Novel - Subject: Harry Potter - Rating: T - Category: Angst/Romance
The Curse Called Love: I hate you, Hermione. I hate how when you finally got over Weasley's death, we became enemies again. I hate how Potter slept with you in his arms on the Head Common Room couch when you had a nightmare every other night. I hate how once it was more than just sleeping.
I hate you, Hermione.
As I continued to search my brain for what was wrong with that night, the uncomfortable pattern broke. Something about that night changed everything. It was so important, but I was still clueless.
Hermione was generally back to normal. She was no longer having crying fits, though at odd moments, I could swear she looked truly terrified. She was having nightmares, and they seemed to creep into the shadows of her reality.
I hate how when you finally got over Weasley’s death, we became enemies again.
My bed under Hermione’s window didn’t last long, for she hardly slept there. Potter and Hermione spent long nights in front of the fire talking in hushed tones. I didn’t have the courage to eavesdrop. I didn’t want to listen to Hermione bearing her soul to Scarhead. I didn’t want to realize she’d never trust in me that way. I didn’t want to realize I was not trustworthy.
Although I hated Potter, I was glad to see someone taking care of Hermione. She wouldn’t let me, after all.
Yes, being in love is so wonderful. I can’t understand why I didn’t try it sooner.
I didn’t trust Potter to take care of Hermione completely on his own, however. I still kept a close watch over her whenever possible. Unfortunately, Slytherins didn’t share many classes with Gryffindors… for obvious reason. I was mostly limited to Double Potions.
It was a strange thought that only months ago, Hermione and I were still hard at work on the LAWFIES Potion. My stomach lurched with an ache to fall back into those days. Fighting with constant, blazing denial was far better than the situation at hand.
But I had little choice.
I haphazardly cut up some random herbs, as I observed Hermione making a perfect mixture of Veritaserum. Snape peered into her cauldron and pronounced it passable but still a bit cloudy. Hermione stared into her faultlessly clear potion looking distressed, and for a moment, I wanted to curse Snape for being so hard on her after everything.
The look on Snape’s face when he came to my cauldron was utter disgust. It was nearly pitch black and smelled strongly of bitter grass. He said nothing, but narrowed his eyes at me before moving on. I felt a chill in my normally comforting atmosphere. I turned back to see Hermione looking my way. Her face was unreadable, and the moment was brief.
After class, I hastened to get my things together, ready to follow Hermione, who was chatting pleasantly with Longbottom. I felt a rough grip on my shoulder. “Draco, I’d like a word.”
“Yes, Professor?” I asked, trying to keep my eyes on Hermione leaving.
He didn’t continue until the rest of the students were gone. Some stared as they passed. I silently wished myself to be in any one of their positions, not something I wished for often.
“You’ve not been acting yourself lately, Draco,” Snape said, his face caught between anger and concern.
I felt panic sink into me. I considered Snape and me to be on good terms, but should I tell him the truth, my father was be alerted by day’s end. Of this, I was certain. I searched my mind for a plausible excuse. Love was even ruining my impressive lying abilities.
“You’re beginning to worry me, boy,” Snape continued harshly. “I realize that you shirk your essays fairly often, but I’ve never seen your skills so poor!”
I scowled at him. I disliked being called “boy”, and the rest of his statement faded away from its context.
“I’m fine!’ I snapped. “Perhaps, you should mind your own business.”
“If you don’t improve, Draco, I will be forced to fail you for this semester,” he warned.
“Just give me whatever grades I deserve,” I muttered, exasperated. “I don’t care.”
The anger in his face was rapidly losing to the concern the more I spoke. I had hoped that it would be the just the opposite, and he would throw me out of the room in frustration.
“What is it that’s bothering you?” He asked me, seriously. His tone was almost pleading. “Whatever it is, I’ll assist you, but I cannot do anything unless you tell me!”
My mind was wandering. Hermione had a free period next, but Potter did not. I needed to follow her. I needed to say whatever would convince Snape to let me go the quickest. But I couldn’t think of anything.
“I’ve… I’ve been… having nightmares.” I mumbled, unable to pull my thoughts away from Hermione getting attacked in her shadows.
Snape looked surprised, and I felt deeply aggravated with myself. Now Snape thought I was a coward. Too scared to even go to sleep. In a strange way, it was true… but not for that reason.
“Hmmm,” Snape seemed to consider my answer for a minute. “Yes, well… the solution is simple, then. I’ll mix you up some Dreamless Sleep Potion.”
“Oh,” I said, shocked that it had been that simple. “Thank you, Sir.”
“Come back after Dinner,” he said. “I should have it prepared by then.”
