AN: Anything that you recognise does not belong to me.
Convinced that she would make a full recovery, the healers released Narcissa from St Mungo’s a few days before New Year’s Day. She lived in the Manor but she mostly stayed out of the way not wanting to disrupt our holiday. Narcissa did join us for mealtimes however and she constantly reprimanded Blaise for his lack of manners. He seemed used to it though and so didn’t act any different until Narcissa threatened to keep him inside learning manners until he behaved appropriately. During that argument Blaise kept shooting glares at Draco and I as we sniggered from the other side of the table. Blaise being Blaise continued to sulk for the rest of the meal until dessert was served and he returned to his usual chirpy self.
Eventually New Year’s Eve came around which we decided to spend at the Manor. Draco and Blaise had gone to buy fireworks in Diagon Alley which left Narcissa and I to spend the day together.
“What are you planning to wear tonight, dear?”
“I’m not sure; it’s just going to be the four of us so I haven’t really thought about it.”
“You haven’t thought about it! But my dear it’s New Year’s Eve! You have to look stunning to welcome the New Year in no matter who is around. I’m sure Draco would appreciate it too.” I blushed and hung my head.
“I hadn’t thought about it like that. I don’t know what I can wear though; I only have casual clothes with me.”
“Well then we must go shopping!”
“That’s ok, I’m sure I’ll find something.”
“Nonsense. We are going shopping; my treat. Come on.” Narcissa practically dragged me towards the fireplace. When we arrived at our destination I looked around not recognising where we were. We were standing in a shop I did not recognise and when I looked out of the window I saw a busy street lined with many more clothes shops.
“Cissy, where are we?”
“Paris.” She said simply as if it were an everyday occurrence.
“Well you didn’t think I’d let you shop for a dress in Diagon Alley, did you?”
“Come on, we have a long day ahead of us.” For hours Narcissa dragged me around shop after shop, insisting that I try on almost every dress. I was close to giving up until I saw it; the perfect dress. I tried it on but as I looked at the price tag and my hopes plummeted. “This one is perfect for you.”
“I really couldn’t, it’s too expensive.”
“When I said it was my treat I meant it. Now let’s get this home before the boys send out a search party.” We apparated back to the Manor where we found Draco sitting impatiently.
“Did you miss us?” Draco’s head shot up at the sound of my voice and he smiled. He strode over to us and hugged me so tight that I couldn’t breathe. “I’ll take that as a yes.” I giggled.
“Please don’t ever leave me with him for so long again.” He pleaded. “Next time I might kill him...or myself.”
“Oh, so you only miss me because I stop Blaise from being as much of a git.” I joked.
“You know I didn’t mean it like that.” I hit him on the arm playfully.
“I’m only teasing. I know you can’t live without me, I’m just too amazing.” He grinned and tried to hug me again but I slipped past him. “Not now, I have to get my shopping back to my room before it gets crinkled.”
“What did you get?”
“I’m not telling you you’ll have to wait and see.” I smirked as I walked back to my room.
“She’s perfect for you.”
“Don’t ever let her go.”
“I have no intention of letting her go. She was right; now that I know what it is like to have her in my life, I don’t think I could live if she ever left.” Mother patted me on the shoulder and left the room, thus leaving me to my thoughts.
I don’t deserve her; she’s perfect. I never thought that anyone, especially Hermione, could love me for me. All those other girls were just after my name or my inheritance but Hermione doesn’t care about that. I hope I can make her as happy as she makes me...ugh, that was so soppy, what’s wrong with me?
“Draco, I’m bored!” I heard Blaise whining from a different room. Panicking, I looked for somewhere to hide until common sense took over and I disillusioned myself and stood in a corner. It was never a good idea to be around Blaise when he gets bored because anything could happen as he attempts to entertain himself. It wouldn’t be such a problem if he didn’t have such a short attention span but unfortunately he does and that means he gets bored easily.
Blaise wandered into the room, looking for me. I held my breath as he stood inches away. Eventually he walked away and I heard him whine again.
