Chapter 15 : Turnabout
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AN: Sorry for the wait, AN at end. Please read, enjoy, and hopefully review! Thanks!
Ron, Harry, Blaise and Draco made a very strange group as they waited in the Gryffindor common room for their dates to come downstairs. After Harry sent up his patronus they gathered at the foot of the stairs in a line, looking up the stairs to catch the first glimpse of the girls.
Draco was the first to see them, instinctively knowing exactly when and where to look the minute that Hermione exited the dorm room door. No words came to him as he watched Hermione descend the stairs. Draco was never so glad that Hermione was Grace as in that moment. She look like an angel and he wanted nothing more than to wrap her up in his arms and tell her that he was Damien.
Ron, Harry and Blaise were having similar reactions, though less extreme in some cases. Blaise had never taken the time to realize how stunning Ginny was, since she had always just been the Weaslette. But the dress she had on, it showed off her killer legs and her curvy shape in a way that made his eyes go wide. Harry was startled to realize that he had never seen Luna looking so feminine, even as he offered he arm to Pansy. Ron was offering his arm to Luna as he stared, wonderingly, at the three beautiful ladies who had come to accompany them to the ball. He wasn’t counting Ginny, of course, rather trying not to even look at her in such a tight dress. He liked to pretend she was still a little girl.
Draco was the first to regain his voice. “You look absolutely stunning Hermione. That dress is amazing.”
Hermione blushed as she wrapped her hand around his arm and they moved toward the exit to the common room. The other boys soon said similar lines to their dates as the group moved as a whole out of the common room and down toward the great hall.
Draco and Hermione held back, wanting to enter last in order to best greet the school and start the ball. As they were waiting for all of the students to enter the Great Hall, the Headmistress pulled them aside.
“Miss Granger, Mr. Malfoy, I was hoping I would be able to catch you before the dance started.” Headmistress McGonagall told them.
“How can we help you Professor?” Hermione inquired.
“I just wanted to inform you that, due to the plethora of persistent queries from your peers, I am adding a component to the night tonight.”
Both Draco and Hermione perked up in interest.
“I know that not all students are here tonight, so I will be making rounds to all the common rooms to tell those who did not attend and pass out the forms.”
McGonagall explained the plan to the two of them as they listened avidly. They promised to make the proper announcement at the beginning of the dance and make the forms available for all who wanted to give it a try. That dealt with, Headmistress McGonagall wished them luck with the start of the dance and went off to visit the house common rooms.
“Well,” Draco said, turning to face Hermione once Professor McGonagall had left, “that should be interesting.”
Hermione smiled in reply.
Finally, it was time to officially open the dance. Hermione and Draco entered last, arm in arm, and the entire group of students turned to look at them.
“Welcome all.” Hermione began. “I’m so glad to see that attending with a member of a different house did not stop you all from coming.” Hermione was right, in that there was a very good turnout, considering the rules to attend. “Before we start the dance, the Headmistress wanted us to tell you the exciting change in plans, in terms of the penpal program.”
Here Draco took over.
“Enough students have been pestering the Headmistress to know who their penpals were, as these students sincerely believe that they already know who they are corresponding with. In response to this, the Headmistress is giving us a chance to test this theory.”
Hermione continued, “Next to the punch bowl is now a table with a stack of forms, quills, and a giant bowl. If you think you know who your penpal is, or just want to give it a guess, then, at some point tonight, you need to head over to that table. The form will ask for your name and the name of the person you think is your penpal. The form is charmed so that you cannot lie about your name, so don’t even try.”
Again, Draco took over, “Once you have filled out the form, fold it in half and place it in the bowl. The bowl is also charmed, so don’t try to take out other peoples’ forms, you won’t be able to. At the end of the night the bowl will compile the results with those of the similar bowls placed in the house common rooms for those who did not attend the dance, and it will find any matches.”
Hermione brought it to a close. “The bowl will then compare any matches with the actual list of penpal pairings. If there is a pairing where both parties were correct in guessing the other person as their penpal, then that pair will be added to the list of pairs who guessed correctly that Professor McGonagall will receive in the morning. She will send letters informing the pairs of their successful guesses in two days time, so do not worry about it tonight. If one person is correct in guessing their penpal, but their penpal does not also guess correctly or does not participate, then nothing happens. The same is true if both parties are incorrect or do not participate. Please enjoy the food and have a great time!”
With that final send off, Hermione signaled the band, and she and Draco started off the dance with a waltz.
After their first dance together, Hermione and Draco decided to head over to the guessing table and fill out their forms. They hoped that showing that they were doing it would convince others to do it too. They dragged their whole group with them.
