had gone to dinner and then to her dorm after a quick prefect meeting. Besides Malfoy glaring at her, nothing had gone wrong and she would call it a successful day.

So when she crawled into bed later, she didn't know why such a feeling of unease washed over her. Even Crookshanks' purring couldn't soothe her, as it normally did when her half-kneazle cat decided to show some affection.

She didn't understand what there was to be concerned over. She had finished her homework that was due a few days in advance. She had almost completely decided on the design for her potion, and would work on the little details as she made it. She had eaten, warned Ron and Harry to go to bed at a decent hour, and had taken a nice, hot shower.

Curling up in a tight ball, her hands stroked Crookshanks' fur and she attempted to sleep. It had to be nothing. There was absolutely nothing for her to be worried about (except for the impending confrontation with Voldemort, but for some reason she didn't think that was it).

If that were true, then why did she feel like something horrible was about to happen?

xxx

xxx

Author's Notes:

(1) A footnote already? Well, this is for counting issues. Supposedly, Rowling had five guys and five girls in every year in every house. However, I only know of the three Gryffindor girls and four Slytherin girls, but five for each guy (including Nott, whom I think of as a year above). So, for the purpose of this story, there are only four guys in Slytherin house (Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Zabini) and there are six girls in Slytherin (Parkinson, Greengrass, Bulstrode, Davis, and two girls I'll make up-don't worry, they don't have really any role). Plus all of the Gryffindors will appear. Capiche? Good.

What is this you ask? I'm not sure myself. Ask the plot bunny that has attached itself to my arm. I swear I said I wouldn't be writing any new fic, but, that darn little rabbit wouldn't let me go till I wrote this. So, here we are.

A romance/humor fic full of Draco/Hermione goodness that I'm sure you're all going to love. I'll probably put some Harry/Ginny in their too, just because they're my second favorite couple. It will also (strangely enough) also be a Ron/Pansy pairing. Don't look at me like that, I think you'll be laughing soon enough.

I know the idea of a love potion sounds boring, but bear with me. I think we'll all be having fun in a few chapters. At the expense of poor Hermione and Draco, but fun never the less. I guess this sort of spawned from writing way too much angst and the need for humor and laughs won.

As for what timeline this is taking place in. It takes place in sixth year with Slughorn, so HBP. However, there aren't any Horcruxes here and no Draco trying to bust in and no Ron/Lav to make Hermione jealous. Also, if you didn't catch it, Blaise is finally black as Rowling has deemed him and I just had him prewritten as white in all my other stories. So, yay!

If you like how the story is progressing so far, please do review! I'd love to hear your opinions! (And reviews always encourage me!)

As a note, I will be attempting to update this story every two weeks on a Sunday so stay tuned!