“Hermione, I’m bored!” I released the breath I had been holding and quietly followed Blaise to see how Hermione would deal with him. As I approached I saw Hermione giving Blaise some parchment and a bag. I tried to read the parchment as Blaise rushed past but he was moving too quickly for me to see. I looked back at Hermione and gasped in shock as she winked at me and walked back into her room. How did she know I was there? Curious, I followed her into the room.
Just before I sent Blaise on his way I noticed movement not far behind him. Growing up with Harry and Ron had taught me how to recognise when someone invisible is there and being on the run had heightened my alertness. Once Blaise had gone I winked at Draco, knowing that the only person it could be was Draco, and walked back into my room leaving the door open so that he could follow. As soon as he walked in I reversed the disillusionment charm and bit my lip in an attempt to hold back the laughter caused by the look of shock on his face.
“How did you-?”
“How did I know you were there?” Draco nodded. “I spent a lot of Hogwarts sneaking around under an invisibility cloak so I can recognise when someone invisible is nearby. Plus you only used a disillusionment charm which meant you weren’t strictly speaking invisible so I could see when you moved.”
“Oh. Well it works on Blaise and that’s what matters.” I laughed.
“If you knew how to handle him you wouldn’t have to hide.”
“I wasn’t-” I looked at him with an eyebrow raised. “Ok, so I was hiding.” I smirked. “So what did you do? What was the bag and parchment for?” I giggled and then explained.
“Well we both know he gets really childish when he’s bored,” It was Draco’s turn to give me a look. “Ok, more childish. But anyway I thought that maybe I could entertain him with a game that I used to play when I was much younger. I heard him whining at you so it gave me time to quickly write out a list before he started whining at me. I gave him the list and sent him on a scavenger hunt. The bag is to put everything in as he collects it.”
“What’s a scavenger hunt?”
“You’ve never been on a scavenger hunt?!” Draco shook his head. “Well it’s a game normally played by more than one person although it is possible to play on your own. You have a list of objects to collect and the first person to collect them all and bring them back to the judge of the game wins. Depending on the age of the participants you can either give them a list of the objects or give them a list of riddles that they have to solve in order to know what they are looking for. To keep Blaise occupied for as long as possible, I gave him riddles.”
“Right, ok. I think I get it. You do realise he is going to expect a prize, right?”
“I know, I was about to go discuss that with your mother.” Draco looked confused so I attempted to explain without telling him the answer. “What’s the one thing Blaise loves most?” Draco screwed his face up in disgust. I rolled my eyes. “Other than that.” I watched his face and waited for the penny to drop.
“Oh, I get it!”
“Finally! Don’t say anything though in case he hears you.”
“So what is he looking for?” I walked over to the table and picked up a list. I handed it to Draco.
“That list has both the questions and the answers on it so don’t let Blaise see.” Draco looked over the list and a mischievous grin slowly appeared on his face. “What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking that I can get to everything before he can.”
“You want to play as well?” I chuckled.
“In a way. Instead of bringing everything to you, I can hide them so it will take Blaise longer to find them.”
“You’re going to sabotage Blaise?”
“Well I am a Slytherin; sabotage is high up on our list of priorities.” I rolled my eyes.
“Just don’t let him catch you doing it.” Draco pretended to be hurt. “Go on or he’ll find everything before you get the chance.” I quickly kissed him on the cheek before he rushed out of the room. “Boys.” I muttered to myself. I left the room in search of Narcissa.
Stealthily I crept around the Manor hiding the objects that were on the list. I started from the bottom so that I could be sure Blaise hadn’t found them already. Eventually all that was left was what Blaise had collected so I began to search for him. He wasn’t that difficult to find to be honest. He was making a lot of noise by running around and raiding cupboards. Silently I began to sneak objects back out of the bag whilst he wasn’t looking. I hid them in a secret compartment in the drawer of my desk in my study and returned to watch Blaise’s reaction. Deciding to play innocent I walked casually into the room.
“Are you alright, mate? You look confused.”