As soon as they got to the table, everyone suddenly got very secretive, covering their forms with their hands and quickly slipping them into the bowl. But, everyone filled out a form. Even Blaise and Pansy filled out guesses, albeit grudgingly. Hermione had been right in her assessment. Once their group left the table there came a pretty steady trickling of couples going over to place their guesses.
That done, Draco teasingly complained and whined until Hermione agreed that they could wait to dance until after they had eaten.
The decorations were everything Hermione had hoped for, black, white, and red. It had a very classy, sophisticated, and yet romantic feel to it all. Plus, Hermione’s dress matched perfectly.
One part of the dance that did not go as planned were Hermione’s conversations with Draco. She had expected to have each conversation with him only further solidify in her mind that he and Damien were one and the same. Instead, she found herself doubting her assessment more and more with every sentence he spoke. In fact, everything he was letting slip made it seem like he knew who Damien was and was trying to sneakily get her to realize who it was.
“Well,” Draco told her while they were eating, “I hope you like the desserts, because I didn’t find the time to ask Blaise to help me again. You know, for the dance just before Christmas he helped me decided what to ask for. We both went to enough stuffy parties in our childhoods to know the good desserts from the bad. Some of his suggestions were new to me and I wasn’t sure about them, but they seemed to go over well.”
Hermione assured him that the desserts were fine, but couldn’t help wondering if that meant that Blaise had been the one to suggest the Oreo pie.
“Yeah, I figured going with what Blaise liked would be best, he has the biggest sweet tooth. It’s part of why he loves this time of year, since Easter means chocolate and candy. Though I had to seek outside advice for cake choices, as Blaise is really much more of a pie person.”
All of these facts lined up with what Hermione already knew about Damien. And, of course, Blaise was a Slytherin and a Death Eater’s son, both of which Damien was. She felt the need to fish for more information.
“You and Blaise are really close. Do you guys have a lot of interests in common?”
Draco took the bait offered to him. “Yeah, he loves flying, even though he isn’t on the team, so we head out to the pitch to fly sometimes.”
Yet another fact that fit with Damien, though that one was probably true of most of the guys at Hogwarts. Still, it was looking more and more like Blaise could be the one. Her guess would be wrong in that case, as she had put down Draco.
Draco was having a blast at the dance. Since he knew that Grace was Hermione, he figured he might as well be Slytherin in his way of getting her to realize that he was Damien. First step was to get her to ‘realize’ that someone else was Damien.
Draco had come up with his plan a few nights before the dance. He chose Blaise as his scapegoat purely for convenience of knowing Blaise really well. He spent the whole dance talking Blaise up to Hermione and he could just see the doubt beginning to build in her eyes. He had only a few more things he had to say for it all to work out well.
When the dance finally came to a close he made his penultimate move; his good night. He stood with Hermione just outside of the Great Hall. They had used magic to vanish the mess and were headed in separate directions to go to bed.
“I had a great time tonight Hermione. Thank you for asking me.”
Hermione blushed a little bit and agreed with him, thanking him for being such a great date. Draco bent to kiss the back of her hand and walked a bit away before turning back and calling her name; ever the flair for dramatic timing. When Hermione turned back to him just as she reached the bottom of the stairs he continued.
“I just have to say, you were radiant tonight. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen you looking so stunning before. You really do look good in that dress, the rose is perfect.” Without waiting for a response he turned and hurried down to the dungeons.
Hermione smiled the whole way back to her room. She was so touched that Draco had said that. She knew he was not generally one to share that much of what he is thinking. She frowned a bit as she thought about how that all complicated her search for Damien’s identity. She really wanted it to be Draco.
She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she almost didn’t notice the vase on her bedside table. When she went to get into her bed she finally saw it. It was a simple class vase with a single blood red rose and a note.
Thank you so much for a wonderful evening. I enjoyed conversing with you. I must repeat, you were radiant, more stunning than ever before. I thought I would give you a rose, since the one on your dress was so perfect. I hope you enjoyed your evening as well.
Hermione expected, naturally, to see the noted signed “Draco”, since it was exactly what he had said to her and she had only really spent her time with him, so who else could write it, but no, it was signed:
P.S. sorry I never replied to your previous letter. Yes, I was excited for the dance, I’m so glad you asked me. And thank you for being honest about your family.
Clearly it was Damien, since the ending was such as only he could write, but clearly it was Draco.
Hermione was not nicknamed the ‘brightest witch’ of her generation for nothing. She realized that not only was Damien actually Draco like she had originally thought, but Draco had played her. He had planned to tell her all along and had just thrown in all the Blaise comments to confuse her and tease her.