And with a swish of his robes, he left me standing in the classroom alone. As I searched for Hermione, I pondered my slip of good fortune. If Hermione’s nightmares were the reason she stayed up most nights with Potter, I could rectify the problem. The resolution almost seemed too simple, but I was grateful for any luck I could get. Even if it only helped Hermione and left me none the better.
Hermione wasn’t in the Library or back in our room, and I wasn’t sure where else to look. I considered actually attending my class; I was outside for Herbology with the Ravenclaws next, but I never quite made it there. On the way, I was swept away by the sweet smell of Autumn in the air and the promise of the last good walk before Winter.
Hermione sat by the edge of the lake, a book open in her lap. There were a few other students mingling about, and she hadn’t noticed me, but I didn’t dare to go any closer. After a short while, Hermione bent over the lake and splashed a bit of water on her neck.
I was baffled. What the Hell was she doing? I didn’t have much time to reflect on this though, however. An owl was flying towards me. At first, I was too worried that Hermione might notice to realize exactly whose owl it was. My father’s…
Daray landed on my arm, and I quickly escaped the scene. Once out of sight, I accepted the letter from Daray’s claws and sat down to read it in dread, my back pressed against the castle for support.
I am in great need of your assistance with a mission. Perform well, and I’ll have a reward in store for you. Meet me in the woods on the night of the next full moon.
Short and concise… like every other letter I had received from my father. It was missing that element that I’m sure was in Hermione’s letters. That element of love that felt like a gentle caress when reading it… but realizing I would never read a letter from Hermione felt like a kick in the stomach.
Dinner was a blur of misery and frustration. Hermione looked anxious. She hid it reasonable well with studying for exams, but I knew what to look for. Potter, apparently, did not.
Hermione rubbed her neck often, perhaps subconsciously. My only absurd guess was that she’d been bitten by a vampire, but I’d never heard anything about splashing the bites with lake water. And I knew a fair bit about dark creatures.
After Dinner, I walked down to the Potions Classroom, feeling a migraine building. Snape wasn’t there, but Blaise was, and something about him seemed off at once.
“What are you doing in here?’ I asked. “Do you feel it?” I flinched. His voice didn’t sound normal. “Feel what?”
“The gods, Draco,” he said, smiling sinisterly. “They are not pleased. The balance has been upset.”
“What the Hell are you talking about?” I demanded, trying not to let his words scare me.
“They’re angry at us… at you. You keep inferring.” Blaise said, stalking slowly towards me.
“You’re drunk,” I said, simply, feeling it was the only acceptable explanation.
He smirked. “Say what you will.”
“I always have,” I said, strongly.
“Not always.” He snickered. “Not with her.”
My mind was racing… I couldn’t decided if he was possessed, or if he really was drunk, but I started to back towards the door. I wanted nothing more than to run upstairs, and take Hermione into my arms, and never let her go.
Blaise tilted his head and smiled insanely. “You’d think of her even now. You’re a strange man, Draco Malfoy.”
He was possessed; I was convinced. Blaise would never talk that way… drunk or sober.
“Look,” I said, trying to play along. “I have business here with Snape.”
Blaise thrust his hand out. Clutched in it was a small potion bottle. “He told me to give it to you.”
The smile was absolutely unnerving. I forced myself to look at the potion. I had never seen the Dreamless Sleep Potion and had no way of deciphering it from a fake. The bottle was a cloudy grey colour. I couldn’t even see the liquid. I took the bottle from Blaise intent on dumping it in the bathroom upon my arrival upstairs. It was hot, almost scaldingly so. I wanted to drop it on the spot, but gritted my teeth and grasped it tighter.
“Well, thank you,” I managed to say.
He laughed, but fell back, coughing, against a table knocking several empty bottles to the floor. He coughed up what looked like gilly water, but it bubbled upon hitting the ground. I cringed and looked up at my fellow Slytherin. His face was filled with fear.
Blaise collapsed to the stone floor, mumbling some gibberish. Scared to death, I fled the scene, knocking several first years over as I scrambled up the stairs. I didn’t know what was going on, only that it was bad, very bad. Blaise wasn’t stupid. He wouldn’t fall prey to possession so easily. Would I be overcome by the Imperious Curse… or whatever it was that had gotten even Blaise Zabini?
But my dread only escalated as I finally arrived at my common room, panting. Potter and Hermione were on the couch… snogging. And I realized a curse unlike any other filled my veins already. The curse called love.
I hate how Potter slept with you in his arms on the Head Common Room couch when you had a nightmare every other night.
That night was especially difficult. Things just seemed to get worse and worse. Hermione and Potter kissing, a menacing note clutched in my hand, and a bottle of poison on my bedside table… I didn’t see how things could get much worse.
I hate how once it was more than just sleeping.
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