“Was it you?”
“Was what me?”
“Hermione sent me on a scavenger hunt but whilst I was looking in the cupboard everything I had already collected was gone.”
“That will be because you weren’t fast enough.”
“What do you mean?”
“To stop people from stealing, all of our possessions return to their place after a certain amount of time so you’ll have to go get them again.”
“Really?” He’s so gullible it’s ridiculous.
“Damn.” Blaise looked stumped for a moment. “Will you help me? I really want to know what the prize is.”
“Sure but only if we split whatever the prize is. What do you want me to find?”
“Deal.” Blaise tore the list in half and handed one half to me. “It’s written in riddles. I haven’t figured those ones out yet so you’ll have to work it out yourself. Meet me in the library in twenty minutes.” Before I could reply, Blaise rushed out of the room to recollect his half.
I looked at the list and then a thought occurred to me.
“Why didn’t I think of that before? Accio list items!” I waited a few moments before quickly trying to catch everything as it flew at me. I levitated all of it and began to walk back to the library. I settled into the sofa with a book as I waited for Blaise to turn up.
“I can’t find anything! It’s all moved!” I looked up at a disgruntled Blaise and smirked.
“Well then you’re lucky that I had enough time to spend to look for your half as well.” I inclined my head towards the pile of objects that Blaise had failed to notice.
“Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Because you’re an idiot.”
“Thanks mate.” Blaise said sarcastically.
“Anytime.” I grinned. “Let’s get these to Hermione.”
“I still get half of the prize, right?”
“I don’t know, you didn’t actually find any of it.” I teased.
“I found half but they disappeared!”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Please!” Blaise begged.
“Please what?” We both turned to see Hermione looking at us curiously.
“I found everything and Blaise is trying to convince me to share the prize.” Hermione gave me a knowing look and I didn’t miss the slight smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. She turned to Blaise.
“Well if Draco found everything then he gets the prize.”
“But I found it first!” Hermione looked confused.
“Blaise claims that he found half of it but it disappeared from his bag.” Blaise glared at me before looking pleadingly at Hermione.
“Fine you may both share the prize.”
“What is it?”
“You’ll have to wait and see, Blaise.” Blaise pouted causing both of us to laugh which of course made him sulk even more.
I returned to my room to get ready for the evening. I had a shower, pulled on the dress and set about trying to decide what to do with my hair and make-up. Fortunately Narcissa chose that moment to walk in.
“Hermione dear, are you almost ready?”
“Almost. I just can’t decide what to do with my hair and make-up.”
“Here, let me.” Narcissa whipped out her wand and performed a few quick charms. I stood up and walked over to the mirror to check my appearance. My hair was half up with half of it hanging in loose ringlets. The make-up was light but made my eyes stand out. The dress I had bought matched the necklace and earrings that Draco had given to me for Christmas which I was wearing. The dress was deep amethyst in colour and trimmed with silver. It was fairly simple but accentuated my curves. It was made of a silky material and reached to the floor. I was wearing silver high heels to match. I smiled at my reflection before turning to face Narcissa who smiled back at me.
“I will gather the boys for dinner. Wait here until about ten minutes after I have left; when you look that stunning you have to make a bit of an entrance no matter how few of us there are to see it.” I blushed and sat by the window to wait.
It was already dark and I could see the figures of Draco and Blaise setting up the fireworks on the far side of the grounds. I watched as Narcissa called to them and they walked inside. Finally the time came and I stood up, took a deep breath and proceeded to walk to the dining room.
Narcissa saw me first and smiled which caught the attention of Draco. He turned to follow Narcissa’s line of sight and his eyes widened in shock. I held his gaze as I continued to walk into the room. He stood up and helped me into the chair, whispering in my ear as he did so.
“You look beautiful, Hermione.” I blushed in response and once again looked into his grey eyes that were sparkling with awe and love.
“Wow, Hermione! You clean up good!” We both ignored Blaise’s attempt at ruining the moment as we were still too lost in each other’s eyes to care.