She was pleased beyond belief that Draco and Damien were one and the same person, but she knew she needed a plan. Draco had pulled a prank on her, and let it never be said that she does not give as good as she gets.
Payback’s a bitch.
First thing the next morning, Hermione penned a quick note to Blaise and sent it off before getting up bright and early to go speak with Headmistress McGonagall. She would need both of their cooperation if she was going to make her revenge plan work flawlessly.
“Good morning Miss Granger, what may I do for you?” Headmistress McGonagall welcomed Hermione into her office and motioned her to the seat in front of her desk. “Is this about the dance last night? I thought it went splendidly.”
Hermione smiled in thanks. “I thought so too. It kind of is about the dance, but more about my pen pal.”
McGonagall frowned. “You know I can’t tell you if you guessed correctly until tomorrow; even if you are the head girl.”
Hermione shook her head. “No, well, I guess it would help, but I am ninety-nine percent sure I was correct. The thing is, the guy tried to trick me during the dance. I think he realized I was his pen pal and decided to play a bit of a joke. He talked about one of his friends, saying all sorts of things about him that matched with what my pen pal had said about himself. I think he wanted to throw me off. I had actually started to believe I had been wrong. But once I returned to my room there was a note from my pen pal that confirmed for me that it was who I originally thought.”
Despite the slightly muddled explanation, McGonagall was nodding, indicating she was somehow managing to follow the botched story.
“Well, I’m not about to let him think he can prank me without any repercussions. We’re friends, so I’m not worried that he’ll be upset. What I need from you Professor, is to not send out a note to me and him. If, and I’m assuming we did, if we correctly guessed each other, I ask you to withhold our note announcing that we were correct. Pretend I guessed Blaise Zabini if it helps you to not send it out. If we didn’t guess correctly than you don’t need to do anything.”
McGonagall seemed to be considering it. “Might I ask what this withholding would accomplish?”
Hermione smirked a bit. “I want him to think that I honestly believe Blaise, the friend he was trying to trick me into thinking was my pen pal, is my pen pal. I already asked Blaise if he would cooperate with me on this one. I just want to spend a few days teasing him by hanging out with Blaise and acting like we are suddenly good friends. If we did guess correctly, you can send our letters of notification in a week or so, if that’s alright.”
McGonagall smiled. “I don’t see why not, so long as this isn’t some kind of cruel joke meant to embarrass the young man involved.”
“No, certainly not. We’ve become friends throughout the year and I wouldn’t jeopardize our friendship for anything.”
“But how can you be sure that this young man is even your pen pal if you don’t know if you guessed correctly. You said yourself that you were beginning to doubt your guess.”
Hermione smiled. “Your system for preventing us from revealing ourselves isn’t foolproof. I think the fact that we spend so much time together as friends screwed it up. I am positive it’s him, because he basically said so, just not in so many words. Sorry, but when you see the person every day, it’s hard to prevent us from figuring it out.”
McGonagall nodded her understanding before dismissing her. Hermione then went down to the great hall for breakfast. Not many people were up yet, it being the day after the dance and all, so she was able to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet while eating. The morning post trickled through and with it came a note to Hermione carried by a school owl. Her name was written on the front in an unfamiliar scrawl. She broke the seal and opened it up, reading quickly, and broke into a broad grin.
I’m in. He’s pulled one over on me one too many times. I’m glad to help get him back. Meet me in the kitchens at noon today and we will work out the kinks of the plan over lunch. See you then.
AN: I don’t even know what to say. I should probably stop apologizing, since actions speak louder than words and my actions keep contradicting what I say. I say I’m sorry for delaying so long and then I go and delay even longer. I’m a horrible person. I would give cookies to all those who still read and, dare I hope, review this story, but, alas, I don’t know how to send that through my computer to all of you. I hope you all are doing wonderfully. I had a crazy semester, but I got accepted to my university’s Business School, so yay for that. Finals were fun, haha, but they are over now, which is awesome. I more thoroughly planned the next few chapters, so here’s hoping they take way less time. Anyway, you’ve all been terrible patient, so I thank you with oodles and oodles of love. :D Hope you all had a great Holiday, be it Christmas, Hanukah, or anything else. And a Happy New Year!
Thanks for this chapter go to:
Jade Hermione Potter- for the idea to have something Draco says be mimicked in a letter Damien writes.
Dramione Momentum- for the idea of using Blaise to confuse Hermione, I didn’t use the idea how you intended it, but yours was great inspiration for mine. :D